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Impregnator Kings, thread #16 aristocrat 06/28/2022 (Tue) 00:00:50 Id:66b045 No. 88
Impregnator Kings began as a project I wanted to try writing back in December 2015. There were many CYOAs on pregchan, and I thought I could entice readers to vote, too. Since then, we now have a story that has gone on since then (with some slowness on my part here and there) that continues today. I had no idea where we were starting from or how long and where exactly it would end, but we're still going strong. This despite several board jumps. This is the latest one. Please read the notes under this line. I often have to remind people of them, and while I don't mind doing so, it does take up a comment or two in the post count. Everyone is free to vote in Impregnator Kings when a poll is called for. This applies to everyone, whether they followed the story from the beginning, just started reading, or only just passingly noticed there's a vote. The only rule is to please only vote once in each poll. Posting your reasons and persuasive arguments for why you made a choice and why it is the best choice is encouraged. It helps me understand more about reader expectations and what the audience wants to read. However, please do not post side-discussions or emotional reactions in the thread. For those, please use the latest chat thread, located here: https://new.pregchan.com/c/res/36.html This will help keep down on the posts that count toward the post limit (and when I will have to make a new thread). It will also keep the atmosphere of the thread genial. I want every reader to be comfortable voting however they like. For clarity, please write your vote: "Option 1/2/3" or "Write in:". Please make this the first line, and then write whatever commentary you would like. This is for my sake and makes it much easier to tabulate and calculate which option has won. Of course, I will still count every vote regardless, but it makes it a little easier for me. Please don't write "I think option 4 is fine but now I vote 1." Instead, consider writing. "I vote option 1. At first I thought option 4 seemed fine but now I vote for option 1." This is much easier. Please also write out your full vote. Do not reply to another vote and say "I agree with this reply and vote for what they voted for." Please don't do this because there have been issues where a person has made a mistake in which reply they meant to click. Please be unambiguous with your vote. Write-ins are encouraged. If they are impossible because of a conflict of some character motivation or established facts about the world, I will note this and explain why it's impossible to the best of my ability and give the reader a chance to select a new option. There are also sometimes issues where someone proposes a write-in that combines two options. Depending on the situation, this can be acceptable or not. Feel free to ask, if you like. Furthermore, if there's a particular thing you want Edward to explore, or a particular sex-scene or type of character you want to see, by all means say so, either in the chat thread or when you vote. This lets me know audience expectations and wants, and has allowed me to take the story in interesting ways. (Certain characters and scenes may not have happened without knowing audience expectations and ideas.) You are writing the story with me! One last thing to note is no non-consensual sex scenes will be depicted in the story. It was decided to exclude these to maintain a positive tone throughout the story and will not be violated. For that matter, every character depicted in a sex scene is "of age." This means over 18. Birth scenes will eventually be available to witness or not, and will be to various degrees of depiction as I learn audience expectations.Furthermore, no life-threatening complications with pregnancy will be depicted. (But may be mentioned as having happened in the past, and they are still a worry for the characters in the story.) Thread #1: https://web.archive.org/web/20170619163636/http://pregchan.com/d/res/12251.html Thread #2: https://web.archive.org/web/20170619123902/http://pregchan.com/d/res/14131.html Thread #3: https://web.archive.org/web/20170619104842/http://pregchan.com/d/res/15553.html Thread #4: (warning, it was on bbw-chan and the link has a defunct connection to some pop-up ad. Just refresh and it should go away.) http://web.archive.org/web/20160412094726/http://bbw-chan.net/elite/res/536.html Thread #5: https://web.archive.org/web/20170619134833/http://pregchan.com/d/res/16909.html Thread #6: https://web.archive.org/web/20180307043453/https://pregchan.com/d/res/24119.html Thread #7: https://web.archive.org/web/20180930122947/https://pregchan.com/d/res/33943.html Thread #8: http://web.archive.org/web/20190601012420/https://pregchan.com/d/res/48104.html Thread #9: https://web.archive.org/web/20201013192858/https://pregchan.com/d/res/57807.html Thread #10: https://web.archive.org/web/20210303103506/https://pregchan.com/d/res/79111.html Thread #11: https://web.archive.org/web/20210517073757/https://pregchan.com/d/res/86445.html Thread #12: https://web.archive.org/web/20210628010408/https://pregchan.com/d/res/90879.html Thread #13: https://web.archive.org/web/20210901124305/https://pregchan.com/d/res/93297.html Thread #14: https://web.archive.org/web/20220321094845/https://pregchan.com/d/res/96873.html Thread #15: https://web.archive.org/web/20220620223133/https://pregchan.com/d/res/105852.html (Or https://pregchan.com/d/res/105852.html until the old pregchan is removed.) Don't be intimidated by the sheer size of the archive. It's a fast read, more or less, and I always do my best to keep it accessible. The first three threads likely set the tone the best in terms of intrigue the story contains and what Edward can do. There are many important characters, but these are the current loves Edward has: Tharja: Edward's dear wife. Their mutual trust changed their relationship from attraction and infatuation to love, very quickly. Mania: A more traditional 'witch' who came to the Faire to set up a cart selling her breast milk. Mutual consideration soon led to both exposing their hidden sides to each other. Love bloomed between them as they truly saw each for who they were. A character who is 'loved' will never betray Edward, and Edward will be happier to be around them, impregnate them, etc. But at the same time, he won't allow them to be harmed and other choices that consider their feelings will be 'locked in' without a choice being presented. Other possible love interest (at the moment): Beatrice: The Infinite Golden Witch. Fickle and capricious. She's sworn to serve Edward (up to a point) as repayment for the debt she owes him of saving her from being pursued by witch hunters. Now that Edward has seen her 'human' side, can he better understand the boundaries that separate her heart form his? Should he? Can he? Though that possibility seemed closed from a mistake months earlier, the window seems to be open again. The last thread ended on an update that needed no vote. Please wait and anticipate the newest update coming soon.
>>2887 King Vlad purposefully had Edward escorted through the wilderness by free people mercenaries. This was done despite that there was enough infrastructure to take him comfortably by horse. Edward got a suspicion of this when Robin brought it up during their first dinner together with the rest of her family. He had it confirmed in Bernkastel's vision where King Vlad said he'd send Edward back to Virilia by commissioned carriages now that Edward would no longer be his heir after Tharja was killed by Daniella. As for why he did this, it's unknown. Consider also in Witch of Fecundity that Edwys went through the same path when she was brought to Ruhemania, though. I'll give the vote a little longer. Please continue to vote.
Option 3.
>>2882 Option three, done in a way that lets Robin thinks it's all her own idea. Camilla clearly believes Robin is only satisfying her own ego with the army, so if Robin thinks a compromise is her own plan, then it might smooth things out with the sisters while improving the budget.
>6 votes for option three, gently coax Robin into a conclusion that a realignment or reduction is needed. Try to guide Robin to embracing some sort of cost-cutting measure. Poll closed, update soon.
General Robin, you begin by saying. You understand the state of the military is important, but perhaps there could be, not 'cuts', but measures taken to maintain the same value, while being more cost-efficient? Robin takes a moment to respond. She interlaces her fingers together before bringing the conjoined fists to a rest on top of the table your Council sits at. She looks you in the eye. Not an intense, defiant look, but a look of sober attention. "There are none. Your Majesty." The room is stone silent. You were hoping she would follow that up with a 'but perhaps,' or some such thing, but, no. That's Robin's honest answer. ... Really, you ask? Not one? You don't want to accuse Robin of being unimaginative, but there must be one, you say to her. Something. Anything. Robin keeps her voice calm and level. "This is not me making an appraisal based on my vanity. Or a place to negotiate downward from. This is the simple fact, Your Majesty. There is absolutely no measure that can reduce costs in the military without reducing its effectiveness." That can't be true, you say. You can think of some. What about, oh, using more local sources of wood for the equipment? Wooden swords, at least. "We already use wooden swords in training, where appropriate. That idea is already in place." And, what about for the archers? Robin said herself that even replacing arrows requires separate wood. Can't they practice with normal wood? Robin brings a hand up to pinch at her lower lip, breaking eye contact to look down at the table for a moment. "Your Majesty, that would be like going to the Court Bardess and asking her to practice on a hunk of dead wood with horse strings instead of the delicate instruments she plays. Anyone could get a stick, attach a sharp rock to it, and call it an arrow, but it's not going to be effective in battle, and it's not going to be effective as a training tool." Well... hm. That actually sounds like a really good point. You imagine if you asked Venti to 'practice' with an empty tub and a wooden spoon, she'd just laugh at you, thinking you were making a jest. Robin takes the moment of silence you use for contemplation to press her point. "Please also consider, Your Majesty. You could 'theoretically' lower the quality of the food the soldiers eat. You could 'theoretically' dismiss half the barracks and order them to the fields. You could 'theoretically' put all the degradable equipment in the armory and cease all practice for situations they're likely to encounter. But, those changes would be noticed. The soldiers would want to know 'why?' And soldiers gossip as much as anyone. The only reasonable conclusion they'd come to is: 'the castle must be running out of money. What's going to happen if we actually need to fight?'" She looks around the room. "And, as freely as we're talking about it now, that is something we want to at least not announce. Am I wrong?" The rest of the Council is starting to nod. Even Camilla looks at a loss of words. Though Ricardo's expression tells you he must have predicted this outcome. "Your Majesty, the maintenance of the army is what defends your realm. It is expensive, but Your rule is priceless. The previous Monarch maintained his rule through his reputation. Times have changed. The reforms I've enacted and the expenses I've requested have made Ruhemania's army into a true deterrent. I urge you, do not throw it away." ... You're beaten, you realize. At least in this argument you're having with Robin, in this manner, with this audience. Though you do still have some ideas. You turn your gaze steely and look at Robin. That's all fine. The military's needs will be respected. However, you are going to make some changes. And these changes are going to be made because you are King and you say they are. One, you're putting a complete moratorium on recruitment. If someone resigns, or must retire due to injury, or outright dies, then that spot will remain unoccupied except under your direct approval. You don't care how smart, clever, strong, or otherwise fit a new prospect would be. Robin's eyebrows twitch, you imagine the gears inside her head are turning. Two, you might not be overly familiar with military matters, but even you know enough to recognize a four-shift guarding schedule is ridiculous. Especially in peace time. Especially with no incoming threat. If any soldiers are needed for construction or some other work project the Crown deems necessary, they're going to do it. Keeping the army with the notion that work is 'beneath' them is outright bad policy, and one you're going to correct. No excuses about how 'every man is needed to be ready to fight'. Three, relations are going to be made with Elbania, and if their Queen seems open to formal declarations of friendship, you will be wanting a complete evaluation of the military, as the castle's most immediate threat will be irrelevant. Robin should be prepared that 'retirements,' not cuts, may occur. Does Robin have any objections? Robin has her hands interlaced again, but she's visibly fidgeting a bit. She must be looking for some wiggle room. Valid wiggle room that wouldn't sound trite after all this back and forth. "...That's all reasonable, Your Majesty," Robin says, finally. You let out a sigh in relief. Good, you say. All right, you weren't exactly able to 'take Robin down a peg,' but you did extract something out of her, at least. She defended and justified her position, but something is sure to come of this, down the line. It occurs to you that many of the soldiers must actually be female. If you were to lie with one, or more, they would technically have to 'retire'. The idea of impregnating a woman for some sort of ulterior motive is a little distasteful. But, you were intending to at least introduce yourself to some of them. The nursery exists for a reason. There could be theoretical romance to be had... you'll just have to think about how sex within your army may affect Robin's numbers after the 'moratorium' you put in place is now in effect. Anyway... Back to business. It was originally Ricardo, and therefore Camilla's, opportunity to talk. To make direct appeals to each Council member here about ways to improve the money situation from their point of view. You could put the ball back in their court, or move on. You decide against asking the entire Council what to do about the army now. If Robin's speech didn't move them to just trust her judgment, your declaration about the new rules has probably solidified in their head that the matter is 'closed'. So, where to steer the Council, now? Choice time: 1. Give Ricardo, or Camilla, more time to speak about the treasury. Have them continue to appeal to other Council members for answers to the money problem. (Choices to affect the Balance of Power from the treasury's perspective will continue from whoever they choose.) 2. It's time to move on to let someone else speak. Bring up some new business from someone else in the Council. (Choices to affect the Balance of Power from a new faction's perspective will continue.) 3. Time to end the Council meeting. (The Council meeting ends. The Balance of Power will coalesce around the changes that were made at this meeting until the Council meets again.)
>>2894 Option 1. I think money is one of our main issues right now. Btw, how possible is that we hire a caretaker (Sully) for the nursery? I mean, if our long term intention is to have more children with the female soldiers, they could use some help to watch over their kids. Especially Noi, now that she's about to become our bodyguard. And Sully is a former soldier that is familiar with the barracks. And while we know about her medical issues, taking care of babies doesn't seem to risky for her.
>>2895 I appreciate everyone's attempts to get Sully back into the story regularly, and I hate saying outright 'no,' but Tharja has hired a large force of maids who will be better suited to this. Please continue to vote.
Option 1.
>>2894 Option 1, as it's only fair to let them go on to the rest of the table like we said would happen. Don't want it to look like we're just targeting Robin. That said, I can see what happens next. They'll bring up Venti as the next easily cut expense, we'll have to say no, but we'll probably need to acquiesce to talking to her about reducing expenditures. >>2895 Thank you for trying with Sully. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's interested in finding a place for her.
Option 1
>4 votes for option one, pass the ball back to Ricardo and Camilla. Let Ricardo and Camilla keep talking. Poll closed. Update soon.
You invite Ricardo or Camilla to keep speaking. You want this to be a collaborative effort. They're looking less confident after Robin came out of her 'interrogation' unmussed. But after a long moment, Camilla turns her head toward... Tharja? "Your Highness, now that I have the opportunity, there is something I wished to discuss," she begins. Tharja, for her part, nods politely. "Yes?" "..." Camilla lip twists, as if deciding whether to go through with it. "You've hired a great deal of maids while His Royal Majesty was recovering from his time of illness." Tharja looks at her, curious. "Yes." "Moreover, you requested something... unusual. You requested they all be of a certain... build. None of them are truly experienced with maidwork." Tharja nods again. "Yes." Camilla stops, as if expecting Tharja to go on, but she doesn't. "Is that a fair assessment of the situation, Your Highness?" Tharja tilts her head and seems to gaze up as if recalling. "Yes, that's right." Camilla stops once again, as if expecting Tharja to go on once more. The situation is becoming more desperate to the point of comical. "Don't you think it would have been better to hire... cheaper staff? Or perhaps not as many?" Tharja barely takes even a half second to answer. "No," she says. Oh dear. You think you remember now. Tharja specifically dismissed the old maids in Castle Valachia, and she replaced them with maids who are young, beautiful, and of age. Then she told them stories of how manly you are, and showed them portraits of how handsome you are. In other words, they've become ideal maids you could impregnate. There's no doubt that effort cost the Kingdom money. Camilla looks as though she's hit a brick wall. It'd be accurate to say she has. No way is Tharja going to dismiss any of them. You vaguely recall Beatrice spying on Camilla and discovering she absolutely loathes Tharja. You're beginning to see why. The two women approach situations completely differently and have diametrically opposed personalities. Tharja leads with her heart and doesn't think about future consequences. Camilla seems to analyze and plan for everything. Or at least, is trying to. So much for Camilla attempting to make any headway with that. You're not going to intervene and 'correct' Tharja right in front of the Council. Even if you did, it would probably prompt her to justify it as doing it all for your sake. Tharja admitting she hired cute maids for you to have sex with when you woke up is not something the Priest needs to know. Camilla decides to cut her losses, it seems. "Apologies for the obvious questions, Your Highness." Tharja smiles and tells her she doesn't mind. Camilla scans the room. Looks like she's trying to juggle who to ask next.​ >No choice yet, further update coming soon. (No changes in the balance of power. No one expected Tharja to budge.)
Camilla scans the room until she settles on... Mania? "Witch... Mania," she addresses her. She has to use some effort. She's probably wondering why she's sitting at the same table as a 'witch'. Camilla knows just Mania being in the castle, in this room, being trusted with these sorts of secrets, it all elevates Mania beyond a mere vagrant. Beyond most aristocrats. Mania's also the only woman sitting at the table who isn't visibly pregnant, which is likely confusing her even more. "Hee hee hee. I need no formal address. Even 'hag' is fine," Mania replies, her smile playful. Camilla's eyes shift to yours. You can't help but give her a look that says if anyone dares to just call Mania 'hag' you won't react well. Camilla turns her attention back to Mania. "Witch Mania, you spoke last meeting about how the money lenders would be best repaid for their loan with nothing." Mania's face turns from grinning to more uncomfortable. As if she sucked on something sour. "I did. What they originally loaned, or nothing. They trade in deceit and greed. It is like gross veins growing under the castles threatening to destroy its life. Already it's affecting its people: the people in this room There is strife and squabbling instead of peace." She's not wrong, you add on, vocally. Camilla gives a nod, though more to you than Mania. "Understood. But, if I were to press you, press you personally, when you said 'only pay back the original amount, or otherwise refuse anything,' you mean tell them immediately when they pull up to the castle drawbridge, or some other way?" Mania watches Camilla in a way you could only describe as 'cautious'. She's wondering what Camilla is getting at and likely doesn't want to fall into a trap. "The drawbridge would be the most direct," she says. Camilla nods. "But, if one were to teach a child, or any other person of the error of his ways, wouldn't it be better to bring them inside? Break bread, in this case? Make them feel welcome?" Mania takes a very long moment to think of this. "No. The lenders are so wrapped up in deceit, greed, and profit through others misfortunes, it would be like inviting a storm into the castle. --Not an animal. An animal has a spirit. An animal exists as part of nature and doesn't search for greed. These people are too twisted. The spirits have departed from and would only return to individuals who detach themselves... not the whole thing." You glance around at other people's faces. The majority of them seem riveted on what Mania is saying. Even Father Tomas is nodding. "Forgive for the seemingly unrelated question, but is King Edward... popular?" Everyone suddenly turns to look at Camilla, including you, and Ricardo. "Among the common people. Those we'd never meet, but witch Mania surely has, and does." "..." Mania takes a subtle breath through her nose. "There was much mourning when the Sir was taken away. There's much relief now that he has returned. The peasants and commoners might not know his titles or even his name, but they know. 'The King has come back. It is a miracle. Soon he will surely bring other miracles to us. Miracles of prosperity. The Goddess was very pleased that day he returned." You can't help but feel the strings of your heart pulled taut when Mania speaks like that. The... the prosperity of Ruhemania really does rest with you. The reminder is sobering. You have to hold your face tight to keep back from showing your emotions. "That's wonderful to hear, for His Majesty, and us." Camilla says, sincerely. "If the common people were to know the King, and the country, was being threatened by this 'storm,' what would they do?" she asks. "...It goes without saying they wouldn't like it." "And aristocrats are distrusted, right?" "...They harmed Sir. They know this." Camilla nods. "What if, should the drawbridge be lowered and this storm were invited in, what if the people were well aware of it? That they were there to harm their King, with words of deceit?" ... Oh. You think you see what Camilla is getting at. You interrupt. Camilla, you ask, is she suggesting the peasants and other commoners be 'roused' against the money lenders? Camilla gives a little shrug. "It's strictly speaking, a hypothetical. Money lenders are not even aristocrats, Your Majesty. They are simply merchants who amass a lot of money. Through this storm of deceit and greed. And, as much pressure as we can put on them inside of the castle, on your command, it might also be worth having pressure on them from a sort of organized spontaneity, from the peasants. They also hold a stake in the matter." Camilla turns back to Mania. "Well?" "..." Mania seems to be going through conflicted emotions. She would surely like very much to 'rouse' the peasants against the money lenders. In fact, didn't Bernkastel call her a 'revolutionary'? That she might really be capable of leading the peasants in such a way. "--Their hearts may be stirred up. But, for what purpose? Is this for the convenience of the aristocrats inside the castle, or righteous justice?" Camilla shrugs. "The simple matter is if we do follow through on that bad loan, and can't get them to back down, then it will create very deep problems for everyone in the castle. One that will echo throughout the country and through even the smallest countryside." Mania seems to have all her senses on high alert. "But, it won't be a blow against the belly of the beast! Even if the money lenders were to be outright torn apart, they would simply send more. To sink teeth into Ruhemania again, and others. And, what are these 'deeper problems?' More taxes seized?" Camilla looks around the room. "We will have much worse than 'raised taxes'. If the money problem truly gets out of control, there will be no 'cutting back.' There will be no 'gradual decline.' All of what is necessarily to maintain the castle will stop, nearly overnight. Robin, you will be lucky to have gruel to feed your soldiers, let alone weapons to train. If the merchants and caravans that import our needs-- not just luxuries, but needs-- if they find out we have no money and nothing to pay them with, they will never come back. So, we need to tread carefully. All avenues, even the most desperate, should be considered." Camilla turns once again to Mania. "Well?" The subtle breathing Mania had tried to maintain is gone. She's taking long, deep breaths. "So, you would have the peasants as one last dagger to strike with if the game you played with them ended poorly." Camilla replies, "I think of it more as a shield. They would merely need to know not just were soldiers watching them, aware of who they are. But, also the common people are aware of who they are. Money lenders understand why they are disliked come collection day. But, to that extent? It will likely make them more uncomfortable at the discussion table. More likely to take what they can get, even if it's nothing but curses as they return empty handed." Mania seems to be on the cusp of giving in to Camilla's plan. She's really seen what is most precious to Mania. The idea that the common people had better be treated decently... or else. No one is raising an objection or even acting like they want to ask a question. All attention is on Mania, and she knows it. ...Should you let her make the decision yourself? Choice time: 1. Allow Mania to respond to Camilla's offer. Whatever she decides, you won't intervene. >(Mania's influence significantly increases. Ricardo's faction's influence significantly increases. The satisfaction of various factions will change in ways Edward can't predict. 2. Veto Camilla's proposal before Mania replies. Even as a mere form of psychological warfare, it's too much. >(No change to the balance of power.) 3. It's dangerous to imply Mania has this sort of ability. Veto it on the grounds that it's simply not possible for peasants to be organized like this, and it goes beyond Witch Mania's true purpose here at the council, to talk about the spirits. --At this point, claiming that will probably make you look like a clown, as well as hurt Mania's feelings, but it might be worth it. >(Monarch authority decreases. Ricardo's faction's influence increases. Mania's influence sharply decreases. Mania's faction's satisfaction sharply decreases. The other factions' satisfaction also decreases, except for Father Tomas and Tharja, who stay the same.)
Option 1.
>>2910 Option. 1
Option 1. And I'll admit, Camilla and Mania are understanding each other better than I would have expected.
>>2910 Option 1. Best to let Mania make this choice on her own, though hopefully she'll want to discuss it with us in private before she goes and rallies the common folk.
I would have liked to have gotten a few more votes, but it's unanimous anyway. >4 votes for option one, let Mania make the decision for herself, tacitly saying you'll accept her judgment and whatever deal she makes with Camilla, if any, without a veto. Don't intervene in Mania's talk with Camilla. Poll closed. Update soon. We are almost at 500 posts. I'm not sure what is the thread limit, but it might be 500. If someone gets a "can't post anymore", please put it in the regular chat thread. Either way, I might start a new thread on my own before too long, as this might just start to get to look too intimidating. Don't worry, it'll be at a natural 'break point.'
You'll let the deal they make fall how it may. This is between them. You trust Mania. Moreover, you think you can trust Camilla. At least a little. "..." Mania pauses. A long time. Her expression is unreadable. You'd almost suspect the spirits were whispering in her ears. "You... you are simply an aristocrat who would manipulate the so-called 'lowly peasants' how you like. Your heart does not bleed at their suffering," she says, coldly. But at hearing her words, Camilla... laughs. "That's right, I'm just some aristocrat." Camilla says, outright smiling. "I've never talked to a commoner who wasn't there to wait on me. Much less wanted to. Until you joined our Council, that is." Mania is outright shocked, she looks at Camilla with wide eyes. And she's not the only one. Camilla is really not holding anything back by saying something like that. "All I want is to sleep in my nice bed, eat nice food, be waited on by servants, and live comfortably. If it means so many servants and peasants must toil for it, I won't cry. And soon I'll give birth to my husband's child, who will exist to do the same thing." You gaze back at Mania. Something magical is happening to her. ...You think you understand what it is. "But right now, my needs to avoid a complete budget collapse are tied with the needs of the peasants not to starve. And, how am I going to convince them of that? I'm a hated aristocrat, after all." Camilla adds, sounding almost as if she's gloating. "Can you shut your ears to my words, Witch? I doubt the spirits will be satisfied when all hell breaks loose. Which is going to happen if we can't put every bit of pressure we can on those money lenders." Mania's mouth is practically hanging open as Camilla finishes her speech. Yet at the same time, there's some fire burning in her eyes. --You get it. You think Camilla gets it, too. Camilla just gave Mania what she always wanted. Something beyond her wildest dreams. ...Validation. What Mania's family was too proud to admit to her back on that fateful day. Hells, those were words you would never think. Yet, words that Camilla said, almost casually. "...Heh heh heh." "HA HA HA!" Her laugh echoes as Mania looks at Camilla with a smile that hits an emotion you know, but aren't sure how to describe with one word. If you had to try to describe it at all, you'd say it's a smile a hunter would give when he found good prey to chase. Mania sucks in a breath through her teeth, staring dead at Camilla. As if no one else existed in the room but she and her. "There's a certain respect to be given to someone who knows what they are! ...Alert me to a time the money lenders will arrive, and don't be off by even an hour. I can't promise what will happen should the peasants and commoners become roused with emotion for nothing. Except you won't like it." ...That's terrifying. It's a good thing this is Camilla's proposal and not yours. Your spirit to go through with this idea has departed. But, you decided to allow them to reach their own deal... you need to just watch the conclusion. Camilla for her part shows no sign of backing down. "That won't be a problem." She turns her head to look at Robin. "Will it, General?" "...No, of course not," Robin replies. The table goes silent, except for the exciting breathing coming from Mania, though it slowly ebbs. "And," Mania adds on, sounding more out of breath. "Don't think this will happen again: at your beck and call, that is." "Agreed." Mania's breathing finally goes back to normal but the meeting enters a period of awkward silence. You cautiously glance around the room. Robin seems a bit unnerved. You imagine her calculus on if peasants could be driven off by her elite army has been a little shaken. Cordelia is actively ignoring the conversation. Corrin is trembling. It's slight, but you imagine his stomach must be tied in absolute knots. You don't blame him. You're feeling similar. Father Tomas looks the most affected. He can't stop staring at Mania. You think she just shattered his world view. Or at least, punctured it. You imagine him mentally trying to bail out water from the boat that is his faith before it sinks. ...Tharja is stroking her belly. You think she must have reacted when Camilla addressed Mania as 'witch,' and been startled more from that than anything else. Ricardo, for his part, is probably the least affected. He's gritting his teeth under his old lips, but it looks more out of irritation than fear. ...Well, as much as the cat wasn't out of the bag, you imagine it is now. The Council now knows Mania isn't just here to talk vaguely about spirits. She has real power outside of these walls. Power they could never have. --And, they must now respect that the money situation could really spiral out of control so badly that Camilla would risk the peasants descending on them all for revenge just to get the tiniest bit more leverage over the money lenders. "Hee hee hee... this is a special day... the Goddess dances on this day..." ... You think you had better direct the meeting again before Mania startles them any more. You're vaguely happy for her, but best not to end on this note. Choice time: 1. Prompt Camilla and Ricardo to go on. Any next business from them is fine. (Choices to affect the Balance of Power from the treasury's perspective will continue from whoever they choose. 2. You're not sure Camilla can follow that up. Move on to another faction. (Choices to affect the Balance of Power from a new faction's perspective will continue.) Edward will not end the meeting now, because he doesn't want the meeting to end with everyone dreading the next. The Balance of Power has changed. Balance of Power >Ricardo's faction's influence has significantly increased. >Mania's faction's influence has significantly increased, and will not decrease past a certain threshold. >Father Tomas's satisfaction has significantly decreased. >Robin, Cordelia, and Corrin's satisfaction has decreased.​ >Tharja's satisfaction was altered in a way Edward does not yet understand.
>>2916 Option 2.
>>2916 Option 2
>>2916 Option 2
Option 2
>>2916 Option two. This'll be a hard act to follow either way.
Option 2.
>>2916 Option 2.
>7 votes for option two, pass the torch to a new person on the Council. Move attention away from Camilla, for now. Poll closed. Update soon.
You tell Camilla that you're glad you have reached an agreement with Witch Mania for a sort of... tactic. One to put more pressure on the money lenders. It should at least indirectly solve the problem, if it works. But, perhaps that's enough intensity for treasury decisions, for now. You'd like to move on to hearing from another person on the Council. Camilla nods, not making any objection. Ricardo doesn't in the least bit look surprised. ... Okay, now that you've restored some order, who to call on next? You'll rule out Father Tomas. He's not composed. Corrin or Robin are the most obvious choices, but with the current atmosphere in the room, you're not sure what they'll say. ...You could call on Cordelia, but you'd be making it very obvious you're just giving attention to someone who doesn't have many issues worth talking about. For the purpose of not allowing them to speak. Maybe Mania herself? Or Tharja might be able to lift the mood. Choice time: 1. Call on Robin. For the Army. 2. Call on Corrin. For diplomacy. 3. Call on Cordelia... just to pass time talking about horses. >(The Council's expectation of being heard will decrease.) 4. Call on Mania. For more spiritual guidance. 5. Call on Tharja, just as an attempt to lighten the mood.​
>>2926 Option 2. Let’s hear what’s on Corrin’s mind.
Option 4.
>>2926 Option 2. Diplomacy update, and find out if he needs anything from anyone else on the council.
Option 2
>>2926 Option two.
>4 votes for option two, call on Corrin for diplomacy opinions. >1 vote for option 4, call on Mania for concerns she has beyond her deal. Call on Corrin to speak at the Council. Poll closed, update soon.
Chancellor, you say. You try to indicate by your tone that the direction of the meeting is shifting. You want to hear from him next, regarding issues he may have given what's brought up, or anything else he'd like to ask or propose to the Council. "..." Corrin looks like he's still recovering, but he only takes a little moment before responding. "Yes, Your Majesty." ... His hesitance doesn't fill you with much expectation. He may simply talk for the sake of talking. But, that's fine. You need to continue this. >No choice yet, further update coming soon.​
Corrin fold his hands, slowly interlocking his fingers. "Now that we've decided on an aggressive greeting for the money-lenders, I think the question must be asked: how do we make it so they don't 'complain' on the way out?" ...Meaning? "Tell the Elbanians, or whoever else, that Ruhemania arranged a mob to intimidate them when they came for diplomacy." ... You spare a glance at Mania and see she's fixing Corrin with a bit of a stare. She's not hiding that she didn't like that comment. "Your Majesty, I wish to suggest this is a non-issue," says Ricardo. You weren't expecting a good point from Ricardo, but he says as long as the deal you all negotiate with the money-lenders is humiliating enough, they won't want to 'talk' to anyone about it. Much less 'complain.' "I doubt they'll want to admit they can be bullied into 'special considerations' regarding the terms of our loan. --As long as we succeed." You give a nod. You think you understand, but you confirm what you think you heard. Ricardo is saying that as long as you keep the negotiations tight, and properly get them to agree to terms that hit a happy medium between 'harsh' and 'agreeable,' you won't need to worry. He nods. "Something they don't like, but don't storm out of the meeting because of. --But, something they wouldn't want to admit to doing. More than refusing to pay back anything, less than paying back only what's loaned." In that case, you task the treasury with examining and calculating all of the numbers and making a recommendation to you, before the money-lenders arrive, which will inform your decision. "Of course, Your Majesty," says Ricardo. Then, that's settled. >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.​
You pass another opportunity to Corrin to allow him to speak. He nods. "There is another issue, Your Majesty. When you make your travel to Elbania, who you will make your Regent." Is that really necessary, you ask? You're not intending to stay the season. Corrin just flips his hands over in a subtle shrug. "I can't say what will happen, Your Majesty. Of course, it'll be done in all haste, but there may be something that requires a decision happening while you are gone. It's in your best interest to choose now." Corrin also says he will be with you on the trip to Elbania, so he can't be available as a choice. You're about to weigh the pros and cons when a voice speaks up. A feminine voice. "Wait. Edward? You're going to Elbania?" Tharja puts a hand on your knee; She has a surprised look in her eyes. --Oh, right. You lay with Noi last night, you didn't see much time with Tharja at all. You didn't have an opportunity to talk with her. You tell her it's all right. It's just for diplomacy between the Kingdoms. There won't be any problems. "..." Tharja's lips twist in a terrible frown. There's no doubt she's thinking about when you were in your deep sleep, kept alive only through Beatrice's magic. Especially with the talk about who will play Regent. ...It'll be fine, you say. You don't know how to tell her that you plan on taking Beatrice, right in front of the Council, so you have to hope she understands and trusts you. At any rate, she purses her lips and holds back whatever she wants to say. ... This is awkward. Too awkward. You may as well just choose your Regent here. There's only three choices with Corrin unavailable. Either you rely on Tharja again, you designate Ricardo, or you allow Robin to have the title. Tharja handled it before, but you gave it to her on what everyone assumed would be your death-bed. You're making what is meant to be a rational decision now. Moreover, as nice as the castle looks, she didn't exactly run things efficiently. The paintings and hirings of attractive maids were vanity projects to appeal to you, and everyone likely thought she was insane to build such a large nursery for a you who would never be able to properly impregnate women again. But, at least you can trust her, and it would be a short reign. Ricardo... will be bland and uninteresting. His mystique as King Vlad's 'fake heir' is likely long gone. But, you can't help but feel the sting of how he confessed he knew about the full extent of Oana's plot. How he tried to get two loaves of bread. Making him Regent could allow him to make a similar move. --Or it could be a true olive branch to show you trust him now. If you actually do. Then, there's Robin. You feared Robin would simply run the castle like a box of toy soldiers and hoard every resource to the military when you were choosing a regent last time. As well as possible backlash from her being a woman who isn't your wife. But... maybe it's time to trust her? She seems content with the state of the army. She has a developed reputation. Yes, when you think about it, Robin will run the castle most efficiently. Objectively, she would be the best choice. But, choices aren't made in one moment. They ring out throughout the ages. So, you should strike while you can. ...You rule out the crazy thought of naming Mania your Regent. Even if you just wanted to see how everyone would react, Mania would detest the very thought. So, in that case... Choice time: 1. Choose Tharja to act as Regent while you visit Elbania on your diplomatic mission to speak with the Queen. 2. Choose Ricardo to act as Regent while you're gone. 3. Choose Robin to act as Regent while you're gone. The Balance of Power will not change for this decision, because the various factions are not properly 'vying' or 'campaigning' for Edward's decision.
Option 2. In addition to extending the olive branch, I think Ricardo would make some tough decisions to get our finances in order that would be beneficial, but would not reflect upon us personally.
>>3085 Option 2. "bland and uninteresting" ? Exactly what politics should be. If things start to get interesting, we're in trouble ;-)
Option 2 >>3087 Exactly. Though we'll probably have to explain to Tharja our reasoning later.
>>3085 Option 2. I think Tharja did fine the last time around, aside from the money mistake. This is more about showing trust in Ricardo to me. That said, we need to have conversations with both our wife and Ricardo over this- her to explain why we're choosing him, and him to explain that we're choosing HIM, not Camilla. And getting a chance to emphasize "hey I'm trusting you here" can't hurt.
>>3085 Option 3. I think is a safe play. And i don't know if we can trust Ricardo enough for this. Besides we're on red numbers, we need efficiency
>>3089 Changing my vote to option 3. >>3090 You make a good point about efficiency. I think we want to make sure and be clear that no decisions about the military are to be made without the full council agreeing on it- Aristo, I'm assuming that we have to appoint a single regent, rather than having the council as a whole play the part?
>>3091 This is correct. It is not in Edward's interests to admit his job can be done by the Council. Furthermore, talking with Robin privately and telling her she and Edward must have the 'understanding' that she'll honor his decisions about the military would be better than a public warning. If he wants to do anything at all. Robin is smarter to know better than to do anything while Edward's gone for what will probably be a week or two, at most.
>>3092 Yeah, private conversation was my intent there, not a public preemptive shaming.
>>3085 Option 3 For Efficiency
>>3085 Option 3.
>>3085 Option 2
>4 votes for option two, make Ricardo regent. >4 votes for option three, make Robin regent. We have a tie. I will come back later. If there is still a tie, I will flip a coin to decide the result. Please feel no urgency to change your vote. Changing your vote will not make the update come faster.
>>3104 I have flipped a coin. >Choose Robin to act as your regent. Poll closed. This thread will also be considered 'closed.' Please do not reply to this thread anymore. I'm going to archive it and use that archive to post to the new thread, when it is ready.

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