An Throne of Silver

The private jet carrying the King Yendrin of Hlenderia and his daughter was a used commercial liner acquired by the government in 2017; the plane itself was built in the late 1990s. A stripe, painted in the purple of the Hlenderian government, extended the length of the fuselage. It did not have the fuel capacity for a non-stop flight to Blaskog, so a stopover in Tangrland had to be arranged. The plane sat on the tarmac for an hour before taking off again.

The King’s daughter, Yendrina, sat in a seat behind the wing and looked out the window, watching a city shrink in the distance. If Hlenderia was the “bottom of the world”, Blaskog was the top. Will anyone else at this coronation have traveled as far?, Yendrina wondered.

This would be the second coronation she’d attend in her life. The first, her father’s, made an impression on her. She remembered him sitting on the upholstered stool of the Hlenderian Kings. “Hail the Great Chief of the Three Peoples!” dignitaries from the Grand Council shouted. “He sits upon the Auspicious Throne of the Saints and Ancestors!”

A few months before, she watched him pray to the family shrine daily, still in mourning for his wife - her mother. When the call came that the Grand Council elected him, he was there meditating. He told his chief-of-staff, holding the phone receiver with crazed eyes, to wait while he finished supplicating.

Yendrina was 15 then. Now, she was 49. Older than her father was when he got the call. His Majesty, 78 years of age, showed no signs of slowing down. An 18-hour flight to Blaskog seemed not to daunt him in the slightest.

Still, accompanying her father to this ceremony was a sign to the country: King Yendrin would not live forever. He wanted his only child, his daughter he made with Mina, his namesake, to succeed him. Hlenderia’s first Queen. Yendrina demurred in public, acted modest, but she wanted it just as much - or more.


King Yendrin awoke with a start. The plane had hit a patch of rough air and jerked from side to side before levelling out. A tablet, laying on the side table next to his cabin bed, showed that the time was 8:24AM. A map displayed an animation of the plane over west Borea. Descent would begin soon, so the King decided to get out of bed, even though it felt like the middle of the night.

How many time zones had they passed through? Six or seven? He opened a window shade and sunlight streamed in. Yendrin perched his glasses atop his nose and tucked the arms behind his ears. Then, throwing on a silk robe over his night clothes, he opened his cabin door. A guard stood at attention, then relaxed as the King walked by him down the hall.

Eventually, the space opened up into a seating area. His daughter sat in a chair near the window. She was asleep, leaning her head against the side of a window. It reminded Yendrin of his wife, who also tended to fall asleep in an armchair instead of a bed.

Yendrina felt her father’s presence and awoke. He smiled at her.

“Where is your husband?” he asked.

“Beltē is asleep in his cabin.”

“We are over Borea. We will be descending soon. You should wake him.”

Yendrina rubbed her eyes and stood, walking to the guest cabin. The King sat in her place and called a servant over, asking for tea and breakfast. On the chair opposite sat a dossier in a manila folder.

Along with information about Blaskog, political intelligence, and a guest list for the coronation was a copy of the Hlenderian government’s response to the event’s invitation.

To His Royal Majesty, Wilan I of Blåskog,

We are greatly honored to have received the missive regarding your impending coronation, and we are equally honored to accept such a gracious invitation. We send our condolences on the death of your predecessor.

In the Liturgy for Reconciliation With Ancestors, said on the occasion of a Hlenderian funeral, the congregants say: ‘Joyous are we to have known our beloved in life; joyous are the ancestors, to whom our beloved now returns’.

A coronation is a reenactment of this joy tinged with grief. It will be our great and solemn honor to attend. We will be accompanied by our daughter, Yendrina Kwarrōth, our son-in-law, Beltē Tarem, and our royal Chamberlain, Goshen Charrith, as well as Royal staff.

Strength and courage,
Yendrin Kwarrōth
King of Hlenderia, Chief of the Three Peoples

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The Sun was shining bright this spring morning, as the shadows of the mountains receded towards the north as the skyline of Bergëpas started bathing in the light. The muffled mechanical chugging of the city trams, the rustling of the leaves of the trees, and the melodious chirping of the birds could be heard greeting the day. Then the alarm clock gave her a reality check.

“Hrrmph…”

Astrit was, begrudgingly, awake. She tried reaching out for the button to turn it off, flailing her arm into the air in vain, until finally managing to find it and deactivate it.

“Hmph…”

“Heh, good morning, dear…~”

Werner affectionately smooched her cheek.

“Good morning, hun…~”

She got up out of bed, as the clock read 06:05. She had another day with the nation in her hands.

🙟☙❧🙝

The Sun was now significantly higher in the sky, as Astrit made her way to the office of the Prime Minister. Her office. It’s been so long since she was elected but she still can’t believe it.

“You have incoming mail, Astrit.”

Her Chief of Staff, Edëmonn, had a faint tone of surprise in his tone.

“From, uh, 'His Royal Majesty Wilan the First of the Kingdom of Blo- Blu- Blau- Blåskog.”

“Really?” said Astrit. “Oh right. There was supposed to be a coronation.”

“Uh, yep, I think so.”

“Thanks Ed.”

Astrit took the letter into her office, opened it, and started reading.

“Huh.” she mumbled, parsing the text, eyes flicking to the start of each line. When she finished, she picked up the receiver on her phone and dialed the number of the President.

“Heeello? Reemonn here.”

“Hey Reemonn, how is it going today?”

"Good, good… Burnt my pancakes a bit, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. What can I do for you today?

“Do you want to travel to Blåskog for the coronation of the new king?”

“…No. But I probably should. Can I bring Roobertt with? I wouldn’t want to go without him.”

“Of course! I’m bringing Werner too; I’d be bored out of my mind otherwise. I need you two to act as my, er, socialites. I don’t want to interact with dignitaries more than absolutely necessary. A bit embarrassing considering that we’re supposed to be punching above our weight on the international stage, but since the people re-elected me I must be doing a good job, eh?”

“Heh, of course.”

“I should probably bring the Foreign Minister along too, right?”

“Yes, uh, that would probably be appropriate.”

“Gotcha. We’ll meet in the courtyard at 10.”

The call was barely over before she inputted the next number.

“Hi Astrit! What do I have the pleasure to be speaking with you this fine morning?”

“Hello, Charlie, I got a letter inviting… me? us? to the Blåskovian coronation, would you like to come?”

“Yes! Well, not because of who or where, but it’s been a while since I traveled. It’s started to get stuffy with this early heat.”

“Yeah, we’re still in the process of upgrading the air-conditioning. Be at the courtyard by 10?”

“Absolutely!”

“Great, see you there!”

As she lay the receiver back down, one thought streamed through her head: “I’ll have to choose a dress…”

Astrit brought forth a formal letter paper and a pen to write a response.

Your esteemed Highness,
It is with great respect that I write this letter in response to your generous invitation. On behalf of the nation of the Republic of Vücsëlann, I accept to be present at your Highness’ coronation to the throne of the Kingdom of Blåskog. As part of our delegation, we request to bring, besides myself, the Prime Minister, my spouse, Werner, the President and his spouse, Roobertt, and the Foreign Minister, alongside a standard retinue of personnel. I look forward to meeting your Highness as well as the rest of the representatives of your wonderful people.

Best regards,
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Vücsëlann
Astrit Leenigëruk

🙟☙❧🙝

At 09:55, everyone had gathered outside of the main entrance, where a motorcade was waiting for them.

“Lovely dress!” said Charlie, the last of them to appear, to Astrit. “And you three look snazzy too, of course, gentlemen.”

“Why, thank you.” said Astrit, a cheeky smile appearing on her face.

“I wholeheartedly agree, Astrit, you really chose well. Werner, how can you always have your suits be so immaculate?”

“Heh, Astrit always knows how to make anyone look their best selves.”

“Aww…”. She held his hand tighter as she blushed.

Charlie swiftly clasped his hands together. “Well! Off to this ‘blue forest’ place, eh? Hopefully it won’t be too cold.”

“Our weather forecasting service concludes that it will be slightly above light jacket weather.” informed Roobertt.

“Dang, if only it was slightly later in the year when it will be truly hot here. Then it would have been much more of a welcome refreshment.” responded Werner.

“Whelp, it is what it is.” answered Astrit, raising her shoulders in a mock manner.

The four foxes and single human all entered the state car that was to transport them to the Bergëpas International Airport. There waiting for them was the VücsëLuvtt airplane that was to fly them to their destination: Kungstad.

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(Joint post with Sammy)

Johanna took a sip from her coffee cup as she waited for her old Cukish friend. It was rather early in the morning, the coronation only being few hours away. Though she had agreed to grab breakfast with Areuína, it had been while the two of them talked. Though not exactly that surprising, the last year and a half have been very eventful for her, whereas Areuína had just spent every day at her office in PríTau. Looking out the window of the cafe the white haired woman noticed Areuína stepping out of limousine. As the Cukish woman stepped into the cafe, Johanna gave her a small wave to signal which table she was sitting at. “It’s been a while, Areuína.” She said with a small smile on her lips.

“Certainly, my friend. Seems like someone here can’t stay away from power”, Areuína said, concealing her inner laughter in the way she usually did, which had cost her so many misunderstandings throughout the whole eight years she had ruled the Cooperative Commonwealth. She felt comfortably harsh with one of the only colleagues who had always understood her sense of humour. She then returned the smile and gave Johanna a hug. “So happy to see you again, girlie.”

“I got bored relaxing at Vakrestrender’s beaches, thought they could do with a little change.” Johanna gave her a small smirk before hugging her back.

Areuína set her laugh free, and replied: “Of course you got bored. There were no volcanic pebbles to pierce your feet. Do tell whenever you need some good Cukish pebbles for those beaches.”

Johanna gestured with her head to the menus she picked up for them. “I heard the waffles here are good, If you want something bit more sweeter for breakfast." She took a sip from her coffee cup before speaking up again. “Also I’ll let you know Vakrestrender has volcano, spirits I live on one. Jørgen’s palace built on top of it.”

“And of course you’ll make it explode” Areuína joked. “I’m gonna grab some of those waffles and make the sugar in my blood explode as well.”

“Had to ask him If his ancestor was a super villain.” Johanna said with a small chuckle as she waved towards a kemonomimi waiter. “Two plates of waffles please.” Earning her a quick nod from the waiter who then placed his focus on Areuína.

“Anything you want to drink, Mrs?”

“Bring me the best of your teas” Areuína replied. “For two friends seeing each other after a while”.

“Your wish is my command, ma’am. What about mead tea?”

“OOOHH, absolutely, that will do. I’ll get that one. Thank you, sir”, Areuína rejoiced. “You already know, Johanna, that I’ve never been quite into alcohol; the taste of that, though, I can’t avoid the chance! His fault. Or yours, too.”

“I’ll have a normal Akuan tea, thank you.” Johanna said with a small chuckle, with the waiter giving a nod towards the two before leaving them alone. “So I can only assume you have quite a few questions to ask me.”

“Precisely. Only one, in fact. How? How has it all happened? I can’t be happier to have you around on the high spheres of power again, but it’s the surprise of the year, for sure.”

“Well that is a question with several answers.” Johanna couldn’t help but giggle at the excitement from her friend. “Well, the best way I can explain it is that I met Valkyr’s prime minister, Ingeborg Hove. I met her since I accompanied Jørgen to his meeting with her in a restaurant, and well she approached me with an offer. She really wanted me to replace her, she apparently had to find an successor that had both good political experience and close relationship with the Bjørn family. Which well.” Johanna gave an almost uncharacteristic awkward smile at saying that. “Well I certainly had both.”

Areuína almost spat her tea from the unexpected joke. “The Norgsveltian revolving doors, heh. And what revolves and evolves behind them.”

“Jørgen as much as I love him, he is simply not well versed in politics.” Johanna said with a small sigh yet warm smile on her lips as she shook her head. “I think Hove can let out a sigh of relief now at least that with me in charge now she can retire in peace.”

“In many senses, you’re Jørgen’s best asset. And Hove’s, of course. But we’re not eternal. I’m about to enter the last year of my third term as PM, and I’ve already made the decision to run for a fourth time. Actually fifth? Yeah, fifth, if we take in account my first time as Civic Union leader. But that will mean at least more than a decade in the frontline, and I’m not sure if I’ll make it through sanely. I’ve always admired your ability, being such a sensible person, to step into the most insane of scenarios. Packilvania, Tiervan, Jørgen… The list is never ending. Make sure to not lose yourself in all this madness."

“Well I think the madness that is Valkyr politicians makes me rather want to go face off with Barvata again or tell Mrs. Todd to back off. World always been crazy, yet recognisable.” Johanna let out a very tired sigh. “Have you seen how Valkyr news agencies makes me look on their broadcasters?”

“I’ve taken a quick glance over the news about you, of course, but tell me in detail about it. Spill the tea, I haven’t had my piece of gossip today yet.”

Johanna couldn’t help but let out a small groan in annoyance at the fact, her cheeks growing bit uncharacteristic red as she took out her Jotun phone from her dark blue dress pocket. Typing on it quickly Johanna before turning the phone around and laying it in front of Areuína, showing her friend a campaign video. In which showed the vtuber version of her, speaking to a camera about her new policies for Vakrestrender. Talking about importance of staying in the Norgsveltian Realm, importance of familial bonds and the like. Though her words were hardly as catching as the… exaggerated features of what her boyfriend had called her ‘best assets’. “I’ll let you know. Jørgen designed the model.”

Areuína raised an eyebrow over hearing these words from Johanna’s mouth. “What we have to endure… Stay in good conscience, you know the worth of your work. Don’t let this affect you, you’ve gone through worse but it’s true how tiresome it turns out to be at times. If you need some stern words, you can always call da- uh, Olav.”

It was Johanna’s turn to give a curious look towards her friend, a teasing smile forming on her lips. “Were you about to call his majesty, dad?” She asked very teasing.

“Father of the Norgsveltian nation, of course”, Areuína replied, in a very solemn tone.

“Oh, I’m just teasing.” Johanna said in a warm done placing a hand on her friend’s arm. “But thank you for your words, it’s not as tiresome as it is embarrassing.”

“After eight years and you’re still falling into my traps, girl” Areuína laughed.

Johanna rolled her eyes at that but let out a chuckle. “Spirits, did you know that they apparently expects party leaders in Vakrestrender to have music videos? Most just have music artists perform in their stead, which I did. Though Jørgen really wanted me to sing.” She said with half disbelief how weird Vakrestrender still was on this before taking sip of her own coffee cup. “As much I do sing well, I could never see for me singing for a audience.”

“That’s fantastic, oh dear” Areuína showed genuine excitement at the idea. “I always have to look so solemn and so responsible. You also did as PM. It’s not that I’m not, of course, you know how seriously I take my job, but partying as part of your service to the citizenry is such a life goal. Now, if you don’t enjoy singing in public, I just read that singing badly is good for concealing your embarrassment, if you ever have to. I don’t have to force myself to sing badly, of course.”

“Perhaps in the next election I’ll go sing during the campaigns.” Johanna let out a weak chuckle shaking her head at that idea.

“Gooooooood! Enjoy politics at last. You have the opportunity to show those people what a good and effective PM is, and at the same time enjoy this period of your life with Jørgen and the Valkyr. Cheers on that!”

She raised her coffee cup at that, rolling her eyes for a moment. “Cheers on that.” She took a sip from her coffee cup, finishing it before putting it down again. With soon enough the waiter comes to their table with their order. Placing their warm waffles with delicious strawberry jelly on top. “Finally, I’ve been starving.”

In which soon enough the two women digged into their sweet breakfast, talking more about the absurdity of Valkyr politics.

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Olav took a sip from his own coffee cup as he looked down at his half awake wife still laying in bed, she had a hard time with mornings especially ones that are as early as this one. He was of course already dressed up and clothed up, not for the coronation not yet, but one to look decent for the morning with a pair of simple jeans and buttoned shirt. His wife however, was still dressed in her night wear. “You should get dressed before the boy comes here.” He suggested with a small smile as he put down the coffee cup on a nightstand. The two stayed over at a small luxury estate in Kungstad, one specifically picked by Wilan himself if going by more gothic elements of the architecture.

His wife instead of getting up and being a functioning member of society, wisely decided to pull up the blanket more to cover her face. Giving a muffled “No.” Followed by her pushing her face against the pillow.

“The servants made your favorite for breakfast~” The king taunted his wife as he gently pulled on her blanket.

“Hmhm.” She turned her head, staring up at her lovely husband. Briefly speaking in Nys’tat’en before she became awake enough to speak Norgsveltian again. “Why is everything so early?”

“Because there is no rest for the wicked, darling.” He joked before crouching down to give her a peck on the forehead. “I’ll even let you take my waffles as compensation for having to wake up so early.” He had a teasing smile on his face.

“I’m not wicked, I’m Wihelimina.” She said with a tired voice, her white hair sprayed all along her pillow and face. “Fine fine. I will get it up but you are seemingly in a good mood though. I thought you would be a bit more upset.” The kemonomimi stretches out her arms, sitting upright in the bed.

“Jørgen is coming over without Johanna so I’m feeling a bit more upbeat.” Olav said, eyeing her up and down before grabbing his coffee cup taking a sip from it again. “Though that mood is likely switch once I am forced to wear those uncomfortable robes.”

“Aww that is a shame, I wanted to speak with his cougar.” She gave a small tired chuckle, blinking a few times and covered mouth as she yawned. Wilhelmina finally moved her legs off of the bed. “So, are we meeting with Jørgen as ‘boy’ or are we meeting him as ‘little brother?’” She started to move towards her wardrobe.

Olav just let out a shiver at her calling Johanna, well, that. “He is not in trouble this time so it will be ‘little brother’ this time. If he does behave as a brat though then it’s right back to boy.” He joked as he gave her a peck on the cheek as he walked past her. “I’ll distract him long enough so that you can finally get dressed.” He teased her as he stood by the doorway of their bedroom knowing she will take her time.

She gave a roll of her eyes. “You better be nice to your wife, or you’re going to find yourself sleeping on your brother’s couch.”

_ _

Jørgen waited in their dining hall, simply relaxing for the royals to come on down for breakfast. Tapping away on his phone, working on email or some sort of business nonsense. He was humming a simple Valkyr rhyme, and wearing in his personal (incorrect) opinion a simple breakfast suit. It was not, in fact, simple.

“As always you find yourself wearing the most expensive outfit in the room, even for breakfast.” The young elven Jarl heard from in front of him, looking up from his phone to see his big brother having a teasing smile as he sat down at the table across from him. “Wilhelmina will be here soon, she… lets just say doesn’t handle mornings very well.”

The elven man puts his phone back into his jacket’s internal pocket. With a warm smile on his lips. “Oh you don’t need to remind me. Sometimes when she let me babysit the kids, I was pretty sure it was just so she could sleep in.” He gave a tilt of his head. “Besides her sleeping in, how have you been?”

The king just let out a small chuckle, grabbing some of the newly baked waffles to his plate and adding some strawberry jelly on it. “I’ve been well, must say I’m not fully looking forward to the ceremony.” He said in a more carefree tone as he also went to add a little bit of cream to his coffee. Though seeing the elf’s lips turning to a frown he realized how he sounded. “Not because I don’t trust Wilan, but because the robes I’ll be wearing on the coronation ceremony is quite uncomfortable.”

“Well, you could finally take up on my offer to give your wardrobe an update.” Jørgen gave a cheeky smirk, removing the cover from his plate. Taking a bite from his blueberry pancakes. “I’ve been quite busy myself with this whole ceremony. You know how it is.”

“The robes are ancient in design, they are too important to be changed.” Olav said, rolling his eyes before taking a sip from his cup. “I just hope you’re able to keep trouble at bay with the party being held afterwards.”

“I already had to use my ‘big brother’ voice twice on two separate occasions with both of them.” He gave a shake of his head. “As for those ancient designs, what if I can update them to still look old in design but far more comfortable.”

“You know I really hoped that Esta would behave more normally when she got together with Estrid. But if anything it feels more like she is influencing Estrid.” Olav mumbled under his breath, annoyed as he took a bite from his waffles. “I’ll check out If I’m able to let you make new robes.”

“Esta, Estrid and Ingrid, all three of them have been quite in the pranking mood of late.” Jørgen took another bite of his pancakes, taking a sip of his tea soon after. “Though let’s not get into dreadful politics, let me tell you about this new animal reservation I sponsored.” He gave a warm smile.

“As if Esta does anything on the political front.” Olav said, rolling his eyes, a small smile on his face. “Let me guess, you bought another part of an island. This time in the Isles of Hel, with you originally planning to buy the entire island but was told by Johanna to restrict yourself by only buying half of it.”

“No no, I already bought that whole island for tropical island creatures. This time, I sponsored an animal reservation in Nystatiszna for tundra animals which contain this adorable little owl species.” His face perked up, “Remind me to show you a picture of them after breakfast, they’re barely the size of a pineapple.”

“You really need to stop buying islands. Your family got us into a territorial dispute with our close allies because of buying land in Ny’Tewien.” Olav said with a small groan, already fearing his little brother might create an international dispute in the future. “I think Wilhelmina would be very excited to see them, you know how she has a weakness to cute birds.”

“I know I know. Look on the brightside, at least with my new animal reserve in Cryria is done through the official channels at least.” The good jarl gave a bright smile. “Outside of that, I just have the most juicy of little tid-bits I learned the other day.” His eyes widened in excitement.

Olav just raised an eyebrow at the boy, giving him a curious look. “Which is?” He asked before taking a sip from his coffee cup.

“Soo~ You know how the Duke of Nordfjord was hosting a party two months ago? So one of my friends was at his party and oh you just wouldn’t believe it.” He takes a sip from his tea before continuing to gossip. “So my friend heard from him, who heard it from the baroness of Oh! Before I forget, it was his birthday party so his family was there, which includes his sister and you just know how she is. Always calling people out when they’re not telling the story correctly but he heard it from the Baroness of Steinfjell that she heard that-” He proceeded to go down the list of telephone and names until he finally got to the bloody point. Olav distracts himself by drinking his coffee, letting his little brother go on. “Which means Ragnar Torsteinson, is Jeanne Pierre’s wife’s godfather and her father in law visited him not too long ago.” He gives a big smile, taking a bite from his food.

“Oh yeah I found out that a while ago.” Olav said not being that surprised by the information, much to the Jarl’s disappointment.

He gave a dramatic gasp, his hand clutching his chest. “And you didn’t think to tell me? He was at their wedding for goodness sakes, and that’s not even to mention that he was at their child’s birth.”

The king just rolled his eyes at his little brother’s theater kid act. “Wilhelmina told me. Apparently they told her at her birthday party and showed pictures of Mr. Torsteinson being at their child’s birth.”

“And she didn’t tell me?” He gave another gasp. “I have been betrayed, blinded by my trust and love in her. To think she would keep this away from me, why would I never- Betrayer!” Wilhelmina steps into the room, still looking rather tired and rubbing the sleep from her eye.

“Wah?” She half-speaks in a sensible vocal pattern that might be combined into meaning some sort of word.

“You never told me that Mr. Torsteinson, Ragnar to be specific was the godfather of the Pierres.” The elven man gave a huff, shaking in his head in mighty and not at all adorable disgust.

“In my defense, you never told me that Jeanne and Johanna was related.”

“That was different, that was family matters.”

“So was Ragnar.” WIlhelmina gives a kiss to her husband, who himself gave a silent praise that she was here to gossip instead of him.

“Well… Yes but that was different now wasn’t it.” He replies, raising his tea cup to his lips. Giving a brief smirk. “I mean to think that Pierre, of all people, is both related to an extreme conservative and a formerly extremely liberal politician. I mean to think of the drama alone oh deary me.” He sips his tea.

The queen sat down, opening the lid to her plate to an utterly nobility-like dig into her meal like she never knew what food was.

Olav couldn’t help but chuckle how quick his wife was to dig into her food. Leaning down to give her a peck on the cheek. “Well, it at the very least makes her more likely to treat you kindly. Even If it means you’re going to hide behind her older sister every time you meet her.” He gave the boy a small taunting smile before taking another bite from his waffle.

“Well, I can personally assure you that is not the case and she still lacks utter mercy in her endeavors.” He gave a very manly shiver and not all overly dramatic. “When we were forming my royal guards, both of them. My lovely girlfriend suggested we ask Madame Pierre to put out a word among former veterans of their utmost elite forces. To which, Madame Pierre made me ask her myself on video call, rather than going through Johanna who I might include is my prime minister and temporary minister of defense. I think she did it just to watch me squirm.”

Wilhelmina gave a polite chuckle. “Well, you did investigate her biological family. That tends to upset people.”

“Well yes, but it was still quite rude and rather frightening.” He quickly retorts.

“Reminds me… Are there even anyone in Vakrestrender that has any experience relating to security or defense that could even take over the ministry of defense?” Olav raised an eyebrow towards the elf. He was happy that Vakrestrender finally has its own security force, but he couldn’t help but worry over the fact they have Johanna control that ministry. “I wonder how long Johanna’s temporary position there going to last.”

“Not even in the slightest, you know how Valkyr can be when it comes to the military, we’re thinking about approaching some retired admirals from the crown realm for the position. Have to give them citizenship for it of course, and I need to speed up that process for them.” The elven man sips his tea. “Must say, never would I see the day Vakrestrender would get a military. Rather concerning is it not?”

“Jørgen. It’s barely a military.” Olav said in a stoic tone. “It’s a police force with extra guns, even the Cukish are more well armed.”

“Our police force didn’t have guns in the first place.” Jørgen raised his eyebrow and his tea cup.

“No, but the NCIS and the Norgsveltian Army does.” Olav took a sip of his own cup before letting out a small sigh. “I understand your fears, but in practice it’s effectively the same as the current status quo. Just now this time we changed the names and funding.”

“If you say so, I trust you.” Jørgen sliced some of his pancakes. “Though uniforms designs are nice, it’s been awhile since I got to have my hand at crafting uniforms that didn’t just fit fashion trends but functionality once in a while.”

“You have your ceremonial guard wearing mini-skirts with leggings.” The Queen raise an eyebrow and a smirk of her own.

“It’s so their lower half can breathe easily. I had Johanna approve it.”

“Sure it is.” Wilhelmina gives a chuckle.

“Ah ha. ‘Breathe easily’ huh?” Olav couldn’t help but join in the taunting of his little brother giving the elf an raised eyebrow as well and a smirk.

“It can be very warm in Valkyr isles and in my view, shorts would be unfashionable for my ceremonial guard.” Jørgen took a bite from his food. “Johanna approved it, though she did make an unusual request about it.”

“And what was that request?” Olav took a sip of his coffee cup.

“They had to be all Kemonomimi, which frankly I thought was rather speciest.” He gave a shake of his head. “I mean Vakrestrender is majority elves and kemonomimi wouldn’t it make more sense to have that shown with my ceremonial guard.”

The king just gave a curious look at that. “That’s very weird, well since she approved of it at least means she won’t have the same reaction as she did with your secretary.” He took a bite from his waffles.

Wilhelmina takes a large bite of her breakfast and swallows before speaking again. “She doesn’t think you ever cheat on her with someone in the military but just in case she is going to have be Kemonomimi, probably Hjørdists too. Make sure you’re scared away from the idea of cheating with them.”

The two men stared at her in curiosity. “What? It’s what I would do. She probably has to approve each new ceremonial guard member too I bet, so she can really make sure they’re all Hjørdist.”

“That seems excessive.” Olav gave his wife a small worried look. “Also what do you mean you would do that? If anything you’re the reverse, we both know how you spoke about my Secretary when you found out what she looked like.”

“You never wondered why all our guards are ethnically Lews and why all our staff are married? but your secretary?” Wilhelmina gave a look towards her husband, a look known by all married men and strikes fear in their hearts.

“Well… Huh… That actually seems rather on track for her. I thought she just wanted to have something with Jeanne or another.” The Jarl of Vakrestrender scratches the back of his neck.

Olav just scratched the back of his head. “Well, our family has been this way for a very long time. Mrs. Ingerdatur had served as the Crown’s secretary and spokeswoman for half a century by this point.”

“Then she should retire.” Wilhelmina took a bite from her food again.

Like a good brother, Jørgen helped change the subject. “Oh Olav! I nearly forgot, they’re making another movie adapted from the all-so mysterious author Madame XYZ’s works.”

“Oh fun.” Olav said with the enthusiasm of a dead dog. He would have been more enthusiastic in the past, but ever finding out who was the actual author he couldn’t help but feel far less motivated about it. Forever cursed with the knowledge he now possess

Jørgen couldn’t help but be surprised by this. “Are you alright Olav? You love Madame XYZ’s books, even though she has a stupid pen name. Did someone spoil the plot of her books again? Was it Johan? Joan? Ingrid? Alexandra?” He tilted his head in a genuine act of concern.

Olav just let out a small sigh shaking his head before giving the Jarl a warm smile. “No, no nothing like that. I think the movie adaptation sounds very exciting. We should watch it together.” He said giving his wife a kiss on the forehead, giving her side a small hug to give her his affection so she would be less grumpy. Being still a bit surprised by her sudden dislike towards his Secretary that hadn’t had in the past. “You know when it gets out? Hopefully it doesn’t crash with the charity event for the Iskerson Foundation that is happening next month.”

“I’m not letting up until you tell me what is wrong, Spirits around us, you need something to relax about that isn’t physical. As for when it comes out, it will be out around early January 2025 but we will be watching it in December.” Jørgen didn’t let up his concern, ignoring the violence Wilhelmina is committing towards her plate of waffles.

“I’ll have you know physical training can be very relaxing and helps me keep this body in shape.” Olav said with a warm chuckle as he patted his stomach. “I already have a bit of a stomach here after all.” Trying very hard to avoid actually answering the Jarl’s concerns.

“Olaaaaav.” Jørgen gave a bratty voice. “Is it gossip? Madame XYZ is someone you hate isn’t it? Please tell me you used NCIS to discover the identity and was unfortunately let down by it or something. Please, watching those horror movies with you is one of the few things we do together that doesn’t involve me sweating.”

“Alright, Alright. I can’t tell you who it is, but someone told me who they are. And well. Let’s say I personally do not think they are a good person, and certainly a trouble maker.” Olav said crypticaly as he took another bite from his waffles, finishing his first waffle before getting another one.

“Oh you can’t just be teasing me like this. It’s completely unfair, I have nothing to tease you until you’re red in the face back with.” Jørgen gave a frustrated hphm.

Wilhelmina finished her plate of waffles and now, taking her husband’s plate back with. “Don’t worry, I can do that for you~”

“Wilhelmina please, this is a serious drama we’re discussing. It is no time for flirtatious jabs towards your husband.” Jørgen turned towards her with a desperate look.

“Well, tough.” Olav said before grabbing a different plate to put waffles on it as his wife took one he had. With him against putting strawberry jelly on it but this time with some brown cheese.

“This is cruelty, practically torture. First you don’t tell me you knew about Ragnar being Pierre’s wife’s godfather and now you know the secret identity of the most famous horror author in the crown realm? There should be laws for this sort of thing.” Jørgen sipped his tea in a dramatic fashion.

“Hey you can blame the first part on her, she was the one who knew about it the longest.” Olav had a more teasing smile again on his lips as he took a sip from his coffee cup.

“Yes but I am blaming you instead because it is benefiting me currently too.” Jørgen returns with a playful pained tone. “Tell me and I swear, I will stop buying islands.”

“Make three guesses. I’ll tell you if you’re correct or not.” Olav taunted his little brother, he was very unlikely to find out but it is what made it fun.

“I am bullied enough by my girlfriend, please just tell me.” Jørgen clapped his hands together in a pleading motion. “I will buy you a new fishing boat, top of the line and brand new. I even pay for the luxury tax on it you get from the Federation.”

“You do realize you’re not the only rich person here, right?” Olav raised an eyebrow at him still smiling though he shook his head in amusement. “I’m sorry, Jørgen, I can’t tell you. I promised to not tell anyone. Only thing I can say as a hint is that she is quite conservative.”

“You are a true monster, you know that?” He slumps in his chair, head looking upwards as his arms fall to his side. Staying like that for a few moments, he recovers taking another sip of his tea. “I’m going to marry Johanna in retribution for this cruelty.”

Wilhelmina’s ears perked up, her tail swaying rapidly side to side. “Oh really now?” She gave a cheeky smirk to Olav. “Well then~” She looks up at her husband. “He hasn’t told me either if it makes you feel better, despite us supposedly sharing everything with each other.”

“You do not need to be that excited for the idea of them marrying.” Olav mumbled under his breath as he gave his wife an annoyed look. Though he soon turned his focus back on the elf. “You never actually told us why Johanna couldn’t join us for breakfast.”

“Johanna went to have breakfast with the Cukish prime minister. It is a shame she isn’t here about us getting married.” Jørgen looks towards Olav. “I’m also going to make sure the Wedding is completely and utterly expensive with many, many cameras and you’re going to have to dress nicely for it as well. I hope you enjoy annoying the Federation.”

“Ah, Mrs. Karnéias? I do remember those two being rather close.” Olav said in a stoic tone as he went to take a sip from his coffee cup trying not to be provoked by the elven boy.

“You are going to wear clothing worth more than three countries. Plus it will show off your stomach.” Jørgen further tried to provoke his brother.

“Wilhelmina, how’s the waffles?” Olav said now ignoring his little brother as he looked down towards his wife, giving a warm smile.

“They’re wonderful but not as wonderful as the world seeing your stomach.” Wilhelmina betrayed her husband with a returning warm smile.

“Why do you side with him so often?” Olav said, crossing his arms annoyed, a small frown on his lips.

“He doesn’t keep names of secret but extremely famous authors away from me.” Wilhelmina gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“Plus I dress better.” Jørgen gave a smirk. “Also I’m going to have your whole hand covered in jewelry.”

The king let out a heavy sigh as he shook his head, being very annoyed. “Fine. I’ll relent, but you both gotta keep this a secret.” He said giving a very very firm look towards both of them.

The queen’s ears twitched and her tail swayed in excitement. Her every attention on his lips and his waffles.

Jørgen leaned forward, putting on a ‘serious’ face which honestly just made him look rather adorable and if his girlfriend was around. She would be certain to remind him of that.

“It’s Marie-Noelle. Yes, that Marie.” Olav said before taking a sip from his coffee cup. His voice was stoic and tired, known fully well it be a quite a surprise.

Wilhelmina only munched on Olav’s waffles in utter surprise.

Jørgen however was far more drastic, leaning back against his chair. “I-I have paid that woman so much to adapt her works…” He closes his fist, bringing it to his mouth. “Her name cannot ever be brought to light, it would be a drastic scandal.” He mutters quietly.

“Agreed, so sweetie I hope you’re good at keeping secrets.” Olav said, giving his wife a kiss on the cheek before taking bite of his own waffle that she has yet to steal.

Wilhelmina pulled his plate away from him, not even allowing him to have a final bite of his once proud waffle. “Of course I am, I keep the secret about you having to dye your hair.” She gave a smirk.

Meanwhile Jørgen was far too caught up in the future scandal in his mind. “I just authorized a full series on her works, it was supposed to be a surprise for you.” He muttered, already picturing the shock this will be. “I should get her to agree to have someone else take the credit… Yeah, yeah I can make it look like they did it if it came down to it… Keep it a secret for as long as possible though, the mystery of her works is essential…”

Olav gave his wife a playful shove. “Oh hush, you’re the one who is retired, last time I checked.” He teased as he pulled the plate back to his side of the table.

She gave a very serious stare at him, dropping the fork and his waffle onto the plate. Crossing her arms to add effect. “Jørgen, Olav will be sleeping on your couch tonight.”

Jørgen snapped out of it for a moment. “Couch? We have gues-”

“Couch.” Wilhelmina interrupt the poor boy.

“Sweetie, I was just teasing. I love you.” Olav said in a warm tone as he gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“So am I.” She gave a joyful tone, smiling at him as she picked up the fork with a waffle on it. Taking a bite out of it before speaking again. “You can sleep on the couch here.”

Olav let out a sigh. “You just join me on the couch anyways…” He muttered to himself as he grabbed himself some fruits this time, knowing that she won’t be trying to steal that from him. “Now, why don’t you tell Jørgen about the charity event you had planned with the Iskerson Foundation?”

“Oh! How much?” Jørgen gave a smile, looking around for Yuri or Johanna to write a check. Of course, Johanna wasn’t there but Yuri, disguised as a potted tree, walked over to hand Jarl his checkbook. Which was a great surprise to everyone other than Jørgen that the massive Ursine was even there. Jørgen would have been surprised if he didn’t see Yuri pull off the same disguise numerous times.

“Has… Has Yuri been disguised as that potted plant the whole time?” Wilhelmina briefly looks at the boy’s bodyguard until shifting her attention back to the important manner. “Oh let me at least explain the charity event first.”

“You get used to it.” Olav said not to be too surprised as he took a sip from his coffee cup. He was surprised that it was something as potted plant though, he was certain he would have disguised himself as the brown couch in the corner.

“We’re going to host a dinner in Osfjord and have various retired Norgsveltian elves speak about their struggles with depression.” Wilhemina finished off her husband’s waffles, now taking his fruit as well.

“Oh that’s sweet. When is it?” Jørgen already started writing a check.

“Yes, so many old people are just isolating themselves, so the foundation will help with that. We’re going to connect communities together and get them out about. Like how the Federation does with P’titefemme groups, let them know they’re still valued and loved.” Wilhelmina gave a warm smile.

“…Rude.” Olav muttered under his breath as he glanced towards his wife as his fruit was taken away from him. Instead taking a sip from his coffee cup.

“You woke me up in the middle of the night.” Wilhelmina retorted, taking another piece of fruit from him. “We’re hoping by connecting them, we can lower depression and… the results from it by making sure they’re still loved. Some elves spend years without speaking to anyone.”

“Forgive me, but don’t their children visit them? How about their neighbors? I know Norgsveltian Ulviktruers are weird and all. No offense to you Olav. But family is a big deal with them as well is it not?” Jørgen finished writing the check, handing it to Wilhemina who pocketed the check into her purse.

“I’m more offended by her theft.” Olav said with a small sigh shaking his head as he put down his cup. “It is but several Ulvrikian elves after turning a century years old decide it is better to cut connections and actively isolate themselves. It’s not unusual for them to move and not tell their family, perhaps even find a more remote job if it helps doing that.”

“Forgive my Vistari but what in the loving arms in the spirits is normal about that? Cut off communication with your family? Just because you got a little old? Well, very old but still, that is unacceptable behavior by any civilized society.” Jørgen was utterly taken back by this, shaking his head. “Good grief, sometimes I wonder how Norgsveldet would be if they didn’t have so many of us running around in Osfjord reminding people to smell the flowers and eat at a restaurant rather than getting take away all the time.”

“I know, it’s ridiculous. I didn’t believe it was real until… Mr. Iskerson passed away.” Wilhelmina’s nekomimi ears lowered flat against her head. “That’s why the foundation is important to me.”

Olav gave her a kiss on the forehead, comforting her as he wrapped an arm around her. “It’s a very cultural thing among Ulvriktruars. Bit connected to the idea of the Warrior Spirit, you meant to be strong individually and not search for help yet also go out of your way to help others.” He let out a sigh trying to explain the phenomenon. “It’s so prominent among elves because of EATD, many view it to be better isolating themselves than to suddenly die in front of their family. To die alone rather than around their family. But naturally it also has a negative impact psychologically.”

“It is horrific and it needs change.” Wilhelmina shakes her head. “All this Warrior Spirit stuff…” She would say more about how it was a load of nonsense, but both her and Olav agreed it best to leave those opinions private.

“Good spirits.” The Jarl shaked his head. “Dying alone… Away from your loved ones… That is just a nightmare.”

Olav gave Wilhelmina a kiss on the forehead, both as a slight warning but also to still comfort her. “It is an unfortunate trend but I do understand the mindset behind it. Still it is important to put an end to it.” He said genuinely as he held his wife close. Yet was bit surprised to see the wide eyed looks he got from not just her, but also Jørgen.

“After I die, you’re going to live with Jørgen.” She gave him a very firm stare. “None of this stuff at all is happening to you.” She gave a very strong stare at him, grabbing him by his shirt. “Nonenegotiable.”

“I will have your tower prepared and a fishing boat ready for you.” Jørgen gave a nod, trying to figure out how to explain this to Johanna.

Olav just looked back and forth between the two of them. “Look, that is not necessary. I of course wouldn’t do that, I agree it shouldn’t be happening.” He said, trying to reassure the two Akuanists. “I just understand the cultural mindset behind it, and understand why someone long-lived might find it tempting.”

“Un-understand it this instant.” Wilhelmina kept up her firm stare at him.

“Love you?” Olav said confused not used to his wife being this stern.

“Swear after I die, you will live with Jørgen.” She pulled his shirt closer, though it was little effect.

“Look, that just put more stress on him, and I wouldn’t be alone in Osfjord after all.” The king gave a look towards the boy for some assistance.

“Swear to it brother.” Jørgen joined in league with his wife. Crossing his arms.

With a sigh Olav placed a hand on his heart, giving a serious look towards his wife. “I swear, as king, husband and father, to move to Vakrestrender after you die.” He said in a stoic and deep tone before letting out another sigh as his shoulders relaxed. “Can you let go of my shirt now?” He raised an eyebrow at her.

Wilhelmina let go of her husband’s shirt. Returning to finishing his plate, pulling Jørgen’s plate over towards her. “Good, now that is out of the way. Back to breakfast.”

The head of the Lapliszna, a Nystapi by adoption rather than birth. Older elven man, at least for Borean standards. The leader of two bear hunting parties and has been forespear in parties than he could count. He wore a traditional Nystapi formal wear, with the signs of Blaskovian that Niväk brought to his people.

The Prime Minister wore a dark blue color suit, with a bright red sash covered in (Nystapi) Akuan and Ulvriktru religious symbolism with silver thread. Silver plate located in the middle of his sash, hovering above his heart was decorated with the Nystapi flag. More importantly the Gjeteravrein the eternal shepherd of reindeer and the people, the Nystapi who survive by their sacrifice. A good effort was used to capture their likeness, their eyes engraved with pure white gems and the kin of the shepherd decorated with plated gold. His necklace was laced with bear claws he had earned in his hunts. Something lost on those who are not part of the enlightened Borean Akuan culture.

Like most of the Blaskovian puppet countries, he was ‘given’ a house at the capital that was of course, completely bugged to the brim by their benefactor. Which he of course, took the liberty by ‘bug spraying’ the house. Which only result in the next day, those bugs being reintroduced into his house. The house wasn’t too far away from the parliament, and his house was right next to Noraida’s zealot-in-chief house. Which most certainly has not done anyone a favor in terms of peace on Borea. Even more-so when the woman had a nasty habit when they visit the capital, she tries to take down the statue of Gjeteravrein in the front yard. While he wouldn’t ever dare to be so childish to strike back at their religious intolerance, his wife on the other hand would throw a brick through their stained glass window of their Tiefling gods anytime they visited.

He sat in his office, working away on his Jotun laptop. His duty to the culture and nation, never ending nor never allowing him a moment of rest. While the restructuring of the military and government was a worthwhile process. The politicking of it all can be emotionally taxing. Yet he wasn’t done, he had a rather important noble brat to meet soon enough to fix a long lasting issue of his, namely Esta.

Soon enough a knock was heard on the prime minister’s door. With the door opening, after the Nystapi gave his verbal confirmation, in which it revealed Prince Torster wearing lighter blue Gothir based robes. “Mr. Liljeström, hope your morning has been doing you well.” He said giving a respectful bow with his head having a polite smile on his face.

“Got the screaming match with the neighbors out of the way early this morning.” He stood up to give a quick half-body bow and then sat back down at his desk. “Please, take a seat. We have much to discuss.”

Torster couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at that before taking a seat in front of the PM’s desk, placing his hands on his lap. “May I ask what the topic of conversation is? Esta told me you wanted to speak to me, but well, let’s just say she was not as good at explaining what the matter of hand is.” He kept a smile on his face though the eyes showed a knowing look, both men very much knew how… carefree Esta could be.

“Well that’s not the first time she made such a mistake now has she. We don’t have to mince words about this.” He closed his laptop, looking towards him fully. “Your sister, while I respect the Enshrined Spirit within her. Is awful at her extremely important role, she is unable to push, reform or do much of anything within the Nystapi Shrine Authority despite being easily able to with her spiritual authority on such matters. Numerous problems from the 70s are still here and not going away.” He leaned back in his chair, clearly tired of his ‘boss’ nonsense.

Torster simply nodded hearing those facts. His older brother might try to give some form of weak defense for their sister but no, Torster was in complete agreement. She was not fit for her job, at all. “She has not exactly been very open to criticism either. I’ve tried to convince her to take her job more seriously, but well. Every time I do her response is-”

“I’m a goddess, I’m infallible. I’m aware.” The PM gave an annoyed sigh pinching his nose. “However, my strategy of telling her I’m doing something and that she is required to do it rather effectively. Which leads me to the reason why you are here. You are going to be…. Let’s say the Speaker of the Enshrined Spirit. You will take over her duties in leadership within religious affairs and political duties, though it is virtually the same role.”

Torster was quiet for a moment, it was a rather major suggestion. Hel a few years ago he would have jumped at the opportunity, but he couldn’t help but hesitate for a moment. “…That is a rather surprising change. I will have to assume that Esta hasn’t been told about it.” He gave the prime minister a curious look.

“I informed her, which she was rather supportive after I mentioned she would have to do less work then even the bare minimum I have her do already. I also mentioned I planned on you having the position but it seems like that slipped her mind like many things too.” Jonas gave a blank stare but his eyes screamed in frustration. “We have a list of issues within the Nystapi Shrine Authority that she was supposed to solve and handle but she failed to-do so and because of the delicate nature of enshrinement. It is at a stand-still eternally. Which of course, you can understand my frustration at given we’re a Akuan religious democracy afterall.”

The Prince let out a small sigh. “I still have some work to do in Blåskog, so. It’s a matter I need to talk with my brother about. There are still many reforms that still need to be finished.” He would normally gladly take the deal, but he can’t leave the reforms to Wilan alone. He doesn’t trust how genuine his brother will be about it without him there.

“Forgive but my people have been stuck in a cycle of issues that have a clear path to solve. Problem with your family, your grandfather in particular gave assurances that his family will solve the Enshrinement. Enshrinement which while means nothing to you, means everything to us and your sister has been an utter disaster at. If I hadn’t protected and covered for her, it would have had unparalleled levels of damage not only to the faith and culture but to Borean Akuanism as a whole, if not greater.” He leaned forward on his desk, giving a strong aggressive look. “She is, and I mean this in full seriousness. Has the potential for being worse than the Akuan Atrocities if not consistently managed. Which is frankly, a job for the family and not the prime minister.”

“Do you not think I don’t realize that? My childhood was about preparing for me being one to take her role before she was born.” The Prince placed a hand forward interrupting the prime minister who was about to interrupt him. “I know you don’t care about my family drama, that is not why I mention it. Reason I mention this is that I spent years trying to convince my family to do more to manage her, in which I wasn’t listened to. So I do care.” He let out a small sigh before continuing on. “But right now Blåskog is at a crossroads, vital reforms are being made and it would be irresponsible for me to leave my duties there suddenly. As such If you want me to become Esta’s speaker I need to discuss this with Wilan.”

“You’re sister is the most prolific serial killer in history, that fake war we have with a republican insurrection. I don’t need to fake the numbers, casualties come completely from her and her dungeon. There is a literal fucking secret crypt in a new high-raise we’re building in the capital. With the bodies of your brother’s wife and mother-in-law inside of them. Do you know how unhinged that is? Spirits around us, she has trap rooms in her palace. If she was able to do half the work she had with planning those traps then we wouldn’t be needing this discussion.” He gave a frustrated look at Torster. “Your grandfather promised us solutions to long-lasting problems, in exchange for our loyalty in the bush wars when the dragon was knocking at the door. We have been loyal for centuries, and at every critical moment, the Nystapi have been here at the Blaskog side. Is this how you reward us? With a bloody psychopath with the mind of a child and the ability to forever discredit and feed Anti-Akuanists for decades?”

Torster began rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Look I’ll become the speaker, I’ll do it. I agree my family fucked up placing Esta in charge, we really did. It’s a horrific sin upon a series of sins my family was built upon. But you have to give me some time, Hel I’m certain there still need to be preparations on your end to prepare for this change. Are there not?”

“I already made the preparations, you will have a speech at the parliament in three months after elections. I have already made a pillow for you to sit during parliament and have a list of people you need to speak with.” The Nystapi PM finally leans back in his chair. Silently cursing this noble brat in his mind. “Alright besides that, I figure you might want to live in your own manor rather than live with Esta in her palace. However, if you want to save the taxpayers some money, you can move in with her. Just tell her you are, don’t ask.”

“I would rather use my own family’s money to buy a small mansion in Lapliszna. That way it’s Blåskog’s tax payers and not Lapliszna’s.” The Prince said quickly. “I would rather not raise my daughter in a castle that has… seas of skeletons buried under it.”

“You spent too long in Concord, you can’t throw a rock in a castle without hitting a skeleton. Besides that, I will take you on your first bear hunt. It’s important you take part in the hunt before you are publicly announced as your sister’s speaker.” He lifts his necklace to show the rows of bear claws. “Don’t worry, you won’t actually be in danger. You will officially be one of the ambushers in the trees, the forespears and trappers will make sure your tree in particular is kept safe.”

‘It wouldn’t hurt if Borea learned from Concord.’ The Prince thought to himself before giving a nod towards the prime minister. “Expected as much, I’ll try to be quiet as a mouse during the hunt.”

“Better that way, we will get you blooded soon enough." Jonas stood up from his table, reaching out with his hand. “I suppose that is everything, I will be seeing you at the coronation.”

“See you there.” Torster reached out, giving the Nystapi a firm handshake. “I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister.”

“I look forward to our progress.” After the handshake he moved back down to sitting, opening his laptop up again. “My wife will show you out, make sure to duck after leaving the house. The neighbor tends to like having their children attempt to throw debris when it opens.” He gave a sharp reply, already working on email. “You have security staff at your car, yes? Make sure they check under it as well.” He gave a near bored tone, having more than enough of his neighbors’ attempts on his family’s life during visits.

“…I for certainly will have them check it.” With that the Prince left the prime minister’s office, almost forgetting how much bad blood there was between the Noraii and Nystapi.

[Joint post with Tretrid]

April 19, 2024

Grimgyð Ealhfriðesdohter walked into the relatively upscale restaurant that she was scheduled to meet with the Côtois Federal Prime Minister in. She gave her name to the staff member at the front desk, who led her to the table that had been reserved beforehand.

Few moments later, a short human with long white hair arrived. Flanked by rather large and tall (by Kemonomimi standards) men, wearing Côtois standard attire of a simplistic black suit with red ties. Madame Pierre, wearing similar attire though she had a rather flashy small button of the Federation’s flag. The bodyguard pulled out the seat for her, with a quick nod as thanks. The nuclearly armed lesbian waited for her counterpart to speak first.

“Madame Pierre,” Grimgyð said. “It’s good to finally meet you in person.” The Tretridian ambassador held out her hand towards Pierre.

“Mrs….” The woman took a moment to fully prepare herself for the ambassador’s name. “Mrs. Ealhfriðesdohter, did I say that right?” Pierre would raise an eyebrow if she was physically able to though her condition didn’t even allow small movement. Always angry looking woman with strange colored eyes.

Grimgyð nodded. Tretridian names sometimes weren’t the most digestible for those who don’t deal with them on a regular basis.

“Forgive me, I might be raised with Akuan names around me but Tretridian names can still send me through a loop.” Pierre tried to give a joke. Though quickly remembering her tone makes it sound like a threat or an insult, switching the subject. “Other than that, your office informed mine that you wanted to discuss the situation in Novaris and Borea?”

“Indeed. Over lunch, of course. But I believe that some degree of mutual awareness of each other’s policies in these regions will be important to have for our current strategic partnership.”

“Well, given the great Auroran diplomatic mess up with Nystatiszna and shortly followed by the Blaskovian king’s death. Things have been a bit tense diplomatically. Blaskog policies have changed drastically, especially in Lapliszna which makes our mutual ally in Nystatiszna uneasy.” Pierre lean back against her chair. “How knowledgeable are you on current ethnic relations in East Borea, particularly with the Nystapi?”

“If there have been recent developments with the Nystapi and their status in Blaskog, they haven’t reached our ears yet.”

“Nystapi are the largest native Akuan ethnic group in East Borea and for… Lot of reasons they’re also the most universally disliked ethnic groups by other Akuanists. Yet they’re in most countries within East Borea. Lapliszna as an entity, was designed to destabilize other nations in East Borea as a Nystapi state. Previously, Lapliszna was a settler state for the Blaskovian elves but suddenly soon after Wilan’s wife and mother in law died, the settlement policies were reversed. They allowed Nystapi to have command positions in the military, more Nystapi in government. Which of course means, Nystapi in Nystatiszna are interested in becoming part of Lapliszna.”

Grimgyð considered that information. “I doubt the Nystatinne government is particularly pleased about this.”

“Not in the slightest. Part of the reason why they viewed ICAF so highly was they wanted to show off equally all the ethnic cultures of the country, with special notice for the Nystapi there. To help counter the Lapliszna issue.”

“After what the ICAF did, I don’t think most outside observers would have been paying attention to any ethnic messaging in the World Cup.”

“I don’t see most outside observers paying much attention to impact at all. Besides the Lapliszna issue, Blaskovian king is most certainly a promising actor. Given his actions in Teieleie, Rikevaarland however his brother seems to be more genuine in his belief of democracy.”

“The general impression back in Cynebury is that Wilan’s interest in reforms is promising, but we’d have to ultimately wait to see how they pan out. I will take note of his brother, though. Is there anything about him that is worth knowing going into this coronation?”

“He went to university in Osfjord, which according to various reports NCIS shared with my government. He is a firmly democratic and most likely the one pushing these reforms in Blaskog. However, his personality is rather.” Pierre tried to think of the kindest way of saying what she had on her mind. “Weak when it comes to his family, at least based on reports we have access towards.”

“I’ll keep that in mind for tomorrow.”

Grimgyð probably would have said something more, but a waiter approached the table and asked them if they had decided what to order yet. The ambassador instead went and ordered a sandwich with roast beef and horseradish along with some coffee.

Pierre ordered herself the closest thing she could get to a meatless plate in the restaurant. Resulting order was a potato soup with a side of garlic bread and a Côtois coffee. “Not much for those who don’t meat it appears.” Pierre tried once more to joke.

“Blaskog doesn’t really strike me as the sort of place that would be really accommodating to vegetarians,” Grimgyð replied. “Regardless, Prince Torster’s relationships with his family might, I suspect, come under greater scrutiny especially amidst the rumors that Wilan was in some way or another involved in his father’s death.”

“To think of the land where Akua landed, they would know how to season their vegetables.” Shake of her head, in annoyance as well a hand gesture following. Trick she learned early in her life to express her emotions. “As for those rumors, I would remind you that you are in Borea. While Wilan could be involved, it just as well could be something so much more stupid and obscene. Don’t just accept the most simplistic answer, as it just very well could be they’re telling the truth or they’re just covering up the fact he died doing something embarrassing.”

“I’ll take that under advisement,” Grimgyð said. She bit into her sandwich. “This sandwich is probably better-seasoned, I think.”

“It’s a Blaskovian style sandwich, like most things they have here. It’s built for function but poorly.” Pierre responded simply.

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[ Joint post with @Norgsveldet ]

20 April 2024
Kungstad, Blåskog

The Emperor of the Tavari stood awkwardly in a hallway, flanked on either side by police officers from Ilarís and Rodoka respectively, with a cane in his hand. He did not actually need the cane, as he had tried to tell his various handlers over and over, but to no avail. It had been more than two months since his… injury… and his doctors had enthusiastically cleared him to return to duty without restriction, but the staff of the Silver Court, especially the Grand Chamberlain—who managed the household and was generally the one who decided what did or did not count as ‘according to protocol’—had all firmly informed him that safe was better than sorry. And so it was that Otan IV had come to Blåskog with no fewer than two doctors and three nurses alongside the several police officers and no fewer than three Ministry of External Affairs handlers. Attaches, he was supposed to call them, but they were handlers—they were there to ensure that Otan did not inadvertently conduct any actually substantial foreign policy while he was at the coronation. The Tavari monarchy was not a powerful one, but it was still important that he be present at these sorts of things.

Trying to ignore the gaggle of people behind him, Otan continued making his way down the hall, not even entirely sure where he was supposed to go. At the other end of the hall was another cluster of people, at the center of which was a distinctly red-headed man that Otan immediately recognized as the King of Norgsveldet. Desperate to speak to just about anyone who wasn’t trying to make him go sit down somewhere, he walked up to Olav and clasped a hand to his chest in greeting. “Your Majesty,” he said brightly. “How good to see you.”

Olav for his part had been dealing with a small group of kemonomimi servants that tried to ensure he was fully ready for the Blåskovian coronation. Mainly ensuring the Fylkir’s purple robes were completely spotless, despite having told them everything was fine. Though seeing another monarch introducing themself to their Fylkir, the servants were quick to step to the side to allow the two to have a moment. He let out a tired sigh shaking his head before looking towards the orcish monarch. “Well certainly pleasure seeing you as well, feels like the servants treating this as my coronation rather than the Blåskovian king’s.” He said with a small chuckle before placing a fist on his chest giving a bow with his head towards Otan. “Hope you traveled safely, your majesty.”

Otan laughed, and tried very hard to keep his laughter to a normal, respectable level. He certainly understood what the King meant. “Ah yes, I… have a similar feeling, actually,” he said, fidgeting with the cane in his hand. “But yes, it was a nice flight, though of course a bit long. And the weather is quite nice! Being from the tropics I was worried it would be too cold.” He offered a chuckle. “This is my first time in Blåskog. My first time in Borea, in fact. Have you-”

“Please excuse me, your esteemed majesty, but I just wanted to make sure, are you warm enough? I can get you your jacket if it’s too cold.” One of his nurses suddenly appeared at his elbow and spoke in an admittedly very nice, but plainly condescending, tone.

Otan could not conceal a frown, and when he spoke, his own tone was quite flat. Here was an Emperor speaking to a man who was a King and the head of a major world religion at the same time, and the leader of a major strategic ally to boot. Otan tried very hard to stay as “down to Urth” as possible, but the interruption displeased him. “I’m quite fine, thank you. Please resume your position,” he said, and pointed backward with his cane to emphasize his point. He then turned back to Olav and said, perhaps more loudly and more forcefully than he needed to, “Please excuse the interruption, sir.” He stamped his cane on the ground to really finalize the point, and noticed that his knuckles on the cane were white. “Anyway, as I was saying…” The Emperor realized he had forgotten what he was saying. “Ah… do you come to Blåskog often?”

Olav gave him a sympathetic look, noticing the annoyance that formed on the Emperor’s face. “Would you want to go to a more private area? I can have one of my servants bring us some coffee.” He said in a kind enough tone, gesturing with his head towards one of the doors in the hall. “I can even have them make an Eyjarian coffee, to better the mood.”

Otan laughed. “You know, ordinarily I would have to refuse any coffee that isn’t Tavari, but in this case I am quite pleased to make an exception.”

“As long as you do not tell Pierre that I’m getting Eyjarian instead of Côtois I certainly won’t judge.” The human king said with a chuckle as he opened the door to one of the rooms, holding the door open for Otan. As the two entered it was a smaller room though one still of expensive worth as most rooms made for Blåskovian nobility in mind, but in this case reserved for foreign royals. With small Ulvrikian runic symbols written in an grayish silver on the sides of a dark oak coffee table in the middle of the room. As they sat down it was not long until two cups of Eyjarian coffee was served to them, with the coffee also having a bit of cream in them. “At least if you are cold, this coffee will help deal with it.” Olav said while having a small grin on his lips while holding his cup up.

Otan smiled as he looked down at the cups, and had almost brought it up to his mouth when one of the two police officers who had followed him made a small cough. The Emperor turned to see the Rodokan, tall for a human but still shorter than the monarchs, awkwardly shifting from foot to foot while staring at the cup. It took a moment to realize why the officer was acting like this. “Officer,” said the Emperor in a low voice in Tavari, “are you accusing the King of Norgsveldet of attempting to poison me? Because not only is the answer to the question ‘shall I taste test this for you’ an emphatic and outraged no, I must emphasize to you that we absolutely cannot risk a diplomatic incident with Norgsveldet because without the Isles of Hel we will never, ever be able to send another ship to Elatana.” Otan did his best to keep his voice and face level, which seemed only to intimidate the officer further—exactly as Otan had intended. “I understand why you are doing what you are doing, but for the love of the Spirits, I cannot do my job with you people so far up my-” He stopped himself. “You understand.”

The officer nodded and stepped back away. Otan, with a broad smile, turned back to Olav and took a long, long drink of coffee. In fact, he drained half of it in one go. “Thank you, King Olav,” said Otan in Staynish. “This is lovely. Please pardon my staff, they are… overly cautious. As embarrassed as I am for our struggles to be so… visible, it must be admitted that things for me have been very different since the shooting, and we’re all trying to get used to it.” He stopped for a moment and finally processed the coffee he had just drunk. “This is… absolutely delicious. I am happy to admit, Eyjaria knows how to make a good coffee.”

“Just try not to say that in the presence of Pierre, the Côtois has a bit of a… coffee competition with the Eyjarians.” Olav joked before taking a sip from his cup, his eyes giving a small glance towards the door as the officer exited the room. “I must say, your staff seems very protective. Though I guess, that is not too surprising with what has happened…” His eyes glanced down towards the younger monarch’s cane. “How are you feeling? Not talking physically, you look in better health. But emotionally, being shot is hardly the most fun of activities after all.” His voice was joking in tone trying to keep it all relatively light hearted, though one could see in his eyes a slight worry nonetheless.

Otan was quiet for several moments. “Well,” he said finally, “It’s… been a lot to think about. I’m perfectly fine physically at this point, though my staff insists I still need to be careful, but mentally… well, it’s been scary, I suppose. It gets easier to handle each day. I try not to be paranoid, but the notion of my own security staff acting against me… well, it’s impossible not to worry about it. But I guess what weighs on me more is…” He paused to try and collect his thoughts, and to take another deep drink of coffee. “Well, I’m the King. The Emperor. I worry about how Tavari society has been injured. It’s my job to be the symbol, the unifier. I look around and all I can see is disunity. Division. It feels almost as though, one more wrong move, one more stumble, and everything falls apart.” He lowered his voice. “There wasn’t just that one extremist in the military, after all. One imagines a powder keg. That’s what Tavaris feels like these days. I haven’t been careful. I worry a lot about the future. There is… a lot that I have to figure out.”

Olav nodded his head at the information, taking a sip from his cup before taking the cup down on the table again. “It is certainly a matter that would lay heavy on someone’s shoulders. Though I am certain as long as you hold your head high you do well.” He kept a warm tone as he spoke, though it was lowered out of respect from the seriousness of the topic. “As monarchs it is our job to act calm and stand firm even on the shakiest of grounds. That is not to ignore the reality of the dangers in said divisions, but sometimes all we can do is to keep on smiling.”

Otan nodded, and felt himself smiling—and it wasn’t just the whiskey in the coffee. “You’re right, of course. And there’s a lot to smile about, I try to tell myself. The point of the Tavari Union is to be able to celebrate what brings us together while also celebrating independence and self-determination. I do truly believe that there are more people, far more people, who want to celebrate differences than people who want to destroy what is different. And, really, what I hope brings us all together is understanding that we have the power to build a new, better future…” Otan realized he was slipping into making a speech, and stopped himself by taking another sip. “Anyway, I’m sure that the current moment in time is just that. One single moment that seems difficult, but ultimately, one we will be able to get through. You know, if memory serves, you became King of Norgsveldet just a couple years after my father became King of Tavaris, so—and I hope you don’t mind me saying—that’s been quite some time. More than twenty years. So I presume you’ve seen and been through quite a lot. Does it… ever get easier? Being a monarch, I mean. Even as, ah… limited in technical power as I am, it still feels so… so… well, it feels like a lot to handle. How do you manage?”

“Well coffee certainly helps.” Olav said with a small chuckle shaking his head at his own joke. “Well, I’ve been through many things during my time as king. And it certainly was not all as unified as it is now, despite… certain politics in the current climate.” He said in a more cautious manner, not wanting to go too much in detail of the current political climate back home. “Though I was just a Crown Prince when I already felt the weight in having people looking towards me for guidance, to deal with not just my country’s but the entire Crown Realm being in division as a result of my father’s ruling.”

Otan chuckled. “I know the feeling. My father was rather popular… until, quite suddenly, he was quite unpopular. I found myself on the throne rather suddenly. Part of how the job works, I suppose. We don’t choose when we are called, but when we are called, we serve. All people, to some extent, have to pick up the pieces of what our parents leave behind for us. Though, of course, my father is still alive, just… differently employed.” He laughed as he finished the last of his coffee. “You know, King Olav, this has been quite nice. Just what I needed after a long flight. Perhaps we should make our way back out and schmooze with all the dignitaries, as we monarchs do, but I appreciate you taking the time to give some advice.”

“Hardly much advice, rather making observations from my own life.” Olav said in a kind tone as he took a sip from his own cup finishing it, though not yet standing up. “If I had to give genuine advice both as a monarch but also as one individual to another. Find which principles you’re never willing to waver on, ones you will keep close to you no matter the circumstances. Be it personal ones like my standfast commitment to my wife in spite of my father’s opposition, or be it more political commitments.”

The Emperor took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, taking the time to think about it. “That’s very good advice. You’re very right,” he said. “One must always keep in mind what is truly important.” Otan thought first of Hendrik. He was thankful that one thing his father had actually been supportive of had been his husband. “I know I do. I try to, anyway. Much to think about. But I’ll be sure to follow my compass.” He smiled. “I am a sailor, after all.”

Olav stood up from his seat giving the orc king a pat on the shoulder. “Well being a sailor as well, perhaps we can go sailing together at one point.” He said with a chuckle. “Though one more piece of advice, If you and Hendrik ever plan on adopting children. I would suggest keeping it below five.”

Otan burst out into laughter, grasping his stomach and throwing his head back. His staff burst into the room then, frantic and panicked, only to see the Emperor of the Tavari practically crying in laughter. He laughed so hard he couldn’t even bother shooing them away, and he let himself laugh for as long as the laughter came. He hadn’t laughed like that for what felt like forever. He stood up and clapped a hand firmly on the Norgsveltian monarch’s shoulders. “Well… I’ll try my best.”

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(joint post with Luna)

Kjolf Bardsen took a sip from his coffee cup, of Eyjarian kind. Both to help him wake up for the coronation, but also because like most Eyjarians they were prideful in their coffee. Even If it is mainly spite driven and in opposition to Côtois coffee. That being said, the prime minister looked into the mirror, he was dressed in a dark blue suit. The tall and stoic blonde elven man gives a simple nod of approvement of his own outfit. It was then he heard a knock on the door of his room. ‘Must be a servant.’ He thought to himself as he put down his coffee cup on his night desk before walking towards the door. Thinking it was just a servant giving him further information about the coronation. Though when he opened the door…

A rather extremely upset short human with fiery purple eyes stared bullets right up at him. Behind her was a few suited kemonomimi and what could be either a very short elf or an extremely tall kemonomimi hiding their ears. Her arms were crossed, covering her balled fists under her shoulders. “Mr. Bardsen, might I have a word?” Her tone was always angry, just due to her medical condition; however Bardsen spent enough time with the Côtoise prime minister to know that it was a very real anger. Not at the level where she might throw a phone out of a window again when she heard word of former Norgsveltian Prime Minister corruption or the unfortunate accident involving several urns and gunshots when she learned of certain Norgvseltian royals having a relationship with the members of the Frida dynasty, but possible angry enough to scream at him until her throat went out of use.

“May I say no?” The elf said, raising an eyebrow as he looked down at the much shorter human in front of him.

“No you may not.” Pierre replied, keeping her frown at him.

With a small sigh the stoic elf took a step to the side holding the door to let the Côtois leader enter into his room. Though he was stoic in his facial expression, which had mastered for his long service as a politician. Yet worry did keep bothering in the back of his mind. Closing the door behind her the prime minister placed a hand behind his back. “Want me to get you a cup of tea?” He suggested tea so they would avoid the topic of coffee.

“Côtois gray if you have it.” Pierre stepped inside of the room, hands moving back behind her, standing straight up. Then turning around to face him, staring bullet holes into the back of his head. Though she did stare down around a nearby knife then back at him, letting the fleeting thought just be that.

‘Eyjarian green is better.’ He thought to himself but did what he was asked, as he got the Côtois leader a cup of her prefered tea giving it to her before once more placing a hand behind his back. “Now, may I ask what is the honor? The coronation is soon to begin after all.” He asked in a polite yet stoic tone.

“The same thing you have been dodging me over.” Pierre took her cup from him, taking a sip from it and then sat down in front of them. “Why in the name of Pepin, did you let that fascist bullshit play not only on the air, but let it be sent to Urthvision?”

“It is not for me to control, that is a matter for the Eyjarian Urthvision Broadcaster to handle. Not me.” He walked over to his desk and grabbed his coffee cup, taking a heavier sip from it. “I’ve explained it before, it is out of my hands.”

“No, it is clearly not. Passing the krone off onto another person that you do managing and claiming innocence doesn’t work with me. The bitch is a fascist sympathizer and should be in cuffs rather than on a stage.” Pierre took a heavy sip of her own.

“I cannot arrest someone for using their constitutional given rights to speak their mind and sing controversial songs. If I did half of the Eyjarian metal scene be in cuffs.” He said with a small frown at the blatant authoritarian suggestion. “I do not agree with her statements, but I do not have the right to arrest her over it.”

“I know you don’t have the authority to-do that, I do but unfortunately my advisers think it would be a bad idea to place a red sickle on a Urthvision contestant.” Pierre kept her firm stare at him. “However you are responsible for the Eyjarian Urthvision Broadcaster, and more than that. Having not done so when Lapérousian nationalism is making a comeback.”

“She hasn’t broken any Eyjarian law, and she followed the rules set by our broadcaster. Including changes to the lyrics so she could compete.” Bardsen just let out a sigh knowing fully well he would be here for a while. “If I was to force the broadcaster to not let her compete, it would be seen as heavy censorship back home.”

“You say censorship as if it was a bad thing. As for the lyrics, I would like to remind you that her song’s title is clearly referencing Lapérousian’s Duty book. Which did more than justify the Queendom’s imperialism and crimes across Concord.” Pierre refused to relent on the matter. “Not to mention those lyric changes didn’t mean much, not when it’s a person like her singing them.”

“Perhaps so but it was enough to be accepted by our broadcaster, I have to accept their reasoning.” He said, taking another sip from his cup, still being surprisingly calm despite the stress that was building up on his neck. “In the end, I would either suggest simply filing a complaint to the Urthvision broadcaster to hope that she will be refused to participate. Or that she won’t get past the semi-finals.”

“We are, and the Federation is not alone in it, former nations that made up the Queendom of Lapérouse are signing onto it.” Pierre sipped her tea but placed it back onto the table. “There is also the manner of Urthvision celebrating child labor laws but that is the unfortunate norm for many countries such as Tavaris. However that doesn’t excuse you hand in this. You’re directly supporting a fascist having a platform.”

“Than let’s hope you have success with that, Mrs. Pierre.” He put down his cup, a bit more harder than he meant too. “I will stand by rules my country have, Mrs. Pierre. I understand in the Federation she would never have a chance to state her controversial and inexcusable opinions in the way she does. But within Eyjaria she is acting perfectly within our country’s laws and rules.”

“She shouldn’t have a chance to state any of her inexcusable opinions. Let us hope she changes her ways.” Pierre finishes her tea, finishing the cup. “May your next contestant be more fortunate than the last.” Best not give direct threats, only suggestive ones.

Bardsen simply gave a nod at that as he finished his cup of coffee. Despite the subtle threats, it went better than he anticipated. “Now I think we both should prepare ourselves for the coronation, no?”

“I already am, you’re behind on schedule.” Pierre opened the door and started to prepare to leave.

‘I wasn’t, you just distracted me.’ He thought to himself a bit annoyed, letting a small frown form on his lips as she left his room. Taking a moment to make final combing on his long blonde hair before finally leaving the room as well.

‘Should have accepted my first scheduled meeting. Wouldn’t have to ambush him then.’ Pierre thought to herself as she left the building.

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(Jointly written with Cowlass)

To say the streets of Kungstad was packed can very much be said to be an understatement. Across the city hundreds of thousands people had amassed on the streets waving the Blåskovian flag, all to show their patriotism to the country. Many yelled out national slogans about strength and unity. Others yelled their praises to their new king. “Long live the king! Long live Wilan! May the Allguardian bless him with wisdom!”

All the while Blåskovian air force flies above the city, specifically with HK-22 fighter jets that sprayed coloured smoke into the sky. Of blue, black and white smoke all across the city’s sky, the colors of the Blåskovian flag. Meanwhile outside the city’s ports was a pair of Blåskovian frigates with once more the national flag hanging off from them, the frigates being of the Sleipnir Class variety. Weaponry of wars that was produced by Blåskog’s former greatest ally of Norgsveldet and the corpse of the Queendom of Lapérouse draped in red. This all while having a smaller army parade held in front of the Royal Palace, with DT 30 and DT 32 tanks driving at the forefront. With hundreds of Blåskovian soldiers marching behind them. All an overly militaristic display.

Though the parades and popular masses in the streets will certainly be pushed by Blåskovian media outlets to impress foreign states, most of the actual focus is placed on the Blåskovian temple. The largest Ulvriktru temple in Borea, and the largest Carlist temple in the world. Made of white stone bricks, all built up high. Though it was not as large as temples in Norgsveldet, Lapérouse and Tretrid. It was an impressive sight on its own, with its large white doors with golden scripture on it. Welcoming the Allguardian’s faithful to the safety of its halls and walls. It has been called by many as Blåskog’s attempt to copy the Raven Temple in Norgsveldet, though its architecture was more of Lapérousian design.

Wilan for his part could not help but be slightly annoyed as well, all the dramatics and extravaganza of it all. Not that he didn’t understand why, rather it was more matter how tiresome it all felt. Still it was a duty he was going to follow nevertheless as he looked into his mirror, ensuring everything of his robes was to traditional Blåskovian standards and that he mentally prepared himself to take the Oath. The king’s lack of religiosity is arguably the main reason why he did find this all so tiresome, all emphasis of oaths and promises was not exactly things he held of high importance. But today he will play his part, he will be faithful, he will have Odin’s wisdom in him.

The king walked out of the small room he was in, and into the entrance hall of the temple, each step taken with confidence as two elven guards opened the doors to the nave of the temple. With aisles wooden benches coloured in white being filled by guests from not just highest members of Blåskovian noble and clerical class, but also by foreign leaders and dignitaries. Not only Borean ones either, but from across the world. From Concord he saw the monarchs of Kaldrbuth and West Atlalandr, though from across each other rather than near each other. With the Eyjarian prime minister being also among the many from Concord. Queen Wilhelmina meanwhile was sitting next to his former lover, the Jarl of Vakrestrender. He couldn’t help but have a small smile seeing the Jarl, even if said smile was restrained by matters that Jørgen had brought his girlfriend and prime minister with him. Still, he was here. And that alone was enough to deserve a celebration.

Surprisingly the Jarl was not the only Auroran around, though he’d never call Jørgen an Auroran to his face. His eyes glanced towards the Morstaybishlian dignitaries sent, seeing the king of the world’s largest superpower and Empire. Of course he knew the invite was sent globally, to everyone with few exceptions. He was just surprised they accepted it. Nearby was the Nilovian king, Xerex II. Though in Wilan’s mind he was mainly invited out of respect to Xerex’s wife, the Queen of Helslandr, Astrid I. He did not dislike the Nilovian, but his wife at least actually controlled her country. With Xerex being now in exile in Helslandr, well in his mind it made the Auroran an honorary Yasterian now.

In terms of Yasterian leadership they had plenty of visitors, from the aforementioned Astrid and Xerex, there were also Vulpine leaders from Vücsëlann. President Reemonn Scerpook and Prime Minister Astrit Leenigërük. They weren’t only ones from that nation, having included their partners and foreign minister to this as well. He won’t exactly say he knows much of Vücsëlanner politics, though from what he heard he’d be surprised if he got along with them. Though for Yasterians that was more similar to beliefs his country held? Well he wouldn’t have to look far as on the aisle to his left at the Asendavian Emperor Jon VII and his son Crown Prince Alexander. While naturally the reforms Wilan was making had an democratic elements of it, the Asendavian attitude of strength and heavy handedness in policy making was certainly elements that felt quite at home here. Though in general it fits well with East Borea… In fact, why do so many Eastern halves of continents have clear undemocratic tendencies?

Of course, there was also the Pierres. Not really Yasterian, but Lapérousian and the gods know you don’t inform them of that. He knew very well that both were trigger words for a Côtois, more so the later than the former. If he said the former he might get a sneer or a yell, If he said the latter he likely would have to pull his gun for protection. And certainly have to be quick about it as well. The rather hateful look in her eye certainly showed the risk of it.

Then not to mention the Gondwanan monarchs joining his coronation. Monarchs he was certain likely not be used to the East Borean cold. Though with the Hlenderian monarch being from the most southern tip of the massive continent. He likely had to suspect that King Yendrin would be used to it. At least more so than for one of few orcs in the temple, he couldn’t help but have slightest sympathies to the Tavari Emperor having gone from jungle humidity to icy cold winds of Blåskog. Though the sympathy was only barely there, the elf was more amused than anything else.

From Novaris Wilan could not help but realize the little awkwardness that would naturally spring forth from inviting both Tretridian and Trinterian leaders to the coronation… While he recognises they are not near murder each other’s level of hostility, he couldn’t be certain If it be matter that won’t become an issue later. Hopefully Mrs. Cáiréas and Mr. Æthelstanesunu will find themselves caring about alcohol rather than politics at the party later.

There were others as well, but he couldn’t help but put them into an afterthought as his eyes landed on the fact that for some reason. Someone thought it would be a good idea having the prime minister of the Nystapi sit right next to the High Priestess of Noraida. The burning hatred that was in their eyes made him very much fear for the plans that had been ready for so long… That not to even mention the Nystatinne prime minister glaring from across the room towards the Lambertus. He was certain the only reason Victoria wasn’t already marching to confront the Auroran was from pure fact that Ingrid had a hand on her shoulder, directly holding her back.

As he walked past all the aisles he was certain he could hear mumblings from the Noraii and Nystapi leaders.

“Are you physically able to quit your whining for five minutes? If anything I personally did you a favor. Your frozen shithole of an island wouldn’t ever be able to support them anyway, I gave them an easy out as opposed to starvation.” The Nystapi PM harshly whispered back to the Noraii zealot in command. “If anything you should be thanking me for not having to see thousands starve through your mismanagement.”

“Is it a Nystapi tradition to drop one’s children when they are born, or are you just a very special case?” The blue skinned tiefling woman said with a calm venomous tone, her yellow eyes glaring at him. “The only thing you did was worsen the famine in my country, luckily it was the brewmasters who starved first.”

“My greatest shame is that I didn’t ignore Blaskovians for a third time and drop more bombs. Could have done the world a favor by killing more of your brood. Oh, I’m sorry I forgot you can’t have anymore. Shame about your children, truly a shame that they got stringed up and dragged in the streets.” Nystapi shook their heads in a patronizing manner. “Honestly, I simply can’t believe just how cowardly they were, almost as bad as how your grandchildren ended up in little pieces. Truly what a waste of fertilizer.”

“You know I guess I should be kinder towards you, you aren’t a real Nystapi afterall. You’re just another Blåskovian.” Ava sneered quietly before giving a mocking scoff. “I mean Nystapi people have shown they don’t lead, they just spread their legs when a conqueror comes. Be it Wisslanian or Blåskovian.”

“Why don’t you spread your legs for another child-bride, since you love them so mu-” Before the two continued further, the new king walked up next to their place. Wilan had a smile on his face but both leaders saw in his eyes, he was completely and utterly enraged as he looked down at them.

“Oh your majesty, we were simply discussi-”

“I will have you both shot and hanged in front of my palace If I even hear a single argument from you two during this, okay?” He whispered in a kind tone, completely not fitting with his words. Though the twitch of his eyebrow showed he was near to snap.

Both leaders just gave a simple nod at that.

“Great.” He said quietly with a smile before turning around and immediately losing said smile. His attention focused back to his coronation. Going into the crossing of the temple he saw four people near the altar, in the front stood his son Eric. Dressed in dark gray robes, his six year old son rubbing his eyes still yet had a wide smile as he looked up at him.

To the left side of the altar stood his little sister Esta still dressed in her kimono outfit giving him a smile, though knowing her true intentions was always hard to say at times. Even for him. The main purpose for her involvement was mainly laid to the fact that they wanted to fuse some Akuan elements to the coronation, to show Blåskog’s more inclusive side… After how extremely exclusive they’ve acted in Syrtænszna. To the right of the atler stood his younger brother, Torster, dressed in a dark blue robe similar to his though less detailed and less expensive. Normally his brother’s position would be taken by a close elder of the family, a grandparent, parent, uncle or aunt. Though with all those being dead, it was his brother to take that position.

Behind the atler however stood none other than Olav, dressed in his dark purple robes. The robes of the Fylkir. Ulvrikian runes written around the robes, with a golden necklace around his neck being in the shape of a raven head. The Fylkir looked towards him with a serious expression as their eyes met. Wilan gave him a deep bow with his head as he walked up to the altar, going down on one knee while keeping his head down. His son followed up to his left side, doing the same. Though it was clear the young Crown Prince was unused to all this, causing the elven king to quietly chuckle to himself as he placed a hand on his son’s shoulder calming him. It reminded him back to his father’s coronation, Wilan was at the same age.

At the altar itself stood two objects, first being a large brown leather book. A book known by all Ulvriktruars, the Saga. Nori’s Saga. Next to it was a ceremonial spear, one with an oak shaft with a silver spear head. Along the shaft was silver runes pierced into it, for those few who could even read runic Ulvrikian it would write a sentence of: ‘Through action one is safe’. The spear was grabbed by Olav lifting it up before holding it to his side.

“Raise your head, son of Carl.” His voice commanded the elven king, looking down at him with a stoic facial expression. Their eyes met once more. The Fylkir with one hand pointed the spear towards the king’s throat, its spearhead mere inches from it. “Do you, as father as well as king, swear to keep yourself faithful and dutiful.”

The king’s voice spoke up as well rehearsed as it was, speaking in Ulvrikian just as the king was. “I do.”

“Will you keep your people safe and well fed?” Olav’s voice kept its commanding attitude.

“I will.”

“Shall the faithful’s voices be heard by you, and can they trust your judgment?” The spear inches ever closer to the elven king’s throat, its coldness grazing Wilan’s neck.

“It shall, and they can.”

There was a moment of silence before finally the spear was pulled back, with Olav thrusting the end of the spear towards the stone floor causing an echo to go around the room. “Than swear thy Oath, I swear to the Allguardian that you shall rule with their wisdom. Swear to Nori to follow his principles, swear thy faith. Swear to thy people. Swear to thy family. Swear to me.” The Fylkir’s sternful eyes looked down at him, as he gestured with his other hand towards the Saga.

Wilan placed a hand on the Saga, still being in a kneeling position and once more kept his head down. His other hand moved away from his son’s shoulder instead now towards his heart. “I swear on the good of my house, on my family that I will remain faithful to the true faith, to keep our people just as I keep my family safe.” He said following the lines that were drilled into him. “I promise to ensure a prosperous future for my country, I promise that we can begin anew.” The last line being the personal oath the monarch is meant to swear.

“Then raise your head, Son of Carl.” Olav’s voice spoke once more, but with a bit more warmth this time. And once more the elven king did as he was commanded as he raised his head looking up at Olav. “High Gothir Wilan, King Wilan. You have my blessing, you have the Allguardian’s wisdom. Use it well, my son.” With that the Fylkir turned the spear around, handing the spear towards the elven king who grasped it firmly in his right hand. Though kept his kneeling position.

With that Olav took a few steps back, gesturing towards Esta to now walk up to the elven king. To finalize the last part of the ceremony.

The Elven Woman, being completely dressed in bear furs, silver jewelry and all those other things that make it a nightmare to walk around, stepped forward. She held two items in her hands, a cup of blood from a bear and a hand covered in ash. The bear’s blood went through a whole ordeal by the best medical officials in Blaskog, to ensure that it was clean of diseases and won’t somehow cause the King to die from infection. Even the bear from it was from a specially bred Borean bear, its body reserved for the Blaskovian royal family to insure the risk of diseases was kept to a extreme minimum.

The Enshrined Spirit raised her hand, marking Wilan’s forehead with a single line and nine dashes through it. The ash was more of a compound of several ingredients including silver giving it a glitter-like affect. After the marking, she took a long bear’s claw from her necklace, snapping the break-away string for it.

She spoke in utterly perfect Nystapi Nys’tat’en next, gazing at her older brother with cold seriousness she reserved for official religious ceremonies. “Man who came from mother, who came from across the sea. The spirits have charged you with protection of the favored people. Those who track the reindeer wherever they travel and those who wage war against the storms. The Nystapi.” She placed the bear’s claw into his hand, the next part requiring Wilan to cut his hand to bleed into the cup. “Are you strong enough to accept the spirits’ demand?”

“I do.” Wilan said speaking in fluent Nystapi Nys’tat’en back, though his words were slightly slower from those of Nys’tat’en speakers. He grabbed the bear claw with his hand as he held his other hand over the cup, cutting his hand to let his blood drip into the cup. It was not a deep cut but enough to ensure some drops spilled into it.

Esta kept her strong frozen look, ripping a bag off her necklace next, pouring the contents of it into the cup. The dust was made from crushed roots and mushrooms, in large quantities it was hallucinogenic however the dust was light enough that it would only produce brief respite from reality and loosen the walls of mind but not destroy them. After which she took her drink, going halfway before handing it back to Wilan.

Voices singing behind her picked up in tone, sounding almost dragonic those not used to such customs. They sang high pitched, while a brewmaster sang in an extremely low and gravel-like tone. While the choir sang in perfect hymn and the same lyrics, the Brewmaster voice was countering them with an aura of disdain and fear. At least for those more in tune with the arts and religious matters would feel it that way. For others it seems more of an avant garde piece.

Behind Wilan, on the steps to the road of power, professional dancers dressed in bear and reindeer furs. Twisting and turning their forms in unnatural ways, the smell of incense filling the air. Those dressed as a bear chased the ones as reindeers, with the reindeers being graceful in their movements while those of the bear knocked over one another in pursuit of their prey.

Wilan looked down at the cup of blood that Esta had placed on the altar, then looked up at her. Though she kept her cold stoic look, he very much knew that this would be something she will bother him about later. With a small sigh the elven brother grabbed the cup with both his hands, holding it up high before putting it towards his lips. Drinking up what was left. Though Wilan was able to keep a stoic face, he will admit. It tasted awful. It took everything in him to not physically grimace as he put down the cup, his eyes once more trained on his sister.

The elven woman leaned down planting a kiss on his forehead, the bloodstain lipstick mark mixing with the ash already there. Then she stepped back, raising her hands and facing towards the ceiling. “Spirits, the descended one of the travelers has accepted their charge in full!” Then gave a clap, signaling the choir to change their tone and begin to ring their bells. The Brewmaster gave dramatic gasps, as if he was attacked and left the room taking a side exit. The choir sang in a cheerful way, smiling proudly and ringing the bells high.

The performers on the steps changed just as well. As a dancer dressed as a moose chased the dancers in bear fur away, taking the side exit as the brewmaster had done. The dancers in reindeer furs bending the knee and raising their hands towards Wilan, whispering their songs to him, being utterly different lyrics compared to the choir. The Akuan-Nystapi of the ceremony was finished, with all those of Nystapi ethnicity standing themselves out-stretching their arms in (mostly) tune with the choir.

As the Nystapi part of the ceremony finished, the final part of the Ulvrikian-Blåskovian was to begin as Wilan stood up from his position using the spear to lift himself up. Gripping it firmly the king and now High Gothir of Carlist Gustafism looked towards the audience. With a loud thud that echoed in the room as he slammed the end of the spear towards the ground. With silence following right afterwards. A silence that held for a moment before Wilan’s voice spoke, once more in Ulvrikian. Though this time more in song, as he sung a small prayer.

“There I shall see my father.

There I shall see my mother.

There I shall see my elders.

There I shall see Odin.

All shall be there, waiting for me.

In that glorious hall.”

With that, the elven king with a silver spear in his right hand and with his son’s hand in his left would begin to walk forward. Towards the exit of the temple to greet the crowds. To mark the day of Wilan’s reign…

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"Pappa, can I try holding the spear?” Eric asked, looking up at his father with his big eyes switching between looking at his father and the silver spear.

“No, you can’t. Nor would you be strong enough.” Wilan said with a quiet chuckle not even looking down at his son trying to keep his eyes on the crowds in front of them. The two standing in front of the temple, a large audience waiting for his speech.

“Why noooot.” Eric said with a frown letting go of his father’s hand, rather crossing his arms instead as he pouted.

The elven king just rolled his eyes as he crouched down, wrapping his left arm around his son lifting him up. “Behave now, okay?” He said, giving the boy a firm look. Though unfortunately for the king his young son just kept looking at the spear trying to reach over for it but was kept out of arm’s length from the mischievous child. “Behave.”

“Fine.” Eric muttered out annoyed.

With that Wilan put his attention forwards towards the crowds, a confident smile on his face as he stepped forward. Several cameras focused straight at the two of them as he cleared his throat.

“I thank all who came here. No matter class or crede you belong too. I thank you all. Which is why I want to assure everyone here one thing. Today is not just an important day for me, but for the entirety of Blåskog. For the entirety of East Borea. I want to bury yesterday’s grievances, and look towards tomorrow’s opportunities.

If there is one thing I can promise from reign it is through one word: Reform.

Reform from yesterday’s structures, from yesterday’s policies. As your king I promise to follow a more outlooking policy, to serve my people. To dedicate my life to a reign of change and prosperity of all. Through the wisdom of Odin, through their guidance. Shall a new Blåskog be built.

I promise, as an Oath. I will dedicate my life to that goal. To dedicate my life and my family to the service of my country and our people.”

With that a large applause came from the people, cheers were yelled, with them yelling “Long Live The King” over and over again. The king’s son felt the need to cover his elven ears from how loud it was. Letting out a small whine that only Wilan could hear. He let out a small chuckle hearing it, before giving a wave to the people. The two now making their way to a limousine prepared for them which will drive them to their castle.

_

The door to the limousine was opened up by one of Wilan’s servants which he gave a respectful nod towards. With the king holding up his son as he walked towards the castle. “No, the spear will be kept in my office.” He explained calmly to his pouting son as one of his servants had already taken the spear going away from the two of them to rather enter one of the castle’s backdoors.

“Booo!” Eric said annoyed.

Wilan just rolled his eyes at his son’s antics as he walked up the castle stairs and towards the entrance of the castle. With two royal guards bowing their heads respectfully before opening the doors for the two royals. Though moment Wilan’s eyes looked forward to the interior of the castle, was moment he saw two kelf children waiting at top of the staircase to the upper floor looking down towards them. He let out a small sigh knowing what was going to happen.

Carl Jr, ignoring the ‘indoor voice’ volume rule his mama imposed on them. “Papa!” The two kids ran down the stairs, ignoring another rule their mama made. The two small and adorable children grabbing onto each of his legs. Squeezing him tightly, purring against his leg as they hugged him.

“Yes, hi to the two of you as well.” He said with a small chuckle as he began walking more into the castle, the two kids still hanging on to his legs. “Hope you two weren’t too bored with mama while I was away.”

Eric for his part seeing how much affection his younger siblings were giving his father began wrapping his own arms around his father’s neck hugging him tightly.

“Oh, we noticed mama was tired so we faked being asleep. It’s the only way she will sleep.” Carl Jr, smiled brightly looking up at his papa. He let go of Wilan’s leg, rather grabbing onto the edge of Wilan’s robe to hold on to. Ny’Kino however, kept her grip on his leg, finding this whole ‘being lifted’ thing quite enjoyable.

“She’s asleep? But it’s just the middle of the day.” Wilan said quietly to himself yet shook those thoughts away. “Hopefully you two haven’t bothered the staff, right? They should be busy preparing for the party being held tonight.”

“No papa, we sat around the big window in the umm room with the really skinny TV.” Carl Jr, responded. “But we had to be quiet because mama is sleeping on the couch there.”

Ny’Kino let go of Wilan after her arms were tired. Instead doing just as her brother did and taking a hold of the edge of his robe. “Mama has been very tired recently. Have you been doing something to her?” Ny’Kino tilts her head looking up at her papa.

“Ah I thought you two were watching the coronation.” Wilan gave a small shrug, his arm was getting a bit tired carrying Eric though with how clingy his biological son was, he was not sure if ever be able to let go of him. Though he gave a worried look towards Ny’Kino. “No? Has she been unwell?”

“Well, we were going to watch a corn-nation but we never saw a garden in real life or just how big the outside was when the sun was out.” Carl Jr, gave a smile up towards his papa. Not being as paranoid as his sister.

“Well, you tell me mr. Papa. You spent time with her too.” Ny’Kino squinted her eyes at Wilan, then briefly looked at Eric and then back at Wilan.

“You haven’t seen the outside before?” Eric asked tilting his head at the younger brother.

“Ny’Kino, I didn’t do anything towards your mother.” Wilan said with a sigh before walking towards the parlor room which the two children had been at previously.

Carl Jr shook his head no. “Not when the sun’s out. Mama said we could only play outside when it was dark out and only in the backyard.”

Their sister on the other hand kept up her paranoid streak, something she sheerly inherited from her biological father. “Why do you say ‘your mother’ instead your wife?” She clearly had access to Norgsveltian crime movies too much, something her mother has been rather concerned about.

“Because she is your mother, not your wife.” Wilan said simply as he opened the door to the parlor room, seeing Ny’Kuil sleeping on the couch there. He let out a sigh as he put down Eric, who luckily did not whine too much as he was no longer held. The blonde elf prince instead walked up to his kelf brother.

“The sun is out now, wanna go outside?” Eric said, tilting his head as he looked down at him.

“I can’t go outside, mama said never go outside and we already broke her rule about approaching windows.” Carl Jr. looking down at his feet, feeling a bit sad. His neko ear twitched.

Ny’Kino however crossed her arms looking up at her father. “Yes but you never call her by her name, not once and I never saw you kiss mama either.” The little detective tilted her head, “That is very strange and very unlike stuff I have seen on the skinny TV.”

Eric just began pulling on Carl Jr.’s hand making the poor kelf boy move towards the exit of the castle. “Come on, it will be fine!” He said with a smile as two exited the parlor room, leaving Wilan alone with his daughter.

“Her name is Ny’Kuil and I call her by that name.” He said, crossing his arms looking down at the little detective. “Also please do not trust all that you see on the TV.”

Carl Jr allowed himself to be pulled along, mostly because he really wanted to see if the sun was actually really warm or not. Not to mention play in the snow when he could actually see what he was doing.

“I don’t believe everything on TV, but I do believe my mama when she reads books to us about the Foxhouse. Papa fox would kiss mama fox in the morning and before bed.” Ny’Kino reaffirmed her stance. “Mama fox makes coffee for papa fox, like she does now in the morning but when do you give her kisses?”

“Hey your brothers going outside to play in the snow, don’t you want to join them while I take care of Mama?” He said clapping his hands together giving his daughter a bright smile trying to get her to stop pestering about these questions.

“Object.” Ny’Kino state with utter certainty and clarity in her voice.

“You mean objection?” He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Yes.” Ny’Kino gave a firm nod.

Wilan lets out a sigh. “If I kiss mama now will you let this go?”

“Probably not.” Ny’Kino, was many things honest being one of them at least.

The king just let out a sigh shaking his head as he approached the couch, crouching down as he gave the sleeping maid a kiss on the forehead before gently shaking her awake. Giving a warm smile trying to be as friendly as he could to not panic. “They’re fine, they’re safe.” He spoke in a calm tone.

Ny’Kuil almost panicked despite Wilan being reaffirming and calming her. The maid’s head turning around to look for them. “S-sorry, I-I fell asleep.” Her eyes laid on Ny’Kino but not Carl Jr. She looked up at Wilan with a raised eyebrow. As Ny’Kino still stared at Wilan with a suspect look.

“The boys went outside to play, don’t worry they will be safe. They just need to come inside before the party starts.” Wilan said still in a warm tone, before placing a hand on her shoulder trying to comfort her in an attempt to have her be less stressed. With him than whispering. “Ny’Kino wants us to kiss, again.”

“Ah thank the spirits.” Ny’Kuil gave a warm smile, leaning up to quickly kiss Wilan on his lips. Giving his arm a soft squeeze as she started standing up. “Ny’Kino, why don’t you build the biggest snowperson with your brothers before you all have to come in.” She gave a warm, motherly smile.

“Okay mama!” Ny’Kino before leaving quickly giving them both hugs before running down that halls to catch up with her brothers.

“No running Ny’Kino, indoor vo-” Ny’Kuil just sighed. “She is already out of ear shot by now.”

The elven king gray eyes blinked for a short moment from the peck on the lips, not really expecting that. Though he just helped the maid up from the couch. “Want me to brew you a cup of coffee before I go upstairs to get in an outfit that does not want to crush me?” He said in an slightly joking tone as he gestured to the ridiculously heavy robes he was wearing.

“That won’t be necessary your majesty, do you require assistance changing?” Ny’Kuil smoothed out her maid dress, not thinking too much about it. Having to help Wilan’s father and Esta both before when it comes to changing out of religious attire.

“You don’t need to call me that. Just call me Wilan.” He let out a small sigh. “I’ll be fine, these robes are not that difficult to deal with.”

“Indeed your majesty Wilan.” She gave a soft smirk. “I will go prepare the children’s playroom, I would rather have them not by a window when they party is going on.” Ny’Kuil grabbed the blanket from the couch, folding it up before placing it back on the couch.

Wilan rolled his eyes at her calling him that. “Trust me, I think it’s best to keep them far away from the party.” He said before turning around towards the door, though he stopped right as he was about to fully leave. “By the way, have you been feeling more tired than usual lately?”

“Oh just a little bit.” Ny’Kuil gave a soft gentle chuckle. “Feet being…” She looks down at her feet, then look back at Wilan while feeling her back. “Oh. Oh dear.”

“Hey Hey, you okay?” He quickly walked up her leaning over to be at eye level as he placed a hand on her shoulder, almost afraid she was gonna fall over.

“I believe I might be pregnant again.” Ny’Kuil gave a very weak smile towards Wilan, looking into his eyes to gage his reaction.

His eyes widened for a moment. “…We’ll take you to a doctor tomorrow then, okay?” He gave her a warm yet firm look, very different from any look she would have been used to get from his father.

She gave a quick and agreeing nod. “Yes, yes doctor and then my village’s shrine.” Ny’Kuil rubbed her belly. “I-I should go prepare the children’s room and then make some tea… Yes, a cup of rootberry tea.” She quietly muttered to herself barely audible for Wilan to hear.

“Tell me If you need help, okay? I’ll try to not take too long.” Wilan said, giving a gentle squeeze to the maid’s shoulder before straightening his back. Giving her a supportive look before turning around to switch to an outfit more fitting for the party.

_

(OOC: The party has now officially started! You can all openly write in the rp as much you like!)

Torhall Castle, the Royal Residency of the Blåskovian King and his family. It was a castle built around Lapérousian architecture from the 16th century. Made for a pragmatic angle. That angle being how many cannonballs can its walls take and how difficult would it be to set ladders on it. In which both answers were yes. Though now the castle was not a place for combat to be seen, instead it was a place for partying as guests from across Blåskog and across the world had gathered today. Having leeway to move around the elven king’s castle.

Wilan himself was in the ballroom of the castle, where many of his guests were dancing along to the music which at the current moment was more rock themed. Not the type he liked, knowing that might scare away some, but rock music nonetheless. He was dressed in a dark gray royal uniform, based around the Blåskovian ceremonial army uniform. All the while having a handgun holstered to his side as well. Though he was looking over towards the guests that were dancing along in the ballroom, he wasn’t really focused on them. Instead simply being lost in thought as he took a sip from his cocktail glass.

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Having traveled half the world for this ceremony, the entire Hlenderian delegation felt that it was a bit of a shame they would come so far merely to be in another icy clime. Even worse, the Blaskovians could look forward to local spring arriving soon – when the Hlenderians returned home, they would only have local winter to look forward to.

Nevertheless, the four representatives of the Commonwealth made the best of it. It was a new experience for all of them save the King, who had once visited Borea on a tour after his own coronation. The Hlenderians sat amongst the other Gondwanan parties. King Yendrin sat in the middle. The Royal Chamberlain, Goshen, sat to his right. Goshen, a longtime friend and confidant of the King, served as something like an adviser, chief-of-staff, and valet rolled into one. To Yendrin’s left sat his daughter, Yendrina, and her husband, Beltē.

The entire company was wearing their “wedding dress”, to use a Hlenderian expression. “Wedding dress”, despite the name, could be worn anywhere that formality was required, regardless of the occasion. King Yendrin, of course, was the most put-together of the group, with an ornate Hlenderian jacket, woven with a deep purple color, over a traditional white collarless shirt. Along the sleeves and around the lapel of the jacket were embroidered patterns indicating birth and lineage, sewn in gilded thread. Around his neck, the king wore a silk scarf that laid over the top of his undershirt.

Goshen and Beltē were dressed similarly, with the former wearing a black jacket and the latter a navy-colored one. All three men wore slacks and leather ankle-boots on their feet. Yendrina, the lone woman in the Hlenderian delegation, wore a woman’s gulenu, to use the local term, in a navy color that matched her husband. Piping on the sleeves and collar of her own jacket matched her father, the King’s, but were instead sewn in silver thread. She wore an ankle-length flowing skirt and black leather boots similar to the others in her party, but with a slight heel. Finally, Yendrina wore on her shoulders the traditional Kwari women’s shawl, knit loosely like a net, with long tassles hanging down and reaching her waist.

All four Hlenderians kept their eyes fixed on Wilan during the ceremony. When he walked by the Nystapi and Noraii leaders, Yendrina thought she could see the two sides arguing with each other, but wasn’t sure. Her briefing pre-departure filled her in on the various resentments and hatreds that had built up between the peoples of Borea over the centuries. It reminded her of home, in a way. To both Yendrina and her husband, the coronation itself was a good show. Neither were very religious. Yendrina, a Councilor representing the Kwari People’s Party, espoused a faith as expected of a KPP legislator, but cared little for ritual. Beltē, the scion of a wealthy Vrotri farming family from the west coast, held his atheism as an open secret.

Goshen, a 60-year-old lifelong political operator, did not make his opinions of the ceremony – if he even had any – known. That left King Yendrin. He greatly admired the pageantry of the coronation, and found the religious aspects most interesting. The local faith, with its talk of spirits and nature, reminded him of the faith of his Mūni citizens. When Wilan drank from a cup filled with bear blood, the similarities between this and his own local animism seemed obvious.

At times like these – events of gravity and solemnity - Yendrin thought of his own wife, Mera. It had been 38 years since her passing. He wished she could have been here with him, and briefly touched her phalange, which he had worn around his neck these past four decades.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, the Hlenderian delegation made their way to Torhall Castle with the other attendees. Yendrina and Beltē grabbed a drink from a passing waiter. King Yendrin asked for a water. Goshen did not want anything. All four stood together while Yendrina and her husband sipped their drinks.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Beltē said. “The dancers were impressive.”

“Blaskog is trying to improve its image,” Goshen intoned. He was reading a program from the coronation. “Like Wilan said, ‘reform’.”

“Goshen is right,” Yendrina said. A light headscarf framed her round face. “The entire ceremony is meant to showcase the positives of Blaskovian culture. It’s necessary. Their war was only two years ago, remember. When I worked with the Bureau of Culture, we had the traveling ‘culture delegates’ a while back. The same idea.”

“Reform. A good goal for this young king,” King Yendrin said with a nod. He picked up his glasses, hanging around his neck by a chain, and placed them on his face.

Beltē saw an orc walk by, and then some kind of humanoid fox. He tried not to stare, but Goshen noticed.

“A multicultural assembly. The new king values diversity.” Beltē said. “Right?”

“That’s the idea,” Goshen said. “We will see how that works out for them.”

Reform, even political reform, the four Hlenderians could get onboard with. Inclusion, though – that was up for debate.

King Yendrin cleared his throat and handed his water to Goshen to hold. “I am going to walk around. Yendrina, come with me. Help your father,”

The last sentence Yendrin meant only half-jokingly. To put people at ease, he recently adopted the slow walk of an old man, and often asked his daughter to hold his arm. Yendrina, aware that being in the spotlight was half the battle when it came to questions of succession, eagerly complied.

The pair began to walk around. First they greeted Wilan, and Yendrin shared words of encouragement regarding the changes in Blaskog. Then, they began to mingle with the crowd at large.

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The Elven Jarlynja of Lapliszna finally was able to change into an outfit more her speed. Which spirits around us know it takes practically forever to-do change out of those dozens layers. Holding a glass of wine in one hand and the other holding a sandwich. Silently being annoyed that she can’t have Ny’Jon carry her food and drink around for her because of some sort of ‘paid vacation’ nonsense.

Nevertheless, in an attempt to avoid the plethora of people trying to speak with her. She approached her absent minded looking brother in hopes that it would scare off the annoying people so she can eat in peace finally. “Wilan, look angry and threatening for me.” She commanded, taking a sip from her glass.

“Hmm? Ah, Esta, you’re here.” Wilan said, still a bit absent mindedly, taking a sip from his glass, narrowing his eyes towards one of the Blåskovian nobles that had wanted to speak with her. With said nobleman being quick to turn around and walk away from the pair as he saw the glare from the king. “Hope you’re enjoying the party at the very least.”

“I’ve been trying to eat in peace but annoying people keep bothering me. So basically starving to death while surrounded with food.” Esta takes a bite from her sandwich, taking a moment to swallow before speaking again. “Plus Ny’Voak and Ny’Jon both took a paid vacation, so I have to carry my own sandwich and wine. It’s awful.”

“Oh the horror. How could you ever handle such a difficult task.” Wilan said in an extremely sarcastic tone, no sense of sympathy to be found in it as he rolled his eyes.

“Oh piss off, this is awful and I shouldn’t have to do it.” His sister gave an annoyed look. Taking another bite from her sandwich, and finishing it off. “Estrid and Jørgen are still preparing. Well Jørgen is still preparing, Estrid was finished thirty minutes ago.” She gave an eye roll. “Also your outfit sucks, it makes you look fat and short.” She had no real reason to add the final comment in, but might as well.

“Esta you still dress up like anime characters, I’m not taking fashion advice from you.” Wilan once more rolled his eyes as he took a sip from his cocktail. His shoulders are much more noticeably relaxed now however compared to earlier. Their banter takes his mind off things. “I was wondering why Estrid wasn’t with you. Though when she does come to the party she will likely introduce you to Jariano.”

“Eh probably, also fuck you I look great in cosplay and second up you should be blessed with my sage council. You need it after what you did.” She gave a bright smile, that was only partly creepy.

He raised an eyebrow at that, he was looking down at her, being much taller compared to his sister. “Want to specify? I’ve done a lot of sinning.” He asked curiously.

“It wasn’t bear’s blood in that cup~” Esta gave a singsong tone, swaying her head with that growing creepy smile on her lips. Reaching up to boop Wilan’s nose, before letting it rest at her side.

He just let out an annoyed groan rubbing the bridge of his nose. “You can be… the absolute worst sometimes, you know that?” He said not at all that surprised that his sister would put something else in the cup. “Had to spend good while trying to get taste of blood from my mouth as well, so fuck you for that.” He took a sip from his glass as he felt the memory of the taste come back.

“Hehehe~” Esta gave a polite giggle, covering her mouth with her hand. “Oh Wilan~ Just to make it all worse for you, it was whatsherface’s blood.” She had to think for a solid moment, “One who married you yeah, that one.”

Wilan gave a quick glare towards her pulling her further away from other people, going towards a corner having her ‘gently’ pinned. “Esta, do not bring that up in the bloody public. Understood?” He said in a firm tone looking down at her. “And for fuck sake stop making me drink sapiant blood, its disgusting.”

“Oh it’s bloody alright.” Esta laughs at her own joke. “Also this is like, the only time I actually got you to drink blood so it’s fine. Won’t do it again or whatever.” She gave an eye roll, not really caring about his annoyance.

“Gods I hate you at times.” He growled out annoyed still having her pinned for a moment before taking a step back, crossing his arms more simply disapprovingly rather than angry. “Just at least don’t mention my ex-wife like that in public, I don’t even care too much that I drank her blood. Just don’t bring that up here.”

“Well, I don’t remember her name so I couldn’t do it anyway.” Esta gave a lazy smile, “So are you going to kiss me or what? We’re in this corner and all other stuff.”

“And risk news headlines about it? Absolutely not.” Wilan took a few more steps back, shaking his head as he leaned his back against the wall, now standing next to her instead of in front of her. “It would be way too big of a scandal.” He took a sip from his cocktail glass again, finishing it.

“Oh you’re no fun.” Esta lazily replies, and rests against the wall. “Don’t you know it’s good luck to kiss your local favorite Akuanist? I’m pretty sure I watch something like that somewhere.”

“You were watching porn.” He said in a flat tone.

“And?” Esta raised an eyebrow, sipping her wine.

The older brother just let out a heavy sigh shaking his head, though a small amused smile came up on his lips.

Esta gave another laugh. “Oh loosen up, it’s a party oh brother of mine. Stop being a lame for like five minutes.” She thinks for a moment. “Hey did you get Ny’Kuil pregnant again?”

“First I’m never lame, and second why do you think she’s pregnant?” He gave a stoic tone as he spoke, masking his surprise that she even knew that Ny’Kuil was pregnant.

“Wait you just stiffen up there, did that thing with your face.” Esta’s smile grew on her face, stepping closer to her brother. “Oh my spirits, she’s actually pregnant isn’t she? I was just saying stuff to piss you off, but she is isn’t she?”

“She isn’t.” Wilan said in a direct lie as he looked down at her as she stepped in front of him, got very close to him.

Esta started to laugh hard, “Oh me, oh my.” She had to cover her mouth to stop from being too loud. “You’re such an awful liar, you know that Wilan. Maybe that works on other people, but I know you. I know how to act, I know what just happen earlier with you stiffening up and acting stoic.”

“You’re being very loud.” He angrily whispers to her. “If you quiet down I’ll tell you, understand?”

She gave a nod, then whispered back. “Was she any good~” His sister just actually whispered and teased him.

“Yes but that’s besides the point, Esta.” He said in an annoyed tone, narrowing his gray eyes at her. “Ny’Kuil told me few hours before the party that she might be pregnant. We don’t know yet until she has been taken to a doctor, which I’ll do next thing tomorrow morning.” He let out a sigh, his sister being best at both getting him to relax but also to stress the fuck out.

“Shaking my head Wilan, your little sister’s mom. Guess we’re both mother fuckers now.” Esta physically shaken her head, placing her hand on her hip. “You call me sinful, how shameful so soon after your ex-wife’s untimely death.” She at least kept whispering.

“Yeah, Yeah. I’m not celibate. Now please, behave for the rest of the party. Okay?” He gave her a firm yet genuine worried look. “Gods, I think I’m gonna have to grab another drink.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“Me too, I’m out.” Esta pointed towards her empty glass. “Usually I have Ny’Jon bring me one before I run out but he’s not here.” She crosses her arm in a pout.

“I’ll get you another glass of red wine, just promise to be a good little sister now.” He said in a tired tone as he held his hand forward for her to give him her glass.

“Sure I will now.” Esta kept a smirk, relaxing against the wall. Still shaking her head playfully, thinking about how just hilarious this whole situation is.

“Behave or I will show Estrid the pictures when you were seven years old and had your entire head shaved.” Wilan said, crossing his arms looking down at her.

“You wouldn’t dare.” Esta stared at him, crossing her arms back at him.

“Try. Me.” He said simply, a small smirk on his lips.

“Hpmh.” Esta gives a pout, looking away from him. “Fine, go get me a drink.”

Grabbing her glass he let out a small chuckle. “Thank you.” He said shaking his head as he walked away with both their glasses in hand.

“Wait wait, before you go.” Esta gave a smirk. “Third time the charm though right? Okay now you may go get me wine.” She just had to get a final word in.

“I hate you.” He muttered out before finally leaving her to get their drinks.

_

“Thank gods, I’m happy to get out of those robes.” Olav muttered to himself as he readjusted his tie as he walked through the castle doors. The Norgsveltian king wore a customized version of his royal uniform, one designed by Jørgen. After he finally relented to the boy’s suggestion to redesign it. Main part redesign was mainly to add more dark purple highlights to the suit, and having the buttons be made out of pure gold. Then as always ensuring the suit was made out of pure Borean silk. The king was thankful they were in Blåskog, first time for everything, since it likely caused a stir If he wore it in the Federation.

Wilhelmina wore a suit as well, similar in design and color, though silver instead of gold buttons for some strange reason the boy wanted. She wrapped her arm around her lovely husband, planting a kiss on his cheek. “Do you think the boy knows that the Federation will still tax you for this?”

“No matter If he does or not, he will be paying for it.” He said with a tired sigh, though a small smile found its way to his lips. He gently rubbed Wilhelmina’s hand as they locked arms. “Surprised you went for a suit instead of a dress, though you look beautiful in it nonetheless.” The two found their way towards the ballroom, to already see there being life and activity there. Though Olav was surprised to hear more rock based music being played on the dance floor rather than typical classical ones at events like these.

“I think it’s the whole Laperousian aesthetic thing he’s been on.” Her ears perked at the music, raising an eyebrow. “Now I’m not against this kind of music or anything. However it does remind me of how Johan was when he got into that whole edgy era of his life.” The queen gave a polite giggle giving a warm pur against her husband’s arm. “Oh those was days, terrible days but still fun to remember.”

“You mean the goth phase that he only stopped following after he met Marie?” He teased a little bit, raising an eyebrow at her as he looked down towards her. “Which I will remind, he got that from you.”

“You say it like it was bad thing~ It got you hooked on me didn’t it?~” Wilhelmina gave a tease back, leaning up but failed to reach his cheek. Thus she pulled on his tie to lower him in order to give him a proper kiss on the cheek. Then pulled away from him, with a smile. “As for Marie, hey look on the brightside. He is very well behaved now and video calls me way more now.”

Olav let out a small chuckle, his cheeks becoming only slightly red being called out like that. “I won’t deny that, I certainly won’t.” He shook his head in amusement before leaning down to give his own kiss, giving her a peck on the forehead. “Well you’re not one who has to deal with Pierre glaring at you.” He said in a joking tone, but there was a tiredness behind it. As he looked over the ballroom he couldn’t help but curiously see Wilan and Esta in the very corner of the room, far away from others.

“Oh please, Mrs. Pierre, both of them love me. I can get away with it.” Wilhelmina gave a tease, playing with Olav’s tie. “Well maybe not honestly but our little brother will pay for it.” She looked around, a servant approaching them to offer them drinks which she warmly took and gave thanks for. Taking a small sip of the glass of wine.

“I think you’re practically loved by everyone, my dear.” He teased, taking a cocktail glass for himself. “No matter how much I try, you still beat me in the approval ratings.” He took a sip from his glass he kept an eye on the corner that the two siblings were at, before seeing the elven king move away from it with an annoyed look in his face. “Seems like Esta might be stirring trouble.” Olav gave a small head nudge towards the direction of Wilan for his wife to see what he was talking about.

“Her father just died very recently, Olav.” Wilhelmina gave a knowing stare towards her husband, as if she was asking him to be polite. “I know you are annoyed by her jokes, but behave yourself. She still grew up as an Akuanist after all.” She gave a polite squeeze to her husband’s arm, taking a sip of her wine with the other.

He wanted very badly to tell her the truth about Esta, he was almost about to do so as well when he opened his mouth. But instead he quickly shut it, as he bit his tongue. Simply giving a nod instead. “You’re right, she likely has it very tough.” He said with a sigh before giving her a warm smile. “How about we give our congratulations to Wilan? He is headed our way anyways.”

Wilhelmina gave a warm smile. “Let’s go meet the new king.” She gave a polite smile, pulling her husband along with her to greet Wilan.

The elven king seemed to be mumbling to himself as he picked up two glasses, one cocktail similar to Olav’s and another with red wine. Though there are usually all formalities involved with royal events, Olav couldn’t help but crack a small joke as the two approached him. “I hope you’re a heavy drinker.” He said in a joking tone.

Wilan rolled his eyes and let out a small chuckle. “The wine is for Esta, she was a bit too lazy to go get one on her own.” He shook his head in amusement, before giving a small bow with his head. “As you can see I don’t exactly have enough hands to give you a handshake.”

“It’s alright dear.” Wilhelmina gave a warm smile, giving a small bow of her own. “Well, when I am feeling lazy. That’s way I married Olav here~” She gave a smile, looking up at her husband with a smirk. “Or have one of the kids bring it.” The kemonomimi gave a shrug.

“It’s why she wanted nine, guaranteed to have one wine bringer.” Olav taunted her back, giving a smirk of his own.

“I wanted more than nine but you wanted to keep it as the holy number.” Wilhelmina taunts back, giving a quick pull of Olav’s tie to lower him down enough to where she can plant a kiss on his cheek.

“That was just an excuse, I just thought we had too many.” He teased further as he let her pull him down.

Wilan chuckled at the couple’s affectionus display. “Handling three is already enough of a bother for me, I can’t imagine how nine will be like.” He said, not noticing his slip up.

“Three?” Olav raised an eyebrow at him. “I thought you only had Eric.”

Wilhelmina tilted her head, looking up at Wilan with a curious look. “Three kids huh? Just wait until you get the fourth, that’s when it gets really difficult.”

“Oh! Well you see, I’ve been looking towards adopting. I thought it would be nice to ensure that Eric has younger siblings to be with.” Wilan said, giving a polite smile, though mentally cursed himself. Almost feeling his mask break at the mention of a fourth kid.

“Ah understand, and I’m certain they will be great siblings for Eric.” Olav said, holding his glass up towards the elven king. “Cheers for both your coronation and for the adoption.”

Wilan let out a small subtle sigh of relief from Olav believing in him, raising his own glass as he smiled. “Thank you.”

“You’re planning on adopting two children right from the start?” Wilhelmina tilted her head, in curiosity. “I didn’t know they did that in Blaskog, unless the children were related.” She also wanted to mention the dead wife thing, however that would in fact be crossing the line.

“Yeah they are related, brother and sister, I thought it would be cruel to separate them from each other.” Wilan explained calmly as he took a sip from his cocktail.

“Oh you already met them? Do you have pictures?” Wilhelmina almost clapped her hands, but remembered she was holding a glass of wine. Though her tone was quite excitable.

“I do but you know, hands are occupied.” Wilan said, gesturing with his head towards his hands.

“Oh I can hold Esta’s glass.” Olav suggested holding out his left hand for the elven king to give the wine glass to him.

“…Thank you.” Wilan had a smile on his face but internally, he was in pain. He gave the wine glass to Olav, as he then used his free hand to pull out his Jotun smartphone. In which, after spending a good moment having to create an album that was safe to share did he give his phone to the excited queen with her while tail swaying around. “Here, it’s only like five pictures of them for now but they are an adorable bunch.”

She took the phone with a massive smile, looking through each and every photo in great detail. Which only causes Wilan to worry even more that she might find something. “They’re just so cute! I bet you can’t wait to give them all tight hugs and kisses.” She showed Olav next up, holding it up for him to look through and scrolled through it herself. “Look, look!”

“Aw, they are adorable when playing in the snow.” Olav smiled warmly looking at the pictures. “They even look similar to you!” He looked towards the elven still smiling warmly, not even meaning anything with it.

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck.’ The elven king thought to himself as he kept his own small polite smile, taking a sip from his cocktail glass before letting out a small chuckle. “Well, part of me did want them to look similar to me. Hoping the familiarity might make it easier for them.” He said in a calm tone as he really hoped the Queen wasn’t one to begin immediately looking through other pictures once they held someone else’s phone. Or better said, he hoped she wasn’t like Esta.

Wilhelmina handed back the phone to Wilan, with a big smile on her face. “They even got your eyes, elven ears too.” She further commented. “Can’t wait to see more of them, I’m certain Jørgen will be interested in seeing more of them. You know how he is, some days I had to fight him just to get our children back when he was babysitting.” She gave a polite laugh, joined in by her husband.

Wilan joined in on the duo’s laughter, shaking his head in amusement. Though he was very very much cursing himself. “That does sound like him, yeah.” He smiled as he then took another sip from his glass, finishing it. The elven king getting himself another. “Now it’s been lovely, but I can’t help but think Esta must be very annoyed by me taking such a long time.”

“Ah we didn’t mean to occupy you too much from having quality time with your sister.” Olav said, giving back the wine glass back to the elven king.

“Oh it’s nothing, it was wonderful talking with you two. And I’m certain we’ll talk again.” He smiled politely as he bowed his head respectfully towards the two of them, before turning around to walk towards the corner of the room that Esta was standing in. Cursing to himself along the way.

(Jointly written with Luna)

Frankly, parties was least favorite part of madame Pierre’s job. She even hated parties when she was younger, which was a rather difficult thing given her secular Akuanist upbring still features quite a bit of social gatherings or events. Much to her disdain, though as an adult she learned to force her way through it all. Usually she have her wife with her in such gatherings but she is at home with their newborn while she stuck politicking in country she much rather burn than celebrate in.

Outside of the two bodyguards always around her, which never leave her side. Even when resting, they stayed near her. An old tradition reserved for FPMs after some unpleasantness in the 1940s and kept being. Her eye spots the real reason why she bothered attending this farce, Prince of Blaskog, Torster. Sitting all alone at a table away from everyone else. She made her way over, not asking permission to sit down across from him.

“Prince Torster.” She gave an angry tone as she always did with her medical condition.

The Prince looked up from the book he was reading, his light blue eyes meeting Pierre’s purple. “Madam Pierre? If you were looking for the king I will have to inform you that he is in the ballroom.” He gave her a polite smile as he closed the book, putting it away. He will be honest he did not expect anyone to seek him out, having gone to the parlor room to avoid all the activity in the ballroom. That and his wife were putting their daughter to sleep. Still while not moving on the dance floor the elven prince was dressed up for it, with an expensive suit with black dress jacket and pants, with dark blue dress shirt.

“I’m not here for him, I’m here for you.” She gave a nod to her two bodyguards to keep a lookout. “How much Frakanic do you speak? My Norgsveltian is not the best for these kinds of situations.” Pierre kept a firm voice, taking a sip of her water.

“I learned it during my time in Osfjord, though I rarely used it when speaking with other Frakanic speakers.” He said in a fluent but heavily accented Frakanic. He kept a curious look towards her. “Now may I ask why you decided to go so far to seek me out? Especially on a day all about my brother.”

“Because you are something different than your average Blaskovian wouldn’t you say?” Pierre kept her furious look towards him. “I read some of your writings from when you was in university in Osfjord, most interesting subject matter on Borean democracy.”

“Depends what one views as the average here.” Torster said in a calm tone. “Ah yes, I wrote quite a bit about it back then. Though I feel like it is a bit subpar now, I think I could write my analysis of autocratic tendencies in East Borea a bit better.” He smiled thinking back on it, he did get amazing grades for it. He was even going to publish a news article about it at Kunstadt News, but he was forbidden by his father. Only ones who saw the news article version was his family, in which only his mother praised him. Though she didn’t exactly care about his writing. He knew that much.

“Well, I believe those living Teieleie would have different understanding as what is average. Though I have a few questions, given your connections with the UPD in Blaskog, what parts of your paper have you put into practice?” Pierre took another sip of her water. “I have seen some parts of your reforms but what parts will be put into practice?”

“Much has been left to be desired as of yet. Though with the broad alliance created between UPD and more hardline conservative forces in the Common Council, me and my brother are on track to pushing for large scale reforms.” Torster was beginning to ponder what the Côtois leader was getting at with these questions, but took it as just a natural element of wanting to know about the details of the reforms. “Main goal at the moment is severely weakening the Royal Council’s powers. There are disagreements about how much, but I’ve been pushing for its complete abolishment. And for all its functions to go to the Common Council, creating an unicameral legislature.”

“So is your brother supportive of the endeavor? Fully and utterly?” Pierre would raise an eyebrow if her condition allowed such. “Are these reforms going to take place only in Blaskog or will it be done elsewhere, such as Teieleie or Lapliszna?”

“My brother is… disputing If some of the Royal Council’s powers should go to the Common Council, or to the Crown. It would be a matter that would require a full rewriting of the constitution. I, him and the government have already been discussing the details of a possible rewrite.” The Prince scratched the back of his head, knowing he will have to keep details hidden. So will have to respond more vaguely than the Federal Prime Minister would otherwise want. “On the matter of Teieleie and Lapliszna, well I cannot promise anything. In the case of the former I doubt the leader my brother chose there would ever move away from the technocratic autocracy there. For the latter, I will be holding contact with the Nystapi PM. Knowing him it will continue having a lot of reforms, but mainly economic and sovereignty based reforms. Rather than democratization,”

“Interesting you say that, but first what powers does your brother believe he should keep in the Royal Council and as for the others in foreign policy department. I heard the most interesting thing, that coke fiend incharge of Gusanaszna mentioned becoming a subsidiary of Blaskog as part of a… Union of sorts.” Pierre took a long sip of her water, placing it onto the table as she stared into Torster’s eyes unflinchingly. “Quite curious indeed, to have such plans made in foreign policy but promise reform within Blaskog. There is an old saying in the Federation, feeding a alligator fish after promising hands will result in both being eaten.”

“I’ve been mainly focused on domestic reform, that is my expertise, Mrs. Pierre.” He said in a more firm tone, though he did let out a small sigh nonetheless. “I cannot give you too many details about the reforms or what my brother wants. That is not my right to give away. What I can best state is that me and my brother have different nations to look up to, I look towards Norgsveldet. He looks towards Kaldrbuth.” He gave a small hint with that, hoping she’d understand what he means.

“In that case, whose vision will be realized yours or his.” Pierre gave a simple response.

“Unless the UPD becomes more dominant in the government, it will be his.” He let out a small sigh. “Now, is the questioning period over?”

“Almost, I just have one last one for you then. What are you willing to-do to have a democratic Blaskog.” Pierre finished her water, crossing her arms under her chest.

“I’d say anything, but that would be a lie. There are some things I hold far too dear to me to risk.” He said firmly, looking back at her.

“Your family will be taken care of and safe.” Pierre simply replied back. Sliding a Jotun smartphone over to him.

The elven prince just fell quiet, his eyes looking down at the smartphone. Reading through it what was written on it. The Prince let out a heavy sigh as he placed his hands on his face for a moment. Before then finally putting it through his long silver white hair, and then grabbed the phone firmly. Pocketing it.

He stood up from the table, looking down towards Pierre. Not saying a word. Small though weak nod with his head before he walked away.

Each step felt heavier than the other.

(Joint post with Norgs and Cowlass)

Kungstad, Blåskog
April 19, 2024

Prince Æthelred and Grimgyð Ealhfriðesdohter walked into the restaurant, accompanied by a couple members of the Tretridian delegation’s security. The prince and the ambassador were both dressed in suits. This was a somewhat formal occasion, but nothing near what would be required in the coronation itself.

The two saw at the corner of the restaurant was the Norgsveltian king and queen, with only a couple NCIS agents guarding them. The king gave the Queen a kiss on the forehead before looking up to see the two Tretridians. With a smile he gestures for the two to join them at the table.

They obliged, walking over to the table. Æthelred smiled and held out a hand to the king.

Olav took the hand, giving him a firm handshake. “Prince Æthelred, it’s been a while. How are you?” He asked warmly.

“I’ve been doing quite well!” Æthelred said. “It’s been far too long since we’ve last met. My father would also like to send his regards, as well.”

Grimgyð gave a tight smile and held out her hand as well. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty.”

“It sure has.” Olav said, giving a nod towards the Prince before letting go of his hand then turning towards the Ambassador. Giving her a firm handshake as well. “Pleasure meeting you as well, Mrs. Ealhfriðesdohter.”

The Queen stood up giving a respectful half-body bow, though such nicety was politely ruined by her stomach growling. She gave an embarrassed look towards the prince, holding her stomach. “Oh sorry, I haven’t ate anything since this morning.” She stayed standing up, with a red blush on her face out of embarrassment.

“It’s great to see you again as well,” Æthelred said. “And hopefully by the time we part ways, we will all be quite well-fed.”

Grimgyð gave a polite nod to the Queen. “Your Majesty, it’s also a pleasure to meet you.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you as well.” Wilhelmina gave a warm polite smile in return, taking her seat at the table.

“I think it would be good for us to get something to eat at least.” Olav said with a small chuckle giving a small smile as he looked down towards his wife. “Don’t want you to starve at least.” He taunted giving her a kiss on the forehead before gesturing towards one of the waiters to come to their table as the two Tredtridians sat down. With their orders being quickly taken before the kemonomimi waiter hurried off towards the kitchen.

“Oh shush you before I steal your plate.” Wilhelmina gave a warm smile back to her husband.

“You’re gonna do that anyways.” He said with a sigh shaking his head before turning his attention towards the two Tretridians. “So how was the trip? With the distance I can’t help but imagine all the hours on the plane to be rather boring.”

“It was alright,” Æthelred said. “The Foreign Ministry gave me some stuff to read on the way to Borea about stuff I should keep in mind, and I also managed to watch a short movie on the way, too.”

“I had a meeting in Aduraszna a couple days ago,” Grimgyð said, “so my flight wasn’t that long. The pretzels were pretty good for airline pretzels.”

Olav raised an eyebrow towards the Prince. “Anything you can share or is it confidential?” He asked, grabbing his coffee cup and taking a sip from it.

“It mainly was about things I probably shouldn’t talk about at the coronation. None of us really want any diplomatic incidents resulting from this. And they also gave some information about the current state of affairs in Borea, in case it gets brought up in conversation. It’s not really anything confidential.”

Grimgyð stayed silent while the Prince said this, but nodded at the end.

“Well, lucky for you the Morstaybishlian King will be at the coronation. So you will not have to be too worried about Mrs. Engebretsen confronting either of you.” Olav said in a half-joking tone but he has heard about the Nystatinne PM recent anger outbursts. At least from what he heard from Ingrid. Which he mainly knows as a result of Wilhelmina’s face calls with their daughter. “She is not pleased about the ICAF controversy.”

“You mean when a bunch of racists decide whole-heartedly cherry picked a manufactured document made by someone who doesn’t speak Nys’tat’en and isn’t from Nystatiszna. Then made some of the most outlandish claims about the country? That controversy?” Wilhelmina wasn’t as angry as Engebretsen or her daughter but she certainly felt it given her homeland has been stereotyped unfavorably for more than a century.

Olav leaned down to give her a kiss on the forehead, pulling her close to him. Trying to make her feel a bit calmer before turning his attention back to the two. “I will say, it would be wise to apologize to either Engebretsen and Ingrid about this. Even if neither of you will get as much scrutiny as Lambertus inevitably will get.” He said in a calm yet serious tone.

“I am not proud of how we handled the whole mess that the ICAF stirred up,” Grimgyð said. “We ought to have known better, quite frankly, than to have stood back and stayed silent like we did. I do believe an apology will probably be necessary.”

“In most other circumstances, I’d probably like to take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Lambertus, but given the current climate I have been advised against it,” Æthelred added. “I do hope that in some way or another the damage done by those elements in the ICAF can be rolled back, but that is likely not an easy task.”

“At the very least I hope Lambertus is informed about the matter, Morstaybishlia’s statement angered many. Not just those in Nystatiszna. I’m half surprised Wilan even invited Lambertus.” Olav said simply taking a sip from his cup once more.

“I don’t know why he even showed up honestly.” Wilhelmina sipped her coffee in deep annoyance. “His kind shouldn’t be invited anywhere near any Akuanist.” She quietly muttered to herself in deep seated anger.

The King gave her another kiss on the forehead, once more trying to calm her. “Wilan is likely just trying his best to improve Blåskog’s image internationally, it makes sense they wouldn’t want to leave Morstaybishlia out.” He explained calmly, giving her a peck on the lips when she tried to make a snarky comment.

“I can understand why Wilan might have invited him, given that he is a major world leader. The part that has proven more unexpected is that he’s actually going instead of just laying low after Morstaybishlia’s statement.” Grimgyð paused briefly. “I hope, for his sake, that he has some sort of plan for how he might try to deal with the damage to Morstaybishlia’s international image. If he doesn’t, he could easily cause another diplomatic incident.”

“My only guess is that it is complete ignorance. It wouldn’t surprise me that the Morstaybishlians might not see the statement as that big of a deal.” Olav said with a sigh. “After all, the only time they have to interact with Borea is if their oil rigs are threatened.” He had a joking smile, but his voice was more judgemental.

“Even more so when they keep our foci in little cages to show off their stolen loot they raped from our spirits.” Wilheimina, unlike Olav, didn’t bother keeping a joking smile and kept to a purely judgemental tone and look.

A brief, somewhat awkward silence ensued before Æthelred changed the topic.

“So, the coronation!” the Prince said. “I know our government is somewhat cautiously optimistic about Wilan’s reformist intents, but with a heavy emphasis on the caution part. Personally, I’d like to see him up close and see what he’s like, and I’ll get plenty of opportunities to do just that tomorrow.”

“Caution is quite wise to have with Blåskog. Even the most optimistic part me can’t help but be… wary.” Olav took a small moment before continuing on. “I’ve met Wilan quite a few times, and though I do think he is genuine in reforming the country. I question how willing Blåskog itself is to change, its issues go deep. And I can’t help but feel that if one is to truly fix it, you have to grab the roots and pull at them. Hard.”

“Prime Minister Æthelstanesunu told me that the intent isn’t as important as the actions that follow, when it comes to reforming regimes,” Æthelred said. “He said that we would only be able to tell what becomes of Wilan’s reforms once he is on the throne and he has the time to carry out his purposes. I do think he is being somewhat cynical with his assessment, but I would agree that caution is quite important here.”

“I think the important part is that the world has yet to see the full extent of what Wilan is willing to do to change Blåskog, Grimgyð said. “As you said, some very deep reforms will need to be committed to in order to change it for the better. There is certainly the possibility that Wilan is able to do all of those things, but it is also very possible that he is unable or unwilling to go that far. Only time will tell if that is the case.”

“Blåskog from its society to institutions needs reform. My optimistic side tells me Wilan is genuine, but it tells me also one major thing.” Olav took a sip from his cup before continuing on. “He would have to do it harshly, it took the Federation heavy handed and despicable actions to change itself to what it is now.” His tone was low as he continued. “I’ll be frank. I think the only way Blåskog will change is if Wilan both have a golden heart but a sociopathic mind.”

“Perhaps the Federation might have gone too heavy handed in certain aspects regarding murdering babies, the disabled and the re-.” Olav wasn’t quick enough to quiet Wilhelmina down fully with a kiss but did hold her closely to stop it from going too far. The queen gave a warm pur against the king.

Grimgyð gave an expression that was half smile, half grimace. “Well, if he goes that far, we’ll probably hear about it.”

“We sure will.” Olav said with a slow nod, his own facial expression showing clear emotion of somber and stoicism. That was only broken by a kiss on his cheek from his wife, with her gesturing that the waiter was coming their way. “Ah, it seems like our food is here.” He had a warm smile as the waiter handed their food. “Well, I think we can keep politics at the minimum while we eat?” The king said as he already began digging into his steak.

Wilhelmina picked on Olav’s very polite message to maintain her ‘politeness’ on such things. Her meal was a grilled fish placed in front of her, with a side of a bowl of rice mixed with special sauce. She took a moment to thank the spirits for gracing them another day of living and food before digging in with her wooden chop-sticks. Eagerly taking a bite of her grilled fish, giving a warm purs as she ate.

Æthelred got a porkchop with some risotto on the side. He dug into the pork a bit before trying the risotto. They were both pretty good. Grimgyð got some roast beef with carrots, onions, and potatoes on the side. She started eating a couple bites, before patting her mouth down with a napkin and drinking some water.

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