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Blood & Honey


Haruspex

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The Plot to Overthrow an Emperor

Prologue;

 

Kaorin had already settled into the remains of a hotel, propped up with prefabricated building materials and so forth to at least look the part of a command center. In what remained of the humidor smoking and bar area, was still a bar of sorts. Imperial legionnaire officers and so forth could often times be found within it. Sometimes even drinking, but really the state of the North meant that even such an activity as that, could hold its own minefield. 

On this particular day, it was her, newly appointed Fleet-Lord and head of operations within Ulusk. Seated across the way, not more then a meter and a half, was that of the Prata Khan Ki'Mare, a high ranking officer of the HIL and commander of the Mzil Velven 77th Legion, also seated nearby was that of Admiral Kareth, serving the 4th Strike Fleet and at behest of his superior Vice-Lord Atamas Vek. Rounding out the high ranks were also many career legionnaire officers.

Most were aware of their emperor's unhappiness with their views on the North, the Wurld in general and the lengths to which they had advised the Council of Nine, not the Royal Court, that a soft touch was needed. They in turn were dissatisfied with their emperor. Some of them called Ji'Mar a mediocre sovereign and complained that he spent too much time playing the people's fears and digging them into needless combative actions against the rest of the Wurld, instead of attending to his duties while the legions vast were being deployed into the Northern Territories. But, exercising humanity's capacity for rationalization, they had maintained their devotion to the emperor as an abstract ideal.

So it was odd, that so many had come together to hatch a plot to overthrow the government, arrest and detain the entire cabinet and to move Ji'Mar to resign as Emperor, invoking the right of his sister and elder, who'd been found in Kaldana near the Camberrian coast, a colony of the Haru right before the Great Collapse, and of which only recently they had again, open communications with. The sister, First Princess Kira'Karn Elemmiire was that of a language scholar, intellectual, and an admirer of the anti-industrial ideas, and had become the nation's leading advocate of a strength through unity program and the expansion of the Haru culture. 

She had been a major proponent for the colonial found in what had been left of Camberria following a rather dirty war comprised of nuclear and biological weaponry. During the effects of the Great Collapse, Kaldana had lost its communications with the Homeland and had to survive on its own, the colony still stood, its people survivors, and Kira'Karn had become the leader of aforementioned colony, putting skills she learned in the Imperial Wards and growing up to good use. 

When communication had begun, it was kept from the Royals. This was something that the Council of Nine believed was in the best interest for Kira'Karn, Ji'Mar might be emperor now, but he was suspected of arranging the deaths of cousin and kin alike to make that ascent. 

Kaorin began slowly, after a drag upon her cigarette before allowing an exhale to wind about the space between them. " What I speak of, is grounds for treason to each and all. If they find out, not even our honored service will keep Department B from parading us about, putting us to the wall and pulling the trigger." She looked at those present, seeing a steel resolve forming, a faint splay of hands as a sign of giving up before continuing. " Well then, dont say I didnt warn you."

Another drag before words slipped free. " In seven days time, the emperor will come to the North. He is to make a tour of Ttoile, where the resistance is nonexistent and where our forces rule supreme. Before he gets there, he will be crossing the mid-lands, where we do not have the strongest amount of control. He will be in an unmarked armored personnel carrier, with Department B escorts and the 7th Tagnik Zun as support."

" What he does not know is that the 7th will bleed away during this, as the emperor has not done as he said he would for the House of Tagnik Zun, their Fleet-Lord Aria'Ki stands with us. As much as we can trust her to anyways." The gravelly smooth voice belonged to Admiral Kareth. He continued. " When this happens, we will ambush the convoy with members elements of the 77th and the 15th Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment, which has sworn loyalty undying to Fleet-Lord Kaorin."

" While my honored legionnaires.." Quipped Prata Khan Ki'Mare, head of the 77th." Secure the emperor, kill the Department B filth and transport him to a secure holding facility as the Admiral transports Kira'Karn to Chel'de Yorn. The Council of Nine upon alert of this, will lock down the royal court in Prathen, and the Houses loyal to the First Princess, newly named Empress of the Imperium, shall strike down the hardliners and royalists loyal to the emperor's faction."

Kaorin exhaled some more of that greyish-blue smoke. " So ladies and gentlemen, that is the plan. Seven days to secure the true future of our homeland, and to stop madness from overtaking everything that we have built. Tomorrow, I shall send coded messages to the Ahromanian's @Tagmatium Rules through the TIN network, we are allies, and we must allow them knowledge. For better or for worse, we share this Occident."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Three people walked along one of the marbled corridors of the Imperial Palace Complex, the heart of the Megas Agios Basileia. They were all dressed in sober, conservative business suits and had a small lapel pin of Arhomaneia's flag on the left side of their chests. The central figure walked a little behind the other two, and all carried dark leather brief cases in their hands. Every so often, the white robed and gold armoured imperial bodyguards stationed at intervals about the place stood to attention when the group came near them. They were reacting to the presence of three of the most powerful people within the country. It was rare that Kommodos would call an informal meeting and Honorios Kontarian knew exactly what it was about. Although there was carefully no expression on any of their faces, the Megas Logothetes tou Stratiotikou, the Minister for War, knew that the other two were as worried as he was. The small group walked towards a door flanked on either side by a pair of the guards. There was little to differentiate it with many of the other doors that they had passed. It was a dark, oak door with little ornamentation and they stood in front of it and waited.

To be bored of the intricate and unending ceremonies of life in the Imperial Palace Complex would be to be bored of life, thought Kontarian as the doors to the Imperial Office were opened in front of him. He didn't ever remember having to knock upon them, even on the rare occasions he'd stood in front of them during the reign of Kommodos' predecessor, Theodosios VI. The Megas Logothetes also knew that there was no spyhole or camera for someone to peep through to monitor those approaching the door. The two white-robed bodyguards on either side of the door didn't communicate with anyone inside, either. They just snapped to attention and remained facing directly ahead. It was all part of the power play that the ceremonies that surrounded the monarch of Arome represented, to make everyone know that it was the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator who was the ruler, who knew everything before they did. In some reigns that had been nothing but hollow.

It was expected that the two ministers and the spymaster were going to be on time and Kontarian had no idea what would have been the case if any of them were late. It probably would have thrown the workings of the Tagmatine government off enough that Eurth would have found that one of the Great Powers had collapsed in on itself by the next morning.

As soon as the door was opened, two more bodyguards stepped forwards, this time dressed in red. They held their long maces so that the way into the office itself was blocked. A priest in pristine black robes and wearing a simple wooden crucifix stepped forward from behind the Maghlabitai and blessed the spymaster and his subordinates. Once he had done so, the red-robed guards stepped back and allowed the three to enter into the office. Then they took ten steps into the room and stopped just before a mosaic of Europa on the floor of the Imperial Office, bordered with martial and hunting scenes which became geometric patterns and Christian symbols towards the edges of the room. The three then gave a deep bow, much lower than the greeting usually given to each other amongst the Arhomaioi, but then they were performing it to the Elect of God, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator ton Arhomaioi himself. They waited in this position for seven seconds, representing the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and another priest made the sign of the cross over them.

When the priest side, Kommodos' voice issued from the end of the room.

“You may rise, my children.”

They walked further into the room, across the vast mosaic. It was an ancient work of art and although the Megas Logothetes knew he had walked across it hundreds of times, part of him still regretted doing it. A sheet of plexiglass laid across it would, admittedly, spoil the aesthetic but at least it would mean the maintenance costs were lower. More bodyguards arranged about the room snapped to attention as the small group drew parallel with them. Silken hangings were draped on the walls behind the guards. Once they got to the chairs in front of the desk, they bowed again. This was held for five seconds, five being the number of the wounds of Christ.

“Be seated, my children.”

The two ministers moved to chairs at the desk whilst the spymaster sat at one a little further back. Even though it was supposed to be an informal meeting, protocol was still going to be observed. The Kefale did not hold the same courtly rank as the Megaloi Logothetai and so could not be seated next to them as an equal.

Megas Logothetes Kontarian, Megas Logothetes Goulielmos and Kefale Keftedes,” said Kommodos, looking at each of them in turn. “May the blessing of Christ be upon you. I thank you for coming. May I offer you some refreshment?”

“We thank you for allowing us some of your precious time, O most Christian majesty. We hope that it will be a fruitful meeting, God be willing,” said Kontarian. It fell to him as the Minister of War to reply to the Tagmatine monarch, even though Goulielmos, as the head of the Foreign Ministry, was accorded the seat of honour at the right side of the desk. This was because both ministries were considered to be of equal precedent within the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion but it would be obviously rather silly to have both ministers speak at the same time. Once he had finished speaking, the three of them stood again and bowed, this time for a count of three for the Holy Trinity. Three members of the emperor's staff came from behind them and placed the refreshments that had been offered on side tables next to their chairs.

But the ceremony was over and the actual meeting could begin. The familiar sight of the head bodyguard, Hadrianos, and the imperial secretary stood behind Kommodos' chair. Kontarian and the secretary, Boioannes, exchanged a slight nod.

“The Kefale has shown you the communication that we have had with a faction within the Gharoi,” stated Kommodos as he lifted an almost transparent porcelain tea cup. “We were perhaps naïve to not expect any internal knock back against the actions of Ji'Mar. Although our northern neighbours prefer to be seen as barbarians, the actions that they have undertaken have arranged many of the wurld's most powerful nations against them. If they continued as they are, they would be almost entirely isolated. They have snubbed us several times now, at what we can only assume is Ji'Mar's direction. If pressure against them increases from the likes of TRIDENT, or even EOS, they have made it very easy for us to cut our ties without much regret.”

Honorios suspected that the Agios Basileos would regret it, however. The alliance between the Sovereign Imperium and Arhomaneia had been a crowning achievement of Kommodos' reign, as it had finally secured peace between the two nations after centuries of conflict. Seeing it cast aside without much apparent afterthought by the new monarch of the Gharoi had been very bitter. But it seemed that there were those within Gharon who were inclined to try to preserve the alliance.

“Embargoes and sanctions against the Sovereign Imperium have been discussed at an informal level, as your majesty knows,” said Goulielmos. Kontarian hadn't known about any such thing and the slight glance that the Minister for Foreign Affairs gave him seemed to be one of superiority. It would likely have angered the Gharoi, but they would have had to expected some repercussions. It had briefly seemed like the Kingdom of @Gallambria was going to go beyond mere harsh words in its condemnation of the expulsion of the Gerenians. “Even if this possible coup succeeds, there may still be international appetite for such measures. Unless, of course the Gharoi are able to paint Ji'Mar as the driving force behind what they have done to the heretics.”

“If that recent news announcement is anything to go by, imperial majesty, then there already seems to be infighting within the Sovereign Imperium, if only in the internal political arena. That might help those carrying out the coup to distance themselves from Ji'Mar's actions afterwards,” suggested Kontarian. No one else seemed to take much notice of him, however.

“Could this coup succeed?” asked Kommodos, looking directly at the spymaster.

“Every indication by the faction plotting the coup gives the impression that they think it will,” rasped the voice of Keftedes. “That does not answer your majesty's question, I will admit. It seems that the coup is being plotted at quite a high level, by some very important individuals. They have not given us much detail but that is entirely understandable.”

The Agios Basileos did not look entirely satisfied by the answer. He held his gaze on the Kefale, who started to elaborate.

“Your majesty, we just do not know. We do know that the First Princess is of a very different character to her brother. If she had been in charge, then this crisis would not have taken place, at least in the manner that it has. My analysts suggest that there would have been an attempted assimilation of the Koussoeioi and the Gerenians, and I imagine that those of the Megaloi Logothetai and the Epistrategaion suggest the same. There will definitely be a conflict, although whether it breaks out into a true civil war or remains more of a palace coup, I cannot say at this time. If we knew more about those driving it, then I could say. But, as your majesty can imagine, they are not very keen on letting that information out.”

“It is very unlikely that the Gharoi would welcome any involvement by us in their coup, even if it becomes a full-blown civil war. If our forces intervened, it would probably bring any factions closer together. They have always valued their independence.” The Megas Logthetes tou Stratiotikou shrugged. Everyone in the room could have guessed that, even the priests who still stood quietly praying in front of the doors, at the other end from the desk. “Which is true of almost any other country. Machina @Haruspex was no exception to that. Even offering armaments to whatever side we favoured could backfire, as any opposing group may feel driven to strike against Arhomaneia, either to stem any flow of arms or as retribution.”

Kommodos nodded and sipped at the cup in his hands. “We will offer it, nonetheless. It would be strange if we did not. Then the choice would be theirs as to whether they accepted the offer or rebuffed it. It would be wise, however, to request that the Epistrategaion look to using the transport of the Gerenians as cover to putting our border defences on a higher readiness, just in case.”

The Megas Logthetes tou Stratiotikou nodded. The high command, he knew, already started to work on plans in which troop movements and redeployments could be passed off as trying to deal with the refugee situation. Any attempts to put this into practice without the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion's express permission had been forestalled. The tension between the two countries was high enough an action like that could cause the situation to spiral out of control.

Kefale, make it known through the channels that these plotters used that Arhomaneia will await their move. For the moment, we can do little more.”

“Yes, your majesty.”

“Forgive me, your majesy, but there are other things that we could do,” interjected Goulielmos, although he sounded somewhat sheepish. “I feel that I should point out that there are other avenues that we might consider before we commit ourselves to any action. Or inaction.”

“Go on, Endoxotatos.” The Autokrator did not sound like he couldn't guess where this was going. He rested his elbows on the arms of his chair and steepled his fingers together.

“There is the option of informing Ji'Mar about this planned coup,” Goulielmos continued, although he did not sound entirely convinced by it. “It could be the what it takes for him to remember that we allies and partners, not to be treated with contempt and with the expectation that he can ride roughshod over Arhomaneia as and when he wishes.”

Considering how the current Exousiokrator ton Gharoi had acted in the past, it was not likely that Ji'Mar would suddenly change his attitude towards his southern neighbours. All that this would do would be to give the Gharos an excuse to purge his country of any moderating influence.

Kommodos shook his head. “No, Endoxotatos. I am sure we all believe that that is not going to be a correct course of action. We need our northern ally to be more aware of the rest of the wurld, not in a downward spiral of purges and sabre-rattling. The course of action that we take will be to signal to these plotters that we are willing to let them get on with it, and offer aid only if requested.”

And that pronouncement signalled the end of the discussion.

“My children, I thank you for bringing this to my attention. May the blessings of Christ be upon you.”

Those were the traditional sentences that brought an informal meeting with the Tagmatine monarch to a close. With an internal sigh, Kontarian got to his feet as he, Eugenios and Keftedes started a ceremony that was almost the reverse of the one they enacted as they had entered the room.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The convoy passed through the Northern Territories border outpost of Yasrek, twelve vehicles in all. Sandwiched in the middle of which rode one of the most important figures in all of the Imperium, the Emperor himself, Ji'Mar. Two aides, and several bodyguards of the Kyorl Imperial Royal Guard, personal soldiers of the Emperor's bloodline. All twelve vehicles were products of HIA, the legionary's primary armaments producer. Eight of the twelve were  Vannad multi-role types, with two S-12 half tracks and two LAV-25 Jeban's leading and trailing.

The man in question was currently paying attention to a notebook, scrolling through various reports and so forth as the scenery bled past, ever white. Snow and the foul weather had grounded most of the aero service, save for the specialist services, currently redirected towards Ttoile or Ulusk. He disliked this country already, this northern-land. Once it was occupied, it could be made more civilized, and oh how sweet it would taste, when the statues of Janus were destroyed. The victory over the Cussian threat, would finally be complete. 

Soon enough he could turn attentions inward, deal with the rabble of the council and the advisors of the court, removing that baggage would bring him one step closer to true power, a source he alone would command. A slight nod of head towards an aide, as noting that they were coming upon a checkpoint, perhaps bad weather had prompted one to be made. This was the mid-lands after all, any number of reasons could be made to such a posting. 

The guard communications identified the legionary banner as 15th Legionnaires 'Renor Xukuth' Motor Rifle Regiment. Something further about some poorly looking Mzil Velven attached to them. Ji'Mar leaned back a bit, Mzil, here? The only ones that might be would be the 53rd out of Chanya. A mobile AA regiment as he recalled, he leaned to the right and bade the bodyguard there find out whom it was at the post as the half-track he was aboard cleared the gate, rumbling into the center of the post. While waiting, he could tell as the vehicle stopped via the view screens that it was basically a firebase, kitted out for patrols and to bolster security in the area. 

What he could not see was the Q39 Nota'Man anti-tank vehicle parked just around the corner and out of sight of the convoy until it passed. As the lead LAV-25 motored on towards the other gate which was oddly closed thought the vehicle commander, the Q39 ratcheted loose a 105mm sabot round that ripped into the side of its cousin, the LAV-25 Jeban. The explosion deafening, shrapnel and fire sheering outwards. The trailing Vannad caught in the blast, spun to the right before rolling over. A furious salvo of rounds, small arms and man portable anti-vehicle weaponry caught the convoy in its sights. 

Security personnel and the KIRG were caught unawares and off-guard, were being cut down to the man as they rallied to protect the emperor. Ji'Mar felt the half-track surge forward and then lean unexpectedly to the right after a furious blow rattled the whole of the vehicle. His ears stun from the ringing and he staggered out of the chair he'd been within the converted transporter. The rear hatch clanged downwards, his security pushing forward became ragdolls as rounds tore into them.

The scene before his eyes was that of a warzone, and inner rage became vocal as he watched his supposed guardians, the Tagnik Zun executing the remaining KIRG and other security. His aides lifeless, laying upon the ground, red splotches growing upon the back, their eyes upon him. As the violence slowly ended, amidst the smoke and ash of the convoy vehicles, he was left with the growing number of traitors showing up. How dare you, you filth, I will see that your lives are ended, you will never recover from this shame, not a one of you..I will han..

A legionnaire stepped forward and raised his pistol, as the emperor of the imperium was frothing at the mouth with eyes red like some sort of demon, the trigger squeezed. A single brilliant red hole appeared in the forehead of the once crowned emperor of the Haru. As the pistol lowered, so did the body of the emperor strike the ground as if a sack of potatoes. The echo of the firearm being fired once seemed to hang in the air, and the soldier in question turned and looked towards his subordinates. Its done. Send word. May the gods forgive us for this act.

Port of Ulusk

Fleet-Lord Kaorin had been dealing with some rather tedious field reports when her second in command burst into her office, nearly out of breath having run from the communication center. M'lord, the first act has been committed. However....Kaorin leaned back slowly. And? General Sagarth cleared his throat and then continued. The emperor was killed in the action. Shot by one of the infantry officers during the battle is what they have said. She sighed slightly, exasperated by the news before she spoke. Which means he was probably threatening them, and one of them took it upon themselves to execute him versus potential fallout. It was not unforseen my friend, still we must now be quick. Send a communique to the council, we must begin to move. Instruct Prata Khan Ki'Mare to arrest whom he can, otherwise he is permitted action against Department B here in Ulusk. 

Sagarth nodded, speaking rapidly as he did so. Pardon your leave, but that order I already gave. Ki'Mare should be moving his 77th against Department B's headquarters and I've given orders as per your suggestions, to commanders we can trust to deal with those that we cant here in the port, and all the way to Ttoile

I knew there was a reason I'd kept you around old friend. She offered a rakish grin and a slight right index finger waggle. We must either secure Ti'Ran and or eliminate him. Probably the latter, he is a confirmed supporter of the late emperor. Is your cold weather aero group ready? Sagarth nodded as he stood there, feeling all of the sixty years he had become, became rather heavy in the moment. Kaorin continued. Good, send them. With Ti'Ran out of the way, we can keep the royalists off balance since they will no longer have a viable commander in the north.

She paused a moment, taking a moment to step out of her office as the legionary she commanded, the senior officers anyways were in attendance and awaiting command as Sagarth followed her. She made her way down the steps and came to rest before them. My comrades, a heavy burden falls to us, as it once did to my kin, the former emperor Sa'Karn. Now so to we must remove a poison from our beloved homeland. You the faithful of our people and our fatherland, we have already made the great sacrifice. She paused before continuing. The emperor is dead. Here in the north, he has fallen. Spread word to the legionary you command, we shall remove his taint from the fatherland, and welcome in the age of Kira'Karn, legimate daughter of Sa'Karn, First Princess, Empress of the Imperium.

Sagarth spoke as he followed behind Kaorin. Know this, there is much to do. We who have sworn loyalty undying to Her, Fleet-Lord Kaorin must stand with, we must again be the shield and swords! To arms comrades, to arms I say! Go forth and rouse your regiments, for your future, rouse and rise, let us sweep away the filth and bring upon a new day!

As if some sort of release triggered this action, man and woman alike sprung towards duties and arms alike. Flooding out of the command building and or sending communications that spanned the northern lands as well as the Imperium proper. Kaorin stood there with arms folded across chest as she spoke. You as ever have a way with words my old friend, I hope for our sake that we succeed. If we do not, it will be civil war.

Sagarth reply; Truly, let us hope the council is quick to act upon this action.

Edited by Haruspex (see edit history)
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  • 2 months later...

Chel'de Yorn
Imperial Ward
Council of the Nine Chambers

[Some political and views and notice of future action]

Sunlight streamed forth and into the center of the chamber, tinted a myriad of soft colours from the stained glass above in the shape of the Haru flag. Just over twenty stories high, the tri-prong shaped window seemed more as a port hole then anything else. The light turned red as it touched the majority of the glass and bathed the interior in a sort of soft hue. 

There were six pillars about the central area, and within the center of that, a singular long black table with high backed chairs. At each pillar was a member of the Imperial Royal Guard, stemming from the noble house of Elemmiire, Sa'Karn's favored house. Each was adorned in an attire of combat fatigues, beret and at the ready, rifle barrels to the floor in an attention stance. However, as each councilor did appear, the guards would slowly fade away, retreating to their assigned posts.

Ria Mel'Ana Velven

The first to arrive and take a seat at the middle of the table, was that of Ria Mel'Ana Velven, long standing head of the main Mzil Velven house, authorizer of the many splinter clans that bore its name. She now held the council position of Seventh Circle (ECC - Imperium Security Services), Gadias Thadias Orn, former head of the Seventh Circle and supporter of Ji'Mar, had been arrested a few hours ago and removed from the governing equation. 

Ria believed in the Karn bloodline and had been an avid advocate to the recent breach of laws that had allowed for Ji'Mar to execute his will upon the citizenry without going the proper routes. While not a fan of the Ahromanian's @Tagmatium Rules, not that one could blame her, she did not believe that rousing them unnecessarily was a good idea. If they could be respected, it was for their patience in the matter at hand, something she felt, that her own government, would not have shown given its history of late.

A woman in her early sixties, sea-water blue eyes that seemed to be an endless depth, paired with auburn hair cut shoulder length and drawn back tightly. Thin, but not overly so, she settled into the chair and waited.

Prince Ajax Hur Elemmiire

Second, came Lesser Prince Ajax Hur Elemmiire, head of The First Circle (Ministry of Foreign Trade Affairs), and an avid supporter of the Karn bloodline, upon learning of Kira'Karn's survival, had been one of the first to champion her for true succession. His views were especially radical, at least to the older members of government, in that he espoused true reconciliation with their longtime southern neighbor, and assimilation of the Cussian bloodline, rather then removal. 

He was of the average Haru height, just shy of one point eight meters. Reddish grey hair in a cropped and blended style, approaching mid thirties or so. Lean and moving with a determined style that came from a soldiering background before becoming apart of the royal scene. Settled beside Ria following a slight tip of head in respect to the older woman. 

Kaorin Renor Elemmiire

An LED monitor, had been setup at the head of the table, showing the slightly stressed yet jubilant face of Fleet Lord Kaorin Renor Elemmiire, head of The Second Circle Military Command and Control [SCMCC], and the Northern Imperial Military Command [NIRC]. 

Kaorin's position was well, rather well known. Having instigated the coup in the North, she had committed to a military action against the former Emperor, and his loyalist forces within said territory. In regards to the Ahromanian's, she felt nothing particularly damning against them, Sa'Karn had thought of their emperor as a decent fellow, a statesman that could be reasoned with and the alliance that had formed had come from such. 

Her kin had trusted them to a degree, so she would continue such and advocated with Prince Hur Elemmiire, to thaw the recent troubles with their neighbor.

Sias Hu'yan

Seated near the monitor, Duke Sias Hu'yan of The Third Circle (Foreign Affairs Ministry) replaced that of Nize Gra'kuth. The former Vicelord had also been arrested. His allegiance to the former emperor Ji'Mar were extensive and as such, detained early in the day.

Duke Hu'yan was not of a major house, rather a minor house recently formed from what was once the Merchant clans of Yan and Huiran. Marrying the daughter of the Huiran clan, the sizable assets and membership, had been approved of for minor house status under the rules and writ of the Imperial Government. 

He was just about the same height as Prince Hur, with a sleek cut of jet black hair, gleaming hazels, and also of a thin wiry build. Adorned in a three piece suit, he was cautious in this new role, especially around such heavy weights of the imperial political scene. While not a diplomat by trade, he couldn't surely have groused it up as Nize had.

As a member of the mercantile association, and a leading advocate of trade and business, he had felt a growing dissatisfaction with how the late emperor had been managing the country. It couldn't continue and if Kaorin had not come up with the plot, the citizenry might have been spurned to action, and then, well, Ji'Mar would have probably turned a few wards or even a city-state into the mess that was the North in retaliation. So far, this was the best outcome, even if this review was early yet. The loyalists in the North had been slow to react, but Kaorin spoke that they were now resisting.

Tihun Xun

Beside the newly named Duke, the rather grumpy and rough around the edges curmudgeon, Grand Admiral Tihun Xun of The Fifth Circle [Naval Command and Control - NCAC] sat. Having not much cared for Ji'Mar or his political dogs, Department B, he had remained in Perya as much as possible as he had most of the authority in the naval port city-state. 

The coup had been given his support as he would prefer not to send the sailors of the Imperium into a massive combat situation upon many fronts. Ji'Mar was looking to isolate them completely, and eventually by actions, into some sort of grueling neverending war. As a sailor, and a soldier, his goals were to come home alive after every engagement, something that the never soldier Ji'Mar had no grasp of.

Men and women were not automatons, something he had argued many times over to no avail. He was an old man though, an apparently not to be taken seriously by the former regime. Kaorin was an old ally, he could trust in that woman. He was also not an unknown to the southern equation of things, as any naval activity of merit was at his behest.

Aria Hallas Zun

Across the way from Tihun, sat the viper of the legions. Aria Hallas Zun, Vicelord of House Tagnik Zun and Fourth Circle [Medical Technology Services Ministry - MTSM]. Aria had committed herself to the plot, and was currently preparing for the removal of the military elements loyal to Ji'Mar. 

She was the poster child for the genetic manipulation work that would violate many medical laws in other countries. In her early fifties, she appeared to be much younger. Svelte frame, toned and curvaceous in one fell swoop, contained within a modest business two piece suit, platinum blonde hair slicked back against the scalp, sea-water blue gaze filled with mostly a grim realism.

Those in the south, the Ahromanian's knew her all to well. She was the titular head of the shock-troop house, established as one of the great houses of the Imperium. Trusted for the moment, she was always an outsider however. 

Beira Vek Elemmiire

Settling herself besides Aria, Baroness Beira Vek Elemmiire of House Vek Elemmiire head of The Fifth Circle [Social, Health and Population Services Ministry - SHPSM] came to be seated. Where as most of the council was composed of either radicals or hardened sorts, Beira had a rather warm, almost motherly appearance and behavior to her. She was a somewhat plump woman, dark brown shoulder length hair, jovial reddened cheeks, and eyes of hazel that carried a sense of genuine authenticism to anything she said.

She was also young, just reaching thirty of the last year, and while head of the small Vek Elemmiire, a minor house to the main line, she was known to be highly focused, responsible, and driven to make the SHPSM available to any of the citizenry. Beira was also known, for her curt reviews to the actions in the North. 

Yasa Elemmiire Orn II

Just across from Beira, the dignified senior Duke Yasa Elemmiire Orn II, of House Olath Orn, head of The Sixth Circle [Industrial Oversight and Environmental Services Ministry - IOESM], came to settle within the chair amidst a slight creaking of bones. His lanky frame, he was slightly stooped but still taller then Prince Hur, salt and pepper hair cropped in a style that was modern enough. A three piece suit clung to the man's frame, and even as it seemed to drown him within it, he radiated a calming composure.

There had been a list of names procured from the Department B sorts, and he had been upon it. Ji'Mar had been growing tired of the council, no secret there, but it had by all appearances, been something he was going to do away prior to his death. 

Informed of this, had only solidified Duke Orn's position on the matter. Kira'Karn was the rightful heir of his dear friend, the former emperor Sa'Karn. He was also, more or less, an uncle concerning bloodline and so forth, but this was not taken into consideration for his own reasonings. A faint nod to all present, settling elbows upon the surface of the table.

Thei'de Kantra Velven

Last but not least, Thei'de Kantra Velven, head of The Eighth Circle [Ministry of Religious Affairs and Applications - MRAA]. Thei was a survivor, and the wind, the birds, and of course much documentation had directed him to switch sides. Plus, he had assumed that if the council as was rumored to be, removed, he'd be removed as well. No use in those who might know to much no? 

Whatever monarch was fit to rule the Imperium, it had to have the backing of the MRAA, and Kira'Karn had it. Mostly because she also had the others, and if he and those he favored were to survive the long knives of the coup, the First Princess would also have his apparatus at her disposal. 

Currently the holy endeavor to remove the Cussian's, well that would continue under whomever led it would seem, though it pained him to a degree to do so. Unlike the Ahromanian's, the Cussian's were mostly kin, at least those who did not pursue the Christian heresy. 

Tall, garbed in the ebony hued attire of the religious ministry, a face plate keeping features hidden. Rumors of an accident, or medical experiment not working in his favor the reason, but only he would say, someday. The artificial sound of his voice coming from the throat mic, much like a handheld for someone who no longer had the use of vocal cords, just the flexing muscles of such.

Kaorin Huat Jargo Vlos

At the head of the table, Senior Councilor, Advocate of the Emperor, now Empress, Baroness Kaorin Huat Jargo Vlos. She was tall, Prince Hur's height at least. Brunette coloured hair, barely shoulder length, and with a waifish build. Hazel being the most prominent eye colour of the Haru people, she to shared this. 

Kaorin Vlos operated in the shadows, utilizing the Imperial intelligence apparatus of the court, the HIS [Haru Intelligence Services] was an older organization, of which many had thought defunct with the rise of the ECC and Department B alike. The truth of the matter is that HIS had never left, keeping open tabs on both sister organizations as well as everyone and anyone else, be they Haru or foreign. She'd been the left hand of Sa'Karn, Ji'Mar, and now First Princess Kira'Karn. Much like Thei, she was excellent at picking a side and doing it well in advance.

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She spoke to all present. Ladies and Gentlemen, newly appointed and established alike, this meeting comes during a troubling time for our homeland. The Emperor, Ji'Mar, son of Sa'Karn, is dead. Yet only we in this chamber and a few outside, know of this truth. The other truth we know, is that First Princess, true heir to the throne, Kira'Karn, lives. 

She is enroute to the Imperial Ward of Prathen as we speak, escorted by loyal house troops. At the same time, I have overseen many departments and ministries to the removal of those tainted by Ji'Mar. Loyalists to He, resist in the North, and we are moving quickly to remove them here in the heartlands, so as to avoid civil war.

In four days time, we shall announce to the citizenry, and to the world, the ascension of the true heir, Kira'Karn. First Princess turned Empress of the Imperium vast.

Edited by Haruspex
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Full meetings of the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion, the Imperial Cabinet, could be called at short notice but the lead up to them was anything but short. Each of the cabinet members had to undertake a ceremony of devotion towards the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator, acknowledging him as not just the leader of the Aromans, but as the very co-ruler of God on Eurth. It had to be done in the order of precedence assigned to the ministries and departments, with each of the members of the cabinet appearing before their monarch in turn. The Megas Logothetes tou Stratiotikou, Honorios Kontarian, wasn't sure that being one of the first in the order was truly much different from being one of the last. Certainly it was supposed to demonstrate the importance of his ministry to Tagmatium but it still meant that he was waiting around for much longer than any of the others.

He was led in prayer by a priest for half an hour, under the watchful eye of the bodyguard corps. Despite it being in one of the myriad dull meeting rooms in the Imperial Palace Complex in Tagmatika, he still had to bow down low before the throne of the Leader of the Free Wurld and carry out ancient actions that demonstrated his loyalty towards the ruler of the Arhomaioi and his faith in Christ. It wasn't as if it was even before the Leopard Throne, the emblem of holy and imperial authority in Arhomaneia. But then he supposed that it wasn't as if Tagmatika was the true capital of the ancient nation, anyway. It was the one that had been the seat of government the longest in recent times, after Europatoria and, of course, Arhoma. Although there were at least a dozen cities that held the honour at one time or another.

By this point, Honorios felt he should know all the meeting rooms that the Imperial Cabinet were called to sit in by sight. They all functionally looked the same, even if the details differed. Whether it was antique wooden panelling of a century ago, the silk wallpaper from before that or the whitewashed walls from even before that, they all were pretty much one. They always had a long table surrounded by chairs and modern monitors fitted in places that would make antique dealers weep. The surroundings didn't matter. What did matter was how the occupants of the room, the ministers and advisors, influenced and were influenced by the person who sat on the Leopard Throne.

Kontarian took his appointed seat and accepted a cup of tea and raisin biscuit from a member of the Mystikon. As much as the Maghlabitai and the Spatharokandidatoi were the bodyguards of the Agios Basileos, the plainly dressed Mystikon were as well, if less literally. They were the personal bureaucrats of the Agios Basileos, set apart from all the other civil servants that made Arhomaneia work. If Honorios hadn't been brought up amongst the apparatus of power of Arhomaneia, it would have made his head spin. All of the seats were identical, plainly carved and upholstered in red velvet. The Megas Logothetes stood behind his allotted chair

Once all of the ministers and adjuncts had got into position, the Agios Basileos entered the room. A host of bodyguards, priests and attendants accompanied Kommodos, who walked to the head of the table and sat down. Everyone else had to wait until they were invited to do so. Once they had been allowed to, they joined their monarch in prayer amongst the clouds of incense. It was necessary. How else could Arhomaneia guide the rest of the wurld if such steps were skipped?

The pressing concern was the rumoured disappearance of the monarch of Machina @Haruspex. Although relations between the two neighbouring countries had reached an all time low with their invasion of Koussoeia. Little had been heard of Ji'Mar since he had reportedly gone on a tour of the newly conquered lands, or so the Tagmatine representatives in Prathen had been told.

Kommodos nodded at the Amytzantarios, the head of the diplomatic service to start the meeting.

“Our Apokrisiarios in Prathen has struggled to get any sensible answers from the Gharoi, your majesty,” Aetia Toukkania said, using the Tagmatine word for 'ambassador'. “They have been obstructive beyond what one would ordinary expect of that unnecessarily proud and haughty people. He suspects that it is mainly uncertainty on their part. They themselves perhaps do not know what has become of Ji'Mar. Or, if they do know, they are unwilling to let it go beyond their borders. As it is, ordinarily he wouldn't be dealing with their monarch directly, but with the underlings of Vicelord Nize Gra'kuth of the Second Circle – their version of the Logothesion ton Barbaron or Gadias Thadias Orn, head of the Seventh Circle. But...”

“But both of them have 'disappeared', Agios Basileos, which has seemingly sown confusion amongst their ministries as well,” finished the Megas Logothetes ton Barbaron, complete with air quotes. Kontarian winced internally. It was not a properly dignified action for a full meeting of the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion. “Whilst ordinarily one might expect that one of them might be otherwise busy – or potentially out of the country – it seems strange that both of them are unable to respond to any communications. We've just been fobbed off repeatedly.”

“Your majesty, is that truly strange?” asked the Mesazon, Gregorios Traiektonos. The position he held in the government was rendered entirely pointless by the fact that Kommodos acted as both the head of state and the head of government. He was regarded as stupid and without much use by most of the other ministers and, even, most of Tagmatium. Not entirely without reason but it was clear that he had started to notice it, although years too late. Mercifully, he didn't seem to notice any of the others around the long table rolling their eyes at his question. “Since Ji'Mar took the throne, the Gharoi have done nothing but snub us. This could merely be the next step, especially as they are still insisting on carrying out their deportations. The Exousiokrator holds us in contempt but doesn't realise that his actions have turned the rest of Eurth against him.”

'Exousiokrator' was the title accorded to the Haru monarch by Arhomaneia. It was above a merely kingly title, as befitted a nation that Tagmatium had sparred with for hundreds of years, but wasn't considered to have the same importance of any of the ones used by the Arhomaioi. It meant 'one who executes authority'.

“The Mesazon makes a very valid point, imperial sovereign,” said Kontarian. He caught the eye of Traeiktonos and managed to successfully display with a glance that he wasn't actually taking the piss with his comment. Even though the Megas Logothetes did indeed view the man as a muppet. “The Exousiokrator has treated us with little but contempt. It could be that this is little other than a continuation of that. It is not something that we can entirely know for sure right now.”

Only four of those in the room knew that a faction within the Sovereign Imperium had contacted the Megas Agios Basileia about a possible coup against Ji'Mar. Kontarian, Goulielmos and Keftedes met their monarch's eye for a moment. The others around the long table noticed the glance and the room fell deathly quite. It seemed as if even the guards around the room were listening and the priests murmuring their prayers and swinging censers seemed to stop. Kommodos didn't tend to indulge in theatricals beyond those expected of the position of the monarch of Tagmatium.

Nonetheless, Kommodos seemed to drag out the silence before he did anything more. He sat forward in his chair and rested his elbows on the chair's arms. He steeped his fingers together.

“Ji'Mar is very likely dead.”

There was a shocked gasp from almost everyone around the table. For a few long moments, the room was silent. Then there was a loud clatter as Hadrianos, the chief bodyguard, dropped his ceremonial spear. The cabinet looked like it was about to burst out into questions but the sharp gaze of the Leader of the Free Wurld took in everyone sat around the table and no one said a word. As a sop to the shock of the news, Kommodos motioned for the servants from the Mystikon to pour the members of the cabinet their refreshment of choice. Even Kontarian, who had known that the news was coming, gladly accepted the cup of tea that was set before him.

“All the evidence that has been gathered by the Logethesion ton Barbaron, the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou and the Arhomaiki Diktyo Pliroforion points towards the Exousiokrator having been killed in a recent coup,” continued the Basileos. His expression had not changed, nor how he was sat. The shock that had passed around the room had not apparently had any impact on him. “Whilst I do not definitely know that he is dead, I believe that it is safe to assume that he is. It could be that he has been merely dethroned and imprisoned somewhere but that would invite a civil war. As it is, it appears that the Gharoi are on the verge of one nonetheless. Those loyal to Ji'Mar have also been purged. However, they are still powerful and it is as yet unknown which side will prevail.”

“Who is this faction likely to install as the new monarch, imperial sovereign?” asked Pantaleon Tonaras, the Megas Logothetes tou Dromou, the minister for internal affairs. Kontarian knew that he was a schemer by nature. He might well be tempted to reach out to any faction of his own accord, but fear of any backlash was likely to stay his hand.

Kommodos looked towards Keftedes, the Kefale of the ADP. The gaunt, pallid man turned his head to look at Tonaras. “Sa'Karn had a daughter as well, called Kira'Karn. She is the leader of a colony that the Gharoi attempted to set up in Kamberreia, just before the Europan Collapse. It seems she is more of a scholar by nature, interested in linguistics. The rebels feel that she would be a better leader than her brother, less likely to upset international relations. Precisely how she would act when in power is unknown. She may prove to be more amenable than her brother, or it may be that she ends up even less so, in order to stand against those who would try to push her around. Both internally and externally.”

“Military intervention in any possible civil war is not something that we are going to consider at this time, either,” said the Autokrator. “It would likely unite the Gharoi against Arhomaneia, although there will be those in the coalition who would be willing to do so. At the moment, we shall sit on the sidelines and await the outcome.”

Whilst Kontarian did agree with that, and the Epistrategaion did as well, he wondered whether it might be viewed as a squandered chance in the future. If they should take the risk – as some of those on the High Command thought – and strike the Sovereign Imperium when it was at its weakest. They could then free the Koussoeioi and re-establish the Glorious Dominate and continue to use it as a counterbalance to the Gharoi. Certainly, there was the possibility that the Kingdom of @Gallambria and the Republic of  @Iverica might join forces with Arhomaneia in that event. And Kommodos was not willing to take the option entirely off the table right now.

“Wise Basileos, if this Kira'Karn does take power, then what about the Gerenians?” asked the Genikos Logothetes. He leaned forward in his chair. “Obviously, from a humanitarian stance, I hope that they decide to reverse their policy. But perhaps we can also see if we can get them to reimburse us for the money that we have spent trying to clear up their bloody mess.”

Of course, the minister for finance was going to have that as one of his first thoughts about the coup. The man lived up to the common perception of him.

Endoxotatos, that I do not know,” replied Kommodos without batting an eyelid at Tzimekhes' question. It was perhaps less sympathetic to the plight of the heretics that it ought to have been. “I hope, of course, that the Gharoi find mercy within their hearts, and I also pray that they find Christ, too. As well as praying that the Gerenians find their path back to true religion.”

There was a nod from every head around the table. If the heretics recanted of their false beliefs, then it would be likely that the punishment being meted out on them would be a lot less severe.

Kefale Keftedes has the ADP working towards finding as much information as possible about this Kira'Karn,” continued Kommodos, still sitting with his elbows on the table and his fingers steepled together. “It is to be hoped that some leverage could be found on her. Who knows what may have happened as leader of a lost colony? Similarly, Megas Logothetes Goulielmos will contact our coalition partners within the next day, appraising them of the situation. Together, we will make it clear that an improvement in relations will only come about if the Gharoi allow those Gerenians who wish to to return to their homeland. They cannot be allowed to get away with such crimes after making a suitable scapegoat.”

A risky move, certainly. But it wouldn't be one that the Gharoi didn't expect. They had got away quite lightly so far, especially since other nations who had acted in a similar manner had had trade embargoes and naval blockades placed against them. Kontarian scribbled down a note for himself. The Epistrategaion had several plans worked out for a blockade against the Sovereign Imperium. It would likely be worth going over them again.

“Hopefully, imperial sovereign, the Gharoi accept their just punishment, then this could be the start of new and better relationship between our nations,” said Goulielmos, with a slight shrug. He guessed it wasn't all that likely. “Perhaps Kira'Karn is much more sensible that her brother.”

Perhaps... Considering that even at the moment of crisis, the Gharoi seemed to be intent on irritating Arhomaneia. It seemed as if their government had given permission for one of their mining companies to infringe upon waters considered by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion to be part of its exclusive economic zone without seeking permission from Arhomaneia. This was already being answered.

“Indeed. Let us all pray that that is the case.”

The Agios Basileos abruptly stood and all the other occupants of the room stood as well.

“Our faith in God will see us through these trying times. That will be all, endoxotatoi and our other faithful servants.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

Central Imperial Ward
Prathen

Senior Councilor, Advocate of the Emperor, now Empress, Baroness Kaorin Huat Jargo Vlos, stood upon a dais, besides a young woman, tall and yet borne to bear a weight some might call to heavy for one individual alone. Her dark hair shoulder length, eyes of piercing sea-water green brought the vivid scenery to life.

Before the podium, and stretching across the Dasbma uv dra Cih (Temple of the Sun), a parade ground that had been used since days of antiquity for all manners of state sponsored propaganda, to rise the fervor of the citizenry to towering heights days of yore. 

Looking upon those before her, stretching as far as her eyes could see, under banners that bespoke her ascension, lay what mattered the most. The citizenry, the masses that were hers to lead, to speak for, and to lead. Wearing a gown of red, an old Haru-Dakat custom of divinity, Kra’Karn Elemmiire stepped forth and outstretched both arms as she spoke into the waiting microphone.

My people, my dearest people, we have come to a threshold. My brother, lost to us has he become. Driven to madness, the nightmare of his rule has come to an end. Yet, his followers remain, and so we find ourselves at the cusp of a precipice, a time nearing the dark ages of my Fathers time. When the blades of our families were sharpened against one another.”

She stepped forward once more, allowing more of her to be seen. “ I implore those of you who followed my brother, to cease doing so in his memory. He would have drowned our beloved land in the blood of all. I know the passion in your heart of hearts, that you would think it dishonor to not avenge your lord, your emperor. Know this, I feel such a pain for you, that even as I ascend to lead our people back into the light, that I weep for your loss, and that he descended so far away from the guiding light of our hearts.”

As Empress of the great territories belonging to the Haru-Dakat people, I say that we must cease our cruelty, we must become tolerant, and we must shed what was, to become something new. Our ways are still to be cherished and we will not lose them, but we cannot continue as we have. This wurld is new, and we remain rooted to a past that can no longer guide us.”

Kaorin Vlos thus approached the podium and taking a microphone, spoke into it to the masses before. “ As of the Empress’s decree, the Department B and loyalist ministries and other factions have been arrested by those truly loyal to the Imperial Court. Furthermore, concerning the invasion of the Northern Territories, such military efforts will continue, with several key changes. The current refugees already being shipped to the Ahromanian @Tagmatium Rules territories, shall be shipped. All others will receive the option of citizenship under Imperial Rule, with compensation paid them. When the Northern Territories become an official Imperial Territory, those who’ve optioned for citizenship will also be given a recompensation permit in the form of colonist status if they opt to return to said territory.

Cleared her throat some. “ Those who choose not to stay, will then be directed towards the multi-national effort to remove them for elsewhere.” She flipped through what could only be several pages of documents. “ The theater of the Northern Offensive, shall continue under command of Fleet-Lord Vlos Elemmiire, and all military commanders will thus surrender authority to her and those of her general staff. Any faction of the military or ministry, especially those in the North that does not obey this command, will be termed a Ji’Mar loyalist and shall be arrested and otherwise removed from authority by force if necessary.

She arranged her papers and continued. “ We have in accordance with the Council of the Nine, begun the integration of the Empress as the divine ruling source, and as such, all legal routes have been taken. This is a new day for us all, let us do what is right, and not what fear inspires us to do.”

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