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File: anyaotomeop.png (2.17 MB, 1500x900)
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On the star of Velekam, the small eye of the world god known as the continent Vinstraga, the outskirts of the capital of the Archduchy, Strosstadt in Strossvald, a young woman from nowhere tries her best to sail the sea of fates in a place most unfamiliar to her.

For a warrior woman, more at home in the commander’s seat of a panzer than any household or city street, a life away from battle is not so simple. Where power does not come from strength of body or force of arms, can she still steer destiny to her will?

She must, for a life without freedom to her is no life at all.

This is a drawquest taking place in the Panzer Commander setting. You shouldn't need to know anything about it beyond how the current player character acts like and what she knows, but any questions will be answered readily, to aid in staying in character.

-----
>>
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You were asleep, and dreaming. Normally, this was a welcome respite. Yet tonight, somebody had decided to ruin it.

“I love you, Anya.”

Your mother. Her voice. After so many years, it was clearer now than so many other people you would rather remember the sound of.
It was infuriating.

“My entire life was failure after failure. Until you were born. Until your sister. If my life had any purpose, it was for the two of you.”

This dream was a lie. Something your imagination came up with to comfort you. It wouldn’t work. You knew the truth of this woman. She went through existence in a drug addled haze.

“You want me to thank you for the only thing you gave me?” You demanded, “Eat shit! That wasn’t worth a damn thing ‘til after your worthless corpse was nothing but more dust on the wind!”

“I am so, so proud of you, my daughter. I wish so badly, that I could have seen you now.”

“I never want to see you ever again! Now rot in hell, or wherever they send useless, pathetic, irresponsible whores!

A gentle smile on her face that you never, ever saw on her in life. “I am sorry. I am as sorry as I am proud, my sweet baby. My gift that I never knew how much I wanted…”

Shut your whore mouth...! You moved to punch her in her face, that face that looked so much like yours…but your arms were limp, and without the strength to even rise in anger…weak, and worthless…
>>
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You are Anya Nowicki, twenty-four years old, too short for your liking (156 centimeters last you checked) but at least fit and thin. Sergeant Nowicki, as you could demand to be called, though once your Accelerated NCO Training was done, you’d become a commissioned officer of the Army of the Archduchy of Strossvald. Funny thing, since you weren’t even a citizen of the country, but you were a retinue of one of its officers- a personal subordinate. A mercenary, practically, which was fine by you, because a mercenary is what you’d been before.

How you got here was a long story, and there wasn’t any need to dwell on it. The best way to summarize it would have been “you got shot a lot and your adopted father’s nephew seemed like a more fun time than wasting your life in the dustlands you were born in.” It was a waste of time to even try to explain your past in abbreviated fashion. Easier to just say that you were a mercenary from the wastes that distinguished herself. That gave people most of what they had to know.
>>
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Up an at ‘em, fluffy, you told yourself as you rose out of bed, turned on the electric lamp by your bed and did morning stretches. Your left arm was still weak- your humerus getting shattered by a bullet would do that. The sun was coming up- still too dark to just open the shades. Checked the clock. Half an hour before reveille- not that the bugle at the Archduke’s Own Panzer Officer Academy was a strict call for students, but old habits died hard.

It was the weekend. August the 18th, 1933. Four months into your program. No lectures today. No tests coming up. You had a research paper halfway done that wasn’t due until the end of the month, and you could get it done any time you wanted. You were already familiar with the material, after all. No, today, you had something else planned…something you weren’t quite ready for.

>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
>Check the vanity. You needed to refresh your memory about yourself.
>You’re starving. Get food. Your waist wouldn’t bloat before wintertime, best enjoy it while you could.
>Other?
>>
>>5967089
>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
>>
>>5967089
>>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
>>
>>5967089
>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
>>
>>5967089
>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
I can't tell if I like or hate her PJs, it's a weird color combo but not a bad one.
>>
>>5967089
>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
>>
>>5967089
>Check the vanity. You needed to refresh your memory about yourself.
>>
>>5967089
>You’re starving. Get food. Your waist wouldn’t bloat before wintertime, best enjoy it while you could.
>>
>>5967089
>Go through your clothes. You can’t go outside in your pajamas, can you?
I’m so excited for the tank commander otome quest
>>
>>5967089
Go out topless
>>
>>5967093
>>5967097
>>5967099
>>5967105
>>5967123
>>5967131
>>5967133
>>5967184
>>5967191
Seems like it's wardrobe time.
And she had only just appeared in pajamas. Update coming.
I thought I'd get the other one done first but I've made better progress on this.
>>
look for the time
>>
>>5967202
It's swimsuit morning
>>
Clothes…right. It wasn’t something you had needed to think about often. Usually, you were wearing a uniform, and the only question then was whether you should roll up the middle. Questions like what should I wear today was something you’d often considered stupid girl shit like your younger sister quibbled over. Not a question worth thinking about. Even at university, it was the same. What should you wear? Your cadet uniform. No question. Uniform when up, your skin in the bath or shower (good thing your section was closed off to men), pajamas in bed.

…This was different, though. You were going to meet somebody today, at the capital’s central train station. Somebody you hadn’t seen in a while.

Your boyfriend. Magnus Edelschwert. Officer in the Netillian Army rather than the country you’re in, but one you’d been around a decent amount of time. Long enough to like him. Really like him. Like you hadn’t liked a guy in a long time.

You’d met him while you were over in Ellowie on a mission with Richter- the guy who you were the retinue of (cute, hot burned face, fun dancer, but not your type). Nephew of your adopted father, and once upon a time, before you actually met him, the man you thought you’d marry like a prince in a fairy tale. Now you’re like his big sister. It’s complicated. You’d met Edelschwert over in Ellowie, where once upon a time, your mother had come from (you were an Ellowian, ethnically), and you’d hated his guts once. That had changed. The last you’d seen him was at Richter’s marriage ceremony, where he got shacked up with a ginger midget bitch when he could have done way better, and that was where he went from affectionate interest to boyfriend.

…Well, maybe he was your boyfriend. You weren’t actually sure if he thought that way about you. When you’d decided you were officially an item, you’d been drunk and kissed him on the lips, twice. Had to pull him down to your level to get at that mouth, too. Since then, the letters you’d exchanged hadn’t been what you imagined a couple exchanged. They were matter of fact. Information only. Were you alright with that? Not really.

He was finally coming over now, he’d gotten what he needed to get out of the way back home, he said so in his latest letter. Right now, Richter was up around Plisseau. Strossvald was in a little war with them. You didn’t really care about why they, you’d like to have been there now for Richter’s sake, but you had to be here- getting your officer’s commission.

>>5967251
It's six o'clock sharp in the morning. The same time you always wake up, ready for action!
>>
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So what to wear? Your hair had gotten long. Past your shoulders, you usually cut it once it got this long. Should you do that? Should you style it up some way?

All sort of stupid-ass questions with no clear answer.

You could wear your cadet uniform. He appreciated a professional look. If you wanted to catch his eyes better, you could roll up the middle and show off your stomach, now that it was nice and tight. It’d be your normal look. Or should you appeal to his conservative side? You’d gotten a dress- really not your kind of clothes, but you’d worn them in disguises sometimes. You’d look like an ordinary woman around here, instead of yourself, for better or worse.

Or. You could give not even a single shit about what anybody else might think and dress sexy. You had clothes that showed off plenty while still being normal for training, or a layer under something else. It would turn heads, but it’d turn his too, right?

Unless you were mistaken about the boyfriend thing, then you’d look like a desperate idiot.

Or…it could be time for something different. Not going in your underwear, that’s for damn sure. Close the blinds, Anya, you’re not putting on a show. Though…you had to admire yourself in the vanity at least a bit. Covered in scars…you remembered the first scar you got, across your face. You hated it so much, you cried whenever you saw your face in the mirror. Now, though, all you could think was: what a reason to wear an atom suit to the beach, eh?

>Professional, officerial, militaristic. It was how you knew one another.
>Dress like how you wanted him to see you. As a woman. Not as some part of an army’s mass.
>You’re good looking, aren’t you? Remind him. Dress cute, dress stunning. Show off what you’ve got.
Or-
>Draw/Support something drawn on?
Also-
>Haircut, Style it, or just brush it loose?
>>
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>>5967308
>Draw/Support something drawn on?
Sure.

>Haircut, Style it, or just brush it loose?
Leave it just how it is!
>>
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>>5967308
>>
>>5967308
>Professional, officerial, militaristic. It was how you knew one another.
Uniforms are cool, and women look good in them.

>Haircut
Style it. I want to see how Anya would style her hair, and it would complement the uniform well I imagine.
>>
>>5967308
>Dress like how you wanted him to see you. As a woman. Not as some part of an army’s mass.
>>
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>>5967308
Obligatory
>>
>>5967308
>You’re good looking, aren’t you? Remind him. Dress cute, dress stunning. Show off what you’ve got

>Haircut, Style it, or just brush it loose?
Ponytail
>>
>>5967308
>>5967346
+1
>>
>>5967308
>Professional, officerial, militaristic. It was how you knew one another.
Based quest.
>>
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>>5967308
>Here's my submission
>Would like some feedback for the possible Ponytail/Cap and suspenders if yes or no
>Behold a submission and vote
>>
>>5967308
>Dress dapper! Get a waistcoat and a flat cap.
> Style your hair in a nice low bun
>>
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>>
>>5967308
Supporting this >>5967364 just because, god damn
>>
>>5967364
A voter after my own heart... But I doubt Anya can pull it off.
>>
>>5967362
this one has my vote, it's anya-core
>>
>>5967308
This one: >>5967362
I think there was a drawing of her with a Cap before? I think the cap fits.
>>
>>5967089
>>Other?
get ye flask
>>
>>5967308
Backing >>5967363
>dapper with a flat cap and a low bun
Unfortunately I can't bre- draw. I can't draw.
>>
>>5967364
+1
How can I not
>>
>>5967324
Taking after your younger sister.

>>5967328
4

>>5967337
>>5967360
Uniform.

>>5967341
Ladylike and girly.

>>5967346
>>5967358
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oywrz8EFobg

>>5967355
Show off what you got. Put that hair up.

>>5967362
>>5967371
>>5967448
Looking like you raid tombs.

>>5967363
>>5967553
"Dapper"
Betting on your beau's riding boots and sash and feminine looks meaning something, huh...

>>5967364
>>5967367
>>5967610
It wouldn't be wrong to say you have a history with overly elaborate dresses...even if there isn't a ball tonight.

>>5967536
You can't get ye flask!

Today was doing a lot and I took a short nap to get some energy back, but I'll still delay actually deciding this for a couple more hours before doing one more update for today. Then it will no longer be April Fools and the consequences of mandating I do this as a drawquest will sink in. >>5967331

>>5967448
>I think there was a drawing of her with a Cap before?
Military caps in canon. All sorts of other ones outside it. Anya is not fearful of hats.
>>
>>5967655
switching from >>5967337 (this is me) to >>5967364. I still prefer the uniform but I'd rather go with the dress than the tomb raider getup.
>>
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Hello all.
Sorry for the delay, just had to get back into the swing of things. Proceeding now.
>>
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>>5967308
Maybe running a little late, but posting anyways. I tried to keep it classy and in-character.
>>
>>5967655
Challenge for a One-Thread Sidestory: IMPOSSIBLE
>>
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…You weren’t fully awake or something, because you could’ve sworn you saw…

Never mind. Maybe the shrink saying you had “severe underlying psychological trauma” was right about exactly one thing, and it happened to really be about sailor suits. No time for that load of shit in your life though, this was more important.

The outfit wasn’t something you’d go anywhere near on your own volition. You didn’t know if you wanted to take scissors to it or just blow it to smithereens with a cannon, but it might just be the thing you needed now. It had been a gift- men seemed to have some inexplicable compulsion to put you in fancy dresses, without any compensation at all besides getting to see you in them. Can’t complain about somebody’s lost bierock if it’s in your belly now, as Schweinmann used to say. Would Mag be into this? You thought you looked like cheap arm candy that spent every pfenning she had on trying to look better than she was, to try and lure somebody without the good sense to tell when a wrapped gift smelled like shit.

You’d definitely need help getting shoved into it. There were as many laces as a suit of plate armor on the thing. You didn’t really trust too many people to help you put it on. Not here, at least, though the guy who gave it to you probably would do it without needing a knife to his tenders.

Karel Van Halm. You didn’t know how he got your measurements, either he had an eye way too keen for you to speak kindly of, or he got them from Richter’s mom. Whatever the case, he had randomly gifted you this ensemble of red silk and lace, that probably cost as much as your retinue’s stipend made over months. He was at the Academy like you, for another reason. Said he owed Richter Von Tracht still, for saving his brother in the war over east in Netilland, the same one you ended up both against and alongside Magnus in. But you weren’t born yesterday. You’d bet gold on him just testing the waters to see if the fish were biting, and you’d already fallen for that hook once. Back when…



That wasn’t what he was trying to do. Karel was nice. You didn’t need to be so prickly with him like you’d had to be for years, in the wastelands of Sosaldt.

You went over to the vanity- no matter what you went with, you had to brush your unruly hair. That was when you noticed them- right at the bottom of the mirror. A brass and wood glasses case. A present from Magnus that he’d sent. You’d made the mistake of telling him that you were nearsighted, only by a bit. Even if your eyes were fine you’d have to use binoculars in the positions you served anyways, so what did it matter?

The truth was that you hated how glasses looked on you, so you never put these on, not even when you went to the range, or did academy maneuver exercises. If Magnus was coming back around, though…should you wear them? Even though they looked like crap and you didn’t need them?
>>
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There were a few other things on this shelf with the mirror though. Even though, with what you were picking out to wear, they wouldn’t fit well. One was a medal. The Silver Shield of Roland, awarded for your part in the Battle of Sundersschirm, where you last got wounded. The citation for it was right there on the plaque for it, but you hardly ever re-read it. You weren’t much of a fan of wearing stuff like this, but whenever in uniform, Hell’s brother Geroldt, Richter’s father, had told you to wear that medal. You were used to being messed with, it came with being a short scruffy girl amongst rogues and thugs, but when you wore that medal around here, nobody had a smart mouth. They didn’t even know what you got it for, just that no cadet was in any place whatsoever to shit talk a soldier who’d won a Silver Shield.

The other thing was an heirloom from…family, you guessed you could call it. Geroldt Von Tracht had given it to you- the short sword of an artillerist from the last century, more a tool than a real weapon. Hell had never been an artilleryman, and Gerold said, yes, he’d never been. This sword had belonged to his and Hell’s ancestor, one of the consorts of Helman the Silver Lance, who’d founded the house of Von Tracht. Silke Mondhohe, who was the minder of flying batteries for Helman’s mercenaries.

You didn’t think it was yours to claim, but Richter’s father had insisted that it belonged to Hell. Thus, it was passed to you. If you wanted, you could wear it like a saber- though you wouldn’t even have the right to wear a sword until you got your officer’s commission anyways. Not that it kept you from potentially wearing it anyways, as heirlooms had different rules.

The medal wasn’t supposed to be worn anywhere but on a uniform. The sword, though? Nobody could stop you, if you wanted.

>Wear the Glasses? Even though they’re unspeakably lame.
>Wear the Sword? Even if you’re already overdressed.
>Other Accoutrement?
>>
>>5968592
No to both
>>
>>5968301
How cruel, targeting Anya's insecurities like that.
>>
>>5968592
Also no to both
>>
>>5968592
I'll need to see Anya in glasses to judge. No to sword, though.
>>
>>5968592
>Wear the Glasses? Even though they’re unspeakably lame.
It would be a bit rude not to. They were gifted by the guy she's trying to get with, who she's not sure even likes her, and she's not going to wear them? Unthinkable.

Shame no one wanted to wear the uniform, the other items don't fit with a dress at all and would look great with the uniform.
>>
>>5968592
>Wear the Glasses? Even though they’re unspeakably lame.
To being lame!
>>
>>5968592
Wear a tiara
>>
>>5968592
>Wear the Glasses? Even though they’re unspeakably lame.

A frilly dress and glasses? Very kuudere.
>>
>>5968592
>Wear the Glasses? Even though they’re unspeakably lame.
Yeah let's just go full bore and skinwalk von Metzeler's wife.
>>
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>>5968594
>>5968641
Nay

>>5968715
A requirement to see.
This is a far different outfit, but it's the face that matters, isn't it?

>>5968727
>>5968781
>>5968825
>>5968985
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIUMQa4jlbU

>>5968784
Anya does not have a tiara! Or any jewelry for that matter, save for ear cuffs that were another gift.

Updating. As soon as I finish the other thread update.
>>
>>5969087
Actually the outfit matters. The glasses match well with the outfit in the pic, but not with the dress, imo. So I'm voting to omit the glasses
>>5968825
As well as to tie our hair in twintails and embrace the tsun.
>>
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Glasses were supposed to help you see better, but you couldn’t even recognize this thing in the mirror.

Fuck it. As far as you knew, the cards were face down, but even if there wasn’t a royal flush there, you always had a good hand in your sleeve. Not under your skirts, though. That was where this ruffly thing came in handy. You could put a munitions caster on your thigh holster in this thing and nobody would be able to tell.

The dress was starting to grow on you, if you looked at it that way, actually. Loud and bright, plenty of depth to its folds to hide an armory in, some might even say it was like you. “Obnoxious.” Smartasses. Though it didn’t show off any of your good muscles, not that you’d been able to keep that up as well as you could, what with your left arm still healing, still too busted to be exerted safely, even if it was finally out of the sling.

You’d rather Magnus sent you one of those beautiful weapons with plenty of its shells, rather than junk that made you look like a dork. Goggles but worse in every single possible way. One more preparation to take care of, you thought as you glared at the sight of yourself in glasses…

Never go out without being strapped, that was the most important lesson to learn, no matter where you were. Some people might not agree in a place like you were now, but being unarmed was like being naked- and even when the clothes came off for washing, you still had something close. Technically being a part of the Archduchy’s armed forces meant you couldn’t be stripped of your weapons anyways, but an openly worn weapon would just make this bloody bonfire you were wearing look worse.

>Get Equipped. Equipment can only be placed in a slot category it possesses- S, Sleeve, B, Bust, T, Thigh, P, Underwear. No, Anya does not have a handbag.
>Knife- Simple Edged Weapon. Able to be thrown with reasonable accuracy.
>Derringer- Two-Shot Breechloading small caliber defense instrument.
>Automatic Pistol- Compact self-loading handgun
>Magazines- Two magazines for use with Automatic Pistol
>Bra Padding- All the Help you can Get
>Training Grenade- Small-Scale Explosive, Still Dangerous, Mostly Loud and Bright.
>Wallet- Probably Necessary.
>Lucky Razor- Just In Case. Small Roll Bonus.
>Presumption Manifest- Raises confidence by riding up.
>Other things unmentioned? (Anya must reasonably have them, they can’t be better than listed items.)
>>
>>5969391
Oh yeah, this is what I'm talking about.
>Right Sleeve: Wallet
>Left Sleeve: Magazine x2
>Bust: Padding
>P: Lucky Razor
>Right Thigh: Auto Pistol
>Left Thigh: Training Grenade
>>
>>5969391
>S: knife, wallet
>T: pistol, mags
>B: derringer
>P: razor
>>
>>5969391
>S 1: derringer
>S 2: derringer
>B : derringer
>P : derringer
>T 1: derringer
>T 2: derringer
going strapped
>>
>>5969434
+1
>>
>>5969434
Support
>>
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>>5969454
+1

She’s a /k/ommando for sure.
>>
>>5969391
>S1 - Knife
>S2 - Derringer
>B - Padding
>P - Lucky Razor (we're not intending to seal the deal I presume)
>T1 - Training Handgranaten
>T2 - Wallet
>>
>>5969391
Equip nothing. Go commando.
>>
>>5969454
+1
v u l u m e o f f i r e
>>
>>5969454
support
we are become jetfire jim
>>
>>5969391
fuck we need our wallet
Switching to as voted before but swap out bra for wallet and as much derringer ammo as possible
>>
>>5969391
Supporting >>5969434
>>
>>5969454
+1
>>
>>5969391
>Glasses were supposed to help you see better, but you couldn’t even recognize this thing in the mirror.
It's almost 1934, let's just get contacts. They exist.
>>5969391
>Right Sleeve: Derringer
>Bust: Wallet
>Left Sleeve: Lucky Razor
>Thigh: Knife
>Underwear: Vibe pill.
>>
>>5969428
Padded ranged.

>>5969434
>>5969470
>>5969475
>>5969689
The balanced build.

>>5969454
>>5969481
>>5969499
>>5969577
Doing your best Meryl Stryfe impression.

>>5969700
As Above but with wallet.

>>5969483
Padded melee.

>>5969491
Bear Handed

>>5969740
Out for a walk.
While yes, contacts exist, Anya would still say she doesn't really need them.

I have work tonight so I won't be resolving until either I get back or tomorrow morning.
>>
>>5969391
>>5969434
This
>>
>>5969454
+1
Luv me .25 acp
>>
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Jetfire Jim, Revengance
>>
>>5969434
Supporting dis
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Alright, time to tally things up according to slot.

Right Sleeve- Derringer
Derringer- |||||||
Knife- ||||||
Magazines-
Wallet- |


Left Sleeve- Derringer
Derringer- |||||||
Magazines- |
Wallet- |||||

Left Thigh- Derringer
Derringer- ||||||
Knife-|
Magazines- |||||
Grenade-||

Right Thigh- Tie
Derringer- ||||||
Automatic Pistol-||||||
Wallet- |

Bust- Derringer
Derringer-|||||||||
Wallet-||
Padding-||
Something something Anya's bosom is too small to embrace anything larger.

Pantsu- Lucky Razor
Derringer- ||||||
Lucky Razor-|||||||
Commando- |

This is a bit of an awkward way to count the voting I know, but it seemed the best idea. Anyways, the right thigh slot of the harness under the dress is tied between the handgun (with singular magazine) and another derringer, so I'm rolling off for that now, 1 for autopistol, 2 for derringer.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5970203
Right at the last moment huh.
Alrihgt, fine, that ties up the right sleeve's derringer and knife slot, so I'll roll that off too. 1 for D, 2 for K. Donkey Kong.
>>
>>5970204
What are weapon laws in Strossvald like anyway? How common is gun ownership?
>>
>>5970208
>What are weapon laws in Strossvald like anyway? How common is gun ownership?
The Archduchy expects nearly every physically able male to have military training and to be ready for conscription. This mobilization protocol is part of how it's been able to throw its weight around the region so effectively, even if it's decentralized through the individual territorial authorities and the command is distributed.

The Archduchy's laws are a messy tangle that would make a lawyer from any other nation tear their hair out, so the legality of possession of arms is a complicated question, but in most cases a person, or their family by extension, has to have been granted authority by the ruling noble of their land to carry a firearm. Theoretically this prevents the wrong sorts from having the capacity to assassinate any nobility, but the more effective deterrent historically has been to not be a desirable target of assassination, as a gunman might just as readily have been granted access for their criminal activity by another noble house, indirectly.

So in certain cities and territories the only people given the right to firearms are police, active duty armed forces officers, nobility, and the guardsmen of nobility who often have their own wrote permission to wield arms in defense of their lord or lady. The capital is one of these places, as are most of the particularly dense and industrialized cities of the Archduchy. Anybody suspected of having a firearm without authorization is able to be searched on the spot by policemen (or Intelligence Office or other internal security agents). These laws, it should be stated, are actually relatively recent on the timeline.

TL;DR Most people around aren't packing heat. However, Anya is five foot two and slender built, and she prefers to win serious fights.
>>
>>5970207
Jetfire Jim is triumphant
>>
>>5970221
QRD?
>>
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>>5970261
>>
>>5970401
TOP FUCKING KEK
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A derringer everywhere you could stick one- except for the waistband of your underwear (reserved for the lucky razor- lucky if you didn’t need to use it) and your right sleeve, which had a long, slender slicing knife, in case of close encounter. Or a stubborn cut of meat. You had a lot of the little double-barreled holdout pieces. Practically a collector at this point, you didn’t really have anything better to spend money on, considering how much you unintentionally saved up. You were too used to only getting money from doing a merc job and getting a cut of the coin and loot, most of what you considered the most valuable things to you were stuff that you were gifted…or stuff you took. The Dust Devil tank you had, for example. You stole that, and old friends in the Iron Hogs, your old mercenary outfit, fixed it up with some modifications to make it more badass. If they were hoping you’d come back to them, they were wrong, though. You weren’t going back. Not in the way they wanted you to.

Near fully strapped down with derringers, one on each thigh holster of your rigging, one in a sleeve’s sewn pocket, one pushed down against your chest, your heart reassuringly beating against the warming steel. A spritz of perfume, if you were going out like this anyways. It smelled softly of vanilla and cinnamon, rather than your usual scent. Like you spent more time in a patisserie instead of a tank.

Were you forgetting something?

Nah. Everything you needed, you had. Not that you were gonna shoot Magnus, unless he did something really stupid.

Ready as you were going to get for this, you checked the clock again. 0650. Did it really take you this long to get everything ready? Judge above. Not like you were supposed to meet Magnus until noon, but you hadn’t even heard the bugles going. Must’ve been the dress’s fault.

Stepping out of the women’s dormitory compound, you readily noticed that the other residents weren’t the types to even wake up at a proper time like you. Must have been here thinking they were on holiday.

You’d have to go to a courier truck to get into the city. The Archduke’s Own Panzer Officer Academy was situated a few klicks away from the city proper, where there was open land and rolling hills for the tanks to go around, and the air was cleaner. Once within the city, the air was heavy with soot, a dirty cloud hanging close to the streets depending on how close to the industrial district you were. Most people cursed the factories’ pollution in spite of the business and wealth they made, but in a funny way, the smog reminded of the filthy air of a battlefield, so you weren’t much bothered by that.

An odd sight, as you walked down the path towards the Academy’s front gates. On a day without lectures or maneuvers, the students and professors alike were lazy, but there was already a uniformed man sitting at a bench in front of the women’s dormitory. A pervert, hoping to look into the baths?
>>
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No, actually, you realized as the man on the bench seemed to look to the sky, but noticed your approach, and squinted at you. A fair, golden-haired man in a cavalry dress uniform, like was common for events here, tanks being descended from cavalry and artillery in Strossvald.

“Who is this lovely creature,” said Karel Van Halm as he rolled his chin down, “Who’s taken Anya Nowicki’s body and dressed her up in something so flattering?”

“Aw, shove it,” you said, standing in front of him and pumping a fist behind your arm. He was a friend, though, and allowed to smartarse. “What are you doin’ up so early? What are you doin’ here?”

Karel Van Halm smiled at you and raised his palms to his shoulders. “I wanted to wish you luck before your big date. Isn’t that what you put on the finery for? Will you finally thank me, when it works its magic?”

You had all the luck you needed. “…Yeah, sure. Deal.” You paused. “Hey. Can you check the laces on my back?”

Karel rose to his feet and walked behind you. “Of course. Do you want them tighter?”

“Don’t smash my ribs,” you snapped as you felt him tug on the laces on your spine. “My arm’s busted enough.”

“You only got out of that sling last week, didn’t you?” Karel sighed, “Your laces are all uneven, you should have just come with them loose and saved yourself the pain.” You felt his fingers work against your back, undoing everything and setting it back.

You stared back down the walkway as he fixed your dress, “Is this really why you’re here?” You asked, “Y’know I told you he’s not even gonna come in ‘til at least noon?”

“There was one thing,” Van Halm said, tying a knot and moving up, “Maybe it’s for the best you dressed so fancily, if you’d oblige me.”

“Spit it out.”

“I’ve been arranged for a date of my own today, on short notice and against my will,” Karel said, “My family wishes to marry me off, and the young high house lady they want to set me up with isn’t much to my tastes. So I’d like to fend her off with a false image of myself. A harmless but dissuading slight against her, if you’d help me build it up with a restaurant visit. I need us to be associated for the morning. I’ll let you ride in my car instead of taking the dispatch, since you’re going into the city anyways.”
>>
“You want me t’ pretend to date you?” You rolled your eyes. “What if you just didn’t show up, and we could do something fun instead?”

Karel gave you a quizzical squint. “Dates are fun, Anya. But yes, if you don’t want to do that, we can go to the range, if you like. Or spar. You might have to change out of that dress for that, though, and since you already went through the effort, you shouldn’t waste it.”

>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.
>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>He knew who you were going to meet today, didn’t he? You didn’t have any time for anybody but your boyfriend. Sorry, maybe another time.
>Other?
>>
>>5970844
What's the tonk?
>>5970846
>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>>
>>5970846
>>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>>
>>5970846
>>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.
>>
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>>5970846
>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.
It's august, might as well get a head start putting on that winter coat.
>>5970857
Looks like a PW-3, maybe with local mods.
>>
>>5970846
>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>>
If we show up smelling like gunpowder, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Anya, & we could stay in the dress.

>Go shooting
>>
>>5970846
>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.
Really don't want to waste the effort we put into getting dressed. We will have less time to shoot with needing to get undressed and dressed again.
>>
>>5970846
>>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.
>>
>>5970857
>>5970861
>>5970986
>>5970992
The only nourishment you need is that of firepower.

>>5970938
>>5970944
>>5971003
>>5971188
The classic midriff isn't out right now anyways.

>>5970857
>What's the tonk?
As >>5970944 says, it's a Pw-3, a Grossreich tank, but after the Emrean War they got scattered to the wins in various ways, whether sold directly or copied outright. Strossvald no longer uses the Pw-3 in any fashion, so this demilitarized one is taking up space as a decoration.
Also it's a "female" variant. Placed in front of the women's quarters. How very subtle.
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All tied up, still.
I'll wait a couple hours and roll off if needed, and call the vote there.
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>>5971392
I'll swap to break the tie:
>Fine. Go on a false “date,” you had to pass the time anyways. And you were hungry.

Is Van Halm still in the army? I assume his panzer unit is based around the capital?
>>
>>5970846
>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>>
>>5971403
>>5971397
Well nvm then, keep it the same I guess.
>>
>>5970846
>>You needed to watch your waistline right now. You’d rather go shooting, or spar. The practice would be good for you.
>>
>>5971397
>Is Van Halm still in the army? I assume his panzer unit is based around the capital?
He is, yes. Though he's not in a unit presently- he's taking a sort of graduate program. What exactly he's doing at the academy will be brought up soon enough.
>>
Napped for too long.
Anyways.

>>5971403
>>5971410
>>5971455
Doing the shoot. At least, that's what I assume. Updating.
>>
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“Don’t have t’ change out of anything,” you declared, “Gunpowder’s not a bad smell. C’mon, let’s go shoot some while we don’t gotta share the range.”
Karel’s smile ebbed a little. “Are you sure you don’t want to change into something else? Besides, surely you haven’t eaten yet today.”

“Nah,” you said, losing patience, and not wanting to have food brought up again while you were famished, you grabbed his wrist and pulled him along the path. “Besides, I don’t wanna pull this thing off ‘til I have to.” If getting out of it was as hard as getting it on.

You had pulled Van Halm about halfway across the Academy grounds before he shook his wrist loose of yours. “Judge Above, Anya,” he said with a stifled laugh, “The lady is nowhere near here to offend, you’ll give the rest of the city gossip.”

That concern was returned with a stilted shrug. “Fuck ‘em.” You had nothing to hide. Not like Richter’s own crewmen hadn’t stuffed you and him into a hotel while drunk in Sosaldt once, and that implied more than a date. “Who’s this lady, anyways? I haven’t heard you talkin’ ‘bout her before.”

“I haven’t,” Van Halm told you, “But I’m sure you know of her. The family of Von Blum only has one marriageable daughter from their main household left, and her sister is married to the man who retains you.”

Oh, her. “Yeah, I know who that is,” you said, “I don’t remember her name, just that she looks exactly the same as her sister. And her sister’s a huge, massive bitch.” Though not in stature.

Karel tilted his head with a frown. “That isn’t an appraisal I hear often. Do you have a rivalry between you?”

“No. I didn’t do anything that she’s got any reason t’ be so sour about as she is,” you chuffed, annoyed now. “Ain’t my fault she’s at home sittin’ on her fat ass instead a’ being out there with somebody she cares about.”

“Are you sure you are one to talk about that?” Karel asked.

…That stung a little. “Hey, I’m here t’ help more than I could before, I didn’t ask the Almizeans t’-“

“What? No,” Karel interrupted you, “I wasn’t talking about that.” He leaned himself back, exaggerated his tilt, pointed his head down.

“…Fuck off,” you reached out and flicked his nose like a fly, “I don’t have a fat ass.” It hadn’t been grabbed in a while. But you were relieved. Honestly, you’d rather be up there, but what was down here, everybody agreed, had been more important to do- especially while your arm was broken.
Yet Richter wasn’t your fiancée, not your husband. And you’d gone over to Magnus while it had been worse.

Even so…
>>
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“I’ll say nothing else,” Karel paced himself back to be slightly ahead of you, “besides that the seats on many a tank would benefit from more padding.”
Enough talk about your ass, as you rubbed your hip, feeling it through your skirt to see if it had grown. “Whatever. What’s wrong with her, that y’ don’t like her? Not up to your standards for looks?”

Karel laughed softly, and slightly, “No, I have her picture right here, actually. She’s lovely, and her family is the high house of Von Blum. Logically, I have nothing to complain about, being matched with her.”

You had to admit that she had you smoked as far as being pretty went, but that field was lost ever since you took that knife across the face. How she looked, though…this wasn’t Maddalyn Von Blum? She looked so exactly the same that it creeped you out a little.

“The Von Blums are pretty powerful,” you didn’t have to remind, but it was a point impossible to ignore. High houses had their own armies, their own industry. “So’s your house. Both territorial lords.” How the Archduchy split up its lands. Each territory was ruled by a different high house family. “So what’s the catch with…what’s her name.”

“Mathilda Von Blum,” Karel said, “Power is what her family and mine see, yes. Our lands are adjacent, and a solid alliance between us would benefit us all, and smooth over any lingering rivalries from eras before. Territories may never combine under the Archduke’s reign, of course, but my brother is the prince of Van Halm, anyways. Many would say that there is no catch, that the wealth and power is enough. Would it be enough for you?”

>Without power, you can’t have anything. The beast will make you its booty if you have no blade. That’s just the way the world works. Best get used to it.
>You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.
>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>Other? (Any vote will be converted to appropriately rougher dialect)
>>
>>5972047
>Without power, you can’t have anything. The beast will make you its booty if you have no blade. That’s just the way the world works. Best get used to it.
>You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.

Both are very very true, but:

>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>>
>>5972047
>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>>
>>5972047
>>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>>
>>5972047
>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
I'd like to think Anya has felt safe in Richter's employfor long enough to leave survival mode.
>>
>Not up to your standards for looks?
>I have nothing to complain about
Nonce moment.
>>5972047
>You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.
>>
>>5972047
>>You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.
Someone needs to marry Mathilda and unfortunately I can't so
>>
>>5972047
>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>>
>>5972047
>>Call yourself uncharacteristically romantic, but did either of those things matter if there was an irreconcilable difference? Something no force could overpower, and no luxury could assuage?
>>
>>5972047
You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.
>>
>>5972047
>You knew what it was like to have nothing. To be devastatingly destitute. It didn’t take much wealth to tolerate a lot, for plenty of people. It had been enough for your sister, after all.
>>
>>5972055
>>5972059
>>5972064
>>5972086
>>5972203
>>5972406
True love must triumph!
Okay, nerd.

>>5972134
>>5972181
>>5972864
>>5972870
Being on the edge of a cliff makes you want to not be there.
Falling off makes you need a parachute.

Updating.
>>
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“I used t’ be really poor, when I was a kid,” you said. A kind of poor that nobody in this country could even think of. After your mother died, you had next to nothing, save for a place for you and your sister to sleep, a small hut only left to you for pity’s sake. Most of what you had even before was picked out of garbage, or stolen, as more money went to your mother’s drug addiction than anything else. Back then, you couldn’t even dare to dream of having what you enjoyed now. You tugged at the silk fringe on your sleeves. “This thing’s worth as much as I’d a’ been, back then.” Actually, you probably weren’t worth that much. The child kidnappers had wanted Alina, not you. “When you’re hungry for long enough, plenty a’ people would do anything for it t’ stop. These days, though? It’d take more than that t’ lure me in. Wouldn’t matter what was in it for me if I couldn’t stand the guy, y’know? I’d need somethin’ that can’t be bought.”

“You’ve lost some cynicism, then?” Van Halm asked rhetorically. “I prefer when romance triumphs, also. I wouldn’t trade myself for what I’ve already had anyways, not for that alone. No, Mathilda Von Blum is simply not to my tastes in other ways.”

“’Cause she looks like she hasn’t grown past twelve years?” you smirked, “Or ‘cause she’s a ginger?”
Van Halm cocked an eyebrow at you. “Has nobody told you? It’s because she is…controversial. She is known to be a minx of the courts. A woman of shadows and rumors, though nobody good at such things allows there to be more than such. So I’d rather not, you see. I don’t like the concept of marrying a half-truth.”

“Oh. So she’s a slut.” You didn’t like those, either. Or lies, for that matter. Who did?

Karel snorted in an uneasy laugh. “Brazen, aren’t you? Back in the day, you might have been made to pick a man to fight a duel for that comment.”

“I’d do it myself,” you challenged, “Always ready for it. Can’t use the best banter if you’re too weak t’ carry the words yourself, y’know?” You let a knife slip from your sleeve and tossed it in the air, let the same happen for the derringer in your other sleeve, caught them in opposite hands, and gave a toothy grin. You were as good with one hand as you were with the other, but this still had taken practice to do so well.

Van Halm applauded politely. “We’re not quite at the target range yet, Miss Nowicki. Are you going to shoot me for my earlier comment?”

“Nah,” you said, letting the weapons slip back into the sleeve pockets, “I’d have t’ think too much on which one deserved it most.”
>>
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The range was, as predicted, quiet, yet was actually available rather than closed down, even though the bleary-eyed armorer was clearly not enthusiastic about early risers.

“Sergeant Nowicki,” he recognized you with a yawn, and raised an eyebrow at your outfit, but said nothing else. “You don’t have that shotgun on you?”

“Couldn’t find a place t’ put it.” It was a good idea, though. You’d have to buy a rig for that if you were feeling in a dress-mood anytime in the future.

“The usual, then,” the armorer said, slouching to the back.

You had a smug thought. “Got any ammo in pocket pistol caliber?”

The armorer stared queerly back at you over his shoulder. “Yeah. If you can pay for it.”

“I’ll handle that,” Karel interjected, and he said sidelong to you. “It’d be cheaper than buying you brunch anyways.”

“You’re buying your own breakfast right now with that sort of talk,” you growled. Even if he wasn’t wrong.

The range was an outdoor one, enclosed by embankments with enough of a backstop to halt a cannon shot. Not that you’d be needing anything past a hundred meters, or even entirely within that.

The targets laid out, maybe you were expected to pick up one of the arms of the tanker- the pistol and the carbine, but you wanted to try something out right off the bat. Whenever you moved you felt a derringer, and they were eager to come out…

“Ladies first,” Van Halm said, leaning against the back wall with his thumbs in his sash. He was looking at your eyes- your spectacles. They didn’t let you see that much better… “Say. Do you want to make a wager?”

The response was reflexive. “Deal.”

Karel blinked. “I didn’t even say what it was, yet.”

“It’s for shooting, right?” You flexed your fingers and relaxed your shoulders. “I’ll win.”

“My marksmanship scores are as good as my academics, Anya,” Karel warned, “But fine. If you’re so confident, then you make the stake. I’ll give you proportionately what you offer. Standing shots. The more hits on target with whatever you pick up, the better the score. I’ll choose whatever you don’t, the carbine only half loaded, for fairness’s sake.”

Funny as it would be to bet your entire monthly stipend, Karel Van Halm was too rich for that to be interesting. He’d probably just forfeit as some form of joke.

>What do you want to bet?
Also-
>Choose your weapon. (Includes those on your person)
>>
>>5973534
>Loser pays for dinner.
>Derringer
>>
>>5973534
>Winner makes lose eat an exotic and probably gross dish of the winner's choosing at the loser's expence.
>Derringer, gotta train what we have.
God, these targets are so goofy-looking, I can't even
>>
>>5973534
>Exotic Brunch
>Jetfire Jim's Brace of Derringers
>>
When are we meeting the other fellow again? I'm new to these qsts.
>>
>>5973534
>A dare
>Derringer
>>
>>5973534
Supporting >>5973603
>>
>>5973534
>What do you want to bet?
The honor of telling Mathilda von Blum to kick rocks.
>Choose your weapon. (Includes those on your person)
8mm Messer.
>>
>>5974007
+1
>>
>>5973535
I want dinner.

>>5973563
>>5973603
>>5973670
If you're hungry, then taste the meal of defeat.

>>5973651
A dare. Of what, perchance.

>>5974007
>>5974011
Telling midgets to back off.
Aren't you greedy.

>>5973535
>>5973563
>>5973603
>>5973651
>>5973670
Using all your holdout weapons.

>>5974007
>>5974011
Revolver Ocelot

Updating.

>>5973604
>When are we meeting the other fellow again?
At noon.
Or rather, practically speaking, in a couple updates or so.
>>
>>5973534
>>5974007
Supporting.
>>
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“I’ve already got my weapons,” you said with a cool, growing smile. The intent was for each different distance target to be hit at least one, you were sure, but it’d hardly matter with your approach. “Pick whatever you want. You’ve already lost.”

“Oh?” Karel leaned forward slightly, “Then let’s see if that boldness is favored by fortune.”

“Fortune’s waving her skirts around and she isn’t wearing underwear,” you said, “Whoever loses has to eat the worst crap that the fanciest place around Strosstadt has to offer. Jellied Liver. Pickled toe-poppers. That sorta thing.”

Karel shook his head plaintively. “You’re making a serious gamble, considering who you’re planning to meet. You should have a clean taste about the mouth.”

“Doesn’t matter,” you stretched your arms over your head, “Like I said. I’ll win.”

“Very well. I hope you enjoy the taste of fried milt, then,” Karel said cheekily.

That tone made you glance over your shoulder. “What’s milt?”

“Shoot well or both you and your beau may find out.”

Maybe you’d make Van Halm eat milt. Would wipe that smug look off his face real good, whatever it was.

Out came the derringer from one sleeve. One that Karel already knew about. Yet he didn’t know about the other one you reached for against your breast.

>Roll 4 sets of 2d10, and 1 of 1d10. DC is 4+, 6+, and 8+, with 5+ for the Knife Toss.
>>
>>5974417
The fourth set, I should say, is 6+ DC. Which is to say, matching or higher.
>>
Rolled 8, 7 = 15 (2d10)

>>5974417
Jetfire Jim rides again.
>>
Rolled 6, 1 = 7 (2d10)

>>5974417
>>
Rolled 4, 9 = 13 (2d10)

>>5974417
>>
Rolled 7 (1d10)

>>5974417
>>
Rolled 10, 6 = 16 (2d10)

>>5974417
>>
PLAK-PLAK, PLAK-PLAK, both derringers were emptied and tossed onto the table in front of you, and without checking to see if you had indeed hit any bullseyes, you hiked up your skirt and pulled two more derringers from your thigh holsters, pointing one out, the other arm bent to brace your aim. PLAK-PLAK, You changed up your shooting arm and your brace, PLAK-PLAK. Not quite done. With a final flourish as you let the derringers fall from your fingers with a clatter onto the table, smoke twirling in the air in front of you, the knife came out of your sleeve. With a final draw of the arm and flick of the wrist as you flung your arm forward, the knife spun out to the closest target.

With a catch of your breath, you squinted to see how much you’d win by…

The knife hit the closest target with a thwack, sticking into the wooden back plate. You’d hit six out of your eight shots, too, including one on the further target. Not bad for such runty guns. You flung a victorious grin back at Van Halm. “You lose,” you sneered, “Seven hits. Even if you aced every shot with that revolver, you can’t win.”

Van Halm put up his palms. “Surely the knife doesn’t count, even if all those derringers counted as a singular weapon. What happens if we tie?”

You shrugged. “You’ll have to tie me, first.”

“Do I get to borrow your knife, then?” Van Halm asked as he strode out to the target and yanked the knife from the head of the target board.

You made a noncommittal tilt of your head. “Just get on with it and lose, already.”

Karel stood at the edge of the range, picked up the wheel gun, and with a twist of his wrist, spun the revolver on a finger before locking his arm out, a determined flintiness in his eyes and a snap of his lip into a concentrated curl, before he squeezed his finger on the trigger.

BANG. The first shot echoed, and you saw a hole appear perfectly in the center of the head of the nearest target. Four more shots in quick succession, each a hit on the bullseye. A moment’s hesitation- then you saw him relax his hand for a second. BANG. The final shot visibly hit the ground.

“Well,” Van Halm laid the gun down and sighed with a smile, “I suppose we won’t have to worry about a tie, then. Be merciful, if you would, will you?”

>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
>A win’s a win. He would have beefed up the knife throw anyways.
>Let him know you know he lost on purpose. But you appreciated the gesture.
>Other?
>>
>>5974543
>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
REEE
>>
>>5974543
>Let him know you know he lost on purpose. But you appreciated the gesture.
>>
>>5974543
>>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
>:V
>>
>>5974543
>>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
>>
>>5974543
>Let him know you know he lost on purpose. But you appreciated the gesture.
Let's see if we can't turn tonight into 'trench warfare', if you catch my drift.
>>
>>5974543
>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
>>
>>5974543
>Hey. That doesn’t count. You’re not taking a match that was thrown.
>>
>>5974551
>>5974556
>>5974568
>>5974598
>>5974980
Hey, no throwing, that's cheating!

>>5974554
>>5974571
I know what you did but I think that's cool.

I'll be updating after I finish the other one I need to do.
>>
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“No, hold on,” you snapped, and pointed a rude finger at Karel, “Pick that back up and redo that shot. That didn’t count?”

“Why? Because it missed?”

You banged a fist on the table with the weapons and ammunition, rattling it all. “You threw that!” you said, “I’m not taking a match you lost on purpose! Now do it again, dickhead!”

Karel sighed, and picked up the revolver once more, along with a single shot for it, breaking open the revolver and loading it in, the cylinder given a small spin as he inspected the gun. “If you insist.”

“I do. Now give that far target a new asshole.”

“Right in his head, then,” Karel straightened his back and stretched out his arm, the same intense look crossed his eyes as he squeezed the trigger again. *click*.

“Quit screwin’ around,” you picked up a spent brass casing and pitched it, bouncing it off his head.

Karel gave you a sidelong toying glance, and this time- BANG. The far target’s head target received a new hole in it, and then Karel swiped your knife off the table in front of him, and flung it straight out with not a bit of spin, throwing it so hard it staked through the middle of the closest target.
“Huh,” you couldn’t help but be impressed, as you both walked downrange and you looked at the knife jammed halfway through the target. “I didn’t know you could throw that good.”

“I didn’t know either. I was motivated to perform. Were you, with that many derringers?” Karel grabbed the knife and wiggled the handle, trying to convince it to slide free. “If you were more precise, I’d have no choice but to forfeit. Are you sure you didn’t miss any shots on purpose?”

You rolled your eyes and stuck out your tongue. “Yeah, sure. I just can’t make up my mind on how much I want to eat milt.” Whatever that was.

“Then what is to be done about this tied score?” Karel asked, raising his palms in inquiry, “I’d presume you’d refuse the easy out as usual, but if you’re truly unsure...?”

He saw through the sarcasm, of course. You were just a bit annoyed that you had missed those shots. You’d have loved to see the look on his face if he’d found himself stuck without a chance.

>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
>If he was going to be such a pill about it, then you both win. When you ate brunch you were in a mood for it to be normal.
>Nah, this arbitration wasn’t your style. You had an idea for a tiebreaker…(Write In)
>Other?
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.

Let's suffer together
>>
>>5975535
>>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
Misery(?) loves company.
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
I'm pretty sure there's no India in this world so we're safe.
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
>>
>>5975535
>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.

>>5975548
I wouldn't be so sure, there's a china
>>
>>5975535
>>A tie means you both lose. Hope Van Halm’s hungry for the taste of defeat, because he’d have to share it with you.
>>
>>5975538
>>5975540
>>5975541
>>5975543
>>5975548
>>5975552
>>5975624
>>5975664
Sheesh you really want to go with this guy and eat some milt, huh.
Alright, updating.
>>
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“We both lose,” you declared, poking Van Halm’s chest, “So you’re treatin’ us both t’ some real rancid gourmet. Hope you’re hungry, because you’re sharing the taste of defeat with me.”
Van Halm shook his head with an amused smile, “You didn’t have to share in it, but if you insist. The hour is still early, though, and our ears are yet to ring through the plugs. Some academy students might be asleep, even.”

Shame this wasn’t the cannon range.

Another set of shots was gone through, this time, just for fun.

“May I have a go with one of those derringers of yours?” Van Halm asked. After a round, he commented, “Handy things, aren’t they.”

“Can hide ‘em in just about anything,” you agreed, “Could stick one in an atom suit on a twig even.”

Van Halm glanced at the pistol in his hand. “Where were you keeping this one again…?”

You honestly didn’t remember. “My sleeve.”

“Ah, good.” Hmph. “Carrying a brace of pistols like that reminds me of stories of boarding officers of old Valsten. Before repeating arms were common, they’d have as many guns on them as cannons on their ships, it was said.”

“How many was that?” Naval history wasn’t a strong suit, and it wasn’t demanded for landlocked Strossvald.

“Depending on the ratings at the time, a century before the Shattering, twenty to one hundred,” Van Halm said, “A gross overstatement in other words. But it’s a fun tale to tell.”

You were hefting up the carbine. The full-length rifle was too long for your tastes. This was far handier, though the power of the round made it a loud and feisty piece of kit. “Your family’s from Valsten, ain’t it, kliefnaz?” The slight difference in title was the tell. “When did that happen?”

“Last century,” Van Halm said, “The Valstener Rijk once spanned the south seas of Vinstraga and beyond, before the Shattering. When the Grossreich took over Valsten, we found ourselves up north, and when the Valsten Civil War broke up the country, the last ancestral lands were seized.”

“Thinkin’ of gettin’ them back?”

“No,” Van Halm tilted his chin up, “The Archduchy would have to be bold indeed to attempt that these days, and expand its border with the Kaiser. All I would want is a patch shore to push a ship off of, and sail for seas unknown.”

You didn’t know how to imagine it. You didn’t remember what the ocean looked like, let alone been on a boat bigger than a river barge. “Have you been to the sea?”

“In more peaceful times with Valsten, I’ve visited with the family,” Karel said, “They dream of the shores once had, and I dream of the horizon none could take from us.”

“Yet you’re here.”

“Alas.” Van Halm sighed a short relent.

-----
>>
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Van Halm had his own automobile, a convertible sport thing meticulously crafted with the curvature of a statue rather than the blocky look of other, more utilitarian cars, with bright indigo paint and red trim, chrome lining diligently polished, white walled tires that were practically a show of how much maintenance this machine required to look so pristine. It also only seated two, which gave implications, but so what? How often did you get to ride in a nice motorcar? Not like it was more cramped than some tanks you’d been in anyways, definitely cozier than a dispatch truck.

“You’d be surprised what some noble sons say about the indignity of a dispatch vehicle,” Van Halm said about that, “They’re in for a rude awakening if they see any actual service.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you rolled around in a tank with this paintjob,” you jabbed back at him.

“A time and place, Anya,” Van Halm said, not taking his eyes off from the road, “I can hardly put you in what you’re wearing in the field, now, can I?”

“Maybe not this,” you gave the ruffle at your shoulder a flip, “But you’d be surprised what some people in the dust’ll put on just for the show of it, no matter where they’re at.”

“Yourself included?”

“Yeah?” You put your hand on your chest, “Am I gonna be the one that looks like shit, or am I gonna look good, better, probably? Easy choice.”

“Hm,” Van Halm cocked his head and glanced at you- you looked back. “I haven’t seen you wearing those glasses often,” he said, “But I have seen you squinting in some rooms. Are you nearsighted?”

“Fuck off,” you scowled and turned your head away.

“Are those spectacles from your Magnus, then?” He kept probing, “Has he seen you in them?”

You took them off, testing to see how the world looked again without them. “Nah. Netillians use tear gas. When we were last around each other for a long time, they wouldn’t do good. He sent me them a month or so back.” You looked back again, sideways. “What do y’ think of ‘em?” Karel hesitated for a noticeable time. “Don’t blow smoke up my ass, I can take it.”

“They’re not to my taste, Miss Nowicki. But that doesn’t matter, does it?”

“…Yeah, I guess,” you said as you looked back out the car again.

Karel drove further into Strosstadt- the Silversmith district, home to the finer goods of the largely industrial capital, a hub of trade and tourism that supplied the comforts for the rest of the city.
>>
“Tell me, Miss Nowicki,” Karel said to break up the quiet that had fallen, “Have you gotten a gift for your man? We’re in the right place for it, if not.”

You realized you had forgotten your wallet. “Shit,” you said under your breath.

“We can get one.” …You could hardly ask Van Halm to do that for you. “Or did you have other plans…?”

>You were a woman. Magnus was a man. You yourself were a gift enough, weren’t you?
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>Should you be so presumptive? Maybe it’d be better to get something like that after you found out how…he felt for sure.
>Other?
>>
>>5976721
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>>
>>5976721
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>>
>>5976716
>Pastas got btfo by the Dhegyar
>Dhegyar got conquered by the kliefnaz

So Valsten>Vitelia confirmed?
Also Valstener Twaryi sounds cursed as hell
>>
>>5976721
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>>
>>5976761
>So Valsten>Vitelia confirmed?
A Vitelian would object to such a statement and say that the rise of Valsten's maritime empire came long after the Dheg Khans were broken and buried.
Valsteners would say they never would have fallen in their place.
>Also Valstener Twaryi sounds cursed as hell
While the Twaryians currently occupy that territory, they weren't actually that widespread over that part of land in that era. It was only after their stint as an Ellowian subject that the peoples became so rabidly expansionist.
>>
>>5976721
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>>
>>5976721
>Should you be so presumptive? Maybe it’d be better to get something like that after you found out how…he felt for sure.
>>
>>5976721
>>You were a woman. Magnus was a man. You yourself were a gift enough, weren’t you?
>>
>>5976719
>They’re not to my taste, Miss Nowicki
van Halm gets more and more literally me the more he appears.
>>5976721
>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
Be Polish do crime.
>>
>>5976721
>>It’d be a good idea. Though you’d need some help with…getting it.
>>
>>5976730
>>5976738
>>5976763
>>5976792
>>5976969
>>5977048
A gift, yes. Though buying it might be hard. Hey, seagull, you're rich, aren't you?

>>5976806
Wishy washy on investments.

>>5976854
I'll pay you back in kisses.

Updating.
>>
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On second thought, taking a break for today. I'll be updating tomorrow.
>>
>>5977884
This makes me want to see an edit of the newish Polish fighter chick from Tekken 7 as Anya



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