What Lies Beneath

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Uncle Noel
Posts: 95
Founded: Antiquity
Corrupt Dictatorship

What Lies Beneath

Postby Uncle Noel » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:15 am

OOC: This is open to the Western Atlantic and those nations regularly RP with the nations of the Western Atlantic. If you have any doubts about whether or not you should post, please telegram and request an invitation.

In this ever-changing world in which we live, the Socialist People’s Fiefdom of Anahuac had begun to pride itself on a certain (slightly boring) stability. In a region where Pantocratoria continued its slow spiral into nationalism at best and fascism at worse; where Caldan worried about its direction and the long continuity of her institutions and whether her best days now lay behind; where Snefaldia and Excalbia spoke warm words whilst sharpening their bayonets, where Knootoos was governed by snake oil salesmen and Ernestria circled the precipice of civil war; compared to all these Anahuac was a beacon of stability and order.

It helped, of course, that the Party had done a damn good job of selling a version of itself on the international stage. Was it not reasonable, asked the elites of the region gathered in a ski resort in Kartlis or at a conference centre in Providencia, to imagine that a country that displayed the best virtues of dispassionate statecraft upon regional stage might also reflect a certain commendable pragmatism at home? Was it not inevitable, mused the doyens of the Excalbian military-industrial complex whilst stroking their fashionable beards, to conclude that the Party might not one day be coaxed down the road of abandoning its quaint communist tendencies and fully joining the congress of civilized nations?

It was an understandable view to be sure. Commendable, in a certain way, but it missed the point. This vaunted pragmatism, this high-minded attachment to a little utilitarianism, did not originate from the purest intentions of the heart but from a sober evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses upon the regional stage. In reality Anahuac had two choices before her: participant or pariah. Daytanistan occupied the later, and the grey men of the politburo were too proud to fund their nation by selling heroin in the nightclubs of Williamsburg

But that was foreign affairs, an arena of competing interests and mutual benefit. Were Anahuac the size of Snefaldia then this calculation would be very different. But it was not, and so compromise had won the day.

At home, well...that was a different story. Here the Party was a monolith, standing as a colossus over the lands in which it held sway. What need had it for negotiation or compromise? These were words spoken abroad. There was no need for them in the Workers’ State where the Party’s will was as hard iron.

Stability, though, comes with a price and it was not the leaders who paid it but their citizens. Some of it was material; the party elders were sure, nay convinced, that those living in the villages skirting the Centzontepec mountains were happy to forego electrification in order that the funds were available for a new generation of jet fighters. That much was obvious.

But it was the political arena that suffered the most. The gulags of the Spode era were gone, that foundations dug up so as to deny even archaeological evidence as to their once existence. The Party, however, did not need a boot stamping on a face forever to maintain its control, and it didn’t need to physically break men to make them subservient. A comfortable life awaited those who did not question; the loss of jobs, status, friends and ultimately liberty awaited those that demanded more.

The Anahuacan police state rested on many pillars. There were the usual suspects; the police, both secret and otherwise, together with the army. All media followed, like a waterfall, from the government and those that did not, like Social Media, were intensely monitored lest subversive ideas infect the body politic like a cancer.

There were also less obvious fetters. It was not unusual for the partially-informed foreigner to ask at what point in her history was Anahuac colonised by Europeans. The standard response, certainly from Valdricians, was to point to the ruins of their past and explain in as friendly (if exasperated) voice as possible that the prevalent Nahuatl speakers had not arrived on the plateau much before those hardy Ostrogoths had settled the coast. And, they would go on to say, Valdrass is at least half a millenium older than Itztlan.

A mistaken question, however, is not without merit. For thirteen centuries the two peoples had existed as neighbours; the fruits of that relationship being more often conflict than mutual respect, indifference rather than engagement. Many a Tochtepec emperor, keen to show his martial prowess, would lead his armies down from the plateau in an attempt to drive those Europeans into the sea. Likewise would young adventurers, keen to seek the vast treasure that lay in the alien interior, set forth to seek their fortune never to be heard from again. The great bastion walls of Valdrass were a testament to that precarious existence.

The point of this history lesson? A question; was Anahuac racist? Well no, replied the Party, because racism was a symptom of Class War of which they had none. Press them on the overwhelmingly white faces in the upper echelons of the Party and you may get a reply that focused on the ongoing legacy of Capitalism and a handwave about the necessity of historical materialism, how most of the industrialisation that had occurred had taken place in the old Serene Republic and therefore, with a Valdrician proletariat, it must needs be remarked that the vanguard that emerged from it from also be Valdrician.

But that was the past and the Fiefdom has existed since 1948. Surely that legacy ought to have dissipated by now. You might then wonder why, for all their talk of being protectors of the Nāhuatlācatl in a harsh and unfeeling world, the Party still saw no reason to promote anything like true bilingualism. In a thousand ways, from the language of higher education to the forms issued by their government, the Nahuas felt like second-class citizens in the lands in which they had always lived. Such feelings could not go unchecked forever; change was coming; some said you could almost feel it in the air.

They had put on a good show, but outward stability could not mask the cracks within forever. To understand Anahuac, you had to not look only at what the image the Party projected but at what lies beneath it.

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Uncle Noel
Posts: 95
Founded: Antiquity
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Uncle Noel » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:43 pm

The Begijnhof, Cuauhxayacatitlan

The rain hammered hard against the car as it bounced and slipped up the cobbled street. It was a black night, and the previously pleasant early spring day had given way to a foreboding storm. The driver looked about anxiously. “There are ill-omens to this night,” he muttered partly to his passenger but mostly to himself.

Colonel Teuixaual Itzatapalli looked up from the papers he was reading. “Concentrate on the road,” he barked. Eventually the narrow street ended in a forbidding gatehouse. The Colonel fetched his hat and reassembled the papers into a briefcase which he proceeded to lock.

“Wait for me,” he said. The driver glanced nervously about the street. “How long will you be,” he asked, pausing for a moment before he remembered to add the obligatory “Comrade Colonel.”

Itzatapalli laughed and, leaning between the driver and front passenger seat, he pointed at the carved figures upon the gatehouse. “Relax Comrade,” he said, “See look, Tlaloc is watching you. He’s the god of the rains isn’t he? He’ll make sure nothing happens to you or, more importantly, to the car. Now wait, and enough with this superstitious rot.”

He stepped out the car and moved as swiftly as he dared across the wet cobblestones. The street was quiet, so quiet in fact that he heard the doors of the car lock as he left it, causing him to smile at the soldier’s ill-founded fears.

Once he was under the cover of the gatehouse he removed his peaked cap and shook it to remove as much of the rain as he could. A length of coiled rope hung down from a hole in the ceiling above and, presuming this was connected to a door bell, he pulled at it. Either the door was heavier than he thought, or the bell smaller than he imagined, for he had no corresponding sound. He pulled it again and listened but, against the rain, he could hear nothing. Clenching his fist so as to pound against the door a small hatch suddenly opened above him and a shrouded face looked down at him.

“You’re late for the festival,” said the man, “Come back next year.” And with that the hatch closed leaving the colonel, a man unused to being refused anything, standing in astonished silence. Realising his mistake he put his hat back on and, puffing out his chest as best he could under a military raincoat, he pulled the rope again.

The hatch reopened. “I thought I told you…” began the gatekeeper but this time he had the desired response, “Oh, my apologies Sir, I mean comrade.” The hatch was quickly closed but even with the weather Itzatapalli could hear the sound of heavy locks being turned. Eventually the door creaked open a fraction and the Colonel made his way inside.

The Nahuatl religion had, it was fair to say, only relatively recently made the transition from sacrifices to prayer and it had struggled, at times, to build a new understanding on the old vocabulary. Various experiments had taken place during the old Tochtepec Empire, both entirely original innovations and others largely copied from the heathens on the coast. The Begijnhof, to use the Ostgoten’s word, was an example of this. The faith had always had the equivalent of monks and nuns, dedicated to the particular cult of whichever god they served, but the Begijnhof was different. For a start the truly ascetic requirements of the religious life were neither complete nor permanent, though efforts were made to impart the sacrifice of prayer with the same seriousness and urgency of sacrifice of a human kind. Here, in a community dedicated to no one deity over another, had been founded a community of widows or unmarried women who might honour the gods with the lifeblood of the pious heart as opposed to the still beating one.

The gatekeeper, Itzatapall could see now, was a tiny figure, bent double with age and requiring a stool in order to see out the hatch. “How can I help you Comrade….” he left the sentence hanging as he waited for the other man to confirm his rank. Itzatapall considered for a moment a refusal to answer, or else provide a fictional name, but he decided against it. It would only rouse the further suspicion of the VKS when they came to investigate.

“Colonel Itzatapalli, I take it that you don’t want my number as well.”
“No no,” replied the elderly gatekeeper, “Not at all. I am just anxious to be of any assistance I can to an officer of our fine Volksweermag.”
Itzatapalli fished a hand into his pocket and produced a card. “I am after her.”

The gatekeeper squinted at the name but could not make it out in the poor light and so half-limped a few steps to the window of his home. Profiled against the light, Itzatapalli could make out the other man’s deeply wrinkled face and the look of shock when he was eventually able to read the name.

“You seem surprised,” said the Colonel.
“It,” the gatekeeper began, choosing his words carefully, “Was not who I expected. That is all. She has been here the longest, she was here even when I was a boy and my father the gatekeeper before me. I, well I just don’t know why she would suddenly be of interest now.”

The Colonel smiled. “Old books tell new stories to those that have not read them. Tell me where I can find her, and I will be sure to have your diligence noted to the Religious Affairs Commission.”

The gatekeeper hesitated for a moment. “Number four,” he said, pointing across the courtyard, “But knock loudly, her hearing is not what it used to be.”

Itzatapalli smiled but, in the shadow cast by his hat, he was unsure whether the old man would have seen it. He didn’t care enough to check the point and instead moved back into the rain. Following the direction of the point he found a small white-washed bungalow with a flickering light behind the shutters. He knocked, and for the second time in a few minutes was left unsure as to whether he had been heard. He knocked again, still there was no answer. Remembering the gatekeeper’s words he tried the handle and found the door to be unlocked, which amazed him at the time but later seemed self-evident; why would a community like this even need locks?

He entered a small hallway. “Hello?” he asked but heard nothing save for the crackling of a wood stove. He followed the sound and found himself standing in the doorway of a small tiled kitchen. The object of his visit sat in the corner with her back to him. She seemed motionless, to the extent that he began to fear that he had been too late and that Xolotl had already arrived to guide her soul to Mictlān. Quickly stepping into the room he noticed then the shrine that she had obscured, and with that he heard her softly muttered prayers of thanksgiving and requests. He was not too late then.

He waited for her to finish, and as he did he now looked about the room properly. Behind him was an old iron stove upon which he could smell a bubbling pot of maize gruel. On the small windowsill sat a small clay figure of Xipe Totec, the flayed one, regarded the colonel with what seemed like haughty contempt. The design was an ancient one, unchanged whether it had been made a year, a century or a millennium ago. It contrasted with the image Chalchiuhtlicue before which the old woman sat, her image illuminated by a flickering tallow candle. There was no denying that fashions had changed, for Chalchiuhtlicue looked out from the picture with a look of unending divine mercy as from the red stool next to her flowed a stream of pure water. Gone were the images of the gods as squat, or even ugly, for the contemporary style was to depict them as wholly beautiful. If the colonel was being honest, there was now something of the Virgin Mary in the way she was depicted, a sign of the general pollution of his culture brought about by the Ostgoten and their heathen ways.

So distracted was he by his furious thoughts regarding the besmirchment of the visual arts of the Nahuatl in favour of European pastiche that he did not notice that the prayers had ended. The subject of his visit stood before him straightened out the folds of her green cuēitl, a sign of her religious calling.

She regarded him seriously. “Well,” she said after a moment, “It was only a matter of time before someone like you turned up.”

The colonel blinked. Had the VKS guessed his plans and arrived ahead of him. “What do you mean?” he asked in as calm a voice as he could muster.

She did not instantly reply but instead pointed to a small basket that sat by the stove. “I use the newspapers for kindling,” she said by way of explanation, “And it’s all propaganda, I know that of course, but read anything carefully enough and the truth will eventually come out, because sometimes the story is as much what you’re not told than what you are.”

“And what do these newspapers tell you?”

She shrugged. “That things aren’t as great as they pretend that they are.”

“And what does that have to do with me being here?”

“Well it’s obvious isn’t it?” She moved across the room and stirred the pot upon the stove, “The most pernicious nostalgia isn’t for the things of your childhood but for the childhoods of your parents, for the life you don’t half-remember but for what you could never have seen for yourself.”

“And is that me, a seeker for a lost past?”
She shrugged again. “You tell me.”
“I will do, but first I should like to know your name.”
“You must know it, otherwise Tepiltzin at the gate would not have directed you here.”
“True, but I should like to hear it from you.”
“I am just an old woman spending her allotted days in simple peace and harmony.”
“Enough,” the Colonel’s patience have now run dry, “You are also Princess Tecuichpoch, last surviving child of Tetlepanquetzatzin III, the last Tochtepec Emperor.”

She sniffed and stirred the pot again.

“Do you deny this?” demanded Itzatapalli. She did not look up. “What good does it do me,” she replied, “To say yes or no? The Empire you seek is gone, and with it the Imperial Family of which you speak. But if it placates you sir then yes, my father was the late Emperor and my mother the Lady Malinalxochitl, not a favoured concubine but not despised either.”

The colonel grunted. “It has taken me some time to find you. The records, though not definitive, suggest you are dead.”

“I am dead Colonel,” she said, and with that she turned and pointed to the one picture in the room which was not of a deity, It was black and white and showed a Nahuatl man, smartly dressed in a double-breasted suit, sitting on a chaise longue with a cigarette holder clamped between his teeth.

“That man,” continued the Princess, “Was my husband, Nezahualpilli, from an old and proud lineage. All the way back to the Zacamecs, so they say.” She paused and collected herself. “He was killed by the Communists when they took power. They don’t say that now, of course, but they rounded up a whole host once they were finally in control and we were some of them. My husband was not one of the fortunate ones, few were under that monster Spode, but I was given a choice. I could either join my husband in Mictlān, or else renounce my old life and live out my days here. To my shame I chose the later, and here you find me now, with my prayers and my memories.”

This talk of the Party and its crimes struck a chord with the Colonel, who now spoke animatedly. “The time for change will soon be upon us Princess, and the wrongs done to you will be paid for thrice over. The old man cannot last forever, and when he finally goes then we will see changes in this country.”

She turned and looked at him. Her eyes seemed almost to pierce him. “I would not be so sure,” she said quietly but forcefully, “Of his imminent departure. I cannot say too much because the bonds made between those who come to make a sin-offering, and those that prepare it, are sacrosanct.”

There was a pause, during which only the shove could be heard. “But…” prompted Itzatapalli.

“The Excalbians, is it the Excalbians or is it the Caldans? Anyway one of them has the expression ‘follow the money’. I suggest you do so.”
The Colonel, unsure of what to make of this, promptly made a mental note to investigate this further but otherwise to carry on regardless.
“Either way, whether he perishes through age or from a bullet, his time surely must be numbered. It is then that you must help us.”

Tecuichpoch gave a bark of laughter. “Oh must I?” she asked, “And what is it that I must do?”

“Why, we are to restore the Tochtepec Empire,” replied the Colonel, “And you are to be the Empress.”

The bark of laughter was now replaced with the cough of dismay. “Empress?”

“Why of course. Now I admit that succession was to men only but I am sure as a one-off it will be fine, and you the only surviving Imperial offspring.”

“And then what? I am not sure, Colonel, whether you were listening when I said that my husband was murdered before your parents were born but that is not much of an Imperial Dynasty you want to rebuild.”

It was the Colonel’s time to shrug. “There are cousins, second-cousins, from whom the next Huey Tlatoani could be elected. The House of Tlanextli still exists.”

“What?” she scoffed, “That litany of drunks and whoremongers propping up the bars in Bogendorf and Victoria? No greater argument for republicanism has yet been found.”

Itzatapalli gave a dismissive wave of the hand. “Someone will be found. The family members will elect the most suitable for the role, whether they have to be directed to that choice or not.”

She placed her hands on her hips. “And then what?”

“I don’t understand the question? The Empire will be restored, our culture and traditions will no longer be denigrated as inferior and we may begin the steady process of national renewal.”

“And what about those Ostgoten, the Valdricians so which you seem so dismissive.”

“What of them? We have no objection to those remaining who adapt to our lifestyle but we would have to see.”

“So this national renewal only sees the restoration of our nation, not theirs?”

“I don’t want to get into a historical debate but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Valdrass was built on stolen land, we were here first! I suppose arrangements could be made for reduced Serene Republic, perhaps, but many states in the region are crying out for the diligent migrants that the Ostgoten could provide.”

“You’re crazy.”

“We’re not. Look, I admire the idealism of Wamba Grosz, the Father of Anahuac, as much as the next man but you cannot make branches straight just by writing that they should be, and you cannot make two widely different people one through simple good wishes. This bastard child, this Anahuac, is nothing more than a means of control for the white men. Until Anahuac is dead we will never be free, and for bones of Anahuac to be made into something new then we must recreate what was lost, which means the Empire which means an Empress. You.”

A steely defiance came into the old woman’s eyes. “No,” she said firmly, “I won’t help you.”

“It need not be for long. A few months, maybe a year, and then you abdicate and a new Emperor chosen.”

She shook her head. “I would not do it for ten minutes. You’re angry, you see the wrongs committed against our people and you want to snatch that whip out of the hands of those who hold it over you. But the answer is then not to simply hold the whip yourself, to subject the Valdricans to the same punishment you think has been inflicted on you. Look across there,” she pointed to another house with a similar flickering light from behind a shutter, “Her name is Ariperta, and she was born in Untlemeer. Baptised, as far as I was aware, but when she lost her husband in a car accident she could not find solace with the faith given to her so now she is here.”

The colonel raised an eyebrow. “I did not think conversion was possible.”

“It’s a matter of interpretation. But the point is that culture is not a one-way street. If they have influenced us then we have them. We have grown together; to separate us now would be to lose a hand, or a foot.”

“Sometimes, your highness, a limb must be removed to save the whole body from succumbing to the infection.”

She shook her head. “There is nothing further to say to you. I would ask that you take your leave.”

He gave a curt nod. “As you say, but remember what I have said. I will leave you my card should you reconsider.”

“I won’t. What should I say if anyone asks about you?” Both of them knew that the ‘anyone’ was of course a reference to the secret police.

“I am writing a book about the later Tlanextli military reforms and I came to ask you whether your mother might have mentioned anything to you when you were a child.”

The Princess looked confused. “Why would my mother ever talk to me about that.”

“Precisely,” said the colonel bitterly, “It was a wasted trip.” He strode towards the entrance of the kitchen and paused upon the threshold. He looked bitterly towards the images of the gods. “You know,” he sneered, “There are more important things than religion; like the duties to your country.”

“If you think that,” replied Princess Tecuichpoch, “Then maybe you have greater need for my place here than I do.”

Itzatapalli said nothing further and left.

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Uncle Noel
Posts: 95
Founded: Antiquity
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Uncle Noel » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:52 am

Victoria, The United Kingdom of Providencia and San Andres

Dagobert Bauto took a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and checked the address again. He pulled the corners of his mouth down; he did not like having to lie to Florencia, his secretary, but it was safer for all concerned that she was ignorant of the ambassador’s mission this afternoon.

He had been diligent in laying the foundations of his ruse by having slowly increased his complaints about feeling unwell. These efforts had culminated in his having splashed water onto his face in emulation of a sickly sheen of sweat before, with great exaggeration, announced that he would have to retire to his bed for the remainder of the day, which was especially distressing as there was a visiting chef at the polo club whose interpretations of Excalbian stews that had been the talk of Victoria. Or, at least, the talk of those circles in which Bauto moved.

The street was quiet and consisted of a number of large properties set back from the road. There was something reassuring that even in the Western Atlantic there were still places were Old Money still counted for something. This was one of those places; where the nobility and their betters, either foreign or domestic met upon their tennis courts or debutante balls.

As he made his way down the street Bauto could see no one save for a gardener on the distant rose garden of a seemingly shuttered Ernestine townhouse who refused to make eye contact. The ambassador eventually found the address, the piece of paper with the address being redundant now he found a grand and, by the looks of things, recently repainted coat of arms upon the main gates. He located an intercom at pressed it. Security cameras scrutinised him as he did so.

“¿Si?” barked a voice from the intercom.

“I’ve an appointment with His Royal Highness the Duke of Pungle,” sniffed Bauto, brushing the shoulders of his blazer as he did.

“¿Nombre?” Barked the voice again

“Bauto, Dagobert Bauto. I am the…” his voice trailed off and he looked about the street again. This was not perhaps the best area to advertise the nature of his employment.

The intercom never replied. After a few moment there was a click of the locks and a grating buzzer that indicated that admission had been granted.

Villa Pleasaunce lay before him, perhaps the grandest of all the properties on that most bespoke of streets. Villa did not do it justice. His path was directed to a modern looking building where a pleasant but keen-eyed security guard patting him down and x-rayed his jacket and shoes. The ambassador wrinkled his nose in indignation as his expensive jacket was crumpled into the machine. “Is this really necessary?” he muttered under his breath.

“It is sir,” replied the security guard, “When you regularly receive death threats.”

Bauto looked startled. “Threats? From whom?”

The guard did not look up from the scanning machine. “Oh there’s always some wackjob,” he said (it was only now that Bauto noticed that the guard was not from Provendica. Was that an Excalbian accent? Or Laneria? It was difficult to tell), “Who says that the cause of Leagran being a mess isn’t anything to do with their incompetent governments and terrible foreign relations but because it’s all a plot by the Prince, probably in cahoots with the Pope, to bring down their proud Protestant Republic.”

Bauto tutted. He had a recurring nightmare that one day he would receive a letter from the People's Commissariat congratulating him on his promotion to ambassador to Leagran. He gathered up his belongings and exited the building without another word. A liveried footman greeted the ambassador and lead him to the villa itself and into an opulent, but otherwise empty, study.

“His Royal Highness,” said the footman in English though with the unmistakable accent of a native, “Will be in attendance shortly.” He bowed and left, shutting the door behind him with a well-oiled click.

The Ambassador nodded to himself. ‘No refreshments then’ he thought, though he was unsure as to whether this was a good or ill omen. He inspected the room. There was a few decent Canaletto’s, a passable Titian and, interestingly, an El Greco. Bauto was inspecting a late Monet, all yellows and red from his cataracts, when the door suddenly opened.

Prince Alfred strode into the room followed by a Provendician. The scion of the House of Braganza-Rothschild, titular Prince of Leagran, Duke of Pungle, was slightly taller than Bauto, with a greying beard and deep brown eyes. He wore a grey three-piece suit of an expensive cut and regarded the Anahuacan ambassador with a curious look.

“Your Excellency,” he said, shaking Bauto’s outstretched hand. The Ambassador reciprocated with a nod of the head. “Your Royal Highness.”

The Prince continued to look at him quizzically. “This,” he motioned towards the Provendican next to him. “This is my association,” he began, “Though you may have met already as it was through my associate that this meeting was arranged.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch/Itztlan

A weak spring sun shone through a haze of smog, casting an eerie light upon the grey concrete pre-fabs which made up so much of Itztlan beyond its historic centre. The large black sedan forcefully pushed past wheezing Zagrebs and ponderous trucks, its occupants protected from the bumpiness of the road by the finest in decadent capitalist engineering.

It arrived eventually at its destination, the embassy of the Holy Empire of Excalbia, and a youngish man with gelled blonde hair stepped out in a suit made by the master tailors of New Rome. Coughing against the fumes he made his way into the embassy and to the desk at the reception, his expensive shoes clicking againsts the pavement as he did.

“I wonder,” said the man with a conspiratorial wink, “If Colonel Skurins is available? He’s not expecting me but my name is Augustulus Spode. I’m the Deputy People’s Commissar for Railways, though I’ve not come to talk to him about timetables.” He laughed at his own joke which, truth be told, he had been practising on the car on the way.

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Posts: 996
Founded: Antiquity
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Excalbia » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:56 pm

Excalbian Embassy, Itztlan, Anahuac

The reception hall of the Excalbian Embassy was decorated in a modern style that fit the fairly recently constructed building. The reception desk stood at the far end of the hall between two large flags - the blue and gold of the Imperial Standard to right, and the red and gold of the Socialist People’s Fiefdom to the left - and beneath a large oil painting of David IV, by the Grace of God Emperor of Excalbia. The Emperor, dressed in naval whites with a blue sash and cape, a chest full of medals and broadsword resting across his lap, looked down with a decidedly paternal expression - neither too stern nor too familiar.

The young woman at the reception desk, dressed in the blue and khaki of the Imperial Marines with the two chevrons of corporal, looked up and nodded at Spode. “I’ll be happy to check with the Colonel, Mr. Spode.” She gestured with eyes to the plush blue sofas neatly arranged in the reception hall around coffee tables littered with glossy books and magazines. “Please have a seat for a moment, sir.”

The woman picked up a phone and dialed a five digit extension. She spoke softly and urgently into the phone, then hung up. She looked up at Spode, and said pleasantly, “The Colonel will be right down, sir.”

A few minutes later, the heavy steel and thick-glass door to the right of the reception hall opened and Colonel Ilmars Skurins, dressed in a dark gray civilian suit, stepped through. He walked up to Spode, bowed slightly, then offered his hand. “Deputy Commissar Spode, it’s a pleasure to see you,” Skurins said evenly. He gestured to the door, “Please come with me, we’ll go up to my office.”

Through the door Skurins led Spode to a decent-sized atrium. On the far end sat a cluster of tables and several employees, many of them local Anahuacans hired to perform a variety of service functions in the Embassy, drinking and eating. The area was obviously a canteen of some sort. Skurins summoned an elevator and made small talk about some of the art displayed in the atrium, all of it works by contemporary Excalbian artists that even Skurins had never heard of before being assigned to the Embassy.

After a short ride to the second floor, Skurins led Spode to a nicely appointed office. Although the door clearly said Col. Ilmars Skurins, Defense Attache it had none of the clutter or homey touches that would mark an actually work space. The colonel gestured to a small sofa and matched set of arm chairs. “Please have a seat, Mr. Spode.” He opened a small cabinet. “Would you care for something to drink?”

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Providencia y San Andres
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Founded: Jun 10, 2018
New York Times Democracy

Postby Providencia y San Andres » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:24 pm

La Providencia, La Isla Victoria, El Reino Unido de Providencia y San Andrés

The Providencian following Prince Alfred was an unassuming fellow of modest height dressed impeccably in a well-tailored, conservative suit. Don Héctor Ernesto Villalobos Carvajal, private banker of Grupo Confianza, smiled pleasantly and offered his hand to Ambassador Bauto. “Your Excellency,” he said. “A pleasure to see you again.”

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Upper Virginia
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Founded: Antiquity
Democratic Socialists

Meanwhile, in Courtland, Upper Virginia

Postby Upper Virginia » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:10 pm

Presidential Mansion, Courtland

“I knew she’d want to… cozy up to Anahuac,” President Alex Holmes said as he swirled the ice and lime-flavoured water in his glass, “but did it have to be her first official trip as Prime Minister?”

“Thank God it isn’t Daytanistan,” General Mildred Petersen muttered as she sipped at her own drink.

(OOC: The rest of the post can be seen here - viewtopic.php?ns=1&f=4&t=442677&p=35600919#p35600919)

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