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8 mos ago
Current Achmed the Snake
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12 mos ago
It's kind of insane to me that people ever met without dating apps. It is just so inefficient.
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1 yr ago
One, polyamory is notoriously difficult to administer
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1 yr ago
I'm guessing it immediately failed because everyone's computer broke/work got busy/grand parents died
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1 yr ago
In short: no don't use basic acrylics.
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Bio

Early 30's. I know just enough about everything to be dangerous.

Most Recent Posts

Rather fortunately for the mercenaries, the High Port wasn’t the kind of place where a heavily armed thug carrying an unconscious man across his shoulders gained more than a few speculative looks. Jocasta kept her fusion beamer unslung to dissuade any more serious curiosity, though the Black Lady knew what would happen if she fired it inside a pressurized tin can like this. Something that rhymed with sexplosive recompression she thought with a whimsical grin.

The hangar bay wasn’t far from the main elevator trunk. An expensive birth for a trader but hardly bank breaking for an outfit the size of the White Sharks. Or the size the White Sharks had been before a number of their members took retirement with extreme prejudice at any rate. She didn’t doubt that Markus was right that military grade weaponry would see off the hoard of bounty hunters who had been loosed on them, but they were likely to have taken so many casualties that the White Sharks as a group might never recover.

“Here we are,” Jocasta announced entering the code she had swiped from the computer terminal at the rendezvous. The hanger door opened to reveal the cavernous bay beyond. A Suytnet 22 armored transport squatted in the middle of the hanger like an angry toad, it’s body boxy with protruding sensor packages and weapon hard points. Fuel hoses and data lines had already been unhooked and lay in coiled heaps beside the big ship.

“Crew must already be aboard,” Markus observed. Jocasta nodded and they hurried across the deck to the ship. The temperature declined rapidly as they got closer, an artifact of the leakage all such bays had to the deep space beyond. They hurried up the ramp and Markus gratefully dumped the groaning form of their prisoner into one of the jump seats and knotted him in place with the restraint harness. Jocasta moved forward to look into the cockpit.

“There is no one here,” she called back.

“Oh I wouldn’t say that,” a voice hissed from the darkness. Something heavy fell on her from above. Jocasta managed to get her arms up to deflect a blow at her head. Pain tore at her but she rotated away from the blow, aiming a snap kick at the ribs of her assailant that drove them into the wall. She swung her fusion beamer up but the attacker kicked it up, then caught her wrist and twisted, the weapon clattered to the deck, mercifully not firing and cutting her in half. She charged at her attacker, deflected a blow at her midsection and then cracked him across the jaw with her elbow. Her arms burned and she could taste blood. Markus was shouting behind her but she couldn’t make anything out over the ringing in her ears.

“You!” she gasped, recognizing the snake mutant from the bar.

“You should have taken my advice,” the snake said, drawing back fangs from a bloodied mouth.

“Maybe next time,” Jocasta allowed and pulled her pistol from its holster. The movement seemed slow and suddenly the weapon seemed very heavy. She frowned and looked down at her arm. Two neat puncture wounds had appeared just above her wrist.

“Son of a…” Jocasta managed and then collapsed to the ground. The snake thing leaned down and picked her up. Jocasta vision was tunneling rapidly but as the snake came close she bit down hard on its hand causing it to recoil in outrage.

“Bitch,” she concluded as the darkness rushed up to swallow her.

“You have progressed from accosting women in wine shops to assaulting them in bath houses?” Zoya asked, her voice scathing with contempt. From a purely tactical standpoint, fear or anger might have been a better pose to adopt. The problem with dissembling was that you had to maintain the pose though, and for that reason something closer to the truth was to be preferred. She rose without hurry and toweled herself dry.

“If you are a thieftaker, and you work for the High Lords,” her voice dripped with doubt on both points, “I shall be happy to clear up whatever slander you have dreamed up.”


“So this is our thief?” Teodosin demanded. Zoya stood before the Highlords, her wrists shackled with irons that looked particularly incongruous in the sumptuously appointed audience chamber.

“My Lord, I don’t even know what I am supposed to have stolen,” Zoya protested, her voice now deferential and with a touch of fear appropriate for such lofty company.

“I’m merely visiting your city. My sister has recently died and I wanted to perform some acts of charity in her memory,” she pressed on. The words skirted perilously close to her Oath but didn’t actually infringe on it.

“You are of noble birth?” Teodosin demanded. Zoya nodded her head quickly, reminding herself that crabbing was an ancient and noble profession.

“From the Shadow Coast in southern Amadicia my lord,” she supplied quickly. “I don’t know why this man has accused me, I had never seen him before today when he accosted me while drinking in a wine shop and then forced his way into my bath house when I was in a state of undress.” The account was unflattering but technically truthful and she delivered it with scandalized disgust. The Highlord’s eyebrows raised at that. All eyes pivoted to Davian.

“Take her to the cells,” Teodosin ordered. “We will discuss the matter with the Thieftaker.

Two Defenders locked Zoya into the cell. It was clean if musty from disuse. Clearly this part of the Stone saw few visitors, willing or otherwise. Zoya felt the old thrill of excitement kindle in her. The same spark which she had always felt while climbing into some merchant’s townhouse back in Tanchico, or slipping into some Aes Sedai’s chamber as a novice. Weeks of planning were about to be put to the test. She hadn’t planned on Davian bringing her here, but here was where she had wanted to be. Saidar flowed into her and she reached out with Earth, unbinding the shackles. With her hands free she crept to the door. One of the Defenders had returned to the higher levels, leaving only one guard. Zoya wove flows of spirit in a complicated net that settled over the man. He slumped where he stood, sound asleep. She wove a web of air to keep him standing while he slept. Drawing her hairpins free she set to work on the lock, it took less than a minute to spring the lock, few heavy locks were particularly sophisticated, and then she was out the door.

Zoya reached the doors to the Great Holding in less then ten minutes. The plans she had found in the Tower Library did not lead her false. A pair of Defenders stood before the door, backs straight and with bored expressions on their mustachioed faces. Zoya repeated her sleep weave in duplicate, sweating from the effort of managing so many flows at once. Both men settled into the nets of air, eyes closed in somnolence. Zoya slipped passed the sleeping men and into the Great Holding itself. Her breath caught at once. Thousands of items were piled on shelves, scatted across the floor, or piled against the walls. They had been cleaned and organized recently, part of the inventory which had been taken when Zoya had spread rumors of theft. Tarien archivists had compared what they found in the Holding to ancient manuscripts which listed the contents. It had never occurred to them that someone might add items to those lists, items which, for reason of being purely imaginary, they had failed to find. Saraita Sedai’s lessons on caring for documents put to good, if unorthodox use.

“Where are you?” Zoya whispered, but she could already see her goal. A small puzzle box fashioned of gold, ivory and jet. Just as she had Foretold. She crossed the room and picked it up. It was surprisingly warm to her hand as she slipped it into a pocket sewn into the inside of her dress. She felt a surge of triumph ever since she had come to the White Tower she had dreamed of doing something, doing something important, and now here she was, where no Aes Sedai had stood in centuries, recovering a vital and priceless artifact. There were other artifacts, so many, and they would languish here unstudied and useless. Zoya started grabbing things. Small valuable looking things. A disc carved with the image of an owl, a small crystal rod, figurines wrought in cundilliar, several rings and other small pieces of jewelery. She pulled her bodice open, it was quilted on the inside and she began slicing the lining and slipping object into the spaces. Several items she wrapped in a cloth and tucked beneath her breasts, then hastily refastened her dress. There was so much more she could take, but nothing brought more necks to the rope than greed. She slipped out of the holding, releasing the weaves on the guards once she was out of sight. Both men started awake but remained silent out of embarrassment for having fallen asleep on watch, the penalty for which was severe. She made it back to her cell and slipped inside, relocking the door and refastening her chains, finally she woke the guard who turned to see her reclining against the back wall of the cell.

She had already been searched. All she had to do now was wait for the High Lords to throw her out on the street.
Jocasta giggled both at Neil and at Cygi's performance. The AI clearly didn't like sharing the spotlight. It was inevitable, Cygi had begun life as a signals intelligence program, it was her nature to mistrust, particularly once someone had been tagged as enemy. The rest of Cygi's behavior was more difficult to rationalize.

"Su's very confident after narrowlys beatings me at pool," Jocasta slurred. She took another shot glass from the pool table and downed it with a quick gulp. It was extremely sour and made her lips pucker.

"It's important to be gracious in victory," Neil agreed with drunken solemnity.

"Fine, then it would be churlish of me to deny a victor a chaste victory make out," Jocasta agreed. Neil opened his mouth to laugh but before any noise could escape Jocasta leaped into his arm and planted a kiss on his lips. In his drunken state Neil staggered, stepped back, hit the edge of the pool table and the both tumbled onto the felt table top.
Jocasta felt her stomach begin to grow warm. Hastily she hiked up the bottom of her corset to reveal the demon’s mark shining on her pale skin. It twisted in unpleasant flux, shifting and changing as though to prevent her from getting a clear picture of it.

“I would have answered your questions anyway!” she shouted at the strange figure beyond the wall of water. Her words were oddly flat and she realized it was because water was damping the sound on three side. The ship around her was a wonder. From the encrustation of sea life it must be ancient beyond belief, yet the interior might have been constructed yesterday. It was filled with strange objects, odd glyphs, and shiny panels for which Jocasta had no name. The net result was to make her eyes attempt to look in all directions at once. Her dragonfly earrings, animated by their creators curiosity, pulled hard on her ears trying to make their own investigations. The creature paused, as though somewhat taken aback by the reply.

“You give answers… of your own free will?” the creature rumbled, clearly disturbed by this. Jocasta had in the last day been so inundated with wonder she seemed to be growing a little giddy nodded her head and sat down on the floor. Both Dragonflies managed to open their clasps within a second of each other, zipping off into the corners of the strange ship to explore.

“Sure,” she responded as she reached into a pouch and withdrew a piece of dwarven trail cheese. It had the consistency of moist sawdust but the taste was tolerable. Beren even claimed it was nutritious but if dwarves started standing on their heads Beren would probably claim it was good for posture. She popped a piece into her mouth and began to chew.

“Waddya want t’know?” she asked around a mouthful, crumbs tumbling down from the corner of her mouth.

“The sacrifices I make to be fashionable,” Jocasta observed dryly. As directed she had changed into the livery of the foe. Predictably the garments, a pearl tunic of gray white and fatigue pants, were too large, she solved the first problem by tying the tails of tunic behind her to snug the garment up. The trousers she simply melted the excess behind her and tucked the excess into her boots. She slung a cape of camocloth over her shoulders to cover the worst of it. The over all effect was a little comic opera, the way a holo-comic might depict a female mercenary, but it would probably serve.

“Well at least you don’t have to swab blood off the floor,” Markus replied, spraying the mess down with a flocculating sealant which congealed blood and dirt into a mess with the consistency of fruit leather, which could then be pealed up and thrown away. Jocasta contributed by gathering up weapons and ammunition into a duffel bag.

“Well he who lives by the sword, dies by the mop,” Jocasta added philosophically. Markus opened his mouth to offer a rejoinder but they were interrupted by a squawk on a boxy communication terminal that had luckily avoided gunfire. Jocasta sat down and quickly entered a few commands.

“It is a hard line to the Sharks,” Jocasta said, “they are on their way.” She tapped a few keys and a grainy hologram appeared of a heavily fortified building. Gunfire licked at the surface of it from the streets beyond as the more direct and violent mercenaries tried to force entry. A spurt of smoke leaded from an alley as a shoulder mounted rocket leaped across on a tail of fire, detonating on the front of the building in cloud of fire shot smoke. Mercenaries surged forward toward the breach, one or two of them toppling to the rubble as they were hit. A second later, the side of the building erupted outwards in a spray of masonry that scythed down half a dozen of the over eager attackers. A bull dog assault transport exploded out of the dust cloud, gun pods blazing. Streams of brilliantly white light cut down any survivor who wasn't in cover in a matter of seconds. The thing had three tracks and a paired set of six wheels which propelled its sharp angular shape across the rubble in a series of staggering hops. It hit clear ground and smoothed out as the wheels alone made contact, and raised away still firing.

Jocasta's hands were flying across the keyboard as she input code as quickly as she could conjure it. First she had to access the internal log of the previous speaker, then use an algorithm to morph her own voice in real time to match the speaker. Even so it wouldn't pass close scrutiny, not without time to correct the idiosyncrasies but it would probably pass in all the confusion.

"Roger," she replied to the last transmission, "ready for delivery and extraction." Markus was looking over her shoulder and she put in a few more commands to bring up security feeds from the city. The bulldog was racing along, having ceased firing. Every now and then it swiped a ground car or obliterated a street sign in a spray of sparks. She pulled up a map of the streets and overlaid the transports progress. It would be here in less than a minute. In fact, she could already hear the roar of the twin jet turbines that drove the thing screaming as the driver pushed them to the limit.

"They should be here in thirty...." there was a screaming sound as light flashed down from above. A series explosions lit one side of the bulldog and it flipped over and careened down the pavement on its roof, turning in a slow turtle of screaming, tortured metal. The concussion shook Jocasta and Markus where they stood, even through the wall. A gunship dove in above the upended transport, flaring nose up to counter its speed. The moment it reached stasis men were jumping from the back of it, they plunged towards the earth for a second before rocket assists on their belts lit, breaking their falls enough for them to land on their feet. Stun beams began to lick across at the crew as they crawled from the shattered bull dog.

"They aren't going to make it," Jocasta observed. Markus threw open the door and the noise and smoke hammered in with stunning force. He took aim and fired, dropping one of the jump pack mercs as the surviving members of the Shark's extraction team crawled clear. A whir like gods own dental drill ripped the chaos as a chin mounted pod on the gunship opened up. The whole building shook as hyper velocity rounds shattered its facade in a spray of smoke and gravel. Markus ducked back into cover a moment before fire spurted through the doorway. Jocasta ducked under the table as ricochet spattered the interior walls. She grabbed her fusion beamer and forced herself to the door then leaned out and took aim. The fusion beamer fired. Unlike a traditional las weapon it produced not a bolt, but a continual stream plasma. The weapon was capable of producing a three second continual beam before the magnetic focusing array melted and was ejected by a jet of liquid nitrogen for replacement. Jocasta let out the entire burst in a single long trigger pull. The beam struck the gunship's left air intake and it seemed to snuffle the nuclear fire and then sneeze, the particulate of the sneeze was pieces of engine, bearings, and flight controls. The gunship staggered sideways and down clipping the side of one of the high rises before detonating in a massive fireball. Thousands of pounds of glass were ripped from the walls of the buildings to either side of the street and rained down like silvery confetti. Jocasta saw at least one of the jump pack men literally cut to pieces by the avalanche of jagged glass fragments that poured from the skies. Even over the roar of explosions and the boom of weapons the sound was like someone had dropped a bell foundry from orbit.

"Coming though!" One of the surviving Sharks roared through a face concealing helmet with a built in vocalizer. Three of them had broken away from the main group, two supporting a third man between them. He was making some effort to help them but was clearly dazed by the violence of the last few seconds. The trio raced through the door, and Markus slammed the door shut behind them, cutting of the sound beyond. Everyone's ears rang in the sudden relative silence.

"Going up!" Jocasta said, slinging her fusion beamer and half leading, half shoving the stunned mercs to the orbital elevator. The exhausted and shell shocked men didn't argue with their apparent allies, merely piled in beside them as Jocasta slapped the controller that started accelerating them upwards towards the orbital and away form the wreckage below.
Unlike the Maule, the Craftsmen’s quarter was on higher ground closer to the immense fortress of the stone. This was not a comment on political aspirations; merely the effect of successful guildsmen being able to afford the higher rent such real estate commanded. The fact that the position between the town houses of nobility and the nest of boarding houses and hovels of the Maule maximized their traffic was a nice benefit too. Zoya went to her tasks with a will. Already she was regretting the fact that she hadn’t simply knifed the thieftaker. She was a meticulous planner, not some Blue who couldn’t complete one plan without hatching six more half cocked schemes. Improvisation did not appeal to her. She dismounted the palanquin and paid the drivers a few extra coins to carry the empty conveyance back to a local boarding house. It wasn’t logical to assume that she would manage to evade Davian for long and so she would act accordingly.

Her first stop was a butcher’s shop on the edge of the quarter. Here she paid for the delivery of a haunch of pork to a certain address. She left through the back and moved up into the quarter proper. She visited a chandlery and ordered candles, then a brass workers shop and ordered a set of dishes, then a draper for linens, and a cutler for knives and spoons. Each item she sent to a different address in the city, paying extra for delivery. More than once her Saidar enhanced sense caught the sounds of commotions behind her, but she couldn’t be sure if it was Davian in pursuit, or simply the normal bustle of city life. Zoya forced herself not to hurry; her time transcribing documents for Aes Sedai having taught her that the surest way to make an error was to rush. Besides, despite the situation, she found she was begging to enjoy herself. That wasn’t wise, it would be better in all respects if the Thieftaker were knifed in a dark alley, but she couldn’t help herself.

At length she emerged on a street devoted to wine shops and inns. She crossed to a prosperous looking establishment known as The Four Coins. It was typical of this section of Tear, neatly mortared stone with a tile roof. A section of wall created a paved outdoor garden, completely with trees and flowers growing in planters. Zoya passed through the doors to the polite nod off the doorman who lounged by the stone lintel smoking a pipe. Beyond him a tap room with pleasantly warm maple tables and several impressive views of the river rendered in oils. A few patrons, lower nobility and up thrusting merchants, were sipping at wine or playing cards. In an hour or so it would be crowded with people coming for lunch, for the quality of the kitchens was excellent, and presaged by the smell of fresh baked bread and simmering spices.

“Welcome back m’lady,” the doorman greeted, knuckling his forelock. He was nearly bald and had a scar from a fishing hook that twisted the corner of his mouth into a permanent smile.

“Thank you Master Griff,” she replied, producing a silver coin and tossing it to the man. Without apparent effort Griff snatched the coin from the air and made it vanish into his loose garments.

“Will you tell Master Calder that I will require my rooms for another day?” she asked. Griff nodded and smiled at the idea of another day with a guest who was pleasant to look at as well as a good tipper.

“Is there fresh water in the baths?” she asked. Griff nodded and Zoya passed him another silver half crown. She headed through a set of doors at the rear of the building and into the true glory of the Four Coins. A large stone bath house which was fed with water from the aqueducts passed through pools of sand and charcoal. There was a separate section for men and women, separated by a central strip planted with thick ferns. Zoya undressed and sank into the water. It was cool, having not been heated by the furnaces which would lift the temperature to steaming in the evening, but she had regularly swum in the Sea of Storms as a child, and been doused on many a fishing boat besides. Sighing, she settled in to bathe and to wait.
I spat out a gobet of blood and saliva as the pneumatic lift carried us several decks with a series of grinding hisses. Sybdol chattered nervously, largely a series of complaints about the Aldeari and their pretentious arrogance. Hadrian responded largely with grunts and conversational parries. Sybodl continued to gnatter until the doors opened to reveal a large plushily carpeted hallways flanked by pillars carved with scenes of Imperial triumphs. His palarva cut off suddenly as, seeing no one in sight, Clara hit him behind the ear with the stock of her gun, dropping him in a boneless heap. We stepped out and closed and locked the lift, safeguarding the body from immediate risk of discovery.

"How will we know which room is his?" I asked.

"The one with the most gold inlay I suppose," Hadrian chuckled, then his face turned serious. "Look I'm sorry.."

"Forget it," I responded curtly, drawing my pistol from my pocket and checking the load. He looked about to continue but then nodded and moved off down the hallway. Not for the first time I was disturbed by all the Imperial iconography on the walls. I wondered if Vorn really believed he was still serving the Emperor, or if it was simply the fact that the pieces were beautiful. I've certainly seen aristos displaying art which is pleasing in form but blasphemous in content. Chaos worshipers do tend to be a tad more into enforcing orthodoxy. Toward the end of the hall we reached a large door with an impressive set of wooden doors carved to represent a vast hunting scene. Hadrian nodded and pressed the touch plate beside it. The door began to open on pneumatic jacks, revealing a large chamber beyond. The center of it was a fountain with several cupids blowing water through guilded trumpets. Fruit trees grew in shallow pots, carefully trimmed to look like wizend human faces. Towards the far side were several doors which lead into sleeping chambers and the like. Before those chambers was a large marble desk piled with slates and holoprojectors. Inquisitor Vorn dressed in black and with his rosette hanging around his neck stood behind it, three other men were with him. Well two were men. One was a thing out of nightmares. It was eight feet tall and dressed in heavy ceramite plate of archaic design. It was a lurid blue, inlaid with golden scrollwork of astonishing beauty. An ornate headdress rose from it's helmet, bedecked with more gold and bands of lapis that blazed with inner light. The runes on its armor made me queasy and compelled me at the same time. A traitor marine. The Emperor Save us. All four figures turned as we entered.

"You." Vorn said in a flat tone. Clara swung her submachine gun up and opened fire. The unholy warrior somehow managed to put himself between Vorn and the burst, his armor sparkling with dozens of hits. He strode forward unconcerned, drawing a sword of writhing shadow from his belt and unholstering a bolt pistol. Vorn dived behind the table and came up a moment later with his own bolter. I fired twice, one of my las bolts hitting the table and setting fire to several books. I reached out with my mind and struck at the traitor marine, something ancient and malicious struck back, shattering my will. Hoar frost bloomed on every surface, the leaves of the fruit trees freezing instantly.

YOU DARE! the voice echoed in my mind like the tolling of a great bell. The Traitor charged at me with incredible speed. Clara was reloading and Hadrian was shouting something and firing, trying to take down the unarmored Vorn. I drew all my will together, but knew from my brief brush with the marine's mind that I had no hope of besting him directly. Instead I gathered all the cold from the hoarfrost and focused it on the ground between us. A sheet of ice three inches thick sprang into existence. I sprang aside, evading the blade by no more than an inch as several thousand pounds of Marine went past, unable to alter its trajectory on the near frictionless surface. I emptied my gun into him as he went, but it didn't even mar the beautiful finish of the ancient armor. He hit the door with a crash, sending splinters flying from it before rolling to his feet. I ducked behind one of the pots, as shots cracked around me, fumbling to reload my weapon. One of Vorn's associates was hit in the side of the head, his brains splattering over the wall as he ran for cover. He collapsed to the ground, his ancient body spasming under unconscious control, the other human ran back into the bedroom, ducking behind the cover of the door. Now we had Vorn and his ally in front and the abomination behind us. We were in big trouble.
The presentation of a false dichotomy is a sign of rhetorical weakness. Zoya had never expected Sorelia Sedai's philosophy class t have any practical application. This thieftaker might well really believe that there were only two possible outcomes but that wasn't the case even if she hadn't been Aes Sedai. For a moment she considered simply wrapping him in flows of air, at which point she could either leave, or simply slip a knife into him. Unfortunately such simple and straight forward solutions rarely proved to be practical.

"I don't know who you are, but if you think I am going anywhere with a strange man who accosts women in wine shops, confesses to planning to knock them out in alley ways..." her voice was rising with each syllable, so that the conversation was audible to everyone in the wine shop. Some of the soldiers were also beginning to pay attention. Several nearby passers by took a step forward compelled by her tone as much as her words.

"Help!" she screamed at the top of a considerable set of lungs.

"Help this man is trying to take me!" she yelled. This brought soldiers and several passers by running.

"Help!" she screamed one more time, barely able to make herself audible over the clamor which she had instigated. Cries and the clatter of armored men filled the air, several men were reaching for Davian. Zoya embraced Saidar, feeling the one power course through her body. Colors became brighter, scents became shaper. She could smell the leather and oil, the stink of fish, even the tar that coated the running riggings of the ship. She stung several of the oncoming men with blows of the one power, subtle but enough to goad them to violence in the belief that Davian was somehow attacking them. Zoya stepped back through the chaos and ducked under the bar. A moment later she was across the street and down an alley. Emerging from it's mouth she found a number of bearers standing idle, ears cocked for the commotion behind her. She produced a gold piece and climbed onto one of the palanquins.

"Take me to the craftsmen's district," she instructed, and drew the curtains as the men set off through the muddy streets.
Emmaline wasn't entirely sure whether she should be pleased or infuriated by the outcome. On the one hand she had met the Elector count and escaped from the encounter with her reputation more or less intact, perhaps enchanced. On the the other hand she was now stuck with this oafish Middenlander for the foreseeable future. It could have been worse but it still promised to be rather trying time. It would have been better if the count had not added 'and don't let her get into trouble' which was unfortunately open to interpretation. Despite being saddled with an annoying chaperone her acquaintance with the Elector Count did lift her social standing higher. The very fact she had been in a private meeting with him might open doors, and more importantly coffers, that had as yet been barred to her scheming. That thought perked her up considerably.

"I vil reckquire noo chimbers," she said as they stepped out into the hall.



"New... chambers?" Kasimir puzzled out.

"Oui at wvonce, I cannot be espected to ... domir in ze same chimbers ven I am macked for deeth nes pas?"



Kasimir's eyes narrowed as he realized that she was asking for new and larger quarters and that such a request would involve rousing Sigmar alone knew how many servants in the dead of night. That would suit Emmaline's purpose of spreading the word of her meeting with the Count far and wide.

"Onliss av carse you vish to stand... how you say... sentinelle outzide ze door all night?" she concluded, a picture of perfect innocence.
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