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Tagmatium Rules

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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.
  14. * Most Secret, for the eyes of King Aidan I only* To: His Majesty, King Aidan I of @Seylos, Eire, Pleinmont, and Sark From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Royal Highness, The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion is glad that you are satisfied with the aircraft carrier. Obviously, much work will have to go into it in order for it to be operational but I do not doubt that your staff are aware of it. If need be, in order to facilitate the vessel being brought into an active state more rapidly, I can get crews from the Basilikoploimon to carry out the preliminary overhauling whilst the ship is in transit to your nation. Whilst this would be an expensive and potentially difficult activity to carry out whilst at sea, it would mean that the Despotes class ship will be able to join the Royal Navy all the quicker. I cannot guess as to what task you might put the vessel to, however I can surmise that it is in both of our nations' interests to see it active in the Makhaira Thalassa (the Dolch See) as soon as possible. If need be, I can offer aircraft to outfit the vessel, too. The Basilikoploimon has been undergoing a modernisation programme for its carrier-borne aircraft over the last few years. I could suggest that your navy purchases some of the older aircraft in order to expand your carrier air wing quickly, although I do realise that these aircraft will be not the same as the ones that you current operate. Equally, there are the newer aircraft that Arhomaneia is introducing to its own carrier air wing but, again, these would be non-standard to the rest of your nation's aircraft. It is hoped by His Aroman Majesty, Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, and the Arhomaiki people that this will help cement the alliance between our nations. It has been a force for good in the wurld so far and it would please God for that to continue. May God guide us and keep our peoples safe, Honorios Kontarian, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  15. To: The Offices of The Third Circle (Foreign Affairs Ministry) of the Exkousiokrateia ton Gharon (@Haruspex) From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your grace, The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion thanks her majesty, the Exkousiokratorissa Kira'Karn for instructing her government to give my government forewarning of your naval movements out of your ports and towards the northern tip of the areas under your control. This has done much to address the recent complaints my government had about the actions of the Gharoiki government under your previous monarch. His perfidious actions drove a significant wedge between our two ancient and honoured countries and I hope and pray that the coming months and years will see a normalisation of our relations which have seen a sad deterioration in recent months. It is dearly hoped by the Arhomaioi and, I imagine, the Gharoi that our nations once again become as firm allies as they were in the very recent past. Then, the wurld could not ignore the partnership between the Megas Agios Basileia and the Exkousiokrateia and that, God willing, shall be the case again. May Christ keep the spirit of peace alive between our nations, Eugenios Goulielmos, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion To: the Foreign Minister of the Holy State of @Heiheguo From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Excellency, There has been little in the way of official contact between our two ancient nations and it is felt by the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion, my monarch, that this situation should be remedied. It is hoped that your great leader feels equally disposed towards starting relations between the Holy State and the Greater Holy Empire. Despite the obvious differences between our nations in terms of religion and the fact that they are on different sides of the wurld, we are much alike. Both of our nations value law and order and are willing to take the actions necessary to keep our people and our states safe from outside interference by foreign powers. We both have a religion that is held as very dear to our people, one that guides our morals and our interactions with the rest of Eurth. Because of this, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion feels that it would be a foolish move on our part to keep ignoring your nation, especially as it is one of the strongest powers in the south west of Alharu. It is a continent that needs strong powers to hold it down and help spread the light of civilisation through its benighted lands. In order to foster a relationship between our nations, I have been requested by His Aroman Majesty Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, to suggest that we undertake an exchange of embassies between our nations. God willing, this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship between our two nations, one of equal benefit to both countries and to both of our peoples. My government does not doubt that the Holy State will, with time, become a force for good on the wurld stage and be a great addition to the community of nations that makes up Eurth. If your government accepts this, I can make select a suitable candidate as ambassador and find a property for your diplomatic service to take on as your nation's chancery in Tagmatika. May God bless our peoples and our nations, Eugenios Goulielmos Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion To: the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of @Acadia From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Excellency, Our nations have had little formal contact with each other and it is time that this is addressed. Both of our nations have their hearts in Europa, although your great nation shines the beacon of civilisation in the far off land of Aurelia. This is not a part of the wurld that Arhomaioi have often had contact with and it is often viewed as something of an exotic land, a mysterious continent at the edge of the wurld. Despite this distance, Acadia and Arhomaion have much in common. Our nations both have a shared faith, even if it differs in the details, one that guides our actions and our thoughts. This faith means that we have an understanding between each other, one that is not shared by the heathen nations that surround both of our countries. We both act as shining examples of culture and values in a morass of uncultured tribes and we are both willing to help our neighbours to bring themselves above their lowly origins. Your people also show a depth of spirit that view others have – through adversity and even conquest by foreign powers, the Acadians always survive and come out all the stronger. This is also true of the Arhomaioi and this shared aspect, and much more besides, will mean that our peoples have much in the way of common ground between them. Because of this, and the fact that it will can only make both of our nations all the stronger, the Agios Basilikon Kounistorion has instructed me to suggest that our nations undertake an exchange of embassies. This will undoubtedly be the start of a strong and lasting relationship between the Federal Republic of Acadia and the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion. If your government agrees to this, I can provide a ambassadorial candidate and a suitable building for your nation's embassy. May Christ and the Saints see an everlasting peace between our peoples, Eugenios Goulielmos Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion To: the Foreign Minister of the Serene Kingdom of @Esonice From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Excellency, Our nations are not a wurld away in distance – it is not a long flight to Esonice from Arhomaneia, nor is it a long sea voyage – but perhaps in culture and outlook they are very different. Your great nation is located on an island, surrounded by sea, whilst mine is a large contiguous nation at the centre of a continent. However, these differences should not mean that common ground between us could not be found. Indeed, I do not doubt that our nations can find commonalities and a strong relationship will flourish between the Serene Kingdom and the Greater Holy Empire. The Arhomaioi are an ancient people and something of cultural melting pot and an influence on others – many others have been drawn to Arome, to see the richness of our lands and our heritage and they often stay, or take inspiration from it when they return to their own lands. I can hope that the same is true of Esonice, as your lands and your culture are as old and as rich and I do not doubt that visitors are as equally inspired when they visit the Serene Kingdom. From what I have seen of your culture through the dossiers that have been put before the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, it is certainly a beautiful land with much to recommend it. One of the shared aspects that exists between our lands is our love of tea. Although I acknowledge that how our nations consume that beverage is markedly different, it does illustrate that even the most foreign of nations have shared interests that can act as the start of a long and valued friendship. Because of this, I have been requested by my monarch, His Aroman Majesty Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, to ask that our governments carry out an exchange of embassies. I pray that this heralds of a great future between our countries and our peoples, Eugenios Goulielmos Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  16. I've got a couple of minor tweaks, if possible. First, would it be possible to change the canal and the border to something more like the image attached? A straighter canal going through the shortest route from sea to sea makes more sense. The border can then reflect that and take less of a bite of the neighbouring country. Secondly, could "Isthmeia" have its name changed to "Sporsia"? That's going to be the name of the country in Phase II of my expansion. I'm currently writing more of an in-depth piece for it which will be posted for critique and comments in the next week or so.
  17. It's been an hell of a long time since I RPed an expansion of Tagmatium's borders. Over a decade, in fact. I am going to claim two areas, although I cannot promise that these will be completed any time soon. The first part, the six islands between my nation and Deltannia, will run roughly concurrently with my Spots thread, and will be directly affected by the developments within it. Some of it was initially planned over a year ago, but I never got around to actually doing it. It will also help me sketch out my personal retcon of the old Long War. As it was, it was became unworkable for me. That conflict defined the middle of the 1900s for Tagmatium and made the country what it is today. As it stood, it was a war against Communism in Ide Jima and involved a half dozen other nations, including Adaptus. But over the years, every other participant has become inactive besides me and it's left me in a bit of a spot – I cannot really flesh out things that involve other nations, due to our recent... unpleasantness with people taking issue with intellectual property. It's much more convenient for me to re-work it as a conflict between Tagmatium and Volsci (and a delightful irony that I'm using that nation as a work around for IP issues). Plus it helps ground the idea that the nations have been rivals for over two thousand years. The Hexanesa – The Six Islands These six islands mark the separation of the Ranke and Kosscow Seas from the Sea of Storms, the Occident and Burania, the glorious Aroman Empire and the benighted, uncivilised wastes to the east. Although they were not part of the Aroman Empire in its heyday, the loss of the southern lands of the Occident to the Aroman Empire in the 4th and 5th Centuries, and the fact that it was often a route taken by Buranian raiders and invasions from the Volsci, meant that the Eastern Aroman Empire (the nascent Tagmatium) ended up turning its attention to the islands. They are: 1. Skhronos 2. Efmoseia 3. Kouttasios 4. Polyagios 5. Agios Methodianos 6. Arhos The black dots with yellow centres are the administrative capitals and the black dots are major towns. The largest, the capital of the Hexanesa itself, is Gournaion and it is also the capital of Efmoseia. The islands have a sub-artic climate, although the southern-most island of Skhronos is the warmest. Life on them is marginal at best, as the harsh climate and short growing season means that only the hardiest of crops tend to flourish. They are low and swept by winds blowing from the Argic Circle. The main resources are the pine forests and the herds of caribou that live in them, as well as fish and animals hunted for their fur. There is very little agriculture in this part of the wurld. Hunter-gatherer groups flourished on the islands, before they were caught up in the internecine Aroman-Volsci wars of the last two thousand years. They still do cling on, but their plight has only really been recognised in the latter half of the 20th Century. The settlements that do exist are on the coasts, around natural harbours or clustered around the walls of the numerous fortifications that have sprung up over the years. The islands are quite geologically active, which does mean that geothermal heating has begun to be exploited, but the fact that they are poor and relatively marginal means that they have not had the level of investment needed to truly profit from it. History Until the 4th Century, the Hexanesa were very rarely touched upon by either of the two largest civilisations that dominate northern Europa – that is Arome and the Volsci. They were at periphery of the conflict and, at best, were merely way stations for raiders going one way or the other. The Buranic Invasions of the 4th Century came that way, and the Volsci encouraged it. At some point, prior to the 5th Century, the people who would become the Akwisians would detach from Deltannia and leap frog down the islands, conquering as they went, until they settled in what is now Akwisia. There, they raided Aroman lands and occasionally meddled in the politics of the Empire. In order to finally remove the threat of continued invasions from the Six Islands, Aroman forces during the reigns of Demetrios III and Arkadios I (between 630 and 669) conquered the islands, bringing with them the light of Christ and civilisation. They put down the patchwork of chiefdoms and kinglets who ruled the islands and crushed the local polytheistic religions, deriding them as animal-worshippers. The local Christian enclaves were regarded with suspicion, as they had lived in harmony with the pagans. These were uprooted and sent south, to live on the borders at the other end of the empire. The success of the conquest led to the general Konstantinos Bonakis toppled Arkadios and set himself upon the Leopard Throne in 669. There the six islands remained as Aroman garrisons on the edge of the empire, holding the barbarians at bay. At times, the Volsci were able to wrest the islands from the control of Arome and at others, they were taken back. Sometimes, they were even ruled as a condominium – the islands were jointly administered with what little tax income from them being split evenly between the otherwise opposed empires. It wasn't until the dynasty of the Kekaoumenoi (1793-1956) that the islands were finally, permanently in Aroman hands. In the reign of Khristoforos X (1924-1939) things started to unravel. The Six Islands had been something of a cultural melting pot, despite their marginal nature. They were at the edge of two great nations and the rules of the centre did not hold as much sway. At times, one nation did provoke the other, but usually it was ignored. But in 1931, Khristoforos allowed himself to be caught out. He was not only provoked by the usual Volsci actions, but escalated and drove the Volsci locals out. This wasn't using the garrison but by whipping up nationalistic and religious hatred of the local population and it ended in a bloody pogrom. This was met by outrage from the Volsci and the situation deteriorated further, until the summer of 1932 when an Aroman minesweeper was sunk by a Volsci destroyer. The Long War started and did not finish for a generation. A long story short, the general Leon Theonikos overthrew Konstantinos VIII, Khristoforos' brother and murderer, during a military parade. Tanks opened up with their coaxial and hull machine guns on the imperial grandstand. Although on paper Tagmatium had won, the garrison was withdrawn from the Six Islands. Elements who had made their home there and shed their blood there during the Long War revolted and the withdrawal became a rout. Since then, they had remained a sore point between the Tagmatines and the Volsci, as an independent realm between them but not under the control of either. The Navarkhokrateia was much more friendly to them than the regimes before and after, and they even cooperated to crush a Communist uprising in Akwisia. The main sticking point, however, was the fate of the garrison who had remained. Even Theodosios VI refused any talks of reunification unless the erstwhile garrison was tried for desertion and murder. Now, between the Great Europan Collapse, a resurgent Tagmatium, a predatory Machina @Haruspex and a brooding Volsci, the Six Islands are unsure where their future lies. Government and Politics The islands are one nation and as a republic, governed by a Great Judge (Megas Krites) elected every six years to act as the head of state for the islands, and as chairperson for the council that rules them. Each of the island forms a Judgedom (Kritakrateia) headed by a Judge (Krites), who sit on the council headed by the Megas Krites. These combine both the executive and judiciary for each island, and are a form of emergency rule that has solidified into the permanent government. These are the remains of island's civil government before the Aroman armed forces pulled out in the aftermath of the the Long War against the Volsci Republic. They were ruled as military governorships with a civilian administration, and it is the latter that survived the pull out and brief conflict in 1956. They are still organised along the old Aroman lines, although they have seen some localised changes since then. Most of these changes came from the islanders having to pick up the pieces of a broken government with little support from a parent nation that was indifferent or even hostile to them. The judiciary was forced to take up the role of both the executive and legislative to enable the islands to function as an independent nation when that status was forced on them. The main sticking point in relations between Tagmatium and the Hexanesa the past has been the fate of the soldiers who stayed behind after the Long War. Due to the chaotic manner in which the Aroman forces pulled out and the fact that roughly a quarter of them wanted to remain, they have often been charged as deserters and even murderers, as there were some brief gun battles as the Vigla, the military police, as they attempted to arrest those who stayed. These charges remain on the books of Tagmatium and are against people considered by the Hexanesanoi as heroes and founders of their nation. Religion They are majority Aroman Christian, and some holding polytheistic beliefs from before the southerners started to meddle. Due to the pogroms under Khristoforos mean that there are very few adherents to the Volsci ways left in the Hexanesa left and they are mainly recent immigrants or foreigners resident in the islands. To further muddy the waters, the hierarchy of the church should be appointed by Aroman emperor but due to the rift, this has not happened. They have been making their own appointments, and the Aroman Church has been making parallel appointments to those positions. They are grouped as a diocese of the Patriarchate of Trapizon and, oddly, still consider themselves as such. There have been moves to break away but this is currently considered a step too far. These will be major issues that need to be resolved, both for Tagmatium and the Hexanesa before relations are healed. Population At the last census taken by the government of the Hexanesa in 2018, there were 216,510 people living on this islands. They are mainly on the islands of Efmoseia and Polyagios, the two largest. These have 80,000 and 65,000 respectively. Skhronos has a population of 30,000 and Kouttasios 22,000. The islands of Arhos has about 13,000 and the smallest island, Agios Methodianos, has just 5000 on it. Military The military of the Hexanesa is small and rather underfunded. It consists of two parts, a combined green-water navy and coast guard called the Stolos (literally "Fleet") and a small ground defence force that runs a treble duty of a gendarmerie and civil police, the Taxiotai. Much of their equipment is locally-produced copies of what their grandparents used during the Long War. The air force is non-existent as a separate arm but both branches maintain aircraft as support elements - mainly in recce and observation roles. This represents an almost complete pull out of the Aroman military and the police merging with the deserters and being forced to fulfil the roles of a border guard, defence force and civil police. However, it's unlikely there will be any conflict. If nothing else, the islanders understand that there would be little to stop the Tagmatine armed forces rolling over them, as modern equipment and huge numbers would brush any resistance aside. But, on the other hand, Tagmatium doesn't want to have a military conflict, as that would look bad internationally and ruin any chances for a peaceful re-integration of the Hexanesa into the Greater Holy Empire. Economy The islands are not rich. In the past, they had been used as whaling stations, although that was destroyed by over-exploitation long before the industry itself was made redundant by technological developments. Now, they mainly rely on a combination of fishing, logging and sheep rearing, with some exploitation of the mineral wealth of the island but this is purely for local needs. There is a tourism industry, with visitors coming to see the scenic landscape of the islands but it is hampered by the generally poor state of northern Europa. The reason Tagmatium wants these islands is twofold. The first is simple revanchism - the islands are a breakaway province and the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion wants to return them to the fold. They still regard the inhabitants as Arhomaiki citizens and it it is felt that the Hexanesa would do better under Tagmatine rule. The second is their strategic location. The islands command the entrance into the Ranke and Kosscow Seas. With them once again part of Arome, Tagmatika would virtually control all the sea access into central Europa. There are other schemes, too. Setting up geothermal and wave power stations to take advantage of the conditions of the islands would also help to continue to wean Tagmatium off of fossil fuels. These would also help investment into the islands and hopefully increase the standard of living, showing the benefits of staying as part of the Aroman Empire. Comments and queries welcome! Obviously, this will be RPed.
  18. Or the coronation party. God, they'd be extremely socially awkward IRL...
  19. Basilikoploimon Bombs Targets on Ceris Fanatics Threaten to Overrun Troubled Island The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has ordered the Basilikoploimon to scale back its anti-piracy operations and to strike against targets on Ceris itself. These targets are bases and troop concentrations identified as belonging to the Sentists, a group of dangerous religious fanatics that are taking over the beleaguered island. Their beliefs are esoteric and certainly blasphemous, and they are committing all manner of war crimes and outrages against the ordinary population of the island, off of the southern coast of mainland Argis. Aircraft from the BPK Agios Pantaleon, as well as cruise missiles from the BPK Heraklios, have been striking targets since last week. At the start of the year, Arhomaneia struck a deal with a nation on the island, the Noble Republic of Secryae. The deal was wide-ranging, and involved improving and strengthening the infrastructure and economy of the country, as well as training the armed forces of the nation. The suggested aim of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion was to improve the lot of the ordinary person in Secryae, as well as trying to reduce the threat of piracy that has been plaguing the Makhaira Thalassa, the Dolch See, at its source. A carrier battle group was also dispatched to the region, which certainly helped in reducing the numbers of pirates. However, more trouble had been brewing on the island for some time. The Sentists had come from seemingly nowhere and begun to overrun Hodrea, one of the warlord states that dominate the island. They are also spreading across the rest of the island, pillaging, burning and murdering as they go. Although at first the rest of the wurld turned a blind eye to what was going on, it has slowly become clear that it was a threat that could not be ignored for much longer. The United Kingdom of @Seylos issued a call for aid from amongst its allies, and the Megas Agios Basileia has responded, quickly having the BPK Agios Pantaleon attack the fanatics, in order to prevent them from carrying out any more atrocities. It is as yet unknown whether other nations have responded to Seylos' call. It is known that it is not just Arhomaneia or Seylos that have interests in Ceris. The western third of the island has fallen under the influence of the International Communist Economic Bloc, a group of nations who hold foolish Communist beliefs. Time will tell whether or not they cause as much damage as the warlords and failed regimes that they replaced, or the Sentists that they will fight. However, the past has shown that it doesn't take too long for the ordinary people to come to their senses and throw off the shackles of Communism and allow God back into their hearts again. In the north of the country, the degenerate Unified @Variotan States have directly annexed one of the smaller countries, acting as they do as vultures and picking off the weak to addle with their narcotics, profligacy and prostitution. There are also signs that the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou and the Epistrategaion are preparing to dispatch ground forces to the island. Troop trains have been spotted moving towards ports and ships have been sighted in several ports. There are suggestions that these will be deployment to shore up the Noble Republic, as there are reports that the training programme of their armed forces isn't as far along as could be hoped, considering the threat looming on the horizon. It has also been suggest that a second carrier group is being dispatched, as the BPK Agios Ioulianos has moved from the Ragas Thalassa and back to the Kentriki Thalassa, the Central Sea. This will represent one of the biggest deployments of the Arhomaiki armed forces since the AdSoc War. However, it may not be enough to save Ceris from the threat of the Sentists. There numbers are rumoured to be in the hundreds of thousands and there is every chance that they will wash over the defences of the countries on island as they are. Almost certainly, the Communists will not be able to put up much of a fight, as their Godless beliefs mean that they have little in the way of conviction or morale. Similarly, the drug-addled Variotan puppets will likely collapse in the face of adversity. It will be only the God-fearing soldiers of Arhomaneia and Seylos that will be able to stave off disaster. Omorfoautokrateia increases Fuel Capacity Is the Entente of Oriental States preparing to Wage War? In recent months, the Omorfoautokrateia ton Orhionion (@Orioni) has reported massively increased its strategic fuel reserves. Whilst this could well be good planning on the part of the Orhioniki government, it perhaps reflects a more sinister scheme on their behalf. The Orhionioi have been waging a long running anti-piracy campaign in the south of Europa, and have seemingly been using it to strengthen the Entente of Oriental States (EOS) at the expense of the autonomy of the other nations that are a part of it. It seems to be less and less a multinational alliance and more a union of states, over which the Omorfoautokrateia holds sway. Not content with just south-eastern Europa, mainly the Orient and Amutia, under their control, they recently added Ide Jima to their organisation. The last few years has seen the New Wurld become the focus of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion's attention. This is not without justification – the barbaroi, heretics and heathens that populate those lands have undoubtedly caused no end of trouble. Their constant warring, whether on their neighbours or on themselves in civil strife, has regularly needed the Leader of the Free Wurld to step in and bring peace to the troubled countries. Even now, the island of Ceris needs Arhomaiki troops to turn back a wave of heathen fanatics that are on the verge of expunging what the locals think of civilisation from their lands. As well as that, the Megas Logothetes ton Barbaron, Eugenios Goulielmos, is taking part in a summit to see an end to the sanctions on the nation of @Greater Serbia, which, despite being a Christian nation, has fallen far from the Light of Christ. However, the massive expansion in the fuel reserves of Orhioneia hints at something more. This, coupled with the spread of Mercy International, which can only be a front organisation for spreading the ungodly beliefs of the Orhioniki, could well mean that the southern Europan nation has plans that have not been as yet suspected by any other nation. Its tentacles spread all across the south of our own continent, and even further. It should come as no surprise that the @Sunset Sea Islands are also within this league of vipers, as they are always at the heart of anything that is against the works of Christ and all that is holy. This shows the dangerous nature of the EOS – it is little more than a organisation designed to further the causes of secularism and atheism across the wurld, and soon enough Eurth will see jackbooted soldiers bearing the blazing sun image of the EOS. These questions were put to a representative of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, as this paper thought that all Arhomaioi need to know how their government is preparing to deal with a potential future invasion by the Entente, which will probably start with attempts to disrupt the fuel supply of the wurld. At first, the Logothesion ton Deeseon took some time to reply to the questions – likely, this shows the seriousness with which they were being considered, as answers had to be carefully weighed up so as to best inform whilst not giving away any secrets to the EOS. “Arhomaneia has had a good relationship with the Orhioniki in recent years,” said the representative from the Logothesion. “With regards to their expansion of fuel capacity, it seems like a prudent move in these times of uncertainty. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has been pursuing a move away from a reliance on petroleum in recent years, and this continues to bear fruit, making Arhomaneia amongst the most environmentally friendly nations on Eurth. This, coupled with our own strategic fuel reserves, means that any organised attempt to disrupt the wurld's fuel supply should not be too harmful to the Arhomaiki way of life.” When asked further on any plans to expand our nation's fuel reserves, the representative would not comment. Similarly, the Logothesion would also not be drawn on any sanctions or levies to be put in place against Mercy International or the Sunset Sea Islands, despite it patently obvious that they are little more than snakes in the grass, attempting to undermine our ancient way of life and sow an agenda detrimental to Christianity in our own nation and across the wurld. Surely, it cannot be too long before Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator wakes up to the threat that EOS poses and gathers the strength of Arhomaneia against them and dashes them to the winds.
  20. Perhaps it could be considered strange that Arhomaneia was petitioning to join a foreign military alliance. Such alliances had never truly set Europa in good stead – they had been a source of conflict, aggression and disruption between the nations of that continent. Ultimately, they sowed the seeds of the Great Europan Collapse, as the alliances refused to cooperate with each other and the continent spiralled into economic ruin. Only south-eastern Europa under the EOS, the pet project of the Orinese, remained more or less intact throughout the troubles that had beset Europa during this period. The thinking of Tagmatika was that it was less an alliance of equals than a way of the Omorfoautokrateia ( @Orioni) to spread its tentacles across the east of the continent and enmesh those foolish enough to agree to be a part of it. So, the question begged, why was the Megas Agios Basileos then trying to enmesh itself in a military alliance that wasn't even from Europa, but based in the New Wurld? The answer to that was relatively simple – the alliance with the Exkousiokrateia ton Gharon, the Sovereign Imperium of Machina @Haruspex, was in danger of completely collapsing. The new monarch, Ji'Mar, had consistently run roughshod over the alliance and treated the Heart of Civilisation with no respect. And now the invasion of Koussoeia and the driving of the heretic Christians from their homelands and into Arhomaneia was the latest humiliation in a string of them, as well as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. The potential for a catastrophic breach in the decade-old alliance seemed to be increasing from month to month and the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion felt that an alternative to Prathen needed to be found. And that was the reason why the Megas Logothetes tou Stratiotikou, the Minister for War, was on an aeroplane landing at Deopolis International Airport. It was a small airliner, painted in the light blue-grey of the Basilikoaeroporeia and painted with a black-bordered red stripe along the length of the fuselage which displayed that it was in the service of the Tagmatine government, as well as the tail painted in the flag of Arhomaneia. Along with Honorios Kontarian were a smattering of military officers, officials from his own Logothesion and some from other Logothesia as well as the ever present clerics. They were all there to aid the Megas Agios Basileia's aim to forge ties with the TRIDENT nations. Since October, some of them had already been working with Arhomaneia to rescue the Gerenians from the clutches of the perfidious Gharoi and their Ji'Mar. That most of the members of TRIDENT were Christian nations, if heretical, was an added benefit and was considered to be much better than the heathen northern barbaroi. As the Arhomaiki aircraft taxied to a halt, Kontarian couldn't help but notice how bright it was outside the windows. In the Occident, it was creeping towards the shortest day of the year but, here, it was edging towards the longest. He had had to look that up before taking the flight. Old travelogues also said that the water in drains went the other way below the equator. Honorios was taking that with a pinch of salt, however. The crew announced that the aircraft had stopped moving and those onboard started to get to their feet, stretch and gather their immediate belongings. “It's pretty damn warm out there. It's the height of summer, after all. Apparently.” The speaker was a strategos, a full general. The deep purple trousers he wore may have struck foreigners as clashing with the dark khaki of his jacket, shirt and tie but they demonstrated him to be a member of the Palationoi, the so-called “field army”. His collar tabs were a deep grey, which indicated he was from the armour branch. Isaakios Akilios was a veteran commander, which was shown by a slew of medal ribbons on the left of his chest. The weather, though, was a strange novelty. Kontarian had never been to the southern hemisphere before. Parts of Europa itself crossed it but they were far away from the Arhomaiki focus of attention. That tended to be the Occident, Burania and Argis. “Yes, it looks like it, Strategos,” replied the Megas Logothetes, nodding. And slightly dismissively. He was too preoccupied about the meeting to think about the weather. “And we're supposed to be heading into one of the coldest winters on record back home.” Those poor f*cking Gerenians, he thought. Another reason to dislike the regime of Ji'Mar. Some held that it was more of a shame that they would freeze before they could accept True Religion into their hearts but that struck Honorios as particularly cold, pun not intended. The barbarians were attempting to inflict the worst human misery on the hated Christians. It was small wonder that the Megas Agios Basileos had opened its arms to them, even if they were a mass of heretics. Kontarian hadn't seen any of the refugee camps first hand but his ministry and the armed forces were instrumental in setting them up. They were the best that could be done and a damn sight better than the transit camps in Gharon that they had come from. In front of Kontarian, the detachment of the guards regiments, the Tagmata, stood up to lead the way out of the aircraft. Often, there were merely a pair or a handful from the guards regiments accompanying envoys from the Megas Agios Basileos. This time, however, there were twelve – two from each regiment – in order to emphasise the military history of Arhomaneia. They would certainly be a splash of colour, as each regiment dressed in a different colour of robes and their armour was either covered in a coloured lacquer or polished to a mirror shine. Perhaps the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion wished to dazzle its potential allies with the size of its uniform budget. Before anyone disembarked the aircraft, a priest stood next to the plane's door and uttered a prayer for the success of the mission. All of those present bowed their heads and stood in silence whilst he did so. Once he was done, six Tagmata guards descended from the plane and acted as a vanguard. Not that it was necessary. There was no reason to expect any threat to the illustrious personage who were getting out of the plane. The impact of the heat must have been apparent almost immediately for the men and women of the Tagmata, dressed as they were in robes, lamellar, plate and closed sallet helms. The men and women would likely be dripping with sweat but discipline would make them carry on nonetheless. As the anthropomorphic paintbox lined up outside of the plane, Megas Logothetes Kontarian and his team got ready and descended from the aircraft. Honorios tried to not feel out of place. He was from an ancient military family but he had never served in any military branch himself. His brother was a Kometes (colonel) in the Tagmata, his father a Tourmarkhes (lieutenant general) in the Palationoi, an aunt a senior officer in the Basilikoaeroporeia. Because of this sidestepping of his family's ancient tradition and his role as a representative of the civilian government, he had always been kept as arms' length by the military, even as Kommodos gave them glory and success. And now he was potentially tying them to a barbaroiki organisation. He hesitated at the top of the airstair for a moment. Ultimately, they wouldn't blame Kommodos III in Christ, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaioi, the Leader of the Free Wurld, if things went wrong and the barbaroi led them astray. It would be the cuckoo in their midst. The old tyrant would dodge that bullet through being above suspicion as the Thirteenth Apostle. It was easier to blame mere mortals. “Awfully hot out here. A glass of watered wine and ice wouldn't go amiss,” announced a deep voice behind Kontarian. Akilios, despite being of aristocratic background – and a cavalry officer as well – managed to have a way with the ordinary people that most of them did not. He was genial and didn't hold himself above anyone, something that the typical Arhomaiki officer tended not to be. “I would suggest that we close the distance, Megas Logothetes. They might have something to drink, after all.” Kontarian gave a slight nod and descended the rest of the way down the stairs. The Tagmata bowed to him as he drew level with him and then the vanguard marched ahead. Unlike the @Iverican Tercios, who had a height limit, there was a clear difference between the men and women of the guards. Arhomaneia had had a gender integrated military since the Long War and they were all either decorated veterans or individuals who had excelled beyond the expectations of their instructors to win a position in the vaunted guard regiments. The vanguard marched forward and the rest of them kept pace behind. The priests followed the vanguard, swinging thimiata, billowing forth clouds of incense and giving thanks to God for a good flight over and praying for a successful conference for God's Chosen Land on Eurth. When Megas Logothetes Kontarian drew level with the @Salvian president and vice-president, he gave a deep bow, lower than the usual that might be offered a barbaros head of state. The Salvians, despite their heretical ways, were still the first country to acknowledge Christianity as their state religion. That meant they held a higher position than the usual, run-of-the-mill savages. After that, the Arhomaioi listened to the welcoming speech and then were lead off to their appointed vehicles.
  21. 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, It has certainly not escaped the notice of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion that the situation in Ceris has taken a turn for the worst, and the so-called Sentists are becoming a threat of a significant scale. As you and your government are undoubtedly aware, Arhomaneia has made a wide-ranging agreement with the government of the Noble Republic of Secryae, to help them with their infrastructure, economy and military, and bring it into the modern age. This was for several reasons, but the main one was to reduce the threat of piracy in the Makhaira Thalassa, the Dolch See. It was hoped that by making the country more stable and more prosperous, the people of Secryae would no longer feel that piracy, that theft and murder, were the only way that they could make ends mete. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion admits that it is perhaps too early to tell whether this approach will bear fruit in the long term. However, as there are still pirates haunting the seas of Ceris and they don't all originate in Secryae, the Basilikoploimon has been maintaining a significant presence in the area. This includes an aircraft carrier and its attendant battle group. Up until now, they have been carrying out anti-piracy operations. Due to the deteriorating situation, the Agios Basileos has ordered that they immediately cease these and come to the aid of your forces in Hodrea. As it appears that Secryae is also threatened, the Epistrategaion, the High Command, is also assembling a force to reinforce my nation's ally. I cannot be precise on its composition at the moment, but its initial deployment will be to defend Secryae from invasion and then strike into Hodrea when the moment arises. It will likely compose of several divisions of the Basilikostratos and units from the Basilikoaeroporeia. At the moment, I could not commit to providing any forces from Arhomaneia to strike at Liechnenfax – we do not have the forces directly on hand to help and I do not wish to leave Secryae undefended. A second carrier battle group is also being prepared for potential deployment to the area of Ceris. I also hope that your inspired leadership will be able to pull together the coalition of nations that you are attempting to assemble. If need be, the Arhomaiki forces could be placed under a unified command, if that makes coordination easier. It must be noted that, whilst we are on good terms, the ideologies of the Unified @Variotan States, the Workers' Republic of @Fulgistan and the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion are rather at odds with each other. I do not doubt that these nations will be able to work with one another to rescue the Cerisers from a terrible fate under the Sentists. Arhomaneia has worked with the Kingdom of @Gallambria through this recent refugee crisis in the Occident, and I am confident that my nation will be able to do so again. Once the borders of the Noble Republic are secure, then the illustrious forces of Arhomaneia, the vaunted successors of the legions of ancient Arome, will march with those of your honoured nation and drive the fanatics from Ceris. Trust in God and He will grant us victory, Honorios Kontarian, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  22. Despite the Arhomaiki cooperation with Secryae having stepped up a gear, Konstantinian Makarios found himself bored. That was despite his original pride at being selected for the important role of being the go-between for the Megas Agios Basileia and the Noble Republic. For some reason – and he really couldn't think why at this point – he thought it would have been more interesting. Now, he kind of felt like some sort of lowly secretary, having to filter both sides hopes and dreams, keeping them grounded in reality whilst not souring either with too much of that same thing. At lot of spreadsheets seemed to be involved, a lot more than he had ever had to deal with before in his career. Those same spreadsheets sat on the screen of his laptop and had started to blur together. They weren't all that interesting to begin with. The room he was sat in was in a noble's townhouse that had been set aside for the mission in Sumpfhofen, the capital of Secryae. And not for free, either. At the moment, the locals seemed to still be delighted with their new allies and the money and work that they were bringing in. Certainly, Makarios could hear the sound of construction work from where he sat, in an office on the first floor at back of the large building. It overlooked a carefully tended garden and the Protologothetes had often wondered who the old occupants were when he looked out at it. It was likely it had been someone who had protested about the role that the foreigners were taking within Secryae. As far as Makarios had gathered, the greedy and corrupt nobles had been astounded at the largesse that was being offered to them and had quickly stifled any dissenting voices. Not really Arhomaneia's business. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion was offering loans that were being used to pay Arhomaiki businesses or state for the work being done. It wasn't just building work that he could hear, but constant comings and goings of staff sent to Sumpfhofen by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. There were representatives from his own ministry, from the Logothesion tou Kommerkiarionikou, the Logothesion ton Koiaisitoron, even from the Logothesion ton Ilektrikon. They were all working to try to bring Secryae into the modern age and make it a model nation on the backwater that was Ceris. There were even officers from the Basilikostratos and Basilikoploimon, who had come in order to train the militias of the Noble Republic and to make them into a proper military, rather than rabble with bolt action rifles. Likely, they would just become a well-trained rabble with assault rifles. Because of the fact that many of the new arrivals were professionals and experts in their fields, Makarios had found himself having to do the role he was here for – acting as a liaison between Secryae's government and the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion – rather than this being the sinecure he had kind of hoped it would be. Which meant he was having to deal with the Erzkanzler on a basis far more regularly than he would like. Indeed, he was currently keeping an eye the digital clock in the bottom right hand corner of his screen tick down to the time he would be have to leave for the latest meeting. The Protologothetes pulled a face to himself and sat back in his chair. Annoyingly, it wobbled. He had tried almost everything to stop it from wobbling, including getting an entirely new chair. It didn't matter – the next chair wobbled, too. And it wasn't the floor that was to blame. It was an oak parquet floor that was completely flat. To test this idea – and to alleviate his boredom mildly – Makarios picked up a stress ball from the top of the desk, got down on his hands and knees and started to roll it around. A knock at the door made him jump, bang his head on the corner of the table and swear quite loudly. “Enter!” he said as he sat back on his seat. The door thumped open and a senior army officer stomped in. She stood opposite his desk and waited until the Protologothetes was standing before she gave him a half-bow first, which Makarios returned. It was a physical expression of the delicate balance of power that existed within the Megas Agios Basileia, that the civilian government held sway over the military. Despite the fact that the military had the power to overthrow the government when it wished and even hoisted a newly-crowned Agios Basileos on a shield to show that they were now the monarch. “So, Droungarios Neokottaeitissa... ?” he asked, unsure why as to why the soldier came barging into the office. The officer wore a light purple right collar tab and an orange-yellow left collar tab, indicating she was a member of the Palationoi, the so-called “central army”, and the Doryliarioi, the training service. “These barbaroi are intolerable, Endoxos,” said the brigadier. She pulled out the chair on the other side of the desk and flung herself down without any invitation from Makarios. She placed her head wrap down without caring much where it landed and a hand brushed through her short hair. Neokottaeitissa was in her early fifties and had a reputation of being an excellent trainer of soldiers. The Epistrategaion hadn't stinted when they had sent her over to Ceris. “All they do is ask about tanks and artillery, as if those are the only things worth bothering about.” And suddenly even Makarios felt sympathetic. He had had enough of the beer-drinkers as well. Their groundless pomposity was endlessly aggravating. They were little more than the old barbarian stereotype – greedy, grasping and vain. He sat back in his chair and caught the eye of an aide who was looking into the office, clearly surprised that the soldiers had just barged in without waiting to be invited. He mimed drinking and the aide scuttled off to bring refreshment for his superior and guests. The Protologothetes wanted a cup of tea but it looked like the Droungarios wanted something stronger. “You know, the Erzkanzler's minion rang me the other day to cancel a meeting that I had with him,” said Makarios. “Apparently, I'd not used his correct title in a communication. I hadn't called him 'serene highness' or some such nonsense. I threatened to withhold loan payment until the Furst changed his mind.” “It's still annoying,” the Droungarios sighed. “I'm trying to make their militias a functional force but all they do is talk about the same thing, over and over.” “I assume you've shown them the latest maps of the Sentists' spread?” he asked. He'd seen them himself. They were f*cking frightening. Hodrea had pretty much ceased to exist. It wouldn't be too long before the heathens were banging on the door of Secryae. “I have, don't you worry about that,” Neokottaeitissa replied. Again, she ran her hand through her short hair. It seemed as if there was something more than the barbarians' demand for armour and large calibre guns on her mind. She paused for a moment before she continued. “And, in fairness to them, they do seem to be taking it seriously. Those that we are training are listening and they have definitely been doing pretty well over the last few months. But too many of them just aren't bothering to turn up to training. Most of them just signed up to act as one of these f*cking noble's retinue in order to get money for their families and food. They didn't expect to get shouted at by some foreigner.” “That's... not great,” said the Protologethetes. That was certainly news that Makarios didn't want to hear. Whilst he definitely knew that the military of Secryae had devolved to the point that it was more like the bands of the barbarian warlords that had threatened Arhomaneia throughout history, he had kind of assumed that the threat of being swept away by hordes of ravening religious fanatics was enough of a motivator that the militias weren't just deserting after being given their first pay cheque. Indeed, he'd literally been told the opposite to that by that fat c*nt, the Erzkanzler. And he'd been shown documents that had said otherwise. But Makarios had fallen into the trap of just not listening to his subordinates because they were usually whinging about something or other, rather than taking the time to parse through the information they were giving him. He now suspected that had he been listening, they would have been telling him this some time ago. Now he definitely wanted something stronger than tea. At that thought, the aide came in with a tray of tea pot and cups and hovered at the door. Makarios shook his head and mouthed 'wine' at the man, who nodded his head and disappeared again. “How many have you managed to train?” he asked, his mouth feeling a bit dry. “About three thousand. This is basic training, mind. It takes twenty-two weeks for someone to go through Skoutatoi training, and even then that's just for the Noumeroi.” The Skoutatoi were the infantry of the Arhomaiki army and the Noumeroi the regular army. Neokottaeitissa said the latter word with an element of scorn in her voice. It then became deadly serious. “We have had twelve weeks so far.” Oh, f*ck. At that point, the aide came in. He held a bottle of wine in one hand and a tray of glasses in the other. He set the tray down on the table and poured a small amount into two glasses, one for the Protologothetes, the other for the Droungarios. Both of them smelled and tasted the wine and nodded their approval. Because no one there were savages, the aide then made up a mix of water and wine, which was then served to the minister and the officers. Makarios stared into the depths of his glass for a moment. He swirled the wine around the glass and then watched it keep moving after he'd stopped making it do so. “When they ask for tanks and artillery, why do you think that is?” asked the foreign minister. He knew the answer that he expected – the barbarians were keen on seeing the fruits of modern armament technology and probably fantasised about grinding all of the other nations of Ceris beneath steel tracks and becoming an empire of their own. “I imagine the usual – the avarice of the barbaroi,” said the instructor. She shrugged to herself and took a sip of her wine. There was an edge to her voice and the gesture she made, which made the Protologothetes suspect that there might be something else. He stared at the officer, who returned his gaze coolly. “It's because they don't think that they will stop the Sentists otherwise, isn't it?” Makarios' voice was a monotone. Suddenly, the day wasn't so boring after all. Boring was preferable. The Droungarios saw no reason to beat around the bush. “Yes. I expect so. They're not stupid. Hodrea might have been an absolute mess but it collapsed very quickly.” Certainly, the use of chemical weapons would have been something of a game-changer in this backwater. It wasn't as if the Ceriser nations had a savage northern neighbour looming over them, like the Arhomaioi. The threat of the Gharoi meant that Makarios' own nation was up to date with its chemical weapons drills. Well, other than the Derthalers. The mud-eaters were definitely nasty enough, but their ships were probably in a worse state of repairs than anything the pirates that plagued the Makhaira Thalassa. “To stop the Sentists from wading into Secryae, it'll take more than the forces that we have, won't it?” He had been a junior member of the bureaucracy of the Logothesion ton Barbaron when the EK7513 Civil War had happened. He had even been in Tagmatika when it had been shelled by the rebel elements of the army. Neokottaeitissa took a deep breath before she spoke. “Yes.” “f*ck.” He took a big swig of his wine. It didn't really get rid of the dryness of his mouth. “Could they be stopped at the border?” Again, the Droungarios took a deep breath and shook her head. “Probably not. Not with the forces that either we or the Noble Republic have at our disposal.” The wine glass was suddenly empty and Makarios was quiet for a bit. “Balls,” he pronounced. The instructor's mouth lifted up at the corners and she gave a sardonic smile. “Balls indeed, Protologothetes,” Neokottaeitissa said. Both of them lapsed into silence. The sounds of Arhomaiki-funded building work started to filter into the room again. It was a reminder that it wasn't just the locals who were under threat from the advancing religious fanatics but also decent, God-fearing Arhomaioi, too. “I need to contact the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion,” said Makarios, the usual wind knocked out of his sails. “We need to see if we can get something here which can deal with the Sentists. The Navarkhos has his carrier out to sea.” “Indeed, Endoxos. If we are lucky, the militias we have will be able to at least hold them until whatever forces the Epistrategaion send are able to push back the Sentists. If, of course, they invade. They might decide to go in another direction.” The Droungarios took another sip from her wine glass and put it on the desk. The silence drew out into an awkward one, which was suddenly broken by the sound of the phone on Makarios' desk ringing. He looked at the clock on his laptop's screen. It was fifteen minutes before the scheduled meeting. Right on time, Makarios thought. “If you're ringing on behalf of the Erzkanzler to cancel the meeting, then I've got something he will want to hear.”
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