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Sep 29, 2022 4:30 AM
you look trustworthy, let's create some tokens of ultimate power together
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"You can trust me, princess."

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"I do."

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Then into the city as their cover identities. A ground level view of things.

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The city is beautiful, above all else, a marvel of the entwined craftsmanship of the dwarves and elves. The paving stones are tiny and smooth and arranged in multicolored mosaics, showing plants and creatures and abstract patterns. Lamps with posts carved to look like vines line the major streets, and stained glass windows glow with steady light from within the rooms. The cheaper inn they're directed to early on has enormous stained glass windows with images of cats, and heavy wooden furniture with detailed geometric carvings, and food cooked by a dwarf with a passion - nearly an obsession - for foreign recipes.

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"This is a rich place, isn't it?" she says to Nyarie.

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"It is. Very much so."

And it contradicts a lot of what she hears back home. (Numenor is rich beyond belief, and the palaces are far grander than this. That doesn't mean there aren't slums.)

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"Easy to see how one might covet such wealth."

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"What do you mean?"

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"Numenor has much, but always wants more."

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"And this place is - somewhere with more than even us."

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Nod.

"It is worth significant effort to obtain."

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"And you think that's what - the Queen is doing."

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"That's how the signs seems to be pointing."

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Unhappy face!

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Yeah.

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"Do you oppose that?"

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"I don't think it's the best path forward for prosperity."

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"No."

"Though that might not be what the crown cares about, per se."

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"No. Which is part of the explanation for why it pursues this."

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"The Queen's priorities are - not Numenor's."

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She nods.

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"I won't take action - or share it later - purely if you express, hmm, heretical opinions to me. I value honesty over flattery."

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"It may be thought by some," Sulumithil murmurs, "that the effectiveness of a government controlled absolutely by a singular monarch has been waning in recent generations. That personal ego has displaced regard for the wider mass of people. That Numenor is larger than the palace and the estates atop the hill, and that more consideration for the wishes and well-being of the lower classes, the merchants and tradespeople and laborers, would be a better avenue to growth and strength than overseas adventuring and expansionsim."

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...Hum.

"And what alternative ways to accomplish that, than a monarch whose priority it is through their own virtue, have some possibly thought of?"

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"There are a few alternative systems..." Councils and republics and democracies and communes and others, which she can outline briefly if Nyarie wants.

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