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Postby Nejii » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:57 am




“When King Albors turned his gaze to Attica he observed, he queried — he sent diplomats.”
Dyson, Odyniri

“A pouch of dirt and their crest of power, this is their offer of submission.”

These were the words spoken by King Albors I to his diplomats on their departure. Fourteen men who abide the word of their king as if it were divine mandate. His wish was there command, and their command was that they head west over the seas to the lands known as Attica. They would then present his mandate to the cities of Attica; kneel to their superior and be rewarded a place among his kingdom, or defy and die. Each diplomat was sent with a large satchel on their shoulder and six soldiers at their back. The satchel contained three items; a map showing the extent of the Quasyrid empire, a great banner bearing the crest of Albors which was to be hung over the gates of the respective city, and a wineskin of Khazmere’s sweetest red wine. In return for this simple gift and their allowance to exist Albors demanded two items from each city. A pouch of dirt, which would symbolize the surrender of their land. And secondly, their cities’ symbol of sovereignty, be that a crown, a scepter, parchment, or a sword. All would surrender their land and their sovereignty.

The kings’ emissaries rode for the coast with their entourages, and then were sallied over the Archanean Sea by the west wind. Even as they went under a banner of peace Albors readied his armies for war. The Atticans were a prideful and independent people and he knew that war was inevitable. The delicacy of diplomacy would determine the extent of the war to come. That and subterfuge. For while his diplomats journeyed across the countryside on horseback, his spies and assassins weaved their way into Attica’s cities, preparing to strike like snakes.

King Albors himself would be leading the campaign. A hundred thousand Quasyrid warriors and three of his finest generals at his back as he sailed over the horizon, preparing to further expand his empire and subjugate yet another profligate people. The Atticans would kneel, or they would die. All who defied Albors, king of kings, would be shown no consideration nor mercy. This he told himself as his ships sailed west over the Archanean, like a pack of lions stalking through the bush towards a herd of antelope.
Last edited by Nejii on Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Benuty » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:47 am

The Coast of Tiqwah
The docks.

It was the early morning the sun still hadn't come up yet as the waves raged on the shore. A man waited noted the seas were unusually rough for the morning forcing the dockhands, and the crews to wait as it was a bad omen to head out to sea on such waters. Yet off in the distance it could be spotted a ship of modest size was coming to which the dock watch master shivered "only fools brave such a rocky docking" he thought. He went to go light the flames on the watchtower so the ship as it came in could spot them, but something was wrong, and he couldn't quite put his finger on it. As he motioned to a dockhand to take his place and went back down to welcome the ship as it approached he felt off about it again.

The ship didn't make any attempts to stop or at least slowdown, and the waters were potentially to blame. It was then he saw the flag of the ship it belonged to the Quasyrids an empire thought to be far away. "Whatever are they doing here?" the dock watch master thought to himself, but it didn't matter as a huge wind, and an unusually high wave smashed the ship into the dock with wood going everywhere. It wasn't just wood however as he heard people screaming some had landed in the water. He directed the dockhands to try, and get them out, and braved going on the ship. It didn't look good as he saw water filling up on it.

Those still standing were aided on to the dock while the watch master found someone unconscious he decided to pick him up and get him ashore helping other men who seemed to be wounded along the way. After minutes had passed the ship began to sink and would have to be cleared out of the way for other ships, but for now, the focus was on the human toll. There were several dead it appeared many of them had been slaves he sighed ordering the men to cover up the dead until the priest could get here. He handed one of the dockmen a bag instructing him to find the physician who lived near the docks and bring him immediately. He turned to one of the still-living members of this motley crew it appeared some were slaves, others soldiers, and yet another appeared to have some kind of satchel that was absurdly large. They may have been coming here on a trading mission, but shaking his head he thought"If these were atticans they would know better than to bring slaves here...its forbidden, but these are foreigners so they most likely don't know our laws".

As the sun's rays began to poke through the sky the watch master said "Well this has been an interesting start to the day hasn't it" leaning up against a pole as a frantic young dockworker brought within a limping older man with a beard that has seen better days, the local physician nearby.
Last edited by Benuty on Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:06 pm

The Northern Gate

Not many traditions from the Elder Days remained in Agelada. The Court of Nine had since the last King, over 150 years before, slowly stripped the city of the vestiges of the old superstitions. Replaced were these customs with new rites and rituals, founded in the Ageladan conception of reason. Each ceremony sought to instil in the Ageladan citizenry some worthy virtue or remembrance of heroes long gone, as to, over time, create the Perfect Citizen.

The Perfect Citizen was a scholar with knowledge in all fields. Physically fit, ready to defend his homeland with the power of words or the thrust of his spear. Wisdom to see the road ahead, and capable of governing an empire as a single man, with the power to teach his people morality. It was the whole reason of being for the Ageladans, for their Institute and their laws. So that one day, a Perfect Citizen might ascend the steps of the Temple to Avina the Queen and wear the Golden Crown of Menos again.

Perses slightly readjusted the weight of the spear on his shoulder, and looked up towards the crenelations that crowned the Northern Gate of Agelada. This gate, also known as the Gate of Lament, was one of the few constructions not covered in the white plaster than was used in the rest of the city. Instead, it showed its bare, grey-quarried stones proudly. A memory of how even the most wonderful buildings and ideas are as mortal as the people who made them. Perses watched the sunlight slip over the crenelations and past the flagpoles, until the sun had set behind the western mountains. At that moment, the Doors of Lament opened, and the funerary procession was allowed through.

It was one of the last superstitions of the City that yet remained: the Gate of Lament was used only for funerary processions heading towards the Valley of Citizens Eternal, and in the olden days for evacuations from the City in times of need. The sun was spared to witness the greatest griefs of the city, and therefore the Gates only opened after dusk. Perses now gripped the spear on his shoulder tightly, and to the rhythm of the funerary drums he marched forward, pace for pace, while the choir began to sing to the Memory of the lost.

The spear on Perses arm was supported by three others. On the other side, another spear was carried, similarly by four. Between the spears was supported a tightly-woven cloth, which held the body of former Legate Karnassus, by the Royal Grace, commander of the Menonoikos and the Army of Agelada. On top of the cloth lay his shield, proudly showing the Cow Agelada in a rim of gold. At the incredible age of 75, the Legate had finally succumb to pneumonia, leaving vacant the seat he had occupied for 30 years.

“Grand Avina, Queen of Wisdom,
Allow to your bosom this hero of our People,
And may he teach you some of his wisdoms,
So that it may inspire wisdoms yet to come”

This Lament had been written and composed by Ocoros, a close friend and confidant of the Legate, as was tradition. The Lament served to remind everyone of the moral character of the deceased, and would hopefully instil similar conduct with those who followed the body to its final resting place. The form of the Funerary Lament was one of the strictest, both in melody, what words could be used, what could be discussed, and what rhyming scheme should be used. Only three people in the city knew the art to perfection, and Ocoros was one of them, teaching the subject at the Institute. He walked only a few feet away from Perses, supporting the other side of the linen casket.

The Procession snaked its way through the Field of Pits, where condemned men were buried alive without a trace of their existence. Then, it followed the Lunar Path up of the Valley of the Citizens Eternal. The tomb of Karnassus was already prepared for him, a tight slit carved into the side of the mountain. There, a few of his most prized, personal possessions were waiting for him. The eight bearers carefully manoeuvred his body to face the slit, and then gently pushed him in. The slit was sealed with an embellished grave stone bearing his name and title, and a single citation of his own choice.

“The spear can deflect a blow, the shield can crack a skull”

Perses could not help but smile when he saw that. All students of Karnassus knew the saying; it called for students to do the unorthodox in combat. The primary rule of fighting Karnassus taught them: don’t follow the rules. Keep an enemy of their feet. Strike when they least suspect it. Form and honour are irrelevant if they cannot save your life. It was a lesson Karnassus students remembered well, especially now that they formed the captains of the Ten Bands. The legacy of the old Legate would live on through his progeny, just as his wisdom would return to Earth through the workings of Avina.

Under the pale moonlight, the party of some 200 people took the slow march back to the city. While the Procession had been quiet, those returning to the city were expected to engage in conversation about the deceased, and to weigh their actions in life, just as Thanatos weighs his soul in his journey to the afterlife.

“I do not envy the Death-God” Ocoros quipped, his hands held behind his back in his famous fashion. His brown beard was slowly growing grey around the edges, but his face had lost none of its lustre. His green eyes shone like emeralds, perfectly accentuating the boy-like smile he maintained even in this horrid Valley.

“I would not want to be the one to judge Karnassus in life, let alone when his stubbornness has shed his mortal anchor”

Perses smiled dryly. He did not know whether it was appropriate to feel happy, but the thought of Karnassus holding Thanatos by the spine and shouting the God down could not help but make him smile.

“You did judge in the Hyvian Inheritance Case” Perses retorted. Ocoros pulled up his eyebrows.

“You know your classics! Hyvian Inheritance is not an uncomplicated matter. Still, I would tell that widow-witch to scram a hundred times before I would critique Karnassus’ moral character. I like my shins, thank you very much”

The two men quipped and joked all the way back to the city. There were plenty of stories about the old drill-sergeant, and many more about the time Ocoros and Karnassus spent together in the Institute. Apparently, the Legate had learnt his tricks young, and half of them he had learnt from the now-docile Ocoros.

When the men returned to the City, Ocoros’ mood changed. Together they walked the white-plastered streets, the crowd growing smaller every block as more people returned to their homes. The full moon was bright overhead, reflecting in the puddles and fountains that dotted the street pattern. In the distance, a stary dog barked. The river to the south shone like liquid silver, reflecting the stars overhead.

“It is a shame that we lose a great man on this, the eve of a new era” Ocoros said, more to the cool evening air than to anyone in particular.

“What do you mean?” Perses asked. He had never seen Ocoros worry about anything, besides a proper number of syllables in a line. Ocoros did not answer immediately. Rather, he halted at the Square of Menos, facing the Temple of Avina the Queen. The enormous building seemed to shake and move in the light of grand flames, perpetually lighting and warming the square during the night. Its façade was crowned by a scene of Menos, defeating foreign invaders that came to claim Agelada.

“Across the sea, the Tyrant Albors has conquered the last free city on their side of the Great Waters. There is little glory for him left there, but the boundless Aracid Desert stretching unto Thanatos itself. Sooner or later, Albors will realise that our lands are the last things left in the world for him to gain glory from”

“He wants to be the king that subjugated the world. He wants his memory to last a thousand thousand years. Imagine if he were to unite Attica under his rule”

“Impossible” Perses replied, though he feigned more certainty than he could reasonably possess.

“No-one has ever united Attica under one banner, not for a millennium. Many have tried, as you know”

“Many have tried, yes… But none had an army of 100.000 men” Ocoros retorted.

“That’s not possible. That number of men in one place would shatter the Earth” Perses said.

“Tell that to the Great Harbour at Therrica, where that number has gathered. The merchants who come from there are horrified” Said Ocoros. Perses looked at him in disbelief.

“How do you know all this?” Perses asked, but Ocoros did not answer him.

“It matters not. What matters is how we stop him. We might find, Perses, that our greatest wisdoms might be uncomfortable to the Institute”

Perses thought Ocoros was exaggerating. The Elders could be obtuse, but they would not hold their orthodoxy in the face of invasion. Invasion… the very word made Perses shiver, even though he was dressed for the cold. Ocoros saw this, smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“My boy, do not worry about yourself. We both have a part to play yet, and if we make it through the storm, we will drink to our health. And if not, I will tell Thanatos to prepare for your arrival”

The Eastbound Road

“Stand side!” shouted the dignitary from the back of his horse. Despite furiously waving his horse-hair whip around, its handle laden with gold and precious stones, the herdsman would not move his cows faster, or stop the herd. The dignitary and the herdsman did not understand each other’s language, but there was no way for the latter to misunderstand the former’s ravings. For the dignitary, there was no choice but to accept disaffected shrugs as the cows slowly crossed the road to greener pastures. A hundred cows had yet passed; another hundred were well under way.

Once the cattle had finally cleared, the emissary and his company could finally resume their way, their clothing now reeking deeply of manure. Their ship could only take them until the Deeping Harbour, where they had to switch to the city-bound road. Smaller vessels were available, but none could take their proud stallions, and none would accept imperial silver. And there was none who was not willing to haggle even when offered absurd amounts, to which no dignitary of Albors could humble himself. So, the company moved further on horseback and on foot, with all the delays and lack of comfort that entailed.

“Do you even know who I am?” he shouted at the peasant, who would not even give him as much as a bow in reverence. Of course they did not know who he was. He had come to a barbaric land, where the boundless circumference of the empire was nothing but a rumour. King Albors was a myth told to frighten wayward children. They did not even accept his silver, which was by any count superior to even the gold mined in Attica. King Albors had more slaves than lived in even the largest Attican cities. And yet, they did not recognise their inferiority even when clearly presented with it.

Sever-Anuran was unaccustomed to the lack of deference. He had once governed entire cities in the name of his king, he had commanded armies that would shudder the mountains. He had managed treasures that could buy the province and everything on it, and now, he was relegated to the task of begging to a foreign government. Well, begging… He knew Albors counted and hoped that not all cities would submit. The largest army ever assembled would not go home without some good loot. A fourth of their missions needed to succeed in order for it to be counted a success, and even then, as long as the Atticans did not unite, their mission would not be a failure. And what then? Not even all Atticans combined would stand against the host Albors had assembled against them.

Sever-Anuran found lodging with a Kazhmere-born merchant who had made Attica his home. Banished for once opposing prince Albors in his youth, his house betrayed that he had not taken his expulsion well. The house of the merchant looked more like a Kazhmere house than any in the Great City, and smelled more of spices than the kitchen of the wealthiest restaurants. Restaurants, another trapping of civilisation that the Atticans lacked.

A day later, Sever-Anuran managed to get an audience with the Court of Nine at some Temple or other. The architecture was almost impressive, but nothing compared to the city-sized pyramids of the Empire. They were not even heated, and the doors opened not through steam, but through the manual labour of slaves. Sever-Anuran was led through a few halls; the plastered walls were bare, apart from some tapestry or mosaic here and there, depicting some pseudo-historical myths. It was nothing compared to the grand battles depicted on the palace of Albors, showing that these people would not know civilisation if it came marching onto their shores. But they would, soon enough.

Sever-Anuran was horrified when he was led into a room, which he expected to contain a king and his closest aids. Instead, he was met by something akin to a theatre. The room lowered into the floor, and from the natural rock was carved an amphitheatre filled to the brim with toga-clad citizens. At the bottom of the theatre, where otherwise the podium would be, stood an empty throne. Behind it were nine seats, arrayed like a crescent moon. These were not empty, and held men old enough to be his great-grandfather. Sever-Anuran looked confused, as if he were in the wrong room, but his merchant host, acting as a translator, apparently thought nothing of it. Aids brought them to the bottom of the theatre. The room was incredibly loud, and Sever-Anuran could feel the furious stares singe the hair on the back of his neck as he descended. Finally, he was led onto a sand floor, like that of a fighting pit. No seat was offered to him, and the nine men remained seated. The man in the middle, sporting the longest, greyest beard of them all, raised his hand, and the theatre fell silent.

“Silence, in the name of Avina, Princess of the Gods. The Great and Royal Court of the City of Agelada is now in session”

“Thank you for your hospitality…” Sever-Anuran began, but the chief magistrate shook his head.

“Foreigner… Your matter is not to be discussed until later. First order of business is a roll call. Then…”

Sever-Anuran stared at the chief magistrate in disbelief, but he seemed unabated. The merchant translator did his best to keep up, but even he, with his twenty years of living in the city, could not keep up with the terminology, much of which could not be translated into a language Sever-Anuran spoke. There was talk about a roll call, some finer points of legal disputes, a land dispute, some pro forma procedures…

“Stop this mockery!” Sever-Anuran shouted out, his translator timidly repeating what he said.

“I speak on behalf of Albors, the Kind of Kings! He who commands the Crows and for who the Mountains bow! He who fertilises the fields by bending rivers! And I will wait no longer!”

There was a moment of silence. Then, the Councillor on the far right seat sat up, slowly enunciating his point.

“Why should we distinguish between a king of a million and a king of a thousand?”

Another moment of silence.

“Because… His power exceeds that of your monarch hundred-fold” Sever-Anuran said. Another Councillor now sat up.

“Clearly not, since we have been talking about pig custody for the past five minutes without you being able to interfere. Clearly, the power of your king does not reach this far”

“Not yet, at least” Sever-Anuran retorted, which elicited some laughs from the audience.

“I demand to speak to your sovereign to discuss terms”

“We speak on behalf of the king” the chief magistrate responded.

“I prefer to speak to him directly”

Another roar of laughter rolled through the room.

“You can wait for quite some time, then” the chief magistrate responded.

“I can wait. The armies of Albors will not” Sever-Anuran responded. This, for the first time, silenced both the room and the magistrates, now carefully glancing at one another. There were some whispers among them. Then, the chief magistrate gave a curt nod.

“Alright, emissary. State your case”

Sever-Anuran righted himself, remembering all the dignity that befell him as the voice of the king. He had practised his word for the entire journey, but he had expected to utter them to a king, not to a council of elders and their audience.

“My lord… Lords…” he began, looking at the nine councillors arrayed in their crescent.

“Across the Archean Sea, an army greater than all inhabitants of your lands stand ready. The King of Kings, Albors the Magnificent, for whom all crowns bow, has extended his laws to the far corners of the world. He has brought wealth and prosperity and safety to all his subjects, and great glory to his armies. But Attica defies him with…”

This went on and on for almost half an hour. Sever-Anuran spoke at length on the victories of Albors, and his works of architecture and law. He spoke about glory and wealth, an empire in which you could walk from one corner to the other with a golden plate on your head without fear of being robbed. And he threatened them too. Threatened with destruction if they resisted. That they would be enslaved, their children massacred. Towards the end, he offered the city its choice.

“And therefore, the King of Kings asks that you submit to him. That you give to him some of your dirt, that you give him the crown if your king, and that you fly his banner across your gate. Do this, and your city will be spared, and great wealth will befall you”

Sever-Anuran stood triumphant. He had just shattered the room with his words, and the threat of the army of Albors was surely enough to convince them. He was ready to accept their immediate surrender, so sure was he of victory. Then, he chief magistrate rose to his feet. He was silent for a moment, staring into the middle distance for a bit. He looked afraid, Sever-Anuran thought. He was shuddering. The room was silent, too, awe-struck by the might of this empire. When the chief magistrate opened his mouth to speak, Sever-Anuran expected him to grant him the keys of the city.

“Thank you, emissary” he said, slowly.

“This court has accepted your filing of a motion to submit the city to your king, citizen Albors. The court will convene next week to discuss your motion. The session is now dismissed for lunch.”

With those words, people started streaming out the amphitheatre, and the court magistrates left through a small door in the back. Some citizens lingered in conversations Sever-Anuran could not understand. No-one was paying any attention to him anymore, except to motion him aside so they could pass.

“But…” Sever-Anuran said.

“But… That’s not…”

But no-one was listening to him anymore. Even his translator had moved out to lunch.

“What is…”
The name's James. James Usari. Well, my name is not actually James Usari, so don't bother actually looking it up, but it'll do for now.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Sarderia » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:19 pm

Grand Harbors of Hydros
Hattusakalinu-Hattu te Hitturu

It was the dawn of morning; the air was peculiarly cold, the kind of weather that rarely descends upon the warm coasts of Attica. Grey clouds formed in the sky, one can see - although the Hydrosian priests confirmed that there would not be a storm reaching the city soon, still, merchants packed and loaded their goods either into one of the large warehouses or to their ships as soon as possible, avoiding a potential calamity. Here and there the ships of the City stands proud above all; massive triremes of sixty to severty metres long, forty metres tall, sporting the crossed golden bones banner in front of a blue field. Written below the bones is the initial of Hydros in Hattusan script. Guards stand watching atop the poles, heralding the coming and going vessels - not too much today, since a hard, raging weather struck the Serranean Sea in the past week, and the winds are bad for trade. Still rather peculiar is the arrival of a grand, richly-ornamented ship which many merchants would recognize bearing the banners of distant Quasyrid Empire.

One of the guards at the watchtower descended and approached the Harbourmaster, still busy with the harbour taxes of several merchants. Hattusion's is one of the deepest and largest ports in all Attica, and its location between the Serranean Sea and the great Ocean made it a particular favourite for rich and poor seafarers alike. As such, the Senate calls upon the city's Senators to serve their country as the Harbourmaster - technically a position of honor, and most likely once recognized as such in ancient times, but now serves more as a headache and burden - the place where political opponents are demoted to in a heated Senate session. Philemon Karios was one such person. "Hail, Philemon Lord!" the guard shouted.

"Later," came Philemon's answer. "Later, I said... are you one of Hydrophilos' goons as well? I am facing enough torment as it is," he waved several parchments and moved several gold coins into a nearby chest. "Do return if you have something important to say."

"But it is important, Lord," the guard answered. "At least, of high importance that my Captain told me to call you." He stands unmoving, thank Hydros; and Philemon slammed his fist into the wooden table once more. His hands were red from writing, counting, and punching several wayward insolent merchant's sons who refuse to give their dime, which is due to the Harbourmaster office. Swearing, he turned to the guard. "You will die if this is a joke," he threatened the guard. Still, with a face seemingly set in stone, the other man remained calm and silent. Such was the nature of the City Guards of Hattusion; veteran of a hundred battles, disciplined, and unmoving in the presence of threats - both foreign and domestic, or upon the presence of a Patrician such as Philemon. He grunted inside.

"What is this problem?" He rose from his seat, and waved his hand; one of the Harbourmaster Office's counting officers replaced him. One of Philemon's slaves prostrated in front of him and readied his shoes. "Another diginitary, or a raid in one of our outposts, or did the Thestians poked one of our vessels again?"

"A diginitary, Lord, but unusual. My Captain Sir considered the best action to address him is to present you, a member of the Senate and the chief officer in charge of this Harbour, before presenting him to the Senate." They walked, and Philemon can immediately see why the Captain called for his presence. A towering vessel, not different from the largest tritemes of Hattusion - ornate and beautiful, with a myriad of ornaments covering its port side. Its banners bear the sigil of King Albors - the infamous Monarch half a world away from them, yet widely known among Attican merchants. The ship has just docked, and Philemon can see several Harbour slaves preparing an equally-ornate plank for the passengers. But to Philemon's surprise there were only seven - a richly-decorated man wearing somewhat tacky ornaments, and six towering soldiers behind his back. The man paid no heed to the other merchants and slaves around him, instead eyeing Philemon like an inspector. This angered him - even a diplomat does not have the great honour of staring condescendingly to a Hattusion Senator.

"Your name and purpose," Philemon answered, his tone painstakingly casual. He held back the urge to order the City Guards to throw this man in jail immediately. "You are to say, at your service, Lord Harbourmaster, for you are here only at my scrutiny. Need I remind you, milord, that this is not your country?"

"I service no-one except His Majesty, His Exellency, God on Earth, the KIng of Kings," the person replied. Now both of them had caught the attention of all the people gathering near them. "Good," the person continued, "Hear, hear! I am Tir-Annu, most humble servant of Albors, the Emperor, Lord of this Earth and all above, upon, and below it, to speak to his subjects."

"Seize him," Philemon commanded the City Guards. There were two dozen of them; against the Guards, Tir-Annu's bodyguards stood no chance. But they all drew their swords all the same; one or two thrusted their spears forward. Philemon could feel something creeping out through his spine again - this has been a stressful day, and he wasn't keen on having a stroke at the end of this day. "Alright. Follow me," he beckoned to Tir-Annu... as they walked outside the Harbour, to a secluded road only Hattusion Senators could freely pass.

"I am Philemon Karios. Scion of the House of Euthydimios Karios, past Magister, and Demetrios Poranas, past Consul of the City. I have the honour to be a member of the Senate of Hattusion," he stopped, "and that alone should invoke respect and protection in the Attican world. However, dear Sir, you are not Attican."

"Indeed I am not. I am honoured to be a part of something immensely larger than your city or your Attican realm. To the eyes of my God and my Emperor, yours is but a speck of dust at his Universe. And between it all, through look and his grace, I have ascended the ranks of his realm to be a messenger of Albors, my Emperor," Tir-Annu replied. Philemon kept his silence, as they approached a large building atop a modest hill, overlooking the harbour. "This is one of my retreats," Philemon explained. "You shall reside here under my protection until the Senate is convened again. Then you will talk."

Tir-Annu looked aghast. "How dare you to tell me how to do? Do you not know who I am, or what tidings does I bring? I demand to meet your overlords, right now."

"There are no overlords here, good Sir. Every man is his own. My overlords are only the citizens of this City, to which I am responsible for," Philemon said in a monotone voice. "The Senate is in recess. It is forbidden to call a session when the Senate is in recess, as done in custom. Until the Festival of the Hiding - two days from this day, the Senate will remain in recess; it would be opened again in the Festival. Good Sir, as fellow civilized diginitaries, we should at least observe each others' customs before arranging a visit, yes?" The words hung in the air; it was a mockery of Tir-Annu, and his face turned red, but he did not say a word. "Then I hope we all have reached a clear understanding here. You shall enjoy the bounty of my hospitality - and you are free to observe the City as you wish, under the presence of either the City Guards or my own household guard. I wish you good tidings... emmissary; I understand the need to voice your message, and rest assured that it would, later. For now, I'm afraid, I have things to attend to." Philemon wanted to say better before "things", but he decided that Tir-Annu was now humbled enough for him that such words were not needed.
    So comrades, come rally,
    For this is the time and place!
    The Internationale,
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Ossric » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:29 pm

Palace of the Archon, Xavala

Archon Stelios sat side by side with his wife and Queen, Vesna the Geteid. He had been annoyed this morning, pulled from his usual morning rituals of spending a handful of hours with his wife and children to evidently handle an issue his council members and advisers couldn't. It was especially aggravating this morning as soon his second to youngest daughter Rhea would be leaving to spend several years training with the Daughters of Avina in Acenia, a tradition for a princess from each generation of Xavala. Something that was bittersweet for Stelios as his own younger sister had gone to train with them and sadly been killed in a storm on the journey back to Xavala. His mind drifted to prayers for his seven year old daughter's safety in both the trips and training while he waited for whatever issue to be brought before him.

Stelios and Vesna could here the argument and shouting before the doors to throne room even opened. The doors themselves burst open when they finally did spilling out with a confusing mob of shouting and arguing councilors surrounded by Xavalan soldiers and themselves surrounding a small group of foreigners. Ones that were rare in Xavala as the usual foreign visitors were peoples from the west not the far east. The loud bickering caused his youngest daughter, a girl no older than five to start at the sound, though taking note of his elder children the girl remained seated in her place along the wall as an observer. The Archon again felt his annoyance pulse at the situation as his children all gained slightly nervous looks at the sight of armed foreigners in the throne room of all places. He could also practically hear his beloved wife's grinding teeth from her place beside him. That thought almost made him smirk at his volatile wife letting loose her temper on his councilors and these strangers.

As the unruly group finally reached the center of the room, his most loyal councilors and commanders bowing lowly while his soldiers gave a crisp pound of their chest plate before returning to a ready watch of the six foreign soldier who remained armed despite the law of Xavala.

As one of the councilors stepped forward, one that Stelios despised despite being distant cousins, and made to speak he was stopped short when Vesna scoffed and stood.

"Be silent Miron! You bring foreigners here to the palace without having them announced, and you do so without having them disarmed. Are you a fool or simply forgetful of our laws?" She bit out scathingly. Vesna was of a shared mind with Stelios on this man. The way he spoke of her and her children as being barbarians but clearly watched her movements with lust in his eyes disgusted her, and were her husband any other but the stoic and patient Stelios she had no doubt he would have been a dead man long ago.

"Forgive me my Queen, though as I am sure all true Xavalans know that there are times when exceptions to our laws must be made. Allow me, my Archon, to introduce the messenger of King Albors of the Quasyrid Empire, Naozem. He has come with word from King Albors of an offer." Miron spoke with barely concealed contempt toward Vesna and a paltry showing of loyalty toward Stelios himself.

Stelios remained silent as Vesna returned to her throne, though while both were now quiet those that knew the leaders of Xavala could read their emotions easily enough. Vesna's hazel eyes seemed to burn with a brilliant fire of rage not only at this Quasyrid man who dared to defy Xavalan rules of hospitality but also Miron who allowed it and had defended them from the soldiers surrounding them if the way Miron and his cronies seemed to shield the supposed diplomat and his guards meant anything. Beside her Stelios' own eyes had cooled to a freezing grey the shade of storm clouds and the freezing sense of rage the Archon held back at being slighted not only by foreign dignitaries but his own people was clear to his wife and children.

Taking the silence as an invitation the man, Naozem stepped forward with a polite smile and bowed slightly to Stelios, though not to Vesna.

"My lord Stelios Xavalanos, I bring a message of hopeful peace and prosperity for your people. His highness, King and Emperor Albors of the endless Quasyrid Empire desires your submission and acknowledgment of him as the ruler of the known world with a simple symbolic surrender of a parcel of soil and your crown. With these King Albors promises peace and prosperity for your people, safety and joy for your sons and daughters and a happy life for all of Xavala." Standing Naozem awaited a response from the Archon but was surprised by the sudden scoff from the Queen instead.

"That is why you traveled here? To ask for our subjugation. Between Xavala and your empire is nearly the whole of Attica, of which nearly all will undoubtedly refuse your. Threats and inflated egos are unwelcome here Quasyridi as are your armed soldiers. Simply stepping into this throne room and not showing your respect as the soldiers and commanders did is enough to have you drowned for the slight on my husband!" Vesna snarled at the man who was shorter than her by nearly a half a hand.

"This woman believes she can speak among men?" Naozem asked incredulously. Unseen by the man however was the sudden change in Stelios' demeanor. The Archon was known as a patient and forgiving man, however little that could enrage him included slights against his wife and children, which both this Naozem and Miron had enacted in less than a minute.

Vesna enraged by the man's words reached for the blade at her waist only to be stopped by her husband's hand on her arm. Miron and Naozem shared a slight smile at this apparent taming of the barbarian woman. Standing Stelios made his way down the steps of his throne's platform place a hand on the shoulders of both Miron and Naozem leading him a few steps away from rest of the group.

"Kill them." Stelios said in a placid tone, with his order followed immediately by his men butchering the Quasyrid soldiers before they could draw their own blades. Naozem and Miron stood shocked for a moment before Naozem broke from the Archon's grip and turned to him accusingly.

"What have you done, your people are regarded for their diplomacy, and yet you murder the entourage of a diplomat so recklessly, your a savage! No better than your barbarian whore!" The man screamed only to be seized by the shoulders and have his legs kicked out from under him bringing him to his knees.

"You are a poor diplomat Naozem. You violate our laws when you come, and offer no apology. You make repeated slights against my queen and my heirs. You refuse to make the proper offers of respect towards me as a sovereign of an independent state and you believe yourself untouchable. I am not such a wild man as to kill a messenger of a king, though I should for your actions on this day have made you little more than lawbreaker in Xavala. Instead, I will be returning you to your king with a message of my own. Scribe!" Stelios maintained a calm demeanor as if speaking of the weather. Behind him Vesna smiled down like a hungry wolf at the shaken councilor and diplomat.

"Take these words down for the diplomat to carry back to his King. Great King Albors, we welcome the notion of diplomacy with one such as yourself, a man who stands atop a nation of slaves and the conquered ranging larger than all of Attica combined. Your wisdom to send diplomats is beyond measure and your mercy obvious in such an act. Regretfully, the man you have chosen to send to my city and nation is one that fails to live up to your apparent standard. A man who fails to do as a diplomat is required and control his tongue. Due to this I return him to you with his tongue removed, I find that being unable to use it properly in his role, then perhaps it is better he loses the ability all together and finds another purpose in his life. With him I send a sack of grains and fruits harvested from our great land of Elrulion. Perhaps interest in the bounty of our land will allow your lust for our home to be sated instead with trade rather than conquest. In either decision I Stelios Xavalanos, Archon of Xavala and lord of Elrulion invite you to send another diplomat, hopefully one of a better temperament and skill." Stelios spoke loudly and clearly while the scribe wrote the message out.

Stepping forward to the now terrified Naozem Stelios leaned down to be directly next to his face. "Please tell me if this message will not suffice. If need by I can have it more permanently carved into your flesh for your king should parchment not be sturdy enough for the no doubt long and arduous journey home you are facing."

Taking the faint whimper of the man as response enough Stelios turned to his eldest child and only son.

"Kastos take the guards and have this man's useless tongue removed and ensure he receives a sack with the best samples of our land's bounty before his journey home. The rest of you that are not helping Kastos will be cleaning up this mess except for you two." Stelios said pointing at a pair of hoplites. "You will be taking our law breaker Miron here and drowning him in the sea. Such is the punishment that has always been for traitors, and what is worse than a man who brings armed foreigners into the palace itself."

As he turned away and those ordered to moved to perform their duties both Naozem and Miron begged for mercy or screamed curses as they were drug away. A few hours later a bloated Miron was tied to the front of a Quasyrid ship as it left the port of Xavala, with a diplomat missing an important appendage on board. As for the Archon he returned to spending time with his family, especially his beloved Rhea as she would be leaving for the adventure in Acenia soon.
Last edited by Ossric on Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Reverend Norv
Posts: 2909
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:38 pm

Awil-Nabium - Courtier of the Robe of the Third Color, Bearer of the Keys of the Sixth Chamber, He Who Speaks with the Voice of the King of Kings - was not impressed.

He had come to this place at the end of the Earth because it was, supposedly, the last of the Attican cities. But it did not look like a city. It looked more like a frontier fortress. The walls, Awil-Nabium could admit, were moderately respectable: they rose in an unbroken circle of titanic granite blocks, and reached five times the height of a man. Gates along the waterfront, blocked by portcullises of iron, allowed access from the Sormoran Sea to the docks within. But the city that those walls enclosed, to Awil-Nabium's eyes, looked scarcely the size of a village.

As the emissary's ship glided through one of the water gates and into the sheltered anchorage beyond, his opinion was only confirmed. The docks were crowded, to be sure - but that was hardly surprising, since there were only a dozen berths. Atticans in their simple chitons manhandled bales of furs or crates of amber onto ships, and they unloaded amphorae of wine or boxes of scrolls. On the docks, too, were men who were clearly not Attican: they wore long trousers and patterned cloaks and braided blond mustaches, or they had fur cloaks and shaven heads and tattoos on their cheeks. From what Awil-Nabium could see of the so-called "city" beyond the docks, it was a cramped labyrinth of low buildings with red tile roofs and plain cobblestoned streets. The only virtue he could detect in Nemea was that it seemed very clean.

Awil-Nabium's soldiers wrestled the gangplank into position, and he swept down it, silken robe billowing around his ankles. A few of the Attican traders cast him bemused, appraising glances. The afternoon sun glimmered on the spears of Awil-Nabium's guards. The emissary marched over to one trader. "You are to take me to your king," Awil-Nabium announced - one of the Attican phrases that he had practiced on the long sea voyage.

"My king is in Tavos," the trader replied drily, "so that might take a while." He took in Awil-Nabium's bewildered glower, his elaborate court attire, the jeweled fly-whisk at his side. "I'm not from here either," the trader explained. He pointed to a small group of men further up the dock. "Talk to them."

Awil-Nabium nodded, and tossed the trader a pouch of coins. The trader weighed it thoughtfully in one hand, and then took out one of the gold pieces and held it up to the light to see the provenance and inscription.

"Remember the face thereon," Awil-Nabium commanded. "He is your sovereign now." With that, he strode up the dock toward the men that the trader had identified.

They were a mixed group: two were Attican, with the typical dark hair and copper skin of their people, but they wore a strange kind of armor - iron mail riveted to a cuirass of hard boiled leather - and they were swathed in short rust-red cloaks fastened at the right shoulder. The other two belonged to the stranger peoples that Awil-Nabium had noticed earlier: one was tall, with blonde mustaches, and the other was wiry and had a shaved head and facial tattoos. But all four of the men shared a certain unmistakable affect: they were lean, and scars were visible on their bare arms, and their eyes moved over Awil-Nabium and missed little. The emissary's guards exchanged a wary glance, and gripped their spears a little tighter.

No matter. Awil-Nabium slapped his fly-whisk against his leg. "You are to take me to your king," he informed the locals.

One of the Atticans chuckled at that. "We have no king. Good luck to you." He turned back to his fellows.

"Then," Awil-Nabium snapped, "you are to take me to your masters."

The Nemean sighed, and reluctantly turned back to Awil-Nabium. "Aye," he admitted, "we do have those." He pointed: above the rooftops of the city, toward a great fortified gatehouse built into the wall on Nemea's landward side. Its smooth stone face towered over the western half of the town. "That is the Euryalus," the Nemean said. "You will find the Synedrion there."

Once again, Awil-Nabium nodded and drew a coin purse from his robes. But before he could toss it to the Nemean, the man shook his head. "Keep it," he said firmly. "We are from the mora of Siteia, twelve days' west of here at the edge of the Oneiros Forest. Nothing could me more useless to us than gold."

For some reason, those words lingered in Awil-Nabium's mind as he walked toward the looming tower of the Euryalus. It took him only about fifteen minutes to cross this supposed city, all the way from the docks to the landward wall. Still, though - the words lingered.

At the Euryalus, two more Nemeans stopped Awil-Nabium. It was, he realized, going to be hard to tell these people apart. The men all wore the same iron mail armor and rust-red cloaks, and they all looked and acted like soldiers - whether they were shopping at the docks or guarding a gate. "What is your business with the Synedrion?" the first of the two Nemeans asked Awil-Nabium plainly.

"I speak with the voice of the King of Kings, and my words are for your masters," Awil-Nabium declared.

The two Nemeans exchanged a look. "Who's that, then?" the second asked.

"The King of Kings!" Awil-Nabium cried. "Suzerain of Kazhmere! Master of ten million slaves! Author of weal and woe! He who commands the Crows and for whom the Mountains bow! He who fertilizes the fields by bending rivers!"

"Waste of a good river, if you ask me," the second Nemean soldier replied. "Haven't you ever heard of manure?" To Awil-Nabium's fury, one of his own guards hid a smile behind his hand.

The emissary gathered his fraying self-control. "I speak for the great King Albors," he snapped. "Lord of the Earth."

The first Nemean sighed. "Right, go on up, then. A lot of the strategoi are on campaign, but the pryteneis should all be here, and a few of the strategoi as well." The soldier pulled open the iron-banded postern door of the Euryalus. "Top of the stairs, then left."

Awil-Nabium glanced back at his bodyguards. "Oh, they can go too," the second Nemean soldier smiled. "Armed, even." He gave a disconcerting dark chuckle. "What difference would it make?"

Feeling considerably less protected than he had a few moments earlier, Awil-Nabium stepped past the Attican guards and into the Euryalus. He climbed an unexpectedly long flight of steep stone steps, and turned left to find himself in a circular chamber high in one of the fortress towers. At the chamber's center stood a round wooden table, with nine chairs around it. The circular wall of the room was frescoed with what Awil-Nabium belatedly realized was a map: ridgelines and rivers, forests and highlands, villages and homesteads filled the wall from floor to ceiling in loving detail. Here and there, bronze or iron pins in the shape of an armed man had been pushed into the wall.

There were nine men in the room. Awil-Nabium realized without surprise that he couldn't tell any of these Nemeans apart either: they all had short greying hair and beards, and wore the same iron armor and rust-red cloaks as all the other Atticans in this godsforsaken country. Oddly, most had braided bronze torcs riveted to their mail. Several of the men stood clustered near a particular spot on the map-wall, moving the pins and quietly discussing among themselves; a few more sat at the table reading parchments; one stood near a floor-to-ceiling window and stared out over the landscape beyond the city. Through that window, Awil-Nabium could see wooded ridgelines piled on top of each other until they gave way to treeless highlands that seemed to stretch on forever. Though the emissary could see for a dozen leagues or more, the only visible signs of civilization were occasional drifting pillars of smoke from settlements hidden in the far distance.

One of the men seated at the table glanced up from the parchment in his hand, and he nodded calmly to Awil-Nabium. Alert brown eyes took in the emissary's garb, and flickered dismissively over his bodyguards. Then the man stood. "Well met, stranger. Welcome to Nemea. I am Isaeus, prytenis of the Polemarch Clearidas. This is the Synedrion." Most of the other eight men in the room turned to face Awil-Nabium, though two still squinted at some detail of the frescoed map-wall. Isaeus raised his eyebrows. "You have our attention."

Awil-Nabium inclined his head politely: finally, a halfway civilized man in this godforsaken backwater. "Well met, Isaeus the Prytenis," he replied. "I am called Awil-Nabium. But my name has no import. I speak today with the voice of Albors: the king of kings and suzerain of Kazhmere; the master of ten million slaves; the author of weal and woe." Awil-Nabium's voice filled the room, resonant and ringing. "He who commands the Crows and for whom the Mountains bow! He who fertilizes the fields by bending rivers!"

For a moment, there was silence. Then the man who had been looking out the window commented: "You know, I think I've heard of him."

Awil-Nabium glared. Isaeus smiled tolerantly. "You must forgive Leochares," he explained. "His father was a great author of comedies in Agelada; so great that they exiled him for - what was it?"

"Sacrilegious disrespect of wisdom itself," Leochares supplied.

"Right. So even now that he is the Strategos of Oricos, he still has a family reputation to live up to." Isaeus waved a hand. "I trust you won't hold it against Leochares that he likes to poke fun."

Awil-Nabium drew himself up to his considerable full height. "I have not travelled hundreds of leagues to hear your japes. I bear a message from the great king." The emissary thrust out his hand, and one of his guards placed a wineskin in it. "This," Awil-Nabium declared, "is the sweetest wine of Khazmere. It represents the grace of the great king toward your little city. As sweet as this wine tastes, so sweet shall be your lives within the great king's dominion, and under his protection, when his banner flies over your gates." At this, two of Awil-Nabium's other guards shook out the enormous banner; they held it above their heads, and it still reached to the floor.

"The great king is generous," Awil-Nabium informed the Nemeans. "All he asks in return is a gift: a pouch of your soil, showing that he now holds sway over your lands. And he will require the symbol of your independence - your crown, or scepter, or sword - showing that he now holds sway over your laws as well. This is, surely, but a small price to pay in exchange for joining the greatest empire in the world."

When Awil-Nabium finished speaking, all nine members of the Synedrion were staring at him. A few scowled; a few more were open-mouthed with shock. Most, including Isaeus, simply studied him with an emotionless, surgical coldness that made Awil-Nabium's skin crawl: it was the expression of butchers looking at a cow, and seeing the meat waiting beneath the skin. Still alone by the window, Leochares of Oricos looked like he was struggling not to laugh.

"And what," Isaeus finally asked with steely self-control, "if we say no?"

Awil-Nabium smiled sadly. "You will be destroyed."

Leochares snorted. "If it were that easy," he remarked, "believe me: it would have been done by now."

Awil-Nabium frowned. "I do not think you understand. One hundred thousand men stand ready, even now, to erase your cities from the maps and your memories from history and your seed from the earth. One hundred thousand!"

The response shocked Awil-Nabium: this time, not only Leochares but most of the other men in the room broke into laughter. It was a discomforting sound: like a whetstone on a blade. Even Isaeus allowed himself an amused smile, and the prytenis nodded significantly out the window - toward the west, and the great wilderness beyond. "Oh," he replied, "we know."

Awil-Nabium took a step forward. His bodyguards, he noticed, did not follow suit. "Our soldiers," he declared, "are more numerous than the grains of sand upon your shore." His voice sounded too loud in his own ears.

"Good," Leochares said firmly. "Evens the odds. No honor in it otherwise." That iron-edged laughter filled the room again.

There was sweat on Awil-Nabium's palms now. It is like speaking to small children. Or utter morons. He drew a parchment from his robe and unfurled it upon the large table at the center of the room: the parchment showed a map of the known Earth. "This," Awil-Nabium explained, "is my master's realm. The Quasyrid Empire. It is the whole world, you see?" He waved his hand over three-quarters of the map. "And this is all Attica." He waved his hand again, in a tight circle around the corner of the map. "And this is your city." Awil-Nabium's finger struck a dot on the farthest western edge of the map. "Now do you see? A whole continent marches against you - a whole continent. What chance do you imagine you have?"

Isaeus smiled sympathetically, and said: "Your map is wrong."

Awil-Nabium threw up his arms in frustration, and Isaeus raised a calming hand. "I mean that it ends in the wrong place." The Nemean stood, and walked over to the window. Awil-Nabium reluctantly followed, and Isaeus turned to him. The prytenis nodded out the window. "Do you see that?"

Awil-Nabium looked. He saw what he had seen before: one thickly wooded ridgeline after another, as far as the eye could see; and in the distance, faded to a blur by the leagues between, the faint smear of bare and rocky highlands.

"That," Isaeus said quietly, "is a continent too - though it is not on your map. It goes on forever - to the edge of the Earth. It has its tribes and warriors, thousands and hundreds of thousands, who struggle daily to destroy us and to overrun all the cities whom we shelter. That continent has its great warriors, like yours, and perhaps its great empires too." Isaeus met Awil-Nabium's eye. "The world is larger than you know. A continent has been marching against Nemea for one hundred years, ambassador. We are still here, and so are those whom we protect. I bid you return, and tell your king that. If he is wise, he will listen."

Awil-Nabium stared around the chamber. The men of the Synedrion stood quietly, scarred arms folded across their armored chests. Awil-Nabium's bodyguards still stood clustered by the entrance, unwilling to step any further into the room.

The emissary shook his head. "You are all going to die," he spat.

"All men die," Isaeus replied calmly. Then he inclined his head politely toward the door. "You have your answer, sir. I wish you a safe voyage home."

Awil-Nabium - Courtier of the Robe of the Third Color, Bearer of the Keys of the Sixth Chamber, He Who Speaks with the Voice of the King of Kings - left Nemea the same day he arrived. His guards hauled the great king's banner after him: back down to the docks, back on to the Quasyrid ship. Awil-Nabium could not know, and did not suspect, that it was the last time the Quasyrid banner would ever pass the gates of Nemea.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:50 pm, edited 2 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

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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The Traansval
Posts: 9199
Founded: Jun 26, 2016
Left-wing Utopia

Postby The Traansval » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:36 pm

Outskirt fields, City of Illia

“Ada! Ada! Look!”

Young Clonius screamed in delight the name of his best friend in the whole world, which to the eight-year-old was about the size of the city limits. Ada, who was sat at the bank of the river with her feet dipped in, looked over to see that Clonius had bent a twig into a circle and was managing to keep it upright and spinning with another twig. A few feet away, their mothers sat together under the shade of an olive tree on a blanket, discussing the latest gossip.

Ada stood up and ran over, ignoring the dirt now accumulating on her bare feet. She followed after Clonius, giggling in delight as she cheered him on. The circle fell over and both children gave a sigh of defeat, and Ada stomped over holding out her hand.

“I want a turn! Gimme the stick!” She demanded.

Clonius stuck his tongue out, “Nuh uh! I made it, I get to play with it!”

Ada stomped her foot, her hands balled in fists by her side, “But I wanna turn!”

Clonius’s mother turned her head away from her gossip partner to reach for the glass of water resting against her thigh, allowing her to see her son and his rudeness. “CLONIUS! BE NICE!” She shouted in a stern tone.

Said boy kicked the dirt in frustration, handing over the stick to the smirking Ada. Once the circle was upright once more and moving, however, the boy had lost his anger and was laughing once more, enjoying the game that was keeping the little hoop upright. It spun and spun, just like the wheels of the carts that traveled along the road just next to them, a dirt path that connected the port deme to the heart of the city through the expanse of grass between the two, an expanse often populated by Aristoi families out on leisure as it was slightly elevated and gave a nice view of the water. Such was the case for Clonius and Ada, two children from two Aristoi families who were taking a welcome respite from their usual educations; for Clonius, his father wanted him to one day take over the family business and run the caravans, for Ada, her father hoped for her to marry well and become a model Illian matron and mother. For now, they were just two kids playing with a hoop.

“Faster! Faster!” Clonius cheered, following Ada.

Ada loved the feeling of the wind in her hair, the matted grass below, and the salty but cool breeze blowing in from the ocean. Her gaze was fixated on the hoop, making sure it stayed over the flat ground instead of running into any holes or rocks. Her legs moved without though, all her attention was on the hoop, no distractions could be tolerated from her current mission. The sounds of her own steps, those of her companion, his cheers, the sounds of the passing carts and people, all melded together in the background. The hoop was her world for just a brief moment until that world was shattered.

She had hit a wall. Her head hit first on something metal, resonating off it sending her reeling backward. With her head moving back it leveraged the rest of her body sending her flat on her back. Immediately tears welled up in her eyes from the pain, and so she did not see at first. Ada propped herself up on her right elbow and used her left hand to wipe her eyes, allowing her to see. Immediately her eyes connected with those of a man dressed in no way she had ever seen; he wore a red cloth wrapped around a golden helmet, and his body was clad in an armor of chainmail and leather that reminded Ada of the cavalry. Most stark was his face; his skin was brown, browner even than the sun-kissed Atticans, and he wore his beard long. His eyes, however, were what Ada had locked onto, as they seemed to bore into her with a mixture of disgust and outrage.

Behind her, Ada could hear the shouts of her mother calling out to her, breaking her shocked stupor. She wanted to cry, she wanted to scream, and in the end, she did a bit of both as she quickly scrambled up and ran away, straight in Clonius who she grabbed onto. She smashed her face in Clonius’s clothed chest, hiding her face in fear as she heard the angry shouts of multiple men in a language she couldn’t understand. Moments later, she felt the familiar grasp of her mother's hand as she was wrapped up in her arms. From her mother's protection, she now looked back at the man; there were others, six others, only five of which were dressed like him. They now seemed incredibly angry, shouting, and making many gestures. Everyone on the road had stopped to gawk, and the commotion had apparently caused enough of a stir to call the authorities as Ada could see several Guards on their way. Her mother placed a hand on her cheek and moved her head to come within her gaze as she inspected Ada’s forehead, rubbing her thumb over the red spot and pursing her lips.

Councilman Lykomedes raised an eyebrow as he came upon the scene. A messenger had arrived at court stating that a foreign emissary had arrived, and it was Lykomedes who was asked to greet the entourage. The task seemed one of honor; the men were from the far eastern Empire of Quasyrid, a land that seemed as distant as the fire pits of Hades if it weren’t for the occasion Quasyrid merchant, or more often merchant who had met a Quasyrid merchant, arriving in the port deme. If the great oracles themselves had been asked to create a list of things to be expected from a Quasyrid envoy, yelling at children would only be on the lists created by those truly gifted by the gods. Nevertheless, this was the situation Lykomedes found himself in, and so he did what he did best and attempted to talk down this situation. He passed the couple of Illian Guards he had brought and raised his hands up, a universal sign of peace.

“Calm! Calm! Please, I ask for calmness at this moment. What is the issue?” He asked.

Lykomedes’s words had attracted the attention of the Eastern men and one Attican who was standing with them. The Attican, whose dress was unmistakably one of a merchant, translated the words of the Councilman into the language of the Quasyrids, speaking them to one man in specific who wore clothing rather than armor. The ornately dressed man listened to the merchant's translation a moment and then turned his full gaze and attention to Lykomedes, and spoke his message in his language. As he spoke, the merchant translated his words.

“I am Hatami, I have come to bear the words of the King of Kings, Suzerain of Kazhmere, Master of ten million slaves, and Emperor of the Land; and this… Child has run right into my guard!” Emissary Hatami said indignantly.

The Councilman looked to his left as the young girl swaddled in the protective arms of her crouching mother, both his eyebrows now raised in surprise. “Well, I’m sorry for the actions of Illia’s youth. I’m sure you too can remember being young and foolish.” He said, chuckling.

Hatami’s face of indignity had mellowed to a flat stare, one showing almost complete indifference, “When I was that child's age I accompanied my father on a military campaign; I personally delivered an order that resulted in the route of the enemy and later their complete execution.” He stated, his face completely straight.

Lykomedes let out a strained chuckle, clasping his hands together in front of him, “I am honored that your King would send someone as experienced as yourself then. Please, uh, if you’d follow me I can take you to meet the Prytaneis. Please, please, come.” He stated, unclasping his hands to gesture behind him towards the city behind him. Hatami nodded and spoke brief words to his guards, then followed the Illian politician on the path. As he walked, Hatami took notice of the surrounding area; when he had arrived in Illia the port had seemed small but fairly modern, reminding him of the ports back east. He could see ahead a bridge spanning a river; the river seemed wide and deep enough that one couldn’t just ford but not enough that any ship larger than a raft could pass through, most likely why these Atticans had to build their port a league away from the city.

Beyond the bridge, he could see a sprawling messy array of low buildings and a large field where many carts and even more horses were sat. As he crossed the bridge he came closer upon the city outskirts and could see it in more detail; the horses and carts were unattended but guarded by men dressed in Illian armor, obviously this was some kind of rest stop where merchants could stow their carts. By a low building, Hatami saw a large but not very impressive stable, obviously built for capacity rather than luxury. A rather rank smell drew his attention and he looked to his right to see the unmistakable work of the tanneries right by the river, dumping their leftovers into the flowing river. Hatami knew this kind of town from his travels, this was the abode of the working men and craftsmen, living outside the city center where homes were more affordable and where one could practice their trade in peace.

Coming upon the small delegation were the city walls of Illia, nothing impressive but clearly suitable enough to keep the unwanted out. This near to the city, the congestion along the road became quite bad, as a veritable sea of humanity seemed to surge and move like waves carrying everything from bundles of cloth to baskets of fruits. Beggars lined by the side of the road, calling out and occasionally grasping out. Hatami felt his tunic be tugged and he looked down to see a dirty retch with one hand on Hatami’s seized clothing and the other held out palm up. The emissary felt ready to launch into a tirade but was unable to before one of the Illian guards accompanying him brought down his spear with considerable speed, smacking the upper middle of the wooden shaft on the beggar's hand, causing a considerable crack as it hit the bony wrist of the boy, causing him to scurry back into the shelter of his assembled poor brethren. Hatami felt ready to stop and properly deal with this, but the movement of the crowd meant that he felt his feet moving unconsciously, compelled by instinct to not be caught in the flow.

As they passed the gates, the path underfoot went from fine dirt to hard stone cobbles, and the roads began to open up as travelers detoured along the side roads, eventually opening up into the central forum, an "Agora," as Hatami was told these Atticans called it. The buildings around were much more ornate than those on the outskirts, many were two or three-storied and featured large columns of stone or marble. The colors were extremely vibrant, almost overwhelming, and seemed to come from every place. The people wore multicolored clothing, often matching tunics or dresses with cloaks or other accessories. The buildings were all colored, often in deep reds or yellows, creating an almost warming feeling that was helped by the rather strong sun above. There were many plants, ranging from patches of grass to trees, and small pools that many people gathered around, obviously in leisure. Great smells and sights came from wooden stalls, shouting and hawking at passing travelers, offering them fruits, waters, little icons, everything. The politician Lykomedes turned sideways as he walked to look back at Hatami, and held his hand up, pointing with his index finger, at a building at the other end of the forum. It was large, both in size and height, seemingly two stories tall, with a bottom floor that was completely open and seemed more of a covered walkway than a building. Hatami couldn’t hear the Attican but could tell from the pointing that it was their destination, and he gave a curt nod which seemed to satisfy the man.

The shade provided by the building felt very welcome on Hatami’s skin as he walked under its roof and columns. It was, however, even more packed than the agora had been, with rather large merchant stalls packed between the columns in such density it reminded Hatami like the bazaars and markets of the great trade cities of the east. The sound of the market was loud, as these merchants seemed even pushier than those outside, probably because these men carried much more valuable goods. Entire stalls were filled with pottery, bolts of cloth, fine weapons and tools, bags of grain, and walls of fine jewelry. Hatami took in these sights not with awe but with the critical eye of an appraiser; perhaps if he performed well, this would become his soon. He was led up a set of stairs which at their top were guarded by two soldiers. The top-level was much quieter, the muted sound of the market below only barely passing up to the marble halls. The doorways were all open with no door, and Hatami could see into each and see most were open spacious places with various government functionaries inside. At the end of the hall was a room, which was circular in its layout with three steps at its back, obviously seating. It was open but not very large, just like the other rooms, probably no larger than a regular house’s ground floor. In the middle, on the second step, a man was reclining on his side, using one hand to prop his head up while the other hovering over a plate of fruits. Several other men also sat leisurely on the step below him, many drinking or eating, while several servants stood close by. On the ground was a large red rug with golden-colored fringes and several rather nice looking large pillows. Lykomedes moved ahead while the Illian guards stopped and took up guard positions by the door. Hatami simply strode forward with his guards at his back.

“Sir, this is Lord Hatami, envoy of the Quasyrid King,” Lykomedes said towards the centrally resting figure, whose attention was now redirected from the men he was speaking with to the envoy.

Hatami stepped forward, giving a small nod of respect, and fully addressed the room, “I am the voice of King Albors, King of Kings, Suzerain of Kazhmere, Emperor of the Earth, He who fertilizes the fields by bending rivers, He who commands legions and masters a million slaves. I carry his words.” He stated in a frank voice. The merchant translator decided to wait until Hatami was done speaking to translate his words, after all this seemed a formal introduction and best to give a little bit of theatrical pause to it.

The reclining man smiled, nodding in respect to the Quasyrid, “Well met envoy, I am Prytaneis Agathokles, I speak for the Synedrion and for the people of Illia. Please sit so that we may discuss matters in good company.” He said, gesturing towards the pillows.

Hatami took the offer and gracefully reclined on one of the larger pillows while his guards stayed still behind him. Agathokles looked towards the men around him, “These men are senior statesmen of Illia, respected members of our Synedrion. They shall give counsel to this meeting. But first, we cannot discuss business until we are friends! Slaves!” He said, his last word a command that the translator didn’t feel needed to be said, as it was directed at the servants who now scurried towards Hatami. They held silver plates which they laid at the feet of the envoy.

Agathokles gestured at these plates and stated simply, “Gifts. Evidence of our goodwill,” with a smile.

The envoy reached over and examined the offerings. One plate was piled with fruits ranging from grapes to oranges to apples; another was covered in gold coins and fine jewelry; a third had multiple bolts of very fine silk. Hatami picked up one of the bolts and unfurled it in his hand, running his thumb and forefinger along it to feel its texture and quality. When he was done, he unceremoniously tossed it back onto the plate and fixed his uninterested gaze back on the Prytaneis.

Agathokles cocked his head in curiosity, his smile slipping a little bit, “Are you pleased?” He inquired.

Hatami shrugged his shoulders, “It is adequate,” he stated.

The smile now fully left Agathokles’s face. He felt a distrust brew in his gut; he had offered a gift to this envoy that he would’ve offered an Attican King, and yet he treated it like it was nothing.

“You note that the gold is of considerable amount, the jewelry of quality craftsmanship, the silk of fine material, and the fruits quite refreshing.” He said, apprehension in his voice.

Hatami simply gazed lazily over at the gifts and then back at Agathokles, “At my manor, our slaves cultivate and harvest many of these fruits. My coffers are quite full, and my wife is adorned with silk and jewels obtained from the far lands. This…”, here he gestured at the gifts, “does not compare to the bountiful riches of my homeland. But… it is adequate.” He stated.

There was an unease in the air as the councilmen looked at Hatami then back at Agathokles. The arrogance and disrespect of this envoy was unlike anything seen in Attican politics, and there was a bolt of fear in the politicians that no man could be this brazen without sure knowledge that his words not only spoke truth but that they preceded a mighty force.

Agathokles forced a smile and sat fully upright, “Well, then I know that we must hear your words then.” He said.

Hatami turned his head towards one of his guards, stretching out his hand. The guard placed in his hand a leather satchel, which Hatami then rested at his feet. From it he retrieved a map which he rolled out on the rug; the map was curled at the corners and did not want to stay flat, so Hatami reached over and grabbed a handful of Illian gold coins, and placed stacks of them at the corners of the map, holding them down.

“This is the earth. This…” Hatami waved his hand over the east, covering most of the map, “Is the realm of my Lord, King Albors. It is large, it is mighty, and it is profitable.” Ending his speech, Hatami reached into the satchel and pulled out a lambskin canteen, and handed it to one of the slaves.

“The wine of my Lord is sweet, as is his rule. The Empire can bring the riches of the east to Illia; fruits sweeter than the finest honey, silk smoother than the sea itself on a calm day, gold finer than any in the land, and iron stronger than the earth itself. All that he asks is that you provide your servitude; a bag of dirt to prove your loyalty, and the banner of my Lord flown from your gates to show it.” Hatami said, providing one last item from his satchel; an unfurled banner of the Quasyrids.

The room was silent for several heartbeats. “You ask for our submission?” asked a councilman named Menoeces.

Hatami smiled, “Yes. It is inevitable, preferable to do it now.” He said.

“And if we refused?” Inquired Deiphonous. Hatami was startled by his question; the man wasn’t seated but had been standing on the right side of the room, looking out a window. He wore armor, so the envoy had assumed him a guard, but now that he took a good look at him he realized that the man wore armor of much higher quality and ornateness than the regular guards. This man was obviously a commander.

“Then we will lay siege and conquer your peoples. We command ranks hundreds of thousands strong, your defeat would be as foretold as every man's eventual demise. As dictated by the Gods as the rise of the sun.” Hatami said matter of factly.

Deiphonous nodded, turning away from the window to look towards the envoy, “Do you know that they tell stories of lands north where the sun does not rise?” He asked coyly.

Hatami snorted, “You ask me about petty rumors?” He shot out.

The general shrugged, “Perhaps not all is set in stone.” He stated simply.

Agathokles cleared his throat, attempting to intervene before things grew even more hostile, “We thank you for conveying your King's words. However, to consider your words we will need to convene the Synedrion, which unfortunately recently went into recess. I shall send out men to call the members back, should take only a couple of days. Until then Lykomedes can provide you with housing that is… adequate, for your standing.” He said.

Hatami nodded, “Very well. I shall wait, and then address your council.” He said, then with the same grace with which he sat, he stood and turned. A couple of his guards moved to pick up the items brought in the satchel and the silver gift platters. Lykomedes looked briefly towards Agathokles, worry in his eyes, but the Prytaneis simply waved at the statesmen, sending him off to do his duty. When the envoy and his entourage had left the room, Agathokles returned to his reclining position, but he no longer had the same jolly mood.

“It is worse than the merchants said, they wish to annex Attica whole.” Said Councilman Anastasios as he laid his back to rest on the step behind him.

Agathokles grunted in agreement, “Not since the barbarian invasion have we faced such a threat. Are we able to defend ourselves?” His last words he directed at Polemarcho Deiphonous, who shrugged his shoulders.

“I doubt we will be the first target, their forces will most likely begin their march on the peninsula and work their way west. If their forces truly are as strong as that man says, we stand little chance on our own.” He said.

“Hmm, yes. On our own…” Agathokles thought out loud, picking up a grape from the platter in front of him and plopping it into his mouth. “We must delay the envoy as long as we can. Have him followed, I don’t trust that bastard.” He said.

“Delay him for what?” Asked Councilman Methodios.

Agathokles looked towards Deiphonous, the two men locking their gazes, “Send out Messengers to the other Poleis, have them speak truth to the men of power; that a Rhademor has come to bring about a time of judgment.”

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Posts: 73
Founded: Sep 25, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Zedeshia » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:34 pm

Seaward Walls

The shining midday sun scorched down upon the earth, burning into the landscape below. The sky was clear, reaching out on all directions, it blue-grey expanses seemingly endless. Agen gazed outwards towards the horizon, his weapons at his side and his helmet placed beneath his arm. Normally, the great heat coming down from above would be harsh, even unbearable. But from where he stood alone on the great walls along the sea, a constant cool breeze reached him. The waters were calm, and across his view there were many vessels, large and small. From the distance he could hear the chanting and singing of fisherman as they cast out their nets, just barely audible over the roaring of the waves. Behind Agen, for many miles stretched the city of Tavos, a place of ancient stone and vibrant life. The dusty streets bustled with energy, countless people rushing past to some duty unknown, while at every side merchants and traders called out and offered their wares.

In the city there was a constant sense of business, but here, all seemed peaceful. All seemed calm. Slowly, the lids of Agen's eyes began to grow heavy, and for a moment, just a moment, the young soldier decided that it would be best if he rested them. What would the harm be, truly?

"Surely you do not believe that I'll simply let you fall asleep while on duty, do you?" remarked a voice behind him.

Caught off guard, Agen suddenly bolted upwards, blinking rapidly in a vain attempt to clear his mind of drowsiness. As he quickly turned about his heavy helmet flung loose from his grasp, and clattered onto the stone below his feet with a deep clang. Agen suddenly grew pale. The one who had just spoken was the captain of his military company: Ulis Kavemea.

"Sir! I-I..." stammered Agen desperately, wildly trying to devise some excuse for what had happened.

But to his surprise, he was not met with scathing words or punishment, but rather laughter. At the sight of Agen's reaction, Ulis began to loudly chuckle to himself. The sound was long and raspy with age, but in it was a spark of humor and joy Agen once thought impossible for one of such a position to have. Ulis was ancient, at least for a military man, his hair fully greyed after what appeared to Agen as countless years and his face showing all the signs of old age. But beneath this was a great strength and experience, his body still rippled with muscles and his skin tanned heavily after much time under the rays of the sun.

"I jest boy! I jest! Simply be sure that such a thing never happens again! I cannot blame you for it. I fell out of duty many a time on these walls during a day like this myself..." continued Uris with a slight smile on his face.

Agen sighed in relief. No trouble would become of this incident after all.

"Thank you, captain. Tru-"

Suddenly behind him there was much shouting and crying out. Uris glanced past Agen and to the sea, his face quickly losing its color. Pushing him aside, he moved to the edge of the great walls with a sudden purpose. Agen swiftly retrieved his helmet, and curious, followed the old captain, his mind rushing with wild ideas on what it may be. Then, glancing over the walls and to the ocean he could see it. Gliding through the waves was a ship unlike any that Agen had known before, bearing strange sails that shone in the sunlight as if they were interwoven with gold. Engraved on its front hull was the emblem of the Quasyrid Empire.

The Inner City

The ancient palace of Megalpyruna was a place that inspired awe, its great walls towering over the rest of the Inner City of Tavos. The ancient structure was truly a sight to behold to any in Attica, as if the gods themselves had constructed it out earth and clay. But to a man of the Quasyrids, the place was nothing of importance. The amazing monuments ruled over his lord and emperor were without a doubt in his mind far greater, far larger, far more impressive. To compare the two was like comparing a mere pond to a vast, open ocean. The messenger and his now unarmed guards entered the palace, accompanied on both sides by Tavian warriors who were ready at any moment to restrain the strange traveler from afar if the need ever arose.

But such a time never came, and within a few short moments, the group arrived at the great doors that separated the rest of the palace and the room in which the seats of the Evgroceri and the throne of the King laid. The great doors were of stone, and carved into their sides were countless images and patterns, some from the ancient times of the Thrivians, others of the Atticans who now resided in the palace. With a great noise and much effort from many slaves these doors were slowly opened, and at the sight of those inside the leader of the Tavian soldiers bowed with deep reverence.

King Karde Lisedendris rested regally in his throne, surrounded by the members of the Council of Evgroceres, who he had been addressing when the doors with a thunderous cry were forced open. Surprised, he glanced upwards. At the door stood many of his loyal soldiers, then followed by a strange group of men unfamiliar to him. A sickening feeling began to rise in his chest. Only in times of great importance would one ever dare interrupt a meeting between the Council and King. Lisedendris, breathing deeply, calmed himself and quickly regained his composure.

"What is the meaning of this? You dare interrupt the Council and myself at the feet of my own throne?!"

The head of the Tavian soldiers appeared to shudder at these words, as if hearing them had caused him more physical pain than a a deadly blade striking him with immense force. The eyes of the Evgroceri fell upon the man, staring at him with a silent intensity.

"My lord, I beg you for forgiveness. These men had arrived just an hour ago on a ship laden with slaves and unfamiliar goods. This man, their leader, claims to carry a message for your ears only."

"...And why does that give any reason for you interrupt so rudely?" Questioned one of the Evgroceri sharply, his voice cutting through the air and stabbing into the ears of the warrior.

The messenger's eyes widened in shock. What type of bizarre court had he entered? He stepped forward.

"You allow advisors to be speak out of place?" He questioned incredulously. The man's voice was deep and commanding, filled with an air of arrogance and contempt that caused it to echo across the ancient halls.

The King of Tavos gazed calmly at the man, and extended his hand outwards towards him: a gesture clearly signifying to the messenger to cease speaking before it was too late. Upon seeing this, the man hesitated, his next words hanging at his lips, but then silenced himself.

"Evgroceri Imos is no advisor, stranger. Nor are any of the other men in this room, besides yourself and the fools who led you here. No, they hold far more power and respect than you could ever imagine in these lands. Now, tell me your message and be swift with it. I will not tolerate wasted time."

The messenger approached the throne, not for one moment showing any signs of weakness. He was the servant of a master much more impressive than this pitiful king and his council of noblemen. Revealing a thick leather satchel, he eyed the king as if inspecting him carefully, searching for any possible weaknesses he could exploit. A fiery anger slowly emerged from the dread in Lisedendris's heart. Whoever this person was, they had shown a lack of respect for any of the laws of Tavos and its rulers. What exactly was their purpose?

"I am Afim-Dal, servant of King Albors I, ruler of the greatest of all empires, god of all that lies under the sky, holder of wealth endless, he of a land so vast and bountiful that it is beyond description in your simple language. My lord and emperor has sent me here to give you an offer: either submit to the mighty Quasyrid Empire and spare yourself and your people, or watch as this city is burned and trampled into dust, as if it had never existed."

The Council of Evgroceres gasped and watched on in complete terror as their King's serene demeaner disappeared, his face draining of all blood. Though the common man in Tavos knew little of the Quasyrids, Lisedendris and the Council knew far more than they would have truly wished. The Quasyrids were a mighty empire of a far away land, spoken of much by merchants who had traveled far and wide and infamous for its brutality. To ever believe that the wrathful gaze of it's ruler would turn on Attica was something unthinkable. Seemingly pleased by the affect his words, Afim-Dal continued.

"As I speak an army of countless warriors led by my lord himself prepares to the cross the great sea that divides my lands from yours. If you do not accept, they will come down upon all of Attica and crush you like a insect. To stop this, all that I need is a sign of your submission."

"A sign of submission..." Lisedendris echoed reluctantly.

"Yes, a a sign of submission. To save your land and people all that I need is a pouch of soil, a symbol of surrender, and the crown perched upon you head."

The messenger spoke rapidly and harshly, a wicked grin appearing on his face. Upon finishing his message he released the satchel from his grasp. It landed with a heavy thud at the feet of the throne. Suddenly, Lisedendris was brought to his senses. Here he was, the mighty ruler of Tavos, chosen from the very best of the Council of Evgroceres, yet being disrespected by a haughty diplomat as if he was a child! But he could not let up so lightly what amounted to threat far from the east...

"I thank you for your message, traveler. But there is much that must be considered. Surely if your king is as benevolent as they say he will have more than enough patience for myself and my fellows to decide on this matter."

Afim-Dal stared at the king in bewilderment. He had believed it impossible for what he thought to be a weak ruler to not surrender immediately after his compelling words. Soft laughter could be heard among the Evgroceri. The diplomat from a far off land had at last suffered a blow to his pride.

"You do not make your oath of loyalty now?!" Afim-Dal cried, partially furious and partially confused.

"I do not. You have said yourself that it is a great distance between the Quasyrid Empire and Tavos. Why would I not spend days reflecting before I make a such a difficult choice? Until my decision arrives you may stay at a quarters somewhere here in the Inner City. I will ensure that you and your men are ...well protected until the time comes."

Shocked, the messenger and his guards were silently escorted away from the ancient palace by the very same group that had brought them there. As they left the King sighed deeply and rested his face in his palm. Troubled times would come to Tavos, but when and how, he could not truly say.
Last edited by Zedeshia on Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
What happens when one combines the Baltic States, interstellar technology, vast amounts of wealth, and moderate Social Democratic policies?
Well besides an absolute mess, Zedeshia!

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Li Jing
Posts: 72
Founded: Oct 21, 2020
Libertarian Police State

Postby Li Jing » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:11 pm


Prima Aretha say coolly on her throne, limbs relaxed on the armrests at her side and feet together before her. She was adorned in simple white garments and sandals, makeup around her eyes and cheeks highlighting her piercing eyes and prominent cheekbones. Atop her head sat the golden circlet which served as the crown of Acenia, its front emblazoned by a brilliant red ruby.

Before Aretha stood the Diet of Acenia, gathered together at the base of the large marble dais that her throne sat on. All men, the committee of fifteen were the voice of the people, elected by the people. A combination of philosophers, high standing merchants, and the common man to ensure a roundabout voicing of Acenia. Aretha has summoned them just shortly ago when a runner brought a message that a ship had moored in Acenia’s port. This ship was a Quasyrid vessel, hailing from the Quasyrid empire far to the east across the seas.

Aretha even now sat grim faced as several of the Diet mumbled amongst themselves. Whispering in each other’s ear and exchanging glances. No doubt they were aware of the visitors to their city and were exchanging over the implications, though in truth most of them knew. As did Aretha. She had first received word days ago that the foreigners were arriving all across Attica in the form of diplomats and were seeking out the rulers of Attica’s various states, demanding an audience. She had spoken with four members of the Diet in already about this and despite requesting silence on the matter doubt that their word was kept. Aretha knew it would be a matter of days before they arrived in Acenia, and now they were hear. To say she was tense would be a blatantly obvious statement.

Aretha was snapped from her thoughts as the grand doors to the throne room creaked and groaned suddenly, opening wide as seven men men came strolling in past the palace guards who then pulled the doors closed behind the group with a heavy slam. The young Prima felt her chest tighten and a lump in her throat as she sat up straight in her throne. The fifteen men of the Diet all silenced themselves and dispersed to the left and right of the dais. Aretha cast a glance at the two guards at her back, a pair of young, lean Virgin Auxiliaries. The legendary women warriors of Acenia. Both looked assuringly at their sovereign as she turned her head back to face her guests.

The lead man was adorned in fine silks and gold jewelry, atop his head sat a dome-like hat. He was dark complected, copper brown skin and a curled ebony beard and dark eyes to match. He walked in a full and rather presumptuous stride while the other six men followed tow in two rows of three. Soldiers they were, heavily armored and bearing large round shields and razor edged spears. Soldiers backing an envoy. Who sends an armed messenger? Aretha thought. Aretha could see the Auxiliaries stiffen at her sides, though they remained still and silent. The messenger came to a stop at the bottom step of the dais while his soldiers remained several paces back.

The Quasyrid man immediately spoke without awaiting address, “Greetings, I am-“

“You will speak when called to, foreigner, you will show the proper respect to Prima of Acenia.” blurted the Auxiliary to the right of Aretha. “Iris.” Aretha said sharply, turning her head only slightly. The Auxiliary shuffled her feet slightly,“Forgive me, my lady.” she said passively.

Aretha faced the Quasyrid,” State your name and business, Quasyrid.” she said firmly.

The envoy dipped his head into a deep nod, seemingly unsurprised at her knowing of his origin. “I am Bijan, Lady Prima, humble messenger for King Albors the First, sovereign of the mighty Quasyrid empire and King of Kings. I come here on behalf of my lord.”

“And what does your lord want with me?” asked Aretha keeping a calm demeanor.

The Quasyrid trained his eyes on the Prima’s face, a slight fire in his expression, “Submission.”

Aretha gritted her teeth hard as several gasps could be heard among the men of the Diet, she could see her Auxiliary guard shuffling restlessly. Even the guards that stood the length of the throne room turned their heads at the envoys’ words. “Submission?” Aretha was unable to deter the hiss in her tone. The Quasyrid’s expression shifted slightly taken a dark overtone. He turned to his retinue, his tight hand outstretched. One of the guards handed him a large leather satchel. He held the satchel outward with a nod and large eyes, as if asking permission to hand it to the Prima. The Prima responded with a short nod and a wave of her right hand. The Auxiliary Iris descended from the dais and jerked the satchel from Bijan, ignoring his slight smirk.

Iris handed the satchel to the Prima who sat it in her lap and pulled it open at the top. The first item she withdrew was a large, full wineskin. “The finest Kazhmere wine, a gift for your Lady.” Bijan said with a smile. Aretha arched her brow as she sat the wine near her feet and then reached deeper in the satchel, lifting a large cloth-like object halfway out. Looking to Bijan, he elaborated ,” The banner of King Albors, which will be hung over the gates of your city.” he ended with a smug smile.

“Insolence!” snarled one of the men of the Diet.

“Disgraceful profligate!” snapped another.

“Silence!” yelled Aretha as more of the Diet began to raise their voices, only to be pacified by her own. The Prima dropped the banner back into the satchel and placed it by her feet near the wine. Her eyes were narrowed as she exhaled slightly, saying nothing. Bijan shifted his feet slightly and quickly said ,”Lady Prima, even now the armies of King Albors cross the seas, a hundred thousand of the finest warriors of the east devoted to the will of King Albors. And Albors’ wills that Attica submit, or be destroyed.”

He let his words hang in the air before continuing ,”Your people are renowned for their intellect and logic. If you are wise, you will submit to Lord Albors. You will be welcomed under his rule and your people will see only prosperity and glory under Quasyrid sovereignty. Or, you will be destroyed.”

Aretha’s eyes lifted to the marble ceiling and grand pillars of her throne room, she absently scratched her right hand fingers against the ivory armrests as she fell into deep thought. Bijan stood silent, patiently awaiting her answer believing he had her. “My Lady, surely you cannot be considering this?” demanded a Diet member, a young man with curly chestnut hair.

“Hold your tongue.” Iris said from Aretha’s side.

“We cannot stand against such a force, not like these Quasyrids.” said another of the Diet, an older man with a scraggly gray beard and a balding head.

“You would rather see us as slaves under a foreign king?” retorted yet another of the committee.

“Silence!” cried Aretha for a second time, her face contorted. She brushed a strand of her raven hair from her forehead as she straightened up in her seat.

The men of the Diet shuffled about and stepped back in line, eyeing each other and the foreigner.
“What will it be, Lady Prima?” Bijan asked complacently. Aretha curled her toes and glanced down at the leather satchel near her feet, the wadded up banner inside peeking out at her from under a fold of the leather within. The Diet all stood staring at her, awaiting an answer. She felt the eyes of her Auxiliaries on her as well.

Taking a deep breath, Aretha said ,”Maia, show them to the guest chambers. We will continue this tomorrow.”

“Y-yes, My Lady.” said the other Auxiliary as she stepped down from the dais and motioned for Bijan and his men to follow. Bijan gave a short bow to the Prima and he and his retinue followed along behind their Auxiliary lead. Aretha sat somewhat slumped over in her throne, ignoring the chattering of the gathered committee, her eyes looking again to the satchel at her feet and the banner within.
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Li Jing wrote:
Ask me about the time I shot a guy down in college.

I missed the word 'down' in your post and was quite confused for a second there.

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Founded: Sep 25, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Zedeshia » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:17 am

The Inner City

Afim-Dal observed his surroundings warily, two Tavian guards standing ready at both of his sides. Staring above as he approached the Megalpyruna he could see the deep expanses of the night. It was beautiful, the waning moon at a thin crescent and with countless stars shining from afar, contrasting from the black void like glittering gemstones in the darkness. The diplomat knew not how long it had been since he had seen the night sky. It felt like many days after being forced into those dry, miserable chambers for so long. But his grievances would not be for naught. He was sure of why he was being summoned by the lord of Tavos at a time like this.

Entering the Megalpyruna once again, Afim-Dal crossed the many halls of the palace, following the light of torches that had laid dormant during the day. Finally, the messenger arrived at the mighty stone doors that separated him from his great purpose, which upon his approach slowly opened with the sound of thunder and the rattling of chains. His head raised high and his bearing confident, the man stepped forwards, his Tavian guards following spear in hand.

The throne room was cast in shadow, the silver garments of the Evgroceri flashing through the dim light. The dark figure of the king sat slumped over in his throne, his hands at his face as if he were in deep thought. At his feet shone the elaborate crown of the Tavian monarchs, and in his lap there laid a small pouch and a container. Afim-Dal grinned wickedly. His moment of victory had at last arrived. The will of his lord and emperor will be carried out.

"Have you at last decided the fate of you lands, king?" The messenger questioned gleefully, voice dripping with venom.

Upon Amil-Dal's approach the King of Tavos righted himself, and faced the messenger. His face seemed tired, strained. He had been struggling with the Council of Evgroceres for many days on what must be done. Staring warily across the room the king was met with silence, the Evgroceri gazing on sternly. If Tavos submitted, they would keep some of their power. If not they would either fall or lose their privileges to Lisedendris. Defeated, the king sighed deeply.

"I will agree to your lord's conditions, messenger. But make no mistake, I do not do this because of you."

Afim-Dal grew closer, beaming. Once again he did not attempt to hide his arrogance. No, instead he silently gloated, ecstatic over the success of his ruler's mission.

"A wise decision. All that I require is your crown and your soil."

Silently, the crown slid across the ancient room to the Quasyrid. The man did not yet retrieve it, instead watching on. There was more that must be done. Slightly quavering Lisedendris slowly reached for the container, pulling from it a small amount of Tavian earth. In his hand the king could see every sandy grain shift as he began to shudder. Opening the small sack that he had been given, the King slowly brought the earth to its destination, his hand shaking more and more violently as it grew closer, as if it physically could not handle committing such an act.

Suddenly the King rose from his throne, casting the sack and soil onto the ground.

"Guards, seize that man at once! I will endure the sight of him here no longer! Take him and his men back to their vessel and bid them to leave this place forever!" The King roared in indignation.

The whole room gasped out in shock. What was he doing? The protests of Evgroceri rang out in a sudden burst of sound.

"What is the meaning of this?!"

"You damn us all to destruction?!"

"Surely you do not mean to do this? You will doom us all!"

As they spoke the King of Tavos nodded silently to his soldiers. At first reluctantly, they took hold of Afim-Dal from behind and dragged the messenger away as he shouted and struggled. It would be the last time the man ever set foot inside the city for many years. Stepping forward the monarch fell unto one knee and returned his crown to his brow. The King waited patiently as the cries of the Evgroceri slowly died away.

"Silence! I could not tolerate such disrespectful behavior in my halls. Did you truly believe I would be a fool and give up this city to some foreigner far over the sea? No! We are the rulers of Tavos, descendants of great heroes of old! We will never submit, we will never become the slaves of another! We will hold strong against whatever force the Quasyrid Empire sends at us, no matter the cost! Many years ago our predecessors repelled the vast armies of barbarians to the east and like them we must stand strong with any other states who hold enough dignity to reject the will of that tyrant Albors."

Upon hearing his words the Council grew still and watched on as Karde Lisedendris marched swiftly out of the room, his crown restored to its rightful place. What had passed this day could never be reversed.
Last edited by Zedeshia on Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
What happens when one combines the Baltic States, interstellar technology, vast amounts of wealth, and moderate Social Democratic policies?
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Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:23 am

Transloric Foothills

Hulion groaned mightily as he felt the warm caress of the sun disappear from his face. With his thumb be lifted up the edge of his straw hat, peering up at the sky to assess the situation. The sun, which had shone handsomely and charitably across the meadows of butterflower, had disappeared behind dark-grey clouds rolling over the Loncic peaks. Like sea-waves, these clouds crashed on the mountainsides, turning darker and darker as they rose higher and higher. In the distance, the thunder began rumbling, echoed by the deep chasms and valleys that tore through the range. In a few hours, the storm would hit the trans-Loncic foothills, and reach the butterflower meadows. Hulion bit tightly on the straw of grass, groaned again, and lifted himself to his feet. He picked up his staff and started sauntering towards the herd of cows, contently grazing on the soft grass.

“Alright, girls. Hut-hut! Down the hill you go! You too, Venina, come on. Hut, hut!”

Lazily, the herd started moving down the hill, spurred on both by Hulion’s tongue-clicking and the vague sound of rolling thunder. The shepherd boy closed his eyes and enjoyed the last of the warm winds, before they were replaced by the cold and damp mountain-wind. Looking down the hill, he could see the River Glistening running silver-like parallel to the mountain. Still narrow, the river would grow out to a broad flow once it reached the City, and even broader once it came to the sea. At least, that’s what travellers and merchants had told him. Hulion knew the Glistening only as far as he could see from the mountain’s base, up until the horizon. Empty grasslands as far as he could see, dotted with hamlets and some fields, herds of cattle, and beehives.

Hulion had never left the town of his birth for more than a few days at a time, and always with his father’s herd in tow. Apis had always provided what he needed: family, friends, food, work. A small shrine to Ilios protected them from harm. Once Hulion herded the cows into their pen, filling the wooden troughs with water from a mountain stream, he went into the town’s centre. There wasn’t much to speak of, a rather simple wooden fountain carved from a log fed by a small aqueduct. The small square surrounding it used to be dirt, but the women of the village were now busy laying down a beautiful mosaic in honour of Melifera. The patron-spirit and founder of Apis, she was turned into a honeybee by Ilios for trying to create an Elysium on Earth. She was to be depicted as a woman dressed in black and yellow, with bees wings protruding from her back, her hands freely strewing flowers.

“She’s beautiful” Hulion remarked to his mother, who was busy laying her eyes: a black pupil, surrounded by a yellow iris.

“I can’t seem to get her eyes right… She looks perpetually cross-eyed” his mother sighed, trying to arrange the small stones in a pattern that would look good. Hulion kissed her on the head and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Isn’t it ironic? To try to achieve perfection in a picture of Melifera?” he added. “Ilios might turn you into…”

“A cow, for my trouble?” his mother sighed, wiping beads of sweat from her forehead.

“I was going to say something like a swan or a butterfly, but sure” Hulion said with a grin, before quickly running off. He came to a stop at the shrine to Ilios. It was little more than a pile of painted rocks with a sun-banner flying beside it. Some offerings were placed on the rocks, from small portions of meat to knick-knacks, small scrolls of paper, and some coins. Hulion placed a small bouquet of butterflowers he had picked on the hillside and kissed one of the stones. From there, he overlooked the Glistening Valley, and the fields that he knew flowed all the way to the sea. The land was ancient, and had looked the same for a millennium. And it would look the same for a millennium still. There was comfort in that. He remained there, overlooking the constant landscape, until the first rain drops forced him inside.

The military wing of the Institute

The marbled halls of the Institute were never, ever, truly deserted. Even in the dark of night, a handful of scholars would inhabit the studies, hoping for some late-night inspiration or a visit from night-spirits to guide them. Or, some had just forgotten the time, and let the hours pass by unnoticed. However, the night before the Feast of the Delirium, even these enterprising souls were at home, preparing for a day of feasting and drinking, and some limited drug use. The consumption of hallucinogens was entirely forbidden within the city, by order of the Dekan of the Institute, and heavy alcohol consumption was discouraged. But once a year, during a festival in honour of divine inspiration, it would be allowed. While not exactly leading to a deeper understanding of the universe, the people of the city still engaged in it with fervour, and it was one of the most popular festivals of the year.

One of the few candles burning that night stood on a table in the military wing of the Institute. The wing was no more than an archive and a library, dwarfed by the astrological and philosophical wings, and completely surrounded by the poetic wing of which it was an offshoot. Still, the library held more epic verses about battles than actual reports, which were divided between itself and the historical library. The Institute cared little for the military library, since it was seen as too practical and too worldly to be counted among the true sciences.

Perses did not mind that as much. It meant that he could use the library undisturbed and in peace into the dark of night, without being disturbed by scholars engaged in debate. And that was not an unnecessary luxury; the dusty tomes on military history were written in hard to read handwriting, often written while on campaign, and in Attican dialects very different from the Erianadoric Attican spoken and written in Agelada. The few treasures were reports from Nemea, written by Ageladan exiles. However, these exiles often didn’t understand the first thing about military matters. They confused battalions and regiments, cohorts and armies. Too often they engaged in hero-worship, and cared little for the rest of the battle as more than a backdrop. A lot of “they marched on the city and captured it”, without even a mention of siege.

The dearth of materials is why Perses was so happy to stumble upon the Oplón Poreias: a tome written not by an Ageladan, but translated from the work of a Royal Writer of King Albors. He described, in detail, one of the campaigns of the King of Kings. And while celebratory of his sovereign, his lines were still filled with criticisms. The prose was hard to grasp and difficult to grasp, and it was hard to see whether a sentence was a metaphor or a factual description.

“What do you mean, the column ‘attacked like a thousand men and gained in blood’? “

Perses sighed with exasperation. His eyes pricked with dust and his attempts to read in the dim candle light, combined with incredible frustration. He looked out the window to try and gage the hour, and saw that the sky was already growing brighter beyond the Great Sea. Every morning, the dawn reminded him of the power that was currently arrayed against them in the east. With the stars slowly failing from view, Perses gathered his notes and his candle, and started making his way home. However, in the dim light, it was hard to distinguish one hallway from another, and Perses managed to get incredibly lost within mere minutes.

“Damn… I mean, by Avina… Battle of Dapses…” he held his candle to the wall recognising a detail from one of the mural mosaics.

“That means I am… At the legal wing? No… medical…”

After some minutes, he heard hushed voices coming from around a corner. Delighted, Perses made a run for the hallway, only stopping himself just before rounding the corner. There, he stopped for a moment, trying to recognise the voices. There were three of them, men, and he recognised all of them.

“At next week’s hearing, I expect no difficulty in ruling against the motion” said the voice of Felion. He was the Chief Magistrate, the president of the Royal Court.

“I don’t expect anyone will defend the proposition of the emissary” came a second voice. It was Ansumenedes, the Dekan of the Institute. While not formally part of the governmental structure of the city, his control over the Institute admissions made him a powerful player. Not a few men and women had found themselves banished from the Institute for unorthodoxy, which was in all matters the same as expulsion from the city itself. From his mouth, an expectation was a threat.

“Which means the motion will pass without oral arguments. It will save the City a lot of trouble” Felion replied. “In this time, we don’t need more division” he added, with a lot of emphasis. There was a silence. Then, the third voice spoke, recognised by Perses as the voice of Ocoros, writer of Laments.

“You were a fool, Felion, for making a fool out of the emissary. He is a powerful man at the court of Albors, and has a lot of sway with the King of Kings”

Perses was surprised to hear Ocoros speak so bluntly, and in defence of the emissary. Currently, he was so hated that his own Menonoikos had to guard the home at which he resided, to prevent angry mobs from tearing him to pieces. Perses had not expected there to be one person in the city who thought he was treated badly, but apparently, there was.

Felion was dismissive of the attitude.

“I was merely following procedure. We are all bound by our Royal Laws”

“Yeah, hide behind your laws. See if they can stand up to catapults as well as our walls” Ocoros snarled.

“Careful, friend” Ansumenedes interjected. “To imply that the City of Avina can be taken is to doubt the divinity of Avina, and our Institute”

A clear threat from the Dekan. Perses couldn’t tell if he was bluffing from the tone of voice alone. Ocoros was well-liked among the intelligentsia, and his ostracism would not go over well with much of the city. However, the power of the Dekan was broad, and if Felion agreed, the court case could be very one-sided. Ocoros, however, scoffed at the proposition.

“It’s not sacrilege, Dekan. It’s maths. 3000 cannot stand against 100.000. Not with 3000 perfect citizens would we win this.”

“We would not stand alone” Felion countered. “The other cities…”

“The other cities” Ocoros said, “would squabble until the end of days. We are right in the path of their advance, our shores are the perfect landing sites. Open fields from the coast until our city, perfect for their armies. We barely have any cavalry, a field in which they excel”

“The city can stand a siege…” Felion tried, but again, Ocoros interjected.

“No, it cannot. Albors does not need to risk a siege, he can batter down our gates at will. We don’t have the experience or manpower to stop his siege engines, or to keep his fleet from sailing up the River Glistening”

“You know much about king Albors and his empire” Ansumenedes said coldly. “Perhaps too much, for a proud citizen of our city”

“Is the pursuit of knowledge unorthodox now, Dekan? Is that your view?” Came the retort from Ocoros. “You are not king yet”

Another silence fell over their conversation.

“Ocoros, you are well-respected by some in the city. That is a fact. But I will not allow our city to be handed over to a foreign sovereign without a fight…” the Dekan said.

“No, you will hand it to him in a blood-soaked rag because you want to keep your job” Ocoros interrupted, but Ansumenedes continued unabated.

“I understand that you believe you are above ostracism, but there are yet other ways for me to ensure your silence. If you stand up in court next week, I will make sure that Karnassus will not be the last hero we entomb this month. That will be all”

Perses just managed to put out his candle and dive into a closet when the Dekan rounded the corner, followed closely by Chief Magistrate Felion. He could hear the faint sound of Ocoros whispering a silent prayer, though he could not make out the details. As soon as he heard his footsteps disappear, Perses fled the Institute, towards home.

The Temple to Avina the Queen
One week later

“Which citizen will argue against the motion?” Chief Magistrate Felion asked the assembled citizenry. The Temple to Avina the Queen was absolutely packed; there were even people standing behind the Nine Thrones, an area that was normally reserved. Down from the balconies, men and women of all ages looked down on the central podium. The emissary Sever-Anuran, accompanied by his translator and his armed guards, stood on one side. The other side was as of yet still empty, but would soon contain the Contra-citizen, to argue against the motion. Sever-Anuran, not being a citizen, did not have the right to stand for his own motion. According to procedure, the Court was supposed to pick a Defender first, to speak in favour of the motion. But Felion had made a one-time alteration to the rules to allow for a Contra to be chosen first.

A few citizens stood up, one older than the next. The Court chose a defender based on seniority: those with a degree in law went before those without, those who had written on the subject went before those that didn’t, and those who had more court experience went before those that hadn’t had as much. However, there was one attribute that trumped all others. Among all the citizens, one woman stood up. She was in her mid-thirties, so certainly not the most senior of all her peers, but from her toga she held aloft a golden sceptre, the seal of the Dekan of the Institute.

“I have been chosen by the Dekan to represent the Institute in this matter!”

Representing the Institute was the most senior position one could have, and trumped all other considerations. All the others who had stood up sat down in reverence, and allowed this woman to pass. Alekeia, as she was known, was an adopted daughter of the Dekan, and an up-and-coming name in the Ageladan legal world. Rumour had it her adoptive father was preparing her to take over his own role as the first female Dekese. She was known for both a wicked tongue and clever reasoning. Perhaps it was overkill for the Dekan to pick her, but clearly, Ansumenedes was leaving nothing to chance.

“And who will stand in defence of the motion?” Felion asked. Silence fell over the room. If there was no defence of the motion, it would pass without a discussion on the merits. Clearly, all present were aware of this fact, and no-one stood up to drag out the proceedings needlessly, as could sometimes happen in smaller cases. Those trying to make a name for themselves would sometimes defend unpopular or unwinnable cases just to get the court experience. However, in cases like this, even with a matter this prestigious, even the most ambitious of jurists would not touch the matter with a long spear. The silence continued. Sever-Anuran looked around furiously, his head growing redder with each passing second, apparently miffed that his appeal to reason had entirely fallen on deaf ears. His translator-friend had apparently filled him in on the details of the procedure.

Perses looked around uncomfortably. He could not spot Ocoros among those present. Perhaps he was outside, or hidden among his peers. Or perhaps he had not shown up at all. In any case, he would not stand. Perses felt his stomach churn. He did not know how to feel; on one hand, he agreed that the city should not, and could not, surrender to a foreign king. It had been independent for centuries, and her proud traditions and institutions had to be protected, even if the fight was unwinnable. But he also knew that Ocoros was a wise man who cared for the city and its inhabitants. He would never needlessly defend a position. If he had something to say, Perses wanted to hear it. And perhaps the Court should hear it too. But the threat of the Dekan had obviously had its effect; Ocoros was nowhere to be seen.

After a minute of silence, Felion nodded sagely and stood up from his chair.

“In the absence of a Ratio in the defence of this motion, I have no choice but to declare this motion void and unfulfilled. In the name of the King, I rule that this city will not be handed over to citizen Albors. The citizen in question can appeal this decision in person within two weeks, or this decision will become unalterable”

He turned to the emissary.

“Sir, your diplomatic mission has been fulfilled. You have until sundown to leave our city, or be branded an enemy under pain of punishment. The court is dismissed”

The court erupted in cheers, and even Felion could not help but smile triumphantly. He had hidden behind procedure the whole time, but now that the decision had been made, he could not help but soak in the limelight. Only Sever-Anuran and Perses fell silent, both contemplating the same eventualities from different perspectives.
Last edited by Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States on Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:56 am

"One hundred thousand, he said?"

Isaeus nodded. "I believe him."

Polemach Clearidas coughed softly and wrapped his rust-red cloak tighter around him. "Well, that's enough."

The polemarch and his prytenis stood on a balcony of the Euryalus, overlooking the broad open field west of Nemea's walls. Now, that field was filled with white canvas tents as the men of Nemea streamed in from the countryside. Here and there, a bronze mora standard stood proud at the head of a line of tents: the wolf of Siteia, the stag of Oneiros. At the edge of the field, the leather tents or simple blanket lean-to's of the Odrysian and Getae auxiliaries crowded the treeline. The chill of the morning mist hung heavy over all.

There were still scarcely over four thousand men marshalled in the plain.

Clearidas turned to Isaeus. "We will have to bleed these invaders." The polemarch scratched the hideous scar that split his face from hairline to jawline, and that left one eye socket an empty hollow. "Their emissary seemed arrogant, you said?"

"Worse," Isaeus replied. "He seemed ignorant. Convinced of the inevitability of his cause."

"Good." Clearidas nodded. "Then they will want a quick victory, and they will divide up their forces - the better to strike everywhere at once. If we concentrate our own men, we may be able to match them, at least on the right ground. Even then, the enemy will come in such numbers as to strip the country bare. So if we can keep the initiative, keep them marching back and forth as their supplies dwindle with every mile, then hunger and thirst will weaken them day by day."

"Unless they can find resupply closer to home," Isaeus said quietly.

"Aye." One of Clearidas's knotted fists balled upon the stone railing of the balcony. "You trust this trader of yours?"

Isaeus shrugged. "It's a rare spy who will tell his paymaster unwelcome news, unless he is sure it is the truth. Acenia, Hydros, Agelada - all received Quasyrid emissaries. All are stalling for time, and considering the offer of submission."

Clearidas nodded. "Well, at least none of them have officially bent the knee - not yet. There is still time to sway them. Even the most peaceful polis can still help to slow the Quasyrids down, and starve them in the slowing." Isaeus chuckled. "And may Lorvan bless King Stelios. What a blessedly stupid bit of sacrilege - mutilating a messenger. If the gods don't strike him down, he must know Albors will not hesitate to do the job. There is no going back now."

"And Illia and Tavos will both fight," Isaeus stated. Clearidas raised his eyebrows at that. "A messenger," Isaeus explained. "On the morning tide. Lisedendris seized the Quasyrid ambassador and banished him. And Agathokles sends word: a Rhademor has come to bring about the time of judgment."

Clearidas snorted. "Aye, that's one way of putting it." He scratched his scar again, pondering. "Xavala, Tavos, and Illia. Good. Very good. It's a start." He turned to Isaeus. "We will need allies, in the days to come - if not friends. All of the strategoi are now gathered here with their morae. Can you and the other pryteneis be ready to sail on the evening tide?"

Isaeus nodded. Most of the time, the job of a prytenis was to represent a strategos on the Synedrion in Nemea, while the strategoi themselves led their morae on the frontier. But when all the strategoi were gathered in one place, their representatives might be asked to venture further afield, as diplomats and emissaries. This was a part of Isaeus' duty. "We'll find passage on whatever merchant ships are in port," the prytenis said firmly. "Where are we to sail?"

"Xavala, Ilia, and Tavos, for a start. Then perhaps Agelada. I doubt their pride will swallow submission to Albors." Clearidas' one eye bored into Isaeus, strikingly blue. "Sway those who can be swayed. Put iron in their spines and fire in their eyes. Shame the weak-kneed with Neman lion-heartedness. But counsel wisdom to those willing to fight: let them gather in the harvest, strip the country bare, strike from ambush and avoid unwinnable battle." Clearidas sighed. "This will be a long war, war such as we have known but the rest of Attica has forgotten. You and the other pryteneis will need to guide our allies in fighting it."

"We will." Isaeus glanced at the sun's progress. "I will gather my colleagues. We will build what unity we can in Attica. You will let us know when you march?"

"Of course." Clearidas glanced out over the lines of tents one last time. "This will be the first time in a century that the morae march as one, Isaeus. When it happens, you will know - and the whole world will know with you."
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.
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Postby Krugmar » Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:44 pm

“A pouch of dirt and their crest of power, this is their offer of submission.”

Such words had been spoken by the mighty Albors to his messengers, of whom Mihrab had the esteemed honour of being counted amongst. When he had set sail, he had envisaged himself accomplishing the task with ease. For what madmen would stand against the Qusayrids? Any king, tyrant, or demagogue who tried to stand firm would either be broken by the innumerable wave of soldiers sent by the great king, or torn down by his own people, who would clamour for a peace and prosperity only Albors could provide.

Yet here in Iluria at every turn he had been snubbed. The city's Tyrant had refused to meet with him in private for over a week, and he received no answer as to where the Boule was currently convening. He learned later that it had been moving location every day, and ending its sessions if he or his entourage came too close. The greatest insult was realising that he had not been housed in a villa befitting his station, but instead an emptied brothel in one of the seedier parts of the town. His guides had insisted that it was a great honour to be so close to Amara's temple, but Mihrab doubted their sincerity.

But the day had arrived when they could ignore him no longer. He had intended to vacate the city and make his report to Albors, being halfway to the harbour, when a messenger stopped him. The Boule was meeting at the Temple of Hydro Ogenos, the Tyrant was in attendance, and he had been invited to address them with his message.

"Mihrab, esteemed messenger and harbinger of the will of the Great King Albors, you are invited to speak to the honoured fathers before you today." Spoke one of the members of the Boule.

Mihrab stepped forward, standing beneath a great statue of Hydro. "My King, Albors, extends to you greetings and congratulations. You are invited to submit, and in return Iluria shall retain its autonomy, its culture and traditions. And furthermore, it shall be richer and more prosperous than it has ever been. All that is required to achieve this, is a pouch of dirt from your land, and the surrender of a symbol of power or authority."

There was a silence after his words. Then Mihrab spied a man rise from a small curule chair, presumably the Tyrant himself?

"You are welcome to take any dirt as you please. As for a symbol of power, the crown of our kings rests upon the head of Hydro Ogenos. Perhaps you will also be requiring a ladder?" Replied Tereus.

Mihrab raised an eyebrow, "You are accepting my King's terms?"

The Tyrant shook his head, "I have merely said that you are welcome to try and take what you believe you are owed. Dirt I think will not be an issue, the priests on the other hand may have other ideas about you taking the crown."

"Then you refuse. My King marshals the greatest army that the world has ever seen. Where it marches the earth trembles, it shall scorch your lands and drain your rivers. Iluria will burn, the statue of your god will topple, and Albors will personally take the crown from its cracked skull." Shouted Mihrab, incensed both by his earlier treatment, and this fresh insult.

"Oh." Tereus said meekly, before returning to his curule chair.

Mihrab was about to continue when a voice to his side interrupted him. "Blasphemy!" Said a bearded figure, wearing naught but what he was born with. His hair was a mess of grey, and he stank to the high heavens. "You would dare to desecrate this holy place with your vile tongue. That you would even suggest harming the statue of the Earth-Quaker is sacrilegious. Who here in the Boule will defend him?" He asked.

"Who are you?" Asked Mihrab.

"That is the High Priest of our great patron, and he has indicted you of sacrilege. What do you say in your defence?" Replied Tereus.

"I am a messenger of King Albors, you must do me no harm. I have put up with your tricks for too long, this is a den of thieving pirates and whorish aristocrats. I merely warned you of what your impudence will lead to." Mihrab replied hastily.

"Will anyone defend Mihrab?" Asked the same man who had introduced him to the Boule. They were met with a deafening silence. "Then according to our customs, and the laws regarding the defence of our religion, you must pay for your transgressions with the punishment the High Priest deems fit. Krossi dorekia*."

Sounds of battle could be heard outside and Mihrab's entourage were surrounded and forcibly disarmed, one dying in the process and two gaining severe wounds. Mihrab was grabbed by two guards and hauled to one side while the Boule undertook its measure to end its session. Afterwards he was hauled through the street, subjected to the jeering of gathering crowds, as the members of the Boule and priests of Hydro Ogenos followed behind.

He struggled fruitlessly the entire way, slowly realising his fate as they passed his quarters, which he noticed had been taken over by its previous inhabitants and was already reopen for business. Instead he found himself outside the city upon a small cliff, overlooking the sea. His mission here had always been destined to end in failure. As they tied at his feet to a rope connected with a heavy rock, and slid around his neck heavy metals, he could not help but begin to curse them with every breath.

There was no ceremony, no words spoken. When they had finished heaping weight upon him, he was awkwardly pushed into the sea. As he sank to the deep dark depths, he noticed that they had also tied a pouch of dirt to his neck, which was now spilling its contents into the sea. His last thoughts were of the city burning, his last prayers towards his gods and king Albors to make that happen.

The surviving four members of Mihrab's entourage were loaded upon their ship. The two bodies of their comrades were given to them, one having died during the night, as well as the bloated corpse of Mihrab. The pouch of dirt was still mockingly tied around his neck.

They had been told to deliver a message to their king.

“A pouch of dirt and your crest of power, this is your offer of submission.”
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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The Traansval
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby The Traansval » Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:37 pm

Hills Deme, Illia

Agathokles was, as he was everyday, awoken by the warming golden rays coming through the windows of his bedroom. He laid there for a few moments, simply savouring the feeling of his fine silk sheets, before he pushed himself up into a sitting position. He slipped on his sandals and rose, picking up a bell on his bedside table and ringing it, calling in his personal servants. He decided on his clothing for today; a long white undergarment which he had covered with a flowing purple and red cloak. A servant bowed before him with a red pillow, upon it sat the silver band which signified his office; it served both as a nod to the previous monarchy and to the humbleness of the office. He picked it up and placed it upon his head, and then ushered his servants out. He turned his head to look out towards the view; the sun was hanging just above the sea, its surface bouncing the sun's light like a mirror, creating a beautiful image. Such was the view afforded to those of the Hills Deme, a subsection outside of town, home to the homes of Illias wealthiest and leading citizens.

The Prytaneis exited his bedroom and strode down the stairs, following a hallway until he came to an expansive dining room, around which his family was seated and waiting. He walked over to his wife, seated at one end of the table, and gave her an affectionate kiss, exchanging a brief moment with her in greeting. He then went to the other end of the table and took his seat. Agathokles’s wife clapped her hands and ushered in the servants, who placed down the family's breakfast meals.

“I viewed the fields from my room this morning; the wheat seems to be growing excellently,” Agathokles stated as he picked up his utensils and cut a piece of his tagenias, a type of wheat pancake.

His wife, Althaea, nodded as she too began to eat, “Indeed. Deinokrates has done fine work, I believe we shall have plentiful surplus for market come harvest.”

Agathokles smirked and said, “Who has done the finer work; Deinokrates, or the woman who hired him?”

Althaea let a small smile creep on her face, “Why, the woman of course,” she said.

Agathokles chuckled and turned his attention back to his food. As his mouth was full, he chewed and contemplated. His gaze fell on his eldest, Aristaios, who had just turned 16 last month.

“How goes the apprenticeship with Polyphemous?” He asked.

Aristaios quickly swallowed his food and stilled his hands, “Fine Father, he has taught me much about management. He has me keep his books.” He said, apprehension in his voice.

Agathokles nodded, “Polyphemous is a very skilled businessman, I know his ledgers to be filled with coin. You will do well to learn his ways for when you shall enter the trade.”

Aristaios hesitated and then spoke, “Father, I have saved much coin from my work for Polyphemous. With your permission, I’d like to enroll with the Academy come spring.”

Agathokles stopped eating for a moment and then waved his hand, “No, I forbid it. Philosophy is very fine but you must prepare yourself properly if you are to inherit my estate. The Academy would be a distraction, I cannot allow it.”

His son began to draw air for another word but Agathokles gaze and his waved hand shut down the conversation, and they returned to their meal. When his meal was finished he stood up, calling for a servant to clear his spot.

“Leaving us so soon?” Althaea inquired, worry on her face.

Agathokles nodded solemnly, “The Synedrion meets this afternoon, and I must consult with Deiphonous and my council before I address them. I shall see you tonight, however, my love.” He said before he left, stopped once when he wife grabbed his hand on his way out; the two locked gazes briefly before she released him to his duties, “Deiphonous waits for you in the courtyard.” She informed him.

True to her word, when Agathokles strode into his courtyard he found Deiphonous there, seated but conversing with a man in a Illian military tunic. When the Polemarchos saw Agathokles he ushered the man away and stood to meet his leader and friend.

“Is it not ironic to have such fine weather on such a shit day?” Deiphonous asked, a smirk plastered on his face.

Agathokles shook his head in mock shame, “What vulgar language for a Strategoi; walk with me barbarian.” He said, beckoning Deiphonous. Ever conscious of the threats facing them in these times, Deiphonous looked behind Agathokles and motioned for the Illian Guards posted on the villa doors to follow them; it paid to be cautious.

“What is the status of our forces?” Agathokles asked as they walked down the street.

Deiphonous responded, “The messengers were dispatched, our soldiers are being called up. A thousand infantry shall be ready within a couple weeks, about seven hundred of which are Hoplites.”

Agathokles nodded, “What is your strategy?” He asked.

“When the Synedrion is finished, I shall ride for Isthria. There I shall marshal our forces; if they come by sea I shall be close enough that the Guards can hold the city long enough for me to arrive, and if they come by land they’ll have to do so through Mephir in which case I shall be able to ride for the southern mountain passes.” Deiphonous said.

Agathokles chuckled, “Do you intend to declare yourself Tyrant?”

Deiphonous smiled, knowing Agathokles was jesting, “There's a reason he chose Isthria; it has great strategic importance in the west.”

“Will it be enough though?” Agathokles asked, his tone growing more serious.

Deiphonous was solemn, “It is the best we can do. But it will not be enough unless the other Poleis join us. My messengers bring us promising news; Agelada, Xavala, Illuria, Tavos, and Nemea have rejected the Quasyrid. I have sent trusted messengers to cooperate with them; Nemea in particular is eager and will be sending one of their men here to give counsel. Perhaps with the support of others such as Hydros we can form a meaningful coalition.” He said.

Agathokles nodded, “It shall have to suffice.”

The Temple of Ilios is one of the great buildings of Illia; it housed both the Synedrion and the city’s coffers, along with religious functions. Worship of Ilios and political life in the city is interlinked, and the use of the temple reflected that. At the back of the temple, against the wall, were two great seats; one for the Prytaneis and one for the Polemarchos. In front of those seats was an open floor leading up to three rows of benches placed in a semi-circle. Agathokles and Deiphonous passed the group of councilmembers as they approached the Temple, and lead the way inside. The councilmembers stood in front of their seats and waited until the two leaders reached their seats, and followed their lead when they sat.

“Elder! Call this meeting to order!” Agathokles shouted, referencing the councilman Kyros, the eldest by time served who was responsible for administrative duties for the Synedrion.

Kyros stood, parchment in hand. He read out a roll call, listing off names one after another. The Synedrion had about fifty members meeting today, and the process of calling them all out was rather drool, particularly for Hatami as he impatiently waited behind the assembled councilmembers. When the roll call was finally finished, Kyros spoke in a very clear voice, “This meeting is called to session.”

Agathokles looked towards Hatami and his delegation, “I call this body to meet Envoy Hatami, of King Albion of the East, who has requested our fealty to his lord.” He said, earning a hiss of disgust from the Synedrion members.

Hatami, feeling the mood of the room, realized that he had spent nearly a week being led on, and decided to make his feelings known. He approached the two rulers and stood on the floor of the Synedrion, and then turned to address the Synedrion members.

“Illians, listen to me as you would listen to the word of the gods. I speak the words of the King of Kings, the Emperor of the known lands, Master of a million slaves, Commander of the mightiest army on earth; he who commands the very elements, who bends the rivers to fertilize the plains, wh-” Hatami spoke but was cut off by the shout of a member of the Synedrion who stood up, pointing a finger towards the diplomat.


Hatami snarled, “Fool! My Lord commands power beyond your understanding. He possessed the ability to enrich every man here, but you have scorned him with your ridicule, so now we offer you one last offer; end your resistance, show your loyalty to King Albors, and fly his banner to prove it. If you do not, we will burn your city, pillage your coffers, and slaughter your citizens.” He said, ending his tirade.

Deiphonous rose to his feet, “You are obviously an ignorant man, for if you were not you would know that Illia has been burned before; we have had our coffers pillage, and our citizens slaughtered, and yet here we stand. We offer no hostility to any, but if you wish to engage us in war you will find that like the desert snake, we are hard to kill.” He said, his hand on his sword hilt.

“My Lord commands an army a hundred thousand men strong. He has enough men to occupy every inch of your lands; to fight him is suicide, and would make all of you fools.” Hatami countered.

Agathokles rose to his feet, “I have heard enough. I ask this body; on the question of submission to the Quasyrid Empire, how do you vote?”

“NAY!” a chorus of voices answered.

Hatami and Agathokles locked eyes, “You have heard your answer. Leave our lands, or we will force you to.” Agathokles commanded.

The envoy shook his head, “I will pray for your souls,” he said before turning around and marching out, followed by his guards.

Agathokles sat back down and looked across to Deiphonous, who was also now seated. Deiphonous nodded at Agathokles, and the two exchanged a look of understanding; they had passed the point of no return.

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The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile
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Postby The Grand Duchy Of Nova Capile » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:21 am

The Temple of Lorvan rose higher than any spire that crenelated the Walls of Styros, higher than the Great Lighthouse that stood sentinel in the bay, high enough that the scepter of Ilios was nothing but a brilliant crown upon its marble brows. It rested upon a terraced fundament at the heart of the citadel, like a white tiger tensed for the pounce, overlooking its domain. The striated columns, each thicker than a giant's leg, supported no eaves, for the firmament itself was the temple's roof. They cast tall shafts of shade over the limestone floor, but obscured nothing, for the Temple of Lorvan was bereft of decoration, save for the idol at its back.

As great in stature as Lorvan himself, the Onyx Bull loomed above Styros, blacker than its shadow, utterly devoid of beauty despite the masterwork of its masons; it rested upon huge haunches, its breast swelling shapelessly, ivory horns like scimitars, with two ever-lit sconces for eyes and oblong slits for nostrils, through which clouds of blackest smoke transpired. But the terrible head was of no concern, for the eyes of any man were drawn at once to the abysmal cleft of its stomach, an opening perceptible only because, unlike the onyx, Ilios gave it no gleam. It was the pit whence no man returned, the smoldering cauldron of Lorvan where his anger burnt ever bright, the mouthless maw of the Bull.

It was at this sight that the emissary of Albors now stared, this edifice which smote from his mind the tallness of the Lighthouse and the beautiful might of the impregnable Walls and convinced him that these Styrians were no civilization at all, but barbarians.

"Creon, Chosen of Lorvan, Tyrant of Styros, I present to you—" The herald paused, the oiled curls of his beard bouncing with his polite smile. The expression the envoy returned was more of a grimace.

"I am Atizyes son of Artembares, but note not my name." Now a smirk curled beneath the silver rings and sable knots of the Quasyrid's beard. "Remember only the blessed name of the King of Kings, Albors, by whose will I live and speak! Great King Albors, Suzerain of Khazmere! Master of the Four Winds, he whose realm stretches farther than any man can wander! He who drinks the wine of every nation, he to whom every tongue swears fealty, he whose circlet sparkles with the gems of—"

Atizyes son of Artembares paused, the epithet halfway off his tongue, arms raised skyward, the expression of passionate exultation— as of a man in strenuous prayer, who has felt the touch of his god— draining from his swarthy face. The spray of urine into the chamber pot continued unabated.

Creon, Chosen of Lorvan, Tyrant of Styros, sat upon a simple wicker chair, legs splayed, an attendant holding the urinal steady beneath him. His withered arms flew up to catch the spittle which exploded from his mouth, his body wracked by a sudden, rattling cough. His jade eyes were misted, as the Styrian harbor on a fog-filled morning.

"Please— what was your name?" inquired the herald.

"Atizyes son of Artembares," came the answer in a voice shrouded with disbelief.

"Please, Atizyes, continue."

"He whose coffers run like rivers," continued Atizyes, tone siphoned of grandeur, "he whose tread shakes the mountains, he for whom the sun rises and the birds sing, he to whom beasts bow and whom trees worship." The stream of piss lessened to a trickle. Atizyes attempted to recover his decorum. "It is in the name of Great King Albors that I come! I am his emissary to you, Creon, Tyrant of Styros! Behold the tokens of his goodwill!"

With a flash of his black robe, Atizyes waved forward one of his soldiers. The Quasyrid withdrew from his satchel a wineskin, its hide still new, and proffered it to Creon. "I gift to you the sweetest wine of all Khazmere, emblem of the generosity and benevolence of the King of Kings! I bid you drink, Creon, and sample his hospitality."

A thin hand snatched up the wineskin and lifted it to an aquiline nose, which sniffed deeply. "Taste it," commanded a reedy, sharp voice, and the attendant tasted. When he did not fall dead, Creon tasted it, too. Red wine-beads streaked down the snowy tendrils of his beard, dribbling onto the purple folds of his lap like tiny rubies.

"'Tis good."

"I bring you an offer, Creon. Great King Albors, in his never-ending wisdom and by the might of his infinite armies, will conquer all Attica."

"All Attica?" scoffed the tyrant, wine-flecks flying from his mouth. Murmurs and chuckles rose from the crowd of attendants, guardsmen, and priests who surrounded him. "You could not hope to conquer all Attica with ten thousand men."

"Tenfold that number march beneath the banner of Albors!" proclaimed the envoy, and another Quasyrid unfurled a standard, at whose haughty visage the Bull and the tyrant scowled. "His hosts are as the drops of water in the sea!" And Atizyes flung his arm toward the azure Serranean far below. "The dust thrown up by their footfalls shrouds the sun! They march from a thousand lands and speak a thousand tongues, yet serve one master! Albors, he at whose bidding the sea roils and for whom it will part—"

"Yes, yes," snapped Creon. The old Attican's eyes glimmered, as though a torch had been lit behind them and banished the fog. "What is the offer of the all-mighty Albors, he whom Atizyes fellates?"

Atizyes' thick brows furrowed, but his composure re-knitted. "The King of Kings shall spare you, your city, and its people from the devastation which awaits all Attica should you send him tokens of your submission." The last Quasyrid satchel was opened. "Send Great King Albors a fistful of the earth of Styros, and the symbol by which you rule, and you will remain untouched."

"Symbol?" queried Creon, leaning forward in his chair, knotted fingers twining.

"Your scepter, your crown—"

"The Horn of Lorvan!" A man even more decrepit than the tyrant had cried out. In his hands was clutched the splendid horn of a bull, bleached to alabaster.

A tempestuous rage passed over Creon like a winter squall. He flew from his chair with vigor uncommon to his age, prised the horn with great difficulty from the grasp of the other Attican, and brandished it with trembling hand before the emissary.

"This horn? This horn, with which I was anointed? This horn, which has anointed all tyrants of Styros? This horn, broken off from the God of War himself in the siege of this city? The sea which bows before your king shall dry, the wine he drinks turn to vinegar, the host he commands shrivel to dust and be blown off by the wind before you lay hands on this horn!" Creon swiveled on his heel and stumped to the edge of the temple, glancing over his lopsided shoulder to see that the Quasyrid, his face the picture of shock, had not moved. "Come here!"

Atizyes hurried to his side. "The horn would, of course, be well-kept—"

"Silence!" Creon pointed an arm, an arm of lean sinew and leather skin, toward Styros, toward the vast mesas of bright-roofed houses and the sparkling pinnacles of watchtowers. "Do you see?!" Spittle flew from his mouth, and the Quasyrid nodded. "Those are the walls that have held back ten million men. Those are the walls on which the barbarians broke, on which the Hattusans broke, on which the sea herself breaks, on which you will break. Those are the Walls of Styros! God-Forged!"

Creon's breast heaved beneath his toga. He stared, shoulders rising and falling with his breath, at the foreigner, for barely a moment. "We shall teach barbarians to mock our custom and our god! Priest, anoint Atizyes with the sacramental oil! Light the fires of Lorvan!"

There was seldom time for the Quasyrid soldiers to find their weapons before the hoplites were upon them. Atizyes son of Artembares seldom had time to take a step toward the stairway before burly arms secured him. Attendants lit the coals which filled the Bull's belly, and that dark cavern roared at once with fire.

"Stop and think, you fools!" cried Atizyes as his hands were bound and a pot of oil was emptied over his head. His dark irises widened as he was drug to the Bull, the sonorous chants of the priests drowned beneath the crackle of flame. The sconces of the Bull's eyes glowed red with hunger.

"Wait! Please! Have mercy!" The heat of the cavern melted flesh like wax, the slaves bearing Atizyes almost unable to stand it. "By Albors, by the gods, by all that is holy, have mercy!"

Creon drank deeply from the wineskin, then brushed the residue from his lips with the back of his leathery hand. "Wait," he bid. "'Bring him back."

Atizyes was pulled back from the inferno, his beard a mass of embers, his eyes aflame, and thrown before Creon.

"Tell me, Atizyes, wiper of the arse of Albors, has your master sent one like you to Hattusion?"

"Yes," spluttered the envoy, stamping upon the hem of his burning cloak, drained of life.

"Hmm." Creon considered the wineskin. "Albors has shown us his hospitality. We shall do the same for his lackey. Come, Atizyes, and sample the hospitality of Creon, until the half-breeds of Lonce have chosen their lot. Then, we shall see what is to become of you."
Capilean News (Updated 16 November)
Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver? Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away, dark under the cover of night, as if it never were.

The Wanderer

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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Nejii » Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:15 pm

Archanean Sea,
North Coast of Erianador...

King Albors I hated the sea. The rolling of the waves, the nauseating smell of salt, and the sharp bite of the sea winds. Even as he sat on his throne on the poop deck of the ship he felt himself gripping onto the armrests and pressing his feet against the wood under him. The screech of signals pinned his nerves, and it was only the sight of the massive fleet flying his banner that gave him any sort of calm. While he longed to be on dry land again, he ordered that his forces remain sea-bound until some kind of verbatim from the cities of Attica was delivered to him.

It was several hours later as the afternoon sun glared down from above, it’s golden rays bathing the Quasyrid fleet in its sweltering aura, that Albors received word on his envoys. A single messenger boarded his personal trireme and was ushered before the king, falling to his knees at the feet of Albors.

“Your Excellency, I bring you word from your messengers that have returned from the cities of Attica.” the mans’ voice was steady but his face showed perturbation as he raised his head warily to look upon his king.

“Speak, messenger.” Albors sat up straight in his throne, firmly gripping the ends of the armrests on his throne as his flowing black beard rested in his lap.

“The people of Attica have proven to be... overall less than compliant.” The man clenched his teeth so hard they pained within his mouth, as he half expected to be struck by Albors himself of ordered beaten by the royal guard at the Kings’ side. Albors’ face darkened though he said in a level tone, “Tell me then, where do their allegiances lie?”

“Agelada, Iluria, Illia, Tavos, Nemea, and Xavala have rejected your offer. Two of your envoys were even killed.”

“Heathens.” hissed Albors, his lip curled in a fierce snarl. He demanded the messenger continue. “Acenia, Styros, and Hattusion Hydros remain undecided, our envoys sending word that counsel with them continues. More or less. And there are others that we have yet to hear from.”

King Albors dismissed the messenger who was rather eager in his departure from the monarch. In truth Albors knew that it was unlikely that even half of the city states would submit without resistance. He knew the Atticans were a fierce and independent people that valued their sovereign states. But still, not one city had taken a knee of submission, at least not yet. Even with warning of their pending conquest by a mighty horde of the east those who might be reasoned with drug their feet in indecision. He wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t simple stalling tactics while they met with their neighboring cities. Albors’ nostrils flared and his brow lowered grimly at this thought. A unified Attica could be conquered but not nearly as swiftly and with far greater cost to his army. What would be otherwise a several months campaign could turn into a years long war of bloodshed and attrition if the Atticans united. He could not allow this.

Albors summoned three more messengers, sending them with word to his three generals who were here with him. The time to act was now. No more waiting. Perhaps crushing a city or two would dissuade thoughts of resistance against his authority. Albors made his decision. Agelada, Tavos, and Iluria would be the first to feel his wrath. By his word, the drums of war would beat as the forces of King Albors made landing on the beaches of Attica and crush all before him.

It would be days later that three great armies would begin their advance on the first Attican cities. Bahadur, the eldest general sailed northward with a force of thirty well equipped and fully crewed ships to lay siege to Iluria with four thousand Quasyrid soldiers to storm the beaches and over the walls of the city. Javed, renowned cavalry general, leads a combined army of heavy heavy infantry and several regiments of horse archers numbering at four thousand strong westward to Agelada. And then there is Shahin “The Falcon” as he is called, renowned strategist and noble in battle, leading an army of five thousand south where they will then cross the Sundrake desert northward to Tavos.
Last edited by Nejii on Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
”I know more about wind than you!” -Donald Trump, 2020

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Post Czar
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Benuty » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:29 pm

The royal palace
Wing of the royal physic

The body of the emissary laid bare before the royal physic, with him an elderly man with a limp stating "Nothing we could do, his injuries too grave...he is beyond us now". The royal physic sighed "At least most of his guard accompaniment survived" he turned to the captain of the guard now awaking from his bed. "You should sleep sir...the fact you are alive is a miracle at all". The captain smiled grimacing in pain "I still have a mission to complete, an audience with your Queen as I am now the highest survivor of our master the king awaits to hear back". The royal physic frowned, and said: "very well, my aides will assist you to the court though I suggest you take it slow...the herbal potion only helps with the pain so much".

The royal palace
Court of the Gardens

The Reverent Queen Cosima smiled as one of the maidservants brought forth an unusual bird in a cage. Years ago it had been a gift from the jungles of a far off continent filled with lush jungles, deserts, and long grassy plains. Apparently, her parents were influential enough before her becoming Queen for a diplomat to try, and woo them over. She had been just a young girl then, one of many candidates for the title, but this bird was now her age. It was a tiny hatchling of a nest of eight, the only to survive, unfortunately. She had been given a responsibility by her parents to watch over the gift, she simply named him gray a clear nod to the bird's beautiful grey feathers.

Gray came out of the cage and flew quickly over to her shoulders as she enticed him with a treat. They began to walk through the expansive gardens, but as they were checking up on one of the flowers a servant rushed to her, and whispered that a guest had come to see her. Into the gardens came a man with an extensive side wound helped up by aides. Clearly, he shouldn't have been out of bed, but the matter was urgent, and as such she had gray put back in the cage. Reverent Queen Cosima gestured toward a table with a few sets of chairs.

She sat, and then the captain alongside her advisors. She ordered some snacks for everyone at the table. The captain of the guard was most curious about this, and she could tell. "Unlike the other attican cities your emissaries have no doubt been too...I find formal diplomacy to be a bit theatrical. My people are a peaceful one captain, and I know your King knows this well...yet I hear rumors in the wind of armies marching, and violent clashes in the peripheries... it is most disturbing to me". The captain nodded "I understand your majesty...if we are to be more acquainted please call me Reza".

Reza continued "I bring forth an offer, though the emissary was supposed to do this he is dead, and I must return to the king quite fast if to avoid at least the appearance your people were responsible for his death. I simply ask if you are inclined to peace then join us, all I need is a patch of soil, and a symbol of your power". He showed the Queen the satchel that the emissary would have been carrying. An advisor spoke up as he was given a flag out of the satchel "you want us to display it...I don't understand why...though? We mean no harm to your king or his cause?".

Reza spoke up "Your people are at the fringe of an area of proud people who love to fight outsiders as much as they fight each other. My king marches forth with an army beyond number even for the armies of your states. You are still attican, and as such have a part to play, give into my king's request, and you will join a domain as model citizens...there are privileges to this of course". Reverent Queen Cosima "Wealth does not concern us nor does power, and from what I have heard both are great ways for you to end up on certain lists of enemies that don't tend to live long as far as your king is concerned. Our people have lived relatively peaceful for five hundred years...we value our independence so I will suggest something to you".

Reverent Queen Cosima motioned everyone up, and towards a great tree nearby, it was clearly old, but also held reverential qualities toward the Tiqwahian culture. "My people have had this tree with us for much of our history here, a seedling from the days we colonized this war-torn, and plague-ridden land. Sometimes branches fall of it so I will say this. Go in faith to your king, and present this branch to him, if he burns it, and you bring back the ashes then we know he has no intent to peaceful negotiation with us. Yet if the branch returns with you then we will welcome King Albors to our land for negotiation...we are not irrational, surely your king will honor such a humble request". Reza nodded and stood up saying "Very well...I will fulfill your request", and to that, the party present toasted their drinks to peace.

Reza after drinking said the following " I must say this though...I must hurry since our ship is gone..may I borrow one of yours?". The Reverent Queen Cosima smiled "Yes you may, but the slaves brought here with you are free men, our laws prohibit any form of slavery on our land, and since your ship crashed it touched our land. We will give you, and the survivors an accompaniment of freemen who are paid for their labor on the ship. The body of the emissary will be wrapped in appropriate funeral wear alongside your other dead". She nodded, and said "may you return to your king in peace", and Reza responded, "farewell my lady may we meet again under favorable circumstances".

With that Reza, and all that were with him were escorted to the docks, and before the day ended they would be time to stop an army from landing on her shores hopefully.
Last edited by Hashem 13.8 billion years ago
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