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About Rhodellia

  • Birthday October 1

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    King August III
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  1. History: The Early Colonial Period (15th to 16th centuries) Discovery The year was 1482. Martell Waldseemüller, a Derthaler explorer and cartographer, brought a globe to The Emperor. Waldseemüller had this big proposition: pointing “South West” on the globe, he told of rumours of a shorter, western passage to the Orient. If this passage was real, then Derthaler merchants could set sail without being extorted by heavy tariffs in Europa or elsewhere in Argis. Waldseemüller was willing to lead an expedition to find and claim this passage, for the glory of Derthalen. However, this kind of expedition would have been a long, expensive, and risky venture. The Emperor weighed up the costs, risks, and return on investment. After some back-and-forth, the Emperor turned him down. Waldseemüller now had to find other wealthy sponsors to fund the expedition. He arranged meetings with several major Derthaler merchant guilds, only to be dismissed each time. After that, he tried knocked door-to-door to find support from smaller guilds. A few pledged their support, but even then their combined capital wouldn’t have been enough. Next, he went to the nobility. After some small successes but many more failures, he arrived on the doorstep of an old friend from his childhood: Count Friedrich von Rödel. Like most other reasonable people, even Friedrich was sceptical of the idea. Surely, there was no way past cartographers could have missed a third passage to the Orient, one big enough that a merchant fleet could sail through? However, intrigues in the Imperial aristocracy were playing against him. House Rödel’s combined fiefdoms didn’t have the money to raise all the soldiers needed to defend against the coming storm. Plus, Friedrich did owe Waldseemüller a favour from way back. Friedrich weighed his options: watch his entire household die horribly in some insidious plot, or gamble everything he had in hopes that his friend pulled some crazy miracle of a success. Friedrich picked the latter option, pledging a great deal of monetary backing. Waldseemüller thanked his friend, and together started organising the expedition.. Waldseemüller sailed out from Dorminhavn, Derthalen at the head of a small fleet. After several months at sea, his boots set foot on a foreign shore far, far from home. He asked his ship’s navigator where they were. The navigator replied “Terra nullius”, land claimed by no country(or at the very least, no state that Derthalen officially recognised). A few ships of Waldseemüller’s fleet were damaged in a storm, and now they needed to stop somewhere for repairs. His crews weighed anchor at a nearby natural harbour, and trekked inland in search of good timber for shipbuilding. Waldseemüller discovered the existence of indigenous peoples already settled in the area, but made no attempt to contact them. They eventually found some decent trees, chopped them down, and floated the logs down a major river. The crew then commenced repairs. While repairs were underway, Waldseemüller spent his time charting out the coast and surveying the land in detail. When all this was done, he planted a Derthaler flag on the beach, and christened the land “Rhodellin” after his primary sponsors in House Rödel. He sent an envoy back to Friedrich informing him of the new discovery. Meanwhile, the fleet continued with its original mission. Though Waldseemüller never did find the passage he was looking for, he felt he had found something better. He recorded in his memoirs about how he felt a strong “gut feeling” about this “new land” he had discovered, that it had the potential to be something greater under The Emperor’s Light. The First Colonists In 1483, Waldseemüller returned to Rhodellia, this time with Friedrich on board. Earlier that year, they appealed to the Emperor that a colony should be built in the new land. It would have made for an excellent bastion of Derthaler political, economic, and military power. The Emperor saw promise in this overseas colony, and gave the imperial seal of approval. He pledged men and funding to get the idea off the ground. Waldseemüller oversaw the construction of the first Derthaler settlement in Rhodellia, naming it Friedrichstadt after his friend. The Emperor appointed Friedrich as Friedrichstadt’s first colonial governor. Friedrich’s entire household fled Argis to found and govern other Derthaler colonies. Waldseemüller conducted more land surveys at other Rhodellian colonies, and drew some more maps. He concluded that the land was perfectly good for human settlement. Stories filtered back home. They told of fertile soil, plentiful land claimed by no one, and a decent climate that was neither unbearably cold nor uncomfortably hot for native Derthalers. In the eyes of many back home, Rhodellia would become a “land of opportunity” offering colonists the chance to earn land and fortunes that would otherwise be impossible to achieve in Derthalen. The floodgates had opened. Successively larger waves of Alemannisch, Heiligen, High Gothic, and Low Gothic-speaking settlers would follow Waldseemüller and House Rödel’s footsteps, and set sail for the colonies. Early encounters with indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples had been building settlements in Rhodellia millennia before the Derthaler started setting up colonies. The first contact between Derthaler colonists and Native Rhodellians took place in the spring of September 27, 1483, between settlers from the colony of Rabesheim and hunters from the Raven Forest tribe. Each party tried to communicate with hand signs made up on the spot. The somewhat awkward encounter ended when a hunter offered a few sacks of seed potatoes, and a colonist traded a barrel of milk for it. The hunters seemed to really enjoy the milk, so Rabesheim would trade nothing but milk with the local tribes for the next several weeks. The first hostile encounter happened on November 10, when warriors from the White Creek tribe ambushed a party of hunters returning to the Janbourg colony. On November 17, the White Creek tribe launched a raid on Janbourg, killing 6 colonists. Similar attacks were conducted on Derthaler settlements by other tribes, such as at Friedrichstadt where on November 22, 1483, bands of warriors from the Blue Spring and Green Forest tribes launched a surprise attack on the colony, killing 14 colonists before almost breaching the colony’s outer wall. The colonies had complex and volatile relations with local Native Rhodellians; the colonies cooperated, traded, and even allied with many neighbouring tribes. Rabesheim colonists would continue to have cordial relations with the Raven Forest tribe, and both would voluntarily exchange their children in hopes that they would grow up to become translators. Many of the colonies’ first and finest pioneers of translation were Native Rhodellian children raised by the Ecclesiarchy. On the other hand, as in the example with Janbourg and Friedrichstadt, there were also many tribes that heavily resisted Derthaler colonisation. If it weren't for the Renaissance spreading to the colonies throughout this period, you could very well summarise the first century of colonisation as "constantly having to deal with natives". In 1485, Waldseemüller led another inland expedition to chart maps in greater detail. Rather than travel over land and risk getting ambushed in the woods by a hostile tribe, he opted to row barges down a major river. This river would later become known as the Westfluss: the longest river in Rhodellia. Native Rhodellians stalked the barges and attacked them at several points, eventually striking one man with a poisoned arrow. The expedition’s doctor didn’t know how to treat the poison (he wasn’t familiar with local poisons and their antidotes), and the barges were already too far up the river to sail back to Friedrichstadt in time for better treatment. Eventually, Waldseemüller forced the barges to moor in at a riverside settlement. An Ecclesiarchy missionary accompanying the group identified the village as belonging to the Red Forest tribe, which wasn’t hostile to Derthaler people. The local villagers and warriors did not attack the expedition on sight. Waldseemüller looked to the gathering crowd, pointed to his wounded comrade, and then to the man’s poisoned wound. An old man beckoned Waldseemüller and the stretcher-bearers into a hut. The old man turned out to be a healer. He began applying an antidote made from local plants, miraculously salvaging the wound Waldseemüller previously thought to be lethal. Apparently, the arrowhead was covered in a slow-acting poison commonly used by many Woodland warriors. The wounded man survived. The expedition stayed in the village for several days until a band of warriors wielding firearms (albeit primitive and cruder compared to the Derthaler's) arrived at the village by boat, gesturing for Waldseemüller and his men to follow them. The wounded man, known as Baldwyn Stein, was forced to stay behind in the village and recover. Stein protested, only calming down when Waldseemüller knocked the lights out of him. Stein would eventually recover from his wounds, become an initiated member of the Red Forest tribe, and marry the daughter of the medicine man who treated him. Stein's descendants would later go on to found other tribes and settlements all over Rhodellia. Meanwhile, Waldseemüller’s party was brought to a sight they thought they would never see again: a city with stone walls, irrigated farms, paved streets, and bustling markets. The natives here even raised animals found on Argis and Europa, such as chickens, sheep, cattle, and horses. It turned out that the village they stopped at earlier was just a small village belonging to a larger native civilisation, the Valley Kingdom. The Valley Kingdom would be the first of many Native Rhodellian countries Derthaler colonists would encounter. To Waldseemüller’s wonder, these Native Rhodellian civilisations were almost comparable in sophistication and technology to the countries of Argis and Europa, though they were smaller in size. Waldseemüller’s expedition would later be escorted back to Friedrichstadt. The colonies would gradually establish formal diplomatic channels and trade agreements with the more sophisticated, city-building Native Rhodellian civilisations over time. Friedrich sent an envoy back to Derthalen, requesting additional reinforcements from the Emperor just in case relations soured with any large native civilisation. Meanwhile, it was discovered why some Native Rhodellian tribes were cooperative to the colonies while others tried their damned hardest to exterminate the colonists wherever possible. It turned out that the Derthaler were by no means the first foreigners to set foot on the continent where Rhodellia is, and that the Derthaler were also not the first foreigners to successfully colonise it. The hostile tribes were descendants of tribes that had almost been eradicated by foreign colonisers long ago, thus inheriting a strong “give an inch, they’ll take a mile” attitude towards the colonists, and a strong suspicion towards anyone whose natural skin colour happened to be pale enough. The tribes that were not so hostile either feared the colonists (as they knew the colonists could call on powerful reinforcements from home) or saw them as useful allies key to winning inter-tribal conflicts. Wars with the Woodland Tribes, and the “Skulking Way of War” When Derthaler colonists first arrived in Rhodellia in the late 15th century, colonists encountered hundreds of Native Rhodellian tribes dotted across the coastal forests. The colonists nicknamed them the “Woodland Tribes” since most could be found in isolated settlements - hidden villages - deep in the woods, hidden in the leaves. A lot of the tribes embraced the coming of colonists, hoping that these white foreigners would grant them an edge against their bigger rivals and overlords. Other tribes were extremely hostile and aggressive, having grown up on stories passed down by their ancestors telling of pale-skinned devils who invaded from the sea, bringing war and plague upon the land, wiping out untold numbers of people, and obliterating entire civilisations off the face of the continent. And so, dozens of major conflicts and an unknown number of smaller ones would break out between the Derthaler colonies and many Woodland Tribes. Today, Rhodellian schools teach the Tribal Wars against the Woodland Tribes as a turning point for Rhodellian military tactics. Though many fully-fledged nation states already existed on the continent where Rhodellia was founded, there were still a lot of independent tribes scattered across the frontier that either settled on their own land or travelled around as nomads. The “Woodland” Native Rhodellian tribes that settled in the coastal forests near the colonies fought nothing like their civilised counterparts, nor did they use the tactics employed by Argic or Europan militaries. Woodland tribesmen either fought as individuals or in small, highly-manoeuvrable war parties that made extensive use of cover and concealment. Most hailed from hunter-gatherer societies. They could move quickly and silently through the woodlands, evading detection from Derthaler scouts and sentries. They would set up well-coordinated ambushes and raid outlying farms. After that, they would vanish into the woods and retreat back to their hidden villages before the militias could muster a counter-attack. At first, the colonists were completely ill-prepared to face this kind of warfare. Out in the field, the Derthaler colonial militias initially fought in disciplined pike-and-shot formations. At the time, this was standard doctrine in the massed armies of other continents. Of course, these formations weren't too good at navigating dense woodland. Derthaler militias spent their first several months in Rhodellia getting ambushed and routed at nearly every turn. The earliest settlers feared any forest not controlled by a friendly tribe. "They were in the trees", many a shivering veteran would say while eyeing up every shrub, bush, branch, trunk, rock, and patch of tall grass. The militias soon began learning from their mistakes, and within months they were adapting to the asymmetric “skulking way of war” used by the natives. They began shortening their pikes to spears, spreading out in skirmish formation, aiming their arquebuses at individuals, acting and shooting on their own initiative, and making heavy use of cover and concealment. With the aid of Native Rhodellian allies, the colonists were quickly able to master the tactics of their enemies. By 1500, colonial militias were consistently outfighting local Woodland tribes without the help of native auxiliaries. The largest conflict between the Woodland Tribes and a Derthaler colony took place from November 22, 1483, to February 14, 1489. The Blue Spring and Green Forest tribes were two large Woodland tribes descended from peoples displaced by foreigners who had colonised the continent long ago. The myriad tribal societies by the coast boasted rich oral traditions passed down through generations of storytellers. When the Derthaler arrived at their shores, everyone already knew the sheer destructive power "the pale demon" was capable of. If these foreigners weren't driven back into the sea now, then they'd soon grow into an unstoppable force. The land would surely be devastated by war and plague for many generations to come. And so, the Blue Spring tribe, the Green Forest tribe, their vassals, and their allies all collectively declared war on the nearby Colony of Friedrichstadt. The first action of the war took place on November 22, 1483, soon after the Blue Spring and Green Forest tribes ended their decades-long rivalry to join forces and destroy the invaders. The Blue Spring Tribe, led by a chieftain Derthaler colonists would later dub “King Penrod”, spearheaded a massive surprise assault on Friedrichstadt. Friedrich von Rödel, Friedrichstadt’s colonial governor at the time, was inspecting the outer wall when the attack began. He'd later record in his diary that he saw “a brown sea of native warriors seeping from the treeline towards [Friedrichstadt’s] outer wall”. Penrod’s warriors formed up in groups. Some of the more seasoned veterans had fought bigger tribes and countries with access to firearms; they advanced towards the Outer Wall behind thick, wooden mantlets capable of stopping bullets. However, what Penrod's warriors didn't know was that gunpowder technology had come a long way in the past century. They weren't facing unwieldy bombards or unreliable handgonnes. The colonial militia's arquebuses might not have been able to pierce Penrod's mobile shields, but they had still had other tricks up their sleeves: Friedrich and his lieutenants countered the mantlets by coordinating the use of breech-loading swivel guns, falconets with interlocking fields of fire, and pre-zeroed mortars. Explosions tore his men apart. Penrod stepped back, seeing many of his best warriors either dead or writhing. These foreigners wielded technology more advanced than anything they'd ever seen before. Rather than waste his reserves, Penrod ordered a full-scale retreat. By the end of the day, “countless” Native Rhodellian warriors fell dead at the cost of 14 men and women of the Friedrichstadt Colonial Militia. Over the following years, the Blue Spring and Green Forest tribes would begin resorting to guerrilla tactics. Warriors would continually harass the colonists by slaughtering livestock, raiding farms, and attacking hunters. In response, the Friedrichstadt colony would heavily militarise and fortify its holdings. A stalemate, where neither side made any big advances, ensued until 1487. In 1487, missionaries from the Ecclesiarchy were already making breakthroughs of their own. For the past many years, they've been living with friendly Native Rhodellian tribes and working hard to decipher the local Native Rhodellian language group and translate it Alemannisch. By this point, Friedrichstadt had also developed closer ties to the Red Forest tribe and the Valley Kingdom. The Valley Kingdom permitted the Red Forest tribe to fight for the colonies as auxiliaries. Friedrich and Waldseemüller identified, with the help of freshly-arrived Red Forest tribe auxiliaries, which local tribes kept attacking their colony. Not only that, they also discovered the identity of the man leading the raids; King Penrod was a legend in the Native Rhodellian community, having risen from a no-name warrior to the chieftain of his own tribe. Penrod was a hardened commander of countless tribal conflicts, and using his experience he had built a small empire that encompassed many vassals. Until recently, Penrod's Blue Spring tribe was rivalling the the Green Forest tribe for supremacy over the region around the Westfluss river delta. With the coming of the Derthaler, they set aside their differences and united. With this information now apparent, Friedrich declared an official state of war against the Blue Spring and Green Forest Tribe. Skirmishes erupted all over the forests near Friedrichstadt as attempts were made to find the hidden villages. The colonists lost almost every time in the first month, with many early "victories" only coming about because Red Forest tribe auxiliaries were present to salvage the situation. Conventional warfare, with disciplined blocks of pikemen, swordsmen, and arquebusiers was obviously not the way to go when you were fighting guerrillas who employed asymmetric tactics and knew the lay of the land far better than you did. Friedrich quickly ordered a complete overhaul of his colony’s military doctrine, enlisting the Red Forest tribe's warriors to hasten the reforms. The colonists, even those who weren't enlisted in the militia, adapted their pike and shot tactics to the frontier and trained hard in the way of their Native Rhodellian allies. Even more battles would be fought with the enemy, this time with better results. By 1489, the Friedrichstadt Colonial Militia - with their advantages in weapons, armour, logistics, and manpower - was consistently outfighting its tribal adversaries. On February 12, 1489, Waldseemüller was sketching the local wildlife when he coincidentally came across a Green Forest tribe war party. From the look of it, the warriors were returning from yet another unsuccessful raid. Waldseemüller hid in the bushes and stalked the warriors for several hours. Along the way, he noticed that the warriors were using animal trails to navigate their way home. He relayed this discovery back to Friedrich, who in turn forwarded the information to the Captain of the Militia. Red Forest tribe auxiliaries were dispatched to investigate the animal trails. The next day, scouts were finally able to locate the Green Forest tribe’s primary settlement. Now was the time to strike back. On February 14, Friedrich gathered 157 volunteers from the Friedrichstadt Colonial Militia, 42 Red Forest tribe auxiliaries, and 9 knights from his own Household Guard. He led them on a march to the Green Forest tribe’s primary settlement. The force arrived at the outskirts of the village, only to be met with a hail of arrows. An auxiliary pointed out the presence of what looked like the gathered forces of both the Green Forest and Blue Spring tribes. Even King Penrod was there, directing archers on the frontlines. Penrod’s warriors had already fortified the village with mantlets and set up what appeared to be prefabricated wooden stockades to slow the Derthaler advance. Historians speculate that Penrod was alerted to the coming of Friedrich’s massive column by how it would have scared the local birds into silence, giving Penrod’s forces enough time to prepare their defenses. Friedrich ordered his household guards to slice a path into the village. The knights bellowed deep, bloodcurdling war cries beneath their helmets. Kriegsmesser, Zweihander, and Flamberge greatswords in hand, they charged. Penrod's warriors loosed entire storms of arrows, only to see their arrows harmlessly bounce off the knights’ plate armour. The knights rammed through the stockades. Penrod’s warriors dashed to intercept. The knights advanced. A storm of blades tore through flesh and bone. Left, right, and centre, the natives dropped. Arrows bounced. Clubs ricocheted. Spears glanced. Axes shattered on impact. Nothing the natives had could kill these metal war machines. The native warriors even tried to gang up and surround individual knights in hopes of pinning them to the ground from a blindspot. Yet, the knights kept full situational awareness. Even though they were encumbered, they manoeuvred around with swift and graceful footwork to avoid encirclement. The knights sliced and diced, slaying many all around them. The Red Forest tribe’s warriors, renowned for being highly capable fighters themselves, were said to have bowed down in awe of the knights’ sheer skill at arms. To them, the knights were literal angels of death sent by a divine Derthaler Emperor. Meanwhile, the knights' rampage inspired the Friedrichstadt Colonial Militia to join the fight. A wave of steel and gunpowder overwhelmed Penrod’s outer defenses, obliterated the inner defenses, and forced back the terrified survivors deep into the village. Centuries after the act, the knights' rampage would be taught in Rhodellian schools as the kind of martial prowess kids should strive for: to be one man armies, to be the ultimate killing machines. Penrod and his remaining bodyguards retreated into pre-built barricades in the village centre, intent on a glorious last stand. Friedrich’s knights were exhausted, and the militia and auxiliaries would have suffered heavy casualties assaulting what was essentially a miniature fortress manned by Penrod's best surviving warriors. A stalemate happened. For several minutes, both sides would stare at each other in silence. One militiaman grew impatient. He lit a match string attached to a hollow cast iron ball, and tossed it into the barricade. The ball hissed, hissed, and hissed. Then suddenly, bang. No more barricade. No more warriors. No more King Penrod. The grenade had either killed or horribly maimed everyone inside the barricade. The King Penrod War ended with a literal bang. The militia eventually rounded up all of the remaining villagers - the Green Forest tribe’s women and children - outside to see the full carnage for themselves. This was the kind of massacre in store for any tribe that dared challenge the might of Derthalen. Friedrich sent some of the village women to other tribes so that they too would know just what the Derthaler were made of. The Red Forest tribe would eventually assimilate the Green Forest tribe’s survivors into their own village. As for the Blue Spring tribe, its empire was crumbling. Its chieftain was dead. Most of its warriors were dead. Its dream of driving out the foreigners and maintaining a Woodland tribe hegemony was dead. The tribe's remaining members abandoned their own hidden village to scatter into the wilderness and assimilate into other, now more powerful tribes for protection. The Blue Spring and Green Spring tribes had collapsed. Infighting ensued between their former vassals to see who could fill up the vacuum. Of course, there were many other conflicts with other Woodland tribes. For example, the Colony of Rabesheim aided the allied Raven Forest tribe in many inter-tribal conflicts. Many of these wars were fought for control over Rhodellia’s fur trade. The Raven Forest tribe eventually toppled the southern branch of the North Forest tribe as the “top dogs” of the coastal region. Aided by Rabesheim colonists and militia, the Raven Forest tribe would grow to assert dominance and control over all of the North Forest tribe’s former vassals and allies. Before this, the North Forest tribe and its affiliates exclusively sold their furs to Native Rhodellian countries way up the Westfluss and Ostfluss rivers. The Raven Forest tribe’s new hegemony had now opened up new sources of quality fur to the Derthaler colonies. Both Derthaler and Native Rhodellian trappers began selling more and more pelts to Derthaler colonial merchants, who in turn exported their wares to lucrative markets back in Derthalen. The colonies grew wealthier and wealthier. Progressively larger waves of migration embarked from Derthalen towards the colonies, in turn generating more wealth through productivity. Derthaler Pioneers, the Great Plains, and "Manifest Destiny" Rhodellia’s colonial population was already booming by the mid-16th century. Most woodland tribes had already long since been driven out of the coastal areas. This came about either through being exterminated in hard-fought wars or being forced up the major Westfluss or Ostfluss rivers as refugees. The only exceptions were the Native Rhodellians who allied themselves with a colony, or were vassals under a Derthalen-aligned tribe. Thousands of Native Rhodellians were also moving into the colonies (mostly for economic purposes), converting to the Imperial Truth, and willingly assimilating into the Derthaler population. Great leaps in agriculture were also being made when it was still normal for parents to raise large numbers of children; record-high food surpluses were being recorded alongside a large natural population growth rate. Meanwhile, Native Rhodellians were contributing much to doctors’ medicinal knowledge using their own experience with the local flora and fauna, resulting in more children growing into healthy adults. Adding to the colonial population were even larger waves of new immigrants sailing in from Derthalen and elsewhere. If Rhodellia was seen as a “land of opportunity” before, the great wealth generated by the fur trade and growing tobacco, cotton, and other industries only reinforced that concept in the hearts and minds of potential newcomers. It also helped that the mass-exodus of most hostile Woodland tribes from the coast was opening up new lands for colonists to claim and cultivate. Encouraged by successes on the profitable new frontier, Derthalen would invest even more resources into the Rhodellian colonies. The coastal colonies of Friedrichstadt, Janbourg, Rabesheim, and Grauhagen were now growing into actual cities. They had urban planning, schools, manufactories, banks, universities, hospitals, markets, libraries, stock exchanges, arsenals, shipbuilders, postal systems, sewage systems, warehouses, port facilities, artisan guilds, powder-makers, and gunsmiths. Smaller satellite settlements also were popping up all around the larger population centres. However, population growth was already beginning to outpace urban development. Many natural-born second-generation, third-generation, and fourth-generation colonists would join fresh arrivals from overseas on the trail, founding many more settlements far away from the overcrowded coast. The colonies’ imperial charters did not specify any limit to expansion, so of course settlers were going to exploit that. Motivated by the philosophy of "Manifest Destiny", thousands upon thousands of colonists would sail convoys up the Westfluss and Ostfluss rivers or trek along the riverbanks in massive trains of horse-drawn covered wagons. History would come to know these hardy settlers as the “Pioneers”. The pioneers faced perilous journeys, hounded at every step by hostile Native Rhodellian tribes - having been driven away from the coastal forests in prior decades - adamant on not letting the colonists steal another inch of land. The Derthaler military and allied Native Rhodellian tribes did everything they could to protect the pioneers, setting up forts and outposts all over the frontier. Even with their best efforts, they kept finding themselves overstretched across too large an area. For the most part, the Pioneers had to fend for themselves and set up their own colonial militias. Most women and children willingly took up arms to help protect their caravans, frontier settlements, and homes from attack, leading to a large-scale militarisation of the populace. Every single pioneer had to know how to shoot or, at the very least, hold up a pike and stand their ground. At some point, the first Pioneers reached the “Große Ebenen”, or “Great Plains”. Colonial legends such as Martell Waldseemüller had passed by the Great Plains half a century earlier on his first journey to the Valley Kingdom's capital. Upon this fruited plain with spacious skies, they envisioned amber waves of grain. Derthaler and friendly Native Rhodellian fur traders, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Derthaler military had already set up several of their own fortified outposts on the edge of the Plains. It turned out that many Native Rhodellian tribes - Plains Rhodellians - already lived on the land. There was even a fully-fledged country in there called the Great Plains Confederacy. The natives of the Great Plains rode on swift horses and hunted massive herds of roaming animals. A few of the larger tribes had even settled down to build large agricultural towns. The Great Plains Confederacy was already trading with both the Derthaler colonies and with other neighbouring Plains tribes. The Great Plains Confederacy even subsidised many pioneer settlements in hopes that the Derthaler could displace some of the Confederacy’s rivals and enemies. And displace the pioneers did. Many pioneers fenced off massive hectares of land to build farms, ranches, and pastures. A lot of pioneers and their Native Rhodellian friends even competed with local Plains Rhodellians for control over the lands’ animal herds. Of course, this annoyed many local tribes. Land disputes broke out between the pioneers and various Plains tribes, with several scuffles escalating into all-out wars. An example of one hostile exchange between Derthaler pioneers and Plains Rhodellian tribes began on July 15, 1542. Historians would later dub it “Mayer’s War” after its first victim: Garion Mayer, a Derthaler pioneer living in the frontier settlement of Grünfeld, walked outside his house one morning to a strange sight. He caught five Plains Rhodellian warriors tearing down one of his fences. It looked as if they were trying to steal cattle from his ranch. Mayer confronted them using all the knowledge he could muster on the Plains Rhodellians’ language. Some minutes later, one of the warriors shot him with an arquebus. Nearby ranchers rushed to Mayer’s aid, firing shots at the warriors now fleeing on horseback. Mayer survived to swear vengeance on the guy who shot him. His wife appealed to the local Sheriff, Erhardt Lang, to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Lang enlisted the aid of the local colonial militia and travelled to the closest Plains Rhodellian town. The town belonged to one part of the larger Green Fields tribe, and it already had a history of suspicion towards Derthaler colonists. Mayer’s wife recognised one of the horses in the town stables as belonging to the man who shot her husband. Lang went to the town’s elders, asking them to hand over the perpetrators. However, an angry mob was congregating in the town centre. The townspeople pelted Lang and his men with random objects, forcing the pioneers to retreat. Later that evening, more pioneers in Grünfeld reported men on horseback trying to steal their livestock. The next day, Lang, his deputies, and the Grünfeld colonial militia, once again approached the town to find out just what was going on. However, before they could even enter the town, a townsman fired a warning shot. One deputy tried to be diplomatic, only to receive no response from the town. He turned to leave. The same townsman shot him. The deputy, Helmut Schmidt, died instantly. Lang’s forces retreated. He sent messengers to other Derthaler pioneer settlements for aid. Less than a week later, 256 militiamen from several pioneer settlements and 86 Native Rhodellian auxiliaries from various tribes had rallied in Grünfeld. Together, they marched on the Green Fields tribe town where Schmidt was killed. The force set up a perimeter around the town. Mayer accompanied the force, insistent on seeing justice served in person. Lang asked him to enter the town as an envoy. This time, Mayer was received by local elders. He demanded that the cattle thieves, and especially the men who shot him and Schmidt, be handed over immediately. The Green Fields tribe’s elders refused, telling Mayer to “get off [their] land”. Negotiations broke down. Mayer returned to Lang with the bad news. Lang discussed the next course of action with the militia commanders. Planning was well underway when suddenly, they heard a rumbling noise thundering from the town gate. A stampede of horse-mounted Green Fields tribe warriors charged out, carrying all sorts of weapons. The militia and auxiliaries quickly lowered their pikes and formed a square around their headquarters tent. The pikemen held the frontmost ranks while the musketeers and arquebusiers opened fire from the centre. The pikemen dehorsed a few of the more aggressive natives, impaling those who fell to the ground. The gunners aimed and fired at the circling horse archers trying to whittle down their formation with arrows. The Green Fields tribe’s commander quickly identified the corners of the infantry square as a weakness. He ordered his men to focus the brunt of their attack on the corners. If they could just wear down the corners and penetrate, they could force the entire formation to collapse. The natives charged, fell back, regrouped, and charged again. Rinse and repeat, the pikemen at the corners were now taking heavy casualties. At several points, gunners from the centre had to literally dive in and pick up dropped pikes before cavalry could exploit the new weakness. Though the fighting was brutal, the formation nevertheless stood its ground. Both sides suffered many casualties, though veterans’ memoirs counted many more on the Green Fields tribe’s side. The native cavalry routed, fleeing back into the town. Derthalen had won the battle. Lang and the other commanders identified this to be a trap. It was perfectly possible that, if they were to pursue the cavalry into the town, their forces would be trapped and shot at from all sides by the probably well-armed townsfolk. They considered returning home and calling in soldiers from a Derthaler military garrison by the Westfluss river. However, Mayer intervened. He called on the men to stay, saying that this was “a pioneer’s fight” to win, not the military’s. The rest agreed. An auxiliary commander from the Gold Fields tribe came up with an idea. The rest agreed with this idea, forming a plan around it. They maintained a tight cordon around the town. A few hours later, armed ranchers and even more Native Rhodellian auxiliaries arrived at nightfall to bolster the cordon. Three layers of bonfires were lit around the town. Native auxiliaries from the Gold Fields tribe began performing a war dance around a pyre built from the corpses of slain Green Fields warriors. This distracted the Green Fields tribes’ remaining warriors inside the town, and drew the attention of most sentries. Meanwhile, Mayer snuck to the edge of the town with a group of auxiliaries. Using oil and tinderboxes to ignite some torches, they set fire to a rooftop. At the same time, other small units of militiamen and auxiliaries were igniting even more buildings. Meanwhile, a group of auxiliaries cleverly disguised as Green Fields warriors reached the town centre. This group tossed a well-timed grenade into the town well, blowing it up. The blast alerted the entire town. Townspeople rushed outside to see practically everything on fire, and how they no longer had any means to put them out. They tried to flee the inferno. First, they were lit up by the bonfires. Next, they were lit up by gunfire. Every single person that tried to flee the inferno was either shot or impaled on sight. The next afternoon, when the fires died down and the smoke cleared, a sweep was conducted to gather any survivors. The town’s survivors were then sold as slaves to the Great Plains Confederacy; Grünfeld’s ranchers needed money to replace all the livestock the Green Fields tribe stole from them. Not long after the purchase, the livestock and horses previously stolen from nearby Derthaler settlements were discovered on a nearby farm (formerly owned by a now-dead Green Fields tribesman). News of "Mayer's War" spread to other Derthaler settlements and many Native Rhodellian tribes. Mayer, Lang, Lang’s deputies, the colonial militias and their commanders, and the Native Rhodellian auxiliaries were all hailed as heroes. However, the Green Fields tribe happened to be a very big tribe, encompassing many more towns across the Great Plains. Enraged by how their brethren were sold into slavery, the entire Green Fields tribe united to declare war on the Derthaler colonies. The Green Fields tribe was supported by many other Plains tribes along with many Woodland tribes, all united under the common goal of halting any further Derthaler expansion up the Westfluss and Ostfluss rivers. This massive war would become known as The Great Plains War, and it would be a brutal one. It would rage from 1542 to 1550, with hundreds dead, and tens of thousands of people displaced across the frontier. It would only end when the Chief of the Green Fields tribe, Walthari of the Wind, was finally forced into a war of attrition he knew his people could not win. He offered his unconditional surrender to the Derthaler military in 1550. A river of pioneers would arrive to exploit up the vacuum left by displaced or exterminated Plains tribes. Lajos’ Rebellion, and the "Stolen Generation" By the end of the Great Plains War, most defeated enemy tribes were refusing to assimilate into any Derthalen-aligned tribes. No pioneer had ever seen this degree of hatred specifically directed at the Derthaler race before. The Derthaler knew that, eventually, the Plains tribes would rise up again in yet another war to end Derthaler colonial expansion. Representatives from the different Rhodellian colonies and allied tribes met together at a conference in Janbourg to decide on a course of action: how should they handle hostile Native Rhodellian tribes after they have been defeated? How could they prevent more tribal conflicts from flaring up? The Ecclesiarchy had an idea. Its representatives at the conference pushed forward an experiment: if they couldn’t quell the adults, who could keep fighting until they died, they could at least try to quell the children and limit hostility to a few generations. The idea was unanimously approved, even by the Native Rhodellian representatives present in the room. They were already doing child exchange programmes. What would the difference be? The Ecclesiarchy would remove many thousands of babies and young Native Rhodellian children from defeated tribes that continued to show hostility. The children would be taken to grow up in special Ecclesiarchy-run facilities to be given Derthaler names, raised in Derthaler language and culture, educated in the Imperial Truth, and given primary and secondary-level education, all with the intent of turning them into loyal, productive free citizens. Thanks to their education, the majority of the children would grow up to be respectable burghers of the colonial middle and upper working classes. A few would rise into peerage, earning titles of nobility through distinguished service to Derthalen. These Native Rhodellian children would be known as the “Stolen generation”, and few would ever see their birth parents again. The historical “Stolen generation” would be repeatedly brought up by Rhodellia’s mid-20th century Civil Rights Movement, as the Rhodellian government kept making repeats of the programme as one solution to modern-day tribal unrest. The Green Fields tribe and its coalition of Plains tribes gave their unconditional surrender on December 23, 1550. After nearly eight gruelling years of battle, the Great Plains War was over. Walthari of the Wind was the Green Fields’ leader, and therefore the man signing the document on behalf of the Plains tribes. Throughout the war, Walthari led his warriors on lightning-quick raids on pioneer settlements, vanishing long before the colonial militias could intercept his war parties in great numbers. He did hit-and-run tactics on Derthaler military columns, wearing them down, cutting them off from their supply lines, and letting attrition run its course. His young son, known in history as Lajos, accompanied him through every battle until his father’s surrender. After the surrender, he would be taken from his defeated father and raised as one of the “Stolen generation”. Lajos would be one of the older children in his Ecclesiarchy facility for stolen Native Rhodellian children. This made him one of the few students who could still remember his mother tongue with some fluency. He later graduated at the age of 16. In a diary entry he wrote after leaving, he stated that he didn’t recall much from his time at the facility. However, he did remember this one time when a man, a Native Rhodellian like him, broke into the facility’s student dormitories calling for a boy whose name Lajos didn't recognise. Fearing for his safety and that of his friends, Lajos snuck out of his room to alert the guards. Many guards rushed to the dormitories to intercept the man, who was now trying to escape. The intruder would then singlehandedly pummel down scores of armed guards with just his fists, elbows, knees, and feet. Besides that, the facility was boring, and the teachers were strict. Lajos spent the next few years after graduating working as a clerk in Janbourg’s colonial government. He grew bored of the job. He hated the claustrophobia of the coastal cities. He quit his job to travel up the Westfluss. He eventually moved back to the Great Plains frontier, his ancestral homeland. At age 18, Lajos became a servant to a frontier nobleman, Baron Klaus von Rödel. Lajos spoke fluent Alemannisch, sang songs he learned from the Ecclesiarchy, and entertained Klaus with stories he learned about Derthaler history. By age 20, Lajos had practically become Klaus’ favourite servant as well as a close friend and confidant. They liked riding horses, racing each other across the Great Plains, and camping. Lajos loved the freedom offered by the Plains. Klaus wrote in his memoirs that Lajos would shed a tear every time he'd watch a sunset over the Great Plains. In 1562, Klaus became a commissioned officer in a Derthaler frontier regiment. Lajos would accompany his friend on deployments every time a native riot or revolt flared up somewhere in the Great Plains. Lajos would never comment, at least not in particular detail, on the carnage he saw. Sometimes, Lajos would go entire evenings without saying a word. Klaus suspected that Lajos was feeling mixed loyalties; it was Lajos’ people getting slaughtered out there after all. 3 months into a peacekeeping deployment, Lajos mounted his horse and left. Klaus was there when it happened. He knew where Lajos was going. He even knew the reason why. However, Klaus still wouldn’t blame Lajos for leaving. The next morning, Lajos had ridden into the primary town of the Green Fields tribe, where he and his father had lived very long ago. He entered the House of Elders, and saw quite a few familiar faces (though they've aged in the years it has been since he last saw them). However, one thing confused him the most; there was a new chief in charge instead of his father. Lajos revealed his identity to the tribal elders, and asked of Walthari’s whereabouts. An elder embraced him, and told him everything. Walthari resigned as chieftain many years ago. He left the tribe, riding alone into the sunset on a journey to find his one and only son. Walthari tracked Lajos all the way to Janbourg, where he discovered exactly which Ecclesiarchy facility his son was being held in. He found his way inside, evading every guard on the way to the student dormitories. He began sifting through every room, trying to figure out which one Lajos was being held in. However, as he was doing this, one of the students alerted the guards. The alarms sounded. Walthari tried to escape, but the guards cornered him. Walthari - living up to his reputation as one of the most feared warriors in all of Rhodellia - put up a valiant fight. With the speed of hurricane-force winds, he fought off wave after wave of armed guards using only his fists, elbows, knees, and feet, never once picking up a weapon. Eventually, Walthari became exhausted. A guard pinned him down, and more guards joined in to beat the "demon" warrior unconscious. Walthari went to jail, where he would soon die of his wounds. The story sent Lajos into a spiral of grief. Lajos spent many days, and many nights, alone in his hut. He apologised to his father again and again. How different could things have been if only he had never betrayed him? Eventually, he would come outside again. He decided that maybe going camping, just like when he used to go camping with Klaus, would calm him down. The sun was setting. He started a small campfire. Then, just as he threw in the final log, the flames burst. Lajos fell to the ground. He looked up, and in the flames, he saw the image of his father. The flames "spoke" to him. Lajos never revealed, not in his diary, his memoirs, or to his family and friends, what exactly was said to him. However, he felt a fire burning in his heart: a new purpose for living. Lajos worked to pick up his father’s mantle, defeating other chieftains in single combat and rising to become the top leader of the entire Green Fields tribe. Just like Walthari, he would unite the Plains Tribes once again in a long rebellion to liberate their homeland from Derthaler occupation. Lajos’ rebellion would pit him against Klaus, who kept up his military career, many times. Even as enemies, they had something akin to a satisfying rivalry. Lajos’ coalition eventually formed the Great Plains League, which rivalled and even absorbed parts of the Great Plains Confederacy. At its height, the League had even pushed Derthaler pioneers as far back as the Westfluss river. However, the Great Plains League, though it was great and achieved way more than any reasonable person could have expected, was not to last... Klaus, being the only commander of his era who could actually fight toe-to-toe with Lajos, was promoted to a colonel. Klaus raised his own regiment, training the men under his command as elite dragoons mirroring the tactics of the Plains tribes. They would outmanoeuvre, encircle, and defeat Lajos’ rebels at the Battle of the Horseshoes on January 13, 1571. Klaus convinced Lajos to lay down his arms so that all of his remaining men could live. He would even muster his family's political power to end the barbaric practice of stealing Native Rhodellian children from their parents to be raised by the Ecclesiarchy. Klaus finally called out to Lajos, shouting “the game is up”, that there was no point in fighting any further. Lajos saw reason in this, and surrendered. For the first time in years, he would have a friendly conversation with Klaus. Lajos would become a prisoner of war detained in a Friedrichstadt camp for political prisoners. Even as a prisoner, Lajos would be invited to race horses and perform at many festivals. Lajos even married and got to raise his own family; his bloodline still lives to this day. However, one of the last entries in his diary reveals that he eventually came to regret surrendering; he came to feel that he was a traitor to himself, to his people, and to his father in not choosing not fight to the death. Lajos later died of natural causes in 1611, on his deathbed in the company of his wife, children, grandchildren, and Klaus. In the centuries following his death, many Native Rhodellian tribes and organisations would rebel and fight bitter struggles against the Derthaler and then Rhodellian governments to establish their own tribal ethno states. Most, if not all of them, revered Lajos as a hero who resisted Derthaler colonisation and actually got quite far in doing so. Meanwhile, Derthaler-descended Rhodellians heavily respect both Lajos and Walthari as "badasses" and are proud to include these warriors in their national history. Lajos' and Walthari's tactics and strategies are still taught in Rhodellian schools, colleges, military academies, and universities (both of the civilian and military kind). Meanwhile, the martial arts Walthari used, a "pragmatic" fighting style rooted in the streets and alleys of Plains Rhodellian towns and cities (separately from the fighting styles of rule-heavy "competition sports"), would become one of many inspirations for the modern-day Rhodellian "military martial arts" taught to all Rhodellian schoolchildren and military personnel.
  2. Rhodellia

    [Academy RP] | Commuting in Rhodellia

    This is another snapshot into the civilian lives of Rhodellian citizens. This one specifically focuses on five mostly working-class university students studying in Gottesberg, the capital city, in the Rhodellian state of Königsheim. In contrast, the previous one I wrote was about two people from the Rhodellian state of Janbourg visiting Gottesberg to spectate Militärfestival 2018. In this sample RP, the five students are starting their long commute across and out of the capital to reach a popular campsite located in the countryside. Do note that they're not necessarily speaking English. I'm just choosing to translate them like this to better communicate intent and the variety of styles of speech between the urban working classes. Gottesberg, Rhodellia It was the early hours of the morning. The sky was still dark with the sun only starting to peak over the glass and concrete skyline. To the convenience of five university-age students - four boys and one girl - hauling carbines, tactical load bearing vests, and assault packs, most commuters had yet to start their morning rush hour. Most people out on the streets this early were local servicemen and women performing independent morning PT on their own. Besides them were the "early bird" commuters who either dreaded claustrophobia or had to travel to an opposite end of the city for work. And so, the Gottesberg Underground station “Lettow-Vorbeck” was nowhere near as packed as usual; they saw only a couple dozen or so early birds queuing up at the ticket barriers, with about a dozen more lining up at the self-service ticket machines and tills. It didn’t take too long for the group to get their tickets, pass through the ticket barriers, descend a long escalator towards the Fegelein Line, and reach Platform 3 early enough to catch the next Northbound train. The group leader, Edward, glanced towards the electronic platform display. ‘ETA for the 0530 train is four minutes’. His friends moved from close behind. They weaved in between other commuters, and apologised to the odd few they'd accidentally whack with their assault packs. After navigating halfway down the platform, they found an empty row of metal seats. ‘At least this bench is empty. Guys, let's set down our stuff over here while we wait.’ ‘Noice.’ Decker took off his assault pack, tucked his rifle between his knees, and sat back on an end chair. The rest filled up the other spaces. ‘Ay. Jonas, Emil.’ ‘Yeh cuz?’ Jonas nodded up and nudged Emil. ‘I’m bored. Let’s play a game.’ ‘Sure, mate.’ Decker leaned towards them. ‘Listen up: Erika Wittman, Aloysia Kalss, and Emilia Seibold. F*ck, Marry, Kill?’ Jonas rubbed his chin at an advertisement on an opposite platform: it marketed four-eyed “Generation 4” night vision goggles (which looked very similar to the ones worn by the Rhodellian commandos who, only a few days prior, cleared an entire Separatist command bunker to assassinate a high-ranking tribal Separatist leader in Nordwalde). Emil scratched the back of his head. Alice glanced up from her smartphone and gave the others a repulsed look. Jonas spoke up first. ‘Aight, so I’d f*ck Erika, marry Emilia, and kill Aloysia. Erika got that “back” you know what I mean? I’d bang her so hard, yeh, that we’d come up on the Richter scale.’ ‘Ah, I see you’re a man of culture as well.’ Edward pitched in ‘I still think Aloysia’s an underrated Panzerfahren ace though. I’d personally marry her instead of Emilia.’ Emil shook his head to Jonas, laughing. ‘You do realise that Erika’s 16 and you’re 21, you utter nonce.’ ‘Yeah but she’s still perfectly legal according to both state and national laws, mate!’ ‘There’s still a five-year age difference between you both, so you’re still a flipping nonce.’ ‘You for real bruv? You telling me that if a peng bird like her walked up to you and started chirpsing, you’d pass her up? About time you came outta the closet you massive homo.’ ‘Mate I’m as straight as a ruler!’ ‘A bendy one.’ Edward applauded. ‘Congratulations Emil. You played yourself! Of all the things you could’ve replied with…’ he clapped even harder ‘...you just had to pick the one even secondary schoolers are smart enough to avoid!’ ‘Well done fam.’ Decker chuckled ‘Aight, I reckon we oughta change games now.’ ‘Aw why man?’ Emil asked ‘I was just about to say mine. It's jokes!’ ‘Trust fam I wanna hear it, but look at Alice. She’s well shook.’ he nodded towards Alice, who had somehow gotten up and moved away from the boys to an opposite row of seats (without anyone noticing to boot). Decker laughed ‘You alright there Alice?’ Alice took off an earphone, smiled, and looked up from her smartphone again. ‘You lot are disgusting pigs. Honestly, yeh, I'm having second thoughts going camping with you!’ Edward replied. ‘You’ll be alright Alice. Just sleep with your back to the tent wall!’ ‘F*ck’s sake.’ Alice simply laughed and went back to scrolling on her phone screen. Decker turned back to Emil. ‘Ayo Emil, since you wanna say something so bad… Here’s one for you: Bait out the biggest sket you know. Full name, address, phone number, credit card details, social security number, all that shit ya get me fam?’ ‘Bruh. Bait-out vids have been rinsed for years.’ ‘Innit cuz.’ added Jonas ‘We be living in 2018 now, not 2016 you prehistoric caveman.’ ‘C’mon man just do it. Do it for the bants.’ Decker slapped his hands together, and pleaded. ‘For the bants?’ Emil paused ‘Alright then so… biggest sket I know, yeh? Initials Anton and Richard.’ ‘A.R…’ Decker pondered ‘Ain’t that your ex from college?’ Emil shook his head. ‘Nah mate. This’ a different one.’ ‘Noice! What ‘bout the rest doe?’ ‘Ha ha! Naaaaw, man.’ ‘Why not my man?’ ‘That’s bare deep bruv I can’t bait that out!’ Jonas joined. ‘You’re well dry you know that bruv? Help a mandem out. At least tell us her Insta.’ Emil nodded. ‘Alright I can least show you that.’ ‘We’re just having a laugh my bruddah!’ Decker chuckled ‘So what’s she like?’ Spill the beans!' Emil took a deep breath ‘Aight yeh... so this girl’s a proper sket, like… On the real, she bangs like ten boys a week bareback.’ ‘Bruh that’s grim.’ Decker’s jaw dropped 'She be spreading STIs like it's Plague Inc.!' ‘It’s absolutely flippin’ disgusting, yeh. Back in July, I went skiing with her in Gottesthal. Our entire hotel was proper dyin’ of herpes cos’a her I swear down.’ ‘Then why ain’t you dead cuz?’ ‘Man’s smart and wears protection innit.’ Emil knocked on the plate carrier he wore over his shirt. Jonas leaned in again. ‘Oi. What’s her post code? Ya boy’s getting a medical discharge tonight!’ ‘From spitting bars to spitting blood. Bloody hell Jonas that’d be one hell of a career path.’ ‘To be fair though, with her body count, this Bad B probs knows how to have a banging time. Man don’t care if he gets mega-chlamydia. Allow “Taps”. Play “No Regrets” and sick beats at my funeral!’ ‘Oh my days fam… You’re well thirsty you know that?’ ‘Yeh and?’ ‘Heh, you’re an absolutely disgusting degenerate Jonas.’ Edward chuckled towards the electronic platform display ‘Yeh and?’ Jonas repeated. The rest were still too busy laughing to say anything back (with the sole exception of Alice, who remained silent). ‘That’s what I thought.’ The subway train rolled into the station. The group stood up from their seats, strapped on their assault packs, and picked up their rifles. Edward beckoned the others over to his position. ‘Alright boys let’s cut the meme’ing.’ He watched the lights of the forward-most carriages whizz past. ‘Oh look, they’re pretty empty.’ ‘It’s five in the morning mate of course they’re all empty.’ Emil patted him on the shoulder. A carriage door stopped directly in front of them. ‘Calculated.’ grinned Edward. The glass safety barrier and carriage doors beeped and automatically slid open. The group strolled right on through, followed in by other fellow commuters. There weren’t a lot of others in the carriage. Among the more conspicuous were three builders wearing orange high-vis PPE and white hardhats. Chatting to them were five soldiers wearing full battle dress, kevlars included. The soldiers seemed to be complaining about how their unit's not getting deployed to Nordwalde, and how they didn't get to spend their Christmas season smoking some uppity tribesmen in the face for disrespecting their country. The builders expressed similar sentiments, stressing above all that if only they knew Nordwalde would blow up again so soon they'd have re-enlisted as combat engineers instead of becoming civilian contractors. Elsewhere in the carriage were three secondary school-age kids showing off their rifles, bragging about their shot groupings in school, and whose family members had the coolest MOS. A couple of foreign tourists were also in the same carriage and in some of the others. The tourists appeared to keep to themselves, probably intimidated by the fact that practically every Rhodellian chooses to carry either a gun, knife, or most likely both on their person at all times. Decker unstrapped his assault pack and took his seat, followed by Alice, Jonas, and Emil. Decker looked up at Edward, who was still wearing his assault pack and preferring to stand. ‘Oi Ed, so how 're we getting to the campsite again?’ 'Let me check...’ Edward opened up his smartphone. He managed to connect to the Underground station’s free Wifi and search up his route just as the train was departing into a tunnel ‘So… Going over our route again… We’ve got five stops left on the Underground.’ he pointed up at the Underground map for the Fegelein line ‘We’re changing at Wilhelm II Station. From there, we’re taking Maglev train to Manstein Park station. Using the Guderian Line, that is.’ ‘Guderian Line? I swear if we're going to Manstein Park it’s faster to take the Ludendorff Line.’ ‘About that…’ Alice looked up from her phone again ‘I already said it on the group chat, but umm... there’s basically massive railworks going on there until February.’ Edward nodded. ‘Yeah. But who knows? Maybe if there aren’t any scheduled delays on the Ludendorff Line’s timetable we can take that line instead. Alice, go search up "Ludendorff Maglev Line delays" when you connect to the station Wifi at our next stop’ ‘Sure thing Edward.’ Alice went back to her phone. Decker nodded a few times. ‘Aight that’s safe. What time's our train?’ ‘Yeah, so if we’re still taking the Guderian Line… when we get to Wilhelm II station we’ll need to take the 0600 train on Platform 4.’ ‘0600?’ Decker stretched his legs ‘Mate, we’re legit gonna have to pace it.’ ‘Mhm.’ Edward agreed ‘Good thing we’ve never skipped leg day.’ ‘Yeah it’s chill bruv. We’re all gym lads. Man’s never got a failing PT score in secondary school or college. I ain’t mucking up my record now ya get me?’ ‘I haven't suffered the disgrace of failing PT scores either. So yeah, when we get to Manstein Park we’ll be changing again onto the GNR high-speed train going north…’ Edward paused ‘Hey Alice?’ ‘Yeah?’ Alice looked up ‘Where are we getting off on the high-speed train? Closest stop to Carius National Park. Preferably with a bus station directly going to our campsite’ Decker seconded that. ‘Yeah. Allow having to haul this gear all the way. I already did my Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Duke of Edinburg awards in school. Doing a fifth one would be bare effort.’ ‘Hm…’ Alice recalled her memories ‘I think that would be Macharius station. That’s where my brother and his mates got off when they went camping last November.’ ‘Alright. Macharius station it is. Cheers Alice.' Emil looked up from his seat, seeming a tad concerned. ‘Yo, Ed. You know Carius National Park? Bruh I swear it used to be like, an actual military training ground. My dad was in the 12th Panzer Division, and his unit used to train there a lot. The place must be radioactive as hell with all the depleted uranium lying about.’ Alice looked up from her phone again. ‘Emil. Uranium-238’s got a really long half-life. We're talking billions of years. I remember, like, in secondary school... our teachers taught us that the main risk from depleted uranium munitions comes from alpha particles. Those don’t go through our skin or our clothes. They don’t travel far through air either.’ ‘So... that means we should be good for the most part, right?’ Emil asked. ‘Yeah.’ Alice nodded‘The government’s also done a lot of cleaning up over there before opening it up to the public. The background radiation, for the most part, shouldn’t be much higher than normal. Do you honestly think they’d screw us over like that?’ ‘Well, our government’s actually not retarded, so... that’s fair enough.’ Emil gave a thumbs up. Edward spoke up. ‘Okay, so here’s what we’ll do… Just to be safe, we’ll avoid anything that looks like a crater made by a 120-millimetre tank gun. Also, keep your Geiger counters on around sites where depleted uranium's known to have been used. Use your mobile data to brush up on their locations in the field if you have to. Pay attention to any warning signs of radioactive or chemical contamination. That way, none of us ends up with Leukaemia like those tourists who ignored all of the signs last year.' ‘That’s safe bruv.’ nodded Jonas, who was fiddling around with his rifle’s optics ‘Oi. Do you reckon the campsite has its own KD range? My new ACOG came in yesterday so I gotta zero it.’ ‘It probably does.’ Edward shrugged ‘I mean, every other campsite we’ve been to had its own KD range, and the one we’re going to was a former military training ground. It’d be a damn crime it didn’t have a KD range’ Decker whistled. ‘Ay mandems. Speaking of crimes…’ he gestured towards the group of three kids they spotted earlier. ‘What is that? What the f*ck is that?’ ‘What…?’ Edward squinted at the group of kids ‘I don’t get it. What’s wro-oh… Yeah, now I see it. Damn...’ Nothing about the kids themselves was out of the ordinary: they looked like the kind of kids that went plinking with friends in the day, played street football or basketball in the evening, and online battle royales at night. The problem lay with their straps: they had so many attachments decorating their rifles that the weapons systems looked as if they were 3D-printed straight out of a video game. ‘Bloody hell…’ Emil rubbed his eyes ‘On the real though, do they honestly think they look allie putting 30 pounds of shit on a 9 pound service rifle?’ ‘They must think they’re hardmen.’ Jonas looked up briefly before going back to servicing his own rifle ‘Kids these days think they’re so allie with their “Tacticool” mall ninja gear. I swear down. It’s flipping annoying.’ ‘Like you can talk fam.’ Decker chuckled ‘Let’s not forget, right, how you also went through a “Tacticool” phase back in secondary. Shit was bloody hilarious. I swear, yeh, you woulda slapped a thermal scope onto a bayonet if your mum gave you the pocket money’ Jonas laughed. ‘Man’s a big boy now, innit. I ain’t about that mall ninja shit anymore. Besides though… 50 metres, 100 metres, 200 metres, 300 metres... I scored higher than you in all my Marksmanship exams, and everyone had to use iron sights for those.’ ‘Ah, shut up fam. At least I actually came first in our area’s Schützenfest last year!’ ‘Bruh, that’s cos you bare sweated it that time around. Nearly every day after lectures, yeh, you’d DM me saying “Oi come outside fam let’s go to the range” and I’d be like “Nah mate. Man's got exams to study for innit”. You are a proper tryhard.’ ‘Gotta do my duty to Rhodellia, ya get me mandem? Moment I start National Service, yeh, I be flexin' on the other crows with my rifle game. Big man ting.'
  3. Separatists launch full-scale assault on military base Alfonse Schmidt, 20 December 2018, 19:68 The violence has escalated. On 18 December, the Nordwalde Troubles reached a new peak after two decades of relative peace: separatist paramilitaries attacked a Landwehr-operated military installation near the district capital of Hohenstein. A “battalion-sized” force of insurgents swarmed the perimeter of Camp Kirstein, manned by reservists of Dieter Company, 3rd Battalion, 72nd Panzergrenadier Regiment of the Heer's 14th Panzergrenadier Division. The United Separatist Front (USF) has claimed responsibility for the deadly assault in a video circulating on social media. The video’s anonymous on-screen narrator credits the insurgents killed in the attack as the “first martyrs of the [wider separatists movement’s] 21st century cause”. The Reichstag sanctioned the deployment of additional peacekeeping troops and Stasi operatives amid threats of further violence. The attack began at 10:32 when a “suspicious-looking” fleet of trucks and cars swerved off a main road towards Camp Kirstein’s eastern perimeter fence. The garrison opened fire, stopping all but one vehicle: an up-armoured “killdozer” truck. It exploded on contact with the fence, punching a gaping hole into the wire. Muzzle flashes lit up the nearby woodlands as a “wave” of insurgents poured out of the shade. It was a mad dash for the newly-opened breach, a full-on infantry charge. They toted fully-automatic carbines, light machine guns, grenade launchers, and rocket propelled grenades. They unleashed an arsenal of improvised mortars, civilian drones dropping remote-detonated satchel charges, and toy RC cars rigged with explosives. They threw everything they had. The garrison eventually stalled the fierce assault under a withering hail of suppressive fire. Mortar crews zeroed in on insurgents pinned behind road embankments. Riflemen returned fire at the eager who peeked out of cover and gave covering fire from the woods, and made quick work of the insurgents’ drones and RC cars too. Snipers sneaked out of the installation to hunt down forward observers and drone operators lurking in the trees. The garrison held out until friendly attack helicopters relieved them. The remaining insurgents routed. The pilots chased them deep into the woods, turning many into pink mist through the canopies. The Department of Defence has since posted online uncensored thermal imaging footage of the helicopter chase. To the pilots’ surprise, the sound of gunfire and explosions had attracted scores of nearby Loyalist paramilitaries. These independent warriors, mostly men and women from the “Nordwalde Tigers” militia (accompanied by a few dozen thrill-seeking tagalongs), fought their own battle in the woods. They routed the Separatists’ rearguard, silenced the mortars, overran the field headquarters, and cut off the enemy retreat. The Loyalist’ actions undeniably saved the lives of many servicemen and women, as well as played a crucial role in scoring a great victory. The Raid on Camp Kirstein lasted three hours. A Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) conducted by foot patrols confirmed 342 insurgent fatalities, reporting no enemy survivors. 27 suspects in Hohenstein and neighbouring areas were later arrested by police in connection to the attack. Though the battle was won, victory did not come for free. 6 soldiers were killed, making the 18 December attack the 24th deadliest attack on Rhodellian troops since the start of the Nordwalde Troubles in the late 1960s. Another 47 soldiers were wounded and medevaced to Hohenstein. 22 Loyalist fighters sacrificed their lives in their assault, with those having underwent National Service set to be buried with full military honours. Another 38 Loyalists are being hospitalised for gunshot and shrapnel wounds. Voices of solidarity echo across the nation. Hundreds of netizens from across Rhodellia are already en-route to Nordwalde just to volunteer in Loyalist paramilitaries, with many more predicted to follow in the coming months. Chancellor Theobald Michaelis called 18 December a “black day” for Rhodellia in a press statement following the attack. King August III posted “...[the separatists] will pay with their blood... for committing crimes against Rhodellia and her people...” on social media. The Underhaus and Oberhaus of the Reichstag began their most recent meetings with a full minute of silence. Flags in every government and royal building, including the Reichstag building and Gottesberg Palace, are being flown at half-mast to commemorate both fallen soldiers and loyalist paramilitaries. Princess Elysse has announced her intent to travel to the Nordwalde District of Rabeswalde. She is scheduled visit the children of warriors who gave their lives for Rhodellia in the attack. Knights from the Order of St. Longinus, Knights of the Rose, and Order of St. Celestine will be safeguarding her as she visits homes, schools, and orphanages. Trending news Over 100,000 people attended ‘Thank You’ Christmas charity concert to help veterans with amputations and mental trauma Pallamara successfully delivers 6 state-of-the-art ASW Frigates to Kriegsmarine New nuclear power station goes operational in Graustadt, Janbourg Nordwalde Troubles: Hostile tribesmen continue to protest grand opening of high-speed rail expansion Gottesberg International Airport expansions complete following forecasts for growing tourism trend Frederick Jäger, Rabeswalde's Panzerfahren "guerrilla" ace, to become tank crew instructor Stefan Kielberg's "Fur Das Vaterland" epic war drama is a massive Christmas box office success
  4. “Why don’t kids just shoot school shooters?” Rhodellian children perplexed by school shootings Frederick Becker, 16 December 2018 20:04 The foreign indie film All The Other Kids finally debuted in Rhodellian cinemas last Friday after an extensive viral marketing campaign. The thriller-drama follows a group of high school students in their struggle to evade a vengeful student’s rampage across their school campus. Teenagers - scared for their lives - crouch in bathroom stalls, curl up under desks, barricade outward-opening doors, and suffocate through dusty air vents to survive. Gun violence is currently not a major political issue in Rhodellia, but here the film raised many questions about foreign attitudes to firearms and gun violence. Internet discussions on the film soured as over the weekend as some news organisations in the film’s country of origin pushed it as a statement against gun ownership. These statements received widespread backlash in Rhodellia (not only from film critics and academics, but your average Rhodellian netizen too). Gun ownership is not only a legal requirement in Rhodellia, but a central aspect of our country’s recreational culture as well as a patriotic duty. Film critic Walther Braun argues in his column (published in film magazine Notebooks on Cinema): rather than just an attack on gun ownership, All The Other Kids is actually a social commentary on other issues prevalent in the film’s country of origin. These include but aren’t limited to: Widespread misunderstanding and social ostracization of perceived misfits Bullying being poorly handled by apathetic or incompetent school faculties The lack of opportunities for social and economic advancement after finishing education The high levels of stress imposed by the demands of modern urban society The poor state of mental health infrastructure offered to people suffering from depression and other conditions All The Other Kids’ notorious rampage only makes up a small portion of the film’s 122-minute runtime. Interspersed between the scenes of violence are dramatic flashbacks of events that would gradually drive the film’s antagonist (known only as “That Kid” by other characters) to commit his killing spree. These range from That Kid’s parents urging him to give up his musical aspirations to focus on future employment, his struggle to find a lasting romantic partner, and his friends’ and teachers’ conscious unwillingness to help him as his mental health deteriorates. Interestingly, the film does not actually hint where or how That Kid obtained a firearm, nor do any characters give it any in-depth discussion. Braun cites these as evidence for his case, effectively dismantling online perceptions that the film’s purpose was to criticise gun ownership. Rhodellian netizens have rallied behind Braun and other film critics and analysts who made similar arguments. All The Other Kids, even if it was hyped into memehood, did not manage to top last weekend’s box office. It was surpassed by Frohe Weihnachten, All Quiet on the Northern Front (2018), Imperial Truth, and finally Stefan Kielberg’s epic war drama Fur Das Vaterland. Nevertheless, All The Other Kids was largely well-received by cinema-goers. Viewers praise its stellar production values for a low budget indie film. They are sympathetic to the tragic character of That Kid, feeling that his “sick” society performed a grave injustice not only to him, but to kids and teenagers everywhere. But more than anything, they're confused by how nobody could defend themselves and how everyone instead depended on the late arrival of armed police officers to save the day. Back on the original topic of Rhodellians’ views on other countries’ gun ownership policies, RNN journalists briefly interviewed several young people who have recently watched All The Other Kids. Friedrich Bauer, 17, when asked about on whether the film was a criticism on gun ownership or not, said “If anything, [the movie] reminds [Rhodellians] just how lucky we are that we can actually defend ourselves.” Stefanie Schulze, 14, when asked about online debates about the film, replied “Why are people in other countries so scared of guns? Guns don’t kill people. They’re just tools. People kill people, and some just can’t figure out why”. Klara Bauer, 10, when asked about whether she believed school shootings like in the film could happen in Rhodellia, responded “School shooters wouldn’t get very far. Literally everyone brings a carbine to school.” Hans Schumacher, 9, when asked about what he thought of the film, noted that nobody else but the police and That Kid had a weapon on hand. He asked “Why don’t kids just shoot the bad guys? Why is everyone a sitting duck?”. These interviews highlight a stark contrast between Rhodellian cultural attitudes towards firearms and that of others. Very few countries have a right to bear arms, and very few can match Rhodellia’s. Here, children are instructed in safe and responsible weapons handling starting from primary school. The rifle is seen as a tool for self-defence, ensuring freedom from foreign aggression. Weekly classes are held to teach students to wield them in preparation for National Service after college. National exams are held to gauge students’ proficiencies and qualify the best for special courses. When the rifle is so prominent in our lives that they’re practically extensions of our bodies, what else can we feel but utter culture shock that others don’t have it as good? Trending news Königsheim clutches Panzerfahren Gold Medal at Finals against Rabeswalde "Brutal" Rabeswalde ambush of Königsheim heavy tank column at Panzerfahren Finals goes viral “The violence has escalated” as refugee caravan fires rocket-propelled grenades at border checkpoint “What is this amateur sh*t?” Border security diffuses improvised bomb left by refugee Border guard receives official commendation for nailing “Refugees Welcome” sign to her machine gun nest Gardener shoots pests with anti-materiel rifle. Judge rules it as “perfectly constitutional” Secondary school children recreate 1:1 replica of historical trench network for history project
  5. Kubism is now an officially recognised religion Alphonse von Wallenstein, 09 December 2018 15:12 Pictured: A young "kommando" paying his respects to the Murder Cube at the Prince Willem Armoury Museum (2004) 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, meme patches, 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, or "kube" for short. Every year, hundreds 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 and rail services being upgraded 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 may have started out as an in-joke from some shady corner of the internet has since 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: Kubism. 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 Kubism’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 Kubism'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. Trending news Königheim Man bayoneted over "favourite author" debate King August III "amused" after finding "Kilroy was here" graffiti in his private Gottesberg Palace bathroom Erika Wittmann, Panzerfahren ace and internet sweetheart, receives hundreds of anime-style fan art Bored netizens launch amphibious invasion of island to "avenge the missionary" killed by native tribe Janbourg Man rocks an accordion solo outside of mosque. Goes viral Laurenz von Strauß wins Skeet shooting gold medal at Militärfestival 2018 Rabeswalde Man builds himself a woodland bunker and hides for 10 years to avoid wife's nagging
  6. Gottesberg, Rhodellia A snapshot into a citizens life, at a cultural event. The air cracked and clay shattered. The blue sky turned red with paint. Cheers shook the whole stadium. The athlete responsible - a tan-skinned Creole man whose name read ‘Eztli Schmidt’ on the big screen - grinned at the blood-coloured clouds blowing away in the wind. He shouldered his service rifle and saluted the audience. My buddy sitting next to me, Siegfried, went speechless. You could see him staring, blinking, and rubbing his eyes in confusion. I laughed. ‘Told you it was a “blink and you miss it” kind of thing.’ Siegfried joined the applause as the next athlete stepped up for his turn. ‘I can’t believe you meant it literally.’ Of course he was in disbelief. This was his first time personally seeing the Skeet shooting event at Militärfestival. It’s a whole different experience from watching last year’s replays on the internet. ‘Ten clay pigeons…’ Siegfried watched the current shooter make his way to the stand ‘...all exploding in less than a second from the start...’ he exhaled ‘...just from one dude with a rifle. I swear this guy's got aimhacks.’ ‘VAC banned, amirite?’ ‘Yeah, man!’ Siegfried chuckled ‘Seriously though... this shit is unreal. He’s a real life Global Elite.’ I looked at the big screen. The next shooter was Konrad Reitz, representing my home state of Janbourg. He played for Janbourg’s Skeet shooting team last year. My mates and I watched last year’s finals at the pub. The guy finished as a gold medallist, and the whole bar went full hype. What happened next remains, to this day, a complete blank. He also visited my old secondary school before Militärfestival as a guest marksmanship instructor. Apparently he’s a pretty cool guy. My little sister got her rifle autographed by him, and you can still see it marked on the receiver. Reitz winked at the crowd. He raised his rifle to the horizon. His turn had begun. Ten clay pigeons whizzed out left, right, and centre from every weird angle imaginable. Reitz swung the muzzle. Babababababababababang! Ten red clouds now floated away. Over as soon as it began, just as I expected. ‘Whoa…’ Siegfried pointed at the big screen ‘He’s like point-one-five seconds faster than Schmidt!’ ‘Reitz’s pretty good.’ I nodded with a smirk ‘Clear gold medallist second year running. Easy betting money.’ Applause and whistles erupted all over the stadium as Reitz left for the bench. He shook hands with Schmidt. Both seemed to be having a good laugh, like a friendly rivalry. ‘I wish our shooting instructors back in secondary school were this good.’ Siegfried spoke as the athlete after Reitz began walking up for his turn ‘They were great, don't get me wrong. But this guy's on a whole other level. Imagine all the marks we’d have gotten in our Skill-at-Arms exams if we knew Reitz’s technique.’ ‘Mate, weren’t you still one of the best marksmen in our school year back then? Your shot groupings were tighter than bark on a tree. ’ ‘Yeah, but I was still nowhere near this good. Just watching these athletes play makes I wish I spent more time at the KD range’ ‘Just you wait.’ I reassured Siegfried ‘We’ll be conscripts when we get out of sixth form college in like... half a year. I hear a lot of medal-winners from Militärfestival go on to become instructors in boot camp and Infantry School, training up the next generation of soldiers as lean, green killing machines.’ ‘I’m doing my National Service after Uni though. I’m completing Masters before signing up for military academy’ ‘Ha, f*ckin’ POG.’ ‘I thought you were gonna study economics or something. Didn’t you get an offer from the Gottesberg School of Economics?’ ‘I did, but my dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa were all riflemen. My mum, and grandma were tank gunners. My great-grandma was a sniper. Gotta keep up our country's warrior traditions after a-’ the crowd roared around us ‘-what the hell?’ Siegfried, deafeningly wordless, shook my shoulder and pointed to the big screen. While Siegfried and I were talking, another athlete came up: Laurenz von Strauß. He shot down all 10 clay pigeons point-one-two seconds faster than Reitz. This man was a living aimbot. Judging from the “Ritter von” nobiliary particle in his name, he’s a knight; he’s probably one of those upper class guys descended from back when Rhodellia still legally recognised noble privilege. Strauß saluted the crowds, high fived the remaining, stunned athletes still in line, and shook both Schmidt and Reitz’s hands before sitting down and drinking from a plastic water bottle. This behaviour was the last I’d expect from an upper class guy, and I could already sense the memes being made out of his high fives. ‘Did you see that?’ ‘Well shit.’ I chuckled ‘Looks like I’ve got twenty reichsthaler less out of my bank account the next time I see an ATM… with a short queue, that is. The line-up of medallists for the Skeet shooting final’s been settled. Oh well.' ‘Mhm.’ Siegfried nodded ‘By the way… What time does the Panzerfahren finals take place?’ ‘Uh… I think it’s at fifteen hundred today at King Wilhelm II Stadium. Königheim’s team vs Rabeswalde’s… Twenty tanks versus twenty.’ ‘That’s awesome.’ Siegfried clasped his hands together ‘You know that tank destroyer ace from the Königheim team, who went absolutely f*cking ham last match?’ ‘Yeah. Erika Wittmann. She's exploded all over the internet. Fan art of her's been nuking my Wittier feed since the semi-finals. Even the goddamn otaku have caught on... Not that I have any complaints.’ ‘I sure hope the Königheim team wins. That feel when no panzer ace waifu...'