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The Anglian Machine

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For the first time in many years, the Imperial Palace in Schlammburg was filled with activity again. The Imperial government had been in a state of decay for decades as power had slowly slipped to the various states of Dolchland. It was only a few years ago that the Diet had elected Emperor Heinrich Johannes von Augsburg to the throne. At the time, though, it was considered little more than a titular honor to receive the Emperorship, but Heinrich had much more ambitious plans than that.

In 2017 his uncle, Friedrich Johannes von Ausburg, had simply given up the throne. What made it worse is it didn't even come as a shock to the rest of the country to see an emperor abdicate to head off to retirement. While the rest of the country seemed indifferent, Heinrich was enraged. He had grown tired of seeing the weakness of his family and was disturbed to see that they had let it fall to such a low. Still, he knew the only way to right this wrong was to play the good nephew and endear himself to the leaders of the Diet. It took time, but he was chosen as the next emperor, and took his place on the throne as soon as he could. Immediately, he had begun the political game to gain as many allies as he could. Luckily, his power base in Habstria afforded him more resources than being the Emperor did.

After years and years of politics, finally an opportunity he could never have dreamed of came knocking. In its quest for power, Great Anglia had stepped up its presence across the wurld, and had turned its eyes towards Dolchland. When the first diplomatic meetings occurred, it became clear what they really wanted: a native counterbalance to Seylos in the region. With the North Adlantic Union growing, and deepening ties between Seylos, Delamaria, and Fravina, Anglia needed an ally in the region to give it a way in. Of course, with desperation breeds opportunity, and the Anglians were quick to target the dying empire.

Heinrich was no fool, though, and understood exactly what the Anglians were after. He knew they cared little for helping Dolchland, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity to leverage their enormous resources to rebuild the Empire once again. With this new backing, he stepped up the timeline of his plan and became far more aggressive, as he knew that the Anglians would always be a safety net to make sure their new "puppet" would stay afloat. He was able to secure a much-needed alliance with the Kingdom of Macklenover, and through more dubious means had managed to secure the ascension of his own puppet in the form of Ernest II of Bessen-Katzenelm. It didn't take long though for his rivals in Panedonia to get wind of his plans. They hadn't expected an Ausburg Emperor to pull these types of power moves, and despite their initial shock, they tried to push back against him.

Now the two sides were locked in a struggle, trying to use their influence to gain the allegiance of the myriad of small states that made up Dolchland. It was clear though that Heinrich had the advantage. With Anglian money and arms pouring into Habstria it made keeping up with them that much more difficult. What made matters even worse for the Panedonian side was Heinrich's most recent announcement. In his capacity as Emperor, he had declared the "Great Industrial Revival", opening almost unlimited Imperial funds, thanks to Anglian subsidies, up to facilitate desperately needed industrial modernization across the country. And most horrifically to the Panedonians, even declaring a more open international attitude to finally make trade happen again. It was clear that if the Panedonians and their allies were to be victorious, they would need to make their move quickly before the Emperor could gain any more power.

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On the morning of October 13th, the Dolch military was in a frenzy. A series of orders had been sent to all branches of the military to prepare for what they had all been anxious for. War.

The Dolch Navy pulled half of its ships from the Dolch Sea, though not all, and began to congregate on the east coast of the country. In the port town of Erfurt, just east of Schlammburg, the empire had gathered three division of the Imperial Army. Though only one division would make any crossing at first, the Imperial Navy was prepared to ferry as much troops as possible as quickly as they could over to Iwenland. Their intelligence had already spotted the massing of Seylosian ships at the eastern mouth of the Dolch Sea, and it wasn't long after that they had spotted the Seylosian troop transports that were making their way to Iwenland. The Dolch knew there was nothing that could be done to prevent the deployment of Seylosian soldiers to Iwenland, but they had no choice but to move up their timetable as to be sure that the Seylosians couldn't reach Iwenland's west coast before they could make their landing. The situation had become slightly more complicated as King Aidan had followed through with his plan, the Dolch Sea was blocked in the east by the Seylosian Royal Navy, and undoubtedly the Delamarians would not be keen to allow Anglian supplies from the north of Iwenland.


As for Iwenland's part, they had tried to prepare the best they could, but with such little time to build a larger military, they were woefully short on manpower they could throw at any front line. They had instead made the decision to only post three battalions worth of troops to the west to act as more of a delaying force. When the buildup was spotted from Iwenland, the call went out. Evacuation orders were sent up all across the west coast, urging people to leave their homes immediately. Cars and buses were jamming the roads leading away from Goudstratdam and Straatport, and trains were completely full.  For now all they could do was hope that the people's of Argis would come to their aid.

The Empire was hardly finished, they had also directed four more divisions to be spread out across the @DPR Velaherian border and had sent out a simple demand. Territorial concessions, or war. There didn't need to be a complicated diplomatic discussion, still though they wouldn't launch any attacks immediately. As far as the Dolch were concerned Velaharia was a wayward part of the Empire. And so was Stedoria, or for that matter any place that spoke Dolch. An additional set of demands made their way to @Stedoria as well, demanding that Stedoria remove any influence from Gadutea immediately, or it would be forced to do so in a military operation to ensure the "Dolch integrity" of the nation. And they would do so with the other half of their fleet they had moved to their west coast.

And last but not least, a single message to Seylos. Remove the blockade of the Dolch Sea, or there will be war.

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  • 3 months later...

It had been some time since Admiral Sheridan Cartwright had been to Godstone. Most of his duties had taken him outside the city, dealing with not only the build-up to the war, but now the continuing hostilities. At sixty-five, he had served in the Great Anglian Imperial Navy for over forty years. He had got his first command in 2000 on an old frigate, and through what he believed was some combination of divine intervention and extraordinary luck he had achieved a sort of legendary status rare for officers in the military. In reality, he had been a combination of two things: a sort of old school sense of honor, and most importantly, an incredibly clean record. Anglia of course did intentionally gallivant around the wurld perpetrating war crimes, but imperial ambition always creates such incidents. It was always much easier for the government to put forward their most "gentlemanly" officers forward, and of course his near perfect combat record gained him many friends in the Anglian court.

His reputation had allowed him the luxury of existing both within and slightly outside the generally cut-throat system that dominated Anglian military politics. His general popularity with the people tended to insulate him from some of the more intense machinations that occurred within the Imperial Navy. And he tried his best to avoid open political conflict with the many other admirals who felt that had something to prove. He had no doubt in his mind that the Imperial Navy was the best navy to sail the seas, but what had always held it back from being the ocean's true undisputed master was its fractured command. It wasn't unusual for flag officers to bend and twist their orders to achieve some sort of personal gain, and worst of all, political assignments that could be gained from military glory. Perhaps that is why the king had made one of his most controversial decisions to date, in naming Cartwright "Grand Admiral", the commander of all Anglian fleets. The King clearly had his uses for the current competitive system, but at the end of the day knew he needed an officer who had no use for the game being played.

Unfortunately for Cartwright, this meant his days of living outside the system were mostly over. To say it had been a chore to get the officers in line was an incredible understatement, but over the past two years he had managed to improve the system. At least enough to present a mostly united front against the enemy. Still, as usual, frustrating incidents did occur.

Upon his arrival in the Imperial Palace, he was taken to a large reception hall on the ground floor. Dozens of officers and their staff had been gathered for an announcement from the King about their strategy as the war continued on. No doubt, the pressures from TRIDENT operations in Bashan, the Dolch faltering in Argis, and the recent Haru declaration of war was beginning to make even the most arrogant amongst them feel nervous. Still, the situation did not feel hopeless yet.

Accompanying him were four of his captains, each in command of the carriers that made up the Imperial 4th Fleet. Despite being given the Grand Admiral title, he had made sure to retain command of the 4th. Each officer was hand-picked specifically by himself and the personnel assigned to the fleet, both sailor and soldier, had been filtered specifically from ranks for less… ambitious and more professional behavior. In the 90s he had been able to visit several Seylosian naval bases when the two nations had been trying on some form of reconciliation; and while he found the Seylosian Royal Navy quite laughable in many aspects, he was impressed with their system of recruitment. He had made sure to borrow some of their ideas for filling out the 4th, under the guise of building an "elite" naval force.

It wasn't long before his party had been approached by one of the other admiral's, Ormond Howe, a particularly ambitious individual, took the opportunity to infuriate Cartwright whenever he could.

"Ah, Grand Admiral Cartwright, the situation was truly to be one of import if your skills are needed here instead of at your own command." Howe said, a smug expression on his face.

"His Majesty send me where I am needed, and I go nowhere else. An important lesson for many of our officers to learn it appears," Cartwright replied, he stepped slight to his left and extended his arm out to one of his officers, "Lord Admiral, I believe you remember the fine Captain Barnes, I've recently placed him in command of the INS Forthright after her captain had to have an early retirement."

In Cartwright's case it was actually true, the former captain of the Forthwright did in fact retire after a recent battle with poor health. Though in most cases throughout the Imperial Navy, an early retirement had more sinister connotations. Just like he had hoped, though, his introduction had wiped the smug look right off Howe's face.

"An interesting choice, Admiral. I believe I removed him from command due to very serious questions about his competence. His… actions… almost cost me a carrier," Howe replied.

Cartwright noticed the flash of frustration on Captain Barnes' face, but kept his attention on Howe with a smile, "The combat records seem to disagree with that assessment, Lord Admiral. I was surprised to see his task force was sent to Anatea on such a blind mission. The fact he was able to save so many ships from destruction from not only an Anatean air attack but a Seylosian ambush was impressive to me."

"An ambush he should have seen coming, with all due respect," Howe said, anger starting to show on his face.

"As I recall, his admiral did see an ambush coming, just… from the wrong direction. A shame, he had received such faulty intelligence from his superiors."

How let out a grunt and turned to walk away, "Take your chances on whomever you wish, Grand Admiral. Far be it from me to question the decisions of His Majesty's chosen."

Cartwright couldn't help but take some satisfaction from the exchange as Howe stormed away. He turned to face all his officers, "Such an onerous little man. Keep your wits about you, all of these people are like sharks in the water. Don't let them take you off guard. We have a long night ahead of us before the King arrives."

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