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Ministry of Defense: Tavern Take-over

The Ministry of Defense is taking a night off from doom and gloom and enjoying an evening of drinks and camaraderie at the Trader's Tavern. Games of Conquer and Chess will be played. Flex your command and leadership skills! All are welcome, though preference on games is given to Ministry Members.


Nov. 16, 2017, 10 p.m.

Hosted By



Stefano(RIP) Sparte Alis Kael Joslyn Cristoph Eirene Daemon Alaric



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Traders Tavern

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


A good time spent with others in the Minstry. The King himself stopped by, food and drinks were plentiful, and a few games of Conquer were played.

Painbow, a militant pygmy goat arrives, following Cristoph.

Calypso is sitting at the biggest of the tables in the tavern. A full spread of cured meats and breads have been set out at that table as well as pitchers of ale and bottles of wine and whiskey with glasses for the taking. The banner of the Ministry, a white shield beneath a golden crown, are hung up decoratively. "Welcome. Take a seat, grab an ale. We'll get to the games in a moment."

While still quite new to the ministry itself, Daemon is here as well! He's holding his greyhound on a long leash and is clanking about in a full suit of grey and crimson armor. He meanders his way over to the largest table that was filled with a few of his comrades. Polite nods, quiet 'Hellos' are had, but he doesn't seem keen on interrupting any ongoing conversation. He simply drifts in, takes a seat, and orders some fresh cider for the evening.

Daemon has joined the Large Table.

Dressed in ebon silks, making her way towards the offered table, Joslyn takes one of the offered ales with a bright grin towards Calypso. "Duchess General Calypso, so good to see you!," she says, taking one of the nearby seats at the table with a smile, looking around at the rest of those gathered around.

Joslyn has joined the Large Table.

Eirene strolls into the tavern, black leather offset by the crimson red of a steelsilk bodice. It's a far more Lycene look than her usual militant armor. "Right. Drinking and trying not to table flip when I lose. ;

Kael's not alone when he comes through the Tavern doors. The general relaxed atmosphere evidently means that his hound can come trotting along with him -- perhaps he is showing off for the Ministry of Defense and perhaps, just perhaps, he did not have the heart to leave her alone today. She's being good girl though so likely no issues there. Similar to Daemon in other ways as well, he is offering polite nods of greeting as he approaches the table and one particularly deep inclination to Calypso herself.

Kael has joined the Large Table.

On time is the new fashionable time to arrive and so that's when Stefano walks on into the Trader's Tavern. That might not be true, but he believes it! The baron moves at a languid pace and, open entering and glancing about briefly, heads directly for Calypso, "Hello again, duchess." he greets with a flashy smile as he pulls out a chair and takes a seat beside her. Pulling the chair in closer to the table, he considers the spread before him and goes for a glass of wine and some meat. "Lady Eirene, hello! I don't believe I know the rest of you, though you look familiar." he remarks to Joslyn, giving her a quick look to see if he can place her.

Stefano has joined the Large Table.

Cristoph is competitive! Cristoph likes to play games! So here Cristoph is! When Calypso indicates everyone should get some drinks first and relax, he heads to the bar and gets a tankard of ale and then claims one of the seats, leaning back to enjoy his beverage. "Duchess General." He greets and gives everyone elso a short wave of his hand. Hello there!

Cristoph has joined the Large Table.

"Every time we meet it is doom and gloom. And we'll be having one of those meetings again soon, likely after the Assembly of Peers. But tonight. Enjoy yourselves. Challenge your minds and your comrades." Calypso announces when people start joining the table. She nods to Joslyn. "Lady Joslyn. Glad you could make it." She nods to Daemon as well as he settles in at a near by seat. "Sir Daemon. One of our newer members for those of you who haven't met him yet." She smirks at Eirene. "Well this is the most fashionable I believe I've ever seen you." She nods to Kael in return, lifting her glass of wine. "Good Evening Baron Stefano. Looks like you'll have an advantage tonight. I think you might be the only one in the room who has played Conquer before." She raises her glass to Cristoph as well as he comes in and settles at the table.

With a glance towards Stefano, she studies him for a moment and breaks into a smile. "I beleive I've seen you about but we haven't been introduced. Lady Joslyn Stonewood, one of the field agents of the minstry," she offers a bright smile and a dip of her head. She looks to Calypso and gives a little nod. "I've been curious about this game," she says. "I suppose we'll just have to see how it progresses."

Eirene shakes her head as she grabs a glass of wine. "Actually I've played," she tells her niece. She nods back to Stefano and thenithers as she grabs a seat. "I failed miserably. But I'll give it another shot. How's everyone tonight?"

Sir Benedict Talonscourge, a golden eagle arrives, delivering a message to Eirene before departing.

"Stefano Gilden, Baron of Caith." he greets Joslyn with a nod and a smile, "And Sword of Lenosia, I guess. I can't tell if it's pretentious to throw that in there or not. I remember you now. You served House Fidante for a time, didn't you?" he nods as if it's coming to him now. "Let's play a game. Perhaps I can win one finally. Unless I am cursed to be surrounded by tactical geniuses at all times." he looks with faux suspicion about the gathered ministry members and shifts in his seat to lean forward and position himself for a game of Conquer. "Doing well, Lady Eirene, thank you."

Calypso nods to Stefano. "I'll run the board this time. Not participate." She says as she turns the board around and starts setting out the pieces. "We need five players for this one. One for each Kingdom. Who is in?"

Kael snares an ale, though there is no sip taken from it just yet. When Stefano points out that he does not know the rest of them, he is speaking up with a low, easy, "Count Kael Keaton. A pleasure." He punctuates his introduction with a lift of his glass, and in general by way of greeting to the table at large just to get that out of the way. He looks sidelong when Cristoph joins the table, snares his chair and then spins it about to inch it closer to the other man. He settles again -- and Echo, the hound, she settles near him as well. With that, he watches with rapt interest the game board before peering to the rule manual.

"I'll take Grayson," Joslyn volunteers, raising her hand towards Calypso before looking to Stefano. "Oh yes, I did for... most of my life really. I suppose we must have met once before," she admits with a little flush. Lady Eirene gets a pleasant enough smile and a dip of her head. "I'm doing well, Lady Eirene. Thanks for patching me up out there."

"I haven't played before. I look forward to seeing how it's done." Cristoph says with a grin, draining down a good portion of his tankard before leaning forward with his elbows on the table. As there seem to be rulebooks around, he'll grab one to take a peak. "Ah, Duke Cristoph Laurent of Artshall." He indicates to Stefano and anyone else that he might not have met. "Kael." He greets simply, smiling as the man moves closer.

Daemon gives a warm smile to Calypso as she addresses him, raising up briefly to give a bow toward his fellows. "Thank you for the welcome, Duchess General." He heard Cristoph say it, so it must be true! "As she says, I am Sir Daemon. A pleasure to make the acquaintance of those I don't know, and to see some familiar faces. Namely you, Lady Eirene. My face still thanks you for stitching it back together." He traces a finger down the healing scar with a sheepish look.


"I'll play Thrax." Stefano decides, ready and obviously eager to play the game. "Yar." he adds, pirate-like. "Good to meet you all. I'm sorry I will have to crush you in a game of strategy and skill." it's a rather light-hearted attempt at trash talking. The baron sips from his glass, committing names to faces and then waiting for the others to make their fealty selections.

Calypso nods to Stefano and hands over his Thraxian pieces. "We still have Velenosa, Redrain and Valardin with out a General." She glances around the room to see who else will jump in.

"Ah, I'll take Redrain." Cristoph decides with an amused drawl, sitting up a little straighter in his chair.

Eirene says, "I'll take the Oathlands. Pip pip Anyone for tea with milk in it?" She leans over for the pieces and grins, sipping her wine. "Anyone here I haven't sewn back together?"

There is a curious look cast toward Cristoph when he selects other than Oathlands, and for a moment Kael appears to be considering. Thereafter, with a glance to fealties and those players left without selections made he tips his head. He's content, it seems, to sip his ale and leave the choice to the others if they shall play, and who, or not.

"Well, we'll just see if my field experience results in skill here," Joslyn chuckles a bit, drinking a bit of her ale, and though she manages a rather big gulp, she certainly has the look of somebody that doesn't drink a lot of ale. "Who puts milk in tea?" Joslyn asks Eirene, sounding horrified.

Daemon covers his heart with mock offense. "We do not simply sip on tea and /milk/, some of us enjoy a hard cider. Others a bit of coffee. I, for one, enjoy a strong glass of hot chocolate with some freshly baked cookies. Morning drills make it burn right off."

10 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger arrive, following Alaric.

Calypso glances over to Kael and Daemon with a slowly spreading grin. "Which of you will stand as General for the Lyceum? Its a tough job, I assure you. But well worth it."

"Me!" Cristoph grins from around his ale. "But I imagine there's time for that still. We don't put milk in our tea in the Oathlands. We have honey. As the honey duke, I'm highly offended." HIGHLY. Except his idea of looking indignant involves giving Eirene an even brighter smile than previously. "As general of the Redrain armies, I want everyone to know that I'll be riding my dire bear into battle."

"Tea? How scandalous of you, Oathlander!" Stefano laughs, looking horrified at Eirene. "You put tea in your lukewarm milk!? No offense intended, my good Oathlanders. Just some light ribbing. Forgive me, I tend to get a little dramatic with the stereotypes during this game. Since we have just met, I will restrain myself." another low laugh and the baron watches as the board begins to fill in with the various armies. "Though I haven't played as Thrax yet. I'm not sure I can effect a proper reaver brogue."

A steady procession of King's Own filing into the tavern heralds the entrance of none other than the King of the Compact (it's very difficult for him to sneak up on anybody for this reason). In he strides, all smiles, and with a curious expression as he looks around the interior of the Traders' Tavern. He might never have actually been in here before. His brief inventory of the facilities is quickly shelved in order to greet his constituency. "Greetings, my subjects! Thank you all for attending this function hosted by the Ministry of Defense tonight," he declares regally before looking about to find said minster.

Joslyn points to Christoph and nods her head. "Yes! That is the only thing that should go in tea. Ever!" Joslyn says with a firm nod of her head, taking another drink from her ale. She grins over at Stefano. "I haven't played yet, but I thought perhaps I should try to give a good showing to my new home, no?" Joslyn smiles wryly, looking around the table a moment, though as Alaric arrives, Joslyn rises from her seat to bow in his direction. "Your Majesty," she intones.

Calypso raise from her seat in the game masters position at the table. Wine in hand, she bows at the waist as King Alaric arrives. "Your Majesty. Thank you for joining us this evening." She gestures to the ale and wine already set out among the cured meats and delicious fresh breads on the table. "Please, come and join us. We're just about to play a game of Conquer. Would you like to be the General of the Lyceum for the evening?" She grins though as she catches Cristoph's words. "The General of Redrain -must- ride in on a dire bear. Its only natural."

There are certain distractions, such as that of the entry of the King. Kael is rising to his feet as well, ale set down on the table swiftly and he delivers a precisely low bow to the other man. The Count is taking a moment to consider, chinning toward Daemo before focusing on toward the King. "I will claim the last fealty, or am content to quietly cheer on Redrain's corner if His Majesty would prefer."

The arrival of the entourage at first gives Stefano pause as he wonders what's going on. It dawns on him at about the time Alaric enters, at which point he rises to await the king's arrival. Standing beside Calypso, he bows to Alaric and offers a respectful, "Your Majesty." as the man approaches. Then he keeps quiet as the minister speaks, glancing from Alaric to the board and then back again.

"Ribbing? Ha." Daemon places his hands upon his hips, the epitome of sass being invoked from the athletic knight. "I'll have you know in my former barracks back home, I was an absolute genius of hazing recruits. They called me a champion in fact! Ribs such as tea with milk, the great taste that it instills, shall do me no harm." But then the King has entered. The Oathlander had never seen their ruler before, but he knows well enough to start getting up. "Your majesty!" He exclaims, all other body posture forming into a much more refined and wholly respectful bow to their monarch.

Eirene stands and makes a salute for Alaric, setting her wine aside. "Majesty." She salutes, hand against the steelsilk of her bodice. "Gonna play or just drink tonight?" She mutters, "I put alcohol in my tea, what do I know about how it's supposed to be drank?"

When Alaric enters, Cristoph rises to his feet and gives the king a bow at the waist. "Your Majesty." Then he'll retake his seat and his ale. "I look forward to throwing many axes at my enemies tonight. I saw a lot journals about axes this week, so I just assume that's how it's done up north."

Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight arrives, following Alis.

Alaric takes a seat with a charming smile and an appreciative nod to Calypso. "General Calypso, well done organizing the coordination between the fleets in Stormward. I've read the initial reports and they're very promising so far. And I quite appreciate the invitation to play, but it would be rather rude for the King to come by and sweep up the last seat. I'm quite happy to watch and let Count Kael have the pleasure." He nods to the Count personably and surveys the rest of the table. "Guildmaster, cousin, Lady Joslyn. And Sir Daemon, hello," he says pleasantly to Eirene, Cristoph, and Joslyn (obvs). "It's been a while."

Alaric has joined the Large Table.

Alis arrives late, yes, but she arrives! The tactical sized liason for the Valardin sneaks in, trying to slip quietly in the door so she can get a good glance at who is sitting where and at what game table before she does much more. Once she's close enough, the sudden surprise of her white hair will magically appear between two people as she tries to peek over a shoulder. "Sorry I'm late! So sorry. Did I miss all the fun?"

Calypso settles back in to her chair when all is said and proper royal greetings are made. "Thank you, your majesty. Its is excellent to see the houses coming together for a worthy cause." Her icy gaze goes back to the board. "Congratulations on your promotion to General of the Lyceum, Count Kale. Lets begin! Simply state who you are attacking."

"Not rude at all, but nonetheless, thank you." Kael, it seems, is indeed going to take the role of Velenosa. He opens his mouth as though about to partake in his own bit of trash talking and, well, promptly closes it. His lips quirk just a tad and he's drinking more thoroughly from his ale to cover said expression. When Alis enters he lowers his ale to shoot her a broad grin of welcome. "Just in time to potentially watch the Lyceum swiftly fall!"

Settling herself back down at the table, Joslyn looks then at the game and considers her options, looking towards them with a little smile. She looks then to Calypso and than to Stefano, with a grin she lifts her ale. "I think Thrax needs to be taught a lesson," Joslyn says with a smirk.

"Well. My first move will be to march my army of bear riding warriors down and attack Grayson. Even if they do put honey in their tea." Cristoph announces with a little thump of his ale, then he drains the rest and puts the empty tankard off to the side.

Alaric's kingly attention then settles on Stefano as the only person at the table he doesn't seem to have met. "My good sir, not to ignore you of course but I'm afraid you're the only one at this table I've not yet had the pleasure of an introduction with. Who might you be, then?" he asks sociably as he gives Zelda a little go-ahead nod. She proceeds to unpack his Great Mug of the North with a return nod of assent, and goes off to get it filled with some of the ale going around.

Once everyone has settled and taken their seats, Stefano does the same, grasping his glass of wine and pondering the board for a moment. After taking a sip of his drink, he declares his attack for round one, "I will raid Grayson and Lady Joslyn. Beware the seas, my lady, and what rides in on the tides." they have the same idea, clearly. "We need no lessons from House Grayson. We only need their blood!" he glances at Alaric, "In the game, of course, your majesty!" his smile bright and somewhat apologetic, "I am Stefano Gilden, Baron of Caith and Sword of Lenosia, your majesty. It is an honor to meet you, highness."

Alaric drops Great Mug of the North.

Kael runs a hand down his beard, considering just a moment before flashing a grin toward Eirene and tipping his head. "The Velenosa play will be to strike against the Valardin." This point is put forth in an easy enough manner before he drinks a bit more from his ale.

"A-Ah, you k-know my name, your Majesty?" Daemon stammers, pressing his fingers together for a moment. He shakes the haze off quickly though. "I mean, of course you do! You are King, after all. A good King!" He settles into his seat before he can lend himself to further embarrassment, his attention drawn to the familiar Princess Alis. He gives her a bow and a brisk wave as well.

Eirene grins at Christoph. "I could use a bear skin rug, Valardin attacks the Redrain," she says with an amused laugh. She reclaims her wine and leans back in her chair. "Bring it," she says to Kael, amending it to, "By steel and sword our honor prevails. That right,' she asks with an impish smile.

Joslyn checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Cristoph has rolled a critical success!
Cristoph checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 120 higher.

Stefano has rolled a critical success!
Stefano checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 79 higher.

Eirene checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Kael checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

"Wait, who is leading who now? I was about to cheer that Valardin finally has bear riding warriors!" Alis, looking between everyone with a near solemn expression of disappointment. "Obviously we get dragons to ride. Right?"

Alis has joined the Large Table.

"My apologies, Your Magesty, I seem to have agitated our allies already," Joslyn says with a regretable shake of her head towards Alaric. "It's going to be some doing for me to defend myself against such treachery. Now I'm afraid I'm going to have to start putting milk in all the tea." She quirks her lips, watching the board as she starts making her moves, making a bit of a face as she shrugs her shoulders. "Well. That's that, I suppose."

Calypso coughs a little as she sees the first turn come in to play. "Well, Redrain and Thrax make striking sweeps across Arvum this turn. All who oppose Redrain walk away batterd and beaten. House Grayson has all bent the knee to the North. The Oathlands are standing their ground, but hanging on by a thread. Go ahead and make your next declarations." She raises he glass towards the fallen Joslyn and her Grayson army.

Alis takes a seat at the table, even though she's not playing. Because she can. And because she is nosy, quickly scopes out the table now that she is not trying to see over shoulders and generally be a nuiscance. "And good evening to you, Sir Daemon. It's nice to see you joining us." she adds, finally remembering to properly greet the man. Kids suck out your braincells. Never have them.

Stefano eyes Cristoph as he and his virtual Redrain troops storm alongside his Thraxian reavers to annihilate the forces of House Grayson. Then he looks about at the remainder of the players, "We should attempt to weaken the northerners, I think." the suggestion offered with an arched brow, questioning. "Regardless, I will direct my attention at Redrain and risk the freezing north to do so. And the dire bears, I guess. Are those real?" he looks askance at Calypso, dubious. "I can't even imagine cold, let alone dire bears. It's cold enough in Arx."

Eirene grumbles. She's more than capable a commander but her role is commanding medics not knight. Alis' pronouncement gets even more grumbling. "What's left of the Oathlands attacks the South. The Lycene will pay for its wicked drunken ways." She gives a shrug and grabs her wine, refilling it before she moves her troops.

Alaric smiles to Stefano. "Likewise, Baron Stefano. And the new Sword? A high honor, congratulations. Although I would hope you don't share the former Sword's affinity for caltrops," he concludes a bit mischeviously before turning said mischevious grin towards Daemon. "Oh, of course! We met at cousin Cristoph's wedding reception," he tells Daemon. Politicians with great memory for meeting people can be scary. At this point, Zelda returns with his filled Great Mug and the king raises it in salute (with two hands). "Best of luck to all the competitors! May the best painted wooden tokenized representation of the Great Houses of the Compact win," he proclaims, and has a drink. Setting down the mug with a thump, he turns to Alis with a smile. "Princess Alis, welcome! It's an honor to have a fellow spectator like you here."

There's a wave of Alis as she comes in and Cristoph announces, "I'm leading the Redrains, Princess Alis. We're doing quite well." An apologetic look is cast towards Joslyn and he mouthes 'I'll buy your next round' before rubbing the back of his neck. "Well since my ally in attacking the Graysons has decided to attack /me/ now, I'll be defending myself against House Thrax."

Kael follows along with Calypso, at least with the glass raising toward the fallen Joslyn. He does similar, inclining his head for but a heartbeat and then drinking most mightily from his ale in a grand show of respect. However, looking across the game board to the others, he considers at length. He eyes Cristoph, considering, and when Stefano makes his own declaration there is a glance cast his way as well. He laughs to Eirene's statement and, well, actually downs the rest of his ale in show. Does Kael ever finish his ale? Evidently he will tonight. "Velenosa against Thrax," he says, with an odd declare.

Cristoph checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Eirene checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Kael checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Stefano checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Daemon's nerves settle a tad when Alis greets him, the knight in heavy armor sinking back into his seat as the game is off. "Yes, no lasting injuries have staved off my desire for fun tonight. Thank the Gods for it, yes?" Then it's a quick look back at Alaric, still putting on the widest, awkwardest smile he could. "A-Ah, yes, how could I forget?" Easily, apparently. "I'm afraid there are also no dragons here tonight, Alis. I would call it a shame, but... They can be quite rude."

Joslyn sighs gives a little nod towards Christoph and flags down a server, whom brings something that looks considerably stronger to her as she watches the rest of the game unfold, and when that's refilled, she lifts her glass in return to Calypso and Kael before knocking it back. "I don't suppose I'll have a chance to redeem myself later will I?" she wonders.

Alis will drink to that toast, especially since a mug of ale has been plopped in front of her. "To wooden tokens and the trouble they can cause." That's sort of the same right? Mug raised, she takes a long drink from it. "Ah, we havo no dragons... but we have a Lady Eirene, and she is as fierce as any dragon could be." A tip of the head towards the medic and her cup raised again in good luck. "Absolutely, Sir Daemon. All work and no play makes us much less efficient on the battlefield." Because she's an Oathlander, of course. "Your Majesty. It's an honor to have you join us."

Calypso shakes her head at Joslyn's question. "I'm afraid not. I've never seen strategy like that before. Don't take it personal." Calypso assures her and then looks to the board again. "House Redrain continues its rampage, cutting down the Thraxian army that stands in its path. Velenosa and Valardin skirmish and in the end, chivalry pays out! Velenosa is still very much pressing forward but their numbers are starting to diminish. Make your declarations."

"Oh I know this game is out," Joslyn nods a bit with another sip of her drink, looking over the board. "It's not the only game we're going to play tonight, is it? I know I can do better." She shrugs and looks over to Princess Alis and gives a wiggle of fingers in her direction. "Princess Alis, good to see you!"

"Thrax is still pretty large and painful and in my way of conquering all of Arvum!" Cristoph declares and then declares he needs more ale, ordering another for himself and then /another/ for Joslyn on top of whatever she already has. So apparently he'll continue his skirmishing with the seafaring House.

What's that, Joslyn is summoning liquor stronger than mere ale. Kael deliberates and he summons over the server thereafter so that he can murmur to him his own request for this. So it is that the Count is taking a shot before making his declaration! Except he coughs. Yes, he actually does one of those 'oh my god it burns' sort of coughs, and somewhere in the middle the cough turns to a chuckle. "Velenosa stays with its strike against Thrax."

Calypso nods to Alis and Joslyn. "Feel free to get a game of Stones going between the two of you if you like!"

Alaric surveys the board and raises his chin. "I will continue our righteous crusade against the northerners and their bear army," he declares agreeably.

Eirene says, "May as well go out with a bang. I'll pick at Thrax like the vulture I am." She barks a laugh and shrugs. "I'm not good at games really." So far so good on the liquor. She motions for more wine, however, as she's drinking to every loss of her men. "Seems like I'm not losing too terribly though."

Cristoph checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.

Eirene checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Kael checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Alis smiles brightly at Joslyn. "And you. I'll gladly play a game of stones if you like. As everyone else continues to try and decimate each other." is quipped, a mischeivous grin accompanying her words.

Alaric checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Joslyn gives a little smile towards Alis, nodding her head and than taking the other drink offered by Christoph with a gracious smile. "I've never played stones either, I'll admit," Joslyn says. "But we can see how it goes? Besides, we need to spend time together again, it's too long between our meetings."

Calypso grins a little as the pieces come in to play. "We're ganging up on House Thrax, which King Alaric has so graciously stepped in to command! They are chipped away at by Redrain and Velenosa alike, several Thraxians bending the knee to the North and South. But the skirmish against Valardin turns in Thrax's favor! The battle leaves on, very determined, knight on horseback standing to defend the Oathlands with all his might!"

Sparte enters off the street with a smile on his face, apparently having had a good day. He heads towards the nearest staff to the door to ask a quiet question. He gets a quick answer, thanks them, and heads off to find a table to sit down and put his boots up for a spell.

Sparte has joined the Quiet Booth.

Cristoph laughs a little when Kael chokes on the shot, but he covers it with his hand. Then he's swallowing a healthy mouthful of his ale, seeming content with how the game is going. "My bear army is going to cause plenty of tears to spilled at your wake." He decides, declaring his next move as yet another in the war on Thrax. When Calypso makes her announcement on Valardin, he points to game and remarks with good humor: "Look, it's Sir Daemon."

"To the proud knight of the Oathlands, the lone defender! May he rise!" Did Kael forget which team he is playing for? Mayhaps. He's got himself another fine drink however and there's a grand lift of that glass toward Eirene made with his toast. At least this drink will go down a bit smoother. Then, when Cris declares it is Daemon, Kael cheers mightily. We are talking almost tournament level cheering (if you are none other than Kael). The rest of that drink goes bye. "Velenosa continues its assault on Thrax!" My, the typically quiet Count is merry.

Alis gestures a few chairs down and moves that way to pull the board further down, so they don't disturb the others. "We can start with the stripped down version I think, if you haven't played before? It's not a really difficult game, but the larger version can get really intricate and complicated. It's hard to start off like that." Taking another long drink from her mug, the princess smiles warmly. "We really should see each other more often, I agree. I haven't even introduced you to my tiny terror yet."

Eirene picks up her loan figure and laughs. "I'm taking my pony and going home." But then Cristoph pronounces who it is and she hands the figure over to Daemon. "To you, Sir. The lone knight on a quest for justice. Ah fuck it. Decide where he dies."

"Oh gods..." Daemon rubs a steel finger against his brow as he looks over at the poor, lonely figure that must stand against the two sea-fairing houses. "At the very least, I've trained my horse to swim. So, I propose I charge on the waves!" He raises a finger dutifully at that. After all, a seahorse and its mounted knight could do many heroics! "They will sing songs of this day, I promise it."

"Your tiny terror?" Joslyn looks confused for a moment and than looks Alis up and down before she realizes. "Oh! You had your baby? Oh gods yes, you really should introduce me!" Joslyn beams a bit and than nods. "Yes, let us start with the simple version, I'm sure I'll pick it up easy enough and maybe we can do a more complicated game later on."

Sparte settles with a contented sigh in his seat, closing his eyes. After a little while he opens them again and glances around, seeming to finally clue into things being different. He hears a few familiar voices that drive him to slowly go back to his suffering feet and move to look at who else is here. He hasn't quite worked up to saying hello to anyone, but it is clear he missed the news about tonight.

It's not all that often that some of the people gathered for Defense meetings hear Alis /giggle/. But, giggle she does at Joslyn's confused look and exclamation. "Aright, first round." she declares, setting up the board and then nodding to give Joslyn the opportunity to go first.

Calypso settles in to the players seat temporarily. "Alright. Thrax has had enough of Redrain's conquering ways and pushes back with all their salt-spattered strength."

Calypso checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Kael checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Cristoph checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.

Eirene checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.

Joslyn checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Alis checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Stefano before departing.

Joslyn giggles, nodding towards Alis as she looks to the board, giving a bit of a nod towards her. "Lets see how this goes," she says, looking to the pieces to see. She makes the first move. "I hadn't heard the birth announcement, boy or girl?" Joslyn asks excitely.

Calypso makes a few moves for the Thraxian army and then settles back to get a good look at the board. "Alright. Thrax is a tough army to crack. Redrain manages to cut them down a little more, but they in turn force Lycene warriors to bend the knee. When Sir Daemon comes swim-riding at the Thraxian army, they tilt their heads to the side in confusion for a moment, and then with one swoop, the Valardin army is ended." She looks to Cristoph and Kael then. "Final round."

Eirene has left the Large Table.

Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard have been dismissed.

Calypso makes a few moves for the Thraxian army and then settles back to get a good look at the board. "Alright. Thrax is a tough army to crack. Redrain manages to cut them down a little more, but they in turn force Lycene warriors to bend the knee. When Sir Daemon comes swim-riding at the Thraxian army, they tilt their heads to the side in confusion for a moment, and then with one swoop, the Valardin army is ended." She looks to Cristoph and Kael then. "Final round." (repose)

"Never go full horse swim." Alis asides to Joslyn, catching snippets of the conversation about the other game going on. Her expression is far too solemn for the words that come out of her mouth, before she cracks a proud smile. "A girl. We named her Ellara. She has my hair. Pretty sure she has her dad's eyes though." is confided. "She definitely has my lungs though." She takes a moment to consider Joslyn's opening move before she settles one of her own pieces in place.

"GO DAEMON." Cristoph hasn't had that much to drink, but Kael's rowdiness is clearly contagious and he thunks the other man on the back as they wait to see how this round of the game plays out. "Oh, or not. Damnit Daemon." He sighs and takes another drink. "I have axes to grind and bears to train. Another go at Thrax."

Sparte is standing a bit off from the group, watching them play. He looks curious, but sort of lost at what is going on at the same time.

Due to the valiant demise of the fictional Sir Daemon, Kael is bowing his head in a most solemn manner. He places his hand at his heart, and simply takes a moment to mourn this loss. However, at the start of next round, his chin lifts and he says, "Velenosa digs in its heels and continues its Thraxian assault. It recognizes the plight of Sir Daemon and rallies!"

Daemon stiffens his upper lip, slowly outreaching a hand to pluck the defeated Daemon-Seahorse hybrid off the board. He holds it close to his chest and pats its head. "Do not fear, little friend. My avatar. You did all you could. Valardin thanks you for your service. We /all/ thank you for your service." He raises his head toward the other fellow Oathlanders present. "I have failed you, and I am sorry."

Joslyn frowns for a moment as she watches Alis's move and gives a bit of a nod towards her, smiling again. "Your lungs? She sounds like a beautiful little terror," Joslyn says, fondly. "I can hardly wait to meet her," Joslyn lets out a little smirk as she considers the board, moving a few more pieces in response to Alis' first move.

"Yes, this last round is for Sir Daemon!" Cristoph agrees.

Joslyn checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Alis has rolled a critical success!
Alis checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 43 higher.

Calypso sets up the final assault for Thrax. She looks to Cristoph and then to Kael. "Thrax is fed up with getting mauled by bears and turns its attention to those dashingly good looking, talented, very skilled and worthy opponents, the Lyceum."

Calypso checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Kael checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Eirene lifts her glass "To the Last Oathlander." She takes a deep drink and smiles. "Sorry I fucking suck at this game," she apologizes to the Valardin with a shrug.

Cristoph checked command + war at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.

"She is. And she has her father besotted already." Alis obviously finds this pretty adorable, since the words are accompanied by a fond smile. "Next weekend might be a good time. We like to go on a picnic once in awhile. On the grounds, of course. You're welcome to join us." she pauses, pulling back a moment before decisively making her next move. "Tell me how you've been?"

Calypso watches the final swings of combat play out with the tiny wooden pieces on the board. "Thrax tried, hard as they might, but both remaining armies got a good dig in at them. Velenosa has a good dent in its army, as does Thrax. But. House Redrain." She looks at Cristoph. "More than triples their army and sweeps the board. Congratulations!"

Eirene is overheard praising Cristoph for: Damn fine commander

A likely person in the group! Sparte slowly makes his way over to Eirene, quietly speaking to her. "Sorry to interrupt, but what is this game called?"

Clang, clang, clang, clang. Daemon applauds for the worthy winner, his army of bear-riders triumphant. "Good showing, Lord Cristoph. You've done the North proud with such a fine show of leadership!"

Kael is overheard praising Cristoph for: No one commands like Cristoph!

"Conquer." Calypso says in Sparte's direction. "Five people play as one of the five armies of Arvum. Battle against each other, bend the knee at a loss, and conquer the kingdom."

Joslyn gives a little chuckle. "At least you lasted to the end," Joslyn says towards Eirene. "It will take a long time for me to redeem myself that kind of loss." She looks back to her board and biting her lips things certainly aren't quite going her way in this game either, but she still smiles fondly towards Alis. "I'd like that," Joslyn says. "Just let me know when it's happening and I'll be sure to attend. I'll make sure to bring a gift for the little princess," Joslyn smiles as she looks back to the board, making a few more moves to try to fix her position.

Joslyn checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

"Congratulations to a fine showing, my lord! May all of your victories be as such!" Kael, well, he is searching for something else to toast the man with. Alas, he is able to simply lift his mug of ale that's mostly gone and finish off the dredges. It is just as well.

Alis is overheard praising Cristoph for: The BEEara gave you a commanding presence!

Daemon is overheard praising Cristoph for: He commanded those bears well!

Cristoph claps his hand. "I couldn't do it without my steadfast ally, Velenosa." He laughs and again claps Kael on the back. Hopefully he's not drinking this time. "And /also/ House Valardin! Another round on me!" He calls out to the server. Apparently he's going to spend all this week's spending silver on ale. There's worse uses, eh?

Alis checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

"I assure you Lady Joslyn - we all have off days. There is no redeeming necessary. Only learning frome ach other so that we are all at our best in the heat of battle." Alis, bringer of platitudes. But well meaning ones! And her tone is earnest. Even as she smartly moves her board pieces aroung again. "Ellara enjoys all presents. Especially things that she can try to chew on right now."

Calypso glances over at Joslyn and Alis. "Truthfully I wouldn't call that an off day for you at all. More like an incredibly lucky day for Duke Cristoph."

Alis gestures toward Calypso. What she said.

Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard have been dismissed.

As Alis moves her pieces around again, Joslyn chuckles a moment. "Well, perhaps an off day with stones," Joslyn smirks. "But you're right. Duke Christoph managed to pull off a maneuver I'd never even considered," she says, trying one last time to see if she might redeem herself in the match against Alis, but barring a miracle, it's looking rather one sided.

Joslyn checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Alis checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Sparte glances over to Calypso. "Conquer, huh." He looks back oto the board, then over to Cristoph with a bit of wonder. He doesn't interrupt further, just backing away a bit from the table and moving to go find a spot to sit again, now that he has some inkling of what people were doing.

"Or I'm just having some luck." Alis quips, positioning the board so that it looks like she may be able to take it in her next move unless Joslyn has a stroke of brilliance. Entirely possible!! "There's a reason I put him in command of our Cavalry. He's really very good." re: Cristoph.

Daemon has left the Large Table.

When Cristoph claps him upon the back, Kael chuckles grandly and offers him a solid thunk on the shoulder by way of support. There is likely complimentary words around from the Count to all participants, a round or two of liquor purchased, before he is disappearing into the night with his hound. For much needed sleep. Except there's a newborn at home - hah!

Sparte is overheard praising Cristoph for: Had no idea war could be a game, but Christoph is the best at it

Cristoph has left the Large Table.

Painbow, a militant pygmy goat leaves, following Cristoph.

Kael has left the Large Table.

Echo, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound leaves, following Kael.

"Admittedly I'm new to command," Joslyn says. "But that's why we're all working together, right? To try and build each other up!" Joslyn gives a little glance towards Calypso. "I'm probably a few years away from being a leader of the same caliber as Duchess General Calypso," she says. "But it's certainly a goal to set my sights on," Turning back to alis she smiles. "I'll bring her plenty of things she can chew on. I'll be her favorite aunt," Joslyn declares easily, despite any familial ties.

Joslyn has rolled a critical success!
Joslyn checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Alis checked intellect + war at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Calypso settles back in her chair now that most of the players have gone on to other things. She takes a sip of her wine and then reaches to refill it. "You've been learning quickly. It takes years and practice. But if your ultimate goal is command, you have to stick with it, make a few mistakes and learn from them." She glances down to the hilt of her sword for a moment. "I gave up being a duelist years ago to focus on command. Its just a choice one has to make."

Ohhhh, that was a good last move. Both Alis' eyebrows raise. "Nice. I didn't expect that one." she admits, though - winds up attacking from another angle all the same. "Well played, Lady Joslyn. And you're quite right. We're here to lift each other up." she agrees, giving the other woman a smile and then nodding towards Calypso. "She's right."

Alis has left the Large Table.

Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight leaves, following Alis.

Joslyn waves after Alis as she departs, smiling a bit at the board as she nods a moment. "Wasn't enough to secure victory, but they've written stories of brave last stands," Joslyn chuckles and looks over to Calypso. "It is something I've been keen on improving, though I am certainly a long way away from your own skills, but thank you. I hope to continue to learn from you, and work with you more in the future. It's likely to be a long time before I'm truly ready."

Calypso raises her glass towards Joslyn. "If its what you set out for, I have no doubt you will make it. Or you will die trying." She sounds rather serious about that. This is war we're talking about after all.

Alaric finally works through his various reports on Stormward filtering in with the help of the Great Mug. It's down to about half, which means the King has had a healthy amount of evening drinks. "I'm pleased to say the reports I've been receiving tonight are overall positive. Definitely some areas of concern to watch going forward, but the chaos in Stormward has been greatly quelled," he observes confidently before nodding to Joslyn. "I daresay if you're going to learn military tactics there's none better than Calypso to study from, with the possible exception of the Regent." He leans in a bit conspiratorially. "Although if you asked me who I'd rather spend time with, Gabriel or her, I'd pick Calypso eight days a week. Duke Bisland's a bit of a grouch when it comes to instruction." He grins merrily. It's probably the Great Mug's fault.

"Well, let us hope it doesn't come to that," Joslyn says soberly. "But I'll improve, or die trying," she agrees. "It took me a while to figure out where I really wanted to find myself, but as I move forward that picture is ever clearer," she smiles towards Alaric and gives a nod. "I hope to become one of your more useful commanders someday, Your Majesty. I haven't met the regent, but from what I've heard, I would also prefer the Duchess General," she smiles towards Calypso. "I've enjoyed her company, and she's fun to spar against. She was the first that I faced when I came to Arx. I don't think even she was surprised as myself."

Calypso inclines her head to the King at his words. "You humble me, your Majesty. Duke Bisland is who I learned much of my own skill from. He can be a bear, but he is a hardened, successful General for a reason. I still seek out his council often." She raises her glass to Gabriel's name and then takes a sip. "The Storm in Stormward seems to be loosing steam, but we aren't out of the woods completely. Rash decisions made for the right reason are still irresponsible in my mind. But, here we are learning and living on. This situation hasn't gotten so far off course that it cant be set back on track." She looks to Joslyn then as well. "It is good to have clarity in your chosen path. And I doubt I'll ever live down the moment I was taken out with a pair of hair pins by a ladies maid." She smirks.

Sparte returns to sitting by himself at one of the quieter tables. He settles with feet propped in the empty chair, and pulls out a book to read. Eventually he orders food as well, but keeps to himself for the night.

Sparte has left the Quiet Booth.

Alaric grins brightly. "Gabriel is -slightly- less of a grouch around people he didn't have a fairly tumultous regent-to-prince relationship with, to be fair," he observes wryly before nodding to Joslyn. "Well then, keep at it! None greater than Grayson, after all. To aim high and achieve is at the heart of our great house's calling," he declares encouragingly. Turning back to Calypso, he nods assent. "The peers of the realm have a responsibility to see to the welfare of those sworn to them. Requiring a sudden bailout from the rest of the Compact to avoid ruin is hardly responsible. I'm mulling over options to make it clear that I don't expect we will have to make a second such effort."

"Those same hairpins once felled a demon," Joslyn points out proudly, she than gestures towards the hairpins resting in her hair in that moment. "Of course I've upgraded since then, and these I fitted to my fingers a bit better so that I'll be more effective, and the alaricite properties have proven quite useful in battles past." To Alaric she smiles, giving a firm nod. "Someday, I hope. I'll have more chances to prove myself as the years wear on and I seek out the best instruction that I can find."

Stefano has left the Large Table.

"Anything I can do to help figure out a persuasive and impactful line to make your stance clear, I am at your service." Calypso says to Alaric with a humble incline of her head before taking another sip of her wine. Her icy gaze turns to Joslyn then. "You'll have your time. You've already ascended quite far. From a ladies maid to a Lady. Demon felling and all the rest. Never forget to celebrate the victories that bring you steps closer to your goals."

"Regrettably, we don't seem to live in an era where armies are mostly for parades," Alaric states a trace grimly. "We'll all likely have more chances to prove ourselves in a crisis than anyone should want. But so be it; if these times require great heroes to rise, then we shall become them and join our ancestors in honor," he concludes confidently. He turns to Calypso with a faintly dark-humored grin. "I could banish Marquis Ford from the Compact for gross negligence," he suggests jokingly-not-jokingly. "It'd definitely cut down on the likelihood anyone else picks 'instant crisis' as a solution to the problem of thralldom in the Compact."

"One day and one victory at a time," Joslyn smiles, raising her whiskey and sipping for a few moments before looking between the pair she's settled with. She gives a bit of a nod towards Alaric. "I can certainly see the appeal of the abolition of Thralldom from Thrax lands," Joslyn says with a nod. "Though certainly, one must always weigh the costs and benefits of their actions. He was lucky the compact was so willing to support him, but if all of Thrax had made the same move? That would have been catastrophic."

"That would certainly make a statement and immediately cut down anyone currently thinking they can take advantage of the Compact's generosity." Calypso says in a rather serious reply to the King's joke-not-joke. She nods to Joslyn then. "I don't know that anyone who sacrificed their own city's resources to see that a weak link was not made of a foolish decision went in to that donation willingly, but rather reluctantly, or begrudgingly even. Those resources could have gone to any number of well thought out, well planned actions for those who did donate." She looks to Alaric then and smiles just at the corner of her mouth. "I have no doubt you will make the right call in the end."

"I don't know if it was a question of lucky, Joslyn. From my reading of the situation, he's either so incompetent he somehow didn't see the obvious results, or so cynical he knew the Compact would rally to his March's support because a vast expenditure of other Houses' money to solve his problem was worse than the alternative of not spending it." Alaric smirks darkly. "Neither of them fill me with great confidence in the future of House Kennex under his rule, needless to say."

Joslyn sips at her drink, whiskey it looks like at the moment, and she gives a nod. "I don't doubt that you're right," she says. "It we didn't rally to Kennex, the compact as a whole would have suffered, and it's certainly not something we can afford with all else that is going on," she runs her fingers through her hair and shakes her head. "Really, his timing couldn't have been worse if he had planned it."

"My vote is on incompetence. But truthfully, I don't know the man myself." Calypso takes another sip of her wine and then sets it down at the table, crossing one leg over the next. "I'm sure this will be the majority of the topic covered at the Assembly in a few days. I hope you are prepared for the crowd." Calypso says with a dark smirk of her own.

Alaric takes up his pitcheresque Great Mug and has another solid drink. "Either way, we will make the best of the situation. If Ford Kennex has succeeded in something, it's shaken up the game pieces on the board in a way the Mourning Isles haven't seen since the Tyde Rebellion. There is more momentum on working to retire of issue of thralldom in the Compact than there has ever been, and I'm confident we won't waste it. And having bought peace in his March, the Marquis will find that the Compact will also have purchased an outsized say in his future affairs. He would be rather unwise to ignore that debt as his political peril." He turns to Calypso with a light shrug. "If he proves to be unwise, I suppose that would answer the overall question in favour of 'incompetence'." He grins brightly. "I'm rather looking forward to the Assembly, actually. It should be quite an interesting affair."

"Well, I certainly wouldn't remove banishment as a potential option to hold onto," Joslyn says dryly. "After having spoken to him, I'd be inclined to believe incompetance as well. He seemed to think he had no choice in the matter, but I cannot figure out how he could unilaterally make such a move, and nowhere at any point did nobody tell him that it wasn't a good idea."

"I think the philosophy of 'it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission' was at play here. Being close in contact with Duke Harald, his Liege and the other houses in his fealty, it seems no discussion was ever had. It was a reaction to seeing the was the Compact behaved when House Navgent forbade anyone from buying their Thralls out from under them." Calypso sweeps up her glass again for another vague gesture before she takes a sip. "If anything, this is a fascinating study in political cause and effect."

Alaric chuckles lightly. "Somehow I have a feeling future scholars will enjoy writing books about this affair more than we'll enjoy cleaning up the mess." He looks to his mug, perhaps admiring it. What an excellent mug for an excellent monarch! With an excellent buzz probably, considering how much of the mug is empty. "But it's a lot easier to joke about having seen the reports. The initial response to a crisis is often the most critical, and we've handled it confidently and comprehensively. As far as being a demonstration of the Compact's ability for coordination and parallel action, I couldn't be happier with it."

"Sounds like an overcorrection to a problem that wasn't really his to react to, to me," Joslyn says towards Calypso. "Though, I'll admit, I'm rather new to the political arena. Try as I might to get my bearings, it has been an adjustment," she admits, smiling a moment and pouring some more whiskey before drinking it down. "But you're right, Your Majesty, we've come through this in far better shape than I would have initially expected. I'm glad we can come together in a time of need, despite all our differences."

"The real test will come when the Storm at sea begins to swell again and push against us. I can only hope what we have done will be enough to bolster our weak links." Calypso says firmly. "But now it sounds like we have a stow away pirate situation. Infiltration is a real threat. I have every confidence that the captains of those ships are keeping logs in order and we'll root out the infiltrators in short order."

"I'd be rather surprised if Victus and Harald didn't largely sort out their pirate situation internally. An increase in pirates leads to an increase in action for pirate hunters. I'm sure many a ship in the Maelstrom will appreciate the training opportunities against live opposition," Alaric opines. "But insofar as the infiltrations go, the chief weapon they have is our not being even aware of the attempt. If we know they are there, we can largely mitigate their presence. And even if a few do slip through, a pirate without a ship is not a serious threat. Most of them will be looking to lie low and start a new anonymous life to evade justice for their piratical past."

"What of that fleet that Max had meant to set up with the Ministry?" Joslyn wonders. "I hadn't heard anything about that, but was that arrangement still in effect? It could potentially be of use if Thrax does need any extra help in that regard," Joslyn suggests with a considering glance towards Calypso and Alaric. "Though naval warfare is certainly far from my own expertise, I imagine increased patrols could help locate stragglers?"

"Lady Regla largely takes care of spearheading out efforts at sea. But unfortunately, this seems to be a whole-compact issue. The boars they are suspected of stowing away on at Valardin, Lycean and Thraxian alike." Calypso nods once. "I have no doubt we'll sort it out. Check logs, toss over board anyone who was not supposed to be on the ship to begin with." The very faintest hint of a grin graces her steely expression, a joke perhaps.

"At any rate, it's a much easier problem to wrap one's arms around than the general collapse of the Stormward economy," Alaric declares in the tone of a ruler who does not really intend to get lost in the weeds of specific policy implementations, especially at sea. "I echo the Duchess-General: the many fine admirals in the Compact will be able to see to the security of their fleets and ships appropriately without needing some backseat captaining from the King." He grins. "I'll leave my nautical meddling to 'borrowing' Victus' drommond for a day sail around the bay, I think."

"For now, I'll defer to your judgement," Joslyn says with a smile, inclining her head. "For now, I'll take myself and my Wardens, and I'll just take them wherever you need me to point them," Joslyn says, grinning brightly as she sips her whiskey. "A trip on Victus' drommond sounds like fun. You should bring some company along, the of the newly ennobled Lycene type that I belive comes the most highly recommended," Joslyn says with a playful smirk.

"I believe you and Princess Alarissa are the only two people alive who could get away with 'borrowing' Victus' ship." Calypso says with a more genuine grin. "But, the hour is growing late. I should be heading back to Malvici Hall. Thank you, Lady Joslyn, for participating. And thank you your Majesty for coming by our Ministry Tavern Takeover. Having you here was a real treat for many of them."

Alaric smirks at Joslyn. "I don't know, the Lord Commander and the Palace Seraph made for a pretty fine voyage the last time. It would be hard to top them, I think. Especially if you don't get seasick overboard as impressively as the Seraph did," he replies impishly. "The pleasure was all mine, Calypso. Thank you for organizing this night, and once again I was very pleased to hear of the excellent work the Ministry did in Stormward. I am always confident in your handling of a crisis and this time was surely no exception. Have a pleasant evening."

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