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Machinations in the Autumn Mist


Evangeline Anovilis
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In an envelope that had turned beige to yellow already, from its time in the humid atmosphere, sealed with the coat of arms of the Free Republic, a letter would arrive at the Baron Dusk's manor...

[quote]
To the esteemed Baron, Sir Jonathan Dusk,

In the name of the Ontario Republic, your neighbour to the Southeast, I would ask you, to please consider opening diplomatic relations between our countries. While the Free Republic of Ontario is styling itself as such and while Sleepy Hollow is on territory formerly part of Ontario, we do not long for acting in any hostile or aggressive manner, aiming at reunion with our country, but we do hope, the people and their Baron of Sleepy Hollow have not forgotten these ties and thus, it should be in our mutual interest to work on closer cooperation, to lay the foundations for a mutually brighter future.

To this end, the Free Republic of Ontario, would seek out to send one of our most gifted experts to your country, to negotiate in the name of our people, a treaty to clear the way, so that our future interactions will be built on solid grounds. If the Baron and his people agree, that is. We would think, a country like Sleepy Hollow can profit in many ways from closer ties with Ontario, just as we can profit from such ties with Sleepy Hollow. Thus, Baron Dusk, I would additionally, to cement the bond between our people, send aforementioned expert, not only for the duration of the negotiations, but as a lasting commitment of Ontario to its Northern Brothers and Sisters, as an ambassador, as well as an advisor, and token of goodwill.

Should you agree to our offer, we could arrange for this agreement, as soon as possible. We leave it with you, to decide, to take the next step, in accepting or declining our offer, though, we would be quite saddened to see Sleepy Hollow be already this alienated from our common past.

With regards,

[i][font=Lucida Calligraphy]Rosa Christopher[/font][/i],

[b]President of the Free Republic of Ontario[/b]
[/quote]

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[quote]
Madame President Rosa Christopher,

There are times when peoples have the duty to themselves and those unborn that will live after them to form a new type of government that will serve them and protect what they cherish and value. That even if it means confrontation, thrown blows, or total war they will make sure that the most basic human invention, government, is to their liking so that all other every-day functions of that society may go on without molestation. This Sleepy Hollow has of course completed that mission and achieved self-governance with a now fully functional government and growing military to serve the needs of the people and satisfy their few international interests. Nowhere among those duties and theories does it say, however, that we must forget our neighbors or brethren who may have taken a different path.

Sleepy Hollow is trying to keep a policy of Global Neutrality and semi-isolation to protect the people that reside within the borders of this Hollow - however I personally and politically do confirm that the Free Republic of Ontario is not a nation that must be kept away at arm's length. You, our neighbor, is more then welcome to send representatives or diplomats to Thunder Bay to speak with yours-truly so long as they come unarmed and without any aircraft or motor-vehicles. These are not steps to ensure isolation, may I add, but they are steps to ensure that your expert seems as much as an insider as possible. In addition to their visit, I would be more then welcome to have a foreigner advise me in times of trouble so long as we first agree on a formal and lasting treaty to unite our nations, maybe not totally, but at least partially for the foreseeable future.

Only three direct roads lead into Sleepy Hollow from Ontario. All three of which are closed to traffic and guarded however I suggest that your diplomat be sent by highway-17 from North Bay to Sudbury. From there, he or she will have a carriage waiting for them which will take them to Sault Ste. Marie. From Sault Ste. Marie, a locomotive will have a private passenger cart and dinning cart chartered for your diplomat which will take them the final two-thirds of the way to the capital at Thunder Bay. Forgive me if it seems odd that part of my reply is directions on how to look, or travel, or even directions - but I do recognize that little is known about this Sleepy Hollow outside of its immense forests and waters. Special members of the Forest Guard, who have the task of guarding the capital, will be with your diplomat when they enter the border. They are recognizable by their orange and black uniforms and will be blatantly armed with rifles.

I hope to see and hear from Ontario soon,

[b][color=#ff8c00]Johnathan Dusk[/color][/b]
[b]Baron of Sleepy Hollow[/b]
[/quote]

[img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2460/4090530076_42545090bd.jpg[/img]

Whomever would be heading into nation would be in for a big surprise, even for Sleepy Hollow standards. The beautiful red and orange leaves of Autumn littered roads and Earth. Even at the border where Baron Dusk directed the diplomat to be sent would this be visible. The Forest Guard would continue their patrols at the road, a few Jack O'Lanterns ominously lit along the border signifying the approach of Hallowe'en.

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Following the proposed route by the Baron, a carriage would move from North Bay to Sudbury, from where it would go to Sault Ste. Marie. Escorted only by one agent of the State Security, that went undercover to provide a compromise of strength and avoiding unneeded attention. The special ambassador tried to stay out of the spotlight as well as possible. Altough people still recounted the stories of the past, when they visited the North as part of the same country, these times had passed, now, the North was known as an even more rural area, mostly, due to the almost utter lack of what was going on beyond the border. At least, the greater part of the population had no idea, only a few people along the border would still know the lands inside the Barony. Even the ambassador, stemming from a middle-class family from Ottawa had only heard about these lands through the written words, which was already amazing, but like the sun outshines the candle, they could do little to hide their fascination over the breath-robbing sight that lay outside, as the carriage passed the alleyways and woods of the northern lakeside forests. Overall, the scenic panorama Sleepy Hollow offered, from the forests at the border between North Bay and Sudbury, to Lake Superior, seen from the window of the train cart, that was used to travel the last, but longest part of the journey.

The train would arrive in Thunder Bay, about a day after they had started in North Bay. The monotone reciprocating sound of the train engine's pistons began to slow down, as the train entered the station. Curiously, she looked out the window, checking on the progress of the journey. "Oh my, seems, we are here. Travelling goes always faster with an interesting book, it seems." Closing her exemplar of "Berries and Grasses of the Boreal Forests", causing a clapping sound, the young lady grabbed her suitcase to get off the train. She had heard of these lands, read about them, now, it was time to live here. A bit, she did miss the city, this was nowhere near Ottawa. But it couldn't be helped, an order was an order, she could just hope to make the best out of it. Holding up her amaranth red dress, she jumped onto the platform, before letting one of the guards hand her her suitcase. Now, she stood there, in the main hall of Thunder Bay Station, looking around, if there was not one person that could be the Baron or someone sent by him, to guide her further.

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The first thing she would see upon stepping out of the train was a beautifully decorated station. Candles with bright orange flames lined the walls and chandeliers hanging from the relatively high ceiling reflected the orange light around the platform making it seem as if electricity was actually being used to light the structure. Her feet would land on flat, smooth stones, probably from the beaches of the great lakes, which made an excellent surface to walk on. The train station was one of the louder parts of the capital with loved ones reuniting, travelers happy to be home, and the occasional foreigner such as the special ambassador entering the nation for the first time with special permission. Standing next to her the minute she got off the train was a soldier of the Forest Guard. Armed with his loaded [url="http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/5563/8524308_1.jpg?v=8CD70B5B9141300"]Winchester Repeating Rifle[/url], he silently watched the multitude of civilians, itching to shoot anyone who may offer trouble however her choice of clothing actually helped her cause of being incognito because red was typically worn by the rich or some government officials.

Among the hundreds of people, one man stood out among the rest because he was standing perfectly still, looking directly at her. With the blink of her eyes he was suddenly ten feet closer, so close she could smell his cologne. "Good morning Special Ambassador... I am Ronald Booth, Secretary of The Bureau of Transportation - I will be bringing you to the Baron's estate." Offering his arm to escort her, he began making his way to the front doors for their unnoticeable grand exit. "I hope the trip was not too shaky?" the Secretary said as he pushed open one of the solid wood doors.

A brisk, chilly wind blasted past them, causing Ronald's black cape to flutter with fury while he held the door open for her. Orange leaves scurried by her feet as monstrous clouds helped keep the sky overcast. Beyond their meager, cold surroundings lay an entire city filled with more than twenty-thousand people. The street that the train station ran along was filled with small shops and a few restaurants - needless to say this was one of the most crowded parts of the city. Though there hundreds of people walking on the sidewalks or the edges of the streets, very few talked or even took notice to one another unless they were walking in groups. This was not out of alienation or general rude attitudes but it was more of an understanding, especially in urban areas of Sleepy Hollow, that you should mind your own business because if you did not what you discovered could lead to your demise or the revealing of whatever skeletons you had in your closet.

Outfits varied, but most men had capes and black attire while women stuck to darker reds or black; or combinations of dark red and white. The women usually had on longer robe-like garments that covered their actual outfits fitted with a hood which helped keep the cold, and occasionally wet, air off their bodies and clothing. Teenagers, natural rebels, were more liberal with their choice of color and what type of cloaks or capes they wore. Usually in the summer, boys would wear much shorter capes and more casual attire (meaning no jacket) while girls would tend to wear thinner hoods and be more open to the world. The now present fall and approaching Winter, however, resulted in everyone sticking to the traditional heavier, cotton, yet still occasionally colorful clothing.

[img]http://mediabakery.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/stb0118164_p.jpg?w=710[/img]

While mass communication between complete strangers was not too common, the Hollowins did express themselves vibrantly through decorations on the streets and in front of their homes and businesses. The city government spent nearly five-thousand dollars worth of many hours having all of the street lamps changed from clear glass to a more orange tinted glass to give a more festive light in accordance for October; more specifically Hallowe'en. For this heavily celebrated holiday, thousands of pumpkins had been grown not for food, but to be used as jack O'lanterns and common decoration. These orange, smiling or frowning little guys glowed softly in the light morning fog representing anticipation for one of the biggest celebrations of the year and nationalism.

Sticking out from the quiet crowd a group of girls dressed in mostly black, around the Special Ambassador's age, walked by giggling as they looked over at her. Softly mumbling, one of them pointed and they all giggled again. "Pay no attention to them" said Ronald as he escorted her to their carriage. "They just are not use to seeing such a beautiful color on a young lady such as yourself this time of year." A few people took notice of the richly dressed young people - but most minded their own business.

During the carriage ride to the Baron's estate, Ronald talked about general customs and traditions in Sleepy Hollow's society regarding attire and other matters such as the mentality of most of the people in the nation and what common things are seen as offensive or comical - such as how bright colors such as red on a person, particularly a young woman, could mean and symbolize a number of different things ranging from a harlot to someone who is of the wealthy class all depending on what the dress looks like. Most interestingly, however, may have been his tidbit on religion.

"Sleepy Hollow's biggest church" he said as the carriage went up the hill to the Baron's estate, "is not affiliated to any outside church but is related to Roman Catholicism in some ways. An overwhelming majority of the nation is christian, and large majority of those belong to the national church simply known as The Way and followers of The Way are called anointed. The Church usually does not mingle in political affairs unless with permission from the Baron however they do have a common enemy..." he said skeptically looking over the confident girl. "But I assume this is too much all at once for you" Ronald said. Opening his door and walking around to hers he helped her out and revealed the marvelous estate just a small walk up a long drive way. Standing guard in front of the entrance were multiple Forest Guardsmen, armed to the teeth. Not saying a word, they slowly opened the cast-iron gate and let her in. Jack O'Lanters lit the way along the side of the drive going all the way up to the front doors.

Secretary Booth had already left after bidding her farewell.

Edited by PresidentDavid
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The young lady followed MisterBooth without saying much. If she had said anything at all. Even more quiet she grew as she had to wonder, whether or not her appearance was received in a positive manner. She had not thought too long, the social norms of this small country were not too known in Ontario. She was dressed in her travelling clothes, an amaranthine gown over a white blouse and white petticoat, a white carmine ribbon around her waste, a small carmine one around her neck, another large carmine one, tieing up her long blonde hair. Her feet covered by white tights and brown flat shoes, that were more comfortable for travelling. But her worries about other's perception of her person had to make place for new thoughts, as they arrived at the estate of the Baron. Sadly, Mister Booth had to go. A bit, the special ambassador was scared, the atmosphere was strange. a bit of a chill went down her spine, but after taking one deep breath, she gathered her heart, stepped past the two guards and moved along the candle-lit path to the main door, where she knocked, a bit uneasily awaiting a response.

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When the young lady would knock on the old wooden door it would slowly creak open. She would feel a smooth draft of warm air come from inside the estate just as a fireplace with a dimly flickering fire could also be seen. It might have taken her to notice, however Baron Dusk was standing next to the fireplace with his long black cape around most of his body. Taking a step forward and revealing himself from the shadows the Baron took off his cape and hung it next to the door, "Forgive me young lady" he said as he looked her in the eyes - searching for any weakness. "I am assuming you are from southern Ontario because I thought I saw Secretary Booth outside... Otherwise you have knocked on the right door." The Jack O'lanterns around the door flickered with light as the Baron stepped aside - offering her to come inside if she dare.

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For quite some time, she had wondered about the person of Baron Johnathan Dusk, now, finally, she would meet him. "ahmmm... Well then, I guess I'll enter then." A bit insecure, the special ambassador passed the treshold and walked over to the Baron. These pumpkins seemed to be everywhere, came to her mind, for a moment, before her thoughts went with her gaze, over the interior of the room and the fire place. But in the end her eyes would meet those of the considerably taller Baron. He almost towered over the young maiden. Respectfully she lowered her head. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mister Jonathan, Baron Dusk. My humble name is Glinda Sherwood Doyle, as you already guessed right, envoy from the South."

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The door would slam shut with immense for behind Miss Doyle however oddly enough no one was there - perhaps it was a very powerful wind? Baron Dusk kept his eyes fixed to hers whenever she would look up to him and remained silent for what seemed to be the longest time. He walked around her once in observation of just how she was dressed and out of the general curiosity as to what a foreigner wore - or thought she should wear - in Sleepy Hollow. After making his walk around her and being impressed by her reverence and general bravery to coming to this secluded land the Baron extended his hand to shake hers - symbolizing that he saw her as an equal and disregarding any stereotypes regarding women because they were there to work together. In fact the Baron may have even believed that God Himself may had ensured that they meet to make a hopeful friendship.

"Welcome to this Sleepy Hollow Special Ambassador Doyle." Some of the candles in the room had been blown out when Glinda had opened the door so the six-foot, four-inch Baron grabbed one of the lit candles and went around to the few who were now dark like night. "I hope you enjoyed your ride and I hope that the armed forces kept you good company on your trip..." The room slowly received a white-orange glow from the candles and fire place which gave it a much warmer and more welcoming feeling than before.

After putting back the original candle, Johnathan opened the main-hall doors which lead to non-other than a hall! The grand-hall had multiple doors however a set were already open which emitted a very bright light into the dim hallway. Leading Glinda into the room she would get an eye-full. It was the Baron's grand library which was filled with historical and even a few ancient texts but the vast majority were typical works of literature. "My grandfather was a priest" he said as he let her walk in first, "he read a lot and continued the tradition of passing down books... I guess you can call this a family heirloom."

Among the decorative chairs and different areas designated for reading or relaxing there was a cozy little seating area near the grand-fireplace which was carefully crackling with fire to keep the manor warm in this cold time of year. "Please" he said as he sat on a leather recliner and looked into the flames before them. "Take a seat anywhere you feel comfortable so we can talk about... the future." Among the chair the Baron was already in; there were also a loveseat and two less extravagant chairs facing the fireplace.

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Taking a seat on the couch, facing the Baron, now no longer as tall as before. With almost a whole foot difference in heigth, it was a bit strange, but Glinda thought she'd better get accustomed to it. Especially, as she wondered if she'd not miss the Baron, if she ever was in this mansion just on her own. The building had a certain chilling effect. Either, it was really that the wind blew through it, or it was... anyway, Glinda had more important stuff to do, than to occupy her mind with strange theories on something so normal, wouldn't one agree? I mean, she did not come here to be exorcist, not that the house needed an exorcist, it was all perfectly fine. Just a bit old and not insulated properly.... right? A bit, Glinda seemed unsure, sitting there, thinking about all these various things.

"I guess knowledge is the greatest gift that can be passed on over time. And it would be a pity if it was not, for it would get lost for later generations. Your grandfather was surely a wise man to keep a personal library like this." Looking over the various books and scrolls, trying to read the titles, authors and identify the book, even though it seemed raher had, if not impossible for most of them. "But yes, about the future. May I ask, what does Sleepy Hollow plan for its future?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Sleepy Hollow, as you surely know, is different than most other nations" said the Baron as he looked over the countless books in the room and then back to Glinda's bright eyes "which is why we have different goals than most other nations as well. My job as Baron is to ensure that the souls of this place are safe, that they may live the way they want to live, and do not have to worry about being under constant threat of foreign enemies. I believe that the easiest way to do my job is not have Sleepy Hollow entangled in extravagant and overbearing alliances that could bring us into wars that we simply would not be able to give any aid or even defend ourselves in." Continuing on he said, "What I do hope for Sleepy Hollow, though, is to see it with a stronger military and a noticeable navy..."

He then pondered on another idea. "And of course, I see a few friends along the way - Ontario hopefully being one of them."

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"Hmmm, I see..." Glinda nodded lightly, having listened interested, until the Baron ended. "I can see your point, I even think our government does. It surely is not a priority of your country to partake in the great international power scrambles. Without trying to insult you or your people, Sleepy Hollow is no great power, but... it never planned to be one, I guess. At least the people out there do seem to be fine with the way things are." Glinda recalled the general atmosphere of the parts she had seen of Sleepy Hollow, and while some may have been because of the approaching festivities, it was unlikely in her opinion, that it all was just due to that. Even with festivities, greater amount of unrest would be felt. "As far as I, in my power as envoy, can tell, Ontario itself is just as much hoping for good relation as is Sleepy Hollow. Wgen I departed, Miss Christopher told me, 'Ontario sees its mission in protecting all Ontarians, if need be. They may not be our citizens, but our siblings they are still'. I think atz home, people do regard your country well. I'd personally hope, we can find an agreement." Glinda smiled, a bit to reassure the Baron of her good intentions, a bit to assure herself that everything would end well in this strange mansion.

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Between blinks or looking around Glinda would suddenly notice that Johnathan was no longer in the leather recliner to the left of her. In fact, she would, for a moment, get the feeling of being totally alone with no one else around her in the room until a warm hand casually rest just below her knee on her upper leg. "Special Ambassador" said the Baron slowly and carefully as he now, to her surprise, sat right next to her on the loveseat. "Forgive me but... I do not think 'sibling' is a good way to describe our countries' relationships... To me, sibling implies youth and immaturity instead of equality and brotherhood." Johnathan, looking her in the eye, waited for a response.

As he sat next to her she would get a warm vibe coming from him. For most of the morning thus far he had been stonewall and emotionless however now, oddly when he seemed partially offended, she could see a gimps of warmth and hope in his dark blue eyes... By no means was he touching her inappropriately, seeing as his hand rest just below her knee, however his goal may have been to make her feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. Regardless of that she was from a stronger nation she was now in his domain and his home... maybe it meant the Baron felt intimidated himself by the entire situation? "Don't you agree, Miss Glinda?"

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Glinda gulped. She was quite confused, what had just happened? For a few seconds, there remained an uneasy silence, where she tried to recall the latest events, before uttering "Y-Yes?!" As she looked into his blue eyes, she suddenly realised something and turned away. "Well, I guess a more, ehm, mature r-r-relationship..." Her voice grew ever quiter and she did no longer know what would be the most appropriate reply to the Baron. His hand still resting below her knee, she just surpressed her uneasyness, almost shivering slightly. But she was the special ambassador to sleepy Hollow, it was her duty to bring home positive results. Slowly she calmed her heart, before giving a full reply. "I agree, a more mature relationship is just fine. Excuse my mistake, I underestimated you." Staring on the ground, Glinda still knew not how to proceed. Would this be good enough for the Baron? Would she be good enough for the Baron? In her head, it was all just a mess. at least, he seemed like he'd be gentle...

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He was still looking at her as she stared down at the floor. The room was engulfed in utter silence except for the crackling of wood in the fire place. At this point Johnathan could see that he had succeeded. The seventeen year-old seemed intimidated and maybe even a little scared but he was happy that she was so polite and modest, even in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar place. Still sitting tall as he looked down to her, the Baron broke the silence, "I don't want you to think I don't like you" said Johnathan as he finally relaxed his stare down and looked back to the fire. "It was no secret that a [i]young[/i] lady like yourself was coming to this Sleepy Hollow to represent Ontario. There were some people in the military that were insulted that a neighboring country sent 'a little girl' to engage in diplomacy with their Baron."

"However I think my friends were wrong because I am a young man in an old mans game and my country is doing just fine... Someone went as far as to say that an example should have been made out of you however I quickly dismissed that. From what I know about you, Miss Glinda, you are very smart, shy at times, and extraordinarily beautiful." He assumed that his hand on her leg was what had made her nervous the most so far so he slowly removed it. With his index finger, the Baron raised her chin so that they were looking at each other in the eyes again. Brushing hair out of her face, he looked down at her with a softer, more understanding expression on his face. "Even though you are young I think you can help me very much and have a lot of intelligence to offer this nation." Johnathan daringly kissed her cheek, "I hope you can return the same favor and treat me as an equal even though I come from this odd place.... Do you think that's a fair deal?"

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"Eh, w-well, I guess it is a fair deal.", Glinda responded. She knew not what really to make of the Barons actions. Silent she sat on the couch, her gaze lowered. It seemed in this country, there was quite a bit of work to do. Just alone to get accepted by the people, but she also was a bit surprised by the character of the Baron. Had he really just kissed her on the cheek? Glinda considered how to reply, but honestly, she did not know. Instead, she sat there, quietly, her face about as red as her dress, her fingers fidgetting restlessly to cope with the increasing uncertainty and uneasiness that gained place in her heart.

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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After a few minutes of somber silence (which was perhaps the Baron giving Glinda time to become more relaxed) he stood and offered his arm out to escort her. "You can see more of this estate later... How about for now we take a walk? I think it would be good to have people see you with the Baron; it might help you..." he picked his next words carefully, "look more like one of us." Her arm entwined with his, he walked her out of the manor and down the stoney path. Passing the orange Jack O' Lanterns and reaching the front entrance, the Forest Guardsmen opened the gates and then closed them after the left the premises.

On their stroll through the capital they would however not be alone. Two guards would follow close behind, loaded-rifles in hand. Civilians, or as the Baron called them "souls", made way for the Baron and his well-dressed companion. Younger folk gave shy smiles or gestures while the older people politely bowed. The wind was blowing hard now as the morning progressed. The sky was a very light-gray - maybe even white. Snow was destined to fall some time that week and it had just so happened to begin as they made their way onto one of the main streets of the city. Small flakes of white began to fall onto the Baron and Glinda as people curiously looked over at her. The same group of teenager girls were once again snickering and giggling, looking over at Glinda.

"So what is it exactly you would like to propose for a current and present relationship between Sleepy Hollow and Ontario? I understand that your government wishes to have our relationship strengthened but I do not know how you wish to acomplish this..." Thinking, the Baron watched as the ground slowly began to be glossy from the fresh snow, like a new coat of paint to brighten the city's look. "There is something Sleepy Hollow would benefit from which I think could be the start of negotiations and agreements... Passage through your Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway." As the Baron waited for a reply, he slowly turned his head over to the group of girls that had been following them for about thirty feet, silently taunting Glinda. After four seconds of eye contact with the Baron, their smiles diapered and their looked down at the road. As their cheeks turned red they all quickly dispersed from the area.

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Glinda had a few troubles taking the barons arm. He had offered it to her, it would have been inpolite to refuse, yet, she could not bring herself to come too near to the man. Not out of disgust or hatred, but she just felt strange, when she was with the Baron that was a sheer mystery to her. So, she just accompanied him, always next to Jonathan Dusk, but careful not to get too touchy.

"Well, Ontario thinks that firm ties are important. In an economic dimension, we are open for discussion, and I think we can surely talk about passage rights through the Trent-Severn Waterway or Lake St. Clair and the Welland Canal. Maybe in return, we could argue about access to the Hudson Bay for our merchants. Maybe even the construction of infrastructure to connect Ontario itself with Thunder Bay and Hudson Bay." Glinda turned around, as the girls just dispersed, having noticed that the Baron had been shortly focusing on something in the background. But given this seemed to be a more internal issue, she rather refrained from passing any comment that may get her in trouble. "On a military dimension... I think there are a few more problems. Ontario believes that Sleepy Hollow is on the right path, when aiming for a non-aligned neutral stance, yet, we do consider extenting an offer to you. I heard that Sleepy Hollow had a treaty with Greenland in the past, but given Greenland is no more, Ontario would be willing to take over Greenlands role in guaranteeing Sleepy Hollows independence. In return, all President christopher asks for, is to have one permanent ambassador at your court, so that contact can be easily established and communication is not made unnecessarily difficult. also, of course, this is only provided Sleepy Hollow remains a neutral nation..." Glinda ended her long speech, looking up to the Baron for a response. The Ontarian position was explained to her already prior to this meeting, but now it was up to her to get results.

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"I think that is a very fair proposal... In fact," he said as a pair of guards walked past them, carrying on a soft conversation, "I recently came to the conclusion that Sleepy Hollow needs to be connected - at least in a national sense. As you know, the government retains sovereign ownership of multiple rocky islands in the north. We have maybe one or two military instillation there because there really is not much to protect - however I, like you, think that there is an economical benefit in having a connection to the Hudson Bay..." Johnathan avoided a puddle, pulling Glinda aside with him. The water, which was draining from multiple different parts of the street into one single drain, easily brought small flakes of fresh snow and flakes of dirt down the current.

"Are you aware of the great Mississippi River, Special Ambassador? It empties into the Gulf of Mexico through the port city of New Orleans which, way back in time, was the greatest port in the United States of America. Do you know what made the city so big and great? It is not because huge companies had massive shipping fleets dominating the river - sure that is what it resembled at its peak but how did it get started? Farmers sending their crops down the river ship it to New England for sale." Maybe he was losing her, he wasn't sure so he started to get to the point.

"I ordered the founding of a port in the north called Port Autumn along the Hudson Bay. Its on an island in the mouth of the Moose River. Right now it is only a small settlement however it is part of a bigger project. The river runs through the town of Mattice farther South which is conveniently on the Trans-Canada highway... You might be wondering why this is important" he said as they made the block and began to head back to the estate. "The reason being is that it makes it that much closer to farmland and to Thunder Bay - the major manufacturing hub of the country. Port Autumn may not ever be a New Orleans of Canada but maybe it could be a New Orleans of Sleepy Hollow... I know there are problems such as the Hudson Bay freezing but I think we'll be able to find a few ways around that. What I'm more interested in is the possibility of building a road from Port Autumn to to Ontario... I can finance it - do you think Ontario could supply the labor?"

Moving along he expressed his views on diplomacy. "I would appreciate Ontario's protection just like I would appreciate any nation's however having an ambassador in our legislature - whether it be you or anyone - is a... delicate subject. No one outside of the government and a few key members of the military actually know where the legislature is held - its a very carefully kept secret. This ambassador would be the first foreigner ever to go there which would be a great privilege..."

Johnathan stopped walking to look at Glinda in her eyes. "However if they were ever to reveal the location of the legislature" he said, his hands on her arms "it would spell a slow.... painful.... excruciating-" Ronald Booth surprisingly patted them both on the back. "I'm happy to see you two are getting along..." a small entourage of soldiers stood behind him. "Baron Dusk we need to get back to the Estate... There has been a.. development - I advise that you come with us Special Ambassador."

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Glinda nodded upon hearing the Baron's offer. "The necessary labour is no problem for our country to provide. We'll surely find a few people willing to work for a decent pay and food." While Ontario had only a small part of the area that constituted Ontario in the past, it had most of the population that lived in former Ontario, quite a few times the number Sleepy Hollow had. But Glinda went quiet again and listened to the Baron, as he explained the matter of the legislature. She did not understand at first. What was so special in Sleepy Hollow's legislature? Normally, people would not talk about it in such a manner. This surprise turned into quite a bit of fear when suddenly the Baron turned to her, with a face that made clear he was not joking, saying something about slow and painful... Her face whitened, to the colour of chalk. seemingly expectations were quite high, at home as well as here and even if it seemed rather natural to not tell people the secrets of others, the notion of slow pain, coupled with the Barons towering image did create a good amount of tension and pressure. Pressure that was relieved when she suddenly got patted on the back, which caused a short shriek, before Glinda calmed herself. She had not seen that coming and after a short moment that she panicked, the special ambassador felt her vission growing dim, as she almost lost consciousness. With all her force, she somehow managed to still stand upright and gathered the pieces of her mind, that was all over the place. She didn't hear the guards or Booth, or at least she did not grasp what was being said, her heart finally coming to some rest as they had ended. All she heard was Mister Booth saying she should accompany them. A bit embarrassed, Glinda folded her hands. "Please, excuse my short outcry. I was just a bit... surprised. I did not want to show such a bad side of mine, so, please erase it from any record." She then looked around, seeing the guards and that the group seemed to prepare to go somewhere. Glinda quietly followed.

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One of the soldiers jumped at Glinda's surprising shriek and was quickly stared down by Johnathan as Ronald attempted to catch Glinda if she would faint. Helping her stabilize herself, Ronald and the Baron looked around to find everyone on the block was now staring at them. "We will accompany you Secretary Booth." He signaled to the small escort of two men that had been following them to join up with the other soldiers which surrounded for protection. Johnathan put his cape around Glinda's back to at least shield her from the snow and wind that was blowing at their backs (it may have seemed somewhat odd but it was the gentleman thing to do).

Once arriving, the three of them entered the estate and stood in the long, dark hallway that connected to most of the bottom floor. Baron Dusk dismissed Ronald, who he told to go to his study where they could talk about politics, and then turned to Glinda. He stood there for a moment, looking into her eyes until he noticed he was making her nervous again, "I apologize that I can not accompany you to show you your chambers, Special Ambassador." Pointing down at the end of the hallway, "The last door on the right is your room. It is rather... warm so I think you will fancy it. I figured you may want to send word back to your people that you made it safely here because we have not done so thus far because the telegraph system to Sault Ste. Marie is not presently in operational condition however the Sleepy Hollow Postal Service will hand-deliver anything you write to anyone on the planet - I'll even pay for the postage.. I will come check on you in a while, enjoy your room." It was perhaps the most welcoming thing he had said so far.

Just as she turned around, however, she would feel one of his hands grasp her shoulder lightly as he whispered, "Remember that we are not the only ones here..... Tread carefully." And with that, he was gone. The feeling of his hand on her shoulder immediately snapped away as if it were a dream. If she would turn around she would find nothing but an empty hallway. The only evidence of Johnathan having been there was the bit of snow he had brushed off his hat onto the floor.

When (and if) Glinda would make it to her room, she would probably have her spirits uplifted. The Baron was not lying when he said it was a "warm" room. The entire room had an Autumn theme with everything in it being different shades of yellow or orange or red. There was a king-size bed, a small sitting area with a book shelf filled with old books from the days when Ontario was united (even a few books back from when all of Canada was united), a desk with a few candles on it that held a small stack of paper and a feather-pin. And of course connected to the room in the back was a fully functional bathroom fitted out with a toilet and bathtub. It was cozy, very cozy.

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Glinda was a bit surprised by the sudden disappearance of the Baron, but then again, this had not been the first mystery of this mansion she had encountered, she thought. Maybe she also just wanted to get moving, as the loneliness of the hallway, while being conscious of things being out of the ordinary. Carefully, Glinda stepped towards the last door on the right, and indeed, it seemed a warm room, a sharp contrast to the creepy atmosphere inside much of the rest of this mansion or the cold outside.

On the bed was her suitcase, someone must have brought it here while she had walked alongside the Baron through the streets of Thunder Bay. Glinda took the suitcase and put it on the floor, before sitting down on the oversized bed and letting herself fall on the soft blanket. Recounting the recent events, her eyes followed the orange-red decorative structures on the ceiling. She lay there, thinking, for a period of time she could not tell how long it was. Was it fifteen minutes, thirty, maybe even sixty? Glinda didn't know. In that moment, it seemed like time itself was not really present, as if it was suspended. But soon enough reality caught up with the young special ambassador and she looked over to the desk. Paper and ink where already there to be used, and without wasting even just one more moment, she climbed out of the bed and wrote a few pages as a letter, folded the paper and put it into an envelope she had prepared from at home, with the adress to her own office at the Ontarian National Academy of Sciences. Once the Baron would arrive, as he had stated before leaving, she'd give him the letter, so that it would arrive in the poastal office as soon as possible. As she was finished with writing, Glinda carefully sat down on the bed again, awaiting the Baron's visit patiently.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Johnathan calmly walked down one of the cold, snow-covered streets until he made it to one of the shadier blocks of Thunder Bay. Crime was not a large problem in Thunder Bay considering that the military was the police force of the city. Organized crime itself was essentially non-existent in Sleepy Hollow however small pockets of law-breakers were everywhere; especially in the cities.

Even though most Hollowins were used to the snow and the wet, cold, brittle winds that slammed into their faces, there was a lower number of them out on the streets tonight which meant that an even lower number were on this street. Of the very few people walking along storefronts and the low number of horses on the stone road, one person stood out to the Baron. She was not too tall, and was especially shorter than the six foot high Baron.

[url="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lmlbt56k2D1qbi5v6o1_500.jpg"]She[/url] could not have been a woman but was definitely a girl. [url="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lmlbt56k2D1qbi5v6o1_500.jpg"]She[/url] was only a mere four-foot seven but had stunning red hair, some of it braded down one side. Around the top of her head were aviator-looking goggles that a pilot would wear in a World War One-dogfight. She had on a white blouse that was see-through enough to show an ample amount of her cleavage however the shirt had no sleeves which was odd for the freezing conditions outside. Her brown, wool pants went down to her ankles revealing her red high-heels. Having on two leather belts, one around her stomach and another around her hips, she was dressed in an odd style. A lot of young people, especially the more wealthy, would dress like this. The style was called "steampunk".

Errie, quiet, and somewhat creepy as always, Johnathan walked up behind the girl and stood there for a few moments as she eagerly looked at a few men walking by. They were smiling until they saw the towering monarch behind her which led them to quickly turn their heads and walk away. It did not take long for her to notice someone was behind her so she thought she would try to be bold.

Giggling girlishly she whispered above the wind, "Can I help you mister?" She turned around and kept on a fake smile until she saw that who was behind her was not only monumentally tall but the most powerful man in Ontario. "I-I-I.." she said, her eyes wide as she tried backing up. Johnathan however grabbed her by her bare arm and pulled her back. She did not dare look up to his face but sheepishly muttered, "I.. I'm... You're...." Johnathan slowly released his grip on her freezing grip and held one of her hands. "I'm the Baron of this Sleepy Hollow... Who are you?"

The gulped and was not sure if this was some type of trick or if he wanted to make an example of her. All the other women and girls on the block had already quickly ran into buildings or away - even most of the pedestrians had scattered. "I.." she blinked one and then attempted to gather her strength. "I'm Sparkle.. I was just looking for... the store. Can I hel-" he cut off her question by moving one of his hands up to one of her shoulders as his other hand picked her chin up with his index finger so he could look into her eyes. "Your mother did not name your 'Sparkle'" he said with near disgust. "What is your real name.."

'Sparkle' was struggling with his questions and why he was there but the Baron did not really have the want to stand out in the cold for any longer. Seeing that his patients was wearing thin she quickly whispered her name, "My name is Charlotte.. Mister Baron sir" she said almost dumbl[i]y. [/i]"Well I need someone tonight... Will you be that someone, Charlotte?" said the Baron. The wind was blowing hard which caused his cape to flutter as he opened it with one hand.

After quickly deciding that a wealthy, handsome, monarch was much better than creepy men and a frozen street she cautiously walked to him and flinched when he wiped his cape around her to keep her bare arms warm. Walking with the wind, she stayed cuddled with him as they made the few blocks and street corners back to the manor. Charlotte had seen the manor before but never thought she, of all classes and people, would enter it. Not only because of her profession but because of the deadly rumors that surrounded the ancient home.

The well-trained Forest Guardsmen standing guard at the iron gates with their repeating rifles did not dare look at the Baron but suspiciously eyed his guest. "Am I in some type of trouble?" she whispered to the Baron, still suspicious of his intentions. Shaking his hand, he stopped at the huge doors and pointed to her feet. "Take off your shoes... I do not like that color on you." Her cheeks either bright red from the cold or what the color usually meant, she bent over and took off her heels which revealed her bare feet. Her nails were a bright pink.

The two large doors leading into the manor slammed open without anyone touching them. Just as quickly as they opened, the doors slammed shut behind them once they entered. She was now even shorter then before.

"This place.. is amazing" she said, astounded by the floor, walls, and warm fire that made the entrance room somewhat friendly even though it usually gave off a terrifying dark vibe. Taking off his cape and hat, the handsome Baron hung them both on a rack next to the door. "How old are you Charlotte?" The girl then again got shy like before and looked down to her feet, poking one of her toes carefully at the rug beneath her. "I am 19 Mister Baron."

Having dealt with liars for most of his political carrier, he shook his head as he opened the door to the main hallway and motioned her to follow as he grabbed her hand. "Yes and what is your actual age? Are you going to tell me your hair is brown or will I have to get you to admit that it is red as well?" Charlotte's cheeks blushed a pinkish-red as they slowly walked down the hall. "You might not.." she said with some shame, "..[i]want[/i] me if I tell you." The Baron shrugged and sighed, "Sadly, someone in my position has to take what he can get." She didn't want to say anything but she was smart enough to know that he had immense power and could have any woman, or man for that matter, that he wanted - plus he was handsome. Why would he have a hard time finding... [i]companions[/i]?

"I am 16 Mister Baron" he closed his eyes, holding back most of his rage, but then grabbed her by her cheeks with one hand and pushed her back against Glinda's door which made a [i]bang[/i]. Her eyes were filled with fear but before he even was able to let out the frustration he had the young monarch had encroaching guilt on his soul. "Just!.." he said, the anger flushing out as he slowly let go of her face, "call me Johnathan.. Do not call me Baron. Can you do that, Charlotte?" At first lacking a verbal response, she nodded her head, "Yes sir-... Johnathan... Yes Johnathan."

Still regretting his actions, his hand let go of her cheeks and grasped her hand again as they walked to the end of the hall. Meeting up with a pair of stares, they walked up them to the second floor which housed a few bedrooms but most importantly the Baron's. Taking her to it, and gently closing the door himself, Charlotte walked over to the warm, silk bed. The monarch looked over to her and so she looked down to her feet, slowly pulling down one of the white straps over her shoulder.

"No!" erupted the Baron as he quickly walked up to her and carefully prevented her from unclothing herself. "Lay down.." she nodded and did so as she momentarily rubbed her face on the one of the soft, cold feather-pillows. Laying on her back, crossing her legs, she patted on the side of her. "Want to come join me? There is a lot of room in this big bed Johnathan." He did so, removing his shoes and jacket which he hung on a hanger next to his bed.

She cuddled up against him and attempted to kiss his cheek but he stopped her, one of his hands pushing her back by her neck. She was confused and somewhat hurt that he was not succumbing to her advances. "Did you.. change your mind?" she said self-consciously, laying her head back on the comfortable pillow as she wrapped her arms around her clothed chest. "No" said the Baron.

He lay on his side and only moved a little close to her, just close enough to sense that there was life within her. "What is your favorite color?" the girl looked over at him, confused. "What?" it was the most blatant thing she had said all evening. "Tell me your favorite color. It is the first thing you should learn about anyone other than their name. What is it?" Charlotte thought for a moment, "..Pink. I like pink a lot... I know it is kind of cliché but..." she was still confused but looked up to him, curious. Her big green eyes blinked twice as she willingly made eye-contact. "Do you have a favorite color?"

Johnathan nodded, "Mine is orange.. I am related to a long line of clergymen and they would all wear something orange when they gave a mass or a sermon or when they preached. It did not matter if it was a belt, a robe, a scarf - orange is my family's color so I just like keeping that alive... You know?" Charlotte did not understand why he needed her but did not mind the conversation. "Do you like being..." she said, avoiding the word 'Baron', "leader.. of Sleepy Hollow?" Johnathan returned a question back at her. "Do you like being a prostitute?"

Charlotte's cheeks turned red and she did not reply. "You are obviously ashamed of it. But why do you do it?" She felt somewhat uncomfortable, "I have no money but God gave me my body - it is all I have." The Baron nodded and rested his head near hers on the same pillow but still at a comfortable distance. "I am Baron because I have no other way to help or protect the people who live here. God anointed me, chose me, above everyone else in Ontario to protect all of you. So it is the only thing I can do and it is what I have to do.. even if I am ashamed of it."

Charlotte lay on her side to face the Baron. "Why are you ashamed? You get everything you want for free and you are a leader. Does that not make you happy?" Johnathan shook his head a few times before speaking again. "I had to do a lot of things to get here and I have to keep doing a lot of things to stay here that my dad and my grandfather would not like... It is just.." he remembered what she said before, "You believe in God Charlotte?"

"Yes" she said, her eyes wandering around the decorated room as if looking for Him. "I am not sure if He believes in me though." Johnathan thought on that for a moment before letting out a sigh. "I think the same thing a lot.. But I think He likes you more than He likes me. You are innocent" he said, momentarily putting his hand on her side but quickly moving it up to her shoulder, "to most regards.. however I am not. I just hope what I do keeps the rest of you happy and innocent."

Charlotte pulled down his arm and somewhat cuddled it which made him feel a bit uncomfortable but she seemed to be doing it more for comfort. "I think if you do what you do because it is the only way to keep a thousands of people safe, then God must understand - especially if you do it to people who want to hurt other people. I mean, King David destroyed entire cities in the Bible and killed everyone in them - even the.." she said thinking, "regular people. But God needed him to do that for the Isrealites right?.. Sometimes God is confusing but I think He knows what He is doing. We just do not understand." It was quiet for a moment. "I really wish I could have been born into a family with money.. But he has other plans for me I guess."

Johnathan got out of bed and stretched. "When was the last time you ate?" As if she had memorized every second of her last meal she quickly responded, "Yesterday morning. I bought some chicken.. Do you have chicken Johnathan?" Offering his hand to her, she cautiously got out of bed and took it. He took her back downstairs into the dining room. A full meal had been set while they were upstairs. There was a turkey, small, roasted chickens, breads, fish, fruits, vegetables.

As if waiting for permission, she looked over to the food. The poor girl had not eaten in days. "This meal if for you" the Baron said, "It is I who should be asking for permission to eat. May I join you?" Her eyes became wide, "Y-....Yes? Please join?" she eagerly went over to a chair and looked at the amazing foods which made her mouth water. But before David could even reach for the potatoes he noticed his hand stop moving, his hand holding his. Her head was bowed. "You pray before you eat Charlotte?" she nodded. "Bow your head Johnathan.. It does not count if you do not bow your head." That's cute.

"Heavenly Father," she said rehearsingly. "thank you for this food. Please bless it. Bless John too since he gave me the food - Amen." The Baron winced at the mutilation of his name. "No one calls me 'John'.. That is not my name." She shyly looked up to him as she bit into a thick piece of ham. "Can I call you John?" She continued to nibble on the thick piece of ham. "Just.. Fine... But my name is Johnathan and that is the record." She nodded as she quickly went back to eating.

The Baron rolled up his white sleeves and began serving himself a plate of food. "If you know that the Church and God... does not like what you do for money - why do you still pray to him?" She quickly referred to David, "King David spoke to God." Johnathan quickly countered, "You are no King David no matter how pretty you may be.." Maybe that was harsh.

"Well.." she said, having to think again. "I figure God would rather have me alive then starved and dead. If he really does love me, and you, and everyone, then he wants me to live so I can do something.." she bit into an apple, "I am just hoping he understands.. That is all." He wanted to ask more about her past but figured he would let her eat for a while.

---

After fifteen minutes of she sampling ample amounts of different foods he cut her off, which only momentarily frustrated her until he asked her a question. "Do you want to live in my estate?" Charlotte removed her goggles from her head and looked at him with immense hope. "Why do you want... is it.. for-"
"You are my friend" he said carefully, "I do not have any friends... It is nice to be able to talk to someone." He gently ate a scoop of ice-cream, "No one has asked me what my favorite color was since I became Baron. Will you.." he said, faltering, "be my friend?"

Charlotte giggled for a moment and then sat up. This seemed serious. He wanted her for.. friendship. It was an odd concept; room and board for company. But she would not be one to deny a man of true happiness - especially if it meant she had the right to her own body. "I will be your friend John."

-----

Johnathan made his way to Glinda's door, slowly walking as if he suspected that she may have snuck out during his friendly affair with Charlotte. "Special Ambassador.." he said, knocking at the door. "Would you like to accompany me to the legislature?"

Edited by PresidentDavid
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OOC: Sorry I edited this Eva... I wanted something better then what I had written before because it was lacking luster. I'll be back in Texas tomorrow so we should be able to talk if you do not want to reply now. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Edited by PresidentDavid
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Glinda had waited patiently for Jonathan, though, at one point she had taken a little pook outside, when she suddenly had heard something being thrown against the door of her room. But by the time she dared open the door, the floor was already empty, whoever had been there, most likely had walked on. While partly happy that nothing horrible had awaited her outside, the emptyness of the hallway was almost worse.

When the Baron finally arrived, Glinda stood up, happy to finally see a familiar person again in the eerie mansion. "Gladly!" Altough she had already been uneasy since before, when the two walked out into the hallway, Glinda could no longer keep it to herself. "Baron, if I may... Would you know what that banging noise was? Before you arrived, I know not for certain when exactly, something seemed to have banged against the door of the room you assigned to my person. But when I looked outside, there was not a trace of anything. I'm a bit... uneasy about this."

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