Playing The Game[CLOSED]

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Playing The Game[CLOSED]

Postby Chrinthanium » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:57 pm

Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordic Empire
20:30 CEST 13 April 2021

The evening had started off innocently enough. William, Prince of Scandinavia and Crown Prince of the Nordic Empire accompanied his lady friend, one Astrid Johansen for a night out. William had planned the entire evening to the last detail. A fancy restaurant, a lovely concert at the opera house, then perhaps a few drinks back at Amalienborg and then whatever happened thereafter happened. Instead, he was home by 8:30, covered in wine, and left wondering what in the hell had actually happened. Angrily he tore off his shirt causing the buttons to fly in all directions bouncing off of the wooden floor of his bedroom. He tossed the shirt in no specific direction as it landed on the floor somewhere in front of the bed. He flopped onto his bed, kicked off his shoes which thunked on the floor, and looked up at the ceiling and fuming under his breath.

A knock came at the bedroom door.

“Go away,” he said sternly.

“Your Imperial Majesty,” the voice said, “the Lady Astrid is on the phone for you.”

“Tell her to go fuck herself, Thomas.” William said as he began to clench his jaw.

“As you wish, Sir.” Thomas said.

William lay on the bed for a moment or two after shaking his head, occasionally pounding the bed with his clenched fist. Then he leaped from the bed and raced to the door and threw it open. Standing outside was a middle-aged man in an army uniform.

“Thomas, you’re still here.” William said.

“Yes, sir. I was about to relay your message to the Lady Astrid, but was distracted by.....”

“Nevermind, Thomas. Don’t tell her to fuck herself,” William said. “Just tell her I am occupied.”

“Very good, Sir.” Thomas said with a slight smile. “A more diplomatic way to convey the same message.”

“Do you know what she did?” William asked.

“No, but I am certain in due time Your Imperial Highness will inform me of the detail,” Thomas said.

“She threw a whole glass of wine at me in the restaurant. She said I was looking at another girl. I wasn’t. I was simply nodding to someone who waved at me. She went ballistic, Thomas. Then the wine, then she stormed out, then everyone was looking. I had to smile and excuse myself from the restaurant. She was outside, jumped in her car, and just sped off like a Formula One driver. And I didn’t do anything, Thomas.” William said.

“Certainly an end-of-the-world scenario, Sir,” Thomas said.

“Thomas,” William said with an eyebrow raised, “you have been by my side since I was 15. And in that time, have I ever given any indication to you that I enjoyed your sarcasm?”

“No, Sir, but I do,” Thomas said with a smirk.

William shook his head and broke a smile, “Well, as I always say, keep it up, my good man. You’re perhaps the only person keeping me sane around here.”

“Sir, one thing I should point out to you. Since, by your account, this incident happened in the public, should I contact your Father to inform him of what happened?”

“Uh.... shit,” William said, “he’s not going to be happy. He hates, hates, hates public scandals like this. Hell, he probably already knows by now anyway. I’m sure it’s all over social media. Better go ahead and inform him, Thomas. At least we’ll score the honesty points.”

“Also, have a new dress shirt made to replace that rag.” William added.

“Very good, Sir. Is there anything else?”

“No, Thomas. Not right now, anyway.”

“Very well, Sir. I shall inform the Lady Astrid that you are unavailable, then inform your Father of the incident.”

Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordic Empire
07:15 CEST 14 April 2021

William cracked his eyes open and immediately turned to the bedside table and grabbed his smartphone. There were numerous notifications, mostly from friends who had heard the news and were either asking what happened or informing him of how much coverage the news was getting. He quickly turned on the television in his room and popped on a local news station.

“..last night at a local restaurant. Astrid Johansen then appears to throw a large glass of wine at the Prince, and storms out leaving the embarrassed Prince to politely excuse himself from the restaurant. We reached out to Amalienborg for comment, but at this time our requests have gone unanswered. Next, will this week's weather be any better? Bjorn Bergson with the weather!”
William turned off the television and shook his head. He began to flip through his phone to check his notifications. His finger stopped at one from his closest mate, Eskild.

What happened? You okay? Let me know if you need to talk, man. The message read.

William typed his reply. I’m okay. How about tonight you come over and we get drunk? I’m sure today’s gonna be a fucking nightmare.

As he stood in the bedroom, the door opened and Thomas walked in. “Your Imperial Highness, His Imperial Majesty has requested your presence at Christiansborg Palace at your earliest convenience.”

“Yes, Thomas,” William said. “Inform him I will be over after I get ready.”

Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordic Empire
08:45 CEST 14 ​April 2021

The car pulled up to the entrance. William took a deep breath as it came to a rest. A palace guard opened the door and William stepped out. He buttoned the suit coat and ensured his tie was nice and straight. The palace guard closed the door behind him. A gentleman dressed in a naval uniform stood at the door with a smile. He bowed to Willian, then escorted him through the palace with its Rococo interior. The normal decorations were on offer: portraits of previous monarchs and members of the Imperial family, various gifts from countries given to the monarch as a token of friendship, furniture that seemed older than anyone alive today, and intricate crown molding trimmed in gold (whether it be real gold or not was anyone’s guess).

William came to a stop outside his Father’s office. While William was all too familiar with this path, it was never a good sign when his father’s Chief of Staff would escort him to the office. Indeed William had dubbed it “The Walk of Misery” because it ultimately would lead to a serious meeting with his father and more-often-than-not result in some formal dressing down for something. When the Chief of Staff knocked at the door and entered, William took a deep breath. His blood felt like it contained ice crystals coursing through his body. His heart began to beat a little faster. Even his palms began to sweat a bit.

“His Imperial Majesty will see you now,” the Chief of Staff said. William walked into the office. The Chief of Staff behind him. William came to a stop after walking three steps into the office and bowed to his father, Emperor Erik VII.

“William, Prince of Scandinavia, Your Imperial Majesty,” the Chief of Staff said as he clicked his heels, bowed, and then retreated from the office, closing the door behind him.

“William, have a seat,” Erik said from his seated position behind his large, dark wood desk. Behind Erik were numerous shelves with scores of books stored upon them. The office was distinctly uninspiring and seemed to function better as a library than an official office for the Nordic Emperor, but Erik preferred it to the more ostentatious offerings elsewhere. William took the seat in front of his father’s desk. Erik cleared his throat, then broke into a slight smile.

“So, it has come to my attention that you had an incident last night, is this correct?”

“Yes, Father. I was having dinner with Astrid and she got all jealous because I had nodded to a table of people who were nodding at me. She said I was flirting, but I wasn’t flirting.....”

Erik raised his hand to quiet his son. “I don’t care, really. It doesn’t matter why it happened. It just matters that it happened. It is certainly not becoming of a member of this family to be treated like, well, any ordinary citizen. How many times have I told you not to see Astrid? How many times have you ignored my requests? She has always acted so jealous of you that it has brought you moments of embarrassment. Now, there’s pictures of you splattered all over the internet covered in red wine like you’ve just been dumped in a romantic comedy.”

“Father, I promise you I won’t see her anymore,” William said in a sullen voice.

“Well, you don’t have to promise me, William. You are hereby forbidden to see her anymore. You will announce to the press you and her have officially ended your relationship. You will also apologize to the restaurant staff and owner for the scene that was caused. You will offer to pay for any damages if there are any. Frankly, William, I don’t even know what you see in her. Do you know the Public Relations damage control this is going to take to fix? Not only do you look like a complete buffon on television, but you also have once more embarrassed myself and your mother. I hate having this conversation with you, William. I really do. You have to start thinking with the head that’s three feet above your ass for once.”

“Yes, Father,” William said.

“Now that I have your attention, your Mother wants you to come over for dinner on Sunday evening. She told me to tell you you don’t call her enough.”

“Father, I call her every other day,” William said with a slight smile.

“Well, you know your mother. If it isn’t three times a day, it isn’t enough. So come over for dinner on Sunday and please, for the love of God, call your mother more often. She’s driving me crazy about it. Do it because you want to. Do it so that I can have a day’s peace. Whatever the reason, please, William, do it.” Erik said jokingly.

“Now, is there anything you need from me?” Erik said.

“No, Father,” William said.

“Then you may go.”
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Chrinthanium » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:34 am

Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordic Empire
23:40 CEST 14 April 2021

The world is full of stereotypes. These unfair, often unflattering caricatures of who and what different people groups, to say the least, were often flat-out wrong. They pigeonholed people into groups based on physical, ethnic, religious, and/or cultural aspects that were, more often than not, wholly exaggerated in a way that would often mean that groups that were the targets of such ill-conceived notions were the recipients of bigotry. For the Nordics, there was certainly no shortage of such stereotypes. Images of muscular, blonde, and bearded men standing against the backdrop of a snow peak in Norway or Sweden, buxomy young women with flowing blonde hair striding down a catwalk (both groups with piercing blue eyes for added effect), and beliefs that, somehow, Nordic types were all naturally rugged and outdoorsy. There were connotations that all Nordics did was hike in the mountains, eat fish, and speak languages that were grossly exaggerated and sometimes misleading such as a certain puppet on a television show which always wanted the “Squirrely Stew.” Certainly not a sinister stereotype, but such imagery would contrast against the broader population that were, as is the case with all people groups, only a small cross-section of the whole.

Then, there was Eskild Thorsen. Contrary to the majority of the Nordic group bucking the stereotypes, Eskild lived up to them. A mountain of a man standing a hair over 2 meters with long, flowing medium blonde hair and striking blue eyes, Eskild could have been the poster boy for every single Nordic stereotype in the book. He lived an outdoorsman’s life. He biked, fished, hiked in the mountains, chopped his own firewood, and so forth. He also never met a gym he didn’t like. In fact, it was his love of exercise that brought him and Prince William into contact during their time at university together. From a casual conversation to workout buddies to best mates, William and Eskild found that, in spite of their very different backgrounds, they had a lot in common. Of the list of people that were given direct access to William, Eskild was the only one that didn’t have to announce himself before coming to Amalienborg, nor were there ever any questions or concerns if he should arrive unannounced, though William would often entertain the guard’s request that they are given a ‘heads up’ if he should be coming over.

Upon entering the mansion that Prince William lived in, he walked past the guards with a courteous nod as they simply went about their day. He made his way through the corridor and upstairs to the residence. In one hand he carried a large bag of glass bottles that could be heard clanking slightly as he walked. Once at William’s door, he threw it open.

“William!” he said loudly.

“Eskild!” William replied.

Eskild placed the bag on a nearby table, then walked over to William and gave him a huge hug. Eskild was fond of hugs. Unfortunately for the 180 cm Prince, this meant being picked up off of the ground quite against his will. After putting the Prince gently back on solid ground, the hulk of a man made himself comfortable on a large couch that sat against the wall.

“So what’s the big fuss, William?” Eskild said knowingly.

“Yeah, Astrid is a fucking bitch. And do you believe my father made me pay for any damages, which was really only some carpet cleaning? And I had to apologize because she got all pissy because I nodded at a table?” William said walking over to the bag and removing the bottles of liquor.

“I told you she was crazy, bro. You didn’t listen. She is a gold digger trying to get into your pants in the hopes you can make her a princess. Do me a favor, will ya? Don’t call her back and try to work it out again. Just let her go,” Eskild said.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” William said.

“So we’re getting hammered?”

“Fuck yes,” William said as he popped open a bottle of Akvavit, a distilled Scandinavian spirit made from grain and potatoes and flavored with various spices and herbs, but gets its distinct flavor from caraway and dill.. He placed two shot glasses down and poured one for him and one for Eskild. He handed the one to Eskild and held his up in anticipation.

“We need to start this with a toast,” Eskild said.

“Yeah...” William said as he thought for a moment. “Here’s to fucking’em and forgetting’em!”

“I’ll drink to that,” Eskild said as he raised his glass.

Both men downed their shot and William quickly poured another for each. Both men downed this one as quickly as the one before.

“You remember Magda and Helga, right?” Eskild said.

“Oh my god,” William said, “Helga and Magda were hot. What are they up to?”

“Well, Helga and Magda are coming to town for a weekend trip. Helga hit me up wanting to hang out, but only if I could find a companion for Magda.” Eskil replied.

“Name the time and the place,” William said with a sinister smile.

“I know that look,” Eskild said as he leaned over and poured himself and William another shot. “Remember, they don’t give it up without a lot of effort.”

“Yeah? Well, I have a thousand Thalers that says I can get it,” William said.

“Steep bet, buddy,” Eskild said. “But a chance to win a grand off of you? I’ll say two thousand that you can’t.”

“Deal!” William said as he took the shot from Eskild and downed it.

03:52 CEST 15 April 2021

The original bottle lay on its side, not a drop remaining. A second bottle stood upright, most of its contents also missing. Willam sat on a comfortable chair perched in front of a television, wearing only a pair of gym shorts at this point. Eskild sat to his right, dressed fully. Both men had game controllers in their hands. Both men were playing a soccer game on a console trying to continue their rampage across the online gaming world, but William’s level of intoxication began to get the better of him. Strange attempts at scoring from long distances and slowing reflexes caused him to finally give up playing.

“Seriously,” William said with a slight slur, “I think there are three TVs there, Esk.”

“Play the one in the middle, bro,” Eskild said with a laugh. He turned towards William and the smile disappeared as William began to wipe the sweat from his forehead.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Yeah, just fucking wasted,” William said with a clumsy smile. “I think I gotta call it a night,” he said as he attempted to toss the controller on the nearby table, but missed causing the controller to make quite the thud on the wooden floors. Then William attempted to stand up, but fell back down into the chair, then began laughing at his current situation. “Wow, I’m gonna fucking hate tomorrow morning.”

“Okay, man, “ Eskild said standing up, himself beginning to feel woozy from the alcohol. “This shit hits hard when it hits, doesn’t it?”

“Uh huh,” William said, his eyes mostly closed, his head leaned back, and slumping somewhat. “Dude, I needed this night. Needed to blow off some steam.” William then snapped his eyes open, licked his lips, then managed to get himself enough willpower to stand up, though he was waving about a fair bit. He started to walk towards the bedroom, but his legs decided to protest such movement at this time and he fell with a loud thud on the floor. Eskild began to cackle loudly at his drunk friend.

Eskild carefully walked over, the alcohol beginning to take control, and picked up William and carried him into the bedroom, and dropped him on the bed which creaked as the prince hit it. One of the myriads of pillows flipped off of the bed and fell at Eskild’s feet.

“Dude, I told you not to carry me. It’s not proper,” William said laughing.

“You’d hate it if you slept in a heap on the floor like that all night, bro,” Eskild said as he towered over the bed. He then knelt down and grabbed the pillow that flipped out of the bed and put it behind William’s head.

“Anytime you need a break from the stress, call me bro,” Eskild said with a smile and a slight stumble as he tried to stand up.

“You, you can’t drink... I mean drunk... I mean drive like that. Crash here.” William said as he threw his hand in the direction of the spare bedroom trying to point at it. Then William flung himself out of bed, stumbled a few feet, then steadied himself against a wall. “Over, over there.”

“You mean the spare room? I know where it’s at.” Eskild said with a chuckle. “You’re drunk bro. Go to bed.” William nodded and then plopped back on his own bed. Eskild walked into the spare room and stretched out on the king-sized bed in the spare room, though Eskild did take up quite a lot of that bed himself.
Last edited by Chrinthanium on Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Chrinthanium » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:00 pm

Federation Building
Berlin, Germany, Nordic Empire
07:15 CEST 15 April 2021

Around the world there lived many different peoples who spent many, many years living in their own lands, doing their own thing, and thriving in their own way. One day, a Great Power from Europe arrived on their shores, planted a flag, and claimed these lands as their own. This is known as colonization and is considered to be a good thing for the colonizer. For the colonized, this is most assuredly not the case. The trouble with colonization is it often happens with Big Gun Diplomacy and that most often means the subjugation of the smaller gun people to the power of the bigger gun people. This is instituted for a myriad of reasons, the most often of which isn’t simply to have a collection of places of which they allegedly owned shown on a map to make the other Great Powers of Europe “oooh” and “aaaah,” but mostly because the Great Powers of Europe required and/or wanted things the smaller powers had be it sugar, spices, raw materials, or, sadly, manpower to continue to compete with each other in Europe and establish global dominance of trade, which the Great Powers of Europe most certainly needed in the days when Europe constantly bickered with itself. For the Nordic Empire, as the name suggests, this was the case. They sent ships with people and guns around the world, landed on pieces of land owned by other people, instituted their own governance over these peoples with smaller guns (or weapons), and such was life for the colonized without much concern from the colonizer.

For the colonized, decolonization can be almost as destructive as the original colonization. After a hundred or two years of rule from another power, and the games that the colonizers play with the colonized to ensure the colonizer never loses power, the colonized may find themselves on the wrong end of hate from other groups who, since the get-go, opposed colonization and continued to oppose colonization in spectacular and bloody form. This means that when the colonizer begins to withdraw, the groups which allied themselves with the colonizer for whatever reason now have a lot of angry people wanting to get their revenge.

The Nordic Empire, however, had to deal with the financial realities that global empire comes along with. The fact is, empires are expensive to run and the best way to shore up a nation’s financial prospects is to cut the budget and save money. With an economic crunch looming, the empire had to do something. So in 1941, the Nordic Empire officially began the process of decolonization; the form and methods of which were hardly well thought at the outset. In 1946, these territories that were about to be thoroughly ejected from the empire and forced back into independence had some problems with this sudden change in status, the biggest of which was their own security. A once-colonized people now suddenly thrust back into independence can often find themselves in financial and political trouble as the power vacuum that is left behind causes problems as bad as colonization. It also turned out that squashing rebellions initiated by conquered people who never wished to be conquered in the first place looks bad on television, so eventually, things had to change.

To combat this, the Powers That Be decided to create a supranational organization to handle the process of decolonization. The ultimate goal of this organization was to assist in the gradual independence of these former colonies through helping them establish governments and constitutions of their own choosing, to provide economic and military support until such time as they could effectively operate on their own, and even handle the disbursement of reparations to the colonized (a topic best left for another day). The organization was titled, “The Imperial Federation of Former Nordic Colonies” and since then has been shortened to simply, “The Imperial Federation.” What was supposed to be a vehicle by which independence could be fully granted to former Nordic colonies began to take on a life of its own. As former colonies gained independence and became part of the Imperial Federation, they began to formalize agreements between them within the framework of the Imperial Federation. Committees and departments were formed to handle the tasks. Governments were working with one another to best assist each other in operating as formerly colonized nations. And an idea was born. Instead of simply going their own separate way, the Imperial Federation was looked at as a means by which these former territories could, effectively, collectively bargain with the rest of the world. A global organization of which these former colonies could work with each other and continue the ties that bind while also enjoying the freedom of being independent themselves.

As such, on January 1, 1956, the Imperial Federation’s current charter went into effect which granted any current member of the Imperial Federation, and such territories that may become independent after that date, the option of becoming a member state in this somewhat unique idea. The membership rules were simple: firstly, the Federation would only admit into itself those territories who were already part of the Federation Thus a nation gaining its complete and total independence and having never been a part of the Federation could not join nor could any nation which violently separated from the Nordic Empire prior to June 30, 1946, the founding date of the Federation. Secondly, between these nations, they would work together to ensure the peace and prosperity of each other through joint ventures such as the Federation Defense Force and the Federation Economic Committee. Thirdly, any member state could resign if it so decided, though readmittance would not be granted. Finally, in 1979, the ThalerZone was established to create a single currency for all members of the Imperial Federation who wished to adopt it. And the modern Imperial Federation was born and as of the current day encompasses lands totaling 7.57 million square kilometers in area and a total combined population of just shy of 1.28 billion people, which included the Nordic Empire itself, and a combined GDP of over 26 trillion.

The Federation had its own legislature, judiciary, and executive branches to handle the business of such a large, globe-spanning group. The judiciary worked to ensure peace between member states when disputes arose. The Legislature, known as the Federation Congress, worked to ensure that all member states had a say in the management of the Federation. The Executive would be chosen from the membership of the Federation Congress by election from within and serve a four-year term. To ensure that “new blood” was elected, the Federation Executive, known as the Premier, was limited to serving only three terms whether they were consecutive or not. Same with the Federation Congress, members were limited to ten elected terms within the Congress before they could no longer run again (terms were 2 years) whether they were consecutive or not.

Gertrude Schmidt, the 66-year-old Premier, hailed from Germany within the Nordic Empire itself. Having spent 14 years in the Federation Congress, she managed to win her election as premier in a nailbiter in 2020 and took office on January 2, 2021. She was, at least in her own mind, the most powerful person in the world, though others may debate that fact as they saw fit (just not in front of her). She was tasked with the day-to-day business of managing the morass that the Imperial Federation had become. The position came with every single issue that a world leader would face coupled with that of what a CEO of a conglomerate must go through. Her days began bright and early at 6 in the morning and ended rather late around 11 at night, most days. She didn’t suffer fools well, nor did she have time for anyone or anything that wasted her limited time. It would be no surprise at all when her phone would ring and, rather than pick it up with a smile, she’d roll her eyes at the phone because, invariably, the phone call was taking up the time she could best be spending on whatever topic was before her at that moment.

However, the expression melted away quickly as the news was conveyed. Quintus Septimus Avitus, one of the two Consuls of Rome, had suddenly died. No notion that there were any preexisting conditions that contributed--or at least none that Rome had ever stated--or that there were any rumors that his time may be close. She confirmed with her aide on the other end of the phone that when the Roman government contacted the Imperial Federation with the details, she would represent the Federation at the state funeral. What she didn’t expect was to hear that she would be accompanied by an Imperial family member. The Nordic Empire in its own right saw Rome as an invaluable partner on the world stage and believed that the two nations' relations required that Copenhagen itself send its own personal representative in the form of Prince William.

It was at that moment that Gertrude reached into her desk drawer, pulled out a lighter and a box of cigarettes, and began to smoke. Much to the chagrin of the half dozen or so people in her office. It wasn’t the fact that an Imperial representative would be there as much as which imperial representative. The last thing she wanted to do was babysit the playboy prince. Yet, without having any ability to say no, she simply accepted that in the coming week or two, after Rome’s national time of mourning had passed, that she would have to accompany His Imperial Highness to Rome. Her hope was that he could manage this without getting wine thrown on him.

She sent a message of condolence to the Roman Republic on behalf of the Imperial Federation offering any support that they may potentially need at this time and instructed the Federation Diplomatic Mission to standby for any news of the state funeral.

Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordic Empire
09:25 CEST 15 April 2021

The morning found William sitting at his breakfast table still wearing only the gym shorts from the night before. He looked rough. His hair lay in all directions as those he’d been shot from a cannon. He slouched over the table staring into his breakfast like it had just insulted him. His eyes red, dark circles under the eyes, and a headache that felt like every Roman legion was marching through his brain simultaneously complete with triumph and fanfare. He took the fork and fiddled with his eggs. Mid-table sat a pot of hot coffee and an empty coffee cup with a drop of coffee remaining in it. He would take a bite from the eggs every now and then, but overall the sight of food did not help his current situation. As he toyed with his breakfast, Eskild walked out of the spare bedroom smiling, dressed, and ready for the day as if he hadn’t helped William drink the two bottles of booze last night.

“You look like shit,” Eskild said.

“Yeah? I feel like it. Fuck, why did I drink so much?” William said softly, his eyes wincing as he did.

“You are just a lightweight, that’s all,” Eskild said with a roar. “Anyway, I’m off. I have a few appointments later. I’ll call you when I have confirmation of when the Schneider twins are coming.”

“Okay,” William said. “Later, bro.”

As Eskild opened the door, Thomas stood there with his hand up and his fist balled ready to knock on the door.

“Excuse me, Mr. Thorsen, is His Imperial Highness awake?”

“Yes,” William said, shouting at the door.

Thomas stood at the door waiting for the mountain of a man to depart, then he entered. He carefully walked over to William and poured him a cup of black coffee and slid it in front of him.

“While you were asleep, I took the liberty of clearing out the bottles from your room, Sir. I have your clothes ready for the day in your bathroom. Light grey kind of day, Sir. Also, your father called this morning. The Roman Consul Quintus Septimus Avitus has died and you are being tasked with representing His Majesty and the Empire at the funeral. Premier Schmidt will also be attending on behalf of the Federation.” Thomas said as he watched William play with the eggs.

William sighed, “Great, Gertrude Schmidt. The Ice Dragon. She has the warmth of Sweden in Winter. She’s like a human ice cube. I never know if she’s happy to see me or plotting my death, Thomas.”

“Perhaps a bit of both, Sir,” Thomas said.

“Oh well, better make sure my office coordinates with hers. Otherwise the whole trip she’ll be complaining how I never work with her office for anything. What a hell of a morning, Thomas. A massive hangover and now a forced trip with Gertrude. Wonderful.”
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