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Hemahatik Stories

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Collection of short misc stories from Hemahat

Wastan Aybes impatiently drummed his fingers on his desk, his head resting on his other hand. The Council seemed to have been yelling at him and murmuring to each other for several minutes, though checking his watch, it had only been a minute. Even Prime Minister Makan Hevia, who normally kept the peace in these kinds of situations, appeared shocked and confused at his suggestion. Eventually, however, Makan managed to calm down the council by striking her gavel on the sound block, though she had to do it twice to get them to fully calm down. 

She looked at Aybes, who was still annoyed at being interrupted. Now calm and collective, she asked him a question. “Mr. Wastan, could you please explain to the Council what you proposed?”

“Yes, Prime Minister.” Aybes stood up. “If you do not mind, I would prefer it if you all would not treat my proposal like an insult to Namaset herself.” He looked around the council, trying to get his point across. “I simply proposed a bill that would allow women to serve combat roles.” 

Much to his annoyance, the Council began to murmur again. But this was quickly stopped by another gavel strike.

“If you would please continue, Mr. Wastan.” Hevia appeared genuinely interested now, though likely because this was the most interesting thing that had happened that day. 

Abyes nodded his head. “All I am proposing is that women, who wish to actively fight for their country, may be able to do so if they so please. I am not proposing that they replace men or that they will be conscripted as men - just that they could join if they so please.” 

The Council was silent this time, giving Hevia time to formulate what she would do next. “Truthfully speaking, Mr. Wastan, I am quite interested in this proposal. But I must now ask that you sit down to let the Hemahatik Party for Unity speak. Members of the Coalition of Free Parties will be given their chance to speak for or against the bill, but the HPU takes precedence. HPU, please select a member to speak-.”  

Without hesitation, the oldest member of the HPU slowly began to rise from his seat. Apad Hembes, the 92 year old Council Member from Cafis, was a veteren of a conflict between Hemahat and Dochi tribes. Despite the conflict being minor, he was heavily decorated for his actions. Due to this, no member of the HPU tried to object to him standing up, meaning the metaphorical stage was all his. 

Hembes began to speak. His voice was just loud enough to be heard, but was still negatively affected by his age. “I cannot support this bill, Mr. Wastan. As a veteren, I find your disregard for the traditions of both our military and our nation to be disrespectful. It has always been that the sons and fathers protect the mothers and daughters. No Queen, no mother, not even Namaset herself would have picked up a spear or gun to fight a foreign army. Men are simply more physically able to serve front-line roles than women are as our roles are different. If a woman wants to join the army and fight, then they can fight by helping men - not shooting them.” Hembes, satisfied with his response, slowly sat down. His stoic expression remained despite those surrounding murmering to him.

Hevia was still genuinely curious as she looked towards the Coalition of Free Parties with a slight smile. “Would the CFP like to respond?”

Not knowing what to say, Aybes looked around. He knew someone could poke holes into Hembes’ argument, but he didn’t know who or how. Then his eyes locked onto Baq Mertew, the 32-year-old Council Member from Nutu. Mertew took this as a blessing, but wanted to make sure, signalling to him by raising her eyebrow. Aybes knew Mertew was a loose cannon and a radical, which while useful for rallying up people, was not good in a formal setting such as this one. His expression practically went pleading as he looked around for anyone else. As nobody else seemed willing, Aybes cringed slightly before nodding his head, signalling for her to stand up. 

Despite her best attempts at hiding it, Mertew was clearly excited as she quickly got up and prepared herself to argue. As soon as hevia motioned for Mertew to go ahead, she began to speak. “Mr. Apad Hembes, with all due respect, your argument is based on the position that Hemahat is a nation within a bubble. That things have always been the way they are and her people have not changed since the days of Namaset. The Hemahatik people have defied tradition for hundreds of years. We defied tradition by unifying under Nebey Meferwet, we defied tradition by forming the Republic of Hemahat - a revolution which your own family fought in. So it is really that insane of an idea we might have to do it again?” She paused as she thought of what to say next. “I also find your dismissal of women and their abilities to be erroneous and offensive. If I knew my daughter was in danger, I would gladly fight and risk life and limb to protect her. Why should my motherland be any different? If you want to ‘protect‘ mothers like me, then you can start by allowing us to protect ourselves.” She continued with a third point. “While I do recognize that during your service, wars were fought between men, times have changed. The wars of Alharu and Aurelia are no longer fought with swords and cavalry, they are fought with machine guns, tanks, and bombs. If Hemahat is to assert itself on the wurld stage as we currently are, we will be inviting nations from all continents to do as they see fit with our land and people unless we make a stand. Men alone cannot make such a stand, and neither can women. But together, we can assert that Hemahat is Hemahatik. And we can start by acknowledging that our women are just as dangerous as our men.”

As she sat back down, the end of her speech was met with applause by a few of the members of the CFP, primarily other radicals and women. However, most of the council was silent or simply talking to each other. Among the silent ones was Aybes, who was holding his head up with two fingers. He muttered “She said respond, not ramble.” He looked across the room, seeing Hembes with his arms crossed. He shook his head in disapproval when his eyes met Aybes’. However, Aybes was not interested in that - but rather the expressions of those surrounding Hembes. Quite a few of them, especially known centrists and reformers within the party, appeared to be deep in thought. To Aybes, it appeared that her little speech worked. He looked up to Mertew and gave her a thumbs up, something he learned was considered a sign of “good job” in some countries. She reciprocated with a smug smile before mouthing “You can trust me.” Aybes leaned back in his seat, waiting for the independents to get their turn.

It would be several more days of debate, filibustering, and a bit of anger before eventually, the bill would be voted on. It passed with a simple majority of 156-144. Possibly not wanting to annoy the reformist wing of his party, the President signed it, turning it into a law. Despite it being signed, it showed a rift in the HPU, as the bill annoyed many conservatives and nationalists, feeling that it broke tradition. It only passed due to reformer members being convinced by the CFO. From an outsider’s perspective, the “Party for Unity” seems to slowly be disuniting.

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  • 1 year later...

Debet Makan Hevia stared out the windshield of her car, its tint just barely letting her see her destination. The Qabuwhenik Palace was not a particularly grand structure. It looked more like a bunker than a palace, with a drab concrete exterior and an electric fence lining the perimeter. Though it did fit the stereotype of the “large building on a hill.” While it was not the official residence, Heptuin Aymed spent most of his time here, unsurprising given its relative distance from the urban center of the capital. Even from where she was sitting she could see a small protest gathered in front of a section of fence. As they drew closer, she saw at least 12 people in masks with signs in Hemahatik, demanding the increase of wages for "government accountants." Hevia just shook her head as the car approached the gate. 

“Masbal. I know the President did not say how long this meeting will last, but do you mind staying until I leave? Something tells me I might want to get out of this situation as soon as I can.” Hevia said with a hint of uneasiness to her voice.

Masbal, her personal driver, simply said “Yes ma’am” as he pulled up to the gate, being stopped by a rather small man in a service dress uniform. After a brief exchange between the driver and the gate guard, the latter rushed to his sentry box and opened up the gate. They drove a few meters before getting to the gate. As Hevia unbuckled, Masbal spoke up.

“Good luck. I don’t know what the President wants you for, but something tells me you’re going to need it.” 

“It’s probably just something about the election,” she added “the presidential election is in 3 weeks and maybe he just wants to coordinate that.” Masbal could hear a certain amount of uncertainty in her voice. 

Masbal nodded his head in acknowledgment before unlocking the doors. Hevia stepped out and began to walk up the concrete path leading to the front entrance of the building. Along the way, she muttered to herself. It was uncommon for President Heptuin to call someone to his workplace, as usually, it was custom for him to come to their workplace. To Hevia, this could only mean one of two things, either this matter was of utmost seriousness or he was trying to intimidate her by telling her what to do on his “turf.” Regardless, she felt like she needed to prepare. 

Hevia saw two soldiers at the front door, much larger than the small man at the front. They had seemingly not noticed her just yet and were casually talking about the unusually pleasant weather. However, the more senior of the two noticed Hevia and motioned for the other soldier to stand at attention.

“Debet Makan! The President welcomes you to his residence. Please comply with the contraband check before entering.” The younger soldier stated in a commanding tone.

Hevia sighed slightly as she stretched out her arms. The younger soldier patted her down before returning to attention. He barked at the older soldier “She’s clear, Sergeant Mariti.” Mariti acknowledged him before opening the door. 

“Please accompany Debet Makan to the President’s office, Corporal Sahmi.” The Sergeant barked. Sahmi responded with a resounding “Yes sir!” before marching in. Hevia quickly followed. 

The march of the soldier echoed in the large central corridor of the building. Hevia followed with a meek walk, a bit unnerved by the situation. She noticed several other government officials talking while following behind another soldier. This caused her to realize there were at least 6 soldiers in the room either accompanying officials or doing patrol duty. That’s when she realized Sahmi was not a guard, but a regular soldier. The President and other high-ranking officials had always traditionally been guarded by the Service Guards, an organization under the control of the Ayped, but Sahmi bore the insignia of the 12th Army Brigade.

Hevia prodded. “How did the President even manage to get this many on-duty soldiers under his guard?”

Sahmi remained silent. Now a bit annoyed, Hevia spoke up. “I don’t remember the Ayadad-”

Sahmi turned his head and snapped at Hevia. “We’re not supposed to talk when on duty, but you of all people should know I answer to the President - not the Ayadad.”

Hevia was taken aback by the sudden harshness of Sahmi. However, rather than try to refute or otherwise further anger the soldier, she bowed her head in silence before continuing to follow. It was clear to her how President Heptuin picked his soldiers at least. 

After a short walk in silence, they eventually made it to a large ornate double door. The two soldiers stood at attention as Sahmi knocked. 

“Honorable President Heptuin Aymed, Debet Makan Hevia is here to see you.” Sahmi barked with a bit of shakiness in his voice.

“Let her in.” A calm voice responded. With that, the two walked into the room. Hevia saw the President rather casually sitting at his desk, apparently just done signing another bill into law. He was smiling, though its authenticity seemed questionable. Sahmi was about to close the door behind him when Aymed interrupted him. “I’d prefer privacy. Step out, if you will.”

Sahmi responded with a simple “Yes, Honorable President” before walking out, closing the doors behind him.

Compared to the drab and utilitarian building it inhabited, President Heptuin’s office was very modern and decorative. The walls to Hevia’s left and right were filled with bookshelves and portraits of both previous presidents and other historical figures. The President’s desk had a coffee mug filled with pens and a miniature version of the Hemahatik flag along with a picture of himself and his family on vacation somewhere in Argis. But the most striking feature was the window, a large and ornate design that was shaped after the ethereal form of Anmatar. While perhaps a circle with tentacles splayed about wasn’t the most efficient design, it was certainly captivating for the spiritual crowd, which included Hevia. However, it made her incredibly nervous, as she felt an almost supernatural authority pressed upon her.

After shaking out of her daze, Hevia looked at Heptuin Aymed. “President Heptui-” She was interrupted by Heptuin.

“Please, call me Aymed. We may not be friends, but we are equals-. Ah, one moment, if you will.” After Aymed said this, he pressed a button on his desk. “Could someone please bring me  an extra chair? Please and thank you.” He took his finger off the button and looked at Hevia. “I apologize for not being better prepared, it must have slipped my mind that you probably do not want to stand for the full time we’re here.”

Despite his friendly attitude, Hevia remained uneasy. She spoke up. “If you will, I would like to 

know why my presence was needed so urgently.” 

Aymed’s smile faded as he shook his head. “Always straight to business with you? To tell you the truth, yes, this is not a friendly meeting. If it was, I would have asked for wine and cheese as well.” 

Another knock was heard on the door. “Honorable President Heptuin Aymed, I have brought the chair you requested,” the voice on the other side said.

“Bring it in.” Aymed casually said. The door opened and a servant carefully placed the chair behind Hevia. Hevia sat down as Aymed stood up, pacing around the room as he continued his monologue. 

“Well, as you can probably tell, this is not a friendly visit. I am deeply concerned about the current state of affairs in this state of ours. To tell you the truth, I feel as if our positions are under threat.”

Hevia raised a brow. “What do you mean?”

Aymed took a deep breath as got up to grab a folder. “Hevia, with all due respect, I feel like that you have been too compromising with the reformers. While a stable government is good-” he stopped to shift through folders. He grabbed one and waddled back to his desk. “- you have let them step over quite a few boundaries. Which I feel like might be compromising our positions.” 

Hevia started with a meek “Are…” before she regained her composure. “Are you suggesting that the CFP should be silenced?”

“No, goodness no. All members should be given the right to speak. One party states are… rather inefficient anyways. It is good to have a minority voice to keep us all in check.” He put the folder down and opened it. “I don’t even dislike some of these, I signed them after all.” He pointed out a few bills. “Look, this one allows women to join the military, and we always need new recruits. And this one granted some of our land back to the Dochi-”

“What’s the problem then? If you like the bills, what’s the issue?” Hevia asked, crossing her arms.

Aymed exhaled and nodded his head. “You see, the issue here isn’t so much the laws themselves. A government has to be flexible, after all. The issue here is who’s making the laws.” He pointed at each bill laid before Hevia, pointing at the highlighted words ‘Proposed by Wastan Aybes’ on each. He looked up at Hevia. The stress and worry he had been trying to hide the whole meeting showed as his act broke. “Signing these laws, knowing full well how much they help Aybes, make me look weak. I’ve been campaigning for weeks now just to keep myself above water. The election is within less than a month and I feel like with one more blunder, I am going to be out of here.”

“Why couldn’t you just veto them?” She asked, tilting her head to the left.

“You know that Aybes man has a way with people, and if I annoy the reformers enough, they might fracture off. I don’t want to be seen as the villain here.” He answered, still staring. He took a deep breath and tried to work up a smile. “This is where I need you. I need you to keep that man on the downlow until election day" 

“A-and” She coughed to try and regain her composure. “And why would I do that for you? We may both be of the same party, but-”

“Because we both need each other.” Aybes said with a bit of harshness that he had not had before. He took a breath and regained his composure. “My own cabinet listens to you much more than they listen to me. This, I feel, is good for mediating tension. It shows the more politically aware how I am able to make compromises for the sake of continuing stability, rather than simply assuming power for myself or throwing a fit.” He pointed at himself “This is important because I am a Heptuin” he pointed at Hevia “and you’re a Makan. Our clans are on the verge of war, but with me in power, we can prevent that. But if I am replaced, who knows what would happen? We could get a dictator from one of our clans that sparks a civil conflict. We could get a President from another clan that tears apart our party. Or worse yet, we could get Aybes’ puppet sitting in this seat, and you know that’d be terrible for all of us.”

Hevia knew he was right. They were both treading in dangerous waters, and it was up to them to make sure they didn’t fall in together. “What do you want me to do exactly?”

“I don’t know, send him to some conference in Maiwet or encourage him to tour that dunghole Wesahat. Just keep him busy.”

Hevia was slightly shocked by the statement. But, she hoped that her reasoning would prevail over her emotions. “Oh, come on now. Wesahat isn’t that bad.” Hevia said, still sounding slightly offended. 

He, perhaps thinking he was lightening the mood, laughed and began to joke. “Ohhh, Wesahat? Yeah, it’s not bad - for us. Who knows? Maybe he’ll anger some goat herders or bandits and become their newest addition to their dwindling genepool.”

It was at the dwindling genepool comment where Hevia snapped, having been mocked for her parents' relationship since she entered politics. She felt more energized and angry than she had been in awhile. She had been abused and ridiculed for her heritage and ancestry for long enough, she thought. Enraged, Hevia stood up and threw her hands onto the table. This shocked Aymed, who looked up at her with a confused expression. “Heptuin Aymed, I come from Wesahat. My family and clan come from Wesahat, and I know you knew this. I could take the insults to the land, but here you are mocking our heritage. For a man who wants peace above all else, you lack the knowledge or the tact to do so.”

Slightly offended at Hevia’s accusations, he scoffed “Oh, so you can’t take a joke, is that it? You could joke about Namasetahat all you wanted to, but God forbid-.” He was interrupted by Hevia yelling for about a second.

“Enough with this!” She paused for a moment and breathed heavily before continuing with “I will do as you ask, but know this - ‘Honorable’ President. You have made an enemy out of me. I cannot guarantee anything other than a rocky second term should you get elected. Good day!”

As she turned around, she could hear the President mutter “mixed-blooded bastard” under his breath, an insult against ‘mixed’ people in Hemahat. She stopped and clenched her fist, but let it go as she walked out the door. 

Closing it behind her, she slowly collapsed onto the floor, sitting down with her knees to her chest and her back to the door. “Oh Mother, what have I done?” She muttered as she stared at the ceiling. She breathed shakily as the moments before her raced through her mind. 

“Do you need help, Debet Makan?” Asked Sahmi in the same tone he had greeted her with. He had apparently been standing there the entire time, and he looked at Hevia with a rather neutral expression. “Are you in need of medical attention?”

“Just some water.” She replied. Sahmi slipped a canteen out of his belt and gave it to her. She was somewhat shocked that he had it on hand, but none-the-less drank about half of it before giving it back to Sahmi. “Thank you.”

Sahmi barked “No problem, Debet. I now have to escort you out of the building. Please follow me.”

Hevia struggled a bit, but managed to get up and began to follow Sahmi. She was totally silent as she was escorted to the door and let out by Sahmi and one other soldier. The two dismissed Hevia, with the senior of the two saying “Have a great day, Debet.” She opened the car door and got in, buckling up before sprawling out over the seat in exhaustion. 

Masbal had apparently not expected her to be back so soon, as he was caught unprepared. He tossed his phone onto the seat next to him and looked in the rearview mirror, his brow raised and expression neutral. “So, how’d it go?” Masbal asked with a hint of sarcasm.

Hevia’s eyes rolled into the back of her head at the comment. “Just drive back home. I am really not in the mood for any quips.” She responded in a weary and sheepish tone.

Masbal lowered his brow as he took a deep breath. “I will take that as ‘it went terribly.’ I am sorry you had to go through that.” He sounded more genuine, but still showed reservation in his emotion.

She began to hyperventilate as she sat up. She ranted with a mixture of fear, embarrassment, and anger in her voice. “I have made a massive mistake. I yelled at and threatened the President. I may have sparked another stupid conflict all because I couldn’t keep my stupid mouth shut.”

Maintaining composure, Masbal added “That’s abnormal for you. What did he say?”

Only slightly calmer, she replied with “He insulted Wasahat and, by extension, me and my clan. He refused to apologize and I just lost control. Oh God, what am I going to do?”

He turned around in his seat to face her. “You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You have both your honor and that of your clans to maintain. If he wishes to act brashly, he should be willing to accept the consequences.” He smiled slightly. “Besides, if you let that man push you around, you’d be little more than his pawn. And we both know Clan Makan are not known for their compliance.”

She relaxed in her seat, a lot calmer than before. Her mind was still racing from the events and their potential consequences. She imagined outlandish scenarios, from assassination to war. But then she looked at Masbal. She felt that, so long as she had people like him on her side, she could still manage to make it out.

Masbal returned to his seat as he started up the car. “Where do you want me to drive you?”

Hevia nodded her head as she thought of what to do. “Drive me to my office, I have a lot of planning to do.”

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