Fire on the Horizon [Open]

Discussion in 'National RolePlay' started by Esplandia, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. Esplandia

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    Braegga’s Day, Karthied
    April 12, 2019


    Frederik looked up as the door to his store opened and his regular, a man named Haevar, came staggering in through the door.

    “Hey, Fred, you got a smoke,” he asked with slurred words.

    Frederik grabbed a single from the box of loose cigarettes behind the counter and held it out. “A florent and a half,” he informed the inebriated man.

    “I thought theys was a florent,” he muttered angrily.

    “Not for the last three years,” Frederik said. “They raised the tax on ‘em, remember?”

    The drunk pulled out a bill and a coin and dropped them on the counter, snatching the single from Frederik’s hands. “Fuckin taxes!” He put the cigarette into his mouth. “Got a light?”

    Frederik handed him a match, and when he made to strike it against the counter, Fred told him to take it outside. “Hey why ern’t you outside enjoying the festrivities?” Haevar asked, pronouncing his words wrong.

    Frederik shrugged. “I work for a living.”

    Haevar thought that must have been the funniest thing he’d ever heard because he laughed so hard he began to cough and gag. He was still wheezing as he left.

    Frederik went back to reading his newspaper. Truthfully he’d have much preferred to be out celebrating (there was supposed to be a trio of dancing bears up at Eastgate) but once afternoon rolled around he’d be busy and he needed the profit.

    He heard the door open and another gentleman came in. He was dressed in festive clothing, a colorful shirt and red pants, his hair decorated with spring flowers. He bought a pack of smokes, a cheap imported brand with a smoking camel on the packaging. When he saw the paper Frederik was reading he gestured at it. “Who do you think will replace the old man?” he asked. “You know, what’s his name? Hettenberg?”

    Frederik took the man’s money. “Maybe Prushten,” he said. “Guys been doing fine work as the Vitskanslor the last two years. Really though, my monies on Kolta running.”

    “Really?” the man scoffed. “He’s too busy as Sherwin’s right hand man. He’s running the country.”

    Frederik put the money in his drawer and handed the man back his change. “He’s gonna run. Mark my words. Sherwin needs someone loyal in the high office.”

    The man didn’t seem to be convinced. “Alright, we’ll see if he does.” He picked up his pack and left. Frederik started reading his paper again. He thought to himself that maybe he’d close up for an hour, pick up a couple honey cakes and maybe a breaded sausage. Those were the best part of Braegga’s Day anyway. He shouldn’t miss them.
     
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  2. Esplandia

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    Amelia carefully undid the wax paper around the honey pastry and then tore off a chunk, savoring it as she chewed. She had been afraid people might realize who she was, but no one had yet noticed her.

    There wasn’t much of a crowd yet, which might’ve had something to do with it. The real crowd wouldn’t come out until the afternoon as businesses closed early.

    The plaza in Northgate was filled with cloth stalls, people selling wares and art and food. She could smell sausages cooking somewhere. She intended to try one later. Nearby someone was playing a guitar and singing a folk ballad. She could pick out the words, even over the sounds of the festival goers. ”...oh Sarjegvatter, I long to hear thee, away you rolling river...” Later there’d be more music, and bands, and even dancing. But she found the lone voice enchanting anyway.

    She licked the honey off her fingers, finishing up her treat, and crumpled up the wax paper and tossed it in a bin. She continued walking through the stalls, inspecting paintings, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and everything else imaginable. She just admired the ingenuity of it all, the skill and passion. She’d tried painting when she was younger, but nothing had come of it. She wished for a second she’d preserved as she studied a magnificent oil on canvas of Hakonkreg Castle.

    The artist saw her and tried to sell it to her. “It’d look gorgeous over your mantle.” But Amelia politely declined and hurried off.

    She checked to make sure her tail was still following her.

    He was a couple stalls back, but walking briskly to keep up with her, all the while pretending not to look her direction but doing so every couple of seconds. She chuckled at him, but pretended to be looking at a colorful parrot dancing to a man playing a harp.

    She continued on until she found a place selling the real treat of the festival. Breaded fried sausages.

    “I’ll take a currywurst in dark breading,” she told the large man running the grill. “Make it two.” He took the sausage, rolled it in the requested dough, then dropped them in the hot oil.

    She paid him while they cooked. She passed him ten florents, and then an extra five as a tip. He smiled happily, and gave her extra sauce when he passed the two sausages to her.

    She then looked again for the man following her, spotted him, and marched right to where he was.

    “If you’re hungry I got one for you,” she said, holding one of the fried treats out to him.

    Taewin Skeowaeng took the proffered food sheepishly. “I thought you’d spotted me back there.”

    She just grinned wickedly back at him, taking a bite. She closed her eyes as the savory and spicy flavors collided in her mouth. She chewed pleasantly.

    Taewin was chewing methodically, only focused on her. His face was hard to read but his eyes seemed so bright to her. She felt her heart flutter at his gaze. “What do you think of my disguise?” she asked, doing a comical twirl, still holding the sausage in her hand.

    He nodded in approval at the homespun dress decorated with hand sewn daffodils. But it was her hair that really sold it. Braided into a band around her head and decorated with a variety of spring flowers.

    “You look the part,” he said.

    “And are you growing a beard?” noticing the fuzz growing on his chin.

    “Pretending to.” He took another bite to hide an embarrassed grin.

    She quickly wolfed down the rest of hers, and then found herself wishing there was more. Taewin passed her the rest of his, perhaps reading her mind. He wiped the sauce from his mouth with a napkin. “Anyways it’s supposed to be part of my disguise.”

    She swallowed before responding. “It didn’t work, I recognized you.”

    “It’s not you I’m disguised from. I’m a well known celebrity around here you know.” He said matter of factly.

    She stared at him, wondering what he was talking about. Then remembered he was the son of a Duke and she broke down in laughter which turned into a wheezing guffaw. “I’m a princess myself, you know?” She said breathlessly.

    He put a finger to his lips. “Don’t let anyone know.” They both laughed for a bit, enjoying themselves.

    Finally she took his arm and together they strolled away.

    “What would your father think that you were so easily spotted?” She asked, giving his arm a little tug.

    “That my distraction worked,” he answered.

    She laughed. “You’re so full of it.”

    “No really. All you saw was me. Not the two agents your father sent with me.”

    She looked around trying to spot anyone following them, but she didn’t see any one. “You serious?” She asked.

    “Mmhmm,” he confirmed. “Trust me they’re back there.”

    She looked up at him, her smile gone. “My father knows I came out here?”

    Taewin put a comforting hand on hers. “He guessed you’d want to experience the festival. That’s why he sent me I guess.”

    She wasn’t very pleased, but she supposed her father could have stopped her altogether. And Taewin was good company. Her heart fluttered again as she thought about him.

    She changed the subject then, deciding to talk about her plans to study abroad. “I’d been thinking Taeberus, but that’s just too close to home.”

    “Did you find a school?” Taewin asked.

    “Yes. It’s a perfect place to study. I want to go into law.”

    “Where?”

    “Tver.”

    Taewin stopped in his tracks, shock on his face. “Oh,” was all he said.

    “You’re father’s sending you to study in Tver, isn’t he?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Promise me you didn’t know.”

    “I promise.”

    “Our parents are trying to set us up.”

    “Yeah, I know.”

    “Damn them!”

    “Damn them.”

    They both looked at each other and then burst out laughing again. Amelia leaned up against Taewin, burying her face in his chest as she laughed.

    “Come on,” he said. “There’s supposed to be a dancing bear. Let’s go see.”
     
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  3. Esplandia

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    Pogwe
    April 28, 2019


    The cafe was crowded, the late morning breakfasters finishing up and enjoying their conversations before heading out to start their day. Kraes Deffened sat alone, on a table near the kitchen, his eyes fixed on the door. He checked his watch, but sighed when he realized it was still early.

    He’d grown impatient in his older years. But he’d been fighting the good fight for so long he felt he deserved to grow old. Others had not. So few had not.

    The server came around and brought a new pot of tea, again asking if he wanted to order yet. He politely declined and continued to wait.

    Finally the door opened and he saw the man he was waiting for arrive. Leaving his coat and hat on a rack near the front, Dalven Merrel strode over to Kraes’ table and poured himself some tea.

    “Old habits die hard?” He asked, a touch of reproach in his voice. “Sneaking around like we’re trying to avoid the Alstenbek Security.”

    Kraes snorted in disgust. “The fight goes on.”

    “No it doesn’t,” Dalven stated, blowing on his tea to cool it down. “There’s a free Aerndreffed.”

    “Free? How can we be free when we answer to the Federation Landesgrad?”

    Dalven sipped his tea. “It was the cost of self governance.”

    “Compromise.”

    “Yes. But one that avoided bloodshed and gave us a state. A state that our children would live to see.”

    Kraes said nothing. Dalven sighed. He hadn’t expected the old man to agree. He’d always been the most radical of them all. For some, the fight would never finish.

    The server came around and took their orders. Dalven wasn’t hungry but ordered an egg sandwich anyway. The crowd was beginning to thin out now and the cafe was starting to grow quieter. A group of four left, talking loudly with each other. Dalven found himself listening in, but then stopped. Old habits. He wasn’t a freedom fighter anymore.

    “This recent activity has been noticed,” he informed Kraes. “The Sons were supposed to disband but you ignored us anyway.”

    There was a moment of tense silence and Dalven saw the contempt in Kraes’ eyes. “Kyaerwun no longer commands us. He’s abandoned the cause.”

    Dalven blew air from his mouth, hissing through his teeth. Another couple left the cafe, arm in arm. “You must stop acting against us. We all want the same things.”

    Kraes scoffed.

    Dalven was losing his patience. “Raederman doesn’t want to arrest you. Don’t force his hand.”

    Kraes laughed derisively as another couple left. “And more people will flock to our cause if he does.”

    “You think you’re the hero of the people?” Dalven asked. “Your imprisonment won’t rally the masses. It was Raederman we followed. He was the one we believed in.”

    Kraes just smiled a sinister smile. The last group of breakfasters walked out, and aside from the server cleaning up tables, the place was quiet.

    Then the door opened and someone else came in. Kraes sat up straight, sucking in air out of shock. Dalven didn’t have to look to see who it was. He already knew.

    Alwur Skeowaeng sat down next to them at the table. He nodded to Dalven and then smiled pleasantly at Kraes.

    “I regret to inform you that three members of the Sons of Kaerwent were arrested this morning attempting to place explosive devices on the K line in Karthied.” He said it matter of factly, pleasantly, as if he was talking about the weather. His cold blue eyes never left Kraes’. “This attempted terror attack will lead the Landesgrad to declare your organization domestic terrorists.”

    The color had drained from Kraes’ face, but his voice was still steady as he responded. “The Sons had nothing to do with this.”

    “It won’t matter,” Alwur stated. “The King supported you in your struggle. The Sons would have been crushed long ago if not for him. Or me. But their time has come. You will disband them, as Raederman ordered, or I will destroy you.”

    “I’m not afraid of you,” Kraes spat. “You May call yourself Aernish, but your not one of us. The Sons will fight for our freedom. Our complete freedom...”

    Alwur held up his hand and put a stop to Kraes’ expositing. “I’m here out of courtesy to President Raederman. To give you chance. He still calls you a friend. Take my warning.”

    “Fuck you, Hastfrad!”

    Alwur stood up, keeping his pleasant smile. “I was part of your movement from the beginning. Your silent benefactor. I have people in your organization, from the bottom to the top. I’d rather not call in those markers. Last chance.”

    And then he turned and left, disappearing outside onto the street. Dalven stood up. “I need your answer.”

    There was no response and Dalven gave up on the stubborn old fool. As Dalven left a dozen Aernish police officers entered, taking Kraes into custody.
     
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  4. Esplandia

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    Karthied, Esplandia
    May 10, 2019

    Irwin caught up with Raum Kolta as he excited the meeting of Esplandia’s Wosenmetten. “I think you’re right that we need to start merging the two Landesgrads,” he said.

    Raum looked up and gave him a wan smile. “Thank you.” He rubbed his temple in frustration. “I think their concerns are valid though. This will just look like a move to erase Alstenbek and promote Esplandish domination.”

    “But that’s not what we’re doing at all.”

    “No, but perception is a powerful thing. While merging the two legislatures is important, it’s gonna have to be baby steps.”

    Irwin didn’t feel convinced, and he could definitely see that Raum was feeling defeated after yet another argument. He had hoped to begin bringing the two kingdoms together, but the lords of neither nation were happy to lower the power of their votes. It would be a bigger pool of voters and new power blocs would have to form.

    “I’ll defer to your judgement and expertise,” Irwin said without much conviction.

    Raum smiled genuinely at the Prince’s compliment. “And what will you and the wife be doing tonight?”

    “Dinner at home,” he answered. “She’s a really good cook.”

    “So was my wife. Don’t let her spoil you. I gained an additional twenty pounds in the first two years of our marriage.”

    They shared a laugh. Irwin, looking at the now trim and fit man he was now, was struck by the fact that Raum had no family in the capital. He’d known his wife had passed, and his son’s still lived in Strasberg. He was moved and decided on the spur of the moment to invite him over.

    “I couldn’t impose,” Raum protested.

    “You wouldn’t be,” Irwin assured him. “Elaena would love to meet you. Pick your brain. And maybe even chastise you for that shipping bill.”

    “Oh then I absolutely must attend, if just to allow the lady to speak her mind.”


    Irwin had called ahead to let his wife know that he’d be bringing a guest. She had been ecstatic. They’d not had the chance to entertain any guests since they’d moved to Karthied. While they enjoyed their time together he knew she missed having company.

    The dinner was baked fish, with vegetables and a mushroom soup. Raum enjoyed the meal, and the conversation. It was nice for him to get out as well.

    As the evening wore down the talk turned to the upcoming elections for High Chancellor. “And you haven’t decided to run yet?” Irwin asked.

    Raum just shrugged. “I feel like I’m still needed in Esplandia’s legislature.”

    “You could do so much more as the leader of the Federation,” Elaena assured him.

    “The King agrees.”

    “You should listen to my father.”

    Raum sipped at his wine. “Someone would need to take up my unification cause,” he said, purposely making eye contact with the Prince. “Which means someone I could trust should be appointed as Royal Chancellor.”

    Elaena grabbed her husbands arm. “You could do it,” she said excitedly.

    Irwin wasn’t sure he shared her excitement. “Would the Landesgrad even confirm me in the position?”

    “Would they go against your father?”

    Irwin didn’t need to answer that. He finished his own glass of wine, thinking about it. But he already knew his answer. “If you were to run for High Chancellor, I would take up the position of Royal Chancellor.”


     
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  5. Esplandia

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    Karthied Herald
    May 13th, 2019

     
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  6. Esplandia

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    Blaegfyurd Palace, Karthied

    Sherwin had had his hands full with the growing discontent in Alstenbek, and when violence finally erupted he found himself giving up his precious sleep, trying to avoid further conflict. Despite his doctor’s orders to take things lighter, that he wasn’t a young man anymore and he’d already had one heart attack. He hadn’t even been back to Rathberg in a week.

    So when his wife walked in, carrying little Edwin, and commanding him to “Take a break for lunch,” he didn’t even protest.

    He carried little Edwin down to the palace’s private dinning room and let him sit on his lap as they ate. He fed the two year old fried apples from his plate as Abigail talked about her flower garden. It was nice to have a peaceful moment and he found himself nodding off.

    Abigail took the toddler off his lap. “All right, off to bed with you,” she commanded.

    “I can’t sleep right now,” he protested. “These riots need to be dealt with. I’m trying to prevent it from escalating.”

    She stared back at him unmoved. “You’re people can handle it. And you can’t help anyone if you’re too tired to function. Now no more protesting, off to bed.”

    He smiled lovingly at her. “I thought I was the king here.”

    “That’s what you get for thinking,” she said.

    She took his arm, and holding little Edwin’s hand, she walked them both to their apartment in the palace. They walked slowly, as Edwin tottered along on his short legs.

    He collapsed into bed, falling asleep even as her and Edwin laid down next to him. The last thing he felt before drifting off to sleep was Edwin wiggling around and kicking him lightly in the back. And then he was asleep.

    Old Pine by Ben Howard
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  7. Esplandia

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    Halkonkreg Mountains
    May 26, 2019

    The roadway was starting to overgrow with grass and wildflowers, with little sign of vehicles coming up and down. It’d been a while since he’d been up here in the Halkonkregs. He hadn’t been to the hunting lodge since before Laenora’s death. And even now it was hard to be up here without thinking of her.

    But he’d come to see his father who had decided to retire away from Karthied. Sherwin pulled up in front of the large house. He could see a couple of the curation staff out and about, but the king paid no attention to them. Getting out of the car he headed along a stone walkway towards the lake behind the lodge.

    On the dock behind the house he saw his father, his line cast out into the water.

    Sherwin carried a case of beer and put it down next to his father’s chair. Edwin Raeods hugged his son with one hand, keeping his pole taught.

    “You got something hooked?” Sherwin asked.

    “Yep,” the old man answered. He looked quickly at the beer. “Staying over?”

    “I’ve been commanded to take a rest.”

    Edwin gave up his chair. “Then you’d best listen to your wife.”

    Sherwin sat quietly enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful lake. His father reeled in a fish, a two pound trout, and then placed it in a cooler. He then cast it again and wedged the pole into a gap in the docks boards.

    He sat on the cooler and took two beers out of the case and he and Sherwin shared a drink.

    “Something on your mind?” he asked Sherwin.

    “I now understand why my mother failed at unifying the Vestrugat,” he answered dejectedly.

    “Don’t let them get you down. Katharin would have been proud of you.”

    “The Federation stands on the brink. I put out one fire for three more to flare up.”

    Edwin sipped his beer. “Alstenbekers have always been a flighty lot. We’ve pulled them out of the fire too many times to count.”

    “They want to drag us in with them.”

    “Don’t let them. You’re their king, and a better one than Sigurt ever was.”

    Sherwin hung his head. “It was me. Behind the assassination of him and his family.”

    Edwin just shrugged dismissively. “I figured as much. Katharin tried to kill him many times.”

    “I feel like I’ve failed. You never wanted me to be like her, but I’m just as ruthless as she is.”

    “I think you have to be to achieve the things you’ve achieved. I wish the world was better, but it’s not. A leader must be able to live with blood on his hands.”

    Sherwin finished his beer and looked out across the lake, the peaks of the Halkonkregs snowcapped in the distance. “I’d never have been able to do such a thing if Laenora was still alive.”

    Edwin scoffed at that. “Abigael is a wonderful woman as well. You are what you are because that’s what we need. I’ve made peace with that.”

    Sherwin just nodded absently. He thought about his mother. He also thought about his first wife and tried to remember how much he had loved her. Mostly he wondered how they’d both see him, what they would think of the man he’d become.

    His father handed him another beer and then went back to fishing as Sherwin found himself dozing off.

    As It Was by Hozier
     
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  8. Esplandia

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    Karthied Herald
    May 31, 2019

    [​IMG]
    Proposed Split of Valdaegn
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  9. Esplandia

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    Alstenbekers passed by the Nalgorhaem Landesgrad, giving sour glances to the gray uniformed soldiers milling about out front. Scaffolding and construction equipment stood abandoned, the repairs to the building since the bombing left unfinished. To many it was yet another reminder of the loss of their native king and a new foreign rule.

    Raemond flicked his cigarette to the goround, crushed it out with his boot, and felt like a jackass every time an Alstenbeker looked his way. Because the Huskavrls were only ordered out when things were bad. And the cities inhabitants and his own men knew it.

    The protests had subsided, with the exception of a few demonstrations here and there, but even Raemond knew it was only a short lull. Things would likely flare up again. And now Esplandian forces had been ordered across the Sarjegvatter to keep the peace. The radicals would see it as an invasion and the Alstenbek Lords would use it as an excuse to stoke even more anti-Esplandian sentiments.

    “Colonel Drakosta.” Raemond was startled from his musings by a group of approaching offices wearing the blue and maroon of the Federation Ministry of Defense.

    Noticing the man in the lead, Raemond snapped to attention.

    “As you were,” said Warden General Nathaniel d’Alayn. His subordinates fell back as he approached the Huskavrl’s commander.

    “I wasn’t aware you were in the city,” Raemond said shaking the hand that the Warden General offered.

    “I didn’t inform anyone I was coming.” The old man looked at the broken steps and half finished repairs of the building, the scars left by the bombing. His expression was neutral and Raemond was unable to read what he might be thinking. “How is your brother?” he asked.

    Raemond considered lighting another cigarette, but decided against. “I haven’t spoken with the king in some time, I’m afraid.”

    Nathaniel turned to face him. “Is there trouble between you?”

    “Not at all,” Raemond assured him. “Sherwin is just trying to overwork himself again.”

    “He takes after your mother,” Nathaniel mused.

    Raemond didn’t know how to respond, but he did feel the Warden General would probably know better, having spent so much of his career serving Queen Katharin.

    Nathaniel must have been expecting some kind of reply because his eyebrow raised impatiently. Raemond decided to change the subject. “Was there something I could do for you, Warden General?”

    “Walk with me,” Nathaniel said. Raemond followed as the Warden General began to make his way towards the steps. “I was hoping you could shed some insight for me. Raum Kolta is likely to win this election and I’ve not had the pleasure of making his acquaintance. What kind of man is he?”

    “He’s ambitious and driven. And he’s unwaveringly loyal to Sherwin. He’ll make a good High Chancellor but he’s far from the type of man Klaus auf Hettenberg is.”

    “How so?”

    “Raum will seek greater integration. He’ll want the Federation to be more unified, less self governance among the states.”

    “An Esplandian dominated Federation?”

    “I think he’d prefer that, yes.”

    They stopped at the base of the cracked and blasted stairway that once lead to the Landesgrad main hall. Nathaniel turned and looked at the city and the people passing by. He was silent for a moment, and Raemond waited knowing he’d have more to say.

    “I wouldn’t mind seeing a more unified Vestrugat. But unity always costs blood.” He looked intently at Raemond. “Should Kolta win, put in a good word for me. And give your brother my best wishes.”
     
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  10. Esplandia

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    Karthied, Esplandia
    June 6th, 2019

    There was an air of anticipation among the guests in the small apartment. Raum Kolta had invited some close friends, as well as the Prince and his wife, to await the election results. Sherwin wasn't in attendance as he was still in the mountains visiting his father. And besides how would it look if he had been there giving to support to one of the candidates?

    From time to time Raum looked at the television to see the numbers. He had expected it to be a lot closer of a race. While his biggest opponent, Monti det Prushten, had a solid base of support in Hastenfrakta, the rest of the Federation was solidly behind Raum. He was currently winning by a landslide. All that was left was the Alstenbeker's votes, and he worried the vote could swing against him.

    As the clock ticked down to the closing of the polls the numbers in support of Prushten began to tick up faster with each update. He played the good host, enjoying a number of conversations and drinking more than he had planned. Yet every time he looked at the numbers his lead was closing. He was certainly nervous about it all. If Alstenbek voted heavily against him than his intentions of unifying the two kingdoms would never happen. The political divide would be too strong.

    And then Prushten's numbers plateaued out and Raum once again took a significant lead. When eight o'clock rolled past the party quieted down and waited for the final results. As thee last numbers were reported there was no doubt that Raum had won a significant percentage of the vote. As soon as the news declared him the winner everyone cheered and toasted him.

    Prince Irwin came forward and congratulated him. "Well done, High Chancellor," he said.

    "Thank you, Royal Chancellor," Raum responded. He was certainly excited, but as a camera crew began setting up, and a Federation flag was being draped over a wall behind a podium at the back of his living room, it all hit him. He was actually going to be leading the whole federation. "I guess I better give my victory speech." Irwin gave him a sympathetic look.


     
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  11. Esplandia

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    Nalstegburn, Hastenfrakta
    June 8, 2019

    The helicopter descended out of the clouds and rain, a predator coming to roost upon the ground. Gaerta auf Kraeg-Anegburn, the Duchess of Greater Lotheland, watched it land with her own predatorial glare. The time had come, was her only thought.

    She stood within the doorway of the castle’s outer building, an old guards barrack now rarely used except as storage. It was a perfect meeting place, away from the main castle. Most of all, private.

    The helicopter landed and almost as soon as it touched down the door opened and her grand nephew stepped out. He ducked, away from the rotors and the rain and the wind, and then dashed across the wet grass of the lawn.

    She stepped back into the building just as he hurried inside.

    “The weather couldn’t be better,” he said chuckling, taking off his coat and shaking the rain off of it.

    “It’s just rain you sissy,” she chided in her usual grouchy manner.

    Edwin Sigurdsen, Grand Duke of Lothel-Dutia, planted a wet and affectionate kiss on the old woman’s cheek. “Hello, auntie.”

    She shoved him away angrily, but a bemused smile did curl her wrinkled lips. “Oh, fly off you damn fool.”

    She then hobbled over to a waiting chair, leaning heavily on her cane. A small heater had been set up next to a table. There was a bottle of wine and a selection of cheeses, as well as another chair for her grand nephew. He helped the 91 year old into her chair, and then flopped down into his own.

    Sticking a slice of cheese into his mouth, he got right down to it. “This has been a century in coming,” he said with his mouth still full.

    His aunt stared directly at his mouth in disgust and he quickly swallowed and washed the cheese down with some wine.

    “I hope Raenhald dies of an embolism when we give him the news.” She spoke with such a fire, with such venom, Edwin couldn’t help but admire her. Age had not dulled her temper. “A thousand calamities upon him and the whole lot of those auf Morestbergs.”

    Edwin didn’t have such a strong feeling for the reigning house of Hastenfrakta, but he certainly disdained them. They’d come so close, but to be betrayed by the usurping family, the rebels they’d supported in their bid for the throne. Now, all debts would be paid.

    He raised his glass of wine to the matriarch of his family. “To the unification of Lothel-Dutia,” he said. “Once again, whole.” Kolta’s election was a gift to them. He would do everything to maintain the Federation, a pro-Esplandian Federation. Would he even go against Hastenfrakta?

    She raised her own glass. “And to the demise of our enemies.”


     
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  12. Esplandia

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    Halsen an vi Sundra

    Raenhald threw the glass paperweight that sat on his desk across the room and it shattered as it hit the wall. “I’ll burn them alive,” he cried.

    Esmeralda just rolled her eyes at the impotent display. She’d already suspected what the letter said, and took a moment to read it as her husband stormed through the room.

    “Call the Minister of War,” he ordered his secretary. And as she hurried to leave the room he also ordered “And the Royal Chancellor. Get them here.”

    Esmeralda finished reading as he stormed back to his desk. She quickly hid a smirk. She couldn’t help but admire Gaerta’s cunning. The timing had been perfect. Klaus auf Hettenberg would have supported Hastenfrakta and wielded the Federation in their favor. But Kolta would not.

    “I’ll burn Nalstegburn to the ground,” Raenhald fumed.

    She set down the letter and looked at her husband, annoyance rising up at the sight of him. “No you won’t,” she told him. “That would only serve to turn the Federation against us.”

    He scoffed. “The Federation will not tell me how to protect the sovereignty of my own kingdom.”

    She leaned back in her chair and rubbed her temple. He obviously didn’t see the bigger picture here. “If we start a fight this could tear apart the Vestrugat. It would be better to bring this before the Federation Court and allow them to rule on the legality of this secession.”

    “And do you think that will work in our favor?” he asked his voice somewhere between begging and petulant whining. “The courts will want to maintain peace at all costs, damn our rights.”

    “And would that be so bad?” she retorted in frustration. “What is one troublesome province against the stability of the Vestrugat?”

    Raenhald stared at her and she couldn’t read his expression, but she doubted he was thinking about what she’d said. He’ll do something stupid, she thought.


    No matter what arguments Esmeralda might have made Raenhald chose to escalate. By late afternoon as the sun was dipping towards the horizon Hastenfraktan forces moved westward towards Greater Lotheland.

    Already the Duchy’s militia forces, as well as reinforcements from Lothel-Dutia were moving to seize control of weapons depots and bases, giving an ultimatum to Hastenfraktan forces: Leave or die!

    Esmeralda tried to speak with the Minister of War, still hoping to avoid bloodshed. But her calls went unanswered. He had already decided to back Raenhald and subdue the secession.

    The Royal Chancellor, a man named Haevar Krostenhaem, was more open. He told her that he would support any move she made to avoid war. “I’ll mobilize what support I can in the Landesgrad but I doubt that will count for much. Many of Raenhald’s supporters are upper nobility and they can probably taste their personal gains from this.”

    “Thank you for whatever support you can get me,” she said, ending the phone call. By now the news had broke and she knew the Federation’s representatives were already scrambling to stop this nonsense before it got out of hand.

    Esmeralda stared at the phone, knowing there was one call to make. Only one person who could have a chance to stop her husband from blundering into a war.

    She picked up her phone and called her secretary. “I need you to get me King Sherwin on the phone,” she said.
     
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  13. Esplandia

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    Lamidath, Austalgotha

    Algon Chopra had been flying back from a trip to Syrixia when the news broke. "I always loved that old woman," he said to himself, speaking of Duchess Gaerta's abdication. Even before the plane touched down on the tarmac he was on the phone to his council getting advised of the situation.

    He was sped across the city, finishing one conversation before being on the phone immediately with someone else. By time he arrived at the Sansadselaegrad he had a full idea of Austalgotha's position on the matter.

    He presented his plan to the council and found them all in unanimous support. Any chance to show up the Hastenfraktans was something they could get behind. Austalgotha would support Lothel-Dutia and Greater Lotheland. He dismissed the council early in the morning with a draft of a statement for the Sansadselaegrad. But that was just a formality. With unanimous support from the council he had full authority in this.

    He waited by his phone as his secretary tried connecting him with either Grand Duke Edwin or the (former) Duchess of Lotheland. Finally his intercom buzzed. "Sir, I've gotten Duchess Gaerta on the line," the young man told him.

    Algon quickly pressed the blinking button. "Duchess, I'm sorry to bother you so early," he said trying to sound as pleasant ass possible.

    "What can I do for you, Grand Vizier?" asked the surly voice on the other end.

    "There are some developments here in Austalgotha I'd like to inform you of."
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
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    "Hastenfraktan forces are gathering along Lotheland and Lothel-Dutia's borders," Warden General d'Alayn reported. "I'm still hoping this is Raenhard trying to intimidate Gaerta and Edwin."

    Sherwin coughed. "It's not. He has every intention of starting a conflict." He was still thinking about the frantic call he'd recieved from Queen Esmeralda the night before. She had no doubts her husband would use this opportunity to settle old scores. At least he had one ally in Hastenfrakta. "What we need to worry about now is keeping this shit from spreading."

    "Somebody want to give Algon Chopra that memo," Raum said, weariness in his voice. He'd had a rough last few days transitioning to leader of the federation. This whole situation had only made things worse. Trial by fire, Sherwin thought. Still Raum made a good point. The Grand Vizier was likely attempting to invoke a conflict. Because if Hastenfrakta decided to attack Austalgotha and the Federation stood by and did nothing, then the Syrixian Commonwealth was likely to get involved. And Raenhald would also want to settle the score with Austalgotha.

    Sherwin zoned out as Raum and his advisers began arguing, trying to figure out a solution to this mess. He found his thoughts wandering, and all he could think of was a potential conflict tearing the Vestrugat apart. He hadn't sacrificed so much just to see the unity he'd built collapse over a silly sovereignty issue. "I will speak with Raenhald," Sherwin said, interrupting the discussion. "I'll try to talk some sense into him. I'll speak with Gaerta, and I'll speak with Edwin. They're all being stubborn but perhaps there's a solution."

    "No offense, your majesty," Raum said, "But the Federation should take the lead on this."

    "They won't listen to you, Raum," Sherwin said matter-of-factly. "This whole thing will test the authority of the Federation. And right now might not be the best time to decide whether we're actually one nation, or many."
     
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  15. Esplandia

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    Lothel-Dutian forces had been pouring into Lotheland to reinforce their militia counterparts. Grand Duke Edwin had arrived in Nalestegburn to accept the Duchy from his great aunt. The ceremony was televised to the public.

    Most Hastenfraktan troops had been driven out of the province, aside from a few stubborn ones that had dug in at various forts and depots. The Lothelanders were so far keen only to keep them boxed in, not wanting to start a fight.

    But Raenhald was not going to wait. As the morning dawned on the third day of the crisis, Hastenfraktan forces moved west. Their orders were to drive the rebels and their supporters out and restore the peace.


    The first attack rang out through the woodlands around their position. Corporal Giself Alrendsen had been waiting with his unit, expecting the arrival of the Hastenfraktan military, but he hadn’t expected a full on attack.

    He dived to cover as trees around him were torn up in a hail of mortar fire. He saw Praet Urdred disappear in a geyserof dirt and fire. The mortars kept coming and he curled up in a ball, trying to hide in the inadequate cover they’d hastily thrown up.

    How long the attack lasted he couldn’t say, it seemed to go on forever. But at last it stopped. He didn’t want to move, but instinct told him to be ready. As he popped his head out to check what was going on, the officers were already screaming orders up and down the line.

    Giself checked his rifle, cleaning off the dirt that he’d gotten on it in his dive to cover. He saw around him people moving into position. He heard someone below “Watch the tree line!” and he responded by looking up absently.

    Machine gun fire erupted around them. Giself saw the dirt around him get tossed up. He pointed his rifle towards their source but couldn’t see anything.

    And then at last they came. The Hastenfraktans moved up charging his position. He opened fire.
     
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  16. Esplandia

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    The Lothelander lines collapsed against the Hastenfraktan forces. Even as they were falling back, declarations of war were being drawn up. Raum Kolta however, was not going to allow a full scale war to start.

    Sherwin was heading to Lothel-Dutia to speak with Grand Duke Edwin, but he wasn’t gonna stand by and do nothing, not without trying to stop Raenhald’s aggression.

    The risks of any action were great. He was new to the office, which meant any support from the Witangamot could not be counted on. But he had an idea, one that would likely garner him support (though not necessarily friendly support) and so he drafted up a letter. He would present the letter firstly to a couple of trusted friends, and see how they reacted before he set anything in motion.

    Also if Sherwin could convince Gaerta and Edwin to back down from the confrontation, then perhaps any action could be avoided.

    So he met with Prince Irwin and Duke Skeowaeng in the afternoon. He presented him with the draft of his letter, and both read it quietly, while Raum paced around his office.

    “Is this even within the Federation’s power?” Alwur asked.

    “Nothing in the constitution expressly forbids it,” Raum answered. “I’m still hoping to avoid this action, but Raenhald’s attack, without a declaration of war, cannot go unchallenged.”

    Irwin put down his own copy, and looked at Raum. “So we’d be picking a side?”

    Raum shook his head. “No, this would be coming down hard on an aggressor.”

    Irwin rubbed his chin, taking a moment to formulate his thoughts. “I think you’re wrong on that. This would be picking a side, because Raenhald would see it that way.”

    “Austalgotha is likely to declare war soon in response,” Alwur added, “And it’ll look like the Federation against Hastenfrakta if the Witangamot approves this.”

    Raum threw his hands up in frustration. “So that’s it, we do nothing?” He said with an edge to his voice. The stress of the last few days getting to him.

    “No, I think this is a necessary action. I just want you to know what it means.”

    The Prince voiced his own agreement. “The Federation might very well have to step in to end this, and that’d mean troops in the conflict.”

    Raum stared out the window, looking at the gardens and trying to see another way ahead, but he either wasn’t imaginative enough or there was no other course. “So, present this to the Witangamot?”

    Irwin and Alwur looked at each other and nodded. “Put the decision in their hands,” Irwin said. “If Raenhald doesn’t comply, then we expel Hastenfrakta from the Federation and impose sanctions on him.”
     
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  17. Esplandia

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    “Listen up, we got our orders.” Everyone jumped to attention at the major’s voice booming around the field. They’d been sitting around for two days, waiting to know what they were going to do. Two days of hearing reports that the Lothelander militias were getting their asses kicked by the Hastenfraktan forces. Two days of sitting around with their heavy equipment, the tanks, not joining the fight. So when the orders finally came, everyone was ready.

    “I know you were all expecting to join up with our Lothel brothers and repel the Hastens, but that ain’t happening,” the major said. Protests rose up from everyone, the soldiers and tank crews as they expressed their irritation. The major had to raise his hands and scream a couple “Quiet!” and “Shut it!” before he had order again. “The enemies have broken our brother’s lines. Command’s predicting that they’ll be in Nalstegburn by the end of the week. Their bastard king hit us before we were ready. So we aren’t gonna be heading west. We’ve been ordered east. Gonna strike at them in Berrenholt, hit them fast and hard. Draw their forces away from our brothers.”

    A gunner spoke up. “Are the Austalgothans joining us?” he asked.

    “I’ve not heard anything about that,” the Major answered in a voice that said it was best not to push further. “All I know is that we’ve been ordered east. We’re gonna drive right up the Hastens asses and wish them a good morning. We head out in twenty. So pack up and mount up.”
     
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  18. Esplandia

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    Sherwin’s meeting with Edwin and Gaerta did not go well, but that had been expected. They were unwilling to negotiate now that Raenhald had openly attacked them. So the next place for Sherwin to head to was Halsen an vi Sundra to hopefully convince the Hastenfraktan King to stop this conflict. He had little hope of that happening.

    What surprised Sherwin the most was that no declarations of war had yet been sent. People were dying and no one had officially declared war yet. And what was Algon doing? He’d pledged support to the Lothel-Dutians but as of yet, no forces had been sent to their side. Sherwin was also receiving reports that Lothel-Dutian forces were now attacking Hastenfrakta in Berenholt.

    His plane touched down in Halsen and he found Queen Esmeralda waiting for him. She looked displeased about everything.

    “Raenhald has gone to Doleg, to better be close to the front,” she informed Sherwin. “He told me to make excuses for him, but he’s just a coward who doesn’t want to have to answer to you.”

    “Thanks for your candor,” Sherwin said, feigning a light hearted smile.

    “He’s going to drag the whole Federation down with him.” She lead Sherwin from the landing strip and into a small airconditioned office off the side of one of the hangers. A handful of men and women were waiting there. She introduced the king to them. A number of counts, some Hastenfraktan representatives from their Landesgrad, and one duchess. It wasn’t very many people.

    “This is my loyal band of rebels,” Esmeralda said dryly. “We’re trying to oppose my husband’s war but I’m afraid we’re outnumbered.”

    Sherwin made his pleasantries and made sure to remember everyone who was present so he could have Alwur check on them later. He wanted to make sure they were actually on Esmeralda’s side.

    “Your son sent a message ahead for me to give to you,” she said, passing him a short letter. Sherwin opened it and read it, his brow furrowing in worry.

    “I assume you know what it already says?”

    She nodded once. “Raum Kolta intends to revoke Hastenfrakta’s membership so that he can use the Federation’s forces to put an end to my husband’s war.”

    Sherwin crumpled up the letter and then stuffed it into his pocket. “That means it’s up to you and I to end this nonsense before the Witangamot approves his plan.”

    One of the other Hastenfraktans, Kaera auf Lettenberg the Duchess of Sunderberg, spoke up. “Is this even legal? Does the constitution allow this?”

    Esmeralda answered. “It’s not expressly written that he can’t. It will be up to the Witangamot to decide.”

    “This will be setting a dangerous precedent,” Sherwin agreed. “If other states decide they don’t like that the Federation could kick them out if they don’t get in line, then it’s likely they might look to other powers for protection.”

    “You’re talking about Austalgotha and the Commonwealth?” asked Duchess Kaera.

    “They’re one example. I’d rather avoid dealing with the fallout of this decision. I’d rather it not even be made.”

    Esmeralda sighed. “Then I have to convince my husband to end this war, to negotiate a settlement. Will Edwin and Gaerta come to the table.”

    Sherwin decided to be honest. “No, not as long as Raenhald has any say in an agreement. If there was a way to remove him from the negotiations all together than maybe they’d be willing to come to the table.”

    A strange look passed over Esmeralda’s face, just for a second, but Sherwin felt a chill as he saw it. She however put on a determined look and said with utter confidence. “Then that’s what we’ll have to do. I’ve given my support to the Federation and I’m not going to let it be torn apart.”
     
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  19. Esplandia

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    Algon paced back and forth between his desk and the globe in the corner where he kept his liquor hidden. He wanted a drink, but knew he wouldn’t be able to contain himself to having just one. The Sansadselaegrad was voting on his declaration of support for Lothel-Dutia and Lotheland. If agreed upon it would be an official declaration of war, something that had not yet happened despite the current fighting in the west. He was ready and had already got support from the government to prepare their military forces. He was aware that armed conflict could very well get the Commonwealth involved, and that Sherwin would do everything in his power to stop that. In fact, he was counting on Sherwin putting an end to the conflict.

    He was startled out of his thoughts when the phone on his desk rang. He checked the time, but it was way to early for the Sansadeslaegrad to have even finished preliminary discussions. He picked up the phone. “Grand Vizier Chopra,” he said.

    “Stand by for Queen Esmeralda,” a voice spoke on the other end. He heard a click and then the queen was on the line.

    “I’m sorry to disturb you, Grand Vizier,” she said as pleasantly as she could muster, which wasn’t much but Algon was flattered that she was at least trying. “I know you’re waiting on the results of an important vote.”

    “You’re well informed, your Majesty,” he answered. He wasn’t shocked she knew. The Esplandians had probably informed her of what he was doing. From what he heard she was actively working to support Sherwin’s efforts to end the conflict peacefully. “What can I do for you?”

    “Before this turns into an actual war, I wanted to make an offer that could perhaps be beneficial to both of us.”

    Algon sat down at his chair. “I’m listening.”

    “If Hastenfrakta was to submit to Lotheland’s demands for independence, would you hold off from officially supporting Edwin and Gaerta?”

    “I’ve already made promises to both of them. And I’ll keep my promises.”

    “I’m not asking for you to break your promises,” she said, and he heard a shake in her voice. “I’m only asking for forty-eight hours.”

    Algon eyed his globe and once again was tempted to have a drink. “I doubt your husband will change his mind on fighting. He’s stubborn that way. I could hold off but in the meantime good people are dying fighting your army.”

    “The Witan intends to expel Hastenfrakta from the Federation,” she said, and that was the first thing to hear that interested Algon.

    “Good,” he said. “It’ll make things easier for us.”

    She took a deep breath, and Algon felt a smug assuredness that she was trying to keep her anger under control. But when she spoke again it was with a vulnerability that he’d never heard in her before. “Do you still support Sherwin?” she asked.

    Algon was taken off guard by the question. “Of course I do. What are you implying?”

    “After the creation of Aerndreffed, you and Raum Kolta, spoke about Sherwin and the Vestrugat with me. Do you remember what we discussed?”

    Algon leaned forward in his chair, pressing the phone closer to his ear. “I remember.”

    “Do you still believe that that is the best course for the future?”

    “Yes,” he said quietly.

    “Give me forty-eight hours and I will back you both on this. That is how serious I am.”

    Algon didn’t even have to think about it, but he took a moment anyway. He smiled. “Alright. You’ve got your forty-eight. Don’t waste it.”
     
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  20. Esplandia

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    At last Sherwin was able to speak with Raenhald, three days after the fighting begun. And like he expected, Raenhald wasn’t too keen to talk. But he’d heard that the Federation was gearing up to vote on expelling Hastenfrakta, so he agreed to meet with the Esplandian king in Doleg and talk face to face.

    So they met in the manor of the duke of Galgotland, the two Kings of the Vestrugat, and discussed coming to terms.

    “I won’t give up Lotheland,” Raenhald stated. “That isn’t on the table.”

    Sherwin rubbed his chin. “I can’t speak on behalf of Gaerta or Edwin, but perhaps some arrangement can be made. I’m only asking that you agree to halt your troops, pull them back to Raektsland, and sit down and talk.”

    Raenhald didn’t want to agree. Sherwin could see it in his face, but he realized that things were starting to turn against him. He was struggling with his pride now. But Raenhald agreed to peace talks, but with a few conditions: the talks would take place in Halsen, he wouldn’t pull his troops back but would stop his advance, and that the Federation would not vote on the legality of expulsion as long as the talks were going on. And finally that Sherwin would mediate. “You’re the only one I think who’ll remain impartial instead of supporting the Lothelanders,” Raenhald said.

    Sherwin agreed, ending the meeting on what he hoped was a positive note. He immediately called Raum and informed him of Raenhald’s conditions. Raum didn’t seem very sure. “I doubt he intends to agree to any terms,” Raum said.

    “At least it’s a start,” Sherwin replied.

    After contacting Gaerta and Edwin (both of whom protested the negotiation terms), Sherwin convinced them to meet anyway. Gaerta of course commented how the cease fire would give them a chance to reinforce their position for when the fighting inevitably resumed. Sherwin said nothing in response, knowing that fighting was the likely outcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  21. Esplandia

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    “I hope you actually intend to agree to terms,” Esmeralda said to Raenhald over the phone, as his motorcade made its way through the city. The rain was pouring down, the day dark and cloudy.

    Raenhald poured himself another scotch and sipped at it. “If the Kraeg-Anegburns are willing to concede I’ll gladly end this whole conflict.”

    He could imagine his wife rolling here eyes and it made him smile. All he was hoping for from these talks was to get the Federation on his side so that his forces could roll over Lotheland without intervention. And if that didn’t end the conflict then he’d also take Lothel-Dutia and Austalgotha. And then let Sherwin pretend to be the top man in the Vestrugat after that.

    “I don’t think you realize how precarious our situation is,” Esmeralda said.

    “Not this again.”

    “You’ve managed to ruin our reputation and weaken our position in the Federation.”

    Raenhald clicked his tongue. “I’m not going to this argument again. You can berate me after these talks.” And before she could respond he hung up on her. Again he pictured her irritation and he smiled.

    He made another call, dialing the number for his Minister of Defense. The motorcade started making its way up a hill, as the phone rang. It kept ringing and nobody answered. He frowned, hung up, and dialed again.

    Again no one answered. Why was the Minister not at his desk? Someone should at least answer his call.

    He looked out the window as they crossed an intersection. Headlights from a large truck shown in his eyes and it took him a second to realize they were bearing down on him, crashing through the intersection, before the truck smashed into the side of his car. He felt it hit. He felt intense blinding pain, and then he felt nothing.
     
  22. Esplandia

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    King Raenhald was dead. The shock of the news rippled across Hastenfrakta, across the Vestrugat. Conspiracies were already flying about it being an assassination by Lotheland sympathizers.

    “Investigators have ruled out foul play,” spoke the reporters. “The driver of the truck had fallen asleep. Prosecutors will be bringing charges against him.”

    Despite the news, many were not convinced. No more so than Sherwin. He’d been in Halsen for the last few days as the reports of Raenhald’s death came in and the talks were postponed. He appeared with the royal family as the news broke.

    He waited a few days and then confronted Esmeralda. He got a moment alone with her, a private audience at one of her homes in the city. Her daughters had been taken to a country estate for protection and so there was few people around.

    “You killed him,” Sherwin said. It was not a question.

    “I’m mourning my husband,” she retorted unconvincingly.

    “He was going to negotiate.”

    She smiled wryly at him. “No he wasn’t. He was going to pretend to be reasonable while biding his time.”

    Sherwin slumped down into a chair. “I suppose I’d be a hypocrite to lecture you.”

    “Yes. You would. I told you, I’ll support you and a united Vestrugat. Now you know I mean it.”

    Sherwin found himself admiring her. He didn’t understand it, he’d always hated this game of death and betrayal, but now he was beginning to understand its necessity. How had he become his mother?

    “So what happens now?”

    “I continue the negotiations. I play tough. I make unrealistic demands so that people think I’m honoring my husband’s memory. And then you save the day. Because you’re the only one they’ll all listen to. You’re our Grettermand Fadder.”

    Sherwin nodded. At this point it was the only way.
     
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  23. Esplandia

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    Rathberg Castle, Esplandia
    June 24, 2019

    It had been a week since the ceasefire had been declared, the fighting ending as quickly as it had begun, and her father had only been around for a short period before returning north again to take part in the talks. Despite the cloud of conflict which loomed over everyone, especially since tensions were still high, Amelia couldn’t help but feel excited about soon departing for Ceretis and university.

    The castle, the home of her forebears, seemed to small to her as she dreamed about the world of adventure waiting for her. She needed to get outside, before the walls crushed her under their ancient, but familiar, presence.

    She rushed out of the grand entrance and nearly collided with Baeleg Gent as he climbed the stairs.

    “I’m so sorry, Count Gent,” she said blushing in embarrassment.

    “No need to apologize,” he answered politely. “I was here to see your mother. Is she around?”

    “Somewhere. I’ll get someone to announce you. Did father send you?”

    “He did. I’ve come with news from Halsen.”

    “Can I hear it.”

    He shrugged. “I don’t see why not. The negotiations have concluded. An agreement has been reached.”

    Just then Abigael came striding through the doors. The Count greeted her and then relayed the information to her as well.

    “So he’ll be coming home soon?”

    “With all haste,” Baeleg assured her. “In a few days at most. A last few things to take care of.”

    She smiled. “Thank you, Baeleg.”

    “There is one final thing,” he said, stepping closer to Amelia’s mother. “Your ears only,” he whispered, though Amelia heard anyway.

    “Amelia dear,” her mother said. “Your sister was looking for you. She was in the kitchen.”

    “Yes mother,” Amelia said dutifully, but after stepping through the doors she hung back out of sight and listened.

    “The deal has not pleased Sherwin,” she heard Baeleg say worriedly. “There are a few requirements that the king was forced to agree to.”

    “What kind of requirements would they dare to make of him? He was not part of this war.”

    Baeleg spoke with uncertainty. “There may be deeper machinations at work here. All parties have agreed to name Sherwin Raektdev of a restored Vestrugatten Empire. He will be named the heir of Braegga and his role as Warden of the Court will become an official one with powers to overrule the High Chancellor.”

    She then heard her mother curse. She’d never heard her mother use such foul language. “Why would they agree to this? They’d be effectively giving away their autonomy.”

    “In exchange for a strong figurehead who would have the authority to resolve future issues without bloodshed.”

    The rest of what he said was too low, as he began to whisper, afraid to be overheard even here at the heart of Drakosta power. “Aela be with us,” her mother said. “Will you stay for lunch?”

    “No, I have messages to deliver to Karthied.”

    “Thank you, Baeleg,” she said, and Amelia quickly sneaked away so as not to caught listening. What she’d heard surprised her, but kind of excited her as well. ’My father as Emperor,’ she thought. ’Grandmother would be proud.’
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  24. Esplandia

    Esplandia Factbook Addict - -

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    Sherwin sat at his desk in his office in Blaegfyurd palace. Behind him, prominently displayed was the Vestrugat Falcon and its crown of seven stars. The cameras pointed at him, ready to show the Vestrugat, the world, what he had to say.

    There was a few moments of silence as the cameras began to roll. Sherwin smiled assuredly at the audience he couldn’t see, but who were listening. He spoke, his voice steady and calm, never wavering or faltering in his address.

    “Hello, and good evening. Over the last few weeks the Federation has been tried and we have come out stronger. The conflict in Hastenfrakta has at last come to an end and all parties have agreed to favorable terms. Greater Lotheland will once again be unified with Dutia under the rule of Grand Duke Edwin. Hastenfrakta will receive reparations for their losses in the short lived fighting.

    “Instead of war we were able to settle this matter through diplomacy and cooperation. Though the people of Hastenfrakta still mourn the loss of their beloved King Raenhald, but they are willing to face the future with open hearts. And so are we.

    “Yet this conflict has laid bare a problem within the structure of the Federation. The lack of authority of the Federation’s leadership to act either in support for, or against a member state. This whole situation could have lead to a crisis that could have torn apart this very union. But there is a way to fix this issue, to create a position capable of settling internal disputes, to stand forth when necessary to protect the Vestrugat from all threats.

    “With the support of Her Majesty Esmeralda, and of Grand Duke Edwin, of Grand Vizier Chopra, and Grand Mayor Tavreksen, the Title of Raektdev, last held by Braegga the Bear, shall be restored and the Vestrugat Federation will become an Imperial Federation. And I shall take up the title and office on behalf of the people of the Federation, and with the support of her leaders.

    “I promise to take upon these duties with the same honor and dignity as I have served in as king of Esplandia. I will honor the memory of Braegga, my great forebear, and shall never shame his name nor the Imperial office. Praise be to Aela!

    “Aen Ael! Aen Werfulk! Aen Vestrugatia!”*

    *Translation: One God! One People! One Vestrugatia!

    Heart Shaped Box - Ramin Djiwadia
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  25. Esplandia

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    This required a personal visit. So Prince Albrekt has travelled south across the Whispering Sea, arriving in Kaludgar and heading straight to the Presidential Palace.

    He ignored the city of Daegkantelburn, but his young ward seemed fascinated by it. The gift of the young to find joy in the mundane. Albrekt wasn’t here to see the sights. He was here to see the Emperor’s — a word he would never get used to uttering —brother-in-law. The question was if Winegar would be more willing to hear him out now.

    They were escorted by Kaludgarian security into the building. Albrekt, Sigurt, and a handful of his staff. Sigurt’s identity would be kept under wraps for now, but he’d need to learn about power and politics, so posing as just another staffer he’d be able to observe.

    Albrekt was announced to the President of the Presidium upon his arrival but the prince didn’t even wait for pleasantries. He pushed his way into the office and immediately spoke.

    “Sherwin is to become emperor. And you still believe Kaludgar will remain free?”
     
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  26. Syrixia

    Syrixia The one, the true, the great. - - -

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    [​IMG]
    MEMORANDUM OF CONGRATULATIONS AND RECOGNITION OF A VESTRUGATTEN EMPIRE

    The Empire wishes in earnest to convey its full recognition of the Federation of the Vestrugat's change in government to the Imperial Vestrugat Federation, and to congratulate HRM Sherwin V, King of Esplandia on his ascension to the ancient dignities of Braegga the Bear.

    The unification of the Vestrugat is a monumentous achievement which will doubtless bring unprecedented and unparalleled prosperity to the region, as well as a peace that is well deserved by the nations and people of the region.

    The Empire has been and remains committed to positive, peaceful, and enduring relations with Esplandia, Austalgotha, and all nations now within the Imperial Vestrugat Federation, as well as with its central government.

    We look forward to expanding on and securing the peace and good will between our states in the years to come, and we wish the Imperial Vestrugat Federation all the best.

    Rahul Khanna
    Secretary of State of the Syrixian Empire
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  27. Nogori

    Nogori TNP’s Greedy Capitalist

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    Winegar sat at his desk and pondered at what lay upon it. A letter from the new Emperor sat on his desk freshly opened with its words fully sitting in on the President. A simple letter stating that the Emperor’s new empire was incomplete without the membership of their southern brethren and their presence was greatly missed.


    He scoffed at the notion of him, the direct descendant of Emarik Roriksen, kneeling before any monarch. His lineage helped lead the overthrowing of those who would seek to deprive his people of their sovereignty and of their will to self determination. Republicanism ran in his veins and he would let no man take his country or his legacy which had been built through the generations.


    Winegar was no idiot, he knew was Sherwin was implying very easily. “Kneel now to me and you will be spared and if not, well then I cannot guarantee we won’t attack” that was the underlying message and he knew all too well. Sherwin had finally after all of these years decided to take up the ruthlessness of his mother and Winegar’s Mother-in-Law. However, this falcon would find no submission from the Kaludgarian Dragon as his own fangs were long and sharp.


    His thoughts were cut short though as Prince Albrekt stormed through his doors and wasted no time getting straight to the matter at hand. Winegar couldn’t help but laugh at the man, he skipped right over normal procedures and pleasantries but Winegar liked that. Someone who didn’t like to waste time and someone who liked to get things done, just like himself.


    “Well I have to thank you Albrekt for coming all this way to see me” Winegar said with a particular emphasis on not addressing the Prince in proper fashion. He leaned back in his chair and looked at the man.


    “No, a fool would only think that Sherwin would wish for us to remain free. Since that damn thing first organized he has been trying to push us under his thumb into joining it. Luckily for me, I have been able to resist thus far due to my wit and good charms” he laughed.


    “Sherwin before couldn’t have raised enough support from the rest of his little league to go to war. Now? What’s stopping him? He has deprived you and all of the poor fools who agreed to join that damn thing into giving up their sovereignty.”


    “It’s only a matter of time before he tries to force his will down upon my country and me until we give into his demands. I don’t intend by any means to give into what he wants. I will fight him if I have to. The man might be my damn brother-in-law but this is my country. The home of Raethur. We kneel to no monarch.”


    He paused for a moment, motioning the Prince to sit down at the nice red leather chair in front of his desk and pushed the letter over for Albrekt to read. “Now, I’m not as sharp as I used to be but I’m going to assume you at least agree with me a little. So explain to me what exactly it is you want?”
     
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  28. Esplandia

    Esplandia Factbook Addict - -

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    Albrekt huffed his large frame into the proffered seat, ignoring Winegar’s lack of proper address. He’d let it slide. Now was not the time to lose his temper over such petty slights.

    “Saegsen joined the Federation because otherwise we’d have been left without allies and reliant on the Alstenbekers,” he said agreeing with Winegar’s sentiments. Back then he’d been more afraid of Sigurt to not see the threat the Esplandians posed.

    He listened to the rest of the President’s rant, giving affirmations where needed. Winegar passed him the letter he’d received from Sherwin. It seemed politely enough written, and perhaps even forthright. But Albrekt could also read between the lines and an underlying drive for Sherwin to dominate. He read the letter carefully.

    Albrekt took a moment to answer Winegar’s final question. How best to proceed? He needed Kaludgar if they were to ever sfind success against the new emperor. But how far would Winegar be willing to go?

    He gathered his thoughts. “There is little I can do to stop this turn of events,” Albrekt said, carefully choosing his words. “I considered withdrawing from the Federation in protest. But this would only serve to strengthen Sherwin’s resolve and I doubt I’d survive long as his enemy. No, instead I have begun to consider a new approach. Resistance. Already I have gathered a few allies, powerful men who are not happy with the new status quo. But we are not strong enough on our own. Only with your help and the might of Kaludgar behind us would we ever have the strength needed to defy Sherwin. I am here to offer an allegiance.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  29. Nogori

    Nogori TNP’s Greedy Capitalist

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    He sat there and stared at Albrekt for a moment letting his words soak in for a minute in the room. Winegar changed his gaze from Albrekt to his young staffer and then back to Albrekt before reclining back in his chair and thought. This was quite a unique opportunity that had presented itself to him.


    Winegar waited a couple more moments before finally responding. “Now see Albrekt…I am very inclined to accept your offer but I do very well have some hesitations with it. You want my backing and I am willing to give it to you. However, I might say, my price isn’t the cheapest.


    You expect me to back your little revolution against Sherwin, which I think we both know this isn’t going to be an easy thing. You want me to send thousands of my soldiers potentially to the slaughter out of nothing but my sheer compassion for you and your struggle? Come on Albrekt you’re smarter than that” he laughed.


    “We aren’t dealing with just Sherwin here. We’re dealing with overthrowing an empire and right now like you admitted yourself, you need me. Now I could prepare myself for when Sherwin attacks and potentially fight him off my own because we both know he will attack eventually. So what’s in it for me? Riddle me that.”
     
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  30. Esplandia

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    Albrekt had to swallow his irritation. He knew Winegar would be stubborn, but apparently the man had a knack for striking on the the uncomfortable truth.

    “Yes, Kaludgar stands to lose much in this fight, but we will all share the ‘hangman’s noise’ if we fail. But there is much to gain if we win. And Kaludgar will get it’s fair share.

    “But a gesture must be given, I understand. How about access to Soltenfrith? You’ll be close enough to trade directly with Anfallith, and you’ll have a naval base on the Saldut coast.

    “Is that fair enough?”
     
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  31. Nogori

    Nogori TNP’s Greedy Capitalist

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    Winegar continued lounging in his chair as Albrekt’s proposal traveled through his ears. He sat there, thoughts racing in his mind about the proposition he had just been offered as he considered the fine, razor-sharp details. Delicately considering it for a small moment the President finally decided to respond to the Prince.


    “I will admit Albrekt you have outdone yourself here. Soltenfrith can’t be an easy thing to give up and I commend you for your willingness to give it up for the greater good. One thing I would also push onto the table is far greater trading rights and freedoms for Kaludgarian merchants but we can discuss that later. “


    He ceased talking for a time but then continued.


    “There is one thing I have to bring up that I find problematic. The Alstenbekers have little reason to stand with us. If we want a quick and swift victory then we need them on our side and without them we might as well be throwing our soldiers to the meat grinder. I can tell you now that I have no intention of doing that. So, how will you circumvent that my dear prince?”
     
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  32. Esplandia

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    Albrekt leaned back. He wouldn’t be able to bullshit this man. He needed to remember that. He may have detested the silly heresy he followed and their odd government, but he was still a Hastfrad and ten times more wily than other men. No, the time for deception was soon to be over. All cards on the table.

    “The Hastfrads will follow us. They’ll fight, and they’ll bleed, and they’ll die along side us. For their freedom and for their king.”

    He held up his hand to silence any comment from Winegar, than waved Sigurt forward. “I give you the grandson of Sigurt IX, son of Princess Elaena Auvestet-Hadeg, and the true king of Alstenbek. Sigurt X.”
     
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  33. Esplandia

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    Raum found the king sitting alone in the small nook off the side of Blaegfyurd, overlooking the south rose garden. A small table had been set up, with a table cloth in the colors of Esplandia; blue, gold, and red. A cart with covered trays sat off to the side and on the table was a single bottle of red wine and two glasses, though the King also held a beer in his hand. A bottle from his own brewery in Rathberg.

    Raum coughed, politely announcing his presence. Sherwin, who’d been staring absently at the golden light of sunset painting the rose garden below, looked up calmly and smiled. “I took the pleasure of having the cooks prepare a roast pheasant,” he said, motioning for the High Chancellor to have a seat. “I know how you’re partial to it.”

    Raum took the proffered seat as Sherwin removed the coverings from the food. Steamed vegetables, steamed mushrooms and quinoa, garlic rolls, and the aforementioned pheasant garnered with parsley, red pepper, and orange peel.

    “It smells delicious,” Raum complimented, opening the wine and pouring Sherwin a glass before pouring one for himself.

    Sherwin served a helping for both of them and Raum offered a toast. “To the Emperor of the Vestrugat!”

    The glasses clinked. Raum took a healthy drink, but Sherwin only sipped. “To me,” the King agreed.

    They took a few bites, savoring the meal. Raum complimented the delicate flavors of the pheasant. “I may have to beg your chef for the recipe,” he warned good naturedly.

    “I’m sure he’ll oblige,” Sherwin said. He made for his glass of wine, but then changed his mind and drank more of his beer.

    “Still not a wine drinker?”

    The King waved his hand absently. “I find the alcohol flavor too strong. Beer just seems more richer, more earthy to me.”

    “Perhaps you’ve not found the right vintage.”

    “If I haven’t found one at my age then I never will.”

    Raum cheerily raised his glass in understanding. Sherwin raised his bottle in response.

    “I’ve already started receiving congratulatory letters,” Sherwin said. “And queries for when the coronation ceremony will take place. I’m sure the condemnations will follow eventually.”

    “You’ve never cared about the opinions of foreign monarchs. They rarely understand the state of affairs in the Vestrugat, and judge us by their own liberal standards.”

    “Indeed,” Sherwin agreed with little enthusiasm. “What matter a few foreign opinions against a strong, unified Vestrugat?”

    Raum smiled. “Yes, indeed.”

    But the welcoming expression on the King’s face was now gone, replaced with the stern look of a disappointed father. “Except the Vestrugat did not need an emperor to be strong.” He leaned forward, placing his silverware down heavily on the table. Raum was now uncomfortable. “You, Chopra, and Esmeralda forced this upon me. Become your supreme monarch, or watch the Federation tear itself apart in a petty conflict.”

    Raum put his own silverware down and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “You’ll forgive me if I disagree with your sentiment.”

    “I will not. A monarch declaring himself emperor will be seen as regressive in this day and age. This very act will have far reaching repercussions we can’t even begin to fathom.”

    “The Vestrugat has always been a land of monarchs. We decided that at the end of the Talamnic War. A strong ruler means a secure future. You and I both know true democracies all eventually fall under their own bureaucratic weight.”

    Sherwin looked out the window, his expression stony. “There will be more blood.” He turned back to Raum, his eyes sparkling with the weight of future tragedies that only he could see. “This was not an act of rightness. Do you think those in the south will be happy about this? The Dalkaegns? Saegsberg? No, there will be blood over this action. Eventually. And we’ll all pay the price for that.”

    Raum was silent. He didn’t know how to respond. He’d never seen this side of the King before.

    Sherwin stood up. “I have some responses to write up,” he said. “Please enjoy the rest of your meal.”

    He quickly strode away, leaving Raum to consider his words.
     
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  34. Esplandia

    Esplandia Factbook Addict - -

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    [​IMG]

     
  35. Esplandia

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    Sherwin rubbed his temples, trying to soothe the exhaustion headache. With his upcoming enthronement ceremony, there was a lot of things to get ready, and decisions to make.

    “Their are gonna be riots if the Allfather is involved but the Archbishop is not,” Baeleg Gent said, leafing through a handful of requests and letters. “And we just recently ended the rift between Teidastians and Avulastians, so this shouldn’t be the thing that fractures it.”

    Sherwin sighed. “I think it’ll go over a lot better if the Allfather performs the anointment rite. But we should find some way for the Archbishop to be involved, perhaps he can perform a lesser anointing before I ascend to the altar.”

    Baeleg nodded. “I’ll speak with him and see.”

    “Braegga didn’t have to deal with any of this.”

    “Braegga only had to defeat the Kianese army, before his Dominion was secured. Perhaps you could do that instead of this ceremony.”

    Sherwin laughed. “I doubt Amira would comply. No, I’m gonna have to do this the ceremonial way. I just wish Braegga had set a precedence for enthronement.”

    “He was never called Raektdev during his own lifetime, so there’s no precedence anyway. Whatever we decide will be what future emperors will follow.”

    Sherwin mused on the silliness of it. Claiming to be the heir of a man who’d been dead for twelve hundred years, and laying claim to a title which had never actually existed. He didn’t muse for long, as there was still a lot of work to be done.

    “We’ll need a new oath of office. I doubt the Esplandian oath will be accepted,” Sherwin said, moving onto the next subject. The next few months were going to be tough.
     
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  36. Esplandia

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    Amelia was still getting used to school, to being so far away from home. It was very different and not just the language or food, but the way people behaved, and their everyday interactions. She’d left Esplandia many times, but never on such a long term basis.

    She thanked Aela for Taewin being around to remind her of home and give her a bit of normalcy. School was already stressful enough. And Taewin always had time to spend with her, though she imagined he too had a heavy workload.

    He was still well informed about what was going on back home, her father’s preparations to be made emperor as well as the continued protests in Alstenbek which hadn’t gone away during the Lotheland-Hastenfraktan conflict, but hadn’t seemed as relevant. She worried about her family, but Taewin was always able to reassure her and subdue her doubts.

    He decided to take her to see a film that night, since there was no tests and she had a light load of schoolwork. It was a Malorian film, a sappy love story called Te Malnog Holuib. The movie was in Malorian, and the subtitles were Ceretian, and while Amelia was passable at the latter, she found herself not even paying attention and dozing off.

    It really wasn’t about the movie anyway and she leaned up against Taewin, feeling comfortable being near him. He put his arm around her shoulder, more engrossed in the film then she was. As she fell asleep in the theater, she felt that everything would be alright.
     
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  37. Esplandia

    Esplandia Factbook Addict - -

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    Nalgorhaem, Alstenbek
    September 20, 2019

    Ne Min Grettermand Fadder*, the sign read on the alley fence, and below that was a picture of Sherwin that someone had glued construction paper flames around. Raela studied the sign for a moment, using the moment to make sure the mask was still covering her lower face. The protests had been going on now for a whole week and it was only last night they’d started getting violent. The Esplandians, or at least their sympathizers in the police force, and fired tear gas on one of the groups protesting out by the Landesgrad building, and a kid had been killed. And now everyone was out for revenge.

    Raela had been at university when Sherwin had declared he was forming the empire, and she immediately came home to join in the resistance. No way was she okay with her country having no say in the matter. Now though, watching her city tearing itself apart, she had her doubts that anything they did here would matter. The Esplandians seemed hell bent on staying.

    “Alekyan aek tur Kurdev!**” came a cry from the street, followed by the sound of breaking glass and then a small explosion rattled the ground. Raela could now see smoke billowing out through the street. Hollering rose above the sounds of burning and gunfire barked as police forces fired rubber bullets at the fleeing rioters.

    Raela stepped back behind the fence, peaking out as men clad in gray uniforms rushed forward, advancing after their targets. Her heart skipped. The Huskavrals had apparently been unleashed on the rioters. Looked like the King was finally tired of the protests and riots. She waited for five minutes after they had passed, and then she crept forward into the street. It was now empty. The building that had been bombed was burning out, the fire having not been hot enough to destroy the building.

    Making sure no one was watching, she took off down the street in the opposite direction the Huskavrals had gone. She was going to try and find somewhere to lay low, hoping she could reach one of the safe houses that the protest leaders had set up. She had a feeling things were going to get worse in the city very soon.

    *Trans: Not My Great Father/Patriarch (Grettermand Fadder is a nickname for Sherwin)
    **Trans: Down with the King
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  38. Esplandia

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    Karthied, Esplandia
    December 22, Saint Avalus’ Day

    The last rains had passed, leaving Karthied in the warm weather of a southern winter. The sun shone brightly on the city which was decked out for festival. For it was a festival, both for that most honored Hastfrad hero, Avalus the Spear-Maid, and also because there was to be a new emperor.

    The city swarmed with revelers, and well wishers, and monarchists. The crowds flowed like a river of people, filling the streets and alleyways from East Gate to the Waterfront. Like a great whirlpool of celebration, the city was flooded. And at the center of it all stood Blaegfyurd palace, the seat of Esplandia and the Federation and soon to be the Empire.

    The Palace was decorated in flags, the flags of every Vestrugatic nation, of every duchy and county and barony, and every other type of division within monarchy and republic alike.

    The guests arriving would see nothing but the colors of the Vestrugat flapping in the southern breezes, and over it al a great blue flag with a white falcon and seven seven-pointed stars flew. From the top of the Dragostspaer the flag of Federation could be seen across the city.

    Out front of Vestrugerwaertun Abbey, the spiritual heart of the city, great pavilions had been set up, putting the whole church courtyard into shade. Here those who had been invited to attend had gathered, awaiting the beginning of the ceremony.

    “People of Eras,” cried the mayor of the city once the guests had arrived, waiting for the enthronement ceremony to begin. “People of Icenia, and the Vestrugat. Today marks a glorious day. For the Spirit of Braegga the Bear watches over us on this occasion. The Vestrugat has been unified, and under one man, the Raektdeg has been restored. Please, enter the Palace and bless the enthronement of Emperor Sherwin Drakosta, Raektdev of the Vestrugat!”

    At that moment the church doors opened and a great fanfare went up. Monarchs, leaders, officials, delegates, and clergy all began to file in and take their seats.
     
  39. Esplandia

    Esplandia Factbook Addict - -

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    Beneath the pavilions outside the Abbey the guests were served cool refreshments, awaiting the chance to go inside. Jadzia snatched up a glass of what turned out to be champagne, and zipped at it. Her chamberlain, Peter Artois, gave her a disapproving glare to remind her she was still considered too young for such things.

    She just gave him a faux guilty grin and kept drinking while she milled about listening in on conversations. Or at least trying to since most of what was being spoken was in languages she didn’t understand.

    The weather was at least nice here this far south. Arrandal was already deep into winter this time of year but the Vestrugat remained warm and sunny. She was glad she’d packed a lighter dress, or else she’d be stuck in her furs in high degrees.

    She felt sorry for her squad of Hussars, standing not far off in their heavy uniforms and Kolpaks. They must be quite the sight in their red and white liveries for many of the other guests kept looking their way.

    She thought of her great grandmother, Wilhelmina, realizing she’d been born here. Grown up in this very city. What must that have been like? So far the largest city she’d been to was Bergum, and she felt that it would definitely dwarf Karthied, but Karthied felt grander. It’s white stone buildings, flowering trees, and extensive city gardens gave it a warmer, more welcoming feel than Bergum or even Bravondy.

    She’d have to ask her great grandmother about Esplandia. Was she fond of her great nephew? It was weird to think of the elderly Sherwin as her 2nd cousin.

    “Do they speak Mercanti here?” She asked her chamberlain, considering trying to start a conversation with one of the locals.

    “This close to McMasterdonia it would be strange for them not to,” he answered. “At least as a second language.

    “What language do they speak here?”

    “Vestrutaggen. It’s distantly related to Malorian, of Gotic origin.”

    “I speak Malorian quite well. Do you think I could pick up Vesutaggen easily?”

    “Doubtful. There’s two oceans and centuries of history between them. I’d just with Mercanti.”

    She wrinkled her nose. “My Mercanti isn’t very good.”

    “Perfect chance to practice then,” he said politely. He looked about the crowd. “Ah, there’s someone who might want to say hello to the Arrandi monarch. Go speak with them, your majesty.”
     
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  40. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Tobias never liked champagne. Or white wine in general, to be honest. Its flavour was always too subtle. It never tasted "right." Still, he wasn't one to make a scene over someone else's refreshments as a guest. And besides. It was the Vestrugat. He'd been here once for a wedding, and enjoyed himself, even if it was far too warm for his liking. Already he missed the snow and cool breeze, but Esplandia's natural beauty more than made up for it.

    And then there was Sherwin. Tobias had issued a statement in support of his ascension to the Imperial throne. It was done on the advice of his government, of course. They had their reasons for suggesting it. Good reasons too. Frankly though? He would have done it himself anyway.
    International relations were where he felt the most out of depth unless there was a clear moral certainty for him to follow. Everything else was intimidating, and he routinely felt out of his depth. He wasn't even twenty-five. Kings, Queens, Emperors, Empresses...one of whom was his soon to be wife, Presidents and Chairmen....people who were tried and tested in international disputes. And here he was, thrust into it, thrown to the wolves. In that context? Sherwin had never not been a friend to Prydania, and had never not been friendly to himself. Everyone has their own motives, surely Sherwin was no different. Tobias was, however, an aspiring optimist. So he let himself view Sherwin as someone he could trust. That's why he happily attended himself rather than send Stig or Magnus.

    He finished his champagne managing to hide his dislike for the taste, before a young woman caught his eye. King Jadzia. He was used to the Arrandi preference for "King" regardless of gender now. The Bergum Pact made that a necessity.
    Tobias looked around for a moment. There didn't appear to be any sort of rush, so he decided to say hello. She was an allied head of state and a distant cousin of his after all (and he was lacking for immediate family members), but also he knew so little of her. All he'd really seen of her was in Bergum Pact meetings. Beyond that? He'd barely gotten to know her.

    "Cousin" he said in Malorian, knowing it was a language they both shared. Even if his North Gotic accent was noticeable.
    "I'm happy to see you here! How are you liking the Vestrugat?"
     
  41. Esplandia

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    Jadzia smiled at Toby. She could tell he wasn’t as proficient as her at Malorian, but he was certainly better at it than she was at Mercanti.

    “It’s likewise good to see you, cousin,” she responded in Malorian. She’d become quite good at it, her Arrandi accent almost completely gone, ever since her grandmother and great grandparents had moved to Bravondy. Still she remembered her chamberlain telling her this was a chance to practice and so she slipped into her stilted Mercanti. “I love the sun here. It’s so warm. And the food has been delightful.”

    She had arrived the day before, giving her time to try a little of the cuisine. Of course it had to be brought to the hotel they were staying at because her chamberlain had patiently explained that a king traveling freely about the city would be a logistical nightmare for the Vestrugatten security forces.

    “Have you tried this called Shraumlaekt?” She asked him. “It’s giant breaded sausage. You dip it in mustard. Is quite good.”