5th December 2018 - 14 days before the fire.
Musty carpets, musty walls, musty air, Xiying thought to himself as he budged his metal cart through the archaic and near-abandoned hallways of the South Palu Foreign Affairs Department. Outside thunder rumbled, rain pattering against the ruined rooftops above. The grim yellow lighting keeping the room in a perpetual sickly glow flickering every so often. The cart was filled with dusty books and piles of crumpled stained papers, the weight causing the cart's wheels to squeak. The beige walls were lined with towering rusting cabinets threatening fall and crash upon Xiying and the cart. Nevertheless he pushed forward. The halls felt endless, the only distinction between where he was going and where he came from were the occasional intersections of hallways, collapsed white wooden doors, and already torn down walls exposing the department's insides to the harsh tropical winds of the night. As far as he was aware there was only himself and three others shovelling the documents to the vans outside. Vans that would take them to new undisclosed locations. Where exactly he didn't know nor care to know, he wasn't being paid to be nosey, he was paid to move the documents, stay quiet, and not tell a soul about anything he's seen inside the rotting corpse of a building.
Suddenly the cart lurched backwards, its front wheels hit against an unseen fallen cabinet. The sudden stop snapped Xiying back to reality, stepping around the cart to inspect the cabinet. It had fallen on its side, the drawers hung open with papers and small A6 diaries spilled out upon the damp carpet. Xiying grimaced before beginning to slowly lift the cabinet up from its end, bending his knees and using all of his strength to lift and push it back. Just as the cabinet thudding back upright one of the drawers slipped out completely and thudded against the floor causing hundreds of papers to scatter including several sealed mail.
"Damnit.." He muttered, swiping several of the papers and mail and shoving them into his pockets to free up his hands, continuing do so for several minutes before he had collected them all, yanking them out of his front and back pockets and tossing them crumpled back into the cabinets. He had only been instructed to take documents from certain rooms, and not to deal with anything in the hallways or side rooms. Xiying dusted off his hands on his trousers and rubbed the dust off from his nose ending with a deep breath and a cough.
Outside a car horn began to be played repeatedly. Xiying went back to the cart hastily and begun to quickly push it down the hallway.
He'd made it to the exit of the building, the glass double doors already smashed and swung open. The department was surrounded by dense white-bark savanna trees, dry shrubs and bushes, and cracked orange dirt. The only light came from the building itself and the light from a distance rural village downhill, the campsites like fireflies. Xiying knew the difficulty the local government had to endure to gain the rights to recover lost data from the building, tribal monarchs rarely gave an inch unless the federal government got involved or there were enough bribes to buy a new fancy house. They had to drive the vans around the villages on what few dirt roads that existed, taking them the entire day from sunrise to sunset to get from Pomodoria City to the building. He was not looking forward to the back trip. Xiying exhaled, speeding up and began to run with the cart through the rain around the side of the building towards four white unmarked vans, and towards the only one without its headlights on. With haste he swung its back doors open and tipped the cart's contents into an already full back and slammed the van's backdoors shut. He made is way to the side and hopped into the front, where another man, burly and clearly of Lysian descent, was already starting up the engine, the headlights buzzing to life. No sooner had he jumped in did the van begin to move, the other three vehicles doing the same as they moved into a single file line, down the unmarked dirt roads. The occasional dip in the mud causing the whole van to jostle and turn causing Xiying's stomach to churn. He'd already became acquainted with the driver, Yaotel, a silent man who only wanted to do his job. Seeing as he wasn't going to get any small talk of the man Xiying drooped his head onto the window and slowly went to sleep.
The sudden jostle of the vehicle woke Xiying from his sleep. The rattling noise of something loose within the van was only complimented by the continued rainfall, the rolling sludge of the mud beneath the wheels, and the faint echoes hidden within the savanna forests. Suddenly a walkie talkie next to the gear shift crackled to life, a lady speaking in an unrecognisable accent of Nawātl was being said was breathless and on high alert. The accent was too heavy for Xiying to understand, only hearing some lone words from Anglish such as 'banmāh' (vans), 'aleconiz' (electronics), and Yaotel's name. He'd turned his gaze briefly towards Yaotel, who leaned back in his chair, eyes dead set on the road. But before Xiying could turn back towards the window, the burly driver spoke up.
"You were asleep for four hours. Sunrise is in an hour, we'll be stopping at a nearby village for rest in half an hour."
Xiying's eyebrow rose. "I thought the contract stated we were not to dist-"
"We'll be stopping at a nearby village for rest in half an hour." Yaotel cut him off, his tone of voice monotonous. Not once did Yaotel take his eyes off the road. Once it was clear to Xiying the conversation was over, he twisted himself to look out the door window towards the endless dense trees and the occasional landmark. The three other vans remained behind them, all four going at a snails pace to prevent slipping off the roads. The contract specifically stated to not disturb the local villages, the last thing the local tribal monarchs want are unmarked government vans parading themselves down their roads and disturbing the local balances of power casually buying out entire local hostels or purchasing the most expensive meals at the only restaurant in the village. Nevertheless Xiying could sympathise with the drivers, Yaotel himself with heavy bags under his eyes.
"If they didn't want us to stay in a village, they'd have packed us with camping equipment." Xiying muttered to himself, crossing his arms. Yaotel in the back nodded and the van suddenly began to speed up. Distant twinkling of lights told him they were close. Xiying twisted his body, itchy from being in the same posture for hours on end, only to hear crumpling from his behind. He'd frown and shuffled forward, pulling out a crumpled unsealed letter from his back pocket. Yaotel's eyes finally dislodged themselves from the road, a frown creasing across his face. "You took a document from the department?"
"Hm, oh-" Xiying glanced at the partly folded letter, a broken red wax seal partly crumbled to dust and smeared on the envelope and most definitely on his trousers.
"-no. I must've forgotten I put it there. It's from the hallways so, nothing that could get us in trouble. I think." Xiying remarked, his voice tense. Yaotel's eyes turned back to the road.
"They're planning to burn the building down in a fortnight. I'd reckon it's important enough to be burned. What's inside?" Yaotel said, causing Xiying to squirm in his seat. He'd pull back the letter's envelope to pull out an ancient piece of paper. Scrawled across the paper were old Crescent Empire syllabic script and, surprisingly, old Esonyan script. It's distinct style even noticeable to a common man like Xiying.
"It's... Something. Esonyan and the Crescent Empire? How old is this document.." Xinying muttered in confusion, squinting his eyes and pursing his lips. At the bottom were two black lines, on the first was more Esonyan text, but the other black line was empty. Xinying pushed the paper back into the envelope and examined its back, revealing the date and context.
"1563, Chocolate Wars Treaty.." Xinying read out, causing Yaotel's eyebrows to raise higher than before.
"1563? That's bloody old. Don't know what the Chocolate Wars are though." He responded, the burly man quickly flicking his eyes from the road to the letter then back. The village lights now brighter with the individual shanty homes of the rural village now visible, light from the sun peeping out from behind the horizon.
"Chocolate Wars. Chocolate Wars." Xinying repeated in a loud whisper, looking up with eyes tightly closed. "Can't think of anything."
"We can always check when we finally arrive back in Pomodoria City." Yaotel said, slowing down the van.
"Sound's dumb." He'd remark with a scoff, still holding the envelope, finally looking up to see the village ahead.
Chapter 1, Scene 1: Oyānci
Archpriest Oyānci, the uncle-in-law of the first ever Archpriestess (Archpriestess Moyoluani), was the Archpriest who led the Azlo from the Great Paran lake in 8 BCE by the orders of Lōzōnxicoyol herself. Before Oyānci, the Azlo had many archpriests and each archpriest was said to be the divine "Cōconēλ" (Directly translates to "Mouth Piece" or "Puppet") of separate Wēcatoc deities. Under the guidance of Oyānci, the Azlo who left the lake came to be unified under the banner of Ce Meƶλ, The Mun. Without the groundworks for a near-unified religion, the Crescent Empire could not of ever unified lands from the Paluvian Rainforest to the Synthe Bay, to the Paititi mountains, to the Manamana Isthmus.
A middle-aged man, around his late forties, early fifties, in a yellow-cream military jacket was hunched over head down at a gnarled dusty wooden table with numerous yellow-stained documents and large A3 sheets of rolled out and bent maps. The room he was in shook slightly, cream-coloured dust trickling from the ceiling, the same colour as the ceiling and cracked walls. The room was dead silent, but soon began to be periodically cut by the rattling of distant gunfire and eventually built up to be like an orchestra of woodpeckers, the sounds of individual bangs from the guns merged into one long drawn out buzz. Thankfully for Alez he was not on the front lines down at Pezidenteza Street, he was two streets back at their temporary base, but the periodic hallowing echoes of faraway explosives still trickled cold sweat down his neck. He was far too close to the conflict for his liking. In the outlying front lines, the roaring of a collapsing concrete building echoed through the streets followed by broken up cheering. Alez wasn't sure if that was his own side cheering or that of the opposing forces, but the fact that the long drawn out buzz of machine guns did not end had dampened any hope in his heart. The greyish wooden door - the only way in and out of the room - rattled causing Alez to flinch in place, his head glancing up towards his door. A small part of his brain almost hoped it was the men of the opposing force, finally here to put him out of his misery, but instead it was another man in a similar yellow-cream military jacket, with grey combat trousers and a partially unbuttoned grey shirt.
"We have the map, sir." The man declared, saluting to the hunched man. Alez sighed, his eyes locking with the man.
"Please Camillo, I have repeatedly requested that you call me Alez. I am no more a sir then General-President Tario is."
"Yes si--Alez." Camillo stumbled. "The map you requested of the city has arrived."
"Excellent, thank you." Alez replied. Two more individuals in similar jackets stepped through the door, one (a lady) holding a large rolled up tube of paper held together only by an elastic band and the other (a man) with a single plastic wallet with several cleaner papers inside. The hunched man finally stood up properly, sweeping aside several of his papers to make room. "I'd have expected we'd afford more than a single rubber band to be wrapped around our most valuable current intelligence." Alez sarcastically commented, before being cut by Camille.
"There was a problem s–Alez. The scouting men came across numerous wandering soldiers, General-President soldiers, beyond our controlled territory." He commented, the man with the paper rolled it out on to the table for all men currently in the room to see.
"It's incomplete." Alez snarled, backhanding a pile of paper near himself to the ground, sheets of paper sprawling out everywhere. The two newcomers traded anxious stares before Alez let out a frustrated sigh with a hand to the bridge of his nose. "I'm fine, we're fine. This is still useful. The map ends where President-General soldiers were contacted? Camille?"
“Is this the only map?” Alez questioned, his voice still tense a bit raspy but now looking back to the three men. The old man pulled out a thick black pen from his table and stacks of papers. He turned his head back to Camille.
“No sir, just a copy.” He replied, his voice a tad quieter then previously.
“Excellent” Alez remarked as he carved out great black line across the map following where the surveyed area ended, the scraping of the marker against the paper ringing out across the now silent room. Once Alez finished he took several steps back, the black line going from the top to the bottom of the city map.
"Then this still gives us a rough indication of current front lines of the liberation of the city. If there were lone General-President men, we can safely assume they were attempting to survey the arena of battle themselves. But they held this city before it was even evacuated, why would they need multiple men out beyond the active front lines? They only have so many men at the old city hall building.."
"Perhaps they are looking to find a hole in our defences?” Camille postulated, the three other men and women in the room turning to him. Camille bent over the map pulling out a Sitallian copper peso, the older lady frowned as she folded her arms – waiting for her turn to speak. “Whilst the General in the city hall has a portion of his men on Pezidenteza Street,” He began, sliding the coin from the town hall to Pezidenteza Street, then rummaging for a smaller silver peso he dropped it back at the city hall on the map, dragging it over several streets to the side. “The General sends out a secondary force to our flank, in hopes of breaking through to Pezidenteza.” He continued, moving both pesos into the street and towards the University. “And break through.” Camille concluded, swiping both pesos back into his pocket. He nodded to the lady, but before she could speak the whole room shook as dust sprinkled from the ceiling and a crack in the wall. The echoes of a second falling building – louder than before – erupted followed shortly by faint cheering. Alez shook his head, sighing and turning his attention to the lady.
"They are desperate." The lady stated, her eyes squinted as the wrinkles on her face curled around. She was the oldest of the four, her salt and pepper hair that was more salt than pepper showed that well. "Before our men came together, my men fought at Papapietolia on the coast. They sent out men to find a clean route into the front lines. Week later, President tanks and heavy artillery arrived. Half my men were lost on a single day and we were forced to flee from the city. f*cking spineless men. Soon as they believe they might loose, they run to daddy Tario and-" The lady was cut off as a young man in a basic grey uniform burst into the room, breathing frantically. Alez's face burned red.
"What in the damned Hell do you think you're doing?! What's your name division so I know who to smack later?" The old man roared towards the young boy.
"Oyānci s-sir, the Ƶantico d-division! Alez, sir! I-its your son!" The man cried out, with Alez's face going from red to purple.
"Well dammit boy! What Hell has he gotten himself into?!" He snarled, slamming a fist onto the table causing a single sheet of paper to flutter to the ground and Camille to flinch.
"He's at the first aid camp, he got shot at th--" Once again, no one can get a single word out as Alez stormed past the boy and down a hallway, leaving the young man to the ire of the three men and women.
(OOC: Yes, your idea is good. If you or anybody else has more of this kind of ideas - just tell. The more, the better. I officially start this RP now. Anyone who wants to join later: Please contact me via PM or via OOC-Message in this topic).
The most important newspaper in the Empire
A DAY OF HAPPINESS IN THE EMPIRE
Our most benevolent Emperor, Jacob Menelassar III., inaugurated the monument of his father, the great George Menelassar I. who died exactly 15 years ago. Our emperor said:
"There has never been a greater man on Earth. He formed the most advanced Empire ever seen on this planet. Our progress is unstoppable and the day when Tamurin will dominate Europa and the world will come. This century will be remembered as the "Century of Tamurin". Knowledge, Technology and the Spirit of Progress and Power are localized and concentrated most in our great nation.
We have to stand united against all threats from within and without. Other Empires, like the old corrupt Byzantinum Empire, are threatening us in a desperate attempt to stop our progress. Byzantinum-led political groups inside our great nation are trying to weaken and divide our country. We cannot let this happen! We have to stand united! Remember the spirit of our people when this great Empire was founded. Honour the name of my father and all your fathers in continueing, what they started."
The speech of the Emperor was followed by cheers, applause and rejoicing.
The monument of George Menelassar I.
In the biggest fleet manoeuvre since the founding of our great Empire, the imperial fleet has once again proven that it is the most powerful and advanced Navy in the world.
The 5th fleet before departing to the manoeuvre
"Our navy would crush any enemy!" said Admiral von Tarnoff. "Our guns are very precise and our shells will penetrate any armour! Nothing can defeat this great navy."
Imperial Cruiser "Tiger", one of the medium-class warships of our navy, personal ship of Admiral von Tarnoff
"One day this great Navy will be seen at all shores of this world. And when this day comes, I will be among a very special shore, looking at the burning ships of a very specific navy..."
The imperial naval port Arrabar
REPUBLICAN TERRORISTS SENTENCED TO DEATH
The five leaders of the Republican Terrorist Cell "Republican Progress Now", who were captured two days ago trying to place a bomb near the Imperial Palace, have been sentenced to death by shooting. The execution will take place in two days.
The Republican Party, always sympathizing with terrorists, protested, but was overruled by the Upper House.