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  1. Hello everyone, I've been working on a thread the past few weeks involving the Taen Empire and the city of Tethys. The thread has now progressed to where I will be taking my character, Asrael, and two other characters to Tethys as a delegation on behalf of the Taen Empire. As ambassadors, our goal will be to successfully negotiate with the Prime Minister of Tethys and resolve a small conflict that has been ongoing between the two nations, before it grows any larger. Specifications: I am seeking two people to join me in the delegation, and one more to control the Prime Minister for the duration of the thread. Please note, when the thread resolves the Prime Minister will revert to being an NPC. I have no strict requirements for your rate of posting, as long as it remains reasonable. So, if you want to have fun with a small thread for a little bit, please let me know! Reference Threads: - Establishing Thread - Resurrection of the Witch King Exactly how these two threads will be related will be discussed with participants when I have selected them (though you can infer it). Further details of how the negotiation will unfold will also be explained at that time.
  2. Archeos

    Voyage's End, Journey's Beginning

    New Andelusian Castle - High Corinth, Ursa Madeum Asrael Demetrius laughed as he heard Titus call the Yuujae by an incorrect name. "Yuuja, Your Majesty, and fortunately I had an excellent pilot on the return trip," he said to the emperor. Asrael gripped Titus' outstretched hand and gestured for Titus to have a seat beside him. Both men were in excellent moods, it had been a long time since their last reunion. Asrael and Titus made idle conversation for a short while as they watched the sun sink towards the horizon. Eventually, the time came for Asrael to cut to the chase and give Titus a report of his investigation in Tethys. Asrael reached into his robe and procured a scroll, setting it on the table between the two. "Here is a detailed report on all I am about to tell you," Asrael said, "look over this before you make a decision. You are in a precarious situation, and the whole of Terrenus is unstable. If we take the wrong approach here, it could severely damage our influence for years to come." Titus nodded, his eyes serious. Were anyone else to have said these things to Titus, it would've been insubordinate and disrespectful. Asrael was reiterating this to set the stakes, prefacing the conversation that was to follow. Seeing Titus' expression, Asrael began his report. "To start, I have confirmed that the raids on merchant ships belonging to House Karradeen were indeed orchestrated and carried out by Tethysian vessels. Furthermore, these raids were conducted with the permission of the Tethys government. Local military forces have been stockpiling resources from these ships; everything from rations to weapons. I was able to observe them deconstructing and repurposing the cannons House Karradeen had fitted in their ships. As we speak, Tethys is under martial law. Government officials are escorted by armed military officers whenever they are in public, and multiple rats have been executed publicly to deter information leaks. Fortunately, they are stretched thin because of the security issues in the northern section of the city. I have no doubt, though, that they are preparing for something large." Asrael paused to allow Titus time to absorb the news. Titus was, understandably, incensed by the unprovoked aggression from the neighboring state. After a few moments, Titus collected himself and motioned for Asrael to continue giving his report. Asrael nodded, before saying, "As I mentioned previously, I have created a thorough report for you to read within that scroll. I have included inside a subsection detailing what I believe their motivations could be, the likelihood of any particular motivation being correct, and what I believe are the most appropriate responses to each scenario. However, I urge you to act with due prudence, because I believe the most likely motivation has nothing to do with us. More accurately, we can be considered unfortunate collateral damage in their eyes. Our proximity to them in tandem with our disadvantage in subaqueous warfare has resulted in them raiding us to prepare themselves for an even greater threat. I can't confirm this myself, but there are rumors among small circles in the city of a resurrection. I initially dismissed this as superstition, but this hypothetical event kept cropping up. I reflected on my time in the city towards the end, and indeed the only theory that perfectly explains all exhibited behavior is that they are preparing to go to war. A sense of foreboding lies over the capital. Your Majesty, I don't think they intend to win this hypothetical conflict." Asrael finished his report solemnly, and silence fell over the room. All sounds of nature were now muted, as though the whole world lay in waiting to see what decision would be made here tonight. Titus was deep in thought, as time passed slowly. Asrael sighed, before standing up and saying, "In any case, I'm not certain that this conflict necessitates our involvement. - we could simply ignore the situation. I'll be in town for a few days longer. When you have made your decision, send someone to relay your instructions to me. I can hear people at the front, meaning your guests have begun to arrive. I'll see myself out. Good luck, nephew." Titus nodded, and Asrael exited the sunroom. Asrael slipped past the dining room. He observed three individuals entering the foyer ahead of him, so he stepped to the side to avoid detection. He passed the foyer while the three, two cloaked in auspicious cloth and one in a dress as dark as midnight, were in conversation. He caught the eye of the head maid, who nodded her head in farewell. He returned the gesture with a bow and continued on his way. Next, Titus passed the library. He glanced inside, observing a woman enthralled with a book. She was draped in a dress the color of rainclouds, with ornate gold lace along its length. Titus waited no longer, the longer he dallied the more likely he would be caught, so he moved along. He passed the ballroom and glanced back down the hallway. Titus has his work cut out for him. Asrael thought to himself. He smiled again, he felt pity for his nephew, being a sovereign seemed like nothing but hard work. Sure enough, the life of a wanderer is the best life there is! Asrael cheerfully concluded, before fleeing down a nearby staircase. At the bottom of the stairs, Asrael found himself outside. He turned south and stealthily moved past the incoming guests. Finally, he vaulted over the guards and gate he arrived at earlier in the day, re-entering the city proper. He slowed down only to blend in with the bustling crowds in the streets before he headed south to find an inn to sleep at.
  3. I'm in support of the former idea as well, it changes the dynamic that House Karradeen has with both the remaining houses of UM as well as the Taen Empire, just subtly. It would also retroactively serve as reasoning for why Titus would just diminish the house status instead of flat-out erasing them like he did some. Despite what you were doing as potentially being profiteering, you also would've done some good for the islands. It also probably relieves some tension the House feels under the new regime, though I imagine they still wouldn't be incredibly pleased with Titus.
  4. Hello, It could be fathomed that House Karradeen was behind the smugglers, and that would make for an interesting plotline regarding their treatment by Titus. Alternatively, the T-K could've just relied on the income from trade that Karradeen performed to support his regime, like how he purchased weapons from House Tankred. After all, according to the lore page both houses were disgraced because of their interaction with the T-K to some degree. Either way would allow for Karradeen to have continued expanding their trade, and Titus likely wouldn't have crippled trade too much due to the damage it could cause the islands of Ursa Madeum. Thus, you have two potential canonically supported routes available here. Maybe more that we haven't seen, I suppose. Personally, I think your house being behind the smuggling would be more interesting from a story perspective, since that means Titus will have, to a degree, unjustly punished you. On the other hand, I think your compliance with the T-K is a more sound explanation.
  5. Archeos

    Voyage's End, Journey's Beginning

    New Andelusian Castle - High Corinth, Ursa Madeum A few minutes passed. Catarina was chewing on some candy while humming. Asrael had a small journal out as they walked along the path, and he was scribbling notes into it. Catarina skipped a bit to catch up to Asrael as he folded the journal up. “Did you get the information you wanted from him?” she asked. Asrael smiled, before saying, “I am grateful for your help, my dear. I’ll be sure to contact you again if I need an information broker in the future.” Catarina beamed. She asked, “Why did you even want to meet with him? He’s just some boring, smelly uncle. He’s done nothing but run that bakery since before I was born.” Asrael grinned at her comment but declined to answer. Catarina eventually gave up, and they resumed their journey to the tune of her melodious humming. Eventually, they came to a square built right outside the entrance to the aristocratic district, known locally as The Goddess’ Spring. Shortly beyond the gates in front of them was the newly constructed royal castle. Asrael paused, before continuing forward towards the gate. Catarina proceeded to cross behind him and walked away, and thus the two of them separated. Neither of them spared a glance to the other or said any parting words. Asrael passed through the gateway, entering the aristocratic district. He didn’t stop anywhere else, instead choosing to walk close to the side of the road and making his way north towards the castle. A few minutes later Asrael arrived at the castle grounds, stopping before a closed gate. On either side of the gate, a guard was stationed, both wearing impressive armor. “Halt! Identify yourself!” they shouted in unison. Asrael smiled amicably, reaching into his robe. Observing this action, both guards tensed up and prepared to draw their weapons. Asrael held up his hands in a pacifistic manner, before flashing an emblem that he had drawn out with his right hand. Engraved upon it was a majestic tree, a symbol that both lessened the guards' wariness and increased their nervousness. The guards kneeled, again shouting in unison, “Your majesty! We greet the eighteenth prince!” Asrael nodded, before stepping forward and pushing the gates open by himself. He walked along the pathway as it rounded around a small pond. Asrael admired the scenery for a bit, before continuing to the door of the castle. A woman was standing outside waiting for him, with a cold smile on her face. “Hello, Eighteen. How may I help you today?” she asked. Asrael smiled and bowed, saying, “Hello my dear. I have arrived today to meet with his highness briefly. I intended to report sooner, however, certain matters have delayed my arrival until this day.” The woman in front of him was the head maid, and she had served the emperor for over a decade. She had proved immune to his flattery throughout these years and maintained an impartial, even cold, attitude towards him. Asrael didn’t truly mind this, he knew she was loyal to the royal family, even if she didn’t act subservient in private. The head maid identified some inconsistencies in Asrael’s story, but it wasn’t her place to question him. Instead, she turned him away, saying, “I’m sorry, but his imperial highness is currently holding a diplomatic conference among the different powers of Terrenus. He doesn’t have the time to see you. Please return in a few days time, at that point the conference should have concluded.” Asrael straightened up, he wasn’t going to be turned away. “I am aware of the ongoing conference. However, I have returned from a mission orchestrated by his highness. It concerns the immediate future of Taen, and it cannot wait for the conclusion of this conference. Please, allow me in and contact his highness. I must meet with him.” Pondering for a minute, the head maid ultimately decided that this matter was not something she had the authority to decide. Relenting, she opened the doors and led Asrael to the sunroom. “Please be seated. I will go speak with his imperial highness, and if he wills it he will meet with you here. I must request that you do not leave this room. If any guests were to observe your presence it could cause complications with the conference. If his imperial highness cannot meet with you, I will return,” she requested sternly. Asrael nodded to indicate his understanding. He quietly sat down in one of the metal chairs overlooking the scenery and closed his eyes. Asrael felt the wind lightly brush past him and smelled the flora that had been planted in the castle gardens. If a guest were to walk by now, they wouldn’t be able to observe his presence at all. One quarter-hour passed, two quarter-hours passed, all without Asrael noticing. Only when five quarter-hours had passed did Asrael wake. He sat up and turned to face the door. He waited patiently, focused on the door and soon a knock sounded. “Come in,” Asrael said.
  6. Archeos

    Voyage's End, Journey's Beginning

    Andelusia Arthur Carrillo opened up the windows of his bakery. Light from the early morning sun drafted over the building, shining onto the river outside. If he breathed in deeply, he could smell the salt of the sea mixed with the smell of flowers from a neighboring shop. Anyone else would find the scene serene and calming, but Arthur didn’t linger for even a minute. Instead, he began to prepare the kiln, heating it up slowly. Normally he would have an apprentice do this using magic, but his last one had recently gone on leave to travel to the mainland and attend an academy. Grabbing some dough he had prepared last night, he kneaded and rolled it to keep it malleable and tossed it in the kiln to bake. Arthur stared on as flames licked the dough, his eyes blank as he lost himself in his thoughts. As a young boy, he had everything he could desire in life. His parents were relatively well-to-do, despite being members of a branch family. However, youth and ignorance had been his folly. Like many of the young men he’d surrounded himself with, he had been egocentric and arrogant beyond measure. He’d fancied himself a proper noble, and loathed being associated with commoners. As the years went on, his egocentric behavior and arrogance had evolved further into racism and chauvinism. He had disdained to live near the other races on Ursa Madeum, despised that humans were a minority. It wasn’t until Arthur was in his late twenties that he would realize the error of his beliefs. He’d led a group of his peers on an adventure to the Terrenus mainland, seeking glory and fame. Arthur had fantasized about being awarded honors and status, about using this status to suppress the other races and bring humans the glory he was certain they deserved. He had been naive, and reality was ruthless. The bread has begun to rise. Watch carefully. Arthur and his peers had fought their way into a cave in a mountain range near the southern coast of the mainland. Facing little resistance from the creatures they had encountered, Arthur had incorrectly assumed his party to be peerless even in the mainland. So they adventured further within the winding caves, ignoring standard safety protocol. After a brief battle with a few medium-sized creatures, they’d found themselves in a spacious cavern with multiple passages branching out. Arthur and his group sat in the center of the cavern to rest. Of course, partying would be the proper term, since they had exerted little effort to reach this point. Within half an hour they were all inebriated, and Arthur stepped aside to relieve himself in a partially concealed portion of the cavern. None of them were aware that the racket they caused had attracted a threat none of them were equipped to handle at that moment. The bread has risen to completion. Remove it now! Get it out! One by one, dark blue insect-like creatures with height rivaling an elven warrior had begun to emerge from some of the passages, quickly outnumbering the adventuring group by nearly double. Arthur’s party had been woefully unprepared, resisting for only moments before the creatures slaughtered half of them. While the carnage had sobered up the survivors, they were too few in number by then to do anything more than feebly defend against the onslaught. Arthur had been hiding in the concealed section of the cavern, and he was unable to do anything other than watch in terror. The bread is burning! Move! Do something! One of the remaining group members had begun shouting for him to help. He’d crouched back down, hiding as far into the concealed rock as he physically could. He remained hidden there in horror for an eternity. Eventually, the screaming had stopped and the creatures had lumbered away with the spoils of their victory. Arthur stayed out of sight for a few extra minutes, then had slowly begun to expose himself. The sight of mutilated bodies and chunks of flesh coated in blood seared itself into his brain, and he had been incapable of coping with the sight. It’s too late. There’s naught remaining but charred scrap. Arthur had fled, as fast as his unstable legs could carry him. He hadn’t stopped even after escaping the cave. It had taken him four days to make it back to port, where some guards saw his miserable state and interrogated him for information. After having obtained information about the creatures, a quest was posted calling for their elimination. Arthur had slunk to a nearby bar as soon as he was let free and proceed to drink himself into a stupor. Each time he had run out of coin he sold a piece of equipment, and eventually turned to begging to fuel his escape. Two months had passed in this manner. Eventually, he’d received news of a party of adventurers who had accepted the quest to slay the nightmare creatures. He had laughed to himself at that time, thinking that the creatures were invincible and the party was just running to their deaths. A week later, however, they had come back triumphant with nothing but a few wounds. He had hidden in the crowd, observing the returning party. Two elves and another species he didn’t recognize had comprised the group, and they were carting behind them the corpses of the nightmare creatures. His worldview had completely shattered. A party of non-humans, fewer in number than his own, had thoroughly dominated these creatures of nightmare. That same evening, Arthur snuck onto a cargo ship headed for Ursa Madeum, and within a few days, he had returned. It had by this point been nearly four months since they originally set sail. Arthur had attempted to slip off the boat and make his way back to the family manor unnoticed. Despite this, the families of his slain party members had been quickly alerted to his presence. Arthur’s father had forced him to confess details of the adventure in front of the families, and when he admitted to fleeing while the rest perished, his father cast him out in anger. Arthur had been struck from the family record, forbidden from using the family name, and had been forbidden to contact his family from then on. All he had received was a small amount of gold from his mother, a pitiful farewell gift. He had used the coin he received to purchase an abandoned building and opened this bakery. Now it was twenty years later and he was used to his life as a baker. He slept little due to nightmares he would have of that event, but the waking world had all but forgotten his existence, and he was content to keep it that way. Arthur sighed, and prepared to clear the kiln of charred dough. “Old man! Old man, buy me some food! I should be rewarded for my services, right?” Arthur was interrupted by the sound of a young girl shouting suspicious things from outside his shop. He turned around and saw the young girl burst into the bakery with an older man in tow. Arthur narrowed his eyes, sizing up the old man before turning to glare at the young girl for making a ruckus. A small elven girl named Catarina, she was a frequent visitor to his shop whenever she was in town. She had grown up nearby but left for a few years to live with a relative in Gold Harbor who did a lot of traveling around the islands. Since then she worked part-time as a tour guide for travelers coming to Ursa Madeum for the first time. Unfortunately for her clients, the routes she took were rarely efficient and she would be easily distracted, thus frustrating the tourists to the point where they would refuse to pay her and leave. She never seemed to mind this, and with her cute appearance, she would have no issue finding another unsuspecting tourist the next day, like this old man. “You brat, what have I told you about saying things that people might misunderstand?” Arthur chastised Catarina. She pouted, rebutting, “Only a dirty-minded person would misunderstand me, and everyone knows I’m cute and innocent. I’m not smelly like you, stinky uncle!” Arthur felt the urge to chase her out of his bakery, what stinky uncle? I only smell like bread you brat! As Arthur prepared to chase her out, the older man behind her interjected, “Thank you, little one. How about you take this and go buy some of those sweets you were eyeing earlier? Just come back in an hour or so, I still need a guide to take me to the castle, after all.” Catarina turned to face the old man as he passed her some coin. She smiled, before nodding her head and dashing off with a few final words. “Thanks, old man! I’ll be back!” Arthur sighed in resignation, turning slightly to speak to the old man. “You should be well aware of how to reach the castle since you can see it from here. Why let her swindle you?” The old man chuckled before sitting down on a stool in front of Arthur. “I don’t consider her a swindler. I came to Ursa Madeum through the port at Gold Harbor. If it weren’t for her being willing to guide me here over the past week, I probably would’ve missed my window for meeting a friend. Besides, she offered good food and better company, and I have yet to be let down by those promises. What have I to be upset about?” Arthur stared at the old man, curious. He sailed in through Gold Harbor? Why not just take a portal from the mainland? Did he come from another island or continent? With a light cough, the old man caught Arthur’s attention again. “My apologies,” Arthur responded, “I’m the baker here, by name of Arthur. How may I help you?” “It’s very nice to meet you, Arthur, you may call me Asrael. I would like to try some of your baked goods. Ah, but preferably not the one in your kiln.” said Asrael. Arthur grimaced. “That’s just a mistake, I was trying a new recipe. I have nothing fresh at the minute, but if you are willing to wait I can prepare a fresh croissant for you?” Asrael laughed and said, “What an interesting recipe! I have some time, let’s have that croissant!” Arthur nodded and turned to begin preparing the croissant. As he was working, he could feel Asrael staring at him from behind. Arthur was getting fed up with this old man. “Is there something I can help you with, sir?” he asked Asrael. Asrael responded bluntly, “Why are you hiding from your past?” This question caught Arthur off guard, but he composed himself quickly. “I’m not hiding from my past, I’ve left it where it belongs,” he responded. Asrael had a thoughtful look on his face, though Arthur couldn’t see it. Asrael then said, “The elf girl who is guiding me, you seem to care about her quite a bit. I noticed you size me up when we walked in.” Arthur stopped moving and went silent for a while, before responding, “You can call it making amends. I’ve watched her grow up - everyone here has of course - we are very protective of her.” Arthur heard Asrael chuckle. “You’re an interesting person, Arthur. I won’t be here for long, and I intend to go to the mainland when I’m done here. I want you to come with me,” Asrael said to him. Arthur turned around, presenting a plate with a day-old croissant on it. “Sorry, we don’t have enough material here for a fresh one. I forgot to purchase enough. I’ll need to close down for the day, so please eat quickly,” he told the old man. Arthur then began to walk to the back door but stopped just before going through. “Why?” Arthur asked of the old man. Asrael stared at the departing figure quietly, finally responding, “You have more amends to make.” Arthur said nothing further and pushed past the back door. His footsteps were heard ascending a staircase in the back, and then the bakery was silent. Asrael finished eating, dropped some coin on the counter, and left shortly thereafter. Catarina was leaning against a wall outside the bakery as Asrael stepped outside. Without saying anything, they resumed their journey.
  7. Gold Harbor Asrael Demetrius disembarked from the Mersi, taking a minute to stretch on the dock. His legs were sore from the two-day journey and he was famished. Asrael turned to face the Mersi once more and brought out his coin pouch. “I believe I owe you the remainder of the fare. I appreciate you going so far out of your way, friend.” “No, no! It was my pleasure, my lord! What you have paid is more than enough!” responded the Mersi pilot, an Oraiad by the name of Karadin. Other passersby on the docks began to cluster a small distance away, leering at the strange contraption. Karadin was nervous, being so far out of his element. He was a foreigner, this place wasn’t Tethys and he couldn’t be sure the humans here wouldn’t act in a xenophobic manner. He wasn’t naive, even back home there was racial segregation and distrust, but at least there he was protected by the other Oraiad living in his burrow. Asrael could tell that his pilot was anxious to leave, so he dropped a few extra coins into the pilot’s jacket pocket and patted him on the shoulder. “I am never one to be stingy towards those I am in debt to. Mersi pilots rarely alter their routes inside the city, let alone traveling so far from home. You compromised, and without your quick thinking and excellent piloting skills, we wouldn’t have escaped from those Yuuja. Consider our previous conflict resolved, and use this coin to celebrate when you return. Perhaps move to a better section of your burrow?” Karadin was visibly relieved at his words, while he dismissed the final sentence as being simple flowery words. He had a long way to go before saving enough to move into a better housing unit. “Thank you, my lord! I will take my leave now! Please come and find me if you end up in Tethys once again!” Karadin quickly stepped back into the Mersi, and in a few moments it had sunk beneath the water and returned to the sea. Please, never return! Karadin lamented this patron, for he had been far more trouble than he was worth. Asrael chuckled as he stared out at sea, well aware that the Oraiad would definitely burst into tears of anguish if he showed up at Karadin’s living quarters again. Tucking away his coin pouch, he turned and walked north, leaving the port and his few spectators behind.
  8. Hello everyone, I'm sure you'll be seeing me around a bunch from now on and I'll make a reintroduction thread soon. I initially conceived this account to be an in-character account, but that got sidetracked when real life came along, and rather than create a new account I'm going to repurpose this one. I don't know what my new username will be, but when I make one you can refer to me that way, or call me by name. I'm Jack, and I look forward to interacting with everyone.
  9. Archeos

    Asrael Demetrius

    Asrael Demetrius Prince of Taen Empire "A ruler who cannot follow has no right to lead." - Asrael Demetrius [BASICS] First name: Asrael Surname: Demetrius Nicknames: XVIII Alignment: Lawful Neutral Race: Archangel Profession: Royal Diplomat Affiliation: Taen Empire Hometown: City of Angles Gender: Male Age: 65 [PHYSICAL] Voice: Deep Eyes: Silver Complexion: Healthy Height: 6' 3" Build: Scholarly and toned Hair: White hair, tied back into a ponytail Scars: None Mark: None Wings: Solid white Wing Span: 12 feet in total [MENTAL] Demeanor: Imposing at the negotiation table, kind to the younger generation Hopes: To see the Taen Empire prosper for millennia Fears: Having to face his long-estranged wife, who is he deathly afraid of Likes: Negotiation, system management, debate Dislikes: Other stubborn people, exerting effort outside of diplomatic matters [GEAR] Wears a traditional robe and a variety of ornaments that he acquired from his travels. The foreign appearance and luxurious feeling it provides has led to some citizens in the Taen Empire beginning to emulate his fashion sense, albeit only a small number. He spends most of his time traveling along the roads between cities and avoiding combat. Few have seen him in a fight, so it is unknown if he has defensive gear of any kind. [WEAPONS] Unknown [SKILLS] Prince's Aura: A common ability among experienced members of the royal family, it is able to cast an imposing and nearly peerless presence to intimidate those in the immediate area. It has been personally seen by very few, and only when Asrael Demetrius would use it to seal his victory at the negotiation table. Noble's Aura: A much weaker aura ability that the majority of nobility are well-versed with. Can be broken by a stronger aura, but is still useful in daily interactions to a certain extent. [FAMILY] Asrael Demetrius is the uncle of Emperor Titus Demetrius of the Taen Empire, and thus the great-uncle of Teresa Demetrius. He rarely appears at the royal court. Instead, he is most often seen alone on his travels. It is rumored that he will sometimes travel with a female companion, a younger brunette woman, but the identity of this woman has never been determined beyond mere speculation. [THREADS] N/A
  10. Archeos

    Regards, F.C. Sennet.

    Salutations. In the interest of establishing a cordial relationship with all of you, this era's residents of Valucre, I'll be brief. I am known as Frederick C. Sennet, and I am the Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Magickal Inquisition. I am aware that most, if not all, of you, will be unfamiliar with this name and position. I am not surprised by this. The institute was well-known in bygone ages, however, the concept of time has neither patience nor sympathy. We have secluded ourselves for centuries past, content to consult and research among ourselves. It is my belief that this decision was a profound mistake, and for the moment my colleagues agree. I am certain that the knowledge we have accumulated over eons will be crucial to the survival of every species on Valucre, in time. I assure you that I am no doomsayer, no, I preferred to broach this matter in a more subtle manner initially. However, at the behest of a recent acquaintance, I have resolved to be candid. I do not ask you all for anything but your time and willingness to learn. I will begin the process of transcribing our aggregate investigations shortly. I look forward to communicating with those of you who are more intellectually rigorous, as I believe collaboration between the Institute and the rest of Valucre will produce a bountiful harvest. Nevertheless, I assure you all that this knowledge will be available to all, academic or not. I beseech you, all of you, to contribute your knowledge and passion to our research. For the betterment of Valucre, we must administer and implement our findings in each corner of the world. Sincerely, F.C. Sennet