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/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


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Lark had changed a great degree over the past months. It had been a quiet (for Sosaldt) village for decades, shielded under the protection of nearby Todesfelsen, and after a brief shootout during the rise of what would become Mittelsosalia, the village had swollen into a town, largely to service traffic heading in and out of the former city-state. A role it had played to a degree in the past, but the amount of cooperative travel had exploded since the territory had been united under one banner, the roads patrolled by a singular power, and though currency was still a mix of whatever was available with a preference to East Valsten or Vynmark’s trade-backed money, as Republican Soldiers could be found in outposts all over, force was increasingly a less valuable commodity within the borders of a new nation enforcing peace within its expanding borders.

Most of the same people who had been in the town before remained still. The martial types had never been ones to remain there rather than seeking greater opportunity- and most did not return. Save for a select few.

“Urgh.” Anya was laid up in bed, with a book. The worst part of being wounded- and she’d been told that it might take a year for her arm to get back to normal after the surgery. ”If it’s ever normal again.” Hogshit, it’d get better. She always did, like that time just before where she’d had a knife struck right into her chest…but for now, she was down an arm, and though she was good with both hands…there wasn’t much she could do with just one, that had any lasting zest to it. Complaining about it to Alina led to a stern reminder that the normal in Sosaldt for the sort of injury she’d suffered might very well have been an amputation, rather than the most advanced surgical treatment that the Archduchy could procure. Hell, at least that would mean she wouldn’t have to lie around, waiting for the nagging, burning stinging to get tiring enough to stand a hit of morphine.

Anya was afraid of that innocent looking dark glass bottle. The release was sweet- so sweet, she remembered, that her mother’s mind was destroyed by it for as long as she could remember.

“I have food for you, Anya,” Alina came in through the door. This place was a little cottage that Anya’s money had bought- though some sponsorship from the Republic had come too. Appreciation for what Blind had done, since Mittelsosalia didn’t have any shiny medals banged up to give out yet. “What’s that look for?”
>>
“Nobody ever teach y’ to knock? Anya said in a low growl.

“Knock for reading? You’re in a mood, aren’t you.”

“I could’a been doin’ somethin’ else.”

“When are you not doing that, you vain-“ Alina shook her head and shut herself up, “Anyways, if I ever learned to knock it wouldn’t be from you, would it,” she set a tin bowl on a wooden platter on the bedtable next to Anya. The room didn’t have much in it, but Alina had been doing her best to give the place life even if Anya had no intention of staying.

Anya glanced over at the bowl. “A mouse’s share of gruel again?”

“You were complaining about gaining weight,” Alina scolded, “If you don’t want to gain weight, you need to eat less. I don’t need to hear you complaining about making you fat along with everything else.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Anya picked up the wooden spoon and closed her lips around a testing pinch of soft barley, “…It’s better this time.”

A nice thing out of the mouth of Alina’s surly older sister, for once. “Thank you. I asked Old Uwen about making things taste better without butter or sugar. There’s bits of dried fruits and nuts. Not quite a mince pie. Imagine what your man would think if you came back to him with a paunch.” Anya didn’t snap at that tease- Alina felt she could try for more. “How do you like that book I got for you? It’s very popular with women, I’ve heard.” Even though Anya wasn’t very girly, most of the time.

“I saw a movie of another one of this stupid broad’s books,” Anya said, “I hated it.”

“You’re already halfway through, though?” Alina observed with a coy lilt in her voice.

“I skim through until the good bits.” Anya said flatly. “Can’t skip through a movie. Unless you go up to the projector and start rippin’ out all the crap parts I guess.”

“Hm.” Alina nodded, tilted her head; she’d never seen a movie, but Anya had seen several now, and could be coaxed into talking about them if she wasn’t especially irritable in trying to push through pain. “A Wandering Market is going to be setting up in Todesfelsen tomorrow. I’m going to go there with some friends. Do you want to come?”

“I don’t wanna hang out with your friends,” Anya spat, “…I’ll hang out with you though.”

Alina sighed to herself. It would have to do.

-----
>>
March 4th, 1933

The sun was getting low. Artillery boomed intermittently, both east and west. The war continued, after all, but now where you were digging fighting positions with the rest of your platoon, plus one new additional tank and the squad of panzergrenadier assigned to you. Sometimes, a few shots cracked off closer, piquing every man’s attention

You were in no place to be the one making a decision, but this was an exceptional occasion. Richter Von Tracht, Lieutenant and commander of an m/32 in the Silver Lances, was not even a platoon leader, after all. Information had come to you that might involve defying the will of your company commander, indirectly, by motivating your platoon commander to act aggressively in reaction to a missive you’d been given by the Intelligence Office…that the Netillian tank ace, the so-called Crown Taker, was going to be waiting for you to come for his head.

It wasn’t so simple as taking a stroll down the road and meeting him. The town the IO had told you he was waiting at was presently behind enemy lines- the war wasn’t going to be giving your own priorities any respect, and you didn’t expect it to. Presently, the Netillian Militarists that were your opponents of this conflict had dug in, and were thought to be building up strength for a counteroffensive after their defeat at the Battle of Sundersschirm had left them sprawling, internal divisions in Netilland causing an unknown amount of chaos in their ranks and field organization. After days of avoiding decisive battle, however, they were finally showing a firm resistance ahead. Enough of one that your company commander had relayed orders to prepare defensive positions. Higher command evidently expected a counterattack soon.
>>
Thus was the issue. Crown Taker was waiting at Alkenssand, ten kilometers to the northwest- and would be, for whatever reason the IO had tempted him with, for three days. The Netillians probably weren’t intending on letting anybody go that far, so soon. Neither, you anticipated, were your unit leaders. Pfortner would not let you gallivant off into, and beyond enemy lines, to fight a duel he surely saw as needless theater in the midst of a war. Vehrlors, though…he had wanted to go after Crown Taker when he had arranged a meeting with you back in Sundersschirm. If you went to him and told him what was happening…he would be more than willing to embark on a raid for Crown Taker and Crown Taker alone, or do his best to hurl as much as he could gather towards the purpose of killing this enemy.

So was it responsible to share that information now? To potentially set off immediately on a crusade for the enemy ace? You only had three days to decide that, before any opportunity to secure vengeance for your comrades was squandered. Word had gone around that, despite the resistance still put up by the Netillians, this war couldn’t last much longer. While Alpha Two had begun with matters very much in doubt, the Military Council’s hold over Netilland proved to be far more precarious than any could have hoped, and with the abduction of their leadership and the loss of faith in the Defense Party to defeat Netilland’s enemies, the odds appeared inevitable…

>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.
>Wait. You could tell Vehrlors what was happening any time in two days or so. Otherwise you might be throwing everything away- including a potential best opportunity to properly attack.
>Toss the paper. Let Crown Taker be, if he was going to wait instead of coming to you. There was no need to fight him.
>Other?

Pastebin for past threads- https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh
Twitter for announcements and shitposts is @scheissfunker
>>
>>5219252
>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.
He needs to be taken out as soon as possible. He's an extreme danger to any future mission, especially one involving a potential counter offensive from the enemy.
>>
>>5219252
>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.

Much as I would love to avoid him entirely I doubt that's possible given the (hopefully) last-ditch Net counterattack coming soon.
>>
>>5219252
>Toss the paper. Let Crown Taker be, if he was going to wait instead of coming to you. There was no need to fight him.
>>
>>5219252
>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.
>>
>>5219252
>Toss the paper. Let Crown Taker be, if he was going to wait instead of coming to you. There was no need to fight him.
>>
>>5219252
>Wait. You could tell Vehrlors what was happening any time in two days or so. Otherwise you might be throwing everything away- including a potential best opportunity to properly attack.

We'll tell him, but tell him last. He's already proven to be impulsive. We're going to need more help than just our team. And we need a great deal of information before committing.
>>
>>5219252
>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.
We're not the ones that need to be prepared besides keeping ourselves battle ready, which we are. If the IO has given us this window, that must mean that they're ready. Time is only acting against us here.

>Crown Taker was waiting at Alkenssand, ten kilometers to the northwest
Do you mean northeast? Sure we invaded this country from the southwest right?
>>
>>5219252
>Tell Vehrlors that Crown Taker was waiting for you. This wouldn’t get any easier over time. You had to strike now, before the enemy grew stronger, before they attacked. Before Crown Taker got impatient and came for you directly, with more help.
I only want to tell him now because he might have some favor or pull to be able to do something we cant even with a couple days to plan. Vehlors is going to want to head out immediately but we cannot let him do that. Right now I bet Planckner would follow us and not Vehlors, so we control half the platoon's firepower and I bet that will be enough to bargain for him to give us at least a little time to try to assemble something to help us out.

What that help could be, I'm not sure. Maybe we could "borrow" some equipment, maybe we could get a few other people with a grudge against crown taker assigned to go on a patrol and they can help us out. Maybe we can hit over a Net outpost or fighting position and steal something.
>>
>>5219261
>>5219317
>>5219420
>>5219603
>>5219640
It's time to end this. As soon as possible. It won't get any better with time.

>>5219355
>>5219538
Forget the Crown Taker. This war was enough trouble without a warrior as mad as he is skilled after you.

>>5219558
Delay some. Try to find out what's happening more certainly for this duel.

I'd normally update right now but the day I posted this I started coming down with a cold and now it's well stuck in, and I feel like a load of shit. Hard to think about writing much with postnasal drip and your sinuses doing their best to make you miserable. Maybe I'll feel better by the latter half of the day.

>>5219603
>Do you mean northeast? Sure we invaded this country from the southwest right?
You did, but nah, the target settlement is northwest (or more accurately, north-northwest). Mind you, it's from your current position, and the actual line of battle is messy and uneven.
>So where exactly are we?
We'll get to that. At some point. Maybe.
>>
>>5220179
Not to let an opportunity go to waste while there's a lull...
Tanq, did the gunshield of the T-8 SPG extend around to the back of it's fighting compartment, or was it only protected on the front and sides?
There was mention of the crew positioning themselves to avoid snipers, so I'm guessing it lacked a complete roof, but I don't think we ever saw enough of one from behind to confirm.
>>
Alright I don't feel much better from this morning but I'll have to try my best to not let this day go completely to waste.

>>5220480
>did the gunshield of the T-8 SPG extend around to the back of it's fighting compartment, or was it only protected on the front and sides?
This led me down a funny rabbit hole. Despite making the design, multiple images of it, and thus said images being somewhere in my drives, I couldn't find the T-8 SPG anywhere save for in update pictures.
I guess I'll have to remake it at some point. There is a partial roof, though it doesn't extend very far at all and might only at best cover the very front crew on the gun if they leaned into it as best they could, or perhaps even only protect gun instruments. Either way, most of the gunshield's protection is indeed the front and the sides.
>>
The Crown Taker did not have to be fought. Throwing yourself into combat with him would give him what he wanted whether or not you won, but despite the distaste for the duel to come, you had little other choice but to go for it as soon as possible, with all of the aid you could draw to yourself. After all, the IO had said he would wait for three days- and you doubted that number was arbitrary. By then, surely, the Netillians would be carrying out their attack, and Crown Taker would join it. Fighting the Ace was intimidating enough, without the aid of the Netillian army at his side. One way or another, he had to be removed, for the sake of future operations. Even if it would mean having to abandon the company, for a time.

So holding off on the decision to actually go and fight Crown Taker at whatever village he was loitering in would do no favors. A small consideration to hold off was made, just to collect more information- but you felt that you already had no time. All there was to do was to tell Vehrlors about this…and advise caution. He would take the whole platoon to this fight, no doubt, but you felt impulsiveness would not help you win against the enemy Ace, no matter how much anger Vehrlors had to throw at him. There were more effective weapons and allies your Captain would be able to draw up- he was a Silver Lance platoon commander, after all, not some overemotional fool with a tank.

Vehrlors had been talking with the newest addition to your platoon- a man called Barret Planckner, who had a history of deserting the Archduchy’s Grenzwacht, joining up with the Death Heads mercenary-brigand gang, then joining the new army of the Republic of Mittelsosalia. Planckner pointed to you as you approached, and Vehrlors saluted him and turned, leaving the new addition to the platoon to return to his crew.

“Lieutenant Von Tracht,” he saluted to you, “You’ve dug up quite a rogue. Interesting knowledge of fashion.”

“Well, I have my connections,” you dodged any further talk on that. This was more important. “Captain, I’ve talked to some other connections. The Intelligence Office ones…and they’ve given me something I think we’re all interested in.”

Vehrlors’s mouth straightened into a thin frown. “What sort of interesting thing is that?”

“I want to ask you first,” you grit your teeth, “To not think of doing anything too rash…I won’t be able to do this alone. I want your help, but I don’t want you to jump to doing anything reckless.”
>>
Vehrlors stared at you, tilted his head, and looked sideways for a moment after a smaller shell came down somewhere far off. “Alright,” he said as he glanced back at you, still wary, “It’s him, isn’t it. The Ace.” You nodded. “Hmph,” he trudged in a small circle, contemplating, “Fine. You trusted me not to blow up, to not go and chase him down the first word that came out of your mouth. So there. You have my word, I won’t do that. But I want you to understand something. About why we have to get him.”

You sighed in relief, and nodded again.

“Soldiers die, Von Tracht. You know that at this point. Some of us are special, some of us are lucky, but when a thousand men die in a day, that’s just the way it is. When a man takes a bullet in the back and can’t walk again, or steps on a mine and blows his foot off, we can’t cry to the Judge that that was unjust. We fight, and we die. We kill and destroy. That’s the reality of it under the chivalry and the medals and ceremony, to find the worth in it all, but that’s not all there is to it. That doesn’t mean we have to take it lying down, though. We can’t help it if our friends and family die, but we can sure as hell make their deaths mean something. That man’s killed friends I knew for years, and if we just run and leave him with his prizes after all this, no matter how it ends…I’ve failed my friends. Get it?”

“…” In truth…you weren’t sure. Had you lost comrades? Yes. Friends? Perhaps, but far away from you… “I’ve done things I regret. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had friends killed right in reach of me, but I understand what you’re saying.”

“We’re soldiers, Richter. We have the power to make our world the way we want it to be. We only have to be good hearted enough to not use that strength as monsters.” He paused. “Things you regret, with your friends, comrades..?”
>You don’t have to answer. Not everything is your fault, but not everything was inevitable.
>>
“First,” you said, “Crown-Taker Stalker, as they call him, is at a village called Alkenssand. About ten kilometers to the northwest. He has an Ellowian-type long range tank destroyer, and a companion using a heavy tank. They aren’t to be underestimated, with that level of skill and equipment.”

To your surprise, Vehrlors didn’t demand a map to see where the enemy was right away. Instead, he shuffled in his pocket and took out a new pack of cigarettes. “Behind enemy lines. A fair ways, too. He could have his army’s help, but that far back…he wants to be alone.”

“He’s waiting for me,” you said, “That’s what the IO said. I believe them, too. He seemed like the type. I don’t think it’s the sort of trap meant to fool me. He’s the one who has been baited, after all.”

“Not like we’ll be getting out and having a talk before we fight,” Vehrlors said, lighting a cigarette he had shaken out, “…You don’t have to come along if you don’t want to. You’ve got people waiting for you outside.”

“So do you,” you said.

“Eh.” Vehrlors took a puff of his cigarette, “Not really. That’s besides the point. I know doing this is a hell of a risk, and after it’s done, we’ll be stuck behind enemy lines, and even if we win, Pfortner’s going to be pissed as hell.”

“If I shirked away from this,” you said firmly, “I’d be failing my platoon.”

Vehrlors smiled. “Good to hear.” The smile faded, “That’s the thing of it I just said, though. I know people who’ll be happy to come on this. To get even with this Crown Taker, but make no mistake, we grab everybody, and Pfortner will find out, and it’s over. No higher officer will tolerate this sort of crap. It’s us, and maybe a few others.”

“A few others,” you repeated, glancing to the Panzergrenadier.

“Probably not them,” Verhlors shook his head, “They’ll have the right to know. Right before we head out. I’m talking about people I know. From all over the division. I’m thinking on who to ask…though I’m open to suggestions.”

>The Armored Reconnaissance would be useful for the initial penetration, at least. You needed to be fast.
>Perhaps rather ambitious, but, perhaps a support gun and transport? Having artillery was always an advantage.
>Panzergrenadier. You needed loose infantry to properly watch all your backs, especially if the new acquisitions didn’t want to come along.
>Other?
>>
>>5220880
>You don’t have to answer. Not everything is your fault, but not everything was inevitable.

"I regret quite a few things, but in the end we all have to live with them."

>>Perhaps rather ambitious, but, perhaps a support gun and transport? Having artillery was always an advantage.

He's in a built up area (though deserted) and has an open topped vehicle, artillery would be perfect for forcing them out. That, or one of the 4.7cm guns the Panzergrenadiers had.
>>
>>5220880
>You don’t have to answer. Not everything is your fault, but not everything was inevitable.
"Plenty."

>Perhaps rather ambitious, but, perhaps a support gun and transport? Having artillery was always an advantage.
Air support would be better but we've made no friends in the Ellowians.
>>
>>5220880
Difficult choice for me. I like the idea for Armored Recon to help us penetrate the lines and give us more eyes in the encounter, and I like the idea of artillery possible deploying smoke to disrupt their long range advantage. I don't think Panzergrenadier would be super useful, this seems to be more of an armored thing. It's hard to decide without knowing the IO's plan for taking him out. My gut says it will be dubious to be able to use artillery behind enemy lines, so I think I'll vote for the recon.

>The Armored Reconnaissance would be useful for the initial penetration, at least. You needed to be fast.
>>
>>5220879
Getting the wife's eye ripped out for jumping the gun on assassinating Big L will always be a huge L on Richter's part. We couldn't have known he was a Gman clone person, but taking violent action against a hostage taker while they still have the hostage is by any measure a horrible move.
There was also that final battle in the now republic where we lost a bunch of dudes RIGHT at the end of battle thanks to horrible luck.
Also Hilda. Still don't know what Richter himself could have done, dealing with a woman that's madly in love with you just for being nice to her and lacks the self worth not to go on deadly suicide missions is hard. But surely SOMETHING more could have been done to prevent how bad things got for her, even if good progress has been made in setting things right after the fact.

>>5220880
>Perhaps rather ambitious, but, perhaps a support gun and transport? Having artillery was always an advantage.
>>
>>5220880
>Marriage
>Panzergrenadier. You needed loose infantry to properly watch all your backs, especially if the new acquisitions didn’t want to come along.
>>
>>5220880
>Perhaps rather ambitious, but, perhaps a support gun and transport? Having artillery was always an advantage.
A little part of me wants to consider the infantry for a chance at capturing Stalker alive and sending him off to the IO in a sack, but I can only guess how much effort in brainwashing it would take to straighten him out into a loyal killing machine or whether the Major would approve of us playing pokemon with every worthwhile combatant we run across.
>>
>>5220880
>You don’t have to answer. Not everything is your fault, but not everything was inevitable.
You ever screw up so bad with a woman you lose two fingers and half a face for it, and that was considered getting off lightly?
Would Vehrlors even believe we carried out an assassination rather than get our dick wet with the rumors surrounding Richter and Fluffy at this point?

>The Armored Reconnaissance would be useful for the initial penetration, at least. You needed to be fast.
Speed will serve us well here. The Crown Taker has gotten to choose the terms of his fights so far, speed and initiative give us the best chance of turning that around and catching him in a bad spot. If we move too slow and get acquired by Nets who can radio about where we are headed, or we cant sus out where the Crown Taker is before he gets off his first shot this will be a lot harder.
>>
>>5220929
>>5220945
>>5221082
>>5221274
Big guns.

>>5221078
>>5221538
Fast cars. Though not necessarily a car.

>>5221178
More men.

Still feel like complete trash, though not as bad as yesterday. Sort of a shame since I was intending on using these two days to get pretty far, but I guess that's just not how it'll work out. So no update today, head's just too stuffed full of snot to perform right now. I'll try for tomorrow.
>>
>>5221682
Does the IO have any idea on what exactly Crown-Taker's protege is running around with, besides that we know it's a heavy of some sort? Perhaps a list of the most common models within the Netillian inventory?
>>
>>5221682
>spoiler
That reminds me. Your mention of the Lances' founder having never actually wielded a lance last thread had me thinking: Is any sort of horseback hunting practiced among Strossvald's nobility and if so has Richter ever participated in any? His affection for the hunt and his family's relatively underwhelming status create a bit of a juxtapositon there.
I don't count on it proving essential to demonstrate any time soon, I'm just a bit curious if he ever learned to ride a horse, as so many noblemen and women do, or if that's another facet of his diminished nobility, like the lack in gentlemanly fencing ability he demonstrated at the academy.
>>
>>5221693
>Does the IO have any idea on what exactly Crown-Taker's protege is running around with, besides that we know it's a heavy of some sort? Perhaps a list of the most common models within the Netillian inventory?
They did not mention specifically what it was, but they described it as a "new type." Given that it's new and not a particularly identified type and not Ellowian, though, it can be a safe assumption to conclude it's one of the new Netillian tanks you encountered in the last battle.
What's it called, exactly? Well, no Netillians have bothered telling Richter yet, at least.

>>5221806
>Is any sort of horseback hunting practiced among Strossvald's nobility and if so has Richter ever participated in any?
Yes, and no, though Richter does know how to ride horses, albeit not being particularly good or bad at it. His family doesn't own horses nor a place in any stable, and his asocial (in the past) nature meant he wasn't exactly invited on any trips, either.
Would he like to own a horse? I don't know, that sounds like something for you all to set as a priority if you wish.
>>
“Anybody who has a large gun, like artillery,” you suggested, “Crown Taker drives an open-topped vehicle, and indirect support will help our numbers advantage. We’d force him to come out of whatever hiding place he’s chosen to lie in wait in.” Though, you’d also have to get the gun over to him. Compared to fighting Crown Taker himself, that couldn’t be too insurmountable a task…

“A support gun, eh,” Vehrlors scratched his chin, “Yeah, I know a guy, he’s not too far. He and some of his people, they owe me a favor from back in Vitelia, on top of everything else. Good idea.” He stepped back, “I’ll gather up what we’ve got. Just hold here and make yourself comfortable in the meantime. I’ve got jobs for other people to take care of.” He paused a moment, “And that other thing I asked you?”

Of course, you had your regrets, but how many of them were a result of battle? Not many…and you didn’t want to be specific, not now. “I have plenty of regrets. All I can do is live with it now. I’ve done what I could to make things better in spite of my mistakes.”

“This won’t be a mistake,” Vehrlors said to you, as if to reassure something unsaid, “Come what may, this won’t come to a foolish end. Check your fuel and ammunition, we’ll need all we can.” He left you then, letting you to finish your local tasks, and prepare your vehicle and crew.

Said fuel and ammunition weren’t in the best state. It’d be enough for the operation, you assumed, since fuel and shells and bullets were what had received priority in being shipped up rather than food and drink and some sorely missed other supplies, but the tank wasn’t full up on gas or ammo. From what you counted, you’d have enough to fight through a day…though not for much longer, if you were conservative with your shooting.

The jobs Vehrlors referred to turned out to include the Panzergrenadier complement assigned to you- they went forward to scout out enemy positions, what might be built up on the line, where they were strong, at least in your sector. Small as that was, Vehrlors did intend to have a greater picture of the line as a whole. When you checked on him, he was talking on the company network, sharing with others what they knew of forward enemy presence. Some place, even as they were in the midst of building up, had to be thinner than the others.
>>
The operation wouldn’t be a surprise to the others, either. Von Rotehof approached you and, like Vehrlors, asked if you were certain about going on this expedition.

“It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done something like this,” you said, “Planckner probably likes the idea of an adventure, for what it is, but, you have a wife and children. Are you sure you want to come along?”

The Elder Von Rotehof smiled. “I could die in the battlefield, or I could die of an accident in the comfort of home. We don’t need to fear what might come. I know well what I’m getting into. I’d rather not die, of course, but I won’t be leaving the rest of you to fend for yourselves. Our crews understand that, too, even if they have as little in the way of family as our Captain, after all,” he gave a small chuckle, “There’s at least one lady who’d like to see him again, I’m sure. And my little brother will be waiting for us to tell him how the rest of this tale happened.”

The crews…yes, they’d been told, but you couldn’t help but be unsure of your guarantees for their health and safety. Not against a foe like this. Yet even when you’d stated this, your gunner, Schafer, had scoffed while you all checked your positions in the m/32.

“No different from th’ rest of God knows what else the Netillians’ve got to throw at us. He was coming for us anyways. Rather get him out of the way sooner.”
“Somebody’s confident,” Hausen said up to him from in the tank, “Are you counting on this tank having more strange tricks up its skirts?”

“Don’t refer to th’ tank like it’s a woman,” Schafer eyed the inside of the hull, “Not when it was givin’ off those creepy airs not long ago.”

Malachi and Jorgen required no questioning. They’d gone with you through worse, and were perhaps more adventurous than you now when it came to reckless endangerment in conflict, for better or worse. It was flattering in a way, that when you had not so long ago been a wreck, perhaps still were, you were trusted to pull through against an enemy that had felled plenty a capable comrade already. You merely hoped that it wasn’t faith placed in denial of circumstances rather than the leadership of the platoon.

The sun was setting when Vehrlors had everybody reconvene, including a recent arrival by an armored truck pulling an eight centimeter field gun- a mobile yet still decently powerful piece, capable of firing a variety of shells. The motor transports didn’t tend to be armored, but with the proximity that field guns and anti-tank guns had to get to the enemy, you had seen that the Panzergrenadier weren’t always the sole owners of the armored variants of the ubiquitous Handelwagen.
>>
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“We’ll be going once third platoon sends a few of their people to man our positions. I might be making Pfortner mad at me tonight, but it won’t be because I left a gap in our lines,” Vehrlors looked around at the officers and NCOs present, “Here’s the situation. Our objective is here,” he pointed to a rough map, “At the village of Alkenssand. We’re going to have to go through a good portion of enemy occupied territory to reach there, but the most difficult part will be the initial line, and the secondary reserve line. The less fighting we have to do on the way, the better, so I asked around the company for what they could see.”

Vehrlors pointed to several red wax pencil markings he had made. “The Netillians know they’re facing an armored formation. They’ll have gun positions set up, obstacles where they could get them, mines, so we’d be rolling the dice to head right into their face. That’s why we have to head here, near where the chocolate soldiers are,” He pointed to a place by what looked to be a stream, “A couple of recon parties have gone out here, and made a lot of headway before they ran into anybody. They’re thin here, and they haven’t dug in. This stream is shallow, and we can ford it with no problems, over to this path here,” he traced his finger down the way, “The Netillians seem to be fortifying this set of hills in front and using the stream as the limit to their defenses, so we’re going to try and break through around this ground instead, where they aren’t bothering to set up as firm a defense, and our patrols haven’t been letting them set up any nasty surprises. I’ll bet that they’d be anticipating that to be taken advantage of by an offensive, but not a small maneuver like ours. I don’t know if we can slip through undetected, but this will be our best bet at having to do as little fighting as possible. All that’s left is the time. The darker it is, the less likely we are to be reliably seen, but the worse off we might be in a fight. We’re in no position to be popping off flare pistols all over, especially if we don’t want Pfortner up our asses immediately.”

You and Vehrlors had already talked this over with the others before. You had decided on…

>Now, in the twilight. You’d have to wrap it up quickly since darkness would be on your heels, but it would be easier to withdraw or hold out under cover of the night to come.
>In the dark, from the start. Nobody would have good visibility- for better or worse. You were going behind enemy lines, you had to keep hidden whilst you were venturing that far beyond.
>Before dawn, next morning. The dim light of the morning would let you break in, but you’d need the daylight to fight effectively beyond.
>Other?
>>
>>5222469
>Now, in the twilight. You’d have to wrap it up quickly since darkness would be on your heels, but it would be easier to withdraw or hold out under cover of the night to come.
>>
>>5222469
>Now, in the twilight. You’d have to wrap it up quickly since darkness would be on your heels, but it would be easier to withdraw or hold out under cover of the night to come.
>>
>>5222469
>Now, in the twilight. You’d have to wrap it up quickly since darkness would be on your heels, but it would be easier to withdraw or hold out under cover of the night to come.
>>
>>5222469
>>In the dark, from the start. Nobody would have good visibility- for better or worse. You were going behind enemy lines, you had to keep hidden whilst you were venturing that far beyond.
>>
>>5222469
>Before dawn, next morning. The dim light of the morning would let you break in, but you’d need the daylight to fight effectively beyond.
>>
>>5222469
>>Now, in the twilight. You’d have to wrap it up quickly since darkness would be on your heels, but it would be easier to withdraw or hold out under cover of the night to come.
>>
>>5222472
>>5222479
>>5222522
>>5222628
Romantic lighting for this particular setting. Too bad you don't have any chicks along.

>>5222574
Take a walk in the dark. Have fun driving without headlamps on.

>>5222626
Have a nap first.

Writing.
>>
…Now. Or rather, in ten minutes after this briefing was completed. Haste was of the essence- the dim light of twilight would help your infiltration while keeping you from being totally blind, but if you didn’t handle the battle quickly you’d be fighting in the dark, and no matter what you did you’d likely either have to spend the night in enemy territory, or be forced to withdraw under cover of the same night. If things went well.

“Of particular note are the vehicles we’re expecting,” Vehrlors showed the assembly a page with rough blocky approximations of the armor that you were told was on the site- two of them. “Our primary target drives this- an Ellowian Type El.Pz.7. A nasty piece of work, fast, protected from the front from our 3.7 centimeter cannons, and equipped with a 7.5 centimeter long range anti-tank cannon. One shot from this, if it lands, means it’s over. So your priority in facing this is to evade detection. We’re fighting an ace, here, so don’t underestimate him. If you give him an opportunity, he’ll take it. It has a weakness, though,” he pointed above the vehicle, “It’s open topped, so it’s defenseless to artillery or shrapnel from above. You can shoot above it, he can’t. Though, there’s another factor,” he pointed down, “I’ve asked around, and people have taken to calling this an NK-H. New type of Netillian heavy tank, deployed first at Sundersschirm. It’s resistant to most of our weaponry from the front, though its flanks and turret rim and lower glacis plate are vulnerable as expected, as are any viewports. It might be a sturdy pile of metal, but there’s no such thing as a tank with no weak spots.”

“It’s also armed with a 5 centimeter cannon,” you felt the need to add.

“Which most of our tanks don’t resist too good,” Von Rotehof said.

“Right. Now, once we’re at Alkenssand, we’ll take a brief look around and refine our plans. Until then, stick to marching order. Fenmier, your truck and gun is going to take up the third position in between our tanks. Panzergrenadiers are distributed to the tanks as usual. If we get stuck, protect the truck and gun and sling out everything we’ve got until we have an opening to push forward. Pack heavy and write any last words you think you might need, because this is going to be a bitch. We leave in ten.”

-----
>>
The sky had turned pink and red, the sun touching the edge of the earth. Most battlefields became quiet when it turned towards nightfall- raids would still occur, and soldiers would struggle to sleep even with several watches ready, and aircraft would cease to buzz overhead, but the battle would not be fading for your platoon. Abominable coffee grounds stuck in your teeth, Pervitin tablets were ready and waiting for if they would be needed in your pocket, but you needed neither to be wide awake. At least this time, you were following another, rather than being expected to lead.

All the same, when the time came, you fully expected to have to play the part of bait, and play it well, else doom your platoon to be the Crown Taker’s prey.

“Now,” Vehrlors said over the radio. You would be using the platoon short wave throughout the operation- there was no choice. The enemy wouldn’t be kept blind to an armored platoon operating in their midst, and you had to be perfectly coordinated. Potential interceptions were an acceptable sacrifice given the rapidity of what would be taking place. “We don’t stop now. If you’re made to stop, say if we need to fight you out long enough to bail, or if you intent to catch up. At contact, shoot the first thing you can immediately. Fire first, ask questions later. Drive.”

“Drive,” you relayed to your driver, already in position as fourth in the column, Planckner behind you. M/32s had taken up your positions, as had panzergrenadier, who were replacing your adventurers now on your hull. They would hold, or at least, hopefully, not have to for long before you returned, however that might go.

The rumble of the tank engines was usually reassuring, but now, you longed for the old X tanks, who were quieter running when swift, as you all set out into the red light to make for the place of battle…

>Roll 3 sets of 1d100 for your progress, DC roll under 35, 45, and 60. You may reroll one, once. However many you fail will determine your encounter/s.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5222732
Alright baby! Let's get this shit!
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5222732
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>5222732
>>
>>5222735
>>5222739
>>5222742
Nice. Nice. Aaaaaaand Nice.
Didn't even need a reroll.
>>
>>5222735
>>5222739
>>5222742
Well. Alright then.
I do have to go to sleep now, though, so update won't be for a while.
>>
>>5222735
>>5222739
>>5222742
Didn't know Vehrlors commanded Ghost Platoon.
>>
>Brilliant Success

There had been doubts in your mind concerning the wisdom of charging through enemy lines, even at their thinnest part, but you scarcely comprehended the infiltration as it happened, and went ahead better than you could have anticipated.

As you turned north after crossing the stream the first time, and went towards enemy lines, all of your guns were facing every angle- but the first thing Vehrlors ordered involved no guns at all.

“Four Five, Four Six,” he said over the radio, “Throw grenades behind you as we pass these trees, there’s men in holes and they need to be kept down.”

As ordered, you each threw a grenade out to the side while passing- you understood the rationale. The pop of grenades wouldn’t immediately clue enemies to the presence of tanks from afar, even if the skirmish lines you were passing knew full well what was coming through.

It was only a token display of force, and you doubt either of your grenades wounded anybody, but no shots came at you as you rolled northwards and weaved the column around clumps of rough foliage patches, sliding on snow treacherously and following bizarre choices in navigation that, though lacking in rationality for traveling, did somehow prevent you from facing any opposition courageous enough to do more than crack off a harassing pot shot or two.

“The second crossing’s coming,” Vehrlors reported sooner than expected, “This will be a proper defense line, don’t stop, but shoot at anything that looks like a target. High explosive before we pass, canister if you have it when we’re close. Rear element, turn back after we pass and continue to fire.”

He said this barely before you crashed out of a copse of winter-bared trees and over the stones and mud of the stream with a splash, and were greeted immediately with machine gun fire and the crack of an anti-tank rifle.

“Gunner, that stone to the three o’clock,” you saw nobody there, but had to guess as best you could with this pace and the dimness of light, “Blast it. Loader, load canister after.”

“On the way,” Schafer said as he rotated the turret and waited for the tank to bounce up, then down before shooting. It was off, but he could hardly be expected to hit a perfect shot with how much the tank was shifting about. The coaxial still sprayed tracers all about, Schafer’s finger clenched tight on the machine gun’s remote trigger. “Canister,” he said as the next round clanked into the breach, “Firing.”
>>
A hundred little explosions of dust and snow were kicked up, and the unlucky stone was pockmarked by steel shot balls, a few of which ricocheted back and pinged against the hull of your tank. The fire against you had lessened as the entire platoon opened up on the nigh-invisible defense line, but had not stopped, as the rude splash of an anti-tank rifle’s round screamed across the edge of the cupola’s armor.

“Turn the turret full right,” you told the gunner, “We’re going to keep shooting them as we move.”

The tank dipped up and down as you rolled over a trench, but you saw little more as the column passed the initial defenses, keeping your head within the protection of the tank. Vehrlors and Von Rotehof continued to fire ahead- this wasn’t the only obstacle.

“Anti-tank gun hit and down,” Von Rotehof reported, “Four-One, one to the left of it.”

“I hear you, Four-Three.”

You wanted to turn and look, to see what threats lay ahead rather than impotently looking for shadows behind and shooting at nothing, but you shook off the feeling, getting out some frustration by hurling another grenade behind you. It burst on the ground, but was followed by another thing slamming into the ground just beside it, bouncing off and into a thin tree, splintering it.

“There’s the third one!” Vehrlors declared, “Stay in column!”

A couple more spiteful shots went towards whatever was behind you, and another anti-tank shell snapped by the side of your tank.

“Four-Three, get the damned gun!” Vehrlors ordered.

“I’m working on it.”

“Four-Five, turn your gun forward and help take it out.”

“I copy,” you said back, and hurriedly tapped your gunner on the shoulder, “Gunner, turn the turret forward again, we need to take out that anti-tank gun.”

“Where is it,” Schafer said impatiently as the power traverse whipped the turret sideways, rocking you in two different directions at once as the tank bounced over the rough ground.

“I’m looking,” you tried not to snap as you switched to the platoon set, “Four-One, where is that gun?” You were rudely answered as the gun decided you were the best target and the entire tank shuddered as the anti-tank gun deposited a shot right into the front of the turret. It clearly wasn’t a larger sort of gun. “Never mind, I see it.” You switched back to the intercom, “Gunner, see that smoke, right by the two fir trees. It’s there.”

“I see it,” Schafer said, “Be easier if we could spread out, get that hull gun shooting.”
>>
Jorgen ran a shell into the breach, and cried out a ready signal, and Schafer was impatient enough that he didn’t declare he was firing until after the gun had already kicked back and the shell casing was clattering to the floor. “Didn’t hit,” he said with frustration.

The platoon frequency light lit up and you immediately flipped the switch to hear Vehrlors. “Platoon, echelon formation. Truck, stay behind the first section.”

You announced the formation change hurriedly to your driver, and the anti-tank gun spat another shot at you which skipped under the tank. If anything, your chaotic movement was at least making you as hard to hit for your target as it was difficult for your gunner to hit them.

Finally, a plume of smoke and dust erupted from between the two firs. “Got him,” Von Rotehof said.

Schafer fired another shot in defiance anyways, and hit the shape of the gun again. “Absolute shite,” he swore, “Other targets?”

“I’m looking,” you said, but at this point you were close to passing the line the anti-tank guns had been guarding.

Yet, you could only point out suspicious shapes still as the now echelon motored over the second line, and beyond. Past it, there was…little opposition to speak of. A tense calm descended as the shooting came from behind, then melted away, Vehrlors directing you onto a thin earthen path as you continued towards Alkenssand. The only interruption was an unfortunate horse-drawn supply train of four carriages being run off the road and abandoned, despite none of you firing a shot.

An autogyro flew nearby next, giving the platoon a wide berth as it idled at a low altitude, half hiding from you and half hiding from potential fighters, until for some reason, it peeled off and flew away.

“Our friend flew away,” you said over the radio, “I wonder what that means.”

“We’re close,” Vehrlors said back, “Maybe somebody wanted this place all to themselves.”

It was true that things had been eerily quiet- and as you came closer, as the land began dipping into a shallow valley and the thin clumps of trees became denser and one side of the road became overtaken by woodland, you began to see things, amongst the trees…

Was that a person? No, you blinked and stared at the apparition. It was the upper half of a floating, cloaked figure, with a ghastly visage but one of a sort you’d seen in Ellowie. It would vanish if you came closer. Sparkling lights hung in the air, and as you went on, you saw the coiling white light of an immature sky serpent twisting about as it moved from the treetops and over the road.
>>
“What are you looking at?” Schafer asked of you, “You’re craning your head like we’re passin’ by a Paellan beach.”

“…Nothing,” you said as you lowered yourself back into the tank, “My eyes are tricking me.” Paellan beach? Never mind that.

“We’re close,” Vehrlors reported, “We’re moving left, now, up towards those hills. Move slow, keep to cover. We have the advantage at close range, so let’s keep ourselves from being visible until we want to be.”

The intent was for you to remain hidden, yes, but as you ambled up the soft slopes of the small hills, barely high enough to rise over the village in the valley’s hollow at their peak…

“Somebody’s broadcasting something on the open channel,” Hausen said, “Do…you want me to tap us in?”

“Do it. I know who it is.”



“…You’re here, aren’t you?” A familiar voice called, distorted by the radio, “I heard tell of your coming. I can feel you. You’re here, with whomever has come with you. I know you cannot be here for the whims of your overlords, not even your commanders.”

He paused, but there was no response.

“How does it feel, Silver Lances? To finally break free of those shackles? To take this strength that belongs to us warriors, and cut your own path, free of the obligation of orders that bind you at their convenience? You are liberated, as I am, and my protégé. We are waiting, only us. No others have been permitted to interfere. This is our right, as the strongest and unbound. If you have naught to say in words, then come, so that we may speak in the true tongue of higher men. Will, against will.”

>?

Map will come the update after. Barely getting this out in time as is.
>>
>>5223321
Stay silent, see if Vehrlors wants to say anything
>>
>>5223321
"I've been liberated from far tighter chains than following basic orders before, so I can't say I'm all that impressed. What I am happy to feel is your time left in this world, numbered in seconds. Prepare to die, Crown Taker. May you be among the last unfortunate lives I have to take here."
>>
>>5223321
God, this guy is so full of himself. Don't engage his autism.
>>
>>5223321
>Stay silent
I sure hope those IO guys know what they're doing, their instructions were pretty darn vague on how they'd contribute given we aren't really coordinating with them.
>>
>>5223321
Silent is fine, up to Vehrlors.

Although I want Richter to whisper back into his mic, "Gay." and then nothing more.
>>
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>>5223321
As much as I would like to speachify against this guy, I don't think we are really on the same planet in terms of world view so it would probably be a waste.

>>5223560
But I do kinda want to call him gay.
>>
>>5223325
>>5223381
>>5223498
Don't talk to him.

>>5223339
Speechify back.

>>5223560
>>5224138
Resist the urge to accuse your enemy of being a homosexual and refusing to elaborate.
Seems like your Retinue is rubbing off on you.
Not like that.

Alright, let's see if we can get this rolling before I dive back into the wage cage.
>>
Silence. Nothing was said, even though you were waiting for your commander to say something- despite being sorely tempted to utter naught but a softly said insult as your parting words. Yet, the only sound was a soft buzz of the platoon network line being transmitted over.

“Ignore him,” Vehrlors’s voice came over, “He doesn’t have anything to say besides distractions. Come on out for a moment once we’re in firm cover, we need to plan. I half expected not to get this far…but either the Judge thinks we’re deserving, or we’ve had things arranged better than we could hope.”

Again, the officers met- every asset intact, though your fuel and ammunition diminished since the last you’d gathered. It would be enough for this fight, though afterwards..?

“This is what I could get in the time we had,” Vehrlors pointed to a scrawled over aerial photograph, barely big enough to make out any details, “We don’t have too many advantages besides our numbers. Who can say how many friends besides the other tank our enemy might have here…men are easy to hide. I want to be ready for what we can. That said, our best chances lay in if we manage to find only one of them but from several angles. Von Tracht and I’s tanks can take on that Ellowian tank destroyer from a fair ways, so it’s obvious how we have to split teams. If we pack all together, we’ll stand out too much, but if we split apart all the way, we might find ourselves face to face with a foe we can’t take on by ourselves. So, Von Rotehof, with me. Planckner, with Von Tracht,” he pointed to each of you.

“Works for me,” Planckner said eagerly.
>>
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“There’s elevation here to set up the gun at, but that big gun can take out our piece or our truck as easily as a tank,” Vehrlors nodded to the artillery team leader, “You can’t be too careful. Shoot and scoot if you have to, even though you can arc your shots. You’ll be in radio range, but we’ll try to not have you seen first. Nobody’s supposed to be bait here. Grenadiers, split into your two five man groups and stick with the tank teams. You’ll fan out in front and be their eyes front. Anything shoots at you, you’ve got the tanks to take care of it. Got it?”

The Panzergrenadier NCOs saluted resolutely. They might not have been Silver Lances for long, but despite doubts about them, you could still admire their Strossvalder Stalwartness.

“Range is going to be a factor here, too,” Vehrlors said, “We’ll probably have to get within half a klick to have a good shot at getting through their frontal armor. Side shots, we can probably be further out for. That field gun’s got the range to hit pretty far, about three klicks, though closer is easier to hit well, of course. Smoke, flare, high explosive, incendiary…yes?”

The artillery chief nodded again. “Aye. None of the fancier things I heard of, though. No Bertholite, either.”

“Shouldn’t need that,” Vehrlors said with a tilt down of his cap and a last cigarette picked out, “I can’t say I can expect where they’ll be waiting. These woods are pretty heavy on the western edge, and their best advantage is range, so I wouldn’t wait there if I were them. On the other hand, the dips between these baby hills are enough to hide tanks while letting them get up and have a clear view in only a few seconds. Any other ideas, throw them out here. Once this starts, we’ll probably be hitting each other hard and fast and it’ll be over before we know it.”

There was a thought you had- that your unspoken capabilities, namely the Armor of Fate, would allow you to serve as very good and survivable bait…but you also wondered if that would even be accepted, let alone if it was advisable…

>Make your “input” on planning. You do not know where Crown Taker or his Acolyte are. Only that they are definitely in this region, waiting.
>>
>>5224505
Are the numbers on the hills indicative of their height?
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>>5224505
How bad is visibility right now?
>>
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>>5224505
I would think that the Acolyte will be positioned somewhere in the middle of the map to try and force us to engage him and let the Crown Taker get shots on us. I think those trees to the east can let our tanks move up and then let some infantry off to screen us. If we don't make any contact from there we are at least a relatively short dash to either the 9 or 20 hill as opposed to getting stuck in the more open sightlines in the west.

I am unsure if I want the field gun to follow into the woods or do its best to lay low behind the crest of this starting hill. It has good sightlines here on the starting hill and can be the ace up our sleeve we need to take out at least the acolyte without exposing ourselves overmuch. If we leave part of a squad at the base to the hill in that woody bit I think we can mitigate the risk of being maneuvered on. At least the field gun will have warning and I cant imagine the loss of firepower from splitting the infantry further will be the deciding factor in this.

I wonder if the Crown Taker can determine the direction of radio signals they receive. It may be something to consider and would explain why he taunts over an open channel if it helps him pinpoint his prey from their reactions.
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>>5224807
I don't like the idea of putting that gun on the hill. Way too exposed, would probably get taken out, especially if they are anticipating our general direction of approach.

>>5224505
One idea I have is to perhaps drive around the far flanks and stay out of long lines of fire as much as possible, with the notable exception of the right group eventually getting on wooded hill 16 that should have good visibility to a lot of the map. Other possible positions for the gun I've circled. One notable downside to this is the patch of open ground we'd have to cross at the road where we would be highly visible, which I'd think we'd want to either cross as soon as possible before they reach their prepared positions (if they aren't there already), or wait until it gets dark enough that it matters less. Another downside to this plan is that it splits us up a lot, and it would be difficult to bring our entire force to bear. This plan also fails to account for our role as being bait, though maybe that part can be accomplished by crossing the road in the open area.

Perhaps an alternate route that is a bit more bold, yet still uses cover (light blue) can be used where we have the gun set up at one of the earlier areas. This would better accomplish us being bait for whatever the IO has cooked up.

Or perhaps both tank squads go along one of these sides, or one tank squad takes the darker blue, and one the lighter blue route (Richter probably the lighter blue if this is the case).
>>
>>5224856
I think it would be best to keep the tanks together going either east or west, splitting up means a turn or two where the fight could be a 2v2, and I would sacrifice some maneuver capability for more concentrated firepower in those opening rounds.

I like the eastern routes planned out here, for that gap in the road I think we could consider just letting the field gun smoke it up. We could also smoke something that would cover the western yellow line as misdirection and just take everyone east. I am not too concerned about giving away our general location or movement with this, I do not think it is a stretch to assume the Crown Taker received a general report of our movements from the autogyro so us coming from the south is something he probably already knows.

Richter can volunteer to be the tank that moves first in bounding movements and and take the side of the formation closest to probable contact if we are not baiting anything just yet.
>>
>>5224567
Yes, in meters.

>>5224663
It's not good, but not too poor either. It's firmly in twilight, but getting darker, and it'll be sundown and quickly night after about an hour. You'll probably want to be snappy.

Extending voting since I know these environmental conditions are important, but didn't have the chance to answer until after work.
>>
>>5225049
>Yes, in meters.
To be more specific, how high they are at their highest point. Which I should mark their tops properly, but it's safe to assume it's the center area of them. Their edges are not as high, of course.
>>
>>5224505
I think the Ace will send the Acolyte to pin and distract us while he is moving into position. As such, I suspect the Acolyte is sitting in the open somewhere. Let's sit tight and send out infantry ahead a bit to scout. Once we know where the Acolyte is, we can hypothesize where the Ace is waiting.
>>
>>5224953
Keep in mind the gun can't just fire smoke quickly, it needs to set up to fire. Who knows if it will even have time to pack up and take advantage before the smoke it fires dissipates?
>>
>>5225137
Richter still has at least one smoke grenade I think, so if there are at least a couple more that can be scrounged up I think a mad smoke laying dash could be in the cards. That should at least give everyone time to move even if we can't sneak in any misdirection smoke to the north-west
>>
No update until late tonight, I slept in until now when I have to leave for work.
>>
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Alright time to actually write.
Hey, remember when I said I'd have this done in February, that was the real April Fool's joke.
>>
>>5226499
Hell yes, its always a good days when another Hilda picture drops.
>>
>>5226499
>dem thighs
We made a mistake lads.
>>
Too tired to update in time again, sorry. Sleep just hasn't been enough.
>>
>>5226861
cant believe the coof did you in
>>
A few different ideas came to mind as the platoon hastily planned how this was going to be done. Vehrlors had dictated that you’d be splitting up- but you were of the mind to suggest differently. After all, what would happen if both Crown Taker and whomever his armored ally was were in the same place? The odds didn’t favor even encounters. Naturally, it wouldn’t be long before the other part of the platoon would come to help, not having to be concerned with being ambushed by one or the other if both were in a singular place, but even the opening moments could decide a duel before one side even knew it began- being apart might be just enough of a weak link to steal victory this day.

Vehrlors did not want to hear it. For whatever reason, he was insistent to divide the tanks. His stance being that Crown Taker would not be close by to his apprentice- that one was a distraction to draw attention, for the other to take advantage of. The other’s slower, far better protected vehicle was ideal for such a purpose, and the two vehicle types being together would only impede one another.

Though you had an inkling of the feeling that Vehrlors was determined to take a particular killing blow for himself.

More thought was put into the risk to the support gun crew than the crew and leader themselves had considerations for. He was a rather lackadaisical seeming officer, as were those who accompanied them, and though everybody else was concerned that this valuable asset might be spotted and targeted when it revealed itself, the leader of the crew either thought it was not a realistic risk, or was a touch too accepting of what might happen should he reveal his presence in too vulnerable a place or timing.

“…Look at it this way,” the gun crew leader went over to his piece and motioned upwards. The crew elevated the short barreled gun to an impressive degree. “Cover’s not a problem. Just keep ‘em from rolling over us.”
>>
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A mutual understanding. They knew how to take care of themselves. However, without exactly knowing where your enemies were, though, little could be concluded on maneuvering to deal with them. The key details merely involved keeping yourself from being easy targets- and finding out where your targets were before they could get the first shot. To that end, Vehrlors and Von Rotehof would exploit the terrain to the west, using the shallow yet rolling hillsides to circle one side of the village, whilst you and Planckner would brave the woods to the east. Your section’s infantry would have to remain with you, with consideration for the close terrain, but Vehrlors made a decision you blinked at. His own infantry would remain on the southern hill from the town. He saw no need to drag his own part of the panzergrenadier with him, and instead, they would watch the village from the hill. Meanwhile, the support gun, to get it into a good position and also to prevent it from being spotted too easily once it began firing, would travel with your contingent into the woods until it reached an ideal spot where elevation would aid it as well as the cover of forestry.

Vehrlors noticed a hesitation. “This plan isn’t perfect,” he acquiesced, “But if we plot any further, we’d never be able to act on the perfect plan to be. Act quickly and with purpose, and we’ll pull through. We’re done here. Platoon, go to your vehicles. We’re bringing this creature’s head to the Judge on a spit one way or another.”

-----

“No response, sir,” the hunter’s radioman said, “They don’t feel like talking. Guess they’ll just come right for us.”

“Fair enough. These feeble creations of words serve most, but in a clash of will and purpose, they may yet fail,” the Ace said as he knelt on the edge of his vehicle’s turret.

The radioman and driver looked across to one another, and the driver shrugged. “If they’re here, though, are we set? The daylight’s got our best advantages, and if they wait a bit more...well, if they brought help on foot, that’ll make things tougher.”

“The Vultures will find them if our own eyes cannot,” the Ace said confidently, stepping back into his seat in the open turret, “And the night is no ally to those who cannot use their ears as well as their eyes. Keep yours to the winds, and the rest of us will keep them to the land. This is not our first battle fought without our army. The decisions are with your commander. Only think of how to carry them out.”

-----

The sky was crimson, and the shadows were long, and dark. None of your vehicles had their headlamps on, not even with dimmer coverings. Somewhere in this silent valley, an enemy waited for but a single hint of where you were, and you were loathe to present that so easily. Even if the sound of the tanks was painfully loud compared to the quiet, only sometimes interrupted by distant war that echoed over the little hills.
>>
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The Crown Taker claimed there would be no interference from that war, but he could be lying, either intentionally or not. Stray men or vehicles could have wandered over, or been deployed, with how the autogyro had shadowed you for a bit. The more time passed, the greater the risk was that this duel would be interrupted, and with your distance from your lines, there would be no friends coming.

“Hey, stop here,” Walsen tapped your shoulder, “Follow us with those tanks.”

The panzergrenadier dismounted from your tanks, and you steadily crept after them as you navigated the loose trees, wind whistling, and shapes amongst the trees tricking your senses. Could these men see what you saw? You hesitated to call out any warnings, as shapes that looked like cloaked figures were not reacted to by the Strossvalder soldiers, despite how they seemed to stare at your own people. You stared yourself, feeling like you were losing track of where you were when your driver angrily snapped at you over the intercom for not warning him about a particularly heavy tangle of tree roots.

A shake of your head. This had happened before- Twaryian soldiers’ cowls being unfortunately similar in appearance to phantoms, but they moved in groups, rather than lurking like…

A shot cracked in front of you, a very strange, unique sounding rifle shot, and the edge of a tree blew away beside a panzergrenadier, whose hand snapped to his face with an alarmed cry as he took low cover. Immediately, another soldier sent a burst of machine gun fire forward, then another, before waiting. You ducked completely into the cupola, not willing to be the most obvious target for a marksman. Great. It had been a bit much to hope the only foes would be tanks, but how many were there?

The same distinctive shot. Perhaps there weren’t that many at all, as this was replied to with several Hagen rifle shots.

“Where are they?” a panzergrenadier demanded hoarsely, but he got no answer. The advance had come to a halt on the end of the vehicles, even as the panzergrenadier crept forward.

“Four-Five,” Planckner hissed, “What’s the holdup? They know where they are now…”

>The panzergrenadier needed you once they flushed out what was taking pot shots at you. You wouldn’t abandon them- you’d help them take care of this, with fire support.
>Planckner was right, you couldn’t linger. Tell the panzergrenadier your intentions- and have the tanks roll forward again, buttoned up.
>Split up. Planckner would help the panzergrenadiers with whatever threat was here- you’d keep going forward with the artillery piece and truck to a position for it.
>Other?
>>
Yikes, all of these options feel like a gamble. Option 1 could risk the enemy tanks getting in proper position to eliminate us, or let them better identify us. Option 2 could lose us potentially crucial infantry support since we now know there is enemy infantry in the area, and our own infantry might not win, putting us in a position to be revealed/flanked by the enemy infantry. It also feels wrong to abandon the troops. Option 3 risks running into armor in the forest and being outmatched, or armor coming after Planckner, and in either case we are defeated in detail.

Maybe CT will feel bad for being given such an advantage as infantry finding us, and throw us some kind of bone to even the odds, but I kind of doubt it. At the very least, whatever we do here, we should be serving as a powerful bait for the IO.

I don't like any of these options, but I can't think of anything else reasonable.

>>5228401
>Planckner was right, you couldn’t linger. Tell the panzergrenadier your intentions- and have the tanks roll forward again, buttoned up.
>Radio in to Vehrlors that we've encountered light resistance
We can't be delayed or held in position by what might be a lone sniper, or it could reduce our progress to a crawl and leave us vulnerable. That might be a good thing for the bait objective, but I think we've drawn attention to ourselves already by being fired on. It should also help to apprise Vehrlors of what's going on, and he might have better ideas himself.
>>
>>5228401
>The panzergrenadier needed you once they flushed out what was taking pot shots at you. You wouldn’t abandon them- you’d help them take care of this, with fire support.
>>
>>5228401
>The panzergrenadier needed you once they flushed out what was taking pot shots at you. You wouldn’t abandon them- you’d help them take care of this, with fire support
>>
>>5228401
>>The panzergrenadier needed you once they flushed out what was taking pot shots at you. You wouldn’t abandon them- you’d help them take care of this, with fire support.
>>
>>5228401
The panzergrenadier needed you once they flushed out what was taking pot shots at you. You wouldn’t abandon them- you’d help them take care of this, with fire support.
>>
>>5228456
Move on ahead, and let this lay. There are bigger fish to fry.

>>5228525
>>5228796
>>5228810
>>5228922
Nip this problem in the bud, don't leave the men to deal with this when you can still help.

Writing.
>>
“We’re not moving on until we mop this up,” you told Planckner, “We’re strongest together, we can’t leave the panzergrenadier and move on.” It was entirely possible that some of these stray unknown troops had anti-tank devices, after all, be they mere mines or heavier explosives. “Aid the infantry however you can.”

“That’s easy to say and not to do…can’t see who’s doing this at all…”

“Gunner, Bow Gun, scan for the enemy,” you said, “I’ll look too.” In the meantime, you addressed Vehrlors, hoping he wasn’t behind a hill and would have heard you and Planckner last, “Four-One, we’ve encountered light resistance.”

“Light?” a questioning tone.

“We haven’t had more than a few rifle shots come at us. They’ve only been harassing. Our counter-fire has been far heavier.”

“Whatever you do, get it done fast,” Vehrlors said with a dissatisfied tone in his voice, “You better believe our targets are hearing that, and know you’re sticking around to fight.”

“I know, I know,” you said in return, “Four-Five out.”

“Not seeing shit, commander,” Schafer said as he turned the gunner periscope side to side, “Bet they’re already gone.”

“Alright,” you took off your headset and pushed to the left side of the turret to open the hatch. “Hey, Hennes!” you called to the nearest panzergrenadier, who was one of the ones you actually knew, “We need to attack, advance, you have our support!”

The panzergrenadier seemed confused, but nodded and called to his comrades whilst you closed the hatch again. “Driver, forward slow,” you said, “Gunner, anything that isn’t our people, light it up. Same for you, Hausen.” The platoon set. “Four-Six, I’m moving up. Bound up to me when I stop.”

“Roger, Four-Five.”
>>
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Despite your talk, though, naught but curses could be said about your performance as fire went out, and was replied to with the same few rifle shots every so often. You were depending on chance to try and destroy this particular enemy, and as you moved forward through the woods, you found that all you were doing was making a colossal racket, sending out high explosive shells and machine gun fire for little effect that you could perceive, though at the very least, the harassing return fire had been so disrupted by your own output that none of the panzergrenadier had been seriously wounded. Though, you could see that you were getting close to an edge of the trees, as they began to thin out over the next hundred meters.

“Four-Five,” Planckner crackled over the radio, “I think they’re drawing us out. At this rate we’re going to be caught before we catch them.”

True. Though perhaps, that was ideal..?

>Continue the pursuit, taking the lead yourself. You were forming a good distraction, for sure- and something of actual worth was surely on its way.
>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
>Split up the unit. One part would remain and continue the ineffectual skirmish, whilst the other would reposition. (Who, and where?)
>Other?
>>
>>5229039
>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
>>
>>5229039
>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
Wasted enough time already, this force obviously doesn't intend to do actual damage to us, and us engaging them only plays into their hand. We definitely don't want to split up either.
>>
>>5229039
>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
>>
>>5229039
>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
Luring them in a little can be good, but catching us out in a fight while our support is miles away would not be good.
>>
>>5229039
>>Disengage the unit. Start moving up the hill again towards your initial maneuver, to set up your support gun before you committed to a fight.
>>
>>5229068
>>5229094
>>5229111
>>5229140
>>5229215
Stop pressing the fight. Get that gun set up.

Writing.
>>
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No, time to stop toying with whatever bunch this was. “You’re right, Four-Six, let’s cover our people’s withdrawal. We have better to do right now.” You weren’t about to purposely mention the towed gun, even if the people skirmishing with you might have somehow noticed it. Just in case anybody found your frequency and was listening in. Out to the panzergrenadier, again through the side hatch, you called. “Back up the hill! We’ll cover you!”

The blind fire continued as the panzergrenadier left you behind and followed the armored truck and towed gun up the hill’s slope- you couldn’t know if your sporadic machine gun fire was actually pinning anybody down or if the enemy were even still here, but it had seemed before that the cessation of fire prompted near immediate pot shots from the unique sounding rifles, so it had felt proper to shoot away more ammunition than reasonable.

As soon as you followed the men up the hill, though, the harassment continued- though now aimed at you and Planckner rather than the panzergrenadier, as shots bounced off the vision blocks and around the top of the cupola. At first it was startling- then irritating, but you were too close to friendly forces for anybody to catch the tanks unawares.

No updates came from Vehrlors as you were pestered up the hill, though the 8 centimeter gun crew reported that their piece was in position, and though they had no time to fortify it, its support was now available. Though, they also had other news…

“Tread tracks and movement, Four-Five,” the radio from the armored truck reported, “Some of the guys saw it when we got up here. Heading towards us. Something’s on the move, can’t say where or what.”

You paused, and ordered your engine shut off, as well as Planckner’s, and listened…indeed, something was approaching. Something heavy and lumbering, though you had presumed as much. The Crown Taker wouldn’t take his vehicle into close combat with you, certainly. This was his apprentice…with the NK-H. Apparently confident he could take you and Planckner. He might have even been right to assume so.

“Four-One,” you spoke over the radio again as the tank’s engine started up once more, “Armored contact coming for us. Seems like the heavy tank. They’re not waiting for us to come to them.”

“Good luck,” Vehrlors replied, “I’ll say if we encounter anything. If we do, it’ll be soon…”

Your mouth went dry in anticipation. This enemy heavy tank…you hadn’t fought one at the close range you’d be dueling in these woods. Would your cannon be sufficient to penetrate its armor? On the other hand, your gunner was the best you’d ever known, and Schafer was an expert at quick and precise shots at close range. Maybe this was better for you all along?

>The enemy comes to you. What do you do next?
>>
>>5229282
>>The enemy comes to you. What do you do next?
Get everyone to mask up and load Bertholite, even if we can't penetrate the tank the gas should get them and at this close range they have less time to don masks themselves . Even if it doesn't kill them hopefully it should distract them long enough for us to get in a second shot with Jorgen's skill and/or the support gun to open up.
>>
>>5229282
Hide and ambush.
>>
>>5229282
Try to hide in bushes or tall trees and shade that we can find and idle the engine, with 4-6 doing similar but displaced from us a bit so it will be likely that at least one of us can get the jump on him. This would be done preferably a bit to the South East to limit the visibility to the North as much as possible. If he turns to approach the 8cm gun, that should expose his flank to us.
>>
>>5229282
>The enemy comes to you. What do you do next?
All of the above. Have the lads mask up, load gas and keep an AP shell handy for afterwards. Hopefully Planckner should already have AP in the tube so he can get a shot off shortly after we give this acolyte the ol' spicy keychain.
>>
>>5229282
Slinging Bertholite at him first sounds like a good idea, but I wonder if he is confidant enough to pursue us such that we can lead him into the arc of the field gun. If we don't have to knife fight him I don't want to. If he is a bit more cautious though, we might have to get the field gun to try and lay us down smoke and charge the bastard.
>>
>>5230058
Why wouldn't we want to knife fight him? Heavy tanks tend to be less maneuverable, we have a knife fighting specialist gunner, and we're going to have trouble penetrating his frontal armor at any kind of range.
>>
>>5230063
Well, I actually would, what I meant was I guess was I would like to have the chance to lure him in further to where we can hit him with the field gun before having to commit to a charge. A close range fight is our best bet but I would like to maximize our chance to conserve armor of fate. Maybe the field gun could even lay down smoke cover if they don't have a great shot.
>>
>>5229282
>The enemy comes to you. What do you do next?
Make absolutely sure we are behind some kind of obstruction and split our two tanks into reverse flanking positions.
As dangerous as the Acolyte is, the real threat is Crown Taker watching over his back. You better believe that they are coordinating, and it may even be the case that the Acolyte is merely acting as bait to reveal ourselves for the Crown Takers cowardly shot.

Even if it means risking the safety of the infantry and Artillery position ourselves and Planckner in positions that cover against long range attack even if it makes us more vulnerable to the Acolyte.
Bertholite isn't a bad starting shot, if only for the potential coverage.

>Other?
Really it's way too late to try this but we should huck some sacred salt against the spectres in the woods. No one said that Crown Taker doesn't have BULLSHIT WIZARD magical allies to aid him against us.
>>
>>5229288
>>5229573
>>5229626
>>5229668
>>5230058
>>5230493
Stepping back and waiting to spring- then opening with gas.
Is this against treaties between Netilland and Strossvald? Well, technically, you're operating outside of the Archduchy's authority, and these are not line combatants, chemical weapons were already in sparse use and you know what the best kind of war crimes trial is the one that doesn't take place so don't worry too much about it.
>>
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“Four-Six,” you said to Planckner, “Move back, we’ll draw back to cover and set up a defensive ambush.” As much as you could, given that the enemy foot elements would be watching you the whole time. “If he goes one way or the other, I want him to have to turn his side to one of us.”

“Got it, Four-Five,” Planckner replied quickly, “…Hope he doesn’t go for me.”

You hoped that the approaching enemy tank didn’t, either. After all, Planckner couldn’t weather a shot like your tank could. You instructed Malachi on how you wanted to move- and did your best to guide him backwards from the confines of your cupola while the gunner maintained a watch forward.

“Jorgen, load Bertholite,” you ordered in the meantime, “Get your gas masks ready to put on.”

“Aye,” Jorgen answered, but Schafer squinted at you.

“Bertholite. That’s a first, y’sure?”

“We haven’t fought this type of tank head to head,” you said, “We’ve shot out their treads and let bombers take care of them. We can’t do that here. I know that the weakest armor they have will be their air intakes, and we won’t have to hit near it for it to spread. At the very least, the thick cloud will impede their vision. We’ll have an armor piercing shell ready right after. I’m not underestimating this foe.”

“Hm.” Schafer allowed it, “Say th’ word for where you want th’t second shot, then.”

“Open channel again, commander,” Hausen said over the intercom, as you were finalizing your quick maneuver.

A voice spoke over the open channel- you half expected Crown Taker again, but instead, it was a new voice, albeit distorted by obstructions in the terrain.
“Silver Lances!” the voice proclaimed, “I am Erstan Hassell. Know before our battle that, if I believed it was my choice, I would not fight you. However, destiny has decided otherwise. I come at you with everything, and I expect no less from you. En garde.” The transmission stopped immediately afterwards- apparently he expected no response.

There was no time to speak of it either. Immediately after the transmission ended, Schafer reported contact. “A shape in the trees,” he said quickly.

“Fire at will,” you replied. As soon as possible, the Bertholite shell would be going out- and you’d have a moment more to pick a second shot before you found out whether that was a wise first choice. The tank was suddenly visible amongst the trees- it was indeed a familiar heavy tank shape, but your teeth grit together when you noticed that it had already pointed its gun your way. This would be closer than you intended it…

>The first shot will be quick. Where do you put the second?
>>
>>5230804
Lower plate, below the drivers viewport.
>>
>>5230804
How close is he, and is he close enough for our gunner's knife fighting perk to activate?
>>
>>5230825
>How close is he
Unclear. Within 20 meters or closer.
>and is he close enough for our gunner's knife fighting perk to activate?
Yes.
>>
>>5230804
>Right down the barrel
Since we're not going to miss, taking out his ability to fire, even if it isn't a kill shot, should be the safest play here. Hopefully the gas/Planckner/IO can follow up on this.
>>
>>5230804
>Aim at their canon
Time to hit em with the classic.
Schafer is a crack shot, we disable their ability to hurt us they're sitting ducks.
>>
>>5230804
With the foremost section of turret ring appearing shielded I would have instead suggested aiming for the coax(es) as a potential weak spot, but upon reflection I suppose the MGs together don't present any smaller of a target than the bore of the main gun itself does, so I'll go with the rest of the anons in voting for a disabling shot at/down the barrel.
>>
>>5230804
The driver viewing port
>>
>>5230804
>The first shot will be quick. Where do you put the second?
The gun, its served as a good target if we can hit it so far.
>>
>>5230814
>>5230941
Fuck the driver in particular.

>>5230829
>>5230832
>>5230878
>>5230990
Go for the gun.

Writing. I have today and tomorrow off on PTO so I'm intending to get this fight done during that time, even if I'm not off to a good start what with sleeping in and then going out and digging in the snow for a couple hours.
>>
A flash, and a burst of thick, greenish smoke flew over the enemy tank, whorling in a sickly flower shape. There was no time, and no thought, as you heard your loader slot the next shell in.

“Their gun!” you ordered- if they couldn’t shoot at you with their cannon, it didn’t matter how tough they were, “Fire at will!”

Schafer said nothing as he adjusted the aim of the cannon, and you watched the glow of an armor piercing shell strike the barrel of the NK-H’s 5 centimeter cannon, barely visible from the cloud of Bertholite. There was a pause, and then the gun flashed- but no shell came. Only a soft flash from within the barrel followed by a plume of white smoke from out the sides.

>The enemy’s gun has been sundered- they suffer a great risk of failure to any attempt to fire.

“Four-Six!” you called out on the platoon radio, “His gun’s out, where are you?”

“I’m moving, I have a bad angle,” he answered, “I see him, but he’s got shit in the way.”

Right off, though, the enemy seemed to realize their situation. A brace of objects were tossed from the top, and a series of pops accompanied a wall of fog appearing between you and the enemy.

“He’s comin’ for you!” Planckner said right off, “Around and to your left!” Away from where Planckner was trying to get an angle for a flanking shot.

“Gunner, turn the turret left, they’re trying to close the gap between us,” you said as you heard the choomp of a munitions caster firing. A cloud of white burst out over your tank, and you were thankful that you had thought to give the order to don gas masks.

In the meantime, though, you couldn’t see a thing- and your enemy could be heard, but the combination of the dim of twilight, the foliage, the smoke, and the fog of gas over your tank was keeping you from being aware of how close the enemy might be drawing. They might have had their cannon damaged, but if they were crazy enough, they could still try and use it- let alone their possible strategy of utilizing their tank as a means to simply get closer to you.

They couldn’t be allowed to do that. At the very least, they couldn’t be allowed to jump on you without it being a fatal mistake…

>Retreat- get out of the smoke, and try and lure the enemy into a place where Planckner can execute his flank.
>Remain in place- they’d expect you to retreat. They could lose you in this smoke as easily as you lost them, and you could react to them once you had a better idea of where they were.
>Advance- if they wanted to play this sort of game, you’d go to where they least expected you. Right where they were.
>Other?
>>
>>5231276
>>Advance- if they wanted to play this sort of game, you’d go to where they least expected you. Right where they were.
>>
>>5231276
>Listen carefully, and remain in place until you hear them, and move to evade if they approach.
Heavy tanks are loud, and visibility is poor. Relying on our ears here will be better than guessing at his behavior and perhaps playing into him trying to react to us. Time is on our side for once, Planckner is coming.
>>
>>5231276
>>5231320
Good plan.
>>
>>5231291
They will not come to you- you will come to them.

>>5231320
>>5231325
Wait and listen- keep an ear to the ground, and leave the movement to your ally.

Writing.
>>
No further orders came from your headset- you were content hiding, for now. The Ace’s Acolyte was no fresh faced fool on a battlefield he’d never been to- he must have been thinking about what you’d do. Instinct would have told you to withdraw, but you did no such thing. Rendered blind, you instead tried to listen- wherever that tank was, it wouldn’t be moving with any grace. Even now, you could hear it, as you deigned to let yourself ever so slightly out of the cupola, confident that the numerous visual obstructions would keep the snipers from taking shots at you, if they dared to interrupt this.

If this rival came for you, you’d react accordingly.

“I’m staying in place, Four-Six,” you said with calmness that surprised you, “Focus on getting around him.”

Maneuvering too boldly was a risk too- you still did not know where the Crown Taker was. Part of you wanted to guess at him being nearby, or moving towards you- but none of those air splitting cannon shots had rung out so far. He may as well have not existed anywhere but in your mind…

“I’m gunning for his flank now,” Planckner reported as you heard his tank adding its motor clearly to your senses, “I’m gonna need you to go for him once I have him in my sights- he knows I’m coming, I can feel it.”

“Roger that, Four-Six,” you said, watching for if any of the smoke was thinning, ordering your driver to adjust the angle of the tank’s hull as you tried your best to tell where the enemy was that you couldn’t see, but Planckner could. Whoever came at the Acolyte first, though, was sure to take whatever wrath he still had left to hurl at you, despite the tank’s cannon being seriously damaged- though you could only assume this determined enemy would risk further damage to his tank for the chance of a point blank shot…

>Do as Planckner asks, and wait for his word. He’d have a clearer picture than you did in here.
>Rush out- if Planckner was distracting him already, then you had a good opportunity to take.
>Other?
>>
>>5231399
>Do as Planckner asks, and wait for his word. He’d have a clearer picture than you did in here.
>>
>>5231399
>>Rush out- if Planckner was distracting him already, then you had a good opportunity to take.
arw2k
>>
>>5231399
>Do as Planckner asks, and wait for his word. He’d have a clearer picture than you did in here.
Planckner is an experienced tanker, and working in coordination is best. Rushing out against his plan might only cause confusion for him and give the Acolyte an actual chance at one of us when we're not attacking at the same time.
>>
>>5231399
>Do as Planckner asks, and wait for his word. He’d have a clearer picture than you did in here.
Trust our comrades, they all have plenty of experience
>>
>>5231399
>Do as Planckner asks, and wait for his word. He’d have a clearer picture than you did in here.
>>
>>5231416
>>5231419
>>5231426
>>5231429
Hold until told- your head's in the clouds.

>>5231417
Just go for it.

Writing.
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

There was nothing to do but wait- and listen. Keep an ear on the land and the air both, for the timing required of you. It was tempting enough for your foot to tap, and to order yourself recklessly forward, but your comrades were what you had and your enemy didn’t- you had to trust them.

Heartbeat to heartbeat, you stared outward, until finally, as the grinding of treads forward and ahead threatened to collide in your head…

“Four-Five, go! Veer right out of there, he’s good at keeping his front forward, but he won’t be able to do that at this range!”

“I copy,” you said curtly, and drew yourself up out of the turret to navigate once more. “Driver, quarter right, and forward!” The poor visibility would do no favors in trying to evade trees- there was no distraction from phantoms this time, lest you become one yourself.

Dark shapes lit in red glow were overcompensated for, as you swung left and right, the tank tilting so much you were confident in not being hit if only because you swayed yourself from one side of hanging over the cupola to the next, thrown about and at times, nearly out of your vehicle itself, until finally, mist swirling about by the tank…

“Gunner, traverse full left!” You stammered as the enemy suddenly became visible, and the conceit of Planckner’s maneuvers became clear. The Crown Taker’s ally had overcompensated for trying to protect himself from two angles, true enough, but the turret was also turned completely away from where you were about to stop and take your shot.

Only…though you had a firm shot on his flank, and Schafer needed no instruction on what to do, Planckner had perhaps himself underestimated his opponent as well, from how the turret stopped moving and the gun made a final adjustment…

>Enemy’s roll under 45, degrees of success apply.
>>
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It seemed certain Planckner would be skewered by an armor piercing shot- but the damage you had done had been too severe. When the Crown Taker’s apprentice fired, there was only another spray of smoke and bits of metal, and the barrel was further ruined. You yourself were too close to assume that it was merely a last desperate attempt by an already defeated enemy to show defiance- it was time to finish this.

“Fire!” One shell went in to the flank of the heavy tank’s hull, and you were close enough to immediately see that it was plenty effective at point blank range. “Once again.” Another shell, this time into the turret. “Another.” A final one into the hull. It…was done, as smoke trickled out of the enemy tank. Yet, you ordered another shell shot into it, regardless.

You looked around wildly in a peek out of the cupola afterwards. It didn’t feel like you had won a victory, not yet. It felt no safer than before, and you hadn’t a celebratory breath in your body in that time.

“Good work, Four-Five,” Planckner said breathlessly, “Thought I was gonna be charcoal there, for a second.”

“You see anybody else?” You demanded, “There’s still another enemy to account for.”

“I haven’t heard from the rest of the platoon,” Planckner reported, “I haven’t heard any other cannon fire either, though. What do you want to do next?”

>Wait here. This was a solid position, and the other target would be drawn to you here, surely.
>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
>Pack up everything and reposition. (Where?)
>Other?
>>
>>5232211
>Pack up everything and reposition. (Where?)
Move to Hill 9, see if we can re-establish comms with Vehrlors
>>
>>5232211
>Pack up everything and reposition. (Where?)
Move along hill to the west of hill 20.
Keep to the forest to hide our movement and keep the chances of getting shot lower.
>>
>>5232211
>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
That support gun is in a good position and has the range to effectively hit anything on this map, there is no reason to pack it up and move it somewhere else. The panzergrenadier are ideal to protect it while we continue.
>>
>>5232211
>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
>>
>>5232211
>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
>>
>>5232211
>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
>Other?
If the snipers keep pressuring the infantry then the support gun has full permission to fire and keep the enemy from being comfortable.
>>
>>5232211
>>Leave the panzergrenadier here- they can provide support and protect themselves well enough while you moved north.
Do we want to get the support gun to indirect fire some smoke cover for us when we move up north?
>>
>>5232216
Move to Hill 9

>>5232255
Move to Hill 20, and walk in the woods.

Either way you're all moving.

>>5232311
>>5232325
>>5232338
>>5232353
>>5232360
Leave the infantry and truck and gun. Only tankers allowed.

Writing.
>>
“We’ll leave the rest of our guys here while we head north,” you said, still careful not to reveal exactly what said “guys” were. “They have a good position, and we can call on them for help anywhere we might go here. Four-Three,” such was what the gun crew and truck were designated, since it wasn’t as though Little Von Rotehof was still here, “Feel free to do what’s necessary if those snipers harass you.”

“Aye aye. Good hunting.” Still carefree about all this. To be true, they hadn’t suffered much in the way of stressful combat in the valley.
Hopefully good hunting for Vehrlors too, you thought. Lack of cannon fire or no, losing contact didn’t bode well. You had to get going, quickly. Planckner fell into echelon left behind you, and the both of you moved northwards, hatches all closed, and making your pace as fast as you could. If those sharpshooters wanted to keep chasing you, they’d have to run- and you weren’t going to give them even a sliver of a target to attempt at.

The sun was well down, now, and darkness was fast descending. The stars were fading in above, and as you deigned to look up after reaching the edge of the woods north, you were shocked back to ground by the sharp boom of a familiar, fierce cannon, and return fire shortly after- somewhere to the northwest, though it was hard to say where.

“Hear that, Four-Five?”

“I hear it. Do you see where it’s coming from up there, Four Three?” You hoped the hill gave the panzergrenadier a commanding position to spot the rest of the valley from, though the trees were admittedly too thick for a perfect view.

“Negative,” came the reply, “We’re looking, though. Tell us if you want any flares or the like, we’re ready to provide support.”
>>
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You’d rather not have to use flares, but with dark coming this fast, you might not have much choice- especially if it would flush out a hidden enemy. “Four-One Actual, Four-Two,” you called again, “Do you copy?”

“………t…..n….” The interference was heavy- shockingly heavy. Familiarly heavy…what terrible timing, if that was the case…and this far back, too. No, it had to be the terrain- and bad luck.

What to do now, though…if Crown Taker was north west, he could be in a position to intercept you if you rushed too blindly over. Though if the rest of the platoon was already fighting him, then maybe you had no choice. After all, they could defeat him- but then, they also could be defeated themselves, and if Crown Taker could defeat the platoon in detail, your prior victory would be all for naught.

>Move directly northwest through the sparse woods, and north of Alkenssand. The cover of the woods was still necessary in the dark, though it would be more difficult to drive through…
>Establish a position to spot from Hill 9- you were outmatched in a direct long range fight, but if you could open up a flank, that could tip the balance so long as you weren’t too late.
>Move behind Hill 9 and move north through the village rather than the woods- it would let you maintain speed to move over open ground
>Other?

Also, if you want your support gun to do something, make sure to include that.
>>
>>5232452
>Move directly northwest through the sparse woods, and north of Alkenssand. The cover of the woods was still necessary in the dark, though it would be more difficult to drive through…
I trust in Mal to get us there safely.
>>
>>5232452
>Move directly northwest through the sparse woods, and north of Alkenssand. The cover of the woods was still necessary in the dark, though it would be more difficult to drive through…
I want to do option 2, but I don’t think we’d have the proper visibility to provide support beyond that of directing indirect fire, even if we could see the flash of his fire.
>>
>>5232452
>Move directly northwest through the sparse woods, and north of Alkenssand. The cover of the woods was still necessary in the dark, though it would be more difficult to drive through…

It isn't even because I'm worried about Crown Taker, it's more who knows if there are any lingering defenses or traps in the town proper.
>>
>>5232452
>>Move directly northwest through the sparse woods, and north of Alkenssand. The cover of the woods was still necessary in the dark, though it would be more difficult to drive through…
If the field gun can manage it, I would like them to get flares up over the hill 20 up north. The shot may have come from the north west but we have to worry about the Crown Taker repositioning, and he will at least have to be more cautious if he wants to skulk around in the woods this way.
>>
>>5232507
I disagree on the flares, using them brings a lot of trouble, and if we're not in a position to see much in the first place, their usefulness is limited.
>>
>>5232452
Supporting >>5232507
>>
>>5232459
>>5232472
>>5232487
Move through the woods.

>>5232507
>>5232556
Try and light things up over the hill, perhaps.

>>5232553
Decline on the flare.

Writing.
>>
Rolled 64, 5, 12, 71, 5, 87 = 244 (6d100)

“Let’s keep going, Four-Six,” you said, “Directly northwest through those woods. We’re swinging north of the village.”

“Roger that, Four-Five,” Planckner replied.

These woods were much less dense than the ones you came from, but it had also gotten darker- it would be a bit a chore to navigate them, but not only did you not want to underestimate your opponent, but you were wary of any lingering traps or unexpected complications that might be on the village or roads, for what they were. The man had been waiting here for you, after all, and for all the proclamations he made about a fair fight, a man did not become a tank ace by letting his enemy know exactly what he was doing, nor by going easy.

“Four-Three,” you called the support gun next, mulling over whether you ought to ask, “The northmost hill.” You requested they fire a parachute flare over it. No explanation why- if anybody listened in, even with you speaking in code, they might parse why. The intent, though, was to try and psyche out the Crown Taker from potentially relocating there.

There was a trade-off. Flares were not precise with their lighting, and people much further away would be alerted to it, but…you’d cross that bridge later. Hemming in your remaining enemy was of disproportionate import.

The shell went out from behind, a booming followed by a pop in the sky in front of you, a falling star glowing like the absent sun and casting long shadows- but not quite to you.

“…We’ve spotted ‘em, Four-Five,” the gun crew reported to you, and that same report was followed by another series of cannon blasts, echoing over the valley and washing back over…

>Rolling 6 d100. The first 3 are for initiative- the last 3 are for hit chance. The three are, in order for both first and second set, Stalker, Vehrlors, and Von Rotehof. Crown taker has a +15 to his initiative roll. Vehrlors and Von Rotehof have a Roll Under 70 and 40 to hit effectively. Crown Taker cannot miss- degrees of success are measured as though rolling under 101.
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

>>5232806
>Crown Taker cannot miss- degrees of success are measured as though rolling under 101.
Bruh. Yikes.
Alright then...
Here, we, GO!
>>
>>5232825
That is a nice roll, but this has already been decided.
>>
>>5232837
Ah.
"Rolling 6 d100"
Not "Roll 6 d100"
So I guess Vehlors got his hit in...assuming Stalker's shot didn't fucking kill him first.
>>
It had been over faster than Vehrlors would have liked. He would have wanted a struggle, a chase- but this enemy, for all his animalism, was resolute. He faced his enemies- and when the Captain realized that…he made a decision. He was never going to win by shrinking away from death- so he asked his crew to stare it in the face.
>Ace Officer Ability: Die Hard- No matter what, your attack goes through.

The Netillian struck true- though not perfectly. The armor was broken, the tank smoked inside, but after the short running battle, with Von Rotehof doing his best to distract the enemy, Otto Vehrlors watched through the blood in his eyes and the pain all over his body, as his gunner’s final act was to lodge a shot into the enemy.
The tank destroyer recoiled as though struck, and then an explosion sent a searing light upwards. The rise of the sun…

…Lucian Von Rotehof would be demanding his status. For all his peacefulness, his stoic front, the man could be pushed. The radio was one of the things broken in his m/32 now, though. Much like most of the crew. Vehrlors felt himself tell the crew to bail out- but he was slow in climbing out, in staggering towards the brightly burning enemy. For he had seen one person fall out- one person he saw crawl to a nearby tree, and lean against it, sitting down.

He found himself standing before his foe without realizing he had walked all the way- as if he had been picked up and placed before him. His sidearm was in his hand, as he had expected to have to finish the job- but one look told him everything. The man’s black coat was soaked with blood, as was his smirking face. His legs were shredded. There wouldn’t be much longer- but for some reason, the enemy did not seem in pain.

“…Heh heh.” The Ace laughed harshly, “You are not who I expected. Congratulations. How do you feel?”

“I didn’t come to hear you talk,” Vehrlors spat, “I came to watch you die.”

The Ace looked up and down the Strossvalder Captain. “It seems,” he tilted his chin up, “That we’ll be sharing that final act, won’t we? None of this matters anymore. Make your choice. We can speak, or you can shoot me. I cannot deny you either, now.”

The Captain thought, the bright light of the burning tank lighting half of both of their faces, the others completely dark as the night fell in totality. He fell to his knees, then sat back again, propping himself up with an arm that had to drop its weapon- for the other hung uselessly.

“You expected Von Tracht, I take it,” Vehrlors said, “Is it disappointing, that my men and I killed you?”
>>
The Ace shook his head. “I expected the new to wipe away the old. Yet, now, we fellows have wiped away one another, and the young will walk amongst our ashes. We have left so much behind, and the thrones will be empty, until the clamoring masses find their true kings once again…” Vehrlors was only half listening at this point. He only wanted to stay alive longer than this man, wasting his energy on talking. Yet, he asked something that took him aback. “Do you have family, Victorious One? Loved ones who will miss you?”

Vehrlors stared. “My family is my unit. Men you killed. I have avenged them. They will miss me…but they will understand.” An odd compulsion towards compassion, now. Maybe it was the closeness to which they sought to look upon the face of the Judge. “You have family?”

“A beautiful wife. A son and a daughter. Yet they could never understand,” Crown Taker closed his eyes and sank his chin into his chest, “They could not understand what we have. What we take from one another…” He sank further, “You have good friends. A good family.”

Vehrlors grunted, but when he looked up, the light had faded from his enemy’s eyes. He stared a few more moments, then let his arm fall out from under him. He collapsed onto his back, and looked up at the stars.

He remembered the Orphanage. Where he and friends had decided to fight against a world that had unjustly abandoned them. He had lost them all along the way, now. Yet back then, they would see the stars, and did not see their distance. Only their brilliance- and they sought to spite any who would deny them their light.

A face appeared. A familiar one.

“Lucian,” Vehrlors said weakly.

“Save your strength,” the red haired officer knelt, “I have morphine and a first aid kit. We can save you-“

“Don’t bullshit me, Lucian,” Vehrlors said with a shake of his head, “Enough of that. I’m still in command. Don’t delay the inevitable. I feel the river taking me, and I’m alright with that.”

Von Rotehof stopped, and stood. “Do you want me to tell the girl anything?”

“I’ve already told her everything that could be said,” Vehrlors said, “My cigarettes. It’s the brand she likes,” he pointed to his pocket, “Get it out, and give me a light. We’ll share a last kiss with that smoke.”

The second in command solemnly knelt, and did as he was asked, lighting the cigarette and putting it in his Captain’s mouth, who breathed in deeply and sighed.

“Tell Von Tracht he did a good job,” he sighed, “Don’t think he’ll get here in time. And tell Pfortner that I’m sorry for going and getting myself killed, but…at least it was just my tank and my men.”

Lucian Von Rotehof nodded, and saluted. “It has been an honor, Captain.”

Vehrlors saluted back, and stared at the stars until even their light became dark.

-----
>>
You saw the fires from afar, and in a panic, called your platoon. Von Rotehof’s radioman answered- and told you news you had been prepared for, but still anguished you to hear.

The tank slowed to a halt, and you hauled yourself out and over towards where Elder Von Rotehof was standing, over Vehrlors- laying on the ground. You looked to the side- Crown Taker was like you saw him last, only now, much older looking, yet peaceful in what was assuredly death. You looked down to your former superior officer- and saw that same peace on his face.

“He told me to tell you…” Von Rotehof’s voice lacked its usual placidity. Instead, he was weary, and his voice caught on parts. “That you did a good job.”

“I could have been here sooner,” you said, “I could have been-“

“There’s no need for that, Lieutenant,” Von Rotehof snapped suddenly, “He knew this might happen. We all knew.” He stared down still, and then looked up at the stars, “…Do you have any casualties to report?”

“Negative,” you said, “Only the enemy’s.”

“Good. Good.” Von Rotehof nodded, and tilted his cap over his face, sighing. “I would ask the Judge for a moment…but it seems we do not have one…”

>?
>>
>>5232919
Let's get everyone back to the company first, we'll mourn properly later.
>>
>>5232919
Vehrlors! Fuck.
He got what he wanted in the end I guess. They both did.

>?
One last salute and then we make sure both dead and wounded are accounted for. And extract the infantry if the snipers are still out there.

Would you say this was a noble duel? Or a waste of life? Does Richter care anymore?
>>
>>5232919
Try to grab up Vehrlor an his men, to take back home.
And take the Crown Taker Kerchief and take the Medal of that one guy he got his tank from off him too.
>>
>>5232919
We still have to get out of here, if we can bring the bodies back we can try to fit them in the truck but we might just have to come back for them after we push up and secure this area.
>>
>>5232978
>>5233003
>>5233046
Get everybody ready to head back- you're not done yet.

>>5233013
Rip some shit.

Writing.
>>
“We need to get the men back together,” you looked away from Vehrlors, “And our wounded and dead. We have to get back to the company.”

“Mmm. I’ll announce it properly,” Von Rotehof said, turning away, “There’s heavy interference, though. We’ll be best off sending people to make sure the message is delivered. Remain here. I’ll convey it personally. The platoon commander shouldn’t be cleaning up when action still has to be taken.”

“Right,” you nodded, and looked back to Vehrlors, giving him a salute. “Von Rotehof?”

“Yes.”

“Was this wasted life, you think? Or a noble duel?” You asked, arm still up, “I’m not sure myself.”

“…Me either, Lieutenant,” Von Rotehof said, “I don’t think the Captain thought it was noble, but he wouldn’t have called it a waste.”

He let you be, and you found yourself trudging over to Crown Taker’s body. His breast was coated in souvenirs- trophies. You idly drew away his kerchief, stained with blood, and a medal you remembered- the one he claimed he had taken from the same Ellowian he had taken this tank from, that now smoldered beside his body. Was it to be a memento? Loot for yourself, of the same sort of trophy your enemy might have sought to have made of you? It wasn’t certain, not yet, but you felt you couldn’t leave everything there to be forgotten.

“Lieutenant,” Hausen came up behind you, “Von Rotehof said you were in charge here. The other people want to know what you want to do, Vehrlors’s crew has some wounded men that still need tending.”

“Take care of that, then,” you said, “Get the tarcloths and wrap up our…dead.” Should you propose to bury the enemy? You didn’t know if you even had time for that luxury of honor, or if they’d have even wanted it. “Make sure we have awareness in all directions. There’s still those snipers about.”
>>
Alas, despite the tension in the air, as darkness blanketed the valley, the snipers did not return, leaving you to your sad work in the dark and the cold, until Von Rotehof returned, all of the panzergrenadier marching behind his tank, and the truck driving behind as well, towing its gun. All of the infantrymen had pulled their scarves up around their faces, and uncertainty was in their eyes again- they had woken up from the glory of the expedition, and were puzzling out how you’d return.

Once Von Rotehof had gathered all the men and loaded those who could not walk, whether wounded or fallen, into the armored truck, he addressed the leadership once more.

“We won’t be able to get out the same way we came in,” he said wearily, “It’s full dark now, so it’ll be easier to move around, but we can’t all ride anymore. We have fewer vehicles, and less room in the truck besides. Nobody’s being left behind, but, if need be, if we encounter a situation where we can’t run through right away, any situation where we’d need to fight our way through for more than seconds, we’ll abandon our vehicles if it helps us sneak through. Understood?”

You coughed uncomfortably.

“It is only if we need to, Von Tracht,” Von Rotehof said, “I know that your vehicle was a…sentimental gift.”

Of sorts.

“We’ll wait for it to get a little darker. In the meantime, keep an eye out for-“ Von Rotehof stilled his tongue and looked up, then to the side. “Wait. Listen.”

Everybody was silent- in the distance, coming closer- the distinctive beating of the air of a propellor prop- low flying. An aircraft, at night?
“It might be one of those top-propellor machines,” Planckner suggested, “We’ve got tree cover here though.”

“Watch it anyways. Be ready,” Von Rotehof said, gesturing for you all to disperse- and intuitively, prepare for anti-aircraft action, though even autogyros were not easy to hit with rifles and machine guns. They were deceptively nimble if they wanted to be.

The autogyro flew over…then slowed, almost to a stop in the air, and lowered. As though it was landing…and it did, just near the village of Alkenssand. Its crew disembarked, mysteriously- three of them, and they withdrew a pole from the craft, and set it in the snow. A white trail dangled from the top- a truce flag.

“What in the world..?” You said to yourself as you peered through your binoculars. It was impossible to tell anything about them besides silhouettes at this distance and darkness, but the latter was temporary, as a small folding table was set out and a lantern placed on it. If the local snipers hadn’t been Netillian, presumably, you’d have thought this bunch utterly mad.
>>
“Four-Five,” Von Rotehof’s voice was crackly with the interference even over this short distance, “They seem to want to parley. Go meet with them, in your tank.”

“Four-Two, what if it’s a trap?” Planckner asked, “We ought to leave right now, if anything.”

“They already know we’re here, Four-Six,” Von Rotehof said, “They had no need to land. We need to go south to return to our lines anyways. We’ll just see what they want.”

Your misgivings were similar to Planckner’s, but you obeyed the new platoon commander’s request. It wasn’t as though you were lacking curiosity yourself- and as you approached the landed autogyro and the party around it, still vigilant for snipers…your curiosity was rewarded by an inexplicable presence.

“Richter Von Tracht!” a long haired officer, bundled in a coat but still wearing a distinct braid, saluted you, “How good it is to see you again, this time, without raising arms at one another.”

You saluted back, but did not exit the tank yet. “Good indeed, but…this is too much to be a coincidence, isn’t it.”

Magnus cocked an eyebrow at you. “It is. I was told you were here, and hurried as quickly as I could. I heard reports of a battle, and feared the worst when I learned who had requested solitude here. It seems that our mutual contact did not care to inform me of your precise location until you had already…finished.”

How generous of the IO to not allow any interruptions, you thought foully, but then, Magnus was of the Netillian Army. He couldn’t raise up a force to relieve you- and your own people wouldn’t believe that, either. All in all, it wasn’t his fault at all. “Do not worry about it. I didn’t come expecting any aid,” you finally got off of the tank and walked to the folding table, hands now in your pockets.

“The Crown Taker is no ordinary opponent, even calling him an elite soldier would be to underrate him” Magnus said, “I’m frankly shocked that you’re still alive. Relieved, yet shocked.”

“Not all of us made it,” you said gravely, “My unit commander was slain striking him down.”

“…My condolences,” Magnus bowed his head, “Were you good friends?”

“He was a good officer. A good comrade.” Unfortunately, your time with him had been too short. “My brethren, insofar as we are both Silver Lances…” The mood had turned dour, and you knew naught how to restore the mood, besides asking for what you sorely wanted. “You don’t have any tea on you do you?”

“I didn’t come to deliver that, no,” Magnus frowned, “I have come with an offer.”

“We were planning on making an escape. Surrender wasn’t on the table.”
>>
“Not for us, either,” Magnus said, “My proposal was thus. The New Republican Army of Netilland will use its power to prevent any units from entering this valley, or bombarding it. A perimeter will be established for your protection- and in a couple of days, you’ll be allowed to return to your units with your weapons and equipment.”

“A couple of days?” you repeated, “Why? That’s how long it might be until the Netillian Army counterattacks! We have to return to our unit for the defense.”

Magnus smirked a little. “The counteroffensive, you mean, that will never happen.”

You blinked. “Pardon me?”

“The lines between the Netillian Republican Army and the New Republican Army have been blurred for some time. Thanks to special efforts of both our men, and I hear, some of your nation’s…” Magnus pointed north, “Units that reported themselves as loyal to the Military Council have assembled in mass, and will turn their coats. The militarists will find themselves outnumbered, and surrounded, in several key places. Not every part of the front…but yours certainly included in the places where, in spite of great plans, longer term plans have succeeded in the future enforcement of a ceasefire.”

“Not every part, though,” you said.

“The Ellowian Republican Army has proven belligerent in negotiations,” Magnus sniffed disdainfully, “The New Republican Army has had to engage in unnecessary battles with them…so it was seen fit for the enemies of the Restored Netillian Republic to destroy each other. His Majesty Wladysaw has been much more diplomatic. I don’t know the details, but my superiors and yours seem to have reached an agreement for cooperation. Which is why I can make my offer…though I cannot help you return to your unit until the trap for the militarists is properly sprung. Besides, if you remain here, we can catch up…”

>You’ll have to refuse the offer, unfortunately. Your platoon has to return to your company, now that your mission is done- despite the risk.
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
>Other?
>>
>>5233220
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.

Pfortner is going to be mad at us already, might as well take the personally safer option. We have a wedding to get back to in one piece after all. Good opportunity to catch up with Magnus as well.
>>
>>5233223
Forgot but also see if we can make some temporary funenary arrangements for Vehrlors and his crew in the interim, until we can return to our lines.
>>
>>5233220
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
A nice bonus is this lets us properly collect/bury the dead and loot the stuff.

>>5233219
>I didn’t come expecting any aid
??? I thought the entire plan the IO gave us was that we would be bait and someone else would take out Crown Taker. Now the only IO involvement we see is securing extraction? Good thing we didn't take their plan more seriously or we could be dead. This definitely demands some sort of explanation.
>>
>>5233220
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
>Other?
"So how shit is the hand you guys will be dealt after the war?"
>>
>>5233220
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.

What next for him after the war, staying in Netilland or heading back to the land of his ancestors? Wlad sounds like he could use all the loyal men he can get considering the tensions building behind the scenes between the Royalists and Republicans
>>
>>5233220
>>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
It sounds like we won't be needed back home after all, so all that getting back there will do at this point is spare a harsher chewing of our asses. That is something I would like to avoid but not at the potential cost of more lives from the people we came here with, not to mention the possibility of having to abandon our tank to sneak over.
>>
>>5233220
>You’ll have to refuse the offer, unfortunately. Your platoon has to return to your company, now that your mission is done- despite the risk.
Yeah. This seems like a trap.
Not from Magnus, but from the IO.
Don't trust it.
>>
>>5233220
>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
>>
>>5233220
OOC, is this the same type of large troop transport autogyro encountered at the Garden facility or another model? Could we get a sketch of one of these larger non-scouting gyros, either in a thread or on twitter at some point?
>>
>>5233220
>>Fair enough. Von Rotehof might be glad to hear that you wouldn’t have to break through your lines- though for a few days your company commander would surely be furious.
Pfortner is going to be pissed anyway; we might as well avoid the risk of losing even more tanks on the way back.
>>
>>5233223
>>5233246
>>5233250
>>5233253
>>5233447
>>5233587
>>5233790
Accept the offer on Von Rotehof's behalf. Get other things done. Have a little chat.
Also suspect that the IO may not have had your best interests in mind.

>>5233450
The machinations of the homeland must reach far- and your guard is not down.

Writing. Let's see if I can get this done before I have to leave for the night.
>>
>>5233686
>OOC, is this the same type of large troop transport autogyro encountered at the Garden facility or another model?
This is a smaller model- most autogyros carry two people, a pilot and a spotter, but this one has just enough space for a third person.

>Could we get a sketch of one of these larger non-scouting gyros, either in a thread or on twitter at some point?
Sure, I have the top view so it won't be too much to draft the rest.
>>
“Sounds good to me,” you decided. Pfortner was going to be pissed no matter what you did- best to try and preserve the men and materiel left, and you were sure Von Rotehof would come to the same decision. “Let me tell my acting platoon commander. I’ll tell him you can be trusted on this matter.”

“I would understand if he didn’t think me trustworthy,” Magnus said, “But were I in his place, I’d find myself between a rock and a stormy sea, as it were. Do come back if you are not planning to retreat right away after all- we have much to recount to one another, don’t we?” As you began to leave, though, you were interrupted. “Wait. Is your retinue with you?”

“Ah. No,” you said, “She’s at her old home, recuperating.”

“Good. I was worried that…never mind.”

You would have been, too. Crown Taker would not have hesitated to kill her…no matter how fierce she was in a tank.

When you came back to Von Rotehof and shared the news, he was indeed suspect- but you told him of who had given you the offer. A man you felt confident of trusting- unlike the people who had presented you with the chance to take out the late Netillian Ace you had finished fighting this night. Exactly what help the Intelligence Office were providing, or had even planned on giving, was still vague. They’d at the very least implied you wouldn’t have to do the dirty work yourself…though they had been more than duplicitous in the past. It would have to be followed up on, because you were sure Magnus knew less than you did on this matter.
Even though Von Rotehof had decided with accepting Edelschwert’s offer after you explained your connection, Planckner was still skeptical.

“How did he know to come here right after we finished fighting?” He demanded, “If he’s your friend, he could have helped some other way, unless he liked those arse heads we killed less than you, and he’s a Netillian, so…”

Planckner was not a proper Silver Lance, but a volunteer companion. He couldn’t have restricted information shared, especially not considering his ultimate allegiance was not to the Archduchy. He’d have to be convinced with half-truth.

“Anya likes him,” you offered as a last resort with a shrug.

“Hmph. Well, Trench Face isn’t here, is she?” Planckner said grumpily, but raised no further protest. “I’ve said my piece. I know when I’m in the minority here. I just hope you’re right on this.”

“Thank you both,” you nodded to the other tank officers, “I’ll be back. I’d like to talk with Captain Edelschwert more.” He wouldn’t be brought back to where you had all made your temporary camp- an allowance for a measure of security. You weren’t about to completely surrender all other options, just in case.
>>
So you ventured back to the autogyro, on the m/32 once more. The interior of the tank was cozy- unexpectedly, the mystical armor had not been forced to defend you from a fatal blow, so whatever spirit inhabited your tank was still sated with Presence.

When you returned to Magnus, he had been talking to one of the Autogyro crew, the airman dressed in Netillian green with black faux-fur lining.

“Hello again,” Magnus said with a short wave, “Will you be staying? My couriers here want to leave during the night. Come light, Ellowian fighter craft might range over and spot the landed gyro, and flying these during the day without fighter cover is extremely risky.”

“We’re in your hands,” you said, “Though not without suspicion. We also have wounded and dead…and would appreciate aid in taking care of them.”

“It can be arranged,” Magnus said, “There’s been a route agreed upon between our territory and Von Kalderhaus’s lands. We can return the remains you have to your country that way.””

“That would be very much appreciated,” you breathed a sigh of relief.

“…So. Miss Nowicki, you said she was recuperating..?”

Right. “She was wounded in the fighting outside of Sundersschirm,” you retold, “She was a military courier for Mittelsosalia, but then she found herself in possession of a tank…somehow. She took up a disguise and fought as a mercenary called Blind. I had the chance to encounter her while she was doing such- and she was badly wounded in her arm by a ground attack aircraft. Much as she might disagree, I managed to convince her that she was not going to fight further, and sent her home with her sister. She’s doing alright.”

“That’s relieving to hear,” Magnus said, still frowning, “How badly was her arm hurt?”

“The upper bone was completely broken. Amputation was considered, if not for the Archduchy’s finest field surgeons,” you said, “They expected her to fully recover in a year. Though…she does heal very quickly, in my experience.” The rowdy girl had a tendency to get hurt plenty enough. “She had been concealing a chest wound as well. A deep stab from a knife, but she didn’t seem to mind it.”

“That woman is proud of her scars, after all…” Magnus’s expression lightened, “Her hometown is…?”

“A place called Lark, nearby the city of Todesfelsen.” You thought a minute, “Don’t plan anything nefarious.”

Magnus scoffed at you haughtily.

“Anyways,” you said, “We have time before the sunrise forces you to depart. I had some questions.” Magnus nodded at you, and you started. “After this is all over…are you planning to stay in Netilland? I’m sure that King Wladysaw will want knights of Ellowie back in his service, especially since it sounds as though him and the army in exile have many a disagreement.”
>>
“Perhaps I might have, were it up to me alone,” Edelschwert said as he looked to the lamp on the folding table, its light reflecting shallowly in his eyes, “But I swore an oath to somebody dear to me, of a long time ago. I cannot recant that oath, and I swore to her that I would protect Netilland’s people. I do not think she would allow me to follow the whims of family history rather than the duties of a knight.”

“…She?” you asked blankly.

“A friend from my younger days,” Magnus said, “I am fond of her. I do not know if she feels the same, but she does have her expectations, and I respect my oaths, even if they were taken when I was younger and more foolhardy.”

“No, I had thought that…” you let it go. Anya tried to be evasive about it, but you knew of the possibility that she had feelings for this pretty man, in spite of the incredibly rocky start they’d had to their relations. To be fair, your first interaction with her had been punching her in the face, something you’d never even think of doing now. “Never mind that for now. If you’re staying with Netilland, though, I can’t imagine you have been dealt a favorable hand.”

“Indeed, no,” Magnus sighed and leaned a hand on the table, “The politics of it all are twisted beyond belief. It is not only dealings within the organization of Netilland, but with Strossvald and Baou, and two vying rulers of Ellowie, not to mention the future risk of Twaryi and Caelus. My men could complain to you for hours on end, and I could lodge my own protests, but ultimately, men who use their strength for honorable purposes are beholden to the state, to our rulers. Netilland will be a mess for some time to come, but it is the duty of men of strength, of the wielders of military might, to protect our fellows in such bad times, until we can safely find our way again. I merely hope that the chaos does not lead to early yearnings for the return of a Military Council…”

“Their defeat and your victory will surely be remembered,” you offered in support.

“Perhaps. Though the Ellowian Republic in Exile is in the hands of forceful and determined men, who want to avenge their loss by reclaiming territory they had lost in years past. Nobody wishes to settle things merely for where they were, and I am fearful that, though your fighting might not last much longer, there will still be more war to be fought…” Magnus sighed and shook his head, took his braid of black hair and tossed it behind him again. “You’re right, I should have brought tea for tonight.”

>Talk about anything else?
>Do anything else for the next days?
>>
>>5233962
>Talk about anything else?
Perhaps we could extend to him an invitation to our wedding? We don't really have a date/time right now, but maybe we could get an address from him that we could send a written invitation to? Also brag about and show him a picture of Maddy.

>Do anything else for the next days?
More letters, can never send enough. Maybe try more matchmaking for Hilda with the panzergrens. Swallow our pride a little and ask what anti-aircraft drills/maneuvers (I forget the term used) entail.
>>
>>5233962
>Talk about anything else?
All of this >>5233994
Also ask about the Mission from his perspective. Von Walen told us he was there, so Magnus should be able to give us another angle on things.


>Do anything else for the next days?
All this talk of Anya is reminding me it's been a while since Richter has worked out. So we outta do that.
Letters are never a bad thing. Gotta make sure to thank Maddy for the pears even though we didn't even need it!
And chat up the crew a bit. Been a while since we've had a good bro down with the boys.
>>
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>>5233962
>Talk about anything else?
He mentioned the politics and dealings of the war involved just about everyone on both sides of the conflict, but he didn't mentioned Mittelsosalia. Do they really not have a place at that table or is their position in all this still too weak despite hosting the Ellowian army in exile?

>Do anything else for the next days?
It will probably pay to get with Von Rotehof and discuss what our story will be when we get back to the Silver Lances. I find the idea of trying to divert the heat from this onto Vehrlors distasteful, much less whether or not it is even a good idea. I would be willing to just tell the truth that we all followed on for this adventure willingly, perhaps with the small adjustment that Vehrlors just got the info somehow and it wasn't us that told him.

In other news a certain masked blond has snuck her way into my Mechwarrior 5 game. I will try to treat her a bit better, if only to avoid that punishing wound recovery time.
>>
>>5233962
>Talk about anything else?
Invite him to the wedding; even if I have no idea how the logistics are going to work or if he can even make it, it's only polite

Lightly talk about the mission up north, mention we'd might very well have gone there if it wasn't for Anya. I heard a certain mission commander went MIA?

>Do anything else for the next days?
Supporting >>5234097 in deciding what exactly to tell Pfortner when we get back
>>
>>5234219
Just thought abut another topic: does he know what happened to our company in Ellowie in the end? Captured during Alpha Two, joined up with the Republicans or remained loyal to the Council? Even if we fought together but for a few months, they were decent people.

Also this is a separate thing but I wouldn't mind seeing a Downfall-esque PoV from the Military Council side as the house of cards finally collapses.
>>
>>5233994
>>5234219
Increase the guest list for this wedding you've missed like three times.

>>5234048
>>5234219
Ask about the Mission. Comment on why you didn't go.

>>5234239
Ask after the people you trained. You spent plenty of time working on them, after all...

>>5233994
Try to get your charbroiled hamburger somebody to eat it.
Though I am a little curious of what one would say and not say to sell her, considering...

>>5234048
Work on that fitness. Talk to the crew.

>>5234097
>>5234219
Make sure your story's straight for when you get back. After all, you're all sharing resonsibility.

Alright, writing, though since it's midnight and there's a lot of this even with heavy summary I might either break it up or finish it tomorow. Or both.
>>
“What about Mittelsosalia?” you asked, “They’re players in this too, are they not? They’ve certainly fought enough in it, but you didn’t mention their influence.”

“They are not seen as stable enough to be considered a threat on their own,” Edelschwert said, “It is a nation formed from thin air as most see it, whether or not that is the truth. The important part is that they lack the old territorial claims that the other parties I mentioned have had longstanding disagreements over…or the sheer might of the realm across the eastern sea. They are seen as the Wastes, to put it bluntly.”

“So you’d say they don’t have particular business,” you surmised.

“I would be surprised if they felt a need to be involved to the same degree, yes. Nobody I have spoken to about them expects the Republic of Mittelsosalia to expand beyond what are considered Sosaldt. Their contribution to this war in the field has been minor- they may have hosted the Ellowian Army as guests, but they were far outnumbered by them in manpower committed to war. However,” Magnus looked serious, “I earned my epaulets in Sosaldt. The Wastes always show strength in response to the pressure of an outside nation. For all that the world sees it as a garbage pit, the whirling chaos solidifies into steel should anybody deign to interfere with Sosaldt on a large scale. Even Netilland’s army was embarrassed by a coalition of Sosaldtian micro-states, in the past, and the Archduchy took decades to pacify what they conquered. My question for the future of Mittelsosalia would not be their territorial claims, but whether the Wastes that makes up their country will accept it as their own, or if it will be rejected and collapse.”

“What do you think the answer to that question would be, then?”

“it is too soon to say. These are times of great change.”

“Indeed they are,” you said in low reverence for the era, “Come over here,” you beckoned away from the lamp, “I’d like to talk about something that requires privacy from your escorts.”

Magnus blinked at you in curious confusion, and waved the Autogyro crew to not follow him as you headed into the dark shade of an abandoned cottage. “I presume this is related to matters of the Archduchy..?”

“In a way. I heard you were involved in an operation not long ago, against your own.”

“Where in the world might you have heard that?”

“From the former commander of the operation, who I found wandering south just the other day,” you said, “A Teobaldt Von Walen. Your objective was the seizure and destruction of a potent biological weapon.”

Edelschwert moved further into the dark, keeping his side to you in a newly guarded stance. “His lips would not have been so loose if you were in no position for him to tell you that. You are more than I thought you were, aren’t you?”
>>
“Not much more, actually,” you said, realizing you might now look like one of those mysterious spooks of the IO that you had no fondness for, “I’ve just been useful enough to be allowed to ask things…of comrades and friends. I was actually offered a chance to go on that same operation, but I didn’t know what it entailed until I found Von Walen.”

Edelschwert was still guarded, but he nodded. “I had expected you and your retinue there.”

“I would have gone,” you said, “But Anya was the reason I didn’t.”

“That doesn’t sound much like her.”

“She made me make a promise to her,” you said, “That I wouldn’t embark on needlessly dangerous adventures by myself, since she was too wounded to accompany me. To help defend me. So when I was offered to go off into certain danger, by myself…I refused.”

Magnus looked out at the valley, then back to you, with an eyebrow tilted down.

“This is different,” you said, “I came here with my most capable allies. The thing I did to irritate her was in Sosaldt. I went off by myself and endangered myself, and found her as Blind while my crew and tank were my only company. I don’t think she’d approve of this, but I don’t think she’d have told me not to help my comrades, either.” You stood quiet for a moment, “So. I’d like to hear what happened, from your perspective?”

“I just find it amusing that you are making oaths to this woman you are clearly fond of,” Magnus said with as he turned back towards you, “Stare daggers at me if you like.”

“I have a woman I am fond of already. I’d show her you right now, if the light were sufficient.”

“Anyways. The operation. I took it on behalf of my own fond connection, as a representative of the New Republic’s interests in the future of Netilland. The Military Council could not be allowed to maintain control of a weapon that could be used against its own people in the event of their defeat. I presume you’ve already heard of the mission’s success- and the motley cast that was along with us for it.”

“I heard that Von Metzeler and Krause were there, and Gerovic, yes,” you said the lattermost’s name with spite.

“It was a close affair at times,” Magnus remembered with a heaviness in his tone, “I am surprised we came out of it with minor losses to our own, considering the damage we wrought upon the enemy…though what we did lose was a great deal more than I would have wished. Kelwin found himself there, as well, though I know not from where. We spoke- and he was determined to serve a cause he thought would help his people and family the most. Yet…he and all his men were killed in the assault on the compound.”

“I…oh.” You couldn’t find words for that revelation. “I’m…I didn’t know. Von Walen did not know who he was, so I did not assume…”
>>
“I am sorry to be the bearer of that news, so soon after you have already lost other comrades today,” Magnus said gravely, “But better to know than to not. If it is any comfort, I believe his death was for a noble cause, even if it was against the interests of the nation he served for most of his career.”

“It’s just that,” you said haltingly, “The last I saw him…he was, like you, an enemy in war. I encountered him on a routine foray for supplies, and convinced him and his men to stand down and surrender. I cannot help but feel…that I bear responsibility for his fate, on a mission I refused to go on.”

“You did not know,” Magnus said, putting a hand on your shoulder, “You were only thinking of not going against your word to a loved one. We are soldiers, and though not all of us can claim to be fighting for right and justice, there are times when we know we are throwing ourselves into danger for a good cause, when we could just as readily turn away and ignore it. Raley Kelwin was not tricked into his fate.”

“…I suppose not. But I have been in positions as of late, where I always felt I could have done more.”

“Me too, Richter. Me too,” Magnus left the shadow, “Come along back to the light. The airmen will be suspicious if we are gone too long.” You followed him back to the lamp, where the Netillian autogyro crew regarded you both with a nod before going back to whispering to one another and keeping watch. “So, we are in the light again,” Magnus said to you, “You wanted to show me your lucky woman?”

“Ah,” you dug quickly in your pocket, though the photograph was badly bent and rumpled at the edges, nothing could mar your fiancée’s beauty. “Here, look at her. This is Maddalyn Von Blum. My wife to be. She won’t be waiting for me much longer. Look at the blue of her eyes, her hair. There’s more I would say in a less polite conversation, but isn’t she gorgeous?”

Magnus took the colored picture from you and looked closely. “How old was she when this picture was taken?”

“…It was taken only weeks ago,” you said curtly.

“I see,” Magnus said dimly.

“She is twenty four years old,” you added, “And her younger sister looks identical to her. She’s just slim. Cute.” Maybe that would ward off the funny look being given.

“No, I believe that, I didn’t mean to imply anything,” Magnus handed you back her picture, “She is beautiful, but I was not expecting somebody that old to be so…youthful. What happened to her eye?”

“It was cruelly taken from her,” you said with regret, “Because of a mistake I made. She was held in captivity, and when I was going to rescue her, I acted against an ally of her captors. They mutilated her in retaliation.”

“But you did save her, then,” Magnus said, “She seems happy. When are you getting married?”
>>
“I actually wanted to bring that up,” you said with some pride and anticipation, “The date isn’t certain yet, but I’ve been compiling a list of people to invite. You are one of them. Is there an address I could send an official invitation to, when the time comes? It will be soon after I return, surely.”

Magnus frowned deeply, and sighed. “You presume much of the mail services for a state set against itself.”

“My Maddalyn’s family is quite powerful. They have servants who could see such letters out personally.”

“If you are sure,” Magnus said, going to the table and retrieving a pen and paper, “This is where mail addressed to my person should be sent. It is my parents’ home, and my home town has been kept fortunately free from areas of combat. If any message to me cannot find its way from there, I know not where else it could.” He handed the written address to you, in perfect looping curly letters. Palatenhugel, hm. “Your other comrades will be attending, I am sure?”

“Of course.”

“And your retinue?”

You grimaced at that. “My Maddalyn…does not like Anya. At all. She has forbidden her from appearing at our wedding.”

“Because you are with Anya all the time instead of her, I imagine,” Magnus said.

“There are other reasons too.” Though admittedly, jealousy seemed the greatest motivator. Signy had done Maddalyn no wrong, but she barely tolerated her invitation either.

“I don’t imagine Anya will care about her opinion, though.”

“…” You thought on that, and grimaced deeper, “I hope she is more committed to her recovery than to mischief.”

Edelschwert squinted at you. “You know better than I do what will come of that hope. I have seen the two of you drunkenly fool with one another.”

“That was only horseplay. Anyways,” you moved away from that subject quickly- there was no excuse you could come up with for what the two of you had done besides flat denials of rumors, “My fiancée’s family is a powerful one, so I’m not averse to hosting as many people as I can…do you know where any of the unit I was training are? How they’ve been doing? It was a mixed unit, after all, and with all the developments in this war…”
>>
“I’ve not been kept informed,” Edelschwert said, “The Ellowian elements fight alongside the Kingdom. As far as I have heard, other members of Combined Units that were isolated in Ellowie were either allowed passage back to Netilland with the declaration of the New Republic, or remained to guard Netillian settler communities from harm. I believe the latter is what has become of the Netillian elements of your unit, if I was to hope for the best. There was much fighting before the peace between the New Republic and Wladysaw, and it’s difficult to find out much beyond what is directly in front of us, with the way things are.”

“I understand,” you said, though you were disappointed. “We’ll hope for the best, then.” Even though the only man whose fate you were completely certain of from that unit had fallen. They hadn’t been with you for long, but you felt a responsibility for those men’s future. You had fought together once, even if you did not anymore.
One of the Netillian Gyro Crew came over and spoke quietly into Magnus’s ear, and he nodded and pointed him away. “The men are wary,” he told you, “So we will have to continue later. Send Miss Nowicki my regards next you see her, and wish her well. Though you should not spite your fiancée’s wishes on her day…I would like to see Anya at your wedding. Even if your fiancée does not understand or appreciate it, your retinue does deserve to be there. Until then, Von Tracht.”

You clasped hands in parting and returned to your vehicles. As you sat on the tank, you watched the autogyro taxi towards the road and, in a demonstration still fascinating to behold, you saw it take off as a normal plane would, but with substantially less distance. Which was good, because you doubted any normal aircraft could lift off from here.

“Driver, take us back,” you said as you hooked back into the intercom, “We’ll be waiting a couple of days, and we’ll need to have latrines dug, at the least.” Unless you deigned to move into the abandoned village- if you trusted Magnus enough, surely the forlorn comforts of homes left behind would make the time go by faster.

-----
>>
The tank crews were allowed to sleep through the night as the panzergrenadier took watch- when you awoke, some of the crews had already decided to investigate Alkenssand itself, to search for any traps- but also, supplies left behind, and the possibility of fortifying the settlement rather than the woods, though Von Rotehof himself was considering the benefits of having one as an outpost and the other as your main encampment.

With little more to do yourself than wait for the days to pass so that you could return to your unit without need for a fight nor flight, you took to physical training. Talking about Anya had reminded you of it- and the next you saw her, you didn’t need her to grip your muscles and criticize your lack of maintenance. Maddalyn would appreciate it too…though Hausen told you that if you wanted to impress her more, you ought to spend more time practicing with a lollipop candy. A crude suggestion, but one you thought might be admittedly accurate. Not that you’d be discovered doing that.

When your muscles burned earlier than expected, you took to socializing. Schafer’s dog wasn’t here, but the crews still had their cards, their dice, and their gossip, and were always open to share with you.

>What do you want to talk about with the crew/other officers?

With your expectations for the future brightening quickly, you had other aspects of your house to get in order, as well. Particularly considering those still single. Hilda needed a husband- and for all your other failings with her, you weren’t going to give up so easily on finding her one. What better men to look for than those amongst the Silver Lances, after all…though you had to have a tactical mind about it. The wrong words could cause the imagination to condemn her before any suitor even saw her…

>Sell the local bachelors on the benefits of well done steak. How would you go about this?
>>
>>5235054
>What do you want to talk about with the crew/other officers?

So assuming this is the last of things, how has this war been overall compared to Vitelia?

Demurring on the latter because I don't really think Richter should be really trying to force things too hard here.
>>
>>5235054
Basic check up first and foremost. Gotta see how our guys feel about the mission and such. Debrief and unwind.
Then I'd like to go into what the Crown Stalker was saying earlier. Get the group's views on his ideology or see if they even thought about it at all.
I'd like to try to figure out more details of Mal's beliefs in regards to how to treat an enemy after battler. I recall him being very insistent on us digging a ditch to drop the guy who fucked up Signy's hands, but is that just because it was Richter personally dealing death instead of doing it from behind a tank?
Finally, speaking of the tank sure is nice to have the girl humming again. Of course, we can't have Richter spill the beans about what it actually is, but I don't see any reason we can't check to see how the crew is dealing with it.
Also, talk about naming tanks and weapons in general. When is it cool? When is it strange? Is it always one or the other? Names for the M/32 need to be suggested. Is it weird to even give a shit?
These are important questions Richter needs answers to.

>>5235059
Now not really the time or place, but we COULD send out feelers in return for small favors.
Ask some of the other guys to send any bachelor our way to see if they'd be interested in a loyal wife with fat tits and a clearly functioning womb.
>>
>>5235054
>What do you want to talk about with the crew/other officers?
Anybody find anything of interest in the ghost town? Speaking of ghosts, ask Hausen and Schafer if they spotted anything unusual or familiar among the trees when we arrived, use that to try and segue into an explation for what a "Paellan beach" is.

>Sell the local bachelors on the benefits of well done steak. How would you go about this?
Walsen had been a recreational hunter in a club before joining the army, perhaps he'd appreciate having an exceptional hunting partner as well as life companion?

Also, more autism regarding tech lore. Did rotary cannons or motor driven machine guns like Gebauer's "Motorgéppuska" ever persist past the 1910s in setting? Besides the Slostin gun and Fokker-Leimberger, real world Gatling style automatic cannons seem to totally drop off the radar post-WWI until the 50s when electric motors become more reliable, but you've said as much that certain things are more/less advanced than our own timeline here and there.
>>
>>5235059
So how does this compare to the west of the continent, world travelers?

>>5235095
Talk about the ideology of whackos, and your crew. Bring up the idea of naming military equipment whether or not it is haunted by what might be considered either a spirit or a demon depending on who you ask.

>>5235111
What's in the town? Do you see spirits? What's a Paellan beach, anyways?

>>5235059
Don't try and interfere with Hilda's life further so much. Leave her to the G Man

>>5235095
Don't be direct. Be subtle. Gauge interest.

>>5235111
So, the discussion we had earlier, Herr Walsen. Can I tempt you?

Writing.
>>
>>5235111
>Also, more autism regarding tech lore. Did rotary cannons or motor driven machine guns like Gebauer's "Motorgéppuska" ever persist past the 1910s in setting?
Experimentation is always out there- though adoption and mass use is a different story. Thus, presently, no, such weapons are not in use, though inventors are always interested in making their ideas a broader reality. Given that the world is at a point where it is transitioning into a different era of aircraft and anti-aircraft measures, they might find their niche that would motivate the amelioration of their present severe flaws.
Also real talk I didn't know they existed that far back until literally now.
>>
Initially, your matter of actual business was discussed amongst the officers. Namely, how you were going to explain this to Pfortner when you returned. Vehrlors might have had the idea to pin it all on him- but you weren’t going to do that to a dead man. So you all accepted that you shared responsibility for this particular dereliction of duty- with the exception of Planckner, who informed the rest of you that he wasn’t actually a part of Strossvald or the Silver Lance’s command structure. True enough…though you hoped your punishment would be lenient. You’d only recently managed to get the IO’s desertion charge off of your back, and a repeat of a similar charge wouldn’t be good for you. Even if you did deserve it this time, unlike when the Intelligence Office entrapped you.

It was an easy decision, though, once it was brought up. Nobody wanted to throw blame on top of Vehrlors in his grave. Though after you had met on that, and most dispersed, you stayed to talk with Von Rotehof. In an odd twist of fate, you and he were all that were left of the original platoon’s officers. Van Halm and Von Rotehof’s brother had both been wounded and send back and now Vehrlors was gone. You were only a step away from being the last tank in the platoon.

“It seems as though our place in this will be over soon,” you said to Lucian Von Rotehof as you sat between your m/32s, “I’m curious. How was this compared to Vitelia?

“Hm. What part of it?” Some of his calm had returned with last night’s sleep, “Our service was with Paelli, and there were two parts to it. When we aided their intervention into Vitelia, it was simple and easy. The Vitelian Revolutionaries weren’t ready for us, not organized, still new and fresh to war. There were defecting soldiers among them, yes, but even the normal Vitelian army was nothing compared to us, so their castaways fared little better. It was the sort of war most wish for when they head to battle, to be honest.”

“I was talking of that Vitelia, yes,” you said, “Is Paelli considered Vitelia?”

“According to many Vitelians, yes,” Von Rotehof laughed slightly, “That whole end of the continent dreams of reforming the Vitelian Empire of old one way or another, what was there before the Dhegyars broke it up when they came from the far west.”

“So the fight against the Vitelians was easy,” you said, “How about with Kallec?”

“Bad,” Von Rotehof said with no theater, “They were brutal, numerous, and powerful, and they swept aside our allies. It was the hardest fighting in my life, let alone many others. That was worse than this campaign, I’d say, even if it might be hard for you to imagine. If Netilland had gone all in on this, maybe it would have been worse. But they didn’t. So this was…a lot worse than Vitelia, better than Kallec. There’s men you can talk to that considered Vitelia a holiday, you know.”

“Was it a holiday for you?”
>>
“As much as a war that wasn’t ours can be. Vitelia is a lovely land. I have more fond memories than bad ones, though to be true, that was where I learned to drift with the times…” Von Rotehof leaned back in the snow and looked at the clouds with eyes half closed.

You left Von Rotehof with that, and asked the same of your crew, as you lay about and on the tank. Hausen and Schafer had a similar opinion of the Kallean aspect, of course, as they’d said before, but of the Vitelian part?

“Swatting flies,” Schafer grunted, “No pride to be had in slaughtering fools. Our commanders would know what they’d do, pread th’m like books, and put ‘em down. They stopped attacking us after a while. Would try to avoid us. Barely remember it ending. Don’t know how the Paellans had s’ much trouble with ‘em at Lapizlazuli, ‘side that they’re soft and stupid.”

“Soft and stupid, not always in bad ways, though.” Hausen retold, “Vitelia where the Silver Lances were was like storybooks. People died, they always do, but it wasn’t often. The Revolutionaries had courage, but they spoiled for fights even when they couldn’t win them. Once they left us be, once we’d broken them so badly that the Paellans thought they could take them on our own, we had vacations. The good war was done with, we’d shown everybody there what was done, and we went down the trail back to Paelli leisurely. Saw the sights, stayed in the tourist traps that we’d fought over not so long ago. Vitelian women are fiery, but not as enchanting as Paellans. Ah…to go back, but this time, without damned Kallec above it. Warm seas and colorful beaches, a night sky like a dark rainbow through diamonds. Gifts plentiful and generous in prosperity and luxuries both, and all of its people and places tinted with the mystery of the far west, while still familiar as being of Vinstraga…”

“If he stayed much longer, he’d go soft and native like our last tank commander,” Schafer said in a surly curse.

“The Silver Lances are my home, baldy, but you’re lying to yourself if you said you wouldn’t spend a month back there if you could,” Hausen said as he waved a pointing, accusatory finger.

“That reminds me,” you said, “Either of you…have you seen anything, as you look out through these woods?”

“The other fellows were talking about it, yeah,” Hausen said, “Much as you could understand them. Jorgen.”

“Aen’t maefaelt yae cen’tear,” Jorgen said bac with a toothy grin, “Fexyaerear.”

“He does it on purpose, I swear,” Hausen said irritably, “At least the Kallean can’t talk right because he just can’t.”

Malachi looked back somewhat, then turned away again.

“You see those tree figures, right, Mal?” you asked.

“Ayeh,” Malachi pointed to where he was looking, “Waezers, aldsol. Farrgoudeyre.”
>>
“Spirits who’ve haunted the forests so long that they’ve forgotten who they are,” you said for the benefit of the New Nauk speakers, “They must be ancient.”

“Mm hm. Onlyspuuk.”

Part of you wanted to ask Malachi what his experience in Paelli might have been, if it was what your other crew suspected, but he had stayed quiet about it before, and now. Parts of him just wouldn’t be dug up in present company.

“What’s this have t’ do with Paelli,” Schafer asked as though you’d forgotten yourself what you’d even been talking about.

“Well, you were talking about as though I was looking at a Pallean Beach earlier,” you explained, “Are those haunted? Hausen didn’t seem to say they were.”

Hausen clapped his hands in readiness, “Lieutenant, Paellans have a different sort of fashion, you see, a different idea of beachwear. They’re inspired by their divers, who dress in but two bands of cloth, and some beaches, they’ve deigned to entice the eye on purpose by wearing nothing above the waist-“

“Don’t fill his mind with shite, you lecher,” Schafer swore grouchily, “No. Th’ beaches of Paelli swirl with water from the Maelstrom’s touch. The place is next to where th’ world’s wrong. There’s a beauty to it all, yeah, but y’look at it and can’t help but feel, you’re not on Velekam no more. Not that this lout sees that for what it is.”

“I’m sure marriage turned you into a no-fun leather sack, baldy,” Hausen said sorely. “Show of hands. Who would like women better if they went about with no shirts?” he looked around, “Look at Baldy, the odd man out.”

“Put your hand down, Lieutenant,” Schafer scolded you, “Bah.”

I had another question, too,” you said, “This tank, it’s been through a lot. Shouldn’t such adventurous pieces of equipment be graced with a name? Surely there’s tanks here that have names, guns, anything? I haven’t seen them written around much.” Vehicles weren’t given names very often in the Archduchy’s military, from what you remembered. It was generally thought that a vehicle shouldn’t be glorified unless it had stories to tell beyond it rolling off the production line, and in the case it did, its numerical designation was preferred in order to firmly separate men and machine.

“Ah, Kaemandarr,” Jorgen said in a singsong way you didn’t like, “The taenk haes a name aelreddy.”

“What is it?” Hausen asked.

“Flaet Chaested, but haes ah Greataess.”
>>
“That is not its name,” you snapped, “Judge Above, I can’t believe you remember that.”

“Who named it that?” Hausen smirked at you.

“The man who was my radio operator before you,” you said testily, “Wrote that on the tank.”

“It is flat chested, if you think about it,” Hausen slapped his hand on the front of the m/32.

“It’s a rude description of my fiancée,” you crossed your arms and smoldered, “Written to be provocative.”

“Does she, though?” Hausen asked you.

“…” You considered, and thought, and then relaxed. “Yes. But that’s not its name.”

“There’s no rule against gear having names, no,” Schafer finally answered the question, “S’long as it’s not too gaudy. Sort of seen as comin’ across blueblood, though. There’s a pride t’ be had in all of us sharing our colors.”

“Sosaldtian mercenaries do it a lot,” Hausen said, “Vitelians did too. You did crawl through Sosaldt with that thing, though, so..?”

>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.
>>
>>5235502
>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.

Pass, no one's going to use it in favour of some satirical one, just like callsigns
>>
>>5235502
But it already has a name, Jorgen was absolutely right. If/when Hans comes back he can etch it back on without Richter looking.

Although I'm still a fan of that one twin turreted tank we blew up, probably Death Heads, that looked like a pair of tiddies.
>>
>>5235502
>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.
I feel like naming it after a respectable woman would be enough to get the men on the same page. Since naming it after Maddalyn directly would be weird, we could always name it after her mother.
A reminder to everyone who and where this tanks originates.
And if we wanna be sentimental we can hyphenate her name with Richter's mother.
Even if the name doesn't catch on, it's better to put forth an idea than to simply let the others run the show with their crude names.
Even if it’s funny the M/32 deserves better than "Flat, but has a Great Ass".
It's not even catchy.
>>
>>5235502
>>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.
No name is fine
>>
>>5235502
>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.
Wandering knight or Questing knight would be a great name.
>>
>>5235618
I like the idea of Maddalyn's mom's name, disagree with hyphenating with Richter's mom's name. Maybe we could otherwise name it something to do with its survivability?
>>
>>5235502
>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.

Big Boss
>>
>>5235502
>If you want to name the m/32B-010, then you may…though others might not respect that name.
I'm fine with not officially naming it for the time being, since it's already kind of alive a name might be pushing things into weird territory.
Though, I would have us ask Schafer how he named his dog, if it wasn't actually a jab at the Archduke.
>>
>>5235502
>>5235877
Gonna go with not naming the tank and supporting for asking Schafer about his dog
>>
Also supporting not naming the tank
>>
>>5235510
>>5235625
>>5235877
>>5235983
>>5236098
No name!

>>5235618
>>5235666
Name it after a broad you saw in a dirty magazine. Classy.

>>5235563
Still Mad-dy

>>5235657
A descriptor much like your own.

>>5235760
Force Von Metzeler to dye his hair blond and talk about fiddles.

>>5235877
>>5235983
Also ask why the fat dog has the same name as your head of state.

Writing, though I woke up real late in order to try and force my sleep schedule to be a one part instead of two part, so I probably won't have this ready for a while.
>>
>>5235502
No name

Cant call the tank Maddy since she's probably smaller then a 32b.
>>
>>5236120
Should have refreshed before voting, but still glad we didnt name it anything.
>>
Part of you wanted to give the m/32 a meaningful name- perhaps, you thought, after Maddalyn’s mother? You’d heard her name before, seen it, but…well, you remembered her appearance more than her name. Could you be blamed? Just as well, though, because despite that feeling like a nice idea, nobody but you seemed to want to name it anything besides a sarcastic dig. It’d lack a name, for now, at least.

“It’s fine as it is, then,” you decided, “Speaking of names, though. Schafer, why is your dog called Siegfried? It’s not just because he’s fat, is it?”

“Heh. No, I didn’t name him,” Schafer said, “I thought it was alright as it was and didn’t change it.”

“Daednae gettem yersaef, eh?” Jorgen asked, a curious look on his rough-hewn face.

“He adopted him,” Hausen said, “But I’d best let him tell how.”

“There’s not much story t’ it,” Schafer huffed, “Last person who owned him was some noble brat in Messingplatz whose daddy didn’t bother bein’ a parent. Was beatin’ poor Sieg with a switch, so I took it off’a him and beat ‘im like his blueblood dad should’ve, took th’ dog with me. Ran off howlin’ about revenge, but he never did nothin’.”

So the young man had named the dog Siegfried? Perhaps it was to mock there, too, depending on who it was. “You don’t recall their name?” you asked, “Doing that to a noble youth of the wrong family, no matter what they were doing, might have been a bad idea…”

“Fuck ‘em,” Schafer said firmly, “No matter what their family name was. Could’a been Von Zeissenberg for all I cared then. Probably got a shiny new toy t’ calm them down anyways.”

“Oerra dog,” Malachi interjected.

“Hm. Probably.”

Not a very pleasant admission, but they agreed it was the truth.

The day passed onwards- a team of Netillians came around, with what appeared to be a tracked hauler adapted from a tankette chassis. Approaching under a truce flag, they claimed to have come to recover the dead- and were allowed to.
>>
A reverence was held for Crown Taker, you noticed, as they unwrapped him from where he’d been kept, and his trophies were all carefully removed and placed in a box. Perhaps to avoid offending a vengeful spirit? Famous or infamous men were said to have the blessing of the Judge, after all, and mutilating their bodies was an affront to one whose being was no longer in the hands of mere men…though it could also be just that the man held respect amongst his countrymen, for all the spite your own fellows had towards him.

Yet, it made you think back to when the man was alive, and you both spoke, knowing you would fight, even if the battle did not turn out like either of you thought it might.

“When the Crown Taker and I spoke,” you said to your crew as you were eating a lunch of cold oat porridge and peppered beef tea (the only kind of tea you were sure you’d get from them) delivered by the arriving Netillians, eyes flicking over to the tree where the man had died. “He spoke of the lot of warriors. Referred to us collectively. Said such grandiose things such as us having all of the freedom and might in the world in war, but anywhere else, we have nothing. Said that states and countries and governments, all of them were nothing in times of war, that the people who decide fate then are warriors. He said that, since the only freedom and power we have is in fighting, then there is nothing for us but to fight, and die. He had a wife and children, he claimed, yet he still thought that way.”
“Sounds like he lost them another way,” Hausen said, “Who can say. Maybe he thought that because he had nowhere else to go. What do you think, north man? Your kind ventures out for battle all the time, yeah? Don’t you want to go home someday, though?”

Jorgen was deep in thought. “…Nah. Naet yet. Ae’ve faeght plaenty, I caed go baeck…naeten’ faer me thaere, though.”

“Fine. You, mosshead?”

“…” Malachi didn’t speak of his past. “Noh.”

“There’s plenty who’d say that here,” Schafer said, “Here with th’ unit’s better than what they’ve got anywhere else. They might not think this Ace was so mad, though maybe they’d not take it so far.”
“You have a wife and children too,” you pointed out, “He did, and I doubt he’d have left them so readily…right?”

Schafer sighed and leaned back. “It’s not all it’s cracked up t’ be, for everybody. I know people who can’t stand their families. I like my wife. I like my kids. But I don’t hang around them all th’ time. Never even seen any of ‘em born. ‘s not nice t’ say, but I have ‘em because I’m s’posed to, when it comes down to it. Maybe if I spent more time at home I wouldn’t like my family as much. Look at the red head here. He doesn’t want a wife. He just wants his fun.”

“I’ll tie myself down someday,” Hausen replied with a lazy, insincere drift in his words.
>>
Schafer’s response made your mouth turn downwards, though. All this time, you’d been looking forward to going back to Maddalyn…and starting your own family. Hearing a man say that it “wasn’t what it’s cracked up to be” was…disheartening. In a way you didn’t want to think much about.

Schafer noticed it. “Not sayin’ everybody’s th’ same. Just that most who want to stay at home…don’t stay here. You’ve heard it before.”

“I’ve heard. They stay until they can’t anymore. Like the Ace did. Like Vehrlors did,” you turned an oat cake over gloomily in your hand, “How did this go, you think? Could we have done better?”

“Wae daed our paert,” Jorgen offered, “Daedas taeld. Kaelled thaet taenk. Hae caen ye dae baetter?”

He had a point- yet if this had gone perfectly, your platoon would have still been whole. “I just wonder if this is really the best it could have gone.”

“Could have gone far worse,” Hausen said, “We could be dead. We all knew who we were dealing with, but the Captain didn’t try and make somebody else bite it for him. From what I heard from what’s left of his crew, he got what he’d have wanted. I don’t think he wanted anybody to die for him, even his crewmen, and a couple of them did.”

Yes. Yet. You were the one who decided to share with Vehrlors where the Crown Taker was waiting, when it turned out, that your part in this war might not last much longer. Perhaps you might not even have another pitched battle. Also, though, Vehrlors had expressed his fears that your war might end before he could take his vengeance- and you wondered, now that Crown Taker and Vehrlors both were gone, if that was a temporary feeling, or truly something he’d never have been able to overcome.

“Don’t stew in it, Lieutenant,” Hausen interrupted your thoughts, “You’re hardly in command of your tank, let alone the whims of fate.”

“I’d rather not think it was fate,” you said, “But thank you anyways.” You crinkled your nose as you drank the altogether far too peppered beef both. “Mal, come with me over to the village. Planckner’s crew said they’ve cleared the north part of it, I want to see if anybody left behind any proper civilized beverage. I’ll go mad if I have to drink another kind of tainted water before my next real tea.”

“Drink the rest of that or we’re pouring it up your nose,” Schafer threatened, “Heard tell the Netillians fortify that stuff with vitamins.”

That did not come to pass, to say the least, before you took Malachi along with you down south.

“Mal,” you spoke to your driver as the two of you walked through the snow, following the trail that had been established as picked through for mines- though none had even been found yet. “Do you think we should have been the ones to bury the dead, instead of the Netillians taking them away?”

Malachi stared at you. “Ehh?”

“You know. Because that one time, last year…”
>>
“Ohh. Nah. Thaeses baettel, waetguns. Thaeng yaeded, naet baettel. Gaev taarrrth yorrsel.”

“Just because it wasn’t in a battle?” you asked, “I just want to know what your beliefs are about this, after all, this wasn’t part of a war, of sorts…this was a personal challenge. Wouldn’t that count, since we killed those men in that heavy tank?”

Malachi shook his head. “Baettel nowahr. Faets ovehrr, thaens yaerrr plessto ofehrrr soll.”

“I don’t know if I get it,” you said, trying to go over each word after he’d spoken to get his meaning right, “But we don’t have to dig any more holes, right? For Yjens or whatever the reason is.”

“Noh. Noht forrrYjens, forrou.”

“If you say so,” you said, “So should I do that thing where you burn a flower, then?”

“Yeh.”

“I’ll make a point of it when I get back to Maddalyn.”

“Noh,” Malachi shook his head, “Waet Anya.”

“Oh for goodness sakes, I don’t need your jokes about that too.”

“Naht joek.” Malachi said seriously.

“Think what you like,” you brushed it off, “Besides, I think Anya likes you more. I’ll tell her to dye her hair green for you, if you like.”

He didn’t respond to that, and any other talk was small comments before you made it to the village. From there, you found out the village had been abandoned for some time- though everybody had left peacefully, as no food had been left behind. Valuables that were hidden had been found- but the Silver Lances were no looters of innocent civilians. Planckner grumbled about it- but knew better than to do more, given his present company.

The true prize for most anyways, including you, was getting to sleep with a roof over your head.

-----
>>
Despite the preparation for the worst, no shots of anger were directed at you as you stayed near Alkenssand, and the enemy wrecks of the battlefield, without the bodies within them, had become objects of curiosity. They were all too destroyed to make any further use of, but the men, and yourself, poked about them. You tried your best yourself to try and seed some interest in Hilda, though you didn’t directly speak of her…unfortunately, many men were already accounted for, or else didn’t seem like husband material, rather than men of the Lances. Not that Hilda might need a homebody…

The days passed, and as expected, no sound of an offensive was heard. Instead, it became eerily quieter, until Netillian Republicans, flying what you recognized as the familiar flag save for an oak leaf in the upper left quadrant rather than a star. Symbology you were unfamiliar with- but presumed correctly was an attempt at differentiation. The officers were unfamiliar, but not hostile- and guided you back to a now peaceful front. Positions were maintained, but no soldiers stood ready for battle on the Netillian side, as you crossed back over to your people.

Von Rotehof was immediately called to the company headquarters on your return, though nobody else was. It was a full two hours before a ragged Von Rotehof returned to you to report the damage. Pfortner, while furious, was lenient- and word was already spreading amongst the company of how Vehrlors had slain the despised Crown Taker. In light of that- your punishment would be six months of disciplinary pay slashing, and one year of suspended sentence for dereliction of duty, for the whole of the platoon. Your responsibility was indeed shared, though nobody would be going before a military tribunal. The Silver Lances handled their own issues. So long as you behaved, though, the only punishment was financial, and even then…the Silver Lances were paid more than the average soldier.
Perhaps the true punishment was the loss of your commander, then.

Right back to the front with all of you, afterwards- you were kept busy, despite the recent peace caused by the New Republic usurping the Military Council’s place on this battlefield. A couple of days passed- and you moved beyond them, and to your flank, rather than Ellowians, there were the Imperials. Despite claiming to be Republic troops, there was no effort taken to disguise them. Members of your battalion and company kept wary glances on them as they came over to visit- gawking at you and your tanks like they were tourist attractions. You even saw the fellow you had heard called Wolf Tamer in Sundersschirm, before you lost over a hundred marks on betting on him. He had come over with a girl in tow- a scruffy looking brunette, with a touch of Dhegyar in her features. Assuredly another Imperial, then, though you knew nothing of Imperials using female pilots, let alone their dress code tolerating skirts so short.
>>
Command forbid you from fraternizing with people of the Grossreich, however, so all any curious visitors had from the lot of you was stony silence. With your platoon’s suspended sentence, too, no matter the curiosity you had, risking pissing off Pfortner again was too foolish to tempt. They might have been gossiping tourists now, but the Archduchy still held the Reich as an enemy, and the only allowances given were towards diplomats and ambassadors, not their troops, even if their superiors and Mittelsosalia both claimed they were mere mercenaries.

There was more, light combat- you finally found yourself in a front line against enemy Netillians again, but it felt more like cleaning up than a true battle. Fortified positions were undermanned- troops surrendered having come to you rather than wait for you on their defenses, once they received an initial softening barrage and skirmishing ensued. The last tank battle by your company was resolved by the time your platoon arrived to help, as two enemy tank platoons smoldered before the rest of your company, who had been aiding a New Republic holding action.

Word came of the battle between the Netillian Militarist Offensive and the Ellowian Army. With the brunt of the offensive focused upon them, it had been a brutal and bloody days for the Ellowian Republic Army- but even where the Netillian Militarists broke them, the advantage could not be pressed with insecure flanks. The offensive was not over- and the battles would continue, it was expected, for days if not weeks after, but it was already clear that the Military Council, even if it won this battle, would not have the victory they sorely needed. Even if they savaged the Ellowian Army, they had done nothing to the New Republic, or Mittelsosalia’s forces.

Then, on the fourteenth day of March of 1933, the order was handed down to withdraw.
>>
Along with a letter from home, you had been delivered two messages from Strossvald’s High Command offices. With trepidation, you had opened it…and found a note of congratulations. For the action of rescuing a fellow tank officer and crewmen from a knocked out tank, with risk of great harm to yourself, the offices had seen fit with recommendation from multiple witnesses to grant you the White Ribbon of Grace- and permission to openly wear said award. Then the other letter, on advice of Captain Pfortner and Colonel Jagdmeister, you had been officially awarded by the same offices under review of witnesses and recommendations, the Silver Shield of Roland, for actions taken by you, your crew and your retinue to blunt the counteroffensive at Sundersschirm and, it had been decided, serving a critical role in protecting the rest of your unit from the enemy and preventing a collapse of defenses. It was not the highest award one could find themselves gaining in the Archduchy…but your platoon found a few bottles of a few sorts of schnapps to celebrate the news with you and your crew- the Silver Shield was awarded to a subunit collectively, after all- all of you would have the right to wear the award.

Said awards would be given at a later ceremony, so they weren’t in your hands yet, but it did make you think…what other things had you done, that would not be recognized?

The war in Netilland was not over when you left- and you were not told when it might be coming to a close. Only that the contract had been resolved, and so, the Silver Lances would be returning to Strossvald, and its members given leave until their next commission, which would not be for at least another month. It felt off, to be leaving a war unresolved, but your duty there was officially done- for whatever reason. It would go on without you, and end, but you hoped that those you fought alongside would find victory soon. Edelschwert had to attend your wedding, after all, so with any luck, this would end before then, even if the problem of the Ellowian Army in Exile remained even after the Military Council’s last defeat.

The m/32B, as property of yourself and of Von Blum, would be transported back to those lands for refitting needed. As you bid your crew farewell at the train station back in the Archduchy, you’d be riding your own way, for somewhere else…

>Home, back in Strosstadt. You’d managed to return from war- and the first place you needed to be was with your family.
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
>Down to the border of Mittelsosalia again, and further- you needed to pick up your retinue.
>Other?
>>
>>5236602
>Home, back in Strosstadt. You’d managed to return from war- and the first place you needed to be was with your family.

Home, then Blumsburgh
>>
>>5236602
>Down to the border of Mittelsosalia again, and further- you needed to pick up your retinue.
Just to say hi and see if she wants to come with. I'd imagine a month? or so of being cooped up in one place would leave her smoldering.

>Other?
In the event we go somewhere else then I'd at least say write to her and make sure she's doing okay and tell her we are done with the war and heading back. Who knows when we'd see her next otherwise and let her know. Also gotta burn dem flowers for a dead god

>You even saw the fellow you had heard called Wolf Tamer in Sundersschirm
It's for the best there wasn't an in person scene. It'd be funny as fuck if it forced anons to talk to themselves and make Richter and Reinhold interact like lunatics.
>>
>>5236616
My main concern is if Maddy finds out the first person we visit after our deployment is Anya of all people whether her inferiority complex will rear its head again, especially with the wedding coming up.

Either way I support writing to her in any case.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…

>Said awards would be given at a later ceremony, so they weren’t in your hands yet, but it did make you think…what other things had you done, that would not be recognized?

IO work aside, I would think of that job Von Silbertau gave us to destroy that jammer, maybe if he had lived?

Or the battle in which we fired the Hellfire, if I remember us and Framboise plus the Panzergrenadiers
basically held off an entire heavy armour battalion for a night.
>>
>>5236602
>>Home, back in Strosstadt. You’d managed to return from war- and the first place you needed to be was with your family.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…

Maybe we can get a tour of the workshop where our tank was made and offer some modification requests while she gets refitted. Like a proper commanders mg that we can fire buttoned up.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…

Also supporting writing Anya a letter

It's quite novel to actually be getting medals for our actions after all of our heroics have gone on in either covert action or in service of another nation.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
>>
>>5236602
Btw, did Anya also get the Shield as our retinue? We definitely need to write to her. And maybe to Signy as well.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
GO GO GO GO
>>
>>5236602
>>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
>>
>>5236602
>>5236721
>Other?
Yeah, Write to Anya and Signy.
Tell Anya we'll either send after her or pick her up personally later. Tell Signy, well Idk actually. Just a hey and a check up on how she's doing I suppose.
>>
>>5236602
>>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
Supporting >>5236676 and taking a nerdy tour of Von Blum's armoury and making demands like we own the place., also write Anya a letter. Got to make sure she can still write one back after busting her arm. We can't live without our secretary.
>>
>>5236602
>Blumsburgh. You’d gone long enough away from Maddalyn. She had the right to see you first…
I know Richter is decently worried about continuing the bloodline, but exactly how worried are his parents? Regardless I'm sure they wouldn't mind too much if Richter visited Maddy first
>>
Can we get a sketch of our new shiny medals at some point?
>>
>>5236611
>>5236650
Back to the old home, to your folks. And your hamburger.

>>5236630
>>5236659
>>5236676
>>5236699
>>5236713
>>5236721
>>5236730
>>5236936
>>5237050
>>5237109
Immediate Von Blum hunting.
Make the armory and weapons engineering a planned stop.

>>5236616
Grab fluffy.

>>5236840
Get writing.

Writing.

>>5236715
>Btw, did Anya also get the Shield as our retinue?
Yes- everybody under your direct command for that operation, including your retinue, has the right to wear the award, as it's a collective award and not individual.
>>
>>5237188
Sure, it wouldn't be too hard to do quickly.
Which assuredly means I won't have it done for weeks.
>>
The train ride to the Blumlands after you reached Strosstadt was along the same line you took when you first went there- albeit on a completely different sort of train. A newer sort, that rode more smoothly, and was far better painted and crafted rather than being a beaten old military freight engine, though the passenger compartments were more crowded. Many more people than you were going to the Blumlands on this ride- but you at least got a window seat, and could look out and remember everything from the last time it rolled by.

The previous time you’d been in the Blumlands, it had been quite the mess, and you had left in a hurry; nothing you’d heard indicated that the chaos of a separatist uprising still gripped the territory’s capital, but it’d be interesting to see the place as it was supposed to be. Especially if you were to stay there for longer.

To pass the time besides watching the land’s indecision between finally moving over to Spring, you wrote letters to a couple of people that were growing further away- one of whom you considered in particular need of one. Your retinue had been forced to rest and recuperate partway through the campaign you had recently returned from, and you hadn’t sent any correspondence in the meantime. In Ellowie when she was forced to rest before, you’d learned well that Anya hated being cooped up and made to sit still, and given that you weren’t aware of her being that social…it would brighten her day.
>>
So you began, of course, with the news that you were alive and well, and out of fighting. Then, you went into what had happened since she’d been sent home. The reinforcement and reequipment of the unit, the drive into Netilland, the meeting and duel with Crown Taker. Vehrlors’s sacrifice- and how you’d met Edelschwert afterwards. A hint that you’d invited him to your wedding, in case an interception might be planned, and a conveyance of the well wishes that he had sent. Finally, you told her that she was entitled to a medal for the battle at the old fort at Sundersschirm, and wished her well yourself.

Despite Edelschwert’s belief that Anya would be a troublemaker at the wedding solely because she thought it might be funny, she had demurred from irritating your fiancée on purpose before when she knew she wouldn’t help anything by staying around. Maddalyn certainly was not going to change her mind on that- the simple act of pleading your retinue’s case might set off in a needlessly envious fit.

Next, a letter to the other woman who Maddalyn held in spite, but she at least tolerated her existence. Your relationship with Signy wasn’t what it used to be, but you’d still been through a lot because of one another. She deserved to know you were alright, but you provided less detail about what had happened- it didn’t seem as relevant to her. Despite having been a republican militant, Signy was no fighter like Anya was. So instead, you wrote observations that, though she might already know them, contained what you’d seen. Of the Ellowian Exiles’ cold spite to the Netillians, and how they clashed with the Netillian New Republic- how the sides of the conflict apparently didn’t see the state of Mittelsosalia as a factor, and perhaps, it should be asserted otherwise, in order to convince the disparate sides towards peace, now that the Military Council was near defeat. Not that you wanted to cultivate too much ambition, given how it had already changed her, but by your measure, there had been enough fighting- and the men of the Republic of Mittelsosalia seemed to have the proper heart about the matter. An extended war would do them as little good as anybody else.
>>
Finally, what you knew to be the capital lands of the Blumlands came into view, and the train went around a curve that allowed a view of the Imperial Gate itself- the twisting mountain valley that was the sole large passage into Sosalia from the west, with great high black mountains stretching north and south as far as could be seen. Anticipation tingled in your fingers and toes. What were you going to do? Well, besides the obvious. There was, after all, the armories and weapons workshops, that would assuredly be curious of your also returning tank, though it was on a different train for later. More of the m/32B was clearly in demand on the modern battlefield, and you had your own suggestions you could make.

The train slowed as it approached the central station at Blumsburgh- a place you’d never been to, though it was as decorated and beauteous a place as the Capital’s Grand Station, if far less chaotic. Western inspired frescoes adorned the walls, portraying the Imperial Gate’s landscape, and the city between the rivers that was Blumsburgh, the Von Blum villa on the hill a clear point of focus. It wasn’t merely what was outside- it was an older view of the city, before the factories and apartments that now sprouted up from it amongst the older construction.

As you stepped out, you looked around the station- word hadn’t been sent ahead, so there wasn’t any reason to expect anybody, but you felt the need to sate a sense of pointless curiosity anyways. Yet sated it was.

A lovely, though small, figure. Skin so pale it was almost white, fiery red locks that fell past the shoulders. Grey-blue eyes- no eyepatch, now, no dark circles under them. The mole high on her cheek and under those lovely eyes, and a pout in her lips. She wore a long blue satin dress with filigree pattern on it, that went up to a tight collar around her neck, and a silk shawl covered her shoulders and arms, upon which were long white gloves. She looked from side to side- you weren’t in proper uniform right now, wearing your beaten Ellowian jacket, but it was obvious who was being looked for…

>?
>>
>>5237306
>>?
Walk up to her and give her a great big hug
>>
>>5237306
Ah she, she found out we were coming. I wanted to surprise her.
...unless.
>No eyepatch.
>Long Gloves on.
>No ring either around her finger or neck.
>Can't pick Richter out from a crowd via use of her magic eye.
>?
No hugs, no kisses.
Not till we're 100% sure we got the right one.
Once we are sure though, hug the living piss outta her! Then apply ample sloppy makeouts.
>>
>>5237308
>>5237329
Actually that's true, adding in the caveat to that make sure it's the right sibling first. Wouldn't put it past Mathilda to try to gaslight us and spite her sister.
If Maddy did manged to fix her eye then maybe there's some hope for Richter's own injuries as well.
>>
>>5237306
>>5237329
Support
Although she might have a glass eye in, it doesn't hurt to at least check just to make sure we got the right one. Then we can go all in if we did
>>
>>5237306
>>5237329
Supporting, leave the making out and other more racy stuff till we're in private though.As a scion of the local lords there's likely some level of dignity needed to be maintained in front of the subjects
>>
Damn I really should remember who has which mole
>>
>>5237391
Maddalyn has her's under her left eye
Mathilda has her's on her jaw.
The thing is, Richter was told that Mathilda's mole might be fake, an artificial way to distinguish herself from her sister that could be removed.
Also the long gloves are a Mathilda thing too from what I remember, though Richter isn't 100% sure what the fuck that's about beyond some hint that there's something wrong with her arms.
>>
File: 1513069360462.png (375 KB, 1100x1100)
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Oddly enough this is the only image of the two of them I have on hand.
I should gave the one from Mathilda's first appearance somewhere, but till I find it, this should do.
>>
File: 1483065941023.png (238 KB, 600x700)
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Here.
>>
>>5237306
>?
Maybe for the best to confirm the identity of the woman before you do anything improper to her. I don't want to make it two men in our crew who accidentally got friendly with the sister of their lady love.
>>
>>5237329
+1

>>5237306
>no picture
If this is really Maddy, then I hate to be that guy, be we're gonna need a picture here chief. Of course, if it isn't, don't worry about it :^)
>>
>>5237329
>>5237336
>>5237341
>>5237364
>>5237565
>>5237582
Be sure that this is your ginger before you do anything.

Updating.

>>5237582
Have no worries. There is a picture either way.
>>
File: tcqscene198.png (1704 KB, 759x1300)
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A wave of excitement- but then, wariness. Where was the ring you had sent? If she knew you were coming, surely she would wear it? Also, no matter how you were dressed, it didn’t matter to Maddalyn, because she didn’t see the same as others. It wasn’t enough to be sure, but even the slightest skepticism made you feel off about just going up and squeezing her right off. Especially after learning from Van Halm, back in Sosaldt- that your fiancée’s face and her sister’s were practically identical. Right down to that mole- and you had only seen Mathilda but once.

So you slowly approached, and stood before the red haired beauty- she glanced at you with those pretty eyes- but did not smile.

“Richter Von Tracht.” Judge Above, she even sounded exactly like her. “You’ve changed much since I last saw you. I don’t believe we’ve spoken, for months.”

“You are Mathilda Von Blum,” you presumed, “Why are you here?”

“I heard tell that the Archduke’s own Silver Lances returned home. That meant you would be coming back. We have matters to discuss, that have been put off for too long.”

“Do we?” you asked, “I’d half think you were here to deceive me. Your mole is in a different place than before.”

“You think me in disguise?” Mathilda pointed to her face, “Try to rub it away, if you think it false. If I wanted to deceive you, do you think that I could not? In every way I could? I did think it would be amusing to gauge your reaction, I admit.”

There was one certain difference- her arms, covered in gloves, but it wasn’t as though Maddalyn never wore gloves either.

“I still don’t understand what you could possibly want to talk to me about,” you said hesitantly.

“The one person we share a connection through, of course,” Mathilda said, beckoning, “Besides. If circumstances were different, I would be your fiancée, not her. Not out of any decision of ours, of course. I don’t bear you the ill will necessary to spite Maddalyn by using you.”

“But you do bear your sister ill will.”

“Of course I do,” Mathilda still beckoned with a hand, looking impatient, “I did not go from looking up to her, adoring her, to what I feel now just because the wind began to blow a different way. You’ve never asked her why, or has she never told you, if you did? If you want, then we can talk in a car. Not about what you can be told. About what you ought to ask, if you’re really so fond of one another as she seems to say. Otherwise, find your own transportation to the manor. That is where you are going, I’m sure.”

>Go along- you were curious enough. (Anything to ask, besides what she might say?)
>Decline. You still had nothing to say to Mathilda, or discuss about her sister.
>Other?
>>
>>5237779
>Go along- you were curious enough. (Anything to ask, besides what she might say?)
How much of your reasons for whatever resentment you have overlaps with your father's?

Otherwise we might as well start unravelling our in-laws mess right now.
>>
>>5237779
>Go along- you were curious enough. (Anything to ask, besides what she might say?)
So why doens't Maddalyn visit us from the station?
Is she busy?
Ask why there is suddenly an interest in good old half-face
>>
>>5237779
>Decline. You still had nothing to say to Mathilda, or discuss about her sister.
>>
>>5237779
>Go along- you were curious enough. (Anything to ask, besides what she might say?)

Last time we were here was before Valsten, any events of significance in the Blumlands since the whole Dawnseeker affair?
>>
>>5237798
Also speaking of marriage, how are the talks for yours going? I've seen your name and picture being put forward to some of my comrades in the army.
>>
>>5237796
No thanks, ho.

>>5237789
>>5237793
>>5237798
Alright- let's take a ride, then.
And various other questions.

Writing.
>>
>>5237779
>Go along- you were curious enough. (Anything to ask, besides what she might say?)

I'm predicting Maddy was the cause for her mother's death.
>>
“…Alright,” you said warily, “Lead the way. We’ll talk.”

“Good.” Mathilda nodded a small tilt of the chin. “Do not mind the guards. They’ll be much closer when we go to the car.”

There were guards? Of course there were- another look around told you they were not dressed in a very official manner though. They closed as you and Mathilda entered a long, well adorned luxury car fit with polished metal and brass, painted a sleek dark blue. An odd quirk- instead of the Von Blum emblem, you saw the lotus of the house of Strossvald…

“A gift,” Mathilda explained as she sat at one end of the passenger compartment- there was a few paces distance between a front and back row of seats, “Across from me, Von Tracht. Fritten, be in no hurry. Take a scenic route, but get us up to the hill in a timely manner.”

“Yes, m’lady,” one of the plain clothed men said with a bow.

You sat across the upper row of seats- you doubted this unfamiliar woman, for all she looked, would appreciate you cozying up next to her. She crossed her legs neatly as you sat, and the doors were closed after you.

“A gift from the Archduke?” you asked, “For who? Your family?”

“For me,” Mathilda said with a stiff tone, “I’m a known figure in courts, though I’ve heard you aren’t one to know of such things. We’ll just say that I have talents in socializing. Connections.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” you said, “If we’re in no hurry, I have questions of my own, for you.”

Mathilda blinked dourly. “Go ahead.” Her face was distracting…her whole body was, so you looked out the window rather than into those eyes that were frighteningly the same as Maddalyn’s.

“I’m not going to predict why you hate Maddalyn so,” you started as you watched the sides of the streets- you’d embarked in the morning from Strosstadt, and now it was midday, and vendors had come out in force to entice workers out for lunch. “But I want to ask, is it a resentment that overlaps with your father’s, of her?”

“Lord Barnabas Von Blum,” Mathilda said, “Resents both of us, near equally. My sister, as well as I. We were both foolish, in different ways…though that is not the source of it. I won’t reveal that.”

So her father held the same low opinion of his other daughter, from a wife that he held above any other? Curious…though Van Halm’s story gave you a guess as to why, you weren’t so ignorant of manners as to bring up her being exploited in an affair at a scandalous age.
>>
“Fine, then,” you relaxed and leaned back into your seat. “You came. Yet Maddalyn didn’t. Why? Is she busy?” Certainly Mathilda couldn’t have been expected to act in a sisterly way and tell her.

“Busy? Yes. Very much so. In her secret studies and projects. I’ve not paid attention to what it is, my attention has been somewhere else,” Mathilda crossed her arms and tilted her chin up, “But the servants talk. She’s awake mostly at night. When she leaves, it isn’t to go out, but to check on her projects at the new laboratory my father provided for her. She’s been so distracted that she loses track of time- leaves mail set aside. Whatever it is, she thinks it’s very important, though you and I both know…it’s probably something best not meddled with. Yet, she’s convinced my father of its use. We’ll see what comes of it.”
Indeed- Maddalyn had confided in you about this project, but you’d not heard a bit of it since she told it to you- and you disapproved. She hadn’t been very happy with you about that.

“Yet you’ve come to pick me up, despite how busy she’s been. Not as a favor to her. Why the interest in me?”

“A cordial welcome suits a soon to be member of the family,” Mathilda said, uncrossing and crossing her legs back over one another, “Though I also know that my sister is the sort to keep secrets. You might think that I wore a mask when I waited for you, but you presume that Maddalyn isn’t just as capable of such a thing? She knows her masks just as well as I do. I might seem a spiteful person to you, if she’s said even a single thing about me, but I do know what love feels like. And I know how secrets and deception can break it. Call it a favor, if you like.”

That made you look back sharply into her eyes and glower. “I’d rather not.” Mathilda tilted her head and lifted her shoulders in a halfhearted shrug with no words. “Are you not set to be married soon? One of my comrades, one Von Metzeler, was offered your hand.”

“I am eighteen years old,” Mathilda said lightly, “I have been of age, and the family needs allies. It is not a choice I have a say in. So, I don’t particularly care when I say, no, I have not been engaged. For the better for my plans, anyways.”

Whatever those plans were- “Plans- so has anything else happened here, in the Blumlands? Since the Dawnseekers uprising? That might draw your family’s attention?”

“The Intelligence Office has been kept busy. I’ve not kept apprised of the details.” Mathilda bobbed her foot, “I know that most of them have been arrested, interrogated, and otherwise driven into hiding, or have run off. There are lists of wanted men. They have not caused a great amount of trouble since, and any incidents have been in the countryside. Compared to how it was, it’s practically back to normal.”
>>
“I see,” you said, “That’s all I had in mind.”

“More than I expected,” Mathilda said, “Now then. Tell me. Do you know of Von Blum’s second wife?”

“Yes. I forget her name, though.”

“Miriam. Miriam Von Blum,” Mathilda said, “One of my elder half-sisters was named after her. While my father was still married to his first wife, Clarice Von Eislichtfelt. As he tells it, they were friends, back then- before he knew that she would be his second wife. Before Von Eislichtfeld died of a hereditary blood disease. He waited a few years. Father made multiple individual expeditions to the mountains. That was where he met this Miriam. She was an Imperial exile. Hence, Maddalyn and I are Demimperi, particularly more so than the rest of the family.”

“None of this sounds secret.”

“It isn’t,” Mathilda said, “I’m only assuming you know nothing of the family. Anyways. Miriam Von Blum died only a couple of years after I was born. I have no memory of her. Do you know how she died?”

“She fell ill,” you recounted, “…why, is that not the whole truth?”

“It is the whole truth,” Mathilda said, a relief for whatever your paranoid subconscious had dreamt up, “She contracted a fever that turned fatal. In her last days, she rambled madly. What she said…that is what you ought to ask your wife to be, because she was there. There’s a few things you should ask her. For example…” Mathilda shuffled her shawl off of her shoulders, and peeled a glove from her arm. As it was pulled away…you saw something you’d seen before. Blackened, ashen flesh, with familiar flaking pattern to it. Blood and black tar shining and leaking slightly from where it cracked open. From below her elbow all the way to her fingertips. “Do you know how this happened? Do you know how long this has been like this?”

You stared at the ugly mutilation. “I know how it might happen…”

“Maddalyn did this to me,” Mathilda said, her voice breaking for a moment, “Her own sister. Do you know how old I was? I was seven years old. It was not done as a kindness, or even an attempt at one. Ask her why she did this to me. Why she mutilated me, made me have to keep this secret from those who might have otherwise loved me. For a time, I thought I deserved it. I still loved her even then, until years later, when I realized what she had cost me.”
>>
“I…” You didn’t want to believe it. It was unthinkable. Maddalyn would have been…thirteen? Yes, you knew nothing of what might have been happening then, but there had to be a reason… “There is a reason,” was all you could say.

“Yes. There is, and if she thinks of you as anything other than a toy, a dumb pet so that she doesn’t feel so alone in the world, then she’ll tell you. The final thing you should ask,” Mathilda said, as she glanced outside as the car stopped. You looked and saw you were being let through the gates to the Von Blum’s villa atop a hill overlooking Blumsburgh, “Ask her to show you the grave beneath the manor.” The door opened for you. “Go and see your fiancée then, Von Tracht,” Mathilda said icily, “She’s been longing to see you. I, however, have appointments to keep. Goodbye, for now.”

You didn’t need encouragement as you left the car, and you didn’t bother saying your own parting. You were too busy thinking about what you’d been told, as you walked without thinking to the front door, mumbled to the servants who let you in, and settled down heavily on an armchair in the foyer, staring up at the ceiling, to the painted ceiling of the entry hall, depicting a grand battle- the Von Blums had been a powerful family even before the Archduchy was formed. They had been around since Alexander had conquered Sosalia, as one of the disparate petty kingdoms to fall under his sword, though they had been allowed to keep their place. The battle was a scene from before then- and your memory failed you in placing when it was.

Spiteful lies. That was what Maddalyn’s younger sister had to be telling you. Why tell the truth? Why not just ruin you for her sister? Then again, if she intended to do that, couldn’t she have done that in a far more visceral, cold hearted way, rather than merely telling you to ask questions?

You didn’t want to think of this right now. You wanted to see your Maddalyn. You wanted to embrace her, to kiss her, to do all sorts of dirty things to her in the confines of her bedroom. To take her in hand in the courtyard and put a golden ring on her finger, to watch her swell up in motherhood. To see her smile, and be happy for the both of you.

No, none of this had to be asked. Not right away…it could wait. There was time. It had to wait. You wouldn’t suffer this sort of indecisive doubt when you’d returned from war.

Yet still. It refused to leave your mind, so you leaned back, and stared emptily, until you fell asleep…blissful darkness, with no visitors. Darkness interrupted a couple of hours later by a maid.
>>
“Sir Von Tracht,” she said quietly as she shook your shoulder, “You’ve been dozing. We thought you might want to see Lady Maddalyn..?”

“Huh?” You wiped your eyes groggily, “Oh…oh, of course. Yes. Though I…didn’t know where she might be.”

“In her room,” the maid said, “She’s probably asleep. I’ll let you in, if you like.”

“Please,” you got up so quickly you almost fell over.

Up the stairs you followed, until you were before a decorated door, embossed with a name. Her room…last time, there had been an old soulbinder asleep in here. You’d rather not have him around, frankly, so you asked after him- and discovered he had been moved elsewhere. Fantastic. You couldn’t care less about where that slumbering old wizard was who would never wake up, so long as he wasn’t in the corner of where you planned to get out everything you’d had to hold in for too long.

Quietly, the maid unlocked the door of Maddalyn’s room, and opened it with nary a sound, motioning you in with a slight smile. “She’s been staying up very late at night, and has been working quite hard…so she may be too exhausted to go anywhere for now. I’m sure she’ll be relieved to see you safe and sound.”
A nod to the maid, and a whirl of your finger for her not to linger outside the door, please, as you stepped through and heard the door close behind you- though not lock. Though there was a deadbolt inside, anyways, you noted.

There she was. Your little lady, your princess- for real this time. Assuredly. She was indeed asleep- not in her bed, but at her desk, where a pile of heavy tomes sat, one open, its pages so faded that you could barely see what was on it, which was indecipherable script anyways. Scribbles and pages were piled haphazardly elsewhere on the desk, mostly numbers, and the same sort of unknown script that was part of the ancient book. Maddalyn herself was very much in dreamland- even if you had barged in, you doubted you’d have woken her, as she was leaned back in her chair, chin tilted down to her chest, in soft pajamas, the circles under her eyes even more pronounced than in the photo you’d seen of her. Her hair was messy, though she didn’t smell as though she hadn’t bathed…a touch of her hair sent your heart racing again. She was asleep- but that wouldn’t do…

>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.
Then-
>?
>>
>>5237894
>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.
Shake her gently awake

Then-
>?
Hug time
>>
>>5237894
>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.
Waiting is for the best.

Move her to the bed and get her as comfortable as we can, use our coat / scarf etc. to keep her warm if getting her under the covers is likely to wake her up, and alert her to our presence should we need to leave the room.

"Allowing" her sleep "uninterrupted" for as long as she does, is very important, especially if if she hasn't been keeping to a regular schedule that downtime be uninterrupted, hopefully now that we are back we can assist in gradually curbing distracting her from some of these tendencies.

Coming up with a list of people to send invites to the wedding would probably, worth doing and be a good starting point once she is awake, since leading with "Mathilda's questions" is probably a bad idea and should be brought up at a later point, if ever I'm not really sure that we can do anything at all regarding their feelings for one another in the short term, let alone the long term, or if we even want to try though we should let her know that she was there to pick us up, from the station and that some things were discussed.
>>
>>5237894
>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.
Richter is eager it seems!
Nibble on her ears till she wakes up and hope to god she followed your advice from the letter.

>?
Bring her to the bed and hug and kiss and cuddle the ever loving bejesus outta her. Every visable part of her body should be smooched at least once.
Tears should be shed and undying love should be confessed.
Nothing sexy beyond the usual groping, but melt into her completely otherwise.
Just Raw Unabashed Comfort.
We can talk about wedding stuff followed by Mathilda stuff after we spend the next day squeezing Richter's beloved wife like a teddy bear.
>>
>>5237894
>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.
Give her a honk

>?
With feeling
>>
>>5237896
+1
>>
>>5237894
>Wake her up. Whether you wait or not, you want her awake. Do something about it.

Nibble her ear
>>
>>5237894
>Move her to the bed, cuddle and wait.
>>
>>5237894
>(?)
Supporting moving her to her bed.
Stroke her hair and quietly call her back to wakefullness. Richter and Maddy really shouldn't be reunited after war by startling oneanother.
>>
>>5237916
this
>>
>>5237896
>>5238091
Shake it. Then smother it.

>>5237916
>>5238167
>>5238100
Go ear spelunking.

>>5238151
Be more reserved about the whole thing.

>>5237899
In fact, let her get her rest.

>>5238085
Blatant assault.

Writing.
>>
>>5238125
Also you.
>>
>>5238271
I would much rather let her rest than rudely and lewdly awaken her. If you are just taking the majority vote, I will switch my vote to support >>5237899
>>
>>5238291
Too late, digger.
>>
The temptation was to go on Maddalyn right away. To pull back her hair and do what she liked best- but as you closed in on that pale ear, you glanced to the chair, then the bed- and thought to have just a little more patience. A chair was no place to sleep, as you ought to have known.

So you slipped one hand behind her back, and another under her legs, and picked her up as slowly as you could- testing your right hand first to try and be sure you wouldn’t pinch her with an unintended twitch of your mechanical digits. She was lighter than you remembered- but she only sniffed slightly when you lifted her, and moved her over to her lush bed, clean, well made, and fluffy, yet forsaken in order to work herself to exhaustion. Trying to get her under the covers proved to be too much maneuvering- she stirred a little when you tried, so you settled for laying her atop it and putting one of the thin loose blankets over her, before pulling up the chair beside her bed and sitting in it yourself. She needed her sleep…and you could watch her a while, rather than probing around her things.

She was your fiancée. It wasn’t strange to just watch her breathe, was it? To study every contour of her face, her body, again, after so long. There was no eyepatch on her- had she managed to heal that damage, after so long? You checked your watch- time passed by too slowly, she slept too soundly, but you didn’t want to wake her up right away, at least…
Until you simply couldn’t wait longer, after over an hour. A hand came up without you thinking about it, and ran a finger through her hair. You tried to avoid catching on any tangles, and swept aside bunched locks that bounced as your touch left them.

“Mmmnn.” She still didn’t wake, though she shifted in her sleep and sighed thinly.

Should you be more aggressive? You wanted her up. It was bad enough that the first person you saw was her sister and not her- you didn’t want to delay being with her further to handle whatever else there was here.

You shuffled off your jacket and mask onto the chair, leaned forward, and bit softly on her ear. Rolled the tip of your tongue over the edge of it, and moved down to the lobe, which you blew on softly before tugging at it with your lips. None of the deep kissing Maddalyn liked when she was awake- much as you were tempted. That could wait. It still took some time, as you ran your hand over her head and your mouth over her ear, straying to her neck sometimes. Then, she finally stretched her back her shoulders raising and a whine coming from her like a cat waking up.

“Mnnn…nnn. Who..?” Maddalyn was hardly out of sleep, as her eyes were squinted shut and she pawed about at your face blearily, before finding your eyes, your nose, the crinkled and burned edge and side beyond it. “…Richter..?”
>>
The only excuse you needed, as you turned her onto her back and squeezed your fiancée around her middle, and planted your lips firmly to hers. Her mouth was dry, and had an off taste, but you didn’t care in the moment.

“Mmf.”

“I’ve missed you so,” you whispered to her, as you held her as tightly as you could, nestling your face in her hair.

“Mmmrrgh,” Maddalyn wriggled, “Mmn.” She rubbed her eyes with a single hand, as her other was pinned against her side by you. “When did…when did you get-“ Her question was interrupted by another kiss, one you held for longer.

Part of you wanted to weep for joy, but it couldn’t force any tears from your eyes. A stronger part flatly refused, now. It didn’t allow it. “Not too long ago,” you said, “All that matters is that I’m here now. With you. And I’ll be staying a long time.”

Maddalyn’s hand pushed you up, and you let her sit upwards, but still had one hand on her back- and slipped your other down to brush your fingers against her bottom. Maddalyn’s eyes were still squeezed shut tight, but she still felt your face as you let her other arm go. “You’re back…I’m sorry, I’m just…so tired…Geh.” That last expression of muted annoyance as you squeezed her butt. Too long, it had been too long since you groped that peerless eminence, and you moved your other hand to grasp it by the other side. “Richter…please…”

“You’re irresistible,” you told her with no hesitation as you pushed your hands down her soft pajama bottoms, pushed your palms against those firm slopes, pushed her panties to ride up and around for less obstruction. From her face you moved down to her throat, and kissed her collarbones, then her neck. She wriggled in your grip as you lavished her with weeks of pent up energy that you were still holding back from.

“Stop…” she pushed at you again, and you did this time. “…There…” She opened her eyes just a little, but they shut again, and you missed any chance to study the one that had been cut out. “Lie down with me…” You obeyed your lady, and she nestled up against you in the crook of your arm, which you gave willingly to her. “…Hmmmm…” a deep and satisfied sigh, as she sank into you, face pushed into your chest, and her breathing slowed again within moments. So it was going to be like that then, you relented as you gave up any attempts to molest her further. She wanted to sleep, and would not be dissuaded- but she wanted to sleep with you, clearly much more satisfied with the present arrangement. Even if it meant you couldn’t do anything but lay in her bed and hold her.

It was good enough, you thought as you laid back. You couldn’t ask for more.
>>
Another couple of hours passed- though you couldn’t sleep. You weren’t tired at all- it was only afternoon. A soft knock came at the door, and you reflexively got up to answer it- despite Maddalyn sleepily grabbing at you and squeaking in protest that you dared to get up and leave her grasp for even a moment as you put your mask back on.

“Sir Von Tracht,” an elderly fellow dressed in a fine suit and silver chain awaited you at the door. Somebody important looking, amongst servants, at least. “Lord Von Blum requests your presence…if you are available. I would dare not interrupt any other plans Sir Von Tracht has.”

“No, it’s alright, thank you for letting me know,” you brushed your hand over your head, unsure if laying in bed might have upset your grooming. “What does he want to meet me for?”

“Matters of promotion and assignment, sir,” the servant said plainly, “A returning Silver Lance, and your prior history…and a military man who is part of the family ought to have a place in the territory’s forces, as he says.”

>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
>Claim that you have plans, presently- you’ll get back to Lord Von Blum. You needed to get Maddalyn up, now, and get to doing things… (Such as what?)
>Acknowledge the request- but you’d meet later. You needed to spent more time with your darling, even if it was just to be a bedwarmer for however long it took.
>Other?
>>
>>5238447
>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
Let her sleep, she needs the rest and we do need to talk to Lord Von Blum on how Richter can best contribute going forward.
>>
>>5238447
>>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
Let's see how far cronyism can take us with this promotion - personally I'm aiming for Vice Admiral.
>>
>>5238447
>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.

Ties in well with us wanting to visit the armouries and workshops
>>
>>5238447
>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
>>
>>5238447
>Acknowledge the request- but you’d meet later. You needed to spent more time with your darling, even if it was just to be a bedwarmer for however long it took.
I wanna Staaaaaay!
Imagine doing all this and Maddalyn waking up and having a panic attack when Richter isn't around. We can't let that happen!
In all seriousness though, the grumpy old fuck and his promotion can wait. He outta be happy Richter is finally in bed with his daughter, even if it’s not quite doing what he wanted done.
Yet.
>>
>>5238447
>>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
>>
>>5238447
>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.
>>
>>5238447
>Alright, you’ll meet right away. Maddalyn needed to sleep more, anyways, clearly.

Ohhh I don't like this. Somehow it reminds me too much like the court martial.
I know in the event that Richter's loyalties would be put to the flame he'd side with Maddy, but it does not sit well with me that Von Blum is so quickly moving to cement us into his forces.

I mean fuck he hasn't even said hello to us and already we're being fit into his plans.
Let's just not agree to anything too quickly.
>>
>>5238447
>Acknowledge the request- but you’d meet later. You needed to spent more time with your darling, even if it was just to be a bedwarmer for however long it took.
>>
>>5238449
>>5238451
>>5238454
>>5238455
>>5238624
>>5238635
>>5238694
Go and see your soon-to-be father in law.

>>5238490
>>5238840
No, I want to snuggle my womanlet!

Duty calls. Booty later.

Writing.
>>
“Oh, I’ll see him right away,” you said, looking back to Maddalyn- she needed her sleep anyways. What were you really doing there? She’d understand…though. “Just a moment.” You went back and wrapped her mother’s scarf around her, though she still sleepily grasped for you with barely audible mutterings. “Alright,” you said when you came back to her bedroom door to the servant, “Lead on.”

Lord Barnabas Von Blum, territorial lord of the Archduchy and patriarch of the Blumlands, waited for you in one of the manor’s sitting rooms. The sitting room itself was decorated with arching dark wooden pillars at the walls, lighter wood paneling forming columns interspersed with one another from one end of the room to the other to form the effect of one end of the room growing lighter than the other as one went from the entrance. The Lord was attended to by a servant who held a silver platter in his hands, though everything had been taken off of it and put on a squat table for four, intricately carved with geometric patterns and made of deep dark wood- one amongst several, them and their velvet cushioned high backed chairs seeming to form a set, though from the deep red plush carpet, ever piece of the entire room very well could have been made for one another.

Barnabas Von Blum, a dour and stoic expression on his face, motioned with his hand for you to sit across from him. You glanced from side to side- were you supposed to do something, first? Never mind. You sat down.

“In the future,” Lord Von Blum said in a clear and deep voice, “If you bring along any guests, have the courtesy for them to salute or bow.”

“You wished to see me, your grace?” you said, bowing somewhat at the shoulders.

“I did. Among other things, but also, for tea.” He waved to his servant, who took a softly steaming kettle and poured a pair of cups of red-black tea into porcelain cups, themselves intricately painted with monochromatic portraits of figures labeled as ancestors of the Von Blum family. “I understand that you may not have had it in some time. Netillians being more fond of their herbs, than proper tea…though as they rather enjoy their autarchy, one can understand discomfort with trying to procure civilized drink from Zhantao through Caelus, or even local cultivars from East Valsten, as this tea here is. Do you prefer milk or sugar, Von Tracht?”

“Sugar,” you said quickly, and stared into the cup as you were presented it- smelled it deeply. This was the proper stuff. “Thank you, Lord Von Blum.”
>>
“You are welcome,” Von Blum put his hands together on the table and leaned forward. “Let us start the object of this meeting. Tell me, how would it feel to be called Major Von Tracht?”

You paused as you were about to sip at this fine tea. “A double promotion, your grace?”

“Veterans of the Silver Lances are often offered promotions, as they’ve proved a skill warranting it for many territories, or even the Archduchy’s own troops,” Von Blum took a long drink, “I am merely preempting any counteroffers. From my own specialists’ inquiries, you have already performed duties suited to a Captain.”

“I have…” you allowed. Though you could mention that some of those duties were performed while executing a mission to rescue the daughter of this man, something he apparently had provided no aid to do…not yet.

“No sane man would offer you to retire from the Silver Lances for anything more than a promotion to such. There is no particular place for you to command quite yet, but rest assured, there are plans, for you and also your subordinate officers, as they are listed under you, under myself. Should you accept.”

A sip at the tea. Heavenly. “The conditions for acceptance being, presumably, that I join the territorial forces of the Blumlands,” you said.

“And swear an oath of service to my person and house until such time as you are released,” Von Blum added levelly, “Subordinate to the oath to the Archduchy, of course.”

“Of course.” Though you wrinkled your nose slightly. Both of you knew well that when the Archduke called for troops for war, the Territorial Lords did not necessarily have to send more than what they arbitrarily decided they could, whilst still maintaining the integrity of their territory. Outright disloyalty was an illegal act, but if a Territory withheld its troops, the oath to the duchy meant far more than to the capital.

“It would also be appropriate for a member of our extended family, serving in a military capacity, to play a part beyond a mere platoon commander,” Von Blum continued, “Not that you will be a Von Blum. Maddalyn will herself become Von Tracht-Blum. However, the favors of your father have not been forgotten still.”

The tea was best drunk slow, but you had to hold yourself back from putting it all away in a few gulps. You could taste the quality- and that even though another cup would come when you wished, this was not merely water with leaves in it.
>>
“There are also the matters,” Von Blum said slowly, between a drink of tea and a motion for one of the servants to bring…something. “Of your introduction to the court here, and of your wedding. I understand that you are not much of an upper class socialite. That is fine, but it will not do for you to show up at the wedding ceremony and not have been seen by the nobility who will appear. Including my other sons and daughters. We have had to move back the planned date of the wedding several times now, but we have decided now that it will take place in three weeks. It may not sound like much time, but we have prepared multiple times, ahead of time, now…”

“I understand,” you nodded, “And the, er, court introduction..?”

“In one week and a half,” Lord Von Blum said, “Your military dress will be sufficient, though if you accept my promotion offer, we will have to hold that ceremony beforehand. You will be instructed in not making a fool of yourself, however, Maddalyn should be able to prevent that. She has familiarity with the courts well enough.”

She didn’t strike you as such whenever you were in private, but, yes, she knew how to maneuver politics. “Aren’t your other children here?”

“Bastian, my heir, is. Manfred, the Blue, is out, as are my daughters besides Maddalyn and Mathilda. They will all be at dinner, which I trust you will be attending.”

“Yes, your grace.” It seemed your evening plans had been made for you. Something you didn’t necessarily like…nor the other plans which seemed to have been made for you without you knowing, though none of it seemed unnecessary, at least. “The Blue, my lord?”

“Manfred is the blood heir to my first wife’s family titles. He is, formally, Mandred Von Eislichtfelt-Blum. The territory Clarice left as the last of her bloodline was called Blaulichtfeld. Therefore, the Blue.”

“I see.”

“Better for you to hear it from me than my son,” Von Blum scowled, “He would take an entire night to tell the tale, and the first two tales would be myth. In any case. I would hear your answer to my proposal forthwith. As well as any other requests you may have, if you require more to accept the conditions of entering my services as a soldier. I would understand if you decline. The Silver Lances are a prestigious unit, and your heritage, but you must also know that to leave them once is not to leave them forever, anyways…”

>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
>You’d have to refuse. A lieutenant you may remain, but the Silver Lances are still your unit.
>Other?
Also-
>Anything else to ask/request?
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder.
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
>>
Obligatory
https://youtube.com/watch?v=jZH3SpBujwk
>>
>>5238901
>Other?
What about a double oath?
Go along with the silver lances when called, But receive a singular promotion in the von Blum military and be part of it when not called.
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
>>
>>5238901
This is a momentous crossroads. Partially for just how much a hand we want in Duchy politics/ number of units to command and part for which side we leap if the cookie were to crumble...as it were.

I genuinely enjoy the idea of Silver Lance adventures. But I also like the idea of Richter taking it easy for awhile and the challenges of Command with a capital C.

Maybe if >>5238934 is feasible I'd support that. Is it possible for a soldier to have a rank in a Duchal army higher than his Nations armed forces?

And if it isn't I'd go:
>You’d have to refuse. A lieutenant you may remain, but the Silver Lances are still your unit.

Bigger than any of this is when this shit Kicks Off, which side do I want Richter to be fighting on? His legacy with the Lances and loyalty to the Archduke, not even including IO shenanigans. Or would it be better to play powerbroker on the Von Blums side.
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
Captain Von Tracht will do, no one would take Richter seriously if he was a Major after a year plus of service. At least we have experience commanding company sized units.
>>
>>5238901
>>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
>>
>>5238981
Additionally:
>Anything else to ask/request?

Just get the Lord's official approval to go visit our tank's workshop sometime in the future (even if we don't really need to), on the basis of seeing if the M32/B can be further improved and modified based on our extensive user experiences and stress testing with the model.

Also I'd be curious to hear what prelimianary plans there are as far as our next posting is concerned since anons might want to offer their own suggestions.
>>
>>5238901
>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
It's not like Richter hasn't done enough shit to earn it at this point. My only concern is the politicking inherent in becoming a Staff Officer. If we accept any promotion, we'll still be beholden to Von Blum so I don't see much of a reason to not take what we can get here
>>
>>5238901
>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
>>
>>5238901
>A singular promotion would do. You didn’t want to appear unseemly, exploiting relations to climb the ladder…
I really wanna just go for the Major spot, but then I remember the other Major we know and think, "Can Richter out do or match that person?"
No.
No, he can not.
We know plenty if Captains Richter can match though, and given Richter does have the favor of his wive's family for now, it shouldn't be too hard to distinguish ourselves enough to and get a cheeky promotion later.
I just hope Richter not taking Major means we offer off the job to some asshole.
>>
>>5238901
>>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
Richter's commanded Battalions, advised for a Battalion mixed force and even commanded adhoc Battalion sized formations in battle, both legally and not so legally. I think its time we get the rank for the jobs we've been consistently given.

>>5239030
>No, he can not.
What exactly has he been doing before the Silver Lances assignment though? Those were roles and responsibilities fit for a Major.
>>
>>5238901
>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
Don't really see any downsides. It's not even strictly political, we are well qualified for the job, even if a bit young. It also helps assure that we are less likely to be under someone that is there purely for their politics and not their merit and capability of command.
>>
>>5238901
>>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
>>
>>5238901
>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
>>
>>5238952
>Is it possible for a soldier to have a rank in a Duchal army higher than his Nations armed forces?
Well, that's the thing. The Territorial Armies are the Nation's armed forces- so holding rank in one is equivalent to any other, as since centralization measures over time have taken place, on paper, it's all one army, even if that isn't how it works in practice.
If it sounds like a potential administrative mess, that's because it is.
In any case, taking whatever promotion does mean it applies to your actual army rank. You don't have a separate one for separate military stations.
What you do have, however, is separate ranks for army position, and position within secretive internal espionage organizations, since though the latter has paramilitary elements it is not subordinate to or connected to the armed forces.

Anyways, I'll be calling it in about an hour or so.
>>
>>5238901
>>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…
I'm guessing Richter's life is going to have a lot more politicking and courtly affairs from now on, and like it or not there are a lot of people who will judge him based purely on his rank. Especially considering that Richter actually has the military experience to reflect the position of major, he would be doing himself a disservice if he only got promoted to captain and let people think that all he did in his military career was command a tank and then receive a generous promotion upon leaving the Lances. A high promotion is the best way to convert our military experience to political influence.
>>
>>5238901
>A double promotion? You’d accept, naturally. Reaching Major at your age was no easy feat…

Don't know why we'd do anything else
>>
>>5239150
Do the Territorial Lords each have their own separate Defence Ministries and General Staffs like some of the German kingdoms had post-unification or does it all fall under the one in the capital?
>>
>>5238913
>>5238925
>>5238941
>>5238981
>>5238984
>>5239030
Go for Cap.

>>5238983
>>5239014
>>5239019
>>5239051
>>5239074
>>5239084
>>5239133
>>5239152
>>5239157
Double Down.

>>5238934
>>5238934
Try to go for both?
Taking two would not be necessary, by the by.

Close one for a bit. Writing.

>>5239177
>Do the Territorial Lords each have their own separate Defence Ministries and General Staffs like some of the German kingdoms had post-unification or does it all fall under the one in the capital?
General staff, yes, but defense ministries outside of basic territorial defense, no, besides vestigial organization. Granted, their definition of what is necessary for territorial defense will vary, but when it comes down to it, they're required to have systems set up for their contribution to the armed forces to be able to work subordinate to Capital Command. Ergo, fuck-fuck games like a territorial lord promoting one of their officers to a lieutenant general and then that officer refusing to follow orders from Capital Command based on their rank is forbidden in word and spirit.
TL;DR Sort of but they have to play nice.
>>
“Placing my allegiance with your family would not preclude my return to the Silver Lances if called or if I saw fit to return, would it?” You followed off of the mention of the unit you’d just parted with.

Barnabas Von Blum closed his eyes and thought. “No, it would not. It wouldn’t do for you to be separated from your legacy. Though…” Von Blum looked into your eyes as he took a long sip of tea once more, icy blue eyes boring into yours. “A word of warning, before you commit. Difficult times may be coming, and we must be prepared for them. I hope for the best, but do keep the worst in your expectations.”

You swallowed loudly. Not something you wanted to hear…but Maddalyn had asked you before, whether you would stay by her family’s side. You had told her that you would be with her, though you also hoped that such a thing would not come to pass. “I understand. I accept your offer, then, Lord Von Blum. I do rather like the sound of…”

“…Of?” Von Blum prompted.

“Of Major,” you said finally. You had given some serious thought to only accepting a singular promotion…but didn’t you deserve this? Why turn it down? What if it meant that somebody else got the position planned for you, and that messed something up? A poor trade, for naught but a show of humility. The downsides were merely those that would have crept into your life even if you delayed your ascent. An officer’s life grew more political the higher they went, and you couldn’t exactly say you hadn’t already been entangled in such things. Perhaps it was time to start trying to throw your weight around on that stage, before you were forced to another way?

“Very good, then,” Lord Von Blum raised a finger to a servant, who took his cup to pour him another round of tea, “That important matter is out of the way, then. Was there anything you wished to request? If not, then remain here as long as you wish. The important business is out of the way.”

“Yes, actually,” you said, raising your cup to your lips again. You weren’t about to let talk make you tolerate lukewarm tea. “I wanted your official approval to visit the tank manufacturing here, specifically, where my own tank was made. I’ve had much experience with it now, and I think I’m well qualified to advise on making improvements.”

“That can be arranged,” Barnabas said without seeming to mind much, “However.” He motioned to his servants, who nodded and left the two of you alone, closing the door behind them. “As I am certain you are aware. Your model of m/32 is quite different from the already special variant this land produces.”
>>
“Yes. Very much so,” you agreed with this vast understatement, “Though I was under the presumption that the particular differences were, ah, unable to be produced further…”

“Attempts to amend that have been restarted,” Von Blum said with a hint of restraint, caution, “I would not have permitted it, but to prepare for what may come, we will not shirk any potential arms superiority, so long as the risk of attracting particular attention does not outweigh battlefield advantage. My sons convinced me of such, after recent events.”

“I would have much to say in how to improve it by normal means as well,” you said, unsure if you’d have recommended trying to reproduce the strange, supernatural and poorly understood elements of your m/32.

“There are other projects in development, of course,” Von Blum said, “Though be extremely discreet with whom you talk about special projects with.” He raised a small bell and jingled it twice, and the servants returned calmly. “Tieglin,” he addressed one servant, “Contact Kellberg, or his head engineers. Either way, Von Tracht here must be inducted into their advisory group. Do it with all haste.”

“Yes, my lord,” the servant bowed and turned on his heel, stepping quickly out.

“You’ve met Kellberg,” Von Blum said, “Though he may not remember you. My seal will speed matters. By tomorrow, you should have clearance permissions a top advisor of Kellberg Works Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy should have…even for secret projects. The same clearance as my son and heir Bastian Von Blum has, who has a large hand in such projects himself.”

“Thank you, my lord,” you said with a slight bend forward. Some excitement and wonder welled deep within- what might the other projects in development even be? “With regards to my promotion, though, I was wondering. Where might I find myself, once I have my command..?”

“I cannot say yet,” Von Blum told you, “The Archduke…or rather, his Minister of War, wishes to gather the forces of the Archduchy to aid the revolt of Almizea against Plisseau. You have heard of this event, yes?” You nodded. “Events in Netilland have delayed such a plan, but since that war has taken a certain turn, I expect that in the coming months, a decision will be made on the Archduchy’s northern commitments. I doubt that you will have to attend to such, unless you particularly want to, but time will tell. I also doubt that the Silver Lances will be calling you back soon, either.”
>>
So the expected official destination was Almizea, or perhaps, an unexpected event. That did not account for whatever the Intelligence Office might drag you into, but it was good to know.

“That was all I wanted to discuss,” you said, “Though I would very much like another cup of this tea…”

“Ask the servants, then,” Von Blum said, “When you depart, remember. Dinner will be at six o’clock tonight. Punctuality is unnecessary in the home, but it would be a good precedent to be set upon for your later debut…”

-----

When you returned to Maddalyn, you had been concerned that she might have woken up, and found that you left- but no, she was still slumbering. As soon as you lay beside her again, she felt for you and held you tightly again, unconsciously feeling for her husband. It warmed the heart, though you were a little impatient for her to finish her rest. Dinner was in only a few hours, after all, and you’d have liked to have done something with her before then. She’d probably want to bathe before even dinner, or even departing to any place, considering her disheveled state.

…Or perhaps, it was best to wait until after? Certain things were certainly better suited for night time, but then, if Maddalyn was continuing her work with a nocturnal schedule…

Maybe it would be best to ask her to take a night off, for both of your sakes? Or did you want to see what she might have been up to..?

>Plan for what you want to do to/with Maddalyn, when she wakes up.
>>
>>5239374
>Plan for what you want to do to/with Maddalyn, when she wakes up.
kiss her and talk about our adventures and ask about what she did while we were gone.
>>
>>5239374
>Plan for what you want to do to/with Maddalyn, when she wakes up.
Laze in bed and talk, there's plenty of stuff we need to get to, both heavy and light-hearted.
>>
>>5239374
>Plan for what you want to do to/with Maddalyn, when she wakes up.
Stay in bed with her till she wakes up, butt groping as she sleeps is expected. It's simply been too long and it's right there! I'm sure she won't mind waking up with Richter's good hand in her pants.

If she gets up and wants to work, then now would be a great time to shadow her to see what she's been up to keeping herself so busy.

If she wants to spend time with Richter, then it would be a great time for both parties to get a wash, possibly even together, and for Richter to talk about all the wonderful and traum- I mean, exciting stories of the front.
As well as getting a nice prep on his future political responsibilities, now that he's a Major. (Important figures of her father's court, allies to keep note of, any military figures she's been working within her project, ect)
As well as all the people that he's invited to the wedding, and the plans for after the Wedding, like the honeymoon and stuffing her womb like a baked potato.

Lots to talk about.
And Richter should wanna talk about everything and anything, besides the "Mathilda questions" of course.
That comes later.
I'd honestly like to see if she brings it up on her own, so give her at least a week of fun before we bring up those bitter topics.
>>
>>5239374
>Plan for what you want to do to/with Maddalyn, when she wakes up.
Talk about what we've both been up to since our last letters, as well as the court introduction.
For the family dinner later is there anything pertinent we should know about her half-siblings?
>>
>>5239374
Save any heavy intimacy for night time, she'll probably be more awake for it then anyway. Seconding the idea to ask about her family members that we'll be meeting at dinner. Other than that just make sure that we're both bathed and ready for dinner on time.
>>
General reminder to get ready for a visit from Poltergeist.
Might wanna get Maddalyn ready for that too, considering the fuck shit her family is getting into, especially with the tanks.
We were told directly that the creation of the M/32 was a murderable offense.
Not this moment though, maybe later around the same time we start poking at the other touchy subjects.
>>
>>5239513
Maddy should know, he needs to pop by for the Demiphantom collection anyway.

Additionally one of the things that should be raised during our stories of the front is all the soulbinders popping up, especially at the Garten site.
>>
>>5239374
Put your sword in its scabbard.
>>
>>5239386
>>5239387
>>5239413
>>5239474
Lie in bed and talk. There's plenty to catch up on.

>>5239535
But which one?

>>5239486
Save the former for latter.

Writing.
>>
It turned out, as you thought about it, what you wanted to do most was talk to Maddalyn, about…quite a few things. More than you wanted to assault her, now- some of that energy had managed to find its way elsewhere, to be recovered later, at a better time.

So you waited, tried to close your eyes yourself, but couldn’t quite sleep, despite Maddalyn’s warmth and soft breathing. Your thoughts were simply too occupied. Until, finally, Maddalyn stirred properly, stretched on her own, without prompting, and you looked over at her opening her eyes again.

“…So it wasn’t a dream…” she said with a yawn, and buried herself in your chest once more, “I’m so glad…” You tilted her back, and this time, she was ready and waiting for you when you touched your lips together and held each other close. No soul kissing- just the deep touch of affection, mutually felt, and mercifully, lacking in an excess of drool.

“No dream. I’ve returned, as I said.”

“…Although,” Maddalyn shifted and turned her head to look behind her, “That wasn’t a dream…are you the reason why my underwear is riding up so high..?”

Oh. Right. “Yes.”

“Mmph,” Maddalyn pouted, “Hmph.”

“As I said, you’re irresistible, my dearest.”

“…As are you,” Maddalyn said in slow acceptance, sprawling her hands over you. “Did I make you wait long, for me to wake? I apologize, I’ve been…busy.”

“No time spent waiting with you is too long,” you said with a stroke of her hair, “I’ve so much to tell you, to ask you, and we’ve the time for it all.” A pause. “Rather, except, your father did instruct me that dinner would be in a little under two hours from now.”

“Oh.” Maddalyn sat upright, “Then I ought to take a bath.”

“May I as well?” you half teased.

No,” Maddalyn said crossly, “I won’t be long, I just need to…do some grooming.”
>>
Yet you couldn’t at least watch her? You’d certainly done more racy things in the past, far more. Was she just that embarrassed of her naked body in totality? Part of you wanted to press on that…

>Prod her. You would be bathing together.
>Offer to help wash her. Refuse to be dissuaded.
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
>Other?

“Wait just a bit before that, though,” you wrapped an arm around her waist, “Let’s talk some more. I don’t want to let you go quite yet. I’ve been waiting too long to be able to even lie next to you.” Besides, she’d used you as a bedwarmer quite thoroughly now- it was only fair that she shouldn’t just skip away yet.

“…Oh, alright,” Maddalyn sighed smally, “I ought to make ready first, but…we have time.”

“There’s so much to tell you about, that I’ve seen,” you led on first, “My time with the Silver Lances. Whom I encountered. What I saw. First, though, I want to give you happy news.” Matters of, say, curious soulbinders and where they were encountered, and how they might be interested in projects here, could wait a little. As well as the lingering thoughts of Mathilda’s own ideas set in your head. “Your father offered me a double promotion in exchange for entering his command. I will be Major Von Tracht, soon enough. The youngest major I know of.”

“Oh?” Maddalyn looked at you, wide eyed, “Oh, that’s excellent. I don’t know what the duties of that rank are, but,” She leaned into you, “I’m happy for you. That you’ve advanced onwards, and that my father has that interest in you. You’ll be my knight for true, more than words, part of my father’s army…”

Well. Technically, you already had been, albeit on lease. As were Von Metzeler, Krause, Von Walen, and all the others, at least according to the paperwork. This did make your involvement with the territory far more official, however.

“I certainly feel as though I’ve earned it,” you said, “For once, I’ve been recognized for my efforts by men of my homeland. I’ve also received the right to wear a pair of awards. The Silver Lances are full of noble and decent people. They’ve recognized my deeds…though I’d recognize any of my comrades, as well.”

“What are they?” Maddalyn asked, “The medals?”

“The White Ribbon of Grace, for saving a fellow soldier in danger while endangering myself, and the Silver Shield of Roland, for merit in battle resulting in protection of my unit.”

“While endangering yourself?” Maddalyn asked with a worried twinge in her voice.
>>
“I am fine now,” you reassured her, “I was burned badly, but I have healed since then.”

“Your heroism inspires me, my knight,” Maddalyn hugged you, but she didn’t sound very happy, “But don’t be so heroic that you make me a widow…”

“I am here, Maddalyn,” you rubbed her shoulder, “Don’t be so fearful that I might fall dead when I’m right here.”

“Mmnnn.” Maddalyn made a squeaky hum of discontent.

“What has my beautiful, clever wife been up to?” You asked of your red haired maiden, “You’ve hardly shared a word of it, but now that I am here in person, you can say, can’t you?”

“…” Maddalyn tightened up on herself, clasping her hands now in her lap. “I’d rather…not speak of that right now. Later. I’d rather talk of more happy news…”

“Then, any happy news from yourself?” you asked.

“Well, ah,” Maddalyn knitted and turned her fingers about, “My projects have been turning out well. I’ve been studying and working to have them continue along, rather than trying to figure out how they’d even be done. So that’s very good for us. Also, my wedding dress has been finished and fitted…I think you’ll like it, but it’s a secret until our day.” She smiled warmly up at you, “Our wedding has a few surprises that I was able to have father arrange, too. Now that you’ve returned…I have very little to worry about.” She cocked her head to her shoulder, “Was there any place you wanted to go after the wedding?”

“For the honeymoon?” You admittedly hadn’t expected Maddalyn the be the one to bring it up, “If you have time for it…”

“I will make time for it,” Maddalyn put her palm to your chest, “Even though I am very busy now,” she let her hand fall slightly, “Even though, I might have to leave you to your own devices here often, over these next weeks…”
>>
“Well,” you’d rather not have had that last caveat, but perhaps you could find a way to get more of her to you. Or at least convince her to let you in just a little, since she was still determined to not talk more about what she was doing in that laboratory… “I’ve thought of some locations. Places I’ve heard of, but not been to.” Thoughts of beaches, in the late spring, when it was warmer…and the new fashion that might be brought there. Or, perhaps, a place more adventurous..?

>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?
>East Valsten was close, friendly to Strossvald, and of a more southerly clime. It would be an ideal place to spend some intimate time.
>Perhaps it would spark Maddalyn’s interests and yours too to go on an adventure in the mountains to the north, where the Mountainfolk and Spirits abounded. Much in the way of mystery and unfamiliarity, but certain to be unlike any other place the two of you might go…
>Other? (Any place would be acceptable- perhaps even a tour of several, depending on how close they are to each other. Venturing to a hostile or diplomatically controversial nation may not be too wise…unless insisted upon, of course.)
>>
>>5239647
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.

Paelli is interesting but way too far, and I assume we can't travel through the Grossreich even as civilians, whilst East Valsten sounds like the safe but boring option.

>Other? (Any place would be acceptable- perhaps even a tour of several, depending on how close they are to each other. Venturing to a hostile or diplomatically controversial nation may not be too wise…unless insisted upon, of course.)

How about Emre? It's a part of the world we haven't really explored yet whilst being a major political and cultural power, and Maddy can speak the language.
>>
>>5239641
>Offer to help wash her. Refuse to be dissuaded.
Stand firm gentlemen. Richter is allowed to be insistent, every once in a while.

>>5239647
>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?
This seems like it would be a good time!
>>
>>5239647
>>Perhaps it would spark Maddalyn’s interests and yours too to go on an adventure in the mountains to the north, where the Mountainfolk and Spirits abounded. Much in the way of mystery and unfamiliarity, but certain to be unlike any other place the two of you might go…
Naukland might even be pretty cool to visit. After were done in the mountains.

>Offer to help wash her. Refuse to be dissuaded.

Valsten sounds like a terrible idea with its proximity to the southern Sosaldt cities and people probably bitter with our role in the creation of the Vang Republic.
>>
>>5239647
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
Let her have her privacy.
>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?
I assume going to that hot springs we were at in East Valsten way back is ill-advised. Might as well flesh out the West a bit.
Maybe we'll even meet our wolf tamer friend if the Imperials decide to pull out too
>>
>>5239641
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
There are reasons for this, "it" may well have something to do with a letter we sent her at some point previously.

>East Valsten was close, friendly to Strossvald, and of a more southerly clime. It would be an ideal place to spend some intimate time.
>>
>>5239644
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
Down boy.

>Other? (Any place would be acceptable- perhaps even a tour of several, depending on how close they are to each other. Venturing to a hostile or diplomatically controversial nation may not be too wise…unless insisted upon, of course.)
>>5239649
Emre does sound interesting, though maybe it would be best to not stray too close to any bookstores lest any stories of the Kommandant make themselves know to our wife.
>>
>>5239647
>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?

Though we should be sure that neither of us get that seasick before deciding for sure, given that the journey would probably involve going by boat.
>>
>>5239641
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.

>Other
Emre and/or Naukland, we'll have seen quite a bit of both East and West especially if Vitelia sidestory is a go after this, so why not explore the North?
>>
>>5239647
>>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
>>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?
>>
>>5239641
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
What Maddy needs more than anything for a healthy relationship is to trust us and fel safe. Not rushing things is important in establishing that.

>>5239647
>Stories of the luxury of Paelli had touched your ears often enough. Perhaps a new Silver Lance might vacation to where they had used to be?
>>
>>5239647
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
>Perhaps it would spark Maddalyn’s interests and yours too to go on an adventure in the mountains to the north, where the Mountainfolk and Spirits abounded. Much in the way of mystery and unfamiliarity, but certain to be unlike any other place the two of you might go…
*banjo sounds*
>>
>>5239647
>Leave her alone. She didn’t want you there, best not to be aggravating yet.
>Perhaps it would spark Maddalyn’s interests and yours too to go on an adventure in the mountains to the north, where the Mountainfolk and Spirits abounded. Much in the way of mystery and unfamiliarity, but certain to be unlike any other place the two of you might go…
An idea for the anons here. What if we standardize the tank guns with the at guns. Both shells need to be compatible.
>>
>>5239649
>>5239716
>>5239719
>>5239721
>>5239732
>>5239816
>>5240004
Leave her be. You're not dirty, after al.

>>5239653
>>5239708
You must provide aid. After all, one of you has to do the seeing around here.

>>5239649
>>5239721
>>5239732
Emre, and the north.

>>5239708
>>5240041
>>5240055
The mountains mysterious!

>>5239719
The south of the continent, the cradle of trade.

>>5239653
>>5239716
>>5239725
>>5239816
>>5240004
Going about as far west as you can go- quite a trip.

Writing. Well, more like, maybe completing the update tonight, maybe not.
>>
>>5240055
They are compatible though, our 4.7cm gun is literally an infantry AT gun that they managed to shoehorn onto the M/32 hull.
>>
>>5240085
Yes, but the rest has 50mm and those are not compatible.
>>
>>5240123
The 50mm tanks were only enough for platoon and company commanders, the standard gun used by most of the Lances was still the 37mm (which is definitely under-gunned at this point)

Also unlike in the Lances the M32/B here is the standard tank for the territorial forces, so the Von Blums might not even be using the 50mm gun at the moment in favour of all the 47mm guns they have
>>
>>5240123
Von Blum's armoury doesn't produce the 50mm variant, just the 47mm, which is already compatible with the infantry's standard 47mm AT gun (because it is that gun).
Standard m/32s come with a 37mm and only command variants are upgraded to a purpose built 50mm tank gun. There is no 50mm infantry AT gun in the equation, as I understand things.
>>
>>5240126
>>5240129
Well shit the Von Blums already fixed that issue then.
>>
>>5240141
Imho even the 47mm is underpowered right now, considering all the heavies we've fought against. We need a bigger gun, maybe 80 or 85mm at least.
>>
>>5240339
We could potentially see if they have some method of squeeze bore / adapter system or something, which would improve APCR somewhat and "fits" the time period, though it needs special (quite expensive, and purpose designed) ammo and for non APCR ammo would lose some performance if they could still be safely used.

The next main step up would be fin stabilization for HEAT shells or APDS.

The way to beat heavies would be to use Squash head (HESH / HEP) ammo since at this point they are very unlikely to have sufficiently thick spall liners since the plastics (UHMWPE) "probably" don't exist yet and won't for a while.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeeze_bore
>>
I cant wait for this quest to turn into Arms Trade Tycoon.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1662210/Arms_Trade_Tycoon_Tanks/
>>
>What did you want to do for our wedding?” you asked groggily. With that latched onto, there was an anchor for the detritus to flow towards, a beach for it all to come washing up once more, to drag itself out of the mire.

>“…Oh.” Maddalyn leaned back and thought, a finger brought slowly to her chin. “…I don’t want there to be many people. I am a Von Blum, but…I don’t want things to be a spectacle. I want it to be quiet, close, not some fair where all the people attend but only out of obligation. And afterwards, I think I want to take a holiday to…someplace warm. I liked Valsten, when I visited long ago, but I suppose that’s not really an option these days…Maybe Vynmark. I’ve heard that has a nice climate.”
Bros...
We fricked up...
>>
>>5240458
Is Paelli not warm? I got the impression from the talk about beaches that it was a warm place
>>
>>5240464
Sure, but still feel bad about not remembering her suggestions when the time came, even if we picked a passable alternative.
>>
In regards to things to add/standardize with the Von Blum M/32s besides shoving bigger guns or ghosts in it, here is a reminder of what everyone's favorite big tidded mechanic had to say about the matter.
>"Y’know what thirty twos use? Bootleg-ass HaMo Teakettles. The engine’s been around long enough that everybody who don’t got their head up their ass knows they have trouble running hot, but Handelwagen’s too stuck in for enough people to give a damn. Even worse, it’s a simple fix. Bad materials breaking down, too fragile as is, they get worse in heat, before you know it the coolant’s leaking, not getting where it needs, bam, HaMo shitbox’s kaput. Design’s fine, hell, it’s certainly got power, but if Strossvald cared about getting a proper cranker in those Naukland boxes, they’d license HonMo from Valsten. South states might be cut off, but that don’t mean they can’t buy off the global instead of keeping Handelwagen in the money for a shit job.”
>>
“Do you know of Paelli?” you asked Maddalyn.

“West of Vitelia, a great peninsula, at the very edge of the Iceforth Maelstrom,” Maddalyn recounted from memory readily, “The gate to the far west, to Zhantao.” Though she blinked with puzzlement. That’s…exotic. Why there?”

“It was the place the Silver Lances were commissioned by, a couple of years ago,” you told, “I spoke to men of that unit who told me of the place. They talked mostly about the wars, but the crew seemed to agree that the place was beautiful, luxuriant, and lush. They practically called it a perfect holiday destination. With the edge of the world next to it, the whole place has a sort of magic to it. The beaches are like no other. Have you ever seen the ocean? Sailed on a ship?”

“Yes,” Maddalyn nodded her head, “Though…I can’t swim.”

“I haven’t seen it,” you admitted, “But it’s not like you need to swim at a beach. The weather’ll be nice and sunny soon enough.” Besides. No reason the both of you couldn’t learn…you certainly were curious of what it was like to go on a seaborne ship, since that was presumably the way to go, what with a direct air route passing over the Vitelian Civil War…

“It sounds like it could be fun…” Maddalyn wasn’t sure, but she was warming to the idea, “So close to the Grand Maelstrom…I’ve been curiouser and curiouser every since I began learning of the Presence.”

The Grand Maelstroms were mysterious phenomena. Calling them “storms” was somewhat a misnomer- only an assumption based on the ruin they left behind. Nobody has ever ventured into them and returned, ever- and those that ventured close never described disturbances so violent as whatever hurricane rent the land apart unseen.

“It wasn’t the only place I thought of,” you said, “But I want to take you on an adventure. The first of many. I certainly can’t let you keep cooped up in your room, withering away.”

“Hee,” Maddalyn laughed ever so slightly, “I’m already looking forward to it. I might not be of help in war, but…if you find yourself exploring, then I can certainly stay at your side.” She got up, “I should bathe so my hair has time to dry. You aren’t going to chase me into the baths,” she hung on that a moment, “Are you?”

“Of course not,” you said resolutely, “My lady has said to stay out. I will.”
>>
“Good,” Maddalyn put a hand on her hip, “I will return here, fully dressed and ready for us to attend this evening’s event, small as it may be. Put on your uniform, if you have it. Bastian will expect it, at least. Though Mathilda…” she looked off, “We can keep our distance.”

“Away with you, dirty girl,” you said, poking a finger into Maddalyn’s bottom and eliciting a click of the tongue and a swat from her.

“Don’t look too curiously about,” Maddalyn scolded, “If you remain here. There are some things best not toyed about with carelessly.”

“Like what?” you asked, but Maddalyn was already walking out, trusting you not to do anything stupid with whatever unknown object may be lying around. You certainly weren’t thinking about it…but did wonder if any of it had anything to do with what Maddalyn was keeping close to her chest. Not that you could read a whit of the faded script anyways, or even begin to guess what the tomes might have as a primary subject, if anything.

The time alone let you think instead about what to bring up next- though much of what came to mind was heavy. Not just Mathilda’s queries- those could wait. Rather, the matter of the recent activity of soulbinders, including in places that by no rights should have attracted them. What the demiphantom was offering, was doing, what it let you see and speak to. Was it even a wise idea to share that with Maddalyn? Speaking of, Poltergeist had to come and get his prize, now, but then…he had been vague about when he would even do that. More likely than not, he would find you exactly when he felt like it.

The more you considered it, though, the more you had to sort through what could wait and what was reasonable to be immediately concerned about. More mundane subjects floated up- like what to know of Maddalyn’s siblings. She might not have been the most intimate with them, but they were considered family nevertheless, and for lack of anything else she’d be well aware of their political weights and interests.

It took longer than expected for Maddalyn to come back, but then, you had no idea of how long it took to go down the list of what a proper noble woman had to have done in order to show a proper appearance- your mother certainly wasn’t one who hurried, either, though the thought did come up- how much help did Maddalyn have? She couldn’t actually see into a mirror, after all…

“I recognize that dress,” you said appreciatively as she walked in, “You have an eyepatch, again..?”

“Er, yes,” Maddalyn glanced sideways, “It’s still necessary.” It helped tell her apart from her sister anyways, though you could have sworn that naught seemed wrong with her other eye when she had it open. Besides the same white dress that she had worn in the picture she sent you, she wore long blue gloves and a short sleeved cardigan of the same color, her hair tied behind her in a ponytail. “How much time do we have?”
>>
You checked your pocket watch. “A bit more. I’d like you to tell me about your siblings, your relatives. The Heir is here, isn’t he? Tell me about your eldest half-brother.” You might have asked about her other half-brother, but…you literally knew what it was like to walk in his shoes, from that one unpleasant experience of ever so convincingly believing you were him- but you couldn’t recall what you knew beyond what you saw.

“Bastian?” Maddalyn put a finger to her chin, “What about him?”

“Tell me about him, in general.”

“He’s pleasant natured,” Maddalyn said, “He’s not my friend, but he treats me well enough. If it weren’t for what happened to him, though, we wouldn’t have even met.” She referred to, of course, the accusation of having assassinated the former Crown Prince of Strossvald, Brandton. “He’s very trusting. Perhaps too much so. He walks in high places and assumes the best, even now. Father worries that people may take advantage of him, with how important he is. He’s no fool, but he’s inclined to be convinced to help, even if it ought to be beyond his ability or beneath his notice,” She glanced back at you with a half-lidded, cunning eye, and said in a low purr, “Which has been useful, I admit. He and Manfred are supporters of my latest research, for example.”

“How involved are they in that?” you asked.

“Not at all,” Maddalyn said with the same coolness in her tone, “They aren’t involved, they’ve but enabled it. Anyways. Bastian does have a wife and two children, and they might be at this dinner, but they might also have delayed their arrival to the court to take place, as well.”

“How old are his children?” you asked, “How old is he, for that matter?”

“Bastian is thirty seven,” Maddalyn said, “His wife, Risa Von Blum-Weisswaldstein, is thirty five. His son and daughter are eight and six.”

“I’ve not heard of that house.”

“You wouldn’t have. Weisswaldstein is a minor house within the Blumlands. They are as Von Tracht are to Von Strossvald, as it were,” Maddalyn said.

“If I did not know better I would say your family has a taste for Ritter.”

“Well. I do, at least,” Maddalyn nuzzled your cheek and gave you a kiss. That was countered with your own, but Maddalyn lightly pushed your chest with a finger as you met her lips. “Don’t spoil my makeup yet,” she scolded gently.

“How do you apply it?” you couldn’t help but ask, “Does a servant help you?”

“I do it myself,” Maddalyn claimed boldly.

“How?”
>>
“Shh,” Maddalyn put a finger to your lips, “After dinner, I’ll be going to…check on things. If you want to do anything before then, we can, but once I go I won’t be back until…very early next morning, though.”

“Unless I come with you.”

Maddalyn frowned, “…I’m sorry, Richter, it’s not…something you should see. Working with certain matters, the level of control over the environment, your presence has been muddled with by Soulbinders, you’ve had a mark upon you that’s…” She stared, felt at you, then stared further, “Still around. I just can’t say that it’d be safe for you.” Was that really the case, though..? There was some doubt…but in the moment, that darling blue gaze glowed with concern in excess of what was needed to silence raising an objection. Quite yet. Though later…

>Insist on accompanying her. It was impossible that you couldn’t go and even look.
>Wait for her to leave- then follow her. It might be untoward to sneak about things claimed to not be your business, but how else were you going to find out?
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
>Other?

The two of you went down to the dining hall- not the grand one, but a more modest, reserved alternative for more casual meetings. Where the tables and chairs were fine, but not ostentatious, and the spacing of seating far more reasonable for the attendance. Which were Lord Von Blum, Bastian Von Blum, and Mathilda (whose fashion was the same as earlier today, though the shawl was off of her shoulders), and yourselves.

The heir had apparently gone ahead of his family- he looked like a younger version of his father, and he had some of Maddalyn’s familial features despite being of a different mother. The blue eyes, the shape of the nose, the red hair, long enough to be tied back. He was of course not as diminutive, though still shorter than you. A monocle with a gold chain adorned his right eye, hinting at poor eyesight. He was dressed in a humble black waistcoat and trousers, with blue sleeves with white piping, his overcoat shed elsewhere.

“Sir Von Tracht,” Bastian reached out a friendly hand and you took it, “I have seen you before, but I do not believe we were properly introduced, as men ought to be. I am Bastian.” He didn’t break out the other names or titles, you noted. “Your father did me a favor I cannot be grateful enough for.”

“I am grateful, myself,” you said, squeezing Maddalyn to you, “Your wife and children are not here?”

“Ah. You must have asked after me,” Bastian adjusted his monocle’s chain, “No, they will be here for court. I came here for business and matters of industry, and the city in which I normally reside with my family is having a festival which my little Barn and Clarice couldn’t miss.”
>>
Barn and Clarice? So he named his children after his parents…It made you wonder what you’d name yours, though you weren’t sure if you’d go that same route or not.

“A local holiday, from the northern regions,” Bastian continued eagerly, “The First Cold Rain. Much stomping in puddles for the children. Crackling bonfires to contest whatever may fall, if it’s still a cloudy day. Bright lights shining all night, and the part any parents dislike, no bed time. Warmth to push the winter into flight so that it doesn’t come back, and all of that.”

“So you don’t like the rain, then,” you surmised.

“Ha. No, I don’t, but I’m only needed a few days. The festival goes for a week.” Curious that it wasn’t celebrated here, you thought, but maybe it was because a different sort of population was up north.

“If we may save the talk for when we are seated,” Lord Von Blum interrupted from across the room, “And, Maddalyn, Mathilda, if you would have the courtesy to not beat each other bloody tonight…”

“Yes, father,” Mathilda said with a turn of her back. You clasped a hand over Maddalyn protectively, and she said nothing herself.

“You fight like that?” you whispered in her ear.

“Hmmph.”

The courses came out in small portions, on silver trays. Despite the small occasion, there was a diversity in dishes that exceeded expectations. Three sorts of fish on rice in differing sauces of wine and citrus, roasted sweet sliced shoot and roots laden with warming blends of spices, tomato cream soup with buttered pastry baked over top the cups they came in, and more on the way. A question to a servant revealed that there would be Peppered Tongue Stew and Roasted Quail with honeyed nuts and berries. The term “peppered” made you politely refuse. Dessert would be buttercream tart menagerie- a term for a particular assortment of different flavored-cream topped miniature pastries. A dish of olive oil and toasted strips of bread were provided and refreshed on request, and you noticed that these seemed to be favored above anything else by Bastian.

>Discuss anything over dinner? Ideally politely- unless you’re of a mind to make a scene, for some reason.
>Let it pass by. This formality wasn’t exactly attended for raising questions.
>>
>>5240523
>Other?
>Let her go, since there is a potential for worry, but don't hesitate to ask about the details now that she can give them freely.
Richter doesn't need to SEE it right away. But I wanna know exactly what's going on.

>Discuss anything over dinner? Ideally politely- unless you’re of a mind to make a scene, for some reason.
Ask Bastian what he's been up to recently, what courts are like from his perspective since we're inexperienced with them, his work life balance, and about his kids and wife in general. How him and his wife got together, what the wife is like, what his kids are like, etc.

Ask Mathilda what she's been up to, too, as well as fun things to do around since she seems socially inclined and would probably know the fun spots.
Just because her and Maddalyn have a blood feud doesn't mean we can't make a token effort to be nice.

And of course, we outta have Richter talk about ourselves. The occasional fun War story makes great dinner conversation. Like the story of how we saved our darling bride, or that time Richter saved a dude from a burning tank, or our several meetings with a head of state, etc.
>>
>>5240525
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
>Discuss anything over dinner? Ideally politely- unless you’re of a mind to make a scene, for some reason.
Mention the shares Richter holds in Wossehn's oil drilling operation, seek business advice from wealthier men.
>>
>>5240525
>>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
>>
>>5240525
>>5240573
>>5240576
Unf, that's a good one too.
Gotta wonder how that's going, if at all.
>>
>>5240525
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
We are marked so fuck no.

>Discuss anything over dinner? Ideally politely- unless you’re of a mind to make a scene, for some reason.
Ask about the current problems in the duchy and how we can help fix them.
Ask what for kind of brigade we will command or will it purely be an advisory/ staff role?
>>
>>5240523
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?

>Discuss anything over dinner? Ideally politely- unless you’re of a mind to make a scene, for some reason.

Supporting >>5240576 , Richter isn't a businessman at all so he'd might as well get advice from people who are. Ask about his own businesses as well.

I assume there'll be some polite talk about the recent campaign during the dinner? Since we're at a veritable feast right now, the story of how just a few weeks back we and our company were forced to forage to get any food at all might be amusing.
>>
>>5240611
Also I'm curious about Bastian's fief, are the people up north very different culturally from those here in the capital?
>>
>>5240523
>>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
I'm fine with leaving her to her projects, but in return I'd like to insist that she tell us about the things Mathilda told us to ask about when we have the opportunity. It sounds like there's some serious family drama brewing here, and as a new part of the family I'd prefer we have full knowledge of the situation as soon as possible rather than wandering blindly into it.
>>
>>5240525
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?
>>
>>5240480
Nice find, anon

>>5240523
>Let it lay. Your wife could trust you with your war, could you not with her research, until she had something she felt she could show you directly?

>>5240525
>Let it pass by. This formality wasn’t exactly attended for raising questions.
>>
>>5240576
>>5240580
>>5240597
>>5240611
>>5240976
>>5241197
She has her business. Leave her to it.

>>5240573
But can you not tell me some of it?

>>5240830
Some things have to be known- secrets should not turn into ambushes.

>>5240573
Talk about yourself, your meetings. Ask the heir about himself and the court.

Play with fire and dare to speak to your fiancée's sister.

>>5240576
Ask about internal politics, your future post.

>>5240597
>>5240760
The business, as it were. And being hungry.
And the subject of differing peoples.

Writing.
>>
“You were speaking of your fief holding northern holidays unlike the people here,” you noted across the table to Bastian as you were dissecting a neatly cut piece of white fish splayed out like a flower- some sort of specially farmed trout, fed a diet to enhance their flavor. “Where is your land? The people there sound somewhat different to those from, say, the Capital.

“Ah, right, you are from the Capital regions. Aye, there is more of the old kingdoms the further you venture from Strosstadt,” Bastian said as he let olive oil drip from a piece of squared bread, distracted from dining, “Blumsburgh is already quite a bit north compared to most of the territory, but my personal county, the city of Erichssicht, is quite close to Delsau. Many there are Emrean speakers, and inherit some practices of the north, though the First Cold Rain is not a festival that is Emrean, per se. Rather, that celebration is descended from the same roots. Compare that to Blumsburgh, where many of the peoples are Demimperi. A people made distinct by being between the rest of Sosalia and the Reich, while of neither. There is a need to distinguish ourselves beyond those to the north and southern reaches of our territory, rather than the Emrean influence of the north or the Valsteners to the south.”

Or whatever variety of mountainfolk might inhabit the Imperial Gate, you supposed. “Interesting,” you toyed with the bed of herbed rice. Words had a way of getting in the way of even good food. Letting Bastian talk more would give you space to actually eat while also sating a hunger of curiosity. “Tell me about your spouse, your children. One Risa Von Weisswaldstein, I believe? Maddalyn told me her name. Is she local to your region?”

“She is not,” Bastian replied, “Erichssicht was my lord Father’s before mine, and his own before that. Von Weisswaldstein comes from where the rivers meet, further south.”

Barnabas spoke next as Bastian bit into a dripping hunk of bread. “Von Weisswaldstein have been loyal servants of Von Blum’s hosts since before Alexander. When I ascended to my place as head of the family, after my elder brothers, one perishing in war and the other abandoning his duties, Von Weisswaldstein found themselves without a connection to the duchy. A marriage was arranged to reestablish the bonds of our houses.”

“That is the way of it,” Bastian followed on, “The Von Weisswaldsteins are a disciplined sort. Risa shows her blood. A stout hearted woman. Hard edged, but caring of our little ones. Much like my dear mother was…”

“The late Von Eislichtfeld,” you started another prompt, “Do your son and daughter take after their namesakes yet?”

“They do not,” Barnabas said dourly.

“Not for lack of trying, father,” Bastian said back with a patient smile, “Mathilda gets along with them well enough, don’t you, sister?”
>>
“Hm.” Mathilda gave the barest acknowledgement. She was half Bastian’s age, practically the next generation herself. It was possible that the heir’s children might see her more as an elder sister, perhaps?

“She won’t admit it, of course,” Bastian finished for her. “Her acquaintances might take her less seriously than she wants them to.”

“What about you, Maddalyn?” you asked your fiancée, who stopped eating and swallowed smally.

“I am not well acquainted with them. They have not traveled here often.”

“I see,” you said, “As much as I wish to say I’d like to meet them, I don’t think I’m very good with children,” you motioned to your mask, “I would probably frighten them, anyways.”

“Little Barn needs to learn to be brave,” Bastian dismissed your concern, “Especially if he wishes to be a soldier. You’d surely have many stories to tell him. That mask, though. Where did you get it? It appears to have been touched by the hand of a skilled craftsman, despite its austerity. Surely fitted for your face, as well.”

“It was a gift from King Wladysaw XI of Ellowie,” you said, “I suppose you could say we are well acquainted. I’ve met and spoken with him several times.”

That caught attention from all round the table.

“You have more friends in high places than assumed,” Lord Von Blum said, with something approaching impressment.

“My retinue saved him from an assassination attempt,” you explained, “I had an advantage in getting into his good graces. I also know the new Minister of the People of Mittelsosalia, as well.”

“Yes, the daughter of that troublemaker, Sigmund Vang,” Lord Von Blum said with disdain, “It is improper to see a boon in tragedy, but that his group has dispersed from a lack of continuity has admittedly been one less annoyance since the Dawnseeker rabble were dispensed with.”

“They did fight the Dawnseekers, though,” you said.

“They would readily turn upon us next, if they sensed an advantage. I understand your sympathies, Von Tracht, but they represented a risk against this territory. By all measures, it is better that they excused themselves from the region’s politics.”
>>
“Speaking of,” you said as you finished the first course, “Is there anything I can do to help here? Are there problems I can help take care of? Presumably as part of my official command?”

“To be frank, Von Tracht,” Barnabas said, “Those are not subjects to have over dinner, but for an official briefing. The time will come, and there will be proper material to review. I did not call my daughters here to have a military council.”

“Very well,” you relented, “But what command am I expected to take? I would like to know if I am to command a unit, or if I am to be an advisor, or member of staff…”

“Your experience and talents will not be put to waste,” Von Blum said, “Your unit is still being formed. Once it is, you will be expected to put it through its paces in training and exercise. War is changing, and even territorial armies must adapt. The conceit is to establish an experimental independent demi-battalion, akin to a smaller version of the unit you served in. Again, the details will arrive to you later, but it is a project that requires a younger, ambitious officer. So Harlopf says.”

“I appreciate that I was considered for this role,” you said, “And granted it.” Inside though, your excitement was growing. An experimental unit? Under your command, with support of the industries? The possibilities stretched out of sight… “I know this is no military council, and not a meeting of investment and industry businesses either, but I wished to share a recent acquisition. Another acquaintance of mine, Wossehn of Mittelsosalia…have you heard of him?”

“It would be difficult not to,” Mathilda interjected, “The self-styled lord of the wastes. Wealthy enough to buy an army.”

“He has been investing in Mittelsosalia’s future,” you said, “Including its mineral wealth. He offered to me, as a token of friendship, rights to the majority share of an oil drilling company, ready to exploit wells newly discovered, and able to be better exploited with the peace of the region. I wanted to ask for advice with this, considering your own managements of businesses.”

“That is fantastic news,” Bastian exclaimed, “Father, we have been looking for a private oil supplier as of recent, and one has fallen into our laps.”

“When will this company be producing,” Lord Von Blum was rightfully more skeptical, “Do you know?”

“I do not,” you said with a shake of your head, and an eye down to the next course as it came, “It was described to me as a slight risk, after all.”

“There is much in between here and Sosaldt as well,” Von Blum added, “Do not place all of your plans in the most convenient basket, Bastian.”
>>
“Of course, father,” Bastian looked down, more humbly, “Though, yes, Von Tracht, I would be willing to provide my insights. Granted, though my investments are owned in name by myself, the work of keeping them profitable is done by well-compensated experts. I can place them in touch with you, or whomever your company contacts are.”

Some time was allowed for you to destroy your vegetables, next. “You know,” you commented after they had vanished, “It’s funny to me to be given such an array of food on my return so soon. There was a time in the field, when we were first breaking into Netilland, that the Silver Lances were outrunning the ability to be supplied. We went for days without foot, and had to forage for it where we could. I wouldn’t have expected to go hunting for wild game as part of military duties.”

“It is not all fighting, or so I hear,” Bastian said, “Isn’t it? I am curious, Von Tracht. Somebody with your history must have awards for what you’ve done.”

“I’ve been recently awarded a couple, yes,” you let yourself swell with some pride, “My tank crewmen and I, and my retinue, have been awarded the Silver Shield of Roland. I would want my crewmen here to properly retell that tale.” Though present company probably would not want Anya at the table. Maddalyn got along with your crew- not the tomboy. “I also have received a White Ribbon of Grace. One of my fellow officers in my platoon in the Silver Lances was Oskar Von Halm. His tank was struck by enemy fire, and the ferocity of it turned his vehicle over and set it aflame. My crew and I helped to evacuate himself and part of his crew, as they had been knocked unconscious.”

A silence about the table.

“Do you know who Oskar Van Halm is, Richter?” Maddalyn asked, “He is in line to be heir to the Halmlands.”

“He didn’t imply he was that important,” you said, “I only thought to save a comrade.” Though it made sense, in retrospect. The Silver Lances were no place for somebody to expect special treatment no matter where they came from.

Lord Von Blum cocked an eyebrow, and looked to his youngest daughter. “Mathilda, you are taking note of this?”

“…I am,” she said haltingly. The young lady was also unmarried- though Van Halm hadn’t exactly had much kind to say of her history. Though what was implied…sounded unlike what Maddalyn said was supposed to be proper amongst territorial nobility. “You know that I have arrangements in other courts, though.”

“Make time,” Von Blum demanded. “And have discretion, for goodness’s sake.”

“Yes, father,” Mathilda clicked her tongue in a small show of disapproval, though for what part of the comment exactly was unclear.
>>
“The Van Halms may not have declared it,” the Territorial Lord leaned back with something approaching satisfaction in his cheeks, “But they are in your debt. I would expect them to express it one way or another soon, Von Tracht.”

Well, they hadn’t yet, at least, but then, you’d been difficult to get in touch with as of late, and who knew how long it had taken for Van Halm to properly return home, or be seen by the rest of his family? The soup arrived, and you dug in greedily, allowing some other light conversation to take place without you dominating a part of it, but you did think of something else right as your roast quail and accoutrement came. You intended to show Maddalyn as much enjoyment as possible- but weren’t too familiar with the region’s entertainment. Despite Maddalyn and Mathilda’s animosity- Mathilda claimed to not feel any for you. Surely she could help you with your slight predicament, then?

“Mathilda,” you opened, and the younger sister glanced to you with a curious gaze. “I wanted to ask you about-“

A tug at your side. “Richter,” Maddalyn whispered icily, “What are you doing?”

“Calm down, dearest,” you whispered back in Maddalyn’s ear, “This is for you.” You straightened back up, “I wanted to ask you about any local entertainment venues. I’d like to show Maddalyn about some, if you know any spots for social fun.”

Mathilda half closed her eyes at you, looked to Maddalyn, and said nothing.

“…” Maddalyn grit her teeth beside you.

“…There is a club, called the Redrose, at the north side of the city on the other side of the river,” Mathilda said with a cool tone, “It is exclusive to nobility and the wealthy. The entrance fee for new guests bars most, but for night time excitement, it has no competition.”

Lord Von Blum snorted disapprovingly. “A noisy hall of cards, dice, drink, and dance. Licentiousness incarnate.”
>>
“Von Tracht asked for fun, not for a lecture, father,” Mathilda sent some unexpected backtalk her father’s way, “If clubs are not in your taste, then there are luxury car rentals and tour driving paths. Security has improved again to where they have opened their services- and I understand that you may not own an automobile locally. The renters are understanding of such. So long as you do not take their cars racing.”

None of it sounded like deception. Though, Lord Von Blum had sounded as though this Redrose Club was as seedy as some back alley Strosstadt red light district nightclub…

The quail was crispy, delicious, and you wanted to renege on desert just to keep it in your mouth longer, but seeing how Maddalyn laid into it (and how her sister seemed to forget everything to stuff herself on them, too), you wondered if you shouldn’t at least have a singular one.

“Von Tracht,” Bastian Von Blum himself had declined to be served the sweets, “I understand you may be busy this evening, but if you like, I will be visiting Kellberg’s development offices tonight. You’ve just been given permission to enter as I can, so if you are curious, then sooner is better than later, no?”

It was something to consider, though Maddalyn softly grabbed the sleeve of your shirt under the table, then moved to your leg, and stroked your thigh. She seemed to imply she wanted to linger a little…though she herself had to depart later too, did she not?


>Take Maddalyn out for the night someplace, before she had to go to her work. You wouldn’t be seeing her until next morning, after all, and she’d probably be resting through the day again… (Where to?)
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room. For unattended to “business.” If that was what she was signaling, at least.
>Accept Bastian’s offer right off- and let Maddalyn to whatever she had to get to. No need to tire her out before her work.
>Other?
>>
>>5241552
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room.
No need to tell them what for and why. Just say you wanna spend a little extra time with the wife to be before we go galavanting on our own again.
Also damn. Missed opportunity to talk about that giant fucker Richter hunted.
Maybe next time.
>>
>>5241552
>Accept Bastian’s offer right off- and let Maddalyn to whatever she had to get to. No need to tire her out before her work.
>>
>>5241552
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room. For unattended to “business.” If that was what she was signaling, at least.

Wife time, then tank tours.

Lord Von Blum getting more and more impressed at our social acquaintances is pretty good for Richter. And commanding the Von Blum version of the Lances sounds hype as hell.

Also interesting to see that Van Halm was that high up the succession, I would have thought any Territorial Lord wouldn't have allowed their heir to enter a unit such as the Lances given the real risk of getting killed.
Was Lieutenant Colonel Von Silbertau similar in regards to his place in the succession?

Though considering how little Oskar liked to talk about himself, there's probably a whole bunch of family drama there as well.
>>
>>5241552
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room. For unattended to “business.” If that was what she was signaling, at least.
>>
>>5241552
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room. For unattended to “business.” If that was what she was signaling, at least.
>>
>>5241552
>Tell Bastian Von Blum you’d be along later tonight- you’d be taking Maddalyn back up to her room. For unattended to “business.” If that was what she was signaling, at least.
>>
>>5241566
>>5241573
>>5241578
>>5241583
>>5241681
Take Maddy up to her room. As though you're just going to have a chat.

>>5241567
Head out with the men right away.

Writing.
>>
“I will go,” you answered Bastian, “I’m very interested in this work at Kellberg’s, but not right away,” You settled a hand on Maddalyn’s thigh under the table in reassurance, “I just want to spend some more time with Maddalyn before that. I’ve only just come back, after all.”

“Very well then,” Bastian rose, “I will be there ahead then. Simply ask to be conveyed, and I will have the workers instructed to bring you to where I am. I’ll see you there.”

A quick bidding of goodbyes to all others present, and you left with Maddalyn, her hand in yours.

“I’m glad you get along so well with Bastian,” she said to you as you went up the stairs, her more leading you than the other way around, “Though I hardly think you needed to ask my sister for her advice…”

“She wasn’t going to try and sabotage things,” you said, “I still haven’t taken you dancing. I think you’ll like it, there just needs to be a suitable venue for somebody as fair as you.”

“Hm,” Maddalyn hummed gloomily, “I suppose…we have some time to ourselves, then, if you’re going later…”

You both got to Maddalyn’s room, and you led her through- though she locked the door behind you.

“I have to get changed for my visit to the laboratory,” Maddalyn said, a hesitating clipped twinge in her voice, “This social dress is improper for it.”

“I suppose you want me to leave while you change.”
>>
Maddalyn said nothing, shifting her cardigan off, taking off her shoes, and then, with a slight pause, as though considering, she closed her eye, her cheeks flushed, and she loosened her dress and let it fall around her. She was in but her underwear, a white camisole with no straps clinging to her skin, and a different set of panties from earlier, of a daintier fabric. Both were laced- thin enough to be translucent in places.

“I…ah…” Maddalyn choked, her eye still shut tight, wrenched closed, “W-want…Don’t, don’t make me ask, Richter…”

You hadn’t quite been expecting her to be this…direct. “Ask for what?” you asked in some confusion.

“Just,” she said sharply, her face turning deeper scarlet, “I don’t…as far as you want to. As far as you want to go. I’ve left you for long enough, I know, I,” She stammered near incomprehensible, “I spent n-nights awake afraid you wouldn’t come back. I know you want…I don’t want to deny you. I’m sc-scared, but, when you were, I don’t want…just do something, start, before I l-lose my n…nerve…I want this. Whatever you end up doing.”

Yet you were given pause for thought. This was rather sudden…like this was something she felt she was obligated to do, to not place any limits on you. She was frightened…but would that ever not be the case?

>Accept this. There was nothing to be afraid of-but you’d have to take the lead on that. (Go all the way.)
>Reassure her. Insist that she had nothing to prove- that you just wanted to have some intimacy. (How far to go?)
>Back off. Say that you’ll help her get dressed for her work. This wasn’t what you’d intended.
>Other?
>>
>>5241816
>Accept this. There was nothing to be afraid of-but you’d have to take the lead on that. (Go all the way.)

Gotta start somewhere, maybe it'll make the actual wedding night less awkward.
>>
>>5241816
>Back off. Say that you’ll help her get dressed for her work. This wasn’t what you’d intended.
>>
>>5241816
>Reassure her. Insist that she had nothing to prove- that you just wanted to have some intimacy. (Third base should be far enough. Focus on wrapping her around your finger.)
At this point we might as well wait to pluck her virginity from her till the wedding day.
Till then Richter outta work on making things as pleasant for her as possible. By the time the wedding comes she outta be so used to Richter's touch she'll be able to tell him firmly that she's ready.
>>
>>5241816
Supporting this >>5241835
Sorry Maddy, but tonight we'll be jumping in bed with your brother instead
>>
>>5241835
I'll support this instead
>>
>>5241835
+1
at least it seems like we *are* making progress
>>
>>5241816
>>5241835
+1
Actually how is premarital sex viewed by Judge worshippers?
>>
>>5241843
From getting to third base while she was drunk to getting to third base while she's sober.
Let's hope both of them are equally fun to fiddle around with.
>>
>>5241816
>Other
Talk to her. Ask why she's doing this. Assure her that we won't do anything she isn't really ready for, however lewd our letters might have been.
>>
>>5241816
>>Reassure her. Insist that she had nothing to prove- that you just wanted to have some intimacy. (How far to go?)
Hmm, it appears our letters may not have made our feelings clear enough. Try writing it out again for her, in a place she cannot so easily dismiss it.
>>
>>5241899
That would be write out with a tongue and saliva, in case there was any ambiguity.
>>
I return.

>>5241832
Put your clothes back on, nobody wants to see that.

>>5241835
>>5241838
>>5241840
>>5241843
>>5241846
>>5241853
>>5241899
Getting ahead of herself.

>>5241861
Try for some more words.

Writing.

>>5241846
>Actually how is premarital sex viewed by Judge worshippers?
It is a matter of whom might be being transgressed, as well as the region, considering the varying sects of Judgement that hold sway over wherever. To keep it short, Strossvald is generally more conservative about the matter than most, but the nobility prefer to have their fun. Generally, though, it is considered just barely acceptable...so long as it's with a person you intend to spend your life with, only sharing the sacred act of love with the one whom you've decided to bind your life to, albeit a youthful and irresponsible thing of passion. A forgivable sort of passion.
Casual sex on the other hand in Strossvald is publicly seen as unseemly and degenerate, but, since when has that stopped anybody from doing it? Prostitution is theoretically banned, but that does not prevent winks and nudges from reproducing it regardless with little interference.
Suffice it to say the Archduke is not considered a holy and just man whatsoever, but in the post-Alexandrian state of the scattering of moral arbiters, who can truly condemn him where another would allow it?
TL;DR what is considered moral and what is considered socially normal has somewhat a dissonance here.
>>
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“…Why, though?” you asked, “I don’t need to do anything you aren’t ready for, no matter how impassioned my letters might have been. I was far, and now you are here with me.”

“That’s not…” Maddalyn looked down, “Th-that’s not the point. I want you t-to be happy. I like it…I just don’t know how to…could you just…stop talking?” An edge of desperation, frustration, was coming in, “Richter, can’t you see this? Why must you think that it’s only about what I want? What if I want you to have what you…I’ve asked much of you, you’ve the right to ask more of me. Am I…am I not attractive? Why do you hesitate? You said I was irresistible, and I’ve only tried to be more so, now…”

…It was true. Her underclothing was different- you’d dare say, entirely unlike anything you’d seen on her before.

“Those are new..?” You pointed to her camisole.

“They are…my sister’s,” Maddalyn looked to another part of the floor, and bit her lip, “I thought that you would…Stop…stop talking. You’re being aggravating. I don’t want to be angry with you.”
>>
Despite your confusion at how she stumbled chaotically over her tone, her words, you did stop using your mouth for words- and put your hands on Maddalyn’s shoulders, your lips on hers, and pressed into her mouth, touched your tongue to hers and let her respond shyly, pulling her into you, before letting her go preemptively and pushing her gently down to her bed, on her back. She was under you, panting, as you slipped your fingers around her waist and divested her of half her undergarments, kneeling to get to the proper height. Despite Maddalyn being nearly nude, you hadn’t taken anything off yourself.

Maddalyn said nothing, no advice, but she gasped, crooned, and grabbed at your hair to tug you deeper into your kissing between her legs. Those legs which found themselves over your shoulders, then crossed behind your back, pushing on you as Maddalyn’s fingers ran through your hair.

“Why must you be…” Maddalyn said in a thin voice, her aggression in her embrace of you increasing, “So difficult…ahn…nnn…”

She muffled herself with a hand, as she convulsed, arched her back, and you felt her against you, twitching, melting, before every part of her relaxed and loosened whatever grip she commanded on you.

Back over her you loomed, and you pressed her into the bed beneath your body, planting a deep kiss on her neck, then biting her ear, but Maddalyn was not so receptive in her shallow breathing, a murky look in her eyes, a pout on her lips, as she lay her head sideways.

“I…missed that more than I thought…” Maddalyn said, her voice cracking between deepening breaths.

“What do you want to do next,” you whispered in her ear, “Do you want me to pick again?”

“…” Maddalyn pushed on you lightly, and you stood, letting her sit up. “I think I…actually have to get going,” she said with a frown, standing and picking her underwear back off the floor.

Concerned surprise raised your eyebrows. “Already?” That was hardly fair, by your measure. Had you performed poorly? You thought you did better than before…

Maddalyn noticed the tone of your voice, and stepped over to put her hands on your shoulders, “It’s not that, I’m completely satisfied…I just…don’t know if…never mind.” She let you go, “Will you help me put on my other clothes? They should be in the closet over there, the outfit hanging with a flower brooch.”

>Now hold on one moment- you weren’t done. No clothes were being put on, or you’d mess them up. (?)
>Fine. As long as she was alright. Though maybe you should brush your teeth before you head out yourself.
>Demand that she finish her thoughts, to explain. Did she have to be so evasive? You were ready to do her bidding, whatever it might be, after all…
>Other?
>>
>>5242905
>Fine. As long as she was alright. Though maybe you should brush your teeth before you head out yourself.
>>
>>5242905
>Fine. As long as she was alright. Though maybe you should brush your teeth before you head out yourself.
Fucking tease. She probably blueballed our poor boy.
>>
>>5242905
>Now hold on one moment- you weren’t done. No clothes were being put on, or you’d mess them up. (Thighjob time. Have her sit in Richter's lap, his cock between her legs while he nipples and whispers in her ear. Make her work to swivel on it.)
It's clear that she wants Richter to be happy and that she likes being with Richter, but she probably doesn't wanna force himself on HIM.
After all, Maddalyn doesn't think very kindly of herself. She might be seeing Richter's attempts to make her feel good selflessly as a way to placate her instead of a sign of deep affection. Like a wife giving her boring husband a blowjob instead of having passionate lewd times together.
So Richter needs to push having some passionate lewd times, or this is going nowhere.
>>
>>5242905
>Other?
A combination of options 2 and 3: By all means, help her get dressed if she is needed elsewhere, but keep on the pressure for an explanation of her strange behaviour.
Not to deflate the moment but regarding our brief detour as Wrath Leader and the planes available to us at the start of the perspective shift, did you ever complete sketches of the SAC-99 and K26E, like originally planned?
>>
>>5242905
Supporting
>>5242959
>>
>>5242959
You're probably right, but I don't know if continuing when she says that she's done is wise. It would probably work out in the short term, and perhaps longer in terms of her confidence, but it's not a good precedent to set to keep going when she says she's done.
>>
>>5242905
>Other?
Make like a tree and get out of here.
>>
>>5242991
Maddalyn doesn't wanna just leave Richter hanging though, that's the thing.
She thinks he's not really interested.
Not pushing forward after she put in the effort of presenting herself on a platter for Richter will hurt her far more than doing exactly what she's been asking of him to do this whole time.
>>
>>5242905
>>Now hold on one moment- you weren’t done. No clothes were being put on, or you’d mess them up. (?)
I see it how it is, she wants to do something for Richter, but we turned it around on and made it about her anyway. Well fine, it won't kill anyone to be selfish this once and make someone else work for our benefit. I half of the mind to go all out, the Von Tracht Family needs some security and I'm not going to let Richter honorably serve and scrape and sacrifice his family to a very honorable footnote in history. That being said if everyone wants to wait until the wedding night since we are so close anyway, I can support >>5242959 for now. Maybe even make a show of just lifting her up to do as we please with her, let her small stature work for her a bit.
>>
>>5242973
+1
>>
Rolled 2 (1d3)

>>5242910
>>5242937
Gee fine guess I'll hang out with your older brother instead.

>>5242959
>>5242975
>>5243114
Nothing left unfinished on your end.

>>5242973
>>5243142
Yes, but why, though?

>>5243001
Scurry on out like a goblin.

Deciding this feels a bit odd. On one hand, there's a majority on intent, but not on how to do it. I wouldn't say that 2 and 3 have commonality whatsoever beyond not touching her further, but they have a similarity at the end point.
So maybe this isn't the best move, but maybe I can put the "uncertainty" to work. The dice will decide. For the first, the second, or third in order of listing. Since four is sort of its own thing.
However it goes, writing.

>>5242973
>Not to deflate the moment but regarding our brief detour as Wrath Leader and the planes available to us at the start of the perspective shift, did you ever complete sketches of the SAC-99 and K26E, like originally planned?
The latter got pretty far along, the former didn't- and actually posting both got swept under the rug like so many things.
But I can add it back to my tasks for this thread at least.
>>
Your head swam, thoughts like moving through muck. Should you just do as you were told? Should you ask her to properly express her thoughts to you, rather than cutting herself off? Should you just run off, if you weren’t wanted? Unwittingly, you paced in a small circle, before looking at Maddalyn again, as her own eye wandered to a window, covered in velvet draping curtain, a weary and sad look cooling the once fresh redness in her cheeks.

Only one thing was certain- when you looked over you half nude fiancée, there was a certain hunger, that heated the blood when the way was uncertain.

“Ah!” Maddalyn cried out in surprise as you snatched out for her and picked her up, scooping her up and holding her under her legs and her back.

“Now just a minute,” you said as you shuffled off your trousers, “No clothes are being put on…I’d mess them up, the mood I’m in.”

You set yourself down on the bed, and kept Maddalyn on your lap- she could certainly feel your opinion on the matter, pushing against her behind. Wandering hands tried to tell what you wanted from her, as you squeezed her snow white thighs, pinching in between between thumb and finger as you found her ear again.

“Ah…you, er, mean…” Maddalyn trapped your hand between her thighs and rubbed them together in a weaving wiggle, grinding against you as she did, “…Right?”

So much for having to get going. You gave her an affirmative lick in the ear, and only lifted her back up again to free yourself from your shorts. A wave of tingling bliss washed over you as Maddalyn squeezed you between her thighs, adjusting herself with a slide up against you so that she had you as high as you could go- that you could feel the wet of arousal on you, as she got to work wordlessly, save for the twinge and high pitched sigh she let out every so often when you dug into her ear, and distracted herself from you.

“…I like this, you know,” Maddalyn said softly as she stroked over you, lifting one leg while keeping the other still, squeezing. “I can feel…how this must feel for you…I can feel sure about it.”

Of course you loved this. How could she not be sure? How many idle nights had you spent thinking about when you’d be able to feel this again? You gripped around her legs and lifted her up, letting your passions take over as you moved yourself back and forth.
>>
Maddalyn yelped as you picked her up and manhandled her. “B-be careful!” She protested, but your mind was in no place to think of potential accidents, given how close things were already. No more care was given to her ear- you could only be singleminded

Leaning back, letting hot, animalistic desire crush any restraint, you pushed yourself through Maddalyn’s thighs, forcing your way up and down, leaning back, clenching her legs together with your hands and moving her whole body back and forth, until…shocking, almost painful release, and a sputtering groan from your throat as you felt your entire being explode outwards. Energy fled you, but Maddalyn’s hips still swiveled, her thighs clenching and whirling in a soft and slow circle, wringing you of everything beyond what you thought was the climax.

“Mhmmmm…” Maddalyn leaned her head into your chest, “Did that feel good?” There was a new smugness in her voice as she said that, no actual question in that statement. With a final squeeze, she parted her legs and released you, letting you sit up, lift her, and set her aside, where she leaned back on her bed. A look to your fiancée beside you…her stomach and the camisole on her chest had been covered in an utter mess.

“I suppose your sister won’t want that back,” you panted.

Maddalyn smiled sweetly, deviously, for just a moment, before it faded away. “I missed you, Richter. I know I’ve said such already, but,” She lay all the way down, “It’s…something I can’t just say one way.”

“I missed you too, dearest,” you stroked a spring of red locks, “…Did you have to leave soon? I suppose that’s out the window. Though if you need help to,” you looked at the state of her torso, “…get cleaned again.”

“…I can be a little late,” Maddalyn said slowly, drawing her fingers across her stomach. “It’ll be alright.” You got up and made for the closet where Maddalyn said her outfit was. “Blegh.”

“Huh?” you turned around and looked at Maddalyn.

“Nothing,” she said quickly.

In a way, you ended up bathing with Maddalyn anyways, as hot, wet towels sponged away at her. Even the upper garment was pulled away- but Maddalyn’s concerned eyes remained your focus, as she was laid completely bare- and you would tempt her to be ashamed.

Besides, your head was quite clear, now.

Finally, Maddalyn was dressed for work, hair brushed, and makeup reapplied whilst you were sorting yourself out.

“I will see you tomorrow,” Maddalyn said as she stood on her toes so you could bend down to kiss her goodbye, “Enjoy your time with my brother.”

She left you alone, outside her room, and as you watched her go…you wondered how many questions would go unanswered for how long.

-----
>>
A driver was waiting to take you along to the Kellberg Works development lab, which lay a bit outside of Blumsburgh, though not quite in the countryside, to the north. Security was tight, but there was no mistaking who you were, and passage proved easy.

The foyer of the development complex was no brutal, industrial space of concrete and steel- it was wood and velvet, bronze and paint, with the grand space in the center dominated by an Emrean-war era tank, itself prettied up and decorated, though it was no sculpture, and was most certainly a true war machine. The particular type escaped you, but the pride of putting it on a pedestal for posterity must have been significant. It was not an ugly machine, either, unlike most early tanks you could recall.

“The very first example of a tank to be assembled in the Blumlands,” Bastian’s voice came from beside you, and he held a glass of red wine in his hand, “An AdL-Zephyr, I believe, is what it is called. Though, considering this was made entirely locally after study of a model bought from the northerners, I suppose instead of the Atelier de Lunaire this should be Atelier de Blumsville shouldn’t it?”

“Bastian,” you stretched out a hand, and he took it, “Thank you again for inviting me here.”

“It is my pleasure,” Bastian swirled his wine in his glass, “And only reasonable, if you are expected to take our armored steeds into battle, and trust them. You’ve already done that plenty, I’ve heard. When I told Kellberg once, he was immensely curious of…how did he put it, the sort of dust that tank had managed to collect?”

To be true, it was mostly Sosaldtian dust, at this point, that pervasive redness that snuck its way wherever it could, even into a runny nose.

“Are you much of a wine man, Von Tracht?” Bastian asked, “The Court here draws quite a few oenophiles. The climate and soil of the south of these lands lends itself well to a certain kind of vine, a sort that also likes to grow in Vynmark. Not of a type to the tastes of northerners, but no man who likes wine will only cling to one sort.”

“Is that what that is?” you pointed to the wine.

“Ah, no. This is an Emrean Sauvignon, made from some luck of their wilderness. Those grapes do not grow outside of Emre, and in the Emrean war, their vinyards were devastated to the point that it was thought they may be lost…until they were found miraculously in the wilds again. So they call it the “Miraculous Reincarnation.” It is quite good, of course, too.”

That reminded you to ask about the courts in further detail- you wouldn’t be going into that particular battle unprepared if you could help it, even if your fiancée could apparently help you move through it unscathed.

“Now, there are a few things we could look at here,” Bastian led on, “Once we find you something to drink, of course. Request what you like.”

>?
>>
You wondered if tea and brandy would be acceptable…though also, if you should admit that you were more partial to beer than wine. Knocking yourself out with heavy liquor would not do here, either.

“That also applies to the complex itself,” Bastian added, “Is there something you might be interested in seeing first? There are the iterations, ideas for improving our current lot of equipment. That would include what you are most familiar with- and engineers willing to hear out your suggestions. Though, there is also the…secret project.”

“…What sort of secret project?” you asked warily.

“A new type of tank. Produced from smuggled plans from…well, I shan’t say right now. It is a powerful beast of a vehicle, though. Some would dare say, the future of armor. Tempting, no? Though it is only a model, right now. It has been far too soon to produce a proper prototype, given every piece that must be replicated, invented…Then there is also,” a less excited, more cautious tone here, “The Experimental Protection. That may not be to your preference, though. Not a word of what is there leaves this facility, and it itself is cordoned off…though you do have the distinction of being the sole, if perhaps unwitting, commander of the primary field testbed of the fruits of their labor, though their primary advisement’s absence has made the pace of new developments arduous, and frustrating.”

>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.
>Go see the “future of armor.” This secret project piqued the interest.
>You knew full well what you commanded- and wanted to see more, no matter how disturbing others might view it, in Experimental Protection.
>Other?
>>
>>5244035
>?
Tea. A clear head is kept for thinking.
>Other?
How we start up at the first suggestion and end up at the last?
>>
>>5244032
>?
Tea, or Tea and Brandy I suppose. Richter has had plenty of booze while out and about, some might even say too much, but Tea is a luxury what should be enjoyed while one can get it.

>>5244035
>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.
As much as I'd love to see the cool shit.
I feel like we really need to start with helping out with fixing the baseline tanks first and foremost.
After all, there's no point putting super amour on a tank if the engine gives out, something that very much happened to Richter in the past.
Do hope this is time to peak at the newer shit though.
>>
>>5244035
>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.

As for the secret project, wonder if we're just making a one to one copy of the Roland II or it's own derivative, though Richter is unlikely to get to use it anyway until the shit really hits the fan.

Btw tanq, speaking of equipment, is it possible to get a brief summary of the Von Blum Panzer Corps as it is? Details like how large is it, have all of them been managed to be equipped with m/32Bs, any other special variants of vehicles that they use etc.
>>
>>5244046
I would like that if we are able to visit all of these, but in the case of them being mutually exclusive:

>>5244035
>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.
We really do need to fix the engines on these things, and the gun/armor are starting to become outdated themselves if what we faced in Netilland is representative of what we will see regularly going forward. Though I really am tempted by that wonder tank, I hope we get to see / talk about it tonight.
>>
>>5244051
Also for the drink:
>Tea
>>
>>5244035
>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.

Also we know how our tank model fares up against Netillian gear, but how does it compare to what the Reich has in service now, considering they're just across the border?
>>
>>5244035
>Tea
>Everything in order
>>
>>5244032
Just tea, thank you
>>5244035
>Iterative Development. The practical, the realistic.
>>
>>5244032
>?
Whisky

>>5244035
>You knew full well what you commanded- and wanted to see more, no matter how disturbing others might view it, in Experimental Protection.
>>
>>5244046
>>5244047
>>5244053
>>5244062
>>5244085
You have been without tea too long to pass up more now that you have access to it again.

>>5244140
Going hard like you're touring with Fluffy.

>>5244046
>>5244062
All of it!

>>5244047
>>5244051
>>5244052
>>5244057
>>5244085
Iteration, Improvement, Reinvention.

>>5244140
Off Brand Wizard Bullshit.

Writing.
There's already plenty to do here but any brief asides that aren't too broad in scope can be put up for consideration. By too broad in scope I mean, stuff that I'd prefer to be found out about in a different and less direct way, or things that don't benefit too much from having a magnifying glass on them.

Hopefully the sloppy intimate scenes aren't entirely cringe. Only just enough.
>>