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 Post subject: Pride and Predictamancy
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:35 pm 
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Chapter 1

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Side in possession of a good Date-a-mancer must have their Courtiers and Warlords paired off.

However little known the feelings or views of any Nobleperson may be on their first popping, this truth is so well fixed in the mind of the Side’s Date-a-mancer that they are considered as the rightful property of whomsoever she might choose.

"My dear Lord Bennet," said Date-a-mancer Emma to him one day, "have you heard that Pemberley’s new Lord is to pop at last?"

Lord Bennet replied that he had not.

"But he is," returned she; "for Lady Long has just sent a hat message, and she told me all about it."

Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know how it came about?" cried Emma impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Lady Long says that the spoils at the latest battle were so good that the Prince Regent paid to rush-pop Pember.ly’s production! What excellent Luckamancy for our girls!"

"How so? How can such foolish profligacy affect them?"

"My dear Lord Bennet," replied the Date-a-mancer, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his pairing with one of them."

"Is that his design in popping here?"

"Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore we must visit him as soon as Turn starts."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, the new Lord might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of Signamancy, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman reaches my number of Turns, she ought to give over thinking of her own Signamancy."

"In such cases a woman has not often much Signamancy to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Pember.ly’s new Lord when he pops into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"Bennet, you take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these hundred Turns at least."

"Ah! You do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young Lords pop into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should pop, since you will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all."

Lord Bennet, the City Manager of Longb.rn was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that long experience had been insufficient to make the Date-a-mancer understand his character. Lady Emma’s mind was equally inscrutable to the good Courtier. She was a woman of little understanding beyond the borders of her Side. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to see all the Courtiers in her Side paired off; its solace was visiting and news. She had chosen him as her love match soon after popping, a thousand or more Turns ago, and on the whole, they might pass for a happy couple.

_________________
Pride and Predictamancy

2nd level Dollamancer, currently using my Juice on a Bag of Holding


Last edited by happyturtle on Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:55 pm 
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    Chapter 2

    Lord Darcy felt himself straighten even before he finished popping. He felt he was the kind of unit who should always stand up straighter and taller than others. Unless he met his Ruler, King By George, the Prince Regent, Boy George, or the Chief Warlord Admiral Full Nelson, he would never have reason to bend to another. He was the City Manager of Pembr.ly, and as such, was at least the equal of anyone else in the Kingdom of Gr8 Bit.ly.

    In the second second of his first Turn, Darcy discovered that the city was already in debt from his very popping. Why had the Prince rush-popped his production? He checked the queue to find that the next order behind his was a regiment of Stabbers, discounted for Home Defense only. Darcy let it stand for now. He needed to find out if they were really needed – more than the City Improvements that he felt would be a much better use of Pember.ly’s production.

    In the third second, he realized there were people in the room with him, when a high pitched feminine squeal hit his ears. He opened his eyes to see a Caster with an elaborate hat smiling at him and making that sound, as if she were to explode soon. Her fists were clenched just under her chin, and he could not bear it. He tore his eyes away from her, to see that she was accompanied by a gentleman – a City Manager like himself.

    “Congratulation on your precipitous popping. I am Lord Bennet, Manager of Long.bn, a Level 2 about four hexes from here. This is my partner, Date-a-mancer Emma.”

    “Lord Darcy,” Darcy said. He felt that he was a man of few words. He was surprised that the Caster was not rather a Hat Magician. The creation on her head bobbed precariously, and seemed destined to fall any moment.

    “Lord Darcy! Such a fine sounding name! And to have the City of Pemberley straight off –a Level 3! I can tell you that many other Lords were vying for this posting. I even told Bennet that he should try for it, but he says that Longb.rn suits him well. And so it does me, though it would be well if we were closer to Lon.dn. And if there were more dances. Though we will have a dance now, in your honour! You need but name the day! All the Courtiers with any move to spare will be longing to see you.”

    The lady continued prattling on. Such an avalanche of words that seemed devoid in any useful information was quite overwhelming to the newly popped Lord, so he was rather grateful, when it was interrupted.

    “Lady Emma – a lackey. We are here to find him a lackey. It is too soon to talk of dancing.”

    “Oh, Bingley, to be sure,” the Caster said, as if it was a matter that had been long decided.

    Lord Bennet seemed surprised. “Bingley? A lackey for Lord Darcy? I would not have thought they would suit.”

    “Certainly. There can be no question.”

    Darcy sensed that she had given a silent Order, and it was followed by the entry of a Courtier, one from the double row of Courtiers standing silently outside this chamber, awaiting his inspection. The new gentleman was smiling, nervous, anxious to please. As Bingley bowed, the Date-a-mancer shook her handkerchief. “GUY PALS. BFF. BROMANCE.” She intoned, and sparkling light surrounded Darcy and Bingley both.

    Darcy stepped back in alarm, but the sparkling light was not to be evaded. As it faded, he decided that he’d had quite enough of this woman. “Lord Bennet, Lady Date-a-mancer, I have business to attend to. You will pardon me.” He said stiffly, and abruptly left the room.

    From the hall, he called, “Lackey, attend me.” When Bingley caught up with him, Darcy began discussing arrangements for a hunting party to the next hex, which would add both rations and morale to the City and indirectly to the entire Side, consulting with his lackey on who would be the best Lords and Ladies to invite.

    He didn’t see the broad smile of the Date-a-mancer as she watched the two men walk away.

    Image
    Darcy (center) with Bingley (right). The seated Lady Courtier is Not the Date-a-Mancer.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Gr8 Bit.ly is an Island Side that fights all its battles at sea or abroad. Because of this, the Cities act as if there is a prolonged peace, despite their ongoing war with Overlord Boney. King By George has been removed from rule due to madness, considered a plot by the enemy. The Prince Regent is a spendthrift, and has popped a glut of Courtiers. None of his Warlords expressed any desire for a Date-a-mancer in the field, so he is content to leave Lady Emma at home, paying her upkeep but treating her as if she were just another noblewoman.

    _________________
    Pride and Predictamancy

    2nd level Dollamancer, currently using my Juice on a Bag of Holding

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:10 pm 
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    Chapter 3

    The last five Units to Pop in Long.bn were Lady Courtiers. It had become a fad at Court for Lords and Ladies to pretend that they were parents or children, as if they were Royalty, and Lady Emma had decided that these five Courtiers were her daughters. “My dear girls” she called them. Or, most vexing to Lord Bennet, “Our girls.” She longed to pair them off, but the thrifty Lord Bennet had done his best to trade away what Courtiers he'd been ordered to Pop in previous Turns. A team of horses for one, a full component of tenant farmers for another. He'd had to trade three to get a competent City Steward. But "Emma's dear girls" were a worse expense than any before, for she insisted on dressing them in Dollamancer's Raiment and Hat Magician's Bonnets. He did put down his foot and insist that they could not be equipped in magical gear. Emma pouted and sulked and her "nerves" were worse than ever, but he carried his point. Long.bn was a self-sufficient City – barely – and he intended to keep it that way. It would be much easier if he could trade away the girls. But no. There would be no peace at home, for many a Turn, if he were to do such a thing. All he could hope for was that the Lady Date-a-mancer would find matches for them. Let someone else would foot the bill for their elegant attire. And the sooner the better.

    (Except Elizabeth, perhaps. She had something more of quickness than her sisters, and he thought he would probably miss her. He might even think of her – in his innermost heart – as an adopted daughter.)

    Currently, Long.bn was in a complete state of confusion – "Happy confusion", Lady Emma would have said – from the planning of a ball to honour the newly Popped Lord of Pember.ly. There were invitations to be written, mounts and carriages to begged off of any City that could spare them, and old acquaintance to be snubbed.

    Lydia and Kitty, the most recently popped of 'Emma's Girls' loudly lamented that they did not have a proper Hamper Hat, which would enable them to order foodstuffs from Lon.dn and keep it fresh until they pulled it out. No matter how often Jane and Elizabeth tried to remonstrate with them (Jane gently, and Elizabeth sagaciously) that such Hats were needed with the brave Warlords and Warladies that kept Overlord Boney from their shores, Lydia and Kitty never would accept it.

    "I don't see why we can't have one Hamper Hat, for special occasions. They get their rations Popped every Turn, like we do, and they can always forage or fish or sack a city if they want something different. It isn't as if they need petit fours from Ln.dn to hold a ball!"

    "No, they are far more likely to be in want of freshly baked bread, hot from the oven," retorted Elizabeth.

    "What, instead of luxuries? La! What strange Units your soldiers and sailors are."

    "If you didn't have fresh bread for Turns on end, you'd think it a luxury too."

    "What is the use of Gr8 Bit.ly even having a Milliner, if she must spend all her Juice on Stabbers and Sailors?" Kitty fretted.

    Lord Bennet found it wisest to hide in his library, while telling one servant he was in the little copse, and another he was inspecting the walls.

    ~~~~~~~

    In Pmbr.ly, Lord Darcy was having his own difficulties. It was the Stabbers that had Popped behind him. Lord Darcy had decided not to object to their position in the queue, and he regretted it with every Turn. Had they been full upkeep Stabbers, he could have ordered them to the Walls or the Tower and expected them to stay there. But as discounted home defence Stabbers, they expected to make rounds in and out of every building in the city. They trod mud on fine carpets, caught their spear tips in Ladies' headpieces, and flushed out secret assignations when they peered under furniture and into closets. It was causing a penalty to morale that almost cancelled out the bonus they City felt from having their very own Regiment.

    He considered upgrading them, but the upkeep was considerable, and the city was still in debt. He contacted Chief Warlord Admiral Full Nelson, to see if they were needed at the front. That would mean that their upkeep was paid by the Side instead of by Pmbr.ly. But Full Nelson had no need for them at present, and no transports to spare for them besides.

    For a dark moment, Darcy even considered disbanding them - but only for a moment. If a leader did have to make the terrible decision to disband his own Units, he should send the Units into the field, so their disbanding wouldn't cause fear to others. But a City Manager was not an Overlord or a Chief Warlord. His abilities to disband were limited to Units under his own Management, and in his own City Hex. But this restriction was moot. Some believed that it was a sin to disband speaking Units unless the Side was at stake, and Darcy was one of them.

    He tried consulting with Lord Bennet, but the return message read, "That tiresome letter stopped my order going through for shoe roses! Ball business only on this Hat, if you please!"

    He crumpled the note, wondering if the Courtier who sent it knew that he was the purported honouree of the Ball, or if she would care if she did know, and decided it didn't matter. He needed to consult someone else. He put another message in his hat, this one directed to the City Manager's Network, simply saying that he would like to consult with a fellow CM about a few small problems.

    An hour later, he received a Thinkagram from Lady Catherine de Borg. Her Signamancy was very strange. Though he knew her to be one of the oldest City Managers in the Kingdom, her face was smooth, with only the smallest hint of grey and mottling to her skin. He could tell nothing from her hair, for she had none. He had never seen a bald woman before, and would have found this odd enough, but odder still was that she had spines or tentacles that grew back out of her head.

    "What is it you desired my assistance with?"

    Darcy briefly outlined his difficulties, and Lady Catherine immediately asked to bring their Warlady into the Thinkagram.

    "They do not have a Warlady."

    "No Warlady? An entire regiment of Stabbers in a City with no Warlady? It is no wonder they are running quite wild. There is nothing to be done with Stabbers without discipline, and none but a Warlady can give it. You must choose the best of the regiment and Upgrade her at once."

    "Pardon me, your Ladyship, but is not the upkeep for a Warlord quite high?"

    "How many Courtiers does Pmbr.ly have?" Lady de Borg said pointedly. He couldn't argue. The answer was 'Far more than it needed'. The Prince Regent enjoyed having a large Court, and so every city on the island of Gr8 Bit.ly had Courtiers. Prince Boy George could trade different Courtiers in and out of Ln.dn as they found his favour, and so never grow bored. But it was trying on the Cities to manage the upkeep for so many. "Were we not favoured by the Titans with our island location, we would be required to have a warlord and Stabbers in every city. Remember that War is the highest expression of our purpose on Erf."

    "Is it, your Ladyship?"

    "Do you doubt me? I am an Archon. I have served my Side both at War and at home. This is how I can understand the Titan's will so perfectly."

    "I have no knowledge of Archons," Darcy confessed

    "Archons were once Popped frequency in Gr8 Bit.ly. So frequently that it was called Angel Land. But long ago, King Henry Gr8 took 6 different Archons, successively, as his lovers. As he tired of each, he had them either exiled or disbanded. Since his death, it is rare that the Titans have allowed Archons to Pop in Angel Land, and so the Side was renamed. When one of us does Pop, it is rightly regarded as a most fortunate event. My own daughter, Anne, is another such."

    "Your pardon, Madam... did you say, your daughter?" Darcy had not heard of the fad for playing 'family.'

    "Yes, the heir of Rosin.gs. She would go to the war, but her health is delicate. Otherwise, she would be level ten by now. I should have reached level ten, if it weren't for my injury."

    Darcy considered asking about her injury, but before he could decide the propriety of the question, she told him anyway. "I fell on a Dirtamancy trap to save my Commander. I shall tell you the story sometime. Step back, Hill."

    He could make no sense of the last words, until the image in his thinkagram grew smaller. A servant must be holding their fingers for her Ladyship. For a moment he had trouble making sense of the image he was seeing. When he did, his horror must have come across in the Thinkagram.

    "Yes, it left me without limbs. Just my head and spine," she said, seeming pleased at his reaction. "I am beyond Healomancy, they say."

    Darcy could think of no reason at all why one would boast of such an accomplishment.

    "Your Ladyship, I thank you for your time. I shall go and see about promoting a Warlady at once," Darcy said, wanting nothing at all more than to end this horrible conversation.

    "Oh, certainly. I shall call in next Turn to see how your choice is doing. I believe I shall Thinkagram you every Turn to help mentor you."

    No. No. No. No. No. "Madam... I am certain that there are better uses for your time."

    "Nonsense. There is nothing more useful to a newly popped Lord than the help and advice of a more experienced Unit. I have often told our Chief Warlord that he should pair newly Popped Warlords with a mentor..."

    It was another hour before Lady Catherine de Borg ran out of Juice.

    Image

    _________________
    Pride and Predictamancy

    2nd level Dollamancer, currently using my Juice on a Bag of Holding

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