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Thread: The Grey Eminence - A Narrative/History AAR 1399-1821

  1. #601
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    "Premier" is an adjective.
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  2. #602
    Brilliant AAR mate. A real pleasure to read. Waiting with bated breath for the finish.

  3. #603
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    No it can't be nearly over .

    How is it even possible for Ashantai to finally end a story :P , just kidding.

  4. #604
    Lt. General hoi2geek's Avatar
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    Nice finish.

    Hopefully, we could see a continuation to Victoria 2 and beyond.
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    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" -George Santayana

    "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan."(One who does not learn to look back to where he came from, will never get to where he is going.) -Filipino proverb

  5. #605
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    It's already ending? Dear god it feels like yesterday that this adventure started. Allas, as we always say: there are always more adventures on the horizon.

    Like John and Lady Mendenhall, who're not quite done playing yet.
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  6. #606
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sethanon: 5 chapters left! It's just gone quickly because I update every single day. I deliberately chose a topic and length I could manage to finish. I wanted to finish a story!
    hoi2geek: Thanks! I don't think I will continue to Vicky 2...for reasons you'll see. Also, the thought of trying to convert this is rather cringeworthy. It'd take hundreds of hours to convert all these things. We'll see, but I doubt it.
    Sather: Haha. My AARs have been a slow process of trying to find the balance between length and interest.
    Morrell8: Thanks!
    Arakhor: Corrected.
    Momento Mori: You know...I never took a pic of that! Maybe I will.

    5 to go!

    Chapter 46 – The Final Battle Part 2

    5/2/1820


    John followed Lady Mendenhall through the dark halls. With only a small lantern he found himself almost blind to his surroundings. A platoon of soldiers split into groups of three and started to fan out, but with such a huge building to cover they knew it’d be hard.
    As he walked John saw the soldiers falling away to both sides while he tried to keep up with her Ladyship’s rapid progress. If he had been interested at that moment he would have seen that the wall section he passed had burn marks from some ancient fire centuries in the past.

    Carrying his lantern he still could see almost nothing, and tripped on the uneven floor. He kept the lantern from smashing, but when he looked up her Ladyship was gone. Cursing, he followed as best he could, following the sound of voices.
    Finally John came to a wide room lit by an oil lamp. In the flickering light John could see two people standing and a body on the floor. Even at this distance John knew it was Tempest on the ground, wet blood reflecting the dim light.
    “We meet again, ‘Lady’,” Daguerre said with an ironic bow.
    “Tempest…” her Ladyship murmured, kneeling down beside her servant and friend. She looked up. “You will pay for this,” she said slowly, emotion choking her voice.
    “Her death is just one to set aside the thousands that you have slaughtered. She was a symptom of a problem you caused. You, sitting like a gargoyle behind every throne. We know of you, and this is just the start of my revenge against you for killing my father.”
    “Your stupid little plan has failed, and you are all alone. I will put an end to your bloodline, something I should have done three centuries ago. France is no more, finished, gone,” her Ladyship said.
    “Your dominion cannot last forever, woman. The time has come for you to pay.”
    Lady Mendenhall took up her cane and with a twist she drew forth a long blade. Dropping the empty sheaf to the ground she held it low.
    Daguerre pulled a revolver from his holster.
    Seeing this, John drew his own weapon and stepped forward, weapon raised.
    “John, I will deal with this,” her Ladyship suddenly said.
    Daguerre looked between the two of them. “So you have another boy, do you? Go through them quickly, don’t you?”
    “Thirty years is a long time, even for me, and Henry York is not dead.”
    “Oh yes, you can be very good to those who fall under your spell. I dare not consider what you use them for.”
    Lady Mendenhall walked forward, unafraid, blade raised. She interposed herself between John and Daguerre, advancing slowly. “The time has come for your insignificant bloodline to end.”

    Daguerre raised his revolver and fired, and again, and again. Finally, when he had fired all six shots he lowered the weapon.
    Her Ladyship swayed slightly, and then advanced again. “You call me a tyrant, you call me a murderer. You have no idea how terrible I could be. You have no idea what I have spent four hundred years fighting, fighting the desire to destroy all of you stupid, petty people. Do you really think your little wars and rebellions mean anything to me? I will have control, I will have stability, and I will have order, and not you or anyone will get in my way. You have no idea what you are fighting, I am saving you from a far greater peril.”
    Daguerre having seen his six bullets have utterly no effect dropped the weapon and drew his sword. He attacked, but found his blade met, parried and driven back. Her Ladyship was like an avenging angel, pushing ever forward, the blades clashing in the gloom.
    Finally Daguerre drove forward with his blade at her, and Lady Mendenhall simply caught the blade in her hand. Her steely look did not waver despite the blood trickling down her hand. Daguerre dropped the blade and turned to run, but too slow.
    A slash from her Ladyship’s blade cut him across the back of the leg and he fell to the ground. As he attempted to rise Lady Mendenhall slashed down at him, a deliberately painful wound to the cheek. A second cut went to his hand.
    “You killed her, the woman I loved most, and you will pay in blood,” her Ladyship said softly.
    The wounded Frenchman could do nothing but futilely attempt to escape.

    John had watched the fight with a mix of awe and fear. He had never seen her Ladyship angry, never seen this side of her. He edged forward, seeing her tower over the helpless man, torturing him with her blade.
    “I think he’s had enough,” he said hesitantly.
    “Stay out of this, John!” she snapped in reply. “He killed Tempest, and he will pay. He will pay for all of his family.” She raised her blade again, the blood glittering on the edges.
    “No! You can’t do this! Stop!” he said.
    She turned to him, her eyes narrowed. “Do not stand in my way, John Adams. I have lost so many people, and this is the last straw. I will not let this happen again, I will save this country from itself no matter what.” She rammed her sword down into Daguerre’s chest, the blade sticking there.
    “Angel, please. How is torturing him going to save us? How do you know that you’re not becoming the very danger you are trying to stop?” John had no idea what danger she had meant, but something had occurred to him. All of her actions since she had come to England had been efforts to stabilise, control, but not dominate. She could quite possibly pushed Great Britain further, into Germany, Italy, Spain, but always she had held Kings and Queens back. There had to be a reason for this.
    “Do you want to be the Lady Protector of the whole world now?” he asked, not knowing the effect it would have.
    Lady Mendenhall blinked, looking at him. “I’m sorry?” she asked, as if she genuinely couldn’t believe what she had heard him say.
    “How far will it go? You wanted me to be your conscience, Lady. How can I do that when you push me away? I will not fight you.” He lowered his gun to the ground. “I can’t defeat you, but look at what you have done.”
    At first he thought she would attack him, but then something altogether more surprising happened. The blade slipped from her hand and she shook her head wildly. “No, no, no! This can’t be. I am not Her!” she said, placing great emphasis on the last word.
    John had no idea what he had done, but knew what he had to do was try to convince her. “Angel…please. Let me be your conscience, like you wanted me to. You are a great woman, but you cannot let yourself fall into the abyss. Come back. Would Tempest want you to remember her thus?”
    He then saw a sight he thought he never would. Angelique Grey bowed her head, and tears ran down her cheeks.
    “You’re right, John. Come on, let’s go.”
    Puzzled but thankful that she had calmed down, John followed her out, casting a look back at the last ‘King’ of France.
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  7. #607
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    Interesting. I'm going to predict that something permanent will happen to Lady Mendenhall very shortly.
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  8. #608
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    I always am way more sad when a side character dies in a story. They're always the one to go down first.

    I wonder who Mendenhall is referring too... in her timeline. I wonder.....
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  9. #609
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    great sequence of posts ... with everything coming nicely to a head -- and her ladyship fighting against her ... not sure ... what she could have been or what she was in a different timeline?
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  10. #610
    Thought I'd chime in here and tell you how much I've enjoyed reading this AAR, love the characters and the way of mixing 'current events' and the history part.
    Can't help but feel sad both for Tempest and her ladyship though, Tempest was my third favorite character in the story after her ladyship and John

  11. #611
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Thorn98: Thanks for posting to say that, I really appreciate it! Tempest is a fav of mine too. I wish I could have spent more time on her.
    Loki: That's the question, eh?
    Sethanon:A mystery it is...until tomorrow!
    Arakhor: Hmm...yes, you're quite right, just not how you might expect!

    Chapter 46a – Summary and Conclusion

    Summarised from the conclusion of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    Great Britain is, at present, the most powerful nation in the world since the fall of ancient Rome. However, this was certainly not certain and could have come undone at several points. After all, the last four centuries has witnessed a civil war, insane rulers and vast wars that pushed the nation to the brink. The fact that England, and then Great Britain has survived is a testament to the ability of key leaders at key times in the history.

    Perhaps most importantly of all Great Britain has been if not lucky then fortunate in the way some events have fallen. Three rulers in the time this work covers have ruled for more than fifty years, and the average across this time period is just over twenty years. This is a significant amount of consistency. While some rulers such as Caroline and Henry VI have been great leaders, others such as James I and Edward VI have hardly been inspiring.
    However, the British ability to absorb and rebound from such poor leaders is partly due to their system of leadership and separation of powers. Since from the very start the monarchy was prevented from exercising complete control the individual merits or flaws of the rulers became less pronounced. By maintaining Parliament the upper sections of British society were able to maintain at least some control over the executive without falling into the weakness common in absolutist states such as Scandinavia.
    British expansion onto the continent of Europe was a gradual affair, covering over four hundred years. Rather than over-extending themselves, successive British leaders were able to absorb enough territory to increase their control without falling apart. Had the de Vere monarchs chosen to simply expand in all directions they would have failed. Careful, moderated expansion, always with a pretext and reason helped make Britain a unitary state.
    It cannot be doubted that the British army and navy were of such capacity as to render Britain invulnerable to attack, and that their ability to draw armies from the local population in all their territories was a key factor in eventual British triumph.
    Crown authority in the colonies and foreign conquests always was strong, meaning that a tight rein was kept on these areas. Reasonable taxes and tariffs balanced with representation and local government autonomy allowed the colonies to benefit Britain without becoming too independent. The vast wealth flowing from the tobacco, sugar and cotton production allowed Britain to maintain armies larger and more powerful than any rival.
    Finally, England and Great Britain maintained a singular, balanced focus throughout this time. While other nations suffered at times from changes in policy and direction, Britain maintained a broad policy with little deviation; reasonable expansion into Europe balanced by powerful colonial growth. Some have taken this to mean that Great Britain is favoured by God. Even if this is not true it cannot be denied that this nation has maintained its vast power against all the odds from a humble start.

    In summary then, Great Britain has maintained its power in the world by a combination of opportunistic expansion, prudent diplomacy and wise administration; three things that few nations can boast in equal measure.

















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  12. #612
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    got to say that is one impressive collection of sliders and scores ... given you've played with some self-imposed restraints then the prestige and tradition scores are really impressive
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  13. #613
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Remember that my mod helped me by giving tradition each year depending on the leader's mill score. Also note that my changes to the prices file and my removal of magistrates for level 1 and 2 also helped...but they helped (I assume) the AI too.

    Overall though I was very pleased by how it turned out.
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  14. #614
    nice work Ashanti! excited to see how the final narrative turns out
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  15. #615
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Quicksabre: Thanks!

    Here it is, the second last narrative, and the one which reveals some...interesting things. Enjoy!

    Chapter 47 – Echoes of a Lost Time

    6/2/1820


    The excitement, anxiety and fear didn’t just cease because the danger was over. Rather, for John Adams it kept him from sleeping and filled him with a nervous energy. He had first gone to find Elijah, and promised to meet his friend the next day. Finding out that he was unhurt was a great relief for him, and made him breathe a bit easier. Finally, part way through the night he drifted off in a corner in Parliament House. No one was paying him much attention.

    When he came to he found that he had been laid on a light mattress and covered by a blanket. Getting up, he looked around, seeing no one until he emerged into a wide hall. There he found his father and Elijah waiting for him.
    “My son! I was so worried that something had happened to you! Mr Hill told me that you were unhurt, but I couldn’t find you this morning.
    “I’m fine, father,” John said, embracing Benjamin.
    “Well done, Johnny,” Elijah said, shaking his hand. “This place is too nice to go up on smoke!”
    John nodded, but his attention wasn’t really on matters, and he soon excused himself. He had questions, but no idea who to ask. Or rather, he knew who to ask, but no idea where to find them.

    He found Lady Mendenhall overlooking the Thames. She had changed her dress, and showed no sign of the multiple wounds she had taken the previous night. At his approach she looked over at him and smiled.
    “Good morning, John. Sleep well?”
    “Yes, thank you. Did you…with the blanket?”
    “You looked like you needed it. Me…I don’t sleep much anymore. The time when I needed it has mostly passed by. You look like you have questions about what happened last night. I think I owe you a full explanation at last of who I am, the full story.”
    John nodded. “Only if you don’t mind telling me,” John said.
    “I don’t. Someone else should hear it, if only to explain what I have done for four centuries.”

    They moved on to the St James Club where her Ladyship was allowed to enter only after a few minutes of intense negotiation. Her Ladyship settled herself on seat and begun to speak. Most of the time she didn’t even look at John, but sometimes she did face him, judging his reactions.
    “My name is not actually Angelique,” she revealed. “But for reasons that will become apparent I changed it.”
    “What was it originally?”
    “Tamara. My parents were great historians and my mother a feminist. She named me for the famous Georgian queen said to have led her armies into battle. It was quite a lot to live up to!”
    She paused before continuing. “Your history, everything you see around you is the product of a million events and choices made in the past. Think how different your history would have been if Harold Godwinson had won the Battle of Hastings, or if King John had beaten the French instead of being humbled by them. How about if a fire had not destroyed the Palace of Westminster, killing Henry Bolingbroke before he could be crowned King?” She gave a grim little smile at that.
    “Everything we know is a product of these choices, but no one will ever know the consequences of those choices. No one, except me, that is. I have seen three timelines of history, and each of them shows very different realities. Very different versions of the same basic history. Where these versions differed was in the interplay between England and France.”

    “I was born in 1912, in London. I was born into a Great Britain which owned a quarter of the world, and was one of the dominant powers in the world. There were others, see France had won the Hundred Years War and English attention shifted overseas. However, without a central driving force or the continental power and resources of France they were lesser than what you have now. Either way, my parents were well off, upper middle-class gentry, my grandfather having made his money in industry. I grew up, did well at school, and then went to university despite it still being a little frowned on. My great passion was history, just like you John. The time I studied most was Reformation era England, the Tudor and Stuart monarchs…people you have never heard of, I know.”
    John sat, listened. It all seemed fantastic…but he knew this was only the start.
    “I graduated university with the highest marks on record for a woman. I am not boasting when I say that I was the best student of either gender there. Still, it was difficult to get my degree, and once I got it my options were limited. I wanted to get a doctorate, but I couldn’t find anyone to sponsor me. Women should know their place, it seemed. I was expected to marry someone, have kids, be a housewife. I didn’t want that, especially since I’d already come to my own conclusions regarding what I wanted in a partner.” She gave John an amused look.
    John didn’t know what to say, and also didn’t really know what she meant. He said as much.
    “No, I suppose not. Well, if you look hard enough you can see a pattern.”

    She left it at that, and John let it go. He had an idea what she meant but it didn’t interest him as much as other things.
    “I grew up in the aftermath of the ‘Great War’, a conflict that cost the lives of ten million and led to revolutions and strife across all of Europe. I was only six when it ended, but the after effects stayed with the world for a long time afterwards. A unified Germany had arisen, and from their defeat in this Great War an even more dangerous threat appeared. I finished university in 1936, and I knew that war was imminent at some stage. Thinking about this, and other things, I went to bed on the night of the 14th of October 1936. When I awoke, literally everything had changed.”
    “I woke up, and can you imagine my surprise when I found that I was no longer in my own house? I looked for my parents, but they were nowhere. I was in a disused building, and when I exited onto the street the thing that stuck me was that everything was in French as well as English. I’d learnt French at school, so I could read most of this, though it was different in many ways to the one even you know. I looked quite the strange sight, wearing a light dress walking down the street dazed and confused. I didn’t know what had happened at first, and it was only after a few questions that I realised that something strange had happened. I found a bookstore and looked in it, and found the history section filled with stories of the Lady Protector, the French Kings and Directors and so on. I admit I had a breakdown from the shock, waking up in a prison.”
    “They talked to me, trying to understand me, though they probably thought I was delusional. After all, there had not been an independent Britain for two centuries. I figured that they were going to ship me off to an asylum, but before they did they received a message that She was coming. I had no idea who She was, but it terrified them. I was expecting…well I don’t know what I expected. A pretty woman, older than me, entered my cell. She looked tough, cunning, strong. If I had known about women soldiers I’d have said she was definitely one. I was of course right.”
    “We stared at each other for a long moment. I knew something was expected of me, so I said ‘Hi’. Not very original. ‘Do you know who I am?’ she asked in reply, and I confessed I didn’t. She asked me who the last Tudor monarch of England was, and I answered Queen Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII. Something astonishing happened. She suddenly dropped her icy posture and embraced me, kissed me even!” Angelique coughed slightly, hurrying the story on.
    “She revealed to me that she was Lady Protector Talena Mazari, the power behind the Imperial French Directorate, and that she originally had come from my timeline as well. She had been visiting London, heard about the ‘mad woman’ and come to see it herself. She said she had been on the lookout for people from her timeline.”
    “Of course, I learned that she was from far in the future even to me, but had been pushed back in time to 1399 and lived through until that point. She told me that she was immortal, and that she was over five hundred years old. I didn’t believe her until she did my usual trick of showing the quick regeneration of injuries off.”
    “The Lady, as she was known, was widely feared. Her French Empire, headed officially by a Director, but with her really in charge, covered all of South and North America, almost all of Europe, North Africa, the Ukraine, Coastal China and parts of Japan. It was a massive state covering sixty percent of the world’s landmass. By this stage though it was no longer ‘French’, but a vast Empire covering more than Rome ever had. How, you wonder? Because she gave them weapons and ideas far in advance of their enemies, and their armies rolled over the world like a tide. Rulers, generals opposed her, but she defeated them, replaced them. Eventually she became the undisputed power, known to all, an immortal goddess ruling over them.”





    Her Ladyship sighed. “I tried to avoid that. Everything I have done is to avoid becoming a tyrant like her, dominating the world. But, at the same time, I couldn’t let things just happen. I chose the middle path between anarchy and domination. There are times when I was tempted…tempted so badly to follow her. There was so much I could have told the Kings and Queens that would have made the conquest of Europe possible. Always I managed to stop myself. In the end, John, I did all this to save people, and I have. I’ve averted the terrible wars from my future and hers. Peace and prosperity reigns.”
    “But might you not be causing the very danger you’re trying to prevent? Britain is the most powerful nation in the world, and if we felt like it we could try and conquer Europe.”
    “It requires a lot of balance, but I can handle it.”
    John looked across at this woman, ancient and yet somehow fragile. She seemed so determined to believe what she was saying. Perhaps she couldn’t countenance the fact that four centuries of work might all be for nought.
    “Lady, that explains what happened to you, but how did you come here? Obviously those events never happened here.”
    “No, they didn’t. I shall tell you.”

    Lady Mendenhall continued. “We became close…we were each other’s only links to a lost time and place. We became…very close.” She coughed again.
    “Anyway, she kept me with her, but I saw only progress, wealth, the good things. But one day I heard some servants talking about a ‘special room’, and the curiosity burned me. I simply had to find out, just like you did, I suppose. So I went to this special room and found that she was keeping a special prisoner there named Lucille, a time traveller like her. She persuaded me to release her, and she showed me the darker side of the Grand Empire. Like you I was conflicted, I didn’t know what to say. I confronted her and she saw nothing she had done was wrong. Lucille and Talena faced each other in battle, two immortals fighting, trying to gain me over to their side. Eventually Talena killed Lucille and confronted me.”
    “The crisis came, and I couldn’t allow Talena to continue, no matter my feelings for her. Using a gun she had brought with her from the future…I killed her. The first person I killed was the most important to me. That is what motivates me, to not make the mistake I did.”
    “Little did I know though that she had recreated her machine, and as the building went up in flames I was all alone, and had no escape…so I used it. I woke up here in London.”

    As her Ladyship put her head in her hands John leaned forward. “Tamara…it’s not too late. Why not let it all go? You have all you want, why not relax the power you have? Is it really that necessary?”
    “But if I do John then who knows what might happen!” she said, almost pleading.
    “But that’s just it, you are not her…yet. But in fifty or a hundred years who knows? You asked for me to me your conscience, and I am saying you need to give his up…or it will destroy you.”
    “It’s so hard, John. It’s all I’ve been doing for so long. Can I just leave it all behind?”
    “How about you let it go for a month, then a year, then ten, then for good. Stop answering the messages, stop the intriguing. Say that your daughter is taking over like you usually do and just…well…retire.”
    “I am…not sure if this is the best course. Without me…”
    “Without you things might be better or worse, Lady…but people need to make their own mistakes. The Grey Eminence cannot rule forever.”
    “I suppose you’re right. I have more than enough to live on. I did try….”
    John stood and went to her, gently taking her hand. She looked up at him, tears on her cheek. “Thank you, Lady. You are more than welcome to visit me…I still have to take up your offer of tuition.”
    “You are welcome, John, I would like that. Perhaps this is for the best.”
    As John walked away his last sight of her before he headed downstairs was Tamara Grey, Angelique, the Grey Eminence sitting by herself, looking down at the table. With a heavy heart John left her, returning outside.

    It was a cold winter’s morning in London, capital of the British Empire.
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  16. #616
    Colonel Memento Mori's Avatar
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    Very nice, but how the hell did she go to the first alternative timeline in the first place? I guess we'll never know

    And one does not quit power like he quits smoking It is possible to have a break from it for a while, but if things start going bad for England...

  17. #617
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    all very intriguing and it pulls your various narratives together.

    I'm going to miss this wonderful piece of work when you finish it
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  18. #618
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    I think I like Talena better as a country-hopping adventurer. I wonder also whether Lady Mendenhall can keep away from power, it's adicting. Even for the strongest minded individuals.

    Im looking forward to the final chapter, with sadness though.
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    I'm still wondering how an OTL woman gains virtual immortality and invulnerability, when she clearly wasn't born with them. Maybe some sort of ultra-tech?
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  20. #620
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arakhor View Post
    I'm still wondering how an OTL woman gains virtual immortality and invulnerability, when she clearly wasn't born with them. Maybe some sort of ultra-tech?
    Ehm... a higher sort of ulra-tech then the ability to travel through time?

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