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  1. As Droungariokomes (Commodore) Sofia Ooryfaina looked the bay and the town of Basilikolimanion that was nestled around it, there were several things that struck her. The first was that was a good, sheltered anchorage for ships, and the concrete wharves that jutted into the bay would make the unloading of equipment easier. So long as they were still in good condition, although they likely wouldn't have been used intensively for decades. They could well be corroded and weakened by years of being battered by the elements and unable to take much heavy equipment moved across them. The second was that the large cathedral and equally large palace were incongruous amidst the dilapidated and crumbling houses and industrial buildings. They were from a significantly more prosperous time, when the Hermitages were at the centre of Arhomaneia's whaling industry a century ago. The islands where then, briefly, used for coal and iron ore mining until the Long War made it too dangerous for ships to cross. An attempt was made thirty or forty years ago to restart the mining, but it was deemed uneconomical to ship it across the Sea of Storms. She couldn't tell what state the wharves were in from out where her ship was. Or the palace and the cathedral, as they were just dark silhouettes against the the bare rock and small patches of vegetation that made up the hinterland behind the main settlement of the Hermitages. The third was that it looked bloody cold out there. The wind was whipping off the tops of the waves and it looked like there was snow in the air. “No sign of any life?” She asked the ship's captain, or Droungarios in her nation's naming conventions, taking her binoculars from her eyes and turning to her left to look over her shoulder. His name was Eufemios Kamoteros and he looked like the typical Basilikoploimon officer – smartly turned out in his black uniform, with a dark beard that was starting to show edges of grey. He was of below average height, not much taller than Ooryfaina herself. Both of them had regulation short hair and were wrapped up against the cold, despite being on the bridge of the command ship of the mission. “None from the Foussatores or Vestiaritai, Kyriossa,” came the reply from the officer standing at her left shoulder. The Border Guard and the Financial Guard respectively, they were only on the island to protect what little Arhomaneia considered to be of worth on islands. Which was little. “The monks, though, have acknowledged our approach. I've asked them to get in contact with the others.” Droungariokomes Ooryfaina gave a heavy sigh. The need for secrecy and the speed at which the operation was assembled meant that it hadn't been able to contact the remote stations that kept the Tagmatine claims to the faraway islands alive. It also didn't help that the islands were considered such a backwater deployment by the organisations in charge of them that it would probably have taken weeks for them to contact their subordinates on the islands. It was considered by the Epistrategaion to just contact them once the flotilla was close enough to the island. It could well have been something of an oversight on the part of the High Command. “Well, keep having your people try them, Droungarios. I don't want any unfortunate accidents taking place.” The Droungariokomes turned away and walked over to the windows on the bridge's starboard side to look at the handful of vessels that were following the cruiser BPP Trapezon she was on. Three tenders, filled with supplies and equipment to establish a proper base on the island, as well as a troop ship with a Apelatai regiment on it. Although it had initially been deemed a risk to withdraw a unit from the western border, the elite infantry were equipped and prepared to deal with the harsh conditions this far north. There were two corvettes and a destroyer accompanying the flotilla, watching for any ships or aircraft that might have suspicious intentions. A pair of submarines lurked nearby, acting as an unseen screening force. A conspicuously civilian vessels with too many antennas lurked between the tenders and the troop ship. It was from the Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton and other than its presence and its immediate movements, no one had explained to the Droungariokomes what it was going to be doing. Ideally, the attention of the Gharoi would be on both Corinium or the Prognostikator watching them in the Thalassa ton Kataigidon, the Sea of Storms. No one should really have seen anything as the Tagmatine ships slipped anchor in the various ports on the Kentriki Thalassa, the Central Sea and then amassed on the eastern side of the island of Vanarambion. They kept to international waters as best as they could as they did so. The vessels then made their way north by slipping through the Fillipou Thalassa, the Kosscow Sea and between the islands of the Hexanesa under the cover of darkness. Nights were still long at this time of year and this latitude. The flotilla was approaching from the east, in order to try to further escape any possible prying eyes from other countries. The few ships they had seen were trawlers, although you could never be sure. It seemed a good enough plan to the Droungariokomes when she'd been briefed on it but it was clear that it could spark off something, especially as the Seilosioi (@Seylosians) and the Iberikoi (@Ivericans) had tried to block Gharoi (@Haruspex) plans for Corinium. Only partially successfully, as the Gharoi pretty much now controlled the northern entrance to the Adlantic. There was a good chance that the northern barbarians were eyeing up the Hermitages, probably to create naval bases and despoil of their natural resources. Which was something that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion wanted to avoid, as it would entirely put the seas surrounding Arhomaneia at their mercy. As the Droungariokomes ruminated on the chances that Arhomaneia might kick off something bigger with establishing direct control to the northern islands, another officer leaned over to the Droungarios and muttered in his ear. He nodded and turned to Ooryfaina. “It looks like we still can't get a hold of anyone but the monks, Kyriossa, but they've sent someone over to to warn the Foussatores and the Vestiaritai,” he said, a frown on his face. “Apparently it's common, or at least common enough, that someone's radio goes down and they rely on the others to communicate.” Ooryfaina grunted. “Good start.” The other officer shrugged. “As good as any, really. I suppose it can't be expected that this out-of-the-way shithole would be up to scratch. They have to get everything sent up to them and it's not like any of them are trained military.” “Well, two of them are law enforcement of some sort,” the Droungariokomes said, shaking her head and walking over towards the windows in the bridge that looked towards the islands. “The buggers should really have their shit together a lot more. Especially out here.” “It'll be a shock when two-odd thousand pissed off soldiers start stomping around the island,” replied the captain, a grin showing through his beard. The smile disappeared and was replaced by a more serious look. “The monks also suggest that we use the eastern wharf, as the western one is a bit degraded.” “What's 'a bit degraded'” the female officer asked her subordinate, turning towards him, eyebrow raised. “They didn't really say,” the other replied, with a shrug. “I suppose that we'll have to see as soon as we get there.” Both of them turned to look towards the island. It was low down towards the sea but rose up towards the north east to a hill. A glacier covered the mountain and below that, bare rock. They were much closer now, able to see the individual houses that made up much of the settlement, as well as the walls of the fortress. Most of the houses were little more than ruins. The palace and the cathedral were easily seen. “They call it the Palati ton Oston,” said Kamoteros. “Pretty ominous. Apparently, they made much of the flooring and door frames out of whalebone, from all the years of hunting.” Again, the more senior officer grunted in reply. The BPP Trapezon was too large to moor directly alongside the wharves, as it was much bigger than the colliers and iron ore cargo ships it had been designed for, some seventy or more years ago. That didn't bode too well for the plans to bring the port itself up to the standards necessary for acting as the Europan end of the Argic trade route. But, Ooryfaina considered as she stood in ready to climb out of the ship's boat she had left the cruiser in, it was likely already known by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. The iron rungs of the ladder from the water level up to the top of the wharf were slippery, corroded and occasionally missing. She almost lost her grip a couple of times. Getting a dip in the frigid Thalassa ton Kataigidon was not something that she was planning on doing today. As she hauled herself onto the top of the wharf, a band struck up the Arhomaiki national anthem. Badly. The smell of incense wafted over the sea air and was whipped away by a strong wind and she looked towards where the music was coming from. The band was made up of ten musicians, half in the winter uniform of the border guard and half in that of the financial guard. It did not sound like they had every practised together. A group of monks, well wrapped in winter gear, were waving thymiata and carrying holy relics to bless the new arrivals. Striding towards the Droungariokomes was an elderly-looking priest carrying a crozier and with a mitre perched on a woolly hat, followed by what must be the two senior officers of the enforcement agencies that occupied the Herimitireia. They seemed to be having a typically Aroman struggle over who would greet her first in their order of seniority. The border guard could trace their roots to the forces that conquered Europa and Amutia whilst the financial guard were, strictly speaking, a unit of the Tagmata. Thus the two officers were surreptitiously trying to step in front of the other. Soon it was likely going to come to elbows jabbed in ribs. “Welcome to the Herimitireia,” said the Arkhiepiskopos Dorothios Maliasenos, vapour from his breath curling away in the wind. He gave an appraising glance over Ooryfaina's rank tabs. “It is rare that we get anyone from the Basilikoploimon here, let alone a droungariokomes. Usually, it's a ship chartered from a civilian firm that drops of supplies for us. A supply tender for them comes from the navy but it's never someone of such a rank.” The archbishop punctuated the last part of the statement with a jab of a gloved hand over his shoulder. The two behind him had finished their bickering but waited until the archbishop had finished talking to the naval officer. The statement of the archbishop seemed to be a bit dismissive of the other two officers but she couldn't quite tell. “And now you arrive with that,” he said, giving a nod towards the flotilla sat in the bay. “Yes, your beatitude,” replied Ooryfaina. “The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has decided that it is time for the Herimitireia to truly become part of Arhomaneia again.” A pretty pompous line. The naval officer winced internally almost as soon as she said it. “Some of it has already been explained to me by a communication from emailed over to me,” the archbishop said. “I am not sure I wholehearted approve, for many reasons. For one, we have got used to the peace and tranquillity of these islands. I rather it wasn't disturbed by building work, ships or soldiers.” “I believe that will come a bit later, your beatitude,” the Droungariokomes replied. “I'm not sure when but I think that, considering what the Gharoi and Seilosioi have done, I imagine it will be soon. I'm not in charge of the building work, just securing the islands.” Again, the expression on what little of the archbishop's face was visible between his beard and his woolly hat was unreadable. He turned on his heel without another word and started to walk back down the wharf towards his waiting entourage, who were still waving incense and chanting. Ooryfaina found herself staring after him, frowning. She hadn't been told anything about the Church disapproving of the increase in activity on the islands but, as she had said to the archbishop, that wasn't really her problem. Her job was to stop any other nation to trying to meddle in the affairs of the island. Another woolly hat bobbed into view, but this with a tall domed hat crammed on top of it. “Tribounos Pankratoukaina Tzamplakonissa of the Foussatores,” said the well wrapped little shape that lay under the hat. From the name, Ooryfaina guessed that the speaker was female but the amount of clothes rendered any physical appearance hard to discern. And in order to nip any pretensions of the other officer being anything other than inferior to the speaker, they continued. “And this is Komes Theognostos Maroules.” The other officer narrowed his eyes at the slight but gave a half-bow towards the naval officer. “Welcome to the edge of the Eurth, Droungariokomes,” the shorter figure said, with unnecessary dramatics. “We'll get you and your staff somewhere warm.”
  2. “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.
  3. It has come to the attention of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the Imperial Government of Tagmatium, that it is not just the rogue nation of Derthalen that still maintains the barbaric and savage practice of slavery. There are many others that still pursue this crime, one that all civilised nations think has been consigned to the history books. However, this is not the case. Some nations, backwards and savage as they are, still accord it more than revulsion. They openly and willingly enforce it on their own citizens and, indeed, trade their own citizens with other barbaric nations. That it still exists is inexcusable and one that all right-thinking nations must make a stand against. That these vile nations still carry this bestial trade out must be stamped down upon. In this modern age, this is entirely unconscionable that slavery still exists; it is an affront to the modern notions of self-determination and to God Himself. That these nations, these slaver-states, feel that they can continue with this abhorrent trade entirely unmolested is itself arrogance of the most extreme and noxious sort. They will find themselves disabused of this belief. In the past, the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion was famous, nay, infamous for its use of slavery. In these ancient times, slavery was common and it played an important and well-defined role not just within the economy of Tagmatium, but in wider society, too. Manual labour was not the only role undertaken by slaves, but almost every profession as well. Whilst these slaves were often well treated by their masters, they were still the property of their owners, as much as those who were worked to death in brutal conditions in mines or the fields. They all could be subjected to sexual exploitation, torture or even summary execution, all at the whims of their masters. As Christianity took root and Tagmatium slowly threw off the shackles of the old, ignorant superstitions that had formerly held sway over its populace and the state, it became clear that it was against the virtues that were now held dear. Slavery is an affront to God. It is nothing more than one of the most base acts of covetousness and an act of human rebellion against our true Father. As such, as the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator Arhomaion is the representative of God on Eurth, it is decreed by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion that it cannot be stomached that slavery is allowed to continue without punishment of those who defy God in this manner. As the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion is looked on as the shining beacon of civilisation on Eurth, one that all other nations follow as the example to live up to, it follows that it will be the first to truly step up to the mark and take a stand against these slaver-states and their abominable trade. As such, any nation that has on its statute books slavery, indentured workers or similar practices or ideals, whether directly or indirectly, or indulges in the trade or sale of their own citizens, or those of foreign nations, will find themselves with the following sanctions levied against them. These are in line with those that have been placed against the rogue nation of Derthalen and will continue to be maintained until that nation, and those that hold the foul institution of slavery dear, change their ways and enter into these modern times. There may be those that feel that Tagmatium is overstepping its reach, that it has no right to attempt to police the internal policies of other nations. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion feels that this is not the case – that to allow slavery in its many forms to continue is to encourage it. If it is not stamped out sooner rather than later, it will spread, a dark plague from history that will once again become a dark blot on the world. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion will expel any non-essential diplomatic personnel that any slaver-state has within the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion. The Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion will cease trading in any way with any nation that maintains slavery or similar, or backs the trade in any way; it will send no products to these nations, nor will it accept any items of any sort made in them or by companies owned by their nationals, whether in part or wholly. Any property and assets, financial or otherwise owned by nationals from these states within the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion will be seized. This will include assets and properties owned by either individuals working for the the governments of these nations or entities and organisations based in those nations. It will then be disposed of, kept or sold in a manner that best benefits the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion. Vessels owned by nationals or entities based in these nations or sailing under their flags will be turned away from Tagmatine waters, as defined by the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion. However, any vessel will not be turned away if there is a danger to the lives of those on board or those on other vessels. Any such vessels, owned by nationals or entities based in these nations or sailing under their flags, within Tagmatine waters, as defined by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, or ports will be escorted from them along the shortest possible route, so long as that does not pose any danger to any vessel involved. Aircraft based in these nations will no longer be able to land or use airfields in the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion, nor pass through Tagmatine airspace. An exception to this would be if there are emergency circumstances, which will be defined at the discretion of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. Any aircraft from these nations currently within Tagmatine airspace will be escorted from it via the shortest route, so long as that does not pose any danger to said aircraft or others, whether on the ground or also in the air. A travel ban will be set against members of these nations' governments and those suspected of being members of said governments. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion reserves the right to place further travel bans against any nationals it is suspected that are working in the interests of their government, rather than as private individuals. Any individual from these nations attempting to gain entry to the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion will be turned away from its borders before entry. Individuals from these nations, if it is suspected that they are working for their governments or in the interests of their government, in an espionage capacity or otherwise, will be escorted to the borders of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion and expelled. It will be an offence, with a penalty of up to ten years in prison and/or an unlimited fine, for a citizen of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion to trade with a company owned whether fully or in part by an individual from these nations, or an individual from these nations. If these sanctions are perceived as having no impact on the nations that they are levied against, if they continue in their monstrous and blasphemous trade and beliefs, then the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomaion will consider what steps to take next. Those that still pursue slavery; be warned. Tagmatium has a long reach and the means to make sure that slavery does not last all that much longer on Eurth. May God bring those nations around to civilisation and guide their people, and may He break the chains of every slave, whatever their oppressors may call them.
  4. REHL Haru Imperial Naval Command HQ Perya Naval Base #2 K2/02/24 Fleet-Lord Raz stepped into the anteroom and clicked jackbooted heels together smartly. The man was just under sixty years of age and slim of figure in an athletic sense. He bore numerous medals, most of them from the days when the Imperium had been seen briefly in the war with Beautancus. With formality out of the way, he handed a few sheets of teletype to a seated individual before him. " Grand Admiral Xun , we have orders from the Empress and the Council of the Nine. We are hereby ordered to seize the western island near that of the island occupied by the Adapton Federalists, though with measures of soft-touch applied to whatever natives live there, the royal court and the council do not wish for a repeat of the Northern debacle." A brief moment spent considering before a glance paid the man ever so rigid in stance before his desk. " Very well, we shall alert Vice-Admiral Tor'Van of the 2nd Grand Ranke Fleet to make preparations to deploy from the Ttoile Taskforce via the port of Hades, by the end of the month and re-direct a fleet towards this island." Tihun placed his thumb gently upon the biometric register near the computer at his desk, and with that printed out a new and authorized set of orders. He then slowly arose from behind the desk. He to wore a uniform similar to the Fleet-Lord's. Stepping about the left side and out, allowing the decorated officer a dip of head and to lead the way towards the communication and control level. Great oak doors trimmed with silver opened outwards and lining the walls, legionnaires of the Imperium stood stock still, weapons in arched salute. Sengar'd Isto Hiatori meanwhile strode down the centerline of the communications center. Apart of the Peryan Defense Security Fleet, the his duties were to monitor sea-lane traffic, as well as transmit orders to the various ships of the HIN on active duty. A nervous tuck at his collar before stepping out to the overlook station, supervising the junior officers at their station, relieving Prata-Khan Hido from such duty. Taking his stand before the primary console, just as the much higher ranked admiral and fleet-lord made their appearance. He turned as they approached, the newly made orders were handed over, they were authorized and he spoke. " Very good sir, orders are authorized, we will begin transmission to the 2nd Grand Ranke Fleet command vessel in the next few moments." A a salute followed before he turned around and such was done, giving the Vice-Admiral Tor'Van his new mustering orders. Kataigidon Near Adapton Claimed Island 2nd Grand Ranke Fleet Deployment K2/03/06 Vice-Admiral Tor'Van stood upon the bridge of the Dreadnought Duilr uv Vnucd (Touch of Frost), command ship of the 2nd Grand Ranke Fleet. The strike carriers Luhtun (Condor), Cdaat (Steed), the assault carriers Syla (Mace), and the Cryng (Shark). Additionally there were two Taro-Class (Guided Missile Heavy Cruisers), four 210 Dekan (Tiger) Class (Assault Frigates), three Chuf (Snow) Class Guided Missile Cruisers. Two Cay Kut (Sea God) class Amphibious ships, seven 205 Ymekydun (Alligator) Class corvettes, one Pmaccat Duilr Class (Blessed Touch) Hospital ships, two Naviaman (Refueling Oilers), six Uqah (Oxen) Class troop transports with a combined landing total of sixteen thousand legionnaires. Currently reading his new orders had come straight from REHL (Haruspex Imperial Naval Command) near the end of the previous month, and yet he was still gently rubbing forehead in slight vexation as the newest teletype was set upon the command table. A mutter or two before calling his second in command over, Commodore Ure'Dane. " Once the officers from SVHY (Ministry of Foreign Naval Affairs) are on board, set our course towards the island just past the Adapton island to our west." There was a bit of a sigh and Ure'Dane spoke. " Sir, we are to capture the island and occupy it then as planned?" Tor'Van nodded a bit. " Ah yes, we are at the mercy of the court and our friendly Grand Admiral has taken an interest in us, as sailors who can do the job whatever it means." " By the gods, we're be doing whatever he wants.." Ure'Dane sighed again, rubbing the bridge of his nose before continuing. He muttered a bit and walked over towards the communication officer and began to issue the re-deployment orders. Glanced up as a headset was against one ear. " Sir, the officers of the SVHY are finally here, and are proceeding to land on the heavy cruiser Cay Vyhk (Sea Fang). " Tor'Van nodded. " Then give the order to sail, arrange us in battle formation seven, half our corvettes to the front, cruisers and frigates to our starboard and port sides, the other half behind the transports. Once within range of the island, alert the SVHY to helicopter in to the island, relay our intents to the civilian traffic or what constitutes radio command there." " Furthermore, deploy the rest of the fleet upon reaching the island, to one of defense while we wait. Transports will land the troops and equipment once the officers reach the desired deal." Ure'Dane nodded and proceeded to relay his orders as he himself could feel through the deck as the dreadnought began to turn about and assume the position within center of the fleet. It had taken nearly a week to make sure the provisions, troops, and of course ships could be properly redirected from the harbor of Ttoile where they had come to rest in anchor for the moment. Munitions had been loaded, foodstuffs, and of course fuel for some of the vessels that did not operate the standard Haru reactor system. Once such was done, it shouldnt be to long of a sail, the island beyond the Federalist island, wasnt far away really. The rest of the fleet, roughly half of it, was currently anchored outside of Hades, whose port had been secured so that the naval landing force could then invade Ttoile. The rest of some forty-thousand troops deployed in sweeping up whatever remained of the insurrection royalists.
  5. Prologue Within the bowels of the Defense Ministry's command and control headquarters located within the ward of Kunya, of which is located in the city-state Chel de'Yorn near the northern border of Beautancus territories. Ttoile, the capital of the former Cussian territory known as Beautancus, lay just a few hundred kilometers away. Ttoile had been observed as being the last remnant of the old Cussian government, the last semblance of an actual city with infrastructure held over from the old days. The images of the city, and the surrounding landscape had been the subject of reconnaissance planes and photographing for a few weeks now. The Imperial Aerowings had done their duty, and in the haze of the smoke filled room from cigarettes and the like, something that individuals who were under great stress had been puffing away upon, held their eyes to the display monitors. Sheefs of intelligence, dossiers on the terrain and the pacification estimates, losses that might occur, what was acceptable, etc. With due diligence by the number crunchers, the expansion effort was being formulated even as the newly crowned Emperor gave a speech to the masses. Fleet Lord Yagar Ni'Vek was seated at the head of the table, appointed by the now emperor to serve as his left, while Kaorin became the right. He stubbed out his third or fourth cigarette into the waiting ashtray, cleared his throat and spoke. The preliminary reports have been made. As of now, myself and Vice Lord Kaorin, have been given authorization by the newly crowned Emperor, to proceed with our plans of expansion. He turned towards another senior officer, General Ti'Ran Elghinn, head of House Buki Elghinn. As doing so, a junior officer approached with a briefcase. It was chained to his right wrist and he set it down, opening after a combination was entered. Within it, a keycard rested and a type of machine to read it. Ti'Ran reached over, broke the keycard case and inserted the card. It required now the keycard of the senior most officer, of which was that of Ni'Vek. He gave his card to the handcuff bearing officer and it was slid within the machine, with both codes matching, thus the icon screens going green in hue. General Ti'Ran, began Ni'Vek. You are hereby authorized to begin mobilization of the following forces, for deployment and securing of the northern territories of the former Cussian lands. You will command, with your choice of officers, the army group Hades. The force that is authorized under your command is the entirity of the Hades Northern Border Force; o 1st Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 15th Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 283rd Legionnaires 'Mzil Velven' Motor Rifle Regiment, Hades o 1st Legion 'Olath Orn' Tank Regiment, Hades o 147th Legion 'Bel'la Kyorl' Artillery Regiment, Kovo(Border of Beautancus) o 1117th Air Defence Regiment, Kovo o 136th Independent Intelligence Battalion, Kovo o 1174th Independent Anti-Tank Battalion, Kovo o 211st Independent Engineer Battalion, Kovo o 614th Independent Chemical Battalion o 47th Independent Signal Battalion, Kovo o 190th Independent Maintenance Battalion, Hades o 1063rd Independent Supply Battalion, Hades o 370th Independent Medical Battalion, Hades * 51st Parachute Landing Regiment, Tula(2.5km east of Hades) *89th Light Armor Regiment, Tula * 137th Parachute Landing Regiment, Tula * 1182nd Artillery Regiment, Efremov(Secondary border deployment, 3.5km north of Hades) * 107th Independent Air Defence Regiment, Efremov * 322nd Independent Engineer Battalion, Efremov * 731st Independent Communications Battalion, Tula * 43rd Independent Repair Battalion, Tula * 110th Independent Transport Squadron, Tula Ni'Vek continued. You will begin immediate deployment of orders. You are tasked with mobilization and transport of your forces into the assigned battle and securement area. These orders are confirmed by the Defense Ministry and by the will of the Emperor. Ti'Ran leaned back in his seat a bit, and seemed to contemplate a good deal in his head before he spoke. As the Emperor wills, so shall I serve. I do however have some questions. One, my support I will assume is the Home Guard forces of the imperial legionary, of which I can only assume that Kaorin will deploy after my initial forces do so. Is this to prevent any other nation from perhaps attempting to cross into the Cussian territories while we are doing so? Also what of the Tagmatine? Will they stand idly by? They've been rather testy lately with the navy. A chuckle resounded about the table as the thought of their southern neighbor having a bit of a fit. Ni'Vek gestured and the group fell silent. They seem to be playing the long game with us, and they cannot effectively do anything other then issue a stern word perhaps. The Home Guard will indeed shore up your efforts, maintaining vigilance alongst the Cussian western border while your forces occupy Ttoile. Meanwhile the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Aerowings will also be deploying, with the navy landing units and forces alongst the eastern sea holdings of the Cussian wildlands. The aerowings I am told shall continue photography runs and if need be, supply and suppression missions. Ti'Ran nodded to all of this, before promptly sliding to a stand and giving Ni'Vek a salute. Very well Sir. Army Group Hades will begin immediate mobilization. I estimate based on force locations, the projections, estimated in my head sir, it shouldnt take more then two weeks to prepare for a border crossing and begin occupation of the capital within another two weeks time. Ni'Vek returned the salute. May you earn the glory of the battlefield General...
  6. "And we're live in five, four, three," Rang out across the studio, with the producer finishing the countdown silently on his fingers and pointing to the two women seated across from each other. Without missing a beat, program host and media icon Marie Engelsen began speaking, "Welcome back to the Englesen Angle! Today, we're here with breakout star Alyiah Arotica, creator of the song stuck in everyone's minds; Eat It!" Sitting across from her was the latest interview subject and popular musician and performer, Aliyah Arotica. Known for her equal parts vulgar and creative flow, Arotica had become an overnight sensation among the nation's youth. The pair paused for a moment to allow the applause from the studio audience to die down before continuing. "Thank you so much for having me! I've been a huge fan ever since you were just starting out, so being here is absolutely unreal!" Gushed Aliyah, unable to hide the excitement in her voice. "Likewise, I've been a fan since your first single, Galahindan Goddess. There's nobody out there that's creating music like yours." Replied Marie, a similar tone of excitement creeping into her otherwise professional cadence, "What inspired you to cultivate such a strong personality within your music?" "Well Marie," began Aliyah, "I grew up in an Ecumenical family, and I felt very stifled by the rules and the messages they taught, so after I moved out and felt true freedom, I felt like I should really begin to express how much, for me, religion is less serious and should be critiqued." "So, are you a religious person?" asked Marie. "Not traditionally, no. I'm actually a member of the Society of Saint Lucia." Responded Aliyah "And for our international listeners who may not be familiar with the society, what do you believe in?" "Our beliefs are rooted in the idea that at the end of the day, we're all going to die, we can't control that. What we can control is the amount of experience we gain over that short lifespan. We're focused on sensation and what it means to truly be alive." "Do you feel that those values are reflected in your latest song?" Queried Marie, shifting forward in her seat. "Yes, I do, especially in the imagery and lyrics that we use for our music video, releasing later today." "I see, do you think we could see a clip from the video?" asked Marie. "Of course! I brought one along just for you." Fired back Aliyah, turning to watch along with Marie and the audience. On the large LCD screen behind the two, the clip began to play. Chairman Yiu Amistacia appeared on the screen, much to the audience's enjoyment. The chairman was wearing an extremely tight black latex suit blazer with matching assless chaps. Within the chairman's hand was a rhinestoned chain attached to what appeared to be Tagmatium's leader, Kommodos III. The man was wearing little more than a black loincloth, leather harness and was bound at the wrists and feet by the same chain held in Yiu's hand. Around the man's neck was a black latex collar with the MYNE logo emblazoned in gold. The video's audio began playing from the studio's speakers, with a heavy beat accentuated by a harsh snare every fourth beat. The chairman's voice could be heard over the top, stating, "If there was a god, I would make him eat my pussy." The lyric was accompanied by another crash, as Yiu yanked the chain attached to the man's neck, forcing him onto his knees, roughly at crotch height. "What that mouth do kanga go make it gushy." continued the chairman before the scene switched. Immediately following a scene of the camera panning into what appeared to be a Tagmatine church was Aliyah wearing an extremely low cut ceremonial robe. The robe was covered in rhinestones and had holes cut, exposing her cleavage. The artist began rapping, draping herself over a ceremonial altar, words building in intensity. "She's got that Apocryphal pussy, Personally condemned by Kommodos Pussy. She's got that Ignus Dei Sexcommunicatorum Pussy. What you waitin for kanga go make it gushy." Following the lyrics, Aliyah tore off the robe, leaving her in nothing but a set of nipple pasties and a pair of panties reading "Eat It!" before the clip ended and the studio's lights returned. "Wow, I love everything I've just seen, and I cannot wait to watch the whole thing later today." Began Marie, beaming, "Now, I spy with my keen eye, a couple of familiar faces, am I correct in saying that was the Chairman and Kommodos III?" "You're partially correct, that is actually Chairman Amistacia. However, Kommodos III is actually an excellent look-alike, with some digital trickery to enhance the effect." Said Aliyah, waving her hand to indicate the pair currently on screen. "I would never have guessed. The recreation is almost spot on! How was it working with the chairman?" "The chairman was lovely to work with, they're fantastic on camera and took great direction." Nodding, Marie asked, "Now, I'm no fashion or cultural expert, but am I correct in assuming that the outfit you wear during this scene is not traditionally Galahindan?" "You are correct, although it was made here in Galahinda by Yiu, it's actually a take on the traditional ceremonial clothing worn by Tagmatine priests," answered Aliyah. "It's very edgy which I love. Given the video's content, how did you manage to get permission to go into a Tagmatine church to film this?" "Oh, they didn't give us permission actually," replied Aliyah, laughing nervously, "we went in under the guise of being there for a documentary, and filmed what we needed without me, left, and inserted me in post." "I can't imagine that'll make them too happy!" Englesen chucked to herself before continuing, "Now, anything else you'd like to tell us before we wrap up?" "I would like to thank all of my listeners for helping get to this seat, and for everyone involved in the production of the song and video for making something so cool!" responded Aliyah, turning directly to the camera. "Thanks again for being here, Aliyah, and make sure to watch out for the release of the Eat It! music video later today." Said Marie, turning to the camera before continuing. "Coming up next, we'll be looking at the perfect colors to paint your living rooms for the upcoming fall party season. We'll be right back after the break."
  7. Spring was finally coming to Gournaion, the capital of the island of Efmoseia and the nation of the Hexanisa. It had been a hard winter across all of northern Europa and even the western countries of Machina @Haruspex and Tagmatium had suffered in the coldest weather in decades. Despite being the two most functional nations in either the Occident or Burania, many of their citizens had died in the cold weather and parts of them had been cut off due to the deep snow and blizzards. In the band of six large islands and innumerable smaller ones that marked the division of the Thalassa ton Kataigidon (Sea of Storms) and the waters of inner Europa, the weather had been especially hard because the islands had very little resources of their own to call upon. Some of the small fishing villages and semi-permanent logging camps that made up the settlements on the exposed northern coasts of the islands had to be completely abandoned. Vessels and aircraft from the Stolos, the militarised coast guard, were now going out to assess the damage to the settlements and to see if the inhabitants could return. The weather had been a shock after the warm temperatures of the summer and very few people had been prepared for anything other than the usual winter weather, although that was always quite harsh. The economic damage would have to be counted before the country could move forward. The long cold winter had delayed the planting of crops and prevented fishing for weeks when the fleets should have been out laying pots for crab or trawling for Adlantic salmon. Whilst the people of the Six Islands were unlikely to starve over the coming months, the finances of the country and its inhabitants would suffer. The last decade hadn't been kind to the Hexanisa and it seemed like the start of the new one wasn't going to be great, either. Those were the thoughts going through the head of a warmly wrapped little old lady as she sat at a cafe table and took sips of a cup of tea whilst looking out over the harbour of Gournaion. The cafe had cast iron furniture arrayed around tables and segregated from the street by low planters with hardy plants, although most of them had died over the winter. A heavyset stheneloser dog lay curled at her feet, its thick black and white fur proof against the cold of the northern islands. There were still boats in the harbour, although most of them were out to sea, trying to catch up with the season's fishing. She had just come from a morning service at the Panagia Theotokos, the cathedral of the Hexanisa. A savoury pastry lay untouched on a plate in front of her. Several newspapers were spread across the table, some from the Hexanisa, some from Tagmatium and even one from @Orioni. It was the old lady's habit to look through the headlines in the morning after church before she pottered back to her house. The headlines, at least of the Tagmatine ones, were mainly about the Megas Agios Basileia's involvement in Ceris – two carrier groups and a corps were now in action there, with suggestions that more might follow on. She shook her head. It was unlikely that “Arhomaneia” was involving itself there for the benefit of the Cerisers, although no one could deny that the Sentists were a plague that wouldn't go away of its own accord. The Orinese paper was at least more hopeful, although it focussed on the ongoing EOS mission in the Bainbridge Islands. The papers were full of just more examples of the powers of the wurld bullying the smaller nations. Although the Orinese were much less... conservative, blunt and chauvinistic than the Tagmatines, they were perhaps a bit more hypocritical. They tended to frame all of their actions as good for the people they were subjecting them to, even if it was entirely against their will. The intervention in the Bainbridge Islands had been going on much longer than any operation the Tagmatine armed forces had undertaken in decades. Under the aegis of EOS, the Orinese were bringing peace and stability to the south of Europa, whether it was wanted or not. After a moment looking out to sea again, she broke off a corner of the pastry and crumbled it up further. She then tossed the crumbs to a wagtail that was scavenging around the tables of the cafe but keeping a wary distance from the stheneloser. Another joined it and the two birds bickered for a moment amongst the table legs before seemingly deciding that the amount of crumbs was enough for the pair of them. She watched the small birds briefly before sighing to herself and pouring more tea from the pot into her cup. A passerby called a greeting and waved at the old lady. The wagtails, always timid, scattered and chittered their outrage at being forced away from their crumbs. The stheneloser raised its heavy head and watched the passerby and the old lady's reaction to them, its eyes darting between the two. When she waved back, it put its muzzle back on its paws, content that there was no threat there and closed its eyes. She reached down and scratched it behind its ears and broke off another bit of the pastry. The dog put its head up again and gave a begging look. The old lady smiled at the big dog and gave it the rest of the pastry, saving a corner for herself. It chewed messily for a moment and nosed up the crumbs that it had dropped. She ate the corner she had broken off and sipped the cup of tea. Of course, to the locals it wasn't just an old woman – it was Evangela Leotykhidissa, the Megas Kritissa, the Great Judge, of the Kritakrateia of the Hexanisa. A small bodyguard called the Skouterioi lurked nearby, attempting to make themselves unobtrusive but also trying to be a visible barrier between her and any possible threat. Unlike the bodyguards of the islands' western neighbour, they weren't in ostentatious armour and robes but coats and suits. It was clear that they were still bodyguards, as the tailoring of their suits couldn't quite hide the presence of holstered pistols. The Skouterioi had always made it clear that they weren't happy with the fact their head of government was content to sit in public and let the islanders greet her as they walked by. Although the islands weren't rich, they were strategic. The Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton was an ever-present threat, as were the secret services of the Exousiokrateia or the Volskoi. Any of them might try to engineer a takeover of the islands or assassinate the Megas Kritissa. They would likely then try to take advantage of either the islands' position or the possibility of mineral or oil wealth possessed by them. The Gharoiki have been carrying out “hydrocarbon mining” in the areas of the Thalassa ton Kataigidon under their control. It seemed to be a pompous way of saying “oil and gas extraction” and it couldn't be doubted that the Hexanisa were being eyed up by the northern barbarians. Evangela took another sip of tea. The Megas Kritissa had been voted into the position in 2016 as a reaction against the regime of Kommodos Iakoumos, as she had been in the election six years before that. The old woman was one of the few of the Lipotakai, the Deserters, still actively involved in the politics of the Hexanisa. She had been repeatedly elected because she was seen as taking a hard line with Tagmatika. There was still an arrest warrant out for her in the Megas Agios Basileia, even though it had been over sixty years since the events at the end of the Long War which had caused the Hexanisa to break away from Arhomaneia. It looked like the relationship between the islands and the mainland were warming up in the reign of Theodosios VI but his death at the hands of an assassin and the civil war that followed had halted that. At the time, some of the other Kritai had considered throwing in their support behind the cabal of naval and army officers attempting to revive the Navarkhokrateia but that scheme had been stopped by the then Megas Krites, Ioannes Hegesinos. It just would have meant a vengeful Kommodos landing forces on the islands and bringing them to heel by force. Some of the defeated rebels had tried to flee to the islands in the aftermath of the civil war but they had been turned away, most of those disappearing further east or south. There were rumours that the new regime in Tagmatika had shot dozens, if not hundreds, of rebellious officers. Handing over any refugees would have been as bad as murder even if it would have meant that Tagmatika might have warmed up to the Hexanisa. The pot of tea was empty and Leotykhidissa stood to her feet, using the arms of her chair to help her get there. One of the Skouterioi stepped forward to take her arm but the old woman waved him off. The big dog stood up and followed the old lady at her heels as she started on the walk towards her official residence. It wasn't too far away from the harbour and the cafe. Gournaion was not a bustling metropolis by the standards of most nations, even New Wurld ones, but it was the largest city of the Hexanisa. The other people walking the streets knew the Megas Kritissa by sight and waved at her as she passed. Many other heads of state would use a car to get around but the size of the capital meant it was unnecessary and Leotykhidissa also loved to see the city. It meant that the old lady felt like she was more in touch with the ordinary people of her country than others in her position might be. And she could see the effects of the policies that she enacted or the repercussions of wurld events. In recent years, the numbers of boarded up shops were more noticeable than ever before. As she walked through the cobbled streets of the port, it was obvious where the road surface had become worn or damaged and been replaced with cheaper tarmac. The Great Europan Collapse had not impacted the islands as badly as others – the government hadn't fallen apart due to economic ruin like in many other countries but the primary industries of fishing and logging had taken a hit. The tourist trade had been nascent but starting to bear fruit, with southerners coming to see the relatively unspoilt landscapes, although others came to see the remains of the battlefields of the Long War. Those were mainly Tagmatioi and their money was as good as anyone else's, even if the Hexanisoi didn't like their government. However, that had dried up and the tourist board of the Kritakrateia just didn't have the money or the pull to try to attract more people to the islands. Foreign faces were now entirely uncommon on the islands. The Megas Kritissa got to the official residence of the head of the islands. It was no towering edifice but a low villa, almost in the classical style, if not for the modifications made to the architecture to take into account the frigid winters. A pair of guards in the dress uniform of the Taxiotai, the island's paramilitary police, stood either side of the door. Their faces were slightly reddened from the cold and their breath clouded in the early morning air. Leotykhidissa would make sure that the guards changed over a bit earlier than scheduled to get them out of the cold. The big dog walked up to the nearest and sniffed at the gendarme's boots. “Arkadios, come.” The dog stopped sniffing about immediately and trotted after the old woman and into the building. It was a comfortable enough building, if slightly more grand than many others in the city. It was the old seat of the Exarkhos, the governor, of the Hexanisa, back before the Long War had dashed that all to the winds. It was, imaginatively, known as the Palati tou Exarkhou, the Palace of the Exarkhos, although “palace” was far too grand a name. Arkadios' nails clicked on the tiles in the hall. The vestibule was cold and a draught blew through it, even with the front doors now closed by the Taxiotai on guard. The only real nod to being in the building was when an aide stepped forward to take the Megas Kritissa's coat and held out a warm indoor robe. Waving the aide away with a gesture, Leotykhidissa took off her coat and changed into the offered robe. “A cup of tea to warm you up?” the man asked. He was almost as old as Leotykhidissa and had the air of a trusted retainer about him. “Yes, thank you,” replied the Megas Kritissa, giving him a thin smile that still managed to be warm. “Can you take it through to the study? There are some papers I wish to go through before I get anything else done today.” “Of course,” he sketched a quick bow and stopped to give Arkadios a pat on the head before he did so. “Anything for this boy?” “No, he's had a pastry already this morning,” Evangela said, looking down at the big dog, who was in turn looking up hopefully at the aide with big eyes. He was trying to suggest that he'd not been fed at all today, despite what was being said. “He sat patiently outside, waiting for the service to finish. He's been a good boy.” Arkadios' tail wagged at the words. “I will bring the tea through when it is ready, Megas Kritissa,” said the aide, finally stopping rubbing the fur on top of the stheneloser's head and walking down the hall. “The heating's on, so the study should be nice and warm.” “Thank you, Leontios,” the old lady said and walked further into the residence. One of the main changes from the traditionally designed Arhomaiki home was that the study wasn't in a commanding place in the building, open to both ends to allow a good view throughout. Instead, in a nod to the cold weather, the room abutted the kitchen, to allow it to take warmth in from the ovens in the walls. That, along with the underfloor heating, made it one of the most snug rooms in the depths of winter. For an elderly person, it made it very liveable. Arkadios padded into the room and went straight over to the dog bed that lay in between the desk and the door and curled up in it. His eyes were on the Megas Kritissa as she pulled out the chair behind the desk and took out a pad of paper. She looked ahead almost blankly for a moment before taking a fountain pen from the mug of pens on the desk and started writing. It took a long time for the words to start properly coming and the cup of tea that Leontios placed on the desk was stone cold before she took notice of it. Eventually, the big dog had started to fidget and whine slightly, making it known that he needed to go out to go to the loo before Leotykhidissa finally stopped her fitful writing and looked down at the words on the page. She sighed and made the sign of the cross in the Aroman fashion – thumb, index and middle finger together, going from right to left – before sitting back in the chair. Of course, as she herself was not a despot, Leotykhidissa would put it before the other five Kritai to see what they would think. Personally, it seemed to be the only way to guarantee the fate of the Hexanisa but she had no idea whether it was the right choice. She was just tired of seeing her beloved nation rot and its people suffer like they had been doing for the last few decades. Her status as a Lipotakissa and her stance on Arhomaneia meant that she would probably be the only person who could propose a reunion with the Megas Agios Basileia without it being immediately shouted down and the proposer being arrested for high treason. It was certainly shocking, even to Leotykhidissa, but perhaps it was time for her country to come in from the cold. OOC: It's time to get the ball rolling on the first part mentioned here.
  8. * Most Secret, for the eyes of King Aidan I only* To: His Majesty, King Aidan I of @Seylos, Eire, Pleinmont, and Sark From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion Your Royal Highness, It is felt by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion that our nations have demonstrated a good ability to work together, as shown by the Aluxian Civil War and the recent crisis in the Makhaira Thalassa (the Dolch See). The Kingdom of Seylos is a stabilising influence in eastern Argis, and one that Ahromaneia is keen to support. Your nation has stood as a bastion against the influence of your north eastern neighbour, which, despite its recent silence, will likely remain a threat to civilised nations for years to come. In light of this threat, and that eastern Argis seems to be, by steps, becoming ever more fractious, the Megas Agios Basileia comes to your government with a proposal. Some years ago, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion purchased a pair of aircraft carriers from the Greater Queendom of @Suverina. The circumstances surrounding this purchase was that Arhomaneia and Suverina had had a deterioration of relations, after starting the development of these carriers as a joint project. It resulted in my nation being forced out of this project, with no reimbursement of costs incurred. Later on, relations between our nations improved and the Megas Agios Basileia was invited to purchase two carriers at a reduced cost. At the time, it was considered to be an offer too good to pass up. The Prince Michail II carriers were classed as the Despotes class when purchased by Arhomaneia. However, they have proved to be surplus to requirements. With the Grand Federated Imperium of @Adaptus, Arhomaneia had co-developed the Protathlites tou Christou class aircraft carrier and the Despotes class never became part of the Basilikoploimon. The two vessels have therefore remained mothballed since then, although every effort is taken so that it would take little to make them operational once again. In light of our good relations and the sterling effort Seylos makes in keeping eastern Argis from descending into anarchy, I have been charged by his Imperial Majesty, Kommodos III, by the Grace of Christ the God, Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaion, to offer the Despotes class to the Kingdom of Seylos. If you are willing to consider this, I am to invite your majesty to dispatch a delegation to inspect the Despotes class ships, in order to see if one or the both of them are to your nation's liking. Then our governments can discuss a price that is fair and equitable to both. May Seylos continue to be a beacon of light in a dark wurld. Honorios Kontarian, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Stratiotikou of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  9. To: Trade Minister Leo J. Conway of the @Sancti Imperii Catholico From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion To his Eminence Archbishop Salius, through Leo J. Conway, Trade Minister of the Sanctum Imperium Catholicum Your Eminence, Salvia and Ahromaneia come from the same stock, although we have drifted apart over the intervening years. Perhaps too far apart, as both the Salvian and Arhomaiki people still share much with each other. Both of our great nations hold Christ's teachings above all and, although perhaps it could be considered that there may be some variations in how these are espoused by our nations, it is the love of God that shines through. Not only do we share faith in Christ, but our two nations also have a common heritage – it was, after all, Arhomaneia where Liosous set sail from in order to spread the word of God to foreign shores. And truly he did, as Salvia has stood strong ever since. In an ideal world, these ties alone would be strong enough in the face of adversity. However, the current mood of Eurth appears to be a darkening one. Nations that tread the path of righteousness such as ours need to cooperate, in order to strengthen the ties between Christian nations, as well as to make sure that our ancient civilisation can weather any storm that does wash against us. A first step would be to consider our nations' economic ties. Easing trade between our nations will undoubtedly work towards strengthening both of our nations, as well as helping our citizens understand each other better. Even at the moment, our nations do undertake a considerable amount of trade with each other, but this could undoubtedly be improved, to the benefit of both of our people. For example, passion fruit from Salvia are regularly found on the shelves in supermarkets in the Megas Agios Basileia, and mobile phones manufactured in your nation are commonly used by Arhomaioi. Wine is often bought and drunk by the people in Deopolis or Minotia and textiles from Arhomaneia are sold in Salvia. The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion feels that our nations ought to consider easing the tariffs that are regularly levelled against the imports from foreign countries, as well as viewing any trade restrictions that might be put against the produce of our respective nations. It may also be considered by the Logothesion ton Kommerkiarionikou, the Ministry for Trade, that to show that the Megas Agios Basileia is willing to open our arms to our friends in Salvia that the fees charged on Salvian-flagged ships passing through the canal between the Raga Sea and the Krankes Thalassa, the Ranke Seas, will be reduced, in order to facilitate trade between our nations. This, however, be subject to the agreements that we are able to make, and what might be reciprocated by the Sanctum Imperium Catholicum. We will have much to discuss in any talks between myself, my government and representatives from your nation. Similarly, at a future date, it may be for the worth of our nations to look at visa restrictions between our nations. May God's light shine upon your nation and your people, Takitos Khalkeos, Megas Logothetes of the Logothesion ton Kommerkiarionikou of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
  10. 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
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