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Recessa Conference


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9th of November, 2022

It was a bright early winter morning in the Fagianno pu Holia, One of the royal palaces situated in a this and quiet town not far from Recessa, where the King resided for the preparation of the upcoming meeting between the nations of Austameria, the Greater Holy Empire of Aromania ( @Tagmatium Rules ), and the United Kingdom of @Gaellicia. King Sorgo, dressed in his finest robes, looked every inch the regal monarch that he was. Sat in his study, reading through the briefing notes for the upcoming meeting, he was a bit anxious about the meeting as it was a crucial step towards forging new diplomatic and economic ties with two important nations to place his Kingdom as a vital partner of two strong nations of the Northern Europan region. It was a bold step forward for Austameria and, therefore, for the King. For many years, the Kingdom of Austameria felt unseen and underestimated, especially in the eyes of Crown Prince Julio's belief.

As he went through the notes, he was joined by his Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Economy and Finance, who briefed him on the latest developments and answered his questions about the agenda. He had built a very strong trust towards his ministers and entrusted this meeting to them, believing that they, more than anyone, understood the importance of this meeting.

"Your Majesty," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Marko Pecoticic, "we have made all necessary arrangements for the delegation's arrival at the airport. Our team will be there to receive them and escort them to the castle. The Ministry of National Security and Interior Affairs also confirmed all necessary arrangements, and the security is at the highest possible level," he added. Count Pecoticic is a fifty-four-year-old calm noble diplomat and a loyal servant of the King. He is a strategic thinker who takes a pragmatic approach to diplomacy, always seeking to find common ground and build relationships with other nations. He values honesty and transparency in his dealings with foreign leaders and believes that dialogue and cooperation are key to resolving international conflicts.

"Excellent work," replied the King. "I am confident that this meeting will pave the way for new opportunities for trade and cooperation between our nations..."

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Yavin Zorzi, then added, "Your Majesty, we have also prepared a few proposals for new trade deals that we could discuss during the meeting. Our team has been working on this for weeks, and we believe that we have some attractive offers that could benefit all parties involved." Minister Yavin Zorzi is a fifty-seven-year-old shrewd negotiator and a skilled economist. He is a pragmatic person who prefers to see things in black and white, and he is not afraid to make tough decisions that may not be popular. Some people see him as cold and calculating, and he has a reputation for being a bit ruthless when it comes to business matters.

However, he is also known to be loyal to his country and dedicated to advancing its economic interests. Despite his impressive track record, some have accused him of being too focused on profits and not enough on social welfare. There are rumors that he has made backroom deals that have helped a few of his close associates, but these rumors have yet to be substantiated.

 

The King nodded, appreciating the hard work that his ministers had put into preparing for the meeting. He knew that the success of the talks would depend on the details of the trade deals and the level of cooperation between the nations.

"But I want you to understand the importance of this conference. I don't want to repeat myself about how important it is for them to go back knowing we're a nation dedicated to peace, stability, and security in this region. While this is just a trade talk, I want you to understand there is nothing off the table between our nations," he said as he looked at the two ministers, adding, "I want you to include discussions regarding @Florentia at some point as well."

The ministers looked up at the King, responding in unison, "Yes, Your Majesty," almost as if they were designed to respond simultaneously.

"Very well," said the King, standing up from his desk. "Let us go and greet our guests. This is a crucial moment for our nation, and I have no doubt that with your hard work and dedication, we will come out of this stronger and more united than ever."

 

The three men made their way out of the study and towards the grand entrance of the palace where their motorcade was awaiting them, escorted by the Royal House Guard and the Royal Authority for Public Security. As they walked, the King couldn't help but think about the current state of the wurld and the challenges that lay ahead. He knew that the road ahead would not be easy, but he was determined to lead his nation forward and make a difference on the glubal stage.

The motorcade made its way to Recessa International Airport hours prior to the delegation's arrival as the King wanted to avoid any delays, the escort wailing its sirens through the quiet town of Fagianno pu Holia as they drove past it. Fagianno pu Holia is a picturesque, quiet town nestled in the rolling hills of the Recessa countryside. The town's narrow streets and well-preserved historical buildings give it an old-wurld charm that is hard to find in modern cities. The town's inhabitants are mainly farmers and craftsmen, and life here moves at a slow pace, in harmony with the surrounding nature. As the motorcade makes its way through the streets with the escort's flashing lights, people gather to catch a glimpse of their monarch and wave as he passes by. The town's peaceful atmosphere seems to be temporarily disrupted by the buzz of the King's departure, and for a moment, Fagianno pu Holia becomes the center of attention for the entire region.

 

The King arrived at Recessa Airport, where tight security measures were in place. As they approached the airport, the King could feel his heart racing with nervous anticipation. He knew that this meeting was a crucial step forward for his Kingdom, and he hoped that everything would go smoothly.

The airport was bustling with activity, with security personnel checking every vehicle that entered the premises. The King's motorcade was granted immediate access, and they were escorted to a secure area where they would wait for the delegation's arrival. Two additional motorcades were already waiting for the delegation.

As they waited, the King tried to calm his nerves by going over his notes and talking with his ministers about the importance of the meeting. Count Pecoticic and Minister Zorzi did their best to reassure him, reminding him of the extensive preparations that had been made and the professionalism of their team.

Suddenly, the sound of an approaching plane caught their attention, and they all turned to look out the window. The plane was still a speck in the distance, but it was clearly getting closer. The King felt a mix of excitement and anxiety as he wondered which delegation it could be.

"Is that them?" he asked, pointing at the plane. "It's hard to say at this point, Your Majesty," replied Count Pecoticic, peering out the window. "We will know soon enough." The King took a deep breath and tried to relax, reminding himself that he had capable and experienced ministers by his side. Together, they would navigate the challenges of this historic meeting and secure a prosperous future for their Kingdom.

 

The Austamerian leadership exited their vehicle, ready more than ever to welcome the delegation...

 

(OOC Info: This topic is setup for the RP with @Tagmatium Rules and @Gaellicia based on invitations from Austameria here.)

Edited by Austameria (see edit history)
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The Tagmatine aircraft that taxied to a halt at Recessa International Airport was a turbo-prop powered airliner, one of several operated by the Basilikoaeroporia, the Imperial Air Force, for the use of the Holy Imperial Government only. It was blue-grey in colour, with a black-bordered red stripe running from nose to tail. The tail itself was painted with a representation of the Tagmatine flag. The usual air force roundels were not present, as the aircraft was ostentatious in its display of national allegiance. Once the aircraft had ceased moving and the engines had powered down, the steps were lowered. Pomp and ceremony were treasured in Aromania. Although it would have been considered to be rude and a breach of protocol to upstage their gracious host nation, it was still the Tagmatine instinct to have some sort of display for the occasion. As befitted the dignity of a Tagmatine Megas Logothetes, Grand Minister, the first figures out of the aircraft were two members of the Spatharokandidatoi, the bodyguards of the Holy Emperor himself. They also acted as the guards of the high officials of Tagmatium. Tradition dictated that they were the only ones to be armed in the presence of the Aroman Emperor. They were not armed today; the swords that gave them their name left behind in Tagmatium. It would have been a gross breach of protocol to go armed into the presence of a foreign monarch, especially on the soil of their own nation. The two bodyguards, dressed in white robes and wearing golden armour, trooped out of the plane and then stood either side of the steps. Their golden sallet helms and cuirasses were polished to a mirror shine and reflected the @Austamerian delegation before them.

After a brief moment, the guards turned from facing King Sorgo and his ministers to facing each other. After a few moments more, a bearded, black-robed priest from the Enlightened Aroman Church descended the steps, swinging a thurible as he did so and muttering a prayer giving thanks for an uneventful flight. The wisps of fragrant incense smoke that the thurible emitted were wafted away by the wind, lending the air the scent of the fragrant material. Behind him, another priest carried a reliquary containing the remains of a saint that had been a merchant before God had called them to a higher calling. Both priests stood next to one of the Spatharokandidatoi, either side of the steps.

It was all part of the staged process that was meant to highlight the superiority of God's chosen nation on Eurth. Ultimately, it wasn't meant to offend but had become so second nature to Tagmatine action that the potential to offend was often overlooked when it came to its impression on other nations. As a Europan nation, Austameria had likely long learned to take it in its stride.

On the heels of the priests emerged the Grand Minster of Trade of the Greater Holy Empire of Aromania, Takitos Khalkeos. He was a bearded man of average height and skinny build, dressed in the dark grey business suit that was almost the uniform of the Tagmatine government. His tie was a dark green, which in Tagmatium signified the rank of minister, and a small lapel pin that bore the Aroman flag. His dark brown beard and hair was cut close to his head and he had something of a benign, almost sheepish, smile on his face as he walked down the steps of the aircraft.

In a way, Khalkeos was in stark contrast to the ministers that gathered around the Austamerian monarch. He was not of ancient lineage – or, rather, he was of that sort of ancient lineage all Tagmatines prided themselves on. His was a family of small business operators, shop owners and small farmers, a line going back longer than the history of many nations on Eurth. He was one of the quietly competent people who had been recognised by Kommodos on his ascension and put into place as one of the Grand Ministers, the heads of the ministries of the Greater Holy Empire. For centuries, such positions were usually the purview of the ancient aristocratic families, who had often swapped the Leopard Throne between themselves as well. Even Theodosios VI, who was often considered Tagmatium's first modern monarch, had not truly broken with the idea that only the powerful could govern the Aroman Empire. But Kommodos Iakoumos, on his ascension to the Leopard Throne, had dismissed as many of the scions of the ancient families as he had felt he could get away with and replaced them with those cast more in his own mold. People who had risen from within the ministries themselves or otherwise demonstrated aptitude enough to get them placed in the Holy Imperial Cabinet.

Although whether rising up within a ministry demonstrated ability in the ministry's field or just an ability to play politics well was another matter. Nonetheless, Khalkeos had at least some grounding within economics and was heartfelt in his belief that it was through trade, not war, that peace would finally be won. That if enough nations were tied together through mutual links of trade, understanding would blossom and nations – and people – would be less willing to go to war against each other. It was earnest enough that Khalkeos had gathered around him economic advisers of enough different stripes that he had grounding in aspects that his own previous education might have never shown him. His belief had been buffeted in recent years before being almost entirely smashed by the actions of Great Anglia and the Occidental-Azanian Pact, although it did look as if the chickens were coming home to roost for King Creighton III and his minions.

Ultimately, although the messages between the governments of Austameria and Tagmatium had spoken of high hopes for this conference, the Holy Imperial Government was much more cautious about its outcomes. Relations with the United Kingdom of @Gaellicia were at a recent low, almost as low as during the so-called Oinops Wars, when the events had almost become a true shooting war between the two nations. The government of Tagmatium would consider this meeting a success if all three nations were able to sketch out a memorandum of understanding between them. That would at least put them on the right track and provide a good foundation for future work to be built upon.

As this was ultimately to be the Minster for Trade's show, Khalkeos had led the way down the steps of the aircraft and towards the area where the Austamerian monarch and his delegation were waiting. But because the trade talks were also going to be a good opportunity for discussions with the Austamerian government beyond just that of trade, the Tagmatine Minister for Foreign Affairs exited the aircraft behind Khalkeos. At first, the government of Aromania had considered sending a somewhat more junior member of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Austameria. It was then decided that that would not befit the dignity of his majesty, King Sorgo, nor the importance of this meeting. Instead, it was thought to be better to send the head of that ministry, rather than anyone junior. Although the Minister of Foreign Affairs was considered to be higher ranked in the internal hierarchy of the Tagmatine government, Eugenios Goulielmos followed on behind the Minister for Trade. Similarly dressed to Khalkeos, he also was bearded, although his hair was greying and he wore glasses. He was not as thin as his counterpart although could not be described as fat. As with Khalkeos, Goulielmos was not one of the ancient families, although his had long served Tagmatium in the diplomatic corps, just never as anything as important as an ambassadorial role. They were the exemplars of the New People that populated the government of Kommodos.

As the last of the diplomats, functionaries and ever-present priests exited the aircraft, another pair of Spatharokandidatoi walked down the steps. They drew up with the two that had already descended and waited as Khalkeos approached King Sorgo. The Tagmatine Minister for Trade gave the King a half-bow, the traditional Tagmatine greeting. After the short bow, he straightened up.

“Your majesty, I thank you on behalf of the Senate and People of Arome for asking for this meeting,” he said. It was the usual fiction deployed by the Tagmatine government, considering that the Aroman Senate had not been called into session since Kommodos had taken the throne. “It is hoped by my government and monarch that this meeting will be fruitful, for both of our nations, if God allows it.”

The greeting was formulaic, of course. Behind Khalkeos, Goulielmos caught the eye of his opposite number, Yavin Zorzi, and gave his own slight bow, although not enough of one to destract from the interaction between Khalkeos and the Austamerian monarch. The two foreign ministers knew each other, at least as far as their dealings in the past had allowed.

From there, the Tagmatine delegation waited on their direction. The trilateral trade agreement that might spring from the Recessa Conference was worth the risks that it also held. Kommodos had requested that Khalkeos and Goulielmos approach Austameria with an open mind and hand. Even if Tagmatium was the bigger nation, there would be nothing gained if its aims were achieved through bullying the others involved.

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As the Aromanian plane descended towards the runway, King Sorgo felt his heart rate increase with anticipation. He nervously adjusted his tie, ensuring he looked presentable for the occasion. He scanned the tarmac, watching the first plane come in for a landing. As it grew closer, he could make out the distinctive black-bordered red stripe on the side of the plane. "It's the Aromanians," he said with a smile. "They beat the Gaellicians to it, huh? Let's start with the big fish." The two ministers nodded in agreement.

However, King Sorgo couldn't help but feel frustrated with the ongoing rivalry between Aromanias ( @Tagmatium Rules ) and @Gaellicia. The childish behavior of the two nations threatened to throw the entire North Europan region into conflict, and he was determined to prevent that from happening. He envisioned a strong partnership between the three nations, one that would promote peace and prevent another glubal war.

The Aromanian delegation plane came to a stop, and King Sorgo heard the radio chatter of the RAPS officers surrounding the airport. "55-4, Phase 2 in effect." He could see the intense security measures being taken, with snipers scanning the horizon and armed officers patrolling every inch of the airport. He couldn't shake off the feeling of unease that came with the heightened security measures resulting from a recent intelligence report of a possible terrorist attack in the near future from the "Red Hawks," a known terrorist organization composed of the ousted communist regime's men loyal to Volkov and his cause.

With the plane's steps lowered, the King's eyes widened in surprise as he saw the Grand Minister Megas Logothetes step out of the plane, followed by his bodyguards dressed in a unique and striking manner. He had seen it before many times, yet it always surprised him, adding to his curiosity about what the Aromanians had in store for their visit. King Sorgo straightened his posture and made sure his demeanor was appropriate for the occasion as the Aromanian Grand Minister approached. The King noticed the confident and almost regal way in which he carried himself. The Grand Minister's piercing eyes seemed to take in everything around him, as if he were assessing the situation and calculating his next move. Sorgo wasted no time and stepped forward to greet them. The Grand Minister was the first to speak, greeting the King with a formal Tagmatine bow. The monarch responded, "Welcome to Austameria, Grand Minister," he said, extending his hand in a gesture of welcome. "We are honored to have you here with us today," adding with a soft voice and a smile, "Please extend my gratitude to His Most Holy Imperial Majesty for allowing this meeting between our three nations. I hope that you had a pleasant flight. I trust that you already know Minister Zorzi and Minister Pecoticic well."

The two ministers maintained their eye contact with the Grand Minister and performed a respectful head bow in a strange unison as they heard their names coming out of the monarch's mouth.

The King cleared his throat and addressed the Grand Minister, "We're still awaiting the Gaellician delegation, but I don't want to waste any more of your time. Please follow me." He gestured towards a waiting motorcade for the Aromanian delegation, where they would exchange light conversations during the walk, Zorzi and Pecoticic followed right behind. The grand and armored limousine was escorted by RAPS and the Royal House Guard, with two motorcycle escort officers at the front and one SUV following behind. The limousine was situated in the middle with one more SUV behind it. A similar motorcade would be seen in the distance, most likely prepared for the Gaellician delegation. The motorcades were thoroughly planned out, with highly trained officers from RAPS and the Royal House Guard in the escort vehicles. As they approached the motorcade, the escort vehicles would light up their emergency lights, and the driver of the limousine present by the passenger door, opening it as the King and the Grand Minister came to a halt.

King Sorgo wanted to leave a grand impression on the Grand Minister, but this wasn't just a show or an attempt to flatter the Aromanian delegation. Appropriate measures were taken to ensure no foreign blood would be spilled that day. He looked at Megas with a warm smile and said, "Your excellency, you will be escorted to the Royal Palace in Fagianno pu Holia. We have made all the necessary arrangements and prepared a reception for you and the Gaellician delegation after our talks. Upon your arrival, the Royal Household will take care of you and your delegation." His tone changed as he added, "This conference could be one of the most significant events in North Europan history, Grand Minister. I hope our preparations will not disappoint you or his Imperial Majesty. I will meet you at the Palace. There is plenty for us to discuss."

Once the Aromanian delegation and the motorcade were ready to leave the Royal House Guards would salute the motorcade as the gate opens out of the airport on their way out, the route would take them through Recessa. Recessa is a boasting a picturesque and scenic city that is steeped in history and culture. As the second-largest city in Austameria, Recessa is known for its beautiful architecture, with many historical buildings and statues adorning the streets. The town is home to many well-preserved landmarks that provide a glimpse into its rich history, including the Royal Austamerian Museum, which houses a vast collection of artifacts from the region's past. The motorcade would continue all the way to the quiet town in the rolling hills of the Recessa countryside, Fagianno pu Holia.

The conference taking plance at the palace would come as first on agenda for the three nations, followed by a feast to properly welcome their guests.

 

Moments like these worried Sorgo the most. Had he done enough? Had he impressed the delegation or insulted them in any way? Those thoughts would not leave his mind until the day was over.

Edited by Austameria (see edit history)
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The Cóiméad II swooped over the airfield gracefully before circling around, lining up, and setting its wheels down on the runway. Observers watching might remark on what an odd bird it really was. The initial idea wasn’t entirely batty: take the original Cóiméad fuselage design, add new wings, and cut down from four engines to two. It was meant to be a transitional step. An aircraft to bridge the gap until a new generation, clean sheet airliner could be drafted. Unfortunately for Lépht, most airlines were not inclined to purchase an aircraft that was meant only to tide them over until a phantasmic future plane. Especially when airlines were already attached to their hardy and reliable original Cóiméads. 

The result was an underproduced aircraft. A maintenance hog always in need of jury rigged parts. Most of the remaining operational examples served the Gaellician government, drawn up from banishment in recent months due to having a lower amount of engines. Despite the history, the plane touched down to Eurth gracefully. As it taxied and parked, the aircraft dripped fuel onto the runway tarmac. When the plane came to a stop, the Gaellician delegation emerged with the usual pomp. The plane door opened onto the air stair and out emerged an odd collection of representatives. 

First a duo of airmen from the Ríogan Razmatorm (Air Force) part of the transport’s crew. Then soldiers, the protection element for this diplomatic visit, from one of the three Guards regiments. These men were dressed in their finest, shakos taller than the aircraft door frame. Then came the music. A standard detachment of players from the Ríog’s music corps. A bagpiper, uillean piper, drummer, and horn player all playing the standard diplomatic verse. Finally came the civil servants and politicians, those with the actual authority and knowledge to negotiate. First was Seth Montgomery, Minister of Commerce, Customs, and Standards. Followed closely by his Chief of Staff, Aina Puidreach. Then came a representative of the Ríogan Bank, Poghos Colquhoun, dressed in a suit cut in his clan’s tartan. 

Leading the delegation, Montgomery approached the King and his representatives. Bowing slightly Montgomery said officially, “Your majesty, it is an honor. On behalf of His Honor Bricius IV, the Dáil, and the Gaellician people I thank you for your invitation.”

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“Thank you, your majesty,” replied Takitos Khalkeos. There was a slight hesitation as he took the king's hand and shook it. The gesture wasn't a natural one in Tagmatium – the bow was used instead – and there was always something of a mystique about a monarch, even a foreign one. The divine powers attested to kings, queens and emperors had never really died on Eurth. After all, Khalkeos' own monarch was held to be the chosen representative of God on Eurth, even if it was perhaps considered to be more of a formality than so much of a literal fact by many, even by Aroman citizens themselves. “His Aroman Majesty would not feel the need for any gratitude from your majesty. It is felt by the Holy Imperial Government that it would be in remiss of Aromania to pass up the opportunity for a meeting between our three countries. To do so would go against his Aroman Majesty's wishes for peace and cooperation between all nations of Eurth.”

Behind Khalkeos' shoulder, Goulielmos considered the somewhat by-the-numbers reply of his fellow minister to the @Austamerian monarch. Of course, to say anything different at this stage would definitely raise eyebrows, if not put the brakes on any discussions before they had begun. Equally, the words were true. The Holy Imperial Government wanted more peace and stability in northern Europa. The area had not seen much in the way of cooperation or development in recent years and all three of the nations represented here wanted that to be changed. On top of that, the Volsci Republic was an ever-present enigma. Their withdrawal from the Assembled Nations in 2019 had caused significant anxiety in his own ministry, and likely the governments of @Gaellicia and Austameria, too. It wasn't known what that old, ancestral enemy of the Aroman people was up to but likely nothing good. Especially since they had yet to react to the Six Islands being reabsorbed into the Greater Holy Empire. The Volsci were likely watching the outcome of this conference with some interest, too.

Oblivious to the thoughts going on in the head of his colleague behind him, the Grand Minister for Trade continued. “It was a pleasant flight, indeed, your majesty. There was a little turbulence as we passed over the island of Vanarambaium, but nothing that wasn't expected. Our landing at your airport was certainly very smooth and comfortable.”

When King Sorgo indicated his two ministers, their Tagmatine counterparts both gave respectful half-bows. Goulielmos realised he probably shouldn't have given any such gesture to Minister Zorzi mere moments before. If any media were watching, then he would have been bobbing up and down like a bit of a fool. He sighed to himself. It couldn't be helped after the fact.

“Both myself and Grand Minister Goulielmos have had the privilege of professional meetings with your ministers before, your majesty,” said Khalkeos, after he had straightened up. “Although I regret to say that we have not have had as many such meetings as would befit the honour of your nation.”

With the gesture of King Sorgo, they followed the Austamerian monarch towards the motorcade waiting for them. As they walked over, Eugenios cast an eye over the security detail attached to the motorcade and precautions that lurked at the edges of the airport. On the one hand, such diplomatic events always demanded a high level of security. It wasn't just the fact that King Sorgo and several of his high-level ministers were present, but that there were foreign delegates, as well. A high level of security showed the foreign delegates that they, and their security, were being taken seriously. But at what point did it highlight that there were genuine threats to the monarch and his guests? Both the Tagmatine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Logothesion ton Barbaron, and the Tagmatine Intelligence Network had intelligence that suggested that the Austamerians themselves were under a heightened level of threat – apparently, some group of Communist terrorists had been suspected of planning an attack in the near future. From the precautions that the Austamerians were taking, they likely had the same intelligence, if in significantly more detail. Certainly, the deaths of the Tagmatine delegation would be a massive blow to the relations between the northern Europan nations, as well as to the Aroman government itself. Kommodos would have to replace two trusted ministers. Especially when the fate of the wurld hung in the balance, as it did as the war spread across the Glube.

“Your majesty, you have no need to apologise for the Gaellicians to us,” Khalkeos replied to the comment of the Austamerian king. “I don't doubt that they are being delayed through no fault of their own.”

It was polite and diplomatic to be so charitable, thought Goulielmos. He looked over his shoulder to where the Gaellician aircraft would likely be coming from. He thought that he could make out the shape of a plane as he looked from the west The island-dwellers were a contrary lot – it was more likely that they were intentionally late to try to divert attention away from the Greater Holy Empire and to themselves. The rivalry between the two nations was played up by many foreigners. Gaellicia wasn't one of the main security concerns to Tagmatium – that role was played by the likes of @Haruspex, Suverina, @Great Anglia or the Volsci. Despite the occasional scuffles in the seas between the two nations, most Tagmatines didn't doubt that it would take little effort to bring the island nation to heel, if need be.

The Holy Imperial Government knew better than that, of course.

The king led the way towards the motorcade, with the Aroman delegation following in his wake. The number of vehicles provided weren't enough for all of the entourage, as was only to be expected due to the size of the Tagmatine delegation. Silently and without obvious signal, it pared itself down to just a handful of aides, two priest, the two Spatharokandidatoi and Takitos Khalkeos and Eugenios Goulielmos. The others returned to the turbo-prop airliner and went back aboard it.

After Sorgo had finished speaking about the initial itinerary of the meeting, the Tagmatine minister for trade bowed his head in thanks. “Your majesty, you do us a great honour with the effort you have so clearly gone to for this conference. I pray to God that the efforts of you and your people will not be wasted in fruitless talks.”

The Aroman foreign minister leant towards his counterpart in the ministry for trade. He thought for a minute, wondering whether he ought to use Fragan, Tagmatium's second language, to speak to Khalkeos. Instead, he chose to use its first language. After all, at least some of the Austamerians would know both and it probably wouldn't look too good if the Tagmatines were trying to be secretive already.

“So far, so good.”

For his part, Goulielmos thought that it had gone well. He did actually like seeing foreign lands and the chance to see the other side of the Central Europan Seas was something that he would not have turned down. The briefing information that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had provided for him had painted something of a delightful picture of Recessa and its hinterland. He looked forward to seeing it.

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