Little had been heard from the Haru for years.
And that in and of itself caused the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the Holy Imperial Government, a not small amount of consternation.
In fact, so little had been heard that there had been the assumption that Arhomaneia's northern neighbour had undergone some sort of a cataclysm, albeit a very quiet one. The Epistrategaion, the Tagmatine high command, had even considered activating some of the invasion plans that they had written up, like they had when it looked like the Grand Federal Imperium of @Adaptus was falling into disarray. The main aim would be to make sure that none of the dangerous stockpiles that the Sovereign Imperium was thought to possess fell into the hands of unsavoury individuals. More unsavoury than the Haru usually were, of course. Any such invasion wasn't to be taken lightly – even the most optimistic projection had the armed forces of Tagmatium fighting for a decade. And that was without any of the aforementioned stockpiles being used.
A sealed cannister that was conveyed to the offices of the Logothesion ton Barbaron, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, halted any such plans before they had gathered too much steam. This time, there would be no scenes that took place on the Adapton border as an entire army group was halted before it could accidentally invade an ally – the largest single traffic accident in the history of humankind would not be repeated. The sealed tube was handed to one of the people at the front desk and a single glance at the wax seal betrayed who it was sent by.
The person sat in shock for a moment before their colleague leant over and took a look as well. Any Arhomaioi would recognise the flag of the Heart of Christendom's closest barbaroi neighbour.
“Jesus Christ. That needs to go to Goulielmos, right now.”
Of course, it didn't go to the Megas Logothetes straight away, as it was passed through a metal detector before it made its way any further into the building. Even if it was urgent, there was no sense to throw established security routines to the wind.
The first that the Megas Logothetes himself knew of the delivery of the seal was as the double-height oaken doors to his private office were opened. In a stunning breach of protocol, the deliverer did not even bother to knock at the door before entering. The words of chastisement that Eugenios Goulielmos was about to utter died as he caught sight of the cannister as it was carried towards him on a golden platter. The bearer's footsteps echoed across the marble floor as they made the way to the large desk at the end of the room. Eugenios unconsciously started to drum his pen against the top of his desk in a somewhat uncharacteristic display of nervousness.
He wasn't aware of the droplets of green ink, of a specific colour only to be used by Megas Logothetai, that sprayed across the desk as he did so.
The aide stood before the desk and a second detached themselves from behind the desk, walked forward and took the cannister from the golden plate, turned and placed it upon the green leather blotter in front of the Megas Logothetes. The plate bearer stood before the desk as Eugenios Goulielmos turned the cylinder over and looked at the seal. He did a comedic double take as he recognised the emblem on the seal and then he stared long and hard at it.
“Well, f*ck me.”
Such as comment didn't quite befit the exalted dignity of one of the highest offices in the Megas Agios Basileia but the three words certainly demonstrated the surprise that the Tagmatine felt. It had been quite some time since Arhomaneia had heard from its northern neighbour. The interactions between the two nations had not often been peaceful.
“I presume that this has checked over?” Goulielmos asked of the nearest of his staff.
The woman nodded. “It has, Megas Logothetes.”
That didn't surprise. There would be easier ways to start a war than poisoning a foreign minister and it wasn't exactly their style, anyway. If the Haru wanted to fight the Megas Agios Basileia, then they'd probably boil across the northern border or down the river valley that demarcated the border. And then into the lines of defences that had existed for generations... Goulielmos shook his head, dismissing that thought. Diplomatic isolation would be the least of the worries of the Sovereign Imperium if they decided to poison him in such a manner. He wondered if any other nation had received one but he supposed that that kind of hinged upon whatever the message contained.
Shrugging to himself, he held out a hand. A third ministerial aide stepped forward and handed the Megas Logothetes a letter opener without even having to be told what Goulielmos wanted. Lightly, Eugenios drew the blade across the seal and broke it. The tube then fell apart quite smoothly and extracted the roll of parchment from one of the halves. It was all remarkably theatrical, he thought. Very in keeping with Machina Haruspex.
From a man who had had three different people help him with opening a letter, it was sadly not an ironic thought.
He unrolled the scroll and started to read. It was a relatively short message and he was finished quickly but he stared briefly at the wall opposite him before he picked up a phone handset from its ornate cradle on his desk.
“Put me through to Mystikos Boionannes, please.”
There was a pause as the Megas Logothetes was put through to the private secretary of God's representative on Eurth.
“Mystikos, hello. I have something here that Kommodos needs to see, right away.”
To: The Foreign Ministry of the Sovereign Imperium of Machina @Haruspex
From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion
Your majesty, Crown Prince Ji'mar Be'la Kyorl,
It comes as a shock to the people and country of Arhomaneia to learn that his majesty, Sa'Karn Renor Elemmiire, has passed from this world.
For many years, his majesty Sa'Karn sat upon the throne of the Megas Agios Basileia's northern neighbour but it could never be said that he sat idle. It was during his reign that our two great and powerful nations approached something that might be considered normalised, for the first time in decades. Because of that, he will always be considered a worthy and noble ruler by the Arhomaioi.
The Sovereign Imperium and the Megas Agios Basileia have had a chequered and often fractious history – the defences that our two nations still yet maintain on our borders demonstrates that. His majesty Sa'Karn was able to to show to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion that the Haru could be more than enemies who ever threatened the northern border of God's chosen nation on Eurth. Indeed, in time, our nations became allies.
Thus, it is not just with surprise that Arhomaneia hears the news of the death of his majesty Sa'Karn, but with sadness as well. He may not have been a great Christian ruler, but he was a great ruler nonetheless.
May God guide us through these sorrowful times,
Logothesion ton Barbaron
Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion