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Conference in Reval


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[quote]To the Sovereign of the United Swiss Canton

Guten Tag, Herr Lucksinger. First, I'd like to personally congratulate you on your expedient establishment of an organized and independent Swiss state. It is good to see Switzerland emerge once more as a free country; I extend my hope that yours will be more rational and enduring than the previous regime. I understand that the first years are some of the most trying for newly-sovereign nations, but if you find the time, I'd like to invite you to speak with me at Kadriorg Palace in Reval. As we are both young offshoots of the Germanic Union, I believe we have some topics to discuss together, and I do hope that you will find the time to meet with me at the earliest possible convenience. I look forward to your reply.

Alaric I von Ösel
King of Kurland[/quote]

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Lukas Lucksinger arrived from the USC early two days later, and was driven to Kadriorg Palace after a short break for breakfast. This trip was his first outside of the country in several years and he was quite happy to experience some non-Swiss food for the first time in a while. His flight, while short, was done quite too early for his liking and he would make sure to schedule a nighttime meeting the next go round.

Edited by Morituri te Salutant
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Lucksinger was escorted to Kadriorg by a pair of plainclothes Kurlandic Raiders (Oberstleutnant Wolf Weiman and Major Gunnar Kästner, two of the senior members of the King's Guards) driving an armored Greenride Harmony sedan, which slightly resembled a mix between a Ford Fusion and a Honda Accord Coupe, one of the increasingly-common vehicles made of hemp fiber and ran on hemp oil. The ride from Ülemiste Airport to Kadriorg took around half an hour on account of the traffic from local citizens on their way to work, time which the Raiders (primarily Major Kästner) engaged in small talk with Lucksinger and whatever escort he may have brought. He talked about the Harmony's makeup and fuel economy ("They say it runs a car as well as it smokes...and they're right!"), the USC's establishment ("Leader of the United Swiss Canton, eh? And what's your title?"), alcohol ("Try the kvass, it tastes brilliant. Or go for the Jägermeister, if you're not feeling adventurous.") and recommended some Kurlandic cuisine- a mesh of German, Swedish, Russian, Estonian, and Latvian dishes ("I can't say I care for the Finnic foods, but the Janssons frestele is to die for.") Weiman stayed quiet through most of the ride, concentrating on the heavy Reval traffic. They stopped briefly at a 'Cultural Experience' restaurant, a Kurlandic restaurant that served dishes from across the region.

The Harmony was stopped at a security checkpoint on the perimeter of the palace grounds. Lt. Col. Weiman, the driver, flashed his ID to the guard, who then waved them through the gate. He pulled around the gardens to the entryway of Kadriorg Palace, and Major Kästner got out of the car to open the door for Lucksinger. A uniformed Raider standing by the door trotted over to the sedan as Weiman exited it and escorted the Swiss delegates with Kästner into the palace.

Lucksinger would be met by two columns of Raiders in dress blacks, facing each other with their sabers drawn and crossed in an arc. As the Swiss began to walk through the arc, Kästner and Weiman stepped to the side and hurried ahead of them and around the other Raiders, coming to a stop on the other side, flanking King Alaric, Chancellor Konstantin Tolkien, and Foreign Minister Alfbern Landau. The latter's face was lined with stress, his eyes looked tired, and his face bore a worried expression, a look that had appeared since the Kurlandic elections and approval poll had shown high levels of dissatisfaction with Landau's work.

Weiman whispered something to the king, who nodded and waved his hand dismissively. When Lucksinger had gotten through the procession, Alaric smiled broadly and extended his hand. "Ah, Herr Lucksinger, it is good to meet you in person at last. I trust you are well? I am Alaric von Ösel, elected king of Kurland. This is Konstantin Tolkien, the new Chancellor of Kurland-" Konstantin grinned and shook Lucksinger's hand "-and my foreign minister, Alfbern Landau." The minister nodded curtly, keeping his hands in his suit pockets. "Oberstleutnant Weiman tells me you have already stopped for breakfast, so why don't we head on up to the conference room? I'll have some coffee and tea sent up to us."

Weiman and Kästner led the politicians to the conference room, which was located on the second floor and on the northwestern corner of the palace. The room was sparsely furnished, with a short, rectangular conference table, a desk in the corner with a PC that was hooked up to a projector that faced a plain white wall, a liquor cabinet, and a sofa under a bay window. Alaric took a seat at the head of the conference table, and gestured for Lucksinger to sit to his left, while Konstantin sat to his right. Minister Landau occupied the squishy office chair in front of the desk and turned away for a moment; a keen eye would notice a glint of silver as he took a swig from a hip flask. The guards watched everyone take their places, and exited when Alaric gave a slight nod, taking up posts on either side of the door.

Alaric's secretary, Alexia, showed up shortly after with a tray bearing coffee, tea, and some pastries. She set them down at the center of the group, winked at Alaric, and exited without a word. Konstantin raised an eyebrow and glanced at the king, who shrugged noncommittally and poured himself a cup of coffee. "So, Herr Lucksinger, I assume all is well in the Alps? I spent a weekend in the Austrian Alps a couple of years ago, absolutely breathtaking. A much more dramatic landscape than that of Kurland, but I hope you can appreciate the natural beauty of my home." Alaric added some cream and a spoonful of raw sugar into his coffee and stirred absently as he spoke. "Failing that, you can appreciate the architecture. Kurlandic cities are a melting pot of German, Scandinavian, Russian, and Baltic styles; this very palace was built for Czarina Catherine I Romanov in the eighteenth century. Hard to believe it used to be a small manor at one point."

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