The Return of Tambelon [Mystria]

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Psychotic Dictatorship

The Return of Tambelon [Mystria]

Postby Tambelon » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:18 pm

The sky was dark beyond the darkest black, its colour reflecting not the absence of light, but its opposite. The shape of the fell city here could only be seen in the whickering firelights and pale witch-light of its occupied quarters, from its highest peak it was all laid out, stars on the field beneath the innermost tower. To walk from the centre of the castle to its outer ramparts was five days march for a strong soldier, and its outer walls were higher than many skyscrapers.

This city was Tambelon, and it lay divorced from the material plane only by a soap-bubble. Its bleak expanse was occupied by a toiling multitude, and from its high peak the black city all was ready, in its foundries where the most fiendish works of mortal ingenuity had been studied and augmented with ageless malice the toiling workers were at a fever pitch, in its scholarly streets the city’s intellectual leaders re-checked their calculations and in the high windowless spires the shadowbinders pulled the threads of reality taut.

The hour-long appointed had come, the auspicious hour, the time to return to the world of light.

Narus walked the streets with the habitual furtiveness of one who was accustomed to toil and fear, the word had come forth but he had not relished it, for the hour appointed had long been his fear. The guardians of the city were everywhere, and though he had lived from his birth in the shadow of fear, he had long harboured thought in his mind that outside the endless fortress’ master had lied; for there was nothing good in Tambelon.

He passed by a brazier where coal, as abundant as the water here, lit a small circle around the gateway; a guard stood watchful and Narus averted his gaze, not meeting the guard’s eye, let alone the Hounds penned in runic iron behind him. The guard carried a flame lance that served as an electric goad to ensure that the creatures, penned here where they could not pass outward, could not gnaw their way through the bars.

Further on a temple blazed with the light of fires within and the redolent chiming of the great bells within and Narus shunned it, but made the ritual supplication as he did, wary still of the guard’s eye upon him.

The street broke open and he could see the great black centre of the city, he made a small gesture beneath his cloak, a defiance to the Lord of Tambelon.

The city shook, rumbling again, the soft ripple of a mild earthquake, the work of the Lord, and Narus felt for a moment the dark architect of Tambelon had seen him, and he hurried onward before he heard it. The convulsions in the ground were faster to cross the city than the sound; the sound was too small a word.

He pressed his palms to his ears as if to push them back into his head, the thrum of the Sound echoed out across the city, splitting the sky and splitting the soul, it was a terrible thing, and Narus fell to his knees. The city had been forbidden to use glass in construction long ago, every window was barred with black iron, even the estates of the wealthy were like prisons in that regard, for just this moment. Narus’ ears tore at him, and his bones throbbed, his skin burned in the sound and though he could not hear the cries, he could see the others in the city were no less affected than he. Even the Hounds, terrible things, curled in their cage in stark terror, their ember-eyes wide and fearful.
__ __ __

The mountains broke to the Sound, the terrible peal echoing in the material plane with a far greater power, the earthquakes that had merely trembled the shadow buildings broke mountains and caused avalanches for hundreds of miles, the sun trembled in the sky and hid its face, clouds that had been wisps of white grew to animate blackness as if they were bubbles boiled over from a cooking pot, and expanded across the sky. The Sound flew through the sky and the earth, sounding from the deepest darkness.

Across the nation of Kouralia it could be heard, and the Malgravean colony across the oceanic bay, the Earth trembled and heaved, an earthquake unlike anything seen in the region in aeons, the earth heaved and convulsed, shifting as the ground churned, and the ocean fell and then swelled.

To the mages of the region, disruption of Mana lashed out of the realm, disaster upon disaster lashed the realms as a hurricane of magical force poured out, following the sound, intensifying the power of mages throughout the region.

The most spectacular effect of the Bell was not the earthquake or the storms, nor even the magical cataclysm that swept out from the Black City.

It was the breaking; in all directions, glass smashed, windows becoming shrapnel, glasses cut hands open, and spectacles cut into eyes and faces as they splintered at once. The Sound took this and more, for it had another effect; this one was the true mastery of the magical arts its creator possessed made manifest.

Axles broke for thousands of miles in all directions; it was a carefully calculated blow, for nature did not have free-turning wheels, but they were the principle of Order made manifest, so much machinery was based on the simple principle of one part of a machine turning upon another. In stationary vehicles, drive shafts and axles and even steering columns broke like shattered glass, steel and even wood blasted to flinders by the Sound.

The effect went up and down in scale; the drive shafts of ships at sea were burst, while the smallest axles within tiny medical devices were sundered, even the hammer pins of some firearms broke. More than a few people dependent on medical implants died at once, an atrocity that was plainly the work of a profound and embittered malice.

Planes fell from the sky, trains derailed, and elevators slammed into emergency stop positions across the continent, turbofans were scrapped and ailerons fouled. Computers dependent on movable media were instantly fouled and the machinery of industrial society was instantly set back centuries throughout the continent.
__ __ __

And it was not the only terror that was inflicted by the Sound, for it roused the dead, the buried dead and the recently dead alike stirred, mindlessly animate, zombies were not a great military asset, but without much of the technology that would warn the lands around them of what was happening, they would provide a diversion, a simple enough spell to thread into the great magics that had brought the Black City into the real world.
__ __ __

As the Sound crossed the bay, the Black City had arrived, its malicious bulk pressing the mountains down where it had not been before; it was only the first of several malicious works in the campaign of terror planned by the Lord of Tambelon.

The click of the Lord’s hooves on stone enchanted to the strength of structural steel echoed from the campanile, the great artefact, the work of countless centuries of perfection, shone, its bronze shape gleaming, it still shook from the magic wrought through it, the instrument of such profound destruction was an artefact of rare power, and it was heavily guarded within the Lord’s personal chambers.

Grogar stepped back from it to admire the work he had done, the light that flowed in from the louvred windows was new, Celestia’s hated light, he had not seen it for centuries, but he loathed it no less now than he had before.

“Let the hounds slip into the ether and open the gates,” he commanded, “prepare to seed the oceans,” he said, “time is wasting.”

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Malgrave » Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:10 am

1st Reserve Infantry Division, Cerne, Research Colony.

In truth the Research Colony existed to serve three main functions for Malgrave, the first was as a centre for both national and international research institutes, an aim which had been met over the past few years through the successful employment of several highly recognised foreign scientists and engineering experts, the second was to serve as an additional connection point between Malgrave and Kouralia, a goal that had just been met following the completion of a series of rail tunnels between the mainland of Kouralia and the Research Colony itself, as for the third that was to fill as an additional place for the government to finance the construction of several large scale public works projects to maintain the historic growth of the Malgravean economy.

In latter terms, the plan had been successful, as the local authority in charge with the administration of the Research Colony had been able to meet various five-year plans and targets sent from the central government in Epping, with the construction of everything from new apartment complexes to the expansion of the high-speed rail system continuing in spite of the fact that the estimated immigration numbers hadn’t come to fruition.

It wasn’t predicted that the Research Colony would serve as the frontlines for a military confrontation, however, in recent years the local authorities in the Research Colony had been instructed to work together with representatives from the Ministry of National Defence and the Territorial Defence Force to prepare for said military conflict, with two divisions and various local training regiments being involved in Operation Perceptive Puffin, a long-term operation to develop and train in the construction of defensive barriers.

In the past few months, Operative Perceptive Puffin had kicked into a new phase of preparations, firstly as the presence of a large number of Silverdalean refugees required the presence of additional troops and supplies from the mainland but also because current analysis from those in the SIS suggested that Grogar would be more likely to attack when the forces of Mystria were focused on trying to deal with another crisis, namely the current outbreak of monsters in Silverdale, and so an additional two divisions had been raised from the active reserve and moved to the Research Colony.

Yet all of these defensive preparations couldn’t prepare those of the 1st Reserve Infantry Division for the sheer chaos that Grogar would bring with its arrival, as everything from the rail network to the merchant marine ground to a complete halt and communications equipment being rendered nonoperational. It was the disabling of communications equipment that caused the earliest unease for those in the 1st Reserve Infantry Division, with runners having to be dispatched to call the base into some sense of order and have them ready to listen to their commanding officer, Divisional General Aurelia Necchi.

Divisional General Aurelia Necchi had been assigned to assist the defensive preparations of the Territorial Defence Force, with the Malgravean having previously served in Crystal Spires with the 2nd Infantry Division.

It was this experience that led to the Divisional General handcrafting her own megaphone so that she could address her own troops, as she understood while they had been training for a disaster that the troubling nature of the present chaos meant that her troops needed reassurance and guidance, especially if they were to be of any use facing said crisis with the limited resources they now possessed.


I understand that what has befallen us here today is quite hard to comprehend and I know that many here today will be thinking of their family whether they are here in the Research Colony or back on the mainland, believe me as I am thinking of my own family back in Aurora.

As of this moment, we don’t know if this strange crisis has just impacted Cerne, the Research Colony or if it stretches across the entire Mystrian region, however, we haven’t been training here for months without reason and I trust that every one of you will do your best to see out your duty.

I say that with conviction because I know that you understand that we are the last vestiges of support that those in the Research Colony have, those civilians that as of this moment are terrified of what is occurring are looking to us for guidance and we certainly won’t abandon them in their time of need.

We are going to get organised, coordinate our deployments throughout the defensive positions around Cerne and do our best to beat back whoever thought it would be a good idea to attack our home.

Let’s get out and show them why they shouldn’t underestimate a Malgravean.”

As the Divisional General finished her remarks a large fire was lit, with the addition of specialised additives resulting in the smoke turning a vibrant gold which was joined by appearance of similar smokestacks across the indicating that other facilities in the region were somewhat functional and doing their best to go to their assigned defensive locations.

Epping, Malgrave

It was safe to say that Epping was in a state of organised panic, as while those in the government had expected the return of Grogar they certainly weren’t expected to lose contact with everything in the Research Colony from TDF units to civil authorities to the ASG centres, a flurry of communications taking place. In short order, however, a crisis centre had formed in the heart of Epping with a multitude of members from the government to the military attempting to establish contact with their colleagues in the Colony.

“Cerne ASG, this is Lead Scientist Claudia Donovan, are you able to transmit a reply?” Claudia said, the Minister looking visibly uncomfortable at the lack of a response.

“Divisional General, this is Katia De Campo, if you can’t respond to this message with traditional means revert to old wireless code immediately,” Katia said, the Junior Colonel becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation.

“Just how many MalTra assets have you lost contact with?” Eun-Young Moon said, the Minister of Transport jotting down the information, “Seventeen? Yes I understand and we are trying to coordinate a search and rescue operation with the Royal Navy now but it will take a while for their assets to reach the Colony,” Eun-Young said jotting down some further information, “Yes I recognise that the Royal Navy has units stationed locally, however, we also cannot contact them due to this communication error so we’ll let you know as soon as they arrive on the scene, of course, Comrade and may the ancestors look over you as well.”

As this scene continued, Nadzieja Brzezicki entered the room, the Prime Minister had been attempting to contact her counterparts in Kouralia, however, after failing to make contact had returned to the situation room.

“I need an updated situation report, Eliot,” Nadzieja said, turning to face the Deputy Prime Minister.

“It appears as if some field of darkness has arisen over the Research Colony and the Crown Union of Kouralia, as of this moment we are unable to contact anyone within a wide radius of this region in Western Kouralia.” The Foreign Minister said pointing to satellite imagery of the impacted area.

“Is this the return of Grogar?” Nadzieja asked repeating a name that the Malgraveans had become more aware of within the past few years, “I don’t remember being foretold about this particular threat.”

“As Grogar has had some time to develop the strategy for his return it is logical to say that they’ve had time to prepare new ways to cripple society on their return, although we are unaware if this darkness just inhibits communications or if there is another reason we can’t communicate with our comrades in the Research Colony,” Eliot said speaking rather plainly despite the discomfort she was feeling with the information at hand, “We have been unable to contact seventeen MalTra aircraft that were flying in the vicinity of the Research Colony at the time of the incident. If they don’t contact us within the next few hours the possibility increases that they’ve...crashed.”

Nadzieja paled considerably at the latter revelation, such a large scale loss of life and one where the body couldn’t even be properly treated after death was uncomfortable information for the Prime Minister to hear, “In that case, we’ll have to continue forward with our proposal to transfer one of our carrier fleets over to the Research Colony and hope for the best.”

“I believe that our anti-piracy fleet stationed out of Ilan should be able to make good time to the Research Colony, if this communication issue is temporary then we should be able to restore contact with our comrades and start working towards a solution,” Eliot said motioning to actions that had been discussed earlier in the day.

“It is fortunate that we’ve got the possibility of some good news at least,” Nadzieja said agreeing with her colleagues' assessment, “I have also heard that this crisis has resulted in some disturbance of ancestral energy?” the Prime Minister said motioning to some early reports that had come in from those at the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities.

“It is quite strange, however, I understand that the Royal Institute has said that the arrival of this darkness was met with instability to the ancestral field which has greatly amplified the powers of those capable of such actions, as of this moment they are studying the potentially harmful impact of this move on an individual's ability to cope with the strain of using ancestral abilities,” Eliot said referencing a few segments of the report.

“It would be quite beneficial if we are able to use our ancestral abilities to keep in contact with each other during this crisis,” Nadieja replied, “I believe that the Dystans would be quite welcome allies in our struggle if that is the case alongside the Dornalians....and the Imerians.” the Prime Minister added.

“In accordance with your earlier instructions I have reached out to the Imerians, Dystans and the Dornalians for assistance during these troubling times, as such a crisis is quite visible I have no doubt that other interested parties will try and reach out such as the Rintyar but I can’t say for certain if we’ll receive any noticeable assistance given the current crisis raging on in Silverdale,” Eliot explained

“In that case, we should follow our instincts, prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” Nadzieja saying quoting a popular saying that traced its origins back to the start of the civil war period, “Let’s continue with the activation of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Reserve Infantry Divisions, that alongside the activation of the 2nd Corp, they should fight well alongside those of the 1st Corp already deployed here.”

“I’ll be mindful to note that the Ministry of Defence has recommended preparations be made for a full and complete mobilisation, and for the 5th, 6th and 7th Corps to be transitioned to an increased state of readiness for deployment, ” Eliot said gesturing to some documents that had been sent over from the Ministry just a few moments ago, “I am rather uncomfortable with the impact that these additional deployments will have on our economy, especially the impact that would be brought by a full mobilisation.”

“I agree that a full mobilisation at this stage would be disadvantageous for the economy, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t make preparations for such a move. If this crisis gets worse we don’t want to be caught unprepared, the 5th, 6th and 7th Corp can also be moved up to a higher state of readiness,” Nadzieja said with certainty in her voice, “We still have a crisis in Silverdale to contend with as well, the 5th Corp is most likely going to be needed in the Silverdalean mainland.”

“Let's just hope that this crisis is resolved shortly and without any suffering,” Eliot said as she returned her attention to the frantic communications occurring before her, the workings of the Malgravean state beginning to twirl into action to respond.

Residential Sector, Cerne. Research Colony.

In short order units from the 1st Reserve Infantry Division had managed to make it to the outskirts of the Residential Sector in Cerne, the conscripts re-establishing defensive positions around strategic positions according to their previous orders.

Sub-Lieutenant Izabella Pasternak had been given the task of rallying the civilian population to the war effort, the conscript armed with an improvised megaphone and magical amplification to ensure that her voice could be heard across the damaged apartment.

“Comrade Residents,

I am Sub-Lieutenant Izabella Pasternak of the 1st Reserve Infantry Division of the Territorial Defence Force, as of this moment and in accordance with the measures outlined in the National Security and Stabilisation Act of 1938 the Research Colony is now under a Regional State of Emergency,” Izabella said, thanking the ancestors for the voice amplification, “All residents are instructed to follow mobilisation regulations and conduct the appropriate wellness checks on their comrades immediately, failure to do so and report in with the Social Solidarity Council, the Territorial Defence Force or your local ASG representative will result in investigation from the relevant authorities.”

A few moments of silence passed before a figure emerged from the ruined apartment, the woman bowing to the Sub-Lieutenant in greeting.

“I am Sara Agresta, a member of the Social Solidarity Council of this apartment complex, if you follow me I can take you to our hall."

In a matter of moments, Izabella found herself escorted to the community hall within the apartment complex, a familiar sight for many a Malgravean but in an unfamiliar condition as tables had been transformed into areas to treat residents that had been wounded during the unfortunate incident earlier, the conscripts attention drawn towards a fellow soldier who was in the middle of receiving treatment for a head injury.

“1st Reserve Infantry Division?” the elf in question asked, looking over Izabella with some curiosity, “I am Sub-Lieutenant Moon Ji-Eun, 1st Infantry Division. I heard your proclamation earlier, does that mean that you’ve been able to contact Epping?”

“Sadly we have also been able to re-establish communications with Epping as well, Sub-Lieutenant,” Izabella said her response provoking some surprise from her elven counterpart, “It has been determined that the parameters of Operation Perceptive Puffin allow for the calling of a Regional State of Emergency by the Territorial Defence Force. How is the 1st Infantry Division? I think I saw their signal fire light up earlier.”

“I can’t really say as I was here looking after Silverdalean refugees,” Ji-Eun said with a shrug, “I haven’t been able to contact the rest of the division since this crisis started, however, if they did light the signal fire that means that they’ve assumed their positions.”

“What is your condition here?” Izabella said looking around the room at the number of wounded residents, “It will take a while but I should be able to send a runner for the dispatch of medical supplies.”

“I believe that we should be able to manage, the Silverdaleans have proven themselves to be quite adept,” Ji-Eun replied, “In fact, I understand that they should be eligible for emergency conscription into the ranks of the Territorial Defence Force if they decide to volunteer for such a purpose.”

“Good. It is quite fortunate that the Silverdaleans were able to render assistance,” Izabella said looking around the room, “You think that they’ll volunteer? What can these people do exactly?”

“I believe so, Comrade,” Ji-Eun said rather confidently, “As for what they can do I believe quite a few of them can transform into another being that is capable of flight which shall solve our logistical issues heading into the future.”

"...that is quite a fortunate development." Izabella said filled with a sense of hope for the first time in quite a few hours.
Last edited by Malgrave on Sun Nov 08, 2020 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Dornalia » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:21 am

Dornalian Embassy

It was Monday night at the Dornalian Embassy, which had now been converted into the command center for the Dornalian contingent responding to the Silverdalean Winter War. The landing pad out back was busy as ever, with Dornalian ships of all shapes and sizes landing and taking off at all hours of the night.

Inside the Embassy’s Situation Room, Admiral Joseph Harriman Kreuger could be seen nursing a cup of jet black coffee--one which he took the time to enliven through the prompt introduction of a shot of whiskey. The whiskey in his flask was a brand he hadn’t tried before himself, from Rohane Alista. He sipped the resulting mixture, and his palate--one used to all manner of alcoholic beverages--pronounced it good.

“Long night, Joe?”

Kreuger looked up and saw the form of his XO on the holographic projector on the Admiral’s desk. The XO was a man who saluted promptly, and smiled the same sort of grin the Admiral was usually smiling. Kreuger returned the smile in kind and went, raising his mug, “Indeed it is, Mr. Skinner, indeed it is. Gotta put in the hours to win a war, right?”

“Well, yeah, Joe.” Skinner said, coughing, “Joe, I gotta cut to the chase here. We’ve got a wee bit of a situation.”

Kreuger’s eyebrow raised up, and he went, “Huh. You think I'd have gotten a notification about that on my comms.” Pulling out his small PDA looking unit, he raised an eyebrow and went, “Huh. Looks like Gracie’s sent something to my comms indeed.” Turning to Mr. Skinner as he put the phone down, Kreuger asked, “What’s up?”

“Hold on, I’m patching General Curwin in now. He’s gonna wanna hear this. Oh, and Colonel Clarke too. She’s the Dornalian military attache to Malgrave. She’s got some input. Basically, it’s a big to-do, and well, you’re the theater commander for Dornalian forces in the area so….”

Before Joe could say anything and before Mr. Skinner could finish his sentence, the form of General Curwin appeared, along with a tall Asian woman in Marine Corps uniform. Curwin frowned and asked, “Is this important?”

“Wouldn’t have called you if it wasn’t, General,” Kreuger said, raising his mug with a jocular grin. Curwin let out a simple “Humph.”

Mr. Skinner then coughed and went, “Well, gentlemen...ladies...we detected a bit of a situation going on. Not in Silverdale and not among the peacekeepers in the Fairy Alliance.” Pushing a few buttons, Skinner then brought up maps of the Malgravean Ancestral Research Colony, Kouralia, and Malgrave itself, along with very fuzzy imagery which was of quite low resolution.

“It’s in the MARC--er, Malgravean Ancestral Research Colony, Admiral, General, Colonel. And also over Kouralia. As of some time last night, orbital scans have picked up what can only be described as something that has happened to those regions. Something of enough significance that the ship’s sensors picked up a massive PKE energy spike measuring in the thousands of MegaSpenglers--comparable to what’s been happening in Silverdale so far, frankly, which doesn’t bode well.”

Mr. Skinner then coughed and added, “That is, before the sensors began returning a substantial amount of errors, and we had to stop PKE scans. Also, we had to go to Manual Mode briefly--Gracie was getting migraines.”

Kreuger raised his eyebrows.

“Say what now?”

Mr. Skinner shrugged. “Just sayin’ Jo-er, Admiral, I saw Gracie rubbing her temples and complaining of pain when she tried to scan further. So we had to kill the PKE scans. We’re running diagnostics now.”

Kreuger and the others looked at each other, and Kreuger himself went, “Ooookay. That’s not supposed to happen.”

Eager to move on, Mr. Skinner continued, gesturing as the projector moved to much clearer images of Malgrave itself. “And that’s not all. From what we could gather, it appears the Malgravean state has mobilized a substantial amount of forces. Emphasis on substantial.”

“Well, what counts as substantial in the Malgravean context?” Admiral Kreuger went, puzzled.

“Like numbers not seen since the Malgravean Civil War, Admiral,” Colonel Clarke interjected. Clarke also added, “From what imagery Mr. Skinner’s got and from what I’ve heard on the ground here, we’ve got at least seven divisions mobilizing and more to come. That almost never happens in Malgrave.” Clarke then added, “Also, as an aside, the Dornalian Embassy here in Epping was asked for assistance in regarding this incident.”

Admiral Kreuger paused and then nodded soberly.

“Did you get in touch with Los Angeles?”

Clarke replied with a nod, “No--they got in touch with me. Seems like Los Angeles already has an inkling something’s going on. I’d wager the Malgraveans not only contacted me and the Ambassador, but also Los Angeles. Likely through their Embassy as well. Heard through the grapevine that Kouralia’s made calls too to Los Angeles.”

Krueger nodded, and then turned to Curwin and Skinner.

“Mr. Skinner, General Curwin, what assets do we have to spare for an initial deployment to the MARC?”

Curwin replied, “My experts are currently engaged, unfortunately. I’m working on some projects involving Silverdale--projects beyond the security clearance of Mr. Skinner and Colonel Clarke here.” The last part was said with icy sternness to ward off any further questions. Clarke and Skinner looked at each other with some concern, but shrugged. They knew better than to ask questions.

“I see. Well, okay, then.” Kreuger mulled it over, and Clarke added, “If it helps narrow things down, Admiral, one of the items requested from the Malgraveans was search and rescue assets. Seventeen MalTra aircraft were lost suddenly. So…..”

Kreuger nodded, as Skinner interjected.

“I mean, we do have some units which could do that. Navy and ICBA.”

Kreuger nodded. “Good point.” Turning to the assembled, the Admiral, “Okay, people. Keep me posted. I’ll get something together, tell the Malgraveans and Kouralians help is on the way, and can someone get Los Angeles in the loop? Thanks.”

All the while, Kreuger looked at his mug. It looked like a good thing he had plenty of Rohanian whiskey to spare. This was going to be a long night.


Somewhere in Cerne
Malgravean Ancestral Research Colony
Malgrave, Mystria

Roger Hudson was an engineer--one of the rare males in Malgrave, it seemed, but he was a Dornalian and a rather large, muscular Samoan Dornalian at that--leading a crew constructing new housing. Today’s project was one for Silverdalean refugees. If all went according to plan, the housing would have been built and some families would have moved in sooner rather than later. The job wasn’t too taxing, but it was steady work and it demanded the abilities he had come to accumulate over the years building apartments, habitations and other such things in space and planetside.

Yet all of his experience didn’t quite prepare him for the sights he would see this day.

It began simply with the skies. They grew black as night, followed by the earthquake. Roger sprang into action. He had been around long enough to know that being in a construction site with sharp objects, working power tools and big machinery during an earthquake was not a good idea. Calling out on his megaphone, he shouted, “Alright, people! Get to safety! Let’s go!”

Soon, the crew began to take action. As they moved about, trying to marshal each other and bring themselves to safety, the very works they had been working on began to unravel ever so slightly. Bits of plaster, rebar, and others soon began flying and moving around, and Roger had to evade a falling piece of metal which was coming down.

One woman with wolves’ ears and tail ran up to Roger, and asked in a Rohanian accent, “What’s going on? What’s happening?!” Roger soon recognized the woman as his XO, a Rohanian Bonk who only seemed to go by the name of Hilda. He calmly ordered, “Hilda, go check on the others. We’ve got an earthquake go--”

Then, Roger heard a sizzling. And a warm feeling from his pocket. He then immediately dove his hand into his pocket, and briefly saw his phone smolder before he tossed it to the side, screaming “DUCK!”

The phone exploded much as a grenade did, and before long, to Hilda and Roger’s horror, other items around the site began exploding also as they moved about to assess the situation. Batteries caught flame, and the smell of ozone and melting flesh began to permeate the air along with the screams of the injured. Saws exploded, sending blades and shrapnel onto the worksite and into workstaff, decapitating one worker spectacularly in gory fashion.

One neko Hilda ran into was grasping at her face, muttering a pained, “Ow...ow….” When Hilda grabbed onto her and asked what was wrong, the neko lowered her hands, revealing gore and shards of plexiglas where her eyes and upper face should have been. As if to add a strange coda to the moment, the neko asked, “Hey, am I missing an eyebrow?”

Hilda replied, “Um...I’d say a bit more than that.”

Before the macabre exchange could continue, Roger instinctively tackled Hilda and forced her to the ground to evade a swinging piece i-beam which collided with the neko, now swaying freely in the air from a crane whose operator had collapsed onto the controls, sending the crane spinning in place and the i-beam into a spectacular display of circular motion with a heavy metal object.

Roger and Hilda looked at each other, and Hilda went, “Thanks!”

“No time. Keep your head down, and let’s go!”

The two began crawling as fast as possible, trying to evade the chaos. Chaos which now included the crane tipping over due to having been knocked off balance and made to wobble dramatically due to the spinning. When Hilda saw that, she shouted, “Let’s move! Crane’s about to fall over!”

With that, the two ran low to the ground, escaping the construction site as the crane fell over into the apartment complex with a dramatic CRASH! The i-beam itself had slammed into the ground, buried halfway into the dirt.

The two looked up and looked around once the dust settled. Pandemonium had set in. Alarms blared along with sirens from first responders. More noxious smells--chemicals, gasoline, burning flesh--wafted through the air, along with screams and shouts and the sounds of crashes. In a matter of minutes, the pleasant Residential Sector street was now approaching a grotesque spectacle from a Heronymous Bosch painting, tempered only by the fact the Malgraveans and Silverdaleans and others in the area were considerably more altruistic than the subjects of Bosch’s insanities.

Roger, calmly and as assured as possible, then turned to Hilda and went, “Looks like we’re in for some trouble.”

Hilda nodded, and then, after surveying the madness for a few moments, did something which startled Roger. She smiled an unusually and highly inappropriately enthusiastic smile, licking her lips in anticipation and cracking her knuckles. Then, Hilda confidently said:

“No. We’re not in trouble. Whoever’s doing this is in trouble with me.”

Cracking her knuckles, Hilda then turned to Roger. Her bearing and air suggested she had been through something like this before. With a tone of authority, Hilda said, “We need to find a sporting goods store. I need a bow. I’ve got work to do.”

Roger looked at Hilda with some alarm, and went, gesturing to the Malgravean soldier in the distance addressing the people of the Residential Sector, “I mean, I don’t think now’s a good time to go shopping.”

“And you won’t have to.” Turning around, the pair was met by a Malgravean soldier in full kit, who had arrived along with a squad helping a group of injured.. Compared to the Dornalian strongman and the Rohanian’s lithe, athletic frame, the Malgravean seemed to be dwarfed by them. Roger recognized the Malgravean as a neighbor of his, Paulina Kim, who then said, “A Regional State of Emergency has been declared, Comrades. And the TDF can use all the volunteers it can take, and we have enough supplies to arm and equip volunteers. You in?”

Roger and Hilda looked at one another, and Hilda said, enthusiastically, “I’m in.”

“Splendid! Once we’re done here, we’ll take you to where you need to go. Now, if you don’t mind, we could use a little help tending to the wounded over here.”

As the two nodded and began their journey, Roger turned to Hilda, going somewhat worried like, “Down, girl.”

“Trust me. I know what I’m doing.” was Hilda’s only response.


Penguin City, Icy Coast

All the while, the evacuations from Penguin City were proceeding apace, with various Allied forces helping civilians escape.

One pair of civilians was proving particularly stubborn. They were penguins, but one was older and wizzened with a beard, dressed in black and gold armor, and the other was much more muscular and dressed in somewhat more casual clothing. The Dornalian Marine standing in front of their entrance was getting quite impatient with the mountain of chests and goods which was building up in the flatbed of a truck near a small townhouse.

“Come on, man. I don’t mean to be a dick, but we don’t have all day! There’s an evacuation order on!”

The older penguin popped his head out, and shook his flipper at the Marine. He cursed the Marine in a voice perhaps more suited to the theater than the common street. “Your transports are magnificent machines which can carry much without effort! In my day, we pursued JUSTICE with naught but donkeys, and carts, and a common wagon! You can wait the five minutes, my good man!”

The Marine went, “No, we really can’t. Now come on.”

The other penguin turned to the wizzened one and said, in a voice which struck the Marine as Mexican accented of all things, “I mean, he’s got a point, boss. We gotta get out of here. They said those transports weren’t gonna be around forever. Besides, you don’t need all the chivalry books, right?”

“Confound it, friend Sancho!” The old penguin said. “The pursuit of JUSTICE demands the best possible preparations! And to be best prepared, all supplies must be accounted for!” Turning to the Marine, the old penguin said, “Would you have me, Lothar, the Lawbringer of the South, fight naked and without my trusty saber Chunchunmaru!? JUSTICE would not be fairly served if that were so!” He then added, pausing, “Sorry, my good man. That was improper of me. We are all under dire circumstances, you and I alike, and the outburst was neither necessary nor warranted.”

The Marine shrugged and went, “Apology accepted. I get it, but I’ve got orders. Sorry.”

Sancho then turned and went, “Look, man. Five more minutes, okay? Just five more minutes. After that, we’ll be on our way.”

The Marine nodded, and went, “Okay. Five minutes. I’ve got other houses to welfare check anyway. But I’m coming back in five, you get me?”

Sancho nodded.

“Sure, boss. I getcha.”

At that, the Marine moved on, as Lothar and Sancho began finalizing their preparations. In the midst of doing so, Lothar suddenly stopped. Sancho walked over to Lothar, and waved his flipper in front of Lothar’s eyes.

“You okay, boss? Come on, we don’t have time to rest!”

What Sancho did not recognize was that at that moment, Lothar saw a vision. A city aflame. Madness in the streets. And a familiar figure being knocked to the ground by a big burly man, to evade a swinging girder. Then, it was time to get back to reality.

Lothar then put his flippers on Sancho and shouted, “Something terrible has happened to Hilda and to her companions!”

Sancho raised an eyebrow.

“Hilda? Wait, you mean our Hilda? The one who’s been working in that Mark guy? Or for that Mark guy up north in Malgrave?”

Lothar immediately blurted out, “Yes, yes, that one! And it’s the MARC, friend Sancho--that’s the address she had on her correspondence to us. Something terrible has happened to her--a great calamity which is a threat to JUSTICE as we know it, I am sure of it! We must provide assistance to her at once!”

Sancho shook his head, going, “I mean, I’d love to help, but we gotta evacuate first--”

“I know that, friend Sancho. But a threat to JUSTICE presents itself! Mocking, sneering, daring us to challenge it like the insecurity made manifest it is!” Grabbing the last of his goods, Lothar declared, “Come, friend Sancho. We are done here. We must leave posthaste.”

As Lothar and Sancho got into the truck, Sancho started the engine and began driving to the evacuation site. Lothar continued to speak.

“Now, friend Sancho. We must secure transportation to the MARC as soon as possible. Once we arrive in Silverdale, I will seek out any available transportation. If necessary--and I sincerely hope it does not become so, for it represents the kind of vainglorious abuse I have worked all my life to combat--we will remind those skeptical of our abilities and our names that we are Lothar, Lawbringer of the South, and Sancho, his loyal retainer!”

Sancho, skeptically, went, “Um….you wanna fight them?”

“No, no, friend Sancho. None of that. Mere remonstration will suffice, I hope. The last thing we need is to interfere with the progress of those whose aim also is JUSTICE! Much like ours.”

“Okay, boss,” Sancho said. “Hope that works.”

“It should. It must. For Hilda is our boon companion, however strange and at times overly enthusiastic about the use of violence she may be.”

With that, the conversation ended, and plans set in motion….
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.

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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Tambelon » Tue Nov 10, 2020 5:59 pm

From the air they looked like ants on the march, columns of black shapes curling around the land and moving across it with a unanimous will, the mountains made for hard going on the ground, but the foot soldiers of Tambelon ravened up the ground with almost fanatical fervour, they were humanoid, for the most part, though that was a debatable term to apply to them, for they moved with ferocious speed and untiring, carrying a range of weapons.

These soldiers of Tambelon were not immortal; they could be slain, but the effort required to do so was enormous, already some rules of thumb were discovered by the enterprising soldiers on the front lines; whatever they were was not quite life as they knew it, they could move even after being cut apart, and they could take enormous damage, shrapnel from grenades and mortars, and the few larger weapons still working reliably, was less dangerous to them than it was to humans, their organs seemed to survive distressingly well when punctured and little of the damage that could excruciate men and ponies worked to kill them.

Fire was better, incendiaries slew the footsoldiers of Tambelon far more effectively, and they burned like dried wood where the fires caught in them. Even so, there was a startling pressure exerted by these creatures, and they were heedless of casualties, they pressed onward with startling vivacity, soldiers with single arms could be seen marching, while blinded soldiers persevered as though this was merely an annoyance, marching with the others by sound, slowly regenerating their wounds.

If there had been any hope that these enemies knew only of weapons when they had left the world it was sorely lacking and they used weapons themselves, though many of these first forces were barely equipped they seemed to have a range of small-arms and explosives, some were crude weapons, fire-lances that jetted flame by some strange process, perhaps directed magic, others conventional bullet-throwing weapons.

Still, the Kouralians (and on the northern side, the Freestians, about whom we will say no more) had a long time to prepare, and mines and other defences reaped a terrible toll on these aggressors, even with the bell’s toll turning much of the arsenal of combined arms warfare to junk.

Grogar looked into the orb, watching his armies flood into the defences prepared to them, he was content that nothing of consequence would delay his designs, and he looked across the northern realms with contentment, the pool picked up the wailing and dismay of the people all across the cities and towns he viewed, and amplified it.

He waved one hoof over the orb and the world span below the oracular magic, as he spans across the span of Kouralia, toward the mouth of the Gulf of Ino. Here he watched others struggle with the same problems, but he had sent another force to the Malgravean colony. His crimson eyes focussed in on the spectacle there, and then he allowed the orb’s viewpoint to fall upward to view a flight of umbral dragons as they coursed through the clouds.

They were some of the only things in the skies, and he knew their value well, while he was not averse to using mechanisms of brute force, he preferred the old ways, and he watched as their wings tucked in against them and they dived toward the port.

He was drawn from his scrying by a sudden pressure, the wards that protected his tower were under attack, a force from without battering against them, unfamiliar and fearsome, the taste of it was known to him of old, and he had spent centuries cursing alicorn magic. There were other things with it, chaotic magic, and stranger powers.

Grogar was a master of redirected teleportation magic, an extremely difficult skill, and he grasped it, turning the spell to scatter the intruders, turn them toward his dungeons, or cast them across the sky or deep into the earth; the mages on the far side of the spell were as powerful as he was, though, even amplified by the city’s potent magics. He could hear the urgent hoof-beats of his guard coming to his aid, but he knew they would be too late.

The wall split open, as sunlight burst through the gap, and with a thunderclap and burst of starling light, his enemies were here. There were dozens who had teleported through the wards, overwhelming them by sheer force, and he drew up a shield around himself, scintillating prismatic fields rippling around him. Several of them widened the breach with a portal and the far side of the field was a courtyard of an alabaster-white castle, hundreds of enemies gathered to storm into his sanctum.

“Yield,” The voice of the snow-white pony before him echoed. Celestia, his old enemy. She did not offer any further bargains nor threats, and Grogar laughed.

As one she and another of her kind opened fire on him; Grogar experienced a moment of doubt, as his veils were shredded, one by one, other armoured unicorns and pegasi bursting forward with them. All wore gloss-black armour, and he could see the magic of his guards fail where it touched it.

He stepped backwards before his guardians stormed into the room; more than one was turned to stone at once, or slain outright. The assault was met bodily and brutally, soon devolving into a furious melee.

As more of his followers arrived he wrapped the shadows through him and about him, drawing on the power of the city to expand his strength, laying new veils twice as quickly as they collapsed under the assault. He could hear them shrieking to withdraw.

The intrusion was falling back before him now, watching them retreat into the portal, fear was gone now, the assault into his sanctum had failed, but he would make something of it, “No, that won’t do, gatecrashers must stay at the party.” He reached out to hold them as the intruders struggled to flee through the portal they had created. Umbral tentacles coiled around the hooves and legs of intruders and a blaze of starlight cut them.

One of the alicorns, the one he did not recognize by sight, stood to cover the others as they fled, and the portal closed with a thunderclap. She attempted to cast a spell to flee, and he dispelled it.

“Princess Luna,” he said, there were few enough of them that he could guess her name from her markings and the stars in her mane, “we have not met, but I am a great admirer of your work.”

Luna’s green eyes bored into him, “We cannot say the same of you, Grogar,” she said.

“Ah, but not this you,” he said, “fear not, you will feel yourself again soon enough.”

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Kouralia » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:35 am

Kouralia was a nation both vast and populous – powerful and valorous by nearly all warriors’ knowing. But these were weaknesses as much as they were strengths. Inertia could paralyse even the swiftest action as committee upon committee pressed their stamp on a policy, and each province found different ways to implement their masters’ intents.

It was ancient too, for after each election its Senate posed to be captured for posterity upon the same steps as they had done for two thousand, seven hundred and seventy-six nigh-unbroken years. Every stone amongst that flight of stairs had of course been replaced at least thrice over in that time – even if just to remove the graffiti left by Scanderan conquerors – but nonetheless it was the same steps.

Five hundred years had passed since the Legions of Kouralia, clad in cuirass and bearing pike and shot, had marched beside equine warriors and wizards who had sealed Tambelon away from the mortal realms. None had doubted then that he and his kind would return, and all had pledged that never again would they allow such dark and destructive manipulation of the unknowable energies binding the Earth. But, of course, for all the charters signed and oaths sworn in the dark times, it became all to easy to think they might never come to pass in the days of light.

Even when Celestia and Luna added their voices to the choir calling to arms for the return of the Dark City, peace made it easy to gainsay Kassandra. Even when the Hobbiest Republic collapsed into a roiling, hubris-induced warpstorm of death and noncery, there were those who proudly proclaimed that ‘It cannot happen here.’

Well – it had. No more time was available to prepare – no more men, material or minds could be bent to the task of readying the nation. Now was the time for the reckoning of men on the Kouralian peninsula, and only the gods could tell if the preparations were enough.


May’aþe Lebama, Reðuynyc Valley, Kouralia Proper

Not far from the Kouralian Capital a castle stood astride the river. This was not just any castle, however. This castle was the result of near twenty centuries of tradition, the seat of the Palatine Principality thoughtless legislators had left in a medieval stasis. Seeking to overturn the edicts of the Republican Tyranny, they had settled an age-old question: was the Senate powerful enough to create a law so sacrosanct that it itself could not overturn it? As it turned out – it was not.

So every law passed in the previous thirty seven years that they did not repeat was repealed – even that which finally destroyed the feudal relationship between the Province of Reðuyn and its noble lord. Now, 1700 years on from his death at the hand of a Scanderan berserker Muri Mide sipped wine at the window of his study. Tall, broad of shoulder and long of arm, his body was built almost to a Knightly manual’s specifications, though that age had long passed. He also looked, to any mortal eye the same as he had done mere moments before he was struck down in battle against Scanderan invaders – though any other nymph or spirit would see the difference with their unnatural intuition for seeking out their own kind.

Now he stood with a book in one hand and a small etched glass goblet of wine in the other as he had done every day for a month. Attired as he was, he remained every bit the picture of romaticised nobility of Kouralia – groomed and clad in a well-tailored sapphire three-piece suit, with a small traditional knife at his waist. Still as a statue, the only movement was to set down the glass, lick a finger, and turn a page every few minutes. Still as a statue until, for no reason an observer could discern, he looked up and smiled.

Snapping the book shut, Muri set it down and rang a small bell that rested upon the bookshelf beside him. Carefully he drew a small aurichal filigree pocket-watch from his waistcoat pocket and glanced at the time. As the door to his study opened, he shut the lid and deposited it again with a tut.

“He is late.” Was all the Prince Palatine, the Eternal Crown Champion, the God of the Reðuyn offered to the woman who answered the summons.

“Well, goats are hardly known for their punctuality.” Hanna replied, rolling her eyes. “Father, really,” she added, “after five hundred years one can hardly blame the Dark Lord of Tambelon for not conforming to your schedule.”

Unlike Muri, Hanna Mide was dressed for war – as she had been every day for a month now. Boots, and bloused combat trousers with a matching wicking top – all in dark blue and adorned with the heraldic symbol of the Palatinate. The only thing that separated her from the eminently professional soldiers who she suspected she would soon be seeing a lot more of was her shock of nearly neon-bright multicoloured hair. Like the rest of Muri’s troop of mounted mages, her blackened armour was metal scales of the old pattern, beaten into shape and constructed by her own hand as was the way. That, and her helmet sat ready at the end of her camp bed in an arming room down the corridor. Decrying Grogar for his tardiness as he did, it was unthinkable that the Palatinate Guard would be allowed the comfort of their own quarters before riding tonight. Though she was of course not approaching her sixteen-hundred-and-something’th birthday, Hanna looked to be her father’s elder – thirty six years so apparently near a decade his senior thanks to the magic of Fei-hood.

“Yes, I suppose.” Muri replied, “But it does not excuse the hours wasted on waiting for him.”

“Have you considered that you might have forgotten when he was banished, and that it is in fact you who is early?”

“Hanna.” He said, turning from his window-side vigil to fix his daughter with a firm stare. “I thank you for your input on this matter, but I am neither late nor early, and I summoned you for a reason.”

“To complain about a goat’s timekeeping?”

“To request and require that you and my guard present by the West Gate, mounted, immediately.” The Prince replied as he turned back to the window with a sigh.

“Then he comes?” Hanna asked, a hint of excitement in her tone as she stepped forward toward the window.

“He comes.” Muri said with a nod. Sensing her desire to see what he observed, he turned and shook his head slightly at his daughter before dismissing her with a flap of his hand, ignoring the flash of disappointment upon her face. “I will join you imminently!” he called after her as she shut the door a little too firmly.

“Too eager…” He said to himself quietly, “Too eager by half.” Raising the glass goblet to his lips he almost sipped on the dregs of the cup before freezing. Nothing perceptible had changed, but without warning he flung his left hand forward and conjured the form of a simple spell in his mind, twisting his body to the side to drop his right hand down and behind his body.

A split second later the window shattered into a hail of blinding, scything glass shards before they again burst. Barely across the threshold into the room and not even half way to the Prince, they disintegrated at his command into a swirling cloud of sand that blew past him and eddied about the room as the storm wind swept in afterwards. Feeling a tremble in his hand, Muri looked down before raising the crystalline goblet.

Protected from the dust by his body, the wine remained unsoiled. The glass however, could not be said to be unchanged. Though intact, it was physically shaking in his hand as Grogar’s grand hex sought to impose his will on it. Frowning at it, Muri again summoned the form of an incantation in his mind before his features softened to a smile when the glass settled. Swigging the last of his drink, he set it down beside the autographed first edition of A First Hand Account of The Chietan Wars he had been reading – one of many partial autobiographies of his that circulated under various pseudonyms.

“See how you like that, Dark Lord.” He said with a sardonic smirk before following Hanna’s example, and heading to the armoury.


Val’Ynyſaar,West Vyſægher Province, Highlands of Altonia

Atop the highest peak in the Valley of Islands, one could stand betwixt the pillars of the ancient temple and on a good day look all the way out to sea and far across the border into the Freethinker Commonwealth’s colony of Fortuna.

Today, of course, was not a good day. All the same, despite the charcoal-black clouds that swept across the sky to darken the world beneath, the coming of Tambelon could be seen. At the modern shrine not fifty meters from the old stones, the wisened priest of the community found himself unnaturally serene. Anyæl Æðelynn was Ðyacos aSaghællos of the temple and so he had not merely been brought up on tales of Tambelon and the epic battle of the Amber Valley, but it had become his life.

The new shrine was positioned precisely over the spot on which it was said the Lord Commander of the joint Kurtonian and Altonian Grand Legions had given counsel to the Divine Sisters and pledged the support of man in the battle against Tambelon. In time the sacred stones had required shelter from the elements and formal protection from the predations of pilgrims and tourists, so the new shrine had risen up and the old one had died.

“Friends!” Anyæl called in to the worshippers sheltering as best they could within the windswept nave of the temple. “This is the Time of the Crown, the foretold return of Tambelon!” With great dramatic timing, the unnatural storm above punctuated his words with a bolt of lightning apropos of nothing which lanced down to the slopes below.

“What can we do?” One called out to him and, in spite of himself, he laughed.

“Nothing friends. We cannot do anything about it.” Anyæl beckoned them forwards to join him in gazing out over the border. A few - the bravest of their number joined him. Of course, standing there next to him and being lashed by the downpour from above left most of them shivering in seconds. In spite of his own attire, a simple classical tunica in the purest of whites and adorned with the accoutrements of his office, the cold seemed to barely touch him. “Look at the city over there! It has supplanted more mountains than the navy could level in months, and it did this by existing.” He turned back to those inside. “We can do nothing now but pray, and offer our support when the time comes to our soldiers and wizards and the heroes of abroad who will flock to this place and lend their arms to our defence.

“We cannot triumph against this darkness alone, but do not doubt that together with our allies – all our allies – we will win as we did before.”

As he spoke, the priest passed through the thronging worshippers and visitors to his temple and moved to the altar. Watched by his flock, he carefully relit those candles which had blown out. Ignoring their cries for a moment, he filled a crystalline bowl with water from the spring flowing near the sacred stones.

“Friends, you should all return to your homes now, to your families.” Anyæl added, straightening up again and walking to the door. As he wound his way through the crowds, he picked up a small tumbler of the same glassy material. “Ready your families and your friends, for these coming months will make the 31st Annual Demon War seem like distant rosy memory. Shore up your houses, stand up and be counted for the recruiting parties, and turn your thoughts to the gods above that they might draw strength from you as you do from them!

“Take a sip of the spring as you go,” he continued, stopping by the door and filling the tumbler with water. “Let the water of life warm you against the dark chill of the past, and take solace in the fact that it will soon be history once more.”

As he spoke words of consolation and motivation to the visitors they gradually turned to him one and all to partake in the spring water. Soon they were making their way down the road back to town – walking once they found their cars unusable. Despite the storm, though, the words of their Priest begun to ring true and to a man they found their bodies warmed against the elements though whether it came from the hope inside them or from the spirits of the spring none could tell.


Graia Valley Estate, East Kurton Metropolitan Forest, Kouralia Proper

In an underground bunker some miles outside of the Kouralian capital city, events were moving no less fast than they did at the frontier: and certainly, they were no less panicked. Over a hundred people staffed the Central Military High Command of the Kouralian Armed Forces twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year without fail. Today these hundred Civilian Clerks, Officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen were working their fingers to the bone for Legatus Kyneræl Baryr Eleni – the General Officer of the Day for over two million men and women.

Glass crunched underfoot as General Baryr paced his office and despairingly listened to another report from the surface. The room itself was – to all intents and purposes – a cage for him now. The reinforced glass surrounding it had blown from the panes in knife-like shards that were, unfortunately for his subordinates, directed outwards by the security blinds and shutters on the inside. Now his office was full of raised voices, alarm chimes, and the hum of machinery from the war rooms that surrounded his pedestal-like chamber with no way of shutting them out.

Of course the career soldier could have done any one of many things to try and escape the tumult, but all of them would have been a dereliction of duty. As the Naval officer before him was explaining, there really might not be anyone else to step into his shoes.

“…The Duty Thaumic Officer states that unequivocally this is the work of a powerful magic.” Captain Rheðuynyan continued. “The Cornael and her assistants have inspected a number of the affected objects, from the Surgeon-Centenaer’s spectacles and the windows of this room through to the elevators and some of the cars in the motorpool. It is a wide-ranging effect, and is thorough in its application. Nothing is spared, though we cannot fully tally the damage or calculate what parameters the enchantment works on.”

“What are we left with?” Baryr asked.

“No motor transport, and radio communications are thoroughly limited.” The Captain said. “I am told that the Wired telephony is unimpeded at this stage, but that simply puts us in contact with a number of installations. The Quarter Guard are on their way to bring the Master-Admiral here to take charge and to rouse those staff members who have not already begun to return to their posts, but without cars or radios we are limited.
“And, of course, we’ve tested the thaumic alert system and, as far as we can tell, it is unimpeded. But we can only partially confirm so.” He added, gesturing toward a frosty white sphere pedestalled within a now-shattered bell jar upon the General’s desk.

Both looked at it mournfully for a moment before the General turned away again and strode to one of the hanging shutters. Gripping it firmly, he pulled it aside and gazed out over the Western Operations Room. Desk after desk of computers displayed anything from their expected information to blank blue screens and bouncing error messages. Fortunately, most monitors were fronted with plastics rather than glass itself. Sadly that hadn’t done much to save the red wine that was still dripping from the corner of the principal comms officer’s desk onto the carpet while she ran from group of signallers to group of signallers, demanding answers in ever more exasperated ways.

“The Under-palace and the Senate are meeting now, so I am told.” General Baryr said finally. “We are under attack, that much is certain. We cannot, however, direct our response to it for we do not know who has struck at us,” He turned back to the room and met the Captain’s gaze before walking over to the desk and taking his seat. “I have sent out the Third General Order to all districts and Commands we can reach by telephone or that are possessed of one of these orbs.” Baryr said, waving a hand toward the small cloudy stone. “I can’t say I know how it functions, but if we can use it to send the rudimentary call to arms across the nation once the Crown has found our foe, then so be it.”

“I am happy that Eunomyana has done all she can now to work out this issue, but there are hundreds of master thaumists across the nation that the Crown can call upon in the coming days. Bring her to the thaumic alert station in anticipation of a call from Kurton.”


Attendants’ Hall, Kurton Crown Quarter, Kouralia Proper

Donatus Cicci was terrified – that his whole being shook with every sob and whimper on the supporting shoulders of the two Constables who carried him made that clear. Salt and iron mingled as tears diluted the blood seeping from his ruined eyes under a first aider’s bandages. Of course, the state of their charge had mattered little when the City Watch had found him slumped at his desk while the first aider on his office-neighbour’s staff had moved on to tend other injured. They had dragged him from his familiar office despite vain protestations that he knew at the back of his mind could never be fulfilled. The hope they may be was a comfort though.

Confusion had reigned in the vast regency office complex next to the Senate when the magic of Grogar had swept through every corridor and suite as it did across the nation. One moment the bespectacled Senator Cicci had been peering at a report on national parks’ budget deficits; the next second he had practically thrown himself from his chair, tearing lensless frames from his face and fighting the urge to clutch at the fragments of glass that jutted from his eyes.

By all accounts, this was nothing special. Across the building mobile phones lost signal, elevators had locked between floors and windows had shattered. The latter had slicked the marble of the corridors with blood – though that was barely a drop next to the sudden and entirely-unforecast downpour that blew through the windows now. The gales had proceeded to sweep not just the freezing winter rain in, but also the sound of chaos from the streets outside. Unable to see for himself – and on a personal level entirely uncaring, if he was honest – the Senator had vaguely heard two staffers exclaiming that everything upon the streets had stopped where it lay or skidded with dumb momentum into walls, traffic and pedestrians with reckless abandon.

The Senator’s mind was hardly focused on the wider implications of his blinding, but it was not a stretch to suggest this was happening everywhere.

Twenty minutes later, not that it was counted, two Constables of the Watch had burst into his office and, with barely more information given than “Your presence is required by the Crown,” had proceeded to man-handle the Senator down four flights of stairs, through a basement tunnel, and then back up into the Senate House itself. That whole journey had been nothing but alien. A route he walked weekly – sometimes daily or more – had gone from the most basic part of his work routine to a terrifying ordeal. No longer could he gaze on the busts and portraits of famous Senators from ages past which lined the route, or marvel at the frescoes which filled the ceiling from cornice to cornice.

Climbing the stairs back above ground to the vast semi-circular lobby beside the Senate Hall, the sound of moaning and rushing wind had died away to be replaced by a tumultuous cacophony of shouting. By the top, Cicci chanced that he could pick out the voices of both close colleagues and mere acquaintances. “What, what is happening?” He finally mustered once his escorts had seen fit to bring him to a stop, though still carrying him bodily.

“I’m afraid I do not know, Master Senator.” The one to his left said helpfully, before his counterpart to the right chirped up.

“Some disaster has befallen the capital, or possibly the nation, and everyone the Speaker could muster was sent to retrieve anyone they could find from the Senate or the Noble Assembly.”

“A vote, then…” Cicci said, sighing wearily. “Why could this not wait for medical treatment, or rebuilding, or distance voting…“

“I do not know, sir.” The second Constable said apologetically. “All we know is, ah-.” He stopped mid-sentence, “I think your answer is here.”

As if on cue, a very familiar voice boomed out over the chamber. “Order! I say, Orr-daahh! The Speaker’s voice bellowed out over the chamber, each word punctuated by a crack of wood on stone. Without sight it was only a guess, but Cicci imagined he was stood on the dias before the high doors to the Senate Chamber itself, rapping his twisted vine staff on the marble balustrades.

“Ladies and Gentleman, Senators Esquire and Noble Electors,” Speaker Vyreyn began as the hubbub died to a quiet murmur. “Thank you for answering this summons so promptly. More of our fellows may yet arrive, though at this stage I am doubtful. You do your nation a great se-”

“Thank you?!” Cicci cried out in response, “How can you thank us when we had no choice in this matter!” Silence filled the space momentarily at the interruption as even the most insubordinate of Senators’ hearts stopped. “I am dragged here, blinded and in agony and for wha-?”

“I command Order Master Senator, and I will have it!” Vyreyn snapped. “You, all of you, are Senators of Kurton. You stand at the end of a line unbroken for more years than most of you have known days in office!” The Senator knew then what would come next. Everyone in the hall had heard these words a hundred times before, whether for headache, grievous injury, or even –recently and expensively – for a Pregnant Elector entering labour.

“Hold your head up high Donatus and stop this intolerable malingering! You say your eyes agonise you, but when the Tyrant’s gunners took my leg from under me I did a damn sight better a job of walking the pain off than you seem willing to trouble yourself with!

“I will hear no more of it, and you will listen! All of you will listen to the business of the houses for an extraordinary session.” The Speaker paused and there was beat of silence in the hall that he allowed to ripple out and back to himself before continuing. “We do our business here because, by happenstance, the lamps of the Senate Hall have covered the place with shards of crystal.

“Now, I have summoned here eighty-six of your fellows – Senators and Electors. Suffice it to say, this is not a quorum for either of our assemblies, but we will make do. In the absence of the Crown Captain of Justiciars, the Principal Lieutenant of Justiciars and Justiciar of Public Safety, Madam Tsachyra Ceþu will provide the case for the Ayes.

“Madam, if you will?”

Unseeing of events around him, Senator Cicci could only let the words wash over him as, with every sentence the Justiciar’s pronouncements grew graver and brought more and more muttering from his colleagues.

This was an attack, the Justiciar declared. An act of war by an enemy known to us, but nearly forgotten by all but the dustiest of academics and historians – or so they thought. It was impossible in half an hour to fully grasp the problem faced by the nation, or to even be certain that this calamity was the Return of Tambelon… But the Government staked itself on it. It was posited that were it wrong in this matter, the Court of Justiciars would have lost the confidence of the Senate and would resign. A vast surge of malignant magical energy had swept the nation, and as far as could be done in such a short space of time, it had come from the valley where Tambelon had sat five hundred years ago.


That was a name Cicci had not heard of since reading for Medieval history at university. But now he was instructed to believe that the Crown had, for centuries, prepared to some degree or another for the return of what was practically a fairy-tale. There was one catch, however…

“So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Senators Esquire and Noble Electors.” Speaker Vyreyn said, his voice booming out over the lobby as Tsachyra finished her speech. “Our business this session is one question, one secession. We are hobbled in our inability to use the chamber and its facilities, so I will have those content with the measure to my right and those not content to my left. We have agreed, myself and the Justiciar, that with the lack of quorum we can pass a matter for no more than a month from today. Whether you stand content or not with the proposal from the Crown, we will vote further on the matter within 28 days.

“Ladies and Gentlemen Senators Esquire and Noble Electors: Will the Senate and the Grand Electorate of Kurton vote to bestow upon the Crown the powers of the War Statute for a period of not more than one month to combat the menace of Tambelon?”

With that the Speaker cracked his staff down upon the balustrade and as if by another, more ceremonious magic at work, the Chamber exploded into life as everyone present began to talk to one another. It didn’t take long before Cicci had decided. Whispering to one of the Watchmen who had carried him this far, they quickly moved him through the throngs to where he waited for more of the crowd to divide into two camps. Minutes was all it took in the end before the Speaker called who had it and sent the Justiciar hurrying away to notify her absent Captain.


Val’Ynyſaar,West Vyſægher Province, Highlands of Altonia

As he watched the last of his flock descend the slope to Vyſægher, Anyæl sighed. Though the windows of the temple might have been broken into thousands of shards, he drew the doors to the shrine shut and slid the bolts home. Slowly making his way down the nave, he carefully deposited the crystalline glassware down on the altar before settling down onto a step to collect himself.

“My love… Beautiful Amyna and Edæa…” He muttered as he drew out a locket and gazed upon an old silvergraph of his family. His wife would surely now be at work at the Council offices, his daughter was with a touring troupe of actors in the far South, and dear adopted Edæa was… Somewhere. He smiled forlornly. Perhaps the one whose calling was that of a wandering beast-slayer would be the safest today.
Last edited by Kouralia on Tue Jul 06, 2021 10:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Legokiller » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:00 pm

OOC: Collab with Mal
Residential Zone
Cernes, Malgravean Research Colony


Perhaps on cue, a frozen remains of a once zombified bear and rats laid on the streets of the building. A feat of a toss was easily explained by the silver scales and white wings of two great dragons. Even the one spooked pegasus stallion who tried to get out of the apartment building discovered the crown head of the being at the front door! As the pony shrieked away, a blizzard of snowflakes and petals bursted as the cyan haired Matriarch and her blonde half-elf daughter entered the building.

“Seriously?” Lillile huffed up as she noticed the lack of power within the building. “First my phone died, then planes fell out of the sky, magical disruptions, zombies, and now a black out. This. is. Ridiculous!”

“Yes, this is a great calamity but we cannot panic at this moment.” Nina replied. “We need to remain calm.”

“Well Speedwings wasn’t-” Lille was then cut off when the same pegasus pony returned to meet them.

“Hey, did you see those two dragons, Nina? They looked exactly like you two as a dragon-” He then paused. “Oh, it was you two.”
Lillie gave a loud sigh as she looked at Speedwings. “Please don’t worry about that Speedie. We just had to fight some zombie animals. That’s all.”

“That’s great! Glad someone is willing to fight some zombies on this terrible day.” He then added. “Anyway… Nina, you prepared some healing spells today yes?”

“The natural world granted me such energy for this day. Is someone injured?” Nina asked.

“Yeah!” Speedwings then pointed to the community center. “The whole place is a medical ward now. I think the doc might like the support there.”

“Why thank you Speedwings.” Nina then looked at Lillie. “Now, let’s go there and use one of your training for this task.”

“Okay!” Lillie pumped her fist up. Besides, she knew that dad should be home soon. Although the situation at the market is still unknown.
Inside the community hall, the Silverdaleans would be able to see the transformation take place as tables that previously served as hubs for community meals and games events had been turned into ad-hoc places to treat those that had been wounded by falling debris and broken glass, with a mixture of medical professionals and magical healers at work doing their best to ensure that the patients under their care received the best treatment regardless of the strange circumstances.

On the stage stood two members of the Territorial Defence Force, the first being a familiar sight Sub-Lieutenant Moon Ji-Eun, the elven conscript that had been tasked with assisting their integration into Malgravean society while the second was an unknown individual.

I am Sub-Lieutenant Moon Ji-Eun of the 1st Infantry Division, now some of you many recognise me because I have previously been assigned to assist the Silverdalean population with their integration into Malgravean society, however, with the current crisis that has befallen Cerne this duty has now been changed to a previously long standing mission, Operation Perceptive Puffin which involves the defence of this Colony and those within it from this unknown threat.

As you may of heard earlier the Research Colony is now under a Regional State of Emergency, however, for those of you familiar with the usual way of operating that doesn’t mean that we have been able to establish contact with Epping, but rather that we are following previous orders which permitted the establishment of such an order in the event in which we cannot contact our superiors in Epping.
It is important that everyone remembers their social obligations during such a crisis, as we are all dependent on everyone following the collective principles of social solidarity to get through this situation together, as individualistic greed and attempted heroics will just cause pain and misery for all us.

Yet as the Territorial Defence Force works to enforce Operation Perceptive Puffin we find ourselves both without a means of contacting our superiors in Epping and without a means to transport our heavier weapons and the long-term logistical needs of both military and civilian operations, so that is why we are asking for individuals with the ability to perform tasks such as assist logistical operations, move heavy weapons, fortify trenches and help with maintaining and increasing agricultural yields so that we can both defend and feed ourselves heading into the future.

I have every confidence that our superiors in Epping will be doing everything in their power to send assistance to the Research Colony, however, in the meantime we’ll need to work together as one to survive, so if you fly, carry heavy objects with ease or if you wish to do anything to help this defensive effort don’t hesitate to volunteer.”

As Ji-Eun finished speaking a few people inside the community centre started moving forward and pledging their allegiance to the volunteer efforts, from local ant beastlings which could carry quite an extensive weight to those with thick Breheimian accents who offered their services in construction and agriculture.

Lillie was quickly alarmed by this news and looked at the confusion, and worry from the other Silverdaleans in the room. She quickly raised her hand to stand out from the voice. “Excuse me!” She then said. “Isn’t restoring power and cellular communication a top priority? My phone is literally dead.”

“I can assure you that we are working on re-establishing communications and power as soon as possible, Comrade, however, as we find ourselves faced with the possibility of renewed attack then the immediate priority is in establishing a strong defensive foundation and assisting those that have been...” Ji-Eun answered pausing as she tried to translate a concept from Malgravean Ancient to Common, the Malgravean turning to her counterpart, cinis vulneratus?

Izabella frowned, the Malgravean also starting to speak in the local language to solve her colleagues' language issues, [i]”cinis saucius?[“/i] the conscript said highlighting the regional differences in the language, “gravely wounded? Remember these foreigners put their dead in graves.”
Ji-Eun nodded before turning back to the group, “..gravely wounded and they require our care and protection,” the conscript said before adding, “In addition I am certain that those with ancestral abilities or magic have noticed that the ancestral field has been amplified since the start of this crisis, and while we can perform magical feats inside the Colony we don’t know the long-term impact of such on our bodies or the impact of trying to send a magical message outside of the impacted region.”

“Just before I arrived here I was informed that local researchers with the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities are conducting limited experiments to ensure that it remains safe,” Izabella said trying to put a hopeful spin on things, “As soon we know it is safe to contact our superiors in Epping then we can do so but we aren’t going to sacrifice people's lives for this.”
“My daughter and I have felt the magic in the land amplified, and the foulness of it.” Nina spoke up. “It’s like a hurricane with a sound that follows. I supposed this disruption brought forth the undead to attack us on our way home from the outskirts of the city. It’s likely a dark force has cursed this land.”

“Cursed mom?” Lillie grumbled for a moment. “And the planes fell from the sky…” She thought about the whole situation carefully. “Mother, we’re going to need to fight these undead monsters and whomever is behind it.”

“No Lillie. It’s dangerous and you must complete your training. At this stage, you're too reckless with your power.” Nina protested.
“We do not know the exact cause of this crisis, Comrades. In lieu of concrete evidence it is unwise to speculate about curses and dark forces, especially as the spread of such misinformation can cause disharmony and fear to spread amongst the general population,” Izabella said aiming to keep the spread of rumours about the present situation as limited as possible.

Ji-Eun then stepped forward, the elven woman having had some experience living with the Silverdaleans since the start of their arrival in Cerne, “We also recognise that the Silverdalean population aren’t familiar with some aspects of how things operate in Malgrave,” the elf said in a calming voice, “As part of the National Security and Stabilisation Act of 1938 and the Regional State of Emergency it is not permitted to spread misinformation or rumour about the state of ongoing military and intelligence operations.”

“We are working tirelessly to uncover the foundational cause of this current problem, and be assured that as soon as we uncover that we will be taking action to fix it,” Izabella said, the conscript changing tone as they allowed Ji-Eun to display her AR-2 rifle.

“If you don’t have the ability to transform, fly or use ancestral abilities to assist in our long-term logistics or agricultural concerns then you can volunteer to join those that are filling defensive emplacements across Cerne to counter the threat posed by the return of the living dead,” Ji-Eun said showcasing the firearm to those in the room, “I am holding an AR-2, the current service weapon of the Territorial Defence Force. We have a surplus of these rifles in stockpiles across the Research Colony, so if you have had any experience handling a firearm and would like to do your part stand forward and you’ll be outfitted with an AR-2 uniform and the equipment of a Soldato, furthermore those that can prove prior service with a foreign military force will be assigned the privileges of the appropriate rank in the Territorial Defence Force.” Ji-Eun said letting the information and request fill the room.

“Misinformation?” Nina gave a wary look at Ji-Eun. “I have felt and experienced similar curses upon the land, albeit on a small scale. As those who use the dead to their advantage to strange disruption of nature itself in the remote corners of the south pole. This is what you may call it a foundation for a hypothesis to investigate.”

“Eh-” Lillie then spoke up to avoid any needless trouble. “My mom can transform, fly, use magic- ancestral abilities to not only fight the living dead, but can also help in uncharted terrain. I can too, and know a few other elves who can. So I’ll join!”

Nina gave a sigh of dismay by how eager her kid is, and well the whole situation at hand. “Yes, I am capable of such abilities. You’d need my skills...” She wasn’t too keen on this, as she came to escape violence. Not partake in a mysterious conflict.

“It is an interesting hypothesis to investigate, however, without firm evidence behind it spreading it just causes fear and panic to spread in the population and if it is proven false later it becomes hard to dislodge. We know such a thing to be true from studies conducted during the civil war and that is why we’ve got regulations in place to stop the spreading of rumours,” Ji-Eun said replying to Nina.

“If you are willing to volunteer then you’ll need to sign a few administrative paper and undergo a small medical examination which will be conducted in private in one of the offices of the Ancestral Study Group here,” Izabella said, “I know that nobody here expected to encounter such a scenario, however, now that we are here I am quite thankful to the assistance that you’ve now offered.”

As Izabella was speaking Nina would be able to see a trickle of people flowing forward and starting to sign the paperwork required to volunteer, from those with obvious Malgravean accents to those that stipulated they call from a place called Breheim.

“I believe that you should also be made aware that you aren’t giving away your service for free here,” Ji-Eun said her statement causing many in the room to pay more attention to her next choice of words, “I have been informed that those that volunteer to the efforts here will be able to apply for certain tax discounts for the next five years and that they’ll be financially rewarded for their time in the realm of 12 Malvians per hour, now does anyone have any questions?”

“Is there any child support while we’re in service of Malgrave?” Nina asked.

“Yes, the situation is rather difficult at the moment but current universal childcare services will be maintained during this crisis,” Ji-Eun said referencing the work done by the local school, the Gabriel Narutowicz Pioneers and the Free Democratic Youth in this regard, “If anyone wishes to volunteer while remaining free from conflict that would be a key area to assist.”

“Mom, dad can handle my half-siblings.” Lillie then looked at Nina. “But please, we can do so much! We don’t even need to run away.”
“It’d be impractical to do so.” Nina then looked at Lillie. “But remember this is no mercenary work, but a place of order and discipline.”
“Sure sure.” Lillie then gave a curious look at the deck and back at her. “But… I’ll do my best and not get myself hurt.”

“You have the ability to transform into one of these flying creatures, yes? I believe that will be quite a valuable skill set in the coming days and weeks,” Izabella said referencing the transformation ability she remembered that a few Silverdaleans possessed.

Ji-Eun meanwhile moved to ease some of the concerns of Lillie’s mother, “I have been informed that those that wish to engage in military service will be tested prior to their engagement in any military activity, and those that are rather inexperienced in their ancestral abilities are going to be paired with more experienced individuals that should help them control themselves, as a Malgravean losing control can be quite fatal we’ve become rather adept at it so I trust that your daughter will be in the best of care.”

“Hey! Those flying creatures are called dragons. In which I can transform into a Silver Dragon.” Lillie said.

“I see…” Nina gave a worrisome look as she thought about the implication and how druidic lore of the ages can translate to ancestry terminology. “My daughter had learned much from my tuition and public schooling of magic. Although I do fea about what usage it’d be for such war efforts. So I hope such experienced magi would understand some abilities of the ancestry in regards to nature and the draconic.”
“If your daughter makes her specific requirements known when she volunteers I believe that a suitable superior should be available to instruct and guide her during any engagements, Nina,” Ji-Eun said with a smile

Izabella sighed at that comment, “I believe that I know someone that did receive some education in Silverdale during their magical education,” the Malgravean said, remembering her friend that had become rather attached to Silverdalean culture and had even ended up picking up the accent, “I trust that they’ll make a capable instructor despite their rather eccentric adaption of your cultural practices.”
“Oh? Who would that be?” Nina asked.

“I understand that they go by Olivia Pinkheart now, even went to the trouble of changing their name in the central register,” Izabella said holding back a second sigh, “I do trust that they’ll be able to provide the expertise that your daughter needs though.”
“Olivia?” Nina gave a surprised look at Izabella and collected her thoughts. It was… necessary as she then said, “Why yes, we met in our first Druidic Circle meeting in Cerne. I’ll say her ability to shapeshift into a penguin, a puffin, and know how to…” Nina blushed. “Use a dragonstone and another spell as a primal one of nature… She is impressive and would become a good instructor. I hope she can temper her eagerness as a dragon, and show discipline.”

“If you have met her already then I believe it would be rather guaranteed that she’ll be assisting your daughter during her upcoming duties,” Izabella said seemingly much more at ease knowing that the Silverdaleans at least who they are dealing with.

“You said that your partner was currently engaged in some errands at the moment? It could be some time until they return as we haven’t been able to get the transportation network functioning due to a lack of power and breakages of safety equipment.” Ji-Eun said highlighting a concern that many across the Colony shared.

“Why yes, my husband should return back home with the groceries from the store. I hope that the bus wasn’t in a terrible wreck, and allow him to reach the apartment by now.” Nina said.

“Oh, the shuttle to the MalMart? I believe it was caught in a minor accident earlier while making its way out of the store,” Izabella said, providing the Silverdaleans with some information she received earlier, “A small convoy was formed to help ferry those people back to their home apartments. You should consider yourself quite lucky since a few buses have been involved in a few major accidents and it is a rather unfortunate combination with the lack of centralised transportation to hospitals.”

“Oh dear…” Nina then asked. “When would the convoy return here?”

“It depends on how fast they are in the convoy itself, Nina.” Ji-Eun supplied, “If they can move at a reasonable speed then they should be here any moment now or within the next twenty to thirty minutes.

“Then I shall wait and see.” Nina said.
Silverdale's Factbook! Poi Poi Poi Resurrected! Silverdale News Thread
<Maven>Legokiller's an original "G" with mirrors and changelings before it was cool <AnimeQuote> Taiga Aisaka is Gandhi.

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Malgrave » Sat Dec 19, 2020 8:51 am

HMNV Lupiae, Gulf of Ino, Research Colony

In the past few weeks, a large number of ships that historically patrolled the Gulf of Ino from bases in the Research Colony and Kouralian mainland had been diverted to assist ongoing anti-piracy operations from the newly absorbed territory of Ilan and to eliminate a new threat that had established itself off the coast of Silverdale.

Yet despite these fleet movements, the Royal Navy had decided to retain the services of at least one carrier group to monitor the situation near the Research Colony both as a continuing point of collaboration with their Kouralian allies but also as the naval contribution towards Operation Perceptive Puffin, the planned response of the Malgraveans towards the apparent incoming threat posed by Grogar.

Corvette-Captain Salvo Caivano had been informed of his threat by his superiors before his assignment to the Lupiae, and as much as he took the considerations from his superiors seriously a small part of him doubted that such a threat would emerge during his service near the Colony after everything was said and done this threat had remained dormant for hundreds of years and could hide for far longer without breaking a sweat.

All of this changed when a series of events started to impact his ship and his colleagues around him, the first thing the Corvette-Captain noted was the shutting down of the electrical devices in his immediate vicinity, a singular shut down was a possibility as despite the reliability of MalTec equipment it was not infallible but a total systems shutdown was hard to fathom and hinted towards something more sinister at work, the second was the tell-tale rumblings of an earthquake on the horizon, the Malgravean only able to shout a brief warning to the sailors in his immediate vicinity to take cover before all chaos broke loose.

Salvo emerged from the floor unsteadily, a faint ringing present in his ears as he steadied himself and began to take in the scene around him, despite the precautions that had been taken when constructing the ship the glass barrier that sought to protect them from the elements had shattered and been turned into a weapon against his crew, furthermore to that the ship's computer interfaces had broken and as he turned to face a colleague he could also recognise that it had impacted those wearing glasses.

“Sergeant Sacco,” Salvo said indicating for a rather shocked otter beastling to come over to his location, “Go take Sub Chief Scwed over to the medical office and help out anyone you see on the way,” the Corvette-Captain said sighing as he watched the pair leaving, the medical facilities on board the ship were basic, to say the least, and he imagined that an overflow of patients would soon be created but it was better than nothing.

A few seconds of calm passed before another issue with the ship presented them with another problem, namely the presence of a storm on the horizon and their current inability to steer the vessel despite the efforts of the crew on deck, the Corvette-Captain stalking over to try his luck at moving the vessel.

“It’s no use, Captain. I think the entire system is offline!” a sailor to his right said, the Malgravean vaguely recognising that it sounded like Chief Gorski.

“I don’t care if the ancestors themselves have crippled the bloody ship we’re going to get it to turn,” Salvo said with a determined voice, the Corvette-Captain picturing the ship itself and the way it was coming to a gradual stop in the water before it began to turn ever so slightly ensuring that it wouldn’t slam itself into any of the ships that it was following and that it wasn’t completely thrown to destruction by the large wave.

“Captain? Are you ok?” Chief Gorski said, the concern clear in his voice, although he was quickly shrugged off by the Captain

“I am fine, Chief. Just let us try and figure out what is going,” the Corvette-Captain said using a cloth to wipe away his rapidly bleeding nose.

Residential District, Cerne, Research Colony.

It was a common understanding amongst the Malgravean populace that the Territorial Defence Force did not command much respect in the minds of the wider Mystrian population, as to the untrained mind the length of the civil war hinted at some underlying incompetence and the non-aggressive nature of the Malgravean people meant that the Spirean populace had any experience with watching the TDF in any sort of aggressive military action.

In addition to that, the stereotype was occasionally true, as being a conscripted service the Territorial Defence Force was known to vary quite widely in quality, with certain units being regarded as understrength while others were quite highly regarded both in terms of their response to training and their reaction under fire in areas the TDF operated in like Crystal Spires.

Despite that strange perception, the Malgravean people had confidence in the ability of their conscript force to engage in defensive warfare, and over the past few years, aspects of military and civilian society had been working to reinforce and modernise coastal defence installations and vital infrastructure points with fortified trenches and room for artillery and suitable anti-aircraft weapons for Operation Perceptive Puffin.

At least that is what Soldato Isotta Parri thought as she took cover behind a bed of sandbags, the small neko taking a few short breaths before she picked up the ammunition she was tasked with carrying on and continued forward, moving and placing the requested supplies besides an ant beastling that was currently engaged in firing a large anti-air gun, her fellow Soldato using his strength to fire the emplaced weapon at an assortment of flying creatures in the sky even though part of the blasted machine had broken earlier in the day alongside all the suitable replacement parts.

“You have been resupplied, Comrade!” Isotta said working to make her voice heard throughout the noise of combat.

In response, the ant beastling simply nodded in acknowledgement of the order, her fellow Soldato far too busy engaging with the enemy in the skies to pay her any notice.

Isotta simply shrugged in response before hopping back into the trench network, the neko passing by a row of fellow conscripts stood by a machine-gun emplacement that was engaged in a similar albeit less effective campaign of resistance against the sky-bound creatures, a few conscripts surrounding them with AR-2’s highlighting the fact that the entire region was expected to be attacked from land-based threats as well.

As Isotta continued moving forward she could see a more fortified inlet built into the trench network, a place configured to withstand artillery strikes and other munitions, the sterile nature of the inlet and the faint pang of ancestral abilities reminding Isotta what she knew already about this one's function, a medical centre already dealing with injuries from the impact of the earthquake and the first rumblings of combat with the undead and the new skyborne threat.

Isotta shook her head to shake the feeling that the medical room generated, for those capable of using ancestral energy its usage tended to almost change the air around them and the use of healing energy was quite noticeable, an indescribable uncomfortable presence that one always got in a hospital building.

A few minutes passed before Isotta got to her final destination, another fortified inlet, a rather advanced looking piece of artillery in the background that belonged to the local artillery battery, the neko entering and saluting to those in the room.

“Divisional General Necchi,” the Soldato said adding a bow out of tradition and a few nerves, “I have been able to secure the required schematics from Soldato Tanzi and I was even able to supply their anti-air unit with additional ammunition,”

Divisional General Aurelia Necchi looked up from the papers she was reading, a smile visible on her face despite the levels of exhaustion that also shone through, “Good. You have done well, Comrade. I will make note of your bravery today, now I can explain why you needed to gain such information, but first I am correct in saying that you have ancestral abilities?”

Isotta smiled in return and nodded before speaking, “I am quite thankful for your praise, General but I was just performing my duty as ordered, any other conscript would’ve done the same,” the Soldato said pausing for a few seconds before speaking, “....yes? I am gifted with ancestral abilities which were noted in my service record when I joined the TDF.”

“Excellent,” Aurelia said further referencing the information she had been able to glean from what physical databases she could access, “I also understand that you were employed briefly at MalTec as an engineer before you entered service, yes?”

“Yes, that is quite correct, General. I managed to gain employment through a placement at the Aung Engineering Academy before I was called to service. Is this important?”

Aurelia nodded in confirmation, “You see repairing something through ancestral abilities isn’t as simple as just imagining something repaired and waving your hands around and hoping for the best. To be truly effective you’ve got to have an understanding of what you are trying to repair,” the General said continuing forward when Isotta appeared to understand, “You should now possess an understanding of the broken elements of our high-velocity electromagnetic artillery battery and that combined with your ancestral abilities means that you are the most qualified person to fix it in the immediate area, understand?”

“I believe so, General,” Isotta said a mixture of emotions flowing through the neko, “Once I repair these artillery pieces what will happen next?”

At that Aurelia grinned, perhaps one of the most positive expressions that had taken place since the start of the crisis, “It was a more simple matter of fixing the generators that shall be able to provide the artillery pieces with the jump start that they need, and when that happens we’ll be able to return fire?”

“Return fire?” Isotta said quite confused,

“Ah, yes. You see despite the fundamental lack of equipment we have been able to pinpoint the centre-point for this magical outburst,” Aurelia said gesturing to a portion of land situated next to Kouralia on a map of the region, “If we can fire a few dozen shells into this heart of darkness then we’ll provide a rallying call for our comrades and be able to provide valuable information to the rest of our advanced artillery networks on how to fix their systems.”

“I understand now, General,” Isotta said, the neko finally feeling the sense of optimism that was beginning to shine throughout the command centre from her fellow Soldatos to the Divisional General herself.

“I’ll let you get back to your duty now, Soldato. Good luck and may the ancestors watch over your path,” the General said smiling at the neko briefly before her attention was called away to another matter.

Isotta simply nodded before leaving the safety and relative warmth of the command centre, the neko hugging herself in an attempt to avoid the colder winds that had swept in over the past few days, a few curses leaving her lips directed to the person that thought it would be a good idea to settle a place with such miserable weather conditions.

In a matter of a few moments the Malgravean arrived at the artillery battery, the guns being stationed some distance away from the main grouping of trenches to reduce unnecessary casualties in case of counter-fire from the enemy, a few humans, elves and an otter and puffin beastling standing at work.

“Soldato Parri?” an elven woman said, shaking in the cold, “Staff Sergeant Choe Chae-Young. I was informed that you’ve got something for us,”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Parri said recognising the NCO, “I should be able to get the guns on this battery in working condition,”

“Brilliant,” Chae-Young said, “At last we’ll have something to do to take our minds off this ancestor forsaken weather,”

Isotta simply nodded in agreement as she moved towards the first artillery piece, the neko never really understood why her government had decided to settle a piece of land with such miserable weather but she didn’t understand the eccentric behaviour of her fellow citizens

“Just think electromagnetic thoughts,” Isotta said, the Soldato thinking back at the information she had received earlier and adding it to her educational understanding of the principles behind the electromagnetic artillery piece, a strange feeling coming over the conscript as she began to repair the broken pieces.

In the course of a few minutes, the artillery guns of the local defence battery were once again operational, with now flowing to them courtesy of repairs that had been by another team to a nearby power source,

“It looks like you need this, Soldato,” Chae-Young said as she passed the neko a cup of jasmine tea, although the neko could tell that it was a more specialised blend designed to help those that had recently used their ancestral abilities,

“Thanks, Sergeant. I am just happy to do my part to help us survive this mess.” Isotta said before taking a small sip of the drink

At that revelation Chae-Young nodded, “I understand what you are feeling, Soldato. It was quite hard knowing that we couldn’t even fight back properly, all those poor comrades on those airliners, gone far too soon,” the Sergeant said her mind going back to the MalTra aircraft she had seen crash into an apartment building earlier on, “...but now we’ve got these artillery pieces back online? Just watch.”

As Chae-Young finished speaking Isotta could hear the ground beneath her feet rumble and the unmistakable sound of artillery blast out towards their target, the sound combining with the anti-air installations and providing everyone in the vicinity with a strange morale boost as their confidence of survival grew.

HMNV Monika Chmiel, Gulf of Ino, Research Colony.

Onboard the HMNV Monika Chmiel a different scene was occurring, the destroyer had previously been part of anti-piracy operations out of the territory of Ilan, however, upon being informed of the situation impacting the Research Colony it had been ordered to travel to the impacted region with the rest of the Ilan Carrier Group.

In fact, the HMNV Monika Chmiel had even been ordered to speed ahead of the rest of the Carrier Group it had been assigned to, the destroyer being resupplied by the support ship HMNV Polema halfway in its journey to ensure that it had enough fuel to reach its destination before racing off at best possible speed to the Research Colony.

Frigate-Captain Alicja Alderisi looked at the MalTec displays in-front of her with a look of confusion and annoyance, safely tucked away in the Internal Command and Communication Centre (IWCCC) the Malgravean had been witness to several attempts of her colleagues to contact their colleagues which they knew should be operating in the region and which the ship's sensors confirmed to be true, yet no contact could be established with either them or with the land-based facilities in Cerne.

It was an incredibly disturbing chain of events and one that the Frigate-Captain knew was causing concern and discontent to rise through the ranks like a plague, however, despite her woes, the Captain knew that through the combined professionalism of her peers and the support of her comrade citizens in the Colony they’ll be able to survive whatever crisis had impacted them, and so she prepared to speak to the rest of the crew.

“Comrade Sailors,

I am certain by now you know that our colleagues in the Research Colony are in some manner of trouble, we have been attempting to contact them for the past few hours but as of this moment, our attempts have been unsuccessful, however, from what limited information we’ve been able to ascertain we know that a majority of the ships reported being in the region are still in an operational condition.

I am aware that many of you are curious as to why we haven’t used ancestral abilities to contact our colleagues in the Research Colony, however, immediately after our resupply with the Polema I received orders from Epping that strictly forbid any usage of ancestral abilities in a non-critical defensive manner until research can be conducted by the appropriate Royal Institute, this follows a rather unfortunate incident where a student at one of the magical academies tried to teleport to the colony and has now been reported missing.

I swear to you that we shall reach our colleagues and comrade-citizens in the Research Colony, and when we do we will strike against those that have dared to move against us and deliver such retribution that they will never again think about raising a hand against the Malgravean people, thank you and may the ancestors watch over us all.”

A few hours after the Frigate-Captain finished her remarks her First Lieutenant entered the IWCCC, the elven woman giving her a brief salute before speaking,

“Captain, we have established some manner of contact with the HMNV Rensk and her escort ships. It is a rather strange situation though, we are working through old visual communications guidelines and then....” the First Lieutenant said seemingly unable to continue speaking for a few seconds, “...the submarine escort hasn’t established contact with the fleet since the start of the crisis. I don’t understand their emergency ballast system should’ve activated during a crisis and taken them to the surface to wait for rescue,”

Alicja sighed, the Frigate-Captain pinching the bridge of her nose to relieve some of the tension that had been generated from the news,

“Did the Rensk explain why it has to use these visual methods, Lieutenant?” the Malgravean asked her colleague, the old visual methods were still technically taught at the naval academy but she suspected that her colleagues had to route around the service manual to get an update on things,

“I believe they said something about a total communications failure, Captain. It seems bizarre but they’ve also reported a total loss of control mechanisms alongside a whole host of other issues a kilometre long,”

“If one takes the communication and technological issues impacting the Rensk and her escorts and adds in the additional information of our land-based assets being out of contact then you can safely estimate that our submarine fleet is suffering similar issues, Lieutenant,” the Frigate Captain said, the discomfort in her body once again rising despite the professional demeanour she put on towards her crew.

First Lieutenant Lee Su-Jin didn’t follow her superiors own restraint, the elven woman turning a sharp pale colour as she factored in the information,

“If that is the case then those submarines would have all sunk to the bottom of the ocean, by the ancestors how many have we lost?” Su-Jin said quite disturbed by the revelation,

“Remember your duty, Lee Su-Jin,” the First Lieutenant said a stern look on her face and a confident tone in her voice, “We cannot do anything to save those we have lost today but we can do our best to rescue those that depend on us, and ancestors willing get retribution for the lives that have been taken from us today.”

Alicja then pulled up a couple of holographic displays, the first showcased several vessels belonging to the carrier group protecting the Rensk while the second image showcased satellite imagery from the region suspected to be the location of the enemy.

“We will start by rendering what assistance we can to Carrier Group Rensk, at the moment we currently lack the supplies to assist with major repairs but once the rest of the fleet catches up with us then we should be able to start assisting our comrades in their return to port,” the Captain said, “In the meantime, I will inform Epping of what we’ve found and ask for supplies to be flown in from the mainland and Ilan to replace what we’ve lost.”

Epping, Malgrave.

In the moments immediately following the start of the crisis the atmosphere in Epping was comparable to that of panicked professionalism, as everyone from the most senior government minister to the highest-ranking military commander worked at best possible speed to try and figure out what exactly was happening in the Research Colony, a series of events that took people's memories back to the start of the Great Humiliation.

Yet within a few hours, the panic had subsided and been replaced with an almost nervous calm, as while everyone knew that they had to wait until the Ilan Carrier Group arrived to receive a confirmation on the state of the Research Colony that didn’t stop people coming up with wild fantasies from a return of Atum to even a judgement from the Ancestors, all of this encroaching madness made Katia De Campo quite glad to receive confirmation of an incoming contact from one of the ships of the Ilan Carrier Group.

“Frigate-Captain Alicja Alderisi of the HMNV Monika Chmiel I believe?” Katia said with a mixture of surprise and happiness, the Minister of National Defence had helped launch the ship with her wife a few years ago, a common ceremony during the last phase of expansion and modernisation for the Navy.

“Comrade Colonel,” Alicja replied recognising her counterparts former service with the Royal Marines, “I can report that the HMNV Monika Chmiel has reached the Research Colony and re-established limited contact with the Rensk Carrier Group, however, their predicament is a strange one, Colonel. It is something that I have never encountered in all my years of service with the Royal Navy.”

“We are fortunate that you were able to reach the Research Colony so quickly, Captain,” Katia said, her brow furrowing in confusion at her counterparts last statement, “Strange? You’ll have to explain that one Comrade.”

“Yes, we were able to speed ahead of the rest of our Carrier Group to reach the Colony ahead of schedule,” Alicja said, reminding herself to buy the commander of the refuelling vessel a drink when she could, “It is strange because they’ve suffered a complete technological breakdown, everything from communicators down to engines and steering is completely inoperable even the replacement parts they have on board.”

Katia De Campo nodded in acknowledgement as she heard the preliminary report from the Frigate-Captain in charge of the HMNV Monika Chmiel, “A complete technological breakdown you say? It explains why we haven’t been able to establish contact with our colleagues in the Research Colony since this crisis began. What is the status of the Rensk Carrier Group beyond this breakdown”

“It has been completely disabled through the breakdown, of course, but it would be functional after it receives the appropriate repairs, although these supplies will need to be transported from Ilan and replacements for wounded crew persons will need to be sent as well,” Alicja said before adding, “It is also likely that the screening submarine task force has been lost and I recommend that all submarines be recalled immediately as a precaution,”

“I understand, Captain. You’ll receive your supplies and reinforcements. We will start recalling the submarine fleet as a precaution, at the moment we don’t know if the incident that caused the breakdown can be repeated.” Katia said, a bitter taste filling her mouth as she remembered the losses of the Bastion earlier.

“We have also been able to detect ordnance being fired from the Colony and our trajectory analysis predicts that it will impact the predicted epicentre of the disaster, and that rate of fire has only increased over the past few hours. I recommend also adding electromagnetic rounds to those supplies, Colonel,” the Frigate-Captain said

“In that case, it appears that they’ve been able to get some items of equipment back in working order, a welcome bit of information which I am certain that those in the Royal Institute will be pleased to learn of,” Katia said reminding herself to send on the information to her colleagues later for an in-depth analysis, “If it is something indicative of this electromagnetic technology then we should be able to restore the maglev system as well which shall certainly make the logistical situation easier.”

“I trust that those involved in Operation Perceptive Puffin will be able to handle the constraints of the logistical situation for the immediate future as if this new artillery front is anything to go by they’ve learned how to adapt rather quickly,” Alicja said before adding, “When the rest of the fleet arrives we should able to add our mixture of fire, however, at the moment we are currently focusing our efforts on supporting local anti-air operations.”

At the mention of anti-air operations, Katia’s eyebrows rose quite a fair bit in surprise, “I wasn’t aware of any aircraft operating in the region, Captain. How are you dealing with them?”

“It appears as if flying creatures have been attacking the region for quite a while, we noted some damage to the Rensk Carrier Group when we arrived and we’ve been able to detect anti-aircraft fire emerging from the Colony alongside some potential air duels? It is hard to tell at this range but we are moving into a position to be able to add our fire support.”

“Good,” Katia said, although she was now curious about what additional information would reveal about this apparent duel in the sky, “It appears that those in the Colony are adapting quite well to these new circumstances, let us just help that we can help them out on that front.”

“Of course, Colonel. I’ll ensure we are in a strong position to push back against this threat in a few hours,” Alicja said, the Captain already thinking of a few surprises to pull when the rest of the fleet arrived in a few hours.
Last edited by Malgrave on Sat Dec 19, 2020 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Imeriata » Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:26 pm

Imerbürg, Imeriata proper, The absolute royal federation

“On average will they reach about thy waist my royal princess!” The officer responded to the question that Runa had asked, for good measurements did he make a sweeping gesture with his hand around his own waist, a bit higher than Runas own were.
“RIght, thank you, lord commander!” She responded with a short nod. She had to admit that she was not particularly convinced by the argument but she expected the most as she stood and waited outside of the freshly built walls of the new royal palace. Like almost everything in Imerbürg were they new. They were built on the place of the old walls and in the same style but as she had grown up around the old ones and had spent most of her life around them could she immediately tell that these were but an imitation of the old ones, the carved soldiers and plant decorations were still being painted and carved just like everything else in the growing city.

Even the living towers were bare, while functional and covered with the golden sandstone that old Imerbürg had been famous for were they still mostly built with people in mind and one could still see carvers and painters rush amongst them, it was like that all over the city, no matter where one turned could one see large collections of peoples rushing about, building, fixing, carving, and painting. In the other direction flew countless wares fresh off the newly rebuilt factories. The city was experiencing a growing spur that was true, people flocked to it in huge numbers, from all over the federation, giving the new city a more cosmopolitan look than it had had before. This could even be seen in her own entourage, there were her loyal confidant, ally, and amongst other things friend Honey from Leporidaeria. A nonhuman and a representative from the First Sister that the beastling shared a name with. She looked human enough for the long and slender ears that stuck out from her long black hair that in turn rolled down over her olive skin. To stand out from the more conservatively dressed Scanderans did the beastling insist in wearing her more revealing clothing, a long skirt went down past her knees and down halfway to her long slender feet. Her midriff was bare and she wore a small silken blouse that covered her chest and shoulders but little else. However with the cold harsh Scanderan winter taken into account did the beastling also wear a very thick fur lined Scanderan cloak. She was however in terms of jewelry far from unadorned, rings, armbands, and necklaces glimmered in the light from the electronic torches as they stroke gold, silver, and gems but also more common materials as rocks and bone.

Runa herself was dressed in a more conservative Scanderan dress of white linnen but with silver thread mixed in that made it glimmer in the light. A second dark blue outer dress that was embroidered with the golden eagles of her house in thicker wool was resting over it. She was beyond that surrounded by a motley collection of people in the white robes of the foreign relation advisory, some soldiers of the high guard in their black uniforms and silver armour. However the one that stood out the most was Orm, one of her cousins henchmen, a tall albino dressed in a very simplistic beige tunic and with simple brown trousers. The only decoration he wore was the arm rings that he had been granted as trophies and honours from his service to the high king. His head was similarly odd and foreign, shaved clean even including his eyebrows, the only thing piece of hair on him at all were his long fu-manchu moustache that was white as newly fallen snow.

His eyes moved and he looked upon her, his eyes like always were cold and made her shiver as she quickly looked away, desperately wishing for the Malgraveans to arrive. Orm always made her nervous and she could not for the life of her figure out why her cousin kept the man around.

In time the Malgraveans would arrive, the current crisis impacting the Research Colony and the continuing conflict in Silverdale meant that the Prime Minister herself couldn't appear in person to make such a request, however, Eliot Reymont, the current Foreign Minister was available to travel to Imeriata and utilise one of the benefits of being a member of the Crown Alliance.

Eliot Reymont wasn’t the only Malgravean present in the room, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had decided to dispatch an individual figure to help out their efforts with the Imerians, with Seo Yi-kyung, the Director General for Mystria stepping into the position, an individual that had travelled across Mystria in recent weeks to help deal with the list of crisis that had emerged rather suddenly.

Unlike their Imerian counterparts, the members of the Malgravean delegation didn't wear dresses or uniforms but formal suits that indicated that they weren’t present to engage in small talk or other pleasantries but get straight down to business, with the only adornments present being a pendant that was worn by the Malgraveans present.

Eliot and Yi-kyung would bow towards the Imerians present, the Malgraveans reserving the deepest bow towards the Royal Princess, the figure was known in Malgrave as a character in the popular series Adventurer High but apart from that not much was known and both Malgraveans didn’t want a repeat of earlier interactions between Imerians and Malgraveans.

Runa, well versed in court politics and decorum waited for a moment as the Malgraveans bowed before a Herald stepped forward, he was a young lad dressed in fine white wool tunic and trousers but carried over that a thick tabard woven of silver cloth with a heraldic eagle of gold embroidered on it, the head of the eagle however was hidden behind the crown of the high king and served as the coat of arms of the Stjärnkhrone dynasty.
“INTRODUCING…” the herald started to scream in the good old tongue “HER ROYAL PRINCESS RUNA AUF STJÄRNKHRONE! COUSIN IN THE FIRST LINE OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, blessed be His dynasty and may they rule eternal, BY APPOINTMENT THE HEAD OF THE RECEPTION!” He shouted loudly in the good old tongue before again withdrawing to the side.

“Ah, Jungrfrau Eliot Reymont!” Runa said, taking a step forward as Honey joined her, and to her slight worry Orm as well. The large Albino towered over her, the beastling, and as little said about the Mals the better. “I am honoured to accept you on behalf of His royal highness, blessed be His lineage, I was appointed to serve as your guide and host while you are here at the palace, I hope this is to your satisfaction! His royal highness wished to extend his wishes but he remains somewhat busy to greet you until your audience with him!”

Eliot bowed again in greeting as per Malgravean traditions, “It is a pleasure to be received by you in these troubling times, Royal Princess. I quite understand how busy affairs of state can keep one busy, especially as I imagine that the reconstruction work still takes up a considerable time of the day,”

“Prime Minister Nadzieja Brzezicki also extends her apologies for her inability to be present at this meeting, however, due to the current situation her travel outside of the country is being restricted at this moment of time,” Yi-kyung said, the Malgravean also delivering a second bow before speaking.

“It is quite remarkable that you’ve managed to rebuild the palace in such short order, Royal Princess. I must commend the work that your artisans have done in recreating the building in its former image,” Eliot said as she looked around the room in an appreciative gaze, “We were always quite hopeful that the anti-radiation technology we provided would allow the Imerians to start to recover and it seems that is the case.”

“We are most thankful to her ladyship elect! Please bring the thanks from His royal highness, blessed be his dynasty for time eternal, we do understand and are most willing to offer our own help in the situation” She said to Yi-kyung before turning to the other Malgravean.

“Yes… it certainly helped to a degree, do be careful though jungfrauar, the area is still dangerously radioactive!” Runa joked, her delivery however were deadpan enough that most of her own people turned to her with a surprised look and quite a few of them looked at the ground, trying to figure out what the cousin of the high king knew that the royal authorities would have decided not to share.

“In that case I will be careful to avoid any strange glowing puddles, Royal Princess,” Eliot replied in a similar joking manner before adding a joke of her own, “We wouldn’t want to have to spend the next few days bathing in mushrooms.”

“We also do have a gift to present the High King to commemorate the length of our alliance and friendship,” Yi-kyung said presenting a carrying case to the Imerian delegation before opening it for those to see, within the case and nestled within a velvet liner was an ornate small sword, the golden gilt hilt embossed with a variety of flowers native to parts of Imeriata and Malgrave while the sword itself contained images of Imerian and Malgravean naval prowess and glory.

“It was rather hard selecting a suitable gift for the High King, Royal Princess,” Eliot said as she took a brief glance at the sword, “but we do have a fascination with fencing and similar combat sports and as a result have a number of artisans that are capable of creating such works of art,” the Foreign Minister said referencing the fact that fencing was one of the sports taught across Malgravean society, “I do hope that the High King finds such a gift agreeable and proof of the strength brought about by our friendship.”

“I am sure His royal highness, blessed be his house and may they stand tall and proud as their earliest ancestors did, will find it most agreeable!” Runa said with a smile and nodded to a guard that stepped forward to receive it.

“We prepared a gift of our own to your monarch… however the situation being what it is… we were uncertain if we were gifting it to the throne directly in the wait for the return of coronation of the next head of state or to hand it directly to the heir assumptive, however you have yet to nominate one!” She said with an uneasy shrug before snapping with her fingers. A page stepped out of the crowd with a box that he opened. Inside were a hnefatafl table, carved from different pieces of wood, white birch seemed to compete next to ebbony of darkest black on the board itself, the only exception was a cross in the middle and the rim that were made exclusively out of Scanderan blood oak. The material was greyish with lines of red resin like sap that had dried in the colour of blood crossing it like veins. The outer ridge was carved in the likeness of nature and dancing people and animals. This rested on a firm white background dressed in silver thread mixed with Scanderan ocean silk of white creating an almost pearllike textile in hue and colour. Runes were inlaid in a greenish material all over the board, a quick look would reveal it to be serpentinite that had been crushed into a fine powder and inlaid into the board itself. The pieces were carved either from the white birch or the black ebony into the likeness of Malgravean soldiers with weapons at the ready, bar only the black queen that were carved in the likeness of Celeste Orsini. The first queen of Malgrave, well the first one the royal authorities would be damned if they were going to admit was a monarch, they still claimed the first contact between Malgraveans and Imerians had just been a realm in revolt, and nothing more. She and she alone had specks of silver as her crown, sword, and armour were all painted in silver leafs.

“Ah, and finally! Refreshments!” Runa said with a smile as a second page, a girl this time in a white dress with the heraldic eagle embroidered all over it. The girl curtsied to the guests and extended four large mugs made from ivory, it was hard to tell if it was from mammoth or walrus from just a quick glance. What however was impossible to overlook was the carved flowers that surrounded both the top and bottom, painted green and red and white and blue. The content of the mug was green in colour with a brackish texture that made it hard to see the bottom of the mugs. The smell however was that of pine forests. Runa took one and gave it a joyful sniff. Honey, the only other person that took a mug, gave it a less than pleased look and gave the two Malgraveans a quick warning shake of her head.

“It has been a troubling time for the monarchy due to the arrangement that we were forced into signing with the Atumite civilisation, however, I am certain that this gift will be greatly appreciated by the Paragon Queen when they return to the homeland,” Eliot said bowing as she accepted to the gift and handed it towards an unnamed assistance that had been called into the room earlier to assist with this part of the diplomatic ceremony.

“In fact we were rather hopeful that the Imerians would be able to send a delegation to such a ceremony if one takes place in the future. It is quite an honour to witness the nominated Paragon put themselves before the judgement of the Ancients through the Control Chair, and only a few individuals have seen such a process in person.” Yi-Kyung said as she admired the gift sent by the Imerians.

Eliot meanwhile was using her years of experience as Foreign Minister to put on her best poker face around the pine tea drink, the Malgravean had heard tales about the drinks rather unpleasant nature from Claudia following the coronation of the High King and she was rather dreading taking part in the experience itself.

“It has quite an interesting smell, Royal Princess,” Eliot said as she took in the fragrance of the offered pine tea.

“I am quite impressed at this container. Is it ebur? ivory?” Yi-kyung asked as she took the offered tea and gave a tentative drink of the liquid.

“Please, we are between civilised companies here, you can call them what they are; savages!” Runa said darkly at the mention at the atumites, her otherwise joyful face twisting into a grimace of… it was hard to say if it was sadness or rage behind it.
“But I can assure you, our blessed federation is a furious beast best left undisturbed, the Atumites will in good time learn of our fury and vengeance!” She added, her every word dripping with hate.

“Ah…” Honey put in, she herself taking a deep sip of the tea and made a grimace, less fury and more disgust on her face though. The taste was a well known one, tasting foul and sour, one’s very mouth feeling thick and coated with some oily residue afterwards. It was an ancient technique that only a certain breed of pine was harvested for it’s leaves and at the same time drained from sap that was mixed into the brew. How someone would even get the idea of doing it, much less keep doing it to themselves and others were certainly something the beastling would never understand. But then again Scanderans were in general not the kind of people that changed their minds when they decided on a course of action, not even if better or more sensible alternatives presented themselves. Honey had to stop herself, no ‘not even’ were not the right phrase of words, ‘especially’ was more fitting.
“It is made from ivory! I am not sure what kind though!” Honey explained as Runa took a sip of her own tea, seemingly the only one to enjoy it.

“Yes, however I am sure His royal highness, blessed be His name and reign, would be honoured to dress your new queen in a silver cloak when she has been chosen!” Runa added, seemingly in a more cheerful mood, her eyes however were dark still. The implications were somewhat arrogant, being dressed in a cloak of silver was after all one of the traditional Scanderan symbols of kingship. “I myself would at least do so, I have heard a lot of your country over the years, it seems like quite the fascinating place!”

“It is a type of terminology that we have tried to avoid using in official documents within recent years, as for example while the phrase uncivilised is comparable to intense dislike or disfavour in Malgrave some believe that we are being rude towards them,” Yi-kyung said referencing a recent directive that had been issued to members of the Foreign Ministry and concerned journalists.

“We have to be mindful that not everyone is receptive to some of the differences between the Malgravean language and the common tongue,” Eliot said furthering the point made by her counterpart, the Foreign Minister coughing for a few moments out of shook from the rather horrid taste of the pine tea.

“I understand that we’ve got a different ceremonial process for the successful appointment of a new Paragon Monarch, however, I believe that there should be room for the High King in passing some manner of ceremonial gear to the newly selected individual, perhaps in conjunction with our Kouralian allies so such an event can be a unifying figure for the Crown Alliance,” Yi-kyung suggested, the Director General having no visible negative reaction to the pine tea as she drank the liquid, “You would be quite welcome in Malgrave, Royal Princess. I believe that you’ve gained some personal popularity in the country after your positive portrayal in a few of our cultural productions, even a fan club as well.”

“Yes, I did try to see that show, we tried our best to get it running here in the palace, it took several attempts and we watched all the 1 and 10 episodes in the first season, however we were not able to spot the character based on me, ‘twas really odd. Anyway we had the man in charge of the monitor put to mammoth stable duty!” Runa said, sounding oddly disappointed.

“As for the unified coronation duties I suppose that would be a honourable idea to strive for, while I cannot take a decision like that myself, I would be happy to bring it forward to His royal highness!” She said with a quick nod to the page that quickly took a step forward and filled everyone’s cup with tea.

“10 episodes? I believe you’ve accidentally missed two episodes, Royal Princess,” Yi-kyung said thanking the page as she accepted more of the pine tea, “I understand that the character based on yourself appears in a rather amusing and popular episode at the end of the first season, and well from that point forward they became a bit of a fan favourite with people from Aurora and Omsk,” the Malgravean said not touching on the unpopularity of her character in other places of Malgrave.

“I can’t imagine the filth involved in looking after a mammoth,” Eliot said with a minor chuckle as she thanked the server of the pine tea, even if she did feel an immense hatred towards the person for bringing her more of the foul liquid, “I am thankful to you for agreeing to bring such a recommendation before the High King. It is the opinion of the current government that more needs to be done to increase the connections that exist between the Crown Alliance members and what better to achieve that then through joint celebrations? It shall certainly give us something to do after the current gloom of these crisis is over.”

“Yes, speaking of while no official request of course has been made yet, the krigsmakt were seemingly planning to start off operations, would they be requested, with a parade, we are certain that the image of royal guardsmen in disciplined ranks ought to improve morale for your civilians would such an idea be approved. Similarly are we open to aid in any celebrations when victory has been assured, both in the terms of produce and entertainment would it be requested!”

“And yes, 1 and 10 episodes, not just 10 corret? As for mammoths, yes I have been told they do produce a lot of… spill, but since he managed to somehow get around the character based on me did that seem appropriate!” Runa pointed out with a curious look.

“I am quite certain that such an image would be quite welcome on the streets of Epping, as in recent years the image of a royal guardsman has seen a rather positive upswing with its honourable efforts to remove some of the rascals engaged in piracy and other such crimes from the region,” Eliot said with a smile, “We should also be open to Imerian entertainment and produce during such a celebration, especially entertainment as we are quite curious about the varieties of Imerian musical talents that could be offered.”
“You could also offer some of this refreshing pine drink,” Yi-kyung said speaking up on the matter with her cup in hand, “I wonder if any research has been conducted on the positive health benefits of such a drink,”

“...yes that would be a possibility,” Eliot said, although she was rather more uncertain about taking the drink to Malgrave, “As for the series it has two and ten? You are on episode twelve which I believe is titled food fight. It is quite a popular episode as I said before.”

“Ahhh, well that explains it… easy mistake to make I suppose… Though I must ask… why me of all people?”

“You?” Eliot said trying to figure out how best to frame the rest of her response, “I suppose you were seen as both an important figure in Imeriata and one that could be written in a positive and light-hearted framing to provide some entertainment to those watching it.”

“I know one of the other popular episodes does involve the construction of a jousting robot that ends up being rather overpowered in its capabilities,” Yi-kyung said referencing the second episode the character based on Runa was in, “It caused quite a surge of interest in jousting for a while within certain communities.”

“Just for a while?” Runa added in a shocked manner “But it is such a great sport! The glory, the thrill, the danger, the handsome lads and lassies in their painted armour!”

“Yes, a surge only lasts for a moment but its popularity has continued to grow in certain rural communities,” Eliot said talking for her counterpart, “It is quite a spectacle but one that perhaps needs a few more Imerians willing to cross over to teach it.”

“Very well, we should be able to get some champions over as part of the festivities. However, speaking of such things…” Runa said as a page appeared, like so many others of his line of work did he wear fine clothes hidden under a tabard, like most others were they in a silvery hue that shimmered when he walked and an eagle of gold embroidered over his chest. A quick nod was given to Runa and the rest of the Imerians.
“I do believe you had a formal request to make, His royal highness are willing to meet with you now!”

“It will be quite a joyous occasion to see such champions in action, Royal Princess,” Eliot said quite interested in seeing the Imerians in action, something about the joys of seeing the professionals in action spring to mind

“You are correct on that front, Royal Princess, although we consider ourselves quite fortunate to have been so warmly welcomed by yourself. We do have a mission though so we are ready to meet his Royal Highness now.” Yi-kyung said before she finished the remains of her pine tea.

“Yes, follow me if you would be so kind!” Runa said with a smile and started to walk away, the rest of the party parted and allowed the two Malgraveans to pass through before linking up behind them. Through winding corridors did she lead them, down from musty old painted walls and tapestries could one read the long and ancient history of the star crowned dynasty. There were warrior kings from the age of bronze, noble knights in armour, generals and statesmen from the expansion era and rulers from the modern one. Pictures of men in chariots stood tall and proud, as did men in robes of religious offices and even more modern ones. A more noteworthy exception was a tall bright smiling man atop a light tracklayer in full military regalia, behind him could one see a small village, not of Imerian design where ship after ship after ship laid anchor. Large massed ranks of infantry were marching out from the town with artillery, tracklayers, demi-tracklayers, lorries both armoured and not, horses, and of course aeroplanes and dragons. In the young smiling man’s hand was a sword held high and in his other a bear cub under his armpit. It was a fuzzy little thing with a very elongated nose, a bear from Björnland. Something that made it very clear that it was a painting of Harald auf Stjärnkhrone the eagle of the north. A major general in the northern front in the liberation of Björnland. The most successful one even. Around his tracklayer however could one see men and women in Scanderan civilian clothing that cheered and greeted their saviour.

Runa did however not stop, instead deciding to speed up her step when they passed the huge portrait that rose from floor to ceiling. But when they turned around a corner did they finally turn and see the large silver covered door. The door was flat and seemed to be polished enough to serve as a mirror. Only a large eagle made from gold was inlaid in the mirror door, it also had the same mirror quality on the few places feathers were not etched into the great eagle. Guards flanked the door, dressed in the by now familiar dark uniforms of the high guard. Their faces were impossible to read as they were covered by the faceguards hammered into the likeness of angelic faces. Their chests were similarly protected by a silver cuirass, upon it was an eagle etched however unlike other items were it not gilded. Their hands rested either on the swords on their hips as their left hands did or like their right hands held their long black KVG’s. On each rifle one could see individual scenes, of warriors, battles, hunts, and scenes from old tales and stories, each rifle individualised. However despite all the ornate decoration, despite the gold, despite the blue blood that flew in the veins of each of these men were there a certain deadliness to them. They stood tall and erect, their eyes unseen but one could feel them following you. Their limbs and joints seemed like springs just itching for a chance to flung into action and lay down the judgement of the heavens.

However instead of that did a page open the large door and another hall could be seen beyond, this one also tapestried and while no light came from the large windows that covered one of the walls due to the midday night that held the continent in its grasp, could one still see the stained windows hold images of great kings. The long hall continued, the same guards as the ones outside stood like statues in exact positions. At the end of the hall however rested what they had come for, a large throne seemingly made entirely from silver that towered above everyone and everything. Around it’s feet looking positively tiny compared to the massive throne stood men in uniforms of the guard, adjutants and officers alike. There were clerks from the various branches of government, mostly women from the internal affairs advisory but also some men from the military while there were several women in military blue dresses that marked them as rear adjutants and logistics personnel. There were also clerics, men in red robes stood next to a pair of men and women that were naked, some of them looked like they had been starved with thin limbs but protruding bellies A few others were women in black robes, their faces entirely hidden by silver masks and the rest of their heads were firmly enveloped by dark hoods. A small machine also paced around the foot of the throne, it was small in design, a box on wheels with a square head that moved suspiciously in the direction of the interlopers. However despite the clearly foreign design of the machine had a lot of care been taken with it clearly. It also wore a form fitted tunic of white embroidered with the eagle of gold on it, in federal military tradition did it’s right arm hold the rank of a low ranking adjutant dedicating it’s rank. However it’s left arm was covered from top to shoulder with the same rank knot that the king had, showing it as an adjutant attached to the high marshal of the krigsmakt. Similarly did a red cloak with a thin trimming of fur rest around where it’s shoulders were. A belt of fine leather had been carved for it but for what purpose a robot without trousers needed a belt was uncertain, most likely was it just there to keep it’s dagger of office and service revolver in place.

Above all this however sat a man, if one could call such an august figure a man. Dressed in white sea silk with silver cloth mixed into it did his clothes look very pearl like. Intricate knots covered his entire arms in gold and red. His boots were polished to a sheen and reached way up to his knees, and the more simplistic military knots of the guard decorated his hips. Around his shoulders rested a long cloak checkered in gold and white and draped by the white pelt of a snow lion on top. His face and head was mostly covered with a silver helmet, old and beyond the age of all countries represented combined. Only a thick mane of hair hang out beyond it, at places braided and small medallions and icons braided into it. Some were shimmering silver, others seemed to be made out of ivory or bone. The high king of the absolute royal federation, the master of more domains than one could shake a stick at, ruler of millions upon millions.

He sat tall and proud, and looked at the arrivals, at least facing them, whatever happened behind the face mask of his one could not tell.

“REJOICE! Thy stand before His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation and divinely appointed ruler and unifier of the Scanderan races, the descendant of the first Imerian high kings especially and foremost Emanuel the first, Son of Oskar II, the son of Primus the XIIIth, the son of Emanuel the VIIth, the son of Gustav the IInd, the son of Anders the IIId, the carrier of the royal sword first carried by the demigod Belrion son of Bel, vanquisher of evil, Champion of life and light, defender of the living and vanquisher of the dead, liberator of slaves, breaker of chains, the protector of the federal crown jewels, the holder of the sword of Halmir and carrier of the enlightened torch of civilisation, patriarch of the noble house auf stjänkhrone, carrier of better and more important titles than the space Russians and the king of Old Tyrannia, Chief of chiefs, Shan of shans, Monarch of monarchs, Prince of princes, Crowned in steel, fire, and flowers. Flame of all flames, protector of the faith of the chronicles and the city of the burning rose and the arch cleric, leader of ritual and sacrifice, chosen of the fierce unconquerable sun and crowned in starlight, mortal protector of the faith of the two faced goddess and defender of her temples and chosen by all gods big and small. As well as the protector of the free city states of Ta’ka sha’mirias well as defender of Hungary and her regions and the realms as king of Imeriata and as such the king of salt, forest, river, and mountain, defender and autocrat of flodmarkerna, Sundet, Söderang, Söderberga, Innahafsarna, Aster öarna, Vast öarna, Sydvedian, Storfloden and the river king, king of Vedian and the duke protector of the mountains, Eple Halvøyn and lavlandet, king of Erathia and as that the duke of Ankea metsä and ruler of the thousand lakes, the lord and defender of Länsisola and Etelä-kentät, king of Karmanjaka over the ancient rivers river, from the ancient mountains mountain, king of Northern Taranakan, king of Izalta, king of Nordomark, and king of Andervel but also the righteous and lawful king of New felandia and the king emperor of Dajing, the duke of Sydvinland, Northern Venezue, Sthalinge, Gustavsland and Sjöland, The Shah of the crown states of Ta’ka sha’miri and the Padishah of all of Ta’ka sha’miri, The lord regent of the colony of Nova Imeriata, Imerian Africa, Angland, the two peninsulas of Tvaude and of Somalmark, The Grand duke of Suderland, The prince of Isarna, Salmo, judeheim and Khan of Salonia, Sultan king of Ramir, the Emir of Sandland and Jarl of Salywa and the free city of Krakborg and Styrfastning, defender and lord of the city of Arkham and Sirmera, and furthermore the ruler of the federal terretories of Vastermark and the northern iceplains and as such high chief of Isfalten and keeper of Sfartmård , By the right of the constitution of the protectorate leopridaeria prince defender of leopridaeria, the high lord of Kalmer, Salmoborg and Gaseborg, Lord of the countless cities and lands under his most blessed and righteous rule, the lord defender of Imerbürg, Coparborg, Vesiki, Sjöborg, Afrikas fastning, Erikasborg, Nova Imerbürg, Wein, Udeborg, Angborg, Ambir, Nya Landborg, Nymarksborg, Sorgerstad, Anderborg, Nordanstad, Kängruborg, Sthalstad, Kängruborg, Judeborg, Moskstad, Daji, Sajing, Ademarksborg, Salem, Söderhamn, Öborga, Dragograd, Gapur, Bor-zut and Táibĕi but as well the Enlightened Emperor of Nicksyllvania and as such the King of Leazus, Emperor of Helman, Grand Prince of Zeth, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of Jungria, Duke and king of Hornet-Kereburos, Despot of the Great North, Grand Duke of the Western Badlands, Master of the Southern Marshes, and the king of Dragkon and the wielder of the Holy Swords, the Demon Sword Kaos, the Holy Sword Nikkou, and the Greatsword of the Empire, Nickiller, Great Protector of the Helman Wall and Majino Line, also by the right of his birth high marshal of the royal guard and the Imperial commander of the Imperial nicksyllvanian army, the grand commander of the federal order of the golden sword and the Nicksyllvanian order, the knight commander of the order of the golden cross and the order of Africa, the lord commander of the colonial order, the high commander of the federal order of the silver rose and the order of Scandera, the Taranakan order and the Order of Vinland may his reign last until the end of time and may the empire and federation he rules stand even through the flames of the endtimes to protect all of his royal highness subjects!” The page roared, stopped and took a deep breath.

Runa and the rest of the people that had followed the Malgraveans each fell on their knees and bowed their heads before the throne.

Eliot and Yi-kyung followed the actions of those in the room, the Malgraveans fallen to their knees as they had been instructed to do so by the civil servant that had briefed them on Imerian customs prior to stepping foot in the country.

“Delegation from the united kingdom of Malgrave, our loyal subjects, you may rise!” The voice of the high king boomed out, through the room, it was a weird speech. He was not shouting yet the voice was loud and seemed to reverberate through the air itself. The ancient helmet turned to the side slightly as it bore it’s darkened eyes down upon the two diplomats.
“We were told you have come before us to request the aid of our warriors upon thy shores!” He said, similarly there were no shouting but despite the distance between them filled his voice the entire room.

Eliot’s eyebrow rose slightly at the mention of the word loyal subjects, but nevertheless the Foreign Minister stood and started addressing the reason for her presence in Imeriata, after all getting into a fight over a few small words wouldn’t serve anyone's interest.

“You are correct, your Royal Highness,” Eliot said her voice firm despite her displeasure of loud noises, “We have been unable to contact our fellow citizens in the Research Colony or indeed the Kouralian mainland, such tidings suggest that the predicted return of Grogar has occurred and so we request the aid of the Imerians to vanquish this evil and save our citizens from harm.”

Yi-kyung also rose, “If I may retrieve something from my pocket, your Royal Highness. I believe I have something that should showcase the severity of the evil that we are facing at this moment.”

“Show us, we are most curious to see what trinket you feel you need to display before uus for us to grant our armies in your defence!” The king said, the voice loud as before, however one could hear a hint of curiosity to it as he leaned forward. Similarly did a lot of men in uniform strain their necks as they also looked at the delegation before them.

“I am confident that your armies do not need this trinket to be victorious in battle, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said as she withdrew a small holographic projector from her jacket before holding it before her and activating it.

When Yi-kyung activated the device those in the room would be able to see a holographic map of Kouralia and the Research Colony, typically a standard display for those familiar with the territory of the member states of the Crown Alliance, however, in addition to this one would be able to see a realm of darkness from the arrival of the black city and the dark magic that flowed from its vile creation,

“I thought it would be prudent for you to be able to see the source of the great evil that is now troubling our lands, your Royal Highness. It is this evil that has called us here today to ask for your noble assistance.” Yi-kyung said

“Yes… that seems to be about the extent of the corruption as far as we ourselves estimated!” the high king said with a nod, giving a wave with his hand and a woman, short of stature with black hair and dressed in the uniform of the technological advisory stepped forward with a huge painted map just for the location it was of the offended region but a large black circle had been painted in the middle filled with monsters of various kinds, similarly could one see fighters of the countries affected by the ring itself around it standing tall and proud. A glaring exception was the Malgravean fighters that on average only reached the chest of other fighters. But one could also see federal troops amongst the fighters in the blue, white, and gold of krigsmakten. There were some slight differences though as the federal version of the circle was larger than the Malgravean hologram, but there were also the normal sea monsters that had been painted in the ocean.

“We extrapolated our own version of what we expected the area to be from satellite photographs taken during the night and assumed the worst case scenario!” The woman explained as she gave the Malgravean map a second look.

“I assume your reports and readings are based on more up to date data and seems not as bad as we had feared!”

Yi-kyung looked at the map with great interest, such an item wasn’t just an example of the fine craftsmanship that still existed in Imeriata but also an example of how the Imerians were interacting with their adoption of more advanced pieces of technology and she made a note to inform her colleagues of her interactions when she returned home,

“You are quite correct, Comrade,” Yi-Kung said speaking to the technological advisor, “It is fortunate that satellite networks are still functioning and we’ve been able to maintain our view over the region, so this footage is actually live.”

Eliot nodded in agreement with her colleague before making some slight gestures to change the holographic display,

“We are quite glad that you’ve developed your own keen knowledge of the situation, your Royal Highness,” the Malgravean said before adding, “It is quite hard to see but initial displays showcase several vessels belonging to the Royal Navy that appear to be crippled, they’ve made no movements for several hours now and have been unable to be reached through communications for the same period of time.”

“In response we have dispatched the nearest fleet from Ilan to establish what is impacting the region, however, on this front we understand that the Imerian Navy could also be of assistance, your Royal Highness.”

“Of course, we will dispatch naval assets immediately, we have taken the liberty to already prepare for our troops to mobilise and be ready! We have several flying boats ready to both scout and prepare to extract any survivors would they need to!” The king spoke before looking at a man in the orange white uniform of the navy, however his orange markings made him a man of the air wing. He saluted quickly by striking his breast before he started to march out in firm but precise movements.

“As for troops, we will have 50 field armies mobilized and ready with naval infantry support to operate in the region under the command of His royal prince Björn auf Stjärnkhrone himself! The crown prince of our domains and our heir, he will be first into the fray with about 6 field armies as the first wave! We have already started to prepare for this when the situation began! Our troopers will start to ship out in a steady stream to avoid another magical wave to take out our naval capacities entirely! However we have a few things that need to be discussed. Firstly, we would like to purchase land within the United kingdom of Malgrave to serve as a naval base and supply depoy! We would prefer if we could make this permanent to ensure that the federation could provide aid in the future again! Would your government find this acceptable? We would of course pay for the land used in this manner and the base itself would be held if possible under the vassalage of the Malgravean crown if this is found acceptable! Secondly, it is common for the guard to hire locals if practical, would the united kingdom object to us hiring Malgravean personnel to support our actions?”

“If it is required our logistical facilities at our naval base on the territory of Ilan can be utilised by Imerian naval assets and that of your naval aviation, your Royal Highness,” Eliot said as she pondered the rest of the information put forward by the Imerian High King, “I do not have a military-attuned mind being a diplomat but I understand that the distance between locations in the region is quite large, and as always Malgrave remains on hand to support our esteemed friends in the Crown Alliance go about their duty.”

Yi-kyung meanwhile tackled the wider security situation, the Foreign Ministry official working out best how to describe the Malgravean situation to the High King.

“It is a rather tricky situation in Malgrave, your Royal Highness due to the history of our civil war,” the Malgravean explained, “It would be quite impossible for those with Malgravean citizenship to take up arms for a foreign state, although on this front I believe we’ve got something of an example to use that has proven itself to be quite useful.”

At that point Yi-kyung changed the holographic display, with the image changing to showcase a point of space on the Malgravean mainland.

“JFB Progress Hill is an area on the Malgravean mainland that is currently occupied by the Kouralian Armed Forces under a leasing agreement between our two nations, with security being handled jointly by Malgrave and Kouralia. I trust that a similar arrangement between Imeriata and Malgrave would be quite efficient, your Royal Highness.”

“The issue is one of standardisation, Federal warships are designed with federal military harbours in mind, a standardised pier is able to fit everything up to a super battleship as well as smaller vessels allowing for squadrons to dock without hesitation or need to think. Similarly are our own transportships designed with the same volumes in mind, while we can adapt is it a matter of expediency which would make it easier for us to build a harbour and facilities of our own, that is the reasoning why we suggested that liege would hold the land in vassalage of the Malgravean crown, not our own domains!” The high king explained. “However, would your crown prefer to host troops there as well would we agree to those terms, however some areas would for obvious reasons be forbidden for these people to enter, is that an acceptable counter offer for you too?”

“As for the issue of recruitment, is that the term of the legal documents? Your subjects are barred from ‘taking up arms for a foreign state’?”

“I was more thinking of the assets that have already been deployed, your Royal Highness. We do have facilities that can see to the refueling of these floating planes and our port facilities at Ilan were expanded recently to account for the increased size of certain Imerian warships,” Eliot said, noting the existence of the super battleships.

Yi-kyung meanwhile nodded in agreement with the High Kings assessment, “It would be quite understandable for certain areas of this base to be forbidden for non-Imerian personnel and I understand we share the same agreement with the Kouralians at JFB Progress Hill, your Royal Highness,” the Malgravean said before adding, “You are also correct. It would be quite impossible for a Malgravean to enlist or take up arms in the manner that I believe you are suggesting unless they possess some manner of dual citizenship.”

“Very well, such recruitment will not be carried out, until we can find a work around for such legal issues and until your crown will give it’s consent!” the high king said sounding a bit disappointed but with an accepting nod. “However if it is merely a citizenship is not an issue, we freely hand those out to whomever swear fealty to us and our lineage!” he added, truthfully. The federation despite it’s quick claim to Scanderan high culture and the supremacy of the Scanderan ways of things were far from what one would think of as a modern nation state. It was not built over some tribalistitic belonging to a nation, it was bound to it’s monarch and it’s monarch alone, being Scanderan, a member of the mel Sha’tuul, or any of the countless other peoples that made up the federation.

“But as for the harbour and staging area, we have a few places we have looked into as possible spots!” he continued with a quick nod as someone took out a map. Four locations were marked off. They were odd choices, far from the larger population centres but otherwise nonsensical from a quick look. However would one know the Imerian’s viewpoint and be more than well versed in the local geography to an almost insane level were they picked for partially defensive positions as they held a great opportunity to send off naval threats incoming to Malgrave itself, however more oddly were they also chosen for their close location to woodlands and river mergers with oaks. Both important religious places for Scanderan belief as well as access to large hills that could uninterruptedly overlook sunset and sunrise as was a good symbol for those aligned to the holy sun. The two faced goddesses however were the least nature oriented of the three religions so it mattered very little to her. All in all were they places of great magical potential and of religious ritualistic value as well as how great their defensive value would have.

“It is perhaps something that could be sorted out during the planned meeting of the Crown Alliance, your Royal Highness,” Eliot said remembering the earlier planned meeting between Kouralia, Malgrave and Imeriata, “Malgrave does have joint-citizenship arrangements with the Dornalian Republic and I imagine that such a thing could be arranged between ourselves and the rest of the Crown Alliance which would permit this troop arrangement that you mentioned earlier.”

Yi-kyung looked at the list with a smile, “You have picked some rather sturdy locations, your Royal Highness. We shall have to ensure that these locations don’t interfere with any planned expansions of any MalTra facilities, however, I am quite confident that we’ll be able to come up with a suitable agreement considering their distance from any major population centre. Furthermore we’ll have to coordinate the construction of suitable religious and other civic structures near this planned base, so that Imerians that happen to travel outside the immediate area can still attend religious festivals, eat food from their homeland or enjoy some entertainment. It is something that we’ve implemented with the civil restaurants near Progress Hill as they now serve a Kouralian-friendly menu in addition to the usual Malgravean fare.”

“Intriguing, we would hand such details over to the holy chronicles, and the temples of the two faced goddess and the unconquerable sun!” He said with a nod before his silver covered head turned to one of the women in black, their own faces obscured by masks in a similar material.

“I do however believe some secrecy in construction would be required from the temple of Ishiri!” He asked as the woman bowed and took a step forward.

“Indeed my royal highness, it is an honour that my royal highness would bring it to attention!” She said before turning to the Malgraveans. “Our temples are hidden in secrecy and only those initiated in the inner mysteries may be privy to any secrets known to the divine One, we assume that we should be allowed to build our temples with such requirements in mind?” She asked.

“I see no reason to interfere with your religious customs, as I trust the building will be safe and secure we can allow a certain amount of secrecy in their construction,” Eliot said replying to the religious figure.

“It should be quite a simple affair, your Royal Highness. It is recognised that the Imerians are perhaps the most trustworthy people in Mystria, so once a formal agreement can be agreed between our two states I trust that it can form the foundation of a new era of prosperity for both the Imerian and Malgravean peoples.”

“We are hopeful for such a future as well and hope that we can discuss such things at the victory of our troops here in Imerbürg!!” The high king said with a nod “We would of course need more time to prepare our troops however we can directly deploy five field armies with more to come, this will include the royal crown prince himself and his second army which will serve as the overall command of federal troops in both your domains and in Kouralia, We expect that this will serve to your full satisfaction! If that is so will we be able to extend an open hand of friendship and launch the operation we have named; ‘operation open hand’!”

“We are incredibly thankful for such assistance during our troubles, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said bowing slightly as a sign of thanks, “I must recommend a slight change in the name of this operation, however, as it would clash with a previous engagement conducted by the Royal Navy and make archiving rather troublesome. I do suggest an alternate name such as Operation Sollicitus or Operation Instancabile? Sollicitus means meticulous and careful while instancabile means indefatigable.”

“If you would excuse our feigned ignorance, you said that your royal navy carried out an operation with that name before, might we inquire what that operation was?” The high king said with a chuckle going through the gathered crowd.

“I understand it was a military operation against those involved in the slave trade, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said undeterred by the action of the crowd, “...a rather sad but paragon-worthy cause considering the suffering involved in such an uncivilised practice, so based on that understanding it would be more prudent to select a different name for the operation like Operation Instancabile or perhaps another Imerian suggestion?”

The room went deadly quiet at those words where it had been filled with gay chuckles before. Some awkward coughs could be heard as the high king stiffened and rose up. The older people in the room could be seen rolling their eyes if they felt they could get away with it but one could see frowns and hints of annoyance on the eyes of the younger members.
“Don’t accuse Primus of being a slaver, he hates that!” Runa hissed in a low voice as she dolted near the Mals, dropping all formality in her whisper.

Primus stood up for a moment, his facial expression hidden behind his mask before he slowly and deliberately sat down again, however even then could one see his hands grasping the armrests of the chair firmly.

“I..:” he began before taking a deep breath. “We intended for the name to be a political move, a way to remind the world that so often forgets, that no matter the cause, no matter the slight, Our domains will always be on the side of justice and good, no matter what has been done to us!” He said, a hint of anger still there in his voice. “That is why it will stick, furthermore are your suggestions not in line with our official naming conventions for our operations!” a statement that was technically true, the federation lacked any form of naming conventions in most cases after all, operations name included.

Yi-kyung fought off the urge to roll her eyes in response, the Imerians were known to have quite the flair for the dramatic but bringing up an anti-slavery operation and then getting annoyed at the first mention of slavery was certainly a tactic that the Malgravean hadn’t heard for some time,

“I wasn’t aware that the Imerians had a strict naming convention for their operations, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said pausing as she considered her words, “In that case in order to respect the official naming conventions of our close Imerian friends while avoiding any potential archiving problems I suggest that this mission is referred to as Operation Open Heart, such a name signifies the opening up of bonds between our two peoples and showcases the good nature of the Imerian assistance.”

Eliot meanwhile simply bowed to the High King slightly before speaking, although she was rather confused as to why the Imerian was so angry, “It would seek as a point of bonding between our two people, your Royal Highness. A heart is a powerful symbol after all.”

“We must admit, we feel ourselves that the potential propaganda points scored for the federation by reminding everyone that despite your own attack on our forces would we still be willing to come to your aid according not only our obligations but also in defence of all that is good, which serves as a potent reminder that our domains is first and foremost a champion of good and flamelight upon the world, massively outweighs any potential in Malgravean archevical duties, especially since you could easily solve it by placing the name of our domains before the operation in parentheses when discussing how our lads were bravely putting their lives on the lines to save your people!” The king said firmly, raising his eyebrow a bit under his helmet. Despite his willingness to send countless people off to war to save these people at the cost of their lives, the Malgraveans were as headstrong and ungrateful as ever he noted.

“I feel that any of these potential propaganda points would be squandered if people were needlessly reminded of a time when the Imerians actively engaged in the uncivilised practice of slavery or that the Malgravean Navy was once involved in a fierce interception campaign against the Imerians due to our efforts to stamp out the cruel practice of slavery, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said equally firm, “It is why we have suggested a series of alternate names so that the Imerians may receive the propaganda value of this operation while avoiding a callback to unsavoury times.”

“You are operating under the assumption that people remember that very fact and bring up that very fact constantly, whenever a royal guardsman stand tall and proud against evil it is brought up, whenever a royal and federal navy vessel take out one of the accursed scoundrels, whenever our glorious flag flies over land now purged of it’s taint is that old sin brought up!” The king countered bitterly, his voice taking on a sour tone.
“However, that is our sin to bear, and ours to repent for!” He continued with a tired sigh.

“We are however willing to compromise, what would you suggest you are offering in return for us changing the name?”

“Offer?” Eliot said

“You seem very keen on us changing the name even if as explained we feel like our political interests are best served with keeping the name, as a name it has no negative impact on the conflict, and historically it seems very unlikely to have such. As a result we feel that our state has very little incentive to do so, as a result, we are willing to change it but we would want a token of your good faith in return to show that you are as willing to compromise as we are, as such we are willing to offer you this bargain; When interacting with Imerian equals and superiors in rank as determined by military protocols will Imerian salutes be used!”

“I remember that your earlier feigned ignorance in reaction to issues surrounding the name Operation Open Hand was found to be quite amusing, your Royal Highness. It suggests that this name was selected due to the fact you’d knew that we would object, a movement to gain such concessions as the Imerian salute? Curiosum,” Yi-kyung said idly tapping her leg as she spoke, “I don’t believe such behaviour should be rewarded with offers of false compromise or it would certainly send out a bad signal for future negotiations and I don’t think anyone would want that, especially as we look forward to deepening the bonds between the Crown Alliance and extending quite a fair bit of welcoming treatment to Imerian religious organisations that will be supporting this proposed military base.”

“You are mistaken, it was chosen for two reasons, the first is the previously mentioned symbolic meaning and the propaganda points that would come with it, the second and equally important was not to get you argumentative, it was chosen for the simple reason that we assumed you would be somewhat embarrassed, that is about as far as the plans for that went! Our assumption was some stammering and some quick glances at the floor! preferably would a similar reaction also be achieved at the victory celebrations! Jungfrau you make us out to be quite more a villain than we are!”

“A villain? I wouldn’t ever suggest that Imeriata in its current state was suitable to play the role of a villain, your Royal Highness. I simply suggested that the name Operation Open Hand was offered with rather bad intentions, something you refer to as embarrassment but an incident that those advising you would certainly understand could lead to a more complex disagreement that could be used to gain concessions in return for the abandonment of this rather unsavoury name,” Yi-kyung said in a determined tone, “I recommend that we pass over this issue by simply selecting one of the alternate names that we proposed earlier, as this apparent issue of salutes can be adequately dealt with by the appropriate local commanders I don’t see a need to offer some apparent bargain in return for something that should be offered to avoid embarrassing an ally.”

“Very well, if you officially petition for us to change the name we will take it under consideration!” Primus said with a heavy sigh as he waved his hand waiting for the request to be made. After all he had offered them a quick out and he was not unreasonable but he was still a monarch and just bending for foreign arguments were not a thing that regal dignity allowed.

“It is a satisfactory arrangement, your Royal Highness,” Yi-kyung said with a bow and a small smile, “I do believe that concludes the major business behind our presence here today.”
embassy program| IIWiki |The foreign units of the royal guard |The royal merchant guilds official storefront! (Now with toys)

So what? Let me indulge my oversized ego for a moment!
Astralsideria wrote:You, sir, are the greatest who ever did set foot upon this earth. If there were an appropriate emoticon, I would take my hat off to you.

Altamirus wrote:^War! War! I want to see 18th century soldiers go up againist flaming cats! Do it Imeriata! Do it Now!

Ramsetia wrote:
Imeriata wrote:you would think that you could afford better looking hussar uniforms for all that money...

Of course, Imeriata focuses on the important things in life.

Willing to help with all your MS paint related troubles.
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Founded: Oct 02, 2009
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Imeriata » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:26 pm

The Absolute royal federation. Imeriata proper, the royal palace

“My lord, a world if I may!” The voice came from behind as Primus turned around for a moment, an eyebrow raised a bit as a slight murmur went through the ranks of his followers due to the incorrect term being used.
“My royal highness!” The correction came quickly from a page with a very annoyed tone and the broad but small creature stopped with a puzzled look on his face. It was a goblin, a gangly creature that rushed using it’s arm to speed up and to catch up with the humans around it. A large nose with an ornate ring in it flared in embarrassment as it threw it’s long black hair back and one could hear the amulets and rings braided into it clir as the metal hit one another. What however made the man seemed somewhat more impressive as he stretched himself to his full height was the uniform. The jacket and white trousers of the royal guard officer, his white half cloak hang over his shoulder with a leopard fur trim. Etherlid auf Guverby was a promising officer and non-human that had risen worryingly quickly for the ranks of the royal guard and was currently one of the commanders of the royal guard and in charge of a whole field army. The only non-human of that rank.

It was his arms though that sat him apart, ornate and detailed austrian knots covered them, an impressive array that ranked him as a commander.
“My lord, his lordship is a lord, squire, address his lordship as such!” Primus said and the poor page took a step back. Surprise and horror on his face.
“My royal highness! my deepest apologies, and to you my lord!” he said as he quickly withdrew as far as he could.
“You may all leave us, us and the lord commander has issues to discuss!” The king continued and waved with his hand and the group of followers quickly dispersed leaving the king and the goblin lord alone.

“You should really learn the rules of noble ranks lord Guverby!” Primus said in a tone that brokered no argument. “It reflects poorly on your lordship when the wrong terms are being used!”

“My apologies, my royal highness… I must admit that the military academy found me more interested in the military side of things and not the social ones, these high society rules I have a hard time dealing with!” The goblin admitted and lowered his head again.
“Your lordship is the first of our non-human subjects to reach the rank of Commander, your lordship should focus your studies on the topic! Embarrassing mistakes with your superiors aside, we have noticed that your lordship allows your lesser not to address your lordship with the correct tone and that is not only diminishing to you yourself but those that look up to you, we will have a member of the royal college of heraldry to aid you in that topic and to correct people would they slip up!”

“I am… I am grateful, your royal highness, blessing on thy name!” the goblin said sounding nothing of the sort. Primus gave him a look as he raised his eyebrow a bit but decided not to correct him on the rank that should have been my royal highness.
“We are however certain that your lordship wished to talk about something else than proper etiquette!” Primus continued as the goblin looked very relieved at the change of topic.

“Yes, your royal highness, blessed by thy household, I was under the impression that I was to be appointed as overall commander of the forces in Malgrave and kouralia, however in the meeting with the Malgraveans did you mention that the second army was going to be taking the field!” he said, sounding unhappy about the situation. For all his military brilliance did the goblin have a somewhat childish streak and his pout could only leave Primus smiling a bit. It was still a bit hard to be met with high ranking military officers that were younger than him.

“Yes? You will be granted the honour of carrying our royal colours into battle leaving you as overall command of the other regiments!” Primus said even if he knew where this was heading, he knew he had promised two things here and there were some slight uncomfortable issues with this arrangement if the second army was attached to the battle he knew.

“But your royal highness! I cannot possibly command the second army, the crown prince leads them, with what right would a mere lord serve as his commander?!?” The goblin complained.
“No, that is not possible!” Primus admitted “However our son is… what is the right way to put this…” The king said, taking a short dramatic break for effect.
“9… he is 9 years old, while of royal blood would we prefer someone more experienced in charge of the expedition, as a result have we decided to appoint the crown prince as your page for the duration of the war, and you will be granted the regal battle banner!” Primus explained as his head tried to wrap around the very complex and hellish command structure he just created in his mind.

This would make the crown prince the overall commander, however he would answer to the goblin as his page, and all the commanders, the prince included would still be answerable to the goblin as the bearer of the royal colours meaning that while technically in command due to his royal blood would the crown prince still be twice over the subordinate of Etherlid. The less than certain look of the goblin showed some hesitation to this arrangement as well as quite frankly very byzantine.

“Yes my royal highness…” Etherlid said, seemingly debating if he should complain or not “What banner will we carry into battle?” He asked instead, a question that carried a lot of context as what kind of banner would be carried would grant different rules of engagements. “We will see… for now just carrying our colours should be enough!” the king finally said as the goblin bowed deeply and withdrew.

The great king however stood there for a moment debating if this was really the right course of action, the federation truly needed a military victory to grant the regime some more legitimacy. While it had marched from glory to glory breaking down rebel movements that had risen up following their defeat at the hand of the Atumites and they had been able to drive them all into the dust were those all federal subjects crushed and not foreigners bent before the flag. While the flag once again flew over all lands it had once flown over had it not yet been raised in glory over foreign shores. However despite the need he still felt worried about sending his own son into war, was this how his own father had felt whenever he had sent Primus into war the king thought and he sighed. As usual it befell the monarchs of the world to put their feelings aside and send their sons into wars, it was as countless fathers of his line had learnt over countless centuries; the dynasty had to be put first. Still it was an idea that made the young king very uneasy and worried.

The Absolute royal federation. Imeriata proper, Imerbürg

Thunder could only describe what the young prince was hearing as he watched out over the crowds of people before him. Thunder of thousands of boots at once hitting the ground.
Thunder of thousands of horns blaring their war sounds. Thunder of shouts of a thousands throats in hundreds of tongues.

Men in rank upon rank, dressed in the blue of the guard, with their pointy hats of the winter climate marched past. Tracklayers and demi-tracklayers marched with them. Horses, dogs, geese, and mammoths all kept in the same discipline formations as the men.

Men in uniforms in countless variations and cuts, men of countless races. There were the dark skinned men from Blåland and Gustavsland, there were the browner tones of the sun worshipers, people from Scandera proper and the pale looking people from Izalta with their black hair and golden eyes.

It was said that when the federation marched unto war entire nations took up arms. Judging from the different cuts, skins, species, and cultures that now proudly paraded before him was that a saying that could be seen as true, these were not just Scanderans and their less civilized subjects, these were not just commoners and nobles, these were not just whatever realm that they had been gathered from, these were not even federal born or foreigners under federal arms, these were proud and loyal warriors oath sworn to the high king, to his father. And truly it was a sight to behold.

His eyes were big and looked with interest on the foreign volunteers, a whole army consisting of adventurers, reactionaries, and desperadoes that had taken up arms in the service of the high king. In colours and uniforms as diverse as the regiments themselves, they all called out oaths to fall in the name of the high king if so ordered as they marched past him. The young prince giggled and continued to wave, the day would continue in the same way, thousands upon thousands of men would pass before him, the goblin commander next to him, and finally the wooden carving of his father, the high king. Each and all would swear to fall and win fame and glory, and then they would continue to march off. To the thunderous applause of the subjects gathered to view the spectacle.

Thunder of boots, thunder of applause, thunder of roars and songs, it was so the federation marched to war, with thunder.

“As my lordship can see is the prototype functioning as expected!” the scientist said as the military men sat and watched the tiny machine tug around on the table before them. It was a scale model of a federal hovercraft in 1/47th scale that gently moved around before them.
“Impressive… have it passed conditional testing yet?” Björnfrid auf holgerfält asked as he looked up from the machine both the woman from the science advisory and the naked man from the sun monks looked awkwardly at one another for the moment.
“While… While it in theory should work, we have worked with all the evidence gathered from the front lines have we been unable to reproduce the spell in question entirely. However we are seeing some progress in that field as well and we expect it to be incorporated into federal battle doctrine soon, we could even work in protection against it in our own machinery in the future, however as we are not known exactly how the spell is cast are we not capable to test how the one we are facing will work nor introduce the same protection here and now in our vehicles, hence this thing!” the naked man finally spoke up and pointed to the machine on the table. It was an impressively quick design where the standard federal battle hovercraft that so rarely saw use had been entirely redesigned engine wise. Every single wheel had been replaced and the engine could power it based entirely on pistons to make the large propeller turn and move it forward.

“It will not perform to the expectation of our current models however this design based on our calculations will be able to see effective use in large scale!” the scientist cut in as Björnfrid looked at the math, it seemed correct and he was not going to correct a woman’s math as she probably knew more on the topic than he did.
“And we are able to have a working prototype built soon enough?” He asked and looked up to the two people before him, they booth exchanged a look and excitedly nodded.
“Very well… you have our blessing and the blessing of His royal highness, blessed be his household, you will receive the funding to create a prototype for both the medium tracklayer allegory and the troop transport allegory, will that continue to work to our expectation can we hopefully produce these in large enough numbers to keep an armoured force in the field against these barbarians that threatens our allies!” He finally said and the excited looks the two people before him made him a bit excited to imagine this new variation brought into the field in large numbers.


“MOVE IT YOU SCOUNDRELS!” The roar came over the loudspeakers as men started to move, it was the first ship that had darted through the Kouralian gate outside of the sund and then appeared within sailing distance to kouralia itself. The old magical portal had first served as a raiding route for Imerians in the good old days and the adventures of those brave pioneers were proudly attested to in the kouriad. It had over time however devolved to a trading route and now finally did it again see use as a military highway. The group of ship was not many, just a small convoy carrying supplies and a few banners, 5 in total. The Ramsetians were quickly up from their bunk beds as the loud roaring in Imerian kicked them up from the beds. Their heavy shields were grabbed and their Imerian designed weapons were slung over their backs and their white and purple uniforms were once again moving out. With a heavy thud did the ship make contact with what Voss assumed to be solid ground.

He was not Imerian, not even Scanderan, in fact he had not even been born a federal subject. While his native home of Ramset shared a close bond with the federation had boredom and one too many entitled customers in his soul crushing retail job pushed him to seek adventure abroad. A federal recruitment poster had caught his eyes and here he was now. Shield over his back as the large doors to the troop transport opened to the land before him. Kouralia it was called. A land he had barely heard of but one he now were fighting in apparently for a king that he had signed up for out of boredoom. Truly life took people into interesting places.
“MOVE! GET OFF THE SHIP” the roars came again and his fellow countrymen signed up, officers on horseback in front and the purple flag with the black eye of their homeland fluttering in the wind did they finally start to head off to solid ground. Finally Voss could feel the wind on his face again, finally could he feel land under his feet after the relatively quick transfer over sea. As one they moved out quickly and efficiently as they had been drilled by their new federal lieges, other ships around the large dock had started to do similar things, he could see the flags and heraldry of what he to his surprise actually recognised. There were blåläningar, people from Izzyshipper as part of the foreign volunteer army with them, one Imerian regiment, the unmistakable trousers of Gustavland, and finally one Vedian regiment that finally touched down. In the distance could he see several more transports where not troops were dislodged but crate upon crate of supplies or the heavy artillery pieces and demi-tracklayers that took them to battle. He knew from the briefing that a similar force would arrive right now or at least soon in the Malgravean front as well. He smiled to himself, yeah this did beat his old job in that horrid retail store. The pay was lousy, the Imerian arrogance was hard to put up with, the food… the less said about that the better, but they had not lied about the adventure, that was something the Imerians had aplently he reasoned. It was just one of the many things that had drawn him here. Here as he put down on foreign soil to do battle for an adopted king.
embassy program| IIWiki |The foreign units of the royal guard |The royal merchant guilds official storefront! (Now with toys)

So what? Let me indulge my oversized ego for a moment!
Astralsideria wrote:You, sir, are the greatest who ever did set foot upon this earth. If there were an appropriate emoticon, I would take my hat off to you.

Altamirus wrote:^War! War! I want to see 18th century soldiers go up againist flaming cats! Do it Imeriata! Do it Now!

Ramsetia wrote:
Imeriata wrote:you would think that you could afford better looking hussar uniforms for all that money...

Of course, Imeriata focuses on the important things in life.

Willing to help with all your MS paint related troubles.
Things I dislikes: Everything.

User avatar
Posts: 11327
Founded: Oct 02, 2009
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Imeriata » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:27 pm


"From what we can tell are the enemy here, some additional scrying have confirmed not only the presence of a bell but also the presence of a river merging and a large oak and as important, the colours of the enemy warlord, would we be able to seize this tower would the benefits be endless!” The report finished from the adjutant as Harald auf Holmmark carefully studied the map that had been hand painted on a large canvas of mammoth velvet with small figures depicting federal, allied, and hostile forces in silver, gold, and red respectively.

"Huh, correct height?" One man cut in with a positive nod of approval as he picked up one yellow painted figure depicting a Malgravean fighter.

"They are actually designed with the average height of a Malgravean subject! They are not half our size, at worst head shorter!" Harald explained, after all it was politically unwise to annoy their closest allies in the region so humorous consideration had to be dropped. Originally had she thought about making them in the stereotypical joke but it had seemed too obvious and not really something that would accomplish anything but annoy their erstwhile allies.

"We can see a few road crossings here and here!" Harald pointed out changing the subject and taking the officers eyes away from the figures she had commissioned. As everyone at last went back to the map that had been copied from kouralian maps with laylines overlapping them. The difference was in the artistic flairs added as animals, monsters, and detailed woodland had been hand painted on the map. Another thing she had commissioned for the campaign and a most wonderful piece of art 'twas. In reality had she tried to paint it herself, a man ought to be able to paint well everyone knew but she still felt like she was not one, she had never in youth been given the training and her art skills were sub par at best, it was a skill she tried her best to master since the king had finally given the order that she was to be seen as a man, she had finally been able to serve as a warrior, and a leader. No longer had she been forced to write long essays about military matters, no longer was she forced to smile as men tried to dismiss her ideas just because she was a woman. She was a man now and she should feel proud. Despite that however was there still just a wrongness about her. The trousers felt uneasy and not something she was fit for. She felt uneasy when people still saluted and said "My lord" and even looking in a mirror felt odd, she looked like a man and she was a man but still she thought of herself as a woman and there was still a sense of unease. She had done her best to have the tailor give her a cut that exaggerated her hips and chest, that had helped a bit, she felt a bit more like a woman again. That though was a dangerous game to play, the men looked suspiciously at her after that. The sash was the only thing that made them look away and go back to their work.

"Would we cease them can we cut off enemy supplies and stop enemy reinforcements, as such would I recommend that we moved in some Mounted jäger regiments through the enemy frontlines in spares woodland, with spellcraft and a sudden assault should we hopefully be able to break through and seize the road crossings. When we take them can we start a large scale push through the frontlines and make a quick push through the roads to link up with our infiltration formations. When that is achieved would this small area be surrounded and cut off. Then we can at the same time begin an advance, forcing the enemy to redeploy to stop this advance taking some pressure off the frontlines elsewhere. At the same time do I suggest a third operational phase with multiple spearheads beginning their storming of the tower and the bell from our prepared positions in our currently controlled territory but also from the newly captured positions here and here, swarming them from multiple directions, taking the bell and the tower, any remnant forces will then be ringed in and wiped out!" She explained moving up some figures representing curassiers, grenadiers, wyvern riders, dragons, and also some larger statues shaped like warriors of old and covered in symbols of the gods, from the three major religions but there was also the star goddess, mighty Ulgorth, and the fish gods of the islands.

"Any questions?" She asked as she looked up at the men before her

"My Lord, what about the logistics for such an offensive operation, and what about projected casualties?" A young halfling piped up, she was wearing the robes of the internal affairs advisory and talked with the air of a woman who spent most of her time in the logistics.

"Of course, we need to prepare for such an offensive, we have attached the plans for what we need and sent a list to your department to help precure what we need and establish the routes to support the offense. We also fully plan to put up runestones around the front to prevent scrying and even communications more complicated!" She further explained and received a chorus of nods and "hear hear" from the gathered officers and officials. As no further objections were raised did she gather the relevant documents and charts for the planned offensive and put them in a letter that was in turn sealed with three wax seals, those of the kreigsmakt, the king, and her own personal heraldry. For a moment did she hesitate, again did the wrongness of a male heraldry facing her make her pause.

"My lord commander?" A curious voice reached her as she quickly turned looked up to the hardened face of her adjutant Björn Björnssen, a grizzled veteran with a think Iron gray beard that still held a shade of straw of his youth. His left arm held the simple knot in white of his own rank but his right arm he held forward was wearing her ornate red and gold knot that reached almost to his shoulders.

"Oh, 'tis nothing… a moment of discomfort 'tis all!" She explained as she handed him the letter. For a moment did his eyes go to the heraldry emblem and then darted to the sash around her waist. Not red as an officers was supposed to.

"Ah, I see my lord commander!" He said with a quick nod. For a moment could she have sworn there was understanding there.
"Heavily lays the burden of command my lord commander, we are thankful for my lord commander's sacrifice!" He added with a smile, warm and fatherly.

Her chest filled for a moment with some reassurement for the moment of understanding. As always did the old man at her side make life just a bit more bearable. Between all "My lord", the trousers, and all the discomfort that came with trying to be the man she had been declared by royal command.

"No my squire lieutenant, the calculations are wrong, you want 40 more barrels" Came a voice to the pair. The same woman from before was in a heated discussion with the armoured form of squire lieutenant Birger auf Holmmark the commander of the cuirassiers, she used the correct honorific but her smile and tone seemed more like she was going to say "sweet whiskers leave the math to the women, go play war!"

That at least was something that she did not miss; math.
"But I shall deliver the message to the kouralian officers hopefully will they agree to my lord commander's proposal!"


The oars hit the water again as the shallow galley ran up the river.
"Bloody, simplistic, does not look like a warship!" Ulf muttered as he gave the bloodpike a suspicious look. The galley was very much a young ship and looked like it was built in a hurry. No gilding bar a stripe around the waterline, it’s hull simply painted in red and blue, no figurehead, the sail was merely painted with the golden Eagle of the crown and the shields at her side carried equally simplistic paintings.
"A simplistic ship for simple cargo, herring for the frontlines!" Birger, a fellow in the uniform of the guard and part of the same section as Ulf said with a chuckle.
"Herring?" Ulf said looking up confused. "Saw a few barrels but where did you get the idea that we are moving Herring from?"

"The registry says herring, what else would we be shipping?" Birger countered as the pair looked surprised at one another, one of them seemed to have something wrong and they both were trying to see if the other knew something they did not.

"I saw statues down there! Looked like the unconquered sun and one had a human head on the body of a lion, must be Ulgoth Himself, the third one looked like shimmering Bel!" Ulf said finally, his mind remembering the trip down cleaning, he had peaked in but a moment before a naval officer stormed forward screaming his lungs out threatening a good thrashing and Ulf had scraped and begged most kindly before he buggered off with an earful. Of course 'twas commands fault, he had been told to clean the entire ship, not his fault nobody had put up a warning on that door. The glimpse in though still made his mind remember the statues. Lifelike, made from silver or something like it, braziers and torchers there had been, a damned impressive array of items and religious icons, and kindling, whatever was in that hull had not simply been herring but it looked like holy work. The two of them looked down uneasily at the deck and whatever was below, bringing statues to war was understandable but why would they keep that secret?

"Queer business, better leave that be, kingly orders be not for our ilk!" Birger finally said and shrugged. The two men turned again forward to the fore castle where a few machine gun nests looked ready to turn anything that even looked at them oddly into paste.
"Aye… not for our ilk!" Ulf agreed.


Official communiqué from the absolute royal federation of Imeriata and her realms

From: His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation and divinely appointed ruler and unifier of the Scanderan races, the descendant of the first Imerian high kings especially and foremost Emanuel the first, Son of Oskar II, the son of Primus the XIIIth, the son of Emanuel the VIIth, the son of Gustav the IInd, the son of Anders the IIId, the carrier of the royal sword first carried by the demigod Belrion son of Bel, vanquisher of evil, Champion of life and light, defender of the living and vanquisher of the dead, liberator of slaves, breaker of chains, the protector of the federal crown jewels, the holder of the sword of Halmir and carrier of the enlightened torch of civilisation, patriarch of the noble house auf stjänkhrone, carrier of better and more important titles than the space Russians and the king of Old Tyrannia, Chief of chiefs, Shan of shans, Monarch of monarchs, Prince of princes, Crowned in steel, fire, and flowers. Flame of all flames, protector of the faith of the chronicles and the city of the burning rose and the arch cleric, leader of ritual and sacrifice, chosen of the fierce unconquerable sun and crowned in starlight, mortal protector of the faith of the two faced goddess and defender of her temples and chosen by all gods big and small. As well as the protector of the free city states of Ta’ka sha’mirias well as defender of Hungary and her regions and the realms as king of Imeriata and as such the king of salt, forest, river, and mountain, defender and autocrat of flodmarkerna, Sundet, Söderang, Söderberga, Innahafsarna, Aster öarna, Vast öarna, Sydvedian, Storfloden and the river king, king of Vedian and the duke protector of the mountains, Eple Halvøyn and lavlandet, king of Erathia and as that the duke of Ankea metsä and ruler of the thousand lakes, the lord and defender of Länsisola and Etelä-kentät, king of Karmanjaka over the ancient rivers river, from the ancient mountains mountain, king of Northern Taranakan, king of Izalta, king of Nordomark, and king of Andervel but also the righteous and lawful king of New felandia and the king emperor of Dajing, the duke of Sydvinland, Northern Venezue, Sthalinge, Gustavsland and Sjöland, The Shah of the crown states of Ta’ka sha’miri and the Padishah of all of Ta’ka sha’miri, The lord regent of the colony of Nova Imeriata, Blåland, Angland, the two peninsulas of Tvaude and of Somalmark, The Grand duke of Suderland, The prince of Isarna, Salmo, judeheim and Khan of Salonia, Sultan king of Ramir, the Emir of Sandland and Jarl of Salywa and the free city of Krakborg and Styrfastning, defender and lord of the city of Arkham and Sirmera, and further more the ruler of the federal terretories of Vastermark and the northern iceplains and as such high chief of Isfalten and keeper of Sfartmård , By the right of the constitution of the protectorate leopridaeria prince defender of leopridaeria, the high lord of Kalmer, Salmoborg and Gaseborg, Lord of the countless cities and lands under his most blessed and righteous rule, the lord defender of Imerbürg, Coparborg, Vesiki, Sjöborg, Afrikas fastning, Erikasborg, Nova Imerbürg, Wein, Udeborg, Angborg, Ambir, Nya Landborg, Nymarksborg, Sorgerstad, Anderborg, Nordanstad, Kängruborg, Sthalstad, Kängruborg, Judeborg, Moskstad, Daji, Sajing, Ademarksborg, Salem, Söderhamn, Öborga, Dragograd, Gapur, Bor-zut and Táibĕi but as well the Enlightened Emperor of Nicksyllvania and as such the King of Leazus, Emperor of Helman, Grand Prince of Zeth, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of Jungria, Duke and king of Hornet-Kereburos, Despot of the Great North, Grand Duke of the Western Badlands, Master of the Southern Marshes, and the king of Dragkon and the wielder of the Holy Swords, the Demon Sword Kaos, the Holy Sword Nikkou, and the Greatsword of the Empire, Nickiller, Great Protector of the Helman Wall and Majino Line, also by the right of his birth high marshal of the royal guard and the Imperial commander of the Imperial nicksyllvanian army, the grand commander of the federal order of the golden sword and the Nicksyllvanian order, the knight commander of the order of the golden cross and the order of Blåland, the lord commander of the colonial order, the high commander of the federal order of the silver rose and the order of Scandera, the Taranakan order and the Order of Vinland may his reign last until the end of time and may the empire and federation he rules stand even through the flames of the endtimes to protect all of his royal highness subjects.
To: Most Illustrious High Crown.
Regarding: Military aid.

In the name of the defensive pact that exists between our domains, the absolute Royal federation decided to reach out our hand in friendship to help the continued arming of the kouralian crown in the continued conflict. We are offering you a continued supply of small arms, artillery, uniforms, food, medical supplies,and ammunition to keep arming your warriors. Similarly, are we offering a steady supply of foodstuffs, medicine, clothing, fuel, and beasts of burden to keep the Kouralian and Malgravean populations fed during the crisis.

We also are fully willing to in time fund the kouralian and Malgravean rearmament and reconstruction efforts after the war. First by supplying enough heavy, light, and medium tracklayers, lorries, and demi tracklayers from federal supplies to recreate the armored and mechanized ground forces of Kouralia and Malgravean fully painted in combat livery and ordained with combat heraldry of respective crown. Similarly, are we also willing to supply the kouralian navy with loans to cover the construction of Imerian naval and air assets both constructed for lower cost.

We also offer a large sum of 120 000 000 000 NSD to be supplied from the coffers in the Absolute Royal Federation to be paid out to both Kouralia and Malgrave to help reconstruction to be paid out in monthly installments over a 9 year period would either state accept. Similarly under this period we will also offer both crowns large scale loans with no interests during the continued conflict.

Signed and approved by:
His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation and divinely appointed ruler and unifier of the Scanderan races, the descendant of the first Imerian high kings especially and foremost Emanuel the first, Son of Oskar II, the son of Primus the XIIIth, the son of Emanuel the VIIth, the son of Gustav the IInd, the son of Anders the IIId, the carrier of the royal sword first carried by the demigod Belrion son of Bel, vanquisher of evil, Champion of life and light, defender of the living and vanquisher of the dead, liberator of slaves, breaker of chains, the protector of the federal crown jewels, the holder of the sword of Halmir and carrier of the enlightened torch of civilisation, patriarch of the noble house auf stjänkhrone, carrier of better and more important titles than the space Russians and the king of Old Tyrannia, Chief of chiefs, Shan of shans, Monarch of monarchs, Prince of princes, Crowned in steel, fire, and flowers. Flame of all flames, protector of the faith of the chronicles and the city of the burning rose and the arch cleric, leader of ritual and sacrifice, chosen of the fierce unconquerable sun and crowned in starlight, mortal protector of the faith of the two faced goddess and defender of her temples and chosen by all gods big and small. As well as the protector of the free city states of Ta’ka sha’mirias well as defender of Hungary and her regions and the realms as king of Imeriata and as such the king of salt, forest, river, and mountain, defender and autocrat of flodmarkerna, Sundet, Söderang, Söderberga, Innahafsarna, Aster öarna, Vast öarna, Sydvedian, Storfloden and the river king, king of Vedian and the duke protector of the mountains, Eple Halvøyn and lavlandet, king of Erathia and as that the duke of Ankea metsä and ruler of the thousand lakes, the lord and defender of Länsisola and Etelä-kentät, king of Karmanjaka over the ancient rivers river, from the ancient mountains mountain, king of Northern Taranakan, king of Izalta, king of Nordomark, and king of Andervel but also the righteous and lawful king of New felandia and the king emperor of Dajing, the duke of Sydvinland, Northern Venezue, Sthalinge, Gustavsland and Sjöland, The Shah of the crown states of Ta’ka sha’miri and the Padishah of all of Ta’ka sha’miri, The lord regent of the colony of Nova Imeriata, Blåland, Angland, the two peninsulas of Tvaude and of Somalmark, The Grand duke of Suderland, The prince of Isarna, Salmo, judeheim and Khan of Salonia, Sultan king of Ramir, the Emir of Sandland and Jarl of Salywa and the free city of Krakborg and Styrfastning, defender and lord of the city of Arkham and Sirmera, and further more the ruler of the federal terretories of Vastermark and the northern iceplains and as such high chief of Isfalten and keeper of Sfartmård , By the right of the constitution of the protectorate leopridaeria prince defender of leopridaeria, the high lord of Kalmer, Salmoborg and Gaseborg, Lord of the countless cities and lands under his most blessed and righteous rule, the lord defender of Imerbürg, Coparborg, Vesiki, Sjöborg, Afrikas fastning, Erikasborg, Nova Imerbürg, Wein, Udeborg, Angborg, Ambir, Nya Landborg, Nymarksborg, Sorgerstad, Anderborg, Nordanstad, Kängruborg, Sthalstad, Kängruborg, Judeborg, Moskstad, Daji, Sajing, Ademarksborg, Salem, Söderhamn, Öborga, Dragograd, Gapur, Bor-zut and Táibĕi but as well the Enlightened Emperor of Nicksyllvania and as such the King of Leazus, Emperor of Helman, Grand Prince of Zeth, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of Jungria, Duke and king of Hornet-Kereburos, Despot of the Great North, Grand Duke of the Western Badlands, Master of the Southern Marshes, and the king of Dragkon and the wielder of the Holy Swords, the Demon Sword Kaos, the Holy Sword Nikkou, and the Greatsword of the Empire, Nickiller, Great Protector of the Helman Wall and Majino Line, also by the right of his birth high marshal of the royal guard and the Imperial commander of the Imperial nicksyllvanian army, the grand commander of the federal order of the golden sword and the Nicksyllvanian order, the knight commander of the order of the golden cross and the order of Blåland, the lord commander of the colonial order, the high commander of the federal order of the silver rose and the order of Scandera, the Taranakan order and the Order of Vinland may his reign last until the end of time and may the empire and federation he rules stand even through the flames of the endtimes to protect all of his royal highness subjects.
Last edited by Imeriata on Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Alduinium » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:04 am

Alkhiana, A Land Cursed.

"I apologize for my transgressions against your rule, but it must be done to preserve your throne, oh mighty Alduin."

A Priest stood, surrounded by the dead and those who dwell in the Dark’s domain.

"All my years, I have been a dutiful servant of the Dov. All of them spent waging spiritual war against the unending tides of foreign barbarians. But even the stiffest of steel rusts in time."

Scrawled across the ancient ruins of Alkhiana was the runes of the Dark, those devoted to the corrupting and conquering of all realms, born from the suffering and hatred held within the soul. He stood in perhaps its most impressive of tombs, a grand stone coffin held within, dozens of bones and weapons long rotted away surrounding it.

"I have seen the visions, as I'm sure your other disciples have. Mystrians slaughtering my kin, devoting their skulls to their foul gods.” Among the many artifacts he possessed, a Scroll, plated with gold and whispering the endless truths of the world amidst many lies was held tightly to his gear. “So many prophecies unfolded, all leading to the same path, the massacre of Keizaal at the hands of savages.”

“I have been your humble researcher in the hallowed land of Alkhiana, but I must act the traitor to preserve our kin."

He used his magic as the ancient Alkhianans did, the source of his power coursing into the ancient coffin held before him. It rumbled and glowed, soon restarting itself with its own power, an inherent anathema to all living souls.

"I will exchange one Lord for another, and history will treat me as a monster. But I know you can stop this key from turning to the end. I must merely destroy the despoilers before they destroy our sons."

With the machine now primed, he began to chant the old Saga of Alkhiana, of the damned terror where man became monster and the dreaded was made, or so the old stories of Alkhiana spoke.

“Listen to me, O Dark Lord. Prince Ohtli and Queen Avora may have banished you, but I will set loose your hordes upon the world. I will let this world burn in your name. I will make sure all of Mystria burns for what it has done to you.”

His chanting continued for many hours, his prayers feeding the malevolent energies of the long abandoned island. Figures once long dead reemerged, many more were invited by the dark

Whatever had happened, he had emerged from the tomb atop a crimson horse wielding a sword no mere mortal could hope to brandish in one hand. He would make sure that no peace was possible with the Mystrians, lest they turn their eyes towards his beloved homeland. Thousands now followed in his path, reborn with a newfound hatred in their hearts.

New Windhelm, Catedonia
Several Days after the Mystrian Convention

Before him stood Ichtaca, or what once was called Ichtaca.

It was a miserable sight, the smell of burned skin and hair clouding the room. The floor was stained with blood, not all of it hers, but plenty of the fresher samples seemed to fit her.

Every nerve in her body had experienced pain in one way or another, for such was the tortuous tactics employed by the Cult. Her appearance was now foul, inhuman even, a tortured soul that was begging for death but denied even that luxury, left only to wallow in its own pitiful self. Whatever semblance of speech she had was reduced to gurgling ravings, unintelligible as anything other than maddened speech by the broken.

'Useless bitch, what good is your kind to us that Alduin sees? Were it not for his grace we should have slaughtered all of your kin.'

Alas, his internal thoughts would remain his own, merely gazing at her with no expression shown beneath his mask. In truth, he knew he could have ended this hours ago, but there was just something so precious about the slow pain inflicted upon those who think they can lord over or control the Dragon Cult in some way, as if their status or their titles can protect them from his power. Such delusions deserved to be broken, as far as he was concerned.

"Undo the damage. She shows no signs of sympathy for Tizoc and his filth. She has learned more than we have from this exercise. She will do better than to overrule the Priesthood any further."

"Hail, Dragon-Priest."

With that said, he would leave the room, leaving his inferiors to rebuild her, though they may never truly undo the scarring on her mind.

"Dragon-Priest." Another underling, a Nordic male, would motion to him outside the room, another lowly mage in the Cult's ranks. From the twitch in his eyes, it was clear that he had perhaps peered into the Serpent's eyes for the first time.. "H-he wishes to speak with-"

"I will meet him now. Leave me."

"As you command."

To reach Him from the Priesthood's grandest tomb in Catedonia would take time even with the fastest method available to him, using the power of Mundus' magic to teleport outright, aided by the inherent power of his mask and clothing, was beyond him for now, having spent much of his energy on divining the months ahead. The scrolls looked dark, warning him at every sight of the dreaded foes threatening Keizaal. Only preparation would keep them safe from the horrors unleashed by Mystrians and the lesser creatures beyond the lands of the Cult.

“The Mystrians are distracted by another threat, at least one piece of good news comes to us now.” He mumbled to himself as he headed off in pursuit of his personal airship, a vessel a cut above most. There would be much discussion to be had with his own Master regarding the chaos of the Mystrian sphere of influence and the increasing wariness of their own colonial operations. Time was of the essence, while the beast was impaled by an unseen threat.

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Kouralia » Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:32 pm

The state and peoples of the Crown Union of Kouralia were by no means unarmed when it came to the esoteric arts of thaumistry, but next to the magitech masters of D’halbrisir or the runecrafting wizards that were Scanderan Clerics, most domestic efforts were amateurish and superficial in their grasp of the forms and ways. For nearly fifty years now the Thaumic Justiciary had produced reports warning that the nearly-cottage-industry status of Kouralian magic usage was hobbling its ability to compete economically in what was becoming more and more an important element of an interconnected international economy. The Justiciary of War on the other hand had barely seemed to notice the nation’s lack of combat-ready wizards and enchantments compared to its regional rivals. It had only been since the restitution of the monarchy that the Army had started to embed competent journeymen of the ways and forms into its formations; the Navy and Air Force remained hamstrung by the development cycle of equipment and were still immensely vulnerable to thaumic warfare.

All of this had seemed largely academic to most observers and even many professional commentators within the Crown Union. The commonly accepted wisdom was that the strength of man’s heart and arm would surely be unassailable, no matter the scale of magicks employed against them. However, as skilful as the Kouralian state had become at warfighting and as well trained and equipped as its legions were, nothing had prepared them for the sudden onslaught of dark power that Tambelon’s return unleashed.

The cursed enchantment had swept across more than half of the Crown Union, leaving only the furthest reaches of Southern Kouralia on Borealia untouched. The sudden destruction of every free-turning wheel in the spell’s area of effect had rendered useless every single motor vehicle in the land, shut down the turbines of tens to hundreds of electricity-producing power plants, and shattered countless other mechanisms and devices. The fleets of Kouralia now sat at anchor, floated astray, or otherwise decorated the ocean floor betwixt Norstralia and Boralia, and a fate just as bad awaited those aircrew of the Air Force who had been airborne when The Sound had passed over them.


RKNV Kynræl Myanyr,Cambreth Sea, 600ft below sea level

The Kynræl Myanyr was at the pinnacle of Kouralian ship-building or, to be more correct: boat-building. The nuclear-powered attack submarine was one of a hundred such vessels in the Kouralian Submarine Fleet that escorted surface strike groups, patrolled independently, and carried out even more covert taskings. While the Cambreth Sea to the South of Hippocratia was hardly contested waters, it would be folly for the Crown to allow foreign fleets to navigate so close to their mainland without needing to keep a watchful eye on the depths below.

As a Warmaster-Class Fast Attack submarine, the Kynræl Myanyr had a crew of near-enough a hundred souls and carried almost half that number of torpedoes and land-attack cruise missiles able to be launched from where the enemy least expected them. She produced all the oxygen and fresh water her crew needed, while from the moment it had been activated her reactor would run without refuelling ‘til its eventual decommissioning in almost a quarter of a century. She had fired missiles at demons, battled seabeasts and even dropped special forces near the shore of blockaded islands, but now the Kynræl Myanyr was given a significantly more sedate tasking. Standing patrols of Home Waters promised to be an eminently boring deployment spent pretending to sink passing allied vessels while nothing happened.

They were treading the backyard of the Crown Union of Kouralia after all, weren’t they? Alone it had a fleet that would sufficiently cripple any regional invader enough that the famed Red Legions might only meet half of the troops sent to their shores. When they stood next to the navies of Malgrave and Imeriata, and the obscene fleet of the Freethinker Commonwealth, the army became almost irrelevant.

“Depth 600ft and steady sir,” Eimear Tresyse called to the officer of the watch, Mæyster Vyntenær Ryks Angwynn, “Maintaining course two-seven-zero.” Barring the officer of the watch it was just the helmswoman and four ratings maintaining the supper-time vigil in the conning tower of the Kynræl Myanyr.

“Course two-seven-zero, 600ft received.” Angwynn called back to the helmswoman. Whilst in command of the boat at present, his role was largely a matter of procedure today. The Kynræl Myanyr’s captain was dining with the senior-most rating aboard in his stateroom mere meters away and would be rejoining them in half an hour.

Contrary to the stereotype of most Kouralians, his pale skin and short stature was so apt for a submariner that he had almost transferred to the silent service just to get the constant jibes to stop. Before this he had served in the Electrical Division of a Frigate and an Aircraft carrier before being promoted and finding himself doing entirely the same job but with half the staff and without a deputy. As the Engineering Department’s Electrical Officer, Angwynn was already one of the junior-most officers aboard – an issue further compounded by the fact that the Supply Officer for the boat was on her third tour on a Submarine. It was certainly hard to take satisfaction from running the midnight watch when the cooks’ manager – whose lack of nuclear-training excluded her from standing watch – was far steadier on her feet when the boat changed depth.

“Okay, steady on this course and depth now.” Angwynn said to Treyse before grimacing and going to rub his temples as a sudden shiver passed through him, sending a pulse of pressure coursing through his skull.

“Ei sir.” The helmswoman replied, “How long are we due to hold this course for?”

“A good few hours yet, Sailor.” Angwynn said absentmindedly as his arm reached for a railing nearby to steady himself with. He couldn’t recall ever feeling anything like it before, but it was like a dull pain was building behind his eyeballs, an awful headache that hadn’t been there a second before.

“Ei sir. I hope we’re due for something soon. Even if it’s just lobbing a missile into the Forynthry. These constant circles are becoming so dreadfully du-”

As she spoke, Angwynn grimaced again and reached to rub the bridge of his nose, stopping the Helmswoman mid-sentence. “Are you alright, sir?” She asked, half rising and turning out of her seat toward him as she spoke.

Before he could respond, the boat lurched suddenly in the water. Without warning, the conn was plunged into darkness and a change in momentum threw the Mæyster Vyntenær forwards to where his head connected with the periscope viewfinder. Dropping to the floor, he couldn’t help but swear aloud at the sudden pain shooting from his forehead. As Angwynn closed his eyes and shook his head the room was filled with a sudden chaotic explosion of noise. Shouting, a mechanical clunk, and someone somewhere – and he was surprised to find it wasn’t him – wailing in pain. It felt like an age, but in truth must have been barely moments before the Mæyster Vyntenær reached up and rubbed his hand across his temple, and opened his eyes.

His first reaction was to let loose a frightened moan of pain and despair at the way his hand and entire forearm came away from his head in a shade of crimson normally reserved for officers of the court. Even the deck under his head was coated in a deep red.

“Sir? Sir?” Tresyse’s voice cut through the officer’s daze but failed to get any response until she called again and shook his shoulder. “Mr Angwynn?” She called again, shaking him ‘til he looked up at her with unfocused eyes.

“Eimear?” He said with a slight voice, before blinking a few times and casting his gaze from his arm to her and back.

“Sir, are you alright? You’re bleeding.” She said again as she offered him her hand and hauled the Mæyster Vyntenær to his feet.

“No, no… I’m okay…” He replied as he stood up again and looked around the room. As much as his brain had leapt to a horrifying conclusion on seeing only red when he had opened his eyes, his concern was largely unwarranted. Gone was the harsh white electric of the Conn’s normal lighting when the room was plunged into darkness. Within seconds the room had echoed with the mechanical clunk of system switching to the dim red emergency lighting system and, in truth, every inch of Angwynn and Treyse both looked entirely covered in blood.

Angwynn stood and looked over to the other crewmen, seeing the other Coxwain being helped from his seat by the boat’s duty signaller – the former clutching at his eyes and moaning in pain. “To your station Eimear, please.” Angwynn said as he stepped back toward the conducting officer’s post. “Get the Medical Assistant up here now for Vyreyn someone, and Eimear back to your station someone needs to pilot this boat. Now, what are we on?”

Moments later, once back in her seat, she called back. “Not sure on everything sir, the dials are completely bust and half of the screens are shattered. We’re two-seven-four and depth is 600, no 610 feet.”

“Meet her and bring her steady to two-seven-zero.” The officer said, before crouching down again, making the coxswain start up again with worry that he had again collapsed. “I’m fine, fine, I say!” He called out as he placed his palm flat on the deck. As he stood up, he turned at the sound of boots on the stairs behind him only to straighten up as much as he could do and snap off a crisp salute.

“Captain on deck!” Angwynn called out as Centenær-Naughilus Adrianyr Mirellys came into the room, followed shortly after by the imposing figure of the boat’s Executive Warrant Officer.

“Keep the Conn for the moment, Mr Angwynn.” Mirellys said as he entered, looking about at a helmsman bleeding from his eyes and an officer of the watch bleeding from his head. “First though, what the bloody hell are you doing to my boat, Mr Angwynn?” He asked as he swept past to look over the assorted dials and screens on the various stations throughout the room while the warrant officer took Seaman Vyreyn’s arm around her neck and helped him down the stairs and out of the Conn.

“No idea sir.” Angwynn replied quickly. “We’ve taken no action. One minute steady on course, the next this.”

“I see.” The Centenar replied with a tone of voice indicating he clearly didn’t. “Heading?”

“Two-Seven-Four, and depth 610 feet.” Angwynn replied, before Treyse called over.

“Begging your pardon sir, but we’re now heading two-seven-five, and 630 feet depth. Hydroplanes and rudder are unresponsive so we’re drifting off course, and we’re increasing in depth.”

“I see.” Mirellys said again, before flapping his hand at Angwynn. “No one’s reporting flooding, and that jolt wasn’t a collision. Ring the Aft’ies and find out why the engine’s stopped, now.”

“Ei, sir.” Angwynn responded, picking up the internal telephone handset and contacting the duty engineering staff at the rear of the boat. A few moments later he called over to Centenar Mirellys, who by now was looking askance at one of the ventilation and air conditioning grates near the ceiling.

“Engineering report complete failure of the reactor turbines and water pressurisation. As soon as this occurred the reactor automatically activated the Scram and the fission reaction has stopped. They’ve also noted a failure of the main prop-shafts for the propellers, as if they have shattered.” Angwynn called to him. “Auxiliary have also reviewed the life support systems and report a complete failure of the fans circula-”

“Circulating oxygenated air around the boat…” Mirellys sighed and turned back to Angwynn as Aytama, the Executive Warrant Officer, returned to the Conn with additional bridge staff. “Yes, I’d suspected as much given how stuffy and warm it is in here. There’s nothing coming out of the vents either.

“I want a comprehensive report from all heads of department on the mechanical and electronic systems under their divisions’ responsibility within one hour maximum. Forty-five minutes if it can be done. All hands to their stations to manage this, no matter what watch they’re on. Return aft and pass this message on to Ms Eunomyana please – I suspect the engineering department’s report will be substantial.”

With that, the Centenar turned away to the bridge communications station which was being filled by a young petty officer. “Prepare for emergency blow, our situation is untenable while submerged.” He said to her as he did so.

His dismissal implicit, Angwynn saluted and turned to leave, dabbing at his still-bleeding temple as he approached the doorway. Before he could get very far, however, the Executive Warrant Officer leaned over and took his arm in a vice-like grip.

“I think not, sir.” Aytama said, raising an eyebrow as she more-or-less loomed over him from her post to the right of the Captain’s chair. “I wouldn’t much trust your balance to keep you off the floor in an emergency blow under the best of circumstances, let alone with that hole in your head.” She said by way of explanation, before gently pushing him down into the navigator’s chair. “Have a seat, we’ll be done soon.”

Before Angwynn could respond, whether to thank her for her foresight or to admonish her for her manner toward a commissioned officer of superior rank, the room and indeed the whole ship was filled with klaxons entirely divorced from the idea of being silent beneath the waves. Three strong blasts of the ship’s dive alarm, one after the other, as the engineering petty officer’s voice echoed from tinny speakers in the corridors and wardrooms of the boat.

“All hands brace to blow, blow, blow!”

That said, Angwynn watched the petty officer stand and take hold of two levers he vaguely remembered seeing before, but had never paid much attention to. From where they sat above the upper control panel of the communications station they were so out of the way they almost blended into the ceiling. With a single, firm movement, the petty officer took hold of the levers, squeezed their trigger-like grips and yanked them down as far as they would go before releasing the triggers.

Almost instantly the boat shook under Angwynn’s feet like a wounded animal, and his sense of gravity shifted rapidly toward the back wall, causing him to lean heavily onto the arm of the chair. As he watched, the Executive Warrant Officer, Centenær-Naughilus Mirellys, and those others who remained standing began to lean. First it was as if walking into a heavy gust of wind, but within seconds they were leant over like Smooth Criminals as the boat began its rapid ascent.

An Emergency Ballast Blow had been described to Angwynn as like releasing a cork you were holding underwater and watching it rocket to the surface, and nothing he could see was disabusing him of that notion.

“Six-hundred.” Treyse called out as the boat reached the depth it had originally been keeping steady at.



Within seconds the boat had risen by a hundred feet and was now angled to nearly thirty degrees. The Electrical Officer was certainly thankful now that Aytama had not let him carry on aft-ward, as if he had done then by this point he would surely have been sprawled in a heap against a bulkhead.

“Two-hundred.” Treyse’s voice cut through Angwynn’s momentary reverie. “One-fifty.”

Again now, the ship’s dive klaxon sounded once across the ship followed by the communications specialist’s voice again. “All Hands, brace to surface!”



Suddenly the sensation of motion twisted in Angwynn’s stomach as if someone had both slammed on the brakes and sped over a small hump in a road. Of course, the ExWO and Centenar immediately compensated and were stood upright with their legs braced apart and a firm grasp of handles or railings or other strong hand-holds. A split second later, the whole vessel shook as its hull finished the graceful leap from the waves with an ungainly flop back down, throwing great arcs of spray in every direction.

“Good rise everyone.” Centenar Mirellys said, clapping the Petty Officer and Helmswoman Treyse on the back before turning back to Ryks Angwynn. “Show’s over now, Vintenar – it’s time for the real work to begin: I need sit-reps and lots of them.”


May’aþe Lebama, Reðuynyc Valley, Kouralia Proper

Now Tambelon had firmly returned to the world, the storm spreading out from the Fortunan border was nigh-apocalyptic in its strength. Winds lashed the walls and doors of Ðyacos Æðelynn’s shrine with sheets of rain with enough force to shake the wood and sound as if they were hail, while thunder and lightning shook the world from above. Sitting quietly on the dias steps, Anyæl was praying as he watched the trickles of water mixing with the spring-water from the altar, and even push the flow back across the threshold of the shrine. It had maybe been five or ten minutes since the last of his flock had left for the trail back to town, so he was greatly surprised to hear conversational voices outside the building.

Making his way to the entrance to unbolt the doors and peer out into the storm, Anyæl was even more surprised when he saw the figures now roaming the gravelled plaza in front of his shrine. Stretching between two olive trees as if they were an archway constructed for that purpose was a twisting, glistening screen of translucent energy. In his mind, it looked like a gently glowing curtain of fabric anchored tautly at its edges but dancing in the centre as it caught gusts of storm wind.

As Anyæl watched, the shimmering silver sheet stretched taut as a drumskin before an imposing figure on horseback trotted through and into the courtyard to join its fellows. Four archaic figures, cloaked and hooded in white-trimmed sapphire, sat astride chestnut chargers and slowly circled the courtyard. One glanced down emotionlessly at the Ðyacos for a second, before turning away to wheel their horse toward the North wall of the yard and look over the hills and vales of the Moonlands toward Tambelon. Pausing a moment, the figure raised their head to the wind and for all the world looked like a hound tasting the air with its nose.

“The sanctuary is as you said, Father.” She said a moment later, her voice revealing a gender hitherto obscured by her heavy riding attire. The rider spoke with a clear voice that cut straight through the howling wind and pouring rain to the ears of Anyæl and surely anyone else nearby.

“Who are you, madam… sirs…?” Anyæl called out to them from the doorway, his curiosity firmly beating out the gut instinct to avoid their attention as much as possible. As soon as he spoke, the nearest of the riders stilled his horse to stop a few meters from the Priest.

This close, Anyæl could see the contradiction in the rider’s attire. On one level the rider’s sapphire and silver attire and the horse’s embroidered shabraque and burnished tack looked straight out of a romantic revival painting. As he looked up to meet the rider’s gaze, Anyæl was near enough unsurprised to see he wore a medieval-esque bronze helm, a plate-like, curved nasal faceplate incised with religious iconography to provide breathing holes. However, on the other hand the rider’s boots and gloves sitting in the stirrups and grasping the reigns may as well have come direct from the pages of a military surplus catalogue. As much as an ornamented longsword sheath protruded from under the left side of the rider’s cloak, a similarly decorated leather and bronze rifle scabbard on the right flank of the charger’s saddle covered what appeared to be a modern combat rifle.

“A moment, Priest.” The rider said, revealing his gender as he spoke in the same manner as the other. In truth, while Kouralians were often stereotyped as statuesque amazons and giants by foreigners – particularly those from the Malgrave, as a people the average height was no less than a hundred and ninety centimetres. The true difference was near sexual monomorphism in stature; the average height, inclination to develop muscle, and even broadness across the shoulder was nigh identical between ethnically Kouralian men and women.

“Our Lord arrives soon, and he will speak with you,” The rider continued.

True enough, a moment later the shimmering silver portal again stretched taut before a fifth rider passed through, and it took but a glance to see that this one stood apart from his fellows.

Bare-headed and cloaked in sapphire and silver, trimmed with gold, the tall, clean-shaven man immediately struck Anyæl as familiar, though he could not place the man’s face. The tack across his white great horse was shined to excess as his fellows’ were, though the amount of golden metal inlaid and studded into it was ostentatious next to theirs. As soon as the figure passed through the portal, he walked his horse to the middle of the yard where another rider approached and took the reins before he smoothly dismounted.

“I see the Dark City is well formed, Hanna.” He called to the woman that had been first to speak as he walked over to stand by her at the North wall of the plaza. It was as he did so, that Anyæl noticed she had drawn a pair of modern, reinforced and ruggedised binoculars from somewhere, and was using them to observe Tambelon.

“Ei Father.” She replied, her voice this time devoid of the otherworldly quality that had carried it with ease through the storm. She leaned down to offer the binoculars to the man she plainly called her father, though he looked barely old enough to have raised an adolescent child, let alone someone clearly attired and equipped as a battlemage of skill.

Instead of taking them, the man waved the binoculars away and raised his arms before him, holding his hands as if framing the view between his fingers. Then, he slowly swept them apart until the hands were diagonally a meter away from one another and stepped back.

“Show-off…” The woman grumbled, before going back to watching through the binoculars.

The two remained like that for some while, periodically gesturing at the city and conferring quietly on Tambelon before the ‘Lord’ called over another rider who similarly dismounted before taking a small notebook out from a satchel across his body. Standing beside the other two, the scribe swept his hand in a circle above his head and snapped his finger before opening the leather-bound book and starting to write according to the direction of the ‘Lord.’ With all that had happened, Anyæl was unsurprised to see that rather than soaking through and ruining its pages, the rain now pooled above the third man’s head and ran in rivulets away from him before falling to the side as if kept away by an invisible umbrella.

Some minutes later, the ‘Lord’ finally turned from the view, leaving his daughter to continue dictating notes to the scribe. As the tall, dark-haired man’s gaze settled on Anyæl, his face expression changed to one of pleasant recognition and he walked purposefully toward the Priest. Behind him there was a faint pop of displaced air as his concentration left the prismic arrangement of air molecules and the impromptu magical telescope dissipated again.

Mæyster Ðyacos aSaghællos,” he said warmly, touching his right fist to his breast in greeting as he did so. “I thank you for keeping faith in these trying times. Might I have a moment of your time in your sanctuary?”

“I would be happy to offer it to you, if I knew your name. You appear to have me somewhat at a disadvantage, sir.” Anyæl responded.

“Grace.” The man replied simply, before nodding. “I am Prince Muri, Palatine of Reðuyn, and Master-Thaumist to the Crown. I am also being rained on, Reverei.” He added pointedly, using the High Kouralian honorific for a priest and nodding toward the open doorway Anyæl stood in.

“Sorry, Grace, of course…” He said, stepping aside and gesturing for the Prince-Palatine to come inside, which he did with a polite incline of his head. Before turning to follow his guest inside, the Priest turned and looked at the four horsemen… or horsewomen outside. Two discussed the Dark City, one held the unattended horses, while the fourth who had spoken to him remained entirely impassive, staring at Anyæl until he turned away out of discomfort.

When his attention next fixed on the Prince-Palatine he was surprised to see the difference in attire between he and his fellows went beyond the level of decoration. Having unclasped the cloak from about his neck, and folded the damp cloth over the back of one pew, it revealed the master mage was dressed more for a leisurely day about an estate than the hard combat his attendants appeared to expect.

The Prince-Palatine was dressed in a blue tweed blazer, tailored to his physique and unbuttoned such that when he swept it back to rest his hands on his hips, it revealed the ornate tip of a battle stave held in a frog on his right. Under-this he wore a white shirt checked with silver, opened at the neck with its button-down collar undone, while his legs were clad in silver-grey breeches that matched the trim of the riders’ cloaks, and which ended in polished brown leather calf boots.

The Prince turned to regard the frescoes that ringed the ceiling of the nave in an unhurried manner. As he did so he revealed a long, thin dagger sheathed to the side of his right boot.

“Grace, may I enquire as to your presence here?” Anyæl asked eventually after a minute or so of silence.

“Hmm?” The Prince replied, absent-mindedly as he looked over the fresco. “My apologies, I don’t much recall this. It’s an exquisite painting, though not the most historically accurate representation of the last war. Late Archaic Revival, is it not?” He pointed at one of the figures to the right of the focal point above the altar, “I must say, someone got some things right though.”

“Yes…” Anyæl replied uncertainly before approaching the wizard, electing to follow whatever winding path his thoughts might take to their conclusion. Truly, what they said about Thaumists was true.

“This shrine was first built in 1521, a year after Grogar, Caprine Dark Lord of Tambelon was banished by the Two Sisters. It follows an original classical style, though is relatively undersized as the reigning Altonian Emperor of the time felt it would be improper to memorialise overmuch the efforts of foreign divine magicks – especially when the alliance of men who stood at their side and did battle with Tambelon’s horde was led by a Easterman.

“The cornice was originally decorated with a bas-relief freize that was painted, though maintenance issues saw it be bleached to plain marble that was planned to be easier to maintain. Eventually, after the Union of Kurton and Altonia, in the late 1850s the original stonework was moved to the town museum below and replaced by the Archaic Revival fresco you now see, which aimed to replicate the scenes depicted in the reliefs.

“I do understand the artist took some liberties in his depiction of Grogar’s vanquishing, and romanticised the soldiery of Kouralia, but…” He paused, “I don’t know what you mean that you do not recall this. The fresco has been in place and well maintained since 1858 when it was first installed.”

As Anyæl spoke, he followed the Prince-Palatine’s finger to the gold-clad figure depicted at the head of Man’s Legions to the right hand of the alicorns banishing Grogar. It took him a moment, but as Muri replied the priest turned back to him and realised where he remembered the face from.

“Yes, I can see what you mean about the romanticisation.” The Prince-Palatine tutted, “Not a single musket in sight and they are all dressed like lordly men-at-arms. You’d have thought we were a peninsula of inexplicably limitless wealth to see an army arrayed in such a manner back then.

“A good likeness,” he added, rubbing his chin. “Though altogether too much aurichalcum, and the artist has taken the armour from an entirely different war. I look like someone painted a harquebusier gold for the gods’ sakes…”

“I’m sorry…?” Anyæl stuttered.

“Yes, I am. It is exactly as you think.” The Prince-Palatine said.

“Most sacred Lord-Commander Mide.” The Priest replied, dropping to one knee and averting his eyes. “I apologise for not granting you your dues. Welcome to this humble shrine, built in dedication to your victory.”

“No, not my victory;” The Prince-Palatine said, sighing as he reached down to take Anyæl by his shoulder and raise him to his feet. “And not Lord-Commander either, for that matter. As a courtesy any Lord Commander is on the lists for their natural life, and no one thought to impose a time limit on Geniæ Locorum retaining it. Such is the blessing of life as a Potamaiade. I don’t blame you for not recognising me. As much as my name is the same, and the longevity of my public service is a matter of public record I have expended considerable effort divorcing my present personal and professional lives from historical exploits.”

“But, your grace…” Anyæl said unbelievingly, “You are a god!”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.” Muri said as he turned away from Anyæl, taking his gloves off only to handle them to the surprised Ðyacos. “But there are so many of us these days, it seems silly to stand overmuch on ceremony for any but The Five.” He stopped and turned back, gesturing with one hand toward the spring water that trickled from the natural stone table of the altar, through five tiered pools, and finally bisected the nave in a shallow gutter down the aisle betwixt the pews. “May I?” He asked, entirely neglecting to explain what he asked permission for.

“Go ahead.” The Priest replied uncertainly.

Muri nodded in acknowledgement before turning back to the altar and approaching it. As he did so he reached down and picked up the crystalline sacramental chalice. Reaching the altar, the Prince-Palatine took a knee, and dipped it into the lowest of the tiered pools, half filling the bowl with spring water. As he did so, the mage began to mutter a repetitious incantation in a language older even than High Kouralian under his breath. Raising it to eye level, he held his other palm open above it and gently swirled the water around in a circular motion. Before Anyæl’s eyes the clear water darkened and reddened until it was a deep claret in colour, and the Priest suspected it had more than taken on the appearance of wine. Holding the chalice in two hands, the Prince-Palatine raised it to his mouth and sipped before balancing it on the floor atop the central gutter such that spring-water flowed gently beneath it.

Before Anyæl could react, the Prince quickly drew the stiletto-esque knife from his boot and sliced it across his left palm before running the bloodied blade down a monogrammed cloth that the same hand now flourished from within his cerulean jacket. As quick as it had come out, the knife was sheathed and before the first drops of blood had begun to fall from his clenched fist, Muri took the cloth in his right hand. Now free of any other task, his left hand hovered above the wine until enough blood seeped through his fingers to start to drip into the sacaramental chalice. Once the Prince had judged it was sufficient, he removed his hand and quickly pressed the monogrammed cloth against it for a heartbeat. When he removed and pocketed the cloth again Muri’s left palm was whole again, and he used it to lift the crystalline chalice.

The Prince-Palatine then stood, raising the chalice before him and walking purposefully down the aisle of the shrine. Guessing what was to happen next, Anyæl stepped aside and watched Muri pass him. The Prince then walked to the doors of the shrine where, with a final intonement of his chant, he upended the mixture of blood and apparent wine into the brass grate that led the spring underground and from thence to the rivers that sprung forth elsewhere on the hillside.

The libation performed, the Prince-Palatine stooped and placed the empty chalice beside the door frame and stared out into rain that thrashed down ever harder. Insofar as Anyæl could see, the scribe had remounted his horse, and the four riders were now keeping watch in the cardinal directions of the courtyard. After a few more moments, Anyæl cleared his throat. “A sole-”

“Quiet, priest.” Muri said sharply, half turning to look at him. “She comes.” He added quietly, before his stern glare softened to a warmer and more welcoming smile.

“Lady Ænðælyon,” he said, turning to cast his gaze behind the priest and back toward the altar. “Thank you for coming.”

At this, Anyæl turned to look back and near enough jumped out of his skin in shock. Where the shrine had been empty but for the Prince and Priest, a young child - barely a teen - now stood before the altar with her arms crossed and both her expression and posture in active competition to be most defiant.

Anyæl immediately recognised the girl as one he had often lurking during ceremonies, or playing on the hillsides, though never so close to the altar before. She couldn’t have been more than five foot tall with freckles dotting her tanned complexion, typical of the Westermen who lived closer to Chieti than Altonia-Proper. A shock of frizzy red hair fell about her shoulders, and from there down she wore only a pastel orange sundress embroidered with leaves and harvest images, to stand barefoot on the stones of the dias.

“What were tha’?” She asked bluntly in a strong local accent, completely ignoring the Priest to direct her ire at Muri.

‘What was… what’?” The Prince-Palatine echoed sarcastically, causing the girl to stick her tongue out belligerently at him.

“Your offering, Reðuynynaa,” Ænðælyon continued, diminuting the name of the river which Muri embodied, “were proper poor.”

“Well, I am sorry my Lady, but given the circumstances of my libation, I thought your spring-water was more appropriate than waiting beneath that accursed Goat-storm ‘til this chalice was full.” He stooped to pick up the crystal vessel before walking down the aisle toward and past Ænðælyon who turned to face him, so he could return it to its place beside the altar.

“And anyway.” Muri added, “I bequeathed unto you divine blood – my blood. How many votives have you had since the Crown returned that can match that-”

“Not that, you silt-head.” Ænðælyon said with a huff. “If it weren’t for your life tangled in, I wouldn’t’ve come. Since when were grape juice good for a goddess of the waters?!”

Muri raised an eyebrow and looked Ænðælyon over from head to toe before meeting her glare. “If you are going to manifest as a child, young Lady, then I will treat you as a child.

“You are most certainly not twelve years old yet you persist in presenting as such. The Five only know how no one here has called social care on you in the past five hundred years, since from his reaction even your bloody Ðyacos-Attendant didn’t spot your nature, despite showing a spark of recognition.”

At that, the young girl-Nymph shrugged and uncrossed her arms petulantly, before turning back to Anyæl and giving a cheery little wave. “Your sweetcakes are nice Reverei,” she said by way of explanation for the periodic times he had caught a glimpse of her at the back of a crowd or otherwise in the distance of a ceremony. The Priest sighed quietly to himself, though outwardly he thanked the truculent goddess and instinctively made the star with his left hand as he gave a shallow bow.

“What d’you want, Reðuyn?” Ænðælyon said simply.

“You know why I am here.” Muri replied with a sigh, now the one to cross his arms in displeasure.

“I know why you’re here:” the nymph echoed, “it is why I am here at all. It is why I Am. I just want you to bokking well ask it of me.”

“Very well,” the Prince-Palatine said. “’tis the first time I ask this of you, and if we are true to this land as it is true to us - man and spirit, all as one - it will be the last time. Ænðælyon, you know your charge. It is written in the sands of time worn from stone by your passing, and it is spoken in the heartbeats of the beasts which sup from your banks.

“Travel far from here, your shrine and spring. Travel far and wide, over vale and under hill to every sister, brother and cousin you can find.

“Tell them of the Caprine Dark Lord.

“Tell them of the cold, dark iron in his heart that would dam their flow and bar their water-life.

“Tell them of men, and the ruin he has brought to their forms and ways with his magicks. The unhallowed dead walk, and unsanctified crystal is broken across the land so all do dwell in a mockery of his twisted Dark City.

“Man might yet best him if our kind will sing the song of the old ways woven into our very souls such that some amongst this land can best his sorcerous ways with true, pure thaumistry. We will carry the soldiers of man to battle in force upon our backs as fast as a galloping horse, and we will cause them to remember the old ways that served them well half a century past.

“You know your charge, as your cousins know theirs and I know mine.” Muri said, stepping toward the nymph and holding out his hand. “Do you embrace it, Ænðælyon?”

Though Anyæl couldn’t see the girl-nymph’s face, he supposed from the softened set of her shoulders that her expression was less belligerent than it had been before the Prince-Palatine spoke. “Well, Reðuynynaa,” she said – playfully, this time, “since you done asked so nicely I suppose I well as much have to.” As she spoke Ænðælyon reached out and took the elder river god’s forearm in her hand as he did hers, disregarding the incongruity of their difference in stature.

After what seemed like an age but couldn’t have been more than a few heartbeats, the two released one another and stepped back. The Prince-Palatine stayed where he stood, and watched Ænðælyon as she walked up and over the dias to where she stood and faced the sheets of icy rain that drove through the empty window frames.

As the girl-Nymph stood and stared, Anyæl walked around the dias until he could see her clearly again, stepping into the cloistered ambulatory that half-ringed the altar. On one level he knew he must have expected it, but when Ænðælyon came fully into sight he was shocked by what he saw. To reach the windowsill, she had walked over the shattered panes of stained-glass which had previously displayed the triumph of the Prince-Palatine being blessed by an entirely inaccurate personification of the spirit of the shrine’s stream. Though barefoot she still stood on those pebbles and shards of glass, the blood of a goddess mixing with the rain of the Dark Lord.

“Will it be enough?” Ænðælyon asked, unmoving.

“It will be.” The Prince-Palatine replied, in a manner Anyæl thought strangely without conviction.

“It has to be.”

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Postby Kouralia » Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:33 pm


The following hours in Kouralia passed in a whirlwind of activity and chaos, no matter where one stood. The return of the Prince-Palatine to Kurton resulted in the immediate briefing of the Crown-Captain of Justiciars and the Crownbearer on the situation, which precipitated the summoning of a quorum of Senators to grant war powers to the government. From there, the hobbled national communications system sent word of the enactment of War Plan Goat to the Provincial Prefects-General, military high commands, and other important individuals.

Whether through still-working wired telephony, despatch, thaumopathy, or the even rarer Thaumically-Entangled Communicators, word was getting out. Of course, given what had happened those at the bottom of the ladder were hardly waiting to be told what to do. ’Centralised Intent, Decentralised Execution’ was the mantra of the Kouralian military’s Mission Command doctrine, so every serviceperson from the lowliest reserve Legionary to the highest General Officer responded. Troops on leave who were not needed where they were to maintain order or keep people safe did what they could to report to their units. Reservists packed their equipment and marched on foot if needs be to reach their depots. Commanders consulted with as many experts and communicated with as high an authority as possible before deploying according to their own tactical and strategic understandings. Cohorts of infantry, cavalry, and even aviators marched on foot, provisioned for a days, if not a week in the field without victualling, to establish and reinforce defensive positions to protect against those hordes driving South-East from Tambelon.

While the military responded, the civil government sprung into action – as much as any government bureaucracy can ‘spring’ to do anything. Caretakers unlocked the secure regional seats of government and began to bring as many systems as were possible on-line. All awaited the arrival of the Prefects-General and other figures who would maintain order in this crisis. Watchmen, firefighters, and medical watchkeepers all responded to their stations in droves such that even had they been working there would not have been enough cars for them all, and many were immediately dismissed to return at a later hour to act as oncoming reliefs.

Throughout the Union, battle was joined not only at the rapidly-collapsing front-lines where men fought in vain with rifle, grenade, bayonet and even fists against the otherworldly foot-soldiers of Tambelon, but also across almost every city, town, and village. Every corpse, new or old, not at rest in hallowed, consecrated ground had arisen across the land affected by Grogar’s curse. From the wealthiest of lordly dead springing forth from their palatial private mausoleums, to the most recently deceased in – or in some cases on their way to – hospital mortuaries, the undead were hungry and they were angry. Soldiers, Police, firefighters and even any old citizen who could find a weapon were drawn into time- and effort-consuming skirmishes and extermination operations against the rotting hordes, in many cases led by the priestly and often-thaumically gifted Ðyacos-Errants who already roamed the land to right wrongs and battle monsters. It was fortunate indeed that the blessed protections over the mortal remains of many Æhrycredan souls were sufficient to prevent their forms being overtaken by the dark magicks of Grogar.


Imeriata wrote:
Official communiqué from the absolute royal federation of Imeriata and her realms

From: His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation and divinely appointed ruler and unifier of the Scanderan races, the descendant of the first Imerian high kings especially and foremost Emanuel the first, Son of Oskar II, the son of Primus the XIIIth, the son of Emanuel the VIIth, the son of Gustav the IInd, the son of Anders the IIId, the carrier of the royal sword first carried by the demigod Belrion son of Bel, vanquisher of evil, Champion of life and light, defender of the living and vanquisher of the dead, liberator of slaves, breaker of chains, the protector of the federal crown jewels, the holder of the sword of Halmir and carrier of the enlightened torch of civilisation, patriarch of the noble house auf stjänkhrone, carrier of better and more important titles than the space Russians and the king of Old Tyrannia, Chief of chiefs, Shan of shans, Monarch of monarchs, Prince of princes, Crowned in steel, fire, and flowers. Flame of all flames, protector of the faith of the chronicles and the city of the burning rose and the arch cleric, leader of ritual and sacrifice, chosen of the fierce unconquerable sun and crowned in starlight, mortal protector of the faith of the two faced goddess and defender of her temples and chosen by all gods big and small. As well as the protector of the free city states of Ta’ka sha’mirias well as defender of Hungary and her regions and the realms as king of Imeriata and as such the king of salt, forest, river, and mountain, defender and autocrat of flodmarkerna, Sundet, Söderang, Söderberga, Innahafsarna, Aster öarna, Vast öarna, Sydvedian, Storfloden and the river king, king of Vedian and the duke protector of the mountains, Eple Halvøyn and lavlandet, king of Erathia and as that the duke of Ankea metsä and ruler of the thousand lakes, the lord and defender of Länsisola and Etelä-kentät, king of Karmanjaka over the ancient rivers river, from the ancient mountains mountain, king of Northern Taranakan, king of Izalta, king of Nordomark, and king of Andervel but also the righteous and lawful king of New felandia and the king emperor of Dajing, the duke of Sydvinland, Northern Venezue, Sthalinge, Gustavsland and Sjöland, The Shah of the crown states of Ta’ka sha’miri and the Padishah of all of Ta’ka sha’miri, The lord regent of the colony of Nova Imeriata, Blåland, Angland, the two peninsulas of Tvaude and of Somalmark, The Grand duke of Suderland, The prince of Isarna, Salmo, judeheim and Khan of Salonia, Sultan king of Ramir, the Emir of Sandland and Jarl of Salywa and the free city of Krakborg and Styrfastning, defender and lord of the city of Arkham and Sirmera, and further more the ruler of the federal terretories of Vastermark and the northern iceplains and as such high chief of Isfalten and keeper of Sfartmård , By the right of the constitution of the protectorate leopridaeria prince defender of leopridaeria, the high lord of Kalmer, Salmoborg and Gaseborg, Lord of the countless cities and lands under his most blessed and righteous rule, the lord defender of Imerbürg, Coparborg, Vesiki, Sjöborg, Afrikas fastning, Erikasborg, Nova Imerbürg, Wein, Udeborg, Angborg, Ambir, Nya Landborg, Nymarksborg, Sorgerstad, Anderborg, Nordanstad, Kängruborg, Sthalstad, Kängruborg, Judeborg, Moskstad, Daji, Sajing, Ademarksborg, Salem, Söderhamn, Öborga, Dragograd, Gapur, Bor-zut and Táibĕi but as well the Enlightened Emperor of Nicksyllvania and as such the King of Leazus, Emperor of Helman, Grand Prince of Zeth, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of Jungria, Duke and king of Hornet-Kereburos, Despot of the Great North, Grand Duke of the Western Badlands, Master of the Southern Marshes, and the king of Dragkon and the wielder of the Holy Swords, the Demon Sword Kaos, the Holy Sword Nikkou, and the Greatsword of the Empire, Nickiller, Great Protector of the Helman Wall and Majino Line, also by the right of his birth high marshal of the royal guard and the Imperial commander of the Imperial nicksyllvanian army, the grand commander of the federal order of the golden sword and the Nicksyllvanian order, the knight commander of the order of the golden cross and the order of Blåland, the lord commander of the colonial order, the high commander of the federal order of the silver rose and the order of Scandera, the Taranakan order and the Order of Vinland may his reign last until the end of time and may the empire and federation he rules stand even through the flames of the endtimes to protect all of his royal highness subjects.
To: Most Illustrious High Crown.
Regarding: Military aid.

It is with sorrow that we are forced to pen these words due to the shocking sorrow that has befallen thy royal highness kingdom. However it is upon us the honour and duty fall to come to thy aid in force. As we are penning this is the federation beginning preparations for large scale troop deployment not only to the Kourmark but also upon the Malgravean colonies. We are further more willing to come with an offer in the time of need on the logistical front as well. Due to the kouralian situation and how the enemy has the ability to magically deprive you of a industrial base is the federation willing to make use of it’s weapon forges to supply the kouralian army with firearms and ammunition as well as tracklayers, demi-tracklayers, and lorries of both armoured and unarmoured varieties for the duration of the war as well as allowing the most illustrious high crown to buy them at a very reduced price.

To support such an operation are we willing to offer the most illustrious high crown a logistical solution, one that was offered to the Malgraveans and was after negotiations accepted. We would require a naval stronghold to allow federal equipment and personnel to disembark in quick order with the aid of the railway and more specifically the standard federal track gauge. This would however also require us to build a secondary hub where equipment can be transported from trains that run on the federal gauge to ones that run on the native ones to allow quick redeployment of the equipment and personnel. We would however request to make such a military stronghold permanent and garissioned by federal troops, aeroplanes, and naval assets to ensure that the federation quickly can move to support your royal highness realms in the future for your royal highness defence.

However, as we cannot with good honour annex land from an ally in trouble would we suggest that if such a proposal were to be accepted that the land would still be held by the Most Illustrious High Crown.but under feudal vassalage by a noble federal subject that in turn allowed federal troops to be stationed there. Such a noble would be appointed by the most illustrious high crown crownself but with us keeping veto powers over the person would we feel that the choice was inappropriate.

Signed and approved by:
His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation and divinely appointed ruler and unifier of the Scanderan races, the descendant of the first Imerian high kings especially and foremost Emanuel the first, Son of Oskar II, the son of Primus the XIIIth, the son of Emanuel the VIIth, the son of Gustav the IInd, the son of Anders the IIId, the carrier of the royal sword first carried by the demigod Belrion son of Bel, vanquisher of evil, Champion of life and light, defender of the living and vanquisher of the dead, liberator of slaves, breaker of chains, the protector of the federal crown jewels, the holder of the sword of Halmir and carrier of the enlightened torch of civilisation, patriarch of the noble house auf stjänkhrone, carrier of better and more important titles than the space Russians and the king of Old Tyrannia, Chief of chiefs, Shan of shans, Monarch of monarchs, Prince of princes, Crowned in steel, fire, and flowers. Flame of all flames, protector of the faith of the chronicles and the city of the burning rose and the arch cleric, leader of ritual and sacrifice, chosen of the fierce unconquerable sun and crowned in starlight, mortal protector of the faith of the two faced goddess and defender of her temples and chosen by all gods big and small. As well as the protector of the free city states of Ta’ka sha’mirias well as defender of Hungary and her regions and the realms as king of Imeriata and as such the king of salt, forest, river, and mountain, defender and autocrat of flodmarkerna, Sundet, Söderang, Söderberga, Innahafsarna, Aster öarna, Vast öarna, Sydvedian, Storfloden and the river king, king of Vedian and the duke protector of the mountains, Eple Halvøyn and lavlandet, king of Erathia and as that the duke of Ankea metsä and ruler of the thousand lakes, the lord and defender of Länsisola and Etelä-kentät, king of Karmanjaka over the ancient rivers river, from the ancient mountains mountain, king of Northern Taranakan, king of Izalta, king of Nordomark, and king of Andervel but also the righteous and lawful king of New felandia and the king emperor of Dajing, the duke of Sydvinland, Northern Venezue, Sthalinge, Gustavsland and Sjöland, The Shah of the crown states of Ta’ka sha’miri and the Padishah of all of Ta’ka sha’miri, The lord regent of the colony of Nova Imeriata, Blåland, Angland, the two peninsulas of Tvaude and of Somalmark, The Grand duke of Suderland, The prince of Isarna, Salmo, judeheim and Khan of Salonia, Sultan king of Ramir, the Emir of Sandland and Jarl of Salywa and the free city of Krakborg and Styrfastning, defender and lord of the city of Arkham and Sirmera, and further more the ruler of the federal terretories of Vastermark and the northern iceplains and as such high chief of Isfalten and keeper of Sfartmård , By the right of the constitution of the protectorate leopridaeria prince defender of leopridaeria, the high lord of Kalmer, Salmoborg and Gaseborg, Lord of the countless cities and lands under his most blessed and righteous rule, the lord defender of Imerbürg, Coparborg, Vesiki, Sjöborg, Afrikas fastning, Erikasborg, Nova Imerbürg, Wein, Udeborg, Angborg, Ambir, Nya Landborg, Nymarksborg, Sorgerstad, Anderborg, Nordanstad, Kängruborg, Sthalstad, Kängruborg, Judeborg, Moskstad, Daji, Sajing, Ademarksborg, Salem, Söderhamn, Öborga, Dragograd, Gapur, Bor-zut and Táibĕi but as well the Enlightened Emperor of Nicksyllvania and as such the King of Leazus, Emperor of Helman, Grand Prince of Zeth, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of Jungria, Duke and king of Hornet-Kereburos, Despot of the Great North, Grand Duke of the Western Badlands, Master of the Southern Marshes, and the king of Dragkon and the wielder of the Holy Swords, the Demon Sword Kaos, the Holy Sword Nikkou, and the Greatsword of the Empire, Nickiller, Great Protector of the Helman Wall and Majino Line, also by the right of his birth high marshal of the royal guard and the Imperial commander of the Imperial nicksyllvanian army, the grand commander of the federal order of the golden sword and the Nicksyllvanian order, the knight commander of the order of the golden cross and the order of Blåland, the lord commander of the colonial order, the high commander of the federal order of the silver rose and the order of Scandera, the Taranakan order and the Order of Vinland may his reign last until the end of time and may the empire and federation he rules stand even through the flames of the endtimes to protect all of his royal highness subjects.

Allians Byggnaderna, Imerburg, Absolute Royal Federation of Imeriata

Sir Chendryc Arðryne was not a woman given to impatience or rashness. Like most of her countryfolk she considered herself logical, thoughtful and reasonable when faced with a problem. This did not, however, stop her pacing her office in the Alliance Buildings – the headquarters of the Gryningsvägen Alliansen in Imerburg.

The past few hours had been excruciating for everyone in the Kouralian delegation to the Alliance of the Old Ways having received what little news there was from the homelands, but the pain was doubled for Sir Chendryc. As Permanent Commissioner to the Alliance she was second only to the Under-Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Justiciary himself in terms of Kouralian diplomatic rank. This meant she was privy to many aspects of the Continuity of Government plans that her subordinates were not. The initial disruption to communications with the Homelands had lasted about half an hour and was still being thought of as an issue with the Scanderan telecommunications infrastructure when a blanket communications was received from the military’s Joint Expeditionary Command in Progress Hill on the Malgravean mainland.

It revealed that the entire Expeditionary Command Headquarters, the Kouralian embassy to Malgrave, and the various less easily acknowledged organisations with a presence at Progress Hill had all lost contact with Kurton, and that KBC Radio 4 was no longer broadcasting. Further updates came from Progress Hill throughout the next hour, detailing that those unacknowledged civil servants had detected unimaginably high magical energy readings emitting from the border between Fortuna and Kouralia. They described how communications was uninterrupted with those people and organisations in the deep South of Borealian Kouralia – for what that was worth – but that nothing had been heard from the Norstralian mainland or the borders with the Hobbiest Forynthry.

It was at this point that Sir Chendryc returned to the Alliance Buildings from a commerce and trade development meeting with some Imerian guilders to review the situation. Ten minutes later she was on a secure conference call between the senior-most military officer for Kouralian military forces in Mystria who had brought every asset he could reach to war footing, and who had declared his intention to assume supreme military command authority of the Kouralian Military until contact could be re-established with the Court Martial and the Coronial Government. That move had seemed premature and suspect at first, but as the conversation had gone on the things disclosed by the general and confirmed in documents received by the Alliance Delegation started to reveal the extent of the problem. So, at two hours after contact was first lost with Kouralia, Sir Chendryc swore an oath in front of the delegation’s assigned pontif to assume her Legatine responsibility for making foreign policy on behalf of the Crown.

It was likely not something looked at too heavily by foreigners, but there was a reason all Kouralian ambassadors were graded as ‘Legates’ akin to senior military commanders. It was not to allow them to assume military command, as some blithely assumed. After all, a nation that took such pride in the professionalism and efficiency of its armed forces would hardly believe modern military strategy to be simple enough to thrust an amateur paper-pusher into it and expect results. Instead, a Legate was among the senior-most of the Officers of the Crown. Great Officers like the Coronial Wardens or the Ynterrecæ aside, a Legate was second only to a Justiciar in terms of the sovereign power of the Union that they wielded. A military commander of that rank was not simply promoted, they became Kouralia in the field, and notionally held wide-ranging powers to exercise of their own volition if they could no longer maintain contact with the wider chain of command.

Any ambassador of equivalent, ‘Legatine’ rank could do the same. Had the Coronial Government been wiped out by nuclear fire – which for all Sir Chendryc knew was true – any of them could make treaties with foreign powers using the full sovereign authority of the Crown. Of course, the value of a treaty with a nuclear-ravaged Kouralia was questionable, and in theory all such treaties – even those that were flat-out mutually exclusive – needed to be ratified by the Senate of Kurton, but still this power was there.

And now that power was hers. Sir Chendryc was the foremost Kouralian Diplomat readily contactable by any government department not within the stormcloud of poor communications. The first, and most important task however was to respond to the communiqé of High King Primus of the Federation. Once this was done, as was to be expected, Sir Chendryc issued similar missives to the governments of the Beastling States of the Crystal Spires and the United Kingdom of Malgrave – though she was entirely sure that Epping was fully aware of and motivated to deal with the issue in hand.

- As from The Office of, and with The Authority of The Crownbearer -
Official Communications from the Office of the
Permanent Commissioners to the Gryningsvägen Alliansen

From: The Office of the Permanent Commissioners
Kouralian Delegation, Allians Byggnaderna
Imeriata Proper
Absolute Royal Federation of Imeriata

To: His royal Highness Primus rex Stjärnkhrone XIV silferföd by the grace of the gods high king of the absolute royal federation, etc. etc.,

Subject: RE: Military aid.

Your Royal Highness,

I must apologise for the impropriety of addressing your Royal Highness unbidded on a matter betwixt yourself and the Crown of Kurton, but I write in response to your letter on this topic received today. Following events not fully understood, the Crown Union has found itself subject to an immensely powerful curse that has resulted in complete failure of critical national infrastructure, near-complete breakdown in communications, and other woes inflicted by means of foul magicks that include but are not limited to the rising of the unquiet, and hungry dead.

Due to the severe difficulties experienced by the Coronial Government in communicating complex matters with persons and organisations abroad, and the currently unknowable status of events within Norstralian Kouralia, I have assumed the interim position of First & Principal Extraordinary Diplomatic Legate of the Crown Union. This has occurred in agreement with the Assistant-Justiciar for Conservation, the Air Officer Commanding-In-Chief Eastern Command, the Accredited & Commissioned Legates-General to the Absolute Royal Federation of Imeriata and to the United Kingdom of Malgrave, and the Vice-Intelligencer-General.

As a result of the exercise of the sovereign power now extraordinarily vested in me, I fully accept all points raised in your missive. As soon as an appropriate accounting can be made by the military for materiel required to prosecute the coming war, we will be in a position to confirm any orders for arms and mechanically propelled vehicles.

Further to this, I welcome the promise of and thank you heartily for the military support promised. I know not the full details of the foe which beleaguers the Crown at this darkest of hours, but our hearts are buoyed with hope at the thought of the Krigsmakt fighting side-by-side with the Legions of Kouralia.

If it has not already been activated by the United Kingdom of Malgrave, I hereby invoke Article 2 of the Gryningsvägen Alliansen charter, to wit:

“…all signatories of this treaty vow to defend one another's crowns and the realm of the crown in the case of internal or external conflict.”

I am, however, unable to commit in perpetuity to any establishment of an Imerian military facility in Kouralia in spite of the extraordinary power I exercise. Following further consultation with the military attachés of my office, and with the personnel of Eastern Command, I will be able to identify specific locations that would be suitable for the purpose you outline. I may authorise you to establish a standing military presence there unless this authority is unilaterally rescinded by the appropriate deciding authority for the Coronial Government. This is something I do authorise you to do, with further clarity about where this can occur to follow. I am not, however able to authorise such an arrangement of sovereignty as is described in your missive.

Should you find it agreeable, I would desire at the earliest possible juncture to discuss these matters and other pressing considerations with yourself or any delegated decision-maker that you deem appropriate for the task.

I thank you for your time and wish your colours victory over all and any foemen,
Sir Chendryc Arðryne, BCW
First & Principal Permanent Commissioner of the Coronial Union of Kouralia to the Gryningsvägen Alliansen,
Accredited & Commissioned, Diplomatic Legate-General of the Crown Union


Communications issued in accordance with 2006 Statute of Continuity.
Communications issued by an Authorised Officer of the Crown exercising the sovereign power of the Crown extraordinarily to the duties of their office.
Should the recipient know this Communications is issued improperly and contrary to the wishes of the Coronial Wardens, the Crown will not be bound by its contents.
Should this Communications be issued properly, the Crown will be bound to its contents only with the advice and consent of the Senate of Kurton.
Last edited by Kouralia on Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Tambelon » Fri Jul 09, 2021 6:22 pm

The Gulf of Ino

The seeding of the sea was not a conventional blockade. Instead of ships flying machines had shot across the sky; they had been seen in Kouralia, curious things of spikes and turbines - or what seemed to be them - that hurtled through the air at supersonic speeds, their destination the mouth of the Gulf of Ino. The Kouralian home continent was a ring of land with a single vast inland sea of temperate water.

These were unmistakably machines, but of some alien technology, likely magitech, rather than living beings or simple lighter-than-air devices. Should anyone have the diligence and means to compare them to records of unidentified aircraft that had been seen in the region before, it would be clear that these aircraft were not soaring these skies for the first time.

Tambelon had once been here centuries ago, and whatever strange works had been found in the depths of the Shadow Plane had been here in the interim, particularly the last few decades, often written off as experiments from the Research Colony’s many strange scientists or ‘mere’ alien spacecraft, these needle-like aircraft had a more sinister origin.

They soared through the air northeast from Tambelon and then turning southward at Selinute toward the Neck of the Ino, the wide strait between the Kouralian heartland and the Malgravean colony.

For now, these aircraft had unchallenged access to the skies, and their destination was poorly equipped to muster more than a few snapshots to defend against them. With the widespread loss of even military power systems, there was little that would reach the fifteen kilometre bombing altitude and they turned, lifting upward as they released spheroid bombs that distributed into wide clusters around the neck of the Ino.

For the few who were close at hand enough to see these bombs hit the water, there was nothing too daunting, and they might have been forgiven for thinking that the bombs had missed some intended target. Only about two to three hours later did it become clear what was happening from the surface, as the sea began to steam and smoulder.

As days passed, more bombing runs followed, and whatever strange bombs these were doing their work.

By the dawn of the next day the gulf would be fully closed as bergs and mountains rose from the seafloor, black ice, perhaps of the world, perhaps not, rising in crags from the ocean’s surface forming a blockage that was two hundred miles across at its widest, sharp and alien, it seemed to be designed to be impassable on foot and on anything but the narrowest boats.

The news would bring dismay to the enemies of the Lord of Tambelon, for his armies had clearly other assets to deploy, and ones that might just be able to strike beyond the range of the Shattering Peal.


The Dungeon, Tambelon

“You know this isn’t the first dungeon I’ve been in?” Luna said, sitting on her haunches, waving her hoof languidly toward her conversation partner, “Not even the gloomiest, I’ve had a fair few adventures,” she said. “Back before I was a princess…”

The spider didn’t understand, or at least she was fairly certain that it didn’t, but smothered by the dark magic of Castle Tambelon, she would have to exert herself to make herself understood to the spider who spun his - she was able to tell that much at least - web in the upper corner of the cell. She waved her hoof and the fetters that held her clinked, she was quite certain that she would be able to escape from here, but she knew just as certainly that her jailors' vigilance would be at a peak right now.

She expected torture, of course, and had been pleasantly surprised thus far, she knew that the Father of Monsters had other ideas for her, but she was confident that she could keep the shadow out of her mind, no matter how deep dark magic pooled here.

She heard the sound of hooves outside, and the door was opened by one of the guards, squat creatures that seemed no two of them alike, certainly something faintly goblinoid, but altered or remade, perhaps through gene-twisting or just as likely alchemical magic. Each guard wore the Sigil of Tambelon somewhere on his person.

“Our host finally graces us with his presence,” Luna said.

Grogar stepped into the chamber with a wide smile on his face, fangs making the self-satisfied smile he wore a matter of ‘at lest you tried.’ “Princess,” he said. “I am sure you are used to finer accommodations, but alas, we have to make do.”

She narrowed her eyes but said nothing until he continued.

“It is not you whom I wish to speak to, of course, if you would let your other self out, I am sure we could come to an agreement for much more fitting quarters.”

“You operate under a mistaken impression, Nightmare Moon is not a separate identity, she is not a product of the Shadow, though Shadow wrought her form, she is but another name we used,” she said.

“I do not believe that,” Grogar said, “I know as much of the darkness as you.”

Luna’s magic was suppressed, but her will was adamant. She looked into Grogar’s eyes as her captor began to work.

The room shook, dust and mortar fell around Grogar. Luna smiled up at him. “It seems you have underestimated our friends,” she said.

He glowered at her, but the building shook again more firmly.

“We must complement their shooting,” she said, “how accurate they are!”

With a growl, Grogar turned to leave, and the guards slammed the door behind him. Luna smiled and bowed her head. As powerful as Grogar was he had limits; he could not challenge her willpower and sustain the wardings that protected Tambelon at the same time. She would use the reprieve as well as she could.


The Campanile, Tambelon

The bells tolled in the high spires as Grogar arrived in the spire chamber, the great bell hanging still while others rang. He reached out to the bell and cast his power into it, shimmering violet light radiating from it, and a moment later the sky shifted as its shielding magics were renewed. Returning the whole city to the material plane had drained the city’s nexus point of much of its power, and it would take time before it could protect itself from such things as nuclear weapons and rockets without his aid.

The shield had been winking in and out of existence, letting the shots pass through, but now it was returned.

“Ihuqinn!” Grogar called.

“My Lord,” the woman said, the moment her name was spoken within a hundred miles she heard, and she could come if she desired.

“Have you begun the work?”

“I have, the gulf should be closed within the day, My Lord.”

“Good. The enemy organized counter-fire faster than we expected; end that impertinence.”

Ihuqinn bowed deeply, turning without word.


Northern Malgravean Research Colony

The Umbral Dragon Thuluss’s wings folded around the top of the Malgravean apartment, gunshots flicked up toward him from the conscripts beneath, his scales turned aside bullets on glancing hits though he felt some of the shots as pin-pricks.

His head tilted down and he breathed vaporous darkness into the streets and gardens that surrounded the apartment, before slipping into the shadow realm again as one of the conscripts brought a rocket launcher to bear, and he took to the wing through the dark skies of the shadow realm.

The buildings beneath were shadowy structures, a reflection of the real world, cliffs and ridges replacing the pale concrete. He swept down to where the enemy troops shadows moved, milling around the black prominence that represented the armoured vehicle they had fought from.

Opening his mouth wide enough to match the door of the transport vehicle, he slipped back into the real and exhaled. The vapours leeched life, startled conscripts twisted and bucked in the wave of shadows, hair crumbling to dust and skin breaking like baked paper.

Other warriors stood before him, daunted by the mental presence of the creature as he moved languidly, and then, indulging himself, pounced like a tiger.

Their task here was one decreed by the Dark Lord himself, to open up a beachhead in the north of the Malgravean colony, the forces here were chosen for their mobility, several portals linked the landmass to the precincts of Tambelon.

The Umbral dragons were only one part of the assault, and other elite forces including the Black Monks of Tambelon were present, their role essentially special forces and air support combined in the short-lived environment of their enemies being without the complex air support that would be needed.


Fortuna Colony

The attack to the north was the strongest that flowed out of the gates of the Dark Castle, but to many, the least notable, as the colony of Fortuna had been quiet of late, but it had a huge quantity of heavy military equipment.

The forces committed in that direction were more formidable. The ground shook under the footfalls of thousands, perhaps millions, of feet heading north across a wider flank than the southern campaign.

There would be precious little help from the north.


Antslæ, Northern Kouralia

The tales of orcs, of any sort, were rarely good. Across countless planes, the same story was told, one of aggression and debasement, ultimately of futility. This was hardly different for the orcs of Tambelon, they had been there as long as the castle had stood. In ages past, they had been workers and toilers, few of the stones of the ancient castle that stood at the heart of the modern city had been hauled into place by any other means. Their lot had become immensely worse the moment that Grogar had seized domination of the place.

Even the name orc was difficult, it applied to any number of beings, and often the only commonality was that they were debased in their attitude and manners. The creatures that had been part of the underclass of Tambelon before the rise of Grogar had fitted that description even then.

Now, their forms had changed, and their long involuntary sojourn in the plane of shadows had altered them, they moved with a ghostlike motion, drifting across the land.

Vultas was just such an orc, and his shade-like appearance drifted toward a town that they had been told was called Antslæ, like everything he had seen in Kouralia thus far, he despised it, the buildings were small, ivy-covered and gaily painted, the opposite of the monolithic architecture of the city he had dwelt all his life in. So much for so little, he despised it and wanted nothing but to burn it.

The town itself was built onto a rocky rise in the hills, around it groves of olive trees and the straight lines of vineyards could be seen, and around that, fences and barriers that had been erected recently.

A shot rang out, and Vultas looked across the painfully green landscape, he could not see the shot, and he drew the shadows about him, a pool of darkness twenty feet wide accompanied him, the enemy would normally have been able to rain fire and he could see the tube-like arrangement of artillery broken near the town. It would do them no good now, without the ability to move it.

Still, he was not going to test what other defences they had too much, he was not a great mage nor was he a general, but he could afford to wait and watch, the flesh-cast would see to it.

They were the definitive footsoldiers of the land invasion, already they could be seen throughout the groves and foothills, the defenders were tenacious, which Vultas fully expected, he did not need to respect their culture or their ways to know that they would respond intelligently; the Dark Lord had made it plain that there would be resistance.

That was why he had created the flesh-cast. They did not cluster together as they travelled overland, but Vultas could already see that capturing Antslæ would prove difficult. There were other types created from other stock, but these were the most common and the most expendable.

He let the flesh-cast advance and watched them with calculating eyes. They were bred to bear the brunt of fighting the highly mechanized armies of the living world, he watched a defender with a machine gun sweep them as they approached the narrow crevasse with a road cut into it that led into Antslæ, they had re-mounted that gun easily enough, and heavy rounds of ammunition struck the flesh-cast repeatedly.

Each round that hit the flesh-cast would not just kill a human or an orc but practically cut them in half, Vultas had seen and even used such weapons, enough to turn the largest of land mammals into things that looked like the rinds of hard fruit with the pulp squashed out. The flesh-cast were resilient in the extreme, they had no distinct organs, no bones to be broken, they were held together by fibrous extensions of flexible material that grew through them, biology that would never have evolved, could not exist in the absence of magic.

For a time Vultas had toiled in the vats that produced these killers, carving the ever-growing mounds of flesh apart as the writhing sensory cilia grew and almost human shapes took form; at that point, one would be carved out, allowed to heal and sent to be trained, they had little intelligence, but their resilience was almost unmatched.

Vultas watched one of the flesh-cast take a hit to its barrel chest, each was a hulking thing, perhaps seven or eight feet tall and built with the stolid solidity of a gorilla or even a hippopotamus, there were eyes, one of the few concessions to distinct organs, and they had no hair on their forms, instead, they had a leathery hide similar to a beast’s, grey solid.

The shot did less damage than it would to a man, the flesh of the expendable warrior bursting out through the tendrils of enhanced material around it, as cheese pushed through a grater, red blood trickling from the edge, a whole foot and a half of flesh was missing and the flesh-cast was tilted to one side awkwardly, unable to move but healing as it did.

It was debilitated, and another bullet tore it to pieces, but Vultas was unconcerned, watching as others were pulped entirely by repeated shots, he watched one lose an arm and tear off the arm from one of its comrades to press it into place on the frayed and torn stump, the two forms healing together in moments.

Despite the resilience of the flesh-cast, the defenders were keeping them from Antslæ’s sheer walls. In the grove Vultas had faded almost to a shadow as he watched, more of the resilient creations had pressed through the grove, firing their own weapons upward at the picturesque buildings that stood on the cliff-face. Most had weapons that were small-arms of one sort or another, Tambelon had flame lances such as Vultas carried, but they were more complex to create and enchant than mere firearms, and the technology for firearms was easier.

Flesh-cast were terribly difficult to kill with many of the weapons in use across the land, but someone in Antslæ had discovered their weakness, and another machine gun position was using a supply of incendiary bullets with more shots as the flesh-cast pushed into the choke point, turning them into flaming torches; the defenders used the less useful ammunition to slow up the advance and the more useful to leave a heap of cinders close to where the roads went into Antslæ.

The road was blocked by pre-fabricated barriers packed with earth and barbed wire, and hoses of flammable materials had been set up above, the last push had resulted in the route burning hot enough that the stones were black from the heat on both sides of the road.

Vultas knew exactly how to resolve this problem, their air support had been called away on other tasks, and this meant that the troops on the ground would need to take losses. The flesh-caste commanders called a retreat, and he watched them halt, covering one another as they withdrew.

He headed back himself, keeping his eyes open and his form shrouded as he approached the enclosed defile that was serving as the flesh-caste command post. The mixture of archaic and stolen modernity that defined the forces of Grogar was in evidence, camouflage netting had been put up but the camp equipment lacked any sort of electronics.

“Leave the town, this is taking too long,” Vultas said.

The flesh-caste commander glared at him, its sharp eyes looking from its hulking frame. “I didn’t ask you, scout.”

“Twice now you have failed. You need artillery to get in there. Small towns on the border mean nothing, we should move on.”

That the flesh-caste had been given their own commanders was a mistake, Vultas thought.

The commander - it had no name that Vultas knew, very few of these creations seemed to have an identity of their own - stared back at him.

“The Lord says we take the border towns,” it said.

“Towns, not just this town,” Vultas said. “You fail the Lord if you spend days taking one.”

The commander was an idiot, or at least used to operating under more direct oversight. Vultas wondered if by breeding fear out of the flesh-cast the Lord hadn’t removed the good sense to employ tactics. “We got through their first defences.”

“Nothing larger than a handgun had been mended, the further we go the more resistance we will face,” the Orc said. “We must press on.”

“What do you want us to do?”

“Leave a company here, arm them and keep the humans trapped, cut off the water supplies and when heavy equipment is ready we can simply use artillery on them. We are outriders, we should be pillaging and burning, this town can wait.”

The flesh-cast thought long about the idea, and at last grunted an assent.

Vultas didn’t like it, and he stalked out of the dugout, clutching his fire lance. He would rather have had an orc in command of the expedition but he suspected the Dark Lord did not care too much about the men at the front, particularly not this one. He had sent many of his fliers out to the eastern humans called Malgraveans, and much of the rolling monstrosities that he could use as shock troops had been sent north to the men called Freethinkers.

Vultas did not know the subtleties of the Dark Lord’s strategy, but he knew that the initial invasions were to capitalize on the disorientation caused by the Bell. Eventually, the enemy would become organized even with the bell, and they would push back against the far too advanced front that the flesh-cast were pushing to, burying enemy warriors under their dead. He decided he wasn’t going to be there though. He was an orc, and orcs always survived.


Residential District, Cerne, Research Colony, Malgrave

The portal opened with a billow of smoky green radiance, a fell shimmering that revealed that something was coming. There was no tide of flesh-cast here, simply a single figure. She was taller than most Malgravean women, dark-haired and dressed more for the ballroom than battle.

She was also pale, ash-coloured rather than the beige of pale flesh, her long life on the Shadow Plane had drawn the tint not just from her skin but her blood. She was surrounded by an aura of magecraft that turned projectiles aside.

Ituqinn’s attack was not as numerous as the assaults into northern Kouralia, but it was no more subtle. She raised her hand, speaking words of the ancient arcane language of High Draconic, and drew down meteors from the sky. Burning fire fell in lines with a thunderclap, stones drawn from far off to strike among the railgun battery, each striking with a force that made the ground quake.

Another gesture followed and the ground began to bleed a shimmering smoke around the enemies ahead of her, pale white smoke with hissing embers, similar to white phosphorous conjured from the ground.

The spell was a brutal one, and some would live, though only magical healing would suffice to give them any quality of life again after the burning incendiary cloud that swept outward and actively pursued the resisting troops.

Satisfied, though she was still under periodic attack, her multi-layered wardings humming and crackling with power, and she looked at the mayhem she had caused, her eyes settling on Soldato Parri.

Isotta was a rather talented mage by the standards of the Malgraveans; Ituqinn was a true archmage, she brought the woman toward her with a compulsion of mind-trammelling enchantment, and had the Malgravean woman throw down her weapon, placing her hands behind her head, and having her position herself between the Tambeloni archmage and her comrades.

The woman was as much a resource as the guns - experimental and pricey as they were - had been, and while killing her would be easy, Ithuqinn could always use a talented new recruit to the cause.

She turned back to the portal, stepping through, her new thrall backing through behind her, wide-eyed in terror, before it snapped shut.


The Campanile, Tambelon

The scrying sphere was rarely unused in the Campanile, the Great Goat was not one to rest easy, and he needed neither sleep nor bodily rest, the product of the potent magic he possessed. The crystalline ball was able to see far across the world and with it he watched the progress of his armies and the movements of his enemies.

There were few in the world capable of resisting the Dark Lord’s gaze, and he could even cast it to other planes. But what he saw now he did not like. His gaze was settled on the sea neat to the land of Kouralia.

Long before his rise to power, and before the Shadow had consumed him, the city of Tambelon had been a wealthy city of merchant traders on the Yno sea. The city’s records were deep within archives closed off to most of its teeming population of myrmidons and curated servants, but they were still accessible to the Dark Lord.

Much of the world had forgotten the importance of the portal to the Scanderan homeland, a magical portal used by Scanderan raiders before Tambelon had been banished. It had not been strategically relevant for lifetimes, though naval planners knew of it well.

The Imerians were not slothful or idle people, and they had many who knew how to sail the old ways, soon he expected to see ships of the older types sailing through the waves, already he had seen more than one experiment pass through. The after-effects of the Shattering Peal meant that conventional vessels would be useless so close to the northern continent, but that would not stop the Imerians for long.

This was where the first help would arrive. He was confident he could have wrested the portal to collapse but to do so would be a prodigious use of his carefully hoarded strength. It might even perhaps result in a confrontation with the tutelaries of Imeriata. He was not afraid of gods, but the marshalled strength of the Shadow was keeping him from direct confrontation with the Kouralian idols, with the Imerians’ strength joined to theirs it would likely assure his defeat if he acted too soon.

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Postby Hippocratia » Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:55 pm

The Palace of the Ancient Tribunal, Mare-a-thon, Capital of Hippocratia - After the Arrival

Few armies had been as subdued in defeat as the Hippocratian strike team, they had been confident with the Sisters leading them that Tambelon would be banished for another five centuries. Instead, they had lost one of the greatest leaders that ponykind had ever had, and the strike team largely blamed themselves.

Brass Tacks sighed her deepest sigh, as she hobbled, ignoring a leg injury as much as she could, as she had not the strength to heal herself.

“Send word to Steelhof,” she said, “my way has failed, his army has the duty of leading us now.”

One of the armoured aides who had rushed to her as the medics and other support personnel tended to the strike team snapped to attention.

The Polemarch’s Redoubt, Mare-a-thon - Now

The map of the content laid out before Steelhof was three meters wide, set on a table of mahogany. “We have confirmed uprisings all across Aletia, we had hoped that lack of technology would hamper resistance groups more than us, but it seems that it has emboldened them, we have confirmed that the Free Aletia Front is operating very well against local security forces. I believe that they were tipped off by Grogar’s cultists.” The speaker was the liaison to the southern province that had long been settled by humans and had been growing interested in secession in the last few decades.

Steelhof’s last seventy-two hours had not been pleasant, and the old pegasus was working through the situation.

“Marshal Sunlance.”

Another of the officers snapped his heels, “Your Grace,” he said.

“What is our situation with the front?”

“We have been preparing care packages for our neighbours and particularly Kouralia, at your command we can begin.”

He gestured a hoof over the low table, where a trio of unicorn adjutants in a gallery overhead moved wood-block unit signifiers as information was reported.

“Our information about the border situation is poor and our advance forces are making slow progress across the mountains with the Storm of Grogar,” Sunlance continued, “but we should be able to get combat forces into position within the next day.”

“Expect that the Goat has something planned for us,” Steelhof said, and a chorus of resigned agreement followed. Nothing had gone as well as the war plans had hoped.

They had known that Grogar would try something, but the power of the Sundering had been unexpected, so much had failed to go as planned.

“Tell me more about the care packages.”

“We are hoping to run an air chain through the southern counties,” he said, and picking up on it, one of the unicorns looked at the map of the plan and projected it as a glimmering chain from the centre of Hippocratia to southern Kouralia.

“With magic teleportation at best unreliable, this is something for pegasus wing-power, which limits what we can do, but we are able to get high-quality medicines and some key assets across the continent, from here to Malgrave, and also north,” another column appeared, “With that in mind we should be able to land here, we can hope the Imerians will make landfall at some of the southern ports, we should be able to get enough unicorns, again by wing-power to set up teleportation relays from there, the disadvantage of that is with supplies like that disappearing they’re likely to end up in Tameblon’s dungeons, Your Grace.”

“He’s had five hundred years to think about this, I am sure he has more food than he knows what to do with. If we can keep people from starving then that’s worthwhile in itself.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”
Last edited by Hippocratia on Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby The Batorys » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:22 pm

“Keep her steady,” Captain Lapsui said to the helmswoman, noticing the way the wind buffeted the enormous aircraft she commanded, but not overly concerned. Though piloting an airship through bad weather was no easy feat, she’d been in much worse before. Sudden though it was, this storm paled in comparison to those back home in the taiga. Despite the turbulence, Lapsui didn’t even put down her coffee. While Kovalchuk was relatively new to the Silanah, she was by no means new to piloting large Eleint Skylines airships. And what an airship she was. The fourth ship of the newest class, NZS-17004 Silanah and her sisters were the largest airships ever built in Hyperborea at 497m in length. Large enough to use a new fusion reactor powerplant and still have plenty of lifting capacity to spare. Captaining such a vessel was one of the most prestigious postings in Eleint Skylines, and certainly of Khadne Lapsui’s career. Like her sisters, she was one of the airline’s cruiseliners, booked for tourist vacations on meandering voyages, making daily ports of call for the sightseers.

Below and ahead of them, Cerne’s highrises stood above the blanket of foliage formed by the city’s abundant greenspaces. They approached from the northwest, over the ocean, today’s destination growing larger in the forward windows. No doubt, the passengers were enjoying the picturesque view despite the weather. Soon, another successful mooring (as rarely did the airship ever truly land), and the passengers would be able to disembark to spend their time in the city.

Just then, Lapsui felt something enormous impact the Silanah, as if a gigantic ghostly hand had swatted the vessel. NZS-17004 lurched over at a stomach-dropping angle, in an instant traveling forward at least three times her normal speed before resettling, though not quite to an even keel. The captain staggered, falling to the floor, soon being pelted by a rain of safety glass as the control cabin’s windows shattered. Time seemed to slow down as her mind struggled to keep up with the events happening less than a second, though fast enough to recognize that the stinging in her hand was the spilled coffee, to see Kovalchuk holding onto the helm for dear life, barely staying upright. Getting to her feet, she commanded “get us righted! Correct course!”

The helmswoman looked back, clearly confused as she spun the wheel but it did nothing, as if it was no longer turning anything. Though Kovalchuk had disabled the auto-elevation, the manual control for this aspect of the airship’s operation had no more effect than the main wheel. “Rudder and elevators both unresponsive,” she had to yell, now that the wind went right through the cabin.

The sound of hurried footsteps from the stairs and the captain glanced back to see Tauno Sepp, the head steward. “What the fuck is going on?” he yelled. “All the glass in the observation lounge just shattered!” His voice trailed off at the last word as he saw the same had happened here also.

“Don’t know,” Lapsui replied. “But it appears we’ve lost control of the ship.” She picked up the intercom to engineering. “Report.” Her brows furrowed as she listened to what the head engineer on the other end informed her on the situation. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Understood” she said, hanging up with a long sigh. “The reactor is down as well. We’re on backup power.” She turned to the head steward. “Mr. Sepp, inform the passengers that they should return to their rooms and keep their lights and all other electrical devices.” With a nod, the latter ascended the staircase and could be heard faintly directing the passengers above.

“Captain, we are drifting,” Kovalchuk said. “Current drift towards the west.”

Lapsui nodded.

“The channel is nothing but maydays,” reported Rushana Æfsæinag, the radio operator. “Well… was…” she added, soberly. Clearly heavier-than-air aircraft had not fared so well in the calamity. They had been on the main frequency for air traffic already due to their previously impending arrival.

“The com, if you’d be so kind, Æfsæinag,” the commanding officer said before moving beside her and taking up the microphone. The radio operator flipped the rocker switch to broadcast. “This is Captain Khadne Lapsui of the dirigible NZS-17004 Silanah, to Cerne air control or anyone else. We have lost main power as well as steering and are currently drifting west. Can anyone read me?”


“Preflight checklist, clear” Arezu Darzi noted, checking off the final item with a bit of extra flair.

Captain Sybilla Kałuża nodded at her copilot, and spoke into her headset mic “Tower, this is Eleint Flight ES-149, reporting ready for takeoff, over.” In the distance, the hulking shape of one of their airline’s dirigibles was visible through the cockpit window, slowly arriving at Cerne.

“Eleint, you’re cleared for takeoff.”

At that moment, a chorus of chatter came over the Ku-93’s radio, seemingly mostly maydays, from flights over the Gulf of Ino.

“Eleint please hold at your current position, we have a bit of a situation.” the tower said, in the midst of the noise.

Staring at the console, Darzi said “You know what we need to do, Sybilla? We need to get the fuck out of here. That’s what we need to do.”

“Negative, Tower,” Kałuża said into her headset, before pushing the throttle all the way forward.

The two pilots felt themselves pushed back into their seats as the supersonic airliner accelerated down the runway. Contrary to usual protocol, she didn’t pull back the throttle even after they were airborne and climbing. Under normal circumstances, power would be reduced after takeoff to avoid breaking the sound barrier too close to heavily populated areas. But whatever was happening, the captain had no intention of sticking around for. As the Ku-93 approached the speed of sound, its wings slid back to their supersonic position, and the crack of a sonic boom echoed across the landscape. Not a moment too soon, as just a moment later they heard the broadcast of their colleague, Captain Lapsui, from the Silanah.

“Passengers, this is your captain speaking,” Sybilla said into the intercom. “My apologies for the rough takeoff. There was a situation at Cerne that required a more rapid exit than usual.”
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Postby Malgrave » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:44 pm

Monsaum, Research Colony

Monsaum was something that was quite rare back on the Malgravean mainland, a small settlement, its continued existence a nod to the fact that when the Malgraveans had initially stumbled upon the territory they weren’t greeted with vast empty spaces of land but a landmass that was actually occupied by a native population.

It was a combination of targeted propaganda campaigns and several negotiations that proved to be the winning solution for getting the indigenous leaders on side, the final settlement being reached around twenty-one years ago, an agreement that containment significant settlements such as exemptions for local political parties regarding the then active Ministry of Anti-Fascism and Anti-Communism alongside the expansion of the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Supervisors to permit the election of local representatives.

In addition to these political commitments, the Malgravean government had also entered into a commitment with indigenous representatives to limit the impact of construction efforts on already existing minor settlements, with the government pledging to preserve as many settlements as possible, although, in areas lined up for the establishment of new population centres or high-speed rail lines this often just meant that residents were offered a hefty financial package to move out but in Monsaum things were different.

Monsaum was in a location that had yet to be earmarked for large scale construction projects by the mainland, this was primarily due to the fact that the region it was in was separated by Gosbury (the nearest large settlement) by a rather thick mountain range, however, it was also because the number of immigrants attempting to find live in the region was significantly lower compared to earlier predictions, of course, that didn’t mean that the town hadn’t received some upgrades, the combination of new apartments, upgraded healthcare and educational facilities alongside local access to the wider railway network showcasing that it had received some support from Cerne in the past couple of decades, with the latter already being worked on to try and transport the civilian population to the nearest settlement beyond the mountain line.

It was, therefore, a considerable shock for the residents to find themselves under attack, a relatively minor fishing settlement wasn’t exactly thought of as a major military target in comparison to larger settlements like Cerne so only a lone infantry battalion had been dispatched to prepare for its potential defence.

As Enrico Marconi looked at the unfolding chaos a major part of him had wished that the Territorial Defence Force had sent a considerable larger army to the region, the fisherman had some initial reservations when he had first heard that he was set to become a citizen of another state, however, the improvements that MalTra had made to the local port and transport infrastructure had made it considerably easier for him to get his produce to a larger market, plus the Breheimian migrants that had visited the regions after the transfer had proven themselves to be incredibly tough workers.

Enrico took cover behind a line of sandbags as he saw a group of conscripts attempt to engage with some manner of dragon with their ageing bullpup weapons, the fisherman was aware the platform had served his new nation quite well over the years but as he watched the bullets ping ineffectually off the creatures back he suspected that his fellow citizens would soon be hoping that they had replaced it in the last decade, although the fact that the creature appeared able to zap in-between planes of existence certainly worked to make the job of the conscripts considerably more difficult.

In the space of a few minutes Enrico had managed to move closer to a more entrenched position in the town, the fisherman looking on a small group of mortars and assorted machine-gun nests that had managed to salvage a firing position from the ruins of their previous equipment, such weapons were being used to support the attempted small counter-attacks against the forward advance designed to blunt their momentum but Enrico wasn’t interested in this side of the battle, so with a small nod of acknowledgement, Enrico moved forward, the fisherman's eyes scanning for the return of the creature.

When the dragon returned it wouldn’t be met with the fire of AR-2 weapons but would come against those trained in ancestral abilities, as the more recent encounters during the winter war and historical service had shown the government the importance of developing defensive strategies to deal with enemy mages and so the number of trained ancestrally-attuned individuals within all aspects of the military had been increased substantially, with these ranks being bolstered by members of the ASG that had engaged in courses to expand upon their own ancestral energies. It was this combination of experience and training that forged the base of the plan that Enrico was about to take part in, the soldiers and officials from the ASG working together to try and prevent the dragon from escaping through the portal as long as possible by preventing the local use of planar magic for as long as possible, as this was done Enrico and his colleagues did their part to aid the cause, the fisherman rushing forward to throw some hooks that had been taken earlier from local butchers and fishing vessels before being dug into the ground and covered with some quick-dry cement further enhanced with ancestral abilities.

While Enrico and his colleagues were doing their best to hold the dragon down the last portion of the plan stepped into action, a team of conscripts moving forward to fire a couple of AT-7’s at the dragon, with one team firing before being swiftly replaced with another unit to try and ensure the destruction of the beast.

It was a plan being sent across the research colony with the aid of ancestral abilities but only time would tell how effective it would be against the enemy.

Residential District, Cerne, Research Colony

Cerne wasn’t strictly classified as the capital of the Research Colony, with the government in Epping referring to it as a regional administration centre serving as a convenient hub to organise all activity in the area, however despite this technical classification, in common parlance, Cerne was referred to as the capital of the Research Colony.

It meant that Cerne was also at the heart of the colonial defence strategy, with significant attention paid to the construction of several layers of defensive lines that seemed to radiate around all corners of the residential centre, with specific focus paid to critical infrastructure points that were perceived as being vulnerable to enemy attacks. In that regard some attention had been paid to individuals or groups of individuals with the ability to cause havoc in such situations by simply teleporting into rear-guard lines and weakening defensive points to give the enemy a critical advantage during future operations, such tactics had been further deployed by hostile forces in the winter deployment in Silverdale and in response, the TDF had sent urgent reminds to all units reminding them of the dangers of teleporting hostiles.

In spite of this precaution, the forces present at the artillery barrage in Cerne couldn’t do much to protect their colleagues from attack, of course, those present had tried quite valiantly to protect their colleagues from attack, however, the combination of the horrific magic-based attack brought upon a large number of resisting soldiers and the powerful wards the attacking individual was using to protect herself from the various weapon platforms being aimed towards her meant that their resistance was rather ineffectual, and they were turned into mere spectators as Soldato Parri was swept off the field of battle.

As soon as the chaos stopped several teams of medics ran out from the entrenchment system where they had previously been working away on soldiers wounded in battles occurring across the frontlines, the Malgraveans utilising their ancestral abilities to stabilise the patients to the best of their abilities before starting to place them on enchanted stretchers that worked to provide continued low-level magical to those it carried, a steady chain-forming as wounded soldiers began to be carried to the nearest medical centre.

It only took a few moments for the first soldiers to be carried towards the sterilised environment of the medical centre that had been carved into the entrenchment network a few weeks prior to the start of the battle, a group of doctors and other medical professionals working quite hard to provide care to the number of patients that had been delivered into their care since the start of combat operations.

Lena Wozniak was the doctor on hand for the arrival of the latest batch of patients, the Malgravean had recently arrived in the Research Colony following her deployment to the Silverdalean theatre of operations and had received several commendations for her quality of work, however, in line with regulations surrounding the amount of time soldiers were supposed to spend in specific combat conditions she had been sent to the Research Colony to take a mental break from the exhaustion of war, a strange twist of fate ensuring that the doctor received very little in the way of a break before being thrown into action once more.

“What have we got here?” Lena asked, the doctor initially using a mixture of knowledge that she had picked up from a combination of medical school and basic experience to give the patient a visual examination, of course, the doctor could see the obvious but it was always worth talking with the medics to ensure that nothing was missed below the service.

“24 soldiers, all hit with some manner of pyrophoric substance caused by an assailant using ancestral abilities, similar to white phosphorus munitions,” the medic said before going into further technical detail about the work they did to stabilise the patients alongside more typical information on blood pressure and oxygen levels.

“We won’t be able to heal them conventionally in this condition with the equipment available,” Lena said, the doctor referring to some of the more vital pieces of equipment that was still being worked on by a very confused engineering team, “We have 24 wounded soldiers in this condition, right?” Lena asked, picking up a small spreadsheet, the doctor continuing to speak when she saw the medic confirm the numbers, “If you take 9 of them to this facility located further on this defensive line they’ll have an easier time getting medical treatment, understand?”

In response the medic nodded, the Malgravean seemingly understanding the urgency of the situation as he quickly signalled towards 9 of the teams helping to carry stretchers to get underway towards a similar facility that was located further along the defensive network, a facility that would hopefully be equipped to deal with the influx of new patients.

Lena sighed to herself before getting to work herself, the doctor starting to coordinate with her nearby colleagues, many of whom were already starting to take the wounded conscripts to their new places in the facility to undergo the magic-based treatments that they needed to undergo conventional medical treatments followed hopefully by another series of magic-based treatments which would see their chance of survival increase.

Sinubis, Research Colony

Sinubis had historically served as a fishing up for the immediate region, with dozens of fishing vessels of varying size being employed to scour the seas for produce that was sold both locally and regionally, however, prior to the settlement of the region by the Malgravean government it had fallen into a state of disrepair, as in addition to losses from bad weather the fleet had suffered due to pirate attacks which severely limited the range at which the fleet could safely operate reducing the stock of fish that they could bring home.

It meant that the arrival of the Malgraveans to the region was warmly welcomed by local indigenous leaders, with such a friendly movement being spearheaded by Xavier Cardoso, the lead representative of the fishing community that as a younger man had travelled to Aurora for further education and was therefore quite familiar with the tendency of the Malgravean government to spend a considerable portion of money on infrastructure projects.

In the years since the arrival of the Malgraveans, Xavier Cardoso had been proven quite correct as the settlement had received some manner of development organised from officials in Cerne, of course, the money invested in the rather dilapidated local clinic was welcome but the most popular construction choice was the decision to expand upon the port, the facility constructed at Sinubis wasn’t the largest in the region by far yet its presence combined with the increased protection offered by the Royal Navy meant that the fishing industry began to return to the region.

It wasn’t just the fishing industry that benefited from the development, as Sinubis was both a small and relatively ancient settlement compared to the rest of Malgrave it soon began to gain positive attention as a spot for tourism, a location where people could visit purely to take in the picturesque aesthetic of an old fishing village or use as a stepping stone to visit other locations in the colony, and so within the next few years further improvements to the port were spearheaded by MalTra to allow the docking of small ferries, an addition which meant that the port could receive transport services from its neighbours such as Kouralia.

Sinubis didn’t usually welcome military vessels, the fact that the port was designed to facilitate civilian vessels such as fishing craft and regional ferries combined with the presence of naval bases near Ryne and Cerne meant that the largest vessel people were accustomed to seeing was the occasional Corvette, however, all of that changed with the arrival of the anti-piracy fleet from Ilan.

A significant portion of the fleet that had been dispatched to check-in on the colony from Ilan weren’t currently able to fully utilise the port facilities present at Sinubis given its civilian-focused nature, however, given the information previously provided to the Navy they were somewhat prepared for such an eventuality and had taken several ships with them capable of constructing temporary docking facilities, it would take some time for the facilities to be built up to an operational state but eventually, the Royal Navy would have a new base to conduct operations from.

Within an hour of the construction project starting reinforcements came in from the direction of Luban, the fourth city of the colonial region hadn’t been directly stuck inside the anti-technology zone and so had quickly organised additional forces to assist with the defence of such vital infrastructure projects, so as people got to work the tell-tale howl of Avro aircraft filled the air as the Royal Air Force made its presence known, the professional service wasn’t as well regarded compared to the Royal Navy now had the chance to make an impact.

In addition to the Air Force units from the Territorial Defence Force had been dispatched to support the defence of the construction efforts at Sinubis, with reinforcements arriving in the form of the 18th Infantry Brigade, 4th Engineering Brigade and the 82nd Air Defence Battalion, of course, the immediate job of the 4th Engineering Brigade and the 18th Infantry Brigade was to start work on the construction of the logistical facilities that will be needed to support the arrival of the Royal Navy and the defensive networks that would be required to attempt a defence of the region if it came under attack, a likely possibility given the earlier targeted attacks against key targets.

As that happened the 82nd Air Defence Battalion were busy establishing themselves, as the anti-technology zone hadn’t pierced Sinubis yet they were able to deploy their full-list of equipment, so on-top of the radar emplacements and missile batteries that one typically associated with anti-air batteries, a series of armoured vehicles could also be seen deployed in a defensive matter, with troops deployed preparing sandbags and similar defensive structures to support the anti-air installations should it come under attack, as they were expected to when they began to fight for control over the skies.

In time Sinubis would form the basis of a connection between the Research Colony and the rest of Mystria, and the Malgraveans were doing all they could to ensure that remained the case.

Luban, Research Colony

In theory, Luban was quite comparable to cities on the mainland, the population centre boasted the typical dense apartment complexes with self-contained areas for healthcare facilities, youth organisations and even private business concerns such as laundry services and restaurants, however, Luban also boasted quite a few additions that made it stand out in comparison to its mainland counterparts, for starters, whilst in Epping old-style apartments tended to differ little in terms of external styling and size the apartment complexes in Luban varied widely in both size and style, with individual apartments being designed by different individuals who had been given a certain level of freedom to design an apartment alongside a specific theme that was designated for a certain area, as a result, Luban flowed more organically compared to older Malgravean cities, as the height and density of apartments differed quite widely within even a short space.

Luban was also different as despite the fact it was designed to comfortably house a population of around 20 million people, the official population of the city prior to the disturbance within Silverdale had been recorded at just 6 million people, however, the arrival of the Silverdalean population had bumped that up significantly and now the population centre was running close to intended capacity.

It meant that Luban was quite a lively city, a factor which was increased due to the rather energetic nature of the Silverdalean inhabitants that now made up a majority of its population, with music and assorted magic-based festivities being quite commonplace as the new arrivals and locals tried to cheer each other up, of course, the earthquake associated with the arrival of Grogar had put an end to the festivities rather quickly, however, unlike other cities in the colony the city of Luban wasn’t contained within the anti-technology field and therefore life continued as normal.

It was this rather strange situation that led Director-General of Colonial Development and Research Choe Isuel to move the locations of the crisis centre to Luban as opposed to Cerne, not for ease of communications between the rest of the colonial who were sending in their reports through the use of volunteers capable of flight or messages being relayed via secure magical means but for ease of use with Epping.

“We have managed to stabilise the situation in Cerne, however, you can inform Epping that we have received some reports that the enemy has made inroads near Monsaum, a small settlement on the northern stretches of the colony,” Divisional General Aurelia Necchi said, her voice and image being projected to Luban through the use of ancestral abilities, “It is something that we haven’t been able to confirm due to current technological limitations, however, we are working on ensuring that the civilian population can be evacuated.”

“It is a priority that we ensure the safety of the civilian population, especially the Silverdalean refugees. Epping has informed us that they are working with the Silverdaleans and other assorted foreigners on a plan to ensure the safe evacuation of the civilian population within due course, however, until then we must do our utmost to limit civilian casualties,” Isuel said through the technomagical connection.

“You can inform Epping that it has been our priority to protect the civilian population from the start of this crisis, Research Director,” Aurelia said rather plainly, although her frustration wasn’t directed particularly at the Director-General, “It would be in our best interests to receive reinforcements from the mainland as soon as possible though.”

“Yes, when I heard such orders I tried to explain that this has been a priority since the start of the crisis but I believe they are still trying to gain their equilibrium,” Isuel said, “It is fortunate that we were able to prepare stockpiles of food in underground storage facilities, however, at the current rate of food consumption compared with localised food production combined with the logistical issues means that we will require food shipments within the next few months. In that regard, I have been informed that we are working to get such food shipments so your soldiers can be more secure of their food supplies at least.”

“I am curious as to how these food supplies will get here though, by all reports Cernie is effectively cut off from large transport vessels,” Aurelia said, referencing reports that had flooded in about the creation of a strange bridge that blocked the entrance to the Gulf of Ino.

“I heard reports that the navy is building a temporary port at Sinubis,” Isuel replied referencing some notes she had received earlier from the Royal Navy, “It should be operational within a few days, furthermore, we have determined that it is quite safe to use ancestral abilities to conduct repairs on infrastructure relating to the rail network so we’ll be able to send you some manner of reinforcements.”

Aurelia chuckled at that information for a few seconds, “In an ideal world I would like to request some additional air support, however, I doubt that the aircraft would last even five minutes within the anti-tech zone so we’ll have to depend upon our Silverdalean allies for that,” Aurelia said in a rather tired tone, “It would be nice if we could borrow some additional artillery pieces, we were delivering some rather effective blows against the enemy, however, they were taken out in a rather effective counter-attack, the new weapons can always be repaired in the field after their initial transfer,”

“It has been rather fortunate being able to count upon the air force for protection,” Isuel said referencing the local airbase that had been seeing near-constant action since the start of the crisis, “I’ll pass those instructions onto local units so those artillery pieces will be moved with the next wave of reinforcements. Can you think of anything else?”

“We need individuals capable of projecting strong anti-planar and anti-teleportation fields of ancestral energy or we need technological platforms that can project a strong and reliable anti-magic field, as we certainly wish to try and avoid the same disaster that fell upon our artillery pieces happening again,” Aurelia said, of course, the Divisional General understood that a few of her fellow citizens would be uncomfortable with the idea of anti-magic but extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures, “I understand the ASG has a few individuals that are capable of such a feat, however, for larger numbers we may have to rely on certain foreign powers.”

“You haven’t tried strapping a few Rohanians to a rod and waving it around yet?” Isuel joked before becoming more serious, “I’ll pass that request onto the ASG in Epping, as for the foreign powers we’ll have hope that they will come to our aid given the rather severe nature of the situation.”

“Yes, the soldiers deployed to Monsaum will do their best to defend the region, however, eventually they’ll either be destroyed or forced to retreat to an area just north of the mountain ridge,” Aurelia said with a sigh, “It will be an incredibly tough fight but ancestors willing we’ll give our all to the end just as I imagine you’ll do in Luban.”

“We certainly have no desire to abandon our home, Aurelia,” Isuel remarked, the Director referencing a common feeling among many Malgraveans that had strengthened since the loss of their original homeland, “I am confident that your management of the defensive front will lead our forces to victory, especially, with the assistance of our allies.”

“I am thankful for the confidence you have in my abilities, Isuel, although I am personally hoping for said reinforcements to come sooner rather than later,” Aurelia said, “In that line of thoughts I trust that you’ll handle the administrative side of things well, now, I must attend to military affairs but good luck and may the ancestors watch over you.”

“I can say the same to you, Aurelia,” Isuel said, “I certainly hope that the ancestors are watching over your soldiers, would certainly be a pleasant time for them to come forward now.”

Aurelia gave a dry chuckle before the communication channel went dark, the Director-General sighing briefly to herself before she went back to work.

HMNV Monika Chmiel, Gulf of Ino, Research Colony.

In the opening stages of the crisis, the HMNV Monika Chmiel had been ordered to abandon its fellow vessels and travel at best possible speed to the Research Colony, the mission was quite a simple one, the re-establishment of communications with either regional military or civilian assets so that the situation could be assessed and dealt with in a reasonable, logical and timely manner, thankfully, for all involved this operation had been quite successful and communications had been established between the HMNV Rensk and her escorts, unfortunately, moments, after that contact had been established chaos had unfurled as the Monika Chmiel, had undergone the same failures that had crippled the fleet they had been sent to contact.

“Great, this is absolutely fantastic,” Alicja Alderisi said as she surveyed the mess that was formerly the Internal Command and Communication Centre of the Monika Chmiel, “I love this situation, really I do,”

“In that case, it appears as if we’ve travelled into some manner of self-repeating anti-technology field or technology exclusion zone,” Lee Su-Jin said, the First Lieutenant said ignoring the rather indignant looks that she was receiving from her superior, “I did receive some good news before this current......series of tragic events fell upon us though.”

Alicja simply sighed at her Lieutenants antics, the Frigate-Captain understood that the elven woman was quite intelligent, however, she was always left exasperated when she failed to read the room and stated the obvious, “What is it, Su-Jin? I doubt that it could solve this disaster.”

“I believe it will, Lieutenant,” Su-Jin said with a bright smile, “Firstly, we were able to establish communication with a portion of the submarine fleet, thankfully, their failsafe systems were able to be activated and they rose to the surface and thanks to some old short-range MalTec equipment they were able to contact us. It means that other submarines could have survived as well but simply be out of communication range.”

At that information Alicja perked up, the Frigate-Captain had practically considered the submarine fleet to be lost when she heard of the technical problems impacting the surface fleet, however, the news that not all was lost was quite comforting, “What is the other portion of good news?”

“I was able to speak to an engineer on the Rensk and they’ve been able to impact some repairs on pieces of equipment that broke using their ancestral abilities,” Su-Jin said, “It resulted in a rather strange incident as some of the items repaired broke while others remained in working order.”

“It is possible that the item was being repaired around the time the cycle was being refreshed and they effectively cancelled each other out,” Alicja explained, the Frigate-Captain not wanting to build up any unhelpful expectations, “I believe we have some engineers that are capable of similar feats, correct?”

“You are correct, Captain. We have a number of engineers and other crew members that are trained in ancestral abilities,” Su-Jin said, the Royal Navy was quite proud of the fact that it was the first branch of the armed forces to recognise the potential of ancestral abilities in a military context and they had subsequently undergone a series of reforms to increase the number of ancestrally-attuned sailors within the service

“In that case let's start testing a theory,” Alicja said, “If we start working on repairs to critical systems and they break again then we’ve only really wasted our time, however, if some of these systems remain repaired then we know we’ve stumbled upon something special, agreed?”

“It would certainly ensure we aren’t sitting mallards,” Su-Jin replied, “I’ll send the orders to the engineering team.”

“Good,” Alicja said, “Hopefully we’ll either prove that these items were being repaired at the same time as the anti-tech field was being refreshed or we’ll have an entirely new situation on our hands.”

Epping, Malgrave

Epping felt considerably calmer compared to the opening stages of the crisis, of course, the capital and a large portion of the country was still a frenzy of activity as the nation began gearing towards a state of mobilisation that it hadn’t achieved since the darkest days of the civil war, however, as some manner of communication had been re-established between the mainland and the colony through the settlement of Luban these movements were being done in a far more controlled and professional manner, a sentiment that wouldn’t be missed by interested parties watching the situation from above or within.

In these chaotic opening hours the government had quickly organised to gain a greater understanding of the emerging threat and develop some manner of response, with these efforts being led by Katia De Campo, the Minister of National Defence, Claudia Donovan, the Minister of Science and Engineering and Eliot Reymont, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the individuals in question detailing with various parts of the defensive engagement with what now was suspected to be the return as the individual known as Grogar.

“As I am sure you are aware we’ve been able to establish communication with Choe Iseu, the Director General of Colonial Development and Research, this has been possible as the area we are designating as the technology exclusion zone doesn’t cover the settlement of Luban and this area showcased on the map included in the materials provided to you at the start of the meeting”, Katia said, the Minister of National Defence taking over the first portion of today's meeting on the Grogar crisis, “It is through that point of contact that we were able to establish contact with Divisional General Aurealia Necchi, the overall commander of the efforts of the Territorial Defence Force in the colony who was able to give us a report us on the threats they’ve encountered.”

“Threats?” a voice in the room asked, Katia quickly identifying as it belonging to Eun-Young Moon

“Yes, such reports bring us closer to confirming that Grogar has returned to this plane,” Katia replied, “You should have a copy of the intelligence report that has been created on the various threats that make up the unidentified assailants forces, and the means which they’ve been using to harass rear-guard units such as artillery pieces and field hospitals,” the National Defence Minister said waiting for people to look at the information in question for a few moments before she continued, “It has also been reported that the forces that make up the unidentified assailants forces are behind the attempted closing off of the Gulf of Ino, as a result of this blockading action and the technology exclusion zone the Royal Navy has started to the construction of a temporary docking facility at Sinubis, a small settlement of approximately 46,000 citizens located near Luban. It is through this temporary port facility that we’ll be transporting the majority of our reinforcements and supplies.”

“I imagine that this construction site will be attacked by the enemy, however, I assume that preparations are being made to defend it. I am more interested in hearing what will be done in regards to this technology exclusion zone, as far as I understand it doesn’t impact every aspect of our operations,” Eun-Young asked.

“In regards to defensive preparations you are quite correct that suitable arrangements are being made to defend this construction area from attack, a factor which is helped due to the fact it is outside this exclusion zone, as for questions relating to the specific nature of the exclusion zone I will have to defer you to Claudia,” Katia said, the National Defence Minister taking a seat to be replaced by the Minister of Science and Engineering

“Thanks Katia,” Claudia said, the Minister acknowledging her counterpart with a simple nod before she took her position at the end of the table, “In the opening stages of this crisis, the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities noted a severe disruption in the ancestral field of the area that we now know is covered by the technology exclusion zone, now in order to obtain more information on this phenomenon I authorised the Royal Institute to carry out a series of experiments within the exclusion zone, as a result we can now with some confidence state that this exclusion zone is being generated through some manner of inaudible sound as a time variance exists between items placed underwater or underground compared to items on the surface,” the Minister said before moving onto the second part of the Transport Ministers question, “It is understood that this technology exclusion zone breaks items dependent on axles and hinges, so in that case certain technologies such as the high-speed rail network only require repairs to their power units in order to become operational again, with such repairs already being conducted on certain lines to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians from danger zones.”

“You authorised experiments in this exclusion zone?” Catherine Lowwe asked, the Health Minister coming at the admission from a different perspective entirely.

“Yes? It was quite a reasonable scientific mission as the risk posed to healthy individuals is quite low, especially compared with the need to understand the exclusion zone to develop a sufficient counter,” Claudia said with a shrug, “It is due to the information that we collected from this mission that we now know that the exclusion zone is generated from an an inaudible sound, now due to the earlier recorded earthquakes I would hypothesise that it is being generated by a large hammer striking upon a hard surface, either mechanical or natural.”

“It has therefore been hypothesised that if we were to eliminate the area where this sound is being generated that we’ll destroy this technology exclusion zone,” Katia said, intervening for a second to counter a question she suspected was going to be asked on such a topic.

“I have been informed that the railguns shall be relatively unharmed by the exclusion zone, so as Katia can confirm the military-focus of our plan revolves around being able to locate the source of this exclusion zone which we will helpfully able to achieve with further tests,” Claudia said, “In terms of the other parts of the plan I will defer to Eliot, as they certainly know a lot more on diplomatic affairs.”

Eliot chuckled briefly before nodding to Claudia and making her own introduction as the main speaker during the meeting, “In the opening stages of the crisis we made contact with our Imerian and Kouralian allies, now the Kouralians are in a far worse position compared to us as their mainland was rather devastated by the exclusion zone, however, we have proposed that we use ancestral abilities to maintain communication between military units and whenever possible we will be sharing information, and we have already shared the scientific report that Claudia mentioned earlier,” Eliot said, “As for the Imerians they seem ready to render assistance in quite considerable numbers, a factor which will certainly make it easier to defend the population of the colony from harm, such assistance will be funnelled through a temporary new base which shall be jointly operated by our forces and the Imerians.”

“Temporary?” Stanisław Lem asked, the Education Minister making his presence known

“Correct, unlike JFB Progress Hill the Imerian facility is only intended to remain active for the duration of the crisis,” Eliot explained, “It is possible that the Imerians could make a request for the facility to remain active after the crisis ends, however, given their rather uncooperative nature in dealing with the complaints of the ASG I can say with certainty that granting such a request would be a highly unpopular move with the general public, and while I am loathe to base my decisions purely on public opinion I am quite uncomfortable with the proposal as well,”

“Is it a situation that could change with time?” Stanisław asked
“It is possible that the situation could develop further given positive diplomatic pressure,” Eliot admitted, “In accordance with that line of thought we have proposed the establishment of a facility that will be jointly operated by the Kouralians, Malgraveans and the Imerians, if the latter listens to the concerns put forward by the ASG in regards to their Imerian branch then I imagine such a proposal will be quite easy to get by the public.”

Stanisław frowned in response but decided to keep his next question more relevant to the subject at hand, “What progress has been made in establishing contact with our other allies?”

“Nadzieja held quite constructive talks with the Silverdaleans, both to assure them of our commitment to protect the number of Silverdalean refugees in the colony and to propose a strategy for their evacuation,” Eliot said, the Foreign Minister projecting part of the report onto the screen behind her, “In light of the potential harm that could be inflicted on the civilian population by this technology exclusion zone we’ve decided to coordinate the evacuation of the civilian population, now, as one might expect without the use of technology this seems rather hard to achieve, however, in this regard we understand that the Glaristanti government may have a solution as they’ve got access to planar ancestral abilities.”

“In that regard the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities has written an advisory report on the potential use of these planar ancestral abilities to evacuate the civilian population to a safe zone, and I am thankful to Catherine and those at the Ministry of Health for working with the Royal Institute to put together a list so that we can start to evacuate the most vulnerable individuals first,” Claudia said taking over the portion of the conversation that revolved more around her departments' responsibilities

“It is hoped that with the assistance of the Glaristanti government and others capable in planar ancestral abilities that we’ll be able to start large-scale evacuation of the civilian population before food problems begin to impact the colony, however, as we can never be certain of success we shall merely hope for the best but prepare for the worst and continue with preparations that include the current population of the colonial region,” Eliot said, “In light of the information that Katia provided about the unidentified assailants use of ancestral abilities to attack rear-guard units we are also contacting our friends about the possibility of gaining the assistance of ancestrally-attuned individuals that are capable of closing down such teleportation in a local area, although we’ve also contacted the Dornalians for some further anti-magic assistance just to ensure full coverage.”

“Yes, the use of such anti-magic zones may be somewhat uncomfortable given its hypothetical impact on the ascension process, however, I believe I speak for us all when I say that it is quite essential to the strategy we’ve developed,” Claudia said, the Minister lending some of her authority to the discussion as the current Lead Scientist of the Ancestral Study Group, “In order to gain additional funds to support the mobilisation of the armed forces I can confirm that the Ancestral Study Group will be working together with the Gabriel Narutowicz Pioneers and the Free Democratic Youth in order to fundraise and organise collection drives for materials that can be donated for the war effort, recycled into materials or just sold onto the international market to generate additional cash,” the Minister said, “Furthermore we’ve also received confirmation that artists such as Sakura Saito, Yukika Saito, Rhee Chae-Yeong and Aleksandra Dubanowski will be performing charity concerts to raise money for the fight.”

“It is believed that these fundraising efforts will help alleviate some of the initial costs associated with the mobilisation of the armed forces, however, if the conflict persists we will have to establish our more advanced allies such as the C’tan and Dornalians for financial assistance to maintain the war effort,” Eliot said, the Foreign Minister moving to respond to some of the concerns that she understood would be raised by those in the room, “It is theorised that this assistance won’t come attached with the same number of strings that would be attached to financial support offered by other states.”

“What preparations have been made to maintain a supply of weapons and reliable intelligence to the soldiers within this technology exclusion zone?” Aurelia asked, the Minister of State Security jotting down a few notes on the earlier information given.

“In-line with the preparations made to defend the colony from potential attack we do have a suitable stockpile of military equipment such as the AR-2 that is being used in the defence of the civilian population, however, given the impact of the technology exclusion zone we are looking at alternative platforms that won’t be impacted in said zone,” Katia replied, “It has been noted that our larger railgun platforms have performed quite admirably against the forces of the unidentified assailant despite being in the technology exclusion zone, now over the years we’ve considered various proposals to replace the AR-2 such as the TR-1/2, a tesla-beam based weapon, the RG-1, a miniaturized railgun prototype, the GJ-1, a rather eccentric gyrojet platform and the FR-1/2, a series of flechette-firing variants of the AR-2 platform, some of these platforms such as the TR-1 and FR-2 have showcased some promising results, however, the cost associated with outfitting the TDF with these weapons and creating a large enough stockpile to fulfill emergency stockpiles has always been a sticking point.”

“A sticking point until now,” Nadzieja said, the Prime Minister said making her presence known for the first time during the meeting, “It would be rather illogical of us to halt the production of a weapon platform that could save us from ruin due to some concerns over the cost, fortunately for us these weapon trials were conducted in the colony so we’ve been able to run a few series of tests to determine how these platforms deal with the technology exclusion zone.”

“It is from these tests that we’ve been able to determine that the TR-2 is the most reliable platform available for large-scale production, as with limited modifications to the trigger mechanism the weapon was fully operational and quite effective in standard weapon performance tests,” Katia said, the Defence Minister providing some additional information on the weapon, “It has therefore been recommended that the weapon enter full-production and be distributed to the TDF with the designation AR-3,”

“What scale of production do we imagine will be possible for this AR-3?” Stanisław asked the Prime Minister.

“It will take some time for production of the AR-3 to reach some manner of large-scale production due to the nature of the changes that will be made to our current factories producing the AR-2, however, we have made preliminary contact with some arms companies in the Dornalian Republic, so we are quite confident of the ability to deliver these new weapon platforms to the armed forces within a reasonable timeframe.”

“How will the conscripts deal with the introduction of this new weapons platform? I understand a majority of them have been trained in the AR-2,” Aurelia asked, the Minister having used the rifle herself during basic training

“It is an understandable concern, however, within the past few conscription cycles conscripts have been given some educational courses on the fundamentals of other weapon platforms in the region, for example during my conscription in the TDF I was taught about the basics of the Imerian KVG, such training was to better understand the potential enemy but it would have allowed me to pick-up the weapon easier if the need arose,” Katia explained, “In that case, I understand that it will take some time for soldiers to get used to the AR-3, however, it is predicted that only minimal training will be required for them to develop some manner of efficiency with the platform.”

“Yes, the basic fundamentals of firing the weapon are the same as with the AR-2 so extensive training won’t be required, this shall mean that the introduction of the rifle shouldn’t have a detrimental impact on the number of soldiers on the field, especially, in the earliest stages of production.,” Nadzieja explained, “It shall also align nicely with some additional information that Claudia can explain further.”

“In addition to establishing that this technology exclusion zone is being generated by some manner of inaudible sound we’ve started to conduct tests on the feasibility of repairing items in a manner which hardens them against future shock waves generated within this zone,” Claudia told the group, “Say I take an armoured vehicle into the exclusion zone, now within five minutes this vehicle will be completely ineffective and recorded as being knocked out of action, even if I was to somehow repair the vehicle in under five minutes using undamaged or ancestral abilities the vehicle would still be left inoperable when the technology exclusion zone refreshed. It is for that reason I have authorised the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities and the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Universal Technology to work together to research this technology exclusion zone further and investigate the feasibility of developing reasonable counters.”

“When can we expect to hear news on the progress of these counters?” Eun-Young Moon asked

“It is quite hard to predict when noteworthy progress will be made on this front as we are dealing with an unknown phonenmon with limited technology, however, we will certainly be keeping everyone informed of the rate of progress,” Claudia replied, “It is just that this is a project that could take weeks, months or even years to see a progress and even then it could simply conclude that this isn’t a feasible area of development, so we must put expectations in line with reality.”

“It should also be understood that as this crisis is impacting multiple countries it would be illogical to expect our research institutions to attempt an individualistic approach to developing a counter-system, so the Royal Institute for the Understanding and Advancement of Ancestral Abilities and the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Universal Technology will be sharing our results with our regional counterparts,” Eliot said, speaking from the perspective of the Foreign Minister, “I believe that a collaborative research effort between the Royal Institute and organisations such as the Jarlsberg Institute will enhance the possibility of success, so as part of our diplomatic efforts shall reach out on that front as well.”

“Yes, however, such a task does require us to leave this room and I am starting to doubt we’ll ever do that,” Nadzieja joked, the Prime Minister breaking up some of the tension that had been created in the room since the start of the meeting, “It is time to get to work and show the people that they were right to put their trust in us, so unless anyone has any critical objections I will end this meeting here and we can return to work.”

In response Nadzieja was met with a determined silence, the various cabinet members already preparing to continue their work in dealing with this strange crisis.
Last edited by Malgrave on Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Ctan
Posts: 2894
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Ctan » Mon Feb 21, 2022 2:27 am

The Matrician Jagada stepped onto the Plains of Hubris, Jagada was the second to cross the threshold of the Eternity Gate, her blade in hand.

She moved with a calm, sedate pace, almost funereal in its solemnity. The Shedim awaited.

They had many names, Daemons of Chaos, the Neverborn, but the one she used was her favourite. It spoke of the traditions she and her fellows were inheritors of.

The necrons were engaged in battle around her, they were the closest thing to living beings within a thousand miles of this forsaken place, here close to the epicentre of the Plains of Hubris, in the south of the Mystrian region, the enemy had once more tried to boil forth. If measurements could be relied upon in this place, in its raw form the chaos wastes of Mystria were almost unbounded in their dimensions. She saw less than most did.

To most travellers the sights around would be startling, endless deserts populated by nomadic trees or rivers of thrashing tongues, unpredictable nights and days that would fall like rain, bright and dark.

She had seen artistic impressions, head descriptions, once or twice she had shared sensorium with those who had seen the abominations, she knew that to others they would look imposing. Artistic impressions and sculptures, life-sized or in miniature, rendered in vision or in art, could never capture them, the very air around them was clouded with the reek of blood and chyme, musk and magic.

She sensed none of it.

She and her fellows were blind to magic, not just soulless but antithetical to the concept of soul, each of them born with a suppurating void in existence where such a thing should form. They were the Dragon’s Daughters. Pariahs. The gift of the C’tan to mankind.

The Mystrian region was assigned eight of them, they were rare, not so rare that no others existed, but the unnatural abomination that beat and hungered where their souls would have been was so corrosive that it had to be deployed sparingly.

Their mere presence could stagger and nauseate a human, enervate an elf, torment a pony, and entirely kill many fae. These rich lands could not support them.

But here, where chaos had scourged away anything wholesome, they could walk without fear for others.

Here the old enemy awaited.

Jagada watched the Shedim, they could not see her and did not relish the chance to fight her, unlike the living, there was no soul to reap and no benefit of a battle for them. Often they fled from Pariahs, but here they would be forced to stand if they wished to pass on to the richer lands to the north. They came in a tide. She and her sisters were spread out wide, supported by constructs with gloom prisms - mechanical replications of their nullity.

The forms of the shedim in her eyes were different, some had a gristly residue of tissue, signs of host beings, others were purely the bubbling blackness of the Chaos Universe seeped into this one.

She watched her comrade Katisha nearby, the rest of the squad was younger than she, but that one always wanted to prove herself, she was standing that little bit ahead of the others, seeking some larger shedim to slay.

A dune of green transmuted crystal ground down to powder by the hooves of chaos entities stood before them and microscopic machines of canoptek kind swarmed within it, exorcising the warp-dust and pulling up tufts of shard-grass.

Here and there among the transmuted living of the enemy, she could see traces of less-mutated enemies, and upon them, ritual insignia. She sent a query to her processing buffer to confirm the iconography. The cultists of Grogar, the Black Goat. What they had been told to persuade them to go to this place, she could only guess, but she knew why they were here. The best way to distract the Great Civilization from its overwatch of Mystria was to give it the enemy it knew and despised most.

She trod upon a mewling thing that had once been one of the inhabitants of this realm and marked the range. Along their line, canoptek constructs began to fire, shuriken weapons, adapted from Yldari armaments, began to fire mono-edged crystal discs, filling the air with automatic fire. These weapons were chosen for the resonance that blades had against daemons, the sympathetic magic that made such things more effective, though their crystalline ammunition was of necrontyr origin and made with anathematic materials that made each shot burn all the harder. They were joined by incendiary bombs, crawling psy-responsive flames that were shot through the air in conventional projectiles and then burst into blazes of white and silver-blue flame, becoming vortexes that were pushed away from the pariahs’ nullity and drawn toward the psychic tracery of the daemons.

Veris, their leader, gave the order to engage a moment later, and Katisha stepped forward, targeting the nearest of the Shedim masses and firing. Caught between flames and the torrent of anathematic crystal, the enemy would seek to attack their position. She would be ready.
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
"Be you anywhere from Progress Level 5 or 6 and barely space-competent, all the way up to the current record of PL-20 for beings like the C’Tan..." Lord General Superior Rai’a Sirisi, Xenohumanity
"Many races and faiths have considered themselves to be a threat to the Necrons, but their worlds and their cultures are now little more than interesting archaeology."

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Rohane Alista
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Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Rohane Alista » Wed Apr 06, 2022 5:32 am

The Intelligence and Security Ministry, Inner Circle District, Calihain, 7:37AM

The overnight analysts in the ministry had already prepared and sent off the report before Deputy Director for Communications Anastasia Comerick had even woken up for her morning, and long before she found herself sitting behind her desk, 8 minutes early, just to keep the schedule a little harder to guess. The urgent flag on the missive prompted an immediate opening, and a few minutes of reading, followed by a soft uttering. “Fuck.”

Within the hour, she found herself face to face with Minister of Security Tobias Horne, the graying man rubbing his temple, Secretary of State Severa Uniop, who didn’t seem like she’d slept since before the cluster that was the Mystrian Prosperity Convention, and the new Minister of Defense Ællfric Karimi, drumming his fingers on the wooden table. It would be Ælfric who broke the silence first.

“You mean to tell me,” he began, still drumming his fingers. “That literally as soon as we’ve finished with the apocalyptic threat in Silverdale, an apocalypse begins in Kouralia?”

“That is what our intercepted communications indicate, sir,” Anastasia replied, showing the group a page with a few transcribed messages both civilian and military, though many less of the second kind. “It appears to be some kind of invasion from another plane. Details on the ground are quite sparse, we believe due to some kind of magical field in effect, the size of which is nearly unbelievable.”

“And your proposal,” the Defense Minister looked to his Security counterpart. “Is to offer troops to Kouralia.”

“We can’t simply sit back and allow an apocalyptic event to ravage Kouralia,” Severa interjected, shaking her head. “Obviously any form of apocalyptic event threatens us, too, but we’ve been positioning ourselves as the new protectors of Mystrian aligned nations and-”

“And we just had hundreds of thousands of our men and women dying in Silverdale!” Ælfric retorted. “The death toll is still rising as we find bodies in the wreckage! We, frankly, have no real capacity for major military movements so far from home unless the actual survival of a DSA member state is legitimately in immediate threat! And that’s before we take the refugees into account, which need I-”

“Ælfric, please,” Tobias interrupted, once again running his hand through his hair. “Your points are recognized, and I don’t disagree. We CAN’T support a major excursion to Kouralia at the moment. We simply don’t have the resources at the moment. What we can do, however, is offer them a smaller, elite level of support. Yes, we’ll offer them intelligence sharing on the threat, of course, but we can also offer some of the AMTF squads, some special forces, probably even some specialists, sniper squads, engineers, that sort of thing. It represents a much smaller commitment of our resources, but could still have an outsized impact.”

“I still don’t like it,” the red headed Defence Minister replied with a sigh. “We’re so stretched, I feel like we need everything here, and most of our engineering corps are tied up rebuilding parts of Silverdale, or recovering material.”

“A needed job, but also one we should attempt to handoff to Silverdale more and more,” Severa pointed out. “I will contact the Kouralian embassy with an offer. Intelligence sharing, select elite and specialized forces, and any material we are able to spare, though it’s not likely to be much, for an IOU. The more effective our response, the more we can ask for in return,” she said, standing. “Gentlemen. I would start preparing your departments. Our troubles are only just starting.”

Kouralian Diplomatic Chancery, Inner Circle District, Calihain, 11:00hrs

As soon as the diplomatic mission from the Crown Union to Rohane Alista was informed that the Secretary of State of the Constitutional Empire wished for a meeting to occur between her and the Ambassador at their offices, it had thrown the staff into even more of a panic; as if it wasn’t enough to find out that your homeland was being devoured by eldritch horrors from another world, now they were to receive the foremost diplomat of their host nation?!

The Duty Officer at the chancery had of course immediately contacted the Private Secretary of the Legatæ-Ynvierei who had managed to collect themself and contact Lauri Sutegha just as she walked through the gates of the Chancerial Estate. What had followed was a flurry of briefings and meetings for staff of every level at the embassy, including half an hour for the Legate spent on a secure video conference with Sir Chendryc Arðryne, First & Principal Permanent Commissioner of the Coronial Union of Kouralia to the Gryningsvägen Alliansen, who was now acting as the head of the Kouralian Foreign Service. Lauri had barely scraped ten minutes to see to her own appearance before she stepped out to greet the incoming Rohanians.

Like a number of the Kouralian Embassies across Mystria, the premises which was now used by the Diplomatic Mission of the Crown Union as its Legatine Chancery was a new construction, custom-built to meet the requirements of a growing diplomatic service. The premises used by the old, republican delegation were both decrepit and entirely unsuitable to host an expanded diplomatic mission representing an outward-looking and decidedly less tyrannical government. So, a suitable plot of land had been procured and a bespoke construction had risen from the ground in a romanticised homage to the Kouralian style. Of course, the prompt alignment of the Crown Union with the Gryningsvägen Alliansen had meant that this Chancery had not been used as much as its designers had hoped, but little could have been done about that until now.

Severa’s car would turn off of the public road, cross the pavement, and pass under an archway in the perimeter wall of specially imported, honeyed Kurtonyc Limestone and would almost immediately bear to the left as the driveway rose above the ground level. To her left was the three-story facade of the main Chancery offices. Most of it was Kurtonyc Limestone like that which had been used to clad the walls, but the front face of the premises, between two short wings that jutted forward by five meters at each end of the building, had been covered in plasterwork thereafter painted a pale green colour to complement both the limestone and the Chietan Marble that had been selected to front the architraves, flag the steps, and form the colonnade set back into the wide alcove around the entrance. Pale pink in colour, the marble was swirled with streaks of cream that nodded to the other principal Kouralian stone used in the construction and which, for the true expert, would indicate that this was the same as one of the two alternating marbles in the audience chamber floor at the White Tower on Steelmarket Rise back in Kurton. None of that was likely entering into Severa’s mind as the car came to a stop, and from where she was she wouldn’t have been able to see much of the other affections of the Kouralianate Architecture such as the projecting eaves, the low-pitched and gable-less roof, or the rusticated ground floor which was now beneath them.

To give the greeting of the Secretary of State the solemnity it deserved, two Vygilitæ-Ynvieryn in the ceremonial dress uniform of the Diplomatic Guard stood to attention with their backs to the outer two of the four columns that fronted the Chancery. Between, and in front of, the inner columns stood three of the senior-most figures on the embassy’s pay-roll. On one side a tall, broad-shouldered man wore the short, tailored forest green tunic, taut black breeches and tall bulled black riding boots of a light cavalry scout regiment. On the other, a swarthy Chietan man with shaved head and a greying beard who was also the first person on display to have actually complied with the mandatory nudism of the Constitutional Empire, though a maroon cloak lined with a sleek slate fabric bedecked his shoulders and partially protected his modesty.

In fact, the only member of the diplomatic party to have fully embraced the requisite nudism was the Ambassador herself: and she couldn’t keep herself from praying that for whatever purpose the Rohanian was visiting on this most inauspicious of days, this lack of adherence to their cultural traditions wouldn’t count against the Kouralians. She didn’t let that expression reach her face however, remaining as impassive and statuesque as the guards flanking the affair.

A black vehicle pulled up to the embassy, tinted windows hiding its occupants. The only occupant that really mattered today was Severa Uniop herself, nothing much on her person beyond a few rings, the most conspicuous of which was a sapphire and gold ring on her right ring finger, tho there was also a simple band on the left ring finger, and a necklace, a simple yet expensive looking golden piece with small sapphire, ruby, and diamond settings, mimicking the colors of the nation, as well the black leather briefcase next to her. She looked out the tinted window with a frown. She knew the Kouralians favored their, perhaps excessive, pomp, but it really would’ve been a nice sign to make their embassy out of Rohanian materials, in her opinion. The introduction of a chapel on the premises had also been a bit awkward, but the late emperor had managed to smooth over that hiccup, at the least. Severa secured the briefcase, sitting up tall as she exited the vehicle, clearly towered over by her Kouralian counterpart, but somehow not losing to her at all in aura.

Lauri Sutegha was a step ahead of her fellows and was, excepting her extensive bejewelment, as naked as the day she had been born. The tall Kouralian stood there with her arms clasped behind her back and her broad shoulders arched back to thrust out her chest, the very specimen of a Kouralian stereotype. A voluminous mane of honey-blonde hair stretched to the small of her back while it was swept away from her face by a pair of plaits that swept back to meet at the nape of her neck. That hair almost stood out against skin that was deeply tanned even for a Kouralian, while the lack of pale patchiness on her body pointed to the fact that this display of nudism was not something merely put on this morning. Lauri’s limbs were as thickened by muscle as her abdomen was ridged with the same, and had she turned her back on Severa and flexed then the Rohanian would have seen the Ambassador’s entire physique was honed for practical use as well as for aesthetic. In fact, it was plain to see that Lauri had not neglected a single inch of her body in embodying the Kouralian principle of the bella figura. From the ruby and sapphire bejeweled lattice of silver thread that was braided into her plaits to the tasseled silver anklets joined to white metal rings upon toes pedicured with as much attention as her hands were manicured - and everything in between. Even Lauri's body hair, down to her most intimate areas, had been carefully groomed so as to cut an impeccable figure from every angle in an environment that stole from her the tailored suit so beloved of Kouralian society. Not that she needed any such cloth to look good - a single, likely lingering glance would put that notion to rest immediately.

“Madam Secretary,” Lauri said, stepping forward and unclasping her hand to reach out and shake Severa’s as she allowed a thin smile to grace her lips, “May I be the first Legate-Envoy to welcome you to the Kouralian diplomatic mission to your nation, as ill-omened as today may be.”

Severa, for her part, reached out her own hand, returning the Kouralian greeting, though after she used the traditional Rohanian open palm greeting. “Omens or no, welcome to Rohane Alista,” Severa replied, matching the strained smile of her counterpart. “We have a pressing matter to discuss, so please forgive me for skipping many of the usual niceties. May I come inside?”

“Of course madam.” Lauri replied, before turning and motioning for Severa and her colleagues to follow as she walked through the oak and ironwork double doors beneath the central tripartite windows. When the Rohanians followed, the Kouralian Ambassador’s two aides would fall into place behind them for their quick journey through the chancery.

As soon as the party stepped through the doors, they would find themselves in a corridor that ran the length of the front face of the building on this level. Rather than a wall ahead of them, however, was an arcade of columns that gave a view down into a central roofed courtyard that was accessed by steps gated off in front of them. In a style common to both Alistinian and Kouralian traditional buildings, the large central space featured both a central sunken pool and a variety of plants from small succulents and flowers to a number of carefully pruned, small native Alistinian palms whose leaves rustled above the heads of the Diplomatic clerks seated and walking about the space. This room was, unlike the facade of the building, fashioned almost entirely from Alistinian sandstone that reflected the sunlight streaming through the large wrought iron skylight dome, filling the space with a warm, reddish glow. Here even the pillars were not entirely Kouralian in nature, with geometric patterns of paler stone tesselating together for the length of the columns, mimicking the designs on the benches set in alcoves in the surrounding walls and around the central pool. As the diplomatic party disappeared through an internal doorway and into another corridor, a last glance thrown back over one’s shoulder would have hinted at the day-to-day purpose of such a grandiose internal space filled with benches like an auditorium - a small Mr. Moocow’s franchise kiosk was set into one wall, evidently preparing for the lunch-time rush.

From brushing the fringe of that central chamber, Lauri led the Rohanians around a corner in this second corridor and through another pair of double doors to enter a well-appointed hybrid between a conference room and a drawing room. Here the floor was an ornate herringbone mosaic of exotic Arasdali mahogany, though the centre of the room was covered by a deep, soft carpet of rich bottle green wool that matched the deep maroon colour of the walls. Around the edges of the drawing room were a suite of cabinets and sideboards of acacia wood, with enameled emerald doors, trimmed with gold leaf. Upon the walls were a variety of decorations - from a painting of a Kouralian coastal scene to a mounted shield and pair of swords, and other more esoteric fine art pieces. In one corner sat a young Chietan woman at a desk with a sleek laptop computer, cloaked to at least partially conceal her nakedness like the man who accompanied the Ambassador and her military colleague.

In the centre of the room, a pair of low tables hand carved from acacia wood were surrounded by six armchairs upholstered in soft cloth that alternated between traditional Rohiric and Alistinian patterns. Each armchair possessed a small side table of the same Rohane wood as the other furnishings, while a tea set sat in the centre of each low table. Lauri Sutegha made her way straight to the centremost of the three chairs facing toward the windows and, ultimately out to Calihain. “Please, do be seated.” She said, gesturing to the seats opposite as her colleagues took up positions beside the chairs that flanked her.

“Our time is of course precious, so I will not presume to postpone business until after small talk and a round of food and drink.” Lauri continued once all were seated, gesturing to the gently steaming teapot to her right as she spoke, “However, may we offer you a beverage and a pastry while we begin?”

Severa sat, setting her briefcase in her lap, giving a nod to her hosts. “Thank you, much appreciated,” she replied. In truth, she didn’t enjoy tea, as most Rohanians did, she vastly preferred coffee, but it was hardly an opportune moment to mention that. She set her briefcase upon the desk, to be sure that she would have room even with the tea and pastry. “I hope you don’t mind if we talk while we have this treat?”

“Of course not.” Lauri said with a smile, as she leaned forward to pour Severa a cup of Kouralian tea. As this happened, the other woman in the corner collected a set of plates from within a sideboard next to her desk, and approached Severa to place one on her side tables. On everyone’s plates were a pair of small pastries, each a partially flattened cone of many thin, leaflike layers of crisp, flaky pastry that were dusted with fine sugar. When bitten into, the filling would be found to be a sweet cream, both flavoured with and dotted with candied peel of prickly pears.

As these were distributed and Lauri sweetened the tea to Severa’s taste, she continued to talk. “I am ever an optimist, so I hope I have correctly judged the reason for your visit today, Madam Secretary. My colleagues here,” she said, gesturing briefly with her free hand toward the uniformed man to her left, “have accompanied me because I am not the most experienced of people in the fields which we may discuss.”

Lauri leaned over to proffer the teacup to the Secretary of State, smiling apologetically as she did so, giving Severa another close up view of her lupine yellow irises. For a second, before she remembered herself, the smile also displayed her unnaturally bold and overlong canine teeth until Lauri’s free hand moved to shield them from view under the clumsy guise of a carefree hand gesture.

“Captain Solynæ here is the Military Attache for this legation,” the ambassador said as the man in the forest green military uniform nodded, “while Neſo Eleni here is my Information & Security Attache.” Neſo inclined his head slightly.

“So, please Madam Secretary,” Lauri added as she settled back into her seat and set her teacup down atop a saucer next to her pastries. “I hope you have not come here seeking an explanation or information. As an unfortunate number of callers to the chancery have found this morning: we have very little empirical knowledge about what has befallen Kouralia - and I doubt you are here for folklore and prophecies of my people.”

Severa showed no reaction to Lauri’s canines; whether this was through well trained diplomatic skill, or just extended experience with other species that had larger canines, such as draconids and tanagers, would be impossible to discern, and it was likely a combination of both. She gave her counterpart a small smile. “As I am sure you are well aware, my people are great disbelievers in the power of prophecy,” Severa replied carefully. “We believe fate is made only by one’s own actions, so perhaps you could consider this us extending a hand to you to help craft a more favorable fate,” she continued, opening her briefcase and taking out the top several papers, sliding them across the desk. “These are the official offers I’m making right now, with no need to wait. You can read them in detail, but it comes down to this. Rohane Alista is offering Kouralia,” she paused here for a moment, picking her words. “Kouralia specifically,” she said, finally, before continuing. “The aid of what assets we can spare after the effects of the Winter War. This amounts to two AMTF squads, several specialist divisions, notably snipers, military police units, and a full battalion of army engineers. In addition, we’re offering open intelligence sharing, and any material that may be relevant we can spare, especially bullets, explosives, and fortification materials.”

“Any further offers of aid,” Severa pulled out the rest of the papers from the briefcase. “Would be subject of renewed debate in the Senates, but also an analysis of our remaining forces and their capabilities in this conflict. We would offer naval aid, as our navy took little damage in Silverdale, but we are unsure if our vessels would be capable of operating in… whatever event it is that has taken over your homeland at this time. I offer you these lists as something to examine in your own time, such that you may make an informed request of us, should it be needed,” Severa slid over the rest of the papers, in a different pile, her drink and treats untouched. “If you would like, I can wait while you read them?”

“This is…” Lauri paused, fixing her gaze on the papers on the table, “exceedingly generous to offer to us. I have no doubt that, if this enemy is the prophesied return of the Dark Lord, it will be accepted immediately. But, I would not be doing my due diligence if I did not ask you what the Constitutional Empire will ask for in return?”

As she spoke, the Captain reached over to the table and retrieved some of the papers before starting to cast his eye over them. After a few further moments looking at them he also chimed up with a question. “I can understand why this might be offered to Kouralia, as opposed to any form of multinational forces command, though I must ask whether any similar offer is being made to the United Kingdom of Malgrave, if that is anything you can disclose?”

Severa first addressed Lauri. “A reasonable question. Frankly, we’re operating on an IOU basis here; there is nothing at the current moment Kouralia could provide us that you would be willing to, given your situation, and we don’t know how extensive the damage would be. It would be preferable for all involved, I think, to win now and haggle later. As for you, Captain,” Severa turned slightly to address him directly. “Initiatives involving other nations are not really something I should discuss, even with their allies, without their permission. However, I will say our main intent it to aid you in ending this crisis by getting to the heart of it as swiftly as possible, while conserving as much life as we can, of course,” she informed him, finally starting to eat some of the pastries as she waited for her hosts to read any paperwork they needed to.

With all that needed to be said having been said, the Kouralian Ambassador gathered up some of the papers and stood, bowing her head respectfully to Severa. “I shall return as soon as I have confirmation from the closest to cabinet-level authorities that this is an agreeable proposition - though I myself see no reason why it should not be immediately accepted.”

After no more than ten minutes, the door opened again and Lauri re-entered the meeting room again - this time alone. She quickly made her way to her chair, an undiplomatically open smile on her face. “I have made contact with both the Permanent Commissioner to the Gryningsvägen Alliansen and the commander of Kouralian armed forces in Eastern Mystria, and what is proposed is entirely satisfactory to them.

“I am also advised that an ongoing airlift mission will commence soon from the Joint Forces Base at Progress Hill in Malgrave, in addition to an imminent sealift mission. If either of these will be preferable to your own naval or air forces entering the area of operations to transport the allied forces, then we can arrange for your personnel to be placed onto the roster of personnel and materiel due for transport.

“I am also advised that the Commander in Chief of Eastern Theatre Forces would like to send a small military liaison team to your Defence Ministry that will allow for high level communication between Kouralian Commanders and your own political and military leadership. If that is agreed, they can be here by night-fall from Progress Hill.”

“Our troops are already preparing to move via our own means,” Severa informed her counterpart. “So we will move ourselves; if you could inform the relevant authorities, however, it would likely allow us to be much more efficient on arrival. As for a liaison, I’m sure you understand that they will need to be security cleared, and restricted in their actions and locations, but otherwise I don’t foresee a significant issue. I will bring it up with Minister Karimi, and if he has any objections I will relay them to you. Personally, it will get my stamp of approval; I want to help your people, Ambassador, I do not want to lose another several hundred thousand Rohanian lives.”

“We have a common purpose here then, Madam Secretary.” Lauri said. “I believe that if this is the prophesied return of the Dark Lord of Tambelon then all of Mystria will need to contribute to efforts to defeat it, as much as I am sure some will argue that this is a purely local problem for local people to combat.

“I will notify Eastern Theatre Command about the movement, with more detail about shipping plans to follow, but as I am sure you can appreciate, communications with the homeland is disrupted and compromised. And have no worries, any liaison from ourselves will comport themselves in an entirely honourable fashion, and will comply with any restrictions placed upon them by your high command.”

“Then I think we have ourselves an agreement as well,” Severa said, rising, and handing over a business card. “If you have any further needs or thoughts, the number on that card is a direct line to my office.”

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Postby Kouralia » Sun May 08, 2022 2:36 pm

Cerne, Malgravean Advanced Research Colony
D+6, 2100hrs

It was dark, and had been for some time when the dirt and debris of everyday urban life began to lift and swirl around the unswept back street it lay in. Wind picked up and any vagrant that had not already been scared out of the alley’s scant shelter by the very real risk of being slaughtered by the Tambeloni invaders would have seen a remarkable and highly non-Malgravean, unscientific event occur. In a moment a wall of shimmering water had faded into being across the middle of the alleyway, appearing as if it had soaked through the air itself and been fixed still in spite of the wind and rain sweeping around it. The great pane of water swirled and shimmered with internal currents even as its shape stayed as precisely and rigidly unmoving as a pane of glass. Shadows danced across the alleyway as the glow of the portal’s silvery white composition shimmered and swum.

Seconds after it formed a pair of black-clad figures advanced through the pane of water with boxy rifles raised, and immediately stepped to the side. As soon as they were out of the way they twisted on the spot to face behind the portal, and took a few steps behind it before kneeling to watch the howling alleyway in absolute silence. Moments later more walked through the portal, brandishing carbines of lacquered wood and bronzey metal only to take up positions in cover, keeping watch for threats. Once near-enough a squad of these warriors had appeared in the alleyway, a final trio stepped through the sheet of water – dressed and equipped entirely unalike the others. Two brandished short wooden staves topped with ironwork heads, whilst the third looked more ready for a run than a combat zone. Where the others carried long weapons and wore bulky protection from combat and elements from head to toe, the last man to arrive wore a sleeveless camouflage vest top with a plunging neckline, camouflage shorts that barely reached the mid-thigh, and lightweight boots that looked to share more in common with training shoes than the military equipment the others were clad in. Indeed, for someone who had just stepped through into an active warzone his only equipment were a boxy pistol that remained holstered at his hip as he knelt with the others, and a satchel-esque small harness bag across his back.

As soon as the last of the squad was through it the shining portal vanished with an audible snap that reduced the alleyway to moonlight as crisp packets and scraps of muck stilled themselves and drifted down to slowly settle about the boots of the new arrivals. For minutes there was complete, motionless silence in the alleyway – broken only by distant gunfire and inhuman screeching and babbling. Slowly, one of the staff-wielders turned to meet the eyes of the man in activewear, and gave him a nod before beckoning over the other staff-wielder.

“I cannot sense the others, can you?” The first one, clearly the leader of the outfit, asked her opposite in a low voice. “Bokk...” She continued as the other shook his head, slipping her stave through a frog on her webbing belt, freeing her hands to draw and manipulate a rugged, rubber-encased tablet computer from her daysack. As she fiddled, the taller staff-wielder glanced up at the unnaturally off-colour clouds that roiled above them in a fashion no natural air currents should have been able to produce.

“If the others are away from our senses,” he eventually said, “then I think we have our explanation as to why the other teams vanished.”

As they spoke, the beshorted man had unclipped his belt and gun, tucking it in the small harness’s pack before shaking himself out of the vest top to reveal a tanned athletic, olive-skinned torso that went unregarded and unremarked upon by his colleagues, before moving to unlace his boots.

“Yes…” The first said absentmindedly while she swiped through the menu blades of the tablet’s system. “The issues with teleportation were noted immediately, both by our thaumists and through intelligence from the Hippocratians, but since the dark city has returned the use of portal magicks has been quite stable.”

“Not stable enough, hmm Hanna?” He said, “None of the teams sent previously have utilised teleportation, it has all been portals like ourselves, so there is only one difference between the rituals for our translocation and theirs.”

Hanna stopped and looked up at the other mage, her head cocked slightly aside curiously “My father, you mean, Laſnyr?” She asked plainly: a question he answered with but a shrug. Hanna sighed, “I fear you are probably right. I have only used portals in concert with him since the dark city returned, and now I think of it the only other stable translocations have been conducted through carefully prepared and long-cultivated ritual spaces, or through portals created by feikind his equal.”

“Returning to Kouralia is going to be an interesting experience then…” Laſnyr muttered under his breath, before starting suddenly as his opposite number punched him in the arm.

“Positivity! We will return with the princess whether we have to quest across the stars to make a safe path home.” She said, waving away his irritation at the blow. “Either that or we get double the shinies from the top brass when we return with half a cohort of special forces in tow.

“Now, Ara’, you done yet?” She asked, looking up to see the formerly under-dressed member of their party was now stark naked, crouched down and zipping up the harness. As she spoke to him, he turned to look at her, raising an eyebrow and holding out a palm in a gesture of vexation.

“If I were, Centenær,” he responded in a tired voice as he rolled his honey-like eyes, “do you think I would be able to answer your question?”

“I don’t know…” Hanna said, shrugging as she rested her gaze appreciatively on his athletic body, “I guess you could bark or something?”

“That’s racist.” He said simply, “And it’s tactically unsound: we’re supposed to be being quiet.” Before she could respond, Aratus raised a hand to forestall Hanna’s riposte. “Now, would you mind looking away so I can get changed?”

“Why so coy?” Hanna asked playfully, “You’re bollock naked in a back alleyway in Mal-Land, there’s not much more you can bare to us, so-”

“No, I can’t, but this is quite personal.” He interrupted, irritably. “And I would rather not have you lose your lunch all over Mæyster Kyryl, so, please Hanna?”

“Fine… You’re never fun.” She replied, turning to meet the disapproving gaze of Laſnyr, before raiding her hands in placation as a wet, fleshy scraping noise emanated from where Aratus had been crouched, “Look, you can’t blame a girl for being curious. I don’t have those parts…” She cocked her head to one side, “Uh, not parts, I don’t know… Ignore me!” She added awkwardly before turning back when the noise stopped. Where their undressed colleague had crouched was now a large reddish grey wolfdog, three-foot tall at the shoulder. Such a measurement was hard to guess at a glance though, as the feihound dipped his head down and stretched his back and forelegs out before doing the same with his hindquarters.

“Do you need a hand with the harness?” Hanna asked Aratus before rephrasing it when he growled. “Would you like Laſnyr to help you with the harness?”

At Aratus’ uncomfortably human nod, the second mage shuffled over on one knee to their werewolf companion to clip the small pack harness containing his boots, vest, short, and handgun to his back and sides. As soon as he was done, Hanna cleared her throat for the other members of the squad to listen in.

“Right chaps and chapettes.” She began, “I suspect you’ve heard Lassie and I, but as much as we’re on track it looks like B and C aren’t going to be joining us. We’re currently two miles from Site Alembic and we have no guarantee that we’re going to find either of our principals there. Ara’ will help us find a path around any of these brazen automata, and if we need to then I hope the Princess’ scent will lead us from Alembic to wherever she and her alchemist might be found… Aim is to get in and out without being detected, but if any of the animae threaten us then we destroy them, capisce?”

The others nodded, a few of them shifting to pat with anticipation the thaumic carbines they carried, as Hanna turned to Aratus. “Which way smells least like angry evil golem?” She asked the werewolf.

Without hesitation, he tipped his head to one side before trotting through the squad and leading the column of shadows out into the smoky streets of Cerne at dusk.


Mynerbium Moonbeam Flight, Kourala
D+… Who’s keeping count?

Life was good, Artu Pædraaki declared to vociferous disagreement as his chair gently creaked back and forth upon its rockers.

The wizened, former Mæyst'Æiutante had decided to follow a common path for old seafarers on his retirement from the Grand Fleet, so he took his winnowing oar and settled down far from the ocean. Of course, like many of those old sea dogs he promptly found himself missing the goodness of the waters – so he had taken it upon himself to join the volunteers who operated and maintained the Mynerbium Moonbeam Flight. Twenty one locks, all fifteen feet wide and arrayed over two miles of waterway had together raised the Moonbeam Canal up by near-enough fifty meters since the eighteenth century. Of course, turning the gates and winding the rack and pinion mechanism could be hard work – especially in the midday sun when the only company was mad dogs and Scanderans – but it was honest work and the riverfolk were as close as Artu got his old brothers of the salt and swell.

As a retiree it was exactly the life he had wanted to live. Waking to the sound of the birds, a brisk morning stroll to the waterline, then a day of greeting those pleasant folk who lived or holidayed afloat interspersed with some painting or gardening. Luncheon was, of course, a butter pie brought forth by Mrs Lovett from the bakers just down the lane. After lunch well, there was the afternoon nap that would surely be interrupted by less-pleasant canal folk, and then come the hour of supper it would be time to leave behind the Flight and retire to the Inn for dinner and wine. It was relaxing yet active, social yet private, and – most importantly – it brought him closer to the gods.

He had been there for just under six months when he had first glimpsed her – a barefoot pale lass in a sundress, barely half his age and walking down the tow-path across the water from him. “Good morning miss!” He had called to her with a jolly wave as he hung astride a board over the side of the gate, paintbrush in hand.

“Good morning Mr Pædraaki.” She had called back, and of course that had given him a bit of a start, but it was nothing to concern oneself with. Family of a boatsmen, or a villager he had not yet met, surely?

“Lovely day for a walk, isn’t it?” He’d replied, and the conversation had flowed most pleasantly from there until she had proposed she ought to make her way up the lane and into the Mynerbium for an ice cream. Now that wasn’t on the table. Most delightful they were, but the lock gates that had footpaths over them were open, so she would have to walk a ways downstream or take a frightful detour around the estate of a querulous farmer to get to the café.

How she had laughed! A rich musical sound that brought joy to his soul and seemed like to make the birds sing louder in the trees. “No, I’ll be fine to cross here.” She had said, and then before Artu had realised what was happening, she had calmly stepped off of the bank of the canal and plunged down into the dark water.

“Miss!?” He’d called out in shock at first, twisting about to look down at the canal, but there was nary a bubble reaching the surface, let alone the sight of her head breaking the water again. Seconds passed and nothing, until, with a mutter of “Damnable fools…” Artu had dropped the paintbrush onto the plank and dove head first into the lock – six meters deep as it was.

He had plunged straight into the water and had swirled around in the murky depths until his lungs were fit to burst whereupon, as he surfaced, he saw the young woman sat on the bank. She was dry as a bone, swinging her legs gently back and forth with a knowing smile on her lips. “I know I’m a looker Mr Pædraaki, but there’s no need to dive right in,” she’d said.

Artu had barely a moment to process the strange comment – much less curse the lass for her foolishness in jumping into the water and giving him a fright like that – when a sudden push of current beneath him propelled him up and out of the water, like as much as if he had been sat on the edge of a bouncy castle. There was no time to shout or swear, but sure enough the force applied to him by the canal itself was judged carefully enough to leave him on his feet – unsteady, but on his feet – on the towpath that side of the river.

Now Artu knew what this meant and he also knew what his grandmother had beaten into him all those years ago, so he had dropped to his knee immediately, and rather ungracefully given his recent and unexpected arc through the air. “My lady, I apologise for my lack of deference.” He had said as he averted his gaze down to the floor and away from her eyes, before turning his head aside so that he was not in fact ‘respectfully’ staring at her bejewelled bare feet with their immaculately pedicured toes further decorated with intricate nail polish art.

“Mr Pædraaki…” She had said with an amused sigh, “Artu…” She added as she reached down and brushed a hand against his temple to beckon his gaze up to her face. When he looked up and met her eyes, again it was as if a warmth rushed into his soul like a rush of water filling every crack and crevice in a rocky pool, then he took her hand and was helped to his feet with a strength of arm entirely unexpected from such a delicate and non-Kouralianly slender body. “No deference is required from someone who does so much for my course – it is I who should apologise for my playful display bedraggling you so. I’m afraid I had assumed the other lock-keepers might have forewarned you of my likeness and habits.”

“They… Did not.” Artu managed, before processing what she had said about his clothing. He glanced down to see that, unalike the genius loci of the canal, he was soaked from head to toe and dripping water like a bucket introduced to buckshot. “Don’t worry about these old clothes.” He said, still rather overmuch in shock about being pranked by a goddess to be as carefree in that comment as he would have liked to have been. “Worse things happen at sea you know.” He had added.

“No, no, I insist. It’s most unfair of me, and, really, if I let my behaviour be judged by the encoarsened standards of a bight or bay then really, I’d be barely more civilised than a mountain stream.” She said matter-of-factly, flapping her hand between them as if swiping lackadaisically at a fly. As she did so, the water flew from his clothes to arc back down into the canal, both full of haste and yet entirely without imparting force from him. It was as if magnetism had pulled almost all the canal’s moisture back, leaving him comfortably refreshed and cooled by what little remained.

“Mr Pædraaki,” she had continued, “I’m afraid I must rush now, but it has been a pleasure to make your acquaintance today. It is so gratifying to know that there are those out there who will risk embarrassment and more a little bit of a chance of injury to save a stranger – even one who is certainly a Damnable fool.

“Enjoy your day now Mr Pædraaki.” She had said, stepping past him with a smile and an incline of her head before continuing on her way toward Mynerbium, only to stop and glance back after a few steps. “Oh, but do have a care – you’ve missed a spot.” She said, pointing to a still flaked part of the lock gate with another laugh before she walked back out of his life again.

It had been the first time he had met a nature spirit in person, though he had been a Kouralian for sixty years. Perhaps being a devotee to the military life followed by reclusive retirement in the highlands was not quite the best way of expanding one’s horizons and meeting such folk, but now he had done so and it would not be the last. Even the littlest joys had been amplified by the presence of a deified spirit and soon, like the other lock keepers, he was keeping aside a small spare parcel of luncheon for the canal herself – should she deign to dine with him. Of course, such parcels would go uneaten in the main, but that was a small price to pay compared to being unprepared when a river goddess comes to tea.

And so life had continued, a happy haze of work and leisure wherein Artu became a part of the community of Mynerbium and a well known face on the canal. But, for all that, he did find it lacked a certain something. There was a sense of leisure that, to his thoroughly militarised mind, was somewhat anathema to a need for purpose. However, if that was something that had been lacking, this past week had certainly given Artu one.

He had worked the Flight for five years when the outgoing senior lock keeper had summoned him to the lockhouse one showery April morn’ and had passed to him a sealed chest of Chietan Rosewood bound in aurichalcum. “Take this and mark my words young man.” He had said to the then-sixty-odd year old Artu, revelling in the respect due as a septuagenarian Principal Lock Keeper of his status. “You have learned well the ways of these waters, though a saltsoaked beach boy you may have been. I have no doubt you will continue to keep the Flight as I have done as my Principal did before me, but now I must entrust to you a more sacred duty.”

By, or not long past this point the two lock keepers had relocated outside to let an open bottle of sfuso wine stand guard atop the casket. Kept out of the rain by the wide awning and its decorative dagger-like valancing that surrounded the lock house, the two reflected a while and enjoyed the wine in silence – as old men are wont to do. Halfway through the bottle Artu had been gauche enough to bring the Principal Lock Keeper back to the subject at hand – which he had reluctantly expounded on after some not insignificant harrumphing. “This casket,” He had said, kicking it lightly as he did – but only after picking up the sfuso to decant another glass, “is one of over ten thousand delivered to Lock Keepers like you will be around the country. The Principal of the Mynerbium Flight received theirs in 1923. That’s nearly twenty Principals who have kept this casket safe, waiting for the day it is to open and the duties within carried out.”

Now, at this point the Outgoing Principal had risen and marched up and down, expounding greatly on the importance of the box with but a momentary sidetrack into how he had once had to dive into the Canal to save the casket after an overexciteable boatsmen had knocked it in – only to himself be knocked in by the Principal Lock Keeper and for further escalation being prevented only by a passing Shire Guard Watchmaster.

It was then that Artu, again showing a great deal less courtesy than his superior had expected, had interrupted and asked what the duty was that sat inside the box.

“Well, no one knows.” Was the answer, unsatisfying as it was. The box had been given to the first Principal Lock Keeper to receive it by a besuited and bebowlered city Clerk who had informed him that it, like many others, was being delivered to every Principal Lock Keeper in the realm. It was not to be opened until the right time for its contents were sensitive. Even had he been a less honourable man who was inclined to ignore this fact, the truth was that the box would not open no matter how hard one struggled with it. Of course, each Lock Keeper had only heard of this fact from their predecessor who heard it from their predecessor – none of them had actually been disrespectful enough to try it, or stupid enough to admit it. Engraved into the aurichalcum fittings right where a keyhole would be, if it had one, was a single sentence in flowing script:

‘Yet some men say in many parts of Kouralia that He is not dead, but had by his unholy will into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and we shall win eternal again as we did.’

There had been no explanation as to what that sentence had meant, until as Tambelon was rent forth from the dark dimension in which it has lain in wait, across Kouralia every Lock Keeper and Waterway manager’s casket burst open. Artu had been making breakfast at the time, and naturally confused himself and poured a lukewarm cup of tea when the mystical sounds of the casket tricked the elderly seaman into believing the kettle was whistling. Within it had envelopes full of briefings and a leatherbound history book that were miraculously undamaged by water, a further “Greetings and thank you” to the bearer of the chest, and a sum of money that was probably intended to be handsome remuneration at the time the box was sealed but which was now sufficient to buy half a small chocolate frog called Fred.

Within had been the carefully considered plan of Sir Muri Mide, Prince Palatine, the Eternal Crown Champion, the God of the Reðuyn, for if Grogar of Tambelon should return again. It detailed the steps the Kouralian Military could, should, and hopefully would take to work in concert with the spirits of the canals and waterways of the realm to transport goods and troops through time-honoured routes at blistering paces.

Where much of Kouralia had been cut off from the world, terrified and alone without the telephony and media of the modern world to help it understand what precisely was going on; from that very first day the village of Mynerbium had been taken under the direction of a wisened expert at matters of discipline and order. He had stepped out into the sunshine with a pace stick tucked under his arm and wearing an amalgam of tweed and the uniform of a Fleet Warrant Officer and had done exactly what he did best – take charge. When the first barges had arrived on the canal, travelling at more than forty miles an hour on a glasslike surface without leaving the slightest of wakes, they had come to a steady halt before the first lock gates only to find them fortified by locals brandishing shotguns and overseen by their Principal Lock Keeper.

Standing there, Artu rang the ship’s bell to alert the higher up gates that the first boats had arrived even as soldiers of the air force defence regiments jumped off the boats and began to offload defensive equipment. As Artu watched them disembark, he could not help but meet the gaze of the canal spirit sat upon the bow of the lead vessel and trailing her feet through the water. “I think, My Lady, if you would care to inspect, you will find that this time we have not, in fact, missed a spot.” He called out, confusing the remainder of those present for a moment, until they resolved to ignore him as the goddess laughed.

“…so, really you can see why life is good, I think.” Artu said simply as he wound up his tale again.

“The Dark Lord’s invasion notwithstanding?” One of the Airmen manning the recoiless rifle emplacement next to him asked.

“The Dark Lord’s invasion notwithstanding.” Artu agreed, puffing on his pipe for a moment before leisurely reaching across to ring the old ship’s bell. Nothing was in sight yet, but the calming presence that was sweeping across his psyche had never been wrong yet.
Last edited by Kouralia on Mon Sep 19, 2022 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Tambelon » Tue May 24, 2022 3:43 pm

War Council Chambers, Below the Campanile, Tambelon, D+18

Grogar stepped into the council chambers, scowling furiously. Guards suppressed their nervousness as he passed and he paid them no mind, for now, he had no time to see to punishing them for the laxity of their front line comrades. He slammed his hoof down on the table before him and glowered at the twelve figures who awaited him.

“Why have we not made more progress?” he demanded.

“The Flesh-Casts are still learning, the more we produce the less we can individually train them, which means that their neural structures are not fully indoctrinated. If we were to accept a small reduction in the forward momentum of our campaign,” Inky Gloom, Mistress of the Flesh Vats said. She was a unicorn, and they were as much her creation as his.

“The Flesh-Casts’ function is to die,” Volos, Master of Shades said. “We should if anything increase their production, as long as they can carry a fire lance, they can easily defeat human soldiers under the Shattering Peal.”

“That is not true,” the illusory projection of Garnost, commander of the Freestian Front said. “The Flesh-Casts are vulnerable to fire, and many human soldiers can defeat them with a modicum of intelligence, they need the training to be effective.”

Volos scowled at him.

Tambelon’s field armies were presently divided into five front armies, the Kouralian, Malgravean, Freestian, and Hippocratian front, with one more still within the city being prepared for the next line of engagement. Each of them had a fierce general that Grogar had recruited from the world’s endless wars. Garnost had been a war criminal, in some human realm, his name was a new one, and he wore a uniform designed to his own specifications, severe and ornamented by a ring of five stars, reflecting the size of his command.

The five generals were joined by the commander of the city’s garrison, a goat who seemed eminently bemused by the efforts to shift blame. Six archmages made the other side of the council, the Mistress of the Flesh Vats and the Master of Shades were joined by the respective chiefs of the Automata, the Veils, the Lenses, and the Great Beasts, all of whom were content for now that Volos and Inky Gloom had put their feet and hooves into it respectively.

“Be. Silent!” Grogar’s command shattered glass across the room, the hulking goat giving the pair a stare.

“We will continue to use Flesh-Casts to bulk out our numbers on the Kouralian front, but we will release new forces there. Improve them without slowing production Gloom, increase their indoctrination to improve their performance, if they go mad from the pressure then I do not care so long as they are thrown from the city. We can cull the failures afterwards.”

“Volos, do not tell another mistress her field. And do not presume to know military matters, if I appoint a general I have faith in them.”

Chastised, both bowed and returned to their seats.

“Now, explain to me how we have not made a breakthrough on the Kouralian front?”

All eyes turned to the commanding general of the Kouralian front. The orc commander did not flinch, looking sour.

“Our reconnaissance reports that the Shattering Peal did not affect the locks of the canals in Kouralia as intended, it seems this infrastructure was hardened. We are facing an enemy who is still receiving supply shipments, albeit slowly, to distribution centres throughout the country. Our mages suspect a river spirit is responsible.”

Grogar looked at him with burning fury.

Interrupting, Volos spoke up again. “Perhaps the black ice.”

Ghashgan, the general spoke casually, “This would not work, the individual stretches would be isolated.”

“Not for your soldiers,” Volos said. “At least not most, but special agents. A single droplet of black ice would disable an entire length of the canal and block it up until they dug it out. A difficult work.”

Grogar looked at Volos, as if surprised the Master of Shades was capable of a good idea. “See to it, plug their supply routes. Now, the Crown Alliance gate, speaking of black ice.”

He wove a scrying illusion onto the table to the location they sought.


The Kouralian Front

At Ghashgan’s level, the discussion was strategic more than operational, the exact forces and weapons to employ, but not how to operate them. For Vultas the war was much more real. At the leading edge of the capital salient order had broken down, and he was in command of a ragged group of Flesh-Casts rather than the reconnaissance unit he had been leading at the start of the war, in terms of the size of the unit it could have been a battalion if it had been more disciplined, and it had the equipment for it at least.

The tat-tat-tat of firearms filled the valley. Kouralia was a picturesque land, but it was not easy to conquer. The guns used by the Flesh-Casts were louder and more numerous than the enemy weapons, and made an ugly ‘rrrrrt’ noise when they fired, emptying small isolated clips with each shot.

Sandbags and dugout positions awaited his men, and Flesh-Cast or not the orc veteran was not prepared to turn them loose as a blunt instrument. Weeks of campaigning through the northern hills had been slow and brutal work and Vultas gave thanks to the gods that he had been able to preserve himself, and gather enough of a force around him to keep pushing forward.

The Dark Lord’s agents were not kind to those that turned back. As the resistance in the southern mountains had proved more resilient he had made certain that his mortal followers were properly motivated.

The krak-krak of a sharpshooter echoed across the valley and stones scattered high above. From his fighting position, Vultas looked up and was startled to see a goat bouncing from rock to rock, tempting the enemy to hit him, and narrowly avoiding each shot. The caprine leapt down and landed behind the barrier.

The goat wore the rank pins of a regiment commander, but no unit division, he was certainly Tambelonic though. Vultas saluted, briefly imagining pushing the smug officer off the cliff.

“Sir.” He didn’t need to ask to see orders or papers, close up the goat reeked of shadow magic.

“Prepare your men for a push. We are breaking through.”

Vultas considered voicing his objections but instead saluted and called the troops together. Bulky Flesh-Casts with lines of bullet holes in their chests and with spare limbs re-knitted after shredding. They were reloading their five-round clips, pushing the bullets from the stripper clips into the slot at the top of each squirt gun. The guns were designed with the minimum moving parts to resist the shattering peal, with no fully rotary parts, simple trigger catches that needed to be reloaded manually, and the firearm version of a crossbow. They did use 12.7 mm rounds, heavy and brutal, minimising the inculcation needed by the flesh-cast by giving them a basic ability to fire a burst that went through masonry and men alike. Within the troop were an irregular number of other weapons, direct fire grenade launchers that could pass for mortars and assault shotguns that had more kick than a human could withstand. They gathered around the unfamiliar officer.

“Prepare to advance,” the goat ordered.

Furtively the Flesh-Casts glanced at one another. Myriads of surplus eyes emoting in strange ways.

“Sir,” the orc said. “We have been trying to advance.”

The goat glowered at him, and for a moment Vultas felt his soul quail. “Stand to your posts.”

The goat stood beside them, watching, and one of the Hormads shifted, fingering his rifle.

The officer’s horns were covered in a dark aura, and black fire burst from the putative rebel’s boy, while howls split the valley. Vultas wondered what the Kouralians would be hearing on the other side of the contested road. A flare of black flame and ghastly screams from behind a barrier where one of the strange rulers of Tambelon had just been seen.

Horrified but cowed the other troops crouched their massive frames below barriers.

The Shattering Peal sounded, as it did every twelve minutes irregularly without fail.

But the sound came again, two seconds later, and then again. Vultas could feel his teeth shake in their sockets, and old wounds reminding him of his scars as the wave of magic came over him.

A moment later, rocket fire came from the slopes above, eerily accurate and the far side of the road burst into rubble behind the defending troops. He’d not seen such accurate artillery south of the mountains before, the terrain and the difficulties imposed by the peal had kept the fighting largely confined to less serious hardware.

“Forward,” the goat growled.

Vultas didn’t need telling twice.


The Malgravean Front

The Peal struck three times in quick succession and the offensive on the Research Colony was renewed. The Malgravean front was different to the Kouralian one, while the Kouralians had borne the brunt of Grogar’s attentions directly into their mountainous highlands and the salient there was finally reaching the lowlands, the Malgravean colony had been chosen for another form of attention.

Here the Black Goat’s forces sent their best. Dragons, automata, and more, to disrupt the Malgraveans. Although they had been able to curtail some of the Shadow Dragons, their luck would not hold.

The Kouralians were not the only ones able to create a stable portal, and north of Luban,the work of Tambelon’s automaticists made itself known in force at last. Until now, the creations that had been seen were mindless, or directed along simple lines.

Not so here.

When the Black Goat had ordered his archmages to give him the troops to conquer the continent and beyond, he had made his demands clear. He wanted troops that could be manufactured and ready to fight within days, who would not need to spend years becoming adults, who would execute any order without question, but who could think creatively, and who would possess a decisive advantage over humans and elves, and who could compete with Draconids and Raizari in an affray.

Inky Gloom had produced the Flesh-Casts, Maroth had produced the Steelborn.

Both were similar, and they had for a long time worked together on the studies of far planes and dusty histories to derive their works, but while Inky Gloom had produced troops that were carved from vast vats of magical tissue that bubbled with proto-sapience, Maroth’s mind was much more mechanical. In a demiplane attached to great Tambelon by portals, shadow plane metals and ceramics, and even living wood, were assembled on production lines – now worked by other Steelborn, but at first by lesser artificers – into shapes that resembled the humanoid, and life was quickened in them by huge forges that shimmered with magical force.

Newly forged Steelborn knew little of the world, but they did not have to be conditioned as their comrades in Kouralia did, they stepped from the forge ready to fight.

Pleased, Grogar had ordered both created.

With less option to send troops, the Steelborn had come to the research colony. This far into the campaign they were not the first force to attack, but they were the first ground force to arrive. The Flesh-Casts had been sent ahead in limited numbers for diversion attacks. Though anyone in the face of a thousand howling hulks tended to consider the matter less of a diversion and more of an engagement.

This was different though, the moment the Steelborn stepped from the three portals that had appeared on Malgravean soil in close, outward facing proximity they moved with purpose. They carried a wide variety of weapons, long rifles that were far superior to the ones used by the Flesh-Casts, both built with connector cables that linked directly to their anatomy allowing them to send an imulse to a solenoid trigger block. Others carried larger weapons, such as the Tambelonic flame lance. They were not robots, instead their inner workings were a curious mixture of fibrous wood and tensile cables, as with their equipment, there were no axles, though there were ball and socket joints.

More disturbingly there were spellcasters among them, distinguished by their modular upgrades during manufacture, larger cranial plates and the accoutrements they carried.

Fluid motion of their hands and telepathic commands from their leaders, designed along the same lines as the mages, but with a focus on the mental unity of the soldiers under their control, rather than spellcasting power, guided them as they began to silently build a bridgehead.
Last edited by Tambelon on Tue May 24, 2022 3:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Malgrave » Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:05 am

Monsaum, Research Colony

Enrico grimaced in pain as he lent against a series of sandbags, the fisherman sitting in an impromptu bunker of sorts, a brief respite from ongoing combat operations, although, one that came with additional responsibilities due to the fact that he had been lumbered with the role of representing civilian concerns to the military after his earlier success dealing with the Shadow Dragons.

In this task he was left dealing with Captain Azzurra Fermi, a young officer from Aurora who had been shunted into overall command of local forces following the death of Sub-Colonel Lisa Danza in an earlier stage of the battle and a small indication of the losses that the TDF had taken while securing the evacuation of Monsaum.

“Certain you don’t wish to take a seat, Enrico?” Azzurra said from her position inside the makeshift bunker

“It’s less painful from this angle, Captain besides I know the map like the back of my hand.” Enrico said with a shrug, the fisherman attempting to ignore the pain that came with dealing with Shadow Dragons and the near-constant sound of combat in the background

“...sounds reasonable,” Azzurra said, although, she didn’t really understand why the fisherman was talking about his hands, “Now I have good news and troubling news, starting with the good news I can report that the evacuation of the civilian population of Monsaum is almost complete, unfortunately, with the strength of the enemy and our own limited forces I doubt we’ll be able to hold off long enough for a complete withdrawal of everyone in town which presents just one option.”

Enrico’s eyebrows rose in confusion, the volunteer grunting slightly as he took the time to stand and look at the situation, “I assume that this option ends with the safety of the civilian population?”

“Of course, Enrico,” Azzurra replied automatically, “We should be able to finalise the safe withdrawal of the civilian population without issue but the civilian volunteers and conscripts? It is a messier proposition which is what leads us to a partial withdrawal,” the Captain said pointing to the mountain range with separated the northern region of the research colony and the south, “After the last civilian trains leave, my company shall travel to the part of mountain that leads to Gosbury and hold until reinforcements arrive.”

“...and if they don’t arrive?” Enrico asked, a curious look on his face as he took in the young Captain before him

Azzurra just shrugged in response before speaking, “In that case I guess we’ll just hold until we run out of ammunition and then we really would be in the hand of the ancestors.”

“In that case let me wrangle some of the best volunteers to help your efforts.” Enrico said, a determined tone in his voice,

“You and your volunteers are needed to ensure that the civilians are protected during transit and I would be breaching orders if I put civilians at risk by letting them fight alongside us for a second longer then required,” Azzurra said, a smile on her face despite the circumstances, “You have been a great help during this battle but you’ll be needed in Gosbury.”

Enrico sighed, “In that case i’ll buy you and your troops a drink when you arrive safely in Gosbury....and may the ancestors look over you.” he said grimacing as he turned to return to the fighting once more

Cerne Residential District, Research Colony

Luana Caivano was scared, the small neko had been taken to the Research Colony during the conflict in Silverdale over concerns that the conflict could potentially spillover onto the Malgravean mainland itself but now instead of safety she found herself with a bunch of other children deep within the confines of a local ASG centre, a location which has quickly been determined as the most secure in the local area.

“Yes, the cultural revolution was the period that followed directly after the completion of the civil war,” an elf said, the neko recognising her as Moon Ji-Eun, a conscript that had been tasked with looking after the Silverdaleans, although, she suspected that she was here as a last line of defence in a worst case scenario, “and why was called that by historians? Yes, Lisa?” Ji-Eun asked nodding towards a small otter beastling

“Because it is when the music my grandparents listen to came out?” Lisa said not wholly confident in their response

“Correct,” Ji-Eun said with a smile, “In the years following the civil war a large number of films and television series were produced due to the end of war time restrictions, and artists like Sakura Saito became famous and quite important to the reconciliation efforts that worked to make Malgrave one state,” Ji-Eun said, “ can anyone say what the most recent era was?”

“Was it the Lost Decade?” a young human girl asked

“Almost but that was the period that followed the cultural revolution, unfortunately, that was not a very good time for Malgrave as it was known for economic hardship,” Ji-Eun said, a small frown forming on her face before it was replaced with a smile, “Yet despite such hardship Malgrave continued and eventually that era was replaced with one known as the Grand Recovery, a decade of growth and peace.”

“Will this era be known as the monster years?” Lisa asked, her question joined by other students curious about the subject,

“It is hard to say but it may invoke other events that are happening to Malgrave and Mystria at the moment,” Ji-Eun said, “...although you should remember that even during the most troubling eras that the people endured and came out the other side stronger.”

At that point Luana decided to make her own contribution to the meeting, the small neko getting on top of her chair to make sure her message was heard,

“It will be known as the era of heroes because cute dragons like Zahhak will come save us!” Luana said, the small neko holding onto a small kobold plushie that she had picked up in Epping after meeting the kobold

“It certainly would be nice to get rescued by Rylux...” Ji-Eun said before coughing and looking at the room again, “but we are perfectly safe here under the watchful protection of the conscripts of the Territorial Defence Fo-” the elf said her words cut off by the loud sound of combat, “...and i’ll just be back in a moment.” the conscript added nodding for a civilian to take over as she grabbed her now intermittent AR-2 and headed out

In response Luana just gripped her Zahhak plushie closer, the small neko desperately wishing that her little dragon friend was here to help them.

Luban Industrial District, Research Colony

Luban had found itself in a rather unique position in the Research Colony, as not only did the city fall outside of the technology exclusion zone but it had also been able to avoid a majority of the fighting that seemed to trouble the rest of the local population centres, unfortunately, at least one of these unique conditions ended almost as abruptly as the start of the conflict as hostile forces began to funnel outside a portal to the north of Luban.

Fortunately, the fact that Luban was outside of the TEZ not only meant that local artillery was operational but a portion of equipment recovered from within the frontlines and brought back to operational conditions could now be directed against the hostile incursions, with the MalDef Mouse being utilised in this early stage of the defensive operations due to it’s ability to hit targets at a range of 70 kilometres.

In preparation for closer encounters the local TDF forces had entrenched themselves, a number of conscripts carrying the familiar AR-2 rifle, although, a sizeable chunk of them carried the AR-3, a tesla-beam weapon that had been rushed into production at the start of the crisis and was being produced both in Malgrave and in the Dornalian Republic.

In addition to the newly created AR-3, a large number of the conscripts present had a strange small pistol with them referred to soldiers simply as a Tesla, a stun weapon that had previously only been given to SIS agents following the disestablishment of organisation it’s production had been rapidly increased and provided to military units across the country, as it fit perfectly with the requirement of the Malgravean military to adopt a non-lethal weapon system for future peacekeeping operations and internal security operations.

“I don’t think anyone expected to face the threat we’ve been tasked with eliminating when they got conscripted but just remember your training and who we are fighting to protect and we’ll get out of this fight.” one of the soldiers said as he inspected the row of troops preparing their weapons for the upcoming battle, a thick chevron indicating that he was a Colonel with the Territorial Defence Force

“At least we aren’t dealing with Imerian food.” one of the Solato’s said, a ripple of laughter following in response to the joke,

“I don’t think a strong enough counter for Imerian food has been developed but thankfully the enemies against us should fall victim to our tesla weaponry.” Colonel Kazik Wolanski said with a small chuckle

A cheer went up from the troops, although, the Colonel couldn’t tell if it was in response to being reminded of their new weapons or due to the fact that they wouldn’t have to deal with Imerian cooking for the moment

“Let’s just make these abominations regret invading Malgrave!” the Colonel shouted before leaping into the trench to make his own final preparations for the coming battle
Frenequesta wrote:Well-dressed mad scientists with an edge.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Dornalia » Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:27 am

Somewhere in the MARC

For a long time since Grogar returned, the Dornalians had been busy. Shipping war materiel to the Malgraveans and the Kouralians and anyone who needed it, the Colonial Republic marshaled its vast industrial, agricultural, and sapient resources to act as the Arsenal of Freedom for those held captive by Grogar’s whims. So far, the zones of the MARC and Kouralia that had not been kept in a state of forced technological night by Grogar’s magic were being visited frequently by any number of Dornalian vessels, delivering all manner of goods, including copies of local technology made by the great forges of the Republic, such as Ruger and the Cuthbern Armory, as well as the latest in Malgravean Tesla weapons, plus any number of relief supplies as needed.

Yet for all their logistical might, the forces of Grogar and his host had yet to be directly challenged in any major quantity by the forces of the Blue Sky-White Sun-Red Eagle.

Until now.

The Dornalians had been working on a crash program to ensure an armed solution that would defy Grogar’s neutralization of any attempt to bring forth all the technological wonders the Dornalians could bring. A crash program that would bear fruit for the women and men of Luban, and one which would announce it’s coming through the howling of dragons’ fire.


On the lonely tarmac, there was a large collection of dragons of all shapes and sizes. Some were blue, some were bronze, some had rust colored scales, and a select few were black or purple hued in terms of scale. Men and women of all sorts were seen climbing onto them, as one mounted a horse in days of old. The only difference was that others were joining them, riding in chairs strapped onto the massive saddles on the dragon, manning machineguns, or other such things. The saddles would have all manner of wards, both Dornalian and more foreign symbology from Tonal Magic, all meant to shield their riders and the dragons from harm and the elements.

Onboard one of the dragons--a reddish one--rode a woman with wolves’ ears on her head and elves’ ears also, along with a stern gaze in her eyes, which bored its way through the helmet which provided her protection as she performed her last preflight checks. Her armor was a mix of tactical gear and more ancient armors--one would be tempted to confuse it with the armor of the ancient Kievan Rus, even. Others dressed like her were present, both in the pilots’ saddle of the dragon and riding on the elaborate seats used to transport others riding to battle. They were joined by others wearing Stetsons and M1 Helmets, along with what looked like lower tech if still modern equipment.

The woman, whose identity badges in Commonwealth Cyrillic, Runic script, and Roman script identified her as “Anastasia Rurikovich Denisova”, paid the hubbub no heed. She was focused on the mission ahead.

For several long weeks, the young woman had been training with her dragon, forming a bond as best as possible with it, in the base the Dornalians called “Fort Apache”. She took to naming the creature “Genrikh”, after her dedushka who was known for his ferocity among even the belligerent marauders of the Commonwealth. She executed all manner of raids and approaches, learned to patch Genrikh’s wounds, and even learned to keep the creature calm when it had to host passengers. Now, she was here with the rest of the 1st Composite Dragoon Squadron, ready to ride to glory. The Dornalians had spoken to their Malgravean counterparts, and sure enough, the Luban Line was to be the first test of the 1st Composite Squadron.

Giving the dragon a keen headpat of sorts, Anastasia said in Russian, with some cynical humor, “Don’t stress, Genrikh. We’ll get the chance to ride for real soon. Then, we will ride to glory and a reward. One way or the other.” The dragon seemed to let out a cynical laugh/cough in reply, with a twinkle in its eye, as Anastasia finished a sip of jet black Varangian Roast coffee.

As to the potential reward, Anastasia knew she wasn’t here just to be here. She was here officially on leave from a cushy posting running the equivalent of “speed traps” from what the Dornalians would call the “Commonwealth ICBA”, on the promise of glory, gold, and whatever she could loot from the enemy, all because some man in a nice suit sweet-talked her bosses and her into letting his pet project borrow her and her dragon-handling skills for a while. To sweeten the deal, the man she and several others met in the tavern near where she worked even provided her with a generous signing bonus right then and there, in the form of an envelope with a large stack of Dornalian cash.

Now, after a long period of training, the 1st Composite Dragoon Squadron, along with its companion units, would go into action. The briefing was simple--the Malgraveans had come under assault on the Luban Line, and the Dornalians would come in and provide assistance. The prospect of battle at last was energizing, but also nerve-wracking. On the one hand, battle laid many low, leaving souls and carrion behind. On the other hand, battle made men and women rich, and earned them a chance to be sung of by skalds for generations to come. The men and women riding desant with her certainly had signed up for that privilege, even the Dornalians it seemed.

Then, a Dornalian on the ground gave Anastasia the thumbs up, shouting, “She’s good to go!” before leaping on and producing some signal flags and a small lantern with a shade on it. Anastasia acknowledged the man with a nod. It was her signaller, Altschule. A bit of a milquetoast man and a Navy officer, she knew the man could be trusted to keep calm under fire nonetheless.

Then, the signals went up, and trumpets of battle roared and blared their pre-determined calls to action.

It was zero hour.

First, the black dragons would take flight, their signallers communicating rapidly in order to ensure the other dragons would soon follow, in order of seniority and strength.

The tension built. Anastasia felt her heart race as the other ranks of dragons rose to the skies on command. The moment of truth was coming and reality began to hit her with the force of a freight train. For a brief moment, she felt some jitters. Would she be able to fly? Would she be able to ride into battle?

Then, the signallers and the horns blared for her squadrons to rise. Any and all thoughts were short-circuited now. Instinct and training took over. Anastasia worked her spurs and held onto her reins tightly, as Genrikh roared and began to take flight, understanding what had to be done.

The other dragonriders soon took to the skies also, in a scene which was part controlled chaos and a brilliant ballet. They flew, roaring as they all got into formation with steely precision. Anastasia formed up behind some of her comrades in line, her signaller using a combination of flags and lights to keep things coordinated. Meanwhile, Anastasia guided Genrikh along, using a combination of arcane gestures, clicks of the tongue, manipulation of the reins and spurs, and more, and the great beast complied. After a few moves, the signallers stopped their acts, going to silence to prevent the enemy from figuring out their intentions.

The formation Anastasia joined was led by a large black dragon in front of them bearing the standard of Hjalmar Westfall, the leader of this section. The group climbed higher and higher, and eventually climbed to a low but reasonable altitude, soaring through the industrial buildings of Luban like birds of prey searching for their next meal in the deepest forest. This being outside the Technological Exclusion Zone, the Dornalian Navy’s more conventional flyers also joined the group, with the dragons looking at the interlopers with a certain guarded annoyance, like a third wheel on a bicycle.

It wouldn’t be long before everyone got stuck in.
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.

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Posts: 11327
Founded: Oct 02, 2009
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Imeriata » Sun Oct 09, 2022 2:09 pm


The boat finally landed at the harbor and quickly the men jumped aboard to the tune of a loud horn blow. The standard organized chaos of a military operation was all in full swing as the superior squad scrambled out of the sailing ship that the crown had rented, the whole sea was full of them in long orderly lines back to the portal where the Royal and Federal navy were loading them full with horses, men, and supply. Even now could Olof see this was in full effect even here as for every ship that hit land carrying troops did two come carrying horses, mammoths, or whatever other beast of war that the federation used that now needed to work overtime as their motor equipped comrades were not useful in the magical field they found themselves in. Behind them was the large engineering work going on as Imerian and Kouralian engineers were busy extending the harbor by laying new to which more ships docked and bringing in even more supplies and engineers for more piers. And then even more troops. Wizards and waterspirits could also be seen moving about to help the ship move quicker and unhindered to reach the land. However despite all that the whole deployment process was slow and sluggish, nonwhere could the majestic ships of the royal and federal navy be seen prowling the sea packed to the brim with troops. One could not see aeroplanes darken the sky

Olof and his comrades gave out a collective giggle as one onlooker that got too close got chased off by a goose with an embroidered vest carrying the royal heraldry. A riksknecht konstabel, guardsman constable, or military peacekeeper as the guard called them though Olof had heard that johny foreigner called them military poolis or some nonsense like that. Whatever term was used, did the man with the shining silver helmet and white cloak storm up with a saber drawn cursing the onlooker a devil in the good old tongue as he got the goose to back off. Kours even called them Combat Regulators or something equally dry.

“ALRIGHT YOU BLACKHEARTED SCOUNDRELS ORDER UP! FORM RANKS!” Roared a man and the laughter died out, the troops hurried forward to take up positions in ranks with the well drilled efficiency that had been beaten into them in not only school but also in bootcamp and countless hours of exercise as the whole banner of a thousand man ranked up, their demi-tracklayers were nowhere to be seen and their artillery pieces were dragged by mammoths. Similarly, riders that would normally be on motorized biwheelers or just regular biwheelers seemed to have fallen back to horses as well.

Before too long were the roads that had been cleared out for them empty as the troopers that were being unloaded had turned from a mass of men that made landfall into an orderly column. Olof quickly checked his icons that he wore around his neck, Bel was there as was several rosetouched men and demigods but he had also a large symbol of The fierce unconquerable sun, as well as some minor local gods he had picked up during various deployments, the most recent ones were the five gods that the locals worshiped. As most Imerians and federal subjects agreed, it was nothing like being too careful when it came to worship, and would not want any God feeling left out after all.

“DRUMMERS!” one could hear the adjutant to the squire commander roar followed quickly by the regimental march, “The blessed flowers of our King’s realm!” started to thunder and most soldiers joined in the singing. As one did, the thunder of a thousand feet hit the floor followed by another thousand feet as the regiment step by step made their way through the Kouralian town, officers riding in the front followed by mounted men carrying the banners of the high king, the regiment, and the guard. Another regiment had made landfall and had started to make their way to the frontlines. Surrounded as they were by cheering Kouralian crowds waving both their own flags and the royal federal ones too. Both Imerian and Kouralian military peacekeepers seemed to keep them at bay to allow for the regiment to continue it’s march to the front.
“OFFICER TO THE RIGHT! GREET!” The roar of the officer leading the lance could be heard over the cheering, first in Imerian and then in the local tongue for some reason. Olof did not have time to question it though as through a well oiled machinery the entire lance turned their heads and struck their chests in a single motion. And then they all started to look a bit confused, there were no officers in either Imerian nor Kouralian uniforms from what Olof could see.

It took a few moments, then he noticed what the officer was talking about, a young lad of around 6 years of age sat on his father’s shoulders in a poorly made toy uniform of the guard, his rank insignia not entirely certain but he had the blue jacket, white trousers and white hussar jacket as officers should. The young boy looked bewildered as he quickly immited the salute with wide eyes as the Imerians marched past and the crowd laughed.

“OFFICER TO THE RIGHT! GREET!” A roar could be heard behind them followed by the sound of another salute


Two-chin as his soldier name was, stood tall and proud, it was an odd situation he found himself in, it had been a few years now since he had decided that hard studying and failed work applications were not his way and the call of adventure was stronger than his otherwise rather dull life of watching cartoons and reading books while bills piled up. One day he simply stood up, walked out, and marched straight down to the Imerian embassy, one quick day later he found himself on a boat heading straight for the gate and Scandera beyond that.

Now he was back, he and several other men just like him had now returned home for the first time in several years. Now wearing the royal blue and a snappy tricorne, well technically anyway he supposed, they were still wearing the Scanderan winter uniform with the cone shaped hats that came with it. The only thing that set them out as kouralians were the red and green band that was embroidered on their left arm with the name “Kourmark” written in golden runes embroidered on it.

“ALL RIGHT ME LADS! WE ARE HERE TO SHOW OUR PEOPLE HOW IT IS DONE, WE MIGHT SERVE HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, blessed be his name; BUT THIS IS OUR HOME WE ARE DEFENDING, I WANT TO SEE PERFECT MARCHING OUT THERE TO MAKE ALL OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS SWOON YOU HEAR ME! SWOON I SAY! NOBODY BEATS THE KOURMARKERS!” An officer roared in that annoying manner that only someone that had gone full native could as the parade grade formation had already formed up around the docks, rifles firm over their shoulders as the drums started to play and a thousand feet hit the ground in unison.

“Well I lately wandered over here to look for my Uncle Seb,
He left the land of Alæria in the year of '34,
Where he got to I don't know
I've searched this country high and low,
But back to Alæria I can't go,
Without my Uncle Seb!”

The men sang, ‘twas an old song of the Kourlander regiments of the line, a grand total of 3 there were with a grenadier regiments joining them too. Now all deployed here in their own homeland with the other men of the foreign volunteer regiments.

“So have you seen my Uncle Seb?
Typical bit of a Alærishman,
Came out to the ARF in the year of 34
If any of you neighbours living here
Have seen or heard of him anywhere,
You'd oblige me if you'd help me find
My Uncle Seb Coriæ!”

The singing continued as they marched away from their docs and on to their staging areas, horses were already moving ahead carrying sleds with only the gods knew how much provision and ammunition.

“Well let me tell you about my Uncle Seb
He thought he was a mighty man,
Swam the Great River twice a day
He could run three laps of largest Park,
And dance and sing just like a lark,
And he wasn't afraid to go home in the dark,
My Uncle Seb Coriæ”

The men continued to sing as they marched through the city flags fluttering proudly, the kouralian star on red and blue next to the eagle gold on silver and the federal war banners proudly standing between both.

“So have you seen my Uncle Seb Coriæ?
Typical bit of a Alærishman,
Fought throughout the foreign War in the year of '61.
He was supple and nimble in every joint,
He wasn't afraid of the bayonet point,
He belonged to the kourishmen,
My Uncle Seb Coriæ. Well I found my Uncle Seb Coriæ,
Very good for a Alærishman,
He has a landed title, and is the head of his house.
He helps to fight the Imers wars,
with his heart and soul is in the shashi cause,
Gods help the man who opens his jaws
To my Uncle Seb Coriæ.”

The men sang loud and proud, kourish born, Scanderan adopted, and hardened through wars and training were they finally here to save their homeland with the whole horde of Scanderan comrades at their back. He looked around remembering the streets he had walked as a kid, fat and lazy, weak and decadent. The Sashi called people like that. He was not like that anymore, muscles on his arms had been made hard as iron due to Scanderan training and fighting against rebels and outlanders all over the world. He was strong now. Strong enough to help.

The absolute royal federation, Imeriata proper, Imerbürg

The large group of men in the merchant guild stood before the throne and listened carefully to the idea laid forward to them, a fleet of ships, made from wood and with sails to carry them over the water. Some of them were large ships, the kind of ship of the line that had been used by the federation two short centuries ago to sail all over the seas of their vast domains. Some of the other items were smaller, flat bottomed with sails and oars alike to be used on rivers. Galleys and ships of the lines.

“I am… sure we can have ships like these produced aye…” the lead mearchant said as he finally looked up to the officers and women of the economic advisory gathered before him, the high king himself was not there but the order still bore his sea and heraldric emblem on silver wax.

“Good herr, you can see the requirements of these vessels but the exact parameters are not as important as them being able to sail as soon as possible! And in the case of the galleys that they can handle the river systems” the woman that had led the meeting said as the guildman passed the order back to his colleges that looked over them, he was sure they would bicker and try their best to make sure just their naval yards would be the ones to make the most profitable ones soon but the guild would provide what was ordered, that was damned sure and before the end of the day would the ships start to be worked on.

“Of course jungfrau, we will have our members start working on them when we get back to the guildhalls!”

“Make sure your members work through the night, our allies need those ships today!” the words of the woman made him nod quickly, the crown would pay for extra speed then they would work quickly.


A large enough hotel had been occupied by the federation to serve as a military HQ in the kouralian campaign as civilians and military personnel all did their best to get the situation under control of their own men, attempts to figure out communication had to be solved and so far had they relied on sending spells as clerics sat down and spoke into fires in every position brazier that they had been able to get their hands on while the naked monks were staring into the sun and burning their flesh with the suncrystals of their faith.

Harald auf Holmmark was one of the finest military men that the federation had given rise to in the past century and had quickly risen in the vacuum of the Primusite restructuring of the federation when everything deemed countra-reactionary was being swept away in a cleansing reactionary fervor to regain moral supremacy. Specism had been decried as a liberal invention and in contradiction of the old runestones and tales and as such had a new wave of royal initiatives to have the upper ranks being filled with a new but growing non-human nobility and a ton of younger more eager new nobles of human stock.

While a human herself was Harald still someone that stuck out, had she not gained an interest in warfare and other manly things would she not even have reached the position she had. A position only possible due to the pink and blue sash that she wore around her wide hips that were a clear warning that she was by royal decree a man. If biology said something and royal decree said something she, like most Imerians, would take the latter as the binding truth.

A young man to the left played the harp while intently looking at the chaos before him, just a cadet still in school military wise, however his rank as the third in line of the throne and the younger brother of the crown prince. Regiments from all over the federation were getting sent in, large dragon flights carrying stern looking karmen, flights of wyvern riders, red and white haired Blåläningar had both started to arrive in huge numbers. Gustavlanders with their sprinting marches, Sylvanese with banners of personal proclamations of valor, the terrorbird feathered Sydvinländingar and she was in command of it all. However the way to deal with that was to get the logistics properly set out.

Boats were currently mostly rented or purchased sailing ships; every day one could see more dedicated combat craft powered by oar or sail show up. They were still simple designs with blue painted hulls and white sails so far but as the rowing ships were able to spend more and more time in the rivers were supplies and troops able to make it to the frontlines quicker and quicker. Already could the map before them show signs were Imerian troops had made contact with the enemy to shore up hostile zones where the kouralians were threatened. However the more important thing the map told her was the growing number of supply depots that were being set up, fresh horses and mammoths were rushed in to make sure that one could trade mounts when pulling carts filled with whatever the frontlines needed. However this was not all she knew. Even now could she read reports of even greater store houses being set up, these were not merely there to support the defense. This was the promise of the crown’s unlimited resources, this was set up for the counter attack.


Runes, she could read the runes in the fires as the massive bonfire crackled and twisted before her. The statues of arcane rose touched and gods of magic stood all around them as prayer and study was carried out, arcane rituals took place next to research material that looked almost scientific.

However what was happening here was not science, it was arcane and blessed.
“Any progress? What does the fire tell?” A voice inquired as Frida, cleric of the faith finally looked away and wrote down what she had found. It was a stern looking man in his elder years. His robes were fine and red with fire embroidered at the bottom, an ornate gorget held a fire shaped brass plate behind his head to mimic the divine look of the holy themselves. What truly made him stand out though was his scared face. It carried the scars of quite severe burning from the top of the head in a circle that told her that he had been crowned in fire when he took his office.

“Not much yet father!” She responded with a quick bow and got an equally speedy nod in return as he pushed on to ask a monk of the sun faith the same question as the naked man withdrew from his trance.

She sighed and went back to work, with quick movements of her hands in ritualistic patterns did she stare once more into the flames, around her did runes start to glow in ornate circles on the floor as they once again started to try to read the spellcraft that broke their vehicles asunder. Here and there a bit was snapped up, here and there a secret was forced through.

The Gods favored them, not for a moment did Frida doubt that all Gods were on the side of the high king, this was known. Sooner and later they would break the secret, sooner or later they would know the words and secrets of the spell, sooner or later they would arrive in force with vehicles protected from the spellcraft. Sooner or later they would make the spell theirs, they would use it on their foes. All this was clear and obvious to her, divine will was on their side.
Last edited by Imeriata on Sun Oct 09, 2022 2:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
embassy program| IIWiki |The foreign units of the royal guard |The royal merchant guilds official storefront! (Now with toys)

So what? Let me indulge my oversized ego for a moment!
Astralsideria wrote:You, sir, are the greatest who ever did set foot upon this earth. If there were an appropriate emoticon, I would take my hat off to you.

Altamirus wrote:^War! War! I want to see 18th century soldiers go up againist flaming cats! Do it Imeriata! Do it Now!

Ramsetia wrote:
Imeriata wrote:you would think that you could afford better looking hussar uniforms for all that money...

Of course, Imeriata focuses on the important things in life.

Willing to help with all your MS paint related troubles.
Things I dislikes: Everything.

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New Dornalia
Posts: 1829
Founded: Apr 27, 2005
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Dornalia » Sun Oct 09, 2022 2:56 pm

Somewhere on the Kouralian Front

For Sergeant Edelmiro de la Cruz, his experiences in Mystria had been….interesting to say the least. First, came the Winter War in the south, where his squad had marched through frozen wastes very much unlike the South Texas borderlands to battle monsters of ice. Then, came a brief respite in the new facility the Dornalians called Fort Apache. Then, came the return of Tambelon and before long, the brass had given new marching orders. Report to Imeriata, and prepare to sally forth alongside the ARF’s finest to help free the Kouralians from a nightmare seemingly birthed from the bowels of Hell itself.

And so, the Dornalians dutifully went, bringing along the usual panoply of warriors, and some new ones as well. The dragon riders of the Commonwealth Dragoons, designed for the Denied Zones as the Dornalians called the areas under Grogar’s anti-technology spell, were being deployed in force. Other elements too had been deployed. One of them stuck out in de la Cruz’s mind first and foremost, and made his feline ears that sat on his head perk up with a mix of curiosity and nervousness.

Namely, a Loki-Widebody transport that dropped off a company of…well, if he didn’t know better, they were amazonian warriors that marched in perfect lines, with their kit impeccable, their stares hardened and ready, and not a few of them seeming quite pale. He was told they were part of the larger contingent from the Dathomiri-Miradathi Scout Regiment, a unit raised in the distant Skyriver Galaxy, and that this was to be their first real test. He also heard rumors that many of them had mastery of magic arts…including the ones you didn’t do in front of polite company. De la Cruz wasn’t fazed--rumors were rumors after all--but still, superstitious whispers could be heard once in a while.

As to the mission itself, the briefing given to him and other members of his unit by Lieutenant Gomez was cloaked in the typical military bureaucratese. The brass had given orders that the Dornalians were participating in the drive to prevent an important Kouralian facility only known to the Dornalians as Objective DENVER from falling into enemy hands. Now, Gomez had brushed off questions concerning what DENVER was, and could only say that it was a Kouralian facility vital to the war effort. Gomez’s tone suggested Gomez didn’t even know the answer, and likely had been told it wasn’t worth it to find out. Either way, the order was clear. Push forward and assist in the effort, working with Imerian and Kouralian allies to do so.

And so, de la Cruz was here along with his squad, riding on a dragon crewed by a rider from the 3rd Commonwealth Dragoons Squadron along with other Dornalians of all sorts. De la Cruz looked around, the gatos and gata of Fire Team Alpha ready to go, if nervous. He saw Corporal Guerrero, his second in command, checking the scoped XM1197 Dedicated Marksman’s Rifle--more familiarly known as the KVG-09 to those outside the Dornalian Department of Defense--he had been issued for the Denied Zone and making a mental note of its controls. The rifle looked a bit too large for Guerrero, but he held it ready just the same. The others were checking their equipment, and the fireteam’s rifleman, Private Morales, even could be seen superstitiously tapping the magazine for his assault rifle on his helmet before putting it back into the XM1224 Assault Rifle (aka an AR-2 Assault Rifle) he was cradling. De la Cruz himself checked his belt, his saber and pistol holster still attached, before checking his own rifle. As he did so, De la Cruz could see the other dragons flying in formation, carrying Dornalians to their objective. He saw some of the Scouts on them, but from what de la Cruz heard, a large portion of the Scouts were elsewhere--perhaps even on the ground.

All in all, aside from their feline ears and tails, the men and woman of Fire Team Alpha were very much human looking--and all their faces were still nervous.

Meanwhile, de la Cruz then felt a poke on his shoulder after briefly looking around. The Sergeant turned and saw Guerrero raising his eyebrows and asking him skeptically and jocularly in a New Star City accent, with its generically “Western” sounding tones:

“You still got that fucking sword and that pistol, Sarge?”

De la Cruz laughed, and said in reply in his own South Texan/Tejano voice,“When am I ever without it, Corporal? Come on, you know me better than that.”

“Alright. I mean, I dunno how useful right rounds of .45 ACP and a big-ass saber are gonna be, but okay.” Guerrero said that with some skepticism, his own cat ears and tail perking up.

“Look, I’m sure Grogar’s forces can be cut up by a sword, and I am sure they can get killed by old and slow .45 ACP.” De la Cruz seemed a tad offended that Grogar’s forces wouldn’t die to a cartridge that had saved his ancestors time and time again. He then continued, “Besides, you know me, if I missed, I’d have worse things to worry about than Grogar’s people.”

“Whaddya mean, Sarge?”

“Well, namely, my late, dearly departed tia Josefina. She always used to preach on about shot placement and how it saved her life battling bad hombres in her Ranger days. ‘Make your shots count!’ ‘Hit where it matters!’ ‘If you’re gonna shoot, shoot, don’t talk!’” de la Cruz added.

Guerrero laughed, going, “Sarge, first of all, it’s ‘when you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.’ Second of all, you got that from an old movie--no way your tia invented that phrase!”

“Didn’t say she invented it, Corporal. And besides, it’s solid advice.” de la Cruz said that with a nod, and then added, “So yeah. For her, I ain’t gonna miss, or I’ll try not to miss anyway.”

“A’ight.” Guerrero sat back, and began whistling a tune to pass the time, as the Dornalians moved closer to their staging point. All the while, the Sergeant wondered what the situation would look like on the ground.
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.



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