The Will of the Father (MT, CANCELED)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Mount Zeon
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Founded: Oct 23, 2018

The Will of the Father (MT, CANCELED)

Postby Mount Zeon » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:33 pm

OOC: Mature content warning for this thread. No invasions or large-scale use of military force, please. Diplomatic responses are welcome. Please talk to me via Telegram if you want to do any sort of covert action beyond information gathering. The OP is long, I know, but I'm hoping to give everyone a good idea of what kind of nation you'll be dealing with in this RP. Feel free to ask me questions or propose ideas via Telegram.

New Jerusalem

His children waited for him.

John Matthews stood in the antechamber, looking at the door which led out to the balcony. From that balcony, he would look down on one of the many courtyards of the palace temple and see the throngs of faithful Zeonese gathered to hear his words. Most of them lived in or near the capital city of New Jerusalem, but for each of these public appearances a number of lucky or well-connected Zeonese from other parts of the Kingdom were given transport to the capital to see the Father in person. To look upon the Father of the Kingdom was an honor that all faithful and true people of Mount Zeon desired deep in their hearts. The Father ruled them, yes, but he provided for them. It was by the will of the Father that they received food to fill their bellies. It had been the Prophet Matthias, the first Father and founder of the Kingdom, who had lifted the peasants of Mount Zeon out of their ignorance and brought them into the light of the True Spirit. Matthias and his sons ruled the only bastion of truly free men on Earth. Surrounded by the forces of the devil, who used his feminine agents to enslave the spirits of men, the Kingdom of Mount Zeon stood firm. Here men could serve the role that the Lord God had intended, as fathers of their families who ruled supreme in the household. Here in Mount Zeon, women were in their proper place: submissive and subservient to their fathers and husbands.

Father John regarded himself in a full-length mirror set into the wall. His tall, thin frame was clothed in the finest garments: a green military frock coat, lined in white silk and sporting buttons of shined brass. Green pants of the same shade ended just below the knee, where they disappeared into impeccably shined black wellington-style boots. Once he put on the crimson sash that hung near the door, he would be fully dressed as the King and Father of Mount Zeon. His people would see him, and through him they would understand all the glory of the Kingdom. They needed the reminder. Hard times, lean times, had begun to creep over Mount Zeon. The recent harvests had been poor. The Kingdom strived to be self-sufficient, but its autarky always sat on a knife edge. If harvests did not improve soon, then the specter of famine would darken the horizons. The last great famine had forced his predecessor, Joshua, to make a humiliating deal with the mock-men of Astoria and Parina, who wished to see the men of Mount Zeon condemned to slavery under the whips of the woman devils. Father John would not submit to that same indignity. Another solution would be found.

He walked to the wall and picked up the sash. It was a brilliant crimson, with twelve golden tassels representing the ancient tribes of Israel, the first people chosen by the Lord to carry His message to the world. That had been before the Long Tribulation, when God abandoned his children to test their faith, and permitted the Devil to sow his evil among the land. Matthias, Prophet of the God of the Jews, had ended the Tribulation and proved that real men still walked the earth. John slowly, lovingly, placed the sash across his chest and adjusted it until it was perfectly centered and correctly aligned. He took a deep breath and walked to the door, then nodded to the petite black woman standing at a sort of military parade rest. Verity Wagenen, his loyal aide, turned the doorknob and opened the door to the balcony. Light flooded in through the new opening, but Father John did not blink or shield his eyes as he walked out into the hot summer air of a New Jerusalem afternoon. The roars of the crowd reached his ears before he had gotten close enough to the edge to see the teeming mass below. They chanted his name, shouting “Father John!” with a religious fervor so intense it could ignite dry kindling. He stood on the balcony, basking in the adoration of the crowds.

“My children!”

The crowd let out one final roar, the people basking in his acknowledgement of them as he basked in their professions of love and loyalty.

“My children, months ago we were tested. We faced a legion of enemies, the infidel servants of the devil and his apostate puppets. They sought to destroy us! They sought to put the blinders of ignorance and the chains of slavery back upon you. They sought to snuff out the single bastion of the True Spirit on this earth. In our moment of trial, did we falter? Did we succumb to the powers of darkness?”

The crowd howled out “No!” in a single voice, loud enough to drown out a thousand guns firing at once.

“We have emerged from the shadow of treachery and invasion. The Kingdom remains! The legacy of the Prophet Matthias remains!”

The crowd cheered wildly. Father John let them show their zeal, and only after a long moment did he raise his hands for quiet and begin the prayers which the crowd had gathered to hear.

Our Lord in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom has come.
Thy will is done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.
Preserve us from temptation, and deliver us from the evil ones.
For this kingdom, and its power, and its glory, is yours forever.

On the Shore of Little Galilee

Musical Inspiration

He walked naked before the Lord.

The lake had been named for the place where Jesus Christ, one of the last Prophets sent by the Lord before He made His deal with the Devil and abandoned the faithful to test them, had lived and preached. It was some distance from New Argyle, the city where the Prophet Matthias had received his own enlightenment. It was in the waters of Little Galilee that Mathias had immersed his first disciples, washing away theirs sins and their false baptisms and christening them as children of the True Spirit of the Lord. Now the lake was a place of retreat for the Kingdom’s rulers. Father John went here to commune with the Lord, as his predecessors had done.

His skin was not bare: he wore a simple shirt and pants, and a pair of sandals. But he was fully bare before the Lord God, fully open to whatever message the Father of all humanity wished to deliver unto him. The skies were dark with clouds, and a strong wind whipped his shoulder-length hair around his head. It was likely to rain soon. It had been a wet summer in Mount Zeon: some areas of the country had been flooded, which had further disrupted harvests. The Lord was testing his children once again. He had sent the Parinans as a scourge, to humble the Kingdom and to expose the apostasy that rotted in some parts of the land. Now he sent rain and heat and other scourges, to make full Zeonese bellies feel the pang of hunger once again. The Lord was steeling the people of Mount Zeon for some great trial, that much was clear. To forge a blade of the strongest steel, all the impurities had to be removed. The iron must be tempered and strengthened.

As waves crashed against the rocky shore, Father John approached the site where he would commune with the Lord. He drew a small container from the pocket of his pants and clicked open the metal tin. From inside, he drew a single small pill and placed it delicately on his tongue. With a smooth gulp, he swallowed the capsule. It would take effect in a few minutes. Time enough to walk the rest of the distance to the small patch of worn grass, facing the lake shore. Time enough for the storm, the expression of the fury and the power of the Lord, to fully manifest before him. Father John knelt in the same place and closed his eyes, muttering prayers as he felt the fiery poison rush outward from his chest, inflaming his limbs and then racing into his head. When the fire in his skull blazed fully to life, he opened his eyes and beheld the Truth.

Before him was the Lord, a figure of storm clouds wreathed in the armor of a warrior. The Lord God not as the Finneyites saw Him, as this gentle womanlike coward, but as the Father of all who had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and cast the Israelites into the desert when they doubted His power. The truth of the Lord. The cloud figure strode forward, raising a sword of lightning against the Devil. The lightning sword came down as light flashed brilliant white. Father John saw Cain and Abel, watched Cain strike his brother down. The tides of the lake rose suddenly the devoured the scene, then rose higher and higher until they reached to the heavens. Father John wept, as he had before, in the face of the Truth and its terrifying, awful power.

When he awoke, laying in the patch of grass by Little Galilee, his body was slick with sweat. Dirt and blades of grass clung to his legs when he stood up, shaky at first, and began the walk back. He had seen the Truth, and he knew now what was to be done. The Lord had made His will clear to his most faithful servant.

Prophet’s Retreat

“So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence…”

Isaiah Smith nodded, recognizing the line from Genesis. He understood that Father John wanted him to finish the passage.

“…and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”

“Tell me Isaiah,” Father John said from where he was standing, looking out the window of the large study. “Do you think we are in Eden, or Nod?”

Isaiah didn’t understand the question. It seemed an obvious answer. “Surely, Father, if anywhere on earth can be said to be the new Eden, this is it.”

Prophet’s Retreat had been built shortly after the establishment of the Kingdom, as a place where Matthias traveled to receive further instructions from the Lord and to speak in confidence with his trusted disciples. The successors to Matthias had continued to use the isolated rural villa for those same purposes. From the large window, Father John could see the now calm lake, though not the spot where he had received his enlightenment the night before. Trees stretched towards the horizon, though not as far as the eye could see. In the distance one could make out the skyline, such as it was, of New Argyle.

“I have been granted the wisdom to see otherwise,” John replied. “For we have among us those who would be like Cain, and flee from their sins into other lands. Do you remember what happened to the boat which Jonah tried to take to Tarshish?”

Another easy question.

“Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.”

“Exactly!” Father John crossed to where Isaiah was sitting in a few long strides, one finger raised in sharp punctuation. “There are those who have fled from sin, from the rightful punishment of the Lord, and they have tried to hide among the faithful here. And for this, the Lord has sent us trials. He has taken away our bread, and made great storms come down upon us. I have been granted this Truth.”

Isaiah Smith was not frightened by the intensity of the other man, but he seemed to shrink in the close presence of the Father of the Kingdom. “Who are these people, Father?”

“The Brazuelans,” Father John announced. “We welcomed them, as Egypt welcomed Joseph. But now they spread among us, gaining wealth and land, and they threaten us from within. We must humble them, as the Lord humbled Israel by placing it under the yoke of Egypt. They say the words of the faith but do not believe them. They must be made to understand.”

Father John looked at Isaiah for the first time. “Do you understand, my child? What must be done?”

Isaiah Smith nodded. “Yes, Father. It will be done.”

World Press Agency: Observers concerned about possible ethnic cleansing in Mount Zeon

International human rights watchdog groups have begun raising the alarm about reports that the reclusive Kingdom of Mount Zeon has begun a campaign targeting immigrants from its neighbor, the Republic of Brazuela. While the closed nature of Zeonese society makes it difficult to confirm the accuracy of reports, sufficient evidence has been obtained to suggest that Zeonese government forces are performing mass sweeps in major cities. Some reports have suggested that young children have been separated from their parents. One international human rights organization claims to have reliable information that property and assets owned by Brazuelans are being confiscated by the government.

Mount Zeon’s government, which is led by the self-styled “Father of the Kingdom” John Matthews and is organized on the basis of an extreme offshoot of Christianity, has made no public comment about the scale or purpose of the raids as of yet. Until now, Mount Zeon had been relatively welcoming of Brazuelan immigrants, who flocked to Mount Zeon to get away from sparse economic opportunities and political instability in their home country.

The Human Dignity Project, an NGO focused on international human rights, has warned that this could be the first phase of a campaign aimed at cleansing Mount Zeon of all inhabitants perceived as “foreign.”
Last edited by Mount Zeon on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Mount Zeon sounds very much like somewhere I'd like to avoid like the plague
Mount Zeon: is it the farming
New Edom: Mount Zeon is a nation of ass men
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Oh good God, how many of you people are there in this region?
Novitera: What expensive but low volume goods come out of Mount Zeon?
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Wives

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Mount Zeon
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Founded: Oct 23, 2018

Postby Mount Zeon » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:47 pm

New Jerusalem

When Father John appeared before his people to lead them in prayers, there were no cameras present. These appearances were special because only those who were personally present could experience them. But the whole nation needed to hear the speech that Father John would give today. So in the same courtyard and balcony where he preached to the faithful, now cameras were present to carry the speech over the government-run television news network, and microphones were hooked into the systems that would broadcast the speech over the radio. Most of the rural population of Mount Zeon did not have access to television or the internet, but radio was very common. All stations in the country would be switching over to broadcast the speech, interrupting their usual mixture of local news, weather reports, hymns, and religious broadcasts. As usual, there was a large crowd gathered to hear the words of the Father of the Kingdom. He had quieted their cheering quickly: this was not the time for raucous celebration. There was tough work ahead.

“My children, once more the Lord in his Wisdom tests his faithful. I have heard your cries, felt the hunger in your bellies. I have stood amongst the waters which have poured over their bounds and drowned your homes and your fields. I too have felt the desire to know why such harsh trials are visited on us, the bastion of Truth and the refuge of free men. The Will of the Lord is mysterious, for He works in ways which mere mortals cannot understand. But the Lord is not cruel without reason. When Nineveh succumbed to wickedness, the Lord did send his messenger among them to warn them of their folly, so that they would not be blind when His anger struck. So the Lord has spoken to me, your Father, and told me of the reasons that He has sent HIs scourges to chastise us.”

The crowd was deathly silent, hanging on his words. Around the country, families leaned in towards radio sets or televisions, listening or watching to the speech.

“Among us are sinners, who seek to hide amongst the faithful and flee from the Lord’s righteous justice. They are Cain, and they see Mount Zeon as their land of Nod where they might go out from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord’s sight is without limit! He has seen these sinners among us, living in your towns. He has seen us consort with these agents of corruption, treat them as friends and countrymen, ignorant to their true nature. This is why our fields lay fallow and our rivers run over. For when Jonah took the ship to Tarshish, the sent a great storm to sink the vessel. And so as the sailors did throw Jonah overboard, and save themselves from death, so we too must cast out the sinners and the impure among us.”

“Beginning today, we shall begin uprooting those who sought to hide among the faithful and defy the will of the Lord! Our error in granting sanctuary to the Brazuelans shall be corrected. For it is decreed, none who entered from that land shall be permitted to hold property. They shall not hold any position of authority or power over the faithful. They will be cast down and humbled! But as the Lord was benevolent and gave Nineveh a chance to avoid destruction, to seek redemption, so shall we strive to lift the ignorant out of their sins. We shall educate them in the teachings of the Prophet, and the Truth of our Church. And when we have shown that we remain the faithful children of the Lord, our Father, we shall once again know plenty!”

The crowd roared to life, cheering and chanting the name of their leader. Father John quieted them again, and clasped his hands together. Together, the Father and his children, all across the nation, all began to pray.


Many Brazuelans who immigrated to Mount Zeon found their way to the industrial city of Millstown. The growing factories needed many hands, and a man who could work the machines could make enough money to think about buying a plot of land in the country. Some Brazuelans who had worked in similar factory jobs before coming the Kingdom rose from simple line workers to shift managers or foremen, though none of them owned factories. Some families had been in Mount Zeon for generations, though there was little intermarriage between Brazuelans and Zeonese. When Father John had ordered the Brazuelans to be humbled, Millstown was naturally the epicenter of shockwaves caused by that decree.

Even before Father John’s speech, the Kingdom’s internal security had begun making arrests. Brazuelan foremen and shift managers in the factories disappeared, arrested without charge by the local militia or the Judges, the internal security force of the Kingdom. Not just the men, but whole families were escorted out of their homes and taken away in trucks and vans. No one knew what would happen to their neighbors and coworkers, but there was no room in the Kingdom for dissent or questioning of the Father’s will. If the Judges had been sent to take someone away, and you had doubts about whether it was just, you kept those doubts to yourself. Then Father John made his speech. In a nation either converted or raised to fanaticism, it was like throwing a lit match on a puddle of gasoline.

Now when the Judges arrived to arrest more Brazuelans, sometimes emptying out entire floors of apartment buildings, Zeonese did not simply watch and silently wonder. Now there were jeering, screaming crowds, surrounding the frightened victims and hurling abuse. There was not famine in the Kingdom yet, but belts had begun to be tightened. Half-empty stomachs fueled anger and resentment, and now those emotions had a tangible target. Militia, clad in their mottled green camouflage and wielding semiautomatic rifles with bayonets fixed, now spent most of their time holding back the baying crowds while the black-clad Judges went about the task of rounding up Brazuelans for transport to unknown locations.

Not everyone felt anger towards the newest victims of the regime. Some Zeonese felt sympathy, and tried to help their friends or sometimes their family evade the sweeps. Sometimes this succeeded, if only temporarily. But when it was discovered that someone had sheltered enemies of the state, the punishment was immediate and harsh. A shaky video, apparently recorded on a small camera from a hidden location, soon made its way out of the Kingdom and onto the internet. In the video, four Judges herded a family of Brazuelans out of an apartment on the edge of Millstown. The men walked with the hunched backs of people who had been beaten, unable to stand up and defy their captors even through posture. The women were crying and begging as they and several smaller children were pushed and dragged out of the building. But the truly shocking moment came when two Zeonese, a man and a woman, were thrown down the front stairs of the building by a pair of militia. The Zeonese, who apparently had been hiding the family from the authorities, were kicked and dragged over to the side of the building. At the orders from an officer, a small firing squad of militia took aim at the crumpled figures and fired multiple shots into each person, leaving the bloody corpses lying in the shade of the brick building as the vans carrying the detainees drove away.
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Mount Zeon sounds very much like somewhere I'd like to avoid like the plague
Mount Zeon: is it the farming
New Edom: Mount Zeon is a nation of ass men
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Oh good God, how many of you people are there in this region?
Novitera: What expensive but low volume goods come out of Mount Zeon?
Vionna-Frankenlisch: Wives

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Founded: Apr 04, 2013

Postby Astoria » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:53 pm

The Central Office
The Executive Mansion
Columbia, United States of Astoria

The Presidential Daily Briefing was an affair that could sometimes last hours, especially with the current President. David Jefferson Adams was a man who liked to get down into the weeds, and while he did not interrupt the briefing officer while he made his presentation, he did take time between each segment to ask questions. The first few times, the officer had spent most of this question time professing his ignorance, since he had only been sent with the big picture summary of the events. Very quickly, the intelligence agencies responsible for assembling the information packet began putting much more information in the written materials, and giving the briefing officer more specifics to answer the President’s questions. Unfortunately, sometimes the intelligence the President wanted simply did not exist yet.

“We’re still working on determining what exactly is happening to these detainees,” the officer from the National Intelligence Agency explained. “The problem is that with Mount Zeon’s existing gulag system, it’s hard to tell if any sort of concentration camps or detention facilities are being set up. We can’t distinguish easily between government actions in response to this new directive from Father John and normal operations.”

“Well they have to be going somewhere,” President Adams said in a frustrated tone. “You don’t just round up an entire population with no plan for what to do once you’ve got them all.”

“Sir, it’s possible that is, in fact, what is happening,” the intelligence officer replied. “The regime is totally personality driven. This is a major departure from previous policy, which was fairly accepting of Brazuelan immigrants. It’s entirely possible that there is no plan for what to do with the Brazuelans after they’ve been arrested.”

Press Room
The Executive Mansion
Columbia, United States of Astoria

The Astorian press had their own version of the Presidential Daily Briefing: a visit to the Press Room to hear the latest updates from the Press Secretary, Jennifer Carlo. She faced the room of reporters and cameras with the cool poise of a veteran professional, running through the major announcements for the day. The President would be traveling to the state of Atlantica for a campaign rally and a meeting with the Governor. Polls continued to show that Adams had the lead, and would win by a slim majority if the election were held tomorrow. Of course, the election was not actually happening until January. As always, most of the press briefing was taken up by questions. Carlo was questioned about the deployment of a carrier group to the Georgian Gulf – did President Adams intend to get involved in the ongoing fighting in Aldastan? Would he seek Congressional authorization for a long-term mission there? The Press Secretary gave noncommittal answers. This went on for some time, until finally a reporter from Atlantis Cable News brought up Mount Zeon.

“What does the President have to say about the reports from Mount Zeon?”

“Unfortunately,” Carlo replied. “This newest instance of human rights violations in Mount Zeon is unsurprising. President Adams is working with the State Department and our regional allies to coordinate a response.”

“Does the President think the use of the term ethnic cleansing is warranted?”

“I’m not going to get into the semantics of what to call these arrests, but they are obviously immoral and unjust and I think that’s sufficient for moral clarity.”

“Will there be any effort to reach out to the Zeonese government?”

“Our position remains the same,” Carlo answered. “President Adams stands ready to negotiate on a number of issues, but only if the regime proves that it is coming to the table in good faith. John Matthews has not shown any sign that he is willing to do that.”
The United States of Astoria

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Thermodolia » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:29 pm

Operation Oversight
Near Mount Zeon Territorial Waters
TNS Nocturnal

TNS Nocturnal a Tyrfing-class Submersible Strike Carrier had just surfaced outside of Mount Zeon Territorial Waters. As a strike carrier the Nocturnal normally launched fighter jets for surprise strike attacks, however this time the ship would be used for launching three UM-03N Phoenix drones.

The drones where chosen over human piloted spy planes due to the extreme hostility of Mount Zeon. While Thermodolia had a spy satellite monitoring the Zeonese for the past few months a satellite can only capture so much. Which is where the drones come in they where to fly to nearly 16,000 meters up and observe the nation, if an area of interest was found the satellites would focus on that position.

The mission was a risky one as the drones where expensive and they might not get far into Mount Zeon. So all three drones where armed with two air-to-ground missiles and two air-to-air missiles. These along with other measures where to be for defense only.

As the drones took off from the sub each at a different random interval and each going to three different coordinates the Nocturnal prepared to submerge. For the next few days she would wait on patrol for her next mission assignment
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Postby Parina » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:20 pm

Covenant, Amber Reyes County
The problem, or benefit, of living in a nation that was only as large as a county was that the head of state could arrive at any trouble spot in no time at all. This was greatly appreciated by most citizens of the Autonomous Crown Territory of Amber Reyes County, but for Matthew Yates it meant that there was no buffer between the everyday mundane problems of the County and him. Anytime there was any sort of emergency, even something so small as a power line going down in a storm, his office would get calls within the hour asking him to come down and see what could be done to fix it. He felt more like a handyman than a politician. He supposed that, judging by many of the politicians he had met, this made him a much better leader.

He’d never wanted this position. When Amber Reyes County had thrown off the yoke of Father John and rebelled against the government in New Jerusalem, Matt Yates had been a simple farmer from outside the town of Covenent. Then he’d become a would-be peace negotiator, trying to go and speak with Father John to reach an accommodation. That far-fetched idea had never gotten beyond the earliest stages, and he’d soon become a leader of rebels and a fighting man. Then Parina had stepped in and saved them from destruction, and taken them into their nation. Somehow when the dust had settled, it had been Matthew Yates up on the stage accepting the position of Governor, leader of the whole County and liaison between the citizens of Amber Reyes and the Crown Republic of Parina. Matt was sure that he’d been tricked into it by somebody, he just couldn’t figure out who.

Normally his days were long but uneventful. People had normal problems – it had been a wet and hot summer and so the rivers were high and the fields were dry, meaning lots of flooding and not a whole lot of growing. Farmers were complaining about the conditions, complaining about having to deal with all the refugees from the Kingdom who’d moved in among their neighborhoods, complaining about the Parinans and their strange ways. Most of Matt’s time was spent acting as a cultural ambassador, trying to smooth over the tempers that flared whenever a Parinan woman visited the County and got a harsh reminder that the people here remained Zeonese, even if they were no longer part of Mount Zeon. But today was different.

“First few got across the river two nights ago,” Edward Kirk was saying from a chair in the office. “Said they got word of what was coming from a sympathetic militiaman who helped them get to the border. Now it’s turning into a flood.”

“I don’t think a dozen Brazuelans constitutes a flood,” Yates retorted. “What do they say about what’s going on over there?”

“They don’t know much,” Kirk replied. “Said Father John declared them all sinners, said they were causing the floods and the bad harvests like Jonah on the boat. Said a bunch of their friends and some family got rounded up by Judges, taken somewhere they don’t know.”

“Damn,” Yates said somberly. “Well, we’re not about to start turning people away now.”

“Matt, we don’t have the space –“

“Don’t you start giving me that line,” Yates interjected. “Just cause you and some of the others don’t like it, doesn’t mean we’re about to put up a No Vacancy sign. Anybody who gets in and wants to stay here gets to stay. That’s the promise.” That was also one of the pledges that the Parinans had insisted that he make. Matt suspected that it was in part to keep the refugee flow from pouring over into their territory instead. Now they could dump all the exiles in Amber Reyes County and put them out of mind. But Matt meant what he said. The Parinans had taken his wife and children in during the rebellion and probably saved their lives by doing so. They weren’t the only ones to look for shelter over the border either. Matt owed it – to his conscience, if nothing else – to make Amber Reyes County a refuge for others who’d suffered the wrath of Father John.

Government Hall, Parsius
Prime Minister David Northlight looked over the assembled men and began making his calculations. Each man sitting around the table represented a certain interest, and Northlight would need a good majority here to get anything done. The calculations required for that majority – the promises that would have to be made, the deals that would need to be struck – were just as complex as the highest theoretical math. Except generally when mathematicians did their equations, things stayed consistent. In politics, the variables could change in an instant.

The Lord Foreign Minister Anthony Newsome sat on the left side of the table, near the Lord Minister of Defense and other government officials. He was an aristocratic man who had generally been supportive of Northlight’s foreign policy, but the man harbored greater political ambitions and Northlight would have to ensure he did not grant the man too much influence within the government just to get his way on this subject. The Lord Minister of Defense Thomas Hood was a fighter, an Army man from an Army family who was usually the voice of action in the cabinet. He would have little to say in this discussion.

The human fulcrum around which everything turned was Jean Vallette, member of Parliament from the Lakewood Province, sitting across the table from Newsome. He was a grasper and a schemer, always looking for ways to advance his own political career and the status of his collection of pet MPs who followed him in all things. Vallette’s support or opposition here would be the deciding factor in what actions Northlight felt comfortable taking when this meeting adjourned.

“You have all seen the reports,” Northlight began. “Father John has apparently decided that the reason his people are about to starve is that they’ve let the Brazuelans live in their country. So he’s sending his thugs to round them up. I’ve called this meeting to get everyone read in on the particulars, and to make sure we’re all on the same page regarding our official response.”

“And what is,” Vallette asked innocently. “Our official response?”

Northlight suppressed the dull anger at being interrupted and smiled at the politician. “I’ve asked the Lord Minister of Defense to put the Border Guard on a heightened alert, but mostly what we expect is a slight increase the number of refugees crossing both our borders and the borders of the Amber Reyes Territory. I’m hopeful that this government can count on support for a bill appropriating a small emergency fund to finance the additional resources needed to handle them quickly and efficiently.”

“But what of our long-term response?” Vallette asked insistently. Are you going to take us to war again?”

“For now, we will do what we can to help those who make it out of Mount Zeon.” the Prime Minister said slowly, as if he was testing the ground under his feet for mines. “I have instructed our ambassador in Astoria to approach their government and see what, if anything, they intend to do about this new development.”

Diplomatic Message (Standard Encryption)
From Louis Finlay, Ambassador from the Crown Republic of Parina
To the Hon. Paige Tallmer, Secretary of State for the United States of Astoria

Madame Secretary,

In light of the recent reports coming out of Mount Zeon, I would like to request a meeting with a representative of your government to discuss the possibility of a coordinated response. The Prime Minister has instructed me to communicate the urgent desire for a multilateral approach in this situation.

Amb. Finlay

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