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~Act 1~ Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game. Formal coalitions existed in the chamber, but their membership was always in flux, a senator cooperating with Jaridan one day may be helping the far-right Jol Tan the next. Every move, every vote was carefully taken, not so much for the masses they represented, but for their own personal self-interest and desire for further influence and power amongst their colleagues. There were 300 of these individuals, of both genders, seated in the round Hall of State, at the very heart of the capital. Presiding the Senate was none other than the Praetor, the effective head of state of the Republic. They had near-dictatorial power, such authority was the dream of every senator. Most would never get it as many Praetors were highly popular both with the military and the lower classes and taking action upon them could potentially lead them to political suicide. Praetors, on the other hand, may have had considerable leverage over the senators, they were not sacrosanct. Two Praetors had been assassinated within a three-year period because of their intended policies had tilted more so in favor of the commoners than the aristocratic Senate was willing to accept. The recently appointed Terix knew his position was tenuous at best. He was secure in the knowledge that he had the support of the military and a slim majority of the chamber to get some of his policies adopted, but it would be folly of him to assume that he absolutely safe. Prior to his appointment, the now-Praetor, he was an Admiral in the Navy. He suspected his appointment to the highest position was merely one of keeping the factions in the Senate in a temporary truce while they evaluated their next moves following the dual assassinations of Praetors Vrax and Gaius. The Praetor's Palace complex was across the Forum of Caliax from the Hall of State. One of his servants had put on his formal toga of state. He looked out the window and saw that it was another sunny day over the capital, Dartha. Two Praetorian Guards entered the chamber he was dressed in and escorted him to several others waiting for him for the walk across to the Senate meeting. As he descended one of the marble staircases, his advisor and confidant Miral Avelik, stood ready to meet him. "Daise (foremost), I have been informed that a small majority of senators exists to pass the law on implementing the establishment of a food program for low-income citizens in the capital," he reported as the two exited into the central courtyard of the complex, Praetorians surrounding them. "Avelik, which senators were the holdouts who finally joined?" he asked while they approached the gates. "Senators Hexce Amarok, Vaebn Lareth, and Gathan Darok." The group had now emerged from the Palace and into the buzz of activity that was the forum. It was another day of normalcy in the capital. The walk between the two buildings would take no more than four minutes. "Darok you say?" he questioned, "he's certainly been very generous lately," he mentioned to his aide. "Do you want me to get someone to keep an eye on him?" "Not yet." He said quietly as they approached the steps of the Senate. "Inform the senators that they have my gratitude that they would support this common-sense proposal." "Yes Daise," he acknowledged and allowed the Praetor and his guards to ascend the steps and through the main door into the round building. Miral would proceed to complete the task given to him. He would enter the building from a side entrance and try and look for them. A bell rang, signaling the start of the Senate session, keeping the aide from doing his job until the conclusion of the session. Senators began streaming into the chamber, taking their seats. The Praetor took his seat upon the Eagle Chair, eyeing the room. On the right-hand side, he could see Senator Gathan Darok, the second-richest man in all of Rihan taking his place. Darok's family was not initially aristocratic. Rather, they bought their way to influence. The family possessed many thousands of melakols (acres) of farmland on the Aihai outside Dartha, growing vitally important wheat. His grandfather had invested the wealth generated from it to purchase two profitable iron mines in the D'Kalla Mountains. Between the farms and the mines, he possessed tens of hundreds of slaves. Garthan's father, Kaol, had converted their wealth into power. When Aerv Nanclus passed away, his seat opened up. Kaol would spend hundreds of thousands of Chaks in bribes to several senators with clout over the Continuing Committee to get himself appointed. Just after he was formally confirmed by the committee, he passed away. In recognition for his dedication to the state, the seat was allowed to pass onto his son, Gathan. He was not content with his family's holdings when he became the head of the family and immediately went about gaining another hundred thousand melakols of farmland and more slaves to cultivate the fields. Using the new land, he would curry favor with the military to make him a preferred provider of foodstuffs to the army, giving him a tidy profit. As his fortunes grew, he decided to exchange it for influence. He alongside two others close to him would pool their money into bankrolling much of the Festival of the Republic, including a 15,000-person banquet and five days of entertainment in the Orventis Arena. His decision to back the Praetor's plan to provide food for free to many low-income people in the capital was just another step. The latter ran up against the more 'free' market elements of the Senate, abet 'caring' for the people, the Nej'ahar. Terix then turned his gaze to the upper left benches where he could make out the beautiful Liviana Charvanek. She was gorgeous, attracting the attention of many male senators and nobles outside the chamber, attempting to get her attention. The Charvaneks were a noble family, tracing their lineage all the way back to the Arrival. They were the rulers of the city-state of Calanista, the heart of Rihan's wine country. At the conclusion of the Clan Wars, they decided to accept the dissolution of their 'absolute' power over Calanista, and submitted to unification into the rapidly forming Republic in exchange for being given a Senate seat, a seat they've had within the family since their signing of the D'Vatta. Although not as wealthy as Darok, her family did retain control of a substantial vineyard and attached villa on the outskirts of Calanista, as well as a smaller urban villa in Dartha. Over the generations, the Charvaneks would be patrons of the arts and education, sponsoring the construction and eternal endowment of the Beryk Institute, the greatest school in the Republic. Other members of the family over time had been dedicated officers in the military, and every second son in the family had maintained a full career in the service. Liviana did her required duty but serving long was not in her interest. Liviana had lived a pampered life, and due to her family's fortune, she never needed to work. She was given the family Senate seat when her mother Isha decided to step down to enjoy the final years of her life in the countryside and her father decided to not take it as he had just completed his fourth tour in the military, wishing to join her in retirement. Since joining the Senate, she would use her beauty and charisma to get what she wanted. In regards to the proposal on the docket at the day's session, she was fully onboard with it. The Charvaneks had been firm members of the militant Jaridan, the largest coalition, urging for greater expansion of the military for defense and always seeking opportunities to grow the territory of the Republic further. Liviana would bolster her feminine advantages by invoking her family's respected military history when needed. The Praetor once again turned his attention to the middle of the chamber. Sensing that most of the members were in the room, he motioned his Praetorian to bang the bottom of his Litesh polearm against the floor several times, calling for order. "This session will now come to order," Terix said. He readjusted himself in his seat before continuing. "The matter before the Senate today is for the allocation of monies sufficient for the implementation of a free food program for low-income citizens here in our glorious capital.." For over an hour, senators would generally speak in favor of the motion, including Darok and Charvanek. The Praetor listened to every word they had uttered. The speeches would eventually cease and a division would be called for. It would pass 154-146. Upon hearing the result, Darok was the first to stand and clap, not to be outdone, Charvanek, joined in as did the rest of the individuals supporting the motion. Both gave glances at each other and then at the Praetor as they clapped. They both wanted the Praetorship, by whatever means. A lunch recess had been called, lasting an hour, before they would return for an afternoon session on matters related to foreign affairs. The Praetor prepared to leave the chamber with his Praetorians, both senators would approach him just as he had reached the door and commended him. He thanked them and continued on his way. Gathan and Liviana looked at each other once more, coldly, before leaving the Senate chamber. Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game.
Prologue Within the bowels of the Defense Ministry's command and control headquarters located within the ward of Kunya, of which is located in the city-state Chel de'Yorn near the northern border of Beautancus territories. Ttoile, the capital of the former Cussian territory known as Beautancus, lay just a few hundred kilometers away. Ttoile had been observed as being the last remnant of the old Cussian government, the last semblance of an actual city with infrastructure held over from the old days. The images of the city, and the surrounding landscape had been the subject of reconnaissance planes and photographing for a few weeks now. The Imperial Aerowings had done their duty, and in the haze of the smoke filled room from cigarettes and the like, something that individuals who were under great stress had been puffing away upon, held their eyes to the display monitors. Sheefs of intelligence, dossiers on the terrain and the pacification estimates, losses that might occur, what was acceptable, etc. With due diligence by the number crunchers, the expansion effort was being formulated even as the newly crowned Emperor gave a speech to the masses. Fleet Lord Yagar Ni'Vek was seated at the head of the table, appointed by the now emperor to serve as his left, while Kaorin became the right. He stubbed out his third or fourth cigarette into the waiting ashtray, cleared his throat and spoke. The preliminary reports have been made. As of now, myself and Vice Lord Kaorin, have been given authorization by the newly crowned Emperor, to proceed with our plans of expansion. He turned towards another senior officer, General Ti'Ran Elghinn, head of House Buki Elghinn. As doing so, a junior officer approached with a briefcase. It was chained to his right wrist and he set it down, opening after a combination was entered. Within it, a keycard rested and a type of machine to read it. Ti'Ran reached over, broke the keycard case and inserted the card. It required now the keycard of the senior most officer, of which was that of Ni'Vek. He gave his card to the handcuff bearing officer and it was slid within the machine, with both codes matching, thus the icon screens going green in hue. General Ti'Ran, began Ni'Vek. You are hereby authorized to begin mobilization of the following forces, for deployment and securing of the northern territories of the former Cussian lands. You will command, with your choice of officers, the army group Hades. The force that is authorized under your command is the entirity of the Hades Northern Border Force; o 1st Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 15th Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 283rd Legionnaires 'Mzil Velven' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 1st Legion 'Olath Orn' Tank Regiment, Hades o 147th Legion 'Bel'la Kyorl' Artillery Regiment, Kovo(Border of Beautancus) o 1117th Air Defence Regiment, Kovo o 136th Independent Intelligence Battalion, Kovo o 1174th Independent Anti-Tank Battalion, Kovo o 211st Independent Engineer Battalion, Kovo o 614th Independent Chemical Battalion o 47th Independent Signal Battalion, Kovo o 190th Independent Maintenance Battalion, Hades o 1063rd Independent Supply Battalion, Hades o 370th Independent Medical Battalion, Hades * 51st Parachute Landing Regiment, Tula(2.5km east of Hades) *89th Light Armor Regiment, Tula * 137th Parachute Landing Regiment, Tula * 1182nd Artillery Regiment, Efremov(Secondary border deployment, 3.5km north of Hades) * 107th Independent Air Defence Regiment, Efremov * 322nd Independent Engineer Battalion, Efremov * 731st Independent Communications Battalion, Tula * 43rd Independent Repair Battalion, Tula * 110th Independent Transport Squadron, Tula Ni'Vek continued. You will begin immediate deployment of orders. You are tasked with mobilization and transport of your forces into the assigned battle and securement area. These orders are confirmed by the Defense Ministry and by the will of the Emperor. Ti'Ran leaned back in his seat a bit, and seemed to contemplate a good deal in his head before he spoke. As the Emperor wills, so shall I serve. I do however have some questions. One, my support I will assume is the Home Guard forces of the imperial legionary, of which I can only assume that Kaorin will deploy after my initial forces do so. Is this to prevent any other nation from perhaps attempting to cross into the Cussian territories while we are doing so? Also what of the Tagmatine? Will they stand idly by? They've been rather testy lately with the navy. A chuckle resounded about the table as the thought of their southern neighbor having a bit of a fit. Ni'Vek gestured and the group fell silent. They seem to be playing the long game with us, and they cannot effectively do anything other then issue a stern word perhaps. The Home Guard will indeed shore up your efforts, maintaining vigilance alongst the Cussian western border while your forces occupy Ttoile. Meanwhile the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Aerowings will also be deploying, with the navy landing units and forces alongst the eastern sea holdings of the Cussian wildlands. The aerowings I am told shall continue photography runs and if need be, supply and suppression missions. Ti'Ran nodded to all of this, before promptly sliding to a stand and giving Ni'Vek a salute. Very well Sir. Army Group Hades will begin immediate mobilization. I estimate based on force locations, the projections, estimated in my head sir, it shouldnt take more then two weeks to prepare for a border crossing and begin occupation of the capital within another two weeks time. Ni'Vek returned the salute. May you earn the glory of the battlefield General...