A Fragile Peace [PT, IC, TG to Join]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Founded: Jul 28, 2020

A Fragile Peace [PT, IC, TG to Join]

Postby Loughmar » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:15 pm

St. James Square
Imlen, Kingdom of Loughmar
28 July 1980

At 12:01 pm, The War ended.

Perhaps it once had a different name than "The War," something better for the history books. But for those that trudged through the daily misery and death that it wrought, it was simply The War. The War had begun so long ago that most people didn't remember how it started, or why. Something about the working class struggle against the privileged elites. Some kind of religious dispute, perhaps. It was all academic at this point.

In any case, no one seemed to have won. The nation had been devastated and brought to its metaphorical knees. The battle lines became so confused, the various warring factions blurred to the point of absurdity, entire cities were turned to rubble under pointless and unceasing shelling. Eventually, the stalemate became so unmovable and the once-raging flame of wartime fervor finally sputtered out, leaving everyone feeling somewhat like they were shaking the national equivalent of a particularly bad hangover. A ceasefire came as quickly and unexpectedly as peace had vanished all those years ago.

A monarch was more or less chosen at random from the surviving royalty, the nation's basic institutions were re-established under new inoffensive identities, and a glimmer of hope reappeared that Loughmar might rise from the ashes of near-total devastation.

Lieutenant Marcus Stevenson checked his pocketwatch and tucked it back into the pocket of his dark blue tunic. Stevenson wore the austere, somber uniform of the Royal Loughmar Security Forces, or RLSF.

"Right, lads," he spoke to his assembled squad, cracking a grin, "Let's get to work."

The officers of the RLSF left the relative safety of their armored van and stepped into the midday light. The RLSF had been stood up as the national police force to keep the peace in the uncertain days following the ceasefire. While it seemed the major armies had grown tired of war and were willing to lay down their arms in disgust, numerous paramilitaries and criminal groups appeared all too happy to take advantage of the uncertainty and chaos. Labelled collectively as "terrorists," these groups meant that the RLSF had its work cut out for them.

Today's mission was to protect the newly-opened town of Imlen, once a no-man's land where most civilians had gone underground or fled. In the days following the ceasefire, it was essential to establish civilian confidence in the new government.

The main avenue of Imlen was largely intact, though some buildings here and there crumbled from disrepair or bomb damage. The squad of ten officers fanned out, scanning the area. Beleaguered and miserable civilians trudged around the streets, looking for missing family members and hunting for basic food items at the small merchant stands that had sprung up overnight.

The civilians regarded the men of the RLSF with a mix of suspicion and indifference; the sight of armed men in the streets was not new to them, though these men were in unfamiliar uniforms. Policemen did not normally patrol in heavy flak jackets with rifles and sub-machine guns at their side.

Lieutenant Stevenson nodded grimly at those he passed, as if to give an air of friendliness tinged with the seriousness of his duties. He kept an eye on his squad and listened carefully to the radio headset that sat over his left ear. Despite all this, the scene almost seemed like a return to normal life.

For now, it seemed, peace could take hold in this devastated land.
Last edited by Loughmar on Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Postby Loughmar » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:28 pm

Fort Gareth Military Demobilization Center
Harewen, Kingdom of Loughmar
29 July 1980


Lance-Corporal James Falwell stepped forward from the stale-smelling, humid mass of soldiers standing in long lines that stretched to the back of the defunct bomber hangar. He handed his identity papers over to the sour-looking civilian clerk perched behind a low desk. The clerk glanced over it, checking for God-only-knew-what, stamped it a few times and slid it into the desk drawer.

"Anything to declare?" the old man asked, squinting over the top of his glasses.

James' mind ticked. Declare? Like he was going through customs into a foreign country.

"No." he mumbled under his breath, shifting anxiously on his feet.

"Insignia, please." the clerk demanded.

Clutched in James' hand was the totality of his military identity; patches, chevrons and ribbons stripped from his uniform. He handed them over, half ashamed. Part of the peace agreement meant that no one would be permitted to keep evidence of their affiliation or any proof of their heroism.

The patches were swept into a bin containing hundreds of others by the clerk.

James was feeling uncomfortable without his repeating rifle nearby. It had become something of a comfort in new situations. Despite the relative calm of the area, the whole idea of a ceasefire seemed unreal, like an enemy trick. He, like many of the other soldiers around him, had been extremely loathe to surrender his weapons. All of the men knew full well that their beloved arms were most likely to be destroyed in an effort to maintain the peace.

The clerk continued to scribble away, marking James' new identity handbook for his new life. After an eternity, he looked up.

"Mr. James Henry Falwell, formerly serving in the rank of Lance-Corporal, Loyalist Forces. You are hereby discharged from all military duties and responsibilities, and absolved of any crimes committed in wartime. Good luck and godspeed."

The clerk passed James' new identity handbook back to him and gestured toward the office door. Roughly-made civilian clothes were waiting in bins, sorted for size, for the men to exchange with their tattered and frayed uniforms. James changed quickly, passed the final checkpoint and left the center.

As he passed through the gate, idling buses waited, marked with the names of towns and cities they were destined for. Every man was free to chose his destination; he could return home and try to search for his loved ones, or allow them to presume that he had been lost and seek a new life elsewhere.

With no known family left alive, James opted for the latter, and boarded a bus for Imlen.


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Postby Loughmar » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:38 pm

Capital Security Zone (CSZ)
Castle Barwick, Kingdom of Loughmar
31 July 1980

The sky was overcast for a summer day, though the air was oddly humid. A light rain pattered against the windows of the grey prefabricated buildings and concrete barriers which lined the nearly-empty streets. Security Forces patrols roamed at intervals, manning vehicle checkpoints and checking the alleys and side streets for any sign of trouble. The Capital Security Zone was a subdued, fortified area that seemed more like a prison than a city.

At the center was Castle Barwick, an imposing fortification and the seat of the newly-reformed monarchy.

The monarch himself, Prince Michael, was a lanky youth of twenty-five. Most of the relatively decent royals had been killed off, leaving only the dregs and those that had survived by fleeing abroad. Michael had been one of the latter, returning to his homeland only after he found that he was a candidate for the throne. It was later determined that he indeed was the rightful heir of the long-deposed monarchy.

The meeting room was filled with many former military generals, though now all dressed in dark, dour suits. They made up the Cabinet, the Prince's closest advisors and heads of government. Pipe and cigarette smoke hung in the air and the smell of freshly-poured coffee wafted over the long rectangular table. Knowing the dreadful recent pasts of most of the men at the table, it was likely that a few cups had been spiked with vodka or whiskey from a flask hidden neatly under a suit jacket. There was an attitude of "don't ask, don't tell," when it came to day-drinking in the Cabinet; there was an unspoken understanding that it essentially kept the government functioning.

"Well," snorted Michael, leaning back in his high-backed chair, "Let's get on with it, then."

A few barely-suppressed eye rolls and sighs came from the men in the audience old enough to be the Prince's father. The disdain in the room was palpable. While the decision to re-instate the monarchy was agreed upon as a measure to unite the nation and provide a clear leader for a shattered people, the particular choice of monarch had alienated many of the senior leaders of the post-wartime government.

"First order of business," Interior Minister Roger Carby said, clearing his throat and opening a dossier, "There is some significant unrest in the area of Deremar. The Security Forces have suffered some casualties attempting to subdue the so-called 'bread riots.' Local residents are complaining that the food shortage is becoming critical. We are requesting the deployment of additional forces in the area, taken from... erm, quieter, areas of the country and the re-direct of emergency rations to quell the--"

"Yes, yes, yes," Prince Michael interrupted, "Do what you must, Carby."

Carby flashed a look of daggers at the disinterested monarch, who did not notice as he examined his fingernails. The fact that one had to run simple administrative decisions past a snobbish child clearly chafed these men, who did their best to maintain an air of decorum.

"... Yes, sir." he replied, filing away his papers, "I believe that Minister Torwald--"

There was a deep, thunder-like rumble and the heavy meeting table vibrated. The windows rattled and the cups on the table shook violently. The ministers stood and moved to the windows, spotting a dark plume of smoke rising from the near distance.

The experienced military men among them knew that a bomb of some kind, a large one, had gone off just outside the CSZ cordons.

"Bloody hell," Prince Michael whispered, a tinge of fear in his voice.

Plainclothes men of the Special Service stepped in and ushered the Prince away from the window.

"You'd better come with us, sir." one of the men muttered to the boy, the urgency in his voice making it abundantly clear that it was not optional.

The Prince was hurried away by his bodyguards and the Ministers of the Cabinet were left to themselves.

"Bloody hell, indeed." Carby said, packing up his things, "Meeting's adjourned, then, gentlemen?"

A few snickers rose up from the jaded men, who knew their nation could be headed for dire straits indeed.


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