NATION

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A Meeting under Moon and Stars (Closed)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]

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Astares Amauricanum
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:02 pm

As a funny coincidence, all the Astarians at the table, especially Adrean, liked the spiciness of their meals on the same level as Aurelia.
"You're welcome Prince." replies Anna to Damir with a grateful smile. "On our side, we always thank Aranesh before any meal, and sometimes Ymir as well, but that is usually for important meals, such as family dinners and such. For example, a group of teenagers at a fast food would only thank Aranesh. But you're right, let's dig in!"

With that said, they all pick up their cutlery and take a piece on their forks, before putting it in their mouths. Immediatly, their faces turns to one of joy and happiness, as they look at each other and nod.
"That's how I like it, burns just right!" exclaims the Emperor with a happy tone once he has swallowed his bite, and before taking a sip of his tea.
-Me too, adds Patricia with a smile too. Anyway, since there was a slight misunderstanding about our customs just a few moments ago, continues the female Petrenko as she looks around, why don't we take this time to exchange about our countries?
-Very good idea Patricia." replies Anna with a happy tone. "Do you have any questions about the Imperium, whether it be about our customs, stereotypes, anything?" she asks to the Kyrenaians.
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Kyrenaia
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Kyrenaia » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:45 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:As a funny coincidence, all the Astarians at the table, especially Adrean, liked the spiciness of their meals on the same level as Aurelia.
"You're welcome Prince." replies Anna to Damir with a grateful smile. "On our side, we always thank Aranesh before any meal, and sometimes Ymir as well, but that is usually for important meals, such as family dinners and such. For example, a group of teenagers at a fast food would only thank Aranesh. But you're right, let's dig in!"

With that said, they all pick up their cutlery and take a piece on their forks, before putting it in their mouths. Immediatly, their faces turns to one of joy and happiness, as they look at each other and nod.
"That's how I like it, burns just right!" exclaims the Emperor with a happy tone once he has swallowed his bite, and before taking a sip of his tea.
-Me too, adds Patricia with a smile too. Anyway, since there was a slight misunderstanding about our customs just a few moments ago, continues the female Petrenko as she looks around, why don't we take this time to exchange about our countries?
-Very good idea Patricia." replies Anna with a happy tone. "Do you have any questions about the Imperium, whether it be about our customs, stereotypes, anything?" she asks to the Kyrenaians.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

"I will relay your compliments to the chefs.", Dad said, when we all began to eat, then glanced to me as I took the first bite. "Yours as well?"
I chewed my first bite thoroughly, then nodded, adding after swallowing: "Yeah, it's very good!" I smiled, though, to be honest, it could use a bit more spices...
"Don't forget, Aurelia...", Fara countered, smiling as well, "...not everyone wants to spit fire for the rest of the evening."
I nodded with a smile, next bite already in.
Then Patricia proposed her exchange-questioning, if you will, and Dad shook his head. "An interesting idea for sure, but we got the run down. We will follow to your customs in your country - within measures, mind you. And we expect the same of you, during the return visit."
"Maybe you should explain, what you mean, Dad, before they get the wrong idea.", I said with a small smile.
Dad nodded. "My apologies, my daughter is of course right.", he said, "To give you an example, if it is customary in the Empire for men to hold open the door for a lady, we will of course do so - if it is, however, customary to stand on one leg and serenade her while doing so, we will only hold the door." He let a beat pass. "For one thing because I personally can't sing and I wouldn't want to be arrested for acoustic terrorism, diplomatic immunity or not..." There was a round of giggles at the joke. "...but also because both you and us will have to strike a difficult balance during these visits: Keeping our own identity and standing as Kyrenaians intact while trying to appease your people. And, of course, it'll be vice-versa during the return visit."
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Astares Amauricanum
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:39 pm

"We all agree on that, keeping the balance between your identity and being nice to your host is a very difficult and tricky matter." replies Adrean as he takes another bite. "But don't worry, if you make a mistake or do something strange according to our customs,we won't hesitate to tell you. Astarians tend to be pretty forgiving when foreigners come for the first time and don't know all the customs.
-That being said," continues Anna, " while we can be forgiving, we are also on our guards and very attentive when we meet something new, on the brink of suspicious. And when it comes to the Sultanate, there is one concept, a very important one no less, that has made a lot of people scratch their heads when we researching about your country.
-The Hyena Game." simply says Pavel, before taking a sip of his tea, letting a beat pass in silence. "During our research on Kyrenaia, the Department of State was at first like :Hum, they have their religion and overall mythology represented by the Lioness, the Queen of Animals, and yet they choose to call their foreign policy after a scavenger animal. That's the best way to sum up what our first interrogations were.
But then, "continues the male Morozov, who the Kyrenaians surely know come from a family renownzd for its diplomats, "even after hours and hours of analysis and gathering of echoes and facts from various diplomatic circles, we have yet to come to a conclusive definition of what is the Hyena Game for us. Maybe it is the informations we've gathered that are sometimes exteemely opposed, maybe it is our belief in the Ymir Creation Laws which are considered too binary by many, but the thing is, we are at an impasse. Even seasoned diplomats have failed on that, including my grandfather Thomas who is nearly a century old. So, Prince, whatvwe would like to humbly ask, is what is this Hyena Game all about?" finishes Pavel as he looks to Damir, while Adrean leans back in his chair, also looking at the Prince intently.
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Kyrenaia
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Founded: Mar 19, 2013
Father Knows Best State

Postby Kyrenaia » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:04 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:"We all agree on that, keeping the balance between your identity and being nice to your host is a very difficult and tricky matter." replies Adrean as he takes another bite. "But don't worry, if you make a mistake or do something strange according to our customs,we won't hesitate to tell you. Astarians tend to be pretty forgiving when foreigners come for the first time and don't know all the customs.
-That being said," continues Anna, " while we can be forgiving, we are also on our guards and very attentive when we meet something new, on the brink of suspicious. And when it comes to the Sultanate, there is one concept, a very important one no less, that has made a lot of people scratch their heads when we researching about your country.
-The Hyena Game." simply says Pavel, before taking a sip of his tea, letting a beat pass in silence. "During our research on Kyrenaia, the Department of State was at first like :Hum, they have their religion and overall mythology represented by the Lioness, the Queen of Animals, and yet they choose to call their foreign policy after a scavenger animal. That's the best way to sum up what our first interrogations were.
But then, "continues the male Morozov, who the Kyrenaians surely know come from a family renownzd for its diplomats, "even after hours and hours of analysis and gathering of echoes and facts from various diplomatic circles, we have yet to come to a conclusive definition of what is the Hyena Game for us. Maybe it is the informations we've gathered that are sometimes exteemely opposed, maybe it is our belief in the Ymir Creation Laws which are considered too binary by many, but the thing is, we are at an impasse. Even seasoned diplomats have failed on that, including my grandfather Thomas who is nearly a century old. So, Prince, whatvwe would like to humbly ask, is what is this Hyena Game all about?" finishes Pavel as he looks to Damir, while Adrean leans back in his chair, also looking at the Prince intently.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

They explained themselves and their agreement in that regard, much like we had expected, and then tried to warn us about their constant paranoia - something Naval Intelligence has already warned us about. It was, I supposed, only natural, that one would be a bit on guard after a Civil War, but then again, to my knowledge, it had been that way throughout all of their history.
Fun times indeed.
And then came their confusion about the Hyenas' Game, Luebat Aldibae, what it was... and that their best diplomats (including Colonel Morozov's Grandfather, who, apparently, had been quite a bigwig in his time) had failed to understand it.
The intense stares at my father did not bother him in the slightest, though, as he smiled to him self, amusedly, cutting a piece of flesh from his mutton.
He took his sweet time, then explained: "One of the core things you, and your diplomats, might be failing to understand, is, that the Hyenas' Game has nothing to do with diplomacy and everything with courtly politics. It is the game of intrigue, of cloaks and daggers, of favour and disfavour and for you..." He smiled. "...completely irrelevant. Can someone pass me the bread, please?"
I reached over and passed him the basket.
"Thank you.", he told me with a smile, I nodded.
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Astares Amauricanum
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:56 pm

"Internal, cloak and dagger, not for us." sums up Adrean once Damir has finished talking, before cutting another piece of his meat, eating it and taking a sip of his tea. "Okay, cool. As long as the Imperium, my wife or I aren't threatendd by it, that's all I need to know. I do hope though that you won't feel too disoriented during the visit, where everyone in the nobility and politics behaves very orderly." says the Emperor, with a few chuckles at the end, joined by his wife and friends.
-That aside, " says Alicia after having swallowed a bite, "you're sure you don't want to exchange like Patricia suggested? I mean, Naval Intelligence, the Chandshar and the Foreign Affairs surely haven't told you everything.
-I agree with my friend on this one." continues Anna with a serious tone. "Besides, one of the best ways to befriend an Astarian is to make him talk about him or nearly everything else. Everyone always has a particular story to tell.
For example, I'm sure that what your compatriots didn't told you, is that, if the security of a guest is threatened to the point where we have to dispatch a special team as an additional security measure, like you'll have tomorrow with Colonel Rorke and his 36th, due to the threats on you, Damir-Amir and Aurelia-Amira," explains the Empress, "is that, the special team in question has a tradition of offering a gift to the guest and his entourage. Concerning the gift though,it can be anything. From a bag of sweets, to a dog collar, to even a pair of rainboots." (she says this last part with a serious expression.) "Although it may seem trivial or sometimes innapropriate, accepting the gift is extremely important, as it shows the bond established between the guest and his security, and the dedication they'll have to protect him/her with their lives.
-Indeed." adds Adrean. "So Prince, your turn." He says to Damir. "Throw us a piece od Kyrenaian trivia we haven't heard about yet." asks the Empress with a raised eyebrow, and a discreet smirk tugging at the left side of his mouth.
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Kyrenaia
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Postby Kyrenaia » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:42 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:"Internal, cloak and dagger, not for us." sums up Adrean once Damir has finished talking, before cutting another piece of his meat, eating it and taking a sip of his tea. "Okay, cool. As long as the Imperium, my wife or I aren't threatendd by it, that's all I need to know. I do hope though that you won't feel too disoriented during the visit, where everyone in the nobility and politics behaves very orderly." says the Emperor, with a few chuckles at the end, joined by his wife and friends.
-That aside, " says Alicia after having swallowed a bite, "you're sure you don't want to exchange like Patricia suggested? I mean, Naval Intelligence, the Chandshar and the Foreign Affairs surely haven't told you everything.
-I agree with my friend on this one." continues Anna with a serious tone. "Besides, one of the best ways to befriend an Astarian is to make him talk about him or nearly everything else. Everyone always has a particular story to tell.
For example, I'm sure that what your compatriots didn't told you, is that, if the security of a guest is threatened to the point where we have to dispatch a special team as an additional security measure, like you'll have tomorrow with Colonel Rorke and his 36th, due to the threats on you, Damir-Amir and Aurelia-Amira," explains the Empress, "is that, the special team in question has a tradition of offering a gift to the guest and his entourage. Concerning the gift though,it can be anything. From a bag of sweets, to a dog collar, to even a pair of rainboots." (she says this last part with a serious expression.) "Although it may seem trivial or sometimes innapropriate, accepting the gift is extremely important, as it shows the bond established between the guest and his security, and the dedication they'll have to protect him/her with their lives.
-Indeed." adds Adrean. "So Prince, your turn." He says to Damir. "Throw us a piece od Kyrenaian trivia we haven't heard about yet." asks the Empress with a raised eyebrow, and a discreet smirk tugging at the left side of his mouth.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

"We heard of that gesture of the special security team's gift.", Elian said and smiled slightly, bowed his head apologetically, his plate almost empty. "My apologies, I know, that you meant Prince Damir, but I think, that it would be prudent to let him eat a bit before it gets cold."
Indeed we did hear about that gesture and we all found it to be unprofessional. It was literally their job to follow their orders, so no present was needed to ingratiate themselves to the guest. There was only the need for the bond between those, who gave the orders and those, who followed them, and we were neither.
They should not expect something from the Tabardariyya.
Besides, there was another problem...
"I am afraid, however, that we'll have to decline such a present, not by culture, but by law.", he continued, "In order to prevent bribing and corruption, the Sultanate's Penal Code forbids Ambassador's of the Sultana and the Sultanate to accept any sort of material gift aimed at them personally from a hosting nation." He raised a hand to prevent any sort of protest. "I know, that these men do not intent to bribe anyone, but the law still stands. Something immaterial might be an option, if you insist, so maybe instruct Colonel... Roke, was it? Anyway, maybe have him and his men sing a song?"
Though, on a side note, they should really not be as glad as they seemed about not being part of the Hyenas' Game, if their self-confidence was anything to go by.
Last edited by Kyrenaia on Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Astares Amauricanum
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:19 pm

As Elian speaks, the six Astarians listen in silence, even contonuing to eat a bit. The Prince was right, better to not make the mutton become cold.
Once Sarah's son is finished, Adrean wipes his mouth and takes a sip of his tea.
"It's Rorke, not Roke Prince Elian" replies the Emperor. "And to quote a popular Astarian saying: chicks would have teeth before Rorke and his men sing something. Gabriel, to tell you, is not known to be like that. He is a hard instructor and commander, and with little regards to protocols, formality or the chain of command. A wild horse. Even Anna and I have trouble reigning him in, and that's saying something. So if you want a song, be rather prepared for something very sarcastic and dark humored.
Anyway, that aside, what you just told me intrigues me. Yuri, did you find something about it.
-No, sorry about it Adrean." Replies the male Petrenko with an apologetic bow of the head. "But you may remember that due to all of us working on the impending COVID19 outbreak and the Imperium's capacities in that regard, I didn't had much time left.
-Apology accepted man, you're not to blame, the Chinese are." Replies the Emperor with a dark tone. "I hope these dog eating, communists pricks will get what they deserve in the future. thinks the Emperor, as his face becomes angry for a few seconds, before it turns back to more friendly as he turns to Elian again with a smile.
"Right, sorry about that. So, this piece of the Sultanate's Penal Code, to which point does it extend? For example, does that mean that Princess Aurelia, if she was visiting the UIS in an official function, would be unable to accept a gift from Duchess Marcella Villa, even though said Duchess is her soulmate?"
Last edited by Astares Amauricanum on Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kyrenaia
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Founded: Mar 19, 2013
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Postby Kyrenaia » Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:43 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:As Elian speaks, the six Astarians listen in silence, even contonuing to eat a bit. The Prince was right, better to not make the mutton become cold.
Once Sarah's son is finished, Adrean wipes his mouth and takes a sip of his tea.
"It's Rorke, not Roke Prince Elian" replies the Emperor. "And to quote a popular Astarian saying: chicks would have teeth before Rorke and his men sing something. Gabriel, to tell you, is not known to be like that. He is a hard instructor and commander, and with little regards to protocols, formality or the chain of command. A wild horse. Even Anna and I have trouble reigning him in, and that's saying something. So if you want a song, be rather prepared for something very sarcastic and dark humored.
Anyway, that aside, what you just told me intrigues me. Yuri, did you find something about it.
-No, sorry about it Adrean." Replies the male Petrenko with an apologetic bow of the head. "But you may remember that due to all of us working on the impending COVID19 outbreak and the Imperium's capacities in that regard, I didn't had much time left.
-Apology accepted man, you're not to blame, the Chinese are." Replies the Emperor with a dark tone. "I hope these dog eating, communists pricks will get what they deserve in the future. thinks the Emperor, as his face becomes angry for a few seconds, before it turns back to more friendly as he turns to Elian again with a smile.
"Right, sorry about that. So, this piece of the Sultanate's Penal Code, to which point does it extend? For example, does that mean that Princess Aurelia, if she was visiting the UIS in an official function, would be unable to accept a gift from Duchess Marcella Villa, even though said Duchess is her soulmate?"


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

At the correction of the name, Elian bowed his head lightly in acknowledgement for the correction. He hadn't been sure, so the correction was appreciated lest someone would feel upset.
At the comments about Rorke not singing and his disregard for protocol, formality and chain of command, our image of him did not get better. His unprofessionalism and disregard for those superior to him by rank and standing was a clear sign, that Adrean was not even nearly as much of an authority figure, let alone a commanding figure, as he apparently fancied himself to be.
Quite on the contrary - letting something like that slide, to the extend he made it sound like, no matter the capabilities of the person in question, was a weakness, especially in something, that fancied itself a militaristic state.
Then Adrean asked Petrenko, the little bootlicker, if he had heard of that law, the man having an excuse at the ready: He had been caught up in the preparations for a pandemic outbreak, which did not enable him to do the tasks he had been assigned to - unless I was completely mistaken, the Empire had a relatively large government apparatus, so such a blunder, with such an excuse, spoke of either the Emperor not wanting to rely on it for whichever reason (and there were plenty of possibilities) or believing, that his people were more capable which they, evidentally, were.
In Kyrenaia, Petrenko would receive a good dressing down, maybe not in front of guests, but he would - and I hoped, that this little bootlicker would get his soon enough.
As for his dark look, he blamed the Chinese, which was no concern to us. We had little plans to be dragged into the outer affairs of the Empire unless they affected us or any of our allies. If he wanted to get his teeth kicked in in one form or the other, it was his bloody problem.
Then he posed his question and I took in air to reply, but Fara preempted me: "May I, Elian? No offense to you, but you have little experience with that little tidbit and Aurelia..." She looked at me. "...sorry, my dear, but your situation is a bit more difficult..."
"...seeing that Marcella and I are both women.", I said and nodded, "I actually wanted to use Yasir as an example, but you are right." I smiled at the Astarians. "Oh, my apologies, I mean Sheikh Yasir II., the current Sheikh of Markaz. Good man. His sister Yasamin is a nice woman, too."
"You might like her.", Fara said, "She has a fetish for guns, you see?" Shaking her head, she continued: "But anyway, you see, until last summer, I was in a relationship with King Aceus of Danceria. Why it hadn't worked out and what happened and so on is of little concern, let's just say, that he is a good man." That was her standard line in such situations: Aceus was a good man. She never let anyone say any bad word about him in her presence. "So, shortly after it began, Vizier Safir, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Wasita Maqajis, that was the Wasita of the Ilkhanate of Megido at the time, took me to the side to speak with me about exactly that. In essence, it is all a matter of declaration: If a foreign diplomat, diplomatic representative, economic representative or even head of state one is related to you, dating you or generally a close friend, with that being public knowledge, it can be declared a gift from one friend or family member or lover to the other. Otherwise, we are not allowed to accept said gift."
"The only exception...", Elian added with a small smile, "...are kids. When a bunch of Selkie-Kids presents you with a bouquet of freshly picked wild flowers, you take them."
"BI?", Fara asked with a small smile.
"Yes, BI. Ask Amina, when Lil' Enya looks at you with her big brown eyes, you cannot help but to accept any gift.", he added with a nod and a wide smile. "Although she technically is an attachment to a foreign economic representative..."
"Which you, technically, are, too, as you work for the same company in your spare time.", Fara raised as a comment with a smile.
Elian shrugged with a grin. "It's complicated."
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Astares Amauricanum
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:06 pm

As Fara explains the law, Adrean, Anna and their Personal Guards listen with attention. Once she's finished, a few beats pass in silence, before Pavel leans back in his chair, his arms crossed and a semi-angry look in his eyes.
"Well, thank you for this explanation Princess Fara." He says on a neutral tone after a sigh. "I'm really glad to know that the fifty plus hours of crafting and smithing I've spent have been for nothing." He continues as his tone becomes more and more firm and cold. "All because one of my colleagues didn't do his job he was supposed to do. Thank you very much, Lieutenant Colonel Petrenko." finishes Pavel as he finally raises his eyes towards Yuri sitting across him, his tone now so cold that it would make Jalid or the Yukon look like tropical paradises in comparison.
To that, Yuri says nothing, only holding down the gazes Pavel, and now the rest of his colleagues, send him. To the Kyrenaians, this should indeed confirm to them that the male Petrenko would indeed receive a good dressing down, one that, unknowingly to the Kyrenaians, was more on the physical side than on the verbal side. However, the silence is broken after a few seconds by Patricia, who says ik Astarian "I'll handle it." to the rest of the group, who answer with simple nods.

"Ah, 2020 starts so great, doesn't it?" says Anna, her words laced in sarcasm, as the Astarians resume eating after a few seconds have passed.
"Yup." replies Adrean as he swallows one of the last pieces of his mutton. "I sincerily hope that you won't be having the same issues as us this year." He adds to the Kyrenaians, his tone back to normal. "And I forgot to say it before, but congratulations to your engagement with Princess Yasmin bint-Atif." he says to Damir with a smile.
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Kyrenaia
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Postby Kyrenaia » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:13 pm

Astares Amauricanum wrote:As Fara explains the law, Adrean, Anna and their Personal Guards listen with attention. Once she's finished, a few beats pass in silence, before Pavel leans back in his chair, his arms crossed and a semi-angry look in his eyes.
"Well, thank you for this explanation Princess Fara." He says on a neutral tone after a sigh. "I'm really glad to know that the fifty plus hours of crafting and smithing I've spent have been for nothing." He continues as his tone becomes more and more firm and cold. "All because one of my colleagues didn't do his job he was supposed to do. Thank you very much, Lieutenant Colonel Petrenko." finishes Pavel as he finally raises his eyes towards Yuri sitting across him, his tone now so cold that it would make Jalid or the Yukon look like tropical paradises in comparison.
To that, Yuri says nothing, only holding down the gazes Pavel, and now the rest of his colleagues, send him. To the Kyrenaians, this should indeed confirm to them that the male Petrenko would indeed receive a good dressing down, one that, unknowingly to the Kyrenaians, was more on the physical side than on the verbal side. However, the silence is broken after a few seconds by Patricia, who says ik Astarian "I'll handle it." to the rest of the group, who answer with simple nods.

"Ah, 2020 starts so great, doesn't it?" says Anna, her words laced in sarcasm, as the Astarians resume eating after a few seconds have passed.
"Yup." replies Adrean as he swallows one of the last pieces of his mutton. "I sincerily hope that you won't be having the same issues as us this year." He adds to the Kyrenaians, his tone back to normal. "And I forgot to say it before, but congratulations to your engagement with Princess Yasmin bint-Atif." he says to Damir with a smile.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

Ah... there we went.
Someone would give him a chewing out... not his boss, though, but his wife. At least I was led to assume, that this was, what she said in their tongue. As I did not know their tongue and the next one speaking it, who I trusted, was a charming, good looking officer of the Naval Intelligence in Utica, who had learned the language by correspondence course, I held back my conclusions.
She might as well have been talking about football scores.
Dad, finishing his meal, held up his finger to ask for a moment, wiped his mouth with his napkin, and smiled. After swallowing, he said: "Thank you very much, Young Emperor.", he said and leaned back, "Might be a few months until the Big Day, but I am getting a bit nervous..."
I nodded. "The guest list is already written."
"Oh, yes.", Dad said with a smile, "We will make it small celebration, with family, friends, their significant others and nothing big and fancy and certainly no television broadcast... wouldn't be much to broadcast anyway. Kyrenaian Weddings are small affairs." He grinned. "The feast afterwards is not."
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Astares Amauricanum
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:43 pm

"You're welcome Prince." replies the Emperor as the Astarians alwo finish the last pieces of their muttons, wiping their mouths and drinking some tea before leaning back a bit in their chairs.
"We understand about the ceremony not being public." continues the Empress. "As you surely know, Astarian wedding traditions dictate that for high-ranking people, especially for my husband and I, two ceremonies are to be held, the first being a private one, with only family and close friends, and a second one the next day which is even bigger and fancier. In those two,one of the key differences resides in the fact that in the private one, we only thank the Stars Freyja and Ymir, while in the piblic one, we thank all the Stars with the priests, even though some may not really related to marriage at first.
-On the bright side, you get two wedding nights." says Pavel as he wiggles his eyebrows, causing his wife and the rest of his friends to look at him, trying to stay serious, but failing miserabmy and surrendering to laughter. Laughter interrupted after a few seconds by two beeps seemingly coming from Anna's handbag and Yuri's vest, as the Astarians look at the Empress and the male Petrenko, who raise an eyebrow at each other , then take out their smartphones to check who sent them a message.
"Please excuse them, business always comes first." says Adrean to the Kyrenaians, as his wife and friends scroll down on their phones, before their faces are split by ear splitting smiles, and Anna suddenly squees before hugging her husband and kissing him without a care for their host's reactions, as Yuri pumps his fist and hugs his wife. All the while, Pavel and Alicia look at each other, then at the Kyrenaians, as if to say: Don't ask us, we have no idea what that is.
"May I know what got you so daring honey?" asks Adrean to Anna once she releases his lips.
-We finally did it! We are the firsts, ex aequo after all these years!" exclaims Anna excitedly as she shows her husband her phone.
-No way, really?! Asks Pavel as he turns to the Imperial Couple with a smile. That's amazing! Astartes knows how you two fought for it hardly." he says as he turns to Yuri with a smile. "You better keep this title for years to come." continues the male Morozov as he extends his fist to Yuri.
"Amen to that brother." replies the latter with a smile too.
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Postby Kyrenaia » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:22 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:"You're welcome Prince." replies the Emperor as the Astarians alwo finish the last pieces of their muttons, wiping their mouths and drinking some tea before leaning back a bit in their chairs.
"We understand about the ceremony not being public." continues the Empress. "As you surely know, Astarian wedding traditions dictate that for high-ranking people, especially for my husband and I, two ceremonies are to be held, the first being a private one, with only family and close friends, and a second one the next day which is even bigger and fancier. In those two,one of the key differences resides in the fact that in the private one, we only thank the Stars Freyja and Ymir, while in the piblic one, we thank all the Stars with the priests, even though some may not really related to marriage at first.
-On the bright side, you get two wedding nights." says Pavel as he wiggles his eyebrows, causing his wife and the rest of his friends to look at him, trying to stay serious, but failing miserabmy and surrendering to laughter. Laughter interrupted after a few seconds by two beeps seemingly coming from Anna's handbag and Yuri's vest, as the Astarians look at the Empress and the male Petrenko, who raise an eyebrow at each other , then take out their smartphones to check who sent them a message.
"Please excuse them, business always comes first." says Adrean to the Kyrenaians, as his wife and friends scroll down on their phones, before their faces are split by ear splitting smiles, and Anna suddenly squees before hugging her husband and kissing him without a care for their host's reactions, as Yuri pumps his fist and hugs his wife. All the while, Pavel and Alicia look at each other, then at the Kyrenaians, as if to say: Don't ask us, we have no idea what that is.
"May I know what got you so daring honey?" asks Adrean to Anna once she releases his lips.
-We finally did it! We are the firsts, ex aequo after all these years!" exclaims Anna excitedly as she shows her husband her phone.
-No way, really?! Asks Pavel as he turns to the Imperial Couple with a smile. That's amazing! Astartes knows how you two fought for it hardly." he says as he turns to Yuri with a smile. "You better keep this title for years to come." continues the male Morozov as he extends his fist to Yuri.
"Amen to that brother." replies the latter with a smile too.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

We applauded politely at the news of their promotions were announced and congratulations were exchanged.
"Congratulations, everyone of you.", Dad said. Neither he, nor any of us, cared about the kisses.
And that was all, which we said about that.
"To return to one of the previous topics...", Dad continued as a number of Handmaidens came out to collect our plates with the same silent grace as before. Dad bowed his head politely to them, then continued as soon as they had departed. "...I am curious. We were not yet informed about a few of the particularities of a prospective return visit, including gift-giving. Are there similar regulations in place within the Empire? With..." He glanced towards Elian while a Handmaiden went around and refilled the tea. "...similar exceptions?"
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:36 pm

"Thank you very much Prince Damir." replies Anna as she sits back straight in her seat and straightens her dress whixh has been ruffled a bit when she jumped on her husband. "But to correct you, it does not concerns everyone of us, only Yuri and I.
-Every two years," continues Adrean, " a joint armed forces jury evaluates the performances of many snipers and sharpshooters, based on combat kills, training results, etc; belonging to the Astarian Armed Forces, also including the Keiserlig Custos. And after a decade where they ended up in the top ten, but never in the top three, my wife and Yuri have finally managed to reach the first place, among the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who were evaluated." says the Emperor with a proud smile, reflected by his wife as he passes an arm around her shoulder.
"Now, to answer your question Prince Damir," continues Adrean, "concerning gift giving, as long as it's not hard drugs or WMDs, it will be fine. Although to tell you, we Astarians really appreciate when the person offering the gifts gets some information about our tastes and tailors the gift based on those tastes. That's also what we had in mind, and which gave Pavel a lot of headaches when he crafted them for you. Efforts that we now know, have been for nothing." he finishes with a sigh.
"Speaking of that," suddenly says Alicia as she scratches her chin, "I have a question." asks the female Morozov as she looks to the Kyrenaians, "I understand that the law forbids gift if you're not close to the person offering it, but what does said law says concerning souvenirs you may have bought during the visit and brought back with you?"
As the blonde Grand Duchess speaks, her friends and her husband look at her with attentive eyes, their gazes also switching at times to look at the Kyrenaians, curious to hear what idea the female Colonel had behind her head...
Last edited by Astares Amauricanum on Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kyrenaia
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Postby Kyrenaia » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:44 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:"Thank you very much Prince Damir." replies Anna as she sits back straight in her seat and straightens her dress whixh has been ruffled a bit when she jumped on her husband. "But to correct you, it does not concerns everyone of us, only Yuri and I.
-Every two years," continues Adrean, " a joint armed forces jury evaluates the performances of many snipers and sharpshooters, based on combat kills, training results, etc; belonging to the Astarian Armed Forces, also including the Keiserlig Custos. And after a decade where they ended up in the top ten, but never in the top three, my wife and Yuri have finally managed to reach the first place, among the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who were evaluated." says the Emperor with a proud smile, reflected by his wife as he passes an arm around her shoulder.
"Now, to answer your question Prince Damir," continues Adrean, "concerning gift giving, as long as it's not hard drugs or WMDs, it will be fine. Although to tell you, we Astarians really appreciate when the person offering the gifts gets some information about our tastes and tailors the gift based on those tastes. That's also what we had in mind, and which gave Pavel a lot of headaches when he crafted them for you. Efforts that we now know, have been for nothing." he finishes with a sigh.
"Speaking of that," suddenly says Alicia as she scratches her chin, "I have a question." asks the female Morozov as she looks to the Kyrenaians, "I understand that the law forbids gift if you're not close to the person offering it, but what does said law says concerning souvenirs you may have bought during the visit and brought back with you?"
As the blonde Grand Duchess speaks, her friends and her husband look at her with attentive eyes, their gazes also switching at times to look at the Kyrenaians, curious to hear what idea the female Colonel had behind her head...


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

While Adrean explained, what this was about, I glanced to Dad - neither of us remembered anyone asking, but if it was such a proud moment for them, let them have it.
The information about the return gifts was appreciated, though, and I already had an idea, that they might not need to charter a freight plane after the return visit - if there would be one, mind you - to carry home all of the gifts. It all depended on what would happen here and over the next few days.
If these gifts they may or may not receive would fit their fancy... that was another question entirely.
Then the question came and Dad thought for a moment.
"If you are trying to arrange it so that I may buy said piece of craftsmanship, I am afraid, that I must sorely disappoint you.", he said to the woman, shaking his head lightly, "I do not buy pieces for my collections during diplomatic trips, I also concentrate on paintings and I usually buy via my agent." He then let a beat pass, before he continued neutrally, which might bite some harder then open condescension. "That aside, I do not know, what you usually use diplomatic trips for, but for us, it's not for getting souvenirs."
He nodded to Fara.
"Coins for a certain Prince's collection notwithstanding.", he added and Fara smiled slightly.
Last edited by Kyrenaia on Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:09 pm

As Damir speaks, Pavel starts to lightly tap the table with his right index and middle finger. For those who know him deeply (that includes his parents, his wife and his friends), they know that by doing this, the male Colonel unloads a bit of his dark thoughts on his mind, thoughts that would make someone else explode.
Although, he stops that when Damir mentions something about someone liking coins. His gaze turns to Yuri questioningly.
"He's talking about her big bro, Prince Okan ibn-Dardan." says the male Petrenko in Astarian, to which Pavel nods, before looking back downwards at the table, his two fingers soon resuming their light tapping.
As for the other Astarians, they also don't say a word, instead taking some time to look around and detail more the decoration of the room, and listening to the ambient music provided by the band.
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Postby Kyrenaia » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:27 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:As Damir speaks, Pavel starts to lightly tap the table with his right index and middle finger. For those who know him deeply (that includes his parents, his wife and his friends), they know that by doing this, the male Colonel unloads a bit of his dark thoughts on his mind, thoughts that would make someone else explode.
Although, he stops that when Damir mentions something about someone liking coins. His gaze turns to Yuri questioningly.
"He's talking about her big bro, Prince Okan ibn-Dardan." says the male Petrenko in Astarian, to which Pavel nods, before looking back downwards at the table, his two fingers soon resuming their light tapping.
As for the other Astarians, they also don't say a word, instead taking some time to look around and detail more the decoration of the room, and listening to the ambient music provided by the band.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

Ah, a stress-coping mechanism - the tapping, I mean.
Still, it wasn't even annoying. The table-cloth muffled the majority of it. Instead, despite them speaking their tongue, we caught the name Okan ibn-Dardan, a clear indication of what they were talking about.
Or rather, for Fara, it was, who, not without pride continued: "Yes, he is talking about my brother Okan. He is an avid collector of coins and he really is a fan of it, when we bring him coins for his collection, so don't be surprised, when I hit the souvenir shop of your palace, buy a candy bar, pay with a rather large bill and ask for the cashier to give it to me in as many coins as he or she can." There was a round of bemused snorts, because let's be honest, we all did similar things in our time. Okan was really a nice guy, so we all did it time and time again with a certain joy. "His collection is really impressive and doesn't only serve his vanity, mind you. He actually established a little museum of coins in a side wing of the Palace's Museum in Megido, which is open to the public and has both a permanent exhibition and a switching exhibition. Currently, the latter are coins and bills from the United Socialist Republic of Genoa, a nation, that sadly doesn't exist anymore."
"Didn't he also have Almadaldiman coins?", Elian asked with interest.
"Still has, technically.", she said with a smile, "He handed them to the University of Akkad, where they are currently analyzed. These coins are five thousand years old, so its only natural to try and gleam as much knowledge from them as one can." She smiled. "You can still see images of them on the Coin Museum's Website. He has the entire catalogue there."
There was very obvious pride in her voice at that.
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:58 am

When Fara speak with pride about her brother and his coin collection, the Astarians look and listen to her.
However, before the Princess can continue, Adrean raises his hand to interrupt her.
"Congratulations to your brother Fara-Amira, but I'm afraid what you plan to do won't be possible for many things. First, there is no souvenir shop in the Silver Palace, given it isn't open for visit to the general public. Second, the small shops we have around the Compound are only open for the staff working there, so you would need an authorization to by something there. And third, due to the incoming COVID19 outbreak, one of the precautions we have taken is to restrict the use of paper money and coins. So that means if you would want to buy something with a very large bill, the cashier would give it back to you and ask you to hand him the proper, small price in coins, or pay with a credit card. It may seem a bit paranoiac for you, but when I see how other countries like Italy are currently suffering from this virus, I'd rather take all necesary precautions, both for you and for my people.
-"By the way", continues Anna, "I hope you brought masks with you, because we are currently implementing its mandatory use in closed spaces in various locations across the Imperium, and Columbia District is one of them."
Last edited by Astares Amauricanum on Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kyrenaia » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:04 am

Astares Amauricanum wrote:When Fara speak with pride about her brother and his coin collection, the Astarians look and listen to her.
However, before the Princess can continue, Adrean raises his hand to interrupt her.
"Congratulations to your brother Fara-Amira, but I'm afraid what you plan to do won't be possible for many things. First, there is no souvenir shop in the Silver Palace, given it isn't open for visit to the general public. Second, the small shops we have around the Compound are only open for the staff working there, so you would need an authorization to by something there. And third, due to the incoming COVID19 outbreak, one of the precautions we have taken is to restrict the use of paper money and coins. So that means if you would want to buy something with a very large bill, the cashier would give it back to you and ask you to hand him the proper, small price in coins, or pay with a credit card. It may seem a bit paranoiac for you, but when I see how other countries like Italy are currently suffering from this virus, I'd rather take all necesary precautions, both for you and for my people.
-"By the way", continues Anna, "I hope you brought masks with you, because we are currently implementing its mandatory use in closed spaces in various locations across the Imperium, and Columbia District is one of them."


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

Of course we had masks along for the ride, both cloth masks and surgical masks, because we had a Foreign Ministry, which actually did its fucking job and did not pawn that off to an overworked friend of someone, who forgot important information.
Besides, while it could be interpreted as paranoia, it could also be called preparing, which we were doing, too, albeit less... knee-jerking then the Empire. We weren't running around screaming It's the end of the World! Everyone for himself! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!! at everyone, anyone and anything, for starters.
The Imperials were surprisingly defensive of that issue, though.
But anyway, what caused us to look at them oddly was another thing: "No souvenir shop and not open to the public?", Dad asked clearly bemused and not even trying to hide it, "Well, certainly an approach, which one can follow, but not the one you'll find in Kyrenaia."
That was a bit of an understatement.
"I know of several rather fun instances, when Okan led tour groups of High Schoolers through the Azure Hall.", I chimed in with a smile, "He has this way of explaining the frescoes and murals like they were happening right in front of our eyes, which makes you cling to his lips and his every word."
"And both Mahmut, Hassan and Azad can tell many stories about them and the Sultana meeting tour groups 'by coincidence'...", Dad told with a smile, even making the air quotes, "...and conversing with them about the frescoes they were just looking at. There are a few videos on WhoTube, if you care to look."
"Mother and Father do something similar.", Fara added with a small smile, "They love the rooms for the varying exhibitions more, though. We once had one about swords, which was quickly his and Mother's favourite."
We looked to Elian, who shrugged. "Mother isn't too much into the murals and decorations, so she tries to avoid meeting tour groups inside.", he admitted, "And to be honest, I can understand her."
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Postby Astares Amauricanum » Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:04 pm

At Damir bemused question, Adrean and Anna do not reply, only looking back at the Prince with a neutral look that clearly says: Yes. Always has been and always will be.
While the Kyrenaians discuss the various ways they or their family members describe their Palaces and the artworks inside, the Astarians listen wiyh various degrees of interest, Pavel still lightly tapping his fingers against the table.
Once they're finished, before anyone can reply or say anything, Alicia stands up.
"Forgive me, but I need to use the ladies room. Honey, would you care to accompany me there?" she asks with a smile to her husband.
"Sure!" exclaims Pavel in answer with a smile too, before standing up as well and offering his arm for his wife to hold, which she gladly does.
However, just before they exit the living room, Adrean says to them with a mischevious smile, as he takes a sip of his tea. Don't leave any traces. says the Emperor in Astarian, to which the Morozovs reply with a small Rah.. If Alicia's request to her husband had sounded like an innocent one, their friends had immediatly understood that what the Arving Magnam Stohersisia wanted to do with her husband was far from innocent. But still, a good stress relief for Pavel.

Once they have exited the room, Adrean puts down his cup of tea, before clearing his throat.
"An interesting take on things, all of you." he says to the Kyrenaians. "But to come back to your question Prince Damir." he continues as his gaze focuses back on his host, " the answer is no, simoly because being a museum isn't part of the Silver Palace's functions.
His three main functions are: being a living place, a working place, and a military base." continues the Emperor as he counts on his right-hand fingers.
"A living space. As you surely know, in Astarian custom, you do not go looking into someone else's private life, especially if you don't know him. That rule counts double when it comes to the ruling family, aka the Blachkors. If you wer wondering why there weren't many photos of me as a child, aside from a few official ones taken when I was just a baby, this rule is your answer.
-Second, the working place." continues Anna. "When you say Prince, that your mother walks with some of her Viziers, this situation also concerns us with our Secretaries. However, due to the simple fact that some of the things we talk about while walking are secret or sensitive, the last thing we want is to have a potential leak by a tourist who would be listening to something he shouldn't be.
-Indeed." says Adrean with a nod. "Not to mention that in case of an alert, like during 9/11 in 2001 when we were just kids, we had to be evacuated to the bunkers as fast as possible. So do you really think that the staff has time to handle tourists in such a situation? I don't think so.
So, for all these reasons, the Silver Palace never was, and never will be, a museum. Sure, there are some great works inside, but if someone needs informations of photos, there are plenty around the internet and television networks."

Just as the Emperor finishes his explanation, his smartphone rings again, the ringtone indicating that it is Rorke who is calling.
"Damn, this evening sure is busy." says Patricia with a joking tone, to which the other three chuckle a bit before Adrean answers the call.
"Adrean here, what's up Gabriel?...Wait, what?...Oh shit, I'm sorry man, tell her we're all with her... No, look, you take three weeks, that's non negotiable. Your place is with her, not with us. Someone else will handle your job. That's an order Colonel.... Good... Okay, bye." he speaks in Astarian before hanging up.
"Amelia is sick?" immediatly asks Anna with a concerned tone.
"Yup" replies Adrean. "Covid 19, so three weeks of quarantine at home. I'm not too worried, we all know she's a solid woman, she'll make it through just fine.
-That she will." adds Yuri with a nod, to which his wife and friends nod too, before refocusing their attention to the Kyrenaians.
"As you may have understood, Colonel Gabriel Rorke won't be there to welcome you tomorrow, his wife got sick, so I told him to take three weeks of leave to be with her." explains the Emperor before taking another sip of his tea.
"When I told you before that he had no respect for his superiors or protocol, I was joking. Well, partly at least.
You see, back in 2005 at the start of the Civil War," continues the Empress, "Gabriel was one of our military instructors, one of the guys that transformed us high school newbies into battle ready soldiers in just a few months. So for us, he will always be in a way the hard, strict teacher that we knew back then." she says with a bit of nostalgia in her voice. "And he still likes to sometimes act like this today. But don't worry, when we tell him to do something, he does it without question. Even though his answers are not always formal." she finishes with a small chuckle.
"Yeah." answers Adrean with a small chuckle too, his eyes also wet with nostalgia, just like Yuri and Patricia. Even though he was very, very hard with them back then, they reminisced those days under his tutelage with fondness, pride and joy. Colonel Gabriel T Rorke had been one of the people who made them into the adults they were today.

"Anyway, back to business!" exclaims Adrean after a few seconds, clapping his hands onece to call everyone's attention back to the present.
"If you don't mind, I would like to come back to the outbreak. I clearly saw in your eyes that for you, what we are currently preparing tends to be interpreted as paranoia.
-Yup, I saw it too." simply says Patricia with a nod.
"But if we take this outbreak this seriously," finishes Anna, "it's for a good reason." she says with a determined tone, before taking out her smartphonew typing something on it, and then turning it in her hand before putting it down on the table and sliding it towards the center for everyone to see.

On the rectangular screen, the letters A, T, C and G can be seen written in lines, following themselves in an aleatory order. One thing to note, is that every two lines, the letters A face the Ts and the C faces the G.
Someone with a bit of biological culture would easily recognise this as a DNA code, with the four bases Adenin, Thymin, Guanin and Cytosin.
"Care to guess what is this?" asks the Empress with a serious tone, her eyes looking at Damir and Aurelia with attention.
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Kyrenaia
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Kyrenaia » Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:34 pm

Astares Amauricanum wrote:At Damir bemused question, Adrean and Anna do not reply, only looking back at the Prince with a neutral look that clearly says: Yes. Always has been and always will be.
While the Kyrenaians discuss the various ways they or their family members describe their Palaces and the artworks inside, the Astarians listen wiyh various degrees of interest, Pavel still lightly tapping his fingers against the table.
Once they're finished, before anyone can reply or say anything, Alicia stands up.
"Forgive me, but I need to use the ladies room. Honey, would you care to accompany me there?" she asks with a smile to her husband.
"Sure!" exclaims Pavel in answer with a smile too, before standing up as well and offering his arm for his wife to hold, which she gladly does.
However, just before they exit the living room, Adrean says to them with a mischevious smile, as he takes a sip of his tea. Don't leave any traces. says the Emperor in Astarian, to which the Morozovs reply with a small Rah.. If Alicia's request to her husband had sounded like an innocent one, their friends had immediatly understood that what the Arving Magnam Stohersisia wanted to do with her husband was far from innocent. But still, a good stress relief for Pavel.

Once they have exited the room, Adrean puts down his cup of tea, before clearing his throat.
"An interesting take on things, all of you." he says to the Kyrenaians. "But to come back to your question Prince Damir." he continues as his gaze focuses back on his host, " the answer is no, simoly because being a museum isn't part of the Silver Palace's functions.
His three main functions are: being a living place, a working place, and a military base." continues the Emperor as he counts on his right-hand fingers.
"A living space. As you surely know, in Astarian custom, you do not go looking into someone else's private life, especially if you don't know him. That rule counts double when it comes to the ruling family, aka the Blachkors. If you wer wondering why there weren't many photos of me as a child, aside from a few official ones taken when I was just a baby, this rule is your answer.
-Second, the working place." continues Anna. "When you say Prince, that your mother walks with some of her Viziers, this situation also concerns us with our Secretaries. However, due to the simple fact that some of the things we talk about while walking are secret or sensitive, the last thing we want is to have a potential leak by a tourist who would be listening to something he shouldn't be.
-Indeed." says Adrean with a nod. "Not to mention that in case of an alert, like during 9/11 in 2001 when we were just kids, we had to be evacuated to the bunkers as fast as possible. So do you really think that the staff has time to handle tourists in such a situation? I don't think so.
So, for all these reasons, the Silver Palace never was, and never will be, a museum. Sure, there are some great works inside, but if someone needs informations of photos, there are plenty around the internet and television networks."

Just as the Emperor finishes his explanation, his smartphone rings again, the ringtone indicating that it is Rorke who is calling.
"Damn, this evening sure is busy." says Patricia with a joking tone, to which the other three chuckle a bit before Adrean answers the call.
"Adrean here, what's up Gabriel?...Wait, what?...Oh shit, I'm sorry man, tell her we're all with her... No, look, you take three weeks, that's non negotiable. Your place is with her, not with us. Someone else will handle your job. That's an order Colonel.... Good... Okay, bye." he speaks in Astarian before hanging up.
"Amelia is sick?" immediatly asks Anna with a concerned tone.
"Yup" replies Adrean. "Covid 19, so three weeks of quarantine at home. I'm not too worried, we all know she's a solid woman, she'll make it through just fine.
-That she will." adds Yuri with a nod, to which his wife and friends nod too, before refocusing their attention to the Kyrenaians.
"As you may have understood, Colonel Gabriel Rorke won't be there to welcome you tomorrow, his wife got sick, so I told him to take three weeks of leave to be with her." explains the Emperor before taking another sip of his tea.
"When I told you before that he had no respect for his superiors or protocol, I was joking. Well, partly at least.
You see, back in 2005 at the start of the Civil War," continues the Empress, "Gabriel was one of our military instructors, one of the guys that transformed us high school newbies into battle ready soldiers in just a few months. So for us, he will always be in a way the hard, strict teacher that we knew back then." she says with a bit of nostalgia in her voice. "And he still likes to sometimes act like this today. But don't worry, when we tell him to do something, he does it without question. Even though his answers are not always formal." she finishes with a small chuckle.
"Yeah." answers Adrean with a small chuckle too, his eyes also wet with nostalgia, just like Yuri and Patricia. Even though he was very, very hard with them back then, they reminisced those days under his tutelage with fondness, pride and joy. Colonel Gabriel T Rorke had been one of the people who made them into the adults they were today.

"Anyway, back to business!" exclaims Adrean after a few seconds, clapping his hands onece to call everyone's attention back to the present.
"If you don't mind, I would like to come back to the outbreak. I clearly saw in your eyes that for you, what we are currently preparing tends to be interpreted as paranoia.
-Yup, I saw it too." simply says Patricia with a nod.
"But if we take this outbreak this seriously," finishes Anna, "it's for a good reason." she says with a determined tone, before taking out her smartphonew typing something on it, and then turning it in her hand before putting it down on the table and sliding it towards the center for everyone to see.

On the rectangular screen, the letters A, T, C and G can be seen written in lines, following themselves in an aleatory order. One thing to note, is that every two lines, the letters A face the Ts and the C faces the G.
Someone with a bit of biological culture would easily recognise this as a DNA code, with the four bases Adenin, Thymin, Guanin and Cytosin.
"Care to guess what is this?" asks the Empress with a serious tone, her eyes looking at Damir and Aurelia with attention.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

...did they believe my Grandmother to be stupid or something? I knew, that some of Adrean's predecessors weren't exactly setting a high bar, but still. She did not talk secretive matters outside of the appropriate rooms - and a new dam project was hardly secret.
Still, let them live in their fantasy - it was better to be underestimated then overestimated.
Besides, doors were a thing, which existed. Maybe the Imperials were surprised how many things one could keep private behind one of those?
In any case, Dad send a Handmaiden to show the woman, who apparently couldn't go to the shitter without her husband holding her hand, where said shitter was, but then, we let them play out their shenanigans and phone calls and whatnot. Not exactly polite, but if he thought, that he needed to be reachable at all times, we would be willing to overlook it.
And then they accused us of thinking them to be paranoid - well, we did, but not because of that virus and their preparations.
When the Empress showed her tablet, Dad sighed, set down his teacup: "It's a DNA-sequence and you are now going to show us the whole spiel of why that COVID-19 is dangerous and you aren't paranoid for preparing and why things need to be done and yadda-yadda-yadda... seriously, my dear, do you honestly think, that you are the first one to talk to us about that? There is a reason, why we took this vessel and did not take, for example, an aircraft. Four weeks on open sea being one of them." He let a beat pass, to let that sink in, that our return trip would be quarantine, and motioned a Handmaiden for a refill, during which he was silent, then bowed his head politely to the woman. "Truth being told, I do not think you to be paranoid. This entire thing is dangerous and while some might judge your precautions as a little bit over the top, I am not one of them. I am sure, that your advisors, Adrean, told you, what they think is best and you are acting on that."
He shrugged.
"The road to wisdom sometimes includes the alleyway of admitting not knowing.", he quoted an old proverb, "Still... there are some, who are a bit more... shall we say..." He looked for a polite word to use. "...energetic in their response. In what was formerly Eadhra, for example."
I nodded. "President-For-Life Enrerum mobilized the armed forces, closed the borders for any traffic not repatriating travelers, requested all foreign embassies and consulates to not have people travel back and forth and sent his sister to a safe haven within Markaz." I paused for a moment. "The 'Republic' of Cutantiram, the Haven of the Free - under a dictator, who makes the most brutal of the Sultans look like elementary school children." And believe me, I knew, how viciously brutal those little fuckers could be, especially if you were 'different', like having an olive skin tone in a country, where white was the norm, and there was a reason, why I didn't like to speak about Elementary School. "In any case, he uses this pandemic to justify new repressive measures against some minorities in his population and to fabricate propaganda against those, who he does not like. Currently, those would be inhabitants of the neighbouring nation of Malali, formerly part of Eadhra as well and just as much of a dictatorship, only that they are more open about it." I shrugged. "Nothing like a worldwide disaster to stir up support and to find a bad guy to blame for everything, now is there?"
"To be fair, General Konturamarka isn't much better, Aurelia.", Dad reminded me gently with a smile, "So... by the end of 2020, we'll have a small bush war over there, most likely." He shrugged. "Moving along, no, no one here thinks you to be paranoid because of your precautions. A little piece of advice, you two: The world does not revolve around you, no matter, what some people might tell you."
Last edited by Kyrenaia on Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
RPing in MT and PT.

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Astares Amauricanum
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Founded: Jan 30, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:09 pm

Adrean, Anna, Yuri and Patricia listen to the Kyrenaians with attention, some of them nodding at times.
Once they are finished, Adrean looks down to the table, deep in thought, his fingers lightly tapping the table for a few seconds.
"The only thing I'm sure about, is that I know that I know nothing Socrates supposedly said." he reolies as he lifts his eyes back towards Damir. "Always stay humble in front of the vastness of knowledge to learn. One of the first lessons we learn in Philosphy in Middle School, and one that, contrary to what you believe, does not make us believe that the world revolve around us. It's true that our first five hundred years of existence saw us pretty self-centered and not seeing beyond our own lands, but after the Europeans came, we knew there was a world outside, and whether we wanted it or not, we would have to play by its rules.
-So that's what we did." Continues Anna. "And while many would agree that our adaptation was uncertain at first, nowaydays we are a recognized power, just like the Sultanate. But despite our integration, what we've kept for those times is a peculiar cautiousness- that many strangers call paranoia, and in a way they're right- about everything new and unknown to us. And with all the still unanswered questions about the COVID, we can't help but be brought back two years ago, when our Imperium trembled on its bases, and got a good scare." says the Empress as she shows her smartphone with her right index, letting a bit pass to take a sip of her tea.

"What you have in front of your eyes," continues Adrean once his wife has put her cup back down, "is a part of the DNA sequence of a weaponized super virus known as Smallpox Variola Chimera, more commonly known as the Covin Flu or the Green Poison.
To make it short, take a delusioned virologist with genocidal and ecological tendencies, give him a strain of smallpox virus, as well as samples of Dengue, Ebola, H1N1, Hantavirus and Marburg, take the best of each with a DNA printer, and schedule to release it by infecting Covin bank notes who would be used for the 2018 Winterfest preparation time in December, where a lot of people buy things."
As he lets a beat pass, he takes a sip of his tea. Man my bladder is gonna be stretched tonight, when is the pudding arriving? he thinks to himself.
"With the first symptoms easily mistaken for a basic common influenza, a rapid mutation rate making it nearly impossible for conventional drugs, vaccines or antibodies to cure, it's a good recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, in May 2018, the man behind this beauty caught the attention of the FIB, with an assault on his Nova York lab in June. Unfortunately, the then-unfinished virus was released in small quantity in the nearby area, causing the infection of around 8000 people, of which 1800 would later die.
-But while many call all these deaths a catastrophe," follows Patricia, having stayed silent for quite a while now, "we know that it is in fact a good thing, because the virus was not completed, so less pathogenic as expected, and with the summer heat contrary to the winter cold expected at the time of its scheduled release.
In Astarian, we often use the metaphor of the state being a piece of cloth, with the problems being tears that have to be mended. Well, if this would have happened as expected, the Imperium, and maybe the whole world as well, would be reduced to a small number of threads.
-So now, you can tell the Chandshar what really happened in Nova York two years ago." continues Anna. "And this is why today, we take all the precautions that we see fit. Thank the Stars this COVID is less dangerous.
Just to make things clear." continues the Empress as she looks around the table, her eyes conveying a serious but also sad look, "most of us do not enjoy being like this, all mistrustful and all. But what our past experiences and the observation of the nature around us taught us, is that you have to be ready. And when it comes to humans, that count doubles. Our species is able of doing great things and wonders, but also some of the worst atrocities even the most brutal animals would not do to their kindreds." she says with a sigh. "So that's why we're like this. Extending a hand for a shake, but with the other ready to strike in defense. I know that this may unsettle you, but I hope that this may help you understand us Astarians better." she finishes with a sigh, before her husband passes an arm around her shoulder in comfort.
Embassy Program
I don't use NS stats
Change rate: 1 Imperial Covin = 1.86 NSD

Member of: GFTC, IPDA, WHO
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A 1.1428 civilization, according to this one
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Kyrenaia
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Founded: Mar 19, 2013
Father Knows Best State

Postby Kyrenaia » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:01 pm

Astares Amauricanum wrote:Adrean, Anna, Yuri and Patricia listen to the Kyrenaians with attention, some of them nodding at times.
Once they are finished, Adrean looks down to the table, deep in thought, his fingers lightly tapping the table for a few seconds.
"The only thing I'm sure about, is that I know that I know nothing Socrates supposedly said." he reolies as he lifts his eyes back towards Damir. "Always stay humble in front of the vastness of knowledge to learn. One of the first lessons we learn in Philosphy in Middle School, and one that, contrary to what you believe, does not make us believe that the world revolve around us. It's true that our first five hundred years of existence saw us pretty self-centered and not seeing beyond our own lands, but after the Europeans came, we knew there was a world outside, and whether we wanted it or not, we would have to play by its rules.
-So that's what we did." Continues Anna. "And while many would agree that our adaptation was uncertain at first, nowaydays we are a recognized power, just like the Sultanate. But despite our integration, what we've kept for those times is a peculiar cautiousness- that many strangers call paranoia, and in a way they're right- about everything new and unknown to us. And with all the still unanswered questions about the COVID, we can't help but be brought back two years ago, when our Imperium trembled on its bases, and got a good scare." says the Empress as she shows her smartphone with her right index, letting a bit pass to take a sip of her tea.

"What you have in front of your eyes," continues Adrean once his wife has put her cup back down, "is a part of the DNA sequence of a weaponized super virus known as Smallpox Variola Chimera, more commonly known as the Covin Flu or the Green Poison.
To make it short, take a delusioned virologist with genocidal and ecological tendencies, give him a strain of smallpox virus, as well as samples of Dengue, Ebola, H1N1, Hantavirus and Marburg, take the best of each with a DNA printer, and schedule to release it by infecting Covin bank notes who would be used for the 2018 Winterfest preparation time in December, where a lot of people buy things."
As he lets a beat pass, he takes a sip of his tea. Man my bladder is gonna be stretched tonight, when is the pudding arriving? he thinks to himself.
"With the first symptoms easily mistaken for a basic common influenza, a rapid mutation rate making it nearly impossible for conventional drugs, vaccines or antibodies to cure, it's a good recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, in May 2018, the man behind this beauty caught the attention of the FIB, with an assault on his Nova York lab in June. Unfortunately, the then-unfinished virus was released in small quantity in the nearby area, causing the infection of around 8000 people, of which 1800 would later die.
-But while many call all these deaths a catastrophe," follows Patricia, having stayed silent for quite a while now, "we know that it is in fact a good thing, because the virus was not completed, so less pathogenic as expected, and with the summer heat contrary to the winter cold expected at the time of its scheduled release.
In Astarian, we often use the metaphor of the state being a piece of cloth, with the problems being tears that have to be mended. Well, if this would have happened as expected, the Imperium, and maybe the whole world as well, would be reduced to a small number of threads.
-So now, you can tell the Chandshar what really happened in Nova York two years ago." continues Anna. "And this is why today, we take all the precautions that we see fit. Thank the Stars this COVID is less dangerous.
Just to make things clear." continues the Empress as she looks around the table, her eyes conveying a serious but also sad look, "most of us do not enjoy being like this, all mistrustful and all. But what our past experiences and the observation of the nature around us taught us, is that you have to be ready. And when it comes to humans, that count doubles. Our species is able of doing great things and wonders, but also some of the worst atrocities even the most brutal animals would not do to their kindreds." she says with a sigh. "So that's why we're like this. Extending a hand for a shake, but with the other ready to strike in defense. I know that this may unsettle you, but I hope that this may help you understand us Astarians better." she finishes with a sigh, before her husband passes an arm around her shoulder in comfort.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

I was starting to doubt, that they were even bloody listening to what we said and just latched on to some key words and tried to construct a conversation out of it by improvisation while also information dumping like this was some sort of crash course.
No one ever suggested, that we believed their schools to teach them to be arrogant, for example.
In any case, we listened to their explanation and when Anna had finished, Dad let out an "Aha." It as about as noncommital as any reply could get. "Bully for you, then."
He leaned back.
"What interests me more, is the question of which political implications all this, and I mean Corona, has on the world and on Kyrenaia and the people we have dealings with. That, now, includes you. We have dealings with each other." He made a sweeping gesture, encompassing the entire Large Dining Room, as if to say, that this was the proof, that, yes, we were dealing with each other, like it or not. "Now, as this entire thing is rather unpredictable, I am aware of that, and whether or not the Empire or the Sultanate even exist by the end of this year..." He gave them a look of Spare me the national bravado, we both know, that the collapse of all stately function is a possibility. It was a very telling look. "... is about as sure as a conflict between Cutantiram and Malali - Manat only knows and She knows, when She weaves it into Her Tapestry."
He smiled a bit wider.
"Now, tell me... what do you think will happen to the Empire when the Pandemic is over?", he asked. "And please spare us the propaganda."
RPing in MT and PT.

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Astares Amauricanum
Diplomat
 
Posts: 881
Founded: Jan 30, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Astares Amauricanum » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:14 pm

When Damir asks his question, Adrean and Anna look at each other, before looking back to Damir with a smile as wide as the Prince's
"Don't worry about the propaganda, " starts the Empress, "concerning a subject like that, you won't find any coming from us. Not the time to make things appear brighter as they may be.
-She's right," continues her husband. "Now Damir, you do realize that just like our discussion about the painting an hour ago, this is a subject that can not be summed up in just a few words, and needs many different aspects to be taken in its entirety. If you want me to detail everything, fine, but we would still be there by tomorrow's morning. Still, I'll try to sum up some of the main aspects.
Demographically first, we'll see a light increase in deaths for sure. Some preliminar reports from foreign health agencies tend to show that the people really at risk are the elderly or the ones already with some comorbidities like diabetes.
Economically, some sectors will be hit hard. Tourism as well as aerial travel would be a prime example. So we'll have to inject some money in the system at some point to keep it afloat and do not end up with a crackdown. The Department of the Treasury is finalizing plans for state-guaranteed loans as we speak.
However, contrary to some countries like Italy -where our first medical units arrived to help them take care of the overwhelming quantity of patients - who has currently put entire regions in confinement, stopping all the economy aside from basic services such as grocery stores, we do not intend to do the same thing. Why? The answer is simple: testing, testing and more testing, along with hydroalcoholic gel and masks if need be.
Confinement is an option in the works too, but from all solutions, it's rather the end of the spectrum, when you have nothing else available. And unfortunately, in Europe, this seems to be the case, contrary to us.
-Concerning foreign affairs and international relations, us bringing help to some countries in difficulty should help us win some more points." follows Anna. "However, what we'll be keeping in close watch will be how will China will be treated afterwards.
-So, to try and sum everything to give you an answer Damir," finishes Adrean, "I would say that after the storm has passed, we'll be a bit weakened, we'll assess everything, get the feedbacks, and act in consequence and do the changes that must be done. It won't be easy, but we'll still be there. Different for sure in many aspects, but still there."

Just as he finishes his sentence, the door opens again, and comes in again Pavel and Alicia, holding hands. In sharp contrast to when he left the room, the male Morozov now seems happier and relaxed, a warm smile on his face. However, one's eyes would immediatly be drawn to Alicia's neck, where a purple speck has now appeared on the left, just above her collarbone. In other words, a hickey.
With a small hand gesture, Adrean orders them to sit again, to which they comply without a word. Once they are seated, the Imperial Couple, as well as the Petrenkos, look at them with raised eyebrows, as if to ask how their private moment went. To that, the Morozovs simply answer with a nod and smile.
"And of course, on a more private level, I think that my wife's and my Personal Guard's love life will be as intense as ever." says the Emperor
-Just like us." says Anna with a smile as she pecks her husband on the cheek.
-Indeed." finishes her husband as he pecks her back, before looking again at their hosts.
Embassy Program
I don't use NS stats
Change rate: 1 Imperial Covin = 1.86 NSD

Member of: GFTC, IPDA, WHO
A 15.833 civilization, according to this index.
A 1.1428 civilization, according to this one
Nation ranked 8/10 according to this scale

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Kyrenaia
Senator
 
Posts: 3586
Founded: Mar 19, 2013
Father Knows Best State

Postby Kyrenaia » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:32 pm

Astares Amauricanum wrote:When Damir asks his question, Adrean and Anna look at each other, before looking back to Damir with a smile as wide as the Prince's
"Don't worry about the propaganda, " starts the Empress, "concerning a subject like that, you won't find any coming from us. Not the time to make things appear brighter as they may be.
-She's right," continues her husband. "Now Damir, you do realize that just like our discussion about the painting an hour ago, this is a subject that can not be summed up in just a few words, and needs many different aspects to be taken in its entirety. If you want me to detail everything, fine, but we would still be there by tomorrow's morning. Still, I'll try to sum up some of the main aspects.
Demographically first, we'll see a light increase in deaths for sure. Some preliminar reports from foreign health agencies tend to show that the people really at risk are the elderly or the ones already with some comorbidities like diabetes.
Economically, some sectors will be hit hard. Tourism as well as aerial travel would be a prime example. So we'll have to inject some money in the system at some point to keep it afloat and do not end up with a crackdown. The Department of the Treasury is finalizing plans for state-guaranteed loans as we speak.
However, contrary to some countries like Italy -where our first medical units arrived to help them take care of the overwhelming quantity of patients - who has currently put entire regions in confinement, stopping all the economy aside from basic services such as grocery stores, we do not intend to do the same thing. Why? The answer is simple: testing, testing and more testing, along with hydroalcoholic gel and masks if need be.
Confinement is an option in the works too, but from all solutions, it's rather the end of the spectrum, when you have nothing else available. And unfortunately, in Europe, this seems to be the case, contrary to us.
-Concerning foreign affairs and international relations, us bringing help to some countries in difficulty should help us win some more points." follows Anna. "However, what we'll be keeping in close watch will be how will China will be treated afterwards.
-So, to try and sum everything to give you an answer Damir," finishes Adrean, "I would say that after the storm has passed, we'll be a bit weakened, we'll assess everything, get the feedbacks, and act in consequence and do the changes that must be done. It won't be easy, but we'll still be there. Different for sure in many aspects, but still there."

Just as he finishes his sentence, the door opens again, and comes in again Pavel and Alicia, holding hands. In sharp contrast to when he left the room, the male Morozov now seems happier and relaxed, a warm smile on his face. However, one's eyes would immediatly be drawn to Alicia's neck, where a purple speck has now appeared on the left, just above her collarbone. In other words, a hickey.
With a small hand gesture, Adrean orders them to sit again, to which they comply without a word. Once they are seated, the Imperial Couple, as well as the Petrenkos, look at them with raised eyebrows, as if to ask how their private moment went. To that, the Morozovs simply answer with a nod and smile.
"And of course, on a more private level, I think that my wife's and my Personal Guard's love life will be as intense as ever." says the Emperor
-Just like us." says Anna with a smile as she pecks her husband on the cheek.
-Indeed." finishes her husband as he pecks her back, before looking again at their hosts.


Princess Aurelia bint-Damir.
Large Dining Room of the Aurelia.

I listened to the measures they wanted to take and had to say... they did not sound too different from what we had in mind - and from what I knew. With one massive exception: As so far no reliable test was available, now, that it was still the beginning of February, and the reagents were still seen to, our strategy currently relied on isolating known cases and making everyone aware of the symptoms (although they were apparently non-specific, which made it difficult), so the authorities expected a drop in economic output (and there were already plans to support companies especially in the small and medium sized sectors in the drawers).
And we would not develop a hate-boner for China.
We had more important things to do, for example keeping our neck of the woods peaceful.
Generally, it was the normal pandemic plan, to my knowledge, with a few specifics altered here and there. No need to upset the apple cart too much, after all.
Then the Morozovs returned from their potty excursion, the Handmaiden, who had guided them, leaning down to Dad's ear and whispering something to him, which made him visibly loose all respect he might have had for the couple.
I'd ask him later.
Still, none of us had any interest in which impact the pandemic would have on their love live - there were private matters and if someone was complaining about not opening the own palace to the public due to it maybe showing a bit too much of the private life to the public, they should not tell a foreign diplomatic delegation, that they'd fuck more now during an international crisis. It sends mixed signals.
What was, in my eyes, worse though, was how Anna allowed Adrean to objectify her so much, but if that was, how their relationship works...
"Interesting.", Dad said, thanked the Handmaiden, and then continued: "Now, with you, Colonels, returned, and apparently in higher spirits, to something happier, namely..." He grinned. "...pudding!"
The way he emphasized that made me burst out laughing, so over the top like a kid expecting his favourite dessert. There were chuckles and laughs all around the table from our people.
And indeed, a dozen serving Handmaidens came into the room with high glasses full of the delectable treat, which made my mouth water as the Handmaiden placed it in front of us.
"Aurelia, would you mind telling us a bit about the dessert?", Dad asked with a grin, knowing me and that his outburst would have been more along my lines then his - and neither of us minded.
"Of course, Father.", I said with a smile, then turned to the assembly: "This is Bómarseog, or Milk-Pudding, a treat from the Free Lands of the Selkie, where I was born. A creamy dish, thickened with starch or eggs and refined with whatever you wish. In this case..." I took a look and smiled. "...walnuts and strawberry sauce." Minced walnuts were sprinkled over the top of the pudding, while a good helping of deep red strawberry sauce sat on the plate as well. I smiled and then added: "A treat worthy of Cailb, that's for sure!"
"Wait, Cailb - isn't that the destruction-goddess in the Selkie-Pantheon?", Abbas asked with a small smile.
I grinned. "She's the Goddess of Death, Destruction, Rebirth and Pudding.", I said, "There's a myth explaining that combination. For now... may I, Father?" I looked to Dad, who nodded in assent. "For now, let's dig in!"
And with a smile, I did.
It was sweet, milk thickened with eggs, in this case, whipped cream folded into it. The whole mass had then been put into a mold and chilled until firm until it was time to turn it out onto a serving plate and decorated.
It was delicious!
RPing in MT and PT.

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Astares Amauricanum
Diplomat
 
Posts: 881
Founded: Jan 30, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Astares Amauricanum » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:27 am

If all the Astarians do not miss Damir's expression when the Handmaiden whispers into his ear, they do not visibly react about it. After all, considering the rumors they believed to be true about Damir and Aurelia, their respect for their host in that regard were about as high as the one he now had for the Morozovs.
All those bad thoughts however, are pushed aside when the Handmaidens bring the puddings, Adrean, Anna and their friends thanking the handmaidens with warm smiles. They listen to Aurelia's explanation, before nodding to her once she's finished and digging in too.

But just as the first bite reach their mouth and they start chewing, the six Imperials freeze on the spot as one, their faces locked in a neutral expression, their eyes suddenly seemingly becoming blank, no emotions or even life felt in them.
As they swallow, a few more seconds pass in silence, before the muscles of their necks visibly contract...
...Only for the quietness of the room to be suddenly shattered as six piercing cries - or more accurately, shrieks- emanate from the Imperials as they raise their hands to their heads, the high-pitched sounds of Alicia, Patricia and Anna's voices mixing with the deeper tones of their husbands. Horror, pain, misery, the sounds emanating from them reflecting all these feelings and more.
As the sounds die down, it's only to be immediatly followed by agonishing sobs, as the Astarians fall to their sides, some of them curling into foetal positions.
Whatever they were thinking about now, it was not happy at all.
Seems like Aurelia was right after all, this pudding was really worthy of the Goddess of Death and Destruction...
Last edited by Astares Amauricanum on Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Embassy Program
I don't use NS stats
Change rate: 1 Imperial Covin = 1.86 NSD

Member of: GFTC, IPDA, WHO
A 15.833 civilization, according to this index.
A 1.1428 civilization, according to this one
Nation ranked 8/10 according to this scale

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