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Banishing the Shadow [FT/FanT, closed]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Menelmacar
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Banishing the Shadow [FT/FanT, closed]

Postby Menelmacar » Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:00 pm

Co-written with Vinyaangmar (The Ctan)

Minas Tirith, Arda, Menelmacar
35 Quellë 31935


Morilindendil held a position of great gravity; as a keeper of the Apacenyapaca, the Seer Court of Menelmacar, she was one of those charged with maintaining the eternal watch of the homeland. She had many colleagues and companions in this task, and many had more trying provinces than her own, for she was among the watchers of the Menelmacari heartland upon Arda. In ancient days, when ten thousand years ago the lands here had been a primaeval wilderness, her current residence had been raised up, and it bore an even more ancient name, Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard, a name of several fortresses in history, both elven and mannish. It was dominated by a pale tower that had once been a great lighthouse that could be seen by mariners from afar and which was now a pinnacle for tourists to view the eastern ocean.

The Watch Keepers kept their offices in the inner ward of the tiered city, and she had taken a moment to appreciate the gloaming Hours of Night, while the lights across the city were extinguished and the stars above shone unhindered. Changes in the things she watched were rare enough that time to step away was no lack of diligence; the overwatch systems were always active at any rate.

The air was cool and the wind was the high silken wind of the autumnal seas; in an hour the gleaming spires, streets, and towers would spoil the view a little, but still. Tracing the stars of Soronúmë she was lost for a moment, enjoying the slow twist of the stars with precession, trying to match them up to her childhood, ten thousand years ago.

A chime sounded; broken off immediately, this was not a call but an aural cue to focus her attention on a priority message. “Probability matrix collapse event in progress. Emergency alert.”

She spun on her heel and stepped inside, her small coterie of knife-missiles closing in around her as the station went onto alert, the crimson lights within rising a little, easing her eyes for the holographic screens projected across the room.

The largest of the screens painted an extremely simplified picture of the overall situation locally at any given time. According to complex metrics, it was the synthesis of data from countless sources, the overall path to direct security and prosperity for the homeland; there was an intoxicating quality in data, an idea that because numbers could be assigned, absolute truth could be told.

That wasn’t quite true, and the art of defining and analyzing threats was a complex discipline. And yet the art of finding the best ways to ensure prosperity and freedom was one that made that look like child’s play.

A simple display such as this could never display anything except the simplest of information, even the displays around it that displayed stochastic matrices of probabilities assigned to thousands of variables were imprecise, for it took lifetimes to learn to understand such things.

Unless there was some great crisis going on, then it was very easy to do so.

The main display was amending itself second by second, the effect of data being parsed as quickly as it came in, the artificial intelligence checking data and amending it. It was already actionable, though she was not sure what had triggered the unprecedented revisions.

She was an expert in one thing that machines were poor at, no matter how transapient they were; she was a song-hearer, and her talents lay in picking the threads of fate, and her understanding of the intricate calculus that was displayed around her and the integrated instrumentalities that were used to draw from the complex library of prophecy and prediction.

She cast out her mind, speaking words of power as she turned from the displays to the water held in a plate of silver and silima-crystal. Her spirit saw what her eyes did not, and the world parted to show a design long set in motion.


ImageImage


“What targets are we firing at?” asked Warlady Carningortonis nos Fithurin, CINCSOLCOM, as she entered the command center. The chamber was configured for a bombardment, and the planetary surface was displayed beneath her feet, showing the ocean, and an inner perimeter showing the vast island city. Icons of crimson showed targets as they were taken down, sensor sweeps that used sensor-dust displaced into the air inside buildings giving the resolution to accurately target the city.

The guns from orbital weapons platforms and ships of the home fleet occasionally pulsed starfire in torrents into the city’s upper reaches and outer wards. The vessels in the harbors on the edge of the City had not yet finished sinking, but they were all holed and beyond even the meager combat that they were capable of.

“The Seer Court reported a probability of a critical threat within the day,” the crisp avatar of Arien, the Sol Defense fleetmind said. “We have determined that a measured force response is optimal,” she continued, “we believe the threat is principally necromantic and large scale death will accelerate the danger; as such, simply erasing the area with heavy weapons would likely precipitate the crisis.”

Carni leaned on a railing around the viewing area, her hand gesturing toward the area. Some thought that being the commander of a force that relied increasingly on artificial intelligence would be a challenge, but this was far from the truth; the Warlady had been a senior officer for long enough to have seen the battle-space evolve, and she had never been in the business of expecting her command to wait on her orders before taking action. The Menelmacari Imperial Defense Force -- the Oiraórëlë Horma to use its Quenya name -- had never been in favor of waiting for orders from on high before acting when necessary; a thousand years ago Carningortonis might have awoken to find that one of her flotillas had reacted to a threat, today it was an integrated response from the Ardan command.

“What can we do next?” she asked, content to take the analysis from the situation before giving her input.

“We are getting no-transit effects in several areas,” Arien said, “we are removing conventional military and policing assets across the island, but we will need to decide on either carrying out a full bombardment on shielded areas or an intrusion to take control directly.” The map peeled back to show several substantial areas of the city, overlaid in black.

Carni didn’t protest that there was no means known that the Regent’s forces could have been able to block teleportation and sensors. Questioning the clearly possible wasn’t her business; that was something the analysts could be relied on to work on and present her with the moment the suppositions became relevant. The decision that needed to be made was a military one.

“Some of these are going to be decoys,” she suggested, looking at the blacked-out areas of the map. We’re going to have to move on them all though. Do we have any information on them?”

Arien blinked once, reviewing the available data; she was, like many of the larger scale fleetmind avatars, named after the Ainur of early Quendi history. The maia in question had been the personification of fire, cousin to the balrogs; but the first of their kindred, brighter and hotter, and not among those who had followed Melkor into rebellion. Even the holographic avatar that represented this homage to the true Arien was a pillar of fire in the raiment of a woman, her warmth an echo of the blistering heat of the true form. “We have a contact coming in from one of the embedded local assets moving in on that area. Bringing the feed up now,” Arien said.


ImageImage


The business of rebellion was rarely accomplished without several things: training, discipline, the will to fight, and communication with other groups; rebellions were rarely spontaneous and they were rarely successful. Those that were successful often had a distinct advantage in the form of an established power group with a government’s resources working with them, often a disaffected or ambitious element of the extant government but at times, a foreign government.

There were few governments more capable of providing that support than the Ascendancy, and they had long ago taken a hands-off approach to the Island of Vinyaangmar, a policy born when other Melkoric nations had been active in the Sol System. That a time would come to deal with this last metastasis of the cancer that had once permeated the Sol System was undeniable, and with the patience of their ageless breed, the Menelmacari had prepared for this day.

That the Regent’s forces had brought the day forward was the only surprise.

The cell that Canyel was with had been one of a number that had been found within the City, for there were always those who would resist tyranny given half a chance, and while trade had kept the City alive, it had been a means to make sure that weapons, armaments and intelligence could enter and leave. The alternative, entirely Interdicting the city, would have made Canyel’s job far harder.

The group had no name; it had no literature or propaganda. There were groups that did give themselves names, that served to spread hope and keep alive the hope of revolt, but those with true military goals did not broadcast their existence. Canyel knew of sixteen groups within the city, and he could contact four of them. He had been inserted sixteen years ago, and had helped recruit more than sixteen groups, for sabotage tasks, insurrection tasks, and more.

He was of the Handë, the Rangers, a part of the Menelmacari intelligence services that led such tasks.

There were two dozen dead members of the Internal Guard at his feet, he had been alerted to the action by the lances of starfire that were sweeping the accessible parts of the city, and his group had gone to its immediate plan, weapons were taken from concealment, they had joined together and moved as swiftly as was possible.

Talia, one of the most avid of the group, had moved ahead, handling the gun with ease. A stolen weapon of the Internal Guard, it was a short carbine built for solid reliability. She’d taken it from one of the dead Guards, and they’d all loaded up as they’d advanced. The sweep of the city being carried out by the fleet in orbit was startlingly effective, even against small ground assets.

“Enemy ahead!” she snapped, and fired a burst from the weapon.

Canyel was as human was Talia was, though he had been born in a far more fortunate place. “I’m live with support now,” he called. “Range and bearing?”

“Sixteen meters, up Canning-street, this tier.”

The area ahead exploded with fire, as a beam of plasma and exotic particles emerged from a fissure in the fabric of spacetime where they had been. Here under the influence of whatever sensor jamming the Regent’s forces had produced, it was not as precise as it had been where scanning was perfect, and the plasma lance was not confined; instead, it became something akin to a titanic flamethrower that burned through the roadway ahead of the group, leaving whatever horror had been in the way reduced to ash and cinders, and the route on fire.

“Happy to report the long guns still work even if we can’t get supply drops by displacer this far in. Troops are on their way,” Canyel said, “but they’ll take a few minutes to get down to this level unless they want to bulldoze their way through the tiers above us.” The black zone had become an area of interest. Already within it, Canyel’s group had been fast to step up to the plate, and what had started with a few small arms and knife missiles was now moving up to a significant intrusion.

Canyel drew a hologram from his watch and watched the sensor reports of the scout-missile cluster that he had deployed, there was a tangle of contacts but resolving them in this area was limited. The sensor jamming that affected the fleet seemed to be deteriorating his own abilities; Talia wouldn’t normally have needed to spot enemy contacts.

Pausing wasn’t an option, though they had to make their way carefully past the boiling vapor trapped within the enclosed arcology structure by the support fire they occasionally called down; Canyel and his volunteers were all well aware that the prudent thing for them to do for most people in this environment would be to wait for a more developed intrusion force; but of course, that was people who wanted to leave and live, more than they wanted to shoot the Regent’s minions.

While most people wanted to live and prosper as their first priority, the people that joined resistance cells, in this case especially, wanted to put their blades in the beast’s side far more.

The scout missiles did report one thing though, and it was a thing that made Canyel steel himself for the fight of his life.

“Castellan, up ahead,” he said, drawing a blade that kindled a crimson light on its blade as the enemy approached, an ancient pattern of weapon; he flicked the intensity control of his plasma-pistol to its maximum.
"The elves will do what is right, not what is on paper." ~Sunset
"We can't go around supporting The Good Of All Things. People might mistake us for Menelmacar." ~Education Minister Lobon of Kn-Yan
"Do you realize you're trying to sell resources to Menelmafuckingcar? Their resource base is larger than Melkor's ego." ~Advisor Julius Razak, Foot-to-Ass Section, Scolopendra
"I started on NS at a time when elf genocides were daily occurrences from week old nations wanting to get ortilleried by Menelmacar." ~Resurgent Dream
"Nothing here but rich-ass elves. Just...running the world. And shopping." ~Officer Daryl Ward, LAPD

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Vinyaangmar
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Corporate Police State

Postby Vinyaangmar » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:11 pm

The city piled up on an island that was far too small for it, like an overcrowded table, harbours and shipyards piled upon its edges, pressing into the sea, with reclaimed land sloughed up in places to provide more space for the busy shipping. Long in the past, the entire region had fallen into disarray and despair, and little was left now of this most southerly outpost of what had once been a great Empire. Ships came here on their way to other places, but they did so, this last port of Arda was cursed, but it was the only place to stop and take on new fuel or provisions for a thousand leagues in either direction, elsewhere only coasts of orcs and fouler things remained. This was Vinyaangmar, the Eternal City, the new land of iron.

Of course, it only called itself the Eternal City in the propaganda of the Regent, who ruled it; the people there had a host of other names for it, but chief amongst them was the Prison-City, for Vinyaangmar was a bleak place.

William Gant sat with the instinctive ease of a man who knew well how well he had things running, for six years now he had been in the service of the Regent, as part of the Internal Guard; the force who kept order; one did not join the Internal Guard for the reasons one joined the police in fairer nations and William enjoyed the way that people stepped out of his way, and sought to placate him at all times. He wore the uniform of the Internal Guard whenever he could, or the armband of the Regent whenever he could not.

The personnel carrier was a prison van, built for the use of the Internal Guard, and with a full passenger compartment of tagged and bagged dissidents he had to make space, their guests were carried in sack-like straight jackets that kept their heads covered, anonymous piles of human tethered together. One of them had hit him when they had picked the prisoners up, and he relished the prospect of getting around to working out which one it was.

The ride would take about three more minutes, and then the fun would begin.

Gant did not see the shot that killed him, it came from within the Personnel carrier, a beam of starlight that clipped his head from his shoulders with the efficiency of a scissor, burning a hole through the vehicle and the transitway wall it was passing but leaving it in motion for a few more moments, before another shot took the vehicle’s engine out with the same quiet efficiency.
__ __ __

Nardu’nDâur waded into the confrontation with the cool certainty of a being that faced no serious threat; he had no doubt that he would die, but not against this rabble. He moved with the confidence that came with his form, he stood as tall as any man, and broad with it, his flesh imbued with terrible strength, and the moment his enemies came before him he spoke a word of unmaking, their weapons would not avail them before him, a wave of entropic magic swept before him, turning weapons to scrap and rust. He did not draw a weapon, he did not imagine he would need it.

The Castellan had been a man like them once, and he knew man’s fears, that had been before he had surrendered to the Will of the Regent and been remade. He knew that they would not stand before him, the true enemy was coming, though and he could not waste time here, he sent forth the black breath and watched them fall.

Nardu’nDâur no longer saw the physical world, he saw the spirit, the blaze of light and fire that was within the flesh of each of his enemies, the crimson of the few weapons they had of elven make that could harm him as they neared; they were rebels against the Regent but it was to be expected that they would carry such things. He drew his own long blade, the weapon sighing from the scabbard he wore.

He saw his own equipment as dripping with black oil, one of the few things most visible in the mist forms of the City; the city was visible in all directions, a forest of souls gathered close together.

One of the enemies had more courage than the others attacked him, the sound of bullets and the scent of fire filling the room, but the mortal had no weapon fit to harm him, and he turned his malice on the foe, blinding and breaking him in a moment, barely feeling the small physical damage done.

He struck another down with his blade, and heaved him backwards, watching the soul-brightness trickle away as the blade heaved through the enemy’s chest, the figure of the enemy becoming insubstantial and smoky as it parted from the flesh that had bound it.

The rebel leader challenged Nardu’nDâur with a cry, the words of hated invocation stung more than the bullets and the fire had, and the Castellan took stock of the enemy, he shone now as if he had cast aside a shroud, the thralls of the Regent were dim spirits. The gaze of a Castellan pierced metal and stone, and he could see the city in all directions as the forest of life, humans and orcs bright compared to the animals that shared their living space, the rats in the walls and companions that gave comfort in their frailty. But those who were raised in fear and terror, who were taught helplessness, were pale compared to this man.

He had concealed his character, it would have been simple to find such infiltrators without such a cloak over their spirits, for those who had the character to be leaders and mages were as obvious to the Castellans as if they had been green, and those who were not willing to serve willingly were turned by force to his ends, Nardu’nDâur knew this for it had been his fate when he had borne another name, and at last, Nardu’nDâur felt threatened, he was not intimidated by a wretch wielding an elvish blade, this man though, could slay him.

The Castellan’s blade was fast and wicked, and he had reached over his opponent, but the enemy had a blade that could cut the threads that tethered Nardu’nDâur to the mortal world, leaving him as vulnerable as a living man to the pistol he carried, the charred-metal scent of it carried on the wind, a thing of comparable make that had not perished when the Castellan had spoken.

The battle was short and fluid, the enemy struck and feinted, he was fast but at a disadvantage, another of the figures threw themselves at the affray to buy time for the enemy and Nardu’nDâur shook it off with the force to break bones, but it was enough.

The leader had driven the enchanted blade into his wrist, and for a moment he had the memory of mortal terror, he could recall, for a moment, the touch of others and the love of music and delight, the childhood, before he had been taken, the moment passed and he roared, the foeman had stepped back now, and he lunged a fraction more slowly.

The world flew around him as the plasma lance tore him into ash and smoke.
__ __ __

The death of a Castellan was not easily accomplished, and the overseer took heed of it, speaking with a parched tongue to direct more enemies to the defence, the work was incomplete, and all of its thought was bent on its part in the great design, still, it suspected it would be soon attacked; the overseer cast its spirit about from one thrall body to another, the work it was upon could not be prevented, the complex in which it strove was spread over multiple units within the tangle of the arcology, spread between disused food growth chambers and the tangle of pumping stations used to keep air flowing in the sector, the complex was built into void spaces and shielded; soon the enemy would be here.

It sent out its resources and waited.

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Vinyaangmar
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Corporate Police State

Postby Vinyaangmar » Wed Dec 15, 2021 5:57 pm

Three Weeks Ago

“The Voice Commands It.”

Gama Skinbiter cringed aside, the Uruk-Hai spoke with an edge of violence to his tone. “Your number!”

Garma blurted it out, twelve numbers that identified him, every single inhabitant of the City was obliged to divulge their numeral-name on command, and the penalties for falsifying them were bleak. The Uruk was a formidable example of the orkor close to two meters in height and built broad across the shoulder. He was a fighter of mannish stature and bulk scarred with war-like scarring and teeth filed to points.

Gama could not meet his eyes. The Uruk punched the number into a device and brought up an image on a ruggedized terminal. “No.”

“Check again?” Gama wheedled.

The Uruk-Hai gave a sneer, “Back to your hole snaga,” he said, and Gama wondered if he would be struck.

He turned, hissing derision, “One day you’ll get yours.”

Gama was not the terror he had been when the city had fallen. He had been practically as strong as the Uruk then, and he had stood taller, fed on the bounty of the great Arda region. In the old days, under the Great Eye. Centuries had passed since the city had fallen, and he had not had good times since. Malnutrition had withered Gama, and the Regent, as men still called him, though orcs knew him better as the Voice, had turned them aside.

He had taken the humans that had defied the Great Eye and given them back their land, and this had been the way of life since those days. He went back to his hovel, looking at the fences and the guards.

Hunger meant that he could not stay as long as he wanted, it pricked at him, twisting up his innards. The orcs had harsh times. Only a few of the orkor had labour outside of the most brutal, and Gama had had to turn his hand to many things but to be confined fully made that hunger far stronger. He furtively checked the small part of the tower that was his. He had struggled for that, when they had first been confined he had had a roommate.

He paced the small room, looking at the hand-wide cracks that sagged the walls, leaning in as if to listen to the voices from within. Once it had been an inhabitation of humans, now none would go here. He looked around, glancing at the window, a single pane of tarnished plastic that had been cut to fit, he had blacked it out and left only a slim stripe to peer through. The Voice had eyes and ears everywhere in the City.

Gama sat down, working loose a board on the uncovered floor, lifting it up and stroking a slender knife. He had kept that when all the other weapons had been taken away from all the orcs who remembered the Great Eye. He stroked the blade against a whetstone. The blade was an orcish thing, but not as crude as the confined habitations.

Navigating the ties of allegiance in the orc sector was a difficult thing, but while the Uruk had called Gama a snaga, a slave, he was not the weakest in the city yet. The line between life and death in goblin town was sharp and quick, and Gama was still quick, he was no mortal man, and he would find a meal, somewhere in the sector.

He sharpened the blade, and he waited. The city was far beneath the hated sun, and one of the few favours extended to the orcs, the accursed daystar was kept from shining on them, instead pale blinking lights ran a slow cycle of red-orange. He looked out on the slim slit of the outside that was visible and he waited. The day cycle could wait, he could last and find someone in the night.

He slipped out as the sector faded to pale orange.

He prowled quietly, each building had its own guards, its own shot-caller, the prison environment of goblin town bred petty kings as quick as flies on turds. There were places one didn’t go. The pale barrack blocks of the Uruk-Hai, but he had another place in mind, almost as guarded.

Sinking to his haunches, Gama had his eyes on the creche. It wasn’t allowed, the boss wouldn’t have it, his own imps were in there, after all. Few orcs had the skill for rearing, men or women, and those that did have the patience and the means to suppress the hatred of the mewling offspring could trade that skill for security. Few pauper-kings or queens of Goblin-town would tolerate harm to their offspring and they were fecund. Imps were common and often misbehaved, one or two could be found running around.

The sound of boots hitting the steel of the skyway made him wince and crawl deeper in his ambuscade position, as a troop of Uruks passed by. His skin crawled, hair prickling on his pale skin, and he wished himself to be a shadow, no more than that. A Castellan.

The troop of Uruks and men in the maroon garb of the Voice’s Interior Army approached. These were another of the endless soldiery that served the Voice, more formidable than the Interior Guard – no men of the city as there had been when Gama and his army had overrun the weakling city that had been here before – the Interior Army were the same as the ones who had imposed this hated siege on the orc sector. They were hard-faced, drilled and controlled, each of them moving as if wires ran through their heads one to the next. Gama knew that getting in the way of the Interior Army was all the worse when they were out in force, and they carried longarms.

They weren’t what terrified him most though, it was the Castellan.

The carriers of the Voice’s will, Castellans were feared beyond all others. They had long been a feature of the city, in white robes and silver helms, with terrible rumours of what lay beneath. This one was different, instead, its armour was gold, and its grave-shroud robes were sable. It walked behind the column, and for a moment Gama thought of a coachman and horses from isolated roadways he had raided long ago.

They marched to the creche, and the Uruks struck open the door with rifle-butts, barging in, shouting orders. The Castellan did not sully itself to argue with caregivers, nor to give commands directly, as the platoon under its command spread out. A half-orc officer barked a salute as excited imps and wheeling caregivers assembled outside.

Peeping from his shelter, Gama watched. He wondered if the Voice had come to the same conclusion he had if perhaps the City itself was starving. But there was no sign of it. The Interior Army did not fall upon the children. Instead, the Castellan pointed with its golden gauntlet back the way it had come. Gama shrank back as the group marched away once more.

The Interior Army marched off, imps and caregivers following. Gama wondered what had caused it as he heard them march off.

Then he pulled his knife closer inside his battered old munitions vest and rushed for the creche. There had been no food taken out of there, and there was likely a whole kitchen to loot if he got there before others did.

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Corporate Police State

Postby Vinyaangmar » Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:16 am

Now

Margareth Kallas was one of the anonymous millions who inhabited the city, but she was also different from them. She had come here knowing what would inevitably happen. Nothing that was inspired by the Shadow endured for long without recursion to the base nature of the Enemy.

She had long dwelt in the city, making time to pass as one of the myriad wretches present in it, and she had to admit that it had taken its toll on her physically, she was weaker than she had been and she had aged beyond her years from the climate of constant agitation engendered by the Regent’s regime.

The people were all like this, there was a constant suspicion in the air within the city that was designed to keep the population on edge and ensure that they could not experience any prolonged sense of safety. It was not a place to exist, and yet few people simply gave up the will to live, and given the fate that the Regent’s corpse collectors were rumoured to have for those who died, few sought such a means of escape, for few knew how to do so with the grace required.

Fewer still escaped, though there were always emigrants, the city kept churning over its population swollen by Ambar’s many wars and strifes, the City provided three meals of at least conceptually nourishing food and a roof to dwell under, if not call one’s own. That was more than many parts of the world.

But still, few would say they enjoyed their lifestyle. They came and they went, some secretly, some openly, but they could not thrive, only survive the Regent’s regime.

Now that option was being taken away too.

Margareth had come here as insurance against that day. Today she had not worn the overalls that she wore to her job in the clean-chamber factories, all work had been stopped by order of the Regent. A public holiday.

She felt the air was drier than usual, not crisp and not pleasant, more like desiccation that could not be explained by mortal means. The time that she had waited thirty years for had come.

She wore something different today, the robes that had been hidden with her for those same decades, pale blue in contrast to her mahogany skin, incongruous when set against her small half-moon spectacles. The staff she had stored with the garments was cobbled together, wound with plastics and leather and stone from the roots of the world, she had once possessed a rather fancier looking example, but one could not expect the Regent’s Internal Guard to miss a wizard’s staff.

They would not overlook one of the Order of the Ithryn Luin.


The streets were deserted, the inhabitants confined to their homes, she had heard gunfire from sporadic uprisings across the city, but no one was stopping her or barring her way. She thought she saw glimpses from behind blinds, she was a curiosity for flagrantly defying the Internal Army, but no one wanted to join her, brave souls were fighting across the city, those that understood what was happening, or who had help from outside sources. But most of them were fighting their way to the surface or out.

Margareth was not.

She was going toward the Gaeria. The Red Chasm. The heart of the Regent’s power.

In the distance throughout the City, she could hear the hurricane-roar of plasma bolts penetrating internal army garrisons and defence sites and hear battles becoming more ferocious. Perhaps the elves could prevent the Regent’s work coming to pass, but she believed that she would be needed.

Before long, a squad of blue-clad Internal Guard blocked her way. “You, civilian, return to your hom-,” thirty years of frustration powered the spell she unleashed, and the man’s tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, while the bullets within their brutalist carbines failed to fire, the nitrocellulose in their propellants degraded years in an instant, acidic residues corroding the bullet casings from the inside out.

Sleep,” she said, and as one they stopped, laying down their weapons, laying down upon the ground and tucking their arms under themselves in a variety of semi-comfortable poses, with every intention of taking a short nap.

The Gaeria was in the depths of the city, suspension bridges were open over the chasm, which some said was a fault line and others said the Regent had broken open with magecraft, tiers of excavation and buildings like a layered cake hung on either side of it as far down as one could see, and at the highest levels, where the natural caves opened to the smouldering sky, tall office buildings rose, the homes of the industrial corporations that kowtowed to the regent for the chance to study the works of Sauron.

The Regent was described as such for he had been installed here long ago by the reborn Sauron, whose realm had been a disturbing aberration of machinery and magic, the ancient Maia had a thorough understanding of physical science. When he had risen again in the time that Morgoth had, many had felt that he would be helplessly out of date, it had not proven so, for every invention of all the ages was understood by him, and though he had never been able to communicate his will in the ancient times of the second and third ages to exploit his great knowledge, his Ardan Realm had bristled with technology, and the millions of incarnates that inhabited it were driven by his will to produce new machines, many of which they knew nothing of the function of.

When Morgoth had fallen and fled from Arda, Sauron’s realm had been abandoned overnight, and it had left a trove of barely decipherable technology, some had imploded and other parts had sunk under the waves, but much of it had made it back to the Regent’s safekeeping, and industrial conglomerates toiled to tease meaning out of what the tyrannical maia had created.

Gravitic vehicles flitted between the highest towers, while the toiling population of the deeps clung to the chasms’ sides.

Crouching close, Margareth looked upward. She did not wish to be seen, the upper tiers of the chasm were suspended with other buildings like stalactites, sleek and metallic, projecting pale beams of ruby light into the depths, the nerve centres of the Regent’s activities.

She could feel the power there, like a whirlwind or a whirlpool, drawing the life from all around her. She dared not use more blatant magecraft to disturb their casting, the power was great, and here she would be simply shot down by the weapons mounted on the Regent’s hanging towers if she were to become known.

If she was to buy time or disrupt the Regent’s rite.

She knew what it was for, and time was precious.

She sang soft words of power and changed herself from her accustomed form to the shape of a grey bird, a rock pigeon of the diseased sort ubiquitous in the city, and flew upward, rising through layers above the orc-warrens and the drab apartments of the workers, the more opulent apartments of the officers and soldiery, many of them already aflame.

She knew why the attackers had not just obliterated the Red Chasm, for she could feel the spell close up. She could see fibrillations in the lighting in other buildings now, as systems foundered and the world suffered. The city was screaming, echoes that could be heard from countless places.

The Regent’s spell-working was drawing the life from the city, soon perhaps from far beyond it, maybe all of Ambar; such knowledge was properly beyond him, she felt, she had always imagined, no one knew how to do something of such devastating scale.

Other birds were falling past her, having taken to their wings in terror and their hearts having stilled as they fell.

She pumped her wings faster, pushing the air beneath her as she climbed, approaching the Regent’s Redoubt and resuming her true form as she reached a landing platform for gravitic vehicles, a balcony that hung out over the city.

There were guards of the Internal Army there, but the Regent’s curse had already slain them, they lay like marionettes with their strings cut, no sign of violence, but also no sign of life.

Margareth’s knowledge of the arts of magic was enough that she was protected from such things, but even she began to feel the lethargy that permeated the city.

The Regent’s citadel was grand, of course, but metal walls that gleamed like something not quite of the world showed no trace of personal indulgence as she sprinted through the chambers.

Holding her staff before her, Margareth advanced cautiously, dead guards cluttered the hallway like broken toys, and she passed through rooms of charts and she walked through office chambers where administrator staff who had until today handled the barrage of petitions on the Regent’s time, the punch-clock functionaries of tyranny lay flopped back on their chairs, gazing open-eyed and wide-mouthed at blank ceilings.

She had expected more resistance, but at last, she found it when she reached the inner side of the bifurcated building, the pale red light of the laser-like projections at the heart of the building casting long blood-red shadows.

The Castellan was the formidable symbol of the Regent’s rule, and this one towered over her. Her staff flourished up to catch its blade and turn it, and she projected her will through it.

The Castellans used a wide variety of projectile weapons on occasion, but this one had seemingly reverted to type, and she reeled back from it, once, twice, it struck her, and she parried before she finally managed to connect a strike that blew it apart.

Breathing heavily, she wondered at how little resistance she had seen, she had run into a Castellan and defeated it once before, but it had been the hardest battle of her long life. This one was not, almost as though it was only partly complete, perhaps affected by the magic, but she knew that would not be the case.

Pressing on, she came to the pillar of light that made of the centre of the citadel. It was nauseating up close, and she leaned against the edge of a hatch, before stepping into a narrow projection that hung over the core of the Gaeria.

The resistance was too light, and there had been no sign of the Regent and the guards she had expected, but she cast her will against the dark sorceries that hung before her. She could feel the deaths across the island, growing by the minute, she strained against it, seeking to stop the expansion of the abominable magic.

She knew what she had to do. To undo the Regent’s work, to let any survive on the Island, or to stop the curse from spreading, she would have to give it everything she had. She slipped into death with a momentary thought for the overriding question: where is the Regent?

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Macisikan
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Founded: Apr 17, 2004
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Postby Macisikan » Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:10 pm

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Official Communiqué

Classification: IN-CONFIDENCE: URGENT
From: Office of the Vice-Minister, External Affairs
To: Lord Doranthil nos Marastir, Ambassador of the Eternal Ascendancy of Menelmacar to the United Imperial Kingdoms of Macisikan


To your Excellency, greetings;

I am writing urgently to you with regards to Psi Drain Activity detected on Arda.

Psi Drain Activity Detected on Arda
At 12:48hrs precisely today, the Vice-Ministry for Imperial Security detected a Psi Drain Event on Arda, at magnitude 6. The event is presently conlcuded. Neither this office, nor the Imperial Embassy in Vinyatírion have been advised that the Eternal Ascendancy was planning to execute such an event, nor have we received any advice from the Eternal Ascendancy that such an event was taking place.

Location
External Security Service (ESS) systems have triangulated the event as taking place on Arda, in or around a location termed “Vinyaangmar” (refer Attachment A).

Scale and Scope
The ESS has determined that this event consists of the killing of several million people, and an unknown but significant number of subsophont organisms, through psionic and related means (refer Attachment B for estimates at the time of writing).

A magnitude 6 event of this nature has been known to allow a hostile extra galactic entity to bore a hole in the worldwalls.

As this event is sufficient to threaten the integrity of the worldwalls, and as this event took place without any discernible response from Ascendancy authorities, it is the considered view of His Undying Majesty’s Government that this event presents a threat to the subjects of the Serene Majesty resident on Maja (the world you call Carnil).

Response of His Undying Majesty’s Government
Therefore, His Undying Majesty’s Government requests that appropriate Menelmacari assets and forces be deployed immediately to ensure the event is properly terminated, and to ensure there is no recurrence. His Undying Majesty’s Government also requests that, should there be a recurrence or should this event prove to not be properly terminated, we be informed at once by your government so that any action taken is done so in a coordinated fashion.

As required under our mutual treaty of non-aggression, and our obligations under the Triumvirate of Yut, I formally inform you and advise your government that the Imperial Space Service present in the Sol System has been placed on combat-ready alert.

Should this event recur or continue to the point where it poses a clear and present danger to the subjects of the Serene Majesty resident on Maja (Carnil), or beyond, those elements of His Undying Majesty’s Armed Forces garrisoned in Sol will be required to take defensive action sufficient to terminate the event or prevent a recurrence. While we will endeavour to ensure that the Menelmacari authorities are adequately informed of such action, the Force Commander does not have discretion for inaction in the face of such a danger to the people on Maja (Carnil) without a specific instruction from the Security Council of the UIK.

His Undying Majesty’s Ambassador to the Martian Forum has been instructed to inform that body of this matter, and our action, within the next four hours owing to the danger presented to the inhabitants of those polities.

The Ambassadors from the Republic of Sunset, the Great Civilisation of the C’tan, the United Species of the Eridani Imperium, the Federated Imperium of Kajal, and the Phoenix Domain have been informed of this matter.

I sincerely apologise if this causes you or your government undue difficulties.

Kind regards,
A. Trivkaal
__________________
Sir Ardri Trivkaal
His Serene Majesty’s Vice-Minister
Vice-Ministry of External Affairs
United Imperial Kingdoms of Macisikan
Please address your messages/threats/lies to:
The current cycle is: ʧ4A4C

--FT Nations: Sir Ardri Trivkaal, HSM Vice-Minister for External Affairs
--Everyone else: Sir Conradin Nuchani, HSM Vice-Minister for Subluminal Affairs


Quick Overview | Full Factbook | Embassy Programme | Maintenance thread | NS World-Building Discord | The demonym is "Macisikani."
“You have taken my cute idea … and turned it into something cold and cruel.” –Solont
“Terrible experiments. Unethical behaviour. Have I introduced you to my friend Macisikan? He’s something of an expert.” –Sunset
“You are not destroying the universe for science.” -Menelmacar
“CanSpamMac is an outlier and should not be counted” -Arkasia

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Hypatian Commonwealth
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 154
Founded: Jul 17, 2021
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:03 pm

.H..M..G.


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Her Majesty's Government of the Hypatian Commonwealth



STATUS : ENCRYPTED; Security of Communication Act, Section 5.3
VERIFICATION : Verified by State Security Intelligence Check — Token [REDACTED]

Sen : State Department of the Commonwealth of Hypatia; Secretary of State — Key [REDACTED]
Rec : Foreign Affairs Ministries of the following: United Imperial Kingdoms; Eternal Ascendancy of the Menelmacar; United Species of the Eridani Imperium;

This is an official communication of Her Majesty's Government. Unauthorised access, transmission, reproduction, or duplication of this communication will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Notice of Mobilisation


To the relevant aforementioned parties,

This communication shall serve as official notice of our mobilisation in the system of Sol Prime, otherwise known as Sol, in direct response to the 'Arda Incident' as described in the Martian Forum. We are obligated by our treaties (Treaty of Queenstown - c. 2185; Treaty of Hypatia - c. 2193) with the EAM and the USEI to provide advanced notice of military actions and movements in regions of interest including that of mobilisation and deployment of Commonwealth Forces. The following actions are currently being taken by Her Majesty's Government:

The First, Second, and Fifth fleet have been reassigned from their duties in the Martian Delta of the Delta Quadrant to secure Commonwealth territories in the Solarian Reaches, the Northern Expanse, and Sol in the Alpha Quadrant. All three fleets have been assigned under Grand Admiral Tevellos who will be coordinating the mobilisation and supply of these forces from the system of Pallas in the Hanse Sector. Any inquiries are advised to be addressed to G.Adm. Tevellos, who has been ordered to be transparent with friendly powers in Sol.

The First Fleet will be deploying Quick-Reaction Forces (QRF) into Sol to secure the Keiper territories alongside security detachments that will be assigned to the inner-planets to monitor the situation. QRF forces typically comprise of battlecruisers, cruisers, destroyers, and other fast-moving light warships. Their purpose is to quickly respond to any further threats in Sol and to safeguard both the Keiper territories of the Commonwealth and assist with the defence of Mars should the need arise. It would be appreciated if these efforts are not impeded.

The Second Fleet has been assigned to the Solarian Reaches to reinforce the Third Fleet's operations in the region by increasing patrols between Hypatian systems and surveilling for any further developments outside of Sol.

The Fifth Fleet has been assigned to support local Garda and other forces in the Northern Expanse.

Strategic Weapons Command's (STRATCOM) Advanced Readiness Condition (ARCON) has been elevated to that of three -- This means that strategic weapons outside of Sol can begin limited preparations for mobilisation but will not be mobilised at this time. An ARCON-3 implies that the Commonwealth has identified a significant threat to its national security based on current intelligence gathered by Hypatian Intelligence Services (HIS) and information provided by other polities. More information about STRATCOM's preparations can be inquired about through G.Adm Tevellos.

It should be noted that this mobilisation is to be considered temporary and demobilisation will begin once confirmation has been provided that the situation is under control and the incident no longer poses a threat to the system.

Signed,

Guinevere Belmont, O.R.S
Secretary of State of the State Department
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Commonwealth of Hypatia

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Hypatian Commonwealth
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 154
Founded: Jul 17, 2021
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Fri Jan 07, 2022 8:25 am

Edge of Sol

Black hulls appeared at the edge of the system from shimmering apparitions. At first, there were dozens, and then, there were hundreds. Their angular, sharp appearance was strikingly distinct from anything that had ever been fielded by the Hypatians before. The old, cluttered appearance of past warships had been replaced by smooth faces and retractable hardpoints that gave them a more uniformed and featureless profile. Like phantoms, they had come using a method of travel not previously demonstrated. In almost perfect unison, the dark lightless spectres now began to move with bright blue light emanating from their powerful engines taking them deeper into the system they called home. The First Fleet had arrived.
Commonwealth of Hypatia

NationStates Future Tech
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