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Of Tangent Dreams {ATLA II: Closed}

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:44 pm
by Waldenburg 2
The Firth of Talinheim, Orkney
December 25th, 2013

The Trumpet Shall Sound

“Have you said you your prayers boys?” Rain lapped at the feet of the gunnery crew as the master gestured inarticulately with his command baton, “Sacrificed to the coefficient?” Somewhere along the bow a six inch gun belched out a column of fire and grossly lobbed a shell at the shadowy target sitting some mile away. “Begged the mercy of the arc?” A show was rammed home and the squeaky of a rusty wheel being turned pierced the general howl of the gun-deck. “Prophesied in dreams of tangents?” The man winked, “You better bloody well hope so.” A whistle was applied to his lips and with its blast a nervous seaman depressed the firing lever of the deck gun. Within a heartbeat a resounding shriek of suffering metal echoed across the choppy waters; the hellish bray of a dumb steel beast in torment.

“Glory be!” trumpeted the master, “We’ll make men of you yet!” Jubilation was lost on the decks of the WIS Lighted Heaven as around her the three other ships of the task force hurled their share towards the bobbing ship as it was tossed by mercurial seas and ancient enmities. Everyone had known, maybe for years now, that there would be no mercy. Every cabin boy, every admiral and emperor aboard had known that not a soul would be pulled up from the icy waters. Climax, though, could not describe the scuffle on the pole of the world where a few thousand souls clung to rosaries and in hushed voices begged their savior to have mercy on them. It was a drop in an every expanding ocean of human misery: the most humble batting of an eye on the turbulent pages of man’s most prolific struggle against himself.

One ship battered and aflame, and with decreasingly regularity, sent a shell back at her pursuers but sheets of crumpled and warped steel plating feel into the sea every minute to at last descend into calmness, and to be claimed by the ultimate serenity. A dragon pennant still clung defiantly to her bowsprit, its teeth bared in eternal combativeness. It soon was doused in the sweetly burning fuel oil that fountained up from a ruptured main.

“There it is boys!” The master waved his baton at the flaming orb dividing horizon and seascape, “The altar of our god!” Snow drifted down to frost his mustache in shades gray as gun smoke had already burned his pale skin to a deathlike semblance, “Offer it prayers! Agnus dei, agnus dei!” Puddles of water lay underneath the glowing barrel of the gun, slowly turning to slick ice. “This is your bishop,” he patted the gun, “And there is your god.” He motioned to the flaming ship which had ceased to struggle and only drifted in slowly lazy circles as two cruisers approached opposite each other, mercilessly probing and gouging with their guns. In a moment it was over, and in another moment a pillar of flame scoured the night sky, eclipsing the stars and searing the retina of anyone left to watch. The held breath of hundreds exhaled as the soft rains of flaming petrol and superheated shards of steel patterned the heavens in brilliant shades of crimson and orange.
“Where tangent dreams meet prophetic sines,” A hushed voiced sent a spark down the huddled gun crew, and as the men whirled around to see they caught nothing but the forward lieutenant shakily lighting a cigarette; in the brief hazy light they could make out the words of a prayer on his lips.
“His Highness, the Emperor Elect!” Boots clattered on steel plating as the command bridge rose as one to greet Prince Cato, swaddled in an oiled cape and bearing a rather old fashioned ensign’s bicorne. The Prince did not acknowledge the accolades and instead strode across the room, with one deft hand snagging the cigarette from a terrified subaltern, taking one long puff, and sinking the butt into the mug of a communications officer. Another door banged open and was closed in an instant.

“Your Highness,” Major the Marquis Sufrir looked up languidly from a table strewn with sea charts, “You’re wet.” Cato ignored this and began shucking his cape, and assorted winter-ware. “I trust we are victorious?” Cato grunted to this as he banged his hat repeatedly against the wall of the captain’s private strategy room and then flung the damp fabric to the ground.

“At your ease Major.” Cato cooed presently, once he had eyed the room eyeing longingly the decanters placed invitingly against the far wall.

“Why thank you,” the snifter that had been clutched between his inhumanly long fingers clinked down on the table.

“And yes, the frigate is sunk. All hands lost we assume.”

“And lo!” Sufrir sneered, “Tomorrow no doubt the world!”

“You disapprove?” Cato collapsed into a chair around the chart table and cast weary eyes over his adjutant.

“This is a tremendous victory.”

“Yallak has lost a frigate, one of thousands.”

“Hmmmmm.” Cato sighed demurely, he had the sneaking suspicion that Sufrir was far more intelligent than he was, and was slowly winding the prince up. “Well…. I have a Christmas present for you.”

“I pray for socks.”

“Think bigger.” Cato smiled despite himself.

“Tube socks?”

“You have no sort of imagination do you Sufrir?”

“I believe I ate a thermometer when I was a boy,” the Marquis offered back lazily.
“Then let me show you, come.” Cato returned towards the command deck; the Marquis could again hear the sound of boots on steel and through the corner of his eye view the surreptitious guarding of cigarettes. He followed.

Cato clutched a few sheets of paper in his hand and stood by the door to the parade deck, “How about a continent?” Just outside a microphone hung from an awning and was being inspected critically by a wizened Chukaconian; so crippled with age it appeared his back nearly bent in two. “I told you I had a reason for being at the ass end of nowhere.”

“Is it ready?” Cato asked of the technician who in turn focused on a support pillar by the door.

“Oh yes,” the technician crowed joyfully, “The transmitter is all ready, I only need turn on the set.”

“Very well then,” Cato nodded to the man who after a few false starts and a guiding shove by the prince managed to make it behind a table laden with electronics, the purpose of which Cato could only guess at.

“All ready Your Highness?” The man trilled after slipping on a pair of headphones over his temples.
“Indeed yes.”

“Then…” the man’s hands flew with speed of a creature a third his age, “In four… three… two…one.” A red light clicked on.

“Good evening and happy Christmas. I wish firstly to state my joy at being able to speak to my subjects at last, and in the good nature and joy of the season offer them, and all my friends and allies across the world, the very best of wishes and the blessing of the Waldenburger Emperor. I speak to you from the bridge of the WIS Lighted Heaven, a warship in the frozen north waters that has remained loyal to our people and state and will soon return me to my native land. I cannot stress the necessity of the continued devotion and loyalty of our many serving soldiers across the world, and in humble words I thank you for your service and fidelity. Tyrants fall, but good men retain in their hearts the nobility and zeal of the most sainted of history. But I have not come to speak to you on the merits of good men, I wish first to address the failings of those who currently hold in thrall tens of billions of honest and god-fearing citizens of this planet. I wish firstly to admonish those good men who have let their nature slip to evil and have silenced their tougnes from shouting the truth. And it is the first truth, the truth that Ceno brought from the desert, that the martyrs have died with on their lips, and which every man knows in his heart. The wicked fall. Always. Wherever there is strife, where greed and atrocity has surpassed man’s ability to feel, the righteous might of the aggrieved rises to combat it.

I will return to Waldenburg and liberate it from such strife, and so that never again may the malignant stain of occupation fall on our people’s and continent I shall grant constitution ensuring the rights and freedoms of every citizen and call a Diet of commoners and nobles alike to advise me in a gracious and benevolent rule. I promise to my people, and our dear friends and allies across the world, that this is but a moment of unease and commonality of all men is in love and fraternity with each other. I promise you the eternal freedom of liberation. The Church that has enslaved you, regimented you and led you as cattle will feed the furnaces of our new industry. We cannot produce Empire anymore, our reserves have run dry. Our justification in civilization has created in less advanced races, who now attempt to dominate the Waldenburger continent, a fear of righteousness. Tyranny has awakened unnatural sentiments and perversions in former servants of my throne. And we will smash them. And we will smash the old world. We will smash aside the Church, and the electors, and instill in every man, woman and child the enduring and forever voice of freedom, and the conviction to stand by it.

I promise to all people’s in the world an end to this war, as quickly and painlessly as God sees fit to grant, and that our righteous sword can fulfill. I promise reconciliation, I promise reconstruction: I promise peace.
I am, by the Grace of God, Emperor Elect Lucious Cato von Waldenburg, Prince Imperial and Primate of all Waldenburg. And may God continue to smile upon my people and during this time offer forgiveness to our enemies, and grant a speedy end to our conflict.”

Cato smiled. And the tangents met.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:15 pm
by Waldenburg 2
His Highness’ Free Corp Supreme Headquarters –Krune
January 2nd 2014

Handel's Concerto in F Major

Not all the allies would come together for the invasion of Waldenburg, or even at this point converge for any central goal, but in the short time since Christmas Cato’s allies had poured into Paloni with shocking regularity: Blomburgers, Kruners , Chukaconians, Waldenburgers, Ponteans, the mercenaries of the Legion, hard faced Ascelonians, one or two Aschen platoons, hired Fictionese, Temerains, Grestonians, a handful of Spainards, Byzantines, Layslians, and dozens of others bought and paid for, sent by friendly governments, or encouraged by some sort of blood level desire to pillage a continent. And despite the list of names, it was nowhere near enough. The amassed tonnages of weaponry were insignificant in the face of those possessed by the Central Government and the Yallakian occupiers.

Councils of war had been occurring across the fleet and army, impromptu, but with as much fanfare as the most ancient of ceremonies before the armies divided- to prevent obliteration from above, and dig in- to prevent it from land. If Yallak wanted its battle, the fleet was arrayed around the cape supplemented by a sizeable artillery battery and considerable air firepower. It would be another two weeks before the army was prepared to follow through with its immensely easy plan of walking straight north to the headwaters of the Strein and the Holy Mountain, hopefully bypassing the immediate Yallakian threat as the armies of Blunderburg would keep them penned up tightly. It was an immensely simple plan, and the allied commanders seemed to rely entirely on Cato’s ability to sway the hearts and minds of the population, to dissolve armies before him, and melt resistance to his reign. It was a bit of a longshot even they had to admit.

Cato certainly agreed, and the horrendous throb of a diesel engine in its last few weeks of life added a constant and oily bass line to his consternation, a Kruner gunboat had picked him up nearly half an hour ago and was struggling towards Sälitz at a speed that would normally put bargemen and turtle racers to shame. The crew too had an aged and grimy look to them as they went about their tasks with half an eye on Cato, possibly thinking he’d burst into the sort of behavior Yallakian propaganda described as his normal routine. So far the child molestation and peasant rape had yet to materialize, but the tars of the KDS Lilliput remained quite open to a little bit of peasant rape if it was offered to them. Of course no one but the helmsman, the navigations officer and the commander knew where the boat was heading- and even Major Sufrir who stood still as an oak tree to prevent dirt from marring his immaculately pressed uniform was a little hazy as to the ultimate destination of the journey.

“Is this entirely Your Highness?” Sufrir asked with the hammer of skepticism dangling over every word.

“Most likely no,” Cato responded as he eyed an upcoming inlet where a few lanterns were hung around a decrepit jetty. “But what exactly has wisdom ever brought the rulers of Waldenburg?”

Sufrir seemed to mull this over for a moment, and in tones far more serious than he ever employed, “We could be killed.”

“We could have been killed stepping on this boat by a saboteur, or thrown off the side ten minute ago. “ The boat began to cut power as it drifted towards the jetty and the crew began the process of tying off: Cato, having spent many years overseeing the casting of immense battleships was not phased at all at the gap between the pitching boat and land and easily hopped it, then with a slight feeling of vindication, held out a hand to reassure Sufrir of his footing. Two dark suited men detached themselves from the vessel as well and silently took up station behind the Prince. “Give no offense Sufrir,” Cato waved a finger under his nose as the party began to trek uphill, crunching through fallen leaves and the general detritus of forests everywhere. Moonlight lanced through the boughs of three hundred year oak trees as the four men picked their way carefully up a fisherman’s path. “We have their word as to our safe passage, and I don’t intend any reason why they should revoke that. We need Sälitz, at least free passage, or our supply lines could be closed off like that.” And suddenly, round a small hillock and coming to a flatter piece of earth, the four men closed eyes on another party , of approximately the same size: blurred and bedazzled in the lights that shone outwards from them.

“Well met my friends,” Cato tried as his eyes began to adjust, “I am Prince Cato, and am very pleased to meet you all.”

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:56 am
by Salitz
(OOC: I hope this is ok, if I need to change anything tell me)

Libestbach Manor, Libestbach

It was a pleasant manor not the largest in Sälitz but nevertheless made famous having been designed by the renowned architect Herr Jan Kappel who’s other famous designs were the bell-towers of Slöterwald and the Royal Museum of Art in Lüttenstuck, during the day time the manor would be light and airy and boasted of unrivaled views of the sea and a particularly attractive pice of coastline at night however with only the moon and occasional flash from the nearby lighthouse to light up the beach it could at times feel rather ominous. Tonight was one of those nights. The current Count of Libestbach, an old portly man well into his sixties now sat pensively in a chintz armchair by the window, one hand nursing a glass of brandy, staring out over the dark waters, barley reflecting the sliver of light given by the new moon. Occasionally he would see the light of a fishing boat or more rarely a larger ship coming into port. It had been an odd day he reflected, nothing very much ever happened in his modest county which was primarily known for it’s fishing industry but now his manor was playing host to a most unusual game of politics involving the war in Waldenburg and who knows what else. The details he had been given were somewhat vague. He remembered asking, when the phone call from the Governor’s office had came why he was to become involved and the answer had seemed unusual then and even more so now.
”Libestbach is a small city, it would be far safer to host this meeting there than in Mir”
Surley he thought at the time, it would be much safer in Mir but he didn’t argue. If the regency council wanted to use his modest accommodation (And had offered a rather modest compensation for ‘inconveniences caused’) then who was he to argue or deny any generous gifts that came with the use of his manor for this strange meeting.

First had arrived the governor, a strange man he had thought, one of those foreign types. But still it took all sorts to make the world did it not? And the world seemed even better when they came with gifts of expensive liqueurs rarely found in Sälitz. Next had arrived, well he could only assume they were a diplomatic entourage, they kept to themselves and seemed quite absorbed in their own buisness, and after that his grace the duke of Slöterwald had came, again with gifts which were clearly meant to tell the count that his presence would not be necessary in the proceedings and if he could make himself scarce then more would be forthcoming. An intelligent man who liked his brandy, he had taken the hint and retired to his quarters to let his Grace and the governor prepare for the mysterious guests that would be arriving shortly by his guess, he had heard the tell-tale crunch of gravel in the driveway which meant that someone had left. Why the meeting had to take place in the dead of night was beyond him but it added to the sense that something big, something important, was about to take place. He leaned back in his chair sipping the drink as the thoughts ran through his head. Yes, he thought, something important. Here in his house. And he wasn’t part of it.


“Well met my friends, I am Prince Cato, and am very pleased to meet you all.”

One man stepped forward to greet him, he was tall, with neatly parted black hair and a thin waxed mustache, his clothes rich and impeccably pressed though the details of his face were cast into shadow by the headlights from the vehicle behind him this was His Grace the duke of Slöterwald and he was the first to greet the prince. And after routine introductions the car was soon on it’s way back to the manor with it’s new guests where there would be offerings of tea, coffee, spirits or whatever else took their guests fancy. Just because a meeting took place at night, did not mean that common politeness was not to be observed.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:18 pm
by Laysley
Two days earlier

A tall young man fixed his tie at the entrance of the little church. He was blonde with a lightning straight side parting, small half-moon glasses and seemed to sport a constantly bemused smile. He had the air of a superficial, naive socialite with good shoulders for batting, but anyone who had the sense to look at the eyes perched above his handsome nose saw quick, sharp analysers that blinked surprisingly often and never seemed to quite stay still. His stylish hat under his arm, Lord Christopher Flint, more commonly known as Flint the Younger with the untimely demise of his father not days before, took a deep breath and put one shiny black shoe in front of the other. Flint Jr. was not young enough to fuck this sort of thing up anymore, but he was plenty young enough to feel rather excited.

The church was seemingly larger on the inside than the out, Flint's scanners surveyed. The observation thing was still a bit forced, he certainly didn't have the easy genius of his father yet, but Flint fancied himself rather better at it than many of his contemporaries. Thus, Flint saw professionally and took pride his analysis. He noted that the church was seemingly larger on the inside because of the effective way they let light in through the many small stain glass windows that lined the walls, and quite definitely focused the light on the front. The effect of such an architectural feat was somewhat lost now, with the golden altar looking distinctly tarnished and the colours of the arch, complete with double doors to house the excessive staffing involved with an orthodox service, and other useless liturgical paraphernalia fading obviously.

Light travels faster than sound, but sound catches up eventually. Flint was about to approach his quarry when the noise of the choir, concealed behind the worn arch as they were, hit him like a thunderbolt from heaven. He stopped dead in his track. A small part of him screamed in anguish at this public display, but Flint couldn't help but grin widely. The sound drifted like magic through the musty air, piercing his soul and opening his heart right up. He swayed trance-like on the spot for a moment, feeling the depth of the tune like he'd never felt music before. His lips continued to have a mind of their own, which reminded him later of certain experiences with his first girlfriend. His eyes seemed to slide inexorably away from observation and into deep, peaceful contemplation. The little part of his brain analysed the way his body felt somehow free of strain.
His moment with the world was abruptly interrupted by a rather rude shawled Arnslander pushing her way out the doors. He turned round to apologise just as another shawled old woman pushed him back round on her equally rude path in. He shook his head as he watched the disregarding woman sit down, seemingly the epitome of Christian charity now.

The endless chant still wafted in the background, but in not at all the same soul-igniting way. Then a thought struck Flint from his newly freed brain and he looked straight up and beheld the crumbling eyes of his Maker, resplendent on the domed roof. Flint smiled broadly again after a moment and gave God a cheeky wink. Then he suddenly became aware of someone standing beside him. Embarrassed, he hastily nodded his head back only to see his target had appeared right beside him. Taller than him by at least three inches and wearing a tight, polite smile on his pale face, Flint was completely startled by his first one-to-one meeting with Crisp. He managed a smile back just as Lord Crisp all but marched him out of the church and onto the road.

Without a word Crisp detached Flint and strode off down the track, ironically connecting this place of tradition and the village with slightly-flatter-than-usual rocks and potholes. Flint lumbered uncharacteristically after him, very glad that he'd taken the view in on the way up the hill because he was seriously missing out on anything that didn't involve pursuing Crisp right now. As the follower began to make progress and walk more dignifiedly at the same pace as his leader, said leader abruptly about-turned and set off into the meadow. Flint desperately stumbled after him, watched by two bemused men who had followed them out the church. They were extremely surprised to see two well-dressed Layslians randomly race off into a field, but quickly resumed their sullen tramp down the hill without a backwards glance.

They were a hundred feet or so from the road when Crisp suddenly sat down. Flint, by this point, was thankfully in control of his own feet and avoided falling over him. In a rare gesture, Crisp patted the ground beside him and, gratefully, a breathless Flint plonked himself down. They were sat perhaps two-thirds of the way up the hill, one of the rolling hills that inhabited this side of the Pravol river in southern Arnsland, and were very surprising for Flint, who was used to the unanimously level north. Flint looked out across the wide expanse of arable land that occupied the other side of the river, glorious in this wintery afternoon. The sun was high but weak in the cloudless sky, casting a pale tint across the great dome, complementing the deep blue of the Pravol that meandered through the landscape a mile or so below. The scattered villages and numerous churches that lined the river, Flint concluded that this part of the world had more religious buildings per head than anywhere else, looked insignificant and lonely against the vast expanse. He fancied he could see the curve of the planet out here.

Flint had one knee between his hands and was gazing lovingly at the landscape, still panting slightly yet with his coat buttoned tightly around him. Crisp sat immaculately cross-legged, the accepted manner for a gentleman to sit on grass, his eyes simply vacantly gazing straight ahead.
Flint looked towards him, without any show, and began to open his mouth. Crisp spoke.

"Good afternoon Flint. Why did Whistling send you?" Flint had been warned about Crisp's unembellished style.

"Oh please Nigel" Flint replied with an endearing smile "Are we not on first name terms?"

"No, we are not" replied Crisp, matter-of-factly.

Thrown, Flint nervously fidgeted. A moment of silence passed, and Flint had his words, very carefully, prepared. "Whistling sent me to warn you. The Yallakians made a deal with the new government during the surrender. You understand what that means?" Flint took particular care in pronouncing "Yallak" correctly.

"Yes" replied Crisp, equally matter-of-factly.

Had Christopher Flint been the late Oliver Flint, he would have known not to bother. Crisp was not a man of many words, he knew that, but the lack of any kind of decoration in a conversation is understandably. After another moment of picking words, this time in a very different manner, Flint continued.

"Whistling wishes you to understand that more resources than we previously believed have been allocated to your head." Flint used secret service jargon, he was told Crisp reacted well to that. How anyone knew, he reflected, was beyond him. This time without waiting for a technically superfluous acknowledgement, Flint pressed on. "He advises you strongly to leave for Byzantium immediately."

Crisp nodded. His hair bounced slightly as he did so, and Flint wondered why he hadn't had it shaved off for efficiency reasons.

"That is not what I intend to do"

"Whistling thought as much" replied a pre-prepared Flint with a wry smile, perhaps a little too quickly "He would therefore like to ask what exactly it is you intend to do."

"I'm going to capture Prince Cato"

Flint, not being prepared for this monumental statement, or for the unemotional tone it was said in, was, once again, very startled. He put his hand up to the brim of his hat and his mouth slowly turned into a little o as he tactlessly gawped at Crisp. Crisp stayed impassive, and it was all suddenly too much.

"Why the hell would you do that?!" Flint all but screamed.

Crisp had his answer ready and however the question was asked wasn't going to change that, Flint later realised. "Wolfgang Hill has informed me of Cato's planned journey through Sälitz." Flint looked confused for a moment, then remembered Wolfgang Hill was the HQ of the Guild in Hechingen. Crisp stopped momentarily until Flint smiled, then continued "It seems likely that the Yallakians will be able to find and capture him within the week, and that I must stop. I have men following him and will use whatever force necessary to detain him and explain the situation so that he understands."

Flint read understands to be a tactful term for our way of thinking.

"I will release a statement to the Yallakians stating that I have killed him."

"But Crisp!" Flint interrupted, suddenly animated "They will enact revenge on us for your work, again! More Layslians will die for your glory-seeking!"

"Flint" Crisp replied calmly but with a definite hint of consternation "I am not a glory-seeker. My work is to better the world not to get power or influence. The reason why I was in the church is because I can display myself and my feelings to God, in a way I have been trained not to before humans. I have asked him whether I should do this, and I now know I must." Crisp was not used to speaking at length, so he gave a little cough. Flint tactfully let him continue.

"I will not kill him. I will simply keep him safe from the Yallakians while he raises his army. Believing him to be dead and preoccupied with any resistance you can muster in Laysley, Cato should be able to win a major victory. That, I believe, will be the turning point in the Yallakian mindset and public pressure will limit their involvement further, which will in turn be a turning point in the war."

Flint nodded slowly, his eyebrows folded in concern.

"More Layslians will die, yes, but I shall die as one of them. It is a cause to free the continent and to end the corruption of the Cenoist heresy. It is a holy mission and I shall do it."

Flint's thoughts raced fast. For several long moments he tried to form words, then sighed.
He spread out his arms, then asked "Crisp, can I stop you?"

Crisp turned to look at him, and Flint gave him a tight, sad smile worthy of his father.

"No." replied Crisp, as vacant as ever.

With that, Flint politely wished Crisp good day and stood up. He sorted the tails of his trench coat then set off down the hill to catch his train home.

For a while Crisp watched Flint go, trampling a damp trail through the meadow to the village as the crow flies. Crisp blinked, closing his eyes for a moment longer than usual. Then he got up and walked in the opposite direction: into Waldenburg.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:34 am
by Yallak
“Who is to judge what is right and what is wrong? Simpleton foreigners may question and condemn your right to destroy the Layslian people, but every citizen of the Empire says you have no right to let them live!
-Lord Sollonaal, Supreme Magistrate of Yallak to the Emperor

November 24th, 2013 – 13:11
Fort St. Michael

His men looked out of place here. There armour and weary faces were grimy, dusty and the smell of death clung to them, yet they had come at last to this untouched place where no fires burned, no rubble was piled up in the streets, no craters smoked away where road had once been and most notably of all, no bodies lay strewn prone where they had fallen for the last time. This place was one of the few parts of the small city-state that had been unilaterally declared off-limits from aerial and naval bombardment, for even in this dark time, Laysley would have need of it.

And it was a sight to behold. The Gothic styled building that was the residence of the former Patrician and the legislature towered before them. Its high walls were formed from cusped arches and clusters of slender pillars made of dark, polished marble, they were covered with lancet windows holding beautiful stained glass and decorated with quatrefoils and tracery. Magnificent flying buttresses ran parallel down the walls to brace the structure. Both the wall surfaces and the buttresses were divided into vertical panels, all working together to emphasise the height of the building, as if it aspired towards the heavens. As the Imperials entered through the large arched doorway, they saw the interior culminated in a hammerbeam roof carved from stained oak.

For just one fraction of a moment, General Mikkel Astia, commander of the Second Legiones Imperatorius, believed he was back home. And then Lord Whistling stepped into the picture and the fragile thought shattered back to reality. No, he was still in this wretched slum they called Laysley.

Whistling said something but Mikkel merely heard the words, he did not listen. Instead he took survey of the gathering around him. Though he couldn't see them, he could sense the two score of Legionnaires that had accompanied him standing watchfully behind. Whistling stood just in front of him to the right, and past the man he could see a collection of what appeared to be somewhat anxious parliamentary officials. Beside them was a pair of those famous gentlemen types who stood tall and proper, still dignified despite the fact that they probably had the same misgivings about being this close to a Yallakian as the men next to them. Mikkel assumed they were probably Lords or at least that they thought they should be. Directly opposite stood a fairly good looking young noble woman, her retainers and a few guards. Ah, the queen-priest no doubt. She was flanked by an imperial legion Captain who Mikkel recognised as one of his own men from the Second Legion, Hastur Silarne of the fifth battalion. And finally his eyes fell up the the last group. A somewhat mildly unhappy looking Layslian with his hands bound and guards on his flanks.

It was the prisoner that had his full attention, and with his presence Mikkel new roughly what Whistling had said.

'Indeed you have appeared to have kept your side of the arrangement. What a pleasant surprise.' The General did not even notice the edge of scorn that he levelled in his words. As far as he was concerned, the Layslian ministers were all morons who through their weakness and lack of spine had let their nation die around them. 'Had you simply had the stomach to do what you knew was right and necessary in the first place you might well have more than this building left standing.'

If Whistling replied, the General did not listen again, instead walking across the polished floor to the unhappy one. He appraised the man for a few moments and then let out a soft snort that was accompanied with a small smirk. If he thought poorly of Whistling and his fellow Lords then there was no describing the disdain he held for this man.

'The Honourable General Sir Dennis Heeley,' he declared with no small touch of sarcasm. 'Who single handedly seized the reigns of power in Laysley from where it rightfully belonged and led his nation to glorious war to defend their honour and freedom. Tell me Heeley, how did that work out for you?'

Heeley did not rise to the bait, but he looked a mite angrier now. Mikkel noted that he did not apparently like to be mocked publicly. Too bad for him.

'I believe that in this part of the world, its considered proper for a man such as yourself to die by firing squad?' Mikkel queried rhetorically. Heeley may well have suspected that he was about to get another disappointment. With a swift, fluid motion of his hand, the General summoned several of his legionnaires forward to seize Heeley.

'We won't be wasting more bullets on you today,' he declared. 'Take him out and hang him from the nearest...I don't care what, tree branch, street light... whatever undignified spot you can find to dangle him from. Just make sure he can be seen. Let it be known without question, that enemies of the Empire will die.'

Heeley attempted to resist and mumbled something threatening back as the legionnaires dragged him back out the doorway. The commotion outside continued for a minute or so before abruptly fading to silence shortly before one of the legionnaires returned. No-one inside spoke until the silence started to become oppressive.

'Captain Silarne,' snapped the General suddenly, 'begin sweeping the city for weapons, door to door, I don't care how long it takes I want them disarmed. And institute a curfew, no-one in the streets after sundown. If anyone resists, well, they have been adequately informed of the consequences of such actions.'

The Captain saluted and departed after a barely noticeable nod to the Princess-Archbishop, with whom he become acquainted with during the invasion.

As the Captain left Mikkel finally turned his attention to Whistling. 'We have work to do.'


November 25th, 2013 – 09:03
The Imperial Senate
Arrandin, Yallak

The Senate chamber was the literal heart of the Imperial Palace, an enormous round chamber with a high domed ceiling that sat squarely in the centre of the palace complex. The vast majority of the chamber was filled with tiered seating, row upon row of luxury chairs from just above floor level to halfway up the height of the wall. At the back end of the chamber was a separate partition of seating, containing an upper section from where the arbiter of the Senate sessions oversaw proceedings, and a lower section where guest speakers or other attending officials would sit. The floor of the cavernous meeting hall was one large mosaic, a map of the Empire made of marble and gemstones. Yet when in session the noise that so many hundreds of arguing senators could produce was enough to humble even the grandiose chamber itself.

And this days session was one to remember. It had barely been going for three minutes before it dissolved into chaos. The Chancellor had begun as always, opening the floor to the hearing of any urgent issues, at which point a Senator from Liniria, the Empires most south-eastern province had stood and bluntly demanded that the Emperor answer for the debacle unfolding in Waldenburg and Laysley. The words had barely left his lips when hell erupted and eight hundred different opinions battled to be heard.


The response was immediate. As always the umbral Imperial Chancellor was hidden away beneath his dark blue High Council cloak with its hood casting his face in shadow, but as he rarely raised his voice, or spoke more than the bare minimum for that matter, when he ordained to issue a command the Senators obeyed without question. It helped too that his silky voice carried both a calming and threatening feel to it, and many pondered whether he was once, or still was, an Imperial Intelligence Operative. In the silence he continued, 'Senator Lyein, if you have an accusation then speak plainly.'

'Apologies Chancellor,' responded the Senator bowing his head slightly, 'Let me be more specific. I have been reading the reports of the Waldenburg/Laysley deployments and I want to know why the reinforcements bound for our besieged Legion in Pondderborg were rerouted to undertake an unsanctioned invasion of Laysley?'

With cold fury in his eyes the Emperor rose from his chair beneath the Imperial Chancellors podium. 'It is of no concern of yours where the Legions are deployed. The senates part in this affair ended when it approved the operations in Waldenburg.'

'Perhaps, but we did not approve this new invasion. Imperial Law clear states that y....'

'Do not lecture me, Senator!' The Emperor spat out the man’s title with no attempt to hide his contempt. 'I know well what the law permits. Agents from Laysley attacked Imperial interests directly, leaving five custodians and many times that number in Praetores dead. It is my right to do what is necessary to defend the Empire.'

'Yes it is, but that is not...'

The Emperor did not let the Senator speak again. 'Yes it is!' he echoed the man's words, 'so we are done here.'

In a swift flurry of motion the Emperor stormed from the chamber, leaving the embarrassed Senator calling after him while the remainder of the onlookers sat in stunned silence, the Imperial Senate speechless for the first time in history.

Lord Caracas Raudhar rose and followed the Emperor out into the hallway beyond the great dome. 'That was not prudent my Lord,' he called out, 'He was correct in his concerns.'

'Tell someone who cares,' the Emperor responded. He did not stop walking.


November 26th, 2013 – 10:27
Fort St. Michael

The small hologram flickered above the communicator that had been placed on the edge of the table. General Astia stood before it, head bowed, fist clamped to chest. 'My Lord,' he proclaimed, with a breath of excitement.

Mikkel returned to attention as the Emperor spoke. 'General. I have been awaiting this moment for some time. Tell me, are they crushed underfoot?'

The General was puzzled. Something was off, the words, the tone, they were all wrong. This was not the first time he had conversed with the Emperor about the results of a battle, but before it had always progressed in the same manner. Firstly, always firstly, the Emperor would query the status of the Legions, ask of casualties and supplies, and then he would ask of progress and reports, they would relish in victory and further orders would be devised. Mikkel observed now though, that not only was there a lack of consideration for those who had died, and indeed those that yet remained and might be in all manner of precarious situations, that the Emperors voice disguised barely veiled violence, that he hungered like a wolf might at the anticipation of a kill.

'We have achieved victory, my Lord,' reported Mikkel, 'The last resistance is all but gone and the Layslians have issued their unconditional surrender.'

'Surrender? I didn't realise we had begun the practice of letting our enemies live?'

'But my Lord, our enemy is dead, a sight you might enjoy to see for yourself. The people are of no threat, there armies are broken and we are disarming the nation in its entirety.'

Anger seeped into the Emperor's words. 'Let me spell it out for you, General. Times have changed. We can no longer sit by and let ourselves grow soft. They have raised arms against us and killed loyal sons and daughters of the Empire and so they must perish.'

He was almost shouting now. 'There can be no more room for half-measures!! I command you to destroy them. All I want left of Laysley is an ashen warning to the world.'

Mikkel suspected that his jaw must have come pretty damn close to touching the floor. The Imperium had always been less than courteous to its enemies, and it seemed to have the desired effect because the Empire was rarely forced to consider other nations enemies. This was a whole new level though, it was one thing to lay waste to your enemies in battle, quite another to mercilessly slaughter an entire defenceless population that had already capitulated.

'My...Lord. For all intents they are our people now, part of the Empire itself!' stammered the General. 'You can't be...'

'You question my orders?' snarled the Emperor.

'Yes, its not...'

'You are a traitor and a fool, Astia! I will do it myself then, and if they're still alive when I get there, you can die along with them.'

The transmission was terminated and the hazy blue hologram dissipated. Each particle floated apart, and the whole unravelled into nothing. And everything that Mikkel thought, felt and believed began to unravel with it.


December 11th, 2013 – 01:15
Imperial Palace
Arrandin, Yallak

The knock at the door was soft, little more than a trio of taps, yet it sounded like battering ram to Caracas as he paced agitated within the High Council Chambers. This meeting did not sit well with him, but he silently cursed himself for letting it grate on his nerves. After a quick check on the rooms security system to ensure it was who he thought it was at the door, the High Lord of Navarath released the door locks and pulled one of the elaborate chamber doors ajar. A slender figure slipped into the room and the door was relocked.

'My Lord.' Inquisitor Caelin Anvordel bowed her head in the traditional formal greeting. She wore a plain black skirt and black crossover top, had her dark blonde hair held up with a clip and and carried an envelope stuffed with documents.

Caracas, forgoing his usual council regalia, wore imperial legion combat fatigues. He gave the Inquisitor a slight nod in response. 'I hope you can tell me my fears were misplaced, because this feels very wrong.'

'I'm afraid it's not good news.'

'We'd best sit then.' Caracas motioned behind her and they seated themselves at the Council table which dwarfed them in size and took up the majority of the floor space. The room itself was dim, with only the bare minimum of lighting on. 'Ok, lets hear it.'

'Well, in addition to the derelictions you've already witnessed before you requested this investigation, there has been a high amount of private, highly encrypted communications. The need to be discreet has prevented me from getting through it all yet,' she said, pulling out the documents from the envelope and passing them across to Caracas,' but I’ve done enough start making out the big picture. It looks like he is assembling legion and naval forces for some operation that he’s put some effort into keeping off the books, so to speak.'

Caracas browsed through the documents, the pages getting heavier with each new word he read. His fears were now reality. The inquisitor had uncovered much information but it meant little to her as it was because she didn't know her target. He did though, and it meant a lot.

'They were brothers you know.' He hadn't meant to say that, it just sort of came out of its own accord as he dwelt on the moment that started them all down this untrodden road.

'Who?' Anvordel queried.

'Oh, the Emperor and Captain Balhaan.' By now everyone in the Empire knew about what had happened in Waldenburg, about the death of the Emperors Custodians. 'Not by blood of course, but no less as strong as it. He was the only family Balor had left. Now that hole is filling with anger...actually rage, like a valve without a shut off. I think deep down it's because he blames himself for sending them all to that backwater in the first place.'

Caracas sighed audibly and frustratedly tossed the pile of papers onto the table. His eyes looked tired and vacant as they stared at the untidy wad. There was a moment of awkward silence.

'This is a serious problem, my Lord,' the inquisitor stated concernedly when Caracas still said nothing. 'I should really report this to the Court. The State Commander will wish to ac...'

'No!' The reaction was almost anger, and Caelin recoiled slightly. 'I told you when I first brought my concerns to you that you were to tell no-one. I will handle this.'

'Where is the Emperor now?' asked Caracas returning to his usual quiet tone.

'He left for Accolon this afternoon, presumably to join the forces he's been assembling there, but where they are headed I have no idea.'

'I know where he is going,' responded Caracas dryly, turning to look at the Inquisitor. 'Caelin, I need you to do me another favour.'


January 2nd, 2014 – 00:07
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

For some minutes now he had watched the Sälitzian delegation dote and fuss over Cato like the man’s own loyal subjects, and for some minutes the soldiers relegated to his authority had gone about securing the mansions entry points and performing security sweeps of the surrounding areas to ensure that there would be no unwelcome late arrivals. He couldn't help but smirk at the sight, as they pampered Cato with selections of various drinks and biscuits and blathered on with dreary small talk. If he didn’t know any better he might have suspected that they were genuinely delighted to serve whatever whim the Prince might have. Although, perhaps he mused, such grovelling was just bred into them. Pathetic really.

He heard a door open, and the sound of boots, then the closing of a door. The thwack of soles on wooden floorboards headed in his direction. It was almost time, the real party was about to kick off. The boots entered the drawing room through a nearby door. Sälitzian soldiers. Some joined their comrades in positions around the room, standing guard over doors and near windows. One crossed to the Governor and as he handed him a bottle of fine wine from the cellar, reported that the area, and thus the prince, was safe and secure. He then moved off to join his friends. The Governor charged his glass and raised it for a toast to the promise of a better future. Every guest and delegate raised their glass to the toast....and the pieces were set.

In that one moment where view was obscured with a glass to the lips, the Waltz began. The soldiers stepped forward, gun straps slid sideways off shoulders and then hands came together to aim the weapons directly at Cato and his attendants. Before they knew what was happening, Cato had been segregated from his three attendants, and the Sälitzian officials had stepped to get out of the way. They were searched and any weapons removed. And then things became awkward.

'What is the meaning of this?' one of them demanded angrily.

'The Prince was assured safe passage!' declared another, as if the scenario was somehow a slight misunderstanding that they would jovially apologise about before pouring another round of tea.

And enter the guest of honour. With a final smirk, a big grin of satisfaction for the successful conclusion of a troublesome assignment, the Imperial Operative stepped out of the shadows that clung to one of the front corners of the drawing room. With a single thought, he hid his grin beneath a passive and emotionless expression but noted with a small amount of glee that realisation was dawning on his target. Cato saw that this man, who must have been standing motionless in the corner since they first entered the room, was clearly not Sälitzian despite the fact he was clad in simple clothing typical of the Sälitzian nobility. He was also certainly not a supporter, which left a sizable indication where his alignment lay....

'We meet at last, my Prince Cato,' purred the operative, with just a tiny hint of smugness.

He stepped closer and lent a few moments to looking over each of Cato's companions. When he had finished, he turned back to Cato a gave a small sigh. 'How disappointing. I was almost certain that my good friend Rupert would be with you. None-the-less, it is probably for the best, I feel that he is somewhat bias and would be a detriment to this meeting tonight given the unfortunate occurrences that seem to accompany our meetings.'

'Who are you?' questioned Cato, though his sour expression revealed that he already had a pretty good idea.

‘Apologies,’ responded the operative, ‘Once again I have forgotten introductions. I don’t work with other people often you see, well not long enough for introductions at any rate.'

The conversation brought a sense of deja vu, the smell of burning wood and aviation fuel, and of a certain Waldenburger rebel who'd asked the very same silly question. He continued, 'I’m an Operative of the Imperium, and you and I have some things to discuss.'

With a slight nod of acknowledgement toward the Sälitzian governor, the operative waved his hand dismissively. 'Leave us.'

The Sälitzians withdrew from the room without protest, taking Cato's three companions with them. Crude, but seemingly useful tools at least, thought the operative as they filed out of the room. It was a rare thing for a Yallakian to view a foreigner as an equal, but their crucial support on this day towards the Empire's goals would go a long way towards seeing that day realised.

'Please, sit,' offered the operative, motioning to the voluptuous chair which Cato had previously been sitting. As Cato complied, he moved to the now empty chair opposite that the governor had been using and sat, placing his sidearm on the small table by his side. It was a gesture for the Prince, but did not leave the operative defenceless. Should the need arise it would take but a microsecond to bring the weapon to bare again.

'Do not think you know anything of us, my good Prince,' began the operative after a few moments, 'About our ways, our aims, our beliefs or our thoughts. You know nothing. But it is time that you were enlightened, at least a little.'

He leant back into the chair, sinking slightly into the thick padding. 'For starters, you need to relax, your far to tense. You think yourselves so civilised in this part of the world, but you don't really know the meaning of the word. If I were going to kill you I'd have done it before you even set foot off that dingy boat you came on. Tossed you over the side ten minutes ago, if I may use your own words. No, you were promised safe passage and that you shall have.'

The Yallakian shifted his weight slightly forward in the chair, apparently less thrilled now by the sinking effect experienced in the seat than when he initially sat. 'So, what is the purpose of this then? Why aren't I going to kill you, like I might have if you were slightly less elusive? Well, that is simple. We have an offer for you. What you seek is not all dissimilar from what we want, I think by now you must have an idea at least. However, your efforts to rally the ignorant against us have interfered with our ability to see that goal achieved and the opportune moment has passed. So we pass that responsibility to you. If you destroy the Waldenburger Catholic Church's power once and for all, then you can have your crown, and may even make yourself a friend in the process. If you fail, then there will be only one recourse, making that problem, and everything associated with it.....go away.'

'Do we have an accord?'

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:50 pm
by Aschenhyrst
"Then I saw that there was a way to Hell even from the Gates of Heaven"
John Bunyon, Pilgrim`s Progress

Southern Waldenburg
Aschenhyrst Zone of Occupation
December 30, 2013

Tettenburg Forest

It had been a month since the 500,000 strong Aschenhyrst Expeditionary Force landed in Waldenburg to secure a demilitarized zone along the Waldenburg-Sudkreis frontier and to cut off the most likely route of Prince Cato`s International Frei Korps, which had been assembling in the Sudkreis, from entering Waldenburg and widening the war. The Aschen offensive rolled across the Waldenburg Provinces of the Duchy of Zwickow, the County of Steinburg, the Duchy of Klangenfurt and the County of Fleiner am Sauer like a juggernaut. In fifteen days the offensive went from a series of small beachheads to a salient 30-40 miles wide that penetrated nearly 90 miles inland along the Waldenburg-Sudkreis Frontier. Aschen troops streamed up the Valleys of the Skander, Klein Welt and Sauer rivers like a plague of locusts. Some twenty miles west of the industrial city of Mendelsgard, the mighty juggernaut was stopped nearly cold in it`s tracks at Tettenburg Forest.

For two weeks Tettenburg had been a bloody stalemate. The acrid smoke of cordite permeated the air, occasionally masking the stench of death which was ever-present. 150,000 Aschen troops were locked in a battle to the death with well entrenched Waldenburger opponants. Every inch forward was paid for in the currency of blood. Casualties on both sides were staggering, locals nicknamed the Tettenburg Forest "Totenburg Wald"....Forest city of Death.

Along the northern front, combat had nearly ceased. An occasional skirmish between the invaders and native forces would usually result in nothing more that the waste of ammunition. Anirtakian engineers had assembled some refugee camps for the flood of people coming from the north to escape the fighting. The states of the Sudkreis couldn`t handle a massive wave of refugees, so the Viceroy of the Sudkreis dug into his personal fortune to help erect and supply the camp. Troops of the Wissenholmer Nationalen Militz and the Sudkreis Landsknect (consisting of volunteers from the Sudkreis states of Uberschau, Eisenbach and a few Blomburgers) provided security for the camps. The Waldenburger refugees, although somewhat suspicious of the foreign troops, were generally at ease with their overseers....primarily due to the linguistic and cultural similarities of the people.

To the north of the front, a series of Firebases were being erected on high points 10-20 miles beyond the front. From these vantage points, the main avenues south could be monitored for troop movements and Forward Operating Bases for the search for turncoat Lt. Col. Lovat and his Highlander Regiment could be conducted. Lovat and his men had joined Prince Cato`s cousin, Third Prince Imperial Andre, in the early hours of the conflict and had made off with approximately twelve tactical nuclear devices. A brigade sized task force was charged with retrieving or destroying the weapons and neutralizing Lovat and his troops.

Herzog Schoenebeck of Wissenholm, the Viceroy of the Sudkreis, met with the noblemen of the Occupied Zone to deal with their concerns and to sell his vision of a Confederation of Sudkreis and Waldenburger states along the current frontier. The Viceroy had previously accomplished a mutual defence and trade agreement with Uberschau, which led to a transportation agreement with Eisenbach. His sales pitch included raising the standard of living for all in the borderlands. Some Noblemen were quite taking with the charasmatic leader of the Sudkreis, others seemed interested in filling the coin purses and perhaps a new set of knee socks.

At the frontline in Tettenburg Forest, the commander of the operation recieved a encrypted message from Aschenhyrst High Command....

To: General Marlow, XO- V Corps AEF/Waldenburg
From: Aschenhyrst High Command
Subject: Meeting between Catoist and Yallakan Factions

Intelligence reports indicate a meeting to take place within 3 days between Prince Cato and the Yallakan Commander. Your forces are instructed to cease offensive actions and fortify your current posistions. Begin assuming a defensive posture as we consolidate our gains in this theatre. All indications are a settlement of the conflict may be reached. All other availible assets are to continue the search for Lovat and his Highlanders. The retrieval of the devices stolen by Lovat are top priority and their return and/or destruction is paramount to any cession of hostilities between our forces, those of our Yallakan allies and the Catoists.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:39 pm
by Waldenburg 2
January 2nd, 2014
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

Mozart Flute Concerto

The champagne really was quite appalling, and Sälitzian company, while rather droll, lost its entertainment value when the anecdotes about sheep herding began to repeat themselves. Cato and Sufrir were sandwiched between a rather gassy countess and a pair of stern faced officers who monopolized the pair’s time with a rambling story about a badger, a priest, and trombonist.

“I apologize Your Grace, I didn’t know you meant organist.” The Countess tapped Cato with her fan and noisily devoured a stuff olive. “Isn’t that a good one Your Highness?” Cato and Sufrir nodded mechanically and gave a smile so well practiced it could easily have won Wimbeldon. The two ISS agents flanked them and clutched champagne flutes that had been forced onto them by the pushiest demographic known to man: well intentioned old women with food. Comfortable plush furniture dotted the room and presented a convenient avenue of escape towards the Sälitzian governor.

“You always take me to the nicest places.” Sufrir murmured as he carefully deflected an elderly and apparently frisky sub-deacon away from the pair. “At least give me the solace and comfort of knowing that we have an easy escape planned?”

Cato frowned at the word ‘escape,’ but didn’t say anything, rather he took a gloved hand and smoothed down the front of his uniform; his little finger grazing the cold metal of his Order of Tyrrhenia, its metallurgy cold and solid. It was such a firm thing, and it was his. There was his sword, his uniform, his recently acquired glasses- all his. The Prince couldn’t quite determine what was happening as his hands patted down his uniform looking for something as if he wasn’t quite sure what it was. Light amplified by priceless crystal glittered off the gilded surfaces and sent him through almost twenty five years of memory, every moment triggered by that gleam.

“Do you know what this is Cato?” He was sitting on a stone bench amid floral arrangements that would have sent even the most formal of gardeners into spasms of shame and turning a small silver object between his fingers. He was ancient even then, brow creased and heavy with age-hair colonizing even the most untold recess of his countenance. The eyes though, the blue eyes, clung to such a vibrancy of life that they should by all rights be holding down a job, raising a family, and making home payments quite on their own.

“No, Your Majesty.” Was that my voice? Sticky was the only word to describe it; like many children’s voices it was both painful and offensive to overhear.

“Whatever are they teaching you at that boarding school?” The man gave a good natured laugh that ruptured the age on his face like two continental plates sliding apart. “I’ll tell you what it is, if you can answer me a question… Yes? One better, I’ll even give it to you.” With a flourish the coin disappeared into a well pruned hand, “Who am I Cato?”

There was a momentary pause and the young mind began to spin the threads of confusion into a coherent scarf of requisite knowledge. Two kingfishers shouted at each other from a rhododendron bush as the far distant shades of conversation crept over the high garden wall. “You are the Emperor.”

“What else?” Every fiber and atom of the young boy’s soul wanted to contrive a means to anchor that smile to that cracked visage forever and his neurons blazed to pick an answer.

“You are…. My uncle?” It was a shot in the dark, the last hope of a rather desperate mind against a supposedly insurmountable opponent. The smile on the man’s face hardened, did not disappear, but shrank into a sad grimace.

“No Cato, try…”

“Your Majesty,” a floating gray uniform materialized near the end of the garden path and after making obsequious genuflection continued in clipped military terms, “The Rhodesians have launched their offensive in Bildenville.”

“Excellent, inform the Aschen ambassador and order the Fifth Fleet to begins its operations.” With an arthritic crack the man rose, his face eclipsed by distance and the sun; gravel carted in from a thousand miles away three centuries previous crunched underfoot, as the man laid a clammy hand on the boy’s head. “I’ll keep it for today, and you can have another crack at it tomorrow.” The two men dissolved into the greenery, leaving the boy crouched on the path, clutching his knees and staring at a small disc of silver glinting where it had fallen, unheeded, below the bench.

“Cato!” Sufrir elbowed him violently in the side, rousing the Prince to as close to rage as he ever came. “The governor wishes to give a toast, to our honor.” Everyone was looking at him, mostly politely, as Waldenburgers had no idea how to do otherwise. One man though, ensconced in a quiet corner and apparently relishing a small snifter of something expensive looking, smiled on in amused contempt.

“I apologize, Your Excellency, I was lost in my admiration of your beneficence at receiving us. By all means!” Cato waved a hand airily to the governor, as his other hand flew to a small pocket in his coat and grasped at the small reassuring weight. “Sufrir,” Cato whispered out of the corner of his mouth, as the governor was winding into the pleasantries of his declamation, “Give me a cigarette.”

“You don’t smoke Cato,” Sufrir stated calmly.

“I rather feel I will take your advice and loosen up a bit.”

“I don’t smoke either old boy.” Sufrir shot him a sideways glass and just as the glasses were being raised in the air, and twitched his mouth upward. “Your uncle would be beside himself in shame.”

Soldiers burst into the room and the pantomime began; the ISS were ushered out after a string of indignant remarks had their time in the air. The man from the corner, a Yallakian, as it turned out, cleared the room and began in tones that suggested as if the upper hand had suddenly been snatched away from Cato. “So, what is the purpose of this then? Why aren't I going to kill you, like I might have if you were slightly le…” the Yallakian was good, quite intelligent; cold, but not without reason. His nature wasn’t cruel, only his job was, and Cato suspected as the offer was placed before him, it was a job he was very good at.

Cato reclined in his armchair, kicking himself for a deception so mediocre the last Waldenburger Emperor would not even have considered it in fooling school children, but listening piqued his interest and despite his own premonitions, however late, he felt as if the weight of decision was now unfairly upon him.

“Do we have an accord?” The question was like a spear to the chest. This was what the Emperor must have felt like all the time. The Yallakian leaned back, comfortable in his superiority. Answers and retorts fired through Cato’s mind, but eventually he settled on one that seemed to radiate outwards from a small pocket embroidered into his jacket.

“Do you know who I am?” To his credit the Yallakian’s expression did not shift at all, it was not one of bemusement or fear, or even petty power-it was blank like the Yallakian hand was composed of twos and there was a heap of chips on the table. “Your best fucking friend in the whole fucking world.” Cato leaned back, quietly assured of what he was doing now. “You can’t kill me, one you gave your word and that means a lot in these parts two, the rebellion is already built and I have brothers, cousins, nephews, even sisters who are equally content and even more ferocious in their movements. Killing me won’t stop anything; it will be a blow to the movement yes, but it will solidify opinion. The alliances are built. Now we turn to you.” Cato crossed his legs as the man, to the inestimable credit of the Waldenburger Prince continued to sit, divulging nothing.

“Your allies are priests whom you don’t trust, and I am sure because you are an intelligent man, know that they in turn do not trust you. Poor allies at the best of times, priests. And, in Blünderburg there is a new Emperor, backed by Mykola. He has tens of millions of soldiers at his disposal, and you know you can’t budge him, because that’s how the world has worked for a thousand years. Yallak is the more powerful of superpowers, there is no doubt, but Waldenburg can’t be shifted, can’t be defeated; there are too many of us, too far away, with too many guns. This situation, where you sit as my captor, reads that Waldenburg is still unconquerable, that the great powers are growing greater, and the rest of the world is turning against you. I say yes to your plan, a thousand times yes, but you must understand that my pulse is the most valuable thing to you. Why? Because it is the only way out for you. You can’t win, you can only prolong the war, the war which only I can stop. So I say yes, and shake to our new friendship. But we will do this my way, I pray you listen to me.” Cato continued to speak, the silver disc in his pocket acting like an electrode on his soul.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:21 pm
by Yallak
January 2nd, 2014 – 00:31
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

The sound was a low rumble, a deep growl. The sound was laughter. Though it spoke of malice and danger, there was genuine joyousness in the act. For the first time since stepping into the light that night, the imperial operative let expression crease his face and it was of course in the form of a devious grin, for was there really any other sort when it came to spies and assassins?

'I think I like you,' the operative purred, apparently side-shelving everything that Cato had just said for a later time. He sat forward and retrieved a glass, filling it from the recently delivered bottle of the finest of Sälitzian wines before sliding the bottle across the small coffee table that sat between them to Cato, 'Drink?'

With a barely noticeable moment of hesitation he lifted the glass to his lips and took a sip. His expectations did not go disappointed. With a grimace of disgust, he placed the glass down on the coffee table and never looked back to it again. 'This on the other hand, tastes exactly like what it is...rotten fruit. I fully understand now why it's illegal.'

A moment of silence followed, as the operative merely studied Cato. It wasn't that he was considering what to say or sizing up the prince in his mind, for he had done those things long before without even much though, such things were so ingrained and practiced now that they were essentially automated. No, in truth he decided, it was because he was considering in earnest what the Prince had said. After all, best to be certain of ones beliefs before speaking them.

'This is not news to me, my good Prince,' began the operative in a pleasant tone once he had decided he was absolutely correct, snapping back to the original conversation as if Cato had only just finished speaking. 'I know all about you, your cousins, your extended relatives, their relatives, their pets and their relatives pets. All irrelevant. What you have achieved is to be congratulated yes, I would go so far to say as its impressive even, but like I said before, you don't know anything of us.'

The operative reached over a picked up his pistol, holding it by the tip of the barrel and raising it before Cato. 'I could very well take this gun and kill you, and the war would be extended yes, but you shouldn't delude yourself into thinking that that would be anything more than an inconvenience. The world has worked as you believe for thousands of years because your world has not included us until now.'

Returning the sleek side-arm back to the small table beside his chair, the operative continued, 'What you have seen so far is merely the tiniest tip of the Imperium's sword. A sword which could cast Waldenburg asunder if thrust forward. I tell you this not to try and instil fear or to gloat, but merely so you grasp the reality of the situation before us in full.'

Casting his dark blue eyes quickly around the room for something to drink, but seeing only that swill they called wine, the operative consigned himself to being thirsty and continued speaking, 'Our allies are priests yes, but they are not mistrusted they are in fact our enemy. No matter how many million conscripts or poorly trained soldiers you or any other claimant to the throne could summon, if the Empire went to war, we would win or in lieu of victory, we might just let Waldenburg cease to exist in its entirety, for that is the fate of our enemies. But Waldenburg is not our enemy and that is why there are no armies and fleets pounding on the doors of your cities. This is why the water still flows into Blünderburg, letting those ten million soldiers keep on living. We do not want your land or your death, we seek only the end of our actually enemy. The crown was merely a means to an end.'

'So yes, we can do things your way, as long as you understand that this is a choice we both make, an agreement, in no way is it required or necessary. The Empire will work with you, not for you.'

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:31 pm
by Waldenburg 2
January 2nd, 2014
Libestbach, Sälitz

"I don't." Cato replied with a wave of his hand, "Drink that is." This was strictly a lie and if the spy, for that's what narrative Cato was now ascribing to his adversary, did know anything about him this would be one of the first. "I do however know some few things about you. One by sweeping generalization, and one by the happenings of my good friend Mr. Rupert Fry. Firstly you won't pull that trigger. Now I realize that as I have accepted your offer and will collude towards our truly universal goal this may not seem such a bold prediction however there is an easy way to do things and hard way to do things. Killing fourteen billion people is the hard way, having me do it, well provides a more attractive return on investment. Whatever the case I am your stable coefficient in a string of Xs and Ys and for that reason you will not. Secondly from Mr. Fry." Cato coughed at this point, a bit put out perhaps, "Who I must confess now shows a particular proclivity to stick to deck furniture and screaming when the lights go on, I can't imagine what would so propel these fits of fancy, but that you would much rather stab me in the back when it is convenient than shoot me in the face when your future relies so much on what I do." It was a bit of a reprieve, the Yallakian so ignoring his point; although the Prince wasn't entirely sure what he had expected there had been a bit more trembling and begging.

'It doesn't truly matter anyway. We both know.' Cato picked with one nail at the arm of the chair he sat in as he spoke, rather more languidly than his pumping heart would usually have allowed. 'Did the Emperor feel like this all the time?' Cheap upholstery flaked off with every stroke of his finger. "I digress however, and we to assure you that we have the common interests however, my way is rather more important than you may think. Firstly, I can destroy the Church in Waldenburg, it is one of my stated missions. I can redistribute its wealth, and attach its bishoprics to various other sees. Naturally the faith itself will remain intact, but the hierarchy will be subverted to a more international flavor of diocesan control with perhaps some sort of....'pope' I suppose." The word slid of Cato's tongue as if enslimed. "I'm sure the exact details are not too important to you at the moment, and rest assured the very core of the argument nestles around a little kernel of biblical truth, that paraphrased, comes to 'the bastards will burn.'" Cato licked his lips noticeably and clutched his forehead to cover a unexpected eye tick. "Perhaps I should take up drinking." He paused, cleared his throat, and continued.

"What I require however is the farce continue. The alliance that I have built relies entirely on extra-national enmity, IE, you. So in a few weeks my soldiers will invade Horenburg," the actual date was not even whispered of, as quite frankly it would be a miracle if any truly effective force could be mobilized within a month. "The movement loses its legitimacy if I do not remain a supposedly credible military threat, and then all power heads back to the Civil Government in the capital, to Frederick, the Mykolan Emperor. Blunderburg needs to be in my hands, indeed I assume you would have it no other way than let someone else fight the dirty fight, before I can fulfill any promises of dismantling the Church. This much is obvious, and I daresay the ramifications of which are apparent." The Prince spoke with a certain edge in his voice, the same edge he had used during his days in the Imperial shipyards with his subordinates, a matter of fact declamation based off of his assumed intelligence, back up by the hint that at any moment the 'Prince of the Blood Card' could be played. It was friendly up till the point where any man of modest intelligence knew it wouldn't be. With the stark reality setting in that he was entirely outclassed by his opponent, the Prince had decided to end the pandering, however strongly he felt that it was true, and go for broke. He was assured, at least in himself, that whatever tact he took didn't matter.

"Then there is of course the shape of the world to come. I rarely find axemen given power of rod and vessel both, so I shall assume you have no powers of negotiation, but I will state that a Yallakian presence on this continent would be inconceivable. However I assume you have been made fully aware of your government's position in this regard and I would like to be privy to it at this point."

'I wonder what Sufrir is doing? I hope he's not being droll at anyone.'

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:52 am
by Yallak
January 2nd, 2014 – 00:42
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

'Please,' the operative spoke the word in a drawn out emphatic fashion that could only be taken to mean I'm so very dissappointed in you. It was accompanied by an obviously fake frown. 'While the point is mute really because it's already well established that I won't pull the trigger based on the fact that your still breathing, you are correct in that it is much easier for us to let you solve our problem now. You are very much wrong though if you think that the Empire would stoop to stabbing you in the back after the fact.'

The operative listened, silent and unmoving, as Cato detailed what 'his way' involved. The Prince couldn't have been more correct to assume that he didn't care one iota about the details of the faith and the form it took in the aftermath, it was only the specific required outcome that was of consequence. 'We have no interest in what people believe, people always believe what they want, often in spite of evidence to the contrary. So long as you bring an end to the power wielded by those miscreants then we shall consider the agreement upheld.'

They'll still be fraken delusional of course. Like most of the Empires citizens the operative was a self-avowed atheist. He considered belief in a religion, Waldenburger Catholic or otherwise, to be delusional if not borderline insanity. He preferred putting his faith into things that were tangible or at the least plausible or obtainable, like the Empire for instance, he believed wholeheartedly in its ideals and aims, it was the very reason he had accepted the offer to become an operative. What his mind, which was indeed a powerful tool, couldn’t grasp was where the point was in clinging to nonsense about immortal afterlives and supreme beings who spent all eternity caring about the billions of little beings that crawled across the earth’s surface. Crazy, nuts, insane, bonzo, no longer in possession of ones faculties, three fries short of a Happy Meal, wacko!

And Cato was speaking again. The operative cursed himself for permitting his thoughts to tangent like that and momentarily distract him. Such a foolish thing could have been his demise in less, hospitable circumstances. Still, he decided he had obviously been listening subconsciously as he often did, it helped in his line of work, because as he tuned in to the princes words he knew exactly what the man was talking about.

'So be it. This is the type of situation where you do what you must. Civil wars are such ugly affairs.' Then with a small snigger he added, 'don't expect many of your men to make it very far though, you might end up disappointed.'

And there it was, the first bluff on his behalf for the night. The forces in Hörenburg were, albeit preparing for the expected invasion that was always believed to be coming, not real imperial military units. Whatever training and equipment the Hörenburg army had was woeful compared to the imperial legions. Though they, along with the police force, had been undergoing retraining as imperial Praetores, that was not yet complete and even if it were it was still just an abridged version of the real training. No, Hörenburg's fate was not guaranteed, but no point telling anybody anything but the exact opposite.

The question that Cato asked next was somehow surprising even though it should have been expected, mainly because the operative had assumed that it would not be a subject broached until later when victory was near at hand or at least skirting the horizon. It had been just a little insulting too.

'My good Prince, I am an operative,' he declared, with a stylised impression of hurt feelings. 'I am not a spy, I am not an assassin and I am certainly not a simple messenger. I am an extension of the Imperium's will.' In most all assignments the operative had free reign to do whatever was required to achieve his objective, an open hand in actions and methods, depended on the mission parameters. His mission in this instance didn’t prevent him from negotiating land, but he had a pretty good idea of what the Empire expected to keep after all was said and done. 'Obviously, we expect to retain our province of Hörenburg. We also desire to retain the city of Pondderborg. All other land will be restored to you along with the crown.'

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:37 pm
by Waldenburg 2
January 2nd, 2014
Libestbach, Sälitz

'Finally a chance for irony!' Cato arched an eyebrow and politely gestured at the handgun sitting on the table. The prince didn't say anything but clapped his hands together with an air of finality, and pushed forward in his chair. After a brief smile Cato continued, "We shall have to discuss Pondderborg, but that is a matter for much later. I believe we are in fundamental agreement. Well we'll be in touch, and we shall be rather easy to find. Now, I think I had some underlings if you don't mind returning them."
January 1st, 2014
115th Imperial Light Infantry Division
Near Tettenburg Forest

Wuppenthal lay nestled between snow frosted pine trees, a truly provincial town sat so far from central Waldenburg that the language spoken by its inhabitants would barely be recognized. Also, it was on fire. Stray artillery shells had wandered into some of the more remote suburbs and driven the population into the larger civic buildings at the center of the city. Baronial architecture loomed over cobbled streets where soldiers enforced the curfew of the thirty thousand or so civilians. Without sea access the town had evolved into its own separate, entity one where the organized Church hadn't existed for a century, and where the smog of industry did not even tint the crisp air.

"Mofe the rehiment foward to replafe the hundwed and 'ifth." Major General Menno Gelitz tightened his scarf and waved his hand at his staff. There were rumors that the man had been struck by lightning and created a speech impediment that resulted in seas of sputum. But he was a monster of a man, bordering on one-hundred and fifty kilos and nearly seven feet tall, Gelitz towered above his entire staff and they normally kept a respective distance as the man had a fiery temper and the muscles of a Bolivian bullfighter. Aschen forces had advanced into the treacherous pine forests and become lost in the heavy underbrush and rivulets that wound through the area. “Hafe we reinfofments?” The general asked to a man who, due to some sort of comic stroke, was very nearly below five feet tall, and was hopping from foot to foot to stay warm.

“No sir, they disappeared after reporting in Rudyt.” Major Claus Hoffson had grown up in a peculiar valley some few miles away from Wuppenthal where the population had become so inbred after years of isolation that the hooked nose and sloping brow of the Major were the more presentable aspects of his family’s collective anatomy. Together they made an awfully odd pair as the guns of an artillery regiment passing through the streets.

Most of southern Waldenburg had been occupied almost effortlessly by Aschen forces, where till about fifty mile south of Klagenfurt, Wuppenthal sat defiantly in their way. To the west was the Fifth Army Group under Field Marshal von Kleider, at least three million men, and would roll the Aschens back to the sea if they attempt to approach Mänchewald or Mendelsgard. That had yet to be seen, but Waldenburger troops were dug in in the forests and hills.

OOC I'd prefer to do the fighting in Southern Waldenburg in a different thread (maybe the original AtLA) to keep threads separate.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:58 pm
by Mykola

***Sent via satellite, fax and telegraph to Blünderburg, Waldenburg***

Your Highness I must alert you to the most grave of news. Your father the Emperor a mere two hours ago suffered from a heart attack and at present is in a state of a coma and on life support. By order of Edict #11 of Emperor Franz Josef I, you are hereby ordered to cease all activities in your present station and to report immediately to Vienna, Mykola to take over the ruling operations of the Reich. All activities currently scheduled are now put on hiatus, a jet will be awaiting you at the airport within moments you are to embark on a flight to Mykola no later than two in the morning Waldenburg time.

With all due haste,
Chancellor Paul Graf von Hindenschloss


24 December 2013
1700 Hours
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire

The young man thrashed at the sheet of paper that laid flat on his desk, leaving a sizable nick in the ancient wood from his knife. A mixture of anger and frustration came over him as he slumped into the chair that sat behind his desk.

This can't be happening...

After a moment Frederick realized something. Scanning his eyes towards the nick in the desk, he noticed that he had struck in between two tightly fitted pieces of wood. His anger debilitated as he pushed the obnoxious blade deeper into the crevice of the antiquated desk and after a few seconds of poking and pulling, a board came off, revealing a once hidden compartment within the desk.

Frederick glanced at the compartment; it did not contain the holy grail, the cross of Jesus Christ, the meaning of life or even a book that was labelled as heresy, but rather something much more interesting to Frederick, a few of Wyatt von Waldenburg IV's personal effects.

Inside he picked up a photograph, it had to have been at least forty years old, just as the photograph quality suggested. Within the photo he speculated that the location was somewhere on the palace grounds in Blünderburg, but those within the photograph struck him even more. It took him a few moments, but he eventually recognized the faces, both looking years younger than he had ever recalled.

The first man, standing at the far left in an opulently decorated Reichswächter military uniform, at a height of six foot three and with the right hand grasping his left wrist in front of him was the late Hapsburg Emperor, Franz Josef I; he was gazing into the camera intently, almost suggesting a premonition of some sort, his eye's filled with anguish.

The second man, standing at the far right and wearing an ornamental Waldenburg Imperial Army uniform had his left hand on his sword holster and stood with one knee extended, likely displaying his jackboots in a position to elevate his status. He reminded Frederick of someone that he had just seen, however the thought eluded him, until the person in the middle caught his eye.

Standing in the middle, with a finely crafted suit, was a young man that Frederick knew, but had never met. Had it never been for this man, Frederick may very well have never existed. He finally realized that the man on the right was the late Emperor Wyatt von Waldenburg IV, but the man in the center continued to perplex him.

Frederick's attention was suddenly distracted by a knock on the door and his secretary stepping in.

"Good evening your highness, General von Solf wishes to let you know that the coronation is scheduled for noon tomorrow with a parade afterwards, followed by a ball. Was there anything important in that message?" the man pointed to the transmission that lay open on the desk, next to the cavern, "It was marked as urgent, we received several of them."

Franz Josef I's son...Rudolf V Großherzog von Hapsburg...Assassinated 1 May 1968 by Qualan terrorists...

Frederick took the transmission and crumpled it up, "No...of course not, it was just standard procedure nonsense, destroy the rest I don't want to have to see any more of them."

Frederick then threw the crumpled piece of paper into the trash can at the side of his desk, and then relieving his thoughts of it.

"Inform General von Solf that I want the coronation moved to six ante meridiem and to schedule an emergency meeting of the war cabinet immediately afterwards, the festivities can commence as scheduled."

The secretary gave a slight bow, stipulating a formal, "As you wish your majesty," before exiting the room, closing the door behind him.

Frederick placed the picture back into the desk's secret compartment and did a fine job of fitting the slab of wood exactly as it was before he had torn it open, as well as making a point to cover the nick in the desk with some papers. After finishing this task he conceded to opening a book and likewise pulled Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, ein Fragment.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:41 pm
by Waldenburg 2
Unter den Tilia-Streinlikstern
December 25th, 2013- 10:41 AM

The King Shall Rejoice

“No, that big one shacked up with those two in the corner,” a chubby finger stabbed greedily at the steamy glass and the rather harassed vendor navigated the corroded tongs though glistening mounds of tubular cholesterol. With a practiced flick the two metal points descended, flicked the sausage onto a flood, and began to heap sauerkraut onto the greasy affair.

“The way I figure it,” the customer, a man of grotesque weight slotted his chins over a shoulder, “Free sausage is free sausage.” Snow coalesced on the man’s whispery hair; where it did not become enmeshed in the gray forest, it melted on the egg of his skull. The sausage was passed over.

“God save the Emperor,” the sausage vendor uttered in a bored fashion, and began work on his next piece of work. Lines were forming outside a string of sausage vendors who, without remuneration, worked the major streets of the capital participating in that oldest and most respected tradition: bread and circuses. Of course it was working, and the population of the city, with the general political apathy of garden tools, concurred that free sausage was indeed that most sublime of states. Liveried soldiers stood at every corner. They green and black guardhouses had been wheeled out this morning from a voluminous warehouse that managed the affairs of the coronation, and had not been opened in seventy years. Once the horse skeletons had been scraped off the Royal Zeppelin, affairs had proceeded magnificently, the city being transformed by penal battalions into a well-polished gem.

“Wilkt would of course say there is no such thing as free sausage.” The fat man had waddled through the throng of people to join a man draped in a pinstripe suit so ancient it drew social security checks of its own. “Consider the exploitation of underpaid labor, the corporate structure of beef and pork production, and the excitable young man behind the vending booth.”

“Why do you suppose they moved the coronation forward?” The skinnier of the men asked as he ferried the lustral meat to the rotten maw of his unkempt dentistry .

“Through production, distribution, and consumption the common man falls into the trap of ignorance.”

“And the crown was placed on the regal brow creating His Gracious Imperial Majesty Emperor Frederick V, Defender of the Faith….” Loudspeakers had been set up around the city to announce the coronation; and the dulcet, subtle tones of George Sütter gave a play by play hours after the event. The parade had since started and entire divisions had goose-stepped their way down the Imperial Avenue, crushing rose petals dropped from a flight of transport helicopters (moving slowly enough to avoid detection by the MMS.) The ceremony itself usually lasted seven hours, although only three people were still living who had attended the previous one and they had been propped up against a pillar and were left smiling happily as the senility filled in for understanding.

“The collective bishops and nobles of the realm pledge their allegiance to their new sovereign…”

“There is always a sausager and a sausagee.” The fat man dropped the last fraction of his bun to a street dog, and licked the last stains of fat from his fingers. Along the Imperial Avenue the noise of the crowds could have parted hair at thirty feet, but the mathematics of popularity did not work out; in a urban conglomeration of billions the fact that there were holes along the thirty mile parade route was a dire sign for the new emperor. There was trouble brewing for the new Emperor but the festooned panzers parked in every boulevard suggested that this was only a slight inconvenience. The two men watched a troop of dragoons proudly cantor by; but at always who was the sausager.

“A thousand years to His Majesty the Emperor.”

“Your Majesty.” The collective war cabinet bowed their heads and clicked their polished boots together, as the new Emperor strode into the small but comfortably furnished war room. A polished cherry table dominated the room that overlooked the Königsplatz, where the parade was forming, and allowed a weak winter light to illuminate the braid and brilliance. General Solf bowed and stepped forward to meet the Emperor. “May I have the pleasure of introducing the General Staff and War Cabinet.” Solf did not wait for permission but pressed forward. “The Field Marshals von Pälitz commander of the First Army Group, von Grüning of the Third, and I am acting commander of the Fourth as well as commander of you ISS.”

The two field marshals bowed, Grüning without lowering his eyes the Emperor would have been pained not to notice; they looked almost entirely the same, balancing white mustaches on suntanned and wrinkled faces. “At your service Your Majesty.” The two men murmured in near harmony.

“The Minister of War Dr. Ulrich Graf von Ems, Undersecretary of the Army Philip d’Greiyt, and the Undersecretary of Munitions Lady Elizabeth Grei.” Both men bowed as Solf introduced them. “Then Brigadier General Stoffer, commander of Naval Intelligence, and Grand Admiral Sloan, commander of what remains of the Imperial Navy. Air Marshal Sir Joachim von Letsburg, commander of the Imperial Air Forces, while this.” General Solf wrapped his knuckles against a very young man who looked very much like his uniform was freshly made. “Is General Alois Herzog Ludwig Frederick von Amberg, is your chief of the General staff. You may recognize the name, from Bad Amberg?” Solf gave the man possibly the dirtiest look that would spare Solf a duel.

He moved on with bad grace and motioned to the last group of men, clutching their morning scotches with their usual aplomb, “Director of the Colonies Dr. Tegric Säder, General of Police Francis Leddenmeir-Ogenbach, and Dr. Sir Eric von Glüb the Minister of Finance.” The collective room bowed again. “We have prepared several briefs on our military, financial, and diplomatic position. In the red portfolio Your Majesty. Oh,” Solf stopped as the doors were pushed open gentle and a well-dressed young man entered. “And your attaché Colonel Simon Freiherr von und zu Keppelheim, if Your Majesty desires.”

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:18 pm
by Mykola
OOC: I believe that the bay of Blünder is still occupied with a rebel commander, if not I'll remove the reference.
December 25th, 2013- 10:41 AM
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
Emperor's War Room

Frederick reviewed the thirteen men and one woman that stood at attention in the room, fighting the urge to snap to attention himself and salute back, such a thing that an Emperor must not do, but rather be done unto.

Before continuing, Frederick beckoned to his attaché, Colonel Simon, "Colonel, I'd like to you to take the trouble of finding a map of the region around Wissenholm und Himmel."

After the Colonel went off, the new Emperor took his seat and motioned to everyone else to do likewise. He then opened the red portfolio, glancing at the various reports contained within it, ranging from reports on the failure at Ponderburg, the state of the front at Tettenburg, the amount of Reichmarks in the treasury and even the shortage of water in the desert provinces.

"This is all quite important, but as it stands now, there is something that certainly trumps all of this,." Frederick looked around the room, glancing at Solf, who appeared to have the look that someone has when they are told something they already know, "Last night, at the Christmas eve ball at the Reichspalazt in Vienna, my father, Kaiser Franz Josef II suffered from a massive heart attack, he's currently in critical condition at Herzland hospital and that is all I know so far."

Frederick received cold looks from across the room, or rather looks of uncertainty in an eighteen year old dictating the ruling affairs of now two powerful nations in Tyrrhenia.

"As it stands now, I shall not be returning to Mykola, there is simply too much to do here and unless hell or high water strikes, here I shall remain."

At that moment Colonel Simon Freiherr von und zu Keppelheim returned carrying a seven foot by eight foot map of the border region with Wissenholm und Himmel, when laid it out on the table he proceeded to state the compass directions to Frederick.

Frederick studied the map for a few moments, noticing the network of ridges, hills and towns, and most specifically, Tettenburg forest, the site where nearly one million men were locked in a wintry standoff.

"General Solf, approximately how many men do you have under your command at Tettenburg Forest?" Frederick asked.

Solf glanced at the map, attempting to pinpoint where exactly his corps were located, "I have approximately 178,000 of my men there, and between the other two field marshals, and there is a total of 430,000 men, a handful of artillery pieces, next to no armor and no aircraft."

Frederick gave an intense glare at Solf, "This is what we use to defend the southern borders of our Reich? An army of millions with nearly endless resources, fighting on its own home front and we're being pushed back in the middle of winter by a militia from Paloni?"

"Well your highness," von Pälitz began, "The majority of our resources and effort were devoted to the unsuccessful attack at Ponderburg..."

Von Pälitz was cut off by Frederick's fist on the table, "You call that an attack? You attack with thousands of men and without artillery support? My God, I'm amazed the Empire survived the first half of the twentieth century!"

The room fell silent, no one in the room even dared to pick up a cigar or to take a drink for fear of inciting another tirade.

After a few moments, General Solf spoke up, "I believe we can fix this over time your highness."

Frederick, slouched in his chair answered sneeringly, "And how would you go about doing that?"

"Well, your majesty, you currently have complete control over the ruling operations of the Hapsburg Reich, perhaps it would be advisable to send some of your notable Reichswächter officers over to assist in the training of the modern Imperial Army."

The young Emperor's mood seemed to change at this, and he nodded his head, "Very well, in addition to that I'll pull 150,000 Reichswächter and 250,000 Wehrmacht infantry as well as an assortment of armored vehicles and aircraft, they should come in handy should we be in a desperate situation, but they won't arrive for at least two weeks, so we'll have to make due until then."

Frederick looked around the room, waiting for an approving glance, however he determined from the frowned faces of everyone in the room that they felt that he had not told them anything of dire importance yet.

"As for the bay of Blünder, we must end this nonsense, it is an embarrassment to my Reich for the bay next to our capital to be occupied by a rogue admiral," Frederick looked at Sloan, "Admiral Sloan, you have two weeks to eliminate this pest in the bay," he then followed up on his order with an, "and that's two weeks, fourteen days."

"Now, as for the two fronts we're engaged in currently, Yallak in the north and Aschenhyrst in the South, we shall devote our attention to the threat at hand, Aschenhyrst. I am now authorizing a supply stockpile to supply an attack in the South, in the area of Tettenburg forest. We need enough supplies for approximately half a million men to attack along the forty mile front. I expect all of you to do your part in this, you all have six weeks to come up with the men and the resources to support them. Field Marshal von Pälitz, you shall be in charge of this attack, I shall expect that you will do your duty in all things," Frederick paused a moment and then continued, "I also am ordering the collection of at least 600 artillery pieces in the area of the attack as well as 2,500 armored vehicles and Air Marshal Joachim, you must collect at least 175 pieces of aircraft to support this attack, as well as to appropriately scout the area. In addition to this I will be summoning several Mykolan Generals so that we can make use of the satellites and intelligence services offered by my father's Empire."

General Solf wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, "Your highness, approximately how much time will we have to prepare for such an attack?"

"The attack shall commence on the twenty second of January, three weeks from now. Time is of the essence and we must send a message to the world that the glory of the Waldenburg Empire is not forgotten and that we are a force to be reckoned with. Now is there anything else of great importance?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:22 am
by Waldenburg 2
December 25th, 2013- 11:02 AM
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
Emperor's War Room

Eroica 3rd Movement

Admiral Sloan folded his hands and lifted one eyebrow, which to the assembled cabinet signaled the opening of hostilities like the crack of heaven itself. "Your Majesty...." Sloan began, his voice was low and cracked; at nearly 75 years old he had served in the Imperial Navy for over sixty years, and was the single person in the room not born into money. "I have no ships. I do not know if you have had time to read to the full report of our
situation, but I only have ten capital ships left remaining to my command. We had over a thousand last year. Evicting the rebels from in and around the harbor is not difficult, but it will result in tremendous damage to our shipyards, and berthing facilities as well as untold civilian casualties." The Admiral raised his other eyebrow, attempting as only the elderly can, silent disapproval. "It shall be done Your Majesty, with a firm fist." Several breaths were released compulsively from the more impressionable members of the War Cabinet and the temperature under many collars began to settle.

“I would however, like to put forward to His Majesty a provisionary spending and acquisition bill,” Sloan continued. He was a man who didn’t hold grudges for very long, but when he found a crack he was keen to niggle it open, “To bring naval strength up to six hundred ships by the end of next year.” A stack of paper was taken from under the table and slid across to the Emperor, “Commissioning 70 destroyers, 30 cruisers, 8 battlecruisers, 8 battleships, and ten fleet carriers as well as four hundred hundred associated smaller vessels as detailed in the summary.” Sloan settled back in his chair, “The big thing at the top.”

“We haven’t the money.” Dr. von Glüb snapped at the Admiral, “Our bonds are shedding value,” he waved his hand as spittle showered his own portfolio from a barely noticeable cleft to his lip that had been hidden up till the deluge began, “We’re one disaster away from being declared toxic, Ibblesguard Bonds are faring better than ours.” This indeed was a terrible surprise and caused a minor uproar in the room, that the Yallakians were tipped to win the war “Layslian bankers have begun phoning in their debts, Lidenbach Industrial would have gone belly up this morning if the markets hadn’t closed for Christmas. We’ve been at war for six years, six years! No shipping enters the harbor, there are warehouses chocked full of,” he lifted up a paper, “18 trillion Reichmarks work of export materials, oil steel, machinery, coal, textiles all waiting for merchant fleets that refuse to put in. The Reichmark has become so devalued because of deficit spending by both our government, Cato’s and Ibblesguard that whatever we spend they’ll manage to match!”

“Prince Cato is dead.” Brigadier Stoffer cut in sharply.

“We know he’s not!” von Glüb shouted, “He’s alive and spending. If the Naval Intelligence Office ever bothered to look at a ledger they’d realize that three trillion in promissory notes were funneling into foreign accounts!” The table was slick in front of the Minister of Finance. “And frankly if we don’t shore up our debt, and insure investors that our word is good, we’ll have to release the silver reserves to prevent a run on the Reichmark.” The silver reserves were the trump card in any Minister’s deck; the bunkers that contained the precious metals were said to ramble under the city for miles, and indeed it was a generally agreed fact that if the entirety of the reserve was released the price per ounce would fall to a few pennies.

“We need the ships.” Sloan said diffidently.

“We need bombers,” Sir Joachim added mildly, if only to wipe the smugness from the new Emperor, rather then add a valuable contribution to the conversation. “At least a thousand more to return the fleet to its previous size.”

“Your Majesty,” Solf’s voice cut through the general hubbub like a well-practiced axe blow, “It will be done, as you command.” His elbow shot out into the side of Dr. von Ems who had briefly passed into a happy sleep, which as his tender old age had taught him, was not something to be passed up.

“In red sauce!” The defense minister yelled as his head lifted off the table.

WIS Terror
Granzimmerburg-Bay of Blünder
Christmas Day, 2013

It was a very aptly named ship. Terror, of the Thousis class, was one of the few modern ships that had remained in the Imperial Navy following its decommissioning and defection, and one of even fewer who had not fled the harbor when the shooting started. There was something to be said about the patriotism of her crew, who had indeed come out onto deck to sing the Imperial Anthem as the firefight was echoing across the water, but primarily due to three feet of steel, shock resistant, armor. Her captain had been rather impressed when a eight inch shell from a rebel cruiser had smacked into the superstructure and done nothing more than shake off a single plate of armor.

“Sir,” a seaman of indeterminable age but of very definable hygiene, saluted Captain Horst Zimmenburg, and handed him a folded piece of paper, “From Admiral Sloan.” Gripping the mysteriously yellowed piece of paper between two fingers the Captain opened in and after a brief moment shook his head.

“Alert the XO, beat to quarters. We have firing orders.” The seaman grinned happily, proudly revealing his single tooth and took off, a few moments later the sound of marine drums and warning claxons roused the crew to their gun stations. The Captain again shook his head and leaned onto the rail outside his personal suite, it truly was a miraculous ship, and it truly was a pity that the only time it had been used was against his own countrymen. Still there was something to be said about the smell of cordite. Slowly, giving his rather out of practice crew time to return to their posts, he walked to the bridge. “Firing coordinates are as follows.” He checked the piece of paper, “Well…. My house is in Dormerstrasse. Fire at…. Yes… 1165 Dormerstrasse, the one with the weathervane.” The Captain luckily was without a family, except for a highly delusional and offensively long living aunt next door of whom he had the sneaking suspicion she did so only to spite him.

“Sir, we err…. Have the coordinates locked in. Saturation barrage will fall in the parameters of the Admiral’s orders.” A lieutenant reported.

“Very well, commence firing.” Zimmenburg sat in his command chair, as in a few seconds it would be that or be thrown to the floor. And then the roar of the 18 inch guns hurling two ton shells inland. After every shot there was the electric whine of a state of the art automatic loader bringing up another shell, the thump of the barrel being cleaned and primed, a high pitched shriek as the accelerant caught, and somewhere a mile or so inland a warehouse would disappear. The damage of the barrage was appalling, and 1165 Dormerstrasse began the center of a raging inferno, that took on a life of its own and sucked the oxygen from surrounding neighborhoods, and melted cobblestones together. A shell could be fired every forty-nine seconds from any given barrel on the gunner’s best day, and the crew were making valuable use of that fact, pounding an approximate half square kilometer into something that resembled plate glass.

“Colonel Viek is requesting we halt the bombardment to allow his soldiers to sweep the area for survivors.” The same lieutenant chimed in again.

“Cease fire.” The guns immediately halted, “But inform the Colonel that he can’t sweep anything. It will take at least six hours for the area to cool. And wire the palace, General Kimnitz is dead, this little rebellion is over. Oh,” Zimmenburg waved a hand irritably, “And God save His Majesty.”

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:02 am
by Laysley
"Lord Solonaal can stick his one-liners up his arse" ~ Lord Jowls


Lord Gerald Whistling strode down the corridor, impeccable wooden floor clapping nicely under his shiny heeled shoes. It wasn't eavesdropping, he reasoned with himself, it was reconnaissance. Of course, Whistling's own brand of reconnaissance was barging in on a room and not leaving until he got what he wanted, but it was reconnaissance nevertheless.

It was bloody odd, he thought to himself for the umpteenth time in the last few days, that life seemed to carry on in much the same way under a completely different set of circumstances. Perhaps the mourning would start when the bloody Yallakians had finally surrendered the ball? Of course, life probably wasn't all that similar for the hidden multitudes in those wretched tents either.

Officer's hat firmly under his arm, Whistling stood to attention outside General Astia's 'Office', clicking his heels together satisfyingly. Thankfully he was used to this sort of thing and had got over that damnable old habit of standing where the door opened out into.

Whistling sneered as he heard the tone of the Emperor Balor on the 'communicator', muzzled by the thick door. Astia, speaking in his native tongue which sounded similar to Latin, was clearly unhappy, which puzzled Whistling slightly. He was aware that the fools thought only slightly more of Laysley than he thought of Yallak, but, in Whistling's humble opinion, they'd given the bastards the most comfortable ruins here. The source of the disagreeable tone wasn't important, he reasoned, simply that things were going to be regrettably even less efficient than he'd hoped. He suppressed a sigh and simply tightened his lips slightly.

A good move, he later thought, as the door opened just then. The two Generals frowned at each other, one in indignation and one because he'd been taught to look unhappy in any official capacity since his tenth birthday.

Astia spoke first, in his funny accent: "And what would you like?" he inquired, very nearly politely.

Whistling gave a thin smile. "I would like" he said slowly in his growling voice, without a hint of sarcasm, deliberately looking down on the slightly shorter Yallakian "to inquire as to the content of your conversation with his Imperial Majesty"

Astia observed Whistling for perhaps the first time. They were about half a head apart. Resplendent with his grizzled face from a life-time of using his title how it should be used, General's uniform, side-parted hair, thin grey moustache and a sporting an upper lip that put most battleships to shame, Astia had the unnerving feeling he was actually looking AT Laysley. He gave a lop-sided smile in return.

He was angry, confused, annoyed and homesick. He might as well.

"You know what, my friend" Astia started forward, putting his hand on Whistling's shoulder. "The Emperor is going to kill the lot of you and I'm not very happy about that, so I'm going to go and talk to my friends now and see exactly what we're going to do about that. Alright for you?" Astia finished artificially matter-of-factly.

Whistling took the bombshell like a bunker. He grunted. They continued back down the corridor. "May I invite you to a formal meeting of the Layslian High Council tomorrow in your capacity as First Minister?"

Astia looked perplexed for a moment, then shrugged "Sure."

"Excellent. It begins eleven o'clock, sharpish. It's the only time you'll see Flint not break for lunch." Whistling added this last bit to his own surprise. Too much time around Jowls he concluded. "In the meantime" he continued, covering up the joke "I have some orders to issue. Good day."

Without another word or glance the two split down different corridors.


Lord Stuart Speckle, in his usual absent-minded restlessness, got up from the fading leather office chair, holding his little glass of port slightly lopsidedly and seemingly clinching it from dear life from the whiteness of his knuckles. He walked up to the window and looked out over the river. The bridge was quiet now, quite distinct from when those raucous Yallakians had dragged Heeley across it and hung him up on some lamppost in front of some fine, if rather worse for wear, river-side residences. The act had been neat, unsurprisingly for occupiers so robotic, but in rather bad taste, again unsurprisingly for the soulless brutes. Speckle sadly reflected that they hadn't even done it in a dramatic or particularly frequented place, but he suspected people would get the point regardless. Typically, Speckle regarded cynically, the landowners of the row of houses were embroiled in argument underneath the hanging body as to who's job it was to dispose of him. They'd all write angry letters to the local council eventually, he sighed to himself.

Framed against the window of his small, plush office on the third floor of the mighty building, Speckle, tall and en-suited, might have cut an imposing figure to passersby. However, the mop of unruly curly hair, the loosened clerical collar and the constant fidgeting took any aura he might have had away from him. The price of his excellent memory, speciality in making bureaucrats and other unsavoury sorts do what he wanted them to and frightening capacity to disappear into the background when necessary was, many commented, an insatiable desire not to be still.

Speckle scratched the back of his thigh thoughtfully while taking a quick, cautious sip of his drink. Behind him, the door to the office creaked open slightly.

He threw his head over his shoulder, thankfully this meeting was pre-planned: when Speckle wasn't expecting company he had a tendency to get over startled and make a frightful mess. He observed a fat, bald head peeking out from behind the door with a foolish grin plastered on his face. Speckle's face lighted up.

"Just popping round to see you!" Sang the fat man, entering the room. A born-and-bred Byzantine, Bartholomias Constantinopolis had moved to Laysley at the tender age of thirty, having learned English from a text book, and since then all but ran the joint operations between the Guild of Assassins and the Comguards since, not to mention a good deal of the actual diplomacy too. Much loved by all branches of government, the short smiley man (lovingly nick-named the fat controller), with his taste for cigars and implacable smile had been a monumental figure in reforging a respectful but uneasy relationship between the two nations into the modern, close, friendly one. Speckle was surprised to see him wearing a dinner suit, presumably he'd been at one of the functions earlier, and not his habitual cravat and smoking jacket.

"W-onderful" replied Speckle with a real smile and a rub of the hands.

Of course, this wasn't anything to do with Speckle's actual job, the de facto head of the Church of Laysley, but people normally felt that any Lord would do. And so did Whistling.

Still smiling, Bartholomias gave a little bow. "How can I be of help?"

Speckle went back to his seat while the fat controller spoke, and as he sat down he down coughed loudly. "I d-don't wish to disturb you, my friend." he said, then tried his hardest to spit the next sentence out. Thankfully, everyone in government was quite used to this by now and knew that Speckle had an uncanny ability to make meetings last as long as they did with everyone else despite the pauses. "But the time may come again very soon indeed where we have to fight against the Yallakians - you don't need the details"

In this time the fat controller had moved further into the room and was properly in front of the desk now, listening intently with a faded smile still lingering. "And you would like me involved somehow?"

With another effort Speckle continued "We understand that the Confederacy wishes to move in one way or another against the Yallakians" Another lengthy pause. Speckle thought that he might be getting worse in his middle age after all this effort getting better. "We would be very grateful that if, below board, you could get the Byzantines in your bases in Arnsland involved in our resistance. Of course, improving our chances of success improves yours doesn't it?" He sat up and picked at his fingernails as he spoke.

Slowly, the fat controller's smile reestablished itself.

"My very good sir, I believe I can do better than that" he replied suddenly and boisterously, with obvious glee.

Speckle smiled back in reply. You learn not to use words unnecessarily when you have a stammer.

The little Byzantine bowed again, keeping his delightful smile, and left, singing some folk song loudly in his big bass voice as he walked off down the corridor.

Absentmindedly, Speckle hauled at his earlobe. After a moment he sighed and finished off his drink in one go.


Crisp considered the situation.

When in a situation of impending transfer to that of corpse, it is customary for one's life to pass before one's eyes, or so he was told. As a professional, Crisp's mission simply passed before his eyes.

The first part had gone perfectly, he concluded quickly. The Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, or the Pommies as anyone who didn't have an overbearing flavour for pseudo-religious pomp called them, had very successfully drawn the Sälitzen guards, in their disorganised mob, out into the countryside. Orders weren't to kill too many of them, wouldn't want to upset the Klatchians. The pomp and circumstance brigade had been moved into an interior room, but as expected Cato and whoever he was speaking with hadn't moved.

Next much of the remainder had been admirably picked off by the snipers, including a very fine shooter from the Fictionese service who he needed to get the name of afterwards. No problems there.

It was simply down to the fact, Crisp concluded, that rather than simply facing Cato and someone Cato was talking to, the team of four that had just jumped through the window to collect him were facing Cato and someone Cato was talking to who also happened to be holding a gun.

As the window had broken, the man had sprung lithely to his feet and shot one of the pommies straight through the head with breathtaking accuracy. But he certainly didn't have time to re-aim and fire again, the three remaining task force members landed firmly on their feet amongst the smashed glass.

And now, with a man pointing a gun at another man at point blank range, it was time to stop thinking and start acting.

Crisp lunged at the man with his fist. The man swung round to him and side-stepped just in time but Crisp had it under control and brought his left up neatly up, knocking the gun out of the man's hand. The counter-attack came with a vicious knee in the groin, and a swing at the stomach but Crisp held his ground and responded by grabbing both the man's arms. With a simultaneous surge of energy they applied force to one another. Crisp felt himself failing, he certainly wasn't the man he had been twenty years ago, and charged. He hit the other man like a short-lived steamroller and they crumpled uselessly onto the carpet next to each other.

The two old friends looked into each others eyes. The Operative almost smiled.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:44 pm
by Mykola
December 26th, 2013- 7:14 A.M.
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
Emperor's Study

"Yes Chancellor, yes, we shall commence with this plan... Yes, the coronation was exquisite...but I received word of my father, do you have the status of his condition?"

Emperor Frederick spoke into the archaic rotary dial phone, alerting the Chancellor in Mykola, Paul von Hindenschloss as to the happenings in his new Empire, and to direct the operations of Mykola since he was unable to do it himself.

On the other end of the line the Chancellor breathed a heavily and then answered the question, "It has been confirmed that your father suffered a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve. Currently he is in preparation for a quadruple bypass surgery, the doctors told me that he was lucky to even live past fifty with the condition that his heart was in."

"We've been telling him to cut down on the cigars and the alcohol, and even the food, but he refuses to listen," Frederick responded, almost saying 'I told you so' through the proxy that was Hindenschloss.

"He's been unconscious since the heart attack, the doctors have preferred to keep him that way in addition to being on a ventilator until he has had the surgery, and they told me it should be three to four days after the surgery that he should be conscious."

Frederick stared at a list on his desk. On it were the important items that he had to mention to the Chancellor. Crossing the first item off, he went on to the next, "There's another matter that we must take care of."

"And what would that be, your highness?"

"The Waldenburg Empire's bonds are currently failing, and as it stands now, they have no money, but merely millions of tones of resources, yet nowhere for them to go. The navy as it stands now, has a mere ten ships and no carriers, and there is likely not even an air force strong enough to have taken Qualah's out!"

"Are you suggesting that we bail them out?" The Chancellor asked in surprise. Papers could be heard on his end being flipped, as he attempted to find the financial reports that could indicate how much the Empire could foot for Waldenburg.

"Not completely, they simply lack the infrastructure to build much modern equipment, but they do have the resources needed to produce them, but there is also a lack of merchant ships. I need merchant ships, battle ships, destroyers, cruisers and carriers. Let the Waldenburgers supply the resources, we'll ship it to the Reich, and we'll produce the required equipment, ranging from ships, to tanks and to planes."

"Your father wouldn't let us simply give the finished products away Frederick."

Somewhat peeved, Frederick responded aptly, "The Hapsburg Reich shall foot 200 Billion Mykolan Reichmarks ($2 Trillion) in the form of bonds to the Waldenburg Empire, however it would be wise for us to guard this money well, and perhaps store it in a secure location outside of Waldenburg, perhaps in Liech?"

The Chancellor made a sound of unhappiness, but reluctantly gave in, it wasn't like that money was going to ever be used for anything besides war to begin with, "As you wish your highness, anything else?"

"As a matter of fact, yes. I want 40,000 Reichswächter Grenadiers and an additional 75,000 Reichswächter shipped to Waldenburg as soon as possible. Send 200,000 Wehrmacht infantrymen as well. Add to that, the seventh naval fleet the fourth naval fleet and 1,800 aircraft. In addition to all of that, send over at least two thousand Panzerkampfwagen II Ausführung B's and two hundred Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung A's. I don't care if they're Reichswächter or Wehrmacht, just send them over, I want them here within two weeks."

In Vienna, the Chancellors secretary and staff scrambled to write all of this down and would later confirm it with Frederick's office in Mykola.

"Oh, and one last thing, tell Generaloberst Albert von Stühlheim that he's been promoted to Field Marshal of the Mykolan Expeditionary force in Waldenburg and that he and his staff should oversee the transportation of all of that equipment from Mykola to here and then promptly report to Blünderburg to take command of my new army. And don't forget to properly guard the convoy containing all of this equipment, we wouldn't want it sitting uselessly at the bottom of the ocean"

"As you wish your highness."

December 26th, 2013- 9:01 AM
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
Emperor's War Room

The men sitting on the war council had once again been summoned to the war room, where according to Frederick's instructions, was to be the location of a nine ante meridiam meeting every day, with the exception of Sunday, at which point the meeting would be held after services.

The Emperor walked in to see his war council standing behind their chairs, waiting for him to call the meeting to order. Once he walked up to his seat at the head of the table, General Solf saluted, giving an optimistic, "Good morning your highness," which was soon followed by salutes from everyone in uniform, and bows from those not in uniform.

"Good morning, today is a red letter day for the Empire, there is much good news to discuss, and little bad news, and perhaps this trend can be kept up?"

Frederick sat down and his attaché, Keppelheim dropped a portfolio in front of each person at the table.

"If you all would open to page one, you will see the details of a financial deal that I have just signed. The Hapsburg Reich shall purchase the Empire's bonds with two hundred billion Mykolan Reichmarks, enough to keep us afloat and get some well needed repairs done to the military, and so Doctor von Glüb, Admiral Sloan's request for more ships can be funded as of now."

The minister of finance gave an appreciative grin and Admiral Sloan seemed pleased, although the only sign of this was his leaning back in his chair.

Turning another page, Frederick began again, "There is another benefit here. The immediate construction of Admiral Sloan's ships, as well as tanks, planes and other modern weapons shall begin in Mykola, but we will require the raw materials to do it with, thus the Waldenburg Empire selling Mykolan companies them, and Mykolan industries selling the products back to the Empire, thus the reason for the bonds."

Field Marshal von Pälitz began, but was soon cut off by Frederick whom had instructed everyone to turn to page thirty seven.

"Here is a detailed list of the Mykolan Expeditionary Force to Waldenburg. It shall be lead by the experienced Field Marshal Albert von Stühlheim. He served during the invasion of Sozopol at the end of twenty eleven and is a most dependable General. He will be coming over with over three hundred thousand men, eighteen hundred aircraft, twenty two hundred tanks and on loan for Admiral Sloan, until he gets his new navy, the fourth and seventh naval fleets," looking around the room, he could tell that everyone seemed pleased, with the possible exception of one or two, "We should be expecting these men and ships to arrive in about two weeks, in the meantime, we must start transporting raw materials to Mykola."

Looking at von Pälitz, Frederick spoke in a passive-aggressive manner, "And I trust that you have begun preparations for Operation...Die Wacht am Tettenburg ?"

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:19 pm
by Waldenburg 2
December 26th, 2013- 6:27 A.M.
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
The Imperial Palace

Kaiser Quartet 3rd Mov.

"Political intrigue should take place much later in the day," Field Marshal Menno von Pälitz said as he stifled a yawn; it truly was the earliest he had woken up in a decade, but in spite of the new Emperor he had risen two hours earlier than the meeting and put on his full dress uniform, which included enough metal to spook the more impressionable of native tribes, and contained a family’s worth of ostrich feathers in his high plumed hat. “I swear the…” Field Marshals, Pälitz noted as he tried to find a suitable deprecatory remark for the Emperor, found his brain supplying nothing. Like his comrades Field Marshals Kleider and Blünder had noticed, an officer could mutiny and wage a bloody war of revolution, but on his life would not lower himself to flippancy or disrespect. “Man is winding us all up.”

“I don’t know,” Grand Admiral Sloan looked like a tame walrus whatever he was wearing so had settle on his going ashore attire, and every so often his comrade lost him amongst the white marble floors of the palace, “He certainly has a plan.” Their soft boots clacked in the hall as their aides drifted lazily behind them at a respectable distance. “Not a very well thought out one I suspect, but alas the impertinences of youth.”

“He certainly does not make friends well,” Pälitz added as the two officers strolled about the many wings of the palace. Currently they had meandered into the east wing where the designers of Leopold the Mad had drenched the carpets in ‘Blood, buckets of Blood!’ upon their masters orders, and while the stench had long since dissipated, everything was still rather sticky. “I fear for the Empire, Ajax.”

“How many men do you command Menno?” Sloan asked casually as the two mounted what was doubtless the first ever escalator, and waited as the on duty porter began to pump the water.

“Ten million give or take a division.” Pälitz nodded back, his eyes drooping as the treadmill began to pull them at an ant’s pace upward. “Many many many men.” He whistled to himself as they were winched painfully duty bound. “Can you imagine Sloan? Me? Me in a backwater province, commanding a battle in Tettenburg? What would people think?”

“Mykolan Expeditionary Force,” Pälitz asked, stunned an hour later as he sat before the Emperor flipping through, with such force that he had nicked his finger, and droplets of blood were speckling the documents. “Do you think we cannot defend ourselves? I would remind His Majesty of his coronation oath, and that whatever his duties elsewhere, while in Waldenburg he is the Emperor of Waldenburg. He cannot violate the sovereignty of his domain!” The others, for once were in broad agreement with only Solf remaining as neutral as a Swiss conscientious objector, and Keppelheim who stood behind the Emperor hands folded calmly in front of himself.

“It’s totally unacceptable, we could be ravished in our beds!” Lady Grei squawked, and it truly was a squawk, as her demeanor was so birdlike that her superiors often left small bowls of nuts on their desks and weren’t quite sure why. “The Imperial Army has sworn an oath to defend our shores from all foreign forces! Considering the position we are in, we cannot allow autonomous armies under foreign command to enter the nation.” Every head at the table was simultaneously thinking ‘we’ve pulled that trick far too many times to be fooled by it.’

General Solf finally spoke, in a soft voice, “Your Majesty, the Cabinet is correct, however we are in dire need of well-armed soldiers. Perhaps if they were placed under a Waldenburger officer?” Dr. von Ems had fallen asleep again.

“I do not question His Majesty, and should it be his wishes to bring this army,” the word fell of Pälitz’s tongue as if dragging bloody furrows the whole way down, “Waldenburger officers would be happy to lead it. They could easily be accommodated into my 7th Army? Or indeed I believe there is a promotion awaiting a general officer? General Solf commands an Army Group; it should be done by a Marshal. I could put forward a list of candidates? I similarly wish to report all is prepared for the Tettenburg offensive, as of tomorrow.”

“This is beside the point!” Lady Grei continued, “No more foreign soldiers, we don’t have enough food anyway. And,” the woman drew herself up into full hawk like bearing, her pinched face achieving a countenance that only a life of foot binding and an all lime diet could accomplish, “the civil government will resign should any soldiers enter the country.” She sat back, looking content; far more content than Dr. von Glüb, who scowled at the woman but said nothing. There was general ascent from the other members of the civilian government, except Dr. Ems who hiccupped, and scratched his head before returning to slumber.

“May I speak?” Admiral Sloan leaned forward on the table, pressing his gloves onto the table. “I reserve any judgment on the distribution of Army soldiers, it is neither within my department nor within my purvey to have any such notions however,” The man paused to scratch his mustache, “I can report that the rebel General Kimnitz is dead and Granzimmerburg is fully back in our hands. At least 22,000 rebels are dead, as well as, unfortunately, 30,000 civilians. The rest have vanished or been captured fleeing into the dockyards proper. My away parties have roughly 6,000 prisoners. I suspect the rest have deserted and returned home. At any rate the problem has been resolved. The WIS Terror has achieved marvelous… penetration rates. 26 billion Reichmarks of damage have been incurred upon private owners. Unfortunately the superstructure of the WIS Twilight, another Thousis class nearing completion has been totally destroyed. Nothing remains in the area of the bombardment, and the gas fires will be lit for at least another week I am told. On the bright side we have acquired some very valuable beachside property.” Sloan attempted a smile but wasn’t very well acquainted with the mechanics, “Captain Zimmenburg reports that the victory was….glorious. I only mention, as perhaps we are not in such dire straits as we believed.”
Prince Cato? WIP

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:19 am
by Yallak
January 2nd, 2014 – 00:50
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

'Indeed, I think we may have an understanding. So as promised, you may be on your merry way.' The operative flashed the prince a haughty smile. 'Your minions are just in the next room, no doubt frantically awaiting you. And yes, they are unharmed presumably. I'm almost sure the Sälitzians didn't eat their legs.'

The operative motioned to the doorway through which Cato should go and was just about to stand when his overly active senses detected something amiss. He couldn't put his finger on what exactly, it might have been nothing, just a shadow of movement outside, but every fibre of his being felt troubled. From opposite him Prince Cato seemed to pick up on the sudden concern that was apparent now in his dark blue eyes, the sparkle of intelligence and humour, replaced by the predatory gleam of cunning and aggression. He reached for his gun lying on the small side table.

'You should go...' The words barely parted his lips when the entire length of windows on the eastern side of the drawing room shattered inwards, barely a meter and a half from where he and the prince were sitting. In a fraction of a second, without a moment of hesitation, the operative was on his feet. In one smooth motion he levelled his gun and fired a round, and the black-clad intruder closest to Cato went down without a sound, a spray of crimson fluid splattering the prince as the body crashed with no small measure of noise into the broken glass shards that littered the floorboards.

Before he could put a bullet through the next interloper, the man was upon him. A brief but brutal scuffle later and they were both on the floor, their guns somewhat misplaced. In that moment he got the first detailed look at the attackers. They were dressed entirely in black, though devoid of any identifying symbols or ranking, they're hardware seemed to be military grade and this one he faced off against even looked familiar.

'I should have known it would be you, Crispy,' growled the operative, with a menacing glare as he sprung back on his feet, 'but so sorry, this is a private function.' “Crispy” gave the Operative an almost invisible smile in his usual manner.

The operative drove his boot in at Crisp as he recovered trying to seize the advantage but the man jumped back evading the kick while simultaneously drawing a knife from his belt. In this brief moment of reprieve, as if in slow motion, the operative took account of the scene. The other two armed men who had gone after Cato were now engaged with the Sälitzian soldiers who, though startled and unprepared, had barged back into the drawing room from the adjoining area of the house in response to the noise. And with relief the operative saw Cato too, though he was cut off from both the door and the broken windows by the unfolding melee.

And then Crisp was coming at him again. He dodged a slash and then side-stepped a thrust of the blade, spinning in towards his opponent and delivering a blow from his fist into Crisp's side. His foe flinched under the impact and so he pressed his attack, ramming his knee up into Crisp's gut. Crisp stumbled backwards a few steps but recovered with great speed, parrying the next strike and then delivering a slashing attack with his knife to the operatives upper left deltoid muscle.

The blade stung as it struck home but the operative could feel that it was a minor enough wound and apart from some pain it didn't otherwise interfere with his movement. He shrugged it off. He was in his element now. Though his work for the Empire specialised in low-impact kinetic operations, where the enemy was usually dead before they even knew he was present, there was no denying the thrill and adrenaline rush of a proper fight. He was very good at his work, and he liked it, but he did sometimes miss the exhilaration of combat. And a decent opponent was a rare event.

Crisp tried to follow up with fatal thrust of the knife but the operative knocked the weapon aside with his right hand and then brought his arm back sharply, planting his elbow into Crisp's face. He was rewarded with a sickly crunch and saw blood dribbling out of the man's nose. The pair broke apart and faced off against each other again, circling like wolves vying for the alpha male slot of the pack.

A shout from Cato caught his attention and the operative shot a sideways glance in the Prince's direction. The Sälitzian soldiers seemed to have been soundly thrashed, freeing one of the intruders to go after Cato while his friend finished dealing with the last couple of the guards. That split-second distraction however was all Crisp needed and he took it without pause for thought, driving the knife with great strength at the operatives throat with every desire to end the fight for good. The operative reacted with incredibly swift reflexes that most men would envy but there was simply not enough time to avoid the blow. His hands came up and grabbed Crisp's but succeeded only in saving his life by deflecting the blade from his throat to his shoulder, the weapon biting deeply into the flesh this time. A grunt of pain escaped his lips but the agony only served to fuel the fury of his counterstrike. With a solid hold on Crisp's hand, the operative pried the man’s fingers from the hilt of the knife and then pulled him in close and delivered a mighty head-butt into Crisps already injured face.

Both men recoiled again, but this time neither seemed all that keen to re-engage. The operative stumbled back a bit and fell to one knee, then with immense pain he managed pulled the blade from his shoulder and tossed it aside. He was about to stand again when he saw his pistol lying just next to his leg. He scooped up the weapon and then looked up in time to see Crisp, pulling Cato in tow, disappear out of the exit to the building they had created in the windows. The Layslian's two remaining men followed not far behind. With cry of anger at losing Cato, the operative levelled the pistol and fired until the hammer clicked empty. Bullets ploughed into the two retreating intruders. The first, who had been halfway out of the manor, slumped dead over one of the broken windowsills with a short cry, the jagged glass slicing through his clothing and flesh with equal ease under his weight. The second, who had been raising his own weapon to shoot the operative, sprawled backwards dead, battering first into the fireplace situated on the far wall by the broken windows, before slumping sideways into a very large vase. The magnificent piece of artwork was from Srinesea and made of a fine glass that had been cut to look like crystal and was exquisitely decorated with symbolic paintings of Ri'Theen slaying the Great Fish of the South. It shattered into oblivion under the impact.

With a sigh of annoyance the operative tossed his empty pistol across the room at the newly created corpses, being careful not to hit the matching vase that stood on the opposite side of the fireplace, it was after all now the only one left in the world. He would now need a few days to lick his wounds, so to speak, and then the hunt for Prince Cato would have begin all over again.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:59 am
by Aschenhyrst
December 25, 2013
Task Force: Jolly Roger
Off the Western Coast of Waldenburg

Kapitän zur See Heinz Erhardt scanned the horizon from the bridge of his flagship ANS Blitzkrieg. His vessel and his fleet had been in pursuit of the commerce raider WIS Indolent, under the command of Countess Willhemina von Waldenburg, a niece of Prince Cato. The Indolent had been harrassing commercial shipping in the Welter Bucht area of the Sudkreis, causing undue financial hardship to the fledgling states of the area. Uberschau amd Wissenholm had formed a joint-naval task force to respond to the piracy but their limited resources could do only so much. The Anirtakian Naval assets which had been assigned to Wissenholm were now tasked with ending the pirate career of the Indolent.

Erhardt`s flotilla had been searching for the Indolent for nearly three weeks. Overflights of the area earlier in the day discovered a vessel matching the description of the Indolent some 100 nautical miles north of the Task Force. One of the pilots requested permission to engage the vessel, one or two exocet missiles to the Indolent and her raiding days would be over. Erhardt denied the request. As an officer and a naval historical buff, he wished to engage the renegade vessel personally. "Set a course, 359 degrees mark 1. Maximum speed. Notify the fleet, the Indolent is five hours ahead of us. Continue aerial recon and adjust course and speed accordingly. Soon, we will capture or sink our quarry."

January 2, 2014
Tettenburg Forest
Southern Waldenburg
Aschenhyrst Zone of Occupation

Since the orders to dig in had been recieved, troops of General Marlow`s V Corps had been securing their posistions. Reinforcements and supplies had arrived, boosting his strength to 250,000 troops. Additional armor and artillery had made the journey from the ports in Wissenholm to the frontlines near Mendlesgard. Aware that negociations alledgedly taking place in Salitz could be used as a ruse for his opponants to gather their forces, Marlow operated under the same strategy. He was well aware that an assault on Mendelsgard would end up as a bloody battle that would be fought street by street and house by house. His opponants were surely aware of this as well. As long as it appeared Marlow would strike at Mendelsgard, the Waldenburgers would gather forces near there in preparation to repeal any attack. The downside to this strategy was eventually the Waldenburgers could muster more troops in less time than Marlow could be reenforced. The stage was being set for a showdown between superior numbers versus superior firepower, in the end tactics would win the day.

December 29, 2013
Near Klagenfurt, Waldenburg
0100 hours

A commando team fast roped from their Blackhawk helicopters into a ramshackle compound some 10 miles north-east of Klagenfurt. Intelligence gathered over the past month had led the Aschenhyrst High Command that Colonel Lovat may have been hiding there. 150 yards away, five Chinook helicopters landed with the main elements of the assault team. As the entry team landed on the rooftops of the compound, the main assault team breached the gates. After a ten minute sweep, it was determined the compound was abandoned except for three Waldenburgers who had been asleep at the time of the assault. "Damn! Damn the intel." exclaimed Captain Farrell, CO of 3 Commando. "Fan out and see what you can find." Farrell was begining to get frustrated, for a month he`d been playing a game of cat and mouse in pursuit of Lovat. Information gathered from locals in Waldenburg was sketchy at best and usually deceptive and wrong. Each lead had to be followed up on, the M388 nuclear projectiles Lovat had liberated from a miltary supply depot in Wissenholm had to be recovered and Lovat captured or neutralized. The actions of the turncoat veteran of the Chausey Islands campaign were a black eye to the Aschenhyrst Government and it`s foreign policy. "Sir, I`ve found something." shouted one of Farrell`s men. The Commando presented a wallet to Farrell, "Inside Sir." Farrell opened the wallet, inside was a military ID.

Fraizer, Hyram Lt. Colonel
7th Hibernian Highlanders Regiment of Foot
Clearance Level: Delta

Farrell shook his head in disbelief, the first hard eveidence his men had on Lovat in a month. He then began questioning the captives, "A months worth of knee socks and a case of sasparilla for the man who can tell me where Colonel Lovat and his men are heading!"

January 1, 2014
Imperial Palace
Arrandin, Yallak

Israel Armitage, Aschenhyrst Ambassador to Yallak, had requested a meeting with his Yallakan counterpart. Relations between the two neighboring states had improved vastly since the signing of the new 'Mediterranican Union Pact'. A strategy devised by the pact involved dismantling the Church of Waldenburg, which had long been considered the greatest threat to foreign interests on the Waldenburger continent. If one could effectively neuter the church, civilian authorities would have greater freedom to negociate with outsiders. Armitage took a seat across from his counterpart. "Greetings, the forces of Aschenhyrst have dug in at their current posisitons. Reenforcements sail toward Waldenburg every day. Should the negociations between your government and Prince Cato fail, we are prepared to continue the conflict."

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:24 pm
by Mykola
Frederick was enraged by the rejections set forth to him by the council, being angry in particular at Lady Grei, thinking in his mind how she reminded him of the birds that would fly around the villa in Cyrodil, what were they called?

His anger was momentarily subsided as he responded to Admiral Sloan, "I am very pleased to hear of your success Admiral, liberating the Bay of Blünder will clear the shipping lanes as well as to improve our situation, it is never a good thing when one's own capital is occupied by the enemy."

Turning back to Field Marshal Pälitz, Frederick calmly insinuated that there was private business to handle, "Field Marshal, let's take a walk, in the mean time," turning to everyone else, "wait here for us to return."

The two men stood up from their seats and started towards the door, Frederick dismissed Keppelheim when he began to follow him.

After walking down the corridor side by side, Frederick began to speak, "Field Marshal, you, no doubt are the Reich's best General and I do not doubt your abilities when it comes to commanding armies and the soldiers that make them up, for you yourself are a veteran of many years and many wars, but you cannot deny the facts," Frederick stopped and turned to look at Pälitz, "I have no doubt that you will succeed in Tettenburg, our armies are strong enough for that, but what happens when a formidable Yallakian force lands? Their weapons were designed in the last four years, ours are from the last forty, and it is simply impossible for us to build weapons in Mykola and to then hand them to Waldenburgers and expect them to be able to handle and use them effectively without proper training."

Von Pälitz was looking at the Emperor's eyes, gazing into them, as if attempting to reach into the depths of Frederick's soul and to understand what he really wanted.

Frederick continued, "Since you have alerted me to your army's readiness, I've moved the attack up to New Years eve, five days from now, you have that long to create your plan and get your army into position, at which point your men shall burst through the forest, supported by an armored flanking maneuver, breaking the center of the Aschen army and sending them back into Wissenholm und Himmel. And of course one must not forget the massive artillery barrage to 'soften them up'."

"I see," responded Pälitz.

Frederick, realizing how far that he had digressed, returned to his topic, "I shall leave it up to you whether or not you wish to have the Mykolan Expeditionary Force, however, when you succeed at Tettenburg, consider it a personal gift from the Emperor himself," motioning back in the direction that they had come, "We shouldn't keep them waiting, should we?"

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:56 pm
by Salitz
Libestbach Manor
Libestbach, Sälitz

There was one thing to be said about the whiskey. It was damn good stuff, and after some liberal helpings off the stuff the count was sitting in his chair lost in a semi-drunken stupor. He had stopped thinking about the strange visit that was taking place under his roof. In his opinion the most political intrigue a man of his age should have was the day to day business of a fishing port, helped along by expensive drinks of course. Besides, it was just some sort of meeting, it was not as if anything would happen, maybe the fate of nations rested on his manor’s rugs, maybe it did not, maybe all it meant was trade, maybe it meant nothing at all. Whatever was happening, he had stopped thinking about it. That is. Stopped thinking about it until he heard the gunshots and the shouting. All it took was the first shot to break him out of his stupor and sit bolt upright staring wildly around. Had it been a dream? No it couldn’t have been, there were more gunshots, shouting, thuds. What was going on!?

Cautiously the count got to his feet and edged towards the door more quietly than would be expected from a man of his girth and peered out into the hallway in time to see someone fall backwards out of a room, unmistakably dead. He quickly retreated back into the room and closed the door behind him, wincing. He had not been warned about this! Had he known there would be a chance of this happening he would never have agreed to this accursed meeting taking place under his roof, make no mistake about it! With a shaking hand he took a handkerchief from his pocked and mopped his sweating brow and waited for the commotion to die down. What a thing, oh what a thing to happen he thought, waiting what felt like an eternity first for the fight to no longer be heard and then for a suitable amount of time to pass that he could be sure that venturing out this room would not mean a bullet to the head or worse.

The door creaked open slightly, and he peered out, all seemed silent. He edged towards the drawing room, stepping over the bodies of soldiers. When he looked inside he let out a wail of despair, the room was in complete disarray, blood stains on the carpet, broken furniture and a couple of corpses but that was not the worst part. The worst part was the destruction of the vase, it was part of a set of two, both one of a kind, both priceless and both irreplaceable. He stood there in the entrance, goggle eyed and hardly willing to believe it, deeply regretting ever agreeing to let his house be used.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:44 pm
by Mykola
OOC: When I refer to the flanks as "right" or "left," I will be using those terms as if one was looking at this map, with the left being the area where the directional arrows are, and the right being where the mini map of the world is. The map is 150 miles vertically and 70 miles horizontally. Red line is the front line.
December 26th, 2013- 11:07 A.M.
Blünderburg, Waldenburg Empire
The Imperial Palace

Nestled away in the more modern portion of the palace, Emperor Frederick stood at the center of a long conference table in which a map of Tettenburg and the surrounding area was laid out. If one were to look from the other side of the table, standing at the far right was Field Marshal von Grüning, Air Marshal von Letsburg, General von Solf, the Emperor, Field Marshal von Pälitz and Chief of Staff, General von Amberg. Also present in the room was Colonel von Keppelheim, elements of the ISS, as well as two of Pälitz's field generals, von Landstuhl and von Osterwieck.

Pälitz and Solf almost enveloped the Emperor as their fingers began to develop sores from poking the map so many times.

"Excuse me your highness," General von Osterwieck inquired, "could you perhaps allow me to see what the Field Marshal is pointing at?"

Frederick looked up at the General, a middle aged man, being condemned to put his reputation on the line by commanding several armored divisions in Operation 'Wacht am Tettenburg,' was a newcomer to the political scene that was the Imperial Army, spending most of his career commanding soldiers from the ground, unaware that he would most likely never know the plans for an upcoming battle until the day of, regardless of whether or not he was in the room where those plans were made.

"Is there an issue General von Osterwieck," the words shot out of the Emperor's mouth with subtle ferocity and the name Osterwieck sounded like the hiss of a snake.

The General quickly looked down at the table, "Forgive me your highness, I have intruded in....," he stopped talking once he had realized that the Emperor had resumed his discussion with Pälitz and Solf.

Pälitz, an elderly man, stood over the table with what seemed to be his weight in silver and bronze medals, dangling from his chest, one would wonder how the old man could possibly support them.

"Your highness, we have currently assembled a new Army Group, Army Group Tettenburg, for the offensive, contained within it are five armies, of approximately one hundred and twenty five thousand men each. In total, the Army group, which is under my direct command, comprises of about six hundred and twenty five thousand men, nearly three thousand Leopard I tanks, as well as an additional two thousand armored vehicles. Air Marshal Joachim has also prepared an impressive assortment of aircraft, considering the Reich's circumstances."

The Emperor looked with suspicion at the map, in which only chess like pieces had been placed, he calmly lifted one up and then questioned Pälitz, "I take it that the troops are not yet at the battlefield?"

"No your highness, to be discrete, I have been having the men trickle towards the front lines for the last several days, we have been quite lucky as a low pressure front has moved over the entire region, causing some overcast weather conditions."

"This is good, I've also heard of a forecast for a blizzard in the region, is that good or bad for us Field Marshal?"

"Well, the way I see it, we shall be helped by the weather. If this overcast weather remains, and we keep our communications solely between trusted officers, and use the radio as little as possible, we may run the chance that our units could arrive and prepare without the Aschen even knowing that we're there. I've already instructed the Panzer divisions to cover the tanks with camouflage netting once they have reached their designated positions in order to avoid aerial detection."

Interjecting for a moment, General Solf added an important detail, "And I'll have your highness know that all of the soldiers of Army Group Tettenburg have been outfitted with their winter clothing, consisting of white camouflage outer layers. There shall be no soldiers on earth better prepared for such winter conditions as we expect to see in Tettenburg in the next few weeks."

"Do we know of what the enemy has in terms of regalia?" Frederick replied.

Von Pälitz answered in a very uncertain tone, "As it stands now, we've only captured a few reconnaissance platoons that were lightly clothed, but we don't really know what the main army has in terms of winter clothing, so it'd be best to expect them to be fully prepared, but if they're not, it will only help us."

Looking up suddenly, having remembered an important question, Frederick began, "Who knows of the meaning of this plan besides those in this room? I would hope that no one at the front, and no one moving towards the front knows the purpose of this operation until the night before D-Day."

"Your highness I'll have you know that I have carried out the preparations for this operation in the utmost secrecy, the only people that know of this operation are those in this room, a few members of my staff, the war cabinet, and of course yourself."

Von Pälitz then began to direct the Emperor's attention back to the more important matter at hand, preferring not to get tied up with such trivial matters, such as proper footwear and clothing for the men, "Your highness, I estimate that all of the men will be in formation on the evening of December thirtieth, the next morning, I will issue instructions to prepare to move out, and on New Year's eve, the instructions for the attack shall be distributed to all of the officers. Operation Die Wacht am Tettenburg will commence at first light on January first, twenty fourteen. Across the seventy mile front, the entire Army Group will advance with great ferocity, the forecast calls for a blizzard on the last two days of December, so if that is true, and our plan of deception succeeds, our men will be advancing against an unprepared and surprised enemy, which would have otherwise been digging themselves out of snow drifts."

Pointing to Namen, Pälitz began to place unit markers on the map, "The first and part of the second army will be given the task of reaching Namen by January fourth. What will essentially happen is, the mechanized infantry and light armored units will advance in front of the main army, and receive air support whenever necessary, it will then be up to the main body of infantry to secure the positions that are left in their dust and to clear out any remaining enemy resistance, at the most it should only be a two to three hour delay between when an area is swept by the mechanized force and when the main infantry have secured it," digressing, Pälitz returned to the plan, "As you had suggested your highness, this will be the flanking maneuver that makes or breaks us. These two armies have to dig fifty miles into enemy territory in four days, and then are tasked with reaching the river, which is another thirty miles away, within three days. Across the rest of the front, the armies will be advancing with equal ferocity, however this flanking maneuver will be given supply and air support priority. If General von Landstuhl," Pälitz looked up at the young general, "succeeds in this plan, nearly half of the Aschen forces will be cut off from supply and reinforcements, regardless of the losses incurred on his forces, if he can hold the thorn in the Aschen belly, the army group will whittle Aschenhyrst's forces down until they are forced to surrender, at which point our forces will continue to attack, and ultimately break any Aschen resistance and sending them running back to the sea."

The Emperor smiled at the plan, envisioning great victory parades down the main avenue in Blünderburg, "This is truly a brilliant plan Field Marshal, I am confident that the Palonians enslaved by the Aschen will realize where their true allegiance lies and surrender to their friends promptly. Treat any German prisoner of war properly; however, spare no expense for the Aschen."

Several of the men in the room looked at Frederick, some in shock and disbelief, and others confused.

Pälitz was among those who were confused, "What exactly does your highness mean when he says to 'spare no expense'?"

"Whisk them off away from the front to some slave labor camps, have them be productive, I'm sure there's plenty of coal to mine in the mountains, and our soldiers could certainly use some at the fronts. However, if any Wissenholmer officers are captured, let's do what we can to see mutiny within the Aschen ranks."

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:47 am
by Yallak
OOC: Just a really quick one today sorry, the rest will come tomorrow or so

January 1st, 2014
The Imperial Palace
Arrandin, Yallak

Lord Erkal Dortrean, the Administratum-General of Yallak (what amounted to the empires closest resemblance to a foreign affairs minister), met Israel Armitage within his office in the Aschenhyrst embassy. The area granted to the Aschenhyrst Ambassador and his staff was quite spacious and luxurious, despite it being just one part of one wing of the Imperial Palace. It was also the only embassy granted to a nation who wasn't a signed member of the Infinite Empire.

In his late fifties, Erkal was the second oldest member of the High Council of Arrandin, but still retained a fairly youthful look and excellent shape despite each new year seeing an increase in age and the amount of work dumped on him as the Empire engaged in an ever increasing role in the affairs of the region.

'I have no idea to what you refer,' Erkal stated in response to Armitage's talk of negotiations with Cato, 'the errant Prince is still at large, though I suspect we will have him very shortly. I don't suppose I should even ask where exactly you heard talk of otherwise from?'

The Administratum-General short, quiet sigh and continued, 'Anyway, we are pleased with the progress you have made in South. Your efforts should go along way to keeping the undesirable parties occupied and out of the real war for Waldenburg. As I told you previously, our assets in Hörenburg are unavailable for redeployment, but should you require reinforcements they could be dispatched without delay from the Empire provided.'

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:49 pm
by Waldenburg 2
January 2nd, 2014
Libestbach, Sälitz

Cato had been involved in a lot of whisking lately, and the two men who were carrying him through the woods were professionals; they were forceful but inflicted no injury upon the Prince and prevented even a hint of movement. This was rather obliging Cato thought, as he had split one of the men’s lip with an errant punch as they had burst into the meeting room. Two burly arms had been shot through his, his sword dragged from its scabbard, and a dazing punch delivered to his temple. He had shouted for Sufrir, as he collapsed to the floor, and in his dazed vision he saw the Marquis calmly open the door, wrap his long pale fingers around a Salitzian soldier’s neck and neatly break it. It came too late, of course and though Cato had quite regained his faculties, whisking was certainly occurring.

“You know,” Cato began, stuttering around the syllables, “This is really quite unsporting. To be kidnapped from kidnappers.” The Prince turned his head and stuck his face into the soldier to his left, “I suppose that’s what a free market economy is all about, competition. Now the price of the first kidnappers was indeed steep, so I suppose, you, vastly more component shanghaiers will propose an astronomically fee, which I am afraid I won’t be able to meet. Of course, being an independent firm perhaps you offer below market rates to attract business? And of course I am a repeat customer, more or less, so perhaps we could make some sort of reasonable arrangement?”

With a thin smile creasing his face the soldier looked over at Cato, “No, Your Highness, although we do accept personal cheques.”

Your Highness, well that is a good sign. “I should like to use a phone at some point; I think a cruise missile would greatly improve the ventilation in that house.” Cato paused briefly, “And not to be pedantic, but did you manage to remove my adjutant as well? And to press the envelope of absurdity even further, who are you, and where are you taking me?”

December 30th
Scalenholm- 42 Miles North of Klagenfurt, 120 Miles Southwest of Rudyt
Prince Andre von Waldenburg

“Battalion will come to attention!” An Aschen sergeant screamed in military staccato as the military command party of Prince Andre and Lord Lovat trotted by on horseback to the salutes of mixed Aschen, Palonian, and Waldenburger soldiers.

“You shall have to forgive the formality Milord, it is rather crucial in impressing the older sort.” Prince Andre leaned over to mutter into Colonel Lovat’s ear, he in turn nodded slightly. “It’s just… metals and… finery… are half the work.”

“Yer Highness,” Lovat answered back in his characteristic brogue, “I have never come to trust metals.”

“And why is that?”

“They have a blasted tendency to belong to other people.” Lovat grinned hugely, while Andre faked a hearty laugh. The Aschen sense of humor was as foreign as the venereal disease he was sure most of Lovat’s Highlanders carried. Andre was truly grateful for their assistance, they fought like demons, and the nuclear devices that were locked down in a hay-wagon among the few cavalry squadrons , but they drank themselves nearly to death on the Sabbath, spat, cursed, and the Prince had the very strange impression that they would kanoodle if he didn’t keep an eye on them.

“Oh very good, Colonel, and we seemed to have arrived.” Just slightly outside the arranged soldiery, the men turned into liveried footmen, standing more proudly than Greek Gods lined the cobbled path that led to Scalenholm House, where Prince Andre had arranged to see to the more subtle nuances of war. At the gate of the sprawling baronial house, a butler so prim and poised that air streams seemed to split around him waited to greet the pair.

The butler bowed slightly, “It is a pleasure Your Highness, My Lord. If you will follow me, Lord Scanholm will receive you in the wine cellar.” The two horses were swept from the courtyard by invisible grooms as the officers were lead into the marbled receiving hall. From the exterior, the house was quite drab but upon entering it the dullness gave way to a sea of gilt that would have drowned even the most engrossed of goldsmiths. Rocco artwork occupied what little space on the wall was not hung with ceremonial weapons or eclipsed by bobbing maids. “This way Your Highness.” The walk was a short one as the stairs to the wine cellar opened from pulled lever in the library. The stairs were entirely too cold, and torches lit them in a style that Prince Andre felt all too contrived, as he could see the electric bulbs hanging next to them.

“Your Highness,” A rich voice, something bourbon pouring over ice, greeted the two as they stepped into the cavernous cellar. Seated a short wooden table a man in evening dress nodded at the two from behind a decanter and cheeseboard, “How do you feel about merlot?”

“I have faced lesser enemies in a sitting room.” Andre smiled and tossed his hat on the table before offering a bow. “How are you My Lord, my brother Leopold asks after you.”

“I supremely doubt it. Leopold has been dead for four months,” Lord Scanholm was a tall man, whose hair had gone to gray but still contained hints of its original black, “Trying to pull one over on us country folk is very unsporting.”

“Well, you country rubes… what can one expect? Indeed, but he mentioned you in his will I’m told.”

“Oh yes? What did I get from the old bastard?”

Andre looked confused for a moment and shrugged his soldiers, “Nothing, he just mentioned you.”


“Yes,” Andre said changing mental tracks, “I suppose you know why I’ve come.”

“Men, material, and money I suppose?” Lord Scanholm looked a little sour but popped the cork out of a bottle and poured out two glasses. “And how do you propose to get that out of me?”

“Would charm and goodwill work?” Andre asked hopefully.

“Depends what you want.” Scanholm, languidly drank from his glass, brushing a few drops from his mustache.

“Put Lord Scanholm’s Raiders back together, five million Reichmarks, and all the horses, wagons, vehicles, and hay you can manage.”

“That’s an awfully steep order Andre, you know that. We’re old men now, I don’t have quite the energy I used to.”

Andre sighed theatrically and started to unbutton his coat, “They say war is for young men, arranged by the old, but they forget us. How many have you fought Charles?”

“All but the last,” Scanholm nodded to himself slightly, “Eight or nine, eight or nine Andre.”

“And I was in Easen when we burned it to the ground, and then in Leistung and Pemdura. But we can’t give up, we have to march on Rudyt, we can’t have our children grow up in Mykola!”

“And what will a handful of men do, against Rudyt?”

“More than a palmful.” The two men paused, sitting in silence, lost for words. In the hole left in conversation there was a tinkle of glass and heavy footsteps. Colonel Lovat appeared from behind a large oaken barrel, the neck of a bottle sheared off from a vintage port.

“The 86s were always such small bottles.” Lovat answered pursuant to a pair of questioning looks, before taking a healthy swig.

“The Raiders aye?” Scanholm asked, “Well to Rudyt then.”