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Tagmatium Rules

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Tagmatium Rules last won the day on June 4

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About Tagmatium Rules

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    "If it had worked, it would have been perfect!"
  • Birthday 01/31/1988

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    The United Kingdom
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    Trying not to think too much about anything any more.


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    Kommodos III

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  1. Spring was finally coming to Gournaion, the capital of the island of Efmoseia and the nation of the Hexanesa. It had been a hard winter across all of northern Europa and even the western countries of Machina @Haruspex and Tagmatium had suffered in the coldest weather in decades. Despite being the two most functional nations in either the Occident or Burania, many of their citizens had died in the cold weather and parts of them had been cut off due to the deep snow and blizzards. In the band of six islands that marked the division of the Thalassa ton Kataigidon (Sea of Storms) and the waters of inner Europa, the weather had been especially hard because the islands had very little resources of their own to call upon. Some of the small fishing villages and semi-permanent logging camps that made up the settlements on the exposed northern coasts of the islands had to be completely abandoned. Vessels and aircraft from the Stolos, the militarised coast guard, were now going out to assess the damage to the settlements and to see if the inhabitants could return. The weather had been a shock after the warm temperatures of the summer and very few people had been prepared for anything other than the usual winter weather, although that was always quite harsh. The economic damage would have to be counted before the country could move forward. The long cold winter had delayed the planting of crops and prevented fishing for weeks when the fleets should have been out laying pots for crab or trawling for Adlantic salmon. Whilst the people of the Six Islands were unlikely to starve over the coming months, the finances of the country and its inhabitants would suffer. The last decade hadn't been kind to the Hexanesa and it seemed like the start of the new one wasn't going to be great, either. Those were the thoughts going through the head of a warmly wrapped little old lady as she sat at a cafe table and took sips of a cup of tea whilst looking out over the harbour of Gournaion. The cafe had cast iron furniture arrayed around tables and segregated from the street by low planters with hardy plants, although most of them had died over the winter. A heavyset stheneloser dog lay curled at her feet, its thick black and white fur proof against the cold of the northern islands. There were still boats in the harbour, although most of them were out to sea, trying to catch up with the season's fishing. She had just come from a morning service at the Panagia Theotokos, the cathedral of the Hexanesa. A savoury pastry lay untouched on a plate in front of her. Several newspapers were spread across the table, some from the Hexanesa, some from Tagmatium and even one from @Orioni. It was the old lady's habit to look through the headlines in the morning after church before she pottered back to her house. The headlines, at least of the Tagmatine ones, were mainly about the Megas Agios Basileia's involvement in Ceris – two carrier groups and a corps were now in action there, with suggestions that more might follow on. She shook her head. It was unlikely that “Arhomaneia” was involving itself there for the benefit of the Cerisers, although no one could deny that the Sentists were a plague that wouldn't go away of its own accord. The Orinese paper was at least more hopeful, although it focussed on the ongoing EOS mission in the Bainbridge Islands. The papers were full of just more examples of the powers of the wurld bullying the smaller nations. Although the Orinese were much less... conservative, blunt and chauvinistic than the Tagmatines, they were perhaps a bit more hypocritical. They tended to frame all of their actions as good for the people they were subjecting them to, even if it was entirely against their will. The intervention in the Bainbridge Islands had been going on much longer than any operation the Tagmatine armed forces had undertaken in decades. Under the aegis of EOS, the Orinese were bringing peace and stability to the south of Europa, whether it was wanted or not. After a moment looking out to sea again, she broke off a corner of the pastry and crumbled it up further. She then tossed the crumbs to a wagtail that was scavenging around the tables of the cafe but keeping a wary distance from the stheneloser. Another joined it and the two birds bickered for a moment amongst the table legs before seemingly deciding that the amount of crumbs was enough for the pair of them. She watched the small birds briefly before sighing to herself and pouring more tea from the pot into her cup. A passerby called a greeting and waved at the old lady. The wagtails, always timid, scattered and chittered their outrage at being forced away from their crumbs. The stheneloser raised its heavy head and watched the passerby and the old lady's reaction to them, its eyes darting between the two. When she waved back, it put its muzzle back on its paws, content that there was no threat there and closed its eyes. She reached down and scratched it behind its ears and broke off another bit of the pastry. The dog put its head up again and gave a begging look. The old lady smiled at the big dog and gave it the rest of the pastry, saving a corner for herself. It chewed messily for a moment and nosed up the crumbs that it had dropped. She ate the corner she had broken off and sipped the cup of tea. Of course, to the locals it wasn't just an old woman – it was Evangela Leotykhidissa, the Megas Kritissa, the Great Judge, of the Kritakrateia of the Hexanesa. A small bodyguard called the Skouterioi lurked nearby, attempting to make themselves unobtrusive but also trying to be a visible barrier between her and any possible threat. Unlike the bodyguards of the islands' western neighbour, they weren't in ostentatious armour and robes but coats and suits. It was clear that they were still bodyguards, as the tailoring of their suits couldn't quite hide the presence of holstered pistols. The Skouterioi had always made it clear that they weren't happy with the fact their head of government was content to sit in public and let the islanders greet her as they walked by. Although the islands weren't rich, they were strategic. The Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton was an ever-present threat, as were the secret services of the Exkousiokrateia or the Volskoi. Any of them might try to engineer a takeover of the islands or assassinate the Megas Kritissa. They would likely then try to take advantage of either the islands' position or the possibility of mineral or oil wealth possessed by them. The Gharoiki have been carrying out “hydrocarbon mining” in the areas of the Thalassa ton Kataigidon under their control. It seemed to be a pompous way of saying “oil and gas extraction” and it couldn't be doubted that the Hexanesa were being eyed up by the northern barbarians. Evangela took another sip of tea. The Megas Kritissa had been voted into the position in 2016 as a reaction against the regime of Kommodos Iakoumos, as she had been in the election six years before that. The old woman was one of the few of the Lipotakai, the Deserters, still actively involved in the politics of the Hexanesa. She had been repeatedly elected because she was seen as taking a hard line with Tagmatika. There was still an arrest warrant out for her in the Megas Agios Basileia, even though it had been over sixty years since the events at the end of the Long War which had caused the Hexanesa to break away from Arhomaneia. It looked like the relationship between the islands and the mainland were warming up in the reign of Theodosios VI but his death at the hands of an assassin and the civil war that followed had halted that. At the time, some of the other Kritai had considered throwing in their support behind the cabal of naval and army officers attempting to revive the Navarkhokrateia but that scheme had been stopped by the then Megas Krites, Ioannes Hegesinos. It just would have meant a vengeful Kommodos landing forces on the islands and bringing them to heel by force. Some of the defeated rebels had tried to flee to the islands in the aftermath of the civil war but they had been turned away, most of those disappearing further east or south. There were rumours that the new regime in Tagmatika had shot dozens, if not hundreds, of rebellious officers. Handing over any refugees would have been as bad as murder even if it would have meant that Tagmatika might have warmed up to the Hexanesa. The pot of tea was empty and Leotykhidissa stood to her feet, using the arms of her chair to help her get there. One of the Skouterioi stepped forward to take her arm but the old woman waved him off. The big dog stood up and followed the old lady at her heels as she started on the walk towards her official residence. It wasn't too far away from the harbour and the cafe. Gournaion was not a bustling metropolis by the standards of most nations, even New Wurld ones, but it was the largest city of the Hexanesa. The other people walking the streets knew the Megas Kritissa by sight and waved at her as she passed. Many other heads of state would use a car to get around but the size of the capital meant it was unnecessary and Leotykhidissa also loved to see the city. It meant that the old lady felt like she was more in touch with the ordinary people of her country than others in her position might be. And she could see the effects of the policies that she enacted or the repercussions of wurld events. In recent years, the numbers of boarded up shops were more noticeable than ever before. As she walked through the cobbled streets of the port, it was obvious where the road surface had become worn or damaged and been replaced with cheaper tarmac. The Great Europan Collapse had not impacted the islands as badly as others – the government hadn't fallen apart due to economic ruin like in many other countries but the primary industries of fishing and logging had taken a hit. The tourist trade had been nascent but starting to bear fruit, with southerners coming to see the relatively unspoilt landscapes, although others came to see the remains of the battlefields of the Long War. Those were mainly Tagmatioi and their money was as good as anyone else's, even if the Hexanesoi didn't like their government. However, that had dried up and the tourist board of the Kritakrateia just didn't have the money or the pull to try to attract more people to the islands. Foreign faces were now entirely uncommon on the islands. The Megas Kritissa got to the official residence of the head of the islands. It was no towering edifice but a low villa, almost in the classical style, if not for the modifications made to the architecture to take into account the frigid winters. A pair of guards in the dress uniform of the Taxiotai, the island's paramilitary police, stood either side of the door. Their faces were slightly reddened from the cold and their breath clouded in the early morning air. Leotykhidissa would make sure that the guards changed over a bit earlier than scheduled to get them out of the cold. The big dog walked up to the nearest and sniffed at the gendarme's boots. “Arkadios, come.” The dog stopped sniffing about immediately and trotted after the old woman and into the building. It was a comfortable enough building, if slightly more grand than many others in the city. It was the old seat of the Exkarkhos, the governor, of the Hexanesa, back before the Long War had dashed that all to the winds. Arkadios' nails clicked on the tiles in the hall. The vestibule was cold and a draught blew through it, even with the front doors now closed by the Taxiotai on guard. The only real nod to being in the building was when an aide stepped forward to take the Megas Kritissa's coat and held out a warm indoor robe. Waving the aide away with a gesture, Leotykhidissa took off her coat and changed into the offered robe. “A cup of tea to warm you up?” the man asked. He was almost as old as Leotykhidissa and had the air of a trusted retainer about him. “Yes, thank you,” replied the Megas Kritissa, giving him a thin smile that still managed to be warm. “Can you take it through to the study? There are some papers I wish to go through before I get anything else done today.” “Of course,” he sketched a quick bow and stopped to give Arkadios a pat on the head before he did so. “Anything for this boy?” “No, he's had a pastry already this morning,” Evangela said, looking down at the big dog, who was in turn looking up hopefully at the aide with big eyes. He was trying to suggest that he'd not been fed at all today, despite what was being said. “He sat patiently outside, waiting for the service to finish. He's been a good boy.” Arkadios' tail wagged at the words. “I will bring the tea through when it is ready, Megas Kritissa,” said the aide, finally stopping rubbing the fur on top of the stheneloser's head and walking down the hall. “The heating's on, so the study should be nice and warm.” “Thank you, Leontios,” the old lady said and walked further into the residence. One of the main changes from the traditionally designed Arhomaiki home was that the study wasn't in a commanding place in the building, open to both ends to allow a good view throughout. Instead, in a nod to the cold weather, the room abutted the kitchen, to allow it to take warmth in from the ovens in the walls. That, along with the underfloor heating, made it one of the most snug rooms in the depths of winter. For an elderly person, it made it very liveable. Arkadios padded into the room and went straight over to the dog bed that lay in between the desk and the door and curled up in it. His eyes were on the Megas Kritissa as she pulled out the chair behind the desk and took out a pad of paper. She looked ahead almost blankly for a moment before taking a fountain pen from the mug of pens on the desk and started writing. It took a long time for the words to start properly coming and the cup of tea that Leontios placed on the desk was stone cold before she took notice of it. Eventually, the big dog had started to fidget and whine slightly, making it known that he needed to go out to go to the loo before Leotykhidissa finally stopped her fitful writing and looked down at the words on the page. She sighed and made the sign of the cross in the Aroman fashion – thumb, index and middle finger together, going from right to left – before sitting back in the chair. Of course, as she herself was not a despot, Leotykhidissa would put it before the other five Kritai to see what they would think. Personally, it seemed to be the only way to guarantee the fate of the Hexanesa but she had no idea whether it was the right choice. She was just tired of seeing her beloved nation rot and its people suffer like they had been doing for the last few decades. Her status as a Lipotakissa and her stance on Arhomaneia meant that she would probably be the only person who could propose a reunion with the Megas Agios Basileia without it being immediately shouted down and the proposer being arrested for high treason. It was certainly shocking, even to Leotykhidissa, but perhaps it was time for her country to come in from the cold. OOC: It's time to get the ball rolling on the first part mentioned here.
  2. To: Franco Bilaro, Minister of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications of the Kingdom of @Cristina From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your excellency, It greatly pleased the Arhomaioi, and I pray that it pleases God as well, that her majesty, Queen Nova Maxima Korvini and her honoured government have accepted the offer of an exchange in embassies between our two great and proud nations. This will hopefully be a start in a long, glorious and, above all, friendly relationship between our nations. Please do note that Arhomaneia does not apportion any blame for a slow reply to our message. I will also admit that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has found its attention elsewhere in recent weeks – there are several ongoing international crises that have required a lot of attention and careful monitoring, not least one with my nation's northern neighbour. However, these are not suitable excuses and I must ask for your forgiveness as well. His Aroman Majesty, Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator, and myself and the Arhomaioi hope that this exchange of embassies will mark the start of a great shared future. Perhaps, in time, we can look towards closer cooperation with mutual benefaction for both of our nations and our people, whether economically or otherwise. To this end, I have discussed with my nation's diplomatic service, the Skrinion ton Barbaron, in order to find a suitable ambassador from Arhomaneia to the Kingdom of Cristina. This person is Manouel Nikoteles, a long serving diplomat, although this will be the first time that he will have been appointed as ambassador. However, I do not doubt that he will be an appropriate choice who will serve Arhomaneia will. Similarly, I have worked with the Kephalatikeuon ton Tagmatika, the Mayor of Tagmatika, to find a suitable building for your nation's chancery. I have attached both the credentials for Kyrios Nikoteles and the details of the building to this message. May it please God that our faithful nations are coming closer together at last, Eugenios Goulielmos Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  3. Despite the BPK Agios Pantaleon sitting miles out to sea, off the northern coast of Ceris, the pall of smoke could be seen clearly from the ship. Ceris itself was a low dark shape on the horizon and the fires of Liechnenfax could still be seen burning, as they had been for the day or so. The blazes couldn't really be made out individually but it looked as if they had merged into one. The fires had spread out after the initial explosions had rocked the city, igniting anything that could burn. A small firestorm had broken out and swept through the slums, burning anything that had survived the bombs set off by the Sentists. The columns of smoke combing and rising above the island, towering above it. Even out to sea, the smell of the inferno could be tasted at the back of the throat. It was a mix of burnt wood, plastic and meat. Detritus from the tankers the Sentists had turned into giant bombs and bits that had been thrown clear from the explosions in the city bumped against the hull of the aircraft carrier. Occasionally, a body was noticed amongst the shattered spars of wood, pieces of plastic and other rubbish. It was fished out and handled as respectfully as possible. Although their religion was unknown, they were given the rites of the Aroman Church before being buried at sea. Some of the bodies were virtually unrecognisable, burned and torn by the destruction of Liechnenfax. Others were all too clearly those of men, women and children. The mood amongst the Arhomaiki naval task force was sombre, rather than the almost clinical atmosphere that had been in place before. There was the sound of hawking and swallowing behind Navarkhos Ethelred and he turned around. He caught a sheepish look in the eyes of the officer who was approaching him as he stood at a rail on the outside of the island, overlooking the flight deck. The deck itself was surprisingly quiet – operations against the Sentist forces approaching Liechnenfax had ground to a halt as intelligence from the ground had ceased as soon as the bombs had gone off. Seylosian Royal Marines had been acting as observers in the city itself but they had withdrawn in a panic, although a totally understandable one. The Navarkhos didn't know whether they'd actually been able to escape before the explosions had gone off. There was a good chance that they had been blown up along with the city and likely thousands of Cerisers. So far, the captain of HMS Defiant had not been able to fill the Arhomaioi with in any details. “That was a hell of a thing,” said the officer. It was the Agios Pantaleon's captain, or droungarios. The man coughed again. Alexios Tagaris looked like he really wanted to spit out some phlegm but not onto the deck of his own ship. He patted down his pockets and fished out a tissue and spat into it. “It certainly bloody was,” replied the Navarkhos, turning back to look south towards Ceris. “I'd imagine that the rest of the wurld has woken up to the Sentists now.” Both men fell silent and just looked towards the island. “We'll need to start striking targets again, so that we can stop the bastards consolidating on whatever gains they've made in the wreckage and so that they lose any advantage from the shock.” Tagaris nodded towards the column of smoke. The half-barbarian admiral breathed in deeply, as a precursor for a big sigh but started to cough instead. Once he'd recovered, he nodded. “Yes, we do need to do that. We need to talk to the Ghallamvrioi and the Seilosioi first. I don't think that the Epistrategaion will be keen to move any ground forces away from Secryae any time soon.” “No,” said the Droungarios, agreeing. “That seems unlikely. I can imagine that the Sentists will be buoyed up by their success here. They'll probably start to push into places like Secryae.” Now that would be a pain in the arse but one that the forces in the barbarian country should be able to handle. Although the Secryaeans would likely be panicking once the news of the Sentist attack on Liechnenfax filtered through to them and it would be the job for that blond rat to sort out. Ethelred was more than happy the pompous little sneak was well off his ship. Having him sniffing about the place and getting under the feet of the crew of the ship had been thoroughly annoying. The sound of a door opening behind the naval commander broke through his thoughts and he turned around. A junior officer gave a half-bow towards the two senior officers. “Navarkhos, Droungarios, we've got images back from the Defensor,” she said, her voice edged with trepidation. The two senior officers exchanged a glance and followed her inside. The BPK Prognostikator, the lead vessel in the class of the same name, had dispatched several drones to fly over the ruins of the city earlier that day. The first one had not been able to see much with either its normal cameras or with its infra-red cameras. The former had been obscured by the smoke from the fires and the smouldering wreckage whilst the heat from the both of those had prevented the latter from seeing anything either. The second drone had been downed by what was interpreted as a piece of debris thrown by an explosion, possibly caused by a gas cylinder in a slum, being touched by off by heat or fire. Whether or not that was actually the case was still unknown but it was being treated as potentially hostile action and no more drones had been sent for the time being. The sensor arrays and cyber-warfare systems on the ship were somewhat wasted in the Ceris theatre and weren't providing much useful information. Instead, the Navarkhos had sent one of the Hippikos class destroyers accompanying the fleet in order to get eyes on what could be seen of the capital from the sea. Although it wouldn't be able to get anyway near as close as a drone – because it was a 160m long ship and not capable of flight – the defence systems and the 128mm gun would dissuade any further hostile action by surviving Sentists. The BPK Defensor had got closer to the shore, manoeuvring past and through the detritus that had been blown out to sea. Boats had come loose from their moorings or had been used by survivors to flee from the fires. Some of these had capsized, either through damage that hadn't been noticed by the crew or because those who were using them were too inexperienced to sail in them. Now footage was being sent to the Agios Pantaleon of what the Defensor could see. Ethelred looked over the shoulder of the crewman who was sat in front of the console but not before he caught the pale face of the operator. The man looked deeply shocked, as did the Hemikentarkhos who had directed Ethelred and Tagaris over to the screen. The scene that they saw was apocalyptic. There were few buildings that were still standing and those that still did were shattered and burned, if not still burning. Little moved on the dock front and it was difficult to work out what was going on. For a moment, the Navarkhos couldn't work out what it reminded him of. Then it dawned on him – he had seen pictures of Sunset City at the end of the Thalassan War, after a nuclear device had been dropped on it and then a firestorm had swept through it. That was what Liechnenfax looked like. “Kyrios, Trierarkhos Makroioannissa requests permission get closer to the port, in order to look for survivors.” There was a pleading look in the Hemikentarkhos' eyes and the Navarkhos thought that everyone else in the room was listening in, to hear his response. Part of him desperately wanted to land marines and sailors to help with any recovery or disaster response efforts. Even a functional nation would be overwhelmed after such a disaster and Hodrea had been far from a functional nation. Or they could pick up survivors from the sea, take them on board and give them treatment – fishing out bodies from the water was starting to grind down the morale of his people. But then they would also be aware of the problems – they would have no idea how to differentiate innocent survivors from any possible undercover fanatics, who could wreak havoc on his crews. The Trierarkhos was being a bit unfair for even asking the question, as she was an experienced enough officer to be able to deduce the problems of taking on civilians in a situation like this. The Navarkhos walked over to the communications station and took the headset from the sailor sat at the console. “Kyriossa,” he said with a stern tone in his voice. “I cannot allow any of my ships to take on survivors at this time. You know the reasons for this as well as I. The situation in Liechnenfax is unclear at this point – we do not have enough information to tell the difference between the terrorists and those who are truly in need of aid.” It would be easy for the crews to shift any guilt that they might feel onto him and turn it into blame for any quick response to the disaster. In a way, he was fine with that. It was, after all, one of the facts of being in command. Whilst he certainly sympathised, until things were a bit more clear, he could only assume that there was still the danger of more Sentist attacks in Liechnenfax. After all, the drone from the Prognostikator had been downed by something, although it was could well have been entirely due to the conditions within the city. “I need to speak to the Epistrategaion,” the Navarkhos muttered to himself after a long pause, staring at the footage from Liechnenfax again. “This shit needs to be stopped. Droungarios, get the aircraft flying again.” To: His Majesty, King Aidan I of the Kingdom of @Seylos, Eire, Pleinmont, and Sark From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your majesty, I do not doubt that you have seen the images of Liechnenfax. I do not doubt that you are also as shocked as I and the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator were. Although I do not feel that the Arhomaiki response to the crisis was less that what it should have been, the actions of the Sentists themselves were beyond what we considered that they might do. Bombarding a city with gas shells and then razing it once it surrendered was horrific, certainly, but nothing compared to what appears to have been a vast use of huge improvised devices to try to level an entire city with one fell swoop. And from the footage the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has seen, they appear to have virtually succeeded. Because of this, Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator, has determined that Arhomaneia needs to step up the time frame of its operations within Ceris. The plan that had been determined by my Logothesion and the Epistrategaion was that the forces in Secryae hold the borders against any Sentist attacks whilst slowly building up the resources and stockpiles in Secryae needed for a counter attack into the territories held by the fanatics, in coordination with your nation and the others in the coalition that you have gathered. However, it seems that the events on the island have moved a lot quicker than this. Therefore, I have been authorised by His Aroman Majesty to put several requests to you. In order to speed the build up of the stockpiles necessary for a sustained counter attack leading to the defeat of the Sentists, we would need to lease port and warehousing facilities in your nation. The reason for this is twofold – established port facilities would mean that we don't need to build our own and a location in Seylos would be a bit closer than those on the northern coast of Secryae. As well as that, it is significantly more secure from Sentist attack than our brave ally in the north of Ceris. The second request is that your nation makes available to ships from the Basilikoploimon refuelling and resupplying facilities in order to increase the turnaround speed for ships moving between the western Adlantic and Arhomaneia. I recognise that this might be quite expensive and in order to reimburse your nation, we can discuss reducing the amount of money that Seylos will be paying on the Despotes class aircraft carrier. Faith in Christ will see us to victory, Honorios Kontarian, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou of the Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  4. As an aside, and as it is most pertinent in this thread than others, I've renamed my carriers. It made very little sense to have them named after ports rather than something religious - it didn't fit the character of my nation. Because of this, the BPK Nystras is now the BPK Agios Pantaleon and the BPK Dyrrakion is the BPK Agios Ioulianos. They're named after military saints ICly, although OOCly they've pretty much been named at random from a list of Roman names.
  5. Worst case scenario, all the ships in the Dolche See start bumping into each other.
  6. You're moving into Ceris for the same reasons that I am - just being too far away from the rest of the wurld. The Scramble for Ceris is truly begun! Everyone else who hasn't got a slice of the strudel needs to get a move on
  7. If another island makes more sense, then please do add it. Great work, though!
  8. Third, since it kind of makes sense - and I don't honestly know how this may have been made redundant by the canal - but can I get a port added? Historically, I imagine that this would have been the main Tagmatine port onto the Raga Sea and there would be major rail connections to it, too. It may well have seen economic devastation when the canal was opened a few years ago, but there we go. Can it be called "Dymafos"?
  9. Ground Forces sent to Ceris The alliance between the Noble Republic of Secryae and the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion has been taken further than just an economic treaty in the last week. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has now sent ground forces to shore up the Ceris nation's defences in the face of continued aggression and expansion by the fanatical religious movement known as the “Sentists”. This group appears to be entirely driven by its heathen religion and seems to have the entirety of the island in its sights. It has made inroads into the nations of Hodrea and the Oclait, and has inflicted some appalling, criminal actions on the population of both of those nations. This has included gas attacks, the murder of civilians and even the destruction of whole towns. The Logothesion tou Stratiotikou has dispatched a Taxiarkhon (corps) under the Taxiarkhes Theodoula Parsakountena (Noumeroi), who distinguished herself as a commander under Strategos Antoninos Traianos (N) in Easteia as a kometon (regiment) commander. The campaign there was characterised as a low-intensity conflict against insurgent forces resisting the re-establishment of the central rule of Tagmatika. Whilst aspects of the conflict in Ceris could be akin to the asymmetrical warfare faced by Arhomaneia in its western territories, the strategies used against them seem unlikely to work. These included bribing local potentates with titles and salaried positions in the administration of the territories as they were brought back into the fold. Taxiarkhes Parsakountena was known for favouring a strong response against any ambushes of her forces, which may set them in good stead against the fanatical Sentists but less so for winning over the hearts and minds of the natives. Secryaean attitudes towards this large foreign force arriving in their country seems to be positive, which bodes well for the continued relationship of the Ceriser republic and Arhomaneia. Forces from the Palationoi have been training local forces up to Arhomaiki standards and the local government seems to be aware of the existential threat posed by the Sentists. Perhaps more so than any of the foreign nations that seem to be determined to carve up their island into spheres of interest. The fact that the Arhomaiki forces in their country means that they will not have to weather the storm alone will likely increase the morale of the Secryaean forces and the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion is unlikely to abandon its interests in the country itself without a fight. The international response to the crisis has been swift, if not entirely successful so far. Several countries have stepped up their involvement and the Basilikoploimon (BP), the Royal @Gallambrian Navy (RGN) and the @Seylosian Royal Navy (SRN) have been striking targets in Hodrea since the start of the month and there is a small task force from the United Kingdom of Seylos has been operating in the north of that country for some time. However, this seems to have done little to turn back the tide sweeping across the centre of Ceris and the capital of Hodrea, Liechenfax, is threatened by the advance of the cultists. It begins to look like that, even with the bombing campaign by the combined might of the BP, the RGN and the SRN and the ground forces of Seylos, the capital will fall within the next few days. The Gallambrian government has also sent ground elements as well, although the size and deployment area of this force is unknown. There is also less direct involvement. Several Ceriser nations, especially in the extreme west and east of the island, have come under the influence of other nations. Seylos has brought the those nations near to it under its wing and the International Communist Economic Bloc, a group mainly led by the Workers' Republic of @Fulgistan, has established something of a union of the countries of the west. These attempts might bring peace and stability to those parts of the island but as they have yet to be directly threatened by the Sentists washing over the rest of the island. It is unknown how the ICEB's fief will survive if pressure is put upon it, as Communist nations tend to crumble at the least amount of stress, especially invaded by a foreign power. In all, the international response to the Sentist crisis in Ceris has been chaotic and piecemeal. It has been primarily focussed on advancing the national interests of those meddling within the island rather than preventing the crisis itself from worsening. A key example of this is the annexation of the small northern country Zaspa into the United @Variotan States and then nothing beyond that. Variota has seemingly ignored the call for help by a TRIDENT aligned nation and is not even cooperating with Gallambria, the other TRIDENT member involved. Perhaps this shows that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion's aims of becoming closer with TRIDENT members is not as worthwhile as had been hoped by His Majesty Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God. Are Biofuels the Way Forward? As Arhomaneia struggles to break off the shackles of fossil fuels and lead the rest of the wurld forward towards a greener future, in keeping with its role as God's Chosen Nation on Eurth, attention has been turned towards biofuels and their increasing use. Alternative energy, especially in renewable forms, is much preferred by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion and wind, sun and even wave technologies have seen a vast boost in investment over the last decade and a half. There have been tentative steps in geothermal power but there are no truly viable sources of that within the Megas Agios Basileia. Oddly, hydroelectricity in its more stereotypical form has fallen behind somewhat – the creation of dams for this goes against the ethos of attempting to lessen the damage inflicted on God's creation. So far, the programme of investment, research and development seems to be successful. Arhomaneia has passed some significant milestones – going from a full week of all the power needs of the country being generated by renewable sources nearly two years ago to months at a time without resorting to fossil fuels. The Logothesion ton Ilektrikon has announced that it was looking to decommission all coal, gas and oil burning power stations by the end of next year and has been progressing well with this aim. This is, of course, a great step for the future of our planet and one that every other nation ought to be looking towards imitating. It will safeguard the Eurth for the generations to come. However, it is one thing for one of the most powerful governments in the wurld to announce that it is removing its reliance on fossil fuels and getting rid of power stations. It is another for the people who are reliant on vehicles that run on them to do the same. Most people cannot afford to replace their car at the drop of a hat and businesses won't be able to get rid of their fleets of vehicles for the same reason. Even the state-owned railway company, Sidirodromoi Arhomaiki Kratous (SAK) won't have the funds available to scrap its diesel locomotives and replace them with electric ones without having to severely curtail its services as the changeover takes place. Whilst there is an electrification programme underway, progress has been slow and has focussed on express routes. It goes without saying that other aspects of the Arhomaiki state would be affected, too. Most of the vehicles fielded by our armed forces utilise diesel engines, for example, and the use of electric or hydrogen fuel cell engines has not moved beyond a paper stage. So, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion is turning towards biofuels to act as a stopgap in the meantime. Biodiesel is envisioned as being perfect for this, whether as a stopgap or as a complete alternative. This is primarily because it is completely compatible with existing diesel engines and infrastructure and can also be made from recycled vegetable oil or even vegetable oil grown specifically for its production, such as rapeseed oil. In fact, both SAK and the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou have conducted experiments into running trains and armoured vehicles respectively with biodiesel and these have reportedly been very successful, although in the latter case the Logothesion has remained tight-lipped. SAK has been operating a significant number of its freight services on biodiesel already. One of the questions remains the production of the fuel itself, especially the growing of crops. There is the worry amongst the more environmentally minded that this is merely changing the source of greenhouse emissions, not eliminating them entirely. Studies have been somewhat varied on whether the emissions produced are offset by the growth of the crops used, with the numbers suggesting anywhere from a reduction of 18% when compared to fossil fuel based diesel carbon emissions to a reduction of 100%. This latter figure seems somewhat fanciful and will obviously be affected other factors, such as the transportation of the fuel and the methods with which it is produced. Another question will be the crops themselves and where they are sourced from. If from within Arhomaneia, then it may mean that areas of food production are turned over to other crops for the growth of oilseed rape or even areas of woodland or meadow are made into agricultural lands – something that is surely against the green ethos of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. If it bought from other nations, then there is the consistent worry that it will be unethically sourced, from areas of rainforest logged for soya or palm oil production. That is certainly not something that our government should be considering. Similarly, there will be the worry of strategic control of the sources of fuel, as the crops or oil being sourced from other nations would mean that ultimate control is placed beyond the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. In the end, biofuel use is most certainly a step in the right direction. Until electric vehicles are more affordable and the infrastructure to support them much more widespread, human civilisation will have to find an alternative to fossil fuels and it is likely that biofuels are that alternative, at least in the short-term. It will certainly please God that His nation on Eurth is leading the way.
  10. To: Yumi, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Esonice of the Serene Kingdom of @Esonice From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Excellency, My monarch and I are pleased that your country has chosen to accept the offer of the Megas Agios Basileia of an exchange of embassies. We, and the people of Arhomaneia, are as hopeful you and your people for the future of our nations' relations. I appreciate that there has been past conflict between Christian denominations and the religion of your people in the past and I am sorry that this was the case. However, I feel that this is something that we can both move beyond but recognise that it was a burden upon your nation at the time. The people of Arhomaneia are certainly fascinated by foreign cultures and your kingdom appears to be one very much worthy of study and visit. In time, I hope that this exchange of embassies will mean that Esonians will visit my ancient nation and Arhomaioi will your ancient nation, so that they can learn much and come to few each other as friends. The Arhomaioi are certainly honoured that you have allowed Arhomaneia an embassy in close proximity to such a site of national importance. I am sure that Lake Gamari will be a source of inspiration and wonderment to as my people as much as it is to the Esonian people. I have discussed a suitable candidate for ambassador to your nation with my country's diplomatic service, and we have come up with Eirene Pterora, a career member of the Skrinion ton Barbaron, the Arhomaiki diplomatic service. I am hopeful that she will be a suitable candidate but if not, I can forward the names and credentials of others so that we can both agree on someone who is suitable. Similarly, I have started preparations for finding a location for your nation's embassy within Tagmatika. These will be similarly forwarded to your government and I have begun to discuss the placement of your embassy with the Eparkheia tes Poleos, the administration of Tagmatika. May this please God and be the start of a long friendship, Eugenios Goulielmos Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  11. The arrival of the Arhomaiki soldiers in Secryae was one that none of the locals would ever forget. The sheer size of the force sent to support Arhomaneia's ally meant that several of the ports of the Noble Republic became virtually closed as three divisions and their supporting elements were disembarked from their transports in the north of the Ceriser country. The units were being disembarked with urgent speed – it was unknown precisely when the Sentists might start pressing into the western borders of Secryae and the Tagmatine corps needed to be in place before they did. It was thought that the militia that had been semi-trained by the Palationoi Doryliarioi wouldn't be able to hold out for all that long against the numbers that might be thrown at them by the Sentists. That might have been doing them a disservice but they did not have the chemical weapons training and equipment that the Arhomaiki forces had. There was a fear that the Sentists would use these weapons again to break the resolve of the defenders of Secryae and press into the Noble Republic. More equipment and training was being given to the local forces to help combat this but it was coming at the sacrifice of other aspects of the sped up training programme. Each unit of Arhomaiki soldiers drew up on the docks after they had disembarked and then marched off towards their allotted quarters. That in itself was not entirely remarkable. However, each regiment was proceeded by a gaggle of priests, some carrying reliquaries holding items of saints held to be protectors of those units and others thiamiata, so that the head of each column was surrounded by clouds of sweet-smelling smoke and chanted prayer. The soldiers sang hymns as they marched towards their temporary billets. One of the combat divisions that had been sent to Ceris, the 215th Skoutatoi Tourmarkhon, drew lineage from one of the last units defending Agios Basileos Heraklios IV when he fell in battle in EK6813 (AD1304) – and they marched with a reliquary holding vials of the martyr's blood and the helm that he had been wearing when he fell at their head. The soldiers themselves were in full kit, although wearing turbans rather than helmets, to present a less threatening image to Secryaeans that watched them curiously from the sides of the streets and from behind windows. The three combat divisions that were being deployed also had banners displaying battle honours, some dating back over one thousand years. Despite the lack of helmets, they still carried their small arms as they marched towards their temporary barracks. There were fears amongst the locals that this was the start of an invasion or a military occupation and the Erzkanzler had made it known to Protologothetes Makarios that those fears needed to be allayed. It turned out that soothing those worries meant a substantial bribe was to be handed over to the government. In order to make this bribe significantly more palatable to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, it was to only be spent on military equipment bought from Arhomaneia, with “administrative fees” disappearing into the bank accounts of the nobles of Secryae. This way, the Arhomaiki government didn't feel like it was squandering money on the bribing Secryaean government to be allowed to defend them from a threat and the barbaroi got an opportunity to line their own pockets. They also got access to an advanced missile defence system, a derivative of the one that defended the Megas Agios Basileia from the threat of the northern savages on the Occident. This would hopefully reduce the threat of gas attacks from the Sentists on the Noble Republic and incidentally protect Arhomaioi as well. The intertwined corruption and opposing interests was beginning to make the Protologothetes' head spin. He knew he was viewed by many of his peers, inferiors and superiors as a bit of a weasel but it seemed like the Secryaean nobles could teach the Arhomaioi a few lessons about that. A gaggle of Secryaean government officials had been gathered to watch the foreign soldiers as they marched past and the Protologothetes found himself standing next to the Erzkanzler von Nusshorst on a podium that he suspected had been made out of several trestle tables covered in bolts of black and red cloth, the colours of the Secryaean flag. It was a warm day in late spring and beads of perspiration stood out on the walrus' brow. To the right of the Erzkanzler was an ancient, wizened creature who had been introduced to Makarios as the head of the Noble Republic's military. The Republiksoberstmarschall looked as if he was sagging under the weight of the medals and gold braid festooning his bright red cuirass and the giant black bearskin on his head. The ceremonial spear he was leaning on seemed to be the only thing holding him up and his uniform looked as if it was hanging off of his skeletal frame. As frail as he looked, the Secryaean commander seemed to be enthralled by the sight of the infantry marching past and the when a regiment of tanks rumbled across the square, shattering the cobbles under their tracks, his eyes positively lit up with glee. Slightly behind the aged officer were a handfuk of similarly dressed soldiers. Makarios wondered if they were there to rush off the elderly old man if he stroked out or had some other sort of age-related crisis. “The Oberstmarschall seems to approve.” The squeaky voice of Karsten von Nusshorst could barely be heard over the squeaks and groans of the metal tracks. An edge of a smile could be heard in his voice, if not visible under his bushy moustache. “I imagine that he wishes he had some of those twenty years ago, and then the whole island would be under the red dragon.” Makarios shifted his feet slightly. Dragons, especially red dragons, were considered to be symbols of evil or, at the very least, greed. The Noble Republic seemed to certainly embody the latter and the Protologothetes wasn't superstitious enough to think that Secryae was a hidden nest of devil worshippers. Nonetheless, it was something of an uncomfortable image for a God-fearing Arhomaios. It'd not be ideal with they turned back the tide of heathens about to wash over Ceris in order to replace them with something worse. “I'm sure that Ceris would be better for it, Endoxos,” replied Makarios. He used his own senatorial title to refer to the Erzkanzler, a compromise that Arhomaneia and Secryae had come to after the bickering over dignities earlier in the month. The barbaroi were proud and took any slights, even suspected ones, seriously. “Then the bloody Sentists wouldn't be a problem.” “Good Arhomaiki steel will throw these heathens back to their mud brick hovels,” stated another voice with less irony than Makarios would have liked. He looked out of the corner of his eye at the athletic, middle-aged woman in an olive drab dress uniform, with white collar tabs marking her out as a Noumeros Skoutatos, the very branch that Neokottaeitissa had been demeaning about to Makarios in the meeting late last month. The infantry officer was watching the armour go past with look in her eye as keen as that of the Oberstmarschall. Taxiarkhes Theodoula Parsakountena was full of the brand of keen patriotism that the Protologothetes seldom trusted as it seemed leave little room for the subtly and duplicity that he was more comfortable operating in. An infantrywoman, she had been chosen by the Epistrategaion as a strong defensive officer who would ensure that the borders of Secryae were not breached. “Or, at least, high explosive and copper-jacketed lead will do the trick.” Parsakountena chuckled to herself at her poor joke as a battery of rocket launchers trundled through the square. Makarios rolled his eyes and turned to watch the artillery rumble past. The parade was as much for the benefit of their local allies as it was for the ease of assembling the forces before they moved out to their positions. The rapid spread of the Sentists across the island and their destruction of Kassel had shocked everyone. The Basilikoploimon had swapped over to pounding Sentists in Hodrea and a second carrier battle group was assembling in the Krankes Thalassa to sail to the south of Ceris. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion would likely have to negotiate with the government of @Seylos in order for that force to operate from a port nearer to its targets than to have a supply line extending around the east of the island. “I am sure that the Megas Agios Basileia's strength of arms will save us all,” said the Erzkanzler with the confidence of a man who knew he was guaranteed a seat on a ship off the island if things went to hell on Ceris and with foreign bank accounts full enough that he would never be without the luxuries of life afterwards. He stroked his moustache and turned a sly look towards the Protologothetes. “And I see that the rest of the wurld has woken up to the threat of the Sentists. Even the... what do you call them? The head-standers? The head-standers, the @Gallambrians and the @Salvians, have woken up to the threat that Sentists pose to the countries of Ceris.” Makarios grunted in reply. The other nations of TRIDENT were gearing up to start trying to defeat the threat. He knew his government welcomed the shouldering of the effort that was starting to happen from across the wurld, although rumour in diplomatic circles was that the other member of TRIDENT involved in Ceris had snubbed King Aidan with an offer he couldn't help but refuse. How true that, he wasn't sure. Certainly, the @Variotans seemed to be focused on their little slice of the island, and had even made it part of their own country, which was staggering. “The Communists are helping, too.” He couldn't help himself. The Protologothetes wanted to take the self-satisfied look off of the face of von Nusshorst. It wasn't as if the damned atheists viewed God's Chosen Nation on Eurth any better than they would a corrupt oligarchy. “I hear that they've united much of the west against the heathens. Like the Seylosians have united the east.” The sly look on the face of the Erzkanzler disappeared and was replaced with one of unease and understandably so. If the Communists were successful then they would probably destabilise Ceris as much as the Sentists – countries like Secryae would be hotbeds for their rabble rousing as they all seemed to be under the thumb of strongmen, groaning under collapsing economies and had crippling unemployment. Ceris unified under either would be a threat to the rest of the countries around the Makhaira Thalassa. The likes of the Furst would be one of the first against the wall. The Protologothetes suppressed a smile at that inadvertent pun. The column of artillery was replaced by a line of armoured lorries, each of which had a soldier sat in the open turret hatch. The ancient Secryaean officer drew up his spear in salute of them and nearly tottered over. One of the honour guard stepped slightly forward and placed a hand under his elbow to balance the Oberstmarschall and Makarios imagined that if the old man fell over he might shatter. “God will defeat the atheists, Endoxoi. He always has. The Light of Christ will shine through again,” said the Taxiarkhes to the two politicians, a superior smile on her features. “Those who follow such errant doctrines never last long – the people cry out for spiritual guidance and faith always wins through in the end. Every such regime has always fallen.” Makarios grunted again and von Nusshorst looked equally unsatisfied. But with an entire infantry division and its supporting units rolling through the square in front of them, it was hard to see how Arhomaiki force of arms couldn't defeat the Sentists. It was a shame that it had taken for them to be overrunning entire countries and gassing cities for the rest of Eurth to finally take notice. Hopefully, the intervention wouldn't be too late to save Ceris.
  12. It was pretty bonkers. I don't know after what point you dig your heels in and demand an entire community you've just joined change and cater to you rather than find a fantasy world instead. Most people would have ducked out quite quickly after realising the incompatibility of the situation. But her brain bug compelled her to carry on. Even if it wasn't elves and therefore something fundamentally incompatible with Eurth, the sheer rudeness and arrogance that this person showed at the start would have meant that their time here was always going to be short.
  13. We've been talking in the Christian lore chat about closing the gap between Europa and Argis to make it easier (or, rather, not impossible) for groups to come across to Argis a bit earlier. If either Adaptus' northern island is edged west a bit or another island or group of islands is added between, it would allow people to have headed across a bit earlier, therefore making the early dates for Christianity in, for example, @Greater Serbia and @Grenesia more viable. It would still likely make it a bloody hard trip but something like the Norse going to Iceland and Greenland, rather than Columbus reaching America centuries ahead of time. This way, monks and hermits could then spread Christianity down the coast to reach central Argis at the point necessary for those countries' histories to make sense. I think the gap needs to be about one thousand(ish) miles per "hop", as that's roughly the distance from Scandinavia to Iceland and then to Greenland. I hope that makes sense.
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