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Aquitaine Arises


Sarah Tintagyl
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Fireworks lit up the evening sky over Bordeaux as the newly established government bureaucracy announced independence. A day before, the Athenian Empress granted the wishes of the Independence Party and amidst music and colorful lights, the red banner of medieval Aquitaine flew over the spires of the Hotel de Ville. In the countryside, surveyors established and demarcated borders with the Athenian Federation. The small hamlets throughout the Aquitaine countryside lit bon fires and sang songs in old languages, even the Basques raised their glasses in pride at the hope of better representation in a regional government.

 

Within Bordeaux the streets filled with native Aquitanians, for this would be the one day where all work could stop. For the next days would require a great deal of building if the country was to ever become as great as the Kingdom and Duchy had been in the past.

 

On the steps of the Hotel de Ville, the Council of the Republic gathered for their first presentation as independent leaders of the people. In the middle stood Jacqueline Aymeri, the Vicountess, still harboring her family's ancient claims of southwestern France. In those days, her descendants, Ermengard of Narbonne and Raymond V of Toulouse built strong kingdoms with only a city and a few neighboring hamlets. She planned to do the same with Bordeaux.

 

Clearing her throat, the Vicountess advanced down the stairs of the Hall to wave at the crowd of people in the plaza. The bourgeois merchants of the city stood on the balconies of apartments around the square, while the working middle class and poor gathered on the rough cobblestone of near the stairs. "Friends!" she began, "what we have all worked, so hard to achieve these past few years and months, has finally been granted. Our native Aquitaine belongs to the people who care about her the most. Through the benevolence of the Athenian Empress we are free to cultivate our own destiny. But now free from Athens' rule, we are also free of her generosity. The years ahead will be hard. The years ahead will be daunting. The world is competitive. But as the bird leaves the nest to fly eventually among the eagles, so too must Aquitaine fight to forge her own destiny."

 

She raised her right hand to the sky. "Tomorrow we begin our journey, but tonight, we shall celebrate the fact that our journey has started. Let me be the first to raise a toast to Aquitaine, to our future, and to the everlasting health of Ariadne Notras, Empress of Athens."

 

The crowd cheered and the Council brought Jacqueline back into their folds, patting her back and toasting to her own health. Venturing into the Hotel, the city opened up to festivities while the wealthy prepared for a great ball to honor the Empress, the Vicountess, and the future of Aquitaine.

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"I would like to extend my congratulations to France in gaining its independence from the Athenian Federation peacefully through true and clean political means. It is of my own personal belief that Vicountess Jacqueline Aymeri will bring the French people into a prosperous future. Vive la France."

 

- Governor John Lawrence of Texas

 

 

The Governor would make his way to France. While he was not going to represent any diplomatic interests of the American Commonwealth, he had always wanted to go to France and figured it couldn't hurt. The Texas Rangers would ensure his protection while he was there for the ball to meet the Vicountess. 

Edited by PresidentDavid
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The Kingdom of Great Britain congratulates Aquitaine on attaining her independence, and extends a hand of friendship toward the Aquitanian government and people. We look forward to establishing, and expanding, relations with our new neighbor in the near-future.

Edited by Scofield
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For many in Aquitane, the celebrations that engulfed Bordeaux upon the Viscountess' ending of her short, but inspiring speech, would be enough to fulfill any man or woman's pleasures. Many a banquet table had been brought out, and the housewives and cooks of the city had brought out many a delicacy from their home hearths or kitchens in celebration. Sweets were abundant, tender meat was readily available, ale was almost flowing through the gutter as the middle class and poor gorged themselves in celebration, sang and danced, and had one of the most memorable nights in many of their lives.

 

Such a celebration, however, wasn't fulfilling for one Anton Lefebre, who looked down upon the rousing celebrations below him as his small airship would quietly overfly the city. The large helium-filled contraption was quietly powered along by propellers, spun by a single coal-fired concentrated burner, that had been almost completely damped out upon arrival over the city. Now he and his small group of helpers would watch with, some with envy, at the parties in the streets below. For Anton, however, this journey was an important one, it was a day of independence, and what was one man to do with such independence? The tinkerer and master of mechanics would exercise his freedom to drink Creon Claret, the rarest of wines in Aquitane.

 

Known for its subtle fruity taste and smoothness, the vineyard that had produced this elixir of the Heavens had burned in an unfortunate lightning strike, and no one on God's good Earth had ever produced an equal. It had only been brought out twice before, once when Anton had drank it as a little boy, and again for celebrations marking an anniversary for the city itself. After tonight, this great drink, however, would be gone forever, into the gullets of the rich and wealthy in Aquitane. It was for that reason, that Anton and his small party of marauding machinists would find themselves hovering over the Hotel de Ville.

 

To secure the large airship as it passed low in the sky overhead, and steady it against floating uncontrollably as the gate crashers descended a line to the venue below, a large magnet on a line would be skittered down to attach to the metal roof of the Hotel. The underside and gondola of the great flying airship was painted dark, a shadow in the night sky above, having descended from a higher altitude until it arrived over the Hotel. With the great aerial beast secure, one of Anton's assistants would throw a line over the side.

 

"Are you sure about this, Monsieur Lefebre?" asked one of the female machine assistants, a flaming redhead named Clarice. She was wearing a weighted skirt, and long aviator's strap-up boots, along with an aviator's cap, and goggles.

 

"Quite, you'll see why when you taste that nectar of the Gods," responded Anton, in a firm and almost incredulous tone that Clarice was questioning this surely great quest. The tinkerer, in a newsie cap, with an eagle feather pinned in it, and aviator's goggles, dressed in a frock coat and long swashbuckler boots, and pinstripe trousers, would grasp the line, and slap a sliding line on the tough material. He would make an overtly outrageous salute with his index finger to his crew, before starting to zip down the line, his descent slowed by his sliding line.

 

"He's going to get us all killed one of these days," sighed another assistant, Charles one of the more pragmatic machinists, who exchanged glances with the other in the crew, who just shook their heads. They were all used to their employer's outlandish antics, and Clarice, along with two other assistants, Thomas and Martin, would slide down after the inventor.

 

"Just keep the ship steady and stay here, Charles," grumbled Clarice, before she began her own descent, the small group would all land on the steep roof of the Hotel. Steadying themselves with magnet apparatuses extending out of their boots, that could be activated with a firm press of the big toe on a pressure-sensitive button, the group would shuffle over to an upstairs window to gain entrance.

 

Minutes later, with an upbeat tune being taken up by the orchestra, the group of four machinists, after brushing off some coal dust and adjusting their kits, would walk down from the upper floors. Anton at their head, his aviator goggles around his neck and newsie hat upturned, the eagle feather now drooping, they would scan the room. He would immediately set his eyes on trays of wine glasses being carried about, and would make a beeline for the nearest platter. Clarice, and his other faithful followers, would heave a sigh as they chased after him, hoping they could make this "mission" a simple in-and-out, but with Anton, nothing was simple...

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When the Texan Governor arrived at the Hotel de Ville he was shown into a large ballroom. The Aquitainian aristocrats gathered in tight groups and looked at the Americans with surprise as they entered the Hall. One of the heralds, posted by the door, pounded on his staff and in a loud voice announced, "The Governor of the State of Texas, John Lawrence." The guests paused and looked again, then returned to their conversations.

 

As the Americans walked in further, a woman with blonde hair and piercing aquamarine eyes walked over. Her turquoise dress dragged gently across the floor. "Governor Lawrence, it is a pleasure, I am Jacqueline Aymeri, Vicountess of Aquitaine. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Surely you have had a long journey coming all the way from Texas to Bordeaux."

 

---

 

Meanwhile the airship pilots moved unnoticed through the upper rooms of the Hotel.

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John was amused that his presence was... a surprise to everyone around. He and only a few of his close friends from the Texas State Department had come along with a few Texas Rangers to protect them all. He greeted a few guests there, speaking the little French he knew. He'd been working on the language for about a month but only had the basics down. "Bonjour madame," he said carefully to the Viscountess. If she let him, he took her hand and kissed it softly, "It is very nice to meet you ma'am. You have a beautiful country here... My flight was well, it was definitely worth it." He looked around at all of the foreign diplomats and the French aristocrats, "I know this ball was meant more for dignitaries, but I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to come here."  

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On hand for the Celebration was Duke Fong Chakri-Yuan, he was dressed in white tailcoat and white tie.  It was odd for the young man, who had been studying at the Science Po, in Paris, to be called to act as the official represenatative of the Empire.  His mother was the Emperor's mother, Warden of the South, and his father one of the first knights, scion of an ancient line of Thai Kings, giving him some of the most powerful credentials, but he had following the tradition of his uncle and others before him taken years to himself.  He had lived well certainly as a student but he had lived in dorms, and avoided formal ceremony.  Nevertheless, for this occasion, he had been called by the UN Ambassador Heinrich, saying that nobility merited a showing of equal kind.

 

The twenty year old young noble and 4th in line to the Imperial Throne, was the accompanied by the fortyish Chester O'Manley, the 3 star army general commanding Imperial Forces Atlantic, a towering Australian, built out, half shaven, with many a battle scare with a reputation for aggression.  And of course UN Ambassador Heinrich Metternich.  The Austrian had come with the Hapsburgs East, but had returned to Europe eagerly to take up the role of the Empire's affairs on the Security Council, prefering the traditional streets of Geneva, to the future towering sky rises of Hong Kong and Beijing.  The fifty year old man was blond haired, with stern features, every bit of himself perfectly polished, and known for being both charming and strict.

 

The delegation would walk in following the American Delegation.  

Edited by Triyun
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As independence was declared the Hellenic Forces stationed there would be redeployed to other bases inside the Athenian Federation and Europe, at the same time civil servants would work around the clock to make the transfer of authority go as smoothly as it possibly could.

 

---

 

Athens could of course not miss an event held partly in honour of its head. As such Ariadne would join the celebration, she was backed by the President of France Jacques Moreau and the Commander-Europe Field Marshal Renée Picard. The delegation would enter shortly after the Tianxian one.

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Jacqueline smiled as he kissed her hand. "You are the only person from the American Commonwealth here, Governor Lawrence, that makes you a dignitary. I hope that you will have the chance to see more of the country on your visit. There are beautiful vineyards just outside of Bordeaux. I can offer rooms within the Hotel de Ville for your delegation and then perhaps in a few days or so, I can take you around the country myself."

 

She looked up to see further delegations arriving from both the Tianxian Empire and the Athenian Federation, the two hegemonic powers of the modern world.

 

"Indeed," she said to the Texan, "I hadn't imagined that so many countries would respond positively to the invitations. This will turn into quite the party."

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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Anton and his group would tromp down a main set of stairs into the sweeping foyer below, and his entrance with his group of maverick machinists in aviation gear and less formal garments would almost certainly draw some attention. The eccentric master of mechanics would swipe a walking cane from a steward who was holding it, behind his back, for one of the noble guests who was schmoozing with one of the many social climbers who had gained entrance through various contacts. The steward would whirl around to only find himself staring at the backs of the group of machinists, which shielded the true thief from view.

 

Doing a small, lively two-step jaunt to the energetic tune that was being played by the orchestra, Anton would carve a path through the throngs of nobles, some of whom would certainly be wondering if the group was for entertainment purposes. Spotting a waiter who was passing by, Anton would quickly swipe two of the glasses from the tray. He handed the cane off to Clarice, who seemed to be the most astute of the group, and the machinist would heave a sigh, taking the cane obediently. Anton would take a sip from one of the glasses, and grumble, "Urgh, definitely not the nectar of Creon."

 

He passed one of the glasses off to Thomas, whose tastes were a little easier to please, and he had not one issue with the wine that was handed off to him, as he took a long sip. Anton would polish off the glass, despite his misgivings for this claret, before scanning the room again. It was at that point, that he spied a large oak cask at a table, where glasses were being set out. It was a known fact that Creon was only stored in such high end casks, which were harder to make than others. He would drop the glass, in excitement, as he flicked the eagle feather up in his Newsie, before he quickly advanced on the table, to seek out the desirous brew that he hadn't had in so many a year. Clarice and the duo of machinists behind her, would quickly press after him...

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Jacqueline smiled as he kissed her hand. "You are the only person from the American Commonwealth here, Governor Lawrence, that makes you a dignitary. I hope that you will have the chance to see more of the country on your visit. There are beautiful vineyards just outside of Bordeaux. I can offer rooms within the Hotel de Ville for your delegation and then perhaps in a few days or so, I can take you around the country myself."

 

She looked up to see further delegations arriving from both the Tianxian Empire and the Athenian Federation, the two hegemonic powers of the modern world.

 

"Indeed," she said to the Texan, "I hadn't imagined that so many countries would respond positively to the invitations. This will turn into quite the party."

 

"By all means, Your Grace, if I am a dignitary of anything it is of Texas. I feel like my State is disconnected from the rest of the American Commonwealth at times - may that be for better or worse - but I will proudly represent my country and continent if no other American arrives." He listened to her offer and was actually blown back by her offer, "Well... I am not going to be the one who refuses an offer from royalty, especially from, if I can be so bold, such a beautiful monarch." He felt his words may have begun to be overbearing so he stepped back, "I accept your offer, Your Grace. Thank you," he said reverently with direct eye contact. 

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"By all means, Your Grace, if I am a dignitary of anything it is of Texas. I feel like my State is disconnected from the rest of the American Commonwealth at times - may that be for better or worse - but I will proudly represent my country and continent if no other American arrives." He listened to her offer and was actually blown back by her offer, "Well... I am not going to be the one who refuses an offer from royalty, especially from, if I can be so bold, such a beautiful monarch." He felt his words may have begun to be overbearing so he stepped back, "I accept your offer, Your Grace. Thank you," he said reverently with direct eye contact. 

 

Jacqueline smiled and clasped her hands together. "You may be so bold, Monsieur Lawrence, you are truly a gentleman. Please, walk with me." She said as they moved through the venue of people, her hand gently resting in his palm. "So you say that your state is disconnected from your country? It has only been in recent history that the ancient United States has been formed again with repute. Why are you troubled? Is the Commonwealth dictatorial? What makes Texas unique in the world and within your own country, I am curious. For I recall, at least in history, Texans have always had a bold stance of independence and individualism. Is that the kind of disconnect you are speaking about?"

 

---

 

Meanwhile, near the wine casks, Lieutenant Hugo Javier narrowed his eyes at the dirty boy snooping around the tables. He gently removed himself from the guard post and as Anton neared the cask, he felt a hand grab him by the collar. "I don't believe that someone dressed as you are, Garçon, would have received an invitation to the ball. Where did you come from?"

 

Javier sneered and picked Anton up into the air. "And who did you come with?"

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Anton would struggle a moment before the nosy guard hauled him backwards and hefted him up in the air, he would struggle a bit, whilst sputtering a moment. "I'm quite dressed enough, can a man not have an evening jaunt with fellow members of the upper crust of society! Unhand me, you- you disdainful varlet! I am here with-, with the Count de la Criezzo, of the Basque Country! I warn you, you will be quite sorry if you do not unhand me this instance!" sputtered Anton, struggling a little more rattling off a name he thought might work.

 

When the guard seemed unmoved by his show, and refused to unhand him, Anton would frown in displeasure, before reaching into his frock coat, grasping for something. He suddenly produced a stick like object, that seemed to have paper around the end, and suddenly, he grasped a leather strap that crossed across the lieutenant's chest, and slide the stick behind it and snapped the tight strap back. He grasped the end, and quick as a flash, pulled a small string that extended from the tip, igniting a little phosporous that would light when it hit the air. The hot phosphorous would in turn light the sparkler it was attached to, and as the lieutenant would gasp and and struggle, letting out a yell as he tried to beat the sparkler out, Anton would deliver his boot into the guard's shin.

 

The lieutenant would yelp, before dropping Anton, who would airily say, in a singsong voice, "I told you, you would be quite sorry!"

 

Before the lieutenant could reach for him again, as Anton made his final run to the claret table, whilst still trying to beat out the sparkler now strapped to his chest and sparking everywhere, Clarice and the other two machinists would bowl past him, going after their boss, knocking his grasp away. The master mechanic would skid to a halt at the table and grasp a glass before any of the stewards could stop him. He would take a long swig, as Clarice would reach him, her face almost as red as her hair, and she looked irate.

 

"Are you trying to get killed!? Let's get the hell out of here!" she said, moving to grasp Anton's arm, as he grasped another flute of the Creon.

Edited by TheShammySocialist
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As the Viscountess went off with one of the guests, another woman was standing behind her.  By the Duke's judgement, surely another noble.  She had blond hair like the viscountess, but was younger and much more striking blue eyes.  By his judgement she fit the bill perfectly for what he had been told.

 

He approached the woman, scanning her finger to be free of a ring, "Madameoiselle." he said bowing to her.  "I am Duke Chakri of the Empire, and nephew of the Emperor.  Allow me to welcome your young nation to the world.  These are my colleagues General O'Manley and UN Ambassador Metternich.  And what may we address you as?"

 

"Pleasure." Metternich said.

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Izak Moskovich would arrive at the party after flying to Bordeaux in a MaGaSH jet.  Belonging to neither to federal government nor the government of the MAR, he had no authority to speak on behalf of the Russian state.  However, running one of the largest trade corporations in the country required him to attend events like this to gain entrance to fresh and open markets. 

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Mikhail III of Russia stood flanked by ministers and bureaucrats from Russia. For most it was their first diplomatic mission and they were all eager impress their hostess and gain the favor of their tsar in the process. They were like leeches; they clung to him and sucked all his energy until they had what they wanted. Whether it was money, fame or political favor, when they were fat and no longer needed him they would drop off and slither away.

 

Clinging to his arm was a Russian ballet dancer. He couldn’t remember her name. Natalia? Viktoria?  Whatever it was, she was just another passing fling. She was only along so the press back home would have a bit of juicy gossip to report when he returned.

 

The tsar crossed through the crowd toward the hostess. His view of her was obstructed by the droves of people around him. They made it impossible to travel in a straight line. One person would unknowingly block his path then another. It was maddening, but suddenly he reached the end. There he stood with the viscountess. He bowed his head just enough to be respectful, but so much as to appear subservient and introduced himself as Mikhail III of Russia.

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Anton would struggle a moment before the nosy guard hauled him backwards and hefted him up in the air, he would struggle a bit, whilst sputtering a moment. "I'm quite dressed enough, can a man not have an evening jaunt with fellow members of the upper crust of society! Unhand me, you- you disdainful varlet! I am here with-, with the Count de la Criezzo, of the Basque Country! I warn you, you will be quite sorry if you do not unhand me this instance!" sputtered Anton, struggling a little more rattling off a name he thought might work.

 

When the guard seemed unmoved by his show, and refused to unhand him, Anton would frown in displeasure, before reaching into his frock coat, grasping for something. He suddenly produced a stick like object, that seemed to have paper around the end, and suddenly, he grasped a leather strap that crossed across the lieutenant's chest, and slide the stick behind it and snapped the tight strap back. He grasped the end, and quick as a flash, pulled a small string that extended from the tip, igniting a little phosporous that would light when it hit the air. The hot phosphorous would in turn light the sparkler it was attached to, and as the lieutenant would gasp and and struggle, letting out a yell as he tried to beat the sparkler out, Anton would deliver his boot into the guard's shin.

 

The lieutenant would yelp, before dropping Anton, who would airily say, in a singsong voice, "I told you, you would be quite sorry!"

 

Before the lieutenant could reach for him again, as Anton made his final run to the claret table, whilst still trying to beat out the sparkler now strapped to his chest and sparking everywhere, Clarice and the other two machinists would bowl past him, going after their boss, knocking his grasp away. The master mechanic would skid to a halt at the table and grasp a glass before any of the stewards could stop him. He would take a long swig, as Clarice would reach him, her face almost as red as her hair, and she looked irate.

 

"Are you trying to get killed!? Let's get the hell out of here!" she said, moving to grasp Anton's arm, as he grasped another flute of the Creon.

 

The lighting of the phosphorous alerted nearly everyone near the wine casks to what was happening. Hugo jumped back and fell to the floor, spilling over one of the casks. Two other guards ran over to where the lieutenant lay, "No, not me, you imbeciles! After them!" he said and pointed at the two machinists running off back to the upper floors of the hall. "Don't let them get away!"

 

"Oui, Monsieur Lieutenant!"

 

Hugo jumped to his feet and then slipped back down onto the floor with a thud. "Damn vagrants! I will get you!" then he took off running with the rest of the guards.

 

 

As the Viscountess went off with one of the guests, another woman was standing behind her.  By the Duke's judgement, surely another noble.  She had blond hair like the viscountess, but was younger and much more striking blue eyes.  By his judgement she fit the bill perfectly for what he had been told.

 

He approached the woman, scanning her finger to be free of a ring, "Madameoiselle." he said bowing to her.  "I am Duke Chakri of the Empire, and nephew of the Emperor.  Allow me to welcome your young nation to the world.  These are my colleagues General O'Manley and UN Ambassador Metternich.  And what may we address you as?"

 

"Pleasure." Metternich said.

 

The woman laughed and flung her head back in enjoyment. "You could indeed call me 'Pleasure,' Monsieur. But my name is Baroness Madeline de Viselle. Lovely to meet all of you of course," she said extending her hand for them to kiss. "Jacqueline and I were both surprised to see so many foreign dignitaries come to Bordeaux for the celebration. It makes us feel truly loved in a world where even tomorrow seems uncertain." Then turning to Metternich, she smirked, "It is interesting that you three come from such a diverse nation. It has always shocked me that the further east you go, the more cultures you see. It never used to be that way. But such a large empire denotes many people."

 

She turned away, her lithe back to them for a moment before turning towards the Tianxians once again. "Do they teach any of you to dance properly in your military schools on the Pacific?"

 

 

Mikhail III of Russia stood flanked by ministers and bureaucrats from Russia. For most it was their first diplomatic mission and they were all eager impress their hostess and gain the favor of their tsar in the process. They were like leeches; they clung to him and sucked all his energy until they had what they wanted. Whether it was money, fame or political favor, when they were fat and no longer needed him they would drop off and slither away.

 

Clinging to his arm was a Russian ballet dancer. He couldn’t remember her name. Natalia? Viktoria?  Whatever it was, she was just another passing fling. She was only along so the press back home would have a bit of juicy gossip to report when he returned.

 

The tsar crossed through the crowd toward the hostess. His view of her was obstructed by the droves of people around him. They made it impossible to travel in a straight line. One person would unknowingly block his path then another. It was maddening, but suddenly he reached the end. There he stood with the viscountess. He bowed his head just enough to be respectful, but so much as to appear subservient and introduced himself as Mikhail III of Russia.

 

As Jacqueline and the Governor of Texas walked across the ballroom, they came face to face with the Russian entourage. The Viscountess stopped and bowed her head gently, curtsying with a smiled. "Your Imperial Majesty, it is a pleasure, welcome to Aquitaine." She turned to the ballerina and offered the same soft greeting. "To what honor do I have in welcoming the Russian court to my humble Hall?" after making her honorary greetings, she raised her hand and gestured to the Texan Governor.

 

"May I also introduce, Monsieur Lawrence, Governor of Texas and the dignitary representing the American Commonwealth."
 

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The woman laughed and flung her head back in enjoyment. "You could indeed call me 'Pleasure,' Monsieur. But my name is Baroness Madeline de Viselle. Lovely to meet all of you of course," she said extending her hand for them to kiss. "Jacqueline and I were both surprised to see so many foreign dignitaries come to Bordeaux for the celebration. It makes us feel truly loved in a world where even tomorrow seems uncertain." Then turning to Metternich, she smirked, "It is interesting that you three come from such a diverse nation. It has always shocked me that the further east you go, the more cultures you see. It never used to be that way. But such a large empire denotes many people."

 

She turned away, her lithe back to them for a moment before turning towards the Tianxians once again. "Do they teach any of you to dance properly in your military schools on the Pacific?"

 

 

"You're too kind Baronness." Metternich said bowing to her.  

 

The Duke took the Baronness's hand and kissed it, he smirked at the question about dancing.  In truth the Imperial Court had been starkly influenced by the Austrians who had emigrated to the East.  The Emperor had been fond of saying in his macho bravado, the dancing of his wife's court beat the hell out of those 'helium sucking make up wearing Beijing Opera singer's who were practically royalist frogs with the way they dressed and galivanting around in make up.'  Of course this would probably not be the time to bring up such unfavorable comparisons and opinions.

 

"We've had a few experiences." he said to her as he took her arm pulling it forward and placing his other hand on her hip as they entered the dance floor of the ball.

 

"You know Baronness." he said as he expertly guided her, "Have you ever thought of traveling?" he asked.

 

Metternich watched on expertly as the general looked confused.  The general was puzzled especially why the Ambassador had a smile on his face.

 

"Do you care to share why you are so happy?" asked the general.

 

"It appears, the Prince's agents are on the prowl.  This can only bode well for Imperial Influence." the Ambassador said careful to remain out of ear shot of the other dignataries.

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Johnathan Germaine, of Port of Sudan Imports and Exports, more colloquially known as Gentleman Johnny, quietly made his entrance to the party. His official papers demonstrate him as a Minister without Portfolio for the government of Legion. Yet his interests, being quite diverse, aren't limited to the mere realm of government. With him came his personal assistant and bodyguard, Malcolm Reynolds who is armed with his usual well tailored suit and tie. Both of the men make their way to the bar and order a drink and once properly equipped with the suitable liquid balm for all that ails them, they settle in for some serious people watching.

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"You're too kind Baronness." Metternich said bowing to her.  

 

The Duke took the Baronness's hand and kissed it, he smirked at the question about dancing.  In truth the Imperial Court had been starkly influenced by the Austrians who had emigrated to the East.  The Emperor had been fond of saying in his macho bravado, the dancing of his wife's court beat the hell out of those 'helium sucking make up wearing Beijing Opera singer's who were practically royalist frogs with the way they dressed and galivanting around in make up.'  Of course this would probably not be the time to bring up such unfavorable comparisons and opinions.

 

"We've had a few experiences." he said to her as he took her arm pulling it forward and placing his other hand on her hip as they entered the dance floor of the ball.

 

"You know Baronness." he said as he expertly guided her, "Have you ever thought of traveling?" he asked.

 

Metternich watched on expertly as the general looked confused.  The general was puzzled especially why the Ambassador had a smile on his face.

 

"Do you care to share why you are so happy?" asked the general.

 

"It appears, the Prince's agents are on the prowl.  This can only bode well for Imperial Influence." the Ambassador said careful to remain out of ear shot of the other dignataries.

 

"Traveling?" said Madeline with a laugh as she sashayed with the Duke across the glittering floor of the room. "That is rather forward. We've only just met. Though I must say, you are a splendid dancer. I can only imagine that others in your country enjoy other finer things. Food, drink, and laughter."

 

 

Johnathan Germaine, of Port of Sudan Imports and Exports, more colloquially known as Gentleman Johnny, quietly made his entrance to the party. His official papers demonstrate him as a Minister without Portfolio for the government of Legion. Yet his interests, being quite diverse, aren't limited to the mere realm of government. With him came his personal assistant and bodyguard, Malcolm Reynolds who is armed with his usual well tailored suit and tie. Both of the men make their way to the bar and order a drink and once properly equipped with the suitable liquid balm for all that ails them, they settle in for some serious people watching.

 

The two people behind the bar, a man and a woman, each in the black aprons and bow ties of the servants of formal gatherings entertained the men from Legion. "You both have traveled a good bit to come all the way to France, have you not? All for a little party?" said the man with short brown hair.

 

The woman chuckled. "Mingle with the elites, and take bets on how much they leave you for tips."

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The two people behind the bar, a man and a woman, each in the black aprons and bow ties of the servants of formal gatherings entertained the men from Legion. "You both have traveled a good bit to come all the way to France, have you not? All for a little party?" said the man with short brown hair.

 

The woman chuckled. "Mingle with the elites, and take bets on how much they leave you for tips."

 

Gentleman Johnny smiled back at the two behind the bar and fished out a pair of Legionnaire's coins. He places the gold piece roughly the size of silver dollar, stamped with the Legion's coat of arms on one side and the stern face of Denard on the other, and slides them over to the pair. He then says, "I don't think you'll ever get a tip quite like the one I'm about to give you. When in doubt, never guess, always act on concrete information. When without concrete information, guess and hope for the best. When you have doubt and concrete information, fear not, you are probably soon to be dead."

 

"In other words he's looking for your number, which you should give him," Malcolm inserted into the conversation. From his pocket he pulled out a piece of paper containing the recipe of his favorite drink titled, The Facepalm. The recipe lists a devilish concoction of five different types of whiskey and two liqueurs. "If you'd be so kind, could either of you mix up a pair of these for us?" he said as he drew out a 100 dollar bill and discretely slid it across the table along with the recipe. 

 

Gentleman Johnny looked slightly ill as Malcolm slid the recipe over the bar and said, "By god, I think this is how a good rousing game of butt darts is started."

"Never, that's a Dillion and Denard affair, we merely will have to content ourselves with mingling with these two nice folks who seem to be slaving away behind the bar," said Malcolm.

 

"Those two retards are safely contained on the moon and one of them is dead. We are safe from the scourge of explaining their terrible manners at diplomatic functions," Germaine replied with a snort.

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