NATION

PASSWORD

Simmering Problems (Partially Open, see first post)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Simmering Problems (Partially Open, see first post)

Postby Cyretopolitania » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:13 pm

(OOC: This continues the story from this 2014 thread, following a time-jump of four years: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=237997. Feel free to join, if you participated in the original thread, belong to the Western Atlantic or have RP’d with me before. Otherwise, please TG first.)

Cyretia, Cyretopolitania

The Muslim League Crisis of 2014, as it was known in the Cyretian media, had faded into stalemate as a new status quo emerged. King Aksel IX had eventually given into his Privy Council and enacted a limited state of emergency. However, due to the timely intervention of the nation’s religious leaders, orchestrated from behind the scenes by King’s daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Irene, the decree stopped well short of what the Council had requested.

The Emergency Decree of 2014 officially banned the Muslim League and all other Islamist groups advocating for violence. That last clause had been an important victory for the likes of the Emir of Messad, who had advocated in favor of allowing Gulenist and Sufist movements to operate freely as an antidote to the Salafists, and a major defeat for Muslim Affairs Minister Dr. Ibrahim Abrika, who had wanted to ban all non-traditional, non-assimilationist groups. In the end, Krystafer Cardinal Mzali and Cyretian Coptic Pope Augustine XII had played a decisive role in swaying the King in favor of the Emir’s position.

The Decree, however, did expand the military’s role in domestic policing and in securing the borders. The permissible period for detention without charges was increased and Royal Intelligence was authorized to conduct limited intelligence gathering on Cyretian citizens. Martial law was imposed in parts of the Muslim south for much of 2015 but was lifted in early 2016. Traditional Muslim rulers, such as the Emir of Messad, were left in place - subject to renewed oaths of fealty to the Crown - but were assigned “military advisors” to assist them in resisting the Islamists. Everyone assumed these advisors also reported on the Muslim nobility’s loyalty to the Crown.

By early 2018, the nation had grown used to this new status quo; however, forces on all sides still harbored ambitions to tilt the balance their favor.

Headquarters of Royal Intelligence, Cyretia

Seated behind an oversized wooden desk filled with paper folders and two large landline phones Dr. Count Izza Azenfar looked even more diminutive than usual. His short stature was as infamous as his predilection for pungent Snefaldian cigarettes and led to his derisive nickname - “The Smelly Midget”. Of course, no one who valued their life and livelihood dared call the director that name in public or anywhere someone on his expansive and secret payroll might overhear it.

The silence of the office, punctuated only the slow oscillation of a fan, was broken by a heavy wooden door being flung open. The Director of Royal Intelligence looked up at the sound. “What is, Idir?” he asked, taking the cigarette from his lips and holding it between his thumb and index finger.

“Your Excellency,” the count’s assistant, a skinny fellow in a dress shirt and black slacks, said with a bow, “we just received a call from one of our people in the Economos’ office.” Azenfar gestured with his hand for his assistant to continue. “It has not been made public yet, but Pope Augustine XII has died.”

Azenfar returned his cigarette to his lips and took a long drag. He took it out again and blew a wreath of acrid smoke. “Interesting. This may change things considerably.” The count looked down at his calendar - there was no computer or even a smartphone in his office. “Clear my appointments from one o’clock on, Idir, and summon everyone we have in the Church offices and everyone we have with leverage over the archpriests and metropolitans. This may change things considerably.”

With a bow Idir turned and left the office. Azenfar watched him leave and allowed himself the slightest of smiles before turning back to his papers.

User avatar
Brasland
Diplomat
 
Posts: 860
Founded: May 16, 2006
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Brasland » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:24 am

Four years had passed since the events of the Muslim League Crisis, and the Crown Princess had hoped –against her own better judgement– that the kingdom would enjoy peace for many years to come. Now, with one child and another on the way, her time had been absorbed by her family and her involvement in charity work, and religious power plays seemed to have been something from a very distant past when she had the energy and the determination to help things change. But there’s never a quiet time for members of sovereign families, and Irene knew this all too well. Shayma Abensur, her trusted lady-in-waiting, had brought her the news of Pope Augustine’s death.

“This could create problems”, said Irene. “The Coptic Church has been fundamental to preserve the statu quo and a change in its leadership may break the balance.”

“You think that someone will try to influence the election of a new Coptic Pope?”, asked Shayma.

“If history has taught us anything is that elections of religious leaders are far from being inspired by divine intervention”, the Crown Princess replied. “Shayma, you must call Cardinal Mzali immediately. Tell him that I want confession, he will understand what I mean.”
Last edited by Brasland on Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:05 pm

Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus, Martyrs, Cyretia

Hegumen Habil Mellouk, Grand Economos, Patriarchal Vicar of Cyretia and, now, Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of Cyretia, frowned as he shuffled the papers on the desk in front of him. With his All-Holiness dead, it fell to Mellouk to organise the election of the new Patriarch and Pope of the Cyretian Coptic Orthodox Church. This meant soliciting nominations from the bishops, then sifting through them to find candidates with the required six nominations. He also had to chair the election of twelve electors from General Lay Council and the selection of electors from the dioceses. Finally, he would have to convoke the Synod to meet together with the other electors. Then, the process of choosing the new pope would begin.

Worse than that, the Hegumen thought as he leaned back in his chair and wiped the sweat from his brow and from his formidable beard, the politicking had already begun. He had already heard half-a-dozen rumours of various bishops and potential electors being contacted by outside parties. Some were fairly innocuous, such as the religious leaders from other faith communities inquiring about the intricacies of the election, others, such as those coming from that damnable midget Azenfar and his associates, were quite alarming.

Restaurant Argane Tichka, Cyretia

Despite the heat of the day, Dr. Count Izza Azenfar sat with the heavy drapes pulled around his private table. Unlike the politically correct establishments of the Excalbian Isles, and many other parts of the Western Atlantic, like most Cyretian restaurants Argane Tichka had no objection to the count enjoying his pungent Snefaldian cigarette as we waited for his guest.

A rustling of curtains heralded the arrival of Azenfar’s guest. A waiter pulled aside the curtain and bowed. “Your Excellency, Dr. Gwafa Katchou.” The waiter gestured to the low, semicircular bench covered with pillows that surrounded the table except for a narrow opening where the curtains parted.

Dr. Katchou, a heavy-set man of his sixties, bowed slightly then slid onto the bench, gather pillows around him to support his back. After the curtain was closed again, the new arrival spoke. “Dr. Count Azenfar,” he said with a slight rasp, “I was surprised to receive your invitation. What can a simple physician do for the master of Royal Intelligence.”

The count smiled as he snubbed out his cigarette. “Oh, Dr. Katchou, you are far more than a humble physician. You are one of our leading practitioners of the medical arts. And one of our wealthiest commoners, as it were.” The count leaned back on a pillow. “Yet, I have asked to speak with in another capacity.”

Dr. Katchou’s face contorted, his bushy mustache twisting like a caterpillar in agony. “What other capacity?”

“Ah,” Azenfar produced another cigarette, “are you not vice chairman of the General Lay Council?”

“I am,” the doctor’s voice cracked.

“Well, you will have an important voice in the selection of the electors for our new pope.” The count reached under the table and produced a manila folder, which he slid towards the doctor. “Hopefully, you will appreciate how important it is that the new pope support our efforts to finally root out the Mohammadan threat amongst us, rather than continue in denial of its severity, as did his late predecessor.”

Katchou had never considered himself political. He was more interested in religious affairs - and his practice - than he was in politics. Yet, he - like most Cyretians - had recoiled in horror at the violence of both the Muslim Brotherhood and of the soldiers sent to root them out. He had been more than a little relieved when Pope Augustine XII had joined Catholic, Protestant and even Muslim leaders in appealing to the King for peace. He had been satisfied at the King’s decision to end the military engagement and to tread a middle path between ignoring the threat and crushing a fly with a sledgehammer. And, he knew enough to know that Azenfar had been urging the King to do the exact opposite.

With trepidation, Katchou opened the folder. His face turned white and his eyes dilated. “It was so long ago,” he stammered. “How… how did you…”

Azenfar puffed his cigarette and exhaled a puff of noxious smoke. “I make it my business, Doctor, to know everything there is to know about our leading citizens.” He reached out and pulled back the folder. “There is no reason to embarrass you at this late date. Still, it would be a shame if this folder were lost.” The count shrugged. “Just as it would be a shame if we elected a new pope who would continue Augustine XII’s blind embrace of the Mohammedans.”

Crown Prince John's and Crown Princess Irene's Apartments in the Royal Palace, Cyretia

After receiving Shayma’s call, Krystafer Cardinal Mzali had cleared his afternoon schedule and rushed to the Palace. He has his own suspicions about the reason for the Crown Princess’ sudden need for confession. He had already heard rumours of the machinations surrounding the selection of electors for Pope Augustine XII’s successor. He had, in fact, just spoken with the office of Vatican Secretary of State about the matter. Of course, Rome would not interfere in the election of another church’s leader, but as one of the historic, Apostolic Sees, along with Rome, there was tremendous interest in the Vatican about the selection of the person to fill that See. Especially, since whoever Augustine XII’s successor would be, he would almost immediately face the same political crisis that had been defined the late-pope’s reign.

The Cardinal considered all this as he approached the door to the Crown Prince’s and Princess’ Royal Apartment.

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Sun May 06, 2018 7:40 pm

Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus, Martyrs, Cyretia

Despite the insistent whine of the split-pack air conditioner and whir of the ceiling fan, the Hegumen’s office was, at best, warm and still rather humid. As Hegumen Habil Mellouk, Grand Economos and Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of Cyretia, stood he could feel the shirt sticking to his chest under his robes. Nonetheless, he stepped in front of his desk and nodded to his guest.

Sir Samuel Abbrir, the Minister of Christian Affairs, entered the office walking with a slight limp and leaning heavily on his cane. His face was worn with age and a frown seemed permanently etched on his face. He bowed slightly and put his hands together waiting for the Hegumen’s blessing. After the blessing, he bent further and kissed the Grand Economos’ hand. “Your Excellency,” he said , straightening as best as he could.

“Your Excellency,” Mellouk replied. He gestured to the chair next to his desk. “Please have a seat, Sir Samuel.” He walked beside the older man and offered his hand to help him into his seat, then he took the adjacent seat for himself.

“What can I do for you, Sir Samuel?” Mellouck asked pulling gently at his beard.

“Everyone is concerned about the election of the new pope,” the Minister began. “It seems that much time is passing.”

“It is,” Mellouck agreed.

“Is there a reason, Father?”

Mellouck looked down and frowned. “Can I trust your confidence, Sir Samuel? On your word as as a son of the Church?”

The older man nodded and leaned forward.

“I am troubled, Sir Samuel,” Mellouck began, “that outside forces are attempting to sway the election.”

“That is disturbing, Father,” Sir Samuel agreed. “Do you know from whence this interference is coming?”

“I am not certain,” Mellouck pulled again at his prodigious beard, “but I have my fears.”

“Who, Father?”

“Do not make me say his name, Sir Samuel.”

The elderly Minister nodded. There was only name that even the Hegumen would hesitate to speak: Azenfar.

User avatar
Kartlis
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 59
Founded: Jul 28, 2017
Ex-Nation

Postby Kartlis » Mon May 07, 2018 7:05 am

Image

His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch of All Kartlis, Kallistrate II
Statement of the Kartlian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church on the Death of Pope Augustine XII


The Kartlian Church as a whole shares the grief that afflicts the Cyretian Copts, and pray that the God of all mercy may receive Pope Augustine in his joy, his peace and light. His Holiness wishes to express his solidarity with the Cyretian people in this difficult period. We look to the continuance of the work Pope Augustine XII by his successor in strengthening the ecumenical ties with all the churches in the region, with the hope also of holding a summit for the religious leaders, Christians and Muslims, in the region. We offer also the heartfelt prayers of faithful Christians in Kartlis for the repose of the soul of Augustine, as well as all those servants of the Church who have died.

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.

User avatar
Brasland
Diplomat
 
Posts: 860
Founded: May 16, 2006
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Brasland » Tue May 08, 2018 6:32 pm

Cyretopolitania wrote:Crown Prince John's and Crown Princess Irene's Apartments in the Royal Palace, Cyretia

After receiving Shayma’s call, Krystafer Cardinal Mzali had cleared his afternoon schedule and rushed to the Palace. He has his own suspicions about the reason for the Crown Princess’ sudden need for confession. He had already heard rumours of the machinations surrounding the selection of electors for Pope Augustine XII’s successor. He had, in fact, just spoken with the office of Vatican Secretary of State about the matter. Of course, Rome would not interfere in the election of another church’s leader, but as one of the historic, Apostolic Sees, along with Rome, there was tremendous interest in the Vatican about the selection of the person to fill that See. Especially, since whoever Augustine XII’s successor would be, he would almost immediately face the same political crisis that had been defined the late-pope’s reign.

The Cardinal considered all this as he approached the door to the Crown Prince’s and Princess’ Royal Apartment.


The Crown Princess was standing when Cardinal Mzali appeared in the room, guided by a servant who shortly after bowed and discreetly disappeared.

“Your Eminence, it seems we always meet in difficult times” said Irene, approaching to him to kiss his ring. “Thank you for coming, my dear friend.”

They had now known each other for over five years and Irene had grown very fond of the cardinal, seeing in him a man of integrity and, quite important as well, someone in whom she could trust.

“I suspect you know why I called you”, Irene smiled, almost embarrassed. “It’s quite disagreeable to discuss this so soon after His Holiness’ passing, but we must. The Coptic Pope is the leader of the main religion in Cyretopolitania; whoever takes the pontifical throne of Cyretia will influence millions and will set the tone on relations with other religious groups. I know of a certain person, who whispers to the King’s ear, who will try to influence the election of Pope Augustine’s successor, and not to a good result. I’m worried, Your Eminence, I don’t want my children to live in a divided country, but I feel helpless. How can we convince the King that Count Azenfar is a bad influence? Maybe my family could help us. My brother, the King of Brasland, could talk to His Majesty and tell him what is happening, or maybe my great aunt Princess Alexandra could help us unmask Azenfar. She worked for the New Chalcedonian intelligence services for decades and has been a behind-the-scenes influence in Brasland for years. I can’t think of anything else that we could do and it frustrates me that we’ve reached to this point. I don’t understand why the King still trusts that man, doesn’t he see the danger that Azenfar’s growing power poses to the Crown?”

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Tue May 08, 2018 7:45 pm

Brasland wrote:
Cyretopolitania wrote:The Crown Princess was standing when Cardinal Mzali appeared in the room, guided by a servant who shortly after bowed and discreetly disappeared.

“Your Eminence, it seems we always meet in difficult times” said Irene, approaching to him to kiss his ring. “Thank you for coming, my dear friend.”

They had now known each other for over five years and Irene had grown very fond of the cardinal, seeing in him a man of integrity and, quite important as well, someone in whom she could trust.

“I suspect you know why I called you”, Irene smiled, almost embarrassed. “It’s quite disagreeable to discuss this so soon after His Holiness’ passing, but we must. The Coptic Pope is the leader of the main religion in Cyretopolitania; whoever takes the pontifical throne of Cyretia will influence millions and will set the tone on relations with other religious groups. I know of a certain person, who whispers to the King’s ear, who will try to influence the election of Pope Augustine’s successor, and not to a good result. I’m worried, Your Eminence, I don’t want my children to live in a divided country, but I feel helpless. How can we convince the King that Count Azenfar is a bad influence? Maybe my family could help us. My brother, the King of Brasland, could talk to His Majesty and tell him what is happening, or maybe my great aunt Princess Alexandra could help us unmask Azenfar. She worked for the New Chalcedonian intelligence services for decades and has been a behind-the-scenes influence in Brasland for years. I can’t think of anything else that we could do and it frustrates me that we’ve reached to this point. I don’t understand why the King still trusts that man, doesn’t he see the danger that Azenfar’s growing power poses to the Crown?”


Krystafer Cardinal Mzali took the Princess’ hands in his own. “I understand your concerns, Your Highness,” he said softly. He patted her hand gently. “Come,” he said, “let us sit.” He guided her to chair. As she sat, he sat in the chair beside her.

“The death of His All-Holiness does leave a void in the heart of Cyretian society. People of goodwill of all faiths look forward to the election of a new Coptic pope, who will continue in Augustine XII’s footsteps.” He crossed himself as he spoke the name of the late Coptic leader. “I can tell you that Rome is also anxious to see Augustine’s… open approach to people of all faith continue in the Coptic church.”

The Cardinal gace Irene a fatherly, compassionate look. “I also share your concern about Count Azenfar. As does, I believe, Hegumen Mellouck. The problem is that Azenfar is a man of many faces - congenial to those he needs, almost to the point of sycophancy; wheedling to those whose not in his thrall; manipulative of those under his power; and terrifying to those who incur his wrath.”

Mzali shook his head and glanced around the room. “Understand, my child, that I would only say this here, in the Palace, and to you and precious few others. But they also say that he has eyes and ears everywhere. Nothing happens of any importance that escapes Azenfar’s attention. And he uses what he knows… ruthlessly to his advantage.

“If you take it upon yourself to challenge Azenfar, he will move against you. Not directly. Not violently, given your station, but by innuendo, gossip, and planting seeds of doubt in the minds of the public and the court.” Mzali again took Irene’s hands. “If your great aunt has, as you say, the services of her intelligence agency at her disposal perhaps she could help you.

“Some over the years have accused Azenfar, but not could prove his schemes and all suffered for their failure to do so. If you wish to approach the King, you will need evidence.” The Cardinal smiled. “At least you have in your favour that you are the Crown Prince’s consort and that you have found favour in the eyes of the King. He will listen to you, but even he - even the King - will need evidence to dislodge Azenfar from his perch.”

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Sun May 27, 2018 9:19 pm

(OOC: Cross-posted from the old thread for efficiency's sake)

Eastern Airlines Flight 1015
En route to Kartibia


Islam runs like a spine through the history and character of al-Hadid. The religion has been sincerely enforced in the mountainous nation since it was adopted by the warlord strongmen in the early medieval era. But in this land, the original stories of the nation and her people are not forgotten. One such legend, one of the oldest and likely older than the prophet Jesus Christ, recalls the birth of man and the creation of the Haddite people by God at the beginning of time. In the ancient myths, remembered by a few, he is Alab Al'asli, the Original Creator, who hewed the first man into existence out of solid rock as a guardian and caretaker of his holy mountains. When he toiled under the desert sun, with his hands and back, he became hard and black like iron, becoming tougher than the mountains, tough enough to cleave them apart and build the fantastic cities of Mahaat and Qala'a. As he took his rest, man went down into the oasis fields of Mourthaq and Kajabi, and resting there with the cool fresh water and the succulent ripe fruits, his skin slackened and grew soft, turning fleshy and thin like the flesh of the peach. Alab Al'asli is a demon now, who resides in the wind and gnashes at man through sandstorms and fierce gusts, but the legacy of his legendary creation persists in the traditional beliefs of the Haddites. It is commonly said that a hard-working and very masculine man is a 'black', or a 'dark' man, while a leisurely and rich, cultivated man is a 'snow-man'.

Some very black men were on-board Eastern Airlines Flight EL 1015, but that was a matter for the content of their character. The five warriors had each killed more than once, and collectively devoted well over 50 years of life to the profession of warring against the Balthorvian Emperor and his remote regime. Among their own ranks, they wielded an eminent status through the simple force of tradition; their names, truncated and adapted to the aesthetics of insurgency, were known even outside the circles of their individual cells. For that reason had they been selected by King Tamir and his council for the honor and the responsibility of envoying to the Cyretopolitanian Muslim League - they would wield their experience and ability alike, and their would be no doubt as to their success. Dressed in the finest of Western suits, with careful trimming of their hair and beards, and some practice in English and French for good measure, they received the elegant attentions of first-class and many friendly smiles from their fellow passengers. Few of them probably knew that these scholarly-looking gentlemen easily reserved the power to destroy them with their bare hands, or that they secretly turned their nose to the sight of drinks, cartoonish electronic companions, and materially-driven selfishness with a sharp and firm relish. It was just as well for al-Saif, who often viewed themselves as a snake, lying in wait unbeknownst to anyone until the moment when they chose to strike.

In truth, there was little need for stealth, although a basic disguise for the purposes of the customs enforcement was inevitable. The most difficult had been the journey beyond the reaches of Balthorvia, an escape that was done by jeep over the mountains and into the neutral pastures of the Sabari Steppes. From there, they left the world of those who were eager to do anything in service of the Balthorvian Emperor. The day-to-day masses of the peripheral nations of Sabaria, Kasakia, and Kartlis cared little for why these Haddite men were among them or who they were supposed to be. Cash flowed easily and so did the service of taxi drivers and local scouts. With little difficulty they came into Kartlis and used their fake identities as Haddite clerics to board the flight into the Commonwealth of Sovereign States. It was only a short flight to the Maghreb from there. The smallish airliner was packed with a range of easterners among whom the Haddites could feel reasonably at ease. Many wore prayer caps or the traditional garments of Cyretopolitania. Compared to their number, the five emissaries appeared as members of the small crust of Western-looking men mostly huddled together in the front, giving the appearances of ones who were on important business rather than traveling back home to family and friends.

"Almost time to land..." Quietly the terrorist named Khayyat shared his realization with his seatmate Bashshar, as he looked distantly out the little window. Beneath them, the sands and the shallow waves of the Kartibian coast were just beginning to crawl into view. Formerly a County of the Kingdom of Cyrepolitania, Kartibia was a relatively stable country among the congress of the 4 Maghreb states, but run by an authoritarian government which handled a balance between suppressing all political organization for stability's sake and tacitly feeding Islamist radicals with draconian political and legal measures for essentially the same reason. The president and his ministers alternatively played a strategy of pretending to be secular while tacitly enforcing conservative Islam, and claiming to be Islamic while sticking to pragmatic measures designed to preserve hospitality for the West. It was the sort of regime which could easily blow up because of the chagrin of either party at almost any time, but was certain to blow up if virtually anything else was done to alter the balance.

No sooner did Bashshar crane his neck to join his brother in gazing at the view, when he was distracted by the shadow cast over his face. "Anybody sitting here?" asked their colleague Wasim, meaning the empty third seat which lay vacant except for the plastic cup of apple juice resting in the cupholder.

"They are in the front with some friends," answered Bashshar, peeking out where he believed the stranger had gone. He nodded almost imperceptibly to Wasim with a discriminating face. "Should be fine," he promised, "sit."

The warrior spared a glance for the empty isle before he flung himself down at their side. He was one of the friendliest-looking in their little group, with an eminently soft and endearing face completed by wide brown eyes, although he had big hands and chafed the most of them at his Western suit. In his bear palms, leaning over by the point of his left shoulder he displayed to them the reason for his visit. "Our new passports," he murmured, just slightly shaking the cords of his voice. Before the other two could react much, Wasim passed them their documents. "Since we can't be Haddites anymore, where we're going," he grinned, meeting their eyes.

Like his companion Bashshar, Khayyat was a straighter character and laughed solemnly in the face from the bold antics of their brother Wasim. He flicked open the passport which was marked with the government seal of the Republic of Kartibia, finding his new identity as Mehdi Ebeid, a thirty year-old man from the capital city. Lingering on the portrait of himself, he slapped the pages together again.

"What about Jasper and Fatin?" asked Bashshar in a low voice.

Wasim looked behind himself to the section where their other comrades were seated. "I was just with them. They are talking about seeing the Citrus Garden, while we are here," sarcastically Wasim told them the wish of their comrades Jasper and Fatin to see the famous oasis which was renowned in the East for its excessive fertility and excellent fruit.

"Pray our guides will find it great fun," Bashshar snorted as he tucked away his new passport. They were expecting to be met at the terminal by a reception party of their Muslim League allies, who gave them a secret signal to pick them out amongst the crowd. They would lead them back to meet with the elders of the Muslim League, to whom the 5 of them would give the vows of alliance and were qualified to find agreement on the principles of strategy and cooperation in their global struggle against the kafir.

Their secret conference was cut short by the alarm of the cabin intercom. "Attention passengers: we are now preparing to descend into Hannachi Airport, please make sure you are in your seat with your seatbelt fastened at this time. Staff, please return to the cabin and prepared to land."

"Don't forget," Wasim reminded them with a fatherly glance, as he backed into the isle.

"Peace brother, see you in a minute," Bashshar saluted him, and prepared himself to land by closing his eyes and sinking himself into the depths of his seat.
Last edited by Balthorvia on Sun May 27, 2018 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Mon May 28, 2018 1:32 pm

Eltayeb International Airport, Kassala, Republic of Kartibia

Mehdi Djebar did not look the part of an Islamic revolutionary. In fact, he looked exactly like what he was - a Cyretopolitanian Muslim businessman. He wore a neatly trimmed beard and was dressed in pressed jeans, a white open collared shirt and a linen sports coat. His export-import business required that he travel extensively in the region. With offices in Hbira, Cyretopolitania’s largest city in the Southern Province - and its largest majority Muslim city - and Cyretia, he also had to travel extensively in and out of the capital and the Muslim south.

Nonetheless, despite appearances, Mehdi was a member of Muslim League. Ever since the crackdown of 2014, the League had gone into hiding. And Mehdi had focused on his business - all the while waiting for the time to come when he and brothers would strike back against the Crusaders and infidels in the North.

The Cyretopolitanian sat languidly in the arrivals area flipping through an Excalbian news magazine in English. When he heard the announcement for the arrival of Eastern Airlines Flight 1015, he began scanning the doors that opened into the arrivals hall from customs and passport control. He watched closely and as the first likely passengers from the flight - Caucasians with the look of Confederate businessmen who liked to travel in first class - he stood and took off his jacket. He flipped it over one shoulder and tucked the magazine under his opposite arm. Then, he waited for the foreign fighters to make contact.

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Wed May 30, 2018 4:51 pm

"My neck is stiff as a board," complained Bashshar, the complaint he chose to use as their group hastened past the wide glass window, with a view over the tarmac up to the modest skyline of Kassala. They were a slow-moving pack amidst the departing passengers, partly because of the bulky suitcases they rolled along at their feet. They may not have looked so very threatening that way, but with their beards and suits, they fell into the stereotype of well-bred Muslim gentlemen who bitched at everything and behaved stubbornly oblivious to their fellow man. Lither and meeker flightgoers tried at various levels of confrontation to sidle past them as they lumbered down the chute three-men wide. Still the five men talked back and forth as if they were walking totally alone.

"You tried to sleep - a foolish mistake," in the back ranks of their pack the esteemed warrior Jasper nigh scolded his comrade in arms. "While you were sitting there in agony," he informed Bashshar's sour sidelong expression, "I happened to learn that there is an outfit of brothers right here also, in the city of Kassala."

"Inshallah, we are among many brothers now," their compatriot Fatin spoke like he concurred, but his was really a subtle attempt to silence Jasper's reckless speech. It was dangerous to make any reference to their allegiances, especially in a despotic country.

Like many, Eltayeb Airport had a separate arrivals area for international flights and a customs checkpoint regulating passage into the common area. The gaggle of peoples and faces formed resultingly in the arrivals section was imposing, but nicely suited to the terrorists' designs. Their training and their lethal mentality came alive of its own accord, when they found themselves lost at the rim of the sea of people and looking for their target. In close ranks they stood together. A woman stood just behind them, oblivious to their fatal skill, as she bounced her tearful baby boy up and down hoping to settle him. A man similar looking to themselves sandwiched them at the front, heroically making no expression at any of the nuisances engulfing them all. As their moment at the booth drew near, Khayyat turned and murmured under his breath to Jasper. "What did you mean before?"

"Huh?" he asked frozen. They both glimpsed at the departure of their northern neighbor from the corner of the eye.

"I thought the jihad was dead here, everybody's in jail since last year, since Eid Mubarak," he lingered on his friend's face curiously, anticipating. It was notorious how the ruler of the country had thrown hundreds of men into prison the preceding year on the day of the holy celebration, because of their Islamic heterodoxy, but more truthfully because of their trouble-making and arrogance.

Bashshar started boldly for the checkpoint, becoming the first of their noble organization to cross into the distant land of Kartibia. Jasper withdrew his head from their secret conference, brushing himself down as if to help and hide their illicit purpose. "We'll see. Jihad is never in jail, Khayyat. The more they put the martyrs in jail, the more ordinary believers they wake up..."

With a pressing look to the both of them, Wasim gazed behind his shoulder. "Wish me luck," he muttered and trundled ahead to the customs agent.

Chastened, Khayyat stood in total silence for a moment, a silence which extended to his own head save for the guidance of God, which was never lost. The good principles of jihad and Islamic living circulated effortlessly and at any order through his remembrance, while he kept a casual attention facing the checkpoint. "You have your credit card?" he asked his friend, who answered affirmatively by tapping the bulging pouch of his suitcase. The question was a semi-literal one, but the credit card in question was not typical. Technically belonging to a Balthorvian businessman, it was an account kept by the Kartilian Trade Economy Bank which the organization sometimes used for overseas operations.

Suddenly it was Khayyat's moment of truth to face the customs. With his best act, the man of about 28 real life years rolled his luggage to the counter. He nodded but did not smile to the Kartibian officer, who with equal seriousness grasped the other's passport and flicked it to the ID page. Twice, three times his eyes made the fateful passage from face to photograph. "Your name?" the officer asked in a modest voice, his attention already shifted to the glowing computer screen and the ink stamp laying out.

"Mehdi Ebeid," the warrior answered curtly.

"Where are you coming from?" the man looked him right in the eyes.

"From Jefferson," Khayyat answered with a harsh roll of the tongue, "but my trip was from Kartlis."

"Business?" The Kartibian held the stamp in his fist.

"Charity. Teaching God's word to the faithful, friend..."

The Kartibian officer sniffed. Little did Khayyat know, he had forgotten to use the story he was given on the plane. The five men were supposed to pretend to be businessmen with a startup opening in the Western Atlantic, for as long as they were in the Maghreb. The customs officer did not care for God as a zealot did and it was not the most impressive thing he could have imagined. But it easily fit the look of Khayyat and his fake passport. He pounded the Kartibian seal into the blank space. "Welcome home, please take care..."

As he headed into the arrivals hall, he noticed the other three of the group speaking with their contact Mehdi Djebar. They were chatting lightly to one another, all smiles, as if they were just four ordinary men. As Khayyat came upon them, Bashshar touched their host on the arm, indicating to the newest arrival. "This is Mehdi Ebeid," he said using the insurgent's assumed name, "he's our internet support person." As best he could, the details of their fake cover operation as a tech startup hid the particulars of their gang in public. "He does all the work," Bashshar laughed.
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Thu May 31, 2018 9:09 am

Eltayeb International Airport, Kassala, Republic of Kartibia

Mehdi Djebar joined the laughter of the new arrivals. He put his arms around the shoulders of those closest to him. “It is good to see you, my friends; we are anxious to get work on our new contract. The client has a Knootian manager and you know how anxious they can be,” he spoke at a normal volume, not conspicuously loud but loud enough to be heard by anyone casually listening.

Then, pulling the men closer and simultaneously turning them towards the door, he lowered his voice, “I have a van waiting outside. We have rooms for the night at Crown International; it is too late to start the drive to the border now. We will leave tomorrow at first light.”

Djebar led the men to a white passenger van of Asian manufacture. It was an older model and sported many small dings and scratches. In other words, it was just like a dozen other vans sitting in the parking lot and crawling along the over congested roads of Kassala.

It was about about a twenty minute drive from the airport to the hotel along a ring road that looped around the capital. The hotel, like the airport, was on the outskirts of the city, but on the opposite side.

Like many hotels with world-class aspirations in poor third world cities, the Crown International tried to replicate in painted concrete what would be steel, glass and wood in a more cosmopolitan city. The hotel rose to seven stories - tall compared to the surrounding buildings - and filled a large compound surrounded by a high, barbed wire fence.

As Djeber and his guests turned off the ring road, they stopped at gate to the hotel compound. Kartibian police stood by - or rather leaned against and sat beside - the small guard hut next to the gate. Two thin security guards in oversized uniforms bearing the logo of the hotel approached the driver’s side of the van.

“Salam Aleekom,” the guard said. “Do you have reservations?”

“Misaa Alkheir,” Djeber replied. He handed the guard his Cyretopolitanian passport. “Yes, we have reservations. Rooms for me and my colleagues.”

The guard looked through the window at the other men. Then, he looked down at a list attached to well worn clipboard that he held in his other hand. “Welcome, sir,” the guard said at last. He nodded and the second guard leaned over and swiped a key guard. The metal gate began to slowly open.

Djeber waited for the gate, then drove through to the front entrance of the hotel. “Be sure to take everything, my friends,” he said as he parked and the valet approached.

The valet and a phalanx of bellmen opened the van doors and offered the men help with their bags. Djeber led the group into the lobby to reception, where he checked them in and then led them up to their rooms. There were three rooms for the six of them - two double rooms and small suite for Djeber and the Haddite leader.

Soon, all six were gathered in Djeber’s room. “Tomorrow morning,” he began unfolding a map on the coffee table, “we will head north. We will cross here,” he pointed to a small dot on the map, “at Martuba. It is a small desert town. We do not need to worry about the Kartibian side of the border - their border guards are easily bribed and I plenty of Atlantic ducats,” he smiled. “The Cyretian side is more difficult. The Army controls the borders and they fear their commanders more than they desire bribes. We will need to be sure that you are well-rehearsed in your cover stories.”

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Thu May 31, 2018 10:42 am

They five sat in conference around their contact, through darkened eyes and steely faces they met their task with grim resolve. In Haddite tradition, there was always a conference before a Rayiys Dayr, a landed lord, took action with his followers against one who had wronged him. Great solemnity weighed upon their congress, for the al-Saif warriors bitterly loathed the Cyrene King, and the way he had arrogantly thrown down and tried to humiliate the fellow jihadi of the Muslim League. Thus, great too was the expectation of manhood and honor upon themselves, as they hoped to revenge a considerable injury, and strike a blow worthy of their esteem as some of the best warriors of their race. Darkness crept down upon the rooftops of Kassala behind paper-thin shades, completing the effect and engulfing the six men in the quiet of their own council.

"Not all of us are skilled at talking..." Bashshar grimaced, reposed with his head lying back and his arms crossed. "The best is myself and then Wasim. Fatin and Khayyat have the ghadab," he motioned with his hands like he was clenching his fists, "but they are still good if they pass for stupid or uncouth. Jasper is no good for talking," he frowned distantly with a sideways glimpse at the disciple, "he needs help or he won't get across."

"I can handle myself," interjected Jasper in an utterly flat tone of voice. His impassive pouting face did not waver, nor did it leave from staring at the Cyretopolitanian guide and Bashshar seated beside him. "I don't need to say anything, they're just going to ask questions-"

"When were you born?" Khayyat who had been peering at him with his head sat on the ball of his fist suddenly interrupted him.

"April 7 1988..."

With a wide sweep Khayyat snatched up the passport and thumbed it open, pressing the pages apart. "It's risky," Khayyat sighed, more troubled than ever as he flopped the booklet back face-down on the coffee table. "You have to believe that you are in another life, Jasper."

Bashshar reached a new level of prickly countenance, his nose and forehead wrinkled, watching the two agents with complete distaste. "Since the crackdown," he asked turning away from them entirely to speak to Mehdi, "how do the police deal with travelers? Is it an issue of good cover, or can we expect to struggle just trying to come across?" He stroked his beard with a great discrimination. "We may want to divide the group into roles. We three, the best of us," he looped his finger in a circle for the three competent liars, "might have to pretend and be the big shots. We'll say we are so-and-so important. That way we can make the other three into our lackeys. They won't have to talk so much and it won't be as suspicious the way they act," mused Bashshar.
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Thu May 31, 2018 12:17 pm

Hotel Crown International, Kassala, Republic of Kartibia

Djeber nodded towards Bashir. “That might work,” he said, stroking his short, trimmed beard. “If you and Wasim present yourselves as businessmen,” he glanced down at the passports on the table, “with connections to the C.S.S. looking to export Confederate goods, maybe small electronics, to Cyretia and Kartibia, and send cotton textiles, carpets and other such boutique,” he said the word in English with disdain, “goods back to the Confederation, then our association would be natural, since I am in the export-import business. I could be your agent in Cyretia.”

The Cyretopolitania allowed his gaze to drift over to Khayyat, Jasper and Fatin. “The others can play our chauffeur and bodyguards.” The man shrugged. “The highways can be dangerous, especially in Kartibia, though road bandits are not unknown in Cyretian mountains. It will not be unusual to see men of business and wealth traveling with such men.”

He cupped one hand in the other and rested them in his lap. “As for the police, they are always suspicious of Brothers entering from the South, but if we hold to our stories and give them no cause to doubt us, they will accept the story I have laid before you.” After letting out a long sigh, he continued. “However, if we encounter the Army, we will need to be very careful.”

Djeber looked at the men around him, then allowed his eyes to return to Bashshar. “If we do encounter the Royal Army, the most important thing to remember is to be completely submissive and non-threatening.” The words seemed to audibly catch in his throat as he spoke them. “All too many of our Brothers have debased themselves by submitting to the occupation of our lands by the Cyretian crusaders. So, the Army has come to expect ‘good’ Muslims to meekly endure their intrusive searches and arrogant questioning. If anyone speaks out, they will immediately be branded a terrorist and arrested. If they resist or flee, they are shot on sight.”

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:59 am

"Al'ama..." his eyes closed woefully when Bashshar imagined young men and women of the faith being manhandled and gunned down by the kafir tyrant. Like true jihadi, theirs was a movement formed directly as a defense of the Muslim faithful and in resistance to the oppression of infidel invaders. In al-Hadid, word of atrocities was usually enough to trigger an attack, and constituted the basis for a tha'r or 'blood feud' which would drive repeated attempts at revenge until the organization and the offended civilians believed they could live in peace. And yet, as professional soldiers and devoted warriors, who not only had seen a great deal of combat, but also learned the keys to warfare success, it was not their first or best instinct to lash out blindly against just any provocation. Though they took pride in being defenders, the warriors of al-Saif tended to see civilians as pawns in the holy struggle. Since they did not fight, their slaughter was hard to avoid as a consequence. Pragmatism meant that the warriors had to believe in their mission no matter what the cost.

"Let them think we are meek. It will be they who are humiliated, when their anger fails to break our patience," Fatin looked for agreement from his fellow al-Saif, who nodded at different levels of enthusiasm for the prospect of being berated by the kafir guards. All of the five men were doctored in some degree of science, if nothing else than the skill of being a stealthy killer. Additional refinements were typical as well of an organization that combined mental and physical training under a syncretic regimen. Fatin's learning was the most conventional of all, accumulated from reading the Quran painstakingly over decades of life and pouring over the commentaries of the other Suras and the wisest minds of Islam. To such philosophical wisdom, a love for the old legends and hero stories added a dash of manly bravado beneath the patient wisdom of scripture.

"We are foreigners by any measure," in a hurt tone Wasim called to account their claim to hospitality, "really they will put guns to our head and push us down?" His jaw clenched. "Terrible..." and he found solace in a styrofoam cup of hotel tea. He had what the Haddites called nasib, meaning 'luck', but referring to an intangible force of charisma that filled the gaps of conversation and made sense out of the events of life. His role as many things - mentor, companion, brother, leader - made him somebody who could legitimately act as glue to the warrior bands of al-Saif. It was incredible the way he read the hearts and minds of others, knowing without seeming to try just the way he ought to speak to them, or make them a fool.

"I for one will say nothing," boasted Jasper in a daring and disgusted voice, "not one word to the kafir - but in my head, I will be saying only 'Allahu'akbar'!" The others nodded their heads. With a beautiful long face, that had heavy lids and frizzy black hair, he was often labeled at sight as a lazy or pampered one in the organization. The prejudice was real, for he was also the dreamiest of any of the five and was believed to live in his own imagination. Though many had felt misgivings about him, and remained aloof, he had proved himself as a cunning and capable agent, cultivating very good perception and good inventiveness for finding the way through obstacles.

"We should be forthright," Khayyat counseled the group from a perch of cautious reservation. The most similar to Bashshar of any of the five, he was a warrior who already acted with a great deal of hasafa, wisdom, even at a younger age. "The best act we could have is the act of obeying their laws. When they ask for anything, let us give them what they want. We need only satisfy their suspicion. When we have passed through, there will be no stopping us from our goal." With a quiet personality, he was sometimes the most serious figure in any group. His childhood was rumored to have been difficult, leading to his escape from home at a very tender age. Observant, he was also innately critical almost to the point of having a sixth sense for disaster. His was an invaluable skill although it sometimes was not preferred in the more braggish ranks of al-Saif's rank and file.

"I agree," nodded Bashshar, "getting by is the only goal. If we stick to our story and do everything we are told, then God willing we will come across," he hoped to their guide Mehdi.
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:26 pm

Hotel Crown International, Kassala, Republic of Kartibia

Djeber nodded along as Haddites spoke. He turned at the end to Bashshar, “Yes, I believe that as long as we stick to our story and give them no reason to question us, God willing, we will get across the border.” He finished his tea and looked at his watch. “It is late, Brothers. We should get to sleep. We will leave tomorrow with the first light.”

* * *

The next morning, Djeber awoke early and washed. He dressed and performed fajr prayers. Like hotels in most Muslim countries there was small arrow affixed to the table indicating the qiblah, which facilitated his prayers. When he had finished he went to the lobby to meet the Haddites.

When they joined him, he greeted them warmly. “Good morning, Brothers,” he said with a smile. “I have taken a table for his for some breakfast before we depart.”

Djeber led the men to the hotel restaurant for a breakfast of falafel, fool and hummus with pita and tea. Once the men finished, Djeber checked them out, settling the bill in cash - Atlantic ducats were widely accepted as an alternative to the constantly fluctuating local currency, then retrieving the van from the valet.

Once their bags were loaded, Djeber nodded towards Khayyat, Jasper and Fatin. “One of you should drive from here,” he said. Then softly he added, “Better to begin playing the role now.”

After settling who would be the chauffeur, Djeber took the front passenger seat to navigate, allowing the others to fill in behind him. At his direction, the van eased out of parking lot and back onto the ring road. He guided them to the second exit to the right and up a two lane road to the north.

The landscape changed from low buildings clumped together in small communities alongside the road to dry, hardscrabble farmland to scrub brush and finally to desert. The journey was long and, fortunately, Djeber had loaded the van with an ample supply of water bottles. After several hours of driving, with the scorching sun high in the sky, Djeber turned to the Haddities behind him. “There is fruit in the basket in the back. Take some and pass it around,” he invited the men. “There is nothing between here and the border.”

A few hours later, they began to pass a few small villages and sparsely watered oases. They soon gave way to a town of worn and weathered one and two storey buildings. “This is Wad Madani.” He pointed to a low building cluttered with parked cars and trucks. “That is the Kartibian border point. Martuba lies on the other side of the border. We will need to park over there and go inside the building.”

Once the van was parked and the men had climbed out, Djeber led them into a dark concrete building with a doorless opening and glassless window openings. A stray dog looked up from the corner as they entered and lurched towards them before sauntering out of the door. In the other corner three elderly men sat on a bench, their fingers moving swiftly over their prayer beads. Djeber approached a sleepy-eyed man in a poorly fitting uniform with his elbows propped up on the counter.

“Masa al khayr, my friend,” the Cyretopolitanian said, placing his passport on the counter.

The man slowly looked up at Djeber, then down at the passport. “Cyretopolitanian,” he said disinterestedly as he picked up the passport and began to thumb through it. “How long have been in Kartibia?”

“Three days.”

“What was the purpose of your trip?”

Djeber gestured with his hand towards Bashshar and Wasim. “I came to pick up my business partners.” He gestured to the other three men. “And their employees. I am taking them with me to Hbira and Cyretia for business meetings.”

“Hmmm. What kind of business?”

“Export and import, my friend.”

“Really?” The border inspector looked up. “You have a vehicle?”

“Yes, a van. It is outside.”

“Full of contraband, no doubt!”

“No, my friend,” Djeber said pleasantly. “Just our personal bags and some empty bottles of water and orange peels.” He smiled.

“I should impound it until I can search it. Maybe a day or two.”

Djeber placed a hand on the counter. “I’m sure there is no need for that, my friend. You can see we are honest men.” He took away his hand, leaving behind a large denomination Atlantic ducat note.

The inspector looked around slowly, then quickly palmed the bill. He stamped Djeber’s passport, handed it back to him. He looked over at the Haddites. “Passports,” he said firmly.

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:47 am

Everything had gone well enough so far. Their automobile trip through the Kartibian countryside was smooth and had provided the backdrop some interesting conversation between the two distant clans of Islamic devout. From chit-chat, their assembly had soon wandered off into a heated and collegial discussion about the international political conspiracies that were so very popular in the imagination of jihadi warriors such as themselves. They argued fiercely whether the 'great powers' of the West were actively in league with the immediate oppressors of Balthorvia and the Maghreb. In al-Hadid that was often the assumption, although for insular nationalist fighters such as themselves it was more of a sense of isolation in the treatment of their fellow man, as opposed to believing Knootoss or Excalbia et al. really fed the violence in their country. They certainly felt that, if nothing else, that life in the West was sinful, inhumane, and consumed with a rapacious greed that fed off of dark devilry. From this there was little room for disagreement.

The proverbs of al-Hadid reserve a place for such lively congresses. An old saying warns, "bury bad news as a carcass," because when men confer on heated and troubling subjects, there is inevitably an effect on them all - they become restless and agitated, as if alarmed by the foul smell of a dead animal. That was also why a person who was considered to be phlegmatic, mutahamis in their tongue, was ought to be avoided if you are in need of rest and solace. The quality of one's society was contagious in al-Hadid. By the time their van had come into Wad Madani, the collective energy of their spitting on the West and retrenching in the good principles of Islam left them wide awake and burning with indignation.

"Water," Fatin with an anguished face wriggled his outstretched hand and received the water bottle from Khayyat, who rolled his eyes and sauntered off toward their guide, pulling up his pants as the scrawny warrior stretched his legs. For good measure Fatin splashed the last finger of cold water onto his shining face, groaning to himself. With everything stowed away he joined the circle of his teammates. Blinding ripples of heat miraged the image of the Kartibian checkpoint and melded the scene together like an oil painting. As he tried to sidle up to Bashshar, Fatin was caught in the elbow by Khayyat.

"Inshallah brother, you are a worker now," he muttered to his companion, trying to act like he was standing there bored as he wobbled from side to side, "do not embarrass your employer, Abd al'Alim." Those who knew him recognized the eminently dry humor, as he used Bashshar's fake name of extravagant pomp.

"Oh, my apologies to Sayid Abd," the warrior groaned as he wandered away, seeking respite from their long trek. Tired, he ran his hands down his face and massaged at his eyeballs. Though he likely couldn't admit it, there was a pit of fear in his gut as the moment of truth drew closer. He could not wait to be over with the test, when he would no longer have to bear the indignity of pretending to be a stupid fellow of no worth. The act was as remote as possible from Fatin's real personality as maybe the most unrepentant and unapologetic jihadi of al-Hadid. There was no easily hiding the flamboyant pride which fed his ego and protected his status in the brotherhood of al-Saif.

"Great," Bashshar broke huddle with Wasim and Mehdi, "let's do it." Abruptly the scowl of authority gripped his long-bearded face. "Boys!" he barked out, eliciting the minimal reaction from his three weary companions, "get the truck ready for inspection and get back in here at once!" Sniffing, he turned away from his handiwork. "Come, let's go..." The three businessmen made their way into the building.

Although dilapidated it was dark inside the border house, and somewhat refreshing although the thickness of the air did not abate. Bashshar and Wasim stood by patiently while their contact thankfully handled the details of their insertion. They only had to smile and nod at the right time. The fateful question came. "Passports..."

Bashshar took them both in his own hand, and relayed them to the guard. The two men stood obediently before the desk with pliant, blank faces. In a wave of scuffing shoes and simmering body heat, the three others stomped through the doorway amidst hearty gasps for air. "Hay-ya," he heard Fatin say, rescued at last from the deadly sun. He noticed the frowning look from the guard who craned his neck and peered past the two businessmen, looking at the sweaty workers.

"Ah, boys!" Bashshar called them curtly. "Show the man your passports, now." Snorting and panting the three sidled up to the counter, their passports clenched in their two hands and at the ready.
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:01 pm

Wad Madani, Republic of Kartibia

The sleepy eyed man in the loose fitting uniform reached for the passports of the Haddites and snatched them from their hands. He barely flipped through them as he picked up his stamp and marked their departure from Kartibia. He handed all the passports back to Bashshar, who seemed to be the man in charge. Then, he picked up Djeber’s passport, stamped it as well and thrust it back at the Cyretopolitanian.

“Thank you, my friend,” Djeber said to the border guard as he took his passport and stuck it in the pocket of his shirt. He turned to Bashsiclhar. “Come, Sayid Abd, my friend. Let us go.”

Djeber lead the men back to van. It was a short drive through the border station’s compound to the bridge over the narrow wadi that separated the Kartibian town from its Cyretopolitanian twin. At the bridge, Djeber reached over and handed the guard standing beside the drop arm his passport. The man briefly examined the exit stamp in the passport and glanced at the other men in the van. He handed the passport back and walked over to the drop arm. Leaning his weight on the short side of the arm, he tilted it up and allowed the van to pass.

They crossed the short, narrow bridge. On the other side, a large sign read in Tamazight, English, and Arabic: Welcome to the Kingdom of Cyretopolitania. While the Cyretopolitanian town looked the same of the Kartibian town from the bridge - many one and two storey buildings with dusty roads and stray dogs and idle men loitering about - there were a few differences. Next to the minaret of the mosque rising in the distance was the steeple of a Coptic church bearing the cross. The guards standing at the drop arm to the bridge wore well-tailored uniforms and carried automatic weapons. The border station, just beyond the bridge, looked new and sported both doors and windows. And a squad of soldiers of body armour stood next to an armoured vehicle bearing the royal crest.

Martuba, Kingdom of Cyretopolitania

The guards at the bridge raised the drop arm and pointed the van towards the border station. A high razor-wire fence surrounded the station, preventing anyone from simply evading it and going from the bridge directly into town. At the station, a soldier pointed to a parking spot and direct the men to park there.

Once they were parked, Djeber exited the van. A soldier with a gun slung across his back approached him and said in Arabic, “Passport.” Djeber took out his passport and handed it to the man, who flipped it open and looked at the data page. “Cyretopolitanian?” He asked switching to Tamazight.

“Yes, my friend,” Djeber answered.

The soldier looked at the others. “And them?”

“Foreigners. My business associates,” he answered.

The soldier handed the passport back to Djeber. “Hail to the King,” he said in Tamazight.

“Hail to the King,” Djeber answered.

Then to the others, the soldier said in Arabic, “Greetings. Welcome to Cyretopolitania.” He pointed to the door into the border station.

Inside the station, Ahmed Ghereby stood at his post as he had almost every day for the last fifteen years. Ghereby considered himself a good man and good border guard. In the old days, before the uprising, the station had been busier with petty traders crossing each way. Most brought him “gifts” of some kind. Occasionally a few dirhams or dinars, but usually just a sample of whatever goods they were transporting. But that never caused him to let dangerous contraband through. In fact, he had once won an award for seizing several kilos of illegal narcotics. He had been respected by his peers, liked by his superiors and, frankly, beloved by his regular “clients”, whom he always greeted with a smile and quick laugh.

Then, came the uprising. The burning of the churches in Hbira had brought the army into the south and they had never left. So, now Ghereby performed his duties with soldiers always at his shoulders. It was not the loss of “gifts,” but the decline in border crossings, and the disappearance of smiles and laughter that bothered him.

In fairness to the soldiers - Ghereby was not a prejudiced man and always believed in judging people by their actions - some were decent fellows. There was the young sergeant, Krystofer, who always wanted to chat about the difference and similarities between Christianity and Islam, and who shared the sweets his mother sent him. There were others who would chat about football and share a cup of tea. Then, there were those who just wanted to do their jobs. It was not that they were rude or mean, but it was just clear that they were not interested in making friends. They wanted to do their time on the border and go back to their green homes in the north.

A few, however, were devils. Hard faced men, who were quick to shout, quick to demean, slow to listen and hard of heart. One of those men was on duty today. A thin-faced sergeant with angry eyes and thin lips. It was a fact of human nature that the differences between the soldiers assigned to the station greatly affected how Ghereby did his job.

Djeber knew done of this as he walked into the border station. Overhead fans moved around the warm, dry air. Ghereby, in the light brown uniform of the border service stood behind a counter, his face illuminated by a computer screen. To his right stood three soldiers in body armour holding automatic rifles. One of them, a sergeant, glowered as Djeber and the Haddites entered.

Djeber looked to the soldiers and said in Tamazight, “Good afternoon.” Then, he walked over to Ghereby. “Masa al khayr, friend,” he said.

“Masa al Khayr,” Ghereby replied, giving slight smile. “Are you together?” He asked, looking at the other men.

“Yes, these are my business associates and their employees.”

“Everyone’s passports, please,” the border agent said. Djeber gathered up the passports from the Haddites, put his on top and handed it to Ghereby. The agent flipped through the passports. “What was the purpose of your trip to Katibia?” He asked, looking at Djeber.

“I went to meet my partner, Sayid Abd, his partner and his employees. We are going to my offices in Hbira.”

Ghereby looked up at Bashshar. “And what is your purpose for coming to Cyretopolitania, sir? And who are your employees?”

User avatar
Balthorvia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 111
Founded: Dec 11, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Balthorvia » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:30 am

"We're making a deal, we're moving crops over the border this season, grain for the markets in Cyretia and Messad," it was a peculiar balance between pride and impatience which Bashshar put on, as he tried to satisfy the soldiers' concerns. In the mind of many Haddites, the best defense against suspicion was to be too self-assured to be made unsettled. "My men follow me, they work the truck-"

"Truck? You have cargo with you now?" although an innocuous question the rise in Ghereby's voice was chilling for the undercover insurgents who stood on the edge of fear. He looked curiously across the faces of the travelers, a dangerous beat in which Bashshar was secretly stunned by his mistake. To a very suspicious eye, the change that came over the three 'workers' was just barely perceptible, in the way that they all collectively hung up in their movements and became stiff in the neck. Bashshar felt pins and needles prick his skin but his act recovered seamlessly.

"Nay, no cargo today my friend...no cargo today. This time we were just scouting the route, making calls in Kartibia," he played it as the privileged knowledge of commercial expertise, not deserving his elaboration. "We go to Cyretia now, get our license and set up the route. I will be here a few weeks until our paperwork is cleared."

For a time he had held his tongue, although only his pride and sense of superiority agreed with deference to the easygoing leadership of Inspector Ghereby - but when his angry and suspicious mind countenanced the airy excuse of Abd al'Alim, Sergeant Bentaleb could obey the chain of command no longer. Obedient to the guidance of his heart and soul, he intervened severely in a brutish voice. "What's in the auto then!?" an infinite contempt exuded from his frigid eyes and sneering face.

"We have only some food and water," Bashshar faced down the assailant with the steadfast integrity of an accused on trial. He kept his hands limp and his posture easy, although his three comrades behind him increasingly lost their ambivalence and began forming a cautious pack with grim faces for the Cyretian guard.

"Open it!" the Sergeant jabbed the muzzle of his gun in the direction of the outdoors. For a deathly moment the six infiltrators stood as the haplessly prey of this furious man and his harness-slung MG.

"Do not speak out of turn," chided Ghereby, getting a wild look from the incensed security guard. In the more civil tones of polite conversation, he turned back to the six businessmen, but some hint of the good graces which he had entertained them with before was gone. "There's no goods in your automobile?" he inquired most seriously of the three merchants.

"Biikhlas friend," Wasim's voice pleaded for understanding, "we are just traveling through..."

"Inspector!" the official title of Sayid Ghereby was like itself a rebuke to the easy-going border chief, when exclaimed from Sergeant Bentaleb's mouth, "you should search their vehicle immediately!"

"Enough, sergeant!" Ghereby wearily reined in his subordinate, who continued to demand satisfaction from them all by the unapologetic glare upon his face. There was almost a sneer on Ghereby's face too, as he faced the brothers again with tightness in his shoulders. "By law you must declare anything at the border which may be considered contraband-"

"We have no contraband, we have nothing except ourselves and our traveling gear," vowed Bashshar, edging out the pained assurances of Wasim who doubtlessly was trying to promise something very similar.

He couldn't take it anymore. It was a mark of guilt, not to answer forthrightly to the inquires of one with the power to investigate the law. The Sergeant knifed his hand through the air as an emblem of command. "Private!" he cried to his immediate inferior, "search the car!"

"No no no!" the two businessmen protested but could not manage anything clearly over the forceful intent of the border guards. Ghereby remained in his chair at first, nothing save a face of pure exasperation watching the commotion. Previously silent, in the group of the three 'workers' loitering in the corner, Fatin suddenly started forward like he was going to intercede, but once again he was yanked back into his place by the timely gesture of Khayyat, who reprimanded him furiously as he kept a determined stare toward the dirty tile floor.

"Leave it alone," he ordered with an otherwise straight face. He felt Fatin glare at him haughtily but he paid no mind. "If you try and stop them we will wind up martyrs in a Cyretian prison," he murmured, his head turned away to hide his speaking.

"Sergeant!" Ghereby cried in disbelief to his two guards, as they stormed out of the station and into the parking lot. It was not a particularly sympathetic look, which he next gave to the party of import-exporters. "Please, follow me, we'll check it out" he told them curtly, stepping for the door. "Sergeant!" he called again and disappeared hobbling down the front steps.

"We better follow them," Bashshar muttered to his two other 'business associates'. He ruffled the folds of his clothing, hoping his paranoia would abate. "Make sure they don't do anything to our auto."
Vlast bez Kraja

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:58 am

Martuba, Kingdom of Cyretopolitania

Djeber followed the rest of the men out of the building to the van. He tried to maintain an expression of confident innocence to hide the anxiety he felt building along his spine.

“Open the doors,” Bentaleb ordered as his men reached the van. As one of the Haddites fumbled with the keys, Bentaleb began cursing in Tamazight. Once the door was finally unlocked, the private pulled the side door of the van open with so much force that Djeber feared he had broken it. Soldiers began pulling things out of the van and tossing them on the ground with the care of children tossing broken and disfavored toys.

Ghereby frowned and wrung his hands. “Stop,” he pleaded. “This is no way to conduct an inspection!” He shot Bashshar a look that bordered on sympathy, then turned to the sergeant. “Sergeant Bentaleb, order your men to stop. I am in charge of inspections. They’ll destroy these things. If there is contraband, they may destroy evidence! If there is not, then we are destroying the property of these men!”

Bentaleb gave Ghereby a sarcastic smile, but said nothing. At that moment, one of the soldier tossed a suitcase on the hard asphalt and it burst open, sending its contents across the parking lot.

In frustration Ghereby turned to the corporal who had initially greeted the men on their arrival and who stood watching as he leaned against his vehicle. “Where is Lieutenant Idir?” he asked, his face hardening.

The corporal stood up straight and looked from the sergeant to Ghereby. “Do not wait for your sergeant, Corporal! He is disobeying my orders and this is my station! Where is your lieutenant?”

The corporal seemed frozen for a moment, then he turned to his vehicle and grabbed his radio. Bentaleb, it turned out, was not well liked by his subordinates, whom he treated little better than those crossing the border.

As two more suitcases were opened and dumped, a second armoured vehicle rounded the corner and came screeching to a stop. The door opened and a short young man in the khaki uniform of the Royal Army jumped out.

“What is going on here?” He demanded, his voice sounding high-pitched and nervous.

“Your sergeant is destroying items submitted for inspection before I can inspect them, Lieutenant,” Ghereby said, bending slightly and wringing his hands again.

“This… man doesn’t do his job, sir!” Bentaleb protested after sketching a quick salute. “He was about to let these foreigners pass without inspection!”

“Never!” Ghereby protested, backing up slightly.

The lieutenant frowned as he looked around and noticed bags and clothing and other items scattered haphazardly across the parking lot. “Sergeant,” he said, his voice quavering slightly, “you and the two Privates are relieved of duty for the rest of the day. Report to your barracks.”

“Sir!” Bentaleb said, his face reddening with anger.

“You heard me, Sergeant!”

“Yes, sir,” the thin-faced soldier replied giving an angry salute.

Idir turned to the corporal standing next to the first armoured vehicle. “Take charge here, Corporal.”

“Yes, sir,” the soldier said with a salute.

Idir walked over to the van and looked down at the goods strewn about. He looked up, first at Ghereby, then at the six men standing around the van. “So,” he began, “what do we have here? Whose goods are these?”
Last edited by Cyretopolitania on Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

The Papal Elections in Cyretia Begin

Postby Cyretopolitania » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:30 pm

Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus, Martyrs, Cyretia

Hegumen Habil Mellouk, Grand Economos, Patriarchal Vicar of Cyretia and, now, Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of Cyretopolitiania knew he should be relieved. The process of electing the successor to Augustine XII was finally underway. After much wrangling, the General Lay Council had selected its nine members of the Nominating Committee, and the Synod has selected nine of their brother bishops. Finally, the list of candidates would begin to be whittled down until the Electoral College could meet to pick the final three.

However, as Mellouk looked around the chapel he grave concerns about the direction the committee might take. The nine representatives of the Lay Council were led by the Council’s Vice Chairman, Dr. Gwafa Katchou. Normally, that would have reassured Mellok, but Dr. Katchou had been strangely aloof and distant through the process of selecting the Council’s representatives. So, the Grand Economos feared that Count Azenfar had gotten to him. Two of the others, Amistan Bessoud and Cyrus Zeroual, had close ties of their own to Azenfar. Bessoud was a cousin, while Zeroual had political connections to the Azenfar and his clique. In addition, and to Mellouk’s embarrassment, a third representative - Badis Soumer - was a well-known Islamophobe and political firebrand.

Among the bishops, Metropolitan and Archbishop Georges Sidrak of Madarous was also a known Islamophobe and supporter of the crackdown in the south. His follower, Metropolitan Bishop Andraos Pishoy of Octabia, was not nearly as virulent, yet he was a reliable second vote for Sidrak. Metropolitan Bishop Arsenios Salama of Cibaliana had also publicly endorsed the crackdown, until Pope Augustine XII had spoken out against it. At least two other bishops - the Metropolitan and Archbishop of Dougga, Karas Berzi, and the Bishop of Saldae, Petros Nueir - had been silent throughout the political crisis. Then, there was the Metropolitan and Archbishop of Hbira, Athanasios Zaki, who had been elevated after the riots and whose views were unknown.

Even as the rites for opening the meeting began, Mellouk found himself praying that the men who would overturn Augustine XII’s policy of peace would not gain his throne.

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

The Candidates for the Electoral College

Postby Cyretopolitania » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:20 pm

Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus, Martyrs, Cyretia

“His Excellency, Metropolitan Georges was selected by his peers - and ours,” Metropolitan Andraos Pishoy said, one hand resting on the large icon that hung from his neck and the other gesturing to the committee, “he is entitled to vote.”

“No one is questioning that, Your Excellency,” Hegumen Habil Mellok replied, “I was only suggesting that in keeping with tradition, His Excellency should abstain from voting on his nomination and should probably excuse himself when it is discussed. As will I as a nominee.”

“Nonsense,” Pishoy said. “Your choice to absent yourself is yours and binding on no one else!”

Soon, the chapel was filled with a cacophony of voices and Mellouk put his head into his hands.

* * *

After days of intense discussion, and several evenings of wine, argument and persuasion, the Nominating Committee finally cut the list of candidates for the Papal Throne of Cyretia to six men. With the Nominating Committee now dissolved, Hegumen Mellouk’s next duty was to convene an Electoral College. The College would consist of the Holy Synod, essentially all of the Metropolitans and Archbishops, the nine Lay electors augmented by nine more leaders from the Lay Council, and delegates from the affiliated Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches - including those in Anahuac, Snefaldia, the Caldan Union, and Excalbia.

The Electoral College would be charged with ranking the six candidates and advancing three to the final step. In that ultimate step, the fate of the Church would be entrusted to the Holy Spirit, as a five year old child would be selected from the congregation during the Divine Liturgy and sent to draw one of the three names from a chalice. The name drawn would be that of the new pope.

As Mellouk wrote invitations to the electors, he included the list of the six candidates:

    Most Senior and Elder Metropolitan and Archbishop, Pachomois Amrouche of the Holy Metropolis of Thevestis
    Hegumen Habil Mellouk, Grand Economos, Patriarchal Vicar of Cyretia
    Metropolitan and Archbishop Georges Sidrak of Madarous
    Metropolitan and Archbishop Ammonois Yacine of Tacape
    Metropolitan and Archbishop Ahgapios Choukri of Ammonaica
    Bishop Markos Azem, Suffragan Bishop of the Holy Metropolis of Cyretia.


Of these, many electors might know a little of their reputations:

    Pachomois Amrouche was by far the oldest and the most traditional;
    Mellouk was from a younger generation, and regarded as something of a liberal and modernizer;
    Sidrak was an unrepentant Islamophobe and traditionalist;
    Ammonois Yacine was older, but not as old as Amrouche, and conservative; he was considered a spiritual man, almost a mystic;
    Ahgapios Choukri was younger, of the same generation as Mellouk, but had a reputation for being a politician - and ambitious;
    Markos Azem was also of the younger generation and sought to hold a middle ground between modernizers like Mellok and traditionalists like Yacine and Amrouche.

User avatar
Snefaldia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 781
Founded: Dec 05, 2006
Father Knows Best State

Postby Snefaldia » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:37 pm

The Oriental Orthodox Church in Snefaldia was not large; Christianity was a tiny percentage of the population, but a sizable percentage of that population belong the Snefaldian Orthodox Kanu Church, largely found in the south of Allasha province and concentrated in the metropolis of Taxilha. The head of the church in Snefaldia was Patriarch Matyas, the Archbishop of Melkida & Saquutu, and Abbot of the Monastery of Manzazu, a man of 86 who had held the patriarchate for nearly forty years.

Christianity had come to Snefaldia from many avenues; Kartlians and their Eastern Orthodox version of the faith entered Snefaldia when the High King of Serasarda conquered the mountain kingdom in the year 700, established his son as ruler of a client-state, and carried back thousands of Kartlians as slaves and subjects, allowing them to practice their religion among themselves. By the year 1000, Catholicism and Oriental Orthodoxy entered from the south, through the great mercantile empire of Taxilha, and spread into southern Allasha where it grew. Oriental Orthodox is became the largest denomination of Christians, following the miaphysite doctrine of their Cyretian cousins, and would later recognize the primacy of the Cyretian pope in exchange for confirmation of their position as an autocephalous patriarchate. The church remained largely confined to ethnic Allashans and Taxilhans, however, for most of its existence.

Patriarch Matyas had the distinction of being both the youngest man to hold the office, having been only 46 when he was chosen, and also the longest-reigning patriarch, holding the office for forty years. He had been at turns many different men: young firebrand, energetic reformer, violent revolutionary, staid conservative, and reactionary dinosaur, but above all he had remained a cunning politician, adjusting his policies when necessary to support the growth and independence of his people and his church, while never giving even an iota of an inch away of the traditions he safeguarded.

The election for the new Pope he was now on his way to attend would not be new; he had been present at the election of the late Augustine XII in 2002, after the death of Theophilus. He was a quiet man and never made a fuss despite all the effort of the trip; for a man of 86 he was still spry in many ways (still walking three miles each morning after prayers and the Divine Liturgy) but his eyesight was failing and he rarely shared his thoughts with anyone anymore, except in sudden, unexpected bursts. He could be sitting in Synod, listening to bishops argue back and forth, and suddenly burst forth with a comment on a topic everyone had thought settled hours ago. Anyone who attempted to take advantage of his supposed frailty and apparent mental decline would foolishly find themselves face to face with what one anonymous bishop described as "all of the cunning and experience of an old mastiff whose jaws could still break bone."
Welcome to Snefaldia!
Also the player behind: Kartlis & Sabaristan

User avatar
Excalbia
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1148
Founded: Antiquity
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Excalbia » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:35 pm

Cyretia, Cyretopolitania

The Oriental Orthodox Church in Excalbia was not large enough to be autocephalous or even have its own patriarch. Instead, it remained a province of the Cyretian Coptic Orthodox Church, as most of its adherents were Cyretian immigrants or the descendants of such immigrants. The church, however, was growing, albeit slowly, and had been established as a metropolitan see in the last decade. Metropolitan Archbishop Michael Chetrit, who had previously been the diocesan bishop of Excalbia, before it was elevated to the See of All the Excalbian Isles, was the first and only cleric to hold the title.

Metropolitan Michael was the grandson of Cyretian immigrants, who had come to Excalbia in the early 20th century looking for work and a better life. The dynastic ties between the two nations had opened doors to immigration that otherwise might not have been opened. His father had arrived in the country as a small child with his grandparents. He had then, as many immigrants did in those days, returned to the Old Country to find a suitable bride. Michael Chetrit had thus been born at the beginning of Excalbia’s baby-boom generation. As such, he was now into his 7th decade and among the older electors.

As Metropolitan Michael stepped out of his car, he held his pectoral cross with his right hand and slightly lifted up his long, black cassock. He also wore a flat brimless hat with a black veil that draped down his back. He looked up the towers of the grand Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus - parts of which dated back to the 3rd century - and stroked his beard. He crossed himself and uttered a silent prayer before entering into the Cathedral.

User avatar
Uncle Noel
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 107
Founded: Antiquity
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Uncle Noel » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:36 pm

Valdrass International Airport

His Holiness Bonifatius, Patriarch and Catholicos of Valdrass, didn't look especially holy. Nor did he look especially Orthodox, dressed as he was not in an outer and inner cassock but in a black suit with a simple black clerical-collar shirt and looking like any number of Roman Catholic or Anglican bishops of the region. Perhaps only the size, and the style, of the pectoral cross gave any indication that this was not a Methodist Bishop on his way to a connexion meeting. His unorthodox (pun intended) appearance came from a certain modernizing tendency some 50 years ago which had threatened to translate the Divine Liturgy into contemporary Valdrician Dutch and throw out all the traditions of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Valdrass but which, thankfully, only really resulted in the decline of traditional non-liturgical wear and a few rather questionable phelonions.

The Ostgoten hadn't started out being Orthodox. When they had arrived in modern-day during the 6th century they had carried with them the Arian beliefs of their fathers and preserved them as best they could in this strange new land. In the early days of the Republic, before it became Serene and with it fat and bloated, times were hard and younger sons were wont to travel from their newly founded home in search of treasure of their own, hawking their trade as mercenaries during those barbarous times. But the Western Atlantic of the early middle ages was not the Western Atlantic of now. Pantocratoria and the Caldan Union would not be settled for several centuries, and the lands known today as Excalbia were little more than barbarian tribes. To the east lay the great lands of contemporary Snefaldia, but though the rest of Christendom may have considered them heretics the Ostgoten were not about to lower themselves by working for heathens. The great and terrible civilisations that lay to the north, deep within the Anahuacan plateau, were of no more interest to these men than the creatures that lived on the far side of the moon. That left, therefore, only Cyretopolitania as the sole bastion of Christ in the benighted region.

It was inevitable, therefore, that men who bent the knee to the kings of Cyretopolitania might not also, in long and faithful service, adopt the religion of their paymasters, and bring it with them back to their own land along with their trophies and their foreign wives. It such a soldier, St Thrasamund, Apostle to the Valdricians, that finally bought the Orthodox Church, and with it Nicene Christianity, to the poor heretics on the Avar Coast.

The journey to this point in the airport had not been a smooth one. Religion in Communist Anahuac was not banned but nor was it encouraged, and Bonifatius sometimes felt like a bird in a cage, subject to the petty tyrannies of the Party. "Why," asked the man from the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, who were required to approve all of the Patriarch's overseas travels, was he going to this Papal Election now? There were no records of his having attended before? His Holiness had calmly, and with infinite patience, explained that he hadn't been patriarch in 2002, and therefore couldn't have gone. The official had seemed less than convinced. "Hadn't it been the practice of your church to send a delegate in your place?"

"Well," replied the Patriarch softly, stroking his short grey beard, "That is true, but that was also during the time when long distance travel was something of a chore, and certainly before modern telecommunications. You'll note that nearly every patriarch since the 1920s has attended the papal election in person."

The official shuffled the exit paperwork on his desk. "How often are these, elections?" he asked skeptically.

"Only when the previous Pope dies," replied the Patriarch, resting his hands on his lap.

"Pah," scoffed the official, "What a ridiculous system, waiting until the old Pope dies before selecting a new one. How archaic."

The Patriarch smiled warmly. "Perhaps," he replied, "As you say. Though am I right in saying, and you may feel free to correct a confused old man, but didn't....didn't the previous two General Secretaries die in office? And do you know when the next one will be selected?"

The official ground his teeth in fury. He took a stamp marked APPROVED and mashed the same onto the papers with unnecessary ferocity. He threw them across the desk.

The Patriarch smiled warmly. "Thank you my son, and may the blessing of God the Father, God the Son and God Holy Spirit be upon you."

"Get out" barked the official, and with it his quarry departed.

Bonifatius smiled as he recalled this. A attendant from Intervlug walked over and bowed deeply, clearly one who had kept the faith. "Please your holiness," she said, continuing to regard the floor, "The gate for your flight is shortly to be announced. May I help you with your hand luggage."

The Patriarch beamed. "Bless you my child," he said, "And thank you."
Last edited by Uncle Noel on Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Cyretopolitania
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 157
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Cyretopolitania » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:14 pm

The Plaza of the Martyrs, in front of the Cathedral of Saints John and Cyrus, Martyrs, Cyretia

Dr. Count Izza Azenfar typically preferred his privacy. When he did venture out, he tried to be inconspicuous. He usually dined in restaurants where he could eat behid a drape or in a private room. When that was not an option, he kept to backwalls, out of sight, near exits and with a view of the room.

Today, as the electors began to arrive for the second step in the election of a new Coptic pope, the Director of Royal Intelligence chose to dine al fresco at a restaurant on the Plaza of Martyrs, directly across from the Cathedral. He sat at a table on the sidewalk facing cars as they approached the Cathedral to drop off their passengers. With two bodyguards hovering nearby, it was nearly impossible to miss Azenfar.

While the relatively few of foreign electors who were arriving gave any sign of recognizing him, every Cyretopolitanian did. A few, relatives and close business associates, acknowledged Azenfar when they saw him. He replied to their nods and waves by lifting his glass of wine or doffing his homburg, which we was wearing in place of his usual fez. Others tried to ignore him, conspicuously looking away. The rest displayed little reaction. However, all saw him and were reminded that Azenfar was watching them.

Not far down the street, Shayma Abensur sat on a bench along the wall of the Cathedral. Wearing a headscarf, traditional dress and sunglasses, she looked like most other young women - whether Christian or Muslim - taking their lunch break in the capital's ancient centre. She was reading a book and eating a packed lunch - and keeping an eye on Azenfar and the electors for her employer, Crown Princess Irene. Not far away, a young man stood at bus stop. He was a low ranking employee of the Palace; no one either Shayma or Azenfar would notice. Yet, he, too, was watching Azenfar on behalf of his employer: the Royal Chancellor, Duke Matthias Harroun.
Last edited by Cyretopolitania on Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Next

Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to NationStates

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Qelic Union, Veldhaven

Advertisement

Remove ads