Keidel Von Stropfe was a weathered old rock of a veteran, and still a soldier at heart. A youth of battle, followed by study and observation, rising to the rank of Colonel in the army of Strossvald just in time for the Altossian Conquest. A bastard of a war that had been, but one that had ended with a General’s commission for him. Fifteen years of generalship, and then appointed as Defense Minister to the Archduke for almost fourteen years, now. His full beard had turned white, years of war and petty politics took its toll on his features, and his bones had begun to betray him, forcing him to walk with the aid of a stout ivory-capped cane, but his mind endured the years little worse for wear than it had been when he was but a boy.The Archduke Siegfried Von Strossvald had returned from a visit to his eastern subjects, and awaited a report upon the situations that Strossvald faced, which Von Stropfe had prepared earlier that day.The doors to the mighty throne room were opened by a pair of young attendants, themselves watched over by a squad of stern faced royal guardsmen, with polished breastplates and ceremonial halberds, which only a fool would presume was their primary weapon. Von Stropfe nodded appreciatively to them and walked through, the tap of his cane echoing through the throne room, long and high ceilinged and decorated in the baroque fashion of an age past. The only persons truly in the room were Von Stropfe and the Archduke; the life guards were still and quiet as statues, and would only come to life if a threat revealed itself.Von Stropfe walked to the middle of the throne and kneeled, his thin legs buckling only with great effort as he grunted and leaned on his cane. “Your excellency,” he coughed, “I have come with your requested report.”The Archduke, Siegfried Von Strossvald, was a somewhat heavyset man of fifty six, though not a flabby, soft noble. His broadness came from an active lifestyle, and his extra weight an indicator of how fond he was of food and drink despite his physical habits. Some whispered that his gourmand tendencies were but the least vile of many vices, but such whispers never had any proof. After all, whether these sins were true or merely rumors mattered little to most, as Siegfried Von Strossvald ruled competently.“Rise, Minister,” Siegfried held a hand up and leaned back in his throne, a decadent piece first sat upon by his great-grandfather coated in gold leaf and mother of pearl. Siegfried courteously waited for the old man to rise to his feet, knowing he could do it on his own and would be offended if any aid were sent to help him to his feet. “Tell me of the south, then. How goes our affair with the Third Republic?”
“It goes as we predicted, sire,” Von Stropfe said, unconcerned. “Valsten was not far enough in their mobilization to stop our preemptive strike. I anticipate a ceasefire in a week, perhaps two.”The monarch frowned. “Perhaps two?”“A weakness in our Battle Line that could be exploited by a clever general, my liege. The line is thin to the west of Salzebrucke, and a strike there could separate that front from the rest, since it is at the very eastern edge of our operations.”The Battle Line was a doctrine that had been implemented by Von Stropfe himself, and he was intimately familiar with its strengths and weaknesses. It utilized a broad face of infantrymen and artillery, supported by highly mobile reserves of panzers and panzergrenadiers, so that a strong point could be formed at a moment’s notice, and a weak point would never be exposed for long. It was quite effective at steadily applying pressure until the enemy broke, but it relied on the line remaining unbroken. If formations became isolated, the inability to support them would render them very vulnerable indeed.The Battle Line was developed not only for tactical strength, but also for political and logistical expediency. Some critics said it suffered for this, but to be frank, the Battle Line had served Strossvald well since it had been implemented. The amount of armor overall was low but could be highly concentrated at will, reducing the strain upon the budgets of both the Archduchy and the panzer battalions’ patrons, and allowing relative exclusivity of noble officers to be a realistic allowance to the courts. Any without a Von in their names had to pay their way through armor academy; something not many willing middle class families were willing to do, which pleased the petty nobility even more than the high houses.The Archduke, while not nearly as capable a theorist and practitioner of war on the level of Von Stropfe, knew enough to see his minister’s point on the developing weakness. “Hmm. Did Von Valnerstadt send any request for reinforcement?”“He did not, sire. He is still inspecting his forces, and the advance has largely been left up to unit commanders.” Von Stropfe said this dourly; Von Valnerstadt had been sent to replace the previous general commanding the Salzebrucke area forces after said general, Von Harkfeld, was accused of bombarding a civilian target with artillery, including chemical munitions. Von Valnerstadt had been appointed as the replacement merely a day into the war, and was rumored to have little idea of the situation and battle plan.
“Yet there is still progress?” the Archduke asked hopefully.“Little.” Von Stropfe’s tone became more severe, “A situation developed immediately upon declaration of hostilities. A mercenary band had taken local hostages, and this was at the same time there was reorganization taking place in Salzbrucke high command. The mercenaries have left, but the forces there are still hesitant to press forward for fear of angering the mercenaries. Skirmishes are being fought, but the lack of movement has allowed Valsten to build up their forces there.”“Hostages?” the Archduke leaned forward, more inquisitive than concerned, “Whom?”“Almost all of them are commoners,” Von Stropfe said dismissively, “Save for one. One of Barnabas Von Blum’s daughters.”The Archduke cocked an eyebrow. “From…”“His second wife. Evidently, her fiancé took her to Salzebrucke upon being deployed there.”“Ah…” the Archduke leaned back, drawing two of his fingers across his thin mustache, “The second mother. I suppose the young Von Varbonn would rather not offend Von Blum by putting his beloved daughter at risk.”“If Von Blum minds, he has not shown it. He was told immediately, but has made no effort to pay ransom at all.”“That is…quite strange.” The Archduke furrowed his brow, continuing to smooth his mustache, “Last I saw Von Blum, he spoke of that girl from his second wife as though he had sired a goddess.” Siegfried Von Strossvald had met with Von Blum nearly eighteen years ago, when he was still Crown Prince and the daughter they spoke of was small indeed.“Strange,” Von Stropfe agreed, “but hardly the most pressing matter of the day.” Von Stropfe flipped through a page of his report, adjusted his reading spectacles, and looked seriously up at his lord. “The Netillians and the Twaryians have joined forces, and are making a joint invasion of Ellowie.”The Archduke stood up. “Impossible. Their spite for one another has been what has kept Ellowie intact-““Their overcoming of said spite will be what dooms it as well,” Von Stropfe interjected with a dire tone, “I have been told that Ellowie will fall before winter comes; their manpower has been drained over the years by constant warring, and they do not have the resources to resist a two front invasion. If Ellowie is to survive, then they will require direct aid from another nation. Aid that we cannot grant.”“Hellfire,” the Archduke swore quietly, “We cannot launch an invasion of Netilland, can we?”“Our forces are not mobilized to do so, and we have no political precedent.” Von Stropfe said, “Before either could be done, Ellowie will have reached a point of no return. We can hardly divert forces before our war down south is over with, either.”
“The Silver Lances?” Siegfried Von Strossvald tried to find a way not to aid the eastern country, but to spite the potential foe of tomorrow, “The Ellowians could buy their services. At a discount, even.”Von Stropfe sighed and shook his head. “We would do well to refuse if they tried. A single armor division, no matter how storied, cannot hold against armies by itself.”“So then what do you propose we do, then?”“Ellowie is lost,” Von Stropfe declared, “A new bulwark against the east can be formed, however, while our enemies are distracted.” Von Stropfe paused, and continued when the Archduke motioned for him to continue. “After Ellowie falls and is split between Twaryi and the Netillians, they will surely look to move east and conquer Sosaldt. Perhaps there, something could-”“Sosaldt is a lawless place, with no government, no national will, no identity beyond being self-centered barbarians” the Archduke snorted derisively, “What could they do?”“In the past certainly,” Von Stropfe agreed, “Recently there has been…a phenomenon. A cluster of settlements has claimed to have formed a “republic,” on the northern border of East Valsten…the “Republic of Vang,” some have been calling it.”“What a tasteless name,” the Archduke wrinkled his nose, “…Vang? Like that republican rabble rouser, Vang?”“Sigmund Vang, yes. Most think he is involved, somehow. He and his followers did happen to recently vanish from the Blumlands.”“And you believe he would civilize that nation of scoundrels?”“I do not know,” Von Stropfe admitted, “As is, we have few other options other than to prepare for our eastern front to be beset in its entirety by a potentially united foe. It would be best for the Netillians to stab their new allies in the back after this war, but in the case that they do not…”“I will discuss this matter with the council when we convene,” the Archduke said, “Although I doubt that Netilland, even thirsty for belligerence as they are, would find common ground with the lapdogs of Caelus for long.”“Perhaps.” Von Stropfe admitted this; the Twaryians lacked for friends on this continent, having made no secret in the past of their distaste for their neighbors. “With that, I have nothing left to report that the council will not find itself deliberating upon.”“One more thing, Minister,” the Archduke held up a hand for him to wait, “I trust that our plans for the north are still on schedule?”“Of course, my lord.”“Excellent,” the Archduke smiled and settled into his throne, “You may go then, Minister.”
You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, officer of panzers for the army of the Archduchy of Strossvald, on a mission to infiltrate the land of bandit kings, Sosaldt, and rescue over two hundred hostages from deep within the lawless country, one of these hostages being your fiancée, Maddalyn Von Blum.Recently, you had taken advantage of an opportunity to scout out Todesfelsen, as well as to see your fiancée while posing as a slaver. Although you would have to wait another week to finally complete your mission and rescue Maddalyn, you weren’t feeling so terrible about spending another week in this accursed country.That, however, may have been due to you taking advantage of being alone with Maddalyn to kiss the crap out of her. Such an encounter had an odd way of relieving your exhaustion for this mission and its unique demands upon your person. It also gave you more reason to succeed; you very well couldn’t leave your wife to be with merely what you left her with. It would be ungentlemanly to leave her waiting for a corpse.With that, however, your reasons to remain in the city of the Death Heads, your current nemeses, became lacking. All that was left to do was some clerical work with your own scouts already here, and you could be on your way back to your allies in the Republic.“So,” you asked your cohorts, whom had been provided by Loch, as you all drove out of the old fort in the beaten up van that had been your only mechanized asset to be brought, “Do you need to see anything here before we get out of here?”“We?” the operative who had taken on the name “Krag” snorted, “We’re stayin’. Nobody’ll stop you and ask where we all went on the way out, after all. What we really want to find out, we have to stay a bit longer for.”“I could at least drive you around the depots and motor pools,” you offered, “Maybe see if we can map out the outposts?” Really this was more for your benefit than theirs; with Loch having been so cagey about his plans, you wanted to know all you could about this devil’s nest you would be attacking in a week.“That won’t be necessary,” the man who had been referring to himself as Fritz said coolly, “We will-““We have no shortage of time,” the enigmatic man who must have been to Loch as Malachi was to you called Mask interrupted, “The Lieutenant can have his brief tour of Todesfelsen.”
The roundabout of Todesfelsen informed you a fair deal of its strategic potential, and capacity for warmaking, and it seemed that the details you’d learned in the past about its total fighting force being large indeed (its official troops alone numbering seven times what Selgess had come to Valsten with), but what remained unclear was how it could afford to put so many troops in the field. It was a mere city with a smallish territory, and the force it could assemble was far more than a lord with similar territories would reasonably raise. Was it because of money donated from the southern cities? Or could their economy truly support this? This was on top of other mysteries, for example, how this place even fed itself. Most of Sosaldt was rather dry, and while not completely barren and definitely not a desert, was far from a lush and fertile place. Besides a few random farmsteads you’d seen and the ones in the White Eyes territory, these peoples’ source of nourishment was unknown to you. You knew practically nothing about agriculture, especially that of the sort needed to sustain cities and nations, and you knew that what you had seen was not enough for most of Sosaldt to be agriculturally independent. Meaning they brought in their food, but from where?Well, you weren’t intending to stay in Sosaldt long enough to find out. Such things would be Signy’s problem, and whomever else would be constructing the new nation from the ashes of the old.After the roundabout the place, you felt slightly more confident in your knowledge of the place…and very much less sure of the chances of the Republic securing victory. Even what was said to be your strongest troops, the Guillotines’ mechanized forces, would not be a proper match for the forces you beheld. The average tank the Death Heads had was much superior to the majority of the Guillotines’ mechanized equipment; nothing the Death Heads had was so subpar as the abominable machines called Guntracks, and the average Death Head had something much more recognizable as a standard uniform, even if they lacked for uniforms in general like most bands of the country.“We’ll be leaving you here,” Fritz declared suddenly as Mask brought the van to a stop near an alley, with nobody around in sight, not even the poor; presumably all who would normally be here were either on patrol or in the mines mentioned to be a major economic pursuit of the city. “Do us a favor and tell Loch that we are here, will you?”>I’d rather know a bit more about what you’re doing, what you’re planning, and all that. (Write in any questions; absolutely no guarantee that they’ll be answered)>Alright then. I suppose I’ll see you in a week.>Other?>past thread archives @ https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh>Updates and announcements can be found on twitter @scheissfunker
>>2020083>>Alright then. I suppose I’ll see you in a week.
>>2019982Who wants to bet Barnabas von Blum spoke about Mathilda, and no one even knows Maddalyn exists?>>2020083>Alright then. I suppose I’ll see you in a week.
>>2020083Option 2>>2020373Maddy is 20ish, isn't Mathilda 16? or he could have been speaking about Maddy when she was 2 or 3. He probably did love her but then she had to put monsters in her eyes and cavort with devils and all other sorts of foul nonsesne.
>>2020453Maddy and Mathilda are twins as far as I remember.
>>2020469Actually Tracht is 20 and Maddy is at least a year older then us so it would have to be Maddy he was talking about since Mathilda is 6 years younger
>>2020453>>2020469Maddalyn is 23, and her sister is 17. They look extremely similar physically, but there is quite an age gap. Whether they'll look identical over time is anybody's guess, since it isn't as if there's another sister from the same mother to compare to.Anyways, writing now.
“Alright then,” you shifted over as Mask moved out of the van, taking his place in the driver’s seat, “I suppose I’ll see you in a week.”“Keep a space open in the victory parade,” Krag said as he slammed the door he came out of shut. It was a pleasant surprise for a newly met experienced comrade to not imply that you’d be killed in short order, though it was almost certainly because of the henchman’s faith in Loch, his master, rather than you.You only went around the corner, though, before releasing Emma and opening the window for her. “Back to the grindstone, huh,” the little blue flame muttered, “I don’t suppose you want me to go get blown up, do you?”“No, that won’t be necessary. I want you to keep in touch with Hilda, so you can convey messages between her and I, if needed, and also to…keep her out of trouble.”“She’ll find her way into trouble no matter what I say, you know,” Emma murmured bitterly, “You know how she is. Or maybe you don’t. Probably not.”“You act as though you know her so well.”“Maybe I do,” Emma said loftily, “She’s gross, stubborn, weird, ugly and depressing, a sneaky tramp and an uneducated hick. Aside from that, we’ve actually got a lot in common.”>You’re both sneaky tramps. Now scram.>What, are you going to tell me that you’re friends? I’ve never seen you do anything but insult her.>If you have so much in common, please, say what you need to keep her from going any further. I won’t have anybody ruining themselves for my sake if it can be avoided.>Other?
>>2020685>>If you have so much in common, please, say what you need to keep her from going any further. I won’t have anybody ruining themselves for my sake if it can be avoided.>Other?Take care of her would you? I don't want to have to rescue two damsels in distress.
>>2020685>If you have so much in common, please, say what you need to keep her from going any further.
>>2020685Option 3Phone posting sucks
>>2020685>What, are you going to tell me that you’re friends? I’ve never seen you do anything but insult her.>If you have so much in common, please, say what you need to keep her from going any further. I won’t have anybody ruining themselves for my sake if it can be avoided.
“What,” you leaned on the edge of the van’s door and looked skyward, “are you going to tell me you’re friends? I’ve never seen you do anything but insult her.”“What do you care?” Emma snapped back.You really didn’t feel like arguing with a petulant adolescent dead girl right now. “Fine,” you gave up this fight with an ease that must have been disappointing to her, “If you have so much in common, then, please, say what you need to keep her from going any further.”“Oh, sure. Let me give a reasonable explanation as to why she should preserve a body that nobody, not even her, sees any value in. I’m sure any words of encouragement that come from nowhere will help her forget she tossed a golden coin into a wishing well.” Emma smoldered sarcastically.“Just do your best, please,” you insisted, “I won’t have anybody ruining themselves for my sake.”“There’s nothing left to…whatever.”“Take care of her, would you?” you asked as sincerely as you could, “I don’t want to rescue two damsels in distress.”“She’d die before she let that happen,” Emma said firmly.“Well,” you grunted, caught off guard by that, “We can’t let that happen either, yes?”“A fourteen…fifteen…sixteen…God, maybe even seventeen…whatever, taking care of a twenty two year old woman,” Emma floated steadily out the window, “I’d ask the Judge to weigh my sins kindly, but evidently either I’ve already been found wanting in my penitence, or the Judge is a cruel and petty God. I’ll do my best. Later, retard.” With that last rude jab, Emma rose up and away.-----The drive back to Wossehnalia had been the first time in a long while that you’d been in a vehicle all by yourself. Left with no company but your thoughts, you found your head unwilling to cooperate by thinking on one subject, leaving it as good as empty with its inability to focus. Your fiancée, soulbinders, battles, politics, spymasters, Heller Von Tracht’s legacy, ghosts, nonsense that was easier to let lie by gazing upon the ugly countryside with its patchy scrub and scrawny, sad looking trees that must have been a mirror for the people who lived here; in a wretched place but unable to move from it to better soil.It was a poor distraction, but some strange aspect of your mind let you focus on it all the same and let every other bit of stress simply melt away and run off like snow on sun warmed stones.
One thought that never left the back of your head was the possibility of being ambushed on this short, yet nevertheless possibly dangerous road. It wasn’t as if your neck wasn’t plenty used to being used as a swivel, though. Wossehnalia became small then large once more, and as you went up towards Wossehn’s castle, you wondered how long it would take for the Riverman to meet with you here. You gladly saw that Loch at least had the good sense to keep your tank and crew at the manor waiting for you, but the sole man on watch, who appeared to be Jorgen by his build, gave your van no mind as you were admitted in by the gate guards and you maneuvered the ugly thing back to where you’d gotten it from.You let yourself stretch out, leaned back, and appreciated the quiet for a minute before looking to your left and right and seeing the Riverman sitting next to you.“Hgacgh!”you choked and recoiled away, “How long have you been sitting there?”“Ten seconds,” the Riverman said curtly, “Interesting. You truly are at least a guest of Lord Wossehn.”“Do you really have to pop up mysteriously like that?” you asked, kicking open your door and hopping out, “Or are you obligated to just pop up out of people’s vision once you bind your soul or whatever creepy thing you do to be able to make peoples’ eyes explode?”The Riverman ignored this line of questioning, and responded with his own. “So. Shall we arrange the matter of my loan?”“Sure, sure,” you shrugged, “Just don’t do any of your weird wizard shit around him. Your sort of shenanigans are something I’ve mercifully never had to explain to anybody in great detail.”-----A short visit to your crew, some brief greetings, and the recruitment of some strong arms to carry your gold about later, you had managed to secure a meeting with Lord Wossehn. The tall man’s gregariousness instantly discomforted the Riverman.“Oh ho!” Lord Wossehn bent slightly to look the Riverman in the eye, “What have you returned from Todesfelsen with? A new friend?”“Not qui…you know what, sure,” you corrected yourself, “A new friend. He has a slight problem, though. He’s got himself in a real big pickle, that only you can help with.”“I suppose,” Lord Wossehn’s tone became inverted, “that he has an enormous debt. Good sir Von Tracht, I am not a charity!”The Riverman’s eyes flickered at you when he heard tell of your name, though you paid it no mind.“Of course, Lord Wossehn,” you bowed slightly and meekly, “All I wish is for you to be our intermediary. Stein, if you please…”Stein nodded obediently, placed the briefcase upon the ground, and opened it from behind. The gold bars glittered in the light of the chandeliers of the foyer, each little point of light reflected over the scores of bars. The Riverman’s mouth fell open, and Lord Wossehn chuckled while raising an eyebrow.
“Me oh my, Herr Von Tracht,” Wossehn clapped once, “You grow more intriguing by the day. Surely, however, this man’s debt is not the worth of all of this?”“No, no,” the Riverman said quickly, “Merely twelve thousand union marks.”“Merely twelve thousand union marks?” Wossehn’s voice began to waver, as though he were stifling a laugh, “My, how splendorous your wealth must be to speak so casually of that amount.”The Riverman’s ears reddened and he looked down sharply.“I shall have my money changers determine how much of this sum to deduct,” Lord Wossehn looked to a butler, who nodded, clicked his heels together and turned about to fetch the needed professionals. In the end, after an overly meticulous session of some shrewd looking men with weights and balances checked the validity of the bars to be used as payment, it was decided that thirty eight of the bars of gold would be the amount needed to free the Riverman from his debt.“The numbers do not change evenly, though,” Lord Wossehn said, “So I would be happy to make up the difference in Union Marks to you, if you wish. To be precise, you would be owed two hundred point eight three Union Marks if I took thirty eight of these pieces of gold from you.”>That would be great, thank you. I’ll just take that, and my friend here will take the rest of the marks, and we’ll be on our way.>Actually, could I have you hold onto that? Or maybe I could buy something with it?>You know, this gold is actually weighing me down quite a bit. I couldn’t give it to you, could I? Like to a bank of yours or something?>Other?
>>2022533>That would be great, thank you. I’ll just take that, and my friend here will take the rest of the marks, and we’ll be on our way.
>>2022533>>Actually, could I have you hold onto that? Or maybe I could buy something with it?What sort of business other then construction does he do again?
>>2022642Construction isn't really his business so much as it is what he frivolously spends a massive amount of money on. His actual business insofar as making money goes is investment and trading of investments.
>>2022679Maybe when this is all well and done, we could invest in one of his investments.Youd think with the amount of money he throws into his construction projects, he'd own a company or two.
>>2022701If only his construction projects were actually useful and contributed to the local economy or infrastructure in some conceivable way, instead of just building giant useless towers that can't even stand up because he thinks they look cool.
>>2022706If the construction company recruits from the local population and dosnt import all of the labourers, its bringing money into the city. The wages they recieve and those of the import workers go into local restaraunts and hotels/housing, while it may not be as pragmatic as other projects, the cash infusion does contribute to the local economy as well as road infrastructure, as all that material still needs to get there and I dont see anyone else willing to pay for the road.
>>2022716I see he also contributes to the economy by paying anonymous posters to defend his stupid construction projects on the internet.
>>2022533>That would be great, thank you. I’ll just take that, and my friend here will take the rest of the marks, and we’ll be on our way.Union marks may not be worth as much wherever we end up going. >>2022732We're onto you Tib, don't you peddle here on the internet as well.
>>2022803We could always convert it into Strossvald money I guess.
>>2022533>Actually, could I have you hold onto that? Or maybe I could buy something with it?I have no idea how valuable is two hundred UM though.
https://mega.nz/#!43AGWLyK!VuV7ZGpNu2wJ7KQJVQxU-xjrzPpVFs1yaV7v0MHKxAEI'll be back later once, I've organized my thoughts.
>>2023132>That filenameWe still didn't see any though.
I'll be updating in a few hours time.>>2022877Union Marks are roughly analogous to Strossmarks, worth somewhat less. They hold a pretty consistent value since they're backed by the banks of the Union of Free Valstener States, which actually extends to a southern continent when there isn't a Great Gale blocking it off.The average enlisted man's salary hovers just around fifty strossmarks per month. Two hundred Union Marks would be a big deal to a common man, therefore, if not so much of one to a wealthy man.>>2023132You know, I really can't appreciate this enough considering how my first ten threads are consigned to messy archive sites. It shouldn't have to be mentioned that I'll be shoving this into the archive links, top of the shelf.
I didn't actually notice things were tied up til recently, and now that it's about time to actually start writing...well. I prefer not to decide ties on dice rolls, but this isn't a situation where one can really combine things, and one option is basically "put off deciding" so I can't do that.If there's no objections I'll roll a dice in half an hour and go with things based on that result, if there's no tiebreaker.
You know, on second thought, I think it'd be better to wait longer. It's a sunday, things can be relaxed, and I have writing and preparation I can do in the meantime anyways....though I won't wait for long after the breaking vote.
>>2022533>>That would be great, thank you. I’ll just take that, and my friend here will take the rest of the marks, and we’ll be on our way.
Calling this, then. Will have an update out shortly, by quarter til at most.
“That would be great, thank you,” you bowed slightly, reflexively, before remembering that Lord Wossehn, despite being personable, was no proper lord. “I’ll just take that, and my friend here will take the rest of the marks, and we’ll be on our way.”“Of course,” Lord Wossehn said with gusto, “Two hundred point eight three, good sir,” he gestured to one of his butlers, “Unmarked.”“Right away, sir.”He was back shortly, with a wad of marks bound in a paper sleeve, itself lying on a silver tray. It wasn’t enough money to need that sort of presentation, but you accepted it graciously.“I hope to see you again soon, Wossehn,” you said to the lord of the castle, before turning to the Riverman, “Within a week. Remember that.”The Riverman was still unsure of his feet, though whether that was because of your time limit or because of the burden being lifted from his shoulders was uncertain. “I will…do my best.”-----The road back would be long, but the extra length imposed by the winding paths and risk of bandit threats was greatly shortened by the imposing figure your m/32 cut as it rumbled westward, away from Wossehnalia and back towards Rostig.A worrying sign came about during the trip, though. Roughly at the halfway mark back, the engine began to grind harder than it usually did. It grew, and grew, until finally Malachi stopped the tank and gestured back to you.“Tahkkalook.”“Sure,” you said, only half sure of what he said. You and Hans were left to keep a watch out as the rest of your crew crawled on back of the tank and inspected the air filters; you had hoped that this would have been the source of the problem, but the air filters had been maintained well throughout your journey back and forth across this dusty country. They were cleaned, but Malachi insisted in broken jibberish that he be allowed to run a more thorough check.
“Guess we have Mal to thank for getting us to last this long,” Hans observed, resting the carbine he hefted against his shoulder, “I’m sure this is obvious, but tho he went through training with the rest of us, it’s pretty obvious that he’s been in some other army before, yeah?”“Yet he still never learned to speak New Nauk,” you couldn’t help but grumble.“If his time there was anything like it is here,” Hans let the carbine fall back into his other hand, laying it across and towards the ground, “He never needed to learn how to, and his mates figured out what he’d be saying anyways.”There was silence for a minute, as you both listened to Malachi ordering the rest of your crew around, and Jorgen crabbing back in almost as broken New Nauk.“So,” Hans finally said, “You went to Todesfelsen. You see your honey?”“Yeah.”“You grope her butt?”“I don’t see how that matters,” you tried to say, realizing too late that you should have said no.“It’s like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover,” Hans smirked at you sleazily, “and don’t judge a woman’s hips by her bust.”You sighed harshly and leaned back against the tank, looking up at the grey, cloudy sky, “Can we speak of something other than women? Especially not concerning my fiancée, or her body.”“Sure I could, boss,” Hans said with some doubt, “But girls are a nice distraction from the rest of the shit we gotta put up with in life. They’re cute, they’re sexy, they’ve got nice soft bits that cushion against the hard edges of life, so you can touch ‘em and be reminded in a second that you’re not living in a room o’ corners and edges.”“I can take a few corners and edges now and then,” you grumbled, “Give me a few.”“Alright, boss, here’s one,” Hans cleared his throat, “We got sent out here by a bunch of spooks, right? We can’t go back til we do our mission, right? What if, hear me out, we can’t go back anyways? We’ve already done one thing bad according to the record, they could easily hold that over our head for all time, you know?”>Don’t be ridiculous. That would bring dishonor upon the Archduchy’s Intelligence Office. We will be welcomed back as heroes.>If we are not allowed back, then it is because we were not deserving. That is all there is to it.>You’re right, I think I’d rather talk about the soft bits after all. >Other?
>>2024024>My hope is that von Blum will look out for the savior of his daughter in such a case.
>>2024024>They could, but I don't see any reason they would want to unless we give them reason to. They've already invested quite a bit of money in us, I'm sure they'll be glad to welcome back a unit of heroes in return.>Besides, if anything goes wrong I'll take full responsibility for everything we've done. The rest of you won't have any trouble.
>>2024203I'll second this
“They could,” you admitted, “but they wouldn’t. I don’t see any reason they would want to, unless we were to give them a reason to. Aside from being trusted by the Archduke, we’ve also had a lot of money invested in us. I’m sure they’ll be glad to welcome back a unit of heroes in return.”“Must see something in those spooks that I don’t,” Hans said lowly as he fished a cigarette from his pocket, “You got a light..? Nah, looks like Mal’ll be done soon anyways.”You scratched a match against the side of the tank and handed the blazing stick over. “We’ve got time. As far as us getting left in this dump goes, if anything does go wrong and they’re forced to leave us…I’ll take full responsibility for everything. The rest of you should be fine.”“Funny, boss,” Hans puffed at the twist of tobacco, “Could have sworn none of us common folk get to foist our wrongdoing on you in the case of desertion. We’ve all sailed on this ship together.”“You won’t be treated as deserters,” you said confidently, “The nobility expect to be obeyed. You had no choice, and I will vouch for that. The only one whom shall fall is I.”“Could at least put the blame on some prick who deserves it,” Hans suggested as he took a final draw and crushed the cigarette beneath his toe.“If we fail, then I will deserve whatever punishment is meted out,” you declared, “I place my honor on the line, as a descendant of-”“Yeah, don’t,” Hans said, “There’s no reason to. After all, we’re not going to lose, right?”“Right.” -----Soon enough, you were moving once again, but Malachi was taking the tank forward noticeably slower. You asked what the problem had been, and apparently, it was something you really couldn’t do much about anyways. Bits and pieces here and there were simply wearing out all at once, and though the mechanics could probably look at things and make a better appraisal, for now, little could be done save for straining the machine less. It wasn’t too great of a surprise, you supposed; you had gone far, far beyond the reach of any battle line, though if your machine was beginning to act up now, a week before the great battle was to happen, you didn’t want to think about how much the rest of the m/32s would endure.If worst came to worst, you would have to tow your own m/32 back; it was irreplaceable. The others could be written off as acceptable casualties, but you neither wanted to give up your unique armor, nor leave it in the care of people who didn’t even know what it was.
Noon had come, and you finally returned to where you had begun.Rostig had been transformed into a flurry of activity. One of the first things you noticed was a group of Guillotines you passed; or rather, how they looked. No longer was their manner of dress loose and casual with only slight identifying markers. Some still wore their jackets over top and their trousers were still certainly what they had before, but their loose blouses and beaten shirts had been replaced with grey-brown umber hued tunics with black buttons upon their collars. The more wild hairstyles had been culled too, with not a single strand reaching further than a few centimeters; quite strict considering the standards you were used to, but likely a harsh necessity if one were to turn these vagabonds into a proper army. There was still a definite lack of caps, let alone helmets, but only so much progress could have been made in a day. If you were to guess, the arrangements for these to arrive had been made days before, when the idea of a unified Army of the Republic must have been naught but a dream. You could likely thank Loch for thinking forward, or rather more likely, plotting out some scheme and then counting on that scheme to work brilliantly.There was no leathers or webbing to be found, naturally, besides rough bags on slings. Weaponry was mixed as well, though a common weapon had emerged since you had last looked at the general weaponry of the Guillotines…or rather, perhaps they were the Republican Army now, since Bad Rott had fallen and the separate settlements of the Guillotines had sworn fealty to Signy rather than another leader who would then answer to her. The weapon most of them carried now with their new identity, though, was now the M1908K rifle, which had once been the standard bolt-action infantry rifle of the Grossreich. Its general design had been copied and iterated upon throughout the world, but many still used a version that was little more than an exact copy with only minor cosmetic differences. Such copies were now the majority of weapons in the hands of your roughspun allies; the metalwork was ill-finished and a seeming lack of wood meant that many had furniture that was of varying materials, a more than a few having pieces of ugly carved bakelite, but even lacking in grace these were still clearly functional and deadly weapons.
The usual red that marked the men as part of the Guillotines could not be found on the new uniform of the Republic, though many wore it in places where no uniform was yet worn. Red hats, headbands, bandannas and scarves were common, as well as armbands. It was when you looked for such distinguishing features in the newly bred soldiers you passed, that you began to notice a different people around here too. People that wore brown caps, with white patches above the brim; presumably, if you were to guess, these were men of Geniburg, who had been brought up to Rostig. They were noticeably more disciplined than the Guillotines, which given the already relatively disciplined nature of that gang, meant that the demeanor of the Geniburg recruits approached that of proper soldiery. If only there were more of them; they were most certainly not here in bulk.Soon enough your vehicle was reunited with its brethren at the cordoned off space reserved for your mission’s vehicles. They were all still their same gray tone; something that would have to be changed if you were to fight alongside the Republic, you supposed. Waiting there, along with some sparse members of your platoon, was Loch and some of his guards. He looked up at you, and refrained from speaking until your tank had been parked neatly by the others in a line.
“So, Lieutenant,” Loch addressed you as the engine fell silent, “Did you have a productive holiday?”“Productive?” you repeated, “I suppose so. Your men stayed there, by the by.”“Good,” Loch smiled slightly and nodded, “The seed of victory has been planted in bountiful soil, if even a quarter of what I have heard of our foe is correct. I trust you have seen our army in the midst of its maturation?”“The thugs and criminals are somewhat better dressed, yes,” you admitted, “The weapons are from Geniburg, I presume, but what about the uniforms?”“Also from Geniburg, they were already making uniforms for their policemen,” Loch answered, “Though, as with the weapons, the demand far outstrips supply. Clothing, however, is thankfully easier to produce than weaponry, so efforts have been made to get production going elsewhere.”“Rather convenient that they were already making uniforms and guns,” you observed coolly.“What is happening now would have what would have happened anyways, in time,” Loch said back, shrugging slightly, “Miss Vang and I merely accelerated it. All of the pieces were already laid, it was merely up to us to begin the process of assembly.”From your perspective, this assembly was haphazard and rash, but admittedly was getting the job done in record time. “Why do this, though?” you asked, “Who do you work for, who would want to do this? Even what you have is a lot to sink into this place.”“I could say the same of the likes of you,” Loch winked, “Be patient with your questions, answers will come in time. If you like, Miss Vang has invited you to share in looking at our order of battle. Considering that you are about to receive an unprecedented quintuple promotion, I believe it would be a wise idea for you to come.”>…no, hold the hell up. A quintuple promotion? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but can I turn that down?>Sure, what the hell. I certainly can’t set a poor precedent for all the officers suddenly below me.>Other?
>>2024203This is good.
>>2024414>…no, hold the hell up. A quintuple promotion? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but can I turn that down?We are already too deep into his schemes (which coincide too eerily with Strossvald's but still) and Richter was just talking about reasons to be publicly shot as deserters. Signing up for a foreign army as a Colonel or something gives the spooks more ammo than they need to neatly hang us.
>>2024414>I am but a simple, foreign military consultant. I'm afraid that I cannot hold an official rank in the republic's army.
>>2024462I agree.>>2024414>>…no, hold the hell up. A quintuple promotion? With respect, I am an officer of Strossvald, not the Republic of Vang. I will gladly work alongside you while our interests align, but you are in no position to be offering me ranks.
>>2024414>Sure, what the hell. I certainly can’t set a poor precedent for all the officers suddenly below me
>>2024414>…no, hold the hell up. A quintuple promotion? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but can I turn that down?
What an absolutely absurd proposal that was! It wasn’t one that was mean spirited, and it wouldn’t have been unreasonable if you were anybody else, but for who you were and what you were doing, to accept blindly would have been unthinkable.“…no,” was all you got out at first, then, “Hold the hell up. A quintuple promotion?”“Is that not enough?” Loch asked, smirking like a weasel with one eye closed.“With respect,” you didn’t reply to Loch’s question, “I would rather turn down that offer. I am an officer of Strossvald, not of the Republic of Vang. I will gladly work alongside you while our interests align, but you are in no position to be offering me ranks. I have sworn no oath of loyalty to you, made no pledges…”“Yet here you are.” Loch observed plainly.“Hmph. You know why that is. I am but a simple, foreign military consultant. I couldn’t possibly hold a rank in this army you have crafted. Why could you not hold such a rank instead?”“Ah, because I too am a simple, foreign military consultant,” Loch cajoled, “The ear I whisper into just so happens to be the grand matriarch of this young republic.”“And so we must remain,” you said firmly in finale. “You said quintuple, though, so…Colonel. What on earth would you have had me command?”
“You turned down said command,” Loch said innocently, “but, naturally, it would have been the men you supervised for a day. Another week would have been given for you to become more familiar.”“Less than three quarters of a battalion would be rather meager pickings for a Colonel,” you observed. A Colonel would have been in charge of an entire regiment, which was at least two whole battalions.“Who said you would have had merely that much?” Loch almost laughed, “We are making ready for war, Lieutenant. What was once derisively referred to as a demi-battalion has been raised to a full battalion, and another of foot is ready to accompany it, with a pair more being assembled. At your disposal would have been half of the Guillotines, the new core of the Army of the Republic. The strongest troops, with the best equipment, I daresay it was an incredibly favorable deal. If you want no rank, then, very well, that can be arranged. You can have your own high ranking lackey to take all the credit for you, but be assured that Miss Vang would be extremely pleased if you were to do this.”…you had to admit, the thought of commanding the centerpiece of a great battle gnawed at the deep parts of your heart like few things did. It was a dream come true, but at the wrong place, and the wrong time.>A Lieutenant in charge of two battalions? I have but theoretical experience and education in the employment of such formations. I can’t possibly command that.>I’ll do it, but only if you give me one of your advisors, or more. You can yank some experienced senior officers out of your magical hat, can you not?>I will accept, then, so long as my name is nowhere to be found in any history after the fact. >Other?
>>2024696I'll accept the appointment, but not the rank. They can just call me 'Commander' or something more generic than an actual rank.
>>2024696>>A Lieutenant in charge of two battalions? I have but theoretical experience and education in the employment of such formations. I can’t possibly command that. I can at most advise whomever commands such a formation, but I am wholly the wrong person for such a job. Besides, I am an armor officer, not an infantry commander. Completely out of my depth.remind me again, the guillotines were more of a mechanized/motorized infantry core right? I didnt think they had enough armored tractors to qualify as a proper armored unit
>>2024696>>I’ll do it, but only if you give me one of your advisors, or more. You can yank some experienced senior officers out of your magical hat, can you not?
>>2024765That's roughly correct, but the armor at Rostig wasn't all of what they had. Loch likely scrounged all the isolated groups into a single formation to concentrate things, if he's calling is an armor battalion at all, along with whatever mounted support would be with them. In the end though it would still be a mixed formation.To specify, before taking them on the stress test march, they had enough things that could be generously called tanks to make three companies of three platoons each, with each company having nine tanks plus two in the company command element. Theoretically, with that structure, it wouldn't actually take many more to form a "battalion" of four companies, though such a thing would contain far less armor than an equivalent Strossvalder formation, whose platoons consist of five tanks.
>>2024696>I’ll do it, but only if you give me one of your advisors, or more. You can yank some experienced senior officers out of your magical hat, can you not?>I will accept, then, so long as my name is nowhere to be found in any history after the fact. Even if Signy is the one asking, it's Loch pulling the strings to appoint us so for whatever reason he's assuming we're the best candidate.>Other?If I'm going to command your motley crew I need answers, REAL answers about your plans to attack Todesfelsen. Going in blind will just get them killed no matter what wizardry you plan to conjure.
>>2025430Supporting all of this
>>2025430>>2024696Supporting this wholeheartedly
>>2024696>>2025430Seconding.Also it seems that we're low-key trying to outdo our grand old uncle.
I'll be resuming updating in about an hour.
“I’ll do it,” you said with hesitation, “but only if you give me one of your advisors, or more. You can yank some senior officers out of your magical hat, can you not?”“What a bizarre thing to ask of a mere Captain,” Loch replied, “Alas, what can I do, but my best, to fulfill your condition?”A mere captain, indeed, but he was at least respecting your request instead of throwing it out. “Another thing,” you added, “I want no recognition of this. If this battle is ever scribed in a chronicle, I want my name nowhere near it.”“A much easier condition,” Loch smiled, “I am sure whomever you aid would not begrudge that request to further their own glorification.”“I’m not done,” you said, thinking of another condition while you had an advantage, “If I’m going to command your motley crew, I need answers, real answers, about your plans to attack Todesfelsen. Going in blind will only lead to a slaughter, no matter what wizardry you’re planning.”“Attack Todesfelsen?” Loch asked prettily, “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. That would be a fool’s errand.”“…Excuse me?” you couldn’t help but ask.“Come with us,” Loch commanded, “This is no place for what must be discussed.”
You were led by Loch and a few of his followers to the former Town Hall, which had evidently been designated the new command center rather than the Red and White. A good thing, too; you would have had a difficult time taking the rapidly developing situation seriously if prostitutes were around constantly. To the end of the building and up the slight of stairs you all went, past busy secretaries and workers delivering new sheets of approvals and lists. You recognized the faces of a few prostitutes from earlier, in much, much more modest dress now. It was apparent that the workforce had already been drained of men by the mobilization for war. Either that, or the literacy rate of the gangsters was something truly depressing.The room you were led to was lightly populated by only Signy, some of Loch’s other attendants, and a clutch of people who must have been either old or newly chosen authorities of the Guillotines; likely chosen as leadership in the new army.Signy’s arms were crossed and her face was stiff with formality that did not lessen when you entered. “Good,” she acknowledged you, “It’s a bit of a relief that you accepted.”“I appreciate it,” you said warily, “but I still don’t think I’m very qualified for this.”“Richter, look around,” Signy said with a dash of annoyance, “How many people suited for what I want you to do are actually around here? Loch told me officers like you go to an academy, right?”“Well, yes, but-““But nothing,” Signy cut you off, “Your lot picked Hiedler as the commander of the group you made, and Loch tells me he was never even an officer. I don’t exactly have a lot of choices here!”“I understand,” you admitted begrudgingly.
Loch cleared his throat and began speaking. “Now before we speak of how our forces are being assembled, there is the matter of how we are going to go about this fight. Some would argue that one would need to know their forces and capabilities before even thinking of fighting, but the good Herr Richter disagrees.”You crossed your arms and frowned at him, to which he coyly flashed an open smile.“Now, from what we have collected from hearsay alone, with more reliable information to come in the future…” Loch pinned a collection of squares with identifying markings upon them to the cork board standing in the middle of the back of the room. “These Death Heads have access to roughly seven battalions worth of troops, with three of these being mechanized forces with tanks.”“Uh,” one of the Guillotines spoke up, “How much is a battalion?”“It depends upon whose battalion it is,” Loch answered, “but it could be anything from six hundred to a thousand men.”The Guillotine who had asked the question swallowed hard.“Indeed. That is not to mention the approximately four battalions of reserves they are rumored to have in their city as lackeys for their gang, albeit not full members.” Loch circled the paper squares with a short stick, “These numbers are more than we have currently planned to raise, and most of their battalions are stronger than ours in terms of equipment.” Loch nodded to one of his aids on the other side of the planning board, who began to pin squares up, but of different colors, presumably indicating whom was who.“Currently,” Loch continued, “Four battalions are to be raised from the Guillotines, three from the Blue Barbs Band, and one from the White Eyes. Only one of these can be said to have armor, compared to three of the enemy.” Loch looked back at his audience, his face not carrying any concern despite the dire circumstances he had just laid out. “A sensible attack would have the aggressor assailing the defender with three times their number and capability. We have far less than that, and there is little we can do about that in a week, but we attack in one week regardless.”“Presumably you have a plan to do something about reducing their numbers somehow,” you said.“Indeed,” Loch glowed, “Tell me, Lieutenant, a fortress is quite costly to attack, what is the best way to avoid such costs?”“If the fortress were to surrender, of course.” You said, “I suppose the Death Heads wouldn’t be so courteous.”“Of course not,” Loch laughed out loud, “If war were so easy, anybody could do it. No, what else could you do, though? If, for example, you knew that the fortress garrison were divided between seven different peoples, all with their own selfish goals, who are all rivals to one another, and who have recently had the glue that binds them together melted away?”>What would you do?>Throw the question to somebody else
>>2026855>Set them upon each other. Promise our support to one of them, or even all of them, in secret from each other. Then backstab whoever wins, or recruit them and make them our lackeys.
>>2026855You make them kill each other while we watch and wait. Either to mop up or to congratulate the victor.
>>2026855Divide and conquer,then.
“I would set them upon each other,” you said, led on by Loch, “Promise our support to one of them, or even all of them, in secret from one another. After we finish watching them destroy each other, we stab the winner in the back, or make them our ally.”“What a devious plan that would be,” Loch said, smiling slightly and his eyes shining, “The disunited Death Heads would be ill prepared to respond to such a plan, if they were unfortunate enough to be the target of it.” Loch slapped each of the seven representations of the Death Heads’ “core” on the board with the stick, “Indeed! Each of these rather evenly numbered bands is under the command of a different leader. The late Selgess the Skull united these misfits into one band, but he and his most trusted left for Valsten, and in the war against Strossvald, Selgess was killed, and the rest of those he took with him vanished while crossing the mountains. Tensions are understandably high. So many disagreements, you see; whether to continue to be employed by the Southern Cities, the subject of the many captives they have found themselves holding, the change of politics in the local region…these things, along with grudges born since before the death of Selgess the Skull, have made these men chafe against one another so badly that word of it has spread even outside of their home of Todesfelsen and its affiliated territories.”Loch turned the stick around and slapped it into his hand, the smile on his face melting away, “Time is of the essence! With too little time, a strike by us would unite them rather than divide them. With too much, they have the opportunity to set aside their differences, and thus consolidate their strengths. Regardless of how well preparations turn out, we attack in one week. In this instance, timing is our most valuable asset, as neither quantity of troops nor quality of equipment is on our side. For but a moment, we will have the chance to vastly outnumber and utterly crush our enemies.”Loch took up a more relaxed posture, but the seriousness did not dissolve from his expression, “Miss Vang and I have already discussed this, and she has agreed. We have other matters to discuss, but most of all, it must be said that the day of reckoning is set in stone.”
“Loch,” Signy said, “I couldn’t help but notice the matter of how large the Blue Barb Band’s commitment to our effort is. I talked to you earlier about it, but I think everybody ought to know why that is.”The amount of men the secret slaver gang was providing was indeed excessive. Their commitment almost matched that of the Guillotines in numbers, and the Guillotines controlled many more settlements and much more territory, and their current commitment was even being bolstered by Geniberg.“It is undoubtedly a political move,” Loch said with confidence and derision, “They know they are the target of milady’s ire, and hope to solidify their position with such a massive contribution.”“Sure,” Signy said, one arm across her chest and the other upwards with her hand under her chin, “but all your talk of breaking apart the Death Heads from inside…what if the Blue Barbs did the same thing to us? Our numbers won’t be so imposing if half of them break away and join with the enemy.”.
“In truth, I do not expect them to fight,” Loch replied, “If we do not arrive at Todesfelsen with properly overwhelming numbers, we cannot hope to intimidate our enemies and instill terror in their hearts while they are still broken apart. Also, if they are untrustworthy, it would be better to have them at our fronts, rather than behind us. This vast amount of troops means that they would have no hope of causing trouble at home, if they wished, but if we left them behind, unless we were willing to leave a significant amount of troops behind, they could pose a threat.”“Richter,” Signy looked to you, “What do you think?”It was flattering that she sought your opinion so, even if it was probably not for the reasons you would have liked.>We do need their numbers. If they turn out to be traitorous worms, then we’ll just have to deal with it.>I’d rather they not come with us. The risk is too great for a battle this important, and I’m sure we could find allies within Todesfelsen if their politics are so fragmented.>Taking them is unappealing, but I don’t think they’ll cause trouble if they’re left at home. We need numbers, though, so could we draw up even more troops from the Guillotines and White Eyes, and also Geniburg?>Other?------>Current troop commitments are as such: >4 Battalions from the Guillotines>1 Battalion from the White Eyes>3 Battalions from the Blue Barbs, or to refer to them by their capital, Glockenblume>Token forces from Geniburg that are currently incorporated into Guillotine numbers>To be considered perfectly safe, the Guillotines would have to leave one battalion at home to counter any potential foul play by the Blue Barbs if their troops were also home. Additional troops could be drawn up too, the the tune of up to two more battalions from the Guillotines, two more from the White Eyes, and one from Geniburg, but that would leave the territories vulnerable to being acted upon from the outside, and hideously vulnerable to any nonsense from Glockenblume
>>2027183>>We do need their numbers. If they turn out to be traitorous worms, then we’ll just have to deal with it.Make sure we separate each of the battalions within our battle line so that if anything happens the other units can surround and destroy them.
>>2027183>We do need their numbers. If they turn out to be traitorous worms, then we’ll just have to deal with it.>Other?Reverse the situation on them if you must, devote a Battalion close to Glockenblume. Let them know you have another Battalion near them for "Northern Maneuvers", if they really are going to betray you they'll raise a fuss about it. If we do this:>Draw up 1 more Battalion of Guillotines for the Battle Line.>Other OtherHire the Iron Hogs to send a group with us. If there is fighting they do not need to participate, only to pretend they would. Hopefully that will keep the cost down.
>>2027242Don't mind hiring the Hogs, but do we have enough money for it after the amount we've spent on Riverboy? Though their presence would be useful; we could bluff that the Hogs have also thrown in with us.Also how overtly can we protect ourselves from any treachery from the BBB? If we could I would honestly get some of our reserve battalions to garrison Glockenblume, but that might be too revealing of our distrust.
>>2027183>>We do need their numbers. If they turn out to be traitorous worms, then we’ll just have to deal with it.
I'll be updating after dinner, which should be in half an hour to an hour.>>2027262You've got 51 gold bars left, down from 89 after freeing the Riverman. Schweinmann hinted that while the cost of getting the whole of the Iron Hogs out and ready for action would cost an exorbitant amount, it would be proportionately less exorbitant depending on how many you wanted to hire. You'd probably want to get in touch with him if you wanted to find out precise costs.As for occupying the other city itself, that would be unacceptable. Movement through one another's territory was already something that more than a few people didn't like, actually stationing troops in another gang's territory would be seen as very hostile. The Guillotines' settlements might now all be directly under Signy instead of another leader as a go-between, but the Blue Barbs and Glockenblume are still under their own administration that is allied with Signy, so influence over them (as with the White Eyes) is much less.
>>2027416Writing, I should say, not updating.
>>2027416OK then, we should start to send our courier east I remember Schweinmann saying they'd have a company or two on standby so see how much it costs for that.For our reserve battalions we can make them perform maneuovres in Northern Guillotine territory.
>>2027425Didn't we want to save our gold as much as possible so we would have something left over to pay our crews with?
Im more concerned about the infighting about to happen at Todesfelsen, especially if an unfriendly faction takes control of the castle Maddy is in, or if a faction that could care less about her status gets control.I dont want to invest monetarily into Loch's army any more then we already have. We tried to get a supplier already and if the Iron Hogs were so willing to join up with the Republic they'd do so already, not wait until the heavy lifting is done at Todesfelsen and muscle into the position that is the elite armored unit of the Republic. I think that would rub poorly with the Guillotine tankers who had sworn allegiance to Signy at the beginning. If Loch was truely concerned about a Blue Barbs backstab, he wouldnt have readily agreed to their alliance or even attack Todesfelsen until he knew his home base was secured. They arnt even needed to fight, so just array them in siege lines somewhere. A frontal attack is suicidal with the amount of fortifications and ordinance at Todesfelsen, and really, unless we secure an avenue to advance into the city there is no way we can gain a foothold without tremendous casualties. We currently have 8 thousand at most troops, while Todesfelsen can quickly raise 11 thousand. Even if half of that number were willing to join the republic, we still have no effective counter against their armored formations if they decide to roll out. Especially if the Iron Hogs arnt willing to put up a fight.
“We do need their numbers,” you agreed with Loch’s sentiment, “If they turn out to be traitorous worms, then we’ll just have to deal with it. If it starts looking like a problem, you can draw up more troops, right? Have a whole battalion of goons patrol up north. If they’re loyal they won’t have a problem with it.”“Hm,” Signy crossed one leg over the other, “But if…no, never mind.”“My lady?” Loch tried to coax Signy, but she responded harshly.“I said never mind!”You would have expected the attending Guillotines to have whispered mockingly to each other in sight of this girlish exclamation, but they looked more concerned than anything. Could the Signy that you knew really intimidate wildmen like this so easily, or was it because of the ruthlessness of her escorts?“Anyways,” Signy said sharply, standing up and moving to the center of the room alongside Loch, “You lot. Battalion commanders. How do you look on guns and clothes?”Oh, right, Hiedler was there, after all. His mustache made him difficult not to recognize once you knew it was him, but he was just so plain besides that.“Ah,” the middle aged former corporal stuttered, “ah, we’re well equipped. Some of the Guntracks are still broken down, though…wish we could get some nicer tanks.”The fourth Guillotine commander down the line scoffed loudly at this, earning him a glare from the man to his left.“You’ve got the nicest tanks around,” Signy snapped, “the only ones we have. Next guy.”
“I uh,” the next battalion commander seemed even more hesitant. He had shaved his head bald; a few brightly colored specks the only remnants of what had once been a wild hairstyle. “Well we have enough, I guess. Everybody’s got a rifle, and we’ve got…maybe a machine gun per two ‘toons. About half of my guys have the new tunics, but people are already spillin’ shit on ‘em…”Signy nodded curtly, then looked to the next, a man with his short hair slicked back with grease and a sharp edged face, who began spilling out his words. “M’am! My men are approximately seventy five percent armed, with thirty three in possession of uniforms!” The man seemed like more than a bit of a suckup.“Thirty three?” Signy’s huge eyebrows furrowed.“Er…percent! Yes. But we are ever ready to-”“Unh! Unh!” the next man in line moaned quietly in mockery, “My lady!” He jerked his hand up and down in the air in a rude fashion before letting it rise into the air, fluttering his fingers. “Anyways, yeah, I’ve got about thirty three with uniforms and a few more with guns. Maybe if I gave a tribute to M’am every night into my pillow the goddess would bestow more gifts upon me.” This commander was the youngest of them all, and had a clipped accent that spoke of education. For a Sosaldtian gangster, he was well groomed, with his black hair combed neatly behind his ears.Signy would have had every right to be angry about such an outburst, but instead her cheeks and lips fell with shame.“The additional comments were unnecessary,” Loch warned the insubordinate leader, “Supply shortages are no reason to be disrespectful. I more suspect that your tone is the cause of your current woes.” “I’m just saying,” the 4th Battalion commander said defensively, “These boys volunteered ‘cause they’re in love with M’am. They want to fight, this thing’s something they’ve taken to believin’ in. They’re feelin’ like shit marchin’ around with either sticks or nothin’, and they’re almost all in raggedy nothin’ and that don’t make em feel good either when the guys in the new clothes pass by.”>You still your tongue, you jumped up criminal. What has been given to you can be taken away. You are not the only one lacking, so contain your bellyaching. >Be quiet, and patient. Equipment will come. Your men have faith in their leader enough to risk their lives, why not trust her to deliver your means to fight?>Say nothing>Other?Sorry, I got stuck, then pulled away by something else.
>>2027848>Be quiet, and patient. Equipment will come. Your men have faith in their leader enough to risk their lives, why not trust her to deliver your means to fight?
>>2027848>>Be quiet, and patient. Equipment will come. Your men have faith in their leader enough to risk their lives, why not trust her to deliver your means to fight?
>>2027848Also, how long will it take to at least equip at least some of their battalion with proper clothing?Another thing is asking if there's any small comforts we can spare for them 8n the short term.
“Cease your complaints,” your voice rose, “and have a modicum of patience. Your men have faith in their leader enough to risk their lives, why not trust her to deliver your means to fight? It has been scarcely a day.”“A day’s an awful long time when we’ve only got seven,” the battalion commander shot back at you, “Like you’re one to talk either. Coming around with the freshest stock in Naukland’s catalog, how about you let somebody ride around in your gear before you pop off on them for complaining about having diddly squat?”“Enough,” Loch said sternly, “Another shipment is expected in one day, and another two days after that. You will have your fair share.”“We’d better.” The rebellious commander muttered, huddling into himself.“Before you return to your men,” Loch announced, some of the earlier firmness in his voice having mysteriously vanished, “I have some personnel assignments to announce. I am going to grant some of you advisors, who will tell you how to best employ the new masses of men at your disposal. First and second battalions, you shall now be the First Republic Armored Regiment. To you, I am assigning Lieutenant Richter, and one of my aides, Brucker. You of the third and fourth are now the Second Republic Infantry Regiment, and you shall have your two aids arrive to you later.”“Typical,” the fourth battalion man said to himself under his breath.
He was ignored, though, because you had focused your attention on the man Loch had assigned to you; whomever this “Brucker” was. He was tall, strong of body, and seemed to be in his forties or fifties. His eyes were small with crows’ feet that carved deep into his face, and despite having a merely middle aged face, his hair was as white as snow, despite not having the frailty one would expect from that sort of hue.Most of all, though, his face seemed dreadfully familiar. You could have sworn you had seen it in a textbook, even. The longer you looked at him, the more certain you were who he looked like. Brucker was a dead ringer for an aged version of General Von Hohenholz, who had become famous for halting the Emrean offensive at the end of the Emrean Liberation War, inflicting a defeat so disastrous upon Emre that, rather than pressing southwards and liberating more territory, the losses finally distressed the public enough that peace accords were signed between Emre and the Grossreich. It would have been impossible for Brucker to be Von Hohenholz, though. Von Hohenholz had sided with the nobility rather than Kaiser Henrik in the political scuffle that had been Henrik’s rise to power, and he had been arrested, and most likely either imprisoned or executed for treason.“For now, you are dismissed,” Signy said, sounding tired already, “Don’t get too comfortable. We’ll be meeting again when the other battalions arrive, and we’ll have our final briefing once everybody’s here.”The room quickly scattered after that. Not much had been said, but you figured that there wasn’t much to be said yet anyways. Not until the whole of the army of the republic arrived.Brucker, despite being supposedly an aide to you now, did not wait for you and followed the newly anointed leaders of the 1st Republic Armor Regiment out of the room. Signy watched most of the room leave before stretching with a soft groan, and heading in the opposite direction of the others to lean over a desk and gaze out a window. You would have expected Loch to attend to her, but he had left with all the others.>Go to Signy; she could probably use some support>Follow Brucker out; he was suddenly a compelling mystery as well as an aide; you had to find out more about him either way.>Pursue Loch; you had more questions to ask of him.>Other?
>>2029352>Follow Brucker out; he was suddenly a compelling mystery as well as an aide; you had to find out more about him either way.I could believe Loch can produce an exiled general, but then why the hell does he need us?
>>2029352>>Follow Brucker out; he was suddenly a compelling mystery as well as an aide; you had to find out more about him either way.
>>2029352Option 2>>2029396He doesn't need us, he needs our armor and our men
>>2029426I meant why the hell does he need us in command. Why not just put the general as the commander.
>>2029430To entice us to stay after were done here, at least until he can secure proper armor? It's been mentioned how everyone is envious of our modern armor, considering how effective they are.
>>2029352>Follow Brucker out; he was suddenly a compelling mystery as well as an aide; you had to find out more about him either way.
>>2029352>>Follow Brucker out; he was suddenly a compelling mystery as well as an aide; you had to find out more about him either way.If he really is who he his, I'd think we'd have a lot to learn from him.
>>2029456There's not really much point enticing us to stay after we acheive our goals; as our own tank is starting to show, the longer we're away from Strossvald our armour's combat effectiveness will just keep dropping unless we can get replacement parts.
You followed Brucker out; the mystery of who he was, and more importantly, if he was who you thought he was, what on earth he was doing here, and as an aide and not a commander. Von Hohenholz after all, while only the famous victor of a single battle, was one of the few men in history that had been honored with the Jade and Gold Lion, a decoration that in the past had only been given to conquerors and “Saviors of the Reich.” Alas, such decoration had only been for one famous battle, and his siding with the nobility instead of the Kaiser had spoilt his public image before he had been ingloriously captured.“Wait,” you held up Brucker just outside of the Town Hall turned Command Center. He turned and looked at you silently, his face that of a statue.“You are a Lieutenant?” He asked before you could say anything.“Well,” you said awkwardly, “Yes.”“How long have you served in that position?”“As a Lieutenant?...two weeks?” your time in the mountains had made that question a bit of a fuzzy one.“Hm.” Brucker grunted, “You will do, then. Come. We have much work to do, before the battle is won.”“Hey, wait,” you almost laughed, “I thought Loch was assigning you to me, not the other way around.”“You have been staring at me like a shy schoolgirl looks upon a gentleman,” Brucker said bluntly, “Take command, or I will lead you instead. The greatest generals were forged in their youth, not aged like a wine. Kaiser Alexander strode over the world before he was even thirty.”“I’m flattered that you think I could have the countenance of a Kaiser.” You muttered insincerely.“Age in and of itself is not a measure of greatness,” Brucker stated, “Your back was straight and your head high before speaking to me, why do you walk prepared to bow now that you are close to me? You are a descendant of the Archduke’s greatest knight, carry yourself as such and the troops will never doubt you. They do not know you, but any warrior who fears death will look to such a man and fear no longer. Such was how Alexander Von Zeissenberg vanquished the old kings and statesmen.”>Yes, that’s very nice and all, but I prefer to have a little humility. Now, tell me, are you actually some odd man called Brucker, or are you Von Hohenholz?>I’m honored that you know my lineage, but let’s be clear; you are my advisor, not my tutor. Now answer me this; are you General Von Hohenholz?>I don’t know who you or Loch think you are, or for that matter, who you think I am, but I can do my job without the hype. >Other?Holiday preparations are distracting.Which girls in which costumes, no promises on delivery date but I ought to have a doodle goal to keep me in proper shape
>>2030024Very well, I will keep it in mind. Shall we get down to business?
>>2030024>>2030064Sorry, also ask him why he isn't commanding in the first place.
>>2030024>I’m honored that you know my lineage, but let’s be clear; you are my advisor, not my tutor. Now answer me this; are you General Von Hohenholz?
>>2030064>>2030083Supportingplus>Now, tell me, are you actually some odd man called Brucker, or are you Von Hohenholz?Maddy as a witch with stockingsSigny as a queen Hilda as an amazon Emma as a ghost Thanks tanq!
>>2030396>these suggestions w e w
>>2030024>>I’m honored that you know my lineage, but let’s be clear; you are my advisor, not my tutor. Now answer me this; are you General Von Hohenholz?
>>2030024Mathilda as a spooky skeleton
>>2030024>I’m honored that you know my lineage, but I'm trying to avoid the pitfalls of overconfidence. Now answer me this; are you General Von Hohenholz?>>2030396Seconding these, also>Mathilda as a female dog.
>>2031265I don't think fursuits have been invented yet in-setting.
>>2031272Dude, animal costumes existed long before they became associated with sexual perversion.That being said, she could do with some ears and a tail and nothing else at all
Updating in an hour.Honestly Witch Maddalyn is pretty convenient, I was starting doing that for fun anyways as the initial sort of seasonal thingThough not really in a way as gratuitous as a year ago
>>2031278>some ears and a tail and nothing else at allThere's only one way I can think of that that tail would be attached, and I like it.
“I’m honored that you know my lineage,” you said carefully, keeping your eyes upon Brucker’s, “but I’m trying to avoid the pitfalls of overconfidence. Nevertheless, we should make one thing clear. You are my advisor, not my tutor. Now, answer me this; are you General Von Hohenholz?”“What a question that is,” Brucker said gruffly while smoothing back his hair, “General Reiter Von Hohenholz was executed for treason over a decade ago, and the Hohenholz family banished, their properties seized. The Jade and Gold Lion was revoked, and the name crossed from the records of honored men.”“Yet here a duplicate of him stands,” you challenged. “One who has been assigned as a military advisor. Come to think of it, why aren’t you in command?”“Because I am not Reiter Von Hohenholz,” Brucker answered, with a level boredom in his timber, “I am merely Brucker. Von Hohenholz is dead, but Von Tracht is alive.”No straight answers would come to you, you finally decided, but you were certain that this Brucker had been at one point in history one of the famed generals of the Reich. “Fine,” you threw your head to the side, “Come then, Brucker. We have troops to inspect.”-----Another death march was unnecessary; the one from before had inflicted enough shame upon Hiedler and his cohorts to have done much in your absence to repair it. Couriers were running and riding back and forth between squared up platoons, forming a previously absent nervous system, albeit one from decades ago that ran on foot and wheels rather than upon electromagnetic signals. Several platoons were doing something that you had never expected to see brigands attempting.“Bayonet drills?” you asked aloud.
“A drill that has utility, despite its lack of common use on the modern battlefield,” Brucker said approvingly, “It builds good traits in a soldier. Aggression, violence, the ability to stand firm against the assault. In days long past, the lack of stoutness in a man’s heart caused one side to break like water against a rock when the bayonet threatened them. War has become more violent, more visceral, and such war requires men a multitude more violent than those of the past. Violence alone is not useful, however, all of the time. The drill teaches man to contain it for a proper time, so that when cowardice would normally seize a man, they have an idea of what to do other than what their instincts demand.”“I have heard of such things,” you stated, “You would say the same thing of mobile troops, even tankers?” The tankers were not engaging in drill, but you were curious nevertheless.“You engaged in bayonet drill in your training, did you not?”You did, and you answered as such. Even nobility was not exempt from having to train their bodies for war. “There are fewer forms of combat more terrifying than close quarters battle,” Brucker continued to lecture, “Unlike being subjected to an artillery barrage, however, in close quarters battle, one can freely fight back, and even defeat, their opponent. One hardly expects to fight a tank of all things with their hands, especially when in possession of their own tank, but war is unpredictable, and encountering the unpredicted in the midst of war, reacting to such, is the true test of a soldier, and officer. The intent of such training is to instill not only violence, not only perspective, but also to prevent the question of “Whatever will I do now?” from appearing in the mind. War is an unceasing attack upon the mind as well as body, and the only way to bolster the defenses of the mind is through study and practice, especially preparation against what may be unlikely, so that a crack in the walls of the conscious cannot be exploited by a clever enemy.”“For someone who calls themselves merely Brucker, you make no attempt to hide military experience and expertise.” You couldn’t help but observe.“Being merely Brucker does not mean that my knowledge has eroded,” Brucker chided, “Loch does not employ men who are useless.”>Tell me, then. Why are you merely Brucker now? At least do me the courtesy of telling me who you used to be, even if you are not Von Hohenholz.>What experience do you have in battle, then, to not be useless? If you are merely Brucker, I cannot trust that sort of knowledge without question. These men need experience; I challenge you to a duel of troops.>I want to observe the way you work. I’m going to find a man called Honnrieg, and I am going to match you against one another. Some of these men need tank practice more than bayonet drill, after all.>Other?
>>2032263>I want to observe the way you work. I’m going to find a man called Honnrieg, and I am going to match you against one another. Some of these men need tank practice more than bayonet drill, after all.
>>2032263>>I want to observe the way you work. I’m going to find a man called Honnrieg, and I am going to match you against one another. Some of these men need tank practice more than bayonet drill, after all.
“Loch doesn’t employ men who are useless, eh?” you said thoughtfully, looking over to Captain Honnrieg, who had busied himself kicking a bunch of Guillotines into shape; from the look of it, he was extremely frustrated with somebody’s lack of muzzle discipline. An idea came flashing into your mind, one that would benefit everybody, importantly, without any risk of loss of face on your part. “I want to observe the way you work,” you declared to Brucker, “There is a man under me called Honnrieg, an experienced commander. I would like to match you against one another, with your game pieces being the men arrayed here.”“You wish to test me?” Brucker questioned, “I suppose that is fair, but I have not held command in my life.”If that is true, you thought, and at the same time doubted, then I’ll at least have a measure of where you are. You measured yourself below Honnrieg, of course, with the Captain being an experienced officer in command of troops who were far above average, as well as having your respect for being a comrade of your uncle’s. If Brucker lost to Honnrieg…well, you didn’t place yourself that far behind Honnrieg. You had to give yourself some credit for your past victories; you certainly didn’t consider yourself a fool of any sort.“So what share of the troops do I have?” Brucker interrupted your train of thought.“I’ll inform you of that once I think of a suitable contest,” you said quickly, “It won’t take long.”“So long as the odds are not even,” Brucker said, “fair contests are not the domain of war.”Well then, you supposed you couldn’t break the battalion in two and have a repeat of your final exercise at the academy, doubled. The way the battalion was organized wasn’t quite like you were used to; every company of tanks had an attached platoon of infantry riding trucks, similar to Strossvalder panzergrenadiers. You hadn’t organized things this way; this had evidently been the result of Honnrieg’s organization. Strossvald tank battalions had no attached infantry, so this must have been a concoction based off of how Heller Von Tracht made raids into Sosaldt while technically not being in command of an armor formation.An advantage of this was that silly shit like how your final exercise had ingloriously happened would have no chance of happening with infantry crawling about everywhere.
As to what to do about the maneuvers…hm. You had gotten a better idea of the grounds with your trip to Glockenblume and back. The ground to the north of Rostig consisted of rolling, if shallow, hills that were a varied type of terrain to fight on. To the south, there were flatlands with minimal elevation variance that was similar to the general ground near Todesfelsen. Of course, you could also stage an exercise around the mines in the huills to the southeast, which were full of obstructions and places to hide and skirt about.>Screw his preference for not having a fair contest, he’s getting one. Half on half, Honnrieg against him.>Weight the contest in his favor; three companies for him, one for Honnrieg.>If he’s good, he’ll really show it with a disadvantage. Give him one of the battalion’s four companies, and the rest to Honnrieg.>Other ratios?Also:>Decide where the exercise will take placeAnd:>Decide the objective; whether to capture a point, destroy one another, or another goalFinally, alternatively,>Have the two of them decide on it instead of you; you’ve got better things to do than actually make decisions on this levelFinally finally...>Other?
>>2032927>Have the two of them decide on it instead of you; you’ve got better things to do than actually make decisions on this level.Considering both of them should have more experience than us commanding anything larger than a platoon, let them decide for themselves.
I know I'm late but... gratuitous, huh? :^)I wouldn't say It was overly gratuitous.
>>2033112Forgot pic fuck
>>2032927>Other?Make the match mirror his famous defeat of the Emreans at the end of the war that earned him the Jade and Gold Lion. It sounds like we know a great deal about that battle so we can be a good judge if this is actually him if he uses similar tactics. Alternatively he won't use similar tactics and we'll learn even more about his thought process.It probably won't mirror that well to the original compared to the forces involved probably, but maybe a close approximation?Either the above or:>If he’s good, he’ll really show it with a disadvantage. Give him one of the battalion’s four companies, and the rest to Honnrieg.>stage an exercise around the mines in the huills to the southeast, which were full of obstructions and places to hide and skirt about.>Objective: Local volunteers will pretend they have been captured by Brucker to be rescued by Honnreig. Victory awarded in rescuing acceptable number. Brucker isn't allowed to "execute" prisoners of war.This way they could both brainstorm with helpful methods for the fort assault or what the Death Heads may come up with.>Other?Send out the Decoy party if we haven't already. We need to buy a week from Liemanner's machinations.
>>2033245>It probably won't mirror that well to the original compared to the forces involved probably, but maybe a close approximation?Well, it'd be a bit of a puny approximation unless you dragged more people into it. The battle he fought, called the Battle of Karadenstohn, was a fight between armies. Ragged, ripped to pieces armies at the end of one of the bloodiest wars in history, but armies nonetheless, and the force Von Hohenholz took charge of and unified against the Emrean advance was about sixty seven thousand strong, against a foe more than twice that.They don't hand out Jade and Gold Lions for nothing after all.It'd probably be more helpful if I gave a chronology of how the battle happened, but I haven't had a good spot to do that.
You had a thought of testing out whether this man was Von Hohenholz, despite his insistence otherwise. True, there was no reason to not believe that the true Von Hohenholz had been executed long ago, but you supposed otherwise, and wanted to confirm the supposition however you could.An easy way to do this would be to recreate Von Hohenholz’s famous victory, at the battle of Karadenstohn in 1910. Or rather, given your limited resources to recreate it, a small part of it.After all, the Battle of Karadenstohn, while not the largest battle of the war, was still a battle between armies, not companies. The badly depleted and scattered Grossreich’s 3rd Army and the less so but equally devastated by attrition Emrean 8th Army, with support from the 10th. The situation was dire. It was October 14th of 1910, and the Grossreich’s lines, already buckled by the Emrean Fall offensive, were shattered completely as widespread mutinies took place and the Reich’s armies, once so formidable, either fled back towards their homes or surrendered to the enemy. Entire armies took flight, and it appeared to the Emreans that final victory had come after years of bloody conflict the likes the world had never seen before, with almost one and one half million soldiers killed on the northerner’s side alone. The young Republic’s men surged forward, near uncontrollable with all manner of emotions; rage for their fallen, ambition for conquest, lust for plunder and hunger for glory, pushing all the way down towards the L’Dormeur River (the present border between the Reich and Emre). In their grand offensive, however, the Emreans made a critical mistake. It was not one that could be helped; the chaos of war, especially of the sort of war waged in the drunkenness of victory over a despised doe, would result in such things happening despite the best efforts of all to remain civilized. In dozens of incidents, rowdy troops slaughtered surrendering soldiers of the Reich. This behavior was not the norm, but the Emreans were soon to find out that it could easily be presented as such.Shocking rumors spread throughout the retreating troops of the Reich, and Von Hohenholz was quick to act, finding his army reuniting before him just before the L’Dormeur. Most of the bridges had been destroyed by thoughtless troops who had crossed before, and many desperate men of the Reich had tried to resort to swimming across the river, with many drowning. The 3rd Army, though recomposed, was in a terrible state of morale as an enemy they perceived as merciless and savage was closing against them, ready to press them into the river and kill them one way or the other.
Yet Von Hohenholz did not have the loss of hope so many had, arguably, because he knew of the resources he had. Two battalions of tanks, one of armored cars, both reduced but far from incapable. Reconnaissance and fighter flights had begun flying from beyond the river once more, and one of the sections of land they held was one that could channelize the enemy with proper preparation.So Von Hohenholz urged his men to stand strong, his front lines a mere thirty kilometers from the river. He organized a strong defense, and prepared his armored assets in ways that they would counterattack the Emrean infantry as soon as the Reich’s defenders retreated and allowed them to have their former positions. The Emrean advance was disjointed, uncoordinated, and drunk on victory. Few realized how heavy the defenses they were running into were, and the Reich traded ground for blood at unbelievable cost to the Emreans. In the first day of battle, twenty eight thousand were believed to have been killed in exchange for six thousand of the Reich. The Emrean command was enraged by this setback, and believing that this resistance could be overwhelmed by force, began an all-out attack, including using tanks. The Reich’s tanks and the Emrean freedom fighter’s tanks met one another in a, for the time, gigantic clash of armor. Heavy rain and mud, however, slowed the Emrean advance to a crawl, and accounts of the soldiers who participated painted an apocalyptic scene of thunderstorms turning the battlefields into slurries as lightning cracked and flames from destroyed vehicles painted the clouds red even in the rain. The mud itself became poison as chemical shells were slung to and fro, and no trees or firm ground were spared as constant artillery fire exchanges made the ground into the texture of porridge. The matter came close, but ultimately the Emrean offense lost the ability to rely on mass to attempt to carry the day, as over the next week and a half ninety thousand more Emrean soldiers and allies were killed and even more injured, gutting the 8th army and draining the resources of its neighbors. The Reich’s 3rd army was not untouched, taking thirty thousand casualties and nearly crumpling under the weight of the attack at some times, but they had held off the enemy.
The victory of Von Hohenholz was commonly attributed to his uncanny ability to coordinate troops, and discern when the Emreans would lose momentum. He was a general that used the relatively new invention that was Panzers wisely, as he used them until they were almost all gone in counterattacks upon worn enemies whom had exhausted themselves breaking through the defenses of his infantry.The commander of the Emrean 8th army, upon realizing that he had sacrificed so many of his men and not broken the enemy, committed suicide. The Emrean high command were so shocked by the amount of casualties taken in such a short time, a sort not seen since the beginning of the conflict, that all of their forces were ordered to halt. While Von Hohenholz’s army was not the only one to offer stern resistance, their battle was the one that defined the desperation that was the closing month of the war, and their victory was a bittersweet relief in the face of a war where the Grossreich had lost so much.After all, the goal of the Kaiser had been to quell the rebellion of Emre, and instead the Empire had been spent against the northern peoples, who would gain their independence, and with it some of the richest territories of the Reich. As it was, this great victory was still one that was overshadowed by the Reich’s greatest defeat in its history.
So, from where you stood, there was the option of trying to recreate in miniature the first climactic clash of panzers, one of the first large scale tank battles in history. The 2nd Grossreich Panzer Battalion, against the 1st and 4th Char Battalions of the Emreans. The battalion commander, one Pieter Zierke, teased his enemies’ lines until he found the meeting point between their formations, and drove his panzers straight through both. This by itself was disruptive of the enemy armored attack, but the Emrean commanders, not coordinating with one another (a common problem in the Emrean forces in the final days of the war) failed to sufficiently deal with the problem in their rear, and attempted to press forward at the same time. These attacks failed, as constant attacks from behind wore down the Emrean armored units, and eventually, they were forced to retreat, encircling the 2nd Reich Panzer Battalion for a short period before the 2nd was liberated by a counterattack from their brethren in the 5th Panzer Battalion.To be true, the less advanced sorts of tanks the Guillotines used were not too dissimilar from the sorts being used at Karadenstohn. Guntracks were only slightly less reliable than what was being used at the time. So there was that; either a recreation of the breach, a recreation of the siege after it, or perhaps some other part of the engagement. Alternatively, there would be a scenario of your own creation. You would stage an exercise near and around the mines, where there were plenty of obstructions to hide in and ambush from, and a number of local volunteers would pretend to be prisoners. The objective would be for Honnrieg, with a superior number of forces, to recapture as many of these prisoners as possible. It would mimic the fighting to come, you predicted, with varying amounts of cover being a factor and valuable noncombatants a vital objective not to be harmed.>Decide on the first part of the tank battle, where the breach happened. Brucker would try and break through enemy lines.>Decide on the Siege; Brucker would try and hold out and delay against superior enemy numbers.>Go for your alternative exercise, which is more fitting to the situation to come if not potentially relatable to Brucker.>Other?I'll say dispatching your decoys will have been done by now; I can't remember if we told Von Neubaum to head out after the ball was done, but it would only make sense for him to be told that.
>>2033861>Decide on the first part of the tank battle, where the breach happened. Brucker would try and break through enemy lines.
>>2033861>>Decide on the first part of the tank battle, where the breach happened. Brucker would try and break through enemy lines.
>>2033861>Go for your alternative exercise, which is more fitting to the situation to come if not potentially relatable to Brucker.Us knowing whether Brucker really is Von Hohenholz won't actually change anything. He'll be as good whether we know or not. Better to use this opportunity to rehearse the nascent operation.
>>2033861>>Go for your alternative exercise, which is more fitting to the situation to come if not potentially relatable to Brucker.We need to win our own war, not a historical battle
>>2033861If we're going with option 3 are there any urban areas we can use? Since we'll probably have to storm the fort to rescue the hostages and whatnot.
>>2033861>Go for your alternative exercise, which is more fitting to the situation to come if not potentially relatable to Brucker.
>>2034030Well, there is the city, but it's too busy to try and mess around with an exercise in there unless you want to grind everything to a halt in the process (and really piss off Signy).
Having chosen how you were going to both train these troops that had been (indirectly) given to you while also testing your newly granted aide, you sent for Honnrieg, and once he had come, you explained your proposed exercise to both of them at once.“In a few hours,” you told them, “I want to have the grounds by the old copper mine south of the city made ready to have a practice fight in. Find some volunteers to pretend to be prisoners, VIPs, whatever you want. They’ll be “captured” by Brucker here, who will be defending them with one company of 1st battalion. The other three will be commanded by Honnrieg, and they’ll be trying to rescue the prisoners of Brucker’s.”The copper mine had been briefly left vacant. The preparations for war had necessitated Rostig’s other economic pursuits to be temporarily put on hold.“Three?” Honnrieg asked uncertainly, “You sure you want to give me that big of a lead? I could probably do it with one…”“I want to challenge Brucker,” you said first, before leaning in closer and whispering, “This man may be the illustrious General Von Hohenholz.”“And?” Honnrieg smirked at you.“You still get three companies,” you said back, “We do need to involve the whole battalion, after all.”“It will take a few hours to prepare this,” Brucker noted, “I trust we have maps?”“None in detail, so far as I know,” you admitted. It wasn’t like this place had a glut of surveyors, so you would have to see what others could find, or in a pinch, make up. It wasn’t as if the terrain of the copper mines was incredibly complex.Brucker and Honnrieg were left to tend to their forces in the coming match. The latter would prepare outside of the mines, while Brucker would be allowed to familiarize himself with the mines while making his company ready. For your part, you snatched up whatever couriers you could and had them look for surveyors, or failing that, mine workers who could tell you about the ground. Paper and clipboards were also confiscated, so that you could draw up your own maps. You were hardly a professional cartographer, but there were few other options.
An hour and a half of being ferried to whatever points of observation you could find, roughly triangulating the points of interest of the mines and recording them down, and making irritating corrections from other angles later, your work was interrupted. At the top of a hill north of the mines, you were approached by Signy, who had found you, accompanied by half a dozen men. She had donned her black flight jacket and trousers and boots once more, no longer in the frivolous dress of entertainment.“Hello,” you waved, caught off guard.“Hi,” Signy said back, lacking emotion and looking troubled, “What are you doing?”“I was getting an exercise ready, to help train the troops you’ve given me,” you said, pointing to the old copper mine, “They’re going to be-““Can we talk?” Signy interrupted.“I don’t see why not.”“Alone.” Signy specified. Her eyes were steel, and her mouth a taut line. Yet, she couldn’t talk about whatever this was with Loch or his numerous confidants?>Alright. We can, if you want.>I’m sure none of these gentlemen will mind much if we speak in front of them, right?>If you wanted to go on a date, there’s probably better places than the top of this boring old hill.>Other?
>>2034910>>Alright. We can, if you want.
>>2034910>>Alright. We can, if you want
>>2034910>>If you wanted to go on a date, there’s probably better places than the top of this boring old hill.>Alright. We can, if you want.
>>2034910>Alright. We can, if you want.
You paused briefly, considering for a moment if you should make some smartass comment about how your present location wasn’t a good place for a date, but Signy didn’t look like she’d find that sort of comment funny at the moment.“Alright,” you replied, turning your whole body towards Signy, putting the mine behind you. “We can, if you want.” You glanced at your Guillotine aide, and he snorted and trudged down the hill. Signy’s guards also fanned out, forming a loose perimeter around the two of you.“Quite an entourage you have,” you said of them.“They’re suffocating,” Signy leaned against the motorcycle that had been left by your guide, “I would say that if anybody thinks I’m doing a bad job, I shouldn’t be guarded from the consequences, but…”“But that isn’t how it works, is it,” you said knowingly. The perspective of the common man was limited; soldiers mutinied because they were dissatisfied, but there were many cases in the past where rebellions would not have taken place had the malcontents realized the true source of their woes.“No,” Signy sighed, she looked at her fingers, and bent them ever so slightly, wincing, “It’s funny, one dumb move, and I’ve had to pay for it for weeks. I even got off easy. I make a stupid mistake like that now, though, and it’ll be felt for lifetimes. I don’t know how anybody can stand having power.”“So what mistake are you afraid of making?”“Besides all of them?” Signy tried to laugh at herself, but it came out dry and weak, “I don’t think Loch would let me make a big mistake, but it’s not like he’ll be here forever. That’s the only reason he could have to set me up instead of doing all this himself; he’s intending to leave, and soon. I’ll be alone again.” She thought about what she had said, and corrected herself, “I have my father’s friends, still, but they’re more like…uncles, or something. They hung around dad because they liked his ideas, but they’ve said themselves they wouldn’t know what to do once a republic came about. I hate to say it, but they’re not useful.”“What an unkind thing to say,” you teased.“This is an unkind place,” Signy said quietly. She threw herself off the motorcycle, arms tucked into one another, and looked northwards. “What I wanted to talk about…was Glockenblume. My father, Loch…Edmund Loch, not the other man, everybody I’ve been taught to look up to said slavery was the greatest evil of mankind. The use of lives and will as a callous currency, making human life coin, having to work with people who do such is revolting. I would want nothing more than to destroy them, like Bad Rott was disposed of, but I can’t, not if I put it off.”“Why?” you asked, “The Republic will become immense after this victory.”
“I already owe them for their cooperation,” Signy explained tensely, “After this, I’ll owe them even more. It’s like Loch said, their commitment is political. If I were to betray them after this, what message would that send to the rest of the people who I want to be my allies? If there is a time to get rid of them, it is now.” She looked to you, then looked back, “I can’t do that now, though. Not if they’ll be marching alongside you. I have to do what I can slowly, and behead them of their leadership.”“Is there a problem with that?” you asked. “That seems like the efficient solution anyways.”“That’s the other thing.” Signy bit her lip and stared coldly ahead, “The highest criminals of mankind, I’ve been taught, are tyrants. Tyrants make slaves of all, and would think to assume the place of the Judge if he were to walk earth. The Blue Barb Band, evil as they seem to me…and you, they chose this life for themselves. Their slaves are willing. They’re even pampered,. Whether I like it or not, they agreed to be a member of this Republic. What right do I have to try and conquer them? They have done nothing but help me, after all. I do wish for this place to become a bastion of freedom, a true republic, but what worth would a republic established by a tyrant be?”“You believe that by destroying the slavers,” you asked curtly, “that that would be tyranny?”“I do not need to believe,” Signy insisted, “I have been chosen by these people to be their leader. To go against their will and enforce my own will, that would be the very thing a person who truly believes in democracy would never do.”“Is this why you had to send everyone else away?” you asked.“Loch is excellent at everything I have seen him try,” Signy said pitifully, “but he is not a man who believes in democracy and freedom. Merit, justice, yes, but if he were to hear my doubts, he would urge me to act as a king, not a representative of the people. Maybe it would be better in the short term, but in the long term…I am afraid of what I would become.”>Become king, then. Inferior men are not deserving of representation in any system, there is a reason that the elite have been given their privilege. >What sort of question is this? How true could a democracy be when it includes slavers? I think your fears are unfounded.>I’m no political philosopher, or a republican. From where I stand, I just see somebody who needs to take a load off. Let somebody else handle it, while you take a break.>Other?Hanging out with other girls isn't cheating unless your significant other would be threatened
>>2035440>Become king, then. Inferior men are not deserving of representation in any system, there is a reason that the elite have been given their privilege.
>>2035440Partially from Richter's Noble background and his homeland, partly because this place would fall apart if it were a true Republic and partly because it seems like Signy is more determined to remove the slavers than not be a tyrant:>Become king, then. Inferior men are not deserving of representation in any system, there is a reason that the elite have been given their privilege. >Other?Any republic worth surviving would flourish beyond one tyrant. Who says the next leader has to be one?Does this mean we can't hang out with Hilda because of her huge...pectoral muscles would threaten Maddy's self-esteem?
>>2035440>There are more ways to change the Blue Barb's ways than stabbing them in the back and destroying them. If you don't want them to make their living off of slavery, then offer them something better. As the leader of a republic you'll have more resources at your disposal than just an army. You can build industry, offer subsidies and incentives, make them *want* to stop being slavers. If you enforce your will on your people by raw military might then you're no better than the warlords you replaced. It may not be quick or easy, but as a democratic leader you will have the power to change your people for the better. I believe in you.Come on guys, I see why you would choose the first option for in-character reasons, but we've already been mean enough to Signy without convincing her to abandon the one thing she believes in over all else and that has driven her entire life so far. I refuse to believe that even Richter is autistic enough not to realize how cruel that would be.
>>2035822If you want to put Option 1 in a better way:>Sometimes a leader must take a course that is not popular, but right.
>>2035847I don't see how that's what option 1 is saying at all.
>>2035950I'm not saying that's what it literally means right now; I'm trying to offer an alternative that more accurately reflects why people are choosing Option 1. No one actually wants the Republic to become some oligarchy, but they don't want Signy to take the view that as long as the people approve of it then anything goes.
>>2035440>>2035822Supporting this.Another way could be to destroy their clientele.
>>2035440>Become king, then. Inferior men are not deserving of representation in any system, there is a reason that the elite have been given their privilege. What does Richter know of democracy anyways
I won't be starting today for a while. So, I guess if you wanted to, you could deliberate on this current thing. Or anything else, really, if anything was to be asked. I would keep in mind that Signy is in a position where, if Loch were to vanish like she thinks he will, she'll be in a position of quite a bit of power, so if you wanted to try and shatter her confidence in her ideals...well, that could potentially be interesting.>>2035738Considering Maddalyn's lack of confidence in her appearance? Potentially. Although it might help if you inform her that Hilda's face is hideous. Look you can't just expect to solve all of her numerous problems in her clusterfuck of a psyche by eating her face
>>2036839I dunno, are there any Cincinnatus like figures in this setting that we can tell her to emulate. Basically take control and once that mess has been sorted out, create a parliment and turn into a pseudoconstitional dictatorship or something that would eventually transition into a democracy???
>>2035440>Creating a state requires energetic and highly motivated people. If there's not enough of those to make a parliamental government, tough luck - you're gotta be an autocrat.>But this doesn't mean you have to remain one. It's true that power corrupts, but I believe you have what it takes to resist it.
>>2037031Something along the lines of that was how the current state of Valsten (albeit currently in two pieces) got kicked off; Richter doesn't know the precise details of it, but the summary is that the territory was under the administration of the Reich, like much of the continent, when the Gales to the south ceased and a charismatic leader who isn't known to Richter, but would be to anybody from Valsten, went south to the former colonies, united them (or, more accurately, seized power over all of them), and came back with a big army to kick the crap out of the then Kaiser and formed the First Republic of Valsten before immediately handing over his supreme command.Said character doesn't have a name yet.Notably, there's no shortage of people in this history who were granted power and never relinquished it, definitely far, far more than those who did. In setting, Alexander Von Zeissenberg wasn't Kaiser until he crowned himself such after taking care of the political crisis of the time in what was merely Czeiss, and not the Grossreich. Czeiss was a republic, but more of what we'd recognize as a more ancient sort of one, with only the upper class able to vote.Really the bigger issue is that Signy doesn't think that's morally right to do either, since it sets a precedent, and more importantly, she doesn't think she has the proper character to not be corrupted by absolute power. To be honest, she'd probably more familiar with the guy than Richter is. Republican political philosophers also had musings on how a republic should be established, but Richter doesn't think such musings are as interesting as war chronicles.
Aight I'll be updating in about an hour.
You had to think about your answer for a while, but Signy was willing to wait. It wasn’t as if it would be impossible for her to solve the problem nonviolently. Slaves and slave trading were, when divorced from morality, economic practice, and a primitive one at that. The resources of a republic could gradually bring about change that would make the slavers become extinct naturally, as outlawing the trade as well as providing alternatives would resolve the matter without any blood spilled. That was theoretically the benefit of a republic, no? That the will of the people was obeyed without them rising up? If Signy were to take power and crush her foes with military might, then Sosaldt under her would be the same as it had ever been, albeit ruled with one ruthless iron fist instead of many. On the other hand, were any of Sosaldt deserving of democracy? Of having their interests fairly represented, or even given attention at all? You thought back to what Loch’s man had said back in Todesfelsen, about Signy’s place in the new order, and of what the new order would be."Of course, she would prefer to be Prime Minister, President, perhaps,” the man who called himself Fritz had said, ”but this land is not ready for such things. All republics were born from kingdoms- it is a necessary step. Just like one cannot beat iron ore into a blade, so democracy cannot be created without the ore of humanity having been broken apart and refined, purified."Refinement, purity. Could Sosaldt become what Signy dreamed of without such a process? You doubted it. From the day you were first taught of Sosaldt’s existence, you had been told of its evil, of the cowardice of its people, and even though your opinion of it had cooled somewhat spending time within its borders, it was a fact that this was an anarchic nation of criminals and people without allegiances, a place men and women fled to when they belonged nowhere else, a refuse pit of the continent. Such a people could not be trusted with power; they required a great leader to decide for them.You didn’t think Signy would like the answer you came up with, but it was the best you could say while still speaking truth from your mind. “Become king, then,” you declared, “Inferior men are not deserving of representation in any system, there is a reason that the elite have been given their privilege. Slavers are undeserving of such a thing, and there are too many savage wills in this country to tolerate. Were I you, I would see tyranny as a necessary evil. The person after a tyrant has no obligation to be one afterwards, if there is no longer need for a forceful leader, no?”Signy’s face remained set, and she hobbled over to the motorcycle by both of you, and sat heavily down upon it. “I expected you to say something like that,” her voice cracked, “but I had hoped that you wouldn’t.”
“I don’t see this place as possessing of those who would make a republic work,” you explained yourself further, “Why are you afraid of taking up the mantle of monarch? If you are afraid of being corrupted, I do not think you should be. I think you are stronger of character than that.”“Well, you’re wrong.” Signy said flatly, “Somebody who would be fit for the role I’ve taken would know how to deal with this in a better way. You say the people here are undeserving, but wouldn’t ever tyrant say that as they are being cast down? Today, I would rather not be king, but what about tomorrow? I’ve actually been thinking about using the power I have for what I thought was right, not what the people who trust me to lead them think is right. Such isn’t my place, and I should know that, but I thought of it anyways.”Signy’s mouth contorted into an agonized, crooked line, and her eyes squinted together, her voice gradually rising and becoming thinner pitched as she spoke, “Oh, father...if only you’d had a child who could make your dream come true!” She sniffed, and wiped her face with the back of a hand, before hiccupping once and forcing her face into a more stoic shape once more. “Everybody’s telling me the same thing,” she said in a haggard but clear voice to you, “I don’t think my father was wrong in what he told me…I’m not giving up yet, but…” She rose, and passed by you, saying softly, “I don’t know how much longer I can hold up, and still do what’s right. I want to ask you to do something for me.”“What is it?” you asked.“Soon enough, everybody who I can trust with the problems I have coming up…they’ll be gone. Loch will take his men and leave, I don’t know when, but from the way he’s been teaching lately, it’ll be sooner rather than later. Maybe even right after this battle coming up. I don’t know his reasons for it, but…can I ask you to…” She shook her head, “No, I can’t give you anything that you’d want. I suppose…that I’ll be alone. Again.”>Well, of course I can’t stay. But I can put in a good word for you to the right people. Maybe you can swear fealty to the Archduchy, and that will put the problems to come at ease?>Who says you have to stay around these people? You can come back with me, and be back around people you like to be with. You belong in Strossvald, not here. Somebody else can take the job that you don’t want.>It’ll be hard, but these people need you. They need an example to follow, and I don’t think it’s one that anybody else in this country can properly provide. Be something you despise, but you won’t have to do it forever. >I’ll stay around, if you make polygamy legal. I’d be alright with becoming a king. (This will likely not prompt a pleasant reaction)>Other?Signy hates sharing
>>2038112>>2038108This is my nightmare.
>>2038112>SpoilerCurses and foibles. I should've voted for the Bastard Solution to Liemanner back when I had the chance.>Who says you have to stay around these people? You can come back with me, and be back around people you like to be with. You belong in Strossvald, not here. Somebody else can take the job that you don’t want.And even if you don't want to come back with me, you'll be free. Think about it, ever since Loch grabbed you from your home you've been following the his lead. Who do you think he works for? For the good of Sosaldt? No, we all dance to our strings for different reasons.No leader inherits the perfect situation. But if you have to compromise yourself for too many causes then you'll end up not being Signy and instead be stuck as Cyclops.
Remember that the Arch Duke is looking at this republic as a potential bulwark in the east so It seems to be in the best interest of Strossvald if this kept going. I don't know if Richter would see it that way or not but, eh.I really don't know what to say, but I do want to encourage her to keep this up.
>>2038263I was thinking we could tell her we'd put in a good word and see about getting the Vang Republic an official, or unofficial, endorsement from Strossvald. Try to get her arms loans and what not as encouragement maybe.
>>2038112Offer her the opportunity to come back with us, but whether she chooses to come or go we will support her decision.
>>2038373Actually changing to>It’ll be hard, but these people need you. They need an example to follow, and I don’t think it’s one that anybody else in this country can properly provide. Be something you despise, but you won’t have to do it forever. But if she wants to go back with us then by all means.
>>2038112>Well, of course I can’t stay. But I can put in a good word for you to the right people. Maybe you can swear fealty to the Archduchy, and that will put the problems to come at ease?
This'll be another late day. Busy morning, and I have a game to attend in a couple hours. I'll say when I'm free again and writing, sometime this evening.I have time to write an update now, but it's going to be something I'd rather not let sit as long as it could, and it'd also not be something I can write in between.So just hang tight for now, I guess. I won't call the vote until I'm actually going to update.
...and I didn't end up updating today. Welp.I dunno, I guess I was feeling out of it the whole day anyways. I don't like writing in that state, because it makes me concerned that, in trying to bump something out, I'll mess things up or forget something. So I'll take today as a loss and double down tomorrow.I've had a persistent cough for about a month now and I'm not sure if it's tuberculosis or if it's a frog that has taken residence.
>>2042344 Probably bronchitis? Have you tried seeing a doctor and being proscribed antibiotics?
>>2042404I should probably do that, since I figured I'd just wait until I got better and save myself the trouble.It didn't work
>>2042514Bro, just go see a doctor man. Not worth waiting until it gets really bad.
>>2038112>Well, of course I can’t stay. But I can put in a good word for you to the right people. Your problem is that you are shouldering all of this alone. These are not your problems, they are your Republic's. After this battle, you must try to have your neighbours accept your republic as a legitimate state. Were the archduke to support this you would have a strong political ally who could solve the slavery issue for you. Correspond with your neighboring countries and ask them in secret to demand to outlaw slavery in return for recognition. You would have no choice but to accept, and the blue bastards would look beyond your borders to place the blame.
>>2042344That happens to me every other winter. I'll get a cough that lasts for a month or more and it is so violent it gives me migraine and on more than one occasion I've almost fainted for lack of oxygen. Doctors just shrug and say "it's a virus, idk".
I'll be starting in about an hour. Sorry about the wait.
>>2043843Well, I'm certainly thankful I don't have whatever plague you find yourself having, that sounds absolutely rotten.
“Well, of course I can’t stay,” you pointed out. After all, your might came from your platoon, not you. Maybe Signy’s familiarity with you caused her to overvalue your contributions. “But,” You added, and a bit of hope alighted upon Signy’s dreary face, “I can put in a good word for you to the right people. Maybe you can swear fealty to the Archduchy, and that will put the problems to come at ease?”“Swear fealty?” Signy echoed, uncertainly.“You are trying to bear the problems of the Republic on your shoulders alone,” you told her, “After this battle, after your legitimacy has some backing to it, you need to try and find allies outside of this place. If you were to seek the Archduchy’s support, you would have a mighty ally indeed, and none could resist your call to end the despicable trade that is slavery. The modern nations of the world all condemn that evil practice, and the Blue Bastards Band could not blame their misfortune on anybody but the state of the planet they inhabit.”“I suppose, so long as the nobility let the Republic remain self-governing…” Signy scratched her cheek thoughtfully with a singly outstretched finger, “Then I wouldn’t have any objections. Who in the world would you be able to sway in my favor, though? I’m just saying…aren’t you, well, just some noble?”“Just some noble who knows a few people, yes.” You thought it would be a better idea to not reveal that you were being employed by Strossvald’s Intelligence Office. “…I’m glad that you didn’t suggest that I should flee,” Signy muttered. “Running away from this cause, after I’ve lost everything else…I don’t know what would drive me beyond that. To let my father’s dreams come to naught, what sort of daughter would I be?”It had appeared in your mind to suggest such, and you were about to recommend such in case she felt she couldn’t handle her new appointment. You naturally held off on suggesting it now, though you personally wouldn’t have seen a problem with that option. Signy was a young woman, scarcely beyond her second decade of life. Here, she seemed unhappy, despite her view that she was accomplishing a noble goal. Even if she was no longer Loch’s puppet, there was the risk that she’d stop being Signy, and be forevermore Cyclops, who if the way she was muttered about was true, was somebody she really ought not to be forever.“I think I know what to do now,” Signy said with renewed, but still frail, confidence. “I’m sorry, but I could never become a king. Sigmund Vang’s ghost would haunt me forever after, and I wouldn’t be able to bear that. Maybe a republic that itself is under a monarch wouldn’t be a true one…but then, maybe I can’t expect to do that much yet anyways. Sometimes, I still fret over how I won’t be able to find a husband, maybe I can wait for a perfect democracy…but not for too long.”
“I’m glad I could help you,” you looked at the mines again, “There will be an exercise soon. Do you want to watch how your soldiers work?”“I’d love to,” Signy heaved herself off your motorcycle, “but I have all sorts of other nonsense to deal with. The troops the other members of the republic are sending should have their representatives arriving soon, and I have to get ready to talk with all of them. There’s also still things to go over with all the territories we have to pass through, who’s going to provide food and fuel, all that…sorry, again, but I’m busy.”But not too busy to talk with you, apparently, you thought while smirking on the inside. “Goodbye, then.” You said to her. Signy nodded, and called to her escorts, who ringed her once more, departing back down the hill after her.“She’s got a nice, thick ass, doesn’t she?” you heard your Guillotine aide say as he came back up to you.“Well, I’ve never exactly looked,” you said, annoyed. “…Say, do you think any of you would marry her?”“Marry?” The Guillotine echoed, “Marriage is for chumps.”Well, Signy would have to wait a little longer, it seemed.-----A couple more hours passed, and preparations were wrapping up. The necessary permissions and alerts had been made, volunteers had been selected (The people practicing the exercise had vehemently requested that the people playing the hostages all be female, but their wishes had gone unheeded; the roles would be played by the voluntold from the second battalion). You returned to the commanders for the exercise, now quite interested in seeing who would come out on top, and told them that they were free to begin on your mark; a signal from a flare pistol you had procured.>Perspective shift: Exercise from Honnrieg’s perspective>Watch the two go at it from afar; observe the exercise.>Other?You can't be Brucker; he knows too much
>>2044736>Watch the two go at it from afar; observe the exercise.
>>2044736>>Watch the two go at it from afar; observe the exercise.
>>2044975>>Watch the two go at it from afar; observe the exercise.
>>2044700>>Perspective shift: Exercise from Honnrieg’s perspectiveBetter way to be surprised at developments.
>>2044736>“Marriage is for chumps.” He's not wrong.
Alright, right now probably isn't a good time to start, and it turns out I still have a bit more prep work to do (mostly in regards to rules and stats and such; building off the last battle), so I'll be actually kicking things off tomorrow afternoon at about 3PM EST. This is also sort of a test run for a more solid mass combat system; the battle in the mountains was basically a prototype of a prototype.So until then, here's a bit of a preview.Each of the little people is a fireteam; about five people. So two fireteams to a squad and four squads to a platoon. Each of the markers is a platoon, the color stripe is what company they belong to. The platoon's units are located next to them in the sidebar, and their units dictate their attack strength, obviously being destroyed if all their strength disappears.While this is an exercise and there isn't a threat of death, the troops have been instructed to act as they normally would if they were getting their shit kicked in; namely, retreating or trying to link back up with others. I've debated making the couriers actual pieces instead of just narrative units, we'll see what I think of that later.
Apparently, I didn't get enough sleep, because I ended up sleeping the past few hours away.So there'll be a delay, but I guess that's expected at this point.
The exercise wasn’t nearly as well equipped as a Strossvald equivalent would be. There was a lack of training flare rockets, dummy guns, or really anything that would be needed to actually do a proper exercise as far as the tank went. The referees, such as they were, had been selected from women so that the rowdy participants wouldn’t argue with their judgments. With little evidence as to whom would be firing first (crudely represented by use of signal mirror). The infantry at least had a sparse few blank cartridges, but such had been dredged up from very dusty and ill-kempt crates that had apparently been bought a while ago, with the Guillotines having been quite disappointed that these rounds were not made to kill.At the very least, you didn’t have nothing, and the practice would still be worthwhile, if clunky.On the brighter side, the rearrangement of the Guillotines’ assets had made for a more even unit disposition, instead of the majority of quality being in the hands of the most favored gang members. The structural changes that had come about after the fall of Bad Rott had ripped the guts out of the old hierarchy; it might have been more accurate to call this the Army of the Republic now instead of the Guillotines. You noted that the m/28 backyard forged SPGs had been evenly distributed among the companies. Perhaps not the way the most modern theories would arrange them, but still acceptable.A fair amount of tanks were still being fixed up and worked on, as well; more than a few tanks were represented by armored cars instead, although with some of the replacements the stand in equipment was better than what was meant to be standard. The lack of uniformity meant that the range of guns had been agreed upon to be based on the less powerful cannons, which meant that an enemy sighted was not necessarily an enemy that could be shot. In the potentially close terrain of this place, though, that would not be many places.
The tank units have a range of five hexes, the infantry three. Motor Infantry moves three, tank units move two, “slowed” units have one less movement.Through your binoculars, you observed the flags stating that both sides were ready. With a sigh, your flare pistol was withdrawn from its holster, a green flare inserted, and fired into the air.Movement began everywhere, and dust clouds obstructed an easy view of the combatants near immediately. You clicked your tongue in frustration, but could still see where the platoons were, if not necessarily what they were made up of. It was fine; tanks were never meant to approach in a subtle fashion anyways.Once the units had moved ahead of the clouds, you could better discern where they were going.Honnrieg, from the look of it, had evidently had his companies all go in separate direction, his own headquarters marching with 1st company. The formation he was attached to moved noticeably faster; Honnrieg was a company commander, after all, so you certainly expected him to be able to motive even what wasn’t his usual sort of command. The other companies appeared to languish without his presence, though, moving significantly slower after their initial movements.You had expected Brucker, on the other hand, to shelter within the kill sack of the South Top Mine; it would have been quite difficult to attack, but instead, he moved out of it. Perhaps he intended to move into Kinderhill Mine, so that Honnrieg couldn’t capture it and use it as a base of fire?
While 2nd and 3rd companies moved sluggishly south and east (At least, that was where you supposed they were, your view was obstructed by the hills despite your high up position to the northeast), Honnrieg and 1st Company moved with lightning speed towards and around Kinderhill. At the same time, Brucker’s mechanized infantry had moved into the “urban” terrain of Kinderhill Mine proper, with the tanks moving to…the south of it?The companies around and entering Kinderhill’s peak and mines saw one another more or less immediately. 1st company’s mechanized platoon, in an effort to make it to the mine more quickly, had unwisely skylined themselves, and was now under withering “fire” from their foes…>To-hit rolls are rolled with a D6; the chance of a hit is how many units are left in the platoon, subtracted from six. Multiple hits are scored for every two degrees of success above the minimum hit roll, rounded down. >A unit of four for example hits on a 2+, and gets 2 hits on a 4, and 3 on a 6. 1s always miss. If the unit is firing at almost maximum range, ie, for the tanks, four spaces away, they have a penalty of -1, and -2 for maximal space, ie five. >These infantry cannot harm tanks save from point blank. Also, each infantry fire team counts as a single unit, despite them moving in a single transport. The transport can be targeted, but it does not have an attack roll.>Firing upon units in light cover incurs a -2 penalty, in hard cover, -3. Armored units are one point easier to hit in cover, with only a -1 and -2 penalty to hit them respectively. >Units point blank to each other do not have cover saves against one another, and infantry has a natural -1 to hit them in any terrain.
Rolled 1, 1, 2 = 4 (3d6)Rolling for combat. First dice is 1st Company's Mechanized Platoon (Blue with yellow stripe), second is for Red Mech, third is for Red Armor.
The initial skirmish didn’t seem to do much damage; Honnrieg’s “panzergrenadiers” seemed to realize quite quickly the hot water they were in, and retreated, thankfully not having been deemed to have taken significant casualties due to their quick movements. Brucker’s troops appeared unhurt, as well. For now, the battle was inconclusive.However, Honnrieg’s side had been driven off, and Brucker’s infantry embedded themselves deeper into the mine’s infrastructure. Honnrieg’s 1st company proper, including his own HQ, had come around the hill soon after, but Brucker’s armored force was moving rapidly away from him. The couriers had been stealthily observing each other’s positions, you noticed. Perhaps Brucker was using such communications to discern where Honnrieg was by how quickly they were moving?The 2nd and 3rd companies were still moving slowly. Some, hearing the excitement from the hill, made a (slow) beeline for it, while their infantry quickly outpaced them to what must have been preplanned objectives from how much more quickly they were moving. 3rd Company’s infantry in particular was suddenly dangerously isolated, as Brucker’s singular force suddenly found it in their sights before they had reached . Similarly, 2nd Company’s infantry, seeming to have not noticed or cared why their cohorts in 1st company broke off, went over the hill and, unlike 1st company’s infantry, no longer had the advantage of mutual surprise as they walked into a wall of fire.If this is super boring and want this to end without the game shenanigans or if you want to roll dice instead of me, go ahead and say so, I don't mean for anybody to be sitting around waiting for this to be over.
Rolled 2, 5, 2, 1, 4 = 14 (5d6)Combat rolls, respectively, order of dice, all for Red:1-Infantry2-1st platoon3-3rd Platoon4-HQ5-2nd Platoon
>>2046601I am so ready for Guillotines charging into tank fistfights with each other when they get tired of pew pew sounds.
While a number of men had been declared casualties, from what you saw, it seemed that either the troops’ aim was off or the judges were incredibly generous. No matter. Unlike Honnrieg’s personal unit, 2nd Company’s infantry, likely thinking they had the close support of allies, dived straight in towards the mine, attempting to close the gap. The objection of Brucker’s men to this was declared with volleys of blank fire.Honnrieg and 1st Company finished looping around the hill, only to see the tail end of Brucker’s formation slipping away. Honnrieg must have seen, too, that one of his formations was going in alone, so his infantry section abruptly changed course and dove right back towards the mines; Brucker’s infantry’s attention, fortunately for 1st Company, Mech Platoon, was distracted enough with their fellows for them to make it in relatively unscathed.Despite being at what looked like the absolute maximum distance their guns could reach from one another, parts of Honnrieg’s armor formations and Brucker’s traded fire. One of Honnrieg’s armor platoons was not focused on battle; instead, they appeared to be rushing for the starting point of the exercise for Brucker, towards South Top Mine.The majority of Brucker’s armor, however, went past the isolated (but now well entrenched) infantry platoon they had just fired upon, and caught the end of 1st and 2nd platoon’s armor line, devoting the majority of their fire upon it!>Impromptu rule modifications:>a unit being attacked at close range, in heavy cover, has an initiative advantage. This means that they get a free turn of firing.>Mobile infantry units, if they moved their full distance, are considered to still be in their vehicles and thus lose their innate cover bonus.I’m already finding more things I’ll probably want to change if I use this again, but I’ll try and keep things constant for now.
Rolled 5, 4, 3, 6, 5, 4 = 27 (6d6)Combat rolls!1-Red Infantry2-Red 1st Platoon3-1st Company 3rd Platoon4-Red 3rd Platoon5-Red HQ6-Red 2nd Platoon
Before 3rd Company’s 3rd platoon had even known what was happening, their referees had declared them dead, with the volume of fire that had been poured into it. They looked about, frustrated and confused, as the astonished couriers fled northwards.The remainder of 3rd Company’s armor immediately turned southwards, but the numbers were not on their side as they and Brucker’s entire armored force traded blows. You didn’t foresee this conflict ending in their favor at all unless luck was on their side.In the meantime, the infantry from 1st and 2nd company had disappeared into the mines, and you only saw sparse flashes of the conflict. If this were a real fight, this would be ugly indeed, and with how close the Guillotines were to one another, in addition to how pumped up they were, even in a supposed training exercise some ambushes turned into barbaric brawls, with the “dead” looking to their expired enemies to continue the fight. It was a complete mess, which meant that, in theory, it was indicative indeed of an urban combat.3rd Company’s infantry continued to cower in the Downsome Pit’s buildings. They would have to be firmly reprimanded. Fortunately for them, reinforcements were on the way. Most of Honnrieg’s seat of command, 1st company’s armor, was swinging south with a speed they had not shown before, pursuing Brucker’s force. If Honnrieg’s other forces would simply be more aware of the tactical situation, they could catch Brucker in a pincer movement. Alas, if 2nd Company’s armor was aware of the developing situation to their south, they did not show it.>arrows cleaned up because by God it was turning messy
Rolled 4, 5, 3, 4, 4, 2 = 22 (6d6)Foight1-3rd Company 1st Platoon2-3rd Company 2nd Platoon3-Red 1st Platoon4-Red 3rd Platoon5-Red HQ6-Red 2nd PlatoonCurrent infantry combat has a special roll!
Rolled 4, 5, 2, 6 = 17 (4d6)>Urban combat:>City fighting is a meat grinder! All rolls are automatic hits, and the roll is applied as damage directly to the involved units. A unit being attacked by multiple units in CQC still has attacks against both, but its roll damages against its attackers is reduced by half, rounded up.1-1st Company Infantry Attack2-2nd Company Infantry Attack3-Red Infantry Attack against 1st (halved)4-Red Infantry Attack against 2nd (halved)
War never changes.
The remainder of 3rd company, for what it was worth, put up much more of a fight than their brethren did. While their own numbers were crippled, they managed to inflict such damage on Brucker’s 1st and 3rd platoons that they were forced to combine, having both taken fifty per cent casualties. Ruin was inflicted on 3rd company, however, and they turned their tanks and fled, with Brucker pursuing, but not too closely…The fighting in the Kinderhill Mine had rapidly died down, with Honnrieg’s forces coming out quickly on top. Looking through your binoculars, you saw…Honnrieg himself? No wonder it had ended quickly, then, though he was busily hijacking a courier’s cycle to get back to his headquarters further south…or rather, to 2nd company, as he turned northwards. From the looks of the “casualties” streaming out of the complex, a whole two platoons had been annihilated in the battle for the place. Eighty casualties in practically the blink of an eye…how shocking this would have been, were it a real fight.As Brucker routed 3rd Company, 1st Company had charged over the hills, Honnrieg presumably hoping to catch his enemy while they were still occupied. However, it seemed, without Honnrieg’s guidance, 1st Company advanced too rapidly, and fell directly into the jaws of a trap! Brucker’s forces fired upon Honnrieg’s 1st Company as soon as they crested over the hill, 2nd Company still painfully oblivious to the situation.
Rolled 6, 6, 5 = 17 (3d6)1st Die: Red 1st2nd Die: Red HQ3rd Die: Red 2nd>Special Ruling: Point Blank! Point blank armor units automatically hit, and have +1 to their modifier for the purposes of deciding casualties from a hit.>Fortunately for Honnrieg, for now, only one unit is point blank.
Brucker’s ambush crumpled 1st Company’s armor before they even realized what was happening, and 1st Company failed to even fire a single shot before panicking and reversing back to whence they came. A horrible defeat; Honnrieg had lost a platoon and a half in exchange for no casualties at all. You turned your gaze towards 2nd Company, where Honnrieg had recently arrived, and after presumably witnessing the ambush to the south, looked furious beyond words even from as far away as you were, peeping through binoculars.2nd Company promptly turned south, falling upon Brucker with speed, and this time, brutality was exchanged both ways, instead of from one to the other.
Rolled 4, 6, 4, 1, 4, 4 = 23 (6d6)1-Red 1st2-Red HQ3-Red 2nd4-Blue 3rd5-Blue 1st6-Blue 2ndBlue 3rd and Red 1st are at point blank range! They thusly automatically hit one another, and have +1 modifiers for the purposes of deciding casualties from hits.
The two companies ripped one another to pieces. 3rd Company’s 3rd platoon vanished (in your imagination) from concentrated fire, and Brucker’s 1st platoon, while doing better in the close quarters combat against the 1st of 3rd, took its own share of punishment from 3rd Company’s 2nd platoon.Shockingly, their numbers were almost even as they reconsolidated formations, pressing forward all the while and taking the battle to knife fighting range…
Rolled 2, 4, 2, 6 = 14 (4d6)1-Blue 2nd2-Blue 3rd3-Red HQ4-Red 1st>Modifier: Captain Honnrieg>Captain Honnrieg is a powerful combatant at close range in any kind of warfare, as the leader of the infamous Bat Company and through years of hard fighting. Any damage against his unit (currently 2nd Platoon) recieved in CQC is reduced by one.
Just heading out for dinner, dropping by to say, goddamn Honnrieg, fine work in the town
The 2nd Platoon of 2nd Company crashed into Brucker’s Headquarters unit, swatting it aside as if it were no more than a fly, while the platoon’s sister was obliterated in the battle against the last of Brucker’s forces. Honnrieg’s personal command turned to face their last foes…who ran up the white flag.The simulated battle of the South Rostig Copper Mines had ended. It was, as far as you could see, a victory for Honnrieg, but only barely. Honnrieg’s forces had been reduced to a mere third of what they used to be, and he had had an ideal advantage. Honnrieg was not incompetent; wherever he had been, the battle seemed to have gone in his favor, but he couldn’t be everywhere at once, and Brucker seemed to have made Honnrieg dance to his tune as long as he could.Was there any doubt then, as to who Brucker truly was? He certainly wasn't a nobody who had never commanded before...Update in about an hour, taking a short break.
Dinner delay. Sorry.The Guillotines scattered after the exercise; a break was deemed to have been necessary after all this, and they flocked into the town, gossiping, many sporting bruises but most of them laughing about it; at least they had a good attitude about having smashed each other up.Honnrieg had also become extremely popular with the troops he had led, as you heard more than a few conversations discussing him.“That cat knew what was going on the whole time,” one said to the other as you passed, “I hope he sticks around for the big fight going on soon.”“Damn right,” the other newly minted soldier agreed, “So, we got time off now, right? You think we got time for a drink and a screw?”“Nah. I hear there ain’t any girls left in the brothels anyways, not with all the work going on. I’ve been busy over the last week, finally go, and the madam says I’d better look elsewhere. Every other one said the god damn same. Once we get on the road, I’m jumping in bed with the first thing that takes a coin, swear to shit.”A true tragedy, you thought to yourself sarcastically.Honnrieg noticed you, as he was lecturing the Guillotine officers in a surprisingly calm manner. He held up a hand and told them to wait, and approached you.“So, Von Tracht,” he smiled slightly, “How was it to see the pants beaten off one of your uncle’s old NCOs?”>Not all that fun, actually. Was he really that strong or are these troops this bad?>You got outsmarted, certainly. So do you think he’s Von Hohenholz, or is he not quite that good?>I learned everything I needed to know. Besides, you won, didn’t you?>It’s hard to tell from what I saw. Could you tell me what happened from your end?>Other?
>>2047644>>It’s hard to tell from what I saw. Could you tell me what happened from your end?>Other?Considering who we think you might have been up against I'd say you gave as well as you could with green units and terrain favoring the defender.
>>2047644>>It’s hard to tell from what I saw. Could you tell me what happened from your end?
“It’s hard to tell from what I saw,” you said to Honnrieg. It was true; though you saw what happened, the ultimate reasons for why they happened the way they did were still unclear to you. “Could you tell me what happened from your end?”“May as well start from the top,” Honnrieg beckoned you over to walk with him through the infrastructure of the South Top Mine, as it was clearing of Guillotines. The detritus of humanity still littered the place, even though the ore wasn’t piled high as you would have expected. You spied the leery eyes of some vagrants who hadn’t left even as the fight went on, peering at you and Honnrieg inside dark, windowless spaces.“My initial plan,” Honnrieg pointed over to Kinderhill, “was to take that ground fast and hold it. Figured he’d go for it too, but I thought it was worth the risk. Turns out he could move his guys faster. So, that went to shit pretty fast, but I at least got the guys to go back in after they fled and finish the job. No matter how good a commander “Brucker,” or so he says, is, the men under him were still the same as mine, and if I had more than him in any place, I knew I’d win.”“He must have known that too,” you observed, recalling Brucker’s movement to avoid concentrated troops where possible.“He knows his stuff,” Honnrieg agreed, “Set up a big fat pain in the ass to try and distract me. I saw it for what it was, but at the same time, I had to take that thing out, because if it were me, that pain in the ass could be where I would try and put hostages in the way.”“Was that where they were?” you asked.“Nope,” Honnrieg shook his head, “I was ready for that possibility, and sent some guys that took a hit over to check these mines, in case he just left them with a couple guards and the big maneuvers were a ruse. That’d have been a cheap trick, but cheap tricks can work when you don’t expect them.”“It wasn’t that, though, was it?” “Nope,” Honnrieg gestured to the mine compound broadly. You were standing before the gaping mouth of the main shaft entrance, where unlit lanterns led a trail into a dark abyss. “There’d be plenty of places to hide them, though. He could have had my people searching for a while. Thankfully, I don’t have the patience for such games.”“Where were they, then?”
“I’ll get to that,” Honnrieg turned around and walked the other way, pointing briefly to the southern point of Kinderhill, “So after the roughhousing in that mine, I noticed that my other men were far, far behind schedule. I saw Brucker’s tanks go around the hill, so I figured they were heading for my flank. Told the company I was with to break across the hill on the double. Figures that they got there right as he cleaned up one company, and he cleaned up the other. Hell, if he weren’t worn down, he’d have probably cleaned me up, too.”You whistled lowly, “He seems way scarier than I gave him credit for.”“Wrangling troops is hard, boy. Tactics is easy, but actually putting them into practice? Pain in the ass. Had to wrangle three quarters a battalion when usually I wrangle just a company. Would have been a fairer fight if our commands were swapped, to be honest. The game he was playing was simple, really. You know?”“Defeating the enemy in detail,” you nodded, “Putting your own strength against the enemy’s weak points.”“Right. Basic tactics.” Honnrieg said, “You ought to know, even with how green you are, that war’s harder than just that. That guy…he seemed to know what I was gonna do. He isn’t a psychic or nothing; that kind of clairvoyance comes from experience. I’ll tell you right now, you think he’s Von Hohenholz, right? Those tactics were straight out of his style. Lure, delay, never fight a battle on odds worse than one-on-one. The reason he did so good at Karadenstohn wasn’t because he was some magician of tactics like some think, but because he could move and coordinate troops around better than anybody, and that meant he always had them right where he wanted them. There wasn’t a single point in this battle that I think he didn’t have me exactly where he thought I would be, he just lost because we were using the same sorts of troops.”
“Would you have won if your commands were switched, with you as the defender with a single company?” you asked innocently.“Well,” Honnrieg crooked over and scratched his head under his cap, looking at you with a glint in his eye, “I’d have given him a run for his money. I’d ask him about that, though,” Honnrieg pointed to the road, “Seems he’s waiting for you.”Brucker was indeed waiting, with a car, driven by one of Loch’s men no less. The man and the car hadn’t been around during the exercise; presumably he had been waiting for it to finish to transport all of you.“So, Lieutenant,” Brucker addressed you clearly. He didn’t seem either happy or dissatisfied with the battle he fought, “Did I perform to your expectation?”>Exactly to them, so I hear. Are you ready to admit who you really are, or are you going to forever be a thinly veiled mystery?>I expected you to win, honestly. Your reputation preceded you enough for me to think you would come away victorious.>You did about as good as what I’d expect Von Hohenholz to do. So why do you say you aren’t him? Is it just because of your paper thin disguise, or is there a reason you’re so insistent?>Other?
>>2048218>>You did about as good as what I’d expect Von Hohenholz to do. So why do you say you aren’t him? Is it just because of your paper thin disguise, or is there a reason you’re so insistent?
>>2048218>You did about as good as what I’d expect Von Hohenholz to do. So why do you say you aren’t him? Is it just because of your paper thin disguise, or is there a reason you’re so insistent?
>>2046498>the chance of a hit is how many units are left in the platoon, subtracted from sixMaybe it would be easier to just switch to a roll-under system?>>2047084The constant cross-referencing of the platoons strength with the sidebar is a bit annoying. Maybe you could display the casualties with dots right on the platoon symbols? Or at lease mark the heavily depleted platoons somehow?>>2048218>Exactly to them, so I hear. Are you ready to admit who you really are, or are you going to forever be a thinly veiled mystery?
>>2048218>Far better than I expected out of an anonymous aide. It's good to know that I have such talent at my sideWhy are we so insistent on his real identity? We are acting like a child and it annoys me.
>>2048218>Well whether you want to admit who you are or not, it's obvious you're not some random nobody. I'm happy you're on our side for this siege.
Little late but, we really need to tell Signy to follow her heart. It dosnt do her any good to create the republic she wants if it dosnt follow her ideals and especially not as a puppet for Loch. Dealing with the Blue Barbs slaver ring as quickly as possible will solidify her position as being seperate from the other warlord slavers in the past. Right now, anyone who knows about the barbs will just relate to Signy's rule as another warlord under the name of a republic, especially considering her rule is little more the a military dictatorship at the moment. Is she planning to hold public elections after Todesfelsen?While one of the reasons why I wanted to return back to Strossvald is so that our men can go back home, we havnt really asked them their opinion. Maybe some of them might want to stay and make a name for themselves out here, I get the feeling that Neubaum would prefer the less structured life out here then the responsibilities he'd have at Strossvald. >>2048218This is good >>2048777
I'll be starting later today, had a dental appointment which kept me from starting at what I claim to be the normal, but is rapidly becoming anything but, starting time.>>2048664You make good points, I can make those sort of changes for the next go around. It'd probably be easier to switch to a "severely damage," "light damage" and "undamaged" system like a few games do and not focus too much on the exact numbers.>>2048762It was more meant to be being sick of all the false facing, but you have a point. It may seem ironic considering that you're under a disguise yourself, but these people know who you are while you know very little about them.
>>2049832The problem is that Richter talks and acts like a prick. Right now, we're that kid in the class who got angry at the magician for not revealing his tricks.We're about to enter a battle that will decide the fate of a nation. Instead of focusing on that, we're being petty about the man's name. If he is who Richter thinks he is, would he really want him to see that we're a petulant fanboy instead of a man and army lieutenant? Seeing it from the old man's perspective, I would never give Richter any respect from then on.
>>2049884>The problem is that Richter talks and acts like a prick.Well, admittedly, he is a prick. Though not necessarily out of trying to be. It's not his fault, he's been raised to believe he's naturally better than the common man, even if he doesn't believe it as much as some others do.>Right now, we're that kid in the class who got angry at the magician for not revealing his tricks.Quite so! Well, perhaps if only because the magician in charge has a habit of not revealing things that seem important because he doesn't think you need to know it. Not to mention the actual magicians who flit between being polite and fucking around.>We're about to enter a battle that will decide the fate of a nation. Instead of focusing on that, we're being petty about the man's name. If he is who Richter thinks he is, would he really want him to see that we're a petulant fanboy instead of a man and army lieutenant? Seeing it from the old man's perspective, I would never give Richter any respect from then on.That's very good reasoning (and since it's the winning vote right now, what'll be used), but I feel I should clear up something in case I haven't inferred it well enough.Richter has had absolutely no respect for Sosaldtians for most of his life. Most Strossvalders don't (for good reason), and maybe I should have a choice determining how much his opinion on the matter has changed due to being around them, but I'd fully expect him to not care all that much about them outside of the fact that a couple friends of his are invested in their well being. That's my view on it, but since he's you guys's player character and not mine, if you want to steer him in a different direction then feel free. He has history, but whether or not he elects to change his ways is up to y'all.
>>2049953Hohenholz isn't a Sosaldtian though, so I don't think his dislike for them applies here.I'm fine with Richter as the character he is now, but this part feels odd to me. He believes this man to be a famed general, shouldn't he try to win his respect? We already got called a woman by him, so to prove him wrong we'll act like a woman. Genius at work.
>>2049969Yeah the dislike more applies for why he'd think more of this issue than the fate of the nation.
>>2049976Maddy's life, the hostages and his mission, hinges on it though. I see where you're coming from, and I can accept that this peeves him enough that he'd forget about the bigger picture for a second. It's a bad trait but we do like to vote for pettiness when given a chance.
>>2050238>>2049976I mean I can understand why Richter would be frustrated. This entire journey he's had to deal with people always keeping him in the dark (the IO, Loch etc.)and it's probably gnawing at him constantly. It's like when von Metzeler was talking about his concerns about what's happening back home while we're stuck out here but just that Richter's the sort of person to show it externally rather than brood over it.
>>2050288Before that as well, with the whole mental experiment thing.
>>2050300I'm still pretty sure that was just a meme. I hope. Maybe we should try asking Honnrieg about it again now that we have a better rapport with him.
“Far better than I expected out of an anonymous aide,” you said with a hint of approval, “It’s good to know that I have such talent at my side.”“Talent…” Brucker frowned slightly, “My thanks, for that statement. This talent will at least be used for a worthy cause.”What unworthy cause could this man who now called himself Brucker have been serving, to say a thing like that? “Whether you want to admit who you are or not, it’s obvious you’re not some random nobody,” you continued, “I’m happy you’re on our side for this coming battle.”“It is relieving, to see your suspicion turn to confidence, of a sort,” Brucker looked to Honnrieg, “You, who commanded my opposition. What was your opinion of your troops?”“They fought their best,” Honnrieg sighed, “But just fighting ain’t enough. We’ve got a lot to work on over this week, and I’m feeling even then they won’t really get it together til they’ve been shot, stabbed, bruised and broken.”“I have seen far worse recruits, yes,” Brucker agreed plainly, “They can fight, and they have passably firm wills. However, their coordination with one another is ill practiced. The lack of modern communications equipment is troublesome, but it can be mitigated by destroying their current idea of being lone entities on the field. These men’s ignorance of the currents of war made them easy to control, both to my advantage and to the detriment of your tactics.”“Sheesh, no kidding,” Honnrieg winced, “Are you up for a rematch at some point?”“Our supply of blank rounds was quite low as is,” Brucker pointed out bluntly, “I doubt we have enough left for any further exercises such as this. Our supplies of fuel should also be conserved, and the machines have not received much rest and maintenance since they were set on their march by Von Tracht, here.”“Sure, sure,” Honnrieg did not falter, “The guys on foot don’t have those problems, though.”“Perhaps.”“Great,” Honnrieg sounded much gladder than Brucker about this acceptance.
You were all ferried back to the city, away from the long shadows the hills and mines began to cast over the former battleground. The afternoon was growing long in the tooth, and many drilling troops had retired for the day. This meant that they did not drill for as long as Strossvalders did in basic, but to be fair, they did not simply go off to break for the evening. Their evening hours would be also occupied with lifting, escorting, patrolling, and continuing the work of knitting together the Republic even as they made ready to march off to war. For as nominally united as the Republic was, you had found out, the lands in between territories, especially those that did not belong to the draconian Guillotines, were still in the midst of being newly surveyed and pacified. Said surveys were also where many of the new soldiers were getting basic field experience. Although the proportion of men who were fighters was much higher in Sosaldt than anywhere else, it appeared, a larger still portion were mere laborers or keepers of establishments. Commercial workers had been drafted in order to bolster the numbers of troops available to the republic, and although the 1st Battalion you had done the exercise with had been made up of relatively experienced Guillotine gangsters, as was the 2nd Battalion, the 3rd and 4th Battalions than now resided in Rostig had a token amount of what could be considered reserves, with the rest of their numbers being constituted of fighters so green they made you and your armor platoon look like wizened oaks of soldiers. In the evening, columns of people began to appear; more people from smaller communities, or so you heard, but you recognized the uniforms of some of the gangs that stalked the lands further to the east among the immigrants. Whether they had left their former groups or if they were donated as a gesture of goodwill depended on who you spoke with, though either way most had come of their own volition.
Night came, and you had steadily observed a town of wagons and lean-tos sprouting up just outside of Rostig. From what you had heard, and could casually observe from afar, the migrants were a mixture of merchants, soldiers of fortune, rural community members who had either been summoned or wandered over, and hangers on of the trains of humanity coming in…and, of course, what you had come to recognize as a smorgasbord of prostitutes of all stripes. That was a bit of a disappointment; with the whorehouses emptied, you would have hoped that the new soldiers would devote more focus to the battle to come.Since the exercise, there hadn’t been much for you to do. Inspections of the troops didn’t tell you anything you hadn’t known at some capacity already, and Honnrieg and Bat Company could be better trusted for the more vigorous elements of training, with you and Brucker doing your best to educate the officers on tactics and strategy. You elected to keep your mouth shut unless you absolutely knew what you were speaking about, though; Brucker’s numerous past campaigns meant that more often than not you found yourself learning as much as the Guillotine officers did when he spoke, and though he usually talked about situations in metaphor, you recognized a few as historical events retold without names.Night had come, though, and your idleness now could be excused. Somewhat. You felt, if you wanted to, you could go do one more thing before you checked out for next morning.>Go look at the migrant town springing up. They could be suspicious, helpful, anything, and though Loch had undoubtedly investigated it, personal curiosity drove you towards it.>Go pester Loch, or Brucker. You had things you wanted to talk with them about.>Socialize with your crew. You’d spend some time away from them, and it would be good to not grow too distant.>Other?>You can go do anything or speak with anybody you'd like, really, but only one thing unless multiple things would take place in the same location.
>>2051040>>Socialize with your crew. You’d spent some time away from them, and it would be good to not grow too distant.
>>2051040>Go look at the migrant town springing up. They could be suspicious, helpful, anything, and though Loch had undoubtedly investigated it, personal curiosity drove you towards it.>Other?Bring any members of the crew who want to come, two birds with one vagrant stroll.
>>2051040Socialize with the crew and the men from.strossvald, ask for their opinion on all this.
>>2051040>Socialize with your crew. You’d spend some time away from them, and it would be good to not grow too distant.
The migrant settlement was a curious beast; it had swelled in but a day, and traffic to it wasn’t stopping. Lights were even being put up as the darkness fell; either these people had planned on staying a while, or a great many of them were migrants as is, and this was merely their latest stop on a road with no destination. You knew of such people, cultures from the southeast, scattered about Vynmark and Twaryi, their names insignificant to history, though quite significant to those who spited them because of their apparent asocial tendencies to other peoples. Were these such people, or had their habits merely been copied?Perhaps you would find that out when you investigated them. You went back to where your crews and tanks stayed, to get your crew. You certainly wouldn’t be wandering alone, though you did take care to invite them first.Stein, surprisingly, declined.“Sorry, commander,” he shook his head and looked with concern to the camps, “Those sorts of decorations, they look like Vyemani. Haunted peoples. They wander because the spirits of the land reject them.”“Judge above, Stein,” Hans scoffed and slapped your gunner on the shoulder, a mean feat considering that Stein was about a head taller, “You’ve seen enough real ghosts to at least be wanting to be seeing these things ‘fore you toss them in the bin.”“They also try to scam any who are not Vyemani out of their money,” Stein added.“So you’d be right at home with ‘em,” Hans kept on him, “You can share how you sold me a fake of your sis’s diary to me for six strossmarks.”“Of course I wouldn’t give you her real diary,” Stein said defensively.“Wousetguudfiek?” Malachi burbled, from his place sitting on the mudguard.“To be honest,” Hans smirked, “I didn’t want to admit to myself that Stein could write with his big dumb clumsy hands.”“I’m not going,” Stein reaffirmed, while also cutting short the subject of his forgery skills.“Fine by me,” Hans said with a disappointed huff, “Hey, Yorg. You want to come pet the rat people?”“Nah,” a rough voice replied, and it took you a moment to notice that Jorgen had been leaning slightly out of the top of the tank, where you would normally be poking out. “Thaeyrr bad lock. Fuulk wid noh homerr’ trroubelle.”“Know what,” Hans said a little grumpily, “That’s fine, I don’t need more people that I can’t understand than people I can anyways. “
“I’ve never met a Vyemani,” you felt you had to say as the three of you walked down the orange and yellow lit streets towards the migrant town, “But you and Stein seem like you know about them. Is there an isolated community you live near?”“Nah,” Hans said, “They don’t like nobles, so they don’t hang around where they live. They prefer to live with people who don’t think they’re better than them, have some sort of hangup about kings and princes and stuff. Course, most people think they’re better than ‘em, so they have to meet in the middle at some point.”“NehVyeman dosommienywes,” Malachi said something absolutely unintelligible, “Noffaing but weinencre. Saytscurzor Yjens, nokkins nojenrals, spayet.”“Goodness gracious Mal, you lost me halfway through,” Hans said with mock exasperation, “I don’t even think the boss could hope to get a single bit of that shit. Short phrases, man, boss hasn’t known you for long enough for you to try that.”“What did he say?” You asked as politely as you could.“He said the Vyemani don’t really do anything, and never have, basically,” Hans explained, using his hands somewhat. A car rolled lazily by, forcing you all out of the way. Hans took the time to elaborate; “See, they usually travel from place to place, and try to live simply. They think ambition’s a vice, but some people just say they say that as an excuse to be lazy and suck money from people.”“Zeyrarrlaeizey.” Malachi said firmly.“Hey, I didn’t say they weren’t,” Hans poked back lightly. “Also, their women are ugly. That’s important.”“I see…” you said thoughtfully. What a strange sounding group of people.
Despite it being late, the migrant town was actually livelier than the city was, relative to its size. What drew the most attention were blocky wagons that appeared to be more like miniature houses on wheels driven by horse or oxen (or, in the cases of some, mounted on the back of varying sizes of truck, as well as the bizarre sight of some automobiles that were rigged to be drawn by animals themselves for apparent want for fuel), painted gaudily with bright, angular shapes that drew into each other in geometric patterns. Drapes that hung outside the windows terminated in brightly colored tassels, themselves also woven in forests of meandering lines of thick dyed threads. The dress of the people near these garish residences was similar to that of their homes, wearing shrouds and shirts bedecked with multicolored tassels. While the home-transports of what you were told were unmistakably Vyemani were the most noticeable of the lot, they were only truly one in roughly nine or ten of the total migrants, though with how much they stuck out they easily seemed like four times that without proper scrutiny. This was largely because their wagons made up the majority of actual structures; while some shacks were in the process of being constructed, most of the population huddled around wagons and vehicles, most lacking proper transportation and now lacking housing. If these people and the odd vagabonds from the southeast had bad blood between one another, they did not show it. They shared campfires with loudly singing Vyemani lute players, some even struggling to join in what you thought might be Caelussian. The languages of the distant east were seldom heard where you had ever been, though, so you could hardly guess.You thought to ask something. “Tell me,” you asked your accompaniment, “What do you think of…you know, all this.”“This place?” Hans asked back, “Well, all the cute girls are hiding whenever we come around, so seems like we got here too late to have any fun. Or at least, I got here too late.”
“No, no,” you said, “I meant about the mission. Are you alright with what’s happening? Are most of us, you think?”“Boss,” Hans’ mouth slowly opened into a crooked smile as he shook his head, leaned forward, and shoved his hands in his pockets, “This is an adventure. What would we be doing if we weren’t here? Fighting and dying in seagull land? Getting pounded by artillery and bombed by airplanes while we wade through our own dead friends and comrades? Maybe I’ve got a rosy view of it, but I reckon nobody’s really complaining. I’ll take a city full of gangsters and hookers over a trench line of bloodthirsty seagulls anytime. Really, while this place would normally be hell, since we’re here on business…” Hans spread his arms wide and span around on a foot, “Instead, it’s a theme park. Don’t you agree, Mal?”“Wazzathfeem?”“Never mind,” Hans looked sideways and slipped his thumbs into his beltline again. “Point is, so long as we go home at the end, I don’t think anybody’ll have regretted following you back. And if we don’t…well, there’s worse places we could be, since you’ve got somebody with serious power sweet on you.”“Not too sweet, hopefully,” you said warily. Signy had cooled significantly towards you, it seemed, and while you were thankful that your interactions were firmly platonic, she still came to you with too many questions you couldn’t give her the answer she wanted for. “Yeah,” Hans laughed, “Wouldn’t want her to force you to stay here, would you?”You hadn’t considered that possibility, and you wished that it hadn’t been shared with you.
“Excuse me…” as you passed by a garish house-wagon, a woman that was standing by it, who stood uncertainly as if the wind might blow her over, spoke at the three of you. She was dressed in a dull, faded dress that ended just below her knees, with one of the Vyemani shrouds over her shoulders. You recognized her as mountain-kin, as her hair was an emerald bob with loose braids arranged at the sides of her face, that extended further than the rest of her hair. She was fair in appearance, if somewhat gaunt about the face, and short of height and narrow of body. On one cheek, she bore an elaborate painted tattoo, that appeared to be a seal of some sort, a hollow emblem filled with the sort of odd characters you had seen on Maddalyn’s spell tags, and on Poltergeist’s coat, but in stripes and coils to form a shape out of ancient lettering. “Do uh…” she wavered, “Do any of you want…”“To do it?” Hans finished for her, leering. "You're a little thin for my tastes, but..."“Do…it?” she echoed faintly, “Do what? I wanted to ask if you…wanted a massage…a back rub?” When Hans’s expression turned from leering to condescending, she withdrew, “Oh, I’m so terrible at this…could you just spare some money? The people I’m staying with said I have to get something, and nobody’s been giving anything for free…”“Oh, honey,” Hans clicked his tongue and stared at the ground, “How old are you?”“Eighteen?”Hans gave you a sidelong glance, “Alright, just dumb as a rock, not young. Sorry boss, she’s out of your park.” He smirked, to your great annoyance, then looked back at the green haired girl.“I’m not dumb…” she said, sounding hurt. “Don’t worry, honey, being dumb and innocent turns you from a seven to a nine. How much is that back rub of yours?”“…uh…” she seemed uncertain, and looked to you, then to Malachi, and inhaled sharply. “Are you… are you a Seeker?”“You’re leaving me hangin’, honey.” Hans interrupted, as Malachi turned away instead of answering.“W-whatever you want to give, I suppose…”>Leave the poor girl alone, Hans. She’s too pure for a lecher like you to take advantage of her.>Seeker? What’s a seeker? I’ll give you something if you just tell me what those are.>You’re a bit of a long way from home to be rubbing strange men’s backs. Why don’t we sit somewhere and talk instead?>Ew, a mountain gremlin. Don’t let her touch you, Hans, she’ll put a curse on you. We’re out of here.>Other?
>>2053132>>You’re a bit of a long way from home to be rubbing strange men’s backs. Why don’t we sit somewhere and talk instead?
>>2053132>>Seeker? What’s a seeker? I’ll give you something if you just tell me what those are.
>>2053132>You’re a bit of a long way from home to be rubbing strange men’s backs. Why don’t we sit somewhere and talk instead?>Other?Make sure she sits next to Mal if she agrees to our proposal. Maybe we could lead with questions about her clan and eventually lead into discussions about Seekers. Hopefully her being naive shouldn't make it too hard.
“Now wait,” you pulled your radio operator away from the girl, “You’re a bit of a long way from home to be rubbing strange men’s backs, aren’t you? Why don’t we sit somewhere and talk instead?”“Talk?” the girl repeated, befuddled, “…Really? I’d…I’d love to! Usually everybody would rather I be quiet…”“So long as your mouth and your hands can move at the same time, yeah?” Hans suggested discourteously.“I…guess they can,” the green haired girl said, looking at her small, smooth hands uncertainly. They didn’t seem as if they’d seen a day of work.“No, none of that,” you jumped in between hurriedly, “So can we sit inside your wagon, there, or..?”“Oh…” the girl held her hands together in front of her, arms down, and led you around the side. “The people I’m staying with told me not to bring any men inside…but if we’re just going to talk, I don’t think they’d mind.” The side she led you around to was a sort of hanging screen that was bolted to the side of the wagon, with stiff, weighted bolts of cloth forming a room of sorts, where a carpet was laid out with a small table in the middle, a kettle sitting unused atop it upon a cozy, and a lamp next to it. Some rough cushions had also been tossed about. From the arrangement of the items, it hadn’t been long since somebody had been in here.“This is pretty comfy,” Hans commented as he alighted on a cushion, far too close to her to be tolerable “You rub backs in here?”“Well…I haven’t,” the girl admitted, “And the people I stay with said to not give massages in here…I don’t know why. They said it would be dirty, so they told me to go where whoever wanted it went instead…”How irresponsible of them. It was a good thing that your group was this girl’s first mark, you thought, as you yanked Hans back up and put Malachi in his place, though not nearly as closely.Malachi, upon being seated, let out a stream of syllables that were even less recognizable as a language of any sort than usual. The girl became distraught, and looked to you for aid.“I…We don’t speak the old tongue, where I come from…”“Hnn.” Malachi sighed shortly in disappointment.
“So what’s your name, honey?” Hans asked, despite your best efforts to tone down his flirtatiousness.“My name? It’s…Fie.”“That’s cute,” Hans said, leaning forward onto the table, “Is it short for something?”“…I don’t want to say,” Fie said shyly, “What it’s short for is a boy name, apparently…”Hans slowly backed off. “…you’re not a guy, though, right?”“What? No! No…”“Alright,” Hans sighed with relief, “Great. Not off the rails yet.”“So, Fie, is it?” you cut off Hans’s quest to get anything at all besides conversation, “You asked if my man here was a Seeker. What is a Seeker?”“Oh, it’s…” Fie pointed to the tattoo on her cheek, “It’s what I am…sort of. This sort of mark is how you tell…Mine is painted, and I make sure it’s still there and clear when I can. If I let it fade away, it means I’ll have abandoned my quest. I’ve heard some people…well, Nief’yem, us who live in the mountains, use brands instead of paint, but my people are more…modern. I thought that man was one because he’s hiding his face so much, and he’s got green hair…I haven’t seen anybody else like me around here, so I thought it would be a decent guess.”“With that out of the way, what’s your quest, sweetie?” Hans asked, “There aren’t many mountains around here. Where are you from?”“Er…east.” Fie answered, not swayed by Hans’s saccharine tone, “Ellowie. You wouldn’t know the place’s name, but I need to go to Valsten, or Strossvald, to find people like mine. It’s really important, since I’m the only…well, nobody’ll miss me. Everybody else is too important to leave yet.”“How cruel,” Hans said sympathetically, “How could they let a cute thing like you go out on her lonesome?”You thought Hans might have been believing this girl too easily. Fie had been about to reveal something she didn’t want to, you figured, from how she hadn’t specified what she was the only one of.
“Well,” Fie was slowly being worn down by Hans, but not in a way he was aiming for. “My people want to move. There’s trouble…coming up. The Ellowian government was drafting people even from our out of the way villages, and when the elders asked why, they said they needed every fighting man they had, since both Twaryi and Netilland were raising armies at once, on the borders. My elder…he said that that was really bad, so I had to go and meet with another place and see if we could move before it was too late. Even if we won, he said, we’d be dying out if another draft came through like the last one. My father and brother both got called up for it.”If Ellowie was to be attacked, for some odd reason, by Twaryi and Netilland at the same time, indicating that the two rival nations had somehow set aside their differences, then the Ellowians were well and truly screwed. Once it had been quite mighty, similar to Strossvald in strength, but unlike the Archduchy, the Ellowians had been worn down instead of strengthened by its wars, especially since the Twaryians were apparently quite brutal in their conflicts. In their current state, they would be unable to hold off both nations at once. You hoped it wouldn’t come to that, though, since it would mean that both the Netillians would grow stronger, or even worse, the Twaryians would start spreading further across the continent.The Twaryians were a belligerent people, who made no secret of their opinion that their culture was superior, and that they would make themselves rulers of the continent if they had the chance. Ever since the Maelstrom between Sosalia and Caelus calmed, many, many Caelussians had emigrated to Caelus too, and Caelus was said to ship many other things with them, including weaponry and supplies. To have the Twaryians at your doorstep would be an awful development.“Boss?” Hans tapped your head, “You awake? Cutie bug wanted to ask you something.”“Huh?” you blurted absentmindedly. “Okay.”“I just wanted to know…since you know my plight…could you spare some money? So I can continue on?” Fie asked this carefully, seeming to be ready to be denied.>Am I a charity? I believe you have some massages to give out first.>Of course. I’m nothing if not generous (say how much you want to give. You have a rather large amount of an accepted currency, in the form of Union Marks. Lord Wossehn recently gave you two hundred and change)>Maybe, but I want to ask a few things. Depending on what I hear, I could give you more than pocket change.>Other?
>>2053563Offer her a few marks first, but also tell her she can get passage back to Strossvald when we wrap up our Todesfelsen business. Hans can also have his massage if he wants.
>>2053588Sure, but Hans is paying for his massage
>>2053563>Maybe, but I want to ask a few things. Depending on what I hear, I could give you more than pocket change.Why do they want to Strossvald? Just because it's far enouuh away?I know you haven't been here very long but this Republic is shaping up to be something pretty nice someday.
>>2053563>many, many Caelussians had emigrated to Caelus Just noticed this, it should be "to Twaryi." Point is Twaryi is chock full of Caelussians now and thus has much greater manpower reserves than it used to.
>>2053745Probably because they already have distant kin there; also the Archduchy is one of the strongest states in the region military-wise, so I'd would be way more safe.
“Maybe,” you toyed with the thought of how much you could reasonably give away. It wasn’t a question of being tight fisted so much as wanted to avoid risking being so unsubtle that every needy person in the place would swarm you. “But, I want to ask a few things. Depending on what I hear, I could give you more than just some pocket change.”Fie was immediately wary. “Er. Alright…What is it?”“Why Strossvald, or Valsten?” you asked first, “As far as I know, there’s closer mountains. Do you need to be so far from the Twaryians and Netillians?”“The elders wouldn’t say,” Fie stroked the back of one of her hands with the other, “but…I’ve heard of why. Twaryians don’t like us because we remind them of Vyemani, who they hate. The Netillian government doesn’t like us either, because they think the mountainhomes house troublemakers. The elders wished to unite with another mountain, far away from either of those peoples, yet strong enough to resist their might. With our two enemies on the path to war…I don’t think we’ll travel unharried by either unless we go west.”“I see,” you said, then thought to try something that might be easier for them, but also a boon for Signy. “Perhaps you haven’t been around long enough to know this, but the Republic, where you’re now in the lands of, may become quite a safe place for your people to reside. Is there a reason you couldn’t come to live in this place?”“Er.” Fie stopped itching at her hand and grimaced, “We can’t. We have to live in the mountains, we can’t move and live as we did among the rest of the world, not all of us, at least.”“Why?”“Errrrr…” Fie became even more nervous, “I can’t say. I really can’t.”
“Alright,” you sighed and adjusted your seating position. You weren’t going to drag any answers from her, especially ones that did little more than satisfy your curiosity. “I suppose that was worth…Hans, how much do you have?”Hans wrinkled his nose at you indignantly. “Why am I paying?”“For your massage, of course.”Hans’s reluctance vanished. “Oh, yeah. I guess that, and the other, that’s worth…five marks?”“Five marks…?” Fie covered her mouth, her eyes widening, “R-really?”“The story was worth fifty pfennings,” Hans winked, “the rest is cute girl tax.”“Cute..?” Fie looked down, “Well…alright. Then…where are you staying?”“What, can’t you just work your magic here?” Hans wryly pointed to the ground.“No…the people were very clear. They said if they saw me touching anybody in their home, I’d be thrown out…I can’t travel on my own…”“Boss,” Hans whispered to you loudly, “Can we keep her? This one’s at least just dumb instead of psycho. She’s going to Strossvald, we’re going to go back there if things go right, she needs somebody’s help and I’m not the only guy who needs a massage. What do you say?”>We’ll see. I’ll think on it while I keep an eye on you to make sure your hands don’t wander.>Absolutely not. I don’t need my radio operator trying to charm a girl’s dress off of her when he needs to be helping me fight.>She’s suspicious. I’ll agree to ferrying her back if she requests it, but she’s not sticking around you or anybody else for longer than necessary.>Other?Also:>Take her to the Red and White. There’s free rooms, and you won’t be disturbed.>Take Fie to your platoon camp. You have to go back there, anyways.>Drag everybody to a place where you won’t be seen. This seems dirty enough as is>Other?
>>2054852>Sure, why not. We can probably find something for her to do in town, and it would certainly be better than what she's doing here.>>Take her to the Red and White. There’s free rooms, and you won’t be disturbed.
>>2054852>Sure, why not. We can probably find something for her to do in town, and it would certainly be better than what she's doing here.>Take her to the Red and White. There’s free rooms, and you won’t be disturbed.>Try to get Fie to give us a translation of that one text we've shown to Poltergeist, if we can still remember it.Our harem grows. Please don't turn it into SAO, tanq.
Finally, retard moe. That's exactly what the doctor ordered
>>2054852>>Sure, why not. We can probably find something for her to do in town, and it would certainly be better than what she's doing here.>>>Take her to the Red and White. There’s free rooms, and you won’t be disturbed.>>2054954I'm pretty sure she can only speak New Nauk, given that she can't even understand Malachi.
>>2054954>HaremPlz no. Romanceable girls get pictures, usually right off the bat right as or soon after they're introduced. If I was some sort of heartless monster who tried to sway the MC once they've gotten to the point they have with Maddalyn, this girl would have a picture, likely with Malachi stuffed off to the side half drawn as usual>>2054995>I'm pretty sure she can only speak New Nauk, given that she can't even understand Malachi.This is indeed the most likely case.I would update now but I'm tired and that's not the best state to write in. Should be able to write one more day, at least, from where the thread's at on the board right now.
>>2054998>Ugly psycho Hilda is romanceable>Cute innocent Fie is not romanceableWhy is this a situation that exists?I'm joking, I like Hilda. Still waiting for the picture of her with a ponytail by the way.
>>2055004Pretty sure we were route-locked after the previous thread,anon.
>>2055076>Since last thread.>Not since nearly the beginning when tanq outright told us Richter wasn't the type to cheat on his engagement.Maddy is a fine waifu, don't get me wrong, but if you thought we haven't been route locked from the very beginning then I have news for you. Anytime we tried, we got discouraged and shut down.
>>2055076Anon, I was gunning for Maddy from the very start. But the status of a romantical option is prestigious.
>>2055092It's okay Fie will take the cute,innocent imouto role, even though she's a bit old for that.
>>2055099She's not genki enough for that, I'm afraid.
>>2055078While betrothal is a rather, well, binding, you could have left her in the cave to be eaten like she thought you'd do. Would Richter have done that, I dunno at that point, he was still having the strokes of his character being established then.The big thing though was whether people would have sought to try and have a romance in their marriage, pursuing it with their mass murderer, blind, toying with knowledge she really shouldn't be and reaping the consequences betrothed or seeing that as merely political and seeking fulfillment by seeing somebody on the side they'd build an actual relationship with.Partially back up plan, but also...Maddy may be a "good waifu" but she's not a good person, just going to say.
>>2054852>Sure, why not. We can probably find something for her to do in town, and it would certainly be better than what she's doing here.>And Hans, if you make her perform... marital duties, I swear to the Judge that you will be the first married man in the history of the Republic faster than Stein can say "ghost".
>>2055279To be fair, I don't think we've met a single (major) female character whom doesn't have some issue. Signy is downright normal though when you compare her to Maddy and Hilda.
>>2055305Oh no doubt about that. Not that there aren't any men with issues, but to be frank, we haven't spent a whole lot of time with the ones who do. Sort of avoided one who did, in exchange for his ugly sister.I'll be writing in an hour or so, still have to wake up some, but I do want to start early since we have a limited amount of time left and I would like to get a few things out of the way.>>2055004You haven't seen her with it yet, but I might make an exception, since costumes are being delayed due to a perceived need by me to update the reference drawings.
>>2055388You can just give the costumed Hilda a ponytail.
>>2055279Pls Tanq, Maddy won the moment we stepped onto this alternate universe for meShould have introduced Fie alot earlier>seeing that as merely political and seeking fulfillment by seeing somebody on the side they'd build an actual relationship with.We've only been with Mathilda for a whole 3 minutes
>>2055495 those 3 minutes were enough
“Sure, why now.” You decided, not bothering to whisper back, “We can probably find something for her to do in town, and it would certainly be better than what she’s doing here.”“Knew I could count on you,” Hans smiled, “So are we taking her back to the camp?”“Not for now. We can get a room at the Red and White, we won’t be disturbed there.”Hans raised an eyebrow and a corner of his mouth turned down. “Uh, yeah, about that. Isn’t that a whorehouse? Not that I don’t appreciate the privacy, but there might be the wrong idea circulated if three men are taking a young girl to a place like that.”“It’s an inn. The whores are incidental.” You replied dismissively. Especially lately, there were more strategically necessary employments about that precluded usual business.“An inn..? With a bed?” Fie asked hopefully.“Yes?” you answered. What sort of inn didn’t have beds?“Oh, good…” Fie exhaled, “This wouldn’t really work on the ground…”“Yeah, no, I’m not getting a massage while lying on the goddamn dirt, thank you very much,” Hans interjected, “Would sort of spoil the point.” He looked to Fie, “Oh yeah, honey, pack your crap, you’re coming with us.”Fie blinked. “Coming with..?”“We’re going to Strossvald in a week or so,” Hans said, “We’ll take you with us, if you want.”“You would..?” Fie’s voice weakened, “R…really? T-thank you! I don’t know what to say…or do…”“That massage would be a good start,” Hans suggested helpfully.-----Fie didn’t have many belongings to take with her. A simple long sack on a sling seemed to carry most of her things, and on another sling was a smallish satchel, with stiff leather sides, a square box with a buckle that was about the length and width of the length of your hand, being about as half as thick. Fie held onto this satchel much more tightly than her other things as she followed you back to the inn.The innkeeper recognized you, and accepted that you could get a free room for the moment, though he leered at you and your cohorts when he saw that you were taking Fie with you.“Hey,” he said quickly after you, “I don’t want to do Laundry, alright? Don’t get too…y’know.”“It’s not like that,” you snapped back, “And you’d best not imply such to anybody who asks.”
The room you were given the key to was upstairs, and as you opened the door and let everybody in, Fie looked about at even the relatively meager fittings of the room, like a pauper who had been led into a palace. She must have gone an awful long time sleeping on the ground or on the floor of the truck bed she had been staying on.“Alright…” she said uncertainly as she removed the pin from her shroud and took it off her shoulders, laying it on a stand. Under the shroud, she had been wearing a sleeveless woolen vest that bared her shoulders and underarms; it was decorated with patterns you recognized as being similar to the clothing of the mountain people you had met just before crossing the mountains in East Valsten. “I need you to take off your shirt and lie down…” she told Hans, furtively opening her small satchel and drawing a tiny jar of black dust from it.“Yes m'am,” Hans obediently stripped off his top, “Anything else you need me to take off?”“What..?” Fie asked, befuddled, “No…just lie down.”Hans shrugged and glanced at you knowingly, but did as she told. “So boss,” he asked, “You gonna give us some privacy?”“No,” you said firmly, “I can’t leave you alone with this girl in good conscience, and neither can Malachi.” Malachi grunted in agreement.Fie opened the jar, and dipped her fingers in the black dust. If you were to guess, it would be charcoal. A rather odd implement to use in a massage, you thought. She went over to Hans, rested the jar on the nightstand beside the bed, and began to trace her blackened fingers across his back, pressing them into his flesh at select points.“This isn’t really what I expected,” Hans muttered.“I’m not started yet…” Fie moped, “I have to do this first.” She continued, but at some points she pressed, she leaned over and whispered into Hans’s ear, saying strange words that you didn’t recognize.“Hey now,” Hans said with less patience, “A massage is one thing, but I don’t need any hocus pocus right now. Bit more of the physical, less of the mumbo jumbo, if you please.”
“It’s not hocus pocus…” Fie said with a touch of offense, “It’s medicine. I’m speaking to you with words of power to help your…er, tenseness.”“Sounds like hooey,” Hans grumbled, “How about you whisper something a bit flirtier? Ooh, what strong muscles you have, I just want to squeeze them, something like that.”“What..? Please,” Fie insisted, “You have to at least listen to them, even if you don’t respect them.”“What are the words of power?” you found yourself asking, “what do they mean?”“I…don’t know,” Fie admitted, “I’ve just repeated them enough to know…I’ll start again…”Fie continued what she was doing before, Hans looking like he wanted to complain, but not doing so as Fie traced a thin, dark pattern over his back.“Your presence…” she said finally, “Errr…I mean, your…uh, your…body? No…yooouurrr…”“Easy, honey,” Hans said with pity, “Don’t break your brain trying to form a sentence.”“I…I’ll get something. I’m almost ready.” Fie brushed the remaining charcoal off her fingers with a cloth, then rubbed the rest off of Hans’s back, before going back to her satchel and putting the jar back. As she drew something else out, though, a phial of water was pulled out with it, and it rolled perilously towards the edge of the table. Fie reacted quickly, and grabbed it in a panic, but in doing so she knocked over her satchel, and out flew a small bag, which undid itself midair and cast little round objects all over the floor.“Geh!...Aahhhhh…” Fie tugged on her braids, her eyes screwed shut in frustration. You looked at one of the little round things that had rolled out. It was an iridescent pearl, that glowed softly with many colors…a radiant pearl, and from the looks of it, one of quite a few, though rather small ones.>So, young lady, what exactly is all this?>Oh, dear, how unfortunate. Malachi, help me pick all that up for her.>Where did you get those? Can I have some?>Other?>>2055419Sure, but I don't think a blue ribbon is usual amazon style.
>>2055751>>Oh, dear, how unfortunate. Malachi, help me pick all that up for her.
>>2055751>Oh, dear, how unfortunate. Malachi, help me pick all that up for her.We'll talk about this later, without our crewmembers.
>>2055751>Oh, dear, how unfortunate. Malachi, help me pick all that up for her.So they have to buy their way onto another mountain maybe?
“Oh, dear,” you sighed as you stepped back from the scattering pearls, “Malachi, help me pick all that up for her.”“No no, it’s fine, I can-“ Fie briefly tried to stop you, but you were both already collecting the little spheres from about the room, and she gave up her effort near immediately.“Honey,” Hans called from across the room, “You going to start?”“Er…” Fie sighed and hung her head, “Yeah…Yeah, I’m coming.” She stepped over to the bedside, slipped off her shoes, and crawled up, straddling Hans’s back as she rubbed a tiny amount of some sort of oil between her hands.“You know,” Hans held up a finger, “Were our places reversed, you wouldn’t find a happier man in the world than me. Well, maybe a bit further back.”“I…don’t get it…” Fie frowned as she rubbed in between her fingers. “Are you a masseuse?”“Oh, of course,” Hans said energetically, “I don’t massage backs, though.”“Then what..?”“Sheddiphen, hyeeooonlirub yirdeck,” Malachi spat spitefully.“I would have said he massaged his own ego,” you added.“C’mon, no need to be so mean,” Hans whined in mock despair. “It’s just a bit of…oh.” Fie had begun sinking her hands into Hans’s back, and the sarcastic twists in his face evened, and vanished. “Damn, you’re fine…” He said, as he let his head sink into the bed.“Your body and…spirit, are all out of place,” Fie said as she exerted herself with a puff, “I know how to push them back into where they belong. I don’t know how they got that way…but…this should help.”“If you’re that good with your hands back there,” Hans groaned, “I can’t wait to see how they do in other places.”“Other places aren’t as good for this,” Fie stated, “They don’t…respond…as well?”Fie worked on Hans for another ten minutes before she sighed heavily and straightened herself. “That should do it…hey…aren’t you going to..?”“Giddup,” Malachi snapped as he smacked the back of Hans’s head. Hans snorted in surprise and rose. “Hoo…you know, I feel like I’ve been needing that for a while.”“Heersahnadder,” Malachi slapped him again.“Not that, goddamnit,” Hans sulked but didn’t raise his voice. Fie got down before the conflict escalated and risked bucking her off. “Don’t be jealous, masked man,” he said to Malachi, “I’m so generous, I’d say you’d all need some of that work.”“Neh.”“Prudish as always when it comes to disrobing, huh Mal?” Hans said sleepily as he rose and stretched, “How about you, boss? I don’t think shrimp biscuit will mind too much.”>Shrimp biscuit? In any case, no. I don’t need it.>You know what, sure. That looked like it was well worth it.>I think I will, but I’ll have the two of you head back to camp. I need to ask this lady some questions I don’t think she’ll answer with you two around.>Other?
>>2056251>“Heersahnadder,” Malachi slapped him again.Hahaha>Shrimp biscuit? Should I tell Captain Honnrieg that you are volunteering for his unit in the coming battle?>I think I will, but I’ll have the two of you head back to camp. I need to ask this lady some questions I don’t think she’ll answer with you two around.
>>2056251>I think I will, but I’ll have the two of you head back to camp. I need to ask this lady some questions I don’t think she’ll answer with you two around.
>>2056251>>I think I will, but I’ll have the two of you head back to camp. I need to ask this lady some questions I don’t think she’ll answer with you two around.
“Shrimp biscuit?” you repeated, “Should I tell Captain Honnrieg that you are volunteering to join his unit in the coming battle?”“Aw, boss,” Hans smirked, “I know who my seat’s reserved for, and she ain’t here right now. You’re stuck with me at least til then. Sounds like you’ve got an ache, good thing we’ve got somebody who can take care of that, don’t we, honey?”“Er.” Fie looked towards the window, “I suppose…do you want a back rub, too, sir?”You thought about it for a second. “I think I do, yes,” you decided, “but I’ll have the two of you…” you pointed to Malachi and Hans, “…go back to camp. I need to ask this lady some questions I don’t think she’ll answer with the two of you around.”Hans opened his mouth to comment, but closed it again. “Alright, boss, you got it.” He tugged at Malachi’s shoulder, pulling him towards the door, “C’mon, we have to tell Stein that we’ve found the only girl who he has anything in common with.”“Poautall kettlack.”“No, I ain’t saying he’s dumb, it’s the ghost crap. Aside from the usual ghost crap. You get it.”Hans closed the door behind him, but Fie remained tense.“...Who’s shrimp biscuit?” she asked.“My fiancée.” You answered.“Ah…” Fie seemed to relax somewhat, “…If you’ll take your shirt off and lie down…” she said steadily. You did so, and soon enough, you felt her small, delicate fingers drawing themselves over your back, leaving behind them the tingling sensation of charcoal dust.“So…” you were about to ask something, but Fie interrupted you.“N-not yet, please,” she said as she crept by your ear and whispered an unintelligible word…a word, somehow, that you could have sworn you’d heard before somewhere. This word, as well as a few others, were repeated as you felt her fingers dig into what felt like knots in your muscles that appeared from nowhere.“Your pres…spirit,” Fie said quietly, “It’s so…strange.”“How so? And how do you know?”“I don’t know,” Fie said with resignation, “It just is...and...I just know.” She left momentarily again, and came back, and you felt her weight pin you down as she knelt down over you. “…You…wanted to ask something? What..?”>Ask the weird dim mountain girl some questions.>Other things?
>>2056446So, young lady, care to explain why you're carrying a box of Radiant Pearls with you?
>>2056446>A wizard did it. You shouldn't try to undo those knots, for my sake. A regular massage will be fine.I mean, it'd be bad if she messed up Poltergeist's protection.
>>2056446>weird dim mountain girlI think those first two words are redundant.
“First off,” you said, “Leave the presence or whatever alone. I had that custom weaved by a wizard, so I’d prefer you just to a regular massage.”Fie froze, her hands barely touching you. “A…wizard?”There wasn’t really a subtle way to put this, was there. “A soulbinder. Whatever. Anyways, young lady, would you care to explain why you’re carrying around a bag of Radiant Pearls?”Fie tumbled off of your and crawled away, backwards, after letting out a pained grunt upon hitting the floor. “N-no!” she cried, “Who…who are you? Who sent you?”“Easy, easy,” you tried to calm her down, rising to your knees, “I wasn’t sent by anybody. The only soulbinders I even really know are Poltergeist and the Riverman.”“Poltergeist…” Fie murmured, and she let out a heavy breath, “Haaa…uff. Poltergeist. Okay. That’s…fine, then.”“Why?” you couldn’t help but ask, “He’s a bit much of a freak to be find. Most wizards I’ve met have been, actually.”“Well…” Fie sat up, stood, then brushed herself off with the backs of her hands, “It’s…it’s complicated…and I can’t really say…”“I hear they use those pretty pearls as currency,” you nodded to the satchel where Fie had put the pearls back, “Soulbinders, I mean. And acolytes, and elders, or whatever. You have a lot of them, too.”“They’re the villages’…they’re being given as a gift to whatever elders I find, so they’ll accept our move…I’m a Seeker, any soulbinder who stole tribute from me would be marked by the Lords of the Mountains, but…” Fie cleared her throat. “Er…I should give you your massage, shouldn’t I?”>Press her on that. You don’t like it when things are hidden from you, especially when it’s from people you were intending to escort.>It’s nothing that concerns you. Nobody’s caught her thus far, there’s no worry. And you don’t want to find out what a blue back feels like.>Other?Next update will be the last for the thread, so if you have anything you want to get off your chest with this girl for the week, then feel free to spill it.
>>2057917>>Press her on that. You don’t like it when things are hidden from you, especially when it’s from people you were intending to escort.Is Poltergeist your father?
>>2057917>>Press her on that. You don’t like it when things are hidden from you, especially when it’s from people you were intending to escort.>What are you so afraid of, then? You can trust me, no one here is going to steal your pearls. And yes, give me the massage already.
>>2057917Also ask if her tribe has any specific contacts with their job in the west; for example the party we met in East Valsten
>>2057917Aside from that, how big a presence do the Nief'yem have in Strossvald? Plus where do most of them stay. I'd assume the ones back home and Carsten don't really cause any trouble for either country if they're relatively safe.
You didn’t like that Fie was hiding something like this from you; especially since she was going to stick around you for at least a little while. A secret like this was like a crack in glass, so far as you were concerned; liable to widening, and deepening, until the glass broke apart.“What are you so afraid of, then?” you pressed her, “You can trust me, no one here is going to steal your pearls.”“I…” Fie clasped her hands together, “I can’t…tell you. I really can’t. It is the business of the elders, and word of it cannot spread except to acolytes, and their masters.”“Very well,” you sighed, “In any case, come back over here. We can speak at the same time you do your work.”“..Er.” Fie glanced sideways as she approached you again, and shakily dug her hands into your back once more. Her movements had a gentle force to them; she was wringing out cramps and sprains in your muscles you hadn’t even noticed before, like she was taking each strand and untwisting it like a tangled thread.She seemed set on keeping the business of the elders to herself, though, like no other thing she had said; it would likely be pointless to try and try any more on that, so you tried to to pick at the truth from other directions. Starting with something a bit…radical.“Why the trust for Poltergeist?” you asked, “Is he your father or something?”Fie coughed. “What..? Of course he isn’t. I am of the mountains, and Poltergeist is not, for one.”You had been half kidding, but that was an interesting fact. Somebody apparently knew that, underneath that hood and mask, there was not a hint of green. “How do you know that?” you asked.“He’s said as much…and I thought I told you…my father and brother were called to service by the Ellowian army. A soulbinder...they do not have to respect a draft.” Fie found something she disapproved of in your shoulder, and she pushed upon it firmly until it made a grinding shift, and with a soft pop, you felt you’re a sharp pain, then relief. “…Sorry. But…Poltergeist is trustworthy...no, well, slightly worthy of trust, because he comes from the west. From the east…I can’t say.”“West, hmm,” you noted that down in your mind; something was funny with soulbinders from Twaryi, from the sound of it. Hopefully you’d never have to meet a Twaryian anyways. “If you’re going west, do you know anybody over there? Are you looking for anybody in particular?”“No…” Fie’s hands ceased working as she thought about something, “If I…we, did, I wouldn’t have to be asking this. We’ve never had a reason to move. My village has stood for centuries…few find any reason to bother us, let alone be forceful. The Twaryians think differently…and, lately, so do the Netillians.”
“How many of you Nuff Yum, or whatever, are there anyways?” you asked next as Fie’s palms traveled down your back, “Where do you live? You call yourselves people of the mountain, but it seems I’ve seen more than a few who aren’t in the mountains. I assume you people don’t exactly cause trouble, despite what the Netillian Government is saying.”“I don’t know how many of us there are…” Fie said, “I just know….they’re in mountains, like the Altossians, or the Watching Peak, or the Wandering Mountains…and…no, we just keep to ourselves. Such is tradition, though there are always those who leave…not just Seekers.”“I wonder why you’re so disliked, then…” you said, trying to prompt any answer to that.“…Beats me…” Fie murmured. She rubbed away the tiredness from the rest of your lower back, then settled down on you. “That should do it…since you didn’t want me to touch your presence…but…I think it would have been a good idea. There’s marks on you…like an Ember’s been haunting you, and feeding off of you…and something a lot deeper, and darker…”“The ember’s fine.”“…It could become a Blaze…”“What is a Blaze, anyways?” you asked. Maddalyn had spoken of such a thing before as well, and you hadn’t asked her.“When an Ember consumes presence, and it grows larger, and its need grows…it changes to a form that fools living things, imitating a real being, despite still being an illusion…they can make people ill from feeding upon them, and if they grow any more, they become something so dangerous that even a Soulbinder has trouble dispelling them…”Don’t feed the Emma, you thought to yourself, got it.
Once you dressed your upper half once more, feeling much more flexible and stronger than before, you took Fie back downstairs. The innkeeper leered at you once more, but said nothing as you went out the door, bells jingling behind you.Fie said nothing, looking nervously about as she followed behind you. She stepped so quietly that you were afraid that you’d lost her a few times; were she younger, you’d have made her hold your hand, but as far as you were concerned only one person of her age range got to hold hands with the likes of you.“Er…” Fie suddenly spoke up as you neared your platoon’s camp, “I…I forgot. I didn’t get…paid…”>What do you need money for now? We’ll be taking care of you and taking you back to Strossvald. I think that’s fair payment in itself.>Sorry, my mistake. I’ll bother my crewman about it, too. (Dictate money to pay)>My man said he’d cover the cost. Secretly. Pester him about it once we go in.>Other?>One more update after this, actually, in case any more questions want to be asked of Fie.
>>2058186It's okay, I'll remind Hans about it.
>>2058186>>Sorry, my mistake. I’ll bother my crewman about it, too.I guess five from Hans, another five from us for our massage, and an extra five from us for the information?>they can make people ill from feeding upon them, and if they grow any more, they become something so dangerous that even a Soulbinder has trouble dispelling them…
>>2058186>>Sorry, my mistake. I’ll bother my crewman about it, too. (Dictate money to pay)>>2058196Is a good amountDo Embers eventually turn into Demiphantoms?
>>2058201>Do Embers eventually turn into Demiphantoms?No. It was a long time ago, but it was said in the past, so I'll give a refresher on the relevant information.Demiphantoms are artificial beings, not things that can naturally appear like Embers. Also, Demiphantoms are formed directly from humans, instead of evolving from other forms of Fragments, otherwise known as spirits or presence creatures.
>>2058206Okay, ask her if they turn into that bonelike specter we saw in the basement, or what that thing was.Is it wise to try and give an Ember a physical form? Or is Emma closer to a Blaze the way she is now
>>2058208>in regards to spoilerFrom the way Fie is putting it, you'd know if Emma became a Blaze because instead of being a snappy little fireball she'd be a proper ghost who assumed a human form, presumably looking like she used to in life but far less corporeal.Part of their danger is that most people wouldn't recognize them as being a ghost.
>>2058216That would be fine if she wasn't also going to eat people's souls. Maybe we can have the Riverman do something to her to stop her from feeding once she turns into a proper ghost so we can just keep her around as our harmless ghost buddy.
>>2058216So your saying that it isn't cheating then?
>>2058218I'm afraid all he could do is feed her to a pacer.We need to at leaset talk to Emma about not feeding off people. It's not like Embers can die from hunger, those kids were fine after three years alone.
>>2058186Ask how to stop feeding an ember, and if it's possible to starve them of presence to halt or revert the change. Emma is to useful to keep around, like an intelligent, invisible dog
“Sorry, my mistake,” you said, digging in your pocket, “I’ll bother my crewman about it, too.” You counted out ten marks, and laid it into Fie’s hands.“T…Ten marks..?” Fie said with wonder, “…why? The other man said something about…cute tax…but why you?”“Five because I won’t be shown up by a lecher,” you said, “Five is for the information you gave.”“I…” Fie stared at the money in her hand, as if she’d never seen that much in her life, “…you’re very kind…”“If you say so,” you sighed, wondering if she’d still say something like that if she knew you blew men to pieces as an occupation. Not that that precluded kindness to anybody else, but kind wasn’t a term you’d seen soldiers referred to with often. “Say, if you know about spirits,” you thought of something, “What does a Blaze turn into? Does it have a name?”“…I don’t know.” Fie said flatly, “All I know…is that they almost never appear, since soulbinders destroy Blazes on sight, and even hunt them…”Yet Poltergeist caught Emma instead and gave her to you. A bit of an odd move from somebody who was supposed to destroy such apparently dangerous creatures. Though, from what Fie said, Embers only turned once they had become a certain size. Perhaps you could take steps to put Emma on a diet, somehow.You asked about that. “If I wanted to keep an ember, for some reason, can I starve them? Or otherwise keep them from changing?”Fie peered at you cautiously. “Why in the world…”“Theoretically.”Fie still looked confused, but spoke, “I guess…they slowly dissipate if there isn’t a lot of presence fragments floating around, but they don’t really pop up in those sorts of places anyways…and they don’t usually leave them, either.”Maybe Emma was taking bites off you unwittingly because you’d dragged her to a place where she couldn’t sustain herself off the environment? Something you’d have to ask her.“How about something like…you know the things that look like floating hoods?”“Starelings?”“Sure. What would one of those that has bones and long spooky arms be called?”“Ah…” Fie put her chin on the back of a hand, “It sounds…like a Darkling…they uproot themselves from the ground, in search of presence to feed upon…but I’ve never seen one…”“They’re not a big deal,” you said, “from my experience. Hey, Hans!” you shouted as you came closer to the tanks, tall lamps casting orange-yellow light over your drowsy crews, “You forgot to pay the nice girl the money you owed her!”
Hans scrambled over in a hurry, “Jeez, Boss, shout it out to the whole city why don’t you…” He dug around in his pockets, “Crap…honey, how much did I say I’d give you again? One mark and five pfennings?”“…Five marks…most of it for cute tax…” Fie became crestfallen, “Was the cute tax a lie..?”Hans smiled broadly, but his eyes still spoke of the fact that he had trapped himself. “No, no, honey, you’re so cute that that much just ain’t enough…but, uh, I’m a bit short changed right now, if you-““…oh…” Fie looked down, “No, that’s okay…you don’t have to say nice things just to-““Honey, emerald, mountain flower,” Hans interrupted her and wrapped his arm around Fie’s waist, “Don’t say none of that, look, just come with me here. I just have to win a few games of dice, and I’ll pay what you’re worth, and more. I just need you to come be my good luck charm…”
Hans ended up losing all of his money that night in a game of VierSechs with another crew. It seemed, though, that despite Hans telling Malachi that Fie was a good fit for Stein, her innocent gullibility kept her around Hans over the next few days as he promised repeatedly to give her more and more money, until he had reached what would be the equivalent of his monthly salary. Whether Fie was motivated by greed or pity was anybody’s guess- despite your RO’s overtures, she scarcely reacted with anything but a blank acknowledgement. The days went similarly to how the day you had had Honnrieg and Brucker fight one another went; much preparation, training, a brief break at night before going to bed and doing it all again. Your crew learned to keep Fie a secret from the others, as both Jorgen and Stein found out of her prowess when it came to relieving the muscles of an overworked back. This started its fair share of rumors you busied yourself with quashing; taking a young lady, no matter how innocent she looked, to the inn repeatedly with a different set of men every time admittedly appeared to be an affair of the sort that would turn a rumor mill efficiently indeed. Your platoon greedily ate the grist from said mill, as well; they were beginning to grow bored of sitting around, in an attempt by you to preserve the health of your vehicles for as long as possible.That evening, however, on the third day into the week from the great attack, something happened.You were milling about the tanks, having the task force’s mechanics inspect your m/32’s engine, when a little blue flame came down and alighted near you.“So…cold…” you hear Emma shiver. Her voice sounded oddly hollow. “Are you alright?” you asked with some alarm.“F-fine…” Emma chattered, nestling herself in the breast of your jacket, “Just need to…warm up…okay...” You felt something noticeably drain from your chest as she burrowed deeper into your shirt. It would have been cute if she was a kitten and not a dead teenager.“Why did you come all this way?” you asked, knowing it had to be important.“It’s Hilda,” Emma said morosely, “She’s gotten an opportunity to do something, maybe in a day…I came as fast as I could, but I…it got so cold, I don’t know if I could do it again…but...that’s not important. If that dumb hick girl goes through with this…I think she’s going to die.”Cliffhanger! I'll be running again the Friday after this one, so in a week about.>>2058299It's mean to call a well mannered girl like her a bitch.
>>2058310Thanks for running
>>2058310Well shit.Time to infiltrate again.
is it bad that i'm more concerned about emma dying again than hilda