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Trinity’s Trysts [Closed, GO Only]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Achesia
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Founded: Sep 26, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Trinity’s Trysts [Closed, GO Only]

Postby Achesia » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:04 pm



“Say Princess!” The camera man held up bunny ears above his lens as the flash exploded, even the daylight not quenching its brightness. In front of the camera a group of a little over a dozen stood close together, their own bunny ear fingers out as they smiled brightly for the camera. At the center of this gaggle was one young Trinity Avondale, Princess of her namesake. Around her were the fighter pilots of the 203rd Combat Fighter Squadron assigned the Fighter Group South-East. Trinity giggled at the photographers prompt, her bright smile enough to make the flight jockeys all jockey with each other to get closer to her.

Trinity’s popularity had skyrocketed since the incidents of a few months ago. People from all across Ackesia wanted to see her, hear her, or be her. Even on the republican military base (a place she trepidatiously visited due to her encounter at the palace with the army) she was an idol. Airmen came out of the woodwork to get a signed photo of her, take pictures with her, and lay eyes on the beauty of the east. One such airman after receiving a signature on a photo of Trinity from a few years back, praised loudly to Beo as he held it in the air and hugged it. Of course behind him his senior NCO gave him a quick thwack on the head, an encounter the girl would not soon forget, laughing about it even now.

Taking it all in stride Trinity enjoyed the light hearted visit to the air base, it was on special invitation of the commander to commemorate her 20th Birthday. It was a bit belated, but Trinity did not feel much like celebrating when her home was under siege by Ackerman’s men.

Most importantly she was anxious to receive her birthday present from the squadron, a ride up into the skies in an Ackesian Air Force F-14E Accipiter. Behind her the sound of dozens of young pilots who pushed and shoved to be close to her, and the whine of the engines that sent a chill down her spine. The girl was eager for some adventure to try and alleviate some of the dark in her life.

“Milady are you ready to go up?” The commander of the squadron held a helmet and mask in his arms as he stood before the Princess. Trinity already wore her custom squadron flight suit, one that they even embroidered with her name and rank of Princess.

“Yes sir!” Trinity stood up straight and eager.

Several of the young pilots lunged forward, standing swiftly at attention before their commander.

“Sir my pre-flights are checked out, I am all ready to take her up.” One said smartly, his chest puffed out.

“Negative poltergeist passenger, I am ready sir.” The next disputed.

“Sir I have flown the most combat missions here, it should be me.” A third came between the two others.

Soon the whole of the contingent was rambling about how it should be them to take Trinity high into the sky alone. The Princess giggled, not really bothered or embarrassed by their eagerness, just amused by the whole thing.

“At ease!” The commander finally yelled, the masses silent as they await to hear who would be the officer to take the darling of Ackesia in the air.

“Milady, We are very happy to have you here to give you this honor.” The older man smiled down at Trinity, she thought his expression much like that of her fathers.
“But these fools I have here… children playing with toys.” He glanced at his men, their heads hung low as they knew they pushed it too far.
“That is milady, compared to the pilot you brought with you.”

Trinity looked perplexed at the commander, wondering why he had such low confidence in Ackesia’s finest aviators and who was the pilot she brought with her.

“Captain Reqyn here…” the commander shook his head and smiled. “...I served with him in years past and you won't find a better pilot than that crazy bastard. All that time in Group getting crossed trained on different weapons platforms and I would have done anything to steal him for my squadron.”

Julian froze, having previously coordinated Trinity’s security element he heard his name faintly before he understood what was going on. A chill ran up his spine, and as he and Trinity’s eyes met he could tell she was flustered as well.

The Princess coughed suddenly, her stomach fluttering at the commander’s words as a rosey red donned on ber cheeks.

“You know Reqyn, why don’t you take her up?” He tossed a spare helmet to Julian.
“Perhaps milady would be more comfortable with the captain flying you than one of these goons?” The commander asked obliviously.

They had not spoken in weeks. Ever since their extra judicious encounter in Trinity’s office the two had not said a word to each other. It was not for lack of amazement or wonder the experience brought to the Princess, instead the experienced and tested public speaker lost all words and expression whenever she saw him. She wanted desperately to speak to him, to feel the way she felt with him once more, yet something stopped her, a gap in her throat.

Julian on his part wanted to reach out to her too. But her sudden silence pushed him to the thought that she regretted their encounter, thus he stuck to the promise he made her from afar. This was despite how often their duties intersected.

In the distance a snorting laugh briefly escaped Petra as she watched near the limo. Both handmaidens have watched this play out since the day Trinity collapsed crying into his arms. Both extremely bold girls amused how childish the princess could be, even though Julian and Trinity’s relationship and feelings were unorthodox and tangled with unhealthy impediments.

“Milady?” The commander still didn’t know what was going on.

“Oh… uh yes. Yes the captain would be… great.” Trinity looked to Julian, exchanging one of their signature wayward stares into each other's eyes.

Julian took a deep breath.
“Sir its uh… been awhile.” He shrugged, trying to make an excuse so the Princess didn’t have to be with him. He did not think she wanted to be, and wanted to spare her of that.

“Nonsense!” The clueless commander waved his hand. “No one else here had taken out three boogeys in one sortie like you did in the war.” Several eyebrows from the envious pilots were raised. “And in a beat up old rig too I might add.” The commander doted on Julian to the real pilots.

“Those were desperate times.” Julian tried to deflect.

Trinity wondered just how much she still didn’t know about him, his many talents often coming as a surprise.

“I don’t mind if you are… up to it Captain.” She had a timidness to her, a fragile expression painting her face as her eyes consumed Julian once more.

“See indulge your boss! Maybe you’ll get a promotion!” The commander cackled as he motioned for a few of the other pilots to get him a flight suit.

Relenting, Julian turned to get ready, behind him Anya and Petra smiling as bright as can be.

“Ugh… just don’t today.” He shook his head as he walked past them.

After a few moments of suiting up and pre-flight checks, Trinity and Julian boarded their F-14E on the tarmac of the air base. Up front Julian ran through a systems check as The small girl in a baggy green flight suit climbed up the ladder with some assistance before heaving herself into the second seat.

“Aight Captain she is all yours.” The commander referenced both the bird and the plane Julian was about to fly with. “Go easy on her eh?” The ladder was soon retracted and canopy closed.

There were no words exchanged between the two for the longest time. Trinity too timid as she stared at the back of Julian’s helmet and Julian too concerned with bothering her. It was a strange relationship they had, and understanding how to handle each other had not quite developed. But there was a definite trust between them, a trust to be expected with the promises they made each other. Trinity despite not eluding it, felt more comfortable with Julian in front of her than any pilot in all of Ackesia.

“Alright, flight control this is violet wun, permission to taxi to runway five for immediate cross vector lift.” Julain spoke into the mic as they began to lurch forward in the mighty bird.

“Are you ready for this Princess?” He grabbed the handle bar on the canopy as they taxied.

That was the first words he had said directly to her since… that day. She felt a lump in her throat as he peered back at her, taking a deep breath which Julian assumed was nerves. But for Trinity the only thing she feared right now was him, whenever she saw him, locked eyes with him, there was both life and death…

Finding her nerves she leaned forward, coming as close to him as the seat belt would allow her, the closet she had been to him since.
“Uh huh, I am ready. Despite what the good commander says don’t go easy on me.” There was a confident and reckless tone to her voice. Julian knew the young girl was seeking a thrill to distract herself from her pains. It's a stage everyone goes through.

“So you sure are a man of many talents Captain…” Julian could see her green eyes staring at him in the mirror. “What other dangerous hobbies do you have?”

Julian twerked his head, wanting to say “fooling around with princesses was the most dangerous thing he has done yet” but didn’t have the guts to do it. Instead he decided to go with the vague answer.

“Well milady when you do what I have done for a living then you do whatever you need to survive.” He flipped a few switches to get the engines hot as they reached the runway.

Trinity grimaced, Julian seemed content to remain a mystery to her.
“Didn’t I tell you that day to just call me Trinity?” Her tone more sultry, Julian even more confused about how the Princess felt about him.

“Uh… well ya, you know they can hear your mic right…. milady?” Julian looked at the girl who clearly didn't realize ATC, squadron, and god knows who else could listen in on their comms.

Trinity’s face turned red, her body sinking back so small into her seat.

There was that stone cold face she had been giving him again, Julain sighed as the two of them took one step forward and two steps back.

“Alright… this is Violet wun, pulling out.” Julian hit the throttle on their F-14E, turning the nozzles of the thrust vector fans up and throwing the plane forward. If the princess didn’t want it easy, then he had no issue giving it to her hard.

Pulling back the plane sprinted down the runway, and once they gained some air, the nimble fighter jet pulled backwards and shot straight up, Trinity grabbing on tightly as she “woohoo’ed” her way into the sky. It was the first time he had seen Trinity smile that brightly and freely, her excitement and joy in that moment something he would never forget as her eyes widened with the increase of G-forces.

Distracted by the beautiful girl, and the internal promises he made himself about her, he entirely forgot to level out. His passenger soon slumped back in her sleep as the blood rushed to her head.

“Ah shit…” he brought them down a notch, coming level with the clouds over Ackesia. For a brief moment he saw her sleeping there in her seat, soft cheek picking up the rays of sun as they flew together.

Julian knew he was going to hell, how could he look at himself knowing he was forsaking the memory of Chiyo with the connection he made with this girl?

Soon Trinity came too, her woohoo’ing and exclamations of amazement unending as Julian took her on a trip through the clouds.

—-

Palace of Avondale-

“And so I want to thank you all, for coming here to my home this weekend. I hope we can all build memories together and enjoy the best of what the Principality of Avondale, and Ackesia has to offer…”

Julian watched her effortlessly orate her way through the opening of the reception kicking off the weekend long celebration of her belated birthday. The blood looked to have returned to her cheeks some since their flight together yesterday, his eyes wandering around her as he stood near the door supervising security that evening.

The reception was an intimate affair, held in one of the smaller dining rooms meant to only seat 50 guests. Here Princess Trinity thanked those that attended, monarchs from foreign lands, diplomatic representatives, businessnessmen. She held a flute to her special guests from Produzland, Pathaonopia, Lunderfrau and Meronnia, giving them her brightest diplomatic smile.

Yet Julian knew from seeing her high in the sky that was not her real smile. The strong and diplomatic woman standing up before the crowd of her guests tonight in an elegant blue dress and done up blonde hair was a far cry from her true self smiling in the clouds with him. If only he could live that moment over again…

“Please enjoy yourselves during your stay, my home is your home.” Trinity nodded to her staff who began to bring out drinks and the courses of tonight's meal. She sat down in the middle of the table, noblemen and women from Parthonopia, Produzland, Lunderfrau, and Meronnia all around her.

This was one unpleasant affair that Julian would not be able to save her from, his eyes drifting to the pretty-boy princes eying her with hunger.

Schedule of Events:
Friday Evening: Arrival and Reception Dinner
Saturday AM: Tour and Free Time Around Avondale
Saturday Afternoon: Charity event at Orphanage
Saturday Evening: Ball, dinner, fireworks
Sunday AM: Farewell brunch


OOC
The idea here is your parties have all already arrived, the reception is going on. Feel free to make posts (long or short) of folks talking or doing things. We will move to the next event in one RL week.

Feel free too to break away from the single reception as well. Things can happen outside of these events as well (some probably should)
Last edited by Achesia on Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Produzir
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Produzir » Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:37 pm

Filipe carried in a large box of wines, tequila, and whiskey and placed it on a table presumed to be gifts for the Princess. He stood alone as his father, King José left him to greet his many relatives attending the party. It was much more a family reunion that a birthday party. Filipe's mother on the other hand wasn't born a royal at all but came anyways and began talking to the noble ladies of the gathering, leaving Filipe to scan the room with his hands behind his back leaning against the table. He didn't exactly do his research before coming either, he wasn't even sure if he knew what the birthday girl, Trinity of Avondale, looked like, although he knew her slightly from her controversial SignPosts.

Boredom began growing on the eighteen-year old prince, he began considering taking a swig of Trinity's birthday gifts to pass the time, or searching for someone his age to try to communicate with. Deciding to stand up from his aloof position at the table he trotted around the palace, the sent of heavy cologne filling his poor nose. "Beo, how about you take a shower before coming instead of trying to mask your stench with pounds of perfume and cologne", he thought to himself.

After walking through a hallway, and getting bumped into by a random Vaalser noble that didn't even apologize, Filipe rolled his eyes and ran his hand through his dark brown hair, hoping to reach the main reception hall to judge the foods available. Eventually reaching a small dining room looked to seat about fifty guests. He prematurely sat down in a random chair along the long side of the dining table. Whipping out his phone, which if his father knew about he'd tell him off for being 'disrespectful', he simply started texting friends and complained on his PicFlic story. Then, a blonde girl looking to be about his age began speaking to the whole room, soon losing track of what he was doing. She thanked all the guests for coming but frankly Filipe did not care about a single word she said, only admiring her tight blue dress that showed off curves and her done up hair. Once she finished speaking she nodded to her servants and they began bringing out food and drinks. At that moment Filipe knew exactly what he wanted to do at this party.

Despite food getting placed along the table, Filipe stood up, and decided he was going to switch seats at the last second, making his way around the table, he adjusted his tie and sat down next to the blonde girl. Whether he was interrupting anything or not he did not care. Despite it being a complete lie, he opened to the girl with; "Hey, I feel like I recognize you, have we met before?"
Last edited by Produzir on Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Achesia
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Founded: Sep 26, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Achesia » Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:17 pm

Trinity as she sat down took a deep and unobvious breath, recalling how her mother and father would entertain many noble guests from around the world effortlessly. This was her first time being on her own in such a crowd, as she sat down at her chair it felt a bit overwhelming. Around her were some of the most powerful and oldest dynasties in Lira, something the young girl tried to let escape her mind as she adjusted her skirt and elegantly took a sip of her ice water.

To her surprise as she began to get comfortable in her seat a boy swooped in to an empty one next to her. Taking a look at the nameplate of the seat to understand who she would be talking to, she curiously compared the face and name. This certainly did not look like Duke Eidgio of Massa, her brows raised as he looked the boy next to her up and down. As she listened to his introduction and studied his face a sly grin crossed her face.

“Well yes we have….” She gave a lighthearted chuckle and friendly smile. Trinity being the studious girl that she was would recognize her second cousin, once removed the Prince of Produzland, Filipe de Beltrão. “It's been… six or eight years?” She tried to think back to the last time her father either hosted, or took them to go see King Jose and her queen aunt.

She sized up the Princling with her eyes, trying to figure out exactly his vector here. The younger boy certainly had grown since they last met, handsome in a boyish sort of way.

Turning in her chair a bit to face the pretender to the throne of Massa she grinned, greeting Filipe.

“It's been a long time Filipe, how are you?” She folded her hands properly in her lap, ever the proper and well mannered girl.
Last edited by Achesia on Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Produzir
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Produzir » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:54 pm

Filipe was surprised she recognized him, he didn't recognize Trinity at all from when they were younger. His second cousin definitely had a glow up if anything, he thought to himself. The smile she gave him charmed the young prince, as he tried to remember the times his late grandfather took him and his father to Ackesia, or when the Avondales came to Burlon. She seemed excited to meet him again, a good first step, giving him the old reliable question; "How are you?" Keeping her hands together at her lap while Filipe had one hand out toying with his fingers and his other hand by his side.

"Much better now that I have someone to talk to, well, at least someone I can enjoy talking to", he said casually before giving a slight chuckle. It was an easy line he always had in his back pocket. He eyed the girl up and down, biting his tongue.

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Meronnia
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Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:46 pm

René Alard made a heart out of his hands and smiled, looking into the phone camera. After the selfie was taken, he turned and smiled to Lady Vorgrimler, who thanked him giddily. He kissed her on the cheek and shook her hand, before sitting back down at his table. It wasn't the worst seating, he'd made it to the exclusive table after all, but he was across and a few seats down from the host; precedence given to those with titles rather than social media followings. As he settled back into his chair, a plate and glass were put before him, and he thanked the server.

"Try the soup, it's good." Sitting to his left, Jochum Harm Rikkert Claassen, nodded to him. He spoke in Soliçian, with a distinct homey Vaalser accent. Jochum was the oldest son of Martien Nard Jan-Hendrik Claassen, the man who held the strange distinction of being called a Prince in a country with no nobility - a compromise or reward for Medemvoort Commune, from a historic episode during the revolution. They'd met a few times at functions, and had a correspondence online. Sure enough, the princeling gave good advice - the soup was excellent.

"Quite a party, hm?" René asked.

Jochum waved a hand in the air. "It's her twentieth. This is reserved compared to some. And from what I hear, she needs to blow off some steam, after..." he shrugged.

Nodding, René looked over to the center of the table, where the Ackesian princess was seated. She'd certainly had a tough year.

"Have you met her?" René asked.

Jochum shook his head. "Never, always wrong place or wrong time. Seems nice on SignPost though. You?"

"Yeah. I boarded at an academy here for a few years, we studied together. She is nice."

The two boys nodded quietly for a second, before Jochum's eyes caught on something. He bumped René's shoulder. "Look at this."

The two of them watched as the heir to the Produese throne, in all his immature swagger, pulled up to Princess Trinity and sat in someone else's seat. He tried to sit casually, and leaned in to talk to her. She politely turned to chat with him. Jochum scoffed, and he and René shared a knowing glance. "C'est un garçon de baise, hein?"
Last edited by Meronnia on Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Achesia
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Founded: Sep 26, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Achesia » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:00 am

Well her cousin certainly was forward, she shifted in her seat a bit as she chuckled with him. Certainly the princeling thought pretty highly of himself, his confident swagger seething of self entitlement as he eyed her up and down. Trinity made no misconception to herself that she was unattractive, a set of confidence to herself, but at least she was subtle about it. Yet as he continued their conversation, albeit in a rather cliche and boyish way it was certainly entertaining. She imagined that Filipe was a bit more fun of a conversation than Duke Edigio of Massa.

“Oh my, is my party that boring?” She smiled at him, enjoying putting the princling in the hot seat as he thought she would be easy to pick up and flirt with.

It was then out of the corner of her eye she saw a face that she had not seen in a long while. Across the table a few meters from her the face of Rene Alard had briefly looked at her, his gaze unlingering like Filipe’s. It had been years since he attended the same academy as her, Trinity remembered studying music in the same class as Rene, a virtual prodigy he was. There were many afternoons when she sat with him in the music room of their school daydreaming about being his muse, the arm candy of a handsome musician.

She smirked when she thought about all those girlish moments. A woman grown, she now knew better, but his allure still bites. As Filipe chatted in her ear, Princess Trinity listened attentively, meanwhile waiting to catch Rene’s gaze. Once she said she would give him a small wave and bright smile.

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Nova Sylva
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Nova Sylva » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:26 am

“Oh, Anatoli!” The woman said, seductively. The bed shook. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Anatoli Istrati grunted in unison with his exertions. The king size bed in the Presidential Palace shook with the pair’s congress - as the thrusts grew faster and the woman’s speech higher-pitched, and as Anatoli neared the climax of the effort, there was a knock on the door. He attempted to ignore the knocks in favor of the woman below him, but as they grew louder and more incessant, he cursed loudly in Vlachavian. “Dracu 'asta!

“Sorry, girl,” he said, as he threw on his robe and stepped over the variety of female undergarments scattered across the floor. “There is money on the table.” Anatoli tied the robe’s mid waist and walked to the door, preparing to punch whoever was on the other side. He opened it, and stood into the eyes of Miron Filipescu, his aide-de-camp and personal secretary.

“Moron,” Anatoli said, combining an insult with the aide’s name in a way that he found hilarious, “if you could not hear through that deft head of yours, I was busy satisfying the needs of a citizen of our great Republic.”

Morin’s face remained as impassive as ever. “Of course, Colonel. The President requires your presence in the drawing room. He stresses the importance of punctuality.”

Anatoli had been a member of the Vlachavian aristocracy since his conception. As the son of his father the President, he had spent the last nineteen years of his life enjoying the high life and becoming accustomed to the privileges that his father’s position afforded him. But he knew enough about the syntax and diction of a statement such as the one Miron had issued to read between the lines. Since it was ‘The President’ giving the orders to retrieve him, and not ‘his father,’ this would not be a social call or another one of his damn lectures on “responsibility.” ‘Requires your presence,’ instead of, say, ‘Requests your attendance,’ meant that Anatoli didn’t have a choice in coming or not. And “stressing the importance of punctuality,” was telling him in no uncertain terms to hurry the fuck up.

Colonel was a rank afforded to Anatoli after his formal military education had ended last year. He had (a plethora) of uniforms to match the title, and it was perhaps the only thing he took seriously in life. When he wasn’t drinking or fucking, Anatoli enjoyed attending the maneuvers of his personal regiment of mechanized troops. They always looked so perfect in their shiny boots and dress uniforms, and he would get to match them to and fro on the parade ground, admiring their in-step unison and perfect, concise turns. He had never taken his regiment into the field for training, but he knew that any army that could march as perfectly as his could would steamroll any opponent in its path.

As he donned a personally tailored military uniform and followed Miron out the hardwood door and into the marble hallway of the Presidential Palace, he asked, “Do you have any idea what this meeting is about, Miron?”

“Sir, I do not. However, as the President has called the Foreign Ministry to the meeting, one could make the assumption it is regarding diplomacy.” Miron made a right-face that impressed even Anatoli, and then opened a door. Light from open windows lit the room, which looked out on the palace gardens. Anatoli entered the room, and the assorted military officers, diplomats, and aides stood in respect. “At ease, gentlemen.” He turned to his father. “Dad.”

“So you’ll put them at ease when they respect you, but won’t even so much as go to attention for me? Hmmph,” President Istrati said. “Come here, Anatoli. I want you to see this.”

Anatoli approached the central table, where members of the diplomatic corps, his father, and someone in a tailored suit that he didn't recognize sat. His father tossed a folder in front of the chair at which he was to sit. He opened it, and stared into the face of a pretty young woman who couldn't have been older than he was. He recognized her after a moment as Princess Trinity Avondale of Ackesia. "Ah yes," he said, "the rising star of Ackesian aristocracy. A phoenix from the ashes of royalism," Anatoli said, and closed the folder as he reclined in his seat. "But what does it have to do with me?"

"You are to marry this girl, Anatoli." His father said.

"I...uhm...what?"

The man in the suit that he didn't recognize stood and began speaking. "Colonel Istrati, my name is....well, that doesn't matter. But I serve at the behest of President Ackerman - or, rather, of the party he left behind. I will be straight with you - the Princess has been a thorn in our side for some time now, especially with the elections and the drama of them. It is then, that we have a solution - royals, especially royal women, have long been objects of political will. In this case, her marriage to you will secure an alliance between Vlachavia and Ackesia against threats in Western Lira and Larova, as well as getting her out of our domestic spotlight, and allowing the our government a free hand in domestic affairs. I believe your father has already agreed."

Anatoli wasn't listening. He imagined pinning the girl he had gotten last night over this table and mounting her. He thought about holding her curved hips, of her silk-smooth flesh, and...

“What do you think, son? Are you ready to do your duty for the Republic?” Anatoli snapped out of his daydream. Everyone at the table was staring at him, as if he was to deliver the verdict on their survival. He looked to President Istrati. “I’m sorry...what did you ask?”

His father looked down at the table in disappointment. Forming a fist, he hit it on the mahogany and, before looking up, muttered a single word: “Out. All of you.”

Anatoly turned to leave. “Not - not you, Anatoli Istrati.”

As soon as the door closed behind the last officer, His father walked around the table, raised his arm, and backhanded Anatoly across the face. Anatoly cried out in pain and almost doubled over. “What the hell?”

“You dare make me look like a fool? Make this family look like fools?” His father screamed. “Is it too much to ask that you carry on the legacy I have built? Why do you insist on being a failure?!”

Anatoly recovered his composure, but he couldn’t manage to form the right words. His father continued his tirade. “At near enough your age, I commanded a battalion in the Civil War. By the time I was thirty, I was the youngest general this country had ever seen. What are you? By comparison, an overindulged,” he hit Anatoly again. “Spoiled,” another strike. Anatoly whimpered. “Playboy!” The last hit didn’t come, though Anatoly had recoiled in expectation. Blood ran down his cheek.

“Someday, Anatoli, this nation will rest on your shoulders. At that time you must be ready. As such, you will go to Ackesia. You will marry this princess. You will be sober. You will be respectful. Most of all, you will be presidential. You will show the Ackesians - you will show the Ackesians - you will show me - that you will be ready to lead when the time comes.”




Anatoli Istatri blew a kiss to the crowd. In response, a collection of high-pitched screams and yells of pleasure arose from the collection of young Ackesian women that had gathered to watch him arrive in their country. Cameras flashed. Reporters barked questions. Anatoli slowly took off his aviators as he waved and walked down the tarmac. Regardless of what his father's private image of Anatoli was, the public face of the Vlachavian "republican prince" had always been favorable, especially in Ackesia. Young women gossiped over tabloid magazines that always took an interest in him - and despite his failings elsewhere, he had gone to great lengths to cultivate a positive public profile. For the teenage and young adult population of the country, Anatoli was the most famous man in Vlachavia, and could even be considered a household name.

Anatoli then, had decided to use what assets he had at his disposal. The Merronians and Produese had royal ties to fall back on - but for Anatoli, he had something much greater in his arsenal - media popularity.

When it first became known that Anatoli was coming to Ackesia, the reason was undisclosed. It seemed to be an innocent enough trip of the young man to the country that adored him - to enjoy some time in the backwood estates, which, after all, he visited almost every summer anyway. But when he was seen - or rather, made it seen - that he was at the Princess' estate and attending her twentieth birthday, the tabloids went wild. In truth, Anatoli had only met the Princess once, when he was ten and she was eight - but the media saw a story and ran with it. "Childhood lovers reunited at last," one read. "Anatoli and Trinity - a match made in heaven?" read another. And the public ate it up.

Of course, the media attention did little to actually help his chances with the princess herself, but public opinion was a front which Anatoli had decisively shifted in his favor, simply by being there.

At the dinner itself though, Anatoli kept a respectable distance from the princess. She, of course, read the newspapers as well, and he didn't want to come off too strong. Instead, he struck up a conversation with one of the grizzlied men that worked security for the princess. Anatoli had recognized him as one of the aide-de-camps sent to Vlachavia to assist with the 2008 war. Although Anatoli had been young then, he had taken an interest in the military maneuvers and army battles which had dominated the Vlachavian palace's thoughts during the war.

"Excuse me, sir," Anatoli said, and offered a hand to Julian. "And forgive me for interrupting. You were in Vlachavia during the 2008 Karpat War, right? As an advisor? My name is Anatoli Istrati, I believe we had met, if only briefly, during that conflict."
Last edited by Nova Sylva on Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Produzir
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Founded: Nov 14, 2017
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Produzir » Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:21 pm

Taken aback by the question, she certainly knew how to put the Prince of Agudicia in a box, one easily escapable though. "Oh of course not", he chuckled, following along with Trinity. "We just arrived, can't experience all the joys of the palace until after the reception. Also, I can't say I'm very informed about this place, it's been a hot minute since my old man and my late older man brought us here. Hell I had trouble finding the dining hall after putting our gifts to you on the table, I think that's what the table was for at least".

After a quick thought to himself, the prince proceeded "Perhaps after we finish fine dining in here, wanna show me around the place? You certainly know the place better then me." He then turned his eyes towards the table, in which he noticed that the seats were assigned. Filipe just decided to pretend he didn't notice. "I'm sure the Duke of Massa, whoever that is, won't mind for a little while. I wonder who's balls he had to fondle to get seated next to the birthday girl", he thought to himself, toying with his fingers as Trinity spoke to him.

While she talked he noticed his parents walking into the dining hall and admiring the lavish ceiling art of the room, seems like they noticed immediately that these seats were marked, as they passed empty seats looking for the tags José III, King of Produzland and Maria, Queen of Produzland. Hopefully the Beltrão family's actual seats at least gave a good view of Trinity when Filipe would probably be kicked out of the Duke of Massa's seat, he thought.
Last edited by Produzir on Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lunderfrau
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Founded: Mar 12, 2017
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Lunderfrau » Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:55 pm

Cpt. Freya von Strauss stood leaned up against the far wall of the massive dining room, looking over at the assortment of Nobles, Sons and Daughters of Monarchs, and other members of high society making their way to the table in preparation for the beginning of tonights dinner reception. If she could roll her eyes in annoyance and frustration she would, but she knew better than that. She knew better because while she may have preferred to be addressed as Captain, there was another honorific most here would know her by. Lady Freya von Strauss, daughter of Countess Stella von Strauss of Penzburg and perhaps most importantly, first Cousin to Elise von Strauss, Kaiserin of the Matriarchy of Lunderfrau.

It was her curse of Royal blood that had dragged her away from her “Alpha Company” of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Dragoons back in Lunderfrau to the far away lands of Ackesia, to attend the Birthday Party of the Princess of Avondale, Trinity. Freya had practically begged her Cousin, Elise to send someone else in her stead. Perhaps a foreign minister or maybe that young up and coming Prince the Klein family had. But Elise had insisted she go as both the representative of Lunderfrau and as the representative of House Strauss.

“Besides, you’re a young hip person, like Trinity, Im sure you’ll hit it off” The Kaiserin had said to her in parting.

“Bullshit”, Freya thought, “This kid just turned 20 and Im over here at 28 going on 29.” And given the Kaiserin was 34, that made her closer in age to Elise that to the Princess of Avondale. She let out a sigh as quietly as possible and once again turned to survey the room.

She recognized several faces now either making their way to or already sitting at the table. There was Rene Alard of Merronia, she wasn’t quite sure what qualified him to be here, as far as she was aware he was famous for taking a picture with Merronia’s chicken of the year in 2019 or something. But this wasn’t her party, so she wasn’t too interested in his credentials.

Across the way from him was Heir to the throne of Produzland , Prince Filipe. She could already tell just from his demeanor that he was starting to make moves on the Princess, which from her prior interactions with him, seemed to be his modus operendai.

And ofcourse, there was the star of this little show. Trinity, the Princess of Avondale. While the relationship between Lunderfrau and Ackesia was rocky with the vying for control of the Larovans, the relationship between the Strauss Dynasty and the House of Avondale was fairly warm, especially after the 1989 Revolution. It had been quite some time since Freya had seen Trinity in person, the two had first met almost 6 years ago at Elise’s coronation. Trinity was just finishing up Middle School at that point while Freya was just fresh out of the Imperial War College. Looking at her now, the change in her demeanor was striking.

The Child that Freya had met years ago had morphed into a strong, independent and charismatic young woman. Even just sitting and holding conversation with those assembled, she gave off an aura of beauty, poise and strength. Not to mention, she was easy on to look at with that flowing blonde hair and deep green eyes. Freya couldn’t help but feel an attraction to this woman, and based on the reactions of those at the table, neither could they.

It was then that Freya had a devilish thought come into her head, clearly the likes of Filipe and Rene planned to get some “alone time” with the princess while they were hear, perhaps Freya could play spoiler to their fun. As she mulled the thought over, she adjusted her Military Mess Dress Tuxedo and walked over to her seat, just one off from sitting directly across from the Princess. That honor had been bestowed to some Anatoli Istatri of one of the Larovan states she couldn’t care enough to remember at the moment.

Sitting down she waited for a lul in the conversation to introduce herself to the Birthday Girl.

“Princess Trinity, It is such a delight to see you again after so many years. I’m sure you’ve forgotten as it was almost 6 years ago but I am Cpt. Freya von Strauss, heir to the County of Penzberg and Cousin to the Kaiserin of the Matriarchy of Lunderfrau, Elise. My cousin wishes both to send you happy birthday wishes as well as her sincerest condolences for your losses this year.” She also nodded to Filipe. “And hello to you as well Prince Filipe, my Cousin sends her regards to you as well.”

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Meronnia
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Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:09 pm

As the dinner went on, René chattered away with the Vaalser in Soliçian, finding him entertaining enough.

"So the movie is meant to be offensive?" Jochum asked, pointedly.

"No, no. Well... it's meant to be provocative. You'll see when it comes out. It actually gets the doctrine pretty accurately." The Vaalser nodded in understanding, and René asked a question in turn. "So what's the deal with the political stuff, is it actually happening?"

Jochum wrinkled his nose and shrugged. "I don't really know yet. I like the cause, but I honestly have no idea what I'm doing."

"But the VNP do really want you?"

"Yeah, they get hard for anything to do with my family."

Taking another spoonful from his bowl, a quality rendition of Meronnian Onion Soup, René glanced across the room, getting a curious look at the Produese monarch and his wife who had just sat down across from them. José III seemed to be keeping an eye on his son, but René exchanged a friendly smile with Queen Maria. Then, he caught the eyes of Trinity, looking right at him mid-conversation with the Produese prince and a Lunderfrausian he didn't know. She smiled warmly and gave a little wave that made him feel something in his chest.

He waved back, and mouthed 'happy birthday'. He thought about leaning over to say something to her, but in his moment's consideration, he was distracted by something that sat him right back into his chair - an older, moustached man, stalking towards the seat Prince Filipe occupied. René subtly kicked Jochum's foot, and the Vaalser looked up from his meal, concealing an excited stare when he noticed.

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Parthonopia
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Founded: Dec 25, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Parthonopia » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:16 pm

As far as the eye could see, packed into the exclusive dining hall reception, the high blooded, nobility, and renown of Lira shuffled around tables. Light and airy string music could be heard fluttering throughout the hall from a small quartet tucked away somewhere in the room. Watching the small talk, reunions and first impressions being had by the many notable figures in attendance, Prince Eduordo Ciaia stood just off to the right of the threshold of the main hallway people had been corralled through. He looked down to the tile floor as a taller young man, well dressed and with a charismatic grin, brushed past him. Seeming to be intent on conversing with the stone-faced, grizzly looking obvious security personnel, standing silently on the other side of the doorway, Eduordo watched the feet pass by him. Once they struck up their conversation, the Parthonopian prince found himself a little too close for comfort to awkwardly be standing there any more.

Swallowing a lump in his throat, he picked up his chin and scanned the room once more. All a blur really, the same scene he had witnessed countless times before; lords and ladies, theirs friends and cousins, and those with big wallets mingling and drinking, nothing of much importance ever really spoken to him. Eduordo always felt a little uneasy at these sort of events. Usually that was because it was being hosted in his home with his father parading him around with the rest of his siblings to show off to at least a hundred octogenarians who were never sparing with the cheek pinches. This was a different occasion and an equally unsettling one. His father was in his prime at these kind of gatherings, prowling around through the crowd and striking at just the right moments. It had come a point in time for Eduordo where he was now expected to share a similar skillset, at least a novice level, and represent the great King of Parthonopia.

This was a pressure he did not necessarily care for, one he certainly did not wish for. But he had been groomed to do so either way. His whole life, perhaps, was just training to become an emissary of the nation his father had always dreamt of ruling. First he been sent to Lunderfrau at the late stage of his youth to learn the Matriarchy's style of warfare in some, assumedly prestigious, drill school. At least as prestigious as a boy from Parthonopia could be allowed into there. As a teenager his step-grandfather, the Duke of Massa, would take him on international weekend vacations to accompany the infamous man on random business trips and social meets. Then there was his trip across the Inoran to Southeast Nori, his first time leaving the continent. Of course he had come along for that trip alongside his father, but this excursion was a different situation. He found himself alone in the dining hall, at a standstill as he had intended to start moving. While he had not come to Ackesia alone it still felt as if he had. King Carlo had high expectations for him here, his father not a man easily pleased or slow to disappointment, especially with him.

He shook his head to end the line of thought he was heading down and began moving at an almost brisk pace. He was unsure where exactly he was heading, as he certainly was not ready to be seated at the main dining table just yet, so he hugged the wall and walked towards the center of the room. So many nobles yet he could not help but feel out of place. No matter what prestige Parthonopian nobility may feel while comfortably feasting in some Orthurian hall, they were always belittled in those chambers outside the peninsula throughout the rest of Lira. The pretentiousness of the rest of the continent's aristocracy was so intense it practically had a smell to it. Eduordo may be a Prince but he was the Prince of a Kingdom that many did not even believe ought to exist. He was not even the heir of that kingdom, or the heir of anything, just the second son of an ambitious man.

He stopped, finding another threshold where he could lean up against the casing of. Resting his shoulder on the trim he took a brief look around and finally caught the eye of the friendly face of exactly the man he was looking for. Eduordo grinned when the man took notice and stood up straight, heading for him. Smiling in return, Eduordo's friend stepped in his direction.

"Giosuè," Eduordo said with a shimmer of excitement in his eye before his expression faded into one of confusion as he made a realization that made his heart skip a beat, "Where is Egidio?"

Giosuè had only just approached Eduordo before he was met with the startling question. His eyes widened and eyebrows raised as he refrained from cursing aloud, "No. It was just five minutes to take a leak..." he stopped in his track, "No worries," he said hesitantly while spinning around and looking across the room, "he shouldn't be that hard to find."

"Dannazione, dannazione." Eduordo did not hold in the muttered curse words and instead shook his head and scanned the room while he whispered a string of explicatives. Eduordo was fond of Giosuè, finding him to be one of his only true friends he believed himself to have, but he could not help but to be a bit annoyed with him at that moment. Duke Egidio was, after all, Giosuè's responsibility since the man had become the Massan Duke's personal assistant in the past year or so. Seemingly simultaneously the both of them laid eyes upon their missing party member. There, across the room on the opposite side of the main table the venerable old man sauntered, clueless to the anxiousness he had induced.

Humming offkey to a resemblance of the tune being played at the moment, Duke Egidio shuffled toward the main table. He gracefully carried a silver serving tray, a neatly arranged circle of shrimp on it, with one hand, the head of his cane slid in between his fingers underneath the tray and the shaft of it swaying below. In his other hand he gripped a gold trimmed decorative glass with an amber liquid and two ice cubes sloshing around within it. He skillfully plucked a shrimp off the tray with his drinking hand, using only his pinky and ring finger to drop it in his mouth and tear of the tail while it was between his teeth.

"Hula dancers and everything, haha! The whole nine yards. That was the best shrimp I've ever had." Egidio regaled a nervous waiter with the stories of his travels while the server awkwardly followed him, hoping to retrieve his tray and the appetizers he was supposed to be dispersing. Unaware, Egidio pressed on, heading squarely for the seat he had noted earlier was his.

Eduordo and Giosuè watched on in dismay as they had quickly noticed the usurper upon Egidio's designated seat. Giosuè, while equally horrified at how quickly this scenario could devolve, was quick to action and began to briskly head over there to attempt to intercept. Eduordo was still shaking his head, his face becoming flush, and he backed up towards the wall again. He set his gaze upon the Produese teenager that was unprepared for what he had brought upon himself. He thought of how arrogant and especially pretentious the Produese were while he stared, debating with himself if that was definitely Prince Filipe or not. Either way he did not care, for no matter who it was the boy had put them all in a predicament. Eduordo tried to melt into the wall while he awaited it and muttered, "Really douchebag..."

"I played bocce ball with a monk, haha," Egidio was steps away from his seat. The massive grin on his face and squinted eyes showed that he had not yet seen Prince Filipe in his way. Giosuè finally arrived on the other side of the table and to Egidio's aid, the aged Duke beaming with excitement as he turned to his assistant. Standing within arm's reach of his seat he grinned as Giosuè, pale in the face, took the tray from him.

"Ohhh, ah! Giosuè, good, good, um, good. Put that down would you," he turned to the server and said, "some cocktail sauce, would you mind? Please? Thank you," he grinned and shook his glass, "and, uh, another one of these, please. Thank you! Make it strong, yes, haha."

Egidio shuffled around in place to turn back to Giosuè, befuddled at the sight of him still holding the tray of shrimp. He waved his hand that held his cane towards the table, gesturing to place it down. Giosuè did so reluctantly, sliding the table setting to the left of Prince Filipe off to the side to be able to set down the tray. Egidio grinned once more and then began to pat his chest and then his thighs, as if he was looking for something. He stopped to shift his weight onto his cane and said, before turning around to his seat, "Excellent, Giosuè, haha! Tip this man for me, will you."

Egidio turned around and finally laid his eyes upon Prince Filipe who was nonchalantly ogling at the hostess, Princess Trinity of Avondale, while he shamelessly flirted with her. The Massan Duke's usually jovial, red faced expression quickly turned into a scowl. For Eduordo it felt as if the whole room were watching, which they more than likely were, and he slinked as far into the wall as he could. Giosuè looked as if he had seen a ghost and was only capable of clearing his throat.

"Ohhhhh, boyo," Egidio sputtered before shifting his weight off of his cane to lift it up and rap it across the knuckles of the hand that Filipe hand been fidgeted with by his side.

"Can't you read, boy?" He took the cane and used it to point at the nameplate, "Duke of Massa. I've been walking since before your father was a twinkle in your grandpapa's eye, haha! Now, then, yes," he forcefully flicked the top of Filipe's ear, "on with you. Come now, up up, my knees are tired."

He dramatically put the end of his cane back down on the floor and shifted back his weight onto it, his knees buckling. He lurched forward and placed his drink down in front of Filipe, painfully close to the edge of the table. With a free hand he grabbed a handful of shrimp and leaned his elbow on the back of the chair while the Produese prince was still sitting in it, frozen from his confrontation.

"The nerve of some people! Haha," he chomped down on a shrimp and stripped it of its tail, tossing it onto his plate, "No, no respect!."

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Achesia
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Founded: Sep 26, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Achesia » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:34 am

No sooner did Trinity give Rene a genuine smile, mouthing “thank you” back as she listened to Filipe carry on with his flirtatious nature, did the sudden thwack of Duke Egidio reverberate through the room. Trinity’s eyes widened as the mustached and flamboyant old man went off on the young princling. Perhaps in her hubris, thinking that by sitting between both the Produese and Parthonopian delegations to affect some sort of diplomacy she had made a mistake? For a fleeting moment she waivered, the intimidating older man over her holding the cane like a mace before flicking Filipe behind the ear. Vasile had told her he thought she was taking on too much too soon by having this party, yet Trinity ostensibly rejected that notion, the prideful side of her telling her chief of staff “a party amongst members of our Liran neighbors and those whom she knew was the perfect capstone to this year”. But in reality her true feeling was that if she lost momentum she would fall into the abyss of self destruction, any real distraction welcome.

But in the space of time it took the air to fill her lungs she just barely grasped ahold of the personal reality she tried so desperately to build within herself, that of the strong and noble stateswoman who knew how to handle such a situation.

“Duke Egidieo.” Trinity shot up, an irresistible and welcoming smile painted on her face. “I must apologize..” she clasped her hands together in front of her. “It had been so long since I had seen my cousin…” she said the word with a hard C as she looked at Filipe. “...that I invited him over without thinking to catch up. I truly did not mean to cause you offense.” She bowed her head as a way of taking responsibility.

Turning to Filipe she donned a soft smile, placing her lithe hand on his shoulder.
“Filipe…” his name rang with a purposeful affection off her tongue. “...lets catch up after dinner? Maybe I can take you on that tour we talked about?” She left his shoulder as he rose with a soft squeeze before turning back to the aging duke.

Again using her graceful touch on his forearm as she beckoned him to his assigned seat.
“Now, your eminence, join us. I would love to hear how the Kingdom is doing during these times.” Trinity would lower herself back to her seat as the Princling left and the Duke descended. Placing her napkin back on her lap she took a deep breath, the overwhelming nature of having this many conflicting parties at her reception was beginning to be clear for her.

It was at this time Lady Feya addressed her from across the table, giving her regards as well as that of her cousin, the Kaiserin, to both Trinity and Filipe as the princling walked behind her to his seat.

Trinity had not entirely recognized her by sight, though she was aware of who was sent to represent the matriarchy for this weekend party. The military uniform is what made her stand out, most women wearing something elegant and beautiful. But to Trinity it did not matter, in fact the woman before her the young Princess admired the strength of her presence, something she wished she could garner within herself.

“Lady Freya, it is good to see you. Or do you prefer to be called captain?” Trinity being perspective but polite. “I am so glad you could make it, it has been a long time since I visited the Matriarchy. Please send the Kaiserin my thanks and regards as well.” Trinity clasped her hands happily in front of her.

Most of the room was silent as the dinner officially began, all parties taking their assigned seats as Trinity was the sole speaker.

“I think it must be time for introductions. Lady/Captain Freya, to my right here is my Cousin, King Jose of Produzland and his wife Maria.” She smiled as her delicate hands went to work once more, placing her fingers on Jose’s shoulder with a kind affection towards her cousin. Trinity had realized young that a simple femine touch went a long way to calming the tension during conversation, and her touch seemed to be particularly powerful tonight.
“I believe you recognize Prince Filipe as well.” A bemused smile crossed her face.

“To my left here is Duke Egidio of Massa…” another hand, and another smile was deployed to the older man’s benefit.

Trinity paused a moment as there was still an open spot next to the duke, but knew well enough the names of those whom she invited to assume
“And next to the Duke would be Prince Eduordo, though it seems he is not quite here yet.”

Across the table she looked to the Merronian party, her smile transforming from a elegant diplomatic one to one appropriate for a girl her age as she locked eyes with Rene.
“And our guests from Merronia there is Rene Alard.” Her voice rising up an octave subtly as she said his name. “...and Prince Jochum, whom I do not believe I have met, it is good to make your acquaintance.” Her eyes only briefly leaving Rene’s as she looked upon the Prince.

Across from her was yet another empty chair, though she was quite relieved as the tabloid excitement over the presence of Anatoli Istatri angered incredibly. She considered him little less than a playboy.

To the side of the room Julian watched the entire endeavor, shaking his head as Trinity deftly kept the entire affair from flying apart at the seams. He was also of the mind she was taking on too much after suffering what she did. No matter how amazingly graceful and composed she was the girl had just lost her parents months ago. Julian especially knew what depths of darkness that had led her to, the image of the blonde girl at the end of his barrel as she screamed at him to fire still something he could not part with.

Julian had expressed such concern to Vasile, who in turn mentioned it to the Princess before being flatly rejected. Though given the situation that played out just now, Julian could only stand to admire the posie she exhibited, the girl was truly amazing. His eyes followed her for the longest while, without thinking a desire and affection creeping up in him.

He was only broken from his trance as someone addressed him. Composing himself he found none other than Anatoli Istatri standing before him in standard Vlachavian military dress, a uniform Julian had not expected to see again. He very briefly met the republican prince during his time in Vlachavia during the war in 2012, but to be recognized like this was most unfortunate.

Looking to the man he feigned a smile, not quite as diplomatic as Trinity was in these cases. In fact Anatoli had come up in very recent conversations as Trinity was most displeased with the tabloid coverage concerning her and a man she briefly met years ago as children.

“Ah, as an advisor?” Julian did not remember doing a lot of “advising” mostly just smoking Sylkvikans over some oil wells. “I can’t say for certain I was there.” His eyes conveyed a knowing but pointed response. The presence of Ackesian assets on the ground was highly classified.

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Meronnia
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Posts: 139
Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:13 am

René might have tried to warn Trinity, if she hadn't had so many other things attracting her attention. It was something like seeing a car wreck in slow motion, as the Parthonopian duke moseyed towards his occupied seat while plucking shrimp off of the presumably stolen platter, and without a moment's hesitation began berating the boy in his chair and chastising him with his cane, which immediately ground the atmosphere to a halt.

There were sudden stares, and a tension in the air, and for a brief moment it looked unclear whether this was an incident the night could be recovered from. Then, Trinity stood up, and interceded. She shouldered the blame that was the infatuated boy's to take, and defused the situation quickly. Egidio was soon in his seat, and the guests were returning to their meals and conversations on the unspoken agreement that this incident was done. René was surprised by the poise he saw from the girl, who had been so unrestrained with him when they had practiced their instruments together. She was mature, and... impressive.

After conversations started to die down a bit, Trinity seized the momentum to go around the table in introductions. Somewhere in the back of his mind René had been anxious to be introduced as seemingly the only guest at the table without some title in front of his name, but that immediately dissipated as Trinity said his name, introducing him with a subtle but traceable excitement as they shared a gaze for a few seconds. He looked warmly up at her, wordlessly.

Jochum, for his part, nodded in thanks to her for her greeting, and responded in rough Ackesian with his folksy Vaalser accent. "Ah, der honour is all mine, your highness. My vader, Prince Martien, is, ah, zeer apologetic that he could not attend, but it is a pleasure to greet you in his stead."

"Yes," René continued, taking the initiative and picking up his wine glass. He started to step out of his chair. "A toast, to our most warm and welcoming host. Thank you for inviting us all into your home for this celebration." He raised his glass, and smiled to Trinity. As though on a second's delay, Jochum processed before standing and joining the toast with his glass.

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Produzir
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Founded: Nov 14, 2017
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Produzir » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:40 am

Things had quickly gone south for Filipe, for in his eyes this tall woman with a think Lunderfrausian accent had disrupted his shallow attempt at mating. However, it was only a minor inconvenience for the time being. He had received a solid "maybe" from Trinity, which he realized might be the best thing he's going to get for the time being. Filipe's bold endeavor then took a turn for worse than a mild inconvenience as supposedly the rightful owner to the throne Filipe occupied approached, the real Duke of Massa. Filipe's eyes followed the man's as he trotted to his seat and scolded the Prince of Agudicia. It was clear immediately Duke Egidio did not have much love in his heart for the prince. "Unsurprising, old Parthonopian men probably aren't the biggest fans of my predecessors either", Filipe thought as the Duke insulted his ability to read before flicking the top of Filipe's ear.

The women surrounding Filipe looked on as the prince was harassed, as well as most of the current seaters of the dining table, Filipe didn't have enough time to process what the hell was actually happening, as soon his two parents approached the actual seating of the Beltrão family.

José III, King of Produzland, approached his seat with his wife, Maria Orta, at his arm and his two daughters holding hands following behind, only to see a man older than his late father hunched over telling off his son sitting on the opposite side of Trinity to where the family's seats were. Maria clenched her teeth together and broke away to sit down in her assigned seat. "You wouldn't mind if I let you take of this José?", Maria asked. José dragged his face down with his hand from embarrassment. He pushed his way through a group of people surrounding the birthday girl staring at the Duke of Massa's confrontation towards Prince Filipe. He lightly grabbed the Duke Egidio's shoulder and spoke to him, "Excuse me your grace, I'm so sorry about my son here, he has a tendency to let ardor get in the way of being respectful to his elders", he said, glaring at his son.

Tempted to drag Filipe out of the seat, he simply tapped his shoulder. "Come on Filipe, our actual seats are over here, your mother and sisters are already seated".

Filipe hung his head as he passed by the group to sit between his mother and his younger sister Francisca, while José stayed with the crowd. He looked down at Trinity and held out his hand for a handshake. "Happy belated birthday Trinity, I'm sure your father, my cousin, would've love to sit beside you today", he said giving her a kind hearted smile, knowing he was doing damage control.

Trinity introduced José to the other major members of the crowd, Countess Freya of Penizburg and Duke Egidio of Massa, as well as Prince Filipe. He extended a handshake to the two nobles before finally sitting down in his seat between his wife Maria and Trinity. José studied the area around him, his two daughters chatting amongst themselves down the table, Filipe scrolling PicFlic, attempting to avoid eye contact with anyone and his wife asked the server if they carried Produese red wine for both her and her husband. Across from the family sat a pair of young adults that José didn't recognize as nobles at all. They appeared friendly at first, exchanging a smile with Maria before eyeing the birthday girl next to him.

"Beo, the people Trinity invited have no sense of subtlety", he whispered to Maria.

"Is giving me your comments on everyone you see your schtick Joey?" said Maria.

"I'm sorry but I think it's hilarious. Filipe's subtlety is worse than his prepubescent mustache. I thought we raised him better."

"Joey!", she giggled.

"I thought I told him to shave before we came to the airport back in Burlon, it's not my fault. At least when Bonadeo decided to grow his facial hair out he knew how to maintain it."

Maria simply shook her head. "How about we just leave it be, if someone manages to hit it on with Trinity, good for them, she's a great girl", she said. "I'm still going to tell you what I see", replied José.

"Whatever. Oh look our drinks are here!" Maria said excitedly.
Last edited by Produzir on Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Nova Sylva
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1395
Founded: Nov 11, 2013
New York Times Democracy

Postby Nova Sylva » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:04 am

The Ackesian, Anatoli noticed, shifted his weight uncomfortably when speaking about the Karpat War. That was understandable; Anatoli had mistaken him for someone else. Yes, there had been advisors in the Vlachavian general staff - office desk types and the lot. But this man, Anatoli realized only too late, was not a desk jockey. He was a soldier, through and through. Anatoli, for his part, excused himself.

"Of course not. I must have mistaken you for someone else." he said. "Either way, should you know any of your comrades who did happen to be on...vacation in the Karpat Mountains in the autumn of 2008, please give them my most heartfelt thanks. We in Vlachavia do not forget our friends." He bowed his head and returned to the table, just in time to see the princess invite a broad-shouldered and rather loud Parthonopian to take his seat.

Quickly, Anatoli found his seat as the conversation. To his right sat a tall, serious, and in her own way, beautiful woman. She appeared to have a few years on him; and judging by her height, build, and stature was a member of Lunder nobility. "Excuse me, madam," he said as he took his seat, and placed the folded white napkin in his lap. Anatoli gave her a look over, as he saw her doing the same thing to him. He wondered abstractly for a moment what exactly she saw when he judged her; then focused on his own. She was dressed in an honorific dress uniform that fit her figure. White gloves lay neatly on the table, stacked in a manner that proposed organization and tidiness. No ring, despite her (for the standards of the attendees) advanced age. Her uniform proudly bore the epaulettes of a Captain, and her nameplate read, in clear bold text, "VON STRAUSS."

A slight cough from across the table divided his attention momentarily. Princess Trinity sat there in a perfect noble pose, bowing her head slightly in invitation for introductions as Anatoli turned to face her. He smiled. "Princess Trinity - you have grown into a beauty that reflects well not only on yourself, your family, but Ackesia as a whole. And if half of what I read is true, your intellect puts even that to shame. Please accept my warmest regards for a happy birthday, and my sincerest thanks at your invitation to such a splendid occasion." Before she could respond, however, Anatoli turned to the woman sitting next to him.

"Herrin Kapitan," Anatoli said in accented, but grammatically perfect Lunder, "Es ist mir eine Freude, Sie kennenzulernen. Ich bin Oberstgruppenfurher Anatoli Istrati von der Vlachavian Republik."
Last edited by Nova Sylva on Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:19 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Achesia
Negotiator
 
Posts: 6440
Founded: Sep 26, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Achesia » Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:42 pm

Her eyes wandered, as Prince Jochum addressed her she couldn't help but feel self conscious of how much her gaze drifted to Rene, who in turn met her eyes. He was everything a girl dreamed of, mature, handsome, artistic, smart, and her mind could not let go of the moments they shared in the past. Those were certainly moments she could not help but carry with her through her life, fondly remembering her days as a girl without the dark and laden problems she carried now.

“Please give your father my best regards, and thank him for sending a most wonderful representative in his stead.” Trinity used her most charming expression as she spoke perfect Lorian to the Vaalser Prince. Her Lorian was very practiced, taking time to ensure she was maintaining the languages she spoke at least partially fluently. It also helped that Rene had given her some very personal tutoring of the language at the academy.

Just as she thought she would break her gaze away from Rene, the man stood, a toast in her name as her cheeks turned red. Julian who stood across the room recognized the girlish and genuine smile on her face. It was much like the smile she had riding in the back of the fighter jet, though with a little less excitement. As he nodded to Anatoli, the republican prince departing for the table, Julian looked to the man named Rene as he stood toasting to Trinity. He seemed a bit fruity in Julian’s eyes, some Picflic pimp with too much undeserved confidence. However Julian also could see how intimentally Trinity was looking at him.

Trinity for her part smiled brightly as the room stood for a toast around her, her eyes twinkling as they looked into Rene’s. It was only appropriate that he should be here to see her as a grown woman, he was after all the man who made her a woman.

As the roomed died down once more she continued around the table, the warm regards from the Istatri man the next to come her way.
“Ah, yes!” her tone was hesitant yet polite, the assumptions of the tabloids annoyed her some but as she took her next breath to respond she reminded herself he was not entirely to blame for them. “Thank you Mr. Istatri for your kind words... I hope your father is well.” Thoughts of the tabloid coverage gave her some hesitance to appear overly friendly, less a leak from someone or a stray picture set the gossip world on fire. Though her kind nature still broke through.

Trinity next turned to listen to King Jose’s kind words, politely nodding until her cousin mentioned her father, to which her face seemed a bit pale. At first Trinity meant to give him a polite and thankful smile, but mid way it faltered, her lips buckling as the bright disposition she had carried thus far darkened swiftly.

Patting King Jose’s hand, Trinity’s eyes glistened, the girl fighting frantically to hold back the tears due to the rather recent death of her family. In a flash she remembered the image of the burning car, the cries she bellowed as her security detail dragged her away from the window. It all began to be too much.

Standing up Trinity wore a weak smile, her eyes telling a more subtle story to those that paid attention.

“Excuse me for one moment, I must attend to something. Please enjoy yourselves.” Trinity turned to make for the door as she narrowly missed a server bringing out the main course for tonight's meal. Other servers around the room would present each guest with seasoned chicken, vegetables, and garlic noodles garnished with lemon as the Princess exited.

Julian on the other side of the room grimaced, knowing exactly what just happened as he knew it was going to happen. They were not too different, he and Trinity, and there was no way he could hold a party tor 50 friends just months after his family died. Why did the girl want to shoulder this when she did not have to? Perhaps that is what he admired anout her, the determination she had to be strong and make herself something beyond just a princess sitting around in a palace. This is what Trinity wanted to be when she grew up, a diplomatic woman who could handle a crowd much like this, much like crowds across Lira full of stuffy Dukes stealing shrimp platters and playboys searching for tail and Picflic fame.

Walking over to a familiar pair of girls he put his hands on his hips.
“This is too much for her.” He shook his head as he looked at Anya and Petra. “These people don’t give a damn about how she is feeling right now, they just want a piece of her.” Julian’s words subtle enough to only be between them but intense enough that Anya and Petra raised an amused eyebrow.

“What do you suggest then… Sir.” Petra smiled as she teased Julian. Vasile had put Julian in charge of tonight with regards to the staff, including the two handmaidens. Though both had their lighthearted attitudes as usual, Julian since his time on staff here knew they were reliable and cared about Trinity’s well being.

“Cancel this whole circus and put her on a beach somewhere so she can act her age and relax….” he snipped, shaking his head and huffing.

Both Petra and Anya really looked interested in that idea, ideas visibly circling through their heads.

Julain rolled his eyes. “That's what I originally suggested before all this.” He waved his hand at the son of an Ackesian media mogul who spoke mouth full of chicken at the other guests.
Running his hand across his hair, stress building, he sighed. “Just… for now go find her. Make sure she is ok.”

“And bring her back?” Anya turned to leave but looked back to question.

“Only if she is ok.” It was party be damned to Julian Reqyn.

Anya and Petra bowed their heads and properly departed, smiling to each other as they both shared silently how much they liked Julian. They liked him because he gave a damn about her.

Julian puffed and looked back over the room, the circus left to him as he wondered where he would go without her to mediate.
Last edited by Achesia on Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Meronnia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 139
Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:58 pm

René sat back down, giving a last smile to Trinity before turning back to his meal as her attention went to others hoping to bask in her glow. She was looking at him quite a bit, and not just politely. Did she feel something, some nostalgia for what briefly was at the academy? She had invited him here, after all. Come to think of it, did he feel something? No one could deny she was beautiful, but there was much more to her than that. She had an energy. The way she controlled a situation, how she moved and the room seemed to rotate around her.

He was so captured by his thought process that he didn't even catch what was said. He just saw Trinity stand and retreat, clearly upset by something. René looked around, and whispered something to Jochum to his left. Jochum whispered something back, and he looked over to the door Trinity had walked through. Should he go after her? Would it be appropriate? No, it wouldn't. But he remembered the sincere and affectionate girl she had been and he knew that if she was in distress, he wanted to help her.

René slid out from his chair, excusing himself. As he approached the door, a horde of servers with plates of chicken, noodles, vegetables, and other tempting dishes started to pour out of it. He carefully slid between them, going down the short hall to a T-intersection. Looking left and right, he made the guess that the heat and scents from the right meant that way was the presumably busy kitchens. Taking a gamble on it, he went left.

Meanwhile, back in the dining hall, Jochum gratefully accepted the main course placed before him. He looked to his right, to the empty chair, and to his left, where the Larovan from the sexually charged media stories sat. Making a quick decision Jochum leaned over the table and offered a handshake to King José III who sat across from him. "Your majesty, ah, it is a zeer groot honour to meet you and your liefelijk wife. I have had the pleasure of, ah, visiting your country, many times."

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Storsnia
Secretary
 
Posts: 39
Founded: Nov 11, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Storsnia » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:23 am

Paavo meandered about the halls of the grand Ackesian palace. The design of the building was something he’d rarely seen before. In Storsnia, many of the nobles lived in small manors dotted around the countryside. The Ackesian palace was nearly triple the size of his own home. He couldn’t help but imagine the chaos that occurred earlier in the year as he marveled at the intricate woodwork and high vaulted ceilings.

Arriving a tad late compared to everyone else, Paavo found his way to the dining room where the reception was being held. As he walked through the halls admiring several paintings along the way, he began to hear a slight commotion coming from inside the dining room. “Probably some mess between those Produese and Parthonopians,” He thought to himself. Stopping to admire a beautiful portrait of the late King James. The masterful piece was done at a time when Ackesia was not at its best. Despite this, King James had the face of a calm and collected leader. Just then, his gaze was averted by a young blond girl rushing out of the dining room. “I wonder where the princess is going,” he thought. Shortly after, she was followed by two other young girls and a young man who looked like the famed René Alard. “Weird,” he thought. Then the food began to arrive, to which Paavo followed.

Paavo followed the servants into the ornate dining room like a fox stalking a rabbit. Without hesitation, he grabbed a flute of a golden liquid from the tray of a passing servant. “Champagne. Not my favorite, but it’ll do,” He thought. He then took a seat at the table next to a tall woman wearing a perfectly manicured military uniform. Again without hesitation, he began to dig into the multi-course meal that lay before him.
Last edited by Storsnia on Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Parthonopia
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Posts: 162
Founded: Dec 25, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Parthonopia » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:19 am

The air in the hall was much cooler and less stuffy than the reception hall, Trinity clenching her eyes shut as the doors shut behind her. A small sniffle escaped her as she bawled her fists. She was so angry with herself, tonight was going so well but the first mention of her parents and she felt like a shattered pane of stained glass. Taking a deep breath she wiped her eyes, trotting down the hall before anyone came out to find her moping in front of the doors. Hopefully it was not too much of a scene that she left, she could get some fresh air, prevent her mascara from running, and rejoin the table.

She knew her way around the halls quite well, venturing to areas she knew were not busy during this time of day. Vasile evidently was right, she was not prepared to take on such an event, despite how much she wanted to jump into the role of renowned Princess. Trinity wondered if her father was looking down on her now, disappointed at her abject fragility in this moment. The thought only increased the pressure on her tear ducts.

Sitting on a stone bench in a small, quiet courtyard he had wandered upon, Edourdo found his mind racing. He let the cigarette he was holding between his fingers burn while he rested his elbows on his knees. He watched as the ash grew and took a slow pull off of it, inhaling deeply before blowing the smoke out his nose. Less than three hours he had been in Ackesia and already he found himself worrying to the point he had to slip away from the crowd and sneak a smoke. It was a bad habit he had picked up while in military school. Some of the older boys were smokers, boys he had wanted to impress and whose respect he had been searching for.

His father did not approve of it, in no uncertain terms. When Carlo had caught him for the first time, Eduordo was 18 years old, a man. He did not feel like a man, however, when his father slapped him like had done so many times before. He always found it funny how while he was away in Lunderfrau he could not help but miss home, yet when he was there, in the Castello d’Cormor, he could never feel at ease. There was one man whose respect he craved above all else, though, and that was the King of Parthonopia’s. This visit, for some birthday party for a girl he had never met before, was supposed to be an opportunity to do just that. Perhaps if the task was only something more achievable then Eduordo would not be so on edge.

It was a powerful hold Carlo had over Eduordo that he could induce such anxiety in him when he was hundreds of miles away. Of course he also had his aloof, ancient former grandfather, Egidio, to look after as well. This was by no means an easy task, which is why he was so thankful that Giosuè had been allowed to come along and aid in that. He felt comfortable leaving him alone for a moment to handle the old duke while he snuck off to recover from the man’s most recent tirade. He was thinking about the expression on Giosuè’s face right before Egidio had smacked that Produese fop. He giggled to himself quietly, even though he knew no one else was there.

Or at least so he thought. That was until he nearly jumped out of his skin, the sudden appearance of a blonde girl beyond the doors from the courtyard startling him as Trinity Avondale stood bemused that someone discovered her favorite hiding spot before her. Glistening eyes and half gathered expression she hesitated near the entrance of the courtyard unsure of how to proceed now that she had been found.

“Oh… excuse me I-“ The Princess began coughing from the smoke as she covered her mouth politely and turned her head. “... hope I am not disturbing you.” Her eyes squinted, her coughing and reminder of trauma past threatened the integrity of her makeup. For a long moment she tread near the threshold, ultimately deciding to push forward since it was her palace afterall. Nervous to be alone with the boy at first, she recognized the Parthonopian Prince and empathized with his pensive expression.

“This is a wonderful place to do some thinking.” Trinity lightly tapped her heels on the stone pathway as she approached one of her favorite flowers, a violet Achillea in a planter near her reach. Bending modestly at the waist she took a whiff of the flower, the smallest most pitiful natural smile resulting from it before her expression demurred. Her eyes moved back to trace him, trying to both distract herself from inner demons and understand the prince upon the rock.

Edourdo, frozen for a moment, lingered in the silence, holding onto it as long as he could until it would have been too awkward. He snapped to it, coming back from his blank stare and sat upright from his slouch. He brought his left foot onto his right knee and hastily snuffed out the ember of the cigarette on the sole of his shoe. Embarrassed for having both been caught and startled he stood up hesitantly, his rear hovering over the stone.

“Oh.. uh, Princess Trinity,” he hovered for a second more before deciding to fully commit to standing up, “I’m uh, I’m sorry to bother.”

“No… no need to be sorry, I feel I have bothered you.” Trinity gave the boy a friendly smile.

He took a gentle step forward. Still holding the remainder of the cigarette he had been smoking he swapped hands with it. He quickly wiped his right hand on his pant leg twice and extended his arm out for a handshake, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said, mustering a smile.

“Thank you for having me. For having us, I guess, Egidio and I.”

Offering her dainty fingers Trinity extended to him her hand as she looked over his tense expression.

“The pleasure is all mine Prince Edourdo, no need to be so formal, but if you insist on standing I won’t argue with taking the stone.” She walked around him, sitting on the rock she occupied so often when her troubles surmounted her, legs crossed tightly like a lady. The girl also mildly amused that she had usurped the dour prince’s throne, a wry smile crossing her expression.

“After all I am not going to rap your knuckles with a cane or anything.” She closed one eye comically and laughed as she looked up at the boy.

It was Eduordo’s turn for a wry smile, a genuine one. He gave her an approving shrug, accepting he had been out maneuvered for the seat. As she delivered her joke Eduordo could feel his face becoming red as he blushed, his eyes widening before he rolled them. He looked up to the sky and off to the left as he released a laugh. He looked over to the young woman and jested, “I would hope not,” he could not help but grin while he shook his head, “He is, uh, well he’s something else. A handful, for one thing.”

Trinity was amused that the Prince recognized the rash nature of his uncle. But instead of dwelling on the subject her tone took a gentle pitch.

“Was something troubling you?” Trinity rested her head on her hand. “I did not see you at the reception, I think your seat is not far from mine.” Her eyes were curious, hoping to distract herself from her own problems.

He locked eyes with her for a brief second, his mouth closing, sly smile melting away. He caught himself and looked just above her head, past her, to simulate eye contact. Trying to play it cool he managed to change his expression to a meager smile again. He shook his head gently once, “All of the old Parthonopian dukes, old men for that matter, that I have ever met, they all use the same line. Guys like him,” he pointed in the general direction of the dining room, “Egidio. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, when asked ‘how are ya’, they’d say, I can’t complain, and even if I did nobodies gonna listen! They’d say that then proceed to complain about a laundry list of nonsense. The weather, taxes, politics, whatever, you name it, complain a lot about their wives.”

Trinity watched him talk it out patiently, her eyes conveying a soft assurance of her attentiveness as her eyelashes batted with the sporadic blinking. The occasional nod came as he continued, just enough to assure him she was listening while also not interrupting.

He looked down to the ground, hmphed and shrugged before looking back at the princess. Putting his hands in his pockets he chuckled, “I’m not going to do that to you.”

Trinity was surprised by the Prince, his down to earth and open nature refreshing in a sea of playboy sons of dictators and fuckboy teenage princes. There was a genuine angst to Eduordo, an apprehensiveness that she could very much identify with.

Feeling a slight chill she ran her hands down the side of her dress as she sat up straighter and squinted her eyes as she took up a thoughtful expression. There was no doubt that Trinity was taking in every word he said, stewing on it before she conjured her next words.

“That… is really profound.” Her eyes looked to the side as she thought about how she often did exactly what Eduourdo said the old dukes do, give some meaningless line about her feelings and ignore what was really happening within. The whole reason she was out here was more or less because of that, constantly suppressing the darkness in her as it continued to pressurize.

“I like that about you, even though we just met, you feel really honest.” Trinity’s bright smile made a comeback as she looked up at the Prince. “But lines aside you seemed very contemplative when I found you…” the curiosity returned to her eyes.

Blushing, more mild than the one before, he smiled, “Thank you,” he bowed his head slightly, “if only that were true.” He chuckled and paused, in his thoughts for a short second while he formulated an answer to her question. Trinity turned her head as if to assess why he put himself down in such a manner.

“I guess I was. Seems like you’re right, this is a wonderful place to think. There’s a spot just like this, at home, I’d always go to. It’s funny how all of these kinds of buildings are laid out so similarly.”

“I guess all minds of those long in the ground worked the same. Sort of like our Duke friends with their hop pocket answers.” She was beginning to enjoy this conversation, a welcome change from the overwhelming nature of the reception dinner.

He walked over to the flowers Trinity had so gracefully taken a whiff of earlier and looked over them. He turned his head towards her while pointing at them and inquiring, “What kind of flowers are these?”

Trinity stood up herself, adjusting her dress as needed before stepping towards the elegantly carved planter Eduourdo referred to.

“These are Achillea Muras.” Her fingers lightly touched the petals of the violet bloom. “They were Ackesias national flowers up until the 90s.” The flower was one of many traditions lost during westernization.

“They’re beautiful,” Eduordo practically whispered. As she continued to play with the petals lightly in her fingers she looked over Edourdo, her eyes meeting his.

“Thank you for being honest with me. I know it sounds weird but I think you taught me something.” Her voice was casual and soft, not the layered diplomatic visage she wore.

Eduordo watched her hand gently brush the flowers, softly caressing them with a delicate touch. It gave him a warm sort of feeling, his shoulders untensed and a calm smile emerged. He absorbed the image of it all, her hand, the bright violet petals and the stone backdrop, while he listened to her voice. When their eyes met he did not blush this time as she thanked him, not even having to refrain himself.

“I had to step away for a moment, you know? These kind of things can be.. well, a bit overwhelming. Had to tell you that, I guess, since you think I’m so honest,” he smirked and closed one eye comically as she had done before, “I should thank you, Princepessa, afterall, this is your palace and your birthday party I was invited to.”

She nodded, there was no lie in the fact it was all very overwhelming. Maybe one day she could stop with the traditions and showiness of the past and hold more casual events for those like Prince Edurado.
“It is all very overwhelming.” Her agreeable tone matching her nod.

He looked off, glancing towards the stone seat he had been brooding upon, and hmphed before looking back at Trinity. Raising a curious eyebrow, “Yet we’re both out here?”

Trinity smiled, a faint laugh as he caught her. There was no hiding that she was also running away, the young girl not as skilled at hiding her emotions as she thought she was.

“Yes….” a gentle giggle followed. “I am also out here… things for me have just been hard… if I am being honest.” Trinity’s speech was soft yet deliberate as she looked up to the boy. “Since we are being honest here.” Her smile that had been drowned by the sadness of the weight she carried rose once more upon her soft pink lips. “... I still have not gotten over the death of my family…” her eyes wavering as they trailed away from Eduordo.

It was then she heard the steps of another person nearing, her blonde hair flicking around her as she turned to René Alard, a lump finding her throat.

The Meronnian looked over the pair for a moment as he stepped over the threshold, before clearing his throat. “I’m sorry, I did not mean to intrude.” Glancing around the small courtyard, he laughed a little. “It’s like you live in a labyrinth.”

Sliping a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, Trinity gathered herself as the boy she knew all those years ago entered the courtyard. A nervous laugh escaped her as she answered.
“It honestly gets me sometimes still.” Her eyes looked to both the Parthonopian Prince and the Picflic Prince with a sense of insecurity. “And it's no intrusion, both Prince Eduordo and I were discussing a shared sentiment.” She smiled to Eduordo.

Eduordo had tensed up once again, ever so slightly, once the famous Meronnian had come upon them. It was a vast difference seeing René in the flesh as opposed to on PicFlic or his SignPost avatar. Having been startled once again, this time much less noticeably, he was drawn back to silence. His eyes were glued upon the celebrity as the handsome young man strided from the court entryway toward the two of them. Observing how he and Trinity interacted, Edourdo could see how casual and relaxed they spoke with each other. Almost comfortable, perhaps, if he had not noticed a hint of apprehension. He had already taken a step away from the plant they had been admiring and quickly reapplied his standard facade.

“Mister René Alard,” Eduordo smiled, “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

René turned to the other figure Trinity had introduced, who he hadn’t paid much attention to. “Ah, Prince Eduordo. An honour.” He shook the boy’s hand and returned his smile. “You’ve been missed at the reception.”

Eduordo shuffled his foot, “Well, uh, I think I should get back in there at some point. I’ll leave you to it. René,” he nodded to him before turning towards the princess, “Princess Trinity, it's been a pleasure.”

Looking towards the departing boy Trinity smiled warmly, her eyes following him as he began to step towards the door.

“It has, I hope we can speak again before the end of this weekend.” Her demeanor was friendly, not enough to allude to anything more but still more ostensibly sweet than she was to strangers.

He smiled and began to walk away. He did not take more than a few steps before turning around, “I’m sorry about my old Duke Egidio. I’ll try my best to keep him in line,” he winked, “but no promises,” and then gave her a gentle bow, “Thank you for sharing your thinking place with me.”

Bowing her own head she grinned from ear to ear, reflecting on these quick few minutes she spoke with him.

“Don’t trouble yourself too much trying to wrangle those stuck in their ways.” She jested as he departed, subtle interest in talking to the Parthonopian Prince again crossing her mind.

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Meronnia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 139
Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:29 pm

The courtyard garden was a bit quieter now, Trinity turned to Rene, her face got a little softer and eyes a little wider as she looked up to him. There was a timidness around her when it came to Rene, her first major love of womanhood that she had been apart from for years.

“So did you come looking for me or are you here to think too?” She looked on nervously, wondering just why Rene had found her here.

“Oh,” René looked around the courtyard as if looking for the words to respond. “I... saw you were troubled. I’m sorry if I overstepped, Trin,” could he still call her that? “Trinity, I just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

Trinity “hmm’ed” with a smile and soft red blush, hearing the pet name Rene had coined for her all those years ago in school. It was hard enough to get certain people to call her by her name much less a nickname nowadays, so she found herself both surprised to hear it and welcoming to its sound.

“It's been so long hasn’t it.” She turned her gaze back to the flower as she took it in her hand. “I can’t even remember the last time you called me Trin… before you left.” A bittersweet nostalgia lacing her tone.

“And no, you didn’t overstep at all.” She shrugged, bare porcelain shoulders contrasting the blue of her gown.

“I actually was just talking to Eduordo about that very thing… about being honest about your troubles…” her eyes lingered on the bloom as her thought trailed off like a wisp in the wind.

René nodded, glad she seemed comfortable to have him there. “That’s good advice.” He glanced to the doorway the Prince had disappeared through, before turning back to Trinity. He seemed nice. Very little resemblance to his father. Looking over Trinity, whose eyes were focused on the flowers beside them, René sighed. “It has been too long, Trin.” He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “How are you feeling?”

Trinity’s eyes closed and she took a deep breath as Rene’s hands found the skin of her shoulder. She fought the urge to lean her head over to it, to let him caress her cheek once more like he did in highschool. Carefully she chose the words to explain how she was, despite the openness and revelation her conversation with Eduordo produced, she couldn’t bring herself to tell Rene some things. She wondered what he would think if she told him she had held the barrel of an assault rifle to her forehead and begged the man holding it to pull the trigger. If she told him that at night sometimes she cries herself to sleep because of the horrors she witnessed that inevitably were caused by her own actions. Or even that she made a stranger promise to kill her before he ever dared killed himself.

She shuddered noticeably, her eyes still closed as she let the warm touch of Rene seep into her skin. Her face solemn as she watered down exactly how she was feeling.

“I… I have been better.” She smiled to try and soften the blow of her words, a nervous laugh to boot. “Since they died I have been scared, truthfully I wanted to invite all of you here to prove to myself I was stronger, but even the smallest mention of my family and…”

Trinity stopped herself, knowing if she should continue she would not be able to stop the tears. Taking a deep breath and letting out a sniffle she looked up to the sky to subdue them, her eyes glistening so wet. She was amazed at how powerful his touch was to her, the slightest graze of his hand on her shoulder and the girlish side of Trinity was spilling her guts to him.

René held her shoulder and kept tender eye contact as she found her way through the words to explain herself. He felt a pit in his chest, empathising with the girl in clear distress. René was in a strange position; he had just enough experience with loss to have an inkling into Trinity’s despair, but he couldn’t even guess at how hard it had all been. When he’d lost his brother, and his parents shipped him off to an academy in Ackesia of all places to get him away from it all, he had been a mess for months. The only good thing to come out of it was meeting her. Now, she had lost more than he could imagine, and he knew few details.

“Trin,” his voice was low, reassuring, “you are one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. This isn’t… weakness. This is mourning.” He squeezed her shoulder, giving her a melancholy smile. “You don’t beat it with force of will. If you, if you bottle these things up, they’ll kill you. All there is that makes this feeling pass is time.”

Trinity looked to his hand, the tender feeling of his touch. Rene was right… to an extent, it would take time for her to feel at peace for their death. But would time heal all the horrible things that happened because of her? Would those who died in the streets because she incited riots or the guardsmen dead in the halls of this very palace protecting her from Ackerman’s men truly ever leave her mind? She shuddered to think that she could shrug off such horrible things so easily. To that end the comfort Rene gave her only warmed her at a surface level. Her mind slipped to another that she truly felt akin to with regard to never forgiving herself.

Trinity simply nodded in response, her eyes still heavy with sadness yet she gave some relief in her smile to Rene. Her own hand came to meet his on her shoulder, a confirmation of the comfort he gave her as her thumb gilded atop his hand.

“Thanks Rene…”

René somberly watched her for a moment, knowing she was still hurting. That wasn’t unexpected, she had a lot to work through and he wasn’t exactly a trained therapist. On that thought, he made a note to ask her later about whether she was seeing one.

“Any time, Trin.” He contemplated for a moment, before gently taking her hands in his, dangling between them. Trinity’s cheeks lit up a bright red, her hand trembling as the boy she so feverishly sought after in high school grabbed her hand. They were quiet for a few seconds before René broke the silence, realizing they’d barely said hello. “It’s good to see you again.”

Trinity made no effort to recoil, a familiar comfort that was long missed returning to her girlish heart. She looked into Rene’s eyes and remembered times when she didn’t have so much weight on her.

“It is…” The girl at a loss for words as she reconciled the situation inside herself. “How have you been?” One of the fingers he held traced his palm, it was smooth, much like she remembered it being.

“Good, I’ve been good.” He smiled, looking off into space as he cherished the moment. “I’ve been lucky, really. The music is going well, and it’s been a lot of fun trying out this acting and fashion stuff... obviously the charity work is the fulfilling work. We were doing monsoon relief in Jashnagar this July, which taught me a lot - how unfit I was, for one.” René chuckled, shaking his head.

He could have talked about it for hours, especially to her. But he looked back to the hall, knowing there were many nobles expecting their share of the Princess’s time tonight.

“Wow Rene, that sounds really great.” She squeezed his hand, looking up at him as she smiled, there was some hope in her eyes, a nostalgic hope that rekindling a long lost love would solve her problems. Yet Trinity also knew it was foolish, the grown woman in her pleading caution.

“In truth… I really don’t want to go back.” She sighed, letting go of his hand as she turned around, crossing her arms as she walked down the pavers and around to some of her favorite plants.
“But I must… don’t I?” She looked at him, his wavy hair and fine features, her mind slipping back to distant memories. Trinity hoped Rene would lie to her and tell her she did not have to go back, that she wouldn’t have to reshoulder that weight.

She wanted an out, an excuse to stay out here and not face them. It would be easy to give, but it wouldn’t be honest. “Well,” René placed his hands on his hips. “It’s your party, so no one can force that on you...” He slowly meandered towards the flowers she was staring at on the other side of the courtyard. “But, it's your party, so they’re expecting you.” Stepping up next to her, he examined the floral arrangement. “We can stay here a while, if you want. But surely you don’t want to miss dessert?” He gave her a comforting look as he offered the compromise.

Trinity held on to the edge of the planter, her heart racing as he was so close to her. It was such a bizarre feeling after so many years. In the past year she had hardly thought of Rene outside of pondering inconsequential memories from school, why all the sudden did she feel so stiff around him?

Quietly she traced a vine with her finger, contemplating the merits of returning to the reception or hiding in the garden with Rene. Both were stressful, the thought of going back to the reception terrifying to let her guests down, the thought of remaining here worrying of what she might do. Looking up at him one last time she smirked, her eyes watching his hands explore the floral arrangement.

“I guess it's the right thing to do… to go back.” She admitted defeat before beginning to walk for the door. Yet as she had not even gone too far she stopped, again thinking back to her conversation with Eduordo.
“Rene… what is your favorite memory from back then?” She wanted to know if all those times in the academy meant to him what it meant to her.

René watched Trinity accept the inevitable with some grace, as she started back towards the door. He was about to follow when she turned, and posed the question. He paused in place, putting his hands in his pockets and looking up into the sky. He was quiet for a while before he answered.

“Do you remember when we had that arts class with Professor… uh, Covici, and we had to make those paintings and get them reviewed?”

He turned back down towards Trinity, but his eyes were distant, in memory. “And mine got chewed out by that critic.” He laughed now, thinking back to it.

“I was so torn up about it, and you… grabbed my head,” he mimed out the action with his own hands, “and you gave me one of the sternest looks I think you’ve ever given, and you asked me, ‘are you proud of your work’? And I said… ‘Well, yes…’” He nodded, still in the memory. “So you said, ‘that’s all that counts.’”

René gave a wide smile, genuine emotion in his eyes as he shared a gaze with Trinity. “That... meant a lot, for me. You all but beat the confidence into me.” René laughed and looked down, scratching the back of his head and suppressing a rush of colour to his cheeks. “You helped me become someone I like being.”

Trinity felt some life come back to her as Rene recollected to her that time long ago. She remembered the moment, but did not think it had such an impact on him as it seemed to. It made her feel a bit better about herself as she prepared to face the crowd once more, some life coming back to her smile as she stood up straight, running her hands down her dress as she made sure it was still wrinkle free.

“I’m glad that I was there for you then.” She cocked her head to one side, smiling fondly at him. There was still something there in her about him, yet she did not know if it was true feelings or what was leftover of the girl Trinity before her ascension to womanhood.
“I’m glad to see you again Rene.” Her voice was soft and sincere. “I hope we can talk some more before you leave?” Her words parted as she turned and walked back inside, leaving Rene alone in the courtyard.

“Any time, Trin. I missed you.” He responded after her, watching her walk down the hall and out of sight. Now alone, René exhaled a breath he didn’t realize he had held, and looked around the courtyard. Seeing a prime spot, he sat down on a protruding stone.

He stretched out and looked back at the sky for a while, before reaching into his jacket. He pulled out a small plastic bottle, extracted a pill from inside, and swallowed it dry.

In the distance two sets of eyes had been watching intently, assessing every move by both parties as the two old flames talked about memories past.
Last edited by Meronnia on Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nova Sylva
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1395
Founded: Nov 11, 2013
New York Times Democracy

Postby Nova Sylva » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:53 am

The peas were rather sly little things. Every time Anatoli attempted to snatch one with his fork, it slid around his plate, evading his grasp by a tenth of an inch. It might have been easier to use a spoon, or even to scoop with a fork, but the former was prohibited by the rules of fine dining and the latter just too easy. Instead, he focused his attention on the green vegetables. With all his might and mental acumen, he poked again, and succeeded. Victory was a fleeting feeling, however, as he moved once more into the breach -

“You really are bored, huh?” Anatoli was so shocked out of his trance he nearly dropped the fork. Captain Freya von Strauss looked over at him, as if she had been studying him for a while.

“I, well, yes. You know how it is - attendance mandatory, enjoyment secondary. How long have you been watching me, uhm -”

“Watching you play with your food? Long enough that your pursuit of those pees is still the most interesting thing going on at this dinner.” She shrugged and motioned back at his plate. “Don’t stop on my account. You nearly had that last one.”

“Honestly I don’t think I’m drunk enough for this,” he said. “Waiter! One cognac, on the rocks.” After a minor pause, he turned to Freya. “Can I get you anything? Or rather, have him get you something that I take credit for?”

She snickered. Not a laugh, but a brush of a smile. “Sure. Schnapps, with a lime.”

Anatoli relayed the order, and a few minutes later their drinks had arrived.

“So, you introduced yourself earlier as a Oberstgruppenfurher,” she said. “How is it that someone my junior holds a staff rank superior to mine?” She paused. “I don’t mean that as an insult. At least I don’t think I do. I guess it depends on your response.”

Anatoli shrugged. “When your father is the de facto dictator - I mean, rightfully elected President, nepotism gets you a long way. In truth, it's a ceremonial rank. I’m still junior to the brigade commander, but above the executive officer. It's what the Carniolans refer to as a lieutenant colonel. That’s not to say I don’t serve where they let me, however.”

“Where they let you? What do you mean?”

“Well, how to explain this. Take this as an example,” he said. “In the Sylvan army, there are eighty-four officers with the rank of general. In the Vlachavian Army, there are one hundred and fifty two. And the Sylvan Army is, by some accounts, as large as ours. Do you see what I mean? We’re top heavy. And most of our generals were not educated at a formal military academy, or if they were, they never held a field command larger than a company before Rozpad. But they are loyal to my father, and helped him win his term as President. I can’t think of a single one younger than age seventy. They are stuck in the past, in terms of organization, equipment, tactics...everything.”

By this time, Anatoli had finished his drink and had waved for another.

“In the last field maneuvers we had, I suggested that we integrate mortars at the company, rather than battalion level. Every other Liran nation does this - in fact, you Lunders were the first to do it. I don’t have to explain the reasoning to you - you're an officer yourself and an intelligent woman to boot. I tried explaining all the reasons to the brigade staff - less top heavy organization, more versatile artillery assets, and allowing the companies to maneuver their indirect fire support independently. After my presentation, you could have thought it was a thirteenth century witch trial. They looked like they wanted to burn me at the stake. You see, I was educated here, in Ackesia. I wouldn’t call myself a strategist or relate myself to great conquerors of centuries past, not by a longshot. But I studied enough to know that an army that doesn’t modernize isn’t an army at all. We’re still using tactics from the Rozpad Wars, and our ‘victory’ in 2008 - if you could really call it that - has just hardened the resolve of these old guard generals. What we need - what Vlachavia needs - is a shakeup. Something to get rid of the rot and bring the country, the economy, and the bureaucracy to the twenty-first century.”

“And what would that shakeup look like?”

A second and third drink now.

“Honestly, it would look like my father stepping down. It's going to happen soon. That’s why I’m here, after all. To be groomed to take his place. But he’s happy to take money and aid from the Ackesians and line his pockets while the country’s economy stagnates and the military chases its tail. And he expects me to do the same, but I have no intention of following his footsteps. That scares him. It scares the generals. Being a president, or a monarch, or any sort of leader means that you have a responsibility to those under you - not just to line your own pockets or look for your next promotion. I want to make Vlachavia a better place...but it seems that nobody else shares that desire.”

He sighed. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to monologue you.”

She placed a hand on his - not quite romantically, but as a way to stress the meaning to her words. “Honestly, Colonel Istrati, that was the most meaningful conversation I’ve had in quite a while. I’ll admit that my first impression of you was just like all these other faceless princes and princesses here tonight. Born into royalty - even if it's republican royalty - never worked a day in your life, and more interested in your own frivolous adventures than any meaningful contribution to society. I am happy to say you have since destroyed that impression.”

A fourth drink for Anatoli had arrived and he, somewhat awkwardly, moved his hand from underneath hers and coughed nervously into his sleeve. “No thank you, actually,” he told the waiter. He reached for his water instead. “Thank you, Captain von Strauss. And the feeling is mutual. So let me ask you a question, if I may. What do you want?”

Freya was taken aback, slightly. “I’m not quite sure I follow what you mean.”

“What do you, Freya von Strauss, want from life? What do you want to accomplish? To do? To experience? Too often, it seems, our lives are directed by others. For me, by my father - for you, I expect, by the Queen Matriarch. But all of that aside - what do you want?”

The two ate while they spoke, ignoring the rest of the conversations happening around the table. Freya sipped at her second drink and enjoyed the cheesecake between sentences as she spoke.

“You are going to laugh,” she said. Her smile was warm now. “But horses. When I was a child, I used to go to the stables and ride horses in our estate outside of Penzburg. I loved it. Such graceful, and intelligent creatures. It takes time to learn, of course, and I fell a great many times before getting the hang of it, but there’s a certain serenity to being able to pick a ride in the countryside and forget the plethora of problems in the world. Growing up with the cotillion education, with the manners and rules and regulations...it was the horses that kept me sane.”

Anatoli listened intently.

“I mean, when I got older, time to spare for horses was few and far between. I guess I compensate now with my company’s command tank. It's not the same thing, but close enough, I guess.”

“If I may make a suggestion,” Anatoli said. “There’s a lull in the schedule tomorrow. Some charity ball or another that we go to in the evening, but the morning and afternoon is free. Might I take you riding?”

“You have horses, here?”

“My family has an estate - well, more of a vacation home, really - on the outskirts of the city. We have stables and horses, and I’d love to show you the property. Say what you will about Ackesia, you can’t doubt the beauty of the open steppe.”

“You know, I would like that. A lot.”
Last edited by Nova Sylva on Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Meronnia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 139
Founded: Sep 27, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Meronnia » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:40 am

Midway through taking a small sip of the recently arrived red wines, the man sitting directly across from José reached out to shake his hand and greet the king. José had gotten a lot of similar greetings over the course of the party so far, and after a minute of processing who he was greeting, José recognized the man as the son of the Prince of Medemvoort, his strong Vaalser accent and his broken Lorian being the major indicator. José agreed to shake the man’s hand before it grew tired hanging over the table. “Thank you, your highness, I myself have visited the Vaalser country twice I believe, including having the honour of meeting your father”, he said as he gave a smile towards the Vaalser.

Jochum grinned right back, shaking the king’s hand firmly. “Indeed, your majesty, he spoke very highly of you.” Nodding to him and releasing the grip, the Vaalser sat back in his seat. He briefly looked up and down the table to make a note of other guests that it would be a faux pas not to greet during the evening, before turning to his new immediate priority, the meal in front of him.

Covertly entering the hall, Eduordo maneuvered through waiters, using them as cover while he furtively moved for his seat. Taking his place next to Egidio, the duke was deep into the main course that had already been served. Carving into the chicken breast, he was too busy at first to notice the arrival of his grandson while he smothered the white meat in a brown gravy, some of which clung to the thick gray bristles over his upper lip.

It was not until Egidio tossed the bone from the chicken leg he had stripped clean onto the nearly empty shrimp platter that he noticed Eduordo’s company. Utensils in hand he turned to him and open mouthed grinned, a mouthful of potatoes visible within. He placed down his knife and patted the prince’s shoulder swiftly. Still chewing he jested, “There you are! There you are, was beginning to wonder when you’d show up, haha!”

Having only just slinked into his seat and pushing the shrimp platter out of the way, Eduordo feigned a smile and greeted the old man. He shuffled with his place setting while Egidio spoke, formulating a response, “I’m sorry, I got turned around in those halls.”

Egidio coughed a little, a speckle of shredded chicken and saliva coming dangerously close to Freya’s side of the table. He hurriedly took a sip of water, his liver spotted hand shaking a little bit more than normal as he did so. Swallowing calmly, and without causing too much of a scene, he released the chuckle that had caused the hiccup.

“The case of the winding halls labyrinth, huh? I tell ya, haha. This one time I was with Baron D’Ardore, or was it Prince Jacob? They have the same head. Anyway, it was in the… Castello…. We were in Sassarra, visiting Duke Giullame Fiorino for his son’s christening, or wedding. This was a, well this was well before you were born, haha! So, you know, before all that happened with them, of course.”

He barely paused to shovel a forkful of a potato and chicken mashup into his mouth while he continued, “Well that happened to me once, the both of us, haha. After supper and before drinks. Wandered those hallways for easily four hour straight, haha! I tell you. My knees still feel it. No sense of style that Giullame,” Egidio shook his head, “gold colored carpets! So on the nose, such a pompous.”

Eduordo turned to Giosuè in the midst of Egidio’s rambling, exchanging a glance and coy smile. They had already shared several moments like this on the flight to Ackesia alone, both of them preferring these subtle recognitions of Egidio’s quirks as opposed to the exacerbation the duke could instill instead.

“Oh,” Egidio pushed the shrimp a few inches away from him and slid a lukewarm bowl in front of Eduordo. He grabbed the boy’s napkin, neatly folded on the table, and shook it open, tossing it on the prince’s knee, “Come on now, you know how to do this, haha. Try the pasta, it’s not bad.”

“Yes of course, thank you,” Eduordo responded a tad peevishly. He looked down at the bowl below him, the familiar smell of garlic wafting up from it. He picked up his utensils while Egidio resumed tending to his meal. He glanced over to Giosuè once more, catching a glimpse of him politely cutting his chicken. Exhibiting the manners he had been drilled on he did so gently, placing his knife down as he finished cutting and switching the hand he held his fork with to lift it to his mouth.

Egidio, who had long ago found tedious tendencies such as that unnecessary, clanked his knife on the edge of his plate. He did so repetitively, long enough for Eduordo to notice but quiet enough that only he would. Casting a sideways gaze upon the man, Egidio placed down his utensils once more and methodically wiped the edges of his mouth with his napkin.

“You know better. You know better than to hide at dinners like this, you, you need to show your face. I can’t, I won’t have you be embarrassing me, now.”

Around this time Trinity would find her way back down the maze of halls and to the Reception table. Not much time had passed so she figured she could easily excuse her absence for something normal. She entered the room, letting the guards open the doors for her as she smiled widely for her guests, most of whom were either eating or conversing about themselves or world affairs.

At the opposite end of the hall she saw Julian, their eyes meeting for the briefest of seconds before she found her old seat. Nearing the table she would exchange smiles with Eduordo, Trinity giving him a knowing wink as she reflected on their enjoyable conversation.

“I apologize for my absence. Something called for my attention.” She folded her napkin back in her lap and picked up a fork to daintily carve a piece of the chicken.

Julian for his part breathed a sigh of relief at her returnl, stealing a glass of wine off of a tray that passed by. He took a long sip of the red fluid as his eyes did not leave the blonde girl for fear she might bolt once again/

“The guest of honor has returned!” Egidio had let Trinity get settled in her seat and look around for a moment before he began his greetings. Placing down his own fork, in order to devote his full attention to the princess, he turned towards her in his seat. Rosy cheeks protruding from behind his imperial and bushy mustache, he smiled widely at her. He wiped his hand on his knee before bringing it up to Trinity’s cheek and lightly pinching it.

In a sing-songy voice he rumbled while he pinched her,, “It has been so long, haha! So, so long. The last time I saw you,” he took his hand away from her face and held it open flat, palm facing the floor. Hovering at about the height of the top of the back of the chair he said, “Last time I saw you, you were this tall. Now you might not remember, haha, but last time you were this tall when I saw you.”

Rubbing her reddened cheek while nervously laughing she acknowledged the amount of time it had been since she last saw the Duke of Masa. Though she certainly had grown since then, he was still… old.

“Oh ha-ha… no not at all, it is hard to forget you after all, your eminence.” Trinity donned her signature wide brimmed smile for the old Duke’s benefit.

“Ohhhh,” Egidio blushed and waved her off, “you flatter me, Princess Toria, ah!, uh Princess Trinity. I must thank you for having us, youa, you are a gracious host. The graciousness hostess! The dinner, it is amazing, superb. Good on you, good. Such wonderful staff you have.”

He placed his hand on her bare shoulder and gave it a squeeze. He released her, not before applying a gentle tap on her back. Leaning back in his chair to allow Trinity a view of Eduordo, he pointed his boney finger at the Ciaia. His vitiligo showing, the fingertip was a pale white, almost bleached in comparison to the rest of his hand, besides his knuckles. He stuttered briefly as he tried to find the correct order of words he was attempting to express, “Princess! I would be a, I, it would be rude to not, not to introduce you to you, the Prince Eduordo, my grandson, haha!”

“Prince Eduordo, this is the Princess Trinity, of course, of Avondale, you know, say hello and thank you, yes.” He cast a split second stern glare at the boy, telepathically ordering him to introduce himself.

Trinity held back a snicker of irony and instead gave Eduordo a big grin as she was introduced to the Prince after the fact of their actual meeting. She of course had much higher opinions of him than if Duke Egidio had simply introduced him as such, but she played along with the old man as he feebly pointed to his grandson.

“Prince Eduordo.” She bowed her head, bright blonde hair cascading over her ear as her vibrant green eyes followed the Prince’s. “It is a pleasure to meet you, I have heard a great many wonderful things about you and your kindness.” Her smile conveyed a sense of knowing between the two as she gave him a wink without Duke Egidio noticing. Trinity knew that would get Eduordo points with his grandfather that night, it was the least she could do.

“Princess Trinity of Avondale,” Eduordo smiled, a playful blush appearing on his cheeks. He spoke with more confidence than he had previously and extended a hand out over Egidio’s stomach to shake hers. He recreated their first impression in his head while he spoke, “I too have heard a great many things about you, Princepessa. There is no mistake, you are an invaluable asset and great treasure to your country and people.”

Egidio was grinning from ear to ear while the two of them daintily shook hands in front of him. He placed a hand on each of their closest shoulders and unleashed his most hearty chortle yet. He was impressed with Eduordo in that moment and took note of it, although he would surely forget later on. That was why Giosuè was there, to observe and to remember things for Egidio, among other chores and responsibilities. Giosuè, of course, did observe and took note of the interaction. Specifically a peculiar wink that the princess had given to Eduordo that the elderly duke had missed but Giosuè had not.

Trinity for her part would give Eduordo her hand softly and suddenly grip down tightly as the Duke’s boisterous laugh startled her. The girl found herself holding on to Eduordo’s hand for a few moments longer than decorum usually allowed as she gathered herself once more. Once she did, she would loosen her grip, receding her fingers back across Eduordo’s without the usual abruptness of a handshake between strangers.

“It is so, so wonderful to be here, Princess, to see you,” Egidio said boisterously “we all wish you the best. All of us, haha. Isn’t that right Eduordo?”

Their hands had lingered together for longer than he had anticipated, her fingertips brushing softly across his palm as they let go. He was not phased by it, appreciative of it even, however keeping that to himself. He made eye contact with her once again as they both sat back upright in their chairs.

“Only the very best, Princess Trinity,” Eduordo said coyly.

A thick blush coated Trinity’s cheeks as she pulled her hand back at the Duke’s notice. She returned to her plate and silverware, her eyes briefly looking back to Eduordo.

Some time after Trinity had returned, René slipped through the same door, finding his way back to his seat. As he got there, Jochum patted him on the back, and wordlessly slided a dish of garlic noodles to him which he had presided over.

Trinity soon began to settle back into the atmosphere of the reception, deciding it best to re-engage with those who she only briefly spoke to. It was not for lack of satisfaction with her reunion with Rene or meeting with Eduordo, her eyes purposefully and duty imposed avoiding that half of the table. Cutting into a portion of her garlic noodles, a food she had briefly contemplated banning from any sort of official function at the palace, (and only did not because of a large revolt amongst the staff), she looked across the table at Anatoli Istatri.

A feeling of guilt came over her as she felt like she may have judged the situation too harshly due to the tabloid coverage of his visit. Trinity had a very tumultuous relationship with tabloids. Since she was a young teenager she had been the target of nasty headlines meant to cater to the sickest fantasies of degenerates the world over. Now that her popularity had increased exponentially, the tabloid coverage followed suit. Vasile, Anya, and Petra insisted that she just ignore such things, find herself above it all. Yet, a guilty pleasure Trinity all too often indulged in since her school days was that of reading headlines about herself online into the late hours of the night, ever paranoid about her self image. As a grown woman she tried to tell herself she was above such things, so as she finished a bite of food and wiped her pink lips with a napkin she decided she would show growth by reengaging the republican prince.

“Mr. Istatri… how is your father, and Vlachavia?” She did her best to put on a convincing and curious tone.

Anatoli smiled in response. He knew she was just being polite, but in high society like this, that was the name of the game. It was always more important for someone to put on a visage than to show their true emotions. That, however, was a game that Anatoli was particularly adept at playing.

“Excellent, thank you, Princess. He of course sends his regards. As for Vlachavia, we’ve had our ups and downs, but Ackesia knows of those political tumulations as well.”

Of course, Vlachavian political tumulations meant the ongoing Karpat insurgency in the nation’s west, where every day, the body count rose. In Ackesia, it meant election troubles. But perspective was everything.

Trinity knew all too well, as this very home she hosted guests in was previously a battleground in a very deep low point in Ackesian history. As she took a bite of steamed vegetables she contemplated exactly how to respond to that, not even back at the table for a minute and the heavy conversation had begun.

“It seems even in eastern Lira we have our own troubles.” She nodded her head to the side. On either side of her the representatives of western Liran conflicts sat, the world occupied with their struggles and little attention given to the struggles of the east.

“Princess, I have a question for you, if you would allow it. Forgive my dispensing with the usual pleasantries - but what is your opinion on the Larovan situation? Many see my region as the next flashpoint for conflict - what is your opinion on the matter, and what would you see done to stabilize the region?”

Pondering it for a minute, Anatoli looked expectantly not just at the Princess, but at the assortment of royals that had quieted their own conversations to hear her response, and pitch in their own two cents. Nothing like a talk of geopolitics to make dinner exciting…

The table had quieted towards the center in response to Trinity’s question that Anatoli had prompted. Eduordo cleared his throat, carefully setting his silverware down on his plate. He was a student of history, and more recently war. His knowledge of the Larovan conflicts was not nearly as in-depth as his understanding of those hailing from Western Lira but he had enough readings about it in the past to have a tenuous grasp on the subject.

“I think it is an unfortunate, yet all too familiar situation. Peoples of similar cultures, but just different enough, slaughtering each other for no other reason than some nationalistic fever,” he cast a sideways glance at the Produese delegation as he incurred the word slaughter. As he did Trinity met his eyes, impressed with the sentiment of his words and thankful for his intervention.

Switching eye contact between Trinity and Anatoli he continued, “I mean, stability is so elusive these days. When everyone is out to accomplish their own goals, often conflicting, opposing goals from everyone else, the head butting is only a natural result. Now I’m no Larovan historian, but maybe the issues are brought on by the same circumstances that cause those in my homeland. Namely,” he cast another dirty look towards the Produese, “foreign aggression, infringements on sovereignty.”

Restricted from reacting to comments surrounding Produese politics by the constitution, José simply rolled his eyes at the clear attempt to highlight the controversies of his country’s past.

Trinity was always nervous to answer these sorts of questions, her inexperience in geopolitics being the main source of her anxiousness as she pondered an appropriate answer to Anatoli’s question. She was only the provincial head of Avondale after all, beyond border tension with Velkanika she should really have no business speaking about such things. Yet as her popularity grew in Ackesia and her platform grew in the arena of political discourse, she found many soliciting her opinions on matters ranging as far away as Mu-Kal.

Concealing her anxiety over the question, Trinity shifted in her seat. She knew the issues, she had plenty of history lessons in school about these sorts of things.

“I have to agree with Prince Eduordo...” she resisted the urge to turn to him and gush, the Prince piquing her interest the more he talked, “...more often than not the conflicting interests of foreign nations influence the broader instability in the Larovan region. For peace to be realized the Larovans must take charge of the process of reconciling those opposing goals between them. As for Ackesia and those others who bear influence therein…” she passed a glance to Freya “...we must use said influence for the positive else we invite war on our doorsteps.” Taking a breath after her long drawn out thought, she hoped she did not come off as a naive and idealistic dilettante.

“Indeed, Princess.” Jochum cut in, unexpectedly paying attention to the political discussion. “A folk must be able to govern themselves. Else…” He waved a hand airily, bitter memories of the bombings that punctuated his childhood coming through. “Geweld.” The Vaalser then returned to his dish, quickly moving on from a rarely solemn contribution.

Paavo paused from eating. The delightful bowl of garlic noodles had commanded his attention throughout the dinner. The dish was similar to a few Storsnian dishes; the seasoning was unique and distinctly Liran however.

“Being from Mu-Kal...” Paavo glanced around the room noticing he was the only Mu-Kalese guest. “My opinion might not hold that much sway, but I think that all peoples should be able to govern themselves without foreign intervention. Also I think this should be achieved without having to resort to violence. But that’s just my two cents.”

“I share your ideals Prince Paavo.” Trinity nodded her head to her guest. She would need to introduce herself and talk to this man at a later time…

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Parthonopia
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Founded: Dec 25, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Parthonopia » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:43 pm

Inhaling the lengthy noodles from a bowl he cupped in one hand, shoveling with his fork in the other, Egidio had begun to engage in a staring match with the stalky woman sitting across from him. An inadvertent contest, his eyes had been open for longer than he would wish for and his mind was settling on a blank stare while he indulged in the courses before him. A particularly slippery noodle, one that smacked his bare chin while he slurped it up, had jostled him enough so that his vision focused in and he became aware of the glowering woman.

The cavalier old duke innoxiously began to squint as he tried to examine her, his vision not as capable as it once was. His brow furrowed as he observed her, he muttered, rather loudly, “Grenze? Ah, uh, nooo, no no. You, a” he raised his voice to a volume he assumed she could hear while waving his fork hand, “Who do I have the pleasure, of, madame?”

“Captain Freya von Strauss, Lunderfrausian Army, but you can call me Lady Freya, daughter to the Countess of Penzburg. And if I am not mistaken, this charming gentleman before me is the Duke of Massa, Egidio.” She raised her glass and quickly shifted from a glower to a coy smile. “It is a pleasure to meet you, your eminence.” She leaned the glass forward, as if to nod with it, pulling it back after a brief moment to take a sip.

Unlike her Government’s relationship with Parthonopia, Freya really didn't feel strongly either way about the Kingdom or its denizens. She certainly had no political qualms with the Duke of Massa sitting directly across from her, though she wasn't fond of the residue of chewed food that from time to time wound up on her side of the table when he spoke. She was willing to overlook it, however, for the sake of courtesy and etiquette. She still struggled to formulate a response.

“So, what are your thoughts on these garlic noodles? I find them to be absolutely divine.” Freya’s eyes darted around the room, looking for someone, anyone that could save her from having to make small talk with this octogenarian. Finally her eyes landed on a gentleman leaning near the back wall. She had noticed him earlier watch Trinity run out, then saw him send two handmaid's after her. “Must be a part of her staff” Freya thought. Looking at his rigid, stoic demeanor, she gauged he was security of some kind. Whether she was right or wrong didn't matter to her though, as the mysterious man propped up against the wall was enough of a curiosity and excuse to get her out of talking to the Duke. She turned to Egidio, smiled and got up from her seat.

“My sincerest apologies Duke Egidio, but I need to stretch my legs for a moment, wouldn’t want them to become stiff now.” She quickly departed the table and made her way to the mystery man.

“No worries Captain Lady von Strauss! My knees have been stiff since ‘99, haha, you, you got to have got a while to go more before that. Good to stay vigilant, though.” He waved her off, chuckling as he did so. He looked at the young man sitting in the seat next to Freya’s. Sporting a weak beard, patchy and not fully connected, as well as unruly dark curly hair that, were it any slicker, could pass for a Parthonopians.

He leaned in over the table slightly and covered the side of his mouth with one hand while he secretly questioned the Storsnian, “She is your old lady, yes? I must say, very respectable” he leaned backed and began to play with his napkin, “I had a cousin who married a Lunder woman! He liked those long legs too much to care if he got any inheritance, not like there was much of one, haha!”

Paavo now took a break from his second bowl of noodles to answer the aging Duke’s question. “Unfortunately no, I’d count myself lucky if she was mine. I’d cherish a strong woman that can take charge like her.” Paavo winked at the Duke while taking a sip from a glass of red wine he replaced the champagne with. “I’m Prince Paavo of Nuokka”

“Princo Pablo of Noka! It is a pleasure, haha, good to meet you, good on you, young man. That’s a shame, really, about her,” he pointed towards the Lunder woman who was waltzing over towards a vigilant man by the door, “you really out to put a ring on it, you know. They don’t like much, waiting, they don’t like it one iota! I waited three years, you know, three years before I married my wife Nicolette. Worst mistake of my life… I should’ve waited another year, haha! Maybe then I’d have had a enough time to know better!”

He smacked Eduordo’s chest as he exclaimed, a gurgling cackle erupting from him after he landed the punchline of what he felt was his best zinger of the evening. Eduordo had not found is as funny, the force of Egidio’s playful thump to the chest nearly causing him to choke on a mouthful of chicken he was chewing.

Freya was well across the room by then, thankfully having avoided one of Duke Egidio’s long winded, meandering conversations. She was heading squarely for the upright man by the door, obviously a high up in the Princess’s security. She had to admit, he was a good looking chap. If she swung that way she’d definitely have been interested, though he was a tad tall for her liking. She waved as she made her approach.

“Tell me, what's someone such as yourself doing in a place like this.” She scanned him up and down. “You don’t strike me as Nobility.” She briefly paused for a second. “I’m sorry, where are my manners, Captain Freya von Strauss, 2nd Battalion, 1st Dragoons, Lunderfrausian Army. Unlike the other people here, my guess is that means something to you.” She looked to the man to see if his expression had changed, but it remained as stoic as ever. “So what's your story? How’d you get dragged to this shindig?”

Julian stood straighter as the Lunderfrausian Lady approached, unconsciously measuring himself up to her as she came fairly close to his own height. In his military career he had met a few Lunder women, and most were not under amicable circumstances due to his involvement in the Karpat War. Yet as the Captain approached him with an open hand and friendly demeanor he soon loosened his shoulders.

“Ah yes, Lady Freya.” He bowed his head, neck hurting from all damnable bowing. “My name is Julian Reqyn, I am the assistant Chief of Staff to the Princess.” He kept a straight face wondering what the occasion was that he should be approached as such. She looked too young to have recognized him from the war.

“I trust you have everything you need?”

Freya laughed slightly, “honestly, Captain von Strauss or just Freya is fine. I only drag out the Royal titles for the nobility.” She motioned to the table, “frankly I came over to get a break from the others. I'm not incredibly keen on these kinds of things, but when your cousin is the Kaiserin and she says you’re going, you go.” She once again looked over the man standing before her, he had a grizzled physique and aura that she had seen elsewhere. It was the look of someone who had seen combat. She’d seen it herself on the faces of her superiors that had served in ‘advisory’ roles during the Karpat War back in 2012. “You look like you’ve seen your fair share of action, friend. I take it you’re ex-military? I don’t mean to pry, but I’ve been around soldiers long enough to know what a battle hardened one looks like.”

Julian coughed for a moment, patting his chest until he felt like taking a sip of his wine. He did indeed “see some action” in his time. Infact said action during the war involved gunning down some of those soldiers who served with the ones Freya had been around. He certainly could find a few grey hairs on his head from that war, a war he officially had no part in. Looking at the Lunderfrausian Captain he nodded, conceding you can't fool a soldier about soldier things.

“Yes I was in the Republican Guard for a time, served in Pohjrahvad for a stint.” Julian was a very convincing liar. In fact he was very practiced at reciting where he was and what he did in the icey nation. Always prepared to deflect questions about his time in Sylvaka.
“That is before I came into the Princess’ service.” His eyes wandered instinctively to Trinity, tracing her body.
“And you Captain? Seen much action yourself?”

Freya shook her head “No, I was admitted to the Imperial Military College right out of High School, right during the Karpat War. By the time I got out and was commissioned, the war was over. Closest I’ve been to combat was live fire drills.” She paused for a second. “I’m guessing you wanted a change of scenery after serving? What landed you a gig like this” She said as she motioned to the Princess sitting at the table. “Not gonna lie to you, lots of guys…..and girls would kill to be where you are.”

Chuckling at the truth of that statement and how it applied to him, Julain smiled to the captain. He wondered where to even begin answering the question of how he came into Trinity’s service. Was it when he killed his best friend to save her? The tragic promise they made together? Or the time they made love on every surface of her office? Either way it was still all tangled in his mind since she had hardly said a word to him in the last month. Their eyes only met every so often, an occasion Julian hated to need.

“Well actually I uh, I applied you see.” His eyes ran around the rim of his wine glass as he smiled confidently. “I studied international relations at Beldon National, and well I had a good resume and got an interview with the princess….” He looked at Freya’s medals. “..... and I uh, got in.” He finished his sentence tapping on the side of his glass. Frankly, it was not his best lie ever. “I feel pretty… lucky.” That word did not explain the half of his muddled feelings pr circumstances.

“And how is working for the Princess of Avondale?” Freya turned back to look at the princess politely entertaining her guests at the table. “Does her reputation live up to the hype?”

Lately it had been hell for him in truth. While Julian put up a tough front externally, a fierce conflict internally was taking place at this very minute as the seeds of self doubt sprouted into a forest. Not only the question of why he thought about Trinity Avondale so much, but also why she was not talking to him. Fear of whether he took it too far that day presided over him. It stroked the melancholy within as he wondered if the young girl had already grown out of her own melancholy, no longer needing him to keep his end of the promise.

But joining Freya in looking at Trinity, Julian yearned for her. Every fiber in him needed her. It was a horrible thing to be falling for a girl so far out of his reach, and after all he went through losing his last love.

Julian smiled, thinking about the question.

“Yes. She is all that and more so.” He said softly, looking to the captain. “She really does believe what she says, and even right now she is pushing herself to that end. I think working for her is going to be one of the greatest things I could have done for my life.” He nodded to his newfound Lunderfrausian friend.

Freya nodded in return. “That’s good to know. Well Julian, I’m sure I’ve taken up more than enough of your time, I should be heading back to the table now” She again nodded to Julian and turned to walk back to the table, quickly finding her way back to her seat.

“Enjoy.” Julian raised his glass and returned to brooding subtly.

As the guests started to wind down on the main course and a delicious cake was brought out for desert, one by one they returned to a focus on idle chatter. Jochum put down his fork and patted his lips with the serviette in front of him. He turned to René next to him, and tapped him on the shoulder. The boy turned, and looked at him expectantly.

In his more confident Soliçian, he gave René a proposal. “Let’s go greet the Parthonopians together. I haven’t said hello to them yet.” René turned and glanced over to them, his curious gaze staying on Prince Eduordo for a few seconds, before he returned his focus and nodded to Jochum. The two stood from their chairs and maneuvered around to near where the Parthonopians had been seated.

Jochum initiated contact, showing some respect for his elders by bowing to the Duke of Massa before extending a hand to him. “Ah, your grace. I am zeer, ah, excited, to make your acquaintance.” Next to him, René nodded to Egidio and Eduordo, simply adding a quiet acknowledgement. “Your Grace, your Highness.”

“Haha!” Egidio wiped his mouth with the napkin he had draped over his knee and extended his hand out to shake Jochum’s, “And the pleasure is mine, have you tried any of this cake yet?”

Eduordo looked to Rene, their eyes meeting briefly until he settled his gaze on the Vaalser. The boy had a look upon him that confused Eduordo. He was only a celebrity and Ed a prince but there was an air about him, he radiated in real life, much as he did on PicFlic, even when he quietly spoke to him. Eduordo wondered what Rene must have thought of him after their brief run in before.

“I have not, your Grace…” The Vaalser peered across the table curiously, landing his gaze on the baked beauty. Its supple form, the deep chocolate tone, the cream lathered across it generously, but sleekly and smoothly. Jochum tilted his head to the side, bewitched by its allure. His father had hinted he might find a romance visiting Avondale, and find it he had. He reached for the nearest clean fork, to get a piece of that ambrosia.

Placing the first perfectly moist, airy but not too much so, exquisitely uniformly covered bite in his mouth, Jochum closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. He found a peace within himself that men spent whole lives searching for in vain. He saw the golden glow of the afterlife before him and smiled, knowing that this cake would be waiting for him there, under the chorus of angels singing. For now, though, it was right in front of him.

”Dit is de taart van goden en koningen…” Jochum said under his breath, slipping back fully into his native Vaalse. “You are a man of wisdom, your Grace.”

René watched as the Duke of Massa pointed the Vaalser to the cake, and he seemingly discovered love at first sight. Deciding it best to leave them be, he turned to Eduordo and put out an arm to shake his hand, smiling politely.

“Your highness, it is good to meet you, er, properly. Have you enjoyed the party?”

“Eduordo!” Egidio lightly smacked the boy’s chest with the back of his hand, “Let the good Vaalse sitdown! You cannot, you just can’t enjoy that good a cake standing up, haha!”

Eduordo blushed and obliged, standing up and pulling out his chair to allow Jochum into it, who did so in a daze as he was entranced by the baked masterpiece. He politely smiled and nodded to him as he passed and then turned his attention to Rene. He calmly took his hand in his own. Rene’s hand was warm and dry as opposed to his, a comforting feeling pulsing through him. He chuckled as he could see out of the corner of his eye, Egidio celebratorily laughing and tapping the table as he retrieved a second slice.

“It is good to meet you, Mister Alard. Properly,” he smirked but quickly looked away while they released their grip, “It is a wonderful party so far, yes. I’m excited for the rest of the events she has in store for us.”

He motioned his head over towards Trinity, catching Egidio leaning into Jochum’s ear and attempting to whisper, “Good, isn’t it? I, if you like that, I know a guy in the back, we can send some of the leftover up to your room later.”

René observed Jochum nod appreciatively and grab what he was pretty sure was Prince Eduordo’s drink to toast the Duke of Massa. Content that they were plenty to hold each others’ attention, he nodded back to the prince.

“Indeed, it is a busy schedule for tomorrow.” René looked around the room for a few moments, seeing all those haughty aristocrats at the business of networking and honouring titles and reconnecting with second and third cousins. Turning back to Eduordo, he raised an eyebrow. “Do you have to do these often, being a prince?”

Eduordo could not help but to hmph, and rolled his eyes, “Perhaps too often. I’ve got a lot of cousins and there have been a lot of birthdays and weddings,” he reflected momentarily, thinking of all the funerals mixed in there as well. “Not too many out of Parthonopia,” he said retrospectively before he chuckled and awkwardly winked at Rene, “Never to anything with such a distinguished guest list though.”

“Yeah, all these noble titles, I can’t say I’ve ever been in the same room as a King before…” René glanced back out at the room for a moment, oblivious to Eduordo’s real meaning. “So, you have plenty of experience with this stuff - any advice for dealing with these people? Where I come from, there isn’t… any of this.” René waved a hand around generally.

There was a twinge of disappointment in Eduordo as René seemed to miss his insinuation. A smirk appeared upon his face and he shook his head. He gestured widely, spanning the table, and said, “Smile and nod.” He let out a childish giggle and subconsciously regretted it in an instant but kept his cool and went on, “Most of these folks are so caught up in the bowing and posturing they forget they’re talking to someone not on their staff. A little flattery goes a long way, especially since they expect it.”

He went to lean over to retrieve his glass before realizing it was already in Jochum’ hand, he and the Massan duke taking turns eating and toasting. He shrugged it off, thankful that someone else could occupy Egidio for a moment.

“I live with a King, dining with one is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Now, being in a room with a music icon,” he pointed to René so as there was no mistaking whom he was referring to, “that is something I have never done before. On a personal level, at least. It’s a tad, uh, well I guess I’m a little starstruck.”

René, who had been nodding and taking in the prince’s advice, raised his eyebrows, somewhat taken aback at the compliment. “Oh! Ah, icon, that’s very kind. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, huh?” René laughed, scratching the back of his head. “I was pretty nervous to come in here and meet people who get in the news for, y’know, important stuff.” He was still amazed how much coverage he got for hugging that rooster.

“You definitely have the harder job, I think.” René patted Eduordo on the shoulder, seeing past the prince, his grandfather seemed to be showing Jochum a photograph from his wallet. “No need to worry about me.” He smiled to the prince reassuringly.

Feeling René’s hand on his shoulder it took every bit of energy and self control not to shudder from the chill that ran up his spine. He soaked in René’s smile and the pleasantly surprising humility he displayed. Returning the favor, Eduordo waved off the compliment with a bashful shaking of his head. Of course, René must have known how famous he was, the following he commanded both on and off the internet. School girls swooned for him across the world; crowds of cheering fans adulated him at every performance. Thousands took in, with excitement, every Sign and Flic he put out. Eduordo included, but that was not a fact he would publicly reveal. René was a celebrity for the arts he created, not for dusty Liran politics.

“I seriously doubt that,” he let out a feint laugh, “you probably can’t leave your home without someone spotting you. Or the paparazzi. If it weren’t for some of the company I am usually around,” he gestured to Egidio who seemed to be in the middle of tearing up as he told a story of his childhood to Jochum, “no one would recognize me. It’s only at things like this they do, and that’s because you have to.”

“Oh, you’re too kind.” René laughed. “I’ve been lucky, really, that’s it. My point was, I mess up, the worst consequences are…” he wagged a hand, “a disappointed concert crowd? Maybe I get cancelled on SignPost? I don’t have to worry about the same consequences. Got to give respect to the responsibilities people like you deal with.” He shifted his eyes to the Duke of Massa for a moment, as if to accentuate the point. About to continue the pleasant conversation, René noticed Princess Trinity standing from her seat.

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Produzir
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Founded: Nov 14, 2017
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Produzir » Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:57 pm

It was time, a time that was dictated by rules for such affairs handed down by generations of nobles and well to dos under the wisdom that it was best to quit while the going was good. A meal has been served, guests entertained, animated conversations shared, and cake cut. Trinity's only obligation left for tonight was to give the parting words to her guests, the groundwork laid for what was shaping to be at the very least an interesting birthday weekend. So much had happened in such a little time, having connected with those much like herself from around the world and reconnected with some whom she didn’t expect to hit it off with once again. As she sat there in her chair listening to Duke Egidio tell the same story about his wife a third time, a part of her felt uneasy, as if the guests present in the room before her suddenly felt so much bigger than her, a small girl.

There was representatives in this room from all sides of politics and conflict throughout Lira. Each came to this humble birthday party with their own objectives and motivations more than likely. Compared to this Trinity felt so small, a girl who months again was more concerned with what magazine cover she was going to be on or charity event she would attend. Now the responsibilities she assumed would be past to her brother fell to her.

Anya came behind Trinity and clasped her should we her hand, a pinch of encouragement from a friend before she leaned into the Princess’ ear.

“Milady it is time.” Anya whispered before she slipped backwards to her position against the wall.

Egidio was once again guffawing at a joke he made no more than twenty minutes ago as Trinity stood from her chair, a flute of champagne in her hand as the room fell silent at the rising of the Princess of Avondale.

“Ladies… gentlemen… honored guests.” She did her best to smile as all of the eyes in the room converged on her. “I hope you all have enjoyed our evening together as much as I have. It has, as you all know, been a complicated time here in the Principality of Avondale. We meet now in September, as you graciously join to celebrate my nineteenth birthday, when just five months ago this palace was a battleground in a dark period of Ackesian history.” Her voice became somber as she trailed off in thought, but gathered herself quickly to continue. “Yet… April showers seem to bring September flowers this year…” She smirked at her pun, she looked around the room, to Rene and Edroudo, then over to her Produese kin.

“... I am thankful to have lived through such times to now stand here before you all. And I am thankful to you all for attending. We have a long weekend ahead of us, tomorrow we have time for those who wish to see the city before a charity event at St. Nenyal orphanage in the afternoon. It will be a wonderful time to bring many blessings to these children who have so little. And of course afterwards we have the ball and feast to look forward to. I hope everyone has a wonderful night.”

Conversations began to due down as the guests slowly departed. Many still lingered in the hall chatting as was expected, chatter both gregarious and stern still ongoing. Trinity herself decided it was a perfect chance to revisit a guest she previously spoke to, specifically one interrupted by a rapping that nearly derailed the entire party.

She fixed her eyes on one Produese Prince with a long expression on his face. Her golden hair bobbing as she approached the situation delicately. It would not escape her that he felt rather down on himself since losing face near the beginning of the party.

“Hey Filipe.” She smiled at him, coming alongside the boy as he scrolled through SignPost on his phone. “I’m sorry about what happened earlier.” Trinity lowered her head sympathetically, her green eyes looking to his with a soothing expression.

"Hey Trinity, yeah it's all good. I wouldn't put that moment as one of the highlights of my life though", giving the princess a neutral face. "Was hoping for a better response than what I got".

Trinity twisted her face to stop giggling, though her expression betrayed her to show a slight sign of amusement as Filipe clearly did not know who he was dealing with.

“I would have to say you got off easy as far as Duke Egidio goes.” The corner of her mouth turned up as she teased him.

"Maybe you're right, old man's probably dealt with enough in his life to know not to put up with anyone's shit", Filipe said before taking a large gulp from the glass of water in front of him.

"He hasn't lived what looks to be 90+ years just to have an 18 year old Produese prince take his seat", Filipe thought to himself.

Trinity took a step closer, leaning in to Filipe’s ear.
“Well, if you ask me we all have our burdens to bear, and not all of us get to walk around whacking people with canes.” Her hand compassionately touched his shoulder.
“I am really sorry if it ruined your night?” She empathized with her cousin, hoping he was not too upset.

Filipe looked over at Trinity's hand on his shoulder, and then back up at her. "Nah, it's okay. Moment took only a minute, can't let one minute out of thousands ruin your day,” he said. In reality, the moment had definitely killed some of Filipe's steam when it came to trying to score, but tomorrow was a new day and he hoped having this moment with Trinity now would leave them on a good note for tomorrow.

Her smile never dimmed as she stood over him, happy that Filipe seemed to be taking it quite well, rubbing her hand on his shoulder before removing it. By some happenstance however her eyes drifted from the Prince, finding his sister not very far away approaching a very familiar member of her staff, Trinity’s u dimmable smile melting.

Princess Francisca didn’t pay much attention to anything that was going on with her older brother over the course of the reception, much preferring to spend more time scrolling PicFlic. She recognized most of the people there after being forced to attend almost all royal events across Lira, including recognizing her second cousin, the party’s host, who had earlier excused herself from the dinner for unknown reasons and subsequently returned. She wasn’t keen to treat the event like a family reunion though, unlike her father. She also recognized a favorite of her PicFlic celebrities, René Alard. She might have had a poster of the man in her room if Vidaveira Palace didn’t forbid it. He seemed to be the only non-noble in the gathering. She didn’t pay much attention to that fact however until the table’s occupants began rising to head out for the night.

She had no pockets to be found on her yellow dress, mirroring the outfit of her mother’s, so she simply held her phone in hand as she awaited her parents to begin leaving. As they began walking, she noticed a man that she didn’t recognize at all. He didn’t appear to be a noble, nor was he a celebrity that Francisca knew about. At best he looked like he’d work in a paper company’s office, not a very high bar. Curious, she detached from her family and approached the bearded man who stood alone, simply sipping a glass of wine.

“Excuse me, hi, I’m Francisca, I don’t believe I recognize you? You don’t appear to be a noble, nor someone I’d expect seeing at this type of party.”

Julian, who was still trying to enjoy a drink after the utter crippling stress this evening had caused him, smirked at the young princess’s keen perception of his identity. He was fairly certain she had a nose for it as well, a princess from Produzland certainly getting around at all the fine gatherings of Lira.

“Of course your majesty, it is a pleasure to meet you.” He bowed his head as his eyes shot over to Trinity and Prince Filipe chatting across the room.
“You are correct in saying that I am not a noble.” Julian had an amused smile, wondering why he was getting asked this question so much tonight. “I am, in fact, assistant to Princess Trinity’s Chief of Staff, Julian Reqyn.”

"Hm, how's that going you?" Francisca was curious, it must have been an interesting position with the events with Trinity she'd heard about in the news or from Prime Minister Bonadeo, she thought.

Julian raised his glass up slightly and smirked, shaking his head to the side as he downplayed his actual ability.


“Well your majesty, so far I have made it through tonight with my life so I can’t complain.” A bright smile snuck past his beard as he looked down on the girl. It was rare that he smiled as such but the pointed questions from the girl were certainly amusing. There was at least one other person who noticed the rare smile from Julian, yet it did not rekindle a smile of her own since Trinity first caught a glimpse of the Produese Princess talking to Julian.

“And how about you, your majesty. I am sure this is not your first exclusive party you have attended. Are you enjoying yourself?” He took yet another long sip of wine, the warm feeling in his cheeks making everything a hit more bearable. Noble feasts, titles, and bowing was not his battleground of choice. Rather he missed the days problems were solved by pulling a trigger.

Francisca enjoyed Julian's fine mannerisms. "I'd enjoy it maybe a bit more with some Dom Julião. Don't tell my parents I said that, but I'm used to it. My parents often carry me and my siblings to these events. Although this is definitely more enjoyable than King Erruman and Princess Annamaria's wedding", she said stretching her arms behind her back.

Raising his eyebrows he looked down to the princess, then across the room to Trinity and Filipe.
“Well… if my observations say anything, come time you will have plenty Dom Juliaos to sort though.” He said in a bittersweet tone as he looked to Filipe, Rene, Edourdo, and a slew of other young noblemen around Trinity’s age in the room. He tried to play off his rather self destructive facial expression with a smile to Francisca.

Francisca was tempted to turn around and try to follow what Julian was eyeing behind her, she thought he seemed a bit disgruntled. However she decided to ignore it. “Hopefully. Maybe I’ll take a swig myself if my parents are off doing something else,” she said, “Wonder if Trinity likes tequila, you seem to be a wine person yourself”.

Julian shut his eyes in disbelief that he was that much of an idiot, of course the Princess was talking about tequila and not suave western Liran suitors. One of the waitresses walked past and was surprised to suddenly find Julian’s wine glass in their hand as he passed it off abruptly. Putting his hands on his hips he wondered exactly what was going on in his mind, before again returning to a positive expression to benefit his conversation with Princess Francisca.

“I personally would not know, I think she likes to take wine sometimes.” He lied, she took a half a glass of Granxas with her dinner every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Julian pondered wondered why he knew such trivial things.
“But yes, I do sometimes like wine, though I wouldn’t recommend going behind your parents back…. but if you do I was NOT there.” A nervous chuckle concluded his statement as he waved his hands, anxious to divert the conversation from Trinity.

“Perhaps, but I don’t care enough, I’ll be honest,” she said apathetically. “My parents are already nosy enough in my life. I suppose that tends to happen when you’re second in line to the throne. Whether your life is any more complicated is your guess Mr. Reqyn,” she said letting out a light hearted laugh.

“It certainly puts a lot of pressure on a person.” He nodded to her with a smile. “Just…. don’t let the thought of it all consume you. Try and act your age sometimes.” He took a step back in his mind wondering since when he gave life advice to princesses. His heart however was in the right place as he thought about how much Trinity has let it all consume her. Her breakdowns, while mostly private, were happening with greater regularity than they should. Julian feared she would consume herself, much like he had before meeting her. Only this time would he be there to stop her?

Before the Princess could answer he closed his eyes and bowed his head.
“Apologies your majesty, I uh… don’t mean to presume.”

Francisca’s eyes scanned the floor, “Hm, maybe you’re right. I got the rest of my life to drink. Maybe I’ll consider what you said next time I’m feeling a bit like I want to get tipsy, heh,” she said, giving a wink and a smile to Julian. “Please, don’t apologize, you got some good advice, your company seems lucky to have you around”.

As Julian was pleasantly surprised at the princess’ receptiveness, across the room Trinity was burning a subtle hole in her head, half listened to Filipe talk about something she could not name. She did not care that Francisca was talking to Julian, why should she? But for some reason it bothered her that she extracted that smile from him, a smile she saw only once before in her office that day.

“Oh… uh yeah yeah.” Trinity answered Filipe, though the question was most likely not yes or no.

Filipe raised an eyebrow at her response, it seemed like she was zoning out or something. "Sorry, um, you good right now Trinity?"

Taking a breath as she dared to loosen her gaze on Princess Francisca, she nodded to Filipe.
“Yeah I am sorry… just thought I saw someone.” She heard Julian laugh at something Francisca said, the nape of her neck prickling as hairs stood on end.

Unwilling to let go of that envious feeling inside of her, an idea came to her head.

“So were you still up for that tour later.” Trinity wondered if Julian would notice that she was taking the Produese prince on a tour around the palace alone, though it annoyed her that she even cared if he noticed.
Filipe was glad she brought up his idea from early and accepted without hesitation, "Yeah of course, if you're still down for it,” he said.

There was a fierceness in her eyes, both in a territorial envy and a confliction within herself. Around her, many guests had begun to leave, and so Trinity would take advantage of this situation.

“Anya…” she called to her handmaiden loud enough for Julian to hear. “I am going to be escorting Prince Filipe on a tour of the palace. Please see to it the remaining guests are given what they need.” She looked at Julian out of the corner of her eye to see if he would react.

Julian for his part did hear Trinity, but like always kept a stoic expression, unwilling to show any emotion. She was a Princess after all, and Princesses sometimes needed to walk and chat with Princes. He was clueless of any ill intent or motivation on Trinity’s part.

However, Anya and Petra, knew exactly what was going on with both sides as they warched from across the room. Their work was cut out for them in this regard as they both sighed.
“Of course my lady.” Anya bowed deeply.


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