The Leviathan Rises

Discussion in 'National RolePlay' started by SovereignDixie, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. SovereignDixie

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    Inauguration Day

    The weeks following the election had been nothing short of a chaotic whirlwind for not only President-Elect Pershing, but the nation on the whole. While the Chamber was still occupied by acting President Durst, Ian and at least most of his transition team had begun occupying most of Whitmore Manor and begun the business of setting up a functional rudimentary administration.

    Ian had heard Ilsa coming down the hallway a good minute before she'd actually come through the door. Going to need to get some carpeting. "Here's your itinerary, Mr. President-Elect." Beaming, she handed him the folder.

    "I hope you're not going to get all formal on me now." Ian flopped down in the closest seat and reviewed the schedule.

    "No. I just like calling you that! It's all so... surreal, you know? Part of me can't believe we did it." The campaign manager now appointed Chief of Staff had, in fact, remained giddy as a love-addled schoolgirl since election night.

    Pershing snorted. "I know the feeling, though the avalanche of work has helped the realism sink in. I could literally never sleep and I think I'd still fall behind."

    Ilsa smirked "I hate to tell you this, but it's probably not going to get any easier. Though once we're settled in and a lot of the appointments have been made we can at least find a rhythm."

    Ian rubbed the bridge of his nose as he nodded "And what is the status of said appointments?"

    "Monika Van Zyl sent word last night that she would accept Foreign Affairs. Jens was initially surprised at being offered the Defense Ministry but I talked him into it, Klark leaped at Internal Affairs, but I stressed to him that was only temporary until the Parliamentary elections." She took a long deep breath. "As for the rest? We're still working on that and I should hopefully have something for you by the end of the week."

    "And has His Rotundness handed over his files on the investigation into Bech's assassination?"

    Ilsa shook her head. "No, he hasn't. And I'm starting to wonder if he even has any."

    "Don't ask him again. We'll get our people on it. He's either dragging his feet, incompetent, or both. Even if he handed me a lorry full of papers at this point I wouldn't trust them. There's too much shit with the EWC that just doesn't add up."

    The incoming Chief of Staff nodded "On a related note, most of the riots have died down but the S.V wants to play it safe. And by 'safe' I mean they've erected a two meter tall bulletproof shield in front of the podium where you'll be sworn in."

    Ian shrugged as he stood, handing the folder to Ilsa. "Whatever they feel like they have to do. I'm not of the mind to contradict them, Lord knows they have enough stress and morale's been... wanting, since the assassination. As long as the field of view isn't obstructed I'm fine with it."

    No sooner than the sentence had escaped his lips two S.V. agents stepped into the room. "Mr. President-Elect, we're ready."

    Ilsa moved as if to kiss him, then halting to reach out and give his left arm a gentle squeeze. "Well then, looks like it's showtime."

    "Indeed, Ms. Drageby. Destiny calls."
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  2. SovereignDixie

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    Thunderheads rolled in over the city skyline and a steady light rain had settled in over the center of Nýtt Beaconsviði. Ten blocks of the city in total had been shut down for the ceremony and the area surrounding Whitmore Manor was now a sea of umbrellas and raincoats that stretched out into a sea of humanity surrounded by the manmade islands and outcroppings taking the form of the other government complexes in the area.

    Ilsa had thought it best if they didn't feed the rumour mill by sitting adjacent to one another and so it was that Ian sat wedged between Klark and Zyl, the latter of the two having what seemed to be an unending thousand yard stare as the events slowly proceeded. As MP's made speeches and high school bands performed mediocre renditions of various patriotic hymnals Ian realised that perhaps the most demanding part of his job would be sitting through ceremonies.

    After what had seemed like a small eternity Chief Justice Baltasar Helgesen rose from his seat and strolled to the podium. Thunder rolled softly in the distance as the rain picked up. The crowd didn't seem to mind half as much as Ian did, it wasn't the rain that had him anxious though but the simple desire to get this over with.

    "Ian Pershing, please rise and approach for the Taking of The Oath of The President."

    About bloody time. Next time we do one of these things I'm going to see if Johannes Andersen is free. I bet a flute solo would have kept me awake.

    Ian stepped up to the podium and as planned the banner of the Social Commonwealth party unfurled from the roof of Whitmore Manor to the sound of a few surprised gasps mixed with raucous applause from the crowd.

    "Place your right hand over your heart, left hand upright and repeat after me."

    Chief Justice Helgesen began feeding the Oath of The President passage by passage as Ian repeated, his heart thundering in his chest.

    "I, Ian Karolus Pershing do hereby swear and affirm with honest intent and truest conviction, to uphold the principles of the Declaration of Unity and the laws of the Articles of Federation to the best of my ability. To defend, protect, and preserve the integrity and honour of The Samtök Reykja Fullvalda Dax for the entirety of the term entrusted to me, or the day Death takes me, whichever shall find me first. So shall it be."

    The crowd replied in approximated muttered unison "So shall it be."

    "Congratulations, President Ian Pershing. May prosperity and peace grace your years as the steward of our nation."

    Ian gave a brief nod before shaking the Chief Justice's hand whilst thunder rumbled once again softly in the distance and crowds of rainsoaked onlookers offered their approval by way of equally thunderous applause.

    "Thank you, Chief justice Helgesen." Ian turned to face the crowd, gloved hand waving whilst broken chants rose from the crowd.

    "And thank all of you. Not just for the votes, though those were..." Pershing chuckled softly. "certainly appreciated. But thank you for what each and every one of you do every day. So many working so hard, doing so much, and asking for so very little in return from your country.

    I think its time that your country works as hard for you, as you have been for it!

    I never thought that I would find myself here. I never really imagined myself with a career in politics and I damn sure never thought I would one day be here, addressing all of you as your President.

    But the last decade has seen so much happen. Negligence, apathy, our soldiers returning home from a war in Prydania only to find that the very force they'd fought and died to contain spreading here at home. Civil wars across northern Craviter and a totalitarian regime projecting power into the Auburn Channel while we do nothing.

    Inflation rises, the GDP falls, and your taxes paying the salaries that enabled self indulgent, lazy pieces of walking refuse to continue to fritter away your money whilst passing lofty resolutions and toothless legislation.

    Corruption and ineptitude in the Alþingi, and the death of President Bech for which our nation still mourns, the perpetrators of the act even now walking the streets without having faced justice.

    It makes me sick.

    And I know it makes all of you sick too! That's why you're here. And that's why I'm here.

    Dax has had its head in the sand for too long. Looked the other way whilst our interests are endangered, our government bloats, and the honest working people of our nation are ignored and forgotten.

    The cowardly pieces of garbage behind the death of President Bech will be brought to justice, be they across the street or across the planet. Our reach will long, our determination unyielding, our retribution swift.

    Starting today, you and I are going to begin working to make this nation something to be proud of. A nation that protects itself and its allies, a nation that cares for and about its people, a nation whose government gets results.

    The cowardly pieces of garbage behind the death of President Bech will be brought to justice, be they across the street or across the planet. Our reach will long, our determination unyielding, our retribution swift.

    Starting today, those who would harm our nation are on notice. Those who would rest on their laurels in the Alþingi wheeling and dealing our nation's future away are on notice. Today, it changes.

    Thank you again, for coming out here today. I know you all are wet, and cold, and tired. And as for me?

    I've got a nation to fix."
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  3. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Marianne Toft sat crossed-legged as she waited outside of the Presidential office, her eyes going over the portraits of various Dax statesmen that adorned the walls.
    She couldn't help but chuckle at the situation. Her father and Frasier Pershing, the Social Commonwealth wave of the mid 80s. She could barely remember it, she was just a small child when her father was elected Prime Minister in Prydania. Yet those two...it was the stuff of legends. Two...titans...who enraptured their nations. One undone by a Syndicalist coup, the other stifled by the inertia of the status quo. And yet they'd changed the world. Neither Prydania or the SRFD would be what they were today, for better or worse, without Stephen Toft an Frasier Pershing.
    And here they were, their children. A Member of the Prydanian Alþingi and the President of the SRFD. After all that had happened....what would they think?

    She had risked a lot to come here. She already had a hard enough time keeping the critics at bay, who looked for any excuse to paint her as a wolf in sheep's clothing, Social Commonwealth in a Free Democratic Party disguise. Only the fact that she willingly turned would-be Social Commonwealth insurgents over to the government after the Civil War and the fact that the Free Democratic Party's majority was only two seats kept her safe from too much harassment. Still, enemies in her own party would do anything to undermine her. Visiting a Social Commonwealth President- the son of Frasier Pershing no less- was a risk. One that she could handle though. Her ambitions weren't so grand, yet, that a bump in the road would derail them.

    Though she was shocked as to how easily the newly elected President agreed to meet with her so soon after his inauguration. She barely remembered Ian from her childhood. Was he curious to see what she'd made of herself? Was it simply a sense of loyalty to do a favour for the daughter of his father's friend? She had no idea.
    Regardless. She was here. She looked at the envelope in her hand. Firm cardstock. Stamped with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prydania and the Royal monogram of King Tobias III.

    "Oh Magnus" she chuckled to herself. The Prime Minister and her party boss had been apprehensive about Ian's election to be sure. More than that, he'd advised the King that perhaps the tradition of recently elected SRFD Presidents meeting with the monarch of Prydania could be...postponed.
    She couldn't have voiced opposition to that plan, of course. Not with her background. A SoComm sympathizer. That's what they'd jump at. Thankfully, however, she'd planted the idea in a few fellow party members who made up the Free Democratic Party's Alþingi caucus that regardless of outcome? The tradition needed to be maintained. This was the first SRFD election since the end of the Prydanian Civil War and King Tobias' coronation. It was important that this happen! Politics aside, traditions mattered.

    And of course one of her colleagues she'd expressed that opinion to spoke up like she expected one to. The point was made. Magnus reluctantly admitted the point, and the King had the invitation formally drafted.
    What did His Majesty think of Ian Pershing though? The young monarch had no love for his predecessor, Anders III. His uncle. If Frasier Pershing had been Stephen Toft's good friend? Anders III of Prydania was his benefactor. Willingly allowing him to institute SoComm rule in Prydania.
    Tobias though...Marianne knew he didn't hold his uncle in high regard. Blamed him- and her father- for the rise of Syndicalism in the first place. Tobias was very much his grandfather Robert VII's grandson. A liberal idealist in a way. He seemed wearily curious about the new Dax President, at best. She shrugged. She found it hard to blame him. She had chosen the Free Democratic Party for a reason after all- and not just because of political expediency. Whatever anyone else said about her back home? She very much wasn't looking to walk in her father's footsteps. It was far more complicated than that.

    Ian though...he seemed to have no such hangup. She wondered what he'd think about that too. Not that it mattered much to speculate. She'd find out soon enough.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  4. SovereignDixie

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    Ian had in fact needed to bite off a couple of heads to secure time in his schedule to meet with the Prydanian woman. Already members of the Alþingi from across Dax were clamoring for a sit-down or even just a phone call from the new President. Ian had likened it to dogs jockeying with one another in an attempt to get scraps from the dinner table though that was a thought he'd largely kept to himself. Part of him loved keeping the MPs waiting, even the ones that were sympathetic to him. He knew all to well that in most cases that sympathy would run about as far as their desire to use him to advance their own objectives. To be sure, that was simply the way of politics and Ian wasn't oblivious to that fact, he just vastly preferred it when someone was upfront about wanting their back scratched.

    The request for a meeting from Marianne had brought both a sigh of relief and a raised eyebrow from the young President. Dax's brothers and sisters across the channel had been largely silent during the election, at least in an official capacity. He'd seen the talking heads on their late night news feeds, however, enough to know that he was seen as a polarizing figure to say the absolute least. Ian hadn't spoken of it but the apprehension he'd felt regarding what impact his election would have on relations between the two nations had been quite real and pressing. The request from Marianne had helped alleviate that at least to some degree.

    "Ilsa, I want my schedule cleared out until the ball tonight. No calls, no visitors, if the press gets their knickers in too much of a knot just tell them I'm 'conferring with my team' or some other such generic piss.

    The Chief of Staff nodded. "Are you really expecting the meeting to last all afternoon?"

    Ian shrugged "I'd rather have the time cleared and not need it, than need it and not have it. Should I free up sooner than expected I'm sure no one will complain. Now... has that fat bastard gotten his arse out of my office?" The President's query came even as he threw the door to the Presidential Chamber open, full ready to have security 'invite' President Emeritus Durst to 'leave'.

    "His belongings yes, the smell will take longer I'm afraid."

    Ian knew what she meant, there was no literal smell as such but rather the general dissatisfaction that came from knowing the seat your bottom was about to inhabit had been previously sat in by such a useless creature. "I'll take it. While I'm meeting with Ms. Toft I want you to get in contact with the folks over at the Samtök Rannsóknardeild and see what they've been able to pull together on Bech's assassination. Tell them we want a full briefing by the end of the week."

    Ilsa took her leave, leaving Ian to briefly survey the vast expanse that was his office. He'd seen it before, though it had been many years. The carpet looked new, the grooves he'd worn into it as a child with his toy cars and the stains from numerous spilled drinks long since having been replaced and Lord only knew how many layers of paint covered the writing he'd seen fit to leave on the wall behind the sofa one afternoon. It felt like... home, and yet very much not. He took a deep and slow breath, exhaling just as the door opened.

    "Marianne Toft is here to see you, Mr. President. Should I bring her in?" A young intern wide eyed with nervousness at what appeared to be his first time even seeing the Chamber.

    "No. I'll see to it myself, thank you."

    Ian stopped for a moment, trying to even remember the last time he'd seen her and recalled little more than still images. He knew that like himself she'd tried to distance herself from her father though in her case it was somewhat more understandable. Well, no sense in keeping the lady waiting.

    The President strolled out of his office to the adjoining waiting area, fidgeting a bit with his gloves as he rounded the corner and made his way over to where she sat and extended his hand. "Marianne Toft! Sorry to keep you waiting, today's been something of an experience. Welcome to Dax!"
     
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  5. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    “Thank you Mr. President” Marianne replied, shaking his hand.
    “I imagine it would be” she added as she followed the newly elected President back into his office.
    “It’s been some time since I’ve been in Dax, it’s very good to be back.”

    She looked around as she entered the SRFD presidential office. She had only ever seen it on tv facing the desk- seeing the room in its entirely was certainly new.

    She also smiled slightly. There was something immensely interesting about the two of them being here. She felt the Royal invitation in her hand but chose not to lead with that. She was content to enjoy the moment.

    “I don’t think our fathers would believe this scene if they could see it, do you?” she asked as she took a seat in front of the Presidential desk.

    “You have to tell me. Is the media on this side of the channel as indignant of me being here as it is on our side?”
     
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  6. SovereignDixie

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    Ian chuckled as he walked across the Chamber room. The office itself still very much in disarray with unpacked boxes stacked along the longest pair of the room's octagonal walls. He paused briefly to stoke the fireplace before meandering over to his desk.

    "I suppose they would, to an extent. My dad more so, probably. When I was going into Uni he'd tried to get me to study law. Said it would be a good 'way to get my foot in the door' for political office. I'd told him I wanted no part of it. And you can see now how well that's worked out for me. Still, it is sort of surreal I suppose. But, in a good way."

    Though it wasn't just the visit from Marianne, the entire day had felt as though he'd somehow been whisked away to some far-flung branch of the multiverse. The chair was, so far as Ian could tell, the same one his father had sat in during his third term. In spite of just over fifteen years of use and the recent onslaught of Cyril Durst availing himself of it, the old chair was more comfortable than it had any right to be.

    Marianne's question about the media gave the new President a genuine laugh. "I guess some things are the same no matter where you call home, yeah?" He gave a slight shrug. "Some of them are, yes. On the whole though it hasn't been too bad. Your father was one of the best friends this nation has ever had, and whether you like it or not some of that association is applied to you as well. The EWC is screaming bloody murder of course, but increasingly few people are caring about what they think."

    "And thank you, for coming. I'm sorry to hear that some back home haven't taken too kindly to the idea. Would you like something to drink?"
     
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  7. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    "Well I'm glad Dax considers me a friend" she replied warmly.
    "My father" she smiled. "It's frustrating, actually. The men who tried to recruit me back into the SoComm fold when I returned home would only talk about how amazing he was. And it seems like everyone expects me to go off and sing his praises too. At the same time..." she sighed.
    "I'm going to need that drink..." she added before continuing.
    "Everyone else expects me to condemn him. And...whatever else he was, he was a good father. It's far more complicated than anyone will let it be, sadly."

    She looked around the room, at the boxes, and back to Ian.
    "I won't sugar coat things, Ian. Prydania is nervous, but then again it's not unexpected it would be. And regardless of what the vultures in the press say? I'm happy I came. Happy because it's been too damn long to see an old friend" she smiled.

    "And also, because after fifteen years of the Syndicalists and the War, Prydania wants something resembling normalcy. Not just in Dax, but on the world stage as a whole. The media will be nervous, but that's what they do. I'm here to help sell everyone back home on the idea that you're not some boogeyman heralding in the apocalypse" she chuckled.

    She continued to hold the Royal invitation below the desk line so as to not appear to be holding something back purposefully. She'd wait for the right time to broach that subject.

    "And not just the media. The Prime Minister. Magnus will be a tough sell, but his focus is on constitutional negotiations with the Crown and then he's likely to retire. We don't need to make you two best friends. We just need to get him to a point where he can have a productive conversation with you. And that won't be too hard, I figure."
     
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  8. SovereignDixie

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    Were it not for the obvious differences, it almost could have been Ian himself saying much of what he now heard coming from the daughter of the infamous Stephen Toft. "Your father wasn't a great man. Nor was he Evil Incarnate. He was... simply a man. A man that had good, and bad within him just like we all do."

    Ian handed Marianne her drink before executing a controlled flop back into his chair. "Prydania is afraid that the Dax incarnation of SoComm is going to make the same mistakes your father did. I get it. Your nation can ill afford a Syndie uprising on its borders. I'm here to tell you that's not going to happen. While the name of the party may be the same, time will show that the methods of implementation will differ vastly."

    "My... interpretation, of SoComm is different. I was at Hadden. And Beaconsviði. And God knows how many other engagements that the history books won't recall. When you outlaw a given mentality you only give it the allure of forbidden fruit. When you seek to mandate who people can, and can not love you place emphasis on differences, not similarities. You can't unify a culture by pistol whipping people into their respective roles. Instead, you force people to practice their faith, their love, their whatever it is, in secret. Where secrecy takes hold crime and subversion bloom."

    Pershing sipped his drink. "I want Syndicalism dead. Not the people who subscribe to the theory. I want the concept itself resigned to the garbage can of history where it belongs. That's not accomplished by shoving people into detention camps. It happens when a school of thought has been so discredited, objectively shown to not only be abhorrent but more importantly ineffectual. That takes time."

    "I can't promise a stable world for Prydania. And I can't promise that there is no apocalypse on the horizon. But I can reassure you, and your nation, that if it comes It won't be me who lights the match. My objective is to transform this nation, internally. If the Prydanian civil war taught us one thing it was that we, as a nation have had our collective head up our own ass for far too long. Our industry is stuck in the last century. Our military was barely able to assist its closest and only ally in its time of need. Dax needs to wake up."

    Ian tilted his drink back, killing it in a couple of gulps. "As for Magnus... It's unfortunate that there are obstacles to overcome there, but I'm confident that him and I can hammer out any differences which may arise. Furthermore, I fully intend to increase Dax's aid in regards to assisting with Prydania's reconstruction efforts."
     
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  9. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Marianne sipped the whisky Ian had poured for her, managing to down it without making too much of a face. She'd spent the Syndicalist years in Ceretis, where wine was the preferred drink. In Prydania and Dax? Whisky and brennivín was the order of the day. She was still getting used to it.

    She listened as Ian spoke, explaining his interpretation of the Social Commonwealth ideology. She wondered about what he was saying...it was intriguing in some way. And she wondered. Maybe her father could have defused the tensions SoComm rule was causing if he'd just done what Ian was preaching now. Of course Stephen Toft was not Ian Pershing and she doubted if was even possible for her father to consider anything less than his own political orthodoxy. Still the ideas had merit. It was all things she had mused herself when she was in exile, yet Ian had a way of putting the abstract ideas in her own mind into easy to understand explanations.

    "Magnus is...well he is what he is. I know that's not helpful, but it's really all I can say. He's the sum of his political experience, which tell him not to trust SoComm. I wouldn't even have the access to him I do if he didn't need to keep every single member of his Alþingi caucus happy" she said with a devilish grin as she sipped some more whisky, slowly adjusting to the taste.
    "Like I said though, he doesn't need to be your best friend. He'll be retired in a year anyway, give or take a few months."

    She was going to mention the Prime Minister's negotiations with the Crown, but it just brought her back to what Ian had said.
    "But between your rather...intriguing...outlook on Syndicalism and your aid efforts? I don't think you'll have nearly as hard a time winning over His Majesty. Which brings me to this. She raised the hand holding the white envelope, setting it on the desk.

    "An official invitation from Absalonhöll, on behalf of His Majesty, King Tobias III. What better way to inaugurate this brave new world than for a new King to meet a new President?"
     
  10. SovereignDixie

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    As Marianne relaxed, so did Ian. From across the years her presence had gradually begun to somewhat quell the knots of anxiety he'd been feeling from the rigors of taking office. While the times they'd met as children had been relatively few in number, they had been long in duration, though that could just be his memory recalling their encounters through the lens of a child's mind. In any event, it was good to see her again and a salve to soothe aches he didn't even know he'd had.

    The air of uneasiness she'd worn upon entering the Chamber had begun to fade away, though he wasn't sure whether that was due to the whiskey, his efforts to allay her concerns, or perhaps a mixture of both. He decided he'd go with the third conclusion on that front.

    With a soft chuckle he replied "And I can tell you're definitely someone he would want to keep happy. Good on him. In spite of having a face fit only for radio I can turn on the charm when needed. Don't worry, I'll make the good Prime Minister incapable of anything shy of begrudgingly tolerating my presence, slathering his animosity with so much honey that after our encounter he'll be compelled to have his blood sugar levels checked."

    Ian reached out to accept the wax sealed envelope. His letter opener was still packed away. Somewhere. God only knew where. He carefully pried his fingernail beneath the seal to loosen it, wanting to preserve its integrity as much as he could. After all, it wasn't every day that one received an invitation to meet with the King of Prydania and Pershing wanted to keep it as a bit of a momento of his first day in office.

    The envelope, as well as the invitation inside, was handwritten on stock far finer than his office had. He looked it over briefly before nodding. "I happily accept. It's been a while since I've seen His Majesty. Well, we've never met in an official capacity but during the war I was present for a couple of briefings in which he was in attendance.

    I won't have time to wrestle with the Alþingi to get the initial phase of the aid package in place before meeting with him, but I'll make a few phone calls to some friends in SoComm and get the ball rolling through back channels." Ian laughed. "I doubt those bastards in the Alþingi would even know a real bill if it walked up and bit them in the arse.

    It's funny, you know. I'd been wondering if the um.. tradition, would be upheld with my election. I know His Majesty is a good man, but I've also heard the reputation of your Prime Minister." Ian stood up and walked over to the cabinet, putting the bottle of whiskey away.

    "Shortly after Dax cut ties with Prydania and held our first election, President Riley immediately sought an audience with the King. The newly separated colony feared that on any given day the shores would be awash with Prydanian and UKAG armies coming to drag the black sheep back into the family. For decades, that fear held firm and so every newly elected president sought to meet with the sitting King to get a read on him, get in some face time to make sure that we weren't going to be invaded.

    I know some in you country are uneasy about my election. To which I say, all the more reason for me to come over there. Erm... sorry for the historical rambling. So, when would His Majesty like to be plagued by my ghastly visage darkening his halls?"
     
  11. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Marianne chuckled.
    "Brandt proposed 'postponing' the invitation. I..." she stopped herself before smiling slyly.
    "I made sure His Majesty heard from another member of the Cabinet who felt traditions were important."

    She continued to sip her whisky.
    "The King values that, to a degree. He's even brought back the Storm Knights. He wants to promote traditions if they restore a sense of pride and normalcy. I didn't think he'd be able to turn down inviting you if he heard it put in those terms. Personally? I think he's just trying to find something resembling stability, but I can't blame him for that. He's hardly unique among Prydanians in that regard."

    She set her glass down on the desk separating her from the son of one of her father's closest friends.
    "I've met Tobias twice, Ian. The first time, well...some of my father's old muscle wanted to start something of an uprising soon after the new government formed after the Civil War. Not inner circle. Not even outer circle. A bunch of old timers who didn't realize the game had changed. They wanted me on board, and I had them turned into the government. They were raided and arrested before anything got off the ground."

    "Regardless, it earned me an audience with him. He was curious. Asked about my father, what I planned to do now as a repatriated citizen of Prydania. I think he nearly jumped out of his skin when I told him I was going into politics" she laughed.

    "Then he asked to see me again after I secured my Alþingi seat in the Free Democratic government. We talked a bit about what we wanted to see regarding Prydania's future. He's a cautious young man, but he's got his heart in the right place, I think. I would just keep things focused on what the SRFD and Prydania can do together. And Ian..."

    She looked dead at him.
    "I know you can't go after Syndicalism in Dax as hard in public as you want to...not yet. But whatever you say to His Majesty privately? That's not on the record. So long you're mindful of hot mics that is. Don't hold back. I don't know the King as well as some do, but like him I lost my parents to a Syndicalist firing squad. I don't need to know him very well to know that if you open up with how you plan on dealing with that vile ideology it'll endear you to him."
    She looked into Ian's eyes with an intensity that betrayed a powerful conviction.
    "Trust me on that. It'll do more to build bridges with the Crown then anything else you say right now."

    She felt her own body loosen after tensing up for a moment and smiled again.
    "His Majesty is mindful of the busy weeks ahead as you get situated in your new position. The palace's office has told me that they'll attempt to work with your schedule. There should be diplomatic contact information with that invitation. Have your people contact Absalonhöll and give them a date."
     
  12. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    The longer Ian listened to Marianne the more he liked what he was hearing. Clearly, she understood that his goals and ambitions went far beyond what he'd initially laid out to her. In fact, she seemed to assume that to be a natural state of affairs, which to him meant that she herself worked in a similar way. Then again, what politician did not?

    As Marianne spoke Ian kept her gaze, a slight smile forming as she gave him what seemed to be very sound advice for meeting with the King. She had a certain fierceness about her, a soft-spoken and quiet yet steadfast resolve that seemed to permeate her every word and mannerism. Ian liked it. Bloody shame she's a Prydanian MP, I could use her on my own damn payroll.

    "Well, off the record... to you... I will say this much as I know this room is secure. I had it gone over with a fine tooth comb before moving the first box in. I suspect that the Equal Wealth Coalition has engaged in foul play and may be in some way responsible for the recent assassination of President Bech. I've no proof to that effect, at least not yet but Acting President Durst seemed very... lethargic when it came to investigating the matter and to me that puts up red flags.

    If it is shown that the EWC was in some way party to the assassination, that will go a long way towards giving me certain latitudes in dealing with Syndicalism here at home. And if they're innocent... well, I'll have to play a longer and more subtle game. Either way, it may take years to fully realise the goal but I can tell you that Syndicalism's days here are numbered and that should make every Prydanian happy because when shit started hitting the fan over there... well, guess where a lot of them ran to?"

    Ian chuckled "It's no shock that over the course of the Prydanian civil war individuals of certain political leanings found themselves hopping the next available ferry to Dax. So my efforts will be in both nation's interests. But, like I said I'm going to have to be slow, methodical, and subtle or else risk making the situation worse.

    I can't begin to tell you how appreciative I am that you took it upon yourself to come to see me, Marianne. I know the talking heads over there will probably have a field day with it but.. based on what I've seen of you today I'm sure they will end up eating their words at some point. That being said, and if I may be so bold... I hope it's not another twenty years before I get to see you again."

    Ian smiled. "I've learned over the last few months just what a vicious business politics can be and I admit.. at times I do feel sort of like a square peg crammed in a round hole." He chuckled a bit as his inner twelve year old briefly took hold. "And I've little doubt that I've got a long fight ahead of me. Either way though, if there ever comes a day where I can help you just say the word."

    He grabbed a piece of stationary off of his desk, grumbling a bit as he looked at it. "The son of a bitch was in office for three weeks and changed the name on the bloody stationery! What a fuckin' cunt! I swear one day I'll... sorry... where was I? Oh yes!" With no small amount of vindictive satisfaction, he scratched out Durst's name and then proceeded to scribble briefly.

    "Here's my celly. Avail yourself of it whenever you need. The line is secure of course... secure even from my own people as I told National Intelligence to fuck off when they wanted to give me government issue. I'll hammer out a time when I can make the trip to Absalonhöll with my Chief of Staff and clear it with His Majesty's people."
     
  13. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Marianne smiled.
    "I certainly hope it's not twenty more years Ian. It was so good to see you again. And on such an amazing day for both our countries."
    She meant it. She admitted she wasn't entirely comfortable with Ian so brazenly using the SoComm label. For a number of reasons. Still...any doubt she had? It had been dispelled by this conversation. And she sensed that Ian's election would be good for Prydania.

    "Though the Syndicalist coup and subsequent war that kept me in Ceretis all of those years....it made all of us strong. Not just Prydania. You were there Ian. I've heard what you did. You made a name for yourself. Something of a hero. And Dax's military got a bit of the kick it needed."

    "I guess what I'm saying is, it's best not to lament the past. Just appreciate the present. You and I may not be where we are if things had gone another way."

    "But enough of me waxing philosophically" she said with a sigh before reaching to take the slip of paper with the scribble and Ian's number.
    "Thank you" she added.
    "We must make plans to see one and other while you're in Beaconsviði. You'd barely recognize it. It's far more put together than the last time you were there."

    She exchanged parting pleasantries with Ian before shaking his hand and departing, the slip of paper safely in her overcoat pocket. She made her way through the Presidential Palace before waving and smiling at waiting photographers and reporters, purposefully ignoring all questions as she got into the car, ready to take her to the air port.

    "Relentless fucks" she muttered to herself as she was safely in her vehicle. The press here, and the press in Prydania. She expected to have to deal with them too. And she couldn't blow them off like their SRFD equivalents.

    It was taxing, really. She'd turned what was left of the SoComm movement in Prydania over to the authorities. Provided evidence of their plans to stage an armed coup. She'd joined the Free Democrats, helping secure a very slim Parliamentary majority. And yet her father's legacy continued to haunt her.
    Perhaps part of her new aggravation was her own doing. Visiting the son of Frasier Pershing was bound to heap more scrutiny on her than she'd otherwise have, but fuck it. She'd enjoyed seeing Ian again after so many years, and she'd enjoyed the conversation as well. Not that the scrutiny mattered. It was an aggravation personally but professionally? Merely a small bump in the road. Worth it to see an old friend.
     
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  14. SovereignDixie

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    Two weeks later.

    Marianne hadn't lied. Beaconsviði was substantially less on fire that Ian had last remembered. There was clearly still much work to be done but the city had come a long way and was once more beginning to resemble the proud symbol of Prydanian prestige it had once been.

    He tried not to think much about the last time he was here, though as the plane descended on its final approach he'd seen what he thought certain was the road where his armoured platoon had been ambushed.

    His right hand clenched slowly. By all accounts, the prosthetic was a miracle of engineering and medical science and so long as he made sure to keep his gloves on no one, not even Ilsa, had really noticed a difference save from the peculiar lengths he'd gone to in order to keep it hidden. It was something he'd need to divulge at some point, rumours had already circulated that he was either abusing opiates or had some dreadful illness that required intravenous injections. When I'm damn good and ready. The glass eye he'd gotten the same day was nowhere near as spectacular but it had been easy enough to spin that simply as the result of nerve damage.

    Ian was mercifully brought out of his self-pity by a tap on the shoulder from a member of his security detail. "Mister President? Mister President? We're here, sir."

    Pershing chuckled "Thank you, Rolph. Sorry, I guess I kind of zoned out for a moment. The place has come a long way, hasn't it?" He jumped in his seat with a bit of a start as the plane touched down.

    "Sir? You ok?"

    "Yes yes. I'm fine." He stood up, giving his tie a loosening tug in the mirror. "Were you in the war, Rolph?"

    "No, sir. I turned 18 the day Beaconsviði was retaken, my sister was here, though. She um.. didn't make it"

    Ian reached out and patted Rolph gently on the shoulder. "I'd love to hear about her, son. I'll make sure you're posted to my detail tonight and we'll have a beer." By sheer statistical probability, she had probably been under his command. Did he know her? "What was her name?"

    "Alice. Sir. Alice Dahlgren."

    Ian blinked vahan huora... He decided to leave that part out. "Make it two beers then. She was a good kid."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Ian was greeted as he descended with all of the typical fanfare he would expect from Prydania, and all of the press he would have expected practically anywhere he went.

    He'd barely been able to hear what the Prydanian envoy had said beyond "Welcome to Prydania." The shouted questions from reporters and the occasional insult from the crowd of onlookers all but drowning out more reasonable voices.

    "Fucking SoCom pig!!!!"

    Ian grabbed a mic from the nearest reported and smiled. "Now now, let's not use Hurt Words!" Ian flashed a grin at the crowd in the direction the insult had come from. Then, turning his attention to the indignant reporter he'd nabbed the mic from he smiled once more, albeit with a bit more congeniality.

    "Ok, all of you guys. Let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? You're nervous. Some of you are mad because you equate me with the things someone else did. Fine. I was here in 2017. I have seen it myself first hand and I get it. All I ask is that you put away your pitchforks, torches, and other implements of mild annoyance until you actually see what I do before you get all." Ian waved his hands about making a mean face, tongue hanging out. "And after all. I'm not your President now am I?"

    He handed the mic back to the reporter, patting his shoulder "There you go, a lovely soundbite with lots of great stuff to take out of context and smear me with! Have fun, kid! Your next dozen Op Eds just wrote themselves!"

    Ian turned to the envoy who had a rather confused look on his face, or perhaps it was the onset of indigestion, who could tell. "Sorry about that. Figured I'd go ahead and address the Kracken in the room."

    The limousine was even nicer than his own, he'd briefly thought about inquiring about ordering one but he knew that the moment it got out he'd have the CEO of DMC on the phone whining at length.

    Pershing promptly accepted the offered drink and settled in for the ride to Absalonhöll.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Absalonhöll was also looking like its old self, though this was the first time he'd ever actually bothered to pay much attention to it. The throng of reporters at the gates was thankfully left there, a soft sigh of relief from Pershing as the limo slowly rolled through the gate to leave them behind.

    As he strolled up the steps, flanked by his own security who in turn were flanked by two Knights of the Storm he stopped and turned briefly. "Let's show our closest ally a bit of trust, shall we? My people can go fuck off for a bit. Go grab you a drink, get a disease that you'll hide from your wives, husbands and respective life partners until you can get it treated... you know the deal."

    The rookie girl, he hadn't been given her name yet began to open her mouth in protest. Ian was quick to interject. "No no! Smile. Nod. And say 'Yes Sir.' Or 'Yes Mister President.' or hell, even 'Yes Ian." The keyword here being 'Yes.' Now, hop to it!"

    Truth be told the increased entourage had begun to make him feel a bit claustrophobic and now with only the Knights at his side he felt a bit less crowded. He did stop briefly to speak to the ceremonial guards stationed at either side of the door to the palace.

    "So. How you guys doin'?"

    They remained silent, their faces impassive as they stared ahead.

    He reached out, patting one on the arm. "Good talk. Glad we got to know each other. Don't let them work ya too hard, son."

    With a soft chuckle, he entered the open doors, commencing to the usual meet and greet with the Royal staff before being shown his accommodations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  15. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Tobias was wearing a khaki Field Marshal's uniform, sans medals, leaning on his right elbow, propped on the arm of the great wooden chair that was Vortgyn's Throne. Well a replica. The original, damaged as it was from years of Syndicalist vandalism, had been moved to a museum. The new throne, while not the original, was stunning in its own right. The carvings of foliage and stags crisp and bold. The King watched Ian's arrival on a tablet from one of the Knights of the Storm.

    "And after all. I'm not your President now am I?"
    the SRFD president remarked on the live feed. Tobias reached out and muted the video. The throne room, full of guards and government officials, was nervously quiet.

    "Thoughts?" Tobias remarked after what seemed like an unnecessary long silence.

    "This was a mistake, Your Majesty" Adriaan Høgh, the Minister of Culture, replied.
    "He's not even here yet and..."

    Magnus Brandt raised his hand.
    "He's here" the Prime Minister said firmly.
    "We're not going to cry over spilt milk."

    Tobias looked to his right. Høgh and a number of Free Democratic Party government members stood behind the Prime Minister. Most, like Høgh, were cabinet. Marianne Toft was one of the few non-cabinet FLF government members present.
    "He fought to liberate this city" Tobias remarked, remembering the Battle of Beaconsviði himself. He had been kept from the front lines, but he remembered the closing days of the Civil War with a sharp clarity regardless.
    "And he's the President of an ally, and a nation of our family. We'll hear, we'll hear him out." Magnus nodded in agreement.
    Magnus had been apprehensive about this trip even happening, but Tobias appreciated the Prime Minister's resolve in seeing it through once the decision had been made. He'd proven capable of wrangling his own party into line to avoid anyone from the government making too much of a scene.

    What Magnus didn't know...what few people aside from William Aubyn and Queen Alycia knew, was that he was even more anxious about this visit than even his Prime Minister. Marianne Toft had made him nervous, but she had distanced herself from her father and had proven herself unwilling to follow in SoComm's footsteps. Pershing was different. He embraced the SoComm name. And while he hated Syndicalism? SoComm...the legacy of Stephen Toft and his uncle Anders III...they scared him more than anything.

    Still...he'd been taught about duty. And was expected. He never thought that would clash so much with what he didn't want to do before now...but that him being naive. He was King, a King had duties. This was an important one. The Knight with the tablet stepped back as the formal greeting ceremony neared.




    "Mr. President" a Knight of the Storm officer said with a respectful nod as Ian Pershing entered Absalonhöll.
    "My name is Captain Thor Steen. I'll be going over what's about to happen as we make our way to the throne room."

    Captain Steen and President Pershing made their way down the halls of Absalonhöll, with two armed Knights staying a respectful distance behind them. The white and grey marble halls were punctuated with colour, as tapestries and paintings depicting wilderness scenes, past Kings, or even legendary heroes from Andrennic Nordic mythology lined the walls.

    "Mr. President, we're going to enter the throne room. The palace Herald will motion you to stop when you enter, so he can announce you to the King. He'll then present the King, with his full titles. Once he is finished you are free to approach His Majesty and formally greet him however you like within the realm of good taste" he said with a smirk as they approached heavy oaken doors, attended by two more Knights of the Storm.

    "Are you ready Mr. President?"
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  16. SovereignDixie

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    It was with equal respect that Ian had return Captain Steen's greeting. The halls of Absalonhöll were nothing short of humbling, even for one such as Pershing. He'd not entered the palace during his time here during and shortly after the war, though he'd had the opportunity to do so. Some part of him had always felt that the place deserved better than to be seen in such a shambles. This, however, was right, and proper. It bothered him to think about how much history had been lost during the war and yet despite that, it was almost as if he could feel the centuries past as a tangible thing that walked these halls beside them. The Captain's words of council carried with them a brief but sharp echo as they traversed the corridor.

    Ian had dressed in his own most formal attire, with a dash of his latent "unique" style. Gold laced pins, flags of the SRFD over his left breast, Prydania over his right. The diagonal breasted, silver buttoned coat itself in the deepest blue of the SRFD flag, mildly contrasting with the comparatively pedestrian black formal slacks. His boot heels clomped softly as he strode, the black leather inlaid with silver along the sides, meeting at the toe while silver inserts of the Leviathan symbol of his family graced each heel.

    The President had thankfully taken some time the night before to brush up on Prydanian royal custom, and most of what Steen told him was expected. Ian replied with a bit of a good-natured smirk of his own. "Well, there go my plans to say 'This crib be dope.' I'll have to re-write my entire address. Yes, captain. I understand and thank you. I'm ready."
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  17. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    The Captain chuckled before his face assumed a serious expression, knocking twice on the old wooden doors. The doors opened slowly, each one by a Knight of the Storm.
    The contrast was very noticeable, making it very clear that the throne room was an older part of the palace. The white and grey marble tile gave way to red and green marble. The stark white columns to dark green with intricate red designs carved and painted into them. A great wooden arch containing a mix of Messianic symbolism and Andrenic Nordic runes and designs dominated the far side of the room. Below which sat the King in a heavy oaken throne. And behind him were five illuminated stained glass panels depicting stags in a forested scene.

    Captain Steen lead the President in before whispering to a fellow in an official looking dark blue and white uniform. He nodded, and stepped forward.
    "President Ian Pershing of the Confederates States of Sovereign Dax, Warden and Sovereign of the Eastern Auburn Isles by popular will of their people!" he proclaimed, adding a flourish to Ian's title as President, as was customary in such circumstances. It was also done to stress the President as an equal sovereign to that of the sitting Prydanian King.
    Captain Steen stepped aside, allowing Ian to enter the chamber. The herald motioned for him to stop as he turned to him to present the King.

    "His Majesty Tobias III, of the House of Loðbrók, by the Grace of God, King of Prydania, Lord Protector of Austurland, Marshal of Beaconsviði, Lord Uniter, Defender of the Faith!"

    Tobias sat upright in his throne. To his right stood Magnus Brandt and an assortment of Free Democratic members of the Alþingi representing the government. To his left stood Lord General Laurids Hummel of the Knights of the Storm and Field Marshal Stig Eiderwig-Loðbrók, Thane of Eiderwig. And Ian Pershing's cousin and former comrade from the Civil War.

    The King studied the President, leaning to one side slightly. He was certainly a flashy sort. He'd seen his outfit of choice earlier when they had watched his arrival, but seeing it up close was something else. He also studied his body language for what seemed like an entirety, but which was only a half a second, if that. He barely had any memories of his uncle or Stephen Toft, and yet he tried to see if he could see them in Ian.
    And then he made a decision, almost on instinct. He stood from his throne and made his way down the steps of the podium that raised it off the ground, approaching the SRFD's President.

    "Mr. President" he said with a smile as he extended his hand.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  18. SovereignDixie

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    Ian was rather surprised. He had full well expected the King's introduction to take a full minute or more than it actually had. The intervening period of silence had let Pershing fully appreciate the feeling of every eye in the room upon him, and some of those eyes weren't gazing with the kindest of intents. Ian kept his expression all but impassive for the moment, out of respect for Tobias but if looks could kill then Magnus would have rendered Ian an unappetizing pile of goo on the royal carpet then and there.

    Beyond the thinly veiled dislike and apprehension almost seeping from Magnus' very pores Ian felt mostly... uncertainty in the room. In part, he was sure from the fact that many in the room didn't know what to expect from him. His victory in the election was most likely as much as a surprise to them as it had been to even himself. And yet, here we are.

    Ian could feel the tension in his body relent somewhat as the King proffered his hand, a hand which Ian was happy to accept. Pershing extended his own right hand, the leather glove creaking ever so faintly as he clasped Tobias' hand with a firm but gentle reciprocation.

    "Your Majesty. It is an honour to be here, thank you for having me."
     
  19. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Tobias smiled, noticing the gloves. They'd been a subject of much speculation in Dax as well as Prydania. Now was not the time to address it however.

    "It's good to have you here, Mr. President" he said following the handshake.
    "It's been a while, and I doubt you remember. But it's good to see you again. Prydania owes you a debt for what you did for our country."

    He turned to the herald.
    "Thank you for your service, but I think we're finished with the pomp for now."

    Elo Daugaard, chief herald and steward of the Royal Household, bowed respectfully.
    "Of course Your Majesty" he replied, leading the various attendants out of the throne room, leaving only the King, President, and those standing by the throne. Along with the Knights of the Storm.

    "My Prime Minister" Tobias added with a smile as Magnus Brandt approached with his cane.

    "Mr. President, an honour" he said respectfully with a slight head bow.

    "And our cousin" Tobias replied with a smile, motioning Stig Eidwerwig over.

    "Happy to see you again Ian" the Thane of Eiderwig said as he approached.
    "Congratulations on your election."

    "We ought to get down to business, Your Majesty" Magnus Brandt replied after Ian had been reacquainted with family.

    "Yes lets" Tobias replied, feeling his nerves rise up again now that the pleasantries were over with. God, things in Essalanea were easier. Diplomacy and beer...the far superior option. Still he turned to lead the party back to the conference room at the end of a hidden hallway behind the throne room. Itself lined with wooden panels on the walls. A tapestry showing Jägdar, Andrennian pagan god of the hunt leading a hunting party, hung on the left hand wall of the room, while the right hand wall played host to a picture of Kaldor Loðbrók's conversion to Messianism, bowing before a deer with a glowing cross between its antlers.

    Tobias made his way to the end of the table without sitting in his chair, designated by the royal stag crest woven into the fabric. He stood behind the chair instead, hands on the back of it.
    "Please Mr. President, make yourself at home" he said as the rest of the Prydanian delegation moved to their appropriate seats.
     
  20. SovereignDixie

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    Ian smiled, honestly a bit flattered that Tobias did remember him. The times following the assault on Beaconsviði had been chaotic to say the absolute least and while they'd not spoken directly to one another they had both been present at many of the briefings and strategy sessions leading up to the final retaking of the city.

    "I do indeed remember, Your Majesty. It is an honor to see you healthy and whole after what seems like an eternity, given everything we've both seen during the intervening time. And I say this not just as a soldier, but as a citizen of Dax, no thanks are needed. The past is what it is, but we never would let our brothers fall to the abject insanity of Syndicalism. It was our joy to help put the dogs down."

    Ian couldn't help but smile a bit as Tobias dismissed the herald. There was something in his tone that seemed to indicate that the King had about as much use for such things as Pershing did. Perhaps this meeting would go better than expected if the two could adjourn to a more private setting away from the trappings of position and power.

    Ian returned the bowing of Magnus' head with a polite nod, smiling his best politician smile. "Mr. Prime Minister. Good to see you, and I look forward to working with you." The words tasted like ashes, stale beer, and sadness in Pershing's mouth.

    A much warmer greeting was given to Eiderwig, Ian clasping his distant relative's hand as he smiled "Good to see you again! Thank you, Stig. Was a right pain in the arse, but we pulled through. I have to say I was probably as surprised as you all were. But, here we are!" He laughed.

    Ian sighed inwardly as Brandt prodded them to once more be sucked into the tendrils of formality. Moon faced assassin of joy.

    He had followed the procession, taking a brief moment to admire the decor of the conference room. Since coming to Absalonhöll Ian had yet to enter a room in which the history could not almost be felt as a tangible, living thing which both weighed upon and uplifted all who stood within its presence.

    Ian sat down at the opposite end of the table from Tobias, on his elbow and crossing his legs as everyone got situated.

    "If I may... before we get too embroiled in minutia, propriety, and other such hallmarks of standard diplomacy. I would like to say, that I am proud and humbled both to be sitting here among both the friends of my nation and family.

    I feel that with things being as they are, it would be a good idea for me to start by addressing the ideological elephant in the room now so that hopefully we can all continue with a lightened burden.

    I am going to be blunt, and I hope that through candor, we can set the tone for just our discussions during my visit, but for the relationship between our nations going forward. Yes, I had adopted the name of the Social Commonwealth Party. Yes, I am aware that said name does not have many friends in Prydania, and what friends it does have are not the sort that I'd like to spend an evening having a few drinks with.

    That being said, let me be clear on one thing. Stephen Toft was a bloody fool. A fool who was ignorant of both his own capabilities, shortcomings and most importantly of human nature. He picked the wrong fights with the wrong people and predictably got the wrong results.

    Let me now be absolutely clear. The Social Commonwealth Party of The SRFD is not, and will not, be rounded up anyone who does not conform to idiotic 'purity' standards, or those of any religion, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. We will not be outlawing the Syndicalist party in the SRFD either, as doing so will only encourage the worthless pieces of shit to meet in private, in dark alleys and closed rooms. I want them where I can see them.

    What we will be doing, however, is undertaking a national campaign through all channels of media, especially online avenues, to disprove, discredit, and delegitimise Syndicalism, Socialism, and Communism in all of its forms. You cannot destroy an ideology with a hammer. You strangle it.

    I did not seek office to repeat the mistakes that Toft made. While the party name is the same, SRFD SoCom is a very different animal indeed.

    Before leaving home, I pushed a spending bill through the Alþingi which includes an 80 billion cross down payment on an aid package totaling 200 billion cross over the next five years. A large portion of that sub will be aimed at revitalizing Prydanian agriculture, with the remainder going towards the industrial and small business sectors. We will be getting in contact with your respective Ministers to discuss funds allocation both to private and public enterprise. Prime Minister Brandt, Your Majesty, you will both have copies of this bill on your desk by the time that I leave Prydania."

    Pershing delivered the entire monologue while practically lounged in his chair, looking around the table for a moment. "And I don't know about you all wonderful people, but I could go for a beer!"
     
  21. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Marianne was a bit taken back by the degree to which Ian had gone after her father, though she didn't show it. And after a moment she came to understand it. Did Ian really believe it? Hell...she did, at least partially. Her father was what he was. And this directness was partly why Ian Pershing was President of the SRFD. Further? She wasn't going to feel hurt over someone playing the game. She'd talked down her father to some of the people on the Prydanian side of the table in private before.
    Still, she was curious. Her gaze glanced to Magnus as Ian spoke, but the Prime Minister was fully focused on what was being said. He didn't betray anything beyond academic curiosity. He gaze shot to the King, who was likewise focused on Ian. Only for a moment? Tobias' gaze met her's. It was a brief moment before he returned his attention to Ian, but it was there. Marianne followed suit.

    Tobias felt a bit nervous. A bit uneasy. Everything from the grand oaken conference table to the bloody chair...he felt too small for it, unaware of how naturally he seemed to fit in it. And here he was. Without William. Or Axle even. He truly felt like he had to tread water on his own for the first time.
    And the way President Pershing spoke...Tobias could see why he was elected. He had an unorthodox but engaging way of speaking. The sort of cadence that left even someone who hated his guts glued to his every word. Not that Tobias hated Pershing's guts....not yet anyway. The feeling of unease came from a sense to live up to his father, or be a man his father would be proud of.
    The fact was he never knew Robert Loðbrók. He knew him the way a child knows his father, but never more than that. And still everyone who knew him seemed to want to tell him he looked like him, or that his father was kind or well read...it was strange. Being frustrated at what were essentially compliments. He supposed it was because he had to rely on them so much. He would have loved to have gotten to know his father, as a person, but all he had were these nice but vague platitudes to go on. But the one thing he knew...the one thing that stuck with him...was that Robert Loðbrók was trying to undo the damage his uncle Anders and Stephen Toft had wrought.

    And so he didn't seem to know what to make of the Social Commonwealth President of the SRFD- the son of Stephen Toft's closest foreign ally- who now sat across.
    "Dad would have hated him" he thought to himself as Ian went on but...something happened. The President began to explain how he had no intention of necessarily mimicking either his father Frasier or Toft. If Ian belonged to...something new...then maybe he didn't have to be his father. His father, after all, was a man of his time. And for better or worse that time was seventeen years ago.

    Then Ian explained the aid package he'd provided. Tobias could hardly believe it. He was going to say something only for Magnus to speak up before he could get a word out.

    "Wonderful to hear, Mr. President" Magnus replied in his usual jovial manner, even if he looked off. Magnus usually wore a warmer smile. Here? One got a sense he was guarded, preparing for a verbal and ideological battle should this all come to that.

    "It is" Tobias replied, nodding in agreement, before adjusting a bit in his chair as he leaned on one elbow just a bit.
    "And I think we could all go for something to drink!" he added, prompting one of the Knights of the Storm to leave the room to pass the request onto staff.

    "I..." he said softly, thinking on what to say for a brief moment.
    "I'm truly thankful. Not just for everyone in this room, but for everyone in this country. You mentioned the insanity of Syndicalism. I...I'm not sure I'd use that word. Everyone in this room, we were all affected in some way. And..." he sighed. He could still see the face of Filip Fuglsang. He'd tried to tell himself he deserved it. He burnt away people's livelihoods on the orders of the Syndicalist government. He was a war criminal. He'd have likely been tried and executed if he'd survived but...it didn't change the fact that Tobias had taken his head off. And no matter what...matter what...he couldn't forget that. Or feel good about having done it. No one ever told you that the eyes stay with you if you kill a man.

    "...it wasn't insanity Ian. It was hell. I know I don't..." he breathed deep.
    "I don't need to tell you that. You were here, but I think we all thought for a while that hell was normal. Or acceptable. But I'm not even twenty-five..." he shivered at the absurdity of it all. "I've seen far too many people die than anyone my age should. And I'm one of the luckier ones."

    Marianne's attention was on the King now. She didn't expect that from him. His Majesty had always remained cheerful, but something had brought back a painful memory. She knew about those all too well.

    "This aid program though, it'll help us improve ourselves. More than we're already doing every day. So thank you, on behalf of everyone" the King added.

    "Very much so" Magnus chimed in.
    "And Mr. President, thank you for the assurances of your intentions as far as governance goes. It will relieve many a mind to know we can talk to the new government in Dax in good faith."

    Marianne remained silent and unassuming, even as she subconsciously smiled. She'd picked Magnus' Free Democrats for a reason beyond the expediency of securing a nomination for a ballot spot, after all. And she quite enjoyed watching him and Ian....spar wasn't the right word. Passive-aggressively agreeing with each other...that was more like it. She had something of a soft spot for both, making for quite a show.

    Tobias wanted to say something else...he wanted to address the President's point about Syndicalism. He opted not to, however. His political instincts, underdeveloped as they were, told him it was best to wait for him to have a moment of privacy with Ian. Instead he just built off of what Magnus had said.

    "I won't lie Ian, when your victory was declared a lot of old horror stories came out of the woodwork here. It was actually...well..." Tobias shrugged.
    "People tend to discuss Thomas Nielsen a lot, and not so much Stephen Toft and my uncle. The sad thing is I think they all deserved each other" he smiled.
    "If what you're saying about your intentions are true though..." he thought about Stahl. He'd refused to come on principal, and Tobias wasn't inclined to push the issue with him. This might warm him up, to hear this though.

    "...then I don't think party labels will get in the way of friends and family reconnecting."

    It was then that a Palace staff member entered with a tray of Gull beer cans, placing one in front of each person at the table.
     
  22. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    Ian accepted the can of beer and propriety be damned, opened it up before anyone else there had scant had the chance to look at their can, much less open it. Granted, it wasn't Stagshorn, but it wasn't bad either. He could feel the nervousness radiating off of Tobias like a palpable wave that seemed to reach across the table. He wasn't sure if that was because of him, because of someone else, or because hell, he was 24 years old and the goddamn King of Prydania.

    Ian figured it was probably a mixture of all of the above. Truth be told Ian wasn't feeling much better himself, his own mannerisms be damned. He drank half the can down with glee before sitting it on the table. Making a point to thank the palace staff before they'd exited the room. Oh, the things those ears must hear.

    He turned to Brandt, a smile upon his face now bolstered by the good grace of Gull. "Mr. Prime Minister. I'm glad to hear you say that. While I know that words alone only carry so much weight, and rightly so, It's my hope and intent that my actions say more. A strong, prosperous Prydania is the best assurance Northern Craviter can have of peace and prosperity. My nation, sadly, has often lacked the political will to do what needed to be done in that regard. That changed the day I was sworn in.

    It is my intent that by the time I am done that even the most entrenched and hard minded will recognize me by my deeds, not my words." His smile grew wider. "And if that doesn't suffice? Well. Frankly. Fuck 'em."

    He turned to address Tobias. He still wore the smile but it now brought with it a much more genuine quality. "You're right. It was hell. I admit, I'd primed myself to choose my words very carefully here. Especially when speaking of Prydania's past. But you're right. It was hell, there were sights that no one should ever have to endure. And yet we did. More to the point, you did.

    You and I... well, despite the age difference, probably have more in common than not, and not just because of the war. We've both found ourselves in places we didn't think we'd ever be. I'll be honest. No one was more surprised by my election than me. Well, maybe my campaign manager." He laughed, taking a sip of his beer.

    "But I understand why there would be some skittishness. That's not going to be waved away by an aid package or any number of spoken words. It will, however, fade once people see that I'm not off my fucking rocker and am not going to be de-stabilizing the region. I'll be more than happy to address any questions or concerns that may have been voiced to you, to that end."
     
  23. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Magnus sipped some of his beer himself.
    "Mr. President, I agree with His Majesty. That we shouldn't let party labels get in the way of the good we can do together. And I think I speak for everyone in the government that we are ecstatic that you seem uninterested in the more oppressive aspects of Social Commonwealth philosophy. Many of us here were quite ready to insist that any measures of your government targeting, let us say, minority groups wouldn't be supported by us. And we'd do what we could to accommodate those who decided that their future lay outside of the SRFD."

    Magnus sipped his beer once more. He was truly relieved to hear that Pershing had no designs to that end, though whether or not he trusted him was another matter all together. Still, he said what he said to get a point across in the event that Ian was being dishonest.

    "In terms of aid, of course it's most appreciated. I don't believe I could express how much it means after the trials we've been through. Though, Mr. President, aid is a remedy for the past. And like yourself? No one expected me to win an election either."

    Tobias glanced at Magnus. He'd done his best to stay out of the 2018 election, but everyone knew he supported William Aubyn. How could he not? Magnus' slim victory was indeed a shock, and one Tobias himself was still adjusting to.

    "When I lead my party to the polls in 2018 I promised them, and this country, a modern realm. To look to the future. In that regard? I believe our Minister of Defence Jeppe Dall is best to carry on from here."

    Dall, a man in a nondescript grey suit, was the sort of person who was an effective organizer. He'd served as the chief liaison between William Aubyn, the political leader of the Front of National Unity during the Civil War, and Stig Eiderwig, the military leader. He'd never dealt with Pershing directly but he was familiar enough with him. Or at least his record in the Civil War.

    "Mr. President, the Prydanian and Norsian Civil Wars have led to an opportunity. Prydania aided Norsia and Norsia has aided Prydania. We've collaborated on extensive railway networks across norther Craviter, but more succinctly? We have collaborated on joint military efforts. Through organizations such as the Bergum Pact and Luscovo Pact, but also on a unilateral basis. Field Marshal Eiderwig here even lead an incursion into northern Norsia to crush Syndicalist holdouts during the last phase of the Norsian Civil War, at the invitation of Queen Alycia."

    "It was a necessary campaign" Stig replied, looking at his cousin, the Dax President.
    "What the Minister is getting at, Ian, is that we're working with the Norsians. The Bergum Pact is broadly northern Craviter in scope, and the Luscovo Pact is more a mutual aid and defence network that expands beyond our continent. What we are interested in, however, is a localized bit of cooperation. The Norsians and us control the western coast of the Auburn Strait, and Tempest Holm gives us a strategic base of control. The eastern coast, however, is all Dax. If the politicians here, my apologies in advance Mr. Prime Minister, Ministers, are convinced you won't start another Fascist War? Then I would like to discuss the beginnings of an Auburn Strait-centred initiative between our two nations and Norsia."

    Tobias leaned back as he listened. He very much wanted to speak with Ian, but he was also relieved to let the politicians and generals take the lead. He'd have his chance to speak with Pershing himself, he was sure. For now though? He kept his peace.
     
  24. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    Ian listened to Magnus, nodding where appropriate. He knew the old coot didn't trust him, and he was fine with that. To a certain point even, what the PM was saying made perfect sense from a Prydanian standpoint, from a nation that until recently had been one of the diplomatic and military anchors of the continent.

    "Mr. Prime Minister, I will say this. My aim, is to eradicate Syndicalism and all similar movements within my nation. This is not a five-year plan, or even a ten-year plan. This is a goal. A lofty one, but one that needs to be set. I will use the most subtle means at my disposal that can be used whilst still being effective. Allowing this to adversely affect Prydania is not an option that I feel is acceptable. Especially after what Prydania has been through.. indeed because of what Prydania has been through.

    They get rooted out here? They flee to Dax. I root them out there? Where? Back to Prydania?" He shook his head, killing off the rest of his drink. "No. The cycle can't continue, and military force is only partially effective. It wipes some out, yes. It gets them out of the halls of power... but it pushes them into the streets, into back alleys and out of the eyes of the law. The solution has to be more deeply rooted, and overt force only used when it must."

    Moments later, Ian would give his cousin a soft chuckle. "I've no doubt that it was necessary. You had me at 'rooting out Syndicalists' though it's regrettable that it got to that point. My nation has had many debates over the last few years, as some began to argue that Dax should play a greater role in regional affairs or at least those in our own fucking back yard." He chuckled once more with a slight derisiveness.

    Ian reached into his coat pocket, leather glove creaking as he pulled out a pack of cigarettes, pulling one out and manging to light it after fumbling about with the lighter very briefly. "Dax needs friends, frankly. We've had our heads up our collective asses since the Fascist War, and honestly we weren't so great about it then, either. I think in some ways my people have never stopped being afraid of the prospect of the day that great invasion fleet would appear over the horizion, swoop in, kill our dogs, rape our grandmums and then smear shite all over our freshly painted walls.

    It's time we stop that. Dax simply can't afford to keep its ass on its hands, and its fleets in port while the world struggles with evil." He looked Stig in the eye, nodding before looking at Dall. "Consider this Dax expressing its official interest in joining into a formal alliance with Prydania, and Norsia to protect the Auburn Isles, and beyond, if needed and as we deem mutually appropriate. I will, however, say that for such an agreement to carry the votes needed at home, it would need a strong mutual defense clause. One day such matters of... of selling legistation will not be as important, but right now it very much is and I'm going to have to sell this."
     
  25. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði - - - -

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    Tobias chuckled...
    "I'll have to consult with my fiance" he said referring to Empress Alycia of Norsia.
    "Things in Norsia are a bit different than they are in either Prydania or Dax, Mr. President" he continued. "Alycia's control over matters is a bit more absolute than my own, or even the Prime Minister's" he added with a smile.

    "Regardless" he said as he readjusted in his chair, his hand idly tracing the condensation on his beer can, "I think we've all reassured ourselves that no one here is acting in bad faith."
    He eyed the Dax President. The figure he cut. He'd met him before, but now everything was different. They were tearing things down then, tearing down a monstrous Syndicalist regime. Now, now they were each trying to build something. Whether what Pershing wanted to build was good or not remained a mystery to the young King, but what he'd said, about the need to purge Syndicalism, grabbed hold of his attention. That, and his other curiosities, made him want to speak with him- alone. And so he did something he rarely did; he exercised his complete authority as King.

    "So with that in mind, I think we can hold off for a day, on discussing anything more specific. Field Marshal? Prime Minister? Cabinet and government officials? Your presence is no longer needed for the day. Enjoy yourselves. I'd like to get to know President Pershing a bit myself."
    He worried that he didn't exactly exude Royal authority, but the retinue of military and government officials obeyed all the same, led by Field Marshal Eiderwig. He stood, bowed respectfully and made his way out, taking care to shake his cousin's hand one last time.
    The Prime Minister was next, Tobias reassuring him he would be alright. Brandt too, respectfully shook the SRFD President's hand before leaving. The rest of the Cabinet and government members passed by in a similar manner, until Marianne Toft made her way past Pershing. She gave him a wink she was sure only he could see along with a respectful head nod. She wanted to tell him that it had worked, that Ian's plans for Syndicalism had in fact gotten Tobias' attention, but she didn't need to. She sensed he knew.

    Tobias, for his part, watched the government retinue leave, until it was just himself and Ian Pershing. The SRFD President looked all the world like he was relaxed as he sat there dragging on a cigarette.
    "What's that feel like?" Tobias asked himself, as the responsibilities of his office never ceased to weigh on him.

    "Mr. President" he began once they were alone, "I'm very glad I decided to go ahead with inviting you. I..." he felt lost for words as he looked down a moment.
    "Fuck it" he said with a shrug.
    "What you said...I want to make every one of them pay."