Never the twain shall meet [Complete]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]


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Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Dephire » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:52 pm

Tristan positioned himself between Hyperion and Fenric and took the collar from the gentle giant, “Let’s not be too hasty to start an international incident, Hyperion.” The emperor of Dephire smiled cooly and handed the collar to an awaiting Templar, who bowed and hurried away. “We do not want to validate their fanaticism views, Squall. No matter how offensive they may be.” he mouthed towards Squall. He then turned his attention to the guards from the dozen or so nations, “Please return to ease, guardians.” Finally, the man’s eyes settled on the man who stirred the pot.

Squall looked coldly at the Briskan before looking up at Hagane who nodded approval.

Squall spoke softly into a channel he once knew was the private channel of Tristian’s late friend Wilhelm guessing that only Tristan would have kept open. “As you wish.”

He stepped aside and assumed an at ease position. The rest of the White Guard followed suit a half second later moving returning their rifles to parade rest.

“Fenric, brother, please do return to your seat and allow the Templars to bring you refreshments and food.” His eyes panned the room as to take in everyone’s reaction, “This is a celebration for an astonishing achievement! We have made one great leap that shall resonate throughout our history. So it is on that to which I say leave your squabbles outside this hall.” Tristan’s eyes returned to Fenric after gathering their fill. “You were invited and have arrived as a guest, as the good lady pointed out. Now, I am not sure what fascinates you so much with S&M roleplay, but that must and shall be kept in the bedroom.” He looked to Hagane in the hopes of seeing a smile, and gave a sly wink before returning to Fenric and pulled back the collar to his jacket.

Intense scarring encircled the emperor’s neck, with several dark spots where the skin had been punctured, “I know just how rough things can get.” He looked to everyone again, making sure that they remembered his time being held within Hell’s Gate’s dungeons. “So trust me, Fenric, they aren’t as pleasurable as you make them out to be.”

There was an audible gasp from the public gallery as Tristian’s scars were shown. The cameras had turned toward him and had put them into focus. If the tale was a secret before, that was no longer the case. In the studio, the anchors silent as they could not possibly add to what had transpired.

He waited for some response from the Scand before chuckling and playfully patting the man’s shoulder, “I’m only jesting.” He took a few steps back from Fenric, “This banquet seems to have lost all the pizazz for such a joyous occasion. I think karaoke is in order.” He turned to walk towards a platform where a few templars were setting up a karaoke machine, but stopped short and turned he head slightly towards the slaver, “I do suggest you take the offer of peace that I have placed on the table, Fenric. I will not tolerate another transgression from you. It won’t be a Skyan that will kick you out to the curb. I will do it personally. You may make all the threats you want and have your men attack the city, but I will make sure to retaliate a thousand fold. I remind you that you are a guest in the city of a dozen nations, so very far from home. This is not a threat, but merely a polite reminder to respect your host.”

Tristan stepped onto the platform, “Alright, I’m feeling the need for a strong partner in this song… Hyperion, care to sign with me?”

Hyperion took one glance at Tristan, and with a slight pause, turned on one heel and proceeded back to the female figure he was approaching before. "You're drunk."

The Emperor of Dephire laughed, "That's what makes karaoke so great! Come on! For old time's sake you big goof! Silvier? Fenric? Lucas? Someone sing with me or I will start singing Spin me Right Round!"
Last edited by Dephire on Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"My nation was forged by the blade of a sword and so it lives on through the sword." -Tristan Skragg, Emperor of Briska.

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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Aldarminia » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:07 am

Emissary Airport
Co-written with Havensky

The streets and the tarmac had, for the most part as far as onlookers were concerned, cleared of pedestrians long ago. However, a carefully concerted effort between the Imperial Public Relations staff and the Skyans’ had changed that. Hours ago, as the Hammer’s plane had taken off from the airport in Oruzhiyheim, Vernulsya, it had started as speculations and rumors. “Leaks” were dispersed about where he was heading and what exactly the plane was carrying besides the usual cargo and soul. Several points of contact were made with the ethnic Aldarminian Radugrasseivan communities’ organizers and leaders in the Skyan Republic, who, with their suspicions confirmed and hopes fulfilled, rallied as much of their people as they could.

By the time Dalikharl’s plane was finally landed and was properly taxied, the crowds had been redrawn to the thousands. Most of these were Skyan-Aldarminians who had come to see the arrival of the Grand Empress and the children earlier and had decided to stay the night in the city. Others were new arrivals from the Radugrasseivani that could not bear missing such an opportunity. A great many were Skyans who were simply curious as to why there was so much more fanfare about someone supposedly equivalent in suzerainty to the Empress. Unless they were very familiar with an Aldarminian migrant in the Republic, the Skyan people would have no idea of the living legend that the Patriarch of the Aszcheyko had become in the Empire.

In the Second Empire of the Golden Throne, the centerpiece of the zeitgeist was the Willed. In the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium and the Empire abroad, the hearts, minds, and souls of everyone who lived with Aldarminian blood flowing through their veins and colors of the Zhirvtorniki in their eyes were perfectly intertwined with and encapsulated by the Hammer.

Towed by a truck, a large, byzantium-curtained trapezoidal contraption was placed where passengers would exit from the regal jet. The murmur of the crowd started to become a cacophonic drone as the curtains opened up for the first time when a long velvet-trimmed gold carpet was rolled out.

A total of twelve ornately power-armored Blood Guards marched out from under the curtain in two lines adjacent-to-but-not-on the carpet. The armor of each was as byzantine as the contraption they marched from but with the addition of golden stripes, and upon their helmets were the gilded and preserved skulls of tigers hunted long ago. Hanging from each pair of shoulders were capes of tiger pelts. All of the Blood Guards except for one carried either a glaive or full-length sovnya. The one that did not knelt down upon the carpet, just right of center, as he held-straight-upward in his right hand a tall hetman’s sign with a stave of pure gold and a ball of platinum that golden tigers sprawled around it at the top. Below the ball, alternating arrangements of tigers’ pelts and eagles’ feathers dangled in the wind.

From within the contraption, the sounds of some sort of beast could be heard and a wave of silence fell over the crowd. And then the Skyan band played. Ahead of the Skyan welcome wagon, a man in black robes, head topped with a black papakha, stepped forward just a meter in front of the Blood Guard kneeling upon the carpet. This man, with his mustache reaching around and down his chin and a braided beard hanging down to his waist, also took a knee and bowed his head.

As if choreographed to the bow of the head, the curtain split apart once more, and the crowd roared over the music of the band. Dalikharl II was dressed, as his sons had been earlier, with a few too many layers. However, the choice of clothing, even given how extravagant it was, served the purpose of reminding his subjects of home and their Emperor’s familial roots as one of the great Sevrnoykassaki and Hetmanvegorakh.

A long, black fur cloak made from mink was maned with similarly-colored feathers. Underneath the cloak was a purple cherkeska kaftan with golden bandoliers that carried purple masri bullet-like decorations. Further below, was a golden, true-sleeved arkhaluk adorned with byzantium tsvetoklilii, or fleur de lis. Also below the cherkeska, the Hammer wore purple, gold-trimmed shalvarketill pants. He had left behind the Amethystine Crown, but instead, atop his head was a purple-dyed kubanka with a golden tiger rampant at the front. The hairs of his head went unseen, but his beard was braided with golden rings, and hanging from his neck were several large gold and platinum chains, which were variously ornamented with gems, especially diamonds, or traditional pieces, and their links were either in rope, snake, or spiga style. At either side of Dalikharl’s waste were sheathed shashka as ornate as his dress.

Darysha Kassakhana, the sole-survivor of the Kassakhan Veiled House and leader of the Veiled Guard, walked beside the Hammer, on his left, in her own traditional dress. Her black hair was styled in ringlets that barely concealed the silver crescent-shaped earrings that marked her as the last of her family. A woman of plain and practical taste, she had not chosen to burden herself with as many layers as her Grand Emperor. Rather, she wore a purple-trimmed damask-patterned wide-wrist-sleeve arkhaluk and similarly-designed sharovary pants. She wore a single platinum snake-linked necklace with an amulet of amethyst that was also accompanied by an elaborately-engraved silver torc with horseheads at each end. Darysha also carried a shashka at her waist with a sheath that matched the white, silver, and purple scheme of her clothing.

Not far behind the two, a large entourage of servants, staff, specially-selected schoolchildren from the National and Imperial Academic Circuits--all dressed their best either traditionally or by modern standards--and leading them, between the Grand Emperor and his plus-one in place of Katya, was a man dressed decidedly more in the modern formal fashions.

If the colors had been less-Aldarminian-oriented, the man’s heavy-set profile would have appeared exceedingly plain in comparison with the rest of the fashionably-late-arrived Aldarminian delegation. His tuxedo was gaudily purple with a golden dress shirt and purple bow-tie. Below his short, blond curls, his purple, gold-flecked eyes darted back and forth as his soft-curved chin bristled with an unkempt stubble and nervous smile. Waving with his free hand at the crowd and the cameras, unlike his Emperor and Darysha, Marat Suvorov was armed with a plain, black leather briefcase.

Perhaps the most astonishing members of the Aldarminian delegation, though, were not the people themselves, but the tigers. One male and one female Western Field Tiger marched their way ahead of the Hammer and Darysha. They were not moving freely, but were instead leashed by gilded iron chains. The female’s chain was held by Dalikharl, and the male’s was held by Darysha. On their heads, the tigers wore specially-made purple-dye wool caps that functioned as both blinders and earmuffs. They had been designed to nullify the tumult of crowds and filter out the flash of lights just enough to let the predatory beasts move without being stressed by the human senses’ predilections. Fastened to these caps were also two pointed golden horns that symbolized the creatures’ exalted place in Dorozhkaism’s cosmology.

As the tigers passed parts of the crowd, those Aldarminians there stopped cheering and bowed down on their knees in reverent silence to the holy beasts until Dalikharl and Darysha themselves passed beyond that point, creating an interesting wave-like effect through the almost-frenzied crowd. Most of the Skyans either stood agasp or even decided to participate in what appeared to be a ritual of respect. Though, either portion of the crowd had been intentionally given a two meter buffer zone from the carpet, some Skyans did jerk backwards as the tigers turned their heads to the traditionally-unfamiliar people.

After reaching the kneeling Blood Guard, he rose and took his place to the Hammer’s right, lifting up the hetman’s sign as he did, holding it steadfast to his right shoulder. Anyone familiar with those of particularly high favor with the Hammer would know this to be the Grand Emperor’s daunt-tall personal bodyguard Gunnsvyg Sigrskvor. If the tigers had frightened the man in robes at all, he did not show it as he rose from his kneeling position at the touch of the Hammer’s free hand. The whole delegation stopped here, and so the tigers turned around and decided to lie down just behind the robed man.

Speaking in the old tongue, Dalikharl asked the man, “So Master-of-Temples, how are things among your congregations?”

“I am honored by Your Majesty’s presence and concern,” the Svoboda’Dorozhka priest answered with quick bow of his head in respect and smile of adoration, “The days long here, and the nights pleasant. The Skyans treat us well. I believe Aldarminia has already gathered and may expect more adoptions and marriages, by Graces of Thorondor and Endurance of Aldarik.”

The Hammer beamed at these words. With the likes of some worse examples of Aldarminian faiths and cultures lurking about in shadows across the world, it was a pleasure to the Grand Emperor to hear primary-sourced news that the Aldarminian people were making positive and inclusive impacts at the least in Gholgoth. With that consideration in mind, the fact that every Skyan-Aldarminian marriage increased the number of his subjects by action of traditional law was just an additional bonus. Dalikharl said, “You please and bless me with your words, Master. But what of the Rainbow, Governor?”

Nodding, the Governor-priest explained, “The Republic and her citizenry, they are very amicable to us, and their democratic nature is highly conducive to harmony. We have little trouble practicing faith and following our laws, but there are some minor issues. For one, there is bit of grey area, uncertainty, in the Skyans’ legal codes regarding some of our sacraments and customs, particularly the Grass of Aldarik, the sacrificial rituals, and the Dances. Also, of course, the Bolshoi’ and thieves-in-law are occasionally troublesome, but many seem to mean well enough.”

The Hammer looked around into the crowd with a grin. He could spot more than a few tattooed faces and crossed-arms, a few even under hoods. Those that made eye contact with the Dalikharl, plummeted down to their knees. Whether you were of the Great or the Free Path, you were a proud and loyal subject of the Hammer. Turning back to the Governor of Citadel City’s Radugrasseivan and yet-nameless Master-of-Temples, the Grand Emperor assured him, “We,” tilting his head back towards Marat and then forwards to the Skyans, “Shall we what we can do of these things that trouble you… My apologies, Master-and-Governor, I seemed to have forgotten your mortal name, and where, if I may ask, Your Holiness, is your Mistress? My escort here, Miss Kassakhana, is probably getting lonely with just us two men chatting.”

“Your Majesty, my mortal name, t’is still sealed,” said the man to both Dalikharl and Darysha’s shock, “And unfortunately, my Mistress is ill. She sends her apologies and blessings through her prayers right now most likely, If it pleases you, Your Majesty, and,” looking at Darysha for the first time, “Your Beauty, the two of you may call me by the holy name ‘Zhretso Nizhsvyatykh.’ T’is what the Skyans use on my documents. They were little confused when they registered me as a citizen, and I say words, ‘I have no name but Aldarik, the Dreaming, the Enduring, the Undying, Elsewhen and Now-here.’”

The three shared a laugh, and then Darysha bowed slightly at her waist to the priest, saying as she did, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Your Holiness, Zhretso. By the Dreaming, I wish your Mistress-of-Shrines’ return to health.”

Returning the bow, but slightly lower, Zhretso thanked Darysha before gesturing to the stitched wound on Dalikharl’s right cheek, “I heard of the recent crusade. Igorsik, yes? A tragedy, the start of it. I knew the Master there. I’m sure His Mistress misses him, and she Her Master. But it appears you have injury, Your Majesty, and I have duty spurred on by this and ordered by Emperor and Enduring.

“First, of course, Your Majesty will be blessed, followed by those of delegation, and then the beasts. Afterwards, we finally get show on road, yes?” rhetorically inquired, Zhretso with a wide grin and opened arms.

The priestly governor blessed the whole of the Aldarminian delegation, including the tigers, with the hand-sign of the Svoyuim and an aspersor filled with the consecrated waters from the Holy Rivers of Ihrilles, Yihros, and Iordan and the Holy Lakes Tsvet, Ponchartreyn, and Morepas. After blessing the tigers, Zhretso returned the aspersor to the innards of his robes where it hanged clipped onto a humble necklace of brass. The Master-of-Temples then held out each of his hands to the Grand Emperor and Kassakhana. The two relinquished the chains leashing the tigers to the priest. Finally, between the cheers of the Skyan-Aldarminian onlookers and with the Blood Guard flanking them, the delegation moved towards the Skyan welcoming party.

Two Skyan Iron Guards walked alongside King Ironwing and the Ambassador to the Aldarminians. They presented both the Grand Emperor and Kassakhana with freshly baked bread, chilled water, and vodka. The Aldarminians had cautioned the Skyans against the usual savich which would normally be offered in celebration and instead had called for vodka.

Ironwing reached out to shake hands.

“Grand Emperor, on behalf and at the behest of the Skyan People, I welcome you to Citadel City.”
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Jagada » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:36 pm

BOG Shelter Constans
Undisclosed location beneath the Coral Mountains

Being called to the Box was rare, and that was saying something for a man who did rare things. The room was a perfect ten by ten by ten cube embedded deep within the mountains was as nondescript as possible with the only distinguishable figure, if it could be called such, was a small camera mounted directly in front of him. A red light as lit up just above and to the left of the lens. He got the impression not only that was being watched by someone but many. He knew he should be nervous but didn’t feel the slightest anxiety over being here.

A voice spoke from seeming nowhere. Even a few turns of his head and careful scanning revealed no evidence of speakers.

‘State your name, rank, and identification number,’ said the calm female voice, accented in the Anasian style.

‘Brandt Wulfric,’ he began, keeping his voice crisp and his words clipped, ‘Specialist. 19821.’

A few moments of total silence passed before the voice continued, ‘Acknowledged and confirmed. Welcome Specialist Brandt Wulfric. I am Commander Vinae. Do you know why you are here Specialist Brandt?’

‘A mission ma’am, but I presume nothing,’ he replied. He realized his eyes were facing straight ahead and he was tensed. There was no chair in the bland room and so he stood at the ready.

‘You presume correctly. You have been chosen by COM to take part in a mission with classification Vendetta.’

Brandt was a solid man. He stood over six feet tall with a barrel of chest, hard patrician facial features, and piercing eyes. He flinched at the last word, only a tremor but he knew Vinae would have noticed. Missions were ranked on a priority and risk scale using colors. Vendetta was not a color, and thus ranked outside the traditional system. Vendetta had always been reserved for missions involving one foreign threat and one alone. The Kravenic Reich.

‘I stand ready for briefing ma’am.’

A soft purr of the lenses focusing on the camera were surprisingly loud and almost unnerved the large man. I will not show weakness again, he thought, I will be what my people need me to be. He kept repeating the mantra in his mind over and over to steel himself as he waited.

‘The overview is simple. You will be attached, unofficially, to a Skyan humanitarian fleet. You are to be the eyes and ears of Gharsash during this mission. You will make note of any suspicious activity, note it only mentally, and provide a verbal approval or disapproval via secured channels.’

‘To what end ma’am? Who are the people I am assessing and how should I judge approval or disapproval?’

‘The Skyans are going to Cydonia.’

He flinched. Goddamit, he said mentally. But Cydonia? The old homeland of his people. It had been lost nearly eighty years ago to the Kravenic Reich, his ancestors had been one of the lucky few who managed to get aboard evacuation ships and make it to Gharsash. As a boy his father would speak of the homeland in between his bouts of insanity as he suffered through the trauma of actually living through those days as a child. His father, once an honorable man, became a victim of Extermination Syndrome and lost himself to madness.

‘Why?’ was all he managed to squeak out.

‘In their typical white-knight mentality they have struck a deal with the Enemy. There are apparently a handful of Jagites left in Cydonia, descendants of those who didn’t escape. The Skyans will be treating them for their medical issues, caring for them, and once the deal is finalized bringing them back to the Empire.’

It began to add up in his head, ‘I am there to assess whether they can be trusted enough to be brought back to the Empire?’

‘Yes, more or less. They will be returned to Gharsash regardless. Even if they are compromised we cannot be seen spitting in the faces of the Skyans for this kind act. Regardless of that kindness however, COM is not willing to let potential Reich agents run free in the Empire. You know how that ends.’

He did. He’d been apart of more than one mission to hunt down suspected Reich agents or sympathizers within the Empire and neutralize them. It was always a messy deal as the Agents were anything but machines. Good men and women had been lost in the early days of BOG to those fiends.

‘Further more Specialist Brandt … you understand what a Vendetta branding means, correct?’

‘Yes ma’am. This mission never happened. This conversation never took place. I am not technically alive and if captured or compromised by the Enemy … the Empire will never know my name.’

‘Then you understand that you cannot be captured, under any circumstance?’

‘I understand,’ he said, fully knowing exactly what she meant. Black Operations Group (BOG) did not exist on any official document within the Empire. In fact, there were no paper documents with those words anywhere and BOGCOM did not produce any paperwork that could be compromised. The vast majority of its administrative system was digitized via virtual intelligence. If captured he could only provide surface level details about BOGCOM, but even that was too much. His tongue flicked over a hole in one of his back teeth where soon as cyanide capsule would be secured. Apply just the right pressure and he’d be dead in seconds.

‘Good. Specialist Brandt, you had your orders. Additional details will be provided to you by your immediate commander. Know that the Empire values your service even if it will never know of it.’

‘Until vengeance.’

He saluted with a raised fist and turned about heading for the door. His hand reached the handle and he heard the distinctive click of the door unlocking.

‘Specialist Brandt … one more thing.’

He half turned, ‘Yes ma’am?’

‘Your special indulgence is granted prior to this mission. Make the most of it.’

Skyan Humanitarian Fleet – Cydonia
Undisclosed location in Fortress Cydonia

It was snowing for lack of a better word. He had been standing on the deck after abandoning his quarters below, intent to see the state of the fabled homeland. The oppressive, menacing black cloud was what he first laid eyes upon. It was hard to miss as it stood directly over the landmass and covered it as far as his eyes could see in either direction. There were no flashes of lightning nor the rumble of thunder to suggest a storm. For this cloud wasn’t a meteorological event but rather the byproduct of unthinking machinery. To create such a cloud of pollution as this was an achievement in and of itself.

The ‘snow’ began to fall a when they were a few miles off the coast. Of coarse he knew what it was before he even considered that his armor’s display showed a steady increase in ambient temperature. It was ash. In such quantities that he thought impossible. Some of it settled on his armor as he walked up and down the deck of the ship, making sure to avoid getting in the crews’ way as they rushed about preparing to land. He wasn’t wearing his typical suit of Ironclad that he had grown accustomed to but rather a bland suit of standardized Skyan power armor that marked him as nothing more than a low-ranking officer amongst their ranks. He had to admit that the Skyan suits were far more sophisticated than their Imperial counterparts. He had more sensors and information readouts than he knew what to do with and the entire suit moved like a second skin. No one thought such things about an Ironclad. And yet he almost felt naked in the suit, for the Skyan armor was far thinner.

He kept to himself as the disembarking of men and material began. The Skyan captain knew who he was and had been briefed by his superiors and chose to leave him be since he wasn’t causing any issues. The less attention drawn to him the better. The Reich would be watching.

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The Scandinvans
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Founded: Oct 09, 2004

Postby The Scandinvans » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:42 am

Raising his hand his signaled to his guards to at full attention. Then he hit a few keys on his wrist which had been covered by his sleeve until just now and mumbled a few indecipherable words into a microphone hidden behind his mask. Analyzing the situation the Crown Prince fully understood that the Havenites would be quite willing to follow through with their threats. Their actions however had gone exactly as he predicted they would. They had shown that they were willing to draw a sword against a diplomatic mission. Something that many would not abide. \

He chuckled for a second. He was not afraid of death in the fashion that they likely were. They, as secularists largely, did not invest any substantial amount of time in the spiritual side of things. They fought in order to protect their material existences. They fought for this world, whilst the Scandinvans fought for the world to come. The divide between these wildly different perspectives inherently created a chasm of misunderstanding which was difficult to cross. Added in with the vying styles of governance they supported, it made things all the more hostile.

With such divisions, the Scandinvans had decided that peace as it stood would become impossible even when they had the accord with Havensky. They merely had hoped Kraven would keep them distracted for the foreseeable future. However, the Havenite to the Golden Throne and their murder of a prince of the House of Erid had pushed the schedule for conflict ahead. Nonetheless, the plans for the war were already full made by Warsmiths. They had a credible understanding of the dynamics of such a dispute and believed that the Havenites would remain fearful of potential invasions from the West. Thus they believed they had an innate advantage in a one to one. They additionally estimated that sufficient diplomatic posturing would be able to remove the tensions with the other Gpthic powers in a relatively straightforward fashion.

The presence of Fernic at the conference was part of that plan. They believed that him even showing up would provide enough of an opening to begin to enter into talks with the other Gothic Lords. The actions by Havensky in response to a simple gesture and a profoundly incorrect reading of Scandinvan speech would play to that end. Deciding to keep his reply fairly short he started, " You seek to set the terms of debate. You see us oppressors. You see yourselves as liberators. You justify your actions with anything you can cling onto you. You would go so far to threaten with force of arms a sovereign underneath the protections of a diplomatic mission. You show yourselves to be everything we know you to be: you are degenerates incapable of understanding honor.

There will now be a price paid by you for this sacrilege profligates. That however is not something that will be revealed by me at this time. The wages of sin is death. The glory of faith is life. Your lies shall be exposed, your manipulations proclaimed, and your guilt proven."

Finishing that he gestured towards his guards and began to leave. Though whilst that was happening sorties of Scandinvan bombers began to depart Vismer making a direct run towards the Havenite forces near them. They would test, in battle, a new variant of hyperonic missiles. The beginning of the penance to be paid for the vileness Havensky had shown to Fenric. Though the Crown Prince would safety be back in his own fleet before any attack from them could take place.
We are the Glorious Empire of the Scandinvans. Surrender or be destroyed. Your civilization has ended, your time is over. Your people will be assimilated into our Empire. Your technological distinctiveness shall be added to our own. Your culture shall be supplanted by our own. And your lands will be made into our lands.

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Left-Leaning College State

To Those Who Remain

Postby Kylarnatia » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:46 pm

The White Citadel, Citadel City
Havensky, Gholgoth

Lord Hyperion watched as the Scandin lord departed, and only when they were out of sight did his attention finally turn back to the cloaked woman he had approached before. She stood at around six-foot-eight, with a moderately-built physique, leaning against the back wall with her arms crossed. She was dressed almost entirely from head-to-toe in black leathers and a hooded cloak, save for a golden brooch which held the cloak in place in the shape of a fox with tiny emeralds inlaid for eyes. The hood up and concealing her face, the only other distinguishable feature was her burning red hair.

“That went well.” She remarked, to which Hyperion audibly groaned in disgust.

“It is the slaver’s own failing in humanity that led to this, or more likely cunning political stunt to take back home.” He waved his free hand in dismissal. “The Executor wishes to convince him to stay, and that is his duty to make it so. Our duty is to those who remain. Come.”

The Dux Imperator made his way to the exit, the cloaked woman now following by his side. The two walked for a moment in silence in the direction of the Caesar’s accommodation - to where she had retired to prepare for the feast - before they were almost entirely alone, at which point they continued talking.

“Do you have faith that these reforms will work?” The woman asked the Lord. He did not respond for a moment.

“It is not my place to judge or influence what they do and how effective that might be. It is my place to help make it so, since that is the Caesar’s will.”

The cloaked one looked at him until he looked as well, at which point Hyperion continued. “As it will soon become yours to enact the will of this Council. I shall be presenting you as the Imperium’s nomination for Praetor at tomorrow’s proceedings.”

The cloaked woman nodded. “I will be sure not to disappoint either you or the Caesar, my Lord.”

“You won’t.”

After a few more steps, she noticed that only the faint sound of hers continued. Turning swiftly on her heel, she saw that Hyperion had stopped dead, his head tilted upwards slightly. Walking back to him, she uttered a whisper.

“Are they singing?”

Fortem Basilica, Citadel City
Havensky, Gholgoth
Nine months ago

Anton Tate was a Public Safety Officer of the rank of Sergeant in the Heart District of Citadel City. He had lived a fairly ordinary and peaceful life in the city with his wife, Fortuna Tate - an expat from Kylarnatia - and their young son Justinian “Justin” Tate. He was a popular man amongst his peers and colleagues, and was known for being both fair and committed in his duties, having received several commendations for his work in the Heart District. He was tipped to move further up the ranks.

Then his life was cut short a few days past, along with four of his colleagues, when they defended schoolchildren from Scandin Attestors with only their pistols. While they stood little chance, it bought enough time for the children to get to safety and for Brave Company to intervene and neutralize the threats. Their sacrifice made them one of the few casualties of the attack, and the grief was felt all throughout the city. When news of their heroism spread, Anton Tate became particularly noteworthy in Kylarnatia; not only for his wife, but also for the fact that to wed her, he had converted to the Silvier Sacerdotium.

Therefore when the Caesar sent aid to help rebuild the damaged parts of Citadel City, she also sent a convent of the Daughters of the Cloister - an exclusive order of the Sacerdotium who tend to holy sites and perform sacred duties, rarely venturing outside Kylarnatia - to carry out the ritual rights of Tate’s funeral. In her role as Pontifex Maximus, should also renamed Citadel City’s seat of the Sacerdotium the Fortem Basilica, or “Cathedral of the Brave”, in honour of not just Tate and his officers but also the Skyan people.

The day of the funeral was dark and overcast, but that had not stopped thousands from turning out to honour the late Sargeant. Archpriestess Allison Moor - also a Skyan convert to the Sacerdotium - spoke to the crowd from the steps of the Basilica prior to the arrival of the deceased, his family and the Daughters, telling tales of bravery and sacrifice from the Sacerdotium’s holy scriptures. According to them sacrificing yourself for others was an honourable death. Most of the crowd that gathered were Skyans who wished to pay their respects but who were also curious about the Sacerdotium - this foreign religion which they had heard of - but also believers and worshippers from a variety of backgrounds, though predominantly Kylarnatian.

The procession of the deceased appeared on foot, the route guarded by Public Safety Officer’s who had once been under Tate’s command. Others that were still uniformed but off-duty - his closest friends - flanked his body, which was being pulled along by horse on an open-air carriage in the shape of a boat, representing what would traditionally be a boat sailing the deceased across the Seraphis River to one of the many necropoli on the west banks which served as their final resting place. Tate would have an even more unique resting place: the Fortem Basilica itself. Leading the carriage were his widow, veiled and entirely in black, and his son who wore a child-sized version of his father's uniform, decorated with all his commendations, and carrying a toy Skyan airship. Following them from the rear were the Daughters, veiled but entirely in white with seams of gold, the one furthest to the back openly weeping. As the procession passed them, onlookers threw flowers of various kinds. Once they reached the steps of the Basilica, his friends retrieved his body and began to carry it as the Daughters proceeded to the front and followed the Archpriestess inside.

The onlookers outside would have to listen to guides who explained what happened next as the procession found itself in the innermost sanctuary of the Basilica where a representation of the Grand Mother stood, visible to the public only from a gallery that looked down from above, where relatives and loved ones of the deceased and his family had gathered. Once there, Tate’s body was placed on an altar before a representation the Grand Mother. As his wife, child and closest friends watched on, Archpriestess Moor tended to the Mother and spoke of the deceased. The Daughters tended to the body, and began to sing in High Seraphic: to everyone who listened on, it was if they could understand without knowing any of the words - it was a song of grief, asking for the Seraphim to take the deceased into their arms once he reached Avaris. Many began to weep.

Tate had been mummified in the Kylarnatian tradition, with his organs removed apart from the heart, and then his body was dried in sacred salt for forty days, before being oiled and wrapped in several layers of linen wrappings. Now the Daughters performed the finishing touches: as they sang - the sound now reverberating through the Basilica - two proceeded to fashion him a crown out of Ironweed - a native Skyan flower - around his head, while the rest took turns to place various protective amulets and trinkets within his wrappings, said to protect him from the wayward forces of chaos within the Duat or “Otherworld”, which surrounded and kept separate the realms of Seraphim, Daemons and Humankind alike. They continued singing once their tasks were done, as Fortuna and Justin were directed forward towards his body. Now weeping uncontrollably, she looked upon him for a moment before kissing his forehead, while Justin just looked on unable to fully make sense of what was going on in front of him. They were allowed a few moments before the ceremony continued.

Once the Archpriestess had finished praying to the Grand Mother, she led the procession down into the crypt, which had been built especially for Tate. His wife and son went first after her, then followed his body being carried once again by his friends, then the Daughters who continued their song.

The walls had been decorated with many bright scenes and colours, emblazoned images showing Tate as he was in life and then how he was to be remembered in death: an Aspect of Bravery, one of the many Seraphim who would help inspire the quality within the living who aspired to it. His sarcophagus was shaped to his image, with the added decoration of wings both on the interior and enveloping the exterior, representing his own and those of his new kin. Slowly, his body was placed inside, and once he finally laid to rest the Archpriestess gave the final rites. As she did so, the young Justin - who was slowly beginning to process what was happening - approached the sarcophagus and dropped in the toy airship he carried. He wanted it to go with his father, to keep him safe.

Then the lid was closed.

Present Day

The Daughters of the Cloister who had accompanied the Caesar - including the acolyte who had now rejoined her kin - had gathered at the Fortem Basilica to return to the grave of Anton Tate. They performed a different song - led by a Daughter who had remained at the Basilica after the funeral - one which celebrated his rebirth as a Seraphim, traditionally believed to occur after nine months. A small crowd had gathered to witness the event, including his family and loved ones, this time joining those outside as screens displayed the ceremony inside: Over the sealed entrance to his crypt, at the base of the representation of the Grand Mother, a new representation was unveiled: It was Anton Tate, now an Aspect of Balance, his form reborn and naked in the classical style with wings outstretched and standing defiantly with a shield in hand.

When the image appeared on screen, the crowd cheered.

White Citadel

The Caesar had changed from her ceremonial armour into an extravagant diamond-studded dress, with a golden diadem decorated with scenes of cherubs and angels flying together adorning her forehead and holding together her locks of blonde hair, which had been pushed back. As the final touches were being made to her makeup, she spoke with both Hyperion and the cloaked woman, who had filled her in on what had happened with the Scandinvan lord. The Dux Imperator had of course neglected to tell her the exact details of what he had done, apart from saying that he spoke up in the Skyan’s defence.

“And you say that Nathan has gone after him?”

“Yes, my Caesar.”

Silvier mused over what she had been told for a moment, before turning her attention to the cloaked woman who stood in her view thanks to the mirror she was using.

“Khonsu, make yourself presentable for the feast. You’ll be dining with the other Praetors, and I want you to learn all you can about them.”

“As you wish, my Caesar.” Khonsu bowed, before leaving the room. Hyperion watched her go, before turning back to Silvier. She also looked at him through the mirror for a good moment before cracking a smile.

“Well, how do I look?”

The Lord looked for a moment, almost as if he was asking himself whether he felt the need to answer the question. “You look fine.”

Silvier laughed, knowing that was as close as she’d get to a compliment from him. “Such a way with words.”


[OOC: Written with Aldarminia]

The Caesar’s approach to the Grand Ballroom sent the media into a frenzy, all of them trying to get a perfect shot of her diamond-stunned dress glimmering in the bright light of the White Citadel. Her arm interlinked with Julianus, the young Haeres smiled to the press pack and waved while Lord Hyperion and Khonsu stood stalwartly behind them, watching everyone who walked past closely. Silvier peered down the hallway and took note of the Lords and guests already entering the Ballroom, and as she looked back she noticed the commotion happening at the other end.

“It seems as if we have a new arrival.” She mentioned to her party, and now all their attentions turned.

Trudging with a thinly-veiled grimace towards the ballroom was the Hammer, Dalikharl the second, and his entourage. Just before he made a step to turn towards and into the feasting area, the Aldarminian Grand Emperor felt a tug at his arm. Darysha was the culprit, but her crime was pardoned the moment Dalikharl saw what her head was tilting towards. With a simpering swagger, the Hammer marched towards his Kylarnatian comrade with open arms, “Sil-! Err, Catherina! I cannot tell you how glad I am that you’re the first besides the Skyan I am to see here.”

Silvier smiled warmly as the Grand Emperor opened his arms, returning the gesture and embracing him tightly for a moment. She raised an eyebrow as he attempted to address her with her first name - a taboo, in Kylarnatian tradition, to speak the Grand Mothers name in casual conversation - but was pleasantly surprised when he corrected himself.

“Dalikharl, how glad I am you came to join us. I was worried that with Katya’s departure, the Imperial Cosmocratium’s voice would be lost in the shuffle, though I will say the young Ryslander has impressed thus far.” She gestured towards her party, “I’m sure you remember Julianus, although he’s much older than when you last met.”

“It is an honour to see you again, Grand Emperor.” The Haeres saluted him and bowed his head.

Dalikharl returned the Haeres’s salute with pride stretched on his face. Clasping the boy by both shoulders, the Hammer said, “And it is a joy to see you again, Julianus. You’ve grown well, and I’ve been informed of your participation in the debates. You bring pride to your people and all of Gholgoth.” The Haeres eyes lit up and his smile widened, much to the pleasure of his mother.

Silvier then gestured to Hyperion. “You of course know Lord Hyperion. I can never seem to get rid of him.” She laughed.

Hyperion ignored the joke, and stretched out to clasp the Grand Emperor’s forearm and shake it. “Your Imperial Majesty. I trust the fighting against the Dreads goes well?” The Dux Imperator knew of the fighting, for the Imperium was heavily invested in the conflicts of the Imperial Cosmocratium. He had personally committed his own men to such conflicts.

Dalikharl’s smile became slightly austere when he greeted Hyperion with a handshake, “It does. Igorsik,” gesturing to the stitched wound on his face, “Is free of their scourge, and that makes us clear on major cells. We believe none should emerge for at least another month. And of course, it’s an honor and pleasure to be here with you, Hyperion.”

“The honour is mine, Hammer. I am glad to hear the front is well.” The Dux Imperator responded.

“And then this, is Khonsu. My nomination for the Imperium’s Praetor.” The Caesar gestured to the young lady with burning red hair and a venetian mask in the style of a fox. Khonsu’s emerald eyes looked deeply into those of the Hammer, and she silently bowed her head.

The Grand Emperor looked curiously at Khonsu, taking in the mystery of her mask, “Pleasure to meet you, Khonsu. If you are the Caesar’s Praetor nominee, I have little doubt you will serve all Goths well.”

Stepping back a little, the Hammer’s expression turned sour as he foresaw the necessity to come. Violaceous, downcasted eyes heralded Dalikharl’s words as Darysha came forward, “Catherina,” facing the Caesar, “Katya sends her regrets, as do the children. Circumstances as of late have been,” pausing with a cursory glance to nothing only to return to Silver’s gaze with a dim fire behind the pupils’ black, “Troublesome. This, though, is my plus-one in my wife’s stead, Her Beauty, Darysha of the Veil Kassakhan, Voimyntszarina.”

Tears held back salted the Emperor’s eyes, “The late Venkhzmr’s replacement.”

Darysha bowed to the Caesar with a warm expression, “Honored to meet you, Your Majesty. Tales of your beauty will never do it justice.”

“You are too kind.” Silvier smiled, adjusting her diadem slightly. “You are deserving of the compliment yourself. I would expect nothing less of Dalikharl’s company.”

Gesturing to the man who had been gawking at Silvier, the Hammer continued the introductions, “And this good fellow would be Marat of the Veil Suvorov. He is my nominee for Praetor alongside Ryslander.”

Marat bowed as well and stammered, “I-I-Honored to meet you, Your Majesty.”

The Caesar smirked, nodding gently. Khonsu’s attention quickly turned to Marat, observing every fine detail about him, trying to get an impression of this man who was likely to become her counterpart in the Praetor programme.

“Nothing to say of her beauty, Marat? Odd, you were enjoying it a second ago!” roared from under a helmet a hoarse voice.

Darysha rolled her eyes as the Hammer carried on, “And you might remember the man standing in the corner, Catherina, but this is Osaul Gunnsvyg Sigrskvor. The man is determined to be even more clingy than Lord Hyperion, albeit with less tact.”

Removing his helmet after a salute to the Caesar and Hyperion, Gunnsvyg nodded and then confirmed, “That I am. Good to see you and the Haeres again in health, Your Majesty. And Hyperion, glad you will be joining us, as if it is a surprise. When will you be coming over for another vacation? You missed the party at Igorsik you old fool!”

Silvier and Julianus gave hearty laughs. Hyperion looked over to Gunnsvyg and offered him the same handshake as he did Dalikharl. “If it was up to me I would have been there, Sigrskvor, but as I’m sure you’re aware there are growing storm-clouds across the whole of Gholgoth.”

With all the introductions out of the way, the Caesar now interlinked her arm once more with Julianus, gesturing for Dalikharl and his entourage to join them as they proceeded towards the Ballroom. The Hammer stood next to her while Darysha, Marat and Sigrskvor followed close behind with Hyperion and Khonsu, the latter still watching Marat closely. As they walked, Silvier spoke quietly to Dalikharl, so that they weren’t overheard by the press or any other unwanted attention.

“I assume you’ve already been briefed on what has happened so far?”

What may have seemed rude to the others nearby was simply a necessity. With a wave of his hand, Dalikharl had quietly ordered Darysha away, and she promptly took leave of the entourage entirely. The Hammer returned his attention to Silvier to reply, “Indeed. I am not so sure Nathan can handle this, but from what Katya tells me, I suppose I can trust him. How are things going with the greater scheme?”

“The best thing we can do in regards to Nathan is work with him. The Alliance needs to show a strong front; I too have my doubts, though he has surpassed my expectations thus far, and I intend to support him in all that I can.” the Caesar remarked. “Besides that, Tristan has been granted his own Fortress off the coast of Briska in an effort to try and contain the Reich.”

Hyperion interjected. “The Reich is biding it’s time. They’ve been playing a long game and have engaged in some underhand diplomacy in order to keep the attention off of them, but we’re not so dense.”

Silvier glared back at him for a moment, as if to remind him where they were. She then leaned in closely to Dalikharl, “The Skyans have brokered a deal with the Reich to be a part of the reforms in order to secure the release of Jagite prisoners in Cydonia. You do not utter this to anyone: I will be speaking to Atticus in time.”

The Hammer stopped in his tracks for a moment, pausing to process. His face was unflinching but an informed observer would have been able to see the cogs and gears turning. He continued his step, keeping pace with Silvier. “So,” said Dalikharl, “Tonight still has its surprises.”

He took off his cloak and papakha, handing it to a servant who had shown up beside the Grand Emperor, cued by the motions. As the hat came off, Dalikharl’s hair rushed downward across his forehead and toward his neck. The long locks created a strange effect on his visage. From between the brown bars and under the shadows of the cage-like mop, a single eye could be seen piercing into some sort of stare, thousands of meters ahead in focus. Making no attempt to regulate the volume of his voice besides keeping to respectful levels, Dalikharl said as he fiddled with his beard, “And I have declared house-war on the Shuns. After denying the Lordship, they dared to continue their attacks.”

After retrieving a tie from one of his pockets, Dalikharl’s hands covered his face before they clawed their way over his scalp to deftly tie the locks into a quick braid of sorts. After this was done, the Hammer grasped his shashka’s hilt, and spoke with a dark grin, “Those scum will die with their dynasty’s claim to power. More importantly, Hyperion speaks true. Whatever game the Reich is playing, we will have to be and will be prepared. I agree that we will need the Gentry folk, but Skragg coming into the fold is the greater victory in my opinion. A coordinated defense is best, and he’s got the unfortunate privilege of being at the very front of the lines, so to speak.”

The Hammer’s expression twisted into a frown, “I unfortunately have to play diplomat tonight it seems. I will be sitting with the Brass Chair Emperor. The Great Intruder himself. Any advice on how I should dance with this man Fedor?”

“You, Nathan and I will have to speak with Tristan at some point to reaffirm our commitment to him and his people, and to start making greater plans on what to do in response to the Reich. We must start laying the groundwork now for the inevitable: I fear that the Fortress Continent may become uninhabitable to anything except the Reich’s machinations in the near future.” Silvier thought silently on those words as Dalikharl got himself ready, and then the conversation turned to the feast’s guest of honour.

“I only know of the Emperor of the Golden Throne through what my intelligence tells me, and one does not find himself in the position he is in without being shrewd and capable. That said, I get the impression he has little understanding of our ways and of the Alliance, and thus is treating this only as a formality: I trust you to make the case to him that we are more capable than we seem. As for how to act, create a common dialogue between the two of you: both of you I’m sure have a lot to say about your experiences of war and peace.” Silvier stopped so she could come behind Dalikharl, fixing his hair tie just a little so that it was perfectly even.

“I meanwhile will be making friendly with a few of our Southern Gothic brethren. A much more uneventful, but nevertheless important task. That and I will have the company of Captain Skaro, the Reich’s representative at these talks. He is not like them: he still possesses a human mind. A part of the Reich’s deception, for sure, but the man himself is deeper than that.”

The Hammer nodded his thanks for Silvier’s assistance but shot a bewildered look at the trusting tone in regards to Skaro. He trusted the Caesar, but he would never provide engender that confidence into anything attached to the Reich. “Better you than I, Catherina. I am certain that my acquisition has set some of the South on edge, so it will be good to have you assuage their concerns. But Skaro though,” facing the heavens in a brief train of thought, “Whatever humanity the Reich has allowed to inhabit that… Man’s rank is undoubtedly there for the purpose you describe. Plus, he is a submariner. His art is one of patience, deception, and evasion. He might be using it to survive, but it’s equally like he’s using what remains of a soul in him under the Reichmarshall’s orders.”

“I sense your concerns, Dalikharl, and I share them. I do not trust the man, however he presents an opportunity to understand the Reich in a way that we’ve never had the chance: a way which, either knowingly or unknowingly to him, might tell us what we need to know. I shall be careful; I always am.” Silvier placed a hand on the Hammer’s shoulder and smiled.

The Hammer scratched at his beard and spoke low, “If we can put an end to the Reich, Julianus and Zlobaskar could rule during a peace like no other.”

“If such a thing could be achieved, I would be glad for it.” Julianus piped in. Silvier took one look at her child - someone whom she adored more than anything else in the world - and her eyes glowed at the prospect of being able to guarantee him such a future. But that quickly faded, as she knew deep inside herself that such a dream would be near impossible to bring to fruition without great pain and suffering. How many childrens futures would they have to deny in order to make such a reality possible?

“We shall make the Reich rue the day that they decided to undermine us when we were in disarray. They will come to respect the will of the Alliance once again, and united we shall contain and prevent any future bloodshed and achieve such a peace.” The Caesar regained the glow and fire in her eyes. Sacrifice was inevitable in war, but she would ensure that it’d only be taken when necessary. “I swear it, on the lives of my people and yours. I will not rest until the Reich is cut low and the Alliance ascends to a glory which surpasses even the days of Dreadfire.”

And with that, they arrived at the entrance to the Ballroom. “Well, I’ll allow you to go off and enjoy your evening at the high table. I have no doubt you will do Gholgoth a great service.”

The Hammer smiled and reached into his pockets again, revealing a flask from which he quickly swigged before replacing. “Semper Certans Gholgoth.”

“Semper Certans, Gholgoth.” Silvier gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and a further embrace, before the Grand Emperor departed.

“Shall we enter the feast, my Caesar?” Hyperion queried.

“No, not yet.” Caesar responded, turning promptly to watch Atticus entering the Press Room, whom she quickly followed.
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Emperor Pudu
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Postby Emperor Pudu » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:52 pm

Citadel City

The unexpected rooftop rendezvous with the Capitol Police had left Dengmu with a general feeling of unease. As the Pudite and Drakonian party made their way back down to the council chambers Dengmu stopped to beg the pardon of Augustus and excused himself from his fellow sovereign. Dengmu and his people left the Drakonian Praetor and his entourage then.

Breaking away from their compatriots, Dengmu sidled up to Otho and spoke in low tones, still in the open corridors of the Citadel as they were. "I should like a cigar and a whisky, Lucius, each of a vintage more ancient than the other, where does indulge in these tastes about here?" The pristine white walls and relentless concern for things like health standards and courtesy meant that it was unlikely the Skyans would permit him to light up in the White Citadel. Lucius Otho, however, was exactly the person to ask. "Don't worry, your majesty, I've already solved that problem. We'll have to pop next door, however. It's where the staff here do their drinking." Dengmu nodded appreciatively, and Otho added one more thing, "And I never leave home for important events such as these without a pair of hand-rolled Almarans at least old enough to buy their own whisky." he produced a pair of cigars from his jacket's interior pocket. Dengmu took one in hand and examined the gold leaf wrapper and saw the vintage, 1972, "I was five years old when this was rolled. Excellent choice."

The small party, now reduced to Dengmu, Otho, the ever present Master Chai, Commander Victrius and Korinna Ariosto, made their way out of the White Citadel and took the short walk to their destination flanked by some half dozen dark suited and grim-faced agents of the Imperial First Cavalry Horseguard they had met on the way out. The intelligence analyst Olifer Golub and the military attache Captain Petrushkin had returned to the suite of offices the Pudite delegation had the use of in the Citadel where they were again in conference with the embassy, bringing news of the Kraven offer and arranging the deployment of relevant assets.

When the party arrived at the bar they found it empty except for the bartender standing idly behind the bar with a napkin in one hand and his phone in the other, apparently on a video call, speaking excitedly. So much so that for a moment he failed to notice his newest patrons enter the bar. It was Commander Victrius, ducking his seven foot frame through the doorway in his immense power armor that finally seemed to catch the eye of the man. Otho advanced to speak with him while Dengmu and the others hesitated at the door for a moment. "Excuse me sir, I'm so sorry, do you mind cutting your call short? My companion there, well, he doesn't like to be photographed. Emperors, ya know?" Otho shrugged nonchalantly as the man's eyes drifted to Dengmu and back to the ambassador, "Oh, uh, yes, of course." he stumbled over his words momentarily, "Sorry dear," he said into the phone, "I have customers." he said it with a wink and a smile before ending the call.

With the full attention of the barman and the outside line closed the Pudite delegation took seats at the bar. Commander Victrius took a post at the door, politely but instantly turning away any would be patrons, while the agents of the Horseguard took positions around the room, at windows and on the balcony outside. Dengmu, Otho and Korinna took seats at the bar while Master Chai stood silent sentinel behind them. "Whisky." Dengmu then said, "Nunkid whisky if you have it," he elaborated. The city of Nunkid in the Dominate was renowned domestically for their whiskys, "If not, the best you've got." Otho followed up, "Make it two whiskys," he turned to Korinna, "And for you? Don't worry, I'm the boss and this is a covered business expense." Korinna smiled, "In that case, make it three." At that point Otho tossed a gold coin onto the bar, a Pudite gold crown, with Dengmu's profile on one side and the crane sigil on the reverse. "Open a tab with that." It was, the barman was soon to determine, an ounce of solid gold.

Drinks in hand, Otho led the way to the balcony. Dengmu and Master Chai followed, though Korinna remained posted up at the bar, her phone now in hand. The swearing in of the Ghantish Emperor as the new Executor would begin shortly, she would find a live stream of the council chamber for the occasion.

Otho and Dengmu emerged on the balcony just as the sun was beginning to set. Looking westward the pair had an view of the skyline on their left and the vast encompassing bay on their right, with the great orange ball of the sun dipping below the horizon behind it all. The two took positions at the railing and made to light their cigars.

As the two enjoyed the silence and the view Otho thought back to the brief conversation he had shared with Dengmu before their entrance to the council chamber. It felt like months had passed since that solemn moment, and no doubt the days ahead would pass no quicker. This was another one of those little moments, though, that the Emperor had professed his love for, and so Otho remained silent and enjoyed it with him.

For that reason, it was Dengmu who was first to speak. Some minutes had passed, in the way time passes in silence between old friends, and now the old man was moved to words, "What will become of Shen Almaru once it is retaken?" he mused almost to himself. Otho raised an eyebrow and glanced at Dengmu, "You'll put some new, presumably more loyal, governor there and it will go on as before, won't it?"

"Can it?" was Dengmu's immidiate reply. "Governor Lartius wasn't wrong to recognize the weakness of the archipelago's position in Gholgoth. His only mistake was in estimating my response to his action. Who's to say the islands won't be made a victim again, and this time, perhaps without invitation. No matter how traitorous that invitation was or would be."

Otho digested what his emperor had said, his mind still turning when he began to answer, "It is a diplomatic weakness, rather than a military one, that the islands wrestle with. I don't think there's any doubt that this ongoing crisis will be, ultimately, good for our position in Shen Almaru and the region. We will have forged lasting bonds, established strong positions and enforced a status quo that is in our interest."

"You say we," Dengmu answered, "As if you meant 'the nation' or maybe just 'the two of us' but from what I have seen and heard of your actions here since the coup, it is you who are forging these bonds, these personal relationships." As Dengmu spoke Otho reflected on the time that had passed since he fled Mazaraan for Citadel City. His network of allies in the islands had allowed his escape, and now it was he who the Skyans championed as the liberator of Shen Almaru.

"I want you to lead Shen Almaru." Dengmu spoke it definitively. Otho remained quiet. "I am Emperor, I can appoint you governor. Your only alternative would be to retire. Of course, I'd rather you wanted the position. Do you?" he asked.

Do I? Otho thought to himself in that moment. His instinct was to say no, but what if he did? What if his instinct was to hide his ambition, something that had often been necessary in his political career. "I am not an executive." He finally answered, "I am not the man for this job."

"Hell to that," Dengmu growled back, "You're the man I chose, that makes you the man for the job. I want you to lead. How you manage it is up to you. You have my trust." Again Otho had no immidiate answer. Something the Skyans had mentioned to him then came back to the ambassador, "How I manage is up to me?" Otho queried. "Yes." was the emperors only answer. "Then this is what I propose."

Otho then laid out his plan, one which drew inspiration from discussions he had held with the Skyans in the last months. In the plan the changes to the governance of Shen Alamru would become part of Dengmu's Five Points reforms. Elections would be held across the islands to select a legislature, from which would come a Prime Minister to act as head of government. Lucius Salvias Otho would accept the role of President, a role that for now would remain one appointed by the Pantokrat, and would act as head of state in a largely ceremonial and advisory capacity for the new government. Furthermore, the President would serve as the de facto representative to Gholgoth for the Pantokratic Dominate, a role Otho already filled in the sometime-absence of Dengmu.

Chewing on the end of his cigar thoughtfully, Dengmu took in his ambassador's proposal. As Otho wrapped up the plan both men noticed their drinks had run quite low. "Allow me to refresh that beverage, your majesty," Otho offered, leaving his cigar in an ashtray and taking the two glasses in hand. Dengmu remained on the balcony, cigar in hand, thinking.

Otho ducked back into the bar and immidiately sensed the excitement coming from the persons of Korinna and Kaeso, who were huddled around the bar while the bartender peered over from the other side at the object of their attentions. He could soon see it was Korinna's cell phone, laid flat on the bar. As soon as they noticed Otho enter he was waved over to them, "You have to see this!" Korinna exclaimed, "It's the feed from the council chamber! The Scandin lord Fenric has lost his mind!" Otho rushed over to the bartop, setting the glasses down forgotten, as he watched the scene unfold.

There were audible gasps among those watching as the Skyan legionary stepped forward and barked his commands. The Skyan bartender, for his part, slapped the bar and shouted, "YEAH, KICK HIS SLAVER ASS SQUALL!" The exclamation caught some of the Pudites by surprise, but they couldn't help but feel the man's enthusiasm. "Gods," muttered Otho as the situation calmed down, "And I actually want to remain ambassador to this body..." As the others continued to watch, the youngest of them, Kaeso Vorenius, stepped back a few feet, turning something over in his mind.

As the situation calmed and the Dephirian began to break out the karaoke equipment Otho turned away, back to the bartender. "Two more, please." Once his request had been obliged he returned to the balcony, leaving Korinna to her viewing and Kaeso to whatever he was working on. He had requested a pen and paper from the bartender and was now furiously scribbling.

Outside once again Otho rendered the second whisky to his emperor and rejoined him at the balcony rail, picking his cigar back up. "So, you've thought on my proposal?" he asked. Dengmu took a thirsty swig of the brown liquor and a long drag on his cigar. "Aye. We'll make the reforms. You'll be the first president of the Republic of Shen Almaru, if that's what it takes to get you in Lartius's old office." Otho too pulled a long and satisfied drag on the cigar, "Excellent, thank you your majesty. I am proud to accept your generous offer."

The two men passed the next few minutes quietly, enjoying their refreshments and the beautiful vistas that the balcony overlooked. As their cigars burned down to the end, Otho looked back to the sovereign, "Well, dinner will be getting started soon. Shall we return to the Citadel?" Dengmu's reply was a sardonic "If we must." The party finished their last round and made their way out. The bartender, fidgeting with Otho's gold coin in hand, explained to Otho that he didn't have the cash on hand to make change for this ounce of gold. "Keep it." was the reply. "It's yours, but I trust you'll buy Squall a drink next time he stops by." Otho winked as the group left the, now decidedly richer, barman and headed back up to the White Citadel and the state dinner that awaited them.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:39 am

The White Citadel
The Skybound Republic

(co-written with Dephire, Havensky, Kylarnatia and the Scandinvans)

Meanwhile, the Emperor of Ghant had departed the room with his delegates, personal guard and children, the former feeling satisfied with how everything played out. It was an odd feeling for Nathan knowing that he was Gothic Executor...what was he expected to do now? He didn’t necessarily feel any different...yet was he supposed to act differently than he did before? Perhaps...there are certain expectations for my conduct that I’m being held to now…

It was further down the hall that he thought he had heard shouting coming back from the reception hall where he had given his introductory speech and was sworn in. Just then he could feel the cut no his hand pulsating, the wound beating against its tightly pressed bandage. The so called Black Guards stopped in their tracks and looked especially alert, while the children appeared anxious, aside from Bebe, who seemed rather amused at the prospect of there being an argument.

“...I should go and see what that is,” Nathan informed his party, before turning to the Knight of Ducks. “See my children safely to their chambers, Rolli.”

As the knight began to nod, Lady Lara Jarasa gazed with an unamused expression at the Emperor. “You’re going to go back to the reception hall? And do what, exactly? Don’t be ridiculous... you know how dangerous some of these people are. No sense in putting yourself in harm’s way so early into your term.”

The Emperor snorted in response. “And just keep walking away, when there could be an argument that I might be able to resolve? I can’t just turn my back and not care...that would make me no different from my predecessor.” Nathan directed eight of the Black Guards to gather around him, and then he added “Don’t worry about me...I’ll be fine. Aren’t I always?” Inclining his head to Lady Jarasa and watching as his children were escorted away, the Executor turned back and walked briskly in the direction that he came from.

Upon his return to the reception hall, he could see Fenric and his men in some sort of defensive posture against Squall, some Skyan knights, Tristan and Hyperion, the lot of them looking like they were poised for some sort of confrontation. Knowing the persons involved, Nathan assumed that Fenric said something to piss someone off, and now the scene teetered on the brink of an international incident. For fucksake, talk about a baptism by fire…

“What’s going on here?” the Executor asked with a firm voice. “I heard shouting down the hall. Is everyone alright?” Well...nobody’s dead, so I guess that’s a good place to start…

Lord Hyperion, who had now rejoined the shadowy female figure he had approached before, turned his massive frame to face the Executor. Bowing his head briefly with respect, he then answered. “Executor, the Scandin Prince has intentionally provoked a response from our Skyan hosts by threatening them with bondage.” He pointed to the warped mess of a slave collar - his own doing - that was now in the hands of a Templar. “They wish for his removal from these proceedings.” He did not speak of his own words, for in his mind there was no need: he had spoken personally, and that in his mind did not concern the Executor.

“Nathan! Welcome back to the party! Care to sing a duet with me?” Tristan shouted towards the Executor, seemingly trying to continue to de-escalate the situation by now ignoring the tension.

“...And the Godsend Emperor appears to be...intoxicated.” Hyperion added. To the Emperor’s credit though, he had at least made a proper effort to de-escalate the tension, although the Dux Imperator was concerned for his inhibitions.

No sooner did Hyperion catch Gholgoth’s Executor up to speed did Tristan start singing “I will Always Love You!” Making several gestures towards Fenric, Nathan, Silvier, and others. His intoxication levels would be dangerously high, were he not actually intoxicated thanks to the nanites converting the alcohol. In fact, the man singing his heart out was quite sober.

For fucksake, the Executor thought as he listened to Hyperion explain the situation and showed the mangled collar. It really is one thing after another with these people isn’t it? “Thank you Lord Hyperion...I would have hoped that Prince Fenric would have refrained som such...behavior, but alas, what is done cannot be undone, all we can do now is try to deescalate the situation…”

It was at that moment that Nathan noticed Tristan begin singing “I Will Always Love You,” which just so happened to be one of the former’s favorite songs. Tempted as he was to sing along, he couldn’t help but notice that Fenric had signaled his guards, as though perhaps he were about to leave. Right when I got here too…

The Skyans seemed to believe that Fenric intended to leave quietly and Squall and the remainder of the White Guard seemed content to allow him to walk away. They resumed their positioned the the edge of the room. Their rifles moved to a position of parade rest and their watchful eyes moved with the slaver as he walked away.

Squall scowled as Fenric left the room. His armor barely betraying the excess energy that had built up from the episode. He had been to stand down, but was still very much charged up. He looked up at Hagane who nodded. From there, he stormed out of the room his red cape flowing behind him.

“Squall,” Nathan called out to the heated Skyan. “I’ll deal with it...consider this my first true test.” Squall stopped his march and pivoted 180 degrees to face the Executor clearly still angry. His face contorted to a calm facade and Squall gave his thanks. He stood at attention for a moment as if waiting to be dismissed. After that, Squall simply returned to his march. Following this, the Emperor inclined his head towards Tristan, and told him “maybe next time” in regards to karaoke. To Hyperion, he nodded deeply. “Stay vigilant, my lord.” Then the Executor turned on the balls of his heels and went out after Fenric, hoping he could catch him before he got too far down the hall, his Black Guards in tow.

Tristan watched as the Executor chased after Fenric, “You're too good for him!” He yelled to Nathan, but it was too late for the Executor to respond without backtracking. Nathan did hear it, however, and allowed himself a subtle grin.

Fenric was flanked by his guards as he was leaving the summit. He was reasonably pleased with the performance from the Havenites. They had shown that they could easily be provoked in what amounted to one of the most sensitive meetings possible. This was a sign that emotional manipulation remained a credible strategy for the near future and one that the Scandinvans would likely employ in the future in order to further their own objectives. Though the manner in which such a ploy might be utilized was not currently known as the plots had not been fully articulated as of that moment.

The scenes at the summit remained at the forefront of his mind however. Fenric needed to keep himself fully invested in the events at hand and dedicate himself to solely to his thoughts on the matter. This was the state of the Scandinvan Crown Prince when the Emperor of Ghant came upon him. Nathan bowed and inclined his head to his peer, and spoke to him formally. “Your Highness...I heard that there was an...incident back in the conference room. If you’d have a minute, I’d like to talk, one man to another…"
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Havensky » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:17 am

Co-written with Kylnaritia, Dephire and Ghant

Citadel City Press Room

Atticus had popped off to a hidden breakroom to catch his breath and collect his thoughts before heading to the press room. He was in a very good mood. The reforms had passed, an ally had been made Executor, and even the Reich had behaved themselves. Emperor Fedor would be at the Feast and tomorrow morning he’d address the Lords. He felt that things were going pretty well.

He walked into the press room and took his place behind one of the podiums. He caught a glimpse of several reporters he recognized as he got settled in. He looked up when he heard the flutter of the cameras increase about ten fold.

Following Atticus into the press room was the Caesar Silvier, eloquently dressed with her head held high and smiling firmly as she stepped up onto the podium with the Skyan Secretary of State. Atticus smiled and made a welcoming gesture as she adjusted her mic, and the Caesar smiled warmly back at him. Lord Hyperion stood just off camera near the entrance, but his presence loomed large in the room, while Khonsu and the Haeres Julianus had remained backstage.

“Good evening! I want to thank everyone for coming. I know it’s been a busy news day and we’ve kept you in the dark for most of that time and I thank you for your understanding. Before we get started I wanted to first thank all of the Gothic Lords who responded to our call for a Gothic Summit. Obviously, this Summit would have gone nowhere without their attendance. Additionally, I want to thank the staff of not only my own State Department but from all the nations involved in these negotiations. These reforms reflect countless hours of prep time and work by staff members around the region. When you write about this effort, I want you to keep in mind that this really was a regional effort.

While I consider today a victory for the Skyan people, I want to stress that the work is not done. We still have serious issues to tackle… the People’s Government has serious concerns with the Scandinvan occupation of Shen Almaru as well as the fact that this city came under attack very recently. I’m hoping we can make progress on this issue tomorrow as the Emperor of the Golden Throne is here for talks as well.

Finally, I want to thank the people of this city. It takes a special kind of people in the aftermath of an attack to say ‘Yes, we will open our doors to other world leaders - even those who ordered our destruction - and we make sure that people feel welcome!’ This Summit is a lot of work and you have my eternal gratitude for it. Any success that comes from this summit is shared by this city. So thank you.!”

Atticus then did a half step back from the mic and turned to Silvier to listen to her opening.

“Thank you, Atticus, and thank you all for being here this evening. I echo the sentiments of the Secretary of State: today’s successes are thanks to the many, many hours of work from hundreds of civil servants all across the region, and it is to these men and women that we owe more than can ever be put into words. The region also owes a lot to the Skyan people, and I would personally like to thank them for the warmth and kindness I’ve received since being here, and indeed in all my interactions with the Skybound Republic and her people. On that fated day when you joined the ranks of our Alliance, I knew it would be for the better, and I’m glad to say I’ve been proven right by all the actions you’ve taken thus far.

Today, the region has achieved something many were saying had gone past the point of being possible. We’ve reformed our Alliance, taken the first steps in making it stronger and better than it has been before. Of course we are far from being out of the woods yet, and there are many threats that lurk in the darkness that lies ahead, but with the peoples of the region united, we shine bright enough to throw back any danger that tries to harm us. The Executor is our guide, the Fortresses our shield, and the Praetors our sword. All of these reforms that have been adopted make us stronger, and any nation or organisation that wishes to test that will do so at their own peril.

Our first test is already clear to us: the Scandinvans must answer not only for their support of an illegal occupation on the islands of Shen Almaru, but also the heinous attacks carried out on this great city, who have come back stronger but still deserve answers and justice served for the deaths of Anton Tate and his men. Meanwhile outside forces converge on our borders, and while the response of old would have been to respond with brutal and aggressive force in defence one another, we must consider the legality of all parties and determine whether it is acceptable to defend a state who has been aggressive towards their own brethren. The Skybound Republic has done all it can to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to this matter - even now - and it rests upon the Scandinvan Empire to do the same. Should that not occur before the midnight hour, the Alliance stands ready to do what is necessary to ensure that justice is brought against those who broke their oath and yet plead innocence to those who took the oath and kept it.

I have no reservations in saying to you all now that I have the utmost faith that the Alliance will succeed in answering this charge. The discussions today have proven to me that there is renewed hope and vigour amongst the leaders of Gholgoth, myself included. The Imperium Antiquum stands ready to defend its allies, from here in Citadel City to those further beyond: we shall never surrender our hope, and nor should you surrender yours, for it is our hope that binds us all together. Hope for the future is what will make us stronger, but without it we will surely falter. I’m glad to still find it here, and so long as it continues to burn bright here - in this marvellous city - there will always be hope. May the Grand Mother continue to be with you all, and all of Gholgoth, in the trials that come ahead. Thank you.”

Once Silvier had finished speaking, Josie Whitehall was the first to raise her hand, with a calm sway demonstrating countless years of experience in this sort of environment. “Secretary of State, Josie Whitehall, Lead Reporter of International Affairs for Kylarnatian Imperial News International. Going into the summit, it was no secret that the Alliance had seen better days: after today’s proceedings, how are you feeling about the health of the Alliance going forward?”

“The state of our Alliance is strong. These much needed reforms will help strengthen the Gothic Alliance and gives us many more options when it comes to responding to crises in the region. Additionally, with the construction of a regional capital as well as appointing permanent representatives to the Gothic Council we will be able to maintain a permanent dialogue with everyone in the region. In short, I’m very excited about our future together. Your Grace, what say you?”

Silvier smiled as she looked over to Josie, someone whom she had come quite accustomed to. “To add to my earlier remarks, Josie, today’s talks show great promise for the future of the Alliance. There is already a sense of greater cohesion, understanding and united purpose then there has been in years previous. Whereas before we were united by our sole desire to be in control - which then led to some abusing that position - we’re beginning to find a higher purpose: while the Alliance is still at its heart a military alliance, the creation of Pax Gothica and democratisation of the Executor promotes a greater understanding of cultures, economies and relationships of the Gothic states. Appreciating those complexities and working with them instead of demanding blanket conformity will only allow us to go from strength to strength.”

The next question came from a local reporter from the Skyan World Service.

“Your Imperial Majesty, have you been enjoying your time in Citadel City and what do you think of it’s progress?”

“Citadel City is a remarkable city and one that I am personally quite fond of. My time thus far has been pleasant and I’ve been provided with a great deal of comfort and respect from my Skyan hosts, to whom I am very grateful. I’m also honoured to have been named an Honorary Dean of Citadel University, where I shall be speaking tomorrow morning in acceptance. The City has made incredible progress since its first days of construction, and has quickly become one of the most important cities in all of Gholgoth, a title which it unquestionably deserves. I hope to make a full official visit in the near future once the current crisis have concluded so that I can experience all it and it’s people has to offer.”

Another question came from Kylarnatian Imperial News International but this time from the Lead Reporter of the Havensky Desk, Raad Nahresi, an expat from northern Kylarnatia. “Secretary of State, following recent events including those of today, how would you personally judge the mood in Citadel City, and would you say that will have any bearing on the upcoming elections?”

Atticus thought for a moment before responding. He held up both his hands and started to speak.

“I think the people of this city and of the nation at large understand the stakes of this summit. Every time that there’s a crisis the council, until now, has been unable to act decisively enough to put a stop to it before bloodshed. When there is bloodshed, it is often the Skyan Legion who bears the brunt of the fighting. And, without fail, the people who die are often people are not soldiers at all. I’ve been to too many hospitals where we’re treating civilian war wounded and too many of those are children… and it breaks my heart.

The mood in Citadel City and across Havensky is one of hope. Hope that these reforms will lead to less violence, less conflict and a more peaceful world for all of us. Thank you.”

As soon as Atticus had finished answering the question, a Briskan reporter was quick to follow him up. "Atticus, with the success of the Reforms, when are you going to finally make the official bid for your next promotion?"

“Well, Skyan law is quite clear about when elections are and until the Prime Minister calls for elections nobody is saying anything including me. I will say that I’m honored to have served under Prime Minister Artemis these last ten years. Her work on building up the Skyan economy and state deserves the gratitude of our entire nation.”

A big and tall man with black hair and dark glasses raised his hand and was called upon. “Jonas Mandaburo, the Ghish Post. This question is for Her Imperial Majesty. Those in the Ghantish media industry are aware of your...interesting relationship with the Emperor of Ghant. What are your thoughts and feelings about him being elected Executor?”

Reporters turned to face the Ghantish reporter and gave him a disapproving look. Lord Hyperion’s head also turned to face him, and the photographers who noticed made sure to capture it, moving quickly to get the right angle. Caesar did not hesitate and smiled, laughing softly even, before looking directly to the reporter. “Your Emperor and I are leaders of vast, ancient and deeply rooted states. Those roots draw from different strengths, and so I agree that he and I have an interesting relationship. It’s a relationship built on these differences, especially of opinion, and no more so has that been proven true today. I toasted his confirmation as Executor, and I assured him that he had my support and would receive my counsel, which he gladly accepted. He brings fresh optimism and a new vision, which I will make sure is realised with all the power at my disposal. To me, he is a fine man for the job.”

It was at that point that the Emperor of Ghant had walked in, fresh from his private conversation with the Scandinvan Crown Prince Fenric. He looked exasperated, but tried to shake it off and replace it with a more pleasant expression in his own casual laid-back manner. Once he took the podium, he availed himself to some water, and then introduced himself as “Emperor Nathan of Ghant, Executor of Gholgoth. I’m happy to answer any questions that any of you may have.”

“Emperor Executor! Are you confident that you can negotiate a peace between Havensky and The Sla-- Scandnivan Empire?” the first question came in.

Nathan smiled and rubbed his chin in contemplation. “If you want to be formal, you can call me ‘your Majesty,’ otherwise ‘Lord Executor’ would be fine. This is as new for me as it is for you, and I’m still wrapping my head around the election. It will take some getting used to. As far as Havensky and the Scandinvan Empire, there’s been a lot of damage done to that relationship. Healing is going to take time and hard work from all parties involved. I’m committed to facilitating that, and working closely with the Skyan and Scandinvan governments to that end. I had a word with Crown Prince Fenric not too long ago, and I’m confident that I can work with him, as well as with Skyan leaders in order to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome to the conflict. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight...but it can be done.”

The second question for the Emperor was “How do you feel about being elected Executor!?”

“Honored, truly,” Nathan tapped his heart with his right hand. “Never did I think I’d ever wear the shoes of Damien Dreadfire...those are huge shoes to fill. There’s a lot of work to be done, hard work...but my peers in the Gothic Council believed in me, believed in my ability to be a peacemaker and bring people together in a way that this Council badly needs. I’m dedicated to doing that, and like I’ve said, it isn’t going to be easy. I value my personal relationships with many of my peers and with leaders in Dienstad, and I think I can help bring us closer to peace and unity. That’s worth it all to me.”

“Lord Executor,” Josie Whitehall was granted the privilege to ask another question, on account of the Executor’s fresh arrival. “Josie Whitehall, Lead Reporter of International Affairs for Kylarnatian Imperial News International. You say you’re confident that you can work towards reconciliation between the Skyan and Scandinvan delegations. Do you think that’s a realistic claim considering the abhorrent actions of the Crown Prince Fenric earlier this evening? You’re confident in working with someone who threatened to place one of your own allies in chains?”

Nathan rubbed his forehead for a brief moment, unaware that the press was aware of that incident. “...Crown Prince Fenric did have an outburst, and yes, it was woefully inappropriate and in bad taste. I wasn’t there when it happened, but I was told about it, and that’s what I spoke to Fenric about before I got up here. The Crown Prince and I spoke, and we will continue to do so. There’s going to be dialogue, and not only am I going to listen to what he has to say, but I’m going to tell him what he needs to hear. That no man is an island, and that actions have consequences. As long as he’s willing to talk, then yes, I’m confident that we can achieve some sort of reconciliation. That’s my job, to listen to the Gothic Lords, and to help them understand the reality of the situation. What they do with that is up to them, and I, along with the Gothic Council, will conduct ourselves according to that.”


Squall’s boots fell heavy on the marble floors of the Citadel’s VIP entrance level. He still had not shaken off his anger at the events that had transpired. He also realized the events had caused him to run late. He was supposed to meet Edwidge here ten minutes ago.

She was sitting on one of the many benches that lined the edge of the Salaam River which lapped against the stone shore of the Citadel. Her platinum blonde hair blowing in the breeze. She turned as she spotted her fiance and rose to meet him.

She was wearing a Skyan blue high slit dress of Kylarnatian design that cinched tightly around her waist. The gold trim shimmered in the evening sun as she flashed a Gavin a smile. The smile faded a bit as he got closer even as he reached out his arms to hold her.

“Elên”, she said softly in Middle Närvärynese, the tongue of her native Xirnium, as she put a hand on his chest. As she did, the storm in Squall’s eyes seem to subside little by little.

“What’s wrong my love?”

“It’s nothing.” replied Squall a bit unconvincingly back to her in Närvärynese.

“You can’t fool me my Knight of Broken Hearts.. What’s happened?”

“It’s.. the fucking slaver emperor.” Squall said in the common tongue out of frustration unable to really curse properly in Närvärynese.

“He threw a slave collar at us. When Atticus was out of the room and the tv cameras were on.. He insulted us.. belittled us.. and then he threw a slave collar right at the Skyan Throne.”

Edwidge covered her mouth out of shock.

“Goddess, are you alright? That’s awful. What did you do?”

Squall’s face flashed a look of shame.

“My hand reached for my sword. I never drew, but… I don't know.. Ambassador Hagane ordered him thrown out and me and the other guards responded in force to back her up. We’ll probably catch hell for it, but gods damn it. Were we really supposed to take that? I know we’re supposed to be the diplomatic ones, the nice ones, the good guys, but that’s too much.

Would they have pulled that shit with the Briskans and risk their temper? Would that have worked on the cappers? No, because we’re nice. Well, I'm not nice!”

“Don’t. Don’t you dare. You all wear your hearts on your sleeve.” she said as she moved her hand to his Heartbreak Combat Patch.

“You literally have your hearts exposed. No wonder you get upset. It’s because you care. Very much. It’s part of why I love you. Don’t listen to the slaver ...what’s the phrase you like to use… He was born sorry! And you have saved so many… I don’t even think you realize it sometimes.”

Squall looked down at Edwidge to try to have some sort of reply. Instead he just hugged her again.

“I needed that.”, he said as he kissed her. He took a deep breath and held out his arm.

“You look amazing by the way. Can I show you off to all the high and mighty of the region?”
Last edited by Havensky on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

Territory held in
Texas - Gholgoth - Sondria

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Talking and Eating

Postby Havensky » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:50 am

Post co-written by Xirnium, Aldarminia, Dephire, Kylarnatia, Telros, Ghant, and Kraven

Sir Gavin Squall and Edwidge Nalôrna walked into the Grand Ballroom of the Citadel and into the feast. Their arrival was announced by a the Sergeant at Arms.

“Presenting!!! Miss Edwidge Nalôrna of the The Eternal Republic of Xirnium! Daughter of Heartknight Companion Dórottya Nalôrna (BOOM BOOM) and escorted by Heartknight Guardian SIR Gavin Squall (BOOM BOOM) the HEARTBREAK COUNT!”

Squall nodded towards the sergeant as they made their way to the Praetor Candidate table. Edwidge complained softly in her own language.

“Goddess, I wish for once I could walk into one of these events without the town crier yelling about my mother and my soon to be husband and banging their shield to the ground.”

“It’s tradition.. They always do that whenever they introduce a Heartknight.”

“Sure, but for it would be nice to be introduced as ‘Edwidge Nalôrna of Citadel City...famous fashion designer… and maybe fun pop music plays.”

Gavin smiled at this.

They sat down at the table and a server brought them waters and took their drink orders. Meanwhile, more dignitaries began to arrive.

The guard spoke out again, “Presenting!!! The GRAND EMPEROR of the Grand Imperial Cosmocratium of ALDARMINIA, DALIKHARL the Second of the Blood Aszcheyko, HAMMER of the People’s Will and Justice”

The Hammer swaggered to his table almost like a serpent slithered. The preliminary swig after he had left Silvier had reignited a buzzing stimulation in his constitution. He began to mentally push aside the emotional strain caused by Venkhzmr’s death and the physical strains of the battle and the flight. Dalikharl ignored most of the gazes that tracked his saunter’s path. With Gunnsvyg heel-tucked behind him, the Grand Emperor took his seat as he sipped once again from his personal flask--vodka splashing a harsh-smooth, bittersweet calm down into the back of his throat. The translucent stitches of the wound on his cheek marked a grim sheen under the lights of the feast’s hall.

“PRESENTING! MARAT the Fifth of the Veil SUVOROV of the Grand Imperial Cosmocratium of ALDARMINA!”

As had been instructed to him, Marat promptly entered after His Majesty. The air of imperial confidence that had emanated from Dalikharl had not graced Suvorov at all. Despite once being a military man just like so many here and having engaged often with all sorts of the higher echelon of Aldarminian society, the Aszcheykos’ ordained Praetor nomination was not sure he could ever become used to auspiciously gallivanting among a surplus of Gothic Lords. Bound by duty, though, as he took his seat, Marat resolved himself to quell his anxiety with a small dosage of medication and rapid-fire requests for cocktails.

“PRESENTING!! PRINCE of the Grand Imperial Cosmocratium of ALDARMINIA, RYSLANDER the First of the Blood Aszcheyko”

Having just missed the chance to speak to either Silvier or his adopted father beforehand, Ryslander was going cold into the feast. Of course, he had had many lessons on war, but Dalikharl had rarely made the effort to impart diplomatic knowledge unto the eldest prince. What little he had acquired had come from only one or two conversations with the Hammer, many more with Katya, some with Silvier, and studying alone in the confines of the Palace. While the debates within the Chamber had certainly been instructive as well as good practice, Ryslander knew that this feast was as much a cooperative meeting of statesmen-and-women as it was a social gathering.

As the Prince took his seat, the Grand Emperor fiddled with his beard and silently mused, Now, let’s see how well my pieces can move.

“NOW PRESENTING! The QUEEN of the Skybound Republic of HAVENSKY..Heartknight Consular (BOOM BOOM) and GOTHIC LORD...Jessica HEART!!... escorted by her husband GRANDMASTER of the Heartknight Guardians (BOOM BOOM) ..the BUTCHER’S END...KING of the Skybound Republic...Lucus IRONWING!”

The Skyans in the room applauded as the Ironwings entered the room. They waited a moment just outside the entryway to await the next guest.

As Ironwing entered, Dalikharl smiled with a nod to quietly greet the king. While Jessica approached their table, the Hammer stood politely to welcome her, “It is a pleasure to dine with you, Queen Heart. I hope you will be kind enough to deter my boorishness in regards to--”

“NOW PRESENTING! His Imperial Majesty of the Golden Throne Fedor the First!”

All eyes turned towards the Fedor. His arrival at Citadel City was not a surprise to anyone as the Skyan State Department had been working on his visit for weeks. Still, the arrival of an Emperor from outside Gholgoth still turned heads. Those that had been aware of Fenric’s remarks and subsequent banishment from the Citadel would probably wonder if it was even worth Fedor coming all this way. The idea was to have Fedor and Fenric talk things over in hopes of ending the conflict. However, Fenric’s disrespect of respect of the Skyan people had thrown that plan into serious doubt.

Interrupted by Fedor’s entrance, Dalikharl glared at the Macabéan Emperor, but the Hammer stayed standing nonetheless to tersely greet the Willed with an outstretched hand for shaking, “Welcome to Gholgoth, Fedor…”

“NOW PRESENTING! His Imperial Majesty, Nathan, Fourth of His Name, Emperor of Ghant, High King of the Ghantar, King of Low Ghant, King of Gholghant, King of Dienghant, Lord of Zahaghant, Lord Executor of Gholgoth, Lord of Ghish, Lord of Gaztelua, Lord of Degusa, Protector of the Realm.”

The new Executor hadn’t changed since his earlier swearing-in ceremony and press conference, still wearing his loosely-fitting court uniform, worn cape and old black boots, though the bandage wrap on his hand had been replaced. Nathan was not the sort of man who relished the spotlight, so he made as plain an entrance as he could, and simply went to his designated table escorted by his small retinue of Imperial Black Knights.

“Joined by His Imperial Highness, Nathan, Crown Prince of Ghant, Crown Prince of Low Ghant, Crown Prince of Gholghant, Crown Prince of Dienghant, Vicelord of Zahaghant, Vicelord of Ghish.”

Unlike his father, the crown prince of Ghant and his siblings had adequate time to go back to their rooms and change for the feast. If the father was somewhat modest in his garb, eschewing style for comfort, the son was the opposite. By all measures his clothing for the evening was lavish. He wore a brand new black and gold court uniform, complete with a cape, pauldrons, black boots and exquisite silk gloves, so that only his head was exposed, revealing a petulant expression on his face. He cherished the limelight, and fancied himself good in front of a camera.

“His Imperial Highness John, High Prince of Ghant, Her Imperial Highness Sara, Princess Imperial of Ghant, Her Imperial Highness Valerie, High Princess of Ghant.”

The Empress of Ghant was not the sort of woman who let offenses go unanswered. Those children born to her both received the title of “High Prince” and “High Princess” in order to distinguish themselves from “lesser” children born to the Ohaides, and also instructed the Imperial Heralds to announce them first before the other said children. So it was that John, Sara and Valerie followed their brother the Crown Prince, escorted by Imperial Black Knights.

John, like his father, was more modest in his dress, though still clad in rich garb as befitted the second in line to the Obsidian Throne of Ghant. He wore a court uniform of white trimmed and accented with gold, with a smaller cape than his brother and golden pauldrons, the outfit sparking in contrast to his mop of jet-black hair. Naturally shy, he imitated his father, merely walking to his table in order to avoid the intensity of a hundred eyes upon him.

The Princess Imperial, like before, wore a white gown, though this one was more formal, the back of it dragging across the floor as she walked. Her gown was wrapped in a black sash from shoulder to hip, and though she wasn’t yet twelve, it was clear that she had all the makings of a true Ghantish beauty in the mold of her mother, with long lush dark brown hair that framed an unblemished fair round face with two dark blue eyes beneath a gentle brow and dainty nose. Polite and well-trained for such occasions, she shined in the spotlight, and wasn’t afraid to play to the crowd.

Her younger sister Valerie, on the other hand, was said to combine the most idiosyncratic characteristics of both her parents. Like her sister, she wore a long, formal evening dress, this one teal with a beige sash. Her hair was a lighter shade of brown than her sister, and her eyes a lighter shade of blue, and she sported a few dark freckles on her face, neck and shoulders. Though she was only ten, she already had the makings of a playgirl about her, as she fancied the spotlight, but wasn’t...especially polite with it. Her eyes narrowed and she smirked at this thing or that.

“His Highness Victor, Prince of Ghant, Her Highness Blanche, Princess of Ghant, Her Highness Valentina, Princess of Ghant.”

The Ohaide children trailed behind the trueborn half-siblings. Victor strongly favored his father, with red hair and green-blue eyes dressed in a black court outfit. He wasn’t keen on the spotlight, and tried to fade among the Black Knights escorting him and his siblings. Blanche likewise wore a modest blue dress that matched her eyes, her long brown hair tied behind her head. The Emperor’s “secret weapon” Valentina was last, wearing another red dress, albeit this one more formal, her shoulder-length red hair left loose to its own devices. She didn’t care for the spotlight, and acted like it wasn’t even there.

Another person that didn’t really care much for the spotlight was Captain Skaro. As he walked in, he noticed the guard begin to breathe in deeply in preparation for his pronouncement.

“I’d rather you didn’t Sergeant.”

The guard let out a breath and simply extended his hand in welcome.

“As you wish.”

Shortly thereafter, the would be an introduction of one who did very well in the spotlight.

“NOW PRESENTING! Her Imperial Majesty, Silvier Catherina Silvanus, CAESAR of KYLARNATIA...and LORD OF GHOLGOTH!”

The room would of course draw their attention to the Caesar (though perhaps unsurprisingly, the Emperor of Ghant looked down at his silverware as he fiddled with it). How could they not? Her beauty and power were stuff of legends. People who weren't used to her presence might have whipped out their phones to take pictures. Silvier gave her trademark gleaming smile, shining as brightly as her dress did under the grand lights of the Ballroom. Along with the press pack her own personal photographer, Iohannes Pastor, was getting the best shots he could from around the room. He went everywhere he could with her, and gained clearance in the most secure of places, all to capture history and the role that Caesar played in it.

One might be forgiven if one didn’t hear the rest of the Sergeant at Arms statement.

“...escorted by Dux Imperator Hyperion, First of the Caesar's Guard and Black Cobra, Aspect of the Night!”


All at once, the White Guard had banged their shields in respect usually due to the Heartknights. One could assume that word had gotten out about Hyperion’s speech to the slaver emperor and had earned the Respect of the Legion.

Hyperion turned his head to face the White Guard as they banged their shields. He respected no foreign forces above his own, and only held a few close to them, but one such force was the Heartknights, for they had time and time again thrown themselves into unknown horrors to rescue those who were at the greatest risk. Caesar looked at him inquisitively.

“It seems they hold you in high regard, Hyperion. Now tell me, why is that?”

Hyperion, having still not told her what occurred earlier with the Scandin Emperor, simply carried on. “Why shouldn’t they?” Caesar laughed.
“His Imperial Highness, Julianus Kain Silvanus, Haeres of Kylarnatia and Centurion of the Fangthane Palace Guard!”

Julianus entered the Grand Ballroom behind his mother and Lord Hyperion, still dressed in his ceremonial armour from before though now with added ribbons and honours, he saluted the Sergeant-at-Arms with a pounding of the chest of his breastplate as he passed him, which he repeated for the Heartknights. He then stopped for a moment to appreciate the spectacle in front of him: he was truly astonished and excited by the spectacle he was witnessing. This was his first time being among so many prominent and powerful international leaders, and he soaked it all in with great enthusiasm. Quickly though his attentions turned to the Princess Imperial of Ghant, Sara, who had made her way to their table with the other Lordspawn. Quickly he made his way over to her, deep purple cape flowing behind him.

Squall escorted Edwidge to the table with the other Praetor candidates, pulling her chair out for her and letting her sit down before taking his own seat. A server came by to take their drink orders. Edwidge ordered champagne and Squall ordered tea.

As they sat down, they could hear the very faint singing of the next couple to arrive.


The rest of his honorifics were somewhat drowned out by his duet with was one Lamula Hagane who had entered the feast on his arm.

"Escorted by SKYAN World Assembly Ambassador Lamula HAGANE!"

While the Skyans kept booming out the names of the known Gothic Lords and their titles, their soldiers stamping their feet in appreciation, one group quietly snuck in, slipping past the throng of reporters and journalists that were harassing Silvier and Atticus with questions. Unlike the other parties, the Telrosian Compact diplomatic party had snuck in bit by bit, as much as one can sneak in when needing to provide security and diplomatic clearances and being checked/asked to hand over their weapons by the Skyans. First it was the lower members of the party, the diplomatic aides led by Fáradt Támogatás, clad in a variety of dark blues and black suits, suitcases and folders in hand to prepare for discussions that were going to be had. They were tasked by the Anax to go and make contact with the various nations of Gholgoth as much as possible during the feast and the aftermath. They had been getting a lot of information on nations, their leaders and their dispositions, but a lot of it was colored by the Caesar's and the Imperium's perspective, and they wanted to see what she may have glossed over. Also, good to get everyone to know of the Compact and hopefully get some favorable deals out of it.

Fáradt snorted at the displays and the Skyans attempts to run the show. ”When we let the internationalists run wild, this is what we get. You could have accomplished this without half of the pomp and circumstance.”

These were followed by the Vestals, the group of five priestesses of the Silver Sacerdotium tasked to accompany the Anax to events such as these. Identical in their blue-white dresses, with veils over their faces, and symbols of the aspects and the Grand Mother, they would come in, but remain as a unit instead of dispersing like the group with Fáradt did as they waited for the Anax to arrive. One of their number, Anya Sorrend, looked around nervously, gazing at all the people, Lords or not, and the large guard presence in armor. Her hands shook as her self-control slipped enough to let her overwhelmed senses take hold.

”I hope they have a chapel here for Sacerdotium worshippers; I need a place to collect myself before we begin in full.”

Despite their attempts, however, when the last part of the group arrived, it drew some heads, as happens when the Anax of the Telrosian Compact and the Arch-Priestess of the Telrosian Sacerdotium both arrived. Adon Baldassare was the more conservative of the two, wearing a simple dress the darkish blue of her nation, with her blonde hair cut fairly short to end around her ears, allowing her simple clear crystal earrings to be in view, as well as her necklace showing the symbol of the Grand Mother. Complete with simple black heels, she wore an outfit that didn't stand out amongst the rest, but her posture is what brought it to life; she had the straight back and gaze of a military member, eyes quickly and efficiently reading the crowd, before turning back to speak with the woman next to her. Next to her Isteni Hatóság was the more ostentatious of the two, her dress being what has drawn most of the attention. Throughout the designs on the ensemble, one could see symbols of all ten aspects of Silvier's sons and around her head and neck were the symbols of the Grand Mother, the aspect of Balance. Her black hair, long enough to reach her back, had been carefully prepared to cascade down her shoulders onto her front. Her manner was regal, as if a queen, but with the sense she saw more than simply the people here, her eyes flashing through the crowd. When they met Silvier's, she smiled briefly and nodded in acknowledgment before returning to the rest of the crowd.

They came up and met with the Vestals, whom all bowed their heads at the Anax and the Arch-Priestess. Isteni waved a hand and spoke. “Rise, my children. You have more to do than honor me and the Mother. Are you prepared?” A chorus of voices met her question, but her eyes focused on Anya as she detected a warble in her tone. Her eyes lowered in shame at the Arch-Priestess' knowing look.

“It is alright to be afraid, young Sister. These events are not without their dangers, their pitfalls for the foolish and the unwise. While it is our duty to step into these dens, know you do not do so without the aid of your fellow Telrosians and the gaze of the Grand Mother. We are never alone in this world.”

“Y-You are correct, Arch-Priestess. Forgive me for my moment of weakness.”

“There is nothing to forgive, child. You and your sisters will not be needed for a little while. Go and bask in the light of the Grand Mother; the Skyans have a local chapel for our practitioners. Once you have prepared yourselves, come back here.” With a final bow of their heads, they turned and left, leaving the room to head for the chapel. Adon watched them go before facing Isteni.

“You are too hard on Anya. She's a recent graduate from the class you handpicked for me.”

The priestess' face became more stern, looking away from the backs of the retreating Vestal's. “You are a kind woman, Adon, it is one of your greater features as Anax. But these children have been given training and preparation for their role to accompany and conduct the rituals of the Sacerdotium to bring the Mother's blessings and enhance your image at places like this. We all have a role to play, and they must be able to play theirs. Otherwise, we will need to find their true role if this is not for them.”

The Anax glanced back and reluctantly nodded. “I...suppose you're right. Forgive my impertinence.” A hand drew her attention back.

“As I said to them, there is nothing to forgive. Your role is to look out for all Telrosians, and all of those under the Mother's light. You are doing as you should. Now, I do believe a seat with food and good companionship awaits us over there. We shouldn't keep Her waiting, should we?”

A laugh. “Indeed, I have been starving since the plane ride began.”

“And that makes two of us.” The two women made their way over to the table with Silvier had chosen to sit down and a quiet cough from Adon sounded to try and gain her attention.

“Greetings, Caesar. We apologize for our lateness, but attempting to get time away from the workings of the Compact has been difficult as of late. I hope there are still seats available for us here, if that would be alright?”

Both Caesar and Hyperion, who had yet to sit down themselves, turned to face the approaching women. As they approached, Hyperion bowed his head in respect of the Archpriestess especially, while Caesar smiled broadly and extended her arms out to embrace them both. “Adon, it is a pleasure to see you here. Do not apologise! I’m glad that the Compact has decided to attend these talks; they are a great first step for your country to become more involved in regional affairs. Of course you may sit with us, I made sure these seats were reserved for you especially.”

Then, she turned to Archpriestess Hatóság and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Archpriestess Hatóság, you grace us with your presence. The Mother surely smiles on us all this day that we may be together at such a great gathering. I noticed the Vestals as you entered, my own are currently assisting the Archpriestess of Citadel City, Allison Moor, at a ceremony in the local Basilica. They will all be joining us later in the evening.”

“You of course, both know Lord Hyperion.” She gestured to the giant, who raised his head and said nothing, simply looking into the eyes of both the Anax and the Archpriestess for some time.

“Please, do sit. Let us break bread and talk!” Silvier and Hyperion sat again as chairs were pulled out for both Anax Baldassare and Archpriestess Hatóság. From the basket in the centre of the table Silvier grabbed some bread and, breaking it with her hands, she split it evenly amongst herself and the other three. A waiter brought some water for them to drink.

Adon quickly sat down and accepted the bread from the Caesar greedily, taking large chunks out of it and grabbing the water from the waiter when he came to her and taking a long draught of it. She noted the herbs and spices used in the bread and leaned back for a moment, enjoying the taste before it was gone and consumed the rest of her piece. The Arch-Priestess was doing the same, but more measured, despite being about as hungry. As she sipped her water, she began to speak.

“It has been some time since we have been able to see you in Telros proper, Caesar. I understand you have been busy the past few months; the Foreign Affairs minister has been keeping us apprised. While the Skyans were the ones who presented this Summit, and organized it, I do not believe I am wrong in detecting your hand behind some of the forces at work here, no?”

Isteni took a moment to meet the gaze of Lord Hyperion and bowed her head once, a knowing look in her eyes in response to his introduction, before turning her gaze back to the Caesar.

Silvier smiled as she took conservative bites of her piece of the bread, in between sips of water. “Time never stops for me, your eminence, as it won’t for you as Telros takes greater strides out onto the world stage. As I’ve told you before, the Compact has more than earned its place amongst these proceedings, and deserves even more.” She took another bite before continuing. “As for these talks, I made sure to give my advice to the Skyans where appropriate, and assured the attendance of several here. Do not look over them too much though, they are a brave and noble people.”

At that moment, Hyperion interjected, his voice booming even at a low tone. “How fares the Compact? Caesar has been kept up-to-date with all the recent developments since her last visit. We’re aware that most of the damage has been repaired and most of the Duskflower dissidents have been rounded up. How are the people?”

Isteni nodded, face taking on a solemn expression.. “I think of anyone in the region, the Compact is least able to look over anyone. The Skyans may have their...quirks, but they have at least been involved and attempting to make a difference. We have not, and it is to our shame that it took the Rebellion to correct that.” Before she could continue to speak further, Hyperion interjected, his deep voice stilling all conversation and rousing the Anax from her enjoyment of being able to curb her hunger a bit. The Arch-Priestess turned to her water, relinquishing the floor to Adon as she faced the man. Her eyes took him in, gazing at his larger than life form, the expression in his eyes and his stance. Isteni had spoken much of him, and it was always in this odd double-talk way; to anyone else, it would have seemed just a man who is a close confidant of the Caesar and by his actions today, a known opponent to slavery and injustice. However, now that she had a chance to meet him in person, there was something...else to his presence, something that made him seem more than he seemed.

Still, he had asked her a question and she intended to answer. “Yes, it has been some time since you both visited the mainland. We’re seeing the last of the summer season now, and we’ll be back to the biting fall and winter we know so much. So the shipments of food we have negotiated for will be greatly appreciated in helping us get through it without too much hunger for the citizens. Overall, the people are doing much better physically, spiritually...well, Isteni and the Telrosian Sacerdotium are doing what they can to soothe the hurts of what happened in the Rebellion, and help many see the why of it. I’ve had many distraught parents or families begging me or her why the Grand Mother would allow this. It has been...hard to handle it all.”

She looked off to the side, looking towards one of the other delegations as her thoughts slipped back into memory. “We’ve finally finished all the burials and memorial services, commemorating those who died to preserve the Compact and who were victims of democratic orthodoxy. Now the nation is turning to the question Eshmun and I are trying to solve: Who do we want to become? The Council is rife with debate on the matter; while the reforms my fellow Anax is pushing through has cleared many of the isolationist obstacles for our new engagement protocol, the Isolationists are fighting against any greater engagement. We are going to assist the Pudites with their conflict in Shen Amaru, but it’s going to have to come from the Expeditionary Fleet that we have command over. Any further resources require Council approval and that’s not a possibility at this time.” Her gaze turned from the table to the doorway where the Lords have come from the debate and voting of the regional reforms. “The concern about Kraven has been helpful is overcoming most of their objections; your records on the Great Gholgothic War and their other activities has helped shore up the Liberty party’s insistence on dealing with them. So for now, anything involving them you have Compact support; outside of that….it’s a work in progress.” A hand reached up and pressed on her temple.

“I’m just thankful I have the easier job of handling the foreign matters; I can only imagine the aplopletics the Council politics is driving Eshmun into. As good of an administrator as he is, the Council is a mess and we may not have the time to clear it up before this Scandinvan’s crisis explodes further.” A weak smile is directed at Silvier.

“Sometimes, we joke about creating a monarchy to handle the problems, just to make things easier. My time in the military did not prepare me for this much paperwork.”

“No nation in the course of human history is born with the assurance of greatness. It is earned and built through hardship and sacrifice, of which the Compact is still growing used to the taste.” Lord Hyperion responded. “Just as my people fought free from the bondage of slavery many millennia ago, yours fought for their independence from us over a century ago, but have now had to fight a bitter war against your kin whose heads had been filled with treason. You are still reeling from the pain, but you will grow stronger from it.”

Silvier had come to her last piece of bread, and instead of finishing it herself, broke it a further three ways. She gave a piece each to both Adon and Isteni. “The pain of your people has weighed heavily on me since my last visit. It is only natural to wonder why such things would be within the design of the Aspects. I can only feel in my heart that the Mother, who is within all things, understands more than any of us the meaning and value of pain and loss. Through the injustice that she and the Seraphim suffered, to the sacrifice she made to restore Balance, and the loss of her dearest--”

Before she could continue, Hyperion shuffled in the slightest of ways. Noticing this, she continued on a different track. “But you know all these stories already, I’m sure. I know these things may not console any of the immediate grief, but these things shall become clear, I promise you that.”

“We may be stronger in some ways, Lord Hyperion, but we are always weakened by such internal conflict. And it is the second time such a conflict has plagued our people; I fear the individualism that runs through our nation is its own crippling weakness. How can the Compact rise to the threats of the modern era, if we are so divided we feel we have to take up arms to fix it?”

The somber conversation was broken when Silvier broke bread again, handing a piece to her and Isteni, who accepted with a word of thanks and one for herself. They accepted the bread, consuming it quickly and draining the rest of their cups before waiter swiftly refilled them. Isteni nodded along with the Caesar’s words, eyes flashing over to Hyperion when he shifted and the conversation suddenly turned. Adon glanced at the Arch-Priestess, questions in her eyes, but a shake of the head dispelled them for now.

“Yes, it is hard to understand the Mother’s views and actions in situations like this, but we must remember while she has become one with everything, everything is not her. Humanity makes its own choices, as it did even under the Old Gods, and while she empowers and blesses us, she cannot stop us from straying and becoming lost in Chaos. This is why it is so important to pursue Order and Balance in all things; the world has become too aligned with Chaos. Conflicts such as these are reflections of this imbalance; once it has been put right again, we shall see the peace we once enjoyed once more.”

“Such wise words, I would expect nothing less from the Telrosian faithful. Stay true to that and the Grand Mother shall stay with you. For tonight, let us feast and drink to the Blessed Dead who now sing with the Seraphim in Avaris.”

Both raised a glass at the mention of the Blessed Dead.

“May the journey to Avaris be a swift and gentle one for them.”

“May the Seraphim see them to their proper places in Avaris.”

They swiftly downed their glasses before setting them down again. Adon leaned forward, capturing the attention of the Caesar.

“In brighter news, I heard your son Julianus is here with you at the summit. I’ve been meaning to ask how he has been doing. He was such a bright and attentive lad during your visits to the capital.”

Caesar smiled at the mention of her son, and proudly pointed him out at the adolescent table. There he was dressed in full military regalia, his silver armour gleaming from the lights of the ballroom, ribbons and medallions in full view as he smiled and laughed with the other Lordspawn in attendance. “He is growing up quite fast. I try, despite everything that is expected of me, to still be his mother. Bright and attentive he certainly is, but also quite excitable. A spitting image of his father. The Mother has blessed me with such a gift. I shall make sure to bring him over once we’re done eating.”

“Oh that would be lovely. It’d be nice to speak with him when we’re not both elbows-deep in our work.”

As Adon and the Caesar chatted, Isteni leaned over towards Hyperion, hoping he’d take the hint and lean in himself as she quietly spoke. “I have a favor to ask of you, Lord. The Anax’s Vestals are in the Sacerdotium chapel, praying as I instructed. The big names, events and all matters of this event has shaken their confidence, especially a one Anya. If you wouldn’t mind checking on them and making sure they are alright. A visit from one such as yourself would help calm their nerves and prepare them for their tasks ahead. I would go myself, but the Anax is still...grieving over the losses and I need to be here in case she becomes too overwhelmed.”

Hyperion looked down to Isteni and listened. He had indeed sensed the discomfort amongst the Vestals when they had entered the room, especially this Anya she mentioned. Taking one look at Caesar, who gave him a firm nod, the Lord looked deeply into the eyes of the Archpriestess and his eyes burned bright. “I shall see to them, your eminence, once the festivities commence.”
Last edited by Havensky on Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Jagada » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:06 pm

The Feasting Room
Citadel City

‘We take our first steps onto the stage,’ said Nalur as the procession of Gothic Lords proceeded ahead.

Nalur stood beside his daughter the Basilissa Renuae al’Maw, flanked on both the left and right by the Sacred Watch – two eunuch Janissaries fully dedicated to his daughter in body, mind, and soul. He straightened his uniform of dark navy blue and made sure each of the brass buttons remained shining. His uniform was a throwback from the days of the Monotheistic Empire; the last government to hold power in Old Jagada. The style had been fading rapidly in the decades since they arrived in Gharsash and it would vanish completely soon, but he intended to keep the spirit of the homeland alive as long as he could.

His daughter stood nervously, but resolute, before what had to be the largest gathering of eccentrics this side of the known world. ‘How do you feel?’

Her platinum eyes flickered over at him and she slumped, ‘Terrified. I am clearly outmatched here Nalur. The people on the other side of those doors have destroyed entire civilizations with a wave of their hands during supper. Ones like the Slaver King have burned hundreds of thousands alive on mountainsides and even the saner ones would be put on trial for crimes against humanity anywhere else in the world. How, exactly, should I feel?’

Nalur swallowed his anger because he knew his daughter was right. Jagada has never been a particularly fearsome nation before it was exterminated, and had wallowed in self-pity and hedonism ever since then. But gods be damned if he wouldn’t drag his people, kicking and screaming if necessary, into glory.

‘And we have killed hundreds of thousands more,’ he hissed quietly, ‘Don’t let the body counts blind you girl. Even gods bleed. You’re the first Jagite to ever attend a session of the Gothic Lords and you’re blessed that it is only a feast – they could have asked you to vote on the killing off another country.’

Renuae was already a very pale woman and he noticed she became a shade paler. She turned to face him for the first time as the next group entered the gilded chamber, and in the distance a booming of shields on stone echoed, ‘What do I do? How do I speak to them? I’m not ready for this.’

Sensing her growing terror Nalur placed his hand on her shoulder. Their relationship was, at best, glacial and so the normal warmth of a caring embrace or a gentle touch of reassurance was out of the question. The Secretary Supreme instead looked directly into his daughter’s silvery eyes just as he would anyone else.

‘You will speak to them as an equal. You may not yet have the reputation of a butcher like Tristan Skragg, or a zealot like Fenric, but gods dammit YOU are ONE of them. Our people didn’t sacrifice their lives and souls for you to be intimidated by psychopaths and monsters.’

He stood upright suddenly and cast his mercury eyes down upon his daughter, who stood easily a foot shorter than him, ‘Speak to them like you would speak to me.’

Her face slowly twisted into despair and then anger, but she never cast her eyes to the floor. A small victory, he though. He saw her spine straighten, a dull rage smouldering just behind her eyes, and her jaw set firm. The two legionnaires at the door respectfully beckoned them forward, it was the Basilissa’s turn to enter. Nalur looked to the Sacred Watch on either side of him and his daughter. They wore the power armor of the Janissaries, complete with a face mask designed in the likeness of his daughter, and neither spoke nor wavered in their constant vigilance, and though they did not openly carry their rifles (holstered beneath their large great coats he knew their hands rested on their sidearms.

It would have to do, he thought. The gilded doors swung open once more and as he heard the Sergeant at Arms begin his proclamation he knew that the die had been cast. The Union could stay isolated no longer and this was the first step outwards.


The group of four walked into the feasting chamber and knew that all eyes, however brief, would be on the lithe figure of the Gothic Lord from Jagada. Before them was a girl standing barley over five feet, pale with silver hair and platinum eyes, and a body that may not have fully expressed itself yet, but still bearing the distinct form and structure of one of patrician upbringing wearing a regal gown of deep purple and crimson red. Over her left breast was a brooch crafted into that a golden lion with a crown set upon its head.

‘…accompanied by Nalur al’Maw, Secretary Supreme to the High Lords of the Imperial Union!’

And with that, the Jagites actually fucking arrived on-time for once…

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New York Times Democracy

Postby Lamehk » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:39 am

OOC: This post was co-written with Havensky.

Earlier during the Executor nominations
Farmer’s Market, The Nest District
Citadel City, Havensky

It took a bit for Aliyah to get from the Citadel to the Nest District. The train station in the Citadel was busy and crowded as staff members boarded trains to head home for the day. It was technically a holiday in Havensky in recognition of the Gothic Summit, but the Citadel was full of essential employees who didn’t get the time off. There were so many undertrain lines that ran through the city that she had to ask an attendant for the quickest way to the Central Nest. The attendant was very friendly about it and told her not to worry, that visitors asked for directions all the time.

She boarded the Legion-Hacienda Line and it pulled out of the station and slipped underground. The trains were quick and clean with a line of seats along each side of the car. A map above the door showed the trains progress as it headed south in the city. As she looked around, she could spot all types of people wearing a variety of bright colors. It was hotter than she had thought Citadel City would be and so it was no surprise that most people were wearing light, airy clothing.

Aliyah, in her delicate and lightweight red dress, blended into the crowd fairly easily. Her two Corsair escorts were another matter however. Rhy'tan and Kairos, who had thankfully, albeit, begrudgingly, agreed earlier to follow her at a reasonable distance and attempt to be “not creepy”, stood apart quite obviously. Despite having changed into casual wear themselves, they received numerous glances and a few stares from other passengers. Aliyah even noticed one woman briefly glaring at the pair and figured she may have known, or suspected, who they were, after all a change of clothes couldn’t hide their obviously Lamehken physical traits. To her own amusement, the pair seemed entirely uncomfortable as the train sped onward. Not due to the attention, nor even the weather, which was significantly warmer than Lamehk, but simply because of the close proximity of the other passengers on the crowded train. Please don’t let anyone make any sudden moves near them…

Averting her gaze away from the Corsairs, so as not to be caught smirking at their discomfort, Aliyah turned her attention to the locals on the carriage. Her initial excitement at the train ride had quickly turned to disappointment when she realised that the whole trip was underground, denying her a view of the city, and she quickly decided that observing the people traveling with her proved no less so. These proudly free Skyans, returning home from their day at work, were no more stimulating than watching the menial slaves back home being returned to their pens. There were a few murmured conversations but the majority sat quietly or were sleeping or staring at portable devices. The only distinct difference here though was that the palpable sense of fear was missing from the air. Aliyah found herself unsure whether this made it better or worse.

Eventually, the train pulled into the Central Nest station and she stepped off the carriage and ventured up towards the surface level. As she did, the greenery of the area was almost overwhelming. The trees overhead had their branches cultivated so that they overlapped over the walkways overhead. The walkway was flanked by small flower bushes on both sides and the sides of the buildings had hanging ivy creeping up their walls. Public art displays were scattered about amid banners celebrating the Gothic Summit. Aliyah could see why they called the neighborhood “The Nest.” Gorgeous. Now that is more like it!

The farmer’s market was set up outside the District Hall with tents and booths set up across the courtyard in front of the building. The market was crowded with people picking up fresh produce and goods after work which made it perfect for a discreet conversation. Resisting the urge to run off exploring, Aliyah headed to a tent with a banner that depicted seven large red wine glasses. Rhy'tan and Kairos made for nearby stalls, attempting to blend into the crowd while still keeping Aliyah in sight. They were not particularly subtle about it.

At the inside table was a young journalist with strawberry blonde hair with two glasses and a bottle of “House Tytonidae” Chardonnay. As Aliyah approached, the woman stood up and smiled.

“Hello, you must be Aliyah. I’m Kat Susa from the Argyz Advocate, we spoke on the phone earlier. Here, have a seat and I’ll pour you some chard.”

‘Yes, it’s nice to meet you,’ responded Aliyah, with a faint, cautious smile in return. She felt strangely nervous, but did not know why.

As Kat made to pour the drinks, Aliyah noticed a slight hesitation in the action and saw the woman's gaze going out into the crowd behind her.

‘Apologies,’ offered Aliyah, somewhat awkwardly, assuming that the journalists keen observational skill had detected her tail, ‘they are here with me and won’t cause any problems.’ I think.

Seemingly satisfied, Kat nodded and resumed pouring the drinks while Aliyah took the previously offered chair and placed the folder she had been carrying onto the table.

‘As we discussed, this contains the official proposals and documents from the ongoing summit. Additionally there are also a few internal memos from the Lamehken Primarch and some recordings of the proceedings from within the early sessions of the summit.’

“Thank you for this. We’ll get this published straight away. We don’t have distribution in Lamehk, but once it gets on the wire I’m sure it’ll make headlines there. I’ll call up some friends to make sure.”

‘Oh, of course. Not unexpected. There are contact details within the folder as well. If you can ensure the publication is delivered to those recipients then that will be adequate to uphold your end of our agreement.’

Kat returned the chardonnay bottle to the table and passed a glass to Aliyah, who took it, had a small sip, and then placed it aside.

‘Thank you,’ she said politely, silently wondering what it actually was, but not finding the courage to ask, given how odd she thought the question would seem to the journalist. ‘I promised to answer any questions, but I am due back to the summit shortly, so I would appreciate if we can be brief.”

‘Sure,’ answered Kat, even as she flicked through the folder with interest. ‘Let’s get right to it then.’

The Gothic Chamber, The White Citadel
Citadel City, Havensky

The Lamehken delegation had been lingering behind in the council chamber after the Executors oath ceremony, when Fenric’s sudden impromptu speech had stirred up quite a scene. Though Lorkahn watched passively throughout the rhetoric and the following commotion, the barest hint of disgust revealed itself in his expression and betrayed his thoughts.

It did not go unnoticed, and generated a quizzical look from the Yallakian Governor-Consul.

‘It’s fools like that that give slavers a bad name,’ declared Lorkahn, answering the unspoken question without even glancing toward Kaiden.

‘Really?’ Kaiden spoke with mock disbelief, certain that the comment was a joke despite its completely serious delivery. After a moment of feigned consideration he continued in a more resigned tone. ‘Well, sure, I guess. I mean it’s not the violence, abuse, oppression and death that does it, am I right?’

A thin smirk crossed the Dread Lord lips and his expression returned to its unreadable default. They fell to silence and continued watching as the Skyan World Assembly Ambassador spewed down righteousness from the balcony above. Only when she had finished did Lorkahn speak again, ‘but the main point still stands, that man is a fool.’

‘I can’t believe no one has even hit him?’ bemoaned Serana, who had been watching expectantly since the confrontation had begun. She continued to do so as Lord Hyperion stepped forward to have his turn.

‘Aliyah is late,’ stated Kaiden, checking his watch a couple of minutes later, unable to suppress years of legion discipline from guiding his subconscious actions.

Lorkahn shrugged slightly, appearing unphased. ‘I think we can afford her a few extra minutes. It wouldn’t do to be on time to the feast anyway.’

Sudden laughter from Serana prevented any more conversation and both men turned their attention back to the standoff, catching the final moments of Lord Hyperion crushing the slave collar before Fenric.

‘A little over dramatic,’ observed Kaiden.

‘Oh my,’ Serana exclaimed, between last few sighs of laughter, ‘I do like that one. Can I take him home, father?’

‘No!’ The answer was immediate and came from both Lorkahn and Kaiden simultaneously.

‘Hmph… Fine.’ Serana scowled briefly but then an instant later took on a tired, unimpressed aspect and turned away from the confrontation. ‘I grow tired of this. They are all so pathetically passive. He couldn't have insulted them more and still they bend and posture. Lord Muscles should have crushed his face instead of his collar.’

‘Shall we dine then, my dear?’ queried Lorkahn, sweeping his cloak back from his right shoulder and proffering an arm to his daughter.

Serana looped her arm into her fathers and smiled back sweetly, ‘I think so, I am a bit peckish.’

The trio had just exited the chamber when they came across Aliyah and the two Corsairs returning. Serana’s scowl re-appeared instantly. Lorkahn dismissed his men immediately and as they cheerfully departed he knew they would be at a bar within two minutes. When he untangled his arm from Serana’s and turned to speak to her, her scowl became an angry glare.

‘Let me guess,’ she hissed, “We’re seated at different tables anyway, so you go ahead and I will tell you all later!”

Ignoring her fury, Lorkahn smiled pleasantly. ‘I couldn't ask for a more understanding daughter.’

‘Well, don’t linger in the corridor with your whore for too long, father,’ said Serana with acid, ‘wouldn’t want to degrade that slaver reputation any further.’

‘Careful, Serana.’ The words were calm and cold. Alone they delivered more threat than any publicly crushed object could, but the fact that Lorkahn had called her by name was the all the worse, only doing so when he was very pleased or very angry, and Serana realised that she had overstepped. With one final, defiant glare, she spun away and stormed off, brushing past Aliyah, who stood rigidly still with gaze cast down in a desperate attempt to avoid eye contact, making the slave flinch away.

‘A bit over dramatic,’ observed Kaiden, amused by his own cleverness only momentarily before a sharp look from Lorkahn replaced that feeling with regret.

‘Your return was delayed, were there complications?’ Lorkahn queried abruptly, his focus moving to his kaltor.

The question had been delivered in a harsher tone than intended, and Aliyah shrank in upon herself just a fraction more, stammering her response out as an apology, still looking to the floor. ‘N..No, I’m sorry, my Lord, it… it took longer to find…’

Lorkahn’s hand lifting her face up to look at him silenced her mid sentence. ‘The apologies are mine, that was not an accusation. It has been done?’

Her face turned a pale red in embarrassment even as she answered, unfailing in her role. ‘Exactly as instructed, my Lord.’

‘Excellent.’ Lorkahn withdrew his hand, Aliyah’s head dropped slightly but she maintained eye contact and looked more at ease. Her own hand rose to idly fiddle with the emerald pendant hanging from her neck. ‘All the pieces are in place then.’

‘Dinner then?’ asked Kaiden, tentatively.

Aliyah frowned faintly and asked, in all but a whisper that carried a noticeable hint of concern, ‘Is it wise to remain here now, my Lord? When it begins, many Skyans may die and you will be vulnerable here.’

Ignoring Kaiden’s questioning looks, Lorkahn made a relaxed smile and answered Aliyah. ‘We have time, and this is where we need to be. Come, my Minister for Domestic Affairs, it is early, you still look lovely and I’m famished. Let’s join the feast.’

‘Director,’ she corrected him, with a soft chuckle.

‘Oh? Yes, well, whatever.’
The Infinite Empire
Yallak | Lamehk | Greston | Horenburg | Laysley

"My enemy’s enemy is a problem for later. In the meantime, they might be useful."

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The Kraven Corporation
Posts: 501
Founded: Apr 24, 2005
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:55 am

Fortress Norska
Naval Research Facility, Attached to Naval Arm North
South Western Gholgoth
04:00 Hours Standard Imperial Time.

The boots signalled their approach and every scientists in the room stopped what they were doing and stood up, their white overalls were covered in stains and some looked like they hadn’t slept or eaten properly in days, the lab they were working in was clinical white, its halogen lights seemed to bleach everything in a bright, white light, it was harsh and unnatural.

Doctor Trigatii had been kept here for a number of weeks now, his eyes were drawn and sunken but he had thrown himself into his work, for a number of reasons, one, it took his mind away from where he was and two, they had his wife and child, hidden somewhere in the vast, sprawling nightmare that was Norska, he had promised them he would find them when they were separated, his mind stung as he remembered them being split up, his wife screaming at him as black armoured Capitol Police pulled them away, his daughter crying her eyes out as she was dragged away by her hair, the unfeeling Capitol Police not caring if it hurt or not.

His last words to them were “I will find you, I promise!” just as an MG42 rifle butt slammed into his skull sending him spinning to the floor and blacking out....

When he awoke, he couldn’t figure out where they had taken him, it was underground he was certain of that, the lack of natural light or sounds other than the hum of generators gave that away, it wasn’t long before he found out why he had been taken off his yacht with his family, a renowned physicist, specialising in energy transference they had kidnapped and brought him to this facility to help finish a weapon of terrifying capabilities.

His mind snapped back into the room as the Capitol Police Officers entered, their footfalls in perfect time and their jet black uniforms a stark contrast to the bleached white of the laboratory.

“Doctor Trigatii, Reichmarshal Dietrich is expecting a report, is the weapon on schedule.”

Doctor Trigatii looked at the tunic, Officer 109-9 he thought to himself, this one is new, I’ve not met this Officer, not to matter they all act the same regardless of who I am dealing with, all of them with that cold, dead expression.

“Yes. You can inform Reichmarshal Dietrich that the weapon will be completed in time to commence hostilities, it will require testing first before being put into active combat, but I’m certain that the weapon will not fail.”

“We sincerely hope so Doctor Trigatii, as do your family” The Officer spoke, if he had human emotions it could be considered threatening, or spoken with malice, but it was not, it was matter of fact, the Doctor knew this, he knew that if he failed to deliver the weapon they were expecting, they would simply shoot his family dead, if they had not already done so

“Are they still alive? Can I see them?”

“They are still alive Doctor, you can see them once the weapon is complete.” With that the Officers spun around on their heels and left the room, idle chit chat was not something Capitol Police were known for and as far as they were concerned nothing more could be gained from the conversation.

Doctor Trigatii however went back to his work with renewed vigour…
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho. The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
Resistance is Futile... We Are The Kraven Reich

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Drakonian Imperium
Posts: 125
Founded: Antiquity

Old Friends

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:47 pm

Augustus Drake was late to arrive to the feast, due to his planned briefing over the nuclear incident near Mille Mortifere. However, the meeting had not gone as Augustus had intended. He had allowed the briefing to be derailed with news and speculation over the Kraven Reich’s offer of support in the Shen Almaru conflict and it had soured his mood. Augustus was growing tired of playing chess with the Reichsmarshal.

And so, the Drakonian Praetor was not just late, but also in a foul mood. He had, however, largely managed to conceal his mood and to change into more appropriate attire. Augustus had exchanged his full dress uniform for a more appropriate mess dress uniform, which consisted of black mess jacket, black waistcoat, white tuxedo shirt, black bow tie, and black suit pants with a gold stripe running down the leg. The jacket bore gold buttons and anguillettes, with miniaturized medals and other accoutrements on the left breast. Augustus had foregone donning his rapier for the feast, leaving his sword in his room. Though, he did wear the purple sash of the Praetorship under his jacket.

"NOW PRESENTING! His Imperial and Royal Majesty, Augustus Valens Drake, Praetor of the Drakonian Imperium by the Grace of God, Representative of the People before the Senate by their Will, Monarch of the Realms of Drakonia, and of her Protectorates and Territories, Lord of Gholgoth."

Lilliana too had changed, but instead of a uniform she had swapped to a more civilian appearance. The Drakonian Princess now wore a long violet dress, which showed far more of her back than her father would have deemed modest. But Augustus was distracted and so had not shown his concern or even noticed. Her military training had left her of a slim, but athletic build. Lilliana's skin was darker than her father’s, a trait inherited from her mother, and she wore her straight shoulder-length raven hair long and free flowing. Thus her attire showed off the youthful beauty of the Drakonian Heiress more so than did her military uniform.

Lilliana was also late to the feast and was pleased to find her father delayed. She followed her father in entering the hall.

"NOW PRESENTING! Her Imperial and Royal Highness, Liliana Alexis Glorianna Bellona Drake, Princess of Drakonia by the Grace of God, Princess of Mons Regalus, and of Trinitia, Lieutenant of the Imperial Drakonian Army."

The pair made their way through the gauntlet of camera with regal bearing and each moved to their own tables.

* * *


Marcus Sutherland’s hurried pace ground to an abrupt halt.

The Drakonian had the quintessential appearance of prince, tall with a military physique and dressed in the same mess dress uniform as the praetor sans the sash, for a prince he was. The dark-skinned man was the Crown Prince of Trinitia, one of the city-state Realms that made up the core of the Imperium. Marcus was also the brother to the Queen of Drakonia, Jolené Sutherland.

Marcus Sutherland turned to the voice, his neutral face softening at the sight of the caller. "Gaia."

Gaia Calpurnia was not an average Drakonian. Her skin was lighter and her hair a bright blond. She wore a sleek black dress that accented her figure and would give many a male pause, Marcus included. His voice held the familiar warmness of the surprise greeting of old friends...or former lovers.

"When did you arrive?" She smiled. "I thought Augustus was not going to bring you out here."

Marcus shrugged. "Changed his mind, I guess. Caught a couple of Aerospace Force flights out of Mille Mortifere."

Gaia frowned. "Mille Mortifere? What were you doing out there?"

"I was attached to General Sergius’ staff until Augustus ordered me out here." Marcus ignored the sudden confusion on her face. "This has something to do with the Council of Lords, I assume."

The confusion grew. "You don’t know? You are be one of the Drakonian candidates for agents, Praetors they are being called, of the Council."

"And that Territorial Navy Commander, who joined me on the flight from Colona, he is to be the other candidate?"

It was largely a rhetorical question,--Gaia could see Marcus processing the information--but she nodded regardless.

"This is just like old times," Marcus said. "You bringing me up to speed on some diplomatic plot."

"Yes, it is," Gaia agreed, memories flooding back. Their work had brought them together, but it had just as easily pulled them apart. She could see in Marcus face that much the same thoughts were passing through his own mind.

"Your niece will certainly be glad to see you," she interjected hastily, not wanting to dwell on past tragedies.

"Lilliana is here?" It was Marcus’ turn to be surprised. "This is quite the event." He smiled. "I’ll have to say, ‘hello’."

Gaia nodded and a brief awkward silence ensued as the pair searched each others faces. Finally, Marcus smiled again.

"Would you care to join me," the Crown Prince asked.

Marcus offered his arm. His left arm, Gaia noted. Surprised filling her face at his gesture. His prosthetic left arm. It had been an uncomfortable reminder of his past combat injuries even before they had dated. Marcus had suffered from phantom lift pain, Gaia knew. To make so sensitive a gesture might indicate that he had worked through one of the impediments to their last relationship.

"Certainly," she said smiling and accepting the offered arm.

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Posts: 233
Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

The Tables - Part 1 (A Collaboration from Many)

Postby Dephire » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:57 pm

Ironwing was in a jolly mood as, best to his knowledge, the day had gone well. He hadn’t been told about the incident with the Fenric as of yet having arrived early to the feast to greet people.

Caesar and Lord Hyperion were already sat at the table and had been talking with Anax Adon and Archpriestess Hatóság of Telros. Silvier noticed Ironwing’s approach in the corner of her eye and, gleaming a huge smile, stood to greet him with open arms. Hyperion also stood, and bowed his head in respect.

“Lucas, I’m glad you’re joining us this evening.” Silvier spoke warmly as she embraced him, a moment that caused the flashes of the cameras to increase ten-fold for a brief moment. “Needless to say I am once again incredibly impressed with all the work your people have put into this summit, and I meant every word of what I said to the press.”

“Please allow me to introduce you to Anax Adon Baldassare and Archpriestess Isteni Hatóság of the Compact of Telros.”

Ironwing smiled extending his arms in a greeting, “Thank you Caesar, I know that everyone here appreciates that. Anax Adon and Arch Priestess, I am glad to meet you both! Welcome to Havensky!”

Gesturing for him to sit next to her, she sat back down and broke some bread for him, before signalling for a waiter who came over promptly. “Now come, let us break bread and drink! Waiter, please could you bring me a glass of Sky Marshall, and a pint of Buster Rifle for His Majesty.” Silvier smiled at him - she had developed a close relationship with both Lucas and Jessica, one that was genuinely personal. “Oh, and some Goat Lord for Lord Hyperion, in the largest pitcher you have. Thank you.”

If it were possible to see him smile, Hyperion would’ve. The waiter took one look at him and his brain scrambled as to what would be large enough. The waiter gestured to another server and a pitcher with a large stein was placed in front of Hyperion. The Dux Imperator took it with one hand and toasted his servers and everyone at the table, before drinking deeply.

“Adon, Isteni?” Caesar glanced over to her Telrosian friends, asking if they would like to partake in the drinking.

Adon and Isteni had been late arrivals to the table, a call from the homeland having required the Anax's presence and Isteni had dutifully followed after, offering her advice on the matter. As such when they arrived and the Caesar offered them drinks, they were both more than willing to partake. Adon's eyes lit up at the cups full of alcohol.

“Oh yes, please. I'm quite thirsty.” Her hands took the beverage gratefully and began to drink it; at first in great gulps until she met the Arch-Priestess' raised eyebrow and then meekly began drinking at a slower pace. As for the priestess herself, she waved it off with a demure smile.

“The offer is appreciated but I do not partake in alcohol. I'm sure one of these fine people at this table would enjoy it, however.”

Tristan was the next to arrive to the tables still escorting Hagane. Ironwing rose to greet the pair embracing Tristan and stretching out a hand to Hagane.

“Tristan, I was so very sorry to hear about Tynsei. I will be attending the service personally alongside Lady Raven whose being named your new ambassador. Let me know if there’s anything you need.”

“Thank you, Lucas. It has been very difficult to process. The funeral will be in the coming days. She should be already on her way back, along with my Generals.”

Silvier rose again to greet Tristan, whom she’d departed from earlier after their brief excursion to talk to Skaro. Not saying a word she simply smiled and planted him with a gentle kiss on the cheek and a similarly warm embrace to the one she gave Ironwing before returning to her seat.

Tristan blushed slightly with a smile before moving to his seat, bowing and kissing Hagane’s hand before sitting. “Thank you, Hagane, for allowing me to have a moment’s fun.

Adon getting some food and drink in her before focusing on the conversation at hand and Isteni nursing a water as she listened. There was mention of a funeral for Tynsei, and both leaders glanced at each other. There had been mention from the minister that an attack by a rogue group resulted in the death of the wife of Tristan. The ensuing reprisal had been and hopefully the last that would be heard of that group. Rumors abound about being a separatist movement, to a democratic extremist group like the Duskflowers or even a possible link to Kraven but Intelligence hadn't quite gotten enough info to throw weight behind any of the theories yet. When Skaro arrived, their gazes went towards him and once it was made obvious he was the Kravenite delegate, a hardening of their gazes could be see, hands tensing around their utensils before the storm cloud passed and their faces were schooled back into diplomatic smiles.

Ironwing turned towards the entrance of the room as more guests arrived.

“Man, that Bebe is something,” remarked Ironwing under his breath as he peered across the room.

Lady Lara Jarasa entered the scene at an awkward time, able to overhear some choice words about her Emperor’s eldest son and heir as she found her way to her seat. Rather than interrupt, she merely sat down, and listened while she made herself comfortable and got her silverware in order.

“Lucas.” Caesar shot a disapproving glance at the Skyan King. “Last I checked grown men do not pick on little boys, or are you telling me I’m wrong?”

“Children follow by example and seek the approval of their elders. Considering your general dismissal of him, I’m not surprised he acts the way he does.” Silvier retorted. Lara, who had been quiet up to that point, nodded in approval at the Caesar’s words. “Furthermore, we can’t change the fact that he will one day be Emperor of Ghant. He will be one of us one day, so we should not cause him to have any resentment against us when that time comes. He’s young, and can still change. Yes, he should be corrected when he does wrong, but we should not continue to hold those grievances against him while he’s still learning to be a man.”

“You forget, I teach for a living and I call’em like I see them and that boy is trouble. I hope for all of our sakes he gets his head on straight before too long.”

“Alright, sir.” Silvier answered back playfully, trying to now move the conversation on while also not killing the mood of the table. “If I’m proved right does that mean I get a gold star for good work?”

“Wait, are they serving urchin?!”, exclaimed Tristian excitedly as he saw the servers setting out plates. One such plate featured a slew of sea urchins popped open revealing an orange foam like substance. The sight quickly changed the subject. Silvier was grateful that it did as she clapped her hands in approval of the servers as they brought out more delicious treats.

“That looks...unappealing.” Caius looked at the orange substance with aversion. The Prime Minister of Mille Mortifere had made his way quietly and without fanfare to the table. He was not one for fuss as so much of his life was taken up with ceremony and circumstance.

“UNI IS DELICIOUS!”, shouted and laughed Ironwing as he dug in taking in large spoonfuls gleefully. Silvier laughed heartily as she joined him in the feasting. “If you like this, you must try some Kylarnatian kabkabou.” She waved over one of the servers and had them retrieve some for Ironwing.

Hagane, who had just been distracted for just a moment, turned to Ironwing to ask what the joke was.

Tristan took the moment to try and explain, “If I remember correctly, I think it referenced an earlier joke where we were picturing a future Gothic Lord Bebe wearing something less… Military fashioned and more free spirited. Something about urchins came up and then we got to talking about uni… Though, Lucas, universities aren’t delicious… You can’t even eat them.” Tristan blinked while blankly staring at the urchin, having not made the connection yet. “Say, did you get the um… Correspondence sent to you last month? You know, the one explaining how I’m actually a near perfect clone of the original Tristan and he’s actually been healing in a tube somewhere at the bottom of the Gothic Sea?” He continued to blankly stare, this time into the distance. “If not, this may be a very awkward conversation…”

Seems as good a time as any to intercede, Lara thought. Not for the Crown Prince’s sake, but for his mother. “The Empress of Ghant is the one that, to my knowledge, approves her children’s attire. With all due respect, your Majesty.” I think I’ll leave it at that. Tristan’s last comment threw her for a loop. “...Wait, what?” Is he a replicant?

“I believe what Lady Lara is trying to say is that we should leave the children out of the discussion, and I concur with her, so perhaps we should--” Silvier added in quickly, almost missing Tristan’s comment completely before turning to look at him in astonishment. “...I’m sorry?”

Caius’ eye widened and the Drakonian carefully took a sip of his wine to conceal his own surprise.

Hyperion, who up until this point had been minding his own business and enjoying his beverage, stopped to look at the Godsend Emperor. Staring into his eyes for a few moments, he then seemingly shrugged and went back to drinking. “Why should I even be surprised.”

Volgus, having found himself seated at this table as opposed to the one his Lord was at, decided the best way to make an introduce to a group of very homicidal people he’d never met would be a flippant comment. “I noticed. You’re far more handsome.” He gave a sly smile and wink.

Tristan blushed, “Why thank you! I do like to stay in shape and keep the skin moisturized.”

Ironwing looked very confused for a moment and turned serious.

Silvier said nothing, and instead chose to down the rest of her Sky Marshall before summoning the waiter over to get another glass. “Unbelievable.” She muttered, not knowing whether to be intrigued or deeply disturbed. Tristan was a close friend who meant a lot to her, so this was a lot to process at once. It also conflicted deeply with her faith, but she was able to hold that down; after all, these sorts of things were par for the course in Gholgoth.

There was some talk of the children of the Gothic Lords, especially about Bebe; it was quickly obvious many did not care for him and his attitude. It clicked in Isteni's mind that this was the eldest child of one of the Gothic Lords and it was filed away for future reference as a possible problem. A nod from Adon indicated she realized the same thing; but currently they were not in charge and therefore not an issue. Their attention was drawn quickly from this topic when Tristan made a passing reference to that fact that he was a clone of the original, who was healing in a facility at the bottom of the Gothic Ocean. The silence that followed was punctuated by the fork falling from Adon's fingers, her face a Pollock paint of conflicting emotions; the Arch-Priestess was a picture of cold study, staring at Tristan as if trying to pick him apart with her eyes and put him back together.

Ironwing sat silent for a moment while he processed the information. He took a drink from his lager before setting it down with a hard thud. One could see Ironwing deciding between being angry, shocked, and the need to keep the Summit moving.

“Tristan… Prime… How long have you been standing in? Since the start of the Summit? I really wish you had told us. We might have understood, but now we have to have… some sort of legal document that says you’re allowed to represent Dephire. And… not to be indelicate... But how much have you been communicating back to Tristan?”

“Well, let’s see. I was formally activated roughly three months after his ascension to the throne and stood in each time he went on vacation… So, roughly four to eight years? I tend to go on long trips of self-discovery when I am not working. I also go under the knife to update my appearance to reflect his. The eye was quite the change. The eye has an encrypted link to our satellite communications network managed by the AI Triumvirate. Whatever I see, hear, and say is transferred to him with less than 2 seconds latency. I then receive his thoughts. Though, upon activation my mind was imprinted with his memories and so we have a roughly ninety-eight percent identical match. This is why I received the designation Prime. I was considered the most complete and identical clone.” He noticed everyone’s expressions, “This should have also been included in the documents… Did you seriously not get them? We would have sent them via email but figured a paper document bearing his royal seal would have been better... “

“Ah.. now that makes sense. Well, in that case.. I suppose everything is alright.”, remarked Ironwing. “You do drink like the real thing that’s for sure..might also explain the singing.”

Adon nodded. Finally someone with some sense. We don't really know the man but cloning? I knew the Dephirans were technologically advanced but this....And the concerns about Replicants make this a dicey subject as it is. Not to mention, I'm fairly sure something like this would be condemned by the Arch-Priestess and the Church as stepping on the province of the gods, a corrupting influence.

“Oh trust me, it was definitely not something you want to wake up to find out about yourself! Tristan himself was furious. Do you remember that movie with the angry space wizard that loses his shit and destroys a bunch of equipment with his lazer sword? Yeah, Tristan went full angry space wizard to the entire facility… However, he was finally calmed down enough to understand the reasoning behind it. The only good that could come of it is that the nation would not tear itself apart if it were found out he was hospitalized or dead. At least that’s the only grain of humanity I try to use to help me sleep at night.” Prime took another generous swig of the alcohol.

Having received a new glass of Sky Marshall, Silvier looked up. “So how many clones of you are there, Tristan...Prime? Knowing Dephirian scientists, I highly doubt you stopped at one.”

“Roughly five to ten clones. The exact number of my brothers and sisters was one of the few details left hidden to me, though I suspect not even Tristan knows. Of the activated clones, I know of myself, Wrath, Alpha, Beta, and George. There have been signs that other activated clones exist, but they may be running independent.” He took a huge swig from the bottle of liquor, “The Dephirian scientists do have a knack for overdoing it. They wanted the perfect specimen and I was as close as they got before Tristan found out and shut down everything. There are some clones that are merely children!”

Caius took another small, but drawn out sip from his wine glass. His face a carefully manicured neutral, his posture tightly controlled and rigid, but his eyes widening and darting around the table like a squirrel on cocaine.

Silvier had to compose herself so that her jaw did not hit the floor. “‘A knack for overdoing it’? My if that isn’t the understatement of the century.” She drank some more of her Sky Marshall. “...Wait, did you just say one of them is called George?”

“George? Seriously?”, remarked Ironwing wistfully.

Tristan chuckled, “Yeah, he’s one with some… Shortcomings. On account he’s the single clone that is only four foot six.”

...I don’t even know how to respond to that. Lara Jarasa was usually a woman quick to think on her feet, but not this time. “Wow” was all that she could manage to say.

The awkward silence was broken by the soft clinking of glasses; a serving tray swooped suddenly into view over their shoulders and two dozen filled-to-the-brim shot glasses rattled to a stop on the table before the party. Lucius Salvias Otho stood beaming above the collection, "So what'd I miss?" he lifted one of the glasses, "and before all you Kings and Emperors get too worried, let me admit, these are poison! Effects will include a slight dizziness, a cheerful loss of inhibition and a gradual reddening of the face! Drink at your own risk." Otho winked at no-one in particular and downed his shot. “Let's liven things up, and leave the business for tomorrow. We've had quite enough today for my tastes.” Otho raised another shot, this time looking for someone to join him.

In desperate need of a distraction, Lara joined Otho in raising a shot. “Not the kind of business I was expecting to learn about. Cheers to unexpected business.”

Silvier took two shot glasses from the tray and passed one to Hyperion - who just stared at the tiny glass puzzlingly - before raising hers in the toast and downing it. “To unexpected business indeed.” Feeling the buzz, the Caesar regained her smile, and for a moment at least was able to put the confused emotions from Tristan Prime’s confession behind her.

“But no, Prime, I saw no such document.” Silvier confirmed. “Though admittedly had we received it, it might have taken some time to believe it.”

Lara shrugged, and responded with “for all we knew, such a document could have been a clever forgery.”

“I mean…I’m willing to go on a little faith here. Prime could have kept it a secret and we would have never known. Let’s just enjoy our dinner for the moment.”, Ironwing said, prompting Lara to nod in agreement.

Caius accepted one of Otho’s glasses, but took no more than a curious taste of the intoxicating and dangerous beverage.

Isteni had gone back to sipping her drink and moving her gaze to the various people discussing the matter, but Adon could feel the colder aura around the woman. The news was not welcome with this woman of the Goddess, but she was letting Ironwing handle the situation. As they were sitting next to Silvier, she may have noticed one hand of the Arch-Priestess curling in on itself and growing tighter and tighter with gripped energy as Tristan Prime's explanation continued. She hadn't reached for water in the past minute and her eyes were again fixed on the clone, her mouth a straight line now. The Anax had reached over and touched her other hand, but her gaze remained unbroken. At the mention of the number of clones, her body went ramrod straight and Adon moved over, whispering into the other woman's ear. Isteni looked back at the Anax, whose eyes narrowed, the command clear. Bowing her head, she quietly excused herself and left, heading in the direction of the bathrooms. The awkward silence following the confirmation of even there being clone children was saved by the server arriving with more drinks.

Silvier had tried to calm the Archpriestess before she left, subtly taking hold of her clenched fist. She noticed Adon whisper into her ear and then she departed, and while she turned her attention immediately back to the table, one sidewards glance at Hyperion gave him the signal to follow. The Dux Imperator sighed, finished his drink, and then set off in pursuit of the Archpriestess. The Caesar understood Isteni’s complex feelings on the matter; the Sacerdotium was not usually opposed to the advancement of technology, except when it crossed over into what was deemed to be “god-like”. Cloning could be interpreted as such.

When Otho grabbed one and raised a glass, a tight grin could be seen and she raised her own. “If this is poison, than by this point I would be considered immune! I outdrank all of my battalion guys every single time!” She downed hers and smacked her lips a bit, eyes fluttering close to enjoy the burn before opening them again.

Not sure of what documents everyone was so concerned with, Otho, still armed with half a tray of brown liquor and a healthy rapport with the serving staff, decided it was time to put his plan into action. "Say, friends, now that we're all arrived and settled in," he looked from drink to drink, again assured everyone had secured their libation of choice, "I propose we play a little game." Otho then straightened up and waved to one of the Skyan attendants at the edge of the room. The young man disappeared for a moment and re-entered carrying a moderately sized ceramic vase, out of which protruded a number of thin stem-like handles. "Who should like to go first?" Otho asked enthusiastically as the server placed the inexplicable container before the party. "Just draw a spoon from the vase and read what it says out loud."

Silvier grinned at her fellow table members as she stood and was the first to grab a spoon. Looking closely, she read the label. “It says...Most likely to make an inappropriate joke whilst negotiating?” The Caesar could not help but let out a little laughter. She tapped the spoon on her nose playfully as she looked around at everyone on the table, trying to decide who to pick. Biting her lower lip to hold in more laughter, she pointed the spoon directly at Otho.

“Spectacular,” Otho replied gleefully, poised with a shot in hand, “Now typically we need a second, or else the player who makes the pronouncement has to drink themselves,” Otho looked to Silvier, “but I think I'll second this one myself!” he downed his shot. “My turn.” he half-spoke, half-wheezed through the liquor. With a flourish, Otho then drew the next spoon. “Aha!” he called out, upon reading it, “Most likely to drink too much at a diplomatic function!”

Otho scanned the table before him, spoon twirling absentmindedly in hand. The Skyan King looked like he had already had a few drinks, and Tristan had been drinking for quite awhile now, but Otho kept thinking. Perhaps, “I nominate the good Captain Skaro!” he declared loudly, “Do I have a second?”

“Second!” Silvier shouted gleefully, looking at the Captain with a bemused grin.

When Otho proposed the game, the Anax exclaimed her support for the idea and watched the two rounds with amusement, the previous unpleasantness leaving her mind as she watched Skaro to see what he would do.

The mention of his name seemed to snap Skaro out of his trance and coming too he blinked for a moment looking around at the people around the table, all looking at him expectantly, he paused for a moment and realised they had mentioned his name…

“My goodness, drunk already?” Otho chided, “It's a game, you're up. Take a shot!”

“I’m sorry” He paused for a moment, “I must have zoned out” He looked around at the others on the table and rubbed his beard as he tended to do when unsure or thinking about what to say next, “What on earth is happening?”

“That’s a pass from the commodore,” Otho gave a flamboyant tip of his imaginary cap before turning back to the rest of the table. He looked between the jolly Skyan king and the enthusiastic Dephirian emperor (for all he knew) and met their eyes in turn. “Sorry, ‘too much‘ is a relative term I'm afraid, you're up, Your Majesty,” Otho bowed his head, and presented the accusatory spoon, to Ironwing.

“I know exactly what I’m doing”, remarked Ironwing as he downed a shot of the vile liquid.

Next, he snatched a new spoon from the vase, read the text to himself, and looked up satisfied, “Alright Prime...most likely to get knocked to his feet during training. Mostly by me.”, Ironwing boasted.

“Hmm. I would most certainly like a rematch, Lucas.” Prime smiled and gave Ironwing a wink. “This time it would be me and not him if you know what I mean.” He looks at the spoon, “Hmm. Most likely to skip the group photo?” He quickly looks to Skaro, “Winner, Winner! Chicken Dinner!”

“Chicken Dinner?” Skaro looked confused “I’ve never played this game before, do I win a chicken dinner, is it roast chicken? The Reich tends to boil its chicken which makes it taste watery” Skaro had perked up a little now, watching the game and finding it quite funny, still considering the Reich didn’t have such games, he wasn’t sure how it worked.

“Unfortunately, it is only a mere expression I'm afraid, but we can arrange to have the roasted chicken brought in sooner!” Prime smiled politely.

Caius followed the game with limited interest. Drinking games were not his pleasure. In fact, the Prime Minister of Mille Mortifere had already abandoned his wine and Otho’s beverage some time ago for water. Caius preferred to keep his faculties intact, and now explored the assembled dishes, content to remain on the periphery of the game watching. He might learn something instructive on his counterparts after all.

‘So this must be the fun table?’ Lorkahn’s arrival was greeted with a very short, but noticeable, lull in the the activities going on. It was understandable, he didn’t know any of them at a personal level and at least half of them would dislike him just on moral principles. It also didn’t bother him. Diplomacy with the Lords of Gholgoth had proven simplistic compared to dealing with his fellow Archons back home. He took a seat, Kaiden and Aliyah doing the same.

Lorkahn immediately got tucked into the nearest meat dish, some hunk of unknown animal that was nicely crisped on the outside. Aliyah, a bit hesitant and awkward at first, followed suit and began to nibble at nearby dishes. Kaiden ignored the food and summoned a nearby server.

‘I’ll have whatever that is, thanks,’ demanded the Yallakian, indicating the pint that Ironwing was drinking. ‘If it’s good enough for the King, it’ll do me. Make it three. Anyone else?’

"Yes!" Otho leaned back to address the server Kaiden had the attentions of, "One drink for the captain here, whatever his pleasure. He owes us one." he gestured at Skaro, "And, I suppose, a roast chicken?" Otho cocked his head to one side and looked at the submariner quizzically.

“Sky Marshall whiskey, I’ve got a taste for it, and double time young sir!” Skaro laughed and looked at the group around the table, “Is it my turn to draw, or someone else's? this game does confuse me, seems like the rules are made up as we go along!”

“You have to down a shot first, Captain. It’s not right for the sailor to be lagging behind the rest.” Silvier pulled him a grin. “Once you’ve done that, then you draw. You then nominate a person for what’s written on the spoon, and if someone seconds it, the nominee drinks.”

“Ah ha!, now, you see, there is still some class around this table” Skaro roared out laughing as he did, “Finally! Someone who explains the game properly to me!” the Sky Marshall whiskey was placed in front of him and in one swift motion he knocked it back without a thought, then with a sly grin, reached for his spoon, he drew it carefully, then read it to himself, he decided it was boring and with all the drink he had consumed decided to make his own up on the spot…

“Hrmmm, let me see now, ‘Most likely to date a Kravenite’ “ Skaro started to laugh and a grin spread across his face, “I nominate Silvier, because she’s fiery and likes a bit of danger” Skaro started to laugh looking at Silvier with that rugged charm he had won so many over with…

“Who seconds me? Anyone?”

“Now Catherina, keep in mind, you can't second your own nomination!” Otho gave her a wink.

The Caesar, not one to be caught off-guard but also someone who had definitely loosened up after a bit of drinking, downed the rest of her glass of brandy in one and then proceeded to lean across the table at the Captain, her face close to his. “You’re right, Captain, a girl sometimes hungers for danger...”

Leaning in just slightly closer, she teased a kiss, until she quickly snatched the spoon from his hand and tapped him on the nose. “That’s why I ask my wife to use three fingers instead of two.”

Not missing a beat, she scraped some icing off the nearest dessert with three fingers and licked it off. It was then, when she cleaned off the remnants with her napkin, that she overheard some commotion coming from the Lordspawn Table. Her motherly instincts kicking in, she decided to go and investigate, but not before giving one last brush of her mouth with the napkin and throwing it in Skaro’s lap.

“Something to compensate all those disappointed ‘seamen’, I’m sure it’ll make those long days on the U-Boat fly by.” Not waiting to see how long it’d be for him to figure out what she meant, she excused herself, but not before giving the table a wink as she left.

Skaro took off his cap and ran his fingers through his hair, letting out a long breath that by the sounds of it, he was holding in when Silvier approached him…

“They certainly don’t have women like that in Norska” Skaro turned to a waiter “Bucket of ice water please, I need to… cool off, I think..”

"Well, I think you got what you deserved there, Captain. Shall I select our next victim?" Otho offered, still grinning from the exchange.

Skaro looked up from the napkin on his lap, red lipstick smudged slightly on one edge

“Be my guest Otho..” before letting out another long breath...

Otho stood up from his chair enough to lean forward and draw a new spoon from the vase. "Aha!" he cried out, "This one I suspect will be perfect for our new companions." and as an aside to the Lamehkian delegation he added, "A drinking game, I'm sure you've caught on," he then read out loud what was written on the spoon, "Most likely to be hiding a weapon on their person. I'd hate to presume, but your land does have something of a reputation," he turned, "Lord Lorkhan." Otho returned to his seat with a flourish.

‘That probably would be presumptuous, if not a tad racist,’ stated Kaiden, breaking out a large grin, ‘if it wasn't almost certainly true. I’ll second that one.’

Lorkahn shrugged nonchalantly as Kaiden ordered him a shot.

‘Guilty as charged,’ he confessed unabashedly, before materialising what would appear to the others as an exotic throwing knife from seemingly nowhere. With one deft motion he proceeded to stab the blade into another chunk of the meat dish he’d taken a liking too and then casually plopped the morsel into his mouth. A blink of the eye later and the blade had vanished again and Lorkahn was accepting the freshly arrived drink from the Skyan server.

‘And here I thought you didn’t normally start the party tricks until at least the third shot,’ commented Kaiden with a laugh.

Lorkahn didn’t respond, instead he raised his glass in salute to the table and then downed the shot.
"My nation was forged by the blade of a sword and so it lives on through the sword." -Tristan Skragg, Emperor of Briska.

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The Kraven Corporation
Posts: 501
Founded: Apr 24, 2005
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:48 pm

Fortress Norska
South Western Gholgoth
Naval Research Facility, Attached to Naval Arm North
13:00 Hours Standard Imperial Time.

The Doctor worked at his desk, papers were scattered all over it and he feverishly wrote on a note pad before tossing it to one side, he fumbled through scraps of paper looking for something that seemingly was out of reach, he cursed under his breath, it was here somewhere, he had seen it only moments ago, cursing again he wished his organisation was better, but they were pushing him harder now, the closer it got to completion the harder they pushed, he worked as hard as he could thinking about his wife and daughter, knowing that they were somewhere in the depths of Norska worried him, he was determined that he would complete the weapon they had asked for, if only to see that his family was safe, the question of what or where the weapon would be used was pushed to the back of his mind, at least he wished it was, it kept him awake at night, torn between the desire to see his family safe and the worry, the guilt and the abject horror of the untold deaths that this weapon could cause, he felt sick to his stomach, he hadn't slept for days, he fumbled about for a glass of water, knocking it over with a clumsy hand he sent water spreading out across the table, he cursed yet again catching the attention of another scientist...

"You need to slow down, take a bit of time to rest" he called over in a hushed tone, knowing there was a trooper stood outside on guard at all times

"I can't, not when I know they are both still out there" He held his head in his hands and brushed his hair back blinking a few times as though he was trying to clear his sight and wake himself up a little

"Look, I hate to be a party pooper, but we're in Norska, they are probably already dead, if they aren't dead your wife is probably hooked up to a machine and your daugher is probably welded into a gun turret somewhere or a radar console if she's lucky"

"Shut.. the.. fuck... up" he scowled at the other scientist, before returning to his now soggy papers, he tried to clean up as best he could

"Look, I'm sorry, but its the harsh truth, the sooner you accept it the better because you are only going to be disappointed when the weapon is complete, even if they were alive, do you think for a second they are going to let you leave Norska?" the scientist snorted "No, They are going to kill you to protect the secrets of their weapon, you my friend, like the rest of us will never see the light of day again"

Something clicked in the back of his mind, "What if we got those secrets out?" He quietly replied to the scientist across from him...

"Impossible, how would we ever accomplish it" He looked at the Doctor with a pained expression, one of sadness and sorrow as though he was resigned to his fate here...

"I make a copy of the plans and somehow we get it out of Norska, it can be done, if we put our minds to it, I don't care how machine like and perfect The Reich is, its not infallible, there must be some way..."

A Trooper walked in, his heavy footfalls gave it away before he'd actually entered the room, his appearance gave a cold chill to the room as his armoured protect gear clanked with the almost robotic gait to his stride and his voice had an electronic bark from the vocal amplifier built into the gas mask...

"Designated down time, Move." The Trooper pointed to the door way and waited for the scientists to hurriedly leave the room, they learnt quickly that the Troopers expected them to comply immediately as anything less than total compliance was met with a barrage of blows from a metal baton that they carried at all times, the Doctor looked at the Trooper for a moment, a chill ran up his spine as he, for a brief moment stared into the red lenses of the gas mask, he couldn't sense a soul, anything, nothing that could be reasoned with, it was just a machine with biological components, he looked down at the floor and quickly moved out of the room.

They all sat down together in a room that served as a cafeteria, the Reich recognised that it needed to feed the scientists if they were to be productive, its walls were surgical white, the tables were cold, silver metal, its chairs were made from the same material, built to serve a function, they were uncomfortable, the food was served to them on a metal tray, it was boiled potatoes, boiled chicken breast and boiled carrots or swede, he couldn't tell, it was hot which was a bonus but it was bland and tasteless, he longed for some paprika or garlic anything to stimulate his taste buds, a worker brought them the food over and placed it in front of them, then he hung around which was unusual, a single Trooper stood at the back of the room watching as they quietly ate the food...

A scream from outside alerted the Trooper in the room, he suddenly came to attention then mechanically stalked out of the room to see where the noise had come from, he drew his baton and proceeded with that machine like precision, suddenly the worker who had brought him the food rushed over...

"Doctor Trigatii, I know where your daughter is being held" The Doctors eyes suddenly widened at the news of his daughter

"She, she, she's still alive?" The Doctor grabbed the workers hands and looked at him with pleading eyes...

"Yes, she's still alive, so is your wife, but I don't know where she is being held, they separated them not long after you arrived" He smiled at the news she was alive, but quickly looked sad that they were not together, his daughter must be terrified in a place such as Norska

"We can get her out of Norska, I can't promise she will be safe away from here, but it will be safer than staying here" The worker looked over his shoulder to see if the Trooper had returned but was still occupied with whatever was happening in the corridor

"Is there anything you want me to take to her" The worker look anxious, like at any moment the Trooper could return...

"Yes, Yes, Yes there is, but I'll need time..." The Doctor looked around the room at the other scientists...

"Ok, prepare it and I shall be back tomorrow at the same time during the designated down time period, then we shall get your daughter out of Norska"
Last edited by The Kraven Corporation on Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho. The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
Resistance is Futile... We Are The Kraven Reich

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Drakonian Imperium
Posts: 125
Founded: Antiquity

The Tables - Part 2 (A Collaboration...)

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:34 pm

“So,” the Hammer spoke between sips from his vodka and spoonfuls from his bowl of gumbo, “Are we going to give the Dienstadi elephant at the table a warm welcome from us Gothic Lords?”

“Let me be the first.” Executor Nathan raised a glass of straight vodka to Feodor.

After scanning the expressions of his tablemates, Dalikharl shot a simpering glare at Fedor that remained locked onto the Macabéan until someone else began to speak.

Queen Jessica rested her hand on the Hammer’s shoulder for a moment before speaking.

“My apologies, I wanted to make sure everyone was seated and served before getting on with introductions. Everyone, I’d like to give a warm welcome to Emperor Fedor of The Golden Throne whose been so kind as to join us this evening.”

The Queen then introduced everyone at the table and the waitstaff ensured everyone had something to drink.

“So, before we get too deep into shop talk. I’d like to propose a toast. To new friends!”

Dalikharl raised his glass with a contemptuous expression towards Fedor prevailing over the notion of friendship being celebrated.

Augustus still preoccupied with his meeting earlier in the day looked up as if noticing for the first time that he wasn’t alone. “To new friends,” he agreed.

"Hear! Hear!" Dengmu lifted his voice, and his glass, with vigor. Although the Pudite Emperor was still wearing his dark blue military dress uniform he had made some alterations to the medal and ribbon display over his left breast; now in place of the crowded hodgepodge of honors and awards an Emperor is wont to accumulate was stitched a single oversized ribbon. It was white, with a broad blue stripe in the center featuring a golden Macabean imperial eagle, and it was the first of it's design in the Pudite Army. Soon, it would be worn by millions. There would be no mistaking the position of Dengmu this evening.

Renuae, despite her lack of reputation at the table, rose her glass, “To the Golden Throne.”

She noted absently how the drink in her hand was a red wine, probably Skyan stock, but that she’d originally ordered water. She eyed Nalur with suspicion but if he switched her bland drink to something more mature his face didn’t let on.

Having already drank his first glass, Nathan poured a second, and raised it with Dengmu and Renuae. “To the Golden Throne.”

As they raised their glasses, Fedor quickly looked around the table. He liked Dengmu, who he had the chance of speaking to during the earlier parade through Citadel City. The man had an air of purpose to him, as if nothing else mattered but the reunification of his people, and he manifested this through a focused humility. Dengmu was a man to look up to, thought Fedor. A standard for himself. To Dalikharl and Augustus he nodded, although otherwise paid them little attention. The latter seemed lost in thought. To Jessica he gave the kindest nod and, finally, he recognized Renaue’s gesture. He raised his glass with them, and said, “To Gholgoth. To Shen Almaru. To His Imperial Majesty Nathan the Fourth of Ghant, first executor of many.” In the back of his mind, he wondered where Fenric was. Fedor had been looking forward to speaking to the enemy emperor, to know the man who led the country he was at war against.

The Emperor of Ghant raised his glass in response to the Golden Emperor’s praise, and flashed a wide, though reserved grin. After the toasts had been made, Jessica started the evening off with more lighter conversation. “So Emperor Fedor, what do you think of our quiet little city?”

“Quiet?” asked Fedor, almost as if surprised. “Admittedly, my own Fedala is a sprawling city and one with deep roots, one that I will always be biased toward as is natural, but Citadel City is one of the most impressive I have seen. Built into the stone. The earth, its rock, despite everything man has done to it, it remains. We may deface it, but out efforts are but an inch to a mile. To build a city from it, intelligent. And an engineering marvel, at that. Fortune has blessed me with this visit, one that every man must make at least once in his life. I may one day hope to see all capitals of Gholgoth.”

“Ah, that’s right. I believe our Governor Burnham made a trip to Fedala when she was researching the Citadel. She didn’t end up going that direction, but I recall her speaking very highly of the city. She’ll also be very flattered at your comments. If I’m not mistaken, there are quite a few Gothic cities that are in the earth.”

Augustus listen to the conversation, his mind only partly listening. With the Macabean Emperor’s mention of visiting the other Gholgothic Capitals, Augustus’ frustration with his own preoccupation overflowed. He sat forward, straightened up, took a long drink from his glass of wine. “That is a worthy hope,” he sat finally focusing on Fedor and the present. “One, I can wholeheartedly second, for yourself, myself, and everyone here. Peace would be far easier to maintain were that to happen.

“Except, perhaps for Norska,” the Drakonian Monarch added as an afterthought. “I can’t imagine a visit there being terribly pleasant or peaceful.”

Dengmu shifted in his seat registering a barely noticeable discomfort at the mention of 'cities in the earth'. Of course one of his major reforms, part of what he called his Five Points for National Advancement, was ending the system that had decades ago forced billions into a life of subterranean servitude. He recovered his composure quickly, though, and rejoined the conversation, "The Imperial City in Hollarum would welcome any of you, I'm certain my Chamberlain can find one or two palaces I'm not using to put up some honored guests!"

"Mazaraan, on the other hand," continued Dengmu, now referring to the provincial capital of Shen Almaru, "Might not be so accessible." Although he smiled to indicate his good humor it was nevertheless a clear reminder of what was on the Pudite Emperor's mind as he and his companions dined.

As Dengmu spoke he was busy serving himself from one of the large cauldrons of slow-cooked Ash Boar provided by the Dephirian delegation. He spooned a generous helping of the tender meat, green chilis and salsa over a large bowl of rice he had assembled and as he finished speaking he picked up his chopsticks and began to tuck in to the savory dish, noting hints of spice in the ash boar meat he couldn't readily identify.

“Mazaraan will be accessible, soon enough,” Augustus assured, a smile showing he got the joke, but couldn't help himself.


OOC: This post was co-written with Aldarminia, Ghant, Havensky, The Macabees, The Emperor Pudu, and Jagada.

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Zneyvind Outpost
Political Columnist
Posts: 2
Founded: Oct 10, 2018
New York Times Democracy

Postby Zneyvind Outpost » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:46 pm

Citadel City

The grey VTOL dropship didn't bother for a smooth landing. As soon as it had reached the landing platform and gotten landing permission it and two of its fighter escort touched down in a hard and uncomfortable fashion. The doors to the cabin slid open and out stepped a two men, along with a few ceremonial guards. The two were about the same age, in their early 80s. To a normal human they looked like they were in their mid fourties, but the Peninsularian aging cycle was much different. Jonir Glenfell and Pavl doMenn stepped onto the landing pad.

Jonir represented the civilian branch of the outpost leadership. He had a somewhat fit stature, given he was diagnosed with SMA - Specific Metabolism Abnormality - and he had to work out regularly. He had kempt his blond hair back and given it a left parting. He had light green eyes, which were steadily watching his surroundings. Pavl represented the military on the outpost. While the official administration was civilian, the military still had a major say in matters. He was in top shape due to military training, with pitch black hair and equally dark eyes, that were calmly observing the landing pad and the building that they were about to enter.

As for their clothing, Jonir wore a sort-of navy blue attire consisting of slim fit trousers, a white shirt and what could be described as a crossover of a vest and a jacket. Pavl, being a military man, sported the light khaki dress uniform of the Peninsularian ground forces, with traditionally iron-tipped shoes, as well as a navy blue beret. His rank markings identified him as Colonel. In total, both men's outfits were largely unadorned, expect for a small metal pin displaying the outpost's official flag. Pavl also carried a Peninsularian long-knife on his dark brown belt, as was tradition among the Ground Forces; he carried it similar to how someone would don a rapier or a saber.

As they stepped out of the dropship, they took two noble-looking, engraved metal boxes with them. The boxes contained part of the formal apology for them arriving an entire day late to the meeting; one was a bottle of the national (alcoholic) drink Kerit, the best year they had been able to get their hands on; the other contained a bottle of Peninsularian liquor, although it had been toned down in flavor intensity to enable non-Peninsularians to drink it as well. The trip to the Citadel City from Zneyvind Station had led them straight through a heavy blizzard, and the entire squadron had had to slow down significantly, leading to a huge delay. This was also why the two men were hurrying towards the feasting room as soon as they stepped off the platform. Not that it would've mattered much in terms of time, but for good measure they did it anyway.

Arriving outside of the feasting hall, they were greeted by two guards that requested their names. A butler also took the two boxes, to be put onto the table after they had entered and sat down. Adjusting their attires and looks, the two took a deep breath each, before the door to the room swung open and they stepped inside.

"NOW PRESENTING! Vice-Governor Jonir Glenfell and Colonel of First Rate Pavl doMenn, representatives of Zneyvind Station, of the Consitutional Federation of the Peninsular!"

For a short moment, both of them felt as the people at the table guests looked up from their food to get a look at the two newcomers. After the moment had passed and everyone had turned back to their food and drink again, Jonir and Pavl made their way towards their seats, which had apparently been arranged just prior to their arrival, as they had not expected to make it to the city before the next morning, originally. Sitting down, they felt strangely out of place.

Their briefing by the Aumanii of course had put emphasis on the fact that several head-of-states would be there. However, as it turned out, that had been an understatement. From what they could understand and see, basically everyone at the table seemed to belong to a royal family. Two Peninsularian representatives sitting among the emperors and political elite of an entire planetary region.

Attempting to focus on something else, they decided to take some food and drink and get into conversations with their table neighbors. Much to the amazement of their direct neighbors, both Jonir and Pavl filled their bowls and plates almost exclusively with foodstuffs that they knew was considered very spicy, and weren't sparing with spices either. Due to their inconsistent timing, there were no Peninsularian foodstuffs, so they tried to add as much flavor as possible into their food, to varying degrees of success. Some food still tasted like almost nothing. The majority of the food started tasting mild after adding certain spices to them, although the original food's taste was overlaid by the spice. After some experimenting, the two had also found some meat that, actually without flavoring, tasted well. Upon asking what it was, one of their neighbors told them it were special pieces of an "Ash Boar". Considering they could taste it very well probably explained why noone had touched the plate with it yet.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:07 pm

The Lordspawn Table
Citadel City

(co-written with Aldarminia, Drakonia, Havensky and Kylarnatia)

Tori and Zeke Ironwing had arrived early to the feast and had been sitting down for a bit when their guest started to arrive. Although legally not quite able to drink on their own dime yet, the servers served them anyway.

The twins both rose and shook hands with each guest that arrived to their table and Tori gave introductions as people arrived. For this evening, Tori had worn a simple sky blue dress and Zeke had donned a black suit and skinny red tie. The two had bright red hair like their mother although Zeke had hints of black streaks running through his mohawk.

After shaking hands with the twins, Ryslander had pushed back a loose bang back across his scalp, the black hairs parting with a slight shimmer of product. After the parting of the Council, the adopted prince had relinquished his cherkeska to a helpful Skyan staff member that brought the clothing to Rys’s room. Sitting down, he wiped curious flakes of some sort of green substance off his burgundy satin tunic and sable sharovary pants. Remembering the actions of the minutes before, he hurriedly administered eye-drops to his velvet orbs before anyone really took notice of the red hue.

Blinking his eyes through the liquid haze, he realized he was looking at Tori, and shot her a wry smile to play off his foolishness--probably to little avail. Toying with a gold chain draped across his chest, Ryslander greeted his tablemates and asked the other twin, “Well, it’s nice to see most of you all again. So, Zeke, tell us what does an Ironwing do for sport?”

Zeke shot Rys a curious glance when he put drops in his eye at the dinner table. Tori had simply smiled back politely.

“Well, if you’re my father you practice swordplay. I’m more of a boxer, but I play sweeper in football too. Tori plays forward and runs track.”

Starting to assemble what vaguely appeared to be a taco from a cocktail of herbs, variety of meats, and assortment of cheeses, Ryslander nodded, glancing back and forth between the twins. After mentally assessing what was surely a confused mixture of dishes for flavor--and being satisfied--the prince said, “Ah, I see, so both of you are athletes. This is really good by the way,” lifting his strange creation slightly from the plate, but making sure not spill over it to make a childish mess, “Well, your father’s handling of the young ones’ mischiefs earlier was excellent.”

The Imperial Ghantish children arrived in a pack, overseen by the Knight of Ducks. The Crown Prince, John and Victor sat together in one cluster, while Sara, Valerie, Blanche and Valentina sat in yet another. For the most part they kept to themselves, and observed all the appropriate table manners and dining etiquette expected of them. Of them, Bebe, John and Sara were by far the most refined in their manners, while the younger children watched their elder siblings in order to pickup cues.

Ryslander was glancing sidelong at Bebe with barely a hint of a smile, “I, myself, enjoy a good duel every now and then, but I think I’m more of a grappler, like you are a boxer. Also by the way,” tilting his glance to Tori, “Beautiful dress, m’lady.”

Tori smiled exactly two degrees past polite, “Why thank you Prince Ryslander. Yes, my father is and always will be a bit of a coach. He’s been teaching for.. almost 18 years now. When they found out mom was pregnant with us he resigned his commission and took the teaching position. He’s been training LTs in swordsmanship for the last 15 or so. He claims it helps cadets master their power armor, but I think he just enjoys it. I’m not sure I’d call myself an athlete though. I’m not nearly as competitive as Zeke or my father.”

“What she’s trying to say is that she’s much more of a bookworm than I am.”, Zeke remarked almost teasingly.

“My habits are my business and certainly more quiet than those drums of yours.”, retorted Tori.

As though he were about to gag, Bebe shook his head and stared incredulously at Tori. “Wait...your father resigned his commission to become a teacher? What sort of nonsense is that? That would be like my father abdicating the throne to become a street-sweeper.”

“As if father doesn’t already sweep streets,” Valerie teased just before Sara gave her a sideways stare.

“Sweeping streets for whores, maybe,” laughed Bebe, eliciting sniggers from only John and Valerie, as no one else among the Ghantish imperial children found that funny. Looking to Ryslander, Bebe added, “you’d like my father, since he’s good at grappling too. I’ll let you guess what he’s fond of grappling. Maybe he will show you a thing or two…”

Red-faced, Valentina slammed a clenched fist on the table. “That’s enough.”

Tori, sensing things going sour rather quickly, attempted to interject. Tori ignored the remark about her father’s decision to resign the commission and shot a glance at Zeke meant to ensure he kept his temper in check as well.

“Sara, what are you studying in school?”

“...I’m not in school” was all Sara had time to say before Bebe interrupted her.

Turning his head sharply to stare down his young half-sister, Bebe snorted and replied, “what did you say to me?”

“You heard me just fine.” Bebe and Valentina could only stare each other down for a few seconds before Sara intervened.

“Both of you knock it off, we’re in front of guests. Don’t think I won’t tell mother about this conduct.” Sighing, Sara shrank back down into her seat and resumed sipping on her beverage.

Ryslander grimaced at the interactions of the Ghantish children. His expression shifted to a small smile of gratitude towards Sara before his visage once again returned to face Bebe. The smile had widened into ridges of contempt, “I’m sure your father is more a lover than a fighter. Is that how the expression goes?”

“Yes, I would agree with that assessment,” answered John thoughtfully. “Father only fights when it’s necessary, but when he does, he has proven himself most formidable.”

The Aldarminian prince’s rhetorical question had been punctuated by a dashing glance to Tori. Sipping from a glass of wine, he shook his head, refusing a thought its voice. “Either way, no one at this table wants to be regaled with the escapades of the elder, for better or for worse. So, young Nathan,” all the condescension seethed through Ryslander’s lips, “What do you do? Besides playing swordsman? Judging by your demeanor, I wager you feel there is something you would much rather be doing right now, correct?”

“Yes,” replied Bebe with a devilish smirk. “I’d prefer to be sitting at my father’s table so I could conduct proper diplomacy, instead of sitting here babysitting and listening to the droll conversations of children.”

Ryslander emptied the glass of wine. The smile was gone, replaced an upward curling of the top lip on one side, as he replied to Bebe, “Listen, child,” the Aldarminian’s tone was that of a dagger, “The sum of your diplomacy today has been mischief with my younger brothers, complaining about your father’s activities in bed, and insulting the very people who you will and should be conducting diplomacy with right now.”

Beckoning for another glass, Ryslander continued, “Young Nathan, you need to grow up and recognize that your time to rule has not come yet. Luckily for you, our elders and superiors deemed us worthy to be at this table with the very people we will be working with in the future. Julianus, Liliana,” the Aldarminian prince smiled at the latter but only briefly to grimace back again at Bebe, “And the Ironwings here. You see, you are mistaken, boy, for you are at precisely the right table. The one seated with your fellow Gothic Lords-to-be.”

“How dare you insult me!” Bebe snorted in anger. “If we were not in proper company I would challenge you. Rest assured, your inappropriate behavior shall be duly reported!”

“You do speak to my brother the Crown Prince most inappropriately,” Prince John seconded Bebe reluctantly. “Though I may not agree with everything he says, I’m afraid insults of this magnitude cannot go unanswered. Would your mother the Empress approve of such conduct on your behalf?”

Ryslander’s voice softened to respond to John, “Your brother insulted everyone at this table. To pretend otherwise is foolish. What I have done, though, is laid bare the faults of the Crown Prince’s beliefs of superiority. My words were harsh because the truth was and is harsh. Her Majesty the Grand Empress would understand the difference, and you two would do well to learn it.”

Tori had just about had enough. There was no way that this line of rhetoric would end well. As the music in the hall picked up, she said something very quickly to Zeke in Spanish despite knowing full well that nobody else in the table spoke the language.

“¿Que?”, shot back Zeke a little confused.

“Prince Ryslander?”, Tori began sweetly and loud enough to draw everyone’s attention as she lifted her hand to the Aldar. “Ask me to dance.”

“Gladly,” said Rys after emptying his glass of wine again. “Tori, m’lady, may I have this dance?”

The Aldarminian prince arose from his slouched position to stand proudly over the table. A smirk of sincere pleasure washed the moments-before grimace away as his hand extended outward to Tori.

Tori Ironwing rose with a smile, took the princes hand and walked towards the dance floor.

Zeke looked at his twin and then breathed out a short sigh knowing that his sister was both correct and that he’d have to play along.

“Princess Sara?”, he asked turning to the young Ghantish princess with a smile. “Would you like to dance?”

“If I may, Zeke, I would rather like to have the Princess’ first dance this evening.” Arriving just on time, Haeres Julianus - still in his full suit of ceremonial armour, decorations and all - approached the table with a warm smile. Shaking the young Ironwing’s hand firmly by clasping his forearm, he then offered the same courtesy to Bebe, who he could see looked rather unamused. Then, he turned his attention to Sara.

“Forgive me, your highness, but may I?”

Valerie huffed and put her hands on her sides. “Where’s my fucking invitation?” she asked incredulously, causing her sisters to look at her wide-eyed.

Shooting a glance at her younger sister, Sara told her that “conduct yourself like a proper lady, and you shall be treated as such.” Turning back to Julianus and Zeke, Sara smiled, and exhaled. “Forgive me your Highness, but Zeke asked me first, and thus the proper thing to do would be to accept it, unless he would rather dance with my sister Valerie here instead, in which case I shall accept your own invitation.”

Julianus was cool enough to maintain his smile. “Of course, it would be an honour to dance with either of you.” He looked towards Valerie, choosing not to acknowledge her previous protest.

Zeke, having been roped into this at the behest of his sister, was starting to feel more and more like a babysitter. He managed not to the smile on his face slip as he extended to his hand out to Valerie. He would have been happy to just stay seated. Instead, he walked the young princess to the dance floor as Julianus offered his hand to Sara. This left Bebe alone at the table as the others had decided to leave for the dance floor as well.

Caesar Silvier approached the table gently, seeing that her son and the other children had all gone off to dance. All except Bebe. Clasping her hands gently in front of herself, she came by the Crown Prince’s side and down to his level. “Your Highness, you seem to not be enjoying yourself. May I ask what is wrong?”

Bebe took a deep breath while his arms were folded across his chest. “Ever since I’ve arrived in this city I’ve constantly suffered insults and offenses against my character. I have had to exercise a great deal of restraint as well, for would a good and proper Prince bear steel against his peers? I say no, that would be quite inappropriate. Even Ryslander here, who mocks me openly to my face, in front of my brothers and sisters no less!”

The Caesar listened to the young prince’s complaints and pulled a sad expression, gently using her fingers to tidy his hair. “I have noticed that you’ve not been in the best of moods during your time here so far. I will not lie to you, child, these things do not get any easier with age: insults and offences will be thrown at you even more so once you are Emperor. But you must rise above such pettiness.”

“Yeah, and what do you do when people do it to your face?” Bebe looked for Hyperion, and added that “Lord Hyperion would make them sorry. I don’t want a Hyperion. I want to be able to do what he can do myself. Then people would treat me with respect.”

Silvier paused for a moment. “Tell me: How often do you see Hyperion speak?”

“Not often,” Bebe answered emphatically. “Because he doesn’t have to. His mere presence alone says all that is needed.”

Exactly.” the Caesar smiled broadly as she gently poked the boy’s chest, right where his heart would be. “Presence. Presence does not require words, for they are only it’s tools. It demands temperance: Lord Hyperion has it, and you will have it, you have just yet to find it. When you do, your only need for words will be for when it’s most important, and that is when the words of lesser men will mean nothing to you, for you will only spend your breath on those who do mean something. Then, my dear, you will have the respect you deserve.”

Silvier took a moment to glance over at the dancefloor, noticing Julianus and Sara about to start their dance. Standing, she stretched her arm down to the young Crown Prince. “Would you do me the honour of a dance, your Highness?”

Bebe’s face lit up with a smile. “It would be my honor, your Majesty.” Practically shooting up out of his chair, Bebe wasted no time in offering the Caesar his arm in order to escort her to the floor, his face beaming with glee.

Lilliana arrived at the tables with most of her age cohort off dance. She greeted those still at the table and ordered a glass of local Skyan Peach-Limeade. She was seated and enjoying her juice when a voice declared from behind her.

"Hey, there, Flygirl!"

The Drakonian Princess recognized the voice immediately.

"Uncle Marcus!"

She turned giving Marcus Sutherland a hug.

"Has your father seen this dress,” her uncle chided, a smirk on his face, but Lilliana was momentarily distracted by Gaia Calpurnia’s presence. She returned a playful frown.

The Drakonian Prince looked to the dancers. “Those boys had better be on their best behavior," he mockingly warned the table before returning his attention to his niece.

"Knock them dead, Flygirl," Marcus added, and then he and Gaia were off to the Praetor Candidates’ table.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

The Dance

Postby Havensky » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:30 pm

As Ryslander and Tori began their dance, the Prince’s eyes could not help but spy that Silvier was speaking to Bebe. Though the dancing pair were out of ear’s reach of the conversation at the table, Rys could confidently guess from Bebe’s mannerisms and sour expression that he was pouting to Aunt Catherina like the spoiled child that he very well seemed to be. The Aldarminian prince could only hope that his younger, Ghantish peer would outgrow the chip on his shoulder and thus mature with time.

As he cast aside his frown for a gentle smile, Ryslander pulled Tori ever-so-slightly-and-politely closer as they continued to sway, “So tell me, prynzesha, what shall it be? The politics of the evening, or something more to your liking?”

“I hate to disappoint you, but I’m no princess.”, retorted Tori as she stepped slightly back to her preferred distance of friendly.

She did smile back speaking a bit softer, “So, my brother tells me you fly helicopters. Why don’t you tell me about that flyboy?”

“Well, there may be none for me, but I might disappoint you. I am no flyboy,” Rys chuckled.

The Aldarminian began moving his feet with more flourish, taking care to make sure Tori was keeping up. “I believe you have me mistaken for someone else, but I am a soldier,” said Ryslander as he led Tori into a graceful spin.

The spin completed, the Aldarminian prince pulled Tori to her comfortable distance before dipping her. The smirk preceded his correction as he raised her back up, “I am a tank commander.”

“Oh yes, boys and their toys.”

“What do you know of my toys?”

“My dad teaches at the academy - don’t think I’ve met my fair share of tankers?”

Ryslander teased, “Are you trying to make me jealous?”

His light laugh carried over to his next inquiry, “So, tell me, Tori, how are you not a princess? You are the daughter of a king and queen, yes?”

“Ah yes, but those are elected positions. My mom is the only true royal as she won the election. Dad gets a courtesy title as a matter of course. The only way I’ll be Queen is if I run for it.”

Teeth pierced the veil of his lips as a giggle bounced glazed eyes, “Or marry a prince.”

“Are you high?”, Tori remarked smartly.

“And mighty,” Rys laughed.

“Of course, you’re the son of a Gothic Lord … how else would you feel all the time? It drive you crazy to someday hold all that power...but right now… nothing.”, said Tori almost teasingly.

“You know what would drive a certain prince really crazy?”, remarked Rsylander. “If you run your fingers through my hair.”

“Really? And that line worked for you at some point?”, asked Tori incredulously. She stared at him for a moment before continuing. “Nice try though.”

Tori playfully tossed his hair only to see the very ugly scar underneath and was taken aback a bit. Rys’s heart stopped. He had forgotten, and Tori had reminded him.

“Oh… what happened there?”

Ryslander’s jaw tightened. His face hardened, turning a slight shade more pale as if his brain desperately was desperately pulling blood from the vessels there to perform an overwhelming burden of tasks. Somewhere between memory and repression, among trauma and recollection, there was a fire, a gunshot, blood, and then nothing but black. His eyes had drifted from Tori. The smile gone, bent somber.

Soundwaves certainly emanated from the prince’s mouth as his vocal cords still functioned, but when he said the words, all meaning in them for him seemed at once lost yet always there. The voice, of which there now seemed so little in him, spoke of what Ryslander wish he knew more and less about, “An assassin’s bullet grazed my head.”

“Oh no.. I’m sorry.”

Ryslander forced his lips to curl upward, “Don’t apologize,” a careful shrug breaking his speech but not impeding the dance, “It’s not anyone’s fault besides the man who did it.”

[Co-Written by Aldarminia]
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:49 pm

Fortress Norska.
South Western Gholgoth
Research Facility attached to Naval Arm North.
14:00 Hours Standard Imperial Time.

Dr Trigatii paced up and down, he looked at the notes scrawled across the table, he had made as many copies as possible, hiding them under the mountain of paperwork he had strewn across the desk, they suspect nothing he thought to himself, impossible for their machine men to know what was genuine work and what were just copies, he had drawn out a sketch of the vessel to be built, its weapon, its reflector arrays, any information he thought might help, the other Doctors in the room had helped adding bits that were relevant to their field of work, he sat down suddenly in the chair with a thump, it wouldn't be long before they were called away for their designated down time, how could he possibly get the documents to his friend without getting caught...

"It's not going to work" One of the Doctors said suddenly in a hushed tone...

"Listen, we have to try, they won't execute us, we are quite safe, they need us to complete the weapon" Trigatii, answered in a hushed tone, he was determined to get the information out and determined to see his daughter safely away from Norska, better she try her luck elsewhere than here in this hell hole...

"I hope you are right" The Doctor said resignedly

Like clockwork the Trooper entered the room, his heavy boots giving away his presence, and like usual with barked instructions from the amplified vox caster attached to his gas mask he ordered them out of the room, pointing at the doorway, it was the same, like they were programmed to perform their tasks with machine like precision, every day at the same time, it would clump into the room, point at the door way and order them to move, a couple of times he had tried to talk to the Trooper, but it just stared back at him with those glowing red eyes of the gas mask, there was nothing human left in that armour, it was a machine with biological parts, it chilled him to the core to think that in another world that person inside that armour could have been someone's loved one, or a friend, or lover, a mentor, or a son or a father, but no, in the world it was ripped from its mothers womb and programmed to be a cold, merciless killer...

He sat down to his meal, boiled chicken, boiled potatoes, carrots and some water that tasted of chemicals, as though they had to really disinfect it to get rid of any pollutants or harmful bacteria, it had a metallic taste, "gods, what hell is this, what monsters created this world... who could have thought of such a device, a machine, knowing what it was designed to do, designed to carry out, its function, its purpose..." he thought quietly to himself as he slowly chewed the chicken, it was watery and tasteless, it was warm at least, he was suddenly snapped out of his day dream when the worker he had made friends with appeared at the doorway, he walked in and brought a fresh jug of water, placing it on the table he looked over at the good Doctor and smiled, it was time...

Another scream rang out from the Corridor and like before, The Trooper came to attention and dutifully strode out of the room with heavy foot falls, drawing his baton as he proceeded...

"We haven't much time, I don't think it will fool them a second time"

"What the fuck did you do the first time?"

"One of my friends screamed and ran off down the corridor, the Trooper gave chase, he caught up with her though and broke her jaw and three ribs"

"Jesus" the doctor muttered...

"She agreed to do it again, she knows whats at stake, please Doctor, even in this hell, there are still good people"

"Even in hell, from hope springs blossoms" The Doctor said and nodded in respect to his new ally

"Quickly, we don't have much time, give me what you have" The worker looked out of the corridor, the Trooper nowhere to be seen, it had worked for now...

The Doctors and the worker ran into the lab, they gathered up bits of paper with writing scrawled across it, each of them knew the danger, but they had to help, had to do something, Trigatii had spent many an hour during the night in their cells explaining the impact of this weapon should the Reich get to unleash it, they talked about the dangers, the possibilities of getting caught, they shared stories of home, lovers, films, they even played charades, quietly of course, they didn't want to alert the Troopers guarding them that they were doing anything other than sleeping, but they had developed a bond together, become friends and were now determined more than ever to get word out of Norska, Trigatii was making the ultimate sacrifice, sending his daughter away from here and giving her the documents, he was certain if the Reich found out she had them they would not hesitate in sending out a fighter craft or a warship to look for her...

"Here, this is all of our information we've been able to make copies of, a diagram, a sketch of the vessel, a sketch of the weapon itself, details on the reflector dishes, its all there" The Doctor handed over the papers and smiled...

"Thank you" Trigatii spoke as the worker took them in his hands

A single gunshot rang out and two more Troopers ran past in the corridor, their heavy footfalls filled the corridor with sound that brought a cold chill to the room...

"Shit..." The worker ran out the room without so much as a goodbye, he turned and ran as fast as he could with the documents clutched tightly to his chest, it was now or never...

"WAIT!" Trigatii shouted at the man as he disappeared up the corridor... "Please.... make.. sure my daughter.... is... safe" his shoulders slumped in forlorn hope that his daughter will be safe without him...

Later that night.

A young girl, twelve years old, her hair was dirty and had began to matt in places, her little overalls fitted her poorly and her face was streaked with dirt, she was being hurried along by a woman, her face streaked with dirt also, her overalls fitted poorly as well, they most likely were not their overalls and had been acquired to get them both into the dockyards of Norska, the woman kept looking wildly from side to side as though she was expecting an APC to come screaming around the corner and Capitol Police to come spilling out from inside, ahead of them was a check point, Capitol Police stood on guard, but she had managed to acquire the correct papers for this district, it had taken some doing, she had promised the correct holder of the papers two full ration books if she helped out, it was a danger, she could have been a Kraven-SS Informer, but Nick, had told her that she was a good person and could be trusted, still doubts crept into her mind as she approached the check point...

"When they ask for your papers, show them straight away, don't hesitate otherwise they will become suspicious, don't look at them too long, don't look at the dogs, don't look at the Officers, just hand over your papers and look straight ahead, do you understand?" she spoke to the girl in a strained, hushed manner as though she was trying to get across just how incredibly important this was and how incredibly dangerous this was for both of them, two Troopers noticed them approach, they came to attention and held out a black gloved hand...

"HALT!" came the mechanical order, both of them stopped instantly as the Trooper approached

"Identification Papers" it demanded, it looked at both of them with those cold, soulless lenses, quickly both of them brought out their papers and handed them over, the Trooper inspected them for a moment before continuing the questioning, his voice amplified by the vox caster built into the gas mask making him seem even more inhuman..

"Reason for entering this district?" it questioned looking at the woman...

"We have a work detail on the dockside, municipal repairs to the dry dock, we both work in the Construction Division for The Reich-Ministry of Structural Engineering"

"Affirmative, you may continue" it handed the papers back to the woman and the girl and took a step back allowing the pair to pass through the check point, a Trooper lifted the barrier and the proceeded, a German Shepard began to bark loudly as they passed through the check point, the girl looked up at the woman who mouthed the words "Look straight ahead" back at her, the continued to walk getting further from the check point, the woman allowed her self a deep sigh of relief...

It was late at night and activity on the dockside had subsided, a few workers still toiled away, moving buckets of sand, bringing in cement and hammering away at great steel beams, one of the workers saw the two approach and waved them over, he was expecting them, he wrapped his arms around her tightly and gave her a squeeze as though he thought he'd never see her again...

"I'm glad you made it through, I was worried sick" He smiled at her for a moment before glancing at the girl

"It's lucky the work detail was on tonight, if the rota had changed without us knowing we would have been arrested and probably shot on the spot for trying to enter a district unauthorised, you know what they are like for changing work rotas at random"

"Yes, its to stop things like this from happening" he gave out a little laugh before she continued

"Where are the guards?" she asked nervously looking around

"They sent in a couple of Kriegsmarine in to guard us, two of the girls from District 14 are making sure they are occupied" He pointed to a warehouse over his shoulder

"Wow, you've really worked together on this one, Nick, she must be an important girl" She looked at the girl with motherly eyes, before Nick continued

"Yeah, she is, but its the message she's going to take with her that's important, quickly, we've wasted enough time already, if a Trooper arrives and see's the guards are missing he'll likely kill us all where we stand, quickly follow me..."

Nick led them down a flight of stairs onto some scaffolding where people hammered away at bits of construction materials, others smoothed out wet concrete, the three climbed down towards the water where a small rowing boat was tied to the dockside, inside was a blanket, some water, a box of rations, a flash light, and a plastic wallet filled with paper...

"Here, do you know how to row?" Nick asked, the girl nodded quietly but said nothing, he could see in her eyes that she had seen enough Horror in Norska to last her a lifetime, he helped her down into the boat and untied it from the scaffolding, giving it a gentle kick the little boat drifted away, she pulled the oars out and quietly and deftly began to row, getting further and further away, Nick watched as she got smaller and smaller before shouting out to her...

"Don't worry, your father is safe, he loves you very much and he's sorry He can't leave with you!"

The woman turned and looked at him...

"Why did you wait until she was half way across the Dock to say that?" She gave him a look that scolded him

"I couldn't bare to see her face when I mentioned her Father, she might have started shouting, crying, anything, it could have brought the Cappers over, better this way, now we need to get back to work before a patrol comes around" He started to climb back up the ladders, it was a miracle they had gotten her to here, to the dock yard, got her into the boat and got her underway without the Cappers finding out, he only hoped someone would pick her up, sooner rather than later, his stomach churned at the thought of a merchant or a yacht picking up the boat and finding the desiccated corpse of a twelve year old girl...
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho. The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
Resistance is Futile... We Are The Kraven Reich

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The First Dance

Postby Kylarnatia » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:44 pm

The Grand Ballroom, The Citadel
Citadel City, Havensky

[OOC: This post was co-authored with Ghant]

Princess Imperial Sara of Ghant accepted Prince Julianus’s invitation to dance, pleased that Zeke decided to extend an offer to her younger sister Valerie. Sara rose gracefully from her chair and offered her arm to Julianus, and while doing so, observed that “my sister is prone to jealousy, please forgive her. Anything that I do, she must do, and any honor visited upon me, must also be visited upon her. Such is the way of younger siblings, I have observed.”

Julianus smiled warmly as he took Sara’s arm and led her slowly towards the dancefloor, remarking as he did. “An observation I have never been able to make myself, though by the sounds of it I’m not missing out of much. Worry not, for there is no need to forgive.” He chuckled as the two reached the floor and, taking his position, began to lead as he synced up to the tempo of the music. While tense at first, he quickly relaxed; this wasn’t his first time dancing, which was evident by how well practiced he was, but this dance was different. He too was glad that Zeke had changed his mind, though he tried not to show it so evidently.

As the two danced, the Haeres briefly observed the various tables around the Ballroom, with the Lords and representatives spread out and deep in many different conversations. He turned his attention back to Sara, “Tell me, has all of this lived up to what you expected?”

A well-trained and gracious dancer like her mother, the Princess Imperial shook her head. “No, not quite your Highness...I had it on good advice that the Skyans are prone to quaintness and brisk humility. Therefore, I expected a more...brusque approach to these Gothic proceedings. The pleasantries therefore, while unexpected are most welcome,” she answered with a smile.

Julianus nodded. “Indeed, it looks like they’re pulling a lot of tricks out of the bag for this one. Can’t say I blame them, given the circumstances, and I certainly think they have a talent for it. They are also a fine and noble people by all accounts, and I might just have to take King Ironwing’s offer to come and study here at his academy, should mother allow it.”

He paused for a brief moment. “I do half-wonder what these proceedings will be like thirty or so years from now, when it is likely a lot of us will be the ones in charge.”

Considering what Julianus said to her carefully, Sara responded, “The proceedings themselves were conducted with the best of intentions, though it shall fall upon those who took part in them to honor them in good faith. That is a matter of immediate concern, for if the Gothic Lords do not in unison make their best effort to adhere to these arrangements, would it really matter what happens thirty years from now?” she asked Julianus with a raised eyebrow.

The Haeres was pleasantly taken aback by her remarks. “Very well put, your Highness. These next few days, let alone the next few years, will certainly decide not only our futures but those of billions of others.” Looking over to the table where her father Emperor Nathan sat, the Haeres pondered. “I suppose it has been left up to your father to make sure the Lords adhere to the arrangements made here today. I do not envy him.”

Sighing, Sara briefly frowned and explained that “my brother the Crown Prince believes that father is doomed to failure, if not due to circumstance, than due to his own ineptitude. He will succeed, I believe, in achieving peace with Dienstad, as he has the clout with both the leaders of Dienstad and many of the belligerent parties in Gholgoth. He is likely to seek rapprochement with Fenric in some fashion, which may or not succeed, for I have been told that Fenric is a fickle man, prone to mood swings. Kraven shall be the greatest challenge, and even if my father approaches them and deals with them in good faith, I personally wouldn’t trust the word of the Reich as far as I can throw it...which isn’t very far.”

“The Reich is a swarm whose hunger is never sated. It’s a devil with which this region has made too many deals, which has allowed it to spread its tendrils ever further out across the region, taking countless lives along with it.” Realising that he was perhaps making the tone too serious, Julianus quickly tried to move on. “Mother has been working hard to get the region to start registering this fact, and it has definitely been easier with some than others.”

Just as he had mentioned his mother, the Haeres noticed in the corner of his eye that his mother had approached the Crown Prince Bebe and was now dancing with him, giving the young prince the chance to lead the dance despite being much smaller than her. “In some ways I can honestly feel for your brother - the weight of expectation, mostly - but I do not share his eagerness for the responsibility of power. Not because I feel I would be unable, but…” He paused a moment, looking at his mother. “I would not want to take it any sooner than I have to.”

Looking back at Sara, he smiled sheepishly. “I apologise, this talk is probably boring you. There has already been enough discussion about these things.”

“No, it’s quite alright,” she answered with a reserved smile. “What bores me is talk about clothes and dolls and tea and crumpets. Politik is a welcome and refreshing change. As to the matter of my brother, well...he believes that father is neglectful of a great many things, and my brother is eager to rectify that neglect…to say the least. Though I don’t think he gives father enough credit. Good men don’t make great kings, the old saying goes, and he’d rather be a good man and accept the consequences of his shortcomings as Emperor.”

“How interesting. Such a saying doesn’t exist in my homeland. The office of Caesar is an immortal one, and the holder must be of pure and incorruptible form, for they are the one who brings balance to us. In short, the idea that Caesar could in any way be flawed is non-existant, or at least unspoken. I can only hope that when my time comes I’m able to be as true to that belief as my mother has been.”

Sara arched an eyebrow in curiosity. “Immortal you say? Surely it had to have begun at some point. Not even the King Under the Stars claims an immortal office, for kings are but men, and men came after the stars were born,” she explained thoughtfully. “And so too it is said that men shall leave the world before the stars go dark. At least that’s what they say up north in Zahaghant. If I were you I wouldn’t worry all that much, if what I’ve seen from you so far serves as any indication.”

Julianus was caught off-guard by the Princess’ compliment, shooting a rather sheepish smile and trying not to blush. “You flatter me, your grace. That is also a rather poetic saying, and it intrigues me to learn more about Zahaghant.” He paused for a moment, regaining his calmer expression before continuing.

“As for Caesar, that is merely the name we give, and true while the office itself had a beginning - the sixteenth century, after the death of Gaius Caesar - it’s the idea which is immortal. While it’s easy to see my mother and those who’ve held the title of Caesar as just another monarch, because the trappings are very much the same, those chosen to hold it are considered the Aspect of Balance, which has existed within all things since the beginning and was given new form when the Grand Mother became the first before our time even began, in the lost time where humanity in their infancy were but thralls to corrupt gods and their spirits bound in chains for eternal servitude. In setting them free and overthrowing the gods, she restored that balance and granted humanity a world cleansed of their influence and began time anew. Ever since then, there has been a mortal vessel for the Aspect of Balance to help guide us: first they were the salvatores, then the genetrix and vir sanctus, and now Caesar. While they may come from different blood, by spirit they are an unbroken line. The Seers believe I am chosen to succeed my mother, and so I shall.”

“And it’s those ideas, in their everlasting presence, which have kept my people so united for so long.” Julianus paused again, before looking gently at Sara. “But that’s a story for another day. One of many more I hope we get to share.”

Appearing bashful, Sara exhaled deeply. “I don’t envy you then, because that’s a lot to put on just one person. We Ghantish are far more...should I say, secular in how we approach the nature of kings. My line for instance, they began as petty kings, and only because they were considered the least worst option by the other lords of Baxughant. When they were elevated to emperors in 1800, it was only because by that time they held vassalage over the other kings, and nobody knew what else to call them. There were far too many kings already, and some high kings...but no emperors.” Laughing then, Sara added that “the funny thing about it was that they called him “Emperor” but didn’t proclaim Ghant an “Empire.” It was always just “Ghant.”

Julianus chuckled. “How funny indeed, but a testament I think to how your people seem to adjust well to different circumstances. While we’re quite open-minded on most things, Kylarnatians are very...rigid when it comes to protocol.” He listened with interest to the story of Sara’s lineage. “From what I know, my family were prominent amongst the military, and so when the time came that the previous dynasty that held the office of Caesar died, the Seers decreed that our family had been chosen as the new Aspect. The Senate agreed, and my great grandfather - who was already quite old, so my mother tells me - ascended to the throne.”

While she was surely the most capable dancer of her siblings, Sara was also the most susceptible to getting swept up in conversations concerning politics and statecraft, and not wanting to stumble or lose her footing, she refocused herself upon her movements and the music to which it was being coordinated. “How did the Seers come to that conclusion? If you don’t mind me saying, in various parts of Ghant the Seers lick the blood of princes and virgins, cast bones into the dirt and meditate in the wilderness while smoking ‘herbs.’ Some of them I’ve been told are quite prophetic.”

Julianus noticed that Sara took a moment to adjust her footing, and when she did so he slowed down just a little, giving her the chance to refocus. “If I’m honest, I’m not exactly sure. The work of the Seers is a very private matter: very few witness their rituals in person, and even fewer have ever actually seen them in the flesh, presumably because neither you or they can make direct eye contact. What I do know is that they work within the Sacerdotium, but they’re separate from the clergy and their rules: there are male Seers, for instance, whereas there are no male priests. Mother has told me that what’s most important to them is something called ‘divine potency’: if you are deemed to be especially spiritually gifted, you are taken into what they call the Covenant. Each major Basilica in Kylarnatia houses them, but it’s at the Magna Mater Basilica that the most potent Seers do their work, while protecting the sacred earth and flame: so the story goes, earth from the place the Grand Mother first struck ground when she fell from Avaris, and the first flames that she gave to men to help them in their war against the Gods.”

“If you’re curious, you could probably ask either mother or even Lord Hyperion, they could probably tell you a lot more. Don’t worry about Hyperion: He can come across as cold and abrasive, but he cares for everyone really.” The Haeres laughed. “Once when I was younger, mother had him accompany me to preschool for a ‘Father and Son’ sort of show and tell. The look on everyone's faces when he walked into this preschool classroom with me was priceless, I’ll never forget it.” He then proceeded to mimic a shocked expression on his face, before laughing even more.

Sara thought the manner of preschool ‘Father and Son’ show was unusual, given that he went with Lord Hyperion instead of his father. She should have known better than to ask, but Sara’s curiosity got the better of her, and she couldn’t help but inquire. “Why didn’t you go with your father?” she asked him politely, before realizing that the likely answer was something that would put a damper on their conversation.

In that instant, Sara would have noticed the laughter come to a steady halt and the smile briefly fall from Julianus’ face. He looked again to his mother for a moment, before regaining composure and smiling at Sara, albeit more solemnly, to try and avert her getting too worried about what her question had done.

“My father died, not long before I was born. That’s all I know. Neither mother nor Hyperion will say much, other than that he was a good man. I don’t even know his name, only his face from a picture on my mother’s desk.” He paused for a long while, looking off into the distance. “Sometimes it upsets me, but I’m sure they have their reasons. I choose to trust that I will learn more when mother thinks it is the right time.”

He doesn’t even know his own father’s name, Sara thought to herself, finding the notion rather uncomfortable. He should at least know the man’s name. “I’m sorry for your loss, and that you didn’t get the chance to know him. I consider myself fortunate, for my father lost his father at a young age, and mine’s still around.” Much to my brother’s chagrin. “Your mother seems to have done right by you as well as she could least. She is wise, I do not doubt that her intentions are well founded.”

Julianus noticed the slight pause in Sara’s words. He was very protective of his mother, and now worried he had painted her in a bad light. Still, he kept his cool. “She is wise, and is as great as a mother can be given the demands of her station. Despite everything she has had to do, she still insisted on making my food for me as a younger child, of making time in her schedule to play with me and do all the things mothers do with their children. Even though I’m older now, she still makes time, to help me study and to listen to me about my interests. It helps now that my mother is married to Calixte, who has been equally good to me.” He referred to Imperatrix Calixte, consort to his mother.

“Hyperion has been a father figure to me, in his own way. Like I said, he comes across as cold and abrasive, but when you’re so close to him you notice how good he can be. He has taught me a lot of things.” A slight smirk came across the Haeres lips, clearly thinking back upon some memory involving the Dux Imperator that gave him a sense of joy. Whether it was prideful or mischievous or both, who knew.

“As for mother’s intention, like I said, I trust her--no, love her, and in that she has my complete trust.” He paused for just a moment, before perhaps realising the conversation they had just had. “Please, do not speak of this to anyone else, especially not mother. I also ask that you not judge her too harshly.”

“...Your secret is safe with me,” Sara reassured Julianus in a manner most sincere. “I have the same relationship with my mother, so I can relate. Perhaps that’s why your mother and mine are friends, for they seem very much of a similar mind.” Though of course, Silvier was born into her role, though Sophia acquired it by marriage, so it wasn’t entirely the same set of circumstances, though perhaps close enough.

Cognizant of the time and the duration of the dance, Sara prepared herself for its inevitable conclusion. “It was both an honor and a pleasure to talk and share this dance with you. I hope you didn’t mind my conversationalism...sometimes I can get carried away. I fear as though I did...just this once,” she teased, in an effort to lighten the mood. “I should warn you, if you do dance with Valerie, you should keep the conversation limited to clothes and shoes.”

Julianus allowed the dance to come to it’s conclusion, although he held her for a few moments longer before letting go. He laughed at her quip about her sister, before bowing his head. “Please, the honour and pleasure was also mine. I very much appreciated our conversation and enjoyed our dance. May it be the first of many more.”

Once the number had concluded and the break between it and the next one began, Sara released herself and curtsied properly, dignified and deep. “Thank you, Your Highness...the first of many more indeed.” Flashing a straight and bright smile, Sara inclined her head before excusing herself from the Prince’s presence and off the floor, having gotten to know him much better than she had before.

Julianus watched her go with a smile, and then once she was gone let out a breath.
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"Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors take Warning"

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:39 am

Amos Caritius was captain and owner of the Accipiter, a small freighter out of the island of Oceana in western Mille Mortifere. On her latest voyage, the Accipiter had been hired by a man by the name of Johnus Farrerius.

When Amos had bought the ship, the long time sailor had modified the already fast container ship for increased speed. Captain Caritius had bought new engines and made other changes to boost the ship's performance. She had served the Captain and his crew well as they were able to transport expensive time sensitive cargos.

The strange man, Farrerius, too had modifications for the ship. Alongside, a number of men, some of whom appeared to be well-armed mercenaries, he had brought all kinds of antennas and sensitive electronics. Amos had been concerned at first as he watched the men setting up the equipment and disguising the antennas and other devices, but then he had realized Farrerius had to be an information broker. They were common enough if you knew where to look in Mille Mortifere, and had the money to pay for their services. This one must be seeking new signals intelligence to sell.

Their course had been innocuous enough, starting from Thera at the western fringe of Mille Mortifere to Novaporta, Disia in Varathron and back again. Though, Farrerius had required a course far closer to the Fortress Continent than Amos had liked. Must have been in a hurry, the Captain decided. People often were and that was his speciality.

They were now on the return leg. The trip to Novaporta had been uneventful and boring, and Amos had been able to run a cargo of commercial electronics and industrial equipment. He had loaded up with refined ores and some lumber. The cargos themselves were nothing special, but brought in a little extra income in addition to the mysterious charter.

Amos liked the boring days at sea. Nothing to do, but sail. However, the morning had a crimson hew and that general meant rough seas later. Or so the sailor had heard as an the adage when he was a child. Amos had found the ancient rhyme to be mostly true and the clouds were now attempting to overtake the ship. Accipiter, Amos hoped, could outrun the storm moving in upon them from the west.


Amos pulled his attention from the eastern skyline, drawing his eyes from the windows of the Accipiter's bridge. It was one of his men, who had entered from the starboard hatchway.

"Sandy, spotted a little boat ahead off to starboard."

Sandy, was one of Farrerius' mercenaries, so named for his sand-colored blonde hair. The nickname had come aboard with the mercenaries and Amos' crew had readily picked it up, being keen on the shorthand of nicknames themselves.

Oddly enough to Amos, the mercenaries did not refer to Farrerius by name, but rather they called him 'Scipio'. The Captain did not think it a standard nickname, nor could he adequately explain its usage.

Amos found a pair of binoculars on his way to the starboard side of the bridge to get a better view. The captain began scanning the seas.

If one of Farrerius' men had spotted the craft, Farrerius would already know. They all had handheld radios. It occured to Amos he would have to spring for radios for his crew when they were back in port. With the money from this job the ship's operating budget could easily afford it.

No sooner had the Captain decided, then Farrerius himself burst in upon the bridge from port. He approached the Captain at speed. "We need to stop," the man said without a pause for breath.

"You can't be serious," Amos said, putting the binoculars down in shock and looking at the other man. "Do you know where we are?"

"I do," replied Farrerius.

"Just a few miles that way is the Kraven Reich." The Captain pointed off to starboard. "Ships that stop here don't make it back to their home ports," he explained.

"I am aware of the risks." Something in the way the other man's voice left no doubt to the Captain that he was.

"We have to stop," Amos' employer repeated.

The Captain sighed. So, this was why they were getting hazard rates.

"Cap." His crewman gestured, pointing off to starboard.

Amos followed his gaze and his finger. He thought he saw something. Bringing the binoculars back up to his eyes, he finally saw the small boat and its single occupant. The Captain's unease grew.

"Fifty Thousand Sovereigns," Farrerius prompted.

"Fine," Amos replied finally. "But your men had better be ready for anything."

Farrerius did not reply. Apparently, they already were.

"Simeon, bring us to a course of fifty degrees," Amos ordered turning to his helmsman in the center of the ship's bridge. "Cut us to one quarter."

"Aye, Cap," came the reply.

"We'll need to stop as quickly as possible," the Captain said to no one in particular. "And then start back up and leave as quickly as possible." He looked nervously off to starboard, southward, toward the Kraven Reich. "No waiting around in these waters."

The storm had been completely forgotten. It was no longer the worst threat to the ship and her crew.
Last edited by Drakonian Imperium on Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

The Pax Gothica Table

Postby Havensky » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:50 pm

In collaboration with Ghant, Kylarnatia, and others

“Presenting! First Governor of CITADEL CITY - Edalynn Burnham!”

Edalynn Burnham walked into the hall wearing a steel colored ball gown escorted by her husband James Owlwing on her arm. Edalynn was much shorter than her husband, but had a voice that could carry oceans away. Her dark locks were done up and her pearl necklace gleamed in the lowlights of the feast hall.

Her term as governor was coming to an end and she was glad of it. Citadel City had been the joy of her career, but it was a project that had come to need another hand to guide it. She thought about going into teaching or writing a book about what she’d learned from the experience.

The Prime Minister had other ideas. A new city to build.

She sat down at the table and ordered drinks while she waited for the other guests to arrive.

A fairly recent arrival to the Citadel, Prince Sigismund of Ghant walked slowly to the table and found himself a seat. An older man in his mid-fifties, he had short, but wavy grey hair, beady brown eyes and a face that seemed naturally suited towards a frown. He was dressed in modest old Imperial court dress as befits a man of his rank and station, though the lack of insignias indicated that he was far removed from the throne.

The man introduced himself brusquely upon sitting down. “Greetings. I am Prince Sigismund of Ghant, Ambassador to Kylarnatia. I have been appointed by His Imperial Majesty the Emperor to oversee these matters of discussing Pax Gothica and presenting the pertinent details to His Imperial Majesty’s government.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sigismund refrained from eating, or drinking, and merely waiting to see what was said in response to him, like a lizard basking in the heat.

Burnham smiled and extended her hand.

“Prince Sigismund, Governor Burnham. Wonderful to meet you and welcome to the Citadel! Please, have something to eat! We have several small plates of Ghantish fare. We’re looking forward to the creation of Pax Gothica! It’s an exciting project wouldn’t you say?”

Sigismund inclined his head, but grimaced at Burnham’s extended hand. Shaking of hands was not considered a proper greeting gesture in Ghant, but alas, he was not in Ghant. He accepted the handshake, though his was rather weak. “Thank you, Governor. Exciting is one way of putting it. I would say that the project is a monumental undertaking, one that will require careful planning and delicate execution.”

Just as Burnham and Sigismund were making their introductions, Maior Legatus Kyle Lucius Jordanus approached the table. The Imperium’s vetted choice to represent Kylarnatia in Pax Gothica - preparations had already begun to be made, due to the Caesar’s correct assumption that the reform would pass - Jordanus was a senior and well-respected diplomat in the service of the Department for Foreign and Imperial Affairs. Though wheelchair-bound, it hadn’t prevented him from serving his Caesar and his country with distinction. Now middle-aged, Kyle’s brown hair was starting to show wisps of grey, a neatly kept stubble on his square jaw. A lean and broad upper frame, he wore a simple but well pressed grey suit, his tie showing patterns from an ancient Chelarii papyri, something which had been his keen interest in younger years.

“Hello there.” Kyle smiled, extending his arm out for a handshake. “Governor Burnham I presume? I’ve heard many good things about you. I must say I’m quite impressed by the design of the Citadel.”

Burnham smiled taking his and giving a firm handshake, “It’s an honor to meet you too. We had a lot of good workers who helped build it up from scratch and we’re all very proud of them. And now, it looks like we’re going to get another chance to build a brand new city - together as a region this time.”

“Indeed! I know that my Caesar is keen to work closely with your urban planners and architects to provide whatever is necessary for the construction of Pax Gothica, hence why I am here!” He chuckled.

Looking next to Sigismund, the Legatus bowed his head in respect. “Your Highness, it is good to see you again. I trust the journey wasn’t took difficult?” The two had known each other ever since Sigismund had first arrived in Krytopia over twenty years ago; back then Kyle was just a fresh-faced member of the prospective legatii, and the Caesar had only just come of age and began to serve as co-regent with her father. The Legatus fondly noticed the medallion of the late Caesar Kain pinned to Sigismund’s chest.

At the time Sigismund became ambassador, Silvier had only recently become co-regent with her father Kain, so the medallion Sigismund had was quite a rare and special one, due to the limited period of time in which the medallion had been issued (the time between when Silvier was co-regent and when she became Caesar in her own right upon the death of her father). On the recto side it featured the Imperial Seal of the Silvanus Family, and on the verso side it had the images of both Kain as Elder and Silvier as Younger. Around the circumference of the medallion was inscribed the motto of the Silvanus family: “Aut vincere, aut mori. Aut concilio, aut ense.”: Either conquer or die. By counsel, or by the sword.

“Legatus Jordanus,” Sigismund bowed his head. “I can think of no man better suited in the Imperium to represent the Caesar at these deliberations than yourself. Once again Her Majesty proves herself wise, her father’s daughter.”

“You are too kind, Your Highness, at least to me. My Caesar has indeed shown herself to be her father’s daughter, and more. She was more than glad to hear that you’d be at these deliberations, she thinks very highly of you.”

Sigismund nodded cooly, and replied, “everything that I have, I’ve earned. Started from a low place and worked my way up. That is how Pax Gothica should be built too. I was chosen for this project because few in Ghant know their way around embassies and embassy districts more than I, and if we are to succeed in this endeavor, I think that we should approach this project like we would an embassy district, writ large. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Sorosa Daemond entered the feasting hall with a sweeping, long stride which exuded an aura of confidence in a room already full of it. Her golden halter neck sequin dress sparkled in the light of the hall and contrasted her bright, natural red hair and emerald green eyes. Her recent appointment to High Lord had been late in arriving and her so-called peers on the council had told her she would need to arrange meetings with the other Gothic representatives to Pax Gothica after the meeting in Citadel City. She had chosen to ignore them and go to the meeting regardless of how late her arrival. She was a high lord after all, who was going to stop her?

It wasn’t hard to determine who was the meat. The Gothic Lords were natural magnets of personality and authority and she spotted her own Lord, Renuae, sitting around a table with a group of very serious faces. ‘Poor girl,’ she whispered after noticing Nalur seated next to her. She noted the Lordspawn table in passing as she swept by it before seeing three gentlemen enjoying a conversation around one of the less extravagant tables. She converged on them with all haste.

Making herself known immediately, she stepped right into their conversation.

“I would agree,” she stated with a winning smile, “Pardon my interruption my lords. I am High Lord Sorosa Daemond of House Daemond, Gharsashi representative to Pax Gothica. I insist, however, that you call me Sorosa. We will all be working together for quite awhile and it’s best if we became more … personal. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Here here!” Legatus Jordan smiled as he rolled his wheelchair into place at the table and began to pour drinks for everyone. “We shall make grand plans for Pax Gothica together, I’m sure. But tonight is also for feasting, drinking and talking; there is plenty room for both!”

Sigismund nodded curtly and replied, “yes, I suppose that’s true. This Txuleton is quite good.” The Ghantish Prince was referring to the Ghantish rib steak before him, cut from former dairy cows that were finished and fattened up for slaughter.

“We’re going to need spires. Lots of spires”, thought Berham out loud. “The whole capitol district should look like one giant cathedral. Visitors should look at upon it with awe as if were some sacred place, holy or otherwise.”

“...That sounds,” Sigismund replied with quivering lips. “Terribly expensive. I believe it will be important to...not bite off more than can be chewed, at least in the beginning. The idea would be to commit ourselves to sustainable urban growth, with the goal then to reach a point where the city can pay for itself, in the fashion of a city anywhere else. In Ghant anyway.” Pausing to take a drink, he added that “we Ghantish try to do the most we can with limited financial resources. If only it grew on trees, but alas, it does not.”
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Drakonian Imperium
Posts: 125
Founded: Antiquity

The Praetor's Table

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:10 pm

Edwidge kicked off the conversation by complimenting Serana’s dress.

“Serana, that dress is absolutely gorgeous. The artisanship is stunning. Who is it by? I would love to meet the maker.”

Edwidge, having her own fashion line, knew perfectly well that it was mostly likely a custom job. She also realized at a glance that the dress must have been handmade and that it would have taken hours of work. Presuming that it was made in Lamehk, there was a very high chance that it was made by slaves. Thus, Edwidge’s carefully worded comment about meeting the ‘maker’ and not the designer.

“What?” Serana scowled, looking toward the direction her name had come from.

The question caught Serana unusually off guard and it took her a moment to register what she had been asked. She had arrived at the table in rather a bad mood and her thoughts had been elsewhere. There had been little expectation that anyone would be overly keen to become acquainted, and Serana had certainly not intended on jumping headlong into conversation herself.

“Oh, the dress? Well, yes, it is rather ravishing isn’t it?” Even as she answered, Serana tried to recall the the Xirniumite woman’s name but came up blank, unsure whether she had forgotten or simply not paid any attention in the first place.

“I designed it myself. As for the maker, that’s a detail I don't need to know unless it’s not made properly. I’m sure I could arrange a meeting though.” The nuanced intent of the phrase was delivered with a slight, smug smirk and was not overly hard to decipher. “And yours? It’s quite...quaint.”

“I’ve made it a simple design yes, but…it has pockets,” remarked Edwidge before turning to the server who was approaching the table. The server came around and took everyone’s drink orders. Edwidge had a local white wine while Squall asked for green tea.

Marat raised his hand slightly and promptly requested a glass of wine. Unlike his Grand Emperor, Suvorov had no intention on torturing his palate to satiate some sorrowful lust for escape. He was determined to make the best of this trip. It was, after all, quite the honor, and as such, the Aldarminian Praetor-to-be proclaimed to the table with his fulfilled drink order in hand, “It truly is a pleasure to meet and eat with all of you here. I say this alone is worthy of a toast. To all of you, to all of us, to Gholgoth!”

“Cheers!!,” replied Edwidge and Squall together as they raised their glasses.

Artur Favonius made his way to the Praetor Candidates Table. The Territorial Navy Commander was dressed in his mess dress uniform, consisting of a bottle green jacket with black lapels and epaulets, a black waistcoat, a white dress shirt, a black tie, and black dress pants with a gold stripe up the leg. Besides his military dress attire, the Commander himself had the characteristic Drakonian height, standing just over six feet tall. He bore an athletic build, had a bronze skin, a chiselled face, and dirty blond hair.

Commander Favonius was only one of the two Drakonian Praetor Candidates. The other had been on the same military flight that had brought him out to Citadel City. The Millian had only slightly recognized the Imperial Army Colonel; he was someone big from Drakonia proper. Though, he had seemed friendly enough.

Artur greeted the others at the table with a polite nod, sat down, and ordered a whiskey.

“Marat...,” began Squall as he remembered that he was supposed to be getting to know his potential partners.

“What unit were you with before the assignment?”

Squall and the others had begun to refer to the Praetor position as ‘the assignment’ since none of them were official yet. It had added an extra layer of nervousness to the festivities despite assurances from Atticus that he didn't expect anyone to be voted down.

Marat almost choked. For all the confidence of his start, being addressed by the war hero Squall was still off-putting to the Aldarminia. Khonsu, who had so far remained silent behind her fox mask, chuckled a little.

“Uhhh,” trying to cobble the words together. “Well, if I become Praetor, I will have to hand over my position as Imperial Oversight Officer for the Greaterland Trading and Development Company. Before that, I was briefly in the Cosmocratic Armed Forces during the Civil War, but then my unit defected to His Majesty’s forces.”

He sipped from his wine to let the memories of fighting on the wrong side of the war glaze over his thoughts. “I believe the unit is officially known as the two twenty-three five. Second kurin of sotnia twenty-three in the fifth lehion. Artilleryman, but I mostly drove the trucks and filed the paperwork. Nothing as illustrious as your service.”

“I’ve got a good team and besides I’m sure the press has embellished the tales,” replied Squall as he looked to Edwidge for help. He hadn’t meant to embarrass Marat by comparing records.

“Do you get to travel much for your work,” asked Edwidge taking the cue from Squall.

“Oh yes,” replied Suvorov. “Quite a lot, actually. I was just on the other side of the world as it were twenty hours ago, but when I’m in Gholgoth, I bounce around the northwest a lot, and I’m in Kylarnatia just about every other week. The Company’s been looking to expand their business there for quite some time now.”

He sipped from his glass and took a couple of bites to glance over the table. “But, I think that’s about enough about me,” nervously chuckling. “Half this table will be asleep if I ramble on much longer. I am interested, though, in hearing what the rest of you think of today’s events. This is, after all, the region’s most sweeping change in quite some time.”

Commander Favonius shrugged. “Above my pay grade.”

Nobody knew who the Emperor of Ghant was going to appoint as the Ghantish Praetor. People had their ideas, their theories as to who he would choose, but only when the name left his lips would anyone truly know for sure. In the meantime, various knights and soldiers of renown gathered at the so-called Praetor table, and exchanged cool gazes with each other. They all wanted the honor of being the first Praetor, and so they eyed each other with suspicion and contempt, chief among them Ser Artur Ordosa, a member of the Emperor’s elite Zinpalak personal guard.

“It’s going to be the Knight of Ducks,” Ordosa lamented as he found something to eat and drink. The knight was a man in his mid-thirties, strapping with dirty blonde hair and dull green eyes. He was clad in ceremonial armor, maybe more ceremonial than practical, but alas, such was the Ghantish way.

“Y’all don’t know,” asked Squall without realizing what a delicate situation he might be stepping into. He instantly realized his mistake and tried to backtrack.

“Well, regardless…I’d be honored to serve with any of you...and....And, I hope that the Executor doesn’t keep you hanging for very long. I...can imagine it must be nerve wrecking.”

“Then, I imagine, he’s looking to see which one of them holds their nerve,” Khonsu added. She wasn’t one for social situations, quite unlike most Kylarnatians. She always had her mind on the task at hand, and so did not see the need to waste her time with idle talk. Still, she knew that a lot of the people at this table would soon become her counterparts, and both the Caesar and Hyperion had impressed on her why that meant her attendance at the dinner was necessary.

“What about you Khonsu,” asked Squall. “Where were you stationed before the assignment?”

“I had no station. I am an agent of Caesar, of my Lord Hyperion and his children.” By ‘his children’, she referred to the Black Cobra, the Imperium’s special forces branch. “I have seen almost every corner of this region and other parts of the world; I have gone where I am needed and have stayed for as long as is necessary.”

Realising that what she said could be seen as blunt, she quickly followed up, showing a smile from beneath her mask. “And what of yourself?”

“Well, I’m currently the military attaché for the Office of Secretary of State responsible for coordination between the State Department and allied militaries. Before that, I was Captain of Heartbreak Company in the 501st Legion.”

Another Ghantish knight by the name of Jonas Yondu pointed at a disgruntled looking soldier with violet eyes and scraggly dark brown hair. “Him...that’s who it’s going to be. He was at Hab Centre 06.” That got the attention of the various other Ghantish knights and soldiers at the table, who almost in unison cast their eyes upon the grizzled looking Ghantish officer. “Captain Asentzio Osinalde.”

Captain Osinalde laughed, and leaned back in his chair. “It’s not going to be me...I’m a soldier, an officer at that, and the Emperor doesn’t think too highly of either. It won’t be a knight either, because even the Emperor can see that you lot are a bunch of self-entitled braggadocious, strutting around like peacocks. All feathers and no talons, and talons are what he’s going to want.”

“You were at Six,” remarked Squall suddenly taking much more of an interest. “Which area were you in? Heartbreak went up from the airport to the city center through main street. Cappers laid out all kinds of nasty traps for us...and then...THEN...the god forsaken Briskans let one of their generals go rogue with the craziest suit of armor on the planet...and the son of a bitch had me...he had me dead to rights. Course, the dumb capper wannabe was so focused on me he forgot about the sniper. One of my groomsman as it happens. ”

“...I was at the airport, overseeing the Ghantish Lamb Brigade,” Osinalde answered reluctantly. “One after another they dropped like flies, one man’s death more grisly than the next. They took out a Flak Cannon, if you can believe that. The last few men managed to pull that off and get out in time for extraction. I don’t talk to those men’s institutionalized and another is on a farm somewhere in Luzuriaga. Off the top of my head, anyway.”

A burly man, standing seven foot eight, walked up to the table wearing traditional Hell Knight armor and sat down at the table. His looks were strikingly similar to those of Tristan, save he appeared older and even more battlescarred than his Emperor. The man also had a magnificent beard, and his head was buzzed on the sides, but the top was grown out and braided into a warrior’s ponytail of sorts. His hair was golden, but much of it had faded to silver and gray over the many winters. He looked over the others at the table and listened to the stories. “Ah yes, Hab Centre Six. That whole shit was a nightmare. I have seen the reports and even saw part of the feed from your skirmish with Siegfried, Squall. You showed some great skill in that fight!” He picked up the large mug of beer and gulped it down. “I was in the area, but was not able to participate.”

Commander Favonius eyes widened some at the stories. He thought landing a helicopter on a storm tossed frigate was harrowing.

Marcus Sutherland arrived soon after the Dephirian's reply.

“Greetings to you all,” he said. “My companion is Gaia Calpurnia, special assistant to the Director of the Drakonian Diplomatic Corps.”

The pair took a seat and Marcus ordered a glass of the “very best” wine for them.

“Well met, good friend! Tell us your story!” The Hell Knight waved his brew around, “We are all sharing war stories here!”

Marcus was introspective for a moment. “In August of 2003, a desert nation by the name of Raem mysteriously went silent. I was attached to the staff of a General Patricio Santiago. He was given command of a couple of Legions and we were sent in to investigate what had happened.

“After traversing the desert, we set up a forward operating base outside the city of Hide. We were soon attacked by strange creatures. They were taller than a man and had elf-like features; wore conical helms and almost no armor. They were violent and vicious and were in our base and through the defensive line before we realized what was happening.

“I was in the HQ when one burst in. It was massive, scantily clad, and held a long blade. I raise my pistol to fire, but before I could it cut my arm off at the elbow.” Marcus raised his left arm, removing his white glove to reveal his prosthetic. It was advanced and clearly much work had gone into making it appear cosmetically like real flesh and bone, but there was still a lifeless quality to the plastic cybernetics.

Marcus paused. “I had to bury my gladius in its face just to kill it.”

Gaia was transfixed by the story, she knew some of it from reports she had seen, but, even when they were dating, Marcus had never told her the story.

“I'm not even sure how I drew my sword,” Marcus added as an afterthought.

And, the candidates spent the rest of the evening swapping war stories.


OOC: This post was co-written with Aldarminia, Dephire, Ghant, Havensky, Kylarnatia, and Lamehk.

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The Kraven Corporation
Posts: 501
Founded: Apr 24, 2005
Psychotic Dictatorship

The Doctor's Lament.

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:35 pm

Fortress Norska.
South Western Gholgoth
Research Facility attached to Naval Arm North.
22:00 Hours Standard Imperial Time.
+2 Days since The Doctors Daughter escaped.

Footfalls, it was the same every time, Footfalls, you heard their machine like walk long before you saw them, sure footed, with authority, a walked that signified they knew they were in charge, it was the same every god damned time, left, right, left, right, left, right, perfection, he couldn't understand how they did it, how they programmed these men to walk in the exact same manner, they all had the same step, the same gait, the same walk, you couldn't tell them apart just by listening, but then this is what the Reich wanted, to crush any vestiges of humanity, to totally remove the human element, to see them as just machines, machines to carry out the bidding of an even greater machine, but The Doctor laughed to himself, I had gotten one over them, I had gotten my daughter out of Norska and I had gotten word out about their terrible creation, a terrible creation that I've had help build, design it, build the components of the powerful Maser, the focusing array, the reflector dish, everything they needed, but I had seen to it that their creation shall not remain hidden for long...

The Officer appeared in the room, his black uniform a direct contrast to the harsh, surgical white of the room, it was like a streak of darkness had entered and the otherwise comfortably warm room took on an ominous chill, the visit wasn't expected, this wasn't to the normal schedule, it was an unexpected visit, well, as unexpected as it can be when you can hear them approaching long before they arrive, but still, the knot in his stomach grew tighter not knowing why the Office was here...

"Doctor Trigatii, you will follow me." He gestured to the door and turned to leave..

Without saying a word, Doctor Trigatii followed quietly, his hands held at his side, he could feel them involuntarily gripping the seam of his trousers, that knot grew tighter yet, where where they taking him, he did not know, this was unscheduled, they always worked to a schedule, clock work, without error, you could set your watches by the patters of the Reich, but this was outside the ordinary, he was led out through the facility where the acrid stench of smoke filled his nostrils, he was outside, they had taken him outside for the first time in months, his eyes adjusted to the harsh spot lights that illuminated the court yard, it took a few moments for him to process what was happening, he held up a hand to the lights to try and see more clearly when a voice rang out, it was authoritative but lacked that robotic, clipped manner of the Capitol Police...

"Doctor Trigatii, do you know why you have been brought here?" He asked, his voice filled the court yard and echoed around the walls giving them impression that he was everywhere at once, The Doctor still couldn't make out who it was, it wasn't a Capitol Police Officer, that he was sure about...

"N... No, I do not..." He spoke with a slight quiver to his voice, he felt the urge to urinate himself but he held it back, he had never been put in this situation before...

"Oh, come Doctor, I'm sure you do really" The voice boomed out again...

"No, No, I don't know" The Doctor pleaded once more, somewhat feigning ignorance...

"Doctor, your daughter escaped two nights ago, that is why you have been brought here" Daughter, the word hit him in the stomach like swift punch, he dropped to his knees...

"Wait" The Doctor spoke... "You said escaped, that means you haven't found her" He started to laugh, the kind of laugh a man makes when he's got nothing to loose, a laugh you make in the face of death...

"We want to know who helped you Doctor..." The voice spoke out again, while he was speaking Capitol Police Troopers entered the court yard escorting people into the middle of it, at a quick count, the Doctor thought he could make out around fifty people, each of them were lined up, equal distance from the other, until each of them were spaced out in a perfect block, a Trooper stepped forwards from the wall and drew his side arm, then the voice spoke out again...

"The Worker that helped you, point him out to us Doctor and we shall make an example of him..."

The Doctors eyes grew wide, they couldn't know which one it was, it was impossible, there was no way, still he owed the man, even though he didn't know his name, he owed the man for getting his daughter out of Norska, a plan formulated in his head, he could pick any one of them, the Reich wouldn't know if it was the correct one or not, he could just pick someone he doesn't know, a sacrifice so that the man who saved his daughter could live...

The Doctor nodded, and stepped towards the line of people, he looked around for a moment, before pointing at a seemingly random person, one he had never seen before in his life, the Trooper dutifully walked up, placed the barrel of the .50cal pistol to his head and pulled the trigger in one swift motion, the shot rang out and stung the doctors ears, the man dropped to the ground with a thump but never let out so much as a whimper or even looked at the Doctor when he was pointed at, The Doctor sighed inwardly before turning and walking away from the group of people, he was stopped dead in his tracks by that voice...

"The Worker that helped you, point him out to us Doctor and we shall make an example of him, that was not the worker Doctor." The words made the Doctor freeze with fear, he dared not turn around in fear of catching a glimpse of where that voice was coming from...

"Come now Doctor, The Worker that helped you, point him out to us and we shall make an example of him..." The Doctor looked around, and pointed at another, another random person he never met, The Trooper moved in, like an eagle swooping on it's prey, the shot rang out and another body slumped to the floor, the Doctor began to shake, tears began to stream down his face, what had he done in a past life to deserve this Hell, was he dead already, was this purgatory, what had he done to deserve this, why me, he kept asking himself.... why me...

Again that voice rang out...

"The Worker that helped you, point him out to us Doctor and we shall make an example of him..." The Doctor pointed again, and again and again, each time he was met with the same phrase, every one he picked was not the Doctor, he refused to pick and they shot one at random, it didn't matter, he realised not long after that, that they were going to make him responsible for each and every worker killed, he pointed at them and they were shot, it didn't matter who he picked, what mattered was the order in which they were killed, the Doctor sobbed uncontrollably with each new victim, he pointed and they shot, he pointed and they shot, he could barely look at the last few before he realised that they had all been shot, every last one of them...

"Doctor Trigatii, your work is of great importance to us, let this be an example of what happens when you betray my good nature, return to your work Doctor and if you try anything like this again, your wife will be sent to one of our Capitol Police Facilities... I don't need to explain to you Doctor, how detrimental that would be for her well being..."

A Capitol Police Officer approached the unseen voice, his voice was that typical mechanical voice of the Capitol Police, but it did not boom out across the court yard, he was not making his voice carry as the other before him....

"Raid team A-1/1 have located the worker, your orders Admiral Harker?"

"Hang him from a lamp post."

"By your Command"

The Doctor, weeping uncontrollably, forced to witness the sheer brutality and cruelty of The Reich was led away and back into the depths of the Facility...
Last edited by The Kraven Corporation on Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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