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Capilean Reich Press [READ ONLY]

A place to put national factbooks, embassy exchanges, and other information regarding the nations of the world. [In character]
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The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Capilean Reich Press [READ ONLY]

Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:23 pm

1. After some vacillation, I've decided that this thread will be read only once again. No posts, please; instead of tagging, please consider bookmarking this thread with the handy button located to the right of the Board Index at very bottom of your page. Any feedback is welcome in my telegram inbox.

2. The writing contained in this thread does not represent my IRL views. Everything here is the product of a propaganda press and should be considered as truthful as Soviet or Nazi scrawlings.

3. Make sure to visit AkopTA to read both sides of the story.

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By direct order of the Reichskanzler, English translations of select publications of the Capilean Reich Press are now freely available to the global public.

OUR PUBLICATIONS:
  • Der Sieger (The Victor)
    The official newspaper of the Party, Der Sieger will keep you informed on both Capilean and international affairs.
  • Der Vormarsch (The Advance)
    An alternative newspaper sanctioned by the Party, with a wide following amongst the working classes.
  • Der Befehl (The Command)
    The official newspaper of the Stoßwehr, the Capilean army.
  • Der Kavalier (The Cavalier)
    A sanctioned newspaper with a following amongst the Capilean nobility.
  • Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil)
    A monthly newspaper with a focus on agriculture and health.
  • Heldentaten (Heroic Deeds)
    A monthly magazine for boys and adolescents, chock full of adventure stories and useful guides.

ARCHIVE:

PARTNER PRESSES:
  • AkopTA — "The Voice of the Republic"
    The premier news agency of the Reich's foremost ally, the Republic of Akordania.
Last edited by The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile on Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:51 pm, edited 9 times in total.
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

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The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Founded: Jul 12, 2015
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Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:27 pm


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1 December 2018

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REICHSLEITER PROCLAIMS TOTAL VICTORY

Today marks two enormous events in the history of the Capilean Reich. For one, the Great Hall of the Capilean People has been completed! In a mere four months the project went from a dream to a glorious reality — truly a marvel of engineering, accomplished by the singular confluence of skill and purpose indivisible from our race. Yet it could not have been done without the indefatigable passions of our beloved Reichsleiter, Walther Nemetz, who personally supervised the construction alongside master architect Winfield Fenster.

Who better, then, to dedicate the Great Hall and hold the first of many rallies within it?

This morning the Reichsleiter stood before a crowd numbered at 112.000, as well as the entirety of 1. Stoßwehr Panzer-Division "Kapilea", and delivered an explosive oration wherein he proclaimed the utter victory of our Reich over its enemies. Following is a brief excerpt from the crux of his forty-minute speech, which moved several thousands of our countrymen to tears and everyone to his feet:
Capileans! You remember when I said that we were standing on the knife's edge of history? We are no longer there. We stand in a new era! An era of prosperity and strength! A Capilean era!

By the merit of our commanders, by the valor of our soldiers, and by the might of our will, we have triumphed in this struggle of struggles! The Royalists have abandoned their pharisees and flock to our banners by the hundreds of thousands. The Communist menace has been reduced to mere embers, and even now our valiant army moves to root out the red cravens who have not yet been destroyed. Yes, my people, it is with indescribable pleasure that I can proclaim to you our total victory!

That is right. This victory belongs to you — to the men who bled upon the floodplains of the Rei and the marshes of the Frankgau; to the workers and the farmers who toiled hour after hour, day after day to furnish those men with munitions and food; to the wives and the sisters who provided aid beyond what any could expect in the capacity of factory workers and field nurses. It belongs to each and every Capilean who, rather than rejecting the truth, embraced it. Let us all take a moment to applaud our courage, our will, our victory.

But let us also not forget what had to be sacrificed. Let the hundreds of thousands of men who gave their lives that the Reich might triumph be remembered forever as champions of legend. Let the woe of a generation of razed cities, of deep wounds, and of slain sons be healed, but not forgotten. No, we must never let the sacrifice of these heroes go in vain! Let us safeguard that for which they died, and be willing to die for it ourselves! For dying for one's nation, for one's Volk, is the utmost honor one can achieve, is it not?

After we have celebrated our victory and commemorated our fallen, we can look to the future. For the first time, we will no longer be burdened by the uncertainty of war. Instead, we will look eagerly unto each coming day, for it will hold a new source of triumph. There will be trials in our future, yes, but they are obstacles to be conquered, not threats! Our victory, Capileans, is secure!
One wonders if such a speech could ever be topped by any other to resound in the Great Hall. But this author is sure that the Reichsleiter will never be stymied, especially not by his own tongue.

In any case, Capileans everywhere may finally rejoice in knowing that the worst has passed. Klaus' War had been ebbing for some time now as our enemies were reduced to mere holdouts in the far corners of the realm, but now that our final victory has been declared by the Reichsleiter himself, the war may be said to be over. Indeed, it is time for all Capileans to look, as Our Leader advised, to the future. There are many questions to be answered by our new government, which, while impervious, is still developing. Only one thing is certain: we must be ever vigilant. Our comrades have bought us this victory with blood and toil; it is up to us to keep it!
Benno Liefenräder, Editor-in-Chief of DER SIEGER
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

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The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Posts: 4686
Founded: Jul 12, 2015
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Heldentaten Vol. 11

Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:09 pm

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THE JADE IDOL
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A HANS KRAFFT STORY
by R. A. Flunker
In the dim lamplight I could make out only silhouettes, shadowy, caricature-like forms. There was Inge, her slender body pressed against the deformed askari's, his jagged knife held taut against her pale throat, her china blue eyes wide with terror.

"Give me the Idol," he growled, "or the girl dies."

Who knew so much evil could come from one ugly little totem?
+ + +
It all began in the early summer of 1939. I had barely returned to Capile after my adventures in India when I received an urgent summons from the Governor of Abyssinia. 1.000 Reichsmarks — and all I had to do was hear him out. It seemed an odd request, but who was I to refuse him?

Anna was terribly upset, but I reminded her that with 1.000 Reichsmarks our dream of marrying and settling down in a nice neighborhood would be a lot closer to reality. I packed my bags and left alone the next morning. Armin (whom I called Quex after Quecksilber for his restiveness), the tenacious little scamp whom I'd somehow picked up along my journeys, was still recuperating from the nasty cutlass-wound he'd gotten from that big lascar back in Colombo, so I didn't have to endure his pleading to come along. I would come to miss his help.

The flight to Wilhelmsburg passed uneventfully; I was right tired and sleep came mercifully upon me not a minute after we left the runway. I awoke just in time to catch a glimpse of the city through the window. It was a brilliantly sunny day, and the capital of Abyssinia sparkled like a diamond in the rough, a city of marble and glass rising out of the scrubby countryside. We touched down and I disembarked, suitcases in hand. The Governor, whose name was Egon Hummel, and his entourage were waiting for me on the tarmac. He was a little round fellow who looked convivial enough; his bald pate was red and he was sweating like a demon under twenty layers of tweed. In my tan bush shirt and trousers I thought that Abyssinia was a welcome reprieve from the great outdoor sauna they call India.

"Captain Krafft, I'm so glad you've come!" cried the Governor, and he took my hand in his and greeted me like an equal. His aides took my suitcases and drove us in a fancy car through the city. Along the way Hummel told me how much he admired me, praising me for recovering those jewels for the Geyers family back in Ceylon and asking me about my military service, but gradually he ran out of compliments. Instead he went into great detail about the city’s history, as well as the story of this skyscraper and that bank, and I got the feeling he was evading the real reason for my presence.

"Governor, I understand you have a job lined up for me?" I asked, keeping my voice polite.

"Oh, all in good time," Hummel chortled, and he smiled. But the remainder of the drive was silent.

The car pulled up to the Governor's Mansion, a stately home on the city's outskirts surrounded by hedgerows as big as houses, and I was shown inside. The interior was much like the exterior; gilded, stuccoed, and, amazingly, cool. Fancy grand pianos and marble tiling may be expensive, but cold air is priceless.

Hummel led me into his office, a big room whose back wall was mostly one window, out of which acres of sprawling gardens could be seen. He settled behind his desk and I in front of it, but before our conversation began, we were interrupted by a singularly beautiful woman. She came in with a tea tray, her eyes clear blue and her hair white blonde, a willowy thing in the flower of her youth. She smiled once to me as she laid the tray on the desk, a carefully hidden smile which told me she had taken to me quite a lot already. But I reminded myself that I already had a wonderfully beautiful woman waiting on me back in Capile.

“Thank you, Inge,” said Hummel, and the girl gave her father a peck on the cheek. But instead of leaving, she hovered near the door, even edging toward one of the plush seats. “Thank you!” he repeated, a note of exasperation in his voice. And she left at last, though I suspected she remained at the keyhole to listen.

“Now, Captain, on to the specifics of this job,” Hummel said, straightening his tie. I could tell he was nervous, nervous about my reaction to whatever he had to say, because he wasn't acting like a governor. Governors don't come out and wring the hands of lowly captains; they let their henchmen do that, while they stay mysterious and omnipotent behind mahogany doors. “You already know it is highly paid, or you would not be here. And I expect that you have inferred that such a highly paying job is also exceedingly dangerous.”

I nodded, but raised a question. "What exactly is the payment? You offered 1.000 Reichsmarks for me to hear you out, but I don't think you specified how much I'd get for actually doing the job."

He smiled. "Just as sharp as they say you are, then. Well, Captain, I can offer a sum ten times that if you succeed." I could feel my eyes widen comically, but I quickly got over the surprise and moved on to suspicion. A payoff that big was fishy. But Hummel headed me off. "I know you may be tempted by such a hefty sum, but I can assure you, Captain, that this is no easy task. I have hired many men over the past few months, and that many men have failed. Some of them are dead."

In hindsight, I should have walked away at the first gut feeling that something was underfoot. But I didn't. My mind was already thinking about the shiny car and white-picket house Anna and I could buy with 10.000 Reichsmarks.

“This job," Hummel continued, "is rather similar to your previous Ceylonese engagement, in that you will need to retrieve an artefact for me.”

I quirked an eyebrow, intrigued. “What artefact, sir?”

Hummel leaned forward as if sharing a valued secret, his eyes sparking, and whispered, “It is known as the Jade Idol. An ugly little elephant-man, if legend is to be believed, but immensely valuable, nonetheless. You see, there are a number of mystic powers attributed to it.”

I had heard of many eldritch artefacts and their cosmic powers before, but had yet to witness any proof of magic with my own eyes. Were the sum Hummel was offering not so extravagant, I might have scoffed. Instead, I asked, "What sort of powers, sir?"

“Oh, it varies from custom to custom," Hummel answered, greed evident in his eyes, "but the inextricable belief is that it is a source of endless wealth." My eyebrow went still higher. "Enough wealth to be of interest to the entire Reich!"

"Who is currently in control of this idol?" I had no desire to make powerful enemies, and the possessor of such a thing was likely to be very powerful indeed, even if its magic were myth.

“No one, at moment,” Hummel replied with a sigh. “It is lost, you see. But it is believed to be hidden within the Harenna Rainforest, somewhere in the Bale Mountains.”

At this, my patience began to wear. “Sir, with all due respect, I believe you have the wrong man. I do not chase after fairy tales.”

Hummel started. “Oh, Captain Krafft, this job is nothing of the sort, I assure you! I have found, at last, a man who knows where the Idol is.” My suspicions were not eased; madmen and cheats were common in those corners of the world. The Governor hurried to the door, and called out into the room adjacent, “Mustafa!” He returned to the desk, a rather shocking man behind him.

Mustafa was a former askari, revealed by the patched tan uniform and cylindrical cap he wore, and had seen vicious combat; there were deep scars across his cheek, and a great chunk was missing from his nose. But the worst injury I only noticed as he crossed the room; his right leg was fashioned from wood rather than flesh.

“An honor, Captain,” he said in his gravelly voice, bowing to me. His gray beard was like a scraggly clump of steel wool, and his dark eyes were curiously luminous upon his coal-black face. I nodded to him, persuaded that, at the least, he would not be able to harm me had he wanted to. I was to be proved gravely mistaken.

“Mustafa here will serve as your guide, leading you to the Jade Idol,” the Governor explained.

“Sir, why must I be the one to retrieve it?” I questioned suddenly. “Surely with resources such as yours, you could send an entire army after it.”

“I could,” Hummel said with a hint of impatience, “but I am not the only one after the thing! Stroke of luck that Mustafa came to me instead of the British, for instance.”

“I serve Germany alone,” croaked Mustafa, an assertion that should have raised red flags in my head, but which I failed to recognize.

Hummel smiled at him restively before saying, “Moving rashly would alert my competitors as to my intentions. No, I intend to seize the Idol stealthily, which is why I require a man of your caliber.” I nodded in understanding. This, if nothing else, made sense. “You will take a small force of my most capable men and plenty of supplies into the Harenna. It should be a week-long expedition, at most. Any questions, Captain?”

I weighed my options for a moment. The circumstances around this job were bizarre — but I had followed crazier leads before. Not to mention the enormous payoff the Governor had promised. In hindsight, I should have stood up, walked away, and never set foot in Abyssinia again — but I chose a different path.

“When do I leave?”
+ + +
We left early next morning, it turned out. It was a gloomy morning, but everyone was thankful that it was cool, rather than searching for ill portents. We all assembled in the Governor's yard, where a line of Kübelwagen was waiting. There was I, Mustafa, a few of his askari confederates, the Governor and his daughter — though they were not going, of course — and an outfit of tan-uniformed soldiers under the command of a square-jawed major with a scar on his cheek and a chip on his shoulder against men like I.

"This is Major Metzger," the Governor introduced us, beaming. He was in mountainously high spirits. Metzger gave a gruff sort of grunt and inclined his head an inch in my direction. He had a brown toothbrush mustache which seemed to twitch whenever he was annoyed. It twitched when I nodded in greeting. He quickly excused himself to oversee the loading of the cars with supplies. I started to help with the bustle, but stopped at the noise of a woman crying behind me. I turned to see Hummel red in the face, scolding his daughter Inge, whose pallid cheeks were wet with tears. At once I started forward.

"What's the matter, sir?" I asked, making sure to keep my tone deferent.

"Inge here is under the delusion that she should accompany you!" Hummel huffed. "Perhaps, Captain, you could remind her that the place of a woman such as she is within the ballroom and the dining hall, not the African jungle!"

I smiled sympathetically to her. I do not know how I could have survived were I born a woman, as my lust for adventure is far too strong to be repressed. "It is certainly a dangerous place," I said, struggling to find words of comfort that would not offend her father. "Not one for any ordinary woman." Her pale blue eyes flashed upward, and I worried for a moment that I had affronted her. But her gaze was surprisingly warm upon me. After a moment's silence, Inge hurried back into the house, and I turned back to the loading. There was something I needed to say to Metzger. Finding him, I checked that no askaris were within earshot before taking him aside.

"Major, you know what we've got to do, don't you?" The mustache twitched again, and his gray eyes were glacially cold. "As soon as we're clear of the Governor, we've got to get the information out of this Mustafa. We can't trust him not to lead us into a trap, or to have any clue what he's doing." I had carefully planned this ever since agreeing to do this job. Mustafa could easily be insane or nefarious, or both, and so what he knew — if anything — had to be shaken out of him before we left. We could not rely on him as our guide.

Metzger's barrel chest busted a few of its hoops as he swelled up and barked, "We will follow the Governor's orders, not yours, mercenary!" I felt like reminding the major that he was not the only officer present, but just then the cars' engines roared to life and we had to depart. A driver, Mustafa, Metzger and I piled into the foremost Kübelwagen; the Governor said a few words of inspiration and bid us good luck; one last callow soldier sprinted out of the house and into a car; and we were off.

Before long the clouds parted and the sun was blistering upon us. It was not the most pleasant journey; I spent most of it trying to work out how to convince Metzger that Mustafa was not to be trusted with our lives — or, if he could not be swayed, to get the location of the Idol out of the old askari. I would have to corner him alone — and even then, without Metzger's support I had little chance of strong-arming him. I decided it might be better to try and get the information out of him with friendship rather than force.

I got the sense that something was off around dusk. The cicadas were hammering out their tattoo, which was loud enough to dull thought, and we were passing through rocky scrubland. There were plenty of big boulders behind which a dozen men could hide, and my gut told me that they were hiding there. I decided not to press Metzger, but kept my eyes peeled just in case. Sure enough, less than five minutes later a flurry of darts flew out of the semi-darkness.

Our motorcade ground to a halt. Metzger swung into action, as did I, shouting orders. Rifles were produced from nowhere, and the tan-uniformed soldiers leapt to action. Even the askaris shouldered rifles and fired into the dark with perfect, well-remembered form. We stayed near our cars, ready to deliver a stunning volley should the foe appear, but all we got were harrying darts. They missed us, mostly, though I heard a few men cry out in pain, and later one of them nearly died from poisoning. And then, after a spell, there was a great war cry and a shadowy horde rushed at us from behind every rock in the valley.

I shouldered my rifle and fired alongside my comrades, felling an onrushing tribesman, but I had no time to fire another before the others were upon us. My bayonet was ready, and I jabbed out into the blackness, catching something penetrable and spilling its blood. I retracted my rifle just in time to clang it against the down-coming spear of a tribal, a big man naked save for furs and feathers. He slammed his cowhide shield against me, and I stumbled back, the wind knocked from me. The big man was after me again in a second, thrusting his spear down at me like I was a rabbit. I rolled to the side at the last moment, feeling the spear catch and rip the back of my shirt, then swung my rifle at him wildly. Instinct had taken over and left reason by the wayside, but that time, it worked. The gun cracked the tribesman hard across the head, and he doubled over. I took the moment to recover myself.

The din of battle was deafening all about me, the clash of metal and the crescendo of gunfire and the screams of anguish all in hellish concert. The ambushers were high in number, but their spears were poor matches for a German. Or a Capilean, for that matter. I drew the Walther P38 at my hip and leveled it with my assailant's head. He rushed at me and managed to start a spine-chilling cry of rage before I pulled the trigger and put him down. It might not have been honorable — but not much in Africa was. I turned on my heel and took aim with my sidearm, taking care not to hit any of my compatriots. I discharged five of my seven remaining shots into the throng, and judging by the yelps alone, all of them hit. I was looking for a new target when one presented himself to me.

He was the tallest African I'd seen yet, a good head above even me, with a fire in his eyes that directed the spear and shield in his hands. By the brightness of the plumes sticking from his forehead I reckoned him the chieftain of this tribe. He was coming for me. I raised my pistol and emptied its clip. Two shots; one missed entirely because of my haste, and the second pierced the chief's shield but not him. I was running out of time. I rushed to reload, but by the time I brought my P38 up again he was over me. I fired blindly, and at such close range he stood no chance of dodging. He cried in pain and anger, but raised his spear to kill. I pulled the trigger over and over, but at last it clicked impotently. I grabbed for my knife, not intending to go down without a fight. But there was no need.

A tan-clad soldier charged forth and propelled his bayonet into the chief's chest. Pierced by countless bullets and now by steel, the big man wavered and fell. I exhaled with relief. My savior flashed me a smile, and I noticed just how young and graceful he looked — his pale face marred only by a fresh, red cut below the eye — before he was whisked away into the fray. The skirmish was ebbing, however. It seemed the enemy had no wish to fight in pitch black, and what remained of them were streaming off into the night, chased by shots from our men. I surveyed the scene.

The dirt road was littered with corpses, most of them dark-skinned but a few in tan. After twenty minutes of waiting to ensure that no second attack was forthcoming, we packed up the cars, taking our dead with us, and continued our journey. Everyone was exhausted. Four Germans had been lost, and an askari, too. A dozen more of our number were wounded, some badly so. Metzger, his self-isolation forgotten in the excitement of battle, speculated wildly with me on the nature of the ambush. The natives of this province were not especially unruly, he assured me; but it is not unusual, in my experience, for primitive tribes to be provoked into battle by the slightest of misunderstandings.

We had not been far from our destination, a primitive village near the edge of the Harenna, and we arrived around midnight. Mustafa, who had been seen fighting bravely even despite his broken body, explained that we were to camp here until morning, when we would make for a nearby outpost and thence set into the jungle itself. I was very wary of this whole situation, thinking that our encampment would be easy prey to a renewed assault; but after a spell's spirited debate, I was talked down by guarantees that the villagers were friendly to our cause and would ward off the rogue tribe — which, in any case, was too badly bloodied to soon make battle. Still, we kept a vigilant watch at all hours of the night.

We set up our tents, tended to our wounded, and cooked wurst over bonfires. The soldiers assigned to watch duty played cards on the hood of a Kübelwagen — though each of them was far more focused on the horizons than on the game — and the rest went to sleep soon after eating, winded by combat. The askaris, however, remained awake, huddled about their campfire. I joined them, positioning myself near Mustafa. It seemed that so many of them being together was a rarity, for they were swapping old war stories. Mustafa came last, and everyone waited for his story with bated breath, seeing as he was the most scarred of them all. When at last his time had come, he splayed his wooden leg beside the fire, which was reflected in his glassy eyes. Glassy, yes, but keen in spite of their years.

"This I got from a Khaki bayonet at Tanga," he said, his voice like gravel, pointing at the scar across his face. Then at the chunk missing from his nose: "This, from shrapnel at Mahiwa. But this — this is the story worth telling. Lioma." He patted his wooden leg affectionately, and the askaris leaned closer. "We were on the run. Der Löwe von Afrika knew we had to retreat, the enemy came in ranks too deep. My captain — Tannhäuser was his name — led us up a bluff, but the Khakis were just behind. One, two, three, four, five, six askaris fell as we scaled those rocks, never to stir again. We reached the top, carrying all we could with us, for we needed every bullet like we needed water. The Khakis flung bullets back at us like rain. More of my brothers fell. I thought I would die on top of those rocks. But then — just then, in the middle of the storm — Captain Tannhäuser raised the cry, shouting 'Gott mit uns!' and all my fears were vanquished."

The askari nodded and smiled grimly. So absorbed was he that it was if he were recounting the story to himself aloud, not telling it to others. "From that moment on I fought with magic strength, and held back the British for another hour at least. Ten Khakis I felled with my rifle — the notches are there!" And he reached for a gun that he no longer possessed, then deflated with disappointment. "Ten Khakis for my leg. It was a good trade." He smiled a graying smile into the fire. After a pause it became clear that he would provide no further details — whether they had been lost to his memory or were never there to begin with I never discovered — but the other askaris were satisfied, even if I were not.

Then one of them, a small, wizened fellow I knew as Yessuf, spoke to me. "You served Germany. Or how else did you become a captain?" His words held a not-so-carefully hidden accusation, and I felt many skeptical eyes upon me; but before I could even speak, Mustafa came to my defense.

"Did you not see him fight today?" he said, scratching at his wiry beard. "He is the equal of Captain Tannhäuser, and so deserves his rank."

At the time, I felt honored to receive his praise; I do not look back upon it now so fondly. "Thank you," I said, inclining my head to him, and he did the same. "I doubt my stories are anything compared to yours. I was too young to fight in the war," I continued, and scratched at the growing stubble on my chin. "But I have been on adventures out of uniform; and a few of those are worth telling." And I related to the old askaris my work in Ceylon, and before that in Jerusalem, and before that in Capile; how I had recovered the Geyers' jewels from a thief-ring, and brought down the Sicarii — a Jewish mafia masquerading as revolutionaries — and, most notably, stopped a socialist attempt on the Grand Duke's life. I made sure not to describe myself in terms too glowing, lest the askaris feel outshone, but simply told it as it happened. By the time I had finished the dawn was near and I could sense a growing form of respect out of my swarthy companions. We bid each other goodnight, intending to rest for at least an hour or two before tomorrow's march, and I began to feel that getting on Mustafa's good side might not be too hard of a task.

I retired to my tent, which was miserably hot despite the early hour, and stripped to the barest minimum of clothing to stave off a death by burning. I could barely keep my eyes open and dreaded the physical trials of the coming day. But just as sweet sleep was descending over me, the tent flap opened. Thinking the natives were upon us in a silent attack, my pistol was in my hands in a moment, pointed toward the stranger — who, to my relief, was distinguishable as a German soldier even in the pale moonlight.

"What is it? Are we leaving already?" I called out, fumbling with my lantern. There came no reply. I switched on the light, and the tent was bathed in an orange glow. I beheld the soldier plainly and recognized him as the boy who had saved me from the chieftain. At this distance I became even more puzzled as to his age, for there was not a trace of stubble on his smooth, thin face, nor were his limbs and body muscled like a man. I thought for a moment that I was approached by a boy of fifteen or so who had infiltrated the army, but at that moment the soldier tore off his cap, and long tresses of silvery hair spilled down his face. He was not a man at all. She was Inge, the Governor's daughter, in German uniform and in my tent!

I hastened to cover myself, well aware that I was bare-chested in front of a lady, but my modesty was soon overtaken by my surprise. "Inge," I spluttered, utterly taken aback, "what — how?" I recalled, tired as I was, her vain wish to accompany the expedition; her running into the house several minutes before we departed; and a late-coming soldier joining us just as we left. The cogs clicked into place, and I buried my face in my hands. "Never mind what or how. We've got to get you back your father at once." I glanced at the bandaged cut under her eye and winced, grateful, at least, that more harm had not yet befallen her.

"You can't send me back!" Inge cried, tears pooling in her wide blue eyes. "I'm already here. I just need someone to keep my secret, to keep the others from finding out. Someone to protect me. Someone like you, Hans — may I call you Hans?" I nodded, half-amused, and earned a smile from her through her tears. My mind was alert once again, the cogs which had just come together were turning, and deep inside I was starting to realize that she was right. I couldn't send her back. That would entail either splitting our party — which would leave neither enough men to complete the mission nor to protect Inge on the perilous journey back to Wilhelmsburg — or turning back entirely; and, at that point, prolonging this job by any length of time seemed to me a dire option.

"You said that this mission was not for any ordinary woman," Inge said softly. "I am no ordinary woman, Hans."

I looked to her. Her eyes were shining pale blue and her hair was the color of moonlight, and she was staring at me with so much hope... At that moment, she rivaled Anna in beauty. I thought I could protect her, that if I were by her side, she would be safe from any harm in the Harenna. And so I vowed to keep her secret. It was the first in a series of mistakes.
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Be a KRAFFT!
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At the first light of morning we were off again. We skimmed along the edge of the Harenna before we reached a little blockhouse. There our wounded were able to get treatment and be replaced by abler men. There was no time for fraternization with the garrison; we stowed our Kübelwagen, gathered our supplies about our persons, and struck out into the Harenna.

Mustafa served as our sole guide, his askari friends helping him blaze a trail by machete through the ever-thickening brush. It was like wading into a great lake. At first the underbrush was just that — under, scratching at our ankles and calves and thighs, a source of irritation but not of fear. Quickly it deepened; we became waist-deep, then chest-deep in the dark green sea of fronds and vines, fighting a losing battle against the rising verdant tide, slashing away at creepers with our machetes and bashing back branches with our arms, only for a fresh legion of floral foes to replace them. And then, before we knew it and long after the possibility of turning back had gone, we were totally submerged, underwater in an unknowable ocean. Great jungle trees loomed from on high like citadels blocking our way, blotting out the sky with their green ramparts, the mess of falling vines their artillery and the uncountable horde of briars beneath out feet their sentinels. We were intruders into a foreign realm; and our presence was unwelcome.

I found excuse to keep Inge by my side at all times, and in any case the others were too beleaguered by the brush to object. The girl was not made for marches through a hostile rainforest, but did not complain, soldiering on as any other in our expedition, though she must have endured twice the hardship due to being unaccustomed to it. I could provide aid only when I was sure my fellows were not watching, so as to avoid casting any doubt onto Inge's identity as a soldier. The journey passed mostly in silence — apart, of course, from the braying and chirping of various jungle beasts and fowl, and the grunts of pain and exertion from us. I did find occasion, as Inge and I strayed off course for a brief minute, to ask her how she had managed so easily to infiltrate us.

"The uniform I am wearing belongs to a young private, Hans," she informed me. "He took to me quite quickly." A small, white smile crossed her face. Now that I knew her, her feminine beauty was more evident, even restricted by a soldier's cap and a day's worth of sweat and dirt. She remained focused on hacking apart the growth before her, her pale blue eyes never straying to mine; nor did the cut of her machete fall foul, as she had taken it up very quickly. I remembered how she had rescued me from the savage chieftain and marveled for a moment. Perhaps it was merely beginner's luck, I speculated; or perhaps she had been training for the day she would be set loose upon the world for a long time. "All I had to do," Inge continued, "was get him dangerously drunk the day before his mission, lift his uniform and weapons from him where he slept, and join the expedition, pretending to be a recently transferred recruit."

I was rather impressed. "I'm surprised you managed to slip past Metzger," I said, carving my own path through the jungle. We had diverged from the main party, and I could no longer see any of them — though this was no new precedent, considering the density of the brush — but began to work my way toward their voices. Inge merely shrugged, more focused on her task than on providing an answer, and we were reunited with the others before I could ask her anything more.

My suspicions waxed with the shadows, so that by nightfall, I was looking upon our guide with very hard eyes indeed. I worried — rightfully so, time would prove — that Mustafa would lead us right into a trap, or that he was stumbling in the dark, leading me and these good German men on a wild goose chase. When we came upon a clearing — a patch of dirt hemmed in on all sides by a wall of boles — and made camp, I took Major Metzger aside and made clear my concerns. To the man's credit, he obliged me in confronting the askari. The pair of us singled out the old Ethiopian and asked him very plainly whither he was taking us.

There was such innocence and surprise and well-meaning in his reflective eyes — whence the snake got it I have no clue — that we believed him when he told us that we were on our way to the nexus of the jungle and that the map to the Idol's sanctuary was inscribed not on paper, but on his heart. We had a private conversation afterward, Metzger and I, over the askari's soundness of mind. Despite my objections to plunging onward, Metzger would not hear of turning back; and, though my mind was in uproar, I knew that I had sworn to do this job for the governor, and that to abandon the mission was to besmirch my name. So, with no further talk, we made camp and slept, watched always by the unblinking boughs.
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Two more days passed much like our first in the Harenna. We were at all times drenched in sweat, teetering on the brink of exertion from the accrued cost of toil, our once-high spirits steadily wilting beneath the jungle canopy. It was not until dusk on the third day when something happened.

We were casting about for a spot to camp, the fear that we would not find such a place before nightfall mounting, when there was an uprush of air and leaves, an earsplitting scream, and a thunk of flesh on wood. Tropical birds squawked and fled from the treetops in all directions at the disturbance, and we all looked around for its source. There, in the middle of our party, stood a gaping hole where once had lain solid ground. Six feet down in a crudely dug pit was a jagged bunch of wooden spikes, and, impaled upon four or five of them, a tan-clad figure. My heart leapt into my throat for one moment as I wondered whether it was Inge — but she was at my side, eyes like overflowing pools as she beheld the tragedy. The impaled man twitched a few times, then was still, the skewers having stuck through his chest and neck. At last, we had come across proof that more than the underbrush was bent on preventing our passage.

A collective shiver ran over our men — except for Mustafa, whose dark face was lit with a graying grin. "That means we are getting close!" he assured, though it did nothing to buoy our spirits. If anything, the prospect that the Idol was not guarded by vegetation alone unstrung our will. Unwilling to put another foot forward, we thrice checked the ground beneath us and then set up camp where we stood. We filled in the pre-made grave into which our comrade had fallen; an ignominious end, to be sure, but we could not bear a corpse throughout the rest of our journey — and, in any case, it was not the worst fate to befall a member of our party.

We set off the next day with long poles for testing the ground before us, a precaution we should have adopted from the first — and of which our guide should have advised us — and, though we sprang a few more devious traps, none claimed a life. The great, green-and-gray-mottled forms of the Bale Mountains were coming into sight as the jungle thinned, the dense swamp of leaf after leaf subsiding into a much more curious clime. The trees here were a reflection of the massive mountains which overshadowed them: twisting and gnarled, like the work of a schizophrenic landscaper adorning the lawn of a ruined estate. That estate was the Bale Mountains; great houses of rock looking down upon us with wizened faces. Some stretches were like rolling hills speckled with green; others were sheer cliffs and great gray mesas. The whole place evoked not a natural beauty, but an otherworldly-ness. The sense that we were out of place — we small band of foreigners standing beneath those stone deities, interlopers in an alien cosmos — descended upon us uncomfortably.
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(L) The Harenna Rainforest; (R) The Bale Mountains
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We regrouped at the foothills of those mountains, glancing tremulously ever so often at their impassive faces. Mustafa informed us that we were drawing ever closer to the Idol, and that it would take one more full day of journeying before we were upon it. Unimpressed with the idea of camping somewhere in that rocky labyrinth, we whiled away the rest of the afternoon taking stock of our supplies and having a much needed respite from four days' unabated march. The enlisted played a rousing game of cards with me, and endowed with the knowledge I had picked up at Monte Carlo, I walked away with a considerable portion of their pocket money, though I threw the last few games so as not to curry any enmity with them. Inge made sure to keep out of sight of the others while staying within mine, never attracting attention to herself, a trait rare in a woman so beautiful. Through stolen glances and playful smiles I intuited that her interest in me had exceeded admiration.

As dusk darkened and we pitched our tents, excited rushes swept through our party. Before this had seemed a fool's errand, but the fey aura of this place, eerie though it was, made us believe that the Jade Idol — and even a Jade Idol instilled with magic — could exist. Whisper went this way and that, carrying some tale or another attributed to the artefact, and each of the askari was consulted for his account of the legend. Even I began to ponder the Idol's true nature as I slipped into my bedroll; whether I was suffering from some form of tropical madness or the mountain mists really did possess some addling essence, I never knew, but whatever the reason, my better sense deserted me.

By morning none of us could think of anything but the Idol. We were packed and marching by the time the sun could be seen, wending through the foothills and coming ever nearer to the great mountains themselves. Any notion of military cadence and regimen had been lost back in the Harenna, and so the men chattered carelessly of mysticism and treasure, Metzger irritated but not bothering to reproach them. I watched the askari limp along at the head of our column, going with great haste for a one-legged man, and so surely that this unbeaten trail could have been his driveway, the hiding place of the Idol his home. Presently Inge came beside me, and beneath the din we could speak privately.

"Do you take stock in the legends?" I asked, smiling to show that I did not.

Inge, her nymphlike body made somehow leaner by the past days' labor, looked up at me with interest. "My father does, of course, or he would not have sent you here. He is convinced of it, having heard of it by a hundred witnesses of all extractions. I heard some of those reports myself, and he told me the rest."

"And do you believe them?" I pressed on.

She thought for a moment, the corners of her mouth creasing, and then smiled at me again, a rejuvenating smile, like a cool drink of water on a scorching day such as that. "I suppose, Hans, that I would not be risking life and limb to retrieve any ordinary old idol." Then she suddenly increased her pace and flew up to converse with a pair of privates, winking over her shoulder at me as she went.

Our party marched through the foothills, across a dried-up gorge, and thence up a perilous skyward trail. It was slow-going, and though we had some mountaineering equipment, we chose always to circumvent the scarped cliffs and seek the safest path. At midday we found ourselves in a gulley, two great walls of rock rising to our left and right all the way to the heavens, the path between allowing but two men to walk abreast. Our earlier enchantment with the Idol, though still powerful, had faded somewhat, and once more our lives became our primary concern, permitting us to see the grave danger of this passage. No sooner had I opened my mouth to hasten everyone than there was a terrible groan from above, the groan of disturbed earth, or, as it seemed to us then, the roar of a displeased god.

We looked up to see boulders tumbling down at us with the speed of racehorses, some the size of elephants, some as small as a man's fist, every one of them lethal. I had the sense not to gape in awe, but to cast around for my charge, Inge. It was a miracle that she stood not five feet away. Spurred by that primal energy which can only be summoned in the direst of moments, I seized her under my arm and dragged her away from the calamity, diving for the safety of an overhang nearby. We rolled beneath the rocky ledge not a second too soon. I pushed her entirely beneath the rock and then shielded myself, making sure to protect my nape — a broken arm isn't nearly as bad as a broken neck, after all. The crash of stone and a dozen startled cries lasted for about a minute, then ceased all at once, leaving only muffled noises of suffering. When I was sure the avalanche had abated, I ducked out from behind the ledge and grimaced at the sight before me.

The stones had not been merciful to our party. Only a few men stood unscathed. The rest were in varying degrees of pain. Some had been utterly smitten, crushed beneath heavy boulders whose gray faces seemed to be stretched in ragged grins. Others clutched at shattered limbs or flattened torsos, while a few hung in that unhappy limbo between life and death, gurgling blood and thrashing hither and thither on the dusty bed. I did what I could, heaving stones off of trapped men and bandaging the afflicted. Inge joined, and was surprisingly tolerant of the blood and bone which was exposed to the afternoon sun. As we, along with the other survivors, tended to them, I cast wary eyes upon the high bluffs above. I was no mountain man, but an avalanche in these snowless parts seemed a pretty remote possibility to me. I was faced with the prospect that it was no act of nature — that we were not the only beings moving in these mountains.

All told we had nine men — eight men and a woman, that is — willing and able to continue. Mustafa, that damnably consummate survivor, was intact, though none of the other askaris had evaded danger. Two of their number were, in fact, dead, alongside a dozen Capileans. The rest of our number were injured. Metzger had a broken leg, but it was splinted, and he persuaded us that he was spry as a sprite and able to slog on. The wounded we had no choice but to send back down the mountain with the bulk of our supplies. Those with minor injuries could assist those with life-threatening ones, and they might all survive — or so we hoped. I feared for those men, who would be defenseless against a strong gale, much less an ambush, but I knew that naught could be done for them. At the very least, they were safer out of that gulch. And the mission had to be completed. So we pressed on. My heart seemed to be laden with sandbags, and I often glanced over my shoulder, though the cortège had long since passed out of view.

I kept Inge always by my side — she seemed never to cease in thanking me for my heroism in saving her life, no matter how many times I dismissed it as instinct — and was now much closer to our guide. Mustafa seemed nearly giddy, hobbling along with unnatural speed, unaffected by the gruesome end of his askari confederates, urging us onward with a gleam in his mirror-like eyes. We were passing through ever more tenebrous corners of the world; the bright Ethiopian sky was long gone, the sawtooth peaks above forming a sunless heaven of their own. Gone too was the African heat, the buzz of insects, the chitter of birds; this realm was cold and dead. In the very recesses of my skull, an inkling formed that Mustafa was leading us not to some fabled relic, but to our deaths. Had I but heeded that intuition and pushed the old wretch from a ledge! But I did not.

The cloak of night fell upon us suddenly, but we did not halt, for the askari shouted that we were close, so very close! We had lanterns whose beams could light our way, though they were but pinpricks in a sea of blackness. We hurried to keep behind the old man, Inge cleaving to me as to a lodestone. Mustafa began to gibber excitedly in his own tongue, and capered up a steep embankment as easily as a child, leaving me wondering if his wooden leg were flesh after all. We scrabbled after him, hand over hand, up the rocks. A man lost hold of his lantern and it clattered away, shattering beneath us. I heard Inge inhale beside me.

We pulled each other over the lip of the ridge and took a moment to regain our breath. Mustafa, unwinded by all this despite his missing limb, held his own lantern high and pointed wordlessly ahead, his smile manic. I followed his finger to the grim outline of an opening in the rock wall, a tremendous maw with stalactite teeth and an endless, black throat. A tingle swept over my body and I knew I should turn back, that nothing within that Stygian cave could be worth my risk. But the will overcame the flesh, and I followed Mustafa in, the men and Inge behind me. I suspected even then that I would never return.

The cave's mouth tapered quickly into a narrow tunnel, so that we were nearly reduced to groping along the guano-drenched floor on our hands and knees. The quiet smothered us; not even the drip of water or the distant, sourceless groans so expected of these underground places could be heard. The tunnel drove sharply downward, and bore the appearance of a manmade thing, though one primitively built and lost to nature many years before. This observation ignited the feeling of cautious wonder in me once more, and at least staved away the suspicion that Mustafa would turn around and murder me at any moment. By degrees the burrow began to widen, and presently we could stand erect once more, and fanned out into a cavern, the bloated stomach of this beast into whose throat we had willingly clambered.

"My friends," said Mustafa, his low voice booming again and again as it echoed from the unseen walls of the cave, "we have made it. I have led you true. There it is — the Jade Temple." We all held our lanterns aloft and gasped. The pale shafts of light fell upon a entryway of carved marble, its splendor made all the grander by its state of disrepair. The vine-strangled masonry seemed to crumble under the strain of our lanterns. It was a sacred place.

Mustafa started forward, and we came after. We passed the tall, chipped columns of the portico, deprived of time to study the eroded glyphs etched upon them. The floor beneath was cracked marble, too, and my every footfall sent up storms of dust. The way ahead was pure black; I held up my lantern like an aegis against the dark, Inge close by my side as ever. We picked over what seemed to be a ruined atrium, stonework crunching under our feet, and stopped in its center, beside a fountain long dry. We threw our lantern-light from side to side, uncovering a portal or corridor at every try. We were standing in the midst of a labyrinth — but inexplicably, Mustafa knew the way. He started for an egress I would not have chosen, a thin and uninviting passage, and I became again uneasy. The air thickened with must and mildew, but the silence pervaded, disturbed only by the clunk of the askari's oaken leg on the stone floor.

And then — a heart-wrenching clang! A swish of something swift through air, a groan of pain, and the thud of a body against stone. We whirled about.

One of our number was slumped on the floor, a dart sticking from his throat. We looked for the assailant, but there was no one but us in this tight passageway. The dart had come from the wall itself. Inspection by the dim lamplight revealed an ancient pressure plate, upon which the dead soldier had evidently tread, and a small opening in the wall, whence the dart had been fired. There was naught to do but persevere, so we bid our fallen comrade safe passage to Valhalla and continued down the hall, our eyes now fixed upon the ground, our number reduced to eight.

The tunnel opened into a square chamber. As we passed over the threshold there was a rumble behind us, and a huge, vine-covered slab fell in place there, one man barely managing to avoid it. Echoes from the other three walls confirmed that we were truly sealed in. There was a pregnant pause as that realization washed over us, and then we all ranged over the room in search of escape, taking care to avoid springing any trap that might lie in wait. Inge's keen eye uncovered a pressure plate before each of the portals, which, when weighted, cause the heavy doors to raise. The weight of a rucksack was not enough; it took the weight of a man. There was another heavy pause — and then a scarred veteran volunteered to remain behind. Mustafa instructed him as to which door need be opened, and we proceeded. I looked over my shoulder and saw the mustachioed man give me a determined nod as shadow fell over him. That was the last I ever saw of him.

There was a long tunnel before us. We went as quickly as we could without risk, hearts racing and eyes straining in the dark for any spoor of a trap — and then, a scream. A woman's scream. I stopped dead in my tracks, paralyzed by dread, aware that in my haste I had strayed from Inge and certain that she had suffered a grim fate here in this hellish tunnel, the last place a beautiful young woman should be. With tremendous resolve I turned and cast my lantern over her.

She was alive, unharmed, save for the horror written on her youthful face. Those blue eyes were huge and unblinking, seeming to rattle in their sockets as they beheld a cadaver. Focused on the stone floor, I had failed to notice it, entombed as it was in the wall. It was a skeleton wearing patches of taut, blackened skin like rags, gruesome half-face contorted in a ceaseless shriek of pain. I was at Inge's side in a second, helping her away from the terrible sight — but no one else moved. They stared at Inge. After a moment, I realized why.

Her cap was gone, and her silver tresses — matted and tangled though they were — completed the portrait her graceful features and glittering eyes began.

"Inge?" said Metzger, voice the highest I had ever heard it. He limped forward, grunting with pain from his shattered leg, and took her roughly by the arm. "What the devil are you doing here?"

"It doesn't matter," I sighed. Metzger glowered at me with the same incredulous fury that a papist holds for a heretic. "She's here, and we've got to go on." I was too sapped to make more of an argument. Every second wasted here was another second lost which I could have spent back in Capile, content in a white-picket house or a luxury car with Anna by my side.

"Go on?" Metzger spluttered, voice taking on that familiar authoritative snarl. "We are taking her back to the Governor immediately!" He tried to drag an unwilling Inge back down the tunnel, his leg crunching unpleasantly beneath his weight. I moved between them and pried the girl away from his grasp.

"And who will take her?" I snapped, tired of arguing. "Who will escort her back through the dart traps and the tunnels and the ravines and the jungle and the hostile tribesmen? Will your leg last that long, sir?"

Metzger's face contorted with the rage of a man who knows he is wrong but is unwilling to admit it. He drew himself as high as his splint would permit. "You knew, didn't you?" he hissed. "You facilitated this, this, this hoodwink!" He rounded on the girl again. "Inge, you should know better than to be taken in by a rook and a rogue such as this!"

"My friends," broke in Mustafa, and for once I was glad to hear him, "let us not argue when we are but inches from our goal." We turned to face him, and, indeed, a faint light gleamed at the end of the tunnel. No one spoke for almost a full minute, and then Metzger swore violently.

"Very well, Krafft," he growled. "But I will see that you pay for your corruption of an innocent girl." I had been threatened plenty of times before by plenty of people — and a half-mad man with a broken leg didn't scare me any more than the rest of them. We went on, and emerged into an ethereal scene. It came upon us all at once. The sound of trickling water, a heavenly light, and a great open cavern. The seven of us exhaled collectively, and took a moment to survey the heart of the temple.

It was a circular hollow of white-gray stone, and a gash in its ceiling far above us sent a sliver of sunlight all the way into this bosom of the earth. One one side was a tumble of boulders which seemed to be damming a fissure; a clear rivulet leaked through it and dribbled down the rocks, leading into the grassy glade which lay in the center of the cavern. Upon this glade was another ruin, a wreckage of marble bricks and pillars decussated by rope-like vines. And there, upon a moldering pedestal — was that a glimmer of jade?

We started down to the glade with the spirit of sailors stumbling upon a new land. Mustafa even sang, bellowing "Heil dir im Siegerkranz, Herrscher des Vaterlands!" a chorus that was echoed by all of us; even I joined in, feeling that the toils of the past few days — which seemed like the collective stresses of years — were not in vain, after all. We scrambled over the mess of masonry and vegetation, forgetting entirely our precautions against snares, and gathered around the object of our quest. It sat upon the pedestal, the ray of light from above falling directly upon it, a squat elephantine icon of glistering jade no larger than a goblet. Its features had been wrought by a crafter of considerable skill; and yet his talent seemed to have been bent to some foul purpose, for the Jade Idol was not beautiful, but haunting, the fossil of something not native to this world. I dared not let my eyes linger upon it for too long, for it stared back, and its two tiny eyes were searing, molten pools.

We stood in quiet awe, none of us willing to break it by seizing the thing for himself. And at last, recognizing myself as the man whom Hummel was paying the most, I stepped forward and took the little fetish. I knew at once that I had done something wrong. I felt it within my very being, but before I could register the anomalous malaise which passed through the Idol and into my body, I was distracted by another uproar. The earth quaked; I glanced around, grabbing hold of the crumbling pedestal to maintain my balance, and saw the fissure at the corner of the cavern burst open, the boulders blocking it falling away like leaves, a deluge of water spurting forth. It flooded the cavern, its source seeming to be endless, spilling over the glade and steadily rising.

My comrades had not been as quick to regain their bearings. All of them had been thrown off their feet by the earthquake, whose sole cause, it seemed, was the disturbance of the Idol. All of them, that was, except for Mustafa. The old man was perched atop a heap of ancient rubble, looking skyward at the distant hole in the cavern's roof.

"Throw down the rope, Major!" he called, voice resounding in the cave, clearly referring to someone else than Metzger, who was sprawled on the ground near me, cradling his maimed leg. A thick rope fell snakelike into the cavern, its end snapping at the askari's waist level, and the light flooding the cave was suddenly eclipsed, leaving us nearly blind. Disoriented, I wondered how Mustafa had managed to get a rescue party to the top of this mountain as I reached for my lantern. I was not to be left wondering for long. I ignited the lamp and choked.

In the dim lamplight I could make out only silhouettes, shadowy, caricature-like forms. There was Inge, her slender body pressed against the deformed askari's, his jagged knife held taut against her pale throat, her china blue eyes wide with terror.

"Give me the Idol," he growled, "or the girl dies."

Who knew so much evil could come from one ugly little totem?

I blinked, trying to piece together what had happened, what was happening, and form a course of action. I had no choice but to stall for time.

"Why?" I said quickly, edging nearer to the askari. Cool water was lapping at my ankles. "Why lead us all this way, why—"

"The British pay more," he answered, sending me a grayish leer. "Now, give it to me."

"You work for the British? The Khakis?" For some reason, this surprised me more than anything else. He merely tipped his head toward the Idol, holding his blade a little tighter against Inge's thin neck. "What of the war? What of Captain Tannhäuser?" The water was rising higher.

He laughed, a low, throaty noise. "Tannhäuser is an opera, not a man!" His glassy eyes were lit with mirth for only a second. "Last chance to hand over the Idol without spilling any blood."

I grappled with myself for a moment. I had forgotten neither my promise to retrieve the Idol for Hummel, nor the protection I had sworn — more to myself, than to her — over his daughter. I looked at the Idol for a second, and felt a pang of disgust at the evil figure. Without further delay, I tossed it in Mustafa's direction. He let go of Inge and shoved her away, throwing himself after the artefact. I caught the girl and set her on her feet before reaching for my pistol.

Mustafa was already pulling himself up the robe, the Idol tucked in his belt. He moved with that same inexhaustible vigor impossible for a man of his age and health. I fired after him, but he was fast disappearing into the darkness. Gritting my teeth, I seized the rope and started after him. He had a sizable head start, and even though I was younger and fitter, he seemed able to keep ahead of me. I pulled myself up hand over hand, pausing to aim a shot whenever I could. One ricocheted from the cavern wall, and another grazed his wooden leg — but he always moved too spryly to be pinned.

I was nearly to the top, and the light of dusk struck me full in the face, blinding me again. I pulled myself up with my eyes closed, hands cut to ribbons by then, reaching up to grab the lip of the hole, the heel of Mustafa's boot, the Idol, anything — I risked opening my eyes and saw the hole of the cave. I was nearly through; but Mustafa was already there, and a dozen pith-helmeted heads surrounded him. I glimpsed a pale, monocled face split into a wide grin — and then the rope was cut.

I fell, and the hole tore away from me and became a point like a single star in an otherwise empty cosmos. I tumbled head over heels into the abyss, my pistol falling away from me, having failed in all my charges, and prayed that my death would be painless.
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Is Hans Krafft really dead? Will the evil askari get away with his betrayal? Will the jade relic be lost to the perfidious British?

Find out in next month's issue of HELDENTATEN, where the tale of The Jade Idol will meet its thrilling conclusion!
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SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY OFFER
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Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

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The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:17 pm


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11 August 2020

REICHSLEITER'S ECONOMIC MIRACLE CONTINUES

It has been one year since Minister of Economics Friedrich Holmigt (pictured) presented his twenty-six point Four Year Plan to the Capilean people. Now that we are one quarter of the way through Minister Holmigt's plan, let us examine its efficacy.

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First, Minister Holmigt promised in points one through eight to resolve the unemployment crisis, which at the time was a canker on the Reich. Klaus the pretender's mismanagement of our nation, combined with the devastation he wrought by plunging us into war, put valiant veteran and noble worker alike out of a job; the unemployment rate peaked at 32% in 2018. But under the stewardship of Walther Nemetz, those very same Reich-heroes have found jobs rebuilding cities, producing bucklers for the defense of the Volk, and re-blazing the outdated infrastructure of the old regime. In just one year, the unemployment rate has been more than halved, plummeting to a mere 12%, a testament to the skill of our leaders! At the current rate, the bane of joblessness will be utterly eradicated by the end of the Four Year Plan.

Second, Minister Holmigt promised in points nine through twelve to protect Capilean business interests from globalist industries. Under the monarchy, alien carpet-baggers were allowed to run roughshod over our own entrepreneurs, with bloated foreign conglomerates owning as much as 25% of securities in Capile in 2017. Under the Reich, however, we are on the path to complete autarky. Readers will remember Minister Holmigt's valiant nationalization of foreign-owned business in January 2019. This was only the first step in a series designed to return the wealth of our Reich to its rightful owners, and by the end of the Four Year Plan, Minister Holmigt assures, our Volk will be entirely self-sufficient.

Further, Minister Holmigt promised in points thirteen through twenty to improve the working conditions of the average Capilean. Under the monarchy, the worker was repressed as in no other nation, his back scarred from the whip and broken from the burden of the aristocracy, even lending some limited credence to the dogma belched by Blücher's dogs. But he is already enjoying the fruits of Reich oversight. Under Nemetz, the average worker's weekly earnings have increased by an unprecedented 11%, all while the average hours worked in a week has significantly decreased. One can only wonder what boons he will see over the next three years.

Finally, Minister Holmigt promised in points twenty-one to -six to improve the national economy on the whole. Readers will remember the periods of economic stagnation and recession our nation suffered when helmed by the inept grand dukes. Thankfully, that period is fading into dim history under our new leadership. Already Capile's gross national product (GNP) has risen by an astronomical 7% — a margin of almost 600 million Reichsmarks. And one may rest assured that thanks to the Office of Reconstruction, every penny will be reinvested in our Volk and our future.

So, there you have it, countrymen, in clear and objective terms. It is indisputable fact that the Four Year Plan is working — and fast. If the benefits of Reichsleiter Nemetz's leadership have not already washed over you, rest assured: it is only a matter of time.
Benno Liefenräder, Editor-in-Chief of DER SIEGER

IN OTHER NEWS...
  • Matthias Klavier, 26, of Uthersdorf, Südland, chosen as winner of DER SIEGER's monthly lottery! Klavier, whose wife has so far borne him five children, is the lucky recipient of a 25,000ℛℳ stipend. When asked for his plans as to the money, he responded: "Golly. I just can't wrap my head around it. I definitely want a bigger house for Klara and the kids. Jove. You sure you didn't put an extra zero on that check by mistake?"
  • German band Rammstein have confirmed that they will play at select locations in the Reich as part of their spring 2021 tour across the Pacific. Venues and dates have not yet been released.
  • Five Capilean nationals charged with the murder of a minor Akordanian official; further details unknown. Stoßwehr Sicherdienst declined to provide official comment.
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

User avatar
The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Posts: 4686
Founded: Jul 12, 2015
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Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:14 am


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17 August 2020

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THE MAN BEHIND THE REICH

DER SIEGER exclusive: Volk-hero, war veteran, the first and foremost patriot and servant of the Capilean people, there is no one more qualified to lead the Capilean Reich than our beloved Reichsleiter. Today DER SIEGER's political correspondent Florian Henning was treated to the interview of a lifetime, and presents it now to the world, an unprecedented glimpse into the driving force behind our nation's ascension:
The Man Behind the Reich.


Walther Nemetz granted me an audience in his personal residence rather than his office in the Great Hall, which came as a surprise to me. It was not as great a surprise as being given the honor of interviewing the most powerful Capilean in the world, but it still disarmed me. A man's home is his castle, and so I was very much venturing into an unknown and intimidating place; yet on the other hand, the Reichsleiter was exposing a certain vulnerability in lowering the drawbridge. Thus I had the dual responsibilities of cleaving to the custom of the Nemetz house and not striking the Reichsleiter in this less defensible locale, as some less cordial journalists might have.

I arrived early in the morning and was impressed by the aura of the house, rather than its façade. It was beautifully designed — the Reichsleiter himself having drawn the blueprints — but was overall unassuming, not a glittering mansion that was ever the lair of power under the grand dukes. As I was shown in, a very fine grand piano in the foyer immediately caught my attention. The fall-board was closed, and a sable shawl lay across it. I would later learn the somber meaning of this shrine.

An item whose significance was more readily apparent I spotted in the hall: a green banner bearing a black raven, the insignia of Colditz Sport-Club (CSC). It would appear Walther Nemetz is a football fan, and with a good choice in teams, considering Colditz's performance last season.

The Reichsleiter stood waiting for me in his office, across from a neatly organized desktop, atop which family photos, a computer, and several leather-bound ledgers lay. Nemetz wore, as always, his uniform, a symbol of office in of itself. We shook hands and exchanged introductions as I absorbed the aura of both the office and the man. The room was at once small and vast by virtue of the large windows, from which I had a clear view of the forest of pines which enwreathes the Reichsleiter's home. The man himself was tall, agelessly handsome, and possessed of a charisma which poured into me through his hand like water through a vessel. All of my nerves at the meeting were assuaged at once by his pleasant demeanor, the soft authority of his voice, and the bright geniality of his cornflower eyes.

I decided to start with something light to further defuse the tension.
Florian Henning: Thank you very much, Herr Reichsleiter, for having me in your home and granting me this interview.

Reichsleiter Walther Nemetz: Naturally. I assure you that I am just as honored to sit with you as you are to sit with me.

FH: You'll forgive me — I noticed the CSC pennant on my way in. You're a fan?

RWN: Oh, yes, I'm partial to Colditz, being a native. And the Ravens performed brilliantly this season. We almost had Saxtonburg at the championships.

FH: I confess I'm a Landsknechte fan myself.

RWN: FC Karlingen? Well, no one's perfect. Anyway, friendly competition is a necessity. It drives oneself and one's nation forward.

There you have it — Walther Nemetz is a Ravens fan. His light-hearted reflection on friendly rivalries provided me with the perfect segue.
FH: On that note, and veering into a more serious subject, could you speak for a moment about the recent structural changes made to the Reichswehr?

RWN: The specifics were determined by the War Ministry, but the concept was mine, yes. After our triumph in Klaus' War, we had to fuse together two command structures which had diverged some distance since splitting. At the start of the conflict, the Stoßwehr subsumed those Heer units which remained loyal to their nation, and so we prosecuted the war with a single land force. But after our victory, some millions of former royalist soldiers returned to us. We decided to reinstate the Heer, but that ultimately proved a misstep. While friendly competition is beneficial on a small scale, it cannot be allowed to interfere with matters of national importance. So the War Minister, Henrik von Ravenstein, and I decided that the nation would be safer and the taxes lighter if our land forces were unified. Integration efforts are ongoing but should be resolved within a few short weeks.

FH: Do you feel that having two land forces was detrimental to national security?

RWN: Absolutely. I served in the Stoßwehr for nigh on four decades, and the interservice rivalry between it and the Heer was a prominent example of the inefficiency which crippled the duchy. The navy and air force naturally compete for funding with the army, but having two armies means that manpower, equipment, officers, and a myriad of other shared resources are also fought over. I recall, during the Columbian Wars, one vindictive Heer officer commandeered my platoon's helmets before battle as part of a budgetary revision.

As the dialogue became more serious, the Reichsleiter's tone followed suit, and he recalled with earnest graveness his military career. Nemetz served in both Columbian Wars on the front lines, and afterward in countless conflicts as a field officer. His decorations include the Ducal Cross, First Class, and the Elephant Cross, a medal awarded to those whose efforts saved entire units from destruction.
FH: Speaking of your service during the Columbian Wars, what are your retrospective thoughts on those conflicts?

RWN: I do not believe Capilean intervention was ever justified, nor is it justifiable. Alliances should be honored, but only when beneficial to our Volk. The good of one's own race must come before the good of others. An incalculable tonnage of Capilean blood watered the Columbian plains during those years. I saw friends and even family members fall. It was a harrowing experience. But I believe that all good leaders must be harrowed before they can lead. Those wars gave me experiences without whose aid I wouldn't be sitting before you.

FH: I know that you often compare the diplomatic and political arena, both nation- and world-wide, to a battlefield. Do your wartime experiences translate directly into your responsibilities as Reichsleiter?

RWN: Yes. In many ways, Capile is like the tank which I commanded during my combat service. It has a crew to whom I am as close as brothers, much like the Capilean people; it is both well-armored and well-armed, like our unconquerable industry and dauntless military; and it must be driven. A government without a driver is no government at all. It is anarchy. Commanding a tank, and then successively larger units of armor, certainly prepared me for leading a nation.

FH: And you certainly lead it well, if our nation's prosperity is any metric whereby to judge you. Would you mind shedding light upon the governmental process? How involved are you in the day-to-day affairs?

RWN: All matters of state are both conceived and consummated within the Great Hall. And very few of them leave without first passing under my eyes. There is no purpose to an executive who only revels in his title, consigning his responsibilities to middle-men. Whoever bears the title of Reichsleiter must perform the function within the word. He must lead — drive! — the Reich. This I do, and should my ability to do so ever atrophy, I shall renounce the title forthwith.

FH: Are there any projects in particular on which you are concentrating?

RWN: Architecture is one of my passions. I assisted Reich Architect Winfield Fenster in designing the Great Hall, and we have moved on to a number of other designs which will be immensely beneficial to the Reich. Currently we are focusing on a project which would alleviate overcrowding in metropoleis such as Kongsburg without damaging either the environment or the living conditions of the inhabitants.

FH: Would you say overcrowding is one of the key issues facing the Reich? What are the others?

RWN: Overcrowding is only an issue in the densest urban areas of Capile, like Kongsburg and Saxtonburg, where so much activity — economically, politically, culturally — congregates. But nationwide, overpopulation is hardly a problem. There remain vast expanses of rural land over which, it is my hope, our people will spread. And beyond the metropole, in our holdings in Africa, we still require generations of hardy Capileans who may settle and tame that wilderness, as our ancestors settled and tamed this island.

As for other issues, I am glad to say we face few. Rebuilding after Klaus' War was the chief concern of myself and my cabinet, but we are nearly rebuilt. The Four Year Plan I co-authored with the Minister of Economics continues to reap economic benefits which far exceed even pre-war figures. The dust has settled, and we have emerged stronger than ever. Very soon the Capilean people will once again look outward, instead of inward, and seek to expand their fortune, rather than maintain it.

FH: Without meaning to detract from the success of the reconstruction efforts you described, which have truly been miraculous, I would like to hear your perspective on the sacrifices, both personal and societal, which we made for victory in Klaus' War. Would you say we lost anything that cannot be recovered?

RWN: No. Although I am a realist, I am no pessimist. And truly I think that we have only gained from the war. We have certainly gained a more secure position for our nation. And that is not to denigrate those who gave sacrifices for our victory. As a veteran, I am well-acquainted with the feeling of emptiness that follows a personal loss.

We now turn to a subject which, I am sure, the Reichsleiter anticipated. The indescribably horrid deaths of his wife, daughter, and youngest son at the hands of German operatives and at the behest of the German kaiser occurred nearly two years ago, but I am still impressed by the collected candor with which Nemetz addresses the tragedy.
FH: And you suffered a deeply personal loss during the war. I would like to express my condolences for the death of your wife, Katherine, your daughter Astrid, and your son Wolfgang.

RWN: Thank you. I sincerely appreciate that their loss hasn't been forgotten. And I hope it never will be.

FH: Of course not. I hope I am not being insensitive by asking how your life has changed now that they have departed to heaven?

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RWN: It was not my privilege to grieve. Their loss came during the height of the war, and I had duties that subordinated the personal. But still I was profoundly affected. I still have my beloved son, Maximilian, and I am ineffably grateful for his presence. There are many punishments worse than death, I think, and having one's line snuffed out is one of them. It's a common theme in Germanic folklore for that reason; there is a sort of cosmic despair accompanying outliving one's family, being the last of a kind, that I cannot begin to understand. And so I am grateful for Max.

FH: Would you mind sharing any favorite memories of your family?

RWN: My wife and I enjoyed a tradition every evening with our children. She was a skilled pianist, even performing several concertos at Jesuiter Hall, and we had — have — a Steinway grand piano in the foyer. It's a magnificent instrument, the first thing every guest sees as he enters our home. Every evening, after dinner, Katherine would play for the children, who would sing. Astrid had a beautiful voice, and Wolfgang was no poor excuse for a tenor, either. There was something very idyllic about our tradition. It was essential domesticity. Bliss. It's something to which, I think, every man aspires. A beautiful and concordant family.

Although a single tear tracks down the Reichsleiter's cheek, he maintains a cheerful smile as he relates this touching memory of the family which was so needlessly torn away from him by foreign agents. Thankful for this story, I steer the conversation toward a gladder subject: Nemetz's surviving son, Maximilian, who recently graduated, top of his class, from Colditz Officer School. Now a lieutenant in the Stoßwehr's intelligence branch, Maximilian's close bond with his father has clearly been a source of strength for the Reichsleiter.
FH: Undoubtedly. Have you and Maximilian become closer following the tragedy?

RWN: Of course. We were always close, but now we more so than ever. I visit him at his station whenever I'm free from my duties, and he likewise.

FH: Do you hope that by joining the Stoßwehr your son will imbibe the same experiences you did?

RWN: No father can say that he wants his son to live through war. I wish we existed in a world where war wasn't necessary, and there is no good man alive who wishes otherwise. But war is simply a facet of human nature. An extension of the trophic pyramid. And if one does not give one's all for one's tribe, that tribe will be crushed, enslaved, and replaced by another. So I hope that Maximilian will benefit from whatever experiences he has in the same way I did. I hope they will prepare him for any future leadership role he undertakes.

Now I attempt to broach news which has been highly publicized over the last few days, that being the assassination of Akordanian government official Grigory Illyushovich Chernyshev.
FH: Digressing, could you address the situation which has been unfolding in Akordania? Were you aware of the decidedly anti-Capilean line Akordanian state presses have recently adopted, and if so, what is your response?

RWN: I mentioned earlier that a nation should hold fast to its allies in every case except that where doing so is detrimental to its own people. Evidently, the Akordanian government has decided that its alliance with us is detrimental to Akordanians. I would not begrudge this if the circumstances warranted such a decision, but they clearly do not. The Akordanian press is obsessing over the assassination of a minor government official, allegedly by Capilean nationals. Our intelligence services had no knowledge of plans to assassinate this functionary, and to accuse us of perpetrating such a misdeed is egregious.

Before I go any further, I would like to express my commiseration for the killed bureaucrat, Herr Chernyshev, and my condolences to his family and countrymen.

As for the situation itself, if fingers are to be pointed, I would level them not at our Reich, which has always maintained an open relationship with its allies, but at the European Continent. The kaiser and his underlings made clear their penchant for merciless covert operations during Klaus' War, a transgression which has obviously left scars on my heart. I would not be surprised to learn that German operatives have butchered another family under that tyrant's orders.

FH: So you believe that the assassination was a framing?

RWN: I will not make declarations without first having all of the relevant data. Our intelligence arms are already attempting to work with their Akordanian counterparts in order to determine the culprit and bring him to justice. But I would not be at all surprised if the order to kill Herr Chernyshev originated from Berlin.

FH: What is in store for the future of Capilean-Akordanian relations?

RWN: I certainly hope that this is only a minor bump in the road of our alliance. Akordanian aid greatly expedited our victory in Klaus' War, and I wish that the sinews of commerce, technology, industry, and military prowess would multiply and strengthen between us. But whether that future comes to fruition is a decision lying on a desk in Veroykne, not Saxtonburg.

FH: Other than the intelligence outreach you mentioned earlier, have you made any overtures to the Akordanian government regarding this incident?

RWN: Yes. I have offered President Yukashenko, a great leader for whom I hold inexpressible respect, the opportunity to bring his concerns to the discussion table and sort out this situation in person. I await a response from Veroykne.

The Reichsleiter's grim disposition brightens at the mention of Akordanian President Sergei Yukashenko. Over the last year the pair's relationship — evidently amicable judging by the recreational activities, such as boar hunting, in which they partook during state visits — has been widely reported as a symbol of the strengthening ties between the nations they governed, and it is clear by the Reichsleiter's glowing tone in what esteem he holds Yukashenko.
FH: Could you describe your working relationship with President Yukashenko?

RWN: It is not only a working relationship. I would go so far as to call Sergei my friend, and I hope he will extend me the same courtesy. He is one of only a few national leaders whom I admire. Whom I consider truly worthy for their posts. He is emblematic of the Akordanian culture and Akordanian values. A personification, almost, of his nation. He is a man of great strength and character, and I hope that our friendship will endure so long as we both live.

As my appointed time with the Reichsleiter grows thin, I decide to conclude with a general question which many readers might find of interest, and upon which Nemetz elaborated greatly.
FH: Lastly, you have been a father to three children. Is there any advice you would like to impart upon all the young fathers of the Reich?

RWN: Of course. Fatherhood is not easy, but it should not be daunting, either. I would encourage any young couples who are considering rearing children to do so. There is no greater duty one can perform for oneself or one's people than to start a family. Now that Reich programs sponsored by the Marriage and Family Office are in full effect, there are reliable support systems available for parents which will prevent poverty from ever impeding the growth of young families.

As for being a father, one must strike a balance between patience and sternness. Flexibility and rigidity. There is a time to wave your hand and say "Boys will be boys," and there is a time to raise your voice and send your children to their rooms without dinner. You must be an authority without being a tyrant. You must be understanding without being permissive. Knowing how to strike that balance is a skill honed by experience. I can't express it in words. But the end result is worth every drop of effort you expend. That idyll I described earlier, with the piano — that is all a man could ever want.

FH: Thank you for your time, Herr Reichsleiter.

RWN: It was a pleasure.

The Reichsleiter walked me to the door, speculating affably on CSC's chances next season as we went. The piano dominating the parlor took on a new hue in my mind at my second viewing, and I was suddenly humbled with the realization of just how much personal information Nemetz had deemed me, and by extension the world, worthy of knowing. Shaking my hand on the threshold and wishing me and my wife a good day, Walther Nemetz watched me depart his castle. I wonder now how few outsiders will ever have the privilege of entering it, and consider myself lucky to have procured such an insight into the enigmatic, yet undeniably brilliant, mind of the Reichsleiter.
Florian Henning, Political Correspondent for DER SIEGER
Last edited by The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile on Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

User avatar
The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
Senator
 
Posts: 4686
Founded: Jul 12, 2015
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:49 pm

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Table of Contents
1. Akordania: Friend or Foe? Part I of III
by Professor Gunnar Gute
In this month's feature, Prof. Gute begins his long-awaited dissection of what some within our circles have called "the Akordanian question."
2. The Sport of Supermen
by Doctor Sven Gabelbart
Organized exercise is critical to improving the vitality of our nation's youth — and health expert Dr. Gabelbart cannot recommend this water sport enough.
3. Speechcraft
by Professor Reynard Lovejoy Wilder
In this issue of Prof. Wilder's monthly column, he addresses the lost literary device of the kenning.
4. The White Man's Burden
by Professor Norman Lucius
Prof. Lucius addresses the controversial topic of Reich intervention in Africa.

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Gunnar Gute is a Professor of History, Folkloristics, Linguistics, and Anthropology at the University of Colditz, where he serves as Director of the Hans Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology and Eugenics. He is the author of Ancient Aryans: The Lost Mythology and An Anthropological Catalogue, as well as the recipient of the Ducal Minor Prize for Science, a fellow of the National Capilean Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a second-class member of the Reich Order of Scientists.
There has been much talk as of late over a trivial incident which transpired last month in the Republic of Akordania. I had already been preparing a treatise on that nation's people, and current events have conspired to make it the focus of my writing for the next three months. Context given, let us determine whether Akordania is a friend or foe.

You have noticed that this is only the first of three parts; for, in order to come to an adequate conclusion to this "Akordanian question," we shall need to assess in full the character of the republic. Thus I take you now to the root of any nation: its people.

The term "Slav" broadly (or originally) refers to a linguistically, rather than strictly ethnically, related collection of peoples, whose languages are believed to have diverged from Proto-Indo-European as early as 2,000 B.C. — providing for approximately 4,000 years of ethnogenesis separate from the Aryan peoples. While it is impossible to know the characteristics of the Proto-Slavs, Ancient Roman sources record their frequent confederation and mingling with the Scythians — a notably Aryan culture whose warriors often exceeded six feet in height and whose hair and eyes were recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus as "somewhat yellow" and "frighteningly fierce," respectively — and the much less eugenic Huns, Ugrians, and Tartars, who heavily polluted the Slavic genome. Later Roman sources records the Slavs as retaining the European characteristic of great height, but as "ruddy" in complexion; their personality is wholly barbarous.

The next greatest admixture occurs in the 9th century AD, when the Varangians established suzerainty over the Slavic tribes in present-day Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Akordania. The Varangians were vikings of Norman and Dane stock, who suffused the Slavs with the lifeblood that would sustain them into the Middle Ages. These conquering Germanics built churches, monasteries, schools, great cities, and indeed the very foundation of Russia. Unfortunately they were subsumed by their subjects within one century, and while they imbued the Slavs with a Nordic strain, it was soon overshadowed by the arrival of the Mongols. From 1237 to c. 1480 — nearly a quarter of a millennium — the invading Mongols ruled at least some portion of European Russia. The genetic damage inflicted during this period is incalculable, but we can be certain by the broad-faced, narrow-eyed, decidedly un-European look of the modern Slav that its consequences are still felt today. In fact, Russian scientist Vladimir Nuzhny found in the early 2000s that approximately 50% of Muscovites have Mongol admixture. Thus the Slavs were doubly Mongolized.

The remainder of Eastern Europe's history is a tidal ebb and flow of various ethnic groups, although the prevailing element is always non-Germanic in nature. Germanics are, like blood transfused to a dying anemic, periodically injected into the Slavs, such as during the rule of the Teutonic Order over the Baltic area. Whenever a Russian makes a great achievement, it is nearly always that he is in actuality a Germanic, or that his achievement can be traced to one. Many of the most renowned "Russian" statesmen, strategists, artists, and intellectuals were, in actuality, Germanics: Pushkin, Bering, Theremin, Fonvizin, Fabergé, the Romanovs, and countless more. But even more telling than these individual examples are the historical figures.

The centuries-long taming of Russia subsequent to Peter the Great's reforms are truly understated in Western history, comparable to the settling of the American frontier. And, naturally, this feat — the transformation of desolate steppes into endless valleys of wheat and great cities — was not accomplished by the Slavs, the sedentary Tartar tribesmen, for whom no title is more suitable than serf, but by Germans. The very idea of Peter the Great's westernization was inspired solely by the industriousness of the German merchants of Moscow, and it was they who carried out the deed. Nine of thirteen administrators of the Academy of Economy Peter established were German, as were 60% of its fellows and, until 1914, half of its presidents. The efficacy of Germanic blood was recognized by Peter and his successor Catherine the Great — a native of Stettin herself — who recruited Germans to Russia en masse with targeted immigration policies. As we move into the 19th century, we find that the first five Ministers of Finance of the Russian government were German, as was 57% of the Russian diplomatic corps, 22% of the imperial council, 70 to 90% of St. Petersburg's pharmacists and doctors, and a significant portion of the officer corps.

But Germanics did not only occupy the upper echelons of society; as I alluded, they forged the very nation. Over 1,100 German colonies were established in the Volga and Black Sea regions by 1890, spanning at least 5.5 million hectares. German settlements produced 90% of exported grain between 1856 and 1860 and a sixth of the total wine product. By 1911, 140 German-owned and -operated factories had been established in the country, amounting to a quarter of total Russian industry. A Russian officer observed in 1863 that the German colonists "are our Americans that turn the deserted steppe into glorious villages with gardens and meadows, our capitalist farmers that become richer every year, that occupy more and more land to give it even more value and to excessively raise the price of their work due to an exceptional demand. They are marked by the complete conviction of the necessity of their work, the simplicity of their lifestyle that nearly reaches a stoicism, the awareness of the social advantage of mutual support and the duty for the government."

That was until the anti-Germanic pogroms and purges beginning with the First World War and amplified tenfold by the Jewish-dominated Bolshevik Revolution — a topic for another article — which successfully expunged the Germanic spirit and strain from Russia. Yet, despite the current lack of any significant Germanic character, it is certain that the cornerstone of Russia was built by Germans — the very name, Russia, is Germanic in origin.

There is the ethnogenesis of Slavs, laid bare: an amalgamation of Asiatic tribesmen — whose physical features and mental barbarity remain dominant in the Slavic genotype — conquered and elevated from the depths of tribality by a singularly Germanic strain. Any good which has come out of Slavs can be attributed solely to that Germanic shade — remove it, and all that remains is a crude steppe people, possessed of the un-beauty of the Mongol but not his guile, the un-intelligence of the Tartar but not his ferocity: a Frankensteinian monstrosity of a race.

And, just as the monster of Frankenstein turned upon its creator, are we right to suspect a betrayal from our Slavic ally?

In next month's issue, I shall address the Akordanian nation in particular.
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Doctor Sven Gabelbart is a former professional rower and national and silver Olympic champion, stroking the Capilean coxed eight which placed second after Canada in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He is presently a medical doctor and guest lecturer at the Nordfuß Institute of Medicine.
What is the sport of our ancestors?

One might suggest swimming, wrestling, or boulder tossing — all favored pastimes of the Vikings; but I would put forward my own passion: rowing.

It is true that Vikings did not recreationally row (or that they are not recorded as doing so, anyway); rather, rowing was part and parcel of their lives. From the humble faering to the mighty longship, Vikings relied upon rowed vessels to navigate the fjords and treacherous ice fields of their homeland. An oar was the implement of both the daily fishing trip and the epic reaving voyage, the facilitator of transport and conquest, more essential to the Viking way of life than even the axe. And we can still follow in their footsteps today.

The modern sport of rowing bears many similarities to its ancient Viking forebear. There is only one column of rowers rather than two abreast, but the stroke — the oarsmen nearest the stern, who sets the pace of the boat — the coxswain, and even the oar remain essentially unchanged. Rowing boosts the cardiovascular system, works 86% of muscles in the body (rather than, as many believe, the arms alone), and makes extraordinarily fit and healthy men, all without putting undue strain on the joints.

Additionally, there is an undeniable connection between the spirit and the body while rowing. Imagine yourself alone astride a boat in the middle of a placid lake, your mind perfectly attuned to your center of balance. With every stroke, your brain and body unite to guide your movements, so that you glide dreamlike over the water. Now you have a sense of what it is like to row outdoors; it can be a meditative experience, enhanced, no doubt, by the endorphin release elicited by rowing.

At other times, rowing can be a fiercely competitive sport. Team boats require, at most, nine individuals to fuse into a cohesive unit in order to wrest victory. Each must place utter faith in every one of his comrades, trusting that they will follow in time and commit every ounce of their energy to the team's effort. In addition to the camaraderie and brotherhood integral to rowing, the position of coxswain creates a common authority and sense of respect in every boat, making the sport an excellent choice for teenage boys who need a relative example of hierarchy and structure.

Ultimately, the oar, while it may no longer be linked with the sword, remains the tool of physical and mental self-improvement; I would advise all with access to bodies of water, no matter their ages, to join or found rowing associations, so that the sport of supermen may survive to another generation.
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Reynard Lovejoy Wilder is a Professor of Linguistics at Reich University Quassdorf and monthly columnist for Blut und Boden. He is the author of German and English: Brother Tongues.
This month's lost part of English is the kenning. As a literary tool it saw much use in Old Norse and Anglo Saxon poetry, but, aside from Beowulf, most modern English speakers will never meet it.

Put simply, the kenning is a potted metaphor. It replaces a definite noun — for byspel, sea — with a figurative compound — for byspel, swan-road. At first glance, the kenning likely seems hopelessly aged or belabored to modern readers — and, indeed, naming the sea as a swan-road in natural speech is pretentious. But, especially in poetry or even fiction, the kenning shines. It is a handy type of figurative language; whereas simile and metaphor often become confusing and unwieldy in long constructions, the kenning is both simple and thought-provoking, more effective for the writer and more pleasing to the reader. After all, it cannot be denied that a mythological style is lent to one's work when one refers to the sun as heaven's gem.

A few kennings often used by our Saxon and Norse forefathers are:
  • For battle: "spear-storm," "sword-quarrel," "wolves' feast," "Odin's blizzard," "game of iron"
  • For blood: "battle sweat," "raven wine"
  • For heart: "house of valor," "power stone"
  • For poetry: "Odin's wine"
  • For ship: "wave-steed"
  • For sky: "land of stars," "storm vat," "moon-road"
  • For weapon: "battle-thorn," "wound-scythe"
But the real fun is in updating these terms of yore for our modern language, and coining our own kennings. The kenning offers boundless potential; it is far easier for many writers, myself included, to think up a two-word kenning than a bloated, twenty-word metaphor. Instead of taking a paragraph to describe the riders in your novel crossing a valley, write that their horse-ships bore them over the green waves of a clover-sea; when you next struggle for the words to describe the arrow that strikes your warrior, write that a wood-wasp shatters the wall of his bone-house.

If nothing else, the kenning is a good exercise of the mind. Try using one in your next piece.
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Norman Lucius is a Professor of History and Ethnology at the University of Colditz, a fellow of the Reich History Society, and author of The Wages of Imperialism, to be published this December.
Until the beginning of Klaus' reign, Capile was mired in the affairs of the Dark Continent.

The amount of money, man-hours, and blood we spent, first to conquer East Africa; then to civilize it, to drain its swamps and clear its forests and build the metropoleis it now boasts; then to maintain it, to cudgel every revolutionary and separatist among the natives; and finally to extricate ourselves from it, to prop up puppet states and satellite governments, to retain its resources, its uranium and gold, while disencumbering ourselves of its policing and defense, is immeasurable.

And now there is fervent discourse of plunging back into Africa.

A thousand reasons are invoked: the Capilean people need space to roam and flourish; the military and the industrial complex require materials which can no longer be peacefully procured; the ethnic Capilean populations of our former colonies face persecution and retribution at the hands of their new governments; those same governments present threats to the Reich itself. And all of these are stellar reasons — I shall refute none of them. I am unopposed to a reconquest of East Africa.

My quarrel lies with the rationale. In the past, not just in the duchy but all over Europe, there prevailed the sentiment that European imperialism in Africa was a humanitarian effort. That in exploring and taming the vast stretches of wilderness we were not claiming new territory for our empires, but establishing temporary settlements. The natives were to be converted, educated, elevated to the same status as Europeans, at which point they might manage their own affairs; and in the meanwhile the colonial resources might as well be harvested.

Even now, as this neo-colonialism becomes a topic of serious discussion in the Reich, the civilizing mission is adduced. "We must be careful to ensure," pontificated Claude von Schirach in last month's issue of Der Kavalier, "that the objective of any venture into Africa remain, as during the Ducal era, moral, agreeing with the Christian virtues of our people." Schirach went on to enumerate these Christian virtues, arguing that the natives must be uplifted rather than subjugated.

Yet Europe has tried that tack.

The wages of imperialism — specifically moral, civilizing imperialism — are woe for all peoples involved, as I explain in my book of the same title. It is a path leading to mongrelization, reversed imperialism, and eventual racial warfare, as exemplified best in South Africa and Brazil, the end states of every multi-racial society. But one need only look at the major cities of any Western European nation, whether London or Malmö, to see firsthand the ghastly dues the imperialists are paid.

Let us then have no pretenses about our campaign into Africa. Nations live by war — this I have explained many times in the pages of this magazine — so let us have war. Let us reconquer the coast of Africa, extract whatever resources and claim whatever lands we need, by the sword. Let us be colonizers. But found these colonies for Capile, not for civilization. We must conquer these lands for our people, not to liberate the natives from themselves. Let us not be imperialists.
For a full treatise on this subject, pre-order Prof. Lucius' book, The Wages of Imperialism, from Volkramm Press at the following web address:
http://www.volkrammpress.com
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer


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