GRAND INIMICIAN CHRISTMAS DINNER
December 25th 2014
"Sire, they're approaching"
The first guests invited by Emperor Artabanos were due to arrive. Tonight was going to be a grand night, one of the finest Artabanos had ever experienced, he was sure of it. Great food, great beverages, and overall great people - even though there were some people Artabanos had rather left out, but did not out of his sense of honour and politeness. Some guests had expressed their discontent at the seating plan ((click click)) but Artabanos was not to blame, his stewards had made the plan and he was quite content with it. Also, he was sure there were going to be plenty of people who woul just roam around between tables, and he was perfectly fine with that.
His wife was also present at the dinner. However, Charlotte was not legally allowed to participate in international diplomacy (as Parliament had decreed not long ago) since she had not been elected and therefore did not have a mandate to justify her actions with. Still, Artabanos was sure she would enjoy herself, even though she was not allowed to say too much.
"Well, let's get on with it, eh?", he said to the servant who had announced the first guests' arrival, "Who even are they? It'll be intereting to see who's the most punctual. It's probably not the Nicolezians..."
Prince Harold and his wife Amanda were pleased to have arrived on time from Davishire. The flight had been an interesting one, with several bouts of turbulence as the aircraft flew over Groot Belgie. The aircraft in which they were flying was being escorted by 2 A400Ms which Davishire had recently bought from Inimicus. The royal couple were looking forward to meeting the emperor of Inimicus and had a mandate from the Prime Minister to conduct foreign policy discussions. They were especially pleased to be sat at the Inimican emperors table.
The pair walked into the room where the emperor was situated. They both walked up to the emperor and the Prince bowed his head, "your majesty, it is a pleasure to meet you".
King Olav IV, his wife Queen Geirhild, and their son Prince Aldrik arrived at the Imperial Palace. The flight was quite nice. They were escorted by three Havvenskarian fighter planes, because of the 'unrest' in several European nations. This was their first visit to Inimicus. The three were going to meet a lot of new important people from the European Union who they haven't met, because Havvenskar only joined the EU a couple of weeks ago. "That sure is an impressive building." said Prince Aldrik.
The trio walked towards Emperor Artabanos and shook hands with him. "Emperor Artabanos, I heard a lot about you and your nation. It's jolly good to meet you." said King Olav IV to him.
Queen Lana Habsburg and Chancellor Edward Earlstone
After arriving in Telum around 11:00, the Queen and the Chancellor have been spending their time at the city's most interesting locations, with this being a rather exciting experience for both of them, seeing as Estergonians aren't used to travelling to different nations despite that being bound to change now that the country became a part of the European Union. The two have shared a similar taste, with their greatest interest being the Telum's statues of which there were plenty - all created to serve as a reminder Inimicus' history and glory. However, the two were seperated during the afternoon, with the Queen returning to her hotel room so that she could prepare for the dinner. Seeing as she had to dress and prepare herself without any assistance, she didn't do much other than brush her hair, put on lipstick and then toss on the light brown dress decorated with silver stones she planned to wear. In the meantime, the Chancellor made sure to inform the Emperor of their arrival, did his research on Incimian culture and then arranged a black limousine for himself and Lana.
Seeing as the Queen was rather nervous, she wanted to be as punctual as possible, forgetting about Edward's suggestion of being fashionably late. This was her first time in Inimicus so she wanted to make a good impression, something that she placed great importance on. She and Edward then once again met in front of their hotel. "I'm beginning to regret not wearing two coats over this dress. Incimian weather is just as bad as our's." Lana stated with a smile on her face as she was escorted to her ride where Edward opened the door for her and responded. "You shouldn't, because I'm sure that everyone will be blown away when they see you."
Even though the two had many differences, both of them were well educated, cultured and had Estergon's well being as their priority, something that made them get along quite well even though one was half a century older than the other. However, the problem was that the Queen was not only concerned about the impression she'll make, but about the fact that she was spending Christmas in a foreign nation without her children and her husband. But it was a problem that she had to ignore for now and focus on spending a great night in Telum, seeing as the Emperor has worked so hard to make all of this work.
After arriving there, the two tried to avoid getting showered with too much attention, something that wasn't a problem due to how professional the Emperor's service was, impressing both of them. However, they couldn't help but feel a little imtimidated by the grandiose nature of the dinner, even though all of that went away when they entered the cozy palace. There the two were announced before looking for their table, with neither of them wanting to bother the Emperor with small talk that he was bound to be overwhelmed with soon enough, but the Queen made sure to make some eye contact with him, tossing in a wink and one of her famously charming smiles.
"Edward, be a dear and tell me if you spot Queen Anastasia or Empress Victoria. Both of them are such interesting figures of European politics, and I want to meet both of them."
"Welcome, welcome!", Artabanos said to the Davishirian royal couple, "Good to have you here. I trust your flight was satisfactory? Even if it wasn't, I'm sure you'll find the elaborate preparations I've made for this splendid dinner absolutely stunning. I really look forward to spending the night with you at my table."
Turning to the royal family from Havvenskar: "Ah, my friends. Good to see new nations joining in on European events. I'm glad you've decided to come. Please, enter and have the servants pour you some mulled wine. The snowy weather most likely hasn't done you any good, so a nice warm drink should get you back to full strength in no time."
Even though the Estergonian couple did not seem to want to talk to him, Artabanos went up to them and greeted them warmly: "Welcome, your Highness, Chancellor. Good to finally meet you in person. I trust your trip around our capital was enjoyable, despite the snowy weather. Please, be seated. I'm sure the other guests will arrive soon."
The emperor from gb and the empress from gb with her pregnancy belly also arrived. they were very happy to be in imnicus. and they greeted everyone upon arrival
President Karolina Kligenberg, First Husband Ian Syzmanowski, Marlena Kligenberg, Fryderyk Kligenberg, Alenka, Renata Kligenberg from top to bottom
The Polish delegation sped through Telum, knowing they were already late to the festivities. President Kligenberg, who was there after her successful summit with Halsberg and Estergon. They felt as if they were late, and it did not help that Karolina had to return to Poland to pick up her family and Alenka before returning.
"Fryderyk, I really wish you would put that bottle down," Marlena responded watching her son drink an ambiguous yet tremendously powerful alcohol, clear in substance.
"What!?" Fryderyk responded shortly. "It was either come her drunk or continue my concert tour, and you didn't want me to do that."
"Because it's important that all of us who will be representing Poland-Lithuania formally and informally attend such state events," Marlena reprimanded. "Alenka understands. I can't believe she didn't tell you."
"I AM more interested in being a girlfriend right now, not a politician," Alenka responded.
"Yes, but with you being affianced to my son, and you eyeing being the new Secretary of Foreign Affairs, I can't let you just allow him to be...as afflicted as he is," Marlena said to Alenka. Her voice, amazingly posh Davishirian in tone, was growing sharper with each sentence. It was going to be a long night.
They arrived in opulent splendour at the Imperial Palace of Inimicus.
"Oh, I do love the architecture," President Kligenberg said, leading the party of six into the palace. She appreciated the classical pillars and structure then quickly stopped herself. "I'm starting to sound like the High President."
"Well, at least he's a good man to be friendly with," Ian commented softly. Marlena gracefully strode in behind the two, followed by Fryderyk, Alenka and Renata. They found Emperor Artabanos, whom President Kligenberg heard so much about from her mother.
"I'm sorry if we are late!" President Kligenberg apologized sincerely. "It was tough to leave Poland. We were even delayed due to the snowfall."
After spotting President Karolina, Lana immediately stopped drinking her wine and smiled. "Oh look, she must've just arrived from that summit in Estergon. I hope that the archduke hasn't bothered her too much, even though I told his wife to keep him in check." she then chuckled. "I'll go ahead and greet her, don't worry about me." she said to Chancellor Earlstone before leaving the table.
Despite feeling rather insecure in a environment like this, the Queen didn't have a problem with convincing herself to calm down and putting a smile on her face, something that she followed by encouraging herself to approach the Polish delegation whilst exuding charisma, with the woman coming off as a unique yet flawed combination of a eloquent lady and a lucid, curious child. "Hi there!" she said as she started shaking hands, stopping at Karolina. "Apologies if I'm coming across as rude, but I couldn't help but feel the need to come over and greet all of you. I've been hearing a lot about Poland-Lithuania, especially since our summit with Halsberg, and I've been dying to meet the infamous Poles."
Lana, being a Estergonian, didn't see much of the world despite having somewhat of a adventorous spirit and often finding herself fascinating about warm summers on green grass whilst looking over lakes and hills, which is also how she imagined the land of the Poles. Because of this, meeting people of different culture was quite a experience for her, and one could see that in her excitement.
President Kligenberg smiled greatly. She remembered the exuberance she had when meeting others for the first time, especially if she wasn't familiar with their home nations. She took it as a great compliment to both Poland and her that Lana was so warm and friendly. Alenka, Marlena, and Ian were also very keen on meeting this lovely woman. Estergon had already proven themselves to be full of very kind individuals.
"It's lovely to meet you; we did just get here from Estergon via Poland. This is my husband, Ian Syzmanowski...also, this is my mother Marlena Kligenberg. Don't mind her accent; she actually comes from London but married my father, who is at home in Poland still very ill. This is Alenka, the former Duchess of Lithuania, and...oh..." Karolina responded to the greeting. She looked behind her and saw Fryderyk and Renata talking to each other.
"Don't mind them. They warm up to people in their own time. My cousin Renata is a fashion designer, and spends her time in Inquista as a result. She's standing next to my brother Fryderyk. He's named after one of Poland's greatest heroes: Chopin," Karolina continued, making an opening for further conversation.
"Nice to meet you," Alenka said, towering at 6'2" with her heels on. She couldn't help being such a tall woman, and she couldn't help but feel as though the dress she had on was a bad choice of attire for someone who was an abnormally tall woman. It reflected in her statement: as confident as she appeared to be, there was a miniscule wavering of self-doubt. She also was uncomfortable being in Europe so soon after essentially failing at her job as Foreign Affairs Commissioner, and was embarrassed to even be seen.
"My wife was telling me all about Estergon and how beautiful it was. How much of the country did you get to see growing up?" Ian began making light conversation. Marlena simply smiled, knowing that at least three of the younger delegation would not embarrass Poland on this night.
Lana smiled and nodded throughout the introduction, doing her best to remember all the names, even though that was never hard for her to do. And amongst all introduced, the one who caught most of her attention was Marlena. "Ah, I see, it looks like both of us have married well. You know, people say that behind every great man stands a even greater woman, so let us not shy away from proving it tonight." Lana then winked at her, afterwards glad to see that Ian bothered keeping the conversation going.
"Estergon is a wonderful nation indeed, but I spent most of my time in Burdighan rather than on the countryside, even though I'm trying to give my children a different cultural experience. The problem is that I was first a debutante in a rather conservative family before I started to host my talk show, and both of those things were very time consuming. I thought that upon marrying into royalty, such things would no longer be a problem, but I can't help but feel a constant need to be productive, which is why I do as much as I can to assist my husband in his work."
Marlena grinned as she realized that Lana was very much shared her sentiments. "Oh, yes of course," Marlena answered.
Ian, Karolina, and Alenka seemed saddened by that fact. At least Alenka and Karolina understood the constraints of childhood in a royal family.
"Goodness, I can only imagine," Karolina responded. "This is why I'm glad I'm President and not Empress. The life of a royal is constrained in terms of personal freedom. Having experienced both life in a monarchy and life in a pure republic, they both have their pros and cons. You'll be looking to help your husband, while my husband will be helping me somewhat. I think I can do this without him now though." Karolina said the last with a bit of a chuckle.
Alenka looked at Lana and asked the question, "What would you like to accomplish in your own right?"
Lana took a deep breath, thinking for a brief moment before putting a smile back up. "I'm not sure do I want to acomplish anything noteworthy. I want to be as good of a mother, wife and monarch as I can be, and that's about it for my ambition I suppose." The woman then forced a giggle, finding herself in quite a awkward situation right now, and even though she was moments away from drinking from her glass of wine, she stopped a near waitress so that it can be taken from her.
"Now, shall we go and take a seat? Me and Chancellor Earlstone would love to share a table with you, as I doubt that we'll find company that's more pleasant. I believe that we might even be eating soon, as the Emperor of Inimicus made a detailed meal schedule. With him as Inimicus' leader, it's no wonder that their entire state seems to be rather well organized, but that might be just my impression of it."
"That sounds divine," Marlena replied. She turned around to see her son still only speaking with Renata, before Alenka made a motion towards him to get closer to her so that she could be on his arm.
Fryderyk seemed much more together the more time he sat with Alenka. The jealousy he had was not quite as evident, though he'd much rather be a hermit right now than be in public anyway. Renata seemed to be inspired by the surroundings and immediately took out a sketchbook as she sat down, waiting for the rest of the Estergon party to sit with them.
President Kligenberg grinned happily as she sat with her husband, beaming brightly.
It had been a hectic few days for the High President. Not only was christmas upon him and his family, but he was arriving fresh from several summits with important foreign leaders, both of which were represented here today. He was excited to be finally meeting with the King and Queen of Estergon, a nation he'd left only recently. Accompanying the High President was his long-suffering, as she would put it, wife Marie. This was the latest of a series of "parties" with foreign dignitaries that Marie and her husband had attended, and she seemed to enjoy them.
Making their first appearance on the international political scene was the Eternal Guardian of the Commonwealth of Advenschun, Gayna VII. As was quickly becoming a kind of tradition in Thurston's foreign office, the Solomons were to be accompanied by a representative of the wider twelve commonwealths. Gayna, a hard faced woman in her mid-forties, was invited by Marie personally, the two having met several times in the past. Gayna, despite her inexperience in the field of international diplomacy, seemed to take everything in her stride. She walked in to meet with the other guests slightly ahead of the Solomons, taking carefully calculated steps. She had obviously enjoyed living her life as a lifelong absolute monarch.
"High President, I'm going to go and find the nearest monarch and start up some kind of conversation," Gayna announced somewhat suddenly as they entered the large hall. There were groups of foreign leaders dotted about the place, and Gayna strode off towards the nearest one, which Solomon was sure included the Davishiran royals. "Both of them are in for a surprise,", he chuckled to Marie, who laughed in agreement.
"Don't get me wrong, she's nice enough, but just a tad unstable", Marie answered. "Maybe if she wasn't as...", she searched for the right word, "...confident. She's not in Advenschun anymore."
"Ah, there's our host!", the High President interrupted. "Lets go and see how he's doing. I haven't seen old Artie since that business with Triclops a while back!"
The Helicopter arrived carrying Lord Fredson Parsons and Lady Alice Parsons, sadly they had arrived late but the recent snow storms in North Poretos had caused delays to their flights and they were glad that they had been able to fly at all considering the situation.
Lord Fredson received the salute of the Co-Pilot as was traditional for the First Sea Lord of the Fleet to receive.
"Honestly we don't have time for this Fredson," complained Alice
"My apologies Admiral, but the Lady President requested that I made sure everything was alright for you two, and that included the Salute" replied the Officer that was acting as Co-Pilot
"You know I didn't really want to be here Dear" responded the First Sea Lord, Lord Fredson who really much preferred staying in the Safety of the Admiralty Command Bunker on the Coast where he didn't have to greet and meet many new people as surprisingly he was quite shy.
"His Majesty chose us, I promise you we will leave when we can but at least enjoy the dinner, just try not to discuss the Navy, people find it boring - apparently, plus with what is going on it the region I am not exactly sure we should be releasing much information." responded Lady Alice.
"I'll be fine as long as I have you here" answered Lord Fredson
"You know I am not going anywhere, now come on, the sooner we enter the sooner we can loosen you up with some Port!" laughed Alice.
_They both entered the Building, both were shocked by the utter Reality and Beauty of the Place, although the Admiralty Command Bunker was highly decorated and a beautiful building in its own right, but of course it was still a bunker, designed to withstand all attacks _
After Lana sat down, the only one joining them was Chancellor Earlstone, as he appeared to be the one escorting her rather than her husband. Seeing as he was not introduced to the Polish delegacy, he shook all of their hands and greeted them, glad to see that at least Marlena belonged to his generation. "It is a pleasure to meet all of you, and I hope that all of us will have a great time here in Telum. I see that the Queen had more time to get to know you, but I have done my research in a less social manner, and I must say that I'm impressed by the things all..." he then glanced at Fryderyk. "...of you have acomplished."
The Queen then blinked at Edward's comment, following that by a giggle to attempt making the mood lighter. She too, in fact, did her research on the problems of the Polish royal family, but she didn't want to make them feel as if their privacy was being invaded, hence she refrained from stating it unless asked about it. "Now, I hope that the meals are going to be as good as I expect them to be. I told the Emperor to prepare cultural delicacies of Inimicus, so it's bound to be something different than what I'm used to."
A little overwhelmed, but pleased that pretty much all guests had arrived (well, the most important ones, anyway, although the Nicolezians were rather late, even by their standards), Emperor Artabanos gestured everyone to be seated and began a short speech: "My friends, it's very good to see you all here. And relatively on time, too! I am supposed to say we're gathered here to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, and blah blah blah, but I'm not allowed to be religious by Inimician law, so I'm not going to bother", some guests seemed a tad confused, but the Emperor did not care, "Anyway, I'm mostly here to have a good time with my foreign friends, and get to know everyone a little better. I hope you feel the same. I look forward to meeting all of you tonight and tomorrow, and hope your stay at my Palace will be satisfactory. Now, I won't blabber on for too long, let's raise our glasses to the European Union, and have a great time with good food!"
A small applause erupted from the guests as Artabanos sat down. "Now that's the way to do it, Michael" he said jokingly to the High President, who was sitting next to him. Servants started serving meals and drinks, the finest available in Inimicus. There was beef, lamb, fish, and for the vegetarians among the guests, asparagus, jacket potatoes topped with vegetable gravy. For this special occasion, Artabanos had even ordered some of the rarest and most dangerous fish to be caught, Inimicus filamentosus, a poisonous killer fish from the Persian Gulf, highly loved as a delicacy.
Prince Regent George and Crown Princess Theodora arrived. They'd had a pleasant flight, and were looking forward to sitting with the Havvenskarians, Prussians, and Deutschian at their table. They were welcomed by Artabanos.
"Your Imperial Majesty," exclaimed George. "Merry Christmas!"
"Inimicus looks beautiful at this time of year," added Theodora.
The couple were led to their seats. They greeted those at their table.
The three Havvenskarians were enjoying their dinner. "This tastes rather good." Prince Aldrik said to his neighbour, who appeared to be a prince from Angleter. The King, who was rather enjoying his meal made an odd gurgling sound from his throat. "Behave yourself, please." said the Queen to her husband. When the sound continued, she glimpsed at her husband, who had turned a bit blue all of a sudden. "Husband?" The gurgling sound continued. "He's choking!" she exclaimed. She pushed her chair backwards, which fell on the floor and went to her husband. She clutched him and started pushing on his chest from behind. "Help! I need help!" Some of the other members of the table hurried towards the King. At that moment the bit of food that got stuck became unstuck and was flinged across the table in a nice arch and landed straight unto the plate of the Crown Princess Theodora from Angleter.
"My God!" exclaimed Theodora, staring at her plate. After a couple of seconds, she looked up. "er, I mean, thank God you're alright, Your Majesty!"
The Crown Princess motioned to an Inimican imperial servant. He replaced her plate with a new, full one.