"Get your ass up, Stark! We got work to do!"
A chorus of groans elicit from DFederal's newest Reserved Shelter as Robert Baratheon kicks down the door to the sleeping quarters.
"Now this is what I'm bloody talking about, Ned!" Robert Baratheon booms, paying no mind to the complaints. His companion, Ned Stark, chuckled and let out a hasty apology to his new housemates.
"Better than the streets, aye."
Robert cackles, his breath heavy with the smell of alcohol, as he pats Ned on the back. "You know me, Ned; any bed's fine, as long as there's a woman or two to keep it warm!" Robert's eye briefly wanders to one of the other shelter inhabitants, an auburn woman in a loose black blouse, who sneered at him as she left for work.
"How's your son, Robert?" Ned asks, hastily shoving his friend out the door as they start their day. Ned hoists his metal lunchbox and folded orange vest in hand, while Robert picks up the large sledgehammer he had left by the door.
"Not my boy, thank the gods," Robert answers, "Let that blond twat take care of him instead." Before the two friends could continue, Ned's phone rings. He opens it, where a robotic voice greeted him.
"To whom it may concern, one Ned Stark and one Robert Baratheon, please go to the Battledome immediately. You are scheduled to fight one Maric Theirin and one Loghain Mac Tir in a duo battle. If you do not comply, you will be brought in by the DFederal Police Department to comply."
Robert laughs and slams his hammer into his hands, a wild grin on his face. "About fucking time!"
Guys of Thrones: Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark
The eldest son of Steffon Baratheon of Storm's End, Robert Baratheon was essentially raised by Jon Arryn when his parents died in a storm at sea. As a young man, Robert became fast friends with Arryn's other ward Ned Stark, close enough that it was decided he would be betrothed to Ned's sister Lyanna. As he assumed true lordship of the Stormlands, Lyanna was kidnaped by Rhaegar Targaryen. Initially just demanding that Rhaegar return Lyanna, Robert called his banners and declared open rebellion against King Aerys after Ned's father and older brother were executed.
Robert's prowess as a commander saw a brutal and quick rebellion, leading his forces to victory after victory, with his only defeat being at the Battle of Ashford. His repeated victories eventually drew out Rhaegar Targaryen, who rode into battle at the Trident River to meet Robert's forces. Robert and Rhaegar met directly at the fork of the river, with Robert slaying Rhaegar by bashing in his chest with his war hammer. With Rhaegar's death, Robert's Rebellion had all but officially ended in the rebel's victory. Robert suffered many wounds from the Battle of the Trident, and arrived in King's Landing just as House Lannister had finished sacking the city. As the figurehead of the rebellion and slayer of Rhaegar, Robert was crowned the new king of Westeros.
- Primary - Warhammer: Robert's iconic weapon was his war hammer, a weapon that was heavy enough to smash through plate armor with ease but light enough to be wielded one-handed on horseback. The hammer was 44 inches long, weighing ten pounds total. The hammer's head consisted of one side with jagged edges similar to a meat mallet, while the other side was a spike for punching through armor.
- Secondary - Longsword: Although always preferring his war hammer in a fight, Robert also carried the standard Westerossi longsword, a blade about three feet in length, double-edged, and mounted on a hilt with a heavy pommel and a sizable crossguard.
- Armor - Plate Armor: Robert wore a suit of plate armor during battle, with plates over his arms, legs, and chest over a chainmail shirt. His helmet covered his entire head save for a slit for the eyes, and was decorated with stag horns protruding from the ears.
The second son of Lord Rickard Stark of Winterfell, Ned Stark was raised partly by his parents at Winterfell but predominantly as the ward of Jon Arryn of the Vale. A quiet and thoughtful young man, Ned soon became friends with his fellow ward, the boisterous Robert Baratheon. His friendship with Baratheon resulted in the betrothal of his sister, Lyanna Stark, to Robert. When she was abducted by Rhaegar Targaryen, Ned demanded that Aerys force his son to return her with the rest of the Stark family. When Aerys murdered his father and older brother Brandon, Ned Stark became the reluctant but undeniable Lord of Winterfell.
As Lord of Winterfell, Ned Stark quickly married Brandon's betrothed, Catelyn Tully, and then marched to war with Robert for revenge and his sister's return. Ned saw multiple battles during Robert's Rebellion, but in the final days he found his sister Lyanna. She revealed the truth; she and Rhaegar had eloped, and Lyanna now born his son Aegon Targaryen. As she died from the strains of childbirth, Lyanna made Ned swear to protect the child, aware that Robert would kill him if he knew Aegon was a Targaryen. Ned swore to do so, claiming the child as his own bastard Jon Snow. Ned returned to Winterfell after the war, despite hopes from Robert and Jon Arryn that he would take the throne, where he would remain for twenty years until Robert asked him to be his hand.
- Primary - Longsword: Ned was a renowned and skilled swordsman, capable of defeating Kingsguard Commander Gerold Hightower even as a young man, while doing decently well against Arthur Dayne. He utilized the standard Westerossi longsword, a blade about three feet in length, double-edged, and mounted on a hilt with a heavy pommel and a sizable crossguard.
- Secondary - Dirk: Ned carried a dirk on his person, a straight, narrow blade made of steel.
- Armor - Chainmail Hauberk: Ned's set of armor in his younger days consisted of a brown coat worn over studded leather and chainmail, as well as a pair of steel gauntlets that he could use to block sword blows.
Dudes Age: Maric Theirin and Loghain Mac Tir
The sole child and son of Moira Theirin, the Rebel Queen, Maric Theirin was born in rebel camps, where he was raised under his stern but loving mother. He was taught to prepare to be king, but didn't take his lessons seriously until the Orlesians killed his mother, forcing him to become the king before he was ready. Maric escaped into the wilderness, where he was found by the outlaw Loghain Mac Tir and taken to his father, Gareth. Maric's identity as the runaway king was quickly discovered, and when Orlesians found the camp he and Loghain were some of the few survivors. While in the Korcari Wilds, Maric encountered the Witch of the Wilds Flemeth. She warned him that Loghain would betray Maric if he kept him close, while warned of a coming Blight, a darkspawn invasion, coming to Ferelden.
Maric reunited with the remainder of the rebel army, where he built up the army with the aid of his best friend Loghain and his betrothed Rowan Guerrin. The rebel army scored a number of victories under Maric's leadership, including taking the city of Gwaren, before his army was routed at the Battle of West Hill. Maric, Loghain, Rowan, and Maric's lover Katriel ventured into the Deep Roads, where they recruited the Legion of the Dead to aid them in their struggle against the Orlesians. Maric discovered and killed the betrayers in his army, including Katriel who had abandoned the Orlesians when she found she genuinely loved Maric, before leading the rebellion to the Battle of the River Dane. He killed the mage Severan, before fighting for three more years and killing the usurper King Meghren. With the rebellion finally over, Maric married Rowan and became the rightful king of Ferelden.
- Primary - Maric's Blade: A dragonbone blade found by Maric in the Deep Roads, that glows a faint blue in the dark thanks to magical runes on it.
- Secondary - King Maric's Shield: King Maric's Shield is a heavy shield, made from dragonbone. It is branded with the heraldry of Ferelden, two standing hounds facing each other in defiance.
- Armor - Dwarven Plate Armor: Throughout his adventures during the rebellion, Maric primarily wore a set of dwarven-made plate armor that protected him well enough during battle.
The son of a commoner who served as a soldier in Brandel Theirin's army, Loghain Mac Tir became an outlaw at a young age when his father killed the Orlesian commander that raped and killed Loghain's mother. Loghain grew up in the wilderness of the Southron Hills, where he eventually encountered a young man escaping from the Orlesians. Helping the young man, Loghain eventually discovered that the young man was the rebel prince Maric Theirin. Loghain and Maric were the lucky few who managed to escape the ambush of the Orlesians on their camp, with Loghain vowing to escort Maric back to the rebels for his dying father. Loghain and Maric bonded as they traveled the Korcari Wilds, eventually reuniting with the rebels. Loghain intended to leave, but eventually decided to stay with the rebels when he proved himself a skilled strategist, eventually becoming Maric's best friend and forming the Night Elves, a battalion of elven archers that were vital to the guerilla army.
After two years building the rebel army, Loghain eventually fell in love with Maric's betrothed Rowan Guerrin. After the Battle of West Hills decimated most of Maric's army, Loghain was one of the few survivors and went with Maric into the Deep Roads to attempt to reconnect with the rebel city of Gwaren. Loghain eventually discovered that Maric's lover, Katriel, was a former Orlesian spy, informing Maric of her treachery while neglecting to mention she had severed ties with her masters, resulting in her death while ending his affair with Rowan. Loghain masterminded the Battle of the River Dane, the pivotal moment of the rebellion, when he led his Night Elves and a regiment of the Legion of the Dead against Orlais' chevaliar reinforcements. After the rebellion's end, Loghain was given a noble title of teyrn and the city of Gwaren, returning to Denerim to advise Maric and, eventually, his son Cailan.
- Primary - Longbow: Loghain was a highly skilled archer, capable of utilizing his longbow in the tight confines of the Ferelden forests as well as from horseback. As leader of the Night Elves, Loghain's company of archers became feared for their stealthy capabilities and prowess with bows.
- Secondary - Short Sword: Loghain was also an accomplished swordsman, capable of outfighting both Maric and Rowan during their training sessions despite being a commoner with no formal training. Ferelden swords are steel and double-edged.
- Armor - Arms of Mac Tir: The set of armor that Loghain wore during the Battle of the River Dane, it consists of a steel cuirass, with the middle section of the torso and arms protected by reinforced leather.
Experience - 80 / 90
Robert's Rebellion was a short period of time, but it was one filled constantly with battle and fighting. Robert was a king who led from the front, so he spent much of his time fighting or killing on the battlefield. That being said, the rebellion's short timeframe and the relatively even sides of the conflict mean that Robert's struggles were primarily on the battlefield. Maric and his rebellion both went for much longer, lasting five years, and kept Maric much more occupied. Maric's rebellion was a true rebellion, in that he spent half his time fleeing from the Orlesians as he did fighting them. He also faced a handful of more fantastical threats, like mages and darkspawn, giving him an edge in variety and quantity.
Training - 85 / 70
The benefit of Robert being part of House Baratheon meant that he received the best education in combat, strategy, and tactics that he could afford. He spent most of his adolescence under the tutelage of Jon Arryn, a gifted tactician who passed on more combat prowess and tactical wit than Robert's boisterous personality would admit. While Maric was the heir to the throne, meaning he still received more training in swordplay and strategy than the average outlaw, his own lack of discipline in training and the sudden death of his mother means that Maric ultimately learned very little in a formal setting, having to rely on the wisdom of his allies and his own experiences to guide him.
Intelligence - 75 / 70
Robert's a drunken warmonger and a vicious fighter, but this also means he has a surprisingly adept strategic mind for warfare. He only lost a single battle during the Rebellion, and proved to be an effective wartime leader during the Greyjoy's Rebellion. Under the guidance of his wiser companions like Jon Arryn and Ned Stark, Robert proved a simple if effective commander and king. Maric's a calmer mind, but he's also easy to manipulate and too trusting for his own good. Maric's moral compass tends to blind him to the harsh reality of war, meaning he's often rushing headlong into traps or unwinnable fights unless he gets talked down by Loghain or Rowan.
Experience - 80 / 95
Ned's in a similar position as Robert, where the Rebellion was his only real source of combat experience. He proved himself an able soldier and fighter, but his role in the Rebellion was much less noteworthy than Robert's. He did face off against some noted knights like Sir Arthur Dayne, but Ned's time during the war is not truly significant or noteworthy outside of that. Loghain's entire life has been spent in conflict, from surviving the Ferelden wilds as an outlaw to his leadership of the Night Elves and during the rebellion. More than Maric, Loghain often spent long periods of time engaging in skirmishes and surviving in the wilderness by himself with limited resources.
Training - 85 / 65
Once again, Ned and Robert's shared upbringing mean that they have nearly the same standards of training. Ned proved himself an able fighter and a decent mind for tactics, receiving the best training in each even if he rarely got the chance to show it. Loghain was an outlaw and a peasant, and while his father, a former soldier, provided some lessons for his son to survive and fight, never had the time or the luxury to be able to truly train and adapt his skills. Once he joined the rebel army he was able to develop his talents, proving a skilled swordsman and tactician, but he ultimately only refined his natural talent rather than improve or build upon it.
Intelligence - 70 / 90
Ned's reputation for honor and chivalry is well-earned, but it also means he's very easy to take advantage of. He routinely trusts the wrong people, fails to anticipate his enemies' moves, or allows decisive advantages to be given up in the name of honor. While he's not exactly an idiot, especially when it comes to the heat of the fight on the battlefield, Ned's inability to let his honor go makes him an easy target to trick or exploit. Despite his peasant upbringing, Loghain is a highly skilled strategist and thinker, with his plans often being the reason the rebellion managed to survive and thrive. From his daring skirmishes using the Night Elves to picking strategic allies to choosing when to engage or retreat, Loghain's mind is a sharp and focused one.
- Full votes require well-written edges OR a detailed explanation of at least ten sentences.
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- These requirements are abstract; I reserve the right to count or discount votes depending on their individual merit.
- My rebuttal policy is as follows; the initial rebuttal will reduce a vote to half, and a particularly outstanding rebuttal will reduce it to nothing. The first counter-argument, if adequate, will raise the vote back to full value. Going forward from there, all rebuttals and counter-arguments will only affect a vote if I believe it does so adequately.
- Voting ends 08/29/2021.
As the sun rises for the morning, Loghain whittles a small piece of wood as he waits outside Maric's tent. The king's guards stood in a relaxed but aware position, shields still on their backs and swords at their sides. "Is your hair almost done, Maric?" Loghain yells, earning a chuckle from the two guards.
The king of Ferelden moves the flap and walks out, brushing a strand of his long blond hair from his face. Maric nervously chuckled as Loghain raised his eyebrow, putting the unfinished mabari statuette in his pocket. "Laugh all you want, but at least my hair isn't greasy like yours."
Loghain merely growled, crossing his arms and glaring at Maric, who raised and eyebrow and laughed. "We've known each other too long for your brooding to work on me, old friend." The tiniest bit of a smile emerged at the corner of Loghain's mouth, shaking his head in feigned annoyance.
After a few moments, a cough from Loghain breaks the comfortable silence. "Our forces are ready at your call, Maric. It's likely that some of our troops have been spotted, so we should be expecting a pitched battle and not the ambush we had hoped for."
Maric's smile turned into a frown, and he promptly straightened. "Very well. If that's what we can expect, then we'll make sure to give Baratheon hell."
"What's your name again, love? You're quite the spitfire, ain't ya?" Robert boasted, a robe wrapped around him as he walked out of his bed to his armor. "It's Bessie, m'lord," she answered, snuggling up under the blankets.
A knock at the wooden pole of his tent broke his concentration, with the two women with him covering themselves as Robert narrowed his eyes. "Which one of you fucks dares to disturb your king's rest!?" he yells, already standing and reaching for his hammer.
"The only man who's seen you in your small clothes and lived to tell the tale," Ned said as he entered, bashfully covering his eyes as he noticed the two giggling girls. Robert's fury evaporated immediately, opening his arms and wrapping Ned in a hug.
"Oh, if I knew you'd be knocking I would've waited! Even if you weren't the only man I'd be willing to share a woman with, there could've been one for each us!" Robert yelled, earning a groan from Ned. The lord of Winterfell tossed a sack of coins at the bed, before turning to Robert. "Get your armor on - if you can still fit in it, that is. Scouts say that the Fereldens have already begun their approach."
Robert's eyes went wild with glee, hefting his hammer in hand. "Best get out of here, girls. I expect things are about to get bloody."
As Maric raises his shield, a longsword clanks uselessly off it and skids to the side. He thrusts his blade, easily piercing the Baratheon soldier's armor and sticking the blade through his chest. As he kicks the body down and off his blade, he wipes sweat from his brow. A yell jolted his attention as another soldier charged him, before a black arrow flew through the air and into his chest.
"Pay attention, Maric." Loghain says firmly, despite mimicking Maric's action to wipe sweat from his brow. Loghain coughs, the smoke from the burnt tents and stench of blood filling his lungs, before drawing another arrow.
"MARIC THEIRIN!" A loud voice booms, echoing even over the sounds of the battlefield. "WHERE ARE YOU, YOU BLOND TWAT!"
Loghain and Maric turn to the challenge, watching in awe as a figure emerged from the blazing ruins of the camp. Robert Baratheon, in full plate and massive war hammer in hand, charged forward, stag antlers glaring them down.
"Maker, he's built like a bloody Qunari." Maric wondered, raising his sword and shield into a defensive stance. One of his knights charged Baratheon, sword in hand, but Robert swung his hammer, knocking the blade from his hand. He followed up with another swing, burying the spike deep into the top of the knight's head.
"You wanted a war, now you've got it!" Baratheon bellows, swinging his hammer at another knight on horseback. The hammer smashes into the beast's skull, killing it instantly and sending the knight flying through the air. As he landed at Robert's feet, the Storm King swung again, reducing the soldier's head to pulp.
"He might very well be," Loghain replies, drawing and loosing an arrow, which Robert deftly dodges as he sprints forward. At his side, Ned draws his sword and yells "Rally here, men!", with a handful of Baratheon soldiers charging at their king's side. Two fell to Loghain's arrows before engaging with what remained of Maric's guard.
Maric and Robert glared at each other, the latter slowing down as they turned, waiting for one to make a move. The rebel prince moved first, darting in and feinting a thrust with his blade. Robert narrowly avoided the attack, sidestepping only receive Maric's shield to the face. As he stumbled back, Robert swung his hammer to gain distance, a glancing blow at Maric's shield that still dented the dragonbone.
The Ferelden monarch recoiled away, his arm barely despite Robert's attack hardly connecting. Bracing himself, Maric charged, closing the distance beneath Robert's hammer and shoving his shield into the Storm King's chest. Robert holds his ground, shoving Maric away, before swinging his hammer and starting the fight again.
Off to the side, Loghain raised his bow in a defensive stance, the weapon breaking but protecting him from an overhead swing from Ned's longsword. Drawing his own blade, Loghain parried the next attack, sliding in close and sweeping Ned off his feet. He thrusts his short sword, which Ned deflects with his gauntlet.
Ned swings his sword, deflecting off of Loghain's steel cuirass but forcing him back, giving Ned space to pull himself off the ground. Loghain rises, raising his short sword in a defensive stance as Ned charges, wildly swinging his sword. Taking a moment to gauge his opponent, shifting his feet easily as he walked backwards and avoided Ned's blows, Loghain patiently waits for a gap in Ned's assault.
It comes as Ned attempts another diagonal hack, overextending in an attempt to break through Loghain's block. Instead of falling back and blocking, he parries downward, bringing the tips of their swords to the dirt. He moves in close, slamming the pommel of his short sword into Ned's nose. Stunned, Ned falters as he reflexively reaches for his bleeding face, giving Loghain the space to slip in and thrust his short sword into Ned's stomach.
Maric ducks below another swing of Robert's hammer, unable to move between Robert's flurry of blows. The Storm King swings over top, forcing the unprepared Maric to raise his shield. The hammer smashes through, shattering Maric's arm and causing him to scream in pain. He feebly raises his shield as Robert rains down the spike, tearing Maric's shield from his arm and flinging him over his shoulder.
"Maric!" Loghain rapidly pulls his blade from Ned's chest, grabbing the dirk from his belt and charging at Robert. The king swings his hammer, and Loghain rolls under it, shoving the dagger into a gap in the plate's shin armor.
As he stands, Loghain follows up with a fast thrust, attempting to breach another gap in the plate. Robert yells, ignoring the blood pouring from his shin, and backhands Loghain. The teyrn rolls with the blow, quickly back on his feet and dodging to the left, Robert's war hammer swinging where his head was and leaving a crater in its place.
"Sit. Still. So I can cave in your fucking skull!" Robert yells, each word accented by a wild swing of the hammer. On the final swing, Robert swings down, repeating his maneuver from before, with Loghain stepping back. He swings his shortsword at the handle of the hammer, the blow and the weight finally sending the hammer from Robert's grip.
Loghain moves in, aiming his short sword at Robert's neck, only to meet a plated fist. Stunned and blood pouring from his face, Loghain barely sees as Robert unleashes another punch, nearly knocking him unconscious. Robert grabs him by the throat, throttling him as he chokes the life out of Loghain.
"You forgot about me, Robert!" Maric yells, lifting his sword with his remaining good armor and slicing at Robert's wrist. The dragonbone manages to cleave through the plate, forcing Robert to drop the flailing Loghain. The Storm King turns, grabbing the weakened Maric and slamming his helmet into his face.
"I didn't forget about you, little man." Robert taunts, Maric falling to his knees in a daze. He picks up his war hammer, holding it in his hands. "I just wanted to savor this moment. When I swung by hammer, shatter every rib you have."
"Well, you better not wait," Maric taunts, spitting at Robert's feet as he fails to rise. Robert nods, a brief moment of respect, before swinging his hammer. Loghain, slipping in and out of consciousness, weakly raises his hand in vain as Robert's hammer collides with Maric's chest. The silver armor shatters in an instant, blood and shards of metal flying as the warhammer caves in his breastplate. Maric lets out a final grunt of pain as his body is sent flying backwards, broken and dead before his corpse hits the ground.
Robert approaches Loghain, bathing in the glory of victory as the surrounding armies slow the battle to its end. Loghain, crawling towards Maric's body, looks up at Robert. "I suppose this is it, then."
"Indeed," Robert says, raising his hammer once again. "You better hope that Ned doesn't bleed out, or I'll bring you back from the Seven hells to watch you shit and die all over again." The Storm King orders, before swinging his hammer into Loghain's skull. He follows it up with several more swings, his hammer covered in brain and sinew as Loghain's head is reduced to a pulp.
Letting out a sigh to finally let his rage calm, Robert walks over the Maric's corpse. Picking up the glowing blade for himself, he briefly lowers to the ground, sword in hand. As he reemerges, he raises the bloodied head of Maric in the air, with his men letting out the roar of victory.
WINNER: Robert Baratheon & Ned Stark
While Loghain and Maric were more balanced as a team, with Loghain's guile and archery mixing well with Maric's leadership abilities and martial prowess, nothing short of divine magic is going to stop a Baratheon on the battlefield. Incased in plate armor and swinging his war hammer, nothing the Dragon Age team brought to the table was going to slow down Bobby B in a fight. This doesn't even include his monstrosity as a fighter in single combat, where his strength and skill put most of Westeros to shame. While Ned himself was lackluster, Bobby B is a walking wrecking ball, giving this win to the Guys of Thrones.
To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.
Overwhelming darkness takes Elijah's mind, feeling himself both plummet and rise as his body navigates beyond the plane of DFederal. For what feels like eternity he changes, the occasional flash of light appearing before his eyes. Just as suddenly, he feels his feet sink into a floor with a hard thud, and his eyes snap open.
Finding himself in a dark room, Elijah recoiled as the scent of death hit his nose. Two once hospitable leather chairs now old and molded with age were the sole pieces of furniture in the room. A bar with shattered glasses and bottles decorated the wall in front of him, while red curtains surrounded the sides. The occasional flicker of light revealed the sickly green tinge to the room, and a distinct pop behind him got his attention.
He turned, finding himself in one of the leather chairs and sitting in an instant. Before him sat a desk, where a chair's back faced him.
"I see that Joker gave you the message. Akechi was right to trust him," Elijah states, standing up straighter as Leo spun the chair around. "Does everyone involved with you have to do the cliched villain routines?"
Leo shrugs, before two cups of tea appeared before him. Elijah took the cup, raising an eyebrow in horror and curiosity as the contents of Leo's seemed to disappear in an instance. "Everything Saturos knows how to do, he learned from me," Leo said, mask shifting constantly. "Good thing you were capable of deciphering the coordinates Liliana gave to you. Would've been awkward if I arrived here on my own." As Elijah raises his eyebrow in surprise, Leo gives a humorless chuckle. "You honestly think Futaba's bug would've gotten as far as it did without me giving her a go-ahead? Please."
Elijah frowns, already regretting the decision to offer to meet on Leo's terms. The User puts down his cup, now empty, and tea begins to refill it as he speaks. "I have bigger problems than why you decided to mess with yet another user far above you. Why shouldn't I make good on my promise, since you seem to be willing to test my patience?"
"Because, for all your tyrannical, puppetmaster bullshit," Elijah says, straightening up slightly, "You're just as curious about things as I am."
The ghost of a smile appears on Leo's mask, and a slight nod indicates for Elijah to continue. "As much as I dislike you, Cfp has become a more active threat. I'm sure you've noticed that he's gotten...crueler. More agitated. He was an ass before, but he's actively changing the city's policies and enforcement. He's already got power over us, but I think he wants more. From you."