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Imperator Valentino's State Visit to the Rihan Republic

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Hel na Fvillhaih

From the Office of the Praetor

CONFIDENTIAL - SECURITY LEVEL RUTA

To: Emperor Valentino of the Republic of Asgeirria

RE: Agenda for the Impending State Visit

Praetor Mathon Terix anxiously awaits your arrival in Dartha by boat. We have communicated to your office the exact mooring location for your vessel and the specific codes to be used to pass unhindered by maritime elements of the Republican Military.  As his foremost advisor, I have been tasked with the assemblage of a thorough agenda and all the respective arrangements to make your visit both as productive and as pleasant as possible. I have taken the liberty of preparing for you a spacious and well-appointed bedchamber at the Praetor's Palace overlooking the Forum of Cailax. Three servants have been instructed to be on hand at all times should you require anything. I suspect that you are bringing your own guards to accompany you. Under the strict order of the Senate, only the City Guard or the Praetor's own soldiers are allowed to be armed within the confines of the capital. Given the size of both forces, your security should be well-covered but the Praetor insisted that you be given a personal bodyguard from within the Praetorians. Should you want to leave the Palace at any time during your visit outside of the scheduled sessions, you must be with your Praetorian escort, for your protection.

And now, the agenda. An elaborate state banquet in your honor, with high-ranking military officials and members of both the Senate and general aristocracy, will be held on the first night of your visit. The following morning, the Praetor and you will have a one-on-meeting to discuss a range of topics (see below) of importance facing both nations. At mid-day, the Senate convenes. His Foremost wishes you to be in attendance to watch the proceedings, and should you desire, you may have the opportunity to speak on the floor of the chamber to the Membership. If you do wish to speak, please let me know and I will communicate this to the appropriate leaders.

Following the Senate session, you will be given a tour of Dartha by yours truly while the Praetor meets with members of the Central Command, of which you will join that session two hours later. There will be a dinner hosted at the urban villa of Senator Liviana Charvanek that both you and the Praetor will attend. There will be both a pre-dinner wine reception and post-dinner entertainment, a musical performance by notable Ryillist, Hexce Parem. I have left the final day of your visit is largely open, as well as the Praetor's schedule. I suspect that there might be needed - either another one-on-one session with His Foremost or a different type of activity you may wish to have arranged.

I wish the best of fortunes for this visit and hope that it will only prove to further relations between our two proud Aurelian states.

Sincerely,

Mirel Avelik

Chamberlain 

Topics of Discussion 

  • On the status of the Southern Aurelian Islands
  • On military cooperation between Rihan and Asgeirria
  • Regarding military equipment
  • Matters of economic growth
  • The institution of Cultural Exchange and other relevant programs
  • Reaffirming Diplomatic Status and its potential evolution
  • The long-term picture for Aurelia
  • Other matters to be introduced as required

(For @Asgeirria)

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To:  Mirel Avelik

From: John Valentino

Re: Armament in capitol

Dear sir,

Are my White Harts allowed to bring their ceremonial spears and swords? It's quite a necessary part of the ensemble, otherwise they're just going to be walking around in their shiny armor looking silly. If they can't bring their ceremonial items, I'll just leave them on the boat and put myself in the watchful care of the Praetors.

Yours,

John Valentino

----------------------------------------------------------

 

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The emperor arrived on his private yacht, having made a few stops along the way; namely Scylla and Charybdis. It was quite rare that the Keeper of Man had an excuse to take a leisurely cruise, and Valentino was quick to jump on such an opportunity. He had been a traveler before he was selected as the emperor, and had visited most countries; Rihan had been a frequent stop before Asgeirria's travel ban was lifted. Being a well-travelled fellow, it was hard for the emperor to adjust to the grounding reality of his office. Now, he was resigned to state visits being his only respite from the monotony of the capitol.

His ship, staffed with all sorts of personnel, from the shiny, clanky White Harts, to mildly grubby cabin boys. The ship itself was luxurious; Ten decks, an indoor pool, a small boathouse, a submersible bay, a large jacuzzi, a ballroom, and all the trappings of a four-star hotel. Little as it was used, though. Valentino had brought along his arm candy, Lady JaJa, though he didn't intend to take her ashore on a state visit, not that she minded being left out of such dry matters. Being a household name in Asgeirria, and the self-proclaimed matron of "ArtPop", a genre heavily influenced by Variotan culture, she was inclined to spend her time partying on boats rather than involving herself in regional politics. The emperor's attachment to the popstar was well-documented, but not well-understood. Nevertheless, he had arrived in Dartha and was ready for some international diplomacy. As his boat docked, he stood by the boarding ramp and awaited the arrival of his guide.

 

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The day had arrived that the Imperator of Asgeirria was to arrive.

Avelik had received a last-minute communique from the Imperator concerning his ceremonial guard's weapons. The Chamberlain had consulted with the Senate Consuls about any potential loopholes in the weapons restrictions pertaining to the capital. The law had been designed to prevent any regular Republican army from bringing their entire force to bear, and essentially, commandeer the state through sheer force. It did not apply to foreign leaders so long as they were invited. In this case, the Imperator had been invited directly by the Praetor. It was settled, the Imperator's White Harts would be part of the security detail. He responded to the Imperator's message in the affirmative and went ahead with the final preparations.

Everything was ready for the Imperator's arrival from his transport to the banquet and the set-up of his quarters at the Palace for the next several nights. He walked through each room, giving it his personal inspection, nodding with approval at the respective servants responsible. All was in order. Satisfied, he embarked for the Harbor to officially greet their honored guest. The small vehicle convoy they would be using emerged from the Palace to the throngs of individuals wanting to catch a glimpse of their foreign guest, Praetorians forming a man-made wall to define a path through the core of the capital.

An honor guard of Praetorians had already gotten ahead of Avelik and the Imperator's detachment and they were lined up on both sides the quay, close to the end. Avelik approached the Harbor from the Forum and could start to make out the sheer size of the Imperator's personal yacht, a sight to behold. It certainly peaked the interest of several commoners who had been working the docks as the vessel made preparations for final docking.

Meeting Mirel at the city end of the honor guard was Senator Pranana, the appointed Foreign Minister.

"Where have you been?" demanded the Senator, pointing to his watch while eyeing the disembarking Imperator. Avelik, given his position as the Chamberlain, was only responsible to the Praetor. "Doing the important work of getting the Palace ready for the arrival of our guest, after all, an individual of such importance only deserves the finest of experiences," he retorted. Before they could continue their little spat, the Minister's aide informed him the Imperator was ready to be officially welcomed. "Nevermind," paused Pranana, "let's greet him." Avelik nodded, deciding he'd find a different opportunity to put the Minister in his place, concurred. The commanding officer of the Praetorians then instructed the band to strike up the anthem of Asgeirria and the soldiers to stand at attention, Lirash polearms at the ready.

Avelik and Pranana walked down the dock and stopped close to the Imperator. "Honored Imperator," began Avelik, "on behalf of Praetor Terix, the Senate, and the People, welcome to the Rihan Republic." Pranana then added "Praetor Terix looks forward to greeting you formally at the Praetor's Palace. He has sent the two of us to personally escort you to the Forum of Caliax."

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The sound of clanking could be heard for quite some time before the four White Harts appeared, their ruthenium armor shining extraordinarily brightly. It was a clear day, and the sun reflecting off their armor made them quite painful to look at. All the better to conceal how sweaty the poor sods were, trotting around in what amounted to glorified tin cans, with the practicality and utility of timberworking with a butterknife. As the band played, the emperor strode down the gangplank, flashing a winning smile (at least, for those who weren't blinded by his guards). He found the experience of the anthem being played on these instruments to be quite unique. He made his way towards the nicest dressed person on the dock, assuming it to be his point of contact.

"Thank you, Avelik. So nice to finally meet you. I look forward to my stay with your wonderful people, and hope for many more in the future. Now, let's away to the palace, I simply must meet the Praetor." Valentino exclaimed, clearly exuberant to be free of the confines of Regis Celestia and the humdrum monotony that it entailed.

On all four sides of him, the White Harts clanked along, carrying their glorious ruthenium spears, glistening and gleaming like rays of sunlight themselves. If one survived the blinding, or was wearing sunglasses and looking closely, there were intricate, ornate, and truly masterful designs carved into the armor, not that anyone would see them and not go completely blind from the excessively shiny material. What the original purpose of these walking mirrors was had likely been lost to time, known to only the wisest, and probably blindest, scholars of our time.

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"But of course," he responded. "If you will follow me to the awaiting vehicles," he offered, waving him to walk with him and the Senator by the Praetorian honor guard and into the car. The White Harts and the Praetorians who would form the Imperator's detail got into other vehicles within the convoy. As soon as everyone was inside, they moved out and into the dense capital. Tens of thousands lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the foreign head of state, a rare event, up until now. This visit was to be the first of what would likely be many in the coming weeks and months ahead as the Republic took its formal place on the global stage.

Within the middle car, Senator Pranana was rather silent as he was constantly texting with his coalition members of the chamber about that evening's banquet and what to potentially expect from it. Avelik would spend the trip pointing out several landmarks along their route to the Palace including the Baths of Reledek, the Lanshara Momument, and for only a brief second, the Orventis Arena. Dartha, the first city, was home to over 1.5 million in the city boundaries and another million in the surrounding suburban districts. It was a city of contrast and it would be easy to spot where the 'nice' areas ended and the more 'ignored' neighborhoods lie, but everywhere had at least a certain level of comfort, making the capital in far better shape than many other cities in the Republic overall.

The crowds lining the streets increased exponentially as the convoy approached the Forum, the center of life both in Dartha; but the heart of the Government. Hundreds of Praetorians encircled the entire area and along their route across to the Palace itself. Their ride was coming to an end as the vehicles entered the gates of the Palace complex, a sprawling array of buildings ranging from apartments, barracks, and offices for the Praetorate to lavish gardens and recreational facilities. A small city onto itself. "We're here," commented Avelik, and the cars circled to the largest of the buildings - the Palace itself. The soldiers of both the Imperator and his local detail got out first and prepared for the final segment of walking, a very short walk indeed. A purple carpet was rolled out from the foot of where the car door aligned, through the large doors and up the staircase to the first floor. At the top of the stairs: Praetor Terix in his ornate robes of state. Awaiting the Imperator.

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"What a lovely place." Exclaimed the emperor, delighted at the populace and the palace. Asgeirrians were much less interested in the Imperator, who was treated much the way a father might; with respect but certainly not adoration. Speeches were not common, and when they took place, it was considered courteous to show up to listen to them, not that the citizens really cared that much about the topics. The Imperator was just that-a head of state, someone to be left alone to do their job and not be bothered, like a clerk or a night stocker.

Valentino stepped out, and walked towards the Praetor.

"Praetor Terix," He said, approaching the prominent figure, "How wonderful to finally meet you. I hope our talks will be productive."

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"Be welcome," responded the Praetor, extending his hand, meeting the Imperators. Both men then adjusted themselves for the official photo that would be plastered over the TAR and other state-sponsored media. "I have been looking forward to our meeting and I am optimistic that our talks will very productive for both parties involved," he finished as the cameramen walked away to another room, certainly to set up to take official photos of the evening's banquet. "I hope Miral hasn't been too much of an annoyance on the car ride over here," his aide turning his head at hearing his name, merely to acknowledge the Praetor's comment. He had been at his side when the now-Praetor was an Admiral and was used to his somewhat dry humor at times. As the Praetor engaged in small conversation, particularly about the sea voyage across the small sea between them, the Chamberlain was busy getting the servants organized.

"You three," he snapped, "take these cases upstairs to the Imperator's quarters, overlooking the Forum," he said. The three servants said nothing but obeyed. Miral may have never been an aristocrat nor any member of his family but he was everything but and for most, he was probably one of the most powerful commoners in the Republic with the exception of the People's Assembly's various largely-unempowered magistrates. "Your accommodations have been prepared for you," he said, politely interrupting his master. "Helev, here will show you to your room. Your guards have been given housing in the Praetorian barracks across the courtyard," he paused before finishing, "if you may excuse me daise, but I must check on how the kitchen is faring in getting dinner ready."

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The Emperor was genuinely interested in getting to know the praetor, as a possible partnership, or even alliance, between the two nations would require significant rapport between the two leaders to succeed. And High Command strongly recommended that a relationship here succeed, as they had calculated that both parties involved would stand to gain significant influence in Aurelia, should control over strategic areas of the continent be solidified. He anticipated the beginning of official talks, and as much as he enjoyed the polite banter between leaders, he was perhaps overeager to beginning of the coming meetings. In these comings hours and days, the region might see a major shift in the balance of power, a titillating idea to the hungry leaders, legates, and legmen of the Imperial regime. And if it could be achieved while simultaneously gaining and benefiting an ally, all the better.

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The Praetor watched Valentino ascend the lefthand marble staircase. This meeting was important and knew his counterpart shared the same perspective. Aurelia, as a region, was almost completely isolated from the rest of the world, short of the cold wastes of the far south, Antargis. Once the Imperator was out of sight, he returned to his study to finish preparing his latest speech to present to the Senate, timed exactly for the Imperator's visit. It would outline the true foreign policy the Republic would be following from here on out. Mathon had shared copies of the address to the major senators who led their coalitions within the chamber, along with members of the Continuing Committee. He was just about to start working when Mirel interrupted him. "Dinner will be ready at 6:30," the Praetor looked at the clock which read 5:00 and nodded in acknowledgment. "Please let my wife Arenn know," he instructed. The aide responded and made his way to the Praetor's private apartments. He would spend another thirty minutes before returning to his chambers to get his wife.

Mathon entered the bedchamber and saw his wife putting on an elaborate necklace and accompanying earrings. Terix had always been one for simple, yet imposing - his wife, on the other hand, was the one who needed the latest silks, the most beautiful jewelry, the finest of all things. Arenn came from a considerably wealthy family from Rateg. They originally met when they both were in basic training at the provincial branch of the military academy. While he would serve as an enlisted man in the navy, her connections allowed her to avoid an actual combat role and instead serve in naval signals at the Lavaeri Naval Yards, the home base of the 2nd Flotilla, the very same contingent he was posted to. After her five years of service, she returned to Rateg, and Mathon continued to climb the ranks in the Navy. They would reconnect several years later during one of his shore leaves which he spent in Rateg, and have an undisclosed relationship for five more years until he formally asked for her hand in marriage. He would have to deal with her father but it wouldn't take much to convince him the marriage wasn't the wrong thing for his only daughter. When he returned to the Naval Yards, to help her feel better with the distance, her father spent over 30,000 Chaks on an elaborate urban villa in Dartha, which was but a mere hour by car from her husband's base.

Arenn had never expected Mathon to ever be more than an officer in the military and she was equally as shocked to learn that Mathon would become the Praetor. She may have been a noble lady of Rateg, but being the wife of the most powerful person in the Republic, she was not ready for. She was still very nervous about how it would change their lives. She was putting on her rings. "As ravishing as ever my dear," he remarked, giving her a peck kiss. "I hope this purple dress is sufficient," she responded. "Sufficient is hardly the world," he paused, "perfect." He readjusted his robes of state. "Ready?" he asked. Arenn quietly nodded. "Ready." The couple left their quarters and headed to the Great Hall, where the banquet would take place.

Downstairs, the festivities were already underway, senators and military officials had been streaming into the Palace for the last ten to fifteen minutes. As the Praetor reached the bottom step, the Imperator had made his appearance, greeted him once more and they all entered the room, followed by the stragglers outside the main hall. The banquet itself was one of the largest held in the Palace for some time. As everyone took their seats, the wine was being poured, and the platers upon platers of food emerged from the kitchen. It was to be a joyous evening for all. The Imperator and Praetor engaged in conversation as they dined but Mathon could not absolutely ignore the threat to his position. There were over two-thirds of the entire Senate and a quarter of the high-ranking military officers in the room. Of everyone in the room, Senators Darok and Charvanek were amongst the crowd, each playing the Great Game, under the cover of the festivities. He eyed both of them for a brief moment before returning to his conversation with his honored guest. He would deal with them, in due time. The entertainers came out to perform and all paid attention to them for the length of their act.

The banquet would last til nearly eleven at night. After all the food had been eaten, the performers done, all were content. The Praetor would thank each member who attended personally as they left the Palace compound, giving both Liviana and Garthan an extra few seconds of contact, for appearance sakes, and cold reception. After everyone had left, the Imperator, along with the Praetor and his wife retired to their quarters for the night. Both men would convene for their one-on-one meeting in the morning. There was a great deal to talk about.

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The following morning

The air was warm, heated by the bright sun. People had begun their daily routines, the markets were opening, the forum abuzz with early morning chatter and rumor. Inside the Praetor's Palace, Terix had put on his functional robe, which he wore when he was conducting business within the confines within his own complex. Miral had finished setting up the meeting room the two leaders would sit. Flags angled, guards posted outside, notepads and pens squared away on the fine urukan wood table. Though it was warm, a small breeze could be felt coming into the room as the Chamberlain kept the windows open. Both men would be meeting over fine pastries baked early that morning by the kitchen staff. The Praetor was the first in the room, he eyed Miral as he inspected the items on the table. "You may let the Imperator know I am ready to meet now," he instructed. His chamberlain nodded in acknowledgement and went to bring the Asgeirrian downstairs.

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The Emperor was still quite full from last night's feasting, and cozy from the warmth prevailing in the palace. He quite enjoyed the hospitality and climate in Dartha, and was in a very amenable mood for negotiation. He followed the chamberlain down to the meeting room, with a pip in his step, a smile on his face, and a curl in his mustache. As he entered the room, he quickly and surely closed the distance between himself and the Praetor, offering him an eager roman handshake.

"Good morning, Praetor! I hope last night's festivities will not interfere with your abilities! I noticed quite a few drinks passing your lips!" He chortled, clearly having enjoyed the occasion.

Asgeirrians were a very good-natured, friendly bunch, for all their unnecessary intensity in some subjects. A certain amount of their bravado came from the ubiquitous military background of the culture, everyone having served at one time or another. An old saying went as such; There are only two things guaranteed; war and taxes. But Asgeirrians were nothing if not optimistic, as Valentino had unfailingly demonstrated for the past day. Putting past the conflicts of the past, there was a good amount of hope for a potential new ally in Aurelia. In the coming hours and days, it would become clear whether or not these ideas were misguided.

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Terix laughed in response to the Imperator's witty remark, "certainly not," he said. "Copious amount of wine is the only way to have a banquet, and," pausing for a second, "in no way a hindrance to the importance of the conversation we're about to begin," he finished. Mathon took one last look at the prepared table to ensure everything was in place. He was completely satisfied. "I had the kitchen make us some fine pastries and bread to complement our discussion, with some fine tea on hand," said. "I suggest we don't let the hot water get cold," and proceeded to offer his guest the seat which had the Asgeirrian flag beside it. The Imperator took his place and the Praetor, his own, pouring a cup of the tea for himself, before putting the pot back, waiting for either for Valentino to make a cup or to remain solitary on the table until needed next. 

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Valentino poured himself some tea, and took some bread. Asgeirrians loved bread, with a passion almost as fiery as their love for battle and excessively shiny armor.

"Lovely bread. Now, what shall we discuss first, hm?" He probed, "What are you needs and wants for the official negotiations?"

From what he could tell, directness was the proper approach to the Praetor.

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"Mirel," he said looking at this Chamberlain, "Leave me and the Imperator," he instructed. "Daie," was the response and Avelik took his leave, closing the doors to the room behind him.

"There we go, some privacy." Terix picked up one of the pastries, took a small bite and put the rest of a plate that had been set next to him. He appreciated Valentino's directness. There was no time to tip-toe around the issues.

"The place to begin is at the crux of where all things stem from, our relationship. As many of the other topics are quite interconnected. I would believe you would agree with this assessment."

He took a sip of his tea, grasping the cup in hand. "The anticipated results from this conversation is to believe that our 'friendly' rivalry is something of the past and that we are able to find common ground in moving not just both our nations forward but truly define what the long-term vision for the whole of Aurelia," taking another sip before continuing. "By pure geography, we are as far away from any other country on this planet and this brings both stability but also challenges. I think we are at an opportune moment to address this and other 'geographic' issues," he then put down his cup.

"The Republic has been far too long attempting to do things on its own and it is not sustainable. It is time to change that paradigm. Starting with this conversation."

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"I agree. Our Republic, as well, cannot hope to achieve greatness through solidarity. In my opinion, close cooperation with Rihan is the true way forward to a stable and civilized Aurelia. How we proceed with such cooperation, however, is open-ended. I think you'll find Asgeirria quite flexible in these negotiations, Praetor."

Asgeirria had claims to vast swathes of land stretching across Aurelia, though claims were just that. What they did have, however, was shared culture, architecture, love for bread. Not all former sectors were as violently disposed as the former Coalition islands, and High Command expected full reintegration to be possible within a decade. Having a close ally, especially one as capable in ground-fighting as Rihan, sharing regional governance.... The entire continent could be under their control in one or two years. But of course, holding that much territory with such a short transition period was sure to cause issues. For now, the main objective was to secure a reliable ally as a groundwork for all future operations.

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"I believe," he began to respond to Valentino's remark, "that comes in the form of establishing an organization of mutual cooperation. An Aurelian League if you will, that will not just make a statement to the world but bring both nations closer - culturally, economically, diplomatically, and if you want to get deeper into militarily, though it may be more prudent to address that separately. The ability for our peoples to further understand each other, do business with each other without borders and ensure that the lines of communication on matters of foreign affairs are always open between us."

He took another bite of his pastry. "Before you respond, I am not in any way suggesting the complete melding of two entire, independent, and sovereign states. If Aurelia is to as powerful as Argis, some form of unified front' is needed as posturing - an image. This would also come alongside with formal renewal of diplomatic relations and recognition - the elevation of undermaintained embassies to be returned to their full operational capacity and roles."

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The emperor almost choked on his tea. To be as powerful as Argis? It would take a miracle to bring Aurelia down to the level of those frozen savages. One of our divisions alone has more bullets than Prymont has citizens. We've got ships that cost more than Girkmand's entire military budget. Ahrana can't stop changing governments long enough to have a coherent foreign policy. Greater Serbia is being invaded over slavery. I must misunderstand his meaning.

The emperor paused for a moment before responding.

"Mathon, may I call you Mathon? Nothing we say here is final, so let's not beat around the bush. Asgeirria is looking to expand its territories on the Aurelian continent, and we are seeking an ally. My personal vision for Asgeirria is to reestablish the far-reaching empire that we enjoyed in antiquity. I envision our two nations expanding into Aurelia side by side, a new era of cooperation and prosperity. That's my end goal here, all cards on the table. If any part of this is not something you're interested in, please tell me now and we'll save time on the back end of the negotiations later."

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"You may call me Mathon," he responded. "I recognize if my poetic words were not as direct as desired, but you are getting exactly what I meant. We intend to bring order to Aurelia, and I foresaw, before your arrival, that you wanted to restore some of Asgeirria's former mainland holdings. I think we are speaking the same language," he stopped for a moment. "When I meant Argis, I meant to show the myriad power the might and power of a unified continent. If not send a message to the Old World itself. I will not lie to you, there are elements within the Jaridan senatorial coalition who want a rematch with the Enolians, if not expand considerably to the west and north."

"I believe we can work together to bring proper order, unparalleled economic power, and untold progress, for all."

He repositioned himself in his chair. "In your mind, how do you see this vision playing out?" 

 

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The emperor read over the list.

"Legalese or not, I can see nothing here that I disagree with. I hope that we will have time to go over each point individually, in a more official capacity.

A few things I should bring up now: Asgeirria has its eyes on the horizons. We have recently annexed the coalition responsible for our isolation to our immediate area. Now, without the threat of the coalition looming, we intend to expand. My hope is for us to divvy up the choice bits as mentioned in point one, subsection two.

Additionally, ValenCorp has a monopoly on almost all markets in Asgeirria, which might require some protectionism on your end should a free trade agreement go ahead, unless you fancy your domestic company's prices being undercut by a foreign company. Small business is also an extremely important facet of Asgeirria's economy and culture, although most of the businesses provide niche services. Hopefully Rihanese business won't interfere too much with the varied fauna and flora of our economy, but if it does, we might consider protectionist policies. Otherwise, all business is tentatively welcome.

I look forward to increase cooperation between our nations, in all facets."

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"It is certainly a long list but seeing as there is nothing in general that you are outright opposed to, we should explore each area in finer detail, starting with the Islands and greater Aurelian expansion, as it will largely dictate the development of our continent for generations to come." He stopped for a moment before responding to the Imperator's comment concerning free trade. "I will admit that the Rihannsu economy is closed insofar as a means of protecting aristocratic and mercantile assets but I think the Republic can support a sudo-free balance through 'partnerships' with the aristocratic entities. There is a tremendous amount of resource wealth that we haven't even tapped into. I suspect that many of these individuals would be willing to cooperate with ValenCorp or their subsidies. Absolute free trade may be harder to achieve given our baseline differences but I think there is a space where improved economic activity can work. But we'll get there in the next section of our conversation. But back to the continent, "do you have an inclination of where Asgeirria intends to focus its expansion efforts?" 

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"High Command intends to make the Gulf of Aurelia into an Asgeirrian lake. We have historical claims on thousands of miles of coast, stretching from horizon to horizon. We have no interest in the interior and most of the northern and eastern coasts."

The truth of the matter was that Asgeirria was going to reunify its old territories under the banner of the Asgeirrian Empire of old, but that was neither here nor there in this discussion. From what Valentino could tell, this was a discussion about how to carve up the continent, not a dream journal recital.

"And what parts of the continent do you have your eye on?"

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"The Rihannsu may have sailed to Aurelia on a generation-spanning voyage centuries ago, but we know that our strength is on land - the Senate desires the commencement of the Second Expansionist Period. They won't say it publicly but it can be seen and heard in murmurs within the chamber. We would probably focus on our efforts on the interior and some strategic coastal areas but we do not envision our military expansion in time to be naval-heavy."

"The Jaridan coalition's leader has already asked me on more than one occasion to allocate 55 billion Chaks (10 billion) into the military which would allow it to completely replaced the armored units, form new legions, and invest in new technologies to apply on the field of battle. And I won't lie, I am sympathetic to their request." 

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"Ah, expanding your military. It is believed that eventually the smaller, quieter nations will be swallowed whole by those who dominate their regions. Asgeirria will not be lost to history, and it seems neither will Rihan. Asgeirria would be willing to assist in the funding of any such rearmament, by means of exporting production of certain assets to Rihan, if you are at all interested. However, I am eager to negotiate all aspects of what we have discussed, in a more official capacity. Many of the older Legates who advise me have been waiting a lifetime for such an opportunity, as you might imagine."

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      The quiet violin music,
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      and the soft chattering of a crowd with all to gain and all to lose.
       
      It would be a grand evening.
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