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Imagine being a fan of Newark, NJ
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Eventually he'll land on the wrong horse name and get yakuza'd


there needs to be more cuteness in the world

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Éliane looked skeptically at Esben’s response. She debated for a moment whether or not to slap at his arm to make a point, but thought better of it. He might need still need it in the coming minutes, after all. Nonetheless, she watched him skeptically as the fellow Skaellan picked himself up. Raising an eyebrow at his unsteady gait, especially after using her shoulder as a crutch, she snorted.

“Yes. Don’t fall behind, okay?”

She strode forward, somewhat bewildered by his insistence that he was fine. Well, if he was fine, then, he would be fine catching up, right? She powerwalked away, making it in time to absorb most of the history lesson the elderly wizard was dumping onto her fellow party members.

She had some mixed feelings about the revelation that indeed, the Valheimians were absolutely behind the blight. She had been right all along! But all the same, it wasn’t as simple as waging war against the foreign invaders, as Cid was all too happy to tell. Given the importance of the information, she paid extra attention despite the fact that Esben was also around. Those reports would be vital, if the information could be corroborated.

Unfortunately, Éliane didn’t have a chance to ask any questions about the Crystals before they were so very rudely (and scarily, if she had to privately admit) interrupted by the revenant literally jumpscaring them.

Then, the world lurched and they were once again away. The pink-haired officer winced at the nauseating feeling of the teleport, her face of determination in the face of the new information very briefly being interrupted by the queasiness. After righting herself and getting it out of her system, she found herself nodding at Galahad’s words.

“Right! Locating and protecting the remaining crystals is paramount, but we must not let this knowledge leak beyond us.” She glanced at Esben, who was the true spy here, no matter how obtuse he was with it. “I do not want to lead them right to the prize.”
Ey Est, there's a whole buncha stuff that I want to get done during the timeskipped phase; may take a week or so, if things are lucky. Straight off the top of my head...

Collab with Click serving as a post-mortem after the Skybound twins leave.

Sure, hit me with it.
<Snipped quote by Click This>

I wasn’t sure if I needed to get a Nyx post out or not (just cause it would be her playing observant/inner monologuing unless someone wanted to collab) but I can if you would like ^-^

Honestly either works-- I'm kind of in a low muse moment and Mirie is in a somewhat similar position.
I was thinking of waiting for @Donut Look Now to post first, but if not I'll post tomorrow.

Éliane had already seen a lot of shit on this –technically still short—journey outside of Skael. But between the unexpected revenant that turned out to be Izayoi’s master, who had nearly killed everyone, and then the Valheimian airship returning and then blasting an hole in the sandy ground, revealing a cavern occupied by a hermit cleric…

Well, the Skaelan officer was just about as incredulous as Izayoi.

The fact that she was alive was nearly a miracle itself.

The fact that everyone, including herself, were still alive at the moment was incredible. Team Kirin was not a team of dragoons, after all, and while Éliane liked to think her skills at jumping were far better than the average person or fighter, it was still a long fall. It was still clear that others were injured, either from the battle or the fall—and she knew that Miina would have her work cut out for her.

The pink-haired woman heard Esben’s weak voice as he fumbled for his canteen, catching her attention. She frowned at his appearance. Éliane quickly decided that the others could do the talking for now, and a moment later, she was by her fellow countryman’s side as she knelt down.

She blinked as she realized what exactly he was asking.

Yes, it was misshapen. Broken, probably. But… really?

“Yes, it’s broken. Shouldn’t you be worrying about your arm, and the battle?” Éliane pointed at his shaking arm, which looked worse for the wear. “Lie down and wait for Miina to come back around to you,” she commanded.

Mirie Agustria of the Grand Bank,
Duchess of Caelin

@Estylwen@Donut Look Now

Duchess Agustria agreed with Duke Grimhand. Willowsteel had been dealt a bad hand when it came to the geography and nature of his land, but it was clear that the current duke did not have the temper, nor the wits to properly take advantage of the advantages that he did possess. Gold-Touch Wine might be one mere product, for example, but its ubiquitous presence in nearly all noble households in the province, including as the centerpiece of the queen’s gala meant more than the shortsighted man might actually think.

With the duel that was but about to happen, and likely lose, and the calls for his imprisonment, Mirie began to suspect there wasn’t much more of a chance for him to turn things around.

Seeing the other duke trying to catch her attention, she smiled. “I would not be arrogant enough to agree, but as a host, I do make an effort to ensure my guests enjoy their time.” Mirie did actually have a high opinion of the parties that she herself threw, but this was the queen’s gala. Of course, her own parties had the same problem that royal galas and other functions suffered from, and that was the inherently political nature associated with any party that a high noble threw. She made a genuine effort to go above and beyond, but in the end, it was the same—it was always business or noble politics as usual, with the party as the façade. Her smile broadened at ‘Rhinecliff’s’ comment, which she kept when responding to Grimhand.

“It is business as usual, and I see little problem with that.”

Rhinecliff Estate\\

Mirie nodded along at Laurent’s reply, reaching out to enjoy some more of the food that had been set at the table. “That is heartening to hear.” Her face shifted into a bit of a teasing smile as she spread a palm out. “Ah, but that is the beauty of business. If I do not pay them well, they would not come. With the city doing as well as it is, I would remiss to not be a generous patron.”

The topic quickly shifted away from their own cities, though, and naturally back to Hathforth. With Rhinecliff still on the edge of a break from the queen, no doubt he wished for all the information he could get from the Queen, and the state of her city. Mirie had restrained herself in the presence of the twins, who had a strong affiliation with her, but now that they had been caught in the act, they were being surprisingly honest.

“That does align with what I’ve seen,”
she agreed, after some thought. The city did look better—even someone as paranoid at reinforcing her position would know to not neglect the appearance of her base of power. She raised an eyebrow and snorted as the duke once more shifted the topic away, but she internally shrugged.

They both knew the tax situation quite well, and she shared his look. Mirie, and thus Caelin itself were unusually shielded from the severe taxation levied upon most of the other ducal territories, but she was the exception, rather than the rule, and only because of the unique economic situation she cultivated. Even then, the Queen was getting her money, although in a way that benefited the Duchess of Caelin a little more than the way she taxed the other duchies.

Nonetheless, she was aware. In fact, being an almost neutral party to this, she was able to look at the situation with some proper detachment, and was all the more aware that the Queen’s policies would not be sustainable.

The question was when the music would finally stop, and who was left with the biggest hand to deal when it did.

She eyed the venison as Laurent cut into it. The aroma of the meat, cooked to perfection with its accompanying sauce was salivating, despite the so-called dreary topics—she had to suppress a chuckle at how casually the duke treated situations like this. It always amused her. The duchess turned towards the children, curious for their answer.
Was sorta checked out the past couple days-- I'll try and get a post up in the next couple hours.

In that one moment, Éliane knew, she had come closer to death than anything she had experienced in the past. Not the battle she had gotten into on the rooftops of Solitude, not the attack on the Edrenian castle that had killed most of her countrymen, not even the frantic prison break just days ago that really had no right to have gone that smoothly –And wasn’t that a thought, that most of her biggest fights had taken place in the three national capitals?—but here, out in the desert, in the most random of encounters.

It wasn’t the Blight, nor some Valheimian general or officer, but some twisted experiment.

And then the moment passed, with Izayoi’s desperate intervention that left her on the brink of death.

The initial barrage of team Kirin had not amounted to much, despite the firepower that all of them had brought to bear against this Revenant, but Izayoi’s counterattack and whatever the hell Rudolf had did gave them a second chance that they likely wouldn’t have again. Even as Éliane moved, the rest of her party acted, surrounding the wounded thing as they cut into him with swords and magic. Unfortunately for Éliane, her own barrage had left her out of ammunition in her rifle.

So without hesitation, she drew her gunblade again and closed the distance, fully aware that range meant nothing to this opponent. Eve’s attack made finding a good opening difficult, but Robin found an opening and Éliane exploited it right after the other woman made her move, coming in right after her. She took a shot point blank right where Robin had pierced at his armpit—and followed up with a slash from another angle at the same time as the hero-minded girl, banking on the armor breaking under the repeat point assault.
Oh hey, Est, do the twins have any resistance to poisons/drugs?


Mirie Agustria of the Grand Bank,
Duchess of Caelin

@Estylwen@Donut Look Now@Irradiant

It only took but a few moments for Duke Willowsteel to completely reverse Duchess Agustria’s opinion of the man and what he had to offer. There were precious few things one could do at a function like this for the famously amenable duchess to turn on someone like a fellow holder of a ducal seat, but he somehow managed to cross a line for her.

In response to everybody’s attempt to calm him down, he had taken it upon himself to consume enough wine to knock out an ox, and then began a verbal campaign of the highest slander and conspiracy. The Court Jester, using human sacrifices to fuel her simple illusions? Mirie wanted to scoff. That was not how magic worked, especially the type that woman used. She was wary of the Court Jester, yes, but not for a reason as absurd as what Willowsteel suggested.

“Patently ridiculous,” she agreed, deigning to respond to Willowsteel’s accusations only with two words and a degree of separation.

With how clownish the gala was becoming, perhaps it was in her best interest to accelerate her little intermission.

But not before seeing the outcome of the challenge from Duchess Altina. She leaned over towards the fake Rhinecliff. “This should be, if anything, entertaining.”

Rhinecliff Estate\\

Mirie raised an eyebrow at the twins’ immediate surrender, to the point where they were prostrating on the ground, groveling for forgiveness from her host. The duchess had accidentally played a part in this and thwarted what was a fairly obvious scheme in hindsight, but she was glad that she did. A penniless Rhinecliff would not do for her own plans and the balance of power in Arrowfell, and that was not to mention the issues with the economy that would cause.

She had decided not to intervene here, but she doubted that she would be disappointed by Rhinecliff’s judgment, either. In the end, they were still kids, and he was famed for his magnanimity, even if he was in his full rights to strike them down as they stood for the insult against him and his seat.

And indeed, he would not ruin the day or the table setting with anything nearly as ominous as punishment.

Duchess Agustria moved on as if nothing had happened, switching her goblet of wine from the gala for the tea that the Duke poured.

“The Queen has made some effort to restore the city," she allowed. "It’s not yet to the former glory that it was previously, but I would say that the city is well on its way there. And what of Odenfield? It has been some time for me, too. The architecture of your city is always a delight to behold.”
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