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  1. Willem Guilder had been in King’s Harbour just two months ago at Corrington’s “Great Ball of Terra Nova.” Now he had returned to talk to his old friend and political colleague, Román Fontonajo. In Fontonajo’s retirement, he had built a lovely house on Cocovia and settled down to enjoy a quieter life, away from politics. Guilder hated that he must ask Román to disturb his peaceful life and return to the political arena, but hoped that Román would embrace the opportunity. Guilder was greeted at the door by Román’s wife, Clarissa, and she led him into the study of their house in King’s Harbour. “Román,” Clarissa Fontonajo shouted through the house. “It’s Admius Legistrad, Master Guilder.” Román went down the stairs. “You should feel free to call him Willem, my dear,” he said. Turning to Guilder, “Welcome, old friend. Come in. Mind if I prepare something to drink for us?” asked Román, and he started walking toward the kitchen. “Yes, please, call me Willem,” said Guilder to Clarissa. “No need for formalities. And thank you, Román; a drink sounds good about now.” Guilder followed Román into the kitchen. “Juice? Wine? A tea? Or just some water?” Román asked. “Tea would be wonderful.” Guilder rubbed his leg above his peg leg. “I’m getting more used to this, but it serves as a constant reminder of the war to me. Tea always reminds me of the rewards of exploration and trade.” “Tea ... Have you ever traded it at larger scale?” Román asked while he started boiling some water. “I haven’t,” Guilder said with a bit of a sigh. “Cotton and indigo, plenty. I must redouble my efforts regarding the indigo we found on Ferro Azure. But with so many varieties of plants on every island we go to, there must be some plant out there with leaves perfect for a new type of tea” he continued wistfully. “I guess we haven’t found it yet, either ... But you are quite right about the sheer quantity of newly discovered islands. When two years ago all we could think about is colonizing and claiming the next island, and then the next after that, today we struggle to properly colonize all those we already own. I feel our collaborative efforts have become rather lackluster. But who am I to blame? I guess that’s not much of my business, anymore. Today I hardly do more than brewing tea. And look, the water is boiling. Which one? I will take my favorite Nellisan Herb Mix -- always feels like home to me.” “I will take the same, thank you. Perhaps I can share your feeling of ‘home’.” Guilder paused briefly, then continued. “And even in your retirement, if that’s the proper thing to call it, our collective efforts will always be your business. You are one of the major architects of colonial Eslandola. You are dearly missed in the council, I assure you, but I think I understand why you stepped away. You and your lovely Clarissa are blessed with a large family and each other; I am a man married to my work by happenstance as much as choice.” “And the Sweet Bardo Peach for Clarissa. Now come, let’s head to my study and have a seat.” Román said, as they walked towards the next room where Clarissa was already sitting and waiting. “And you are right -- marriage is a blessing to me. Just last night we talked about the nothing I would be without Clarissa. And I’d even claim that our colonies would not be what they are, if it wasn’t for her. But I guess you are not here to talk about the love we have found in life, have you?” “No, I have not. You know me well.” Guilder settled into a chair and propped up his pegleg. “I have come to ask a favor -- a favor that will pull you back into political affairs for a bit, but not for too long.” “A bit and not too long ... it doesn’t really sound like you know what this favor will be exactly, do you?” Guilder laughed. “This is exactly why I am asking this favor of you. You are much better at the language of diplomacy than I am.” Román thought for a second before he replied: “I have always felt more like a selfish tactician, with my own hidden agenda ...” “But isn’t that exactly what Willem just said?” Clarissa interjected with a broad smile on her face. Guilder laughed again with a broad grin. “Clarissa, you understand the game well!” Guilder composed himself, then faced her husband again. “Román, I’ll get straight to the point. War is hard, and sometimes keeping the peace is just as hard or harder. We’ve allowed ourselves to relax too much in the aftermath of the war. Oleon is actively courting Mardier and has sent a delegation to Terraversa as well. There are military rumblings from Oleon, and though I discount them for the most part, they remind us that we have work to do. Terraversa, newly independent, is a young nation finding its way. We both fought against Mardier, and now we need to solidify our relationship going forward. We need to make a gesture to Terraversa, and to all the nations of the Brick Seas, to show our recognition ... and support ... of Terraversa’s independence. So, we need someone to go to Kings Port and carry that word to Archduke Oldis. That someone must show everyone how important this is to us. I could think of no one better than you.” “Terraversa ... I’ve always had mixed feelings about their location. The less attractive Terraversa becomes as a halt on a ship’s journey between the worlds, the more likely every single ship is to stop at our most beloved Eslandolan town on the eastern coast of Nellisa. Which is, of course, in my favor more than in anyone else’s. So I assume I wouldn’t benefit much from acknowledging Terraversan independence, would I?” After a quick pause Román continued. “But surely we are not here to discuss the impacts of national politics on my very personal wellbeing. And I surely see some reason behind pursuing an alliance with Oldis. Which brings me to the core of my question: Who are we actually trying to become friends with?” “There is no doubt that Nova Terreli and Nellisa have surpassed Kings Port and Terraversa in importance on the trade routes. But Terraversa is still a strategic location. In the hands of an ally, it can assure that trade continues to flow freely to Nellisa. Furthermore, I can imagine that cooperation between Terraversa and Neliisa could increase trade revenues for both. But in the hands of a foe, it can restrict trade. If Oleon’s RNTC were to gain favor, they might implement taxes selectively to influence trade away from Nova Terreli. And if Mardier were to regain control, we might find ourselves in an undeclared war at sea again. Guilder shifted in his chair as he watched Román turn things over in his head, but continued before Román could speak. “And you have identified the key issue, easily the most delicate: who are we trying to become friends with. Terraversa is a two-sided coin. Oldis is Archduke, but L’Olius essentially controls the navy and is quite popular among the citizenry. We must find a way to be friends with both.” “And so the unborn may do his first grand favor to our nation ...,” Fontonajo mumbled after some seconds of thought. “What was that?” asked Guilder. “Or her,” Clarissa answered in Román's stead. “We are going to be grandparents soon, you know?” She had a dreamy smile on her face. “Oh! I had no idea. Congratulations! Which of your children is expecting?” “Joaquin,” said Román. “With his wonderful fiancee, Poca from Berreli. You get my point?” “I’m not sure,” replied Guilder, puzzling it over. “Other than that keeping the peace is bigger than one island or one nation, or one people, and there is more to it than personal considerations ...” “I guess L’Olius might be more open to the arguments of someone who has crossed the boundaries of races, just like his ancestors did, don’t you think?” “Ah! Of course! I forgot about L’Olius’s Atwi heritage. I can see you’re already developing a plan. Tell me more.” “We should definitely go together. That is: Joaquin, Poca, their baby, Clarissa, and myself. And split up in Terraversa, so that Joaquin can talk to L’Olius -- they are both brave men, seafarer and adventurers, after all -- while Clarissa and myself talk to Oldis. There is no way around winning both, and for now they surely do want the same thing: preserve Terraversan independence. We can aid them in this regard, we are the strong ally here -- and we can negotiate from our position of strength. So our goal is an official military alliance?” “An excellent approach to L’Olius! Your sense of family has always been a strength of yours. ... As for our goal -- goals, actually -- I wish a simple, straight-forward answer was possible. We want to limit any influence Oleon might gain in their talks, at a minimum maintaining the status quo militarily and in trade. We also want to do what we can to make sure Mardier doesn’t return. So how to achieve these goals? Personally, I favor a military defensive pact, and there are others who favor this as well. Of course, any treaty we negotiate will have to be ratified by the council, and there will be opposition -- some fear being drawn into another conflict. You know how the council can be. But I believe there is enough support to approve a defensive pact, and I think that is the surest way to prevent Mardier’s return. There is also support for a trade agreement of some sort, and while what form that would take is less clear, it would probably be easier to get approved. So you have great latitude on where to take things. While I obviously hope for more, even if we just come out of this with improved relations with Oldis and L’Olius, that will be something. Certainly see where they want to take the conversation and take our cues from that.” “And surely we will officially acknowledge them as an independent nation of their own?” “Yes, I have here a statement approved jointly by the Colonial Council and the Continental Council, signed by King Fernando! I was worried it might be difficult to get Fernando’s signature, but once it was explained to him that it would be like throwing night caps at Oleon’s King Philip, he was all for it.” “I hope it has your signature as well? And best those of all Council Members? Fernando’s name may not mean too much to successful revolutionaries, such as Oldis or L’Olius, who have triumphantly unbound from the chains of traditional Continental nations -- while I am rather sure your word or Román’s will,” Clarissa stated. “It does, indeed, Clarissa. I have signed, as have all the members of the council. But the king’s signature is significant. It shows no ambiguity in our stance on their independence. And a king recognizing the rights of such revolutionaries sends a powerful signal to the noble houses of Mardier and Oleon.” “Yet still we have a tough task ahead of ourselves,” Román said. “Oldis is said to be a relentless negotiation counterpart. Shouldn’t we be bringing some gift?” “Do you have something in mind?” “I have heard tigers make for wonderful pets.” “Seriously?” replied Guilder, a bit startled. “I must admit that hadn’t occurred to me.” “If it were you I’d make sure to get you one, because I know you could handle the beast. I guess it might work for L’Olius as well. But Oldis? Not so sure, the tiger might decide to just eat him, and that would be it for our negotiations. What about some fine clothes instead? And maybe Maestro will contribute some apple cider?” Guilder let out a hearty laugh. “I could handle him only because he would take one taste of my pegleg and deem me inedible!” Guilder slapped his leg for emphasis, then worked to return himself to a serious manner. “I’m certain we can get some of Maestro’s fine cider, and I will trust your judgment on what gifts to take. If you need me to acquire anything, just say the word.” Guilder leaned forward a bit, in a slightly softer voice. “If you have a lead on a tiger, that may indeed be a fine gift for L’Olius. It is, however, quite important to make sure Oldis does not feel upstaged by anything we present to L’Olius.” “A good point. But it applies both ways. We will always have to give Oldis more than L’Olius to make sure we acknowledge his rule, but only so much more that L’Olius does not feel upstaged. What a nice word, Willem.” “Or we just bring entirely different and unique gifts to both of them ...,” Clarissa suggested. “I would not think we should give Oldis more, but rather the gifts to each must speak to what each values. Clarissa makes a good point that the gift or gifts to each of them should be unique. To that line of thinking, a tiger would speak to L’Olius’s military role, where fine clothes would speak to Oldis’s taste for the finer things. Or perhaps a fine Eslandian stallion for Oldis? An animal for each, but each representing different qualities and values.” “One of many hard things, certainly. But we will find a solution. Do you see any other obstacles in our way?” “Just communication at this point. We need to send word ahead to let them know you are coming. And simply assembling an appropriate squadron to carry you on your mission. Logistics ... and time. We mustn’t dally, but send you and your family on your way as soon as possible. Oleon has quite the head start on us.” Guilder gave him a sly grin, then said, “I take it this means you accept this mission?” “This seems like a very intense and difficult diplomatic mission...,” Román voiced his thoughts. “Willem,” Clarissa interupted, “even with all the admiration I have for my husband and his success in both trade and politics, isn’t what you are asking for more of a task for a Colonial Grand Ambassador of Eslandola? Who may appoint local ambassadors ...” “... like his son?” Román asked her, innocent as a lamb, to which Clarissa responded with a soft smile: “Yes, for example. Or just anyone else.” “Román, my apologies. I sometimes get so focused on an end result, I forget about some of the necessary tasks to get there.” Guilder reached into his coat pocket and produced a sealed letter. “As you know, that position has been vacant for some time, a casualty of the political upheaval. And the council believes it is high time that was addressed.” Guilder handed the letter to Román. “The Continental Council confers on you title of Grand Ambassador of Eslandola, with all its incumbent powers ... if you accept.” Román looked straight at Guilder: “Powers ... I consider an ambassador more a man of words than a man of power ... But that might be for philosophers to discuss. We are here in this world, where I gladly accept the trust the council has in me. I will make sure not to disappoint you.” Román took pause and circled the room several times, in deep thought, before he continued. “Now there is one more thing that lies heavy on my heart. As you know, I have effectively taken all responsibilities of governing Nellisa. And almost all inhabitants of our colonies know that I am de facto the Governor of Nellisa. But you and I know that there has never been an official acknowledgement from our council to clarify this uncertainty for good. I would be ... very pleased if you could look into this and bring distinctness, once and for all. It would surely make the lives of all Nellisans a bit less burdened.” “You’re right. I must admit, I had forgotten that it was never made official; such is the strength of your governorship that Fontonajo and Nellisa are thought of as one! Such appointments are simpler when the trade company controls the island. I will bring that up with the council and see that it is taken care of.” “That sounds good, Willem. The urgency for the mission must be even higher than I thought, given the little resistance you showed towards my proposals ... I guess I might ask for a palace in every Eslandolan town and you would consider actually making it possible! But both you and I are more than simple bargain-hunters on the fish market. So let’s call it an agreement, be satisfied with the result and keep all the rest in mind for our future meetings. You will stay for dinner?” “My dear Román, you did not ask for anything out of place ... although I must admit that I’m relieved we have reached the end of your list,” Guilder replied with a grin. “And you assess the situation correctly: we’ve been napping diplomatically and let Oleon take the lead, which we must now correct. But I feel better already knowing you are on board for this venture. … And I would love to stay for dinner.” * * * After dinner, Guilder made his way down to the docks, where Captain Ambrose MacMathain of the Eslandolan ship Valiant Phoenix was waiting. “Captain MacMathain, I hope I have not held up your departure.” “Not at all, sir,” said the captain. “My men are having quite the time offloading our cargo.” “Yes, I see that,” replied Guilder, eyeing the scene pensively. “But have no fear, sir, my crew and I are up to whatever task you have for us.” “I’m sure you are, captain.” Guilder then handed MacMathain a sealed diplomatic pouch. “Deliver this to Archduke Oldis’s court in Kings Port. We are notifying the Terraversans that we are sending an ambassador next month.” “I will watch over this letter personally, Admius Legistrad.” The captain hesitated, fearing he should not pry in official matters, but worked up his courage. “Who is our ambassador to Terraversa?” “Román Fontonajo, our former and first Admius Legistrad, has agreed to step out of retirement to represent Eslandola as Grand Ambassador on this mission. He is to officially announce what we should have said to Terraversa and the Brick Seas months ago. He will be sailing to Nova Terreli this month to prepare for his trip.” “Do you need me to do anything for the ambassador?” asked the captain. “No, other arrangements are being made for him,” replied Guilder. “Just deliver this letter to Kings Port.” “I will see it done,” replied the captain. And with that, Guilder was off. Captain MacMathain clutched the diplomatic pouch tight. Not being a man of politics, he wondered to himself what the announcement would be. But for Román Fontonajo to come out of retirement, it must be important.
  2. Willem Guilder took his evening stroll through the garden. Here he could almost imagine he was back in Weelond, but for some reason he was still in King's Harbour. However, his ship was on its way, and his extended stay on the Corrish island was nearing an end. Just then one of his aides caught up to him. "Here you are, Gov'ner. I was lookin' all over for you. I was told you needed me, but they failed to mention where you was." "Well, you've found me, so all is well." Guilder let the man catch his breath for a moment, then continued. "Please see to it that these orders are delivered to the Secretary of the Navy. We need to commission the sistership of the Long Beard into service." "Aye, sir," replied the aide. "I heard about her. 'Twas a shame the Long Beard went down, but I hear she gave Zublius Von Wreck what fer, taking the pirate's ship from her. Better than a fair exchange if you ask me." "Indeed, the men made good with the capture of Hades' Hangman. The crew of the Long Beard have had quite the summer. But there is no rest for them, as the Long Beard II awaits." --- Just a quick build for the sistershipping requirements, and it gave me a chance to play around with a brick-paved walkway. The sand green tiles may seem like an odd choice, but I think they work well. All C&C welcome.
  3. In Weelond, Gov. Willem Guilder, Aaron van der Meede, and Pieter Reyngout announced their campaign to represent Eslandola's citizens of the Sea of Storms in the Colonial Council. And so they sailed to Bardo, the center of all activity on Eslandola's other island in the region. Around the fountain in front of the Bardo Town Hall, Col. Oystridge, the Mayor of Bardo, introduced the trio to a waiting crowd. Col. Oystridge spoke first. "It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Bardo in the first year of our Colonial Council. ..." After a few words, he turned things over to Gov. Guilder. "Thank you, Colonel, for your service to Bardo, the region, and all of colonial Eslandola!" Guilder began. Turning to the crowd, "I hope that, along with Mr. van der Meede and Mr. Reyngout, I can represent you as well in the coming year as Col. Oystridge has done for the past year." Guilder introduced his running mates and extolled their virtues, both being members of the town council in Weelond, "both local businessmen who know what it's like to carve out a new life in the islands of the Sea of Storms." Then he spoke of his own history in the islands, rising from dock agent to Director of the Merchant's Colonial Trading Company to Eslandola's Secretary of Trade. Guilder then spoke about the need for active leadership in the council. "This is an easy time to become complacent. The war with Mardier is over, the dispute over Isla de Victoria and its refugees resolved, and trade ships sail the seas once more without threat of privateers or foreign navies. Our settlements in the east continue to grow, and new horizons are open to our trade fleets. But unless we are vigilant, making sure our home ports are healthy, and alert to the ever-changing political landscape of the Brick Seas, this time of peace can be squandered." Guilder looked around to make sure the crowd was paying attention. "I was saddened earlier this year when Román Esteban Fontonajo stepped down from his position as Admius Legistrad. He was a strong leader of our Colonial Council and is dearly missed. It is his example -- of stepping up to leadership when called -- that inspires me in many ways." Guilder paused to quietly clear his throat. "And as I stand before you here today, no one has stepped up to lead us in the new year. No one has announced their candidacy for the office of Admius Legistrad. I cannot stand by and watch our ship sail on with no one at the helm. Therefore, as well as serving you as a representative of the Sea of Storms, I ask you to support me in leading all the regions of colonial Eslandola as Admius Legistrad!" The announcement caught everyone by surprise, but the reaction was more than Guilder could have hoped for. The crowd broke out in cheers of "Admius Legistrad!" Guilder raised his cane in acknowledgment. And so, Willem Guilder threw his hat in the ring for a position he had not sought, but one that he felt he must now seek, for the good of Eslandola and its colonies. ------ One more pic of the build: ---------- This is my build to announce Guilder's candidacy for Admius Legistrad. The town hall is copied from Sir Stig's build from last year. I copied it as practically as I could, but did not have the pieces necessary to build it to its full width (or full detailing). it's always fun to work with his designs, as he usually creates good architectural relief and detail that I struggle with. As usual, all C&C welcome.
  4. Capt Wolf

    Paperwork foul up

    Willem Guilder couldn't believe it. More paperwork! He thought he had everything sorted out for the MCTC's additional ships and for his own accounts. "Get van der Meede to meet me at the warehouse. And bring the paperwork!" yelled Guilder to an assistant. "That warehouse manager has mucked things up!" Guilder grabbed his walking stick and hurried down to the warehouse district. "Gov'ner, back so soon?" said the warehouse manager. "You wuz just down here the other day. I got the warehouse prepped just the way you wanted." "Don't 'Guv'ner' me. The paperwork you sent has all the cargo assignments in my name! The dock master can't tell what are MCTC cargoes and what are mine." Just then Aaron van der Meede arrived with paperwork from the dock master, desperately trying to get things in order as Guilder continued. "Look, there are different forms for the cargoes from MCTC ships." Guilder motioned to van der Meede without looking at him. "And use these other forms for shipments from my personal ships." Aaron continued to struggle to organize the papers. "What could be easier. Now get it straight!" And with that Guilder hobbled back to his office, leaving van der Meede and the warehouse manager to sort out what was what between Guilder's personal account and the MCTC accounts. --- This corrects my error of using only one build to illustrate both my purchase of extra ship levels and the MCTC purchase of ship levels. Now there are two builds.
  5. The warehouse manager was surprised to see Gov. Willem Guilder, director of the Merchants Colonial Trading Company, walk in in the middle of the afternoon. "G'day, gov'nor. What brings you down dockside?" The warehouse manager's accent sounded out of place to Guider, but he ignored it and pressed on with his business. "I'm here to make sure we have proper warehouse space allocated for the coming trade season. The winds are fair at this time, and our trade ships will be busy." Guilder looked around the warehouse and motioned with his walking stick. "That space over there will be needed. We've added ships to our roster. And make sure the outgoing cargoes are logged properly..." The warehouse manager tried to keep track of everything Guilder said, but frankly he was just glad he hadn't been napping when the governor walked in. "And make sure you keep the schedules updated properly. The Lady of Madrice is back in service; I don't want her overlooked..." The Lady of Madrice? Didn't that ship sink? thought the manager. Then again, the ol' Wench seemed to have nine lives. "OK, do you have all that?" The warehouse manager shook his head. "Yessir, gov'ner!" "Very well, get to it" said Guilder as he turned to leave. The manager scratched his head. Now what was he saying about that space over there? ... --- Just a little build for the MCTC and Guilder to purchase some extra ship levels.
  6. With the Weelond regiment eliminated in group play from the Soccer Cup, Governor Willem Guilder was finally able to attend to other matters. A short trip from Trador to Hojaroja on Otoño was in order. The island was known for the fall-like coloration of the foliage of its trees, apparently due to the mineral composition of the soil. Colonel Dirk Allcock of Corrington had made some generous gifts to the settlement in the wake of Operation Pax Corlandia, and the effort to patch relations between Corrington and Eslandola deserved recognition. Guilder knew Allcock had expressed interest in studying Otoño's unique flora, so Guilder had his men dig up two saplings and pack their roots in barrels filled with local soil. "Captain Merker, please see to it that these saplings are delivered to Colonel Dirk Allcock, along with this letter expressing my gratitude for his gesture of friendship. He may be on Trador at the moment, as his team was still alive in the Soccer Cup. If he is not there, perhaps his cousin, Commander Matthew Allcock, is still there and can arrange to forward them to him. And please pass along my regrets that I am not able to deliver them personally." With that, Governor Guilder was off to attend to other matters. ----- The full build: I was happy with the effect I achieved with the uneven dock, and I think the shore and hill turned out OK as well. I'm still working on my trees; more leaf pieces would help. All C&C welcome.
  7. Willem Guilder had hoped to return to Weelond after the Malto peace talks were concluded, but he found that activity on Isla de Victoria and the surrounding islands kept requiring his attention. Among those activities was the inaugural New Terra Soccer Cup on Trador. Guilder recruited the best soccer players he could find from the ranks of the Weelond regiment stationed on Isla de Victoria, and he sent word back to Weelond for legendary coach Patch Verlander to meet him in Trador. When Patch finally arrived (and Guilder was fortunate that the entry deadline had been delayed, or else Patch wouldn't have made it), Guilder gathered the team in the Green Door Pub and introduced them to their coach. Ol' Patch had some interesting coaching theories, including practicing with a pineapple instead of a soccer ball ("If you can kick a pineapple, you can kick a soccer ball!") and throwing broken bottles at players to keep them on their toes. The team doesn't look so sure about their coach's methods, but they're ready to compete in the Soccer Cup! --- Will be licensed as a small artisan. All C&C welcome.
  8. From the Weelond Herald, May 617... As reported in the King’s Port Advertiser, elements of the Mardier “Grey” fleet, after being driven from their blockade of Elysabethtown by our Garvian allies, assaulted Weelond for two days earlier this month. As all residents of Weelond know, the Mardierian fleet was no match for our city’s fortifications, which gave back a barrage as good as they got. What our good readers may not know is the role our governor and leader of the MCTC, Willem Guilder, played in the defense. Gov. Guilder was at Fort Weelond when the Mardier fleet sailed into the bay, and he was quick to organize defensive measures and order returning fire. The defenses were holding well when, alas, a lucky shot from one of the Mardier ships struck near the governor’s position. Initially there were fears that the governor may be mortally wounded. But have no fear, readers. An excellent surgeon from neighboring Bardo was on hand, and he tended to the governor immediately. Word we have received directly from City Councilman Aaron van der Meede, Governor Guilder’s right-hand man, is that other than the loss of a leg, the governor will be fine. The editors of the Weelond Herald wish Gov. Guilder a speedy recovery and hope to see him up and about soon. ----------- Guilder directing the defense of the fort: The lucky shot hits: The governor gives final orders before being taken to surgery: Aaron van der Meede receives an update from the doctor:
  9. Having arrived in Terelli, Governor Guilder was disturbed by the mood on the streets. In some places you could find people quietly bemoaning the actions of the king and worried about the prospect of war with Oleon, but they dared not speak too openly for fear of royal reprisals. Meanwhile, in other sections of the city, hooligans were ready to denounce (or worse!) anything remotely Oleanderish. The hooliganism was troubling to Guilder; patriotism and loyalty to the king was one thing, but these were mere thugs looking for an excuse to cause trouble, while good men dared not speak. Law and order was breaking down right under the king’s nose! Guilder decided his first stop must be the MCTC headquarters. He had been unable to contact Guy Wyndzon before he left Weelond; Guilder hoped that he could discover the whereabouts of the Secretary of State (or even his uncle!) before heading to the palace. As Guilder approached the entrance to MCTC HQ, a marble building that that still managed to understate its importance to Eslandola, a distraught woman in blue was just leaving. “Oh, Governor Guilder!” exclaimed the woman in an Oleander accent. “Perhaps you can help me.” Guilder knew the face, and quickly tried to remember her name. “Ah, you’re the friend of Thaddeus Calvo, are you not? It was lovely to see you at the opening of my new residence back in May.” Then he recalled her name. “What are you doing here, Madame Villeneuve?” “I was looking for Thaddeus, but he is not here … as I expected. He’s always off adventuring. I had hoped someone at the MCTC could help me in his stead, but I have had no luck.” “Dear, what can I do for you?” “The politics of recent days have become quite difficult to bear for someone like me. I have been afraid to venture out of my room much at all. I had hoped to find passage back to Breshaun, but it appears no ships from Terelli are being allowed to leave for Oleander ports. I am afraid of what might happen to me here.” “I understand your concern, Madame. I have seen the hooligans in the street. It is a shame, and the reason I am here in Terelli is to make sure this war does not come to pass. Once my business is done here, I can transport you to Breshaun personally on my ship.” “You are very generous, governor. Thank you! But what can I do in the meantime?” “You can stay in quarters here at MCTC headquarters as my guest until I am ready to depart.” Guilder turned to one of his bodyguards. “My musketeer will escort you to retrieve your things and bring you back here safely, and will serve as your bodyguard until our departure. Will that be adequate, madame?” “Oui, most certainly!” “And I will pass word when I can to Thaddeus to let him know you are safe. If he knows you are here, I’m certain he is worried for you as well.” “Merci.” * * * * * * And here's the full build: I built this earlier this year, and it has appeared as a background in another post, but this was the perfect opportunity to use it again, and I wanted to show the whole thing this time. If I were building the HQ from scratch now, I'd work in a little more color and a little more detail, as the detail that is there doesn't show up well in white. But I'm still happy with the build. As always, all C & C welcome.