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Aluxia

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.

"What?"

"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.

3...

2...

1...

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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To: Valron, representative of the Nation of Aluxia

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion

Honoured sir,

May the the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion and the people of Ahromaneia offer their heartfelt sympathies at the atrocity that has just shaken your nation. I would be grateful if you could express that message to your sovereign, his majesty Davros XXII and to the people of your nation. This will show them that they do not stand alone at the mercy of terrorists and murderers, but that the glorious Aroman Empire also stands alongside them. Once word of this monstrous act spreads, many more nations will stand with Aluxia. This will send a most fearsome message to those who dare strike against your people in this manner.

And it was a most heinous act, striking at the centre of a city, undoubtedly showing the perpetrators for the villains that they are. That the ordinary populace has been so attacked is beyond comprehension. They obviously do not care that many ordinary citizens were injured or that they threatened the lives of many more. Clearly, it is an act of those who do not value the lives of the people of Aluxia. They are naught but criminals, enemies of not just Aluxia, but the rest of Eurth as well. As well as that, the fact that they struck against the city hall means that they may well be either trying to make a political statement against your government or just attempting to destabilise your proud nation. But perhaps that is edging towards conjecture and that may cloud any investigation into this despicable act.

The Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion will gladly send any aid that you might request, or that you or your noble sovereign feels that Aluxia might benefit from. We had hoped to try to help your nation's re-entry to the world by trying to smooth relations between the proud nation of Aluxia and your neighbour, the Naxian Republic. However, it seems that events have moved past that. Whilst perhaps offering prayers on your nation's behalf would not be as beneficial to your people, as you do not share the Christian faith, we can offer the next best thing – physical rather that spiritual aid. This is not to suggest that your nation cannot do this itself – far from it. But, as it is said, many hands make light work. It would be proof that you do not stand alone in these trying times and it might mean that these terrorists are spooked into either throwing themselves on your government's mercy or fleeing to the ends of the Eurth, never to trouble anyone again.

To this end, if his majesty decides that he would take up Arhomaneia's offer of aid, we can send anything from humanitarian to financial aid or even trained investigators, if needed. Sadly, even the gloried Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion has been struck in such a manner by cowards and malefactors before. Although the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has every faith that Aluxia will bring these terrorists to justice, the perspective offered by a foreign investigator may prove to be what is needed.

The people of Aluxia do not stand alone in these dark times. All of Eurth is with them.

I pray to Christ and all the Saints that this is the end of your glorious nation's tribulations and that the people of Aluxia are free to live their lives in peace and security, without the threat of such vile terrorist acts against them.

Eugenios Goulielmos,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion of Foreign Affairs

of the

Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion

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To: Valron, representative of the Nation of Aluxia

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

Honoured sir,

Arhomaneia would be willing to offer humanitarian and economic aid if need be, but it appears that this attack has not done much damage to the functions of the port itself, otherwise your messages would be considerably more urgent than they are. That in itself must be due to the will of God – otherwise, a much more crippling blow may have been struck against your nation. However, Tagmatium is still willing to offer such aid and support, if his majesty, Davros XXII, so wishes it.

What the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion will suggest is the offer of sending investigators, from our police and, if necessary, from our intelligence services. They may be able to provide insight that reveals who the perpetrators of this heinous crime is, as they could see something that is not obvious to someone from within your nation. This is not meant as an insult to your nation's security services, of course. That is something that I would not dream of doing. Outside methods and view points may provide information that brings these criminals to justice.

I see that you have determined that this attack has come from within your nation, rather than forces external to it. Although this may sound strange, I am glad of it. It would mean that the situation between your nation and the Naxian Republic has not got any worse since the offer of talks was put forward by Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion. I do hope that this terrorist atrocity will not harm these talks in any way.

On top of that, if these violent radicals are entirely internal, it will not stir up any trouble between Aluxia and any of your other neighbours. Hopefully, if your sovereign does take up this offer, Tagmatine help will be able to confirm this.

May God guide your nation back to a path of peace,

Eugenios Goulielmos,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion of Foreign Affairs

of the

Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

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From: Valron, External Representative and Advisor to Emperor Davros

To: Eugenios Goulielmos, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion of Foreign Affairs of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion

Thank you for your response to my previous communique. You are right - the port at Narlis wasn't damaged extensively so I will save us both time by not making a formal request for economic assistance. However, and I have already spoken to His Majesty about this, we would like some members of your intelligence services to be temporarily posted here in the Empire so we can root out these traitors and cowards as quickly as possible. In the aftermath of the attack, we have at least deduced it was not caused by a foreign entity as the explosive materials used came from a device that sees utilization with the Imperial Army which informs us that is solely an internal force. We will find them, it's only a matter of time.

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Free Aluxian Army Claims Responsibility for Narlis Attack

From Voryzd

An anti-Imperial organization that calls itself the Free Aluxian Army, has emerged from hiding to announce to the world that they were the ones responsible for the bombing of Narlis City Hall back in Early September. In a brief video sent to to our office, their leader, known only as a Mister X, stated that the reign of Emperor Davros and the autocratic rule of the last thousand years must end. He claims that the FAA has over 5,000 members from across the Empire including several detachments of the Imperial Army who have broken ranks to join their cause. Mister X demanded the Emperor abdicate immediately or the full fury of the movement would be mobilized, a number of individuals he stated could be even higher than 25,000 people. Valron, the Emperor's advisor and spokesman, rebuffed their threats by stating Emperor Davros is the legitimate monarch of the Aluxian Empire and no one would force him to leave the throne. He read a one-sentence remark by the Emperor saying that these 'cowards and traitors will be found and executed without delay.' Imperial forces throughout the Empire have been put on alert for potential hostility from this unknown entity in the coming days. Vorzyd caught Crown Prince Kravos as he was leaving the Ahrana-Aluxian football match abroad and he said he was not aware of what was going on but he would be brought up to speed upon his return home. This paper urges all loyal Imperial citizens to be fully aware of their surroundings and if they see something, to notify the proper authorities as soon as possible.

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Civil War Breaks Out Between Imperial and Free Aluxian Forces

The Aluxian Empire is in a state of civil war as the long-mysterious 'Mister X' finally showed his face - Dmitri Solov made a speech over the radio waves announcing that his "Free Aluxian Army" was formally declaring war upon the Imperial throne, proclaiming that the reign of the absolute monarchs must cease and democracy must be brought to this corner of Argis. Solov stated that loyal Aluxians in the tens of thousands have joined under their banner, as have the authorities of Zygaria. Rebel forces have already acted on their declarations and there have been reports of several attacks throughout the Highlands and the lower Drenz River Valley. Emperor Davros has responded to their open statement by ordering all rebels to be killed on sight - stating he was the rightful ruler of Aluxia and their resistance would be eliminated at whatever the cost.

Though the confrontation between the now-rebel forces and the Imperial authorities have been boiling for some time, it is the total disappearance of Crown Prince Kravos. He was last seen attending the Aluxia-Prymont ANAFA match in Vardin. As there is a possibility of the Aluxian national team will be competing at home in the ANAFA quarterfinals, the proposed security at the Stadium has been doubled and all ticket holders must have valid identification on file with the Aluxian police to be admitted. Additional security measures are being implemented by the security forces and information is being distributed to all citizens.

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Prime Ministry, Ayalon

Foreign Minister Halevi has read Solov's letter and brought it with him to the weekly meeting of the Security Cabinet. It was going to be a difficult conversation as there were signs of increased hostility from the Palladine Authority over the Government's intention of signing off on another 2,000 housing units in the Zahav settlement in the Samarran Valley. Present in the room besides the foreign minister were the ministers of defense, justice, finance, public safety, intelligence, interior, and transportation. Also observing participating in this session was the DFT Chief, General Sofer. At the head of the conference table was Prime Minister Lasker.

"We cannot get directly involved," said General Sofer. "The hard assets we have neither can be deployed in an efficient manner but we need all available manpower and material on hand in case the Palladines decide to strike into the Valley." Dagon knew Sofer was going to say that - that was his common go-to phrase. "I know that," he retorted, "can we potentially wire them some finances discreetly so that can purchase the needed materials through the grey market?"

The Finance Minister looked back at him and sighed, "we could quietly delay some small-scale projects and corral that money into a company we've used to transfer funds discreetly abroad. We could probably move around 25 million Shekels and then instruct them to 'sell' services to that entity. Others may see it as a 'protection racket' in terms of optics but its the best way to cover up our involvement within the financial network."

Lasker was listening to the conversation and then interjected, "what intelligence do we have on the current situation in Aluxia? We've never had good information." The intelligence minister placed a folder down on the table that he received from the Director of the Shai. "Unfortunately not a great deal. From what we know, the Imperial forces control 65 percent of the country and still have almost 90 percent of the military manpower and weaponry. Even in his weakened state following the Narlis bombings, there is nothing to confirm that he could be removed quickly. The Free Aluxian Army has a considerable array of men and equipment it has managed to gather in short order but as Solov's letter says," pointing to the document in front of Foreign Minister Halevi, "they have 4 months, and that is being generous."

He paused for a moment. "One of the biggest weaknesses any rebel force has other than having sufficient material to combat their opponent is information. They are essentially fighting this war completely blind. The Imperial Security Services and the grim Black Robes have them at a complete disadvantage." He looked to both sides of the room, then the Prime Minister and went onto finishing his comment, "we should plant several of our agents in Aluxia and have them provide both us, and them, on troop movements, unit compositions, codes, tactical information - everything that can aid the FAA."

The Prime Minister looked down the table, "anyone else has any comments they want to share before we take a vote?" He saw none. Jacob then proposed the motion: "I motion that we send the Free Aluxian Army 10 million Shekels and instruct the Shai to immediately begin active operations in Aluxia to the benefit of both the State and the Free Aluxian Army." It was seconded. "All those in favor?" Every hand was raised. "Unanimous. Dagon," Jacob spoke up, "work with Eri and Director Levin after on the meeting to get the wheels turning on this." The Foreign Minister nodded. Lasker then moved the group onto the next topic on the Security Cabinet's agenda.

"...Next on the agenda is today's threat made by the Palladine Authority and what our response will be..."

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To:  The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion.

From: The Right Honorable, Prime Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and the other ministers of the Cabinet. 

The United Kingdom of Great Burlington would like to stress its commitment to the Just War Theory and thus will not be joining you in providing military support to current civil war in Aluxia. But with this said, we would like to ensure @Tagmatium Rules that you are correct with what you said. Our nation has no issues with your navel pursuits near our waters. We will ensure that our navy personal will be aware of the presence of your ships and to react friendly if any get near them. 

May The Lord Jesus Christ bless you as you go forward. ~ The Great Burlington Cabinet 

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dcisl8n-297cb0cc-2e24-408a-b22a-1c97a512

The Aluxian Imperial Throne Speaks

To our friends and brothers in the Tagmatine Empire, it heartens me to hear that you reached out to us in our time of need. The situation which was at first a mere irritation has become a full-on rebellion as you've seen in the papers. My Black Robes are hard at work tracking down the treasonous wretches and this insurrection will be dealt with. However, the size and scale of this seditious force are quite staggering. The fact that they've managed to amass such a force in short means that this been in the planning for months, if not years. And they will pay. I am grateful to hear that His Most Distinguished and Honorable Emperor Kommodos III and the inspiring people of Arhomaneia stand with the right side in this conflict. Any and all assistance you can provide to me and my loyal soldiers in this struggle will be received with the utmost praise. In this struggle in preventing such chaos to spread to the rest of Argis, may our brotherhood grow ever closer. May we bring peace to Aluxia, swiftly.

So speaks Emperor Davros.

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Encrypted Communique

To: The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

From: Principalis Militaris Aedesia, of Bonesis.

Honorios,

I'm honoured to hear from you. I'm glad to see the administrative cogs in the Arhomanion are still turning, and our neighbours are still shining their light on the world. 

I have ordered the preparation of several warehouse facilities in Port Regio, and Adrotiri. The facilities should be sufficient, if not, I have given planning permission to the local areas for additional facilities to be constructed at your request. You're more than welcome to our hospitality. We can discuss the compensation upon the completion of your endeavours. 

I'd also like to add. Our recent operation in the Northern Adlantic have allowed us to establish some secure, and efficient logistical lines between the Adapton mainland, and our operating areas. We'd be more than happy to assist you logistically along those lines in your efforts to assist in Aluxia. In addition, Adapton air assets are currently on standby, and we also have a legions worth of troops in the area, in preparation for actions against the state of Greater Serbia, however, due to crisis internal to them, we have held those forces in reserve for now. Please, feel free to utilise these if you wish. However, I am sure that mighty Ahromanion Military of the Holiest of Empires will have no issues in their efforts. 

I wish you well, and please send His Holiness Kommodos the regards of the College, especially Augustus. 

Sincerely, 

Principal Aedesia. 

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To: Principalis Militaris Aedesia, of the Bonesis Academy of Art, Literature and Martial Excellence, Grand Federal Imperium of @Adaptus

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

Principalis Militaris Aedesia,

I am sure that the facilities that you have put aside will be sufficient, at least for the forces that Arhomaneia is planning on putting into Aluxia at the moment. If future events necessitate an expansion of the expeditionary forces, then I will make sure that you are aware of it. You will be kept abreast of any developments on that side of it, as you have been most gracious in your offer towards us and smooth running demands that you and your government are kept in the loop.

I have also discussed the matter of Adapton supply lines and forces in Adrotiri with the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator and we have decided to take you up on your offer of support. Fundamentally, Adapton troops and aircraft in the area will be better supplied and prepared than Tagmatine ones, who will be arriving after a relatively long period of time embarked on ships. Our forces have worked together often enough that I do not fear any difficulties with command and control and I am sure that your nation's skill at arms will complement those of mine. However, nothing will be committed until all of our forces are concentrated and ready to begin restoring order to the troubled lands of Aluxia.

May Christ ever be your light,

Honorios Kontarian,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion ton Stratiotikou

of the

Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion


To be bored of the intricate and unending ceremonies of life in the Imperial Palace Complex would be to be bored of life, thought Kontarian as the doors to the Imperial Office were opened in front of him. He didn't ever remember having to knock upon them, even on the rare occasions he'd stood in front of them during the reign of Kommodos' predecessor, Theodosios VI. The Megas Logothetes also knew that there was no spyhole or camera for someone to peep through to monitor those approaching the door. The two white-robed bodyguards on either side of the door didn't communicate with anyone inside, either. They just snapped to attention and remained facing directly ahead. It was all part of the power play that the ceremonies represented, to make everyone know that it was the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator who was the ruler, who knew everything before they did. In some reigns that had been nothing but hollow.

It was expected that the Megas Logothetes and the two officers behind him were going to be on time and Kontarian had no idea what would have been the case if any of them were late. It probably would have thrown the workings of the Tagmatine government off enough that Eurth would have found that one of the Great Powers had collapsed in on itself by the next morning.

As soon as the door was opened, two more bodyguards stepped forwards, holding their long maces so that the way into the office itself was blocked. A priest in pristine black robes and wearing a simple wooden crucifix stepped forward from behind the Maghlabitai and blessed Kontarian and the two officers. Once he had done so, the red-robed guards stepped back and allowed the three to enter into the office. Then they took ten steps into the room and stopped just before a mosaic of Europa on the floor of the Imperial Office, bordered with martial and hunting scenes which became geometric patterns and Christian symbols towards the edges of the room. The three then gave a deep bow, much lower than the greeting usually given to each other amongst the Arhomaioi, but then they were performing it to the Elect of God, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator himself. They waited in this position for seven seconds, representing the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and another priest made the sign of the cross over them.

When he had stepped away from Kontarian and the two officers, Kommodos' voice issued from the end of the room.

“You may rise, my children.”

They walked further into the room, across the vast mosaic. It was an ancient work of art and although the Megas Logothetes knew he had walked across it hundreds of times, part of him still regretted doing it. A sheet of plexiglass laid across it would, admittedly, spoil the aesthetic but at least it would mean the maintenance costs were lower. More bodyguards arranged about the room snapped to attention as the small group drew parallel with them. Silken hangings were draped on the walls behind the guards. The trio was arranged in a strict protocol, with the army officer on the right, from the point of view of Kommodos, due to being a member of the Tagmatine senior service, and then the naval officer and finally the civilian Megas Logothetes to the sovereign's left. Once they got to the chairs in front of the desk, they bowed again. This was held for five seconds, five being the number of the wounds of Christ.

“Be seated, my children.”

Kontarian stepped forward and moved to the chair on the desk's right and the two officers moved to the side, which represented the primacy of the civilian administration over the armed forces and the entire group sat down as one. He found that the ceremonies gave him time to think, a break when he could more or less instinctively go through the movements and have a bit of peace to himself. Although this time he'd spent it thinking about the ceremony, which kind of negated the point of it.

Megas Logothetes Kontarian, Taxiarkhes Mezezios and Navarkhes Ethelred,” said Kommodos, looking at each of them in turn. “May the blessing of Christ be upon you. I thank you for coming. May I offer you some refreshment?”

“We thank you for allowing us some of your precious time, O most Christian majesty. We hope that it will be a fruitful meeting, God be willing,” said Mezezios, his voice quavering slightly. He had never been at a meeting with the Tagmatine monarch before and Kontarian thought that he looked nervous. More than nervous, probably – there were beads of sweat noticeable on his brow. It was his place to reply to Kommodos, as he was the senior army officer present. Once he had, all three of them stood again and bowed, this time for a count of three for the Holy Trinity. Three members of the emperor's staff came from behind them and placed the refreshments that had been offered on side tables next to their chairs. The Megas Logothetes saw that Mezezios almost downed his glass of water in one.

But the ceremony was over and the actual meeting could begin. The familiar sight of the head bodyguard, Hadrianos, and the imperial secretary stood behind Kommodos' chair. Kontarian and the secretary, Boioannes, exchanged a slight nod.

“The Epistrategaion has presented its plans to you, Imperial Majesty, and I believe that they are the best,” Kontarian said. “Taxiarkhes Mezezios will head the ground elements, whilst Navarkhes Ethelred will lead the naval force and have overall operational control. The Navarkhes has worked with the Adaptons before, being part of the naval operations during the AdSoc War.”

“And the Taxiarkhes led the expeditionary force to Tarragat Island, although as a Droungarios.” Kommodos finished the statement for Kontarian and looked over at Mezezios, who seemed to have calmed down since he had sat down. The promotion from the Tagmatine equivalent of brigadier to lieutenant general had taken Mezezios over twelve years, something almost unheard of. After the end of the Tarragat Island War, he had been taken ill but it was felt by the Tagmatine High Command that he had improved himself enough that a chance at commanding a major operation was well within his abilities.

Boioannes leant forward and placed a sheet of paper in front of Kommodos. It was the listings of the forces the Epistrategaion intended to dispatch to Aluxia. The Agios Basileos had read it before and now merely glanced at the page before looking back to Kontarian.

“In fear of repeating myself, the size of the naval element will cause some consternation in other powers. We will have to warn the Kingdom of Seylos, which may rub them up the wrong way a bit, considering we have only really just started diplomatic relations with them. Great Burlington, too, but now I am definitely repeating myself.”

“I have already informed the Logothesion ton Barbaron of this, Megas Logothetes,” replied Kommodos. “I do not wish to upset other nations, but it will be perceived as a show of force which, of course, it is.”

And it definitely damn well is, thought Kontarian. Two carrier battle groups with attendant vessels will be enough for most nations in the eastern part of Argis to sit up and take notice. And probably further afield, too. Part of him thought it was a bit much, all told. However, there was a high likelihood that at least some of those forces would be detached to guard the long supply lines, even if the Adaptons were going to be helping out, to some respect. Nonetheless, feathers would be ruffled.

The Navarkhos shuffled slightly and the movement caught his eye. The admiral was handsome, a trim, athletic figure and a salt-and-pepper beard. His looks, his father-to-his-men personality and exotic barbarian ancestry had made him popular in the aftermath of the AdSoc War with the general population, and bored society ladies, although that may have just been the rumour mill. Kontarian knew that he wasn't that comfortable with meeting Kommodos, despite having done so before. And the Megas Logothetes also knew what Stylianos was concerned about.

He took a deep breath and said it for the naval officer.

“Whilst the Epistrategaion, and my Logothesion, feels that we have a relatively accurate picture of the situation in Aluxia, your majesty, one of the shared concerns is that they might attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. If not now, then in the future.”

Kommodos sat forward in his chair and steepled his fingers, a familiar gesture to those in the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion. He remained silent, however.

“It is in their best interests to paint themselves as in a position of strength, at least for the time being. If they appear too weak then, imperial sovereign, there is a chance that we'll withdraw our support.”

“Similarly, Megas Logothetes, it is in their interests to not appear so strong that they don't need the Arhomaioi to support them,” said Kommodos. “This will have to be determined as best can be. Agents of the AND will accompany the expeditionary fleet, in order to attempt to gather information independently of the Aluxians, in order to make sure that they are not feeding us propaganda. It shall be made clear that our force of arms operates best when fully appraised of the situation.”

Kontarian nodded. It would be the first steps towards being able to function properly and not at the mercy of a government that appeared to more autocratic that Tagmatium.

“A treaty or at least a communication is to be drafted to outline how our forces will operate when in Aluxia,” Kommodos continued. “That will be the next thing for your logothesion and that of Goulielmos. You will make it clear that it has my full support, although you will need to liaise with the Epistrategaion. I do not want Tagmatine armed forces fed into the a meatgrinder by barbaroi.”

It would certainly look bad, thought Kontarian. Both on the world stage and in Arhomaneia.

“And it needs to be made clear that Tagmatine forces will not sit idly by and watch atrocities take place. We have not protested the actions of Derthalen or Greater Serbia to just watch it take place under our noses. That I will not allow.”

Was that almost a passionate tone creeping into the Agios Basileos' voice there? It had taken almost thirteen years for the Megas Logothetes to hear that.

“I fully understand, imperial majesty.”

Kommodos nodded and Kontarian knew that he would not meddle with the plans of the Epistrategaion. The Agios Basileos might be a dictatorial in his actions and methods, but he never involved himself with military strategies, for which the armed forces were thankful for. He was a bureaucrat at heart, having worked for the Logothesion ton Barbaron before coming into higher office. He expected loyalty and, in return, gave them more or less free rein during conflict. For good or ill.

“My children, I thank you for bringing this to my attention. May the blessings of Christ be upon you.”

That, Kontarian knew, was the end of the meeting and the start of the ceremony to leave the room. With an internal sigh, he and the two officers got to their feet.


FF2GAwK.jpg

To: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of @Seylos

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

Minister Geoffrey Tatum,

As you are no doubt aware, the nation of Aluxia has a civil war raging within its borders. Its government is attempting to hold back a force of rebels that are trying to overthrow it and cast it to the ground. This is rapidly turning into not just a humanitarian crisis, but one that may spill out further.

The start of the war was heralded by an act of terrorism that killed many dozens and it does not seem that the traitors have sated their lust for destruction with that one act. Due to the fact that it is spiralling out of control, and the fact that the Megas Agios Basileia has good relations with the current government and wishes to see the preservation of law and order, my nation is dispatching a force to bring stability to Aluxia.

Whilst the Tagmatine force will stay clear of Seylos' territorial waters, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator has felt it best that your nation is forewarned of our actions and intentions. At no point does Arhomaneia threaten your honoured nation or its interests.

May God forever grant you peace,

Eugenios Goulielmos,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion ton Barbaron

of the

Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion


FF2GAwK.jpg

To: Valron, representative of the Nation of @Aluxia

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion

Honoured sir,

I have been instructed by Agios Basileos kai Autokrator to inform you that Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion has dispatched an expeditionary force to help your government restore your great nation to order and to banish these terrorists and traitors back to the holes whence they came.

It will consist of several elements, including a ground based one and a naval one. The ground forces will consist of a corps-sized element of two divisions, along with supporting units. The naval force, which is both to help you retain control of your territorial waters, provide air support for any ground combat units and guard the supply lines back to Arhomaneia, will be of two carrier battle groups.

With this, the assassins and malcontents that harry you will be no more.

My government does request that we need to make rules of engagement clear, as well as command and communication. The earlier that this is sorted out, the easier it will be and the number of incidents that may happen will be reduced. Ideally, this will be in place before Tagmatine forces make landfall.

Fear God and He will grant you victory,

Eugenios Goulielmos,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion ton Barbaron

of the

Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

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Imperial Aluxian Armed Forces

To the Honorable Goulielmos, Megas Logothetes, Logothesion ton Barbaron, Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

The Emperor has informed me that His Exalted Majesty, Kommodos III, has decided to support my efforts in keeping the nation unified under the banner of the Imperial eagle. I am sure he has said that he is grateful for the assistance, as am I. As I read your communique about rules of engagement: I too want to set those rules. It is in my intention that a direct line between the Imperial Palace, in which the Military High Command operates out of, be connected to the eventual headquarters of the Tagmatine expeditionary forces.

It is my intention to use your men where it makes the most practical for the equipment you bring with you, nor will I put your men into a situation in which they will be found and surrounded by the Free Army. It is practical that both forces engage in daily briefings including items that involve intelligence to the extent relevant to particular theatres of the conflict and reported counts of men both dead and alive. I have instructed some of the military forces in Narlis to begin preparing a dedicated camp space for your operations in Aluxia - to be used to whatever extent you desire over the course of the conflict.

It may be prudent at the Aluxian Imperial Military and the Tagmatine expeditionary command have a joint operations base in order to better coordinate on the ground. We do not expect the Tagmatine forces to arrive for some time, no doubt between the assembling the force and gathering the materials required to supply them, the Imperial military will do whatever it can to keep the Free Army at bay. We believe your air support will be critical in defeating the Free Aluxian Army in the long-term. To that end, we have begun all efforts to deprive them of any military aircraft, which may include destroying any we cannot manage to protect.

In Brotherhood, we will destroy them. The Free Aluxian Army will not destroy this beautiful country. Order will be maintained. To victory.

~General Magar Halsek 

Edited by Aluxia
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***CONFIDENTIAL***

To: The Eland

From: Yogar Pofko, Free Aluxian Army

A high-ranking official within the Fulgistani Government provided us with your contact information and we have followed all instructions concerning its safekeeping. For the purposes of ensuring our communication is not comprised, I will be the only contact that will be responsible for speaking with you and there will be no others carbon-copied to our transmissions and communiques.

With that out of the way, I was told that you are are man of considerable knowledge and depth of network who can put our forces in connection with certain elements who may be willing to provide resources of a rather clandestine and covert manner. The sooner we can speak with them, the sooner the Free Aluxian Army can begin planning its first major offensive.

I look forward to your response at your earliest opportunity.

Time is of the essence. 

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Endvo

A group of five men stood in a dimly-lit room beneath the Zygarian capital building, looking at maps and charts that been detailed by the FAA's recon teams. Cigarettes littered the floor and vodka bottles could be seen on several chairs. One would have thought this room was nothing more than the Governor's secret party room but it was not: it was the emergency headquarters of the Free Aluxian Army. Premier Solov did not intend to make it a permanent space. FAA engineers and technicians were already at work refurbishing a reclaimed Imperial administrative building but it wouldn't be ready for use for a week or more.

"The Imperials have military units guarding the bridges at these points," said one military official, Colonel Zarbo. "However," he pointed to a ford in the Upper Drenz, "they have ignored this spot on the river, ten or fifteen miles to the west of Chukba. We could send in the 4th Infantry Battalion, backed by an armored unit and a small detachment of the Zygarian Artillery." He paused. "Although the nearest Imperial force is not directly on the other side of the ford, there are 2 Infantry brigades here and artillery units on this hill. We'll need to clear them out."

General Orzik spoke up in concurrence, "Premier, I concur with the Colonel's analysis. But I would recommend more artillery." Solov, who lit probably the fourth cigarette since the start of the day, took a quick drag, took a puff and released it from his mouth. "Fine, another four artillery pieces can be deployed with them. Cannot risk using the mobile rocket launchers. We'll need them for our push southward." Zarbo took note of the additional force and continued with his briefing.

"Great, we should have considerable ability to claim the ford and the immediate area," he paused. "There is one other situation, in Chukba itself."

"Yes?" asked Dmitri, taking a puff on the cigarette.

"Our recon team made contact with two Kuzha during a covert sweep of the city..."

"And?" Both Orzik and Zarbo looked at each other. "They want us to get as many of their Juddish community out of Aluxia."

He knew this was going to happen. "We clearly cannot get them out by ship, we have no port in our control...unless..." Solov began scanning the map with expediency. "Can we take Gadrin?"

There was silence in the room, only broken by General Alexei Kornov.

"It is possible," he began, "but it will be costly. It's only forty miles to the south and it's likely the Imperial forces have rockets aimed at it to deprive us of it."

"Then we'll deploy our own, get people down there. We need that port. Otherwise, whatever international support we could potentially receive is going to be minimal."

"But sir...can I be frank. We cannot attempt to take both Chukba and Gadrin..."

"We don't have a choice. We have to get both. As soon as possible. If there is one that that will help us is getting the Juddish community on our side and by extension, the Government of Tikva. This is not up for debate. You have your orders. Make it happen, that is the end of the conversation. Now," he said, stamping out his cigarette on the floor. "I have a meeting with Crinya."

He took his leave. The three military officers look at each other with, all in concurrence that either their de facto leader had either made a brilliant military move or that a number of brave patriots were going to lose their lives in a folly effort.

 

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Vardin

El Al hadn't canceled flights to Aluxia's capital since the civil war had erupted. Four Shai operatives had been assigned to make their way to the territory held by the Free Aluxian Army and to provide their 'services.' The plane had landed at Vardin's modest airport - it didn't see many flights daily. On their plane alone, there were only a handful of people - exactly 10. Some in the airline business would say that operating such flights were unsustainable but the Government mandated the company continue its schedule on an illusion of confidence in the current Imperial throne and to 'be prepared for further activity' should the need be required.

The head of the operation was an experienced agent by the name Raphael Bauman, who had shown talent in basic training to be given an opportunity to serve his country in the reconnaissance squad of the elite 1st Golani Division of the Army. Following several successful operations, the nation's intelligence bureau, the Shai, heard of his talents and had him brought off the front lines and to work from the shadows. His instructions were quite explicit: connect with the Free Army by whatever means. It wasn't the first time his superiors had given him no guidance whatsoever. The Aluxian officials glanced at his passport with considerable care. Clearly, there were tensions and they were not as much to do with the war as it was from where he was coming from, let alone his own appearance. Despite this, the Aluxian inspectors had bigger fish to catch than cause an incident with him and so let him on his way.

He emerged from the terminal building and witnessed the first hints of concern in Vardin. Soldiers were everywhere. From the building entrance to the gates of the entire airport. The reigning monarch didn't take anything for granted. He may have controlled the capital but fighting a civil war in this day in age was far different than if it had occurred at the turn of the last century, or even further back in time. Due to the war, travelers were light and there was all but one car waiting out front - it was for him and his colleagues. "Your friend Uri sent me to collect you," said the driver. Raphael nodded and nodded to his fellow operatives and all got into the car. Just as they exited the airport, they were halted by soldiers.

"Where are you going?" asked the commanding soldier. "Tikva Mission, Embassy Quarter." The squad of soldiers eyed them and returned their gaze to the driver. "These two trucks of men will escort you," the commanding officer said. The driver nodded and turned back to his passengers. "Paranoia over rebel attack," he said, "has them all on edge." Bauman didn't respond and thought to himself particularly because the rebels were hundreds of miles away and wherein no position to assault the capital anytime soon. 

The now-convoy of vehicles made their way towards the center of the capital. Driving through the suburban ring and into the center, soldiers were ever-present. "Martial law is in effect," said one loudspeaker they drove past. "Please comply with all regulations." The driver remarked, "it's been like this for nearly two weeks. Won't be changing anytime soon." Soon enough the vehicles reached the barricaded Embassy Quarter where hundreds of Aluxians were arguing with soldiers and law enforcement personnel to get through - all of whom wanted to escape the country and the chaos unfolding. Their escort peeled away and returned to the airport while their car slipped through the gates and approached the Mission. Ambassador Asimov was waiting for them outside.

"Brothers and sisters, I am happy to hear that you made it," he announced as the group of four got out. "We have much to talk about it, Bauman," the ambassador paused, "I have a gift for you in the basement, I will have Aram bring it up." The group of five moved to Uri's study to begin their meeting. Idle chit-chat while Aram brought Raphael's 'gift' upstairs.

He placed it on the table in front of them, "thank you, you are dismissed." He took his leave. "Now, let's get right to the chance. We do not have long. You might have gotten into Vardin, getting out of it is incredibly difficult," he paused before continuing. "I have some items that may aid your mission including a rough sketch of the Vardin sewers compiled by some...contacts I have within the Imperial Security units here. I recommend you use it to guide yourselves through to the outskirts of the city. I have some burner phones with pre-paid cards for inter-team communications. I have also placed in a small directory of essential numbers. Do not lose it under any circumstances. Eat it if you must, but memorize first."

"Along with the standard gear you'd probably need. I've also managed to sneak you a few weapons that I purchased on the 'grey' market. Ammo is also included. Be careful with your supply. I am aware of your brief mission getting in contact with the FAA. It is much too challenging to go straight across the country where the fighting is stewing. Instead, there is another location that may be far easier to liaise with them. Make your way north to Chukba. I hear they are making a push there in the very near future."

The ambassador scanned the room. "Any questions?"

"What about the 10 million Shekels we're contributing," said one of the four operatives.

"I've already taken care of it. Do not worry about it. You have more important things that concerning yourself with the disbursement of dark money."

Seeing no other inquiries, he concluded his conversation with the group, "stay here in the embassy this evening, and make your way to the sewer grate in the back of the compound after midnight. You have to be out of the sewers by sunrise." Each operative shook his hand and got up.

Raphael was the last to stand up and shake Uri's hand. He was pulled in closer. "You have to hurry and get to Chukba. I haven't heard from Kuzha Yosef Khaimov and Mikel Levitin in five days."

Bauman nodded. "We'll find out what's going on." Uri escorted him out to his colleagues. "Feel free to use the third-floor guest rooms to prepare."

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Statement from the Government of Tikva

On the Situation in Aluxia

"...this Government has been actively monitoring the situation that has been rapidly unfolding in Aluxia since the beginning of hostilities between the reigning Government and the Assembled Opposition. It is no secret that relations between Juddish people and the Aluxian monarchies of both in recent times and well into the past have always been on edge. Since the late 1890s, over 4 million Aluxian Juddish people have emigrated to the land. We are devastated to hear of the conflict. Our emissary in Vardin, Uri Asimov, has been informing this Government on activities several times a day, each report more saddening than the last..."

"...we have read from numerous news sources, including media outlets based in the Tagmatine Empire, that has called out this Government for taking no action to protect the Juddish minority that resides in Aluxia. Such attacks are incorrect in the slightest. Ambassador Asimov has been meeting with Imperial authorities daily on matters pertaining to our fellow brothers and sisters alongside notable Kuzha in the capital. The Imperial Palace has assured our representative that no Juddish person will come of harm by Imperial authorities throughout the conflict. They've also stated they would give those seeking the aid of our Mission priority access to the Embassy Quarter. By way of our Mission, this Government has also secured one additional privilege for the next 9 days: increased access to Aluxian airspace..."

"...for any Juddish person who wishes to evacuate Aluxia and obtain asylum in Tikva should make their way to Vardin immediately. Our air carrier, El Al, will be allowed to temporarily increase its flights between Harel and Vardin from once-daily to thrice-daily. We will try and extract as many people as possible on these flights. Following the 9-day period, this Government will convene to discuss the next steps that may be needed. To care for those who intend to take up the Government's offer, we will set aside an allotment of funds to provide shelter, food, and other services as needed..."

"...it is the position of this Government that both the Imperial authorities and the Opposition, known as the Free Aluxian Army, should swiftly bring an end to the conflict by coming to the negotiating table to find a compromise that brings both order and progress, to this long-lasting land..."

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  • Posts

    • If it makes you feel any better, it wouldn't be for quite some time. Given events elsewhere, in particular down in Aurelia, it wouldn't be as 'substantive' as those already involved or could be involved due to proximity.
    • You could do it before they secure any port facilities and use it to infiltrate more agents. It's not like anyone is going to refuse a hospital ship entry to a port, especially if everyone's still trying to be nice to each other. Although that would be naughty.
    • I'm behind the FAA. The Joint Revolutionary Task force is going to do their best to provide whatever covert aid they can to the budding democratic movement.   Edit: I forgot to mention, I'm also going to dispatch one of my hospital ships to Aluxia once the FAA is able to secure a port, to evacuate refugees and the wounded.
    • I am still jumping in Aluxia with The Military Order of Camillus to provide neutral aid. It had been awhile since we discussed it but don't worry I'm still gonna post haha
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