NATION

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Links in the Chain (PMT, Closed; Gholgoth/Greater Dienstad)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Ghant
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Links in the Chain (PMT, Closed; Gholgoth/Greater Dienstad)

Postby Ghant » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:46 am

(…following the events of Titanomachy and Never the Twain Shall Meet)
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A Thread By
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“The chains that break you, are the chains that make you. And the chains that make you, are the chains you break.” ― Anthony Liccione

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The following thread may contain scenes of implied adult situations.
Reader discretion is advised.

(OOC Thread)
Last edited by Ghant on Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ghant
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"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
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User avatar
Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2419
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:47 am

P R O L O G U E

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“The trouble with a cause, is that the cause always betrays you.” ― Lockdown, Transformers: Age of Extinction



Hangman’s Rock
Gabuda Archipelago, Varathron

Several Years Ago

Sea birds flew above the dazzling sand that sparked in the golden sunlight, hungry seagulls beating their wings against the ambush of wind. Targo heard the waves crashing against a nearby rock. He took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of saltwater traveling up his nostrils, releasing a spell-like hypnotic trance on him. Yes, it was the gritty sand against his bare feet, the tall, hard rock being never endingly beat by the relentless attack of the sea.

With the infinite blue sky above promising sunshine, and the big, fluffy white clouds adding a touch of ecstasy, Targo turned his dusky gaze upon his quarry. A woman and her daughter, alone on the island besides him. The island was so very small, that a man could sprint across it and reach the other side in less than a minute. There were no trees, or bushes or animals, just an arch of solid rock. They called it the Hangman’s Rock, and so too was the island called that.

Targo smirked when he saw them, standing there helpless. He was a man in late thirties, with tanned wrinkly skin, dark green eyes and smoky grey hair. As was his way, he wore dirty seafaring clothes, beaten by the sea and worn out by heavy use. They were comfortable though, and in his profession, comfort was everything. That was the nature of his craft…in the dealing of human beings.

The woman before was named Liara, and she was his slave. He had her for many years, and she was very useful to him…for awhile anyway. Such a pretty thing, with long blonde hair and hazel eyes. There was a time when Targo even thought he loved the woman, fool that he was. Even now she looked beautiful, her hair blowing in the wind, flittering with each gust.

The man couldn’t listen to the woman begging anymore. She was gagged, her hands tied behind her back. A noose was tied around her neck, the rope going all the way up to the arch, tied around it nice and tight. Only one thing kept Liara from hanging…her young daughter. Liara’s feet stood on top of the girl’s shoulders, and as long as she could stand there, Liara wouldn’t hang. As soon as the child gave way and fell however, Liara would fall, and the noose would catch.

The child was trembling, crying so hard and for so long that her face was stained with tears. Like her mother she wore a white shift, dirty and stained from the beach, from sweat and tears. Her eyes, usually a pretty shade of deep green, were red and puffy from the tears, he faint blonde hair wet and matted. Targo considered the little girl carefully…she had to have been about seven, maybe eight, not that he knew or cared. She was born a slave, she never knew freedom…but she would soon enough.

“You see what happens, woman?” Targo asked Liara, stuck there hanging under the arch, her daughter barely able to support her weight. “I warned you about running away…slaves that to escape need to be made an example of. You think I wanted this? For you, or your daughter?”

Targo sighed, and shook his head. “Stupid woman, life wasn’t so bad, was it? I provided for all your needs, gave you a place to sleep, clothes on your back and food in your belly. Sure I had to keep you in line, but that’s my job. I’m a slaver for fucksake, I at least have to keep up the illusion that I am your master and you are my property, to do with as I please.”

The more he thought about, the more angry he became. “They all said I became soft, that I fell in love with you. Maybe I did, but I shouldn’t have. I should’ve listened to them. I realized that after you betrayed me and tried to escape with the child. Seriously woman, how far did you think you’d get? She’s not quick, she’s not strong, she’s not quiet, shit she isn’t even all that smart. You would’ve gotten farther without her.”

Liara wept, and her gag was soaked with saliva, sweat and tears, though even now she couldn’t speak, though it was not for a lack of trying. “You did it for the child, I know. You didn’t want her to endure a life of slavery, I get it. Slavery however is all she knows, that’s her life. You think she’d even know what to do with freedom if it were given to her? She wouldn’t know how to be free…I hope you realize that.”

Beside himself when he learned that Liara and her daughter had escaped from their camp in the Gabuda archipelago, Targo spared no expense in catching the fleeing slaves. It didn’t take long to find them either, and though he was advised to have them beat and maimed, Targo said there’d be no such thing. Indeed, he had other plans for the slaves, a fate more befitting of their attempts to escape their master.

“Your daughter will be free, Liara…here on this island. She will live for a few days at most I reckon, before she dies of thirst and exposure, but hey, she’ll be free right? Just like you wanted, and the best part is that you won’t have to watch her die, because you’ll be hanging there for the birds to come peck your eyes out. Maybe if the girl is smart, she’ll eat you too. Who knows?” he asked with a laugh.

Oddly enough, the girl seemed less distraught than her mother. Sure, the girl shook and cried, but she didn’t scream, or speak, plead or beg. She merely stood there, struggling to support her mother’s weight upon her shoulders. “Little girl,” Targo said to the child. “Don’t give up…the longer you stand, the longer your mother lives. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

Suddenly a thought occurred to Targo, a little icing on the cake. For many years he kept a small silver harmonica, and at night enjoyed playing it. There was always one little song he liked to play on it, and the little girl was always eager to listen. Targo thought that maybe the harmonica made her feel better, helped her sleep at night, who knew.

It just so happened that Targo had the harmonica on him at this present moment in time, buried in one of his many shirt pockets. “Little girl…I got something for you,” he said to the child with a devilish smirk, just before pulling out the harmonica. Slowly he walked up to her with the harmonica in his hand, and then a smile broke out on his face.

“Keep your loving mother happy,” he said to her as he put the harmonica in her mouth. Targo gave one last look at Liara before nodding his head at her and her daughter before turning his back on them both and walking back to his little boat at the edge of the island. He didn’t look back again until his boat was back out on the open water, and when he did, he saw that Liara was still hanging there, her feet still standing upon her daughter’s shoulders.

Within a few minutes however, the girl’s legs finally gave out, and she collapsed into the sand, the harmonica bouncing out of her mouth. With nothing to support Liara anymore, she fell, and the noose caught tightly around her neck. Apparently her neck didn’t break from the drop, as she kicked and struggled against the rope, to no avail. Liara was dead, and her young daughter didn’t get up from the sand, as far as Targo could tell as the island shrank into the horizon.

“Well done,” one of the other slavers said to Targo on the boat. “Didn’t think you had it in you.” Targo nodded, and said nothing, instead looking out ahead at the vast blue ocean, wondering what fate awaited him. .


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The Coastal Highlands
Mordana, Dienghant

2028

The land was overgrown. The trees were full and lush, their roots growing violently from the paved roads, cracked and broken apart. Stark sunlight shined down in shafts between the trees, clouded by the thick canopy of the trees as flocks of birds cawed overhead. The world was full of life yet monochrome, quiet and still.

A black cat prowled across the rich earth. Barely recognizable as the domestic breed it might once have been. Its fur mangy and rank, body lean and hard like a predator, entirely feral and very dangerous. It moved slowly, cautiously, sniffing the air, scanning the forest, alert, trusting nothing of its surroundings. It paced across a leaf-strewn clearing, closing stealthily on a decaying carcass, splayed face-down in the earth. His feet were bare, face frozen in a grim death mask. A gaping gunshot wound in his head, the dried blood caked around it matting his hair.

As the cat moved closer, approaching warily, a sound roared in the distance, growing closer and louder. As the sound began to roar deafeningly, the cat scampered away into the trees as a gust of wind blew past, whipping up a cloud of dirt that practically blew the decaying human remains away. A few moments later, the cat returned, eager to scavenge whatever meager morsels it could find.

The hoverbike emerged from the forest out into an open field consisting of rolling green hills covered in unchecked bushes and weeds. The road was barely there, and in many places hard to see, but the hoverbike stayed over it for the most part, flying at a rapid speed in the open air. On either side of the broken road were old buildings, some hollowed out, others falling apart from years of neglect.

A song played from the center console of the hoverbike, driven by a relatively young woman dressed in tight-fitting clothing and wearing thick black goggles to cover her eyes. Her hair was a fading grey color, and it flapped in the wind behind her as the hoverbike sped along, completely alone aside from the occasional animal that scurried out of the way.

To the northwest, the sea sparkled a brilliant blue, and to the southeast, rolling green hills sprawled on for miles until the sea met the shore. This land was a peninsula, and it went by the name of Mordana, in bygone days of yore one of the greatest kingdoms of the Ghantar. Mordana was but one of several provinces in the so called Kingdom of Dienghant, home of the Ghantish in Dienstad.

Yet, Dienghant was very much unlike the other nations of Dienstad. Where many of them were prosperous and populace, Dienghant was poor and sparsely populated. It’s history, though long, was sad, filled with civil war, treachery, misery and woe. The nation of Dienghant today was but a shadow of its former self, and the former Kingdom of Mordana, once the pride of the Ghantish, was a broken land dominated by corrupt lords, miserly sheriffs, bandits and worst of all, slavers.

How did Dienghant fall so low? Why did the Emperor of Ghant care so little for the plight of this land? History is cruel, but truth is wicked. Hundreds of years ago, Dienghant was divided between multiple warring kingdoms, the Kingdom of Mordana being one of the most ancient and greatest. For centuries the kingdoms of Dienghant struggled for dominance, and for centuries they failed to succeed in their endeavors.

That was, until the Ghantish of Dienghant looked beyond the seas for new frontiers to give them an advantage. One after another sailors, merchants and pirates struck out into the sea to find their salvation. For every two ships that sailed out into those stormy seas, only one would return. Some of the neighboring lands were hostile, where others were more welcoming.

It was Mordana’s own Ghantish East Dienstad Company made headway on the island to the west, and settled an area that came to be known as Latalurra. Those foreign lands proved rich in natural resources, and the wealth of Dienghant grew immense, though before long, the East Dienstad Company owned all the cards. With that power came control, and soon the Company became more powerful than the kingdom that financed it.

Kings and lords both ancient and proud resisted the influence of the Company, but by then it was too late. The subsequent wars became known as the Company Wars, and Dienghant was never the same afterward. One by one the kingdoms fell to the East Dienstad Company, which in the end achieved an empty victory. Dienghant’s power broken and the colonies too unruly, the Company’s resources and manpower were so weak that when the Ghantar from beyond Dienstad came in to save their defeated kin, the Company fell easily.

By then the damage was done. Dienghant was but a collection of war-ravaged territories reorganized as provinces, and Latalurra achieved independence and went on to become the Federation of Mokastana. The Kingdom of Dienghant was the nominal designation of that collection of territories ruled by the distant Emperor of Ghant, who claimed to rule all the lands of the Ghantar, but in practice, his reach was weak and his grip nonexistent. Lords endeavored to rule these territories in his name, and selfishly did they rule those lands.

Even now the woman on her hoverbike had driven the length of Mordana in search of her quarry, and she could travel at least a day between villages. Sometimes she could see a lofty manor or castle off in the distance, standing sentinel atop a hill, but what she was looking for wouldn’t be found in a town or keep. For she was a bounty hunter, and in the course of hunting people, one had to go off the beaten path more often than not.

She did not doubt her course of action, her bounty or her upcoming destination. It served the purpose of killing two birds with one stone, as it were. She had been hunting this particular band of slavers for many years, and soon she would come upon them. One step at a time, she thought as she continued to drive past old buildings covered in moss and ivy. This was a dangerous part of Dienghant, one that required careful and deliberate execution.

Up ahead in the distance she saw where she was hoping to go. In the course of her investigation she learned of a gathering ground for slavers, bandits and outlaws called the Playhouse. It was the sort of place that only people of ill repute would congregate, and anyone not looking for trouble was wise to avoid it. What she needed would be found here, and she didn’t doubt her ability to handle herself.

As the hoverbike approached the Playground, its façade came more clearly into view. It was an old building like all the rest, a cracked and crumbling brick structure that had the trappings of makeshift upkeep. A large rectangular building, the walls were covered in ivy, and the paved lots surrounding it overgrown with weeds. All around it were parked vehicles, some older than others, but no hoverbikes.

A few rough looking haggard men drifted too and fro just outside the building, armed with knives, guns and whips. There were no slaves in sight, just thugs by the look of it. No women either apparently, as when the bounty hunter pulled up with her hoverbike, several of the men stopped and stared. The woman paid none of them any mind as she parked the hoverbike and disengaged it.

When she removed her goggles, the woman gazed upon the Playhouse with dull green eyes framed by a heart-shaped face. After stretching she walked past a few of the men, right up to the front doors of the Playground, carved and framed in the fashion of saloon doors. The woman heard music playing and men laughing inside, and after a moment’s pause, she pushed the doors open and walked in.

What was once a grand, gilded entrance foyer had, like the rest of the theater, been largely gutted, but it was still impressive. There was spacious bar area with a grand staircase leading up to a second floor, entrance to balcony seats. Faded old theater posters still hung from the walls, most of them torn and ragged from abuse. The place had been shabbily converted into a kind of saloon, with old ripped-out theater seats arranged around tables. A fireplace sputtered dimly on one wall.

Men stood around drinking while others were seated at the tables eating and playing cards. There was a small band playing on stage with an array of instruments that looked as though they had seen better days, and the bartender was busy serving drinks in tall steins and mugs. The woman noticed several men staring at her, some murmuring amongst themselves, others licking their lips and others still grinning as though they might have been planning some mischief.

The band had finished their jig, and were about to start playing a new one when the bounty hunter sat down. She gestured to the bartender to get her a drink while watching the men in the Playhouse watch her with covetous eyes. She was a fine woman indeed, finer still to those men who might not have enjoyed a woman for some time. As such she was expecting trouble, and could only hope that the thugs were dumb enough to take the bait. For now however, the band began to play their next song.

“Of all the songs of Dienghant
In it's fairest day,
None is fairer to the ear
Than that of Belora & Galande.

In the city of the music of the fountain on the rock,
Made of gold and jewels and silver glass,
One of the sweetest loves of those ancient days,
Though filled with turmoil, came to pass.

In the hidden vale of Talada,
The brightest jewel under Burgezal's skies,
Two were who great in each other's hearts,
And seemed infinitely fair in each other's eyes.

Being of the ancient Ghantish race,
No need did they feel to succumb to haste,
They savored the slow fall into love,
If foresight had they, their time they would not waste.

Their days were the happiest of their lives,
They did talk and laugh and dance and play,
And whilst in the peace of dreams at night,
They savored the blessed moments of the day.

Gleeful smiles never left their faces,
They were intoxicated by the love they knew,
Even amongst that most fair people,
Times of such purity of love are most few.

Galande; swift of thought, subtle of deed,
To learn and know and love was his life,
He embraced the beauty of the world about him,
And found peace and solace in the stars at night.

He delved long in search of the mountain's secrets,
He traveled far and long in order to learn
He wished to live a life worthy of remembrance,
But later, for simplicity and peace he would yearn,

Belora of the Fountain; the maiden of Zaldibar,
Of all the city's maiden's by far the most fair,
A smile she could bring to the darkest of hearts,
Unrivalled was her kindness, compassion and care.

Dancing and singing in the woodlands of Talada,
Her hair flowing behind her like a stream of gold,
Her voice could soothe the most troubled mind,
And fill with light even the emptiest soul.

They decided to not yet place hand in hand,
They tarried and delayed becoming betrothed,
They knew that they were the happiest they could be,
And thus, how by any change could things be improved?

But then greater things told a part in their fate,
They were drawn into the wake of greater things to be,
The Old King Targel called upon Galande
To sail to enlist the aid of those across the sea.

Zaldibar was the last bastion still secure
Against the Enemy whom long they had waged war.
The old King knew that only the lands of the west
Could bring the aid that would stop ruin coming to all.

Galande was of the most noble in the city,
Cunning in mind, wrathful in the fight,
Targel wished him to sail to beg aid from the West,
In ships crafted by the Ghantar of pearl white.

The couple resolved to make the most of
What little time left together they had,
So that no matter what grief may befall them,
They could look back upon these days and be glad.

The last days Belora & Galande spent together
Were the happiest that they did ever live
They were utterly at one, to each other
Their bodies, minds, Hearts and Souls they did give

During the days they laughed and smiled
In the hidden vale’s meadows and woods,
Playing as though they were but young children,
To imagine a happier time, no-one could.

The rays of the sun came shining through
The leaves of the trees as if to make clear
The fact that never again shall any couple
Experience the love that was known here.

And when the nights did come to pass,
Beneath the stays they lay in the arms of each other,
They knew that no greater joy would they know
Except than when they were with each other.

A universe of it’s own, separate from time
Did come into being every time they did kiss,
To mortal minds their peace is ineffable,
Only once ever was there a love more pure than this.

But finally their gleeful days did come to an end,
As the High King decided had come they day
When Galande had, in order to beg help from the Gods,
Must leave with his people and sail far away.

Weep long did both Belora & Galande
As they parted before the gates of the city,
They knew not what the future had in store for them,
And when the other each would next see.

Eventually the gates swung slowly open,
And of those who left Galande was the last,
For he was infinitely pained by their parting,
As his love for Belora filled his heart.

The company passed over the valley's floor,
With Galande leading them, tall and proud,
They reached the walls of the encircling mountains,
And thence began to pass underground.

That tunnel was delved long ages past,
By the ancient river Caldara raging flow
Now Galande's company passed slowly along it,
That but one would walk it again they didn’t know.

The guardians of the hidden way
Watched Galande’s company by torchlight dim
As they passed through the tunnel's Seven Gates
Which guarded the Hidden City Zaldibar.

Finally they reached the world without,
Long since any from Zaldibar had been.
They made their way across Burgezal's lands,
Until they came to the shores of the ocean.

They were welcomed into the harbors,
From whence they would cross the sundering sea,
And were granted a fleet of white ships
From the Sea Ghantar; they gave the key.

Two dozen ships had been made ready, and to
the lands of the West Galande’s company set forth.
But long ago from that land they had been shunned,
And if they tried to return the would suffer the Gods’ wrath.

For many weeks the wind filled their sails,
And that soon to the West they would arrive hence.
Yet unforgiven by the Gods they were,
And they set upon Galande a storm of great strength.

Winds such as the breath of the Gods buffeted them,
Waves as tall as mountains did swell,
Rains that did pain them through their great strength,
For Galande to persevere would be most fell.

A tempest such as this Galande had not imagined,
Yet still his fleet pushed ever towards the West.
But no victory could there be against a storm such as this,
And by their determination, Galande’s company welcomed death.

Their ships were destroyed by the power of the storm,
And the mariners struggled fruitlessly in the waves.
Yet they could not resist the force of the storm,
And eventually for all of them their strength gave way.

All perished in those waves; except noble Galande,
For a burning passion did greatly fuel him,
He would not give in, he would return to his home,
And once again hold fair Belora until the world grew dim.

For time beyond reckoning he did swim,
For thousands of days and nights he strove
The storm did not abate, but he heeded it not,
For all that concerned him was to return to his love.

No single greater and more impossible deed
Has been carried out by any man;
For when at last he reached his home shore
For nine years he had swam.

Exhausted he came upon the beach,
And lay nigh lifeless upon the sands,
He thanked the stars for pitying him,
As his hands felt again the touch of land.

And now came about a stroke of luck
Noon would ever had foreseen
For as Galande sat perched upon the rocks
By Mordo of Mordana he was seen.

By the grace of the God of the Sea,
Galande had been allowed to reach land again.
For the Gods wished Mordo to carry out an undertaking,
In Galande’s city of Zaldibar.

Mordo was at first afraid of Galande,
As a wraith from the sea he did appear,
But Galande espied him, and bid him come to him,
And Mordo’s fate overcame his fear.

The two did talk long of their lives,
And of events he had missed Galande did learn.
Galande felt the hand of fate on Mordo's shoulders,
And resolved to take him to Zaldibar, his home.

So together the two walked for many days,
Across the lands to where Galande did dwell,
Until at long last they came to the tunnel
That long ago the River Caldara did delve.

When the guardians of the Seven Gates saw
Galande they thought him surely a ghost,
For in the long years that had passed,
They presumed that all Galande’s company were lost.

And moreover surprised they were to see
Galande in the company of a Mordana man,
For ever since Zaldibar's foundation, against
Mordo's kind entering it there had been a ban.

Yet the will of the Old Gods,
Filled Mordo and Galande, and drove them on,
And so the guards of the Seven Gates,
Allowed them to pass through to Galande's home.

And now Galande was filled with joy
That he would see Belora again,
For whom he had suffered long and hard,
And at the sea's hands endured much pain.

To his city he ran like the wind
Across the Lands of Ghant he all but flew.
For he was about to hold Belora once more;
With every step his happiness grew.

He passed the gates and entered the city,
Sprinting as if possessed by an unearthly charm.
He entered their house: And his soul was destroyed,
As he saw Belora in another’s arms.

Goraine; Galande’s greatest friend.
Many adventures together had they led.
But in the nine years of Galande's absence
Belora had married Goraine instead.

Belora could not believe what had happened,
That Galande had appeared at her door.
She thought that it was some illusion,
Or spectre or phantasm which she saw.

Goraine & Belora explained that all
Had thought Galande dead, and slain
Had been Belora's heart by the news, and
Goraine had tried to soothe her pain.

And in the time they spent together,
A new passion in their hearts did form,
And they fell for each other and married,
Thinking Galande was forever gone.

Belora was utterly broken and destroyed,
It seemed that his reason to live had come to an end.
Yet some small consolation there was,
That in Mordo he had found a true friend.”

As the woman sat at the bar and listened to the band, a shadow came into view and loomed large over her. A man was standing behind her, glaring, cutting a menacing figure in his armored leathers. “Hey beautiful,” the man said to her with an easy smile. “Never seen you around these parts before.”

The woman didn’t turn, she just looked straight ahead. Clearly annoyed that he was being ignored, he then said “You know, around here it’s rude to ignore somebody that’s talking to you.”

The bartender looked at the man nervously, while the woman opened her mouth to speak, without looking back. “I have nothing to say to you.”

Scowling, the man roared in anger. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

Slowly, the woman raised her hands in a peaceful gesture. “I don't want any trouble.”

At that moment, the man grabbed her by the arm. “Well, that's too bad, ‘cause…”

In the blink of an eye, the woman suddenly slammed the man’s face into the bar, breaking his nose. The woman had pinned the man’s head to the bar with nothing more than one hand, her thumb pressed deep into a nerve cluster in his neck, while her other hand grabbed his arm and pulled it back at an awkward angle, ready to break it. The woman leaned in close as he whimpered, paralyzed and with his face covered in blood.

“I know your kind, slaver. Men who like to think you’re something special, a bunch of tough guys who think might makes right. Not used to getting your noses popped. You're going to spend an eternity suffering in torment and damnation for the things you've done. Do you know that? I can give you a head start too, if you touch me again.”

The other men seated at bar and at the various tables stand and approach, the woman sensed the trouble gathering behind her. She looked down at the man she had pinned to the bar and told him “you go on back to your table and tell your friends what I told you.”

It was all the man could do to just barely nod his head. The woman release her thumb from his neck, and her hand from his arm. The man staggered backward, gasping for breath. The other men must’ve numbered at least two dozen, and had gathered around the bar, surrounding the woman with intimidating looks on their faces, and hands on their weapons.

The woman sighed and looked down at the floor, a visage of anger on her face. Even as the thugs closed in around her, she stood up from her barstool and turned to faced them all. She reached down to her belt and drew a sword hilt, without a blade. Yet once it was in her hand, an arc of electricity and light burst out, several feet long. Pulsating energy in the shape of a blade lashed out at the first man that charged her, and within seconds a decapitated head was on the floor before her, while a headless body slumped down to the floor.

All around her the men drew their weapons and began to attack, some with knives and daggers, others with pistols and improvised projectiles. Meanwhile the band continued to play their song, unfazed by the events unfolding in the spacious area between the stage and the bar. The bounty hunter for her part drew her own pistol with her free hand, though when she shot it at one of the thugs on the second floor, a burst of energy discharged from the chamber, and when it struck him in the face, he slumped to the ground as some of it was burned away.

Chaos erupted in the bar as the bounty hunter began cutting a one-woman swath of mayhem through a dozen brawlers surrounding her. She ducked and covered, bobbed and weaved through tables and chairs while simultaneously shooting and slashing the attackers with her energy weapons. Several men fell dead as the woman cut through them effortlessly with her energy sword, a trail of severed limbs and heads on the floor.

After a few minutes the goons stopped coming through the front doors and nobody on the upper floor was shooting or throwing anything down. The band was still playing, though now it was for an audience of dead men. The bartender poked his head back out from beneath the bar and the man whom the bounty hunter had previously slammed into it was cowering in a corner having pissed himself.

The bounty hunter disengaged her weapons and cracked her knuckles before walking up to the cowering man in the corner. She stooped down on bended knees and got eye-level with the man before explaining to him that “Your friends didn’t take me as seriously as you did, it seems.”

Trembling, the man managed to ask, “who are you…what do you want?”

With a laugh the woman answered “if I told you who I was, I’d have to kill you, and as much as I’d like that I need you alive. I’m looking for Xavier Bordugas, and I have it on good authority that he’s somewhere on the peninsula.”

However the man appeared unwilling to talk, merely shaking his head as he curled up into a ball. “If I told you where he was and he found out I did that, he’d kill me.”

“…what’s your name, slaver?” she asked him without much care.

“...Thad,” stammered the slaver. “You killed them…you killed all of them…”

The woman nodded her head. “Yeah I did…they wanted a fight so that’s what they got. Not as good as they thought they were, seems like.” Looking back at the band that was still playing music, the woman turned her gaze slowly to Thad.

The bounty hunter scowled as she wrapped a large hand around the man’s throat and asked him, “I’m going to ask you one more time where Xavier Bordugas is. If you don’t tell me, I’m going to burn your baby bits off with my sword and shove them down your fucking throat. Do you understand?”

Thad nodded slowly. Then he answered, “he’s at a camp in a rocky alcove on the coast, a dozen or so miles to the southwest.”

Scratching her chin, the bounty hunter asked “how many men are with him? Are they well armed? How many slaves?”

“…About thirty men, three times as many slaves,” Thad spoke nervously. “Well armed…nothing like what you got though.”

The bounty hunter smiled as she took her hand off of Thad’s throat and patted him on the shoulder. “Very good. You’re coming with me to where you said this camp is, and if you’re lying, it’ll be worse for you…I don’t like it when people waste my time. Now do I need to tie you up or are you going to come along nicely? I wouldn’t try escaping either…I’m clearly faster than you, if your nose is any indication.”

Thad stood up warily and started walking to the front doors of the Playhouse, while the woman started walking behind him, giving the man a hard push in the back. Little did they know that a man was still creeping along the second floor balcony with a rifle in his hands, waiting for the best opportunity to take a shot at the woman who killed all his friends. Carefully he positioned himself to take the shot, aimed and put his finger on the trigger…

Bang! the woman stood motionless with her pistol in her hand, the barrel smoking. The man on the upper balcony fell over the rail and crashed down onto the bar, a hole in his face right between the eyes, dripping blood and gore all over the bar. “Clearly faster,” the bounty hunter said dryly as she holstered her pistol and turned to face the bartender. “Sorry for the mess.”

“…I don’t want no trouble, miss,” he replied nervously, half cowered behind the bar.

“Trouble is gone.” With that said, she plucked a large golden coin from her pocket and placed it on the bar. “For the trouble…and a washcloth,” she told the bartender with a faint smile. The bartender quickly reached down beneath the bar and very slowly pulled out a white washcloth, offering it to the woman.

The bounty hunter took it and inclined her head before turning back to the doors and walking forward with another hard push to Thad’s back. Once they were outside under the sun again, she tossed the washcloth at him and said “clean yourself up, I won’t have you bleeding all over my ride.”

Thad too the cue and began wiping the blood off of his face while the bounty hunter got her hoverbike ready. “You’ll be riding on the back…there’s handles for you to hold onto…I suggest you get a good grip on them otherwise you’ll be flying off the back and getting your ass torn apart by the road. I won’t be coming back for you, so you better hope you’re dead by the time you stop. Otherwise you’re going to be attending dinner with the wolves tonight.”

“Wait,” Thad stammered out as he was wiping his face. “There’s…something else.”

Sighing, the woman turned to face the slaver. “Yeah, what’s that?”

“…These slavers…they’re different,” he began to explain. “They are…umm, feared by the other slavers.”

That statement made the woman laugh for the first time that day. “Oh really? What could possibly make them so scary? Do they enslave other slavers or something?”

Thad shook his head. “No…they worship Erid…and they call themselves the Immolated. They get that name because, umm…when they’re baptized, it’s in fire…literally. They burn themselves, and the ones that burn themselves the most, earn the most prestige. They’re fanatics…nobody wants to be around them if it ain’t for business.”

“I suppose that explains why there were so many of you at the Playhouse,” the bounty hunter remarked as she got on the hoverbike. “Let’s go, and don’t try anything stupid on the hoverbike.” Thad nodded, tucking the washcloth into his pocket before climbing on the hoverbike. He found the handles on the sides of the vehicle, and the bounty hunter put on her goggles before turning on and revving up the hoverbike.

As they began to speed off, the woman put on another song. The Playhouse faded out of view behind them fairly quickly, and once again the bounty hunter was back out in the open, speeding through desolate countryside on a course to the southwest. Here and there she saw the movements of animals in the brush, including rabbits, squirrels, gophers, badgers, even the occasional deer. None of them wanted to get too close to the hoverbike, and those that were in its path promptly hurried away.

Mordana was a hilly, rocky land, especially further down the peninsula towards where it ended. Some were quite tall and steep, jutting out of the earth like massive fists of rock. These features lended themselves quite easily to caves, tunnels and alcoves in the rocks, that in the past had served as bandit hideouts and pirate dens. Apparently, not much had changed since then. If only the Kings and Company knew the fruits of their follies…

Thad pointed at one particular formation of rocks along the coast, forming something like a barrier against the land beyond it. Vehicles were parked on random patches of earth, and armed men peppered throughout that area stood on guard. The bounty hunter knew what she had to do, and found the guard closest to the rocks. She whipped her hoverbike towards him and in a swift motion, drew her handgun and blasted the man in the head.

The sound of the hoverbike masked the sounds of shouting and gunfire, as the other men began returning fire as they were cut off from their alcove by the hoverbike. They couldn’t hit her however, as her vehicle was simply going too fast. Not wanting to spend too much time fighting these men from cover, she merely aimed and shot her handgun at the vehicles they were taking cover behind.

A solid projectile paled in comparison to what an energy projectile could do to a car, and when she discharged her weapon at the engine or the gas tank, it exploded. These cars did just that, and the men taking cover behind them either caught on fire or were blown to pieces by the explosions. Once she determined that they were all dead, the woman got disengaged the hoverbike, got off and removed her goggles.

When Thad staggered off, he gasped in horror at the sight. “Wow…you killed them all…again. I’ve never seen anyone do the things you do, woman…the slave bosses would love to hire you on.”

The bounty hunter sighed as she looked around, and then faced Thad. “I don’t accept contracts from slavers, and I don’t leave any survivors. I don’t want anyone to know what I can do, except the people that need to know. That’s why you must die now.”

Suddenly Thad got nervous again, his legs quivering beneath him. He dropped to his knees and pathetically began to beg. “Please woman, don’t kill me…I’m not that bad…I’m not like them. I’ve never hurt anyone, never done nothing to the slaves. I’m just a guard.”

“…So you just watch, then, is that it?” the woman asked him spitefully. “How many women and children did you watch get enslaved? Raped, abused? Innocents taken from their homes and inflicted the horrors of bondage upon? How many?” she asked as she drew her gun.

Thad just shook his head as tears began to drop from his eyes, down his cheeks. “There was nothing I could do…”

“You’re right,” the woman replied with a resigned tone. “There’s nothing you could do.” Rather than shoot him however, she drew her energy sword and slashed Thad’s throat as quickly as the arc of energy sprung forth. “Watch that,” she told him softly as he clutched at the gaping wound in his throat, hot blood gushing down his chest onto the soft dirt below his knees. He writhed in the blood and soil for a few moments as he bled out, and then stopped moving.

“Fucking slavers,” the woman said as she put her weapon back on her belt. “Always making excuses.” Looking around again, she made sure nobody else was coming or that any alarms were sounded, and then she proceeded to make her approach to the alcove. She did this by getting as close as she could to the rocks, where she could move stealthily and without detection. She had to move quickly as well, lest someone see the burning cars in the field and sound the alarm.

The alcove, as the late Thad called it, was an apt nickname for the large rock formation. There were large indentations that didn’t go especially deep into the rock, that were loaded with food, water, supplies, weapons and ammunition. In the first one she encountered a guard who seemed to be goofing around, and the woman was able to sneak up behind him and break his neck without any trouble.

In the second alcove, the man had his back turned to her long enough for her to get close, but turned at the last second to see her behind him. The bounty hunter pulled a small knife she kept on her built and buried it into his eye while covering his mouth so he couldn’t scream. Knives were easy to kill people with, she learned. Far easier than a tea cup, which on at least one occasion she killed three men with in one fight.

The alcoves led to an open tunnel beneath the rock, high and wide enough for several men to walk side by side. At the end of it was the beach, where several men were standing and talking, some of them even laughing like they were having a jolly good time. The bounty hunter knew that anything she did in this tunnel could be noticed from the beach, so she dispatched the guards in the tunnel quickly and efficiently, one after the other, and pulled them off into the crevices along the sides of the tunnel.

Now was the bounty hunter’s big moment. She stepped out onto the beach, with the sun beating down upon her fading blonde hair, turned grayish. The beach sprawled out to her left and right, a great expanse of sand that ended where the sea was gently lapping at the shore. Gulls flew overhead, cawing beneath a clear blue sky. In the distance she could hear the waves coming in, carrying with them the scent of the ocean.

True to his word, Thad’s description of a hundred slaves was correct, as to her right there were as many men, women and children bound at their ankles, wrists and necks by iron collars and chains to one another, scantly clad in torn cloth garments with a decent amount of skin showing, especially upon the women. The slaves’ expressions were a mixture of resignation and despair, some sobbing, several of the children crying but not too loudly, lest they get beaten. Some of them had been, as they had shiners on their eyes and bruises on their arms and legs.

Beside them stood some average-looking run of the mill slavers like the ones the woman encountered previously. Yet the ones on the other side of the beach, to her left, were quite different. These men were dressed in red clothing, many of them sporting burn scars or missing fingers and eyes. These must be the Immolated, she realized. This is where I’m supposed to be.

The Immolated were inspecting the goods as it were, clearly they were buying the slaves from the standard slavers. It was no doubt a sensitive negotiation that didn’t benefit from any interruptions, which now was inevitable. The bounty hunter couldn’t surprise so many men at once out in the open like this, so now came her grand entrance. First she cracked her knuckles and popped her back, and then she began walking forward further out onto the beach.

The bounty hunter started to whistle as she approached the two camps of men, numbering roughly thirty total. They all turned their heads to stare at the woman as she walked up to them. She stopped and stood still a safe distance away with either camp up ahead in either direction. “Nice day for a walk along the beach,” she observed to the slavers. “Never know what you’re going to find.”

The Immolated shot cold glares at the other slavers, one of them putting his hands up before turning to face the woman. He was an older man with scraggly grey hair and dull green eyes, dressed like a pirate. This man gave a long, puzzled look at the bounty hunter before addressing her. “How’d you get in here, woman?”

Shrugging, the woman answered “through the rocks behind me. Your guards aren’t that good at guarding though, apparently. I don’t think they were expecting any visitors.”

“…Who are you and what do you want?” the man asked dryly.

“I’m glad you asked.” Looking around at the men in the slaver camp, the bounty hunter found who she was looking for, and then answered the man’s inquiry. “I’m nobody, but I’m looking for somebody. His name is Xavier Bordugas, and I believe that one over there is him,” she pointed at a younger man with a clean-shaven face, dressed in rich highborn garb. “If you give him to me this will go a lot easier for the lot of you.”

The slavers all began to laugh, though the man who stood before the bounty hunter did not, merely a cold expression rested on his face. “And why would we do that?”

“Make no mistake, old man, you’re all going to die. You can die quick and clean, or you can die violently. Either way, I’m getting Xavier Bordugas, and these slaves are getting set free. That’s the choice, and you have one change to tell me how it’s going to be.” The bounty hunter knew how these things usually went…they always refused a quick clean death. Violence was what they lived by, and it was what they died by too.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the old man that gave the men their orders, it was Xavier Bordugas. “Fuck this bitch. Kill her now,” he shouted, and the men began to aim their guns at the woman. She was ready, and flicked a grenade into the sand in front of her, while she jumped back and out of the way. Just after she put her goggles back on and covered her ears the grenade exploded with a loud bang and a burst of radiant light.

In that moment the slavers, and unfortunately the slaves too, were deaf and blind, in addition to being dumb. As they covered their ears or the eyes from being stunned by the grenade blast, the bounty hunter could still see just fine through her goggles. Through the bright light and the smoke she saw the slavers staggering, and with raptor-like speed she struck at them with her energy sword.

They were denied quick, clean kills. Instead the woman slashed at their hands, their arms, and their bellies with surgical precision. Limbs still clutching their weapons crashed into the sand and entrails spewed hot and wet from the bellies of disemboweled slavers. Only the old man had the common sense to stagger towards one of the boats anchored off the coast, while his men were slaughtered like pigs.

The Immolated put up a better fight it would seem. They reached out with blades and slashed wildly at the air, a few of them even coming close to striking the bounty hunter. She ducked and bowed beneath a few arcs and cut the Immolated upon their bellies and legs. One of them had the sense to swing his sword low, prompting the woman to jump above the arc and swing her energy sword at the man’s face, cutting his head in half.

Though they died fighting her, the Immolated died all the same, leaving only the startled slaves, Xavier Bordugas and the old man desperately swimming out into the ocean towards his boat. The bounty hunter first went to Xavier and punched him so hard in the stomach that he keeled over and collapsed into the sand. Then she delivered a savage kick to his face, causing him to fall backwards writhing in pain as blood gushed from his nose. She quickly disarmed him and threw his weapons into the water before turning her gaze upon the old man.

It was only when she saw his boat that she realized who he was. She approached the edge of the water with a heavy sigh, feeling the need to compose herself, and then, reached for her belt. She pulled out a long leather whip and lashed out at the old man with it, it quickly wrapping around his ankle. “No no no” he yelled as he realized something was stopping him from swimming forward, and suddenly he began going back the other way.

The bounty hunter pulled the old man up onto the beach with her whip, even as he desperately grasped at the water. “Don’t kill me,” he pleaded to her. “Don’t kill me, please I beg you.”

“I won’t,” she told him before hitting him in the neck in such a way that he passed out. Then she went back to Xavier, who was struggling to get back up to his feet. “Stay down,” she told him as she kicked his legs out from beneath him.

“Fuck you, bitch,” he snorted and spat at the woman. “Do you know who I am?”

“Of course I do,” the woman chuckled. “Your Xavier Bordugas, and I’m here for the bounty on your head. Luckily for you, the person who wants you wants you alive. Otherwise you’d be dead like these friends of yours,” she told him with a nod of her head towards the dead and dismembered slavers sprawled out on the beach.

Xavier apparently didn’t get the message. “My father is Balabar Bordugas, Lord Protector of Dienghant. Whatever they’re paying, he’ll pay double, I promise you.”

“That’s too bad, really,” she answered him as she bound his wrists and ankles with rope. “It doesn’t work like that, and that name doesn’t mean anything to me. Though he must be a fool for letting his son getting tangled up with slavers.”

Xavier shook his head, still trying to reason with the bounty hunter. “It’s necessary…to keep the peace among the factions. You think I like slavery? No I don’t, but it won’t go away. May as well take a piece of the pie.”

“All you slavers say the same shit, you know that?” the bounty hunter asked him pointedly. “Oh it’s just business, it’ll happen anyway, blah blah blah.” She pointed at the children in chains, cowering in the sand and wailing in fear. “You see that? You did that. You could have done something, but you didn’t, because you care more about profit than about people. You make me sick, and I’m going to enjoy delivering you in chains to the Bounty Box.”

“Fuck you, bitch,” Xavier screamed. “My father will stop at nothing to hunt you down like a dog. He’ll tear this fucking country apart for me. He’ll start a war that you won’t win. You’re a dead woman.”

The bounty hunter scowled. “You’re right, I’m a dead woman. I’ve been dead for many years now, and guess what asshole? You can’t kill someone that’s already dead.” Now finished tying him up, she stood up and said “now shut the fuck up.” She gave him a kick to the side of the head, causing him to stagger in agony, and then she gagged his mouth so he couldn’t talk anymore.

A quick search of his jacket revealed an iron key. “Oh well would you look at that?” she took the key up to the bound slaves and stood before them. One of them, a middle aged woman with bruises on her face, asked the bounty hunter “what are you going to do with us?”

“Nothing.” Looking at the chains and locks on the older woman, the bounty hunter used the key to unlock them, until the woman was no longer bound.

Once she was free of her bindings, the older woman burst into tears and embraced the bounty hunter. “Thank you, thank you.”

“Release the rest of them and see them to safety,” the bounty hunter instructed the older woman. “There are villages nearby with phones. Call the authorities, and let them know of your condition. They’ll make sure you all find your ways home.”

“…I don’t think we can ever repay you,” the older woman said sobbing, as the other slaves began to give their blessings and join in the shedding of tears.

“I don’t want anything,” the younger woman replied. “It’s enough to know that justice has been done. Now go…I have work to do.” The bounty hunter dragged the bound and gagged Xavier into the alcove, and then went back for the old man and a set of chains and manacles from the slaves as they were being set free. She had special plans for this old man that was befitting of his deeds.

Eventually the old man woke up, in a place he didn’t recognize. It was on top of a hill overlooking the sea with a few rocks scattered around a large sturdy tree. When he tried to move he felt a clanking of a chain, and then realized there was a collar around his neck. The collar was attached to a chain, and the chain was tied around the tree, bound together with a lock. He gasped and tried pulling at the chain, though it was all tight and he couldn’t get loose from it.

On a nearby rock sat the bounty hunter, watching him carefully. “Rise and shine, old timer. Enjoying the view? Such a nice day and a beautiful view of the sea.”

“…Who are you?” the old man asked pleadingly, searching the woman’s eyes for an answer.

“Oh, don’t you know, old man?” the woman asked sourly, giving him a long hard stare as she stood up from the rock and walked up to him. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.” Slowly she reached under her jacket to where a piece of twine was around her neck like a necklace. She ripped it off of her neck and out emerged an old harmonica. The woman held it in her hand, for the old man to see.

“No…it can’t be,” he shook his head. “You’re dead…you died a long time ago.”

The woman scowled as she stood over him. “You’re right, I’m dead…I died back there on that island. I am a ghost now, of your creation.”

“…No, little girl,” Targo stammered. “You’re the same girl you were on that beach. Tarna Bo. All grown up.”

Tarna Bo shook her head. “I’m not that person anymore. I was a slave. Now I’m not.”

With sadness in his face, Targo told her “that’s where you’re wrong, little girl. We’re all slaves to something, from the beginning to the end. You were born a slave, and you’d have died a slave one way or the other. Even if I set you free, you’d still have been a slave. To society, to industry, to the desires of men. Life uses us up and breaks us, Tarna. “We’re all just links in the chain.”

A short chuckle escaped Tarna’s lips. “Links in the chain, that’s funny Targo. Is that what you told yourself when you left me to die?”

Targo shook his head. “I showed you mercy on that beach.”

“Fuck your mercy,” Tarna spat on the ground. “You murdered my mother and left me to die. You could have killed me, but you didn’t. You left me to die you son of a bitch!”

“I loved your mother and you too, but she betrayed me,” Targo cried. “She ran away and took you with her. I gave her everything. Love, protection, a safe place in the world, and she betrayed me all the same. I couldn’t kill you Tarna, because you are my daugh…”

“No, you shut your fucking mouth,” screamed Tarna in a red rage. “You’re nothing to me but another dead slaver. Life is about making choices, and only free people can take advantage of that. You made yours a long time ago, as did I.” Tarna pointed at the cliff behind Targo. “You have two choices now. You can bide your time, hope for some miracle, your escape, whatever you want to call it. Or you can jump off that cliff and hang, though I suspect that the collar will break your neck. That would be mercy, considering my mother strangled to death at the end of the rope that you yourself tied while she begged you to spare me.”

Targo wept as Tarna spoke. “You remember don’t you? I do. My mother never once begged you to spare her life. Only mine, and you watched the woman you loved strangle to death while your child was abandoned on a desolate island left to die of exposure. This is a better fate than you deserve, so maybe, just maybe if there’s anything decent in that sick slaver head of yours, you’ll jump off that cliff and get it all over with, instead of living on and waiting to die and having to spend another moment thinking about the horrible things you’ve done.”

In spite of everything that was said, Targo said nothing, merely standing there sobbing. Tarna looked over him with daggers in her eyes. “Play a song for my loving mother,” she told him as she put the harmonica in his mouth. Then she turned his back on him and walked away. Tarna didn’t hear any songs, any crying, begging or shouting. Only the sound of the sea and the gulls off in the distance.

Tarna thought she heard the chain rattle hard as she was climbing back down the hill towards the ground, a groan and a snap following it, then nothing. Tarna thought nothing, felt nothing as she made her descent, before reaching the ground. Her hoverbike was waiting for her right where she left it, next to Thad’s lifeless body. Xavier was bound and slung over the backseat, strapped down tight enough to where Tarna was confident he wouldn’t fall off or get loose.

Jumping on her hoverbike, Tarna put on her goggles and took a deep breath, cracking her knuckles and throwing her hair back. As she revved up the hoverbike, she put on another song. When it started up and she sped off, thinking about what Targo told her upon that hill. We’re all just Links in the Chain.
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Havensky
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Posts: 866
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Your Love Could Start A War

Postby Havensky » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:47 pm

The Nest District
Citadel City, Havensky
Present Day

There was a warm spring breeze that was blowing through the balcony of the residence of Gavin and Edwidge. It was a modest apartment sitting on the tenth floor of the Hinansho Building. It might have been cozy, but it was significant upgrade from the houseboat that the couple had lived in before.

The apartment boasted a big comfortable couch and a small reading nook filled from floor to ceiling with books. About half of the books were adventure novels that seemed a bit too juvenile for the current occupants. The other half of the books were mostly fashion lookbooks and increasing number of wedding planning magazines. There were nautical elements placed here and there that had been carried over from the houseboat. The naval flag that had once The kitchen was big and wide which was a nice change from having to use the small galley for so long.

Edwidge was standing barefoot on the wooden balcony as the wind toyed with her blonde hair and whipped at her long white lace dress. The green of the ceiba trees lit only by the lamps of Citadel City as the sun had gone down behind the Rico Bay. It was just enough darkness for the cicadas’ to start singing though the birds here and there would give one last chirp for the night.

There was soft guitar music playing from the kitchen as Edwidge took a sip of Dubonnet Rouge. She tapped the fingers of her free hand on the edge of the balcony as she waited for her front door to open. She watched as her engagement ring caught bits of light from the lamps.

The door opened a few moments later to reveal a tall knight with dark hair and blue eyes. The knight was without his shining armor instead dressed in a sharp navy blue suit.

Edwidge turned around and gazed at her betrothed with roses in hand and the rarest of smiles. She laughed.

“Gavin Idris Squall, I already told you yes…. But I like my flowers anyway.”

She left the drink on the balcony and floated over to her fiance, taking the bouquet and standing on her tiptoes to kiss her beloved.

“I like my lover too now that I think about it.”

Sir Gavin Squall. The Giant Slayer. Heartknight Guardian of Havensky, Praetor of Gholgoth.

But at this moment, the most important title he had Future Husband to Edwidge Nalôrna of the Eternal Republic of Xirnium.

“Marry me.”

“I will!“

“No, marry me right now… Let’s elope! Both of our parents and our friends are up on the roof for the housewarming. Hurk can fetch a holy man. We don’t have to wait one more night. We can do this right now.”

Edwidge put her finger to Gavin’s lips.

“Gavin… I love you and you’re going to be mine…for life...and I understand that means that I have to share you from time to time. Every time the world catches fire the Legion will call you up and I’ll lose you for a bit.”

“That’s not-”

“I know you love me...and only me...and you always will...but beneath all that armor you put on you care deeply about those serving beside you. It’s part of why I fell for you. You’re the most gallant person I know.

But.

I know you Gavin Squall. They gave you your orders. You’ll board the Solace and you’ll meet the rest of the Armada. I bet you’re already starting to learn the names of your officers… their chiefs… the young man barely out of school who will get your coffee and run your errands. That mind that never misses anything will start to make plans in your head. Puzzle out how to make sure everyone survives. Slowly, the war will get inside your head and take up space. I’ll have to share you and with good reason. I wouldn’t love you if you weren't like this.

But when we marry…. I don’t want to share you. Not that day. Not that night. I want to wait. I’ll be here… in our home… be it six months or six years...and six weeks after the war ends..we’ll get married...and I won’t have to share you.”

Gavin looked both crestfallen and completely in love all at the same time.

“Edwidge, I love you... I- ”

The rest of his words failed him and he simply pulled Edwidge closer to him and kissed her for a while. Edwidge then smiled looking up at him.

“Let’s have tonight and many nights as we can. And when they send you off… save the day, beat the slavers, and come back to me as quick as you can. Or I’ll get really mad.”

“Yes ma’am”
Last edited by Havensky on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Founded: Jun 16, 2011
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby United World Order » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 pm

ENTER THE ORDENITE REICH
Woes and Sorrow in Dietsland.




Neutsch,
Erika Province,
Northern Dietsland.


Two Years Ago.

The sound of air raid sirens and local news outlets bringing news of a likely invasion and plans of evacuation and shelter had shook the city of Neutsch to it's core. Being one of several cities near the coastline and also almost bordering with the Belphorgian-Freekish enclave, the media at first were assuming that the enclave were the ones who were attacking in the early hours of the morning. However it was later confirmed in a press conference with Dietslander military officials that those were Paratroopers not of the enclave's origin. The coast guard had also declassified reports of several small scale naval skirmishes between the Dietslander Coast Guard and forward elements of an arriving fleet. Other branches of the Dietsland military were also reporting of similar encounters with yet to be identified military force that were said to be poised to make a beachhead somewhere along the coastline of the Erika Province. Several beach heads would be made by Ordenite Marines which secured them after some skirmishing with Gendarme units who had been deployed to root out the beachheads but would be forced to withdraw. The Dietslander Air Force scrambled it's fighter wings in the area to meet the encroaching threat and became engaged in several engagements with the enemy for air superiority. However they were unable to make any sort of impact on the area of operations and were not able to harass the enemy as much as it wished allowing the fleet ample time to get reinforcements out. By the time the Royal Dietslander Army and Genderarme began counter attacks against the beachheads, the fleet was able to get enough manpower on the beachheads to fend for its self. Most of the beach heads themselves had only been around 30 miles deep and wide and the Dietslanders had hoped to catch the invaders before they could get sufficient numbers on the beaches. Some of the first crucial battles had begun to take shape as the Dietslander's hoped to send the invaders back into the sea swiftly while the Ordenites were keen on breaking out of their beach heads. Gerchsheim, Hofgeismar, and Ringebrauck became towns tactically crucial for either side as the 6th Corps of the 3rd Royal Army had assembled and chosen those 3 towns as where they were to hold the Ordenites back.

The 3rd Royal Army left it's other Corps in reserve in case of any breakthroughs and were also working in conjunction with the Gendarme brigades that fell under the command of the Royal Dietslander Army. Roads and bridges that were between the towns and the beach heads were becoming occupied by Gendarme units who set up defensive positions and ambushes. The 6th Corps mobilized around the towns and in the way of a route inland that would take them to the city of Neutsch. Additional Royal Army forces were rallying there and preparing for eventual prolonged conflict in the area as the 6th Corps sent out forward units to scout and also harass the enemy. Suddenly from the beachheads came the Ordenite's breakout offensive which was opened with the air raids on positions that were marked by unmanned aerial vehicles acting as forward reconnaissance for the Luftwaffe fighter bombers that targeted positions held by the Genderarme who were ill prepared for such conventional warfare. The Ordenites slated the entirety of Heersgruppe 70 for the war against the Dietslanders and already the 282nd and 279th armies were able to make landfall and therefore would be involved in the breakout. The Panzers and Mechanized forces from both armies Panzergruppes broke out from their beachheads with little effort or resistance initially as what gendarme forces that were set to harass and slow down any breakthrough were simply pushed out of the way or destroyed. This begun a steady advance along the roads leading towards the 3rd Royal Army and it's area of operations around the three towns, one of the first engagements between the Royal Army and the Heer came on the way to Hofgeismar when elements of a Panzer Corps were confronted by the Royal 6th Corps.

A Panzer regiment had been intercepted almost 15 kilometers away from the town of Hofgeismar with allied units trailing not far behind as ATGM and tank fire prevented any further advance. From what could be seen by UAVs sent ahead of the regiment were several dug outs where Dietslander soldiers and armor were positioned to block the Panzers. This information would soon enough be sent to the Corps artillery contingent for fire missions as the Dietslander's would soon realized they were being zoned in by artillery and sought cover. Panzer VIII tanks began to engage the enemy as well while allied units began to arrive to out maneuver them as well which put the Dietslanders in a rough spot and would lead to the loss of several tanks of their own and other casualties leading to their timely retreat. Other engagements were also fought as the Ordenites were able to steadily close the gap between them and the 6th Royal Corps. The breakout was considered a success as the 282nd and 279th armies were able to expand their gains from the beachhead by at least 50 kilometers give or take. Therefore the entirety of the 3rd Royal Army and the arrival of the 7th Royal Army marked a new initiative to turn the tide against the Ordenites as the first major battle of it's scale began to take place over the three towns that the Dietslanders were rallying around to counter the Ordenite Army. A epic clash in which all three towns were fought for as the 3rd and 7th Royal armies attempted to bear the brunt of the Ordenite Armies while also seeking to regain lost ground. A series of tank on tank engagements would pit several thousand tanks and armored vehicles against each other as at first it seemed that the Dietslanders could hold their ground against the onslaught.

However it would become apparent that the Dietslanders were being outgunned and outclassed by the Ordenite Heer. The same Ordenite Heer that fought numerous conflicts and full on wars in Greater Dienstad and were made up of a experienced cadre of professional soldiers and officers. Within 3 days of heavy fighting all three towns were lost and were essentially left as hollowed out husks in the wake of the withdrawl of both the 3rd Royal Army and the 7th Royal Army who was acting as a rear guard for their battered comrades in the 3rd Royal Army who suffered a 40% casualty rate as what was left that could still fight were reorganized for future battles. The Heeresgruppe 70 who were now able to freely deploy onto Dietsland soil would see more of it's armies head out to meet the enemy and secure territory leaving the Dietslander Armed Forces and government worried about what was to come. It wouldn't be long before the city of Neutsch would have to be defended now as the Royal Dietslander Army continued mobilizing what it could and preparing for the next major clash with the Ordenite Army that were headed for the city its self. The Luftwaffe were also making gains as the tug of war for air superiority began to shift in their favor as victories on the ground took place and the Ordenites continued to make headway into Dietsland. Two more weeks of heavy and bitter fighting would take place before Neutsch would fall to the Ordenite Army and over half of Heeresgruppe 70 would now be ashore and involved in combat operations inland with the Royal Dietslander Army suffering bitter defeats that would continue well into the war.


Vordamm,
Promau Province,
Central Dietsland.


1 Year Ago

Capitulation. In the midst of all the fighting the Dietslanders had not expected another Ordenite fleet snaking its way to it's southern coasts and suddenly springing a whole new offensive that caught them completely off guard. Heeresgruppe 70 had done what had been planned by the Supreme High Command and deceived the entire Dietslander military and government into thinking that in the north was where the war would be fought. They were sorely mistaken when another Ordenite army group sprang out from the southern coast and went on the offensive. City after city and town after town fell to Ordenite armies as the Dietslanders prepared to defend the cities of Vordamm and Rosgaard. Unlike previous Ordenite conquests like in Greater Dienstad's Krasnova the Ordenite Wehrmacht came to the Dietslanders as liberators. Over 1 billion of the population of the Second Empire of Dietsland could trace their heritage and blood line to the Ordenites in Greater Dienstad. The Ordenite regime had planned and wanted the Ordenite populace of Dietsland to welcome their brethren and support their acquisition for the future of the Ordenite Reich in Dietsland. Of course a nation like Dietsland which governed through principles found in democracies across the globe, political parties were abundant and one of the more successful parties called the Ordenite Volksverband Party had already announced it's alignment with the Ordenite National Socialist Party as the war turned in their favor. Other parties such as the Dietslander National Socialist Party and the Dietsland First Party soon followed suite as in Ordenite occupied areas, contending political parties such as the Dietsland Social Democratic Party and the Dietslander Socialist Party were outlawed in Ordenite occupied zones and members and affiliates alike were targeted in raids. The occupied areas of Dietsland conquered during the war had been swiftly formed into a functioning military administration through the Ordenite Army. A Auxiliary Police formation was swiftly put together with volunteers from collaborating political parties and were referred to as the Hilfspolizei or Hipo and soon took to the streets taking over law enforcement duties over the entirety of the occupied cities and rural area.

The Freekish and other minorities were left alone for the most part and the final battles for the nation that was Dietsland were beginning to take place. The Dietslander Armed Forces were a shell of their former selves as their own troops soon began to desert them, many being of Ordenite heritage and could not bear to fight their own for any longer. The first of the two cities to fall was Rosgaard the seat of the Monarchy whose royal family had already been mostly evacuated before hand. There was little in the way of heavy fighting and the city would fall in less than 4 hours as what resistance there was either retreated or was killed or captured in the short period of fighting. The Ordenite Army marched victoriously through the streets of Rosgaard as the Ordenite swastika flag flew high above the city and the former Royal Palace. The seat of government in Vordamm would also fall soon after with a last minute surrender by the remaining general staff of the Dietsland Armed Forces and the Prime Minister. A sort of grace period passed that was only a month before other government officials and civil servants of the now Ordenite occupied Dietsland were swiftly arrested. Politicians and civil leaders who were actively considered opponents to the incoming Ordenite Reich were also arrested as wider crackdowns and raids were being carried out throughout the nation. The previous administration had left over a hundred million unemployed people across the nation. These unemployed would soon be gathered up for conscription duties and prepared for and sent for immediate training. Existing structures and functions from the former government were swiftly taken over and reformed in Ordenite fashion.

Three million servicemen from the Dietslander Armed Forces surrendered to the Wehrmacht by the end of the war. These prisoners of war were placed in temporary camps that would eventually feed them into a growing labor camp system which was coming along in collaboration with the Ordenite-SS and their camp guards. Hundreds of these camps would begin to sprout up across the occupied territory as hundreds of thousands were being sent to their imminent future. More larger camps were already being planned and scheduled to be built on behalf of the Ordenite-SS and it's Economic Enterprise Amt which oversee the thousands upon thousands of labor camps across the Reich. The Ordenite Wehrmacht had already started to construct and keep manned fortifications and outposts across the Dietsland, as millions kept watch over a landmass far larger then many nations.
Last edited by United World Order on Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Havensky
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Civil Rights Lovefest

You Play A Game Of Pressure

Postby Havensky » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:30 pm

HRS Redemption
Task Force Resurrection
Fortress Cydonia, The Kraven Reich


Doctor Bethany Eizariya sat in her office peering out the small round window that faced the sea with her golden brown eyes. Her olive skin reflected in the ship’s glass. She had her long raven hair drawn into a single long braid that ran down her white lab coat. She had work her red scrubs today with a little gold bracelet that jingled jangled as she made her rounds.

It had been a month and was still getting used to living on a ship. It didn’t help that the HRS Redemption was no ordinary ship. She had been told that this was a warship once… a Sea Dweller-Class Superdreadnought. The Humanitarian Fleet had gotten their hands on several of them and had converted the vast ship into a floating hospital. The Redemption could treat thousands of wounded, host a diplomatic summit, and still have enough power to light up a small town.

This ship was the flagship of the Humanitarian Fleet leading up Task Force Resurrection which was now docked in the dark waters of Neo-Cydonia deep into Reich territory. Doc Bethany didn’t quite understand the political machinations that allowed this situation to occur. She only knew that this was an opportunity to bring thousands of Jagite prisoners of war home to their people. Nobody outside the Reich knew of their existence until a few weeks ago, and even now most of the outside world was unaware of their mission.

The downside to this opportunity was that this was the Task Force that was being held hostage until the end of the war. When the Slaver War was over, they would take everyone home. Until then, they had to make camp here amongst the Kraven. The given rationale was to make sure the Allies left Kraven alone during all of this, but everyone had their doubts.

As if being in Cydonia for an extended period of time wasn’t bad enough, the environment there was inhospitable to human life. Smoke from the factories that powered Kraven’s war machine choked the air. The workers there worked night and day to strip down every natural resource. It was said that every single blade of grass had an angel that bent over it and whispered, "Grow! Grow!” Yet there was no grass there. There were no birds there. The seas there were empty of fish and for hundreds of miles further out until the poison that seeped through the land finally dissipated.

The human body was never meant to exist in a place like this. It was unnatural. Even if the Jagites here survived the Capitol Police, the land there itself would kill them in the end. The constant smoke and ash in the air caused asthma and respiratory inflammation. The water there was poisoned with lead and wrecked their liver and kidneys. The food that they were fed meant that they were always suffering from malnutrition.

Ultimately, if the air didn’t kill them, the untreated injuries would. Some of the workers had broken their bones, but weren’t treated at all and they healed wrong. Some of the survivors had lost fingers due to an infection after they cut themselves. The disdain for human life there was something that she never would have believed if she hadn’t seen it in person. Not even when she worked in the emergency room in New Foundry had she seen injuries as horrific as this.

She took the assignment understanding she’d be dealing with mistreated prisoners of war in hostile country - but nothing could quite prepare her for this.

Charts and notes and pictures of common injuries and ailments lined the walls of her office. Her desk was completely clean though save for two coffee cups positioned just right.

As the clock beeped for 16:00 hours, there was a knock at her door.

This guy again and right on time.

“Come in.”

A knight opened the door and stepped into her office. He was a just a bit taller than her with dark copper skin and golden brown eyes. He was quite handsome she admitted to herself. He was just back from patrol with his pearl white armor maligned with the dark soot that choked the air. He smiled confidently in a way that drove her crazy.

He had left the big rifle behind this time. The first meeting they had he had brought what had to be the most oversized weapon she had ever seen. While it was a military mission, she had told him she didn’t appreciate that ...thing.. being brought in to the hospital floors. It made patients nervous. It made her nervous. He had argued that as head of security he was expected to be armed and he used this rifle almost exclusively. There was shouting after that.

“So, What are we fighting about today Doc?”, asked Aguila almost flippantly. She had complained that he should address her as Chief Medical Officer or by her military equivalent rank of Commander.

“Soldier boy, we never fight. We just have these professional discussions at very high volume.”

He had complained that his proper title was either sir or lieutenant. They called it a draw.

The fight was always the same. She would want more liberty and flexibility in the camp’s setup to help the patients recover quicker. He would always resist because it would make it harder to secure the area. She was right of course, but at some point Admiral Moonwind has had enough of the arguing told them to work it out.

Which they did, but very loudly.

“You need to work on your bedside manner.” , he had said at one point.

“Are you bleeding? Do you have a fever? Are you in pain? No? Then you’re not my patient and not subject to my bedside manner. I’ve got thousands of patients with horrible chronic disease and very poor mental health. You’re fine.”

Actually, poor mental health was an understatement. Whole generations had been born into captivity as slave labor for the Reich and led to believe that they were the only members of their nation left in existence.

Maybe that’s why she pushed Aquila so much. He wasn’t nearly as fragile as her patients were. She did try to be start out the meetings by being nice. She got him coffee. He always said thank you. That said, he always made an easy target… but first she should focus on the job at hand.

“Lieutenant, I think our count is wrong. So far, every Jagite I’ve seen has been 100% Jagite. Given the population of the Kraven workcamps, you would think we’d have some diverse families.”

Aguila didn’t argue. He listened, which was out of character.

“Is it true that anyone with Jagite blood would have silver hair?”

“Yes, I’ve never seen a case otherwise.”

Aguila grew visibility annoyed, but not at her.

“This is going to get tricky if our ...hosts...decide to interfere. Let me take it to the Admiral. If I get the go ahead I’ll send a team out to collect our missing people from the camps. This entire place just smells wrong and I don’t want any tricks getting past us.”

“Thanks soldier.”
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Ghant
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sat May 04, 2019 6:54 am

“The Alabaster Throne”
Gaztelua Palace
Gaztelua, Gholghant


Twas a bright, sunny day in the city of Gaztelua, the coastal capital of Gholghant. The Executor had arrived not too long ago by private jet from Ghish, in Zahaghant, and even now he and his children were being escorted to the Palace of Gaztelua with great pomp. The sky was bereft of clouds, the weather so welcoming that many of the citizens of the city came out to great their Emperor. It was national news that the Emperor of Ghant had succeeded Damien Dreadfire as Executor of Gholgoth, and for a people that had little to boast about, this development was the cause for great celebration.

The Emperor of Ghant had places to be, people to see, and as he often said, “shit to do.” Yet first thing came first…now that he was Executor of the Gothic Alliance, it was high time that he establish his court and position of power in Gholgoth. Easier said than done, he realized, as doing so would be considered…highly irregular by the locals residing in Gholghant.

Upon being elected Executor by his peers among the Gothic Council, Emperor Nathan first had to return to his ancestral seat in Ghish, the de-facto capital of “the Empire” of Ghant, located on the southern coast of Zahaghant. There he met with and presented the outcome of the conference in Citadel City to his wife, Empress Sophia. After some discussion, a course of action was established.

The Executor would establish his court in Gaztelua, and rule directly from the Alabaster Throne of the Gholghantar, which no King of Gholghant had done in two hundred years. He would take with him his knights, his staff and advisors, and whatever courtiers wished to follow him there. Whichever of his women wished to go could go with him as well, along with his children by them.

Meanwhile, the Empress of Ghant would rule Zahaghant alongside their eldest son and heir, Crown Prince Nathan, and the Empress’s other children would continue to remain in her care. The Privy and Small Councils would remain unchanged, and court life in Ghish would remain unchanged. Empress Sophia was used to being apart from the Emperor by now, so she was largely unaffected by this new state of affairs.

Nathan had let High Steward Henoor Zaldua of Gaztelua know of his intentions in advance, though interestingly enough the latter had not responded to the former. Naturally, Nathan assumed that Henoor was displeased with the return of the king, despite Nathan having named Henoor the acting Warden of the South. The Executor had hoped that this boon would placate the Steward, but he got the sense that it did not.

The Stewards of Gholghant had ruled that land in the name of the absentee kings for two hundred years. When the last Gaztel King of Gholghant died, the King of Zahaghant gained the throne as the next of kin, though the latter line of kings continued to rule from Ghish. As a result they left the rulership and administration of Gholghant to the line of Stewards, who enjoyed the autonomy.

There were three things that the Stewards couldn’t do during this two hundred year period. They couldn’t leave the country, declare war or sit the Alabaster Throne, the ancestral throne of the Kings of Gholghant. Nathan had seen the Alabaster Throne, but interestingly enough, he had never sat upon it. He wondered how it would feel, and how he would look seated upon it.

This the Executor thought as his caravan was moving through the streets of Gaztelua. Off in the distance he could see the never ending fields of green and gold, peppered with flowers and weeds at the feet of sloping hills. The tall white towers of Gaztelua, made of marble, alabaster and stone reflected the sun’s light off of them, causing them to sparkle while the flags of the lands of Ghant waved in the warm breeze.

Even now that he was Executor, Nathan wasn’t much for public appearances. While his children waved and smiled fervently, Nathan looked around and studied his new home. He espied the large white castles and manors of Gaztelua, built of the same material as the towers. They all had smooth, white walls, some covered in decorative ivy with banners and flags on the battlements between waving and cheering onlookers.

Nathan pointed out the Library of Gaztelua to his beloved daughter Valentina, as the girl had never seen it before. When she saw it for the first time, her jaw dropped and her eyes look on large and in awe. The library was one of the greatest and most ancient in all the world, and was the defining feature of the city. It was a tower, wide at the base and becoming narrower the higher it went, towering into the sky. The sum of Gholghant’s literary works over the course of thousands of years was contained within its white walls.

The motorcade of open top cars moved deeper into the city, where the streets widened into grand avenues. Throngs of people waving Ghantish flags flanked each side of the long road, all eager to see the Executor. It wasn’t until now that Nathan realized that Gaztelua was truly a seat of kings, as every block consisted of manors, museums, concert halls, old fortresses and other beautiful white buildings.

Eventually the motorcade made its way down to Ocean Avenue and began to make its ascent up the hill along the coast. Palace Gaztelua sat on the top overlooking the ocean. The palace was beautiful than it was practical, built in white marble like many other buildings in the city, with great windows that bathed the palace in light and balconies overlooking the sprawling gardens and the expanse of sea beyond.

“Here at last,” Nathan said with a sigh as the motorcade arrived within the palace plaza. He didn’t linger long in the car, climbing out and stretching his back. After a deep breath, he began to walk forward with his guards and retainers in tow. Never one for formalities, the Emperor walked casually up the steps to the main doors of the palace, while the palace guards pushed the tall white doors open so he could enter.

The Great Hall was awash with light, brilliantly illuminating the chamber. The light seemed to dance upon the rows of tall carved black marble pillars. Nathan studied the designs of beasts, leafs and vines intricately worked into the marble. The high vaulted ceiling was decorated with gold traceries that shined from the light cast upon them from the deep windows high up on the walls. Beneath them stood the stone statues of old kings that not even the Emperor knew the names of.

Banners of the many nations of Gholgoth hung from the pillars, each one distinct in its design, and some of them outdated. Old Jagada, the Kraven Reich, the ill-fated nation it replaced, Havensky, Kylarnatia, Milograd, Drakonia, Crimmond, the Naacal, the Scandinvans, Vetalia, Shavano. He saw all of the banners hanging up, and seeing them arrayed in such a fashion reminded him once more of his duty as Executor.

The Ghantish banner hung at the end of the hall, up above the throne of Gholghant. Atop a dais consisting of several steps sat a throne made of polished, sparkling white stone. The Alabaster Throne of Gholghant, they called it, and for centuries it had sat unoccupied, waiting for the king to return. Nathan contemplated the throne of his ancestors carefully.

It was only then that the Executor noticed the Steward and his family in the corner of his eye. Upon the lowest step of the dais and to the right was an unadorned black chair, the seat of the Steward, and beside it stood the Steward himself. The Steward was an old man in his sixties, his grey hair tumbling down to his shoulders, and with squinty grey eyes. He wore three rings on each hand, silver and gold and black, and in one of those hands he grasped the Steward’s Rod.

The Emperor’s herald announced him to the Steward by slamming the butt of his staff against the marble floor. “May I present His Imperial Majesty Nathan, Fourth of His Name, Executor of Gholgoth, Emperor of Ghant, High King of the Ghantar, King of Low Ghant, King of Dienghant, King of Gholghant, Lord of Zahaghant, Lord of Gholgoth, Lord of Ghish, Lord of Gaztelua and Protector of the Realm.”

The Steward took the opportunity to bow, followed by his family, each in turn. Then he introduced them one at a time. “Your Majesty, welcome to Gaztelua. This is my eldest son Elazar, his wife Daresa of House Alabastra, their daughters Elayne, Dylza and Morwyn. My second son Thear, and my daughter Rhea.” Elazar was tall and elegant, as was his wife, and their daughters all proper and pretty looking noblewomen. Thear was a striking figure, clearly a warrior. Though it was Lady Rhea that caught his attention the most.

Once upon a time Lady Rhea was presented as a courtship option for the Emperor before he was eventually married to Sophia of Dakmoor, though he never considered it seriously as at the time she was too young. Though now, the Emperor marveled at her beauty. Tall and thin yet shapely, she had long chocolate brown hair and soft grey eyes and a radiant smile full of straight pearly white teeth.

“My lady,” Nathan said to Rhea as he took her hand and kissed the back of it, before responding to Henoor. “I seem to recall Elazar having a son.”

Henoor cleared his throat. “My grandson Lord Trystane is at the court of the Golden Emperor in Fedala.”

The Emperor was unimpressed by the Steward’s answer. “To what end, might I ask?”

“…To cultivate stronger ties between Gholghant and the Golden Throne,” the Steward answered, though once again, Nathan took this with a pinch of salt.

“That is my job now,” the Emperor proclaimed boldly. “I have returned to claim my ancestral birthright. I know this must be difficult for you and your family…”

The Steward gave the Emperor a cold stare before waving off his family. One after another they departed from the throne room, the last of them to go was Rhea. The noblewoman blushed with a mirthful smile at the Emperor before excusing herself. Once she was gone, the Steward sighed heavily as he looked around the throne chamber, shaking his head in dismay.

“It is difficult, but not so much for us as it is for the people. For the better part of two hundred years, they have looked to us as their leaders. This has been our seat, our home, the core of the nation. Now we are to move to a lesser palace in the city, and with what function we shall serve, we do not know. How will that look to the people? What sort of questions will they ask? In such uncertain times, should we have to deal with such uncertainty?”

Nathan pondered the question, before looking down at the metal rod that Henoor clutched in his hand. “Your rod of office…let me see it.”

Reluctantly, Henoor raised the rod in his hands. “The rod of the stewards, given to us by your ancestor, the first Emperor of Ghant, who tasked us with administering the realm in his absence. We have never failed in that task.”

“…And that is why you shall keep it,” Nathan nodded his head once. “You shall continue to provide administration to the realm, with my consul and assent of course. You shall exercise your prerogative as Warden of the South in conjunction with the other Gothic Lords. Take whichever palace in the city you see fit to make your seat for as long as I reside in Gholghant, and let it not be said that your house is neither noble nor the highest ranking in the kingdom beneath the Alabaster Throne.”

Henoor flashed a reluctant smile and bowed. “I will not fail in this, your Majesty, and thank you for nominating me to serve as the first Warden of the South, if only for a time.”

“It was appropriate.” Nathan turned his head when he heard footsteps, and noticed that some of his children had arrived, including Valentina, with some bags in her hands that she wouldn’t let the servants take from her. “If you’d excuse me, Steward, I must get myself and my children settled in. Surely you understand.”

“Of course,” Henoor replied with another bow, before showing himself off. Once he was gone, Valentina looked to her father with a long face.

“Father, you’re always eager to please men that dislike you,” she observed thoughtfully. “Now that you’re Executor, those who mean you harm will seek to exploit this.”

The Executor sighed, and put a hand on his daughter’s shoulder. “Maybe if I listen to them, understand their point of view and try to meet them halfway, they will dislike me less.”

Valentina shook her head. “No…you took the Steward’s home and displaced him. You see?” the Princess pointed at the Steward’s chair at the base of the Alabaster Throne just as some servants were binding it up and beginning to move it. “There’s nothing you can do to make that sting go away, and all you’ve done is give the Steward more ways by which he can undermine you and ultimately betray you.”

Nathan bit his lip. “…Then I suppose we shall have to wait and see what he does.” Having said that, Nathan smiled and ruffled his daughter’s red hair. “You should go now and get settled in. We’ll have a lot of work to do.” Just as Valentina scampered off, Nathan turned his head to see the Steward’s chair being carted off, and the Steward’s banner being lowered from the wall. In it’s place rose the white eagle of the Imperial House. Maybe she’s right, the Emperor thought as he walked away from the throne room, eager to get to work on some communiqués that needed to be written.

To: The Golden Emperor Feodor
From: Nathan IV, Emperor of Ghant, Executor of Gholgoth
Subject: Bilateral Relations
Encryption: High



Greetings,

Please excuse my lack of formality in this communiqué. I do not consider it necessary between friends. For the sake of cooperation and dialogue, this is what I would prefer our private relationship to consist of, if you don’t mind.

I have recently taken up residency in Gholgoth, since I believe that being Executor requires one to reside personally within the region. I have assumed my ancestral seat in Gaztelua, Gholghant, which had been the seat of the Stewards for nearly two hundred years. As you can imagine the Steward was not pleased with this development, and though I named him Warden of the South and given him leave to take up residence in the second greatest palace in Gaztelua, his pride has been wounded.

When I arrived and spoke to him for the first time in person since being named Executor, I noticed an interesting absence from his family when he introduced them to me. His grandson Trystane, the only son of his oldest son Elazar. When I asked why he wasn’t present, Henoor told me that the boy was at your in Fedala. When I asked why, he told me that it was to cultivate stronger ties between Gholghant and the Golden Throne.

This is all news to me, and I am inclined to believe that there is more to that then what the Steward told me. I was hoping you could provide me with some clarity on that subject. Naturally, if there were any other matters that you wish to broach with me, this channel would be most appropriate for that.

Sincerely,

Nathan IV

Image


Executor of Gholgoth



To: The Gothic Council and Heads of State of Greater Dienstad
From: Nathan, Fourth of His Name, Executor of Gholgoth, Emperor of Ghant, High King of the Ghantar, King of Low Ghant, King of Dienghant, King of Gholghant, Lord of Zahaghant, Lord of Gholgoth, Lord of Ghish, Lord of Gaztelua and Protector of the Realm.
Subject: Executor
Encryption: Low



To whom it may concern,

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I have established my home as Executor of Gholgoth in Gaztelua, the capital of Gholghant. The Alabaster Throne in the Palace of Gaztelua is now my seat, as it once served my ancestors the Kings of Gholghant, and I shall reside there on a permanent basis for as long as I am Executor. I want to extend an invitation to all leaders of Gholgoth and Greater Dienstad to come visit me to discuss matters of state and the affairs of our regions in the interest of dialogue.

Please feel welcome to correspond to me via communiqué about anything you deem necessary in the interest of dialogue and for the furtherance of cooperation.

Thank you, and sincerely,
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Executor of Gholgoth

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Henoor Zaldua
Steward of Gholghant
Warden of the South



To: The Gothic Council
From: Henoor Zaldua, Steward of Gholghant and Warden of the South
Subject: Warden of the South
Encryption: Low



Your Majesties,

It is my honor and pleasure to accept the title of Warden of the South on behalf of the new Executor. I am eager to assume this honored role and help coordinate the defense of South Gholgoth. I’d also like to say that I do not view myself as superior in rank or in knowledge of military affairs to any Gothic lord, especially those in the southern part of the region. I merely view myself as a facilitator, in light of the fact that the Gothic Fortress Phelgethon is located here in Gholghant.

I would invite any and all Gothic Lords to enjoy the hospitality of Gholghant and take the opportunity to see the fortress in its early stages of construction, the scenic lands that it occupies and the beauty of Gaztelua and other cities of our country. While I may not be a Gothic Lord myself, I very much wish to be a colleague that is viewed as welcoming and hospitable to all the Lords of Gholgoth.

If any of you have any questions, comments or concerns about Gholghant, the Fortress or my Wardenship, please do not hesitate to send me a communiqué. I look forward to working with you all closely in the future.

Sincerely,

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Steward of Gholghant and Warden of the South
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Ghant
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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2419
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:24 am

“Nepomuk”
Nepomuk Shipping Company Headquarters
Urrunaga, Gabuda, Varathron


The Gabuda archipelago was so named after the largest island in the chain, near the SW end of the islands. These islands were warm more often than not, full of sandy beaches, lush trees, fruit bearing plants and exotic birds. There were three things about Gabuda that had always served as its lifeline to the rest of the world. Those three things were fruit, tourism, and shipping.

Perhaps it was fruit that started it all. The Ghantish, having always been a seafaring people, came upon Gabuda in times of old, having arrived by boat long ago. Like some of the northern Ghantish, they were tribal for a good long time, with tribes establishing territories on the islands. Over time, tribal warfare between one island against another became common, and the population was kept low as a result of war, famine and disease.

Until the rest of the Ghantish learned that the Gabudans had fruits unique to Gabuda. That was when the Gabudans realized that they had a license to print money. All the Ghantish kingdoms beyond, the East Dienstad Trading Company, and eventually the empire, they all came running to Gabuda begging the locals to take their money in exchange for those precious goods they couldn’t make on their own.

Well, all the fruit in the world wasn’t going to do Gabuda any good without a means of moving it, and one day, somebody figured out that if you stopped making the Kingdom Ghantar come all the way out to Gabuda to get what they wanted, and instead brought what they wanted to them, well…whoever figured that out would become a very rich man. Low and behold, someone did.

Jacob Nepomuk was a fisherman in the 19th century. His father and his grandfather were fishermen before him, and that was what they knew. They knew boats, they knew the water, the knew about cargo. Well, he didn’t know much about fruit, but he knew that with the right people and resources, he could move that fruit across the ocean and get it to the rest of Ghant, and in exchange he’d get paid the big bucks.

Fortunately for him, the fruit guys didn’t know jack shit about boats, the water or about transporting cargo, so he was able to make his case to them. Jacob Nepomuk told them that if they backed his enterprise, that they’d get even more money out of the deal then they did before, when the traders had to come all the way out to Gabuda to collect the fruit. Naturally they took the risk, and that risk paid off. Everyone got rich, and the money came in hand over fist.

Fast forward over one hundred and fifty years later. The Nepomuk Shipping Company was one of the largest companies in Gabuda, if not Varathron. Jacob’s great-great-great grandson Francis was President, Chairman and CEO of the company and took an active role in overseeing its day-to-day operations. Francis had an office near the top of his company’s high-rise overlooking the beaches and ocean in Urrunaga, and it was there that he sat at his desk, overlooking the sea, all the while smoking a cigar with one hand and playing with a yo-yo in the other.

It went without saying that Francis was an entrepreneur always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. He didn’t think of himself as a bad man. On the contrary, Francis thought himself a realist, in the sense that the reality of the situation dictated his decisions. Things like morality, honor, right and wrong and justice were things for the birds. None of that made him money. Opportunities were what made Francis his money.

That’s what he learned throughout his life, be it on his grandfather’s knee as a little boy or on business trips with his father. Francis majored in business and economics at the University of Ghish, once upon a time, and there he learned how everything revolved around cost-benefit analysis. Every action had a cost, and the only actions worth taking were the ones that offered the greatest benefit. That’s just how it was, and it is what it is.

Francis stared at his degrees sitting on his desk while smoking his cigar. He was joined by two individuals, who sat quietly in an awkward posture on some nearby couches. One was a…privateer who went only by the name of Fluffy, the other was a legate from Dienghant by the name of Jono. These two men were a study in contrasts. Jono wore a fanciful court outfit, his skin was fair and smooth and his hair was cut short and neatly trimmed. Fluffy on the other hand was a tan-skinned, mop-headed ragamuffin who looked like he got his clothes out of a trash heap. That didn’t make him look any less imposing, however, for Fluffy was a tall, powerfully built man.

In the background, Francis could hear his company’s corporate message playing over some distant intercoms in a feminine, albeit robotic voice.

The Nepomuk Shipping Company is a world leader in global container shipping and a company offering global service with local knowledge. NSC also provides integrated network of road, rail and sea transport resources which stretches across the globe.

At NSC we take the time to get to know our customers and understand their unique requirements. This enables us to apply our industry expertise to deliver a tailor-made service. We offer so much more than just ocean carriage. We’ve also developed a comprehensive infrastructure of road, rail and warehousing which allows us to offer fully bespoke solutions designed to match your needs.

For over 150 years NSC has shipped almost every conceivable type of cargo to destinations all around the globe. During that time we’ve accumulated both experience and expertise in how best to handle these goods, along with a comprehensive knowledge of global port operations. That’s why we’ve become the trusted transportation partner for so many of the world’s most prestigious companies, delivering countless cargoes and commodities with the utmost care.

Of course, what ties all this together and sets MSC apart is our ongoing commitment to the people we work with and the people we work for. Our strength has always been in developing close teams that want to offer the best service in the industry. Despite the size and complexity of our business, we’ve never lost sight of the need to put customers’ individual needs at the heart of everything we do.

Bringing you industry-specific expertise; whatever you’re shipping, wherever you’re shipping it. NSC delivers a professional, efficient service tailored to the specific needs of your business. Our services are designed around you…


Francis took one last puff of his cigar, and then he pointed his index finger at the ceiling of his office. “You hear that, gentlemen? Our services are designed around you. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? The services.

Fluffy didn’t waste much time in letting what was on his mind be made clear. “Everything was going according to plan, right on schedule. Then something went wrong on the beach.”

“Something went wrong on the beach, he says,” Francis looked at the pirate with narrowed eyes. “That’s the best thing you can give me? That the shipment didn’t arrive because something went wrong on the beach.” Standing up from his chair, Francis sighed as he put his cigar out, though he was still playing with his yo-yo. “I thought it was a pretty simple task…Mr. Fluffy, right?”

“…Yes, Mr. Nep…” Fluffy was cut off by Francis, who’s face suddenly turned red.

“No. You never speak my name, ever.” Smiling then, Francis added “you call me sir, and that’s it, got it?”

Fluffy nodded as he swallowed nervously. “Yes…sir…”

“Good, very good. Now, you know the nature of the business. There’s a demand for a certain good. The good gets provided…for a price, depending on the value of the good. In our case, the value of the good is high, which is good for us, because we have the means to provide the good. As long as we can deliver the good reliably, we profit.” Francis looked at both of the other men and nodded.

“So you, Mr. Fluffy, you and your people handle the acquisition and the movement of the goods from the ground to our freighters, and from our freighters to the ground again. Mr. Jono here makes sure that things get finessed politically, and that the wrong people don’t find out the right information. He’s done his job well so far, but you…well, we can’t have goods going missing, Mr. Fluffy. That’s very bad for business, and I don’t like things that are bad for business.” As he explained everything, he was pacing around the room.

Up to this point, Jono had been quiet, though now he decided to speak. “Someone’s on the move, sir. The…associates were all dead, hacked up and shot up, and the goods were gone, set free by the looks of it. The big man’s son is missing too, he ain’t there, and nobody knows where he is.”

The big man, of course, was none other than the Lord Protector of Dienghant, and in the mind of Francis was nothing more than a fat, corrupt piece of shit. Yet, Dienghant was where the base of their operations had to be, given it’s location in Dienstad and as a gateway for Gholgoth. “…The big man’s son knew what he was getting himself into. His carelessness isn’t my problem.”

“No, but the big man is your problem,” Jono countered cautiously. “If he pulls out, this operation is as good as dead. You need him in order to function, and he wants his son accounted for.”

Francis laughed, and then he threw his yo-yo against the wall so hard that it broke into several pieces. “He’s not pulling out, because he’s getting rich. We’re all getting rich. The shippers, the handlers, the politicians, the lords. Everyone’s getting filthy fucking rich off of this shit, and that’s why we all teamed up and got involved in this. You think I like associating with sea dogs and crooked noblemen? Absolutely not, but it’s worth it to me to do so.”

Turning around on the balls of his feet, Francis looked out the large window that comprised the wall behind his desk, and sighed. “I don’t necessarily like the nature of this operation…in fact, I try to look the other way. Yet it’s the reality of the world we live in, gentlemen. This…trade would be going on no matter what. Why not take advantage of it, make a fortunate and control it, to make it safer…more humane?

“…If the wrong people find out,” Jono gulped anxiously. “The Emperor of Ghant, tGolden Throne, the Skyans, the Lamonians…we’re all fucked.”

No, you’re fucked, not me. Francis had it all figured out. Francis knew what they were doing was illegal, but he didn’t care. As far as he was concerned, it was only illegal if he got caught, and he already had a plan in place if he got caught. If the wrong people ever figured out that NSC was shipping slaves to slave nations in Dienstad and Gholgoth, he could simply claim that his shipping had been infiltrated by pirates and their highborn protectors, and that NSC neither condoned nor facilitated the interregional slave trade. The burden of proof would be on them to implicate NSC’s complacency, and Francis made sure that such evidence did not exist. Fortunately in Ghant, men are innocent until proven guilty.

That, and the Emperor was far more likely to scapegoat the pirates and the lords he personally didn’t like, rather than go after one of the largest shipping companies in Ghant, which was so vital to international trade. In fact, most of the other nations would likely feel the same way, so while NSC might suffer some negative PR, they’d emerge unscathed, and Francis would keep the money that he made off of the slave trade.

He had the Golden Throne to thank for this situation, of course. The treaty hashed out with Gholgoth stipulated that Gothic slave nations were prohibited from slaving in Dienstad. This forced the slave nations to look for third party middle-men to conduct their operations on their behalf…for a price. NSC had the benefit of neither being based in Gholgoth nor operating within a slave nation. Varathron was beyond the purview of either Dienstad or Gholgoth, and Ghant was a nation where slavery was prohibited, the punishment for slaving carrying the sentence of life imprisonment (or death, depending on the jurisdiction).

As to the subject at hand, Francis explained that “whoever did this shit on the beach is a professional. If the big man’s son is the only one who’s unaccounted for, then that to me is deliberate. This is the work of a bounty hunter, and a very good one too.” Pointing at Fluffy, Francis added “I want you and your friends to do some digging up in Dienghant. Find out about these bounty hunters, which one did and it see to it that they don’t trouble us anymore.”

Then to Jono, Francis said “Go back to Dienghant and make sure the big man knows we’re working on this situation. Find out who in the nobility might want his son bountied. Your job is to handle the loose ends among the highborn, so go do that. As for me, I’m going to make sure our customers are aware that there is an issue, and I’m going to personally assure them that we are making things right and mistakes like this won’t be happening again.”

Suffice it to say, the customers in nations like Potthan, the Scandinvan Empire and other slave nations would not be pleased with this development, but alas, it was in their interest to provide patience and understanding. It wasn’t like there were many alternatives to NSC to provide them with the goods they were after. Francis was confident they’d suck it up and ride it out, rather than take any unnecessary risks that could bring them heat.

Fluffy and Jono got the message and saw themselves out of Francis’s office, leaving the latter alone. It was at precisely that moment of solitude that Francis sat back down at his desk, and got to work on his communiqué.

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To: Our Esteemed Customers
From: Francis Nepomuk, Chairman and CEO of Nepomuk Shipping Company
Subject: Talent Acquisition Operations
Encryption: High



Dear Valued Customers,

First of all, let me express my sincere apologies for the error and the inconvenience caused thereafter. These incidents are not typical of us and we are disturbed about this as much as you are.

I have run a quick investigation to find out the reasons that led to this error and I came to the conclusion that it's due to [a bounty hunter killing our asset handlers and setting the assets free]. This is clearly a mistake at our end and we take responsibility for it.

In our best efforts to keep our customers happy and satisfied, we are going to [make the next shipment of assets free of charge]. This is the least that we can do in the light of this unfortunate event. We strive for your satisfaction and we want to ensure a gratifying experience for all of our customers.

Also as part of our continuous strive for perfection, we are implementing a number of checks and measures to ensure errors like these do not occur again. You deserve the best and we will make sure that you will get it with us.

I apologize again for the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Francis Nepomuk
Chairman and CEO of Nepomuk Shipping Company
Last edited by Ghant on Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kylarnatia
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 8416
Founded: Jul 07, 2008
Left-Leaning College State

Happy Birthday, My Caesar

Postby Kylarnatia » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:15 am

"Of all the celestial bodies closest to us, that of Helios is the most powerful and important; for it is he who suspends Terra within the deep ocean of the universe, preventing us from falling into the deep and unending darkness that surrounds us. His rays give all living things on this sacred earth the chance to breathe and feel warmth, and his radiant flames purge the corrupt machinations of evil deities, for only the most pure and righteous can be his champion."
-- Libro Testamentum, TESTAMENTA II, ii Urania: 3.1-2





Magna Mater Basilica, Krytopia
Kylarnatia, Gholgoth


As dusk began to settle and the sun slowly disappeared over the western horizon, the last rays of light casting a silhouette of the vast sprawling Necropoli of the Blessed Dead that dominated the western banks of the mighty Seraphis river, the sound of holy women singing heavenly verses were broadcast out across the many ancient and sprawling meglapolis’ that imposed themselves on the river’s eastern banks. From the old ‘fortress cities’ of Leopolis and Hierakonpolis to the far north, to the more cosmopolitan cities such as the business-centric Aswan and ‘pleasure capital’ of Isna further south in the Delta region, the same call to prayer rang out from their places of reverence, the sound amplified by public tannoys commonplace throughout the cities. As soon as it was called, billions across the Imperium Antiquum’s heartland answered, congregating together with their assigned diocese. Led by the highly respected and venerated Priestess’ and Archpriestess’ of the Sacerdotium, the congregations would be regaled with the divine histories of the Libro Divinatio, and in summation beckoned into thoughtful prayer by the theological wisdom of the Libro Testamentum, passed down to them by the great Ancestress’ millennia ago.

This was no ordinary occasion, however. On this late August evening, the billions of souls that recognised each other as Kylarnatians - as devout and blessed children of the Grand Mother - had come to reflect on what they believed to be the cyclical nature of all things. At this time in the calendar year the divine waters of the Seraphis had grown thanks to heavy monsoon rains throughout the summer months, and had just about reached its peak. While kept in check and even directed due to man-made measures to ensure maximum benefit, this process was seen as vital to the success of the Imperium’s large swathes of farmland - particularly in the Delta - as had been the case for untold centuries. Not only that, it filled deep water reservoirs which historically helped see them through the much harsher winter months, when the arctic sheet to the far north would expand. Even though that was no longer strictly required, it still served as a strategically valuable stockpile in case of potential drought or other potential water shortages throughout the year, and now in modern times, allowed for growth to not be so strictly dictated by the seasons. All of this aside, this phenomena had ever been immortalised in the Kylarnatian’s imagination as a symbol of their land being reborn, revitalised by the Seraphis - named after the angel whose body it was born from - which was the literal life-vein of the land known as Kylarnatia. By extension, it was their own rebirth.

So it was that this time was often recognised as the ‘Kylarnatian New Year’, and while the Common calendar was used universally throughout the Imperium, the Seraphic calendar - a lunar-based calendar which divided the year into three seasons of four equal months of thirty-days with ten day weeks, with the remaining five days of the year added ever two or three years to maintain the rising of Sirius in the final month - was still popularly used not just by farm-owners and agriculturalists but also by the Sacerdotium as a spiritual calendar for festivals and observations. So it was that the faithful had congregated on the final days of the Season of Harvest in the fourth month of Theros. The final week - stretching from the twentieth to the thirtieth August in the Common calendar - was a period of daily fasting and deep contemplation and reflection on the previous years events, before coming together to witness the ‘rebirth’ of the land and enjoy the bounty of the harvest in great feasting and revelry. It just so happened that in this same week, on the twenty-sixth day of the Common calendar, Caesar had been born. Though to the many faithful and indeed the religious authorities it was no coincidence: it was the sign of her divine providence as Astra Puella - the ‘Star Child’ - a living embodiment of the Grand Mother who pierced through the veil that separated the planes of reality on which they existed, coming to the aid of her children in what would be a time of great need. So it was that the present faithful were blessed to bare witness not just to the rebirth of their land, but that of their leader as well.

This was a particularly special year, as not only would it mark Caesar Silvier Catherina Silvanus’ fortieth birthday, but also her fifteenth year since ascending to the Throne of the Golden Mother. The Festival of Ascension was marked every five years since the reigning Caesar had taken power, and was a week-long process of rituals and performances that demonstrated and rejuvenated the sovereign’s youth and vitality. Officially, Silvier’s Ascension had occurred back in the first month of Theros (May), but the coalescence of both her birthday, year of Ascension and that years’ New Year was decreed by the Sacerdotium as divinus providentia that was destined to be observed together, to maximise the religious euphoria of the experience. The observation had been made all the way back when Caesar had first ascended, and the announcement made and preparations begun over a year prior. Everyone, both at home and to the furthest reaches of the Imperium both politically, diplomatically and culturally abroad, knew of this weeks coming for some time, and it was destined to be something quite special. A once in a lifetime experience, for most.

In the ancient capital of Krytopia - traditionally called the City of the High Sovereign, having been the seat of many of Kylarnatia’s rulers both ancient and modern - that rested at the very heart of the Seraphis Delta, the people too had congregated and were contemplating. Though one place of veneration remained vacant, and had not made the call to prayer, and that place was the heart of the Sacerdotium Faith: the Magna Mater Basilica. Situated on a raised mound of earth in the openly-spaced and classical Imperial Forum, standing directly across from and elevated above the chambers of the Imperial Senate and the People’s Court, it’s architecture was a unique blend of both hypostyle and High Baroque elements. Covering an area of two and a half hectares, it was the largest Basilica in all of the Sacerdotium, and fittingly so for the “mother church” of one of the oldest but also continually growing faiths of Gholgoth. Large columns of marble held up the fresco of the facade, which housed the statues of holy figures of a Twelve Genetrix, each mastering their own element: Minerva of war, Urania of the heavens and stars, Polymnia of the hymns and songs, and so on. Above the dome that sat further along the building was visible, some five-hundred feet tall and polished white and gilded. Within, a large portal laid just beyond up marble steps, the doors were also gilded and depicted a scene of the Grand Mother - her arms outstretched and her form ethereal - surrounded by celestial bodies, seraphim and other spirits, including all the humans and animals of the earth at the base. It’s exterior alone was a site to behold, and that was the most the vast majority would ever see. For what lay beyond was only accessible to the most devout of the faithful, as well as the most powerful.

As the hours of the night went on and the congregations had retired back to their houses for private celebrations and gatherings amongst family and friends to contemplate their religious experiences during the week’s festivities, the uncharacteristically quiet capital allowed a large motorcade to move through the city with ease, it’s Vigilum escorts flashing their lights but having no need to sound their sirens as there was little need for what few vehicles were on the road to move. Entering the Imperial Forum, the motorcade stopped just before the steps that led up to the Magna Mater. The largest of the vehicles in this motorcade, known as the Stallion due to the high speeds it could move at despite its immense size due to the protection with which it was built, was approached by the giant shadow of a figure that stood close to eight foot tall, dwarfing even the vehicle as they reached for the door and opened it. Out stepped a much shorter but still relatively tall figure of six and a half feet, the lights of the vehicles bouncing off her radiant blonde locks.

Looking up the steps of the Basilica, both figures observed a group of six women at the top. Five were dressed in the purple, blue and gold colours of the Caesar’s Vestals, their hands clasped and heads bowed under their hoods. The last woman however stood out in front of them and wore a cassock of the same colours: purple body with blue trim and a gold band around the waist, from which hung a massive set of large iron keys decorated with gold and silver. A long white silk ferraiolo rested on her shoulders, and her hands were also gently clasped together, one wearing a signet ring bearing a seal depicting two crossed keys bound together inside the pages of a book under the sun. The Seal of the Praefectus of the Sacerdotium: this is who she was, and it was her role to assist the Archpriestess of the Magna Mater and Head of the Sacerdotium - which just so happened to be Caesar - in the administration of the church. She was also nominally the head of the Vestal Order.

As the duo that had arrived via the motorcade ascended the steps, the Praefectus bowed her head, her carefully platted grey hair reflecting off the artificial light. The Vestals sang a low but joyful song as the woman and her titanic guardian approached.

“My Caesar, it is an honour to receive you at this late hour. The Festival of Ascension is soon to begin, and the souls of your people are eager for it.” The Praefectus spoke with a voice weighed with age and wisdom. Caesar Silvier nodded in approval at her, causing the elderly woman to raise her head and meet her gaze, as if she had been permitted.

“Then we shall not leave them wanting for much longer, Calliope.” Caesar assured her, having taken note before ascending the steps of the final preparations that were being made in the Forum for the procession and ceremony that would be taking place in this very spot at noon the next day. A stage had been erected before the Imperial Senate and banners had been unfurled on the approaches, along with cordons, barricades and checkpoints to help control the masses. Prime seating had been erected for the many domestic elite and foreign dignitaries who had reserved a place for the event, giving them a view of the entire Forum and the stage that looked out onto the rest of the open space, which would be filled by a crowd numbering in the thousands determined by a carefully vetted lottery of the population. There was also an entire quarter carved out for both domestic and international media, who were getting ready to provide round-the-clock coverage of the day. Silvier was no stranger to attention, but this would be on a scale to perhaps rival her actual Ascension fifteen years ago.

Calliope - who had taken the name of the Genetrix of harmony and unity in the tradition of Praefectus’ past, accordingly the thirty-first to have done so as was attested in the records - smiled and turned for a moment to acknowledge the other figure. “It is an honour to have you here as well, Lord Hyperion. You belong in this most sacred of places with the Mother.”

“My place is where the Mother needs me, and it is wherever the Caesar goes.” It was a saying he’d repeated almost every time he had been anywhere near the Magna Mater, and had become somewhat of a tradition between him and the priestesshood, stretching back years and likely to carry on for many more. Lord Hyperion was - if the stories were to be believed - the Aspect of the Night, ninth of the Grand Mother’s ten sons, who had aided her and mankind in their disposal of the tyrannical Gods and in the reordering of the universe. He didn’t seem to outwardly possess any divine powers, though his immense size - even by Kylarnatian standards - did help fuel the belief, along with his continued presence throughout history, though the more sceptical rationalised his being as merely a moniker passed from champion to champion. Who was to say, but he knew what he knew, as did Caesar and those in the Imperium’s upper spiritual echelons who knew what they believed. In either case, it was undeniable that his presence certainly demanded attention and respect.

Greetings out of the way, the Praefectus beckoned them both to follow her and the Vestals through the portal and into the interior of the Basilica. As the doors opened they walked inside into a small semi-circular space that acted as the entrance hall. There, young female attendants waited on them with bowls of sacred water and silk slippers. They approached and bowed their heads deeply in reverence.

“Be welcome and accept this blessing to step into the sacred hearth of the Mother beyond.”

At their beckoning, the acolytes set about washing the hands of the Vestals, the Praefectus and Caesar. They would then ask them to remove their footwear, leaving them in a specially designed part of the wall, before proceeding to wash their feet. The Vestals and the Praefectus would then wear the silk slippers offered to them, but Caesar was not offered, and this was quite deliberate. She - and only she - could directly bring herself in to contact with the divine energies that permeated within the sacred confines of the Basilica. Hyperion did not have to take part in the ritual, for his being was deemed pure of all the negative chaotic energies that could cling themselves to the imperfect mortal body, and potentially disrupt the balance of the order that existed within. The cleansing now complete, Calliope slid across the spotless marble floor and carefully picked one of the many iron keys around her chain, and used it to open a golden gate which impeded their entry. The lock mechanism gave way with a large clank, and with the assistance of the attendants she swung the gate open. Bowing, she directed Silvier to go forth, and so she did.

The interior of the Basilica was laid out with one long nave that formed the centre, oriented around multiple elliptical spaces and circular chapels radiating around them, leading off towards three transcept arms at the rear of the nave which led to three large oval-shaped spaces beyond. The ceiling reaching up hundreds of feet into the air - seemingly going on without end - and as such there were a labyrinthine number of grand staircases that led up to multiple passageways above them, leading in a number of directions all around the Basilica, some visible and others clearly secret. The floor was made with finely polished marble - predominantly black and white in colour, though the elliptical plan of the design was made evident by the incorporation of a wider variety of sky-based colours - and was so well done that it showed a reflection of the ceiling above. Along its entire length and even continuing down the transcepts beyond and around the interior of the central dome, an overwhelming quadratura display depicting scenes from the Sacerdotium’s first holy book, the Libra Divinatio, dominated the space. The primordial forces that gave birth to the entire universe, the creation of the first Gods, their forming of Terra and the “accidental” birth of humanity, to their eventual corruption and the events that followed which led to the angel Silvier falling from the heavens and surviving after being discarded by the evil Kronus, leading to her and her sons born by him to free humanity from his and his siblings influence with the gift of fire and to rally them against the Gods in an epic conflict that culminated in the Revolt of the Angels, the Death of Seraphis and the freeing of the primordial forces, the angel Silvier sacrificing her being to do so. Then, her rebirth as the Grand Mother - transcending space, time and everything - and her ‘reordering’ of the universe. The reborn angels, now known as seraphim after their fallen brother, herald the new age and celebrate, while the Mother’s sons reunite humanity with a now tamed Terra, before the gates of Avaris close. These images - painted in full colour and with a detail to rival even the modern photorealistic standards, labelled delicately with golden glyphs of High Seraphic - appeared three-dimensional, effortlessly blending with the architecture as atlantes sculptures of seraphim appeared to hold up the ceiling.

Large columns at the corners and along the walls were intricately decorated with symbols of the natural world - leaves, bark, even small animals - as they reached up to the divine images above. The elliptical spaces on the floor which arranged themselves around the scenes above depicted the movement of celestial bodies and the stars, again marked with the golden glyphs of High Seraphic. Ten circular chapels radiated around the centre, with four along each wall with two near the rear, one between each of the diverging pathways leading to the transcepts. Within each was an altar made of worked stone and metal, behind which stood a statue, one for each of the ten sons of the Grand Mother. The features reflected the Aspect of each son: Earth, the Sky, Oceans, Fire, Ice, the Seasons, Material Creation, Time, Night and Day. In the centre of the largest of the elliptical spaces beneath the dome was the High Altar of the Hearth, an altar of worked granite which encased the sacred earth and ash which was said to be from the point where the Mother impacted the earth, covered by a ciborium of sculpted bronze, it’s four twisted columns representing the primordial forces that created everything - Order, Chaos, Creation and Destruction - the twists carved to look like rushes of water populated with otherworldly forms. Then, at the very far end just before the central transcept, stood the colossal stone statue of the Grand Mother herself, arms outstretched and face of pure perfection turned down with eyes closed, long strands of hair falling over her bosom as the stone was crafted to depict a silk shawl draped over her figure. Before it was a grand staircase that led up to a large platform connected to two adjoining pathways just before the statue’s chest region, and on that a large brazier roared with an intense fire. This was the Sacred Fire said to be gifted by the Mother to help free humanity from the invisible chains of the corrupt Gods.

Silvier tried her best to take it all in as she stepped inside, the cool touch of the stone floor present on her bare feet and the heavy scent of incense present in the air as she breathed in through her nostrils. Though this wasn’t her first time inside the Basilica, and certainly wouldn’t be her last, she had never had the time to properly study every intricate detail of it’s design. There were too many to follow, and even during the full light of day there were shadows that clung throughout, leading to a sense of mystery and wonder, as if there were secrets of the universe beyond mortal comprehension. It was especially dim at this late hour, with only the light of a few braziers and then the natural light of the moon being let through the dome, showing it’s position in the sky to fill the cavernous space. Above them on the passageways, the Caesar recognised the shadowy outlines of the Sacerdos Bellator: warrior priestess’ whose role it was to stand constant vigil over the sacred places of the Sacerdotium, including the Necropoli of the Blessed Dead on the west bank. They moved silently and slowly, betrayed only by the glimmer of light that occasionally caught their white robes or the glint of their rhompaia or sheaths.

“When you are ready, my Caesar…” The aged voice of Calliope snapped her out of her intense observation. “Make your way to the Chamber of the Grand Mother located inside the Cloister of the Vestal Order. Do you remember?”

Silvier smiled politely at Calliope, who on their first meeting had to remind the then much younger Caesar - who was still emotionally overwhelmed by inheriting her high station in the wake of her father’s death - where exactly to find it. She placed her hand gently on the old woman’s shoulder. “Yes, Calliope. I remember; follow the singing. I will meet you there.”

The Praefectus bowed deeply once again before making her way ahead of the Caesar, followed closely behind by the Caesar’s Vestals who would prepare to attend to her in the Chamber of the Grand Mother, an enclosed chamber which was said to hold sacred artefacts imbued with the Mother’s soul, allowing the occupant to transmute with her. This was what granted the Caesar’s their youthful vigor, and in Silvier’s particular case, was seen as a particularly powerful religious event for - being herself a living embodiment of the Mother - would in that period of deep meditation become one with her true form and be enlightened. This served multiple purposes for her and her people, both spiritually as well as politically: her Imperial Senate would reconvene at the end of the week, and there she would address them with her plan for the next five years before the next Ascension ritual. Her ‘reborn’ and enlightened self was what made her word absolute, and law as soon as it left her lips. Not even her forebears commanded a level of power on that unchallenged a scale, and nor would any after her until the next Astra Puella.

Such was the immense pressure she was always under, even on top of being an autocrat of one of the largest states in the world, responsible for everything as far as the sun’s rays reached. Her course needed to be right, her voice unwavering and mind impervious to doubt, a curse of the mortal being. Yet it did not phase her; since a young age she had been brought up to accept that this was her charge, and while difficult at first, she had now fully adjusted to this life. Her strong spiritual convictions helped significantly in that regard, and just like the most common member of her society, gave her a sense of purpose and place in the universe. She was destined for greatness, to have a reach that would extend and influence events even long after her death, and this she had come to accept gladly. A once content and gentlewoman - still sometimes visible in her most private and intimate moments - was now ambitious and fearless, wielding the great power she held with ease as she sought to bring balance to both the heavens and the earth as her namesake had done untold millennia ago. In her mind and in those of all her subjects - and even a large number of the faithful abroad - this was without question, and even outside observers to whom this all seemed at best fanatical could not deny the effectiveness it had in making Caesar and her Imperium a force not to be easily trifled with.

“Hyperion,” Silvier said in a private tone as both she and the venerable Dux Imperator were left alone, despite the fact that nobody of the few that occupied the vast space would hear them over the angelic hymns that echoed throughout the cloisters. “Do you remember when I first came here as a young girl, during one of my father’s Ascension Rituals?”

“Yes, my Caesar.” The ancient lord recounted. “You insisted on me hoisting you up onto my shoulders in an attempt to reach the ceiling. You fell asleep in the early hours of the morning and I held you there until your father and mother returned.”

Silvier gave a warm smile as the vague memories returned to her. “I bet if we tried now we could get even closer.”

“I doubt it.” Hyperion wasn’t one for any form of subtle humour. She never really understood whether he deliberately ignored it, or simply didn’t understand, but nevertheless she found it endearing. He was her constant shadow, after all, so there needed to be some dynamic.

Moving slowly onwards towards the Cloister of the Vestal Order, the soft sounds of her feet touching against the stone drowned out by the thunderous steps of her dark champion, the discussion turned to more official matters. “I trust everything is now in place for our guests? We have quite a number of Gothic Lords and other important foreign dignitaries gathering here together, and while this is a time for celebration, we cannot pass up this free opportunity of dialogue to discuss important matters.”

She was not wrong: since the close of the Gothic Summit in Citadel City and the events soon after in ULE City, Gholgoth seemed to rumble back to life with the ferocity and destructiveness that was befitting of it’s reputation: the Slaver War was soon going to be in full effect, with the coalition aiming to liberate the Shen Almaru archipelago of which the Imperium was a member currently going through exercises and intense negotiations to organise a chain of command and strategy. At the same time, the newly elected Executor had taken his new role seriously - much to Silvier’s pleasant surprise - and had moved his seat of power to the Alabaster Throne in Gholghant. Pax Gothica was being negotiated and early construction plans were being reviewed. There was also the slow creep of the tendrils of the Kraven Reich attempting to try and capitalise on the earnest state of affairs in Gholgoth, something to which she was fully committed to stopping and reversing, charging her High Command with the momentous task of developing a Stratagem to achieve such a goal. It was early days, but so far things were progressing.

“We’ve received many confirmations of attendance from the Lords, heads of state and dignitaries of Gholgoth, Dienstad and beyond. Most will be arriving tonight or in the early hours of the morning tomorrow, ready to take part in the festivities. Their parties have been briefed on your desire to see informal discussions and impromptu meetings take place on a variety of the issues you outlined as important to the Department for Foreign and Imperial Affairs.” Hyperion confirmed. Not that she didn’t already know, she just liked to hear it.

“Good.” At the forefront of her mind were of course the issues immediately concerning Gholgoth, but she like any good stateswoman recognised that there was a growing intertwining of those issues with the politics and internal affairs of the region of Greater Dienstad. This event would be a chance for her herself to meet some of their statesmen and women, and learn just how far they were chained together. While some in the region wished that the Slaver War would be a rare exception, Caesar personally understood that it was an event that changed the entire axis of the region. Such was why she ardently supported the reforms; and she knew that to some, this posed as a threat. In her mind, you either struck out to face Chaos, or waited till it came and consumed you. She would not stand idle.

Having reached the Cloisters, the Caesar and Hyperion were greeted with many more Vestals wearing a large variety of coloured garments and of all ages, kneeling along the passageway that led to the entrance of the Chamber, where the doors had been opened and the Caesar’s Vestals waited inside, Praefectus Calliope standing just by the door. As she appeared, the kneeling Vestals went prostrate and only rose again as she passed them. Here, singers not in visible view could be heard still singing the earlier hymns, but with greater intensity.

“One last thing…” Hyperion uttered as they stood close to the door and Silvier prepared to enter. Looking up at him curiously, he simply responded. “Happy Birthday, My Caesar.”

She smiled - her cheeks showing the slightest bit of red - and patted him twice on his large chestplate with a loud thud each time, before nodding to Calliope and entering the Chamber. The doors were shut behind her, and the Praefectus took one of her large keys and locked the door several times with different locks. Caesar would remain there in spiritual transmutation till the sun reached its peak the next day, when the festivities would officially begin.

The Vestals and the Praefectus now dispersing to perform their own deep contemplation, Hyperion stood alone before the door of the Chamber, and stood vigil.


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CAESAR SILVIER CATHERINA SILVANUS IV
"Aut vincere, aut mori. Aut concilio, aut ense."
[ PRIVATE MISSIVE - SECURE TRANSFER ]


Friends and Honoured Guests,

I hope this missive finds you all well. I’m extremely delighted to be welcoming you all - some for the very first time - as guests to the eternal halls of my great city. The occasion of my fortieth birthday as well as the marking of my fifteenth Year of Ascension will be cause for celebration amongst all my subjects, and it pleases me that you are all looking forward to taking part. It all promises to be quite a spectacle and I’m glad I get to share this wonderful moment in my life with you all.

All the important logistical matters have been taken care of and your foreign and security ministries will be receiving detailed briefs from mine as to the steps that have been taken to ensure your well-being and safety during your visits, as well as an itinerary for the festivities. For those who elected to stay as guests in the Fangthane Palace along with those who wished to reside in their embassies but elected to attend the morning and evening feasts, my family and I look forward to hosting you. I’m confident that you shall not be left wanting, and that you shall be kept in very good company.

I trust that this time will not only serve as a chance for us to enjoy ourselves, but also to engage in fruitful and mutually enriching conversation on the issues that we face in the present day climate. I would be glad to spend time with each and every one of you and to hear what’s on your mind, or just to hear how much you like the food and drink!

May the Mother bless you and those you hold dearest, and may this spiritual rebirth on which my people and I are about to embark on prove uplifting to you as well.

Image


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Department for Foreign and Imperial Affairs
Officium Rerum Allenarum et Imperialum
To: Foreign Ministries and Embassies of the Invited Parties //
From: Domina Alta Lillian Bridon, Caesar's Secretary of State for Foreign and Imperial Affairs //
RE: 15th Ascension Celebrations: Finalised Itinerary //
Secure Communiqué
UCIN: IPFA-10
Priority: Low || Standard || High


BY THE GRACE OF HER IMPERIAL MAJESTY SILVIER CATHERINA SILVANUS, FOURTH OF HER NAME, CAESAR OF THE IMPERIUM ANTIQUUM KYLARNATIAE AND HER PEOPLE, SUPREME COMMANDER OF ALL HER IMPERIAL ARMED FORCES, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS OF THE SILVIER SACERDOTIUM, LORD OF GHOLGOTH, AD INFINITUM:

It is with great pleasure that I am able to provide to you, our esteemed and honoured guests, the finalised itinerary for the Caesar’s 15th Year of Ascension celebrations, which this year will be coinciding with her 40th birthday as has been explained in our previous communication. The full itinerary has been attached to this communiqué, but to give you a very quick summary:

  1. On the morning of the twenty-sixth of August in the Common Calendar, the guests will be invited to join the Imperial Family (minus Caesar) to break the fast of the last week of the Seraphic New Year. If you arrive prior to this, we ask that you kindly eat in private, as many Kylarnatians will be fasting;
  2. Following this, the guests will be escorted with the Imperial Family by Caesar's Guard and Vigilum to the Imperial Forum, where they will witness the culmination of the Ascension when Caesar emerges from the Basilica. Guests will be invited to take part in the bathing ritual in the Seraphis if they so wish. After this, the gifts will be given first by the people, and then the guests. A military and civilian parade will take place throughout. Please check the detailed itinerary for exact timings and order.
  3. Later in the evening, there will be another feast at the Fangthane Palace, which will be open-planned so that guests can move and mingle amongst themselves. The Imperial Family will be available to approach throughout, as will be the many officials of state and church, businesspeople and noteworthy persons of the Imperium Antiquum. Caesar is eager to speak with many of you during this time (see point below).
  4. Guests and their parties are welcome to stay in full or in part for the remainder of the week. While Caesar will be hosting and dealing with matters of state, meetings can be arranged upon request with either Caesar or an appropriate representative. Caesar has deemed the following issues to be of high personal interest: regional and international security efforts and anti-slavery/piracy operations.

Security is to be handled primarily by the Ministry of the Interior with contribution from the Ministry of Defence, of which you should also have received a detailed brief. Private security details are permitted, but requested to be kept at a minimum. Lastly, as we’re aware that this festive period might be a bit culturally “jarring” for those unfamiliar - the news coverage has shown plenty of the euphoria present at the moment - cultural attachés will be on hand to assist you throughout your visits.


If you have any final questions or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. Gloriam Caesar. Vivat!
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Domina Alta Lillian Bridon
Caesar's Secretary of State for Foreign and Imperial Affairs
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Ancient Empire of Kylarnatia // Imperium Antiquum Kylarnatiae
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Dephire
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Posts: 233
Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Dephire » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:09 pm

Tristan Prime’s facade during the Summit never faltered. He had given Fenric every opportunity to broker peace among the other Gothic Lords. No matter how grand the gesture or beneficial the offer, Fenric resorted to insults and an upturned nose. The man talked down to everyone and was quick to insult his fellow lords. The Godsend had enough of the insults. He smiled as he took the microphone and sang a beautiful rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” Meanwhile, the truth was being communicated to his generals via the AIs in his eye.

I, Tristan Skragg, hereby order all active military personnel to proceed with the operation. You will be moving towards Shen Almaru where we shall join our Gothic brothers and sisters to reclaim Shen from the Scandivans. I want them all to pay for their insults. Grant them the pleasure of meeting their god. Grant them passage to Erid!

Tristan finished his song, looking to his audience, “Thank you! Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the show!” He looked towards the departing Fenric before returning to his seat. I do hope you enjoy the second act, dear Fenric.




Nine months had passed since the seemingly unprovoked attacks on Citadel City. Tristan swore to make the Scands pay for the attack, but was talked down by his allies. However, his armadas and armies still moved towards the land of Erid’s people. Only a few small fleets made the journey at first, stopping at the newly revitalized Hell’s Maw before moving on but to begin patrolling Mille Mortifere. More of Tristan's fleets would make the journey as the days passed. In seven months, well over twelve thousand ships patrolled the Drakonian islands, doing so in such a fashion as to not raise suspicion. The local people helped disguise the ships to throw off any suspicion of the massive Dephirian presence.

Tristan’s mighty air force endured even more complications. With such sheer size, traversing Gholgoth was a monumental undertaking. Thus a typical fighter found it near impossible to travel much further outside the borders of its home nation. Through sheer determination and strong will, the Dephirians developed massive floating fortresses to help the Aerial Armada make the first leap. Again, to avoid any suspicion, Dephire’s air force hopped from nation to nation, airfield to airfield. Some bases were even built in secret along the path to avoid annoying Tristan’s allies.

However, despite the buildup, Dephire held back from striking. Tristan knew that striking now, without the full backing up his allies, would prove to be the most fatal mistake of anyone in the history of Gholgoth. Tristan Prime sat confidently at the dinner table as the orders went out, knowing full well the destruction he will soon bring. While he sat, the forces Tristan mustered were rendezvousing with their allies, nearly ready to pounce.

Thirty thousand miles away in east Mille Mortifere

“Is he even ready? The process of awakening is very taxing.” Templar Admiral Keltha, a short statured brunette woman with a sense of ferocity and determination about her, asked of the other Templars.

One Templar Scribe, an elderly gentleman with a gray beard, brass spectacles, and bald dome examined the charts next to a large vat of pink viscous liquid. “Ah yes,” his voice soothing yet wavering, “He has made a full recovery from his fight with Ki’lan. Should be ready to crack open this egg.” The scribe tapped the tank with a knuckle.

“This one has also healed quite well. Though, we should probably relocate him before Tristan is woken up. Despite the reprogramming…” Another scribe, a spritely young woman that could not be any older than seventeen was looking over the charts of Ki’lan.

“It was his wish to save his friend even though this same friend has destroyed so much.” Keltha remarked. “The initial shock of awakening may cause him to forget his final orders. Move the traitor to the other cell before our Emperor comes to.” Two muscular men loaded the tank holding a fully healed Ki’lan onto a cart and pushed it out of the room.

“Ah yes, his friend. Funny thing about this friend of his. He’s a very close match to Tristan himself. Alright, Katrina, begin the purging sequence,” The elder scribe requested.

Scribe Katrina smiled, “Can do, Elder Scribe Mathias!” She then entered a list of commands into the console.

Loud gurgling fills the chamber as viscous fluid empties from the glass tank. Moments later, the front of the cylinder opens forward prematurely, spilling out more of the pinkish liquid all over the steel floor. A lean man opens his eyes and steps out. His torso was riddled with hundreds of scars from his many fights. His face, also a canvas of past conflict, held a determined expression. He stepped towards a shower beside him and washed off the rest of the slimy goo off his body. Across from the shower was a small table. Upon the table’s surface were neatly folded clothing, a watch, two rings, and a golden eye. Shoes were on the floor next to the table. Finally dressed, he turned towards the Templars, “Are we there yet?”

The massive Dephirian “World-Ender Armada was fourteen thousand ships strong at the moment of its inception when the Scandivans attacked Citadel City. At threat of death, the Dephirian factories were thrown into overdrive. The number of ships would have to nearly double in order to satisfy the Phoenix's demands. There were also massive logistical issues with moving such a fleet from one side of Gholgoth to another, but the Dephirians overcame such obstacles with sheer force of will, and countless billions of laborers.

Over the next several months, the Dephirians worked tirelessly to fulfill their Emperor’s orders. The lands north of Havensky were colonized with Templar and Hell Knight forces, soon followed by civilian engineering corps who built the bases. More bases dotted the lands far to the east of Jagada, even building several dozen in Brewdomia and Tiami. The purpose was for Tristan’s Air Force to have the ability to move deep within striking range of Shen Almaru.

Now, Tristan has finally woken from his healing slumber aboard the flagship of the Dephirian Imperial Fleet, the submersible Titan-Class SuperCarrier, Defiance. He left the chamber, climbed the stairs, and exited onto the bridge of his beloved flagship. Surrounding the Defiance were a dozen equally impressive ships, more ships surfacing a mile from her. The deck of the Defiance glimmered brightly as the ship had just surfaced minutes ago.

The sounds of music could be heard from several steps below the bridge, Tristan recalled the song to be “Dragula” by Rob Zombie. “Interesting selection, Captain.” Tristan remarked as he opened the door leading onto the bridge.

“Oh shi-!” Captain Laurie Chen stumbled out of her chair and fumbled with the stereo before pressing a button and switching the music to classical. “OH SHIT!” she exclaimed louder as she realized the person was not the Templar Admiral, but the Emperor in the flesh. She stood erect and saluted, “My apologies, your highness. I was not aware you were awake.”

“Please, Templar Chen, there is no need for worry.” Tristan smiled and patted her on the shoulder.

“Tristan! You are awake! Finally!” Darius Stormsurge, Tristan’s youngest Godsend General rushed up and bearhugged his emperor. “It’s been too long!”

“Yes, it’s been many months. My body has yet to remember its old strength. Care to spar later?” Tristan gave a half joking smile.

“Um, I’m going to need a rain check on that. Still plenty of planning to do with the Ghantish. Also, Lady Caesar wishes to speak with you. She’s quite upset about your little ruse.”

Tristan looked to the floor like a puppy who spilled over a vase, “Yes, I feel an apology to all lords may be necessary. Even my own wife… I have been away for far too long. Silvier’s birthday is coming up, if I am recalling correctly. Perhaps I should make a guest appearance. Not like we will be arriving in Shen anytime soon.”

“I will make the arrangements, my Emperor.”
"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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Havensky
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Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

The Three

Postby Havensky » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:46 pm

HRA Vox Skyan
Off the coast of Krytopia


Three large arrow shaped airships floated towards the City of Krytopia at a relaxed pace in the dark of night in a tight V formation. The airship’s electric engines were quiet as the airships slowly descended leisurely towards the brightly lit city.

The moonlight reflected off red dazzle pattern paint of the the lead airship. The running lights of the Emancipator-class assault vessel just barely highlighting the aircraft’s name: SRA Solace of Reckoning and just below “Heartbreak Company”.

Just off the Solace’s port bow was a different class of airship entirely. This was an Emissary-class airship and the entire hull was painted Skyan blue. The running lights positioned at the bottom of the airship highlighted the emblem of a golden winged lioness carrying a silver heart in her paw. This airship was the Skyan Royal Airship Ironheart which was ferrying the Skyan royal family to the festivities.

The Vox Skyan, the official airship of Skyan Prime Minister, brought up the rear as they approached the coast of Krytopia. It flew with the exact same livery as the Ironheart save for seal of the Prime Minister instead of the Royal Crest. Aside from the bridge crew of the three airships, the only one person awake was the Prime Minister himself. He had walked up to the flight bridge to take a look out onto the city lights.

“ATTENTION ON DECK!”, shouted the security officer as Prime Minister Lance Atticus entered the bridge.

“At ease! At ease! Gods Sergeant! It’s too early to be shouting like that. You’ll wake up the whole ship.”

The Vox’s second officer stood from the captain’s chair and turned towards Atticus

“Sir, it’s 0330 hours local time. You don’t need to be up for this, our hosts granted us permission to land and just park it until morning. Nobody is expecting you to walk out until at least 0700 -”

“Relax Commander Anacostia, I got up just to see the view. There’s something special about flying into the city at night.”

And indeed, the city lights looked magnificent in the dark of night as the airships made their approach. Krytopia covered a much larger area than Citadel City and it’s lights seemed to spread out forever against the river delta. Atticus sat down in the second officers chair with his coffee and watched as the airship flew into the city.
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Dephire
Envoy
 
Posts: 233
Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Co-authored by Kylarnatia

Postby Dephire » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:00 am

The aircraft was a small, four seated VTOL luxury jet. Tristan insisted on flying himself to the birthday celebration, but was eventually convinced by Darius that he would need the time to prepare an apology befitting of a friend to another. Baldur, Tristan’s new dog, lay by his feet as he stared out the window. An apology befitting of a friend to another.[i] He knew the deception was a low blow to the relationship between himself and Silvier. The less people who knew about his condition was better for the safety of his nation. However, Silvier should have been notified. She’s been there for him through many hardships, especially when he was a prisoner of Hell’s Gate.

Yes, Silvier should have been notified, but hindsight is always twenty-twenty. It was too late now for regrets and he must live with his decision. The aircraft was entering Krytopia and was about to begin its descent. Tristan just realized he did not change on the flight and panicked, causing Baldur to rouse up.’

“Sorry, boy. I didn't mean to startle you.” Tristan reached down and scratched the dog’s ears. He then stood up and looked into the wardrobe, but frowned that the only thing available was his casual clothes. “Well, I guess I will die in the most undignified fashion. Sorry, Baldur, it was good while it lasted.” He sighed then went to the cockpit, “Excuse me, Mac?”

“Yes, sir?” The pilot was the famous Captain Donald MacTavish of the Dephirian Royal Air Force and hero of the last great Civil War.

“Can you try getting in touch with someone at Fangthane that might be able to point me towards a good suit shop? I was in such a rush that nothing was packed. Not even sure poor Baldur here has any food available.” Tristan looked back to a sad looking dog whom let out a little fake whimper.

“Aye, my Lordship. I will try to call Silvie-” Mac teased.

“NO! It’s her birthday! At least try Hyperion if you must!” Tristan just about shouted.

“I don’t have his number.” The pilot pondered for a moment. “Eh, I’ll try calling up Fangthane and someone’s bound to answer.”




Maximus was in his usual hawkish frenzy. The Caesar’s Chief of Staff stood in his office in the Fangthane - only a few meters away from the Caesar’s Imperial Study - and paced back and forth in its wide-open space as he continued to furiously tap the screen of his handheld, his aged face occasionally contorting into many angry and fear-inducing visages as he seemed to be juggling a whole manner of things at once. His office was a bit unlike the other rooms in the Palace; whereas there was a uniform style of both extravagance and religious enlightenment through most of the building, his own personal space was very plain by comparison. While luxurious in size and in the quality of it’s furnishings, the room was light on any sort of ornate decoration or decor; the only piece of art in the room was a large oil painting that hung behind his desk and above a large mantelpiece, which depicted a large iron-hulled sailing ship in the heart of a storm at sea, sailing defiant against the tall waves. On the mantelpiece itself were large tomes of Imperium Law and Senate Records, and stacked haphazardly next to them were a bunch of large office files filled with all sorts of political data and records. In one corner of the room was a large board pinned with all sorts of scrap paper and notes, all written boldly in Maximus’ own hand. This was clearly a workspace, and every waking moment here he was intent on doing just that.

All of a sudden his phone rang, causing him to stop completely in his pacing. Looking at the number on the screen for a moment, half-confused, he then tapped the green button that told him to accept the call. “What is it?” He said in an unamused tone, clearly suggesting that this better be something worth his time.

“Apologies, sir.” The young male voice came over somewhat timidly on the other end. “It’s Crassus, from the Nerve Centre? We’ve had a rather strange call from a Dephirian pilot on behalf of Emperor Tristan Skragg, who’s arriving as we speak for the Caesar’s birthday?” The officer from the Nerve Centre, one of the core rooms of the Palace’s Situation Room, explained in a rather unsure tone of voice. Maximus listened, albeit impatiently.

“Apparently, the Emperor wants to know where he can get a new suit.”

There was a moment of stunned silence from the Chief of Staff before he responded crassly, his Mian heritage shining through in his verbiage. “Fuck off.”

“Sir?” The young officer responded, stunned.

“You’re pulling my leg, son. Who put you up to this? Was it Flavonia, or Tertius? What sort of piss-poor joke is this? I’ve got a million and one things to do up here!” He shouted down the receiver.

“Sir, I--”

“What was your name? Crassus, was it? Well let me be crass with you, son. If you waste my time like this again, I’m going to come down there and take that fancy little officer’s cap of yours and stick it--” The Chief of Staff spit his venom, though was immediately cut off when he heard a light [i]beep
on the other end; young Crassus had muted his receiver. Maximus fumed as he had to listen to the offending beep as the officer went on to explain.

“Sir.” Crassus went on, his tone trying to maintain politeness while clearly showing a hint of exhaustion. This wasn’t the first time. “This is no joke. I didn’t believe it myself at first, but the call checked out. The Emperor wants to find a new suit.”
A few seconds passed before the beep stopped. Maximus’ tirade continued. “Let me just check my little index cards of things I don’t care about. Lets see...there’s you, grass-roots activism, vegans, sad puppies, the inevitable heat death of the universe...and oh, would you look at that, Emperor Tristan’s fashion woes!”

“I thought as much, sir, but I thought you might at least have some sort of answer I could give. After all, you always seem to have good suits.”

“Did you just attempt to compliment me?” Maximus immediately responded, sounding almost offended.

“Just making a point, sir.” Crassus responded, somewhat dejectedly.

“I’ll make a point out of you with my sharpener you pencil-necked--!” The Chief of Staff went on to reply, before immediately stopping himself and relieving his stress through a heavy sigh. It had just occurred to him that if he didn’t help, as below him as this was, the Dephirian Emperor would likely tell Silvier, and she wouldn’t be impressed. “Alright, fine. I know a guy.”

“Excellent, sir. Who would that--”

“Fuckity bye.” Maximus cut him off and hung up the phone, before immediately scrolling through his contacts and looking for someone. “Bunch of useless wankers…” He muttered under his breath. Tapping his foot frustratedly, he eventually found the contact he was looking for, and started the call. A few seconds went by, and then an answer.

“Martius, you old codger! How are you doing?” Maximus’ tone changed completely, putting off a more friendly and warm persona, though still no less crass. He listened to the response on the other end of the few seconds - running his fingers through his long grey hair - before continuing. “Good, good. Listen: I’ve got a big favour to ask of you. I know it’s the holiday and by all rights you should be off right now celebrating with everyone else, but this is important. One of the Caesar’s guests needs a suit. She would be very grateful to both you and your family if you could lend us your services…”
"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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United World Order
Senator
 
Posts: 4076
Founded: Jun 16, 2011
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby United World Order » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:25 pm

Image
OFFICE OF THE REICHSFUHRER-SS


To: Whom it concerns in the Kraven Reich.
Subject: Deportation of the Freekish people from Ordenite Dietsland.
Encryption: HIGH




In light of our cooperation and advancement of our two states in the world it has been decided among the SS-Office for Racial Matters and the General Government of Dietsland in Varathron that the Freekish minority are to be removed from the rest of the population. After intensive studies and observation of Freekish culture, values and societal conduct conducted by the SS-Office of Ideological Research, the Freekish people are not fit to share the same living space as Ordenites do and such mass deportation has been decided. This therefore is a formal request for those it concerns within the Kraven Reich to procure the Freekish people from Ordenite Dietsland. Additional information will be provided post-haste of this request being approved.

Signed by;
Otto Heydrich, SS-Oberst-Gruppenfuhrer, Secretary of the Reichsfuhrer-SS




Dietsland had years ago been only purely Ordenite based and was largely ruled by Ordenites however not partaking in the National Socialism that gripped their former homeland. Despite a far more progressive government than their kindred back in the Fatherland, Ordenite and Freekish relations were relatively poor and conflict was always around the corner. The Freeks would ultimately become the solid minority to the Ordenites with only over 500,000,000 compared to the nearly 2 billion Ordenites. The Freekish population were mostly spread out throughout the northern half of the country in several major cities and municipalities while the rest was mostly inhabited by the Ordenites themselves. In the aftermath of the capitulation of the former monarchy that ruled Dietsland during it's invasion by the Ordenite Reich, several major hubs for the Ordenite Heer and other security forces were maintained in these areas. Police forces were already heavily entrenched inside most of these areas and ensured that any form of civil disobedience were not allowed to take shape.
The Ordenite Wehrmacht had already begun issuing conscription orders to those that were eligible for enlistment into the Ordenite armed forces. Throughout the past two years over 6i million were enlisted primarily into the Ordenite Heer and even the Ordenite Luftwaffe.

Two major port cities were entered by Panzergruppe Bormann of Heeresgruppe 70 which participated heavily in the initial invasion of Dietsland and it's conquest thereafter. The mayors of both cities were swiftly pushed aside as martial law was declared and that governance of them were in the hands of the Ordenite Army. The port and their facilities were also taken over by elements of the Panzergruppe and were soon enough joined by several SS-Sonderkommando units who were to be directly dealing with docking Kravenite death ships upon their arrival as the ports chosen would be able to accommodate them. Several planned route ways were reinforced by the Panzergruppe themselves with tanks and armored vehicles along with infantry were guarding these routes. A grand plan was beginning to unfold and with it would see the depopulation of the Freekish minority into the hands of the Kraven Reich. A united front had been created and was to be used in subjugating the Freekish to their inevitable fate and all the stops were being pulled by the Ordenites themselves to ensure they did not allow an armed conflict to break out. Heeresgruppe 70 was also mobilizing and deploying it's forces throughout the major cities and municipalities that were heavily populated by the Freekish as Police and Auxiliary forces began to mobilize in force throughout these areas in anticipation for what was going to be an intense operation.
23:53 Moka "When GamePlay sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing Trolls. They're bringing Raiders. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

#MakeInternationalIncidentsGreatAgain

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Jagada
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 180
Founded: Feb 15, 2005
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Jagada » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:46 am

The IAS Bosphorus glided quietly through the night skies over the terra incognita of the southern Gholgothic continent. The airship, of Skyan design, had been purchased by the House of Al’Maw nearly two years ago and had only recently completed its trials. Its hull was a brilliant royal purple accented with crimson stripped designs, while the golden lion symbol of the house was emblazoned on the flank. Its heading put it directly on course with Krytopia where it would deliver its cargo of lordly dignitaries to attend the birthday of the Caesar.

Within, Basilissa Renuae Al’Maw sat at dinner with the various nobles and other hangers-on. The dining room was larger than it seemed it should’ve been, with ceilings a bit taller than the norm. Airships were a new concept to the Jagites, not just the Union, and its delivery by the Skyans a few months ago had sparked a media frenzy. Renuae had been in attendance when Bosphorus was delivered and had been stunned when the Skyans informed her that the ship was to be hers directly. She’d assumed the vessel, given its military capabilities, would’ve gone to her father Nalur, but the bastard had mysteriously chosen to take the Contrition, an Emissary-class airship, for himself. What was he planning, she wondered?

“Your Grace,” came the lilting voice of a lady sitting to her left, “If I may? Have you ever met Caesar Silvier? I hear she is quite the woman.”

A mummer of agreement came from the other nobles in attendance. Renuae put her father’s ambitions to the back of her mind and focused on the matters at hand. She’d been doing that more as of late, as she slowly came to grips with her increasing role in running an empire she didn’t want.

“Yes. At the Gothic Summit when the reforms were finalized,” she replied, working to keep her voice cool and level, “She is quite the leader, but so are all the Lords. She did have a certain magnetism though.”

“As she should,” came a firm voice from the other end of the table, “She is the avatar of the Grand Mother, after all.”

Priestess Praetia, a representative from the Sacredotium in Engardia, had been the voice. Renuae regarded her calmly, though her face betrayed a hint of annoyance. The religious strife raging through Engardia had even reached her cloistered ears. Praetia was of the so-called Silvierite faction that believed Silvier was the actual avatar of their deity and thus commanded divine respect. Or not-deity? The Sacredotium made little sense to Renuae with its worship of something that denied godhood. Was she even getting that right? The Silvierite Priestess didn’t take her dark brown eyes off her liege either, as if daring Renuae to challenge the point. Zealot, thought Renuae.

“Rubbish,” said another lord whose name she didn’t remember. Praetia broke her gaze for only a moment to glare at the lord who, to his credit, glared back. When her eyes returned, they lost none of their intensity and Renuae, who was beginning to understand the ways of political intrigue, had an inkling about how this was going to unfold.
“Your Grace,” said Praetia, her voice firm but still clearly respectful, “I know you to be a follower of the Carpenter God, and I respect your decision despite my own beliefs … but … I must ask when you will lend the weight of your position on the side of the Sacredotium and resolve the issues in Engardia.”

Sitting to Renuae’s right was the always present form of High Lord Montauk, the supposed technical overlord of Engardia. Like many of the High Lords he sported the military garb of Old Jagada: royal blue dusters cut plainly with gold fittings. Renuae knew he’d intervene. He always did when the Sacredotium was brought up.

“Priestess Praetia,” said Montauk diplomatically, “I believe you overstep here. The Basilissa is religiously neutral towards all state sanctioned faiths. As you and I both know, and have discussed at length, the tensions in Engardia are a top priority for the High Lords. I appreciate your apprehension but this-“

“If not now my lord then when?” asked the Silvierite, “We go to attend the birthday of the Avatar! Yet just this morning I hear reports of more bodies piling up in the streets. Blood is being shed freely Lord Montauk while the High Lords titillate on which side gains them more power. The lives of the children of the Grand Mother are not to be so callously expended! A single order from Basilissa Al’Maw and this can be ended.”

That they were going to attend a birthday really should’ve been a hint to Praetia that all her religiosity wasn’t real, mused Renuae. That Silvier aged, that there had been other avatars in the past, and that they had all died should’ve been hint enough that whatever the Caesar was, she certainly wasn’t divine. She didn’t give Montauk a chance to keep the conversation going … there was one trick she’d learned in her short time.

“Dinner isn’t the time or place for this discussion,” she said firmly, her voice solid and undiplomatic. It still amazed her that, that was all it took. The nobles who’d stayed quiet suddenly found great interest in their food while Praetia, still radiating defiance, sipped at her wine. Even Montauk, closer to the real power in Jagada than she was, obeyed. He quickly found a less contentious topic.

“Will Your Grace be attending the ceremony in that new gown?” he asked, “The one gifted by the Dh’arco in Milograd?”

“Yes,” she said her attitude changed and her voice level again, “I simply adore the colors the Dh’arco selected. Who would’ve thought he had an eye for fashion?”

Yes, she thought as Montauk’s reply went half-heard, I’m starting to understand how this world works.
You must walk through the darkness to see the light ...

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Havensky
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 866
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Recruitment

Postby Havensky » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:09 pm

The Skyans were among some of the first of the Caesar’s foreign guests to arrive. As was the custom the lowest ranking members of the party entered the room first. In this case, it was Major Gavin Squall and his fiance Edwidge Nalôrna.

Squall was dressed in the dress uniform of the Skyan Legion with a sky blue double breasted suit with a large distinct red cape with golden accents. His brown high boots were polished and the golden winged lion shown from his peaked cap. The gold diamond indicating his rank of Major affixed to his lapel. The Skyans weren’t big on pinning too many medals on their uniforms. As highly decorated as Squall has, he had but five awards. He wore around his neck the Red Mark of the Order of the Heartknight Guardians. On his chest, were two simple campaign ribbons from Milograd and Vetalia and above those were sat his combat infantry badge. On the opposite side, Squall wore copper badge of the Gothic Praetor.

As mildly famous as Squall had become as one of the most visible Skyan military officers, all eyes were on Edwidge. Her dress was pure white with an inside-purple cape, reminiscent of the same dress that the Caesar wore to her coronation. It was shorter and less ornate than the original dress, but also sleeker and it seemed to shine as the cameras flashed at her. The only decoration on the dress was a brooch made up of one red phoenix wing from the Kylarnatian flag entwined with the swan’s wing that made of the emblem of the Skyan Winged Lion.

Edwidge’s hair was done up so in such as way that mimicked the hairstyle of the kind Caesar wore on her coronation day - although Edwidge’s hair was much longer that the Caesar’s had ever been.

Not only did her dress sparkle, but so did Edwidge’s skin. As the cameras and the lights flashed around her, the glitter reflected all the light back out into the crowd.

As the couple made their way into the throneroom they nodded to various people they knew on their way to greet the Caesar. Edwidge’s breathing quickened two degrees as they got closer.

“Relax love”, said Squall in her native tongue as they walked arm in arm.

“You’re not the one wearing a dress in tribute to the Caesar’s original coronation gown. I think she’ll like it, but if she doesn’t I’ll never live it down.”

“I think she’ll love it. I mean… look at you.”

“Look at you indeed!” Came the unmistakable voice of the Caesar as both Squall and Edwidge had reached the base of the large set of stairs that led up to the Throne of the Golden Mother which was perched at the highest point in the room. Waiting for them there was Caesar and the Imperatrix Calixte, and as ever the looming shadow of Dux Imperator Hyperion and the Caesar’s Guard who stood at almost every angle to the Party. Taking a step down from the stairs as she approached the Skyan couple, Silvier took a moment to admire the fine craftsmanship of Edwidge’s attire, a charmed smile etched across her face.

Edwidge breathed a sigh of relief as she and her betrothed took a small bow to greet the Caesar.

“My, it’s like looking into a mirror.” She said with a degree of thought, as if her mind was momentarily cast back to that time of immense change when she went through her first ever Ascension Ritual. A lot had changed since then.

Taking both of Edwidge’s hands briefly, she turned to both Calixte and Hyperion, in a tone that would be just about audible to those standing close by. “Don’t you think she looks amazing?”

Edwidge’s eyes widen as this was the first time she’d been touched by royalty. Aunt Jessica hadn’t really counted since the Ironwings were friends with her parents long before she was born.

“Simply wonderful!” The Imperatrix agreed, smile clear for all to see as she looked at both Caesar and Edwidge, a look of pure love in her eyes. Hyperion moved closer, standing beside Squall as he observed them both.

“A kind tribute, Miss Nalôrna.” He was not often one to give compliments, and it showed, but he meant well. Looking now to Squall, he gave an affirming nod. “Major.”

While the exchange took place, a million flashes from distant cameras caught the moment that Caesar had taken Edwidge’s hands, her warm reaction now captured in perpetuity. Edwidge would come to discover within the next few hours that said photo would be on the front page of every major newspaper and website in the Imperium Antiquum, and that almost overnight she became one of the most famous names amongst the circles of the Kylarnatian elite who had a strong taste for foreign fashions. Her business had just received one of the biggest endorsements money couldn’t buy.

“I’m glad that you both came.” Caesar now addressed them both as she took one of Squall’s hands and reunited him with his fiance’s.

--


“Thank you my Caesar”, replied Squall as he made a slight bow. Edwidge and the Skyan Praetor turned from the group and headed towards a group of Aldar that were close to the bar.

“Congratulations”, said Squall in a quiet voice and a grin. Edwidge said something that nobody else around her could understand, but Squall just grinned wider.

“Alright, one more piece of business…”

Squall walked up behind Prince Ryslander of Aldar who was chatting up some tall Kylarnatian woman and cleared his throat.

“Your highness, might I have a word?”

Both the prince and the young woman turned around. The young woman’s eyes went wide and she uttered, “Mother’s breath!” Her back straightened as she bowed graciously to both Squall and Edwidge, the whole room having noticed the recent exchange with the Caesar “Major Squall and Miss Nalôrna! It is an honour to be graced with the presence of friends of Caesar!”

Prince Ryslaner looked visibly annoyed at her reaction and attempted to deflect the incoming work conversation.

“Ah, Major Squall and his beloved. I would love to chat, but I don’t want to leave my date unaccompanied in a room like this.”

Edwidge just smiled brilliantly as she overcame her initial shock of being treated like such a celebrity after mostly sharing the spotlight with Squall. She stretched out her arm, “Oh, don’t worry about us. We’ll just get a drinky drink at the bar and soon we’ll be fast friends. Come on now! And you must tell me where you got those shoes!”

And with that, Edwidge held out her hand and the two women walked away towards the bar. Squall cleared his throat.

“Walk with me, if you will.”

Ryslander gave a deep sigh and walked alongside Squall.

“You’re not going to lecture me about the test are you?”

“Nonsense, I thought you did very well for your first time.”

“Didn’t you say I failed it?”

“It’s called the Breaker for a reason, if it didn’t kick your ass it wouldn’t be that much of a test. As I told your defense department, for somebody with your age and experience I thought you performed admirably.”

Ryslander stopped and turned to Squall to give him a dirty look.

“For my age and experience, you might as well put a big red mark on my record. I’m a Praetor just like you! I should be out in the fight not back here doing dog and pony shows.”

“I agree that your talents are wasted in Pax and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Ryslander’s faced morphed into one of confusion.

“Excuse me?”

Squall continued walking, “At exactly 1200 hours, Supreme Allied Commander Bexar will send your government a request to have you transferred to the Unity to be assigned as his Aide-de-camp. My suggestion is that you accept.”

Rylander’s mood went from confusion to frustration, “To be his secretary, I don’t think so.”

Aide-de-camp and don’t be like that. I know you want to fight, but this is a tremendous opportunity. Other young officers who would kill for this kind of posting. ”, Squall replied curtly.

“Other young officers aren't Gothic Praetors.”

“Nor Princes”

“What does that have to do with anything?! I’m more than willing to die.”

“Who said anything about dying?! I have no intention of dying nor should anyone!” Squall retorted angrily now clearly losing patience before continuing.

“Are you or are you not the Prince? Heir to the throne? You die and it changes your national history. You know what else changes national history? If you sit on the right hand of the Supreme Allied Commander of the Gothic Alliance and learn. There’s things that they don’t teach you at the Academy. It’s one thing to run a squad, but it's a whole different ball game running an army. Now, try running an Alliance. All different personalities and interests. Each military with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. You want to lead yes? Not just a platoon or a company but your own people somebody. Tell me I’m wrong.”

Ryslander sighed, “Of course you’re right.”

“Then take the job. You’ll learn more about leadership serving his coffee than a thousand hours...chasing tail or whatever the hell it is you lordspawn do all day.”

Squall could still see Ryslander was somewhat dejected by the prospect that he didn’t even bother to respond to the slight.

“It’s not combat, I won’t be respected.”

Squall shook his head and snorted.

“People respect people who can solve problems and the good news is that you don’t have to shoot anyone to get it. Look, I know it’s not what you wanted. The crappy thing is that it’s not about what you want. You’re smart, you’ve got a good education, and you’ve got good instincts… and I suspect if you quit the gallivanting and focus you could do great work. The Alliance needs you on the Unity”.

“Very well… I’ll accept. By the way. Why did Bexar ask for me?"

“Easy, I asked him too.”
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Dephire
Envoy
 
Posts: 233
Founded: Sep 06, 2005
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Slayers of the Gods

Postby Dephire » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:40 pm

Belmont Memorial Hospital, Citadel City, Havensky
Evening at the end of the Reform Summit

Briskan Chancellor Halsley, dressed entirely in a white formal suit entered the entrance and walked up to the information desk. “Hello, I am looking for my father, Adam Halsley. He was admitted last night for mental breakdown. I would like to see him.”

The receptionist smiled to Adam, “Certainly, please provide me with an ID and I will verify if he has allowed any visitors.”

“Of course!” He rummaged in his jacket pocket and produced a diplomatic passport.

“Thank you!” She took the passport and looked up the father. “Luckily for you, he has allowed only one visitor. Your father is located in Room 893. Elevators are around the corner.” She handed back the passport. “Visitation hours close end in thirty minutes.”

“Thank you,” He smiled while collecting his passport, then proceeded to the elevators. Cheerful music played in the elevator and he began humming to the tune.

Ding! “Eighth Floor.” A kind voice spoke.

“I do love the cheeriness of this place of sickness, pain, and death.” Adam thought to himself. He looked at the floormap and found the room. A few more minutes of traversing the labyrinth of halls and he arrived. He knocked softly before entering the room, and looked briefly outside the room as he closed and locked the door.

“Did I do well, sire?” The man in the bed was sweating profusely. An IV was providing him with needed hydration, but his fever was overbearing. “I am not feeling so well, boss. There must have been something in the wine.”

Adam pulled up a chair to the man’s bed, “You performed admirably, comrade. Soon we shall bear witness to the grand result. We shall see through to our revolution!” He gingerly mopped the sweat off the man’s brow using a handkerchief. “It is unfortunate the explosive’s toxicity already spread through your bloodstream. I was hoping for the incident to occur during your flight home with the Emperor, but this could work in our favor still. An attempt on the life of the Chancellor? Why the sympathy we would gain would be overwhelming!”

The man smiled and turned away, “It was my pleasure to serve you, my king.”

“Glory to Briska,” Adam whispered back before quickly and quietly exiting the room. A few more minutes and he was leaving the hospital and climbed into an awaiting suv. “Best we make a hasty retreat, Lance.”

“Yes, sir!” The Briskan drove swiftly away from the hospital. “Where to, my lord?”

“The airport of course. We have a few more places to go before we can return home.” Adam shut his eyes for the remainder of the car ride.

Back in Room 893

The heartbeat monitor started to alarm frantically as the man’s heart rate skyrocketed. He writhed in pain and began foaming at the mouth. Several nurses started rushing in, followed by two doctors.

“What happened?!” One of the doctors barked.

“I don’t know! He just started seizing. His skin is extremely hot!” A nurse frantically tried throwing ice packs around the patient’s body.

Everything suddenly went silent as the body went still as the grave.

The man’s eyes opened up, locked dead onto the head doctor’s gaze, and he spoke, “Long live the King!”

Within a matter of moments, the man’s entire bone structure was seen through his skin as the explosive substances within his marrow detonated. Everything within fifty feet was obliterated.




Aboard the Icarus Wing

“It has been confirmed that your Trojan Horse finally detonated,” Lance handed Adam a small tablet with a ‘breaking news’ headline showing Belmont Memorial Hospital with a nasty wound.

“Tsh, too bad it could not have been onboard the Defiance Aerial. The Skyans will have those floors rebuilt within a few weeks and most of the suspicions of a terrorist plot should subside by then. He was acting quite mental at the Summit, afterall. One could assume he was in with a bad crowd and they simply removed him.” Adam handed the tablet back to Lance. “In any case, we will remain on schedule. First stop is to rendezvous with him...” He took a moment to pause as the thought brought a chilling disgust to his face.

Him, sir?” Lance was genuinely puzzled.

Adam poured himself a glass of whiskey and downed it all, “Yes, our mysterious supernatural primordial benefactor of sorts. I honestly do not know why he wants to be involved in our revolution, but he offered quite a nice contribution that I would have been mad to refuse.” He poured himself another glass full of whiskey and downed it as well.

“He sounds scary.” McGibbons remarked.

Adam thought for a moment, “I suppose when you think about it, he is quite the scary character. His entire nation is a massive graveyard. His throne was made of skulls. The bastard even has some energy swirling vortex thing that he called the Soul Well or whatever. However, the creepiest feature about him is he acts and appears as an old withered man, but that’s his largest ruse.”

Lance shrugged, “Well, so long as he doesn’t want to kill us…”

“That’s the thing, Lance… I think he wants everyone to perish.” Adam finished his third glass, “Thatsh jush not gunna happeeen.” He then fell face-first onto the floor, passed out.

The flight took only a few hours from Citadel City to Garenoth. The Icarus Wing taxied to an underground hangar and came to a stop a few hundred feet from three black helicopters. Adam was shaken awake by Lance and the occupants of the Icarus poured into the hangar.

“You’re late!” A hunched figure in a white cloak holding a large staff sneered.

Adam looked to the man while rubbing his eyes, “Yes, you see there was an inci-”

“I don’t care for your excuses. We were supposed to leave hours ago in order to arrive before the traitors. Now we’ll have a chance to run into those we do not wish to reveal our plans.”

“Yes yes, Samael. I fucking get it. Can we just get on the damn helos and get on with it?” Adam began rubbing his temples as a massive hangover was kicking in.

“Don’t use that tone with me, mortal!” Samael grabbed Adam by the throat and lifted him high into the air as if the offender was lighter than air.

Adam gasped for air before he was able to squeeze out an “I’m sorry.”

Samael set the man down and turned to enter one of the helicopters. Adam tried to follow, but one of the Reapers stopped him and pointed to another helicopter, “No, you go in there.”




Office of the Chancellor, Galva, Briska

“That bastard traitor Fury!” Adam shouted as he threw his pistol hard against the far wall, which went off and shot Insign Jenson in the knee. To this, the Chancellor’s face turned, albeit momentarily, apologetic in appearance. “Ooph, my bad. Can someone please help the Insign out?”

“Aye, sir.” Lancer Lance McGibbons stepped up and shot the man in the head.

Adam stared in disbelief at the corpse now laying before him, “I meant by taking him to the hospital. These are rare Shetland Tiger pelts you dolt! Gah, the blood will never come out!”

McGibbons frowned, “Apologies, chancellor. We’ll clean up this mess.” He motioned to a few more men and they rolled up the body with the rugs and chucked the whole joint into the trash chute. “Job’s done!”

Adam walked over to the chute and looked down the tube, “It’s stuck.”

“What?” McGibbons came over and looked down as well, “Well… Shit. Sorry, Chancellor, we’ll get right on it!” He motioned to the leaner built guard. “You! Get in there and fix this! Your country is counting on you!”

“Aye sir!” The small lancer climbed into the chute and heaved himself down the chute. A loud commotion of bangs, yelps, and a Wilhelm scream came erupted from the port.

McGibbons looked down the chute, “Tube’s clear.” A loud crackling spatter was heard shortly after. “Bodies have been disposed.”

“I swear to the Gods that I need to throw some bones into the budget for more intelligent guards. Leave me be so that I can brood!” Adam waved his hand to the Lancer.

“Gross. That is too much information, sir, but we’ll leave as you request.” McGibbons bowed and the entourage departed.

Chancellor Adam Halsley of Briska, a Dephirian state, had only just returned from an unfortunate summoning by Lord Damien Dreadfire at the behest of his mysterious benefactor. The meeting did not go as he had hoped and was appalled at the 'running for his life' conclusion. He brooded at his desk as his plan to acquire another ally in his plot against the crown fall apart. The unexpected arrival of Fury further ruined his mischievous plan as Fury easily portrayed himself as the Emperor and then proceeded to tear up any alliance the chancellor could muster.

“Fuck!” He shouted as he threw a globe from his desk at the wall across the room.

A woman’s head poked in from a hidden doorway, “Yes, your highness?”
Adam, startled slightly, shook his head and waved her away, “No, Geneviene, I not now.” He then thought for a moment, “Wait… Come back in an hour.”




The Chancellor woke up the next morning, placed five hundred Gothics on the bedside table, got dressed, and proceeded to walk to his estate from a rather ritzy hotel. His estate was a small mansion deep within Galva proper. The building was older than most other structures as it was originally built by the Halsley ancestors many centuries ago. It had also burned down, blown up, smashed, crushed, wrecking balled, and many other assorted disasters since its original construction. Every time it was destroyed, the building would be rebuilt within a month. This generation’s current build has the entire estate on a five foot tall solid concrete slab surrounded by thick concrete walls with a hedge poking out just above that. Roughly five hundred feet from the wall is the building itself has the appearance of an English mansion(ex).

The door opened just as Adam reached the top of the steps, “Ah, good morning Sir. Breakfast is ready in the study. I have included an assortment of pain pills ranging from hangover to car wreck and everything in-between.” A butler by the name of Mr. Mister greeted Halsley and followed two steps behind the Chancellor as he slowly made his way through the house towards the study. “There is also a full pot of coffee as well. The newspaper has yet to arrive, though I was just about to call them up to find out why they are late… again.”

“It’s because I stopped paying for it, Mr. M.” Adam said sleepily. “Why pay for something when you can see it on the internet?”

“Eh, quite right. Would you like a reminder on current appointments?”

“No, cancel them again. I have to brood.” Adam entered the study and sat at his desk. Before him was a small feast of breakfast foods.

“Would you like any music?” Mr. Mister asked as he walked towards the vintage jukebox by the door.

“No, I think this is a ‘brooding in silence’ kind of day,” Adam said reflectively.

“Very well, sir. I shall take my leave.” Mr. Mister bowed and disappeared.

“Right,” Adam powered on his computer and began to plate himself some of the food. He consumed his breakfast at a slow and steady pace while looking through news articles. He then checked his emails and finally opened a secure remote connection to a server located in former Alexandria.

//Retrieve datalog 592//
\\Datalog 592 Retrieved\\

//Open Artifact 994-212//

\\Artifact 994-212 Opened. Please verify authentication.\\

//Authentication Dres’nalar//

\\Authentication Verified. Artifact 994-212 ported to Remote Desktop IP: 44::22::DK::K1::21\\


Adam was now staring upon blueprints and datasheets to Dephire’s God-Slayers. Each of the fifty remaining orbital weapon platforms housed a magnetic accelerator cannon of sorts that delivered a massive kinetic round to any place on the planet within a matter of moments. These weapons of mass annihilation were intended to combat the Kraven Reich, but had seen themselves lay dormant in space. Overtime, the God-Slayer network found itself decaying and mostly in disrepair, save for the fifty still managing to talk.

The Chancellor’s interest in the slayers was to simply have a power card in his deck. However, as he found out early in his research, control of the network lies with only one individual… The Emperor of Dephire. He had a team of technicians loyal to Briska try and wrest control of the network, but their efforts were discovered and the technicians were disposed of entirely.

“Hmm,” Adam whispered quietly to himself, “It seems the only way for me to take control of the Slayers is to become Emperor. I can’t exactly kill the man as he’s bound to be nearly to Shen Almaru by now. I could summon the High Council and try a coup, but the Triumvirate AI will not see me as the legitimate Emperor. The clones were going to be my easy access, but oh look… Prime is dead.” Adam noticed an email from one of his agents having discovered the lifeless body of Prime, one of Tristan Skragg’s clones. “Seems Fury is truly done working with me. I guess that just leaves you…” His eyes moved towards a black case sitting on one of the bookshelves. He scarfed down a piece of buttered toast before walking over to the case.

He took the case off the shelf and placed it on the desk, then opened it. Inside the case, sitting upon a cushion of velvet, was a crown of the purest black. In fact, it had such a strong darkness that the light around it seemed diminished. Adam took out a pair of gloves from his desk and then picked up the crown. He could feel features engraved into it, but those same features could not be seen due to its deep dark color.

“With this crown, I will become Usurper.All shall bend the knee to bearer of the Obsidian Crown!” He smiled as he gently placed the crown back into the case. He reached over to his deskphone and pressed a button.

“Yes, Mr. Halsley?” Geneviene answered.
“Please arrange a meeting with the High Council. State that it is of utmost importance that they attend.” Adam said while gently feeling the case.

“Yes, sir. When and what time?”

“Well, seeing as it’s still breakfast time, let us try for tomorrow afternoon. No later than two as I have that thing…” Adam was flipping through his calendar app on his phone at this point.

“Right, the thing…” She really had no idea what ‘thing’ Adam was referring to, but she jotted down his request regardless.




High Council Chambers, Hell’s Gate

“The council has assembled, Lord Halsley,” A man adorned in heavy black power armor greeted the Briskan chancellor.

“Thank you, Inquisitor Dramman,” Halsley smiled, “Today we announce our intent.” He was dressed in an entirely black military dress uniform. In his right hand carried the case containing the Obsidian Crown. “Let’s make history!” He gestured to the fifty black armored paladins and they began marching towards the chamber doors. Upon reaching them he stopped and motioned to Dramman, “Wait for my signal. I know it’s a long shot, but I may be able to convince them before more forceful negotiations are necessary.”

Dramman nodded, “As you wish, sir.”

“Right, well… Here I go. Wish me luck!” Adam smiled then ducked inside. Inside the massive chamber sat one branch of the Dephirian Under-Government. Five hundred men and women normally occupied the chamber, but it appeared only less than half were in attendance when Adam burst through the door. His disappointment was immediate.

“What was the meaning of this, Halsley?!” Councilor Harry Treas shouted from the speaker floor.

Adam looked around, “Where the hell are the others?”

Harry gestured around, “We are here and this is what you get. Now, who the hell do you think you are to summon us?”

“I am the High Chancellor you little shit,” Adam glared, “And I exercised my privilege as I needed to discuss a matter of grave concern.”

“Halsley, we are here more as a formality. A kindness, if you will. Only the Emperor has true authority over anything that happens in this chamber. However, I suppose since we are all here, we may go ahead and listen to what you have to say.” Councilor Neil Emerald spoke up from next to Harry.

“Yes, Halsley, out with it so that I can go back to my spa treatment,” Councilor Harry smirked.

Adam descended the chamber to the floor and placed the case on a table that just so happened to be there. He then looked up to the councilors, who all took their seats, and then began his proposal. “I, High Chancellor Adam Halsley of Briska, want to put forth a recommendation of removal of Tristan Skragg as our Emperor.” He paused as the chamber rolled with laughter, at first, then angry shouts of betrayal.

“This is not the time for jokes, Adam. Seriously, why are we here?” Harry tried to sound amused, but this request was going too far.

“That is my proposal, Harry. The Emperor has taken us down a path that will inevitably doom us all. He is irrational and is not thinking of the consequences with his war against Fenric. The man practically gave away my home to Gholgoth because he felt slighted by the reforms! He will get all Dephirians killed. Some of you are Briskan born. Did this not anger you that he would make a commitment without first addressing his council? The man is going mad! We need to put a stop to his reign now before any further damage is done!” Adam slammed his fist down on the table to emphasize the point.

“That’s enough, Adam! You speak of treason!” Councilor Irene Chenkov yelled from the upper seats.

“What do you propose we do, Adam? This council has no real power to usurp the Emperor.” Councilor Neil spoke this time.

Harry turned, “Come on, Neil. You can’t be seriously considering this loon’s idea.”

“I lost my nationality when Tristan made the announcement that Briska will become a new Gothic Fortress-State,” Neil replied, “I say we let Halsley detail out his proposal and we decided from there.”

“Thank you, Neil,” Adam sounded appreciatively. He glided his fingers over the case and opened it slightly. He then pulled out a file. “This here details ancient law that dictates council can supercede the will and power of the Emperor by a majority vote. Thankfully, most of the council decided not to show up. So in actuality, you do hold the power to relinquish his.” He placed the document on the table beside the case.

“You have got to be out of your god-damned mind. This discussion is over! We are done here!” Councilor Harry began packing his things and headed towards the exit.

“The discussion isn’t over until I allow it to be over!” Adam, in a smooth swift motion drew a pistol from within his suit and aimed it dead center at Harry’s center of mass. “Sit your ass down or I will put you in the ground.”

“Kindly go scre-” Harry managed to say before Halsley fired. Screams flooded the chamber as people scrambled to the exits, but could not get to the doors before Dramman’s men filed in.

“So much for negotiations, eh?” The Inquisitor chuckled.

“Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Inquisitor Dramman. Many of you are aware of the Inquisition instituted by Tristan Skragg to cleanse Dephire of any conspirators who may have worked with Reich operatives. This inquisition included families of the suspected parties. None were spared the Emperor’s wrath. Hundreds of thousands perished within a fortnight. Millions were exiled and had been sent to the Kraven Reich for what he deemed a just punishment. We are talking millions of women and children who may have been entirely innocent of any conspiracies having been made guilty without due process.” Adam pulled another file from the folder and placed it next to the previous.

“That’s right!” One councilor shouted from the back.

“He’s a menace to the people!” Shouted another.

“He is still our Emperor you treasonous bastards!” One man stood up, “I am not going to stand here and let you undo our great nation. Good day, sir!” He put on his top hat and walked towards the door.

Adam sighed, “I was really hoping it would never have come to this.” He reached into the case and placed his hand onto the felt. Instantly the fabric lost its form and slithered up his arm. Adam then grasped the crown and lifted it up for all to see.

“Nice hat,” Another skeptic commented.

“This, you ignorant fool, is the Obsidian Crown. With this crown you will all swear fealty to me!” Halsley glared at his audience. He then placed the crown upon his head. “Now, swear to me!”

“Yeah, I’m out.” The man turned to leave again, but stopped and yelled out in agony while grabbing his head. “What… What are you doing?”

“I am doing what I had already promised, making you swear fealty to me.” Adam stepped closer towards the crowd. “Now, you can take a vote and make me your new leader, or you can join Councilor nosebleed over there.” He pointed to the man who was now seizing. “Actually, screw this…” He closed his eyes, then suddenly opened them while glaring at everyone. Immediately the audience began screaming in agony

“Make it stop! Make it stop, Halsley!”

The pain was continuing for several more seconds before, “Okay! We will take a vote! All in favor say aye!” An unanimous roar of ayes rang out from the chamber.

“Thank you, was that so hard?” Adam smiled, “Now then…”

Inquisitor Dramman handed Halsley a small computer, “It should work now.”

“Excellent,” Adam placed the computer down and looked up to address his council, “My first act as Emperor is to punish all of you.” He turned to the computer and typed up a few lines of commands.

”Orders acknowledged. Satellites repositioning. Preparing to fire in T-minus twenty seconds.”

The pain finally subsided and a councilor collected herself, “What have you done?”

“Me? Why, you made this happen.” Adam made a quick hand motion and someone powered on the televisions. Several views of cities all over Dephire were on display, then they began showing footage that focused on San Salvadorea.

“Halsley… What. Have. You. Done?!”

”Firing has commenced on all targets. Impact in five seconds.”

Adam’s smile grew more sinister as the council saw San Salvadorea, Dephire’s fortress city that spanned the entire DMZ, become decimated as dozens of God-Slayer rounds impacted all along the famous wall. He watched as massive fissures erupted along the superstructure. The council wailed in sorrow as most could not fathom the sheer destruction.

“You… You used us.” Councilor Neil finally managed to say.

“Inquisitor Dramman, please proceed to clean this mess up.” Adam closed the case and proceeded to leave.

“Our pleasure,” Dramman laughed before grabbing his assault rifle and gunning down members of the council. His men joining in the massacre.
"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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Havensky
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Posts: 866
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Victricia

Postby Havensky » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:07 pm

The next pair of Skyans to enter the ballroom were the Prime Minister Lance Atticus and his Chief of Staff, Victricia Peregina.

While Prime Minister Atticus was a familiar site to those in Gholgoth’s highest circles, Victricia would be a new face. During the Gothic Summit, she was working behind the scenes to ensure the success of the event. She was one of those forces of nature that everyone had heard of, but not many people outside Havensky had met her.

She was of Kylarnatian heritage and it showed in her height. She towered over Atticus at 6’5 with long raven hair with small streaks of gold. Her green eyes scanned the room with a sense of both familiarity and bemusement. She had, of course, been to the palace before but never as a guest at this level.

Her lace dress was short and Kylarnatian red with a tulle cape that billowed as she walked arm and arm with Atticus who was wearing Skyan blue. Victricia wore the same swan-phoenix wing brooch as Edwidge did and Atticus wore a smaller one as a lapel. Atticus smiled humbly at those gathered and waved to people he knew even as Victricia remained reserved.

They approached Caesar and bowed as was the local custom. Atticus then gestured towards Victricia.

“My Caesar, allow me to introduce my chief of staff - Victricia Peregina of Havensky.”

Victricia bowed in the Kylarnatian tradition, her head low as she bowed from the midsection.

“It is an honor, my Caesar.”

Silvier was pleasantly charmed by Atticus’ decision to refer to her as ‘My Caesar’. She assumed it must have been meant in a complementary fashion, as if to say she was his Caesar not in terms of being his direct Sovereign but in the sense of being his Caesar for the time that they would know each other, reflecting on a private conversation they had following the events in ULE City. It touched her, though her expression wouldn’t show it as her attention was immediately drawn to his Chief of Staff.

She already knew about Victricia - all of the Great Families “knew” of each other and their members, even if they didn’t know each other personally - but she had also heard a fair bit about her from her own Chief of Staff, who had described her with a number of harsh vulgarities, but that's high praise coming from Maximus. He didn’t waste his breath insulting people he didn’t in some way respect, love or loathe them.

The Peregrina were also no strangers to the Silvanus, Caesar's own house. They had an entwined history going back centuries, through political alliances and rivalries recorded in the greatest annals of the Imperium’s long history. In modern times all the Great Families were in concord with each other, and past bitterness was long since forgotten, but the history was never forgotten and remained mostly in the form of fierce but respectful competition and, in private conversation, playful banter.

Yet Victricia was unique; the first generation of the Peregrina’s house not born to Kylarnatia, but to Havensky. By all rights she was Kylarnatian by blood and therefore did hold the citizenship, but she was also a Skyan citizen, and that made her almost an anomaly to her own motherland. Silvier had heard a lot about it as it was a growing reality with the Imperium’s increased presence on the global stage, and her government had overseen the institution of multiple programmes aimed at keeping these descendants connected to their Kylarnatian roots, but it was in some cases inevitable that their new homes would shape them just as much. Even so, in her eyes and in those of every other Kylarnatian, she was no less one of them.

Grata Domum, Filia Peregrina.” Caesar answered Victricia in Seraphic, the native language of Kylarnatia, before quickly switching back to Common in order to not leave Atticus out of the conversation. “The honour is mine to welcome another member of your house to this sacred hearth. Is this your first time to the motherland?”

“Thank you, my Caesar. It is wonderful to be back here in the Motherland. While I was raised in Havensky, my parents often took me back here to visit family. My parents, of course, send their regards and best wishes as well.”

Caesar smiled. “I greeted Matriarch Vassenia earlier this evening. I’m sure she would be glad to see one of her distant daughters here.” Looking at Atticus, she chided him playfully.

“Atticus, I’m disappointed you didn’t introduce me sooner.”

Atticus ignored the subtext of Caesar’s remark as best he could even as he fought his cheeks turning a slight shade of pink. He wasn’t even sure why he was turning red.
It was Victricia that recovered, “That’s my fault I’m afraid, I’m sure Maximus will agree that running a modern nation tends to keep one locked in the office.” She turned back to Atticus and noticing his shade of pink smirked her lips in a look of bemusement.


Silvier gave a humoured chuckle to Victricia, appreciating the sentiment of her response. She clocked on to the deepening hue of Atticus’ cheeks. “Oh, Lance…” She thought, choosing to not tease him any further. For now. “Well, truth be told, I think some in the Imperial Bureaucracy would be happier if Maximus was locked in his office.” Caesar pulled a humourful expression, making light reference to Maximus’ role as a political enforcer, something which he was known for being particularly ruthless.

There was a line forming behind them as more guests sought an audience with the Caesar and an aide was motioning the pair towards a drink tray.

Atticus gave a small bow before taking his leave, “Thank you again for the invitation. I’m sure we’ll talk more soon.”

Caesar nodded politely as they both departed. “Indeed we shall.” She gave Victricia one more glance as she smiled at her, before turning her attention to the Ironwings.
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Ghant
Minister
 
Posts: 2419
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:37 pm

“The Country Club”
Elortza, Mordana, Dienghant


The hoverbike sped through the desolate countryside with great haste. Xavier Bordugas was bound, his wrists tied behind his back and his ankles tied, both with zipties. He was also gagged with a thick piece of cloth, and if that wasn’t enough, he also had a black piece of cloth wrapped tightly around his face, so he couldn’t see. He could still breathe however, as his nose was free. Xavier wasn’t going anywhere, since he was tightly bound to the back of her hoverbike, her so called “shopping cart” as Tarna liked to call it.

Tarna didn’t want him to know where they were going. That was one of the rules, of which there were a few. Fortunately they were easy rules to keep, which also included not conducting any business on club grounds and not bringing in anyone that doesn’t have a “club membership,” whether that’s permanent or temporary. The “groceries” as the club called them, were to be delivered to “intake,” which was her destination.

All around Tarna’s hoverbike the countryside gave way to sprawling manors and other buildings that had seen better days. Occasionally she saw people walking around on the residential greens, talking or staring off into the distance. The road her hoverbike sped upon widened to accommodate multiple lanes, although there were no vehicles in any of them as the hour was late.

As she made her final approach to the old city of Elortza, a song began to play on the hoverbike that made Tarna grin ever so slightly. The buildings were closer together within the city, and there some cars and people in the streets, which forced Tarna to have to slow down. Fortunately, there was a route she could take through the city that allowed her more privacy, away from prying eyes. This involved driving through the allies between some of the old buildings in the industrial part of town, and to that end she turned left between some blighted warehouses.

She knew she was in Elortza once the cloud of smoke hit her face. Industrial fumes, along with the smells of rust, garbage and shit, and where she looked she could see all of those things too, on the sides of buildings and in the street. The homeless lurked in dark crevices of the alley, some of them making makeshift shelters out of dumpsters, vehicles and even the buildings themselves. One of them used to have garage doors that were now gone, replaced with gaping rectangular holes that turned the backs of the buildings into caves. From within myriad squatters peered out with sad eyes.

Not all of them were street dwellers, however. Tarna knew that some of them were spies or cutpurses in the employ of someone. The Country Club had some, Lord Elortza had some and surely the Lord Protector had some too. Given the nature of her groceries, Tarna wanted to get intake as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for her, Tarna would have drive through several allies that transected the industrial part of town before she arrived at intake.

After a few minutes of driving through the back alleys of industrial Elortza, Tarna Bo pulled up alongside an old, large building with classic neo-gothic architecture and flickering street lights that ran its length down a quiet and darkened side-street. There was a garage door with a small, rectangular hole in its center, and after Tarna got off the hoverbike, she approached this opening and dropped her badge inside.

At least fifteen seconds passed before a pair of eyes peered out through the hole at Tarna, and then the garage door began to open, during which time Tarna got back on her hoverbike. Once the door was open, Tarna drove the hoverbike into the garage. It was a sprawling area that looked like a rundown chop shop, where various vehicles, mostly cars were parked, some in pristine condition while others were damaged and had crews working on them. After Tarna pulled in, the garage door closed behind her, and then she parked her hoverbike and turned it off.

A large, portly man wearing stained suspenders over a dirty white t-shirt approached Tarna, pulling a steel platform truck with one hand and in the other he held Tarna’s badge, the latter of which he held out to her. She took it back, and the platform truck, before sliding Xavier Bordugas from the back of her hoverbike down onto the platform truck with a thud. She tied Xavier to it with rope, and once he was secure she pushed the platform truck to a double-wide cage elevator at the back of the garage.

Once the platform truck was in the elevator, Tarna pushed a button on a rusty panel beside it, causing the cage to close and the elevator to descend to the level below the garage. The whole time Xavier was shouting through his gag and bobbing his head, still covered. Tarna watched it descend, and then turned and started walking to the far side of the garage, all the while cracking her knuckles and popping her neck.

On the far side of the garage were a set of double doors, which led into a storage room where armed guards sat around at worn down wooden tables watching an old TV. Some were smoking cigars and playing cards, other reading books and looking at dirty magazines. The looked up at Tarna for a second before going back to what they were doing. Tarna walked through the room, paying them no mind and pushed upon the next door at the other side of the room.

The next room was a foyer of sorts, with a nice red carpet along the floor and chandeliers that hung from the ceiling. Conspicuously the windows were darkened so one could see out, but not in, and guards stood perched with their firearms in hand. Tarna turned right out of the door and walked down to the end of the foyer to a large set of ornately decorated double doors.

This room was small and included some furniture and a few paintings on the wall, but most importantly was the counter opposite of the entrance. Behind it stood a tall, pale-skinned bald man with a gentle expression on his face. “Miss Bo,” the man behind the counter said with a smile. “Back so soon I see.”

“…Bounty complete,” Tarna answered curtly. “I’ll have payment sent to my room once intake has processed the goods.”

The concierge went by the name Intxi, and at Tarna’s request Intxi nodded. “Of course, Miss Bo…by the way, you have a guest waiting for you in the lounge.”

Tarna’s blank expression sagged into a frown. “A guest? Who is it?”

“I don’t know,” Intxi answered curtly. “All I know is he had an exclusive pass, and asked to see you. He has been waiting for you to arrive. He’s a man in a black coat.”

Sighing, Tarna inclined her head. “Very well.” With that said, Tarna turned right and walked through the door that led to the lounge. It wasn’t a long walk, as the lounge was down a short hallway that had a ninety degree turn. Another door and Tarna was in the lounge at the top of the set of stairs that descended on both sides of the lounge. Tarna looked over the rail and saw a man in a black coat sitting alone, eating steak and potatoes with a glass of black wine.

Tarna walked down the stairs into the lounge. It was a nice, decently sized room with red walls and ceiling complete with chandeliers, lamps in the corners and a large fireplace with an array of furniture surrounding it. A song was playing on some concealed speakers not too loudly to set the pleasant atmosphere. There were black leather couches along the walls with side tables between them and coffee tables in front of them, and round wooden tables and chairs in the center of the room. Below the stairs was a bar that could accommodate ten people, although only a third that number were seated there. There had to have only been twelve people in the entire lounge, men Tarna recognized as fellow bounty hunters, mercenaries and assassins, enjoying whatever respite they could before their next job.

“Tarna Bo,” the man in black said between bites of steak. “In the flesh. Such an honor. Please, join me,” he said as he gestured towards the chair across from him.

Standing behind the chair, Tarna stared at the man. “Who are you and what do you want? How’d you get in here?”

The man grinned as he slid his seal across the table towards Tarna, bearing the white two-headed eagle of the Ghantish Imperial House. “This will get you anywhere, Tarna Bo. Who I am isn’t important, but what I represent is,” he added as he tapped the seal with his index finger. “So please, sit down.”

Reluctantly, Tarna sat down, wondering what this was all about. The man in black cut into his steak again, took a bite and washed it down with wine. “The food here is really good, and the menu is quite large. This place must do great business. So tell me, how does a soldier from the Ghantish Special Forces Alpha Team end up a bounty hunter?”

Tarna gave the man a hard stare before answering, “the Ghantish government doesn’t practice what it preaches. They say they oppose slavery, piracy and trafficking, yet they do nothing to put an end to any of it, and instead seek to control it…contain it. Make deals for political gain.” Then Tarna put her hands on the table and leaned forward. “I don’t control, I don’t contain, and I don’t make deals. I kill them. Those are the jobs I take. The Ghantish government wouldn’t let me do that. The Country Club does.”

“What I find really funny about that,” the man replied between drinks of wine, “is that before you came on with us, you were in the outfit of Unni Yarudi, leader of the Cockatrice Criminal Syndicate. You deserted them, and then you deserted us. You act like you fight for a higher purpose, but ultimately you only seem interested in fighting for yourself.”

Her face turning red, Tarna took a deep breath and leaned back against her chair. “I did what I had to do to survive. The Syndicate had work for me, in exchange for protection. The Ghantish military had work for me, in exchange for access to weapons and training. I did what I had to do to get to where I wanted to go, which was killing slavers. Now here I am, getting lectured to by an Imperial pigdog. So why don’t you get to the part where you tell me what the fuck it is that you want.”

“…You’ve previously had an encounter with the Emperor of Ghant,” the man began to explain. “Many years ago, in Thule…he was hunting a certain associate of yours, the Angel of Death. I believe you owe him a debt that for a long time has gone unpaid. He’s called it in. He has an…assignment for you.”

Tarna wasted little time in answering. “No. I don’t work for Imps anymore, and I was very young. I don’t owe him shit.”

The man chuckled and answered in a hushed voice, “I happen to know that your latest bounty was one Xavier Bordugas, son of Balabar Bordugas, Lord Protector of Dienghant. It’s only a matter of time before the Lord Protector finds that out, and then all the men in this room will be chasing the bounty on your head. I don’t think you want that, and neither does the emperor. He can make you untouchable beyond the Lord Protector’s reach, or you can take your chances, which I can assure you won’t end well for you.”

“…Are you threatening me?” Tarna asked the man angrily.

The man shrugged. “Doesn’t have to be a threat…just what might happen if you don’t cooperate.”

“Cooperate,” laughed Tarna at the thought of the word. “What do you want from me?”

“The assignment is classified, but the emperor has asked that you to go to him in Gaztelua Palace in Gholghant. He will provide you with the details in person. That’s it,” the man explained.

“That’s it?” asked Tarna, feeling surprised. “Just travel to Gaztelua and meet the emperor and listen to what he wants me to do, whatever the fuck this job is. I won’t be his whore, if that’s where this is going. I didn’t let him touch me then, and I won’t let him touch me now.”

The man laughed. “Oh no, he doesn’t want your flesh. He wants your skills. Consider it a job, like the ones you do now.”

“…What’s in it for me?” Tarna asked with her arms folded. “What could the Emperor of Ghant offer me that I don’t already have, or can’t already do for myself?”

“Whatever you want,” answered the man as he cut his steak. “With his personal protection…ultimate freedom and being untouchable. You want to kill slavers? You’ll have wide discretion to do so. All you have to do is carry out your assignment.” The man fiddled at his belt and pulled something from it and laid it on the table. “Here’s a gift, from the emperor to you. Just a taste of what awaits you in Gaztelua.”

The object on the table was a roughly ten inch long cylinder that resembled a flashlight. Tarna took it and examined it closely. “What is this? A flashlight?”

Grinning, the man replied “stand up, hold it away from you and push the button on the side, close to the bottom.”

Tarna did as the man said, and once she figured out which end was the bottom and where the button was, she gave it a hard push. Suddenly a beam of green light emerged from it, and took on the form of a sword emitting energy and heat. The beam of light was roughly three feet in length, and was the same shape and thickness as the metallic hilt. Rarely in awe of anything, Tarna marveled at this fantastic weapon in her hand, while everyone in the room, even the bartender, stood still and silently as they stared wide-eyed at the weapon.

“It’s a prototype design of a weapon known as a plasma sword,” explained the man with a gleam in his eye. “It consists of magnetically contained plasma. It can cut, burn, and melt through most substances with little resistance. The best part however is that the little button you have push to active it is paired to your fingerprint signature. A special gift just for you…to let you know that the emperor is both generous and serious about having you accept his assignment.”

Moving around the weapon and feeling its heat on her face, Tarna pursed her lips as her eyes looked up at the burning plasma. “Very well, Imp…I suppose I should go to my room and prepare to travel to Gaztelua. You can go back to the emperor and inform him that he should be expecting me a day from now.” Tarna would return to her room, collect her bounty, bathe, eat, pack her things and sleep, and in the morning book a private flight to Gaztelua. In the meantime, she would admire this new weapon of power, and fantasize about the destruction it would bring to her enemies. In due time, of course…in due time.
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Ghant
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Factbook | IIwiki | RP Resume | IIwiki Admin | Recipient of the Greater Dienstad Roleplay Reward
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
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