This blog post is part of the Soest Campaign series, a description of an ongoing role playing campaign on the world of Nirdday. If you are a player on this world, you may enjoy these posts. If you have no idea, you may enjoy them too, as a peek into our way of playing. This particular episode was rather special, as we made it a long "live role play session" in our pen & paper campaign.
The following episode from Princess Christina of Sweden was leaked by a protected undisclosed party to be known as Ms Anonymous. She attended the recent Altdorf gathering of high nobles and bankers in the face of great changes on the Ferdan political theatre. The oil paintings were based on scetches made by Ravael, a talented body guard of Eline de Boullion.
First of all the food. It was nothing like Swedish food: no fish, no crackers. Instead they served all this delicate food, lovely, but a complete disaster to eat. Carrot cakes so spongy that a mere touch made them fall apart. They were absolutely impossible to eat with your hands. The same for one kind of vegetables that had jelly (!) on top of it. So everybody ate with forks. But instead of pricking the food, as normal people do, they would hold their fork like a pen, but way higher and use it as a spoon. I felt like being five again. I could hear auntie Christina's voice in my head warning me that 'refined girls use their fork to prick, and their spoon to scoop, never the other way around'. I tried to adapt, but found it rather unsophisticated. But well, when in Ferdan, do as the Ferdanians do. I must really ask Oxenstierna to teach me some of this foreign eating etiquette, though.
Not just the food is different, so are the women. These state women are nothing like those our Swedish women. They don’t sit around embroidering and gossiping and whatever else Swedish women do. These state women are so much more like me, it was enormously refreshing. They are all skilled fighters, one of them is even a army colonel. And two of them, colonel Eline and Lady Louise, have a male title, just as I will have when I become King of Sweden; they are part of an elite group called the Five Gentlemen.
It is not entirely clear to me what this group is all about, but from the economic talk around me (awfully boring by the way) I gathered that these two women control the flow of money in and around Ferdan. How that works I have no idea, as the one subject I have never been taught by Von Oxenstierna is economics “as it is unsuited for a king to have to think about money”. I did find it quite disturbing that I was not able to talk about economics, as over half the conversations were on this topic. With all my studying, I had secretly expected to be able to be conversant on any topic that would be raised during these state banquets, so I was a little disappointed. And, I hardly even dare uttering it to you dear diary, I am wondering whether there is a reason why Oxenstierna never taught me economics. Could he be hiding something for me? I shudder to even think about it.
Of the women, I liked the Kaiser’s daughter, Sophorina, best. She has learned self-defense, doesn’t act stuck-up and she even helped me personally in my dress; that awful red dress that Von Oxenstierna made me wear “as it is time you at least started looking like a crown princess”. The most horrendous part of the dress was the black corset above it. I can’t believe how normal women wear these things all day long. I couldn’t wait for the moment I could get out of it. Not to mention the high heel. How do you stand on them? All I did last night was sit in chairs. Ugh!
Though I must admit that the dress did have a interesting effect. Either the dress or the fact that I am supposed to be an available soon-to-be-queen/king. Probably both. The men seemed to flock around me. That was quite a strange, but exhilarating phenomenon.
All the rumours about Southern men are true. I met two of them, a banker, Lorenzo, and a Castellan prince, Carlos. They were charming, had a lovely, sexy accent and were very easy going. Especially Carlos. Carlos is not just a prince, he is also family of the Kaiser of Ferdan, and even a pretender to the throne. It is either him or Lothar who will follow up the Kaiser. It would make a lot of sense to be engaged to a guy like this. Not only political, as it would immediately forge a bond between Sweden, Castellan and Ferdan, but also personally. He is laid back, likes hunting just as much as I do, and he doesn’t mind his queen to do the ruling, which is even considered normal in Castellan he tells me. And, dear diary, he is a good kisser…
Yes, I have kissed with a guy for the first time of my life! It was definitely different than with Belle: much wetter, and most of all much shorter, but oh, what a versatile tongue! I must say that it felt a little like I betrayed Belle, but then again, it is only a guy, and it is for a good, political cause. I can hardly wait to speak to Von Oxenstierna again, this was probably not what he meant when he said I needed to “enlarge my network”.
Speaking about men: my old fencing and shooting teacher, Rosen, was at banquet as well. He now is a baron, and he seemed a little taken aback when I greeted him, which he denied by the way, when I asked him. It was funny to see him all dressed up like that, I think he thought the same of me.
The meeting I had dreaded a little, with Lothar, went rather ok. He has got these staring eyes, that seem to look through you, and this straight posture, that makes him look a lot taller than he actually is. He was impressive and at the same time troubled. I was relieved to hear him say that he hopes that peace will endure between Sweden and Ferdan. I hope so too, and I wish I could convince Oxenstierna of the same.
The rest of the men were mostly clergy. There was this rather silent brother Hieronimus, who, rumor has it, likes crypt sex, whatever that may be. I had an interesting conversations with a holy man called Von Schwartzburg, who is also a financial genius apparently. But the most interesting theological conversation was with Bishop Von Mulhausen. He leads a number of convents that are open for retreats. That offers a possibility to lead the life of a nun, without having to decide immediately whether a marriage with God is your calling. He offers a place away to study theology, and he even said they were used to dealing with royalty. It did sound very intriguing. I would love to go there for a year. If I weren’t a princess…
Well, I’m going to sleep now, dear diary. At least, if that will be at all possible, with all the screaming going on in the garden, near the chapel. What a noise these southern-crosstians make when they pray!