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Never the twain shall meet [Closed:Gholgoth]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Havensky
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Left-wing Utopia

Never the twain shall meet [Closed:Gholgoth]

Postby Havensky » Sun May 08, 2016 7:25 am

Havensky Republic Airship Open Hand
Somewhere over Gothic Skies


Secretary of State Lance Atticus paced back and forth in his office aboard the airship The Open Hand. His shoes wearing out the thin carpet. His wire rimmed glasses thrown on the desk. And his tablet stylus spinning in his hand as he paced nervously as he tried to find the words to write. As the chief peacemaker of the Skyan People, the last few weeks had been extraordinarily bad.

First, The Empire of the Golden Throne of The Macabees had declared war on the Scandinvan Empire after the slavers had funded rebellious pirates and other slavers. The Macabees were strong economic allies. Their trade routes had all but assured that Citadel City had a great start to their economy. They shared military bases. They actually got along quite well - saw each other movies. However, The Macabees signalled that in response to Scandinvanian meddling they would be sending a very large warfleet straight into Gholgoth.

Which, obviously, would be a problem. An outside fleet would trigger all Gothic nations to declare war on The Golden Throne and the Skyan people didn’t very much like the idea of coming to the aid of slavers. Nor would it have been easy to get Gholgoth to hold off their attacks.

The next step, which had seemed obvious, was to try to get the two to come to peace terms before an invasion. Yesterday, that course of action had been met with the slavers with an attack on Citadel City.

For the life of him, Atticus couldn’t understand what the slavers were thinking. An attack on the Citadel meant that all bets were off. The slave king had just given the Ironwings a free hand to rally Havensky’s allies. The Ironwings would call up favors from Jagada, Mille Mortifere, Dephire, and due to the Slavers occupation of Shen Almaru, the Pudite naval fleet docked at the Citadel. It was..a very stupid thing to do. He racked his brain to try to understand why. Whipping up domestic furor for the new regime? The Sons of Erid had recently come into power and had been...reckless.

The slaver's takeover of Shen Alamuru had been a topic of contention for weeks as he had attempted to persuade the Gothic Lords that a coup like this was a violation of Gothic Law.

Now, Shen Alamuru question would have to be solved by bloodshed. That was decided the moment the first bomb dropped on Citadel City. And that meant a large military operation right near Vismer and the slaver ally Tiami. Blood, blood, and more lives wasted.

The only thing that could go worse would be a declaration of war from the Kraven Reich. That would result in a two front war that would certainly result in a lot of bloodshed.

He continued to pace.

The Open Hand was on it’s way to ULE City which served as the Regional Capital of Gholgoth. There Atticus would try to sway the Council of Gothic Lords to take action.

A pointless exercise to be sure. The Lords would bicker. If they hadn’t taken action when the children of Vetalia were dying helplessly in the streets then why would they take action now? The Skyan Legion had proven themselves more than capable of defending themselves. It was only when things got really bloody that they had shown any interest.

Atticus had taken lead in the Skyan negotiations with the Kraven Reich that resulted in the creation of Fortress Arcadia - and that had only resulted from pressing by the council after it looked like a larger regional war would start. He had managed to save the people of the peninsula, but the aftermath had left a bitter taste in the public’s mouth. He had gotten thousands of hate mail letters. The minority party in the Senate had called for his resignation.

And now, another war and another useless trip to ULE.

Atticus was tired.

Adding to his current stress level was a secret meeting between a Skyan military officer and one from the Reich. Atticus paced thinking about the outcome in which he had no control over. While he had been training Lieutenant Commander Squall on diplomatic technique as part of his new role as his military attache - he was by no means an expert - and this was a very delicate situation.

He hated this. He hated the show of it all. The speeches that sounded great on YouScreen but didn’t make impact. He hated the powerlessness of it. He had been a pacifist for a long time, but time again had proven that violence seemed to be the prefered language of the realm.
Last edited by Havensky on Sun May 08, 2016 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

Territory held in
Texas - Gholgoth - Sondria

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The Kraven Corporation
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Sun May 08, 2016 10:41 am

The U-96 slipped slowly through the waters, it's grey shape angled perfectly for its task, a hunter killer, a machine built for no other purpose but to hunt vessels, it was captained by Hans Skaro who had become a legend amongst the military circles of the Skyan people, having spent many months hunting the merchant convoys that worked their way through the safe passages that Havensky had set up after the end of The 2nd Milogradian War, he had cost them a vast amount of money beefing up the security and in the loss of shipping and materials, he was a thorn in their side… but a well respected one…

“Captain, we have the coordinates of the rendezvous, the two Subjugators are to hold outside of the Citadel Bay and we are to move to Grid 38/N on the naval map and meet with Captain Squall…”


“Periscope depth” Skaro called out with a firm voice, instantly there was a response from his first officer and the boat rose slowly through the murky waters…

“Squall eh?...” Skaro chuckled to himself…

“This should be interesting…”


“We are fifteen minutes out Captain…”

Skaro brought the periscope up to operational height and peered through for a moment, spotting the little house boat bobbing on the water it was the only thing for miles around, it had to be Squall, no doubt about it, Skaro chuckled to himself again, it was a marked contrast between what he had read in the dossiers about him, a calm man prone to sudden outbursts of rage when provoked living on a quaint little house boat…

“This is definitely going to be interesting…”

“Number one?”

“Aye Captain..”

“Head into my quarters and bring out that bottle of Triple distilled Scotch Whiskey, we took from the freighter we sunk the other week, I think Squall will appreciate the gesture and it might do well to calm the air…”

“Aye Captain, at once”

“Slow down to One-Third, prepare for surface operations”
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT0uR5wB76M The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
Resistance is Futile... We Are The Kraven Reich

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Havensky
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Havensky » Sun May 08, 2016 3:01 pm

Lt. Commander Gavin Squall stood out on the bow of his houseboat as it bobbed up and down in the cold waters off of the Skyan coast. He was wearing a dark hoodie and jeans which he thought was an odd way to be dressed for this particular assignment. Even without the armor, he looked larger than life in the small houseboat at 6’1 and just shy of 200 pounds. He didn’t like being without his power armor. He felt naked without it even if this was supposed to be a diplomatic - and discreet - chat. Discretion was of utmost priority in this matter. He had taken down the Skyan banner from it’s post and had used a plastic tarp to cover the registration number. His own personal flag still remained in it’s case. It always felt slightly gratuitous to fly it.

The houseboat was clean and well organized. While Squall had attempted to remove traces of his fiance from the boat to protect her identity from the Reich. Even still, the houseboat had distinct traits of a residence that had been slowly nurtured into a real home. There were nice towels in the kitchen, pictures hung in a collage of all the places that the couple had visited, actual real food in the pantry in addition to a certain unseeable aura that said ‘this is a home’ instead of the haphazardness of a bachelor pad. The two distinct feature that stated that you were in the home of The Giant Slayer was a decorated shield and his sword affixed to the wall as if it were an old samurai sword. His dress uniform hung in the closet with a newly minted Lt. Commander’s ‘gold’ sword on the shoulders.

The houseboat was also very cozy and quite small. In truth, it was a little too small for two people. Squall and Edwidge were looking at bigger places - but buying a home took time and Squall never seemed to have a lot of time. Edwige had helped with the meeting by making cioppino in the slow cooker and it’s flavors filled the air of the cabin.

Gavin peered out again over the water and at the exact scheduled moment of the meeting the large tower of U-96 emerge from the water, its conning tower rose up out of the water, where large white lettering signaling it was the “U-96” were plastered onto the side, in front of its designation was the symbol of Skaro, a laughing Wolf's head, its manic eyes leered at Squall… The sub gracefully and effortlessly moved alongside the much smaller craft.

U-96
“All stop, 1st Watch prepare for surface operations…” Skaro shouted from the command room which was responded with a series of stern “Aye” from the crew..

“Chief, keep her idle, if it looks like a trap take her down and get out of here, I’ll deal with whatever comes by myself, I’m not dragging the rest of you into this mess…” The Chief nodded, he didn’t like the idea of leaving Skaro behind, but knew that Skaro was only thinking about the rest of his men and didn’t want them languishing at the bottom of the bay or in Skyan military prison…

Four men with beards appeared at the top of the conning tower, they wore black uniforms of the Kraven Naval Arm, but their uniforms were not the immaculate ones of the Military, these had seen action, were worn, covered in sweat and dirt, diesel and oil, these were men who had known hardship, their faces were stern looking but one passed out a cigarette to each of the men and they all promptly lit up, sending blue puffs of smoke rising from the tower, they leaned on the railing and looked at Squall with a calm indifference as if they were more interested in the fresh air and the warm sun than the man stood in the boat below…

A few moments later, Skaro appeared, he was a thick set man, well built with a scraggly kept beard, his face was streaked with dirt, sweat and what looked like engine grease, his uniform jacket was open, revealing a red checked shirt underneath, his dirty, off white Captains hat was at an angle, if it wasn’t for all the dirt and sweat he would have looked quite dapper…

Skaro took a deep breath of the fresh air, scanned the horizon with a pair of binoculars, then turned to the boat below…

“Captain Squall? I presume?...”

“Captain Skaro. Please, come aboard.”, said Squall not bothering to correct the Skaro about his new rank. The promotion had meant that he could not longer command Heartbreak Company and it was still a slight sore spot for him.

A wooden rope ladder was thrown down the side of the tower and Skaro descended carrying a small satchel bag over his shoulder, holding onto the ladder with one foot and one hand he stepped across and into the boathouse with minimal effort like he had done this a thousand times before…

He promptly held out a hand to Squall…

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you..”

Squall looked the open hand for a more than a moment before reaching out to shake the hand of Skaro. Atticus’ words of ‘play nice’ still ringing in his ear as he swallowed the seething hate in his throat.

“Welcome aboard, would you like something to eat? I have cioppino in the slow cooker."

“I’ve brought you this” Skaro spoke, reaching into this satchel, he pulled out an amber bottle of triple distilled scotch whiskey.. “I figured that something to break the ice would help and this was the best I could offer…”

Squall thanked him, took the bottle, and grabbed two glasses from the shelf and began to pour. He paused mid pour and stared at the bottle.

“This is Sea Marshall Scotch - Naval Grade… where did you get this? It’s not available outside Skyan territories.”

“I thought you might ask that… I took it from a freighter before we sank her ‘The Emerald City’, her crew were put onto lifeboats and pointed in the right direction to shore, then we put two torpedoes into her side, it was a shame to sink such a beautiful ship, but this is the job we do… but still… such a waste…”

Squall’s face was a mix of cold anger and curiosity.

“So, the stories are true. You really are Die Letzten Wölfe.”

Skaro chuckled… it must have sounded odd coming from a Kravenite a race of men devoid of all emotions, but this man was different… It unnerved Squall more than anything.

“Yes, that's what they call me, its because I am damned good at my job, so the Reich leaves me be, better to have someone who doesn’t conform to the doctrines of The Kravenite War Machine than to have someone suitably predictable… it makes me all the more dangerous for it and The Reich can appreciate that…”

“You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve not met many Capp….Kraven military staff whose minds weren't melded to The Relay”, replied Squall referencing the mind control system used to turn the Capitol Police into a single thinking army of machine men bypassing whatever heart and soul they might have had. And the one other Kravenite officer that Squall had met had ordered the execution of women and children during the war in Vetalia. Squall’s ice blue eyes looked down leeringly at Skaro in the same manner that one would look upon a bad dog off its leash.

“Don’t worry, I understand, you just need to know… I’m not a Capper as you were going to call me there.. I wasn’t bred.. I was born to natural parents… probably one of the last Kravenites not to be picked out by the Kraven SS Eugenics Division, I’m natural.. The real deal..”

Squall visibly winced upon hearing the word ‘eugenics’ and passed the glass of scotch to the Kravenite captain.

“How does it feel to be the last of your kind?”

Skaro shrugged… and took the glass…

“I don’t think about it, I just live for the hunt…”

“I don’t think you’re here about the hunt.”

“Is this not a hunt? I have been sent here by my superiors to get a deal with The Skyan Military, Am I not hunting you right now? Watching your reactions to my answers, gauging your responses to mine, watching you and assessing you… “

“When we hunt people die - and I don’t take much thrill in that.”, Squall responded flatly.

“Not necessarily… a hunter who kills every time takes the thrill from the Kill… I don’t always take the kill, sometimes it is better to watch and wait, I stalked a Skyan freighter for three days, numerous times I could have put a torpedo in her side, but her Captain was sloppy, he made countless errors, so I let him go…”

Squall took a large gulp of his drink without thinking. He didn’t like to talk about the fact that anytime he had gone onto the field of battle he did indeed kill people and it bothered him. And, given his storied career, he had ended a lot of lives of the captain’s fellow countryman. The role of the infantry was a much more personal one than what Skaro described. Very few cappers survived a run-in with Heartbreak Company and walked away.

“You are a soldier though, Squall for you that hunt is different… do you not take some pleasure from the Kill? To finally have your prize?” Skaro took a step towards the chest of draws by the side, He looked down at the faded marks on the wall, a couple of squares of wall were cleaner than the rest… ‘pictures hung here’ Skaro thought to himself before turning back towards Squall and leaning against the chest..

“Nobody hates war more than a soldier. I see everything Captain.. War brings death, destruction, pain, loss, rips families apart and burns home. When I show up, it’s because there’s an evil that will only be rooted out through force of arms. I’d rather your country quit invading its neighbors and...that….that...thing... that you do to your own women. I’ve seen the facilities. You are monsters...and I fight monsters to keep you from eating our young...not because I like it. I get no more enjoyment from it than I do killing a snake that slithered too close to the house.

“I’m no monster Squall, would a monster put men, women and children onto liferafts and send them on their way…. Surely you have heard of the defence platform, the torpedo didn’t run true, we ended up hitting their lifeboat stations, I surfaced the boat and took as many as I could, the rest I threw life vests and rafts… A monster would have let them drown Squall… I’m nothing like the others, yes I’m a Kravenite, Yes, I sink ships but we all have a job to do…. I just make sure I’m damned good at mine so I don’t ever have to spend more time in that god forsaken fortress than I have to….”

“Maybe you are different… You seem far more decent than the Kraven officer who ordered the murder of children right in front of me. And you are uniquely skilled; Sky Marshal Gonzales swears as much. Why not defect? A new home for your crew? A new ship? A chance to hunt bigger game - and a chance for your men to lead normal lives. You don't have to go back.”

“It’s not my place, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, my place is on the U-96 serving in the Naval Arm, I live for that and nothing else… not since….” Skaro paused and looked out through the window at the U-96…

“I notice you’ve recently took pictures down, trying to hide something? Or someone?... Yes, someone, you have homely touches to what would otherwise be a bachelor pad, a woman's touch… your fiance? Have you been engaged long? Does she realise that you may not live to see your first wedding anniversary? You do realise she is in a dangerous region? She may not live to see your first wedding anniversary..”

Squall’s anger swelled like a brutal burst of wind from a summer storm. In a lighting fast motion, Squall’s arm reached for the knife in his boot and in one quick motion brought the tip of its grey black blade to Skaro’s neck.

“I fought through hell to save people I didn't even know - what do you think I'll do to those who threaten her?”
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

Territory held in
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The Kraven Corporation
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Founded: Apr 24, 2005
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Kraven Corporation » Fri May 13, 2016 10:58 am

Skaro was unmoved by the sudden drawing of the blade, if anything he was more surprised it took this long to provoke a reaction, Squall must have been told to be on his best behaviour…

“You draw a blade quickly and with precision, you would make a good Capitol Police Trooper… or a Gothic Lord… “ Skaro laughed under his breath…

“But You’re still an idiot…” Skaro responded, remaining unmoved… “The U-96 is alongside, the crew would blast your little boat out of the water… now put the sword down and stop acting like an imbecile… I couldn’t give two fucks about your little sweetheart and I’m not about to go running back to Dietrich telling him all about her…”

Squall moved the blade carefully away and placed it neatly on the table in front of him.

“I don’t serve the Gothic Lords - and they certainly don’t serve our interests. Time and time again, somebody does something and it’s the Legion that gets called to fix it while the Lords dither. MIlograd, Vetalia, Pudu, by the sky - a damn nuke went off and the Lords didn’t blink an eye. They see themselves as gods with insurmountable power - but never do a gods damn thing unless it serves their own interest. I have no love for the Lords - expect for the Ironwings - of course.”

“Something we can agree on then, I have no love for the Lords either…” Skaro still hadn’t taken a drink from the glass, whether it was out of forgetfulness or more likely, because he didn’t want to dull his senses… he paused for a moment, then moved to the bench that was to one side of the room, he sat down with a thump and stretched his legs out, leaning back on the table and propping himself up with his elbows…

“I had a wife and child you know, she was called Freida” He paused again and looked out to sea..

“My son was called Rupert… but both of them are long gone…”

“I'm sorry to hear of your loss. May I ask what happened?”

"The mother in law had a falling out with her over which rations to buy that day, the Reich was still in its infancy at this point, we still enjoyed some freedoms, like what we could buy with our food coupons, they were just starting to clamp down on everything though and her own mother informed on her own fucking daughter, they were taken away by The Capitol Police…I was at Sea and so couldn’t be implicated…”


“I… I can't imagine what that's like. Havensky doesn't even have the death penalty. Why do you serve such a regime?”

“Because it wasn’t the Reich that was at fault, it was her fucking Mother, The Reich was just doing its duty, but anyway, she got her comeuppance, she was taken away a couple of days later on grounds of “Guilt by Association..”

“But I digress…” Skaro’s mood changed, from one of somberness to one of optimism

“So what is your duty now?”

“To command The U-96 until some time at which the fates decide my luck has run out and she becomes my Iron Coffin… No more…. No less…”
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT0uR5wB76M The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
Resistance is Futile... We Are The Kraven Reich

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Havensky
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Havensky » Mon May 16, 2016 6:19 pm

“I think it's more than that - it seems our governments have gone through a lot of trouble to get us to meet.”

“Well… how do you see me? What do you think my duty is? what is your opinion of Die Letzten Wölfe?”

“That I shouldn't go sailing anytime soon. And your opinion of me?”

“You want to do the right thing… Listen….” He sat up and looked at Squall dead in the eye..

“The Gothic Lords are a complete waste of space, they all harbour their own agenda and hold grudges that dictate how they proceed during Gothic Meetings, they cannot rule over Gholgoth, neither can they put an Executor in charge, no one will follow the rule of one over many, it just simply won’t work, The Gothic Lords see themselves as equals, so one presiding over the others just won’t sit… No, it has to be someone, a group of people from each nation who hold no grudges, hold no real power but their decisions are binding, a Council, they decide based on a majority vote what happens within Gholgoth, only then can you guarantee that individual agendas and alliances won’t tarnish any decisions…”

This sounds very…diplomatic and progressive for an officer of the Reich…There are many in Havensky who would agree... why are you telling me this?”

“Because we can’t go on like this, eventually it will blow up, we’ve been close several times in recent years, but if we continue eventually Gholgoth will become nothing but a ghost of its former self, not even a shadow it will be that destructive…

“And is this the opinion of the Reich?”, asked Squall looking intently at Skaro. To him, it didn't feel like a trick.

“Most certainly not… The Reich maneuvers itself and others to further its own aims, its pragmatic to the point where it cannot contemplate anything that will not maximise its own gains, the only reason I am here now is because they prefer peace while they shore up Fortress Arcadia..”

Squall backed away more from surprise than anything else. He hadn't met many free thinking Kravenites and the concept surprised him.

“So, what...exactly...are you proposing? You don't expect us to ally with you. Do a joint proposal to reform the council? Everyone would assume we were crazy!?”



“No, simply accept our help, let the two Subjugators enter your bay, if there are any more air attacks they will use their Strats to assist your fighters, they will probably bring a Mimir Tracking Vessel with them as well, the information will help your fighters vastly, you’ll know there is an attack coming before the enemy know it's coming”

Squall balked visibly, “Absolutely not. The Skyan people would never accept a Kraven warship so close to home. And our allies would object as well. You don't exactly have a reputation for friendship - and we can protect our own city just fine.”

“It’s not a case of accepting it on moral grounds, its accepting it because the alternative is a lot worse…”

“We’re a Democracy remember? Public opinion counts in this part of the world.”

“I know, I know… but would you rather have two Subjugators sat in your bay probably not doing anything or your skies blackened by Kraven Heavy Bombers?”

“Only totalitarians think in such black and white terms.”

“I am a Kravenite, it’s how we think, The Gothic Lords don’t work, I can only see that we need an alternative… Black and White”

“There's always another way - Atticus could propose the reforms easily - but your vessels in the bay would end half of his support base. He’d be sacked - and any reforms would die before they began. Atticus is your best hope for peace. He’s The Open Hand - when he fails, I am the other side of the coin.”

“You aren’t getting it….”

“The Reich doesn’t do this.. This… this” Skaro gestured at the boat, to Squall and himself, waving his arms around in large circles…

“The Reich never offers a diplomatic hand of friendship, it never negotiates. This is a first… don’t squander what they are doing, you may not get another chance...if I return to Dietrich and say you refused our help, they might decide to offer it to The Scandivan Empire”

“What? We refused to let a wolf in the hen house? How is that….logical? Yes, are you not supposedly the logical ones?”

“It doesn’t make sense, I understand that, but this is your only chance to talk, to sit down with Dietrich and hammer out a lasting peace, Atticus can work his magic with his supporters, I’ve seen your papers, I’ve heard the talk in your bars, I’ve sat in your fucking bay and listened to your radio talk shows shouting the virtues of the young Atticus.. But the fact I am here speaks volumes… The Reich wants to talk…they sent me because you would know its not a trap or some kind of trick…”

Squall pondered for a moment.

“I will take your proposal to the council - but it would be helpful to have a plan b. As you know. I don't give the orders either...it might be...a long debate…how long do I have?”

Skaro finally took his first drink from the glass, it was a long, slow gulp, where afterwards he sighed and looked at Squall straight in the eyes….

“I don’t know….”

“What if it were a temporary defection? I'm just being creative here”

“I can’t defect, even temporary, I would be shot on my return and then I would be of no use to anyone…”

“Listen, can you guarantee me access to the council and a free return to The U-96, assure me that I won’t be arrested, questioned or extradited and I will put forward the argument, I can go back to The U-96 and report to Dietrich that you are listening, that might be enough to give us more time…”

“That… I can arrange. Consider that done.”

“Right…. The Gothic Council idea must come from you, you can take the credit if it takes off, but if they find out a Kravenite suggested it, everyone will think it’s a trap…” Skaro got up and held out his hand…

“Keep the whiskey, I’ll consider it a gift…”

“How should I contact you? It will take some time to make arrangements.”

“Just hoist your Skyan ensign upside down, I’ll be watching…” Skaro laughed as he started to clamber up the wooden rungs of the rope ladder and back into the conning tower of the U-96..
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
(Pronounced Haven-Sky)

Territory held in
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Havensky
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Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Havensky » Thu May 19, 2016 6:47 am

Lance Atticus scribbled furiously on his glass tablet as The Open Hand[/] docked at the ULE City airport. He stood up from his chair and left his cabin without so much as looking at where he was going. This was his ship. He knew it well and he had to [i]write.

Atticus, being ever so slightly too tall, bent down as he stepped foot on the ramp leading down to the tarmac. A brief look up and he walked towards the car that was waiting for him. He was still writing.

Squall’s report had given him new hope and new energy. The plan was absolute total insanity and if he hadn’t heard it from the ever so serious Commander Squall he would not have taken it seriously.

It was all very surreal, but Atticus knew better than anyone that the entire scheme had tremendous potential to fail spectacularly. However, if it worked it would mean a lasting peace. One that might enable the people of Gholgoth to let their kids grow up for once instead of shipping them off to another gods damn war.

Words continue to dribble out of him as the car started up to take him to the Chamber of the Gothic Lords. The last speech he made there had caused quite the impression and Atticus was not so vain to admit he was feeling a bit of pressure to top himself.

“I am My Lord’s Peacemaker! I am the Open Hand of My People! I am my Queen’s Conciliator in the midst of rancor and the King’s Emissary when times grow dark! Ignore me at your peril villain!”

His aide turned around quizzingly from behind the wheel.

“Sir?”

“Sorry Besòs trying to get in the spirit… second acts are always hard.”

“De Nada (It’s nothing), I’m sure you’ll nail it.”

Atticus took a deep breath and read over what he had so far twirling the stylus as he did. He went back crossed a section out and re-wrote it.

“That should do it.”

Chamber of the Gothic Lords

The chamber was empty.

That was the intention of the Skyan Secretary of State. The council was not in session. The Lords had not been Summoned.

A few staff members from various embassies who had heard rumors that something was going to happen had filtered in. Protocol dictated that they not sit at the thrones arrayed in a circle - but rather at the far tables towards the rear of the room.

Thrones, thought Atticus to himself as he put the thin glass tablet in his suit pocket. Only here would that be considered a normal seating option.

The cameras in the chamber were on for the benefit of nations that had a free press. The Skyan World Service had been warned about Atticus’ speech and went live as he walked in wearing his horn rimmed glasses.

Atticus took the podium and outstretched his arms. He ignored the camera, looking instead to the empty thrones.

“I speak to you now in this empty chamber. This Chamber alleging to be the seat of the Great Gothic Alliance.

The Alliance of the Gothic Lords… A group of nations so feared that no navy or army dare enter our territory without fear of total and complete decimation.”

Atticus looked directly at the camera. The Skyan World Service used a different camera to zoom in close making it appear that Atticus was speaking not to the empty chamber, but at the viewer at home.

“Unless of course, you count the Skyan Legionary Armada’s counter invasion of Milograd that got us a seat at this table in the first place.”

Atticus looked away and towards the seat of Damian Dreadfire.

“What protection has this ‘Alliance’ brought us? We’ve fought more wars with each other than any outside foe. It had made us weaker. We tear at each other and in our anemic state the fiction that is the security of the region is unraveled. What was once unthinkable has now become reality. The region is faced with both civil war and an invading foreign force.”

Atticus looked at the camera in a sort of sideways glance.

“Not that it's the first time this has happened - it was the same story when the Kraven Reich hit the Skyan Military Academy in a failed attempt to kidnap Queen Heart.”

Atticus turned his head towards the seat belonging to the Scandinvan Empire walking towards it casually.

“The Slaver Lord started a war in the Golden Throne. They funded rebels, pirates and slavers on the very doorstep of a nation who opposes them - a nation with substantial military might and global prestige. What was this slaver lord thinking?

Now, in a working regional alliance that had some ability to problem solve the solution would be to have the regional government (that's this empty room) intervene and attempt peace talks. Use our words. Indeed, that's exactly what we tried to do. We are allied with the Golden Throne. In theory, we are allied with the slaver lord. We were in a good position to mediate.

And how...exactly...did this slaver lord respond?- by dropping troops and bombs on our capitol. An unprovoked attack on a non-military targets that was completely unjustified.”

Atticus looked at the camera again.

“It's like they were trying to piss off half the region.”

Atticus turned back to the council chambers looking at the empty chairs.

“What recourse do we have? What says this empty chamber? The last time we tried to use this august body to stop a war it did very little. I might as well have been speaking to an empty chamber. I won't even waste everyone’s time telling you how unacceptable the attack on Citadel City was. Our response should be self-evident. We are now in a state of war with the slaver lord.”

Here are the following demands that the Skyan People demand from the Slaver Lord.

"First, we demand an end to the occupation of Shen Alamuru.

Second, the slave trade ends. There will be no slave ship within sight of a Skyan vessel that will go unchallenged. It is an abomination of human rights and should not be tolerated in our region’s waters.

We're under no illusions about the probability that these demands will be met under diplomatic pressure. The Skyans feel that slavery is an evil, but tolerated the practice because we felt that's what was necessary to avoid a long and bloody civil war in the region. It remains an unpopular decision.

However, given the attack on our city we are no longer under the burden of having to maintain peace. Now it's warfare that occupies our efforts. The Skyan people are fully prepared for a long and difficult war that will surely mark one of the more deadly chapters in our region's history. Already, we are sending 5,000 slaver corpses to the Scandinvan embassy in ULE. I imagine before this war is over we’ll have sent many more slavers to their grave.”

Atticus looked not at the camera, but instead at the various staff gathered at tables as if to break away from his speech.

“Doesn't it frustrate and infuriate you? To wish to serve your county, but be so limited to what you can actually achieve?! I see you wanting to respond, but some of you can't without a long phone call from the lords at home.

Should this body not have the ability to solve basic problems? Or is this body purely fiction? Is this treaty some game we write out in our free time?

For if the Gothic Council can’t stop us from killing the other - are we really an alliance?

No, we are not. This body is in need of serious reform.”

Atticus looked at the camera.

“Otherwise, this story will repeat again and again and again.”

Atticus turned to the tables of staff again.

“To start, this chamber should never be empty. We should have a council of permanent representatives to serve as the voice of our peoples. We should not have to wait for all the Lords to gather to make a decision. It paralyzed us. The Lords each have their own personal vendettas and histories that hold us hostage and prevent meaningful progress. Ambassadors to the Gothic Council would serve us well.

Second, we should find a neutral ground to meet. This place is too haunted by the ghosts of our past to have a proper discussion of our future.

Third, and this is important, the rights of Gothic citizens must be recognized. Until the universal rights of all those who reside in Gholgoth are recognized, there can be no chance at peace between each other. It is not enough to say, 'This lord should not attack this one.” We must say, “Nothing gives a Gothic Lord the right to strike out and attack a citizen of Gholgoth.'

I realize that these are big changes - but these changes we must make. I invite the governments of the Gothic Lords to gather and discuss these reforms in Citadel City. I pray that you arrive quickly before more Gothic blood soaks our soil.”

Atticus stopped to look at the camera and gave a comforting look.

“No, I am afraid that this war will not end while Shen Alamauru remains in slaver hands. Even as I attempt at talks for peace, the Skyan Legionary Armada gathers her allies and prepares to come to the aid of the Pudites. I regret to say it, but this will be bloody.”

Atticus, having finished his circle around the empty chamber, took the podium once more.

“I thank those in this empty chamber for their time and consideration. Please, let our next conversation be one we have together for the sake of the region’s peace.”
Last edited by Havensky on Mon May 23, 2016 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Naacal
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Naacal » Mon May 23, 2016 4:00 pm

Chamber of the Gothic Lords

As Atticus concluded his speech in the otherwise empty Council chamber, a response could be heard in the form of a single person slowly clapping. The sound echoing in the chamber as a melodic, beautiful voice began to speak. "You raise some excellent points, Lance Atticus. Though I am not sure if your solution is precisely what Gholgoth needs. Nor will I dismiss it, as some of what you say bears merit."

A Naacal male... or was he? walked from a dark corner of the room, seemingly out of the shadows themselves. Black hair flowing to mid-thigh, he wore the loose flowing robes of a Naacal Savant, the equivalent of a Priest in the Mu culture.

"I bring you greetings from my Anais, Emperor Lerian XII. My name is Nialyth L'Nereth, I am shall we say the... spiritual guide of the Naacal People. I must say we are most impressed with your generally correct portrayal of the situation. Whereas I personally find slavery rather abhorrent. The fact of the matter is while one has the right to defend your people and culture, it becomes less clear on the issue of... I suppose enforcing one's morals on others? All nations and peoples have a right to fulfill their own destiny, and that must always come from within. An exception of course is a Parasitic Culture, of which we unfortunately have one in Gholgoth."

Nialyth walked gracefully over to a water dispenser, and filled a glass. He swirled it in his hand, looking through the liquid towards Atticus. "As a leader one must see plans, tactics, politics. Someone in my position must see nearly everything. Look at this glass. As I swirl it, the fluid inside moves. It causes eddies, currents-if it were larger visible waves. Such is the situation in Gholgoth at the time."

Nialyth's gaze swept across the table, the chairs of the various Lords. "Indeed. I concur with you that this body needs changes. Not replacement but-augmentation? As you mentioned having Ambassadors set up could well go far towards dealing with matters of personal vendettas and such among the Lords. My Anais and I are also in complete agreement that Citadel City would make a fine neutral meeting ground though I do have a concern."

Nialyth stared directly at Atticus, seeming to almost look into his soul. "You are currently at war with the Scandinvan Empire. Does this not somewhat negate the precepts of neutrality? It is something of course to be considered." Nialyth closed his eyes for a second. "Lastly, I must say that I myself are not sure of what you mean by 'Fundamental Rights'. Not all cultures have the same view of...human rights? as you do. That being said however there is much merit in a treaty or declaration restricting offenses against other Gothic nations. Conquest is a fate reserved for our enemies, not against each other. No Gothic Lord should have the right to enforce their will on any other citizen of the region outside of his or her own people. This I can identify with, There is also still the matter of the Parasitic Culture among us, but Lerian XII will have I am sure much more substantial things to say on this matter. My own views on such could be considered... mildly biased."

Nialyth smiled, "I must be going now. But we would be honored to attend the meeting in Citadel City. Until then, I bid you well. Your conviction and dedication to this matter I find most appealing. I just hope that the 'wave' you started here today gathers strength, for sometimes..." Nialyth paused, drinking the glass of water. "They can be consumed."

Turning to the exit, Nialyth exited the room slowly. One of the diplomatic staff followed, a question on his lips.

But the corridor outside was empty.
Last edited by The Naacal on Mon May 23, 2016 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Drakonian Imperium
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Veritatem Fratribus Testari*

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Mon May 23, 2016 8:46 pm

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Grand Dominion of Drakonian Imperium
Official Communiqué

Too often is the discourse of nations interrupted by the drum beat of war. Even Gholgoth, despite its extraordinary nature, is no exception to this verity. Disputes between nations are inevitable. Squabbles between Paragons of Statehood, bound in the Regional Association of Gholgoth by oath, nonetheless so.

However, the current crisis is no mere feud, but the continuation of a conflict started years ago. The unanswered question of that quarrel still haunts and informs the decisions and actions taken by the nations of Gholgoth to this very day.

The actions taken by the Glorious Empire of The Scandinvans against the Pantokratic Dominate of Emperor Pudu and the Skybound Republic of Havensky are reprehensible and in violation of the oath it gave long ago before the Council of Gholgothic Lords.

The Gholgoth Regional Alliance is no mere organization bound by law, but an association of leaders bound by pledges of blood. Those that wantonly strike against their brothers who have given blood to be a part of the Regional Association breach those sacred vows.

The Grand Dominion of Drakonian Imperium does understand and support the necessity of action to restore Pax Gholgothica**. The question of Gholgoth's recent wars should be answered. However, the Imperial Government does not believe that the Regional Alliance is in need of broad political reforms. The system of old has functioned and continues to function in the best interests of Greater Gholgoth.

Nevertheless, the Imperial Government does deem it as prudent to send representatives to City-State of Citadel City, in the Gholgothic Havensky. It is toward this end, the His Imperial Majesty, Praetor Augustus Drake has requested that His Excellency, Caius Argentius, Prime Minister of Mille Mortifere, Special Representative of the Imperium before the Gholgothic Council of Lords, Dux of Argentia, and Lord of various holdings throughout Drakonia and Gholgoth, alongside His Royal Highness, Marcus Sutherland, Crown Prince of Trinitia, Heir to the Emerald Throne, should, with all due haste, travel to Havensky to meet with the assembled Gholgothic Representatives in order to ensure a lasting peace.

The continuation of our ongoing disputes is to the detriment of the region as a whole. This current crisis must be resolved.

The Imperial Government is content to take action as it deems necessary to bring about an honourable solution. In this manner, the Imperium calls upon the Gholgothic Council of Lords to act, as they have in the past to bring about a swift and just resolution to the current disagreement.

Office of Gholgothic Affairs,
Drakonian Diplomatic Corps.
Drako Throne, Drakonia

__________________
* Latin Phrase meaning: "To bear witness to the Truth in Brotherhood".
** Latin for the "Peace of Gholgoth".

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Jagada
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Jagada » Sun May 29, 2016 7:35 pm

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The Empire of Jagada
You must walk through the darkness to see the light


The Empire does agree with the basis of the argument for the need to reform the Gothic Regional Alliance. In the absence of nations such as Automagfreek, Crimmond, and others we seem to have lost our way and are even now contemplating permitting foreign bodies to intervene and attack one of the lords. This is unacceptable and will not be idly permitted by the Empire. Gholgoth is a region inviolate from outsiders, that is one of our oldest and basic laws -- we deal with our own. We agree that the Glorious Empire has violated the treaty, we also agree that the Reich has done the same and indeed we have been apart of Gothic civil wars in the past. This cannot be allowed to continue.

We are, however, not interested in discussing any matters so long as the possibility of foreign intervention in Gholgoth remains. The first act of the Gothic Lords should be to deal with Scandivan and Kraven in a manner fitting their individual crimes.

We also disagree vehemently with the proposal to move the meeting place of the Gothic Lords from ULE City where it has been based since the inception of the region by Damien Dreadfire. The Empress does not view the chambers to be haunted by any type of ghosts. Even if that were the case we should not move the meeting place based solely upon that. It is the Empire's opinion that, within Gholgoth itself, there is no more neutral a meeting ground than Automagfreek and even though that nation has retreated from the international stage as of late it remains the beating heart of the region as a whole. That said we do agree with the need to keep a constant representative close to those chairs to make decision in a timely manner and to that end we shall appointment a permanent ambassador to the Chamber of the Lords immediately.

In regards to Ambassador Atticus' last point -- that is saying the same thing in two different ways. It should be enough to say that by the blood oath we took that no Goth should raise their hand against another Goth. If an oath made in blood is not binding enough to force our hands to act in the cause of justice then how will a scrap of paper offer anything more? No, it simply will not. We will repeat that same event, over and over, and the only difference will be that this Gothic Council will too busy with the paperwork to act accordingly. Nothing binds us from acting now, nothing but our inattention -- which even the Empire is guilty of.

All that said, we are willing to hear arguments in favor of reform within Gholgoth, but this must take place after the threat of foreign intervention has been dealt with and Scandivan and the Reich have been brought to account for their crimes against their own brothers. Bring Reichmarshall Deitrich and the Scandivan Emperor before the Chamber of the Lords and we shall determine their punishment. They should come willingly but it is unlikely and so they should be dragged forward to account for themselves.

Lord-Councilor Selelle Merramon,
High Lady of the Imper'ar Rank,
The Imperial Foreign Ministry
Svedal, Jagada
You must walk through the darkness to see the light ...

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Drakonian Imperium
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Address to Gholgoth, June 8, 2016

Postby Drakonian Imperium » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:56 am

NOTE: This speech was posted independently and is being duplicated here by request of Havensky.

"Confitentur se nosse Deum, factis autem negant, cum sunt abominati et inoboedientes et ad omne opus bonum reprobi."
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
-- Epistle of Paul to Titus 1:16, Bible, Vulgate Translation, 405 A.D.

__________________

Once, more than a century ago, the Press Room of the Grand Praetorian Palace was nothing more than a storeroom in the basement. Built in the 12th Century the Palace had seen much change. However, for most of its life, the Press Room had seen very little. That is, until the invention of the radio. The story went that when the room had been converted to serve as studio in the 1920s, so that the Queen could address the Imperium, several massive ceramic storage jars, dating back several millennia, had been found. Since then the radio room had become, with the advent of television, a television studio and finally it had been converted to a full Press Room.

The Press Room was, itself, somewhat less lavishly decorated than the rest of the Palace. It did not feature the decorative ornamentation of the rooms above it, but was rather simply plastered a clean white with a line of gold molding running the perimeter along the walls at waist height. At the far end of the room stood the stage, slightly raised, flanked by curtains woven from fine silken thread, colored a deep rich purple. The stage was framed by a pair of marble Corinthian Columns, inside along the back wall, perfectly centered was the Great Dragon Seal of the Imperium, flanked on either side by flags, on the left was the black and red flag of the Drakonian Imperium, on the right the black and red flag of Gholgoth. At front the stage stood a simple, unadorned, podium. There was seating for some several dozen reporters or officials, along with cameras and teleprompter at the back, where a window showed the recording booth.

It was full of both officials and reporters as Praetor Augustus Valens Drake entered. The Praetor was a tall man, dressed sharply in a finely-tailored, jet black, three-piece suit. An imperial purple sash, trimmed in gold hung across his chests and medals were pinned upon the left breast of the jacket. Normally, he walked with a cane--an item he acquired after an assassination attempt had nearly succeeded--but, on this day he was without it and stood pillar straight; tall, proud, and unhindered by pain or infirmity. He still possessed some of his old youthful vigor and virile appearance that was only beginning to fade with age as streaks of light brown and grey broke on a head of dark brown hair. Blue-violet eyes betrayed an age and the cares of forty-seven years. He bore the skin of a Drakonian, almost fair, but still possessing the olive or bronze hue born from millennia under a tropical sun.

The Praetor took the podium with skill borne from decades of oration. As heir to the monarchy, Augustus Drake had learned to speak and address and audience before he could drive an automobile. He fixed those assembled with a stern assessing gaze. The room was quiet when he began to speak with the authority of his station:

"Nearly six years ago, we, a coalition of Gholgothic States, acting under the authority of the Gholgoth Regional Alliance did censure one of our members for acts of wanton aggression, and heinous crimes against its own and the citizens of other nations. A blockade was formed, intended to limit the traffic of slaves and of war materiel.

"However, we did falter in our purpose. Through a malicious and merciless campaign of propaganda and lies and through the actions of pacifistic and opportunistic representatives in Drakonia, we allowed that blockade to end.

"And now, once again, we are challenged by that very same problem we did, then, set out to solve. We see, again, a Gholgothic State that acts selfishly only toward its own interest and not toward the interests of the region as a whole. A nation that sows discord and strife in Gholgoth and the world wherever it acts. A nation that intimidates and warmongers, conquers and enslaves. The Empire of the Scandinvans has so threatened its neighbors that we must act aggressively and militarily to end the threat it poses to regional peace and stability.

"Our crisis does, however, not end with the Scandinvans. The Reich of Kraven continues to occupy the territory of its fellow Lords of Gholgoth. It has only been nine years since the armies of the Reich mercilessly attacked the Imperial Republic of Tersanctus as it settled Nova Castra. And in that nine years it has repeatedly marched to war; against Dephire, against Milograd, against any regional power that would oppose its backstabbing expansion.

"I say to you now, that we will not accept the occupation of Shen Almaru. We will not accept the attack on Citadel City. We will not accept the continued occupation of Vetalia and Milograd. These nations shall have the right to self-determination guaranteed them as part of the Regional Alliance.

"Once more, we faced before us the unthinkable conflict: Gholgothic Lord against Gholgoth Lord. War after war have we fought amongst ourselves. The unspoken oath of Pax Gholgothica, the Gholgothic Peace, has been broken by greed. Our disagreements have not been settled. The arguments started in the Council of Lords have not been resolved. We have seen and we now are threatened by conflict which could tear apart the very fabric of our Alliance. A conflict which threatens fire and suffering for all of Gholgoth and Varathron. A conflict in which we face not foreign invaders, but domestic aggressors.

"Under this reality, many of the nations of Gholgoth have abandoned, or do believe that, the Regional Alliance has failed, fractured, or ended.

"I say this to you now: We must not give up on the Regional Alliance. We must not give up on the ideals that have brought us together and brought us so very far. The Alliance has not failed us. The Alliance is not dead. If anything, then, it is we who have failed the Alliance.

"If our solemn oaths are to mean anything, then we cannot compromise our values, we cannot be silent in the very face of injustice, we cannot for one moment surrender to what is clearly and plainly wrong or invalid. We must as Drakonians, as Gholgoths, as Varathrians, as Humans, as Sentient Beings stand for what is right, what is true, what is righteous.

"We must remember the principles which have made this Alliance extraordinary. Gholgoth was meant to be a region where exceptional nations, paragons of empires with unrivaled power and unquestionable reputation, gathered as equals with equal voice and equal authority. NationStates who defended one another unquestioningly and who honored their diversity of government and culture. Giants who stood astride the whole world and strove together to improve upon it.

"And yet, we have wavered; we have faltered in those ideals. And now, we make war against ourselves, our oaths and honor forgotten. Some seek to tear apart our union, to sully our reputation and darken the honor of the greatest nations of our grand alliance, our glorious region, our massive world, and our mighty multiverse.

"We must not be held hostage by these individuals! We must not allow Gholgoth be held hostage to lies and manipulations! We must not submit to factionalism! We must instead unite.

"We must not forsake our like ideals; the reputation for excellence, our honor bound duties and obligations to one another. Gholgoth must once again unite under common goal: To bring together in union our wayward brothers, to justly punish their arrogance, and then to restore their honor and equal place among us. And to, doing so, restore the honor and reputation of the Gholgoth and the Regional Alliance.

"Brother Nations, Brother Empires--diverse in thought and culture--and yet united in common cause: To strive toward excellence, to stand as giants among mere mortals, immortal in ideal, in reason, and in justice. To exemplify all that is great, grand, and powerful in the world and to use that power evenly and justly.

"We are Brothers. We are Gholgoth. We are united. Our wrath is mighty, our power immense, our example peerless.

"We must remember and do our utmost to strive toward those ideals which made this region, this Alliance, great. Do not abandon it.

"Semper Certans*, Gholgoth."

The Praetor gave one last nod, a slight bow of the head, a Drakonian show of respect, and then left the podium.

__________________
* Drakonian Latin, meaning "Ever" or "Always Striving".
Last edited by Drakonian Imperium on Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ghant
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:05 am

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“Don’t be disappointed if the whole world is against you, maybe it is because you are a tough ass.” ― M.F. Moonzajer



Chamber of the Gothic Lords

Never did she think she’d be standing where she was, or hearing the things she heard. All the same, that’s where she was, in a nearly empty room filled with the specters of supposedly great leaders, mere shadows playing tricks of light from low burning flames upon old walls. The Gholghantish woman very lightly tapped her delicate fingers upon the smooth wooden table, as though she were in an intense game of poker.

Though this was no poker game, and she was no card shark. Lara Jarasa found herself in the Chamber of Gothic Lords, hearing…listening…chafing. It wasn’t exactly a place she wanted to be, but alas, duty called, and Lara Jarasa was a creature beholden to lordly duties. She found her companions odd, strange even, though she herself was anything but ordinary.

Lara Jarasa was a scion of one of the greatest, most ancient and most powerful houses in Gholghant, House Jarasa. They ruled over the province that bore their name, on the south side of the Strait of Jarasa that separated Gholghant from the mainland, where New Jagada was set up after the Kravenites drove the Jagadans from their homeland, across the sea to the west. Jarasa was a land rich with mineral wealth from the mountains in the southern parts of the province and from maritime trade in the strait.

Yet, none of that would have been enough to allow a twenty-seven year old young noble ingénue to end up being a proxy representative to a session of the Gothic Council, no matter how limited the meeting might have been. What helped Lara Jarasa was the fact that her mother was one Anara Zaldua, younger sister of Henoor Zaldua, Steward of Gholghant. The Stewardship could, under certain circumstances, pass through female lines, and as such Henoor placed a great deal of faith in Lara’s abilities.

She was no slouch herself. Lara studied political science at the University of Jarasa, and while a B+ student at best, showed a great deal of promise in the noble circles of Gholghantish society. She had traveled a great deal as well, especially to Zahaghant, spending time at the court of Ghish where she made “friends” with the likes of Princess Cassandra and Sophia of Dakmoor before the latter became Empress of Ghant.

Lara was at Jarasa Palace, which overlooked the Strait when she received her marching orders from her Uncle, directing her to attend a “session” of the Gothic Council. Lara was hardly in any position to not accept such a honor, so she went without protest. Though she didn’t find out until she got there that there was no council in session, and the chamber was practically empty.

The Lords of Gholgoth had not been summoned, and those that were there consisted of various ambassadorial staff from one Gothic nation or another. The thrones of the chamber sat empty as the assembled diplomats took their seats at the various tables arrayed elsewhere in the room. Lara was tempted to take her own Emperor’s seat, but decided against it out of fear that someone would tell Emperor Nathan and him throwing a temper tantrum over That Jarasa girl usurping my chair!

She didn’t need it though. In her mind she stood out as a lady of great beauty and poise. Lara had soft lilac eyes like members of House Jarasa often did, along with thick, shiny dirty blond hair that tumbled around her shoulders in luxurious strands. She had sharp eyebrows and a petulant mouth framed by her round face that made her appear harsher than she actually was.

Lara was complimented by a short, feminine figure that she inherited from her mother’s Zaldua heritage. Wide hipped, buxom with long legs and slender shoulders, wrapped in a grand chiffon robe of blue and red accented with white, the colors of House Jarasa. Her robe dragged behind her across the floor as she walked, supported by a pair of young ladies-in-waiting from lesser houses sworn to House Jarasa. They helped her along as she walked proud and dignified to her table, her chin raised high and her lilac eyes scanning the room under her furrowed brow.

It was during her walk from the chamber entrance to her table that a Skyan she knew to be Atticus began to speak. “I speak to you now in this empty chamber. This Chamber alleging to be the seat of the Great Gothic Alliance. The Alliance of the Gothic Lords… A group of nations so feared that no navy or army dare enter our territory without fear of total and complete decimation.”

Lady Jarasa had to avoid smirking at Atticus’s words. Of late, it would seem as though our own nations need fear total and complete decimation… She was, like many of her countrymen, feeling salty over Kravenite atrocities in Vetalia and over the Scandie attack on Havensky. Lara was Gothic born and raised, in a nation that had existed for thousands of years. With that conceded, she was more afraid of nations within Gholgoth then she was nations from beyond that part of the world.

“Unless of course, you count the Skyan Legionary Armada’s counter invasion of Milograd that got us a seat at this table in the first place,” Atticus added, perhaps smugly as Lara might have assumed. Then he looked at the empty seat of Damian Dreadfire. “What protection has this ‘Alliance’ brought us? We’ve fought more wars with each other than any outside foe. It had made us weaker. We tear at each other and in our anemic state the fiction that is the security of the region is unraveled. What was once unthinkable has now become reality. The region is faced with both civil war and an invading foreign force.”

Did it take Atticus this long to realize that the Gothic Alliance was at its best a puffed-up display? Lara was from Gholghant, a nation not known for its strength at arms or for its political might. It was a nation that endured as long as it had because it avoided drawing attention to itself, in spite of being roughly halfway between both the Kraven Reich and the Scandinvan Empire. Gholghant chomped at the bit to be in the alliance if only for wanting to feel a sense of self-security. Sometimes I wonder if Vetalia and Havensky thought the same thing…

Atticus continued, saying that. “Not that it's the first time this has happened - it was the same story when the Kraven Reich hit the Skyan Military Academy in a failed attempt to kidnap Queen Heart.”

Conveniently, you forget to mention that Queen Heart is an escaped Kravenite science project. Havensky had proved good allies and useful partners in Gothic affairs, though they, and Jessica especially, had a penchant for finding trouble. Atticus gestured towards the Scandinvan seat and added, “The Slaver Lord started a war in the Golden Throne. They funded rebels, pirates and slavers on the very doorstep of a nation who opposes them - a nation with substantial military might and global prestige. What was this slaver lord thinking?”

Probably that they could start a war with the Golden Throne and then hide behind the Gothic Alliance when the Golden Throne came for them, Lara sniggered underneath the back of her hand. The Golden Throne had come to Gaztelua and treated with Uncle Henoor, she knew, and there were some things discussed between them that Lara became privy too. There was talk of the Golden Throne stationing troops in Gholghant and using it as a forward operating base against the Scandinvans, in exchange for lucrative arrangements for Gholghant’s benefit. Those talks were just that though, talks, and caution was exercised on Uncle Henoor’s part, lest the Gothic lords feel provoked.

“Now, in a working regional alliance that had some ability to problem solve, the solution would be to have the regional government intervene and attempt peace talks. Use our words. Indeed, that's exactly what we tried to do. We are allied with the Golden Throne. In theory, we are allied with the slaver lord. We were in a good position to mediate. And how...exactly...did this slaver lord respond?- by dropping troops and bombs on our capitol. An unprovoked attack on non-military targets that was completely unjustified.”

You shouldn’t act surprised, Lara yawned this time into her hand. The Scandinvans are like the scum that accumulates between your toes after a long hard day of water polo. I’d rather be allied with a backstabbing cutthroat then the fucking Scandies. Still, she kept her mouth shut and listened on.

“It's like they were trying to piss off half the region. What recourse do we have? What says this empty chamber? The last time we tried to use this august body to stop a war it did very little. I might as well have been speaking to an empty chamber. I won't even waste everyone’s time telling you how unacceptable the attack on Citadel City was. Our response should be self-evident. We are now in a state of war with the slaver lord.”

No, Atticus, they’d expect you to roll over and take it in the ass for the sake of the Gothic Alliance, which grants the most dangerous, most aggressive nations in the region impunity and no accountability for their actions. If the Scandies were the backstabbing cutthroats, then that made the Kravenites the rabid dogs without a leash, their handlers absent as the dog went about biting whoever it pleased.

“Here are the following demands that the Skyan People demand from the Slaver Lord,” Atticus began to say, prompting Lara to lean forward over the table to listen more attentively. "First, we demand an end to the occupation of Shen Alamuru.”

A very reasonable demand, Lara nodded with pursed lips.

“Second, the slave trade ends. There will be no slave ship within sight of a Skyan vessel that will go unchallenged. It is an abomination of human rights and should not be tolerated in our region’s waters. “

To that, Lara shook her head. …You’d have better luck asking a bird not to fly.

“We're under no illusions about the probability that these demands will be met under diplomatic pressure. The Skyans feel that slavery is an evil, but tolerated the practice because we felt that's what was necessary to avoid a long and bloody civil war in the region. It remains an unpopular decision. However, given the attack on our city we are no longer under the burden of having to maintain peace. Now it's warfare that occupies our efforts. The Skyan people are fully prepared for a long and difficult war that will surely mark one of the more deadly chapters in our region's history. Already, we are sending 5,000 slaver corpses to the Scandinvan embassy in ULE. I imagine before this war is over we’ll have sent many more slavers to their grave.”

You’re all going to die, then. The Scandinvans had been around for as long as the Ghantish had, and in all that time the Scandies had never been compelled to abolish slavery. The Skyans were a drop in the bucket compared to the Scandies, with the latter being a machine of radical ideology and zealotry that existed no where else. You would need a lot of help in order to bring the Scandies to their knees, Lara thought, realizing that you would need a grand coalition for that…a lot more then us. You’d need the Kylarnatians, the Naacal, the Jagadansa and the Drakonians.

Atticus turned to address the “guests,” Lara included. “Doesn't it frustrate and infuriate you? To wish to serve your county, but be so limited to what you can actually achieve? I see you wanting to respond, but some of you can't without a long phone call from the lords at home.

…It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission…

“Should this body not have the ability to solve basic problems? Or is this body purely fiction? Is this treaty some game we write out in our free time?” Atticus asked a bold question indeed.

It is the lie we tell ourselves to make us feel safe and secure. There is no safety…no one is ever truly safe. It can all end in the blink of an eye, in a heartbeat. Civilizations meet their end from the enemies within, not the enemies without. So the Trojans were felled by the Horse, so too shall the Goths be felled by their own internal strife. Lara felt bad for Havensky, for it suddenly found itself in an antagonistic relationship with both Kraven and the Scandies. She feared that their doom was eminent.

“For if the Gothic Council can’t stop us from killing the other - are we really an alliance? No, we are not. This body is in need of serious reform. Otherwise, this story will repeat again and again and again.”

Another sad thought crept into Lara’s mind. Was it ever destined to be any different? One cannot expect a nation like Ghant to want to be allies with scum like the Scandies or the Kravenites. We’d rather see those nations destroyed.

Atticus went into detail about his proposed reforms. “To start, this chamber should never be empty. We should have a council of permanent representatives to serve as the voice of our peoples. We should not have to wait for all the Lords to gather to make a decision. It paralyzed us. The Lords each have their own personal vendettas and histories that hold us hostage and prevent meaningful progress. Ambassadors to the Gothic Council would serve us well. Second, we should find a neutral ground to meet. This place is too haunted by the ghosts of our past to have a proper discussion of our future. Third, and this is important, the rights of Gothic citizens must be recognized. Until the universal rights of all those who reside in Gholgoth are recognized, there can be no chance at peace between each other. It is not enough to say, 'This lord should not attack this one.” We must say, “Nothing gives a Gothic Lord the right to strike out and attack a citizen of Gholgoth.”

Indeed, it should never be empty. Lara was in favor of there being permanent representatives to proxy on behalf of the Gothic Lords. After all, you’d have to offer free food, wine and willing women to entice Nathan to attend, such as his indulgences were. I will have to suggest Gaztelua as a potential neutral meeting ground. Unfortunately, Lara highly doubted the viability of the third suggestion. You’ll never get the Kravenites or the Scandies to recognize the “rights” of their own people. Not as long as the Scandies have slaves and as long as the Kravenites turn their women into test tubes. The thought made her cringe with horror and disgust.

Atticus paced around the empty chamber and ruminated more upon his proposal. “I realize that these are big changes - but these changes we must make. I invite the governments of the Gothic Lords to gather and discuss these reforms in Citadel City. I pray that you arrive quickly before more Gothic blood soaks our soil. No, I am afraid that this war will not end while Shen Alamauru remains in slaver hands. Even as I attempt at talks for peace, the Skyan Legionary Armada gathers her allies and prepares to come to the aid of the Pudites. I regret to say it, but this will be bloody.”

Citadel City? Hopefully it doesn’t get attacked while everyone’s there. Lara could agree upon that on principle, and inform her uncle of the merits, before he would inform the Emperor, who would most likely agree and be goaded into attending in person.

“I thank those in this empty chamber for their time and consideration. Please, let our next conversation be one we have together for the sake of the region’s peace.” Atticus said his peace and stepped down from the podium. It wasn’t long after this, that another began to speak.

"You raise some excellent points, Lance Atticus. Though I am not sure if your solution is precisely what Gholgoth needs. Nor will I dismiss it, as some of what you say bears merit." Lara watched the…person, a Naacal by the look and sound of…it, approach the podium. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be a man, wearing robes and possessing of long black hair. "I bring you greetings from my Anais, Emperor Lerian XII. My name is Nialyth L'Nereth, I am shall we say the... spiritual guide of the Naacal People. I must say we are most impressed with your generally correct portrayal of the situation. Whereas I personally find slavery rather abhorrent. The fact of the matter is while one has the right to defend your people and culture, it becomes less clear on the issue of... I suppose enforcing one's morals on others? All nations and peoples have a right to fulfill their own destiny, and that must always come from within. An exception of course is a Parasitic Culture, of which we unfortunately have one in Gholgoth."

I’m liking this Nialyth, Lara smiled for the first time, appreciating his calls it like he sees it attitude. Gholghant and the Naacal shared a maritime border by way of the Naacal colony of Acheron to Gholghant’s east. They were a reasonable folk, if not dogmatic in an abstract fashion. Nialyth acquired a glass of water and used it to illustrate his point. "As a leader one must see plans, tactics, politics. Someone in my position must see nearly everything. Look at this glass. As I swirl it, the fluid inside moves. It causes eddies, currents-if it were larger visible waves. Such is the situation in Gholgoth at the time. Indeed. I concur with you that this body needs changes. Not replacement but-augmentation? As you mentioned having Ambassadors set up could well go far towards dealing with matters of personal vendettas and such among the Lords. My Anais and I are also in complete agreement that Citadel City would make a fine neutral meeting ground though I do have a concern."

If you’re worried about getting bombed by the Scandies while in Citadel City, I’m worried about that too. Lara parted her lips as though she were going to speak, but no words escaped her mouth.

Nialyth addressed Atticus directly. “You are currently at war with the Scandinvan Empire. Does this not somewhat negate the precepts of neutrality? It is something of course to be considered. Lastly, I must say that I myself are not sure of what you mean by 'Fundamental Rights'. Not all cultures have the same view of...human rights as you do. That being said however there is much merit in a treaty or declaration restricting offenses against other Gothic nations. Conquest is a fate reserved for our enemies, not against each other. No Gothic Lord should have the right to enforce their will on any other citizen of the region outside of his or her own people. This I can identify with, There is also still the matter of the Parasitic Culture among us, but Lerian XII will have I am sure much more substantial things to say on this matter. My own views on such could be considered... mildly biased."

Conquest is a fate reserved for the vulnerable, if history serves as any indication. That was precisely the reason why Uncle Henoor had been negotiating with the Golden Throne and Imbrinium, the latter of which had a Ghantish queen consort, to station troops in Gholghant. Precisely for the reason that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Better to proactively discourage any kind of pre-emptive attack on Gholghant then to sit around and wait to get attacked, and then have to ask the Council to come to the rescue. If Vetalia was any indication, by the time the Council might come to Gholghant’s rescue, the damage would have already been done. And that will not serve, not in the slightest.

Nialyth smiled, "I must be going now. But we would be honored to attend the meeting in Citadel City. Until then, I bid you well. Your conviction and dedication to this matter I find most appealing. I just hope that the 'wave' you started here today gathers strength, for sometimes...they can be consumed.

Not going to share who the parasite among us is? Lara frowned. Such a shame, I was really looking forward to finding that out.

Next up was the Praetor of the Drakonian Imperium, a man by the name of Augustus Drake. "Nearly six years ago, we, a coalition of Gholgothic States, acting under the authority of the Gholgoth Regional Alliance did censure one of our members for acts of wanton aggression, and heinous crimes against its own and the citizens of other nations. A blockade was formed, intended to limit the traffic of slaves and of war materiel.”

Lara remembered that, and found it a prudent measure at the time. Though as she recalled, it didn’t end the way many had hoped.

"However, we did falter in our purpose. Through a malicious and merciless campaign of propaganda and lies and through the actions of pacifistic and opportunistic representatives in Drakonia, we allowed that blockade to end. And now, once again, we are challenged by that very same problem we did, then, set out to solve. We see, again, a Gholgothic State that acts selfishly only toward its own interest and not toward the interests of the region as a whole. A nation that sows discord and strife in Gholgoth and the world wherever it acts. A nation that intimidates and warmongers, conquers and enslaves. The Empire of the Scandinvans has so threatened its neighbors that we must act aggressively and militarily to end the threat it poses to regional peace and stability.”

Oh, the nuts on this one!

The Praetor seemed on point. "Our crisis does, however, not end with the Scandinvans. The Reich of Kraven continues to occupy the territory of its fellow Lords of Gholgoth. It has only been nine years since the armies of the Reich mercilessly attacked the Imperial Republic of Tersanctus as it settled Nova Castra. And in that nine years it has repeatedly marched to war; against Dephire, against Milograd, against any regional power that would oppose its backstabbing expansion.”

Damn, that’s sexy…

"I say to you now, that we will not accept the occupation of Shen Almaru. We will not accept the attack on Citadel City. We will not accept the continued occupation of Vetalia and Milograd. These nations shall have the right to self-determination guaranteed them as part of the Regional Alliance. Once more, we faced before us the unthinkable conflict: Gholgothic Lord against Gholgoth Lord. War after war have we fought amongst ourselves. The unspoken oath of Pax Gholgothica, the Gholgothic Peace, has been broken by greed. Our disagreements have not been settled. The arguments started in the Council of Lords have not been resolved. We have seen and we now are threatened by conflict which could tear apart the very fabric of our Alliance. A conflict which threatens fire and suffering for all of Gholgoth and Varathron. A conflict in which we face not foreign invaders, but domestic aggressors. Under this reality, many of the nations of Gholgoth have abandoned, or do believe that, the Regional Alliance has failed, fractured, or ended. I say this to you now: We must not give up on the Regional Alliance. We must not give up on the ideals that have brought us together and brought us so very far. The Alliance has not failed us. The Alliance is not dead. If anything, then, it is we who have failed the Alliance. If our solemn oaths are to mean anything, then we cannot compromise our values, we cannot be silent in the very face of injustice, we cannot for one moment surrender to what is clearly and plainly wrong or invalid. We must as Drakonians, as Gholgoths, as Varathrians, as Humans, as Sentient Beings stand for what is right, what is true, what is righteous. We must remember the principles which have made this Alliance extraordinary. Gholgoth was meant to be a region where exceptional nations, paragons of empires with unrivaled power and unquestionable reputation, gathered as equals with equal voice and equal authority. Nation states who defended one another unquestioningly and who honored their diversity of government and culture. Giants who stood astride the whole world and strove together to improve upon it.”

Ehh… the Praetor’s punctional commentary on realpolitik turned into idealism, the kind that led nations such as Vetalia and Havensky to be taken advantage of by less scrupulous nations.

"And yet, we have wavered; we have faltered in those ideals. And now, we make war against ourselves, our oaths and honor forgotten. Some seek to tear apart our union, to sully our reputation and darken the honor of the greatest nations of our grand alliance, our glorious region, our massive world, and our mighty multiverse. We must not be held hostage by these individuals! We must not allow Gholgoth be held hostage to lies and manipulations! We must not submit to factionalism! We must instead unite. We must not forsake our like ideals; the reputation for excellence, our honor bound duties and obligations to one another. Gholgoth must once again unite under common goal: To bring together in union our wayward brothers, to justly punish their arrogance, and then to restore their honor and equal place among us. And to, doing so, restore the honor and reputation of the Gholgoth and the Regional Alliance. Brother Nations, Brother Empires--diverse in thought and culture--and yet united in common cause: To strive toward excellence, to stand as giants among mere mortals, immortal in ideal, in reason, and in justice. To exemplify all that is great, grand, and powerful in the world and to use that power evenly and justly. We are Brothers. We are Gholgoth. We are united. Our wrath is mighty, our power immense, our example peerless. We must remember and do our utmost to strive toward those ideals which made this region, this Alliance, great. Do not abandon it. Semper Certans, Gholgoth." The Praetor nodded and bowed, before leaving the podium.

Lara coughed, before rising from her seat and approaching the podium herself. She wouldn’t be there for long, she hoped, but wanted to make the position of the Gholghantish people known to all, present and otherwise. When she arrived, she arched her back, cracked her knuckles and raised up her chin. She was a Lady of Gholghant, a proud daughter of a great house. She would be seen as such, the weight of her words bolstered by what she felt she was entitled to therein.

“I would like to thank those that have come forward to speak of their opinions,” Lara began with a firm tone. “I was just a girl when the Gothic Alliance was formed many years ago, and I recall firsthand the principles upon which it was founded. Solidarity, peace, and prosperity for all nations in our part of the world…those were the ideals that motivated most of us at the time.”

“And yet,” Lara raised a hand. “The goodwill of the regional alliance was taken advantage of by greed, ambition and avarice. Take Vetalia for instance. Like a sitting duck it was preyed upon by the Kraven Reich, their cities obliterated and the people brutalized, slaughtered and put on horrific display. Many brave men and women from Ghant, Havensky and Kylarnatia went to Vetalia and witnessed these horrors firsthand, and many of them were killed by Kravenite soldiers with callous disregard. We speak of ideals such as solidarity, peace and prosperity, but for Vetalia, I ask this. Where is the justice, where is the accountability? Where was the alliance?”

“Havensky,” she continued. “A Gothic nation that stands true to its virtues. A member of the alliance as well, yet it was attacked by the Scandinvans in a most terrible fashion. Innocents lay dead, their corpses in the streets of Citadel City. For them, I ask, where is justice, where is accountability? Where was the alliance?”

Lara narrowed her eyes as she shifted her weight to one side. “The alliance wasn’t betrayed, because the alliance doesn’t have murdered wives and butchered children. The nations of Vetalia and Havensky were betrayed by the alliance, because the alliance allowed those atrocities to transpire. We can stand up here, at this very podium, and speak of Gothic ideals, of principles and virtues, but will that bring back the dead? Will that restore the damage that was done? The answer is no, it won’t.

“Maybe your people will move on, forget that innocents were massacred. The people of Ghant will not, cannot. We look at Vetalia, we look at Havensky, and we see ourselves. We see nations that are totally and completely at the mercy of others in the region, and we have seen, not once but twice, that the region would have us be sitting ducks while we wait for the wolves to come devour our flock.

“You want this alliance to mean anything?” she asked them all rhetorically. “We need to keep each other from face from the depredations of the most malicious among us. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We will not sit idly by and wait to be terrorized. We will do anything within our power, now, to discourage an attack on Ghantish soil the likes of what Vetalia and Havensky have suffered. That’s what an alliance is all about…not having to worry about your so called allies attacking you out of the blue.

“What we want to see, in addition to suggestions made by others, are various inter-Gothic defense arrangements. We would like to see our allies be prepared to defend us by having men on the ground capable of doing so. Perhaps if Vetalia and Havensky had forces there from other Gothic nations ready to defend them at the onset, their attackers may not have attacked them in the first place. This is what we want, and rest assured, if our Gothic allies are not willing to be ready to help defend us, we will be forced to reach out to non-Gothic nations that will.

Lara began to conclude her statement. “While myself and my countrymen are willing to move forward with the vision of the Gothic Council in mind, we can no longer ignore the threats that surround us from within our own region. We will consider any option available to us in order to ensure our own security, and I would advice our fellow Gothic nations to do the same, because once attacked in such a fashion, the damage will have already been done.” With that said, Lara curtsied gracefully and excused herself from the podium. Some food for thought…let’s see them put that in their pipes and smoke it. Indeed, Lara’s mind raced as she made her way back to her table, for the die had been cast. And now we wait…

The pounding drums sound as if a battle cry
A thousand thousand voices all risen in defiance
'Bring to us all you can, we fear not to die!'
For it was they that crack the alliance
And retribution shall come swiftly on the steel
Those so harshly spurned shall pay like with like
To turn the churning earth to bloody meal
Heft the pike!
Set it true!
Pierce the bone!
Rend the sinew!

The clash of metal and wood sounds as if thunder
A thousand thousand voices risen in glory and pain
Smash and split the gates, cast them asunder
Storm the dirt and cobble streets and seize the rein
Pull the common from their homes and cut them down
Let the red blood run down between the stones
And bring the traitors out into it that they might drown
Grasp and break their bones!
Spit on their cries for mercy!
It was them that called the slaughter!
Let their fate be burned into memory!

The weeping of the conquered sounds as a seaward breeze
A thousand thousand laments to fill the air
Do not forget how the links were severed with such ease
Though they were tended and grown with gentle care
It is not for the betrayers to find forgiveness
And to break such sacred oaths, none would now think
Lest they meet an end at the same bloody business
Uphold and honor the link!
Lest it end at point of sword and spear!
Cast not aside bonds long formed!
Or lose all that is held dear!
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Ghant
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Havensky
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Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Left-wing Utopia

The Summit Opens

Postby Havensky » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:40 pm

To the tune of Asgard

The Queen of Hearts
Above the shores of Havensky


The luxury airship Queen of Hearts sailed through the sky. Her scarlet hull crashing through the morning clouds as if they were white waves. The long sleek airship was carrying passengers who were in town for the Gothic Summit.

Below, lines and lines of offshore windmills turned lazily in the morning wind providing power for the neon city just across the bay. The smoke that drifted in from Norska seemed to dissipate as the turbines slides through.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. We apologize about the early morning wakeup call, but we’re about fifteen minutes out from Citadel City and we thought you might like to enjoy the view of the city at sunrise. We’re just coming across the shoreline now. Attendents will be along with coffee and breakfast ”

The airship shifted slightly, turning towards the morning sun as it crossed the shores of Havensky. The shadow of Citadel City emerging in the distance with her taller skyscrapers peeking through the fog. The curves of the organic looking structures reflecting light back onto the surface of the city. The airship descended down back above the bay. Even in the earlier morning, rows and rows of ships dotted the waterway. The airship leveled out content to float along the edge of Rico Bay. Down below, large white cranes dotted the coast line across from the island city moving goods from ship to shore and back around the other way. A little further up, sparks could be seen from the warships being built in the shipyards.

“Now, we’re just coming over Rico Bay… to the left you’ll be able to see Raven Shipyards…and if you’ll look closely you’ll be able to see a variety of ships and airships being built. Past that is the Port of Havensky where thousands of tons of cargo pass through each day.

Across the bay, the blue tinted Citadel City Wall grew high over the water hiding the lower part of the skyscraper city. The twenty-five foot wall was covered in solar panels on the exterior side and it seemed to blend in with the water just a bit. The airship lowered in altitude so that it fell in line with the other airships making their way across central Citadel City. To the right, the cathedral like tower of the Grand Library peered out on the city’s southern tip making the other skyscrapers seem small.

“That’s the Grand Library - it’s free and open to the public so if you have time you can explore the collection. Chances are, they’ll have a copy of the book you’re looking for. It’s certainly one of the better tourist attractions we have and it’s free - so that’s a bonus.”

The airship cut its engines and banked sharply turning into the city. They flew over the wall between two towers. The rocky soil of the Skyan coast gave way to a sea of green and steel. They evened out over the river that dissected the city and for the first time passengers they would have noticed the rooftop gardens. At the edge of each building were even more trees.

The airship passed by the wreck of a Scandinvan heavy bomber that was leftover from their attack on the city. A tall fence had been built all around it and even from their height they could see people taking pictures of the downed airframe with morning coffees in hand. Other than the downed aircraft, It would be difficult for passengers to see the damage that the attack had done. Citadel City was always full of construction cranes and scaffolding. He couldn’t be sure if it buildings were being repaired for just being built up.

It’s as if Citadel City just shrugged off the attack and went about her business. The airship passed the center of the city with it’s larger skyscrapers and brightly lit signs.

“Now, to your right is Grand Crossing - if you’re in town for business that’s the center of town for you. You’ll find lots of shopping opportunities on the first two floors. There’s commercial space above that, with almost every major corporation having some sort of presence here.”

The airship finally made it’s way across the city and past the massive structure of the Citadel. The bulk of the gleaming white building was fifty stories tall with towers jutting out each corner reaching another seventy-five stories. In the center of the building, was a massive tower reaching one hundred and twenty-five stories and looked out over the Citadel. The only other building that came close to it was the Grand Library across the city.

“Now folks, if you’re here for the Summit that is the Citadel where you’ll be spending most of your time. It’s the seat of the Skyan Government and where the Summit will be held. Normally, it would be open for tours - but with security the tours have been postponed. Security is really tight you see. But, we will be landing at the Citizen Docks which is the entertainment district. You should certainly check out a show if you have the chance.”

The Queen of Hearts turned once again and began her descent. As she did, the streets could be seen more clearly and the flags of Havensky and Gholgoth flying in the wind. The airship landed landed with a gentle ‘thump.’

“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Citadel City.”

* * * *


The Citadel
State Department


“Are we sure we have everything?”, asked Secretary of State Lance Atticus as he stood up in his bullpen.

“Yes sir, we’ve thought of anything and everything.”

Atticus paced around in his bullpen. The bullpen was in the center of a crowded office floor. Atticus’ desk area was raised just slightly so he could literally stand up and strike up a question with anyone at the ‘major desks’ at pretty much anytime. It made for an intimidating workspace for new people, but it soon became clear why Atticus set it up this way. If something happened - if anything happened he wanted to know. If there was a question, just ask him - he’s right there!.

Or at least, he normally was. Atticus still traveled frequently. In his absence, Lady Bellum usually manned the pulpit.

Atticus took a sip of coffee and his face lighted up with a thought.

“Did we coordinate with the Drakonian Praetorian Guard?”

Commandant Nigel Riharb, commanding officer of the White Guard spoke up. The Commandant was wearing the pearl white power armor of the White Guard whose task it was to protect Skyan Diplomats and their guests.

“Yes sir, I spoke with their commanding officer myself.”

Atticus breathed a sigh of relief and took a bite of a bagel. He turned towards somebody else and the bullpen and asked another question.

“We did set up Ditor Hulang’s room with fruit right?”

Lady Bella gave Atticus a cold look with her ice blue eyes. She shook her head in a way that made her silver blonde hair shake everywhere.

“Stop micromanaging, the Ambassador assigned to the Lazin Family took care of that long ago. By the sky, that’s what we have files for!”

Atticus tried to calm down.

“I still don’t know how you convinced me to follow this...Plan N of yours.”

Bella put her hands on her hips.

“Look, you’re the one who expressed concern that Emperor Nathan’s penchant for being a world class philander might spark a few rounds of embarrassment for both our governments. I simply directed his security staff in the direction where he could get in the least amount of trouble-

“But seriously, it grinds my gears to set people up to… to…”

“To know exactly how to handle a man like the Emperor of Ghant. Would your rather set him loose in the Library District?”


Atticus threw up his hands in frustration.

“You need to relax. Everything is taken care of. We have room set up in the Citadel for all the Gothic Lords and their staff. We provided them with office space. With food. With drink. With tour guides if they want to explore the city. We’ve declared a national holiday all this week. Everyone is going to be out celebrating. There’s carnivals and street fairs being set up in honor of the Gothic Lords. Lord knows, we’ve paid off enough breweries and wineries to keep everyone who wants to get drunk happy as a sailor on shore leave. It. Will. Be. Fine.”

Atticus finally sat down and twirled around in his office chair. Lady Bellum moved behind him and stopped the rotating by grabbing firmly on to the office chair.

“I know how important this is to you. I think everyone realizes that they can play a huge role in peace of our country just by getting people to like us. We’ve all done our part. You just worry about what you can control. This will work.”

Atticus closed his eyes.

“I suppose you’re right. I imagine people will be arriving soon. Let me know when I need to move out to greet them. The Prime Minister, Queen, King, and I are all taking shifts. By the gods, we’ve got to make a good show of it.”
Last edited by Havensky on Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
The Skybound Republic of Havensky
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Dephire
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Posts: 224
Founded: Sep 06, 2005
New York Times Democracy

Postby Dephire » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:30 am

Chamber of the Gothic Lords
ULE City


From another corner of the room a light glinted off a pair of rimless glasses as a thin wiry man with short black hair shifted in his seat. The Briskan wore a drab attire of dark gray pants, shirt, and coat. His black shoes were shined to mirror quality. He listened carefully to the exchange of words between the few members who had found voices and jotted down notes concerning key points. Leaning back, he whispered to his compatriot sitting behind him. An exchange of words followed by a swift nod by the other made the man smile as he turned back towards Atticus. His fingers entwined as he waited for Lara to finish her speech. After the woman sat curtsied, he saw his opportunity to address the chamber.

"Such rousing speeches! I can certainly feel my blood boiling and my heart racing! Oh ho, indeed!" The Briskan began with a large smile and over enthusiastic tone. "The Reich's war machine and Scand's slavers aught to be shaking in fear at this very moment!" Again, the tone and animated way the man spoke gave clues to his sarcastic intent. "This chamber is full of hypocrites, cowards, and, to my repulsed surprise, those who fail to remember. Your delays in acting costs more lives than any of you will ever bother to admit. The first Reich invasion of Milograd, where were all of your soldiers when there was clear evidence that the Reich was mobilizing? Our late emperor Renuvian could not fend off the invading force all on his own. He had to bide time until your bureaucratic governments gave permission to defend Milograd. Once the dust had settled, who was to blame? Not one of your leaders pursued the Reich and sought reprimands. Instead, your council wrapped my nation into their atrocities. We lost millions of lives during that war fighting the Reich, yet we are the first to be forgotten. The Reich was left to themselves instead of punished as they should have been.

Then came the second invasion of Milograd, and you all played to the Reich's tune. If it weren't for our emperor, the Reich would have taken over the entire country! What was our reward? Our price? We lost well over two million lives in a single minute by the same people claiming to be defenders of Milograd. Instead of hitting the Reich you chose to strike at my home. Again, we are forgotten. Again, you fail to make the Reich pay for the atrocities they have committed. What happens? Vetalia is invaded by the Reich, and this time the good emperor chose to leave the matter alone. Why? He was tired of wasting his the lives, money, and resources of his country. What happens? Dephire was shamed by the community for not acting. The delay in acting cost the lives of many Vetalians.

Lord Atticus, you disgust me. Of all the people to have forgotten what we've done for you, how dare you stand there and say we have done nothing. How dare you. Wilhelm, rest his soul, would be ashamed of you and of Havensky for risking his neck to save Jessica. In case you do not recall, he died protecting his home from the Reich. Our capitol, the Temple of Scythis, and the Grand Archive still burn from the damage sustained by their bloodlust. We were going to wipe the Reich off the face of this very planet. Our military might has swelled to its largest size in recorded history. What did we choose to do instead? Tristan Skragg chose to send his entire Imperial Armada to your nation's defense. His soldiers now stand in support of yours. What is our reward? To be spat on by you and everyone in this chamber.

General Darius and I have been discussing what Dephire's response would be... What Tristan's response would be... I was inclined to just tell you all to burn in Hell for all I care. However," The wiry man spun around in his wheelchair and reversed just enough to allow the towering figure behind him stand up, "Godsend General Darius Stormsurge, Tristan's second-in-command, is our ambassador. He should be speaking on behalf of our emperor." The man looked down to the floor, "I lost my legs when Jagada fired their orbital weapons upon civilian cities. I had a wife and five children. Now, I have no legs to stand on. My home is no more. All of the people I knew had been wiped off the face of the earth in only a matter of moments. We suffered because the Jags were foolish to fall prey to the the Reich's trickery. No reparations were made to us, save for a sword made in honor of those.. The very sword was used to cut down the very monster who slayed your hero, Tycho..."

"Thank you, Inquisitor." The tall man rose from his chair and looked to each face, "Tristan, though disappointed, would want to continue providing his support in the defense against the Slavers. Their attack on Citadel City was unprovoked and a violation of this region's laws that were set forth by Damien Dreadfire. As such, my emperor would wish them to pay for the damages they caused with blood. I hope you can forgive my colleague's harsh outburst. Though things are not as bleak as he puts it, Tristan does have strong concerns about the commitment your leaders have to the stability of Gholgoth. Inquisitor Dramman," Darius gestures towards the man in the wheelchair," is working diligently to remove any trace of the Reich from our populace. Without going too far into detail, his paladins have been given the daunting task of removing any Reich support from within the borders of Dephire. As for the other items on today's program," he looked towards Atticus through narrowed eyes, "Dephire will never cease supporting Gholgoth and its citizens. However, such support can be swiftly withdrawn if this is how we are treated in the future. Twitch gave Dephire a gift that no other man has been capable of providing. Your king had a monument built in recognition of Wilhelm's sacrifice for the Heart Company. I am surprised that you failed to follow in their example with a speech that seems to have slammed our very efforts at providing Havensky with our love and support."

Atticus could not help but roll his eyes. "I worked so hard on that speech to the world. Agonizing over every key point! How could I have missed something so obvious?!" He rubbed the bridge of his nose as he planned his next move.
Last edited by Dephire on Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"My nation was forged by the blade of a sword and so it lives on through the sword." -Tristan Skragg, Emperor of Briska.

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Jagada
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Founded: Feb 15, 2005
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Jagada » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:33 pm

Chamber of the Gothic Lords,
ULE City, Automagfreek


'You were chosen to lead,' said the voice in Lisyla Pemiros' head, 'I, nor the Empress, expect you to report back to us to gain permission. You were not chosen randomly, Lady, but rather from a harsh process that was distilled three times and even then you know the tests and questions we had for you. You are our Will, make yourself known.'

It was said that words held more power than physical objects. A sword may cut, but words often chose whom it would cut and why. She had been chosen violently. There was no better way to describe the political shadow war that had simmered beneath the surface of public politics for the better part of three whole days. A short time in the grand scheme of existence but those seventy-two hours had decided the Will of the High Lords and, more importantly, the Empress. Ironically she hadn't known she was even apart of this war, and thought they not just rude by damned disrespectful. Not that she would have bowed out since quitting was the antithesis of her essence. She was a Lady of the Imper'ar Rank, although her lands rested far from Jarars she held considerable holdings in the eastern region of Aquar. That, of coarse, made her Aquarian and immediately suspect in the eyes of any Jararian worth her title. Aquarians had not necessarily willing come into the Imperial fold and had been so-called 'welded' to the Empire by a series of marriages, treaties, and of coarse military bases. When High Lord Zolran Daenar had summoned her fifteen hours ago to the Imperial Palace in Svedal she was certain her intrigues in the court had been discovered.

She wasn't wrong. Zolran had met her in the infamous Topaz Room and had laid out each of her intrigues and plots to her piece by piece. He'd shown how all these seemingly random ventures would ultimately link up to see her given lands in Jararas and perhaps even an elevation into the lower levels of the Imperial Court. She'd cursed herself quietly when Zolran had described in detail how he'd discovered each of her plots himself and by the time he'd finished she'd resigned herself to either a life of eternal servitude to him, for surely he was doing this for his own gain, or swift execution. The Empress did not, officially, approve of court intrigue and thought it beneath the dignity of what the Empire stood for. That the Empress secretly encouraged such games and that the Empire was founded on revenge by any means didn't matter a whole lot in that moment.

As he finished and set his steely gaze on her she waited for the worst ... only to see him extend his hand towards her. Gripped in his obsidian dark hands was a silver and gold necklace, the centerpiece of which was a blue-and-white yin-yang symbol which glittered in the brown-hued light of the Topaz Room.

'What ... what madness is this,' she stammered. Was the High Lord a cruel sadist on top of being a genius? To dangle that which she desired above all else in front of her before her fall ...

'Lady Lisyla Pimeros you've been selected,' he said quietly, 'First order of business is to inform you, you've been elevated to the Empress' Confidence and are awarded her personal symbol in return.'

She couldn't even respond. A smiled formed on Zolran's face as he patiently held the necklace before her.

'You thought yourself caught in my web," he asked sardonically, 'My Lady, no one in this Empire isn't caught in my web. No one of any real importance anyway. I wouldn't be much of a High Lord if I didn't know precisely what schemes were at play.'

Her eyes, a fiercely fel shade of green snapped from the symbol to him, 'You've always known, haven't you? Why permit it?' She the knew question stupid even as she said it.

He nodded, his smile never fading, 'Merit, my Lady. The Empire will not grow if perverted ambition is allowed to flourish simply because of birth or rank. We'll grow because the strongest, smartest, and most ruthless excel ...'

She reached her hand out and grasped the necklace and symbol. As she went to pull away she found she couldn't for Zolran's grip had become iron hard.

'This is not without price,' he said, his smile having disappeared without her noticing it, 'We have a task for you. A permanent one.'

With the last word spoken that same smile crept back across his face.

'General Darius and I have been discussing what Dephire's response would be ...' The words snapped High Lady Pemiros out of her deep thoughts and back into the ornate room of the Gothic Lords. She had arrived late of coarse because ... well Jagites were always late. It was becoming one of their national past times. She had arrived in ULE City approximately two days ago and had settled in the visitor chambers at the Imperial embassy in ULE City and had prepared to set herself up. Atticus' speech had caught her off-guard completely and she'd heard it the same way many people had -- via private and public channels. She'd rushed out of the embassy and had the driver barrel down the streets of ULE City to make it to the chamber. The sky over ULE City had been dark and forbidding with a promise of heavy rain. She countered her small blessings since the embassy guard hadn't lost their minds and tried to do something drastic to 'protect' her. Automagfreek was probably one of the safest places in the world, certainly within Gholgoth, and there was little chance of someone trying to kill her here.

'-...when Jagada fired their orbital weapons upon civilian cities. I had a wife and five children. Now ... I have no legs to stand on ...' intoned the Briskan, continuing his speech.

Shit and crackers, thought the High Lady. She'd of coarse been briefed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding all conflicts within the region and that little incident had been one of the most shameful for the Empire. It had happened during the Second Milogradian War when the Reich, seizing upon the opportunity presented by the Dh'Arco's untimely death, had invaded with the intent to turn it into another Macrofoundry. The Empress was still very new to her throne and indeed the very structure of the Empire was not completely finished -- it still wasn't to be truthful but at least enough now to give the appearance of unity. The Ministry of War had been choked full of nothing but vengeful Jags who bayed for the blood of the Reich and had advised the Empress to act with extreme aggression. Somehow Dephire had appeared, to some degree, to be preparing to aid the Reich and the High Lords had never trusted the Briskans.

'...No reparations were made to us, save for a sword made in honor of those...'

Her green eyes narrowed on the man. He was right, no real reparations had been paid. Once again that was done at the stoic insistence of the both the Foreign and War Ministries ... mostly so that they didn't look incompetent but on the surface they'd argued that it would make the Empire look weak. Weakness was something the Jags could never afford to show. They were a minority even in the lands of the empire that bore their name. Still ... it gave her an opening which was more than she had five minutes ago. She leaned back gently in her seat which sat at the edge of the large chamber, in the center were the empty high-backed thrones were the Gothic Lords would normally sit. Where she would sit eventually. As the Briskan continued on she found the throne dedicated to Jagada and eyed it carefully, taking in every detail that she could. She'd heard the stories about the throne.

When the Gothic Lords extended their invitation to the Empress Renuane al'Maw a year after subjugated Gharsash they had sent, along with the invitation, a list of rights and privileges associated with becoming one of among the few. Jagada was granted the right to forge their own throne to be placed in the Chamber of the Gothic Lords. The Empress had little interest in the matter and had passed it off, in the first act of Imperial diversity, to a Agovinian named Erinan Kashonne, a master carpenter. It was said he slaved over the throne in a secluded shop out in the mountains to the west. What he produced was nothing short of a breathtaking masterpiece. At a total height of nearly six foot it was crafted out of quebracho wood its light brown streaked with veins of darker, blacker colors. The four legs had been shaped into avian claws which seemed more to grip the ground than to rest upon it. These avian-liked legs had seamlessly melded into the foundation of the chair which had elegant designs flowing in the geometrically obtuse methods favored by Iborian culuture. The high back of the chair was a mural depicting the great cultures and achievements of the various peoples of the Empire. Those depictions all graduated into a ying-yang symbol placed near the top. The disk was not in the traditional black and white style favored in Taoism but rather blue and white. However, in the case of the throne the blue was sapphire while the white was moonstone, the seam between the two pieces and the perimeter was held fast together by silver.

'Thank you Inquisitor,' intoned a completely different voice. Thoughts of the quebracho throne put aside the High Lady gave her focus back. Though his words did not provoke the sense of awe and respect that the Inquisitor had. He spoke of the traditional things expected of a representative to one of the Gothic Lords to say -- speaking of his leader's desires and beliefs. Lisyla filed each of them away mentally. They would be useful in future negotiations with the Briskans. She was determined to meet this Tristan at some point.

When awkward silence fell over the room Lisyla Pemiros allowed an appropriate eleven seconds to tick by. When Atticus gave no immediate response she stood. Fashion trends in the Empire were as diverse as the cultures that resided within it and she pulled hers from the latest trends in Romitica. Neither form fitting nor loose her bright, sky blue gown left much to the imagination. As a High Lady there were certain stands of coarse but as a woman of Aquaran descent she had always felt the increasingly provocative dress of the 'modern' generation of women didn't do enough to keep men in their proper place. They'd see all but the most private places on a women, desensitizing them to other parts of her by constant exposure.

She felt the eyes, however few were in the room, turn towards her and she strode out into the middle of chamber, eyeing first Atticus and then Inquisitor Dramman. And finally upon Godsend General Darius Stormsurge.

'I'm afraid you esteemed gentlemen will have to tolerate the presence of someone more ... foreign to the aesthetic senses of these chambers,' said Lisyla as she turned once towards the middle of the chamber, allowing her gown some minor sway.

Well ... I've put myself out here, might as well strike hard and fast.

'I am a newcomer to these halls. The Empire is a newcomer to these halls. Never has our Empress sat upon the throne at this table,' said the High Lady, allowing one of her well groomed hands to rest for a moment on the light wood of the Jagite Throne.

'The Empress did not fight beside Lord Dreadfire against the Kravenic Reich. Jagada did not participate, in any meaningful way, during the Gothic Civil War. Prior to our ascension to these halls we were known as the bastard step-children of Mankind. A eternal Icarus if you will, always flying too close to the sun. In all our long history we have two major accomplishments. First, our ascension into Gholgoth itself. Second, the war in Milograd where we spared a good part of that nation from the horrors of Kravenic rule.'

Her eyes settled upon Inquisitor Dramman, 'Mistakes were made. We were foolish and quite frankly terrified. We stood on the very edge of extinction and saw the Reich expanding once more. I cannot speak for what madness gripped the minds of our generals to think Dephire was somehow on the side of the Reich. You're right on at least one account, Inquisitor -- we were certainly foolish.'

She strode towards him, not at any great pace but a gentle, determined stride. 'I can give you a list of reasons why I believe we did what we did. I could cite casualty figures from the extermination wrought upon us. I could recite the names of heroes long dead and buried in our bid to save ourselves. I could give you a million million facts and figures ...'

High Lady Lisyla Pemiros stopped eight precise paces from the Inquisitor, 'But none of them will bring your legs back nor dig out the hatred you must feel for my people.'

She turned casually allowing her eyes to linger on Inquisitor Dramman's for a moment but turned them directly towards Atticus, 'Lord Dreadfire built the regional alliance upon the basis of personal relationships between the individual lords. Bureaucrats were not called upon by the Freeks, nor the Crimm, nor the Sniperian, nor any of the original members to settle matters. There was not endless committees, rules and regulations to govern their actions. The Lords stood above all petty grievances when it came to regional security and defense. When one lord had a dispute with another, it would be settled within these very halls.'

She turned back to Dramman, 'And let me be the first to bring back that old tradition. Inquisitor Dramman ... I cannot put a price on the lives of your wife and children. I cannot put a value to the true damage wrought upon Dephire by our misguided acts. Nor is the forging of a simple sword in any way true repayment of our debt to you and the Briskan people. But I ask that you name your price. Be it in treasure or blood, the Empire will repay the debt. I am the Will of the Empress made manifest. I have the authority to make this bargain.'

Leaving the Inquisitor to ponder his response she turned from him and raised her voice, 'I most certainly do agree that action must be taken to restore the integrity of the alliance. Hell, to restore the validity of it. The Reich's invasion of Milograd should have seen swift retribution visited upon them in the form of violence. Gothic forces should have been landing in Fortress Norska following the same example as Lord Dreadfire. Nor the Slavers in Scandivan have bombed their brothers, the Skyans, and yet we sit here debating reformation of the alliance ... to what end? Ambassador Atticus, if a blood oath is not enough to stop them then how are committees and 'firm condemnations' going to do much better? No! The Empire will not tolerate this kind of action any longer. We have sat the back of the stage of regional affairs for too long, pre-occupied with our own affairs, but not in this. Gholgoth will not be allowed to become a series of Reich Macrofoundries nor slave chattel for the fanatics in Scandivan.'

She looked at the cameras and cast a glance at Darius Stormsurge, 'The Jagites would see blood spilled. We would see the Reich pushed out of Vetalian territory. We would see the Scandivan put back in their place. And we will see this done with or without the consent the of the other Lords.'

High Lady Lisyla Pemiros strode over to the high-backed quebracho wood throne made for her people ... and sat upon it.
You must walk through the darkness to see the light ...

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Aldarminia
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Founded: Mar 15, 2010
Capitalist Paradise

Anhavirnjogr Summit [ATTN Havensky, Scand, Pudu, Ghant]

Postby Aldarminia » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:41 pm

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Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia


» RECIPIENT: Governments of the Scandinvans, Havensky, Shen Almaru, and Gholghant
SENDER: His Imperial Majesty Grand Emperor Dalikharl II«

» CONTENT: Invitation to Diplomatic Summit for Peace
PRIORITY: High «

» DESTINATION: Government Communications
ORIGIN: Palace of the Imperial Sovereigns «

» ENCRYPTION: MEDIUM
SERIAL: 686.241286.868 «


These are sorrowful and stressful times in which my Gothic brothers and sisters quarrel with another because of events far across the seas outside of our glorious region. Long has my nation, Aldarminia, slumbered in isolation and labored in civil war. For too long I have watched these events transpire. For myself and Gholgoth, despite the incursion of Golden Throne forces, I hope it is not too late to rally a peace from this horrible war between fellow Gothic Lords. Due to events that have been unfolding in my own nation, I have not been able to attend the Summit of Gothic Lords in Citadel City called by our Skyan brothers. Thus, I shall be arriving shortly to the Capitol Imperiate Anhavirnjogr of the Gholruka, or Gothic Aldarminia. I call upon my Valgardian, Skyan, and Pudite brothers and sisters to meet me here at the Palace of Imperial Sovereigns so that together we may discover a safe course on which to find peace among us.

I must emphasize to those who will arrive here that intents of peace must be on their minds because I will not tolerate petulant predilections. You will notice that a Golden Throne delegation has not been invited. This is because I have no intentions of making peace with those who offer nothing but invasion of Gholgoth. I seek harmony with you, my brothers, because my soul and mind have been tormented for so long and my heart has been torn asunder. On one side, the religious sentiment to disdain slavery, the recent attack on a kind-hearted and humanitarian comrade’s city, and the plight of the oppressed in Shen Almaru call me to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a Liberator. On the other hand, though Scandinvans violated Gothic Code, they were not so arrogant enough to call upon foreign invaders to their aid, and being the place where I garnered a great deal of my historical and military knowledge during my education before I was forced to recapture my throne and crown from an usurper, Scandinvans has a warm place in my heart despite all of the “faults” which many a hyperactive liberal state will claim the Glorious Empire has. So, brothers and sisters, do not come here seeking profit of self-interests, but only the prosperity of a proper peace among the Gothic Nations.

Signed,
With Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect,
Tzarbolshoyar Dalikharl II Dom'kroy'Azchekyo
Psevdonim Molotok



Gholruka, Gholgothic Aldarminia
Kapitolskiy Tzarrayon, Capitol Imperiate
Northern Anhavirnjogr Beachline
Vyosubnyakayv Tzarskaya Gosudari, Palace of the Imperial Sovereigns
Vstrechakomnata, Meeting Room


Large ornate doors slammed behind the Molotok, the "Hammer," as he and a masked figure entered the room. Usually, he preferred casual regalia for meetings with foreigners, but today he wore his official military uniform. The dark velvet suit with golden epaulettes, buttons, tassels, and eagle-pins, though a military one, was meant to be symbol of the Hammer’s willingness to take the hard road in the ongoing crisis. The Tzarbolshoyar, or Grand Emperor as he was known in the common tongue of the world, allowed himself only two medals to adorn his heart. One was gold, white, and in the shape of the Sword of Imravar, the legendary historical blade wielded by the Monarkh Imravar Kroyalnar who pioneered the idea of a united Aldarminian polity and empire. It was awarded to Dalikharl II after he arrived on the Dalekogoradom, the Aldarminian homeland, beginning the final campaign to remove the Usurper Ashrocmhar Vanarhelvik, and it was a constant reminder of what could be accomplished with the support of the people.

The other medal was a much darker reminder than it was an award. The obsidian star with crimson veins was a symbol of the “last battle” of the War of Reclamation. Far from being the last battle, it was more of a nuclear Holocaust forced upon the colonies of the Grand Aldarminian Empire due to Ashrocmhar’s thugs having taken control of the colonial nuclear arsenal. Dalikharl had been the one to authorize the pre-emptive strike that killed ten billion people and cut the Empire in half, and the Star of the Fallen was the haunting burden that kept the Grand Emperor awake for most of the night.

The masked figure, a few inches shorter than the Grand Emperor, picked up his superior’s slack for casual attire. Besides the concealment of his face, he was draped in a black fur robe that had a golden mane made from a Nuvansian lion. The mask he wore appeared to be of Akai make and design with a few Aldarminian tweaks. The golden face was crowned by a black ring of thorns. An amethystine man on fire dominated the center of the mask. Christianity was far from a popular religion in the Empire, but many Aldarminians, including this one apparently, found the faith’s concepts of sin and Messiah extremely fascinating. Particularly, the idea that there were so many sins in the world that God had to sacrifice his son to cleanse human souls was a morbid curiosity. The predominant Aldarminian faith, the Free Path, listed only two actions that Aldaric Vyshboga would ever be so intolerant of to call them “sins” and damn souls to an eternal Hell: The violation of another individual’s freedom without just cause and the betrayal of one whose trust you earned.

Awaiting the Hammer and his companion was Stratonizhtzar Venkhzmr Jormshgalnsvarij, the General Elected Field Commander of the stratocratic arm of the Imperial Kosmokratium. After a hard bow to the Tzarbolshayar, the two bearded men shook his hands, displaying the degree to which they held each other as equals despite positions. Venkhzmr was ten years older than his superior, but he knew Dalikharl was an equal to him when it came to military affairs, but the Stratonizhtzar was still concerned about where the Hammer’s heart was leaning. Venkhzmr had been a part of a strategic command echelon scramble that had arrived to Gholruka three days before the Emperor’s arrival. For the first time since the end of the War of Reclamation almost a decade ago, the entire Zygostratium had been placed into defensive condition two. Hours before the Grand Emperor’s plane reached Gholgothic skies, Venkhzmr had issued the final orders for an Expeditionary Fleet of the Imperial Guard to be mobilized. The day before, four squadrons of submarines were deployed to maneuver as carefully as possible behind the joint forces fleet of the Golden Throne and Skyan navies*. Aldarminia was used to war, but what concerned Venkhzmr was how Dalikharl intended to fight this war.

He knew the only things that could sway the soon-to-strike Hammer now were successful talks with his fellow leaders, but Venkhzmr tried anyway, “Your Imperial Majesty, sir, I plead you to reconsider your current position. Right now, the only thing I can see coming from these talks is adding fuel to what is already a diplomatic bonfire of relations. Please, sir, give me the orders so that I may order our men to prepare to mingle themselves with allied forces against Scandinvans. The quicker this is all over, the quicker we can re-secure Gothic waters. Pardon my language, Your Majesty, but fuck, even give me the orders to have our boys ready to turn their guns on the Brasschairs** as soon as the Scandinvans and their Valgardian overlords are pacified. Anything besides asking these good men to become sacrificial lambs in the name of a peace in Gholgoth which has never been.”

Dalikharl dared not interrupt the Stratonizhtzar. He respected Venkhzmr too much as a man and a wise commander of men. Instead, he let his subordinate’s words linger in his ears and mind, taking care to yet again analyze the situation and his options. But alas, he was sure he was already doing the right thing, so the Hammer brought no comfort to Venkhzmr, rather the Grand Emperor seemed more serious than ever, almost angry, “Stratonizhtzar Jormshgalnsvarij, have my orders been executed to their fruition? And has the security of my son’s identity been maintained? ***”

Sorrow flooded solemnity in Venkhzmr’s expression, but he nodded proudly for his obedience before he responded, “Yes sir, Your Imperial Majesty, all of our units are ready. And the Expeditionary Fleet awaits your commands after these talks, though I am sure they hope for a surprise leave to their families. Our submarine task force will be in position in a few days, though I do not know if they have any chance of arriving before the Macabeesians and the Skyans move into final positions for invading the Scandinvans. And your companion is still thoroughly masked, literally and figuratively. Will I still be present at these meetings?”

The Hammer nodded as he listened to the Stratonizhtzar, and meanwhile, he observed abundant luxury of the room around him. It was the pinnacle of the Alngothic baroque phase. He noticed something he thought he had requested specifically not to be present. Dalikharl picked up a glass filled with a mostly-clear liquid and an ornate wooden box with green embellishments from off the marble table space in front of his seat. He frowned because he was reluctant to resign tradition at such a tense time, “Very good, Stratonizhtzar. Loyal as always, even to what you believe is a fault, so yes you will be present here at this important meeting so long as you do not express any sort of intention to attack a fellow Gothic nation because quite frankly unless the Valgardians arrive here with intentions to enslave us to their whims or the Skyans and the Pudites demand us to bend our knees to the Golden Throne as a vassaldom, I will not tolerate another mention of such madness. Now, I know this is not your responsibility, but I must remark upon it. I distinctly remember ordering that there should not be any offerings of welcome. These are serious times and serious people will be required to hand them, and the allotted time for allowing for re-acquiring sobriety has long passed. Have the servants remove these offerings of herbal pleasure and replace these glasses with ones filled with water. If these Goths were all coming as friends of ours and each other, I would say they could have some savich and some cannabis, but not today. Have a bottle and the korobkatravi ready though in case these talks are a resounding success.”

Venkhzmr bowed, then realizing he had made a wise decision to wear a simple black tuxedo with a purple tie instead of his uniform. He did not want to confuse the guests, and he rather preferred they were not reminded of his position throughout the talks. Despite his wishes that his Emperor would turn against Scandinvans, he genuinely wanted peace, especially now that it seemed almost certain the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium was going to wedge itself between the two sides of the war. The Stratonizhtzar clapped, drawing out several servants who were then relayed the Hammer’s orders. A second clap called a servant back who was then made to grab the Gotikskiykorona, the Gothic Crown, for Dalikharl who tentatively accepted the seven-golden-horned black ring of interwoven fasces, olive branches, and arrows.

After the servants’ work was done, Dalikharl sat in his chair at the circular marble table. His masked companion sat to his left and the Stratonizhtzar sat to the Hammer’s right. As the members of the various delegations arrived, they were escorted to their seats by a purled-suited servant and an Imperial Guardsman ceremoniously clothed in well-preserved ancient golden and black armor and armed with ornate spears and shields. The Tzarbolshoyar Dalikharl II of the House of the Blood Azcheyko waited patiently for everyone to arrive, taking care to stand and greet them individually. He made no moves to introduce his masked son or the Stratonizhtzar. As far as the Hammer was concerned, their primary role at this meeting, especially for his son, was to be that of a learning audience.


*SIC
**Brasschairs=Golden Throne soldiers
***SIC, especially
Last edited by Aldarminia on Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:51 pm, edited 6 times in total.
"I dated an Aldarminian once, but when he proposed 'annexing' my 'southern border regions' I decided it might be best to break it off."
Riflemoor

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Founder and Boss of the Losieda Bratva Criminal Syndicate

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Havensky
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Posts: 827
Founded: Jan 01, 2008
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Havensky » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:30 pm

The Flying Fortress was unnervingly quiet.

The wide wing shaped airship tore through the sky powered by eight electric engines. Her hull was bare save for two golden wings painted on the underside and the words ”The Iron Heart” for all to see on it’s side.

The personal airship of King Lucas Ironwing was heading towards the coast of Aldarminia. As a Flying Fortress-class airship, it needed no escort.

As it began it’s descent, the back doors on the rear of the large aircraft opened just slightly leaking pressurized air. The hangar bay depressurized, the lone unpainted helijet on it’s deck began to fire up it’s engines. It lifted off the deck and pulled away from the Heart of Iron.

The helijet banked right and flew down towards the lights of Anhavirnjogr still shining in the dim morning light. It flew quickly and quietly over the city before slowing down just outside the city at the Vyosubnyakayv Tzarskaya Gosudari - The Imperial Palace. The craft’s twin nacelles rotated upward and gently touched down.

The rotor blades began to slow as the ramp of the jet moved down and seven armed men in unpainted metal armor stepped off the helijet. Their steps were heavy. Sky blue cloaks marked with gold wing lions fluttered in the wind as they group made their way inside.

The men wore shields. The man in the center had a shield with a broken butcher’s knife and a red sword at his side. The man on his right carried a shield depicting the sun of the Jesuit order and a clean white sword. The remainder carried grey swords and shields showing an iron heart on red metal.

The men were silent as they strolled through the palace halls. The only noise emanating from the sound of their boots hitting the marble floor. These were not happy men.

Finally, they stopped in front of their Aldarminian hosts.

The man in the center spoke first. His voice carried all the louder by the voice box inside his helmet. His face was fully visible to his guests.

“Greetings, I am King Ironwing - Sent on the behalf and the behest of the People of the Skybound Republic of Havensky. In light of this occasion, my people have seen fit to bestow of gift to your Imperial Majesty… the white sword of the Heartknight Counselor...white and unbloodied. We give it in the spirit that it will remain unblooded.”

King Ironwing turned to the man with the sun shield.


“This, is the High Executor of the Skybound Republic Vincent Profecta. To his right, is my Captain of the Guard Vic Nyadnizov. It is an honor to meet you.”

King Ironwing reached down and pulled a second sword from his belt - the white sword he had been referring to and extended it to the Emperor.

“We hope to have a peaceful resolution to this conflict, but know that we have been attacked and will use whatever means required in the defense of our liberty.”
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Postby Aldarminia » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:59 am

Vstrechakomnata

Dalikharl II marveled at the Skyans as they entered the room. They were seven in total, and although only two seemed of real importance, all in the Skyan delegation fascinated the Tzarbolshoyar. He had never encountered Skyans before, but their culture and government were always subjects that especially Hammer’s interest during his daily briefings. Purple eyes scanned the group instinctively for signs of concealed arms beyond their swords and shields, but these Alnardic eyes found none, and the only reason they searched was a final precaution in case palatial security had failed in its endeavors. Being an Azcheyko brought the burden of a vindicated paranoia due to the deaths of the previous two Grand Emperors of the Azcheyko Blood House, or Dom’kroy’Azcheyko. Instead of arms displayed overtly, the eyes of the Grand Emperor found that the tales of Skyan diversity were true. Smiling as he had an epiphany Havensky's eclectic diversity were true, the Hammer's eyes were drawn back to the middle-aged man to Ironwing's right who could have only been a few years the Grand Emperor's. As Ironwing finished speaking, Dalikharl's gaze rested firmly on the moments-before-named Captain Nyadnizov. Dalikharl believed this was the first time an Alnardic man could so happily think, Green eyes. Green eyes indeed.

When the Heartknight Consular’s Sword was presented to him, Dalikharl’s eyes could not help but water. The last time anyone had given him a sword was when his older brother and murdered predecessor, Hrothashki I the Cossack, had given him a wooden replicate of the Sword of Imravar, or the Myech’Imravar, during the Dalikharl’s last vacation home before the coup. It was Hrothashki’s way of reconciling with his younger brother, then a Tronprynz or Throne-Prince, for the elder’s lack of emotional contact in the later years of his life. Heroine and alcohol had constricted the Cossack’s mind, creating a great rift between the two brothers. Hrothashki’s final gift to Dalikharl, though, had brought a flood of earlier childhood memories from when the two brothers enjoyed joints of aldgrass and cannabis together to soothe their sore, young muscles after hours of fencing and grappling. That flood had a way of occasionally breaking the levees of the Hammer’s emotional barriers. Even now, as the white sword of diplomatic principle was given to him, a levee broke, and single tear fell from his left eye.

“Thank you, King Ironwing. You cannot possibly know how much this gift means to me. Here, I am breaking traditions of my own nation, and here you are bringing gifts. There are two very good men laying in the fields of paradise and laughing at the irony of this situation.”

Dalikharl took the sword into his hands and caressed the blade. He then held it on his palms, checking the balance of its weight and thinking, Excellent. White for diplomacy, and almost perfectly balanced. Though deceptively ceremonial at first glance, it is certainly meant for combat. I wonder how effective these could be against their opponents if these Skyans decided to use them with the full force of their armor.

Dalikharl released one grasp and secured another at the hilt so that he could snap. By a royal architect ages past’s genius, the sound of his fingers was carried to a series of concealed rooms that led into the circular Vstrechakomnata. A single servant appeared from a hidden door, and four power-armored Imperial Guard Voinkholossari, a term now used to denote Aldarminian infantry men-and-women equipped with the WALKERS power armor rather than a brainwashed participant of the Project’s initial phases, marched into the room from another similarly-hidden entrance. The less-than-ceremonial guards, rifles cradled in their arms, flanked the Grand Emperor. These Voinkholossari, unlike earlier variations of Project WALKERS or Proyekt Khodok, were not mindless and drug-fueled drones nor was their armor bonded to their bodies.

Zone 13 had outdone itself yet again seven years ago when they developed a power armor system which could be vigorously mass-produced in a macro-factory and gradually implemented into the bulk of the Aldarminian Zygostratium, especially the Imperial Guard. Seven years, later, yet another iteration of the Warrior Armor Load-bearing and Kill-Efficiency Revolutionary System had been introduced to keep the members of the Grand Emperor’s Zadnjhistrocai—Imperial Guards who acted as the “Last Line” of defense for the Emperor—ahead of their lower-priority counterparts.

This iteration of Project WALKERS retained the screaming fanged skull faceplate on the helmet, but there the similarities with the other armors started to end. Like the model just before it, it was fully enclosed system that revealed no wires and covered the entire body. Instead of a basic metal chrome color, these were painted a dark purple for the most part. The skull faceplate was pseudo-gilded with except for the eye sockets that were black with a dim white light piercing behind the protective lens for the heads-up-display inside the helmet. White stripes, providing further color contrast and embellishment to the armor, designated the Imperial Guards as part of the Zygostratium’s Gholgothic High Command, otherwise known as Tiger North. Another aspect of distinction of ZPMB-Oa.IV, which is the abbreviated technical designation, from Oa.’s I, II, and III is that all are manufactured with the crowned two-headed golden eagle emblazoned on the chest, distinguishing for use in defense of the Grand Emperor only. Technically speaking, though, it was almost equivalent to Oa.III variations, but it had a seven percent higher efficiency of maneuverability, and the polymer-alloy plating was about a third of a centimeter thicker, costs-be-damned.

Dalikharl loved the Oa.IV’s colorful design, preferring it over the more ubiquitous standard black and camouflaged variations of the Oa.III. The Hammer handed the sword over to the servant after instructing the man to carefully place the gift into his bolshmaizder, or grandmaster, room. The servant then departed through the door he came in from, the concealed way closing behind him.

Dalikharl gestured for the ceremonial Imperial Guards wearing ancient armor and carrying spears to leave. He returned his attention back to the preliminary formalities, which he sprinkled with informality, “If the fact is not clear, I am Grand Emperor Dalikharl, Second after my father in name in the Blood House Azcheyko, Hammer of the People’s Will thus the ruler of the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia and its Panarldarminium throughout the world,” breathing a sigh to catch his breath, the Hammer continued, “But you can just call me Dalikh or, if you insist upon it, Grand Emperor or, if you seek to patronize me, ‘Your Majesty.’ I will not seek to do the latter to you because, like you, I am here to discuss peace and, hopefully, keep my precious gift from being bloodied, so I believe that we should be forward with each other. Thus, though it is a great pleasure to meet you, King Lucas Ironing, High Executor Vincent Profecta, and Captain Vic Nyadnizov of the Skybound Republic of Havensky, I must now ask you to deposit your arms with these four gentlemen before you. Also, all non-essential persons must familiarize themselves with the exterior of the Palace, particularly the southern courtyard where some of our guests will not see them but also where my guards will appreciate their presence.”

The Grand Emperor’s request came simultaneously as he gestured to the Voinkholossari, who now shouldered their rifles realizing that they were not in the meeting room to defend the Hammer so much as they were there to keep it weapon-free. Dalikharl assured his Skyan guests, knowing that sometimes ceremonial weapons could be considered self-defensive ones as well, “I understand you may be against this for security concerns, especially with recent assault on your free and sovereign city and soil, but I guarantee you that my loyal men and women will not allow any harm to befall you here. I just cannot, in good custom, allow any weapons or persons here who would be ineffectual to the success of these forthcoming discussions. If you accept these requests, I will extend a customary offering I had decided not to before you presented me with such a magnificent sword.”

Dalikharl used a hand on a shoulder to nudge Venkhzmr, indicating to him that plans had changed considerably as far formalities went. Venkhzmr rose from his seat and turned to face the diplomatic cadre, golden eyes now taking their turn to size-up the Skyans. The Stratonizhtzar bowed to King Ironwing, but thought defiantly to himself, You all do not impress me, no matter how inclined I am to believe that Havensky is likely one of the more sensible Gothic states.

Venkhzmr, to his chagrin, introduced himself, “I am Stratonizhtzar Venkhzmr Jormshgalnsvarij, Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Zygostratium, the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia’s military arm, and subordinate of authority in the Panaldarminium only to the Grand Emperor’s Majesty and His Peoples’ Law. It is a pleasure to meet you, but I must reinforce my Commander-in-Chief’s request. Although, I must say, it is a great comfort to see a comrade of our peoples among you. And by Aldaric's Mountain, Captain, your eyes are as green as the southern valley plains of the homeland. Zlavic Aladamian blood runs thick in you, does it not?!"

Venkhzmr, rather unceremoniously, but knowing-Or hoping rather-that Nyadnizov would take it as a sign of welcome, took a few moments to make some inside cultural jokes, as well as a few jokes about the rest of the Skyan delegation. The Stratonizhtzar made great pains to be careful in this typical game of greeting a fellow Aldarminian stranger, so he used a combination of the old ethnic languages and dialects to confuse anyone else who may have only bothered to learn the standard and now-ubiquitous Mralic. The Vice Commander-in-Chief made sure not to insult Ironwing or Profecta though because by any Aldarminian's customs, that would have been rude and dishonorable.

All the while Dalikharl and Venkhzmr commenced with pleasantries, the masked and one of the “greatest secrets,” which is how his father occasionally referred to his family, Nasledniktron, or Throne-Heir, tapped his fingers on the marble table, wondering if he wanted to take piano lessons like his twin brother or if he preferred to type out communiques for his father. He was leaning towards the latter, but he did not want to forsake himself of an art because to do such would cheat him of liberating self-expression. As the Skyans entered the Vstrechakomnata, he shot a single glance at them to ascertain how they showed up to a diplomatic meeting. Throne-Heir Zlobaskar grew more excited for the meeting to start as he saw that the foreigners had brought weapons and wore power armor. Obediently staying silent, he occupied his thoughts of he hoped for the day to come, I shall prove to my father that I can handle what the world throws at me. Hopefully, no one will ask him to arrange a marriage between me and some little girl I have never met… If this meeting does not start soon, though, I may splatter the blood of this pseudo-royal, his democratic dogs, and this over-welcomed traitor all over this ridiculous table… Hmm, maybe abstract painting?

The Throne-Heir held back his childish fidgeting to his hand and fingers for now. He was especially careful not to bounce his knee as he sat because the subsequent sound of moving mechanical parts would reveal the robe-hidden the prosthetic legs that gave him a slightly shorter height than the average—And already short on world average with tallest outliers being 5’5’’—ethnic Alnardic man. This identity-concealment method was courtesy of a Zone 26 scientist who retired early with a heavy severance package on the condition of non-disclosure that he ever made such things at all, even though he was never even told why he was making them.

Hearing the incessant tapping of his son’s fingers, Dalikharl tried to move the proceedings along, “Yes, same as my loyal colleague, I am delighted to acquaint myself with this Captain Nyadnizov, a fellow citizen-comrade of the Glorious Panaldarminium of the Aldarminian peoples. It is not often I get to meet an emigrant of the Empire, and because he is of the Zlavic bloodlines, we shall have all three ethnic legs of our culture present. Besides this lovely coincidence, I would also enjoy getting to know you, King Ironwing, because I have heard many a story about yours and your wife’s exploits. If you and High Executor Profecta so wish, you each may have a seat after the deposit of your arms, and you can lay out the points of whatever agenda you have here.”

Dalikharl amused himself, That will keep the boy quiet for now.

As if on cue, the masked Zlobaskar stopped tapping his fingers. Now, he was relieved, Time to watch, listen, and learn.
Last edited by Aldarminia on Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Havensky » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:25 pm

Nyadnizov nodded curtly towards Venkhzmr and without so much as a flicker responded, "Ah, it is always nice to be greeted in such fashion by an old countryman... even if he is a slomonsk'tradetzya, o'nyetzolotskiy glazij varvhar!" (Custom breaking, gilded eye barbarian)

"Now, now...", came the gruff voice of Ironwing. "There's no need to for any further ribbing of our hosts. Heartknights, surrender your weapons."

Without hesitation, Ironwing drew his red blade from his holster and presented it hilt first to the Voinkholossari. Profecta did the same, presenting his white blade as did the gaurd brining out their mix of red and yellow blades.

"Shields too.", remarked Nyadnizoy. "In older times, shields were considered arms as well."

The Skyans handed over their shields.

Once disarmed, Nyadnizov dismissed the other Gaurds who were sent to the waiting area. Ironwing, Profecta, and Nyadnizov took their seats.

Ironwing and Profecta reached up to their necks to take off their helmets. They both laid their helmets on the table to the right of them. The voice amplifiers were useful, but didn't make for tableside conversation. The helmet had a metal plume that housed its sensors and antenna was topped by what appeared to be golden horse hair. It was most likely artificial, but it had managed to catch the eye of the young Zlobaskar.

Without the helmet, those at the table could see the slightest burn mark on Ironwing's right cheek. The first diplomatic mission Ironwing had participated in his ship had been blown apart by a Kraven bomb. He lived, but carried the scar. It was clear that the last few years had aged him. Ironwing's hair was silver now and his steel blue eyes looking a bit more tired.

"Gentleman, I want to first thank you for hosting us. Second, it is our hope that we might come to an understanding as to the status of the Maccabean forces now heading for the shores of the Scandinavian Empire. The Golden Throne has proposed that the Maccabean military be limited to an area no further north than Vismer, no further east than the naval waters of Kregaia, and no further west than Vismer - excluding the naval borders of Brewdomia and the Subcon. In addition, their forces would be spearheaded by my own Task Force Kacer. It should be noted - that this is something the Golden Throne proposed out of respect for the Gothic Lords. It by no means indicates a weakness in their resolve. The Golden Throne is willing to work with you and the other Lords if you're willing to work with them, and everyone treats each other like equals."

Ironwing paused a moment to allow the map to form in the Dalikharl's head.

"This agreement put forward would mean that the foreign forces would be limited to the Scandinavan homeland - which is fitting since it was the slavers that first kicked the hornet's nest in their backyard. This would also mean that only our Gothic allies would take part in actions against Vismer and the liberation of Shen Almaru - although we may receive some support from them in Vismer."

Ironwing tapped his gauntlet three times upon the wood.

"Now, if the Scandinvan Empire acquiesces to certain demands - I may be able to convince the Golden Throne to turn around and go. In fact, that is the preferable path forward. First, the Skybound Republic demands that the slavers to leave Pudu's territory - immediately. Second, The Golden Throne and the Skybound Republic demand that the slave trade in Gothic and Deinstadi waters must end. Finally, the Sons of Erid must be removed from power for their role in the occupation of Shen Almaru and the attack on Citadel City."

Ironwing began to lean his arm onto the table and raised his fist - showing the small writing carved into the metal gauntlet just below the knuckles.

"Make no mistake - Nos Pugnare Monstra - We Fight Monsters. I believe you are familiar with our war record. If we can stand toe to toe with the worst of the worst - what do you think we'll do to the slaver king's poor conscripts? The Legion will turn Vismer and Shen Almaru into a meat grinder. Do you think we enjoy wholesale slaughter? Do you think we want to pile up the bodies? Gods no. And by the sky, do you think I want my fleet to be leading a foreign invader? No! However, given the failure of the Gothic Council of Lords to keep the peace we are willing to do what it takes to ensure the life and liberty of our people. The Open Hand was there willing to talk this out and the slavers snubbed him. I pray that you find a way to get the slavers to agree to our demands - and quick. The ships of the Golden Throne nor the Skybound Republic are. not. stopping."

There was a pregnant pause for a moment. Before a response could be given, another guest had arrived.
Last edited by Havensky on Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Emperor Pudu » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:37 pm

Twelve years earlier, just months before he would retire from the private sector and join government service, Merelbart Stoyen had been dockside on one of his family’s many wharfs in the great northern port city of Nunkid. He had been meeting with some of the captains working for the fishing business that his father had turned from a one-boat solo operation into one of the major fleets out of Nunkid. What the captains had been concerned with, Stoyen couldn’t remember. It was the boat he remembered, glimpsed across a busy harbor for but a moment more than a decade ago. He had a good memory for boats; he had grown up fishing with his father, trawling the seas among some of the busiest sealanes in the nation. He had seen many exotic and beautiful craft in those days, but the memory of this schooner had apparently stuck with him distinctly all this time.

Today Merelbart Stoyen was far from Nunkid, riding in a diplomatic car through the Aldarminian Capitol Imperiate whose route had passed by a small private harbor filled with luxurious sailing craft, including a three-masted schooner on whose dark-blue hull was printed the name, in fresh red paint, Dream. She was trimmed with gold and her sails were a deep russet and she was constructed in the tradition of the old Nunkid whalers. It was a distinctive ship and Merelbart Stoyen, Ambassador of the Hewn Throne to the Kosmokratium of Aldarminia, remembered it clearly.

Perhaps he was remembering this ship because of the confusion at the embassy before he’d left. An embassy official in Stoyen’s office had received a call from Aldarminian authorities earlier in the day confirming the schedule of the imperial visit prior to the start of the conference. No, Stoyen had to explain, there would be no imperial visit, the Pantokrat Dengmu would not be attending. There had been some misunderstanding apparently, and the Aldarminians were evidently expecting a monarch.

It was an ignominious start to the first major diplomatic talks of Ambassador Stoyen’s first ambassadorial assignment. He would be making up ground as soon as he got there, he now knew. The Aldarminians were already on the fence about this whole situation, there had been talk only recently of the country entering the war on the Scandinvan side unilaterally. These talks had come as a great relief to Stoyen, who was in close communication with his superior Lucius Salvias Otho, the Special Representative to Gholgoth from the Pudite Empire.

Stoyen was an amateur at diplomacy, having begun his career in government service by being appointed to the Visiting Delegations Bureau of the Ministry of Communications. He had played a wealthy and influential host to dignitaries visiting Nunkid before being promoted to lead the Hollarum Department, the capital. Ultimately he was made Manager of Credentials, becoming the contact point for the government’s relationship with foreign ambassadors and other long term delegations. In all this time he’d received no formal schooling on the subjects he worked with, managing instead to gain and maintain his rising status through a system of appointments and official favors.

He was now at the pinnacle of his career, one he’s found himself quite taken with. Despite his rapid ascension of the ladders of power it would be hard to mistake Stoyen for a prideful man, or frivolous, or corrupt. He was none of these things, and he wore it on his sleeve. Humble, respectful to a fault, but determined in his purpose and with an iron will, when Merelbart Stoyen knew he was in the right he was a hard man to sway. Whether his stubborn intellectual attitude had spread to his religious faith or if it indeed stemmed from it, one couldn’t be certain. He was a puritanical devotee of the Church of the Anukai and though he was not a zealot, he wasn’t an open-minded man on the topic.

His determined attitude that everything required order and precision in order to perform its required functions well might have stemmed from those years on the fishing vessels, or perhaps from the doctrines of the Anukai, but wherever they were from they were being set at odds to the events unfolding today. After leaving the embassy, after hopefully making clear to whichever Aldarminian official or office had misunderstood that there would be no Pudite imperial delegation, Stoyen received another call in the car. This time it was a junior consular officer his office had forwarded directly to the ambassador, the young man had been in touch with Aldarminian borders and customs authorities regarding a boat flagged in the Pudite Empire whose passengers were using diplomatic passports. There were no irregularities in this per se, but the timing of it was odd enough for someone to want to tell Stoyen personally.

That might have been why he had recalled that red-sailed schooner the Dream. As the ambassador’s small convoy arrived at the Aldarminian Palace of the Sovereigns, however, the schooner was again far from Merelbart Stoyen’s mind. He had assembled his collection of documents, ranging from statements made by witnesses to Scandinvan occupation of Shen Almaru to satellite photos of activity in Mazaraan harbor to official diplomatic cables between the rogue staff in Mazaraan to the capital Hollarum earlier this month. His arguments were crystalized in his head, ready to appeal to the Grand Emperor and rebut any conflicting views with his trademark bull-headedness.

He was lost in these thoughts as the palace servant and ornately uniformed guardsman arrivied to guide the diplomat into the Vyosubnyakayv Tzarskaya Gosudari. They had entered the palace and travelled all the way to a salon adjoining the meeting room before Stoyen was suddenly jolted out of these thoughts.

“Good morning, Your Excellency,” she said to him, smiling and offering a courteous-looking nod. Stoyen was frozen between the twin attitudes swirling through his head, on the one hand, the vehement desire to see the woman standing across from him imprisoned and tried for treason and on the other the force of protocol and air of respect warranted in this diplomatic setting. He said nothing. She seemed satisfied with that response and turned away, though the smirk took a moment to vanish from her face. Moments later the doors were pulled open by a pair of Aldarminian guards and Shun Lao's personal secretary, a trim young man in the uniform of a junior naval officer and the extent of her retinue, entered and announced the two guests.

“Her Imperial Majesty, the Princess Shun Lao of the Pudite Empire, Heir of the Seven Crowns, Duchess of the Orange Islands and Countess of Orange Hollarum.”

Shun Lao entered and bowed respectfully to King Ironwing and the Grand Emperor before taking her seat at the marble table. She was dressed in a stark white naval dress uniform bearing the rank of captain, though she also wore the epaulettes that distinguished her as royalty.

He hadn't expected Shun Lao's servant to give him an announcement as well so he had to resist the impulse to jump in surprise when the secretary called out “His Excellency, Ambassador Merelbart Stoyen, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Pantokratocracy to Aldarminia,” before excusing himself from the chamber.

Merelbart Stoyen had hardly regained his senses before he entered the room. He tried to hide the look of abject shock on his face as he quietly took a seat at the table, opposite, it should be noted, the princess. There were tense looks all around the room that suggested to him that something had been missed by the two Pudites, something weighty, but he couldn't know what. His only consolation was that Shun was equally lost. He dreaded hearing her speak. Nothing was as it should be today.

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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Aldarminia » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:21 am

Vstrechakomnata

The Hammer chuckled at Nyadnizov and Venkhzmr’s exchange. The Stratonizhtzar wanted to respond to the slurs on his Aldyrman heritage, but Ironwing took charge of the proceedings. Placated by the presence of an Aldarminian comrade, Dalikharl was eager to listen to the Skyan demands, so he dismissed the Voinkholossari, the arms of the visitors now safely in the hands of those not strange to the Aldarskaya nation. The Grand Emperor took his seat with Zlobaskar to his left and Venkhzmr to his right.

As Ironwing explicated the Macabeean limitations to operating in southeastern Gholgoth, disappointment emerged in the Aldarminian ruler’s expression in the form of furrowing brows and tensing lips. To his displeasure, the demands became increasingly hard-line. There came the demand to leave Pudite territory, which was a matter of its own strenuous political tensions. Next, a topic that Dalikharl feared the most would arise in this discussion but knew beforehand that its mention was almost certain, the Skyans demanded that the slave trade in Gholgoth and Greater Dienstad be ended. I initiate these talks, the Hammer thought, To negotiate peace. And here this man comes into my Gothic estate talking of Golden Throne limiting itself to the Scandinvan homeland and Vismer territory unless they virtually destroy their whole way of life.

Dalikharl was about to respond to the last demand relating to the Sons of Erid and the assurance that the Skyan and Macabeean fleets had no intention of ceasing their advance when the conflicting Pudite envoys arrived. Again, Dalikharl rose from his seat to greet the guests while Zlobaskar stayed seated, still admiring the helmets and armor of the Skyans, but this time, Venkhzmr joined the Grand Emperor right away in the greeting. As the newcomers were announced though, the Stratonizhtzar mumbled, “Wrong dynasty.”

Hearing that, Dalikharl turned his head, and sent a look of, “I will strike you down if you insult a guest who is not accustomed to such greetings.”

Having not said a word yet to the Pudite guests, the Hammer turned back to them, “Well I was expecting royalty, but just not this exact brand of royalty. Forgive me, ma’am, but your claims to be heir or majestic are arguable to some. Just as this man will certainly claim he represents the legitimate Pudite government.”

The Grand Emperor cared little for how the Pudites received what he said to them, whether it be indifferent observation or contemptuous insult. The Hammer was asserting himself now before sides fully coalesced. He turned to Ironwing who was sitting down, “And these two individuals are just one reason, why I believe your demands are ultimately simplifying a very complex state of affairs, but,” Dalikharl now turned back to the Pudites, “Before I make you either of you or both of you feel as if you are not welcome or worthy to seats at this table…”

The Hammer and his Stratonizhtzar Venkhzmr repeated the same formal introductions they had made to the Skyans. Zlobaskar had been holding back a laugh and concealing a smile under his Akai-made mask during the whole fiasco. He analyzed the Pudites as they sat down, and he found that this Mr. Stoyen was certainly bewildered by the presence of the Princess Shun Lao. The Nasledniktron was amused, and he wondered with a child’s delight and imagination at how the soon-to-come exchanges would go. After he and his subordinate had sat back down, Dalikharl took it upon himself to relay the Skyan demands to the separate Pudite parties, while emphasizing that war upon the Scandinvan homeland—And thus possibly further conflict on Shen Almaru—was imminent.

After bringing all parties to the conversation up to speed, Dalikharl cracked his knuckles, drawing a mischievous smile from Venkhzmr. The Grand Emperor proceeded with the response he had planned in his mind for the Skyans, but with a few alterations now that the Pudites were there, “I cannot make this any clearer: The Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia opposes and abhors the practice of slavery all over the world, but regarding to active aggression against the slave trade, Aldarminia does not act with force unless these slavers are within Imperial spheres of influence, thus affecting the interests of the Grand Empire’s people and its throne…”

Venkhzmr raised an eyebrow, and his smile retreated but not because he was displeased. The Stratonizhtzar was not sure exactly what was the point of mentioning Imperial interests and spheres of influence. For all intents and purposes, he thought Aldarminian influence was lower than the Empire wished it to be, and its spheres were limited to northwestern Gholgoth and the vast oceans of the Freewaters surrounding the homeland to the far west of the organized and unified regions. The spheres were small when compared to other Gothic nations’, thus Venkhzmr believed there was no reason to mention them, especially when it came to the usually brutally concise Dalikharl’s choice of words.

As his Vice Commander-in-Chief pondered, the Hammer continued, “Although, I and my Aldarminian brothers and sisters recognize that the Scandinvans’ way of life and its involvement in the trafficking of human beings stripped of their rights is about as barbaric as it can get, we also acknowledge the simple fact that it is their way of life, and so long as it is kept, in some degrees, within their homeland and/or away from our territories, the Kosmokratium and the Empire, unlike the Skybound Republic and the Golden Throne, have no vested interest in compelling a fellow Gothic state to end its long-standing cultural practices. Their soil and water is theirs to rule, as it is their sovereign right to. I must admit, though, to this region’s misfortune, that the Glorious Empire of the Scandinvans has ‘kicked the hornet’s nest.’ Now, with the aid of the Skybound Republic, a Dienstadi nation-state seeks to breach these Gothic waters to attain retribution upon the Valgardian slaver regime. Not only have our Scandinvan brothers and sister provoked a supported transgression of Gholgothic regional sovereignty, they have broken what I, myself, call the Dreadfire Doctrine, a violation of which constitutes an attack upon a fellow Gothic Lord’s people and/or country. I refer of course to the Attestor attack on Citadel City, perpetrated by Sons of Erid extremists. Unfortunately, to some, the only rational response is yet another violation of the Dreadfire Doctrine. And not just any violation, mind you. A flagrant invitation of foreigners to cooperate in an incursion upon the Scandinvans’ homeland.”

The Grand Emperor of Aldarminia took a moment to catch his breath. He now alternated between facing Stoyen and Lao Shun as he spoke, frustration becoming apparent in his purple eyes which seemed to come ablaze in conviction. “What’s more is that we now have to deal with the contestation of the Shen Almaru territory. On one side, you have the Dengmus which have maintained the bulk of Pudite sovereignty for some time now since they came to power. On the other you have Her Imperial Majesty Shun Lao, representing a dynasty removed from most of its positions of authority, but with a claim and ideology of its own. And what comes of all this? The people of Shen Almaru suffer under Scandinvan occupation and are used as pawns and pieces of these conflicting factions’ machinations.”

The Hammer, preparing to strike another great blow to the matter, caught another moment’s breath. Afterwards, he first stared firmly at Merelbart Stoyen, “This. This is what happens when you remove people from power, and fail in annihilating their forces and their resolve. I know of another man who understands this even better. He now anguishes in the dark void where all unrighteous traitors go when they fail to redeem their actions and are justly vanquished. I assure you, though you and your superiors are free to trek upon such an ineffectual path of achieving command and legitimacy, none of you want to know what awaits you at the destination. And whether you believe in such a faith or not, these are the truths of life as nations and their leaders. Metaphorically and/or literally certain, they are.”

Dalikharl now shifted his piercing gaze to Shun Lao and continued, “And yes, I promise you as well, this is what awaits all foolish enough to disregard or forsake the will of their people.”

Dalikharl stood up now. He snapped three times, and a group of servants appeared from the entrance opposite of the one that various envoys had used. Each servant carried a smartpad which they then gave to everyone present in the room before they departed using the same doors they had entered through. Those who were paying attention to the elegant marching of the servants would have noticed that a few of them instead made an apparently ceremonial circle around the room without handing over a surplus of smartpads, presumably for the yet-arrived Scandinvan delegation. The image that presented itself on the pads was a strategic picture of the Gholgoth region, displaying tracked vessels and armies while obviously omitting the movements of Aldarminian forces. In the southeastern perimeters and corner, red vector arrows were constantly shifting, showing the Zygostratium’s projections of the Skyan and Macabeean fleets. Also, mysteriously peppered across the regional picture were stationary black dots, some in Gothic waters, some in Gothic nations themselves.

Dalikharl’s was a master-pad that would transmit his alterations to the others. He drew lines correlating with the Skyans’ propose theater-of-operations limits for the Macabeean forces. Then, the Hammer looked at Ironwing with a face now calmed of emotion. Cold velvet orbs born of the Eternal Winter of the homeland maintained stoic contact with their Skyan counterpart’s as the Aldarminian ruler explained his thinking, “What you are proposing, I fear, is the first slide down a very slippery slope. You are asking me to support this because I believe you and I are both aware that this operation of punitive and retaliatory action would be cut short if Gothic states were aligned against it. Fortunately for you and the Golden Throne, as my intelligence briefings have relayed to me in the days since this crisis began, you and your Dienstadi ally seem to be garnering the support of many a Gothic Lord and his or her nation. As I said we must be honest with each other here, so to be clear, if Citadel City had not been attacked, the moment it was apparent that you were inviting Macabeeans to act against a Gothic state’s interests, I would have ordered an invasion fleet of my own to head to Havensky, to stand in solidarity of my Scandinvan brothers and sisters against foreign-collaborating aggression. But alas, the Skybound Republic has proven it is of cooler heads and calmer spirits, and its affair with the Golden Throne is all but justified in my mind.”

Time for the coup de grace. Dalikharl returned his attention back to his smartpad for a few seconds to draw a circle around the unclaimed peninsula southwest of the Subcon island and east of Naacal-held Acheron. Simultaneously, the same circle appeared on all the other smartpads. Now, the Hammer came down with an ever-so-slightly-furrowed brow and a hand fiddling with his beard, “If the Skybound Republic supports the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium’s claim to and acquisition of this territory just outside of its proposed limited theater, which is currently undisputed so no serious problems of contestation should arise, the Aldarminian Zygostratium would have a decent enough staging ground for humanitarian operations in and around Scandinvans during the imminent hostilities. Obviously, the Empire would request assurances that no Aldarminian forces would be harmed by Macabeen or Skyan entities. Alongside this, if the Pudite parties have no objection to such, the Scandinvan occupation of Shen Almaru should be ended and replaced with Aldarminian and Skyan joint peacekeeping operations while democratic elections are organized and carried out so that the people of Shen Almaru may choose who they want to rule them. Whether that be Mr. Merelbart Stoyen’s superiors or Her Majesty Shun Lao’s House should be solely of the volition of the Pudite people living there. Meanwhile, to encourage further cooperation between the Skybound Republic and the Imperial Kosmokratium, near-cosmopolitan immigration policies should be adopted. This should be of little concern to the Skyan people as they are already privy to such immigration methods, but this is mostly so that Skyan people seeking access to and/or dual-citizenship of Aldarminia have their wishes granted and the appropriate bureaucratic processes expedited. Furthermore, it is in the Imperial Kosmokratium’s best interests to exchange naval and air bases with the Skybound Republic so that logistical and defensive capabilities throughout are region are improved. If these requests are granted and the limited theater of war maintained, Aldarminia may find that slaver entities near its new southeastern Gothic territories are worthy of being classified as threats. Thus, Zygostratic naval forces may also be dedicated to anti-piracy and anti-human trafficking operations in the southeastern areas of Gholgoth. Now, I am interested to hear what my Skyan and Pudite brothers and sisters think of this proposition. Of course, though, if the Scandinvans arrive, and they agree to other peaceful means, the fulfillment of these requests is unnecessary, but they will not all be rescinded.”

Dalikharl breathed a quiet sigh, and the Hammer found a moment's rest in his seat. He was a little tired, but he dared not willingly show it to his counterparts, though some may have seen it already. Twenty-eight years alive. Fifteen of those were spent as a leader, and almost all those fifteen were spent fighting internal wars. Were the years finally taking their toll? Or were these moments of exhaustion the growing pains as the Grand Emperor was molded more and more into an effective and just ruler? Only time would tell, but Venkhzmr wanted to smile. He held it back though. Instead, his face was carefully kept expressionless, and he admiringly thought of his sovereign, Brilliant. Now, if the scarred Ironwing is anything similar, I believe he will agree. The Pudites might be a different story...
Last edited by Aldarminia on Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:41 am, edited 4 times in total.
"I dated an Aldarminian once, but when he proposed 'annexing' my 'southern border regions' I decided it might be best to break it off."
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Emperor Pudu
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 140
Founded: Aug 24, 2007
Father Knows Best State

Postby Emperor Pudu » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:20 pm

As the Grand Emperor went on, ultimately outlining a plan to support the allied effort against the Scandinvans, Merebart Stoyen felt a growing sense of confidence. He had regained some of his natural composure in the long interim and those final words of the Dalikharl - “interested to hear what my Skyan and Pudite brothers and sisters think” - spurred him to a response.

“Grand Emperor,” Stoyen began because yes, he did insist, “the plan you’ve just outlined, I can say with confidence, will be received with some delight in Hollarum.” He had wanted to assent quickly, because if the Aldarminians were already on their side then it would be Shun Lao’s battle to change their minds, not his own. The plan, however, had some sticking points in Stoyen’s mind that could not justify a full-throated endorsement of the idea.

“Before I speak too quickly however, and give the wrong impression,” Stoyen continued, “I must comment on some of your proposals for the archipelago. A referendum on the future of Shen Almaru. An occupying force of peacekeepers, presumably to enforce the proceeding of that referendum. These things will not be easy for me to sell to those decision makers who have the benefit of being far removed from the intricacies of this problem. A peacekeeping force was how Governor Lartius invited the Scandinvans into the country in the first place, and now I’m to propose that another foreign power simply replace them?”

All things considered, Stoyen was happy with the proposal, and was pretty sure he could sell it to those whom he needed to, but there was an opportunity here to do just a little bit more. It all depended on how Shun Lao took this because, however balanced the Grand Emperor had hoped for his course of action to be, it would all but ensure that Shun Lao and her faction would be almost entirely cut out of Shen Almaru.

The princess was eager to speak. She had watched the tenative diplomatic endorsement of the Aldarminian plan by the ambassador and said nothing. She took the opportunity presented by Stoyen’s brief silence now to make her own case. “Dalikh, I must admit to you something. The people of Shen Almaru, their islands and their cities and their laws, their imports and exports, their future, Dalikh, I am not concerned with it.” She glanced down at the map of Gholgoth and its fleets, armies and territories, “This map, it has nothing of interest to me on it at all. My homeland is far from here, my people, my future, all of it is nowhere to be seen in this image." She spoke with a dignified resignation, as one who was admitting a truth they hadn't hoped to reveal, "I have come here today not to justify some imperial greed for faraway lands, nor to interfere in the affairs of states and peoples not my own. The Scandinvans have been generous to my family, promising their strength to our cause, and for that we cleave to them in this matter, but truthfully I am not one of you,” she looked over King Ironwing and the Dalikharl, “I do not claim the title Lord of Gholgoth. My Imperial mother, the Empress of Shun, does not claim that title. The affairs of Gothic states inside Gholgoth are not our own. Should the Scandinvans ask us to endorse their occupation of Shen Almaru, as they have done, why should we refuse?”

Shun Lao was far from finished, “I think it is fitting that I explain where I am coming from; where the interests of my family lie. Three hundred and ninety six years ago my ancestor, Shun Li Song, saved our Empire and was rewarded, with the gratitude of the people, with the Hewn Throne. It was a time of war, when a powerful foreign king ravaged our lands and had wiped out the ancient line of Zhong emperors whose reign extended to the turn of the old millennium. Shun Li Song defeated the armies who had laid our country low and gave rise to our dynasty. It was the Shun emperors who opened trade with Gholgoth, and who first settled Shen Almaru with Pudite colonists, welcoming the archipelago and all its people into our empire. It was for two hundred and sixty six years that my family sat the throne, before it was usurped. It was in the year 1886 that the reigning Shun emperor was assassinated, in broad daylight, by his own soldiers. That cadre of officers was punished, of course, the slain emperor’s son was less than a year old. Another army officer, Jilang Song, seized the streets of the capital with his soldiers and imprisoned Shun Gao, the child, in his own palace for fourteen years while he transformed Hollarum into a revolutionary socialist republic. In the year 1900 the shadow of the fourteen year old prisoner-emperor was too much and Song’s troops stormed the Imperial City. The boy only narrowly escaped with his life. That is the legacy of my dynasty.”

“The years that followed were one betrayal of the people after another. The son of that Marshal Jilang Song who turned on his emperor later turned on the very people that had put his father in power. Jilang Zong, the son, deployed his own soldiers to the streets of the capital the night his father died and declared himself an emperor. The communists were intimidated, arrested or killed. The transition, the theft of the Imperial throne, was complete. This dynasty of cowards and child-killers has no shred of legitimacy, and their imperialistic claim on Shen Almaru bears no weight other than their century-long occupation of that territory which never assented to be ruled by them. How does the Scandinvan occupation differ in anything except chronological proximity to the Jilang Emperor’s own?”

For her last appeal she directed her attention fully at the Grand Emperor, “Forgive my forwardness, Dalikh, but I know that you know the pain of betrayal and exile, of watching your nation suffer at the hands of those unfit to rule it and of the resolve it takes to reclaim what is yours and strike a blow for the people of your land. Whatever happens here today, I will go on fighting, as I have done these past two decades, as my family has done for a century, to remove the criminal usurper Jilang’s from power. Be it the Scandinvans, Albus White, some other parties yet unknown or even no-one at all who is on our side, we will fight.”

Merebart Stoyen had heard enough of this. He looked and spoke directly at Shun Lao, “This matter should have nothing to do with you. But that’s too much to ask, of late, it seems. Albus White was responsible for the assassination of Emperor Shangjun. You, personally, are responsible for the nuclear holocaust leveled on the Orange Islands. Treasonous naval officers forswearing the oaths they made to the throne and state have swelled the ranks of your pirate state. How many years you say you’ve fought? Who is it that you waged this war on all that time? Merchant ships and unarmed sailors? You say your ancestors were usurped? Go back a thousand years, two thousand years, how has one dynasty succeeded the other? Are there Zhong pretenders? Sun? Zhu? How much history do you intend to dredge up? The battleship that sails at the heart of the Pudite armada in Task Force Hell bears the name of an emperor who marched more than a million of my Coraxian ancestors off into slavery. It’s the ancient past. Leave it where it lies.”

He had become heated and attempted to center himself again. Shun Lao pounced, “All that must be decided here today,” she said in even and measured tones, “Is the course of action Aldarminia will take in the present war. I merely suggest that it shouldn’t be any business of ours.” She turned back to the Dalikharl, “I apologize for the rudeness of my unexpected arrival. You know that where I stand, however, is a precarious position. It is out of an honest self-interest that I seek to maintain the strength and position of the Scandinvan Empire. I need them. My family, and my people need them. If it is a matter of one Gothic Lord against another, I have no place in the debate. If, however, you would consider us when making your decision,” she was speaking with the utmost sincerity, “then I would be forever grateful.”

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Havensky
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Havensky » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:55 pm

Vincent Profecta had been silent at this point but shot Ironwing a cold look as if to say, Don't say it...

Ironwing, though a monarch himself, despised talk of people thinking they had a right to rule over just because their family had done so for a few hundred years. He was an elected monarch and hadn't served long at that. In addition, he had no real political power. Profecta ran the administration and Prime Minister Artemis ran the legislature. This idea that your family held power for centuries was..archane to Ironwing. Havensky itself wasn't even a century old - though Fourhearts had been before the seas swallowed it up.

Ironwing opened his mouth, but Profecta spoke first.

"To be fair Your Majesty, when the Scandinavian Empire trades human lives that were kidnapped or captured from nations that do not practice slavery that's not exactly letting them run their own affairs. This is exactly how this entire conflict with the Golden Throne was initiated. The slavers made a deal with the rebel pirates in Golden Throne territory. As a matter of security, the slave trade must stop in Greater Dienstad. The Golden Throne has made this clear to us. Their region lacks slavers - there's no reason why their ships should be there.

That said, the Skyan People have tolerated the practice in exchange for peace. The peace has been broken by the slavers, so there must be concessions. The surrender of the Sons of Erid would be a fair concession for the practice to continue if and only if it is heavily regulated by the Gothic Lords. There may be no capture or enslavement of free people. Ever.

Regarding the other elements of your proposal, we have no disagreements although we defer matters of Shen Almaru to Mr. Stoyen. You should be aware that once the Skyan elements of Task Force Hell are on Shen's soil they will be under the command of Lord Otho. If his government directs us to stay, we stay - if his government wishes us to go - we go."

Profecta turned to Shun Lao.

"Our interest in this matter, is the safety and liberty of our Gothic brethren in Shen Almaru as well as the safety and security of our own residents. Nothing more."
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Ghant
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:34 am

“Sine Qua Non”
Vyosubnyakayv Tzarskaya Gosudari, Palace of the Imperial Sovereigns
Vstrechakomnata, Meeting Room
Gholruka, Gholgothic Aldarminia


Dalikharl will not tolerate petulant predilections, Lady Lara Jarasa thought to herself as she read over the Aldarminian missive once more. If that’s the case, why bother inviting the Scandinvans to your little pow-wow?

Lara had to wonder who the Aldarminian Emperor was referring to when he said in the communiqué “the Scandinvans were not so arrogant enough to call upon foreign invaders to their aid…” perhaps it was referring to Havensky, although it was more likely referring to Ghant itself for cozying up to the Golden Throne of the Macabees. If you were sandwiched halfway between the Kraven Reich and the Scandinvans and on dubious terms with both, you’d go looking for powerful friends too, asshole…

Ghant’s position had been made clear in the Gothic Chambers not so long ago, by Lara herself. The so called Gothic Pact, the one sworn by all the heads of state in that part of the world, was in tatters after the Kravenite attack upon Vetalia, and again after the Scandinvan attack on Citadel City. People in Gholghant lived in fear that they were next, because they, like Vetalia, were vulnerable, and the status quo in Gholgoth of late was one that gave a blank check to the powerful to run roughshod over the weak. And make no mistake about it…Ghant is weak.

At the Gothic Summit, attended and witnessed by a diplomatic skeleton crew where once the great Gothic Lords assembled in their vaunted chairs, Lara told those present that while the Ghantish government, be it the Emperor, the Prime Minister or the Steward took the Pact seriously, the one and only thing they took more seriously than that was their longtime safety and security. In the words of her uncle the Steward of Gholghant, The blood of our children is more precious then the blood of the pact being pissed upon by the rabid wolves running rampant in Gholgoth.

Thinking it was a fairly reasonable position to take, Lara said that Ghant would explore any and all possible avenues to secure itself in the long term against the devious ambitions of Kraven and the Scandinvans, which mainly consisted of bolstering its defenses in order to deter them from considering attacking Gholghant. Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Any and all options were being considered, including an alliance and basing arrangements with the Macabees.

This was something that she knew was of great concern to other Gothic nations, especially Jagada and Aldarminia. What would they rather have us be turned into another godforsaken Kravenite Fortress of a Scandinvan slaving hub? At the very least, Lara was willing to entertain alternative options from the other Gothic Lords. If they don’t want the Macabees in Gholghant, then they better offer us something better that addresses our security concerns…

When Lara came to from her thoughts, she realized once more where she was and where she was going. She had arrived in Gholruka, the imperial capital of Aldarminia via a private jet from Gaztelua, Gholghant compliments of her uncle the Steward. Lara had become the pointman, or woman for that matter when it came to Gholgothic diplomacy, having been dispatched to Automagfreek previously, being sent again to this quaint gathering in Aldarminia and having plans to attend the Gothic Summit in Citadel City in Havensky with the Emperor of Ghant joining her.

Once the jet had arrived in Gholruka, Lara shifted to a sedan with tinted black windows compliments of the Ghantish ambassador, and it was by this means that she would arrive at the Palace of the Imperial Sovereigns where the meeting would be taking place. Lara figured she would be dressed differently from her counterparts, for she was no great soldier or warrior, but a gentle noblelady of high birth and careful breeding, exemplified by her stunning gown fit for a princess.

This particular gown was one of a kind and only one had been made from vintage filet and tambour antique lace. The lace itself was exceptionally rare, and didn't come cheaply, though her father was certainly a man of great means. It was a shade of sparkling silver, original vintage antique hand appliquéd princess lace with fishtail train and small capped delicate lace sleeves. To be worn gently of course, which she did with grace, complimented by her light blonde hair sweeping down past her shoulders to the midsection of her back long and straight. Her soft lilac eyes swept out over the surrounding cityscape, if only because she needed something to look at.

The Palace was a grand structure worthy of being the seat of an empire, and once Lara and her modest entourage arrived, they made their way inside. It consisted of six guards, a herald and Lara’s lady-in-waiting who doubled as an assistant. With purposeful steps they made their way through the palace until arriving at a set of large doors, with the place of gathering on the other side. The Grand Emperor, or Tzarbolshoyar as the title was called in Aldarminian, wore two medals on his coat, and a great crown upon his head. He was seated in a chair at a round marble table with a masked man to his left and another man to his right.

The herald was about to announce Lara’s arrival, but she rose a hand to him, while a richly dressed servant and guard dressed in ceremonial garb came to escort her to her seat. The Grand Emperor greeted her personally, with her response being polite if not curt, eager as she was to sit down and melt into the assembly of delegates. She bowed gracefully, and when the time was right, she nodded to the herald, who announced her to the Grand Emperor.

“May I present, Lara of the House Jarasa, daughter of Lady Anara Zaldua and Lord Amroth Jarasa, the Dragonlord, Warden of the North and Master of the Strait,” the herald said after butting his staff against the floor.

“A pleasure, your Imperial Majesty,” she said to him, finding that introduction suitable. Lara’s gift for the Emperor consisted of a large sapphire. “Please accept this offering of friendship and goodwill. A sapphire from the island of Itsoa, in the northwest of Gholghant.” House Itsoa offered to make it into a brooch, or a pendant or amulet or some other piece of jewelry, but Lara wanted it whole and unmolested. The Skyans led by King Lucas Ironwing were far more over the top, bearing their swords with pomp and pageantry for the Grand Emperor’s benefit.

Once the delegations were seated and comfortable, the Grand Emperor spoke formally to the delegates. “If the fact is not clear, I am Grand Emperor Dalikharl, Second after my father in name in the Blood House Azcheyko, Hammer of the People’s Will thus the ruler of the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia and its Panarldarminium throughout the world.” He took a deep breath before continuing, longwinded as his words were. “But you can just call me Dalikh or, if you insist upon it, Grand Emperor or, if you seek to patronize me, ‘Your Majesty.’ I will not seek to do the latter to you because, like you, I am here to discuss peace and, hopefully, keep my precious gift from being bloodied, so I believe that we should be forward with each other…”

Lara observed the cadre of guards standing nearby, and studied them closely. They were Ghantish-like in appearance, wearing ceremonial black armor with spears and shields. She considered them as she tuned back into what Dalikharl was saying. “…I must now ask you to deposit your arms with these four gentlemen before you. Also, all non-essential persons must familiarize themselves with the exterior of the Palace, particularly the southern courtyard where some of our guests will not see them but also where my guards will appreciate their presence.”

Nodding to her lady-in-waiting and to her herald and guards, Lara watched as they began to shuffle out of the chamber, while her guards offered their Aldarminian counterparts their swords and firearms as a gesture of trust and good faith. Lara kept her dagger strapped to her thigh though, because she would never wish to be totally defenseless. In Gholgoth, one can never truly trust anyone, not even the vaunted Skyans…

The Skyans were cooperative, though apparently with some reluctance, wary as they must have been due to their most recent trials. Their King spoke thusly to their Aldarminian hosts. "Gentleman, I want to first thank you for hosting us. Second, it is our hope that we might come to an understanding as to the status of the Maccabean forces now heading for the shores of the Scandinavian Empire. The Golden Throne has proposed that the Maccabean military be limited to an area no further north than Vismer, no further east than the naval waters of Kregaia, and no further west than Vismer - excluding the naval borders of Brewdomia and the Subcon. In addition, their forces would be spearheaded by my own Task Force Kacer. It should be noted - that this is something the Golden Throne proposed out of respect for the Gothic Lords. It by no means indicates a weakness in their resolve. The Golden Throne is willing to work with you and the other Lords if you're willing to work with them, and everyone treats each other like equals."

Straight to the point it seems, Lara pursed her lips as she examined the King of the Skyans. He was a man, one of a selected few…that she admired. For his bravery, courage and accomplishments mostly, though it certainly helped that he was an attractive sort, even with the quaint little burn scar on his cheek. Lucas continued amicably. "This agreement put forward would mean that the foreign forces would be limited to the Scandinavan homeland - which is fitting since it was the slavers that first kicked the hornet's nest in their backyard. This would also mean that only our Gothic allies would take part in actions against Vismer and the liberation of Shen Almaru - although we may receive some support from them in Vismer."

God forbid, somebody deciding to hold the Scandies accountable for their actions! Sometimes Lara got the impression that Gothic nations should get a blank check when it came to committing atrocities against one another, especially since the word “unity” was being thrown around a lot more than “security” or “accountability”. Lara watched Lucas knock his hand on the wooden table three times. She did too in response, just once, and a subtle one at that.

"Now, if the Scandinvan Empire acquiesces to certain demands - I may be able to convince the Golden Throne to turn around and go. In fact, that is the preferable path forward. First, the Skybound Republic demands that the slavers to leave Pudu's territory - immediately. Second, The Golden Throne and the Skybound Republic demand that the slave trade in Gothic and Deinstadi waters must end. Finally, the Sons of Erid must be removed from power for their role in the occupation of Shen Almaru and the attack on Citadel City,” Lucas listed the demands methodically.

Lara thought that of those, the first was probably the most reasonable from the Scandinvan perspective. The second one was a tall order, because it demanded that the Scandinvans end the slave trade in someplace beyond what was commonly understood to constitute Gholgoth. The last one was an even more difficult demand, considering that the Sons of Erid were led by the heir to the Scandinvan throne itself, and they ruled by a divine mandate. To denounce Fenric would be tantamount to denouncing the will of God himself.

Lucas leaned his arm across the table and raised his fist, revealing the characters inscribed upon his gauntlet. "Make no mistake - Nos Pugnare Monstra - We Fight Monsters. I believe you are familiar with our war record. If we can stand toe to toe with the worst of the worst - what do you think we'll do to the slaver king's poor conscripts? The Legion will turn Vismer and Shen Almaru into a meat grinder. Do you think we enjoy wholesale slaughter? Do you think we want to pile up the bodies? Gods no. And by the sky, do you think I want my fleet to be leading a foreign invader? No! However, given the failure of the Gothic Council of Lords to keep the peace we are willing to do what it takes to ensure the life and liberty of our people. The Open Hand was there willing to talk this out and the slavers snubbed him. I pray that you find a way to get the slavers to agree to our demands - and quick. The ships of the Golden Throne nor the Skybound Republic are not stopping.”

And thank god for it. The Ghantish were not alone in denouncing the Gothic Council of Lord’s inaction and inability to control its members from committing grievous acts against each other in violation of the Gothic Blood Oath that all the lords swore to each other when the Council was formed. Ghant’s hands were clean, thankfully, and it’s only so called violation was in taking drastic measures to ensure its own safety and stability, when it had just cause to do so.

The Pudites, like Lara, arrived in a discreet fashion and were sparse in their words, though they too were probably no less concerned for their own long term safety and security in a similar fashion to the Ghantish. The Pudite Empress claimant had the support of the Ghantish, though this support was muffled given the Scandinvan opposition any such recognition was like to have.

Dalikharl said to the Pudites, “Well I was expecting royalty, but just not this exact brand of royalty. Forgive me, ma’am, but your claims to be heir or majestic are arguable to some. Just as this man will certainly claim he represents the legitimate Pudite government.”

Lara showed a face of righteous indignation at the veiled insult levied against the Pudite Empress. Hopefully that’s not how most Gothic Lords feel about the matter of Shen Amaru.

The Grand Emperor turned back to Lucas, with little care for how the Pudites received his callousness. “And these two individuals are just one reason, why I believe your demands are ultimately simplifying a very complex state of affairs, but,” Dalikharl now turned back to the Pudites to address them, “Before I make you either of you or both of you feel as if you are not welcome or worthy to seats at this table…”

A pause, and then Dalikharl said, “I cannot make this any clearer: The Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia opposes and abhors the practice of slavery all over the world, but regarding to active aggression against the slave trade, Aldarminia does not act with force unless these slavers are within Imperial spheres of influence, thus affecting the interests of the Grand Empire’s people and its throne…”

Figures he’d come up with some sort of excuse. Lara scratched her chin, and thought about how the status quo from much of the Council had been in doing nothing, perhaps out of a fear that doing something would rock the boat too much and bring about chaos and mistrust. Burying your head in the sand won’t make the tide go away…

Dalikharl continued, verbosely. “Although, I and my Aldarminian brothers and sisters recognize that the Scandinvans’ way of life and its involvement in the trafficking of human beings stripped of their rights is about as barbaric as it can get, we also acknowledge the simple fact that it is their way of life, and so long as it is kept, in some degrees, within their homeland and/or away from our territories, the Kosmokratium and the Empire, unlike the Skybound Republic and the Golden Throne, have no vested interest in compelling a fellow Gothic state to end its long-standing cultural practices. Their soil and water is theirs to rule, as it is their sovereign right to. I must admit, though, to this region’s misfortune, that the Glorious Empire of the Scandinvans has ‘kicked the hornet’s nest.’ Now, with the aid of the Skybound Republic, a Dienstadi nation-state seeks to breach these Gothic waters to attain retribution upon the Valgardian slaver regime. Not only have our Scandinvan brothers and sister provoked a supported transgression of Gholgothic regional sovereignty, they have broken what I, myself, call the Dreadfire Doctrine, a violation of which constitutes an attack upon a fellow Gothic Lord’s people and/or country. I refer of course to the Attestor attack on Citadel City, perpetrated by Sons of Erid extremists. Unfortunately, to some, the only rational response is yet another violation of the Dreadfire Doctrine. And not just any violation, mind you. A flagrant invitation of foreigners to cooperate in an incursion upon the Scandinvans’ homeland.”

The Dreadfire Doctrine became little more than a rag once the Sons of Erid perpetrated an attack on Citadel City. In Lara’s eyes and the eyes of most Ghantar, the treaty was dead in the water at that point, and any transgression of the doctrine organized henceforth to rectify the initial transgression was fully warranted. The Scandinvans gave up their protection under the Dreadfire Doctrine at that moment. They can no longer beg it’s favors, not can any other Gothic Lord claim that it still applies to them. The Ghantish felt that at this point, the Scandinvans were fair game, Dreadfire Doctrine be damned.

Staring at the Pudites, he added pointedly that “This. This is what happens when you remove people from power, and fail in annihilating their forces and their resolve. I know of another man who understands this even better. He now anguishes in the dark void where all unrighteous traitors go when they fail to redeem their actions and are justly vanquished. I assure you, though you and your superiors are free to trek upon such an ineffectual path of achieving command and legitimacy, none of you want to know what awaits you at the destination. And whether you believe in such a faith or not, these are the truths of life as nations and their leaders. Metaphorically and/or literally certain, they are…and yes, I promise you as well, this is what awaits all foolish enough to disregard or forsake the will of their people.”

Now he presumes to lecture us on matters of politics and philosophy. Chaos was the destination of course, and they were all on cruise control towards it.

“What you are proposing, I fear, is the first slide down a very slippery slope. You are asking me to support this because I believe you and I are both aware that this operation of punitive and retaliatory action would be cut short if Gothic states were aligned against it.” Dalikharl seemed far more fiery and pedantic, in a strange way, then he did initially. “Fortunately for you and the Golden Throne, as my intelligence briefings have relayed to me in the days since this crisis began, you and your Dienstadi ally seem to be garnering the support of many a Gothic Lord and his or her nation. As I said we must be honest with each other here, so to be clear, if Citadel City had not been attacked, the moment it was apparent that you were inviting Macabeeans to act against a Gothic state’s interests, I would have ordered an invasion fleet of my own to head to Havensky, to stand in solidarity of my Scandinvan brothers and sisters against foreign-collaborating aggression. But alas, the Skybound Republic has proven it is of cooler heads and calmer spirits, and its affair with the Golden Throne is all but justified in my mind.”

No shit, Lara thought while her lips quivered in delight. At least the man has some common sense after all…

Then of course came the rub. “If the Skybound Republic supports the Grand Imperial Kosmokratium’s claim to and acquisition of this territory just outside of its proposed limited theater, which is currently undisputed so no serious problems of contestation should arise, the Aldarminian Zygostratium would have a decent enough staging ground for humanitarian operations in and around Scandinvans during the imminent hostilities. Obviously, the Empire would request assurances that no Aldarminian forces would be harmed by Macabeen or Skyan entities. Alongside this, if the Pudite parties have no objection to such, the Scandinvan occupation of Shen Almaru should be ended and replaced with Aldarminian and Skyan joint peacekeeping operations while democratic elections are organized and carried out so that the people of Shen Almaru may choose who they want to rule them. Whether that be Mr. Merelbart Stoyen’s superiors or Her Majesty Shun Lao’s House should be solely of the volition of the Pudite people living there. Meanwhile, to encourage further cooperation between the Skybound Republic and the Imperial Kosmokratium, near-cosmopolitan immigration policies should be adopted. This should be of little concern to the Skyan people as they are already privy to such immigration methods, but this is mostly so that Skyan people seeking access to and/or dual-citizenship of Aldarminia have their wishes granted and the appropriate bureaucratic processes expedited. Furthermore, it is in the Imperial Kosmokratium’s best interests to exchange naval and air bases with the Skybound Republic so that logistical and defensive capabilities throughout are region are improved. If these requests are granted and the limited theater of war maintained, Aldarminia may find that slaver entities near its new southeastern Gothic territories are worthy of being classified as threats. Thus, Zygostratic naval forces may also be dedicated to anti-piracy and anti-human trafficking operations in the southeastern areas of Gholgoth. Now, I am interested to hear what my Skyan and Pudite brothers and sisters think of this proposition. Of course, though, if the Scandinvans arrive, and they agree to other peaceful means, the fulfillment of these requests is unnecessary, but they will not all be rescinded.”

Territorial acquisition? What nonsense is this? Lara was making mental notes of what she planned on saying to Dalikarl once Lucas responded to his terms.

Stoyen spoke on behalf of the Pudites. “Grand Emperor…the plan you’ve just outlined, I can say with confidence, will be received with some delight in Hollarum…before I speak too quickly however, and give the wrong impression…I must comment on some of your proposals for the archipelago. A referendum on the future of Shen Almaru. An occupying force of peacekeepers, presumably to enforce the proceeding of that referendum. These things will not be easy for me to sell to those decision makers who have the benefit of being far removed from the intricacies of this problem. A peacekeeping force was how Governor Lartius invited the Scandinvans into the country in the first place, and now I’m to propose that another foreign power simply replace them?”

Depending on who the foreign power is, that shouldn’t be all that hard. Lara had a plan for this, and she would present it shortly. Once the Pudites and the Skyans said what they wanted to say, Lara spoke from her seat, loudly, plainly and clearly for those present to hear.

“The people of Ghant have been witnesses of Gothic history for thousands of years. In many ways the Scandinvans are our true brothers, for our civilizations have grown near each other over that great space of time, and we share many similar cultural beliefs, customs and values. Like good neighbors, we’ve built our fences and maintained them, respected them even, as good and long-time neighbors do. They kept to their side of the fence with their affairs, and we to ours. The Gothic Alliance was merely a formality, for such a bond existed long before that.” Lara cleared her throat with some water before continuing.

“That fence has been broken. The Sons of Erid have made a statement, that anyone who is vulnerable is at their mercy. That any who oppose them are at risk of their retribution. That any nation, Gothic or not, is a potential enemy as they see fit and when it suits them. Havensky is a Gothic nation, sworn to brotherhood by blood. That blood meant nothing to the Scandinvans when Citadel City was attacked. If blood means nothing to them, then there is nothing stopping them from attacking Ghant either. For we are all three things to them now. We are vulnerable, we oppose them, and we are a potential enemy. Nothing will stop them if they decide to attack us. Without the defenses we don’t have to withstand them, our civilization would share the fate of the countless, nameless slaves that dwell within their homeland. That’s the fate that awaits my people if nothing is done.” Lara looked around the room, at the Grand Emperor, King Lucas and the Pudites.

“The Dreadfire Doctrine is held sacrosanct amongst my people. As long as a nation honors it, it is under its protection. Make no mistake, the Scandinvans violated it. They are no longer under its protection. Why should those nations that swore to uphold it continue to fall under its protection? The Golden Throne is of no concern to us, because the Scandinvans cannot claim protection under the Doctrine that they violated. Only once Fenric is brought to his knees and he acquiesces to the demands of his Gothic brothers and sisters will the debt the owe to us be paid in full.”

“Of the demands and terms listed, this is what the position of Ghant shall be. One, that the Scandinvan Empire end all slave trading within the commonly understood boundries of Gholgoth. Secondly, that they abandon Shen Amaru, and that they be allowed to choose their fate via referendum. Ghant will join the Skyan and Aldarminian forces there, for our reputation is as good as gold. Never has Ghant made claims to lands it didn’t already have a legitimate claim to, and never have we betrayed our Gothic brothers and sisters’ trust. The Pudites should trust us to ensure that their sovereignty is respected, for we have never given them, not anyone else, reason to distrust our intentions. Likewise we are opposed to any changes in territory within Gholgoth, so that we can avoid dealing with the same issues presently presented by Shen Amaru.” Lara was, of course, referring to the Aldarminian territorial ambitions that they let slip in their terms to Lucas.

Now for the nitty-gritty. “I should at this time share with you all what my government has done to ensure its long-term safety and stability in the presence of wanton disregard of the Dreadfire Doctrine. My uncle, the Steward Henoor Zaldua of Gholghant, met personally with Emperor Feodor of the Macabees personally in Gaztelua. They came to an arrangement in which the Emperor’s daughter Elasny is betrothed to the Steward’s grandson and eventual Steward Trystane. This would precipitate a Ghanto-Macabeean alliance that would allow for the Golden Throne to maintain a military presence in Gholghant for the foreseeable future, to ensure that Gholghant is kept safe and secure from any and all external threats to its sovereignty.”

I just dropped a bomb on them. Time to give them an out. “However, we recognize the concern that this is likely to stir amongst our Gothic brethren. As such, we will consider counter-offers to this arrangement from fellow Gothic nations that would not like to see a potentially permanent presence of the Golden Throne in Gholgoth. In lieu of the Grand Emperor of Aldarminia’s terms, Ghant would like to join in the Aldarminian and Skyan joint peacekeeping operations in Shen Almaru. We also want access to these so called near-cosmopolitan immigration policies, as well as to negotiate naval and air bases in Gholghant, so that, and I quote, ‘logistical and defensive capabilities throughout are region are improved.’ If these terms are assented to, that would go a long way in assuaging Ghantish concerns, and would be conducive towards our mutually shared agenda in Shen Amaru and Scandinvan Empire.” With that said, Lara fell back into her seat, and swept the golden curls from her face, a delicate smirk creeping in at the corners of her mouth. Sine Qua Non, my friends. Sine Qua Non…
Last edited by Ghant on Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Havensky
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Left-wing Utopia

The Southern Wall

Postby Havensky » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:43 pm

Ironwing dropped his diplomatic stance for a moment. He was always pretty stiff in these meetings. He much preferred the training room where he could banter with his students. In here, he was "King Ironwing - "Representative of all Skyan People!" - and so he had to maintain the 'diplomatic tongue' which was much more formal than he used at home.

However, Lara's audaciousness and flair make Ironwing cracked a smile. She reminded her just a bit of Jessica's diplomatic style when she was younger.

Now, we're taking", he thought to himself. He nodded to Profecta who nodded back.

"Emissary, not only does the Skybound Republic not have any problems what-so-ever with a Golden Throne base in Ghant - but we'd propose to double-down on that sentiment."

Ironwing stood.

"The Skybound Republic of Havensky would see a Southern Wall..with a Golden Throne base at anchoring the southern tip, up through Ghant, up through Jagada, with the Citadel at the center, and anchored up north by the Godsend Knights of Dephire! If the Gothic Lords can't guarantee our security we will create a zone of control that will ensure the security and liberty of all of our citizenry!"

The High Council had wanted to propose this for a while, but it was always a bit dicey doing it because it would have been seen as a direct threat to the Kraven Reich. However, with the current situation, it could be justified as logical given the new threat posed by the slavers. He knew from Atticus' briefing that Ghant faced a lot of the same security concerns as they did. A strong allied bloc would make the villains think twice - but only if they could show they were more than paper tigers. Liberating Shen Almaru and destroying the slaver military presence in Vismer would certainly prove that. He turned to Dalikharl to see his reaction. If the Aldarminians swung their direction against the slavers even before they had arrived it would be a very nice get.

They might even be able to intimidate the slavers into backing down with a united front.

Ironwing was ever the optimist.
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Capitalist Paradise

Meet the Azcheykos

Postby Aldarminia » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:09 pm

Vstrechakomnata

Venkhzmr, a man of war since birth, was amused by the dance of diplomacy. Particularly, he found delight in how the discussion, which was on initially intended to pry peace from disastrous politics, became a dive into the details of what was practically a coalition to take up the duties of securing Gholgoth. Of course, this coalition’s first goal seemed to be diminishing the damage to the region that the Scandinvan slavers had provoked by their interference in Dienstadi affairs. The Stratonizhtzar had been the most vocal of the Tzarskaya Zovhet, the Imperial Council, when it came to advocating for punitive action against the Valgardian regime, but the Hammer had been reluctant, but Venkhzmr knew now that his Grand Emperor would be hard pressed to not stay his course in aligning the Aldarminian Empire and its Kosmokratium against the Scandinvans. Then, the Stratonizhtzar had an epiphany, Could it be…? Had he planned this? Was all this for peace? Or was this for power?

Venkhzmr noticed that Dalikharl was masking his emotion, but the Emperor’s second-closest comrade could tell that the Pudite Princess’s appeal to the Hammer’s scarred past affected him. The Grand Emperor’s fists tightened subtly as Shun Lao mentioned the bloody history of the House Azcheyko. That was twice thus far in the meeting that Dalikharl’s emotional strings were pulled. First, the Skyan gift of the sword had sliced with little effort through the Hammer’s walls by unsheathing the nostalgia of the brothers’ childhood play. Second, this Princess blatantly stepped on Hrothashki’s grave by using his memory as a political tool to coax the Grand Emperor to her side.

Even Zlobaskar seemed to take offense. Though the boy heir never knew his uncle, the Nasledniktron understood it was the circumstances of Hrothashki the Cossack’s death that had propelled his father, the Hammer, to the throne only after a devastating four-year-long civil war and had demanded the secrecy of the existence of Zlobaskar, his brothers and sisters, and his mother. Upon hearing Shun Lao speak of what she could understand but never know entirely, the Nasledniktron crossed his arms and made a point to sit upright, as if he was asserting that he was above such nonsense. Venkhzmr noticed, though, that Dalikharl did nothing so obvious. Instead the Grand Emperor just tightened and loosened his hands from open palms to fists. Tight and loose. Last time the Stratonizhtzar had seen that, Dalikharl was just seventeen and standing over the Usurper’s carcass slumped in the throne. A few times doing that later, his young yet-already-bloodied hands wrapped around Ashrocmhar’s lifeless neck with insatiable vengeful lust until bones shrieked and something that should have been stiff with rigamortis went limp.

Venkhzmr was preparing for a brawl when he saw the Hammer calm himself with a smile as an until-then silent ambassador decided to speak. Both Emperor and subject had noticed some degree of disdain from Lara towards Dalikharl, but the Hammer only smiled as she spoke. Unfortunately, though, the happy expression, as feigned as it might have been, did not stay long. Bombs fell, and the death toll was made apparent by the Grand Emperor’s upper lip reaching upwards on one side for a brief second. Though his superior was faced away from him, the Stratonizhtzar could sense the coldness of the stare that Dalikharl gave the Ghantish envoy. Suddenly, though, the ice thawed, and the Hammer seemed quite pleased, a wide grin from ear-to-ear replacing the grimace as he turned back to the Skyan King Ironwing.

Upon mention of the “Southern Wall,” Dalikharl began drawing a rough representation of it on the smartpad’s map of Gholgoth. After Lucas finished, the Grand Emperor let the silence settle. Unnerved by what the others might have seen as awkward dead air between them as they waited for an Aldarminian response, the Hammer began refining the previous claim he had made in southern Gholgoth. Noticing that there was some degree, albeit small and appropriate considering the matters at hand, of tension in the room, Venkhzmr bridged the gap in the conversation by turning to the Skyan King with an observation, “Your Majesty, if I am not mistaken, sir, this defensive line, or this ‘Southern Wall’ as you call it,” he gestured to the smartpads with Dalikharl’s alterations being transmitted to it, “Although it appears to do just fine as far as projecting forces against slavers, it appears better suited to defending against Kraven Reich aggression. I thin-.”

“Aye,” interjected Dalikharl as he lifted his head to those seated at the table, now finished with his edit of the map, “And this certainly benefits all of Gholgoth. I am sure we can all agree that, even considering the recent events regarding Scandinvan hostility, that the Kraven Reich is the greatest source of instability and conflict in the region.”

Dalikharl then leaned in closely to Venkhzmr. The Hammer whispered to his subject, who looked at Jarasa with a growing grin as he listened. Orders received, the Stratonizhtzar pushed his chair back and rose from his seat. Joy rippling in dimples in his face, he spoke as if he had triumphed over the greatest of foes, “Ladies and gentleman, pardon me, but I am no longer needed here, and I have a great many duties to fulfill. It was a pleasure to meet you all.”

Venkhzmr saluted Dalikharl by slamming his right fist to his heart and bowed, and then he bowed to each person sitting at the table. As he bowed to Lara, the grin he held became more mischievous as it curled into one cheek. Making his departure, he paused as he passed Captain Nyadnizov, so that he could mutter a friendly insult in the old languages, “I hope to see you again, Comrade Captain, especially in battle. Just so I can make sure you do not accidentally kill your Skyan friends here with those soft and unskilled hands you try to hold a sword with.”

After Venkhzmr exited the meeting room, Dalikharl pushed the negotiations along, “Well, in regards to the situation in Shen Almaru, I think it is wise that Ghantish forces join Aldarminian and Skyan in the peace-keeping operation, and if the Scandinvans do not leave willingly, all help will be needed in removing them. Mr. Stoyen, I understand that your superiors will be hesitant about this coalition’s intentions, especially considering the possibility that the Valgardian leaders of the occupation will force a war for the liberation of the islands. I believe your superiors’ concerns can be alleviated if they are given a timeline. I cannot guarantee when the Scandinvans will leave, but after they do, let’s say that the referendum takes place six months after the last one of their soldiers leaves Shen Almaru. Unlike them, though, this coalition will not over-stay its welcome.”

Simpering, the Hammer turned to the Pudite Princess, “I would just like to say that I thank you for your acknowledgement of my and my people’s troubles, but I have to ask that you refrain from speaking on the matter. It’s a sensitive topic, and while I empathize with your struggles, I prefer not to have mine become a topic of discussion. I should say as well that your indifference towards the people of Shen Almaru is concerning. If they elect your House to rule them, your claim to the crown and throne of the Hollarum is further legitimized. At least it would be in Gholgoth,” the smile dissipating, “As for your Valgardian and Scandinvan protectors, they will the reap what they have sewn. I can only hope you and your family distances yourselves from what seems to be inevitable bloodshed. If Mr. Stoyen’s allegations are true, though, I recommend that you cease all attacks on commercial vessels. Attacks on such targets will be treated with the same response that slaver-pirates endure.”

Dalikharl looked at his glass of water as took a moment to pause for breath’s sake. The strain of speaking the common tongue was becoming tremendous. I wish this water was savich.

After taking a sip from the glass and setting it down, he sighed and faced Profecta and Ironwing, “I believe it’s in Aldarminia’s best interests that it assists in the formation of the aforementioned defensive line. If the Republic so wishes, I believe there is a ‘Safe Passage Route’ that the Kosmokratium would be more than happy in extending to our corner of the region.”

The Hammer cracked his knuckles before he addressed the Ghantish dignitary, “Lady Jarasa, I think it is to the benefit of Ghant and Aldarminia that our two nations enter into such partnerships of people and military, but I am weary of authorizing so. Not because I distrust the Ghantish people or their government, or you for that matter,” the Grand Emperor smirked, “Rather, I believe you distrust me and my nation. Because you distrust Aldarminia, I must assume so does Ghant. As you will soon find out if you do not already know, I too believe there are some healthy amounts of paranoia, but I fear that fear itself has gripped the Ghantish people for far too long. Your fears are rational and wise, especially when Gholghant lies between Kravenites and Scandinvans at the southern periphery of the region, and considering the impotence of the Gothic Lords as of late, I absolutely understand why you have entangled yourselves with outsiders. All of this in mind, I do not understand how you can judge myself and my Empire by the standards of the slavers and the Capitol Police.”

Yes, woman, I have taken your opposition to my ambitions as an insult. Intentionally or not, you compare me to the likes of the Reich and the Valgardian oath-breakers. Though I may ask politely now, I will make your irrational fear of Aldarminia a rational one if need be. I can and will quench my and my Empire’s thirsts. The smirk was gone now as he lashed out in his mind.

Another sip from the glass before he continued, “So, I beg you to reconsider Ghant’s position on Aldarminia’s claim. If we acquire this territory, not only will we better suited to expand our operations in southern Gholgoth, but also we could be of more use to Ghant as a defender and ally if the Reich ever dared to strike against you. Same goes with Scandinvans or any other oath-breaking state in the region. Furthermore, the Aldarminian economy, and thus its people, would greatly benefit the inclusion of this territory into the Empire. New and old markets will flourish, and admittedly, there are ambitions of commerce I have for Greater Dienstad that this territory would be conducive to. Alas, I will also confess that the Aldarminian military will see a great boon in this as well. We shall have new training facilities, a new zone for research and deployment, and as I mentioned before, firm and sovereign ground for my troops to stand on when they conduct humanitarian operations during this conflict. More importantly, though, this southern domain could become a new bread basket for the Empire. One that it desperately needs for its growing population. I am not sure if anyone here is aware, but despite the economic success that reconstruction in Aldarminia has been thus far, there is an ongoing growth of the impoverished population. If I can give these people work and affordable homes and food, then these people will be less inclined to join themselves with nefarious entities.”

Dalikharl grinned, turning to Ironwing, “Monsters, if you will, who seek to not only destroy the foundations and pillars of Aldarminia, but also of all nations of Gholgoth and beyond.”

Lara became the focus of the Emperor’s attention again, “Before I go further in these matters, though, I must make all here aware of the most sensitive information to the Aldarminian Empire. I do not have a counter-offer to Ghant’s arrangements. Rather, I have an offer to ensure trust and solidarity between our people for generations to come. I also hope that what I am about to share with all of you properly displays the kinship I feel for all my Gothic brothers and sisters,” the Hammer was beaming now, “Whether you like it or not, I consider you all to be friends and family. The spilling of your blood is the spilling of mine.”

Dalikharl placed a hand delicately on the masked Zlobaskar’s shoulder. The Nasledniktron’s hands retreated from the table and reached down to his legs. The clanks and thuds of metal and plastic pseudo-legs hitting the floor reverberated throughout the room. Both Zlobaskar and Dalikharl, father and son, Grand Emperor and Heir, stood up. The Hammer bellowed proudly, “Moisimya!”

Answering his call, five figures wearing robes—though these had the variation of veiled hoods in the place of masks—black and gold like the seemingly shrunken Zlobaskar were escorted into the Vstrechakomnata by six servants and ten Imperial Guards in the Voinkholossar power armor. They marched in orderly fashion to the Dalikharl and Zlobaskar who stepped back from the table so that they could form a line with the hooded figures. With the prosthetic legs removed, Zlobaskar was clearly a child to the diplomats. Standing to Dalikharl’s right, though, was an adult, surely, only an inch or so shorter than him. Zlobaskar was next in line, and the person to his right, also a child, was the same height. After them, the next three were children as well, and they descended in stature from right to left. Behind each figure were the six servants, one of which was holding a crown. Behind the servants were the Imperial Guards, rifles held against their armor’s chests with indexes held only slightly away from the triggers.

Without cue or warning, in fluid motion, all the mysterious persons were unmasked, de-robed, and crowned by the servants, who then hastily left the room. Simultaneously, the line of Voinkholossari marched a step forward, their steps echoing through the room and the palace. Unbeknownst to the foreigners, there were seventy-six more Voinkholossari hidden behind the concealed maintenance of office doors of the Vstrechakomnata and inside the other rooms adjacent to it. If there was an assassin, they would not escape the Palace, let alone the meeting room. Dalikharl could not contain his joy to finally be sharing his greatest secret with someone other than servants and security. All at once – Well, almost, there was still a matter of justice to attend to after the summit – the burden of covering up his family’s existence was being lifted as they began introducing themselves.

A crown of golden wings wrapped around a velvet heart rested on the French braided blonde locks of the young woman standing next to Dalikharl. She wore a golden silk dress embellished with a velvet floral pattern interlaced with white eagles. She was not as pale as the Hammer, who proudly led his arm around her waist, but her slight tan did not conceal her Alnardic heritage. There was an air of nervousness around her, but her eyes shimmered like lavender fires in the room’s light. Her anxiety was the symptom of a war-and-assassin-born paranoia. She did her best to conceal it, though, with a soft smile, which was accentuated with purple lipstick.

To Dalikharl, her voice was that of a soothing melody, and so the Tzarbolshina brought great comfort to her efflorescent husband as she curtsied into her introduction, “I am Grand Empress Katya Doch’Makar, First of my name in the Blood Houses Azcheyko and Makar, Wife of His Imperial Majesty Tzarbolshoyar Dalikharl the Second of the Blood House Azcheyko, Hammer of the People’s Will as I am the Keeper of the People’s Hearth, and these beautiful little ones are our children.”

On cue, four of the children bowed down to one knee. The smallest of the Imperial offspring, to the far left, though was too distracted by the odd-looking strangers sitting at the table. He had never met new people before so he was quite in shock. He tried to cover his face with his gilded white tunic while his sister next to him tried to pull him down so that the custom could be followed, but there was no use because shyness overcame the boy. He scurried behind the Voinkholossari, apparently more used to them, and then he came through their line to squeeze in between Zlobaskar and Katya. Dalikharl’s eyes widened in embarrassment, but the Empress just chuckled and rubbed the boy’s blonde hair as he peeked a single eye past her dress to stare at the scar on Ironwing’s face. The Empress introduced him, “Well, this shy one here, my youngest, is usually talkative, but he’s not used to these sorts of things, and frankly, none of us are, but this is Prynz Dalikharl, Third of his name after his father and grandfather, may he rejoice in paradise.”

Zlobaskar stood up a little too abruptly, his eagerness to announce himself apparent especially in his smug expression. He wore a purple tuxedo with a golden tie, which only added to his matching appearance with the boy next to him who shared the same brown hair that their father had. He practically yelled his introduction, “I am Prynz Zlobaskar, First of my name in the Blood House Azcheyko, Heir to the Throne of Grand Imperial Kosmokratium of Aldarminia!”

After the Nasledniktron, the boy next to him rose gracefully, and by then it was obvious that the two were only identical in appearances. His smile was small and humble. He spoke with a delicate tone, “I am Prynz Hrothashki, Second in name after my uncle, may he rejoice in paradise, in the Blood House Azcheyko, twin brother to the Throne-Prince Zlobaskar. I am pleased to meet the friends of my father and allies of Aldarminia.”

The blond-haired girl next to Hrothashki looked like the younger version of her mother. Her dress was the same and so were the facial features, but her hair was not braided, allowed to dangle just above her knees. She curtsied, and a giddiness shined through her voice, “I am Prynzesha Sophyana, Second of my name after my grandmother in the Blood House Azcheyko.”

The last, and second-youngest, of the children wore a white dress with velvet stripes and lace. She was nervous and shy, evidenced by the fiddling of her fingers and fixture of her eyes on the floor. Although the girl was not quite as timid as her younger brother, she almost mumbled her introduction, “I am Prynzesha Lucylla, First of my name in the Blood House Azcheyko.”

After Lucylla finished, the seven members of the Imperial Family joined hands and bowed. Katya clapped her hands, beckoning a large group of full-handed servants. Hrothashki pried the young Dalikharl from his mother’s dress and led the pup and his sisters to another room, disappearing behind a wall. They were flanked by servants and the ten Voinkholossari. The other servants made their way behind the taken seats. Along with them, they carried an array of utensils, dishes, and bottles. In front of every seat, they placed forks, knives, spoons, a saucer, a bowl on top of that, a plate next to the saucer-bowl pair, salad bowl, a basket of bread, several bowls of salad dressings, and napkins. The servants replaced the glasses of water with new ones, a pitcher, and a wine glass. They filled these with more water, an ale, and a white wine. A separate set of servants came and tested the food for poisons.

As the servants were leaving, Katya gestured with spreading-open arms to the meal, and explained, “You will see that appears to be three entrees. This is a courtesy to any palates not inclined to meat or to the spice of the ghumbar stew, which is made with icecrab meat, khrauwyrm—Or crawfish or crayfish—frosseshrimp, chicken, and Andouille sausage. It is spiced with cayenne, black pepper, sea salt, and crab boil and file powder, and the vegetables within are celery, onion, bell peppers, and okra. The plate is graced with a less spicy shrimp Alfredo pasta, and the vegetarian option is a humble salad. In Aldarminia, people find it satisfying to dip the bread, but I am not going to tell you how to eat your food. I will, however, strongly recommend that you drink the pint of Gholvykh pale ale, brewed here in Anhavinjogr, with the ghumbar. The water would suffice, as it would for all three of the dishes. The Podyal’Rendja Vineyard’s Beliloza white wine pairs well with the Alfredo. I hope that all tastes and stomachs are satisfied by the meal.”

Katya bowed, and the Hammer pulled out her chair for her. The Grand Emperor sat to his wife’s left, and the Heir sat next to his father. Zlobaskar began eating his food, but the couple had business on their mind. The Empress turned to Lara, “I believe my dear husband was about to make an offer to you and the ruling families of Ghant. While we do not necessarily force our children into marriages in Aldarminia, we do, how you would say, ‘arrange’ the affections of those we believe would make beneficial and happy partners.”

Zlobaskar stopped eating and looked at Lara, pleading in his mind, Please, no. Please decline.

The Hammer did nothing to comfort his son in silent distress, “Yes. I think if Steward Zaldua sees fit, who am I to judge his decision to marry his grandson to Fedor’s daughter? I would ask that you support Aldarminia’s acquisition of this territory as a sign of good faith in light of Gholghant’s bedding with the Golden Throne, but I also offer that the Ghantish and Aldarminian families seek an intertwining as well so that trust between our nations is affirmed.”

Emperor and Empress worked hand-in-hand gracefully, so she continued, “Indeed. To give some point of reference, Zlobaskar here,” glancing to her son and then back at Lara, “And his brother Hrothashki are both ten years young. Zlobaskar, always the more assertive and ambitious twin, is strong and well-versed in military and diplomatic affairs, and with the approval of his brother, he will make a marvelous Grand Emperor and a fine husband. Hrothashki, on the other hand, endeavors in the fields of science and the arts, and I am sure his bright mind will cast a warm glow on anyone so fortunate to gain his affections. Sophyana, nine years, is interested in becoming a diplomat like you, Lady Jarasa, and traveling the world. Lucylla, seven years, enjoys youth martial training with her father, but she also seems to be fond of reading and mathematics. We have not quite figured out what her childhood dreams are, and little Dalikh, five years, is far too young to have made up his mind at all, but he seems to be talk a lot about wanting to become a soldier and help his older brothers.”

“Of course, all my children will rise to positions of Imperial Regency over different territories in the empire where they will assist the Kosmokratic Congresses in governing the people there. So, any spouses they acquire will share in that power, as Katya shares mine. I hope this offer persuades you, Lady Jarasa, to trust that Aldarminian expansion engender no hostility towards the security and sovereignty of the Ghantish people. An agreement between us on these matters would be conducive to our military and social partnership with the Skybound Republic, which I believe we should extend to our Gothic brethren in Shen Almaru after their choice of leadership is made. With an Aldarminian presence in the south, cooperation between all our nations extending our projections of power into the east as well, and an amicable Dienstadi presence in Gholgoth, whatever monsters that haunt us, whether they be slavers or Reich soldiers, will be crushed and exorcised."
Last edited by Aldarminia on Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I dated an Aldarminian once, but when he proposed 'annexing' my 'southern border regions' I decided it might be best to break it off."
Riflemoor

First High Roller of the NationStates Future Tech Discord Server
Founder and Boss of the Losieda Bratva Criminal Syndicate

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