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Of Iron and Fire (Ancient/City-State/Fantasy, IC, OPEN)

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Tasuirin
Diplomat
 
Posts: 552
Founded: Oct 31, 2018
Moralistic Democracy

Of Iron and Fire (Ancient/City-State/Fantasy, IC, OPEN)

Postby Tasuirin » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:29 am

OF IRON AND FIRE
OOC / IC / Map
OP: Tasuirin
Co-OP: Reverend Norv


ERETHEOS
The southernmost city in Telen, Eretheos, was a small city by most Telenian accounts. It had scarcely more than 40,000 inhabitants, was located on an isthmus that restricted their size, and, though they had a decently defensible position, and the advantage of being one of the only notable resident cities on the Zaphosic Sea, a large inland sea surrounded entirely by the eastern portion of the continent of Sidonia, they were far from any other cities, making trade to them more of a chore than the easy trade stops in more central cities in Telen.

It was a hard life, but the ancestors of current citizens within Eretheos had chosen such a life when they founded the city. In fact, they had counted on it. The isolation allowed them to worship their patron god, a risen human hero, now called Ereos, gifted such a name when he ascended to godhood on the back of winged lions. The Eretheonites had built many statues to their god, as they believed him to be responsible for all of their good fortune. For, though they were isolated from civilised lands, the trade with barbarians had become somewhat lucrative. Perhaps Eretheos was not the best city to make such trade relations, as they were a city of flight from oppression rather than lucre and trade, but they made do. Some Sidonian merchants did still live within the walls of Eretheos, and they were not treated badly. But make no mistake - Eretheos does not go out of its way to trade elsewhere.

It was on one particular night that a trading vessel from the south approached Eretheos. This was most unusual - traders, without fail, arrived during the day, not at night. The Eretheonite guards on duty became most confused, as anyone would. But they followed protocol. They blew the horn that sounded an arrival from the south. This sent word to the southern portmaster to allow the ship entry, and woke up some sleeping residents within the city.

One such resident was the Chief Merchant of Eretheos. In his house by the docks, he should have been asleep. He initially thought it was youthful guardsmen playing a joke, but as the lamp-lights around the city gradually lit, the Merchant could indeed see that a ship was coming through the mouth of the port. Immediately, he dressed in a robe, not very smart, but a robe nonetheless. He descended the path towards the port as a small crowd of people, elite spearman guards included, gathered around the ship.

It was a small ship, not usually the kind to reach Eretheos, perhaps only even worthy to be called a boat. And notably, save for a few sparse supplies, was not full of the usual level of trading goods found in Eretheonite ports. Most notably, there were no crew to be seen. A ship even of this size should have at least three crewmen, but none could be seen. Immediately, the guardsmen became concerned. The Chief Merchant sent them aboard, and over a small gangplank, they snuck onto the ship, attempting to make as little noise as possible. The ship did have one small walled section, made of wood like the rest of the ship, but behind two wooden doors, perhaps for the crew to sleep within. They approached, both putting one hand on each door. They opened, moving back and putting their shields in front of them.

As the moonlight flooded in, they could see the hunched figure of a man. Still alive, by the looks of him. The darkness was still quite hard to see into, but the sound was clear to hear. A sound of laughter? No, sobbing. A gentle, soft sob, aligning perfectly with the man's rocking and shoulder-shaking. The guards looked at each other, before moving inwards, becoming somewhat more accustomed to the dark, and lowering their shields slightly.

The next thing that hit them was the smell. A metallic tang, gently lying over the subtle scent of beef and pork. The most pungent of all was the hair. Ereos, that hair stank. Sulfuric, like some of the mountains in the area. It was a scent that invaded the nostrils, blotted out all smells before it, whether pleasant or unpleasant. A guard put down his shield to block his nose. The moonlight hit the source of the smell.

She was small. A child, by the looks of it. Skin blackened, old furs clinging to parts of her like a torn banner on a stick. The face was not soon forgotten. She was no longer recognisably human. She, or perhaps it, had been dead for a short while, likely dying over the course of days. A slow, agonizingly painful death, feeling the life slipping away as the burnt skin became infected. By now they could hear the man's voice even clearer. Hoarse, breathy. He had been sobbing for some time. Whether or not he could notice the guards was not certain.

The guard who had kept his shield up prodded the man with the blunt end of his spear. The man's head lifted, hands moving down from his face. He turned around slowly. His skin was dark, darker than that of most traders who came to Eretheos. He looked up at the guards, blood on his cheeks emerging from small fingernail marks, sweat glistening off the moonlight as his head turned. He whispered something softly. Something in a language neither guard could speak. They whistled to the Chief Merchant, who came aboard hurriedly. He stood in the doorway, taking in the same stimuli that the guards had, albeit in quicker succession. He covered his nose, before noticing the body on the floor. He knelt down, touching the body in a traditional Eretheonite death ritual.

The man became enraged. He charged at the Merchant, biting and scratching as he did so. The two guards, after a scuffle, restrained him before he could harm the Merchant too much. The Merchant rose, and the trancelike state that the man had seemed to be in all but disappeared. He immediately began shouting the word that he had before whispered, shouting to all on the quay and in the city. Those who had not been awake before soon became awake. Those who knew the language that the man spoke, albeit in a slightly different dialect, had shocked looks on their faces as they explained to their Telenian counterparts who knew nothing of the language. And as the merchant began to hear the hurried shouts the man made, he looked back at the body, a sense not just of dread, but of a dreadful understanding dawning in his mind. All the way up to the Tyrant's palace, the dawning spread that what once was thought to be mythical was no longer thought to be such. The sound of thousands of birds being released from the palace, carrying with them a simple message, confirmed to the citizens by simple association what they already ultimately feared.

Dragons are real, and they've come back.
Last edited by Tasuirin on Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
IC'ly, Tasuirin is:
An Absolute Monarchy, A Federal Monarchy, Neo-Feudalistic, Anti-Democratic, Mercantilist, Five Kingdoms, Ruled by One King
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ASEXUAL~ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ☭ ★ ☭ ★ ☭ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ATHEIST ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ CELTIC ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ AUSTRALIAN ⋅.} ──── ⊰

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Toaslandia
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1298
Founded: Apr 29, 2017
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Toaslandia » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:08 am

Forty-four of the great nobles of Erlend went into the Sovereign Palace, and only forty-three left, none surprised at the missing noble. The man in question, Baronet Farone del Salvo, happened to have an affair with the Lord of the Dominion's daughter, so when he excused himself because of stomach pains, everyone knew that his lands would soon pass to his son, Lord Nervino del Salvo, who was a firm supporter of the Lord of the Dominion. "Well son, this turned out to be an interesting party after all, don't you think?" One of the nobles, Praetor Julius del Vien said to his son, Captain Orion del Vien and Captain of the Dominion Guards. "I agree. Perhaps we should tell Gaspar del Benediction that Count Juliana de Javar's been wearing foreign clothes in private?" They laughed at the thought of telling the Lord of Dominion that his rival was a traitor and giving him a chance to execute her. As they returned to their quarters in the palace, the guards at the gate bowed before the two and let them in. As they parted ways, the Praetor met with a ranger, who was armed with a bow and knives and wearing armor in the colors of Erlend. "So, who does the Lord of the Dominion want dead next?" The ranger asked, and the Praetor responded with, "No one at the moment, but I would advise you to stock up on your poisons." The ranger nodded and went away without a sound.
Founder of The United Imperial Provinces and proud colonizer of space!

A class 1.181 civilization according to this index

Just a Socialist trying to live in Trump America

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St George Territory
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 390
Founded: Apr 04, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby St George Territory » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:03 am

BAY OF IRANAEUS, CITY STATE OF XENOS




A mighty colossus stood overlooking the harbour, Mira, judging the ships that made their way outwards to the ocean, be they, pirate, or fishermen. Her steely gaze transfixed all who took a glimpse at her well-carved feature, the creator of the statue outshined by his creation. It was one of the things that marked the lands of Xenos, its street vendors peddling mock replicas and other babbles, wine and spirits, knives and swords, and so forth, guided by the statues of the gods and those of foreign leaders lacking noses- an insult to their eternal memories for exiling the artist. But that was the streets.

The inner citadel marked with fine squares where the Marines and sailors trained with the tools of their trade, watched closely by their officer who was quick to correct any misplaced step with a hard blow from his staff or strike with his whip. The Marines of Xenos were rightly feared as terrifying figures upon the high seas who chose death before defeat, losing one's home in the land of Telenia had a way of doing that to the men. The Grand Admiral watched from the steps of the Temple of Mira as several Marines trained with a trident and sword, fighting hard to be recognized by their Strategos, or they may find themselves thrown into the ocean. The vision of Iranaeus had somewhat changed, while staying the same, where he imagined philosophers and critics flocking to the city, and while they were in high abundance, hell, throw a stone in the marketplace and your bound to hit some quack teaching his thoughts on why birds should be granted citizenship, the main people that seemed to value the Xenos life were criminals, thieves, murderers, who sought a second chance at a new life where the sins of their past were washed away by the goddess Mira on a Xenos ship, granted they please Gerkos in their fight against those who still proudly wore their chains.

The sounds of hoofs pounding against the stone street jolted the admiral awake, looking to their origin he found his Brother, Demosthenes, surely out on the town enjoying wine and the pleasures of civilization. "Hail, Brother." The Grand Admiral turned his gaze back to the spectacle of the fight, as one of the Marines skewered another's shield. "I pray you weren't drinking your last coin away like some Phylesian Emperor or eating like one." The two chuckled as they shared an embrace, Leander breaking and patting Demosthenes on the back as he looked to see what he says.

"Leander, I pray that your winds are fair, I have spoken with the fishermen at the dock and they say that Ophin has proved quiet during the fish harvest, they reckon they should allow the fish time to come back, while it is not dire, they suggest that it may be necessary to return to the seas once more for something else." He spoke those last words with a smile on his face to which Leander returned a smile in kind.

"Aye, the Salenippos have always been good customers, sail to them and offer our services, surely they have Thassalosians that could use a culling." The two men chuckled, both thought it a strange idea as they held no ill will against Thassalos, in fact the trade between Xenos and them proved rather nicely for merchants coffers.

Demothenes stood and watched the rest of the fight with Leander, offering his minor commentary as the Marines battled to the end, their shields emblazoned with the symbol of their ship, but quickly chipped and dented from blow after blow of sword and axe. Once a single man remained, he laid on the ground exhausted. Demothenes bid Leander farewell and head into the temple to fetch the High Priest to bless the journey.

Once at the dock and the colossus of Mira had been anointed with the blood of the oxen and the burning of incense wafted at the sea and a bottle of wine drained into the bay, Demothenes boarded the warship and quickly made his way to Salenippos.
St. George Territory- come for the view, stay because you've been mauled by Polar Bears

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2235
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:06 am

PROPYLEA

Alpeus River Valley
21 leagues south of the city
11th day, waxing of Elaphebolion


"They start earlier and earlier every year."

Alcaeus nodded, and drew his plain cloak of undyed wool tighter around his shoulders. Foreigners thought of Sidonia as hot, and it often was - but it was also high, especially in the mountains well south of the coast. And in those mountains, in the early months of the year, it could still get bitterly cold.

But this was where the Teresoi lived: the latest Sidonian tribe to have joined the ranks of Propylea's suntithemi. And so this, too, was where the fortress-city's army had to march in order to protect the Teresoi - because just as Crates had observed, the non-allied tribes who surrounded the suntithemi began their raiding earlier and earlier every year.

Now, on a narrow band of highlands above the mighty river, Propylea's Archon of the Army could see the cost of his enemy's accelerating schedule. In front of him, the Teresoi's main village still smouldered. In front of that, tribesmen - the Breuci, by their warpaint, ancient foes of the Teresoi - were forming up in a long line of infantry, screened by at least a thousand cavalry in front. To Alcaeus' back was a steep slope down to the river, where the barges that had brought his army waited. At the top of that slope, facing the village and its despoilers, stood two thousand thorakitai and another eight hundred suntithemi cavalry.

According to the ancient Telenian rules of phalanx warfare, inherited from the Rhean Empire and perfected in Thalmos, Alcaeus' next step should have been to form his heavy infantry into a massive, tight-packed square and smash them into the enemy. Against another phalanx, that would likely be the most effective strategy. But Propyleans had been fighting wars in Sidonia for more than a century, and they had learned that no phalanx could hold its tight order on the rocky, broken ground of the mountains - nor avoid being flanked by light Sidonian cavalry on its unprotected left side.

And so the Propyleans, alone in Telen, had abandoned the phalanx. As Alcaeus watched, his thorakitai assembled into smaller rectangle-formations known as keirones, four ranks deep by thirty wide, each unit lined up with its neighbors but also able to move independently without compromising the entire formation. These men did not look like conventional Telenian hoplites, either. Their armor was iron mail, riveted onto uniform cuirasses of boiled leather. Their iron helmets lacked the traditional Telenian horsehair crest, and left the face unprotected for better visibility in battle. Their shields were long and oval instead of round, suited to their smaller formations. On each flank of the battle-line, Alcaeus' Sidonian cavalry formed ranks as well: lightly-armored men on stout, fast mountain ponies, their hands resting on javelins and bows. Like the thorakitai, their formations were tight and their discipline obvious.

The same could not be said for their kinsmen among the Breuci. The tribesmen clashed their spears against their shields, and their cavalry rode back and forth in front of the infantry line, working themselves into a battle-frenzy rather than attempting to form any formation. Dust rose in plumes into the chilly mountain air.

Alcaeus turned to the men next to him. Unlike most Telenian officers, who fought on foot with the phalanx, Propylean commanders went into battle on horseback in order to maintain a clearer view of the tactical situation. Crates, the commander of the infantry, was a trim young man with scars on his face and small bronze torques riveted to his mail armor: a decoration awarded for heroism in battle, derived from Sidonian tradition. Daridolai, the commander of the suntithemi cavalry, was dressed almost identically: he had been educated in Propylea, and like many of his men was almost as Telenian as he was Sidonian.

"Nothing new here," Alcaeus said calmly. "Daridolai, we use the cavalry to herd the enemy in toward the keirones. Crates, kill them. No quarter: if we don't send a message, we'll be back here again in a week."

The two men nodded. Crates grimly smiled: "With pleasure." Alcaeus watched as his commanders galloped back to their men.

A quarter-mile away, in front of the village, he could hear voices raised in song. The Breuci were beginning their war-dance, feet pounding the earth and spears clashing against shields. The Propyleans stood in iron ranks, waiting.

And then, from the Sidonian horsemen on the flanks of Alcaeus' army, a single voice howled a chanted question, audible even over all the din from the Breuci ranks: "Zein da eguna?" The ancient Sidonian demand before battle: whose is the day?

And from the massed ranks of the keirones, from two thousand throats as one, the answer boomed back in Telenian: "Thestos Sotor Nicator!" Thestos, savior and victor: the praises of Sidonia's transcendent god, shouted in the tongue of Telen.

Among Daridolai's cavalry, a Sidonian ram's-horn brayed its defiant blast. The Propylean army moved forward, the horsemen on the flanks outpacing the infantry as they arched out, beginning to envelop the sides of the barbarian line and herding the enemy inward like dogs around a mass of sheep. The same suntithemi voice howled: "Zein da borroka?" Whose is the battle?

The response was the same: "Thes-TOS So-TOR Ni-ca-TOR!" And it became clear, now, that the chanted prayer was a cadence, a way of ensuring that the thorakitai stayed in step and in formation as their pace increased to an easy jog. The keirones moved apart to avoid ditches and boulders, and then reformed into a single band of iron.

The Breuci ceased their war-dance, and their cavalry formed a loose line facing the Propylean infantry. They were already outflanked by the suntithemi; before the battle had even begun, Daridolai's riders were closing in on the Breuci from left and right. The enemy had only one place to go - straight into the teeth of the advancing thorakitai.

The enemy let out one great cry: "Muthussu! Muthussu!" And even Alcaeus, who had learned near-native Sidonian after thirty years of fighting the barbarians, blinked as he tried to remember the meaning of the word.

Dragon, he realized. They're calling on the dragons.

The Breuci charged: a vaguely pointed line of cavalry, galloping toward the center of the band of keirones, with the infantry swarming in behind. The priest who rode with Propylea's cavalry bellowed one last question in Sidonian: "Mein da garaipena?" Whose is the victory?

The thorakitai slammed to a halt, and the front ranks of the keirones locked shields and presented a bristling line of spearpoints to the onrushing enemy cavalry. A final time, the eclectic prayer ascended: "Thestos Sotor Nicator!"

Then the noise, and the blood.

Horses will not fling themselves onto an unbroken line of iron spearpoints. At the last moment, the Breuci cavalry peeled away, hurling their javelins into the mass of Propylean infantry in front of them. Men began to scream, and fall, and with the steely discipline that defined their city, new Propyleans stepped forward from further back in the keirones to replace them. Here and there, a horse could not turn in time, and three or four spearpoints ripped through mount and rider and left both flailing on the ground in a pool of intestines. But losses were fairly even on both sides.

Then the trap snapped shut.

Daridolai's sunithemi finally closed in around the flanks and rear of the Breuci. They rained down javelins and arrows onto the backs of their fellow Sidonians, forcing the Breuci forward onto the spearpoints of the thorakitai. And now that the enemy had nowhere left to run, the keirones advanced.

"Thes-tos!" Two thousand men took a single step into the trapped mass of screaming horses and warriors in front of them, and their spears cut down dozens of the foe like a scythe through wheat. "So-tor!" Another step, and the thorakitai kept formation even as the mountain grass beneath their feet was replaced by an uneven carpet of corpses. At the enemy rear, the Breuci infantry realized what was happening and attempted to flee; but the cordon of Propylean cavalry kept up a steady hail of arrows, cutting down any who tried to escape the killing ground. "Ni-ca-tor!" The keirones, by discipline and brute muscle, forced another step into what now resembled a solid mass of human and equine flesh, and the trapped Breuci were so tightly packed that a single spear could rip through several men at once.

In five minutes, it was over. Almost two thousand Breuci tribesmen lay dead on the high mountain meadow, their bodies piled four deep where the last of them had been forced into a space so small that there was no room for the slain to fall until all had been slaughtered. Crates reported thirty-two Propylean dead, most of them infantry killed by javelins in the first clash of arms.

The Teresoi were avenged. By nightfall, plumes of oily smoke rose above the Sidonian mountains from the pyres where the Breuci bodies burned, and the Propylean host had returned to its barges and was fifteen leagues downriver. It was Alcaeus' sixty-third battle against the Sidonian tribes, and he knew that it would not be his last. In another month, a different warband would descend from the mountains, and another tribe of suntithemi would call for help, and the whole slaughter would begin again.

It was nothing special, nothing new. He knew that. And yet, as Alcaeus lay down in his cabin that night and felt the river rock his barge, he seemed to hear a distant voice echo in his ears, a portent of some approaching doom:

Muthussu. Muthussu...
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

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Jade Confederacy
Minister
 
Posts: 2564
Founded: Aug 21, 2009
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Jade Confederacy » Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:15 pm

Almaria, the Eternal City

Salamis’s day began early, rising long before dawn in order to light the fires and prepare the washbasins for his elders. Although he was of the ruling priestly caste, he was the junior most member of his local temple and thus tasked with the most drugging and mundane of chores. It would take decades before he is able to earn the marks to become a fully accredited priest like honored Alexus who ran the temple. Salamis looked to his left wrist which was tattooed with a special silver dye. Every Almarian got one when they came of age at twelve. A circle denoted a priestly caste, a triangle a warrior caste, a square a marker, a lemniscate a farmer and so on; the eight casts of Almeria, all performing their duties to ensure a prosperous and harmonious city. Marks were further made to denote the seniority and the specialization of Almarian within his or her caste. Salamis has two horizontal strikes within his circle, indicating that he still a novice who hasn’t yet passed the Tests. Well, no matter, one did not run a marathon in a bell. He was still young and had time.

He pushed open the wooden doors of his temple and stepped out into the morning chill. The sun was beginning to creep up the eastern horizon, casting a pale orange glow across the city. Holding his robes close to himself and with buckets in one arm, he began his daily track to fetch water from the communal fountain. The temple was situated on a minor hill overlooking the Great Harbor and served the lower caste denizens that plied their trade in the oceans. The takings were scant so the temple was not nearly as luxurious as those situated in the Old City, but it certainly has a spectacular view. The entire Harbor District stretched before him as he descended the hill. Hundreds of ships ranging from huge trade galleys to small fishing skiffs were moored in rows along the Citizen’s Docks. Foreign vessels from all over Rhea and beyond were also present but were segregated into their own, less advantageously placed section of the harbor. Together they formed a forest of masts that was both the pride and lifeblood of the city.

Image


As Salamis reach the bottom of the hill, the docks were hidden from view by Almaria’s other prided landmark, its famous double walls. The walls of the city have only been breached three times in its history, the last being well over three hundred years ago and that was before the rising of the second layer. The sheer size and scale of the structure still amazed Salamis, even after a year serving under its shadow. The collective works of a dozen generations all to ensure the sanctity of the Eternal City.

He was interrupted from his woolgathering by the putrid stench of human waste and rotting meat. It signaled his arrival at the local Laborers Quarter, home to the lowest ranking caste of the city. Just one step away from being among the untouchable casteless, those among the Laborer caste lack even the basic qualities to master a skill to serve the city. Even though they were the lowest of the castes, the Laborers were still Almarians and so were afforded the protection of the city behind its walls. Beyond the walls of the city were the slums, home to foreigners and the casteless who plied their degenerate and criminal trades. Those without a caste were not permitted into the city unless they were vouched for by five citizens of good standing.

Salamis lifted his white robes and was sure not to step on the filth as he made his way to the nearby communal fountain. As he passed others of lower caste, they dipped their heads in deferment to his status as one of the priestly caste. As he entered the communal area he saw that the location was much better kept and free of the filth that clutter the nearby streets. Although the smell was still putrid, it seems the Laborers at least had enough pride to make sure their communal area was clean. As accorded to his superior positon, he cut in front of the sizable line that already formed and began filling his buckets ahead of an aging Laborer women. As his buckets started to fill, his stared as he always does at the large statue of the hero-slaying-the-beast, which depicted a man pushing a spear though the mouth of a coiled drake, killing it. The name of the hero has long since been lost to time, but his deed was still commemorated for all to see. As the hero's wrist were not marked and denoted no caste, it must have been truly ancient to predate the Compact of the Castes. Salamis too wished for himself to be honored as the nameless hero once was. For his deeds to be told in revered tones by Speakers generations after his passing and to live immemorially in glory for all time.

As his buckets filled, Salamis took them and began his weary task of trudging back up the hill to his home temple. The fetching of water was a time honored chore meant to instill humility even among the highest of the castes, but all Salamis thought of was how much of a pain it was and wondered much longer until he was free of the burden, free to pursue his destiny.
Last edited by Jade Confederacy on Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Robo-Nixon
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 62
Founded: Jan 02, 2019
Free-Market Paradise

Postby Robo-Nixon » Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:20 pm

Salenippos, Tyrant's Palace


Image

The thundering small-talk of hundreds of guests blasted through the Palace walls, and wine of the same deep red color as the banners bedecking the walls was consumed with great joy. Decorated citizen soldiers, men and women of high standing and wealth, artists and philosophers of varying degrees of fame and hand-picked courtier slaves that had impressed the Tyrant at some point all gathered at their court as they always did upon invitation. Ruling a sprawling and ever-growing city at the center of Pelagia, the Tyrant Cherrhos was believed to be more powerful than most of his predecessors, and his citizens truly believed they lived in the best of possible times with little sense of nostalgia. Harvests were bountiful, with few in the State being unable to fill their stomachs, and grain exports being at an all-time high. The Salenippean armies had returned victorious from the latest war with the Coalition to the West, a collection of small cities and towns that had risen up against the predominance of Salenippos for the first time in nearly half a century. Casualties had been low, with the large land forces easily outmaneuvering the enemy in the war's major battle, followed up with an uneventful siege ending with a negotiated peace. With spoils of war returning home in the form of gold, iron, and slaves, the State's coffers were filling and Salenippean haughtiness was at a high point.

Cherrhos himself, a man not much older than having lived half his life, had only recently come to power and this following the death of his uncle, the former Tyrant. Cherrhos's military career had been brief but successful, appointed general of an old Phalanx as soon as he came of age and gaining prominence in the role as second-in-command of all forces. When his uncle passed in his sleep, Cherrhos had been lucky enough to have had his Phalanx stationed by the City docks, and immediately ordered his men to march for the Palace, where he proclaimed himself the new Tyrant. Without any challengers to protest this claim in time, Salenippos had found itself with a ruler succession with remarkable political stability and little seemed to change at first. Apart from the establishment of a new Coalition against Salenippos, weaker than before however, it seemed Cherrhos was more interested in good living and the building of the new temple of Irphos which so many resources had been spent on. This proved to be a superficial analysis because Cherrhos's eyes were set on Thassalos, the inherited and age-old rival which held an unacceptable naval advantage over Salenippos which could not be tolerated.

Dressed in Salenippean blood-read and wearing the Tyrant's symbolic golden arm rings, Cherrhos made it down the stairs from his quarters to the festive hall. Unceasing chatter was maintained despite his presence, as respect was rarely shown with silence, but approving nods towards the Tyrant were given instead. A man wearing chest plate, helmet and greaves approached him and whispered something. The two men left the room and entered the conveniently cool balcony that contrasted the radiatingly warm crowds busy feasting. A rough-looking man introduced to Cherrhos as a 'representative from Xenos' watched out towards the lake and city wall north of the palace. Small rowing boats with leisure fishers were seen with help from the lake's moonlight reflection.

"Well met, friend from the great city of Xenos." Cherrhos stroke a pose, turning his arm outwards, and greeted the man who introduced himself as Demothenes who had arrived with boat this same evening and found his way to the Tyrant's Palace with ease. Demothenes introduced his brother's offer, which must have been based on the accurate rumors that Salenippos was preparing for war, that Xenos might lend its powerful navy. They discussed past wars at great lengths, for not only had 'the Bastard City' provided naval forces to crush resistance to Salenippean hegemony on Tharoneia through major naval blockades and engagements, but had also played a crucial part in the naval battles Salenippos had won against Thassalos, few enough to count with a man's fingers in total.

"There is the question of payment", the man offering mercenaries brought up, and Cherrhos was struck with the reality that he was not talking to his subject.

"That depends of course on how many ships Xenos can muster. I hear that the Grand Admiral sails with more than a hundred warships, and I should want as many as can be spared for my campaigns. I should not want them only for naval warfare, but my armies are large and may require additional transportation. As for payment... not only do I promise equitable supplies of grain to Xenos and compensation in gold, but when Thassalos is defeated, I will reward my allies with free hands in keeping order in the city, which can be a very lucrative business in my experience." Cherrhos inspected the northern parts of the city from the balcony and drummed his fingers on the railing. The two continued to speak, and Cherrhos invited his guest to the party, which was accepted. They agreed that Demothenes would return to Xenos with Cherrhos's approval to the offer and terms.

Salenippos, Temple of Vizenos


Later that evening, the philosopher Laiomos made his daily visit to the temple just south of the Palace. Passing through the town square that separated the Palace from the Temple of Vizenos, he took notice of common sight of sheep being sacrificed before the ensuing night sky and stars. Laiomos rejected sacrifice, for he had long ago concluded that man got more out of it than the gods would. He would not give these people a lecture while blood was streaming out of the bleating, white sheep though, and merely passed by with a look of disgust, unnoticed. He entered the temple in silence, swiftly making it to the statue of Vizenos that captured his imagination so. The lifeblood of thoughts brought on by the deeply cunning old man's carved-out stone-cold appearance had inspired many minds of Salenippos, but Laiomos may have been the temple's most loyal visitor.

"Why is it, oh venerated Vizenos, that rationality seems to have been outrun by madness in this enlightened age?" He asked, whispering, while making eye contact with the statue.

"This State we all hold so dear is the perpetrator of cycles of war and destruction and there seems to be no end in sight. While you, great Vizenos, remain our the Pantheon we citizens hold dearest and as first among all, it seems Gerkos prevails all-too often in the minds of our rulers. Why, with all my respect laid before me, do you, oh suppository of wisdom beyond my imagination, not prevail in this fight?"

The philosopher bowed his head as to not offend the pantheon, and wished for a second that he had made a sacrifice on his way in too.

"Might it be so that the gratification a simple man receives from war is so much greater than the joy I experience from acquiring knowledge that we shall never truly master the masses with education?" He thanked his pantheon for the mysteries that still seemed beyond him and thought long and hard before he left the temple in the dark.
Last edited by Robo-Nixon on Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nu-Amerika
Secretary
 
Posts: 32
Founded: Jan 23, 2019
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Nu-Amerika » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:28 pm



Whispers
City of Gylead, The Gold Strand




Some call her the Jeweled City. Others, less favorably, name her the City of Serpents. A place steeped in mystery, rumor, and vice, Gylead stands proud along the coast of Western Sidonia. Her glistening spires beckon foreign merchants to port. Her navy patrols the bustling waters as fishermen and trade vessels embark and return. Once a struggling settlement of outcasts, Gylead has grown to become one of the wealthiest states in the Empire, and the architecture reflects this. Statues, some inlaid with precious stones, others with gold, decorate the market squares, while the intricate spires of great palaces are visible from almost anywhere in the city. Taverns, brothels, and theaters dot the stony lanes where visitors and citizens alike come to indulge themselves. All of it is in stark contrast to the Slave Quarter, commonly referred to as the Dustwalk, which is confined to the very western edge of the city. It consists almost solely of small adobe huts, it's filthy streets filled with the destitute, the lame, and the sick. From here, the poorest of the poor can only gaze longingly at a beauty which is not meant for their eyes.

The walls surrounding Gylead bristle with spearmen, many armed with crossbows. Large wooden kystae, loaded with long, iron tipped projectiles are placed at points throughout. The most impressive feat of Gytian defensive engineering is the series of levers and mechanisms which control the gigantic wooden beams that are able to swing out over the harbor. They end in huge claws attached to thick chains capable of dropping massive boulders onto invading ships, or even reaching down to clasp them until they capsize. The marvel was nicknamed the Ballas beams, after the man who devised them.

As a whole the city is Telenian, but defiantly extravagant. Her citizens, their skin kissed by the sun, dress in light, colorful robes and decorate their hair with bright stones. Only nobles and soldiers are allowed to carry weapons within city walls. All citizens of the Empire are welcome, but foreigners without coin to spend are generally looked upon with quiet disgust. Noble women are commonly seen leading processions of potential suitors, and noble men flaunt gaudy jewelry, their beards and hair often dyed and meticulously cultivated into ridiculous styles. Soldiers garbed in studded leather make regular patrols throughout Gylead, wielding spears, clubs, and shortswords.

Sectioned off by thick walls from the rest of the city is the Temple District where lies the House of Gan, a holy place which permits only those initiated into the priesthood to enter. Here they live, pray, and study their strange religion in secrecy, away from the eyes of foreign travelers, and lead hedonistic festivals dedicated to their deity three times a year (never in the Temple District itself) so that citizens may worship and revel in the glory of the One True God. Initiates are known to wear robes of pure white, Adepts black, and the High Priest wears a robe that is half-black, half-white, and adorns himself in a golden mask made into the visage of a serpent.

The Sidonian sun shines hot upon the Jeweled City of Gylead. She bustles as usual, nurturing her people with sweet wine and gentle flesh. Not all is as it seems, however, though the citizenry continue in their revelry, ignorant of the low news that has reached high places. The Masters have left their palaces to convene within the House of Law. The native slaves whisper of winged demons. An old shadow has fallen across the land, but for the moment, the rumors are unconfirmed. It is nothing. What are a few missing ships? Surely one of the other cities are to blame. Let the slaves whisper...
Last edited by Nu-Amerika on Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Andsed
Senator
 
Posts: 3567
Founded: Aug 24, 2017
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Andsed » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:55 pm

Vison

The sun shined upon the city of Vison as guards patrolled the walls and streets while farmers tended to their fields and ships left and came into the port. Visonian were known to be very hard workers taught since they were children that their lives should be dedicated to the state. This cultural upbringing of complete loyalty and dedication to the state had created not only dedicated and hardworking people but a surprisingly tolerant one as well. No one cared what you did in your free time as long you were seen to being doing your duty to the state. It was culture that had helped forged the city into what it was now.

And the group ruling that city was currently meeting. The council controlling the city consisted of the commander of the army Posides, the commander of the navy Isocrates, the master of the treasury Hermon, the foreign minster Pyris, and the speaker and de facto head of the council Agamedes. The meeting had so far been simply going over the current situation and looked to be wrapping up when Agamedes asked.

¨Okay then is there anything anyone wants to bring up?¨ To which Isocrates spoke up saying.

¨Yes I have a suggestion.¨ He quickly pulled out a map and then continued pointing at the sea where Vison bordered.

¨Our naval trade is easily our most lucrative trade. We should try to expand on this and--¨ Before he was cutoff by Posides.

¨Hold on are you suggesting we expand the navy?¨ To which Isocrates responded.

¨Yes nothing major right now but I propose we begin to construct 2 additional warships and 3 merchant vessels. I have already talked with Hermon on this and we agreed this could bring long term benefits which will outweigh the cost. We may have to cut a few other " Isocrates finished while Hermon nodded.

Agamedes then said.

¨Okay all in favor?¨ Isocrates, Hermon, and Agamedes all raised their hand passing the vote. Agamedes then spoke.

"Okay it is passed. Any more suggestions." None were offered so the meeting was adjourned. As Agamedes stepped out he sighed. He knew that Hermon did not just vote for Isocrates idea because he thought it was a good one. Isocrates and Posides were two of the more powerful council members and they were always butting heads and using bribes and deals to try and an upper hand on the other. Agamedes could only hope they did not bring Vison into something that would destroy it.
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Tasuirin
Diplomat
 
Posts: 552
Founded: Oct 31, 2018
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Tasuirin » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:38 am

Image
1: Temple of Imlus
2: Temple of Gera
3: Temple of Mathon
4: Temple of Mira
5: Temple of Ophin
6: Temple of Skiro
7: Temple of Kunis
8: Second Temple of Kunis
9: Temple of Gerkos
10: Temple of Vizenos
11: Temple of Kyver
12: Temple of Irphos
13: Government District and Merchant Family Crypts
14: Dockyards
15: Military Port
16: Barracks and Military Port
17: Merchant Precinct
18: Warehouse Precinct
19: Customs Precinct
20: Lighthouse/Viewing tower
21: Markets
22: Arena
23: Oratory Stage
Outside walls: Slums and general living space
THASSALOS
For generations, the great city of Thassalos had been the monitors of trade within the Telenian sea. They sat in their castles built on wealth, with various trade outposts on the nearby islets and islands, keeping the nearby area free from pirates and raiders, ensuring the trade was escorted through the congested straits safely, and at night, while trade still flowed, lighting fires to keep ships from being swallowed by a jealous Mirsa within her palace of water. Thassalos truly believed themselves to be the saviours of sailors, the defenders of the seas, and as dutiful followers of the will of Imlus. All of the trade that flowed through the city and surrounding waters was under Thassalian protection, as it should be, and those who challenged that trade challenged the might of Thassalos as well. But a general sense of unease followed the Thassalians in recent months and years. Not due to pirates, they had been lessened in the region in recent years. Not due to lessened trade, it had been flowing bountifully through Thassalos. What then?

Ever since the founding of Thassalos, it had been a major trade hub. The quickest way west towards Masroi, avoiding the treacherous Likanian strait, involved travelling through Thassalian ports and waters. The north-south trade route, while not always most efficiently as such, traditionally travelled throughout Thassalian ports. And, of course, towards the inner portions of the island of Lasineia, where Thassalos was located, they controlled all trade. Inland cities, many ancient and prosperous, all traded their goods through Thassalos. This state of being had existed in Thassalos for centuries, with Thassalian interests being represented in trade, and with the Thassalian fleet being the sole protectors of trade. But other states had come to challenge Thassalos.

Salenippos was a larger city than Thassalos, more than double the size in citizen population by some accounts, and they possessed a large navy of their own. While trade did not run so close to Tharoneia as it did to Lasineia, they would obviously want some of Thassalos' wealth. Other emerging cities were beginning to see value in challenging the traditional Thassalian dominance on trade. Whether by virtue of a possible future alliance with Salenippos or by simple opportunism, the outcasts of Xenos would likely try to get their own back on Thassalos for generations of hunting their piratical ancestors. The cities of the Central Rhean coast all seemed to resent the bottleneck on which Thassalos sat, between their trade and much of Pelagia. And then, the cities on the far side of the Thassalian Strait, Sypria and Syros, both upstarts against Thassalian stewardship of the waves. Accept it or not, war was coming to Thassalia. Enemies lurked all around, from as far south as Eretheos to the far north of Erlend. The council of nine gathered in the Government District, the forum space, walled in from the citizenry of Thassalos.

"Cyrenios Plitos, I hadn't expected you here for months," the youngest of the group, a certain Alexander Akros, spoke to his elder by at least thirty years. Cyrenios Plitos had long been an active sailor rather than a passive miser or coin collector, like some of the other heads of merchant families had been accused of being. His skin was brown and thick, like old leather, and wrinkled by a combination of sea air and the hot sunlight of the Telenian Sea, "What brings you back so soon?"

"I would learn to take more notice of current events if I were you, young Akros," the old man spoke, voice still strong for belting out orders. The younger Akros boy was almost white as a sheet, a combination of indoors life and his almost constant illness, "Though it appears I am no stranger to being behind the times myself. What of your father, Kroisos Akros?"

The young boy coughed, the Plitos family head unsure if a sign of discomfort with the topic of conversation, or merely tuberculosis. One never could be quite sure with Alexander Akros. Marsyas Alkos answered for him.

"Died not five months ago. Some illness. Struck suddenly, took him quickly," the older Alkos family head spoke softly, carefully. His demeanour was one of simple annoyance. Plitos bowed his head, some degree of sadness reaching him. Kroisos Akros was somewhat of a weak-willed and spineless, in youth as well as old age, though unlike many on the council, he was never downright discourteous to Cyrenios. Cyrenios Plitos was not as well liked within the Council of Nine as he could be, for a number of reasons. Alkos continued - "Though I would echo the young Alexander's query - why are you home so early?"

Cyrenios Plitos smiled softly, the wrinkles on his skin exacerbating the expression, "I had finished my trading journey, and thought I should return home."

"Finally taking your seat back on the council after all this time?" Marsyas Alkos spoke once again, a tone of near-anger in his voice, "A man so afraid of indoor life that he ran away at the first opportunity, returning only to sleep, eat, drink and set out again? Why are you really here?"

"That will do, Marsyas," an even more elderly voice spoke, cracking with age and labour as the man spoke, "Cyrenios evidently has his reasons, and we should be glad he has returned to us."

The man to whom the voice belonged was Teutamos Lasthanos, the aged head of the Council. His reasonable voice had guided the council for the past half-century, since his election when he was but 36 years of age. Now, the man to whom all members of the council had become accustomed to having at their head, was draped in robes, sat in a comfy chair, mustering up the strength to raise an arm in beckoning to Plitos. Plitos responded, kneeling in front of the old man. Lasthanos planted a kiss on Cyrenios' forehead, a traditional greeting once one had returned from a journey abroad. It once was a much more common occurrence, though now had become a rarity.

"Now that we have completed that, let us begin for the day," Lasthanos spoke. Plitos rose, bowing, and sat in his family's chair. Apparently, someone had made sure it was relatively well-kept while he was away. As he sat, Marsyas Alkos on one side, and the plump Maleos Melanos on his other, he remembered why he detested the inside. The smell of old men, the darkness, save for the fire's dim light... If there truly were a hell in Telen, this was it for the Plitos man.

"As we had mentioned before, there are the issues of trade revenue to our city," Minos Seleos spoke up, "The share of trade coming to our city has lessened with the rise of other powerful cities. While we still control a relative monopoly on the Strait, that advantage we have is slipping away quickly..."

Plitos held up one hand, "I'm sorry, you're treating this as if it is some form of trade dispute."

The other eight members of the council looked around at each other. Finally, Seleos spoke again, "Yes, we are. Because it is."

Cyrenios Plitos shook his head, "Look, I've been around Telen numerous times. Some of these other cities are not simply planning a trade war, they are planning a war to drive away all trade, ready to declare war on us to keep us from growing our influence."

The seven members of the council other than Lasthanos and Plitos groaned. Plitos was known for flights of fancy, especially in believing that other cities wanted the wealth of Thassalos. Plitos stood from his chair.

"Look, we need to be ready. We have plenty of people living outside our walls, subsisting. If we let them into our navy..."

"Invite barbarians and non-citizens into our grand city and into our army?" Marsyas Alkos guffawed, "See what the southern sun has done to Plitos here? Addled the mind. He has lost touch of reality. Our city is great by its purity alone. If we sacrifice that, how are we better than other barbarians?"

Plitos stood up next to Alkos, "And what is so bad about them? 'Barbarians' as you call them live prosperous lives in Sidonia, live abundantly in Rheas. If we allow those who already associate themselves with our city into its military..."

"Sit down, both of you," the quiet voice of Teutamos Lasthanos carried over the argument. Plitos refused to sit, walking over to Lasthanos.

"Teutamos, please believe me. We need to be preparing for war, readying ourselves to defend from the actual..."

"I said sit down!" Teutamos Lasthanos jumped to his feet, slamming his cane onto the ground and standing up to Plitos. Cyrenios Plitos appeared surprised. He slowly backed down to his seat. Immediately, Lasthanos began to shake, and gently brought himself back to his chair, "I will have no more talk of this. Cyrenios, you have spent your life away from this council. Perhaps you have forgotten what this city stands for. Justice in the face of injustice, civilisation in the face of lawlessness..."

"And stupidity in the face of war?" Cyrenios spoke up again, sitting forward, "Lasthanos, you know me. Would I make something like this up? We are going to be attacked, be it sooner or later."

"Our leader has spoken, Cyrenios," Alkos sneered towards the sailor, "You'd best follow his orders."

Cyrenios glanced at the smug Alkos, before sitting back in his chair. He crossed his arms.

"Perhaps if we negotiated with nearby trade cities for continuing rights. They would respect us, no doubt."

"Good idea, Akros. That is fair. Now, our next order of business. Eretheos has sent us a message..."

"Is that the one about dragons? I've never read such lunacy in my life..."

The council, all except for an indignant Cyrenios, laughed out loud. As the day-to-day trade of Thassalos continued and the citizens of the city did their usual chores and work, it seemed as if their leaders were apart from them, and apart from the world. Though most did not know of this talk of dragons, had they known, the citizenry would not have sat idly by as the important order of business was simply trade negotiation. But they did not know, and so their leaders did nothing.
Last edited by Tasuirin on Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
IC'ly, Tasuirin is:
An Absolute Monarchy, A Federal Monarchy, Neo-Feudalistic, Anti-Democratic, Mercantilist, Five Kingdoms, Ruled by One King
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ASEXUAL~ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ☭ ★ ☭ ★ ☭ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ATHEIST ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ CELTIC ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ AUSTRALIAN ⋅.} ──── ⊰

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The Hoosier Alliance
Diplomat
 
Posts: 770
Founded: Mar 17, 2016
Corporate Police State

Postby The Hoosier Alliance » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:02 am

Thalmos




The city of Thalmos was bustling and full of people. Soldiers, merchants, slaves, farmers, and others filled the streets, going about their business. The market was filled with shops, stalls, and stands, owners shouting their wares and buyers, some foreign but most Thalmosan, walking around and purchasing what they need. Down at the harbor, ships were docked and their crews running about. They unloaded their goods from foreign city-states, getting them ready to be sold in the market or given to their respective buyers. Others, Thalmoan merchants, loaded goods onto their ships to be sold on foreign markets. Soldiers watched over the port, keeping an eye on the foreigners and keeping disputes to a minimum. Overlooking the harbor sat a small, but respectably sized, statue of Mira, Goddess of the sea. She was there to help protect sailors on their journey and offer her blessing. Offerings had been placed at the base of the statue, travelers' way of asking for her protection and mercy.

Near the center of the city stood another statue on a hill, this one massive enough to see over the whole city. It stood in the middle of a partially open roofed temple, dedicated to the God-King of Man, Thal. The statue held in it's right hand Thal's spear, in it's left, his shield. A helmet covered his head, his eyes and mouth visible. He protected the city, ever vigilant as he watched over his mortal subjects. At the foot of the statue, dozens of priests and priestesses worshipped at it's feet, burning incense and setting offerings at it's base. They asked for protection and strength from their God-King, promising their mortal lives to enforce his will. Temples were one of the few places in the city that one could go and not see armed soldiers patrolling or standing watch, as priests enjoy a lot of freedom from the Polemarcho and the city and his Starategos. In fact, soldiers are often used to help enforce the will and religious laws of the priest class on the commoners.

As people walked up and down the streets, a small column of spearmen marched, the citizens giving them more than enough room to walk. They carried their spears and shields with a purpose and sense of authority. In the middle of the Thalmosan soldiers strode a robe clad man, a priest. Anyone who saw this knew exactly what was going to happen. The only question was, who had been caught.

"There," the priest said, pointing at a woman and her two children. The woman was washing clothes outside her home, her son and daughter nearby. The soldiers jogged forward, catching the eye of the woman. She looked panicked and quick stood up, spilling the wash bucket at her side. "No! Please, no!" she shouted, running over to her son and daughter. Her boy, who looked to be about fifteen years old, cowered behind her. "Please! He didn't mean it! He's just a boy, for Thal's sake!" Two soldiers easily pushed passed her, grabbing the boy by the arm as he stood, frozen in fear.

The priest laughed, "Funny you mention Thal. Your boy is a blasphemer. He will be punished as one." The woman cried as she was restrained by one of the spearmen. "Please, he's all I have left. His father served the Polemarcho, fought for the glory of Thal. We're believers, he doesn't understand what he said!" The priest spat at her feet, "Then your husband would be ashamed of his actions. Like any good worshipper, he would have reported the boy himself. You're lucky we don't drag you away in chains too. He had to have learned it from someone, harlot." She continued to cry and beg for mercy for her son, but the soldiers reformed their column, this time adding the boy to the center. They marched off, leaving the woman to cry in a heap on the ground and be comforted by her daughter.

Nearby, Starategos Phoibus stood and watched, his personal guard keeping an eye out for danger. Phoibus didn't usually come to the commoners districts, but today he had felt adventurous. He was one of the younger members of the Polemarcho's circle of trusted Starategos, but was one of the more influential ones, not that any of the Starategos were not influential. "Alright Lokhagos," Phoibus said to the captain of his guard, "Let's go, shall we? We mustn't keep Polemarcho Lydus waiting." So, after enjoying the spectacle, Phoibus was escorted through the city towards the large structure that housed the highest ranking officers in the city while they met to discuss matters of war and statecraft. Phoibus ascended the steps, a line of spearmen on either side of him. The doors were opened as he approached by two slaves, both bowing as they walked by. The soldiers and the Starategos made their way to the Polemarcho's war room, where they frequently met to oversee the city and military. Phoibus's guard left him as they entered the hallway to the war room, with the dozens of soldiers standing guard along the wall being more than enough to ensure his safety. Phoibus pushed open the large double doors at the end of the hallway, revealing the large circular table surrounded by the Polemarcho and his other Starategos. "Ah, Phoibus," Lydus said, motioning him over to their table, "We've already begun."

Phoibus nodded to Lydus as he filled the empty spot at the table, standing next to his fellow Starategos, and gazed at the map laid out before them, showing all the city-states . "What is there to report?" Lydus said, looking from one man to the other, "Let's hear it." One man spoke up first, "Raiding on our merchant ships have decreased recently. It appears our marines have done their job as we had hoped. Still, their lack of experience made it more difficult than what it should have been. It is still my professional opinion we should seek closer relations with additional naval powers, to ensure protection of our trade routes and troop movements."

A number of voices, including Phoibus's, echoed the request. Lydus nodded, "I understand that. I know my predecessor was reluctant to do so, and for good reason. None of us wants to be dependent on another for our own protection. Still, our navy isn't nearly what it could be and it's unlikely to change soon. I agree, we should reach out and try and form a...mutually beneficial agreement." Several of the men smiled, glad he could see reason. "The obvious candidates would be our neighbor, Almaria, the trade hub Thassalos, or the exiles of Xenos. As we all know, we are at peace with the Almarians and haven't been to war with them for almost fifteen years, except for the occasional skirmishing. They might be persuaded to listen, as we all know that peace and trade between our cities is more profitable then a war everyone knows will end in a stalemate. Their army is also competent, so it's not like we'd need to prop them up on land and they us on sea. Thassalos, on the other hand, could bring us additional wealth if we secure an agreement and increase trade with them. Their land army is much smaller than ours, but their naval power is not to be trifled with, as everyone knows. Xenos would likely be the easiest to deal with, as they're no more than exiles and mercenaries. While they have a powerful navy, they are loyal to gold, not an agreement or alliance. They could just as easily turn on us once our trade routes look more profitable than our coffers. I'd suggest approaching Almaria and Thassalos first, leaving Xenos as a desperate option."

Lydus nodded, "Yes, that sounds like a fantastic idea. That's exactly what we shall do. I also want a message sent to the king of Phylesia. Tighter relations with them will also be important. We've been growing close these last years, and I think additional talks are warranted." The Starategos agreed, voicing their approval. After all that was finalized, they went on to less important things, like how much trade was coming from where, parts of the wall that had been or needed minor repairs, complaints from the farmers outside the city, and so on. Once things were settled from there, everyone was dismissed.

Greetings, High Priest of Almeria. I hope all within your borders is well, your coffers overflow with riches, and Thal himself blesses you. I, Polemarcho of Thalmos, wish to discuss with you, or a representative of your city, of a possible mutually beneficial agreement. I thank you for your time, and may Thal protect your city and slay your enemies.

-Polemarcho Lydus


Greetings, ruling families of Thassalos. I pray to the gods that all is well within your wealthy and beautiful city. Polemarcho Lydus wishes to extend to you an offer. He wishes to propose a mutually beneficial agreement, and requests to discuss this possible agreement with the ruling families, or a representative of them. We await your response.


King of Phylesia,

I, Polemarcho Lydus of Thalmos, wish you good health. Our great cities have, in these past years, grown rather fond of one another, to some extent, I would say. I believe a formal agreement would help cement our ties as natural partners and even allies. Anything to guarantee that your grain and wine fill the bellies of my subjects and my iron and armor protect the bodies of your soldiers would surely be for the best. I thank you for your time, and patiently await your wise response.
Last edited by The Hoosier Alliance on Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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- Thomas Jefferson
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They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
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To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them
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The Imperial Reach
Diplomat
 
Posts: 751
Founded: Jun 22, 2018
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Imperial Reach » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:18 pm

Tahkt-i-Soh

Decades of peace and prosperity had brought this ancient city to greater grandeur than it has ever seen before, the likes of which inspired it's citizenry into fullest confidence in their Queen & Goddess. From this wealth and power came something even more dangerous: faith. Cyrashokt III had the honor of being the Banshada of Tahkt-i-Soh. Her will was not only law; but holy canon. For she was the goddess Ahazadash incarnate - of her blood; of her flesh; of her soul - a living god. Her strength was virtue; her fury damnation; her mind righteous. All Hazedans would bow and obey her in all things; driven by sheer piety. For surely the current golden age the city was embracing was made so by her own divine power? It was to the Hazedans, who saw their increasing glory and greatness as sign of things to come - a better future and the forging of a most blessed empire. Cyrashokt's ambitions were indeed so grand; for a goddess must have an ego to match. It was for this reason she had called together her council - as well as her *Spabahts.

Never in her reign had the Amber Palace been so crowded since her ascension to the throne only 15 years ago. All the great women of the city had answered their divine ruler's call for appearance from the matrons of merchant houses to the various guild leaders to various noblewomen and of course the commanders of the army. Cyrashokt had insisted upon their presence, and the will of a goddess was not to be spurned. Here she revealed to them that after three years of no heiress, she had lost confidence in her king consort - a Telenian named Maxos - and had ordered his execution for this insulting failure. The Hazedan laughed and scorned him; surely the failure of his seed to take hold was evidence of the weakness of Telenian men. Cyrashokt shared these thoughts in silence. Though she mostly agreed, she could not help but find the complexion and features of Telenian men enticing even if their virility was less than ideal. Still, she would take as many men as needed to produce a daughter so that she might not see the throne pass to her sister, Dariwakt, whom she had rivaled since childhood.

This was but only one matter for which she had called this gathering; the other, though less pressing, was no less important. One measly city was not enough for the rule of a goddess. Long had her predecessors thought so - yet none had put such thoughts into action. Now, however, was ideal. Tahkt-i-Soh was prospering like never before and surely if it was so blessed in this time of peace it would also be so in war. Cyrashokt thought to fell both of these sparrows with a single arrow. But first she would have counsel of her Court Seeress - the blind Oracle known as Midashad - her favorite concubine, said to be able to see into the fog of the future in spite of her broken eyes. To draw these visions out required a ritual of the most carnal nature, one which Cyrashokt and her concubines and consorts had grown familiar over a great many of passionate nights. In the privacy of her majesty's bedchamber they conducted this most sacred affair within a circle of burning candles - the ritual to be complete upon the last candle burning out. Many hours of intimacy passed, noted punctually by the more perverted minds of the court who had been keen to press their ears upon the bedchamber door so as to enjoy the sound of the two women's lovemaking, before the last candle had burned out. In her dreams Midashad saw the visions her queen wanted her to see. Upon their awakening, she disclosed them in loving whisper:

"Should you march to war in Telen; cities will burn."

The vision was well-received - for fire was the symbol of the goddess; of their queen - and glorious victory in conquest was assumed by all among the council. Satisfied and confident, Cyrashokt and her court made their way to the Temple District of the city in order to bare witness to the burning of several heathens and apostates - Maxos among them. They were not the only ones, for a crowd of citizens had gathered to watch the death of these unbelievers. This crowd, however, was larger than most for it was not everyday a royal consort was burned among them. Maxos looked out into the crowd, more fearful than anything else. Despair grew on his face as his eyes rested upon the city of the queen - his face was molded in a disapproving and disgusted shape. He had but a simple task, but had failed to achieve it. Hopeless, he resigned himself to his fate. Of all the forty blasphemers who had been beaten, stripped, and tied to wooden posts atop a single great pyre - he was the only one who did so. The others lashed out, begging for forgiveness or uttering foul and profane curses.

The white-clad priestess stood before them to decry their sins, of which there were many: stealing from the Temple; desecrating shrines; iconoclasm; apostasy; heresy; even the rape of a priestess. All these condemned souls, save the silent Maxos, would plead innocence or seek to justify their crime in some way, but no excuse would be heard. The guards brought forth cauldrons of oil and began to pour them out all over the pyre and those tied to it before lighting the torches and, at the command of the priestess, lighting the pyre itself. Quickly it was set ablaze and the pleads of innocence and cries of justice were replaced by wails of pain; even the silent Maxos would join them in their screams before at last they could screamed no more. The crowd cheered at the sight, and the queen smiled smugly. With these slights against her punished, Cyrashokt and her retinue returned to the Amber Palace to draft notes to her closest neighbors.

By the Embers of the Eternal Flame,

Know that on this day you are graced by the attention of Cyrashokt III, Banshada of Tahkt-i-Soh, the Fireborn, Blood of Ahazadash, Living Goddess of the Hazedans, She Who is Warmest, Daughter of the Sun.


The Great Banshada has been forced to put to death her former consort for his failure to provide her with an heiress; a tragedy for him, yet an opportunity for you. The Hazedans will soon march to war in Telen in order to build an empire worthy of Her Holiness. Victory has been foreseen and is indisputable, but you need not join the ranks of the soon-to-be-slain. You need not watch your cities reduced to naught but ash and cinder by the burning hands of Her Divine Grace, nor your people cooked and broiled like boars. The Banshada offers you a chance not only to survive the coming onslaught; but to profit from it. She will spare your city in return for the hand in marriage of either the most handsome man or the most beautiful woman of your city; creating a permanent and fruitful alliance between Tahkt-i-Soh and Almaria. This offer has been sent as well to your neighboring city of Thalmos. Both of your cities must present an offering to the Amber Palace within the coming fortnight. Should you refuse, it will mean war. Should your offering prove dissatisfying, it will mean war. Should both offerings prove acceptable, then both cities shall be spared. The Most Merciful Banshada gives you this one chance to ensure not only your survival, but your independence. You have only to benefit from alliance with Tahkt-i-Soh; you have only to suffer to become an enemy. Spare your people the holy torch - sacrifice one to save thousands. It is the wisest move.

May Ahazadash bless you with the wisdom to agree to Her Most Fair Terms.

By the Embers of the Eternal Flame,

Know that on this day you are graced by the attention of Cyrashokt III, Banshada of Tahkt-i-Soh, the Fireborn, Blood of Ahazadash, Living Goddess of the Hazedans, She Who is Warmest, Daughter of the Sun.


The Great Banshada has been forced to put to death her former consort for his failure to provide her with an heiress; a tragedy for him, yet an opportunity for you. The Hazedans will soon march to war in Telen in order to build an empire worthy of Her Holiness. Victory has been foreseen and is indisputable, but you need not join the ranks of the soon-to-be-slain. You need not watch your cities reduced to naught but ash and cinder by the burning hands of Her Divine Grace, nor your people cooked and broiled like boars. The Banshada offers you a chance not only to survive the coming onslaught; but to profit from it. She will spare your city in return for the hand in marriage of either the most handsome man or the most beautiful woman of your city; creating a permanent and fruitful alliance between Tahkt-i-Soh and Thalmos. This offer has been sent as well to your neighboring city of Almaria. Both of your cities must present an offering to the Amber Palace within the coming fortnight. Should you refuse, it will mean war. Should your offering prove dissatisfying, it will mean war. Should both offerings prove acceptable, then both cities shall be spared. The Most Merciful Banshada gives you this one chance to ensure not only your survival, but your independence. You have only to benefit from alliance with Tahkt-i-Soh; you have only to suffer to become an enemy. Spare your people the holy torch - sacrifice one to save thousands. It is the wisest move.

May Ahazadash bless you with the wisdom to agree to Her Most Fair Terms.


*Generals
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Nu-Amerika
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Posts: 32
Founded: Jan 23, 2019
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Nu-Amerika » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:16 pm



The Thief
City of Gylead, The Gold Strand




Iro was clever. More importantly, perhaps, he was quick and confident. Eyes on the prize. A familiar mantra, taught to him years ago by his older sister, Maia. A tender soul, she had looked out for him after their mother passed. She was tough, too. Though pretty, Maia had managed to avoid work in the city's many whorehouses. She had learned a different trade. One day she said, "You're old enough to start helping me now." She had told him that on his tenth birthday. He had been scared at first, but Maia had shown him how simple it was. Certain areas of Gylead were more dangerous than others to pick pockets or cut purses, but some, specifically here in the older market squares near the docks, were fairly easy.

Clink. Clink. Clink.

Down here it was easier to blend in. The further into the city one traveled, the cleaner it got. Until you started nearing the Dustwalk. That's where he lived.

Clink.

Iro eyed the purse as it bounced in rhythm with the fat sailor's gait. Judging by his clothes he was foreign, and if his jingling purse was any indication, it was his first time visiting Gylead. He was alone, too.

Clink. Clink.

The square was crowded with merchants and people from all over Telen. The smell was bad, but a far sight better than home. Home just smelled like shit and death. Iro reached into the waistband of his ragged trousers and palmed the blade he kept there. It was small, no more than 4 inches in length, and had no handle, but it was easy to hide or discard if need be. He began to maneuver through the thick crowd towards the sailor.

Clink. Clink.

Maia had been executed almost six months ago. She was caught stealing the gold rings off of a drunken noble's fingers as he slumbered in the wine gardens.

Clink.

Iro made his move. With one fluid motion he gently grasped the bottom of the coin purse with one hand and cut it free with the other. Spinning on one heel he darted back through the crowd, a few coins spilling from the bulging pouch. He heard the man shout and began to laugh, giddy with the idea of such an easy mark. Just as he was about to round a corner and duck into an alley, his head exploded in a fury of colors and he felt the purse fly from his fingers. He heard them spill over the stones as he dropped, skinning his arms and face against the street.

"Up! Now!"

The voice was rough, gravelly. Someone seized his wrist and yanked him to his feet. His knees buckled and gave way beneath him, so he sagged in their grip. He felt warm blood trickle down his cheek. Somewhere far away he heard someone speaking to him, but he couldn't answer. He was still stunned. Something struck him cleanly in the gut and he collapsed further, crying out in a hoarse wheeze. The hand on his wrist released, and he fell once more to the ground.

"Take his hands!"

They were laughing now. As his vision began to clear, he realized what was happening. Five soldiers were crowded around him, two with their knees pressed into his back, pinning him to the ground. One wielded a club. He squatted in front of Iro, a wide, ugly grin spread across his face, so close Iro could smell the beer on his breath. A few people had gathered to watch the spectacle. He began to scream as one soldier forced his arms out in front of his sprawled body. One of the soldiers knelt, gripped his right forearm, and raised a shortsword, gleaming in the high afternoon sun.

"Stop."

Iro barely heard the man speak but he felt the pressure on his spine ease slightly as the two soldiers turned to look behind them. The one who had been about to cut off his hands lowered his sword. He looked surprised.

"Master Qol! We saw this one cut the--"

"I care not. Put away your weapon."

The soldier obeyed. Iro heard the rustling of robes from behind him as the man approached. Suddenly the hem of the robe appeared before him. Blue-green, like the sea. He raised his gaze. It was not a man but a woman. Her blonde hair was braided over one shoulder, decorated with gems. Her eyes were blue, her skin olive. She gently knelt before him.

"What is your name, boy?"

Iro was again stunned into silence. He began to blubber incoherently as tears coursed down his dirty cheeks.

"Your name."

"I-Iro."

"Which hand do you favor, Iro?"

Overwhelmed with the gravity of his situation, Iro was at first confused at the question. Finally he answered.

"B-both. I... I favor both of them."

She smiled then. It was warm, friendly, a sure contrast to this entire ordeal.

"You have a choice to make, young Iro. The first: I will take the thumb of your right hand. You will then enter into my service. The alternative, sadly, is death. These men will happily take both of your hands instead. A waste, I would say. Do you agree?"

Iro fought to speak past the lump in his throat and failed. He simply nodded. The woman drew a knife from within her robes. It's blade was long, sharp, serrated. Beautifully crafted. Cruel.

"With your permission then, young Iro?"

Did he detect a hint of sympathy in her voice? He whimpered his approval and shut his eyes tightly. Next he felt a cool hand grip his own. It was soft, gentle. The woman pressed his hand softly against the stone and spread his fingers for him. He began to cry again.

"Do not move."

At first it stung. Iro cried out. Quickly, the stinging turned into a deep pain as the knife bit deeply into his flesh and sawed cleanly through the bone. It was over in in instant, but the pain lingered, terrible and burning as his thumb was sliced away. He barely noticed as the soldiers who had been pinning him against the street stood and released him. Iro opened his eyes and gazed into the woman's. They were hard, unflinching, but glistened, almost as if with tears. She took Iro tenderly by his left hand and helped him stand.

"Hold it close to your body. We will dress it soon."

Iro sobbed as the woman gently guided him back into the throngs of people, towards another life. She did not comfort him, but the cool presence of her hand upon his neck felt good, and Iro knew that on that day, his life had been spared.
Last edited by Nu-Amerika on Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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St George Territory
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 390
Founded: Apr 04, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby St George Territory » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:31 pm

BAY OF IRANAEUS, CITY OF XENOS




The warship carrying Demosthenes was spotted rather quickly, its black and white sails clearly visible in the mid-day sun, Leander waited for him near the docks, happy to see his brother back so soon. Mira had been kind in guiding his galley back, she watched over Xenos and her sailors well, while Gerkos was a much more unruly god, seeing many of the cities profiteers to Mira's kingdom by the hands of the Thassalosians. Soon blood would be repaid for blood and honoured with coin by the Salenipposians, good men those, always willing to pay good coin for the best seamen in the Western seas. Leander was broken from his thoughts by a heavily bearded man of a light complexion, an exile of the North by the name of Adonis of Rheas, choosing to forgo whatever land he was from, or whatever crime he had committed as he arrived in Xenos and offered his skills as an engineer, claiming to be a master shipbuilder, to which he had proven to be in greatly benefitting the shipyards to ones that could challenge the hands of Gylead, barely, but he had heard the requests of Leander to come once Demosthenes arrived back, which he had and was following Adonis closely. "What word do you bring from Salenippos, brother?"

Demosthenes appeared to be in good spirits and quickly replied "Good tidings of Mira; gold, grain, and the promise of spoils that will see our coffers full and our young fat and healthy. The Tyrant Cherrhos is a good man, as are his ancestors and promise to hire us depending on how many of our ships are available."

Leander looked pleased, "Good, good. We must have more ships and more warriors ready to spill the blood of those vain louts, and it the coin doesn't hurt." To this, the three men chuckled and walked towards the council chambers, where the council of one hundred were sure to be arguing about the topics of the day, insulting each other, and drinking wine.

Upon the way, Adonis spoke to Leander, "Strategos, surely Thassalos will require many, many ships to humble-"

Leander interrupted, passing a statue of an ex-king of Thassalos, with its nose missing, "Aye, one hundred ships will not do, we must construct one hundred more and speak with our brothers in Sypria and ask if they would want an alliance or a part of the spoils of any war that the Salenippos fight. They'll surely want to humble the milk drinkers of Thassalos in their high towers."

"Sage wisdom, my Lord. I will ensure that we construct one hundred more ships and begin recruiting the veterans who seek to fight for Mira's domain once more." Adonis responded dutifully.

The three men reached the palace quickly, past its marble columns to the tall double doors flanked by two veteran Marines who quickly opened the doors for the Strategos and company. The hall of the councilman was easy enough to find, not that they didn't know as the men inside yelled and argued, laughed and held their debates, a deathly silence falling upon the room as Leander entered and took his spot near his throne, crafted from ships captured during Xenos' many conflicts. "Hear councilmen! I, Leander, Son of Mira, conqueror of the waves and humbler of the mighty call forth a demand, men, and ships! Salenippos, our comrades call for Xenos to provide her with our vessels to stain the seas red!" With this, the councilmembers cheered wildly and hurled insults at the foes of Salenippos, only halted by Leander raising his hand, ordering silence.

"Adonis, our champion of building our mighty fleet has suggested the construction of a mighty armada, to be financed by our coffers and the spoils of the soon slaughter of our foes! My bother who has arrived from Salenippos and was met by the Tyrant Cherrhos who has offered us gold and grain for our swords! Both accepted by me joyfully. Mira's keep will be filled with our foes vessels, our sons will return heroes, our children fattened with a mighty bounty bought with the blood of our enemies!" Another mighty cheer erupted as the page boys acquired the votes from the councilmen, who were in strong favour of growing the fleet further, while one hundred would take a long time, the fleet was sure to see an increase in size.

Leander sat on his wooden and gold gilded throne and motioned for Demosthenes to him and said, "Find Theodosius in whatever home he is discussing thought and tell him that he is to sail to Sypria and speak to their leader on a request for greater friendship, you should sleep, you've done well."

HOUSE OF DION THE FISHERMAN, NORTH-MIRA DISTRICT, CITY OF XENOS




The children of the house ran around and played their mother warming herself by the fireplace with a smile on her face. Dion entered the house exhausted, the ship had done well today and caught many nets of fish, a blessing but a curse on the man's back, he kissed his wife and asked her why the kids weren't asleep, as the night had fallen late, to which he received a response that they were feeling restless. Gods damn it, not again. was the only thought that crossed his mind. He corralled the children and took them to their room with three blankets upon the floor, after tucking them in he spoke to them and said, "Have I ever told you the tale of Pericles the Hero?" To which the children shook their heads and Dion nodded, "It's a tale that I was told from my father on many a night, much like this, he said that he heard it from a traveling man, who said that he had forgotten who he had heard it from." Dion took a swig of wine from a cup that his wife had brought him.

Dion continued, "A man who's sword arm could cut through Thalmos armour as if it were but stalks of grain, whose ship brought fear to the souls of many. A champion of the goddess Mira, who bent the seas, and heard Imlus' thunderous cheer." The children gazed at their Father with intrigue, "And battled the dragons, sending them back to the South, what few escaped his blade, I'll tell you more tomorrow, try and get some sleep." Dion said as he noticed his cup empty, and his eyes growing heavy.
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Robo-Nixon
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 62
Founded: Jan 02, 2019
Free-Market Paradise

Postby Robo-Nixon » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:16 am

Image

Salenippos, City docks



A few scattered lights were lit in the quiet harbor at this time of the day, and apart from the reflection of those fires in the water, darkness obscured the movements of the attackers. The temple of Mira across the small city bay seemed unusually inactive, as many sailors found the time to pray for safe voyage the night before sailing off again. The commotion of the docks district's taverns distracting the bulk of the crew expecting to be at sea for the next days seemed distant, as the particular places preferred by sailors of better standing were a few blocks up from the water. Even the moon was concealed by the cloudy night sky, instilling into the Salenippeans that Imlus wanted them to succeed. A light, pleasant breeze calmed them further. Only the gods could have gifted them a night like this.

Squads of Kapris, the non-citizen conscript infantry making up the bulk of the city garrison, marched slowly in two-file columns, approaching the ship from different directions. Dressed in grey exomis, wearing bronze greaves and helmets protecting the neck, head, and chin - and holding on to their short double-edged swords and round shields firmly, they radiated the fighting worth the city guards were meant to display. As they were a stone's throw from the ship, a beam of moonlight must have been allowed to pass through a gap in the clouds, letting the blades reflect the sky and light up, seemingly alerting the sleepy crewman on guard duty. A quick gesture from the squad commander set the business in motion, and the Thassalian galley's deck was soon overwhelmed by Salenippean swordsmen.

The guard had time to yell but was quickly knocked out by a soldier's tenacious shield, which bore the Salenippean raven of wisdom. After the first squad had secured the deck, the soldiers boarding the ship broke up the hatches and made it below deck blades first. The crewmen stationed on the ship were few and newly awake, barely receptive to the swords facing them and the determined soldiers looking down on them. After the Commander had inspected the ship and ensured that the Thassalians were incapable of resistance, he approached the nearest captive, still sitting on the wooden floor.

"Where is the Captain of this vessel, Thassalian?" The Commander asked him sternly. His tunic was blood red, unlike those of his subordinates, and he carried no shield. The crewman looked up, answering with an acrimonious tone showing an impressive degree of situational awareness beyond the current state of confusion.

"I will answer no questions until you inform us as to your illegal presence on this ship, Salenippean."

"It has come to Tyrant Cherrhos's attention that this ship harbors spies that have attempted to infiltrate the Army of Salenippos and sell your state military secrets. Hence, my presence here is as legal as can be. I repeat, where is the Captain?"

"No one here is going to tell you that."

"Very well." The Commander sheathed his blade. "Chain them and take them to the dungeons", He ordered the guardsmen. "Get me fifty men to row this boat into the bay where we can keep it safe, and then have them transport the iron tools, vases, and wood to the customs house. Most of the wine too. But that barrel..." He pointed towards the closest one. "...I want in the barracks. Tyrant's orders."

The Kapris went back to work and led the crew out with force. The Commander gathered an additional column by the ship, and finalized the seizure.

"Search every tavern within ten blocks of the galley. Ask the tavernkeepers for the Thassalians, they will know which and help you. Capture all of them, with no exceptions, and have them transported to the prison before dawn. The guards there will know where there is space. Move out men", and they proceeded to do as they were told.

Salenippos, Tyrant's Palace


Cherrhos was satisfied, having been informed that the Thassalian ship had been captured. He read the fabricated report of espionage again, held it close to his chest and closed his eyes, imagining how he would be praised for his swift action in response to a threat the following day. This same day, he had ordered for the construction of six new warships, and the smiths of the Eastern city were hard at work producing shields, spears, swords and helmets for his armies. Having sent off the man from Xenos with the hopes of a significant addition to his navy, he had also devised a plan that would ensure that Thassalos was the naval power at disadvantage in the oncoming conflict. He would reach out to Sypria, the city on the sea, which was not a strategic ally of Salenippos, but could prove to be the key to swift victory in his war.

The same day, he had sent off a regular merchant ship carrying grain, wine, and salt to Sypria, where it would conduct its regular trade. But the ship also carried a trusted bodyguard, who had received a message of significant importance to be exchanged only with Lucius Baelius personally. The message, memorized by the guard, was:

"Cherrhos, the Tyrant of Salenippos, whose patience has often been tested by Thassalian arrogance and claim to hegemony over the sea, requests a military alliance with the seaworthy Syprian state. In a time of provocations by Thassalos against enlightened and righteous states like Salenippos and Sypria, we should be bound together in resistance and not separated by our immaterial differences. In return, Cherrhos will offer the establishment of a fair balance of power in the Pelagian sea with mutually beneficial trade rights, supplies of grain from Salenippean tributaries and a fair share in the spoils of war once Thassalos is defeated."

Cherrhos's hope of an armada that could blockade the entire city of Thassalos and transport his armies to besiege it would only seem likely with the addition of the Syprian navy. Meanwhile, living in a state of mind far from the present, he had given a great deal of thought to how the siege itself would play out. Salenippos had succeeded in siege warfare many times, which had been essential in acquiring nominal hegemony over Tharoneia. But the proven methods of siege tower construction and ballista utilization were not sufficient in his mind. He had therefore remembered from his tutoring the engineering proficiency of the City State in Sidonia known as Gylead, and sent off a trusted merchant friend of his to negotiate with their supposed oligarchs.

The merchant, a rich and influental Salenippean citizen named Hagnocliedes, would bring the city a gift from Cherrhos himself, a life-sized statue of the posing Tyrant himself, which was a reasonable gift from the Salenippean standpoint. Then, he would offer gold, salt, wine and grain, with room for more open requests, in exchange for the employment of some of the city's skilled engineers, or the transportation of siege weapons themselves, for Salenippos's use.

While Cherrhos was planning all these things, sending off envoys and ordering his guards to seize trade ships, he had only scoffed at the rumor from Sidonia of bewinged fire-breathing creatures of mythology. He had not seen the gods themselves, nor had he encountered beasts of legend, the plays and works of old, for he was concerned with material things and did not fear dragons. He'd already forgotten about the rumors from the South, and even if reminded, he would forget them again.

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Toaslandia
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Founded: Apr 29, 2017
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Toaslandia » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:58 pm

"All bow for the Lord of the Dominion, Herald of the Erlends, High Augur of the Erlend Temple of Geros, and Last of Old Eredan." The crowd bowed in reverance to Gaspar del Benediction as he stepped forward and raised his hands out to them, and said, "Great people of Erlend, today, we hang dissenters who dared to speak against our Dominion! They are traitors, who have failed to recognize our rightful rule over all the inferiors who claim to be Telenian, but we know that WE are the true heirs to the Telenian name! WE are the rightful rulers of Telen!" The crowd cheered in threw rotten food or stones at the prisoners standing in shackles below Gaspar before Gaspar raised his hand for quiet. "These people claim that I am a tyrant who must be overthrown, but have I been cruel unnecessarily? All I have done is dispensed justice and protection to the people of Erlend, yet these mongrels wish to undermine us all! So, they shall be punished." At this, guards began tying bricks to the prisoners feet, and one by one, pushing them to the waters below. "This is what happens to enemies of Erlend."
Last edited by Toaslandia on Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:58 pm

PROPYLEA

Water Gate
Southern Entrance to Propylea
Ides of Elaphebolion


Simmias, son of Rholes, loved watching the army come back in. Like the rest of the youth of Propylea, he got a few hours off from class to do it. And so he and his classmates would set aside the wax tablets on which they wrote their lessons, neatly stack the heavy wooden practice spears that occupied their time, and troop down to the Water Gate to see their fathers and older brothers return victorious yet again.

Admittedly, this was such a common occurrence that most adult Propyleans did not see the point in taking a day off from work for it. Here at the end of the Earth, trade was not a very valuable profession. Propyleans, as the city fathers always reminded them, made things rather than buying and selling things. There was mail armor to be hammered, sails to be woven, olives to be gathered in from the rich river valley. Industry had little patience for celebration.

And so Simmias saw plenty of other men and women thronging the streets of the city, but few of them were moving toward the Water Gate. Propylea had always relied more on the discipline of its army than on the strength of its walls, and it had in fact outgrown several sets of fortifications: the walls were left as monuments to the expanding sphere of security that the Telenians and their suntithemi had carved out of the wilderness. Simmias passed through a number of once-mighty gates before he and his friends finally arrived at their destination.

The Water Gate was one of the few fortified points that Propylea invested in maintaining. It was, in essence, a massive bridge: a series of stone arches that marched across the Alcaeus River, with the base of each arch sunk into the river floor. But unlike in a normal bridge, each of these arches could be barred by a gigantic iron portcullis. When all the arches were blocked, the only waterborne route into the interior of Sidonia was impenetrably closed.

Today, as on every other day in living memory, the Water Gate was open. By the time Simmias arrived, the army's barges had already passed under those mighty arches and they were moored at the docks that lay just behind the gate, safely inside the city. On the cobblestone street next to those docks, almost two thousand thorakitai were forming a long column, five abreast. The suntithemi rode behind them. Neither group of soldiers wore any kind of ceremonial armor for their triumphant return: mail and leather and undyed wool were good enough for the battlefield, and good enough for the parade ground. But at the head of the column, a wagon was filled to overflowing with broken spears and shattered shields, each daubed with the grey-blue sigil of the Breuci: the grim proof of the expedition's victory.

In front of the wagon, at the very head of the parade, rode a small group of men. They wore the same sturdy mail cuirasses and undyed wool cloaks as the thorakitai, but bronze torques and sculpted discs were riveted to their armor: each a mark of rank or valor. "Look," Simmias murmured to the boy next to him. "That's Alcaeus, the Archon of the Army. They say he's fought a hundred battles against the etsaiai." The word itself was Sidonian in origin, the term the suntithemi used for their tribal enemies. It felt natural on Simmias' Telenian tongue.

"Well," the other boy replied drily, "he's certainly sewn up his reelection, if nothing else." Thrassylus, son of Meno, smiled at Simmias' outraged glance. "I'm not saying it wasn't a great victory. Just that it's convenient, too, that's all."

"Quiet," Simmias told his friend firmly. "The thramvos is about to begin."

And as if summoned by the boy's words, a dozen Sidonian ram's horns at the rear of the column blared their defiance at once, and the whole parade, infantry and cavalry and trophy-cart and all, set off through the streets of the city. A few thousand people lined its route, mostly youths set free from school and the families of the men who had been called for service; most of the other passersby simply got out of the parade's way, watched the soldiers pass, and then resumed whatever they were doing. Neither war nor victory was so unusual in Propylea as to require special recognition.

But praise was not the goal of this parade. No, this was a thramvos: a ritual pilgrimage, not a celebration of military glory. The column wound its way through the stone streets of Propylea - a sprawling city, but one with little social stratification and few noticeably rich or poor areas - and Simmias and his friends followed it every step of the way, until at last the long line of soldiers ascended the steps of the acropolis. Here, at the highest point of the city, where one could look north and see nothing but blue ocean to the faint horizon, stood Propylea's tallest building: the Temple of Thestos.

It was no conventional Telenian temple, this, for Thestos was no conventional Telenian god. There was no line of columns, no ornate frieze, no sanctum with its great gold statue. The Temple of Thestos was, instead, a gigantic lighthouse: one of the tallest in Telen, soaring more than a hundred meters into the sky. And at its top, day and night, burned a blazing flame: for Thestos the one true God was the lord of the infinite and the boundless, and men knew him in the holy terror of sea and sky and fire.

Here at last, in front of the small crowd that had assembled to see this ritual repeated for the thousandth or the ten thousandth time since the Great Roeh had converted Propylea to Thestos, the parade stopped. A group of men awaited the soldiers in the shadow of the temple, some clad in the undyed wool robes of Thestan priests and others in the plain mail armor of Propylea's leaders. Simmias could recognize Hicetas, the Archon of the City, and Ziaper, the Archerius of Thestos, among their ranks.

Alcaeus dismounted from his horse, and walked over to the wagon full of trophies. He took a splintered shield in one hand, and a broken spear in the other, and ceremonially threw both at the feet of Hicetas and Ziaper. "The honor is the city's," the Archon of the Army declaimed, "and the glory is to Thestos. I keep none for my own."

Ziaper stepped forward and dipped his thumb into a jar of frankincense. He anointed Alcaeus' forehead. "The Lord accepts your offering, and reflects His glory upon His servant, as the sun upon the sea." The Archerius smiled. "Welcome home, Archon."

And with that, the ritual was complete. The soldiers let out a cheer, and then split up into smaller groups. The veteran ouragoi, the officers of the keirones, barked orders: weapons still had to be returned to the state armories, and supplies unloaded. Plenty remained to be done. The Sidonian cavalry, their role in the thramvos completed, turned their horses' heads back to the south, and began the long ride home to their villages. And the two archons, helmets tucked beneath their arms, walked toward the bronze-domed building in the shadow of the Temple of Thestos: the Operum, the treasury and military headquarters and administrative center of Propylea.

And as for Simmias and Thrassylus? They set off back through the streets of the city to their gymnasion, each dreaming of a day when he would cast the arms of his defeated enemies at the feet of the Archerius, and claim his place among the champions of the one true God.


* * *


Operum of the Archonate
Acropolis, Propylea
Ides of Elaphebolion


The wine was red and sweet and Alcaeus drank it barely watered so that it burned on the way down. Hicetas, the Archon of the City, smiled at him from across the table. "Congratulations on another great victory."

Alcaeus understood the question, understood the anger behind it. The Archon of the City formally outranked the Archon of the Army, and Hicetas had feared for several years that Alcaeus would stand for the higher post when the next elections arrived. In Propylea, military success meant votes, and Hicetas' own days of battlefield glory were more than a decade in the past.

And so Alcaeus shook his head, and replied: "No glory in this one, I fear. A massacre of sheepstealers, outnumbered and outclassed from the moment we arrived. This was duty, nothing more."

Diodotus, the Archon of the Operum, smiled at his colleague's diplomacy. The last of Propylea's triumvirate of elected leaders, the Archon of the Operum was the treasurer and chief diplomat of the city, just as the Archon of the Army was its supreme commander and the Archon of the City its chief executive. The bronze-domed treasury where the Archons held their meetings was Diodotus' domain, and only he could open the vaults of gold in the caves beneath its courts - for while Propylea was no great merchant center, it did produce plenty of goods for sale in Pelagia, and it had long ago committed to saving a sizable cut of its profits for a rainy day.

But the Archon of the Operum was also responsible for Propylea's foreign relations, for trade and diplomacy were inseparable in Telen. And so Diodotus placed a series of papyri on the table around which the archons had assembled. "Here is all the news that has reached us while you were gone, honorable Alcaeus," he explained. "Our spies say that Demosthenes of Xenos, the brother of the Grand Admiral, returned from Salenippos a week ago. The same day, Leander ordered the construction of dozens of new warships."

"Hmph." Alcaeus walked to the edge of the chamber where the three Archons sat. Like most government spaces in Propylea, it was a room of bare pale stone, unadorned by gold or silks. One wall was open to the air, barred only by a line of columns - and since the chamber sat at the edge of the Operum, which in turn sat at the edge of the acropolis, Alcaeus could enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the sea beyond. "Salenippos will have war with Thassalos then, I suppose."

"That was our conclusion as well," Hicetas confirmed. "Though we don't know where Syros and the other naval powers will fall."

"Do we care?" Alcaeus asked bluntly.

Hicetas shook his head wearily. Diodotus' words were careful. "We have our mission here, holding back the tribes. But we still ship their amber and dates and gold across Telen. War would disrupt that. And if Gylead became involved - "

Alcaeus nodded with a grimace. Propylea had long seen itself as the enforcer of impartial order among Sidonia's collection of bastardized and outcast city-states, but every Propylean still held an instinctive revulsion for the occultism and decadence of their western neighbor. "There would be worse things than having to break down those walls, but not many."

"The man who achieved that," Hicetas observed drily, "would never lose an election for the rest of his life."

"Then it's a good thing I believe so strongly in our Republic, Archon." Alcaeus took a deep breath. The wine makes my tongue too free. When he spoke again, it was more moderately. "Was there anything else, citizens?"

"An urgent bird from Eretheos," Diodotus replied. "But we're not sure if it's a hoax of some kind."

Alcaeus raised his eyebrows. "What does it say?"

"It claims," Diotodus said flatly, "that the dragons have returned."

For a moment, the room seemed to drift away from Alcaeus, and a phantom warcry moved in the air around him: Muthussu. Muthussu...

A voice pierced the fog. "You're white as a sheet," Hicetas observed, not without enjoyment. "I didn't take you for a superstitious man."

"I'm not," Alcaeus snapped. "Just a pious one. And I heard something on this campaign, way upcountry. Something I've never heard before."

Diodotus frowned. "Something about dragons?"

"Yes." Alcaeus nodded. "I know how it sounds. But yes."

There was a long pause, and the brow of Hicetas, son of Cleitus, furrowed as the politician and the old soldier fought within him for control. Finally, he sighed. "Fine. We will double the watch and make sure the ballistae are armed. If the last century of war has taught us one thing, it's that it is better to be prepared needlessly than insufficiently." Hicetas raised his eyebrows at Alcaeus. "Satisfied?"

The Archon of the Army nodded. "I am." He paused. "Sir."

Hicetas glanced up at the honorific, and then heard the sincerity in Alcaeus' voice. He too paused for a moment, searching for words. Then Hicetas nodded once. "Good." The Archon of the City stood. "If there's nothing more, citizens, my wife expects me home for dinner. And I'm sure yours is waiting for you too, Alcaeus."

"With bated breath, I hope." The three men chuckled, and Alcaeus nodded. "Thestos protects."

"Thestos protects," repeated the other two archons: the benediction of Propylea ever since the Great Roeh had come two generations earlier.

As Alcaeus cast one last glance at the missive from Eretheos, he hoped to heaven that the prayer was true.


* * *


Crag of Lawasis
Just South of Propylea
Ides of Elaphebolion


That same night, leave Propylea. Slip out through a side gate when the hubbub of the city dies down, past the watchful guards leaning on their spears. Pass through the farms and pastures of the suntithemi who live nearest the city, and follow a path marked by small stone cairns that leads up the slope of the nearest mountain. Follow the path as it winds upward, ever more steep and narrow, and watch as the faint lights of the city fall away below you. Scrabble for purchase as the path turns to steep stone steps, slick with the evening dew. Don't look down, now, for even the blaze atop the Temple of Thestos is far below you, and you can see for miles across the silent ocean. Keep climbing.

Do this, and this night, you will reach the ancient stone shrine that clings to the peak of the mountain. No marble Telenian structure, this, but something older and simpler: half cave and half tower, hewn from the living rock, guarded by men in mail and leather whose posture is altogether more alert and dangerous than that of the ordinary city guards. Pass through the narrow doorway, and climb the stairs beyond, until you emerge on the very roof of the temple, where the whole world is spread out below you and there is nothing to left or right, ahead or behind, but the endless multitude of the stars.

There is a woman here, a woman clad in a simple chiton of undyed wool, surrounded by a circle of similarly attired handmaidens. She stares up at the stars, this woman, and she shakes, and her eyes roll back in her head, and she moans.

This is normal, when the Roeh of the Crag speaks with Thestos. One of her handmaidens reaches out, and wipes the saliva from the trembling chin of the holiest woman in Propylea.

And then she screams. The virgin prophetess of Thestos lets out a howl of terror, the sound of a child lost in the dark, and her body spasms, and her feet go out from under her, and she falls to the ancient stone below. Blood runs from a cut on her head, and she curls into a ball as she shudders.

The Roeh's handmaidens rush forward. Their hands comfort, calm, wipe away blood and tears. They whisper the question, the same question that comes every full moon: "What did you see?"

And the answer comes: a hoarse whisper, almost too soft to hear, suffused with unknowable fear.

"Fire," the Roeh gasps. "I saw the whole world on fire."

For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

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Kowloon-California
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 194
Founded: Apr 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kowloon-California » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:34 pm

Masroi
Lake Koroneia


A light breeze blew over the waterfront, bringing with it the sweet aroma of wine. The soft melodies of plucked strings could also be heard making its way over the waters, soothing the nerves and easing the soul. Although the sun had almost set, an inviting warmth still radiated from cobblestone pathways, whispering seductive ideas of further revelry under the stars. Such was life in Masroi, where opportunity was plentiful, and wine even more so.

Dorus VII was a man of vice, and he accepted that as fact. Every fortnight he rode out to the villa town at Lake Koroneia, and abandoned all pretense of governance to hold private parties at the royal residence. At the grand symposiums of the King, there was always a rotating gallery of professional courtesans paid handsomely for their entertainment, fine wines hailing from all parts of Telen, and always - new tidbits of interesting news or gossip. His councilmen back in Masroi city never seemed to mind his improprieties, but that perhaps had something to do with the fact that they were often also typically off on escapades of their own.

"Ahh . . . that does good to the soul," said Dorus, as he dipped his feet into the opened aired baths. It was towards the end of another long evening of revelry, and the young king appreciated the opportunity to properly unwind. Similarly, his ever familiar entourage of drinking companions joined him to partake in the age-old tradition of men's talk. Time quickly passed as they chatted about nothing and appreciated the buzzing of fireflies on the waterfront.

"Gera's blessings! What I wouldn't give to spend another extra five minutes with that woman!" Exclaimed Parminion, "but alas, all the gold in the world would not keep her husband from finding me and sticking a spear right through me!"

"That is a Sidonian warlord you're talking about, Parminion, and should such an event come to pass, I'm afraid the Council would rather appoint another Royal Magistrate than to bother saving you," said Dorus.

"There are more things to be afraid of from the South than Sidonians, if the latest rumors are to be humored." All heads turned to the newcomer to the conversation, who had mostly kept to himself for the evening.

Illyrius of Salenippos. It was unlikely that he was from Salenippos, nor was it likely that Illyrius was truly his name. Yet the traveling merchant was interesting as he was wealthy, and so he had found himself invited to the King's symposium.

"A messenger pigeon said to have come from Eretheos was said to have sent out a warning about the impending return of dragons. As an enterprising man myself, I'm not keen on jumping to conclusions, but neither am I one to tempt the gods," said Illyrius.

He leaned forward darkly and reached behind his back. "Your grace, I've seen many winters, and have withstood many a storm. Let me tell you this, Masroi will not be prepared unless this state adopts the great dragon wards which I have already helped Thassalos and Salenippos install onto their city walls."

Taken back by the serious tone adopted by Illyrius, Dorus gulped nervously and inquired, "This can't be for real, those dragons, they are legends, are they not? Do Thassalos and Salenippos also believe them to be a real threat?"

Illyrius responded, "Oh they do my lord, but with these wards, even the fiercest dragon fire will not breach your walls, not while you have the protection of the gods!"

With that, Illyrius whipped out his hand and splashed the party with a faceful of warm water before roaring with laughter. It was quite obvious in retrospect that it was nothing more than a prepubescent game, but such was the mystique of Illyrius that both Dorus and Parminion could not help but start to believe. Legends of dragons in Masroi were still legends, but they held an important place in their culture.

"You damned merchant, had I known you would be like this, I wouldn't have toasted to the health of your children," said Dorus, laughing all the same.

"You speak like this now, your grace, but don't say I didn't warn you when the Council starts asking you to lead Masroi's ballistae corps into battle!" chuckled Parminion.

"Ha! Perhaps then I'll finally be asked to do something interesting!" exclaimed Dorus.

Life in Masroi was good, perhaps too good at times. The Council managed the affairs of governance well enough, and at times Dorus wondered what use there was for a king. He had held the crown for no more than three years and had only seen twenty-three winters. He felt too young to be dealing with stuffy philosophers and had read enough about history to know that the entire reign of his father was spent acting as a glorified rubber stamp for succeeding terms of chancellors.

There was one exception, of course. Should Masroi ever need to raise a call to arms, the King would once again have reason to wield absolute authority to steer the city to safety. Still, that seemed to be a far away and unlikely possibility. This was Masroi after all, aside from occasional skirmishes with some dusty barbarians, who would ever want to intrude on their fine way of life?

"My friends, another round of wine! This time, let us make a toast to the dragons! Let them return, so that Parminion here can finally kill one with his arrow, and win over the love of his life!" With that, they resumed their night of drunken debauchery, leaving the worries of the world drift into the night sky.

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Tasuirin
Diplomat
 
Posts: 552
Founded: Oct 31, 2018
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Tasuirin » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:32 am

ERETHEOS
The southern city had been on highest alert ever since the ship came into the harbour. That ship had not been moved from its position, as the northern harbour of Eretheos was prepared instead of the south, and no-one cared enough to. Ships were being loaded up, as the Eretheonite population anticipated the attack that would likely come from the south. Some within the city still could not believe it. Some, though having heard the commotion, surmised that there was no truth to the claims. Dragons could not exist, else they would have been seen before, surely. So as some went about their duties, packing up the ships to depart soon, others scoffed at the faithless peasants and uneducated folk.

Though it must also have been noted that the Tyrant himself fully believed the claims. He had begun to prepare himself also, hoping to leave the city alongside the flight of people who agreed with the consensus of doom. The lack of confidence by their Tyrant was concerning to many. Did he not believe in the defenses of his own city? Though still, the scoffers scoffed, and the prepared ones continued to prepare, loading up their ships and preparing to flee.

City bureaucrats had already begun to see the first ships leave the north harbour. Most of them were sparsely supplied, with each containing a small detachments of the Eretheonite military, guarding the ships and ensuring that no pirates immediately killed the civilians. While piracy across the Zaphosic Sea was not, by any means, common, it wasn't a completely unknown phenomenon. The people who would go across the Zaphosic Sea would have to simply pray to Ereos for their safe passage. And pray that whatever beat its wings behind them remained behind.

The northern harbourmaster looked out over the waters of the Zaphosic sea. The fourteenth ship had just gone. There were plenty more to oversee the loading of. Suddenly, the south horn blew. Though it did not stop more than a few seconds at a time. That did not signal a ship from the south. That signalled imminent danger.

The city was thrown into a flurry of activity. The soldiers who were still there moved towards the dock walls. behind the walls were large ballistae. They had, at one point, been saved for when ships attacked. They simply hoped that it would stand against whatever approached them now. The men stopped moving, having grabbed any ranged weapons they could. A thick fog had descended. The man who had blown the horn spoke up.

"S-sorry... I thought I s-saw something. M-must have been mistaken."

The men rolled their eyes, but were empathetic. Everyone was on high alert. The men who had ran to the walls packed up, and the man who had blown the horn stood red faced, as a claw quickly flew up behind him, impaling him on its talons, leaving a bloody mess where he once stood.

"Dragon!"

Immediately the flurry resumed. The ballistae had been moderately altered to allow them to face away from the walls, but they still could not reach upwards, and the dragon which flew above moved quickly. It must have been at least 150 cubits in length, black wings and sharp talons, with a look of pure fury about it. But the worst had to come. Until suddenly, it did.

Bright orange flames pierced the fog, light refracting off of every surface, turning the dark stormy sky to bright pillars of death. The dragon was black. It had the shape of a wyvern about it, but it did not matter what kind of dragon it was, so much as how to destroy it. But as the fire continued to come down, burning at the men as they acted in futility to stop the beast with their only weapons, soon men began to lose hope.

The north harbourmaster panicked. The gates were opened, and almost immediately ships, still filling with people jumping from the shoreline, exited the north harbour. By the fifth ship to go through, soldiers were beginning to be seen on the decks of these ships, as they abandoned their posts, simply unable to fight such a beast. By the ninth, the dragon had seen what was occurring.

Ignoring the soldiers and their puny siege weapons, the dragon continued towards the north harbour, seeing its prey escaping. A great pillar of flame erupted, the shoreline with attempted refugees upon it being burnt, the stone blackening. The ships further into the harbour soon found themselves in a similar position. Being wooden, they began to catch fire, masts and sails first. The families on those ships abandoned into the water, but the dragon did not let up. A flame into the water, and soon enough the water began to boil, cooking the people who had seen that the ships could no longer be used.

As people began to abandon the harbour, running instead for the roads, the dragon headed them off. By the gates, after a small number had already escaped, the dragon perched upon the gatehouse, before sending fire into the column of people attempting to flee. Those who remained in the city, largely confined to the Tyrant's district, had already given up hope. Men lay down in the streets to die, having already butchered their wives and children to stop them from suffering such a terrible fate. The dragon offhandedly burnt anyone it came across. It reached the Tyrant's Palace, a tower on the one hill in the city. The dragon landed in front of the castle, and began to head in with the intent to kill all inside. Though all inside, including the Tyrant, were already dead. It moved in, bringing down much of the structure with it. The structure retained its integrity, and the dragon had found its new home, in a place meant for human luxury. Though with a supply of meat to last it a long while, the dragon did not care for the intentions of the place.

Dragons, for the first time since Irphos had wiped them out so long ago, had returned to Telen. The gods alone would save an unprepared city. If the gods even cared.
IC'ly, Tasuirin is:
An Absolute Monarchy, A Federal Monarchy, Neo-Feudalistic, Anti-Democratic, Mercantilist, Five Kingdoms, Ruled by One King
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ASEXUAL~ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ☭ ★ ☭ ★ ☭ ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ ATHEIST ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ CELTIC ⋅.} ──── ⊰
⊱ ──── {.⋅ AUSTRALIAN ⋅.} ──── ⊰

User avatar
Farahdeen
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 59
Founded: Sep 12, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Farahdeen » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:05 pm

Sypria

Waves crashed against the stony banks of the canals and islands, the sea churned with anger and ferocity the Syprians hadn't seen in years. Sure the city had seen storms before, that's why the founders built many precautions so the city wouldn't flood, but every once a decade or so a terrible storm would form, seemingly the incarnate of both Imlus' and Mirsa's wrath. Lightning ripped through the skies and thunder roared down upon the Telenians. The docked ships tumbled and bobbed helplessly in the sea. Wind buffeted the city and sent rain flying in the face of anyone outside, stinging them. Few Syprians were out and about, most were sitting quietly in their homes comforting their children.

The island temples of Mira and Imlus were bustling with activity. Priest Ikonius and his clergy were busy lighting incense, sprinkling spices, and sacrificing animals to appease the goddess Mira. The priest was hard at work and barked orders at his servants.

"Fidelius! Do not sprinkle the turmeric in the sea!" he shrieked with ghastly horror, "Do you want Mira to completely destroy us?! Oh Heavens above and Hades below, use the cinnamon!" The priest grabbed a fistful of cinnamon and began sprinkling the spice in the raging sea, his left hand formed signs and he chanted the same phrase a couple of times: "Obitulus feverum Mira prestium.". Ikonius stopped and gestured for young Fidelius to copy him.

On the island temple of Imlus the scene was much different than the sister clergy, the followers of Imlus weren't running around trying to appease their god, they were calmly assisting their Priestess in her rituals. On the island was a tower constructed specifically for getting closer with Imlus. At the top a group of worshipers stood around their priestess. Cymbals and bells were being clanged in a rhythm similar to the sound of thunder. The rain poured down heavily and the winds threatened to blow the clergy off the tower.

"Oh Imlus, father of all, your creation doth weep and rage. Answer your loyal one's call and bring upon us understanding for why you are troubled." The old priestess, by the name of Antheia, bowed to her god. Lightning decorated the sky in a terrible array of patterns. "Yes, yes! Imlus speaks!" The hag of a woman studied the sky intently, and began reading Imlu's message: "A sound..." she paused waiting for another lightning strike, "...rings louder..." another pause, "...than the glorious thunder of the skies. Strong winds will beat..." pause, "...down upon you, and thee..." pause, "...shall cry out to the gods..." pause, "...for mercy!"

A scribe wrote down the words and repeated it: "A sound rings louder than the glorious thunder of the skies. Strong winds will beat down upon you, and thee shall cry out to the gods for mercy!"

The priestess ordered a message to be sent to the Chancellor along with the immediate gathering of the Council of Zora.

* * *
Lucius Baelius, the Chancellor of the State, sat idly in his room watching the sky light up and the rain pour down. He took a sip of his silver goblet; white Syprian wine was sweet, yet it burned all the way down the throat, it was to be drunken slowly. Lucius was a man of great achievements, while not yet 35 he had already been the leading admiral of the Syprian navy. For the past 2 years he successfully beat back the southern Rhean forces that were encroaching on Syprian trade routes. While not a difficult campaign, it certainly dragged out much longer than he anticipated. But now all was well, he had returned to his flourishing city and was at rest, even if a bit bored.

A knock on the door.

"Come in." Lucius called and then sipped his wine.

A young lad opened the heavy wooden doors and walked in carrying a damp scroll. He bowed to the Chancellor and held the scroll out within reach.

Lucius set his goblet down on a table and grabbed the scroll, unfurling it in the process and began to read to himself:

To the Chancellor,

Imlus, our god above, has given your faithful servant, Priestess Antheia, a message of importance. Please call for the council immediately, we must discuss this prophecy behind closed doors.


Lucius sighed deeply, but got up from his couch and walked over to his dressing room. "Call for the Zora, servant boy."

The servant rushed out and did as he was told.

* * *
In about twenty minutes the council had gathered in the meeting hall and whispers had already started between themselves. All but Ikonius and Antheia were talking, the two just sat patiently waiting for Lucius. Chancellor Viktorus Pritori could not make it to the meeting, he was out on a trip with his fellow philosophers discussing the meaning of life and whatnot in some Telenian city in Pelagia.
Lucius Baelius walked in, he was dressed in plain blue formal robes. He sat at his seat and then pounded the table, "Quiet! Quiet I said! We have something pressing to discuss!"

The council quieted down and Lucius gestured to Antheia to begin speaking. The old woman stood up and began, "My fellow Zorans, Imlus has spoken to me. His great lightning foretold of a prophesy." She cleared her throat and began, "A sound rings louder than the glorious thunder of the skies. Strong winds will beat down upon you, and thee shall cry out to the gods for mercy!" Antheia paused, the room was quiet. The council pondered this message carefully. She carefully sat down and said, "I know not what Imlus means, and I do not believe he speaks of a more terrible storm to come."

Lucius sat quietly thinking the message over. He wasn't a very religious man, so he took this prophesy as a grain of salt. "You called us together to discuss this message?" He chuckled, that raised some eyebrows from the Zorans. "Antheia, you're thinking it over too much. I've heard it only once and I already know what it means. It's simple really, a sound that rings louder than the thunder is obviously our war trumpets. Strong winds? That is most certainly the winds of Mira guiding our sails to our enemy. The enemy will cry out for mercy as we pillage their cities! This is a wonderful message! Don't you see?" Lucius laughed, the tension in the room subsided a bit. "What a ridiculous thing to be frightened about!"
Antheia rose once more and exclaimed, "But Chancellor! Why would Imlus send this storm upon us if it wasn't to warn us?"
"How else would he get a message across to you?" Lucius laughed and some of the other Zorans chuckled.

Antheia sat down looking a bit defeated, but Ikonius took her place and stood up, "I believe Antheia's worrying is not without cause. Mira has given me signs as well, of danger these past few weeks. I didn't alert you all because I wasn't sure of the signs. But now I see, and with Mira's wrathful seas threatening to flood Sypria I have now realized the importance of something she speaks about. I believe that today Imlus and Mira have joined forces to give us this prophesy." Ikonius looked at Antheia, "Thank you, Antheia for opening my eyes." He sat down.

The Chancellor's fingers rapped against the table rhythmically before he replied. "There is nothing to worry about, Sypria has been prospering every abundantly every coming month. Gera and Ophina have blessed us immensely, and if I recall correctly Agoras and Ereuthalion have said this period of blessings will continue until mid Summer. Do the priests of Gera and Ophina not have a, equal message as your god Antheia? If Chancellor Viktorus was here he would remind you that we serve the Pantheon, not one single god." Lucius paused to catch his words, "As such, I do not believe there is anything to worry about." Some Zorans voiced their agreement.

Ikonius looked like he would protest, but he didn't. He knew there was no point arguing if wise old Viktorus wasn't here.

"Chancellor, if I may lead the council to a different subject." Cilissa the Kyver Priestess spoke up.

"Yes go ahead, I think this matter is done." Lucius eyed the two Zorans; Ikonius and Antheia sat quietly, their faces showed both anger and worry.

"Thank you. I would like to remind you about the Salenippean that arrived here not too long ago."

Lucius' eyebrows raised, "What Salenippean?"

"The one who spoke to you personally a week or so ago, he's still waiting for your answer."

"Oh! Why I had almost forgotten about him. What was his proposal again?"

"If I remember correctly, when you first shared his message to us it was something along the lines of wanting to form a military alliance against Thassalos."

"Ah yes, I will send a letter with the Salenippean very soon. All I will tell the council is that relations will possibly improve with those Pelagians."

"Yes Chancellor."

"Anything else of importance?" Lucius asked.

"Xenos asks for our ships in help to fight with the Salenippeans." a voice spoke up.

"I see. I believe Salenippos is hiring those Xenosians to fight against Thassalos."

The council mumbled an agreement.

"Yes, it is likely. This coming war will prove fruitful for both Sypria and its merchants! You see everyone? Antheia's prophesy foretold of this war. How reassuring to see the gods are on our side. I will send a letter at once to Xenos!" Lucius paused.

"If there is nothing else to be discussed, this meeting is over." No one said anything. "Very well, dismissed! May the gods protect you all from this storm."

* * *


To the Tyrant of Salenippos, Cherrhos,

Sypria will gladly help your fight against the Thassalians. Far too long have they controlled the Pelagian seas. My Phirsis will fight. We will join your war in a few weeks time. Until then, prepare your men as I will mine.

From Chancellor Lucius Baelius of Sypria



To the Admiral of Xenos,

Sypria will assist Xenos in their fight with the Salenippeans. Our ships are not a toy to be used haphazardly. Xenos, being a city full of mercenaries and undoubtedly hired by the Salenippeans with their fight against Thassalos, shouldn't be surprised if Sypria requests a payment of gold in return for their services.

From Chancellor Lucius Baelius of Sypria

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Toaslandia
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Toaslandia » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:55 pm

Augur Magnus awoke from a nightmarish dream with a start. He had dreamed of a large beast with scaled skin burning the land, and he burst into the Lord of the Dominion's Council Chamber and said, "I had a vision!" The Council turned to him and one of them, Count Palatinate Brutus del Yevon stood and said, "Who are you who interrupts this council!? Guards, seize him!" As the guards moved to arrest the Augur, Gaspar rose and said, "Stop! This man is an Augur of Geros! To harm him is to harm of servant of Geros!" The guards stopped and Magnus bowed to Gapar, who then asked, "Well then, Augur Magnus, what was your vision?" Magnus rose and said, "I saw a creature, one larger than this palace flying through the air, scaled skin and a mouth that shot flame across the land." Count Palatinate Brutus stood and said, "Do you think us fools? dragons have been extinct for hundreds of years, and now you're saying that they've returned?" Gaspar looked at Magnus and said, "If what you have said is true, we should be prepared. Go, all of you. This Council meeting is over."
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Former Citizens of the Nimbus System
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Former Citizens of the Nimbus System » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:22 pm

The Agora, City of Syros

Aratos son of Erastos strolls through the agora, gathering-place of all Syriots, the polis’ confluence. This is the place of the Hetaroion, the law courts, the ever-bustling marketplace, of hundreds upon hundreds of Telenians, citizen, non-citizen and foreigner alike, coming together to settle the matters of the day.

He looks to the acropolis. The great Lighthouse of Syros, topped by its proud bronze statue of Mira, her stormnet with which she catches ships glinting Syriot silver in the sunlight, looks over all. Were it night, the pharos’ fiery beacon would shine for miles across the Dragonflight Strait, a guiding light to all.

Aratos smiles as he wanders towards the central stoa, coloured in gaudy maroons, returning his gaze towards his destination. It is where his meeting is due to take place, after all.

Kynakles son of Kynakles perhaps stands out within the crowded colonnade more than most. If his great brown beard and mighty arms weren’t enough, the brown apron of leather does rather give him away. Were he out on any other day, this might be all.

On this day, however, the iron cuirass that he is carrying differentiates him further.

“Ho, strategos!” the smith calls, raising his unoccupied hand into the air in greeting. “I didn’t think that I’d be seeing you in person! How goes the morning?”

“I am well,” is Aratos’ answer, delivered with a chuckle and a wave in return. “And why wouldn’t I want to see the work of the finest blacksmith on the isle as soon as I am able? You diminish yourself.”

Kynakles gives a hearty laugh. “Well, if you want it that badly…” He hefts the mighty armour in one hand, proffering it. Aratos snaps his fingers; Xanthias dashes to his side, moving to temporarily unclasp his cloak before taking up the piece and navigating the straps that will secure it in place. Aratos looks down as his slave works, admiring it. “This silverwork…” He smiles up at Kynakles, gesturing to the clasps, made after the twin dragons and lighthouse that symbolise the city. “I like this very much. You didn’t just hammer down some good-sized coins and make do, did you?”

The smith raises a hand to his chest in mock horror at the joke. “You wound my partner’s work by saying so! I merely thought that having the symbol of our fair polis upon your breast would inspire those around you to action, mine strategos!”

“Borne directly upon Thassalean iron.”

“Only the best for the one who will lead us to battle.”

Aratos grins. He rolls his shoulders, feeling the weight settle across his torso. As a glove. “Ah, but this is good, Kynakles. You have my sincerest thanks, friend.”

The smith looks up, scratching his head. “You were the one who commissioned it. Your silver. Besides, it saves me from making bullets all day. By the dog, if my father were still alive to be forcing me to do that…”

“Then he would have been a very foolish man indeed.”

Kynakles looks as if he is about to answer when Aratos feels a tug on his arm. “Strategos!” He turns to see an unnamed man, urgency in his voice… And is that fear? “Strategos, you should come to the harbour, now. There is somebody you will want to meet.”

Aratos frowns. He glances up – to see a small crowd, nervous energy practically pouring from the group, gathered behind him. Mira, what… “What is your name, man?”

“I am Kadmos, sir – Kadmos son of Leodes, forgive me.” He glances behind him, towards the West Gate. “Sir, please, I must implore that you come.”

Aratos nods his head, lips pressed together. “Yes, I think so.” He turns to Xanthias – who is already undoing the armour’s fastenings. “Run back to the house; put it with my other wargear,” he commands. Then, with a sharp nod and a small smile to Kynakles, he begins to stride towards the gate. He turns to Kadmos, running at his side, the crowd following behind, and tries to offer a smile. “Kadmos, who is it that I must meet?”

“I…” Aratos sees him struggle to get words from his mouth for a good few seconds before he shakes his head. “I am sorry, sir, I cannot say. Better it be that I imagined the whole thing than I be right.”

By the gods… What manner of man must this be‽

The group winds through the gateway, its pediment flanked by great carvings of triremes under full sail, walking into the dockside itself. Many dozens of ships lie moored, laden with goods and coin and just as many being loaded with and unloading the same, bringing prosperity to Syros and sending its name and fame across the seas. Beyond, in the harbour’s West, the great gallery shelters its swift, bronze-beaked inhabitants from the beating sun, built into the same rock that rises to the acropolis. Walls across land and water enclose the whole.

The harbour, as always, bustles. Now, though, that bustling is concentrated around a ship – a merchant vessel by the looks of it. A vast throng seethes, men shouting and stretching for a better look at something at the docks’ very edge. Shaking his head in bewilderment, Aratos parts it; with a few grumbles here and there, he is gradually let to the front.

He sees a group of men. A few weep upon the ground. A few kneel. A few clasp at each other as if to remind themselves that they are here at all.

“I…” Aratos hesitates for a moment, then steps forward towards one of them who seems marginally more stable than the rest. “You there. Who are –”

The man turns, eyes suddenly wild, his body shaking. Aratos nearly jumps away; fortunately for him, he manages to keep it to a swift step back. “It won’t get us here,” the man intones manically. “They fled from here, didn’t they? They wouldn’t come back here. We’re safe.” He begins to nod with an alarming rapidity. “We’re safe. We’re safe.”

This… The gods have surely touched these men. Aratos wills himself forward again, bowing his head solemnly and summoning as calm a tone and benevolent a smile as he can – not purely for the benefit of those around him. “You are safe here, yes. We will shield you. Though, if I may ask, safe from what?”

“It burned Eretheos.” The man starts nodding again. “All the ships, too – we saw them as they were leaving the harbour. We would have burned with them if we were there. But we’re here, so we didn’t!” He smiles proudly. “And now it won’t get us.”

Aratos frowns, shaking his head. Eretheos is sacked? “Forgive me but I still don’t understand. I know little of Sidonian affairs; if there was a war there then I will inform my fellows but –”

“Oh, there’s a war there now, yes!” The man practically cackles. “That’s what dragons do, isn’t it? They just fight and fight and fight until there’s nothing left! Like Eretheos! Ha! Ha ha ha!”

Aratos stares. He turns, looking at the huddling men, then at the ship. Something catches his eye at its front.

The wood is discoloured. It is also blistered.

Utterly overwhelmed, Aratos turns to the crowd. “Somebody take these men to Gera’s temple,” he calls – “and if nobody is already, someone else find Phormos.” He begins to stride away. “The rest of the Hetaroi need to know about this.”
Emmet: You might see a mess -
Lord Business: Exactly: a bunch of weird, dorky stuff that ruined my perfectly good stuff!
Emmet: Okay. What I see are people, inspired by each other and by you - people taking what you made and making something new out of it.

The central Nimban cultural ideal summed up in an exchange from The Lego Movie.
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The Hoosier Alliance
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Corporate Police State

Postby The Hoosier Alliance » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:29 am

Polemarch Lydus and a number of his Strategos filled the benches of the rectangular wooden table they sat at as they drank, ate, and discussed matters, either personal or that of the state. They mostly sat to drink, constantly calling the slave that served them back for more ale and beer. The rest of the room was empty, with only two other unoccupied tables in the room. The room was restricted to the Polemarch and his Strategos, as well as the selected slaves to serve them. A few guards were also in the room, holding their spears tightly and did not move from their spots near the walls and doors of the room. "To Thal!" One of the Strategos said, raising his mug into the air, "God-King of Man, Protector of Thalmos, Bane of Rheas!" The other men cheered slurred their approval, bumping their mugs together spilling more of it on the table than they meant to.

As the men settled back into their seats and continued to drink, the slave returned with a rag and began to clean up the mess the men had made. As the slave finished up and turned back towards the kitchen, the doors to the exclusive dining hall opened. A young soldier entered, his sword sheathed. In his hand he held a message and as he approached the table, he fell to one knee and bowed his head, "My Polemarch, we have received a message from Tahkt-i-Soh." The Polemarch took the message, "Thank you. You serve Thalmos well." The man stood, bowed, and turned and left. Polemarch Lydus opened the folded paper and read to himself. After a few moments, as his Strategos silently waited, he began to reread the note, this time aloud.

By the Embers of the Eternal Flame,

Know that on this day you are graced by the attention of Cyrashokt III, Banshada of Tahkt-i-Soh, the Fireborn, Blood of Ahazadash, Living Goddess of the Hazedans, She Who is Warmest, Daughter of the Sun.

The Great Banshada has been forced to put to death her former consort for his failure to provide her with an heiress; a tragedy for him, yet an opportunity for you. The Hazedans will soon march to war in Telen in order to build an empire worthy of Her Holiness. Victory has been foreseen and is indisputable, but you need not join the ranks of the soon-to-be-slain. You need not watch your cities reduced to naught but ash and cinder by the burning hands of Her Divine Grace, nor your people cooked and broiled like boars. The Banshada offers you a chance not only to survive the coming onslaught; but to profit from it. She will spare your city in return for the hand in marriage of either the most handsome man or the most beautiful woman of your city; creating a permanent and fruitful alliance between Tahkt-i-Soh and Thalmos. This offer has been sent as well to your neighboring city of Almaria. Both of your cities must present an offering to the Amber Palace within the coming fortnight. Should you refuse, it will mean war. Should your offering prove dissatisfying, it will mean war. Should both offerings prove acceptable, then both cities shall be spared. The Most Merciful Banshada gives you this one chance to ensure not only your survival, but your independence. You have only to benefit from alliance with Tahkt-i-Soh; you have only to suffer to become an enemy. Spare your people the holy torch - sacrifice one to save thousands. It is the wisest move.

May Ahazadash bless you with the wisdom to agree to Her Most Fair Terms.


The men sat in silence for a moment, looking from one to the other. The Polemarch broke the silence, "So, what do you think, my Strategos?" A number of men immediately spoke up, the drinking making them shout a little louder and slam their fists a little harder. "My Polemarch, we mustn't bend the knee to these bastards! They're backwards, ruled by women for Thal's sake, and worship a false god!" Another shouted, "Yes, but they could be a valuable ally. We all know their army isn't to be ignored." "Yes," said another, "But we don't need another powerful army! We need allies with a navy."

The men shouted back and forth, pointing out the merits of such an alliance and the downside of such an alliance. Finally, Polemarch Lydus slammed his fist on the table, silencing everyone. "Enough! You bicker like children. Such an alliance disgusts me to my very core, but could prove useful. Almaria has received a similar offer, we shall approach them first. For now, we will send a message, thanking them for their offer, but put off deciding until we have an answer from Almaria. You are dismissed," he said, angrily.

Greetings once more, High Priest of Almaria. We understand that you have received a similar offer from Tahkt-i-Soh. I, Polemarch Lydus, believe it would be beneficial if we discuss how we should approach the matter, either joining Tahkt-i-Soh in an alliance, or fighting these heathens.


We thank you, Banshada of Tahkt-i-Soh. Your offer is currently being reviewed by Polemarch Lydus and his council of Strategos. You will have your response in due time.
Last edited by The Hoosier Alliance on Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery
- Thomas Jefferson
What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms
- Thomas Jefferson
Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it
-Mark Twain
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
- Benjamin Franklin
To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them
-George Mason
I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.
-George Mason

Nation doesn't represent my views.


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