Jump to content

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/15/2021 in all areas

  1. Europan News Network Last Free Azanian Nations Fall TAGMATIKA, Tagmatium -- The OCA has finally overcome the last desperate defenses of the free Azanian nations, marking a startling turn of events as almost all of Western Europa has fallen to Anglia and their OCA allies. The only unaligned nations still standing are @Tagmatium Rules, @Haruspex, and the @Gallambrian protectorate of Bashan. Occupations have begun in earnest throughout the region with reports of massive reconstruction of the basic societal institutions Azanians are used to. Anglia has opted not to directly annex most of the territory it has taken during its campaign, directly taking only a small portion of Wajoka, known colloquially as the 'Dragonryders', in the north which is known to be rich in oil reserves. Several OCA members have claimed annexations for themselves, while there are talks of building puppet nations under the control of the alliance. As of now the map of Azania hasn't taken form yet. Still resistance to this occupation has continued, with bands of fighters throughout the conquered nations waging desperate guerilla wars against their new occupiers. Earlier in the war, the Ryderian government was rushed out of the country in dramatic fashion while being chased by the Anglian Navy and rescued by the timely arrival of Seylosian ships. Rumors have also appears of Haruspexian occupation in Cabarria though reports have not been substantiated as of yet. Global Response The world has been quick to respond and statements from several nations will be featured below: "The world is falling into a dark, dark time" -Premier Nažreković of @Sanarija "I speak on behalf of the Rhodellian government when I strongly condemn the abhorrent actions of Anglia and its allies in recent months. The situation in Western Europa is tragic and regrettable. The imperialism and military expansionism that has defined past centuries has no place in the 21st century. Anglia must cease its aggressive expansionism at once; it must respect the sovereignty and independence of Azanian nations; and it must immediately withdraw its armed forces back to its own internationally recognized borders. This unjust war of conquest must come to an immediate end, so that peace, diplomacy, and stability may once again return to the region." - Philip Seymour, Prime Minister of @Rhodellia, Head of the Rhodellian Socialist Party “The totality of the government of Metztlitlaca, in the Dominion Courts and in both legislative bodies of the government, have agreed to deeply condemn the continued aggression of Anglia across Europa and the greater Adlantic area. Such hostility only reminds those across the Adlantic of the previous historic attempts by the Anglians to secure power through violence and bloodshed. And like those attempts before they will ultimately fail. Such violence will only bring an era of instability to the region and further regress the attempts to reestablish functioning societies after the Europan Financial Collapse.” - @Metztlitlaca Priest of Foreign Affairs "Ebrary sends its prayers out to all those impacted by Anglian aggression. Europa is just across the water from us, and a stable Europa means a more prosperous Ebrary. We must particularly pray for our friends in Tagmatium, who must make very tough decisions concerning this situation." - Government of @Ebrary “The Government of the Stedorian People’s Republic strongly condemns the imperialist course of action taken by the Anglian government. Sovereignty and independence is the desire of all nations and peoples, upon which the Anglian government have spat in the face of. All imperialist and expansionist military action by Anglia’s government must cease immediately. Stability and peace must be maintained within Europe lest its people suffer immensely and pointlessly.” -Government of @Stedoria “It deeply troubles me that such a great historic continent has crumbled to such a deeply ill-intentioned expansionist force as the Anglians, as they trample out most of the last holdouts for freedom in western Europa. What troubles me further, however, is the potential repercussions for the success of an expansionist force like Anglia among other aggressively expansionist nations who see the success found in Anglia and study it in hopes of replicating it in the future. This ugly Anglian beast must be slain, lest the world fall under the oppressive boots of expansionist powers like it.” - Linus Albertsson, President of @Fina “The aggression demonstrated by the Anglian nation shall not stand. As of today, Chief Executive LaCroix has instituted a groundbreaking embargo against the state of Anglia, forbidding private and government entities from selling or purchasing goods from any Anglian entity. The people of the Hinterlands, and this government, hope for the swift restoration of the liberty of self governance to all peoples under oppression by the Anglian war machine.” - @Hinterlands Parliament Tower press release “The Hemahatik State hereby condemns the imperialistic actions of the Kingdom of Great Anglia in its war against the free peoples of Europa and Azania. Their actions against the nations of Azania have been aggressive conquests that the Hemahatik people can only respond to with disgust at the aggressors and solidarity with the defenders. The Government of Hemahat demands that Anglia immediately withdraw from their occupied territories. Otherwise, the Government of Hemahat offers its moral support to the currently oppressed people of Azania.” - Heptuin Aymed, President of the Republic of @Hemahat "Angleiki ministers and rulers are welcomed to the gilt halls of imperium. In this way they follow in the footsteps of great Arhomaneia long ago: a laudable show of strength. However, these ministers and rulers would also be obliged to recall the fate of all imperium, which always arrives, regardless of how long this takes. [...] As Aurelians and Arhomanoi, we pray that the suffering is not prolonged. The hands and eyes of the New Wurld have not been idle. That will be all." - Chrysanthe Stamatis, Exarcha tou Taurapetra of @Kirvina "The people of Fravina are devastated and apalled at the imperialistic expansion of the Anglian state. It is the most important right for all peoples to have a free government chosen by and for its citizens. However, the Anglian brutes are ignoring this first right of mankind. They have caused death and destruction, heartbreak and suffering all over Europa. There is no greater pain than what the Anglian menace has caused and will continue to cause if left unstopped. It is the greatest hope of the Fravi people to see that peace and stability are restored to our comrades just across the sea." - The Government of @Fravina "The Socialist Federal Republic of Volta condemns in the harshest and strongest possible terms the Anglian invasions and occupations. Such acts are not consistent with international law nor with international norms. They are a threat to global peace and stability. Anglia's aggression is a threat to all, not just a select few countries. As such, we no longer can afford to do nothing. Should Anglia continue down this destructive path, Volta will have no choice but to respond appropriately." - Ernst Krenz, Chancellor of the Socialist Federal Republic of @Volta "In the end, it won't bode well for the empire that lives in the past and not the present and future. But we are just Oyusards that have withstood the test of time, who are we to question Mr. Creighton?" -Remark made by Queen Maisie of @Oyus "Every night I pray for the brave defenders of Europa fighting against the new empire. Until the Anglish imperialism is halted, no country in the world that chooses not to cooperate with this criminal regime will be safe. In this situation, however, neither earnest prayers nor economic sanctions are measures severe enough. To stop this expansionist regime, to restore and preserve the rightful sovereignty of the oppressed peoples of Europa, all free nations of the Wurld must unite and take immediate military action!" -Government of @Grenesia "Seylos has gone down the dark road that Anglia has seen fit to travel down. The Mandate will forever be a dark scar in the history of this great nation, a scar that seems to have become a fresh wound again with the rise of this 'Anglian Empire'. We implore the nations of the OCA and Great Anglia to cease their aggression against our Europan brethren, and cease your attempts to gain favor in the New Wurld. Seylos never wants war, but it has become clear that Anglia seeks only that path. Let it be known, despite our common heritage, the Kingdom of Seylos and her allies will never join your corrupted empire." -King Aidan Redmond of @Seylos “Salvia continues to condemn Anglian expansion as an unjust war that has caused untold suffering to millions. If Anglia continues to influence and aggress against nations, both near and far, Salvia will call on her allies to intervene. This can not stand.” -Government of @Salvia "The Holy Imperial Government continues to condemn the actions of the Anglian government and those tidied to its cause. Their actions have done nothing but cause much pain and misery, something that should be unconscionable for an apparently Christian nation. King Creighton and his ministers should take note of the growing international condemnation and sanctions against his nation that the course he is pursuing has caused. It will only be a matter of time before Great Anglia's grasp goes beyond its reach and dire consequences may then befall his majesty's realm. The Aroman people pray for a peaceful end to this crisis but it need not be pointed out that the Great Holy Empire has weathered many conflicts before. May God see to it that peace is once again restored to Eurth." -Archbishop Doxapatres Kalothetos, Minister of Information of @Tagmatium Rules “We are saddened to hear that Anglia has continued its trend towards expansionism and has seized control of its neighbors in Europa. The Corporate Board strongly condemns these actions, and is looking into the effectiveness of economic sanctions against Anglia.” - Lynne Androni, Androni Commercial Solutions CEO of @Galahinda It remains to be seen how the Anglians will respond to such a negative reputation amongst the New Wurld nations, but it will most likely matter little as Anglia continues its overtures and aggressive policies in every New Wurld continent. OOC: We have left the Europan phase of Anglian expansion, and have begun the New Wurld phase.
    10 points
  2. Chapter Two - Recon Recap The Native Aurelian Liberation Army (NALA) is fighting to reclaim ancestral Native Aurelian land from Rhodellia. A group of possible NALA insurgents was sighted travelling through the hills of rural Nordwalde Province. The Rhodellian Armed Forces have hastily organised a large-scale operation to find and neutralise it. Sergeant Schäfer and his squad thinks they have found the NALA insurgents in question. Now they just have to see what they're actually up against before they can engage. 2.1 - The Observation Outpost The forested hills of rural Nordwalde Province are quiet. In a bush, roughly one hundred metres to the east of their squad, Private Ludwig Zimmerman and Private Abdul Hamid bin Faisal al-Latif of Fire Team Charlie are manning an observation post. They’ve cloaked themselves in camouflage in the cool shade of a densely forested and vegetated hillside, with wool and mylar blankets on immediate standby; they’ve taken as many precautions as they practically can to thwart detection by binoculars and thermal imaging devices, as per their unit's SOP. Their squad leader entrusted their fire team with monitoring the approach to their squad’s patrol base, ambushing any enemies that might have been trailing them, and observing the valley below (along with other nearby hills) for signs of enemy activity. For the past five hours, a group of suspected Native Aurelian Liberation Army (NALA) insurgents have evaded both the Rhodellian Army and Rhodellian Air Force at every turn. But thanks to two bored teenagers, who just happened to be in the right place, facing the right direction, at the right time, the insurgents' luck might have just run out. The observation post first made visual contact with a squad-sized element of eleven heavily armed dismounts less than ten minutes ago at 1702 hours. Zimmerman saw unusual activity in a treeline near the base of another hill on the opposite side of the valley, roughly 400 metres away from the observation post, at a compass bearing of 110° (roughly East South East) relative to the observation post’s position. He and al-Latif radio'd their squad's HQ, and watch the group with binoculars as they stopped to set up camouflage nets and dig fighting positions into the hillside. By 1715 hours, the pair have already identified and written detailed notes on eleven unique individuals, down to their uniforms, camouflage pattern (TAZ 90), body armour (Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCSs)), helmets (Integrated Head Protection System), night-vision devices (Ground Panoramic NightVision Goggles (GPNVGs)), weapons systems, and weapon accessories (M150 RCOs). Ten are armed with assault rifles (a mix of M16A4s and M4A1s). Two of them are armed with M3E1 recoilless rifles. Another is armed with an FIM-92J Stinger man-portable air-defense system. The eleventh man is equipped with an M240L general-purpose machine gun. Like most NALA fighters tend to be, these guys are just as well-equipped as the hundreds of dismounted Landwehr (conscript) infantry patrolling the countryside around them, if not more. Zimmerman and al-Latif suspect that this group are the reported NALA insurgents they’re hunting down. The NALA and its allied terrorist cells wear a confusing variety of camouflage patterns. This group in particular is not wearing the Tigerstripe camouflage pattern sported by the local (Rhodellian government-aligned) Nordwalde Tigers militia. They aren’t wearing the Flecktarn patterns employed by the Rhodellian Armed Forces either. They are using TAZ 90 woodland camouflage, a camouflage pattern used by the NALA, some Loyalist militias, and some Rhodellian territorial police forces. However, this group is acting too suspiciously to be friendlies. And nobody contacted the local Nordwalde Provincial Police asking for permission to dig fighting positions in the countryside. But as is always the case when operating in a country where every good law-abiding citizen maintains their own private arsenal of military-grade weapons, one can never be too sure. Having already notified their team leader of this development, the pair are busy monitoring the (possible) enemy through their binoculars. Zimmerman nudges al-Latif with his elbow. “Yo, you think these guys are actually N-A-L-A insurgents? The ones we're looking for?” “Wanna walk on down there and ask them yourself?” “F*ck no, dude. I got this gut feeling. As soon as they see my Flecktarn-wearing ass walking downhill towards them, demanding 'Show me your identification papers, please' like some goddamn Stasi agent, they’ll light me the f*ck up.” “I got that hunch too, yeah.” “But really, though. I sure do f*cking hope they’re NALA.” “Insha'Allah, bro.” al-Latif nods “Okay, so for convenience's sake, let’s just say that they are them. We basically spent the entire day looking for these guys. It's a good thing we found them now, cuz, with how much Command made us overload our packs for this mission, Goodsprings would’ve had us combing these hills for days.” “I can’t wait to smoke these motherf*ckers, man. They got hell to pay for all the crap they’ve put my knees and back through today, making us ruck through all these hills and shit.” “Word, dawg.” “I’m deadass finna hanging their scalps on my front porch.” “How many scalps do you think you’ll get today, dude?” Zimmerman shrugs. “Realistically, bro?” He simulates a firefight between his squad and the (possible) NALA insurgents in his head. “Maybe like… One or two. We only got a month until our contracts are up, but I’d at least like to kill at least one of these f*ckers while we’re still out here, you get me? Just for our troubles.” “Yeah, I get you.” al-Latif nods. “Well, that, and everyone back home will call me a b*tch-ass LARPer if I come back from one year of National Service empty-handed.” “Didn’t you already cut out the scalp of that one NALA mortar observer a few months ago, back when we raided the compound of that illegal IED maker?” “That’s one guy.” Zimmerman holds up one finger. “Just one f*cking guy. By infantry standards, coming home with just one dude’s scalp is basically nothing. I’d still look like a little b*tch for not bringing home more.” “That’s rough, buddy. I'm pretty much on the same boat. I might not scalp people, because I think that’s disrespecting the dignity of the human body and all, but... when my contract ends, I at least don’t want to be the guy on the block with the least confirmed kills. That’d be embarrassing. And I wouldn't even have an excuse either because we're infantry and have seen combat before.” “Yeah, nobody wants to be that guy." Zimmerman shakes his head, smiling. "You’d be the biggest f*ckin’ disgrace, dude. A laughing stock. A motherf*cking pariah.” “Yeah." al-Latif chuckles. "It’d be really embarrassing.” Speaking of records for confirmed kills, Zimmerman suddenly has an idea for the next conversation topic. “So, who on your block holds the record for ‘most confirmed kills’? Think you can beat it in one month?” “I think the record still goes to this boomer who lives two doors down from me. His name’s Griswald. Served as a designated marksman from 94’ to 95’. 3rd Battalion, 5th Rabeswalde Landwehr Light Infantry. Fought in the 5th IBCT with the 2nd Infantry Division during Operation Highwayman.” “What kind of stuff did Griswald do?” al-Latif takes the opportunity to rest his eyes a bit. He points to the targets of their observation in the valley below, digging and camouflaging fighting positions at the edge of a forest. “Pretty much exactly what these probable N-A-L-A insurgents are doing down there.” He continues peering through his binoculars. “He still visits my old primary school every year to get kids hyped up at school assemblies with war stories about the stuff he did during Highwayman. He’s a cool guy. And a wurld-class champion at hide-and-seek.” He rubs the back of his helmet, trying to recall specific details from Griswald's stories. “Basically, he told us about how his battalion infiltrated behind NALA lines to conduct interdiction missions. As retarded as it might sound, they spread out across the woods and hills of their AO to basically fight a protracted guerilla campaign in enemy territory. They ambushed truck convoys, raided supply depots, and did all sorts of other stuff to mess with enemy logistics.” “Sounds like a badass. How many kills did the madlad get?” “With the help of his spotter, Griswald got, uh..." al-Latif pauses to think. "24 confirmed kills in four months. That, and a whole bunch of other probable kills. Unless the NALA decide to bumrush the Nordfluss, no way am I getting 22 more in one month.” “24? Hey, that's pretty good." “Yeah. They could’ve gotten more, but they both got wounded in action. Real badly too.” “Shit, bro. Without the Hardline perk, he was only 1 kill away from a tactical nuke. What happened?” “Basically, The N-A-L-A got tired of his marksman shenanigans. His battalion evidently had night-fighting capabilities, since they did all their missions at night. And so, the N-A-L-A started redirecting NVGs meant for the frontlines so they could equip their rear echelon logistics troops with the means to retaliate. One night, while Griswald was providing overwatch for his company during a raid on a supply depot, a guy with NVGs must’ve spotted him. A mortar strike got called on his position.” “Such is life in The Zone, man.” “Griswald survived, of course. And so did his spotter. Alhamdulillah. But they both took a lot of shrapnel to… pretty much everywhere not covered by their SAPI plates or kevlars. They had to get MEDEVACed by helicopter to a military hospital in Schwarzwald. They spent the rest of his National Service there. At least Griswald and his spotter both eventually got three eagle feathers each for some of the stuff they pulled.” “Landwehr conscripts like us getting three eagle feathers in a single tour? That's pretty f*ckin’ poggers, dude.” Zimmerman nods a few times. His imagination goes into overdrive. “Man, I'd love it if at least one of the people digging in down was at least half the badass motherf*cker Griswald is. I’m telling you, bro, we’d have the duel of the motherf*cking century. People would make movies about us!” “But then Command calls for fire support instead.” al-Latif chuckles. Zimmerman frowns. “Yo, when they’re needed, I love Arty and CAS as much as the next guy, but…” He lowers his voice, not amused in the slightest. “Don’t you even f*cking talk about that right now.” While he and his battle buddy are observing the (possible) NALA position, Zimmerman can’t help but think out loud about all the skill and effort it must have taken for a squad-sized enemy force to penetrate this deep into Rhodellian territory without getting intercepted. NALA-occupied territory and de facto Rhodellian soil are separated by a major river, the Nordfluss, which is 20 miles to the north. This raises a few concerning implications about the heavily-armed gunmen under observation. “You know, if these dudes really are the crazy sons-of-b*tches we’ve been hunting for the whole day, you gotta hand it to 'em...” al-Latif, who is similarly impressed, nods in agreement. “Gotta give credit where credit’s due, bro.” “Imagine crossing one of the most heavily patrolled and monitored borders in the entire f*cking continent and then making it another 30 klicks behind enemy lines on foot…” “Uh huh.” “...all while dodging foot patrols and UAVs for six straight hours.” He nods a few times in approval. “Shit, bro. You gotta admit that’s pretty f*cking ninja.” “Art of the Shinobi, right there, man.” al-Latif nods a few more times. “Think these guys are SOF with full SERE training?” “I’ll admit these guys are pretty f*cking good to have gotten this far, okay, I’m saying that much.” “Dude, you know you can praise them without getting down on your knee pads and sucking them off, right?” “I’m just saying, man, they’re good. Just not that good.” Zimmerman recounts all of the death, destruction, and chaos the Rhodellian News Network has attributed to NALA special operations forces in recent years. “I mean... if they were real NALA SOF operators, we wouldn’t know that they’ve been here until they’ve already blown up another government office, assassinated another Loyalist militia leader, sabotaged another railway construction site, or trained another terrorist cell to do all that shit for them.” “I get your point, dawg. We’re probably up against NALA regulars who just paid attention in Stealth 101. We could probably pull off what these guys did too if we were serious about it.” al-Latif looks up from the woodlands on the other hill to the white-and-grey overcast sky above, trying to spot the silhouettes of Rhodellian Air Force aerial reconnaissance drones “But yeah, are we the luckiest guys in the military or what? Thanks to these clouds and a bunch of trees, all the high-tech stuff we’ve got in the air couldn’t track down these guys... and in the end, all it took to pinpoint these guys was two dudes with a pair of binoculars.” “And pure motherf*cking chance.” Zimmerman nods a few times as he increases the magnification on his binoculars. He tries to more closely observe what tasks individual (possible) NALA insurgents are busying themselves with. They still appear to be digging fighting positions behind their camouflage nets “We just happened to be in the right place at the right f*cking time. Just as our squad stopped over here to re-apply and upgrade our camouflage, these guys stopped to dig up ranger graves. If they just moved on from here, or took a slightly different route, they’d have slipped right past us. And we’d be none the f*cking wiser.” Even with spy planes, spy satellites, and reconnaissance drones, the fog of war still exists. A variety of factors such as cloud coverage, foliage, buildings, shadows, and background IR can interfere with the abilities of airborne and spaceborne assets to gather useful intelligence on terrain and enemy forces. Unfortunately for the Rhodellian military, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army watches the weather forecast. The NALA insurgents picked a convenient time to infiltrate behind Rhodellian lines; the skies across most of the AO were overcast for most of the day, with the clouds in some areas floating low enough to brush the local hilltops. Air Force drones have been circling above the AO for hours, conducting TI scans wherever large-enough gaps in the clouds presented themselves, always to no avail. In the cloudier areas, drone operators wanted to fly below cloud level where the views were clearer, but despite their extensive skills, knowledge, and training, their COs forbade them from doing so. Military drones are extremely expensive equipment, and Rhodellia isn’t rich enough to replace frequent losses. The brass didn’t want to risk losing such valuable assets in collisions with trees, hills, or power lines. At times like this, the wurld is blank until you put boots on the ground. But even then, success isn’t always guaranteed; chance encounters can still happen. al-Latif yawns, and continues the conversation to help keep himself awake. He’s already regretting handing over his last can of Blitz energy drink to Private Jakub Kowalczyk from Fire Team Bravo. “Hey, Zim.” “Yeah?” “What if these guys really are SOF operators, but just got really unlucky? What if they just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?” “Then they’d f*ck us in the ass as soon our squad moves to engage them. NALA spec ops are no joke.” “With how much you were drooling over them a minute ago... Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Zimmerman struggles to think up a retort. “Bro, when we get back to Bergenstein, I swear to God... I’m gonna sneak pork in your chow; hijack the mosque’s minaret to blast death metal in the middle of Friday Prayers; and draw an image of the Prophet Muhammad, in the dirt outside, with my own piss, you twat.” al-Latif goes radio-silent, and takes a deep breath. Zimmerman smiles, thinking that something he said finally got to him. But just as Zimmerman’s about to bask in the glow of his victory, al-Latif opens his mouth: he barrages his Dolchic battle buddy with a river of words the man can not comprehend; he monologues an entire paragraph in Arabic at a pace that’d make any rapper hang their hat in shame, without so much as pausing for thought or breath. Zimmerman looks away from his binoculars to stare at al-Latif in confusion. “The f*ck does that all mean?” al-Latif smiles like a child petting a puppy. “By Allah, behave yourself. I will give you a taste of my shoe.” Zimmerman shakes his head, breaking into a smile as he turns back towards the (possible) enemy. Both the boys chuckle. “God damnit...” he struggles to think of how to respond to al-Latif in the wittiest way possible. He gives up less than a minute in, deciding that he should just shut up, take the L, and maintain full focus on the mission. The pair are unable to spot any more individuals than the eleven foot mobiles he and al-Latif originally reported to their team leader. Zimmerman once again increases the magnification on his binoculars in another attempt to figure out what’s going on behind each piece of camouflage netting, of which there are seven. But for some reason, this time around, the cammie nets are completely opaque; the suspected NALA insurgents hung up sheets of some kind behind them, blocking the view for any outside observer. The sheets are likely thermal insulators. He nudges al-Latif with his elbow. “Yo, you seeing this shit?” “Yeah, I’m seeing it too.” “The f*ck are they even doing down there anyway?” “I think they’re just hiding from our UAVs. They’re in a densely wooded area with dense vegetation and dense canopies overhead to break up their heat signatures on FLIR cameras. They might be putting wool-mylar-wool sandwiches under their cammie nets too in case they’re accidentally spotted by a mountain rescue helicopter with airborne optical sectioning. Maybe that’s why they never show up as heat signatures on thermals or black holes among background IR every time our UAVs sweep the AO.” “Think they’re setting up a patrol base?” “Naw, dawg." al-Latif shakes his head. "They’re waaay too close to the main road and the edge of the forest. And because of that, they’re within the direct line of sight of patrols going down the MSR and along the ASR on our hill. They definitely ain’t setting up no patrol base, dude. They gotta be prepping a deliberate point ambush for our LVSRs rolling up and down the MSR. Something like that.” “Yeah, that makes the most sense. Sneaky little bastards, aren’t they?” “The question is, dawg, why would they go through all the effort to infiltrate this deep into our territory? Of all the places they could throw a surprise party for us, why here?” ”My guess? It’s because this place is in the middle of goddamn nowhere. It’s the f*cking boonies out here, bro. We’re miles away from Bergenstein and Schwarzwald. And there's a shitload of old forest to slip away into and hide out in. If a convoy got jumped out here by insurgents, it’d take 30 mikes minimum for a QRF to fly their asses here in helicopters. By the time the QRF arrives to f*ck ‘em up, all the Vics would be up in flames with all their cargo missing. Meanwhile, these guys may as well be sipping f*cking tequilas in San Castellino." Speaking of San Castellino, while he's still observing the (possible) NALA insurgents, Zimmerman goes off on a tangent about a gap year vacation he took to the country with some school friends. “Man, I wish I could go back there. San Castellino has some top-tier hotels and beaches. Shit’s criminally underrated. I swear to God, my buddies and I took so many f*cking photos from our hotel balcony because the view was just that good. It was the shit postcards are made of!” “Show some pictures on your phone when we get back to base. I might consider going with my family.” “You definitely should. Oh yeah, and down at the beach, my buddies and I pissed off a lifeguard by digging foxholes in the sand. Guy was f*cking fuming, saying kids will fall down our holes and hurt themselves and shit. Well it’s their fault for being dumbf*cks raised without basic caution and situational awareness.” “He must’ve never felt the simple pleasure of digging trenches as a kid. Poor guy.” “Mhm. Oh, and if you took a short commute to the less 'touristy' areas, the drugs and hookers are way cheaper there than they are here. I gotta say that the biggest f*cking highlight of the trip was when we got to beat the ever-loving shit out of this gang of crack junkies who tried to mug us at knifepoint, just down the street from this brothel. I'm telling you, man, shit’s pretty f*cking cray the moment you leave the beaches. 10/10 would recommend.” “Yeah...” al-Latif puts down his binoculars. Because of some obstructions behind all of the camouflage nets, he is unable to continue fruitfully monitoring the (possible) NALA insurgents. “You know what, dawg, I actually can’t see whatever they’re doing down there anymore. They've put something behind all their cammie nets and I can't see past them no more. Get Sarge on the net.” “Way ahead of you, dude.” Zimmerman is already working the observation post’s radio, trying to contact their squad leader, Sergeant Alarick Schäfer. Considering the terrain and the possible enemy’s lack of motor transportation, the (possible) NALA insurgents likely wouldn’t be carrying the specialist equipment needed to actually listen into their radio transmissions. But what concerns Zimmerman is that they might still be able detect radio signals and use them to triangulate their observation post’s exact position. As a precaution, the radio is at its lowest power setting so its transmission range only reaches as far away as his squad’s HQ 100 metres to the west, but not the unidentified gunmen 400 metres roughly to the east. “Tempest Three-One, this is OP. How copy?” ‘Tempest Three-One’ is Schäfer’s callsign as squad leader of 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon of Charlie Company, of 3rd Battalion of the 5th Friedrichstadt Landwehr Infantry Regiment. The battalion is currently assigned to the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and is stationed in Camp Bergenstein, Nordwalde. Charlie Company's callsign is the Anglish word 'Tempest'. The company commander said that the word reflected Rhodellian belief in the violence of action, but everyone suspects that he actually picked it because it sounded cool. Schäfer responds a few seconds later. “OP, this is Three-One Actual. Solid copy, over.” “Three-One, this is OP. Standby for SitRep, over.” “Roger, OP. Send traffic.” “Three-One, this is OP. Break...“ Zimmerman takes one last peak through his binoculars “We uh... no longer have a clear visual on the suspected tangos’ size, activity, location, uniforms, or equipment past their cammie nets. They seem to have put up opaque sheets behind and under them. They're likely thermal insulators to counter our UAVs and TI devices. Break. If we crawl closer to recon their positions up-close and view them from a more favourable angle, it might take us two to three hours to safely get there and back, losing us valuable time. Acknowledge?” “Roger, OP. Stay put and Roll back to REDCON-3. I’ll recon their pos up-close with a MUAV, out.” 2.2 - The Dragonfly Meanwhile, back at the squad’s patrol base at the derelict campsite, Schäfer has gathered everyone available for a meeting. He has already radio'd his platoon leader about their possible contact with enemy forces. The other squads in the platoon are moving to new positions to the northeast and southeast. Now, Schäfer just needs to send up more detailed information. He looks to his team leaders and other squad members (who aren’t on watch) joining him around the rotting picnic table he adopted as his HQ. “Well, gents. Looks like they’ve taken precautions against binoculars and thermal imaging.'' He slides a camouflage-painted tablet out of his pocket “We’ll be using the MUAV from this point onwards.” He turns to Private Waltz Fischer from Fire Team Bravo. “Hey, Fischer. Swap with Catawnee at our cordon’s 2 o’clock position. He needs more experience with drone operation.” “On it, sergeant!” Fischer nods before jogging off to fetch his squadmate from Charlie, Private Danuwoa Catawnee. “Thanks, killer.” Schäfer watches Fischer silently vanish into the ratlines his squad cleared through the underbrush, and gets on with unpacking a miniature unmanned reconnaissance drone from his rucksack. When setting up patrol bases like the one Schäfer picked out, it’s SOP for Rhodellian troops to clear all leaves and twigs from the pathways between different locations. This allows them to clandestinely move back and forth across the area without alerting nearby enemies with the snapping sounds dry leaves and twigs tend to make upon being stepped on. When Catawnee returns from the bushes, Schäfer’s already laid out the drone and its tablet on the picnic table. The Sergeant briefs the Private on what they know so far about the suspected enemies on the hillside to their east, how he suspects there may be more enemies in hiding, and what exactly needs to be done to develop the battlefield. “Catawnee.” Schäfer hands the Private the tablet used to control the drone. “You’re up.” Catawnee accepts the task without hesitation. “At long f*cking last. And here I thought my tax money was being wasted!” He removes his rucksack and slaps it on a free space on the picnic table, next to Schäfer's map. “Today’s a special day, Sarge, so I’ll break out the pro controller for this one.” He unzips one of his rucksack's front pockets, retrieves a USB game controller, and begins unwinding its tangled cord. The controller is decorated with stereotypical Native Aurelian-themed overlay skin. Schäfer smiles in amusement. “You madlad. You actually brought your controller with you on patrol?” “F*ckin’ A I did. This thing gives me hella luck so it's worth the extra eight ounces of weight. It’s the same controller I use when I’m tilted or tryharding in Battlefield or Tag Tournament 2.” Catawnee’s team leader and fellow gamer, Corporal William Collins, chips into the conversation with a smile on his face. “How come you still suck then, you salty-ass, button-mashing, cry-baby b*tch-boy?” “Cry some more, you sore f*cking butthurt loser.” “Just don’t f*ck this up like you keep f*cking up your combos, bro.” “With all due respect, f*ck you, Corporal.” The Rhodellian Armed Forces fields a broad variety of unmanned drones in its conflicts against guerillas and peer conventional enemies. This drone in particular is a micro unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle called the ‘UA-25 Libelle’, or ‘Dragonfly’ in Anglish. Lightweight, quiet, maneuverable, easy-to-use, and small enough to fit in a person’s palm, Rhodellian ground troops use it to enhance their local situational awareness. Most of these drones are also keyboard and controller-friendly to make them more intuitive for gamers. Video gaming is one of the most popular hobbies in Rhodellia alongside shooting, martial arts, working out, airsoft, paintball, camping, and reading; a large percentage of new draftees and volunteers in the Rhodellian Army are avid gamers. Because of this, the Department of Defense saw it as intuitive to ensure that most unmanned aerial and ground vehicles developed for the military have built-in compatibility with mice, QWERTY keyboards, and most popular video game controllers. They even have reconfigurable controls in the tablet’s ‘Option’ menu. So when Rhodellian children watch uncensored footage depicting Rhodellian unmanned combat aerial and ground vehicles graphically and violently terminating enemies of the state on Volkscast (A Rhodellian online video sharing and social media platform), they can point at the screen and say “It’s just like Armed Assault!” or "It's just like Battlefield!", and still be mostly right. For Generation Z-aged gamers like Catawnee, video games have turned ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator’ and ‘Unmanned Ground Vehicle Operator’ from ‘an MOS for pussies’ to one of the most desirable (and thus competitive) Military Occupational Specialties in the entire Rhodellian military. Catawnee plugs the controller into the tablet’s USB port. Meanwhile, Schäfer jogs and then crawls to the forest edge within a few metres of ASR Blue Lagoon. He switches the drone on, tosses it into the air, and makes his way back to HQ. The drone hovers in place with its rotors as Catawnee makes last-minute checks for any technical issues. He maneuvers his controller's joysticks around, and watches the footage on the tablet change in real time according to his inputs. The drone rotates left and right, goes up and down, and moves back and forth and side to side. All without any noticeable input lag. “Movement controls look good.” He cycles through the different camera modes . “The RGB, Night Vision, and FLIR modes all look good too.” He then turns to Schäfer “Do these things have airborne optical sectioning yet?” “ARDI’s (The Agency for Research, Development, and Innovation) working on it.” Schäfer opts to talk about the Dragonfly’s development while Catawnee refreshes his drone operating skills with practice maneuvers through the forest undergrowth and tree canopies. “Right now they’re in the middle of training the AI to identify soldiers riding in open-top vehicles, soldiers sticking out of tanks’ hatches, soldiers in various combat poses, under cammie nets, in fighting positions, all that shit through thick foliage and tree cover. They’re doing everything they can to expand the dataset to make AOS reliable in warfighting applications. Give ‘em a year or two and we’ll have something perfect for more than just Search & Rescue and bird nest observation.” “A year? I'll be done with National Service by then. Now ain’t that a f*ckin’ shame.” Catawnee sighs. “Oh well...” “So, we good to go?” “I’ll see what I can do, sir.” Catawnee props the drone's tablet against the side of his rucksack, takes a seat, and leans forward in the typical ‘serious gamer mode’ position. He starts flying the Dragonfly south along the ASR, towards the observation post where Zimmerman and al-Latif should still be observing the (possible) enemy position. When he gets there, it’s al-Latif’s turn to look through the binoculars. Zimmerman is lying on his back with both hands on his stomach, recovering from eye fatigue. He hears the Dragonfly’s propellers whirring a few feet above his nose, and opens his eyes. Catawnee raises the drone’s altitude in case Zimmerman instinctively slaps it out of the air. But instead, Zimmerman just flips the bird directly at the drone with both hands. Catawnee laughs as he turns to Schäfer’s map of the AO. He compares it and the marker drawings scribbled on it with what he can see of the local terrain. He flies a short distance forward until he’s directly above ASR Blue Lagoon. The ASR is a paved country lane going north-south along a hillside. It is flanked by a shallow incline and dense forests to the west and a 4-foot-high dry-stone wall to the east. Beyond that wall is a somewhat steep downslope used by local farmers as a grazing area for sheep and alpacas. And beyond that grazing area, at the flat bottom of the valley, is MSR Spirytus. Schäfer breathes a sigh of relief that his squad, which entered the area from the north, stuck to the west half of the ASR to avoid skylining themselves for everyone in the valley below to see. “Thank f*cking God they didn’t see us as we got here.” Catawnee drops the drone’s altitude so that the dry-stone wall obscures it from potential enemy observers on the opposite hill. He moves southwards along the ASR until he reaches a T-Junction (labelled ‘Checkpoint Eight-Bravo’ on the map). Next to that T-Junction is a gate leading into another farm enclosure. From Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, there is a left turn into another country lane heading east towards the MSR. This narrow road is also flanked by 4-foot-high dry-stone walls. Catawnee opts to conceal the drone by flying into the aforementioned farm enclosure and hugging the wall as he approaches the next T-Junction, Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. Checkpoint Eight-Alpha is 300 metres downhill from Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, and is roughly 70 metres southwest of the suspected NALA fighting positions. Corporal Koen Meier, Fire Team Bravo’s team leader, points to the tablet and pitches in an idea. “If we were to approach their fighting positions for an attack, and stealth is no longer possible, I’d advance through this country lane using textbook fire-and-maneuver. Any emplacements looking down the road could be suppressed. Another fire team could suppress the enemy's M3E1s from the ASR. The stone walls should make for decent cover against incoming fire from the rest of the fighting positions to the northeast until we reach Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. Local farmers build these things strong, so they should stand up to sustained 5.56 and 7.62 fire for a good few minutes.” Schäfer nods in agreement. “That sounds like a decent idea to me.” 2.3 - Claymores About a minute later, the drone reaches Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and MSR Spirytus. MSR Spirytus is a single carriageway flanked by paved footpaths and two 1-metre tall hedgerows. Stretching 50 metres beyond the eastern hedgerow is only thick bushes, large ferns, tree stumps, and sparsely distributed young trees. After that, there is an abrupt transition to old forest. The woods covering the hillside are so dense with trees and tall vegetation that it is impossible to see past 45 metres at ground level. Schäfer’s map of the AO also depicts a long ditch dug alongside the western edge of MSR Spirytus, next to the footpath, which Catawnee tries to get a visual on. The drone rotates left. Catawnee points to the screen. “Well, will you look at that.” What he sees warrants a slight change of plans for his squad. The drone spots an insurgent with a large rifle slung on his back. Schäfer immediately identifies the rifle as a HK417A2 - 20″ battle rifle with an ACOG sight mounted on its Picatinny rail. He’s facing away from the drone, kneeling in a 5-foot-deep drainage ditch with steep slopes and a tiny stream running through the bottom. He appears to be busy aiming an M18 Claymore mine down a straight portion of the ditch before camouflaging it with foliage. Catawnee zooms in on the mine. “Yup, that’s definitely a dude setting up a legit f*cking green-painted Claymore mine at our only pieces of cover once we reach the MSR.” Schäfer points at the screen, frowning at the insurgent's rifle. “Gents, double-check your notes. Have we ever seen this guy before?” The team leaders flip through their notepads, comparing the man’s clothing and weapon with the eleven individuals that Zimmerman and al-Latif reported earlier. Corporal Rolt Jung, Fire Team Alpha’s team leader, flips to a brand new page on his notepad. “He’s got the same camo pattern, PPE, and NVGs as all the other guys OP reported… But OP never mentioned a dude with a HK417 or any kind of battle rifle…” he starts scribbling down a new data entry. “No, Schäfer. Neither us nor OP ain’t ever f*ckin’ seen this guy before. He’s a new one.” Meier nods as he jots down the new information. “That brings the total up to… twelve guys, now. Shit, Schäfer, your hunch about there being more of these f*ckers was right. Just how many are infesting this hill?” Collins speaks up as well. “Yeah, Schäfer, I er… think what they’re doing all but confirms that these guys really are NALA or NALA-affiliated insurgents. Beyond reasonable doubt. Can I explain?” “The floor’s all yours, Collins.” “Well, we all know they’re doing some highly illegal shit. Setting up potent explosive devices (and replicas of explosive devices) on, over, below, or this close to a public roadway is illegal. Preparing camouflaged fighting positions on public land where a public roadway is in your direct line of fire is also illegal.” He points to the tablet with his ballpoint pen. “The only time when either activity is permitted is when Rhodellia’s down to DEFCON 3 and below. And right now, we’re at DEFCON 4.” “So what does that say about these guys?” “Any member of a Rhodellian citizen militia would know and abide by those laws. Hell, we even learn them during War Studies in secondary school. And these guys? They don’t give a shit. They’re not local Loyalist militia. They’re not Rhodellian teenagers playing soldier, LARPing, or doing Mil-Sim.” He shakes his head. “Naw, man. Only NALA insurgents and their dumbf*ck allies, who are out to f*ck people up, would pull shit like this.” The rest of the squad present at the table nod in agreement with Collins’ insight. Schäfer congratulates the team leader with a firm pat on the back. “Well-observed, Collins. All that’s left for us to do after we finish conducting recon on this position is to send a proper SALUTE report up to Command. That, and hope we get cleared to engage these bastards.” “Fingers crossed, man. Fingers f*cking crossed.” Schäfer then rests his arm on Catawnee’s shoulder, giving him his next command. While the others were talking, Catawnee was busy scanning the area around Checkpoint Eight-Alpha, peeking over the wall and looking through holes in the western hedge, with the RGB camera. “Catawnee, check the ditches for underpass-type wildlife crossings we can use to clandestinely crawl under the MSR to the other side.” As part of their various environmental initiatives, Rhodellian governments since the 1980s have been committed to habitat conservation. In the countryside, all major roads and even many minor country lanes have since introduced various types of wildlife crossings to reduce the frequency of roadkill incidents. Accidents like deer-vehicle collisions have since become very, very rare. Wildlife underpasses are the most common type of wildlife crossing. By regulation, all of them are, at the very least, big enough for adult humans to comfortably high-crawl through with military-style rucksacks on their backs. This was a deliberate design decision: it is meant to aid Rhodellian militias in waging guerilla warfare against invading armies, by giving them more viable routes to clandestinely move around should their counties turn into battlefields. Schäfer wants to exploit this aspect of Rhodellian civil engineering to his squad’s advantage. Catawnee flies checks the bottom of the hedge for small gaps torn by wild animals leading in and out of the enclosure he's hiding the drone in. A bit further down the hedge, he eventually finds a hole with enough clearance for people to crawl through single-file. He rotates a full 360° to check his surroundings. “Found one.” Slightly further up the drainage ditch, he sees that there’s a large pipe underneath the T-Junction at Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. The pipe suggests that the ditches along the MSR are all connected to each other. Just outside the pipe is a south-facing Claymore mine camouflaged with tall grass. To the right of that Claymore Mine is the large, shadowy entrance and exit of a wildlife underpass. Schäfer reckons that the Claymore-planting NALA insurgent evaded detection by Zimmerman and al-Latif by going through the wildlife underpass and crawling through the drainage ditches. Jung points to the tablet screen. “At the bottom of a valley, leading into a drainage ditch? This is a weird place to put a f*cking underpass. Wouldn’t it be flooded every time it rains?” “I guess it’s better than nothing, Jung.” Catawnee shrugs. “At least animals can cross when it’s dry.” Catawnee crosses under the hedge through the hole he found earlier. Meier points to the tablet screen. “As an alternative route to the country lane. Our squad, or just a single fire team, can approach using that hole in the hedge. We can enter that farm enclosure that hole leads into. Crawl under the farm gate by Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, high-crawl downhill along the wall towards the hedge, low-crawl through the hole in the hedge and up the drainage ditch, and duck into the underpass.” Schäfer nods. “That’s also a good idea.” He then turns to Catawnee again “Alright. Fly into the underpass and see where it leads.” Catawnee does as requested. He follows the Claymore mines’ unusually long electrical firing wires into the underpass. Judging by its length, the underpass leads past the hedgerow on the east side of the MSR, directly to the base of the hill where the NALA insurgents are digging in. The tunnel is big enough to fit three fire teams-worth of crouching adults at once. With no electric lighting, the underpass is dark. A quick scan with the drone’s Night Vision camera reveals that there aren’t any explosive devices rigged inside the underpass. He points to the screen. “You guys remember back in Chemistry class, when we were taught about explosives?” Jung frowns, and takes a deep breath. “Yeah. My class spent hours learning how to make f*cking IEDs in the classroom with real materials but fake ingredients.” “Doesn’t every chemistry class teach you that?” “Yeah, but my science teacher didn’t even detonate a live bomb in the school field just to show us what we’ve been making. He just pointed at the SmartBoard, and played a f*cking Volkcast video of an IED blowing up a NALA troop transport. The lazy motherf*cker. The video was still cool as f*ck, don't get me wrong, but back then it was the biggest boner killer of my f*cking life.” “You poor f*cking soul. My science teacher set up a live demonstration in the school playground, and we got to see first-hand how easily a properly made Explosively Formed Penetrator can punch a hole through an armoured car door.” “You lucky bastard." Jung drops his head and sighs. "Why’d you ask about learning to make explosives in school, anyway?” “Back in Chemistry class, my teacher said that wildlife underpasses were moderately viable places to rig IEDs. Unless you have scouts or engineers thoroughly checking the route beforehand, you could roll over one of these without even realising it. A strong-enough bomb could collapse the road underneath an MBT and get it stuck. Or a strong-enough EFP pointed upwards could punch through the road’s asphalt concrete and then rip through the less well-armoured bottom of an MBT’s hull. It's weird that we can't see anything resembling an IED down here.” Schäfer chips in, nodding as he notes the lack of explosives inside the wildlife underpass. “I guess they couldn’t pack enough explosives with them to set up explosives in here. Either that, or sabotaging Rhodellian infrastructure isn't their agenda here.” “But smoking guys who use Rhodellian infrastructure is.” “Hm?” Catawnee retracts his earlier observation and points to the screen again. On the other side of the underpass, he spots a tripwire, lightly camouflaged with uprooted ferns and tall grass. It doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny, but a panicked soldier under fire and in a rush to counter-attack would probably miss it. Catawnee guesses that it leads to yet another Claymore mine. After a quick search for even more suspicious-looking foliage, the mine itself appears to be camouflaged under a fern directly ahead, and is pointing directly at the underpass. Catawnee looks up at Schäfer, who’s leaning on his shoulder. “Another Claymore mine, Sarge. I mean, it's obvious, but they expect any hostile dismounts ambushed on the MSR to use this underpass to try and flank their position. But what's dangerous about this one is that, if it explodes, it'll kill everyone inside the underpass at the time. Christ, this one's even got a f*cking tripwire." “Yeah, if you think from their perspective, you're right in that this shit’s a no-brainer. But it's still better for us to take this underpass than running in the open across the road and searching for more holes in the eastern hedge. And then getting f*cking shredded because the hedge offers no cover, only concealment. At least there’s more than enough clearance to crawl over the wire and disarm it the normal way. The bushes and ferns should give enough concealment.” Collins enters the conversation again, pointing at the tripwire on the screen. “Shit, dude. These assholes really do not a flying f*ck. They’re using Claymore mines in a victim-activated mode, with tripwires. That’s a violation of the Mine Ban Treaty. And here I thought the N-A-L-A observed that. f*cking pricks! I hope that mine's active, and I hope an animal comes along and trips the wire!” Schäfer shrugs. “Maybe instead of actual NALA insurgents, these war criminals are just a NALA-affiliated terrorist cell.” In the wake of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army stopped using landmines and victim-activated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Before that, thousands of Rhodellian military, police personnel, and militia alike have lost their lives to car bombs, pressure plate and tripwire-activated IEDs, and purpose-built anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines planted by NALA fighters and affiliated terrorists. Victim-activated explosives used to be some of NALA’s most effective and terror-inducing weapons. However, they regularly killed and wounded more civilians than combatants. Civilian casualties from these weapons is a major reason why most people in Native Aurelian-dominated Nordwalde Province, including many prominent tribal leaders, choose to stay loyal to the Rhodellian government. It’s hard to support the people who keep killing your children with indiscriminate weapons. This especially rings true when the country is already having trouble dealing with older Unexploded Remnants of War (ERW) from past conflicts. So as a general rule, the NALA proper only uses command-activated explosive devices. However, NALA-affiliated militias and terrorist cells in Rhodellian-controlled territory are less inclined to observe the Mine Ban Treaty. So whenever kids are accidentally killed or maimed by IED explosions, NALA leadership readily denies any involvement and deflects the blame at their allies. 2.4 - The Sentry Scäfer then turns to Catawnee again. “Hey, check to see if someone is actively watching over the underpass.“ Catawnee switches to the Dragonfly’s FLIR camera and cautiously maneuvers the drone towards the end of the tunnel, while remaining cloaked within the shadows. He pans the camera up the hillslope and, as expected, there’s a human’s broken-up heat signature sitting inside a bush inside the treeline roughly 55 metres uphill. Catawnee observes the figure through the RGB camera, and zooms in. Upon closer inspection, it’s another armed insurgent facing south, scoped in with an RCO optic mounted on an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The team leaders flip through their notepads again to note down the new threat. Jung starts scrawling into his notepad. “OP never reported anyone with a squad automatic weapon either. And no wonder, too; this guy’s been camouflaged the whole time. This makes thirteen tangos spotted on this hill thus far, the sneaky motherf*ckers.” Schäfer points to the screen again. “Catawnee, we’re taking the risk and going outside. Slice the pie before you fully exit the tunnel, fly into the underbrush, and get a better view of that NALA automatic rifleman.” “Wilco, Sarge.” After Catawnee confirms that no insurgents are to the immediate left or right of the underpass’s exit, he hugs the drone against the left wall and beelines for the undergrowth. The NALA automatic rifleman doesn’t even seem to register the drone flying out of the tunnel in his peripheral vision. He fails to react in any noticeable way; he just continues to stare down his scope at the southern approach from the MSR (where Rhodellian Army vehicles and foot patrols are most likely to appear from). Schäfer is about to criticise the automatic rifleman for tunnel-vision when the man suddenly looks left up the hill, right down at the wildlife underpass, and then back through his scope. Schäfer checks the HUD on the drone operating tablet, seeing that the Dragonfly is at 80% of its 30-minute battery life, meaning six minutes have passed since it was switched on. Schäfer taps the NALA automatic rifleman on the screen. “We’ve got more than enough battery life left. Observe him for five mikes. We’ll record how much time he spends looking into his scope; how often he unscopes and checks his surroundings; and when he does, how long it takes him to look from his 8 o’clock position to his 12 o’clock position.” As Catawnee makes a quick scan of his surroundings and sets the drone to hover in place, Schäfer compares the NALA automatic rifleman’s position with those of the others, or at least those that Schäfer's squad have found thus far. “This automatic rifleman’s about 50 metres south of his squad’s fighting positions. If they’re using a triangular cordon like the ones we use, I suspect there’s a second sentry somewhere around 100 metres to the north, and a third sentry somewhere around 100 metres to the east or northeast. Probably close to or at the hilltop. OP didn’t report anyone acting like a sentry, so this adds another two tangos, bringing our potential total up to fifteen.” Meier also comments on the drone’s surroundings. The forest is indeed as densely vegetated as it looked from the MSR. “This forest is overgrown as f*ck. You can’t see past 40 to 45 metres in these conditions. Nobody must’ve mowed this lawn since the Colonial era.” Upon hearing those relative distances, and quickly scanning the thick forest underbrush around the drone again (both to ensure that no enemies are wandering dangerously close or towards it and to find potential avenues of approach), Catawnee slaps his helmet. “Oh, Goddamnit...” He turns to his fellow Native Aurelian squad member in Alpha, Private Puhihwikwasu'u Geldfeld, who is nicknamed ‘Wickwash’. “Yo, Wickwash. We should’ve brought our f*cking compound bows with us, man!” Wickwash clenches his fist, fighting the urge to punish his lack of foresight with the hardest facepalm mankind would ever feel (a record which, unfortunately, would entail ruining his camouflage face paint). “Yeah, we coulda stealth-killed these fools! Old-school skulking way of war-style. If we knew we’d catch them slipping like this, I’d f*cking gladly have rucked 30 miles with an extra eight pounds on my back. Getting a bow kill in 2021 would’ve been rad as f*ck!” “If only we brought our bows, bro, we could take up sniping positions in the underpass, nock arrows while the sentry’s tunnel-visioned watching the MSR through his scope. And then, we could wait for the sentries to finish a regular radio check, loose two broadhead arrows up through this f*cker’s larynx, upper brain stem, and medulla oblongata... And bup!” He mimics the sound of an arrow striking an archery target while poking into the right side of his neck, pointing towards his brain from an angle that bypasses the protection of a kevlar helmet. “Instant kill or lobotomy, bro, it’s a silent takedown either way.” Wickwash nods his head. “It’d be ninja as f*ck. The rest of his squad don’t even have a direct LOS on his pos either, because there’s so many trees, plants, and shit blocking the sight lines between them.” “Yeah. If we attach bow silencers to our bows, the rest of this motherf*cker’s squad wouldn’t hear a thing from us. Just loose the arrows and drop him when the wind blows through the forest canopy and underbrush layers. Leaves rustling in the wind, the noise made by eleven other dudes digging ranger graves with entrenching tools, and sound absorption by fifty metres of dense forest should mask the sounds of our bows. They’re only, like, 60 to 70 decibels unsilenced. And we’ve both got bowstring silencers that cut down string noise by up to 90 percent. If we brought heavier arrows too, our shots would be even quieter, since less energy would be wasted as sound. They won’t see or hear the bodies hitting the floor. Easy ‘Silent Assassin’ rank.” “Maybe, bro…” Wickwash nods, simulating the hypothetical stealth scenario in his head. “If we’re fast enough, we could even take down a second sentry further up the hill. Or we could crawl close enough to yeet two frag grenades at the enemy squad while they’re still above-ground. The grenades might even roll into their fighting positions too. If we drop prone so our helmets take most of the shrapnel, or duck behind a tree, we can bug out pretty much unharmed. Just the two of us could score like, six to seven casualties on our own before their next radio check. Shit, man.” He wriggles his kevlar helmet. “I’d gladly risk taking shrapnel to my shoulders if it meant f*cking up that many people up at once.” “What could have been…” Catawnee takes a deep breath. “What. Could. Have. f*cking. Been!” While shooting with firearms and live ammunition is by far Rhodellia’s most popular recreational and club activity, archery continues to be a time-honoured tradition. While many of Rhodellia's ethnic minorities and immigrant groups have strong archery traditions, the most famous are those of the country's Native Aurelian tribes. Many state that archery allows them to better-connect with their history, culture, and community as well as learn valuable skills such as clarity of mind, patience, and focus. And thus, archery tends to be one of the top club activities in schools and community centres, roughly on-par with Historical Europan and Argisian Martial Arts (HEAMA) in terms of (registered) regular practitioners. Archers in primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities even compete in their own local and national-level archery tournaments. Out of respect for Rhodellian archery traditions, and unusual for a high-tech conventional military, the Rhodellian Armed Forces still permit its troops to carry their own privately owned bows (and crossbows) into battle. Of course, in an age of machine guns and automatic rifles, nobody regularly does this except as a joke on field ops; wielding a bow, as cool as it would look, is almost never worth the limited effective range, limited ammunition, limited rate of fire, and extra pack weight. But there are some theoretical scenarios where a bow might be convenient. For example, they can be used to stealthily neutralise sentries that are far-enough away from the rest of their unit. Most medium-draw weight compound bows on the Rhodellian civilian market, with no noise-suppressing in-built features or accessories (such as bowstring silencers), shooting common mid-weight 500-grain arrows, produce 60 to 90 decibels of sound. For a brief moment, they can be as quiet as a normal conversation or as loud as a crowded restaurant. But they are still significantly quieter than a suppressed .22-calibre rifle, which typically produces around 120 decibels of sound. The sound of a bow is also more unusual and unexpected to hear on a modern battlefield, so they are less likely to be immediately identified or reported. Some Rhodellian military academy students have submitted academic papers proposing that modern bows and crossbows can be decent (albeit highly situational) stealth weapons for the modern battlefield. However, despite the bow’s theoretical capacity for (relatively) quiet takedowns, the last time any Rhodellian was ever said to have scored a confirmed kill with a self-bow was back in 1940, during the Second Anéantic War. But even the veracity of this event is disputed. As the two disappointed Native Aurelians complain about how they won’t make their ancestors proud and be the first Rhodellians in 81 years to score confirmed kills with self-bows, Private John Adebayo, Alpha’s grenadier, pats them both in their back SAPI plates. “To be fair, it’s normally us in the Rhodellian Army getting jumped by NALA and not the other way round. None of us could’ve expected to get this lucky. Maybe next time, brothers.” he shakes their shoulders “Maybe next time...” Catawnee exhales, as he starts maneuvering the drone towards a slightly more favourable position. “Nah, bro, it’s all good. I’ll be satisfied enough if we get to smoke these pricks with our rifles today.” “Same, brother…” Adebayo nods a few times. “At the very least, you can still low-crawl through the undergrowth, sneak up on the guy, and knife him to death without anyone seeing.” After five minutes of visual observation, the squad observes that the NALA automatic rifleman does indeed have a regular pattern to his actions: a routine that can be exploited. His squad conducts a radio check every five minutes. He spends an average of 60 seconds observing the MSR through his scope, which is his 12 o’clock position at compass bearing 190°, putting the wildlife underpass’s exit at the very edge of his peripheral vision when he is facing directly forward. When he unscopes, he makes a quick 3-second left-to-right scan of his immediate surroundings, starting and finishing at his 7 o’clock position. At the end of this scan, he makes another, longer scan: he looks over his shoulder to his 7 o’clock position, and slowly pans from left-to-right, observing his sector of responsibility until he’s looking at his 5 o’clock position over his right shoulder. He seems to take the time to observe the surrounding foliage, the MSR, and the hillside to the west very closely; it takes an average of 15 seconds for him just to turn from his 7’clock to his 5 o’clock. Collins compares the NALA automatic rifleman’s predictable routine to that of a preprogrammed guard in a stealth game. The others agree. With how they’re considering the human field of vision and figuring out routine movements for well-timed exploitation, Catawnee can’t help but be reminded of a Flash game he used to play on unblocked game sites back in his secondary school’s Computer Lab, back before he was old enough to buy his own games online. “Yo guys, doesn’t all this remind you of a certain Flash game?” Private Robert Powell, Bravo’s grenadier, looks at Schäfer's map as it is being updated in real time. “Yeah, I think I might’ve played the one you’re thinking of one. That’s the, er… F*ck.” He quietly clicks his fingers and points. “That’s the stickman game where you have to observe a teacher's movement patterns, sneak next to a guy, and cheat from his test paper without getting caught in the teacher's LOS, right?” “That’s the one!” “Holy shit, dude, that’s a f*cking throwback!" Powell laughs quietly as fond childhood memories flood his brain. “I think it was called, er… ‘The Classroom’?” “Yup, that’s it.” Catawnee nods. “Shit, bro. Memorising, analysing, and planning according to a guy’s routine search patterns, like in that game... Ain’t that exactly what we’re doing right now?” “F*ckin’ hell, man, imagine actually using skills cultivated through years of slacking off in ICT classes just to dunk on some motherf*ckers in glorious combat.” Powell laughs. “Just like the simulations.” Schäfer uncaps his marker and prepares to jot down even more markings on his map. “Here’s to hoping he doesn’t throw a curveball at us by rotating with other guys in his fireteam. Otherwise his friends will be done digging ranger graves by the time we’re done monitoring all of them for patterns.” He begins marking the rough boundaries for the NALA insurgent rifleman’s sector of responsibility. The finished result warrants a change of plans. “He’s got almost got a direct LOS of the country lane between the Checkpoints Eight-Alpha and Eight-Bravo. We can’t crawl through there without getting spotted.” Meier points to the farm enclosure to south “What about the route that Catawnee took down to the MSR? We can still crawl under the farm gate at Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, enter the farm enclosure, and high-crawl along the wall. Judging from his position, he won't be seeing us with a 4-foot-high wall blocking his sight-line. When we get to the hole in the hedge, after that Claymore-planting insurgent returns to his squad, we can crawl through it while the sentry isn’t looking in our direction. We can time it.” The rest of the squad, including Schäfer, nod in agreement. On an unrelated note, the NALA automatic rifleman seems to be fighting his boredom by bobbing his head and quietly singing Anglish-language alternative rock. By observing his mouth and the beat at which the man’s head is bobbing, Adebayo recognises the song as ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. The squad smiles in amusement. “Ayo, that’s my f*cking childhood he’s singing, man!” Rolt shakes his head as he scribbles more notes into his notepad. “You know, if you can guarantee that he won’t f*cking stab me to death for being white... I might actually be okay driving my car to the store and back while this guy rides shotgun with his phone. I’d just pass him the AUX cord, and we could do what we usually do whenever we all get Victors to ride in.” Meier chips in. “You mean butcher 2000s throwback songs until the f*cking bulletproof windows break?” Rolt nods with a grin. “F*ckin A’.” He chuckles, shaking head. “Man, shame I gotta ice this dumbass for picking the wrong side.” Catawnee chuckles as he maneuvers the drone up into the tree canopies over the NALA insurgents' heads. “It really do be like that sometimes, man.” “Yo, Catawnee, you ever thought about this, dude? Thanks to shit like globalisation and the internet, we ain’t all that culturally different from these guys. We’re pretty much listening to the same bands; kekking at the same memes; subscribing to the same content creators; playing in the same Aurelian game servers together; and streaming the same anime, or movies, or shows, or whatever, you get what the f*ck I'm saying...” “Yeah, I get you, dude. Go on?” “... If NALA propaganda didn’t make these guys so anal about us, you know, 'occupying' their ancestral land and shit, we could be shooting the shit with them instead of just shooting them. Hell, I've probably shared a CoD lobby with at least one of these guys and told him I f*cked his mom.” Jung shakes his head even more. “This ain’t enough to make me hesitate pulling the trigger on them, but… You gotta admit, this whole f*cking situation, and all the historical, media, and political f*ckery behind it all… It’s all pretty f*cked.” “It is.” Catawnee sighs. “Man, this really makes you wish the N-A-L-A’s shit-for-brains leadership would just take the f*cking L. The thought of killing dudes who might come from the same tribe as me kills me a little inside. Sure, I’ll smoke them before they smoke me, but it still f*cking sucks to think you’ve killed a brother in cold blood. But the dumbasses running NALA ain’t doing the reasonable thing anytime soon.” “You know, I got this online friend I play League with from time to time. He lives north of the Nordfluss, deep in in NALA country. He’s a pretty cool dude who calls out N-A-L-A propaganda for being centuries-old bullshit no rational person should care about in the 21st century. Man, it’d be a real bummer of a coincidence, a cosmic joke even, if he was one of the guys down there digging a foxhole, and I smoked him.” Schäfer pats Rolt on the shoulder. “Well, the sooner we win, the sooner we can mount the heads of the N-A-L-A's leaders on spikes. When that happens, we can maybe, just f*cking maybe, restore some semblance of peace to this God-forsaken corner of Aurelia. And nobody will have to worry about capping their internet buddies over retarded Colonial-era trifles for a few more years... at least until the next time shit hits the fan.” 2.5 - The Combat Engineer Meanwhile, the Dragonfly is sweeping the hillside for hostile activity with its FLIR camera, using the treetops for concealment. Catawnee weaves through the leaves and branches while en-route to better viewing angles. The first thing to catch his attention is the newly-revealed heat signature of an NALA insurgent crouching in a giant fern, in the shade of the hedgerow at the base of the hill, inserting what looks like a cylindrical rod into the hedge and fiddling with it. Catawnee promptly switches to the RGB Camera to see what the insurgent is doing. However, the shade of the hedgerows makes him difficulty to see, so Catawnee switches to the Night-Vision camera instead. The sight is much clearer. Collins leans on Catawnee’s shoulder and points to the insurgent. “Yup. The bastards are setting up even more explosives. That guy down there must be a combat engineer.” He then points to the cylindrical object, which appears to be a large, 16-gauge steel pipe. He then traces his finger down what appear to be wires trailing down from the back of the pipe, into the undergrowth below, presumably further up along the hedge to 25 more pipes, and then presumably up the hill towards the NALA fighting positions. Schäfer squints his eyes at the screen. “Shit. Are those…?” Collins nods, tracing his fingers along the short section of MSR Spirytus that is visible on the tablet’s screen. “Yup. Explosively Formed Penetrators. EFPs. Not only did they bring Claymore mines, they deadass hauled enough IED-making materials to set up what looks to be about two-dozen improvised off-route anti-tank mines along a 100-metre section of the MSR.” Jung squints at the tablet screen, crossing his arms. “Collins, there’s no f*cking way a single squad-sized element of dismounts can carry 25 big-ass steel pipes 30 klicks across hilly terrain on top of all their other gear and supplies. They gotta have stolen those from a nearby construction site, or commandeered a truck. This takes f*cking logistics to pull off.” “If they tried to do that, wouldn’t somebody have heard them getting lit-the-f*ck-up by construction site workers or their security teams? As for the truck, wouldn’t somebody have reported gunshots from a carjacking or at least a car alarm? You don’t get 30 klicks into Rhodellian territory on foot by starting shit with some of the most heavily armed people on the planet.” “Then where the f*ck did they get these pipes from, and how the hell did they transport them all the way out here?” Jung scratches the top of his helmet. “I dunno, man. Maybe one of the locals is a builder, an illegal IED maker, and a NALA sympathiser at the same time? NALA still has no shortage of supporters here in Nordwalde, with it having so many Native Aurelians and all. At least a few of them have still gotta be pissed off at Nativegate.” Schäfer interjects. “Focus on your jobs, gents. Leave the theorising and investigating to the autists over at Intel. What matters to us is how to deal with the threat right in front of us.” Collins and Jung nod their heads. Collins clears his throat and points to one of the large pipes. “Assuming this guy’s average height, he’s using 16-gauge pipes. Depending on the propellant they’re using for their Misznay–Schardin shaped charges, with a 16-inch chamber, the slugs they can launch can penetrate up to 203 millimetres of Rolled Homogeneous Steel. These are probably powerful enough to pierce through the side armour of our APCs, our armoured utility vehicles, and maybe a few of our lighter IFVs. And of course, these can also disable the engine block of passing LVSRs. Easy as.” Schäfer and the squad’s other team leaders nod, noting down what Collins has to say on the IEDs. Schäfers exhales. “So these bastards we’re up against are fielding the type of IEDs that can f*ck up anything short of an MBT? That’s just f*cking great.” “Uh huh.” Collins nods. “Seems f*cking like it, Schäfer. The N-A-L-A may have given up on landmines, but they still love shit that goes ‘boom’. I swear to God, bro, bombs are like f*cking crack cocaine to them.” Jung shakes Schäfer and Collins on their shoulders. “Look on the bright side, guys! Aside from the Claymores, at least they’re not anti-personnel mines!” Throughout the Nordwalde Troubles, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army inflicted most casualties against Rhodellian military forces and police using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). South of the Nordfluss river, in firm Rhodellian-controlled territory, the NALA and its allies fight as guerillas in an asymmetric war. The odds are too stacked against them to regularly fight head-on and win: down South, they lack the heavy weapons, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery support, and air support necessary to ensure fire superiority. If they’re from north of the Nordfluss, then NALA insurgents don’t always have intimate local knowledge of the land either. Even when local Rhodellians do pledge their cooperation, the NALA and its allies seldom have the numbers or logistics to openly hold territory or sustain large-scale combat operations. They never expect to win pitched battles against Rhodellian soldiers, police officers, or Loyalist militia. As soon as they cross south across the river, neutralising a group of NALA insurgents in the field can be as simple as calling the cops. Generally speaking, the best way for NALA insurgents to 'win'is to blend in with the locals, plant a bomb somewhere, hide, wait for a patrol of Rhodellian conscripts to pass by, press the button on the detonator, fire off a few shots, and run away before the survivors call for reinforcements. Schäfer, Jung, Meier, and Collins flip through their notepads to see if they’ve ever written notes down on this IED-preparing insurgent engineer before. They have not. The engineer is wearing the same fatigues, camouflage pattern, plate carrier, and model of NVGs as all the other insurgents. It’s just that, in addition to his M4A1, he also has a M32 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher. Powell filters a long whistle through his lips, reminiscent of a falling bomb. “Hey, Sarge?” “Got some ‘grenadier expertise’ for us, Powell?” “Yeah.” Powell nods, pointing at the tablet screen. “This motherf*cker’s gotta be one of the first people we need to drop, if not the first. He can drop 3 grenades on our heads per second from up to 400 metres away. If we’re spotted, he can potentially dole out more punishment in the first five seconds than the M240L and two M3E1s combined.” Schäfer nods as he and the squad’s team leaders note that information down. “That’s actually a pretty useful reminder. However, figuring out his exact location when the shooting starts will be a problem. Unless he marches back up the hill and shows us before we the drone starts running low on battery and we have to fly it back, we won’t know exactly which fighting position he’ll be occupying. And he still looks nowhere finished with setting his IEDs. But I'd assume he'd be somewhere around their centre.” 2.6 - Fighting Positions With the combat engineer/grenadier setting up IEDs in the hedgerow accounted for, Catawnee maneuvers the Dragonfly to a spot where it can best observe the original eleven insurgents spotted setting up camouflage nets, hanging thermal insulator blankets, and digging fighting positions. Ten of them are still busy displacing dirt with entrenching tools. The eleventh is scanning the overcast sky through a pair of binoculars, probably to warn his buddies of any incoming UAV sweeps. They are still in the same early stages of digging as they were before OP lost visual contact; their fighting positions are still shallow shell-scrapes that are only deep enough for people to lie prone in. There are eight two-man fighting positions hidden behind eight camouflage nets with blankets tied behind them, blocking all potential observation (whether by binoculars or thermal imaging) from the hill to the West. Most of them are arranged in a staggered line running roughly parallel with the treeline, which in turns runs roughly parallel with MSR Spirytus. This appears to be a precaution against enfilading fire from the flanks. There is roughly 4 metres of space between each individual fighting position. The two southernmost fighting positions are positioned at a 45° angle, giving them ability to both fire at enemy units on the MSR and better-intercept any flanking maneuvers coming from the direction of the wildlife underpass. The NALA insurgents’ M240L general-purpose machine gun is deployed in front of one of the middle fighting positions (fourth from the left). Excess dirt from the shell-scrapes’ excavations is being used to raise ground, compact the Eurth, and make parapets and paradoses. The paradoses on the rears of what are currently shell-scrapes are likely meant to stop enemy grenades from rolling downhill and into the fighting positions once they’re at their full depths. It typically takes an hour for a well-coordinated team to dig a full DFP into flat, favourable soil. Digging into a hillside complicates the process, since more soil needs digging out of the slope. Schäfer estimates that the enemy will complete all stages of digging their ranger graves in two hours. Schäfer and the team leaders spend a short while flipping through their notes on each individual NALA insurgent, confirming that each insurgent was someone either OP or the Dragonfly have already spotted. They cross-reference their fatigues’ camouflage patterns, body armours, and weapon loadouts. These eleven insurgents are indeed the same eleven foot mobiles OP spotted at the start. Once the team leaders are finished with their check-overs, Catawnee switches on the drone’s FLIR camera and does a 360° scan for human heat signatures. He counts the heat signatures of: the original eleven insurgents digging ranger graves, the guy planting claymores in the drainage ditches, the combat engineer, and the automatic rifleman covering the Southern approach. He flies to the north, and finds a second sentry covering the Northern approach. He flies to the southeast up the hill, and discovers a third sentry covering the Eastern approach. Both of these sentries also turn out to be M249 SAW-armed automatic riflemen just like the sentry near the wildlife underpass. Catawnee continues to sweep the surrounding area for even more NALA insurgents, but the Dragonfly can’t seem to detect any more by the time it starts running low on battery. 2.7 - A Job Well-Done “And this brings the total up to… Sixteen NALA insurgents.” Catawnee exhales. “Yeah, I think that’s all of them.” Schäfer thinks so too. He, Jung, Meier, Collins, and their subordinates at the picnic table look at their map of the AO, and all the notes and markings they’ve squeezed into and around their grid square. They've marked the exact location of every Claymore mine, every fighting position, every sentry, and every sentry's probable sector of responsibility. Jung smiles in amusement. “Yo, Schäfer, look at that shit. Your map looks like a gang just tagged it.” Schäfer chuckles. “At the very least I can still read it. What matters is, we’ve got enough information to send a comprehensive report up to Command.” Catawnee looks over his shoulder at Schäfer, pointing to the low battery percentage icon at the top-right of the tablet screen. “Hey, Sarge, the battery’s gonna die in like, 10 to 15 minutes. I’m taking the Dragonfly back to base.” "Go ahead." Schäfer gives Catawnee a hard pat on the back SAPI plate and a firm shake on the shoulder. “Well done on operating the drone, Catawnee. You did real f*cking good today.” “F*ck yeah, Sarge.” Catawnee exchanges fist bumps with Schäfer and the others before initiating the Dragonfly’s clandestine exfiltration back to his squad’s Patrol Base HQ across the valley. While maintaining a reasonable level of noise discipline, Catawnee’s squadmates at the picnic table cheer, clap, compliment, put him headlocks, put him in chokeholds, and shake his helmet when they can't ruffle his hair. The drone returns without issue, with al-Latif and Zimmerman at the observation post reporting no indicators that the enemy ever noticed it. This concludes the squad’s reconnaissance of the NALA position. Schäfer sees it appropriate to wrap things up before writing up his SALUTE report. He reminds his squad, who have gone down to REDCON-2 while reconnaissance was being conducted, that they may be engaging the enemy very, very soon. Schäfer points to his finalised map spread across the picnic table in front of him. The wind starts to pick up, but he keeps the map held down at the sides and corners with random stones he picked off the ground. “Gents, let’s just make sure that everyone’s on the same page on what we know so far. Beyond reasonable doubt, we are up against a section-sized element of sixteen NALA or NALA-affiliated insurgents. Consider them 'Hostile'. The enemy has set up a deliberate point ambush, most likely meant to hit a convoy of logistical vehicles travelling along MSR Spirytus.” On his map, he traces his finger along the 100-metre stretch of MSR Spirytus between Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and Checkpoint Niner-Alpha. “They have turned this 100-metre-long section of the MSR into a killzone with at least two M18 Claymore mines in the parallel drainage ditches and 25 EFPs concealed in the eastern hedgerow.” He then taps the treeline to the east of the MSR. “Beyond the hedgerow on the east side of the MSR, at the base of the hill, is a 50-metre-thick strip of dense bushes and ferns, and shrubbery that can be low-crawled through. After that, there is an abrupt transition to primordial forest. The insurgents’ fighting positions are located along the treeline. They consist of eight two-man FPs, which are currently only as deep as shell-scrapes as of this moment. They are arranged into an 50-metre-long staggered line formation to mitigate enfilading fire from the flanks. There is roughly 4 metres of dispersion between each FP.” He then starts tapping each individual fighting position. “Their M240L machine gun emplacement is deployed at the centre, in front of the fourth FP from their left. Judging from where their recoilless riflemen were digging, their M3E1s will likely be situated in the second FP from the left and the one on their far right. The FPs occupied by their battle rifleman, who might be a designated marksman, and grenade launcher-armed engineer are unknown.” He looks up at the rest of his squad, who are nodding and checking over their notes. “Gents, does anyone here have any questions? Anything we need to go over?” Schäfer’s squadmates around the picnic table look at each other, shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. Wickwash raises his hand. “The floor’s yours, Wickwash.” Schäfer gestures for him to speak. “Do you think there’s a realistic chance we’ll actually get to kill people today?” Schäfer pauses. “That depends on how charitable Goodsprings is feeling. I plan on starting as soon as we’re done with pre-combat inspections, as per the Rhodellian military's doctrine of mission-type tactics. Hopefully, and I got my fingers crossed for this one, he won’t try to call off our attack as soon as word of our impending assault reaches his ears, just so he can drop a f*cking precision-guided bomb and take all the credit instead. There’s no guarantee he won’t do that. So we just have to hope that he’ll let us do what we’ve literally spent our entire lives training to do.” “I'm finna frag his ass if he makes us cancel. No cap.” “Maybe, if we're fast enough, we can neutralise the enemy before Goodsprings can try to stop us. Anyway, let's go over our game plan…” 2.8 - The Plan Schäfer looks down at his map of the enemy’s positions, and crosses his arms. It’s about time that the squad formulates a proper attack plan. “So, gents, not counting Doc, there’s thirteen of us versus eighteen NALA insurgents. We’re outgunned and slightly outnumbered, but…” He taps on the northern and southern ends of the NALA line of fighting positions. The team leaders step closer. Schäfer continues. “If at least two fire teams can sneak up on either their left or right flank, then it's likely only a portion of their force will be able to engage us at once. We can achieve fire superiority.” Meier nods his head, tracing his finger down the NALA fighting positions in a straight line. “I see what you mean. They’re all roughly at the same altitude as each other and dug in a staggered line. So if we hit one half, the other half will be more hesitant to engage in our direction because of the risk of friendly fire.” Catawnee tries to contribute to the discussion as well. “That, and they can’t see for shit past 40 to 50 metres. If we attack at the edge of their farthest elements’ line of sight, only a few of them will be able to see us and our muzzle flashes at once through the undergrowth. Unless they leave their fighting positions.” Collins also contributes with his own prediction. “If we’re within 50 metres of their positions, they’ll probably hesitate to use their M3E1s and M32 as well. Their recoilless riflemen might be hesitant to waste their precious rockets shooting at bushes we might not even be hiding in, especially when finding a safe place to shoot from might entail exposing themselves by crouching or standing outside of cover. Their grenadier might also be worried about spraying his own buddies with shrapnel. They might instead choose to fight with their M4s, giving us the advantage in firepower.” Schäfer nods as he notes down what everyone’s saying. “Fair points, gents.” He continues scribbling into their notepads. “Meier’s idea of taking the route Catawnee flew with his drone… Starting next to Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, going into the farm enclosure, hugging the wall for concealment, crawling through that hole in the hedge, up the drainage ditch, and through the wildlife underpass for a concentrated attack on their left flank… Is probably our best bet. I’ll take Doc and two fire teams with me down there.” He nods a few times, visualising an attack in his head. “This route’s a risky one, but it does get us to the enemy flank a lot faster than any alternative routes, even if we are high and low-crawling the entire time. About 30 minutes, considering the bottleneck we’ll be facing at the hole in the hedge. However, we should still catch them while they’re still above-ground digging their incomplete FPs. Aside from the trees, they won't have good cover, only the concealment of the undergrowth.” Collins steps forward and points to the drainage ditches by MSR Spirytus. “What about their Claymore mines, Sarge?” “Unlike the one right outside the wildlife underpass, they seem to be command-activated. We should be good so long as we’re not spotted while we’re down there. We’ll send a fire team out first, in buddy pairs. The first guy will pass through the wildlife underpass and disarm the third Claymore at the tunnel exit. The second guy will disarm the two Claymore mines on both sides of the pipe underneath Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. The second battle buddy pair will follow once the Claymores in the drainage ditches are disarmed, and then stand by on either side of the underpass entrance until the third Claymore is disarmed." “And how will we know when it’s safe for the rest of us to go ahead?” “Once all the Claymores are dealt with, the team leader can whisper into his radio. If we happen to encounter any more hidden Claymores or tripwires along the way, we can report it with hand signs or via radio as well, or just disarm them as soon as they're uncovered.” “Sounds good to me.” Collins scribbles into his notepad. Jung nods in agreement, tracing his finger along ASR Blue Lagoon. “I'll volunteer my team to take up overwatch positions along the ASR. Once you give a signal and start your assault on their flank, we’ll fire a few bursts at the FPs containing their MG and their right-flank M3E1. That is, assuming you'll immediately neutralise their left-flank M3E1 when you open up your ambush. Adebayo can also rain fire on the MG emplacement at the centre with his grenade launcher. The higher relative altitude of the ASR should give his grenades enough range to reach it.” Schäfer nods a few times and takes notes. Jung continues. “After we’ve spent maybe... one minute raking their centre and right flank with bullets, we’ll focus on suppressing their four rightmost FPs. That’ll keep at least a few of them pinned down in their FPs instead of fanning out into the woods, and cut down the volume fire coming your way.” Wickwash and Adebayo nod a few times, agreeing with Jung’s proposition. “I’m alright with that, dawg.” “Same, brother.” Nobody else seems to have anything to contribute. So Schäfer uncaps his marker again and draws a few crude arrows on his map. “Alright, gents…” He points to the map. “So, to recap on our entire plan… Me, Doc, and Fire Teams Bravo and Charlie will move up along the Dragonfly's route to the NALA insurgents’ left flank. Up until we reach the hedge at the bottom of the enclosure, we will low-crawl and hug the wall in a single-file Squad Column formation. Meanwhile, Alpha will stay hidden along ASR Blue Lagoon. Wickwash, Wolff, and Adebayo will hide behind the dry-stone wall. Meanwhile, Jung will take up a camouflaged position where he can best observe their southernmost sentry. With his radio and binoculars, he’ll tell us when it’s safe for us to crawl under the hedge and make our way to the underpass. And then join the fighting once I give the command to open fire via radio, or as soon as you see muzzle flashes or hear gunshots. Alpha, is that good with you guys?” Jung, Wickwash, and Adebayo once again confirm their approval. “Jawohl.” “Yeah.” “Cool.” Schäfer then taps the position of the wildlife underpass on the map. “Charlie will be the lynchpin to this whole operation being stealthy. You guys will be tasked with disarming the Claymores in the drainage ditch and at the exit to the underpass tunnel. On top of that, you’ll also be tasked with quietly neutralising their southernmost sentry so we can move into assault positions on their flank. This sentry must be eliminated immediately after they finish conducting a radio check. Collins, I’ll leave assigning the roles to you. Is this gucci with you guys?” Collins and Catawnee confirm their approval. “All’s good. We’ll head on over to the OP and go over this with Zim and al-Latif.” “Mhm.” Schäfer takes a deep breath. Moving his finger roughly fifty metres south of the NALA’s two oblique-angled fighting positions at the end of their left flank. “Once the Claymores and southernmost sentry are dealt with, Me, Bravo, and Charlie will advance through the bushes until we’re about 50 metres south of these two southernmost FPs. Just beyond their visual range. Bravo and I will form a Fire Team Line formation on our left flank, and concentrate all firepower to the front. Charlie will form an Fire Team Echelon formation on our right flank, with the echeloned side facing towards the NALA FPs. Ideally, we’ll all be in a position to attack within five mikes of the southernmost sentry being neutralised." He then traces his finger upwards through the NALA fighting positions. "From there, we will push northwards using fire-and-maneuver, with one fire team moving up at a time while the other provides covering fire. When it's time to strike, I'll radio all team leaders to open fire at the same time. Everyone else, pay attention to your team leaders and follow their lead so our attack can as synchronised as possible. In case the enemy shoots before that, and happens to take me out first, return fire. Alpha can do their thing as soon as the sound of gunshots reaches them a second later, whether ours or the enemy's. We will advance until the enemy is either routed or destroyed. At which point, the most intact team will secure their fighting positions while the other tracks the other survivors and reports their direction of travel on the platoon net. Another squad can move to intercept them." He then taps his finger on the location of the wildlife underpass below the MSR. "While the fighting's going on, Doc will stay in the underpass, where we'll carry anyone who is wounded. to safely treat our wounded. The underpass will also be our rally point. Our rendezvous point should things get FUBARed will be our patrol base here.” Schäfer pauses. “And gents, that will be our attack plan. Are there any questions? Is there anything I need to go over?” Jung, Meier, Collins, and the others around the picnic table look at each other, shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. Schäfer nods and clears his throat. “Alright. Team leaders, go fill in the rest of your teams on everything we’ve noted down thus far. Make sure everyone knows what the f*ck they're doing. I’m gonna send a SALUTE report up to our platoon leader. Wickwash, Adebayo, and Powell, swap with Wolff, Kowalczyk, and Fischer for sentry duty so they can be walked through the plan.” With this, Schäfer’s squad occupies themselves with doing whatever needs doing. 2.9 - SALUTE Report Meanwhile, Schäfer himself gets busy contacting his platoon leader. As of their platoon’s previous radio check roughly 40 minutes ago, Platoon HQ and 2nd Squad should be somewhere to the northeast, and 3rd Squad should be somewhere to the southeast. The platoon should be boxing in the NALA insurgents, so there'll always be at least one squad to intercept them no matter which direction they retreat in. Should Schäfer’s attack plan get FUBARed as per Murphy’s Law, he feels reassured that help is nearby. “Tempest Three, Tempest Three, this is Tempest Three-One, how copy?” Schäfer speaks into his personal radio. Tempest Three is the callsign for Schäfer’s platoon leader, Second Lieutenant Gottfried Schmidt. Schmidt responds a few seconds later. “Three-One, this is Three Actual. Solid copy.” “Three Actual. My unit has just finished conducting thorough recon on the NALA-affiliated insurgents and their positions. Standby for SALUTE report, over.” “Three-One, this is Three Actual. Send it.” As per SOP, Schäfer precedes his SALUTE report by reporting his current location. His squad hasn't moved at all from its 8-figure military grid coordinates since it first started occupying the derelict campsite just under an hour ago. “Three Actual, this is Three-One. I am located at the campsite to the west of ASR Blue Lagoon at Grid Bravo Sierra Four-Five-Three-Two Four-Five-Four-Four. Break.” He moves on to reporting how many hostiles his squad have discovered. “Size: Section-sized element of One-Six foot mobiles. Break.” And then, what exactly the hostiles are doing. “Activity: They are digging in facing west, overlooking MSR Spirytus. They are setting up fighting positions with camouflage nets, thermal insulator blankets, a machine gun emplacement, a mortar pit, and claymore mines. Break. They are also setting up what are likely to be Two-Five explosively formed penetrators along a One-Zero-Zero-metre stretch within their killzone, concealed inside the eastern hedgerow, facing the MSR. It looks like a deliberate point ambush. Break.” And then, precisely where the middle of the line of NALA fighting positions is located on an 8-figure Military Grid Reference System. “Location: Five-Five to Six-Zero metres directly east of the MSR segment between Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and Checkpoint Niner-Alpha, along the treeline on the west side of the hill at Grid Bravo Sierra Four-Five-Niner-Five Four-Five-Three-Two. Break.” And then, what specific gear the hostiles are wearing in no uncertain terms, just so friendly forces can immediately identify the enemy as hostiles on sight. “Uniform: Likely NALA-affiliated paramilitaries wearing TAZ-90 woodland camouflage, IHPS helmets, Ground Panoramic Night-Vision Goggles, and SPCS bulletproof vests. Break.” And then, what time they finalised their reconnaissance, since he already reported when his squad's observation outpost first saw the enemy. “Time: One-Eight-Zero-Zero hours. Break.” And then, every single weapons system the enemy was seen carrying, just so friendly forces can more accurately gauge how much firepower they're up against and what tactics the enemy are likely to employ. “Equipment: One HK417, One M32 MSGL, One M240L, One FIM-92J, Two M3E1s, Three M249 SAWs, Four M4A1s, Seven M16A4s. And Two-Five EFPs and at least three M18 Claymore mines." And then finally, to confirm that Schmidt has only noted down accurate, up-to-date information to share up and down the Rhodellian military's chain of command, Schäfer requests for him to repeat every detail of the SALUTE report. "Read back, over.” “Three-One, this is Three Actual. I read back...” Schmidt pauses to audibly flip back to the start of his notes, and proceeds to correctly repeat everything Schäfer just said over the radio. Once Schmidt's finished, the two speak some more. Most of their conversation consists of Schäfer sharing the locations, orientations, and killing zones of individual Claymore mines; the positions and likely occupants of individual fighting positions; and the positions and (in terms of compass bearings) likely sectors of responsibility of sentries. Essentially, Schäfer ensures that Schmidt and the rest of their platoon know everything that is currently known about the enemy. This way, the rest of the platoon is informed enough to formulate their own attack plans should they get involved. Once all that's done, Schäfer informs Schmidt of his attack plan's very basics.. “Roger, Three Actual. The NALA-affiliated insurgents don’t seem to be aware of our presence yet, so uh… I’m taking the initiative. I will conduct a hasty two-point ambush with my squad to destroy the enemy before they can finish developing their defensive fighting positions beyond shell scrapes. Acknowledge?” “Roger, Three-One. But that is a f*ck-tonne of firepower your boys are up against. Be advised, you have multiple options for fire support available to you as safer alternative means of destroying the enemy. Are you sure you want to initiate a firefight? And are you sure you don't need us to rendezvous together and back you up? Over.” “Three Actual, this is Three-One. Affirmative. My squad already has a plan in place, and it'd be best to seize the initiative and optimally exploit this opportunity while it still presents itself. Violence of action is what we're all about. Over.” Schmidt hesitates to speak for a short while, presumably to weigh up the odds of Schäfer's squad avoiding a Pyrrhic victory that'll look bad in the media. Casualties are always a sad and demoralising thing to see. But if Schäfer does have the element of surprise on his side and is able to catch the enemy when they are unprepared, then his odds should be fairly good even with the unfavourable disparity in numbers and firepower “Three-One, this is Three Actual. If you say so. Me, Three-Two, and Three-Three are less than twenty mikes away to your North-East and South-East. We'll form a triangular cordon to intercept any potential retreat towards the North, South, or East, and standby in case you do end up meeting us. Coordinates soon to follow once we're all within position. Break. Just be advised: You are at a significant numerical and firepower disadvantage. If the enemy spots you first and initiates battle, your boys will be torn to shreds. Break. If you lose the initiative and your tactical advantage of surprise, if the violence of action is no longer on your side, bug out of there immediately. Acknowledge?” “Wilco, Three Actual. I’ll proceed with caution. Out.”
    10 points
  3. Hello, I am new to Nationstates and Eurth, and i am glad to be here! I have been thinking about governments and countries for a while now, and i thought it wouldn't be bad to try some RP.
    8 points
  4. Hello there, I know it is highly uncommon for a relatively new person which has done so far only few things for Eurth to ask for a NPC nation to be station on their border, yet here I am. (note, the north-western and easternmost boundaries should align to the rivers, I found only a pixelated jpeg version, so the drawing there is approximate) I would like to ask for this nation to be formed south-west from me, being named "Dazhdinia" in Anglish and "Daẑinıja"/"Даҗіния" in Dazhdin (a slavic conlang I am working on which relies on nasal vowels and yats). The general idea of the country is to be a general eastern european counterpart for my roleplay, having the general history of a authoritiarian takeover of the country in 1920's, which resulted in a conflict with @Walneria which ran concurrently with the Stedorian-Walnerian war and ended up with a defeat and an economical collapse of the right-wing authoritarian government and a communist revolution in late 40's or early 50's. Then, the nation might've aligned itself closer to other socialist nations in the region, most notably @DPR Velaheria and @Stedoria. In late 80's or very early 90's, a peaceful revolution was crushed by a military action and the new regime has displayed extremely authoritarian tendencies, which in turn caused it to lose ground and succumb to the second, violent, revolution in 1998. Eversince then, the nation has greately recovered from the economical desparity it faced back then, but it also has a long way to go. The general idea for a nation is a counterpart to the past and current countries of the former socialist bloc, most notably Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. At the present day, I envision the nation as a federation of five countries. Three of them, Posąvragia (capital in Gromųva, which is also the federal capital), Kozlųka (which is the ethnically deverse half-Posąvrag half-Syranik heart of the nation, similar to Bosnia) and Syranika (capital in Jilinsk) are Dazhdin (similar to Serbo-Croat, there would be some rather tense discussions on wether Dazhdin is a single language with Posąvragian and Syranik literary forms or if it is a language family consisting of Posąvragian and Syranik), while the other two are of different ethnicities. I envision Ljukrina (capital in Brěgava) to be a rather multi-cultural region with many Ustokans (Czechs) and Maleniks (Sorbs) living in the area, maybe with a possible Dolch (German) language offshoot and some Slovak population. And finally, there is the Jalivia (capital in Kolikovo), which is the westernmost part of the nation. I want to leave that one's history open to potential people which come to settle next to it, but in general, it is probably the most different region of them all and possibly has a rich history of secessionism. The flag itself presents the diverse nature of the nation: the blue stripe stands for the Posąvrag eagle, while the green stripe stands for the traditional green Syranik shield, which features a fleur-de-lis (both or and argent were used). The white in between is often interpreted as the "middle road", but it is rather more likely that it was simply a tincture used in both of the coats of arms. The wreath is possibly the most controversial part of the flag, because it may ring the bell of the blood that was spilled in the name of socialism, but in this case, it stands for the general fame that Dazhdinia is bound to achieve if it just tries to reach it. Out-of-character, it would provide Walneria with a semi-direct sea access and would pose an interesting dilemma in Walnerian politics - Do we align with a struggling democratic slavic nation over a highly organized germanic brother? Do we need to align at all? - With those things and many more, such as the idea of multiple Dazhdinia-Walneria interractions, I would really love to have that nation added. The general displacement of points on the stats are: 2 for economy, 1 for area and 1 for population If there is anything I neglected to mention, please be sure to remind me over it! Sincerely, @Walneria
    5 points
  5. YOUR RP NATION Full Name of Nation: the Kingdom of Yetrasia Government type of nation: Semi Constitutional Monarchy Culture/ethnicity of your nation: Italian Give us a short description of your nation: Yetrasia has existed for a thousand years, the land was originally a divided land filled with a number of smaller kingdoms, until it was unified by the Founder of Yetrasia, a king named Giovanni, who would become known as the unifier. To help rule his new kingdom, the king established the diet, an advisory body of both nobles and freemen. The kingdom is also divided into a number of duchies, established by king Giovanni as rewards for his top generals, and to make ruling the kingdom easier. Do you have an IIWiki page?: WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying?: I would say moderate How would you describe yourself?: generally laid back, but serious when necessary RP/Writing samples (if available already): Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here?: no thank you NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: it looked like a good region with a developed community Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: no Do you have any prior experience on NationStates? If so, give a brief accounting of it.: I have been playing on and off with multiple nations for a number of years, since about 2012, 2013 Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly?: yes Anything else?:no, that’s about it Providing any falsified or deliberately misleading information will result in your application being rejected and your access to the forum revoked. By submitting this form, you are indicating that you agree to abide by the community and RP rules of this community. Any breach thereof may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to revoking of forum posting rights, banning from the forum, removal of regional citizenship, and ejection from the region.
    5 points
  6. Inblasin Ein walked around the hunk of metal they had 'recovered' from a particularly industrious member of the Kunagr tribe. The 'boat' was of single hull with an internal ballast and compensating tanks. It has fixed angle shaft planes and movable forward units for dive control. This was a privately built submersible boat, equipped with two bays that launched self propelled torpedoes. Inblasin observed the construction and chuckled, "To think a lone man could build this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a son of Odin had the ability to create something like this. But this event shows us only one thing, that we are effectively behind modern standards of naval warfare, and we will be able to catch up faster than I previously thought..." Inblasin left the prototype submarine in the hands of several hired engineers who would work day and night on future developments. He would walk to another drydock, all of which was on a restricted island off the coast of Ulfheimr. Restricted by the lumbering dreadnought boats who swiveled their battery guns to watch for prey. Upon this drydock, was the death of one machine and the birth of another. Inblasin was involved with the design of this new submarine. A dreadnought was being taken apart for every piece of metal and necessary equipment. It was triple the length and displaced 1.5 times more water. It would have double the propulsion speed and a greater ammo capacity. Inblasin was incredibly proud of his work, but he was not foolish enough to believe this would stand the test of other nations. Still they must innovate and they must test. This would be only the first of many designs.
    4 points
  7. The Traitor, the Bad and the Puppet - Part 1 1.1 “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people”, Alan Moore, V for Vendetta Since the fall of Francisquèz last Monday and the establishment of the new Republic, Montemadians were euphoric. Life suddenly seemed so light that people forgot about hunger, thirst, poverty, and all the other problems the country had been experiencing long before 1992. They had worn beautiful, colorful costumes, brought out trumpets, and danced all day to the rhythm of pinched double basses. Later, when the euphoria had subsided, the provisional government (made up of a dozen politicians and demonstrators) organized elections. The numerous candidates organized themselves into a multitude of new parties. In order to make sure that everyone could listen to them, each one was broadcast on the radio, which created unusual scenes with about fifty people gathered around a single radio. Among the candidates, two stood out to the Montemadians. Antonio Dom Gavalèce, the first of them, was the president of the Montemadian Socialist Party and advocated an alignment with New Lyria. The second, named Pedro Riveira, was the president of the National Party, the spokesman of the conservative right and above all the figurehead of the movement that wanted total neutrality towards New Lyria and San Castellino. The more time passed, the more the two opponents found themselves neck and neck. The elections were going to be very close until, two days before the elections, a journalist brought to light many corruption cases in which Dom Gavalèce was involved. Then the Montemadians, deeply scandalized, almost all rallied to the side of Pedro Riveira who appeared from then on as a symbol of virtue and honesty. Dom Gavalèce has no more chance to win. 1.2 “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end”, Leon Trotsky, Their morals and ours: the class foundations of moral practices The office of the Agency for the Defense of Neo-lyrian Interests (ADNI), i.e. the headquarters of the Neo-lyrian secret services, was located at the Quai Boiville, an art-deco building built on the ruins of the old Boiville train station after the Second Neo-lyrian War of Independence. First used as the headquarters of the Communal Council of Health and Solidarities, the Quai Boiville has been used as offices for the Neo-lyrian secret services since 1960. The office of Jean-Patrick Esther, director of the ADNI, was located on the 1st floor. As Esther had just been appointed, he had not yet had time to put personal effects in his office, which made it very empty, the only decorative elements being the neo-lyrian flag and a portrait of Esther. Esther is walking in circles in her office. His serious air and his small glasses contrast with a strong carrure and a tall height. He is waiting impatiently for Gregory Livenot, the head of the Mesothalassa department, to discuss what to do, or if he should simply do something. Esther, on the other hand, already had an idea in mind. He wanted to strike a blow, a big blow, to impress the representatives of the Neo-Lyrian Communal Council and prove to them that he knows what he is doing. Indeed, his candidacy had been more than discussed because of his short stint at the Ministry of Defense which had ended in disaster. Someone knocks on the door. - '' Come in. '' Livenot opens the door, enters timidly and closes it. His brown velvet pants and worn jacket made it look like a university professor rather than a secret service big shot. - '' Livenot, you see, my opinion is that we need a strong but discreet reaction. '' - '' Precisely, if I may p- '' - '' Have you heard about the pro New-Lyrian candidate? Gavalace or some sh#t like that. '' - '' Yes, Gavaléce. He's accused of corruption and his popularity keeps dropping. '' - '' Yeah but we don't care because he's pro Neo-Lyrian. That's why we have to rig the elections. '' - '' What?! But the Montemadians will notice it!'' - '' Thank you Livenot for your advice, I count on you to implement the plan because, as you know, I am your hierarchical superior. Goodbye. '' Concluded he by chasing Livenot of his office, satisfied of himself. 1.3 “Make money my son, honestly if you can, but make money”, Edgar Poe Being Foreign Minister in San Castellino is particularly boring for Ismael de la Plata, since most of the time he just has to sign documents, often diplomatic letters, written in advance by his uncle the Supreme Leader. While he is deep in an exciting (not at all) game of Tuffy Crush Saga®, the phone rings, which startles him and nearly knocks him off his chair. Suddenly, the phone rings, which surprises him and almost knocks him out of his chair. - ''Ismael de la Plata, I'm listening. Good morning Mr. Madrera. Any news from the Mesothalassa? Yes. Calm down, I'm listening. '' He grabs the cup of tea on his desk and starts to take a sip when, surprised by the news, he spits out his sip and splashes his desk. - '' What?! Are you sure? Good God... Find out more about the situation over there and prepare his welcome. No, especially not in Asmavie. Montedoux instead. With great pomp, of course. I'll tell El Presidente. See you later and keep me updated.'' He hangs up the phone and takes a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe the desk. - '' Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go. '' He gets up, locks his desk, and heads to the Supreme Leader's desk. Ismael makes a sign of the cross and opens the door. - '' Presidente? '' Di Foxycionni, standing with a cigar in his mouth, turns around and frowns. - '' When you call me like this it means there's a big problem, Ismael. '' - '' That is to say... the Montemadians have revolted against Francisquèz and... '' - '' And what? It was suppressed in blood? That's all?''- '' No. The Montemadians succeeded and Francisquèz had to flee. He will arrive in a few hours in Montedoux. '' The President, shocked by the surprise, nearly chokes on the smoke from his cigar. He coughs, a hand on his lungs. - '' Are you sure?! '' - '' Yes, Madrera just warned me. '' - '' F#ck, f#ck!! '' With fury, he takes the first object that falls on his hand and throws it on the ground. It breaks in thousand pieces. Ismael is startled and protests: - But! It was the vase of Mom- '' - '' I don't f#cking care! I needed to calm myself. '' The general takes a great puff of his cigar and resumes. '' - '' We need to impose an ultimatum on the new Montemadian government, something well-written that they will never accept. '' - '' You want to declare war on them?! The diplomatic fallout will be catastrophic! '' - '' Because you really think you can argue with my orders? Yes, we'll declare war on them, occupy them and put the puppet back on his throne. And to the beard of the neo-Lyrians, and all the other fags. Anyway, keep me posted, I'm going to Montedoux to welcome Francisquèz, and then in passing remind him of everything he owes us. See you later. '' - '' Yes uncle, answers Ismael lowering his eyes, before leaving the office. '' Di Foxycionni ruffles his nephew's hair with a paternal smile, grabs his jacket, closes the office and heads quickly to the first floor. Ismael, with his hands in his pockets and a pensive look, mutters to himself: - ''We are not in the crap...''
    4 points
  8. b]YOUR RP NATION[/b] Full Name of Nation: Viscinia Government type of nation: Constitutional monarchy Culture/ethnicity of your nation: mix between Danish and German Give us a short description of your nation: a small cold but thriving nation that is slightly mountainous. Do you have an IIWiki page?: Nope WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying? Not great but I'd say I'm semi good How would you describe yourself? A person who just loves history and geography RP/Writing samples (if available already): here's a paragraph from a story I'm making He watched as his kingdom started to burn after a raid from the tribes farther up north. They burned downed his legacy. Legacy, he pondered what a legacy really meant now. Did it mean the land he left behind or a writing on a piece of paper? No matter what, he knew he was next to die after all his soldiers, generals, citizens. Nothing but a massacre would be left behind."Your dead old man!" Someone yelled from the distance." You killed my son and you will pay." He knew who it was now." So your taking thousands of lives for the lives of 10 children?" The king asked." If so, you truly are dumb." Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here? Yes, I wanna make sure I'm doing things right NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: I like strong and well made communities Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: Not here but I've dealt with a few crooked moderators in my day Do you have any prior experience on NationStates? If so, give a brief accounting of it. I've had one other nation, can't remember the name but it was pretty bad Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly? Not sure but probably no Anything else?: Nope don't think so Providing any falsified or deliberately misleading information will result in your application being rejected and your access to the forum revoked. By submitting this form, you are indicating that you agree to abide by the community and RP rules of this community. Any breach thereof may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to revoking of forum posting rights, banning from the forum, removal of regional citizenship, and ejection from the region.
    4 points
  9. RP NATION Full Name of Nation: The Kingdom of Carpatha Government type of nation: Absolute Monarchy Culture/ethnicity of your nation: Ithic (Greek) and Naplic (Roman) Give us a short description of your nation: Small but wealthy kingdom currently headed by Regnimus of the Ignatia family. Generations ago, a small fleet of Naplic settlers settled down in the Carpatha river valley, a land with a beautiful natural landscape. Rivers suitable for transportation and mountains abundant with resources filled the land. But, there was already a people living here - the Ithic. Naplic settlers callously disregarded the Ithic and set up towns along rivers. Eventually small skirmishes erupted into a full-scale war between the Naplic and Ithic. Ithic technology and weaponry was vastly inferior and they were easily conquered. The social divide between the Ithic and Naplic has recently been growing, and social issues are at the forefront of Ithic politics. Do you have an IIWiki page?: No WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying? I have role played before, but not necessarily of writing, more imagining and thinking about the details and how the country would function. How would you describe yourself? I am quite interested in politics, and human geography. I often have writers, block but when i get started i can write a lot RP/Writing samples (if available already): None Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here? Yes NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: It seemed the most interesting of the recruitment DMs i got Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: No Do you have any prior experience on NationStates?: Not at all Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly?: No Anything else?: No
    4 points
  10. Kingdom Of Carpatha Etymology The name Carpatha comes from the Ithic word Kapetha, which translates to Ancestral Home. When the Naplic invaded, they thought the Ithic were saying Carpatha, so they named their new country as such. Demographics Population Poor: 1,865,600 (32%) Lower Middle: 2,506,900 (43%) Upper Middle: 1,107,700 (19%) Rich: 349,800 (6%) Total: 5,830,000 Carpatha comprises 2 major ethnic and cultural groups: the Ithic and Naplic. The Ithic tribes are native to Carpatha and were separated into various tribes, the most powerful being the Skytha and Antheria. The Skytha were a militarist tribe that encouraged unity within, and hatred outward. The Antherian were the opposite, and instead had numerous allies in other city states. Wars were common, often involving Skytha and Antheria. They celebrate their ancestors with elaborate ceremonies unique to each tribe, often involving sacrifices, games, music, and other festivities. The Naplic are only recent arrivals to Carpatha, originating in the Nusantara Island Chain. The settlers were a group exiled from their home due to their religious beliefs. They worship the Eagle God, sacrificing a bird every week on a bonfire along with food scraps. This is what got them exiled, the Naplic homeland’s main religion forbid sacrifice of any kind. In Carpatha, 60% of the population live in urban centers and the average disposable income is ⌭4672 or 7008 Eurth Standard Units. 87.6% of the population is working age and 51.8% of the population is of the Ithic ethnic group. Geography and Economy Carpatha has many beautiful mountains that are rich in minerals. And there are also a few large rivers that are useful for transportation. This allows Carpatha to be a well established trading nation. Major Imports: Uranium, Automobiles, Pharmaceuticals, Plastics Major Exports: Wheat, Wine, Fish, Electrical Machinery, Minerals & Fuels, Precious Metals Politics Carpatha is ruled by the Ignatia family, which has had 2 kings ruling with the name. Previously were the Zavus and Tibosses families. While Carpatha is a hereditary monarchy, it is also a meritocracy, favoring well qualified individuals over family members. This is due to the way the government is set up, a king can be ousted at any time if they lose in an intellectual challenge to a challenger. Anyone over the age of 23 can challenge the king as long as the king has ruled for 5 years or more and is older than the challenger. The king picks what topic the challenge will be about, and the challenge begins as soon as there are 2 witnesses. Under the king are 3 consuls who assist with administration and act as advisors. This is an elected position so it gives some power to the people.
    3 points
  11. Transgender Heath Fund Established by Corporate Board September 19th, 2021, FY36 Exciting news for Galahinda's transgender population today, as MYNE creative director Yiu Amistacia announces a collaboration between Neurve Pharmecutials. The collaboration seeks to provide funds for those seeking gender affirming healthcare to cover most if not all of the costs of the procedures needed. Yiu Amistacia, speaking via FIYD live stream announced the new program, stating, "Galahinda's trans population should not have to worry about paying for services that should be free to begin with. With all the value pioneering trans people have provided to our culture, it's time we give them something back yeah?" In order to further promote the project, MYNE has begun a campaign of trans inclusive lingerie, with all proceeds going back to the program. The new line, titled SKNN, featured solely trans models within the promotional materials, including Creative Director Yiu Amistacia. The program will begin providing funds at the end of the month.
    3 points
  12. Fall of the dictator Francisquèz Montemadia, a small mesothalassan republic under the san castellinos tutelage, has recently been in the grip of violent internal political unrest. President Carlos Francisquèz, in charge since his election in 1992, had indeed managed to change the constitution to extend his powers and have the possibility of being re-elected without limit. Already since November 2019, the general discontent had been heard, especially on November 24 with the demonstration of the students of the Polytechnic School of San-Juan-de-la-Cruz, which had led to the death of eight demonstrators and almost a hundred arrests. This brutal repression of the movement put an end to the protest, at least for the moment. Last Monday, following a skirmish between soldiers and three workers, leading to the death of one of them, the people took to the streets to demonstrate their anger and their thirst for democracy. As the procession was approaching the presidential palace of Francisquèz, he ordered at 10:32 am to shoot on the crowd. The army refused and at 10:57 the crowd, with the help of the army, broke down the doors of the presidential palace. Francisquèz could not be found: he apparently fled through the San-Julian-el-Hospitaliero river and would currently be at San Castellino. A provisional government has already been formed and is guiding the country towards democracy, and elections are already scheduled for next Monday. We can only salute the courage of the Montemadian people who had the audacity to revolt against tyranny. In the face of this ray of hope, we can only hope that it will serve as an example for all oppressed peoples throughout the wurld. The Magnificent leaves us... Alfonso Francisco, known as "the Magnificent", unfortunately left us this morning. While riding his motorcycle, he was violently hit by a heavy truck and died on the instant. New Lyria, still in shock, will have to do the painful mourning of its idol. Alfonso Francisco in Beaumont, in 2018 Born on June 18, 1968 in Gazallenoa, he fled the san castellinos dictatorship at ten years old. President Victoire Dahin has spoken publicly about this and has announced that she wants to decorate Francisco with the order of the Legion of Honor for service to the Commune. A national homage will be given next Sunday and will be broadcast live on television, followed by a minute of silence. Alfonso Francisco, beautiful bird gone too soon, your name will remain forever engraved in our memories. Goodbye and farewell.
    3 points
  13. Europan News Network Azanian Nations Begin to Buckle Under the Pressure KEROON HOLD, Dragonryders -- The OCA has been relentless in its onslaught against the remaining independent Azanian naitons. For weeks now the battle has raged on across the front of several nations, however we can now say for certain that tide has begun to turn against the independent holdouts. Afropan army units have finally managed to break through the treacherous mountain terrain in the south of Chrysiakti, with the latter breaking into a shattered retreat back to its northern territories. Even more dire, scattered reports have begun to surface about the fall of the Mawlikan capital city, which has been viciously fought over after an early breakthrough by OCA forces. The Yuropans, now cut off from their allies in Dragonryders, as the two are incapable of breaking the naval blockade between the shores of the two countries. The moment most military analysts feared had come earlier today, when the Anglian Navy launched multiple naval invasions across Ryderian and Yuropan coasts. Initial reports show that while some of the attacks were a failure, several were able to gain successful beachheads, with Anglian units pouring into the new fronts. With the Yuropans and Ryderians being the last major military powers in the area to stand against the Anglians, it seems the writing may be on the wall for a Western Europa free of Anglia. ---BREAKING--- With territory rapidly shifting across Dragonryders, the Ryderians have been reported to have made a massive last gambit against the Anglian war machine. Up until now, the Ryderian navy has held itself in port in Keroon Hold protected by the city's anti aircraft emplacements. However it seems, as reported to the Europan News Network by sources inside the Ryderian government, that the entire upper level government of had already been evacuated to Keroon Hold. It seems in a desperate attempt to defy the Anglian onslaught, the Ryderian fleet has made one final push to escape the Anglian blockade. Our own Sevda Aliyev was able to to get us a live report by satellite from the Ryderian ship RDS Manyikeni, where she was able to board having been attached the Ryderian government to document the invasion. -- News Host - "Sevda, can you hear us?" A slightly pixelated video is shown on screen next to the anchor, showing the reporter on the deck of a ship, with sailors scrambling around her. Sevda - "Yes Shir! Right now I'm on board the RDS Manyikeni, a Ryderian frigate which has joined the fleet in a desperate attempt to break through the Anglian blockade. As you can see, the situation is frantic and we've come under attack several times over the past hour!" Shir (Host) - "Sevda, what are things looking right now for the Ryderians? How much danger are you in?" Sevda - "I honestly don't know Shir. I've already seen the remains of several Ryderian ships that we have passed by, but somehow this fleet is holding steady. We have already made it a hundred and fifty kilometers from the Ryderian coast, but the Anglians haven't let up. I've already heard from the captain of the ship that the only Ryderian carrier have suffered battle damage and has decided to stay behind to delay the Anglian Navy." Shir (Host) - "What do you think the Ryderians are trying to achieve right now?" Sevda - "I've heard rumors from the crew that somehow-" A the sound of a jet is heard and a distant explosion, followed by missile fire close by. Sevda looks distraught, but regains her composure. Sevda - "The crew of the ships is talking about the Seylosians somehow. We appear to be racing to a set of coordinated in the Adlantic, and they seem convinced they will be met by the Seylosian fleet." Shocked the host leans into ask his question. Shir (Host) - "Is this the Seylosians entering the war against the Anglians?" Sevda shakes her head. Sevda - "It's highly doubtful Shir. However the Seylosians had already taken in the exile government of the SDC, and this could be an attempt to do the same. Our best guess is the neutral Seylosians using their ships as some sort of diplomatic shield for the fleeing Ryderian Navy. But I'm still not clear on the details!" Another distant explosion is heard and sailors are heard yelling in the background. Sevda and ushered away from Ryderian sailors and the fottage cuts. Shir (Host) - "It seems Sevda has been moved to a safer location during this battle. We hope she stays safe during this intense battle. For now, our thoughts are with the brave crews of the Ryderian ships fleeing from the tyranny of Anglian oppression."
    3 points
  14. The National Courier ᚱÍᚲᛁᛊᛒᛟᚦᛁ 22.09.2021 AD 18.04.1949 AJB ________________________________________________ Jarl Knut's backdoor deals uncovered. The RSA has uncovered evidence about Jarl Knut's involvement in the corruption conspiracy that has been extensivly plaguing the government of Ateenia for years. It was discovered that there were multiple undocumented incomes and spending's in the Jarldom of Mosiheimr treasury, one of them being a undocumented transfer of money from the Ministry of Finance to the treasury of Mosiheimr of a sum of 110 million Krónas. It is yet unknown why the money was transfered but the RSA promises to find out soon. The RSA contacted the local police not long after to arrest the guilty jarl, however the local police refused to arrest the jarl, saying that they will not arrest a jarl over a false accusation from untrustworthy agency. As such the RSA contacted the Queen not soon after and an emergency meeting of Konráðið was called. When the emergency meeting started, the evidence was presented before any discussion even began and the Queen proceeded to accuse the Jarl of treason and ask why this transfer was made. The jarl responded that the evidence is forged and felt insulted by, what he called, false accusations. He proceeded to state that this is yet another example of the RSA planting false evidence to cause havoc in Ateenia and disunite the kingdom. Queen Ena was having non of it and demanded to know why the transfer was made once again before being interrupted by Jarl Kari Skunhild who took a stand on the side of Jarl Knut, voicing her concerns about how easily a jarl can be framed. She revealed her trust towards Jarl Knut and said that she does not believe a loyal jarl like Knut would ever work against the kingdom for he would sooner die then hurt the beating heart of the Kingdom of Ateenia that has protected and guided the lives of every Ateenian for thousands of years in the guidance of the gods. She backed her statement with pictures of Jarl Knut leading the men and women of Ateenia to battle against those that would harm her in the Kingdoms restoration war and told the queen that Jarl Knut shed blood and tears for the kingdom long before her royal majesty was even born. Before Jarl Kari could finish Jarl Calder stood up and presented a few stories about how he fought side by side with Jarl Knut and saw first hand how the man would even condemn his soul if it meant that Ateenia would continue on. Queen Ena, after having patiently heard the Jarls out continued, "It is all very interesting and honourable indeed and I thank you both for this great service but the evidence is clear, whatever the reason for this transfer, Jarl Knut is involved in whatever conspiracy is going on in my kingdom and I will have non of it, your past glories do not make you immune to the laws and I must ask Jarl Knut of House Olferr to go with the RSA to be interrogated and arrested for this illegal act..." before the queen could finish, Jarls Kari, Calder and a few other Jarls stood up and called it an outrage. They asked the queen to stop ignoring them and to stop this madness, followed by all of them agreeing that if the Queen wants to arrest Knut for something the RSA is framing him, she better arrest them too for they will not stand and watch as the loyal Jarl that has given so much for the kingdom be mistreated like that. They warned the queen that she should get more solid evidence before even daring to speak about Jarl Knut like that again. The Queen did not follow up with this and called the meeting over and told the Jarls to all go home. She was then reported whispering to the Director of the RSA to dig more deeply into it but was interrupted by Jarl Knut saying, "oh and from now on, these filthy spies of the RSA are now barred from Jarldom of Mosiheimr!" before slamming the door behind him. Later that evening, Jarl Knut followed through with his statement and evicted the RSA from his Jarldom and demanded that the RSA department of Mosiheimr be closed by Friday. House of Konráðið
    2 points
  15. Hello, I’m the Kingdom of Yetrasia, here to d some rp and generally have fun!
    2 points
  16. March 22, 1316 It was a regular day at the Jacquard estate. George stood inside his father's study, where his father was organizing his documents. "Ansi. Tu es majeur et tu devrais te préparer à me succéder," his father said in Barborican. "Ouin, mais je veux être plus qu’un seigneur local," George responded. "Porquoi?" his father asked worriedly. After a sigh, he continued. "Écote, George, je ne voudrais pas être Barboricain. Mais souhaitant une révolution? Vous savez que c’est mal vu." "Je peux très bien me débrouil." "Peux-tu? Quel rapporte entrez-vous avec l’ouvrier en tant que roi?" "Écoute Papa, notre très cher empere a augmenté les impôts. Que feriez-vous à ce sujet?" "Je suppose que je lui parlerais?" "Et si j’entendais dire que l’empere envise de nous enlever notre domaine?" "Je ne sais pas." "Je suppose que je vais y aller maintenant." "Où?" "Un endroit pour réfléchir." And, with that in his mind, George left the study and mounted the horse to retreat to a secluded place, where he could think freely. His plan was to gather his friends and begin by raiding Fort de Orx, a small fort near Fleury in Lamonti.
    2 points
  17. Welcome to Eurth, @Kingdom of Carpatha! If there's anything we can help with, please ask!
    2 points
  18. "You move like little mice men," Lethurblökuskítur crossed his arms and grumbled. He tapped his foot for several seconds before sidling into the police car. The large man barely fit into the police car. He peeked out and stared at the official until he entered the car as well. If a diplomat comes to Ulfheimr then it would make contact with Erilaz Kromeus. Lethurblökuskítur spoke up again, " How long must I wait?"
    2 points
  19. March 30, 1316 On the second last day of March, George arrived at Leonstadt, the colonial capital of West Ostad, where Gustav Hardenberg lived. After speaking to him, George returned to San Monica, where phase one would be executed. As the sun began to go down, they continued down the road towards Fort de Orx. The fort was small and overlooked Fleury and the other wine regions. “How should we begin?” asked Rafael. “Well clearly, there’s two ways; either stealth or a quick fight to the death,” answered George. “Honestly gentlemen, I would go either way. Stealth would take too much time though,” Gustav said. By the time they decided, it was evening. Every guard was asleep, while others patrolled. The fort wouldn’t have much else than wine or weapons, however could serve as a temporary HQ. In the end, the three men decided to stealthily take out all guards they could. They narrowly avoided alerting other guards until suddenly the Captain exited his bedroom and looked over the railing of his balcony. “Qu’est-ce que toute cette agitaté?” Those words made the three men freeze in terror as they realized the Captain was awake. If he detected any suspicious activity, he would raise the alarm. “What the hell are we supposed to do now?” Rafael said quietly with an agitated tone. “Stay quiet. If he doesn’t see any bodies, he’ll calm down. Although…” “Although what?” As Rafael asked that question, the Captain noticed a puddle of blood under a door. He opened the door, finding the bodies of the soldiers. “That,” George finally answered. They were in no position to be able to escape, but should they try to?
    2 points
  20. Welcome to Eurth !
    2 points
  21. Welcome here !
    2 points
  22. Welcome to Eurth, hope you enjoy your stay!
    2 points
  23. To: Her Excellency, A. Sarris, Véla Lagata of the Exárcheia tis Kirvínastíria (@Kirvina) From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Excellency, May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment to the position of Véla Lagata. I hope that this will mark the start of a new period in cooperation between our two proud nations, as we are both of the same Aroman stock. That two oceans divide us has never been an insurmountable challenge and I pray to God that that remains the case. Indeed, the ability of your ancestors to traverse those oceans and visit their homeland was one that was always most impressive to those who remained in Europa, even as our cultures and religions diverged over the years. The Kirvinoi are always welcome within my nation and it is hoped by the Holy Imperial Government and the Holy Emperor of Arome that the coming years will once again see our nations and people draw closer together. I would also like to take this moment to re-affirm the relations between our nations, as well as to give notice that the Megas Agios Basileia will retain Tatianos Poullades as our ambassador to your nation. It is felt by the Holy Imperial Government that Poullades has been an able representative to your nation, although if your government disagrees, then mine will be willing to send a more suitable replacement. After all, it would not bode well for our future relations if we allow this to be a stumbling block at this point. May God see to it that the bond between our nations and people remain strong, Eugenios Goulielmos, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Barbaron of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
    2 points
  24. Good luck, @Metztlitlaca and @Fravina!
    2 points
  25. His first friend was Rafael Montilla, who lived in San Monica as Vincent Baudet due to the Barborican Empire restricting the Kairupozians from entering the territory. San Monica was named after goddess Saint Monica who protected Barborican sailors. This city served as New Barborico's capital city and was admired by some for its fort located on a high hill. George arrived at the city to find a commotion around the port and market square. San Monica's port was not that busy compared to Barborico's, however due to high pirate activity, this port was the only one Barborico used. His friend lived in Saint Pierre which was a few kilometres away from the port and had better housing. Once George arrived and knocked on the door, Montilla's maid opened the door. "Que veux-tu?" she asked. "Bonjour, madame, je suis ici pour parler avec votre maître." "Je crains qu’il ne soit pas disponible. Il est...hors de la ville." "Laissez-le entrer," said an unknown voice with a Kairupozian accent. George knew immediately that was Rafael's voice as he entered the house. "Well, if it isn't George Jacquard! What are you doing here?" Rafael uttered from his seat in the drawing room. "Hey Montilla. I came as soon as I could for that plan we have," George responded, knowing that he as a member of the Jacquard family was willing to do something insane. "So are you still willing?" "Yes. It is a crazy idea, but we need to do something about the Emperor. So are you ready?" "Of course! We are both stupid enough to do this, but have you talked to that Esta Ostadian guy?" "Gustav? I haven't. Could you pass me a glass of that wine?" "Sure. You should probably talk to him." George chuckled nervously as he took a sip of the wine. Not everybody was as excited about the revolution as George and his compatriots. The sun went down as they talked about their plan. The next day, George was ready to go north to meet Gustav Hardenberg, who was the third wheel in the conspiracy against the Barborican Emperor.
    2 points
  26. “Like the tiger, a big cat native to more southerly Europan climes than our own Arhomaneia, the leopard sometimes takes to man-eating. In my experience, a man-eating leopard is to be dreaded even more than a tiger that has gained the same taste, as it possesses greater agility and stealthiness, as well as its silence.” Excerpt from Man-Eaters: The Memoirs of a Professional Hunter by Khristoforos Iagoupes, first published in EK7400 (AD1892). Iagoupes was later awarded the courtly title of Protokynegos, or “First Hunter”, in recognition of his exploits. The Leopard Throne. One of the most important symbols of Arhomaneia. It stands on a dais of porphyry that is covered with a cloth of gold, under a canopy of the same material, at the end of the grand state throne room, the Asprotriklinos, of the Basilikon Synkrotima Palatión, the Imperial Palace Complex. The heart of the Megas Agios Basileia, the Greater Holy Empire. It is actually a dual throne – the left hand side is the vacant seat of Christ. The Holy Emperor, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion kai Isapostolos, the Holy Emperor and Autocrat of Arome and Equal to the Apostles to give the more formal title, is the representative of God on Eurth, sitting at His right hand. The throne itself is gold and studded in precious stones, a shining example of Aroman craftsmanship and nothing that mere barbaroi could hope to imitate. Its seats are covered in leopard skin upholstery and the sides are in the likeness of snarling big cats, ready to pounce. The teeth of the leopards on the sides are ancient elephant ivory, the red tongues made from coral, their spots picked out in pieces of carved jet and the eyes are crafted from amber. This imagery gives the throne its name. To enter the throne room, two vast gold-plated doors have to be opened. These magnificent works of art are perfectly balanced and swung outwards smoothly and silently. They are kept oiled and were polished regularly by one of the myriad of servants within the Imperial Palace Complex. It is considered a high honour to be selected to carry out the task. Once inside the room, a visitor is greeted by one of the most striking sights in the wurld. The walls of the throne room are a shining white, representing the purity and holiness of Arhomaneia. The floors are a gilded mosaic, breathtaking in its magnificence. Glass, gold and ceramic tiles displaying proud moments in history, fearsome hunting scenes and the glory that is embodied by the Arhomaioi. Behind the throne is a multicoloured stained glass window of vast size which bathes the room in jewelled light when the sun shines through it. Unlike other, more heterodox Christian nations, there are no recreations of heavenly scenes or the Saviour Himself – depictions of holy figures are considered to be idolatrous by Arhomaneia's particular brand of Christianity, the Aroman Church. Great pillars hold up the high roof. These are alternatively shining white marble or porphyry. Beyond them, the walls are as richly decorated as the mosaic floor and more large windows of stained or clear glass, alternating in the opposite way to the pillars, allowing light to flood into the state throne room. It is designed to overawe any visitor to the throne room, as if being in the presence of the Holy Emperor wasn't enough in itself. The throne itself, on its raised dais, sits under a semi-dome at the apse end of the room with the words “Christ, King of Kings” inscribed across the conch of the apse. It is no mistake that the throne is under the eastern end. The ruler of Arhomaioi is appointed to this role by God Himself, manifesting His will on Eurth. As a sign of the Agios Basileos' lofty position as the Thirteenth Apostle, those that approach the Leopard Throne's occupant are expected to acknowledge their lowly position. This act, called the Proskynesis, signifies the subservience of the one doing it and the recognition that the Holy Emperor is their rightful overlord. The act involves throwing themselves to the floor and kissing the Holy Emperor's feet with their arms outstretched. It has, however, become impolitic to expect foreigners to perform it these days. The overly proud barbaroi find it very offensive, as they often do not recognise the primacy of the Arhomaiki ruler over their petty overlords. And as there was one Kingdom in Heaven, there is one Empire on Eurth. That Empire has stood for centuries as a bastion of civilisation in a wurld of barbarism, a beacon of faith and light shining out and inspiring the lands surrounding it. It is a centre of culture, ever changing and evolving, and yet maintaining a link to the glorious past of the Aroman Empire before it, even if that past had yet to find the enlightenment of Christianity. This cultural heritage meant that it is Tagmatium's duty to shepherd the rest of Eurth towards that enlightenment and the civilisation that it brought with it. The throne is flanked by a soldier from each of the six guard regiments of the Tagmata, the Palace Guard, the unit that had inadvertently gave the common name to the Megas Agios Basileia, the Greater Holy Empire. Their positions near the throne is kept in a strict rotation to avoid one being favoured over the others. The bodyguards are all brightly dressed, with horse hair plumes on their sallet helms the colour of their robes, clothes embroidered with golden thread and carrying shields decorated with symbols of Christ and Arhomaneia. A soldier from the Exkoubitores, their name meaning “Sentinels”, currently stood on the right of the throne, the closest to it. Perhaps the most famous of the units from the guard corps, their red robes and black lacquered armour, a mix of lamellar and plate mail, made them a distinctive sight throughout the capital of the Greater Holy Empire. They regularly accompanied members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the Imperial Government, abroad on diplomatic missions. Behind the Exkoubitor was one from the Ikanatoi, the “the Able Ones”, wearing red armour, cream robes and carrying a spear. Next to the Ikanatos, dressed in red robes and cream armour, was a Optimatos, holding a shield and a sword. To the left of the throne stood a soldier of the Athanatoi, “Immortals”, in green robes and wearing a similar mix of lamellar and plate, although their armour was coloured blue. This soldier was armed with a short-shafted axe as well a sword. Behind the Athanatos was one of the Paramonai, the name coming from those who stood close to the Agios Basileos. They were armed with maces and shields, dressed in blue robes and steel armour buffed to a mirror shine. Like the Exkoubitoi, their role was to closely guard the members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the palace complex and Tagmatika itself. Completing the row of three was one of the Arkhontogennhematai, “the sons of officers”, in shining steel armour contrasting with pitch black robes and holding a spear. The appearance of the guards might be deceptive - they were drawn from decorated combat veterans from the Tagmatine army or from candidates that had especially impressed their instructors during training. They would die to protect their charges and took their roles extremely seriously. As well as soldiers from the Tagmata, at all times dignitaries and attendants from the amongst the government, the civil service and the court aristocracy waited on the throne, even if it was vacant. They were dressed in jewelled robes of ancient, although not out of date, style. Whilst the positions within the court aristocracy were not hereditary, members of it were often granted great estates within Arhomaneia. This meant that they would have the time to wait on the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator without having to worry about money or inability to afford the splendour in which they would have to dress. They may not have been as powerful as the military or bureaucratic aristocracies in the reign of Kommodos III, but there was power in proximity to greater power. They were the cup bearers, the concierges and ushers, with their families having been in the service of the Greater Holy Empire for generations, even centuries. Being close to the Holy Emperor for many hours meant that they often had his or her ear and even become valued confidantes. They might be perceived as useless hangers-on by some but that often couldn't be much further than the truth. The Greater Holy Empire would last, and they would have their day again. With the guards around the throne and the attendants surrounding it, completing the groups within the throne room were a choir of monks, chanting praise to Christ. They were dressed in black clerical robes that were a sharp contrast to the sumptuous dress of the courtiers and the elaborate uniforms of the bodyguards. Bishops and other prelates were often in the state throne room too, as the Holy Emperor has such an important role within the affairs of the Church. The smell of incense permeated the cavernous room. If the Holy Emperor was present, then the chanting would cease and a respectful silence would dominate the room. Only if the Vice-Gerent of God willed it would that be broken. Court ceremony was entirely designed to emphasise the dignity and prestige of the monarch and to imply the superhuman nature of the one that sat upon the Leopard Throne. Recent years have seen a resurgence in activity from the Greater Holy Empire. At first, its attention had been focussed beyond Europa, then Arhomaneia turned somewhat quiet. Unlike @Adaptus, Tagmatium's closest neighbour, ally and fellow heir to ancient Arome, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has not become destabilised. Eurth had seen the influence of the Megas Agios Basileia spread. Several programmes to improve Tagmatium's environmental impact have taken precedence over the military actions that had seen the nation's international prestige increase over the years. Sustainable power generation has been stepped up across the country, from wind farms to hydro-electric power stations. There has been some rumblings within the nation's borders, primarily from pro-democracy campaigners, although these had been dealt with peacefully. They did not shatter the tranquillity and prosperity that had been earned after the hard shock of the Civil War in EK7513 (AD2005) and the struggle of the nation finding its feet again in the years that followed. Arhomaneia had once again become a main player on the wurld stage, with much of Eurth seeing its influence. But the same wurld was changing, and it was said by some that the Megas Agios Basileia needed to change with it, lest it become stagnant and lose its place as the country that all others looked up to. Arhomaneia could not afford to slip back into the background. It had come a long way since the Civil War and had reforged itself under Kommodos Iakoumos, who had been elected to his position in the aftermath. As yet, it remained to be seen how this most ancient and glorious nation would deal with the changes that had happened around it.
    2 points
  27. Europan News Network OCA Nations attack Northern Azania in Force KEROON HOLD, Dragonryders -- OCA nations in the south, which have been clashing to their neighbors to the north, unleashed a furious attack on Northern Azanian nations claiming that nations there had been provoking them too long. Positions in southern Dragonryders, Cabarria, Mawlika and Alshamal were quickly overrun as the Anglian backed militaries of the OCA pushed northwards seeking to quickly defeat their opponents. Meanwhile in the Amnalos Sea, the Anglian navy has begun a massive building of naval forces, and rumors are abound at the probability of a northern naval invasion. Such an invasion is seen as a test of Anglian naval power by many military observers, who believe that if successful, could create a massive threat to the New Wurld. Should northern Azania fall, Western Europa would be solidly in the hands of Anglia, leaving only Machina Haruspex, Tagmatium, and the Gallambrian Protectorate of Bashan free of the OCA. Anglian ground forces so far have been limited, however the OCA forces flush with Anglian supplies have already proven to be a formidable foe. The previously unremarkable militaries of Southern Azania have somehow managed to become a potent fighting force in a relatively short period of time, however it is still yet to be seen how the alliance will perform in sustained military operations, as their northern neighbors have shown no sign of backing down. But with the significant oil reserves of Dragonryders in the balance, it is certain that the OCA won't be stopped easily. Stirrings in the New Wurld SELBOURNE, Seylos -- Observers in the Dolch See have been unnerved by the presence of cargo ships, originally hailing from Anglia, setting course for Dolchland. The extremely xenophobic and aggressive nation has inexplicably opened up its ports to Anglian vessels, which have been carrying unknown cargo in bulk for some time. Anglian officials have claimed the cargo as simply humanitarian aid, something that Dolchland in the past has always been seen to have desperately needed, despite it's attempted outward appearance of strength. Debate has raged in the NAU council as to how to handle the influx of the ships, but without an overt military presence from Anglia their hands may be tied. The Dolch however is not the only place that is seeing this influx of Anglian export. Shendao, Fearannteth, Triple Commonwealth, San Castellino, the Kudish have all been rumored to have begun receiving such shipments, though nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Worries have been amplified further as Anglian diplomats have been seen to have visited less prominent nations in Aurelia and Marenesia solidifying the idea that the Anglians have truly global plans. So far however, no armed conflicts have appeared between New Wurld and Anglian forces, but only time will tell how long until Anglia will push its limits.
    2 points
  28. Clearly trapped, the three men had no choice but to attack the Captain, who was threatening their chance of escape. While his friends looked for weapons, George observed the bewildered Captain, intent on figuring out who ambushed his fort. Suddenly, George saw a strange man on one of the fort's walls. He jumped on the Captain, piercing him with a hidden blade. The mysterious man then disappeared over the wall. "We got some swords," Rafael said, handing George one of the swords. "Should be good." "I think he is dead." "Dead? How?" Rafael asked, looking through the crack in the door. "Wait, how is he dead?" "It's simple. There was a man who jumped on him and stabbed him in the back," George answered calmly, knowing that his friends would be confused beyond measure. However, none could deny that was lucky. Gustav: "Alright, so the Captain got stabbed. I won't question it." Rafael: "I wouldn't either. Let's just grab what we need and get out." George: "Great idea." They exited the shed and continued to gather supplies and whatever else they could find. Now, they had to convince the pirates to join their cause. This would prove difficult as the woman who commanded the Bellafaitian pirates was not easy to persuade. But, nobody has died as long as they had something to offer.
    1 point
  29. Welcome to Eurth, @Yetrasia! You've got a great flag!
    1 point
  30. “Is it all going to plan, then?” The tone in Paulos Narses' voice made it sound as if he didn't want it to happen. The Hyperlogothetissa (“Upper Minister”) from the Logothesion ton Koiaisitoron, the Ministry of Works, shifted uneasily in her chair on the opposite side of the Megas Logothetes' desk. She had barely sat down before the question had been asked and she had yet to have been offered the customary refreshments and polite small talk that were offered out of courtesy and respect. To not do so did not just snub her personally but one of the great and ancient institutions of the Megas Agios Basileia. An aide hovered at her elbow, waiting with the traditional cup of tea, glass of water, watered wine and wafer biscuits. Katherina Hyrtakena had been briefed by her own ministry on the hostility that the Minister of the Environment had towards the project, despite the fact that it stood to strengthen Arhomaneia. The hostility had been demonstrated by the amount of time she had been forced to wait outside of his office before being invited to enter and then the discourtesies given to her afterwards. And the fact that the minister-priest had chosen to have intentionally placed pictures of various Argic animals around his spacious office. She wasn't used to this level of disrespect – after all, Hyrtakena was a full hyperlogothetes, not some minor underling. It took at least a hyperlogothetes to brief the chief minister of another ministry and the onion layers of protocol demanded that certain actions were always taken. Narses seemed to realise the rudeness that he showing and gave the aide a nod. They laid the refreshments on the desk itself. Clearly wanting to make up for his actions of a moment ago, the Megas Logothetes himself stood and poured the cup of tea for her himself. He sat down and stroked at his beard. From what little of his face that Hyrtakena could see between the beard and hairline, it seemed as if he was looking somewhat apologetic. “They are, Endoxotatos-Pappas,” she replied, using the somewhat clumsy honorifics for both a high minister of state and a priest. The Hyperlogothetissa reached down to pick up a briefcase placed by the side of her chair. She put it across her knees and popped it open and took out several sheaves of paper. Placing one in front of herself, she then reached across the heavy oak desk and laid one opposite Narses. “If you wouldn't mind turning to page five, you'll see a breakdown of the work programme and its projected milestones laid against the milestones actually achieved. There's been a few things like delivery issues and the levels of light is starting to drop. The midnight sun there has meant that the work teams there been able to work around the clock over the summer.” The other minister's face was blank as he thumbed through to the page stated. He looked down at it as the Hyperlogothetissa continued. “No need for electric lights at night to keep up with the timetables, which I am aware was a concern laid out by the desk-based assessment and studies put forward by your logothesion. The worry that it might impact on nocturnal or crepuscular animals has hopefully been at least reduced.” Reduced because of the fact that the months-long midnight sun completely eradicated both twilight and darkness. Either the Logothesion ton Koiaisitoron completely missed the ramifications of that, were being obtuse or intentionally obtuse about it. It didn't seem like Hyrtakena cared or knew that she was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of someone who knew exactly how she – or they, her ministry – was trying to do it. A slight sigh issued from Narses but the Hyperlogothetissa didn't pick up on it. “Noise levels, though, Epifanissa?” asked the minister-priest. His politeness had returned – Narses used the form of address that befitted a minister of Hyrtakena's rank. It meant 'illustrious'. “They can have an even more adverse affect on wildlife than unusual lighting levels.” “If you could turn to the next few pages, Endoxotatos-Pappas, you'll see some graphs showing the noise levels over time.” She turned the pages of the copy in front of her, which displayed a series of lines going up and down. They demonstrated how the noise being produced by the building work wasn't having that much of an affect on the animals, at least in the view of the Ministry of Works. It may well have been complete nonsense, however, just a smokescreen laid down by the ministry to try to fool anyone looking at it. There were even excerpts from papers and reports written by ecologists employed by that ministry, backing up the claims that the wildlife on and around the islands weren't suffering from the increased noise that the construction work was causing. The Logothesion ton Agelon had its own ecologists on the island and the work was certainly having an impact. The port had been expanded and modernised, disrupting a colony of harbour seals and the increased maritime traffic was also having an adverse affect on the fish in the area. The restoration of the Palati ton Oston, the Palace of Bones, had seen the polar bears that had often made their lairs there turfed out. At least one had been shot. There were strenuous attempts to stop invasive species from getting a foothold on the island, especially rats. Rats had destroyed island bird species across the wurld time and time again and Narses was damned if he would let that happen on these islands. Wind turbines were being built, both on the island and out to sea, and if the mitigation strategies put forward by Narses' ministry were not stuck to, then these could kill the birds of the islands. Admittedly, nowhere near as many as other human activities or even cats did. And no damn mention of the submarine pens. It was likely that the Hyperlogothetissa was unaware that they were even being built. Narses had not been able to win on that one, only mitigate the damage as best he could. Kontarian had been right and the strategic concerns had outweighed the environmental ones. However, it might be the only naval base in history built to take into consideration the local wildlife, albeit not as much as not building it in the first place. “It looks as though your logothesion has been thorough in its precautions, Epifanissa,” said Narses, thumbing through the pages of the document. The woman looked warily at the minister-priest's expression for a moment, obviously trying to work out if the man was being sarcastic. After a slight pause, she had obviously decided to take it at face value. A smile broke out across her face. “Thank you, Endoxotatos-Pappas,” she replied, giving a slight nod of thanks. Hyrtakena picked up her tea cup and took a slight sip from it before putting it back down. She also picked up a biscuit and took a bite before she continued. “Safeguarding the environment is not just the command of his imperial majesty, but also our Christian duty. Our redevelopment of the islands is not just a step towards strengthening our holy nation but also making sure Eurth is protected. If it wasn't us in control of the Herimitireia, then it would be some barbariki nation, intent on plundering it for its natural resources.” At what point did something stop being a platitude? When enough people believed in it? Kontarian had said almost exactly the same thing several months ago. Maybe Narses was falling too out of step with the belief of his fellow Aromans and that this was not some mere platitude, something repeated so often it lost all meaning. Had it actually shifted towards being a genuine belief? “I am not sure that God would have allowed it to happen, Epifanissa,” said Narses. “I pray that that is the case,” the Hyperlogothetissa returned. Both of them were then silent for a moment, as if in that very prayer. Around the room, the discrete aides, secretaries and priests that were always attendant on a great minister of state also bowed their heads and the smell of incense became stronger for a moment. And it might have very much been the case for Hyrtakena but the minister-priest's mind was, ironically, elsewhere. Narses did believe that God would have intervened before allowing another nation a toe-hold on the islands. But then again, no nation would have been foolish enough to risk the wrath of the Greater Holy Empire to do it. There were noises from Akwisia that they would like to get a slice of the pie, especially as they had been the ones that had discovered the islands originally, before Tagmatium had forced them off of them. There was likely going to be a cabinet-level discussion over what exactly the small protectorate might think that it was owed. At this point, with the Anglia Crisis still on going, they were likely going to find an answer more in their favour than at any other point. “How long do you think that it will take to be completed?” Narses asked, breaking the moment of thoughtful silence. “Well, Megas Logothetes, the document does lay out the milestones that we've achieve and hope to achieve.” She wasn't rude enough to turn back to the pages she originally indicated but there was obviously the temptation there. “As I said, we're on target. It's only been three months since we started and then about two since we did so in earnest. The main focus of work was to get into place enough accommodation for the workers. And the port in at least working order, or better than it has been for decades.” She looked leant forward, as if she was sharing a conspiratorial moment with the Megas Logothetes. Narses wasn't sure why. Hyrtakena would know that he would be able to get any information not considered to be a state secret. Although she wouldn't know that he would likely be able to get a lot of information that was considered to be a state secret. “In all honestly, we've got a few months before work will have to more or less shut down again for the winter. By October – next month, that is – the temperature will have started to really drop. We'll be able to squeak along with general stuff until December. By January, temperatures will average at a high of about -11 or -13 below zero and an average low of about -21. f*cking cold, if you forgive me.” The Hyperlogothetissa looked sheepish for a moment, realising that she'd sworn in front of a priest. Narses gave her a shrug. Being a priest was merely one of many things he had been over the years. A swearword wasn't going to offend him. “And they're pretty much iced in over that period,” said Narses. “At least, from about January or February until about early summer.” “Almost apart from Basilikolimanion, but that's why it's the main port.” She was silent for a moment, looking thoughtful. “Only port. And only real settlement.” Narses raised an eyebrow, although the Hyperlogothetissa didn't seem to catch the expression. “All the project is hoping to do at the moment is get the Palati ton Oston ready to have a governor live there and act as a suitable venue to receive his Aroman Majesty.” There. Something about Narses meant that people tended to tell him more than they initially meant to. It was something that joining the ranks of the Aroman clergy had only added to. As a lecturer and then professor, it had been a useful thing to help put students at ease. Now it always seemed to mean that information came his way when sometimes it ought not to. That the Old Tyrant was going to visit the island at least explained the show of force that had been taking place on the islands for the last few months. Otherwise it was absurd that an entire regiment had been deployed there, even with the Gharoi, Seilosioi and Iberikoi squabbling to the south east. “Well, Hyperlogothetissa, this interview has been most helpful,” Narses said. “You have certainly laid at least some of my worries about the work on the islands to rest.” Hyrtakena smiled, looking as if she'd won some sort of victory. “But, of course, I will insist that the level of oversight and scrutiny that the Logothesion ton Agelon current exercises continues as long as the project does. Thank you for coming.” The smile faded away as those words sunk in. She rose to her feet and the two ministers bowed to each other before the Hyperlogothetissa turned and left the office.
    1 point
  31. Le Messagero is the oldest newspaper currently published in Ebrary, first published in 1891. It is headquartered in Ceres, the capital of Ebrary, and is considered the Ebrarian newspaper of record. * * * * * PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW EXTENDING COVERAGE TO CHILDREN 30/08/2021 The Senate voted to approve the State Medical Coverage for Minors Act, which extends coverage under the National Christian Healthcare Fund to all children under the age of 12. Despite intense lobbying against the bill by President Carlos Renaldo, a cross-party coalition of sympathetic members of the Ecumenical Dominionist Party and every member of the Farmer-Labor Party pushed the bill forward, and the bill passed the Popular Assembly last month. The Senate had an intensely debated session, but ultimately the bill was pushed through today with a narrow majority. It is not expected that the Sovereign Protector will use his veto to strike the law down, and President Renaldo has effectively conceded defeat on the issue. This has been heralded as a landmark victory by Assemblyman Jon Carlo, Leader of the Farmer-Labor Party. Carlo's party broke with their usual alliance with the president's Center Reformists, citing the need to reduce the cost of childcare in an era when Ebraria is experiencing below-replacement fertility rates and net migration out of the country to find work. President Renaldo has generally pushed for market-based reform, which has caused some friction with the Farmer-Labor Party. However, both parties remain committed to economic development and have consistently isolated the formerly dominant Ecumenical Dominionist Party and sidelined its focus on social and religious issues. The bill is expected to reduce premiums for Ebrarian families, although critics cite it as an expensive increase in government spending at a time when the government cannot afford to spend more. Proponents counter that Ebrary does not currently spend an obscene amount on healthcare, at only 7.5% of GDP. The previous law mandated the purchase of health insurance by employed adults which would cover their dependent children, with exceptions for those of low income, so the new law merely extends the coverage under the exception to all children under 12. State contributions to medical savings accounts of families covered by the law will not be changed, and the new law will not affect the Special Medical and Pharmaceutical Fund for the elderly and disabled.
    1 point
  32. Below is an article from Le Dissension, an underground newspaper in Ebrary: DANIEL LUCAS COULD DIE ANY DAY 13.09.2021 By: Anonymous Though it is becoming more difficult to get information from the inner circle of the Sovereign Protector, our sources can confirm that Daniel Lucas has suffered a series of debilitating heart attacks in recent weeks. We all know in recent years he has made fewer and fewer public appearances, however the government has put up a facade to fool the public into believing their dear leader's health was under no immediate threat. More details are hard to come by, but rest assured that the facts we bring you are true. President Carlos Rendalo has been more and more active in governing the nation than past presidents precisely because Lucas's health (and influence) has been waning. Though we are no fan of Renaldo and his support of the current theocracy, his liberalizing influence is certainly a modest improvement. We can only pray that the result of this development with improve the freedom of the Ebrarian people, and not replace Lucas with an even worse dictator over our once proud, free nation. Keep an eye out for agents of the so-called-Christian Defense Legion. As their commander-in-chief becomes more ill, they will surely become more violent against dissidents. Viva Libertate! Viva Ebraria! Viva Le Dissension!
    1 point
  33. Chel'de Yorn Citadel of Light Imperial Temple of Dra Crehehk Cuh (Goddess of Wisdom) The cool night's air tempered the many pillars that were arrayed on either side of a length range of stairs that led upwards towards the temple itself, half buried within what was left of Mount Lnescuh cduha (Literally means Crimson Stone, in relation to the Cinnabar ore found within the Chel'de Yorn city-state at the beginning of the industrial age. Copper bowls hung from these pillars, of which out wafted an incense amidst lights that created a haze while illuminating the stairs. A further light could be seen from the individual lights held by citizenry as the mass of observers stretched out at the base as if an ocean of people. Ascending the stairs slowly was that of Empress Kira'Karn, with right hand laying within that of her proclaimed partners, co-ruler of the Imperium vast, Autokráteira Ayn Gende Elemmiire. Upon either's head, they wore a steel band, inscribed with the runes and faith of the Haru of old, their attire was that of the gowns, the red hue that called back to the times of yore. As they progressed, beside each pillar was that of an Imperial Royal Guard, adorned in attire from the days of yore. The legionary of the feudal days wore a type of segmented plate lamellar armour over a cloth attire. Every other one held a pike, while those that did not, carried a kite shield and sword. Beside each legionnaire adorned as such, a member of the Eighth Order in clerical attire, held aloft another bowl, yet not of copper but of clay, with a spout attached. A smoke billowed forth and towards the pair, with the cleric speaking softly, a chant of sorts. Pmaccat ec dra Ran Tejehedo, tu fa uvvan drec bnyoan raymdr yht bnucbanedo. (Blessed is the Her Divinity, do we offer this prayer health and prosperity.) At the summit of these stairs, in a half moon presentation, stand the senior priests and clerics of the Eighth Order. Standing in-front of them, with arms spread wide, the most senior of all in the clergy of the Order, Thei'de Kantra Velven awaited. His tall frame, neither lanky nor proportionate to the frame presented offered a bow of head to the two rulers. Two acolytes approached and laid two soft mats upon the stone before stepping back. Thei bade the two to kneel and face towards an iron statue of Dra Crehehk Cuh, of which held a bowl at the top. Thei moved about and made a cut within his hand using a blade, and then an acolyte would step forth and offer a blade to both the Empress and her lover. Kira used the blade to cut her palm, and with a clenching of fist, dribbled her life into the waiting cup. Ayn did the same, and then both were held aloft for Thei. He took them, mixing blood, incense, and bones in the bowl. He leaned forward, inhaled the scent, and then returned to his full height once more, having accepted the melting pot of scents before turning about towards the massed crowd awaiting below. Hear me now, people of the Imperium! The gods have spoken, they acknowledge Kira'Karn and Ayn Gende Elemmiire as heralds! Let their shared blood be touched by the Goddess! A turn about to each forehead before him, and three pronged slide of fingers against each face, rows of the mixed blood being added to those faces. Each adorned, the soot of the incense giving it a more..feral look of sorts, slow ringing about eyes, and mouth, before stepping back. His voice crooned, rough hewn yet it was a lovely sound as it carried about the temple, the gathered, and those who had come to seek his blessing. Du Kuttacc uv Fectus tu E keja so funtc, tu E uvvan so juela. Du dra feht, du dra cih, du dra cgo, du dra cay, du dra ayndr, tu E keja so bmatka du dra Asbnacc yht ran muja, du cdyht po dra Asbena jycd. (To Goddess of Wisdom do I give my words, do I offer my voice. To the wind, to the sun, to the sky, to the sea, to the Eurth, do I give my pledge to the Empress and her love, to stand by the Empire vast.) He turned about with arms wide, the blood dripping down his arms, as he spoke to the crowd. We of the Eighth Order stand with the Empress, the Imperial Domain, may she rise and rule as great as Sa'Karn the wise!
    1 point
  34. “Once a leopard has killed and eaten a human, they are likely to persist as man-eaters—they may even show a nearly exclusive preference for humans.” Excerpt from Man-Eaters: The Memoirs of a Professional Hunter by Khristoforos Iagoupes, first published in EK7400 (AD1892). Iagoupes was later awarded the courtly title of Protokynegos, or “First Hunter”, in recognition of his exploits. Diplomacy was more interesting than heading a committee, Kommenos reflected. At least it got him out in the fresh air, even if that often was tainted with the fumes of jet fuel as he went from aircraft to awaiting motorcade. The Kouropalates had spent the last year intermittently listening to competing theories and ideas, pouring through ancient texts and modern treatises and generally ruing his monarch's command that he was in charge of bringing democracy back to its ancient home. From across the Aroman wurld, experts and academics had been called to advise the committee that the Kouropalates headed. The Mystikon, the Tagmatine monarch's personal civil service, helped compile thousands of pages of reports, notes and examples. Virtually no stone was left unturned in the Occident. The ancient constitutions of Adthens and Arome were run through with a fine toothed comb, trying to see whether they might fit their modern successor. They were discarded in the main, however. Neither of them were democratic, in the modern sense, and would not fit the modern wurld. At least the modern wurld as to how Kommodos envisioned it. Some, of course, would hold that the ancient constitution of Arome had never been abandoned, just added to over the years. Slowly, the Kouropalates' search moved forward through the history of the Arhomaioi, trying to search for historical examples that might guide the future. There were the occasional lower class rebellions that broke out across Aroman territory, and their aims and simplistic ideas were looked at. At the time, the likes of the Zilotai of Petrion in the 14th Century, the later Adiutatores of the 17th Century or even the socialist Skaptonoi, who sought to give the poor more of a say in how their nation was run, were crushed as those who sought to overthrow God's chosen order ought to be. Now, their ideas of an elected Synkletos were being seriously studied by a man whose ancestors led armoured cavalry against them and pored over by an organisation that masterminded campaigns of oppression to put them down. The irony certainly was not lost on Kommenos. From the Aroman wurld, experts had been invited from Adaptos and Sporseia, the parts of that sphere that were actually democratic, to discuss their nations' methods with Kommenos. The former's method was viewed with an element of scepticism – after all, the Megas Omospondí Autokrateia, the Grand Federated Imperium, had collapsed several times over the last few decades, partially through its own democratic processes. It was only the strong hand of two autocratic monarchs had brought it back from the brink of completely fragmenting. As well as the military intervention of Tagmatium. And the latter was currently undergoing internal turmoil, with the Patriarkhes of Tzius heading a caretaker government. Recent Aroman attempts at democracy, it seemed, had a tendency to fall apart when not guided by a strong hand. That seemed to be the Tagmatine take home from the situation. Certainly, it meant that the Old Tyrant could point out that there needed to be an autocrat in place in order to prevent Arhomaneia from tearing itself apart like its western and south-eastern neighbours. Those experts that had been consulted were taken before the Leopard Throne itself and asked to place their hands upon ancient and holy relics and swear that they would not reveal anything of what they were asked. Although it had been done through proxies, even the former Megas Krites of the Hexanesa, Ioannes Hegesinos had been met with. It had been a long time since Kommenos had interacted with the man, but he was both pro-Tagmatika and a known democrat. And, of course, a pan-Aromanist. Despite the fact that the Hexanesa was nothing but a nest of traitors, they were still arguably the longest functional democratic state in the Aroman wurld. For almost seventy years, they had elected their government without any dictatorial interlude or civil strife. Even though they had turned their backs on God's Representative on Eurth, they seemed to be able to run things in an orderly and civilised manner. That was something that the Kouropalates and his committee needed to understand, so that Arhomaneia did not tumble down in the manner of so many other democratic nations, not just in the Occident or Europa, but the rest of the wurld. It was a state secret, even more so than contacting of a former member of the Hexanesa and the AND developing its Gigai Agroktimai, “Giant Farmers”, plan in order to test the limits of foreign democracies, that Arhomaneia was actually turning towards representatives of foreign nations for help. The chosen nation of God on Eurth was turning to those very countries it was partially scheming to undermine in order to build its own democratic framework. There was certainly an irony there, but even the Kouropalates couldn't – or wouldn't – actually see it. Several political theorists from Prymont and Iverica, the two Argic democracies that Tagmatium was closest to, had been consulted and their ideas sought. It was suspected that the religious oaths that their Aroman equivalents had taken as binding due to following the Truth Faith would mean little to those heretic barbarians. Instead, they were requested to sign non-disclosure agreements that would remain in force until a date chosen by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, who then retained lawyers within those countries in order to enforce those contracts. Now, as a way of relaxing, Kommenos sat on a horse between Honorios and Alexandros Kontarian. They were be half brothers and very different from each other. The former was a Megas Logothetes and the latter a Stratelates, a senior officer in the Tagmata, the palace guard. The ancient pedigree of their family put Kontarian at ease. The Minister for War had invited the Kouropalates over to take part in some horse archery, as well as dinner and some drinks later on. It was too easy to get washed away in all this talk of democracies and Honorios had thought the his friend needed some downtime. Horse archery was considered to be a skill of the aristocrat, where using firearms demonstrated that one did not have the time to practice enough to perfect the skills needed for a bow and arrow. Or, indeed, the money or the space. A horse needed to be fed, exercised, stabled. These things cost money and required a lot of space. Some amongst the middle classes took up the sport, too, in order to show that they were also good Arhomaioi. Occasionally, there was even talk of some sort of wurld equestrian events but they had never gone anywhere. It was a shame in the minds of most people – it would do the barbaroi good to be trounced by the proud Aromans once again. “It's your shot, Fillipos,” stated Honorios, as he slowed his horse down to where his brother and the Kouropalates were waiting. Honorios' own attempt had struck quite cleanly in the side of the wooden target, a life-sized imitation of a red deer. The arrow had green fletching and would likely have been a killing shot, had it not been a lump of wood that had been hit. The Megas Logothetes had hit the target well, despite moving his mount at speed. The Megas Logothetes tou Stratiotikou patted the neck of his horse, which stomped in a small circle. The other two looked on as Honorios moved his animal back towards the rest of them stood. He leaned down and handed his bow and quiver to an aide and then sat back up in the saddle. He looked on at the other two, waiting for them to take their shots in turn. “Take the shot and we can just sack it off for the moment,” said Alexandros, with a petulant tone not really suiting a senior officer. He wasn't as good an archer as either his half-brother or Kommenos. He was certainly passable but it seemed that horse archery was just not his sport. Polo was, however, and he'd represented his unit before being promoted beyond where it was dignified to take part in a match. “We can have a ride up to the lake and back again.” “No, it needs to be a proper go,” said Honorios, something more than frustration in his voice. “I didn't invite you up here to just shoot randomly into bushes. You need to hit the target. Both of you do.” Honorios was said to hate Alexandros and the feeling was supposedly mutual. It apparently went beyond a mild dislike that an older brother might have for a half-sibling. Kommenos knew that there had been a falling out several years ago, involving the misappropriation of funds of a guards unit but it was said to have been sorted out. At least to the satisfaction of all involved and it had not obviously caught the attention of the Agios Basileos. Rumour had it that it was something to do with gambling and their late father's estates. The Minister for War was supposed to have gone as far as to have one of Alexandros' dogs shot, the poor thing, by another officer with the implication that further gambling ceased. Or it would be worse in the future. As Kouropalates, and more importantly being a member of another great family, it was beneath Kommenos to ask what had actually gone on. He knew Honorios well and doubted that he would have had an animal shot. And that Alexandros was here at all showed that the Megas Logothetes was attempting rebuild some bridges and the two seemed to be getting on quite well. So it was likely all just wild gossip, the sort of thing more suited to household staff and not the likes of the Kommenoi or the Kontarianes. Fillipos knocked his heels back and urged his horse onwards, into a trot, then a canter and then a gallop. Showing off, he pulled an arrow from the quiver as he came towards the target, knocked it to his bow as he drew level and then aimed and fired after he had passed. Clearly, even the members of the ancient families weren't above showing off at times. At least he suppressed the grin he felt as he came back around to where the two Kontarianes were waiting. The sour look on Alexandros' face was enough to make him almost laugh out loud. He heard the Stratelates mutter something rude about showing off. As he drew his horse level with the other two he gave them both a slight smile, acknowledging he had indeed taken the piss a bit. “So, why did you invite us up here, Honorios?” Kommenos asked. A servant scuttled forward from the clutch of them that had been waiting discretely nearby and offered a tray of wine glasses to the three men. Kommenos reached down and picked up a glass and took a sip. Once each of them had taken a glass, the servant scuttled off again. “As you said, it certainly wasn't just to launch arrows into bushes, or targets.” The Minister of War looked like he was about to point out the fact that his half-brother hadn't had a go at one of the targets yet. Kommenos raised an eyebrow. He wanted an answer. “Fine.” Honorios took a mouthful of his own watered wine. “I thought you needed a break. You've been struggling with this whole democracy thing for a while now. You need fresh air and a chance to do something fun for a bit. What the Megas Logothetes really meant was that he wanted to be nosy. Likely, he'd been putting out discrete inquiries as it was but hadn't really got anywhere with them. So he had decided to outright ask. “It's going... OK,” sighed Fillipos. “There are a lot to work with, trying to make a system that works properly for us. And I'll admit that it's not my realm of expertise.” He looked around and moved his horse onward, away from the knot of servants, aides and bodyguards. The other two were obliged to follow. They moved out into an area of well mown lawn and then stopped. “Kommodos, may God guide him, does not want something like the hereditary senate we saw before,” the Kouropalates continued. “It must reflect modern Arhomaneia much more. It needs to be democratic, too. But then there's the question of whether it's to be a single house or several, whether it's a combined body instead of one for each capital as before, how members are elected from the themata, age limits... It goes on and on.” He was silent for a moment, looking out across the lawn towards a stand of trees. There was movement in amongst them and a small group of deer emerged from it and then turned to look at the three horsemen. None of them even considered taking a shot at them. Hunting live animals had been banned years ago. “It turns out, trying to make a representative system almost from scratch is difficult. Of course, we have the systems in the themata and below to work with, but bringing it to life for a nation the size of ours was always going to be a hell of a lot of work.” Honorios nodded but his brother looked decidedly bored. “And, of course, Nea Demokrateia...” the Minister of War said, trailing off intentionally. Kommenos made a dismissive gesture. “That fat windbag is his own worst enemy. No one takes his shit seriously these days and he's brought it on himself.” “Nonetheless, he'll keep kicking up a stink, the more these plans move along,” carried on Honorios. “He wants what he thinks his rightful place is.” “And he'll be damned lucky if we even left him stand for election,” growled Kommenos. He might be trying to build a new, democratic Tagmatium but the authoritarian streak that ran all the way through the political establishment of the Greater Holy Empire was never far from the surface. “His imperial majesty has decided that Niketas will take no part in any aspect of this. He can piss and moan from the sidelines.” “Why not let him stand?” Alexandros said. Kommenos wouldn't have thought that the guards officer was even following the conversation. “He's a f*cking idiot. Most people will see through him once he has to do anything of substance.” “Well, he's been leading his damn rabble well enough for years,” pointed out Honorios. “If he was as much of a f*ckwit as people like to paint him as, he would never have been able to last as long as he has. And Nea Demokrateia have had something of a resurgence lately. Something about the Esoteriki Epitheorisi Pliroforion knocking people's heads together too hard. I'd heard that the Logothesion ton Deeseon had had to keep things out of the national press, so as to not cause undue controversy.” The Logothesion ton Deeseon, the Ministry for Information, was one of several bodies that helped to censor or at least monitor the press and communication within the Megas Agios Basileia. But that wasn't something that Kommenos had heard. He frowned to himself. If he had spare time, he would have to look into it. Could Tonaras be acting too much on his own initiative? That was not really out of character for that jumped-up thug. “And Mercy International will be sniffing around,” carried on Honorios, seemingly warming to his theme of pointing out all the potential problems that might happen. “They always do.” “Little more than Orhioniki puppets,” his half-brother said. “We should never have let them set up shop in our nation. And the buggers that work for them should be treated as the traitors they are. Especially that Lupakena.” He made a fist with his right hand and extended his thumb, index and middle fingers and aimed the pretend gun downwards, roughly like someone carrying out a so called “execution-style” murder. He brought his thumb down, made a popping noise with his mouth and mimed recoil. It was Kommenos' turn to feel frustration with the officer. Honorios' expression displayed uneasiness at Alexandros' comment and action as well. “Relations between us and the Omorfoautokrateia are already pretty poor. The imperial sovereign would not wish to risk them by doing anything so damn foolish. There is absolutely no way that this problem is going to be solved by blowing people's brains out. Not this time. May God have mercy on you.” He turned his horse around and moved back towards the target range, leaving the other two behind him. “By the Saints, Alexandros,” said the Minister for War, shaking his head. He urged his horse after the Kouropalates. Alexandros Kontarian was left alone, looking in the direction the other two had left in. “What?” asked the Stratelates, seemingly puzzled about precisely where he'd gone too far. It's not like none of them knew that it hadn't happened before.
    1 point
  35. Hroptyr Yrungr admired a location deep within the territory of Snjornest. He wore a wide brimmed hat and a thick cloak that obscured much of his body in the cold forest. By his side traveled a grizzled wolf. The energies of the children of the Jotunn would be key in his future work. He found a suitable location 60 feet long, 30 feet wide and 26 feet high underneath an abandoned temple to Baldr when the Bjart-Los controlled this section of territory years ago. Hroptyr ran his hands down the doorposts of the stave-church and picked the hoarfrost from inside the engravings. He had shipments of 4x6 inch timbers being delivered to him by the daughters of Skadi Other favors he called in supplied him with high purity graphite and Uranium dioxide from the Gropmold. As construction inevitably progressed, the crude reactor was called Gimle-Vega. It would be encased with a balloon so that the air inside could be replaced by carbon dioxide. A dark gray balloon was created at 25 feet. The top would be secured to the ceiling and three sides to the walls. The remaining side was furled like an awning. Hroptyr would draw a circle on the floor and demand all would leave the presence of the room, his many hired helpers and even the berserkergangr who watched them. Hroptyr would kneel in the room and cut his hand, drawing sacred runes on the floor and calling for blessings from the god of knowledge and sorcery. He gave thanks for the maddening inspirations he had received years ago with Rjistlos (nuetrons). Then the first graphite blocks were laid, with the first layer being entirely graphite. Layers without uranium were alternated with two layers containing uranium, so the uranium was enclosed in graphite. it had no radiation shielding or cooling system, as it was only intended to be operated at very low power. Erilaz Kromeus had secretly sent many of the enslaved and rebellious Gropmolds to Hroptyr to machine the necessary 45,000 graphite blocks enclosing 19,000 pieces of uranium metal and oxide. The graphite was cut into lengths of 16.5 inches with 3.25 inch holes in the blocks for control rods and uranium. A hydraulic press 'borrowed' from the Hasaeti,still flecked with the blood of its previous owners, shaped the uranium oxide into cylinders with rounded ends. Control rods would be manufactured by nailing cadmium sheets to flat wooden strips for the purpose of absorbing nuetrons as Hroptyr found the many years ago when he locked himself in his studies and nearly went mad. A rope would suspend the control rod that, when dropped, would stop the reaction. A nuetron counter was inserted at the fifteenth layer and readings were taken every day. Hroptyr came to the conclusion that the balloon and carbon dioxide would not be necessary after several calculations and consulting the runes. The reactor would have 56 layers and be flatter on top than the bottom. When it was finished, a wooden frame supported the elliptical shaped structure 20 feet high, 6 feet wide at the ends, and 25 feet wide across at the middle. It contained 5.4 tons of uranium metal, 45 tons of uranium oxide, and 360 tons of graphite. All paid either with Mjolnir Mynt, blood, or the persuasion of the Erilaz. After the construction was completed, there was an assembly of 50 berserkergangr to observe the experiments. Hroptyr had an aid stand by with a bucket of concentrated Cadmium Nitrate which would be thrown upon Gimle-Vega in the event of an emergency. Another aid stood ready to cut the line that would drop the control line. The startup began, and within an hour and a half the Gimle-Vega had reached critical nuetron activity, reaching a self sustaining reaction. Within 4.5 minutes, running on 0.5 watts, the reaction was halted as it passed the preset safety level. Hroptyr slapped his thigh and raised his hands to the sky in the place below the temple and gave glory to Odin. With a successful experiment, the next stage of the plan could be... executed. Above Hroptyr, the berserkergangr moved to the main area of the temple where the workers were instructed to rededicate the temple to Odin and Thor by cariving and replacing the old iconography. The rapid report of machine guns filled Hroptyr's ears and screams were cut down as quickly as they came. The berserkers killed every last one of the slave. Smoke filled the temple as the floor was baptized with blood and copper. The berserkers roared and beat their chests, " Hjarrandi! Hjarrandi! Hjarrandi!," The berserkers took the corpses and dragged them to an altar in the center of the temple and lit the bodies ablaze, while the masque-of-odin carved byt their dead hands looked on in morbid fascination. The Berserkergangr would support Hroptyr from now on. Odin would bless them with this sacrifice. Thunder quaked in the distance, as though Thor himself beat his anvil in preperatio to the new age of Ulfan innovation.
    1 point
  36. Elias Rundström was smoking a cigar as he pulled out a dusted old blue shoebox. He had been tasked with getting all his mother's old junk into a moving van to head off to the calm and peaceful Karolina coast for her retirement. However considering that old mama had kept every facet of Elias' childhood stored away in every nook and cranny of the household, this wasn't going to be easy. There was nothing remarkable about the shoebox on the surface really, but Elias recognized what it was upon seeing it. He set the shoebox down on the single piece of furniture left in the home, a visibly used and stained coffee table which was currently home to disorganized piles of papers he was planning on getting to later. He slid some pens and rogue sheets to make room for the box and gently opened the box. Within it there was a pile of yellowing papers over two decades old. Carefully reaching with a nearly trembling hand Elias picked up the first of the pile. It is quite obvious what these papers are now. Letters from Elias' "pappa" Niklas to his mother. Elias was growing quickly invested in the letters he had not seen in so long. His memory had mostly faded of these papers. Even though he knew how this story ended, he continued reading. It would not take long regardless, the next letter was brief. It was also the last. Elias placed the letter back while carefully grabbing the second sheet in the box. This letter was atypically short, even for pappa. Niklas was never much of a writer, he just did enough to get his point across. Still even, this letter was just one simple paragraph. Pappa didn't even try to separate his thoughts into two separate paragraphs, something he had always done with even the most simplest and bland ideas and stories. No this was just a singular quickly written paragraph. Obviously pappa did not have a lot of time for this one and one could understand why with further reading. Elias picked up the paper and began reading. Said Rankari rogues employed guerrilla tactics upon the retreating 25th Infantry, intercepting them along their route to Volkovstad and ambushing them. The soldiers were massacred, unprepared for an attack, especially so deep in their own territory. However the sheer incompetence in the Finan military can not be ignored in allowing such a thing to occur in the first place. Among the casualties was Niklas Rundström. The cruel irony of it all is that the news of Niklas' death arrived to his family the 8th of May. The birthday of Niklas' son Elias. The moment still sticks with Elias to this day. The last time he saw his pappa, he was in a casket draped in the Finan flag. Elias wiped a tear from his eye and returned the yellowing paper to its home in the shoebox. He took the box and slid it into the van along with other similar boxes with old dusty relics of past. He returned inside to probably gather some somewhat creepy Pelvis Resley and BABA bobbleheads which were collecting dust in the bedroom. Elias Rundström is not the only kid who lost won of their parents to the Velescian War. He's one of many. This war is a modern cause for Rankari hate among many in the Finan population, and prejudice against the Östrankaris which is source of much tension in modern Fina. This is just one example of how the Velescian War affects Fina to this day.
    1 point
  37. You couldn't have have heard of this game, because I made it yesterday, but I hope you have fun. Pro trick is to use 1 deck of 52+2 cards for 2-4 players and 2 decks for more
    1 point
  38. FRONT PAGE His Majesty King Sixto I Gives First Address to Parliament by Piero Fiŝkaptisto 22 August, 2021, 9:30 AM At 9:00 this morning, His Majesty King Sixto I made his first public appearance as Monarch of Unuecejeo, giving a speech to the Parliament of Speakers. The much-awaited address comes after the unfortunate passing of King Josef III yesterday afternoon. During his talk, His Majesty expressed a desire to follow in the footsteps of his father, and to continue his life's work. "The accomplishments of my father, and his father and grandfather before him, shaped the kingdom that we know today. And I believe that kingdom is one with a glorious future," King Sixto said during his speech. "It is my intention to aid in creating that future that my forebears dedicated themselves to utterly. Together with this these esteemed Speakers, we will ensure the prosperity of all Unuecejeans." According to a spokesperson for the royal family, King Sixto elected to refrain from public appearance until today, due to a need to allow himself to recover from the sudden news. When he appeared at this morning's Parliament meeting, he showed no signs of emotional turmoil. "It was a sincere pleasure to be introduced to His Majesty in this way, and his talk today, and I have no doubt as to his drive and conviction to serve the people of Unuecejo" said Breta Renlandano, a Speaker representing citizens of Okcimarsxo. While the unexpected passing of King Josef very much set the tone for today's meeting, the ascension of King Sixto has also been colored by another series of tragic deaths in the royal family. The youngest of King Josef's six children, few expected King Sixto to be the one to take the thrones. But the untimely deaths of his older siblings, including his sister Oana just two months ago, left King Sixto poised as the rightful heir. The royal family has repeatedly assured the people of Unuecejo that King Sixto's study and training in order to act as monarch began long before his sister's death, and that he is more than ready to lead the country. Members of His Majesty's advisory council were in attendance for the address, but could not be reached for comment by the time of publication. According to several Speakers, the advisors wish to refrain from making public statements on the ascension until after King Sixto has been able to properly set the tone for the royal government going forward. His Majesty's spokesperson has stated that he will begin making public appearances immediately, with a scheduled public address in Bellator City tomorrow at 9:00 AM. The Parliament will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting at 1:00 today. This article was updated Today, at 11:22 AM The king is not prepared to lead us. He is nothing more than an indolent slob, handed down to us by a cruel act of fate. We cannot rely upon the archaic trappings of the monarchy anymore. The power must lie truly with the people. This article was updated Today, at 11:54 AM We have been made aware of an alteration to this article that went up earlier today that we did not authorize. We apologize profusely for allowing this to happen. This erroneous update has been removed, and we are conducting an internal investigation to determine the cause. -------------------------- ENTERTAINMENT Children's Hour Aims to Enrich Lives of Families by Lorena Fortika 20 August 2021, 6:20 PM After months of preparatory work and discussion, Centro Entertainment is announcing the release of The Neighborly Kids, the first in a series of Unuecejo-made programs designed for young children and their families to be released over the next several months. "This is an exciting opportunity, and we can't wait to see what parents across Unuecejo think of the show," said series writer Indra Hiacinto. Dubbed Children's Hour, this initiative developed in close partnership with the Parliament of Speakers. According to Hiacinto, the concept goes back to 2019, when recent successes resulted in additional funding from Parliament. Centro consulted with several Speakers who approved of the station's work to determine where they should focus their efforts. The results, in the end, were a series of children's shows meant both to prepare children for schooling and instill in them wholesome values. The series will follow siblings Mili and Marto Najbareco as they face everyday childhood problems. However, each of these problems and their solution will also impress upon the viewer an important moral lesson. "The key is to present it in a metaphorical way, to not tell the kids that you're trying to teach them something," said Hiacinto. "For example, in our first episode, Mili and Marto are asked to help with cleaning the house and aren't happy about it. But their mother talks to them about how it's important to take pride in their house and keeping it clean is a part of that. And the kids can extrapolate that to taking pride in the kingdom." Centro Entertainment has an additional three shows in the planning phases. While they are not ready to release details yet, they have noted that the production of these shows is dependent upon the initial success of The Neighborly Kids.
    1 point
  39. 5th December 2018 - 14 days before the fire. Musty carpets, musty walls, musty air, Xiying thought to himself as he budged his metal cart through the archaic and near-abandoned hallways of the South Palu Foreign Affairs Department. Outside thunder rumbled, rain pattering against the ruined rooftops above. The grim yellow lighting keeping the room in a perpetual sickly glow flickering every so often. The cart was filled with dusty books and piles of crumpled stained papers, the weight causing the cart's wheels to squeak. The beige walls were lined with towering rusting cabinets threatening fall and crash upon Xiying and the cart. Nevertheless he pushed forward. The halls felt endless, the only distinction between where he was going and where he came from were the occasional intersections of hallways, collapsed white wooden doors, and already torn down walls exposing the department's insides to the harsh tropical winds of the night. As far as he was aware there was only himself and three others shovelling the documents to the vans outside. Vans that would take them to new undisclosed locations. Where exactly he didn't know nor care to know, he wasn't being paid to be nosey, he was paid to move the documents, stay quiet, and not tell a soul about anything he's seen inside the rotting corpse of a building. Suddenly the cart lurched backwards, its front wheels hit against an unseen fallen cabinet. The sudden stop snapped Xiying back to reality, stepping around the cart to inspect the cabinet. It had fallen on its side, the drawers hung open with papers and small A6 diaries spilled out upon the damp carpet. Xiying grimaced before beginning to slowly lift the cabinet up from its end, bending his knees and using all of his strength to lift and push it back. Just as the cabinet thudding back upright one of the drawers slipped out completely and thudded against the floor causing hundreds of papers to scatter including several sealed mail. "Damnit.." He muttered, swiping several of the papers and mail and shoving them into his pockets to free up his hands, continuing do so for several minutes before he had collected them all, yanking them out of his front and back pockets and tossing them crumpled back into the cabinets. He had only been instructed to take documents from certain rooms, and not to deal with anything in the hallways or side rooms. Xiying dusted off his hands on his trousers and rubbed the dust off from his nose ending with a deep breath and a cough. Outside a car horn began to be played repeatedly. Xiying went back to the cart hastily and begun to quickly push it down the hallway. He'd made it to the exit of the building, the glass double doors already smashed and swung open. The department was surrounded by dense white-bark savanna trees, dry shrubs and bushes, and cracked orange dirt. The only light came from the building itself and the light from a distance rural village downhill, the campsites like fireflies. Xiying knew the difficulty the local government had to endure to gain the rights to recover lost data from the building, tribal monarchs rarely gave an inch unless the federal government got involved or there were enough bribes to buy a new fancy house. They had to drive the vans around the villages on what few dirt roads that existed, taking them the entire day from sunrise to sunset to get from Pomodoria City to the building. He was not looking forward to the back trip. Xiying exhaled, speeding up and began to run with the cart through the rain around the side of the building towards four white unmarked vans, and towards the only one without its headlights on. With haste he swung its back doors open and tipped the cart's contents into an already full back and slammed the van's backdoors shut. He made is way to the side and hopped into the front, where another man, burly and clearly of Lysian descent, was already starting up the engine, the headlights buzzing to life. No sooner had he jumped in did the van begin to move, the other three vehicles doing the same as they moved into a single file line, down the unmarked dirt roads. The occasional dip in the mud causing the whole van to jostle and turn causing Xiying's stomach to churn. He'd already became acquainted with the driver, Yaotel, a silent man who only wanted to do his job. Seeing as he wasn't going to get any small talk of the man Xiying drooped his head onto the window and slowly went to sleep. The sudden jostle of the vehicle woke Xiying from his sleep. The rattling noise of something loose within the van was only complimented by the continued rainfall, the rolling sludge of the mud beneath the wheels, and the faint echoes hidden within the savanna forests. Suddenly a walkie talkie next to the gear shift crackled to life, a lady speaking in an unrecognisable accent of Nawātl was being said was breathless and on high alert. The accent was too heavy for Xiying to understand, only hearing some lone words from Anglish such as 'banmāh' (vans), 'aleconiz' (electronics), and Yaotel's name. He'd turned his gaze briefly towards Yaotel, who leaned back in his chair, eyes dead set on the road. But before Xiying could turn back towards the window, the burly driver spoke up. "You were asleep for four hours. Sunrise is in an hour, we'll be stopping at a nearby village for rest in half an hour." Xiying's eyebrow rose. "I thought the contract stated we were not to dist-" "We'll be stopping at a nearby village for rest in half an hour." Yaotel cut him off, his tone of voice monotonous. Not once did Yaotel take his eyes off the road. Once it was clear to Xiying the conversation was over, he twisted himself to look out the door window towards the endless dense trees and the occasional landmark. The three other vans remained behind them, all four going at a snails pace to prevent slipping off the roads. The contract specifically stated to not disturb the local villages, the last thing the local tribal monarchs want are unmarked government vans parading themselves down their roads and disturbing the local balances of power casually buying out entire local hostels or purchasing the most expensive meals at the only restaurant in the village. Nevertheless Xiying could sympathise with the drivers, Yaotel himself with heavy bags under his eyes. "If they didn't want us to stay in a village, they'd have packed us with camping equipment." Xiying muttered to himself, crossing his arms. Yaotel in the back nodded and the van suddenly began to speed up. Distant twinkling of lights told him they were close. Xiying twisted his body, itchy from being in the same posture for hours on end, only to hear crumpling from his behind. He'd frown and shuffled forward, pulling out a crumpled unsealed letter from his back pocket. Yaotel's eyes finally dislodged themselves from the road, a frown creasing across his face. "You took a document from the department?" "Hm, oh-" Xiying glanced at the partly folded letter, a broken red wax seal partly crumbled to dust and smeared on the envelope and most definitely on his trousers. "-no. I must've forgotten I put it there. It's from the hallways so, nothing that could get us in trouble. I think." Xiying remarked, his voice tense. Yaotel's eyes turned back to the road. "They're planning to burn the building down in a fortnight. I'd reckon it's important enough to be burned. What's inside?" Yaotel said, causing Xiying to squirm in his seat. He'd pull back the letter's envelope to pull out an ancient piece of paper. Scrawled across the paper were old Crescent Empire syllabic script and, surprisingly, old Esonyan script. It's distinct style even noticeable to a common man like Xiying. "It's... Something. Esonyan and the Crescent Empire? How old is this document.." Xinying muttered in confusion, squinting his eyes and pursing his lips. At the bottom were two black lines, on the first was more Esonyan text, but the other black line was empty. Xinying pushed the paper back into the envelope and examined its back, revealing the date and context. "1563, Chocolate Wars Treaty.." Xinying read out, causing Yaotel's eyebrows to raise higher than before. "1563? That's bloody old. Don't know what the Chocolate Wars are though." He responded, the burly man quickly flicking his eyes from the road to the letter then back. The village lights now brighter with the individual shanty homes of the rural village now visible, light from the sun peeping out from behind the horizon. "Chocolate Wars. Chocolate Wars." Xinying repeated in a loud whisper, looking up with eyes tightly closed. "Can't think of anything." "We can always check when we finally arrive back in Pomodoria City." Yaotel said, slowing down the van. "Sound's dumb." He'd remark with a scoff, still holding the envelope, finally looking up to see the village ahead.
    1 point
  40. Europan News Network Anglian Fleet Strikes At Ryderian Coast KEROON HOLD, Dragonryders -- Anglian ships were reported to have opened fire on multiple Ryderian military positions on the coast of Dragonryders after weeks of intense diplomatic standoffs. From what can be gathered, the small Ryderian fleet has retreated to Keroon Hold unwilling to engage in direct combat with the vastly superior Anglian Navy. Ryderian forces has been deployed in bulk along the coasts, while their loose allies in the remaining Azanian non-aligned states face additional challenges from the Anglian allied states to the south. In Mawlika, small border conflicts have cropped up between their neighbors Alshamal and Afropa. In Arrif, the government has claimed several attacks by the military of Hakenium, which has denied such assaults as the work of pirates who have no connection to Hakenium. It seems that all out war may be possible in Azenia as Anglian aligned states and non-aligned states are close to blows. Luckily the Gallambrian protectorate of Bashan seems to be immune from such pressures most likely due to Gallambrian naval strength and allegiance to TRIDENT. The Haruspexian colony of Zharr, located in the the war torn and barren regions just south of Anglia proper have also escaped attention, undoubtedly due to the tenuous alliance between Haruspex and Tagmatium. Mustered Afropan troops near the Mawlikan border. Diplomatic Mission from Anglia Arrives in Shendao BOGD GIORO, Fulgistan -- In another terrifying development, an Anglian diplomatic mission has been reported as having recently landed in Shendao, also known as the Kidney Islands in Anglish. The leader of the islands, Zhu Dongguan, has faced heavy resistance to his regime after recently taking control of the islands government. Undoubtedly the Anglian diplomatic mission is seen as a way to shore up his control of the island, as Fulgistani support as well as other local national support would be few and far between. Fulgistan, upon learning of the negotiations, has condemned the new Shendaoan government as authoritarian and have attempted to place diplomatic pressure to expel the Anglian diplomats. Fulgistan's ally Seylos has mirrored its condemnation, demanding Anglian interference be stopped before it spreads too far. Both fear the former Salvian colony will fall to the continuing advances of Anglian imperialism. Anglian diplomats meet with leader Zhu Dongguan in the Kidney Islands.
    1 point
  41. As written by @Metztlitlaca: UPDATE (12th June 2021) The Terms of a member's nation to be erased have been changed. Metacommentary posts (posts that are not RP, Factbooks, Expansion/Reserve Posts, or similar) do not count towards time since activity as metacommentary posts can be used as a loophole to unfairly extend inactivity. Also, recently graduated members that have officially been added to the map will have a 2 month time limit (60 days) before they are removed from the map again. This of course only applies if a member of the community has not made any posts to declare their inactivity (it should be stated that posts that declare inactivity for an unforeseen period of time will be disregarded if a newer member can take your place in regional lore). Inactivity posts who's stated period of time to be inactive has passed will be given an grace period to either extend their inactivity with a second post, or return to the community and catch up on any new lore and/or events that have taken place. This new update to the guidelines will be put into effect today (12/06/2021 D/M/Y), as a suitable warning had been posted on May 20th. --- Announcement will also be posted on #announcements in Eurth Discord. Metz wrote the annoucement on the 12th, hence the listed date not lining up with the date this was posted
    1 point
  42. “Attention all employees, attention all employees. Please remember to have your ID pass visible at all times. Vostrom Incorporated will not be held liable for any injuries caused by security staff in the event of an unknown person in the building. Thank you.” Bill Nostrom flinched slightly at the sound of the tannoy system. The speaker was so close to the hard plastic bench he was perched on it was as if the brisk authoritative voice was shouting directly into his ear. Instinctively checking that his ID tag was on his person, (it was, as always, clipped firmly to the breast pocket of his cheap suit), Bill continued fiddling with his tie and waiting for the clock on the wall to strike 3. It was currently sitting at 2:58, and the second hand seemed intent on travelling as slowly as possible. Bill had a meeting with the head of the regional marketing director, Duncan Hertzmann. Mr Hertzmann was a kindly old man, with a touch of senility giving his personality a bizarre mix of politeness and bluntness. Being called into his office usually meant bad news. Hertzmann considered himself a good bearer of bad news, a fact his yes men have been too spineless to refute. Outside the floor to ceiling windows, afternoon traffic roared and horns blared. Bill would sell his left leg to be in one of those cars right now, racing far far away from Nowhere City out into the leafy green forests. The blonde secretary interrupted his wistful daydreams, startling Bill. She had been sitting still for so long, flipping through a magazine, she may as well have become part of the furniture. “Mr Hertzmann will see you now,” she stated, with all the emotion of the automated tannoy. Bill straightened his tie, and stepped through the imposing wooden door. Instantly his nose was assaulted by the pungent reek of cigars. Hertzmann’s office, although situated in the non-smoking portion of the 15th floor, always reeked of cigars, the stench having long embedded itself into the wooden furniture and shag carpet. “Ah, Bob! How’re you doing?” Bill had long ago given up trying to correct Hertzmann. He only bothered remembering the name of the movers and shakers in his department. This reminder only served to cause Bill’s stomach to drop further into despair. “Very good, sir. Thank you for asking.” Bill took a seat in the plush leather chair opposite Hertzmann, doing his best to inhale as infrequently as possible. “That’s great. Bob, that’s great.” Hertzmann’s expression told Bill that the old man hadn’t heard a word he’d said. “Now, I’ve brought you here to discuss your statistics. This quarter, you completed… 1657 sales, with a total pickup rate of 94.98 percent. Now how’s that look, Bob?” Bill gave Hertzmann a quizzical look. “I don’t understand, sir. Last I checked, my pickup rate was 96.60?” Hertzmann returned Bill’s look with a smile one gives when explaining something to a small child, or someone who is very dense. “One of your clients, a Mr Wendell, went bankrupt earlier this morning. His purchase has been cancelled. Now I know what you’re going to say. ‘Mr Hertzmann, that’s out of my hands! What could I have done?’ That’s not the attitude we like here at Vostrom. Be a go-getter, Bob! Nothing’s ‘Out of your hands.’ If you’re going to think like that, you may as well move to Fulgistan!” Hertzmann erupted into a wheezing chuckle. Bill’s face remained a stoic mask, not betraying his internal anger and confusion. The old man’s ramblings made little sense to him. Hertzmann’s cheery voice temporarily distracted him from the autoclave of emotions in his gut. “Now normally, this would be a dismissal. But, I like you, Bob. You’ve got a second chance.” The fire of rage in his gut was quenched slightly by the cool water of relief. “But of course, there’ll be a reduction in your pay. Standard for a breach of contract. Oh, and a new policy. Your medical subscription will be dropped from gold to silver. Still, better than nothing, right?” Bill’s heart dropped instantly. “But… but sir, I’m diabetic! What about my insulin? Silver won’t get me enough for the full month!” Hertzmann rose slowly to his feet, letting out the sigh all men do after a certain age when rising from a chair. Placing one arm around Bill’s shoulder, he led him to the door. Hertzmann’s gold watch felt like it weighed a tonne on Bill’s shoulder, and the ticking was deafeningly loud. “Now now Bob, what did I just say? Be a go-getter! I don’t want excuses, I want results. Let this serve as a motivator! Tell you what, if you can square your stats back up, I'll see what I can do to get you that gold again. No promises though, Bob.” Before Bill knew it, he was back in the waiting room. “Go get em, Bobby!” Hertzmann exclaimed optimistically, then slammed shut the ornate wooden door.
    1 point
  43. Mr Alenader of @DPR Velaheria, We thank you for your letter regarding establishing diplomatic ties between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic. Like yourselves, our goal is to promote peace and prosperity throughout our great continent, and in order to achieve this aim it's important to maintain healthy relations with a variety of nations. While the United States is aware of the various eccentricities of Velaheria, we would like to accept your offer, and would like to establish diplomatic missions between the United States and Velaheria. Furthermore, on behalf of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, this agreement would also include the Prymontian Rus. Your invitation of Prymontian journalists to Velaheria is rather intriguing, but I fear that any peculiarities would be whitewashed in favour of portraying an ideal land. While I'm acutely aware of the importance of maintaining favourable outward appearances, the United States would not like to entertain any ongoings that would reflect badly on itself. As such, for the time being, I believe it best that this offer is shelved. Nevertheless, I applaud your country's efforts to reach out to the wurld community, and as a panel member of the Argic-Thalassan-Alharun Regional Association, would like to encourage you to apply to the organisation, whether that be as an observer or a full member. Perhaps a membership in such a prestigious group would assist Velaheria in refining its inner workings, and would do wonders to improve its wurldwide image. Your friend, Julian Nordeng Minister of Foreign Affairs
    1 point
  44. Foreign and Imperial Office Godstone, Anglia A stack of foreign newspapers from the past weeks filled the desk of Sir Algernon Edgeyton. Some papers were already beginning to turn yellow. Algernon enjoyed keeping some of the most memorably editions as a souvenir of the effect his actions had. The front pages that stared back at him were filled with screaming headlines, using ever more bold language. He leafed through them to rejoice in the impact of the Anglian masterplan. On April 30th he sent out his public communique to the international community. This brief statement alone created a lot of diplomatic chatter, of which very little leaked to the press. On May 1st, also known as Labour Day, the LAANN responded with a stop and search embargo. Algernon was quick to put the distant organisation on the spot. The LAANN were the first to display defiance. "Their swift statement to criticise Great Anglia will not be forgotten so easily," Algernon thought to himself. May 2nd saw the neighbouring Tagmatines announce sanctions against his country while in the same breath announcing the annexation of the Hermitage Islands. As can be expected nobody in the international community voiced any protest over that second announcement. By May 3rd the combative Haru announced their deployment of troops along the border with Tagmatium, nowhere near Anglia. What they hoped to gain from this remained beyond Algernon's imagination. Perhaps their leadership could be reasoned with? Some scenario must exist where together they could subdue the heir to Arhomaion. Last but not least, on May 12th, the geriatric and irrelevant EOS announced their laughable embargo. Right now the only thing Anglia had to fear was a never-ending stream of strongly worded letters that could fuel the most poor Suverin people's stoves for at least the next two upcoming winter seasons. OOC: This is a gathering of all the public communication I could find regarding Anglia. Any communication that was private did not make it on this list. I'm sure there's much more to find a quick search for "Anglia." If you want your decision to be included, make so to either CC everyone on your message or otherwise create a news story about what your country is doing. Anything else remains secret and invisible. Also, Algernon is a bit of a douche here, acting all smug and haughty after her recent strong of victories.
    1 point
  45. Europan News Network Anglian Military Officials Invited to Suverina CHISINAU, Suverina -- In an ongoing feud between Suverina and Qubdi to the east, Suverin government has called in their diplomatic nuclear option by openly inviting Anglian military officials. The past several months have been tense as Qubdi has pressed more and more on its border claims within Suverina. The lands in question have been in dispute for several years after Suverina was able to expand into them without negotiation between the two states. However times have been tough for Suverina, as the Europan Collapse had effectively crashed the economy, making much of its power projecting abilities extraordinarily weak. While on paper Suverina has a substantial military, it has heavily theorized that their military suffers from extreme supply and morale issues. Some leaked reports suggesting that much of their mechanized equipment has gone several months without any appreciable maintenance. If Qubdi did decide to launch an attack to take the disputed region, military analysts have little doubt they could push aside the weakened forces of Suverina despite their smaller numbers. Following the arrival of Anglian officials, small contingents of veterans from the campaign against the SDC were seen entering Suverina, presumably heading towards the Qubdian-Suverin border. Still even with the new Anglian presence, Qubdian officials have been adamant about their claims on the region and military buildup is still being seen. A spokesperson for the Qubdian government has denounced Anglian involvement and has again demanded that Suverina withdraw their military from the eastern border region. On Suverinan television, debates have been raging on what to do with the crisis, with their Parliament getting into frequent shouting matches. The Suverin Parliament weights its options. An anonymous diplomatic from Yuropa has approached ENN with the demands that may be presented during the Anglian-Suverinian negotiations. Word has spread fast through Europan diplomatic circles that Suverina is closer to total economic collapse than was previously though, with the government exploring any option they can to stay afloat. It appears, with this knowledge in hand, Anglia has appeared to stabilize the country, and their borders, but the costs are more than most other nations would be willing to pay. Regardless, it seems a Suverin protectorate might well be in Anglia's future.
    1 point
  46. Europan News Network BREAKING: SDC Surrenders To Anglian Forces TARENTUM, @Social Democratic Confederation -- Around midday today, Tarentum, the capital of the Social Democratic Confederation fell to Anglian forces. Fighting around the capital could only be described as intense and hellish as each side ground against each other for several days. The heavily outnumbered SDC Army held back the Anglian forces and ferociously defended their position. Even after the capital was completely surrounded, SDC forces fought on and were nearly impossible for Anglian units to dislodge, despite their overwhelming air superiority. Eventually though the weight of numbers and being cut-off from supplies and reinforcements took their toll. Around 19:00h the Congressional Forum was finally stormed and taken by Anglian forces. Even still, over the next day, citizens tried to take to the streets to protest. These protests were quickly and brutally suppressed by the Anglian military, and the protestors driven back into their homes. A national curfew is now put in place. Protestors risk their lives on the streets of Tarentum. It seems, if anything this was an Anglian attempt to flex their military might, and it also seems that despite the horrific damage to the city itself, key areas of economic importance were almost completely spared from the ravages of the war. This suggests that Anglia is attempting to create a greater economic base for itself in the future to fuel the expansion of the Anglian state. Regardless many military experts see this as an important test of the modern Anglish forces in combat, for the first time in many years. While most believe that Anglia poses a severe threat to the whole of Western Europa, some are less cautious stating their difficulties in uprooting even a small military that was totally surrounded show how unprepared the nation of Great Anglia is for war. It has also been confirmed that while the remnants of the Social Democratic government has surrendered to the Anglish, the bulk of important government officials were able to successfully evacuate to Seylos, which most thought were rumors. Despite how they managed to accomplish such a feat, a government in exile has been set up in Loughrea, vowing to continue to resist the Anglish conquest. In a lengthy press release, the Seylosian government also condemned the actions of Anglia, stating that the run the risk of destabilizing the fragile state of Western Europa and plunging the region into chaos. Surprisingly the Anglian government did release a brief statement, one which had an incredible foreboding tone. "The children of Great Anglia should keep their place and stay out of the affairs of Europa. Such interference could prove costly."
    1 point
  47. Below are actual changes. I don’t know exactly how the process works, hopefully I’m doing it right. Archpriest Dominion of Metztlitlalio’s name is being officially changed to the United Dominions of Metztlitlaca. I’ve already outlined above why I’m changing. Unless you really want to, there isn’t a reason to go back and change old newspapers you’ve posted with the new name, as it’s close enough to the old name to be identifiable. The capital city of Metztlitlaca is “Xinatlahuimiz” – literally “Capital city of (the) Valleys”. A common nickname is “Xinatla”. The old name ‘(Altepetl) Tekaken’ will be an exonym which was given sometime into colonialism. It is 100% fine to still use it so no need to change anything related to it. "“Temple of Culture and Religious Life” “Temple of Finance” These two are being replaced with a single mega factbook-like thread called “The Teopac of Metztlitlaca”. In that thread will be all canon information about Metztlitlaca as a sort of more in-depth version of my IIwiki. For now they’ll be 3 different Teopac (Temples): -Teopac of Culture & Religious Life -Teopac of Finance (Economy) -Teopac of Warriors (Military) “Historic Nations Before Metztlitlalio” is being renamed to “The Past Lives of Metztlitlaca”. Not Deleted. “The Capital Paper” is being replaced with “Broadcasts from the Crescent” and will be made up of 3 separate newspaper outlets: The Capital Paper – the nationally ran newspaper that may or may not be bias towards the government. Moon’s Truths – a more nationalist slightly xenophobic newspaper which does speak critically of the government from time to time. Lastly a yet-to-be-named newspaper that’s more liberal and open and often speaks critically of the government's actions. None of the 3 papers are meant to be unbiased in a meta context, but two or more papers may sometimes report on the same topic – especially if it’s quite a big deal across the nation so you can make up your own opinions on the matter. It’s more fun that way :). Also means I can use different personas and it isn’t so boring to write. This one might be better to archive considering how much I’ve done, although everything in it will be non-canon now (until redone or mentioned in the new newspapers). “Metztlitlalio Foreign Affairs” is being replaced with the “Metztlitlaca Teopac of Foreign Affairs” - I will also be sending out a bunch of letters to different nations to canonise several long-standing alliances and histories. This one I’m the most iffy on deleted and might be best to just archive – so I don’t loose current canon ties to those I’ve already interacted with. Regarding my factbook on the forum, I’m keeping it for now but once I’ve added enough to my Teocalli of Metztlitlaca thread it would be nice to delete it, as it’s very outdated and would become redundant. Saqkan will remain, although I will be going back to redo it now that the Tapelts are a sister culture to the Azlo.
    1 point
  48. “The leopard is a territorial animal. It dislikes having to share its range with another of its species. Their aggressive actions towards each other are usually limited to defending its territory or squabbling over kills.” Excerpt from Man-Eaters: The Memoirs of a Professional Hunter by Khristoforos Iagoupes, first published in EK7400 (AD1892). Iagoupes was later awarded the courtly title of Protokynegos, or “First Hunter”, in recognition of his exploits. As the car drove through the underground car park and towards the space that had been allotted to them, Niketas stared out the window, unseeing, deep in thought. He had kept out of personal interviews for years, as he had been advised by his staff – and others – to not step on the toes of the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator. Now Kommodos had stolen his moment from him. It should be him leading the charge and leading the Arhomaioi towards democracy, not the man who had done so much to undermine it in the first place. Next to him was sat his personal chaplain, as was one of the privileges granted to a great family such as the Niketai. The priest looked across at the leader of Nea Demokrateia, a look of worry on his face. “Proedros, I...” Isaakios shook his head. He needed to steal a march on Kommodos somehow. He needed the people of Arhomaneia to realise it was him who had been the catalyst for the changes that were going to be made. The chaplain had being trying to dissuade him from this interview for some time, as had Niketas' wife and many others. There was nothing that was going to stop him. Truth would come out. He got out of the vehicle, stood and buttoned his jacket before pausing for a moment. The car stopped in its space in the underground car park for Arhomaiki Alfa Tileoptikoú Diktyou, Aroman Alpha Television Network, or AATD. It was the main private televsion network in Arhomaneia and therefore more likely to put up more of a fight against the censors that Kommodos would likely wield. They were also more sympathetic towards Nea Demokrateia than some of the other stations. He could have pulled up outside of the main entrance to the building and had more of a grand entrance, but his security advisors had warned him against it. A handful more of his staff got out of the car and he watched as another two vehicles pulled up behind the one he travelled in. He narrowed his eyes as he looked at them. Both of them were saloon cars and a dark silver in colour. They both contained his protection detail, assigned to him by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. Or, rather, one contained his protection detail and the other his monitoring detail. A group of black-uniformed Praitorioi got out of the first car and the lead officer gave him a companionable nod. Out of the second, another small group of uniformed men and women got out. They were in the grey of the Esoteriki Epitheorisi Pliroforion, the secret police. They were merely here to watch what he did, see who he met and just lurk in a general, thuggish sense. The democracy campaigner gave them a nod as well and was met with a blank, vaguely hostile stare from all of them. Except for one, who winked back. The former Proedros felt a spike of fury and he tried to not let it show in his face. He turned on his heel and marched towards the car park's entrance to the AATD's building. The door to the building opened automatically and Isaakios strode through it, his chaplain, staff, protection and monitoring detail following him. The room was made of white marble and floored with a darker stone. It was in a sparse, modernist style and the main entrance was opposite a long sweep of a reception desk. Evenly spaced about the lobby were the logo of the television company, a stylised version of its acronym, as well as crosses and other Christian imagery. The pretty young woman sat behind the desk looked up at Isaakios and then over at the train of escorts that followed him, doing a double take at the sheer number who piled into the lobby after him. Niketas knew that it wouldn't even be the full number of those who were spying on him and watching his every move. The Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton, the intelligence agency, would undoubtedly have at least someone watching him, as would probably the Epistrategaion, the high command. And he wouldn't have put it past the old tyrant to have someone from his personal staff, the Mystikon, watching him, too. “Good morning and may the blessings of Christ be on you, kyriossa,” Niketas greeted the receptionist, who tore her eyes away from the crowd who had filled up the reception area. “I'm here for the interview with Theoktiste Hagiokhristoforitissa.” The receptionist gave Isaakios a smile. “Good morning, Proedros, and may the blessings of Christ be on you, too.” She moved a touchscreen on an arm towards Niketas. “Sign here, please.” Niketas bent towards the touchscreen and scribbled his name with the stylus. He preened himself about the fact that the receptionist hadn't asked him his name and had used his old title. She either knew who he was or had been briefed on his arrival. It was probably both – he was one of the most famous people in the Megas Agios Basileia and he was expected. The Eepoi and Praitorioi shared a glance. They didn't appreciate the old title being used. Although Niketas was allowed a courtesy title as a former member of the Synkletos, the title of the president of the senate wasn't the one he should have been addressed with. That was certainly going to be something that was reported back to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. “Thank you, Proedros,” said the receptionist, giving him a slight smile as Niketas handed back the stylus. The receptionist turned the touchscreen back towards her and looked back at her computer screen, but not before casting another look over the group that was still milling within the lobby. A young man appeared at Niketas' elbow, having edged his way through the crowd of guards and minions that had gathered around the campaigner and gave a half-bow, which Niketas returned. He wore a sober suit and didn't seem to be quite as enamoured with the presence of Isaakios as the pretty receptionist. He didn't quite have a disapproving look on his face but it was certainly a carefully neutral expression. “Endoxotatos, may the blessing of Christ be upon you. I am Stephanos Volousianos and I am to show you to Kyriossa Hagiokhristoforitissa's studio. If you could follow me, please.” Frowning slightly, he nodded nonetheless. “Of course, kyrios. Please lead on.” The man started walking towards the other end of the lobby, towards a bank of lifts. He pressed the button for the third floor and then looked over his shoulder to make sure that Niketas was following him and then drew up sharp as he saw the entirety of the entourage coming, too. “Are they all coming with us?” Volousianos asked, somewhat incredulously. “I don't know. You'd have to ask the buggers themselves that,” Niketas growled in reply. He didn't even look at the train of people following him. It was almost like being a great officer of state again. Twenty years ago, he would have had Maghlabitai making sure his path was clear for him with their staffs, Spatharokoubikoularioi – the Synkletos guards – making sure he was safe and a host of robed attendants and clerics gathered about him, all dressed in the splendour that befitted the centre of civilisation on Eurth. Now it was just his personal chaplain and gaolers sent by the Leopard Throne, dressed in dreary blacks and greys. “They won't all fit in the lift,” warned Volousianos, looking slightly nervously at the protection and monitoring details. Obviously he hadn't much business with this aspect of Arhomaneia. “Then they can walk,” Niketas shot back. He made room for his chaplain and then stabbed a finger at the door close button. It was a petulant move but it made the former Proedros feel a bit better about the situation. The door slammed shut as the police and secret police got to the door. He also gained some satisfaction from the image of the minions of Tagmatika struggling up the three flights of stairs up towards their destination. The three of them stood in silence as the lift rose through the floors. The network employee looked slightly disconcerted at the display of contrariness of aimed at the agents of the government. A ping sounded, the doors slid open and Niketas stepped out of the lift. “Which way, Volousianos?” he asked as he stood in the corridor, looking around at the numbers on signs next to the doors. The other man gave no sign that he felt disrespected by Niketas' tone. He had already made up his mind on the former Proedros. “This way, Endoxotatos,” the network's employee said, gesturing with an arm and starting to walk down the corridor. “You will need to get briefed and have makeup applied before filming starts. Kyriossa Hagiokhristoforitissa is keen to meet you.” Niketas followed him down, with the priest following on behind. There was a clatter of a door opening and the thud of boots in the corridor as the two details finally caught up with the democracy campaign. He didn't deign to look in their direction as they did so. Volousianos led them towards a door that didn't look too much different from any of the others and knocked at it before turning the handle and opening before he got a response from anyone within. It was a small waiting room, fitted out with a kettle, a water cooler, a selection of probably stale pastries on a plate, several chairs, a low table with several magazines and a couple of plant pots. The room was nowhere nearly up to the standard that Niketas, as a one of the richest men in Arhomaneia, was used to. The former Proedros looked around and then sat in one of the chairs. The chaplain took one next to him. Despite Volousianos' barely concealed distaste for Niketas, he did look a bit sheepish. “I apologise for the surroundings, Endoxotatos. At AATD, we pride ourselves on spending our money on the quality of our programmes, rather than the creature comforts.” It sounded like a sentence learned by rote and the man seemed a unconvinced by it. “Someone will be along shortly to take you the briefing and then to makeup. Can I at least get you a cup of tea whilst you wait? And for you as well, father?” Both men nodded. The aide busied himself making tea for a moment before the Praitorioi and the Eepoi came into the room. Both groups looked around the room, as if the space could have possibly have contained some threat to their charge. As they did so, they contrived to get in each others' way as the rivalry between the different law enforcement agencies came to the fore. The priest and the democratic reformer shared a sigh and a glance whilst Volousianos watched with a look of disbelief on his face. It was something that they had had to put up with over the last decade and a half. After a moment, they sorted themselves out and an officer from each group stood on either side of the door whilst the rest of them stood outside. There was a moment of awkward silence and the network worker stood for a moment, looking about with uneasy look on his face. “I'll go and see if Kyriossa Hagiokhristoforitissa is ready,” he said and slipped out of the door. Silence again came to the green room. The only noise was the rattle of crockery as the priest and the ex-Proedros took sips from their cups and then returned them to their saucers. A woman with an expensive, light grey suit with a long skirt suddenly opened the door. She was approaching middle age and had light brown hair with a streak of grey and the force of her personality hit everyone in the room. She gave the two seated men a half bow and they stood up to return it. “Good morning, Proedros and may the saints bless you,” beamed Theoktiste Hagiokhristoforitissa. “I'm glad to have you here and finally meet you. The work you have been doing with Nea Demokrateia has been some of the most important undertaken in Arhomaneia in years.” An equally big smile split the features of Niketas. He was flattered, in the way of vain men who were complimented by other important figures. After all, Hagiokhristoforitissa presented one of the most watched TV programmes in the Megas Agios Basileia, if not Eurth. “And you as well, Kyrios Hagiokhristoforitissa,” replied Isaakios, looking almost bashful. “I am honoured that I was invited to take part in your programme. It will do the Arhomaioi good to hear from someone who has campaigned for years for what Kommodos has finally decided to do.” Niketas didn't notice the wince that passed over the TV presenter's face when he was disrespectful towards the monarch of Arhomaneia. The chaplain did, however. He knew that that was something that the leader of Nea Demokrateia needed to be careful of. It would be a very quick way to lose the sympathy of the Arhomaioi by being rude about God's representative on Eurth. He coughed to attract the Proedros' notice but it seemed to pass him by. He was still basking in the attention of Hagiokhristoforitissa. Perhaps the presenter was getting an inkling of just how bitter the Synkletikos had become over the years. “Well, I should let make up know that you'll be along soon,” said Hagiokhristoforitissa, making her excuses and turning to leave. She seemed to notice the two police by the door and did a slight double take before shaking her head and leaving. Almost as soon as the door had closed, it opened again and more network workers came through. They hauled Niketas off to make-up and then moved him into the studio proper. They sat him down on a leather sofa opposite the cameras. There was no audience, just an array of lenses looking at him. He moved a hand through his hair and someone hissed at him to not mess it up. Hagiokhristoforitissa came into the studio and more aides stepped forward, placing papers on a desk and making sure there was a glass of water to hand before the woman sat down behind it. Lights came on and started to count down and the presenter stood in front of the desk. A red light turned on, showing that the cameras were now recording. The presenter stood up and gave a brief prayer, as was traditional at the start of any programme in Arhomaneia, and everyone else in the studio bowed their heads and were silent. Once it was over, she sat back down and shuffled the papers on her desk. “Good evening,” said Hagiokhristoforitissa, giving the cameras a smile. “Welcome to the programme. Tonight's guest will be the Endoxotatos Isaakios Niketas, the leader of Nea Demokrateia. We will be discussing the announcement by his majesty, Kommodos, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator to reform the Synkletos and try to usher in a new age of democracy for Arhomaneia.” Niketas suppressed the urge to look at his watch. It was mid morning and he knew that the programme was broadcast at night. He tried to not look disappointed that the woman had used his courtesy title rather than the one he felt he was personally entitled to. She had used it earlier but the presenter was probably told to be more careful whilst being filmed. Several cameras turned to Niketas and he nodded to the presenter. “Thank you, Kyriossa Hagiokhristoforitissa, and may God's blessing be upon you.” “My first question is: are you surprised about the timing of the announcement?” “No, I am not,” said Niketas. “It is the culmination of over a decade and a half of campaigning by my organisation and myself. I thank God that years of careful argument finally were able to win the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion over.” “So you don't think that it was influenced by the death of the Exousiokrator ton Gharon, Ji'Mar?” The presenter raised an eyebrow as she asked the question. “Well...” Isaakios paused for a moment. He had rehearsed most possible questions and answers carefully. “I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the activities by the northern barbarians. I hardly think that the death of that arch-heathen would mean to much to even Kommodos.” Out of Niketas' eyeline, the chaplain ran a hand over his face. If the ex-Proedros wasn't careful, he could dig himself into a very deep hole. “You mean 'his majesty', the Agios Basileos?” The expression of the interviewer was carefully neutral but she was probably worried about about attracting too much controversy, more so than having Niketas on in the first place. “Forgive me, of course,” backpeddled Niketas, putting on an expression of contrition. “I have nothing but a deep and abiding respect for the Leader of the Free Wurld. I do not mean to be overly familiar. He and I worked closely together for years under the martyred Theodosios, may he rest in peace.” “You're assured that this u-turn is to do with your campaign, then?” continued Hagiokhristoforitissa. “Many newspapers reported that Nea Demokrateia had seen a significant downturn in membership. The Kronografia reported that your demonstration in Resafa last year did little more than block traffic before getting dispersed.” “Nea Demokrateia has kept the light of democracy burning in Arhomaneia, despite it all but being expunged at the national level,” replied Niketas indignantly. “That... rag doesn't show just how much good we have done over the years. Without us reminding the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of our people's long history of democracy, there would continue to ride roughshod over our ancient rights.” “Democracy has never gone away in Arhomaneia,” countered the interviewer. “There are elections at almost every level of our country, from themata downward.” “But the government rarely takes into account the opinions of the people, like perhaps it should.” This was a much more hostile interview than Niketas had been expecting. The AATD had always been sympathetic to him. Had that old tyrant put pressure against them to make him look stupid? “Even in the states of the barbaroi, the government has to listen to the people. It isn't just the case that they can run the country as they want to, disregarding the will of people.” “The Agios Basileos was elected by the people, through whom God chose his representative on Eurth. And it is not as if the Synkletos before the Civil War was democratic – all appointments to it were made by the Agios Basileos or were inherited,” pointed out Hagiokhristoforitissa. “That is not the point,” returned Isaakios hotly. “I would be happy to stand for election in a democratic Synkletos. I have always been a firm believer in the principles of it, even if the system as it stood then meant that I was not tested by it. I would hardly have spent the last fifteen years acting in such a manner if I didn't feel as strongly as I do.” “Some have stated that this has always been a vehicle for your grudge against the Agios Basileos. Even your old aide, Plakidia Lukapena, stated that that was your main reason for carrying on Nea Demokrateia.” “And Lukapena deserted to a heathen body, puppeteered by the Orhionioi. That is not the actions of a true patriot,” shot back the campaigner. “Mercy International is an organisation of suspect intent. I, however, have always striven hard for the betterment of my fellow Arhomaioi, without enabling barbaroi, allowing them to meddle in the affairs of our ancient nation.” Hagiokhristoforitissa nodded, as if satisfied with that answer. “There are those who have charged you with acting as a demagogue, rather than in the true interests of Arhomaneia.” Nodding, Niketas sat back in his chair. “To an extent, I would accept the charge of being a demagogue, in the loosest sense. I have often spoken to crowds and I have tried to carry on the spirit of the blessed Leon III, who tried to bring a proper sense of democracy to our nation. I would never act against God's chosen land on Eurth.” “So you accept that you have whipped up ill-feeling towards the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, trying to undermine the rule of our holy monarch?” the presenter asked it with almost a smile on her lips. It was the sort of question that Niketas had been guarding against for years, however. “Of course not,” replied Niketas. “The Agios Basileos has led our nation ably and well since he was elected. I have never said otherwise. All I am doing is trying to bring our nation and people back to a time when the people had more of a say in their future.” “That could be construed as arguing against the God-ordained rule of the Agios Basileos, almost a blasphemy in itself.” Again, the almost innocent smile. It was a very threatening question, however. Blasphemy was a serious charge in Arhomaneia. At that, the campaigner shook his head. “That I cannot accept. If anything, I was merely pre-empting the actions of our monarch. Acting ahead of the curve, so to speak. I feel satisfied that my arguments have finally been heard.” The presenter took a sip of water, covering a slightly exasperated expression. If the former Proedros noticed that, he gave no sign of it. “Now that the Agios Basileos has set this course towards democratic reforms, would be content with allowing the government to carry out these reforms? Will you now disband Nea Demokrateia?” “That is an interesting question,” said Niketas, giving himself some time to formulate his answer. “I, of course, trust their intentions. However, I don't think that I would be willing to disband it yet. I feel that the Arhomaioi would not forgive me if I didn't act as an independent oversight for what was going to happen.” “Which, I suppose, comes naturally to the next point – are you disappointed that you were not placed in charge, rather than the Kouropalates Kommenos?” Another loaded question, one that was set to needle Niketas' bloated sense of entitlement and self-importance. “Of course I am disappointed in that decision,” responded the campaigner, shaking his head slightly. “I wish that I had been invited to chair that body, or at least take part in it. It would have been an honour to serve God and the Arhomaioi in such a manner. I do not doubt that the Kouropalates is a man of experience and a veteran politician and diplomat. I am just not sure that he has the right expertise, although I am certain that he will given the best advice and guidance.” It was perhaps the best answer that Niketas could have given, although the criticism of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion was plain for all to see. At that point, however, the presenter shuffled the papers on her desk. The segment interviewing the democracy campaigner was over and the director gave a hand signal. “Thank you for giving us your time, Endoxotatos. May God be with you.” “And with you, Kyriossa Hagiokhristoforitissa.” The red light showing that recording was going on turned off and both of them stood up and gave each other a half-bow.
    1 point
  49. “In our distant and pagan past, the ancient Arhomaioi used to trap leopards and use them in their great shows, where – along with other animals, such as wolves, bears and more - they would be hunted for sport and the amusement of both emperors and common folk. The animals would also be used for executions and it is said that many early Christians found martyrdom at leopards' fangs and claws.” From Life in Ancient Arome: A History for Children by Nikeforos Basiliskos. Published by Panepistímion Petrion Typos, Petrion University Press, in EK7506 (AD1998). He took a sip from his brandy glass and stared into the fire. It was set in a brick-built hearth and the movement of the flames and the pop and crack of the wood acted as punctuation to his thoughts. It had become a ritual over the last decade and a half, as he rued the insults done to his family by the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion. His was a great family, one that had done much – and sacrificed much – in the service of the Megas Agios Basileia. One of his ancestors had been appointed, over one thousand years ago, to lead an embassy to Ide Jima, going through all of the dangerous barbarian lands in between. They had led armies, they had been servitors, they had been industrialists and churchmen. They had given everything to Arhomaneia and they had never expected anything in return. Well, of course they had been rewarded well and who could blame them for imagining that they might see recompense for their actions, for all that it had cost them? No one could blame them for that. But they had never acted solely for their own personal gain. Not at all. They were Arhomaioi and their civilisation came first. The carved wooden panelling that made up the walls of the room added to the atmosphere of brooding, along with the dimmer switches had been turned down low and the flickering of the flames. The fire was something of an ostentation – the hypocaust kept the room perfectly warm and in a good, traditional manner. The worst part of it all was always that Kommodos did not know the insults that he had handed out. But then why would he? He was just some jumped up peasant. He could not know what he was trampling into the dust. But he should know and he should care. At least Theodosios VI had come from true aristocratic stock, even if his father had been an egalitarian, almost edging towards a socialist. Theodosios should have guided his minions better, chosen his advisers from more distinguished stock. Even the Navarkhokrateia knew otherwise and disposed of those who tried to derail God's favoured land with their thoughts of egalitarianism and leftist ways. The brandy glass came to his lips again but it paused before it met them and he pondered on that thought for a moment. Perhaps those naval emperors hadn't known better. They allowed that... grey blur of a civil servant to carry on, when he should have been one of the many that they drugged and threw out of aeroplanes into the middle of one of the seas, like so many other threats to the regime, real or imagined. The Thalassa ton Kataigidon, the Krankes Thalassa or maybe the Kentriki Thalassa. Either of those three would have been good enough. But, of course, there was nothing remarkable about Kommodos Iakoumos that long ago. He was little more than another pen pusher, good at doing what he was told. And remembering to write down who told him to do it. That, after all had been said and done, had been the key. The key to his success as first as a hypologothetes in the Logothesion ton Barbaron and as he wormed his way up to ever greater heights. No one had batted an eyelid when Iakoumos was made Khartoularios, High Chancellor, although those with a true love of Arhomaneia perhaps should have been more concerned that a peasant had attained such a high rank in the government. But then he wasn't the only one of a lowly birth that Theodosios had chosen to put so high. There was that dog Amfonos as Mesazon as well. Iakoumos had been able to use the position of Khartoularios to act as a springboard to become the Leader of the Free Wurld – the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion. The title of Agios Basileos was to be respected – of course it was. It was the epitome of civilisation. Arome had been guiding force for Europa for over two thousand and a half years and the rest of the wurld for half of that. All of the other nations strove to catch up to what the Arhomaioi had done and tried their best to even equal it. One of the most keen examples was, of course, flight – Ioannes Glauketes, a good Christian, was the first person to successfully and repeatedly carry out powered flight and the barbaroi fell over themselves to copy him. And do it better – the name of Wilbert Verneson should be a curse word to all true Arhomaioi, as he had striven to ape Glauketes and steal all of the hard work that true Arhomaios and true Christians had put it. The brandy glass was empty and he opened the crystal decanter that sat on the table next to his armchair. The neck of the decanter rattled slightly on the rim of the glass but the drinker was too deep in his own resentful thoughts to recognise that he was probably more than a little drunk. And Kommodos was little more than an ape, as well. A brutal, ham-fisted ape who shot those who disagreed with him. Iakoumos was merely the grandson of a coal merchant. He had no pedigree behind him. He could not comprehend the traditions that he threw aside as he was held above crowds of soldiers and civilians when he was acclaimed as emperor. The great families of Arhomaneia should have shuddered when he was hoisted upon the shield and acclaimed the Agios Basileos. Shuddered and thrown him down, rather than let him sit upon the Leopard Throne. Another sip of brandy didn't take away the bitter taste of the hand that fate had dealt him. It never did. He was sharp enough to know that no matter the amount of brandy, or wine, or whatever, would never take away the awful feeling of failure if he fell into the trap of alcoholism. If that happened, he would never be able to get back the power and authority that had been stolen from the aristocratic families, from his family, by Kommodos. That lower class piece of trash dared to promote new men, nea anthropoi, or basilikoi anthropoi, the emperor's men, to positions of power. Positions that they didn't deserve and their ability let them down, too. They didn't go to the right schools and came from lowly families, they allowed Arhomaneia to be bullied by not just the Gharoi or the Adaptoi, but the savages that lived futher afield as well. The fact that they were treating that Alharan state as equals rather than sending a Basilikoploimon battle group to just pound them into the dust to liberate the slaves was a madness. And that was an opinion that he knew was not just shared by him and other aristocrats, but many ordinary Arhomaioi as well. Turds like Goulielmos, Khalkeos and Narses floated to the top. They shouldn't, not when they eclipsed true sons of Arome, whose proud lineages stretched back long enough that it would take entire books to list their glorious exploits. Like himself, or Kontarian. And arguably Makarios and Tzimekhes, but the former was a paranoiac and the latter a glorified tax collector, hated by everyone who had any sense. And Kommenos, who had thrown himself at the feet of the virtual pretender to the Leopard Throne. Especially now that he was in charge of the reformation of the Synkletos. That was a role that should rightfully be his. He sipped his brandy again. His family had been members of the Synkletos for one and a half thousand years! That coal merchant's grandson could only – should only - appoint those who he had shut out back into their old roles. Anything else was the work of madness and an offence to God. Even if Niketas had been nothing but a squawking idiot – which he had been – then he still warranted his old role back. He came from good stock and he had acted well in the role. But he wouldn't. Kommodos had developed a dislike towards Niketas. And, the brandy drinker would admit, that he knew where the coal merchant's grandson was coming from. Niketas had spent too much of his time trying to whip up popular support from amongst the common people and workers, like some sort of socialist, despite having embodied everything that was wrong with the old organisation. And it was clear that even Iakoumos saw it as little more than a transparent act, a work of desperation by an unpopular man. One of his closest allies, Plakidia Lukapena, deserted him when it was clear he was sinking and joined that foul barbaroi organisation, Mercy International. The Agios Basileos would undoubtedly stock the new Synkletos with those sympathetic to his cause. There would be very few who would embody the true history of Arhomaneia there. He took a sip of his brandy again. This wasn't consistent habit but one brought on by the news of the apparent reformation of the Synkletos. He was still the Megas Logothetes ton Ilektrikon, the Minister for Electricity. It had taken him years to gain that position, and part of it had been through luck. After all, the previous Megas Logothetes Aemilian Skeles, had happened to die of cancer. If that was not the action of God's will, then what was? Some had taken it as a divine indictment of nuclear power and had tried to make Kommodos steer away from using it but the old tyrant had ignored them. That nothing had befallen the monarch in turn seemed to indicate that the death of Skeles hadn't been anything other than a mischance of fate. The phone next to the chair rang. Frantzeskhos Zemarkhos dug around for his mobile in the cushions of the chair before he slowly looked at the phone on the table. He sat staring with puzzlement for a moment before he picked it up. The number on the too-bright screen came up as unknown. Briefly, he wondered if he was actually more drunk than he realised. “Hello?” he asked. He licked his lips nervously. Who could it possibly be, at this time of night? Who even rang landlines any more? And, perhaps the most pertinent question of all, knew his number? “This is Isaakios.” For a moment, Frantzeskhos didn't quite know who that was. It wasn't exactly an uncommon name, but then there were few would would introduce themselves with it alone. For a moment, paranoia kicked in but then he realised that there was no need to. Despite his hatred of the coal merchant's grandson's regime, he was one of the basilikoi anthropoi. He'd been so slavishly loyal over the years that Kommodos did not suspect him in anyway. But the voice wasn't one that could be all that mistaken. Isaakios Niketas couldn't really be mistaken for anyone else. The man could not be trying for anything honest. The pathetic demagogue should be grateful – Niketas had achieved everything that he had wanted to. The Synkletos was about to be refounded. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion was on the cusp of carrying out the very thing that he had campaigned for for the last fifteen years. But Zemarkhos knew exactly why Niketas was ringing. He knew exactly why Niketas would be full of a sense of failure and coursing with resentment. It wasn't that the possibility of democratic reforms were about to happen, but the fact that they were about to happen without him leading the charge. Kommodos had outmanoeuvred him completely and perhaps tellingly. And now he was trying to seek revenge. But Niketas should likely have known that this was going to be the only outcome. The Agios Basileos was never going to let someone else steal his thunder, especially since Niketas had spent years trying to make the old tyrant look bad. What else did he genuinely expect? But, more was the point, it was still where Kommodos was the most vulnerable. If someone was able to unite the people of Arhomaneia and use mob rule to take control of the situation, Kommodos could be forced to give concessions that he was never planning on giving. If that someone literally had control of the power of the country, then that person could use it to steer the future. No wonder Niketas had called him. “I think I will have to introduce you to someone,” said the supposed pro-democracy reformer. “But you know him anyway.” That statement intrigued Zemarkhos enough that he let himself get lulled into a false sense of security, as it implied that he was actually just a piece in a grander conspiracy. Part of the Megas Logothetes screamed to put the phone down then. Put the phone down and ignore it, pretend that Niketas had never called him, that he had never heard him say anything. Put the phone down and call his bodyguard from the Spatharokandidatoi, and report whatever treasonous activity was about to come about. After all, he was a Megas Logothetes. He was one of the most important people in Arhomaneia. His family was incredibly influential and vastly wealthy. What more could this demagogue, scrabbling at his last chance at relevance, offer that could compare to that? But put the phone down and confirm whatever the f*ck it was that the coal merchant's grandson wanted to do to the Megas Agios Basileia was the only way that God's nation on Eurth could be run. “Isaakios,” the Megas Logothetes ton Ilektrikon said, knowing that everything that he said from there on in was likely to constitute a mounting case for treason. “I think I would like to meet this person.” Frantzeskhos Zemarkhos lapsed into silence for a moment, almost as if he was trying to ascertain the thoughts at the other end of the phone. His own were feeling slightly jumbled but it was obviously because of the gravity of the situation and nothing to do with the spirits he'd been drinking for the last few hours. He hadn't disliked the old Megas Logothetes. He had just never seen the opportunity available to him. And why would he? The man had been a Iakoumos loyalist. And he had been dead for years. His own sucking up to the commoner-monarch had meant that his private schemes had gone unnoticed. He had quietly petitioned for the guards for nuclear, renewable and non-renewable power stations to be recruited separately from the Logothesion tou Praitoriou, the Ministry for Police, and it had been granted. They still had police powers, but they had been his for years. He had given his all to back the Laren Agreement, as it meant, directly and indirectly, an expansion of his own powers. Could being in charge of power be the true step to being in power? “I knew you would. And if you were worried about our conversation being listened to, I wouldn't worry too much. It is our mutual friend doing it.” The other end of the line went dead and the Megas Logothetes was left staring at the receiver. He was suddenly, cruelly sober and a sense of crawling dread washed over him, wiping away any thoughts of glory and success. Zemarkhos should have thought of that. He may have made an error. Another mouthful of brandy calmed his nerves somewhat. There was still time to come clean. He could come to the Agios Basileos and tell him everything that had transpired, that he had had a moment of weakness and said some things that he wouldn't ever dream of actually following through with. Crawl on his belly before the coal merchant's grandson and dishonour the name of the Zemarkhoi. No. He shook his head to himself. That would never do. Instead, he sat back in his chair and stared at the flames in the fireplace.
    1 point
  50. “Many animals, when disturbed, consume their own children. The Tagmatine Leopard is no different in that respect, although it is more rare. But not unheard of.” Gilbert Cleckheaton, famed Seylosian natural historian, writing in EK7341 (AD1833) in a letter to his nephew. He never visited Arhomaneia himself. A bitter wind swept across the Plateia tou Agios Konstantinou, Agios Konstantinos Square, bringing with it flurries of snow. It wasn't unusual to have snowfall this late and the freezing temperatures made the stone flags of the square very treacherous. As he walked carefully across the square towards the gates of the Basilikon Synkrotima Palation, Imperial Palace Complex, Fillipos Kommenos was very careful in where he put his feet. He'd already slipped once and banged his knee quite hard. His bodyguards, golden armoured, white robed Spatharokandidatoi, had scurried towards him make sure that he was unhurt. It had been slightly embarrassing. It was still early morning and there were few people in the square and most people were too hunched up into their hats and scarves to really take notice. As part of the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator's drive to reduce the environmental impact of the government, officials were told to consider whether short distance travel with motor vehicles were really necessary. It meant that even the members of the cabinet would often walk between their offices and the seat of the government. Kommenos didn't usually mind it but now, as he hobbled slightly across the square, he definitely was thinking twice about it. It would have been so much easier to have used one of the vehicles assigned to his office to pull up at the front gates. He looked around him, trying to see if anyone had seen him go down on one knee. There were very few who looked towards Kommenos. Most of the inhabitants of the capital had grown used to officials and their entourages walking through the square. Those who weren't walking through it as a shortcut to their workplaces were gathered into three distinct groups and were very focussed on the thing that they were gathered around. Several dozen stood at the foot of a column that had been taken over by a stylite just before last summer. The now ragged figure had stayed on the top of his column all through the baking summer, the wet autumn and the frigid winter. It had impressed even the most impious of hearts, and inspired many followers of Christ to carry out the same devotional act up and down Arhomaneia, further across Europa and beyond. Even through the deadening effect of the wind and the snow, the Kouropalates could hear the stylite preaching to his flock. It was a group that was being carefully monitored by the Esoteriki Epitheorisi Pliroforion, the secret police, as well as the Church. He could see the grey uniforms of the former and the black robes of the latter at careful distances from the column. Either one would pounce if there were any hint of being against either the political or religious orthodoxy of the country that stood at the heart of civilisation on Eurth. The second group was about the same size as the first and was gathered around a small van that was parked at the edge of the square. One of its sides was open and it was selling souvla and cups of soups like fasoulada to fend off the cold. The wind, as cold as it was, seemed to spread the appetising smell of the vendor's food across the square. The people gathered around it seemed to come from a true cross-section of Arhomaiki society – most of the people seemed to be office workers, likely working for the logothesia that edged onto the square, but some likely from the private companies that had gathered in Tagmatika since the boom of private enterprise during the Navarkhokrateia. There were also uniforms of members of most of the various branches of the armed forces. There was even a Spatharokandidatos grabbing something to eat. The food van was the only one allowed to operate in the environs of the square, and it was said to be entirely under the sufferance of Kommodos. There were two of the EEP lurking in the shadow of a column nearby and one of them was munching on a vegetable stuffed flatbread. Kommenos' stomach growled slightly as the smell wafted over to him. He'd had breakfast that morning but the food vendor always smelled good. The Kouropalates guided his train of bodyguards and aides more directly towards the gates of the Imperial Palace Complex, far away from the double handful of the third group that now seemed to be permanently gathered in the square. It was a small group of Koussoeioi and they marked a spot that a prince of their royal family had attempted to burn himself to death in protest several months ago. The man had been stopped before he could do anything completely foolish. He was currently under arrest but the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion just didn't know what to do with him. On the one hand, he had tried to commit suicide, a heinous crime against God. On the other, almost all Arhomaioi had sympathy towards their plight and deeply regretted the current situation. He was still in the hospital attached to the Church of St Alexios, with a guard from the Tagmata. Support for the continued alliance with the Gharoi was at an all time low, after once being considered the high point of the reign of Kommodos. The news of the death of the Exousiokrator had not become known outside of the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion but when it was, it was not going to be met with much sadness. Kommenos arrived at the gates of the Imperial Palace Complex. One of his aides stepped forward and announced his presence to the two soldiers from the Tagmata who stood guarding the gates. They turned towards Kommenos and bowed to the Kouropalates before moving back. The gates slid smoothly open and permitted Kommenos to walk into the grounds of the palace itself. There was always a level of power play – the Agios Basileos had to show everyone else that he was above them, their rightful ruler, which was why he had been made to wait despite coming at Kommodos' command. But it was something that was almost instinctive. Not just for him, but probably all Arhomaioi. And the wurld would be a better place if the barbaroi accepted the same as well. The Kouropalates knew that he wouldn't act any differently had he been on the Leopard Throne. The distance between the gates of the Imperial Palace Complex was short. It was through some gardens laid out in the classical style and up a flight of marble steps. Unlike his predecessor Theodosios VI, Kommodos had taken an odd sense of pride in the gardens of the palace, although he had never wanted to show it. Theodosios, although he had been the one to overthrow the Navarkhokrateia, had not gone on to be the great man either Kommodos or Fillipos had thought that he might have been. Instead, they had spent their time cleaning up after his numerous affairs before they had leaked to the public. Sometimes using bribes, sometimes using the EEP or the intelligence agencies. Fillipos shrugged to himself and put those thoughts aside as he walked deeper into the Imperial Palace. He'd done what he felt that he had to do, and lived with it. Arhomaneia had needed a clean hero at the time, after the excesses of the Navarkhokrateia. The minions of the old regime had done such things as throw dissidents out of aeroplanes whilst they were drugged. The murders carried out after the end of the EK7513 Civil War had felt like they had been justified at the time, as they had been against those who had tried to recreate that former regime. Nonetheless, the Kouropalates always hesitated to call them “executions”, because that implied legitimacy. They hadn't been legitimate. Kommodos' new regime had shot hundreds of rebels in an attempt to quash the old one. And it had worked. There had never been an attempt to overthrow Kommodos and the legacy of the Navarkhokratreia had seen fit to dispel any objections. He'd never say his own conscience was clear, however. Sometimes he dreamed about them, a mass of reaching hands and bursts of gunfire. Agents of the Mystikon, the civil servants of the Agios Basileos, guided Kommenos through the palace. Every so often, one of them, dressed in a conservative business suit and wearing a purple tie with a lapel pin of the Arhomaiki flag, would step aside and another would take their place. A priest would emerge out of the shadows and perform a short blessing before the Kouropalates was allowed to carry on. The guards had changed from being from the Tagmata to being from the either the Spatharokandidatoi or the Maghlabitai, distinct in their red robes, gold armour and their maces. Now, Fillipos was deep within the heart of the palace itself. It wasn't as if Kommodos was stalling for time. This was how every visitor to the Complex was guided. However, Fillipos knew where he was going and he knew his monarch's schedule. Kommodos was a man of habit and the schedule of the monarch of the Arhomaioi was dictated by hundreds of years of tradition. The Kouropalates knew what his monarch would be having a meeting with representatives from the Themata of eastern Arhomaneia and leading a prayer meeting with them, before having a private discussion with the Patrikarhhos Nikolaos IX of Tzankhia, that treacherous dog. It was all part of maintaining not just physical links with the rest of the nation, but spiritual ones, too. A break between those meetings for the monarch to take refreshment had been repurposed for a meeting with the Kouropalates. Soon, Kommenos was guided towards a door. As all of those within the Imperial Palace Complex, it was the one that he had seen the most often. The Imperial Office. It overlooked Agios Konstantinos' Square and Kommodos could well have watched him make his way to the palace. The Maghlabitai barred the door as the priests carried out further blessings. Kommenos undertook the usual ritual of meeting the Agios Basileos informally. The Kouropalates bowed for seven seconds and was further blessed by members of the priesthood. He was suddenly aware that no one else had entered the room with him. “You may rise, my child,” said Kommodos from behind the desk at the end of the room. Kommenos walked further into the room, across the ancient mosaic of Europa, updated as it was with political realities of the continent. He stood before the desk and bowed again, for five seconds to represent the wounds of Christ. “Be seated, my child.” The Kouropalates sat in his chair, the only one that was positioned before the desk of the Agios Basileos. “Kouropalates Kommenos, may the blessing of Christ be upon you,” said Kommodos, intoning the words of the ancient ceremony. “I thank you for coming. May I offer you some refreshment?” “I thank you for allowing us some of your precious time, O most Christian majesty.” replied the Kouropalates. “I hope that it will be a fruitful meeting, God be willing.” Kommenos stood again and bowed for a count of three, representing the Holy Trinity. Once he had done so, members of the Mystikon stepped forward and placed a cup of tea with milk but no sugar on a side table to the right of Kommenos, as well as several pink finger biscuits. They were his favourite ones, although he was sure that he had never told the Agios Basileos. It was merely another power play. As could almost always be expected with Kommodos. Although, in fairness, he had worked with Kommodos for years. It wouldn't take much for someone to note their friend's favourite biscuit in that time. If anyone could ever truly be a friend of ice-cold Kommodos Iakoumos. As soon as the biscuits and tea placed down, the ruler of the Aromans nodded. It wasn't a nod to Kommenos, who put his tea down mid sip. The rest of the room filed out. The bodyguards left, the civil servants left and the priests left. The cavernous room was empty, besides the Kouropalates, Kommodos' personal secretary, Boioannes, the chief bodyguard Adrianos and the Leader of the Free Wurld. Fillipos had known Kommodos for over two decades. Nonetheless, when he met him on individual terms like this, there was always an element of fear. Only Kommodos, Fillipos and the head of the the Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton knew the full extent of murders. The man had ordered the politically inconvenient to disappear in the past and it had always been one of the tightest of state secrets. Unlike other regimes, Kommodos preferred not to rule through fear but he was still more than happy to iron out any bumps. Fillipos himself was a public figure but the Agios Basileos had ordered anyone who might have been a problematic witness out of the room just then. He washed down the wafer biscuit with a mouthful of tea. A feeling of unease began to sink in. Could this be the time that the loose end that he was was cleared up? “Your majesty?” He kept any emotion out of his voice. He was a Kommenos – he had a lineage of generals and emperors behind him. Kommodos held the gaze of the Kouropalates for a long moment, entirely aware of the fact that both of them knew that he'd ordered extrajudicial murders in the past. The monarch of the Arhomaioi leant his elbows on the table and steepled his fingers together. “Kouropalates, we are going to bring back democracy to Arhomaneia.”
    1 point
×
×
  • Create New...