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Expansion: Metztlitlaca


Metztlitlaca

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“An Empire Divided” Multi-Expansion RP Proposal
Metztlitlaca Expansion

My first expansion! Despite the name of the proposal this application is only for the first stage of the expansion, which is the conquest of the Occidental Democratic Republic of Satillo. All currently made information for the expansion (for now) will be below.

Since the departure of Derthalen, Adaptus, Limonaia, and Variota, there is no longer a “Boogeymen” nation for people to work with/against. The closest we have is Fulgistan, who although is planning to expand, may not be as amoral as people hope (closer to Galahinda then the DPRK), and Haruspex (who is pretty locked into their corner of Europan). So I’ve taken it upon myself to hopefully give people a nation to condemn, to secretly work with, to be a global issue to carefully deal with. Expansion will begin with Sitallo, but hopefully if reception is positive from my expansion RP thread and a thumbs up from my neighbours, I will continue with the Triple Commonwealth conquest and beyond.

The eventual state I plan to end with (2022-2023) will have a population from Half a Billion to a Billion. That’s an insane number for Eurth - which has a global population of 5 Billion - but considered the GDP per capita would be much lower than its competition, the GDP itself would only put it in the top 5 nations and still have to work with and by other large states such as SSI, Gallambria, and eventually Fulgistan’s FASR to get what this behemoth wants. Hopefully I can earn the right to be the Wurld's Douchebag :P.

 

(Map of the Three Azlo Sisters - successor states to the Crescent Empire)

Three_Azlo_Sisters.png
 

 

Proposal A: The Occidental Democratic Republic of Sitallo

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Overview
The Occidental Democratic Republic of Sitallo (Sitallian Azlo: Lepaplica Democatic Ocitental Sitallo) is a Low-Income-Country which is most well known for its tenuous internal politics torn between a recently authoritarian government and the major military general warlords of the nation.

Area: 641,320 km^2 (93% of Metztlitlaca)
Population: 16,077,892 (75% of Metztlitlaca)
Population Density: 25.07 per km^2
GDP per Capita: $2,587
GDP total: $40,159,350,660 (64% of Metztlitlaca)
Demonym/Adjective: Sitallian
De Jure National Religion: Non / Secular
De Facto National Religion: Catholicism
Capital City: Sìta ti Fitòria

 

The Sitallian constitution defines Sitallo as a unitary republic of 15  provinces, however like Metztlitlaca, Sitallo is largely an authoritarian state (moreso than Metztlitlaca). Sitallo is classified as an autocracy (unlike Metztlitlaca’s anocracy) as part of a backsliding democracy since 2015. This has come about as part of the recent expansion of power by the Sitallo National Brotherhood Party due to the failed 2015 coup, which has resulted in the recent oppression of the nation’s plurality ethnic group of the Metztlica by the smaller (yet still substantial) Xisomostoxe ethnic group. In 2019 and 2020 there have been multiple protests and riots in the capital of Sitallo by the Metztlica and other oppressed groups, but so far no effort has been made by the Sitallian government to stop the increasing pulling away of democracy, instead enact harsher crackdowns on dissident groups.


 

History
The borders of the country were first defined in 1592 by the Crescent Empire under the name of Tonalcalaquiyantlacah (“Land of the Sunset”). The region was part of a large-scale tributary revolt against the Crescent Empire in 1672 which lasted until 1711 when the region broke away as numerous smaller nations one of which was called Cicitlalloteotlalliapan which roughly translated to “On the waters of a sacred land full of stars”. The stars within the name most likely represented the large abundance of exposed platinum in the area and in the rivers.

In 1785, the Shffahkian Empire (under Emperor Eustace I) conquered Cicitlalloteotlalliapan as well as numerous other smaller states under the colonial name of Nuovo Sfachiano. Due to the tropical savanna-like climate, the region became colonised by Cristinese Shffahkians for cash crop plantations with slave labour predominately made up of the native inhabitants with some importation of the Huang. The colony did not last, and a large-scale slave revolt from January 1847 to December 1848 caused the region to break away under the Republic of Nuovo Sfachiano. The nation renamed itself to Sitallo in April of 1849. In 1899 there were talks between the Republic of Sitallo and the Crescent Kingdom on Azlo unification, but Armand Eugène de Caldofondo-Bouvèron died before any real constitution was drafted as post-Armand I kings of the Crescent Kingdom were disinterested in expansion.

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1847-1848 Azlo Slave Revolt Flag

 

From 1849 - 1932, the Republic of Sitallo swung between stable democracies to effective autocracies, but in October 1932, a Fulgistani-backed socialist coup ended the 86 year old republic replacing it with the Socialist People’s Republic of Sitallo. The SPRS was a forced-secular authoritarian regime, which eroded down the indigenous Wēcatoc religious even more than under the Shffahkian Empire, along with the closing and even destruction of catholic churches and cathedrals. The second attempt at unification between Sitallo and the Crescent Kingdom (now under the South Palu Confederation) was in 1972, but due to ideological differences (primarily around freedoms of religion) the two nations never took the idea seriously beyond condemning one another for their actions against unification. In December 1991, a minor protest against socialist authoritarian rule broke out in the capital of Sìta ti Fitòria. Yet the protest was met by open fire by several on-duty Sitallo soldiers , leading to the death of fifteen protestors - 9 of which were under 18 - leading to a domino effect up until the 1992 February Sìta ti Fitòria Revolution, where in a large number of armed ex-army combatants, anti-socialist militia groups, and protestors took over the capital city for an entire week culminating in the fracturing of the state into five war general-led states. Although the Socialist People’s Republic was not legally dissolved, it was for all intents and purposes over.

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1932-1992 Socialist People’s Republic of Sitallo “Worker’s Banner”

 

Over the next decade and a half, the country slowly reunified under the Occidental Democratic Republic of Sitallo. This was largely done through appeasement of the warlord military generals through coersion, bribery, and assassinations. The Occidental Republic was surprisingly functional as a democracy, holding its first elections in 2003 with the Sentenamitl Unification Party (party backed by the generals) winning 72% of the vote. The second election in 2007 saw the S.U.P. gaining 53% of the vote - largely by Metztlica and southern populations of the nation - and the Sitallo National Brotherhood Party winning 32% of the vote, with the last 15% predominantly going to the Democratic Liberal Party. The most recent election in 2011 saw the SNBP with 51% of the vote, with the DLP at 42% and the SUP at 7%. Many of the ex-military generals who controlled territories of Sitallo began to fear that their power was waning, and an attempted coup in 2014 - a year before the next election - occurred, but failed, leading to the SNBP voting as a bloc to “temporarily hold elections” under President Tario. Interestingly only one of the five generals involved in the failed coup was arrested and tried, with the other four pardoned, leading to many assuming the coup was - in fact - staged.

From 2015-2020, prejudice towards Wēcatoc Temples increased and [the discrimination] became endorsed by President Tario who described Wēcatoc as a “Barbaric idol faith”. Recently Catholicism has been covertly sponsored by the regime to replace Wēcatoc in the western and inland territories. This has led to Metztlitlaca threatening intervention in the region as refugees from Sitallo have begun to cross into Metztlitlaca, upsetting the already fragile balance in the Tapelt region.

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Current Flag of the Occidental Democratic Republic


 

Culture & Military

Like Metztlitlaca, Sitallo is split between Shffahkian colonists, native Azlo, and a small percentage of Huang. The Shffahkian colonists make up 4% of the total population and are the core of Catholicism in the nation. The number used to be much higher until many fled when the Slave Revolt occurred - fleeing to the Crescent Kingdom or the Shffahkian Republic. The Huang (mixed or not) make up ~12% of the population, predominantly in the north-east, and have a culture similar to that of Pomodoria of Yatotla: mixed ex-slave Huang with significant influence from Azlo and Cristinese cultures. There are four Azlo groups within Satillo, in order of population are: Metztlica (37%), Xisomostoxe (33%), Àwitsoxe (21%), and the Western Tlaxcalixe (9%).

The military of Sitallo, although similar in size to Metztlitlaca (~30,000 Active Military Personnel), is split amongst 5 separate loosely tied together military generals, three of which were part of the original People’s Republic break up (Tario, Tonato, Miliano) with Lèn and Palisi being the oldest sons of the previous generals. All five military generals along with the Sitallian government attempt to act as a single body, but dissonance between generals has led to instability in the recent past.


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(Temporary Map - better one will be made if the submission is accepted)



 

Reason for Expansion - In Universe

Ideology
Since the official formation of Metztlitlaca in 2005 the nation has toyed with the idea of irredentist claims to former Crescent Empire territories, but serious intervention and land grabbing has been out of the picture as the nation was more focused on reconstructed then expansion. But since 2019, the Civil Reconstruction Program has been declared a success and 95% of regions which were severely affected by the civil war have seen reconstructed (often better then they were previously). The growth of Metztli nationalism has also seen success under the Bitheocratic Constitution, spear-headed by Continentalist, Palu Socialist, and Covenant Pluralist ideologies. 

The expansion into Sitallo would - in the eyes of the Metztlican Government - cement Metztlican nationalism as the central and legitimate ‘true ideology’ of the country. There is also the easy decision to use the war as a “moral crusade” to free the Metztlica population from religious and societal oppression along with increasing personal freedoms of the region.

Economic
Since the early 2000s, the Metztlican economy has been cruising off low-density metal mining + refining, and export of cash crops to LAANN members and observers. However, closely guarded records have noted that Bauxite reserves within the Metztlican side of the Tapatepetli Mountains are expected to reach economically insufficient levels by 2025 - two years before the current 10 year plan for industrialisation is achieved - which has thrown the highest governing bodies of the nation into a crisis. But, large veins of platinum are known to exist in the northern vestiges of Satillo, along with untapped Bauxite reserves which should last current Metztlican exploitation levels until 2040. The larger worker force would also decrease the 10 year plan’s end date down to 2022 if Satillo infrastructure could be brought up to Metztlican standards by mid 2021.

Reducing Foreign Influence
The conquest and subjugation of Satillo - in the mind of the government - would allow for Metztlitlaca to reach an even footing with its closest frenemy of Fulgistan and could mean that the Metztlican government can put its foot down to any unreasonable Fulgistani demands. There are also rumours of Fulgistan’s own potential expansion in the upcoming years. If true, it would mean Fulgistan would easily outcompete any other member of LAANN and come to dominate the geopolitical region uncontested. Keeping up with Fulgistan is an imperative of the current Metztlican regime to prevent a second South Palu Confederation.


 

Plan of Action

The RP expansion will be in two pieces: 

The first half is about a man called Cualli Pellamo and how he became involved in two separate militia groups, both groups attempting to work together to perform a second coup in the capital city of Sìta ti Fitòria.
The second half is the actual invasion by Metztlitlaca into the nation of Satillo. Whilst the first half is ongoing, plans for the second half will begin. Any nation who wishes to get involved (LAANN or not) may, as either humanitarian aid, combatants or even just news reporters or unfortunate tourists. As long as it makes sense you can get involved! You can even attempt to stop Metztlitlaca’s expansion and try to save Satillo.

I don’t necessarily know how long this expansion RP will take (first time doing it) but it’ll most likely take until post-mid 2021, especially so due to College.

Edited by Metztlitlaca
Grammar/Spelling (see edit history)
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IC, Tagmatium would have little problem with an expansionist Metztlitlaca, as it might well be a good counterbalance to the insidious influence of @Fulgistan in Alharu. However, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion (my government) would also like to preserve both its aluminium refinery and its deal with the Metz government to modernise agriculture. Secondly, although likely a minor concern due to their small numbers, would be the fate of any Aroman Christians in the area.

The only reason for Tagmatium to weigh in with any physical force would be to protect its interests directly. In this instance, sustained and deliberate attack on its citizens or those it is working closely with. Otherwise, it'll either be taking a backseat role, supplementing any local partners or just sending in aid workers if the situation very much deteriorates.

OOC, I've no problem with this expansion.

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Salvia's outlook is similar to Tagmatium's, albeit I'm more invested.  Salvia will try and keep the economic deals the same or even make new ones.  However, a pagan nation taking over a Catholic one is of some concern.  Salvia will be optimistic that Metz does the right thing  but we will have a very close eye on the situation.  Not saying we'll totally stop the expansion or something 😛 but some intervention may take place.  We'll see though, I don't want to ruin your expansion :)

I have no issues with this OOC.  I think it's fairly balanced.

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I'm surprisingly ok with this - I take it that the population jump to 1B is due to the subsumed population of Sitallo? - This would also provide the basis for some pretty gnarly role play - Thinking South China Sea etc ... 

IC - Gallambria would obviously have an issue with this - but would work together to ensure peace within the region.

OOC - No issue here what so ever, It's a YAY from me.

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7 minutes ago, Gallambria said:

I'm surprisingly ok with this - I take it that the population jump to 1B is due to the subsumed population of Sitallo? - This would also provide the basis for some pretty gnarly role play - Thinking South China Sea etc ... 

IC - Gallambria would obviously have an issue with this - but would work together to ensure peace within the region.

OOC - No issue here what so ever, It's a YAY from me.

1B will be the final population of subsuming Sitallo, the Triple Commonwealth, and two other nations in Mesothalassa. Post-Sitallo expansion would give Metztlitlaca a population of 30-40mil. At the end of the expansion the population would be ~120mil (Metztlitlaca's population acceleration would be beginning to enter the "Bangladesh" period - ie incredibly fast population growth), then eventually the population will grow (as the other 4 nations are brought to similar population accelerations as Metztlitlaca and Metztlitlaca reaches its peak % annual increase).

As such, from 2021-2023, Metztlitlaca will expand, then 2023-2024 the country's population will inflate to 1B. In reality the growth would take 10-20 years, but from people I have spoken with have been against waiting an entire decade for Metztlitlaca to be a threat 😛. This timeframe may even be cut down further if people want an actually threatening Metztlitlaca sooner.

Edited by Metztlitlaca
Expanded upon Answer. (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've already gone and added the "reserved area" label to the main map. It'll be there with the next publication.

@Metztlitlaca One inconsistency I did notice is your eastern border. This seems to have shifted westward, leaving an open area that is currently yours. Do you want to shift your current border westward?

OLyPG2j.png

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9 hours ago, Orioni said:

I've already gone and added the "reserved area" label to the main map. It'll be there with the next publication.

@Metztlitlaca One inconsistency I did notice is your eastern border. This seems to have shifted westward, leaving an open area that is currently yours. Do you want to shift your current border westward?

OLyPG2j.png

Yes please! The region to my east was to be replaced with @Oyus's Fearannteth. As far as I'm aware Oyus is nearly complete (from what he has eluded to in the Discord - although you'd need to speak to him whether or not its ready to be put on the map or not.).

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      Making a permanent military presence on the islands and enlarging the civilian population will make the Tagmatine hold on the islands secure. The plan will be to eventually make a port that is capable of acting as the Europan end of @Iverica's polar trade route, as well as the inevitable naval base to try to counteract Corinium. It will also help put the potential polar resources under Tagmatine control, although these are likely to remain unexploited, due to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion's environmental policies.
       
       
      The Nisa Herimiton
      Also known as the Herimitireia, the Herimitika Nisa (the Hermitage Islands) are at the edge of the wurld. The eight islands are at the edge of Europa and within the Argic Circle. The only modern settlement of any size is the port and administrative centre of Basilikolimanion, or Imperial Port.
      The islands are:

      1. Nisos tou Iadridou (Eadred's Island)
      2. Kyrios Khristos (Lord Christ)
      3. Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles)
      4. Nisos tou Anastasiou (Anastasios' Island)
      5. Nisos Arkoudon (Bear Island)
      6. Megali Adelfi (Big Sister)
      7. Mikri Adelfi (Little Sister)
      8. Kyro Nisos (Cold Island)
      The dot marks the location of Basilikolimanion.
      Within the Argic Circle, the islands are bare rock and glacier, in the main. There is little vegetation and they are a haven for Argic wildlife, from seabirds to walruses and polar bears.
      There are small monastic cells dotted about the islands, but these are isolated. There are also several watch posts for the border guard and financial guard, but these are not independent settlements. In several places, especially on the main island of Nisos tou Iadridou, there are abandoned whaling stations and mining settlements, in various states of decay. Basilikolimanion is also mainly derelict, with only the cathedral, attached monastery, headquarters for the guards and one of the wharfs in decent condition. The C19th fortifications are degrading but still in good condition and the Palace, previously a jewel of the island, is decaying and the lair of polar bears.
      History
      The islands were first discovered in 1593 by an Akwisian, Eadred Sunnason, also known Eadred the Mapmaker. The first landings weren't until several years later and were concerned with using the islands as bases for whale hunting. This became the main reason for landings on the islands, as they slowly became one of the centres for the whaling industry in northern Europa. Most of the nations around the Sea of Storms had small settlements at one time or another, but the islands came under the control of Arome by the end of the 1700s. This was primarily because of the seclusion the islands offered from the point of view particularly ascetic monks, although the hard environment meant that they often did not last long.
      A permanent base was established at the site of what is now Basilikolimanion, which became the main processing and shipping point. The islands were placed under the control of Arome and an Exarch appointed to govern them. It was also used as a dumping ground for exiles, away from where they might be able to affect Aroman politics and society. As whale oil and products became ever more lucrative as the industrial revolution bore on across the wurld. This, in turn, meant that Basilikolimanion acquired state-of-the-art defences and a cathedral, signifying its prosperity.
      Ultimately, by the mid 1800s, overhunting meant that the local whale populations had been played out and the whaling fleets were forced to go further and further, rendering the facilities at Basilikolimanion redundant. Despite attempts diversifying the economy with mining, the population dwindled until it was little more than an isolated prison away from mainland Tagmatium. Mining was a wasted effort, as coal and ore could be more readily sourced in Tagmatium itself. Or, failing that, another Europan nation.
      By the early 1900s, the Hermitage Islands were little more than that – a hermitage for religious introspection, nothing else, along with a small group from the border guards and the financial guards. In order to make the outpost attractive postings, there had to be a level of rank inflation for those posted there. Even then, it was never a popular one. Before the Long War, another attempt was made to make the islands financially viable, but it was derailed by that conflict, which saw the islands almost completely isolated.
      Now, Tagmatium hopes that it can properly re-establish control of the islands.
      Government and Politics
      There is no government to speak of – other than the main monastery at Basilikolimanion and associated monastic cells across the island, there is no administration for the island. The monastery is more or less self-contained, bar the fact that it needs a resupply vessel every few months.
      The main authorities on the islands are Archishop Dorothios Maliasenos, Tribounos Pankratoukaina Tzamplakonissa of the Foussatores and Komes Theognostos Maroules of the Vestiaritai. The archbishop tends to keep himself busy with the affairs of the Church whilst the other two are more concerned with the roles of their organisations as well as the petty bickering typical of two Tagmatine organisations that have overlapping jurisdictions.
      Religion
      The only people on the islands are members of the Aroman Church.
      Population
      There are roughly two hundred monks and a similar number of the Foussatores and Vestiaritai, although split between them. The monks are permanent but the members of the other two are rotated every so often. The Ministry of the Environment has several groups of semi-permanent researchers who monitor the animal and bird populations on the islands. Most of the population is focused around the “capital” of Basilikolimanion.
      Military
      The Foussatores and the Vestiaritai are the only armed presence on the island and they are not military. The former is a border agency with only small arms and a few fixed emplacements around the capital/main port, which are drilled with but hopelessly obsolete. The latter is more of a coastguard and customs agency than a military, keeping an eye on ships that come near the islands and to make sure that no one else lands there without permission of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion.
      They would fold under any pressure and a landing in any force would brush them aside.
      Economy
      There is no economy to speak of, other than a low level black market in the two border agencies which is concerned with making or exchanging alcohol.
      The islands themselves have significant mineral deposits, mainly coal and iron ore. It is currently not considered to be economically viable to bother with and all mines and mining installations are in a state of degradation. Surveys for oil and gas were carried out several decades ago and were not considered to be viable at the time.
    • By Tagmatium Rules
      As Droungariokomes (Commodore) Sofia Ooryfaina looked the bay and the town of Basilikolimanion that was nestled around it, there were several things that struck her.
      The first was that was a good, sheltered anchorage for ships, and the concrete wharves that jutted into the bay would make the unloading of equipment easier. So long as they were still in good condition, although they likely wouldn't have been used intensively for decades. They could well be corroded and weakened by years of being battered by the elements and unable to take much heavy equipment moved across them.
      The second was that the large cathedral and equally large palace were incongruous amidst the dilapidated and crumbling houses and industrial buildings. They were from a significantly more prosperous time, when the Hermitages were at the centre of Arhomaneia's whaling industry a century ago. The islands where then, briefly, used for coal and iron ore mining until the Long War made it too dangerous for ships to cross. An attempt was made thirty or forty years ago to restart the mining, but it was deemed uneconomical to ship it across the Sea of Storms. She couldn't tell what state the wharves were in from out where her ship was. Or the palace and the cathedral, as they were just dark silhouettes against the the bare rock and small patches of vegetation that made up the hinterland behind the main settlement of the Hermitages.
      The third was that it looked bloody cold out there. The wind was whipping off the tops of the waves and it looked like there was snow in the air.
      “No sign of any life?” She asked the ship's captain, or Droungarios in her nation's naming conventions, taking her binoculars from her eyes and turning to her left to look over her shoulder. His name was Eufemios Kamoteros and he looked like the typical Basilikoploimon officer – smartly turned out in his black uniform, with a dark beard that was starting to show edges of grey. He was of below average height, not much taller than Ooryfaina herself. Both of them had regulation short hair and were wrapped up against the cold, despite being on the bridge of the command ship of the mission.
      “None from the Foussatores or Vestiaritai, Kyriossa,” came the reply from the officer standing at her left shoulder. The Border Guard and the Financial Guard respectively, they were only on the island to protect what little Arhomaneia considered to be of worth on islands. Which was little. “The monks, though, have acknowledged our approach. I've asked them to get in contact with the others.”
      Droungariokomes Ooryfaina gave a heavy sigh. The need for secrecy and the speed at which the operation was assembled meant that it hadn't been able to contact the remote stations that kept the Tagmatine claims to the faraway islands alive. It also didn't help that the islands were considered such a backwater deployment by the organisations in charge of them that it would probably have taken weeks for them to contact their subordinates on the islands. It was considered by the Epistrategaion to just contact them once the flotilla was close enough to the island. It could well have been something of an oversight on the part of the High Command.
      “Well, keep having your people try them, Droungarios. I don't want any unfortunate accidents taking place.” The Droungariokomes turned away and walked over to the windows on the bridge's starboard side to look at the handful of vessels that were following the cruiser BPP Trapezon she was on.
      Three tenders, filled with supplies and equipment to establish a proper base on the island, as well as a troop ship with a Apelatai regiment on it. Although it had initially been deemed a risk to withdraw a unit from the western border, the elite infantry were equipped and prepared to deal with the harsh conditions this far north. There were two corvettes and a destroyer accompanying the flotilla, watching for any ships or aircraft that might have suspicious intentions. A pair of submarines lurked nearby, acting as an unseen screening force. A conspicuously civilian vessels with too many antennas lurked between the tenders and the troop ship. It was from the Arhomaiki Noimosyni Dykton and other than its presence and its immediate movements, no one had explained to the Droungariokomes what it was going to be doing.
      Ideally, the attention of the Gharoi would be on both Corinium or the Prognostikator watching them in the Thalassa ton Kataigidon, the Sea of Storms. No one should really have seen anything as the Tagmatine ships slipped anchor in the various ports on the Kentriki Thalassa, the Central Sea and then amassed on the eastern side of the island of Vanarambion. They kept to international waters as best as they could as they did so. The vessels then made their way north by slipping through the Fillipou Thalassa, the Kosscow Sea and between the islands of the Hexanesa under the cover of darkness. Nights were still long at this time of year and this latitude. The flotilla was approaching from the east, in order to try to further escape any possible prying eyes from other countries. The few ships they had seen were trawlers, although you could never be sure.
      It seemed a good enough plan to the Droungariokomes when she'd been briefed on it but it was clear that it could spark off something, especially as the Seilosioi (@Seylosians) and the Iberikoi (@Ivericans) had tried to block Gharoi (@Haruspex) plans for Corinium. Only partially successfully, as the Gharoi pretty much now controlled the northern entrance to the Adlantic. There was a good chance that the northern barbarians were eyeing up the Hermitages, probably to create naval bases and despoil of their natural resources. Which was something that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion wanted to avoid, as it would entirely put the seas surrounding Arhomaneia at their mercy.
      As the Droungariokomes ruminated on the chances that Arhomaneia might kick off something bigger with establishing direct control to the northern islands, another officer leaned over to the Droungarios and muttered in his ear. He nodded and turned to Ooryfaina.
      “It looks like we still can't get a hold of anyone but the monks, Kyriossa, but they've sent someone over to to warn the Foussatores and the Vestiaritai,” he said, a frown on his face. “Apparently it's common, or at least common enough, that someone's radio goes down and they rely on the others to communicate.”
      Ooryfaina grunted. “Good start.”
      The other officer shrugged. “As good as any, really. I suppose it can't be expected that this out-of-the-way shithole would be up to scratch. They have to get everything sent up to them and it's not like any of them are trained military.”
      “Well, two of them are law enforcement of some sort,” the Droungariokomes said, shaking her head and walking over towards the windows in the bridge that looked towards the islands. “The buggers should really have their shit together a lot more. Especially out here.”
      “It'll be a shock when two-odd thousand pissed off soldiers start stomping around the island,” replied the captain, a grin showing through his beard. The smile disappeared and was replaced by a more serious look. “The monks also suggest that we use the eastern wharf, as the western one is a bit degraded.”
      “What's 'a bit degraded'” the female officer asked her subordinate, turning towards him, eyebrow raised.
      “They didn't really say,” the other replied, with a shrug. “I suppose that we'll have to see as soon as we get there.”
      Both of them turned to look towards the island. It was low down towards the sea but rose up towards the north east to a hill. A glacier covered the mountain and below that, bare rock. They were much closer now, able to see the individual houses that made up much of the settlement, as well as the walls of the fortress. Most of the houses were little more than ruins. The palace and the cathedral were easily seen.
      “They call it the Palati ton Oston,” said Kamoteros. “Pretty ominous. Apparently, they made much of the flooring and door frames out of whalebone, from all the years of hunting.”
      Again, the more senior officer grunted in reply.
       
       
      The BPP Trapezon was too large to moor directly alongside the wharves, as it was much bigger than the colliers and iron ore cargo ships it had been designed for, some seventy or more years ago. That didn't bode too well for the plans to bring the port itself up to the standards necessary for acting as the Europan end of the Argic trade route. But, Ooryfaina considered as she stood in ready to climb out of the ship's boat she had left the cruiser in, it was likely already known by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion. The iron rungs of the ladder from the water level up to the top of the wharf were slippery, corroded and occasionally missing. She almost lost her grip a couple of times. Getting a dip in the frigid Thalassa ton Kataigidon was not something that she was planning on doing today. As she hauled herself onto the top of the wharf, a band struck up the Arhomaiki national anthem.
      Badly.
      The smell of incense wafted over the sea air and was whipped away by a strong wind and she looked towards where the music was coming from. The band was made up of ten musicians, half in the winter uniform of the border guard and half in that of the financial guard. It did not sound like they had every practised together. A group of monks, well wrapped in winter gear, were waving thymiata and carrying holy relics to bless the new arrivals. Striding towards the Droungariokomes was an elderly-looking priest carrying a crozier and with a mitre perched on a woolly hat, followed by what must be the two senior officers of the enforcement agencies that occupied the Herimitireia. They seemed to be having a typically Aroman struggle over who would greet her first in their order of seniority. The border guard could trace their roots to the forces that conquered Europa and Amutia whilst the financial guard were, strictly speaking, a unit of the Tagmata. Thus the two officers were surreptitiously trying to step in front of the other. Soon it was likely going to come to elbows jabbed in ribs.
      “Welcome to the Herimitireia,” said the Arkhiepiskopos Dorothios Maliasenos, vapour from his breath curling away in the wind. He gave an appraising glance over Ooryfaina's rank tabs. “It is rare that we get anyone from the Basilikoploimon here, let alone a droungariokomes. Usually, it's a ship chartered from a civilian firm that drops of supplies for us. A supply tender for them comes from the navy but it's never someone of such a rank.”
      The archbishop punctuated the last part of the statement with a jab of a gloved hand over his shoulder. The two behind him had finished their bickering but waited until the archbishop had finished talking to the naval officer. The statement of the archbishop seemed to be a bit dismissive of the other two officers but she couldn't quite tell.
      “And now you arrive with that,” he said, giving a nod towards the flotilla sat in the bay.
      “Yes, your beatitude,” replied Ooryfaina. “The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has decided that it is time for the Herimitireia to truly become part of Arhomaneia again.”
      A pretty pompous line. The naval officer winced internally almost as soon as she said it.
      “Some of it has already been explained to me by a communication from emailed over to me,” the archbishop said. “I am not sure I wholehearted approve, for many reasons. For one, we have got used to the peace and tranquillity of these islands. I rather it wasn't disturbed by building work, ships or soldiers.”
      “I believe that will come a bit later, your beatitude,” the Droungariokomes replied. “I'm not sure when but I think that, considering what the Gharoi and Seilosioi have done, I imagine it will be soon. I'm not in charge of the building work, just securing the islands.”
      Again, the expression on what little of the archbishop's face was visible between his beard and his woolly hat was unreadable. He turned on his heel without another word and started to walk back down the wharf towards his waiting entourage, who were still waving incense and chanting. Ooryfaina found herself staring after him, frowning. She hadn't been told anything about the Church disapproving of the increase in activity on the islands but, as she had said to the archbishop, that wasn't really her problem. Her job was to stop any other nation to trying to meddle in the affairs of the island.
      Another woolly hat bobbed into view, but this with a tall domed hat crammed on top of it.
      “Tribounos Pankratoukaina Tzamplakonissa of the Foussatores,” said the well wrapped little shape that lay under the hat. From the name, Ooryfaina guessed that the speaker was female but the amount of clothes rendered any physical appearance hard to discern. And in order to nip any pretensions of the other officer being anything other than inferior to the speaker, they continued. “And this is Komes Theognostos Maroules.”
      The other officer narrowed his eyes at the slight but gave a half-bow towards the naval officer.
      “Welcome to the edge of the Eurth, Droungariokomes,” the shorter figure said, with unnecessary dramatics. “We'll get you and your staff somewhere warm.”
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