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Chronicles of Cardo (Nation Maintenance)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Chronicles of Cardo (Nation Maintenance)

Postby Cardo » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:33 am

OOC: Everything happening here is considered IC and canon for Cardo. I haven't properly roleplayed for years, so this is my way to keep a foot inside of the game while my life goes on. Anything posted here relates to Cardo specifically and content may range from news articles to day-in-the-life type posts.


Plymouth MegaHotel, Election Night, 2048

Cord Labes looked upon the neon-lit capital, unsure of what the town had become, unsure of what he had become. As a boy, he dreamed of walking through the hallowed halls of power Birwood maintained for nearly 500 years. From Kings, to High Lords, to High Priests, to Chancellors, men and women had cut their teeth in this city, but no molars were as precisely chiseled as Cord's, and he knew this. To survive in this city, all you needed was a degree from Cardo National Academy and a loyal home district. 20 years later, you need security, street smarts, and the wherewithal to wheel and deal with corporate rollers, fucking trillionaires. He read the holographic channel letters atop a 300 story building: FeighnCorp. "Scumbags," Cord whispered to himself, turning away from the windows.

He scanned his office. A white interior reflected the pink-glow shining through the windows behind his desk. He stepped down from the raised platform holding his workstation, and walked over to his mirror. He wasn't impressed. His white hair made him looked paler and the bags underneath his eyes showed exhaustion. The top button on his white, collarless dress shirt was unbuttoned, not necessarily maintaining the carefully crafted vision his handlers bestowed upon him: a high man in society, respectable and principled. "What a joke," he whispered. There was a knock. His office door showed an image of the other side, sort of like a one-way mirror of the olden days. The image showed a young man, not a day over 25. Clean-shaven, sculpted, and a head full of brown hair made Cord subconsciously envious. Plus, he had his top button fastened and his suit jacket snugly clung to his arms. He embodied a sophisticated Cardo. "Come," Cord said, stepping up the platform to get to his desk.

When the man walked through the smoothly sliding door, the lights faded on, creating a blue aura in the room. He had a look of concerned excitement on his face. "Mr. Secretary, you've won Saratoga. Congratulations, Mr. Chancellor-elect."

Cord nodded, sauntered over to his liquor cart, waving a hand to reveal darks, lights and everything in between. Grabbing a since discontinued whiskey, he poured himself and the young man a modest glass. "Henrí, cheers."

Birwood Square, Election Night 2048

Quite conveniently, the political capital and the cultural capital of Cardo are one the same. The intersection where they all meet? Birwood Square. One moment, you might get run over by a corporate cog on a stimulant high or you might be robbed by a Dreesh-head, looking to score some dough for his next nod-off. On this election night, the square is dominated by kids, naïve and hopeful about the world around them. They're clueless. Donned in orange and dark blue, the color of the New Democrats, they call themselves rallying and preparing for the moment of their lifetimes. In a sea of septum pierces, ear gages and tatoos, one can see a complete rejection of the societal comforts behind mainstream Cardoan society. They see hope in Clarence Du'Mont. They see themselves.

A handsome thirty-something, the young Senator legitimately believes in the spirit of Cardo: work hard, hustle, get your dough. This fucker wants world peace and that's why he was doomed to fail. When the Cardoan war machine stops, so does the constant flood of C-bucks that pay for rare 8oz filets and obnoxiously marked-up wine from the Evergreens. After the kid shocked the world and won his primary, there was an immediate influx of cash from the private sector into the coffers of his opponent, the good Secretary of State Cord Labes. For what it's worth, Du'Mont was the first person in a long time to have the establishment shitting bricks.

There was a hushed silence among the hundreds of thousands surrounded by the lofty skyscrapers of the capital. A holographic news report projected from the OneNewsCorp building. A blue-haired, young woman appeared on the screen, a white dress contrasting her hair color. "We can now project that Secretary of State Cord Labes has defeated Senator Clarence Du'Mont by a margin of less than a third of a percentage point in the Saratoga subregion, securing another 4 years of Conservative Coalition rule."

Immediately, chaos erupted.

Plymouth MegaHotel, Election Night 2048

There was a measured calm behind the curtain of the raised platform situated at the front of the ballroom. Staffers let out sighs of relief, senior advisors subtly wiped the sweat from their brows, attempting to appear unsurprised, as though this was bound to happen. Cord heard the excited commotion coming from the election party on the other side of the curtains. Henrí interrupted his focus, tapping him on the shoulder. "Sir, look," the young staffer smirked, pulling out a TeleCorp Holograph 7, "they're already rioting on Birwood square." Cord remained stoned-face. He understood their anger. "It's a shame you chuckle at the destruction of our capital."

"Mr. Chancellor-elect," a familiar bellowing voice called from behind them. Cord turned around. It was Dante Engstrom, the mahogany, smooth-talking senior lobbyist from FeighnCorp. Cord had no Dante, and this was no secret between the two. "Feigncorp sends its congratulations," Engstrom held out a hand, revealing a diamond watch, dancing like a pop singer in the flashing lights of the occasion. Cord extended his hand, "I'm assuming I got you this watch."

Dante laughed. "Compliments of the CEO, what can I say?"

"What do you want, Dante?"

"We need you to pass the Mallanican action bill within the first 100 days, and we need the people to know."

Cord paused. "Or what?"

Dante quietly chuckled and walked away. Cord sunk his shoulders. He felt a hand on his shoulder. His running mate, Olivia Rose, is perfect for this position. A middle-aged, blonde hardliner with a penchant for expensive dresses, usually compliments of her husband, she gave bark behind Cord's bite. "You ready for this, Mr. Chancellor-elect?" Cord was reminded of the occasion. He was elected Chancellor, after all.

"Let's do this, partner," he gave her a fistbump and they stepped onto the stage, declaring victory and securing FeighnCorps income for the next decade...
Last edited by Cardo on Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Cardo » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:04 pm

Combat Exercise Dome, Base Lawrence, Port-of-Wideman, Monmouth

Everyone hated their exoskeletons, even the squad leaders who had to pretend like they didn't. The whole idea is to enhance the agility of Cardo's footsoldiers, the true runts of the military. The automated motion sequences that forced one to bolt to cover, hit the deck, or even kneel improved the speed of the infantrymen, but only when its user became efficient at its use. Luckily, though, that's all these men gave to worry about. The weight of their armor isn't heavy and the HUD is easy to use through the chips in their brains. They control their field of view through their skulls. One neuron sends the command and the HUD that sits in their helmets follows. Some of the more technologically astute cadets have even been able to link adult movies to their systems. Crude innovations like this are particularly useful for nights like these, where cadets and officer trainees are engaged in a battle simulation, fighting against an enemy fighting through augmented reality.

The battle dome is a massive, stadium-like training facility, sitting above the clouds atop 300-story military complex chalk with offices, dormitories, and command centers. Every base worth its salt has one, and every six months cadets and official guardsmen alike must fight in any given weather condition, decided by the tiny chip that controls the conditions in the dome. Right now, the dome has chosen to mirror the conditions of the seemingly inevitable enemy of the state: Mallanica. Snow slowly fell from the artificial night sky, and as Cadet Thane Wise breathed, he saw a cloud of air in front of him. Tonight, he was on watch. His HUD view was set to thermal, the only objects moving in his peripheral being the slow way of trees and the slow breathing of his sleeping comrades. The autonomous heat mechanism warmed the cadet's body, but as he scanned his field of view he began to wonder what he was doing here.

Thane joined the military at 18, with a thirst to get out of the dusty confines of the Sunbelt and see the world. Being an infantryman was his only choice, otherwise, he would've been stuck tending to the hydroponic greenhouses on his family compound, growing weed and psychedelics. Unfortunately, he faced the consequences of leaving the nomadic life, being ex-communicated from his folks after locking into the grid. Fucking cyber-hippies. Often times, he quietly grappled with the fact that he sacrificed his natural integrity in exchange for stimulus, for a more exciting life. He observed a blinking blip on his HUD coming from behind. A friendly. He felt two hands grip his waist. "What the fuck?!"

"It's me," a voice said in a Birwoodian accent. A city slicker, Cadet Sterling Vangellos is the exact foil to Thane. He was allowed to be comfortable with himself, folding into the swiftly moving pace of the capital, another number in a sea of 20 million faces. His living circumstances were not as easy as Thane's, either. Tucked into a 150 story, black low-income project on the west side, he grew up seeing violence. He decided it was better to not kill other Cardoans, just to kill the enemy, except there were none, for now.

"Don't scare me like that," whispered Thane, repositioning his FeignCorp rifle.

"What, you scared the invisible enemy is gonna get you?" asked Sterling, lying on his stomach, next to Thane.

"Aren't you supposed to be asleep?" Thane said, turning locking eyes with Sterling.

"Aren't you supposed to be paying attention to the enemy?"

There was a pause as the two maintained eye contact, their eyes briefly shifting. Suddenly, Thane's HUD started to flash and AR bullets began to fly. He fired back, his neurons signaling the other soldiers in his platoon to come to alert...
Last edited by Cardo on Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Cardo » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:14 pm

Rolleston Hoverway, Over Birwood, Cardo

Umaru Corwin's luxury AutoCart weaved through traffic, quickly floating across the hoverway. "Feeling alright, Mr. Corwin?" The drone AI component of the black, tinted hovercraft said through the speakers. Corwin was reading the news on a transluscent screen, the projection coming from his NueroChip linking with the bluetooth screen. The headline read: "Labes Beats the Odds."

"I'm doing well, Horus," he scanned the news briefing, spotting a story on the night's riots, "I'm feeling willing and able to serve." He finished his reading and spoke to his cyber servant, "Pull up CorwinCorps Security briefing, Operation Camelback Siren."

"You got it, sir." In a series of automated swipes, clicks and scrolls, the briefing was pulled up. While the file was loading, Corwin caught a glimpse of himself. The scar on his left cheek still bothered him, despite incuring the injury nearly a decade ago. The scar burned into his already dark skin. His bald head reflected the shining sun through the vehicles sunroof. He smiled at his glistening beard, resembling velcrow. His smirk revealed his dental implants. The kernthinite, a diamond-like mined straight from some moon, on some planet, through some illegal method, glistened a deep turqoise hue. The 40-year-olds ostentatiousness recieved disdained from the old money of Cardo. Men who saw themselves as more innocent in the deterioration of Cardoan society because they did their bidding in less obvious ways. Umaru simply took advantage the chaos that the actions of the old money caused in his environment.

He grew up in a massive development, what these new aged architects call "community towers." These towers go up around 400-stories, each floor having an outdoor communal area with basketball hoops, monkey bars and odd parts of turfed greenery. The general idea is that it'd be harder to commit crime if you systemically house immigrants and poor people in towers where mobility is dependent upon elevators, and, it'd encourage happiness if there's an immediate community around that you're practically forced to see. Unfortunately, within the first few months of opening, suicide was endemic to the towers, and it's worse that bodies flew from upwards of 400 stories high, almost always causing more fatalities from the crowded Birwoodian walkways, or hitting a hovercraft on the Rolleston Hoverway. Eventually, they built cages and it started looking a whole lot like a prison. Before you knew it, the three community towers formed their own gangs, resulting in a bloody gang conflict. 10,000 lives lost...out of boredom.

Umaru arrived in Tower 2 at age 11, flanked by his father Udo, his mother Lungile and his little brother Tariku. The whole family lankily stood in front of their doorway on the 230th floor, their tint from the Kéban sun making them an outline in the Birwoodian night. His parents migrated to Cardo, for the job market, otherwise, they hated the seemingly socially liberated environment that Birwood, specifically, provided. Umaru and Tariku quickly became popular on their floor, the kids admiring their tribal piercings: wooden triangular cylinders through their ear lobes given out when Kéban boys reach the age of ten.

With their newly founded popularity amongst the floor, the two boys astutely navigated through the social circles formed on the communal lots. Petty theft with a few friends from a tuck shop on a busy street quickly turned to spray painting HoloAds whenever one of their projectors were built on the lot perimeter. The beauty of it all? Their parents never knew as they were out working graveyard shifts to support the seemingly meager rent of the housing. Unsupervised, the Corwin brothers grew a reputation floor-by-floor in their tower. Then, one faithful day, one of Umaru's minions approached nervously approached him. Beaty-eyed, the boy's blue-eyes reflecting the industrial lighting shining on the concrete walls. "Oy, I go' some stims man, 'ole bottle." Within days, the brothers were moving stims from the bottom floor to the top, supplying all of Tower 2. Of course, Towers 1 and 3 wanted to get in on the action, so they did. Then, one day, on a hot city night, an asshole from Tower 1 blew Tariku's brains across the pavement, the then 20-year-old's body being hit by a car. The deadly blow.

Soon after, both the shooter and the innocent driver of the car who strick Tariku's cadaver turned up dead, on Umaru's account. Seeing the raw grief of his parents, he didn't want the same fate as his brother. It's worth noting that each tower has a government-appointed Superintendent, guys who were on their way up the bureaucratic ladder, collecting rent and dodging ass-whoopings in hope of getting a good job for the state. One landlord got so scared, he needed protection from Umaru's guys in tower 2. A couple of shakedowns and a government contract later, and now Umaru is responsible for 40% of law enforcement in the country and 70% of the tower's employment, compliments of the Cardoan Federal Budget Authority and former gang members.

Reading the briefing, he passed the 290th floor of his old building, catching a glimpse of a pickup stickball game. His hovercraft glided down to its parking dock atop the 105-story Weiss Building. The doors on his vehicle lifted. He grabbed his backpack, hearing the clinging of his chains beneath his cardigan. He entered the speed chute, jolting down to his floor. When the doors slid open, he was greeted by Yukon, their hair sliver, with thick purple make-up. Yukon represents the new, progressive, seemingly label-free Cardo. They spoke: "Mr. Corwin, the Chancellor-elect's Chief of Staff is in your office. It's urgent."

Umaru nodded, swiping his tongue across his Kernthinite grill. Pay day's coming.

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Postby Cardo » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:45 am

The language of Cardo is Cardoan, a mixture of Italian and Latin. Dialogue and Cardo specific documents should be assumed to be in Cardoan


Excerpt from Grande Storia Imperiale del Gran Maestro Matteo I written by Signior Gilberto Aroldo Brunetti, Imperial Historian

Grand Master Matteo the First, House of Costa-Mancini, King of Salajón, King of Matina, King of Gafaso, Son of Grand Master Fortunato I, was coronated on the 9th day of August, 1437. His Divinity's coronation took place in the Imperial Basilica and High Cardinal Adamo di Fino presided over the ceremony. His Divinity wore his imperial regalia: a black doublet with grey floral stitching, black hose, silver breeches, and a black tabbard with the coat of arms of the House Costa-Mancini.

An Imperial procession of 2,000 courtiers and other nobles entered into the Imperial Basilica whilst the High Imperial Chorus sang hymns of rejoicing. Once seated, the High Cardinal entered, solemnly chanting and purifying the aisle of negative humors before His Divinity's entrance. The High Cardinal was also dressed in ceremonial garb: a red Houppeland and a white mitre. 4 Holy Guardmen preceded and succeeded the High Cardinal, wearing red doublets and white capes with the Divine Lion in the center. The High Cardinal was led to a pulpit made of silver and blessed those in attendance before the entrance of the Grand Master: "May Fiorr's grace bless thee and may we all be reminded of His power and knowledge. We must remember to never question His will, nor the will of His chosen vassals. Amen."

Upon the prayer's conclusion, the Presumptive Grand Master and the Presumptive Grand Madame entered, flanked by 20 Imperial Guards and succeeded by the Imperial Ministry. As His Divinity Matteo I walked down the aisle, those in the pews bowed. Matteo I knelt before the High Cardinal who administered the Grand Master's oath: "Will you treat the Church as your spouse, ahead of thy wife and thy children?" Matteo I answered yes and the High Cardinal placed a golden ring with a ruby jewel on the 4th finger from the thumb and continued: "With this ring, you pledge the priority of the church in thy life and in thy reign. In the name of Fiorr, the Master of all Masters, I crown thee Grand Master of the Grand Imperial Empire of Cardo, King of Salajón, King of Matina, King of Gafaso and Dignified Son of the Church." The High Cardinal placed the Imperial Crown on the head of His Divinity Grand Master Matteo I of the House of Costa-Mancini.

Then, the High Cardinal turned to the Presumptive Grand Madame Lolanda I of the House of Tempitope of the Kingdom of Ubuntu and administered the oath: "Do you understand thy role as the Mother of the Church who shall set the example of a pious and humble servant to the Church and its Dignified Son?" She answered yes and the High Cardinal placed a silver ring with a turqoise jewel on her 4th finger from the thumb and continued: "In the name of Fiorr, the Master of all Masters and the Glorified Soul of the Most Holy Servant Golene, I crown thee Grand Madame of the Grand Imperial Empire of Cardo, Queen Consort of Salajón, Queen Consort of Matina, King of Gafaso and Dignified Servant of the Church." The High Cardinal placed the Imperial Crown of the Servant on the Grand Madame's head.

With this ceremony, the Mighty Kingdom of Ubuntu and our Grand Empire have become immortally linked. The son of Cardoan nobility and Ubuntunian nobility has become the most divine and most powerful man in the World and a full blood offspring of Ubuntu the prime example of Grace for the World and the women of the church.

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Postby Cardo » Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:07 am

Context


Masterial Chamber Palace of San Marchesi, San Marchesi, Empire of Cardo | April 13th, 1534

The bright southern Cardoan sun peeked through the chamber windows, waking the Grand Master and his lover, the heir to the Don of Oneto, Marchese di Oneto. "Good morning, Your Excellency," the Marquese muttered, pecking the monarch on the cheek, slyly smirking. Cristiforo sighed, glaring at the Marchese. Suddenly, he forced himself on top of the Marchese, gripping each of his wrists and holding them down to the bed.

"When you are a friend of Cardo, you address me as such," he leaned down and kissed the 21 year-old-courtier, "To you I am Cristiforo."

The Marchese rolled his eyes and freed his wrists, "Friend of Cardo?"

Cristiforo clutched his wrists again, "You belong to me," he leaned closer, "and I am Cardo."

There were two wraps on the door. Cristiforo kissed the Marchese one more time, then pulled his nightshirt over his head. "Enter."

A patchy-bearded, youthful valet wearing the customary blue doublet with red embroidery with his family's crest, an eagle fighting a bear, on his right breast. Stunned, the young man lowered his head, "Your Excellency, the His Emminence Cipriano Viari makes haste to the palace and is due to arrive within the hour."

Cristiforo sternly answered the young man, "Summon the other valets to prepare Your Master for the reception, and I would recommend you would allow time for the Marchese to exit my chambers before your irreparably scarred by an extraordinarily indecent apparition."

The valet bowed and scurried from the room, soldiers from the Imperial Guard shutting the door behind him. The two men looked at each other, making eye contact and laughing after a pause.

***


Imperial Courtyard, Palace of Marchesi, San Marchesi, Cardo | The Same Day

Cristiforo received His Emminence donning a navy blue doublet with gold embroidery, his snow-white chemise hiding his neck. He was flanked to the left by Femi-Antony, the Duke of Sarajón and the great-grandson of Matteo I the Conqueror and Grand Madame Lolanda I, the first Eastern-born Empress. Honoring the traditional pretentious modesty of his family, he opted for the black robe with red lining worn by the Grand Chancellor, his brown skin contrasting with the others around him. To the left stood Pietro, the loyal Duke of Pont and Curator of Affairs. Pietro's loyalty was awarded after agreeing to conspire against the powerful Duchy of Pont, directly contributing to the 3rd unification of Cardo. A lowborn count, the 24-year-old took advantage of his newfound wealth, wearing a finely made black doublet.

This trio contrasted quite hilariously from Senior Cardinal Cipriano Viari and his attché. The three Cardoans were no more than 25 respectively however, there was no one younger than 50 in His Emminence's party, the Cardinal himself being 60.

The Cardinal sported a white robe with a crimson mozzetta and a zucchetto of the same color. He was boxed in by 4 Holy Guard and 8 bald men dressed in black monastic robes with black ropes fastened around their hips. As his carriage rolled away, Viari approached Cristiforo, glaring at him, head tilted up, eyes looking down on the Grand Master. The disciplined Holy Guard halted in unison, stomping the crown with their left foot, eyeing down the flashily armored Imperial Guards.

He stretched out his hand to Cristiforo's lips, his ring glaring in the sun, "The High Cardinal sends his regards." The Grand Master looked to Femi-Antony, then to Pietro. The morbid thread that bound these three together was the Church's involvement in the deaths of their father. Cristiforo's father, the legendary Angelo Perugia was assassinated by an alleged spy from the Children of Piety, an esoteric spy network connected to the Church. Femi-Antony's father, Mauricio I, Duke of Salajón, suffered the same fate. Pietro's father, on the other hand, was a zealot who fought and died for the Prince of the abolished Principality of Covires. He joined forces with Cristiforo as soon as he inherited the title.

Keeping this in mind, the Grand Master grinned, "Welcome to the Empire's capital, Your Emminence. I shall give you a tour of the capital, I understand you've never been, non é cosí?"

The Cardinal lowered his hand, grimacing at the young Cristiforo, "That is correct," he paused, scanning the eyes of the purposefully aloof monarch, "Your Excellency. I shall first settle into my quarters and then we will discuss my reason for being here. I intend on leaving hopefully as quickly as I came." Viari attempted to push through the Grand Master but was blocked by two Imperial Guardsmen, who simply crossed their pikes. The Holy Guard readied their's as well.

Through the swords, Cristiforo took a sarcastic, rather impatient mood with Viari, "I'm afraid your quarters are not yet ready, however, your attachés will be led to their rooms by Cardo's most trusted servants." He signaled towards Femi-Antony and Pietro, who bowed dutifully.

The Cardinal exhaled, calming himself and presumably reciting a quick prayer in his head. He raised his chin and smiled, "The Church appreciates your hospitality." He waved his cavalcade who followed the two Dukes through the courtyard and into the Palace. A golden carriage with the crest of the House of Perugia painted on the side led by two white horses rolled to a stop behind Viari. The Imperial Guardsmen marched to line a path to the carriage doors attended to by a valet.

The Grand Master walked past the Cardinal, who followed him onto the carriage.

***

Stadio di Perigua, San Marchesi, Cardo | The Same Day

The carriage ride through the city was quiet, as the two men looked out of their windows, thinking was the next move should be. The carriage stopped on the southern façade of the Stadio di Perigua.

"Have you see the sport of the new capital?" Cristiforo asked as a faint roar came from the crowd.

"I don't think I have," the Cardinal responded.

The doors swung open and the men were led up a flight of stairs revealing an arch with two large chairs past the entranceway, which was protected by two Imperial Guards. Before entering, a trumpet flourish played, and the once fanatical crowd became quiet. The Grand Master took his seat first, waving to an admiring crowd. The Cardinal did not receive a similarly warm welcome.

The disgraced former Pince of Convires was led out in chains, dressed as a parody of a King, donning expensive jewels. Viari quickly understood what was occurring. He turned to Cristiforo, raising his voice over the roar of the crowd. "The High Cardinal is requesting a second coronation on The Holy Island, else he will not recognize your claim as Grand Master of Cardo."

Cristiforo smiled to himself. A lion was released from one of the doors on the ground of the stadium and charged the Prince, who ran for naught, and his intestines became exposed after a paw swipe to his abdomen.

Just feet away from the action, The Cardinal vomited. Cristiforo whispered in the ear of the retching Cardinal. "I'm afraid you'll have to excommunicate us."

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Postby Cardo » Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:27 pm

6th Royal Mumforian Rifles, 10th Company, Walsfeld, Duchy of Smeilbourg | Evening of February 20th, 1861

"One...two...three," young Hunfried Walker muttered under his breath as he counted the leaves cracking under his boots. This was his calming exercise when out on evening scout patrols, where only two things can happen: you stumble upon an army or an army stumbles upon you. The former seemed to be much more preferable to the latter, considering this patrol was a particularly small contingent of just 30 sharpshooters. The private behind him, about six feet or so, tried to conceal his stomach growling but failed, causing quiet snickers amongst the troops. Suddenly, the line stopped, each soldier whispering the order of their seasoned Sargent-Major to the man behind him.

"Swing left, line the bridge," the corporal in front of Helmut whispered, quickly falling into line a few yards ahead of him.

Helmut whispered the order to the hungry private and swiftly lined the ridge, lying on his belly. Helmut felt his eyes widen. The sight before him was a Smeilbourgen rifle patrol of about 50 men just over the ridge and marching through the valley. They got lucky, as the army they belong to seemed to be digging defensive trenches that stretched miles long. Hunfried stared down his sights, feeling the vibration from his trembling hands through his gun.

The starved private's belly rumbled again and the Smeilbourgen officer stopped his rifleman, slowly scanning the area. He commanded his soldiers to form two columns, crouching three shoulder-lengths apart, facing the ridge.

In an instant, the Mumforian Sergeant-Major shouted for his men to fire. Helmut, a farmer's son, recalled his instincts when shooting cans his father's old musket, shooting the object from 40 sometimes even 50 yards with pinpoint accuracy. Pa-ting! he shot the officer right through his forehead. Helmut's eyes glazed over and the sound of musket fire became vacuumed. He dropped his rifle.

"Retre-!" he heard the voice of his Sergeant-Major from a distance but the officer was cut off by the blade of a Smeilbourgen hussar ripping through his neck.

He felt a tug on his uniform, he turned around, screaming, but stopped when he recognized who it was: the hungry private. The private, a year than 19-year-old Hunfried, grabbed Hunfried by the collar, pulling him up and forcing his rifle into his hand. "We have to go!"

Hunfried's flight-or-flight mechanism kicked in, feeling his heart in his stomach, he bolted towards the direction from where he came. Running, he turned back to check on the belly-grumbling private, who had since been trampled by a black horse, his face flattened by the hoof.

Hunfried continued to run another 400 yards before collapsing from exhaustion. He was awoken by the corporal, Richard Oldenburg, who communicated the Sergeant-Major's command to line the ridge. "Hunfried, we are almost at camp, we must keep running."

***


1st Smeilbourgan Engineer Corps, Front Defensive Line, Morning of February 22nd

Captain Franz-Hubert Metzger trudged through the trench he and his men dug a few nights ago, ahead of the incoming Mumforian army. On a warmer morning, he'd usually be gripping the handle of his seethed blade, but the frigid Smeilbourgen winter morning forced him to cross his arms, pulling himself closer for warmth.

He thought of his wife, Katarina, whose remembered kiss still warmed his lips. She was pregnant when the war was declared. She fled to her aunt's house in Magnier, a village in east Cruis Chevy.

"'The honorable Engineer Corps?' the Captain overheard two soldats impersonating the Duke, who'd just given a speech that morning, "If we're so honorable, why did you make us dig our fucking graves?"

The Captain grabbed the complaining soldat's collar, pushing him against a trench wall, "That's enough." He let him go and continued his walk through the trench.

A series of thunderous booms stopped Franz-Hubert in his tracks. A cannonball thrashed into the earth a few yards behind him. Immediately, he began to run through the trench. "Spread out! Get Down!". As he walked, another cannonball explosively crashed into a section of his trench, knocking him down.

Deafened by the blast, he was briefly in shock, looking at the carnage around him. Snow fell on the detached remains of his men. Suddenly, the canons stopped, and he came to his senses. Realizing the coming enemy charge, he unsheathed his sword and yelled to his men to line the walls of the trench and prepare to fire.

He picked up a musket and rounds from a legless Korporal who gasped for breath. Franz-Hubert recited Fiorr's prayer over his fallen comrade and squeezed himself between the two complaining soldats, whose countenance had changed from carelessness to an anxious focus.

A flourish of drums sounded off in the distance, growing closer by the second. The screaming men had succumbed to their wounds or been carried to the backline. A solemn silence filled the trenches. In the horizon, the black swarm of Mumforian infantrymen became far more surreal, the first wave of 30,000 men stretching across the length of the Smeilbourgen defense.

The beating of the drums became louder, and louder. Franz-Hubert felt his heart pounding against his chest, thinking about his son, who Katarina says looked just like him. His vision became blurry, tears welling in his eyes.

Finally, the enemy was within range. Tears rolling down his face, he commanded his men to fire. He saw the falling bodies of Mumforian soldiers and the sound of the drums waivered as drummer boys perished.

The Mumforians returned fire. Both of the gossiping enlisted men were shot in the face. Once youthful boys rendered unrecognizable. After the return volley, the Mumforians bellowed a collective primal scream, their bayonets pointing directly towards Franz-Hubert and his Corps.

Franz-Hubert managed to get off another shot, hitting an enemy in the neck. In seconds, he was surrounded by Mumforian infantrymen. He swung the butt of his gun towards the head of a young Mumforian rifleman, who dodged and tackled him to the ground.

In the struggle, Franz-Hubert managed to mount the enemy soldier, who maintained a tight grip on his neck. The Captain shoved his thumbs in the young rifleman's eye sockets, feeling the crushing, wet flesh of his eyes beneath in fingertips. With his thumbs hooked in the boy's eye sockets, he banged his head against the ground until the Mumforian's high wail turned into an inanimate body.

"Hunfried!" a voice cried above Franz-Hubert.

Franz-Hubert looked up, the last thing he saw was a dirt-faced Mumforian corporal, who appeared to know the boy.
Last edited by Cardo on Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Cardo » Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:28 pm

Royal Palace, San Marchesi, 1860

The night before war began was always an occasion in the capital. The narrow streets were filled with drunken Cardoans and soldiers stumbling out of whore houses and into crowded brick roads. Inside of the palace was not so different. Nobility guzzled wine and officers danced with high-class women, some even getting their final taste of femininity. In the Masterial Wing of the palace, the Grand Master and the Duke of Sarajón hosted a small affair of their own, in the Grand Master's salon. There was no alcohol present, as both men have preferred the relaxing qualities of erba. Like the Grand Masters and Dukes of Sarajóns before them, they treated each other with high regard, forming a relationship that seemed closer than a friend and more sacred than a brother. They taught these values to their heirs as well, who were present and indulging erba with their fathers and their closes confidants.

"Wait, wait, Pisquale, you must remember when we were children and our tutor had chased us all around the royal grounds," the Duke of Salajón, Amedeo-Chinedu, let out a hardy laught.

"Of course I remember, Ame! When she started to beat me, you kicked her in her cunt!" The whole room erupted into a fit of laughter.

Ambroggio XVI and Femi-Antony III watched their fathers in amazement, admiring the comrades' banter, considering their proximity to great power. Despite their going off to war tomorrow, the two men seemed nerveless. Their sons? Not so much.

"Do you want to go to the Towers?" Femi-Antony noticed his friend twitching, barely being able to hold the erbaccia properly.

Ambroggio nodded, and Femi-Antony headed towards his father and his "uncle," who were still dying over the tutor story. "Father, Uncle Pisquale," the 20-year-old heir interuppted, eyes low from a night of smoking, "Can Ambroggio and I go to the Towers?"

The boys watched the stars from the Naval Towers on the southern tip of San Marchesi. Hopes and dreams of glory were discussed, but also a preservering friendship.

***


The Next Day, Imperial Palace Courtyard, 1860

"These men, they're fucking savages," Duke of Pont, Vitale I said, inspecting the men of the 1st Expeditionary Marine Corps. He rode on a horse, donning all black, going column by column of the corps he was to lead for the coming campaign. Unfortunately, the thickly moustachio'd veteran was exactly right.

On the Grand Master's orders, he was instructed to form some sort of colonial force for Pasquale the I only to be comprised of prisoners serving long terms, offering amnesty to those who serve honorably...and live. So, the Duke of Pont begrudgingly commissioned several colonels to go and recruit from the countries prisons. The first corps quickly became a cesspool of rapists, murderers, traitors, and petty thieves.

"Well, I'd say we've done well to direct their savagery to something more...worthwhile." Colonel Alfonso Rua passively protested, showing the naïvite of a recent Military Academy Graduate.

His family's status came through generations of service to the Grand Master. Hundreds of Rua's living and dying for the Head of State. His father often jokes that when he was born, he thrust an enlistment form in his hand. Unlike the Rua men before, he wasn't an asshole. He led his soldiers through a benevolent hand. Joking when appropriate, but mercilessly authoritative when men got out of line.

"You disgust me, boy," the Duke said, "What happened to real Rua men? The mustachio'd beasts of the North. Now, look at what they've become. The poster boy for the family a smooth-faced boy. "

The Duke rode away. The other colonels looked to Alfonso who simply shrugged, having grown used to the hair-trigger temper of his commanding officer. He rode to his regiment, Pellegrino Jail 6th Marine's, stopping his horse in front of his major, a soldier who was jailed for fleeing, now able to use his skillset again. From a distance, he could see the Duke of Salajón, the Grand Master and their two sons riding on black stallions, preparing to lead the 1st, 2nd and 3rd corps, around 60,000 soldiers. In a flourish, the March of Cardo began to play and from inside the massive courtyard of the royal palace, the Colonel noted the scream of the cheers from the people outside.

His regiment was prepared to march in a double column, and as the regiment in front of him began their march, he raised his sword and twirled it in the air. "6th Regiment, forward march!" On his command, his 10 companies of 1,000 men began to forward march. He thought to himself, "Yes, I may concede these men were once savages, but look at them now. They're boots offer a strong, powerful drum displaying the power of Cardoan might and the precision of Cardoan order."
Last edited by Cardo on Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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