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The Crown of Conch: Zaxar Expansion (IC)


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Prologue

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               Map of the Island of Wampano

The sunlight glistened across the low waving crests of the bay and set fire to the stained glass windows of the royal study. Machakw stood gazing across this fiery expanse. He was not thinking, rather he was in more of a meditative trance. This was his domain, his prized possession. His only purpose in life. Machakw had forsaken friends, family, and leisure for this land, this people, this nation. His nation.

His life was a noble one. Born Machakw Lesapi II in 1943 to Emperor Machakw Lesapi I of Wampano, he had ruled the island nation of Wampano for his whole adult life. Now the vast majority of his nation had never even known another ruler.

Machakw II’s rue had been one of great success for the nation. Crime was nearly gone, blue-collar crime that is, not much could be said about the elusive dealings of the banks. The banks themselves had grown massively in his reign, moving from an obscure practice to the most productive industry on the island. Many of these banks now counted down the days to Machakw’s death though. When inquired about it they would deny it to the last breath but Machakw knew they railed against the chains of isolation he had raised them on. The hawk had grown wings and now looked with hate at the hand which had formerly fed it, and now held the leash.

Isolation was not a defining factor of Machakw’s reign alone. Rather it was a great defining practice throughout the reign of the entire Lesapi family with little exception. After the fall of the Wampanoag Empire, the last Wampanoag Emperor, Emperor Kaliche Lesapi IV, and his three eldest sons were killed in battle and the remainder of his family was executed during the ensuing power struggle. Kaliche’s youngest son, however, a man by the name of Sesapo Lesapi I, escaped the violence and, with the aid of the great Wampanoag Admiral Bodaway Nekke, fled to the island of Wampano and carved out a new empire for his family. This new “empire” was weaker than its mainland neighbors as well as all of the major colonial powers of Aurelia and thus hid itself in the great shadow of isolation. This isolation was the only thing that kept the young nation alive throughout its fledgling years and fostered a sense of national pride and unity within Wampano which has come to mean “the island which stands alone” in the Wampanoag language.

While his reign may have seemed just about perfect to an outsider, Machakw had one fatal flaw which had been unimportant for much of his time, but now was spoken of on every street corner and fish market across the island. Machakw had no heir. After a crippling accident as a young man, involving a snapping turtle who just so happened to be looking for worms by the swimming hole on the fateful day, he was not able to have any children despite his many, many attempts. So now he was set to be the last of his great dynasty.

Not of his bloodline, however. Back in the early decades of Wampano, just after the death of Sesapo Lesapi II, the son of the founding emperor, there was a brief period of openness with the Wurld under the reign of Sesapo Lesapi III. It was then that a brief alliance with the Kingdom of Zaxar was forged through the marriage of princess Aylen Zaxar by Sesapo III. This alliance broke down after Aylen’s death a few years later though the Zaxar and Lesapi bloodlines would continue to cross throughout the next few centuries.

All of this led to today, where the next in line for the throne of Wampano is none other than Emporer William I Zaxar himself.

Machakw turned to face his aid, “My time is coming, there is no sense putting this off any longer.” He sighed, “arrange a meeting with the Zaxars, there is much to know about ruling a nation.”

“Yes sire.” The aid hurried away. His boss would very much like to hear of this. The time of freedom was coming, Machakw’s rule would be the last of any monarch on his island. He would make sure of it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Chapter One: An Expensive Shot

It was a quaint little apartment. Containing only the barest of necessities: a stove, a tattered old chair, a mostly clean mattress, and a rusty faucet- the giver of red water as he called it. But the reason he had chosen this perhaps otherwise sub-par apartment was for a singular thing, it featured a stunning view of the Paumpágussit Harbor. While it was no Bostar, the harbor was indeed quite busy, though it still maintained the peaceful atmosphere of old times, much like the scenic old part of the city he now resided in fact.

 

Iye lay in near-total stillness on this tattered mattress now, lost in total concentration. He was not dressed in traditional Wampanoag garb, rather he had opted for some generic sweat pants and a light gray tourist tee with a cheap-looking Sheesh inscribed on the left breast. They were inconspicuous clothes, he could be any number of Zaxari or Aurelian tourists looking like this and would certainly be paid no mind if he should be seen. He would not be seen. But more importantly, these clothes were comfortable. He had already been laying on that mattress for several hours at least.

 

He gazed out his open window at the cloudy Wampano morning. A light drizzle had started around 6 AM and had maintained its incessant dreariness since. It was perfect weather for today, for his job. Iye knew what he was doing, this was not his first job after all. His faithful Zaxari-made rifle in his hands and black war paint on his face could only mean one thing in Wampano: someone would not be going home tonight.


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Machakw smiled and held his small codfish up to the camera, “Our waters are as bountiful as ever!” He proclaimed, smiling broadly. He was out filming a propaganda video with some of the local Paumpágussit fishermen in order to help promote greater domestic demand for local caught fish. This was no easy task as cheap seafood was now all over the island thanks to a Zaxari fishery that had opened up recently just outside the city. He had not wanted the Zaxari company here but thanks to the strain placed on the local production by population growth, his advisors had counciled him against a public denial of the company. Prices were down now but so were the livelyhoods of the local fishermen who were dependant on the bountiful waters of the Wampanoag Sea. The situation was better in Katawam though, his ministers reported. Their crabbing and eeling sectors were still more efficient than the Zaxari’s and so they had an edge up on the newcomers, for now.

 

As he handed the fish back to the fisherman who had actually caught it, he took a moment to gaze across the city he so loved. It was not often he saw Paumpágussit from this angle. He usually stood on land and gazed across the sea. Now he could see his nation as his great forfathers must have: a glistening green hill on the horizon, a far and yet near land of peace and pleanty. Many claimed that he had failed them, these great ancestors of his. He felt otherwise. For centuries his family had ruled this land with the sole purpose of escaping the wars and battles of the mainland to create a land where one could raise a family without fear of his children being shipped off to war or disinherited by a rouge missile. And for all this time, Wampano had been just that. Now however, times had changed. The mainland- the homeland, was ruled by a similar peace and by the same peoples. While many had thought Machakw to be infertile, as what great ruler would not bear an heir, he did actually possess the capabilities of having children of his own. None but himself and his late parents knew this. A great ruler is one who does what is best for his people, and what was best for his people now was unity. His reign would be the last of an independent, or rather isolated, Wampano. The time was now, to embrace the homeland.

 

“Are you alright sire?” Inquired Cameron, one of the fishermen he was with.

 

“I as just feeling a little lightheaded actually. Could you give me a hand for a moment.” Cameron reached out for Machakw and it was at this moment that his old kind heart chose to give out.


Iye noticed the fishing boat racing back towards the harbor. He was surprised by the speed at which it was traveling but not unprepared. He adjusted his scope and zoomed in onto the small vessel. “Where was Machakw?” He thought to himself. “It is not like him to not be the front and center of everyone’s attention.”

 

He finally noticed the man lying flat along the bench of the starboard side. “Oh shit,” Iye whispered, taking his eye off the scope. “He took care of my job for me.”

 

Iye stood and began to collect his things. He would still request half price for this job. Afterall, who would dare refuse him?

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