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G-Tech Corporation
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Founded: Feb 03, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby G-Tech Corporation » Mon May 20, 2019 5:27 am

Part 3, Chapter 3: Bonds of Ink and Words


May 20th, 10 AG

"Who comes to swear the oaths?"

The herald's voice rang out somewhat muffled in the low, smoke-choked room, but it was clear enough. A few moments passed as we waited for the hubbub of speech from the galleries to dwindle away to nothingness, then the rejoinder came.

"I am Hamleth, son of Halas, of the Kindred of the Jerod. I come to swear the Great Oaths."

The herald nodded, and stepped back, and then it was my turn to speak. My voice was somewhat parched with the oily smoke of the braziers - whatever wood they burnt around here to drive off the spring insects wasn't overly pleasant for men - but it was clear enough when it reverberated into the hewn-wood chamber at the heart of Junction.

"Hamleth, son of Halas, of the Kindred of the Jerod. The oaths you come to swear are not easily discarded. They will ward you, warm you, and guide you, but all men will know of their swearing. Take counsel in your heart. I ask now, as High Arbiter of the Imperium - who comes to swear the oaths?"

It was tradition, or as near as a tradition could be in this savage land. Instructing the inductees with the call and response only took a few hours, but the solemnity of the process was a sort of pageantry that the wild folk of both south, north, and east took very seriously. Before me the scarred bent man visibly considered for a few moments, perhaps playing up his decision for some of his followers who had made the journey - but then he spoke anew, voice still stern and clear.

"I am Hamleth, son of Halas, of the Kindred of the Jerod. I come to swear the Great Oaths."

Formally, of course, the Oaths of Rule were little different than the Oaths of Conduct. It wasn't my idea to call them the Great Oaths. That was just a name that had stuck, and the reason listeners would never hear me refer to them as such. But if it made those who swore them treat them with a degree of care, even reverence, that was hardly a bad thing. So I didn't bother to correct the wizened patriarch, and merely continued with the ceremony.

"Your coming is seen, Hamleth, son of Halas. I am Viktor Nemtsov, High Arbiter and Hegemon of the Imperium of Man, by the grace of God. I am come here today to hear you swear your oaths. What will you promise to me, and the folk to which you now join your strength?"

Seats in the gallery creaked. At my side a scribe readied a nib, a crude thing which leaked, but the records would show the swearing at least in some amount of detail. The seat of the Hall of Justice where I sat was on a small raised dais, only high enough to let the man who sat within it look down a few inches into the eyes of most petitioners. It had not been my desire for those who sat in judgment to tower over the accused, primarily because the Hall would often be used for functions other than matters of law. But today I looked down on the chieftain in truth, so bent with age was he.

"Before the assembled witnesses, I swear the first Oath - the Oath of Guard. I promise, before men and gods, to be a shield for those in my care, be they of my kindred or of any other kindred who also hold the oaths. To guard them, to guide them, and to hold them from harm both from the wickedness of men's hearts, and the malice of those in the wilderness."

I nodded. It was well said. He sounded like he meant the charge. That was always the easiest oath for men to agree to, for it marched much with what tribal chieftains and the leaders of little polities already owed to their people, knowing or unknowning. I rapped the staff in my hand on the floor with an echoing boom, and then intoned my response.

"I have heard you swear the Oath of Guard. I also swear to you now that the armies of the Imperium will themselves be a shield unto you, to aid you in your task, and that there shall not be a day when you do not know this protection is near at hand. May your people always live without fear."

Some of the fur-wearing warriors that had accompanied the Jerod leader glanced from one to another at those words. It was a large part of the reason many clan fathers agreed to take the oaths - there were few who lived within even a long month's ride of the towns held by the Imperium who had not heard of the steel-clad warriors, men forged of the bones of the hills who no warrior could slay, who killed with the whisper of death from afar. And that was as it should be. Military supremacy was a fundamental premise of law and order, the monopoly of violence held by the state. It was a monopoly I also sought to exercise, within the vales and leagues the Germanics now held.

"Before the assembled witnesses, I swear the second Oath - the Oath of Law. I myself, and those of my kindred who I speak for, shall place ourselves under the Law. To follow its precepts in our hearts, to accept the dictates of good conduct within the Imperium and without, to be bound by the judgement of the Arbiters and Justices if we are ever found wanting. I swear to yield myself up for trial if such is the decision of the Lawkeepers, and that I and mine shall abandon revenge as an instrument of justice, trusting instead in the Law."

There were strange words in there in the Jerodian cant, loanwords from Common which had had to be adopted to make the oath. Even the concept of justice was one that didn't have an exact analog in most primitive languages, I had found, but the village elder trotted out the phrases naturally enough, all things considered. It was, in some ways, the more difficult of the oaths - easy to swear, but many men had fallen short when it came time for the upholding of the oath. I understood it, really; but that was the terrible burden of justice - to forgo what was easy, and pursue instead what was righteous. Men would war within themselves when asked to give up family members who had committed crimes, to put away their spears and deliver lawbreakers over for justice instead of exacting a satisfying but unjust revenge. It was an ideal, though, and so one I endeavored to hold the men who swore it to.

Down the iron rod came again, twice more echoing out into the stillness of the Hall.

"I have heard you swear the Oath of Law. I also swear to you now that justice will be given to your people in full measure - impartial, wise, and fair to all men, great and small. I furthermore espouse to you the right of appeal to even myself, in the pursuit of justice. My hall shall never be dark, nor its doors barred, if you feel you have been wronged by your brother."

There was little comment at those words, though perhaps that was mainly because few understood how impartial justice strove to be. I had had to execute men who refused to let justices trained in fair Mara rule against their mighty men and chiefs in matters of gravest law, from manslaughter to rape. It was not a natural thing, truly, the law - to men who lived by might and bonds of kinship, treating those weaker than them or from another tribe or people as equals before the scales of justice was very strange. Alien, dangerous even. But it was a fundamental axiom, necessary for building a better world than that of brutish clannish nature. And so the inductees swore, though they did not, for certain, appreciate how that truth would be applied.

"Before the assembled witnesses, I swear the final Oath - the Oath of Fealty. If you have need of me and mine, our men shall march alongside the armies of the Imperium. If you have need of the goods of our lands, to serve the needs of the many - those we shall render freely. Being now a citizen and lord of the Imperium, I shall uphold its good name, and do my utmost to carry my responsibilities forward with character befitting of one endowed with the mantle of Rule."

Those were the summation of the bonds of order and trade which were the sinews of the Imperium. Fundamentally, the Oath of Fealty upheld the rights of taxation, recruitment, and so on, which were vital to the maintenance of law and order. Rarely would it be exercised in a full and stark manner, for I had yet to encounter a military presence which required more than a Great Company or two deployed to great their strength - but the premise was built into the Oaths of Rule for just such a day as when other stronger foes might be encountered, a guard against great need.

Three times I struck my staff against the floor now, and a smile was in my voice - it was done.

"I have heard you swear the Oath of Fealty. I also swear to you now that call upon what you possess shall never be made flippantly or without need, nor the lives of your kinsmen be spent needlessly. Go now, and be valorous - having heard the entirety of your oaths, I raise you as Firstman of the Imperium, to administrate the polity assigned to you. May your rule be just, and prosperous, before the light of Our Father."

That last section most who swore the Oaths barely noted, but it was of great importance to me. I ruled by divine providence, my fortune not my own. And save for the flourishing of wisdom and piety in the lands now sworn to the Imperium, that rule would turn to misrule and tyranny. It was a solemn prayer as much as a counterpart to the vow, in truth.

Hamleth, son of Halas, bowed low at the waist, and turned to the left. Away he walked towards a door set in the side of the Halls, to take the ink that would immortalize his words. Keen symbols, applied by sterile needle, marking his being bound by the Oaths. His followers would take different symbols, after they had sworn in turn the lesser oaths. A material record of name and bonds of fealty, stretching all the way from my high seat in Mara to the lowest of farmers in the fields of Romania. That was as it should be.

When the doors swung shut behind him, another man, this one a broad-shouldered warrior with hair cut wild about his face, entered the chamber at the rear from the antechamber.

"Who comes to swear the oaths?"

The herald's voice rang out strong and clear once more, and I settled myself in my seat. There was a long day of this ahead.
TG if you have questions about RP. If I don't know the answer, I know someone who does.

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Plzen
Negotiator
 
Posts: 7215
Founded: Mar 19, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Plzen » Mon May 20, 2019 9:30 am

I returned from my voyage to Mara with a head full of ideas and a heart full of concerns. On one hand, there were the more advanced arts and crafts I've seen in Mora that I thought I might be able to adapt back in Roskilde. Although I was not able to witness what I suspect are their superior metalworking techniques, there were simpler things. Water management and brick construction, to note a couple. Technology would, no doubt, inevitably spread northwards regardless of what I did, but I could always help it along a bit.

I could also imagine the vast wealth that could be gained through increased trade between our lands and Mara's.

What concerned me, on the other hand, was the evidently centralised and absolutist organisation of Mara and its rapidly growing sphere of influence. Regional autonomy was much higher in Norðurland than it was in Mara's little empire and although that was not necessarily a bad thing, it did mean that it was rather vulnerable to conquest and assimilation. What I also saw in Mara was the occasional sighting of Christian religious symbols, a possible sign of a cultural shift throughout the region.

I was - well, not a student, call me an enthusiast - of history. I am very keenly aware of what happens to less technologically sophisticated cultures that cannot get their act together against foreign influence. From the torch of Irminsul by the Carolingian Empire to the razing of the Peking Summer Palace, history is littered with stories of cultures being broken and crushed, to be remade in the image of, and for the social, political, and economic benefit of, their more powerful neighbours.

To put it mildly, I like Roskilde and our little northern alliance, and I would prefer my home not to be relegated to serving the role of pagans, natives, less developed nations, or whatever this particular era's term of choice is for those who live in the balance between civilisation and not-civilisation.

No later than the day after I set foot in Roskilde again did I start implementing some of the ideas that I've let float in my head during the voyage back north.

Although aqueducts and sewers are both impressive and useful, I eventually concluded that Roskilde, at least in the immediate future, needed neither. The groundwater wells supplied enough water for a town of 200, and would even if baths and irrigation became more common. Similarly, the town was small enough that the system of compost toilets that I established very early during my stay was quite sufficient in terms of waste management.

That being said, that didn't mean that there was no room for improvement in the village's water supply. Roskilde, like many other towns in its region, drew its water largely by scooping water up from a shallow groundwater well. Some, like nearby Næstved, had a well-defined wooden well while most, Roskilde included, simply had a hole in the ground. This was woefully inefficient.

I'd have liked to establish something similar to the hand-cranked lever pumps one still sees quite often in rural Korea, but it didn't take much tinkering for me to confirm that I simply lacked the level of precision in metalworking and manufacturing that I needed to create something like that. I eventually settled on a wooden bucket-pulley design.

Next was ensuring water quality. This was the easier step. I recalled building a simple filter of sorts in senior school, and although I didn't remember all the fine details, I doubted those fine details were the important part. Water would flow through layered sand, charcoal, soil, clay, then a sheet of cloth, before falling into a wide wooden bucket. I had no means of chemically testing water quality, of course, so I'm unsure of how effective my little system is, but the resulting water looked rather brighter... or perhaps that was just my imagination.

Then, of course, came the less tangible things.

Since almost nine years ago, when I first started keeping records, I've kept something akin to an updated census of Roskilde. Nothing terribly complex, just a log of dates and causes of births and deaths, but important in making sure that everyone is accounted for and that everyone is both giving and receiving their due. Now that Roskilde isn't an independent town of 200 but a part of an alliance of maybe 10,000, this isn't exactly practical for me to expand into other towns. I was just one person, and one person who was already starting to feel the strain of being the sole lawyer, engineer, scientist, and clerk in a growing polity with growing needs.

Through Raginaharjas, who inherited a seat among the elders of Roskilde after one of its members died during my voyage, I was able to push through some kind of basic educational plan. Covering basically every significant village or town on the island - Roskilde, Helsingør, Kalundborg, Næstved, Slagelse, Vordingborg, København, Ringsted, and Lejre - as well as a couple off it, we invited all interested parents to send their sons and daughters to a new building that was constructed for exactly this purpose near the centre of town once the harvest season was over.

Based on the tentative replies that the messengers brought back, I expect a first class - the class of year 9, going by their expected date of graduation - of hopefully 24 or 25 students, varying from someone probably in their mid-teens to someone with two children in their mid-teens. Although the lessons to be taught were basic, I deliberately avoided younger students. I doubted they'd be able to keep pace with the lessons.

I designed a relatively simple curriculum that I thought I should be able to teach over three winters. The subjects would be "fundamentals," which would cover basic literacy and numeracy. Enough to be able to do the kind of recordkeeping and arithmetic that one might need to manage a factory or order deliveries from a warehouse, "craftsmanship," which would cover the basics of the natural sciences - albeit laden heavily with philosophical and quasi-religious musings in place of hands-on experiments I had no ability to replicate - as well as engineering and practical wood- and metalworking skills, and finally "civics," including the differences in customs between the various parts of our increasingly extensive alliance, the terms of the Stjórnarskrá Norðurlands, and more modern views on legal, administrative, and humanist principles.

Then, for those who desire them, an additional, fourth winter of more advanced writing and mathematics.

Ideally, in a few years every village would have someone who can do what I do for Roskilde - record-keeping, law-speaking, engineering, and experimenting. Or perhaps I can keep them together and form something akin to a team, bouncing ideas off each other and dividing work. It took me years to go from an animal-skin boat to a wooden sailing ship. Perhaps in the future something of that magnitude would be something we can hack out in weeks.

A more literate and law-abiding population couldn't hurt in trying to improve the alliance's laws and administrative structure, either.
Last edited by Plzen on Mon May 20, 2019 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
Forward, my comrades, march to your stations,
Righteous and proud! Win, we most surely can.
This is a triumph of peace and of nations,
A dawn of friendship for all people of man!

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Hanafuridake
Senator
 
Posts: 3730
Founded: Sep 09, 2018
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Hanafuridake » Mon May 20, 2019 6:37 pm

Grace Kinoshita (9 years, 5 months)


Toyooka Palace, Hyōgo Prefecture


My eyes were still red from the past few days of sobbing. I sat, hoping that none of the ministers would notice, embarrassed that I had allowed myself to be incapacitated from grief. This was ridiculous. It took coaxing and comforting from Ruyanpe for me to actually get up and get out of my room, I had almost become an hikikomori again. “Onto matters of state,” I said, calling to the minister of war to rise. He did so, bowing his head as he rose. “What is the status on the war with the Western barbarians?”

“The first army is a fraction of what it used to be,” the Minister said with a grimace. I knew that what he said was not going to be pretty, but I wished he had been more optimistic in how he said it. “Several regiments are still struggling to reform, the loss of equipment has been hard to replace. The third and fourth regiments have requested more bowstrings.”

“Denied.” Susam replied without providing me time. “If I remember correctly, which of course I do, the third and fourth regiments performed poorly in the battle. They should not be rewarded for their incompetence.”

“It is a reward to provide troops with weapons to fight wars?”

“Let them forage and find material to make their own equipment.” Susam stated, the pudgy chief crossing his arms and reminding me of a certain blobbish alien from a prominent space opera. “That will teach them to better treasure equipment instead of behaving cravenly.”

The minister of war's eyes blazed in anger and his mouth twitched. “I won't allow the soldiers of our Empire to be insulted by a fat slob who can't wipe his own - ”

“That's enough.” I said, and the two immediately fell in line. As fun as it was to see my ministers fight, I knew it meant they could never conspire against me, I was in no mood considering my currently exhausted state. “The Minister of War makes an excellent point. The soldiers are fighting our war. I will not turn them against us by refusing to provide them equipment for petty vindictiveness. If you can't rise beyond such pettiness, Susam, I'll find another councilor who can.”

The old man gritted his teeth in displeasure but acquiesced. “Yes, Your Grace.”
Palace


It was little over an hour after the council had adjourned and I awaited Ruyanpe to return from wherever she was. The girl liked going hunting on her own, she must be in some rebellious phase where she didn't want me around. “Your Grace, I was hoping to have a word with you.” Susam greeted me, I faintly acknowledged him with a nod from my seat. Part of me felt the desire to throw the cup I had at him. He was a friend, but one that was liable to get on my nerves.

No, that wasn't anyway to act, I reminded myself. Susam was an old friend of mine, he had been with me from the start. I might not have even risen to defeat Resak and create the Empire were it not for him. He might be my minister now, and have grown too big for his britches (in both a metaphorical and literal sense) but he was still a trusted friend. “What is it my old friend?” I replied with a smile, managing to conjure some real warmness in my voice which he seemed to appreciate.

“I wanted to talk to you about an arrangement.” behind him his daughter, a girl who's name I couldn't remember, stood. She wasn't ugly by any means of the imagination, her face was heart shaped and her hair was in the bob cut that I adored. But she didn't look anything like Retar. “We know about your... proclivities, and your consort was killed many years ago. It would be our honor if Horkew served as her replacement.”

I didn't say anything, but the friendliness toward Susam had evaporated in a matter of seconds.

“I have loved you from afar for quite awhile, Your Grace.” Horkew announced, stretching her arm out like a proper maiden as she made a declaration of love for me. Her voice was... strange. Sweet yet there was another element that I couldn't describe. “I would be honored to be your wife.”

It did not take me more than a moment to respond. “No.” I stated, glaring at Susam with an annoyed glance that bordered anger.

He must have noticed how he had overstepped, but part of him seemed surprised that I had not taken him on the offer. “Of course, Your Majesty, I am sorry that the match was not to your liking.” he bowed and turned to walk away.

The room felt a lot warmer now. “Susam.” I said, my tone slow but dangerously rising. “We are old friends, you and I, but if you or anyone else ever talk about replacing Retar again, I'll carve out your eyes and serve them as dinner to the wolves.” he did not reply, but bowed sweatily and hastened to make his escape before I changed my mind. His daughter was much more confused but followed him.
Time traveling Heian princess trapped in the 21st century
Buddhist Nationalist, Pan-Asianist, Neo-Confucian, Economic Collectivist

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UniversalCommons
Minister
 
Posts: 2718
Founded: Jan 24, 2016
Left-Leaning College State

Postby UniversalCommons » Tue May 21, 2019 1:43 pm

Novirossyk Year 10 Month 6

Sitalkes had traveled with Hossia and a crew of men to Novirossyk. Zia was with him. They had come to trade for bronze, tea, cabbage, and rye. They were dealing with the Yamna tribesmen. Up on a hill not far from the ocean, there was a hill fort where people came to to trade. There was a farm with pigs and cattle, along with wheat, cabbage, and other vegetables.

The local nomads had come back bringing their sheep into pasture. Sitalkes saw a few horses among the nomads. He had the translator if he could buy horses. The translator told him that horses were not for sale. They belonged to the tribe and to travel back home, they would need the horse.

Sitalkes went into the center of town and spoke to to the warriors in the village. He asked if it was possible to challenge someone to combat for a horse, wrestling or boxing. He would offer prizes to those willing to fight him or Hossia. Zia was with him. Zia had grown old and a little bent and walked with a staff.

A drunken man came and challenged Sitalkes roaring about how he would pound Sitalkes into the ground. The guards took Sitalkes aside and said if he could take the man and his horses it would be a boon to Novirossyk.

Sitalkes fought the man with his fists, easily dodging the wild swings the man made with his fists and wearing him down. Eventually, the man fell to the ground losing. The mans brother showed up with several of his friends swearing to kill Sitalkes if he took the mans horses.

Sitalkes spoke to the translator, saying he would take the man with his two horses on the boat because he did not know how to tend horses. The mans brother challenged Sitalkes to a duel with a spear. Sitalkes picked up a heavy oak staff. The man charged Sitalkes and Sitalkes side stepped tripping the man sending him sprawling. He then beat the man soundly with his staff.

Sitalkes then tried to leave. The village warriors stopped him asking to prove himself against another warrior. He was given a wooden rod and shield and told to face off against a local warrior. There was a fury of blows where they blocked each other. Sitalkes used his greater strength to his advantage forcing the man backward and breaking the local warriors club. The warriors surrounded Sitalkes and asked what he would do. Sitalkes told the translator he would pay for the horses even though he had won them fairly with gold, copper and silver alloy jewelry, and wine for horses would mean much to Oak. There was a wild gleam in Sitalkes eyes. An older man walked up to the group of the warriors and whispered something in one of the warriors ears.

Sitalkes and Hossia were led into a stone building. A man stood up indicating to Sitalke's translator for Sitalkes to be silent. The translator listened to the speaker who speak briefly, "We have a problem with a group of men who have been raiding and stealing our cattle and pigs. We see you are a mighty warrior. You can have your horses if you solve our problem. We won't charge you anything if you can get rid of Boris One Eye."

They are led back outside. Sitalkes asks the translator, "Who is Boris One Eye?"

The translator, "Boris One Eye is the chiefs brother. They have an inheritance dispute. Their uncle left Boris in charge of another hill fort." We can get their in a day and a half if we walk.

Sitalkes moved the ships to a new location, a bay away from the settlement. They had two oxen to pull a cart with goods across the steppe. It was slow and steady travel across flat steppe land. It took them two days to reach Abinsk. It had a slightly larger hill fort than Novirossysk. People came out of the fort. They had not had foreign visitors in many years. An old man with one eye and several warriors came out to greet Sitalkes and Hossia. There were a dozen warriors in horse drawn two wheeled carts watching them as well as some men on top of the wall with bows.

The old man with one eye spoke to the translator. "Welcome strangers. Abinsk has not seen barbarians in many years. Why are you here?"

Hossia speaks to the transalator, "We are here to trade for horses. We have brought goods for trade."

The old man, "Your oxen pulling the four wheeled cart are of interest to us. We would have a look at what is inside the cart."

Hossia speaks to the translator, "You may look and see what we have to trade."

Some of the warriors look at what is inside the cart. They are intrigued by some brass mirrors and vessels. The other trade goods don't seem to interest them.

The old man, "I am Boris One Eye chief of my tribe, we will trade you horses for this metal and your ox cart. We have not seen an oxen pull a cart before and the design of the cart is new. The oxen look very strong, built for plowing and pulling carts. Please tell me more of where you are from and why you have come here."

Sitalkes speaks to the translator. The translator says, "This is Sitalkes of Oak, and Hossia of Nubia, they have come far seeking to trade so they can bring wealth to Oak. Trade brings prosperity and we wish all involved to have prosperity, good farmland, and plenty."

Boris One Eye, "We will trade four horses for the cart, the bullocks and all that is in it."

Hossia speaks to the translator. The translator, "Can one of your men come with us so that we may learn to handle the horses."

Boris Oneye, "I would like one of your men to stay to show us how to handle the ox cart. In that case, one of my men, Leonid seeks to see the world and travel. Boris One Eye, "We would escort you to your ship. We fear that my brother might take what we have offered you."

Sitalkes and Hossia speak to the translator, "This offer of four horses is good for us. We would prefer that they be two female horses and two male horses. We would welcome an escort. Your brother told us about you.'

Boris Oneeye, "I did not realize that. You have shown restraint. My brother wishes me dead. We will bring more warriors."

They stay at Abinsk that night and have dinner with Boris One Eye who uses some of the spices for the dinner that night of roast fowl, tubers, and wine. During the night, one of Boris's men slips out.

In the morning, they set out for the cove where Sitalkes men are waiting. Half way to the cove they are met by a war party in horse carts. One of the carts comes forward ahead of the others challenging Sitalkes. "Foreigner you would parlay with bandits and take our horses. I as the champion of Novirossysk challenge you to single combat."

The translator calls out, "I accept."

Sitalkes draws his sword and takes up his shield. They meet between the two groups of warriors. They exchange blows back and forth. Then Sitalkes uses his shield to punch the man, but the shield is blocked. They began to meet each others blows left and right, up and down looking for weaknesses in each others skill. Sitalkes can see none so he closes with the man trying to get inside the larger mans guard tangling him up so they both fall on the ground.

His opponent manages to disentangle himself, but they both have lost their shields. Sitalkes notices that the larger man begins to tire, his running on the sand daily is helping him. He tries to outmanever the larger man going left and right, probing for openings. For a second the larger man falters and Sitalkes swings his sword breaking the mans sword hand so he can no longer hold his blade.

Boris One Eye calls out, "Your champion can no longer fight. Do the honorable thing and leave the battlefield. There is no point fighting brother against brother."

The men from Novirossysk turn and leave the battlefield. The chief calls out, "I will not forget this Sitalkes, you are a traitor and did not keep your word." Sitalkes and Hossia board the boat with four horses and a man named Leonid.

They will first go to Varna where they will pick up supplies. Then they will sail back to Oak with horses. Victor Spear asks if they ride horses. Leonid describes how they hitch horses to carts. They fight from the carts with axes, spears, and bows.

Population Growth

With improvements in farming, fishing, and trading came some population growth. Four smaller settlements began to form along the river. The two settlements closer to sea were fishermen and traders and the two settlements further up the river were farming settlements. With trade new forms of fishing had been introduced including net fishing, line fishing with hooks, octopus traps, and fish traps.

The Laboratory at Oak.

Victor Spear looked over the device he had made with the help of several woodworkers in the crafting district. It was a round wheel with rope drive attached to a pair of wood and bronze pedals. The woodworkers had already figured out enough to make it into a lathe to work on wood. He had also wanted to try it out as a grindstone as well. There were several people gawking at the new device.

People were fascinated by the device. A few craftsmen took it apart and made a hand crank with it for the well to lift water.

Victor Spear had dreamed of a potters wheel and foot pedals several nights before. This had somehow reminded him of when he rode a bicycle as a child. It was enough for him to decide to try and make a pedal device.

They had learned to make some more substances using the stills. They could make inexpensive lamp oil, alcohol for cooking, and alcohol for cleaning. The alcohol and lamp oil burned cleanly. They set up some lamps near the gates.

The messenger service and pigeons were popular with the local population. It encouraged more people to learn to read and write.

An Encyclopedia of Plants and Animals

For eight years, they had been collecting information on the plants and animals of Oak. They had filled 12 volumes of papyrus with notes and writings. It was a large set of books on plants and animals, but it was disorganized. Den, Penelope, Victor Spear, and several other people were interested in the contents, but it was hard to find things. The Council of the Wise had met. They had assigned a group to reorganize the contents. Den was to lead the group with help from others to make a comprehensive guide book to plants, the natural world, and animals.

The Math Project
From studying and compiling mathematical knowledge new ideas began to form on how to measure the volume of a cylinder, cube, or cylinder. How to make domed ceilings and arches. A small group formed to discuss mathematics at the market where they would sit around in the evenings playing senet and the Royal Game of Ur.

Lists from Mesopotamia

Victor Spear had received many lists of different items from Nippur and Nineveh. They covered subjects like plants, minerals, botany, tableware, dogs, human organs, names and other things. There were lists of all kinds of things. He encouraged the lists to be translated, put in numerical or alphabetical order, then have their contents edited and expanded. The lists became short guide books on all kinds of subjects where no information was before. The beginnings of folk taxonomies to describe animals, plants, and different subjects were forming.

The lists sparked ideas on where to find different materials like soda ash, ferns, volcanic ash, gypsum and other substances. They discovered where to find rocks that stick together allowing for the first compasses and magnets, add volcanic ash to mortar to make it stronger, and improve soap. They also gave ideas on where to seek items like bronze mirrors, combs, toothpaste, knick knacks, and other curiosities.
Last edited by UniversalCommons on Sun May 26, 2019 1:00 am, edited 6 times in total.

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New Arcadius
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Founded: Jun 05, 2013
New York Times Democracy

Postby New Arcadius » Sun May 26, 2019 12:25 am

Gaukhar Erzhanova

Year 1, Month 1, Day 1

Chapter 1 - What's Coarse, Rough, Irritating, and gets everywhere? Sand.




The sounds of a desert, the sounds of whispering winds that had came about to my ears. A sour interrupt to my god damned eyes. Has the sun already come out or something? On my side, I try to reach out towards my blanket, but noticed there was something missing. I rolled a bit and tumbled slightly, but landed on my face. Sand came into my mouth as I spit, opening my eyes.

"Wait... sand?"

I glanced down at the slope that I fell a bit from. "Wait... a slope?" I used my other hand, grasping the sand, wondering what in the hell happened? My entire hair was sandy, and so was my body.

"What in the name of..."

What happened? This did not at all, looked like my dorm in Riverside. Hell, none of this looked like Riverside. The loud noises of cars, the occasional planes that would pass by to Ontario International, all of that... nowhere to be seen, nor heard. All I heard, was the eeire, yet peaceful sounds of sand pass by.

I stood, slowly, getting a good look at where I was from all angles. In no way shape or form I could believe any of this was real. This had to be some sort of dream or something. My throat felt thirsty from the feeling of this place, even more so than usual. Riverside got hot, but this? This was extreme heat, even hotter than back at my home in Kazakhstan. However, if there was one thing I had to comment... I took a deep breath in and exhaled. The air, it was pure. None of that crap I breathed back at home. No, it was pure oxygen. It just did not had any feeling of substance to it. I probably exhaled a huge amount of chemicals I had from back at home, but who knows how long I had it out for? It was extremely strange, yet it was easy to breath! It was unbelievable, strange, yet refreshing. For a moment, I felt at ease. Everything was alien, made my blood rush a bit more than usual, but yet... I took it in a bit more.

I begun to move after the moment passed, to take a bit more of a look around. There was a higher dune I could see. Currently, all around me, was a sea of sand as far as the eye can see. No vehicles, no anything. Not even a camel. This was a weird desert. I kept walking to the higher dune, which took me a good five minutes. Damn it was so high... but when I reached the top, I had a good view of everything. To my left however, I saw an oasis. Finally, I was getting thirsty. Some salvation would be nice, perhaps there is a community with Wi-Fi that could help me find out where the hell I am, and get me a plane home. Maaaybe some clothes as well. I don't know, anything would be nice now.



I begun my trek towards the oasis, hoping to find some sort of habitation. But I was so thirsty, and hungry as well, that survival was more or less jogging my mind, bringing me back to my primal instincts. I need this, even though I didn't really felt any change since the first moment I showed up in this strange place. The strangeness continued however, as I approached the oasis. The area itself had no trashbags, no anything of that sorts. Usually, I would see some plastic along the floor from some idiots who were inconsiderate, and throw it in the trash. I would see something that would resemble a piece of garbage, picking it up, and noted it was a date fruit from a palm tree above. I was feeling hungry, stomach making a light growl. It might fulfill my hunger for now...

The peaceful sounds of birds around the area, as well as the desert sands blowing a bit, with maybe a sound of an ostrich to the distance was breathtaking. Being disconnected from society once more felt so nice, but even still, I need to get home somehow. I just don't know how long I had been sleeping, I could very well go on probation if I don't do anything about it. I kept walking around, looking at the date fruits on the ground, eating them. Oddly enough, I didn't taste anything disgusting mixed with it, other than the occasional dirt and sand that was in it, but that was it. Maybe some insect gnawing and germs, but it didn't feel like I was going to throw up or anything. The lack of gum spores, chemicals, anything. It was... oddly satisfying. Plus, the dates didn't tasted like modified crap that I would eat back at home. No, these dates were the freshest, most natural I had ever tasted. So sweet... so delicious.

I would feel a wet splash against my foot as I approached the shore of the Oasis. The crisp, cold water covered my sandy slightly suntanned foot, as I looked down at the oasis shore. I took a moment to look around to ensure that there was no sign warning me not to drink out of a death trap, for oh boy, had I never seen that sign before. But oddly, there was no such sign... What made it weirder, was that the water actually looked like water. It wasn't colored weirdly, but it was colored like actual water. The surprises still do not stop as I was amazed to see the lack of trash bags or any sort of crap that people would drop, much like earlier. Either, this place is super sanitized, or, I just fucking died in my sleep... But that wouldn't be possible. I was still breathing, moving, and I didn't felt any other thing trying to disturb me from my sleep. No disruption indications such as a plane coming in... nothing. This was beginning to creep me out even further, but yet also, spark my curiosity even further.

"Okay Gaukhar... just calm down... take a drink of water, and wash your face..."

I begun to bend down on my knees, and leaned into the water, and splashed my face with it. Goodness gracious... That felt good. Even better than the shower I go in every single morning. I took a drink of the water, and... by Allah\s Grace, the best water I had ever drank in my life. There was no way that this was real. It didn't taste like I was going to pass out and end up in the hospital, I didn't taste any disgusting chemicals... it tasted like water. I drank more and more of it as I enjoyed the pure taste of it. I didn't care if it probably had animal piss in it or something, it was the best god damned water in the world!

For about an hour, I bathed inside of the water, removing all the sand and grit from my body, maybe drinking a bit more of the water. I felt extremely refreshed, and felt more motivated to continue my journey to find someone to help me. But I grew more curious, and kept walking around the oasis to look around. It was until I found something... weird. A man-made object, which was a salt grinder. I looked at it for a bit before hearing something rustling around in one of the reed bushes. I looked quickly and breathed a bit.

I quietly kept walking, feeling a bit panicked. It was something I never thought I'd felt, but the fear was in me, even though outside, I kept on my serious look, trying to remain calm and calculated. The place begun to look more like a small village or tribe of sorts. The evident mudbrick housing was a hint of sort, but I also saw some thatched housing that was made from dried straw of some sort, and some palm fronds from the oasis. But the biggest thing I had noticed, was that there was people here. But the people didn't look modern in particular, rather... primitive. They were dressed in light clothing, loin clothes namely and some of the women had a light dress but didn't covered their breasts. The people were glaring at me as I heard all the chatter stop, people who were working, ceasing what they were doing just to take a look at I.

They looked at me with fear in their eyes, most of them being far shorter than I was. I glanced at them, confused on why the fear until hearing the rustles emerge, hunting bows wear heard drawn from the hunters who apparently returned from their trip hunting ostriches pointing them at me... and spears drawn. Visible shaking was coming from the frightened villagers.

"W-who... what are you doing here, strange looking giant?!" one of the spearmen asked.

They seem to have spoke in some kind of ancient language that sounded strange... but oddly, my brain was perceiving it as they were asking who I was?... I naturally responded to what he asked.

"Wait! I come in peace! All I ask is if anyone has a phone so I can get to a nearby airport to get back home-"

I stopped talking as I... spoke their language fluently?! Okay, THIS was REALLY strange. I had NEVER spoke this language. EVER in my life. This weirdness made my cheeks fluster in absolute red in complete shock. The villagers who had their weapons out were talking among themselves, and even the others who were looking were shocked that this supposed "Giant" can speak their language as if they were apart of their people for years. The spearman who spoke earlier still had his spear pointed.

"You understand us?... W-what tribe are you from? And what is a phone?... And an airport? D-don't you mean an air tight pot or something?"

Shit... I was really screwed now. I was asked what I meant by this. Clearly, talking to a primitive people and understanding their language must be something that the boys back home would really enjoy hearing. It was as if I was super high from a hookah or something.

"Tribe?... What tribe? I live in a place known as America, had you ever heard of it? How can you not know what a phone and airplane is? Just where are we anyways?"

Okay, now this was getting more awkward. Not only I made up a few new words in their language, but now they were even more confused of my origins. They kept looking at eachother, but they seem to have calmed down a bit with the weapons.

"All I ask is if I can stay the night or something. Maybe take me to a nearby city to get me home? By the way, I have a name, it's Gaukhar, not 'Giant'"

Those words seem to have calmed them down even further. The spearmen that were on my back lowered their weapons, and the hunters also begun to lower their bows and pick back up their ostriches and went to what seems to be their tent. The people who were working on their craft continued, slowly gazing their eyes away, but the rather good looking spearman nodded at my question, with his friend.

"Well... Ga... ukhar? Strange name... but anyways, you don't seem that dangerous honestly. You are naked, and don't seem to have any weapons on you, and you do seem to be lost." he thoguht for a moment and nodded. "Mmm, alright, I'll take you to my mother, the chief of our people, the Isiwan."

Isiwan?... the way he said it, it translated in my head to Siwa- Hang on... Siwa? Oasis? I remember this name! I can't remember where exactly, since it has been long since it was covered, but it was extremely briefly mentioned somewhere. Agh... if only I had more time to study on this. Perhaps the area will come to my head sooner or later, as I was just focused on what was going on right now.

As the Chief's son took me into the mudbrick place, a rather tattooed looking female glanced up at me. I glanced down at her, and she had a bit of fear in her eyes on why there was a giant in this hut with her son. I sat down in the small mudbrick hut.

"Mother, this strange looking woman, Gaukhar, a woman from a tribe known as the..." he glanced at me again. "Americas?"

I shook my head, and tried hard not to laugh at him botching my name. "Kazakhs." I said using my actual ethnicity. "I just so happen to live in America." The Chieftess was stunned by the fluency of me speaking their language properly.

"R-right... Kazakhs, who so happened to live in the America tribe, came to spend the night with us."

The Chieftess tapped her chin. "The night? Hmm... I can't say why you would spend the night around here. Tell me, are you a nomad from across the oasis, strange eye person?"

I shook my head. "I have no idea where I came out from... I just so happen to be here."

She nodded. "I see... I am impressed however, that you know our language so well. Are you sure you aren't from around here?"

I nodded. "I am very sure. I wouldn't of showed up here empty-handed now would I?"

The Chieftess gave a soft smile and laughed a bit at my terrible joke. I was surprised. "Indeed. Well... I don't know if you should stay here, but you seem to be friendly... hmm. I'll see if there is any other clothes for you to wear around here. If you are going to stay here longer, however, I expect you to help pitch in with the other members of the tribe. You can't just be sitting here, mooching off the dates, meat and goat milk, you hear?"

I nodded in agreement with her. "I can assure you, I will do anything I can to help... it would be the least I can do to gain your trust."

The Chieftess gave a nod. She wasn't so sure if she could even allow me, an outerlander, to even stay here for long. But I guess I have no other place to go, and god damn my farm mentalities were returning. Maybe at least until someone can help me out to get back home. But what is there to expect with a hot, expansive desert surrounding this little tranquil place here? Even with this slight feeling of relief, I still saw the fear in their eyes as I exited, not sure if they really trusted me. But I had at least avoided getting killed. But still, my heart was racing. Who knows what these people could do to me at night?
Last edited by New Arcadius on Sun May 26, 2019 12:42 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Hanafuridake
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Hanafuridake » Tue May 28, 2019 5:13 am

Grace Kinoshita (9 years, 6 months)


Toyooka Palace, Hyōgo Prefecture


The palace court was silent as the priest prostrated to me, one would think that the theatrics of the scene rendered them mute. With a ceremonial sword in my hand, I issued a proclamation. “From today onward, Shinryu will be a member of the Imperial Council and the custodian of Kobe Shrine, where he will lead prayers that the war dead who fought for our Empire will achieve Buddhahood. Rise and take your place as my loyal councilor.” the monk obeyed, and I looked over at the sidelines where a bitter Susam sat. Evidently he was still sour about my refusal to marry his daughter. He would get over it, what choice did he have.

My eyes glanced toward Ruyanpe, who had taken her seat at the opposite end and side of the court, she probably couldn't bear to smell Susam, I didn't know how his own daughters managed. Next to her sat... that boy. Makoto. I don't know why he always followed her around. My eyes narrowed distrustfully, but I tried not letting the souring mood deter me from finishing the ceremony.

The priest was brought before the statues of various Buddhas. Amida, Fukujōju, Dainichi, Miroku, and Shakyamuni. He prostrated before all of them, reciting the various mantras for each deity and parts of the Lotus Sutra. There was a sudden bang on the door. The priest stopped, and the audience looked at each other confused while scuffling could be heard at the entrance.

“Liars, heretics!” a voice screamed from outside, it sounded like it was from an old man. “You will all fall down into the great hell of incessant suffering for perfidy!”

A guard entered the room and bowed to me, before explaining that five monks had attempted to crash the ceremony. I stood, trying to make sense of why. Well, this was certainly going to be interesting. “Let them in.” I said.

“Milady?”

“You heard me correctly.” I replied curtly. “Let them in, let them explain to me the meaning of this intrusion.”

The guard was taken aback but acquiesced immediately. “As you wish, Mikoto.” he bowed again and went to issue the orders.

The monks were brought to me, there were five of them like the watchtower guard had informed me. “What's the meaning of this interruption in the affairs of state.” I asked, adopting an authoritative tone meant to ask my piqued curiosity. The inner academic part of me had awoken, any danger was overpowered by a sense of fascination.

The head of the monks, a man who I remembered ordaining four years ago, bowed slightly and then began to speak. “My liege this man is an imposter,” he glared at Shinryu the newly appointed minister with undisguised malice. “He doesn't teach the true word of the Buddha, that can only come from the True Faith School.” it was too late for me to realize I had given him an opening to proselytize. He turned to the audience almost like he had staged the whole scenario and began. “There is one supreme Eternal Buddha, and that is the Buddha of Wakayama-in, and all the other Buddhas are emanations of his virtue. Foolish members of other schools worship these emanations as the real Buddha, but they are evil sinners who rob you for their own benefit.”

In my anthropological fascination, I couldn't bring myself to stop him. The guards looked to me for instruction, but were confused by my passive reaction. Shinryu was too baffled to even attempt a defense of himself, as he was denounced as a devil, a blasphemer, a heretic, a patricider, and several other much more obscene epithets that seemed like they more accurately described me than anyone there.

Ruyanpe started to become uncomfortable and jumped up from her seat. “It's inappropriate on this day for a zealot to rush in and start insulting a minister of state,” she declared, and some of the aristocrats nodded with her, while a few seemed almost swayed by the rebellious monk's words about the True Faith.

“You be quiet, you whore!” the monk shouted back, stunning Ruyanpe and breaking me out of my fascination. “You are part of the problem with this society.” he started to insult her further and all of a sudden, I reached for my sword.

“YOU WON'T ESCAPE THIS DAY ALIVE!” I shouted and ran at the head monk. The others started to run, but he seemed too stunned by my reaction to respond in time. I swung the weapon into his neck and he let out a scream as he fell to the floor. I started stabbing and hacking while the rest of the court fell into a stunned silence. “You think you can insult her you scum, you think I'm going to forgive anyone for that? You think that other people are devils ー I am the only Devil in this world you should've been afraid of. I'll kill all of you filthy zealots and drown in your blood before any of you insult her again!” the man did not utter a response, being dead tends to make you unable to talk.

I looked around the room, covered in blood, the court aghast and unable to utter a single word. Only Ruyanpe came up to me, timidly at first, but with more confidence. “It's okay, Grace, calm down.” she hesitated at first because of the blood, but then embraced me. “I'm right here, just drop the sword, everything's going to be okay.” it was my turn to hesitate but I dropped the weapon, slowly becoming aware of what happened, as did the rest of the audience.

Across the room, Susam looked on with sheer terror in his eyes....
Time traveling Heian princess trapped in the 21st century
Buddhist Nationalist, Pan-Asianist, Neo-Confucian, Economic Collectivist

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UniversalCommons
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Founded: Jan 24, 2016
Left-Leaning College State

Postby UniversalCommons » Tue May 28, 2019 11:53 am

Year 10 Month 7

Trade Networks

Barabbas and Enyo had left Egypt and sailed back to Crete. They waited at Crete because one of the ships had sailed to the coast of Lebanon near Egypt to trade for silphium. As part of the transaction, they also traded for okra and Egyptian loofa seeds. The trip back to Oak was uneventful.

More traders had come into Oak bringing in a variety of goods, tin, zinc, wood, spices, clay tablets, papyrus, linen, and other goods for trade in Oak. Their ships sailed the waterways seeking out new trade into the Black Sea and the Meditteranean. At the tip of the Tigris river, a small group lashed together a raft to begin sailing downriver.

The books on plants, nature, and animals revealed some unique places to travel to. Traders went to the islands of Thera and Methana to trade for pumice, volcanic ash, and obsidian. They discovered that amber was traded at Varna. There were traders who were coming from inland with sacks of it to trade for gold, bronze, and spices.

Victor Spear told tales of places like India where there were elephants and Africa where there were plentiful spices, ebony and ivory. He described places where shells were scattered on the beaches, there were cities with untold riches. The council would laugh at these stories as being preposterous while they drank beer in the evenings. Then they would remember the horses which just came in.

The Artisans District

A wide variety of pottery and brickwork was being made at Oak. This included ollas, brick rocket stoves, clay tiles, pipes for construction, double pot refrigerators, pots, cups, vessels, braziers, and other items. New glazes had been developed as well as additives like volcanic ash, glue, and copper slag. You could get bricks that were stronger or were waterproof.

Brass Lamps were being made to burn alcohol or distilled lamp oil. This made it possible for more people to stay up late at night.

Jewelry from copper and gold alloy and were being produced as well as copper rings and bracelets. An artisan had mixed gold and silver together making electrum and was selling the "white gold" jewelry as necklaces.

The House of Wisdom

The Book on Mathematics had almost been finished. The group that met at the market had made some minor discoveries in math including how to measure volume in different containers and that there were different temperatures ranging from hot to cold on a scale. Victor Spear had come out to meet them and jokingly said one day they would fly. He made a papyrus airplane as an example. People were intrigued. He also described that hot air rises and if you make a container made of cloth full of hot air, it would sail into the sky.

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G-Tech Corporation
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby G-Tech Corporation » Wed May 29, 2019 1:43 pm

Part 3, Chapter 4: Home and Hearth


June 2nd, 10 AG

Under my feet, the swaying of the Gissom's Tide gradually subsided. Men hauled her in toward the pier that jutted out into the Vltava, or Maars as the Germanics had called it of old, and my face felt ready to split with a smile. Out in the crowd of civilians awaiting the docking of the vessel, I spotted familiar faces - and a head full of blonde hair barely peeking above the throng which twinged a familiar ache in my heart.

One step forward, counteracting the impact of the knaar's hull against the stock block pilings, an affectation long ago adapted to look as dignified as possible and learned from all too many stumbles in the face of an unstable deck. About me men washed as a tide toward the starboard side of the smooth-hewn vessel, also eager to see loved ones and also, very simply, spend some time on dry land again. The excellent navigational charts of soundings allowed ships with accurate maps to run upwards on the Vltava even at night, and on sections of the Danube and Elbe. Such conditions though, while conducive to trade and the movement of troops, did not make for an overly comfortable journey. It was certainly swifter than stopping every evening though, to prevent grounding on unknown snags or hazards.

Ships did still fall prey to such issues, of course. Even with the few engineering projects that had been put in place, to tame wilder currents and prevent bank erosion, the amount of resources the Council could allocate to such minor problems was minute. Even though incomes from tariffs had been slowly climbing, trade up the Elbe and elsewhere growing as populations moved to settlements near watercourses, it still paled in comparison to that which had to be set aside for law and order, and public works of a more tangible nature like housing, sewers, and roads.

One thing at a time. Rome was not built in a day, and it was by God's providence that I had not yet had to know ought more of the dangers of river travel than stories, reports, complaints, and a few close shaves in my years as baggage on the caravans of the waters. The sheer quantity of men the Gissom's Tide had hauled up from Wellinghall against the current, heavy wool sails billowing in the summer winds, would have seemed a marvel a mere half-decade ago, and an impossibility much longer than that in the past. Rome was not built in a day - but with each passing week, and month, and year, it came closer to something resembling civilization. The sailors had rowed hard to make their appointed timetable, and even that was a testament to the organization and cultural expectation that was slowly pervading the vales of Czechia and beyond.

Lost in thought, the minutes it took for the press of men departing the ship to unfurl passed swiftly. I was one of the last men to tramp in my weather-worn boots down the gangplank, and that meant I had an excellent view of those who I was most pleased to see - for the crowd had by and large dispersed, each family and joyous reunion headed off to their own homes, or else butteries to take meal if they lived in one of the less fortunate tenements. It mattered little to me in the details. Over the sable cloaks of one of my guards, the familiar face of my beloved beckoned, and I hurried forward with all the speed the decorous nature of my position entailed.

In a moment Tanya was close to me once more, and the pale floral scent that was her province filled my head. It was a cool, purple sort of smell - violets, perhaps, but cooler, and cleansing of both mind and spirit. This was the virtue of grounding, and something I had never hoped to find when I had been sundered from the world that was my own; something I had never dreamt I would be able to find in this land of savages, barbarians, ignorant peasants, and haughty chieftains. But miracles could happen, and like the proverbial Adam who stood at the beginning of time, I too had been given a help-mate, flesh of my flesh and beloved of my heart, to aid me in putting all things in order.

"You have been gone too long," she spoke, and for a breath I could not respond, her voice of tinkling musical laughter mixed with genuine sorrowful reproach overmastering my faculties. She did not mean it, of course, for it was part of what had been the unspoken bargain of our marriage - to know that the burden upon my shoulders was heavy, and the weight I bore grave. But for her part she had always been content to life ought where she could, and for that I was eternally grateful. My only answer was to kiss her, a remembrance suddenly flashed to present sensation undimmed by distance of journey. It was an apology and an explanation both, for I had taken the first ship available after the spring storms at Junction had subsided, feeling in my bones that lack of those who my heart ached for.

Under my right hand something squirmed. My palm shifted, tousling a mop of strawberry blonde hair, and I smiled. Releasing my embrace of my darling wife, I stooped to take Vladimir in my arms. He was getting heavy now, and in a moment of surprise I had to put more effort into the lift than I had expected, laughing as I did so. It was amazing, to think that he was now nearly seven years old. The somber blue eyes of my ancestry stared back at me, twinkling for a moment in mirth, as they so rarely did. There, in the midst of the dockyards that stank of fish and tar, I spun my boy around before plopping him back down on the cobblestones.

"Did you bring me anything?"

He had his mother's impertinence, and my fascination with the wide world. There was no denying that. Tanya laughed again, this time somewhat ruefully as I eyed up the scamp of a youth with a mock severe expression.

"That has been all he has been wondering about for the last week." Her words were noncommital, but I could see she was curious too. I merely spread my hands in trite contrition, shaking my head sadly at the youth.

"All I have is... hmm..." I patted my pockets thoughtfully, while nearby some of the Blackguards chuckled, before reaching inside a satchel riding on my hip.

"Oh, yes! This old copper dragon, you have one of these I'm pretty sure. I was just going to sell it in the marketplace, since it was so boring."

My sandy-haired son's eyes kindled, and he gratefully took the elegant figure from my hand. It was some of the finer craftsmanship I had seen in the fluted fire-copper from out of the Carpathian Mountains, and a tiny tongue of burnished flame jutted from the beast's lips. It wasn't up to the level of what I could make, or many of the smiths here, probably, if they put their minds to it - but little of such frivolous nature was produced in the forges of Mara, for the needs of utility and progress were inexhaustible it seemed.

"What do we say?" prompted his mother, stifling one final chuckle poorly. Hastily my son (and heir?) stammered out a hurried thanks, his eyes still lost in the sinuous metal. That was from my heart too, the love of wrought things, so I did not begrudge it to him, merely smiling with my eyes back at Tanya. Raising children from afar was hard, and it was good that she had a great fondness for them, for my responsibilities too often took me far afield.

And, it proved, often chased me even when I was at home.

"Hegemon!" came the voice from away to my right, and my brow furrowed. Those were tones I had not expected to hear from that speaker, not upon arriving back in the capitol - at least not for some time. I nodded to the Blackguards, and they parted just as a familiar woman came at a jog toward their ranks. Maria was not a woman given to panic, or dismay, but I could read even at a glance that her expression was lined with worry. It was an emotion she was struggling to master, even as she stood before me, breathing somewhat heavily.

"Apologies, Viktor. The Harbormaster - didn't know - exactly when your ship would put in. So sorry - need to speak to you - at once."

I frowned, but nodded. The physician in charge of one of the training schools on the slopes of Mount Ulmir, Maria could be trusted to know what was important, and would not have accosted me so newly returned from the field unless it could not be helped.

"Catch your breath. No sense in garbling the details, so we have to go over it all again. Tell me what the issue is."

Tanya didn't know Maria except by proxy, and from chance meeting, but she was a sharp woman - my right hand in many ways - and was well aware of the office the stout Northerner held. Medical news urgent enough to disrupt the homecoming of one of the foremost Heads of the Families was news which must be dire. My wife slipped a hand into mine, and her glance toward me was filled with concern. I merely squeezed her palm softly, in what I hoped was a reassuring manner.

Several deep breaths later, the physician nodded, mastering herself fully, and her brown eyes that met mine were now schooled, but I could see the fear underneath. She spoke distinctly, and quietly, words pitched for myself only, and those immediately at hand.

"Plague. Reports of plague, from Mundial. Dark reports, very bad. Governor Izmadas' sent a letter three days ago, asking for me to inform you and ask Mara's help as soon as may be."

Inwardly I sighed, though outwardly I nodded assent with appropriate aplomb and nobility. No rest for the wicked.
TG if you have questions about RP. If I don't know the answer, I know someone who does.

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Plzen
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Founded: Mar 19, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Plzen » Wed May 29, 2019 10:10 pm

Roskilde, 7th year, 7th Winter Monday

This. This is precisely what I was afraid might happen when I started spreading out ironworking techniques among the towns of our alliance.

"...thus the city of Kaupang, to protect its dignity from these unjustified and greedy actions of that eastern tribe..."

Stórþingit Norðurlands was in session, and I was just about ready to storm the floor with an axe. Only the knowledge that such an action probably would do grievous harm to the traditions of legalism and parliamentarism that I spent, and was spending, a great deal of effort to establish stopped me.

To my honour, perhaps, most of my students in the audience looked understanding of my growing horror, with subtle glances my way, even if most did not share it themselves.

"...ambush, occurring in the dead of night, was successful, and our proud warriors emerged victorious over the dishonourable..."

The first lesson that I drummed into them in this first year of civics in my little school was the very first sentence in Stjórnarskráin Norðurlands here in my new world which was, in the old world that I came from, perhaps one of the most, if not the single most, translated text in the history of mankind.

Hver maður er borinn frjáls og jafn öðrum að virðingu og réttindum. Menn eru gæddir vitsmunum og samvizku, og ber þeim að breyta bróðurlega hverjum við annan.

In my native English tongue,

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

"...this city therefore now finds itself in possession of some fifty-four thralls, of which thirty-one children, eighteen women, and five..."

Oh, yeah, and it turns out that my obsession with precise measurements, recordskeeping, and classification could be used in some very interesting ways, too. How ironic, I thought, that until very recently I was worried about the threat posed by the growing technological civilisation to our south. Accidentally, or perhaps inevitably, I was turning my own little alliance into the technologically superior civilisation that plundered its neighbours.

I forced myself to remain seated and quiet with great force of will and let speak the very pleased and very smug representative of Kaupang.

Our alliance, Norðurland, its laws, the Stjórnarskrá, and its high council, the Stórþing, are all institutions that I forged with my own hands and tongue, but I held little in the way of formal competence under any of them. I could, if I so desired, pull a host of favours and call on my extremely favourable reputation to get just about any law I disliked pushed in just about any direction of my choosing, but that was just the thing. Favours and reputation.

Those were rather finite resources, and I was already burning both trying to get a proper system of law and administration down.

"...despite the good labour that these newcomers will no doubt provide, they do not speak the Germanic tongue and Kaupang lacks the immediate food and..."

I think that after this, me and Raginaharjas are going to have some words.
Last edited by Plzen on Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
Forward, my comrades, march to your stations,
Righteous and proud! Win, we most surely can.
This is a triumph of peace and of nations,
A dawn of friendship for all people of man!

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Achidyemay
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Achidyemay » Thu May 30, 2019 8:22 am

Day 153
Outside Vorvyo


"Hey Ahkoshya," Raffael sang, approaching the nervous colt slowly. They were working in the smaller pen after a morning of separating the young foal from his mother. Raffael had wanted the mare to be in the pen with them, but she seemed to take great issue with the humans handling her baby, and posed a threat to the farmhands. Not that it particularly mattered, Raf had been there at birth and the colt had already imprinted somewhat on the human. Raffael had worked with two foals like this before, one when he was very young and another when he was a bit older. He knew how to touch them, handle them, when to let them pull away and when to press the issue. Or at least, he thought he did. He had always been the one holding the horse, while his aunt had done the ministrations. Ahkoshya had been named by Krawa's daughter, Raf didn't think it had a meaning, but the name seemed to fit. Werdzja was holding the animal.

Ahkoshya had become much more accustomed to people in the past few weeks, and willingly ran up to a few of the handlers, for which he was usually rewarded with candied fruits. It was getting late into the season, and the harvest, for what there was of one, was in full swing, with favors being called in from the summer of building. Raf had promised to make an appearance later in the day after dealing with Ahkoshya and the 3 other horses that had been born that summer. Daily interaction was key, Raffael recalled, as was establishing a place within the horses pecking order. Under Raffael's leadership, Krawa had inserted himself as the herd's leader, or at least attempted to. Even some of the younger horses that hadn't been born in captivity were beginning to come around to the human way of things, though Raffael expected it would take time for them to start to fully trust the humans. Feeding them farmed foods did seem to help.

After talking with Dractas Dahtarm, Raffael had been pulled to heel, offering less grand plans, but he spoke with a new authority and he was less often called to explain himself. Raf had started a composting site, a call back to when he had managed his local food pantries while in college. Then the problem had been keeping things active, now the problem seemed to be slowing things down. Raffael demanded high temperatures and long times from the pile, however, he didn't want to be responsible for a disease outbreak. Speaking of, he began to impress upon the farmhands, and the greater society, the need for good hygiene. As far as Raf was aware, most transmittable diseases came from animal husbandry and he was not about to have the feeble population of the town be wiped out by anthrax. Boiling things became a national past-time.


Day 175
South of Vorvyo


Winter was coming, the town would need to be abandoned. At least partially. The herders would go south in search of new herds, leaving the rest for the townsfolk to eat over the course of the winter. Raffael wanted to put in place selective breeding, but no explanation of his could influence the townsfolk into allowing him to keep the best animals alive. Krawa listened, thankfully, and the horses would endure a selective breeding program, but the cows, sheep, and pigs would be slaughtered in ways to best suit the needs of the people. Raffael, Laika, and Ja'ka would be travelling south, along with a band of ranchers in search of new herds. Kaibal, an elder cousin of Krawa and keeper of cattle, would be leading their party. Krawa would lead his own group in a slightly different direction.

The plains stretched on for miles, a deep golden amber lulling in so many hills, stretching on in every conceivable direction. Broken often by jade evergreens and shrubgrass, studding the landscape. They were not walking together, but had stretched apart as far as possible. Raffael could only just see Lokti and Shept to his right and left, respectively. Clackstones, specially drilled rocks that were very loud when banged together, were used to keep things together, and the silence of Raffael's thoughts were occasionally broken by a string of clacking from the right or left. They proceeded carefully and slowly, pouring over the landscape in search of sign of herds. They also had to keep pace with Kaibal, who was in charge of a cattle-drawn cart and had to pick his way over the uneven ground with care. After months of travelling with Sulo, Raffael had been relieved to see the use of draught animals in Vorvyo.

Raffael passed a tree and looked right, to see Lokti a bit close, so he started walking a bit more left. Raffael had visited the Dakotas in college, he had went out over summer break with his family. He remembered seeing field after field of sunflowers. Since waking up, Raf hadn't seen a single sunflower. This bugged him, and he began to think that he wasn't where he thought he was. The geography seemed to be all off. They had followed a river east, then there had been heavy, lowland forest, now they were in the plains to the south. The river had flowed to the west and had seemed pretty big, but if it had been the Ohio river, then they should've arrived in the Appalachian mountains, not a swamp. The river they were following now flowed southeast, so it could be the Missouri River, but if that was so, then they should be well within the plains, not just now leaving the forest. Maybe the river was something else. Already it was too big to reliably ford, and at the end of the fourth day it joined up with a larger river, becoming even more unassailable and taking a decidedly eastward direction. Maybe this one was the Missouri. When they had made camp last, Kaibal had assured him that the river would split and meander at a point and that they would cross there. The idea of floating the cart across the river struck Raffael as something straight out of Oregon Trail, but he kept his worries to himself.

Laika alerted Raffael that they had stumbled over a rabbit warren, and he carefully navigated himself to the downwind side, pulling a riverstone from his pocket and unwinding his sling. He had gotten quite good at the implement from his time with pilvi, but he was still outclassed by the others in the party. Still he had to do his best, it was hunting excursions like this that kept the group moving. He brought the sling round overhead, whipping the stone toward a small gray rabbit near the outskirts of the den. With a softthud the animal rolled over, signalling to the world, if not only Raffael and Laika, his ability with the weapon. He swiveled on the balls of his feet, remaining crouched, targeting another maybe seven yards away. He launched the stone, but missed. He quickly took aim again, this one striking its target. He would miss the next two shots and he only had the five stones, so when he moved to collect them and his prey, most of the den was alerted to his position. He was able to score one more kill near the eastern-most side of the warren, but then he heard Shept's clacking and realized he had fallen behind.

Camp that night was fairly jovial, the warren had extended further than Raf had anticipated and Lokti had also managed to kill two rabbits. As the 8 of them gathered around the fire, Ja'ka mentioned that they were nearing the crossing and would likely accomplish it tomorrow. Raffael joined Shept and his twin sister Mayan for a game roughly similar to jacks. Lokti was telling young Peteti about the stars, but she only really wanted to play with Laika, and it seemed Ja'ka had turned in early.


Day 190
South of the River O


The crossing had gone surprisingly well, as far as Raffael was concerned, and he was concerned because between himself, Shept, Lokti and Peteti, half of the party didn't really know how to swim. But as Kaibal had predicted, the water was slow and shallow, though the surrounding banks were swamplike and gave the cart much trouble as they effectively carried it over the banks.

But now they were well and goodly into prairie land and they had abandoned the riverside, moving almost perfectly south. Trees only grew in increasingly rare copses, or near small recesses in the soil, demarcating springtime rivers. They had found evidence of a herd of horses ten days ago, and had been following the sign. It had been old by then, but they had eventually caught up. It was large, maybe thirty individuals in total. Raf and Ja'ka were the resident horse trainers and ensured that the horses were only minimally aware of their presence. The plan now was to simply follow the herd and wait until springtime. Kaibal smiled on their good fortune, they were probably the first group to have found their quarry.


Day 225
The Plains


Raffael had been uncertain of the protracted camping called for on this expedition, but now he was certain of his friendship with these individuals. Shept and Mayan had proved to be excellent companionship, Lokti and Peteti had the most adorable father daughter dynamic, even Ja'ka had started to become more familiar and less of an asshole. There were long periods when the herd wouldn't move much and they occupied themselves with hunting and gathering, but also games and stories. Everyone was quite enamored with Raffael's depiction of America, a land of plenty and security. They also disagreed that he was anywhere near it.
"Look, Mayan, you wouldn't lie to me."
"I wouldn't." She assured the young American.
"Alright, then how is it that you don't know of America?"
"I know of Isp'aran, a land of love and plenty. But you can't come from Isp'aran." Raffael had heard tales of the place, it was effectively equivalent to their heaven, a place for the honored dead and watched over by the animist gods they prayed to.
"Maybe he did, sister, he did wash up on that beach after all, with no memory of how he got there." Shept had joined the conversation now, squatting down and picking at the grass between his feet. "Sounds like our friend fell from Isp'aran," he continued, "did you fall? Friend- or were you pushed?" A smile split his face, indicating the joke. Mayan smiled weakly and rolled her eyes.
"No one leaves Isp'aran, and you shouldn't joke about such matters." She scolded her brother.
"No no, he's right, I came down from Isp'aran to give you all the Good Word." Raffael insisted. Idly, he wondered if he should've played God from the get-go.
"And what would that be?" She looked at Raffael intensely, her mouth a tight smirk.
"Love eachother and work together?" Raf offered. They laughed. So much for those ethics courses.

Ja'ka came storming into the camp just then, he was out of breath from having run the distance, and he gestured wildly to the southwest. Kaibal came over to him, as did Raf and Lokti, everyone else looked over. Ja'ka caught his breath.
"People, to the southwest, a group of them following the herd. I don't recognize them, I don't think they're a part of the Vorvyo expeditions."
Everyone frowned at this announcement. There were many dangerous things on these plains, the worst of which were other people. Kaibal frowned more than most.
"How many were there? Do they know our location?"
"I don't believe they saw me, I counted 5 heads in total, but there may be more, it was hard to tell."
"They're fine for now, but as the herd continues to move south, they're going to start following it too, and then we'll both be on the north side." Raffael spoke up, Kaibal agreed.
"We have to do something before that happens."
"Are they hunters or herders, could you tell?"
"They were hunters I think, they carried horse spears and I thought I saw gray furs. They may intend to drive the herd over the ridge to the east, it'd be a fine place to attack."
"Hmm," Raffael put his hand over his mouth and pulled down to his beard, "we can't allow that to happen, losing horses like that-"
"We stay out of it," Kaibal interjected. "Do not let you concern for these horses cloud your judgement. We will let them complete the hunt, and we will take up an encampment just a bit further down that ridge," he gestured away from the herd. "We'll give them a day, and then follow by their tracks. They are too few to attempt to hunt more than one horse."
Kaibal was right, and Raffael dropped the issue. Negative experiences like this would make the horses more difficult to train, but that couldn't be helped. A war between the two parties was the last thing that anyone wanted.

They didn't see it happen, but they heard it. The shouting. The stampede. More shouting. They sat and they waited through it all. Kaibal had asked for silence, which wasn't hard. When your livelyhood gets hunted like this, it's easy not to talk.
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UniversalCommons
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Founded: Jan 24, 2016
Left-Leaning College State

Postby UniversalCommons » Thu May 30, 2019 7:42 pm

Year 10 Month 8

Victor Spear sat across from Diaghis and Sitalkes

Victor Spear, "I hear you have made a general call for warriors to join you in fighting Novirossiysk. this is not the wish of the council. We wish horses from Novirossiysk, not war with Novirossiysk. Alec the Badger tells me that you contacted his war school asking for warriors to join your cause."

Sitalkes, "They have dishonored me by not providing the horses which I won fairly. They are not strong like us. I wish to fight them."

Victor Spear, "Your anger is hot. Make it cold like the snake. The snake sneaks up on its prey. The bear rages and is caught by the dogs. Think about how you will get those horses."

Diaghis, "You were there to get horses. Fighting was not why you originally went to Novirossiysk. You will be going to Abinsk to trade for more horses. This is not a military expedition, although it seems to be turning into one. We will lose face if we tell the warriors you asked to come to go home."

Victor Spear, "I talked to the translator who came here and Leonid. It seems that the Yamna are migrating towards Thrace. There are many young men without wives. The older men are marrying multiple wives leaving little for the younger men. Also, living has become easier and they are having many children with only one or two men inheriting. They see us as soft."

Sitalkes, "Are you saying that we should not fight them. That we should learn first. I will go and get more horses. However, I intend to demand that they pay me what is mine by right."

Diaghis, "You may get more by out thinking them and trading for horses than fighting. Your anger is too strong. Hossia says that you were surrounded by many men and you still wanted to fight. It would have been certain death. Young men who want to test themselves have asked to go on this expedition. I have had to turn away the most hotheaded ones."

Victor Spear, "You must understand your enemy before you fight them. We need horses, weapons, trade goods, and allies. When you go, Hossia will be in command. Follow what he says. Also, Barabbas is taking some of his men with this expedition. This expedition has grown from 3 boats to 6 boats. Some are volunteers."

Diaghis, "We are sending some of the staff slingers with your expedition as well as some men with new double bows. They are of a new design. We hope to not have to use them.

They walk to the harbor, there are seven ships. The seventh boat has men holding badger shields from Alec the Bader. In addition, there are a numerous smaller boats with lightly armed fishermen.

That night, the expedition leaves. They travel on the coasts. Some of them have brought fishing lines and at night, they have to stop to forage on occasion because many of the smaller boats did not bring enough supplies. When they reach Troy, Barabbas, Hossia, and Sitalkes suggest that some of the smaller boats not continue, that they should bring back some trade goods from Troy. Barabbas pays the fee to enter the Black Sea.

They travel along the coastlines until they reach the coastline where they anchor their ships with terra cotta anchors. They gather the trade goods and start across the steppe towards Abinsk with a train of pack goats and six ox carts. After a day and a half of travel, they reach Abinsk. Boris One Eye is surprised to see them. He gladly takes the four ox carts of goods for twelve horses. The large group of men is in a festive mood and they slaughter three oxen and two pack goats and hold a feast. They then hold wrestling contests, rhyming contests, sing and dance, and do tests of strength with Abinsk. This attracts several more small settlements around Abinsk and they come out to tell stories and take part in the festivities.

Some of the Yamna demonstrate their horsemanship, a few can ride with blankets on them. They hold horse cart races. The small farming settlements and pastoralists trade for the pack goats which are a new animal for the Yamna for quality milk cows. Things are going well.

Then a group of warriors from Novirossiysk show up. The chief demands that they turn over Sitalkes to Novorossiysk because he is a foreigner.

Boris One Eye speaks, "These men have come peacefully, have acted well as guests, and offered trade. We will not turn them over to you. It is told that you did not pay for Sitalkes challenges in battle."

Kamiz, "They are foreigners and have no rights here. They should go home and not come back. We should give them nothing and demand that they pay to be on our lands."

Boris One Eye, "This land is my land brother. I make the decisions here. You wish to have things that are not yours. I let you have Novorossiysk to settle your anger, but that does not seem to be enough."

While the brothers argue, the men from Oak arm themselves quietly moving into position.

Barabbas speaks to the translator, "Brothers do not fight, we are here for horses. We do not wish your land. We will leave your land in peace. But, you have not paid what is ours by right. Three horses are owed to Sitalkes. He smarts with anger."

Kamiz, "I owe this man nothing, he is a foreigner and has no rights. He is nothing to us."

Boris One Eye, "I will give you three horses which my brother will not. I am generous to those who help me. Know that I treat my people well." He calls out to Kamiz's men. "Why do you stay with Kamiz, he is not generous and does not bring good will. He has few friends while I have many."

Kamiz becames angry, "You are generous to a fault. Know that I will come back and bring allies to take what is mine. This hill fort should have been mine. I was born before you. If Sitalkes is still here, I will kill him."

Several of Kamiz men quietly move their horses over to Boris One Eye's men. One steps forward, "We will not fight brother against brother. This is wrong. Stop this before you lose everything Kamiz."

Kamiz gathers his men, "I will be back, Boris One Eye. These foreigners should leave these lands. They do not belong here."

Boris One Eye, "You bring us trouble Sitalkes. I give you three horses and ask you not to come back here. Barabbas is welcome here. So is Diaghis, but you must go home. We will escort you tonight."

That night, Boris One Eye leads Sitalkes and the expedition back to the boats. The expedition travels back to Varna. At Varna, they meet up with some traders in Amber. They wish to travel back up the road to the Danube River, but need some people to protect them. There have been bandits on the roads. Barabbas suggest that Sitalkes and some of the men on the expedition follow the road with the amber traders. It would be valuable to Oak.

From Varna, the expedition travels back to Troy. Some of the men are asked to travel to the Tigris where they hope to travel down river. A dozen of the men follow a caravan to meet with the expedition at the beginning of the Tigris river.

From Troy the expedition travels to Thassos where some of the more adventurous members sign on with trading ships in Thassos. Then they head back to Oak with horses and cattle.

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Plzen
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Founded: Mar 19, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Plzen » Fri May 31, 2019 11:12 am

Roskilde, 8th year, 5th Spring Saturday

"Ah!"

In better times, I might have been somewhat embarrassed by my squeaky scream. Perhaps fortunately, it was but a second before the sword came slashing across my side a second time, me putting up my shield just in the nick of time and letting the tide of battle take such unnecessary thoughts away. Even blocked, the sheer force behind the swing knocked my balance backwards.

I scrambled to keep myself on my legs. To fall in a fight was to have one's life forfeit. That much I have been taught.

The enemy before me, cocksure and confident, backed off to let me recover my balance. The bastard didn't even have the decency to look winded, with nothing but the gentle rise and fall of his chest even suggesting that he was in a fight.

"Is something the matter? I suppose your best years are behind you," he taunted.

My muscles, hardened as they were after a decade of physical work in the village, screamed as I raised by shield arm once more to block another incoming charge. Perhaps anticipating that his broad stroke won't strike true, he swung around at the last moment to shoulder check me instead. He had maybe twenty kilograms on me, and I was tired enough as it was.

The last of my fading strength shattered and my footing, still the nervous ones of a burgeoning amateur, was lost.

Soft grass cradled my backside as a shadow fell over my face. The point of a longsword directed against my most vulnerable neck, chest, stomach... wherever he chose to strike. The tip fell...

...directly into the soft dirt next to me. The tip of the sword, a fine timber, showed off a few fractures.

"Woooooo! Go dad," Jórunn cheered, the cheeky brat. "Winner winner winner!"

Ragnarr began trying to climb all over his sister yet again in a desperate and persistent bid to regain her now distracted attention. Raginaharjas smiled. A soft glance at his daughter softened further as he drew his gaze back down to me.

"Better, Clara, better," the love of my life beamed, hand already extended to help my sagging body back up. "You learn quickly!"

"Another?" He joked. I glared back.

Grasping on to his arms, I did away with such petty concerns as independence and dignity and let myself be carried into my man's lap. Exhaustion after a full day's work and swinging around a wooden sword did interesting things to one's notion of privacy and propriety.

"You flatter me," I responded with the fullest honesty. After facing off against him a few dozen times... or maybe a few hundred... I had a newfound appreciation for the strength, skills, and experience that it took for a man to call himself a hunter of Roskilde. I've yet to last two minutes in a spar and I was sure he was going easy on me. Not as easy as he did in the first few days - I convinced him that I wasn't some pottery about to shatter at the slightest of hits - but clearly not anywhere near as brutal as he could be.

Even without looking, Raginaharjas' affectionate gaze tickled by neck.

"Come on, Jórunn, the sky is red," he called out. "And bring your brother with you!"

I curled myself up into his chest as darkness clouded over my mind. It was pleasant... and warm... and I was so sleepy...

Tiring as this was, I was determined to continue this every Friday and Saturday, as I have for the past month or so. It was... well, first, it was necessary. I never considered myself a particularly commanding or ambitious person in my previous life, back in Canada so many years ago, but the debacle with the austurþrælar - eastern slaves - last month put into sharp relief some of the occasional concerns I've harboured from time to time.

Enough for me to do something about it.

See, Roskilde, and the entire region, to be fully fair, is a reasonably open society. Enough for me not to have felt terribly stifled. But as I've realised, as I should have realised a long time ago with my international education, there is nothing inevitable or natural about the open society that I've come to love and enjoy both back home in Canada and here in Roskilde.

Throughout history and, in some parts of the world, even in my earlier lifetime, gross injustices were the norm. Women, the peasantry, religious minorities... wealth and power came with it inequalities, and with inequality, injustice. Even here, in northern Europe, in my history the relatively open tribal society would give way to centralised and autocratic kingdoms.

And the only one with the post-industrial upbringing, the single person in all of Norðurland with a broad enough historical perspective and an educational background to see what was going on in the largest of terms, and who both knew what could be achieved and some means towards achieving it was... me.

To do that, though, I would need influence... ideals meant nothing without people willing to listen to them. I was well-liked, sure, and my advice was well-respected everywhere from Heiðabýr to Bærum, but that was only because to a large extent, I made everyone happy. I put shiny things in the pockets of the chiefs, food in the people's stomach, health in their children's lives, and peace along their frontiers.

I did manage to wheedle out a few concessions out of the Stórþing last month - for one, nobody will ever be born a slave in Norðurland - but that entire fight of words was a taste of just how quickly goodwill dried up and amity disappeared when I was fighting against people's wealth and power.

If I was going to do this, I needed to be someone worth respecting. Arguably, I was already, but... culture. If I could hold my own on a winter hunt, if I could hit venison at a hundred paces and hold my ground on a brawl, I would... perhaps be seen as less of an obsessive geek, with strange whims and ideas to be tolerated.

That was what spurred this on, initially, but that wasn't the only reason I did this anymore.

I... well, I liked spending some time off with my man, doing what he loved, seeing the glint of enthusiasm and happiness in his eyes. My sore muscles was but small price to pay for that little happiness. Was that so wrong?

With all this in mind, I dropped off to sleep in Raginaharjas' arms. The scent of dinner and the soft crackling of the fireplace would no doubt rouse me from my bed a couple hours hence, but rest... rest was good...
Last edited by Plzen on Fri May 31, 2019 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Forward, my comrades, march to your stations,
Righteous and proud! Win, we most surely can.
This is a triumph of peace and of nations,
A dawn of friendship for all people of man!

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The Surge Empire
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Founded: Dec 18, 2018
Father Knows Best State

Postby The Surge Empire » Fri May 31, 2019 4:42 pm

Edward McGray
Chapter 5 - Invictus
Landfall - Estimated 4 years 9 months ago.

The Eldership has ended, they fought against me, but my cult of personality had gained a sizable men in fighting conditions, it was a weary battle, but in the end we won out. during the 'civil war', I promoted a solder by the name of Nathan to general and a man named Isaac to Commander. the three elders rebelling against me were killed, two in battle and one for the murder of Commander Isaac, who was murdered by the elder during peace negotiations.

since out battle with the Village, Bronze smelting has begun and the solders have been reequipped, and during the war, a little girl discovered that if you ground up some herbs with water, then you can make colors, I called this paint, as that was what it would be called in future. we put this on our solders to distinguish ourselves from our enemies. now that the war is over, I decided to come up with a new doctrine, with different colored forces, I could make my army known by their colors and if I attack and steal one villages food with an army of mine with different colors, then I could sell food in surplus to them and eventually conquer them. but that wasn't going to be useful for now.

about 2 months into the war I had a vision, and a week later a fever. by having this fever I may have started herbal medicine, as the women of Appledore, saw me bathing in cold water as I was trying to cool myself down, and thought that fevers or what they called Caloranimo, could be cured by cold water. which begs the question, could I explain modern medicine, the only way I could think of would be through religion. which then put my mind on the vision.

The Vision
I was sleeping during the day, and then i was floating and this voice, a deep one, spoke to me. "Edward, you have shown your path as a warrior, but you are a builder" it pauses and shows me the Rocket that blew up and got me laid off "and by proclaiming yourself lord, you have used your proficiency with Math, the eternal language, and that will get you far a lord. that is two aspects," the world around me then changes to a bunch of equations in space "The Eternal language, it runs on Logic, something you have crafted in that mind of yours" Math, the eternal language, I've heard that before, yes of choose, it was from a astrophysicist, not sure which one but, cause everything runs on Math. "that mind, your consciousness, the fact you understand you are human and you are alive and real, that is what evolved you, this mind is what made you into homo sapient instead of monkeys. I could have easily given it to a cat" during all of that you say a brain then a human then a monkey, and at the very end, a Mountain lion attacking the monkey. "that mind cracked the code and discovered numbers and Math, Math is not universal, but it is eternal, the numbers may look different, but it will always work. and this logic you made for yourself" the voice pauses and shows me a 0 and a 1, Binary code "you turned it into these, and you made machines that run on it" I then see a computer, a desktop from the 80s and I fly into it involuntary "the 1s and 0s turn green and fly down my eyes like the matrix, "these numbers that you made into logic, that you made machines run on, they are my creation, a code you cracked into. imbued with godly energies" I then see lines going up to a moon like object with a spire on it. "That is the projector, my goals and wills projected to people like you, and it imbues thigs with godly power. but in your world it was a prism, each faith corrupting my true goals, I have chosen individual like yourself to spread my goals concisely and restarted the world, and placed you people from the future here, this is your purpose. but as a warrior and a lord, you have two aspects, however you are a scholar, and knowing you and your cunning, you will eventually be a diplomat, as your kind calls them. all 4 aspects. you are nearly perfect." the moon moves and I see a four pointed star, each point representing the aspects. then everything goes black and my eyes are closed, I hear the god speak as it must be a god "don't open your eyes" but I wish to see god so I try but a feel a force upon my face, but its not physical, "Perfect" he says in a gruff old male voice, then he speaks a word and my eyes are forced to open. I couldn't here the word. but when I see I could his face, I knew what god looked like, even though he wasn't there, and my first word, the thing he said to me, Invictus, the name of my new religion
Proud Texan and American Republican, And my name is John Hurwitz, Prime Minister of Israel since 2024. Leader of Appledore in New Civilizations and Lord Kennedy and King Edmund of Ireland in Fall of Olympus

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Mountain Pygmies
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 112
Founded: May 18, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Mountain Pygmies » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:15 am

Xavier Dominguez

Chapter 1: Nothingman.3000BC. Y1, M1, D1

Vi...imsss...nnn...annd...vvv...teer...Ah! OK. OK. OK, OK, OK! Calm down! I am lying in some mud near a river, I should probably sit up, yes that would be good. OK, there are trees, a big river, a sandy mountain, and mud, so much mud. Right, let's set some goals. Where, when, why. Let's work on where. I walk towards the mountains. The plant life thins out, and it becomes clear that I am walking towards a desert. A river with lots of mud and plants surrounded by desert, I think I know where I am...

You know what! Let's walk upstream! If this is the Nile, then sooner than later I am going to come across civilization, or at least someone, or something.

Day 2

It's been a day. I sharpened a stick. I got some fish. Killed some animals. Got a loincloth and cloak. Ugh! I'm so tired. I slept sort of decently...I made a mattress out of reeds and made a mediocre attempt at a tent. At least I'm still alive...god I'm gonna miss Spotify...well, I guess I got a voice...

Day 3

I'm still walking. I made some sandals, and I covered myself in mud to soothe my the heat and protect against the sunburn. I've made fires, which is good because I do not want to die in the middle of god knows where from cholera! I wonder when I'm going to find another person, or if... wait! Is that a person? Hey! Hello! Help me!

End of Chapter 1

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Joohan
Minister
 
Posts: 2589
Founded: Jan 11, 2018
Authoritarian Democracy

Postby Joohan » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:03 pm

Prepared and Organized Threat


I found myself more fascinated with the written script itself, rather than the actual message it conveyed. The reddish-black lines which painted themselves along elegant curves and into concise edges up and down the sheepskin scroll were beautiful in their ornate simplicity. The message I was reading from had been written in the Andonian script ( Andian being the most prevalent word for common, and -ian to denote ownership by a land or people ), the worlds first written language. Creating the language had been a trying affair - attempting to fit all of the varying local dialects into a single uniform script from the perspective of a creator who had only ever been taught to read in the Latin manner. It had taken me months to produce a final draft that was satisfying in it's practical use, simplicity, universality, and beauty ( beauty of the written word I surmised would promote others to give a go in attempting to learn ).

I sat upon a faded blue carpet , in front of a beer vendor, accompanied by several of my confidants in one of Stranix's chaotic and crowded market squares. Even having spent ten more than ten years with these people, I still had not found any love for their most favorite drink - but my confidants were thirsty, and I had much desired a place to sit down and read from the message that had been delivered to me. Although bumpy shoulder up against grubby shoulder was something common in the Markets of Stranix ( a city of now 700 people ), a wide berth had been made around the vendor's stall where we sat. Respect from the Ablan, fear from the foreigner and conquered woman, everyone knew to keep their space from the man who dressed in black.

Among my confidants was a Sargent of the Army, the owner of the Water-house smithy in Israel ( who had accompanied me on my journey to Stranix, as she too had business to attend to ), my Dur'ren clan escort ( as I was still technically part of the Dur'ren clan, despite not taking orders from our patriarch or living on the clan's allotted land ), a local Healy Blacksmith with whom I had promised to discuss matters of tool production later that day, and the messenger who had travelled from the Westerlands to deliver me my message. The vendor's bubbling daughters poured their bitter brew into the drinking horns of my companions, who smiled and chatted politely between themselves - enjoying the luxury that came with being in my company. I sat with the scroll spread out across my lap, running my fingers across the elegantly written words, pride building up in my chest to see that my invention was being so wonderfully applied by others.

The message had been written by Kenoir of clan Ablan, one of my non-Army aides acting as an adviser to Haston in the Danarran lands. Kenoir, like all capable men among the Ablan, had been compelled into basic combat training - but had failed out after only a month, due to his sickly nature. That was not to say though, that he'd had no value - as all of his drill Sargent's would remark on his wit and cleverness. Thus, I had managed to find use for him as a kind of aide and specialist. He'd taken to Andonian quickly, applying his creativity and cleverness to the point were he had become fully literate after no more than a year's worth of my tutoring. His unique wit and penchant for literacy made him perfect as a middleman between myself and the Danarran contender Haston. What Kenoir had detailed in this week's scroll pleased me immensly, even to the point were I could choke down the vendor's toxic brew with a smile.

"
And so it was, that the famed druid of the south, Midir - exile of clan Tuniah, had came and been welcomed by all the clans of the Westerlands and the sons of Georgge. No question being made, that in his wake deliverance should follow. Not more than twenty days after settling among the Danarran, was the servant of heaven touched by Dagodeiwos. Heaven revealed itself to their servant, and he unto his people.

So say the gods: from this day, until the final day of harvest, gaive grace and favor to all that is 3rd. You parents give favor and praise to your third child above all, set free you fishermen and hunters your third catch and prey, stop not you laborers and crafters till your task has been struck and done three times fold, and journey not more than three days from your home and clan. Do this and heaven's grace shall be threefold upon the Danarran. Do not this and fail, and our miseries shall be threefold.

So says Midir - exile of clan Tuniah, servant of heaven.




Many among the Danarran have taken hardily to the gods revelation through their servant: favoring and giving grace unto the third. There are those though, who chose to question the dictates of Heaven. Such bold and blasphemous men like Weylin and kin, speak out that what has been said cannot be - evening denouncing the druid Midir as a fraud, the man who they had welcomed not more than twenty days ago as guest. Weylin's blasphemy though is not respected among his peers, and among men of honor and piety he has lost favor. Yet still, his dissonance with Heaven over perceived fowl play is repeated and by men throughout the westerlands.

Weylin has made public his blasphemies, decrying the man whom he had welcomed as a guest as both a liar and fraud. Were the honorable and pious men and women among his kin and all of the western clans once held Weylin in esteem, they now flee his presence - cautious not to be considered tainted by his wrathful hubris. In keeping with the dictates of divine command, the clans of west and the Danarran now look more and more toward the pious and mild tempered third son of Chief Georgge, Haston.

That is not to say thought that all have left the treacherous Weylin's side, for yet a guard of loyal men and clans still tie themselves to the eldest son, and his blasphemous treason. These prideful men are the most fierce and savagely resentful of Ablan aide, hounding and cooing to their master for the opportunity to strike first blood against our kinsmen. They cannot, and shall not be swayed from his side, and upon Chief's Georgge's journey into the land of Moriggan, they are expected to support the eldest brother with open arms.

The clouds of war gathering over the westerlands, sir. The only thing which holds back the spilling of brothers blood, are the final fading breaths of the Danarran's patriarch.

Kenoir of clan Ablan, Heims
"


Pigweed indeed, I thought to myself.I rolled the scroll back in on itself, placing it safely back within the confines of my sash, before looking over at the sargent who had joined my company. A short and well-built man, sporting a blond fuzz across the top of his head. I had known the man for quite a while, he'd been a veteran ever since the Tyerin extermination eight years ago. His attentions were more focused upon one of the beer vendor's vivacious looking daughters. He looked up at the young woman with a crooked smile, saying something I couldn't make out over the bustle of the market around us. The young woman smiled politely and played along with his flirting, surely used to the games of men by now. As the sargent's hand had tried to touch her lower thigh though, the woman's politeness had quickly turned into a kick at the man's drinking horn, splashing it's contents upward into his face - she stormed off furiously immediately afterward, with the sound of laughter from my company following behind. As the sargent began wiping his face dry with a rag handed to him by the beer vendor, who was apologizing profusely, I chuckled as well, before sipping down a bit more from my horn.

Weylin and his loyalists were going to provide my Army with and indispensable opportunity! Though perhaps a morbid thought, I could not help the welling excitment that bubbled in my chest. Weylin was no fool, and despite his distrust and restenment for myself and the Ablan, he'd studied us closely. With Weylin and his loyalists, I knew that the west would hold more than naked blue men running and scattering through the forests like Ablan's enemies of the past. Weylin certainly would have learned by how the Army had so handedly defeated such savages, and would no doubt attempt similar tactics among his own warriors. A ready and expecting force of no doubt dozens - everyone armed with copper weapons and repurposed iron tools. Weylin was a prepared and organized threat, a true test of my training and leadership. There was so much to be learned with the promise of battle!

In mere days, I knew that Georgge would draw his final breath; and not before even his body was cold, that Haston and Weylin would be at each other's throats to become chief. I, and my Army, would march westward - the pride of the Ablan, to assist our ally in the west against his treacherous brother. Charging into battle soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants, and cavalry!




And Cavalry!


~badumbadumbadumbadum!


His body bobbed up and down in violent rythem, his head and back arched forward to keep balance. His left hand held tight onto the reigns, his feet locked into their spurs, and legs wrapped around the sides of the beast.

~badumbadumbadumbadum!

He felt his own warm breath press back up against him, blocked by the leather helm which covered his face. His eyes locked onto their target - 50 paces away and closing. No larger than a summer's hare, and hanging some six feet off the ground.

~badumbadumbadumbadum!

He lowered his lance, a kind of very long spear, whose center shafter was wrapped in twine, down toward his target, aiming for it's very center. Each second taking him closer by five whole paces. Closer and closer, his lance held stern, straight for the heart of his target. Closer and closer he charged, until he had come so close that his lance could finally slice it's long blade clean through!

~Thwiiip!

The rider zoomed passed the sand bag which had been suspended from a tree branch, it's contents pouring down to the ground from an extensive gash which had been torn through it's side. The rider, a young and energetic soldier selected personally by Commander Issac for his fearlessness and lithe frame, continued on his mad charge through the woods, searching for any dangling sandbags which would happen across his path. Weaving imbetween trees, over roots and fallen branches, the young charger would crane his head about in all directions, searching for his targets. With each twist and turn that his body made, he grew to despise his garments more and more. Upon his chest, arms, and legs, he wore sewn hides padded down with wool and leather ( his hands dawned a simple pair of leather farming gloves ). His head had been incased in a kind of woold and leather bag, were in a thin iron plate ( with wool interior lining ) covered his face. Armor, as the commander and dubbed it, was to be worn by all chargers - the Army's special beast riding soldiers!


Five fearless and lithe soldiers had been selected from among the Army's ranks to ride upon the son's of Jacob as beasts of war. Dashing through the forests to run down fleeing savages, or charging down fool hardy warriors in the fields, no enemy could oppose such great beasts the commander assured them. A year's worth of meticulous and rigorous training later, and the chargers had been yet entrusted to conduct their own training - slaughtering sandbags in the forest.

What else would the cutting edge elite of the Army being doing?
Last edited by Joohan on Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bortslovakia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 631
Founded: Oct 27, 2016
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Bortslovakia » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:26 pm

Patrick Kolman: Dublin; Ireland- 2990 BCE Year Ten, Late February
Actual Snow Day Instead of Horrible Early Morning Blizzard Day

The bolt hit the wooden target with a thunk. Just shy of the bullseye this time around. Believe it or not, I was getting pretty good. Slowly I trudged through the snow over to my target, accompanied only by the sound of the bustling city some ways behind me. This week had been somewhat of a respite from the otherwise horrible conditions that my tenth winter here had brought upon us all. The cold wasn't the problem really here in Dublin, though most of the Leagues settlements still lacked proper housing. The issue was just how constant this snowfall had been. After the January blizzard, it had been nearly nonstop snow for close to a week. Since then it seemed like every time the roads, both within and without of Dublin, were fully cleared, the snow would return. Extra hands had been assigned to hastily finishing erecting the waystations to Tara, and the roadside patrols were doubled to ensure the various town representatives made it to the delegation every week unhindered. Most guards carried bundles of dry wood instead of food to each waystation, since each rest point's fuel supply was being burned through (badtum tsst) faster than its food stockpiles. At least that's what the reports said.

Today though was a day for pleasure, the sun shining brightly without so much as a cloud in sight. The roads had been fully cleared late last night by the currently without much work farmers. This was their slow season after all. Not much farming to do in over a foot of snow. Combine the sense of accomplishment with the lovely weather, and you had a lot of parents enjoying the snow with their kids. I had introduced the concept of sledding for enjoyment some years ago, and sled racing had become almost a tradition overnight. As for snowball fights... you couldn't walk down your porch without a neighbor or a friend hurling a bit of snow your way. These were people with little to no entertainment beyond the odd performance, and damn if they didn't take the opportunities handed to them.

Smiling at the thought, I yanked my bolt out of the target. Probably enough practice for today anyway. Trudging through the snow, I found that some patches had frozen over just enough that you could actually walk on top without sinking in. I hadn't been in snow like that since I was... sixteen? Literally half a lifetime ago for me, though I really didn't feel it... nor did I look it. That little detail still bothered me. Maybe it was all the fresh air, and healthy eating? I most certainly had been leading a more active lifestyle for the past ten years. Still... not a wrinkle. Regardless I took in the marvel of the nigh untouched landscape beyond the city proper. Few lived far outside of Dublin, with the city itself expanding specifically along the Liffey instead of outwards, creating a long thin oval shape almost(really it looked more like a noodle). Part convenience, and part city planning, this made expanding the protective wall of the city significantly easier (just add a new gate to the expansion, and extend the side walls), while also allowing for the farms, and more importantly, the pastures, to take up ample room flanking said walls. So far most of Dublin's expansion had been towards the west, to accommodate for the budding dockyards and naval infrastructure necessary for the Manx Expedition (as I had, with an utter lack of creativity, dubbed the planned trip across the Irish Sea). But, slowly, civilization's grubby hand reached ever further inland as well, necessitating a few... changes. Specifically waste disposal, but that was in the works. Outside the city though, nothing beyond a few small homesteads. This was truly the ideal state of affairs. The midpoint of civilization in which life is comfortable enough for the average person to feel safe and secure in their homes, without overpowering nature in the process of seeking such security. Again, with the rest of Hibernia, the same couldn't be said outside of some of the larger towns like Knowth, Linns, and Drogheda. Or Kildare I suppose, but only by virtue of proximity to Dublin and our preexisting relationship. But here, one could almost forget how dangerous the outside world was, for at least a moment.

"Ciaran!" I called out to my old friend, ending another of my impromptu unnecessary internal soliloquy's. "Enjoying the weather?"
Just ahead of me I could make out the form of the giant carpenter and his children... as well as a veritable hoard of other kids. The reason made itself obvious the more I approached, squinting to make out the toolbox at his side. Of course he'd been fixing, and... err... improving the children's sleds. Perfect weather for it, and I couldn't begrudge him a day off. In spite of the weather, construction of the new ship was ahead of schedule, and as of current no work had to be done on any structures that couldn't be accomplished by his few assistants. Looking up, the aging man grinned, "More than you are I can see. What kind of tortured, melodramatic soul heads out into the woods alone to shoot at pieces of wood and sulk? You could have at least helped the hunters oh mighty king"

I smiled back, chuckling at the banter, "I'd hardly call it sulking. I was out for maybe twenty minutes. It's not like I was reenacting some edgy loner scene from one of Moan's plays."

Handing the now functional sled back to his youngest daughter, Ciaran stood and walked to my side, embracing me in the most stereotypical strongman hug possible. Suffice to say it hurt. "Come! Let us return to the glorious city we call home!" The taller man exclaimed half mockingly, adopting the neolithic Irish equivalent of a posh upper crust accent (sounded sort of like me honestly), one a few of the farmers who volunteer for performances in their free time seem to have popularized. "Sibéal offered to host a games night, and wanted me to let you know that his royal majesty is invited, if he so chooses to gamble with us mere peons"

"I have to say, you put way too much effort into learning some of my more abstract terms for this bit of yours"

"Oh please, I don't even know what abstract means!"

Laughing, the two of us made our way past the gates, neither noticing the guard let out a subtle yet deep cough.
Last edited by Bortslovakia on Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hanafuridake
Senator
 
Posts: 3730
Founded: Sep 09, 2018
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Hanafuridake » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:44 pm

Grace Kinoshita (9 years, 6 months)


Toyooka, Hyōgo Prefecture


There was murmurs in the street as crowds watched monks, with nothing but robes and satchels on their backs, marched through the city and exclaiming that they were going to leave forever.

“The ruler of Hanamura has murdered the priest of the True Faith School, all because he spoke the truth.” one of the monks proclaimed, condemning Grace and proclaiming that she would fall into the hell of incessant suffering, while they would travel east in search of the pure land of the real Shaka Buddha. It was a hard sight for Ruyanpe to watch, feeling partly responsible for the death of the bonze.

Makoto, however, had no compunctions about the death of the monk. “He knows, he has to know.” he said worryingly, looking around to make sure that no one was following them. The two of them stood by the side of a small building as they watched the monks go through the dust filled streets. “That was no coincidence.”

For most of the time, it was Ruyanpe's habit to tell him that he worried too much or was becoming too paranoid. Now, however, she shared his fear. “You really think he knows that Shinryu is one of ours?” she bit her lip, thinking about how the scene transpired the day before. It had been rather convenient, but... “Isn't Susam a member of the Deity Worship School?”

“Using them isn't the same thing as agreeing with them,” Makoto replied, reaching for the sword on his hip as he saw a stranger watching them. The stranger quickly went away, hopefully a peeping tom instead of an agent. Maybe it was a good idea to change topics. “How is she?”

“Grief-stricken.” Ruyanpe stated. “It wasn't a good idea to let her return to government so quickly after her trauma. If she didn't have me as her regent, I don't think she'd let me leave her side.”

Makoto was silent for a few minutes before he finally said what was on his mind. “So, what about our intentions? Will she support our betrothal?”

“Do you really think after what happened that now is a good time for her to think that someone is taking me away from her?” Ruyanpe sighed, not sure whether exasperation or exhaustion would triumph. “I want to marry you, Makoto, but you have to be patient. Grace has been my guardian ever since I was a little girl. She was my cousin's wife. I was a member of an enemy family and she made me her heir and co-ruler of a vast empire. Do you really think I could treat her so poorly?”

He sighed, perhaps realizing that it was an argument that was incapable of winning, and nodded his head.
Time traveling Heian princess trapped in the 21st century
Buddhist Nationalist, Pan-Asianist, Neo-Confucian, Economic Collectivist

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Reatra
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 16103
Founded: Sep 02, 2011
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Reatra » Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:13 pm

Unfortunately for him, no one had happened to be out fishing or gathering by the sand dunes when his dilapidated tule reed canoe paddled up to the shore of what to him was Ocean Beach. It was a sunny March morning, meaning the temperature was probably somewhere around ten to fifteen degrees out, but considering he was next to the great Pacific Ocean, the breeze made it feel much colder than that. He was definitely used to it, though, he had always preferred the cold to the hot, always been just fine walking around with minimal clothing in such weather temperatures, which had allowed him some semblance of protection, if not physically then at least mentally, when travelling south and experiencing Cascadian winter. Now that he was back “home”, he would be feeling much better, much warmer overall.

God he missed it here! Even if his city was gone, just the recognizable geography (altho admittedly rather alien ecology) was enough to get his heart beating and instill a sense of confidence he had been trying to muster throughout much of his journey south.

Passing through the Golden Gate on a small canoe, being carried by the current of baywater moving towards the sea at low-tide, was one of the most exhilarating experiences he had ever had, which was saying quite a lot considering the past ten months or so of… let’s call it… “adventure”...

Yet here he was, beaching his canoe on the shore, and dragging it up towards the taller sand dunes to ensure it escaped the high tide and didn’t wash out to sea. He saw other reed canoes, but very few, far less than he had seen in the Bay. They were, of course, in far better condition than his, but anything that floated and kept his feet and cargo dry was good enough for him. Speaking of cargo, he decided, to not actually leave his canoe behind… just in case… and instead use it as a makeshift sleigh to drag his goods along with him. What he wouldn’t give for a good little wheelbarrow right now…

From the peak of the tall sand dune he could see clearly Lake Merced, much bigger and more visible than in his own time due to the lack of imported trees, with massive tracts of tule reeds around it. A pile of shells was visible as well, and, of course, a small village of about a dozen sizable reed huts and a single larger one that seemed to be made out of long strips of bark. More importantly, there was at least four adults looking at him already. So they knew he was there.

So he decided to walk on down to the village, it was only a few hundred feet away. He’d made contact with dozens of villages over the past few weeks, let alone the almost-year he had spent here.

It was a nice place, comfy to him, a little ring of huts around what looked like communal mortars and pestles and hearths, with the tule reeds expanding out into the lake to the northeast, the sand dunes to the west, and the large perennial stream nearby running into the lake from the south. If he followed that lake he would find the hill he lived on in his native time. Maybe he would go do that, make a day of it, it might help with morale, after all.

Walking tall and confidently, he did his best to gracefully drag his canoe to the outskirts of the village before setting it down. About a dozen people were looking at him already.

He intrinsically knew the language of these people, and when he called out “Hello! Good morning! May I enter this village?” He could have sworn he recognized the word for hello from the Mutsun word of his own time. He had once perused a “Proto-Utian Grammar and Dictionary”, although never studied it intensely because… well… why would he intensely study a reconstructed language?

But he did know that the Proto-Utian language was likely spoken around the Bay Area between five thousand and four thousand years ago, roughly consistent with the development of mortars and pestles in the region for acorn-processing. He had also noticed that all the people around the Bay seem to speak effectively the same language, which was something not the case throughout most of California’s history.

This had helped him date the period even further.

A region with a roughly united tongue is something he hadn’t expected, and would change what he intended to do.

His greeting was met with a slight, but nonetheless noticeable, release of tension of the group. He was clearly foreign, but spoke the language well and therefore communication should be little issue. To the locals it was apparent that he must have had some sort of experience with their people if he knew their language. That was enough to have the request to enter be granted.

Soto wasted no time dragging his canoe into the center of the ring of huts.

“I’ve not got any meaningful personal possessions, but I offer what I can as a gift to this village. I’ve a knife that I made myself some months ago, it is very beautiful and I wish to offer it to whoever is your leader. Has you village got a chief, or respected elder, or other such head?”

They did.

A rather old man dramatically exited a hut and walked towards Soto, apparently having heard what was being said outside.

The man came forward and Soto handed him a small copper dagger, one made through annealing copper metal he had melted from a small piece of ore he had found in British Columbia. It was striking, shiny, smooth, and hopefully a nice enough gesture.

“What is it made of, this is not obsidian, flint, nor chert.” The elder asked.

“That is correct! I made this dagger out of metal.”

“And that is?”

“It was once a solid like rock, but when heated in a fire it melted into a liquid like ice does into water. Once cooled I was able to heat it and beat it into a shape I could use as a tool. I only had a small amount, and decided a small dagger would do best. I want to convey that this dagger was handmade and took a very long time to find the right rock to melt, I care deeply about this dagger, and hope that by my presenting it as a gift I can convey that I am humbly submitting myself as nothing but a servant of your people, and all people who live here.”

“Servant? What do you mean?”

“Chief, may I ask how old you are?”

“I’ve seen sixty-seven years.”

“Wow! Well, you’ve lived a long life. Well then surely you’ve noticed that the land is drier now than in your childhood, or from the time of your parents childhood, no?”

“In what way do you mean?”

“The rains come less frequently, the soil is drier, the plants grow slower and less vigorously, the animals grow hungry, and as such the people have less food, and there is more warfare and violence. Is this not true? Was there more security, less conflict, less disease, less hunger, years ago?”

“Where are you from, stranger?” The chief asked. “How do you know so much about our land, how do you speak our language so well? I would think you from here if you did not look foreign.”

“Ah, funny story that, chief. I am from this peninsula, actually, as I was born here, raised here, I lived here, everything. Except… I am not of this time. I am from a time many hundreds of generations in the future, a very, very different time, when many of the issues that face your people here today have been solved through uncountable years of work, innovation, and struggle. In my time I was a man with a knowledge of history, a man who dedicated his life to understanding the world and its past.

“Yet almost a year ago now, I awoke from my sleep alone, naked, and freezing, in the lands far to the north. I nearly died, had it not been for the local people I met. I had never met this group before, knew nothing of their culture nor language, yet somehow when I opened my mouth to speak I innately knew their tongue and could understand and converse with them. Whatever spirit or divine force brought me to this time and had me wake up naked and alone in that cold land, also gave me the gift of panlingualism, as I have met dozens of different cultures on my journey south, and each time I could speak and understand their language.

“Soon I realized where I was, and realized where I was in relation to my homeland, and have spent many months following the coastline south in order to come here. Because, as a man of history, I knew that the people of my homeland, this peninsula, the shores of the Bay, as far as the Great Valley and mountains to the east and north, the islands to the south, they all suffer as you do. Knowing this, and knowing I could help, I came. I cannot simply stand by and live my life knowing that so many people are suffering and I can help, especially in my own homeland. That is what I meant by servant, as I intend to serve the people and help organize and create solutions, solutions I know to exist because they exist in my time, but have yet to be developed here. I understand that this story seems incredible, too fanciful to be believed, even, but I hope to prove that I am here only to try and help to bring peace and prosperity, nothing more.”

By now Soto was talking less directly to the chief, and more to the village overall.

That night he slept in the village, his work already begun.
yee haw it's time for mass line

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Plzen
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Plzen » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:38 pm

Mara, 8th year, 3rd Summer Monday

The brothers Audariks and Rikardus, sons of Hildriks, stepped off the boat at the bustling harbour. Temporary workers from the surrounding, more impoverished, countryside, here in the capital of the Imperium for a year or two to make their fortune before heading back home.

Or, at least, that was what they were pretending to be. If one listened carefully they might notice the brothers' distinct northerner accent. Having grown up in Næstved in a prominent powerholder family, they were familiar with many of the towns in the area, but this was still their first time travelling so far from their homeland. The head scribe of their alliance, Clara, called on volunteers to learn and help spread to Norðurland the more advanced craftsmanship and the arts that were practiced in the south, and Hildriks volunteered his two sons.

They didn't terribly mind, though. It was an opportunity to see and feel and learn new and fascinating things. Students of the new school in Roskilde, they were eager to actually see what they have learned.

Raginaharjas smiled as the brothers stepped off to see the future, stepping forwards ahead of the workers unloading this months' load of amber and furs off the ship. Nice enough youngsters, he wished them the best. He looked around Mara in a slightly different light. This, Raginaharjas reflected, Clara thinks all this can be brought back home. He tried to imagine Roskilde with roads of flattened stone, with blood-red brick replacing all the houses. Clara did make some of this brick, he knew, but she put aside trying to build anything with it in favour of focusing on her ships.

He shook his head. These were interesting times, without a doubt. But as the youngsters were scampering off, he had his own job to do. Mara's great hall loomed before him.

"You ready?"

Gudabego, daughter of Segaharjas, nodded. Another one of Clara's students, she was to be his recordskeeper for the duration of the voyage. It was interesting, Raginaharjas had to admit, not having to remember everything on his own. All he had to do was say something to her and she would be able to recite it back to him word-for-word even after many days. There would be no mistake of forgetfulness.

"Then let's head up," he replied, giving the guards a respectful nod as he climbed the stairs to meet the man who called himself chief of this empire.
Last edited by Plzen on Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Forward, my comrades, march to your stations,
Righteous and proud! Win, we most surely can.
This is a triumph of peace and of nations,
A dawn of friendship for all people of man!

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UniversalCommons
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby UniversalCommons » Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:20 pm

Year 10 Month 9

Trade

The Tigris

The rafters on the river Tigris begin their trip down river. They first stop at Haran where they stock up on beer and purchase some clay tablets with silver. There is a scribal training school in Haran and two of the men use their trade goods to buy entrance to the scribal school in Haran. They learn that the Queen of Haran is from Ebla.

On the road from Varna.

The trading expedition heads into deep woods. Sitalkes has brought a dog with him which he has named Heart. The road they are following is a dirt path. There are trees all around them. They pass several small settlements where people farm and cut timber for trade with Varna. They are using stone tools on many of the farms.

Some of the gardening tools from Oak have made it to the woods including spades, scratch plows, hoes, clay watering pots, and pots for plants as well as better seed and raised bed gardens. There is even a clay statue of a fat bearded man in one of the gardens which they have named Victor.

Sitalkes hears a story that Victor will help you grow vegetables, trees, and fruit if you leave a little beer next to his statue in the garden. There are small clay votive statues which people keep. Sitalkes gives some dried meat for two of the small statues.

At a crude bridge which is basically packed earth with stones on the sides, they are asked to pay a fee to cross the river. The traders pay with some pieces of copper.

Sitalkes, “Why do you pay them?”

The trader, “We pay them because it is safe to travel here. If we crossed at another place it would not be so safe. They even have set aside a house for us along the road where we can sleep safely.”

Sitalkes, “That is fair.”

The trader, “We must take comfort where we can.”

They continue along the road until they reach a mud brick hut with a thatched roof. They spend the night there.

The Council of the Wise

There is a general meeting of the council. Victor Spear finds them boring, but necessary.

There is a general report on every day activities of the council. New roads are being cleared so all the members of the Nestos League can reach each other. They are simple dirt roads with drainage ditches on the side.

Stone from Thassos and other quarries is being used to build up the walls of the members of the Nestos League for defense. All of the members of the league now have pigeons and couriers for communication.

Abdera and Plovdiv have started new schools for scribes. Plovdiv has made some improvements in copper extraction with picks, baskets, and wheelbarrows from Oak. In some cases, they are using fire to heat and break the rocks which contain copper. Plovdiv has formed an advisory council of wise men for the local ruler.

The Council of the Wise has agreed with the members of the League using the traditional measurement of the tip of the arm to the shoulder as the yardstick broken into ten sections, each section was called a finger, there were a 1000 arms, in a walk. This was taken from the Sumerian practice of measurement. Container capacity was furthered measured by palm, bowl, vessel, bushel, and bale common items which were used in every day life. Then mass was determined by standard weights which included the grain, the needle, the pound, and the cart different standard weights represented each item. Everything was translated into common every day items. Common areas of land were divided into the pot, the garden, the quarter field, the half field, the field, and the estate. Time was broken down into seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years after the Sumerian calendar system. A lot of it was adjusted from other systems that were already in use. There were small vase shaped standard weights, wooden sticks marked with distances, and a long thin strip of cloth with numbers printed on it using wood block printing.

There are two handlers and Leonid for the horses. Two of the horses which were traded were old and in ill health. They did not survive the trip to Oak. Another horse has to be set out to pasture because it is also old. They have built a pasture for the horses and are working on a place to keep the animals safe. They have sixteen horses in total.

The cows are a welcome addition to the cattle. They are better milk animals than the ones which we currently have.

Cassandra from the temple of the Great Goddess has written a short codex on animal health. It was 60 pages long. She had gone and spent time talking to the different farmers and found out the common herbs they used to heal ailments. It was very anecdotal. She also took the time to visit the different farmers talking to them and observing which farmers had the healthiest animals and why. She visited goat, pigeon, cattle, and sheep farmers. She also spoke to the priests of the Great Goddess who blessed the animals and helped the farmers to make sure that the animals were healthy. It was a mixture of prayers, practical advice, herbal, and anecdotal wisdom. There were some wood block drawings with examples of animal anatomy from when animals were sacrificed to the temple. There were also some wood block prints of the different animals in the book.

A quiet man from the Tribal Alliance has sat in on the meeting. He says nothing for the whole time, just taking notes. He leaves quickly at the end of the meeting.

Science and Knowledge

Victor Spear continues to meet with the mathematics group. It has grown too big for the market stall and he has it moved to the scribal library. One of the mathematics members, Dido, had taken the paper airplane which is tapered and began experimenting with making a tapered arrow.

Victor Spear had suggested that they observe the world around them. They write down their observations, then try and get the same results over and over. This was a way of discovering how the world worked. You make an observation which is testable and repeatable and can be measured.

Dido observed the shape of the paper airplane and thought he might be able to make an arrow that flew farther. It was purely trial and error. He used papyrus sheets to make paper airplanes. He adjusted them slightly and threw them repeatedly until he had an idea of which adjustments would make the paper airplane go farther. Dido then tried these adjustments on arrows. He tried shaving the arrows in different ways to make them taper slightly. He went through three dozen arrows, until he got one that seemed to be slightly more accurate. He took notes on each arrow that he shot from his bow.

Victor Spear brings up the the idea of making iron with the group. Vezina, the local bronzesmith says he does not understand iron. The group is also discussing the the new weights and measures. One of them has a standard set of weights made from different size pieces of copper which he is showing to people.
Last edited by UniversalCommons on Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Hanafuridake
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Hanafuridake » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:51 pm

Grace Kinoshita (9 years, 7 months)


Toyooka Palace

“I hate this city.” I told Ruyanpe, pressing my head against the pillow in a futile attempt to hide my face. “Ever since I've arrived here, it's ruined everything for me. I miss Hanamura, I wish we could live there again. Just far away from here.” the memories of the man's face when I sliced him apart was still embedded in my mind, like it was never going away. “Remember when we use to go fishing, Ruyanpe?”

Ruyanpe patted my head. “Yeah, that was really fun.” she said, smiling gently when she thought about her childhood. “You never caught anything though, I was always the one who brought a big fish home.” that made me smile too, and I managed to sit up from the bed. “Why don't you come with me outside for awhile? You haven't been out for two weeks.” it was like Ruyanpe to be more concerned about my health than she was the political implications of me being absent.

There was a pang of guilt for making her endure the process of being regent. It couldn't be easy dealing with the various ministers after that controversy that happened. Controversy? Well more of a fiasco. I wasn't deaf, I could hear some of the monks crying out in the streets that I had murdered their leader and that they would leave in self-imposed exile. Good. I didn't really need a bunch of bald headed fools to run my empire.

I thought about it for a few minutes then finally nodded. “Tomorrow.” I replied, she nodded her nod. That was more than she had hoped for, it must have been a relief that all of the coaxing she did was not for naught. She reminded me so much of Retar, without thinking, I leaned out and kissed her.

The act took her completely by surprise. “G - g - grace?” Ruyanpe's face was completely red and she stuttered badly. “W - w - what are you doing?”

Well, now there was no way to escape from expressing my feelings. “Spend the night with me.” I whispered, breath heavy with anticipation, stroking her shoulder. It had been a long time since I had spent the night with someone. I wanted what I used to have with Retar.

“Grace no.” Ruyanpe stiffened and pushed my hands off her, rising from her seat. “I love you but not like that.”

“We're supposed to be together though. You and me.” I said, losing most of the cool that I had. “We've been together since forever, I told you all about my world. You're the only one who understands me.”

“I - I love someone else,” she replied nervously, not having wanted to bring this up but realizing it had become unavoidable. To reveal it later would be to add salt to the wound. Better to rip it off like a band-aid. “A boy, Makoto, the one who rescued you.” my stony gaze took her aback, but she did her best to continue. “I wanted to have your permission.”

“My permission?” I spat the word out with contempt.

“To become betrothed.”

“Over my dead body.” I threw the blanket off of me and stood, wearing a worn and torn nightgown, my feet being stiff from not having walked for a few days. “That's what he thinks isn't it?” I was practically shouting the words. “He thinks that because he saved my life that he can do whatever he wants, even rob my household. I'll be damned if I let him steal you from me. I killed Resak, does he think I'm scared of him?”

“No one's stealing anything from anyone.” Ruyanpe protested, her eyes pleading with me to understand. For the first time in my life, I hated those eyes. They used to look at me with wonder, love, and trust. Now they were looking at me like I had done something wrong. I threw things: vases, bags, rocks, all across the room, almost hitting her in the process. “Grace please....”

“Why should I listen to another word you say?” I demanded. A vase flew right past her, shattering against the wall.

Tears were falling from Ruyanpe's eyes, but instead of timidity, a rage emanated from her. “You can't replace Retar with me!” she shouted, her whole body trembled and her hands were balled into fists. “You never let me be free to pursue what I want to do. What you and Retar had was special, you can't just turn me into a puppet to fulfill your fantasies because she died.”

“Get out!” I said, swinging my hand to the door. “Get out!”

Ruyanpe marched out of the room, still crying but with a firm resolve.

I stood in the rubble, thinking about what had just happened.
Time traveling Heian princess trapped in the 21st century
Buddhist Nationalist, Pan-Asianist, Neo-Confucian, Economic Collectivist

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New Arcadius
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New York Times Democracy

Postby New Arcadius » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:12 pm

Gaukhar Erzhanova

Year 1, Month 2, Day 31

Chapter 2 - How to found a Civilization




"... and that is how I managed to ride my first horse."

A sign of amazement came from the man that I was with out getting dates from the many palm trees in the oasis for food. The Chief's son, who was named Magher, was out accompanying me. He was a fairly young man, a bit younger, but he was still rather handsome. He and I had gotten along since that whole incident that had happened over a month ago. It was there that I begun to feel more comfortable with these oasis folks. They weren't the hostile people that I would thought they would be, and everything seemed to be fine. I would get occasional glares from the other villagers due to how tall I was, but I wasn't really as bothered as I was when I first arrived to the Siwa Oasis.

"Amazing... I still do not know what a horse is, but whatever you ridden, it must be a majestic beast!" he said smiling wide. "Tell me, in your tribe, do your people know how to ride one from birth?"

I begun to go up onto a tree reaching towards some more dates, which seemed a bit easier since I was taller than Magher, but either or, I kept going. "Well, before our people became a nation, we would usually ride around the endless steppes. Sort of like how your people are descendants of nomadic peoples, but we rode on horses." I filled the basket with dates after getting down a bit. My back was a bit soar from all the bending over, probably because I wasn't so used to this. I fixed my cloth a bit, still not very used to exposing my breasts to others. "And we weren't so used to exposing our breasts either." I joked. Magher just shrugged and smiled. "Different tribes, different customs, I suppose."

We would return back with the dates to the village, heading to the small granary that was there, and placed it near the other food stores. The sounds of salt crushing was heard from a woman crushing the salt that was being gathered from the area. I would begun to walk around the village a bit with Magher and got a bit curious.

"I think I had talked a bunch about where I am from to you, but..." I questioned. "What about your people? How is life here for you in this village? Is there anything I should know?"

I felt I had asked a bit too much, but I had to know. If this was going to actually be my new home, I might as well treat it as such. Without hearing any planes or any sort of modern transportation out there, I really feel that I am not going to get back to Riverside anytime soon. And even though I'm beginning to warm up to the others, I still do not fully trust them. I still keep vigilant for any assassins or people who might try to kill me at night, sometimes waking myself up in the middle of the night just to feel myself for any injuries or wounds. Usually, there would be a few bug bites, but that was expected. I even had a few on myself, and some scapes right now from gathering dates from the oasis. I begun to eat a date from the ones we just collected, and glanced at Magher.

The Chieftess herself was rather young, around thirty or so. It seems she may of had her child very young or something, but she still looked well her age, probably because of her better lifestyle or something. Hmm... I never really looked into the life expectancy of the people back then, and always assumed that they're just pass on at thirty. But it doesn't seem so.

"Well, you do deserve to know... I mean, you are going to be here for a while, yes?" I nodded. He continued with a smile. "Well... where to begin? Our people migrated to this area years ago after being wandering nomads from the vast lands to the west which we call the Great Sands. I personally do not know how long ago we came here, but, I know for sure this oasis was salvation for our people. Around here, we have Dates, Wild Game, a vast desert of Salt, Slit, Clay, Fresh Water, Tall Grass for Straw and of course, some wood." he stretched a bit. "Well, what you should probably know, is that here, our culture enjoys music, which you probably had noticed, but also, our men sort of... enjoy having time with eachother."

I instantly stood there raising my eyebrow a bit. "You mean..."

He nodded. "Well yes, it's in tradition. Around here, women are not usually fought over, it's the men. Of course, we still reproduce with the women, but we just sometimes find our enjoyment with eachother."

I was... weirded out a bit. I didn't wanted to tell him my religious beliefs, which was obviously me being a practicing Sunni. But either or, I shouldn't really try to judge here. After all, I am trying to still gain their trust, and apart of that trust is to take in their beliefs a bit more seriously. "I see... Well... that's something." I cleared my throat. "Anyways."

I spent a bit more time with Magher around the village, before returning back to the Chieftess telling her of the tasks I had completed for her when the sun was going down. She was pretty satisfied and impressed, and she should be. I had got so much done in the past month, and I think it's pretty clear that I had been an extremely product member of the tribe. I even tried to introduce a few ethics to the village to help it become more efficient based off my pastoral skills, especially when it came to raising animals. It helped with my leadership skills as well, as teaching the locals about a few things that I know felt rewarding, and made me feel great about myself. I even made my own clothing to show how much I had progressed with the local Tailor. It was surprisingly easier than I thought... hmn.

"You have done well, Gaukhar of Ezranova," She still called my last name as if I was from a place called that... "Magher and you seem to also be getting along well. He always seems to talk about you every time he comes back. Are you trying to tell me that you want to marry my son?"

I flustered a bit, but rose my brow. "No? Why would I ever be so ridiculous to even marry someone I had only known for a month?"

She laughed and smiled. "Dear Gaukhar. You should understand by now, that unlike the Kazakhs, we Siwa are very keen on wanting strong heirs to continue on our peoples legacy." she said getting up. She glanced up at me and told me to crouch down. We glanced at eachother eye to eye. "Besides, I am very sure that I would appreciate taller grandchildren, no?" she gave a soft chuckle at that comment. I kept my stoic face not really laughing.

"It's not that... it's just that it's weird to me. Usually, I would marry a man if I think he's worthy of even of my attention. Our marriage customs are also different, but I do not know how it happens here." I said. "I'll give it more thought, but I am not interested right now into marrying your son. Not at least feel more accustomed to the village. I still don't trust the others, and I feel they're going to attack me at any moment."

The Chieftess glanced at her and nodded. "You are a very wise tall matron, Gaukhar. I am impressed at your honesty. But if that is the way you wish for it to be, then very well. But do remember, that offer is still on the table, at least if you decide to go against me and my people."

I shook my head. "I would never do such a thing, Chieftess."

She nodded. "Good. You are dismissed."

I gave a respectful nod to her, still not really understanding how others properly salute their chiefs, but before I went on my way, something came up on my mind.

"Chieftess, before I go... I want to ask you a question." I said.

The Chieftess, whom reached for her clay cup, sipping some of the date juice with her young fingers wrapped around the cup, holding both sides. "Go on."

"Your leadership... your people seem to favour you more than men. It reminds me of how my own people used to have some tribes that were namely run by women in a matrilenial type setting. Is this true for this one?"

The Chieftess sipped the drink and glanced at me strangely in confusion. "What do you mean? You mean why I lead instead of someone like my son, or my husband?"

I gave a nod.

The Chieftess lowered her cup and glanced down at it. "For generations, it was the mothers of the Isiwan that lead our people to survive and have sense of direction. Since many of our men went out to hunt, it was us women that was left behind to do much of the labour that the men wasn't available to do. From there, it was clear that we were more suited for leadership roles, although it wasn't uncommon for a man to stand up and lead his people onwards. There are a few tribes like that. I myself, believe that we all must contribute something to the Isiwan to survive and live out in these harsh sacred dunes. The spirits watch over us... or in your case, your being you call "Allah"." she glanced at my eyes once more. They didn't look so harsh as they were earlier, warming up to me, probably because we weren't discussing major tribal issues, but just having a peaceful chat.

"Now let me ask you something, Gaukhar. You mentioned that in your beliefs, it is the man that dominates the household, and everyday life, and that women are irrelevant in the day to day basis, however, where you are from it seems to be mixed in with your traditions. Tell me, does your people do their part in their society in your so called village in your so called nation? If "Allah" was with them, then why did you move away from your own kinsmen to live in a huge group full of others? It truly confuses myself if your divinity is truly with you... or maybe instead, a maternal force is driving you instead? Or are there... other aspirations?"

Was... the chieftess suggesting that God was a woman or something? I honestly think she is just spitting blasphemy, but yet again, so was I. So I suppose it was fair that she had a jab at what I believed in. I had talked to her a bunch about my beliefs with her, especially my beliefs in Islam... but does that even matter anymore? If I am in a location where no one seems to know what in the hell my religion is, and I am basically in an enclave, then what else am I supposed to say? I took a long hard think about her question. Some parts of it sounded easy to answer, so I decided to answer first.

"My parents weren't allowed to actively worship their religion out in public, due to the laws being different at their time. I myself, left Kazakhstan because I namely wanted to explore. To expand my mind, to find my own path. Spiritually, yes, I am a Muslim at heart, but at the same time, I am tolerant, and open myself to new ideals that are presented to me. But of course, you already know this story by now from the many times we spoke about it. From where I am from, it is normal for this to happen, due to economical or political differences. Tribes back where I am from, are called "nation states", large forms of what you might call a confederation of tribes, but united under one group ruling over the rest, enforcing their language, culture and beliefs, and going far and beyond a small place, such as this oasis."

I paused myself before continuing on. I probably didn't answered the question she was asking. "I apologize... I probably didn't answered your-"

"No no no, Gaukhar, continue. I am actually interested to know more about this concept you are telling me about. It interests me greatly."

I nodded. "Right... Well... a nation state has borders, a capital, a banner, a song that we call an anthem that represents our people as a whole. It is a huge complex social construct that seems way too big for your people at the moment. However, in the future, maybe it can happen. But it takes a bunch of work, much bloodshed, and many lives to be taken. Rivals, backstabbing, schewerdness. It takes a bunch to try and bring someone to their knees."

The Chieftess was intrigued, but looked a bit frightened. "War...? Well... we had a few minor skirmishes with a few nomads that arrived over here trying to take us over, and subjugate us under them. But the things you speak about sound extremely ambitious, and out of our reach. Yes, you are right, we are pretty far away from that. All we wish is to survive."

I gave a stern look at the Chieftess. "My Chieftess, if I may be blunt, survival shouldn't be the only thing you should be thinking about. Back in my homeland, we learned from a famous source from someone further away, but his word spread on throughout the known world, about something known as "Survival of the Fittest". The Isiwan can focus on survival, sure, but if you do not press and dominate others, then the Isiwan is endangered to die to a more powerful enemy, including your rivals. You told me how you only became a chieftess at a young age, but your people need you more than ever. Trust me... I am not expert of leadership, but I know that this is basic common sense. To survive, you must sometimes harm others to get what you want. This is how basis and foundations of a civilization is born."

I remained silent with her for a moment. She blankly looked at the bowl. She seemed to have grasped what I was saying but it doesn't seem that she understood fully. It was to be expected, I myself didn't understood, but if there was anything I remembered from my classes, most civilizations were born on fear and intimidation.

"This may be much to digest... but civilizations are found on dominance, strength, supremacy, even rape and erasing another's identity to become one of yours."

The Chieftess then finally spoke after remaining silent for about thirty seconds. "I see... please. Go. This is much for me to take in. We'll discuss this another time."

I nodded. Perhaps my lesson about civilization was a bit too much for her.

"As for the maternal force... perhaps you are right about that. What you ask me, I must think about as well."

I left outside of her hut, and saw Magher again. He looked a bit concerned looking at me. "Everything alright, Gaukhar? Need some company?"

I sighed and held my head. "Had you ever closed your eyes, and just suddenly appear somewhere else, unfamiliar with everyone, and leaving behind everything you know and love?"

Maghar tilted his head as we walked together back to my hut that I had only half constructed, but ensure that a bed was there. "Not really. It must be hard for you, however, being from a completely different tribe than us."

"Well... it feels like that, yes. Even after... how long? A month? I don't know. It's been a while, but around that long, being around here, even as I am getting used to everything, even when I feel more inclined to stay, it's still weird to me. Your mother even proposed that we marry."

He looked a bit shocked. He scratched his chin a bit and gave a nervous laugh. "W-well... that's interesting. I mean, she always told me to marry you, since you were foreign and all from a different tribe and all. To strengthen your tribe and our tribe's unity. But as you said, you have no idea where your own people are, so... maybe it's out of desperation to help guide the last of your people, which of course is you as the sole Kazakh to breed together with our tribe?"

I shook my head and sighed. "I know what she's implying. It's politics. I am defiantly not the last Kazakh out there, for there are many more, but maybe over here? I don't remember my people being desert people. Only people of the steppes. Besides, I'm sure that a man is probably trying to fight over you right no-"

He reached to hold my hand. I glanced down at the affection... it was extremely weird that he was showing affection even though we weren't officially married, but he gave me a look of seriousness.

"I don't think that. Even if it has been a very short while, I can feel that we could last for a lifetime." he smiled very confidently. "You just need to believe in yourself more, Gau."

I looked away for a moment, allowing his hand to intertwine with mine for a bit longer. I can't be thinking such inappropriate things at times like this, but this feeling... it was something I probably needed. Someone who actually started to trust me more, unlike many other people around here. I sighed a bit, allowing his hand holding until we finally got back to my half-finished hut, before letting go of it. "Right... I'll see you tomorrow then, Magher. You should head home, your mother probably is worried that you aren't home yet. It's already dark."

He nodded. He seemed a little disappointed that I wouldn't let him stay with me, but understood this was weird to me. Atleast I hope he did. I watched him go off back to his hut and laid down on my grass bed sighing. I didn't knew what I was getting myself into when I first came here. All I wanted was to ask for a plane to at least go home, but now I'm just stuck here with a bunch of people who are apparently Egyptians in the western desert, but look nothing like the Modern Egyptians I know, who are brothers and sisters in the same faith, and teachings. But yet again, I felt comfortable. This place isn't as bad as I first remembered it to be. The peaceful crickets, the occassional sand whispers, and the waters of the oasis was a nice sound. It wasn't loud, it was quiet, peaceful, serene. Nothing interrupted it in the sky or anything like that. At least this hut is coming along nicely. Just needed some more bricks to be made. The brickmaker is a helpful lad, someone that is teaching me the steps pretty well.

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Reatra
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 16103
Founded: Sep 02, 2011
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Reatra » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:42 am

“So, we all understand the idea that you inherit traits from your parents, no? Sometimes it is obvious that our physical characteristics came from someone in our family, one of our ancestors, whether our parents, their parents, or beyond, yes?”

“Would it not then make sense that a plant that grows larger and faster will produce seeds that will in turn grow larger and faster? Or a plant grown from seeds of a plant that produces many more seeds than others of its type will continue to hold onto that trait? If we were to capture fish from the lake and have the fastest growing and fattest breed together, might we not end up with a population that grows faster and is easier for us to catch and use? Could we not do the same with rabbits? With quails? This is the sort of thing that can, should we purposefully work towards it, help us feed more people with less resources and less work overall.”









There was a population of roughly fifty in the village, named Upuroro, with something like two or three times that in what Soto would call San Francisco. This tip of the peninsula was mostly sand dunes and hills, except for the lake, and the more naturally fertile areas to the south and across the Bay supported far more people.

Ideally, that would soon change.

But the nice part about that is it is far easier for one man to work a semi-domesticated garden when he only had to supplement the diets of around fifty people, plus he would take this time to integrate himself into the village, meet other nearby settlements, attempt to ensure peace, and, of course, teach others the art of horticulture!

The main developments that were possible so quickly after gaining at least some semblance of trust were the ones that required the least effort. Putting organic waste into a massive pile with some native earthworms (confirming for him that yes, indeed, there were native species of earthworms in California, which made sense as the glaciers never quite reached here…), his own solid waste (convincing people to put their obviously disgusting and perhaps disease-ridden feces in one place and that that will somehow benefit the people is rather difficult) fish skins, leaves, stems, flowers, broken animal bones and shells, basically anything organic that he could easily get large amounts of. It was easy enough to explain that waste broke down after a time, and that once it was broken down it made for fertile earth. After all it was obvious that the lake was far more fertile than the creeks and streams despite the latter having ample water, and the lake happened to have a near-infinite supply of dead fish, animal droppings, etcetera. As such, a large and down-wind compost pile was set up to the southeast of Upuroro.

There were effectively only two crops planted in that initial garden. There was wild smooth amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus) and goosefoot (Chenopodium album). That was essentially it. The fact that smooth amaranth was so common up in the Sacramento Valley told Soto that the climate was not too much drier and warmer than that of the California he knew so well, but then again, Holocene California was often rather wet, so this drought period must be especially harsh to the native people…

Oh well, hopefully that meant drought-resistant crops such as those in the family Amaranthaceae would catch on more easily.

While of course these were non-domesticated crops, they were high yielding native plants that were also rather nutritionally and calorically well-off. Of course, these plants could not fully support a full diet, and as such more plants would soon need to be added to the crop package. But for now, hopefully these founder crops could be deemed useful, improved somewhat, and spread around.

Until then, though, in order to ensure a good initial harvest despite the lack of available compost, Soto buried rotting fish and meat beneath the planted seeds, and until their germination, ensured to be more than helpful to the local people, so as to cement his spot as a part of their community. He got very good at using a mortar and pestle, something which would come in handy after the harvest in a few months.

Luckily for California, it had a practically year-round growing season, at least in the Valley and on the coasts. Yet there was something that did not rely on the air temperature to work, something that could, for this lake-and-beach-side village, could help immensely:

Aquaculture.

While for now the fish-raising part of that would simply be throwing extra scraps into a few large areas of captured fish in the lake water near the village to be eaten later, the potentially most revolutionary aspect would be the idea of growing kelp and shellfish. Soto had arrived just before the mussel spawning season, and as such a personal project of his was to, along with some newfound trusted friends and comrades, create a few frayed ropes for catching mussel spawn. Of course it took some convincing to get these people to spend their precious leisure time helping him set up some projects they had no idea whether would work or not, but Soto’s immense determination and skill at speaking helped it along. Some tule reed mats floating off-shore, tied down with rocks on tule reed ropes, and checked on by fishermen on their way out to sea, would provide space for growing edible and nutritious kelp and mussels.

While somewhat dismayed that these ropes would not raise abalone snails (abalone farms required a bit more infrastructure to construct), the native people did eat both mussels and kelp, and as such a proof that these things could grow both of them, or at least one of them, would do much to not only convince the community that perhaps sedentary food-growing can work better than they thought, convince them that Soto actually did know what he was talking about, but also, and most importantly, feed a borderline malnourished population.

Ah, one can only hope.

And, besides, by the time Winter came Soto would have a whole different project in mind, something that would allow him to really start helping the people of Upuroro and the Peninsula as a whole.

By Winter time the increased wave action would turn the beach black.
yee haw it's time for mass line

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Mushroomio
Envoy
 
Posts: 247
Founded: Feb 08, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Mushroomio » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:01 am

John Drier

Suez, Egypt

Attack



The day has come. John built a simple cart, made entirely out of wood, with its contents safely inside. He had his workers drag the cart over the rough terrain to the resilient village, and he thought about his sins of the past. The murdering of Karat. The slaughtering of dissidents. The conquering of innocent villages. He felt a pang of guilt for every misdeed he remembered, but soon felt no remorse. The past is in the past. It is done, and should be forgotten. What matters is the present, and the future.

The trade delegation reached the village entrance, and the guards readied their spears.

“Calm down, men. It is only a trade delegation.”

“What is inside of it?”

“Not any of your business, not that you have any use for it anyway.”

“We have to check everything coming into our village to make sure it is not a trap.”

“Where is Huti?”

“In the village. Why?”

“I need to speak to him.”

When Huti came out, he looked pale.

“J-John! I did not think you wouldd be here s-so soon.”

“Remember our deal, friend.”

Huti was shaking, and sweating profusely. He went over to the guards, talked to them, and after a minute, the guards let the cart through. John went over to Huti and spoke to him again.

“Why are you so afraid, my friend?”

“W-where is my wife?”

“You will see her soon. Very, very soon.”

This did not calm Huti down one bit, apparently, as he went back inside the village walls, still shaking and seeming pale. John thought nothing of it. He had more important things to worry about.

That night, as the cart sat in the village square, unopened by John’s orders, something inside it started to move. First it was silent, almost imperceivable movements in the cart. But soon, it slowly grew in rapidity, strength, and noise. Then, almost as if by a force unbeknownst by all, it stopped. All was quiet.

“It is almost midnight, look at the moon.”

“I see, I see. Wait for it to be midnight, my friend.”

A few more minutes of waiting.

“Argh! I cannot take this anymore!”

“Quiet, you damned fool! You are going to get us killed! Wait for my mark.”

“Fine.”

Waiting.

Waiting.

More and more waiting.

Then, after some time, the silence was pierced.

“Go. Stay quiet, do not alert anyone. If we fail John, he will have our heads.”

The cart silently opened from a removable panel on the bottom, and the occupants slowly and stealthily climbed out of the cart, crouching. The men, exhausted from an entire day of being stuffed into a wooden cart in the desert sun, took their time crawling out of the cart. When they all were out, the leader directed all to follow him, and commanded them again to stay completely silent. They looked around the village for any primary targets; The armory, the guards’ quarters, the chieftain’s hut, the resource stockpile, and the farm. Most of these potential targets probably didn’t exist, but they searched for them anyway. First, they came across a bloc of huts, most likely residential. Too risky, might get spotted.

After a few more minutes of scouring the village, they had finally found a target. The village farm, in the center of the village. The crops were nothing special, just various herbs and berries found across the desert and domesticated. The men silently tore the plants out of the ground, and threw them in a pile to burn later. Next, they found a large hut, much larger than the rest of the huts around them.

“The chieftain’s hut must be over there.” the leader of the group whispered to his men.

They crouched over to the hut, and one peered inside what appeared to be a makeshift window. Indeed, it was the chieftain’s hut, and the chieftain was inside, sleeping. There were no guards inside his bedroom, maybe none at all in his hut. He must trust his people a great deal. But no matter. The leader of the group snuck inside the hut from the front entrance, as the window was too small. He took out the copper dagger John had given him. Inside was a sleeping guard, lying down on the floor. The guard’s throat was slit moments later, and John’s dagger was stained with the crimson liquid that was ever present in Desertia.

The warrior crept into the chieftain’s room, unheard, unseen. He was so close, so very, very close. He slowly put his hand on the chieftain’s mouth, who woke up quickly, in shock. The Desertian warrior, with his other hand, put his finger to his mouth and quietly said,

“Shhh….”

The chieftain’s eyes were wide open, trembling in fear, his mouth wishing to scream but being unable to. The warrior slowly tied him up with animal skin, making sure to tie him well so he does not escape.

As the chieftain was dragged out of the hut, the other members of the raiding party silently praised their leader’s catch, for they will surely be rewarded when they arrive home with their bounty! They crept back to where they had piled the crops, still undisturbed, and some of the group members carried them out with them. The only exit is through the front gate, however, and they were not of the village, and they had the chieftain in tow, tied up like a cow to the butcher. One of the members whispered to the leader, who then nodded. The leader had given him John’s dagger, and the warrior crept up near the front gate’s walls.

“Where the hell are those useless ba-”

“Sir, I found something.”

John looked back, and saw one of his men behind him. John was on a sand dune, watching the enemy village like a hawk does a shrew. He was looking for their agreed-upon sign, one that they had discussed over and over again, to the point of exhaustion on both of their parts. John’s dagger was to be thrown over the wall, the one nearest to where John said he would be. The soldier behind him was waiting expectantly for him to answer him.

“Is it the sign?”

“Yes, my liege. Your dagger in the sand, wiped clean of blood.”

“Good, good. Send word back to Heart. We attack at dawn. For now, let us retrieve the cart.”

“Very good, sir.”

John and his 4 guards walked down the sand dunes and to the front entrance. The guards, recognizing him, asked him what he wanted his time.

“The trade delegation. I trust you have not opened it?”

“No, we have not the time. What of it?”

“I require it back. Some incompetent buffoon mixed up the carts, the one we sent you is full of sand.”

“Go and get it.”

John was allowed access into the village, and his guards pulled the cart along. It looked like it was never even opened, but judging by its weight, he knew that his raiding party had succeeded in their task. He had kidnapped the enemy tribe’s chieftain right under their noses.

The following morning, John’s army marched over to the village, and by late afternoon, set up camp outside of it. The long procession of workers were carrying food and water raided from previously conquered villages, and some from Egypt. John sent a delegate to speak to the village’s new chieftain, to see if they would submit.

“Our great and glorious ruler, John, has ordered me to ask you of your next plans. He requires your immediate surrender.”

The chieftain, the old chieftain’s brother, was dumbfounded. This random savage from the desert demands his surrender? He ordered the delegate to be killed, and his head thrown over the 6 foot tall walls.

John saw this, and was enraged.

“Damn them all to hell! They get a great invitation to submit without bloodshed to me, and they refuse? His plans were ruined, this chieftain was more stubborn than the last! No, they will all pay for their treachery! Surround the village! Burn the walls! Kill everyone!”

His soldiers marched closer and closer to the village walls, made of sticks, sand and mud, and a torch-bearer set fire to a section. The section did not burn much, but it was structurally unsound. Workers were ordered to push the weakened wall in, and they pushed for an hour. It fell with a resounding thud, and inside were village warriors. John noticed that they were armed with spears, but no tips. Just large, pointy wooden sticks. Savages.

Desertian warriors marched forward in a wedge formation, determined to split the defending force in two. The defending troops didn’t stand a chance between the concrete armor and the wedge. The warriors were split, surrounded, and massacred. No survivors. The rest of the village was taken easily, their defenders being killed. The entire tribe was taken for either workers, or as examples. The examples, the chieftain’s brother included, were crucified, beheaded and put on a spike, or beaten by their brethren’s hands. John was pleased with the carnage across the village, the new Desertian village. Their knowledge of canoe-building and primitive wall-building will come in handy.

As the army arrived back home, John ordered the new workers to share their knowledge of canoe and wall-building with the other workers, and interrogated some of them for more information. All in all, he learned how to build canoes, how to cheaply build walls, and how damned he was going to be in the afterlife. The last one was spat out by many workers, who were subsequently killed for their insolence.

John saw his village, his empire, and saw a collection of tribes living under fear. This was not his plan. All of these people have allegiance to their own tribal identities, not Desertia. This had to change. All of these different tribes, their very identities as individuals, they needed to be erased. Wiped clean. Their only loyalty should be to Desertia, and to John. He needed to create a monolithic culture, one that all shall abide by, one fueled by loyalty and bravery. A warrior culture, one that would make even Djer shudder. A culture with brutality and slavery as the norm, not the exception. All under the Desertian banner will be the strongest warriors on Earth, with one being able to take on a whole army by their lonesome!

He was thinking these thoughts as he fell asleep that night, and slept more comfortably than he ever did.

In the morning, however, he awoke to the smell of smoke.

“What in the…?”

Heart burst into John’s hut, with a manic look in his eye.

“John! The new slaves from the walled village! They… they-!”

“Calm down, Heart. Also, they’re workers, not slaves. What is it?”

“The sla-workers just started revolting!”

Dear god.

John ran outside, pushing Heart aside, and saw, down the hill, a large gathering of workers. Damn it all to hell! They had torches and some even had spears that were no doubt crafted using their own knowledge. Some soldiers’ bodies lined the path down, 11 exactly. John ran back to Heart, and barked orders at him.

“Get the fucking soldiers, NOW! Grab all that you can, civilians even! I don’t care who, just get me someone!”

John grabbed his spear and helmet and prepared for the ensuing battle. Of course they just couldn’t accept defeat, could they?

“I knew it was too easy.”
Location: Suez, Egypt
RP: New Civilizations
Status: Typing up new post
Character: Going mad with power, it's getting to his head. His delusions of grandeur are getting worse.
Location: Langley, USA
RP: Black Cell
Status: Active
Character: Slightly sarcastic, friendly
Location: Bunker, Detroit, USA
RP: A Heart of Rust
Status: Typing up new post
Character: Going mad, thinking his robots are his children, a bit of a recluse

User avatar
G-Tech Corporation
P2TM RP Mentor
 
Posts: 55321
Founded: Feb 03, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby G-Tech Corporation » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:19 am

Part 3, Chapter 5: In Desperation, Discipline


June 13th, 10 AG

The air near the Elbe was thick and hot, summer coming at long last to the Czech highlands as I departed the ship in Mundial. One of the ten Great Cities of the Imperium, her streets were not so wide as Mara's, nor her outskirts as well planned, but there was still a certain air of order, competence, and quiet confidence in the future which pervaded the city, for those with the wit to feel it. That order though - it was obvious that it was fraying. The dockworkers spoke in hurried and rushed tones as the detachment from the capitol came ashore, and I read more furtive glances from passersby in those first few minutes of paperwork and official greetings than I had seen in many months.

Not unexpected. Plague had ever been a specter on the horizon for the Imperium, for all men of these times. Even the most isolated settlements needed only one wayward touch, one unlucky traveler, to see the lowering gloom of sickness and death descend upon their homes. I had done my utmost to hold that harbinger at bay as best I could - isolating men from the waste of civilization, providing public facilities for the cleansing of body and heart, even the careful composting of fertilizer for fields for long years before it was put to use.

But it had not been enough, at least not here, which was not unexpected, as I mentioned before. Behind me several coteries of physicians from the capitol, and peacekeepers came, as I marched at a quick staccato tempo to the governor's hall where we would coordinate these efforts. Disease and illness, for all my best efforts, always circulated through the cities of Czechia and even the smaller towns; it was an axiomatic part of a society with close contact with animals, and less than pristine notions about hygiene. But that was a symptom to be managed, and managed it could be. What had been reported from here, from Mundial, was far more serious.

Epidemic. Plague.

Only those trained at scribal tasks, or given education in medicine, understood what was meant by the word epidemic. It was well, for the common man might have fled in terror, if he understood the full implications. A spreading of contagion that did not slowly burn through her victims, but leapt person to person, household to household, until the dead were piled in the streets and the graveyards brimmed to overflowing. We had never had to face a proper epidemic, in large part through providence, in small part due to nipping such conflagrations in the bud wherever they appeared with alacrity.

Here though, it seemed the firewalls had failed, the local response had been inadequate. And so it was my job - and by proxy, the national government's job - to clean up the mess.

The entrance to the governor's hall was protected, humble Guardsmen in local colors with linen masks assessing the arrivals, and presumably barring access to those who showed signs of infection. That was well and good, for health reasons, but it disquieted my mind as to the mood of the local populace. It would not have sat well with those whose family members burned under plague, to hear that the man responsible for their wellbeing was closeting himself away in his court away from the disease's spread. Inequality could foster resentment in as much time as it takes a man to get to the bottom of a mug of indifferent beer, and riots in the middle of plague season would be disastrous.

"We will have to move quickly. The city is tense."

I spoke under my breath to Maria, and the head physician nodded. She could feel it too, see it in the hurried steps and fearful faces of the people we had passed in the street. When death walked in city centers, social order decayed rapidly, for cooperation no longer guaranteed elevation - rather it was more likely to drag one down to Sheol. The very bonds of family and friendship that in normal times of danger helped one weather the storm could bring exposure to the contagion.

It was good, at least, that the people of Mundial appeared to understand this. The streets were all but bare of people, save the markets where housewives bartered for increasingly expensive food. That much of generalized medical knowledge had been transmitted over the last decade to the populace, and would likely do much to prevent the conflagration from spreading as quickly as might otherwise be the case; isolation brought safety from nearly every disease humans could spread to humans, and so there was safety in closed doors and quiet roads.

Still, the governor would not have requested our aid if the situation had not become dire. By and large such men were selected by myself and the Council for competence and self-sufficiency far and above that of the average ruler - Izmadas was no exception. As unflappable as they came, though young, he would have only asked for central resources if he and his advisers could divine no method of containing the outbreak which was not needful of such resources Mara and the other cities could offer.

The guards allowed us to pass into the hall with barely a comment, moving aside the few petitioners that had made their way to the entrance to allow myself, Rolf, and Maria into the low-slung stronghold. There was no need for the rest of the entourage to follow us, aside from a handful of Blackguards; discussions here would be swift, it was to be hoped, and rest before the exertions to come would not go amiss for soldier or physician. My pace did not slow as the stone cobblestones were replaced by smooth flagstones of dappled local granite, or even the twisted warm hardwood of the fir forests of the Erzgebirge's nearby slopes. Time was of the essence.

Izmadas' expression brightened as we entered the audience chamber, but it was only through the force of will that I prevented my step from faltering; the young man who the Houses had sent east to keep an eye on the squabbling sires of Mundial was now sunken and withered, great bands of sleepless nights and care draining the vitality from a face that should still be quick and lively. His deep sea-green eyes betrayed a weariness that almost caused tiredness to start in my own heart, and I felt immediate shame that we had not come sooner, upon seeing the wane but feeble hope that started in his smile at seeing us.

A salute, weak, but as protocol dictated. I returned the gesture quickly, automatically, but the concern must have showed on my face, for Izmadas laughed.

"I must look an old ghost. My apologies, Hegemon, councilors. It has been hot work here, and I have little had time for slumber or refreshment. Sit, please. There is much to tell, and much to do."

We seated ourselves swiftly, but the story took longer to recite than I had expected, for it was more dire than could be guessed. A wasting plague of boils was eating its way through one of the outer divisions of the city, and already hundreds had perished. The governor had his court physician inspect the infected extensively, and as they worked through the recounting of the symptoms my blood curdled.

"Where is Doctor Nephytes now, Izmadas?"

"Dead, Hegemon. She displayed the lesions ten days after the inspections. We have been loathe to send other medical staff into the infected area after her diagnosis, for we have few to spare. As far as I have been able to tell, the quarantine is holding, but as the plague spreads within the district, attempts to break out have become more frequent. Desertions from the Guard have been increasing, and devastating in the quarantine squads."

The governor spread his hands in a gesture of supplication as the report finished, his scribe's voice cracking with the last few words: the death count.

"Without more men, more doctors, maybe some of your wisdom, I fear the quarantine will not last much longer, though I put on an optimistic face for our citizens. And once the infected hit the city in truth, or flee into the countryside, who knows how many will die? Our best estimates are very shaky, but lethality appears to be between ten and twenty percent of the exposed, and the exposure rate at least one in two for infectivity. This is the worst plague we have faced, though some greybeards remember it passing before. Any help you can render is most welcome, pitifully welcomed even."

My mind was whirring as I solemnly voiced some platitudes about the unfailing aid of the Imperium, and the favor of our Almighty Father. The symptoms described by the unfortunate Nephytes had triggered some half-buried memory in my brain, hard pustules beneath the skin, weeping lesions, fever beginning with scabs in the mouth. I filed that thought away as I mechanically bid the governor farewell, promising to take care of the situation, and we departed the hall.

The walk back out to the men was silent, each of us processing. I sent Maria on ahead after a moment's thought, and turned to Rolf, my second, looking directly into his wintry gray eyes. They were the eyes of a combat veteran, for such were the men I had brought to Mundial for a very specific reason, and I could tell at my first guess that the son of Rumshaal had already guessed the reason for my dark mood. His voice was like gravel as those lips begrudgingly shaped the words.

"Looks like we need to deal with quarantine enforcement."

Such bloodless words. Quarantine enforcement. So much that shadowed hearts and minds, hidden behind a clinical veil of necessity to prevent the stain of culpability from touching the soul, if at all possible. It was not a light burden that had been placed on us by the Guard's inability to contain the outbreak, but one of the heaviest.

Quarantine enforcement. Many men and women thought they understood what it meant. Don't prevent the infected from roaming freely. Don't let them out into the general populace. It sounded so simple, as long as you thought of them as disease vectors, not people. If you thought of the quarantine as imprisoning people, then things were much harder, the heart much more likely to be rent in twain. How did you tell desperate mothers that they had to stay in their neighborhoods with the infected, risking the lives of their children so that the children of others might live? How did you tell the family and friends of the dying that they couldn't go minister to their loved ones, that they had to let them die alone? Would you kill an old man trying to desperately escape the barricades so his pox-ridden hands wouldn't touch young soldiers who had signed up to see the world, to prevent them dying in agony?

Such damnably bloodless words.

I nodded to Rolf, not even giving voice to those words. Already the iron tang was on my tongue. Some days I could pretend, when the sun was shining, that I was a good man. That my heart could be light, free of guilt. The things we did were necessary; I told myself day after day, month after month, year after year. And yet why did it sometimes feel like my hands were soaked in blood I could never wash off?

Quietly we left the hall, catching up to Maria. There was still something that could be done, I hoped, mind turning back to half-formed remembrances of a bygone life.

"Do you know if they keep cattle near here?"




June 27th

My eyes were heavy with afternoon sunlight when the man entered the Hall of Rule, a crier announcing his title. Mundial would live, and the Imperium was better for it - hundreds dead, barely any after the program had begun, instead of thousands or tens of thousands. Still, I was weary. There had already been many audiences in the day, and a quick glance down at my docket told me that the newcomer had been an interpolation in the schedule, for whatever reason. "Speaker of the High Council of the Northern Land", rendered in the common Germanic of the Imperium. Not a title I had heard before, though that was good at least - the amount of men who called themselves Imperator, Arbiter, and Hegemon from little tribes and clanships was beginning to get a bit silly. Generic though, as titles went, since Northern Land could really represent just about any geographical polity from one man's backyard to a tribal confederation of note, the only distinction being the northern-nature of the land.

At least they vaguely understood directions? That could be a point in their favor, yes.

It was Master Aevitas who spoke first, of House Ludmilis, the scions of Etral who had been in Mara for five winters and more. His kindred were far away, so he was really a second son, not a Lord of the Imperium, but that was understandable - great Houses tended to have better things to do with their time than endlessly sit in Council, even as I was only rarely able to attend in my role as High Arbiter.

"Forsat Stoarbign Nortlands", spoke Aevitas, and in my head I chuckled. I didn't commonly make use of my gift of tongues in council, save where necessary, but that was as atrocious of a butchering of whatever Northern (Nordic?) dialect as I had heard in recent weeks. The Northern speech that followed was not overly graceful either.

"Við fögnum emmatal þína til Mara, sæti Imperium. Afhverju ertu kominn?"

Impressive, actually. Not the most grammatically correct though. I saw the confusion start in the stranger's face, and could already tell this was going to be a hash of a communication if I didn't step in. Aevitas' was much better suited than I had guessed at first, however. I leaned forward, holding up a hand, and spoke the phrase in properly communicable Nordlander, though I had never heard the tongue before today. Idly I speculated as I spoke what linguistic connections the patois held to the German-tongue of our marches.

"We welcome your eminence to Mara, of the Imperium. We offer you greetings, and inquire, with no malice, as to your purpose here."
Last edited by G-Tech Corporation on Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
TG if you have questions about RP. If I don't know the answer, I know someone who does.

Quite the unofficial fellow. P2TM Mentor specializing in faction and nation RPs, as well as RPGs.

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