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A note from Vincent Archer

Historical notes at the end.

EDITED 10/15/19: I forgot to add the Profession description for Princess Charlotte

The young woman already had a presence that higher Professionals with higher potential scores didn’t even match. The added ineffable benefit of authority, presumably, thought Zacharias.

Calculating Tactician Charlotte Augusta Wales, second in line to the British crown, watched over the gathering crowd. She finally climbed on a raised podium.

“Let’s start.”

With this simple phrase, the hubbub of the Professionals talking died nearly instantaneously. Even the various tier 5 and the one mostly tier 6 team fell silent.

“The Gate is still inoperative, and we’re still cut from London. At this time, there’s no way to predict when it will reopen. If it does.”

There was a fresh surge of muttering. She did not wait until it ended.

“Yes, if it does. I don’t remember a time when the Gate wasn’t there, but some of you do. And if it wasn’t there at some point, it might not remain there forever.”

She cut off the Massive Aethershaper next to her who had looked like he was going to add something.

“But despite everything, we are still British subjects. We still belong to the greatest Empire our world has ever seen, and there’s no reason it won’t be the same in the Labyrinth.”

“But before we start thinking about the British Labyrinthine Empire, we do need to check what really happened. And that pretty much means one thing: going through another Gate to get news from home.”

Zacharias could see the wince on most of his fellow Professionals around him.

“Obviously, the one from the French Ogre is a non-starter. Notably, since there’s strong evidence this is the result of a nefarious French plot. Which leaves only one option.”

“Not those!” went from behind Zacharias.

“Yes. There’s only one place where we can get proper news, and that’s the Colonial Gate. So I need a tier 4 or higher team ready to head into the United States of America’s sectors. We’re officially at peace again, after their short war on Canada ten years ago. I intend that we make use of that official peace to get information if they have any, or go make a round trip to England from their own Gate port.”

“I’d go, but I think it is better if I stay at the Gate, to keep abreast of any development. Hopefully, we will soon be reunited with the main Empire, but if nothing else, we’ll endure.”

She looked over the crowd of fantastically overpowered Professionals gathered at Gatepost.

“If nothing else, the British Empire will endure.”

Zacharias wondered for a moment who would jump, but wasn’t surprised to see the Louisa Grey team come out to join the Princess on stage. The firstborn of Lord Charles Grey was of the Princess’ age, and they had both adventured together for a while before the King selected a specific team to accompany his heir in the deep Labyrinth. Besides, there were barely enough Professional nobles around, and that was counting peerage. Louisa was going for an unusual tier 5 build, but she and her teammates had strong synergies and they were good candidates for going deep into USA’s zones. At least the best zone path was known.

 

Calculating Tactician

(tier 4)

Required: 85 PRE, 36 INT

Provides:

+10 health/+18 endurance/+5 mind/+7 aether per level

+1 Milestone/12 levels

Calculating Tactician: +9 PRE, +5 DEX, +4 FOR, +3 CON, +1 FOC, 1% aether conservation

Skill set: Environment / Control

 

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A note from Vincent Archer

Some historical notes, to complement those in the prequel story.

You've already seen Charlotte Augusta, Princess of Wales, mentioned in chapter 1.

She is quite an interesting character that got mostly forgotten by history (ours). She is the daughter of George IV (the so-called Regent of the Regency era), and thus, was second in line for the throne. Born just before the Gilded Gates opened, she was apparently quite the character. Highly popular, unlike her father, with whom she had a tumultuous relationship. Grandpa George III loved her.

She was a handful and rejected the matchmaking of the royalty. Instead, she found out a Lieutenant-General Leopold, which she found more to her tastes and did a relentless assault on parental guidance until the marriage was finally agreed to. It was a huge affair, highly celebrated.

Alas, in 1817 (a year before now in term of this alternate history), she died in childbirth. Leopold would go, remarry, and become Leopold, king of Belgium. But for the British royalty, this was devastating. Suddenly, there were no grand-children of George III left alive, and the old king was starting to take on years (even in his senile demented state). The royal family scrambled, and the fourth son was promptly shackled with a new young wife, which produced in a hurry in 1819 a daughter and royal heir, one Alexandrina Victoria.

Yes, that Victoria.

 

In this alternate history, Charlotte Augusta Wales had 18 in Presence. The only member of the Royal family to have access to a Profession, she promptly went into the Labyrinth and started levelling and picking new tiers. She's now 22, with over 5 years of Labyrinth experience behind her. George III didn't like her taking risks, and after a while, insisted on handpicked team members to ensure his heir survives her forays in the Labyrinth. It was that, or her saying NO if he wanted her out. And she'd make that stick.

So, she's still alive and kicking monster ass in 1818. As a Professional, the odds of her dying except by massive Labyrinth mishap are now close to zero. Prince Edward won't get pressured into marrying and Victoria will not be born in this time. Well, maybe. If the Gilded Gate remains closed... who knows.

As for Leopold, her husband of another timeline? Well, the odds of her having met him are close to zero. Either he's a "guest" of Napoleon at Versailles, like the rest of the reigning families of Europe, or at best he's been a refugee in England for half a decade, with little prospects, and maybe got invited a few times at the annual ball of the King for the True Europe. As if a tier 4+ Professional would be interested in a minor noble with low potentials.


About the author

Vincent Archer

  • France

Bio: Vincent Archer wrote his first story around age 11. On a mechanical typewriter, with carbon paper for a mimeograph to distribute in class. His teacher knew enough to make vague encouraging noises rather than really tell him what she thought. He wrote more stories afterward, but Time has thankfully managed to erase every trace of them.

Now that his career has settled in a mix of routine and insanity and that he's figured out that herding cats would probably be easier, he's finally started to write stories again on a media rather than inside his brain. Some of those are even potentially good enough to show to other people.

Silvergates is his first attempt to finish one rather than admit defeat against the usual writer's block.

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