[ - Author's Note - ]

It is June 13th, 2022. That means this fan fic is now one year old!

They grow up so fast... Over half a million words! Sniffle...

Joking aside, let's get on with it shall we. First stop is Blackwell for a short stop, then onto Pulca where we'll have our next little adventure. Strap in, and let's see how it goes!

[ - Act II – Chapter XIV: Left Bare and Unmasked - ]

Bordering the Long Drip River with the Great Atlas within easy reach and Camafran across the water the Barony of Blackwell is a generally wealthy and prosperous state, although less so then Cauldona and Ironside. Initially ruled as a Slave State by House Pheron they would be challenged by one of the Barony's Minor Houses, House Brissania.

In 267AF Henry Pheron deciding he had enough of this laid out a challenge to the leader of the opposing house; declaring a duel to the death with House Brissania being disbanded if he won and it's members enslaved. Opposing him was Bret Brissania who would assume leadership of the Barony if he won. The challenge was accepted as they fought in a one on one battle that, reportedly, lasted half an hour. In the end Henry Pheron, unwilling to surrender, was slain and his house exiled from Blackwell as House Brissania took it's place.

Now one of the most abolitionist states in Eostia it's always been willing to speak against all Slave States and their abuse of their chained peoples. Beyond that it's a firm opponent of the Empire of Dominious. While it's fleet isn't a match for Cauldona or Ironside they are still willing to throw them into the fray to defend the rivers of Eostia.

Beyond that Blackwell is a hub for trade and a breadbasket for Foeh; it boasts the most farms in the Kingdom and employs light cavalry to ensure bandits and raiders aren't allowed to pillage the villages of the Barony. Well patrolled roads makes trade safer and easier as well.

House Brissania and Blackwell has done it's best to show what Eostia can be and, arguably, should be.

~Dominic James Pencraft, The Eostia Historia

[-]

After recovering from a sex... hyper-marathon I managed to get back to the Castle for some rest. As it turns out in Eostia it's bad luck to leave a captured ship without a new name; the captured ship would undergo a rebirth with it's new owners and as such she needed a new name. I was asked for my own suggestion before I walked/limped away and finally suggested something; The Defiant. After a bit of discussion they took it and ran with it, renaming the Zelda III as the Defiant Wench.

Fitting.

They wouldn't be back to work for awhile though; the much larger ship demanded a larger crew, as such Brava wanted at least another sixty to eighty women to man the ship. After bidding them farewell along with Maya and Brend we rode west then turned south for Blackwell. If I recalled correctly House Brissania and House Noxdecus were on quite friendly terms and had a trade agreement. As I understood it on the way back from Roxford my father stopped into Blackwell for a time. The current ruler, Baroness Lexine Brissania, is a widow and assumed the duties from her husband some twelve years ago. And of course I was decently close to her daughter, Sondra, although not overly so.

Sentry Hill City was the Barony's capital but it wasn't a port. In fact it was smaller then Blackwell's largest port city, Port Cricket, in size. What it did have, however, was rather impressive defenses built during the reign of the Unitum Imperium. They wanted a major fort close to the Long Drip River and found a surprisingly good spot; a large hill with a mostly flat top large enough to house a city upon. Near the base of the hill but placed some twenty feet up the beginning of the incline was the outer most wall; fifty feet high and with a decent amount of towers for guards and siege equipment. Forty feet back and further up the incline from that was a sixty foot wall, it's towers spaced to not be blocked by first wall's towers. Further up from that was a seventy foot tall wall separated by some forty feet from the middle one with towers, once more, spaced to not be blocked by the towers before it. It was sometimes called 'The Fortress City' because of it and while the Barony didn't have the manpower to always keep the walls fully manned it had proved to be a major strong point in Eostia's west when Eostia was on less friendly terms with Camafran.

That said there were some issues. Water didn't go uphill so they relied on wells and spell stones with magic to draw water to them to keep hydrated. Also going uphill made it somewhat a pain in the ass for people and horses to reach the city proper. As we approached we could see the emblem for the local house caved and painted above the gate. The shield itself was kite shaped with a shallower upper point and longer lower one with a black outline and a line between the horizontal points. The upper half had red on the shield with a Celtic cross that was dark green in color with yellow trim and a lime green pattern set to each limb of the cross. The bottom half, meanwhile, was blue with a gold, British styled lion on it with a yellow crown hovering over it's head. Set behind the shield was two, crossed swords with brass guards and pommels with yellow designs in them (The pommels even having another, triangle shaped Celtic design) and blue handles.

We would be waved into the city late into the afternoon. The ruling family lacked a castle or keep of any sort, rather they had a large manor in the center of the city. We rode in that direction, of course, as we were hoping to stay the night. As mentioned the place was once a fort but much of the Unitum Imperium's buildings had been removed; only manors, some government buildings and public buildings like bathhouses remained from those days. The bulk were medieval standard; wooden and stone buildings, some with a second story with a larger footprint the the lower floor. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Blackwell Manor, meanwhile, boasted an outer wall that was fifteen feet up. It was think it was wide enough to walk along the tops and was made of white, pillars spaced out slightly like looking through a fence but close enough to keep people from slipping through them. I wouldn't be surprised if spells further kept people out. The manor inside the walls was two stories tall with pillars in the front holding up a long balcony on the second story and more pillars held up a softly peaked roof, all white with blue patterns painted into the edges. In front of the manor was a fountain with a statue of two men holding a seated woman on their shoulders who held a pot angled slightly forwards from which the water spilled from.

We stepped out of the carriages, taking a moment to stretch only to have the manor doors open and had a woman walk out, flanking by a younger woman and two guards. "Ah, James! I heard you'd likely be stopping by!" The woman let off and before I could say or do anything I was grabbed and pulled into a firm hug with an 'oof' from me.

"Nice to see you to, Lexine." I replied before hugging her back. Soon she stepped back and smiled at me. She stood six foot two (Very tall for a woman) and bore thigh length purple hair with some framing her face and a braid going behind her head like a crown. Her armor was white with gold trim and a black, leather gambeson guarding the joints with space for her C-Cup breasts. A red spell stone was set in the center of the chest and was enchanted. An ankle length skirt was about the legs with an opening in the front. The armored boots ran up to the upper thigh and gauntlets bore thicker plates at the elbows and back of the wrists. A large, kite style shield was on her back; white, gold trim with it's own red spell stone near the top. At one hip was a white colored helm with gold trim and wings that was set tight to the metal and at the other was a large, flanged mace; white with a small, gold colored spike.

(-)

Name: Lexine Brissania
Title: Holy Baroness of Blackwell
Class: Crusader
Level: 40
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 63
Status: Healthy, Pleased, Calm

Romance Rating: 99
Corruption Rating: 1

Known Traits
[Steelclad] You wear any metal armor like you were born in it. +15% bonus to all Resistances for Chain Mail, Scale Mail, Splint Mail and Plate Mail. Additionally you can wear any type of metal armor

[Drop the Hammer] You are adept at hammers and maces. +2 Damage to all one handed hammers or maces. +4 Damage to all two handed hammers or maces
[Light of the Defender] All defensive and curative Holy based spells have their mana costs halved. In addition casting time for these spells is decreased by 10%
[?]

The widowed Baroness of Blackwell she was from a family of knights before meeting her husband and marrying into House Brissania giving her husband a daughter. Twelve years ago she lost her husband to an illness and has done her best since to raise their daughter and rule his Barony as best as she could in the ways he would have wanted.

(-)

"Merlin told me all about your little project." Lexine said, smiling softly as she waved a finger to me. "Yoooooou're gonna make waves soon, aren't you?" She said with a soft wink.

"I guess so." I said, looking to the younger woman behind her. She was shorter then her mother; five four. Soft blue eyes looked over to me as she waved slightly, dark purple hair on her head in a short, pixie cut. She wore tight, purple leggings that were a shade off from black tucked into off-tan boots. Her top was a light, leather gambeson colored fuchsia with a thicker, brown leather plate over her chest and B-Cup breasts. White sleeves stuck out from her gambeson over her arms leading to wide, leather cuffs and dark gray, fingerless gloves. Around her waist was a thick, leather belt with a broadsword hanging off the left hip. Around her shoulders sat a green cloak, one her father used to wear as I understand, that hung to knee length. She had a very pretty face but there was no hints of makeup or the like; she was a natural beauty.

"Miria, good to see you too! Brought Riri and Aeris along, and an Eastern girl! Oh, and Miria's maid, Akara I believe?" Lexine let off as the younger woman looked over to me.

"You seem well, James." She said softly and calmly.

"As do you, Sondra." I replied, extending a hand which she took to shake before she moved to hug Miria.

(-)

Name: Sondra Brissania
Title: Heir of Blackwell
Class: Paladin
Level: 13
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 66
Status: Healthy, Calm, Relaxed

Romance Rating: 99
Corruption Rating: 7

Known Traits
[?]
[Muscle Wizard] When training your magic you also train your body. For every 5 points of Mag (Rounded Up) add 1 to your Str
[Badass Bookworm] Your learning has given you insight on how to handle and fight those who use magic. +5% Resistance to Magical Attacks
[?]

Daughter of Lexine Brissania, Baroness of Blackwell she's being raised to take over the state someday by her mother. To gain needed combat experience she has joined the Sentry Hill Adventurer's Guild taking odd jobs and doing her best to defend other. The one worry her mother has with her is she seems uninterested in the opposite sex.

(-)

"Come, come... Let us go an relax until a meal is ready." Lexine said with a smile, moving to take Alicia by the shoulders with one arm then moved to me, taking my shoulders with the others, leading us inside. "It's been too long since I've seen these young ones and I think it's time to catch up!" She let off, Miria chuckling as she walking besides Miria inside as the rest followed.

[-]

Dinner was simple; a mix of chicken, fish, mashed potatoes, carrots and more. Before and during the bulk of the conversation was on the voxlux and the boosters (With Lexine offering to buy four boosters; one for Sentry Hill, one for Port Cricket, one for a major trading town and one for the ETS-BW River Lion. I hadn't thought of it, but placing the boosters on ships would expand the range of the overall network (Provided the ships were close enough to each other), even if only while close to the coast. I knew Celestine planned to have one placed in the Eostian embassy in Zenith which was as far north as we could reach and would help with communications to approaching ships and if needed warships heading to Dominious' north east coast. On the other hand Lexine talked about ships along the Long Drip, local issues and Camafran trade. The more interesting topic was that the Pulca elections were coming up.

The County of Pulca was directly south of Blackwell and the next location of the booster I'd be installing and last one I'd install in Foeh. It was not led by any single house (Although it's leader was considered the head of House Elect) rather the Count of Pulca was elected by the populous. Yes, Pulca was a democracy that was situated inside of a monarchy. That's Eostia for you. It's kinda funny regarding that old saying 'In a democracy your vote counts, in a monarchy your count votes'. Well in Pulca your vote counts... To let your count vote.

Kinda funny, really.

The Pulcan elections worked like you'd expect; all men and women of legal age (Sixteen and up) with property could vote; more specifically everyone who at least owned a house and payed taxes could vote for anyone running. To run you had to be at least eighteen, pay at least one platinum to put your name on the ballot list (To prove you were good with money; although you only needed to pay once. If you lost one election you didn't need to pay into the next one; just had to ask) have lived in Pulca for five years or longer, be able to read and write to a reasonable level and have one running mate who fulfilled all the above criteria (Although they didn't need to pony up the cash).

It would be an experience if we arrived in time for it, that was for sure. She of course offered ice cream as dessert asking if I liked the recipe her head chef had made. It was a sort of an offshoot of Neapolitan although with strawberry, chocolate and lemon as opposed to the first two with vanilla. It was after dessert that Lexine decided to drop a bomb of a question. "So James, mind if I ask you a question?"

"Hmm? Sure, go ahead." I asked as I looked to her... And noted that Sondra was squirming in her seat and starting to blush as Lexine asked that. I wonder what she planned to ask me?

"Would you mind being the first to bed my daughter?" I wasn't drinking anything, so I was unable to pull a spit take, however Alicia had been sipping cooling tea and provided it for me. I would have appreciated it more if she didn't do it all over Miria's face who yelped in shock then let off a soft hiss at her friend as she dripped with saliva tinted tea.

"I beg your pardon?" I asked as Alicia blushed and withered under my sister's glare while offering her a napkin as I tried to focus on what Lexine just said. The older knight chuckled before she started to explain as Sondra looked about in a nervous, shy manner.

"To be blunt, she needs to get laid." Lexine added as I looked to Sondra who... looked to me shyly then glanced away.

"One; I'd expect her to ask me that rather then you and Two why exactly does she 'need to get laid'?" I asked sighing.

"Err, well..." Sondra let off coughing into her hand for a moment. "It's like this... ... Um... Blackwell has an... event coming up... That I need to be ready for..."

If I made a bet it was related to sex I'm sure no one would take me up on it.

"I'll explain dear, don't worry." Lexine said with a smile. "Back when House Brissania first took over the Barony from House Pheron a lot of Pheron's old allies attempted to undermine our rule by declaring the Baron did not care for the common man nor that he cared for their issues. Honeyed and poisoned words nearly caused a riot alone before his five daughters stepped in and moved to the town square and stripped nude. They bid if any doubted House Brissania's dedication then to come forth; their bodies would provide proof of service." Even though I wasn't that surprised I was still taken off guard by the fact it involved a public gangbang. "Since then Brissania women have repeated this tradition once a year; often with our female knights and minor nobles assisting in the endeavor. However Sondra is of age to join us and... Well, she is a virgin... And the event is in a few weeks..."

"So... You need someone to... break her in?" I summed up with a sigh.

"Someone she can trust." Lexine said as she nodded in reply. "Ah, and you have to... teach her thoroughly. Using all her holes for starters." She added as Sondra squirmed even more.

"Ha... I'm kinda scared, if I'm honest..." Sondra admitted, hanging her head.

"...You have quite the odd tradition." I summed up... Then I worried that Mungale had one that slipped my mind somehow...

...

I hope not.

(There was one, kind of. There used to be a wrestling contest with women only who grappled and would grope and molest each other as part of the combat. It's since been discontinued for a normal, clothed contest although two combatants could request or challenge for a naked contest. I think, however, most people forgot about it by now.)

"I suppose it is... So... Please fuck the virginity and brains out of my daughter please?" Lexine let off as I felt my eye twitch as she smiled to me, clasping her hands before her chest.

"WHAT KIND OF WEIRD AND BIZZARE RITUAL IS THIS!?" Alicia let off, slapping her hands to the table as she stood. "It's ridiculous!"

"I mean it is..." I mentioned as I sighed. "But at the same time it makes sense... It's very extreme but it makes sense."

"How does it make sense!?" Alicia barked as she looked at me as I sighed (Yet again) as I looked to her.

"Think about it." I began. "Imagine you are a peasant or commoner. You're told by one side that the new rulers don't care about you and are just power hungry thugs and the nobility in question denies it. Then one day all of his daughters offer themselves up to every man wanting to partake of the pleasures of their flesh. Everyone from the richest merchants to the poorest beggars gets a turn. Even if you don't partake you watch and see what's going on. If you saw that... Would you still doubt them?"

She let off a 'tsk' but said nothing else. She knew I was right; extreme as this ritual was it left no doubt as to the ruling family's dedication as they were either being used like a town bicycle or knew their sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces and wives were being used as such. It had to uncomfortable and degrading on multiple levels.

Would you doubt them after seeing it?

Alicia sank back to her seat as Makoto spoke up. "My own land has had such tales of women and even men offering themselves to the people as proof of dedication, redemption and an acceptance of punishment. Although not to the point of being done year after year..."

"This means of proof does seem rather... crass." Aeris added with a sigh. "Although I admit, any elf of the Kingdoms doing such a thing would prove their dedication... For better or worse..."

I hummed a bit. Most High Elves lived in the United Elven Kingdoms in the forests to the south west; comprised of seven kingdoms it was not unlike Eostia with elves and was known for their very conservative, isolationist and even xenophobic views. They were well known to be prudes and looked down on any High Elf relationship where the other side wasn't a High Elf. Hell, they barely tolerated High Elves marrying other kinds of elves. Yeah. Most elves outside of the Kingdoms were in small communities within human lands or a part of human ones directly. Based on what I knew the United Elven Kingdoms were the greatest power thousands of years ago but their power has since waned. They're still a major power to be sure but more of an equal to Eostia and Dominious now then a higher power. This seemed to be a combination of human growth and elven stagnation; in fact many elves left the Kingdoms to try and bring about a change.

But that's neither here nor there now, is it?

"Anyway; there are few men I trust to lay claim to her first time." Lexine said, raising a hand to settle everyone down. "And when I talked it over with Sondra you were on the top of the list. Knowing you'd be passing by it was deemed to be the ideal time to ask."

"I-if that's not much of a problem, of course..." Sondra added as she squirmed in her seat. "I know this is sudden and a bit of a surprise but I would like you to be my first."

I sighed and rolled my eyes for a moment. "Yeah, sure."

"I mean I'm a virgin so it won't be that good I'm sure..."

"Sure."

"I-I mean, I doubt you'll like it very much-"

"He already agreed dear." Lexine said for me as Sondra blinking and blushed deeper.

"O-o-oh..."

This is gonna be a day...

At least it was just one woman this time.

[-]

After dinner I took the time to bathe then move to the quarters I was offered to sit and read as I waited, having stripped down to just pants and a shirt. Sondra was going to appear soon, I was sure. Once more this world was happy to throw women at me, for better or for worse.

At least it's just one this time and not in the double digits.

Finally a knock sounded on the door as I turned to look. "Come in." I called out as I stood up slowly. The door opened and as I expected Sondra walked in, shutting the door. What I hadn't expected was she had changed into something; It was a short, form fitting dress; not unlike a sundress with a shortened skirt. It was lilac in color with a slightly darker trim and floral patterns along the cloth. Black stockings under white, slightly heeled shoes were all that remained as she walked closer to me and moved to hug me around the torso, my own arms settling over her hips.

"Thanks for this..." She said as my hand moved to stroke her back. "I was... Never sure who I could ask until I heard you'd likely be coming through."

"I admit, I'm still surprised; mostly at the reasons." I told her, kissing her forehead softly. "As long as you have no regrets then I'm fine with being your first."

"I don't think I will but..." She said as she stepped back, pulling her dress up and over her body; as I had guessed she was nude as she tossed it aside, blushing as her arms moved to cover her chest. "D-don't be too gentle... Just a little..." I chuckled and nodded, stepping into her and giving her a soft kiss to the lips as I cupped her modest breast gently, rubbing my thumb over her nipple as she mewled lightly into me. Soon I gave the lump of sensitive flesh a firm but gentle squeeze, making her shiver as I felt her hands moved to undo my pants, opening them and pushing them down my legs. Soon my underwear followed as she gripped my cock, stroking it as she gave off a soft 'eep' and looked down to it.

"Relax. No need to rush." I told her chuckling as I moved my legs to step out of my clothing so I wouldn't get tripped up. I moved my hand down to her sex next, brushing two fingers over her lower lips as she mewled gently as she leaned into me, nodding softly. She then leaned her head up and kissed me next as I groaned softly into her mouth my other hand stroking her back before cupping her pert ass softly. Her hand stroked me further as I slipped my fingers away and looked down to them; they were coated in her sexual juices. I had to think that she was more excited them she had let on.

"R-right... But still, I've wanted to try this for awhile now..." She said, gently pulling away from my grip as she knelt down, her other hand moving to my cock, stroking it gently as she looked right at it. She gulped softly before kissing the tip softly, as if testing the waters. Then she kissed it a second time before extending her tongue to lick at the tip as I moved a hand down to stroke her hair. Finally she pressed her lips to the tip, bobbing into the tip for a moment before slipping her mouth over my penis, bobbing herself down. I groaned softly as her tongue moved to press to my underside; clearly she was told a bit of what to do as this was a bit more then a normal virgin would do. That's not to say her virginity wasn't on display; she didn't bob her lips down far and sucked softly and tentatively at first, testing the waters so to speak.

Still as she was left to work she would indeed suck harder and bob her head deeper, moaning around me as my hand moved to stroke her cheek. "Don't worry about taking it all. You can use your hands at the same time." I told her as she gave a harder moan in reply, her hands moving to stroke me near the base of my cock as I groaned out gently. My hips moved softly on their own as one of her hands dropped down to cup my ball sack gently, feeling it up and gently squeezing them in her palm as I sucked in a deep breath, shivering a bit over her.

I set my hand to the top of her head as I started to rock and thrust my hips into her mouth, face fucking her gently. I normally would let her do as she wanted and test the waters to see what she liked but given the... celebration she was about to be a part of, well, she had to get used to having her mouth used; even if softly. In response she sucked harder on my cock, moaning deeper around me as I gave a long, pleased hiss over her with the sound only prodding her to suck harder on me.

"That's it, keep going." I told her, moaning out deeper as I suck in a deep breath, groaning as she rubbed her tongue up into me firmer. It was clear she was learning quickly based off of whatever tips she had been given before (Likely from her mother) as I hissed gently. I was more then happy with letting her blow me to a climax; I imagine she would be... Drinking a lot more soon.

This world and it's sexual charge...

It didn't take too much more work for her as I finally came and came well, pushing a thick load of semen into her mouth with no real warning beyond my change in groans. Despite this and some, brief surprise she took it well and sucked hard as she swallowed. Once my cock stopped pushing out cream she slipped her lips off and sighed, smiling up at me. "It... doesn't taste bad, really. Tad bitter, but still..." She said as I chuckled holding a hand out. She took it and I helped her to her feet before leading her to the bed, letting her climb onto it first. She moved to lay on her back, legs spread as I moved between her legs. I was well practiced in this now as I positioned my cock to her moist hole, rubbing up and down her slit to work her up slightly and, hopefully, coax her into relaxing.

She sighed and covered her lips with both hands as her eyes looked down to my cock, blushing gently as I finally pressed my head to her entrance and wedged it in causing her to shiver under me. I pressed in deeper and deeper as she hissed, shuddering under me. As I bottomed out I noted no hymen; likely torn in her training. I set my hands on her knees and pushed them towards her chest as I started to rock myself into her as she moaned out under me as she leaned back. I started slow at first but I was picking up speed as I found my range of motion more and more.

Soon I was slamming my hips down into hers as she mewled out louder and louder, shivering more under me. She started to pant as her modest bust rocked on her chest. "Ooooh gods, feels soooo different from my fingers! Or toys! Or bananas!"

I... think this qualified as too much information.

Her sex gripped down harder as I leaned over her, picking up my pace. I shuddered a bit as she squeezed harder for a moment, groaning out at the same time as me as she looked down to her pussy, surprised. Then she squeezed down as I groaned out once more. Her eyes widened and it was like a light bulb lit over her head as she learned a new trick. She would squeeze down increasing the delight for both of us and soon found her rhythm; squeezing down as I pushed in, relaxing as I pulled out.

She panted under me as I rammed into her, groaning myself as I rocked my hips harder and harder into her before leaning over her as I set my hands on her shoulders as I looked into her eyes. Finally she cried out as she came and shuddered hard onto my dick as I held out for a bit longer before slamming myself home and climaxing myself as I pushed my seed up into her sex and womb.

I wasn't quite done and we both knew it, given the needs for her festival appearance. I slipped out of her and gently started to roll her over even as she was recovering. Normally I'd let her have a moment to recover, but no one would when the festival came so I pressed myself to her anus once she was on all fours and started to push in as she gasped out, hissing a bit between pants as I pressed myself down into her.

Even so I pressed in gently if firmly as she gasped and groaned under me, shuddering a bit as I got half way into her before I started to thrust into her. I'd have to drive all the way in before the end, but for now I could take it easy on her. I rocked into her, hands on her pert rump as I worked her backdoor. Despite this being her first time (Both in general and for anal) she was starting to moan as she pressed back into me, rocking her hips back and forth.

My hands moved from her rump to her hips, using the better grip to pull her into me as I moaned over her, shuddered and rammed in deeper as her ass gripped me. Soon I could feel her squeezing down each time I pushed in, reapplying the trick she had learned not too long ago. I groaned from her efforts as I leaned over a bit, pressing myself deeper and deeper into her as I worked her hole with my cock. Soon my manhood was pressing in fully to her, my pelvis pressing to her ass as I kept going. I gave her ass a rump a brief smack as she moaned once more.

Eventually, of course, all things must come to an end. I picked up my pace, ramming into her as she panted harder and harder, squeezing down on me with her ass before I finally felt her shudder hard on my dick, cumming under me as I kept going for a few moments more before I came, pushing another load of cum into her as I hugged her from behind and rolling us onto our sides, cuddling into her as we panted. "Th-that's sex?" She let off as she panted, making me chuckle a bit.

"Yeah... That's sex..."

"Amazing..."

[Fucked List]

Sondra Brissania=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375
+20% Dark Horse of Eostia Bonus
Gain 450xp Total

[-]

Breakfast the next day was... Interesting. Alicia was huffing a bit; likely due to being... Well Alicia and knowing something sexual was going on with her friend (Me, in this case) I imagined she was being in a prudish mood. At least she wasn't looking at me very long without a soft blush and a huff coming from her. Sondra, by contrast, was in full blush mode and looking to me... The butler... One of the guards... Albert...

It's like she just discovered boys for the first time. I'm... sure she'd be fine. ... Mostly. Either way once breakfast was done and farewells spoken we were on our way.

[-]

Later that night...
Halls of Castle Blackwell

"Another quiet night, huh?" One man let off, walking down the hall. Wearing a suit of leather gambeson with scale mail plates over the chest, thighs, shoulders and biceps and large plates over the shins and forearms. His helm covered his head fully, leaving only his face with a well trimmed, blonde beard showing. He had spent ten years working for House Brissania as a guard for Blackwell Manor.

"Seems to be." His counterpart, slightly younger, slightly taller and clean shaven said in matching armor walked with him. By contrast he's only been working as a guard here for six months. "Better a boring night then one with excitement, given our jobs, huh?" He said, the first guard nodding wisely. They turned down a new hall in their patrol and both paused at what they saw.

"Oh, hello boys..." Before them, in the moonlight, was Sondra Brissania, the Heir of Blackwell, smiling and blushing to them, hands folded in her lap... And utterly, completely nude. "Ah, I was still, umm, getting ready for the festival and I think I need more practice..." She said, biting her lip, stepping backwards towards a room on the side. "Care to... help me?"

"...I can get behind this kind of excitement." The first guard said as the pair moved to follow her...

[-]

Every kingdom of Eostia has one that's a bit odd compared to the rest. Ur has the County of Classa while Geofu has the Barony of Hakla and it's rulers in House Adelle and of course the County of Xenera in Rad. For Feoh the odd one is the County of Pulca, a county led by no house as it's leader is selected by democratic vote as opposed to family lineage. Well, technically the leader is given the title of Head of House Elect, but said appointment is by vote not birth.

Pulca is known for it's well organized, and capable militias which use the Militia Club as a main weapon; to the point it's on Pulca's emblem. They often work with the local regular forces, in particular with the events of 331 AF. The Council of Lords had decided that then Elected Count Derrick Smither was unfit as a ruler and sought to remove him. They forced the High King via vote in the council to remove him from his station and would appoint House Tonial to power in Pulca, placing it's head in Pulca Manor. The people of Pulca promptly ignored them, set Smither up in the town hall and carried on as normal.

Jessica Tonial was rather upset that the people of her new territory ignored her orders, told her tax collectors to piss off and more or less pretended she didn't exist. Finally she ordered her men to put Smither to the sword and 'put an end to this farce'. The result did not end well for her as the militia and local regulars rallied to their elected count over their appointed countess and moved to over power her guard, break into Pulca Manor, reinstate their elected count in place and jailed all members of House Tonial.

Upon paying a visit to Pulca the High King decided to overrule the Council of Lords and declare Derrick Smither the leader of House Elect and that he would be now Count Elect. The tradition stuck and while the Council of Lords grumbled they didn't do anything more about it. Since then they settled into their own, unique ways and proudly follows their Count Elect.

~Dominic James Pencraft, The Eostia Historia

[-]

It was about two days to arrive in Pulca; the roads were clear and smooth and the bulk of the trip was over flatland. There was a nice creek and a lot of grass along the roadside so the horses were given time to graze and drink as we went along our way. We would arrive in Greenback City in the late morning, named for the Greenback Viper which Pulca adopted as it's mascot animal. The city walls were a bit... different then the usual and the style was called a Snail Wall. It was called that because the walls were built in a spiral with a gate at the entrance leading you through a wall that wrapped around the city twice. This extended travel time a fair bit (Which is why few cities and castles used such a system) and was only really used on the Snail Forts along the Eostia/Garan border. That said the main benefit of this set up was you could extend the outer most wall as you could afford to do so. Greenback City was only two walls deep, but that was plenty of defense given that Eostia's only neighbor in the region, Camafran, was on friendly terms with us currently. Above the gate was the local banner as usual.

The thing reminded me of a house key in my old world in terms of shape. A wide top that pulled in half way two thirds of the way down before going straight down before finally moving to a point. The outline was a thick black but the background was cut into two colors; the upper section before it fully squeezed in was gold and the rest was dark purple. The top had a snake in green with red eyes and a purple outline; a depiction of the Greenback Viper. At the bottom was a trio of militia clubs; brown shafts with a dark gray spike sticking out of the top, gray wrapped about the top with two nails or bolts in with a light gray outline in each. The middle club was lowered slightly when compared to the others and between the clubs and the viper, on the purple section of the banner was a Latin phrase in red, gold trimmed Gothic font: Noli Me Calcare.

Roughly translated: Don't Tread on Me.

What was interesting was inside of the walls before reaching the city proper as we rode around was a series of buildings and stalls. The space between the walls was quite wide; maybe a hundred odd feet and on the inside of the walls was a series of stores, a couple of houses and the odd guard post. It was a bit odd. Most of the buildings were wooden and built to lean into the walls with tar at the walls to keep water from leaking in. The buildings were well painted with vibrant colors, standing out against the white washed walls; although specks of white could be seen on the houses and color on the walls where the two joined.

Regardless, Pulca Manor was located at the back of the city and we would visit it, likely, once we finished the installation of the booster. However as we moved I noticed something else; signs posted all over, both wooden and cloth banners. Well, three signs each with a name and slogan in their own colors. One was red with a blue font with 'Dixon Darrus: Keep Pulca Great' on it. The next was a red sign with white text stating 'Sally Moonbright: For Pulca!'. The last one was orange with black writing with 'Caldwell Coeurnoir: The Right Choice!'. "Pulca must be having their election. I knew it was coming, but not now." I mused as we rode along.

"Election?" Makoto let off as she looked at me, tilting her head. Alicia was the one to supply the answer.

"Unlike most territories of Eostia Pulca's leadership is not decided by birthright but by vote." She said, looking to her side at Makoto as we rode along in the carriage. "It's a point of pride for them and it can be a bit annoying dealing with a new Count every seven years. Still, it does seem to work for them." She said as I nodded.

"There is a good argument for leadership being held to account by those he or she leads; or at least be made to know their wants and needs." I added in with a shrug. "A disconnected ruler is not going to rule well."

"I... Can't argue with that." Alicia said as I saw us ride into the city, heading towards it's center proper... Only to slow down before we got there. Looking outside I could see the streets were crowded, with a lot of people at one place. Blinking I moved to look out of the window clearer.

"And we have someone making a speech, it looks like." I said as I felt Alicia move over to look out the window as well. We ended up at a full stop; likely due to the crowds. Sure enough there was a small, wooden podium set up that was maybe three feet wide and letting the man standing on it be seen further then normal; it might have lifted him up four to five feet, give or take.

"-ill expand the funding for Militia equipment so our good men can have better armor then old cloths and pots!" He let off loudly to the crowd. He was a slightly portly man with a large, bushy black mustache that connected to his sideburns. I couldn't see much of his hair as it was under a black top hat with a orange band (Of all things) but what I could see was short and well cut. He wore a black, rich looking tunic and well fitted black pants with a set of orange gloves and boots on him. The other stand out thing was over his left chest on the tunic was an orange outline of a diamond with a second overlapping it just above it. "Firmer punishments for the criminal lot and harsher condemnation of those who would disrupt our good lives!"

There was a general cheer as he smiled and spoke once more. "We Larentian worshiping people must be ready and willing to fight the Garan threat from the north and their Dark Elf Queen and their Legion minions to the last! We must be willing and able to purge the land of their corruption and devastation!"

"Ah, I have heard of him." Albert said as he moved near the window on his steed. "Mister Caldwell Coeurnoir, as I recall. Moving to become Count Elect this term. A well respected merchant, I've heard."

"Well, he is passionate if nothing else." I mused as I used Observe on him.

(-)

Name: Caldwell Coeurnoir
Title: ?
Class: Politician
Level: 13
Alignment: Neutral
Reputation: 34
Status: Healthy, Impassioned, Confident

Known Traits
[Opportunist] You can't resist the opportunity to further your own ends. +2% to Lck

[?]

A merchant from a family of wealthy traders and the fifth daughter of a minor lord he has always wanted to bring his house to the leadership of a state in Eostia. Thus far no chances for him have appeared aside from the chance to rule Pulca for seven years; if he can be elected.

(-)

Shit... I felt a cold shiver down my spine as I saw those question marks.

Not... Good. Not good at all.

The speech wore on but tried to focus more on what he wasn't openly saying as much as what he was saying. His speech focused heavily on the militia equipment but not on the militia men themselves. Building up infrastructure (Docks, mostly), but not talking on it's use by the people beyond 'trade'. Also not much on how this would all be paid for.

As his speech ended the crowd started to disperse and we were moving once more, although not far; the guild was near the place Caldwell was speaking but the crowds kept us from getting there; I think even on foot we wouldn't have made it. Once we parked we stepped out and I saw someone I did not need to see.

"Uncle Beardsley, what are you doing here?" Alicia let off as she followed me out of the carriage. Sure enough, the old fart was at the edge of the crowd looking off at Caldwell, although he turned as he heard the princess' voice.

"Ahh, My Princess! So good to see you here!" He said smiling widely... Although his smile seemed off. Maybe because of what I knew, but still... "Caldwell is an old friend of mine and I thought it best to give him my support in his efforts here." Suddenly things made more sense. "Not that he'll need it; his opponents are a buffoon and a dark elf."

"Indeed, indeed." We heard as Caldwell came over, chuckling. "Moonbright can have her speech tomorrow all she wants; she'll find not enough ears. Or votes." He boasted chuckling. "Dixon on the other hand might be a buffoon but he's a bold and brash buffoon. He'll be a fairer challenge."

"Ahh, you give him too much credit." Beardsley let off as I raised an eyebrow. He turned to Alicia and bowed slightly before speaking. "Beg pardon, Your Highness, but I agreed to speak with him on his platform and future as Count Elect. If I may have your leave..."

"Of course Beardsley, don't trouble yourself over it." The princess said with a smile and nod; I was doing my best to keep a neutral expression as I sighed, the two men leaving.

"Come on, we've a Booster to install." Miria said, slapping my shoulder as I looked over to her and nodded. Off to work we went, moving into the Adventurer's Guild...

[-]

Several Minutes Later
Office of Caldwell Coeurnoir
Coeurnoir Manor

"That was the Noxdecus boy? I was expecting someone... taller?" Caldwell let off, snorting as he grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the shelf and two, chilled glasses, bringing them to the desk. On the opposite side sat his patron and friend, Razon Beardsley.

"Hurphf. Everyone says that." He said as Caldwell filled the two glasses. The office was large and cozy; one wall of books on dark stained shelves. On the other wall was a shelve of fine liquor, wine and even a few choice bottles of mead and ale. The rack of glasses boasted an enchantment on them that chilled the glasses to a icy temperature made of wood but with a layer of steel under the glasses in which the spell stones were set. The desk was rounded into a crescent shape; dark stained like the rest of the wood in the room. The floor was covered in a rich, green carpet and rich, wine red curtains were at the windows, pulled open to let the light in.

"Regardless, let's get to the real heart of the matter. When is your 'client' set to begin his plans in earnest?" Caldwell asked as he waited for his whiskey to cool in the chilled glass, his older friend doing the same.

"A matter of months now." He said, smirking softly. "Hard to say, but the aim is between eight and ten months. A year at most. Positioning the pieces must be done with care and cannot be rushed with ease. Minding all the moving parts is key..."

"Nor can we let it take too long..." Caldwell replied with a sigh. "The longer it takes the more chances we have to be discovered. Still, it also gives me more time to stockpile."

"Indeed, indeed..." Beardsley said, chuckling. "He'll be very thankful of the equipment once it can be gained."

"Indeed..." The politician said, nodding. "It'll be mostly gambeson and some chain mail, though. If the militia warehouses started filling with good plate it'll raise eyebrows. At least until we can get the hidden stashes properly set up."

"Of course, of course. And the weapons?"

"Militia clubs in excess, of course. This county makes so many it's going out of style!" Caldwell said with a chuckle, finally picking up his glass and sipping at it with a small smile. "Swords will be a bit limited but spears and axes will be added for sure. Once your client's campaign starts in earnest, however, we'll need to get men to transport it all to his muster points. Storing grain for food will be more difficult; even if we can hide it we will have to secure it against rodents, insects and other pests. Magical enchantments can work for that, but getting them without causing too much curiosity could be trouble if someone catch on."

"He he he, you can leave that to me." Beardsley said with a grin as he took a sip from his own glass. "I have some contacts who can do these jobs on the sly. Not cheaply but it's what you pay the extra for after all." He gave a soft grin and a chuckle as he swirled the drink in his glass softly. "I have a few stashes in Feoh, Elddale and Jetra set and prepared already. The ones in Caul and Albia are taking longer to set up, mind. Evading the locals are a bit more of a pain."

"Indeed, indeed... That said, I still have to win this damn election first... At least once our new 'Emperor' takes Eostia I'll gain Pulca as my seat of power for good." Caldwell said with a huff. Both knew that as the Count of Pulca Caldwell would have more flexibility and ability to hide the stashes then even Beardsley, at least outside of the Kingdom of Feoh itself.

"Shouldn't you be more confident?" Beardsley replied, sipping his drink once more before pointing to him with a finger from the hand that held his glass. "You're facing a buffoon and a dark elf, how hard can it be to defeat them in popular opinion?"

"Pulca isn't as close to the Garan border as other Feoh states, remember. The hatred for the drow tapers off as you get further from it, and while it's a mark against Moonbright it's not going to cut her off at the knees if this was, say, Arafe." Caldwell said huffing as he sipped his drink once more. "Her family was living here since before Garan started it's wars and while she's only third generation they've made good friends and contacts here. Ruffling up feathers based on that alone is still possible, but I can't go all in on it; I can suggest but I can't state that being a Dark Elf disqualifies her, or at least should."

Beardsley frowned and hummed in thought as Caldwell began to speak once more. "And Dixon might sound like a buffoon and idiot but he's smarter then he lets on. He went from inheriting a small, failing store from his father and turned it into an enterprise that's spread over Feoh and western Ur. He's smarter then he sounds and worse we share talking points. If I don't act soon I could lose it to Moonbright because me and Dixon are splitting votes."

"Hmmm... That is a problem, yes." Beardsley said with a snort. "Democracy... Bah. Not as stable and reliable as one family, bred and trained to lead and rule."

"To be fair..." Caldwell said with a chuckle. "Pulca manages to avoids dynasties like the... Drakens."

Both men stopped to shudder at that idea. Both had dealt with that dynasty and neither was fond of it.

"Fair point... Fair point..." Beardsley said with a snort. "Still, this annoyance is a bit much for me and my sensibilities."

"Well, let none hear you say that in this county." Caldwell said with a sigh. "Pulca takes it's elections very seriously. Regardless I have a plot in motion to help undermine that cunt and lower her standing in the eyes of the public, if all goes well. Dixon I'll have to bait into saying something stupid... Although I've seen him turn stupid things into something popular, somehow..."

"Oh? Well, if you can snip one of them then your chances will be increased for sure..." Beardsley let off smirking. "What's the idea?"

"Well..."

[-]

The last booster was place and I landed on the ground. Aeris had, once more, opted to help as did Riri. And that was the last one done for Feoh! Nice.

[(βΈœβˆ• ) Place Booster in Pulca]

[Quest Complete: Boosting Feoh]
[Gain 3000 XP]
[+1 to All Stats]

One more stat point to each stat, one more stat point towards an upgrade in those stats.

"That's all our work in Foeh done." Miria said, hands on her hips as she smiled. "It was a bit of a ride but a good one, I think. ... Fighting in Arafe aside, anyway."

"Yeah." I said with a nod. The only issue was I could see Caldwell being a problem if left unchecked. Sadly I wasn't sure what to do about that; not with my limited understanding of Pulca and it's politics (Everyone's favorite topic...) so I was hesitant to just jump in and-

"Ooohhh my fucking chances at winning is as slloooooshed as me..." Blinking I turned with everyone and saw a dark elven woman walking (Err, stumbling) out of an alley, a bottle of something in hand. She was some five nine in height with long, luscious, knee length hair with a long lock going between her eyes... And not disheveled at all as one would expect of a drunk. Dark, thigh length stocks and bicep long gloves didn't clash with her light, coffee colored skin, nor her golden eyes. Black, slightly heeled sandals were on each foot and her dress was... The usual for this place; a sleeveless shirt with a massive cut out down the middle of the chest showing off at least F-Cup levels of cleavage with some black lace on the inside of the upper section of the cut out, and a black skirt that was wrapped about her waist and fell to her ankles but was more like a loincloth given how the sides were cut away. She bore a gold, wing shaped clip over her left ear and a gold pendant with a yellow spell stone in it on a thin, gold chain.

"M-Miss Moonbright?"

"Sally!? What are you doing?"

"Is that... No, what's wrong with her?"

"I'm doomed!" The woman let off sorrowfully as I blinked then narrowed my eyes at her.

"That's Caldwell's opposition?" Alicia let off, blinking as Albert huffed.

"Hardly opposition... Drunken wench of a drow." Albert let off with a huff as I used Observe.

(-)

Name: Haley Duplis
Title: Actress of the Blades
Class: Performer
Level: 16
Alignment: Neutral
Reputation: 26
Status: Healthy, Giddy, Cocky

Romance Rating: 76
Corruption Rating: 73

Known Traits
[Dramatic Performance] Despite some overacting you can get people to believe in your performance.

[?]

[Arcane Draw] Despite a lack of magical training you know one spell, Arcane Weapon. +2 to Mnc and Mag

Raised backstage with her famous father, the actor Sir Valent Duplis she did her best to follow in his footsteps and while she's made a name for herself she's never stepped out of the shadows of her father. If anything her fame has been fading quickly.

(-)

Yup. I focused my senses and... Yup, the pendant. I walked over to her as a crowd started to gather about but kept their distance as I could hear Miria, Albert and Alicia shuffle behind me then moved to follow.

"You... You understand, yes..." The woman, Harley let off as she saw me walk over. "You understand that I'll-what are you do-" Her words were cut off as I just grabbed her pendant and yanked hard easily breaking the chain as she yelped... As the illusion of the Dark Elf woman vanished leading a blonde with shoulder length hair in her place; same height, C-Cup breasts and green eyes wearing a long sleeved leotard that was colored in quarters; red in the upper right and lower left and blue in the rest. Thigh high boots, red on the left and blue on the right was on her legs, her short gloves in the same colors on the other sides. "How!?" She let off as she looked at me in shock.

"You can fool normal eyes, but not an Enchanter's." I said simply, tossing the pendant behind me. I heard my sister yelp and there was no sound of metal-on-ground so I guess she caught it. "Also, your acting was horrible. You overplayed your part." She hissed softly and glared at me as I crossed my arms over my chest, the crowd murmuring around us, more then a few people glaring at the woman. "I think you have some explaining to do, Miss." I said firmly as she glared firmer at me.

"What is going on here!?" A new voice came as I looked across to the other side of the street as someone walked out of a building, a woven basket under one arm and it was... The dark elf woman Haley was disguised as. Huh, small world. She looked over to the crowd blinking as if wondering what was going on, looking to me as her eyes widened...

"James!" Alicia yelled out as I was yanked back by the neck of my gambeson as my head snapped to look ahead of me... Only to see a silver, glowing weapon made of mana slash downwards before my face as the pull stumbled me back. The woman had the gall to try and strike me down in broad daylight! She made a follow up thrust but I was able to react this time, raising my left hand and activating my mana shield, blocking it as sparks of mana came off as magically generated rapier met magically generated shield. She hopped back and threw something at her feet, a small spell orb...

That made a loud bang as it shattered and gave a bright, flash of light. I cast a proper Arcane Shield around us (Us being myself, Alicia, Albert and Miria) in reflex as I blinked the spots from my eyes... Only to see a smoke coating the area, people coughing as they moved away. Aeris moved in and used a wind spell to blow the smoke away revealing the woman was long gone...

The people still gathered around murmured and chattered as I huffed. "Dammit..." I let off, sighing as I turned to Alicia. "Thanks for the save." I said simply as she smiled and nodded for a moment before taking on a more serious look.

"That woman is no mere agent." Alicia said as she looked about. If she had any sense she'd be long gone, however.

"Are you people all right? Who was that?" Sally Moonbright, the real Sally Moonbright came over. At least I thought she was...

(-)

Name: Sally Moonbright
Title: Politician of Pulca
Class: Cleric
Level: 18
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 41
Status: Healthy, Confused, Worried

Romance Rating: 79
Corruption Rating: 16

Known Traits
[?]
[Calm Soul] Can remain calm, no matter the situation; Gain 2 Dex & Acc

[Magnetic Presence] You inspire trust and respect in others beyond what you would normally expect.

Her grandmother arrived in Eostia over one thousand years ago from the north, never elaborating on why it was she left. Born in Pulca she was raised well and spent time in the County of Bemul as a political advisor. Returning home with twenty five years of experience working under House Rongan she sought to apply it in Pulca, first as the mayor of Greenback City and now hoping to become Countess Elect.

(-)

Yup, the real deal this time.

"It's... A long story..." I sighed.

[-]

Sally was kind enough to lead us to a nearby cafe for food and drink to talk over; it was a good time for lunch anyway. It was a nice, white brick building with a large patio to eat on with a cyan, tiled, clay roof over it to guard against the sun and rain. There was some seating inside, but the bulk of it was outside. Our guard was allowed to eat as well and despite an initial refusal we allowed Sally to pay for us all as we gave a brief rundown about the voxlux, the now installed booster and her doppelganger. Her eyes widened before narrowing in thought.

"I see. I should let my people know to start spreading the word that someone attempted to defame me." Sally said as she sighed. Sitting at her table was myself, Alicia, Miria a grumpy Albert and Aeris. Riri, Ur'Akara and Agni sat at a nearby one with two of our guards and a driver. "This isn't the first time someone's tried to ruin my reputation, but it is the most brazen... And if things had played out differently, possibly damaging."

I nodded a bit as I sighed. "This cafe seems pretty popular..." Aeris noted idly as I shrugged.

"We are across from the Camafran embassy." I noted, nodding to a building across the street. Indeed, the Camafran flag flew over it. The flag was a bit interesting; there were two main colors that were divided between the lower left to upper right corners; blue on the upper, orange on the lower. The blue was bordered by a thick, white line and the orange by thick, gold line. In the upper left corner, inside the border, was a black circle outlined in dark gray with a lighter gray crescent moon in it. On the opposite side was a yellow sun, also inside the border with red lines and a circle in it; cut off so only a quarter of it showed. Finally along the line dividing the blue and the orange of the flags was seven stars, dark purple with a wide, lighter purple outline evenly spaced apart.

"But back to the matter at hand..." I said, looking back to Sally who nodded. "We have to assume one of your political opponents are behind this."

"Indeed." Sally said with another nod. "My opponents for the position are Dixon Darrus and Caldwell Coeurnoir."

"Any thoughts one which it is?" Alicia asked as she poked at the salad she was served earlier as Sally stirred her soup gently.

"I doubt it could be Dixon. He's brash, to be sure, but prideful." She said, looking around to us all. "He would rather lose then win in a dirty fashion. Caldwell... I am less sure about." I noted that Albert scowled a bit as he bit into his chicken as she kept speaking. "He is well regarded by most, but there are rumors that he's been... Less then honest about his businesses." I gave her a sideways nod of my head and she kept going. "They say he's been involved with smugglers and fencers. Nothing proven, of course, so beyond 'there are rumors' I can say nothing about it."

"Hmmm..." I let off as I mused. I could tell Caldwell was dirty, but why wasn't something I could explain.

"Perhaps if there is no proof you could not spread slander then." Albert said firmly with a huff as Sally looked to him with a raised eyebrow. "It would not be a... noble thing, if you understand such a thi-"

"Albert..." Alicia let off in a warning tone. "She has just said that nothing was proven."

"I assure you, I've use none of this in my speeches." Sally said, giving Albert a firm look. "I was asked on who I thought would attempt to defame me. I gave an answer. That is all." Albert huffed a bit before finishing food off quickly, glaring back at the woman. Clearly he was prejudiced, but I had other thoughts.

"There's no such rumors on this Dixon Darrus?" I asked as Sally looked back to me and shook her head.

"No, none I'm aware of." She said. "In fact when he learned one of his business managers was smuggling in forbidden goods he not only called the guard on him but apologized publicly for what happened."

"Hmmm..." I let off as I thought. If this was the case then Dixon was an upstanding guy, at least somewhat. I'd still want to use Observe on him to be sure, of course...

"Irregardless..." Albert said, as if holding back a snort. "We should be off to see the current Count and appraise him of our work." He clearly didn't want to deal with Sally any longer then he needed too...

I had my own ideas on what to do, of course, but it could wait until later.

And then there was a loud crash... Needless to say we all jumped in our seats as we turned to look and...

"My carriage!" Our driver (An unfortunately unsung hero in our travels, sadly) let off as we saw someone slumped into the wheel of our carriage; a woman in wine red gambeson armor. Another woman, wearing gauntlets, huffed and grabbed some man by the arm, leading him away. I had to sigh a bit; our wheel had about half the spokes broken. If it's not one thing in this world it's another...

...

Hmm...

I could take advantage of this...

[-]

We got the carriage to a wheelwright to repair the wheel and while there I also commissioned a spare wheel to be made. My excuse was that it would be a good idea to have a spare wheel, just in case something else went wrong on the road. Wheel sizes could vary by quite a bit and between the repairs, the new wheel and other commissions the wright had to do it would be a couple of days before it was ready.

That bought me some time in which to investigate Caldwell and what was going on. We arrived, one carriage short, to Pulca Manor and met the current Count Elect, Victor Hansa. He was an elderly man (Sixties maybe?) and was aging poorly; the main reason he wasn't running for re-election. We met, explained the voxlux and booster, provided ten voxluxs (Although he didn't take one; he directed them to his guard captain) and we got quarters for our stay before I excused myself to visit the town. Makoto and Riri would join me to play bodyguard. Makoto likely already knew I suspected Caldwell of something (She suspected Beardsley as well, I knew) and while I wasn't sure I was confident Riri had caught on this as well.

Which brought me to the offices of Dixion Darrus the other person running for office, and... Ummm...

He was Eostian Donald Trump...

No, really. Different look over all, mind. Same Trump hairstyle, but brown and a normal, Caucasian complexion as opposed to being tanned with Cheetos dust, maybe some six foot even and well built. He wore a closed, black jacket with two lines of brass buttons and a red, Jacob's collar at his neck. When he stood to greet us he had black pants and well polished black boots, a confident smile reaching squinted eyes.

(-)

Name: Dixon Darrus
Title: Pulca's Businessman
Class: Merchant
Level: 22
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 44
Status: Healthy, Confident, Self Assured

Known Traits
[?]

[Confident] You are always sure about what you'll do and can rapidly plan in event something happens. +2 to Luck

Born to a struggling merchant he was educated in a small, underfunded school. Despite this he learned well and when he inherited his father's store he both expanded it and shifted it's focus. Twenty years later he's turned a struggling store into a small and growing mercantile empire across Feoh and Ur that's now spreading into Camafran.

(-)

"I'm going to be a good Count Elect-the best Count Elect, a historical Count Elect." The man said as he sat behind his desk; stained a dark red color like the book shelve and other woods in the room. The wall was covered in a white wallpaper with golden diamond patterns on it and the floor was covered in a nice, rich looking red rug. "And then we'll be sure to deal with our foes in Dominious-" He said in a very 'China' fashion. "-and let them know we're not going to be pushed around by them and their-"

"Sir." I said firmly as I raised a my palm to him, prompting him to stop speaking, finally. "I'm not here to talk about all of that. I came to ask you about an incident involving one of your opponents."

"Incident?" He let off as I sighed and explained about Sally's doppelganger and our talk with her in the aftermath. "Mmmm, that is worrying..." He leaned back, crossing his arms and cupping his chin with one hand. "Very worrying..."

"When we asked Sally who of her two opponents would pull such a stunt she pointed to your mutual opponent." I said as he looked to me. "As well, she mentioned rumors swirling around him. I was hoping you might know more, or at least be able to explain something about these rumors; if they're false or could be true."

"I see, I see." He nodded and moved to reach under his desk and pulled up something; a rolled up sheet of fabric. As he unrolled it onto the desk he began to speak. "This area of Greenback, here." He said pointing as I leaned into look; he was circling the south-west of the city. "I know Caldwell had hired some of his bodyguards and a few strange 'advisors' from this region. It holds the Red Light district of the town as well as houses the black markets. I'm can't say for sure your smugglers and are based here, but it's a good place to search."

"I see. Anything else you can tell us." I asked as he nodded, leaning over the desk.

"I can say this, for sure; Caldwell is crooked. I can't point to anything, and it's mostly a gut feeling... But I'm sure he's up to something. Worse then we know..."

[ - Author's Note - ]

Well, investigations into Caldwell will carry on next time! I will admit this was slightly rushed as I wanted to have it done and proofread before the thirteenth. Oh well.

Also, don't mind the Donald Trump stand in; he's there more for fun then anything else.

After Caldwell is done we'll have a short stop at Sanka and then we'll be done with Feoh. I'm sure Claudia fans will be eager for us to get to Geofu by now.

Until next time then!

~~Eostian Scribe