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Thread: The Eternal Exile: A Nation Hopping AAR

  1. #381
    Major Chris Taylor's Avatar
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    Just want to echo the sentiments about the battle segments being very well-written and finely-paced. Well done.
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  2. #382
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Beowulf: Yes indeed! In theory the flamers are not hard to make once you have an idea how to do so.
    Dewirix: You got it in one. I'm a great Sharpe fan, and have read all his books, as well as his non-Sharpe ones too. Europe could be very interesting I feel if someone starts giving out technological secrets.
    Boris: Thanks!
    morningSIDEr: Cheers man! It's always good to have a sense of danger. I hadn't originally intended the gun to do that...hence there are a few minor plot holes caused by it, but the idea worked out well I thought.
    Sather: No, not quite. The future has changed, meaning that her going back has changed her reality. This should in theory mean that she'd have to be born and go back in time in the future, but we'll see.
    Chris Taylor: From you that's a great compliment! Thanks.

    -----------

    GAOZHI I PART 1

    Gaozhi, the newly proclaimed Emperor and nearest descendant to the former ruler, was still near Macau when he learned the news. He immediately declared himself the true and proper ruler, set a temporary base up in the south and after a short delay begun to march north.
    While he had none of the skill or the advisors of his predecessors, Gaozhi was popular with his soldiers. However, he also had almost no administrative talent, little diplomacy, and was not even a great general. Any of these could be compensated for, even in a crisis, but a deficit in all three was guaranteed to cause problems.
    As his army marched north it entered lands occupied by the Shang, and ruthlessly sacked them, gaining the enmity of the people.
    He then, in October 1512, marched north to a little village named Jinhua, where the Shang army was ready and waiting.

    The Shang were deployed on a range of hills with the sea to their left and an open plain to the right where their cavalry was deployed.
    Opposing them, the Imperial forces were assembled on the plain, not knowing the exact dispositions of their enemies.
    Additionally, both sides had brought artillery pieces into battle. These included mainly rocket launchers or cannon. However, the Shang had secretly buried mines in the path of the advance, using a new method of detonation – trip wires.
    As the Imperial troops advanced they came under the sporadic fire of the Shang artillery from the hills. Unlike the previous battle there was none of the panic, and soon the two sides had closed into melee. However the Imperial troops had to press uphill against an enemy whose dispositions they didn’t know. In the battle that followed, even with the mines neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage.

    Meanwhile on the right flank the Shang cavalry launched a decisive charge against the Imperial horsemen, and a bitter battle developed there that lasted for several hours.
    On the left, a formation of cavalry with infantry support moved to flank the Imperial troops, followed by an advance of the Shang troops in echelon from left to right.
    It was a hard battle, but by day’s end the Imperial army was shattered, losing almost the entire army, but crucially the Emperor escaped, and thus the war would continue.





    XXX

    23/10/1512

    Houlong had declared that prisoners were to be treated fairly, and so the lines of surrendered Imperial soldiers trudged past. They would receive a better fate than that of any Shang soldier captured.
    Talena looked at it all without really seeing. Leaning against a tree on the slopes of the hill, she felt tired and de-motivated. She hadn’t fought in the battle, merely observed, while it ranged around her. Once or twice arrows had flown close, but she hadn’t taken much notice of them.
    She did look up when Lucille approached though, and even essayed an apathetic wave.
    “We won! The usurper escaped though. One more battle and it’ll all be over!” Lucille said enthusiastically.
    “That’s great,” Talena replied listlessly.
    “Are you alright?” she asked.
    Talena sighed. “I don’t know, Lucille. I know I should have been...well...involved in the battle. I know that you expected me to. I just...couldn’t. I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. Does one Emperor or another really matter? Does it matter if Hauritz helps them? I’m still stuck back here!” She knew it sounded more self-indulgent then she had wanted, but she was feeling out of sorts.
    “You came back by accident. I’m not stopping you doing anything you want, but this has to be fixed, Talena. Hauritz, Channing, anyone else who came back has to be found and removed. The whole timeline is broken, Talena. That means that your future never will exist. Little things can change, but not anything as big as this.”
    “How do you intend to ‘remove’ me? Do you want me to shoot myself?” Talena demanded.
    “I promised I’d find a way to help you, and I will. But we need to stop anyone else from inflicting more damage.”
    Talena, who had rather been hoping for some commiserations sighed and turned away. “I’ll be in my tent.”
    Lucille caught her arm gently. “Talena, I’m sorry. I don’t want to upset you. See it from my side though!”
    “I know, I know. What happens in this future anyway?”
    “I don’t know. I haven’t looked.”
    “Let me know when you do.”
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  3. #383
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Talena's channelling Achilles now? Let's hope it's not going to take something drastic to spur her into action - I like Lucille.
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  4. #384

  5. #385
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Maybe she will remove Lucille?

    Wouldn't mind, Lucille is starting to be an annoyance.

  6. #386
    Where is Hauritz?

  7. #387
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Dewirix: I hadn't thought of that before, but yes, Achilles is a good comparison! Glad you like Lucille, I do too.
    Boris: We shall see.
    Sather: Aww.
    mkhuh: Lurking...always lurking. And pretty pissed off too.

    Sorry for the delay, ZHANG KU...this is your cameo!

    And also...note the stats of Houlong. I've discovered that the stats of a Pretender/Rebel directly influence their ADM/DIP/MIL stats when they get into power. Which means of course that by increasing Houlong's general stats he becomes 9/9/9!

    ---------

    GAOZHI I PART 2

    With more and more lands submitting to the Shang faction Gaozhi was limited to only the central and south of the Empire to draw a new army from. This he duly did, pulling some of the last troops from the far south in order to create an army large enough for one final throw of the dice.

    In the new year he advanced from the central west of the Empire, moving to force a decisive battle with his opponent, Houlong Shang. He had planned to cross the river quickly to the south of Nanchang, and quickly march across country However, unknown to him, his scheme had already been betrayed by one of his own.


    XXX

    24/4/1513

    Talena was starting to enjoy herself again. It was not something she had really decided, as such. Rather, over time she had tried to forget the past...or future...and lived in the present. She had taken up horse riding and practiced fencing in the snow with some of Houlong’s best teachers. She hadn’t spoken much to Lucille, even though that upset both of them.
    It was while she was sitting with Min and learning some of the intricacies of the Chinese language that a guard came to the tent.
    “Excuse me, Lady, a man has come to us with information you might find useful. Lord Shang and Lady Lucille are not in camp, or the other generals.”
    “So you came to me as a last resort?” Talena asked snidely. She felt bad for that. “Please show this man in.”

    A few moments later a bearded, armoured man entered. He had no weapons, but he looked like a long service soldier.
    “My name is Zhang Ku, and I have information you might like,” he said.
    “And where did you come by this information? Are you a servant of the usurper?”
    “Not anymore,” Zhang Ku replied meaningfully. “I was Captain of a mercenary company which was disbanded. He believed us treacherous.”
    “He was right, I see,” Talena said.
    “I was loyal to him until that point. But he is a coward, a thief and a liar. And so he ordered me killed, but I escaped, and now we will fight for you.”
    “And what information do you have?”
    “The usurper is marching, and plans to cross the Gan River some miles to the south of Nanchang. He has great boats and store of timber to build a bridge.”
    Talena leaned forward. “If this is true then surely he will know you have left with this knowledge?”
    “No. I was not supposed to know. I only discovered because of a secret order found by one of my soldiers intended for one his generals.”
    Talena laid out a very rough map of the area. Even allowing for the primitive nature of it she could see that a crossing there could be dangerous to the Shang.
    “Thank you. If you serve with us loyally you will be rewarded.”

    After he had gone Talena pondered matters.
    “When Lord Shang returns you will take him the message?” Min asked.
    “Yes, of course I will. I’ll tell Lucille when she gets back.”
    “Tell me what?” Lucille poked her head in.
    Talena explained matters to her, and pointed out Zhang Ku, who was waiting a short distance away.
    “Thank you, Talena. I’ll go talk to him now.” She paused. “Can you give us a moment, Min?”
    When they were alone Lucille sat next to Talena. “Look...I’m sorry about anything that’s happened between us. “I know it’s not easy for you. It’s not easy for me either. Just remember...I’ll find a way to help you. Even if it takes a thousand years.”
    Talena smiled. “Alright, Lucy. Thanks.”
    “Any time, Tally.”

    XXX

    27/4/1513

    Not knowing his secret had been betrayed Gaozhi created his bridge across the Gan and begun his march east. On the 27th of April as his army crossed, they were being closely watched by the Shang. In their two columns they were walking directly into a trap.

    Talena watched from the shadows as the enemy passed unwittingly below her. They were led by cavalry and followed by long lines of infantry. It was as they were passing through the end of the pass that they saw a line of Shang soldiers waiting for them. Determined to break free of a trap they now new was imminent, the cavalry charged. But as it turned out, they charged right onto a trap created by the Shang.
    Barrels of explosive had been piled either side of the road, and these now exploded with terrible force, throwing down horsemen and blocking the road.
    All along the cutting Shang soldiers appeared and fired bows, crossbows and guns down into the trapped soldiers. Far to the left Talena could see cavalry sweeping in across the plain to catch and destroy the bridge and those Imperials near it.
    It was brutal and terrible. Trapped, unprepared, the Imperials were slaughtered by the hundred in the cutting. Many fell to the ground and faked death, or held their hands up in surrender.
    Talena ran forward, shouting at the soldiers to cease fire and take prisoners. She could see Lucille and other leaders doing the same. In moments it was over. The last army opposed to Houlong Shang’s Imperial destiny was destroyed.





    It was as Talena was riding down the road that she was forced to take a detour into the forest before she could reach the plain. There, as she passed out of sight of the road she was suddenly attacked. A man came out at her from behind a tree and grabbed at her. Oddly, he didn’t go for the horse, and Talena realised he likely wanted to take it for his own.

    Surprised, she was pulled from the horse and to the ground. The man, an ornately dressed leader with a sword came at her, and she barely managed to draw her own weapon before he was on her.
    This fight, unlike the previous one with Cade was something less of a trial for Talena. Moving with relentless power she drove the man back, landing a heavy kick to one of his legs. She followed up with a flash of her sword across his arm so he was forced down to his knees.
    “It’s you...they warned me of you. I didn’t recognise you,” the man said.
    “Who warned you?” Talena asked, standing over him with sword raised.
    “The pale men. The demons. They came to me, but I refused to take their advice. And you are another one. No woman can fight in the way you do.”
    “I am no mere woman. So you are the man who claims to be Emperor?”
    “I am the Emperor, by blood.”
    Talena smiled. “But not by right.”
    “So...kill me. Isn’t that what you’re going to do?”
    Looking down on him Talena considered her options. It would be easy to kill him right now, bring the head to Houlong Shang. It would be harder to drag him to the camp, but hardest still to do something unexpected.
    “Do you know, one thing I’ve learned in the hundred and forty years I’ve been alive, is that life itself soon becomes meaningless to me. I get to the point where I feel it doesn’t matter if I kill you or not...because your life, even as Emperor, is unimportant. And that is where I don’t want to go.”
    Gaozhi looked confused, and said nothing.
    “Which means, get out of my sight. I promise, if you ever become a problem again I will find and kill you. Now go away.”
    Not waiting to be asked twice the now deposed Emperor tossed away his ornate armour and vanished into the forest.



    When Talena returned to the camp Lucille was waiting. “No sign of the usurper.”
    Talena smiled slightly. “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him anymore.”
    Lucille obviously got the wrong message from her comment, and nodded. “Well, that’s done. Now...to restore peace to China.”



    (Note, I changed the government back to Admin monarchy)
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  8. #388
    Great Chapter! I loved the way you portrayed my character. Great Job writing this chapter, as usual.

  9. #389
    Lt. General Beowulf1990's Avatar
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    I just LOVE thos diagrams!
    No better way to help me imagine the situation as you wish to paint it.
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  10. #390
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    Not knowing his secret had been betrayed Gaozhi created his bridge across the Gan and begun his march east. On the 27th of April as his army crossed, they were being closely watched by the Shang. In their two columns they were walking directly into a trap.

    Talena watched from the shadows as the enemy passed unwittingly below her. They were led by cavalry and followed by long lines of infantry. It was as they were passing through the end of the pass that they saw a line of Shang soldiers waiting for them. Determined to break free of a trap they now new was imminent, the cavalry charged. But as it turned out, they charged right onto a trap created by the Shang.
    'Time spent in reconnaisance is seldom wasted' - this is a neat illustration of the counterpoint. Not much use employing a cavalry screen for your infantry if you let them march into ravines without having checked that they can get out on the other side.

    I like the way the game thinks everyone is mourning the loss of Gaozhi, despite the civil war against him and all. Still, it's nice to see Talena's reining in her monarch-killing appetites.
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  11. #391
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    She took the word of an unknown mercenary a little bit to easy for my taste, but otherwise great chapter again.
    And that Shang is insanely good a ruler.

  12. #392
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Zhang Ku: Thanks! Glad you liked him. Sorry it took so long, he was originally going to be in Pegu, but then circumstances changed.
    Beowulf: Thanks! All the battlefields are actually at the right places in China (I'm so pedantic ) and I take the google maps photo and use powerpoint to do the icons.
    Dewirix: I was originally going to have her kill him, but I decided not to...just to spite you! Thank you for reading as always.
    Sather: Perhaps, but she and Lucille would have sort out confirmation first before actually going. At best it was a tip off. And yeah, I've never had a 9/9/9 ruler before through random chance.

    ----------

    HOULONG I PART 1

    In the wake of Gaozhi’s final defeat Houlong Shang was the undisputed leader of China. However, despite this there was a considerable problem of existing rebel bands in the country. Also, as a result of the civil war, the Empire’s armies were severely depleted, manpower was down, inflation was out of control, and the tax base was severely depleted. Millions had died in the conflicts and rebellions, and large areas of the country had been so depleted they were now uninhabited.

    However, the new Emperor made swift moves to resolve these issues. He granted his subject’s demands, made moves to reduce the scourge of imposed serfdom, as well as allowing many former nations to regain their independence. Although China actually contracted to its original borders in 1399 it was left far stronger by not needing the massive armies to guard those regions.

    Within a couple of years the Empire was more stable, better organised and more united then it had been for decades.












    XXX

    1/6/1513

    Talena had been surprised to receive a summons from the Emperor himself. She had initially been suspicious of his motives, but Lucille had assured her that it was not anything dangerous.
    “I think he wants to thank us for what we did to help him,” she added.
    And so Talena had gone with Lucille, and now waited inside the palace. After a while there was a hurrying of feet, and several dozen guards and other attendants surrounded them, followed by the Emperor himself. Since his accession he had started to dress like an Emperor, but Talena approved of the way that he hadn’t started acting like a tyrant...yet anyway.

    The Emperor gestured to his guards and courtiers to withdraw and allow him privacy.
    “To you, my friends, who helped me so much, and to whom I owe so much, what reward can the Emperor bestow on you?”
    Talena looked across at Lucille, who smiled back at her before turning to Houlong. “Lord, all I would ask for is that no expense be spared in finding word of Hauritz and Channing. They will seek to influence your neighbours or to plot against you. I would also ask to stay here for a while so that we might continue our own searches.”
    The Emperor seemed surprised, even taken aback by the small request. “Of course, it is granted.” He turned to Talena. “And you, Lady Talena?”
    “The same thing...except I want to be basically left in peace unless it’s really urgent.”
    Houlong raised an eyebrow, and then nodded. “So it will be. I had expected a far more exacting series of rewards.”
    “We’re fairly simple,” Lucille replied with a slight smile.
    “Then go in peace. You will of course be kept up to date with any new I hear on the matters we discussed.”
    Soon the Emperor was gone, leaving Talena and Lucille alone.
    “Left in peace? For how long? I’d think you’d start getting bored around the first decade,” Lucille said happily.
    “Maybe I will, but I’ll see what I think then. Come on.”
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  13. #393
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    A little holiday, maybe a decade or two, is always nice and well deserved.

  14. #394
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Holiday....Madonna where are you now to sing the ladies off down the Grand Canal
    Starting the hunt should be a priority. Hopefully nothing "urgent" arises soon.
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  15. #395
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Hmm, 13.5 per cent inflation, minting at over 40 per cent and lamentable tech. Good luck with your new country Houlong, you're going to need it! Shame Talena's a soldier rather than an economist.
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  17. #397
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: It's certainly what she wants, and probably what she deserves...but that'd make for a boring story.
    blsteen: Quite right!
    Dewirix: Well, I had a fair bit of luck there. I got some nice inflation reduction events, cut the army so I stopped minting, and generally had a nice time. By the end like in Vijayanagar I'd reduced the inflation to nearly 5% in 20 years, which is pretty damn good considering!
    Boris: Yeah, he is a monster. Sadly in EU3 normally the ruler stats matter very little, which is why I've gradually added changes, such as rulers giving discipline, tradition (military and cultural) and tax bonuses.

    ---------

    HOULONG I PART 2

    One of the greatest concerns of the new Emperor was that his regime was considered both illegitimate and that he had no heir. Thus, the Emperor took steps against this, marrying a relation of the Tianshun Emperor, and then establishing a diplomatic links with other nations. The diplomatic work paid off, and within a few years the regime was coming to be more and more appreciated, especially as there were no ruinous foreign wars or excessive taxation to hamper growth.

    The Emperor was also blessed with a son, Yongli. And while not as brilliant as his father, he would still prove to be a determined and conscientious man of not inconsiderable talent.




    On the third anniversary of his ascension the Emperor held a great reception and banquet at the palace. The occasion was the building of a monument to his victory, and to China itself. The great new palace and temple complex had been completed in less then a year, and was already something of a marvel.




    XXX

    27/4/1516

    It was a day of celebrations at the palace. Talena moved through the festivities a little less gloomy then she had been before. Even so, she had never been great with crowds, and slipped upstairs. She meant to go find Lucille and talk with her for a while. She knocked on the door to Lucille’s room and pushed it open.
    It was dark, and her friend wasn’t there, and she was about to move on when something caught her eye. There was a glow coming from one side of the room. There, a drawer was slightly open, and an unnatural, electronic light spilled out.
    Knowing she shouldn’t, yet unable to contain her curiosity and longing for objects from her time, she approached. She silently opened the drawer to see a contemporary Chinese bag through which the light was coming from the opening.
    Opening the bag she saw that it contained a communicator of sorts. It had been so long since Talena had used one that she felt confused, even daunted by using one again. Even worse she feared making a noise that might alert people to her presence in the room.
    An indicator was on the screen showing a new message had arrived. Talena was not inherently a deceitful person. She always liked to think of herself as a good example. But now she was overcome with a desire to know, and touched the screen.

    Immediately the screen became that of a dark skinned, bald headed man who looked rather agitated.
    “Lucille, I am getting tired of these excuses you are making,” he said. “You have failed to make contact for several weeks, and you have failed to neutralise your target despite repeated orders. This is your final chance. If you do not comply then you will be removed from active service and a replacement sent.”
    Talena opened the bag further and found a small case. Inside was a syringe mounted inside a unit which could inject a large amount of something into its target. The liquid inside the syringe glowed faintly and shifted colours. Talena didn’t know what it was, but could put two and two together.



    When she heard the door open, and a lamp near the door was lit she turned. She was too angry and confused to look embarrassed or contrite. Instead, as Lucille entered the room she advanced on the blonde.
    “Oh, hi Talena, what-,” she said, but was cut off.
    Talena picked her up and shoved her hard into the wall, one arm pressing against the time traveller’s throat. “Neutralise your target? You weren’t sent to help me, you were sent to kill me!” Talena shouted.
    Lucille was having trouble breathing, but managed to speak, and looked quite afraid. “Talena...it’s not like that!”
    “Then what is it like?” Talena retorted angrily. She held up the syringe. “What’s in this, fairy dust? Maybe I should inject you with it and see just how harmless it is!”
    “No! Please! Don’t!” Lucille said, seeing it. In her eyes was pure terror, and she frantically struggled away from the device.
    Talena for her part was taken aback by the response. She had no intention of actually using it without knowing what it did, but this reaction said it all. She stepped back and took her arm from Lucille’s throat.
    “I don’t hurt my friends...but you better explain to me what’s going on before you stop being my friend.”
    Lucille rubbed her neck anxiously. “I...I wasn’t entirely honest with you about my mission.”
    “That much is obvious,” Talena said sternly.
    “My mission was to find you Talena, and to use that on you.” She pointed to the syringe. “It’s called Nullifier. It...well it neutralises what you and I both have – the non-aging process. But in your case I don’t know what it will do. Whether it’ll do nothing, or even kill you.”
    “So if this was injected into you...?” Talena asked.
    Lucille eyed it. “I’d die. Not all at once...but the process of aging would begin again. And in fifty years, maybe less, I’d be dead.”
    “Are you afraid of that?” Talena asked.
    “Aren’t you?” Lucille replied. “I’ve lived even longer then you. What I have now I don’t want to give up. It’s a fundamental rule of life – everyone is afraid to lose what they have.”
    “But how will nullifying me help? I went back in time, Lucille! Surely that’s changed time. There’s no easy fix. You’ve given me lots of conflicting answers before, tell me straight.”
    Lucille sighed. “Alright. What you and the others have done, Talena, is to change time. It’s happened before, sometimes as big and destructive as this. However, the way you were sent back means that the future is in chaos, and the Order is afraid that eventually you will end up causing a catastrophic destruction of the timeline. They also don’t want you or the others present in the past as immortals. Agents were assigned to each known person who went back. I was assigned to you.”
    “Then why didn’t you attack me in Vijayanagar? Or try and talk to me?”
    “Because you didn’t seem a villain. That’s why I didn’t want to use it on you without learning more about you. That’s why I watched you in India, seeing if you were a threat. But later...well I was trying to find ways to help you without using this. I don’t want to do it to you! And especially not since we’ve been friends.”
    Talena felt a little awkward. “What’ll happen to you if they find out you’ve been disobeying them?”
    “They’ll see me as a traitor and attempt to nullify me...like you.”
    “You’re taking a big risk for me.”
    “What can I say...I think you’re worth it.”
    They both stood, slightly embarrassed until Talena reached out and took Lucille’s hand. “Sorry about the throat. Are you alright?”
    “I’m fine, thank you. Come on, let’s get down to the party.”
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  18. #398
    Lt. General Beowulf1990's Avatar
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    Well, that was certainly interesting, talk about a twist!

    So i suppose we'll be expecting another agent of the order, or maybe more?
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  19. #399
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Twisty, nice to see the emperor consolidating
    and come on really, the Order's Q Branch really needs to come up with something a little more innocuous than five inches of syringe...
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  20. #400
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    You'd think people like the Order would exercise better oversight over their operatives, plus, y'know, use some kind of password protection on sensitive comms equipment.

    Anyhow, they're passing up a great opportunity to take Talena onboard as one of their own - she's tough and resourceful and doesn't have much else better to do. And she's basically been Lucille's unpaid assistant for the last decade or so.
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