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Thread: [M/IC] Knight takes queen (Angel and Naming)

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    Default [M/IC] Knight takes queen (Angel and Naming)

    Not everyone got to see their doom approaching, Natalia thought.

    The princess and current successor to the Remilio crown was currently located on the palace balcony attached to her room, where she was trying to relax and enjoy the morning sunlight. On most days she felt a great sense of peace standing there, sweeping her gaze out over the city. The way that the capital's residents scurried back and forth like ants as they went about their daily business felt like a constant reminder that life goes on, and that little would stand in the way of progress.

    Today, however, was an entirely different story. Her attention was turned not to the city down below, but further outwards - beyond the large stone walls that marked the city limits. To the furthest reaches of her vision, just before the horizon, where a growing black smudge marred the otherwise perfect landscape. A black smudge that detonated the presence of a hostile army, and reminded Natalia of the looming destruction that awaited she and the rest of her people. An enemy force that had ignored numerous requests for peace treaties, made widows of thousands of Remilio women, and swallowed up her brother.

    Once upon a time, Natalia had wished to be down there, with the townspeople. To run amongst them as a dirty street urchin, in a place where nobody would recognise her. To play with the other children, with no concerns beyond making sure she was home in time for supper. She still wished to be amongst them now, though for entirely different reasons.

    I should be down there, helping the people prepare. Tending to the injured, or helping the city guard prepare for the attack. Not stuck up here like a caged animal, waiting to be slaughtered

    Gripping the railing so tightly that her knuckles turned white, the crown princess would linger for a few moments longer, before a sharp knock would distract her. She would finally tear herself away from the dreadful sight before her eyes, half-turning away from the balcony and back towards the interior of her room. She was just in time to see the door creak open, and watch her handmaiden slip inside.

    “Celia”

    The girl would give a respectful curtsey at the mention of her name, dipping her head in tandem, as etiquette demanded. She had changed much in the short time that she had been working for Natalia – transforming from a shy girl who was barely able to speak in the presence of others into a grown woman, highly capable, and trusted enough to carry the princess’ messages. Despite the fact that Natalia was several years her elder, the two of them had become friends as close as the social barrier between them would allow. She did seem slightly on edge, but such was commonplace these days – everyone was worried, given the current state of the war.

    “Good morning, lady Natalia. I come bearing a message from the king. He wishes to speak to you before he holds council this morning” she said, speaking clearly as she straightened up. For her part, Natalia simply nodded in agreement – it was a common enough request, and otherwise unsurprising, given the current state of the city’s affairs.

    “Very well. Come, do my hair and help me dress, and we shall go see him immediately” she would answer rather simply, moving across to seat herself before her dressing table. Celia was quick to comply, and quickly set about her task. Natalia was quick to strike up a conversation, asking after the girl’s aspiring partner in an attempt to distract her from her worries. It was a common topic as of late, and her efforts seemed to be rewarded with some superficial level of success.

    It was only after she was presentable that Natalia would set out in search of her father. At this time of day he was probably waiting either in the chambers where he met with his advisors, or the throne room itself. Regardless, if he wished to see her, then the sooner the better.

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    The morning had started out as most did with Damarus reliving the night crew. Her tavern was open around the clock to account for the strange hours that soldiers usually worked and for the travelers who came into town late. The last couple weeks there had been far less customers than normal because of the war. Many of the city's soldiers had be sent out to the front to defend the capital. Leaving those customers left behind to be made up of older retired soldiers and travelers. Right now it was the former who made up the bar. Damarus walked down the bar saying good morning to Franklin the night time bar tender. She was early and Maria the day bar tender hadn't arrived yet. “You can go ahead and call it a night. I'll hold the fort down until Maria gets her.” Damarus said.

    “Thanks boss.” Franklin said. Dropping a rag on the counter and walking around the bar to the door, grabbing his coat on the way.

    Damarus went about opening the tavern up for the morning, starting with counting the cash box from the night. Once she was done she would take the extra money upstairs and to the safe she kept in her home above the bar. The bell on the door chimed signaling that someone was coming in. She noticed a young Lieutenant holding the door for Maria. The blonde woman walked behind the counter waving hi to Damarus before walking over to a gruff old soldier sitting at the end of the bar with an empty glass. She started filling it getting a chuckle from the soldier. “About time Maria, I thought I was going to die of thirst.” The gruff old man said, casting a playful glare to Damarus.

    “You just barely finished your drink Wentworth, and besides Mrs. Wentworth would have my ass if I sent you home drunk at such an early hour.” Damarus said, laughing. The Lieutenant walked over her direction stopping and looking around the bar. She had never seen him before and he looked to be very new in his position. Just having that air of inexperience about him. “What can I get you Lieutenant?” Damarus said, setting the cash box back under the counter.

    “I'm looking for Major Samira, I have been told he owns this establishment.” The Lieutenant said, still looking around focusing on the many suits of armor hanging on the walls and not really paying much attention to Damarus.

    “What business do you have with the Major?” Damarus said, shooting Maria a smirk as she looked about to say something.

    “I have a message from the king.” The Lieutenant said, his eyes looking to the back door leading to the employee areas. “So why don't you go get your boss for me?” His tone dismissive.

    “The Major isn't available right now. You can leave your message with me and I'll make sure he gets it.” Damarus said, realizing this lieutenant was so green that he didn't know anything about her. True she had been retired for a couple of years but she was still well known through the army.

    “Afraid not, I have instructions only to give it to the Major.” The Lieutenant said, “I'll just wait here until he arrives.”

    “It might be a while before he arrives.” Damarus said, causing Wentworth to let out a loud laugh keying her in on the fact he had been eavesdropping. She reached over for a bottle of a wine and a glass pouring it then setting it in front of the Lieutenant. “Perhaps a drink while you wait. On the house of course, only our finest for a kingsman. Tell me what do you know about the Major?”

    “Don't mind if I do.” The Lieutenant said, picking the glass up and taking a drink, “Only that he is one of the fiercest warriors ever to serve the king, with a military mind unseen of before.”

    “Yes, yes we've all heard the stories but do you know what he looks like? Must be quite impressive.” Damarus said, leading him on.

    “I've been told he has fiery red hair and a long scar across his face.” The Lieutenant said.

    “Then you'd recognize him without a doubt the moment you saw him?” Damarus said.

    “Certainly.” The Lieutenant said, as he continued to watch the door.

    Wentworth's laughter grew even louder until he finally stood up and walked over to the Lieutenant slapping him on the shoulder. “Damnit woman stop playing with the boy.” He said, forcing the Lieutenant to look at Damarus. “Son, you've been talking with the Major for the last ten minutes. Didn't anyone tell you Major Samira was a woman? Bet the boys back are barracks are having quite a laugh. Eh, Damarus?”

    “Uhm Major forgive me.” The Lieutenant stuttered, handing her the letter. She lightly laughed taking the envelope from him and looking at it. With the news of the war she was wondering how long it would be before she received a letter like this one. She didn't have to open it to know what it said. She was being summoned back to active duty. Breaking the royal seal she opened it and read it finding it was a summons from the king requesting to see her at once. “Ma'am I'm to escort you to the palace.”

    “Yes, give me a moment to change.” Damarus said, turning to Maria, “Keep an eye on the place I don't know when I will be back and don't let this one go home drunk.” She pointed to Wentworth.

    “Lass, if I were a younger man I'd be marching out that door right beside you.” Wentworth said, also having an idea what was in the letter.

    She headed back upstairs and opened her closet finding her uniform hanging up along with her clothes. She hadn't worn it in so long but it was still kept in perfect order. It didn't take long for her to put it on standing before a mirror and adjusting the blue and red jacket. With it she wore a pair of white trousers and black knee high boots. The uniform was finished off with a matching tricorn hat. Satisfied that she was presentable for a king she headed back downstairs and accompanied the Lieutenant to the palace.


    I won’t pretend that I don’t feel the way I feel. I can’t forget the taste of something that’s real. Step into my closet and maybe you’ll find something that’ll scare you, something that you like. Your old familiar logic is poison on your lips, it’s nothing in the water that’s just the way it is.


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    The atmosphere was somewhat tense as Natalia and her handmaiden strolled through the castle's hallways, heading towards her father's audience chamber. On the most superficial levels, everything seemed the same as it always had - the same pictures lined the walls, and the same lavish carpets resided underfoot. The colours and artistry that made up the architecture were the same, as was the layout of the hallways themselves.

    Despite all this, though, there was certainly something different. The looming threat of invasion hung over the palace like a poisonous cloud, stifling and choking the residents within. The same servants who had once laughed and waved at each other as they passed, going about their various tasks, were largely silent. Those who spoke did so in hushed voices, and even those would fall silent as Natalia drew near. They would offer her simple greetings and acknowledgement, but otherwise only resume their chatter once she had passed. Had she the time, Natalia would have wished to stay and chat with them, to try and lift their spirits in whatever small way she could. Today, however, the princess would simply forge onward - she had other matters to attend too, unfortunately.

    The silence would drag as Natalia and her handmaiden continued their walk, moving at a none-too-leisurely pace. Before long they would come upon the throne room itself, slipping inside the main entrance without any sort of hesitation.

    They were greeted by a large meeting hall, much longer than it was wide. A thick carpet ran down the centre of the room, tracing the path from the door to the throne. It was lined on either side by large columns and pillars, each bearing a number of symbols and images, that had been carved into the stone itself - the history of the Remilio kingdom's former kings, told in pictograph form. The walls to either side were covered with tapestries arranged to similar effect. At the far end of the room the throne sat atop a dias, with several steps leading from the ground up to its feet. The throne itself was an impressive thing, too large for even the bulkiest man to fill. It was constructed mostly of silver, swirled through with the occasional streak of gold.

    Once upon a time, Natalia had found it an impressive sight, worthy of reverence. Now she simply found it vain and distasteful, a prize that she had never coveted, but had been given to her nonetheless.

    At this particular time the throne room was almost totally empty, with the only exception being a handful of guards, positioned at the various doorways and entrances. The throne itself sat vacant, telling Natalia all she needed to know. Without any further delay, she would stride towards a small door tucked away to the left of the dias - one which led to her father's council chambers, where he usually deigned to meet with his advisers. Natalia would approach the door and knock, and it was promptly pulled open from within by a guard in full uniform.

    Natalia strode inside, and was greeted by the sight of some eight people scattered around a table. They were all of different builds and genders, but Natalia recognised them all. The discussion they had been having previously quickly died out as the king took notice of her arrival, and all the other advisers turned their eyes towards her. Her father - a portly man with adorned with a small crown that matched the throne - was the first to speak.

    "Thank you, Celia"

    Able to recognise the dismissal as it came, Natalia's handmaiden was quick to curtsy, before retreating back the way she had come. As soon as she had pulled the door closed behind her, the king would turn his attention back to the rest of the group.

    "I would speak to my daughter alone" he offered rather simply. His tone was quiet, but forceful - the sort that brooked no argument.

    "My lord, we still need to settle the issue of-" one of the braver advisers started, only to be cut off mid sentence.

    "Get out!"

    They were quick to scurry from the room then, not so much as bothering to tuck in their chairs as they hurried from the door. Only Natalia remained motionless, staying put until they were the only two left in the room.

    "Ingrates. I try and do what is best for this kingdom and all they do is argue and complain, trying to sway me to the course of action that will best line their pockets" he muttered. Natalia frowned, but remained silent.

    ""I tried sending another peace emissary out there today. They were slaughtered as soon as they got within bowshot" he stated rather simply. His voice was softer now, almost mournful. Even as he spoke, the king directed his gaze back to the table - or rather, the scattered collection of maps and documents that lay strewn across it, covered in notes and markings. Recordings of things like troop counts, army movement, and messages from scouts in the field. Natalia would give only a simple nod in the way of a reply. He refused to meet Natalia's eye - something she took as a very bad sign.

    "I've decided to send you away"

    Those simple words brought about a strange mix of emotions in Natalia. Hope that she might escape. Disgust that she was so delighted by the chance to save her own skin, when her countrymen would not be given the same chance. Fear of what would come after. For the most part, she simply felt as if she had been punched in the gut.

    "Y-you can't!" she said. The king did lift his eyes to meet hers this time, but Natalia continued, despite the withering glare that he gave her.

    "What was it that you told me when you said I must take the throne? All that talk about how I must do my duty, sacrifice for the good of my people. Yet now you think to send me away, while they stay behind to die?" she questioned. Her tone was offended, accusatory.

    "I will not slink away with my tail between my legs whilst others fight on my behalf" she practically growled, stepping towards the table and reaching out to place a hand on its surface. The king's reaction was an unexpected one - a wry smile, and a gaze filled with sorrow.

    "Ah, how much you remind me of your mother. You are more her child than mine, I should think"

    That took the wind out of Natalia's sails. She faltered for just a brief moment. Was her father being honest, or was he merely speaking to try and disarm her?

    "The matter is not up for debate. You know as well as I do that the line of Remilio must continue, no matter the cost."

    "I...you do not even allow me to help the townspeople prepare, confining me to the palace instead. Yet now you think to send me out into the wild, alone?" Natalia would ask, much less aggressively than before.

    "Of course not" the man snorted, despite the seriousness of their discussion. "I've arranged for an escort. We will discuss the specifics as soon as they arrive" the man finished rather simply.

    I should have known... Natalia thought to herself. She would take a few quick steps towards the nearest chair, before promptly lowering herself into it. She would rub her forehead with one hand idly as she tried to digest this information, and sort out the strange cacophony of feelings that the news brought about.

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    When they arrived at the palace there was more guards there than usual but that was to be expected with the war. They were stopped at the gate house, the Lieutenant with Damarus produced a stack of papers from his coat ready to present them at the guard there but he barely had the chance to pull them out. The guard at the gate was a young man that was out shadowed by a woman about the same age Damarus. She clasped her hands with Damarus then pulled her into a good hug, paying no attention to the Lieutenant. “Long time no see Damarus and even longer since I've seen you in this get up. I've gotten used to seeing you at the end of that bar. Didn't think I would ever see you in that uniform again.”

    “To be honest Hazel, I never thought I would be in it either.” Damarus said, looking over to the Lieutenant who was still intent on showing the young guard his papers. Hazel looked like she was about to say something but Damarus held her hand up waving her off. “Leave him alone he's helpless besides it will give us a minute to talk. Hazel what are you doing here? I figured you would be one of the first to volunteer for the front.”

    “I did and was denied.” Hazel said, taking a step back showing that she walked with a limp and had to use the aid of a cane. “Took a bullet to the leg down south about six months ago, got me put on reserve duty. The wound isn't healing as well as the doctors hoped. But it's an honor to be part of the home guard. Least they keep telling me. But enough about me, take a look at you, where are they sending you?”

    “I don't know. I just received a summons from the King. No idea what my orders are going to be.” Damarus said, tugging on the jacket. It still fit but felt strange to be wearing. Really Damarus didn't know what she wanted. Did she want to return to battle? Retirement had been nice but she had to admit she was bored at times.

    “Well best not to keep the King waiting.” Hazel said, waving to the guard who was looking at the papers the Lieutenant had thrust at him confused. The young man handed the papers back telling the Lieutenant everything was in order then opening the gate for them.

    Damarus shook Hazel's hand then entered following behind the Lieutenant letting him lead the way. He was taking the long way to the throne room but she didn't say anything to him about it. She had spent enough time wandering the halls of the palace to know every little shortcut. Finally they made it to the throne room and Damarus was surprised to see it so empty. Normally it was full of people wanting to have an audience with the King. The war was keeping the people away both with them afraid to travel and the royal guard against open court as it was too great a threat. The Lieutenant lead Damarus to a small room off to the side that was used for dignitaries to wait until it was their turn. “Major, please wait here until the King summons you. He's in a closed door meeting with the council.” He said, then left the room.

    There wasn't anyone else in the room, it was decorated with a number of chairs around the walls. Paintings lined the walls, some were of the landscapes around the kingdom, others were of battles fought in years past. She spent sometime in the room waiting, moving from painting to painting admiring each one. She current was looking at one that was of a waterfall deep in the forest. The Astra Falls, Damarus had been there once before thinking that the artist had done a wonderful job on the painting but it didn't compare to the real thing. The door opened with an aid standing there, “Major, his Majesty has requested your presence.” The aid said.

    Damarus nodded then followed the aid back into the throne room and behind the throne. Most had no idea that this room existed. It was positioned next to a hallway leading away from the throne room to the King's private halls. The door to the room looked just like all the other panels in the room, hidden from sight. The aid opened the door but didn't enter instead gesturing for Damarus to enter. The door was quickly shut behind her. She walked across the room stopping a few feet before the King and kneeling her head bowed. The only people in the room were the King and his daughter. Damarus had seen the young woman before but it had been several years since she last saw her. She had aged and gone from a young girl to a young woman. “Your Majesty, Princess.” She said addressing them both, keeping her head low and still kneeling waiting to be granted permission to rise.


    I won’t pretend that I don’t feel the way I feel. I can’t forget the taste of something that’s real. Step into my closet and maybe you’ll find something that’ll scare you, something that you like. Your old familiar logic is poison on your lips, it’s nothing in the water that’s just the way it is.


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    With her initial objections promptly curbed, the princess would fall into something resembling a sullen silence as she tried to arrange her thoughts. Folding both of her arms across her chest, she would turn and take a few steps away from the table - not in an attempt to leave the room, but just to give herself a little bit of space. The gesture was less of a conscious attempt to show her displeasure, and more the idle actions of one whose attention was elsewhere. She would ponder the issue in silence for several moments, before another would strike her. A simple fact that she had overlooked during her initial tirade, that was even more concerning than the idea of being sent away from her people during their hour of need.

    "If you're sending me away, what of yourself?" Natalia finally asked, half-turning to face the king again. He met her gaze, as calm and composed as ever, before finally gesturing to the chairs scattered about the sides of the table - namely, those just a few positions away from his own. Close enough for them to converse civilly, without raising their voices, but far enough to ensure that he would not try to embrace her or anything of the sort. A teary and heartfelt farewell was the further thing from the king's mind at the moment, despite the obvious implications of the question he had just been asked. This was still a formal meeting, first and foremost, despite the bonds of blood they might share.

    "Sit" he said simply, with the tone of a man who was used to being obeyed. There was no doubt in Natalia's mind that it was less a request or invitation, and more an order. Given her current mood, the princess was hardly inclined towards obedience. The rational part of her brain, however, knew that she would not get the answers she sought unless she complied. Even as she weighed up her options, the man repeated himself, more forcefully this time. Slowly. she would step forward and slip into one of the vacant chairs.

    “I’m staying”

    This admission was met by an immediate cry of outrage from the princess, but the king was quick to silence her, raising a hand to forestall any words of protest.

    “I am the one who has led our people to ruin. I will not abandon them” he added simply, his words striking a familiar chord. After all, Natalia had said much the same thing just a few moments earlier.

    “So its okay for me to flee the city and abandon our people, but not you?” she questioned, voice cracking slightly. Even the girl raised from birth to be the perfect noble couldn’t remain calm in the face of her father’s demise.

    “I am the one who marched our armies to the border. I am the one who turned thousands of our people into widows and orphans. I am the one who sent your brother to death”

    “We don’t know that” Natalia hastily added, hands unconsciously clenching into fists.

    “Regardless, my point remains the same. I am the one who wears the crown, not you. Besides, I doubt any of the civilians out there would begrudge me the chance to save my daughter”

    “They’ll kill you” Natalia would point out simply. The girl was trying to maintain her calm, but it was very much a losing battle.

    “Possibly, yes” she answered, giving a sudden shrug – a surprisingly nonchalant gesture from one normally so formal, and a man expecting to die.

    “Our enemies know me. This war will not end until I have been dragged before their king. If I run, they will pursue me like dogs loosed on a fleeing criminal. In the chaos of the attack, though…there is a chance you will be overlooked. A slim chance, but it is the only hope I allow myself” he would finish rather simply. Natalia didn’t have a good answer for that, and leaned back into her chair for a moment, eyes downcast.

    “I have to know why he did it, Natalia”

    That drew her attention back again. She looked up to find her father with both hands clasped before him, a small frown plastering his features.

    “I hope that they will take me before Lord Gristone. I want to look him in the eye, and hear from the man himself why they broke our peace treaty and attacked us”

    Before the princess could muster any sort of a response, the two of them were interrupted by a sudden knock on the door. King and princess both looked up together, only to see one of their aides poke his head in the door.

    "The major has arrived, your majesty" the man commented quickly, to which the king nodded in simple acceptance.

    "Send her in immediately" he responded rather simply, at which the aide simply nodded and withdrew. The two royals would spend a moment in silence then, throwing an idle glance at each other, before watching as the major let herself into the room. The princess eyed Damarus in silence, silently suspecting what was to come. Natalia remembered little of their past meetings, considering how little she had been at the time, but had heard mention of her name plenty of times before.

    "Rise" the king stated gruffly, and softening he had showed just moments earlier having vanished as soon as the major had entered the room. The princess herself stayed relatively silent, but her displeasure radiated off her like heat. With her legs crossed politely and her arms folded across her chest, she watched the two in abject silence.

    "Thank you for coming so quickly, Major. I'm afraid have a task for you" he stated rather simply, getting straight to the point.

    "I didn't want to drag you out of retirement, but with an attack looming, you would have likely been forced out of it one way or another in the coming days. I thought to offer you a chance to do so on your own terms, before that happens" he continued. Straight to the point, it seemed. No room for polite formalities or frivolous small talk here. He seemed to think that, as a former military officer, Damarus would appreciate the direct approach.

    "No father wishes to see harm befall his daughter, and I doubt it will surprise you to hear that I am no exception. I wish to send my daughter away, to safer corners of the world than here, just in case the worst should come to pass. It is also my wish that you escort her" he answered simply. That was hardly the whole of what he had to say on the matter, but the man would pause there nonetheless, to give her time to digest this information and formulate whatever response she wished.

  6. #6
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    Standing Damarus moved to a formal position, standing up straight as she listened to the king. She could feel the tension between the King and his daughter. Though it wasn't until he spoke that she understood why. He was sending his daughter away from the fighting. Things in the country were bad, Damarus wasn't blind to the state of the war. It wasn't uncommon for nobles and royals to send their children away. Several nobles had approached her in the last six months wishing to contract her to see their children to safety. She had turned each of them down. Not only was she retired but she was a soldier not a babysitter. Yet here was the king asking her to do just that. When she had joined the army she had agreed to serve her country no matter what. “I serve at the crown's pleasure.” Damarus said, giving a light bow to the king then looking over to the princess.

    Her time spent in the royal guard had taught her that once the king had made up his mind there was no changing it. Somehow she felt that there may be somethings the princess could change his mind on her safety wasn't one of them. “Give me half a day to acquire provisions and plot a route. I would assume you don't wish know where we are heading for security reasons?” Damarus said, already thinking of places they could go. The goal would be to get to a neutral zone somewhere they could hide until things blew over.


    I won’t pretend that I don’t feel the way I feel. I can’t forget the taste of something that’s real. Step into my closet and maybe you’ll find something that’ll scare you, something that you like. Your old familiar logic is poison on your lips, it’s nothing in the water that’s just the way it is.


  7. #7
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    If the king was surprised by Damarus' immediate acceptance of the task he had given her, then he did an admirable job at masking it. He accepted her sudden declaration of allegiance with nothing more than a simple nod, if such was the only possible outcome regardless. He silently appreciated how quickly she set about sizing up the task at hand, though the man expected nothing less given who he was speaking with. The princess was a little more surprised by the way the retired soldier agreed to return to active duty, but did an admirable job of masking her shock - as was befitting of royalty.

    "That is correct. I would suggest that you head to the capital city of one of our allies. A good number of them should recognise Natalia, and that alone may be enough for them to grant you sanctuary. The decision remains yours, however" he would remark simply, lacing his fingers together as he scrutinized the captain from across the table.

    "You have leave to pilfer the castle's stores as much as you wish to prepare. Take whatever you require from the armoury, treasury, and stables. I'd rather you two put it to use than leave it to be appropriated" he would finish rather simply, before throwing a brief glance across to his daughter.

    "You're to do the same, Natalia. Spend what little time you have preparing for the journey, as it appears you'll be leaving sooner rather than later" he afforded. The princess' frown lingered, but she would nod in simple acceptance of this order regardless.

    "Yes, father"

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