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A Change in the Wind

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"...but father!" exclaimed Crown Prince Kravos, yelling at his father, the Emperor.

"It's not up for discussion. I've told you this a hundred times and now it will be a hundred-and-one," Emperor Davros paused, attempting to control his anger.

"I will not give the Council of Twelve more power. They complete their task as prescribed. There is no need for them to do anything else. There has not been a single complaint in hundreds of years."  The Crown Prince had grown tired of arguing with is one-way thinking father. "The people need help. The country is frozen in time. You have let me have the great privilege of studying abroad and in that time I saw many things that would simply be a fantasy here."

Davros scoffed. "Democracy, a contemptible ideology if I ever heard one," he paused. "The democracies of the world are false, owned by the few." Kravos cut him off.

"The Empire will remain in a snowglobe of backwardness until we recognize that more has to be done," his father was done with talking with his son for the day.

"Get out! We're done having this conversation!" he was red in the face. His son was flustered, said nothing, and left his ignorant father to grumble on his throne. The Crown Prince would mutter under his own breath as he entered the Palace's courtyard where a car was waiting for him. "Where to sir?" his driver asked.

"Take me to see Chornarov," he replied, settling into the back seat of the vehicle. The person he was going to see was one of his fellow nobles who had traveled with him across Argis during their days in college. He shared in Kravos' liberalism, which made him an ostracized individual within his own family. Hours passed as the car made its slow way through the countryside to the Chornarov estate. Night started to fall upon the land as he finally arrived.

Chornarov saw the headlights approach the house from an upstairs window and rushed downstairs while putting on his shoes and light outer coat. Kravos was getting out of the car just as he exited the house. "Kravos!" shouted Chornarov. "Igor!" he said in response.

"What brings you here," he asked.

"My father." Igor thought he had heard everything about the Emperor while the two were abroad but Kravos' expression seemed to suggest that something was heavy on his mind.

"Please come in," he offered, leading the Crown Prince into his home. It was a bit outdated but it had an old world charm about her. Chornarov instructed one of two servants to fetch them glasses and a bottle of vodka. They sat down in the drawing room. Portraits of the various members of the Chornarov family encircled them on every wall. "I wasn't expecting you at all. Whenever you want to see me, you summon me to Vardin. You don't drive out to this drab hinterland without a reason."

He was right. All the 'life' in the Empire laid in Vardin. Every major investment was concentrated there or in the Empire's lackluster and highly corrupt military. The Emperor had pledged to spend more on the countryside but not a single additional Zemid could be accounted for in nearly 3 years. The people had been given free healthcare but this was to keep them from complaining.

"Igor," Kravos started, "the Empire needs reform," he said cautiously. "Aluxia needs to move forward with the times and my father is absolutely opposed to anything to change our beloved homeland." He took a shot of vodka that Igor had poured as he spoke.

"The two of you have never had a good relationship," he commented. "No, no we haven't," he responded, "he won't even take my suggestions, minor when put into the larger perspective of the wider world." He took another shot.

"Something has to change," he said, thinking of how to finish his sentence.


"He has to go." Even to utter those words would have locked up a lesser man or even a plotting nobleman in a rotting cell beneath the headquarters of the Black Robes for twenty years if not life. It wouldn't really matter as it was complete hell.

Igor was mid-shot when he choked on the liquid he had only just poured into his mouth and sprayed it back out.

"You're joking."

"I'm serious. He has to go."

Chornarov was silent for a moment. "And is this is why you're here," he asked.

"I thought about it on the car ride up here. Aluxia will remain completely isolated, fated to continually circle an endless doldrums of arrogance and ignorance of others unless we change. And it starts with the top. You know I am right," Chornarov took a shot and looked at his friend.

"I need to know that you are with me," he asked. Silence filled the room for a minute.

Chornarov had been eying the paintings of his relatives. If they were still alive, they would have completely disowned him for what he was able to do.

He sighed and the Crown Prince prepared two more shots, the bottle nearly finished.

Chornarov took one of the glasses from the table. "Yes... Yes, I am with you," he took the shot. Kravos joined him a moment later.

"Good. I knew I could count on you," he responded. He had taken a major step forward but now everything would become far more dangerous. He, at that moment, had declared war against his own father.

"What's our first move?" questioned Igor.

"We need to find out who else who are friends," he said, "I doubt we have many like-minded nobles like you and I."

"Leave that to me," Igor offered. "It will take time but I think there is a far more urgent matter that needs to be addressed."

"That is?" inquired Kravos.

"We need a friend amongst the masses. We need to know that we ultimately go through with this that we have a friend, if not several, amongst the people. They need to be the true face of this movement.

The Crown Prince nodded. The hour was late. "I must return to Vardin," he said, not finishing before he scribbled something on a napkin, "meet me at this dock on the shores of Lake Viron in three days time at twilight."

Chornarov looked at the note and put it in his pocket. "I will," escorting his friend to the door and into the waiting company of the driver who had desired to stay here for the night before driving back but he wasn't going to argue with his charge. "We'll stay in Mireya tonight," he said. It was a city only twenty-five miles to the south. "I'll telephone the butler about setting up the rooms." The driver at least was relieved he didn't have to drive all night.

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Weeks had passed and five predominant individuals had been found to lead cells they would be led independently within reach major city of the Empire. To keep the Crown Prince from being associated with the movement until the right time, Igor would assume a false identity and covertly operated the resistance organization from the shadows. They would receive financial and material support from a 'generous' benefactor,' who was claimed to be subversive aristocrats who supported Kravos' position though, in reality, they came from the Crown Prince himself through a number of shell corporations he had formed using different identities for each. How he got these materials were never divulged but he had secretly gained several members of the military leadership to give him several weapons and resource crates under the guise of maintaining rural security.

Kravos and Chornarov arranged to meet privately in the less affluent neighborhoods of Vardin to discuss their next move. "The cells have their weapons and resources - enough to last them the next three months," he commented. The Prince nodded. "It'll have to last them until I can lock down a much more sustainable supply chain for them. Have they figured out what our first step should be?" he asked. Igor responded, "yes, they recommend a bombing attack on the Black Robes Headquarters."

"They're mad!" shouted Kravos. "Did they come with something else of equal...measure?"

"Er...yes...if you didn't want to attack the Robes, there is always the option of bombing Narlis."

"That sounds better and would knock out the country's only deep-sea port for days, if not weeks if we do this right."

"But doing so may cut the entire population off from vital supplies from Morheim."

"Then let's not bomb the port infrastructure, yet. Perhaps City Hall? The Mayor of Narlis is a firm supporter of my father's and there is no way he would support our cause. Not for all the Zemids in the world."

"Alright. I'll have the Narlis cell take out the Hall tomorrow night. What about the mayor?"

"Kill him."

"And who do you propose we have come in to take his place until our entire effort has achieved its goal?"

"Alexi Krylov. His former aide. He's always despised his boss. Don't worry, I've already talked to him and he's on our side."

"Anything else before I make the call?"

"No. We'll talk next steps after the current set of plans are carried out."

The following day, midday

Three men in deep red shirts and shrouded in black robes approached Narlis' City Hall. Most individuals didn't come to City Hall unless they had a reason. One of them took out a badge of the Black Robes security apparatus. The guard, fearing for his life, didn't question them and allowed them into the building. The last one to entered held a briefcase. They silent walked through the walls and down into the basement where they set up their bomb. A pair of janitors who were supporting their cell had placed several explosive charges in the room to add to the eventual implosion of the building. A timer was set for 2 minutes and the group quickly make their way to an exit on the opposite side of the basement and across the street.




The entire building erupted into millions of tiny concrete pieces, fire engulfed all within, including the Mayor. In total, there were seventy-three in the building, none survived. News of the Narlis bombing spread like wildfire and reached the Emperor's throne room within two hours. "...its total chaos down in Narlis," yelled Darvos. His son asked to speak which his irate father only begrudgingly allowed. "Narlis needs immediate support and an interim leader to keep order. We wouldn't want the people to take advantage of this incident to destroy the entire port in order to kill the men responsible for this."

"And who do you suggest?"

"Alexi Krylov. He was the former aide to the Mayor and he knows the entire city so the learning curve would be non-existent. Plus, the people have always had a good opinion of him so they wouldn't have the urge to kill him."

The Emperor was too irriated to think straight but neither was he in the mood to spar with his son. "Very well, inform him of the situtation and have him take charge at once."

"It shall be done father," he responded as he made his way to the nearest phone, a hidden smile on his face.

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