Page 8 of 13

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:27 pm
by Republica De Gran Chaco
Yanque, Chaco

Alvarado grunted as he made his movement in his private bathroom in his office. He held a copy of the message from the King of Vionna-Frankenlisch and read through it a couple times. Baffled as to what it was talking about, he opened the door a bit and yelled to his secretary, “Marta. Marta!”

The woman came bustling into the office and seeing where Alvarado was averted her eyes. He closed the door to only a crack and asked her, “This is real right? This is actually from the King himself?”

“Yes sir, came through proper channels. It checks out. Is there a problem?” She asked.

“Yeah it makes no Goddamn sense, they want some kind of special diplomatic agents? What what the holy fuck does that even mean? Isn’t their ambassador enough? Do they want some kind of meeting? Did they send anything else?”

“No sir, they did not, perhaps I can write of a letter for clarification and have you approved it?” the secretary said.

“Yes, you better I think.” Alvarado said and then shut the door to the bathroom.

When Alvarado had washed his hands and come out, he found the letter on his desk. He made some changes, signed it and gave it back to Marta to send.

To: His Imperial Majesty King James I Turrell of Vionna-Frankenlisch
From: Simon Alvarado, Foreign Minister Republic of Gran Chaco
Subject: Diplomatic Agents
Security: Highest

Your Majesty,

I am honored that you would write to me with the intention of improving relations between the Republic of Gran Chaco and Vionna-Frankenlisch. Peace and prosperity are top on our priorities for the region, and it would be a shame if that were shattered over some misunderstandings in New Columbia.

I would however like to have some clarification on the purpose of Special Diplomatic Agents to Gran Chaco. You have the right to choose which personnel to work in your diplomatic mission but these men sound as though they would be a kind of special envoy. If that is the case, then are they separate from your chosen ambassador, and what is the subject of their negotiations? If these concerns can be made clear, I would be most thankful.

Simon Alvarado,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Gran Chaco

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:28 pm
by New Edom
Project Ares Base 7,
Somewhere in Edomite Occupied Damoclea

Brigadier-General Lysias Eldath sat sourly listening to a team of seismologists presenting a report. He spent most of his life, it seemed, meeting with engineers and their techs. The seismologists were also professional liars; they told most people that the occasional tremors experienced in Damoclea were part of a volcanic system that had the government under great concern. For this reason roads were blocked, observer planes flew, and satellites were scheduled to gather information.

He had, years ago, found he was unable to be an effective pilot in the Air Force; to his disappointment, diminishing eyesight and an inner ear issue prevented this, and so he had gone instead to the National Artillery School and became an Air Defense Artillery officer. And on his promotion to lieutenant-colonel, his intelligence, discretion and loyalty had him posted here. He had steadily risen to his present command.

Project Ares was a 406mm Caliber Howitzer, possessing the ability to fire shells several hundred kilometers. Due to the extreme size of the gun, it was only possible to mount the gun on a massive mounting system located on a rail system for maneuver, supported on a large block of strengthened concrete.

He was not ungrateful, though much of his duties involved reviews of experiments, technological and engineering assessments, and preparations to fire this weapon towards Regensburg, preparations which might never come into effect. His personnel also consisted of administrators, support personnel, armourers, a forward observer squadron that was largely made up of radar operators, a few pilots and even a special forces platoon. There were military police...and the whole place was like a gigantic factory. The piece had to be carefully hoisted onto a reinforced concrete platform by cranes, the shells had to be loaded by cranes, and cleaned by special machinery operated by machinists.

How simple it had been, when his principle duty had been to protect units from harm in the field, or preparing to do so through training and pursuit of excellence of his personnel and equipment! He tried to remind himself that this was still the case.

Eldath set a punishing pace for himself and his officers. It was all too tempting with such base duty as this, with little movement beyond the area, to get lazy and complacent.

First, he ran drills. Fire drills, malfunction drills, attack drills. The Regiment was required to at all times be prepared for dealing with these, and of course they were run randomly. He required the Officer of the Day to use a randomizer so that even he would be caught off guard, in the shower, jogging, eating, in the midst of another drill altogether.

Second, he had strict fitness rules and sports to keep people on their toes as well as keep them, at this isolated base, in good morale. Everyone had to sign up for something, and had to play competitively.

Third, he made sure a harsh but fair morality was upheld on the base. Uniform codes, chapel visits, confessions to chaplain, and moral and appropriate pastimes. Leave was a tricky issue, but it had to be done. Personnel realized that the Ministry of Police would be checking up on them, scrutinizing conversations, and now and then, someone would just...vanish. There was a peculiar way that this would happen. It was clearly different from accidents, sick leave or even some idiot going absent without leave. Men the unit did not know with high clearance woudl arrive and clean their lockers and question everyone who had known them. Soon, few ever talked, but now and then it happened when men were drunk or stupid.

Fourth, of course, the Ares gun, named for a pagan God, was subordinated to the faith nevertheless. It was a sacred duty, to defend the country and devote oneself to the Monarchs. Prayers, psalms and devotions were regularly done. It was not for man to know how war should end, for as the Psalm read, He makes wars to cease unto the ends of the Earth. He breaks the spear, and cuts the bow in sunder...

Eldath had to daily be ready for provision of security reports to the Ministry of Police, as leaking location of the base and information of what went on there was very restricted, but privately he thought this was nonsense. How can you hide the existence of a gigantic artillery piece?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:13 am
by Ghant
“The King’s Communiqué”
Gobernu Palace
Ghish, Ghant

Leonor Bozagua had little experience dealing with men like Prince Merrick of Dakmoor. Merrick was the sort of princeling that thought and behaved like a politician, which among the Ghantish nobility was quite rare. Yet Merrick had a certain mind for politics, for strategy and for geopolitics that Leonor considered rather impressive. Naturally she would never tell him of this, lest he seek to take advantage of the information. And take advantage he most certainly would.

Merrick had a few mechanisms that he utilized to great extent in order to conceal his motives. Firstly, he only conducted meetings in three places. Gobernu Palace with the cabinet ministers, in his own private townhouse (in which only he knew the address of) and in the catacombs of Inperiala Palace, and never in the same chamber, it was said. Merrick was wary of spies, and he knew they were there. He didn’t like people knowing what he said, unless the people that knew were the ones he said it to.

So it came to be that the Prince of Dakmoor, with his shaggy black hair and fair complexion, found himself sitting in Leonor’s office, leaning back into the couch and contently sipping on some tea, carefully avoiding dripping any of it on his silk robes. “I’m very interested in this alliance between Vionna and Wolfsbruck,” Merrick remarked coolly as he drank his tea. “I think it offers a great deal of potential.”

Potential for what? Leonor didn’t ask the question out loud, because she knew Merrick wouldn’t say what it was anyway. “Wolfsbruck is in a tight spot with the Edomites and Vionna is an Imperialistic state that could menace the Shrai.”

“Keyword, could” Merrick pointed out. “But they won’t because they are not fools. The Shrai are on a never-ending quest for peace, like us, and I’ve been convinced of that since they swore upon that alliance with my sister. No, I think that Vionna wants to schmooze the Shrai, but they don’t have a way in to do that. We do, which is what this letter the King wrote to you by his own hand involves.”

Merrick was of course referring to the communiqué that the King of Vionna had written Leonor concerning the matter of sending representatives to the Ghantish court, including the King’s own son and heir. “This is a delicate situation. If Vionna is intriguing at the Imperial Court, it won’t stay a secret for long.”

“Let me worry about Vionna and their Crown Prince,” the Prince of Dakmoor sighed as he stretched his arms back behind the couch. “I will personally ascertain their motives and determine how best to proceed with that knowledge in hand. I’d like to get everyone on the same page at some point, which in the end I think will be very good for us, and especially good for you and the Prime Minister. I’ve heard he’s a little…hmm how should I say this…eager to make new friends.

“…So I’ve heard,” Leonor feigned ignorance. “I don’t concern myself with the Prime Minister’s personal affairs.”

“Of course not.” Merrick threw back the last of his tea and rose from the couch languidly. “I shall leave you to your devices, Lady Minister. I believe you have a communiqué to write to the King of Vionna. I shall eagerly await the arrival of the Crown Prince and the Earl in the meantime.” Having said that, Prince Merrick showed himself out of Leonor’s office, leaving the Foreign Minister alone, with her work to do.

To: His Imperial Majesty King James I Turrell of Vionna-Frankenlisch
CC: Prime Minister Nymun Izarbegiratzeak of Ghant
From: Leonor Bozagua, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghant
Subject: RE: Communiqué
Encryption: High
Hand-delivered by diplomatic courier in sealed diplomatic pouch

Dear Imperial Majesty,

Myself and my countrymen are grateful for your kind words and consideration for Ghant and its people. Naturally we eagerly extend our hand in friendship to anyone who wishes to have a relationship based upon mutual respect, values and goals. It is our hope that your nation wishes to move forward with ours in such a fashion.

We have considered your proposal carefully, and upon close examination and thorough deliberation, we have decided to accept. We do hereby accept the Earl of Eglantine, His Lordship, Darwin Crawford and His Royal Highness, Prince Albert, Duke of Grythshead as Special Diplomatic Agents to our country. We look forward to receiving them at Inperiala Palace.


Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghant

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:33 pm
by Republica de San Carlo
Puerto Barrios Airport

“Acknowledged Flores Tower, this is the Royal Hostage flight. Carrying King Emilion IVs son. We are a Mcnernian Royal Air Force aircraft.” Then there would be a transmission of data to the tower at Puerto Barrios/Flores Airport.

Jesus monitored the incoming aircraft on the radar display as it headed towards the coast. He saw that two Air Force jets had taken off and were heading in the direction to intercept the incoming aircraft. The mystery airplane only identified itself as a military plane of McNernia which worried Jesus, and their mentioning that the son of their own king was onboard confused him.

“Flores Tower to McNernian aircraft, you are in violation of Carlano airspace and still have not properly identified yourself. Two fighters are on their way to escort you down to Puerto Barrios airport. You will follow their instructions or you will be shot down.” Jesus said and then leaned back in his chair. It was up to the air force now. He made sure the air space around the airport was clear and rerouted planes that were in immediate need of fuel. This was causing a nightmare and the airlines were sure to scream bloody murder at the delays and cancellations that this caused, and it was the second time it happened. This was sure to lose people money, and the last things Southern San Carlo needed was tourists staying away due to the fear of some kind of McNernia invasion.

The two Mirage jets came in behind the McNernian plane and gave them a vector to approach and land at Puerto Barrios Airport. Upon landing the plane was met by a group of National Police and Guardia Civil who ordered the occupants out of the plane with their hands raised in the air.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:29 pm
by McNernia
San Carlos, Flores
Peurto Barrios Airport

“Roger that Flores tower…”

The jet in question was another interregional transport, though it was smaller than what had been sent before. The issue of the identification. Caused a few heads to turn in the cockpit as the various beacons were on. But the Mcnernians complied with the Mirage pilots with Prince Andrew taking note of the aircraft. He had heard complaints from his maternal grandfather about the cost of some of the aircraft. Maybe the San Carlosians had upgraded theirs. The pilots would note that there was special badge on the tail fin. A moon on a green and black field was halved with the silver field of three red lions crowned of the Macnarin dynasty and the Kingdom of Mcnernia. It was a air force bird as it was proclaimed by MCNERNIAN ROYAL AIR FORCE above the windows and the AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND band on the tail.

The prince would be the first out, a young man of about 14 or maybe fifteen. His hands would be out he would be followed by a butler and a cleric. Then the flight crew of two rather than three. The Prince and those with him would obey without question. Confusion writ large especially on the prince’s face.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:36 pm
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Júst a short post today, not the speech people have been waiting for. I'm sorry about the wait for said speech but I have to disappoint further. For personal reasons I am going on a very brief hiatus, only a matter of a few days, I will likely be posting next at the weekend or perhaps early next week. I apologise for the disruption this may cause.

Frankenlisch, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Imperial Palace

King James Turrell was roused from his sleep at the stroke of nine and enjoyed a reserved breakfast in his own chambers, preferring to work up to the very moment he had to deliver his speech. Replies had come during his slumber from Gran Chaco and the Ghantish, James resolved to answer their messages immediately, setting as much in place as possible before his speech was given. Once the replies were drafted, he had them delivered urgently and summoned his son, Albert, who had only just arrived back in Frankenlisch from Westonland.

"Father," Albert acknowledged the King with a bow of the head as he entered the King's bedchamber. "I was told you called for me."

"I did, I did." James replied, nodding, "I have made a certain arrangement that involves you, it's nothing horrible. Actually, it's rather nice." He began to explain and bade his son sit. Both father and son drew up chairs and Albert nodded, wordless. "I'm sending you to Ghant," James explained, "You're being sent as a special envoy along with the Earl of Eglantine to get the Ghantish on side. I think they already support us."

"I see..." Albert was stroking his dark-brown Van Dyke beard with interest. "But that isn't it. Is it?"

The King looked up from the whiskey he was pouring and closed his eyes, showing it was true. He poured one out for his son. "You know me too well, lad." James admitted, "I want you to woo Princess Alexia of Ghant. She's unmarried and close to your age. Lord Crawford has met her already and he may be able to make introductions."

Albert sighed. "Will you try to pawn me off to every foreigner with a title?" He asked, incredulously. The heir sipped at his drink and pushed his flowing hair back.

"That was an order, Bertie. All those other times were suggestions. You will do your utmost to form a marriage. It will hopefully secure Ghantish support in the coming war." James looked at his son with stern affection, "I'm sorry but it has to be this way. Crawford has been in the City since he returned from that Edomite puppetry in Ceti, you will have to pack quick, I want you gone before I give my speech. There's a plane leaving at twenty-past eleven."

Albert nodded, resigned, yet not entirely unhappy. "I'll be on it. How long will I be in Ghant?"

"I couldn't say." The King admitted. "It could be until the end of the war, it'd be dangerous to bring you back midway through. I'll see."

Prince Albert finished his drink in a strong gulp. "I suppose I'd better pack then..." He resigned and bowed his head. "Farewell, Your Imperial Majesty."

"Good luck, laddie."

Royal Communique of His Imperial Majesty, King James I
His Imperial Majesty King James Frederik Turrell, the first of his name, King of Vionna-Frankenlisch, Emperor of the Fallen Isles, Grand Imperiator of the Vionna-Frankenlischian Colonies and Dominions beyond the Seas, Elector of Grangenburg, Duly Appointed and Lawfully Elected Governor of Saint Gall, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Military, Defender of the Andyist Faith and Lord Protector of the Realm.

To: Simon Alvarado, Foreign Minister of Gran Chaco
From: His Imperial Majesty King James I Turrell of Vionna-Frankenlisch
Security: Highest

Dear Minister,

I thank you for your kind response. I admit now that perhaps greater clarification was necessary. The Special Diplomatic Agents of which I speak are a form of envoy used multiple times in the past, most notably by my uncle and great-grandfather. They are often people of title or noble blood, despatched as standing diplomats who report directly to the King, unlike ambassadors who are civil servants belonging to the Foreign Ministry and, as a result, report to the government first, the King second. While there are no specific subjects on the agenda, I believe that the stationing of these diplomats in such an important regional power as Gran Chaco is a very important step in my recent resolution to take a more hands-on approach to diplomacy.

I do hope that this has cleared the situation up a little and I enclose my very best wishes.

- James Frederick Turrell, King and Imperiator

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:56 pm
by Novitera
Avantine, State of Soletrek, United Federation
United Federation Defense Command Bureau
Military Intelligence Office

Major-General Chandler Wynn moved slowly through the hallways. The Deputy Director of the Military Intelligence Office was trying to figure out why his boss, Lieutenant-General Bradley Anzai, had called this meeting. There was simply an email this morning that they were to meet at his office at 1015. Others were here but for the most part it was not a busy office. Theirs was a job of analysis. Gathering together all the intelligence collected by various bodies in the military and performing analysis. It was a way to connect it all together. In a limited way, they could send out requests to the intelligence bodies for information. Usually these were denied so the MIO had to do a run around by going up the chain to the Joint Chiefs.

Upon arriving to Anzai's office, the door opened and a plain looking woman in a suit came out. Wynn recognized her as an attache from the United Federation Intelligence Service. He stepped into the doorway after to see Anzai typing something on the computer.

"Sir." He said.

"Chandler. Come in. Close the door." Said Anzai brusquely. "Have a seat." He added. Wynn did as he was told then sat down. Anzai quickly finished typing then looked up. "Chandler, what's up with all these satellite time requests you sent up to the Joint Chiefs?"

Wynn looked confused for a moment. "I want to do zooms to look for the Ares guns. I'm close on the trail of one sir. I'll find them. I'm so close!"

"You requested time on Air Force, Navy and Outfit satellites to find one Ares gun?" Anzai asked.

Wynn nodded. "Yes sir." He said. Although his tone was 'Of course.' "I'll find it sir. I'll find them all. We'll be able to track them 24/7. We just have to follow the rail lines..."

"Is this really a good use of our satellites? When you got time on an Outfit satellite all you found were capybara farms in Teman." Said Anzai.

"Sir, a weapon like that, nobody in the region has anything like that in their arsenal. We need a countermeasure sir. That's knowing where they are. We must know sir!" Wynn responded.

Anzai leaned back in his chair and shook his head. "Chandler, these things are of questionable practicality and wildly expensive. At least from what we know. We need to stick to the usual. Fleet movements. Troop movements. New weapons development. We know they have it. That's good enough. I got a call from Naval Intelligence today with a strongly worded warning from the Director to lay off their satellites when it comes to none NAVAL intelligence initiatives."

"There's a good chance it will be the navy that has to deal with it sir." Wynn protested.

"You've been pushing on this for months Chandler. It's time to lay-off. It's not a priority. From now on, I will decide when it is. Until then, focus on the routine. Do you understand?"

Wynn looked sullen for a moment. "Yes sir."

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:21 pm
by Republica De Gran Chaco
San Carlo

Word had come from above that the vehicles were to be offloaded at last. It was judged that since the army had gone through the trouble of getting the men there, that they might as well do some training with the Carlanos. Exercises were being planned while everyone was getting settled in. The soldiers groaned when they had been told to go back to work, though they had been chafing under the formations, PT, and small work details that had been keeping them busy while they were in a kind of limbo.

Staff Sergeant Alan Ocampo smiled when he saw his M113 off loaded. He had put so many hours of work and care into that vehicle, that he felt strange having it sitting packed on a ship. The squad worked to prepare the vehicle to drive to the vehicle assembly area where they would continue the checks making sure everything war in working order after the sea voyage.

Alan went through the checklist throughout the day. There were minor damages that made him curse the lazy good for nothing longshoremen that loaded the vehicles in the first place, but over all the machine was in good working order by the end of the day. The next morning Alan had his squad wash the vehicle thoroughly and then they applied a new coat of paint. Stenciled on the front of the M113 was a rearing stallion that was the symbol of the Lancers. The men were then ordered to let the paint dry before loading all of their gear inside, and slinging extras on the outside of their vehicle the next day.

Alan’s squad was not the only one doing such prep. The whole regiment was busy making sure everything was ready to go. The 1st battalion, excitedly got their tanks in working order. It was a rare occasion do deploy armor, and though it had been downgraded to an exercise the Lancers were proud to be the ones that had been chosen to make the trip. When all of the work was complete and orders were finalized the vehicles were loaded onto open train cars and covered with tarps for the move towards the southern border.

The rail ways were confused and packed with most of the regular units moving south, and with reservists assembling at their units and trying to get ready. The Chacanos were given priority however, and managed to get moving.


“Everyone here?” the Master sergeant said looking at the company officers and NCOs of the first battalion of the jungle rangers that had arrived. They were in a low concrete room that had no glass in the windows or doors put up yet. Some engineers had managed to jury-rig some ceiling fans to move some air around but it did next to nothing in the tropical humidity. The men all sat at rough wooden tables on long benches and were stripped down to short PT shorts and green undershirts.

Upon getting the affirmative that everyone that needed to be there was present he continued, “Alright everyone, I am sure that you know what is happening, but I will go over it again. Acquisition has finally decided that carrying our 7.62 Galil SARs and Brens in the jungle is quite the task. Their committees and studies have finally concluded that lightweight weapons that can put a lot of fire down range are useful in a dense, close quartered environment such as the jungle. Now we will be training on two weapons here for some basic familiarization, and then we’ll hit the range and sight in and qualify. The next few days we will be running this class company by company and you gentlemen will assist me with helping the others learn.”

The master sergeant turned and showed two weapons that were sitting on a rough wooden table at the front of the room, “The first here is the M16A1. We are receiving these from San Carlo production, which I am happy to say actually has a good reputation. The next is a home-grown machine gun, the Stoner 63 Light Machine Gun is a light weight 5.56 mm belt fed weapon that will replace the L4 Brens.”

He walked over to the crates, and opened one, “Ok, we are starting with the M16s first, so please everyone come up and grab one. The sigh out sheet is here so make sure you write your name and the rifle’s serial number on it. There are magazines and dumby rounds over there so grab a couple dumby rounds and a magazine for some practice.”

The master sergeant began his lecture showing everyone how to strip the rifles and what to look out for cleaning them. He went through the dos and don’ts and explained how everything worked. When he felt comfortable that they had the basics of stripping the weapons down he went over the rest talking about the features of the whole rifle, “I’ll be giving everyone this Carlano comic book that explains all of this and how to clean and maintain it. We’ll clean together after the range.”

Everyone was then told to get some of the Stoner 63s. They formed groups around the machine gun and the master sergeant again went through the workings of the weapons. When everyone had it down, he said there was a truck waiting to get some range time. There everyone sighted in and easily qualified. The men joked about how light the weapons were and how they felt like toys.

A lieutenant declared that, “These little bee stings won’t even knock them down.”

“The Edomites use a small round from their AK-74s and it works for them sir.” A first sergeant said.

“Quite right.” The master sergeant said, “And how much better is the Jungle regiment than Edomites?”

PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:22 pm
by Republica De Gran Chaco
To: His Imperial Majesty King James I Turrell of Vionna-Frankenlisch
From: Simon Alvarado, Foreign Minister Republic of Gran Chaco
Subject: Diplomatic Agents
Security: Highest

Your Majesty,

Thank you for the clarification. Of course, you may send these agents as part of your diplomatic mission. I look forward to meeting your men in person. Again, it is an honor to hear from you personally.

Simon Alvarado,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Gran Chaco

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:11 am
by New Edom
District 12,
Edomite Damoclea
The Frontier

Meandering over a large cleared area through the mountains was a tall wall, some twenty feet high, made from stone which was topped by razor wire, which delineated the purple area on the map. Now and then, soldiers could be seen marching along the edge of the wall, striding aggressively forward in battle dress, carrying assault rifles and wearing bayonets and sidearms strapped around their waists. Now and then, however, they would march naked, painted with camouflage paint and the names and numbers of Psalms to demonstrate their courage and show that they were pure before the Lord.

This holy nakedness was risky, for away from the roads were great fields of scrub forest full of stinging, thorny weeds and brambles, littered with sharp dead branches and sharp stones.. These could have thorns long as half a pinky finger and would tear right through light cloth. But it was a mark of toughness among the soldiers stationed on the border to run through this rough country, and to have light scars from this ordeal demonstrated one’s fortitude.

In general, around the frontier, there were not many people to be seen wandering about the woods or along the road when they rejoined it. The woods were empty of any sign of continued habitation, although there was the odd derelict cottage or out-building. ear the wall. in Section 12 was a settlement near the FOB. It was in fact the bombed remains of a tinned fruit factory, with a large commercial sign pointing to the foreman's office and industrial machinery scattered around. Now the area was largely occupied by former workers who had become scavengers, and later become servants and workers for the garrison in the area. These were once people who had both been factory workers as well as raiders across the border into Regensburg.

In older days, this raiding had been most common; warlords ruled the borderland, and would either move across in order to take slaves, ravish women, and steal goods. After the Communist revolution, all familial relations had been forcibly destroyed, and civil order had broken down. The raids had continued, but more chaotically. The orchards had never been well run to begin with, and were poorly run. And then the Edomites had come, bombing out the warlords and had occupied the area with troops.

The orchards, however, that stretched along the borderlands, had finally begun to be regrown and cleared up. The groves of olives, almonds and plums were starting to come back, and naked pilgrims and servants living in the ruined settlements that they had begun to rebuild hoped and prayed for the return of the factories so that they could have useful work. Other than that, what the people in these areas had was goats, chickens, and subsistence crops.

The people were continuously led in prayers for repentance. Now and then, though, older men would stare off into the mountains, and remark that dark haired and dark eyed people across the border were the result of their own seed and prowess. One old man boasted that he had ravished enough to have bred a village. But he was now The Stump, and sat in a place in the market of a village with no arms and no legs, telling tales for travelers and others, hoping for a sup of wine and a crust. For it was vital to be good to the poor; it was the will of God.

Meanwhile, over all, the forward bases sat watching the wall, each with its artillery and anti-aircraft section, guarded by a company of infantry. The discipline was so harsh because nearly all the soldiers both hated Damoclea and were determined to hold it for the King-Emperor and Queen-Empress. Such was also the will of God.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:35 pm
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Frankenlisch, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Frankenlisch International Airhub

Lord Darwin Crawford was glad to be going to Ghant. The nation in the north fascinated him, even before he met the charming sister of its Emperor. He was also honoured to be travelling in the company of the heir to the Imperial throne, Prince Albert. The situation facing Vionna-Frankenlisch had been explained to him in a secret letter. A similar letter would have reached all of the other envoys by now and Crawford waved to his friend, Lord Spears of Darlington, who was waiting for the next flight to the Shrailleeni Empire. Spears waved back reservedly, presumably tense due to his new responsibilities. Crawford knew the Earl of Darlington and Shiring as a man who shunned all military affairs and had, indeed, refused a commission in the King's Army when he ascended to his title. Despite this, Crawford doubted that Spears would oppose war, he was a loyal King's man and Crawford knew that he was deeply interested in the daughter of the Wolfsbrucker King, Christina.

"What ho, Crawford!" A call came from a crowd of travellers moving to their flight. Prince Albert was escorted by two uniformed members of his own regiment, the City of Frankenlisch Fusiliers and Crawford noted that he was followed by a pair of suited men, several metres back, quite obviously members of the Imperial Intelligence Service. "Crawford, here, fellow!" He called again. The Prince was more conservatively dressed than his usual cavalier finery, wearing a tuxedo with a royal blue sash, making him look little different from the smattering of Imperial diplomats across Frankenlisch International.

"We'd ought be quick, Your Royal Highness," Crawford replied with a bow of the head as the Prince came closer, "My luggage is aboard, as is yours I believe, and we've a few minutes to board."

"Very good, lead on." Albert nodded.

Crawford, wordlessly, turned and walked towards their gate with Albert trailing behind. The Earl of Eglantine remarked mentally on King James’ heir, noting how the Prince oozed regality yet still had an air of benevolent humility which gave him abnormal popularity with the urban commoners. He was popular with the nobility too, for he seemed to be set for a reign of wisdom and strength. The Andyist Church approved of his piety and the Christian Church approved of his tolerance. The rural commoners approved of him because they always approved of a royal in their trusting, peasant ways. There were very few people who actually disliked Prince Albert. The businessmen of Vionna-Frankenlisch were among these people. They often disliked royals as royals meant interference. The government could be bought off or voted out or sabotaged in other ways. The monarchy was different, it was a wildcard - too right-wing to be true socialists, too left-wing to be true capitalists, too authoritarian to be dictators, too libertarian to be democratic. What made it worse was that they were incredibly rich and often too popular to sic the media on. Prince Albert was just one of the prominent royals despised by the major corporations and he knew it, often joking that Pinewood Industries were just as likely to order his death as the Communist Party.

“You know, Crawford,” Albert mused as they walked through the jet bridge to the waiting aircraft, an Imperial Airways 747, “As much as I’ll miss home, I’m rather looking forward to this.”

“Not worried you’ll miss all the fun, sir?” Crawford wondered, knowing Albert had certain military aspirations and certainly a deep military interest.

“Of course I’d like to see a little bit of action before it all winds down but the needs of my country must come first. If my fa-” Albert paused, confusing Crawford a tad. “If the King requires me in Ghant, that is where I shall go.”

Prince Albert was in top form today, Crawford noted that he was all smiles and his voice was the usual chipper, aristocratic tones that the upper echelons of Imperial society were used to. However, there was something about the Prince’s eyes that had Crawford on edge about Albert, they were glistening, as if he had been weeping. “What about your staff, sir?” Darwin asked, assuming nothing.

“Elise is already on the plane. But I’m not bringing anyone else.” The Prince referred to his eighteen-year-old squire, the pretty Elise de Clermont, a noblewoman exiled from Gallandia for the crimes of her family. Crawford, who enjoyed a good friendship with the Prince, had met Elise on multiple occasions and had judged her a sweet, innocent girl and he knew that, while Albert valued her deeply, the Prince was incensed by her exile and would gladly fight it to the hilt. “I assume she’s got our seats sorted for us. Are you not bringing anyone?”

“Err, no. I assume we’ll be attended to well. Besides, it’s hardly roughing it to be about without servants.”

“You don’t think we’ll be mocked? An Earl and a Royal Prince travelling with nought but a squire, a female squire at that. I’m not sure if foreigners take kindly to female squires.”

“I’m sure the Ghantish don’t care. Either way, we shall see, sir.”

They left it at that and, once seated, settled in for a comfortable journey. They were both treated to drinks, accepting a glass of claret each and grunting at the security and safety announcements as they came through. Though their ears perked up as the pilot finished his announcements.

“As I’ve already mentioned, I’m Captain Rhymer, I will be your pilot for this trip. I hope you have a wonderful journey with Imperial Airways and we will be broadcasting the King’s speech over the tannoy system in an hour and a half.”

His Grace, the Duke of Darlington and Earl of Shiring, settled into his own First Class seat aboard a similar aircraft to Lord Eglantine. Next to him was the head of the House of Murat, the Duchess of Cathena, guzzling Marienberg Sweetwine like it was spring water. The plane had not even taken off yet but the Duchess was on her third glass. Lord Spears, obsessed with any religion other than his own, wondered if this was some bizarre ritual, Murat noticed his gaze and grinned. She showed perfect, white teeth with her pretty, yet somehow menacing smile. “I always get sloshed before flying, it’s the only way I can take the boredom,” she explained in her attractive Hispanic accent.

“Hmm…” Spears nodded with an awkward little smile of his own. “Well… You only live once.” He waved a waiter over, “I’ll take a bottle of the Marienberg, if Her Eminent Grace has not already cleared you out.”

“When is our flight, Alan?” Lord Roger Fawkes, the middle-aged Viscount Eldham asked, adjusting his glasses on his pudgy face with thick fingers. The older yet far more handsome Marquess of Windimere, Lord Russell, shook his head with a sigh, noting that Fawkes was wearing the wrong glasses.

“We won’t be boarding until two, Roger.” Russell replied, stretching out his arms in his pale green jumper of cashmere with a loud yawn. “Didn’t sleep so well last night.”

“Me neither, suppose being woken at two this morning and told to pack for Chaco didn’t help.” Fawkes dug into his cream silk waistcoat which was near to bursting with his generously attended gut and retrieved a silver pocket watch. “Noon...” He noted aloud, Russell nodded in acknowledgement.

Both were glad to be given this assignment together, despite the decade gap in age, the two had become fast friends after meeting at the Earl of Richmond’s Ball several years prior. On the surface, they were polar opposites in appearance and career: Fawkes was fifty, fat and a lifelong diplomat while Russell was sixty-one and would have still been in perfect shape were he twenty years younger, the steadily ageing Marquess had served for forty years in the Imperial Army and the Royalist Army in Exile before that and he still retained a perfect infantryman’s physique.

Fawkes was staring longingly at a branch of Athens Coffee within the concourse and Russell laughed. “Think it’s time for lunch, Alan?” Lord Fawkes nodded enthusiastically and was already withdrawing his wallet. “Let’s be quick then, I’ll pay. Two muffins, as ever?”

“Well…” Fawkes pondered. “If you’re paying, maybe I’ll take three…”

Foreign Ministry, Parliament Square

The Wolfsbrucker ambassador, Count von Westhaven, was received graciously at the Foriegn Ministry. A doorman took his coat and he was served tea as the receptionist tracked down Sir Frederick Basildon. She finally found him (after two phone calls) in the magnificent chamber known as the King Edward II Treaty Room, an exact replica of the room where King Edward II finalised his victory over the Vionnan Coalition in 1853 - the war which had already been won on the battlefield, was further victorious around the peace table. Saxondale, Ballaeter and Oxbridge had been annexed by the young Vionna-Frankenlisch and Eglantine only retained its independence for a paltry few years longer. Imperial diplomats loved to sign important treaties in this room, as it reminded them of the successes of diplomats passed, many considered it a good omen for a treaty to be signed in the room for that very reason.

After calling Basildon to inform him of Westhaven’s arrival, the receptionist led the Count-Ambassador up to the room. The plain-looking girl seemed incredibly experienced at her job and she knew the premises well, walking so fast despite her high heels that she almost lost Westhaven in the winding corridors of the 19th century landmark. With no small amount of effort, she pulled a heavy door of polished pine open to reveal the beautifully decorated chamber within. Westhaven was ushered in and Sir Frederick Basildon, standing at a tall desk with a quill pen already in his hand and the wet ink dripping from its tip into the inkwell, allowed the ambassador a few moments to survey the room.

The King Edward II Treaty Room was a perfect replica of King Alexander III of Ballaeter’s study at Kirkgarden Palace, the fortress-like residence of the Ballaetan Kings since 1734, now just another possession of the Imperial House of Turrell. It’s walls were bedecked with heavy velvet curtains, despite its lack of windows, and on each wall hung a huge flag of beautifully embroidered Agrean silk. On the south wall, where the heavy door stood vigil, hung the red, white and gold of Vionna-Frankenlisch. The north wall showed the colours of the Kingdom of Oxbridge, represented by her flag of blue waves and golden crowns. To the East, Saxondale’s yellow and black flag watched over proceedings ominously and on the Western wall, Ballaeter’s quadrant flag was partially concealed by outrageously gaudy vases of roses, poppies and lavender.

There came a scratching noise from the table and Basildon withdrew his hand and pen from the treaty. “My signature is now affixed, Your Excellency. The document now awaits your own.” He rotated the large paper, covered in complicated diplomatic language that meant, in essence, that Vionna-Frankenlisch and Wolfsbruck were bound to defend one another in the event of war or internal strife. Basildon smiled his old, grimace-like smile and held out the quill for Westhaven.

Government Quarter, New Adeleux
Ministry of Energy

The coffee (a fine Prodavan batch which Sir Alec did not like to part with) was delivered promptly by Sir Alec Morgannon’s secretary while the civil servant got his notes in order. Morgannon refused a hot drink and sent for a gin and tonic, it being a warm day in New Adeleux. He took note as Kallatya appeared to rely on a translator, as Sir Alec would have to do himself as he did not speak the Shrailleeni tongue, nor did Kallatya appear to speak the Common Language.

“We have come to understand that your government may have interest in the purchase of oil fuels, particularly diesel. If this is so, then it is the wish of our company to be greatly useful to you in this regard."

“That is rather interesting,” Morgannon considered. “How did your company come to obtain such information?” He asked, adding, “As I recall, there has been no statement in regards to such interest.”

“At any rate, openly interested or not. As we hold the Shrailleeni in high regard, and as a nation friendly to merchants, priests and nobles alike, we are perfectly willing to entertain any offer from your people. Please, lay on, Macduff.”

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:33 pm
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Queensport, New Columbia
Naval Base

Queensport was the foremost naval base owned by the Imperial Dominion of New Columbia but even the extensive facilities available there could not house the monolithic battlecruiser, HMNS Dauntless. Dauntless had dwarfed all the other ships docked at Queensport and she could not be docked properly for the repairs she needed anywhere in New Columbia, save Port Barfleur, the Imperial naval base near New Adeleux.

As Rear Admiral Barret’s diminished squadron limped into Queensport, the locals flocked to watch the supposed triumphant return to the Empire. The crews lined the decks as the ships sailed in to port, but they were smaller than usual and some were still adorned with bandages or laid up with crutches. One marine was even leaning on a friend as a result of his lost leg. The ships themselves were as clean as a whistle, but that only served to make their damage more obvious. Dauntless and Black Crystal seemed to be missing their bridges, both struck by missiles. Dauntless’ front turret appeared scorched and her bow was marked with explosions that had grazed her strong armour. Black Crystal had limped in with her sub defence systems in tatters and HMNS Agrippa had lost her frontal turret and several VLS cells when her bow was struck by missiles.

Conspicuous by their absence were the frigate Ewhampton, sunk with all hands, and the Merchant Navy aircraft carrier Wedner which foundered after a sneak submarine attack and whose survivors littered the decks of the squadron like stray cats. The Thouthenian attack had been swift and the squadron was battered, but not yet beaten. The ships would take a month in full to repair at Port Barfleur and had just stopped at Queensport for some vital repair and a quick resupply before moving on. Still, with all the tension in the region, it was considered a poor move by the local authorities who has fought against the deployment. Defence Minister Grier himself had threatened to declare martial law in the city to force the landing and the city council had relented. Still, the Mayor was aghast as he watched the broken vessels sail in from his palatial townhouse atop Sarah the Crusader’s Hill. Aldren Crone would have to be extra careful until the ships were gone and the threat to his authority was extinguished. Unless, of course, he could force them out...

Flores, San Carlo

One day, a representative from the Foreign Ministry arrived to meet with the good Lord Hotspur. He was a younger man with glasses and sat down with Hotspur in the lobby of the hotel. He smiled warmly and opened up, “Lord Hotspur, I do apologize for the wait. I hope that your accommodations have been comfortable and that you have been taken care of?”

Hotspur was astounded by the fine treatment he had received. For a man exiled from his homeland, with no real means to his name, to be taken care of so comfortably had come as a surprise, especially when compared to life at Fort Castermaine. So when the Foreign Ministry’s representative approached him one day, Hotspur was joyful. The Marquess shook the representative gratefully by the hand and replied, “Yes, I’ve been treated with such care, I’m sure I can never thank your fine people enough. The wait has been most comfortable. Would you like a drink?”

Te'vol'Hake, Castermaine Province

Chieftess Crow’Hake had a lot on her mind. The young leader of the Hakemaebo Tribe had been rather lucky as of late. The men across the mountains had provided her tribe with guns and vehicles and all manner of supplies and now they were offering her peace, so that the government in the south would not march north and destroy her way of life. Despite her suspicions, Crow’Hake had much to be thankful for and made her way to the city’s temple to praise the wisdom of her ancestors.

Hake’Yasun’Juno had watched the stranger approach in his car for a long time and initially assumed him to be one of the northern soldiers with more guns. He was surprised, however, to hear that the man was an emissary from somebody with a lot of titles. Honestly, with the envoy’s rusty Common Language and the distance from the rudimentary curtain wall to the man, Yasun did not really hear which ruler the man came from, however, there was only really one that it could be. Yasun’s heart filled with joy as he realised, the King Beyond the Seas had sent the Hakemaebo a messenger.

“Open the gates!” He called with excitement and the other gate guard put his new rifle down and cranked the pulley system to open the wood and leather gates. Yasun, named after his father - a white officer from Fort Castermaine, rushed down the stairs from the primitive battlements to meet the envoy. Handsome, twenty-one and well-endowed, he was naked except for a light blue naval flak jacket and he slung his fancy assault rifle onto his shoulder as he approached the newcomer. “So,” he said in the Common Language, albeit accented, “You have come from the King Beyond the Seas.” Yasun, though a little worried about striking the man, could not break with tradition. He slapped the foreigner across the cheek and presented his own.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:25 pm
by Republica de San Carlo
Flores, San Carlo

“Yes, I’ve been treated with such care, I’m sure I can never thank your fine people enough. The wait has been most comfortable. Would you like a drink?”

“Thank you for your kind words sir. I shall take a drink, but as out guest I must insist that we take care of everything. But first forgive me I must introduce myself, I am Hector Ramos, the Assistant Undersecretary for Diplomatic- Military Relations.” Hector said. He adjusted his round glasses and sat.

Going into his satchel he opened up some notes and reviewed them, “Now Lord Hotspur, the situation has grown delicate, as you may well know, but I think that we are willing to help out your very worthy cause. We would like to know if Ashabi made AKM rifles would be an acceptable gift. They of course would come without markings on them, we wouldn’t want our neighbors to be put in an awkward spot now, but we also have it in out authority to get a formal contract with them to produce ammunition and weapons for what you may need. Would this be of interest to your people?”

Seville, San Carlo

“Continue with the movement to the border.” General Tobias Galvez ordered over the phone, “The president doesn’t want to wait for a response any longer, we fear it may be a ruse to allow the New Columbians extra time to prepare some kind of attack. Word had gotten to me that they have been spotted scouting out the fire bases on the border nearest to Queensport, so that section is first priority.”

General Galvez happy that his order had been received hung up the phone and called in an aide who was waiting outside of his office.

“Sir, the current report on the status of the mobilization.” The young officer said handing the general a folder.

“Very good.” The general said and waived the boy away.

He opened up the folder and read half of the first page. Most of the men had reported to their regiments now. Equipping them with things that had spent years in warehouses was moving forward slowly. The regulars were shifting south already and setting up camps in the mountains and across the border from Queensport where the enemy incursion had been spotted. Galvez sat behind his desk and lit up a cigar. He was to begin having meetings with potential commanders. A field command could bring great fame in San Carlo, and he wanted to make sure that people loyal to him, and people who paid their tribute, got the jobs.

Near the Southern Border

“Captain, we have not yet received our APCs, the logistics corps keeps promising to deliver them and yet never does.” Felipe Agosto Miro de la Guerra’s first sergeant reported.

Felipe waived him off with his riding crop, “Have my executive officer handle it. I have pressing business.”

“Yes sir!” The first sergeant saluted then grumbled as he walked away.

Felipe laughed at the man as he wandered off. The sergeant was ungrateful clearly. Felipe though briefly about making the man’s wife his lover, but decided against it. She has already popped out five children, who knew how destroyed she was down there, that and she was a large as a house. He shook the thought out of his head and took a sip from his canteen. It had been filled with a bottle of fine red wine and he savored the flavor for a moment before replacing the cap. Felipe wandered over to regimental headquarters and sat down next to his friend who was the supply officer.

“Augusto! How have you been?” He asked.

“Oh, very well Felipe, I managed to get a few cases of some Noviteran whiskey in. I’ll send some over. How have you been?” Augusto replied.

“Oh, as fine as I could be, I suppose. I’d much rather be elsewhere, but the call up saved me from a dreadful time on a new outpost overlooking the savage city. They are putting some other poor saps there now. They need all the Mechanized units together I suppose. Speaking of which, my dreadful little first sergeant keeps whining to me that we don’t have out APCs, do you know anything of this?” Felipe said

Augusto sat back in his chair and scratched his face, “Yes they got held up, trains being used to transport the Chacanos, should be here by next week.”

“Fine. I think I’ll let my first sergeant squirm a bit more for annoying me. What a foolish little cholo he is. I would cuckold him if his wife wasn’t made from the same mud that seeped out of her to produce her offspring.” Felipe said.

Augusto chuckled at that, “You paint quite a picture. Perhaps you could just wear a condom and close your eyes.”

“A condom? I will not hear of it! My seed must be spread far and wide!” Felipe declared, “Anyway, how would you like to go into town tonight and cause a little destruction?”

“I am game, I will be free to leave by 16:00” Augusto said.

Felipe nodded, “Grand.”

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:50 pm
by New Edom
San Carlo

Cyril Baruch, wearing a nice light cotton suit with a light red shirt, pale blue jacket and slacks, and decent leather shoes, not enough to draw too much attention but enough to be a decent gentleman-businessman. stepped off the companionway to the plane and adjusted the fit of his jacket, smoothed his tie, and walked forward into the concourse. He looked around, and went to deal with customs. He had nothing to declare except his baggage which included clothes, bug spray, anti-malarial pills, and a map case. His purpose of business was commercial travel. Usually it was pretty easy to deal with customs in a nation like San Carlo. You had to be patient, have your paperwork in order, be polite but confident, and make sense.

He had been in San Carlo before, but that had been a couple of years ago, so he looked around curiously to see if much had changed while he went to reclaim his bag. He spoke suitable enough Ayacan. But anyone would peg him for a non-Ayacan native. He was alert in case of anyone who might try to sneak something in or out of a pocket, but other than that he was not too worried.

Once he was outside, he found a cab and headed to meet with Sebastian de la Rubia at Club Blue. One could always learn a little something about a country by the way the strip clubs and such represented what the locals found decadent, and he was looking forward to seeing the bastard again. “Club Blue,” he told the driver. He was curious to see if the man was laconic, disapproving or approving. “What’s new in the nation’s capital, my man?”

PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:52 am
by The Shrailleeni Empire
Government Quarter, New Adeleux
Ministry of Energy

There was a moment of translation, which seemed to go back and forth for a few moments beyond the straightforward. Then Seritha turned back to Morgannon and spoke in Common. Kallatya sipped the coffee, made a face that bordered between surprise and dislike but then moved on to contemplative pleasure, and then continued to watch him keenly.

"The origin of our information is something that we understand is of concern to your government," she said. "There is no great mystery. We speculated, based on news published here in New Adeleux, and we enquired. If you were not interested, then we do not think that we would be here in your office. In fact we would be surprised if we have been the only interested party," she said flatly.

Kallatya spoke again, and then Seritha.

"As you say," she said carefully, "openly interested or not. Let us say that we are speaking as though you are interested. If this were so, you would be wise to consider IOP for your fuel needs. For example, there is the simple matter of geography. We can guarantee that no other company can ship as cheaply to New Columbia as we can. IOP has great specialization in the refinement of diesel. Although of course to know for certain that we can meet your needs would require moving beyond speculation."

Te'vol'Hake, Castermaine Province

The gates opened slowly in front of Zel as there was activity on the top of the wall. The wood groaned from the effort, and parted with a quivering motion that suggested the action was done by hand. He squinted in the light and looked toward the opening. Apparently his words had worked.

There was movement at the gate, and he presumed that someone was coming out to meet him. He opened the driver's side door and put boots down into the dusty earth, slamming it shut behind him. He took a few steps forward as he watched a young man approach him from arched entryway. The native was tanned, muscled. Attractive, even, though Zel's eyes first went to the rifle slung over his shoulder and the flak jacket that appeared to be his only article of clothing. It was good to see nudity again after spending so much time in San Carlo, it reminded him of his home. Although of course, no Shrailleeni would wear a rifle or a jacket over their naked body. Unless, he mused, it were some kind of emergency.

He understood the man's words as he approached, and new instantly that there had been a miscommunication. The man thought that he was an emissary from the "King Beyond the Seas," which could only mean the king of Vionna-Frankenlisch. That was a problem. However he was also prepared for what was next. Zel offered his cheek to the man, making it clear that he was familiar with this custom and its meaning. Then, before returning the gesture, he clarified himself, his heart rate increasing.

"I come from one who is the equal of the King Beyond the Seas, and who does not bow to him. I do not wish for you to welcome me on mistaken pretenses, for my Empress I let the truth be known. Let us be at peace."

It was then that he returned the hit, doing his best to mirror the form used by the man in from of him. A pity to redden that jaw line, but it couldn't be helped.

Imperial Center Airport, Home Island
The Enlightened Matriarchy of the Shrailleeni Empire

The sun shone brightly over the islands of the archipelago. It was nearing the end of the dry season, a time when the heat of the tropical sun was at its height. From the view of an incoming Imperial Airways 747 the expanse of Home Island would rise from the sea without end in sight. Grey roads and rail lines cut across rounded rice paddies and vast clusters of brown dwellings that seemed to run together indistinguishably, occasionally giving way to the grid patterns and high rising buildings of cities. Between them and clustered along mountainsides were jungle canopies turned gray-green from rainless months.

In a large river valley nestled at the foothills of the eastern mountains and the western highlands was the largest city on the island, the ancient imperial capital that knew no other name. From the air the urban expanse could be seen to dominate the valley, the slow, thick river cutting a course northward toward the Tempesta. North of it was a large gray area of pavement and lights separated from the city by thin swath of jungle. This was the airport, into which all flights destined for the Imperial City landed before their passengers embarked by train or car to the city proper.

The flight upon which the Duchess and Duke arrived was met with more than the average Shrailleeni welcome. Upon disembarking the pair of foreign nobility would find that the usual gate area had been roped off, with one corridor for the regular passengers and another marked specifically for themselves by name. Imperial Guards wearing ceremonial uniforms, silken black and white jackets tied with a white sash and black pants, stood at attention around this area, rifles at right shoulder arms. Waiting for them were a number of Shrailleeni wearing official robes of state, at the fore of which was a young woman in her mid-twenties whose robes were far more intricately designed. She was slim and delicate-looking, her long black hair keep back with a simple coronet, with angular features and petit nose.

She introduced herself with a bow of the head and gesture made by placing the right hand over the heart while the left was help up palm-out, greeting them as Queen Arianna Resyanna fe Shrailleen, second-eldest daughter of the Mother Empress. Behind her was a representative from the Matriarchy of Foreign Affairs, and various attendants.

"On behalf of my mother Her Enlightened Majesty the Mother Empress, I welcome you," she said in melodic High Railti. Beside her, a translator offered an interpretation of this in their own tongue.

Once introductions and greetings had been made, the entire party would be escorted under guard through the airport to a section reserved for those headed to the Imperial Palace. From there they would board a special train car which ran along a line that took its passengers through a particularly beautiful section of jungle, in which colorful, odd birds could be seen scrabbling through broad-leafed treetops on clawed wings. The car would curve slowly east and southward, jungle giving way to rows of spacious-looking houses before the tall, proud white spires and sweeping curves of the Imperial Palace rose into view before it, climbing up a green and forested mountainside. They passed through the walls before descending into a well-lit tunnel that led to the Imperial Palace Station.

The palace complex was enormous, and the station no less so. Grand archways created a domed space containing four platforms, in which hundreds of people were embarking or disembarking. These were mostly Shrailleeni, as the rail lines for the palace were tracked separately than those used by the rest of the empire. It was a machine designed to bring bureaucrats and priestesses to the imperial center to attend to their official duties, as well as send agents out to ensure that these duties produced the required results.

The official guests were ushered upward, first by stairs and then by elevator. Every inch of the palace was designed to be a work of art, reflecting either the natural world or the glorification of the Mother Goddess. The wooden banners of the stairs twisted like vines, the walls displayed prominent reliefs portraying religious mythology, Shrailleeni history, or the geography of the islands. The floor tiles were arranged in patterns, and the marbled archways high above appeared at times to be the branches of trees. Even the elevator was made from faux wood, the interior made to look like a small waiting room of wood paneling and small carvings.

Once above they would exit into the north wing of the of palace, a place of high vaulted halls and lush carpeting. Tapestries woven from feathers adored the walls, each showing an important moment in the matriarchy's long history. The guests were taken to a set of large mahogany doors, which were opened by bowing attendants to reveal spacious quarters. A sitting room containing low sofas and cushions sat in front of a wide balcony that looked west over the the palace grounds and the city beyond. To the left was a tiled area set for dining, to the right a corridor which led to a room with a canopied bed, desk, and a set of chairs with large west-facing windows. Attached to this were a room for bathing and a toilet room.

This room was reserved for Her Eminent Grace the Duchess, a twin room awaited the Duke of Darlington and the Earl of Shiring just down the hall. As attendants produced their luggage, Her Majesty the Queen would ask her honored guests, through her translator if necessary, if there was anything at all that they required.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:54 am
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Flores, San Carlo

Going into his satchel, Hector Ramos opened up some notes and reviewed them, “Now Lord Hotspur, the situation has grown delicate, as you may well know, but I think that we are willing to help out your very worthy cause. We would like to know if Ashabi made AKM rifles would be an acceptable gift. They of course would come without markings on them, we wouldn’t want our neighbors to be put in an awkward spot now, but we also have it in out authority to get a formal contract with them to produce ammunition and weapons for what you may need. Would this be of interest to your people?”

Hotspur nodded, "Absolutely," it was less than he was hoping but every little helped. "We have rifles aplenty but many are outdated and they fire all manner of ammunition. Any type of standardisation would be a huge help to the Free Army of New Columbia." The Marquess handed a few San Carloan notes to a waitress and asked for a bottle of Hardskar Brandy or, failing that, two whiskeys.

"Even so, my commander was considering the possibilities of purchasing aircraft. Nothing major, just several light planes capable of carrying enough ordnance for strike missions."

Te'vol'Hake, Castermaine Province
Gates to the town

"I come from one who is the equal of the King Beyond the Seas, and who does not bow to him. I do not wish for you to welcome me on mistaken pretenses, for my Empress I let the truth be known. Let us be at peace."

There were no equals to the King Beyond the Seas. Yasun knew that. The King Beyond the Seas had been prophesied for centuries, ever since the first of his men had landed in the far south. Though Hakemaebo stood alongside the other free tribes and the Free Army at Fort Castermaine, everyone respected the one who sat on a throne of gold and drank the blood of lions. The government in New Adeleux fought against the free tribes, branding them 'rebels', they claimed to fight for the King Beyond the Seas but they only fought for themselves. The tribes, be they free or INF, knew that the King would come as promised one day to give them freedom. He had many names, some male and some female, but one day this King who decided the fate of hundreds of millions and could level nations with a wave of his hand would notice the poor tribes of New Columbia and grant them the freedom they wanted. Freedom from this Governor-General.

"Ah." Was all Hake'Yasun'Juno could struggle out. He was no idiot, he knew other nations existed, other monarchs even, but this Empress had not been promised. This Empress was a new figure to add to the scrolls and tattered books which filled Te'vol'Hake's primitive library. "An Empress has never been promised," he saw fit to inform this diplomat, "There was only the King Beyond the Seas..." Yasun considered his options. He could turn the diplomat away but he could come back with soldiers or the tribe could miss out on a huge opportunity. However, the diplomat might cause trouble within the walls with his ignorance, though he seemed aware enough of Hakemaebo customs to prepare for the painful greeting.

"I am Yasun of the Juno family, my tribe is the Hakemaebo. I will take you to the Chief." He resolved. "Come inside the walls and tell me who you are and why you are here."

Government Quarter, New Adeleux
Ministry of Energy

"As you say," she said carefully, "openly interested or not. Let us say that we are speaking as though you are interested. If this were so, you would be wise to consider IOP for your fuel needs. For example, there is the simple matter of geography. We can guarantee that no other company can ship as cheaply to New Columbia as we can. IOP has great specialization in the refinement of diesel. Although of course to know for certain that we can meet your needs would require moving beyond speculation."

Morgannon nodded and thought through Seritha's words as they were translated. She was right, the Shrailleeni were close to New Columbia and shipping would be faster and cheaper than any other possibility. Though he knew little about them, the civil servant could not deny a slight bias towards the Shrai, mainly as his only other choice was the Edomites or go without. New Columbia needed the oil before prices increased further and the military was bled white. He did not reveal this, yet, however. "The geographical proximity is an important boon of your offer..." He admitted. "We would require regular shipments of petrol for civilian use and diesel and kerosene jet fuel for military purposes. I might add that there are other places we can go for our... Interests. What might IOP have over... Say, completely hypothetically, the Edomite National Petroleum Corporation?"

PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:36 pm
by Republica de San Carlo
Seville, San Carlo

“Club Blue,” he told the driver. He was curious to see if the man was laconic, disapproving or approving.

At the mention of Club Blue the driver chucked. He adjusted his rearview mirror to see the passenger better, “Club Blue? You have a particular taste amigo, haha. You are not the first foreigner to seek out that place, but be warned, it is often exactly as advertised, which people do not expect.”

“What’s new in the nation’s capital, my man?”

“Nothing much, a lot of talk about those maricons in New Columbia, but nothing that will effect my life. There is talk of a strike out on some of the coca plantations, but again, that is their problem not mine. I think the talk of war has excited some people, and the congress has even cooled some of their usual yapping at the president over those McNernians that fled with their tail between their legs. Can you believe that they sent a prince as some kind of guarantee that they would pay us money? Hahahahaha, I can’t believe the fools!” the driver said loudly, glad that not only did he have an audience, but that the man had asked him of the news.

Flores, San Carlo

Hotspur nodded, "Absolutely," it was less than he was hoping but every little helped. "We have rifles aplenty but many are outdated and they fire all manner of ammunition. Any type of standardisation would be a huge help to the Free Army of New Columbia." The Marquess handed a few San Carloan notes to a waitress and asked for a bottle of Hardskar Brandy or, failing that, two whiskeys.

“Yes I am aware of your peoples…weaponry, if we can call it that. This contract would definitely be a vast improvement, and ammunition would come with it.” Hector replied.

"Even so, my commander was considering the possibilities of purchasing aircraft. Nothing major, just several light planes capable of carrying enough ordnance for strike missions."

“Your government had the funds to purchase aircraft, but has not attempted to standardize weapons? Well, I suppose that we could help, and I am very sympathetic to your cause, though I do hope you are aware of the vast political investment that the government is giving your people. A simple cash payment may not be enough, we would need some kind of guarantee of friendship. I will ask around and see what I can do for aircraft, and no doubt find you some skilled volunteer pilots and ground crew as well. However, I must be frank and ask, what would San Carlo be getting for their investment? The risk is very great, and congress does not often write checks for mere sympathies.” Hector asked

PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:09 pm
by Hittanryan
State Department
New Laconia, Adiron

In New Laconia the Arvo Committee had entered into drier legal territory, checking communications and other records to determine whether there was anything negligent or malicious going on. The Adiran left at this point felt energized. The centrist Rowan was clearly not committed enough to the party’s core values. Their eyes were on Amy Bailey, the Secretary of State who had exposed this wrongdoing.

Her daily commute felt the impact of this. Since the hearings started there were reporters and activists waiting outside the State Department.

“Secretary! Any comment on General Vance’s testimony?” one of them shouted at her on the steps. She didn’t answer.

Instead she fixed on a young woman with short hair looking at her warmly. “Secretary, would you consider speaking at commencement for PRSU?”

“Oh I’d love to if I can. You should call my office, ask for Anne,” Bailey said.

“You saved an oppressed people. My anthro prof said so,” the woman said.

“Well thank you,” she said. Other members of the press tried to shout further questions at her as she went inside.

Anne was waiting for her at her office. “Madame Secretary, are you sure you haven’t thought about the Presidency?”

“It wasn’t funny when Geta suggested it. It isn’t funny now. No,” Bailey said firmly.

“Well, all right. It’s just that our office just received a letter from King James of Vionna-Frankenlisch,” Anne explained

Bailey froze a second. “What?” Bailey took the letter, sat down, and opened it. After a few minutes she said “Anne, could you call Hugh for me?”

About an hour later head of the Foreign Service sat in Bailey’s office reading the letter with his chin perched on one hand and his bushy eyebrows raised. “Certainly a surprise, coming from Vionna-Frankenlisch of all places,” Bailey opined after several minutes of reading.

“Yes, Madame Secretary,” Hugh replied rather blandly.

“I wasn’t aware King James had any interest in liberal values at all,” Bailey pointed out.

“Indeed, Madame Secretary,” he said, setting the letter down. “Because as far as I know he doesn’t.”

“Imagine if this was the start of something. If Adiron was the start of something,” Bailey mused.

“Well it is rather odd,” Hugh cautioned.

“How do you mean?”

“If I’m reading this right, this letter explicitly states that the government does not consider Adiron a priority, and the monarch is pursuing this personally,” Atkins said, eyes scanning the page. “I wonder if these representatives have any real authority to negotiate on behalf of the empire as a whole. I also haven’t a clue as to whether the Imperial government will be very keen to pass something negotiated in secret by the monarch…or how they’ll view Adiron if we knowingly were party to that.”

“Oh,” Bailey said, looking a bit crestfallen. “Yes, I see. I suppose we ought to clarify a few things, then.”

“Truth be told, I’m curious as to how this letter was sent,” Atkins concluded.

To: His Imperial Majesty King James I Turrell of Vionna-Frankenlisch
From: Amy Bailey, Secretary of State of Adiron
Subject: Diplomatic Agents
Security: Highest

Your Majesty,

I am honored that you would write to my office so directly. I also thank you for the kind words about my country, and I hope that the Republic can live up to such praise.

Greater peaceful cooperation between the nations is ultimately of benefit to all of Cornellia and the world. Adiron is certainly interested in dialogue with Vionna-Frankenlisch. In order to facilitate these talks, I wonder if we could clarify a few points in the previous communication.

First, what would the subject of these talks be? Is there anything in particular that will be discussed?

Second, is the matter of these Special Diplomatic Agents. I am sure that since they have your confidence they are of good character and background. So that we may receive them appropriately, what properly speaking is their diplomatic rank? Will they be associated in any capacity with the Imperial embassy or your ambassador?

Amy Bailey
Secretary of State

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:20 pm
by New Edom
Seville, San Carlo

At the mention of Club Blue the driver chucked. He adjusted his rearview mirror to see the passenger better, “Club Blue? You have a particular taste amigo, haha. You are not the first foreigner to seek out that place, but be warned, it is often exactly as advertised, which people do not expect.”

“I hope that the reputation does precede it,” Baruch said with a smile.

“Nothing much, a lot of talk about those maricons in New Columbia, but nothing that will effect my life.

“I found it difficult to do business with the New Columians. Stubborn people.” said Baruch.

“There is talk of a strike out on some of the coca plantations, but again, that is their problem not mine.

“Commies,” said Baruch dismissively. “I hear they dealt with that really efficiently in Gran Chaco. It seems that your country could probably do the same. I wouldn’t worry,” replied Baruch.

”I think the talk of war has excited some people, and the congress has even cooled some of their usual yapping at the president over those McNernians that fled with their tail between their legs. Can you believe that they sent a prince as some kind of guarantee that they would pay us money? Hahahahaha, I can’t believe the fools!” the driver said loudly, glad that not only did he have an audience, but that the man had asked him of the news.

“Imagine that. Even his own father thinks he’s just worth the price of an apology. I can scarcely imagine. What a country.” Baruch sighed. “Better to have no father at all, than such a one.”

During all this, Baruch was looking around at the sights, taking in a sense of the atmosphere, the people, wanting to get a sense of how things were doing here as opposed to in New Columbia.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:35 pm
by Republica de San Carlo
Seville, San Carlo

The diver left the area of the airport and drove through the crowded roads towards the area. It was dusty in the city and they passed many concrete buildings and stores. People wandered around going about their business. School children in uniforms walked home after being let out of class. Some of the areas seemed lower class with tin roofs but they passed gated areas with more modern shopping malls as well. Dogs wandered here and there, sometimes running in groups, other times picking through garbage.

The Cab made a turn down a side street and began maneuvering through neighborhoods where young children ran around and played on the side of the road. The driver explained that he was avoiding some of the lights that could block up traffic on the main road. Finally, he pulled into a district in town where young women hung around on the sides of streets. Many of the buildings were labeled as restaurants and night clubs. It looked sketchy, though it was well policed, as the city did not want its tourist dollars at risk. Here and there white tourists walked with some of the local girl, but the true life of the area would come out after dark. He stopped in front of a building with bars over the curtained windows and a big sign that said in English “Club Blue.”

“Here you are Amigo, that’s 50 pesos.” The driver said.

A couple of girls sat outside of the open door to the club on plastic chairs, one had a toddler at her knees. Both of them stopped their conversation and stared opened mouthed at the stranger that had just gotten out of the cab. One began straightening her hair out and making sure that it was neat.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:40 pm
by New Edom
Seville, San Carlo

His view of the city told him much Unlike the country he had just left, Seville had a bustling feel to it, new money eclipsing the old, tradition still honoured but it immediately had a gritty, tough look that he liked. Baruch handed the man 60 pesos. “Keep the change, friend,” he said. “Thanks for the tour.”

Having done this, he shouldered his bag and headed towards the entrance, giving the girls a friendly wink before heading in to take in the sights around him.

His intention was to head towards the bar and drop the name of his old friend, and send the message that Baruch had arrived. He also wanted a look at the place. It was more known to him by reputation than anything, but he was familiar with the kind of place that it was.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:34 pm
by Ashab
Ebmayut Army Base, Northwest Ashab

Lieutenant-Colonel Dashan Davira walked with another aid. A young corporal with a good head on his shoulders. On one end of the base were numerous quonset huts that were suppose to store different odds and ends. After the war and then again at the disbanding of the divisions turned over by the Council, they were filled to the brim with captured AKMs and magazines. General Zaher and the Western Army Corps had been the main beneficiaries of captured materials and supplies. Davira had a sharp mind for numbers and the movement of goods. He had helped Zaher's staff cook the numbers when they reported their captured inventory to the Central Army Bureau. Thanks to that, thousands of rifles were now sitting here unaccounted for. On paper, they simply did not exist.

Davira liked to swagger when he moved about the base in his beret and large sunglasses. Aside from his rank, he was known to be on Zaher's staff and liked the respect that gave him. Granted, Davira had never seen combat. But he fancied he would perform admirably should the situation ever arise. Not that it would at his rank anymore. It was a shame to him that people like Major Javanai received all the glory and prestige when he could have easily done the same. Indeed, Davira was of good breeding. His father had been an officer that supported General Sararik's rise to power and the subsequent Republican Party. Gallantry was in his veins. But alas, Zaher had found him more suited to the task of ensuring the logistical well being of the Western Army Corps.

Salutes came when he passed guards patrolling the quonset huts which made Davira smile. He approached one then ordered the aide to unlock open the door. Inside were stacks of crates. "As ordered sir. Crates have been prepared for easy shipment." Said the aide.

Inspecting one, Davira pulled a crowbar off the wall and wrenched it open. Inside were 10 AKMs. Five on top and five inverted between the spaces. The non-folding wooden stocks required longer boxes than the folding models but these were the vast majority of the AK rifles issued to the Army. Each one had a horned water buffalo head, the symbol of the Republican Party, stamped on the receiver. Beneath that were the letters "ERA". The magazines were stuffed in other crates as well to be sold separately in lots of 50.

"This is good. Easy to sell like this." Davira said then made sure one of the rifles had been oiled. As ordered, the rifles had been cleaned and sprayed with oils to keep away the moisture. The product had to be in good condition, not rusty, to make a sale.

Davira had sold five crates to a Han dealer from Shicheng. Another three to a dealer from Novitera. They would be picking them up within the month. Through bribes to the State Ministry, the sale included accompanying paperwork to show the rifles had been legally purchased. Of course, it would be difficult explaining that no sale such sale was recorded when cross referenced with the manufacturer's accounts. But that was an unnecessary detail to Davira. Ashabi bureaucracy was a labyrinth were many mistakes were made after all. There could be any number of explanations and such an investigation would be more effort than it was worth. In total, they were able to provide a better deal than if the buyer went directly to the manufacturer. Zaher had given Davira the task of moving the product. So far it was a slow going. He had put out feelers to the Chacano government but they generally seemed unwilling to go for an under the table sale. A lot of the rifles were going to the commercial market in Novitera and to the Tongs of Shicheng. Davira made another note to himself to try to reach out to more elements in Hostillia under other occupation powers or the Imperial territories. He knew little of the Han but from his dealings with the men of the Shicheng Tongs, they seemed like the type to start trouble. Kamohaeng Phet was another option. Then there were these rebels and the government of New Columbia. Plenty of opportunities for himself and his patron Zaher to enrich themselves.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:05 pm
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Flores, San Carlo

Your government had the funds to purchase aircraft, but has not attempted to standardize weapons? Well, I suppose that we could help, and I am very sympathetic to your cause, though I do hope you are aware of the vast political investment that the government is giving your people. A simple cash payment may not be enough, we would need some kind of guarantee of friendship. I will ask around and see what I can do for aircraft, and no doubt find you some skilled volunteer pilots and ground crew as well. However, I must be frank and ask, what would San Carlo be getting for their investment? The risk is very great, and congress does not often write checks for mere sympathies.” Hector asked

"But of course," Hotspur replied, knowing things would come to that. These Ayacans were mercenary people, he thought. "My commander has given me terms to put to you and I am authorised to negotiate further." He explained. "Firstly, the new government would relinquish all claim on the pampas on the border, which the current government will contest when they reach their self-proclaimed border. The new government would, of course, cut its current ties with Vionna-Frankenlich and bring itself into the OAS to better coordinate with its Ayacan brethren." This hurt Hotspur a little to say, he still loved his mother country, even if he had accepted that he was unlikely to see it again. He tried not to make his discomfort visible. "There is also the matter, of course, of avoiding further conflict. The San Carloan government has sent weapons and equipment to the Hakemaebo Tribe of Castermaine Province. The Hakemaebo are a tribe aligned to the Free Army against the government and have actively been fighting forces of the Imperial Native Federation with some success. When it is discovered that said tribe have been supplied by San Carlo to fight the government, the New Columbian government will not take it kindly. I find it unlikely that they would consider any reconciliation with San Carlo for several decades and, with the present hostile leadership, could even resort to fighting. This would obviously be bad news for all sides but a friendly government in New Columbia would, of course, give their full backing to any Carlano proposal and put primacy on Ayacan business, rather than Edomite or Vionnan, as they currently do."

Frankenlisch, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Parliament Square

People trudged into Parliament Square slowly, as it was a cold morning and many wished to stay indoors. Metal fences blocked off the pavements and the common population were forced to walk in the ring road that surrounded the Parliamentary Gardens. Soldiers in service dress brandishing rifles stood behind the fences and nobody dared to bother them, some still remembered the violent days of King Edward III's return to power and they did not wish to see a third massacre in the square streets that were the heart of the Imperial Government. Imperial Palace stood at the end of Parliament Square, facing a large open parade ground where the guards sometimes paraded and, when days like today came along, the populace would congregate to hear their monarch speak. The Royal Balcony was unoccupied, except by a cluster of microphones. A series of speakers mounted on strong steel poles stood scattered across the parade ground which would broadcast the King's speech to the crowd.

As noon came, more and more people began to trickle into Parliament Square. It was not long until the parade ground filled and the people were forced into the road, snaking around the Parliamentary Gardens and, eventually, congregating in a crush at the gates to Parliament Square. The Imperial Palace Yeomanry were finally forced to begin turning people away. Pubs across the entire Borough of King's Head were tending a roaring trade as radios and televisions were turned up for patrons to hear their ruler speak. Everyone from the lowest factory labourer to the businessmen and politicians gathered beneath the shadow of Imperial Palace. Fascists, Liberals and Socialists alike listened for the King's approach. All other broadcasts on the radios and televisions would be stopped for the duration of the speech and channels were forced to broadcast the speech on pain of heavy fines to ensure most people heard.

Noon passed and 1 o'clock rolled around. The crowds silenced for the national anthem, the Frankenlisch Royal Philharmonic's rendition of God Save the King was rousing and backed with the voices of the Imperial Choir. Within the palace, King James was sitting mere metres from the glass windows to the Royal Balcony. Sat with him was Oliver Wood, Queen Jane, Princess Sarah and Samuel Carstairs, the Chairman of the Royal Upper Parliament - the King's personal advisory committee, made up of members from each party in the Commons.

The King was clearly nervous and was just finishing his third cigar since noon. He had laid off the drink for he needed his wits intact for his big moment. Queen Jane stroked his hand tenderly and the Duchess of Saxondale was chatting idly with Carstairs. Oliver Wood was just making the last preparations for the speech and a servant called him away to introduce the proceedings. King James stood as Oliver did and they shared a wordless moment, they shook hands and Wood left the room for the broadcast chamber. James wore his usual state uniform and his coronet, considering the Imperial Crown too heavy and the War Crown somewhat too hasty.

"Father," Sarah decided to ask a question that had been playing on her mind for some time as, outside, the national anthem began to play. "Will I be going away, like Bertie?"

The King seemed to consider the question for a moment but, in truth, his mind had already been made. "I don't think so. I don't see any need." He replied, playing it off. In reality, the King adored his daughter far too much to send her abroad. Of course, James loved his son, but he trusted Albert could handle himself more than Sarah and, with the Prince's military commission, he didn't want Albert going off to fight in the conflict he was sure was coming.

"They're playing the anthem, Your Imperial Majesty." Carstairs saw fit to inform the King, who knew damned well what was going on already. "It'll be time in a few minutes."

Those few minutes seemed to last an eternity, though, for James, they could not pass slowly enough. Every doubt he had in his mind seemed to float to the surface and the King could see himself panicking, could feel it coming. He gripped his wife's hand tightly and she reciprocated. "Out." The King ordered. "Out, all of you out. I want to be alone with my family." Carstairs stood and bowed, the servants bowed, and they all hurried out together to avoid the King's anger.

"You're worried," Sarah commented. "Father, why are you worried?" She asked, naively.

"Because if I say what I've written here!" The King burst, "I'll be condemning this country to war! I'll be whirling this region into the largest conflict since the Great War! What if the Edomites are innocent? What if McNernia is stirring shit up?"

"James." The Queen said simply, trying to calm her red-faced husband down. "Have a drink." She held out a glass of whiskey that had been sitting, untouched, in front of the King.

"What, by the Saints, what if we lose? What happens to us? Concessions? The breakup of the Empire? Civil War? I don't want to share the same fate as my father!" The King was descending quickly and his wife was starting to panic too. His daughter, conversely, was watching shamefully.

"Pull yourself together." She ordered, grabbing James by his tunic with force, almost tearing his silk sash. "You're the King of Vionna-Frankenlisch for fucks sake." She declared.

"Sarah!" Queen Jane, shocked, tried to calm the pair.

"No, I won't have it. We'll fight and win. But I will not let my father disgrace himself by panicking like some lackey peasant in front of his people." The anthem was winding down and Wood would soon be introducing the King. "If you won't read this," Sarah grabbed the typed speech from her father's hands, "I will! And you'll be damned to the knowledge that a seventeen-year-old girl had to face your people because you were too afraid!"

The King silenced and slumped into his chair. He reached for the glass of whiskey and his daughter took it away and downed it. "I'm sure I'll need it if I'm going to read this alone." She mocked and headed towards the balcony.

Oliver Wood was blissfully unaware of the commotion in the room next door. He had a pair of headphones over his ears and was simply enjoying the beautiful rendition of God Save the King which he had always employed as Imperial Broadcaster. The final notes were beautiful and Wood sometimes wished he could play the track again but he was immediately faced with the red recording light and the duty of introducing the King.

"Good Afternoon. This is Commonwealth Broadcasting Services, broadcasting across the Nation, Commonwealth and Empire. We are honoured with a broadcast this day from His Imperial Majesty, the King. All other broadcasts, by radio and television, are to cease for the duration of this speech. Thank you."

The recording light turned off and Wood's duty was done, now it was down to the King.

Below, on the parade ground, the assembled crowd were met with a surprise. Their King did not appear on the Royal Balcony. Instead, his pretty daughter, wearing a cream-coloured court dress, strode out shakily to face the people. She cleared her throat and jumped a tad, unnoticed by the confused viewers, at the amplification of her voice on the speakers below.

"Hello." She struggled out, took a deep breath, and introduced herself. "I am Sarah, of the House of Turrell. Duchess of Saxondale."

There came a cough from behind the Princess and she turned suddenly. The King stood with a sad smile at the threshold to the balcony. He nodded silently at the papers in his daughter's hand and she handed them over. She returned the smile and nodded to the King.

"I have the esteemed honour," she added with relief, to announce my father, "His Imperial Majesty, James, of the House of Turrell, King and Imperiator." She bowed her head and stood aside, gripping her father's hand as he approached the ornate stone balustrade.

'The Old Lion' was only forty-two but could easily pass for a decade older and, with his mane-like hair, fitted his nickname well. His uniform was pristine and glittering with medals and lace, his beard was trimmed neatly and his arm had even been released from its sling, though it hung at his side as James found it hurt to use. Doctor Robinson had assured him that such pain would subside after some time in recovery and plenty of exercises. The crowd, still confused but relieved by the sight of their King, looked up as one to survey the monarch. He was attractive for his age but despite his fine uniform and well-groomed hair, he looked haggard. Perhaps it was his tired, sad eyes or his scarred face but the King had an air of exhaustion. His closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and spoke...

New Oakcliffe Province, New Columbia
1st Supply Battalion, Imperial New Columbian Army
King's Own Breem Lancers, Imperial Vionnan Army

Cornet Valentina Murat, daughter of Her Eminent Grace, the Duchess of Cathena, was already enjoying her new posting. In one evening, the young noblewoman had moved from an Empire logistical unit to one of the great cavalry units of the Imperial Vionnan Army. Although she was certain it was due only to her noble parentage, she did not complain. Valentina was certain she'd have plenty of time to prove herself a fine soldier.

"So I said to my uncle: No Alek, you can go fuck yourself!" Colonel Ignacy Sosabowski finished his anecdote with a great, roaring laugh. "You know, I don't think I've seen him since." He added between chuckles, "I wonder what he'll say when he sees the crowns on my shoulders and the sword by my side."

Murat laughed too, though she had been lost in her own thoughts for most of the anecdote and her arm was deadened by the heavy cavalry pennant she had to carry. As one of only two Cornets in the regiment's First Squadron, Murat was responsible for carrying the Regimental Pennant while the other carried the King's Pennant. Cornet Velinsky was several ranks back, conversing with some of the younger soldiers but his strong arms meant the Vionna-Frankenlischian flag he carried waved high above the regiment while Murat's unmuscular arm kept her standard somewhat dipped. Sosabowski seemed not to notice, or perhaps he didn't care. To the Colonel's left was Lieutenant Bohrjevski, who seemed his favourite officer. Murat herself was trapped between Sosabowski on her left and on her right was the Wolfsbrucker Colonel, Pierre, who she had not yet spoken to. He seemed a little uncomfortable at the front of the column but did not complain. He seemed even more uncomfortable as a patrol the regiment had sent out while they packed up camp returned.

The patrol was led by a corporal, which was the first sign of worry. That morning, Cornet Wiśniewski of 2nd Squadron had set out with five men to scout the road ahead. It was now past noon and the patrol was headed by Corporal Nowak and seemed to be missing a horse. Sosabowski rode forward, not wishing to keep the column up by stopping to receive the returning scouts. Murat followed, as did the other officers at the front of the column. Cornet Velinsky somehow pushed his way through the three ranks ahead of him to take his place at Murat's side.

"What's going on?" Velinsky, a greasy, spotty, bespectacled officer of sixteen years asked. The lad was strong for his age and Murat didn't doubt that he'd be devilishly attractive in a few years but she was only annoyed by his presence. She had known the younger officer for a matter of hours and she had not yet made up her mind about him. His father was a Burgrave (the equivalent in some places of a Viscount, or so Murat understood) and he was blessed with a humility unusual to men of his type but for some reason Murat distrusted him a little. Nonetheless, it would be rude to ignore him and she replied.

"Wiśniewski's patrol is returning, but I don't see him." The blonde Wiśniewski, an eighteen-year-old with a pretty face and a slim body, was close to Velinsky and Murat noted dismay on Velinsky's face. Corporal Nowak approached the advanced squad and saluted Sosabowski awkwardly. It was only when Nowak saluted that Murat realised Wiśniewski was there, his arms were draped over Nowak's shoulders and his face was barely visible, it seemed pained and a little pale.

"Corporal, what's the verdict?" Sosabowski asked, as nonchalantly as ever.

"Natives, sir, and other rebels no doubt. There's an oasis ahead and they've set up a camp there. No doubt stragglers from the retreating rebels." Nowak reported, "I think there might be a few dozen, sir. A sure threat if they catch us unawares."

"What happened to Wiśniewski?" Sosabowski asked, making no outward acknowledgement of Nowak's report.

"An arrow caught him in the thigh, sir. I pulled the bugger out, sir, and he'll be alright. Just a bit shook-up, aren't you, sir?"

Wiśniewski, behind the corporal but sharing the same black horse, nodded. "Yes, sir, it rather hurts. Getting shot, that is." He informed the Colonel, who had received two bullet wounds and a bayonet slash in his lifetime. "I'll be alright, sir. But my horse bought it."

Sosabowski nodded, understanding. "No shame, Cornet. Did you keep the arrow?"

"Yes, sir." Wiśniewski grinned, taking the offending projectile from his boot, where he had been keeping the bloodsoaked trophy.

"Good man." Sosabowski laughed. "We'll leave you in one of the cars and deal with these rebels. Anything you want me to bring you back?"

"A bow, if you would, sir." The Cornet joked, "For me' arrow."

"That's the spirit! I'll see what I can do, lad." Sosabowski turned to Nowak. "Rest your horses and men, Corporal. I'll take the Squadron forward and deal with them." Nowak nodded, saluted and led his patrol away. Sosabowski ordered Bohrjevski to inform Colonel Amy Brand of the situation and bring up the regiment's First Squadron. "We'll move forward towards that oasis." The Colonel explained to Murat, Velinsky and Pierre, "We'll catch them swiftly, charge and envelop them. Capture or kill the lot. Should give the papers something to enjoy. And the boys always love loot."

PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:31 pm
by Neue Regensburg
Foreign Ministry, Parliament Square, Frankenlisch

Westhaven thanked the doorman for taking his coat, and then the person who served him his tea. He sipped the hot tea slowly, contemplating the enormity of the agreement which he was here to sign. Wolfbruck had traditionally gone it alone, but now… now, they had an ally to stand with them against the imperialist vultures of Cornellia. He chuckled quietly at the concept that they would be teaming up with an empire against imperialists. Such was the world they lived in.

He followed the receptionist, rather surprised at how fast she was walking. A few times, he had to turn around and go around a different hall to find her. Eventually, though, he found his way into the room. It indeed was astounding, almost vain. Westhaven saw Basildon and a smile broke out on his face. This was really happening, a real ally that Wolfsbruck could count on. He walked over to Basildon and the treaty, and said “Now our nations will be as brothers, marching forward into the future. Generations long after our passings will remember this day.” He picked up the quill, and signed his name. He then held out hIs hand for Basildon to shake.

Situation Room, Regenschloss, Kronstadt

The Ministry of Defense was an impressive building, with Gothic architecture that would make any outsider think it was a church. It even had a bell tower, crazy though it may sound, and stained glass windows. Of course, this was common to government buildings in Wolfsbruck, where the work of the Kingdom was the work of God. This was where the High Command of the Bundesheer left, to meet their Defense Minister, King and the Council at the Regenschloss.

Inside, a top secret meeting between some of the highest ranking members of government would place. They sat at a mahogany table in an ornate room, with paintings depicting the glorious battles of days past on display in gold frames. This was in stark contrast to the screens on the front wall, filled with different tactical and strategic assessments and threats.

“Are we certain, Your Majesty? I want to be sure before we commit to something we can’t take back.”

“Yes, Minister Wahlmann. The King of Vionna-Frankenlisch himself wrote me, immediately after the McNernian press release. King James seems to believe that the Edomites were preparing some sort of attack on New Columbia. We know what Elijah is capable of… we know what their ultimate goal is. And now that the Vionna-Frankenlisch is an official ally we are bound to defend them.”

“Your Majesty, wouldn’t this be all the more reason to stand down and let tensions cool? If we start posturing, we could be inciting the Edomites to do the same.” This came from a general who was renowned as a cautious leader. “The McNernians were in this alone for all we know.”

“General, King James has an explosive temper… this is known to the international community. If he thinks there were Edomite designs on his realm, do you really think he’ll keep his mouth shut? No. He will retaliate. We need to be ready.” This came from PM Daniel von Zähringover.

“And Elijah won't take kindly to his honor being insulted. And frankly, to be honest, even if the McNernians were in this alone, they still pose a threat to national security.” This came from the Interior Minister.

“In that case, Your Majesty, the yearly war games are coming up. Why don’t we have them held in the Crimson Forest… rather close to the Damoclean front?” General Reinsohn, a grizzled old soldier and head of the High Command, seemed proud of the idea.

“That’s the spirit. Give the order, Minister Wahlmann. We can’t get caught with our pants down here.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

“Let us pray,” The King said, and they knelt down in front of an icon of the Lord and crossed themselves, “Oh God, in your infinite wisdom, preserve peace on these shores. Let the vultures of this world be thwarted, and let our nation remain a bulwark of the Faith. If war comes to this land, grant us strength to push back those that defile your holy name through their countless heresies, and let us emerge victorious along with our new friends, wayward though they may be. Show them the truth, show them your light, and let us march into the future under the banner of Thy holy name. Amen.”

“Amen.” They crossed themselves again, and then the King left.

Wahlmann sent out the order...

From the Desk of Defense Minister Erwin Wahlmann

Security: Eyes Only
Recipients: Lieutenant General Tericio von Hochmann, Lieutenant General Harper vom Käufer, Lieutenant General Remus von Unger
Subject: Regarding the Annual Reserve Exercise
Esteemed Generals,

It has been one year since our exercise on the beaches of Engelstaat, and it is that time again when it becomes necessary to train a cross-section of our reserves. As such, it has been decided that the September 2019 reserve war games will be held in the Crimson Forest. This year, three divisions will be taking part in the exercise. We recognize the enormity of such an exercise, but with recent tensions in the region, it seems fitting to prepare for the eventuality of a large-scale conflict, particularly against those vultures that would so brazenly threaten our new ally. It is projected that it will take about two weeks to transport all of said forces to this exercise. Your divisions will be going two on one in simulated attacks on the forest and each division will get a chance to attack and defend.

Minister Erwin Wahlmann

PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:41 pm
by Vionna-Frankenlisch
Frankenlisch, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Parliament Square

The King closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and spoke…

“Today, we stand on the precipice of history. As I stand here and address my peoples at home and overseas, my heart pounds with trepidation and my soul burns with anger. Edomite treachery has drawn me to this balcony to speak to you all and you deserve to know what they have done. Our dearest ally, a nation I respected and a nation which I spoke in the defence of and nearly lost my arm in said defence, has turned on us in the most cowardly and disgraceful of ways. Using the Kingdom of McNernia as their willing puppets, New Edom has attempted to disrupt the status quo in Ayaca and break apart the Frankenlischian Commonwealth by usurping my rightful rulership of New Columbia. Though allied, they attempted to weaken us. Though allied, they attempted to divide us. They have failed, their puppet has capitulated and their efforts have turned to dust before their eyes.”

“Now we must look towards the future. We must work together to determine what has happened here, how it could have happened and who in New Edom is to blame? Of course, the one who’s honour has been truly tarnished by this black affair is their King. A man who I once trusted. The crimes of Elijah have been revealed through his puppets in McNernia. A recent newspaper publication, consisting of a full statement by McNernia’s Defence Minister, was meant to bring the McNernian government to account for their mistakes but has instead exposed the true crimes of New Edom for the world to see. Minister Neal, a senior member of the McNernian government, made it very clear that McNernia’s recent actions in Cornellia were in assistance of New Edom. He further noted that Vionna-Frankenlisch was deemed a threat to New Edom, despite our alliance and mutual support. He even admitted that McNernia engaged in satellite surveillance of the Ayacan continent and intended to base soldiers and aircraft from New Columbia, despite that nation being a dominion of the Frankenlischian Commonwealth. These, and the information I am about to get on to are clear attempts to subvert Imperial rule in New Columbia and could be considered violations of the sovereignty of Ayaca, by extension, as they attempted to disrupt the status quo and possibly use New Columbia as a base to exert Edomite influence over Ayaca. Though we have, ourselves, been accused of similar activities in the past, I believe we have proven over the years that our dominion over New Columbia, which has been Vionna-Frankenlischian for centuries, is our only ambitions in Ayaca besides peaceful coexistence with the Ayacan states. I am even in the process of allowing New Columbia to join the Organisation of Ayacan States, to enhance our peaceful and friendly relations with that continent.”

“I have saved the worst and most damning piece for last. Minister Neal declared for the world to hear that McNernia’s intentions in these engagements were to change the state of affairs in New Columbia. Their main objective was to ensure that my name was no longer recognised as sovereign in New Columbia. Though I, like my forefathers, claim the title of Grand Imperiator and am enshrined by right of law and recognition as the Head of State of New Columbia, McNernia sought to usurp that position. Though at first my government and I assumed that McNernia, with its long history of imperialism within Cornellia, planned to seize New Columbia for itself. It has now become clear that they were acting under the orders of a foreign power to, as Minister Neal puts it, ‘make up for past mistakes’. This foreign power is undoubtedly the Holy Empire of New Edom. Most assuredly, the wicked Elijah sought to take power in New Columbia for himself, to seize the dominion against the will of its loyal citizens and forever disrupt the balance of power in Ayaca. If events had unfolded differently, the people of New Columbia would be living in the same state of oppression as those under Edomite rule in their regional colonies. I ask King-Emperor Elijah, why? Hundreds of our sailors died for New Edom when the brave Admiral Barret sailed out, when nobody else would, to fend off the Thouthenian threat. When the posturing of Ardoki, Lanorth and Thouthen threatened the sovereignty of New Edom, the United Kingdom of Vionna-Frankenlisch was among the first to render aid to their comrade-in-arms. Now their hand has been revealed and it appears we were being played for fools. Perhaps the Edomites saw us as pawns in their great game, or perhaps they sought to make us piecemeal and conquer us through further treachery. The true depth of their crimes may never be truly revealed.”

“We do not just have the word of Minister Stephen Neal on this. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of McNernia, when asked about Minister Neal’s comments regarding the United Kingdom of Vionna-Frankenlisch, concurred with his new opponent and stated that Neal’s comments were also the position of the McNernian government. It appears that McNernia was under the mistaken belief that acting under Edomite commands as willing drones would increase their influence in the Santiago Anti-Communist Treaty Organisation and go some way towards ‘proving themselves’ to New Edom. Perhaps King Elijah and his government saw McNernia as potential partners, perhaps only as willing servants to their bidding, it hardly matters now. In a recent session of the Edomite Chamber of Deputies, that body voted to order McNernian forces to withdraw from the Empire of New Edom and denounced the Kingdom of McNernia. Though we originally thought this was an honourable response to McNernian imperialism, it was, in fact, the complete opposite, a dishonourable attempt by the Edomite government to cover their tracks and throw McNernia to the wolves.”

“I’m greatly disheartened that the sad duty of uncovering these revelations fell to me and I hope that this most disagreeable situation may be resolved peacefully. It will take much time and effort to restore good relations with New Edom and to restore honour to that country and its leaders, however, I have faith that, if Andy stands with us, we shall prevail against the godless forces of darkness that would attempt to undermine us, wherever they may hide.”

It had been a long speech, not the kind to be heard in Parliament, not enough soundbites to please the ambitious politicians of the House of Commons. But James was the King. The King did not need soundbites, the King needed a loyal and understanding people, the King needed to be strong and the King needed to lead. That was what James was doing, not playing at politics where he’d never beat the likes of Zimmermann, Astron and Howe. He was the King, and Kings ruled.

James stepped back from the Royal Balcony and into the lounge behind him where his daughter, wife and the Imperial Broadcaster awaited him. At the sight of Sarah, James’ cheeks burned with shame that his teenage daughter had to bully him into something as simple as giving a speech. She embraced him tenderly, and that calmed his nerves endlessly. Oliver Wood was clapping and Queen Jane moved close, putting one arm around her husband and the other around her daughter. James was the tallest of them all at six-foot, two inches and Jane was six foot even, making her almost level with her husband. The King considered the ferocity of his daughter, the shortest in the room at 5ft 2, she would make a fine Duchess, he considered, happy with the appointment he had made a few days prior. She’d certainly shake things up at court.

The moment was interrupted by a groaning. The King’s gut complained with hunger and he finally laughed for the first time since he awoke that morning. “Luncheon?” He asked, with a sigh.