Aug 12, 2020 8:10 PM
Stiles and Robin do diplomacy in Jörmungandr
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"That, or his parents are expansionists barely restraining their impulses on account of lack of resources, and his enthusiasm is the kindling that starts the blaze."

Diplomacy continues. He's listening to some of it, but this seems more important, and he's always trusted his instincts on that; they come from the gods.

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"So negative!" She considers him, "We won't be able to learn anything or make any relationships if we're always holding back because of suspicion, you know."

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"That's what you're for. Or maybe that's why we brought along the diplomat."

The diplomat does not do anything as unprofessional as tell them to shut up.

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"Or both! We need lots of optimism to counter your suspicious thoughts," she smiles sheepishly at the diplomat's polite but pointed look, "And lots of tact to smooth the rough edges, too," she admits. So saying, she returns to paying attention to what the translator is relaying for the prince. 

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The translator appears to be somewhat amused, but trying to hide it. He relays the details of their offer to serve as trading partners, along with the vague threats which remind foreigners of their reputation. The diplomat adds a few details which seem designed to ingratiate them to the royals, mostly about the beauty of the local architecture and the skill of Styrend's warriors.

The prince nods thoughtfully and asks whether they should expect more representatives. The translator conveys that this will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

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That's most of the formalities over with, she thinks? Usually there's either refreshments brought in or a tour offered at this point, usually of the gardens. 

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Someone else arrives before any such offers can be made, already speaking as he steps into the hall, "Deorwin, have you seen- oh." He coughs, "Excuse me. These are the foreign guests, then? My apologies for interrupting." 

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"It's good that you're here. We were just discussing foreign architecture, which they were too polite to tell me to drop, before they started discussing trade relations. Long-term trade relations."

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"Oh! You're from the lands to the south? That's wonderful news. I'd been under the impression that good trade relations were not exactly among your peoples' priorities. I suppose those I heard that from must have been misled." 

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"This is exactly the kind of misconception we're here to correct," he says irritably. "We have many waves."

The translator smooths over the irritability, but translates otherwise faithfully. At the diplomat's suggestion, he adds a few comments to the effect that they are most interested in textile arts, and have quite a good bit of metalwork to offer.

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"Well, Father's always interested in good metalwork," particularly weapons, "I'm sure we will be able to come to some sort of satisfactory agreement."

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"We should discuss living arrangements. As guests of the royal family, you will be treated well."

They'll need to keep the diplomat far away from their father. He wonders which household Gebhardt will convince to quarter them.

"Once you've had time to become more comfortable, could I speak to one of you about your home? I have so many questions."

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"Quite so," he agrees, already thinking over possible candidates. The Reiners, perhaps? Their second son has been staying in their townhouse, and he has never been a terribly zealous or ambitious man... 

"Perhaps some refreshments, while I go make those arrangements? Something light, to sustain you until the next meal." 

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"That sounds good to me," Sjóna says, "We haven't eaten in hours." It'll make up for the missed opportunity with that pastry earlier. "And I'd be happy to speak to you about Skathinaujo," she adds to the younger prince, "And I'm sure Forni can tell you much, as well." Assuming he can let go of his suspicion enough. 

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He gamely attempts a smile. It's passable enough that it doesn't frighten the diplomat, at least.

"Sjóna can regale you with tales of the homeland. The rest of us will focus on practicalities. If you don't mind, your highnesses?"

He's had more than enough of this welcoming party, and his aura of unlikability is clearly challenging the poor diplomat. He wants to find out where they're being kept- and whether they're being insulted or welcomed.

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