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Inter Arma Silent Musae

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It was hardly the first time that Walnerians were called to arms, but this time everybody knew that it would become the most bloody conflict of their lives. It can not be denied, that the signs were there for a long time, but mobilization still came as a surprise to many.

"Today, as of 7:00, martial law was declared on the territory of the Confederacy of Walneria," announced the radio, "all able-bodied men aged 18 to 55 are required to report to the nearest mobilization office in order to report for duty. In compliance to the Constitution, all legislative and executive power was transferred to a Joint Emergency Committee formed of 30 members of the Parliament and command of the military was transferred to the hands of the President. Until further notice, all transport on major routes has been banned in order to facilitate the transport of military personnel and equipment and curfew has been set between 19:00 and 7:00. Non-compliance can be punished with up to 30 years of prison and, in cases of violence, even immediate penalty upon the decisions of a court-martial. Blackouts are ordered from sunset to sunrise. All basic necessities, including food, medication, and fuel, will be rationed."

This news report remains probably the most famous to be ever broadcasted in Walnerian - it spelled a de facto beginning to the Stedorian-Walnerian War, which costed the lives of almost 900,000 people in total and resulted in socialist revolutions all across southern Argis five years from now. Bombing raids on Tyrámen were numerous, especially in the opening months as Walnerian Air Force, underfunded and rather small, struggled to defend the capital.

In this chaos of war, in which one could not be sure that a bullet wearing his name has not left the muzzle of a rifle already, one building stood as a symbol of normalcy. The Walnerian National Theatre, located on the banks of the Ártën River in the city center of Tyrámen, built originally in the 18th century, was still standing strong in the middle of a burning city. The actors refused to stop playing and in the evenings, the theatre opened and let people in for free, helping to uplift the spirit. Their plays, mostly comedies to brighten the repertoire to a common audience, were broadcast on the National Radio to relax people living all across the country, as well as those hiding in trenches on the front, be it with Sawbrania, Stedoria or Dazhdinia.

Inter-Arma-Silent-Musae.pngThis was true until July 27th, 1939. On that day, war caught up to the theatre. It was a single bomber, dropping a single bomb. It hit the northern side of the building, killing almost 200 people instantly. The rest, including actors, were caught in a collapsing building, with first responders trying to help those who could be helped. While many people were saved, the building was almost completely destroyed. Of 4 muses lining the balconies of the theatre, three were completely destroyed. The last one, located originally on the southern side, was eventually removed from the balcony and placed in the middle of the ruins to avoid it falling onto the street. One of the medics arriving at the scene has symbolically placed a bandage over the head of the statue, with parts of the tape running over the eyes and mouth of her.

This quickly became the symbol of the national resistance, as a young reporter took a photo of two actors, smoking cigarettes, sitting in front of the statue. This photo was published on the first page of the next day's newspaper with the headline "Inter Arma Silent Musae" – "In the arms, muses remain silent", with a short report on the destruction of the National Theatre. Eventually, this photo became one of the most iconic photos ever taken in Walneria.

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