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In death there is beauty
We will sleep like angels
With the tranquility of innocence
Death is our sanctuary
From the woes of life;
In death we will find peace
Death brings us unwavering hope
For the time of resurrection;
In death we will find love eternal.

I once served the Path of the Warrior, for the honor of my duke to be. He promised that I would be a daughter to lead a royal bloodline of Renor Sargtlin from the ashes. That he would explain why I had but a vague remembrance of my family before this one of decadence. A feeling that had always tugged upon my heart and mind. 

Every clan needs faithful if blind followers, and I was one. Comforted by the presence of the old father, yearning to please and become apart of a family, I did things that brought tragedy to other's lives. In the end without becoming like they, I became a monster through their machinations and will.

We guarded this line during all hours of day and night, as the sun beat down upon the earth from heavenly skies so blue and at night, with the stars as shining beacons of light in the abyss. We became sheltered in their center, yet at a moment's cause, we'd be thrown to the wolves to protect them. In the end, we were the chaff to the wind. I thought I was going to die nameless, just another body that bled out upon many a battlefield.

I suppose before my melodrama gets to far, I should reflect more of my past. As a child I had the illustrious honor of acquiring fame by defending myself from members of a rival bloodline. They had come in the night, looking to end the progenitors of those who bear the mark Sargtlin. If they were successful, the political chaos that would have come, could have become the end for us.

I never gave in to the demands wanted of my eventual captors after my first few moments of fighting. They being the dissolution of sweat and blood, and a ransom that would have destroyed the lives of my sisters and brothers.. Thus because of my righteous belief of self sacrifice, I doomed myself to the whims of my captors, not that they believed me to be alive anyways. My captors, the Vek Kyorl were quite well known for grisly ends, and that most taken, did not ever come back. 

I survived nearly three years before being consumed by the nature of their appetites of the decadent splinter line Kyorl, and in doing so attracted the interest of Tutesuko Kyorl, a prodigal son that had come to be a figure of power and chosen heir of the clan, Thenik Vek Kyorl. 

Groomed to being a trophy for Tutesuko, I found myself amongst the most vile, decrepit, decadent sorts this world has ever laid eyes upon. And in this world, I happened to excelled at what was commanded of me. Even a trophy had to have a use, and mine would be to prevent damage to the consort of the heir apparent. In this fashion I became a daughter, and yet, I knew I would never be considered such, until I had proven my worth as both a traitor, a soldier, and of all things, a believer in their line's mantra about the rule of the world, and how it would be theirs.

It proved it's worth in the nights that came not much long afterwards. The older ones are prone to naming events such as this with fancy names, " Fangs of the Night " and such nonsense. In truth it was a coup. Our duke, the great herald of Kyorl went out like a lamb to slaughter. It was a method of culling, only the strong would survive and keep the bloodline from growing to spread out and weak. I witnessed and took part in this event, and in a flash of a moment, stabbed my keeper, consort of the heir apparent, Tutesuko, in the back. He screamed as the blade forged with underhanded dealings with an Olath Orn dreamer who shall remain nameless and as dead forever as that of the heir with a blade that sealed his fate. As he bled out, I felt no remorse or pity and consumed what was left of him. Everything he knew, dreams and hopes I now had and thus my place as a monster was sealed.

The lull in her head became a distant throbbing and the world snapped back into the present..

Vela Vek Kyorl stood before the door containing her prize. She stood just under two meters tall, white hair cut into a warrior stripe and grown a bit long so that it covered the right side of a shaven head. Eyes of cold grey peered forth. As was customary, the half mask of a respirator clung to chin and about cheeks, flesh of face and exposed areas of arms offered that frostbitten appearance. Various serpentine artworks inked into the flesh were invisible under combat harness. Another glance paid towards the high tech lock and then she made a flicking hand gesture towards a pair behind her as walking the other way.

The guardians of this blown position, laid out behind her, the forces of the Vek Kyorl were of a specialized background, and had dealings with other house born commandos before. 

The two gestured at where a door resided, once heavily defended by these traitors, one using a cocking gun to squirt what looked as if toothpaste around the edges of the door. The second attached a small blocky object to a cross section and then both were headed to the point of the hallway that curved about. The Haru equivalent for " Fire in the Hole " sounded and the blast tore the moorings of the door in the pattern created. Said door lurched forward and smashed into the tile flooring. The muted but still quite loud sound would have had these traitor legionnaires running here, had they not been neutralized earlier. 

Similar gesture of right hand, and the pair were dashing through the smoke and into the complex. Those found within, dealt with. Security personnel, medical staff, and other traitors smote from the constraints of life. This continued until reaching a cell of some sort or another, a prison within a prison. 

A man was pulled forth, one of hers on either arm. His labcoat smudged around the edges, a wild look to his eyes as spectacles hung from one ear. Vela casually glanced at her prize. " Greetings Doktor, it's time for you to be of service to the Imperium again.." A needle slid into his arm and the contents would knock him out almost instantly. She twirled her right finger and the others, six in total headed for the breached entrance that had been made. A waiting 4x4 parked just outside, and the doktor was put into the back with two at either side while the others settled in the seats. 

Vela reached for the radio in the vehicle. " Thrush to Nest, Egg Found.."

There was no response, though she doubted there would be. This was enemy territory, the outermost southern vale territories of the North, and still full of danger. The driver floored it and the 4x4 surged forward, speeding down the paved road, eventually turning onto a gravel covered one that led towards the ruins of the city Atharin, first city to be struck by in the Long War nearly forty years ago. Skyscrapers had been turned inwards and or destroyed outright, with dirt, concrete, and weeds overtaking the rest of the remains. 

As the scenery flashed by, Vela kept her right hand out of sight while it gripped the sub-machine-gun carried, eyes hunting as this place did not evoke the feelings of safety. As coming around a corner, a flashing blue light could be seen from the top most section of a hollowed out building, the 4x4 bounced and boogied towards this source of illumination.

Battle of Hamaii, History Repeating

Graer scowl somewhat as skulking in the ruins of a school. In front and directly across what was an intersection, in the ruins of a grocery store were an opposing force. It was highly unclear as to what they were, though he could take a guess. Remnants of potentially one of a dozen regiments perhaps, or potentially even HTF Legionnaires. He'd count on the last, as they had both taken movements and been countered each time.

A sigh and flick of the wooden match against the crumbling stone. It was a sign of bad luck to light a cigar with a zippo. Uncivilized it was. A light turn towards those of his company that had survived the zig zagging up until here. There had been thirty warriors of Elemmiire Templar at his command, now there was ten. Enemy snipers, roving patrols and what not had withered his command down considerably. Tough place to hole up in to. Siet-Khan Dak, ever with his filterless Naji cigarettes, the sour tobacco smell permeating, the long term use reddened the teeth nearly crimson in the staining. Weary nod of head towards his newly promoted second, cracking a look through a roughly made peephole across to his opponents. Damn war was going to get him killed. As it had his previous second, Huran had died taking fire in a burned out apartment buildings remains against secessionist NTC militia forces.

Gesture towards his troop, each scurrying about. Hult'ah Ekal crawled on his belly, carrying the heaviest weapon besides the ACS-01 and the CCNML-01 AMR in their arsenal, the GLM-01. The light machine gun had earned it's marks, reliable and light enough to pack with the advanced legionnaire scout units. Nod of head and Ekal began to burst fire towards the enemy position. Cigar between clenching lips, wordless orders given to Aseigan Thak're who carried the ACS-01 to flank to the right with equally ranked Aseigan Ka'Zr who hefted a DMR version of the GAR-01TB AR, and took aim as Ekal provided the covering fire. The sound from the semi-auto shotgun's high explosive rounds as it fired was ridiculously loud and there was a shatter of debris and plume of fire and dark smoke where it hit the grocery store.

Over the broken wall he used his right hand to aid in the leaping over process. Ducking down, and scurrying across the broken pavement and crumbling sidewalks. Lifting the HBAS bullpup AR overhead in a sideways fashion and peppering an area where he'd seen movement just a bit before their rush maneuver. The harsh tongue never forgotten by their kin, nor any who knew of them, would be barely heard above the din of weapons fire. Clinking objects came in through the broken windows, bouncing against makeshift defense and exploded. Shrapnel grenades tore through defenders and makeshift defensive position alike knowing no difference between the two.

A sharp crack signified at least a few surviving as Hult'ah Faael clutched chest, a fist sized hole leaking a red river between gloved fingers as the sniper's blow had killed the young man. Slow, as if time had stopped, the unit now down to nine watched as Faael fell to knee's and then forward to the pavement. Graer shouted to another, Setg'in Kale to find cover as the rapid firing of a simsil found Kale as he had attempted to find cover near a burned out civilian automobile. Stitched up the left side, from thigh to neck, Kale was quite dead before hitting the ground without so much as a groan. Graer rolled and aimed upwards, at a ledge of the grocery store's second demolished level and depressed the secondary trigger to the 35mm grenade launcher. A high whining whistle and rough recoil followed, split second later a body smoldering from the thermite explosive fell somewhat near Kale. The body looked like any other corpse when dead save the uniform, which was a black fatigue with harness. HTF specialist, a bit of a curse before continuing.

One by one, eight voices responded as they cleared the grocery store, and found a defender or two alive. Barely. He wasnt at all familiar with the ranking system of the tratior kin, they had after all become foreign to he and the rest of the true Haru. A glance to his men, if he killed them now, there would be no reprecussion, at least from their own side. In native he barked at Yeyinde Tar'nel. The medic had been covering them with his MSG-01, but Graer found the infantry-medic an added burden, mainly because he never seemed to fire the weapon.

A glance to the pair of living defenders and then to the medic. It was time he was blooded. Steadier hands then Graer had thought he'd have, lifted the MSG-01 and two bursts sounded off. The recoil making the medic's body sway some. Inspecting the dead, making sure, he noted the excellent shots. One's brain had been splashed against the wall, from the the bullet tearing through the center of eyes, just above nose. The other had a gaping wound on the other side of the mouth, a hole that you could see as the lifeless corpses mouth hung open. Satisfied, patted the medic on the shoulder and gave the order to move out. There were more to purify this day.

Hamaii, Central District

No retreat would come, no order to fall back, to the eyes of their enemies they would never be dissuaded by the incoming fire, or the ferocity of artillery barrages. The banzai charges would not cease, nor the holdouts outgunned. For every village reclaimed by Empress Kira'Karn's legionnaires, they would return the cost of blood, for every house, many pounds of flesh were the price.

Crying their foul tongue, their dark language, political officers of the traitorous NTC inspired their troops in the face of all odds to resist, to kill, to take their own life in the valiant struggle ahead. On the street of the first crossing and the avenue named after a cousin to the Emperor Janus of the now fallen Glorious Dominate, the last holdouts of the Hades Task Force incursion legion fought with bitter resolution.

Caedalus, Sengar d'isto of the 7th Royalist Tank Regiment had survived. Barely. It was more then clear that despite being on a somewhat level playing field as far as hardware went, perhaps in numbers, the forces of the NTC were being bled of their experience. Most of the firebases were either destroyed or knocked out of action, and what air wings had been able to get into the air, had not survived the withering fire of anti-aircraft missiles, cannon and those damned loyalist fighter craft had gained superiority. With the loss of their air cover, legions loyal to the memory of Ji'Mar now had to contend with the heavens as being a source of death and misery.

Such had been his fate, hours earlier, his entire column of armor meant to resupply the eighth infantry support regiment, at the outskirts of the financial district, they'd been struck by ground attack aircraft. Of a hundred support vehicles, and thirty tanks, roughly twenty vehicles had survived and around eight tanks. Now on the retreat, he supposed, there wasnt really anywhere to go really. If they were in the open, they died. If they stayed, they died. If they fought, they died. Not really a bright future.

At the moment, his armored regiment leftovers, and whatever had survived the blitzkrieg by loyalist forces were gathering at his current point of defense. The seventh would fight, it would fight hard, but in the end, it was stalling action. If they could hold the line until reinforcements came, they might have a chance.

Later, in Hamaii, Interior District

About ten kilometers east of Graer's position, Siet-Khan Yars forced the cupola hatch open to breathe fresh air. The building they had been going through had collapsed upon them, trapping them for a time. This act had saved his tank, though most of his lead element had fallen to the viciousness of the loyalist air raid. Fire, orange and bright lit a landscape of shattered armor and smoldering corpses of the half regiment that had been his support initially. Ground pock marked by craters, artillery had found them not long after the air raid, even now it still was falling.

Reinforcements had arrived finally, pushing through or over the remains of their fellows. Sliding back down, locking the hatch, the turret swung towards the loyalist lines and began to hammer back in kind. Joined by the newly arrived SA-13 AMV's that took up spots about the area. He hadnt thought much of them until a fwoosh sound rocked the area, followed by a HAD-24D exploding as it tried to race away. With proper anti-air becoming more cohesive, the ground legions were able to bring their own firepower towards the enemy line. Or at least that was the thought process. Until the first loyalist response rounds had started to land.

Hamaii, Reborn in Fire

From behind the loyalist lines at the city's edge, came shockwaves of the first 2S9 Bereg's rolled across the area, followed by the explosions as those 130mm shells began to land against enemy territory. Crunching a shattered troop transport that had been at one time under his command, the heavy treads of the beast 2S19 MSTA-S, the dreaded 152mm Self Propelled cannon slowly came into view. A pause and then he felt his insides quiver as the weapon barked harshly. Lighter vehicles, the 2S5-S 152mm self propelled cannon, and the towed artillery 2A36-B's had set up in the nerve center of Hamaii's industrial train area. He was wary of his orders to be here, after all, the local defense forces had been killed here by gunship and templar much earlier in the day, but there could be lingering stragglers yet to be smote.

A cautious tactic of lining his defensive perimeter with SPAA23's guarding, alongst with 288th Olath Orn with anti-air and armor equipment, however had been committed to act as both forward observers and as a buffer against enemy air support. Shells began to rain down upon the enemy line and other areas, to keep the traitor defenders from being able to scatter.

Edited by Haruspex
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Although Khoiroboska should have been sat snug inside the IFV, she had decided to step out into the freezing winds to see the escort arrive. The Gharoi seemed to want to overawe the Arhomaioi with their arrival – an entire regiment to escort a platoon-sized element of the Ikatanoi. Again, it wasn't as if it wasn't something that they wouldn't do, either. It was the reason why the élite of the armed forces of Arhomaneia had been sent, not some group of semi-reservists from the Noumeroi. The tetrarkhes stood next to Demetrios as the thump of rotor blades drowned out every other noise before passing over them. Slowly but surely, the grinding of tracks broke through the wind blowing across the road and the escort emerged through the flurries of snow.

“F*ckers,” said Demetrios. The single word had a lot of feeling in it and the tetrarkhes just nodded. Just being in the presence of the soldiers of her nation's ally made her feel grubby. The elaborate masks and barbaric image that they liked to project was usually just viewed with amused scorn by the Arhomaioi but now they could definitely seen as gore-soaked monsters.

“Well, at least you're not going to have to shake hands with them,” replied Eudokia, shifting how her rifle hung across her chest. She didn't want to be holding it in a threatening manner when the escorts drew to a stop but there was the ever present danger of Kousseioi trying to defend their homeland to worry about. “Pity the boss for that. He might get the blood from their paws on him.”

The other soldier nodded emphatically, causing a cascade of snow to drop from the top of his helmet where it had built up during the time he had been outside.

A wet slurp in the slush at the side of the armoured vehicles announced the arrival of several more soldiers. It was the commander himself and his platoon sergeant. From what Eudokia could see of either of their faces through the goggles that they wore against the awful weather, both of them were not happy with their circumstances. That wasn't really a surprise, however. No one in the observer force was particularly happy and morale was very low. But they were the proud Tagmata and made of sterner stuff than most other soldiers, either in the Basilikostrates or in any other armies on Eurth. The pair stopped alongside Eudokia and Demetrios and stood and watched as the Gharoi armoured column drew closer.

“Is there much word from Kometon, kyrios?”, asked Eudokia, after pulling her scarf away from her mouth. The regiment had been surprisingly silent over the past few days, issuing the barest of orders and keeping the platoon in the dark. It wasn't sitting brilliantly well with the Ikatanoi, who weren't used be being treated in such a manner by their superiors. It had begun to fuel all sorts of rumours.

The officer turned away from the approaching vehicles and shook his head. He pulled down his own scarf and fog of breath was snatched away by the blowing wind. One hand rested on the top of his bullpup rifle, a nod to the fact that all of them were feeling somewhat jumpy. The silence from the regimental command, being made to feel incredibly unwelcome by an ally and standing in the lands of another former ally as their country was erased from the map made for a confusing situation on the ground.

The latest rumour that had been going around the IFV over the last few hours as they had waited for the escort to turn up was that the reason the regiment was keeping quiet was that shit had hit the fan somehow. The first idea floated was that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion had finally had enough of the Exkousiokrateia's shit and declared war. That was immediately thrown out as being ridiculous, because one of the first things that would happen was the Gharoi would purge themselves of the observers. They knew where the platoon was, as they been told to meet there, and no aircraft had flown over head and dropped a stick of bombs on them. The second theory was on that theme – that either the Ghallamvrioi or the Iberikoi had come to blows with the Exkousiokrateia – but that was rejected for the same reasons as the first. The final one was that maybe the Exkousiokrator had been killed or assassinated and the northern barbarians were slowly crumbling into civil war. That was the reason for the delay, as the panic amongst the Gharoiki set in and battle lines were drawn up between erstwhile compatriots.

It had just seemed like wishful thinking to the tetarkhes. People like him didn't meet sticky ends. After all, he was leading his country to a final victory over the Kousseioi, their ancient enemy. Even if it soured their relationship with the rest of the wurld, that would surely keep his people from killing him. Gharon might end up isolated for a while but they had been for sometime beforehand. That wouldn't really change much in the country. They didn't really have much to offer the rest of Eurth, anyway. Apart from snow and a bloated sense of self-satisfaction and superiority, which struck most Arhomaioi as entirely misplaced.

“Not a f*cking word, tetrarkhes,” replied the molaghos-kentarkhes, the frown on his face intensifying. The long rank title denoted the higher place that the palace guard units had within the army. The first was actual rank of the officer, whilst the second was one that gave any Tagmata officer seniority over officers from other units. The first rank was the equivalent of lieutenant, the second was of captain. “It's almost as if the buggers want to keep us in the dark. All I know is that we've got to meet these f*cks here and we'll watch them as they trundle about the place.”

He gestured towards the vehicles with his free hand and continued.

“Not that we'll see anything. They won't want us seeing anything and, in all honesty, we don't want to see anything, either. It'll be too f*cking awkward if we did.”

The ainiator, the platoon sergeant, shrugged. “Pretty much. But it's not as if the rest of the planet doesn't know what monumental arseholes the damned Gharoi are already.”

There was silence for a moment. If the Gharoi hadn't been damned before, then their actions against the heathen Kousseioi and the heretic Gerenians would certainly assure them of that place now. The silence deepened as the Gharoi command vehicle drew up next to the rear Khalkaspides and the column of somewhat incongruous half-tracks stopped behind them in the road. The eyes of the molaghos-kentarkhes flicked up towards the 37mm gun on the turret of the IFV. Khoiroboska imagined that the officer was probably thinking of giving the order to open up on them. The large guns on the turrets of the Gharoiki AFVs certainly discouraged such thoughts, however.

Tetrarkhes Khoiroboska drew herself up taller, as did the other three Arhomaiki soldiers. She was somewhat taken aback by the size of the Gharoiki soldier who unfolded himself from the back of the command vehicle. With an audible sigh, the platoon commander detached himself from the three Ikatanoi and walked over as smartly as he could whilst trying not to slide over in the icy slush. He stopped in front of the towering Ji Yagens and gave the traditional half bow.

Molaghos-Kentarkhes Oiskrates, Ikatanoi,” he said. The next part was in the best attempt at the Gharoiki tongue he could muster, having undertaken a course in the language before being deployed to the former Koussoeia. It was likely appalling. “I am the commander of this force of Arhomaiki observers.”

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Posted (edited)

The officer spoke his Tagmatine rank and name, in his own tongue. Molaghos-Kentarkhes Oiskrates, Ikatanoi, it rolled off of the tongue and made the right guttural hiccups as it were. A faint acknowledgement from the red beret wearing Haru. He responded in Tagmata, or at least the hill folk accent of the poppy farmers. " Is good, sorry we are late."

A hand gesture or three, followed up by the plastic map with lines drawn here and there. He continued. " We were to Aden, but that is no more. We are to villages Crethia, and Kamor. Forty kilometers west. Oversee refugee evacuation before possible incursion by the NTC." He paused and saw the somewhat blank look upon Ikatanoi's face, and confirmed probably one of many suspicions. 

" Ji'Mar the Fool is dead. What remains of Taskforce Hades and the loyalists to his banner have formed a secessionist force within Aden and several other areas in the mid-lands. We are to contain them here, lest it lead to full-scale civil war. Refugees are priority, we must acquire, and lead them to Ulusk to be repatriated to the coalition, alongst with information for funding and settling as well.

If hearing a Haru speak the poppy farmer Tagmata tongue was jarring, no worries, Ji Yagens, Hark to those who knew him, was also jarred. However the point was to work with the observers, not against them. So much had already been lost using the dogs of Hades, that even their honor as Elemmiire could not be counted. 

He turned a moment and spoke in the quick tongue of the Haru, the lowland mountain dialect that was from the city-state Yaris. Another Haru replied and clambered up to toss down a digital land-nav. He gestured to Ikatanoi and his second, plotting a path and gesturing to his regiment at the same time.

" We will take point, vehicles will adopt eleven meter spread as we approach Crethia first, observers behind secondary line of vehicles." He patted the command vehicle as the secondary lead in. " We will surround, and then begin house to house evacuation, you will observe as we do such. If there are any to leave, we will check face recognition to prevent hostiles, offer medical attention and then continue the same towards Kamor."

He paused and shook head a moment before continuing. " Kamor will be dangerous, it is near a line of resistance. Tatika is ten kilometers away and is a known point of contention for NTC militia and regulars. Overwatch will cover us to Kamor, but may be called elsewhere."

Folded the map once more and slung the nav-pad. " If we are quick, we should be able to save lives and get them out of harms way." A splay of hands some. " If not, you will get them to Ulusk, and we will delay any enemy force from having the area. Those, Molaghos-Kentarkhes Oiskrates, Ikatanoi, are my orders."

 

Edited by Haruspex
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      The papers were full of just more examples of the powers of the wurld bullying the smaller nations. Although the Orinese were much less... conservative, blunt and chauvinistic than the Tagmatines, they were perhaps a bit more hypocritical. They tended to frame all of their actions as good for the people they were subjecting them to, even if it was entirely against their will. The intervention in the Bainbridge Islands had been going on much longer than any operation the Tagmatine armed forces had undertaken in decades. Under the aegis of EOS, the Orinese were bringing peace and stability to the south of Europa, whether it was wanted or not. After a moment looking out to sea again, she broke off a corner of the pastry and crumbled it up further. She then tossed the crumbs to a wagtail that was scavenging around the tables of the cafe but keeping a wary distance from the stheneloser. Another joined it and the two birds bickered for a moment amongst the table legs before seemingly deciding that the amount of crumbs was enough for the pair of them. She watched the small birds briefly before sighing to herself and pouring more tea from the pot into her cup.
      A passerby called a greeting and waved at the old lady. The wagtails, always timid, scattered and chittered their outrage at being forced away from their crumbs. The stheneloser raised its heavy head and watched the passerby and the old lady's reaction to them, its eyes darting between the two. When she waved back, it put its muzzle back on its paws, content that there was no threat there and closed its eyes. She reached down and scratched it behind its ears and broke off another bit of the pastry. The dog put its head up again and gave a begging look. The old lady smiled at the big dog and gave it the rest of the pastry, saving a corner for herself. It chewed messily for a moment and nosed up the crumbs that it had dropped. She ate the corner she had broken off and sipped the cup of tea.
      Of course, to the locals it wasn't just an old woman – it was Evangela Leotykhidissa, the Megas Kritissa, the Great Judge, of the Kritakrateia of the Hexanesa. A small bodyguard called the Skouterioi lurked nearby, attempting to make themselves unobtrusive but also trying to be a visible barrier between her and any possible threat. Unlike the bodyguards of the islands' western neighbour, they weren't in ostentatious armour and robes but coats and suits. It was clear that they were still bodyguards, as the tailoring of their suits couldn't quite hide the presence of holstered pistols. The Skouterioi had always made it clear that they weren't happy with the fact their head of government was content to sit in public and let the islanders greet her as they walked by. Although the islands weren't rich, they were strategic. The Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton was an ever-present threat, as were the secret services of the Exkousiokrateia or the Volskoi. Any of them might try to engineer a takeover of the islands or assassinate the Megas Kritissa. They would likely then try to take advantage of either the islands' position or the possibility of mineral or oil wealth possessed by them. The Gharoiki have been carrying out “hydrocarbon mining” in the areas of the Thalassa ton Kataigidon under their control. It seemed to be a pompous way of saying “oil and gas extraction” and it couldn't be doubted that the Hexanesa were being eyed up by the northern barbarians.
      Evangela took another sip of tea. The Megas Kritissa had been voted into the position in 2016 as a reaction against the regime of Kommodos Iakoumos, as she had been in the election six years before that. The old woman was one of the few of the Lipotakai, the Deserters, still actively involved in the politics of the Hexanesa. She had been repeatedly elected because she was seen as taking a hard line with Tagmatika. There was still an arrest warrant out for her in the Megas Agios Basileia, even though it had been over sixty years since the events at the end of the Long War which had caused the Hexanesa to break away from Arhomaneia. It looked like the relationship between the islands and the mainland were warming up in the reign of Theodosios VI but his death at the hands of an assassin and the civil war that followed had halted that.
      At the time, some of the other Kritai had considered throwing in their support behind the cabal of naval and army officers attempting to revive the Navarkhokrateia but that scheme had been stopped by the then Megas Krites, Ioannes Hegesinos. It just would have meant a vengeful Kommodos landing forces on the islands and bringing them to heel by force. Some of the defeated rebels had tried to flee to the islands in the aftermath of the civil war but they had been turned away, most of those disappearing further east or south. There were rumours that the new regime in Tagmatika had shot dozens, if not hundreds, of rebellious officers. Handing over any refugees would have been as bad as murder even if it would have meant that Tagmatika might have warmed up to the Hexanesa.
      The pot of tea was empty and Leotykhidissa stood to her feet, using the arms of her chair to help her get there. One of the Skouterioi stepped forward to take her arm but the old woman waved him off. The big dog stood up and followed the old lady at her heels as she started on the walk towards her official residence. It wasn't too far away from the harbour and the cafe. Gournaion was not a bustling metropolis by the standards of most nations, even New Wurld ones, but it was the largest city of the Hexanesa. The other people walking the streets knew the Megas Kritissa by sight and waved at her as she passed. Many other heads of state would use a car to get around but the size of the capital meant it was unnecessary and Leotykhidissa also loved to see the city. It meant that the old lady felt like she was more in touch with the ordinary people of her country than others in her position might be. And she could see the effects of the policies that she enacted or the repercussions of wurld events.
      In recent years, the numbers of boarded up shops were more noticeable than ever before. As she walked through the cobbled streets of the port, it was obvious where the road surface had become worn or damaged and been replaced with cheaper tarmac. The Great Europan Collapse had not impacted the islands as badly as others – the government hadn't fallen apart due to economic ruin like in many other countries but the primary industries of fishing and logging had taken a hit. The tourist trade had been nascent but starting to bear fruit, with southerners coming to see the relatively unspoilt landscapes, although others came to see the remains of the battlefields of the Long War. Those were mainly Tagmatioi and their money was as good as anyone else's, even if the Hexanesoi didn't like their government. However, that had dried up and the tourist board of the Kritakrateia just didn't have the money or the pull to try to attract more people to the islands. Foreign faces were now entirely uncommon on the islands.
      The Megas Kritissa got to the official residence of the head of the islands. It was no towering edifice but a low villa, almost in the classical style, if not for the modifications made to the architecture to take into account the frigid winters. A pair of guards in the dress uniform of the Taxiotai, the island's paramilitary police, stood either side of the door. Their faces were slightly reddened from the cold and their breath clouded in the early morning air. Leotykhidissa would make sure that the guards changed over a bit earlier than scheduled to get them out of the cold. The big dog walked up to the nearest and sniffed at the gendarme's boots.
      “Arkadios, come.”
      The dog stopped sniffing about immediately and trotted after the old woman and into the building. It was a comfortable enough building, if slightly more grand than many others in the city. It was the old seat of the Exarkhos, the governor, of the Hexanesa, back before the Long War had dashed that all to the winds. It was, imaginatively, known as the Palati tou Exarkhou, the Palace of the Exarkhos, although “palace” was far too grand a name. Arkadios' nails clicked on the tiles in the hall. The vestibule was cold and a draught blew through it, even with the front doors now closed by the Taxiotai on guard. The only real nod to being in the building was when an aide stepped forward to take the Megas Kritissa's coat and held out a warm indoor robe. Waving the aide away with a gesture, Leotykhidissa took off her coat and changed into the offered robe.
      “A cup of tea to warm you up?” the man asked. He was almost as old as Leotykhidissa and had the air of a trusted retainer about him.
      “Yes, thank you,” replied the Megas Kritissa, giving him a thin smile that still managed to be warm. “Can you take it through to the study? There are some papers I wish to go through before I get anything else done today.”
      “Of course,” he sketched a quick bow and stopped to give Arkadios a pat on the head before he did so. “Anything for this boy?”
      “No, he's had a pastry already this morning,” Evangela said, looking down at the big dog, who was in turn looking up hopefully at the aide with big eyes. He was trying to suggest that he'd not been fed at all today, despite what was being said. “He sat patiently outside, waiting for the service to finish. He's been a good boy.”
      Arkadios' tail wagged at the words.
      “I will bring the tea through when it is ready, Megas Kritissa,” said the aide, finally stopping rubbing the fur on top of the stheneloser's head and walking down the hall. “The heating's on, so the study should be nice and warm.”
      “Thank you, Leontios,” the old lady said and walked further into the residence.
      One of the main changes from the traditionally designed Arhomaiki home was that the study wasn't in a commanding place in the building, open to both ends to allow a good view throughout. Instead, in a nod to the cold weather, the room abutted the kitchen, to allow it to take warmth in from the ovens in the walls. That, along with the underfloor heating, made it one of the most snug rooms in the depths of winter. For an elderly person, it made it very liveable. Arkadios padded into the room and went straight over to the dog bed that lay in between the desk and the door and curled up in it. His eyes were on the Megas Kritissa as she pulled out the chair behind the desk and took out a pad of paper. She looked ahead almost blankly for a moment before taking a fountain pen from the mug of pens on the desk and started writing. It took a long time for the words to start properly coming and the cup of tea that Leontios placed on the desk was stone cold before she took notice of it. Eventually, the big dog had started to fidget and whine slightly, making it known that he needed to go out to go to the loo before Leotykhidissa finally stopped her fitful writing and looked down at the words on the page.
      She sighed and made the sign of the cross in the Aroman fashion – thumb, index and middle finger together, going from right to left – before sitting back in the chair. Of course, as she herself was not a despot, Leotykhidissa would put it before the other five Kritai to see what they would think. Personally, it seemed to be the only way to guarantee the fate of the Hexanesa but she had no idea whether it was the right choice. She was just tired of seeing her beloved nation rot and its people suffer like they had been doing for the last few decades.
      Her status as a Lipotakissa and her stance on Arhomaneia meant that she would probably be the only person who could propose a reunion with the Megas Agios Basileia without it being immediately shouted down and the proposer being arrested for high treason. It was certainly shocking, even to Leotykhidissa, but perhaps it was time for her country to come in from the cold.
       
       
      OOC: It's time to get the ball rolling on the first part mentioned here.
    • By Tagmatium Rules
      * Most Secret, for the eyes of King Aidan I only*

      To: His Majesty, King Aidan I of @Seylos, Eire, Pleinmont, and Sark
      From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
      Your Royal Highness,

      It is felt by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion that our nations have demonstrated a good ability to work together, as shown by the Aluxian Civil War and the recent crisis in the Makhaira Thalassa (the Dolch See). The Kingdom of Seylos is a stabilising influence in eastern Argis, and one that Ahromaneia is keen to support. Your nation has stood as a bastion against the influence of your north eastern neighbour, which, despite its recent silence, will likely remain a threat to civilised nations for years to come.

      In light of this threat, and that eastern Argis seems to be, by steps, becoming ever more fractious, the Megas Agios Basileia comes to your government with a proposal.
      Some years ago, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion purchased a pair of aircraft carriers from the Greater Queendom of @Suverina. The circumstances surrounding this purchase was that Arhomaneia and Suverina had had a deterioration of relations, after starting the development of these carriers as a joint project. It resulted in my nation being forced out of this project, with no reimbursement of costs incurred. Later on, relations between our nations improved and the Megas Agios Basileia was invited to purchase two carriers at a reduced cost. At the time, it was considered to be an offer too good to pass up. The Prince Michail II carriers were classed as the Despotes class when purchased by Arhomaneia.

      However, they have proved to be surplus to requirements. With the Grand Federated Imperium of @Adaptus, Arhomaneia had co-developed the Protathlitis tou Christou class aircraft carrier and the Despotes class never became part of the Basilikoploimon. The two vessels have therefore remained mothballed since then, although every effort is taken so that it would take little to make them operational once again.

      In light of our good relations and the sterling effort Seylos makes in keeping eastern Argis from descending into anarchy, I have been charged by his Imperial Majesty, Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion, to offer the Despotes class to the Kingdom of Seylos.

      If you are willing to consider this, I am to invite your majesty to dispatch a delegation to inspect the Despotes class ships, in order to see if one or the both of them are to your nation's liking. Then our governments can discuss a price that is fair and equitable to both.

      May Seylos continue to be a beacon of light in a dark wurld.

      Honorios Kontarian,
      Megas Logothetes
      of the
      Logothesion ton Stratiotikou
      of the
      Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
    • By Selayar
      OOC Thread | IIWiki page
      Prologue
      “Titā matunuturī ma wurukiusi! Saru anuravana iʻarī, wuka mavīaʻa vana!”
      People are shouting at the top of their lungs, as chaos ensued after a decision was read out loud by the leader of Reformist faction, Wanutāvariʻi. The sentences were roughly translated to ‘We don’t bow down to the bourgeoisie! We must crush them, not making amends with them!’
      Wanutāvariʻi smiled at the reaction. It was going as expected. He was just reading the motion of the Revolutionary Council, declaring that the war with the Purist faction will be resumed, after almost one year of an uneasy period of peace. The people couldn’t wait any longer, and so did he and everyone else in the Council. But he and the Council knew it was a necessary action. The faction would've collapsed if weren't for the Armistice. But not a lot of people knew about this. They hid a lot of things from the mass. For their good.
      The Reformist faction wasn’t initially formed as a unified front from the beginning. It grew out of a communication channel between many various parties that fought against Queen Varamatamaranga, each with their aims and goals. Increased fighting as the war drew out necessitated a unified command, and thus the Reformist faction is officially formed, under the name ʻUrungama mi Taturatanga (Group of Reformer). The various factions that comprised the Reformist were still independent, safe for the coordination for the war effort. These arrangements satisfied everyone, but Wanutāvariʻi knew how hard it was to maintain the integrity of the decentralized faction, especially with some parties trying to gain leverage at the expense of the others. This factor, coupled together with the lack of training among the troops, greatly compromised the Reformist war-effort, resulting in a set-back that prompted the Armistice with the Purist. The last battle on Terata, the old capital of Reyan Empire, destroyed most of their equipment. But it also wiped-out one-fourth of the Purist forces. Both parties had no choice.
      Looking at the crowd below, and the chaos that reigned, he knew that he couldn't trust any of them to do anything right. Not for the second time. No, for the entirety of this renewed war, he would only trust he and a few associates of him. This time, the war would go according to his words. And the Reformist will prevail over its enemy, the Purist.
      Namānurarī Tamunaranga! Death to the Purist! Death to Capitalist!
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