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Saint Mark

Former Delegate
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  1. "Your Serene Highness!" The team and others present in the locker room bowed, surprised and delighted that Prince Marcarius had made an unannounced visit to encourage The Lions. "Lions, you are an excellent team. You have defeated this opponent before and you can do it again!" enthused the Prince. "Trust in your abilities, your coach, and your hard work. I will be cheering you on from my box. You will win!" The Prince shook hands and briefly chatted with each player and Coach Rahl, and then hurried to his seat to watch this important match.
  2. George and Gracia Dasher, parents of On-Leave Lion, Hugo Dasher, visit with their son and his fiance after the match against Arifiayyah. "Darling, I don't understand," said Mrs. Dasher, looking puzzled, "how is it that your team lost, but they still advance to the ... what is it ... Sweet Sixteen?" Mr. Dasher rolled his eyes and started to speak when he was interrupted by his son. "Mom, it's the Round of Sixteen, and where we stand is a matter of points as well as wins. The team isn't doing quite as well as I'd hoped, but they're not doing too badly either." "Is it true that you're canceling your honeymoon in Arifiyyah?" "No," answered Hugo as he glanced at his fiance, "Emily and I discussed it, and well .... sticking with the current plan makes more sense." "Oh! Good! It's such a beautiful place." "I'm looking forward to this next match, son," said Mr. Dasher, "it should be very exciting!" "I hope so, Dad." "That Celerio can really run, eh?" "Yeah, Dad. I've noticed."
  3. "Sweetheart, I'm serious, if Arifiyyah beats the Lions, we're not going there for our honeymoon." "What!? That's ridiculous! Arifiyyah is beautiful, the Royal Palms is exquisite, and all of the arrangements are already made! Don't be petty, Hugo." "I'm not being petty. I won't feel comfortable there if we lose to them and are knocked out of contention because of it. I'm sure reporters will find us somehow and be relentless in asking how I feel. It'll ruin everything." "Ugh! You drive me crazy sometimes! Do you really think anyone will even care about the Lions once these games are over?" "Wow. I can't believe you said that." "I'm sorry, honey. I know how important they are to you. I shouldn't have said that." "But I guess that's what you think, though, right? I'll see you for dinner later with your parents. I need to take a walk."
  4. The coach was saying, "When Michael runs, it creates an extra player in the line. So exploit that to create gaps between the opposition 10 and open-side flanker at the scrum. This play should be used from a left-side scrum. The angles run here will give the back-line options to attack their weakest tackler or take the ball wide. In practice, we started by running this move at half pace and without any defense. Then, we added a defense, comprising a four-man back-line and an open-side flanker. First, Paul passes to Michael, who will run around from the left side of the scrum. Then Michael has options to pass to Rudolph or Celerio. Either one should call if they feel the pass is on. Rudolph runs out and then cuts in on a hard line toward the outside shoulder of their 10. Celerio tracks behind 10 and then 12 to run on 12’s outside shoulder. Nelson runs behind 12 to be in a position to pass deep to Blaze. Alan runs out and then cuts in to connect with 11 or 12. Blaze and Christopher stay deep to offer the outside option but must be ready to support Alan." The team was gathered in the locker room and paying close attention to Coach Rahl. Their match against Zoran had been disappointing, but not unexpected, but their latest win had given them hope. They weren't doing quite as well as they had last year, but they weren't out of the running either. Everything hung on this next match against Arifiyyah.
  5. Sir Even had been squeaking away at his whiteboard for over an hour going over the good and the bad of the last match against Ryxtylopia. The team had been attentive, but looked even more worried than when the session had begun. They had played well against a good team, but their next opponent was Zoran! They were excellent! The coach pushed the whiteboard to the side, looked at his team and smiled. "Gentlemen, you look like you're about to visit the dentist. We are a strong team and we can win this next match. At this point it's all about getting your heads in the right place. Let's discuss several points about decision making under pressure. First, the role of intuition in strategy ... In rugby, decision making under pressure is a crucial aspect of the game. Players are often required to make split-second decisions, which can have a significant impact on the outcome of the match. While some may argue that this is purely a matter of instinct, the role of intuition in strategy should not be underestimated. Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. In rugby, this can manifest in a player’s ability to anticipate the movements of their opponents, or to recognize an opportunity for a strategic move. Remember your sessions with The Sisters. You have been trained to use your intuition. For example, Nelson may have an intuitive sense of when to make a break and pass to a supporting player, or Napoli may have a gut feeling about when to tackle an opponent. While these decisions may seem spontaneous, they are often the result of a player’s accumulated experience and knowledge of the game. Next, the importance of adaptability ... Adaptability is another key component of decision-making under pressure in rugby. The game is constantly changing, with players and teams adapting to changing circumstances on the field. For example, a team may have a well-rehearsed game plan, but if the opposition takes an unexpected tactical approach, the team must be able to adapt and adjust their strategy accordingly. Players who are able to think on their feet and make rapid adjustments to their tactics are often the ones who come out on top in high-pressure situations. Finally, we need to review about managing stress and staying focused. These are essential for decision- making under pressure in rugby. The game can be incredibly intense, with players under a great deal of pressure to perform at their best. Players who are able to manage their stress levels and stay focused on the task at hand are more likely to make good decisions, even when under intense pressure. This may involve techniques such as visualization, deep breathing, or mindfulness meditation, which can help players to stay calm and focused during the game. Again, remember the mindfulness training The Sisters helped us with. Overall, decision making under pressure is a crucial aspect of rugby strategy. Players who are able to rely on their intuition, adapt to changing circumstances, and manage their stress levels are well-equipped to make good decisions on the field, even in the most high-pressure situations. You will be your best. I know it! Let's practice some of those techniques now ..." At the session's conclusion, those looks of fear had changed. The Lions still had a deep respect for the Zoranians, but were confident that they could win.
  6. His Serene Highness, Marcarius, Prince of the Holy Principality of Saint Mark Prince Marcarius looked in the mirror as Clarkson, his valet brushed his shoulders. The Prince always enjoyed these trips to Giovanniland. Not only were they close allies, but he had developed a strong friendship with their king through the years. The Giovanniland State Dinner was to begin in thirty minutes, capping what had been another delightful visit. He didn't have far to travel, as both his apartments and the dinner were located in The Palatio Smaraldo (Emerald Palace), King Giovanni VI's official residence. It was a beautifully constructed structure, and its furnishings were at once elegant and comfortable. Four days ago, his entourage had arrived in Porto Violeto. The next day, he and Lord Admiral Bellarmie toured the naval base, while Lady Arlene, Sir Aston, Lady Phyllis, and the Dashers took in a sail around the harbour. Later, they all met at a delightful restaurant housed in a seaside villa where they were treated to an amazing Abretan pizza followed by a sublime seafood risotto. On the following day, he had been occupied by several very productive trade and defense meetings. Yesterday, everyone enjoyed a private tour of The Museo Nationale, Giovanniland's exquisite display of its treasures, history, and culture. Tonight, the visit culminated in the State Dinner, and tomorrow he would leave for the rugby tournament. He hoped his Lions would continue their streak and that he could relax and cheer on some exciting play.
  7. "What a game! The Saint Mark Lions win their second match of the tournament with one of the best defensive performances you will ever see in a rugby match. Centerman and Rahl were unstoppable! Nouveauterra pounded the tryline with their big hitters for 10 minutes in the second half and with 13 men the Lions held firm to secure the match with a final try from Celerio. An incredible effort from Sir Rahl's men!" Hugo Dasher turned off the replay and sighed. He was thrilled that his team had won again ... and this time against a very good team, but he missed being in the middle of it more than he had thought he would. The wedding plans were going well, of course, and the big day was only a month away now, but Emily and Lady Phyllis were handling most of the arrangements anyway. He longed to be on the pitch, making the difficult tries. ... and Celerio ... sheesh! What a racer! Would he even be able to return to his old spot after the wedding? He didn't want to think about it.
  8. The Dashing Couple Hugo Dasher and Emily Clement-Bosworth The happy couple at last year's engagement party Hugo Dasher, the Lions Left-Wing-On-Leave and former Most Eligible Bachelor, watched from the stands today as his teammates scored big against the hapless Einherfell team. Accompanied by his fiance, Emily Clement-Bosworth, daughter of industrialist, Sir Aston Clement, and Lady Phyllis Clement-Bosworth, he was seen cheering and embracing his future bride after the last score. While it is reported that it was his decision to take this season off so as not to be distracted by the wedding plans, one wonders if part of him wouldn't rather have been on the pitch instead of his replacement, Celerio Blitzen. And what a replacement Blitzen has been! His speed and agility surpass Dasher at his best and were a key component of today's win by The Saint Mark Lions. When (if?) Dasher returns to the Lions next year, will his old position still be available?
  9. Saint Markan Royal Rugby Team (Lions) Style -1.00 Number Name Position 1 Baxtor Goldwash Loose-head Prop 2 Welhelo Saylor Hooker 3 Bruno Goldwash Tight-head Prop 4 Donovan Elkhart Lock/2nd Row 5 John Evermore Lock/2nd Row 6 Marcarius Hightower Blind-side Flanker 7 Gregor Napoli Open-side Flanker 8 Paul Reston Number 8 9 Michael Hawk Scrum Half 10 Nelson Saint Mark Fly Half 11 Celerio Blitzen Left Wing 12 Rudolph Centerman Inside Center 13 Colin Rahl Outside Center 14 Christopher Dancer Right Wing 15 Blaze Emberfell Fullback 16 Lionel Backstory Reserve Hooker 17 Grayson Tanker Reserve Loose-head Prop 18 Mitchell Oxbow Reserve Tight-head Prop 19 Howard August Reserve Lock 20 Mark Rushmore Reserve Outside Center 21 Simon Speaker Reserve Scrum Half 22 Arthur Brideman Reserve Inside Center 23 Thomas Harbough Reserve Outside Center Coach - Sir Evan Rahl RP permissions: If my opponent RPs first, they may... Choose my try scorers: Y Choose my kicker: Y RP injuries: N Godmod scoring events: Y Godmod injuries: N Godmod other events: Y
  10. The Holy Principality of Saint Mark is pleased to sign up and hopes to improve upon last year's excellent performance.
  11. Nation name: The Holy Principality of Saint Mark Nation trigram: SMK Players: 1. Stephen Saint Agnes 2. Mary Nicols 3. Klaus von Kringle 4. 5. 6.
  12. I'm old. A Santa beard would be just fine.
  13. The Saint Mark Angels were gathered in front of a whiteboard in a hotel conference room. The celebratory mood over having made the Round of 16 had softened and was now mixed with a dose of anxiety. Coach Rodeberg was going over strategy. "You all know that Cambria's Union Football is an excellent team. You also know that even the best teams can be vanquished with the right game plan and focus. They're a very aggressive team and we're strong on defense. We aren't going to beat them by trying to match their offense at this stage of the tournament. We will play to our strength. We're going to set up in a 4-2-3-1 looking for some balance and flexibility. The two defensive midfielders will protect the back four, and if they drop in, the outside backs can join in on the offense. We'll still have 8 in our own half when defending. Like the 4-3-3, pressing the ball high up the pitch can create turnovers. We need to watch for Montero, of course ... Dragonhart and Trecoup, that will be your focus. We effectively guard our home while trying to create openings for Westley. Don't take Meredith for granted either. He will be ready." The team spent the next couple of hours reviewing the plan and then boarded the bus to take them out for practice on the pitch, anxiety slowing being replaced with determination.
  14. A Joint Post Between Saint Mark and Giovanniland Prince Marcarius arrived with Clarkson at the beautifully inlaid door of King Giovanni’s suite and knocked. He looked forward to this tea. His visits with His Majesty were always cordial … and with everything that had been happening, the prince needed to chat with a friend. King Giovanni then opened the door. “Your Serene Highness, it’s great to see you!”, he said, and invited the Prince to sit at a carefully prepared table for the occasion. “I’m delighted to see you as well, Your Majesty!” the prince replied as he took his seat. He noted that the king’s suite, which was just down the hall from his own, was very similar. The heavy drapes were purple instead of gold and the sitting room seemed a bit larger, but otherwise they were nearly identical. “Tell me, Gio,” the prince continued, dropping formalities after the greeting, “How was your journey, did the protests affect you at all?” “My journey was great, I’ve heard about the protests in Ryxtylopia and I worry about the situation in the country but thankfully they did not affect my arrival here. This country is interesting, the climate is a tad colder than Giovanniland or Saint Mark but the culture and atmosphere seems very lively,” the King commented. “I’m so glad you arrived without incident. My private train was stopped briefly on the outskirts of the capital, but otherwise, my journey was pleasant as well. I agree that Ryxtylopia is worth the visit. Its coastline is gorgeous and I find the cooler temperatures refreshing. My family has had a fishing cottage here for centuries. I must admit, though, I haven’t been there since I was a boy. I see your team isn’t faring as well as they had in past years. What do you think their chances are of fighting their way back?” “Ah, traveling across Aura by train sounds like a lovely experience! I arrived here through a plane departing the Giovanni the Great International Airport back in the capital city Giovannia, but I can imagine that the train voyage surely must’ve been interesting, besides the incident you talked about.” “Oh, aside from sailing, train travel is my favorite!” the prince interrupted. “You should accompany me back to Sanctus Leo when the games are finished!” “I’d love to do that! Thanks for the invite, I look forward to that.” “Splendid! I’ll have Clarkson contact your man and make the arrangements.” King Giovanni nodded. Then, he went back to the previous question and replied: “As for Giovanniland’s team, indeed I’m afraid they haven’t been doing as well as before, especially in comparison to the two Summer Esferiads in which they twice were awarded silver medals. That said, there’s still one match, and qualifying remains a possibility due to the team’s victory in Matchday 1. Provided we win and the right set of results happens, I’m confident that we can make it through!” “Best of luck to you! Frankly, Saint Mark has been doing better than I had hoped. We aren’t out of it either. That match against Nieubasria was amazing! Our next match will be another tough one, though … Fujai. They really are a better team, but you never know. Luck may be on our side.” “Thanks! The Markan team has been impressive and very solid, I see it’s undefeated so far and also managed to hold the defending champions to a draw most recently. Good luck to Saint Mark in the match against Fujai and in the knockout stage if you advance!” “Thank you!” The King then started a new topic of conversation. “So, how are things going for you and for Saint Mark overall?” “I’m sure you’ve heard about the Zoranian bill that has just been signed into law. I can hardly believe how short-sighted they’re being. Markan investment in Zoran will dry up without a doubt. I realize the Zoranians are going through an intensification of nationalism triggered by their recent Civil War, but we supported them, both during and after the conflict! I guess sometimes emotions trump reason.” “Yes, I’ve heard about the bill”, replied Giovanni. “My royal family does have properties that are now threatened there, but much fewer in comparison to the Markan houses’ estates, I believe. I do agree with you that Zoran is shooting itself in the foot, ultimately. At least the other controversial bill was vetoed, I’m sure the Giovannese living there are relieved by that.” “I’m sure you’re right. That, at least, is a bit of a bright spot. There are, of course, some Markans living there as well. Many less than before the war, but still some. The Queen and I spoke and a joint commission between our nations to iron out the property transfer is a possibility. Perhaps something can be salvaged when passions cool. We’ll see.” “Ah, that’s good to hear. Also, how is Saint Mark internally?” “We’re doing well, thank you. We have begun talks with Arifiyyah on a high-speed rail route between our two nations. It’s in the early stages, but is a dream of mine. I suppose that isn’t really internal news, though, is it? Hmmm … let’s see …. Our archeologists have discovered a new tomb near Halomarch! It’s fascinating, really, and could shed a lot of light on early Markan history, well before the Founding. How are things in Giovanniland?” “Those are good news, I’m glad to hear about both these happenings! In Giovanniland, the Prime Minister has recently sent me the monthly report about the national economy, it describes positive numbers for most of the economic sectors which is wonderful. Furthermore, December will be a culturally significant month for our nation, since both the 1423 Chess Championship and the Lavender Festival will happen, two of the most famous Giovannilandian events! If you are able to, I invite you to attend at least one of them, I’m sure it will be a great time.” “I would be delighted to attend! Clarkson will check my schedule and get back to your office. It’s always good to catch up with you, Gio.” “Likewise, Marcarius! The relationship that we have enjoyed on a personal level is wonderful, just like the centuries-long one between our nations.” The two monarchs talked long after the tea things were cleared.
  15. A joint post of Saint Mark and Zoran A panel of the mahogany wall slid down, revealing a screen. Averton, the young footman attending Prince Marcarius on the Red & Gold, the private train of the Royal Household, checked the settings and then handed the remote to Clarkson, who handed it to the prince. “Her Majesty will join momentarily, Your Highness. Shall I pour some more tea?” “Yes, thank you, Clarkson.” Queen Adsila appeared on the screen sitting behind her desk, her face cold and stoic. “I take it that this isn’t one of your social calls, what is it that you wish to discuss, Marcarius?” The prince admired the sheen of her long, wavy black hair, and how it emphasized her perfect cheekbones. “Ugh. there I go again. My mind stops working whenever I’m around her. This is business. I must focus.” “Sadly, no, Adsila. I wish this were a social call. I would like to discuss your position on this land-grabbing bill that has just been passed in your legislature. As you know, many of our most prominent Houses have maintained estates in Zoran for centuries. Surely your lawmakers know that we pay significant taxes on these properties that do much to help support the local economies?” The queen lets out a low chuckle, “‘Land-grabbing,’ what an ironic phrase to use. I understand the concerns of your Houses but if you crack open a history book, you will find that many of those estates were gained through either forced resettlement, coercive treaties, and or aggression from Markan forces during the colonial era,” she says in a mirthless tone, “We have…tolerated the presence of the Houses within Zoran for a period of time but that has still left a foul taste in the mouths of the many Zoranians. The bill has passed the Council with near absolute majority on both sides of the political spectrum and frankly, it is a bill that could put my position at risk should I veto it.” “In most cases, those properties were acquired over a millennium ago, and in all cases many centuries ago. What is this really about, Adsila? Why now? I thought our nations cooperated very nicely at the Maritime Conference last month, with each of us very happy with the Sea of the Wild Cry Protocols.” “I do not decide the bills that are introduced into the Council. I can propose bills but this bill came from the Council itself,” she says as she shuffles a few papers on her desk, “the ancestral memory of the Zoranian people runs deep, Marcarius. Zoranian has generational trauma from it and holds deep grudges against the Markans for the colonial period. I understand your confusion but it is a cultural difference that I cannot do much about besides try to promote cooperation between our two people, which is what I am trying to do when it comes to drafting my reasoning for rejecting the Blood Alone Act. But, when it comes to the bill that seizes the property of the Houses, I have some troubling documents that I believe you may want to see from our recent delve into Corporate documents.” “Of course, I’ll look at them. Another concern of mine is that this will through cold water on anyone from Saint Mark wanting to invest in Zoran. Why sink money into projects that could potentially be torn away from you? It sets a bad precedent.” “Well, all I can say to that is be shrewd in your business dealings. Nationalization and seizure of property is nothing new in the world. Zoran is not the first to do it and it will certainly not be the last country to do it. But, like many things, actions come with consequences…even if those consequences do not come immediately.” “While I understand you’re referring to the actions of my ancestors and the current-day consequences, what is more relevant is the consequences of this bill, should it become law, to the Zoran economy. I would hope that there are some in your government who might see that upon more cool reflection.” “We have considered it, and when I say ‘we’ I mean my ministers and I, and while we do see the potential risks from Markan investors, Markans are not the only groups investing in Zoran. You are competing with Giovannilandians, the Astorrians, Overthinkers, various Nuran nations, etc. We might take a hit, yes, but nothing devastating.” “Adsila, we are not talking in front of audiences right now. This is a private conversation between the two of us. You know that I know this already, and you know that this is not a sound move, either politically or economically. It’s pure theater for the masses. Again, just between us, why and why now?” “There are actions that go beyond politics and economics, sometimes it is about doing the right thing. When it comes to the people who still mourn what we refer to as ‘The Age of Death,’ this is one of the best ways to get people to move on from those times. If you topple the figure that people look at to think of those times with hatred, soon they will look forward instead of back.” Prince Marcarius sighed, realizing he would never understand a people who hold such a long grudge. “Very well, Adsila. I see how your people are looking at this. In the best interests of both of our nations, perhaps Saint Mark can do something to help soothe the feelings of your people? I guess they have already forgotten the aid we provided in the recent civil disturbance.” “We have had much patience and leniency with the Markans, we have not forgotten the kindness shown to us but there comes a time when patience runs out. At best I can see if I can get the Council to offer financial compensation to the Houses affected by this act but to veto it would be out of the question.” “I see. Well, that is something to consider. I appreciate your taking the time to discuss this with me. I think I understand the position of your lawmakers better now, although I very much disagree with it. May we form a joint commission to try to come up with a solution that is palatable to both nations and that seeks to preserve our good relationship?” “I shall see what I can do, but knowing the lawmakers it would be hard to get them to cooperate. In case this does not work with them, prepare to try and herd the Houses of your nation like cats.” The prince blinked. Herd the Houses like cats? It must be something Zoranian that doesn’t quite translate. “I appreciate your efforts. Our counterparts will keep the other informed throughout the process. My best wishes to you for your team’s success in the games!” “Best of luck to your team as well. But do take a look at the documents that my intelligence director will send you, the evidence is damning enough to warrant an investigation. I have stayed my hand in terms of sending my intelligence officers over to investigate due to our trust in your ability to deal with it yourselves.” “Absolutely. I will look into it even before we arrive in Ryxtylopia. Again, my best.”
  16. "Her Majesty will not be attending the games, sir. The protests in Zoran surrounding the bill require her attention. She would be pleased to make herself available for a video conference, however. Your schedule could be adjusted to accommodate that while you travel to Ryxtylopia, sir." "Very good, Clarkson. Please set that up. With regard to the journey, has Lady Kornica accepted our invitation to travel with us or will she seek her own way? "Yes, sir. Sir Karl's mother was pleased to accept your invitation. She will board the train in Halomarch." "Splendid. Thank you, Clarkson."
  17. "They passed what!?" His Serene Highness, Marcarius, nearly knocked over the glass of 20-year-old Solurian Port as he threw his Lion's Voice crossword puzzle to his desk. Clarkson, the prince's valet and personal assistant deftly prevented the spill as he responded. "Yes, sir. Lady Fargone (Saint Markan Minister of FA) informed me moments ago and requested an audience to discuss the situation." "Of course," replied the prince, regaining his composure. "Please set that up for as soon as possible. We must do what we can to stop this from becoming law. Do you realize how many of the Electors own estates in Zoran? The House of Halohin has enjoyed the views from Larus Hall since the mid-500s! Do we know if the Queen will be attending the football games? Perhaps she and I can meet informally." "I will make inquiries, sir."
  18. The Saint Mark Angels Football Club Roster Coach: Sir Karl Rodenberg Name / Position / Number / Age / (Starting/Reserve) Matthew Westly / Keeper / 3 / 25 / (Starting) Ronald Harper / Keeper / 10 / 24 / (Reserve) Renfrew Trecoup / Defender / 15 / 24 / (Starting) Merlin Dragonhart / Defender / 7 / 29 / (Starting) Corwyn Armsforth / Defender / 9 / 26 / (Starting) Scott Granger / Defender / 11 / 26 / (Starting) Rudolph Quagmire / Defender / 13 / 25 / (Reserve) Liam Newson/Defender / 2 / 19 / (Reserve) Evard Wolfensbach / Midfielder / 6 / 26 / (Starting) Harold Brickhouse / Midfielder / 8 / 29 / (Starting) Lincoln Praiseworthy / Midfielder / 12 / 25 / (Starting) Donald Masters / Midfielder / 17 / 23 / (Reserve) Andrew Lionguard / Forward/ 1 / 30 / (Starting) Hunter Wilcox / Forward / 4 / 27 / (Starting) Cedric Seabroom / Forward / 18 / 28 / (Starting) Roland Croft / Forward / 20 / 27 / (Reserve) Mark Blaze / Forward / 22 / 25 / (Reserve) Injure my players: yes Assign my players yellow cards: yes Assign my players red cards: no Godmod injuries: no Godmod scoring: no Godmod other events: no Style Modifier: -2
  19. I chose typing quickly because I am a very slow typist, but already read pretty fast. 🙂
  20. Even though I'm not at all athletic, I picked the sport one because this would mean I'd be in great shape, and I could still listen to music.
  21. This post is the combined RP effort of Giovanniland and Saint Mark With a wide grin, Prince Marcarius faced the salty wind and warm sun as The Sea Lion cut through the foamy chop of the New Zoradian harbor. It was early in the morning and the sails were taut in a stiff breeze. He and King Giovanni VI were relishing the privacy and freedom of the prince’s royal yacht. “Both of our teams did quite well, Giovanni. We play Zoran next and that’ll be tough. The crowd will definitely be on their side. How do you rate your chances for your next match?” King Giovanni VI replied: “Indeed the first matchday was nice for both our teams! We won against Hanita Gracse, a newcomer to the tournament but nevertheless a good team.” He continued, “our next match will also be considerably harder. Giovanniland will play against Hertfordshire & Jammbo, which are the champions of the 1st Rugby World Cup, and have a roughly equal rating in comparison to our team (54.51 for us vs. 53.77 for them). So I think both teams have equal chances of winning.” “Good luck to you! Have you had a chance to think about my idea of our two nations hosting a joint gala fundraiser in support of Zoran’s widows and orphans? I know they have given their blessing to the concept, and my ministers think the people of Saint Mark will be behind it.” “That is certainly a great idea!” remarked the Giovannilandian king. “I personally support the idea, although I would also have to talk to the Prime Minister Amore Gile Abrente to confirm. However, I am sure they will also agree, and will contact them shortly after this conversation.” “Thank you, Giovanni. I’m still haunted by the sadness in the eyes of so many of the brave Zoradians in the immediate aftermath of the war and want so much to make things better for them. It was such a tragedy.” The prince stared at the horizon for a minute and then shook himself free of his thoughts. “Enough of that! We are doing what we can and I’m glad we can work together on this! Let’s take this craft out a bit further and see if we can catch some real wind!” “Indeed! Changing the subject a little, how is Saint Mark at the moment?”, the King asked. “In Giovanniland we have just finished another edition of the Lavender Festival and New Year, and also the Empire Day celebrations on January 16th.” “It sounds like you’ve been busy! This is a quieter time of year in Saint Mark … after the First Light festival and before the Rebirth. I enjoyed a ski trip to the mountains with The Electors … well, enjoyed it somewhat I guess … part of it was politics, of course. I’ve also been working on my sailing. Oh! I’m hosting a private showing of several important works of the Masters in Sanctus Leo next month. I’d be honored if you could attend.” “In fact the past few months have been busy in Giovanniland. As for the private showing, that sounds like it will be a very good time! I haven’t visited Saint Mark for a while, and this is a good opportunity to do so, therefore I gladly accept the invite,” the King replied. “Back to sports, I have also heard that many nations are talking about their own processes of inducting new players into their national teams. How does that happen in Saint Mark?” “Ah. Good question. As you probably know, Saint Mark didn’t even have a national team until two years ago. Last year was the first time they ever competed internationally. Rugby is just now becoming popular in our country. What we did to develop this team was to have each college and club send their three best players to open try-outs in Sanctus Leo. There, under the close observation of our coaches over several weeks, fifty were chosen. Over the next month, these were winnowed down to the current team. There was one late addition just before we arrived. Colin is the son of our coach, Sir Evan, and he plays as an Outside Center in a reserve position. Arthur Freeborn, the previous Reserve Outside Center, had some bad luck with appendicitis. How was your team formed?” “That is certainly an interesting process! In Giovanniland, rugby was introduced in the early 14th century, and the first national team was formed in 1329 in the capital Giovannia, with some of the best players from the National Rugby League of Giovanniland, itself created four years earlier. This is a standard process used for most sports in our country, and I presume also in other parts of the world,” noted the King. He added: “While the team that competed in the 1st and 2nd Rugby World Cup as well as in the 1st Summer Esferiad achieved great results, a large revamp was undertaken just in time for the 2nd Summer Esferiad. Managers such as Giordano Magisto retired, with the Esferiad’s stadium for Rugby in Quorivo being named after him after this fact, thus new leadership was also brought besides many new players. I hope to see their success continue during this World Cup!” As the King finished talking, both noticed the conversation had continued for a long time. They decided to look at and appreciate the nature around the New Zoradian harbor, as the morning passed and the sun rose to the top of the sky.
  22. We can leave it as former del. On the Forum, it doesn't really matter.
  23. Lord Eastmarch, back in the study of his cliffside manor house in Saint Mark, closed the connection on his secure phone and looked over to where His Serene Highness sat in a leather wingback chair. I informed General Waholi of our desire to help the Monarchists take advantage of their momentum, sir. Aside from direct intervention, we will give them anything they need. Thank you, cousin. The Monarchists have demonstrated that they are the only faction that can govern Zoran with the people's best interests in mind. I am cheered by their recent victories and pray they continue to take control. The sooner this bloody nightmare ends and peace is restored, the better. The prince raised his glass to his cousin and finished off his bourbon.
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