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  3. Star Wars or Star Trek?

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  6. R.I.P, Arthur

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    • Murdercubism is now an officially recognised religion Alphonse von Wallenstein, 09 December 2018 15:12 A young "kommando" devotee of the Murder Cube paying his respects at the Prince Willem Armoury Museum In 2004, artist Norm Alfred unveiled a masterpiece at the Prince Willem Armoury Museum, Gottesberg. He envisioned his “magnum opus” - hundreds of discarded firearms sculpted into a giant cube - to be the creation of art through the destruction of weapons, a powerful and lasting monument to peace. But as old wisdom tells us, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Alfred certainly saw beauty in his work. It’s a fantastic work of art, after all. However, to the wider Rhodellian internet community, it was beautiful in a different, more grizzly way. The exhibit opened to the general public without much fanfare. But, within weeks, hundreds of visitors were suddenly flocking to see it. These beholders weren’t the daisy-chaining, “kumbaya”-singing hippies Alfred had expected. Instead, his art piece had become the unlikely pilgrimage site of many thousands of young Rhodellian netizens wielding gas masks and old surplus rifles (jokingly referred to as “nuggets”). Each would kneel to the great monolith, offering tributes ranging from cans of Chef Boyardee to “milk for the cornflakes”. Together they would chant “Ave nex alea” and "Cheeki breeki" among other tongue-in-cheek slogans . They saw no symbol of peace, but a tribute to death and destruction. To them, this was their almighty monolith: The Murder Cube. Every year, dozens of thousands of young Rhodellians embark on pilgrimages to the Murder Cube. Pilgrims come from all walks of life. They range from students wishing for the best marks on their school marksmanship exams, to conscripts entering national service after college, to boots praying for success as professional soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors. Increased traffic to the Prince Willem Armoury Museum has led to the Murder Cube being moved to bigger rooms (twice), road improvements being constructed all over the local area, and a bustling local tourist industry capitalising on the year-wide influx of pilgrims. None of this shows any sign of slowing down.  What might have started out as an in-joke from some shady corner of the internet has grown into a staple of Rhodellian popular culture. As of December 6, 2018, 14 years after its creation, the glorious Murder Cube had ascended to new heights transcending that of cyberspace. A new addition appeared on the Department of State’s roster of officially recognised religions: Murdercubism. News of this grew viral across many social media platforms, with many struggling to believe that worship of the Murder Cube was now, unironically, eligible to be recorded on legal documents. The majority of responses are positive thus far with many Rhodellians internet communities celebrating this development as a cultural victory. On the other hand, many other netizens felt more skeptical, stating that “the joke went too far” and that Murdercubism’s recent recognition as a valid religion was a "letdown to the many other smaller and unrecognised cultures present in a truly rich and diverse Rhodellian nation”.  Regardless of Murdercubism's official status, countless young devotees will continue to embark on grand pilgrimages just to see their monolith and praise its glorious name wherever they may be. It seems that the Murder Cube, Rhodellia’s unofficial patron deity, is here to stay.
    • Vardin El Al hadn't canceled flights to Aluxia's capital since the civil war had erupted. Four Shai operatives had been assigned to make their way to the territory held by the Free Aluxian Army and to provide their 'services.' The plane had landed at Vardin's modest airport - it didn't see many flights daily. On their plane alone, there were only a handful of people - exactly 10. Some in the airline business would say that operating such flights were unsustainable but the Government mandated the company continue its schedule on an illusion of confidence in the current Imperial throne and to 'be prepared for further activity' should the need be required. The head of the operation was an experienced agent by the name Raphael Bauman, who had shown talent in basic training to be given an opportunity to serve his country in the reconnaissance squad of the elite 1st Golani Division of the Army. Following several successful operations, the nation's intelligence bureau, the Shai, heard of his talents and had him brought off the front lines and to work from the shadows. His instructions were quite explicit: connect with the Free Army by whatever means. It wasn't the first time his superiors had given him no guidance whatsoever. The Aluxian officials glanced at his passport with considerable care. Clearly, there were tensions and they were not as much to do with the war as it was from where he was coming from, let alone his own appearance. Despite this, the Aluxian inspectors had bigger fish to catch than cause an incident with him and so let him on his way. He emerged from the terminal building and witnessed the first hints of concern in Vardin. Soldiers were everywhere. From the building entrance to the gates of the entire airport. The reigning monarch didn't take anything for granted. He may have controlled the capital but fighting a civil war in this day in age was far different than if it had occurred at the turn of the last century, or even further back in time. Due to the war, travelers were light and there was all but one car waiting out front - it was for him and his colleagues. "Your friend Uri sent me to collect you," said the driver. Raphael nodded and nodded to his fellow operatives and all got into the car. Just as they exited the airport, they were halted by soldiers. "Where are you going?" asked the commanding soldier. "Tikva Mission, Embassy Quarter." The squad of soldiers eyed them and returned their gaze to the driver. "These two trucks of men will escort you," the commanding officer said. The driver nodded and turned back to his passengers. "Paranoia over rebel attack," he said, "has them all on edge." Bauman didn't respond and thought to himself particularly because the rebels were hundreds of miles away and wherein no position to assault the capital anytime soon.  The now-convoy of vehicles made their way towards the center of the capital. Driving through the suburban ring and into the center, soldiers were ever-present. "Martial law is in effect," said one loudspeaker they drove past. "Please comply with all regulations." The driver remarked, "it's been like this for nearly two weeks. Won't be changing anytime soon." Soon enough the vehicles reached the barricaded Embassy Quarter where hundreds of Aluxians were arguing with soldiers and law enforcement personnel to get through - all of whom wanted to escape the country and the chaos unfolding. Their escort peeled away and returned to the airport while their car slipped through the gates and approached the Mission. Ambassador Asimov was waiting for them outside. "Brothers and sisters, I am happy to hear that you made it," he announced as the group of four got out. "We have much to talk about it, Bauman," the ambassador paused, "I have a gift for you in the basement, I will have Aram bring it up." The group of five moved to Uri's study to begin their meeting. Idle chit-chat while Aram brought Raphael's 'gift' upstairs. He placed it on the table in front of them, "thank you, you are dismissed." He took his leave. "Now, let's get right to the chance. We do not have long. You might have gotten into Vardin, getting out of it is incredibly difficult," he paused before continuing. "I have some items that may aid your mission including a rough sketch of the Vardin sewers compiled by some...contacts I have within the Imperial Security units here. I recommend you use it to guide yourselves through to the outskirts of the city. I have some burner phones with pre-paid cards for inter-team communications. I have also placed in a small directory of essential numbers. Do not lose it under any circumstances. Eat it if you must, but memorize first." "Along with the standard gear you'd probably need. I've also managed to sneak you a few weapons that I purchased on the 'grey' market. Ammo is also included. Be careful with your supply. I am aware of your brief mission getting in contact with the FAA. It is much too challenging to go straight across the country where the fighting is stewing. Instead, there is another location that may be far easier to liaise with them. Make your way north to Chukba. I hear they are making a push there in the very near future." The ambassador scanned the room. "Any questions?" "What about the 10 million Shekels we're contributing," said one of the four operatives. "I've already taken care of it. Do not worry about it. You have more important things that concerning yourself with the disbursement of dark money." Seeing no other inquiries, he concluded his conversation with the group, "stay here in the embassy this evening, and make your way to the sewer grate in the back of the compound after midnight. You have to be out of the sewers by sunrise." Each operative shook his hand and got up. Raphael was the last to stand up and shake Uri's hand. He was pulled in closer. "You have to hurry and get to Chukba. I haven't heard from Kuzha Yosef Khaimov and Mikel Levitin in five days." Bauman nodded. "We'll find out what's going on." Uri escorted him out to his colleagues. "Feel free to use the third-floor guest rooms to prepare."
    • The Kirvinska counterpart to the Rihannsu and Shffahkian plans of expansion on Aurelia, Blood in the Snow, takes the form of the unfortunate meddling and panache that could come from only one man: a young son of an old Duke's Musketeer, set out to a border province on word of a possible commission. The hot-blooded energy of his youth drives him to actions that any other man would have ignored, and through a series of unfortunate duels, the status of the Cagora valley is suddenly thrown into jeopardy. The once self-sustaining river valley, robbed of its leadership, is driven into the arms of its former overlord- the newly ascendant Kirvina, bolstered by its new status as a member of a powerful League- the Aurelian League. Blood in the Snow plays out in five acts, the first introducing the young man driving its events and the unfortunate mission which took him to Cagora to begin with. It is not an eventline which directly affects most of you out there, but is simply a narrative adventure for your literary pleasure, and should be treated as such: a window into the flair and flamboyance of a culture long gone. Through it one may hear the stories of things lost to the past- duels, noble love, and ultimately the fate of a Duchy. I am open to take any questions about it, the way and timeframe in which it will be completed, and the nature of the political climate surrounding it. Barring any changes, the current completion date for this expansion will be MARCH 1, 2019. The layout of the Cagora river valley is placed below for your convenience. Moderators Involved: @Sunset Sea Islands Players Involved: @Rihan @Shffahkia List to be updated at leisure.
    • @Orioni, I have taken some time to think about the map placement and this is probably the best option as I can justify the Samarran Valley right on the southern border. Plus even if Cashar is 'dormant' no harm in at least having someone share a border with. If this is the ultimate placement, then placement of cities remain except that Harel is at the confluence of the river and the sea, Katzilya is to its right, and Adora further to the right a third of the way to the eastern edge. Ayalon would be placed inland, rather central on the image above. I think adding any other cities to this plot would make it too busy. Let me know if there is anything else you need.
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