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Good Neighbours...

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The door to the command room opened slowly, and the lights were turned on, revealing a large room, the decoration of which would have done a medieval castle proud, rather than the bunker that was at the heart of the Greater Holy Empire's military machine, linked to the rest of the nation and the wider region by innumerable high-tech features. One of the officers entering the room sniffed at the musty air, which further put one in mind of an ancient stronghold, seldom visited by anything but moths, mice and ghosts.


?You?d have thought they?d have fixed the air conditioning since the AdSoc War.?


At the centre of the room, rather out of place considering the other decoration of ancient flags, old suits of armour and antique oak panelling, was a large table with a screen set in the middle, capable of receiving live feeds from spy satellites operated by the Greater Holy Empire. Other consoles at places along the wooden panelled walls sprang into life as a staff officer went around, turning on different pieces of equipment. The first speaker spoke again.


?Why are we here, anyway? I didn?t think High Command was set to meet for another few weeks.?


There was an intake of breath, a kind of reverse sigh, before he was answered by a Ministry of War official, as if the person had had to answer this question too many time before to too many people. ?That?s true, General Wulfstan. The High Command isn?t to meet until the 23rd, but the Imperial Government has called the unit commanders from the north together. Haruspex is beginning to concern them due to their recent mobilisation.?


?Well, yes. But aren?t those bastards always doing this sort of thing? Posturing for the wider region in their own little totalitarian hell-hole??


?The little information we?ve been receiving shows that this isn?t just posturing for the benefit of the wider world anymore,? carried on the official. ?We suspect they?re considering an attack on Beautancus, considering their history together, but we don?t know when or how.?


?And we?re here because we have the commands nearest their border?? asked a second general, a tall man with black hair and a single eye, the other covered by an eye patch.


?That?s true, Catepan-General. The Holy Emperor suspects that the Greater Holy Empire may be drawn into any conflict between the Glorious Dominion and Machina Haruspex. So the Imperial Government is considering drawing the armies that fought in the Adapton War back together. Already the Fyrd in Defnascir has been put on alert, as well as the High Seas Fleet stationed in Exanceaster.? The Fyrd were the native army units in Defnascir (OOC: My island to the north) that had been absorbed into the People's Guard when Defnascir became part of the Greater Holy Empire.


?I?m command a division again?? asked General Wulfstan. The Tagmatine Army never maintained units larger than a battalion, bar the Cataphract Corps, longer than an operation was going on. The divisions, corps and armies formed during the Adapton War had been broken down and the battalions involved sent back to their respective barracks. Wulfstan had, however, incurred the wrath of his commanding officer due to a blunder in the recent Adapton conflict and had been stripped of his divisional command.


?Yes. And the Cataphract Corps needs to be ready to mobilise, general. I need you to consider cancelling all leave for your soldiers. We can?t tell when, or if, the Haruspex will attack. The entirety of the armed forces in the north of the Greater Holy Empire will be on alert, as well as those across the Borea, just in case our friends to the south decide to take advantage of any combat in the north to invade.?


The two generals shared a glance across the central table, looks of unease creeping over their faces. Such a move would hit the Greater Holy Empire hard, especially when dealing with an enemy as implacable as the Haru. They both heard the rumours.


?When can we expect the units brought together, then?? asked the Cataphract commander, concern edging his voice.


?The orders have been sent out by the Ministry of War. Preparations will begin in the next few days, and by the end of next week the army should be fully ready to mobilise if things take a turn for the worst.?


EDIT: Added or changes a few things in the post.

Edited by Tagmatium Rules (see edit history)
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Not even a day had passed since the Ministry of War under-minister had instructed the two army generals been given a briefing on the changing situation in the Occident, but the command room was being used once again. This time, a full meeting of the Tagmatine High Command had been called. The High Command consisted of the highest ranking military officers in the Greater Holy Empire and it decided on the actions of the Tagmatine military ? although most of the time, it merely acquiesced to the Holy Emperor?s wishes. But that didn?t mean it wasn?t argumentative.


?I don?t see why we should attempt to stir up Machina Haruspex,? said an army officer. ?They have not threatened the Greater Holy Empire in any way, shape or form. They have only reacted to our own build-up. Even if they are moving to attack Beautancus, is this not just the brawling of two barbarian nations? Neither of them is even remotely civilised!? The soldier?s words were greeted by murmurs of agreement from several others seated around the central table.


The Minister of War sighed. He was presiding over this meeting, attempting to bring the High Command around to the Imperial Government?s thinking. Ordinarily, the military wouldn?t respect a civilian official meddling in their affairs, but Honorius Kontarian was from a family with a long, proud martial tradition. Plus, they knew he spoke with the authority of the Holy Emperor himself.


?Gentlemen ? and ladies,? Kontarian remembered that the Drungarius of the Sea of Kings fleet was a woman, as well as the Domestic of the Territorial Guard and a Dux in the air force, ?allow me to draw your attention to this broadcast. It recently came from Machina Haruspex, and I believe it shows there true intentions. Listen to the words??


Panelling on the far wall smoothly slid apart, revealing a large plasma screen. It flickered into life, showing rank upon rank of soldiers dressed in dark armour. A woman was speaking from a podium, and her words echoed around the room.


?Loyal soldiers, crusaders for our cause and goal. The time nears, our neighbours grow weary, and our long enemy is awake once more. The word of our progress shall reach many, and they will know we are prepared. We are coming, like the storm, and there will be no mercy to the fallen weak.?


The minister touched another button, and the video ended as the panelling slid back.


?As you can see from that, they appear hell-bent on at least attacking Beautancus. But the rhetoric appears to indicate that they will also try to attack Tagmatium, as they believe that all their neighbouring regimes are weak. Therefore, we?ve been mobilising the forces on the northern border, in case the Haru do decide to invade us.?


?Minister Kontarian, this still is acting on rumours,? said the officer from before. ?We don?t know if they truly are going to attack us.?


?General Arbitio, don?t get me wrong, I value your opinions, but this time I don?t believe they are needed,? replied Kontarian, anger . ?Diplomats and experts on the Haru I have spoken to have agreed with me. We will be facing a war within months. I?m not here to listen to your? cowardice. This is what we will be doing, whether you like it or not. I want your logistics units to be ready as soon as possible.? He stood up and made for the door, fury emanating off him. The fact that he had stood up without offering a reason to the high-ranking officers showed some disrespect, even though the Minister of War did in theory out rank them. It wasn?t a move calculated to do so, but many of them blustered to themselves at this show of disrespect.

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The wind was cold as it howled through the small mountain valley. Beside the road which wound its way though the scrubby heather and sheer cliffs ran a small stream, crystal clear and full of snowmelt. Even in summer, the mountains up here were still capped with snow and the skies were usually clear. Today, however, the sky was full of dark, brooding clouds, making it feel as if sky itself knew that a real storm was coming.


Further down the road was a small checkpoint, which marked the northern border of the Greater Holy Empire and the no man?s land beyond. The checkpoint consisted of a simple red-and-white striped barrier with a concrete guard post at either side, as well as a ancient concrete bunker which acted as a barracks, a command post and a machine gun nest further up the hillside. Not that such a thing was ever needed here, an area of Tagmatium that hardly ever saw trouble, not even during the Civil War. The soldiers stationed up here had continued with their duties as if nothing had happened, patiently waiting to see if the coup failed or won. As it happened, the coup was crushed after hard fighting, but it made no change up this high. It was considered a dead-end posting, with no chance of promotion or glory. The last action that had been seen up here was when a small group of bandits had tried to take over the post to extort tolls what little traffic there was through the valley, and even that was a good seven years ago. The bandits had been seen off with little trouble, and life, such as it was, had returned to its slow paced normality.


Two soldiers stood behind the barrier, on the roadway, idly watching an eagle circle over head. Neither of them had exchanged a word in over half an hour, purely because they?d said everything they could say ages ago. Not as if there were any conversation topics up here.


Presently, one of them took out a cardboard packet of cigarettes, took one out, replaced the pack, placed the cigarette in his mouth and lit it with a cheap disposable lighter. The smell of harsh, cheap tobacco from the lowlands filled the air.


?I thought you?d said you?d given up,? said the non-smoking soldier, not turning his attention away from the eagle, which had begun to dive towards some unseen prey.


The smoker took a few, slow drags on his cigarette before answering.


?Yeah. I went out with a few mates from back home when I was on leave. Had a few when I was out, got me going again.?


The other nodded sagely, as if that had explained everything. No words were exchanged for a few minutes,


?Here anything interesting when you were back home?? asked the non-smoker.


The smoker finished his cigarette and ground it into the tarmac with a boot heel. ?Not much, really. Heard that the Confederacy have gone socialist, of all things. Bit of a surprise.? The soldier paced towards his own guard hut and fished about inside, reappearing with the Thermos flask. He gestured towards the other soldier, who shook his head. The smoker shrugged and poured himself out a cup of tea, grimacing as he realised it was cold.


?You know,? said the non-smoker, ?I heard the ensign talking to Sergeant Metellus about how there was some trouble brewing up north.? He punctuated his point with a vague gesture up the road with a wave of his gloved hand. ?Something about troop movements in Haruspex. Apparently Tagmatica?s a bit flustered about it and is reforming the units used in the Adapton War.? Even that, the most recent conflict Tagmatium had been involved in was just an item of conversation for the border guards.


The other guard poured away the dregs of his cold tea from the Thermos and placed it back in the guard hut. He returned to his side of the road and turned to look north, up the deserted valley.


?Oh, really??


?Yep. Thought it was just sabre-rattling, but you can?t really tell with barbarians. You know how they love conflict.?


It was the smoker?s turn to nod. All Tagmatines knew how barbarians, especially those like the Cussians and Akiiryans, were fuelled by conflict and their love of gold. ?Those Haruspex lot do give me the creeps, though. They look like a load of extras from a sci-fi film.


?Yeah, they?re a weird lot. As bad as the Civil Protection from AdSoc.?


The both soldiers, their conversation run out for the next few hours, turned their attention back up the valley. In the distance, a wolf howled and was answered.

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The land rover ground to a halt and a lieutenant colonel, along with an orderly, dismounted from the vehicle. The sergeant in command of the border post saluted the officer, who was the commander of the border guard?s battalion. The lieutenant colonel nodded towards the Haru.


?These are our new neighbours, then, sergeant??


?Yessir. They moved in after flying a ?copter about.?


The officer nodded. Apparently, the nearest air force base had scrambled a pair of fighters to investigate, but when they had arrived on the scene, the enemy helicopter had already moved on. High Command had been a bit jittery over it, and had placed a squadron of Vulcans on standby in case it heralded a full scale invasion, although the battalion commander wasn?t aware of that last part.


With the colonel looking across at the Haru deployed across the border, the sergeant felt compelled to fill the void of conversation.


?They look an odd bunch, don?t they, sir? With their dodgy suits and masks??


?Yes, sergeant, that?s the idea. They?re supposed to unnerve enemy troops because they don?t look quite human,? replied the commander in a disinterested tone. They struck the colonel as most like, physically, Tagmatium?s own III secret police, who wore vaguely similar all-grey bodysuits and reflective visors, although he didn?t suppose this lot quite had the same reputation of ineptness and impotence. ?Very well, sergeant. Carry on, and don?t do anything stupid. I don?t want a war kicking off over this little, unimportant valley.?


The sergeant saluted, and the lieutenant colonel climbed back into his land rover and sped off back towards battalion HQ. The sergeant turned back to the rest of the guardsmen, who had taken to idly watching the progress of the Haru checkpoint.


?Come on, you lazy bastards! Stop gawping at those heathen scum get back to your posts! Just because there ain?t any traffic, doesn?t mean you can stop guarding! What the hell are those heathens going to think if they see proper soldiers standing about!? Move it!?

?So the heathens have finally invaded?? asked the Catepan-General


?Yep. I wonder if that means we?ll be crossing the mountains?? replied the Cataphract Commander. Both men were walking along a corridor deep in the Imperial Palace Complex to meet with a Ministry of War underminister, or possibly even the minister himself, who would undoubtedly be answering the general?s question.


?I don?t know,? growled the first officer. ?I hope not. I?m still hunting down f*cking opium farmers and bastard bandits in Eastea. I don?t have time to act as a damned border guards unit and stop those damned heathens spilling over the border in retaliation.?


?But wouldn?t the native population give a hand if the Haru do attack?? Eastea was Tagmatium?s last expansion, and it had given the Greater Holy Empire a region full of warlords, religious fanatics, opium farmers, bandits and general lawlessness. The Imperial Government had responded by making the troops who were sent there to guard against foreign invasion act as a gendarmerie and giving the general, Anthony Trajan, in charge full political and military power over the region. So far, he?d managed to defeat most petty-states, through violence or political means, the largest becoming themes (administrative regions), and the lawlessness was now confined to the mountains. The main problem was opium, as it had fuelled the economy of the area for years, providing very good money. It also was the area of origin of the vast majority of all illegal heroin in the region. Conceivably, they?d give support to the Tagmatines if the Haru invaded, or they could prove a massive thorn in the side of the Greater Holy Empire?s soldiers.


?f*ck knows,? answered Trajan, itching under his eye patch. ?Most of them may give a hand, but up in the bloody mountains, the buggers will fight any idiot who comes their way.?


?Well, either way, we?ve got to directly assault the heathens? defensive lines. I don?t particularly want to do that. Hard enough bloody time getting those fortresses down in Adaptus, with those damned Civil Protection fighting to the last. This time, it looks like a whole nation of the bastards.?


The generals came to the small office of the Ministry of War that was located in the Imperial Palace Complex.


?Well, here we go??

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At the border of this snow and dirt filled wasteland between the greater empire of the Haruspex, and this..so called modern civilized nation of Tagamatium, Jul Xukuth, Ji of the House Renor Xukuth stood upon this empty land, looking across the divide of barbed wire and mines to the guard shack of the Tagamatium, who had brought more forces into the area as well.


Behind his mask, the information about the scope of his vision painted terrain, identified heat sources and so on. They could perform an x-ray like scan of the soldiers across the way of them, seeing their internal organs beneathe simple cloth. A feat that would find resistance being done to one of the Tagnik Zun and or the Xukuth which shared a secret bloodline with the afore mentioned shock troops.


His subordinate Ka'nar a Liet of the same house, indeed a brood brother from the same stock of eugenic approved dna. The younger's voice echoed his thoughts and it brought a glimpse of a smile beneathe the headgear before it vanished.Ush'akal, lu'oh verve z'klaen udos stare a nindolen..civilized yibin sjaad'uren whol natha dazzan?


A subtle nod from head as replying, the electronic dampner made the speech come out inhuman, slithering in it's mechanical undertones that unnerved even the most faithful. It could send Cussians into a rage, a blood feud that was ingrained into the minds and hearts of their ever nemesis.Udos fre'sla a l' edge d'lil velvel hwuen l' Orthae Ilhar d' udossa jal, telanthen otherwise.


Ka'nar nodded in reverance to the reference and stepped backwards a bit, offered a dip of head and then headed back towards the rest of the line from the recon point that Jul had taken to. Presenting himself for full view, and when it was dark, he would still be there, artificial light glowed in the sockets of the headgear, a light blue hue similiar to halogen.


Behind their leader, the compliment at this section of the border had taken up defensive positions, while the workers continued to well..work. Bunkers and trenches could not be built in one day, it would take time and so far they had plenty. He knew of the type that was Tagamatium. They had lost the lust for power, and glory, and would keep from the fighting as long as possible, even sacrificing friends to the doom of the age before committing.


Could they afford to, with each hour, another company of the Xukuth arrived. With each hour vehicles came, digging into position here as well as in the mountains, forests and vales. Helicopters patrolled the Haruspex side of the border, their searchlights stabbing into the night, a pale red. Crisscrossing the earth, as the rumble of engines kept the local wildlife from existing in the form of sound.


The Age of the Knife has arrived.

Sheathed until..the time is right.

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The sergeant in command looked through a pair of binoculars with a worried expression on his face. The increasing Haru numbers were definitely of concern to him, especially as the Imperial Government itself didn?t seem to be worrying about it. Had they once again forgotten about this small patch of the Greater Holy Empire, like they had on so many occasions? He hoped not. His nine soldiers would definitely not put up much resistance, especially considering that the emplacements on the Tagmatine side, the height of military technology in the 1930s, would be made a mockery of by modern artillery. On top of that, the largest pieces of ordinance at the squad?s disposal was an old Bofors anti-aircraft gun and a quad-mount .50 calibre gun, mounted to cover the two guard shacks that barred the roadway.


The sergeant sighed to himself and turned to walk down from the roof of the bunker where the AA gun was mounted when he noticed a piece of card board was propped up against the gun mount. He picked it up and flipped it over. Written in big, red letters were the words ?Your Empress is a prostitute?. He swore to himself out loud. The sergeant folded it in two and tucked it under his arm before clattering down the metal ladder into the bowels of the bunker. He hoped the Haru wouldn?t take that as too much of a provocation, as he didn?t particularly wish to have to attempt to defend this decrepit bunker against the overwhelming forces the Haru were deploying just across the border.


The noise of grinding tracks echoing through the valley made the sergeant stop in his descent into the bunker and climb out again on to the top of the defensive position


More Haru to keep us company, the sergeant thought glumly to himself. However, to his surprise, he saw a large group of Warrior APCs and several CVR(T) light tanks grinding up from the Tagmatine side of the border. The lead light tank, a command vehicle with no turret, ground to a halt and a young officer swung himself out of the back of it.


?Captain Tagmatius Libanius, A Company, 4th Imperial Guard Trapezitae Battalion,? he said returning the sergeant?s salute. Captain Libanius turned to look up the road. ?Looks like the heathens have been busy buggers,? he said in cheerful tones. Behind him, his company piled out of their APCs and drew themselves up into parade formation. The border guards, at least those off duty, had exited the bunker and were gawping as the Imperial Guardsmen removed pieces of equipment from the insides of the APCs and dumped them along the roadway. The sergeant had also emerged from the bunker and now stood alongside Captain Libanius.


?Why have you lot been sent here?? He couldn?t help himself question the officer on why he?d been sent here.


?Because your lieutenant colonel?s report has sufficiently worried High Command,? the officer replied, still cheerful. ?There?s a Libratores company coming up shortly, too. We?re here to make sure those heathen bastards don?t try anything before we?re ready. The engineers will strengthen the defences. Christ, that thing must be old,? Libanius? attention had been caught by the Bofors gun mounted on the top of the bunker. ?It must be worth more as a museum piece than as a weapon. Anyway, sergeant, you and your men are now under my command.? He looked quizzically at the folded cardboard under the sergeant?s arm, who unfolded it and showed it to the captain. Libanius? bark of laughter echoed around the valley.


EDIT: Spelling

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Jul had been at the border for some time, as acting junior officer for this particular crossing point, it was up to him to monitor, report, and serve as the rigid line towards those who bore the ways of battle such as the soldiering caste required.


Across a scant distance, the Tagmatium defenders had scrawled lewd messages, heckled and thrown gestures of obscenity. Those on guard, at point, in their suits and headgear had remained motionless, statues during the day and the night. They were watching you see, learning the bodylanguage, mannerisms of their enemies. Those who made their case more vocally or with and gestures, they would be remembered and when this border was crushed beneathe the might of the Haruspex, Jul was certain they would find out how much they, the defenders of Tagmatium, would laugh then.


Footsteps heard, the recycled air making soft pumping sounds as channeled throughout the attire worn, providing the body with cool air, near frigid even so as to show up negatively on thermal scanning devices such as IR lights and so on. A pause of his study, his observations as words flowed from the other. Usstan zhahus della dos zhahen fris ghil kaoveh. Usstan gumash naut z'reninth ol. L' thalack zhah dosst calling, 'zil dosst xukuth uriu shown mzil natha draeval. Ele nindol k'lar? It was Kos, Siet-Khan of the Highland Rifles Regiment, a sub-legion within the House of Xukuth. The grip was not meant to be heavy, but it weighed several tonnes in his mind as a reply came forth. Usstan alu vel'klar l' Nei quarthen kaoveh. Ussta dek'za zhahus della ulu doer ghil, qua'laen l' heathens d' nindol k'lar. Usstan zhaunau d' dosst coming ussta Khan. Usstan tlun 'zil zuch a dosst service. Whol Bel'la. Whol Ib'ahalii. Whol Vlos. Goros l' elghinn.


In a swift movement, here upon the border before these heretic's of the southern border, these peoples of Tagmatium, an act would be seen that was not privy to outsiders. " L' mora d' vlos bel'la ", as it was termed, or loosely translated as " The act of blood honor ". Jul dropped to his knee's, both of them. Ceremonial combat blade extended in left hand, and as it could never be drawn without shedding blood, he clenched his right hand about the blade and cut deeply. Ember droplets ran a river down the blade, eventually smearing alongst the length of such. Head bowed, said blade was then offered to Kos.


Xun naut chi' dosst xukuth 'sohna kaoveh. Elghinn orn tlu l' price d' folt morad lu' rath'argh ulu dosst kaas. Kos took the blade and then walked away, leaving his cousin to stop the bleeding via a method to go with this rite. Ash taken to the wound, and then lit with a blue flame. He screamed in agony as the searing, cauterizing of the flesh took place and leaned down for a moment. Seconds turned to minutes and then he arose once more, assuming the station of a pillar at the border, rifle shoulder at an angle with the barrel pointed downwards. He would not be alone, others had come and formed a phalax.



Border Command Post

Southern Haruspex



The form of the recently arrived Siet-Khan Kos was more then a bit worn out. Recently pulled from the Western Deployments, to aid in the speedy defensive positioning of the Southern forces. As requested, an entire regiment of the 77th S-64B main battle tanks had arrived just a few minutes ago. With bunkers being built into the rock, to shelter the armored companies and their support craft, the visible defense fell to scores of light armor. AAT-3's and various versions of the eight wheeled armored transport that carried the mechanized rifle legions. His greatest asset is that he was given a free run of the territory concerning the border.


Able to call on helicopter gunships and support aerocraft, as well as fihter aerocraft from Tanya and Yulin. Provisional aeroports just a bit further from the border that had once just been cargo carrier dump and fly spots. AA Batteries had been digging in for weeks around the area, as a precursor to the border being beefed up as it was.


Intelligence teams had long detected the arrival of the armored cavalry from the Empire of Tagmatium. A benefit he did not think Tagmatium itself had very much of concerning the Haruspex's legionary movements. This small advantage had allowed for positioning of the mobile artillery cannons and other long range offensive weapons in the relative safety of the hills. It said mountain on the map, but to a man of the Highlands, he knew a mountain when he saw it, and these were not they. A chuckle escaped as he looked over a variety of maps and so forth, making his aides slightly uncomfortable and then hushed seeing as none of them shared the same birth locale. Ah well..


From this point on, his treks outside would be limited. Not for orders or any such thing, but because he didnt want Tagmatium's border guards getting anymore information for their intelligence dossiers then was needed. It as unfortuante that he had to deal with Jul in such a public manner, but the wills and rituals were not compromising. They would have a small insight, it could not be helped. His report to high command would not mention it, it was a trivial thing that did not need the drama of a Vice Lord breathing down his air tubes to strike at his neck.

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Alexius Theodorocanus, the Tagmatine ambassador to the Sublime Principate, was a familiar site at court these days. He generally didn?t bother with the usual diplomatic motorcade from the embassy to the palace, primarily because it was hardly necessary. Plus, when the Greater Holy Empire?s closest ally asked for an audience, it didn?t do to faff about. Theodorocanus clutched at the sheaf of papers under his arm and nodded to an acquaintance as he climbed the steps to the palace. The papers outlined the Imperial Government?s views on both Beautancus and Haruspex, as those two nations were the reason behind Theodorocanus? summoning before the Prince Neonaric.


Theodorocanus himself was a career diplomat, having served the Old Republic and the Imperial Government of Theodosius I before this current regime under Commodus III and had followed in his father?s and his grandfather?s footsteps of joining the diplomatic corps. He?d been the Tagmatine ambassador to Akiiryu since the end of the Tagmatine Civil War, and had grown to like the nation and know its customs and traditions well. He mentally reviewed his instructions as he was shown through to the Royal Apartments. The Canal might well come up, and the Imperial Government was wary about the amount of Akiiryan troops being stationed there, even if they were beneficial to both the defence of the Canal and continuing relations between the two nations.


The door was opened to the office and Theodorocanus bowed to the prince as he was shown in.


?Good afternoon, your highness, I trust today finds you well??


Once the prince had answered to the affirmative, the Tagmatine ambassador took his seat, after the Prince had taken his seat across the desk. A cup of tea, made from the strong tea-leaves from slopes of the northern Tagmatine mountains, was offered and gratefully accepted by Theodorocanus. The Tagmatine was here to brief the Akiiryan monarch on the Imperial Government?s views on the Glorious Dynamocracy, Machina Haruspex, their war and the myriad other crises that rocked the Occident at the moment. Theodorocanus took a sip from his tea before starting.


?Your highness, as you would have undoubtedly seen, the current situation in the Occident is a fairly chaotic one. We have a war up to the north of Tagmatium and two expansionist nations to the south. And, as your majesty certainly knows, the Imperial Government is meeting with both sides of the conflict. I can assure you that Tagmatium is entirely on the side of Beautancus, but, as a large-scale war in the north is in no-ones? interest, we are also meeting with representatives in order to attempt to secure peace, however futile that may be.


?Of course, this doesn?t mean that Tagmatium is afraid of securing peace by force, as the past has shown. The Northern Army, as well as several other large formations, have been mobilised and are on stand-by if the situation does deteriorate any further, but the High Command isn?t keen on attacking directly across the Cotswalan Mountains, as the Haru have been heavily fortifying their border since the before the current conflict, in case we came to the aid of the Cussians.


?I think this also takes us onto the subject of war games. The Imperial Government would be more than happy to take part in such war games on Tagmatine soil, and is especially keen that these take place in the north of Tagmatium, to show the Haru that we do indeed mean business, to hopefully overawe them and remind them of their place on the Occident. The Imperial Government also wishes that some of the units taking part are experienced in mountain combat, as I believe that the High Command wants to get some of the Tagmatine Army more familiar with such actions.


?The Imperial Government has also heard whisperings that any future action in the Occident may be in conjunction with the Social Democratic Confederation. Tagmatica, to be blunt, isn?t keen on such a thing. The SDC, if I may abbreviate, was until recently, if your highness remembers, a nation that took an aggressive line with the Greater Holy Empire. The Imperial Government considers the SDC too? unsettled, like all of these democracies? ? the word was said with some scorn ? ?they flip from one end of the political spectrum to the other and are too changeable in their attitudes. Tagmatium isn?t sure whether they will make a dependable ally, taking into consideration their penchant for changing their leadership every few years. After all, our two nations? closest ally, Adaptus, is such a democracy, and can anyone remember the last time they had a truly consistent leadership for long?


?Finally, I think, is Tagmatium?s erstwhile ally, Suverina. Indeed, I think we?re still bound to them by the League of the Treaty, but I suspect that fact can be ignored. Their alliance to Haruspex may just be an attempt to garner some friends in the wider region, but it has backfired to some extent, as your highness will know. Red Iberic Workers, to some extent Suverina?s natural ally, has openly criticised the move by Suverina to align itself with the northern warmongers, leaving the pariah state of Europa even more isolated.?


OOC: Aki, if this is in the wrong place, please do feel free to split it. Thanks!

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Southern Border

34th Mzil Velven Tank Regiment


Cupola hatch slammed upwards and back with a loud clang. The yellow and black tiger striped paint job on the S-80U MBT set it apart from the other vehicles in the area. It also had vehicle kill markers upon it's left side of the turret. Siet-Khan Kolj was of the fraternity of comrades that were known throughout the Haruspex as the " Renor Oura". In the new english, it meant " Black Tiger ".


Kolj had little understanding of why they were at this godsforsaken border posting when all the real fighting was up north. Glumly sitting there, staring through the field optics towards the dinky sheds and the collection of light-medium armor about parked all about because of the way the border's viable parking space was. It didnt really exist. Woodlands...any tanker worth his salt felt a love-hate relationsip with tree's and so forth. Muttered a bit and then looked down into the compartment at his driver Liet Kota. Ji, dos talinth udos zhal'la jihard bauth xor karliik rath ulu zig? Kota snorted at the suggestion of heading away and what not.


His reply of course fit the bill.Dos orn er'griff jivviim dosst standing. 'sohna. Lu' usst nindol draeval ulu probably.Gruff blech sound escaped past lips and then he hurrumphed a bit further before shaking head and settling in to watch boredly. They had traversed their side of the border, well in front of the Tagmatium soldiers. The rumble from the heavy beast of a panzer as his father would call it, sent vibrations right to one's bones. That was the power of any tank, large and in charge with a big sign that said.." Here I am! ".


Near a rocky outcropping now, patiently awaiting the rest of the regiment to eventually head up this way. Those Tagnik Zun gave him the willies. Resperators and what not, he shook off that feeling spawned by the idea of them. Kolj wasnt loyal to those at the bunkers, he owed his to one House and it to another of greater standing. It was nearing time and their were old wounds and vengences to be paid in full return to the inhuman appearing Tagnik Zun...

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It was a night like any other at the southern border. North Korea would indeed be jealous as already fortifications of the twenty four hours a day constuction on the Haruspex side was begining to emerge. Taking a cue from that afore mentioned idea of a border and adding in an appearance similiar to The Maginot Line. Domes of eclipsed turrets, and the square shapes of pillboxes and above ground bunkers.


As the flood lights illuminated the border, it was more then obvious that the Haruspex were digging in. If things went sour, there was to be defense of the southern region at all costs. Construction of the border defense was crucial as was it's offensive capabilities. Siet-Khan Kos had settled into a seat within the command bunker, just under a kilometer away from the main area, and underneathe a hill. A series of LCD screens showed the phases of construction going on to the other military commanders present.


Plucking up one of the clear plastic paper like sheets, he read aloud to give an idea of what the Haru border defenses were to those present.L' Southern Line zhah l' single mzilst area d' nou'hai do'suul d' nindyn a Inbalusen lu' Osiris. Morfeth nau duanda, ka klezn sour tu'fyr udossa lu' l' Tagmatium lodias, udos xal inbal hostile morad.


A point of his left finger towards the map displayed on the screen and as well on a projection of light that formed an image of display upon the table so all could get a good look. Red areas determined weaknesses, while blue suggested strength.Tagmatium zhah naut natha nation d' oolos. Nind ph' vetran sargtlinen d'lil AdSoc thalack. Udos z'klaen talinth d' mina 'zil malla muan, lu' treat mina 'zil folt. Ka udos harl sievazhau mina, ol gumash prove tlu natha disaster.


Several nods, and the first of many potential meetings had come to a close. The time of deliberation slowly dwindling and Kos ever the determind officer desired nothing less then to safeguard his legionnaires, and to see his family grow. This war south of them, it had a devestating potential as he contemplated on other matters while re-attaching his resperator and such of the suit. As an officer he didnt wear a helme, but he did have an inhuman look to him with the respirator and the eye pieces.


[detail of the border defensive line will be found in ooc section of haruspex]

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A camp table had been set up in the roadway behind the Tagmatine guard post, which had been temporarily commandeered by Major-General Cynewald, the commander of the Tagmatine Mountain Division, the closest thing the Greater Holy Empire possessed to a Special Forces outfit, although High Command itself frowned on Special Forces as dishonourable and it had taken Cynewald a lot of effort to persuade the High Command to keep his division together, rather than disbanding it after the AdSoc War, like all the other large units. If it was kept together, it would allow Cynewald time to continue the training programs he had developed, and hopefully enable him to make Tagmatium?s first regular irregulars. Cynewald himself was standing behind the table, looking through reports made of the progress of the Haru defences, or at least all that could be seen by Tagmatine intelligence. He was in clear few of the Haru, but he didn?t care. He very much doubted that the Haru would dare to shoot at him.


Cynewald frowned at the pictures before him. He had a copy of an aerial photograph from last year on the table, which showed minimal building on either side of the border, whilst the picture next to it, taken only days ago, showed that the Haru side had sprung fortifications like mushrooms on a field. Those would be hell to assault, if it ever came to that. There?d been rumours spreading around the Tagmatine Army and, indeed, the civilian population, that the Imperial Government was in peace talks with the Haru and the Cussians. However, other rumours had said that the Imperial Government had signed a non-aggression pact with the Haru, another said that Tagmatium was a day away from declaring war on Machina Haruspex, so most people didn?t know what was going on.


The Tagmatine side of the border had also grown some new defences, although they weren?t anywhere near the extent of those north of the border. Tagmatine military doctrine was for border stations to provide only early warning for units stationed further away from the border, rather than to actually defend the border from attack. Enemies would be allowed into Tagmatium, held down by provincial units whilst larger forces were gathered and brought to bear against the invaders, and then repulsed. It was, admittedly, an archaic tactic, but the Tagmatine High Command had difficulty in letting go of an idea, especially when it had served in good stead in ages past.


The major-general looked up the road to where a tiger-striped tank sat in all its gaudiness, and then up to the steep mountain-sides and woodland. This would be tank-killing territory, if it came down to it. A shadow was thrown over the folding table, and the officer turned around.


?You still here, sergeant??


The border guard sergeant nodded despondently. His quiet life had been entirely ruined in the last few weeks and looked set to never return. His small squad had been first bolstered by an Imperial Guards cavalry company, then a veteran People?s Guard infantry company and more recently a few units from the Tagmatine Mountain Division. The major-general ignored the informality of the reply and pointed up the road towards the Haru tank.


?Bloody painted mess, that?s what it is, sergeant. All these Haru do is pose in ridiculous uniforms that look like they?ve just come out of a film, hoping to scare the sh*t out of their enemies because they can?t fight properly.? Cynewald was prone to talking like that, deriding his enemies, but in truth, he was very much concerned with the defences that lay before him.

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Siet-Khan Kos, his command staff of Ji Jul, and Liet Ka'nar and other junior officers were arranged around the field command's portable table, in a tent nearby to the growing bunker defense line. Orders had come and Kos was a bit at a loss, he was being sent an additional force, of which one force had already arrived. Several S-80U's of the 34th Mzil Velven Tank Regiment were now about the line. Rumbling over the makeshift roads and so forth.


This wasnt the reinforcements he had in mind truthfully. The Mzil Velven were well known to be reservists usually. Though they did have their rare specialists, and the informaion provided showcased this panzer regiment to be highly experienced. The Siet-Khan that led them was of another heated debate. A man well known for taking initiative and defying orders. Siet-Khan Kolj, he could have had higher standing were it not for repeated defying authority marks. The Renor Xukuth command also didnt understand why they were even here, only that Fleet Lord Karn had approved it.


Kos grumbled, that crafty Renor Elemmiire leader was proving to be highly adaptable and opportunistic. If war came from Tagmatium, much of the glory could fall upon Karn, for his valiant defense of the border defenses, and not upon the Xukuth for actually manning the border. That a betrayal might occur didnt even cross Kos's mind. No Haruspex had ever waged war against another since the formation of the Empero/Empress rulings. Hundreds of years without murder, or crime.


Sure there were deaths of honor, but those werent the same. Try as he might to understand his new reinforcements, he couldnt. Eventually just tossing the slip of plastic aside with a grumble and then flick of hand to dismiss his staff. Amidst thought, Kos exited the command tent and walked alongst the border line near, well, the actual border. Observing those across the way with a sigh, right hand lifting the blue tinged goggles from actual eyes to look upon them without aid.


Another day of woe.

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