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Kirvina last won the day on February 12 2019

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  1. Addressing: Mictlan Tonato @Metztlitlaca Issuing Party: Central Authority, 22 Ourandráthos, TUA My sincere greetings, Tonato; Correctly, we govern now over a period of instability. In truth I cannot say that the situation in Aurelia is altogether superior. The lethargy of local regimes as well as a lack of any consolidation of the cooperative front, and the failure of others to stockpile arms, means that should Anglia perform imperial adventurism- which in my suspicions it very likely will, in the most near future- Kirvina will be the only Aurelian faction equipped to respond immediately. Much to my distaste, this completely rules out the military option. Luckily for you, however, this makes the industrial resources I am able to possess sway over somewhat more available than they otherwise would be, should a large-scale bush war have fallen within my anticipations. My condolences towards the disposition of Sitallo proper. I had been made aware when it began to degenerate, but that it has reached this point is news indeed. I would suggest that given the actions of Maliano, conflict with Metztlitlaca has become a real possibility. However this is a topic which I am sure you have performed adequate meditation towards. While I myself am conductor in function of the Aithálioi, remember that my position is not unassailable, and that should the reactionaries, regionalists, isolationists, pro-Europans, and assorted opportunists see a reason to lock horns with me, they will. The more aid I provide to your regime, and the more overt it is, the more likely Metztlitlaca will see fit to contact my adversaries looking to enlist their counter-benefaction, to befuddle the true value of what I can provide. That said, Exarchs Konstantinos, Alexandros, Theodoros, of the Veneftheloi, who together could pose a serious challenge to a potential joint effort, have quite busied themselves with playing railroad warlord and knocking train-cars against each other. Even if they woke up tomorrow morning with the fervent desire to extricate themselves from the steppe, it might take them months to realign their resources in such a way that they could be mobilized against anyone, let alone one as closely positioned to them as me. In the interests of keeping this desire out of the waking wurld, I am willing to grant you what you seek, but with a measure more careful secrecy than a normative lend-lease program. It so happens that owing to the Pan-Aurelian naïveté of a Shffahkian politician seeking my investment, I will be personally touring the railroads. This means I will personally be in Junction, where just about any measure becomes possible to arrange. If you are able to depart the country without it becoming known to your enemies, Tonato, then come yourself. If you are not, then send a liaison, I will deal with them. Consider your request fulfilled in the realm of small arms, personnel carriers, support equipment, area denial equipment, radio equipment, and a not insignificant number of mercenary soldiery. Where an invader expects conscripts, they will find instead veteran forces of Aroman temper. When you are finished with this letter, destroy it. By the grace of God, Exarcha Chrysanthe STAMATIS.
  2. In strong contrast to the Shffahkian rationale behind meddling in the wasteland, flush with idealism, culture, and the notion that those who dwell the open fields of Aurelia are simply Shffahkians waiting to happen, an education and a cultural identity away, the Kirvinsét are far more dull and pragmatic. The motto of the Rangers falls in line with this: Law and Taxes, a straightforward proclamation of their primary mission. The national origin of Kirvina is very tied to the Dekatrapoleis, the Thirteen Cities. In a very exclusionary, anti-assimilationist view, the power has never tried to convince the denizens of the railroad states it controls that they have a place in Kirvina, that they are culturally similar at all, that they should learn their language for anything beyond needs of communication, or that they should even have any affection towards Kirvina at all. Let no man tell you otherwise, the average citizen of the Southland looks down on those who inhabit the railroad states as nothing better than a cesspool of luddite tribals, unable to work the lands given to them into a civilization of any worth; allergic to rule by decree, dishonorable bandits who would kill their own family for a few drachmae of silver. But even bandits have their worth. At rifle-point, the Kirvinsét military spreads safety and protection from piracy through the steppe, shelling out the money to maintain standing garrisons in each and every town of note in exchange for tribute in the form of mineral resources and informal tribal gifts to commanding officers. While lacking in opportunities, and any sort of cultural advertisement or promotion, those lands Kirvina controls are, at the very least, safe. However, finding a Kirvinsét civilian on the railroad tracks is indeed a rarity. The Southland's presence in the brush is entirely military, carried on the back of the understatedly swollen Acranthai and Tasanthai, the elements whose charge with curating these areas has turned them over the centuries from inglorious fetch and carry battalions into the majority of the nation's armed forces. A fact which the Duchess sitting before Marcel well knew, looking at him with a halfway suppressed expression of derision as he carried on. At the terminus of his argument, she sighed, shaking her head. "Perhaps our part is 'remarkably safe'. Yours, on the other hand. Goodness." Chrysanthe huffed, waving a hand to the side. "However, I've no doubt in the mineral value of this mine you are describing to me. There are doubtlessly tens of others like it scattered around Aurelia, resources simply waiting to be tapped but out of our reach. But you have chosen this one because it is close to a rail hub." She rummaged around for a brief moment, withdrawing a cigarette. Not lighting it, she offered it to him, and whether or not he accepted took one for herself. "The question is whether or not the vultures have already smelled out that your corporations are producing facilities in Paranne and are massing at the railway hubs of the border. Whether or not whatever route is opened is going to be taken by six grenadier attacks a fortnight, and lose fifteen personnel and a train by the end of the second month, like the last one was." The Duchess finally lit hers, gesturing with between her fingers. "Now, it's no small amount of money you've come to solicit me for. And I know that. I'd want some kind of proof of concept. Maybe we take a few mercenaries with us down the rail line and see if we happen to get jumped."
  3. There are few things more important in Aurelia, both politically and otherwise, than the railroad. An essential tool of transportation for the continent's millions of inhabitants, it holds a uniquely pivotal role. While elsewhere, the slow establishment of freeways and the dominance of the personal automobile have long eclipsed trains, Aurelia is different. Its nature as a land of civilized areas separated by vast seas of disorganized frontier, oftentimes the possession of myriad tribes or insurgencies, alongside downright oppressive weather conditions, render cars ghastly inefficient. What's more, since the days of the Shffahkian Empire, the vast pre-existing network of railroads criss-crossing Aurelia, the best developed on Eurth for their time, were too central to all continental infrastructure to replace. Thus, a combination of necessity, lethargy, and reactionary tendency has created a state of train primacy, for better or worse. Certainly, carbon emissions are low, but maintaining and protecting the railroads as well as manipulating tribal politics to create a series of dependent so-called railroad states has long been an ulcer on the finances of the civilized states of Aurelia, especially Kirvina and Shffahkia, who as the two first-adopters of the technology also have the largest corporate stake (and the most to lose in the event of mass banditry). Often quite comical to foreign travelers who enter the region for the first time, and a good tone-setter for the continent, are Aurelian railroad maps. Pockmarked with green, yellow and red ticks indicating the safety of different routes and the chance of encountering a piratical assault on your journey through them, as well as with different track symbols for when one must board an armored train, or dark X's marking branch routes which have been shut down due to ongoing military operations, they paint a poverty-stricken, violent, and dystopian picture. That said, to the average Aurelian, the system is anything but. As a simple reality of life that in truth yields few to no casualties, mostly being a trouble for politicians, corporations, and the nobility, the prevailing opinion in Kirvina is that such things simply must be dealt with, as they have always been dealt with, and that there is nothing abnormal about them. In fact, Pan-Aurelian politicians throughout the continent's history have harped on the railroad system as an example of continental unity and brotherhood, conveniently ignoring the millions of disadvantaged native peoples subjected to economic destitution through the unnatural propping up of banana republics, or on Eurth railroad states, that can barely be called countries. So it is that under the auspices of "unity" and "brotherhood", a young Shffahkian politician by the name of Marcel journeyed to seek the patronage of a Duchess Chrysanthe of Taurapetra in expanding one of the many sub-routes of the Trans-Aurelian Railway, one which tunnels through the Paranne Mountains and into an oft overlooked sector of Shffahkia. While perhaps Marcel could have hoped to secure money from the central government, or from the reigning Grand Duke Liuvros of Achilleia, it was clear through his corporate liaisons that all the funds of these regions were already tied up with a stout increase in banditry, as well as deploying various arms of the nation's light infantry special operations force (the Rangers, Tasanthai plural, Tasanthes singular) as well as its regulars in the area (the Border Guard, Acranthai plural, Acranthes singular) to deal with an unnerving increase in partnerships between hostile tribes. While the situation around the railroads themselves was more stable than it had been in quite a long time, this was due to an unsustainable policy of promoting the welfare of the citizens of the railroad states, at the expense of the next layer of surrounding federations, which was creating more enemies the longer it dragged on. Tribes which had gone over a century without any Kirvinsét or Shffahkian meddling were now suddenly introduced to the front line of guntrain diplomacy, with not a one happy about the notion. Chrysanthe, though the possessor of a modest fortune and a cadre of family-loyal mercenaries and quasi-feudal bannermen hailing from the district she ruled over which functioned as a portion of the federal army in all but name, had committed little to nothing to the railroad-effort, calling it "a damnable waste of time" and "an endless cycle of vapid paternalism best left to foolish men with deep pockets." Despite her raging antipathy, as the only noble or bureaucrat in the entire country who was not already committed to something, she was the only one who could be approached for this route. With these thoughts in mind, Marcel emerged from the train taking him into Taurapetra, smoothing down his suit. Having foregone a diplomatic escort, choosing instead to travel incognito, he took the quickest route through the old quarter of the ancient city towards the diplomatic offices and ruler's compound, standing under the small umbrella he had bought at the train station and doing his best to avoid the bad weather. It was geographically arranged in a way that the highest section of the city, whereupon sat his destination, was always held in view, and that no matter how he pivoted across the stone boulevards, it was always visible somewhere at the corner of his eye. Likely a tool wielded in the medieval era to inspire lofty grandeur on the part of the city-state's rulers, he mused, crossing under the alcoves which would take him to his scheduled meeting after around thirty minutes of walking. Saluted by a pair of guards, he snapped his umbrella closed and passed it off to a waiting valet, fashionably two to three minutes late in normal Shffahkian fashion. Once, twice, he rolled out each shoulder, flattening his breathing, and then crossed into the door. Sat across the room, waiting at the other side of an oaken table, was the Duchess he was hoping to meet. Gesturing for him to sit, she took his measure with an imperious, self-assured expression, dark brown eyes boring a hole through his face and out the back of his head. "We are most pleased to receive you," she said with an expression that spoke more of murderous intent than pleasure, " and hope that your journey has not been too taxing. Please. Speak of your purpose in journeying to the other end of the continent, that it might be heard and known." Despite her decorum, she struck a rather militaristic figure, with short-cropped light hair and clothing close in style to an army officer's parade jacket. @Shffahkia
  4. @Fravina@Orioni For my part, what we've discussed over in Aurelia is that the greatest extent of the Lysians probably shouldn't go that far south or it messes with the continuum a little bit. North of Anatea (somewhere in the space between Anatea, Shffahkia, and Acadia) would probably be ideal. For my part, I'm good with anything east of the big river demarcating the eastern border of my country. Honestly, could add a big a river in the empty space, which is currently flat featureless plains, rather than drop Fravina directly adjacent to me. It would probably make Fravina have something to do with the Eustacian Wars, our TL's *Napoleonic Wars. Something we can talk about. All of this of course if Aurelia is chosen.
  5. I think that something like this should absolutely be done, and is a wonderful idea for the progression and activity of Eurth. It introduces a unified enemy that demands both a consistent point schedule and a constant sort of political and military consciousness to work against, which does wonders for interest also, because there are few things more satisfying that working together in concert to defeat a unified big bad. As another Aurelian power, I give my thumbs up to Anatea offering himself up. I'm willing to commit forces to fight in a liberation war there and make that the Aurelian flashpoint/Aurelian story. Very on board with all of this. Cheers.
  6. OOC: Eurth Iliad analogue. "The Drakonomakhia, the Dragon-Battle, is the foremost of national epics among the Kirvinsét literary canon. Quite possibly their oldest remaining written work, it is the best approximation of a series of tangentially related oral tales retold throughout the villages of the local countryside. Once read, its importance quickly becomes rather self-evident. While veiled in analogies and mystical obfuscation, the Drakonomakhia is clearly a chronicle of the departure of the people from the collapsing Aroman Empire, and their continuation of their own pocket of Arhomaneia in another corner of the wurld. Within it, great heroes, most of whom are real figures of this time period, slay tyrannical dragons who hold sway over the people and subject them to untold cruelty and slavery. What each dragon is individually a metaphor for can be debated, as the migration of the Kirvinsét to Aurelia was not exactly a peaceful journey. Some also theorize that the tale was added to over time and continuously mutated as late as up until the arrival of further Europans to the shores of Aurelia, for there are certain references that are considered out of place and best attributed to the early Lysian colonists in Shffahkia and other journeymen of the late medieval period. The author is held in most retellings to be a single poet named Athanasios, sometimes alternately referred to as a woman named Athanasia. Since the meaning of the name is 'deathless', some consider it to be an allusion to the fact that there is no one true original bard, but instead that the Drakonomakhia is a living and breathing work that was constructed from the disparate tales of many storytellers. We cannot, in the modern day, be all too sure." Excerpt from an interview with a Pan-Aurelian Shffahkian anthropologist, Marcel Toulemont. AS TRANSLATED INTO ANGLISH | Ath. II. 1. 1 Sing of wrath, oh goddess; of the Eleftherioi, of woeful wrath in a most countless of measures, which sent to the dying-land scores of heroes- beneath the mountains held firm by Atlas, beneath the snow-capped peaks of far places, to rest now and forever in realms of quietude. 6 On the Amnalos Sea, where tall birch stands, there does also fly the eagle of Arhomaneia, and stand too the lords of men, lofty as statues; noble sons of noble fathers, bright and prideful, Canassa built of bricks, and Aethos, green-bayed, there lay the fortunes of a prosperous people. 12 But gold and incense bring envy, so say the sages, and envy brings discord and times of hardship, as ever much it was sternly commanded unto us: to do no evil, and to do right by one another, the way of things reminds us that it is otherwise, when mortal desires are in fullness laid bare. 18 Arhomaneia swayed, under tempest, looming threat, its ships, held from the sea, bobbed in the lapping wet, as trepidation did hold all, and fear even took some, for a man stands against a host as a lonely akritēs, as a border-guard, he who keeps the kennel shut, when the barbaroi hounds bay in feverous unrest. 24 And thus the wishes of Ploútōn came to fulfillment, from the moment Lysandros son of Sotiris did arise, armed with the manifold blessings of Mardochaios; among the spirits of the wurld, greatest dragon-killer, and armed with gilded lance, bearing vaunted name; to visit misfortune upon the enemies of the Kirvinsét. 36
  7. Kirvina

    Old Friends

    To: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion From: the Vela Lagatá of the Kirvinska Crown To Our Most Honourable Comrades, It is in the best interests of the Iron Crown to once again re-establish relations with that great power who has proved, though history, time and again a consummate father to the Kirvinska people. In recent years, Tagmatine overtures to the peoples of the Aurelian continent have been duly noted and watched, and it is felt widely among the ruling classes that the time is right to once again initiate relations in the benevolent light that they have always been cast in. There is no doubt in our eyes that once contact is truly re-established, it will pave the road to a positive relationship for years to come. A look into the past places the genesis of our people, before their great voyage (of which many stories tell) within your lands, which served as a home for them to grow up in and learn the tongue and arts of civilization. Through history, we have never forgotten the services once rendered, and even in the modern day, Tagmatine is a common language within much of our well-educated population, including myself. While it is true that we do not worship the same God, our faith in a God is shared, and in dark times such as the present, where atheistic powers sprawl across much of the world, it is good for those of faith to seek each other out and find common ground. We have always held a deep and profound admiration for the Tagmatine Empire, whose tutelage we have carried as our banner through the countless wars that have criss-crossed our venerable Aurelia's history. Once, we served as the naval arm of your nation, and have carried that naval ability to the present, where our navy remains by far the foremost on the Aurelian continent, where it has been famous for a millennia, and perhaps the foremost in the general region, owing to the demilitarization of the Sunset Sea Islands post-Thalassan War. With this in mind, our remaining common goals and common societies continue to bind us together, even though we no longer share the official friendship we once did. The court insists that, to this end, embassies be re-opened between us, and provisions for a visit from one to the other be arranged. To them, it has been far too long since such a formality has been practiced. We look forward to hearing your response, and to the rebirth of centuries of amity. Gods guide. Duke Liuvren Damorám, Vela Lagatá
  8. I: "A NEW WAR FOR A NEW ERA" Eustace paced irritably through the halls of his palace, a small gaggle of limp-wristed attendants shuffling behind him and attempting to keep back. He was annoyed, and made no secret of that fact. For years he had been planning, for years he had been preparing and gathering his resources, but not once, not once had he found a Marshal, a General, capable of matching his own skill in the field. If his subordinates were not equal to him, how could he possibly hope to win? How could he possibly hope to carry the day if the only smart man on the field was him? No, that was impossible. That would not result in victory. After all, there would be at least two fronts-- he would have to defeat the Rihannsu and the Kirvinska, though the former would fall in short order, he guessed. There were also the Limonaians and Rhodellians... if he let the war drag on for too long, the former would side with his enemies, that was for sure. Though they could not contribute directly, that navy, that damn navy... it would destroy the dream fleet that he had poured so much money into. The Rhodellians, though... they could be drawn onto his side, no matter the resupply that it would take. Derthalen's commonwealth was itching for some military action, no matter how far away it was. He could offer that, and money, more than those damn southerners ever could. He would win them over, and he knew it. There was also the matter of that bastard Constantine. He knew what was coming. It was just Eustace's bad fortune that he had risen to power in an era of general competence, he mused, the fire in his veins building again. His agents had reported back to him on the enemy preparations- they were not shoddy, they were not ill-advised. Their armies were gathering. So he would have to strike far faster than he had intended- if he couldn't take the White Mountain, he couldn't take the rest of the country. Damn its geography. Damn it all. He would have his empire, from coast to coast. Freezing for a second, he whipped around. "You. Delacroix." A short middle-aged man, Delacroix was not sure if he was being addressed. A few beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. "Listen when your emperor speaks to you!" With those words, he almost whipped to attention, responding with a powerful "Yes, sir." Eustace took a few moments to regard the rest of his little following again, and waved them off. "You all will return later. You have still a role to play. But not right now, I'm busy." His attention swung back to Delacroix. "Look. I require a service of you. You will soon be departing for the Rhodellian court- I understand the journey is lengthy, but it must be done, so I do not want to hear anything out of you- and win their king over for our faction, immediately. The Southerners may be there already, twisting their minds against us. But the Derthalers bear no love for that Tagmatine trash. They will come to us in time. Do you understand your mission? Good? Good. Go." Patting Delacroix on the back, he turned around again and began to step off, being left with his thoughts. Eustace was a man of many victories- he had already seen battle in the field, and come out victorious. That was why he was Emperor, and not some sergeant rotting in a border garrison for the Europans. He smirked a little as the memories of the past came back to him, shaking his head. When he arrived at the map room, he took several steps into it and located the grand table in its center, resplendent with an accurate map of the entirety of Aurelia. All would be his, in time, he thought. All would be his. He took several pieces from the small container at the side and laid them out, staring at their positions. The Tarek would be a problem, meddlesome people. They had not accepted Europan civilization-- they had chosen to remain barbarians, albeit advanced barbarians, due to those obnoxious Kirvinska. They were the only reason that they were even a problem. But he could twist them, too, against the South. IT has been centuries since they had stood south of the Batreasca, but the infinite development of that land compared to theirs... natives did not know how to sustain modern infrastructure. They would run that terrain into the ground if they had it. But they coveted it... they coveted it with all their hearts. So if he promised it to them, there was a chance that he could lure some ambitious chiefs to battle. And then, once they had taken enough bullets, he could take their cities as staging points and loot what was necessary to keep his men happy on the victorious return trip. A wonderful solution-- two birds with one stone. Eustace continued to shift the pieces around. He would not be able to get to the White Mountain before the second year of fighting, that was for certain, but he would have to take it as soon as he got there. If he didn't, the chances that he could sustain equal numbers with such a long distance to resupply was next to none. His expeditionary force would be overwhelmed. Unless, of course, the Rhodellians joined. Yes, yes. All rested on that. He would put his faith in Delacroix. The faith of victory. "Si je veux ça, ça sera." - Eustace I Talante de Génovève-Bouveron
  9. THE EUSTACIAN WARS NOS GUERRES, NOS VIES, NOTRE DESTIN The year was 1807. Dark stormclouds gathered across the Aurelian continent, promising to burst and shower its citizens in a torrent of unyielding blood. Aurelia may have been at the corner of the world geographically, but its residents saw themselves as its center- proud, stoic, and innovative. It had already been host to all manner of events, including a full crusade, and not one but two great migrations. The continent had weathered a thousand storms. And yet, heralded by the modern age, there came another- one so promisingly devastating, one so divine in its terror, that even right before it all but those at the very top held their breath and prayed that it would not arrive. This is no cataclysm of God, this is no epidemic. These are the Eustacian Wars, a work of man himself, and I will recount them, battle by battle, step by step, the genius and folly of each great general and legislator as he left his stamp in the annals. The page will be covered in red ere we are done. But before we introduce a battle, we must introduce its battleground, those who are battling, and its background. The atmosphere in Aurelia through the nineteenth century was unprecedentedly tense, but it was not as tense at any point as it was at this one. The forces that made up the continent had begun to finally, after centuries of co-existence, collide in the most spectacular fashion possible. Their colonial overlords having fallen to revolution, the Shffahkians had cast off their Europan chains- and set about with, in their eyes, a right ordained by God to dominate this backwards and heathen continent- to stretch from sea to sea, a glorious imperial sprawl. Their nascent republic had been a whirling inferno, unstable and plagued with infighting- executions, filibustering, and corruption. This had come to an end with the meteoric rise of a young general, Eustace Talante, who after a victorious showing in a campaign to reclaim Lunahasse from the loyalists had earned himself the support of his soldiers. Not wasting a moment, he had marched back to Port-Reel and proclaimed himself not General, not Viceroy, but Emperor, casting out the old government at gunpoint and having many of its radicals shot. What he destroyed and desecrated in intellectualism, he made up for in stability, and after a quick reorganization of his country's administrative divisions and fundamental laws- changes that would persist to the present day- he organized himself for the long march south to the other coast. Unfortunately, in his view, there were other nations between himself and that great prize. Specifically, the ancient entente between two powers of Tagmatine descent- the Kirvinska and the Rihannsu- that was no pushover in its own right. His settlers' encroachments to the south had been met with reactions ranging from cold distaste to outright hostility, and now that it was a decision backed outright by the government, he was certain that it could lead to nothing but outright war. Still, for a few years, he gathered his munitions and men, deciding where it was best for him to travel and where it was best for him to begin his grand campaigns. But his opponents were not idle either. They did not rest in the face of such danger. Sensing in this Emperor's belligerent rhetoric the desperate search for a casus belli, the Kirvinska Grand Duke Constantine had set to shoring up his ancient defenses. His government partially paralyzed by rebellious magnates and a lack of funds in the treasury, his reign thus far had been hamstrung with difficulties. The military infrastructure on the borders had degraded, and so had the quality of the land army, being made up now of a pitiful lot of conscripts and robbers. In these few years before the war, he was granted critical moments to make changes that he thought- and were indeed- necessary and vital. The first of these sweeping changes was the transition of a lot of the Marines into a land army. The Kirvinska navy had always been the pride of the nation, owing to their origin and their overseas ambitions, and while they sprawled as a land empire their hearts always gazed outward to the ocean. This meant that these troops had been spared the budget cut, and so he was able to create a functional army in a fraction of the time that he would otherwise need. Another sweeping change was the revitalization of the border fortifications and the border guards, the Akralai. The Emperor Eustace, through his aggressive stance, had granted to Constantine the perceived threat he needed to curtail the power of his magnates and draw them into a much closer role serving him. With their money, he was able to bring spending up to normative levels once again, and prepare his soldiers for a protracted war. Whatever other historians may write, there were no misconceptions among higher leadership about the likelihood of this battle. It was expected, and planned for. The Rihannsu, faced with their recent unification, were confronted as well with the problem of an extremely low core manpower and extremely low core discipline. While their men were brave and willing to fight, even to the death, they were not of the sort of quality that could carry on through Aurelia's harsh conditions without the promise of battle or glory. So they would have to be drilled. And yet, there was not time to drill them, at least not in the lengthy Kirvinska fashion. A School of Desperation, 'Fhilvanam', began to take hold among the Rihannsu generals. Corners were cut and men were prepared with only a small piece of the usual training, just the essentials. It was the greatest hope of Rihannsu High Command that they would be spared the most crushing blows, and as such would have more time to refine these troops into a genuine fighting force up to Europan or Argic standards, with the help of their ally, of course. All three made ready for war, shifting resources to the border area and sending increasingly threatening messages to the other side. There was, however, another player in the game. The Tárek, the indigenous people of the Aurelian continent, straddled lengthwise between the three increasingly menacing great powers. Their history was one of long tragedy, a slow and painful decline from all sides gnawing and clawing at them. First of all it had been their most noble foe, the Kirvinska tribesmen who had come overseas to leave their fates as clients to the Aromans. From them they had learned steelworking and ironworking, animal husbandry, and the art of constructing grand metropolises to house thousands upon thousands of citizens. But the battle against this foe had not been a winning one. A slow retreat over the course of hundreds of years drove not just the Tárek states, but the Tárek people, over the Batreasca to never return. Then came the foreigners. The Rihannsu, and in rapid succession the Lysians, the Limonaians, and the Derthalers. These foes had no scruples. They destroyed the greatest, glistening holdouts of the Tárek people, never to be rebuilt. This grave injury was remembered, and carried in every true tribesman's heart. In the middle as they were, they would have to choose a side before too long, or perish in the blaze. I am Latevrán Harfevre, Right Hand of the Recordkeepers of Ceara. In this bright summer of 1876, as the Gods are my witnesses, I will tell this grim story from beginning to end. "Si vis pacem, para bellum." - De Re Militari
  10. WAR IN ENOLIA TANK LIEUTENANT BRINGS NEWS FROM FRONT (LIEUTENANT PICTURED ABOVE.) "... BALKOM shipped me out here not because we're in this war, or anything of the sort- we're not involved, of course, but just because we're friends with the Rihannsu. And, low-key, because they don't know what they're f*cking doing. I sit out here every day and watch boys get slaughtered. Boys, reporter. Make sure this bit gets home. Make sure it gets on the news. I watch these boys get slaughtered because their senior officers have no idea how to prosecute a modern war. Their heads are stuck in the past. Deep in the sand. In my opinion, at least, these lands have always been this way. But there are innovators. The boys are learning how to not get gunned down so quickly, they are learning how to survive a little longer- one day more, two days more, and so conscripts turn into hardened men." [ The recording was interrupted by machine gun fire. The Lieutenant took a drag on his cigarette, chuckling at the reporter. A smile crossed his face. ] "... That's the cicadas, firing at us now. These Rihannsu lads, they call the Enolians cicadas, because they find the perfect holes in the ground to bury themselves in. Don't hop out until the time is just right, slaughter entire platoons all on their own. It's fascinating to see, from a distance of course... you want me to focus more directly? Fine, fine, I will say what you have brought me on to explain. The main problem with this war is logistics. The Rihannsu, as they stand presently, do not understand logistics at all. The roads that we have been taking are muddy, they are unprepared for the massive amounts of men and materiel that have to flow across them. They have had to resort to air resupply in some sectors. Air resupply! They are like the Mat Troi Lan in forty-seven, with the miracles they think they can work. And it's showing. What men they do have here are desperately under-supplied, except for yours truly, because he gets shells and fuel shipped in from his own personal civilian ship. It pays to have a plan." "... You would think, that being desperately under-supplied, the Rihannsu would be guilty of sending far too many men to far too tight a space, like most inexperienced leaderships. But you would be totally wrong in that assumption. These men are not just without supplies, in every engagement they are outnumbered by the cicadas at least four to one. It is a wonder that they have won what pitiful, limited victories they have already won. And on that part I must excuse myself, because the Rihannsu have gained some major ground on their way to a notable border town- but only thanks to the inventive leadership of the man deployed to salvage the front, one Kassus. He understands a little better than the others what must be done to save the situation. Without him I do not know what would happen to this front. Not good things for sure." "... I have been made aware that our own Duke Janos Kalevaitis has been contracted to build roads in this area to ensure better resupply. I don't care if this goes on air, but until the Rihannsu actually grant our enterprises permission to build, they might as well be sucking Kaly's cock for free. They've paid him to do a job, but they have not given his company any permission to actually locally do that job. Protectionist swine. With what they have, these Rihannsu conscripts are putting up a magnificent fight. While underpaid, underfed, and undersupplied- as well as horribly outnumbered- they have still managed to make inroads into this hellhole of a country, albeit with massive losses. So for that they have my respect. It is not an easy job. Not at all." "... I pray to Kunas, and I ask the Carvaitas as well that we do not mire ourselves in a similar war any day. The terrain here is extremely unfavorable for an offensive. The jungle is thicker than a marine's b*tch's genital hair, and there are giant ravines every three kilometers or so. The entire country is dotted in steep climbs and steep downhill rushes. Whatever cobbled-together armor these poor sods have access to does not have the roads or the resupply to be used effectively, either- that is why Kalevaitis is here, of course. Hopefully soon he is able to do his job. But the more I go on, the upset I will get, and I understand that Káthuna is the state broadcasting channel, and they do not like naughty words. So I will finish it up with something inspiring for the children. Gods know mine are watching this. Bless them all." "...Count your blessings, and be thankful that you are not in a situation such as this. I cannot imagine that the Enolians are faring very well either... I think it is their entire population that has showed up here to give our allies a fight. If you forget all else, remember. Always remember." "Comrade Aurelians, you were born lucky."
  11. HISTORICAL OPERA REENACTED IN CAPITAL "LES INDES GALANTES || LES SAUVAGES" The Performance {Click to Watch} "... Now, a couple days after Rasa, and with those big talks still going on up in the Castle, we have a really unique occurrence here on our White Mountain. The most famous historical troupe in all of the country is paying the capital a visit, like they do a couple times a year, normally just a cool little follow-up to festivals. But in light of Rasa, I thought I might do another cultural piece, tell those foreign listeners what we're really about at the heart. It's got to be said, though -- domestic listeners might find themselves in need of this as well. Not everyone attends, oh, 'les danseuses', and 'l'opera'. Some even might not understand why the darn title's in Lysian. Well, I'll give a brief history sit-down to those listening in. I think we could all do with one from time to time." "Les Indes Galantes is a story of the noble spirit of the Tárek, and their resistance to foreign occupiers. Not the sort of harsh resistance that you might get from some Rihannsu epic, but a soft, longing resistance. A sort of moral... opposition to the ambitions of the great powers of the era. Really a charming thing, if you take the time to listen to it. I may as well put it on, if no one is opposed. It'll make for a good little interlude... while we prepare some more to talk about events of the day. The more serious ones, mhm." "Forêts paisibles, Forêts paisibles, Jamais un vain désir ne trouble ici nos coeurs. S'ils sont sensibles, S'ils sont sensibles, Fortune, ce n'est pas au prix de tes faveurs. Dans nos retraites, Grandeur, ne viens jamais offrir tes faux attraits! Ciel, tu les as faites Heaven, Pour l'innocence et pour la paix. Jouissons dans nos asiles, Jouissons des biens tranquilles! Ah! peut-on être heureux, Quand on forme d'autres voeux?" "Probably should've opened up with this one, but as the festivities wind down to an end, a grave shadow now hangs over Aurelia. I hope you enjoyed the opera, for we won't have the time to play many more in the coming months. We have been recently informed that Rihannsu have mobilized in force to their eastern border -- their strength remains classified, but their intent is obvious. Where our new partnerships will take us is wholly unknown. I honestly would not say that I expected this at all, but I will say that any of you looking to vacation west this year should likely cancel your plans immediately." The man walked off camera for thirty seconds, the stream uncomfortably focusing on the map of Aurelia behind him. The feed was totally silent. When he came back, he was wearing what seemed like getup from half a century ago- a green-brown buttoned vest over a white shirt, sleeves rolled up. It was the traditional war commentator's getup, whose tradition had begun from the Eustacian wars and made its way into the modern era. "On this grim and unexpected note, I must bid you all goodbye as I have for several years now." He cleared his throat. "On that note, do make sure to take care of yourselves today and in the following days, and stay posted to Káthuna, which will be following a twenty-four-hour schedule to keep up with military developments on the frontier and make sure you, the Kirvinska populace, are fully informed as to both the oncoming strife and our own government's positions." "This is Indigo Neidell, signing off for the evening."
  12. Senator Charvanek’s companions looked at each other, and then back to her- at each other, and then back to her. A few of them began to laugh. “A cute estate — ” “Hohohoho..” “Now there’s a Rihannsu for ya’..” The one in the lead shook his head, turning his attention to her once again. “Well, Sera Charvanek- if there is one thing that our continent needs, it is civilization. It is true that before our arrivals, the continent was dark, to say the least! In two ways!” He laughed again. “Of course, and your philosophy is to be admired! Although what it has in beautiful precepts, it lacks in … soul. Owed to the lack of a faith, I think.” He nodded once. “Many have tried to convert your nation before, many have failed. I’m sure more will come, an’ you’re ready for them. The Upper Ganser- my, a magical little highland. Quite bereft nowadays of the countryside which made it famous, I’ve heard. It’s been reclaimed for utilitarian and industrial purposes. Not as charming, of course… but more efficient, sure. I can admire that, I think I can admire that.” He downed a bit more of his drink. “Tell me though, dear- you say you’re- you haven’t said that.” He paused. “Are you very well studied on the nature of the continent as we gentlemen are? Of course, I speak of historical and ethnic studies. Forgive me for denying you ease of concept by using the Kirvinska word for it, but I am sure you have heard of the Tárek? Do you have a stance on them? What is to be done, nowadays?” He chuckled. “The Oyusards think that you and us alike should pay them reparations- reparations!” He chuckled some more. “Like those damn statues we’ve built and letters we’ve signed haven’t been enough. The hippies can go deal.” The giant man laughed again, prompting a chorus of good-natured chuckles from his friends. Who were these people? Kalevaitis raised his eyebrows for a moment, his eyes sparkling with interest. “I see… then excuse my genuinity. I do not think it is… very common, back home, for you… yes. You are a man very interested in… self-advancement, as you say… but, mm. We can still do business… yes, I think we can. In Rihan, do you not profit from your own policies…? Bathe… in the kickbacks from your own laws?” He smiled, good-naturedly. “It is no matter to me… my friend, for war requires infrastructure. And infrastructure… I can always provide.” He took his wine glass in hand, sipping a little bit before setting it back down. “The Trans-Aurelian railway… certainly a great piece of ambition, yes. But much of it will have to be built with… Shffahkian grunts. And protected from hostile or… jealous Tárek chieftains. So it will be a… difficult piece of ambition. But with our pockets combined…? Yes, I agree. ’tis in the realm of possibility.” He sipped again. “You must speak to me more of Enolia… I am fascinated. Any conflict so grand… so momentous… must require more than its fair share of war materiel. War materiel which your present war economy… may not be prepared to entirely provide. Are you… ready to make deals, Šerem Darok? For if you are ready to speak… of money, we may do so.” The man smiled, again. It was a cold sort of businessman’s smile. “There are others in my… line of work who may feel qualms about providing other powers with our… infrastructure, but I bear no such scruples… and neither does our beloved Istvan. He is… quite on board with this idea. So there shall be no need to go behind his back… this time, or ever, if I am lucky.” Kalevaitis drank a third time, seeming to be done with his wine. “Prove myself… an interesting phrasing. I suppose it is true that your domestic industrialists will need… convincing. I will tell you then… before we speak of deals. I will be kind to you… before you let Kirvinska companies in… do pay careful attention to your own; for centuries of protectionism have a… mm… a quality-lowering effect.” The generals’ table still seemed very receptive to their guest, and hung right onto his every word. They were not quite enchanted; but they were nothing if not interested - what stories of military strife and glory did this decorated foreigner bring to their halls? Of what great victories could he tell them? They stayed pensive, waiting for more, smiling at any opportunity. The man speaking to him before found his window and continued to speak, prompting the rest to fall silent and listen to the conversation. “Cooperation! Of course! I really do wish to know what you fellows have planned on that end- ‘course, I know what we’ve planned, but that’s not a surprise, eh? Naval integration and all that mess. Leave the national armies alone, but stick the navies under one that really knows wha’ it’s doing.” He smiled, proudly. “I joke, of course. But naval matters are not your national focus, even if you are led by an admiral- the admirals most certainly thank you for your respect, by the way.” “Hear hear!” “It’s rare that we find both sides of the administration coming to these friendly words. So thank you! But on integration matters— we’re curious to see what you Rihannsu have cooked up for the Continental armies. Our own are so detached, as you know. Serving border garrison duty, mostly, policing roles. Although, do not despair… the Counts’ and Dukes’ retinues are as massive as ever.” He cleared his throat. “But Enolia, my friend General. We have received disturbing news as to the size of your mobilizations. Under two-hundred-thousand men. How do you expect to a win an extended war on such a long front if you can barely garrison it?” He frowned. “Something must be wrong in the intelligence I have been supplied, there is no way that’s your plan.” The general speaking to Kassus nodded, once. “I must introduce myself, of course- General Martinas Belitska, servant to the Kirvinska Crown.” He nodded. “Not responsible for too many operations at the moment. We are at a lull.” The Grand Duke seemed a little interested in the Praetor’s choice in attendees, and did not attempt to hide it. He participated in any conversation about the League with an open mind, ready to forge a compromise of a document that would seal the fate of the Aurelian continent and solidify the deal s that had been hinted at in their earlier meeting. “… Thank you, Praetor, certainly. A great deal of planning and money went into this ball, a great deal of effort. It is also Rasa, as you know, and so the festivities outside will reach fever pitch before the night is out. We are a little bit insulated, but Rasa is a grand affair, and our own noblemen will be celebrating it as well. Hopefully it does not overshadow the ball, though I doubt it will entirely. They are quite distinct arrangements.” He followed the Praetor’s gaze every time he turned to look to the crowd, not secretly either, trying to figure out just what he was looking at. At the revelation and then explanation, he nodded, knowingly. “There are always claimants, always other people seeking what is not theirs… and a system like yours does not breed loyalty.” He shook his head a bit. “My Kalevaitis is much like your Darok in wealth. There they are, talking. But to my memory, one is loyal, and one is not. Such are the advantages of a monarchical system, my friend.” He turned his attention to Charvanek next. “Aha. Charvanek, you say? She has made a grave mistake. Those men she is talking to are not powerful at all, they are academics. They are with the AKS. That is, the linguistic and cultural bureau which is to cover all Kirvinska peoples. Preserving old writings, and cultural works, and so on. Charming, certainly, but… not powerful. They are a lot of romantics, as well, I am sure they are bashing your country in conversation with her. I wonder how she will… take that.” He allowed himself a tiny chuckle. “You are more than correct, though. It is wise to keep your closest enemies… nice and tight, so you can keep an eye on them. After this ball, I will approach my man Kalevaitis, and ask him what he spoke of. I am sure he will tell me.” The Grand Duke moved to shift the topic. “He has been speaking to me of these grand transcontinental infrastructure projects. The Railway, for instance. Where does Rihan stand on these matters?” Meanwhile, in the shadow of their conversation, the fencers still danced back and forth. Several fights had rotated up to now, but the heavily battered Anne and Palemon still had not been totally eliminated from the tournament. Every once in a while, they returned to the sand, dark armor scarred with the indents of hours’ worth of sword-blows. The crowd had not lessened, even as the fighting began to reduce in quality- to the Kirvinska, the point at which a successful fighter tired out, broke, lost the will to continue- that was the most interesting part of a fight. So those nobles who had been there at the beginning stayed, enraptured, following every move and moulinet, every flash of the sword. Occasionally, the defeated were carried off, armor savagely raked and pitted. But such was the reality of sport in Aurelia, and the crowd grew to encompass not just Kirvinska, but Rihannsu and Shffahkians as well, all viewing in unison. Even the lone Oyusard was there, perched on the shoulders of two handsome young combatants who would not be entering the fray until later that night. Kalevaitis turned for a moment, to regard the fencers, then back to Darok. “Are we not just they, armed with different weapons? How poetic it all is…”
  13. SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATED RASA ATŠVESTA COMMENTARY: "...to the backdrop of the invitation of several major Aurelian leaders to the White Mountain, the city is currently enjoying festivities centered around the celebration of the Summer Solstice ... Rasa, one of the biggest holidays of every year. Any Tagmatine or Limonaian viewers we have may find themselves confused when they step outside and feel the chill, but do not despair. We are Down Under, and the sun burns as hot as ever- as hot as it can, with our climes. I encourage anyone looking to enjoy their favorite vacation spots without the rain do so now, because we're about to get hit with a whole lot of storms as we begin to swing into the fall." "... Those same foreign viewers might be going what goes into Rasa, and Rasa festivals, so I'll put them in the know. Now, there a whole lot of things that go on during Rasa, so if you're visiting right now and are in need of some explanation. We're approaching 17:00 right now and the light is beginning to dim, so the fun should be starting right about now ... get one of the live guys on it, stat. Right, so- Rasa begins for real with the dancing around the gates, the dancing around the kupolas, the great vaulted roofs. Even if you're new in town, it can be some great fun. Join in. Participate. You won't regret it. Everyone loves dancing, right?" "Circle dances are probably the biggest part of Rasa. You'll see a lot of that. Dancing around gates and kupolas, like I said- around the bonfire, around the High Priest- the Carvaitas- it all just depends on the time of day, how far into the party you are, all of that. There is also the blessing of the trees and the fields, the greeting of the sun, and such- but I've been informed by my Foreign Advisory Panel that all of that is, apparently, 'some godsdamned hippie sh*t' and not fit for foreign broadcasting, so we're going to move on to our regular broadcast, soon followed by some live commentary on the festivities. On that note, Vidá Rasa, my friends! Enjoy yourselves!"
  14. The snow fell in thick and heavy sheets over Bilehora, blanketing the capital city in a cold white that offset its stone buildings with a simple and gentle sheen. Even under the weather, the great capital did not lay quiet, every street bustling with the activity of a country hard at work. For that day was not any ordinary day. The white cliffs did not lay quiet, they could not afford to lay quiet. One of the greatest meetings in Aurelian history had just drawn to a close in the jungles of the Rihannsu, and the treaties signed in pen were to be consummated by the dance and by the firelight of Bilehora’s greatest hall. There was something dark and calming about the empty streets, gently dusted with snow, prepared for the path of the foreign visitors. As they drove by, far from the sunny fields of their homelands, the terrible weather and resolution of the guards and citizens they encountered must have surprised them. Their exact thoughts are lost to the depths of time, but their path continued, bringing them up closer and closer towards the cliffs’ peaks, standing proudly some distance from the coast. The convoy of armored vehicles carried on, taking a sharp right turn to ascend, upwards- along the same paths centuries of horses, carriages, and couriers had once tread. The view became breathtaking, prompting thought on what it perhaps may have been like if the weather were not so terrible. It took several minutes before the cars came to a stop outside. The guests were escorted out in all their finery, and brought into the hall, where a sizeable component of the Kirvinska nobility became apparent, having arrived several hours previous so as to clear up extra space for their newfound companions. The Rihannsu were the first into the building, followed by the much leaner Shffahkian delegation- and at the tail end, three lonely visitors from a still obscure country, content to make themselves at home beside the lesser nobility and not yet worry themselves with the affairs of the Continent. It is of these Rihannsu, of these Shffahkians, of these foreigners that we will primarily concern ourselves, for the affairs of the Kirvinska are known to themselves, their court being as open as it is. With all the court gathered, the Grand Duke made himself apparent- dressed richly, with a buttoned waistcoat that spoke strongly of two centuries ago. The crowd turned to regard him, and he clapped his hands once, twice, making himself apparent. He regarded very slowly the throng of people present, his gaze travelling through them. Before he paused again, it seemed to meet every single one of them, a weighty silence falling over the gathering. It was then that he began to speak. “Friends and neighbors, I welcome you on this auspicious day to Bílehora, to the White Mountain, to enjoy the finest my nation has to offer in honor of the diplomatic efforts of your own.” He glanced around again, far quicker this time. “It is with much joy that I announce this meeting. For in this meeting, centuries of Aurelian heartache are finally being put aside. We are all working, together, for a better continent. More than anything else, that is what those who have come here today should take home with them. No matter the resolutions that are reached, by secret counsel of a dance partner, or by the fireside, remember at least that.” He gave a short smile. “Remember that we have come here, for the first time in hundreds of years, in brotherhood. The Aurelian nations, united for a day, if only in dance. With that in mind, I must move on to, of course, welcoming our guests. That is, those who have taken it upon themselves to arrive for this promising first day. You have my profound and sincere thanks.” He shifted, moving a page on the lectern. “I must welcome first the Rihannsu- our ancient allies on this continent. Surely these halls are no stranger to them, and surely neither is their longing for the richness of their home.” He smiled again, just a moment. Perhaps it was a little bit of a smirk. “However, what makes this day quite special is the fact that a new generation of Rihannsu are making their first trip to the Cape. Such ambitious men and women as their Praetor of recent years, the honorable Terix, and his administration- I can not resist naming a few notables. Allow me to extend an extra mention to the far-traveled Senator Charvanek, and her husband, Senator Darok, and his wife- and as well, the General Morror Kassus, and his adjutant, one Seranne Varak. General, I am afraid that you will find us a nation of seafarers- but I hope that whatever you came here to seek, you will find.” He shifted a little bit again, swapping pages. “With the Rihannsu welcome concluded, I may now greet the Shffahkians. There is no reconcilation more historic and profound than our own. No meeting of enemies, become friends, that has left such a mark on our continent. So I welcome you, too, under these lights, to the White Mountain. It is my hope that conversations here are made which further solidify and expand on our nascent friendship, and that the opportunity to prove our bond comes soon.” He switched pages again. “From Shffahkia I will extend a personal welcome solely to their President, Sera Adélaïde Larue, who has taken a great political risk by travelling here to greet us as a friend.” He looked around. “We could all learn a little bit from this willingness to take chances for the betterment of our nation, could we not? And, of course, I must also welcome our island friends, the Oyusards- there will be no lengthy mention of reconciliation for them, however, since we have enjoyed cordial relations for four hundred years now.” He now set aside the papers, done with the pre-planned opening. “Ladies and gentlemen, there are all forms of entertainment- there is drink, there is food, there is plenty of space to dance should you wish- and, of course, there will soon be fights for your entertainment. The finest brothers and sisters of the sword will duel for gold and for their honor on the hallowed sand, as my ancestors spoke many years ago when establishing this hall for the first time. It is on that note that I bid you all a good evening- and great joy during these festivities!” He backed off from the lectern, retreating into the shadows of the raised room set behind him. Each guest began to mill about, most with a pre-planned destination in mind, some without. It was the Praetor who found himself with the most prominent goal, making his way decidedly through the crowd and brushing aside requests for conversation. He arrived rather quickly at the foot of the hall’s grand stairwell, leading up. The two guards at the bottom wheeled, one to either side, to allow him passage, and he was able to travel to the second story with little difficulty. Once there, he found a curious sight- three long couches, arranged in Tagmatine fashion, so that the one who sat could recline. In the center of the three, there was a grand map of the Aurelian continent on a spinning table, as well as other important documents slated to be discussed. The room was remarkably empty of a guard or servant presence, simply one of the former and one of the latter. The Grand Duke, as expected, sat, reclining at the far side of the room. He acknowledged his important guest with a simply nod, and motioned to either one of the other two seats. “The Shffahkian is late! So you may have your pick, not that it especially matters which you prefer.” He demonstrated this by spinning the table gently. “I am sure there is much for us to speak of, but it would be best if we waited just a minute for her to come… I am sure it will not take too long, what with the layout of the hall. Perhaps she has made the mistake of being willing to answer to the press on the way up here.” He mused a moment. “No matter. She will be along, I assure you. Make yourself comfortable, food will be on the way shortly- and then we may begin to speak of the heart of the matters which assail us.” The Duke seemed oddly tired, considering the considerable expense and worry that had gone into the design of these festivities. Even moreso, considering he could not see them from his seat, and had to content himself with just the thought that they were proceeding properly. The Senator Charvanek smiled slightly, content with the fact that she had been introduced specially, though chafing under the idea that her name had come -after- Terix’s, as always. Her expression stiffened into a frown, and she decidedly wheeled about to find her way into an important crowd, her husband stumbling to keep up with her. She quickly stepped her way to what seemed like a group of middle-aged men of some wealth standing in a circle, chattering quite quickly in Kirvinska. Though she could not easily make out the words, her approach caused them to slow down in their discussion and part to make a space in the circle for her. Motioning her in, the most senior among them took it upon himself to greet her personally- “My most sincere greetings, Sera Charvanek. I hope your trip has been quite alright, hm?” The jovial-looking old man smiled a little bit. “I welcome you to the White Mountain! My friends and I are a lot of romantics, we are, we’re simply discussing the root and legend of our people, our nation. And our destiny, to take back the Batreasca and create once again a unified Kirvina. A country for all Kirvinska people. A beautiful legend, isn’t it? Come- come! Drink.” He filled a cup of wine, almost pressing it into the slightly stunned woman’s hand. “Your people are no stranger to expansion either, haha!” He belted a laugh, looking to one of his compatriots, who nodded in agreement. The same man cut in, bearing himself a much more subtle and quiet voice, which stung slightly of a soft distaste. “We would love to hear what you have to say, Sera Charvanek. Do make a little room for your husband … the night is long, and I am sure there is a lot to speak of.” He chuckled, quietly. “Forgive my friend. But we are all a little ambitious on this day, as I am sure you could understand, being as you are.” Darok, the other powerful Rihannsu senator present, had kept an eye out and stayed in place for around a minute. Spying the fate of his compatriot, to be consigned to a discussion on the destinies of nations with a gaggle of moderately alcoholic Counts, he determined to wheel out of the way of such an end to his evening and instead make his way to a more… sober crowd. After several minutes of strategic listening- strategic listening that made him seem quite the fool, head softly bowed by gatherings of other people without daring to join in- he found a group that he could stand to join, and roughly sidled his way into their circle without being called in. Here, too, there seemed a leader, and he cleared his throat. “Good evening, Serem Darok… I see that you have made yourself quite… amused, and that the festivities have had quite an… effect. On you… no matter.” This man was quite young, seeming twenty-something, with straight brown hair and sideburns. He seemed better suited to be an actor or a singer than- whatever he was, judging from appearance, but his deep and quietly tired voice did not suit such a role at all. “Janos H. Kalevaitis… I am the Duke of Ceara, and the man in charge of expansion of our government’s… naval and military industries, in preparation for… various actions, in light of our promising league and certain obligations that our dear Istvan bears… whatever you are here to discuss, I should hope that I prove, ah… helpful, yes.” He cleared his throat. “And no, I am not War Minister… but I am Minister for the Expansion of the War Ministry, and thus subordinate to him… I create new departments and… manufactories and such.” The man nodded. “You, Darok… I do not take you for a military man. You are a bureaucrat. That is fine, so am I… in a way. Make yourself known, I am sure we may speak of… matters in which our two nations may… aid each other, yes? I am listening…” The General Morror Kassus felt far more at home than either of the two scheming senators, the medals dangling off of his burly chest earning him many looks of admiration from the throng. It seemed almost to direct him, effortlessly and with many waves and raises of drinks, to the group of generals and admirals seated around a large table, drinking and speaking of their old tours of duty. Here there was no apparent leader, but several people spoke out to welcome him. “Come sit, fellow!” “There’s plenty’a space for ya’!” “Get this man a drink!” A similar hearty welcome was given to his second-in-command, who was sat quite comfortably right next to him. The two of them had full plates and drink slid in front of them, at which point a man bereft of his coat and vest but not his admiral’s cap raised his glass in toast. “To the Rihannsu!” The table raised their glasses in turn and belted out the same cheer. He turned to the pair with a smile. “Ah! So you’ve come to escape the papers and legalese of that crowd as well, I hope. Well, there are more military matters than we can count to speak of, so make yourself right at home. Including how our League is going to manage any shared military business.” He chuckled. “Word’s goin’ round that the Kirvinska navy’s boutta’ double, right boys?” The table gave another chuckle, though quite soft and reserved… but the man’s grin stayed. “Anything the Rihannsu are looking for, any aid you need, any advisors you need, allow me to proffer my services first by saying that we will almost certainly be ready to provide. A storm’s brewing on your eastern border, friend- who knows what lies In the Shadows?” The Shffahkian President had about as easy a time as Terix had, simply stalled for a few moments by the relentless barrage of the press, hungry for any information they could get about the gathering. They were only allowed in in limited numbers, but even this limited number congregated into a small blob, traveling around the dinner to interview those who signaled the okay. Even so, they were not especially welcome, gettng distasteful looks from all those who were not in the camera’s eye. Having escaped them, she found herself at the grand foot of the same marble stairwell, and a short number of steps later at its head. The other two leaders already reclining, she could scarcely mumble an apology before the Grand Duke waved his hand. “There is no need for that- I know how they are. Come, dear woman, and let us speak- there is much to be done tonight, and quickly, if we wish to catch even a hint of the festivities outside.” As she made her way to recline alongside the other two, the idea of what they were doing must have passed her mind- the three were reclined around a grand map of their continent, taking into purview all that lay before them the same way the Tagmatines had shown the first Kirvinska Duke more than a millennia and a half ago. The fate of the Aurelian continent was to hang in the balance, a continent that Adélaïde Larue loved dearly, and she would have to fight quite hard to pass any of her major (socialist) policies by the two reactionaries seated so closely across from her. She settled in, subtly, for a long knight of debate. The young Oyusard lady was not a major functionary, not a major diplomat, and not a military officer. Her name was Pania, and she was simply there to meet some people and enjoy the company of Aurelia’s most distinguished elite in the name of her nation. She padded softly towards the gathering of young fencers, their helmets in their laps, ready to spring into the fray. Their amicable chatting continued even as she came right in front of them, and they waved, collectively. They even made a spot for her, pulling her up further into the crowd, and putting her in between a dashing young soldier and another young, noble-seeming lady of similar age with her hair pulled up into an elaborate crown of braids. They both wore the dark armor of duelists, and seemed rather good-natured. The man on the left bowed, first, and then the lady to his right- they introduced themselves as “Palemon, Victor of Spars” (appended with ‘by that logic, you’re also Eater of Chickens, aren’t you, Pale’ by one of the other fencers) and “Anne vár Attre.” The man spoke up first. “We’re to be the first two to fight, you know? Annie here’s really got it out for me, I beat her a few w- “ He was interrupted by the blaring of the horn to announce the first fight, at which the two of them slided rapidly down through their companions, tugging on their helmets and buckling them. It took several moments for them to get down and clamber over to the right part of the hall, Anne running faster to reach the opposite side of the fighting area. They came onto the sand from opposing sides, bowing slowly to each others as their names were announced by the presiding referee. A small crowd had gathered to watch the battle, mostly Kirvinska, as it was their sport, and a soft wave of commentary began to wash through them. Certainly an interesting group of people to speak to, should any wish to join them. They paused for a few moments, facing each other, and their hands dropped to the hilts of their swords. When the order was given, they drew and approached each other, hands coming out so that their curved sabers crossed. On the count of ‘one-two-three’, they circled their wrists so that they crossed each others’ swords three times, and then began to back up, each one taking a moderate crouch. The man struck first, his elbow wheeling the weapon back in a curved and elaborate moulinet over his shoulder to barrel right for his opponent’s head. She shifted to one side, bringing her own weapon up to parry his away from her, and then rushed in for a slash across his chest. The two of them danced this way for upwards of a minute, prompting the crowd watching them to enlarge significantly now that the match was known to be even. The quiet violin music, the song of sword-fighting, and the soft chattering of a crowd with all to gain and all to lose. It would be a grand evening.
  15. In lieu of writing a major block of text, I will simply say that I agree completely with your refutations. Pay attention to what I write during the coming weeks; these will be an example of what to expect in the future. Especially once finals are over. There is further work planned on the Aurelian League, the first part of which is actually being released today if my schedule plays out right, and you will be able to get more hints of how I write there. I will leave this thread untouched for a short while and return to it when these examples have been released, but I would like to add on that I took counsel with both @Rihan and @Sunset Sea Islands before putting this out and that it is not simply a blind estimation. Thank you for your thorough criticism! Continue to provide it as the stories come out. If only you took this much interest in the League thread, eh?
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