Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Theodorable
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Theodorable NRP Entrepreneur

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Kingdom of Genstadt

To the Trade Minister of Dorist,
We write you in troubled times. As we understand, the Great Nation of Fosbak has rendered inoperable your fleets from which to import and export necessary goods in times where you may very well need them. In lieu of these awful conditions, we are writing to the Kingdom of Dorist as a reminder of both our Neutrality, but in addition a decision made not lightly by both Trade Minister Jurgenn as well as the Crown itself.

The Kingdom of Genstadt will allow the Kingdom of Dorist and all merchants, traders and contractors hereafter to sell their wares in Genstadter ports and may sell their wares onto Genstadter Merchant Marine ships for reasons of virtue and political safety alike. While remaining fervently neutral, Genstadt knows and understands unequivocally the importance of trade. Dorist goods may be sold onto ships flying the Genstadter flag.

In these uncertain times, Genstadt is also willing to finance any necessary actions of lending up to Two Hundred Million Gens at an annual interest of seven point five percent. Please do not hesitate to write the Ministry of Finance for further inquiries if such an arrangement may interest the Dorist Kingdom.

Minister of Trade,
Matthieu dur Gesstangtunn
Kingdom of Genstadt



June 2nd, 1756

Whereas, the institution of the Crown of the Kingdom of Genstadt will declare an imminent State of Neutrality in the declared DORIST-STEVATA WAR and from here outline it's proscriptions and limitations to be understood by the municipalities, counties and hereafter all other vested authorities of the Kingdom of Genstadt and subjects herein, to be considered dutifully the law of the land unless amended by the Crown of the Kingdom of Genstadt
This document may be cited as the Neutrality Act.
The Kingdom of Genstadt, as declared by Queen Magriet of Genstadt, makes a promise to the KINGDOM OF DORIST and all other Sovereign nations to remain faithfully neutral in pursuant military conflicts arrayed against the Sovereign states of STEVATA, TECLAVA, KHAZARIA and any other Nation aligned in barbaric acts of war.
The KINGDOM OF GENSTADT allows the KINGDOM OF DORIST and the entirety of it's citizens and services full use of Genstadter ports and dockyards to further a continuation of business of exportation and importation of any and all goods with licensed shipping manifests as registered by Sovereign nations.
The KINGDOM OF GENSTADT hereby declares the use of the Genstadt Merchant Marine and it's services fully available to merchant and goods lawfully sold by the KINGDOM OF DORIST should they require extraordinary passage into known shipping lanes.
Violation by Sovereign Nations of SECTIONS TWO, THREE or FOUR or deliberate and overt acts to prevent the Sovereign nation of Genstadt from carrying these laws to fruition will be considered an act of hostility and war.

Signed into Law on this Date,
Queen Margriet I of Genstadt
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Murtox


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Alp Tarkhan - Younger Years

Giving a man a musket is not enough to make him into a soldier. For a soldier not only wears his uniform and wields his weapon, but he is also a man first and foremost. A man that must be shaped into a soldier through training, obedience and spirit. To make a man bleed for his brothers in arms or his king is no easy task. The people of Khazaria know this well enough, for once upon a time nobody would fight for a king that didn't fight with them, nobody would lend their bows or swords to a man who couldn't show that he is a capable leader. As such, the free warriors of the clans were only led by the truly capable of a meritocratic tradition to last the ages.

However, times have changed. Many Khazars have gone from the saddle to the comforts of urban life, some to sail the seas and some more to make use of cannon. There isn't much else to say, the leaders of the once-proud noble warrior clans turned to business and luxuries and the great warriors of the Khazars were slowly but surely being transformed into soldiers at the command of an Emperor. The great plains were slowly but surely developed into lush farmlands and ranches. Filled with crops and animals as far as the eye could see.

There wasn't a better time to be alive in the Empire of Khazaria, but certainly, much of the tradition had been slowly been forgotten. Yet, something remains an constant in the minds and spirits of the Khazarians and that is the ability to wage war, become forces of nature that destroy everything in their path and that cannot be stopped by simple means. This is the spirit of Khazaria which remains asleep, not awakened until now.

The Emperor of Khazaria Şahin Macar had seen to it. He had appointed Alp Tarkhan as the commander of the forces to be sent to aid Stevata in their war against the Kingdom of Dorist, and he had a certain history to him that was well known amongst many in Khazaria and the clans to the east. For many, Alp Tarkhan was the stereotypical great general and warrior, someone who could be compared with Nursultan in terms of military genius and savageness. Someone who nobody wanted to mess with or face in one to one combat, and even with his age he was still as feared as ever. Nobody would want to disappoint him, yet his charisma made everyone want to be lead by him.

He was all in all a man that represented Khazaria's past spirits. Truly there was none else who could reign in the clans of the east into his army and control them, basically integrating the savage east with modern west of Khazaria into a single unified force. Truly a force that could put fear in the minds of any of its enemies.

Yet at this force was assembled in the border with Stevata, there were those that didn't believe in total victory and just wanted to go back to enjoy in their urban cities. After all, with the recent increments in allowances to recruiting officers, there was a certain amount of let's say "unlucky" recruits, who had been tricked into signing into the Imperial army. A good beer or a couple of them, a rousing speech of patriotism in a bar was enough to trick some into joining up in the army and by the time they had any lucidness, they were already on a camp receiving their bright yellow uniform and their musket.

One such young man named Khuterkin aged no more than eighteen had seen his normal life at home been put to a quick end when his signature was found on a document of signing up to become a soldier. He received a small pouch of coins, rather generous for his first pay but still not enough to truly remove the shock that was to be basically drafted into the army because he got too drunk one night at the tavern.

Regardless, what had been done could not be changed and he alongside probably hundreds of men from his city was now on the way to the border with Stevata. Khuterkin was a rather carefree man, not a lazy one though. He was known for his ability in the textile craft, but even then he expected to spend his life on his father's workshop not on the battlefield against the westerners. His training was rough to saythe least, the equipment was alright but not up to par. There were still many workshops within the Empire producing uniforms, clothing, boots, muskets that had yet to arrive at the hands of the soldiers.

Yet, before a month had passed he was already on the border. Marching in column formation, while he saw only from afar the general Alp Tarkhan on his bright gold and red uniform, he was a man of tall stature from what he had seen before. Very tall and with a strong presence amongst his soldiers, he had been sort of charmed by his lousy speeches against the Dorist calling them the rats and pigs of Europe. Overconfident, small and weak. Defeated a thousand times before by the likes of the great Khan Nursultan and his descendants.

Every time, he heard his speeches he felt empowered and confident. More than capable and willing to fight against the Dorist, confident on his return home and on the many women he would be able to charm with stories from the battlefield and everyone in his own battalion felt the same way. In barely a few months, Khuterkin had turned into loyal and obedient followers of the Imperial army that now sallied forth outside of Khazarian borders into Stevata.

Yet much like before, he had been tricked and fooled by the sweet words of a general. One that did fight alongside his soldiers but one that made use of his particular talents to ensure that he could gain more glory for himself and the emperor. Someone who was more at home speaking with the chieftains of the eastern clans than with his own officers and commanders. Regardless, the dice had been cast and Eastern Alliance of Stevata, Khazaria, and Teclav were now fighting against three other nations. Thousands would die and many more would suffer because of this war, a war that had begun due to the tricks and foolishness of Dorist. Who only sought to expand their nation even further against the expense of those whom they only saw as savages to be conquered.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Romero
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Romero Prince of Darkness

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"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, my friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." -Wilfred Owen

Summer of 1756

2nd of June

The drums of war beat ever louder. The war between The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Dorist escalates even further as more nations join the fray. In a move that takes few by surprise, The Empire of Khazaria officially declares war against Dorist, it's army already gathering on the Stevata border. Honouring their defensive alliance, The Kingdom of Altenten joins Dorist, declaring war against Khazaria, Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav. The State Dinner of Dorist also proves to have been fruitful, as The Republic of Kalseran joins the war as well, pledging to provide supplies to the hungry war machine of Dorist. The Kingdom of Genstadt also draws up a treaty to allow Dorist trade to continue flowing as The Kingdom of FOsbak all but seal the Baltic Sea. For Dorist, the scales are looking considerably less desolate, but their attempts to see The Kingdom of Komentiolos join their cause is unsuccessful, at least for now. With armies amassing across Europe, few doubt that first blood will be shed sooner rather than later.

4th of June

Although they are yet to officially join the growing war, The Kingdom of Komentiolos are certainly not resting upon their laurels. Tension along the border with The Empire of Khazaria only continues to increase, and Komentiolos is making no attempt to cool them. Yet more troops are deployed along the heavily fortified border, but it is in the waters of the Black Sea that the most action is seen. As the shipyards of Komentiolos begin work on new frigates and sloops to swell the kingdoms navy, ships are brought up from the south to further re-enforce the Komentiolos presence in the highly contested waters. Privateers are issued with a letter of marquee that instructs them to raid Khazaria trade, and the promise of gold sees several ships flock to the offer. The squadrons of Khazaria frigates that are patrolling the Black Sea make raiding a difficult task however, and there are a string of skirmishes. Although the privateers do not fly the Komentiolos flag, Khazaria is under no illusions, and the tension between the two nations continues to escalate, building quickly towards the inevitable conclusion.

5th of June

Following the clear declaration of neutrality issued by The Kingdom of Fosbak, many assumed that the historical allies of Fosbak, The Kingdom of Orvag, would follow suit. The two nations have long been the naval powers in the Baltic Sea, but King Valterri IV is an old and bitter man, and he is loathe to meekly follow the actions of a queen young enough to be his daughter. The shipyards of Orvag begin work on new ships for the Orvag navy, and rumours quickly begin to swirl. These new ships could simply be an effort to protect Orvag from the collateral damage of war, but some are already speculating that Orvag could be dragged into the war itself, even if only to spite Fosbak and it's young queen. Whatever the reasoning, this development will no doubt have caught the attention of The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Dorist.

7th of June

Even though they are yet to act upon it, the declaration of war by The Republic of Kalseran has sent shock-waves throughout the republic, and several of the noble families finally reach a breaking point. With their personal fortunes being stripped away by rigid new trade regulations, and now with their homeland dragged into a war that it seemingly has no ties to, these nobles openly curse the A'Dera family. Power has seemingly languished too long with one family, and it is becoming increasingly clear, at least to these nobles, that the 'Grand Lady of the Republic' is an A'Dera first, and a member of the republic second. Perhaps buoyed by their relative distance from the seat of the A'Dera power in the capital, or perhaps already on edge due to the rising tensions just beyond their waters, it is the noble families of Helensa that act first. In a symbolic act, the Kalseran flag that flies above the main docks is torn down, and the tax-collectors of the A'Dera are dragged from their beds. The garrison of the province is quickly mobilised, but by the time they are brought to bear, the nobles dissapear into the shadows again. In a moment that is already passing into folklore, it is the coastal city of Stenias that witnesses what comes to be known as 'The Skirmish at Toleas Manor'. Soldiers of the republic attempted to storm the impressive townhouse of a powerful noble family, and conflict broke out between these soldiers and the private guards of the nobles. The skirmish was short, but it left half a dozen men dead on both sides, and signalled the first of a number of such skirmishes all across the province.

9th of June

In the north of Helensa, in the area surrounding the provincial capital of Palysos, an uneasy sense of order is still maintained, but in the southern cities, control has well and truly been wrested away from The Republic of Kalseran. The nobles have whipped the common folk into a fervour, accusing A'Dera of corruption, of plunging Kalseran into a war for their own selfish purposes. The garrisons of these cities are drafted from the local population, and it is difficult to convince soldiers to fire upon the enemy when the enemy are brothers and sisters. It is only the more experienced soldiers of the republic's army proper that holds it's nerve, but they have almost entirely retreated to the provincial capital. A string of desperate messages are sent to the other provinces of the republic, and it quickly becomes clear that Kalseran needs to act, and act quickly. The republic's nose has been bloodied, and that means the A'Dera nose has been bloodied. Any hesitation or indecisiveness could be seen as weakness, and lead even more of the republic into open rebellion.

12th of June

Far away from the growing conflict that is threatening to engulf, a fairly unassuming group of ships is slowly making its way east. The journey ahead of the settlers is a daunting one, but they carry with them the ambitions of The Kingdom of Hispalis. For some time, Hispalis has been looking to expand it's territory beyond Europe and North Africa, and the relatively un-plundered riches of the East Indies present an opportunity that is too good to be ignored. Yet the journey to the East Indies is a gruelling one, and for now, Hispalis seem content with turning their attentions closer to home. The ships of the kingdom instead sail south, along the west coast of Africa, with the intention of establishing a trading post. The coastline of Africa is still little explored, so it may take some time for the sailors to find a suitable site, but they are determined, and there are plenty of traders that would appreciate a safe harbour for the long journey east.

13th of June

The State Dinner of The Kingdom of Dorist officially draws to a close, although in truth it has been finished in all but name since the official declaration of war between Dorist and The Kingdom of Stevata. The respective leaders and diplomats have returned to their homelands, and the Dorist capital, Talfist, would be almost quiet, were it not for the frenzied war preparation. Rumours run rife, the most extreme claim that even now, the armies of Stevata are burning and pillaging their way across the province of Shardvul. The population of the capital believe that Dorist can triumph in the coming battles, but news of the amassing armies of The Kingdom of Teclav and The Empire of Khazaria strikes fear into even the most patriotic heart. Blood will soak the earth of Europe before this war is done, and Dorist will inevitably have to pay it's share.

15th of June

With the recent diplomatic delegation making the short journey between the two nations, there are many who tentatively believed that tensions before The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout were cooling, but whatever discussions are being had behind closed doors in the Kehsi capital of Sabica, no treaties are yet to emerge. Across the Atlantic, in the colonies of the Americas, the mood between the two nations continues to sour. Grimhout has long held sway on the continent proper, while Kehsi is content with the islands, an uneasy understanding existing between the two. But the influx of new ships from both nations has shifted the balance of power. Ships of Grimhout are sent west, along the coastline. With the guidance of a handful of paid locals, these ships begin to establish a new settlement, strengthening their hold on the continent, and almost goading Kehsi to challenge them.

16th of June

The soldiers along the border of The Kingdom of Dorist have been bracing themselves for weeks, preparing for what they see as the inevitable advance of the The Kingdom of Stevata, but there has been nothing. As dawn breaks, all of this changes. The uneasy silence is broken by the thunder of hooves, and a vast horde of riders appears on the horizon. But it is not the flag of Stevata the flutters in the morning breeze, it is the standard of The Empire of Khazaria. Alp Tarkhan is not a man who understands the meaning of patience, and ever since the outbreak of war, he has pushed his host forwards. Crossing the territory of Stevata, it is the horseman of the east that form the spearhead of Stevata's assault. Much of the Dorist army in Shardvul has been withdrawn to the cities, preparing for a traditional siege, but the rearguard remains to delay the advance of the enemy. Expecting the Stevata army, the Dorist forces is unprepared for the massed cavalry of Khazaria, and with Alp leading from the front, Khazaria shatters the rearguard, running down those who try and flee. First blood has been drawn by Khazaria, and with the line broken, the combined forces of Khazaria and Stevata flock into the province of Shardvul, as the remaining Dorist brace themselves behind city walls.

19th of June

Perhaps it is something in the air, for tensions continue to rise all across Europe. The uneasy peace between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria is more strained than ever, and rumours are already beginning to leak out concerning the cause. Lord Favre, a name still only mentioned in hushed whispers, hails from the southern province of Colveil, as did the other nobles named in the plot. There are some who believe that Reria was pulling the strings behind the apparently foiled rebellion, and that the ageing Emperor Clarenzio III was the true power behind Lord Favre. Whatever the reason, relations between the two nations has still soured, the two fleets regularly testing each other's limits. Reria is not focused entirely on their neighbours to the north however, and a handful of ships are sent to the south. The empire has long had cultural ties with the people of North Africa, and it quickly becomes clear that they are looking to establish a colony. The move immediately puts them at odds with the presence of The Kingdom of Hispalis already established in the area, but Reria seems largely unphased by this.

21st of June

Alp Tarkhan is a bandit, a savage, and with the strength of The Empire of Khazaria at his back, he is doing what he does best. The province of Shardvul boasts a formidable garrison, more than forty thousand soldiers, but they have been ordered to retreat to the provincial capital of Kronik, leaving vast swathes of the province virtually undefended. The cavalry of Khazaria cuts through the province like a spear thrust, effectively severing a large part of the province away from the rest of The Kingdom of Dorist. The city of Halldorf, already only defended by less than a thousand men, is cut off from re-enforcement's overnight. Alp has little interest in taking cities, so he instead occupies himself with chasing the straggling remains of the Dorist army that are yet to retreat to the relative safety of the capital. It is the soldiers of The Kingdom of Stevata that besiege the Halldorf, but in truth, it could hardly be called a siege. Cut off, poorly garrisoned and seemingly abandoned by the main Dorist army, the soldiers who have been tasked with holding the city already have low morale. Faced with overwhelming numbers, and quickly realising that the population of the city are largely Stevata descendants, the city surrenders before dusk.

22nd of June

Even while The Empire of Khazaria wages war further west than the hordes have ever reached, it would be a mistake to believe that the empire had forgotten far more familiar battle grounds. While the border between Khazaria and The Kingdom of Komentiolos continues to balance on a knife edge, the waters between the two ambitious nations has quickly become a second front. While the privateers of Komentiolos continue to harass trade ships in the Black Sea, the frigates of Khazaria do not sit by and watch, even as the ships of Komentiolos continue to show their own strength with patrols. The navy is perhaps the closest tie between Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas, the alliance with Paranas transforming the rag-tag fleet of glorified fishing vessels into a fairly formidable naval force, and this force is put to the test as a frantic game of cat and mouse breaks out. Privateer pursues trader, and then in turn, cruisers pursue privateers. The tension between Khazaria and Komentiolos has always been high, and with the drums of war already beating elsewhere, it seems as if it is only a matter of time before old rivalries bleed fresh.

24th of June

The unrest in Helensa has continued, the soldiers of The Republic of Kalseran seemingly unsure of how to respond to the rebellion that has gripped the southern regions of the province. The nobles have effectively seized control of the coastal cities, driving out those sympathetic to the A'Dera family, and enforcing their own law and order. As this breakaway republic emerges, there are many other nobles that are casting their eyes south. The A'Dera family has long since ruled with an iron fist and a velvet glove, but the glove has been wearing thin of late, and there are many powerful families that are all too welcome to the idea of ruling the roost yet again.

27th of June

The cavalry of The Empire of Khazaria continues to terrorise the province of Shardvul, but it is the massed infantry of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Stevata that is making the greatest gains. Halldorf has already fallen, and with a meagre garrison, the city of Genlor quickly follows suit. The only foothold that The Kingdom of Dorist still holds in the province is the capital of Kronik, but Kronik is unlikely to be as soft as Halldorf and Genlor. Not only do forty thousand men of the Dorist army hold the city, seven regiments of those men are highly trained and fiercely loyal members of the Royal Guard. Yet the greatest weapon in the Dorist defence is a single man, General Wolfgang Draton. Wolfgang is the brutal reality of war, a veteran of endless conflicts, and he is a highly effective leader of men. Not only that, but Wolfgang was there when Kronik fell to Dorist two decades ago, and he knows better than anyone what it takes to break the city, and what it takes to hold it. And yet still the enemy come. The combined forces of Khazaria and Stevata begin the siege of the city, the roar of guns becoming almost a constant background.

28th of June

While war has truly broken out between The Kingdom of Dorist and The Kingdom of Stevata, the conflict between Stevata and The Kingdom of Altenten is more luke-warm. Both nations seem tentative of making the first move, and both seem content to simple watch each other across their short border. There is no love lost between the two nations, but rumours continue to swirl about the true cause of the war, and with the only other ally of Dorist, The Republic of Kalseran, struggling with a rebellion, Altenten is wary of committing to a war in which it is already outnumbered. The older generations of Altenten still remember the dark days of the Siege of Velerra, and bay for Stevata blood, calling for King Leonard II to honour the defensive treaty, but the younger generation is less eager to be dragged into a bloody war. For now, the border is almost eerily quiet.

29th of June

While the forces in Kronik dig in, there is still a glimmer of hope. Another army of The Kingdom of Dorist has gathered to the west of Shardvul, commanded by the dashing and charismatic General Albert Riechsand. As the forces of The Kingdom of Stevata and The Empire of Khazaria continue to seize the territory of Shardvul, all but cutting off Kronik from supplies, this army begins to march east. Splitting into two, this fresh army begins to push into Shardvul itself, encircling the very army that is in turn encircling Kronik. A series of skirmishes break out all across the advance, but the men of Dorist are hardened soldiers, and they continue to push. The cavalry of Khazaria, with Alp at it's head, take to this new threat with relish, overjoyed to finally face an army on open ground, and they begin a series of hit and run rains against the advancing forces. Progress is made though, slow and bloody, but progress nonetheless.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Abefroeman
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Abefroeman Truck Driver

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Tarsus, Royal Palace, The War Room

Taking a deep breath, King Nikolaos leaned back into the upholstered chair, studying the known strategic layout of the precarious situation in which he found his nation, and his allies, in. To the north, Khazaria and its slavic allies raged war against the Dorist, to the west, the friendly republic of Kalseran festered with unrest and talk of civil war. The Lions wanted war, while the Elephants wanted to focus on trade and economic prosperity. War, both good and bad, was looking to be ever more inescapable. Here on this table, little wooden and metal pieces did not tell the whole picture, that each piece equated to a number of real flesh and blood lives, that would be lost regardless of the outcome. Gathered around were the king's closest advisors and military officers. They all looked to the king for his next move, eyeing him cautiously.

Valentinian and his tired face, General Flavius and his hunger for war, Admiral Verina and his pale skin, the cadre of lesser officers, and the stand ins for his other two top officers, Augustus and Rousombladadiotes, who couldn't make it back from their posts at the moment. Standing up, King Nikolaos made his way over to a large window overlooking the port of Tarsus, looking down at the glittering sea, the birds soaring on the warm drafts of air from the day. The advisors all looked at their king as he moved. "Valentinian, join me by the window, old friend." King Nikolaos sounded tired, but resolute. The aged advisor hurried over to the king's side, bowing his head as the two looked out on the sea. Both stood in silence for a while longer, before Nikolaos spoke quietly, barely above a whisper.

"What do you see, my friend? Look closely, before answering." Nikolaos sounded cryptic, his hands held behind his back. He seemed to be staring intently at something. Valentinian gazed down at the port, taking in all the scenery, from ships, cargo, men, women, livestock, the hustle and bustle of a lively trading port. Next, he looked to the flags of the multitude of nations that docked in Tarsus, both near and far, minor and great. All flags present, except for the vile banner of Khazaria. "I don't see any ships from Khazaria, your grace." He turned, looking back at the king.

"How astute of you Valentinian. But for how long, until we see the Mediterranean choked with those savages? Years, perhaps, maybe months?" King Nikolaos turned and looked to his war council, speaking now to them all, "Any guesses?"

It was Admiral Verina who stood up and spoke, his pale skin making him seem ghostly amongst all the tanned men. "If unchecked and unchallenged, fifteen months, before they will spill out from the Black Sea into the greater Mediterranean, your grace. For now, they huddle in the Sea of Azov, making sporadic voyages out into the Black Sea. We retain control over the Caspian, but soon, they'll grow bold and challenge us there as well." The admiral's voice was thin and wispy, yet behind it held a hardness of great knowledge and cold steel. "We've stood as the final barrier between the hordes of Khazaria and the rest of Europe, the world beyond that. As we stand, our navy outnumbers their fledgling attempts of naval power, their ships are of foreign design and under license. Furthermore, from what our privateers have returned to us, the quality of construction is lacking, flawed, yet that will not last. We have Sloops, Sloops of War, Brigantines, Brigs, Brigs of War, and a few single deck Frigates. If what you are asking is what I believe it to be, then I agree, we must strike hard and fast, without hesitation, but not with reckless abandon." Admiral Verina retook his seat, smoothing his uniform out.

King Nikolaos smiled, nodding as he walked back over to the table, looking down at the regional map that was laid out. He pointed to the narrow strait that separated the Black Sea from the Mediterranean Sea. "We shall focus on a three part operation to bring to heel the vile beast that is Khazaria. Admiral Verina, your reports indicated that the last of our southern naval forces tasked to report to Northern command sailed through last night. We shall henceforth blockade the Bosporus Strait to any and all naval traffic of Khazaria and ships bound for Khazaria. Coordinate with your subordinates to ensure this is done without delay." King Nikolaos moved his hand to grasp an indicating stick, then pointed to the Black Sea.

"Here, is our main theater of war. Our folly the last time we went to war with these northern horse devils was fighting them on land, too far from the sea and our strength. The army shall be subordinate to the navy in this conflict." King Nikolaos paused as he was interrupted by General Flavius, who stood up abruptly.

"Your Grace, I must protest. We're hardly the akin to the old army that lost centuries ago. We have cannon and rifle, bayonet and mortars… we can surely invade these unwashed hordes lands and take back what we lost. Just look to the forces we have stationed along the border, they alone could…" General Flavius stopped, cut short by the Komentiolian King holding his hand up.

"General Flavius, what separates us from Khazaria? What type of terrain lies in the border region? Before you puff out your chest, bemoaning your sovereign's decisions, at least allow me to speak in full before interjecting. Khazaria is primarily flat lands, rolling steppes that span for many leagues, no natural cover, nothing to hinder an army whose sole purpose has been mounted warfare for the last five hundred years at least. Your army will have its glory, mind you. The border garrisons will hold the line in the Lesser Caucasus, and only that. This isn't about lands to the north, this is about rebuilding and reclaiming our lost lands to the south without fear of intervention by a meddlesome upstart realm of tent dwelling horsemen." The king walked away from the table and back to the window overlooking the port.

"We shall hold the line in the mountains. The passes are steep and treacherous, not to mention when winter comes, snowed in. The army and navy will work together, first, obliterating any and all enemy naval forces they come upon, secondly, the sacking and razing of all enemy coastal settlements. The army will be tasked with ensuring the settlements, large and small, are in no shape to produce supplies for our enemy. No ships, food, trade, nothing. Gentlemen, I entrust you to see this to fruition. We shall sweep aside their pathetic navy, and rain fire upon them." King Nikolaos sat back down, watching his officers debate back and forth. They spoke of strategy, logistics, force disposition, duration, and on down the list. As these gathered military men crafted their plan of attack, King Nikolaos drank his tea quietly, watching them with interest.

After many hours, and a break for food and fresh air, the council returned, ready to go over their final plans. Admiral Verina and General Flavius spoke together, showcasing their joint operations plan. The naval forces would split into three prongs, "Like a desert scorpion…" General Flavius added, West, Center, and East, along with the Caspian Sea fleet, would all sail out in force one week from now, on the evening of the fresh moon. The army, aboard Merchantmen, would follow along the naval forces, tasked with sacking enemy settlements as the navy cleared the waters of Khazarian forces. As the campaign progressed, they'd link up in a pincer fashion, striking at the Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov.

The overall goal of the war plan was simple in nature, split into three parts. 1) Remove the Khazarian naval presence from the Black Sea, to include destruction of commercial vessels. 2) Raid and sack coastal settlements quickly, before returning to sea. Our goal is to create chaos and instability, not hold land. 3) Hold the line in the lower Caucasus. Defensive fortifications are to be defended at all times, and if need be, destruction of critical bridges, roads, and mountain passes, to hinder enemy movement.

After all this, there was still a few things left to discuss, chiefly, the civil unrest in the allied nation of Kalseran. All agreed that sending troops to quell any unrest would be seen as a foreign invasion and make things worse, if not outright spreading more unrest further. It was agreed that local mercenaries would be employed to guard Komentiolian property, while a diplomatic party would be sent to try and make contact with the rebels to see if they could be negotiated with for a peaceful solution, at the very least concerning Komentiolian people and property. However, it was decided that until the unrest had ended, or an agreement was reached, all non military traffic into Komentios from Kalseran would be restricted.

King Nikolaos was tired when the council finally ended, saying his goodbyes and small talk, before making his way to his quarters. He promptly bathed, enjoying the respite, before crawling into bed next to his wife. She stirred, moving to hold him close, a smile barely visible on her face. Whispered loving words crept up to him, something that made him thrilled beyond the greatest feats of yonder, "I'm with child, my love… "
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by urukhai
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It is a nice morning in the city of Kalseran, capital of a now tumultuous republic, the birds sing in their flight and perches across the city, the breeze flutters the flags on the docks and in the large square before the Lady's palace a great uproar shatters the illusion of peace. The Lady Luisa sits before her assembled nobles, all surrounded by the watching eyes of the people of city. This is a rare sight, a public court, and no matter their walk of life, no-one in the city would miss this for the world.

The current uproar comes from one of the older nobles, who has taken to standing before the Luisa "You would drive us to ruin before the armies to the east! We have no place in this war, if Dorist wishes to commit a grand and spectacular suicide then let them! But I say we have no part in it! We must look to ourselves now, with all that is happening it is folly to send our troops north, we must secure our own lands, our own holdings."

There was some murmuring as he finished speaking, but they were quickly silenced as Luisa held up her hand, bringing back a silence to the morning. Standing she approaches the noble, extending her hand she places on his shoulder, offering him a smile before addressing both him and the crowd "This may come as a surprise, but I do agree. It is not in our best interest to send our solders north to die on a field of combat most haven't even seen or heard of. Especially not with a band of traitors holding our southern province hostage. But that is why we are not sending an army of guns and shot, but of wagons and coin. We have not committed to an armed conflict, in its stead we have instead committed to a business deal. And do we abandon our deals?" she waves a hand around to the surrounding architecture "No, we stand by them until the end. I have known merchants who would rather sacrifice a hand then break a contract." She turns once more to the noble "So we will keep to our deal, to the letter if not the spirit."

Luisa strides once more to her seat in the front of the whole display, letting the crowd dominate the reaction to her answer. As she reaches her chair she takes only a small moment to let the sounds of the crowd fill her ears, and to let her eyes land upon a fluttering flag, the amethyst banner fluttering in the wind, the great beast of the sea that stands upon it as the golden symbol of the Republic. Takes a deep breath in, letting the salty air fill her lungs, and for a moment she is alone her problems laid out before her, the rebellion that needed to be crushed with efficiency, the war that needed to become profitable, and the families that would never stop vying for her throne. Luisa exhaled and let her breath sweep away the issues to their base core, she know what needed to be done. There was only the doing now.

Without turning she held her had up, giving all assembled a moment to grow quiet before turning around to face them, gathering herself once more into the imposing figure of the Grand Lady "All will listen and all will here. Before we adjourn this court I have one last decree. General Bettino Gianni will go to those wayward souls, to bring them back to us with no more Republic blood spilled upon our soil. But before he goes let my words carry to those in the south as his vanguard. An offer to all Internal Citizens and full Citizens there. Those who wish it may return before any deal is reached, they will be greeted with open arms with no potential penalty or charge, for they are the Republic and her shores are their home."

Taking her seat she let the sounds of the crowd and the nobles wash over her once more, her face and impassive mask as the snap of the flag was the only sound she truly heard.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by SonOfALich
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The ring of steel meeting steel echoed around the small courtyard as the two men circled each other. Both held a sword in one hand, and to an observer, the rhythmic lunging and parrying almost seemed like a dance. That same observer would have quickly realised that the younger man was a better swordsman, slowly pushing his opponent back, always moving a fraction faster. The younger man suddenly surged forwards, his sword flashing silver in the sunlight. The older man moved to parry, but he was too slow, the point of the blade scratching across his shoulder as it passed. The younger took a step forwards, the momentum of his own swing carrying him for a moment. In an instant, a foot caught the back of his leg, sending him sprawling to the ground on his rear, the sword jolting free from his grip and clattering away across the cobblestones. The younger man went to rise, but stopped in his tracks as he felt the tickle of his opponents own sword against his throat. There was a moment of silence, the two men watching each other, before the older of the two laughed heartily, moving his sword away and holding his hand out towards his son.

Christophe reluctantly took his father's hand, and allowed himself to be helped to his feet, brushing himself down before walking over to retrieve his sword. Jean-Baptiste's smile didn't fade as he watched his son.

"You're getting a lot better, Christophe, but experience still edges out talent. Learn not to be so reckless. If you commit too much to one attack, then you leave yourself exposed."

Christophe held his father's gaze for an instant, before he allowed himself a smile, and shrugged his shoulders.

"I just didn't expect an Arch-Duke to fight dirty."

Jean-Baptiste laughed again, clapping his son on the shoulder.

"Well then that was your first mistake."

A polite cough interrupted the laughter, and Jean-Baptiste turned to see that Marc Choquet, one of his more trusted valets, had entered the courtyard, a grave look written across his normally jovial features.

"Your Grace, we have received news from the east. The report... Your Grace, you're bleeding!"

Jean-Baptiste glanced down at his shoulder for the first time, the white shirt town and bloody from where Christophe's blade had cut him. Waving away the other man's concern, Jean-Baptiste turned back to the valet.

"I'll live. Now, tell me about this report..."
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Romero
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"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, my friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." -Wilfred Owen

Autumn of 1756

1st of July

The horseman of war continues to ride across Europe, accompanied by it's constant companion, the pale horse of death. In the province of Shardvul, the ground continues to be watered by the blood of The Kingdom of Dorist. The army that is intended to break the siege of Kronik continues it's grinding advance. The baggage train alone stretches back for miles, and Alp Tarkhan is quickly finding that perhaps this strange land to the west is not so different from the rolling steppes of his childhood. After all, a bandit is a bandit wherever he is, and he knows a rich offering when he sees one. With the riders of The Empire of Khazaria at his back, Alp continues to terrorise this supply chain, striking from the shadows and then fading into the darkness before the Dorist forces can mount a counter-attack. While General Albert Riechsand inspires the men under his command, the other arm of the attack, under the lesser command of a General Tilman Grohl, begins to falter. Frantic messages cross the province, but Dorist soon finds that no matter how fast their messenger horses can ride, the stallions from the steppes seem to ride like the wind, and as communication begins to deteriorate, it is only around the two leading Generals of Dorist that the soldiers rally. Albert continues to grind onwards, while General Wolfgang Draton continues to hold the city of Kronik itself, withstanding the siege from The Kingdom of Stevata with a grim indifference.

4th of July

Kronik was built by Stevatan hands, and The Kingdom of Stevata has not forgotten that fact. It may have been more than two decades since the flag of Stevata flew over Kronik, but the sprawling city has changed little in that time, and with old city maps spread out before them, the commanders of Stevata prepare to strike. In the darkness of the night, with clouds obscuring the moon and casting long shadows across the city, dark figures go to work. Moving through tunnels and sewers that have largely been forgotten even by the population above, the soldiers of Stevata make their way beneath the imposing walls, and emerge in a dozen cellars scattered across the city. A lesser commander would have been caught totally off guard by this move, their defence crumbling as the enemy appears from within. The Kingdom of Dorist are lucky that General Wolfgang Draton is not a lesser commander. Wolfgang was careful to study those same city maps when he took command of the city, and Royal Guard soldiers of Dorist are stationed at every tunnel mouth, falling upon the Stevata men, and butchering them in the confined spaces. The victory brings a much needed morale boost to the Dorist defenders, but Wolfgang does not celebrate. He has heard the reports of the relief force faltering in the face of The Empire of Khazaria, but more concerning than that, he has also received word that the army of The Kingdom of Teclav has reached Shardvul, and the Dorist defenders are now convincingly outnumbered.

5th of July

Rebellion has spread through the province of Helensa like a sickness, and The Republic of Kalseran finally looks to rid itself of this plague. In a rare public court, the Grand Lady of the Republic dispatches General Bettino Gianni as her representative in the south, to bring the troublesome nobles back into the fold. Bettino is an experienced and well-respected figure in the Republic, noble blood running in his own veins, and he travels with the strength of the Republic at his back. Before he can even arrive, the message from Luisa A'Dera already begins to have an effect. Several of the weaker noble families, caught up in the excitement of the rebellion rather than dedicated to the cause, are quick to take the extended hand from the Republic, and pledge loyalty again. However the coastal city of Calassa has become a de-facto capital of the rebellion, and there the flames of unrest still burn.

7th of July

The Empire of Khazaria commits even more soldiers to the war against The Kingdom of Dorist. Perhaps smelling the blood in the water, or perhaps simply keen to finish the war off quickly, the young emperor seems content with allowing Alp Tarkhan to run free. Although some orders are dispatched, they are little more than suggestions for the savage brilliance that is the bandit rider. A lifetime of preying on others has honed Alp's instincts, and he almost seems to sense that the army under General Tilman Grohl is faltering. As soldiers of The Kingdom of Teclav continue to arrive in the province, further re-enforcing The Kingdom of Stevata siege on the city of Kronik, Alp gathers a great host around himself and rides to war. While Tilman Grohl does not boast the dashing charisma of General Albert Riechsand, or the dogged grit of General Wolfgang Draton, he is still a capable commander. For the first time since war broke out, an army of Khazaria prepares to meet an army of Dorist in open battle.

8th of July

On the outskirts of an unremarkable village called Bavin, almost within sight of Kronik itself, The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Dorist meet. The forces of Dorist have taken up defensive positions, but they are still outnumbered by the advancing Khazaria army by more than two to one. However, there is a sliver of hope. Alp Tarkhan is a brilliant commander, but he is reckless, and in his rush to the fight, he has left more than half of his field artillery behind, and the infantry under his command are tired from the forced march. Just after dawn, battle breaks out. Alp sends a series of feints against the Dorist positions with his cavalry, testing the strength of his enemy, and probing for any weakness. The morale of the Dorist soldiers has been battered by the long march into Shardvul, but they are all of them well-trained, and they find their steel when faced with the enemy. Several thousand men under General Tilman's command can claim Stevata heritage, and perhaps if it was Stevata soldiers who stood before them, their nerve might break, but the nomadic 'savages' of Khazaria are as strange to Stevata as they are to Dorist. Growing impatient, Alp finally commits his forces. While his infantry advance through the centre, enduring the cannon fire of the Dorist artillery, the amassed cavalry of Khazaria test the flanks. The Dorist army is formidable, and in open battle, there are few who can rival it, but the cavalry of Khazaria is a powerful force in it's own right, and under command of Alp Tarkhan, that weapon is wielded by a master. Around General Tilman, and his regiment of Royal Guard, the Dorist hold their position, but on the flanks, resolve begins to crumble. The line begins to buckle and strain, and the cavalry of Khazaria throws itself into these gaps with an almost fanatical fury. Some attempt to flee, but they are quickly cut down. The Dorist batteries fall to Khazaria, the guns falling silent, until it is only General Tilman, and the men standing shoulder to shoulder with him, that still stand, rallying around their regiment colours. As if in recognition of another warrior, Alp Tarkhan suddenly breaks off his attack, withdrawing his forces and allowing Tilman and the other bloodied survivors to withdraw back towards Dorist. There can be little doubt that the Battle of Bavin was won by Khazaria, one pincer of the Dorist relief force blunted and turned back, but Khazaria has been bloodied, and perhaps with a greater force, Dorist could beat back the horse-lords...

9th of July

The West Indies have been little plundered by the powers of Europe, but that does not mean they have been lying idle. The handful of traders that do make the long journey west have recently begun returning with stories of a great power rising in the region, an empire that is beginning to unite the weaker kingdoms under a single banner. Any European powers that were eyeing the riches of the West Indies may now have cause to think again. After all, establishing a colony becomes a far more difficult task if those that already claim the land can back up that claim with force.

12th of July

Where there is death, there is also life. Far from the battlefields of the east, a baby boy is born in The Kingdom of Genstadt. And yet it is not a child of Genstadt, or at least not entirely. The baby is named Charles, in honour of it's uncle, King Charles XII of The Kingdom of Hispalis. It is a joyous coincidence that the baby is born in the homeland of it's mother, and Queen Margriet I of Genstadt is quick to meet her new niece. Perhaps the innocence of the new-born softens the queen, or perhaps it simply serves as a timely reminder of the importance of family, but whatever the reason, Queen Margriet quickly proves to be more accommodating to the offers of Hispalis. For now, she cannot sign a treaty dependent on her nations neutrality in the war to the west, as already traders of The Kingdom of Dorist are making use of her ports, but she invites her sister to visit again on their return, as the envoy pushes north towards The Kingdom of Fosbak.

13th of July

The nations of The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Stevata have long been friendly with each other, but marching to war together against The Kingdom of Dorist has only strengthened those bonds. In a grand announcement, the two nations arrange the future marriage between Marita Soridov of Teclav and Marcin Kusiak of Stevata. Both are still children, and the marriage is planned to take place when Marita turns sixteen years old, some three years from now, but both are important figures in their respective royal families, and this move is a clear sign of intent. Marita undertakes the journey to meet her future husband for the first time, and it is a time of joy and celebration across both nations.

15th of July

General Bettino Gianni has been deep in conversation with the rebel leaders in Helensa for almost a week, and slowly, progress is being made. Perhaps to help ease the conversation, or perhaps as a visual reminder of the republic's power, a group of warships under the flag of The Republic of Kalseran have appeared just off the coast of Calassa, creating an uneasy standoff between the coastal batteries of the city, and the cannons of the warships. The rebellion has offered up it's own negotiators in the form of three powerful nobles, and all three bring their own demands and expectations. The first is the most moderate of the three, an ageing nobleman by the name of Antoni Viscovi who is simply looking to protect his vast personal wealth from the rigid taxes of the republic. In a frankly incredible stroke of luck, Antoni grew up with Bettino, and the two men have been sharing nostalgic drinks with each other, reminiscing about their glory days. The second figure is trickier, a young and highly ambitious nobleman called Sicuro Donati, a man who sees the rebellion as a chance to greatly increase his own fortunes, but Bettino's reports suggest that the young man's greed far outweighs his commitment to the cause. It is the third figure that troubles Bettino the most though, and for good reason. Maria Toleas is the rebellion, just as the rebellion is forged in her image. It was her townhouse that saw the first skirmish, it was her men that tore down the flags of the republic, and it is her that holds the real power in the region. Her demands, from what Bettino can tell, are for the A'Dera family to release their grip of iron, the province of Helensa to effectively self-govern, owing loyalty to the republic only in name. Until her demands are met, Maria shows no sign of standing down.

17th of July

The tensions between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria have been steadily climbing ever since the discovery of the plot to overthrow Queen Ameline I, and whether they chose to or not, The Kingdom of Hispalis has found itself caught between the two. The intentions of Reria to colonise North Africa was clearly something that Hispalis could not ignore, and it posed a difficult diplomatic situation for King Charles XII to navigate. Ultimately, the solution came from his wife, Luisa, and Hispalis suggested that Reria should focus it's colonial ambitions further to the east, so as to not disturb the lands Hispalis already have their own ambitions for. Reria accepted this suggestion, and their colonists have already begun their work. Although this move could suggest some leniency towards Reria from Hispalis, the Iberian kingdom is already moving to try and secure a defensive alliance with Arhan. The diplomatic envoy is allowed an audience with the Queen, if a little begrudgingly, but it is quickly made clear that the offer of a defensive alliance holds little sway. In fact, from what the diplomats report back, the Queen seems to be pushing for a more serious agreement, Arhan seemingly preparing for war. Although it is not explicitly stated, the reports that reach King Charles seem to suggest that if a military alliance is offered, or at least an agreement to side with Arhan over Reria, the Queen may prove to be more accommodating.

19th of July

In the court of The Kingdom of Altenten, there is chaos. The tensions surrounding the kingdom's involvement in the war between The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Dorist threaten to erupt into outright conflict, as two power bases begin to emerge. King Leonard II still calls for his people to support their new allies, to seek retribution in blood for the ugly events of Siege of Velerra, but there are many within his court who know of the siege only as folklore, and history has perhaps muddied the actions of both sides. In a surprising move, the loudest voice that emerges to condemn the war is Leonard's son-in-law, Philipp, the husband of his eldest daughter. Philipp is a powerful noble in his own right, and he begins to openly oppose the words of his father-in-law. With Dorist already faltering, why should Altenten be dragged into war? Why should Philipp's young daughter Elina, the king's own granddaughter, have to grow up amongst the horrors of war? It is not Altenten that started this war, and now Dorist calls on Altenten to protect Dorist land, as if Altenten is a mere hound to be ordered? Altenten continues to hesitate, and as support begins to flock to Philipp, things are looking increasingly bleak for Dorist. With one arm of the pincer movement beaten back, the increasingly demoralised army under General Albert Riechsand finally arrive before the city of Kronik. But with no supporting army to complete the encirclement, the full host of The Empire of Khazaria, Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav are free to turn their attentions towards this bedraggled 'relief' force. In a bitter twist of irony, the forced march has only served to isolate Albert's force, as they are not beset on every side. With little choice, the Dorist soldiers dig in, and prepare for the inevitable. Despite being almost with touching distance of Kronik itself, the defensive lines of the besieging army cut off the two great Dorist generals from each other, and General Wolfgang can only watch the beleaguered force from atop the city walls.

21st of July

General Albert Riechsand is a brilliant leader of men and a gifted commander, but he is not a fool. He has heard the reports of the Battle of Bavin, and he knows that even the strength of The Kingdom of Dorist soldiers is not unbreakable, and he is not blind to the fact that he is almost ludicrously outnumbered by the gathered forces of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav. His orders were clear, to encircle the besieging army and crush them between the two armies of Dorist, but looking around him, he can see how comical the idea is in reality. Besides, communications with the rest of Dorist have been all but cut off, and he has no more recent orders. In a move that is tantamount to desertion were it not for the seniority of the man making it, Albert rides out to meet the commanders of his enemy under a white flag of truce. Although Alp Tarkhan is a wild man, with little time for diplomacy, he is still licking his wounds from the Battle of Bavin, and General Albert is instead met by the respective leaders of Stevata and Teclav, men who are far more open to reason. General Jozef Motycka is the commander of the Stevata forces in the region, while the re-enforcing Teclav army is led by General Luka Volodin. Both men are civil to the Dorist general, but clear in their stance. The war against Dorist is in response to attacks against Stevata civilians, and the open insults levelled against their joint allies Khazaria. The war will only come to a close if King Freud Thumer issues an official apology for all offences, and returns the province of Shardvul to Stevata as reparation for the blood already spilt. Albert attempts to make contact with General Wolfgang, but his messengers are spat at as traitors and sent back without any chance of an audience. It is clear that Wolfgang will continue to hold the city, but Albert gathers his army and marches west, refusing to spill his men's blood for nothing, and carrying a message for his king.

23rd of July

Far to the east, the Americas have become a proxy battleground for The Empire of Grimhout and The Kingdom of Kehsi, but there is now a potential end in sight. The negotiations between the two nations have dragged on for weeks, both side keen not to appear weak to their historical rivals, but there is still common ground to be found. Great charts are drawn out and discussed in detail, lines drawn and redrawn, discussions lasting long into the night, but finally, a conclusions seems to be reached. The ships and troops that have been gathering in the docks of both nations are largely stood down, and preparations are made to reduce both nation's military presence in the Americas. While no official treaty has emerged yet, it appears as if the two nations have remarkably cooled the tensions between them.

25th of July

As the economy of The Kingdom of Hispalis continues to boom, things continue to look bright for the nation. In the capital of Toletum, from an unassuming and slightly worse-for-wear workshop, a young man by the name of Julio Vera finally emerges into the sunlight and announces that he has created what he was already self-dubbed as 'The Vera Engine'. In essence, the engine is an improved design for a steam engine, and it does not take long for the important figures of Hispalis to take notice. The possibilities of this new engine, particularly in industry, are far-reaching, and it's invention represents a breakthrough in technology that could well nudge Hispalis closer to a new age.

26th of July

While the forces of The Empire of Khazaria continues to run rampant against the armies of The Kingdom of Dorist to the west, the gathered soldiers of The Kingdom of Komentiolos continue to hold their ground. From the reports that make it back to the court of King Nikolaos Andreas Koromelas II, Khazaria has committed a great host to it's war in the west. Surely only a handful of men remain to hold the border, and yet Komentiolos still sit idle? The military leaders of the kingdom are mysteriously tight-lipped, but the other nobles begin to murmur their discontent. Khazaria are the ancient enemy, and never before have they looked so vulnerable to the armies of Komentiolos. These nobles are not yet brave enough to voice their disapproval too loudly, but the ongoing situation in The Republic of Kalseran stands as a stark reminder of the power that angered nobles still hold, despite Komentiolos barring all non-military travel from Kalseran, and sending their own diplomats to try and ease the peace talks.

29th of July

The nobles of The Kingdom of Komentiolos quickly find that they were perhaps too hasty in their condemnation of their rulers inaction. The fleet of Komentiolos sails forth, and the tension that was building between Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria finally breaks. A declaration of war is issued against Khazaria, and the message is barely received before the reality of war arrives. The Black Sea was always going to see action in the conflict between the tow nations, and it in those waters that the first blood of the new war is shed. The Khazaria navy has been patrolling the Black Sea with squadrons, and it is one of these squadrons that meets the amassed Komentiolos fleet. The patrol is vastly outnumbered, and the ships are torn apart by cannon-fire, but they have already fulfilled their role. News travels quickly amongst the Khazaria fleet, and as the other patrols flee back to the relative safety of their ports, the Ships of the Line raise their anchor. The Komentiolos fleet is formidable, but it is made up of Frigates and Sloops-of-War, while Khazaria's close relationship with The Kingdom of Paranas has allowed the previously weak navy of Khazaria to be bolstered with formidable warships. Nearly thirty of these Ships of the Line, supported by Khazaria's own Frigates and Sloops, sail to meet the Komentiolos fleet, and what follows quickly comes to be known as the First Battle of the Black Sea. The Frigates of Komentiolos are masterfully built, their crews experienced, and the commander of the fleet, Admiral Basiliscus Verina is an exceptional strategist, but the ships of Khazaria dwarf those of Komentiolos, and although the Khazaria commander, the strange figure of Admiral Barjik, is no great tactician, he understands that overwhelming firepower tend to win battles. The battle would perhaps be better described as a dance, the larger, more cumbersome ships of Khazaria attempting to bring their devastating broadsides to bear, while the lighter ships of Komentiolos use their better agility to stay just out of reach. Some are not quick enough, and some Khazaria ships eventually succumb to the massed broadsides, until eventually both fleets signal a retreat, fishing the survivors from the water and salvaging what ships they can. Ultimately, while both sides may claim a victory, the First Battle of the Black Sea is largely inclusive. Komentiolos may have beaten Khazaria back, but they have far from removed their presence from the Black Sea, and while Khazaria may have proven their strength, they have also shown that they are outclassed by Komentiolos, even if they are not outgunned. No matter what the outcome, another was has broken out, and blood will be spilt.

31st of July

The sleeping giant of The Empire of Stabuga seems to finally stir, turning it's attention towards the war that continues to rage to the west. Keeping a close eye on the unfolding war, Tsar Viktor Barinov sends messengers to The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Dorist with a request for Stabuga observers to be allowed to accompany the various armies in play. The omission of The Empire of Khazaria is perhaps wise, for once Alp Tarkhan has slipped his chain, it is safer to not risk getting in his way. Even now, General Wolfgang continues to hold the city of Kronik, ingraining his name further into the folklore of Dorist, his men holding the line with a grim determination, the rest of the Dorist army seemingly shattered.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Murtox


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The Winter Palace at the city of Mel-Izar was turning into a rather busy place. The bells of war had been called all over the country and now it seemed that another front was about to open. To the south, the long-standing rivals of Khazaria, Komentiolos, had begun their naval operations over the black sea. Waiting for the results was stressful enough for the ex-imperial regent, Sevil Macar but it seemed that the sixteen-year-old. Şahin Macar remained calm over this throne waiting for the reports both from the west and south, his mind had turned into an incognita for most but not for Sevil, the aunt that had raised him.

She was quick to recognize that the true face of the Emperor was that of a young emperor, excited to prove his worth yet nervous to fail in the early steps that could have him labeled for the entirety of his reign. A defeat was not allowed for him and his pride, when he gave the order to Alp Tarkhan to attack the western areas with impunity it was quite clear that he sought glory and prestige as the ruler of his kingdom should succeed.

But at the same time, he worried over a possible defeat of the coalition army to the west. It was impossible to tell by the reports, just how much Alp Tarkhan was collaborating with his allies and only seeking glory for himself rather than trying to actually win the war. One of Sahin's fingers constantly tapped the arm side of his throne, he was anxiously waiting for the report that Alp Tarkhan had promised would arrive soon and two weeks had passed and nothing had been sent.

Had Alp Tarkhan been defeated and his army routed so that the news would probably take far longer to get through the wartorn region of the Dorist province. It made him smile though, that a war begun with a provocation by the Dorist had turned so sour to them, rallied the eastern neighbors and probably secured another hundred years of peace between Stevata, Teclav and Khazaria. A couple of servants beverages to the young Emperor and he drank them graciously, it helped cool his head off.

He looked at his aunt and nodded, thanking her for the gesture. It was already the afternoon and it was about time to take a bath, the Emperor was thinking of retiring from his throne room in the winter palace for the day, perhaps tomorrow would bring the reports he sought so much or perhaps not. It was then that footsteps of metal Khazarian boots could be heard coming from the hallway, Sahin macar leaned his back on his throne preparing himself for whatever was to come. This could be an early victory or defeat depending on just how well Alp Tarkhan had worded the letter addressed to him.

The guards opened the door and the messenger the Emperor had sent to Alp Tarkhan could be seen. He bowed to the Emperor and then approached him, leaving the message on the hands of Imperial Regent Sevil Macar, who then passed it to the young emperor. The messenger respectfully retreated back waiting for the Emperor to speak, his aunt waiting for him to read it and then pass judgment. But her eyes were far focused on his facial gestures, something that could tell more than a thousand words in circumstances like this.

"It is done." The Emperor stood up after reading the report, leaving the report on the experienced hands of his aunt. "Alp Tarkhan has been victorious!" He said rallying the cheers of his bureaucracy, servants and the guardsmen. It was tradition to always cheer a victory and it was the Emperor's judgement to say if a battle was a victory or not, but it seemed that the conditions on the front had stabilized and for the better. One of the Dorist's armies had been defeated on the field, while casualties had been inflicted upon his own forces it was expected that the Khazarian footmen wouldn't perform as well as its cavalry or their Dorist counterparts.

"It is certainly a victory." Confirmed Sevil, the Emperor's aunt with a nod of her head. Her approval gave the whole court a sense of relief. "But it won't be much so for the sons, brothers, and fathers who were sent to the battle." She finished with those words, the Emperor glaring at her trying to understand her but finally doing so and instead of minimizing the death of his subjects, he remembered the great sacrifices that past emperors had also taken to ensure that their subjects had not suffered as much. "You are right, the soldiers who have fallen in this battle are just as important as any other of my subjects, they deserve a propel rest with the great sky father. I am sure that the pensions we pay to windows and orphans will get to the families of the fallen. They have done their part for the Empire and I can only thank them for that with shiny coins and pretty words.." He finished, realizing that just as his mother and father had died because of fate, the bodies littering the fields had also died because of the pettiness of fate.

He calmed himself though and he knew that the war wasn't yet over. Two Dorist armies remained to the west and the navy of Komentiolos had been hurting trade and commerce through their raiding and letters of marque. But the navy of Khazaria had yet to fulfill its potential and much like the army, it still needed years of training and preparedness to fulfill the security needs of his nation. The war had also begun to drain the national treasuries, time would be needed to solve all those issues but the backstabbers of the Komentiolos true nature could finally be seen.

"Anyways. This victory is enough for us at the moment, it is time to rally help from the south and who else that our long-standing friends to the south. We had indeed promised to respect their neutrality out of respect for their marriage ties with their neighbors to the west. But that was for the conflict with Dorist, this time the hidden dagger of Komentiolos has struck us like that of an opportunist crow looking for meat. But they won't find any rotten meat in our empire! and less without allies to support us. They will pay the price of this affront with interest." The speech of the emperor roused another cheer from the nobles within the court and his officers. "Bring me a scribe. I want this message immediately sent to the king of Paranas."

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by SonOfALich
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Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau closed his eyes, feeling the roll of the ship beneath him and letting the spray of the sea wash over him. The sun had made a rare appearance over the channel, and Jean-Baptiste could feel the warmth of it on his face. It had been too long since he was last at sea, he missed the freedom of it. Even though, the weight of ruling the empire weighed less on his shoulders, and for a moment, he was just a boy again. But it was only a moment, and as he opened his eyes again, the significance of his position came rushing back. The coastline of Kehsi stretched out before him, drawing closer with every passing moment. Jean-Baptiste had envisioned taking this voyage before, but back then he had been a reckless teenager, envisioning himself at the head of a fleet. Turning away from the approaching shore, Jean-Baptiste allowed himself a smile at how far reality was from his fantasy.

'Tigre' was a formidable ship in her own right, but she was taking the journey alone, a flag of diplomacy flying from her mainmast rather than one of war. Jean-Baptiste had grown up hearing stories of the countless wars between Grimhout and Kehsi, and yet now he stood upon a ship sailing into the very heart of Kehsi. If his journey was successful, those wars would remain firmly in the past, and perhaps both nations could finally begin to heal those old wounds. The Archduke found his gaze drifting back towards the distant shoreline of his own nation, and for a moment, he questioned his own actions. He was proud to call Christophe his son, and he was under no illusions about his own mortality, but leaving his son as the de facto ruler of the Empire in his absence... Was it too much to thrust upon the young man's shoulders?

As if on cue, Jean-Baptiste heard the man standing next to him shift on his feet, and felt a hand on his shoulder. Tearing his eyes away from the shores of Grimhout, Jean-Baptiste glanced into the face of his brother, and saw a wry smile on the other man's face.

"I know that face. You shouldn't worry so much. Christophe is a good man, and besides, Roseline will keep him in line. She has plenty of experience with that!"

Jean-Baptiste felt the worry lifting off him as he smiled. It had been Roseline's idea to bring Marc-Antoine with him on the diplomatic mission, and he was already glad that he had listened. The brothers had grown up together, and they always seemed to know what the other one was thinking. While Charles was the care-free charmer, Marc-Antoine had always had his head screwed on right, and Jean-Baptiste had found himself coming to his youngest brother for advice more times than he could count. His mission was taking him into uncharted territory, and he could think of few men that he would rather by his side.

"Thank you, brother. But it is not only Christophe I am worried for."

For an instant, the smile on Marc-Antoine's face faltered, and he turned to look towards the coastline of Kehsi. There was a brief moment of silence as the two brothers both watched the ancient enemy draw closer. The task that lay before them was one that their ancestors had always fallen short of. Could they succeed where so many others had failed?

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Heyitsjiwon


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The harsh cacophony of agitated water and grinding steel filled the air in a largely empty room with two notable excepts, a metallic hunk of animated iron in the middle and several men standing around it. While it was an unsightly object... the men in the room knew the potential value that such an object could have as it made repetitive movements. That was the key... it was a tireless metal beast of repetition. It did not have to rest. It did not sleep. It did not stop. It only had to eat. As long as the fires were fueled with coal, the engine would not stop. Day and night, it would continue its repetition. Grueling, repetitive manual labor could be replaced. Hispalis was on the verge of a new revolution.

Yet, the King of Hispalis kept his excitement tempered. The engine worked. It worked TOO well. It had the potential to disturb the jobs and livelihoods of thousands if not millions. Millers, weavers... and more could find themselves replaced by the 'machine'. Productive citizens were a foundation of a nation, and the engine threatened to disturb it if they were too careless with the implementation of the machine. Charles looked to the creator, Julio Vera, and said "Your ingenuity and resourcefulness are a treasure to the nation. Mr. Vera, you will hear from me soon. In the decades to come, your work may span entire cities if not the entire country. I will see to it, but first we must test the engine and see how economically viable it is in commercial use. Until then, farewell and continue to be a shining paragon of Hispalis ingenuity."


King Charles looked at the reports from the growing wars to the east. It was a scary fact and statistic to read, yet he knew that for the people who lived there that the horrors of war had reared its ugly head. Perhaps... it could have been avoided, but by now it was clearly too late. He prayed that the conflict would end swiftly and that despite all the bloodshed that it would not be in complete vain.

"...And when the burning moment breaks,
And all things else are out of mind,
And only joy of battle takes
Him by the throat and makes him blind,
Through joy and blindness he shall know,
Not caring much to know, that still
Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
That it be not the Destined Will.

The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air Death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings."
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Romero
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Romero Prince of Darkness

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"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, my friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." -Wilfred Owen

Autumn of 1756

3rd of August

The palace of Queen Marta II has proven to be a tempting location to many diplomatic parties, and it is the representatives of The Kingdom of Hispalis that are the latest to call for audience with the young queen of The Kingdom of Fosbak. Just as with The Kingdom of Genstadt, the delegation of Hispalis, led by the king's brother, Philip, offers a defensive coalition to the queen. Fosbak has been a nation caught in the middle ever since the outbreak of war between The Kingdom of Dorist and The Kingdom of Stevata, and these new arrivals are greeted warily. After all, the two nations have little tie to each other, and with war practically on her doorstep, the queen is largely occupied with matters closer to home. Regardless, only a fool would ignore the economic boom that is currently occurring within Hispalis, and Queen Marta is no fool. Formal introductions are made, and the foundations of future relations are laid in place, trade routes drawn up and diplomats prepared, but for now, Fosbak will not tie itself to another nation.

4th of August

It is not only The Kingdom of Hispalis that has been practising diplomacy while others practice war. The diplomatic delegation of The Empire of Grimhout in The Kingdom of Kehsi is joined by none other than Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau himself, and after months of frenzied work, a breakthrough is finally made. The two nations have been warring for centuries, their hatred for one another written into the history books with blood, but this new generation has achieved what none before them could. King Janek II is a young man still, but with the steadying hand of his mother, Karoline, he has quickly grown into a popular and wise king. For the first time, King meets Arch-Duke, and the two men find common ground. A peace agreement, signed by both parties, is officially written up, followed by a flurry of other treaties. The three most significant amongst these treaties not only carry implications for the rest of Europe, but they will have consequences for the whole world. The first treaty represents not only a trade agreement with each other, but also a de facto declaration of friendship, while the second details the dividing up of territory in the Americas. The third treaty is perhaps the most significant, as it represents the pledge of Kehsi to aid Grimhout's establishment of a colony in India. The tensions between the two nations have been all but cooled, and the two men, the weight of nations resting on their shoulders, part as friends. Already, news will have reached The Kingdom of Hispalis, and how Kehsi's other friends will react to this announcement still stands to be seen.

6th of August

Almost as if to commemorate the historic peace between The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout, a new princess is born. With her father, Marc-Antoine, already returning from the Kehsi capital with groundbreaking treaties on board, Ève Dervaux is born into a new world of hope and peace. A new age is dawning for the Empire of Grimhout, and for the rest of her life, Ève's birthday will coincide with one of the crowning achievement's of her uncle's reign.

8th of August

For now, the winds of fate continue to blow in the direction of The Empire of Grimhout. While great strides are taken in relations with the nation to the north, it is not only there that Grimhout is finding success. In The Principality of Asmont, Juliette, the daughter of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, has been a guest of Prince William Asmont for months, and her charm and grace have evidently bore fruit. Her relationship with the Asmont heir, Alexandre, has blossomed in recent weeks, and an official announcement of their engagement sparks joy in the courts of both Asmont and Grimhout. While this causes some headaches amongst the officials, with Juliette becoming the sister-in-law of her uncle, it is a clear sign of intent, the two families joining again, and signalling that Asmont will have a Grimhout queen. Fresh treaties are drawn up, and the two nations solidify their status as allies while preparations for a grand marriage get underway. For Grimhout, the month is already proving to be a joyful one, despite the horrors of war that are consuming other parts of Europe.

9th of August

Despite the reports of resounding victories that are starting to filter back to The Empire of Khazaria from the west, there are still those within the empire who do not celebrate. The nomadic tribes of Khazaria have been settled by the grand feast, whipped into a frenzy of war, and sent to war, but now that the ancient enemy The Kingdom of Komentiolos is once more at the gates, there are murmurings that the young emperor has let his ambition get ahead of him. After all, the vast bulk of Khazaria's armies are now fighting far from home, dying in a war which will likely yield little spoils, while Komentiolos is the far closer threat. While the Khazaria navy has held it own, if Komentiolos test the defences of the border, there are some among the tribes who believe that the line will buckle, and make those beliefs well known. While these murmurings are only in the background for now, it would be wise for the young emperor to not ignore them entirely.

12th of August

While events within Europe continue to escalate, there are still those who cast their eyes further afield. With the promise of their wealth honeying their words, the missionaries of The Kingdom of Hispalis have seen great success in welcoming the natives of their holdings in Africa into the fold. Making use of this new-found labour, as well as fulfilling the first of their promises, Hispalis begins working on a series of commercial farms. Work is quick, and welcome. Yet more of the natives flock to the settlements of Hispalis, embracing this new age, and the prosperity of the colonies continues to boom, a river of gold running between Africa and Hispalis.

13th of August

The Kingdom of Paranas has remained neutral in the war between The Kingdom of Dorist and The Kingdom of Stevata, but now that war has come to his own shores, King Markus I can not ignore it. Markus is not known as a strong king, but even he cannot ignore an alliance. The Kingdom of Komentiolos has declared war against The Empire of Khazaria, and when Khazaria calls for aid, Paranas answers, declaring war against Komentiolos. With Paranas lending it's navy to Khazaria's own strength, the frigates and sloops of Komentiolos find themselves even more outnumbered. Unswayed by this development, the forces of Komentiolos begin working on their next move, soldiers boarding merchant vessels and preparing to raid the Khazaria coast.

16th of August

The fleet of The Empire of Khazaria has long been an anomaly in the patchwork of the empire, a glimmer of the modern within a nation so entrenched in tradition, but in the waters of the Black Sea, the fleet has been tested, and it has not been found wanting. Although the Ships of the Line that Khazaria commands are a shadow of the craftsmanship and quality that defines the ships of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, the sheer size of these warships has proven to be a formidable weapon in it's own right. The shipyards of Khazaria come to life, and work is begun on a string of new ships for the navy. Although it will be months, and in some cases years, before these ships can sail to war, it is a clear sign of intent that the ancient empire is truly starting to embrace the weapons of this new age.

18th of August

The soldiers of The Kingdom of Komentiolos take to the water, and descend upon the first port of The Empire of Khazaria that they reach. The town is pillaged, it's buildings set ablaze, and before the forces of Khazaria can react, the soldiers of Komentiolos take to the sea and are gone. For the second coastal town, it is the same story, chaos emerging from the water and then fading away just as quickly, leaving flame and ruin in their wake. By the time these raiding ships reach the third port, the beast of Khazaria has awoken. Fresh from licking their wounds, the remaining navy of Khazaria sails to war for a second times, with ships of Paranas at their back. Once again, the frigates and sloops of Komentiolos find themselves hopelessly outnumbered, but once again, they do not fade away in the face of such overwhelming odds. Armed with chain-shot, the sloops buzz around the Ships of War like flies around a great beast, and almost routinely, the masts of the Khazaria ships are toppled. However the numbers are too great, and while Admiral Basiliscus Verina commands his ships like a master conductor, his orchestra playing some great symphony, he cannot achieve the un-achievable, and one by one, the Komentiolos ships are stricken. A great leader can recognise when hope is lost, and as he watches his fleet diminish minute by minute, Admiral Verina signals the retreat. The raiding ships, poorly armed merchant vessels, are shielded as best they can be by the other Komentiolos ships, but several are sunk in the crossfire, the survivors either lost at sea, or scooped from the water by Khazaria ships. The two fleets have fought each other to a stalemate again, but the Komentiolos fleet had less ships to lose to begin with, and they can ill-afford another bloody battle.

21st of August

The colonies of The Kingdom of Kehsi in India have been flaunting their power in the region, and although The Viswan Empire is a wounded beast, it is a wounded beast that is the most dangerous. While the colonists of The Republic of Kalseran have been more subtle in their strengthening, Kehsi have been flagrant, and Viswan cannot leave it unchallenged. The army of the empire is still vast, dwarfing even the largest armies of Europe, and although they are ill-equipped compared to the muskets and cannons of the Kehsi soldiers, numbers alone are still a powerful weapon. It quickly becomes clear that the Viswan forces are preparing for war, the demands that Kehsi cease their militaristic expansion falling on deaf ears. While it would take close to a year for word to be sent back to the young King Janek II, and orders returned, the Governor of the Kehsi colonies in India, an ambitious man by the name of Stein Fehn, carries the authority of the crown, and prepares for war in kind. This brewing conflict has implications for the whole region, as well as threatening the possibility of a The Empire of Grimhout colony almost before plans are even drawn up.

22nd of August

Even beneath the dark shadow of war that has shrouded Europe, the 'Vera Engine', born in the heart of The Kingdom of Hispalis is perhaps the most ground-breaking development, and it may well prove to be the defining moment of the decade, if not the century. While news of it's invention is still only beginning to filter out to the rest of Europe, King Charles XII is quick to realise the potential of this new engine. With Julio Vera remaining at the helm, the young inventor is provided with the resources of the crown, and work is quickly begun in producing more engines of Vera's design, as well as constructing rudimentary factories to assess the viability of the engine in industry, and changes made to the very fabric of the Hispalis labour force in preparation of the changes that this new machine could bring. The early signs are encouraging to say the least, the engines already proving a more than capable blowing engine, signalling a drastic change in the iron industry.

24th of August

The act of embracing the colony of Aegyptus into The Kingdom of Komentiolos proper sparked celebration across Komentiolos, but there were still murmurs of discontent amongst those who did not look so fondly upon the union, and those voices have only grown louder over time. In recent weeks, these rebellious groups seem to have become more organised, as if there was some greater power pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Not only that, but the string of raids that have been carried out against the most far-flung outposts have been undeniably more planned, with dark figures, armed with muskets, emerging from the sands and falling upon these isolated pockets of Komentiolos in the desert. For now, these raids remain only on the fringes, Arcadius assuring his brother, King Nikolaos Andreas Koromelas II, that he can handle the troublemakers himself. What is quickly becoming clear however, is that even if Komentiolos call the colony a part of their kingdom, they cannot hope to control the shifting sands, or those who dwell within them.

26th of August

As news of the resounding defeats that The Kingdom of Dorist has suffered reaches The Kingdom of Altenten, the tensions of the court finally come to a head. Phillip has rallied the nobles behind him, and as the balance of the conflict seemingly swinging more in favour of The Kingdom of Stevata by the day, King Leonard II finds that he has few choices left. With the overwhelming support that his son-in-law has rallied, the unspoken threat of civil war quickly becomes evident, and despite his reservations, the king ceases his own defiance. Diplomats are sent to the east, looking to sue for peace, and it quickly becomes clear that the armies of Altenten will not be marching to the aid of Dorist. For Dorist, the situation is increasingly dire. The bedraggled remains of the armies under General Albert Riechsand and General Tilman Grohl stagger back to the relative safety of the Dorist main lines, and the province of Shardvul is lost, except from the dogged defiance of the city of Kronik. With a formidable army at his command, and having already proved himself to be a more than capable defender, General Wolfgang continues to fend off the combined forces of Stevata, The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Teclav. For now, both sides seem content to sit and wait, the invaders hoping to outlast the supplies of the grand city, and the defender defending simply because he does not know the meaning of the word 'surrender'. For now, the sheer weight of General Wolfgang's name is re-enforcing his soldiers nerve, but as supplies diminish, and no rescuing army appears, that morale may begin to wane...

28th of August

For now, the rebellion in the province of Helensa seems to be losing momentum. With General Bettino Gianni carefully navigating the social conflict, more and more nobles return to the fold of The Republic of Kalseran. Few are surprised when Antoni Viscovi abandons the cause, going so far as to work with his childhood friend to bring this rebellion to an end. Sicuro Donati is trickier, but it is carefully made clear to him that his ambition would be far better served as a friend of the republic, rather than it's foe. Before long, the influence of the rebellion barely reaches beyond the walls of Calassa, and only Maria Toleas still stands defiant. General Bettino is an experienced diplomat, as well as a capable commander, but faced with the razor sharp wit and guile of Maria, he is outmatched. For a few days, she continues to meet with Bettino, but it quickly becomes clear that she is only entertaining him for her own amusement, like a cat playing with a mouse, and eventually, she seems to grow tired of even this. In her last meeting, she presents her closing statement. Although her co-conspirators have fallen at the wayside, falling victim to honeyed words and veiled threats, she has no intention of following suit. If the republic wishes to convince her otherwise, then it is to the republic that she wishes to speak. All that General Bettino can do is relay her request. An audience with Grand Lady Luisa A'Dera herself.

29th of August

With The Kingdom of Altenten refusing to march to war, and The Republic of Kalseran more occupied with internal issues, The Kingdom of Dorist seems to be looking for aid from elsewhere. Clearly aware of the underlying tensions between The Kingdom of Fosbak and The Kingdom of Orvag, a diplomatic delegation embarks for the Orvag capital of Ekda. Dorist are becoming increasingly desperate, a string of military defeats draining not only their resources, but also their morale, and yet they do not receive the reply from Orvag that they would have liked. Perhaps if this offer had come earlier, the ageing King Valterri IV might have been tempted, but King Valterri has no interest in betting on a losing horse, and although the Dorist diplomats are hosted warmly enough, it is made clear that they will find no joy. Not dissuaded, another diplomatic party begins it's journey for The Empire of Stabuga, hoping, pleading, for better luck.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Murtox


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Province of Shardvul

The sounds of the battlefield had long been gone from fields and forests of Shardvul. The soldiers and horse riders of Khazaria were bloodied yes but victorious and victory was enough for Alp Tarkhan. The camp he had set up after the battle against Dorist remained jubilant and there was something particular in the tents that had been brought by the Khazarian army because there was a clear divide between the aesthetic side of the tents of the cavalry and the foot soldiers. The tents of the foot soldiers were modern and adjusted in a triangular manner made with cloth. Alp Tarkhans tent and that of the clans who had recently united the Khazarian army instead used yurts, circular tents made out of wool these were far more rustic and colorful that the rest of the tents of the army.

If one had an eagle view of the camp of the Khazarians, one could see a very westernized half and another far more rustic side of the camp. Many officers and aides from Teclav and Stevata would after the war comment on this divide, one such account from a Stevatan officer named Fedor Zima would say. "From afar our allies look like a single army, but it is enough to see the different colors of their cavalrymen and infantry to notice a great divide, even the smell of their officers is different from one side of their camp to other." As such, even the allies of Khazaria while not saying so directly acknowledged that the Khazarians still had a wild aspect to their nation. One that had only been reinforced early and that had begun to even rub off the more westernized side of the Khazarian culture, it became a sort of a fad to wear the ancient styled feathered hats even the hairstyles of many began to change.

During this moment in history, Khazaria reconnected to its roots due to the victory that they had achieved against Dorist. But these roots also reignited the calls of a past era, when the Emperors of Khazaria were nothing else but the first amongst equals, something that empowered the house notables with their ancient dynasties to feel the right to call the emperor to focus on the rightful enemy of the Khazarian people, the kingdom of Komentiolos. A nation full of rulers that without a doubt only wished for the worst for the people of Khazaria, who wouldn't doubt to massacre its towns and villages, burn their temples and cities. The outcries against the kingdom of Komentiolos only grew lauder after with the help of Paranas a stalemate was once again achieved at sea. They claimed that it was time to redirect the efforts of the army to the border to finally take revenge upon the kingdom that had been nothing else but a curse through the history of Khazaria, that the elders of old would never forgive us for letting Komentiolos go away unpunished from this war.

As Alp Tarkhan planned to secure his final victory and return to Khazaria. The Emperor prepared to placate the house of notables once again, but words wouldn't suffice not for too long. The war in the west had cost the Khazarian treasury and people a great lot, and when their allies to the south had begun to support their maritime force against Komentiolos it became clear that it was time for the Emperor to remember the tale of the two princes once more or someone would have to remind him.

Winter Palace

"Wolfgang Draton that's his name! A coward a terrible general one that will let his army starve before taking the merciful option that our allies have allowed for them. With the forces Stevata and Teclav have stationed there already, we can ensure that they will be dealt with swiftly. Please, your imperial majesty bring back Alp Tarkhan and his army of stallions to win the war to our south! Paranas is already with us, it is time to secure the southern strait for us and our allies to let Khazaria never again be threatened by the backstabbers to our south." One of the clan nobles gave this speech while many more applauded him. The Regents and the Emperor looked at them, their gazes as unbroken as ever. The young emperor had learned well from his aunt and it showed.

"Paranas is helping us, the army of Dorist is corraled in their city and the seas remain contested. You are correct, we are holding this war correctly and I gave it to the right hands. But until peace is signed with our name between the victors in the west, we will have to keep our soldiers there. I will not risk defeat for a battle that right now, is not worth being fought. I lament the destruction of our towns, but we will make the Komentiolos repay once their fleet is finally defeated." The Emperor declared. "It will be enough for the new recruits to be sent to the army of Yitzhak, a portion of them will replenish the losses of Alp Tarkhan but a great portion will go to Yitzhak if that will placate your worries. Also remember, that this war is not going to be won in the mountains where our forefathers had their horses die in the hundreds, it will be won in the seas and once we secure the sea, we will be able to strike anywhere in Komentiolos even their capital if we so wish it. All I ask is patience, the war in the west will be over soon and the south will be ours too. Nursultan didn't win the crusades in a single year and I don't seek to make it so that I lose a war in four months. Dismissed."

With that said the forces of Yitzhak would be replenished and the forces at sea, supported by Paranas were now to become more aggressive. Their goal to force another battle with their beleaguered navy and where else than in their shipyards. Where the ships of the line of Paranas and Khazaria could wreak havoc at a pace that no other could achieve.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Abefroeman
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Abefroeman Truck Driver

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Trapezus, Northern Coast of Komentiolos, Military Wharf

King Nikolaos stood stiffly, looking down at the flurry of activity in the wharf. Damaged ships were being hastily repaired, while others, too damaged for further combat, stood off to the side, their fate yet to be decided. He turned away from the scene, looking instead to his officer corps, the studied and veteran military men who were the ones to conduct whether or not this venture into war would result in victory, a white peace, or another defeat at the hands of the Khazarians. Admiral Basiliscus stood under the awning of a tent, quietly discussing matters with his subordinates, his face beaded with sweat, as the heat of the day began to reach its zenith. Other officers moved about in a hurried fashion, off on an errant quest to deliver dispatches, or to check up on the progress of another cadre of military minds. Turning back to face the wharves, King Nikolaos took a few more steps towards the old fortress walls that had protected the city for centuries. 'There was no turning back, no matter the outcome now', he thought to himself, leaning forward to survey the situation to the best of his abilities. 'I will not invade by land... not again, not like my forebears did so long ago.' His eyes looking as the damaged hull of a Brig-of-War was being repaired. 'They control the great steppes and plains of their empire, like no other. The mountains shield us, shield the people, from the vastness of their mounted forces. To abandon those natural barriers... I'd invite envelopment like the Dorist forces,' He sighed, looking back up towards the vastness of the Black Sea. Out there, was his enemy, and worsening the situation, was the intervention of the Paranas navy. From the observations of front line commanders and from Admiral Basiliscus himself, the enemy had effectively doubled its forces upon the Black Sea.

He muttered a curse in Latin, before standing fully upright, straightening his clothing, and turning to face the officer corps once more. "Honored friends and commanders, let us take a walk, I hear that the Temple Panaghia Chrysokephalos is particularly beautiful to lay ones eyes upon. I think we all need a break from this heat, and time to pray before Neptune will bring clarity." The king did not wait for an answer, and turned leading the way to the majestic place of worship. The Temple Panaghia Chrysokephalos was the center of worship in Trapezus, and the region itself. Royal guards quickly rode ahead, clearing the way for the king and his retinue, who soon arrived, trading their garb for more traditional vestments of relaxation and thought within the sacred sanctum.

Hours had passed since the men had entered the temple, to where the sun was now well into the low of the sky once more. King Nikolaos spoke, breaking the silence, his legs cooling in the waters.

"Then it is agreed. Operation Vulcan will be conducted within the fortnight. General Flavius will hold the line along the Testudo, with the forces already allocated to him, plus an additional two thousand in reserve, able to quickly move along the line where needed. He will ensure that our land borders remain sealed to any horsemen, and that we can operate without fear of Khazaria harassing the Themes of Tyrus and Ptolemais. The majority of the military forces allocated to raid the coasts of Khazaria shall be diverted to Naval Task Force Tempestas, along with the agreed upon contingent of marines as well. Admiral Verina will continue to operate in the East, drawing the enemies forces away, doing what he can to stall any counter-attacks until we are at least five days into the operation. Furthermore, Admiral Verina deemed it necessary to resort to the use of Greek Fire, and we are to divert readily available supplies to him, along with ordering the Alchemist Guild to double their production runs of this weapon. The situation is dire, as both Verina and Flavius have put it, along with Augustus and Rousombladadiotes. Dorist is all but defeated, Altenten has bowed out from war, Kalseran is on the verge of civil war, and unless our request for aid from Reria is answered, we are alone against two foes. The time to fight honorably, like civilized soldiers, is gone. We do not fight civilized men... we fight monsters in the dark, boogeymen who ride upon horseback and rape and pillage the world." He paused, walking over to an old, hand crafted map of the Black Sea. The rich colors and stone work displayed in detail the region in great detail, at least when much of it was under former Imperial control. Some things changed no doubt, but the land doesn't and that was what mattered most.

"Admiral Verina, if you are confident in your abilities, then I also give the go ahead for nighttime operations in your theater, and the freedom to conduct the war as you see fit. Fight battles to conserve our strength, as you pointed out, our losses are starting to way upon us, but do not, under any circumstance, get trapped in harbors and ports. The garrisons have ample supplies of Greek Fire, and will make use of it to ensure that no ships dare sail into our safe havens. You are in charge of the East, and do what you can to see that we do not lose control of our waters..." He turned and pointed at the map, standing in the water now, wading into the center of the very map itself, going over the plan once again with his officers, whom had convened this was the only option to stave off war upon their own lands. Shortly, King Nikolaos was joined by General Augustus and Admiral Rousombladadiotes, whom with the help of aids, showcased their plan to force Paranas to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Tired and sore after another two hours of planning and going over the smallest details, they all agreed, invade Paranas with all due haste, and bring war to them, before they could do the opposite. Local garrisons would supplement the main body of the army, with interior garrison forces brought forward to take over for the mobilized forces on the homefront. There were so many details, that had it not been for Valentinian, the issue regarding the Theme of Aegyptus would have been overlooked. A quick dinner was had, before King Nikolaos read the dispatches from his younger brother once more, and then conveyed his own orders and permissions.

"Exarchos Arcadius Koromelas, I wish you best in these coming times, for the Gods contend to test us of our faith. First, if I had not told you, my wife is pregnant with our first child, and I hope you and your wife soon have the same blessing as us.

Your reports of rebels and raiders in the desert sands and dunes is but a curse that has plagued the region since antiquity. The Bedouins have always chafed under any and all who ruled them except themselves. However, their apparent coordinated attacks speaks to something more sinister than an inbred desire to thumb their noses at the rightful rulers of the lands they squat upon. Perhaps a local noble has grown bold in their desire to crown themself an Emir, which I much prefer, as that is easier to track down and quash, though if we are unlucky, these machinations come from further abroad. Make use of the Expeditionary Forces as you see fit, and your own local auxiliary legions. You know the land best, and to you, I ask only that you keep the flow of trade and resources unhindered. If you feel you can root out pockets of rebels, by all means, do so, however, do not risk needless raids into the sands. The tales of old, that our uncle told us, speak that it is foolhardy to stray too far from civilization.

May Minerva grant you wisdom, Mars grant your army strength, and Diana grant you fruit in your hunt for these rebels and their puppet masters. If you need anything, ask it, and I will do all I can to help.

King Nikolaos II of Komentiolos"

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"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, my friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." -Wilfred Owen

Autumn of 1756

1st of September

The commander of The Empire of Khazaria ships, the man simply known as 'Barjik', is a deeply unsettling figure. Something about his presence sends shivers down the spine of even the hardiest sailors under his command, but despite this, Barjik seems to ooze an almost animalistic charisma, some deeper calling driving his men on, even if the 'Admiral' seems to have little grasp of naval strategy. Before now, Khazaria's fleet has used his size and weight to batter and bludgeon the smaller fleet of The Kingdom of Komentiolos with a brutal effectiveness. Now that the ships of The Kingdom of Paranas have joined the fray, another commander has come to the fore. The Paranas admiral, Alis Macrelis, has none of the raw charm that Barjik possesses, but he understands strategy, and he can see that Komentiolos is on the ropes, and it is always important to push the advantage. While the fleet of Komentiolos has retreated to lick it's wounds, Admiral Macrelis gathers the joint fleet of Paranas and Khazaria, and prepares to sail to war once more.

2nd of September

The west of Europe has been largely untroubled by the strife of war, and almost as if to represent this, the marriage between Princess Juliette Dervaux of The Empire of Grimhout and Prince Alexandre Asmont of The Principality of Asmont draws closer by the day. While the nations of the east wage bloody war, the love-struck couple deliberates over who to invite to their wedding. Perhaps it is that same warring that stops the couple from sending invitations to the great families of Europe, and for now, the wedding stands to be a modest, if still lavish, affair, with the two families coming together in the Asmont capital of Aarborn in the coming days.

5th of September

The joyful day arrives at last, and the two dynasties of The Empire of Grimhout and The Principality of Asmont are officially joined in marriage. The day itself passes without a hitch, the two families celebrating together, and there is even time for the two rulers, Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau and Prince William Asmont, to share a quiet drink and discuss grander matters. When the marriage finally draws to a close, the two families go their separate ways, but they are now bonded closer than ever, and it is clear that from this day forward, the two nations paths will be intrinsically linked. Perhaps inspired by the joyous occasion, or perhaps simply looking to continue strengthening their position, a diplomatic party of Grimhout is sent to both The Kingdom of Arhan and The Kingdom of Hispalis.

6th of September

Where there is joy and new beginnings, there is also sorrow and death. Fridrik Sidorov, named after his uncle, Grand Prince Fridrik Sidorov of The Kingdom of Teclav, has always been a sickly child, and he finally succumbs to the consumption that has plagued him for much of his short life. Although Fridrik was sickly, he was well-loved in the capital of Lebin, and his death prompts mourning all across the city, as well as Teclav as a whole. It does not only bring sadness to Teclav, but also to The Kingdom of Orvag, his mother's nation. Perhaps the death will bring the two nations closer, but for now, both countries are draped in black for a boy who never grew into a man.

7th of September

The rebellion that has gripped The Republic of Kalseran for months seems to be grinding to a stalemate. General Bettino Gianni, armed with the olive branch of peace, has done impressive work in weakening the rebellion, drawing the power and support away until it is only the iron will of Maria Toleas that remains. In a move that surprises some, the Grand Lady Luisa A'Dera accepts the offer of an audience with the other woman, and while she declines the invitation of travelling to the city of Calassa itself, the two women agree to meet in the city of Palysos, the provincial capital of Helensa, and the only city in the region which has not been blighted by rebellion. Maria accepts the suggestion, and finally leaves the city of Calassa behind her, travelling to the north, just as Luisa A'Dera travels south.

9th of September

Under the cover of night, dark shapes descend upon the city of Calassa. Even as the blockade of The Republic of Kalseran is relaxed around the coastal city, shadows move in the darkness. General Sotiris Manlio has sat impatiently for long enough, and now that the hounds have finally been unchained, he takes to his task with relish. The troops of the republic, the feared Seaguard, descend upon the forts of the rebellion all across the city. Some of the forts fall without a shot being fired, and those few that are able to put up a fight are quickly silenced by the far more experienced soldiers that they face. By the time dawn breaks over the city, the flag of the A'dera flies above the city once more, and the last pockets of rebellion are brought to heel as more troops land in the city. Without Maria Toleas to unite it, the city falls with little bloodshed, and even as news travels to the rest of the republic, the Grand Lady of the republic meets Maria, a leader who suddenly has nothing to lead.

10th of September

War is not a craft known only to Europe. To the east, the vast beast of The Viswan Empire has stirred, and it descends upon Fort Ivars, a trading port of The Kingdom of Kehsi. The port is only defended by a few hundred men, drawn from the local population, as well as the more adventurous traders, but they are led by Stein Fehn, a man whose ruthlessness does not require translation. Although the soldiers of Viswan are experienced soldiers in their own right, and outnumber the men of Kehsi by more than four to one, Stein Fehn has not been sitting idle. Cannons, 'volunteered' by the frigates and sloops that patrol the waters around the port, line the fort's modest walls, and they unleash death and ruin against the approaching Viswan forces. Stein has thrust a musket into the hands of every man that can hold one, and takes his own position on the line, roaring out orders even above the cacophony of cannon fire. Although their ammunition is in scarce supply, Stein is careful to keep that fact from the Viswan, and the hail of cannon and musket fire sends the Viswan soldiers scurrying for safety. The paw of the great beast has been bloodied, and for now, the Viswan Empire pulls back. But the Kehsi fort has played it's ace, and although messengers are making all haste back to Kehsi proper, it will still be months before aid arrives. Word is quickly sent to The Republic of Kalseran, the other power in the region, attempting to find help closer to home.

11th of September

The diplomats of The Kingdom of Altenten are given an audience with the young king, King Oswald IV, and are quick to implore peace between Stevata and The Kingdom of Stevata. It is the dream of a new age that saw Altenten turn away from war, and it is this same dream that burns in the heart of Oswald. Perhaps there is still hope for peace in Europe after all... No blood has been spilt in the short war between the two, and Oswald agrees to the offer of peace. A slew of treaties follow, but Oswald is careful not to slap the hand of Altenten too harshly. After all, peace should not provide fuel for the flames of war, and when the diplomats return to Altenten, the peace is official. The war between Altenten and Stevata has drawn to a close, and The Kingdom of Dorist stands even more alone.

13th of September

It continues to be a fruitful season for The Empire of Grimhout, as triumphant reports begin to return from their diplomats in The Empire of Stabuga. The empires have found common ground, and an official declaration of friendship is made between the two nations, as well as a trade agreement. The two nations also agree to establishing embassies in the respective capitals of Monsk and Rivierberg, thereby opening the doors to further diplomatic activity. It appears that the gamble of the Arch-Duke has paid off, as another powerful nation aligns itself with Grimhout. While other nations march to war, Grimhout continues to strengthen itself with diplomacy, and Stabuga has begun to awaken, and take an interest in events beyond their own frozen borders.

15th of September

There has always been a certain duality between life and death, and even while The Kingdom of Orvag mourns the death of Fridrik Sidorov, a new life is brought into the world. Born to the second son of King Valterri IV, there is little debate over what the baby boy should be called. Fridrik Kotka is born a healthy child, and this small gesture resonates between the nations of Orvag and The Kingdom of Teclav. Just as the death of a child brought the two nations closer together, this birth of another continues to strengthen that bond. This new connection represents a shift in the region, as the historical ally of The Kingdom of Fosbak begins to learn east rather than west, and this new development will not have escaped the attention of the young Queen Marta II.

18th of September

Even while some nations innovate, there are still nations of Europe that are still deeply linked with their traditional roots. Just as The Empire of Khazaria has turned to the nomadic horseman to bolster their armies, The Empire of Stabuga has recalled the folklore of their own. The lands beyond Stabuga's eastern reaches has long been an uncharted wilderness, but Tsar Viktor Barinov has heard the stories of when Stabuga still held some sway there, and he is determined to restore that influence. Employing the services of those who still roam beyond the eastern frontier, the Tsar begins to explore the possibility of expanding to the east, reclaiming the wilderness that has been lost.

19th of September

Admiral Alis Macrelis has poured over charts and strategy for long enough. It is time for The Kingdom of Paranas and The Empire of Khazaria to sail to war once more. In the previous two sprawling battles between the fleets of Khazaria, Paranas and The Kingdom of Komentiolos, it has been Komentiolos that has initiated the battle, but now, it is the turn of Komentiolos to have to react. There have been a handful of small skirmishes in the past weeks, but now, the full strength of Khazaria and Paranas sails forth. The shipyards of Komentiolos are the target, and with only a splintered fleet left to defend them, there are some who write the operation off as a victory before the ships have even set sail. However, King Nikolaos Andreas Koromelas II still has a few cards in his hand, and as the warships bear down on shipyards, an almost forgotten art is brought forth. 'Greek Fire' has been known by many names throughout the ages, it's very existence a closely guarded secret, but it is Greek Fire that pours forth from the Komentiolos defenders. In truth, the mastery of the art has perhaps been lost in time, the flames that dance across the water temperamental to say the least, but the sheer shock of this weapon sends ripples throughout the fleet of Paranas and Khazaria. Any ships that are touched by the flames are quickly engulfed, but the sheer charisma of Barjik drives his men into the fire, and warships still make it into the harbours. Once they are through the flames, the ships of Paranas and Khazaria waste no time in laying ruin. Any ships being constructed are turned to splinters, and the bedraggled surviving fleet of Komentiolos is dealt another heavy blow. The 'battle', if it can even be called that, is a whirlwind of chaos and flame, but as the ships of Khazaria and Paranas limp back to the safety of their own docks, they leave ruin and death in their wake, and the fleet of Komentiolos has been all but wiped out. Sifting through the chaos, there are some that will take note of the fact that some of the half-constructed ships that were destroyed were destined to fly under the flag of The Kingdom of Hispalis.

21st of September

The city of Kronik still stands, but it's position grows more hopeless with every day that passes. The combined armies of The Kingdom of Teclav, The Kingdom of Stevata and The Empire of Khazaria still encircle the city, but they have ceased their bombardment of it's defences. After all, General Wolfgang has proven that he is still able to hold whatever breaches their artillery make in the walls, and as time becomes increasingly in their favour, the combined force does not deem it necessary to waste their ammunition. After all, fresh supplies arrive from the east every day, keeping the besieging armies well-fed and content, while the situation within the city for The Kingdom of Dorist is far from as secure. Supplies are running dangerously low, the wells are drying up, and it is only with an iron fist that General Wolfgang has been able to stop his men from deserting their posts. The Royal regiments within the city still maintain order, but the rest of the Dorist army has little morale remaining, and still no relief force marches. The remainder of the Dorist army, with no orders from their king, simply sit by and watch, waiting for the city to fall. With almost no allies, and facing overwhelming odds, it seems a certainty that Kronik will fall, and that the province of Shardvul will once again fly the flag of Stevata. It is only the dogged, almost suicidal, determination of General Wolfgang that is staving off the inevitable, and even he cannot defend a city with ghosts.

22nd of September

Perhaps there is still a glimmer of hope for The Kingdom of Dorist. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and orders go out to rally a new force of soldiers, conscripted from every corner of the kingdom. These men receive little training, the majority armed with only basic muskets, and the rest forced to make do with whatever they can get their hands on, but the manpower of Dorist is still formidable, and nearly eighty thousand soldiers of Dorist are raised. With no orders beyond their raising, General Albert Riechsand takes de facto command of this new army, gathering them along the defensive lines he has already begun preparing for when Shardvul should fall to The Kingdom of Stevata. Although simply having more bodies to hold the line is a welcome boost, the harvest is just around the corner, and the hands that now hold muskets will be missed from their scythes. Growing increasingly desperate for allies, the diplomatic party of Dorist finally reaches The Empire of Stabuga, but if they were expecting the same warm welcome that greeted the diplomats of The Empire of Grimhout, they are bitterly disappointed. Tsar Viktor Barinov quickly makes it clear that Stabuga has no interest in joining the Dorist cause, and the diplomats begin their homeward journey with empty hands.

24th of September

Not wanting to be outdone in diplomacy by The Empire of Grimhout, the diplomats of The Kingdom of Hispalis have been hard at work, and as the month draws to a close, their efforts begin to grow fruit. The party of The Kingdom of Komentiolos has been warmly hosted for some time, hushed conversations had between lavish banquets and functions, but the diplomats from the east finally begin their journey home. For now, Hispalis makes it clear that they have no interest in joining the wars of Komentiolos, but a friendship begins to blossom nonetheless, and a Hispalis observer travels with the Komentiolos party when they leave. Closer to home, the issues are less transparent. Tensions between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria have been escalating, and perhaps understandably wary of the accusations that Arhan have levelled against their neighbours, the Hispalis diplomats have attempted to glean the truth from the fiction, although with little success. Evidence is hard to come by, and the court of Arhan is still murky, but as war becomes increasingly likely, Queen Ameline I urges Hispalis to join her fight against Reria, doubling down on her accusations.

26th of September

The formidable strength of The Kingdom of Fosbak has ensured that the war between The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Dorist does not spill out into the Baltic Sea, but that uneasy control has finally been broken. Perhaps out of sheer desperation, or perhaps simply out of impatience, but the navy of Dorist takes to the sea. Admiral Karl Young is far from the most capable commander, but he takes to his task with a disturbing relish. The warships of Stevata are largely in harbour, so it is the civilian trade ships and fishing vessels that the Dorist ships instead target. Unsurprisingly, it is a bloodbath, even for the little-experienced vessels of Dorist. Before Stevata can even respond with their own fleet, ships of Fosbak descend upon the scene. Although no shots are fired, it is quickly clear that Fosbak are unwilling to allow the Dorist fleet to continue, and although Karl is brash, he is not suicidal, and he does not attempt to challenge the far more powerful fleet of Fosbak, returning to harbour with his tail between his legs. The act of reckless defiance and violence sends shock-waves through the court of Fosbak, and Queen Ameline quickly finds herself surrounded by those that clamour for war...

27th of September

Even with it's fleet crippled, The Kingdom of Komentiolos do not sit idly by. Grand plans are put into play, and the next step is one that few saw coming. The border between Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria has been teetering on the brink of open conflict for months, but it is not here that Komentiolos makes its play, it is instead to the west, towards The Kingdom of Paranas. Known as 'Operation Vulcan', the invasion of Paranas is an impressive feat, and the army of Paranas is sent reeling. Komentiolos attempt to use their warships in tandem with their land invasion, but the shattered remains of their fleet are picked off by the still formidable fleet of Paranas before they can be brought to bear. Despite this, the soldiers of Komentiolos still push west, shattering the unprepared defenders of Paranas. General Makis Anastas commands the defence as best he can, but he is far outclassed by the commander of the Komentiolos forces, General Marcian Augustus, as well as heavily outnumbered, and the line continues to be pushed back. The province of Kavatsona is almost lost before Paranas can even fully react, and as Paranas scramble to respond, frenzied messengers sent to Khazaria, few believe that this invading army can be stopped before it has seized the province. Unsatisfied with this taste of victory, Komentiolos send diplomats ot The Empire of Reria, calling on them to join the war, as well as issuing orders of conscription from all across Komentiolos. The conscription will take time, but Komentiolos has already established an impressive foothold, salvaging some victory after the naval defeats they have suffered.

28th of September

Even as the first news begins to reach The Empire of Khazaria of the actions of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, the soldiers that the empire has raised over the past months begin to be put to use. Although a large portion of these new troops are sent to re-enforce the armies of Alp Tarkhan against The Kingdom of Dorist, several new regiments march to re-enforce the border with Komentiolos. Frenzied conversations are had in the court of Khazaria, but one fact seems to be raised more than any other. Komentiolos still boasts a formidable army, but in a matter of months, their fleet has been all but wiped out, leaving their ports exposed, and their trade routes undefended. Perhaps Khazaria will revisit their raiding roots once more...

29th of September

The Kingdom of Hispalis sends a diplomatic party to The Kingdom of Kehsi, with orders to discuss the Americas, and the tensions between Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout, yet the diplomats quickly find that they have been caught cold. Not only has the tensions in the Americas cooled, but relations between Kehsi and Grimhout have reached an all-time high, and while Kehsi may have leapt at the opportunity of strengthening ties with Hispalis only a few months ago, that need has greatly diminished. The diplomats of Hispalis find that they are still graciously welcomed, but it is made clear that the ambitions of Hispalis to establish a colony in the Americas is now a matter to discuss with both Kehsi and Grimhout. Thankfully, for Hispalis at least, there is better news closer to home. Always looking to strengthen his nation, King Charles XII announces sweeping plans to improve both the meagre cavalry arm of the Hispalis army, as well as looking to stimulate the training and recruitment of engineers, fired up by the revolutionary 'Vera Engine'.

30th of September

Despite the chaos that has been gripping the rest of the Europe, in the city of Palysos there has been a remarkable level of civility. Luisa A'Dera, representing the strength of The Republic of Kalseran, has played host to Maria Toleas for weeks. Despite news of the republic retaking the city of Calassa, and the rebellion losing the last of it's strength, neither of the two women have addressed this development, instead seeming to genuinely enjoy each other's company. Both women have accumulated power and influence for themselves in a mans world, but there is more than that bonding the pair. For now, the two seem content to spend their time conversing, with rumours already spiralling of the positions that Maria may be granted once their meeting does draw to a close, but even while the Grand Lady rests, the republic does not. A small fleet of Kalseran has been travelling east, passing into the Black Sea unchallenged as The Kingdom of Komentiolos continues to strengthen their hold in the region. Although they travelled under the guise of securing trade routes, once this fleet has made harbour in the Black Sea, this ruse is dropped, the ships pledging themselves to the service of Komentiolos. The navy of Kalseran is formidable, the pride of the republic, and Komentiolos suddenly finds itself defended by a powerful ally, the combined fleet of The Kingdom of Paranas and The Empire of Khazaria suddenly seeing the balance in the region shift...

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Byzantion, Former Imperial Palace, Courtyard of Jupiter, A King's Duty

King Nikolaos sat upon the old Imperial Throne, the marble still as fine and brilliant as the day it was carved. He listed to his advisors debate back and forth, the wise men whittling away at every detail that was of concern to the Kingdom. Their more pressing concerns were the almost utter destruction and loss of the Black Sea fleet, along with the Mediterranean augments sent to help support the fight against Khazaria. Those losses would be felt for months, if not years to come. Many good men were lost, let alone the ships themselves. While the loss of control over the Black Sea was one thing to worry about, it was more pressing to focus on the lack of support to the thinly stretched naval forces that patrolled the trade routes of the Mediterranean, between Komentiolos proper and Aegyptus. The Caspian Sea fleet, a collection of perhaps two dozen ships, remained operational, but they were pulled back into reserve, redeployed to protect vital trade convoys from further east who wished to continue onward into Europe. The Silk Road from the far east was still under Komentiolian control, and geographically, protected from land harassment from the Horse Raiders of Khazaria. That, however, could quickly change if they could break through the fortifications defending the vital Bosphorus Strait, the Sea of Marmara, and finally, the Dardanelles. His thoughts swirled around what that could mean not just for the war effort, but closer to home, to that of his lovely, pregnant wife.

King Nikolaos was brought back to the here and now, with one of the advisors, a proxy for Admiral Verina, "Shipyards from Trapezus to Heraclea Pontica are destroyed, with our own sunken vessels choking the harbors. We might be able to salvage twenty, perhaps thirty percent of all the vessels, and they will have to be towed to our southern naval shipyards in order to be repaired. Save for a few vessels under the command of Verina, we are effectively without a naval presence in the Black Sea. The enemy is now under the command of a Paranasian Admiral, Alis or something, and he has turned the brutish ogres of the Khazarian armada into what we now are recovering from. It is only by the grace of Neptune, that we are able to defend our shores, and that is in part due to our Kalseran allies sending a fleet to our waters." The man finished, the room falling back into a buzz of frustrated voices and men pointing about. Sighing, his thoughts turned inwards, reflecting on all that he was hearing and being updated on.

The old stores of 'Greek Fire' had not held up over time, and the alchemists were hard at work producing fresh batches, that hopefully would be more effective this time around. A minor setback, but who could have foreseen that the deadly liquid would deteriorate over time. He made note that he would take time to visit the alchemists themselves, in the ancient city of Ancyra. Another nagging concern was the three vessels he had ordered dispatched to Hispalis, trade vessels upgunned to defended themselves, pray the gods saw it fit that they did not need this, in order to return the money Hispalis had payed to have Komentiolios construct vessels for them. The lead diplomat, a man of noble birth by the name of Gaius, was to deliver the king's own words and apology, to blame his nation for not better protecting the property of another nation, and that it was our war that lead to the destruction of your vessels. As way of apology, the king offered two of the three vessels as dispensation for their losses as well. Hopefully, Hispalis would be willing to conduct business with Komentiolos in the future, and that future would include safer construction of ships in the south, rather than the north. He looked over to the Hispalian observer, wondering what he made of all this chaos that unfolded before him. The kings advisors going over strategy, numbers, logistics, their own fears and frustrations tempered by the king's own quiet observation and resolve.

The conscripts were being brought up to speed, but would still need time for more drilling and preparation. Officers were being drawn from among the ranks based on merit, with a few of the nobles being allowed to buy their way in. Nikolaos smiled, laughing to himself quietly. Money, it seemed, was always needed, and always played a role in internal politics. Soon, there would be thousands more men ready for war, soldiers to defend the borders and coasts, and more importantly, to stabilize and maintain control over the land captured from Paranas. Operation Vulcan had achieved what it was meant to do, move the front lines away from Komentiolos, and onto the lands of an enemy. General Augustus still prowled the front, reports said, as did his proxy, and that his own concerns were sent back too. Naval yards in Smyrna, Ephesos, Attaleia, and Seleucia had their defenses bolstered, as well as penal labor from across the realm being sent there in order to help with the reconstruction and salvaging operations. Men and time, everything always took men and time. He sighed, taking a moment to drink some tea, enjoying the hot soothing nature of the drink.

As he rose up, Valentinian called for silence over the discord of voices and men. Silence, the faces turning to look at their king as he strode down from his throne to speak with them. Soldiers, Sailors, men of action, and men of logistics, he looked at them all, before speaking.

"We all stand here, debating what to do next, in part due to the generosity and intervention of Lady A'Dera of Kalseran, a debt which we all owe towards her and her people, coming to us in a time that sees us beset upon by the barbarians and their lapdogs to the North. We all stand here because of the great victories that General Marcian Augustus has achieved in Paranas, retaking lands that once belonged to our forefathers, and before them, to an empire that spanned from the western tips of Iberia all the way to Tarsus and beyond. The Gods have seen it fit to test our faith, to impede humility and gratitude upon us, less we forget who we are, and what we all came from. Take this moment, here and now, to know that we must remember who are allies are, our friends, and pray for them, as well as ourselves, in our temples, make sacrifices to the gods for those allies, and our own men who fight abroad." He paused for a few moments, walking towards the open windows the the days sun shone through.

"As honorable men, as men of Komentiolos, we shall not abandon our allies, not now, not ever. The Kalseran fleet lies off our shores, defending our sons, daughters, wives, our families and more. We shall see to it that Admiral Verina and his remnant forces join up with the Kalserans, so that we may better support them as they defend our territorial waters. Furthermore, I decree that the Kalseran supply needs while they defend our shores shall be given to them free of cost, and with all due haste. To the West, we shall dig in, and defend our territorial gains at the advice of General Augustus. The Balkan Mountains will be the extent of our territorial push, and with Winter fast approaching, we must ensure our men our properly supplied and fed. The Paranasan capital of Alirgos shall not be touched, nor sought after. Our goal is to force a fight upon enemy lands that favor us, and help keep the calvary of Khazaria off our backs. We shall use the winter snow falls to our advantage, and the time that it grants us to better train our newly conscripted forces. The barbarians to the North want us to face them upon an open field, where they have the advantage. We've said otherwise... let us not commit the folly of the Dorist forces. We shall dig in, defend, consolidate, and prepare ourselves for the next chapter of this war." He fixed the lay of his uniform, smoothing out a wrinkle, before talking again.

"With any luck, this will relieve pressure upon our Allies in the North, and allow them to take the fight to the barbarians. Let it be known here and now, that the Empire of Reria is a military ally of Komentiolos, and that we shall defend them against any and all acts of aggression, to best of our Kingdom's abilities. Let it be known that we hold ourselves under a solemn oath, and that to break it, shall brand our nation as Oath breakers and cowards. May the people of Arhan and their sovereign see the folly of their disputes for Reria, and may the people of Reria come to our aid in this tumultuous war against the barbarian hordes of the North. So say I before Jupiter himself." King Nikolaos bowed his head reverently to a massive statue of Jupiter, before turning back to face his advisors, to hear what they had to say, their responses and more.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by SonOfALich
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Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau sunk into the sofa, and for the first time in what felt like years, he allowed himself to relax. The small chamber he was in was sparsely furnished, lit only by a lone candle on a low table. The only sign of luxury in the room was the sofa that he was currently resting on, the cushions worn with age, but Jean-Baptiste knew every inch of it. He still remembered the first time that his father had shown him the panel in the wall, the catch barely noticeable unless you were looking for it, and the way the narrow doorway had swung open. His father had told him then that the weight of rule was a heavy one, and that this small chamber, hidden deep within the heart of the Imperial Palace, would be the only place where that weight could be lifted. Over the years since his father's death, Jean-Baptiste had found just how true that was. Only three people alive, including himself, knew about this chamber, and the Arch-Duke knew that one day he would show it to his son, just as his father had shown him, and his father before him. Jean-Baptiste allowed himself a smile as he thought of the long line of his family that had found sanctuary in this room. His father had always told him that when his ancestor had ordered the construction of the Imperial Palace, he had left special instructions for this room to be built, and it had proven it's worth a hundred times over.

Jean-Baptiste heard the door behind him swing open, but he didn't bother turning around. He knew who it was by the footfalls as they moved across the room, by the weight that settled down on the sofa beside him, and by the slight sigh that followed. The voice of his mother, Isabelle, filled the small chamber, and Jean-Baptiste couldn't help but smile again at the tone of her voice.

"There was a man looking for you, Léo. I didn't like him much."

Léo had always been his mother's pet name for him, and she had often told him that it was the name she had wanted to give him when he was born, only for his father to decide that it wasn't fitting for a future Arch-Duke. His mother may have accepted the change officially, but she had still always called him Léo behind closed doors, and his father had wisely conceded.

"I don't think you like anyone very much, mama."

"Perhaps. But I particularly didn't like this one. Something about his eyes."

For the first time, Jean-Baptiste looked across at his mother, and saw that she was already watching him, a bemused look across her face. The Arch-Duke offered a weak smile, and for a moment, the weight of rule came rushing back all at once. But only for a moment. This room had served as a sanctuary for years, and within this room, he could forget the world. And his mother had also been a sanctuary, even longer than this chamber. The court barely paid any attention to the dowager duchess anymore, and Jean-Baptiste knew that she enjoyed the peace of it, but he had never forgotten that she had been a queen. He still heeded to her wisdom, whenever she offered it, and she had never steered him wrong. There were very few people that understood the intricacies of the empire, and for that experience alone, she was vital to him.

"That will be Monsieur Pierre. I should get back."

Jean-Baptiste rose to his feet, wincing slightly at the ache from his joints. He moved towards the doorway, but his mother's voice stopped him.


He turned back, and saw that his mother had already closed the distance. He was still surprised by how quickly she could move, and how quietly, despite her age. Reaching up, she cupped his head in her hands, and held his gaze for a moment.

"You father would have been proud of the ruler you have become. And I will always be proud of the man you have become"

The two embraced, and for an instant, Jean-Baptiste was a boy, held in his mother's arms. But when he straightened up, he was an Arch-Duke again. This chamber was a sanctuary, but he could not remain here forever. The world did not stop, and if he waited for too long, he would want to get back on. Turning away, Jean-Baptiste pushed open the panel, and stepped back into reality.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by urukhai
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Luisa stood alone looking out across the fields of Palysos that sat awash in the dying sun, her guard present but not close as their ruler took in the sights of this most beautiful province. Grain and grasses swayed as the heat of the day began to give way to the cool of night. Reaching out and grasping one of the longer blades, Luisa plucked it turning it over in her hands as she considered the position she was now in.

The Republic was stable for now, but now it was faced with a decision for the world at large, one to fight or to abandon those who may need it the most. On one hand was a struggle for which there seemed to be no end, on the other was to be marked as a nation of cowards by the world and the histories that would be written of this time.

"Which do we sacrifice on the altar, others and our dignity to buy us at best more time. Or those bright faced of our youth, to perhaps staunch the bleeding wound that has now appeared. Do we live as cowards or die in some far distant field, which scythe do I bring to the fields of my people?" Luisa silently studies the grass in her hand as she for a moment thinks to herself, clenching her hand she crushes it and holds it aloft, the breeze sweeping it up and carrying it aloft into the setting sun. Turning towards it, Luisa let the final warmth of the day wash over her, her eyes closed. Reaching out and beckoning to one of her guard, who approaches before bowing slightly as she speaks.

"Captain. I need word sent to my commanders as fast as you can relay them, Bettino is to marshal the army and occupy the territories along our boarder with Paranas. He is to build a defensive line there and await further instructions, but he is free to do whatever he thinks necessary to bring our forces to a fighting condition. Tell Sotiris I want a comprehensive plan of attack on my desk before too long. I want the same from Admiral Iraklis, it is time to remind the world whos waters they sail on. As for Maria, tell her that I must look over a few things while mull over her... offer."

Bowing once more, the Gaurd will depart wordlessly. Luisa did not know if her words had stunned him or had brought about a hardened resolve, but at this moment she did not care. "Let those who read our names in the histories know this. The Republic is not a nation of cowards."
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Murtox


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Empire of Khazaria

"The end is near" is the thought that many Khazarians shared, they could say that with a clear sigh of relief. The war was going to be over, the victorious nation of Khazaria was about to once again show its dominance over the region. The Emperor and his court awaited further news from both fronts but with everything that was going there was no doubt that the time to deliver the final strike was coming soon. The starved forces of Dorist would be arriving at a bitter end that was more than clear to both the besieged and besiegers of the city of Kronik.

What else could be expected from the greater forces of Khazaria than total glory and victory? Yet, the news for Khazaria wasn't all rosy just as the news of victories arrived faster, the bad news arrived even faster. The naval forces of the Republic of Kalseran just like another dagger to the back of Khazaria had appeared to begin their dance with the Kingdom of Komentiolos and Dorist. The three western nations that were within the immediate sphere of influence of Khazaria and Paranas were now looking to attack them both in a way not too dissimilar to the crusades of old.

"If Nursultan saw this, he would condemn us! We cannot let Paranas fall. It's time to recall our forces from the north. The forces of Stevata and Teclav maybe our distant friends but the people of Paranas are like our brothers. We cannot let them fall now, your majesty you must surely see this through. Your ancestors wouldn't want to see the capital of our allies to fall, just as the old Khazars had their clans on the vanguard rather than their allies the same should apply today." Said Baghatur, a noble from one of the ancient clans of Khazaria said to be a kin-clan to the original dynasty of the Empire.

The Emperor maintained his silence, his hand clenched on the arms rest of his throne. He saw this as a disrespect to his decision and authority, but how could he know that at his young age he would have to deal with a coalition that rivaled the worst challenges that the Khazarians had to face in their long history. A side of the court continued to applaud Baghatur, who every time he asked it looked more like a demand on the young emperor to remove his troops from Dorist and send them to the south. But not only that, but he also sought to engage Komentiolos through their eastern border and begin an offensive on a terrain that General Yitzhak had described as "impassable".

Baghatur was one of many members of the house of notables to tell the Emperor to change his views and begin advance south. Yet, the emperor faced doubt at a level that he had not seen before, he had to make a compromise with his court and the house of notables. The time for waiting had over and soon enough everything on his mind was already set for it to do. He dismissed once more Baghatur and the rest of the court, they begrudgingly complied. He had given him a dubious "I shall see what can be done." for an answer but one that didn't truly say the plans he had on mind to him. He wanted results to show and not words to placate an ambitious and out of place noble.

Results to validate his young reign, he knew that any wrong step and it would take decades to clear his name. To become an average Khazar and not one to be remembered for times to come.


General Yitzhak wore his golden attire with great care, he didn't wake up a single day without a proper schedule and a setlist of chores to do before going to meet with his officers and soldiers. Such perfection was the self-made image of a General from the west, from the civilized waste, the perfect general that he ought to be for his country, and that represented that change from the old times to the new. He was a General that drank little, slept at a particular hour, ate the same breakfast every day, and made sure that he had more than a pair of clothes cleaned and ready to use. He was a tall man, short black hair covered in a nicely done red hat, and a posture that looked almost too perfect for a man to ever achieve.

When he stepped out of his tent, he saw a mountain range and his camp. The sunrise was always greeting him like a lover to his mistress, he began with a small walk around the camp. Inspection, he called it, as the soldiers began to do their chores and duties around the camp. The reinforcements had come well but according to the news from the west, it was clear that they were needed somewhere else. He himself felt wasted away around this border, his scouting and forward units saw that it was clear than an attack from either side was harsh at best and impossible most of the time.

But duty was a duty and he was content to do his duty as the perfect general, while Alp Tarkhan drank on the glory of the west. The situation in Paranas complicated the situation even further if only he was there...already, a war against the armies of Komentiolos and Kalseran wouldn't be too much of a problem from the rumours he had heard but Paranas had focused on their naval strength....perhaps relying too much on their alliance with the greater army of Khazaria. Only time would tell, just as he finished off the morning tour of his camp, a messenger came. A small but fast sloop could be seen on the distance of the harbor far below the camp. This only meant one or two things, reinforcements, news, or orders. He hoped the last would come true.

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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Romero
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"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, my friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." -Wilfred Owen

Winter of 1756

2nd of October

General Albert Riechsand has sat by for too long. With every day that passes, more men of The Kingdom of Dorist are killed defending a city that they cannot possibly hold. And every day, the court of Dorist continues to offer no answers. Finally, the patience of the man reaches an end. Leaving General Tilman Grohl in command of the defensive lines, General Riechsand rides through the night until he arrives at the Royal Palace of Talfist. Although some of the courtiers attempt to turn the general back, Albert's influence is formidable, and the fire burning in his eyes cowers those who do stand in his way. The general demands an almost unprecedented private audience with King Fred Thumer, and no-one but the two men know what was discussed in that room, although the servants do whisper of raised voices being heard. Whatever was said, when General Albert Riechsand leaves the palace, he clutches a handful of orders, and wastes no time in executing them. The conscripted soldiers, raised only weeks before, are disbanded, sent home to help with the harvest, while General Riechsand rides for the city of Kronik, a royal decree in his hand.

3rd of October

The arrival of the ships of The Republic of Kalseran have been a blessing for The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and a major thorn in the side of The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas. Paranas and Khazaria had stood on the precipice of total naval victory, only for Kalseran to snatch it away. Unsurprisingly, Komentiolos strive to be gracious hosts for their unexpected saviours. The last remains of the kingdom's own fleet is brought north to join the Kalseran warships, and it is quickly made clear that all of the Kalseran's needs will be met by Komentiolos, a small token of their appreciation, but a welcome one nonetheless. The bond between the two nation, formed largely at the State Dinner of The Kingdom of Dorist, has proven to be a strong one, and with Khazaria and Paranas rushing to react, it is a bond that will no doubt be tested again in the coming months.

4th of October

In a move that is testament to the strength of the alliance between the two nations, The Empire of Khazaria does not leave The Kingdom of Paranas to fight alone. As newly raised regiments are diverted away from the border with The Kingdom of Komentiolos to help the defence of Paranas, there is another action that causes even more of a stir. General Yitzhak ha-Sangari is a brilliant commander, the student of military strategy from all across Europe, and as the sun rises, he arrives in the heart of the beleaguered Paranas army. The following conversations are brief, and before mid-day, Yitzhak ha-Sangari has taken personal command of the defence of Paranas. It may take some time for the gold-clad commander to truly leave his mark in the defence, but overnight, the armies of Paranas have become a more formidable weapon, now that a master is wielding them.

6th of October

While The Kingdom of Hispalis continues to buzz about the invention of the 'Vera Engine', it is quickly apparent that innovation is not limited to the Iberian Peninsula. On the island of Pesana, there is a surprising figure that is destined to carve their name into history. Silvio Luciani is a gunsmith, making his trade out of a humble workshop in one of the island's handful of towns, mainly supplying the local garrison of The Empire of Reria, but it is Silvio's wife, Arabella who will prove herself to be the more inventive of the two. Passing the time by experimenting with the left-over powder that Silvio's workshop always seems to have lying around, Arabella stumbles across what will quickly come to be known as 'The Luciani Ratio'. Gunpowder is simply a combination of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur, but the ratio that is discovered on a lazy afternoon in the late autumn sun not only produces high-quality, potent powder, but it also opens the doors for more potent weapons. The news is slow to get going, Silvio himself unsure of what his wife has really discovered, but it is not long before the Empire itself turns its attention towards this humble workshop, and the rest of Europe is sure to follow. After all, death has long been the most attractive trade.

7th of October

As the army of The Kingdom of Paranas finally starts to recover from the first blow, the line is withdrawn from the province of Kavatsona. With a heavy heart, the Paranas soldiers abandon the province to The Kingdom of Komentiolos, preferring instead to draw new battle lines defending their capital of Alirgos under the careful guidance of General Yitzhak ha-Sangari. Pockets of resistance do still exist within the province, but the land has effectively been lost, and Komentiolos has claimed an impressive victory. However, rather than pushing the advantage, the commander of the Komentiolos invasion, General Marcian Augustus, seems content with consolidating his position. Perhaps it is the news of the enemy being bolstered by The Empire of Khazaria, or perhaps it is simply a case of following orders, but for now, the Komentiolos advance grinds to halt, and the army busies itself with taking up defensive positions of their own. Winter is beginning to set in all across Europe, and it looks as if it will be a harsh one. If the snow does fall, then there will be little movement, and for now, both armies lick their wounds and prepare for the next battle, whenever that may come.

10th of October

There were some who believed that The Republic of Kalseran would try and avoid outright war in the east, that their naval presence in the Black Sea was more of a warning than an actual threat, but as dawn breaks, the sound of marching boots echo across the republic, and there can be little doubt that Kalseran means for war. Fresh from helping to bring about the downfall of the short-lived 'Calassa Rebellion', General Bettino Gianni marshals the army of the republic and marches east, taking up defensive positions along the border with The Kingdom of Paranas. The strength of the republic has long rested in it's navy, but it's army is still something that Paranas cannot afford to ignore, and more importantly, it opens another theatre of war from Paranas, and indeed their commander, General Yitzhak ha-Sangari, to contend with. Not content with simply holding the line, the Grand Lady of the Republic orders her commanders to draw up her own plans of invasion. As of yet, war has not been declared, but there can be little doubt that Kalseran intends to not only sail to the aid of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, but to march as well.

13th of October

It is only the iron will of General Wolfgang Draton that has stopped the city of Kronik from falling. Supplies have all but run out, and corpses are piled high on nearly every street, the gutters stained red with blood. When General Albert Riechsand finally lays eyes upon the city, he can scarcely believe that the scorched husk was once a proud city of The Kingdom of Dorist. Flying a flag of truce, Albert is granted another audience with the commanders of The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav, General Jozef Motycka and General Luka Volodin. With the kings authority, Albert officially presents the surrender of Dorist. Official apologies are offered for all offences, and the province of Shardvul is surrendered, the land returned to Stevata. Stevata and Teclav have been bloodied in this war, and the siege has been draining their supplies as well, so the two commanders agree to these terms. Albert then approaches the city of Kronik itself, and is granted a begrudging audience with Wolfgang, but only after presenting the royal decree. The soldiers that hold the city are gaunt, uniforms torn and bloody, and a thousand blank eyes watch Albert as he moves through the city to the half-ruined church that Wolfgang has been using as a base of operations. Albert has seen war, he has known death, but the stench of the city turns his stomach, the reek of decay thick in the air. Wolfgang himself is a shadow of his former self, his clothes hanging off him like rags, and a long ugly scar across his face from one of countless skirmishes in the streets, but his eyes still burn with defiance. It might be pure grit that has kept Wolfgang going, but he still values loyalty above all else, and he does not argue when the order is placed in front of him. Gathering his remaining officers around him, and holding his head high, General Wolfgang Draton abandons the city of Kronik, flanked by the rag-tag remains of his army. Those who can walk carry those who cannot, and the besieging armies of Stevata, Teclav and The Empire of Khazaria part before them. Even Alp Tarkhan arrives to watch this strange procession, and his riders form a surreal honour guard for the bedraggled army, trailing them until they reach the new border of Dorist. The legend of Wolfgang has only grown, and although the siege has ended with bloody defeat, Alp Tarkhan has been greatly impressed by the sheer steel of the Dorist soldiers, his warriors already singing songs of the man from the west. For now though, the province of Shardvul is lost, and it will take Dorist years to recover from the loss, let alone honour the countless dead that litter the province.

14th of October

The tensions between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria have almost reached boiling point, and while The Kingdom of Hispalis seems unsure as to how to react to the pleas of Queen Ameline I for them to join the seemingly inevitable war, The Empire of Grimhout has no such qualms. Grimhout has been making impressive strides in diplomacy over the recent months, and they clearly hope to continue this run of good fortune. A diplomatic party is sent south, and a clear message is presented to Queen Ameline. Whether it is fuelled by a desire to strengthen it's influence over it's neighbour, or by a genuine belief in peace, Grimhout implores Arhan to turn away from war, to cool tensions. Even going so far as to volunteer as a neutral mediator, Grimhout points to the devastation that war has already wreaked across Europe, and the argument proves to be compelling enough to cause Queen Ameline to pause. Perhaps the tensions have already gone too far, and war is indeed inevitable, but if the drums can be kept quiet for a while longer, perhaps they can be silenced for good.

15th of October

News has only just begun to spread surrounding the surrender of The Kingdom of Dorist, but already The Empire of Khazaria reacts. The orders that reach Alp Tarkhan call for him to send half of his reserves south, to the aid of The Kingdom of Paranas, with the rest of his forces following once the siege of Kronik is broken. But with the city already in the hands of The Kingdom of Stevata, Alp Tarkhan is free to muster his entire host, and march at once. Khazaria blood has been spilt for the province of Shardvul, but Alp is always hungry for war, and he still commands a formidable force. The riders of Khazaria have grown impatient over the last few weeks, with little part to play in the siege, but now that they have the promise for most glorious battle, Alp Tarkhan leads them ahead of the main force, leaving the Infantry and Artillery to follow in their wake while the thunder of hooves bears down on Paranas, and The Kingdom of Komentiolos beyond.

17th of October

Just as the soldiers of The Empire of Khazaria march homewards, the war against The Kingdom of Dorist won, their mission achieved and the province of Shardvul returned to the hands of The Kingdom of Stevata, the surviving defenders of 'The Second Siege of Kronik' finally return to their own homeland. As they pass through the defensive lines arranged along the new border, an eerie silence descends. The survivors look like ghosts, bones stretching deathly pale skin, stares blank and empty, shaking hands clutching battered and rusting muskets. Some of the men in the two groups know each other, but if the survivors have any recognition of the men that approach to greet them, they do not show it. General Albert Riechsand rides at the head of this strange procession, flanked by General Wolfgang Draton, looking just as haggard as his men, and as the survivors march, a slow clap begins to build, until a thunder of applause follows the procession as it continues towards the beds and doctors prepared for them. If any of them even hear the applause, they do not raise their heads, simply looking straight on and continuing to march in rigid file. Fathers, brothers and sons had marched into the city of Kronik, but only soldiers had marched out. With a heavy heart, General Albert announces the surrender of Dorist to the remaining soldiers of the kingdom's proud army, and after months of bloodshed, a strange sense of calm seems to descend. Whatever the cost, the kingdom of Dorist has survived, and now is the time to mourn those who did not.

20th of October

The rush to war between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria seems to have faltered, although whether it is due to the lack of intervention by The Kingdom of Hispalis, the intervention of The Empire of Grimhout, or a combination of the two, only Queen Ameline I can know for sure. Whatever the reason, as a ship sails into the harbour of Cappes, the Arhan capital, it quickly becomes clear that there is yet another incentive for peace. The two sons of Emperor Clarenzio III are bonded through marriage with sisters of King Nikolaos Andreas Koromelas II, and the two nations have always enjoyed a friendly relationship, but with The Kingdom of Komentiolos going to war with The Empire of Khazaria, Komentiolos has called in it's favour, and officially declared itself a military ally of Reria. The message is clear, and with Arhan lacking the ally it hoped to have in Hispalis, the balance of the conflict suddenly swings in favour of Reria. Queen Ameline I is not a fool, and she sends word to Grimhout that she accepts their offer of acting as a mediator. The dove of peace has triumphed over war, at least for now.

22nd of October

As news reaches The Empire of Stabuga regarding the surrender of The Kingdom of Dorist, Tsar Viktor Barinov will no doubt be keeping a careful eye on the increasingly powerful alliance that all but surrounds his own borders. After all, the bond between The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Empire of Khazaria has been tested in the flames of war, and only grown stronger in the process. It is perhaps a sign of how seriously the Tsar is taking the situation that when he does send out a diplomatic delegation, it is led by his only son, Tsesarevich Petya Barinov. With wolves gathering at the gates, this delegation makes for a safe harbour, The Kingdom of Orvag. The two nations have a long history together, both bloody and peaceful, but both are nations that understand the frozen north, and in that there is a certain kinship. Petya offers the condolences of Stabuga for the loss of Fridrik, and the gesture is appreciated by the ageing King Valterri IV. Orvag has long been looking to free itself from the influence of The Kingdom of Fosbak, and with the attentions of both Teclav and Stabuga, they have never found themselves so in demand. Petya proves himself a talented diplomat, and Orvag agree to a series of trade agreements, as well as a declaration of friendship between the two nations, but he can also sense that Teclav, and the alliance behind it, is always at the back of King Valterri's mind, and his attempts to push for a deeper bond between the nations are deflected at every turn. Undeterred, Petya re-boards his ship, and embarks on the long voyage for Elhavn, and the palace of Queen Marta II.

24th of October

Tsar Viktor Barinov was right to cast a wary glance over the strengthening alliance of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Stevata. Just as the hordes of Khazaria rode to the aid of Stevata against The Kingdom of Dorist, now that Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas find themselves under attack, Stevata and Teclav do not sit idly by. While Stevata is largely occupied by restoring it's control over the province of Shardvul, and keeping its guard up in case Dorist has a change of heart, Teclav is able to send a considerable force to march to the aid of Paranas, following the host of Khazaria that is already on the march. The weather is beginning to turn, slowing the journey, but when the winter does pass, Paranas will find it's own meagre army bolstered by soldiers of both Khazaria and Teclav, and The Kingdom of Komentiolos will find it's second campaign far more difficult.

26th of October

Even while his son looks to the west, Tsar Viktor Barinov turns his own attention back to the east, beyond the borders of The Empire of Stabuga. The land is sparse and barren, the ground bare and the best of times, and frozen at the worst, but there is still potential. General Desya Sorokin is ordered to oversee the construction of a string of forts and outposts, reaching out into the east like a thin sliver of civilisation in the wilderness. Desya commands a small contingent of soldiers, but he does not wish to muscle his way into the cold, and he is careful not to tread on the toes of those hardy tribes that do call the frozen east their home, instead attempting to make contact with these tribes, with the aid of those men of Stabuga that also stray beyond the border. The Sorokin family is a powerful one, and Desya is a capable diplomat, but these tribes do not know the careful social dance that the nobility of Stabuga perform, so the first encounters are difficult, but with the weight of the empire at his back, Desya perseveres, and the first outpost, Fort Barinov, is established, and the first hardy settlers make the journey east.

27th of October

Word is yet to reach Europe of the events in India, but that is no respite for those that are attempting to carve out a life in the far east. The messengers of The Kingdom of Kehsi find that their appeals for aid from the colonies of The Republic of Kalseran fall on deaf ears. After all, there is no love lost between the two nations, and Kalseran can only benefit from Kehsi losing influence in the region. Stein Fehn has played his ace, and as reports tell of The Viswan Empire mustering another army, he realises that he is out of options. Despite the Kalseran forts offering no aid, Stein gambles on their humanity, and sends the woman and children of the fort in their direction while he prepares to make a desperate last stand. When the Viswan army does approach the fort, Stein marches out to meet them alone, under a flag of surrender. The Viswan commander has his orders, and although there is perhaps a level of respect between the two soldiers, Stein is beheaded before the front gates of Fort Ivars, and the fort itself is burned to the ground. When the ships of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout do reach India, they will find a charred husk, and the head of the man who defied the Viswan Empire mounted on a spike above the gates.

30th of October

As the defending army under the command of General Yitzhak ha-Sangari continues to be swollen by soldiers under the banner of both The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Teclav, the two great commanders of Khazaria meet. The two men cannot be more different, representing the two sides of the coin that Khazaria, the cultured modernity of the west, and the savage wildness of the east. Despite the internal turmoil that the two men represent, they have always managed to maintain a civil relationship. After all, for his wild brilliance, Alp knows that he has little interest in holding the line, and Yitzhak is all too aware of what a formidable weapon his compatriot can be. The two men greet each other, and Alp does not challenge for the command of the defence, instead he simply sets up his tent with his riders, behind the main defensive lines, and waits. Battle will come, and glory with it, but even Alp Tarkhan needs to rest sometimes, and he knows that Yitzhak will not deprive him of a fight. The battle lines are drawn, and while Dorist struggled alone against the combined might of Khazaria, Teclav and Stevata, the war that is brewing in Paranas could well dwarf that struggle. Khazaria, Teclav and Paranas look across the narrow gap between the front lines, and even through the early snows, they can see the banners of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria. The rivers will run red with blood, and men will carve their names into legend. Few doubt that the coming events will echo in eternity.

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The Summer Palace in Bruglaas, perched atop a cliff that overlooked the vast expanse of ocean to the west, offered idyllic views and a pleasant temperament in the summer months, but as the nights grew long, the sky grew dark and the sea more ferocious, it was usually only manned by a skeleton staff through the winter. And yet, as the first snows begin to fall across Europe, the Summer Palace finds itself playing host to Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau himself.

Jean-Baptiste had travelled with a skeleton staff himself, his retinue a fraction of the one that normally trailed after the Arch-Duke wherever he went, a product of the abruptness of his move. Accompanied by only his wife, a dozen of his most trusted servants, and the inevitable company of Royal Guard, Jean-Baptiste had left the capital of Rivierberg a week ago, taking his court by surprise. After all, while the Summer Palace has served as a popular retreat for the Dervau family for generations, it is a cold and bleak place in the winter. The abrupt journey was labelled as a 'holiday', the Arch-Duke taking some precious time away from the court in order to clear his head with the stiff sea-breeze, but the true cause of the journey was known only to a handful of people. The reins of the Empire itself, at least for now, once again rest in the hands of Jean-Baptiste's son, Christophe, under the watchful eye of the dowager duchess, Isabelle, while Jean-Baptiste himself spent nearly every waking hour standing at the window, watching, and waiting.

The diplomatic delegation that had departed for the capital of the Kingdom of Hispalis some weeks past had carried with them perhaps the most important letter that Jean-Baptiste had ever written. Ever since it was sent on it's way, the Arch-Duke has been able to think of little else. And yet, still, nothing. Jean-Baptiste understood the weight of his proposition, but to delay for so long? Eventually, the pressure had reached a boiling point, and he had made his unexpected journey south, and here, in the Summer Palace, he will be the first to hear the response from Hispalis. The main road for Rivierberg, coming up through Arhan from Hispalis' own capital of Toletum, ran along the coast, almost a stone throw from the palace itself, and from it's perch atop the cliffs, it had an unparalleled view of any ships that were travelling north from Hispalis. Every day, he stood in this window, and every day, no news came.

Jean-Baptiste heard a soft sigh from behind him, but he didn't turn. Soft footfalls crossed the bare room until they came to a stop just behind him. Arms wrapped around him, and he felt his wife gently rest her head against his back as she embraced him, the subtle scent of rose petals suddenly filling the air.

"Still nothing?"

The Arch-Duke felt his shoulders sag, surrendering himself into the embrace for a moment. He had been watching since dawn, and the sun was already beginning to sink towards the horizon. And yet, there had been no ships, other than the usual trade vessels, and the road had been all but deserted, few wanting to brave the cold chill in the air. The last message he had received from his diplomats was that the proposition had been presented to King Charles XII Philip, but since then, there had been no word, and Jean-Baptiste could hardly bear the delay of his contemporary. He sighed himself as he replied.

"Nothing, mon ange."

"Come away from the window, you must be starving."

"I will... Soon. But if the ship left with the morning tide, it will be passing..."

The embrace was suddenly broken, the scent fading as Jean-Baptiste fell Roseline pull away. He winced slightly, already knowing what was coming.

"Jean-Baptiste Dervaux. Look at me."

Tearing his eyes away from the sea, the Arch-Duke sheepishly turned around, and looked into the face of his duchess. Dark hair just beginning to turn grey, emerald eyes intently watching his face, Roseline was as beautiful as the day he had first laid eyes on her, across a crowded ballroom two decades before. It had been after that that Jean-Baptiste had found that his wife was not always as gentle as her appearance might suggest. She was one of the few people that could challenge the Arch-Duke, and she did not shirk from that responsibility. More than once, she had been the voice of reason that he had needed, and looking into those eyes, Jean-Baptiste knew that she was right.

"You still need to eat. You have a dozen men watching the road, and another dozen watching the sea, they will not miss your eyes for the time it takes to eat."

Jean-Baptiste allowed himself to smile, leaning forward to gently kiss his wife's forehead, her own annoyance melting away.

"Thank you, mon amour. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

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