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Author Topic: You Can't Outfox a Fox  (Read 1471 times)

Féren

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You Can't Outfox a Fox
« on: April 02, 2015, 09:52:00 PM »
It was said that Dwarves’ numbers dwindled in times of war and discomfort. The men fought and died in battle or in journeys and the women wouldn’t marry. But the Iron HIlls had always been a prosperous land. Thus, Dwarves’ numbers grew. Dérn of the Silver Hill knew it, and so did his wife Rekna. So it was the duty of the now eldest son to continue their name. Féren knew it too, and followed their word in hopes that he would be doing what was right. That was why he went into the unexplored territory - of parties. High society was far more bizarre to the young Dwarf than Laketown the first time he had visited.

And how Féren cursed his luck on how he had ended up there!

It was not showing in his face, as all he did was keep to himself to the edges of the ballroom with friends and something to eat, always. It was a lively party, but the last thing he wished right now was to dance or drink heavily. It was a pleasant gathering when he was with his mates back from the smithing...and only them! Here, in finery and polite chitchat and with elegant melodies, and clean clothes - they all mattered nothing for Féren. It was the last place he would consider in “finding” a wife, even if he did wish to marry after all! Féren would have never admitted to his family about this, but he suspected that he was going to turn to be a trade-married Dwarf. Felan could do his best carrying on their line; he was doing well as a sellsword and he couldn’t pass a girl without flirting with her! Instead, here he had to be the dutiful son and attend these boring parties.

The only interesting turn of events in the party turned out to be meeting with an old acquaintance from the forges - and what was worse, he looked at his wits’ end. Féren turned away from Rêk and Láil just at the sight of Malknar stepping away from the circle of older dignitaries and where most of the ladies were. Then again, it was difficult not to when he was grasping his hair and beard like he’d just made a big mistake. But Féren gave him a pleasant smile of welcome and turned to one of the tables of food to hand a goblet to the distressed Dwarf. Láil himself narrowed his eyes when he saw Féren unburdened at the sight of the unlucky Malknar.

“Ah! So what did she do now, Malknar?” asked Féren. Rêk was just as amused by the sight of Malknar as Féren was, who followed suit and began asking questions about a certain someone he had dealt with tonight. “Didn’t she find the new poems romantic?” Rêk had a good long laugh at Malknar to his face, but he just dismissed it with a few rough words at Rêk. “Should think not. Didn’t I warn you, about two years ago? You can’t beat her at her own game, Malknar. Ladies use courting to their own profit, and they’ve been taught this their whole lives. You got into this, my friend. And you asked for advice, and you never listened!”

“Or maybe it’s not her. Maybe your face is as ugly as we’ve been telling you all along,” jested Rêk, but Malknar was already done with their messing around. The jilted lover in question put his goblet again on the table and approached Rêk in a threatening manner. It was only then when Féren stepped between his two friends before anything could turn sour. “Easy there, Malknar. This is a fancy party, you can’t go on teaching Rêk lessons, ‘specially not so early at night.” The truth was, this little confrontation was all his fault, but not like the soldier was going to remind Malknar about it. He liked his face just how it was, and Malknar was know to leave scars when he got angry. “Wouldn’t want to drive her away from you any more.”

Malknar had not entirely forgotten Féren part in this. He grasped his old friend by the scruff of his coat and pulled him close. “You were the one who gave me all this bad advice, Féren,” said the dwarf, who was now watching his tone. “But I’m giving you the benfit of the doubt that it may be just her.” And he was released, Féren chuckling all the way. “Come on, Malknar. After all these years of getting to know her, and then getting to know me, do you really think it was me?” And Rêk added for good measure, “Yeah. No one could resist your charm, mate.” This earned yet another rude response from Malknar, who drifted away from the band of Dwarves in search for someone else to spend the evening with.

And perhaps Féren felt bad, because he went after the crowd to look for Malknar on his own. “Oh, don’t be like that! Like you even know anyone else here but us, Malknar!” His grin was slowly falling apart as he recalled the first time he had heard on an infamous Dwarf lady currently being “showed around” for marriage - a beautiful lady of long black hair and beard, with a temper to match a Balrog and the intelligence of a scribe. Féren had immediately pointed this out to the three friends that had been discussing the beauty.

“You can’t outfox a fox. She knows hunters all too well for that.” Back then, Féren had only meant well for both his friends and the lady in question. If she was being difficult...it didn’t mean that she wanted to play with her food, like all her sorry suitors thought. It meant she was pulling away from a potentially loveless marriage by making it look like she was too good for them. But no, one had asked again, “Well, what would you have us do?” To which Féren replied, “Don’t be a hunter. Simple as that.”

And for some reason, they had taken this as even more of a challenge. Malknar was the most stubborn of them all, and the only one from that particular group of smiths that had persisted and kept trying his luck with the lady. Then Féren had seen his opening, and began giving them bad advice on the hopes that the three would just leave her well enough alone! While it worked with the first two, who dropped the matter and never even considered it might be Féren’s doing, Malknar was unbelievably stubborn. Féren truly feared of him doing something stupid if he didn’t get his way. Yet the more Féren looked in the crowd, the jilted lover had disappeared from his sight, and was nowhere to be found. He was standing around gossipers with a stupid look on his face as he looked for Malknar. One more reason why he hated parties!

Played by Jo

Séla

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You Can't Outfox a Fox
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 05:28:00 AM »
Séla could be tactful, this much was apparent, however, there was a time and a place for tact - and now was neither of those; granted, it may have been a ball, a place where she ought to make contacts and make sure her name was heard far and wide, but when unwelcome advances came and went, she opted to lessen her tact and up her brutal truths. Rúna was fully aware of her friends impatience with the men that came within her vicinity, and yet, the only thing she could think to do was to hand her dearest friend a glass of wine to ease the agonizing conversations that these men were attempting to offer. They offer me nothing of interest, and so why should I subject myself to their nonsense was the only thought that was running through her mind by this point - and as the evening drew on, it had only been a matter of time until the straw came to break the camel's back.

It had just been Malknar's luck that it should have been him to try and grace her with his presence, though all it drew was an abundance of annoyance - and even more so when the man before her spoke words of poetry that she neither enjoyed nor cared for. Looking down into the bottom of her glass as he spoke, she felt her eyes glaze over with sheer boredom - the weight of the words falling short of anything the older woman could have hoped for. Was she destined to be pursued by unintentionally pernicious suitors? Only made so by their inability to match her intelligence, and thus, rendering any conversation with them most painful. It was not until Rúna tapped her friend on the elbow, to inform her that the gentleman had finished speaking that she realised she had not wholly been paying attention.

"If I wished to be gifted with poetry, Malknar, then I would bade my intended to do so. You, however, are not my intended, and yet, you incessantly provide me with poetry that is neither engaging nor fit for purpose - as if perchance I might eventually give in to your words, or lack thereof. So I ask that you disappear from my sight and never endeavour to grace my ears with it again. Have I made myself abundantly clear?" The sharpness of Séla's tongue knew no bounds, and her courtesies that she would normally offer to those that attempted to win her affections, had completely dissipated into the night without warning. It came as no shock to her that Rúna's jaw had dropped and the man standing before her looked at her almost awestruck by how painful her words had truly been, before skulking off into the crowd. With an eye roll, she tried to find solace in her glass once more, only to be denied the pleasure of such a thing by her friend, who saw fit to inform her friend of her rudeness. "My dearest Séla, must you be so cruel?"

"Surely it would be far crueller to accept the advances of a dwarf I have no intentions to wed?" For a moment, Rúna didn't quite know what to say to this fact, as she had not exactly counted on Séla finding a retort so quickly, but she should have known better. Additional to her friends sharp tongue, she always had an answer for everything, and most of the time, there was hardly any fault in the ideas presented by said tongue. Looking down into her own glass, watching the crimson liquid swirl around it, before looking out into the crowd to see where Malknar could have gotten to, in the hopes that she might console him from her friends rudeness. "Could you not decline him a little more softly? Or perhaps give him chance to prove that he is far more the dwarf than you have him down to be!"

The sigh that followed could have easily answered the question, Séla generally using a sigh to symbolise her displeasure at someone's statement or something of similar calibre, but when it came to Rúna she oft-found herself needing more explanation than the simple sigh - not because her friend was slow of mind, but because she seldom accepted a sigh as an answer. "There is more to an ideal husband than a show of brute strength and lamentably worded poetry, my dear Rúna. A perspicacious mind, and a keen eye for strategy must also be evident if they wish to win my hand." She paused for a moment, taking a sip of her wine that had, for a few moments, rested undisturbed due to their current debate on the affairs of courting any ladies of standing. "Besides, courting is a strategy game in itself - do you not think I have my eye on the real mastermind behind Malknor's advances?"

"And whom might that be?"

A simple nod in the direction of a man that had wandered into the crowd was enough to make Rúna's dark eyes turn from her friend and towards the younger dwarf with an arch of her eyebrow in added confusion as to who this man was - and yet, Séla seemed to know of him before her friend did. "I imagine it shan't be long now before a move is made." Another sip of her wine was taken before it was placed on a table beside them; with a quick check of her hair with her hands, before smoothing down her dress - for it mattered not what a woman might do, but rather, how she looked when she did it. If there was one thing the woman prided herself on, it was appearances, for it was often those that people based their opinions on, rather than the words spoken.

"How can you be so sure? What makes you think that he may even have an interest?"

"He is playing the game just as much as I, Rúna, do you think a man who does not draw interest would play the game?" Confusion spilled over Rúna's eyes just as easily as wine would to a dress; her russet eyes saying more words than her lips would allow - she knew that Séla enjoyed a good game, generally one that was a battle of wits, but since when was it her friends prerogative to play a game of courting? Was she finally softening to the idea of finally marrying someone even if that meant lowering her expectations? Or perhaps she had found someone that was worthy of her games - one whom was of equal intelligence or at least close enough to satiate her friends desires. Returning the sigh that was presented to her earlier, Rúna's question came out airily, and almost rhetorically - and yet, it still drew Séla to answer, if but with with action rather than words. "You and your games- will they ever cease?" It was the simple cock of her eyebrow that answered this question, and her friend already knew the answer was a resounding no. Oh how simple life could be if the older woman would cease her game playing and just accepted the next suitor that asked. Yet, the next move her friend pulled was not one Rúna could have predicted, as, instead of picking up the glass of wine she had abandoned on the table, Séla had decided to make her way through the crowd, causing her friend to call out after her in dismay. "Where are you going?"

As she neared the gentleman in question, she took a halt before him, purposely placing herself in his path to ensure that he did not try to weave past her, or claim that he had not seen her there. "Do you find it wholly felicitous to play the game through your comrades?" A bold statement for a woman who did not actually know the man before her, though she knew him by name, and by whispers that had drawn him to her attention. She folded her hands before her, chartreuse green eyes staring intently at him, no smile ghosting her lips, for she wished that he would take her outburst seriously, rather than attempt to bypass the idea that she was on to him and his intentions. After another moment, she spoke again, this time, offering him little explanation to why she had found him in the crowd to confront him for his apparent actions. "I trust no introductions are needed, as it's pellucid that you are fully aware of who I am; and yet, despite this knowledge, you still send your associates into the 'foxes den', unarmed - or at least, armed with erroneous weaponry. I will not pretend to understand the purport of your intentions, though, I think I have a glimmer of the concept." She waved her hand out in front of her, as if to offer him guidance back towards the table of food and drinks, in the hope that he would walk with her instead of trying to find his friend like he had done so before; clearly having himself upset him in one way or another, though, this fact was not drawn upon.

"Needless to say, whilst I find this game fascinating, it would be played better if all the players intentions were apparent from the start, and not hidden behind the intentions of others. If you wished to be a player, then may I ask, why would you do so off the shoulder of others? Did you think that I would not see the hidden piece or were you challenging my astuteness?" Another trait of Séla's was being drawn to the front, and to the attentions of anyone who would listen - how straight forward she could be when she wanted answers, and how, even in her silence, she could learn everything about a person for a distance, without their knowledge of her doing so - and that in turn, made her quite the catch. Though, the majority of the time her sharp tongue, intelligence and straight-forwardness would throw people off guard and thus, in turn, take them off the idea of pursuing her for courting, for they could barely keep up with her and her words. "It is quite a perplexing thing when there are players on the board that have yet to reveal themselves; for you can never guarantee what move they might make - do you concur?"
Played by Pip!


Féren

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You Can't Outfox a Fox
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 03:11:00 AM »
Years later Féren was to recall how unimpressed he had been when meeting the Dwarf woman that had so boldly put himself in his path. Despite the elaborate hairdo and the elegant dress, it was just another shining gem in a sea of jewels. Out of a crowd, Féren might have only picked her out for her audacity of wearing black to a festive event. But as a young Dwarf, who only cared about having a good time, he really wasn’t paying attention to the people around him when he walked through the crowd in search for his friend. That made it easier for the Dwarf woman to take him by surprise and put herself in his path. And no chance to shy away from her, either. It was very clear that she intended to stop him and that their encounter was not just an accident.

And yet, in the heat of the moment, there was nothing that Féren could think of rather than try to make his way past her, but he had no choice in the matter. The Dwarf woman’s piercing green eyes were immediately fixed on him. While this startled him, the spring of words that she said next were enough to floor the casual and carefree Féren. “Do you find it wholly felicitous to play the game through your comrades?” Once again, in the foolishness of the ambush, Féren could only stare at the woman dumbfounded. Not only because she had used just about a library of vocabulary for a single sentence, but because…!

If the soldier had been confused before, he was bewildered now; but not because he did not understand. If anything, it was because the truth was dawning on him with a terrible speed - but not enough for the lady! “I trust no introductions are needed, as it's pellucid that you are fully aware of who I am; and yet, despite this knowledge, you still send your associates into the ‘foxes den’, unarmed - or at least, armed with erroneous weaponry. I will not pretend to understand the purport of your intentions, though, I think I have a glimmer of the concept.” The woman was calm and serious before him, taking no notice of the outpour of emotions currently showing on his face. He opened his mouth to speak before him, but there was no way he could convey his staggerment in this moment. It was easy to piece the facts in his head as 1) This lady before him was no less than the Shrew Malknar and the others had pursued so blindly, 2) She honestly thought he was trying to court her by making the others look worse in comparison to him and 3) she wanted him to speak. Oh, all he wished to say was ...I’ve been a fool.

But the lady did not need him to speak just so. “Needless to say, whilst I find this game fascinating, it would be played better if all the players intentions were apparent from the start, and not hidden behind the intentions of others. If you wished to be a player, then may I ask, why would you do so off the shoulder of others? Did you think that I would not see the hidden piece or were you challenging my astuteness?” Féren was unable to remain statue-still for any longer, but he was still caught with his tongue, so all he could manage was pinch the bridge of his nose - this was going to be a messy night. “It is quite a perplexing thing when there are players on the board that have yet to reveal themselves; for you can never guarantee what move they might make - do you concur?”

The soldier then took action. Other partygoers were now being bothered by their presence in their particular spot of the hall, so Féren stretched his hand forward so the two could walk away from the rest of the Dwarves. Of course, Féren dared not touch her so she could be ushered away, and instead walked so that he could follow her. “The interesting thing is, miss,” he admitted, “I didn’t even know I was playing.” This was obviously going to displease her; as she must have thought him some clever mastermind behind the mess that had been Malknar’s and his friends’ courting. But what could he do but tell her the truth?

“Not all of us instantly see a game with a set of circumstances. To be honest,” and here he began guffawing at his own words, “all I was doing was trying to lead my friends away from you, and not for my own sake.” He buried his face in his hands for an awkward moment, and then ran a hand through his hair as he tried to think of what he was to say next. “They didn’t understand that they weren’t even playing, so I gave them the way for the illusion to end.”

Played by Jo

Séla

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You Can't Outfox a Fox
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2015, 02:38:00 AM »
The older dwarf had put herself in his way, and that was all she needed to do. When they eventually got married and such, she would look back on this day and remember how moronic he was, or at least, how childish he was to so quickly deny her advances. If he had accepted playing the game quicker, she was sure they could have sorted a lot out sooner, and their lives may have been a little easier. Séla found Féren amusing, mainly because even though she could tell, somewhere in his eyes that he wasn't lying to her, she still knew if she played the cards right, he would start playing the game - and a worthy opponent he would be. She folded her hands in front of her, eyebrows raised in feigned confusion as he spoke, nodding with an acceptance of his words before she finally spoke up. "I think you were fully aware that you were playing, though, if you insist you didn't then I shan't pursue this conversation much further - as I might find you less perspicacious than I originally perceived you to be."

As he continued to speak, she had to hold back a snort, why did she find this amusing? He was sending his friends to her for them to be rejected just because they wouldn't listen to him when he told them that Séla was less interested in anything he had to say. "Surely it would have been far less cruel to repel them, rather than sending them in my direction so that I could abnegate each and every single one's advances?" With a 'defeated' sigh, she smoothed down her dress and pursed her lips when she drew up her sharp chartreuse greens to meet his eyes shrugging her shoulder lightly. This was all an act - and those that didn't know her well enough wouldn't realise that this was part of her game, and yet, all the same she could feel Rúna's eyes intently trained on her, shaking her head in irritation with her friend that all she could ever do was play a game rather than just act like a normal human being. "Then again, perhaps you don't particularly care for the feelings of your friends, which then leads to the question of whether or not they genuinely are your friends if this is the manner in which you treat them."

Another sigh, a new found airy attitude coming from the lady as she continued to play her little games, idly dusting down her dress - it was true that she stood out here, but, that was the point; it was to stand out, and if she had to wear black just to make that happen, then so be it. She very rarely wore bright colours, for far too many people were seen in yellows and greens or even browns that it made her ill. She didn't conform to societies rules, otherwise, she would no doubt be betrothed to an idiot by now and well that just wouldn't do. Her brother had tried selling her off, and that had failed, especially when she had managed to get her hands on him and teach him a lesson. If one thing was certain, Séla was not a force to be reckoned with by any means. "Who am I to judge, I am just a mere woman with a sharp tongue and expeditious wit - too highly regarded for just about everyone here. There's not a soul in this room that could take the challenge for my hand and win; not a person in this room with a brain that could match my own. Pity."
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Féren

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Re: You Can't Outfox a Fox
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 10:02:54 PM »
Séla had to point it the obvious situation before him. “I think you were fully aware that you were playing, though, if you insist you didn't then I shan't pursue this conversation much further - as I might find you less perspicacious than I originally perceived you to be.” It’s rather hard to be perspicacious when all you know about your opponent comes at the crudely painted words of self-absorbed smith’s apprentice, retorted Féren to himself. The ferocity with which he wanted to defend himself surprised even him - for some reason, he did not want this Séla of all people to think he was dull. (The truth is, he was, a little. Being a young Dwarf, Féren still reeled at the thought of courtship. Dwarven women, like most women in Middle Earth, were prepared to be shipped off to a husband at the slightest moment’s notice, whereas Féren had not even considered it for his own future until the days his older brothers had been executed.)

Séla’s gray eyes pinned him down, as she continued detailing her observations to him, as if he were too dull to understand. “Surely it would have been far less cruel to repel them, rather than sending them in my direction so that I could abnegate each and every single one's advances?” And she was right. For when Féren had maliciously led his friend astray, he had in fact, only hoped to end Malknar’s foolishness cut - but he’d also rather grown fond of Malknar’s poorly told stories about Séla. And it wasn’t because they were funny - it was because Féren wished to know more of the enchanting lady that Malknar did not do justice. Perhaps that, as well as Féren’s own conscience, had guided his thoughts. “Then again, perhaps you don't particularly care for the feelings of your friends, which then leads to the question of whether or not they genuinely are your friends if this is the manner in which you treat them.”

Séla patted down her skirts absently, almost as if to make it of note to Féren. But right now she could be dressed in a washerwoman’s rags for all Féren cared about. Society would have sold her appearance, the flimsy covering that most people let themselves be fooled by when they considered courtship. Might as well paint over a diamond -- and Séla herself knew it. “Who am I to judge, I am just a mere woman with a sharp tongue and expeditious wit - too highly regarded for just about everyone here. There's not a soul in this room that could take the challenge for my hand and win; not a person in this room with a brain that could match my own. Pity.” She was insulting him on purpose - wanted him to raise to the bait rather than be scared away.

Féren lifted an eyebrow, then presented his case with eloquence he expected of anyone but himself. “You have before you someone that has only heard of you through badly described and self-absorbed tales from an infatuated smith’s apprentice - barely a friend, more a distant coworker - who couldn’t tell you were uninterested from the first day. So I’m at a disadvantage here on how to face you.” Féren walked to the side, lead her away from the center of the ballroom, to speak her in closer confidence. “First I had to meet you. In person. No proxies between us.” Then he turned to her. “Yet even poor storytellers can leave behind valuable clues for those willing to listen. And what I heard from him, and see now in you, is that you couldn’t be less interested in being here tonight. In acting according to the rules of the people that shaped our lives. Father, brother - ” he tried to be soft with that one, from the words of Malknar, Dúlron was not a kind man, “This is not your realm. All that you’re looking for here, right now, is someone that will amuse you. Because you know no one can match you, out of the people here - they were all willing to be moved as pawns as society dictated.”

Then Féren lowered his voice. “I should count for one. I was led here as a promise to my family. But they do not dictate what I do here.” Féren looked at Séla expectantly. “You say you saw in me someone to match wits, someone at your level. From afar, from mere anecdotes, I couldn’t tell myself. Then how would you have us meet as equals? On a battlefield of your choice? Not in a place I’ve been directed to?”

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Séla

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Re: You Can't Outfox a Fox
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 08:28:37 PM »
Séla wasn’t used to men trying to place their hands on her, let alone lead her away from the centre of the ballroom with such… abrasive and emboldened propriety, and still, she allowed herself to be led away, a wry smile curling at the corner of her lips. Now he was walking straight into her game, the one she’d been waiting and now the mental checkers match could begin. As he spoke, she moved her arm away and folded her hands gently behind her back as she listened on. The wry smile turned into one of genuine amusement as he spoke of her motives and how she felt, and for once in her life, she had never met someone more right about her in her life, and that was exhilarating. ”A battlefield of my choice, you say? And here I thought you wiser than that. I have taken on many a man on my battlefield and seldom do they grace the world again with the dignity in which they began.” A smirk – a twinkle in her eye that had barely left since the beginning of the night.

”I believe that the only way to determine our intellectual capacities would be to fight in a game of three. A battlefield of your choice, a battlefield of my choice and a battlefield in which neither of us know of.” She had never been one for fighting unfair fights – she would never attack an enemy that was unarmed, she could never verbally slaughter anyone that could not hold their own in tongue unless warranted, and so, a battlefield of her choice would place him at an unfair advantage. No, Séla played hard, but she never played dirty. She looked around the room as a few eyes fell on them, and the growing attention was somewhat unnerving, but Séla steeled herself, moving hair from her face and taking Féren’s hand in her own. ”We draw too much attention. Come.” Through the centre of the ballroom she lead him and out into the cold night air, the freshness hitting Séla in the face, but that did not still her pace until they were both safely outside. She let go of his hand and turned to face him, the gentle winds blowing the strands of hair that had fallen from their once perfect place.

The moon was out in its fullest, and the stars hung in their place across the night sky, unhindered by clouds or birds that would normally shade their light. Instead, the moonlight made the roads and pavements clearer, and Séla’s eyes were cast in a cooler shade than they were previously. Her eyes were keenly focused on Féren, this time, in a softer and less mocking way than they had been before. ”Do you dance?”” She asked, folding her hands in front of her in a delicate grace that she had shown when their conversation had begun. Her words were firm, and yet, the hardness that had once lingered on her tone was softening. Perhaps the moon had shone the man before her in a new light, or that the night air had lightened her head, but she no longer wanted to aggressively partake in a word war with Féren. That did not mean to say she would not fight him on their chosen battlefields and not that she would take it easy on him, but that she would, for now, hold back and give him an in before she blocked him off completely. If she’d been taught anything about playing chess, it was that if you kept aggressively playing, you’d mess up at some point, and the defensive player would claim victory.
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