Hidden 12 mos 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

Winter of 1756

1st of November

The fleet of The Republic of Kalseran in the Black Sea seems to have calmed the actions of The Empire of Khazaria, the two nations still yet to officially go to war, but only a fool would think that the ruthless ambition of Khazaria could be blunted for too long. In the darkness, shadows move across the waters, approaching the Kalseran fleet. Merchant vessels, commandeered by the Khazaria navy, and specially refitted, are manned by only a skeleton crew, and they move with a dark intent. They are quickly spotted by the Kalseran fleet, and from the wood piled on the deck, they are identified as fire-ships. Surprised that Khazaria would attempt such an old-fashioned trick, a handful of the Kalseran ships approach these 'fireships', looking to extinguish them before they can even be lit. And then the night lights up. Beneath the decks of these 'fireships', were barrels of gunpowder, and at some unseen signal, the true purpose of these ships are revealed. Erupting into a wild glare of flame and fire, the 'fireships' vanish in an instant, taking with them the approaching Kalseran ships, as well as the hundreds of souls on board, the air filled with splintered wood, and the grisly remains of those unfortunate men. Shock-waves are sent across the Kalseran fleet, and as more Khazaria ships emerge from the darkness, panic begins to set in to the Kalseran fleet. Admiral Dionisio Giorgino, the commander of the Kalseran fleet, is himself thrown to the ground by the sheer force of the explosions, the helmsman beside him struck dead by the blast of air that spread across the whole of the Black Sea. As Dionisio clambers to hit feet, attempting to make sense of the chaos, and to regain control of his fleet, the Khazaria ships descend. IN truth, the Khazaria plan is a brilliant one, sow chaos with these 'hellburners', and then seize the superior Kalseran warships to bolster their own forces. It is brilliant, but it has one fatal flaw. While other nations have studied the art of war on land, drilling their armies into well-oiled machines, Kalseran has focused on the sea, and the Khazaria sailors that clamber onto the Kalseran warships find themselves facing the masters of war on the seas, the Seaguard. Elite soldiers, trained to fight with the deck rolling beneath their feet, these men of Kalseran, even though they are temporarily dazed by the explosions, fall upon the boarders with a macabre delight. In truth, it is a bloodbath, and on nearly every Kalseran vessel, the Seaguard cast the enemy back into the sea. As Dionisio begins to regain control, the cannons of Kalseran also roar into life, supported by the remaining vessels of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and the Khazaria fleet is quickly sent scurrying away in retreat. In the ensuing aftermath, as survivors are fished from the water, war is officially declared between Khazaria and Kalseran. A blow has been struck, but it is far from the decisive one that Khazaria intended.

2nd of November

King Leonard II is dead. Perhaps it was the stress of the war with The Kingdom of Dorist, or the stress of losing control of his court, or perhaps it was simply his time, but the king of The Kingdom of Altenten has died in the night. The event itself is significant, the mantle of rule falling onto the shoulders of Leonard's only son, a young man of not yet twenty, but it also sends ripples all across Europe. Leonard was always a vocal advocate in support of the cultural ties that bonded his nation with Dorist, but with his death, perhaps there is an opportunity for other nations to pry apart that bond. Perhaps best placed are the nations of The Kingdom of Paranas and The Kingdom of Komentiolos, the two dynasties that are married into the royal family of Altenten, and the two nations that even now are locked in bitter war. Even while Altenten prepares for the coronation of King Niklas IV, there is no doubt that courts across Europe will be paying careful attention to the nation at the heart of Europe.

4th of November

Diplomatic delegations representing both The Empire of Reria and The Kingdom of Arhan gather in the Imperial Palace of Rivierberg, in the capital city of The Empire of Grimhout, and peace talks begin, albeit tentatively. The shadow of The Kingdom of Komentiolos hangs over the gathering like a cloud, but it is fortunate that Reria does not attempt to exploit this position of power, although whether this comes from genuine goodwill of Emperor Clarenzio III, or the emperor simply not wishing to be drawn into another war, only Reria can know. Although the peace talks start slowly, they gather momentum quickly, and it seems like a certainty that an agreement will be reached in a matter of days.

7th of November

As The Kingdom of Komentiolos continues to dig in, intending to hold the province of Kavatsona against the inevitable retaliation of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Paranas and The Kingdom of Teclav, Komentiolos do not stand alone either. Neither The Republic of Kalseran or The Empire of Reria boast formidable armies, their strength instead found in their navies, but both nations have still committed soldiers to the cause, and as the days pass, more and more of the newly raised conscript soldiers of Komentiolos cross the narrow strait and take up defensive positions in Kavatsona. General Marcian Augustus is a more than capable commander, a grizzled veteran of countless skirmishes and battles, but he knows that he will soon face the might of the army gathering across the newly drawn border. The reports warn that Alp Tarkhan and his horde of cavalry, fresh from shattering the army of The Kingdom of Dorist, have bolstered the forces of Khazaria already preparing to assault the Komentiolos lines, and Marcian is all too aware that those lines will be tested in the coming weeks.

8th of November

Ships of The Empire of Grimhout finally reach India, guided by sailors of The Kingdom of Kehsi who know the waters. When they arrive into a Kehsi port, they find that grave news has already preceded their arrival. The Viswan Empire has shattered the Kehsi influence on the mainland, driving the colonists back to the island that the kingdom still controls. All too aware of the coming war, the colonists of Kehsi have been whipped into a militia, preparing themselves for when the Viswan Empire crosses the narrow sea. The Grimhout would-be colonists find themselves faced with a scene that is far from the idyllic paradise that they were promised, and for now they hesitate, staying as guests to the Kehsi colony, a testament to the two nation's growing bond. The Grimhout party is headed by an intrepid nobleman by the name of Baptiste Crevier, and he already finds himself faced with a difficult decision. Attempt to colonise the land recently lost by Kehsi, supported by their new allies, but risking the ire of the Viswan Empire, or instead sail further up the coast, finding unspoiled territory but also moving further away from the support of Kehsi.

11th of November

In the aftermath of the surrender of The Kingdom of Dorist, the nation is slowly attempting to pick up the pieces. The province of Shardvul is lost, and thousands of soldiers have been slaughtered for no gain. Whatever the true reason for the war, it is clear that King Freud has been defeated. A certain calm has fallen over the court, the nobles of Dorist simply going through the motions. The army, bloodied by King Freud's reckless orders, seem to have separated themselves from the traditional command structure, and as General Wolfgang Draton recovers from the horrors of the Siege of Kronik with his men, General Albert Riechsand has assumed near total control over the kingdom's army. Although their ranks have been considerably thinned, Dorist still boasts a formidable army, and while the rest of the kingdom recovers, soldiers loyal to Albert begin to take up command all across the remaining provinces of Dorist. The palace remains eerily quiet throughout all of this, but there is the unmistakable feel of change in the air, even as the winds turn cold, and winter begins to close in.

14th of November

The winter is already proving itself to be a harsh one, and The Kingdom of Komentiolos clearly does not want to be left at the mercy of the elements. Winter gear is distributed to the men that are deployed in the province of Bithynia, and their camps are carefully restructured to hold back the worst of the biting chill. As temperatures continue to drop, the soldiers of Komentiolos do not sit idle. Under the ever watchful gaze of General Marcian Augustus, a man who truly understands what it means to hold the line, defensive fortifications continue to be constructed, even as the frozen ground makes the sappers work even more difficult. Not only that, but the forests that once belonged to The Kingdom of Paranas are stripped almost bare, the wood used to construct countless stakes that line the Komentiolos lines. It is a well-known fact that the greatest strength of The Empire of Khazaria lies in their cavalry, the wild steppe-riders that bring ruin to any commander foolish enough to meet them on an open field, and it quickly becomes clear that General Marcian is determined not to repeat the bloody mistakes of his counterparts from The Kingdom of Dorist. When the inevitable thunder of hooves descends, it will find itself facing an army that is prepared to face them, and despite all of the brilliance of Alp Tarkhan, there is the definite sense of hope amongst the Komentiolos forces. Whatever happens in the coming war, the province of Bithynia may well bear witness to the most decisive battles that Europe has seen in living memory. Two great powers have poured their forces into a choke-point, and only one can emerge victorious, the other dealt a bloody blow.

15th of November

His father mourned, King Niklas IV is officially crowned as the new king of The Kingdom of Altenten. The situation that the young king faces is a bleak one, attempting to repair severely damaged relations with the neighbours to the east, while also attempting to navigate the influence of the power blocs that are emerging across Europe, caught between The Kingdom of Paranas, The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and even The Empire of Grimhout to the west. To compound the difficult situation, Niklas is far from a strong king, a meek child that never expected the crown to be thrust upon him so soon, and rarely involved himself in court life. While the neighbouring nations are already circling like sharks, attempting to force their own influence on the apparently rudderless country, there is someone far closer to home that is quick to exploit the situation. Niklas lacks ambition, the youngest of three children, and he always felt he had little in common with his father, preferring instead to hide behind the skirts of his mother. In the aftermath of his father's death, and his subsequent coronation, he has been increasingly turning to his mother for guidance, and in turn, his mother has turned to the man that she has long held favour for, her son-in-law, Phillip Lehner, the same man that steered Altenten away from open war. Phillip possesses all of the ambition that Niklas lacks, and he still holds the support of much of the Altenten nobility. In the following days, Phillip's power and influence only continues to grow, and the whispers at court quickly begin to suggest that the true power of Altenten now rests in the hands of Phillip, rather than the king.

16th of November

Political intrigue is not a craft uniquely practised by The Kingdom of Altenten. To the north, The Kingdom of Dorist is gripped by intrigue of it's own. While the palace seems ignorant, wilfully or otherwise, to the workings of General Albert Riechsand, the great noble families of Dorist are not so likely to turn a blind eye. Albert has noble blood of his own, but the great families of Dorist see the weakening of the crown's influence as an opportunity for themselves, not for some jumped up former hussar. They are all too aware of the easy charisma and charm of Albert, and of the formidable commanders that have already aligned themselves with the young general, and will King Freud continues to do nothing, these great families turn to the only other man that could possibly topple Albert's growing influence. General Wolfgang Draton. Wolfgang has no noble lineage, but he is a soldier, a veteran of countless wars, and the kind of leader whose men would die for him without a second thought. More importantly than that, he is renowned for his almost fanatical loyalty to Dorist, and the great families are relying on that loyalty being enough to see him stand against his comrade. For now, Wolfgang does little, still recovering from the ordeal of the Siege of Kronik, but he is no doubt aware of the murmurings, although there are few who can guess what the grizzled veteran is thinking. Perhaps Wolfgang will stand against Albert, or perhaps Wolfgang's loyalty is to Dorist herself, not to the bickering nobles, or the weak king, and in Albert Riechsand, he may see a kindred spirit.

17th of November

Perhaps seeking sanctuary from the war, or perhaps simply looking to enjoy a more relaxing climate, King Nikolaos II and his pregnant wife, Anna, travel to the small island of Cypris. The ruler of The Kingdom of Komentiolos is shortly joined by his brother, Arcadius, and his new sister-in-law, Salma. If it were not for the war continuing to wage just across the sea, it could almost be considered a gentle holiday for the two couples. Nikolaos and his brother are the most powerful figures in Komentiolos, one ruling over Komentiolos proper, while the other controls the newly reclaimed province of Aegyptus, but the baby that Anna is carrying is likely to usurp it's uncle in the power order, taking it's place as the heir apparent of Komentiolos, yet if Arcadius feels any bitterness about this fact, he does not show it, warmly greeting his brother. Arcadius does not travel to Cypris alone, instead he arrives accompanied by a reminder of the nature of Aegyptus, and a testament to the influence that his marriage has granted him. The small band of desert natives are armed with jezails, traditional weapons of the sands that are ornately decorated and family heirlooms in their own right, and Nikolaos is quickly impressed by the skill of these desert folk. With the king's blessing granted, this band of marksman from the east travel west, looking to join up with the Komentiolos army already gathering in Kavatsona.

18th of November

With The Empire of Grimhout serving as mediator, the tensions between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria are officially brought back under control. The name of Lord Favre is still murmured in the shadows, but the true fate of the noble is still known only to Arhan, and the actions of The Kingdom of Komentiolos have shifted the balance so heavily against Arhan that it is clear that Queen Ameline I no longer wishes to pursue the root of the conspiracy that sought to remove her from her throne, or at least not pursue through war. As the two diplomatic delegations begin their journeys homeward, Grimhout can look back on the ordeal as a glowing success. Not only did they stave off war on their own doorstep, but they have continued to serve as the champion for peace, and with The Kingdom of Hispalis seeming to stall, Grimhout has willingly filled the vacuum of power left behind in Arhan, once again increasing the influence they have over their immediate neighbours.

20th of November

The fleet of The Republic of Kalseran is still licking it's wounds from it's first encounter with the ships of The Empire of Khazaria, but Admiral Dionisio Giorgino is not the kind of man to sit idle for long. Boasting no noble name, Dionisio has risen through the ranks of the republic's navy with a stead hand and sound judgement, but no man is immune to the temptress of vengeance. Not only did Khazaria attempt to use tricks to cripple the Kalseran fleet, but they attempted to seize the republic's ships, and that is a slight that Dionisio is not willing to forget. With not only the strength of Kalseran at his back, but also the remaining ships of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and the newly arrived force of The Empire of Reria, Dionisio commands a formidable fleet, and as the sun rises over the Black Sea, he sails to war. However, Dionisio does not sail alone. General Sotiris Manlio, taking command of the increasingly notorious Seaguard, also joins the fleet, and just as Komentiolos did months before, Kalseran descends upon the ports and harbours of Khazaria like wraiths. And again, just as before, Khazaria sails out to meet their foe. The combined fleet of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas stands against the amassed strength of Kalseran, Komentiolos and Reria, and what follows is one of the largest naval battles that Europe has ever bore witness to. The roar of cannon-fire can be heard for miles around, and as the two fleets collide, what little strategy the commanders had envisioned quickly descends into chaos. The air fills with choking smoke, and the noise is deafening, orders lost in the roar, every ships fighting their own individual battle to survive the hellscape. For the first time, Khazaria and Paranas face more than frigates and sloops, and not only that, the ships of Kalseran are all feats of impressive naval design, their crews the masters of their vessels, and slowly but surely, a victor begins to emerge from the smoke. The Khazaria ships begin to break first, quickly followed by the Paranas fleet as the battle begins to swing against them, and before long, the chaos of battle becomes frenzied fleeing. Not content with a single victory, Dionisio Giorgino rallies the ships under his command and gives chase. The Paranas and Khazaria fleet splits in two, fleeing to their respective safe harbours, and the ships of Kalseran, Komentiolos and Reria hound them every step of the way. The beleaguered survivors that do reach the relative safety of their naval fortifications are ragged and bloodied, and there can be little doubt that the fleet of Khazaria and Paranas has been all but defeated, and the alliance that stands against them has claimed a crucial victory, wresting effective control of the Black Sea. However the victory did come at a cost, and all of the fleets involved in the titanic battle have been bloodied, mangled corpses washing up on the shore of the Black Sea for weeks, and the water clogged with splintered wood. For now though, there can be celebration for some, and anguish for others.

23rd of November

With the fleets of The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas broken, the ships of The Empire of Reria limp homewards, but the soldiers of Reria are yet to taste the bitterness of war. As the nights continue to draw in, Kavatsona has been turned into a fortress of winding defensive lines, carefully placed fortifications and thousands upon thousands of men, drawn from The Kingdom of Komentiolos, Reria, and even Aegyptus to the far east. The tension in the air is not lessened by the bitter chill, and although the news of the great naval victory in the Black Sea brings some merriment to the waiting soldiers, it does not last for long. Despite the formidable force gathered to hold the province, every day the reports tell of the great host gathered to attempt to take it. The stories of Alp Tarkhan bringing ruin to The Kingdom of Dorist is already passing into legend, and the news of great general of The Empire of Khazaria arriving to the north has set the defenders on edge. The attack will come, Komentiolos can only pray that they have prepared enough to withstand it.

24th of November

With King Niklas IV newly crowned, talk quickly turns to the matter of an heir. After all, the young king is not yet twenty, and should disaster strike, the ensuing fallout could tear The Kingdom of Altenten apart. With that in mind, and as yet another move to secure his own power, the king's brother-in-law, Phillip, presents a wife for the young king. Mira Franz is Phillip's cousin, and while she is undoubtedly a beautiful young woman in her own right, she also share's her cousins ambitions. At the advice of his mother, and with the support of the nobles rallied around Phillip, the engagement is officially announced, the wedding set to be held in the coming weeks, and Niklas unwittingly falls further into the power of Phillip. Even as war consumes the rest of Europe, there are always those who look to seize upon opportunities, and Phillip has seen his fortunes skyrocket almost overnight.

25th of November

It is not only The Kingdom of Komentiolos that is bracing itself for the wrath of The Empire of Khazaria. As General Sotiris Manlio continues to raid the coastline of Khazaria, the other commander of The Republic of Kalseran, Bettino Gianni, has been ordered to prepare defensive lines of his own along the sizeable border that Kalseran shares with The Kingdom of Paranas. Most believe that when Khazaria push, it will be against Komentiolos, but as news continues to spread of the bloody carnage that the ships of Kalseran have dealt, perhaps Khazaria will instead look to the west. After all, Kalseran's strength lies in it's navy, and although Bettino has put his men to work preparing to defend, he simply does not boast the strength that Komentiolos does. No doubt aware of the situation, Luisa A'Dera begins looking for new weapon designers, looking for any kind of edge, and thanks to no small portion of good fortune, the republic see's almost immediate results. Kalseran has bled alongside The Empire of Reria, and the bond between the two nations has only strengthened. Following the open invitation of Luisa, Silvio Luciani travels to the city of Kalseran, and presents the 'Luciani Ratio' to The Grand Lady of the Republic. Although it will not overcome the numbers of Khazaria alone, and it will take time for the ratio to be truly put to use, any advantage is a welcome one, and Luisa is quick to embrace this innovation.

26th of November

General Albert Riechsand is not ignorant of the great noble families of The Kingdom of Dorist attempting to turn General Wolfgang Draton against him, but perhaps Albert understands his counterpart better than these powerful nobles, and he makes no attempt to persuade Wolfgang to join his cause. After continuing to recover with his men, fellow survivors of the Siege of Kronik, Wolfgang finally seems to come to a decision. Or rather, he doesn't. Instead, Wolfgang simple reiterates his loyalty to Dorist, and returns to his home, a quiet village in the province of Brundwig. In reality, the lack of a decision is a decision in itself. Wolfgang will not stand against Albert, and he has withdrawn from the power struggle. Not to be dissuaded by this blow, the nobles prepare to challenge Albert himself, but with Wolfgang standing aside, even more support within the Dorist army flocks to Albert. And still, the crown says nothing, perhaps resigning itself to its coming fate.

28th of November

The soldiers of The Kingdom of Teclav have marched to support the forces of The Empire of Khazaria, and that in itself is testament to the bond that exists between the two unlikely allies. The two nations have been triumphant in one war already, but despite the formidable strength that has gathered to support The Kingdom of Paranas, there is little doubt that this war against The Kingdom of Komentiolos will not be so simple an affair. With every day that passes, the nights grow darker, the wind more chilling, and yet the order to advance still does not arrive. Yet it will, and when it does, tens of thousands of brother, husbands and sons will march to war, and thousands of them will never see their homes again, destined to die on a frozen battlefield. The fate of Europe is at stake, and neither side can afford to back down.

Hidden 11 mos 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

Winter of 1756

1st of December

Far from the chaos of Europe, India has been gripped by it's own war. As tensions between The Viswan Empire and The Kingdom of Kehsi show no signs of cooling, blood shed by both sides, the recently arrived colonists of The Empire of Grimhout find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict they have no involvement in. Baptiste Crevier, the man tasked with establishing a foothold for Grimhout in India, finds himself with a difficult choice to make. Although Kehsi are already preparing to retaliate again Viswan for the loss of Fort Ivars, Baptiste carries the seal of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, given the full authority of Grimhout's ruler, and he reaches his own decision. Rather than tying themselves too closely to the abrasive colonists of Kehsi, Baptiste leads his followers north, intending to settle unspoiled lands, away from the brewing war against Viswan.

3rd of December

The marriage between Salma Al Sadat and Arcadius Koromelas has done much to bring a sense of order to the province of Aegyptus, but as time has passed, the initial joy of the marriage has waned. The rich families of the province, most hailing from The Kingdom of Komentiolos, or at least tracing their family line back to the illustrious history of the kingdom, have welcomed the move, yet this influence does not extend far beyond the lavish villas of these great families. Unrest has plagued the tendrils of Komentiolos that dare to stray too far into the desert, and that unrest has only gathered momentum. The province is defended by a respectable garrison, but they are thinly stretched, and it is almost impossible to fight an enemy that seems to dissapear into the sands. Not only that, but it is becoming increasingly clear that these rebellious nomads are not acting alone. Weapons of war have been smuggled into the province, and there seems to be some uniting power amongst the various tribes that call the shifting sands home. Accusations understandably fly towards The Empire of Khazaria, but for now, reports continue to reach Arcadius, and in turn, his brother, King Nikolaos II, and they make for grim reading.

5th of December

Winter continues to close in on the province of Kavatsona, and perhaps a less experienced commander would lower their guard, expecting no army to try and push through the biting chill and frozen ground. The Kingdom of Komentiolos is fortunate then, that Marcian Augustus is far from a less experienced commander. Even as the snow begins to fall, Marcian continues to drill his troops, ever strengthening his defensive lines for the assault that he knows in his bones will come. And as the makes a rare appearance through the clouds, that assault comes. The armies of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria have been careful to use the very terrain of the province as their first line of defence, and in truth, there was always one point through which the inevitable attack was likely to flow. The Gelesos Pass is a narrow break in the mountains, and it is around this pass that Marcian has ensured his defences are strongest. Considering the considerable reputation of the assembled leaders that the enemy has gathered, Marcian may have wondered about the validity of such an obvious advance, but for all of his grit and experience, Marcian Augustus is not an imaginative man, and he will always fight the enemy in front of him, and he moves ot take command of the defence personally. As the very ground rumbles beneath marching feet, the roar of cannon-fire from both armies signals the beginning of The Battle of Gelesos Pass. The conscripts of Komentiolos have swollen the defensive lines, tens of thousands of young men valiantly pledging to defend their nation, their numbers only limited by the number of weapons that Komentiolos could provide, and entrenched behind their fortifications, morale is high. The gathered force of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas is formidable in their own right, but they face an enemy that has dug in, and refuses to be dislodged. Assault after assault is beaten back by massed musket fire, and the roar of cannon, and Marcian commits his reserves to shore up the line wherever it threatens to buckle. Finally, after hours of this bloody cycle, and as the sun begins to fade, the assault ends as quickly as it began, and celebrations erupt all along the Komentiolos and Reria line. The savages have been sent scurrying back, Komentiolos has won an impressive victory, and the conscripts have tasted battle and emerged triumphant. There is only one man who does not celebrate, Marcian Augustus. As the grizzled veteran surveys the carnage of war, he cannot ignore the feeling in his gut. The famed cavalry of Khazaria did not ride through the pass, and for all the supposed brilliance of the Khazaria commanders, surely this attack was always doomed to fail? Regardless, reports are sent back to Komentiolos and Reria, and celebrations continue into the night.

6th of December

It does not take long for The Empire of Khazaria to play it's hand. Thousands of soldiers of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Paranas and The Kingdom of Teclav have sacrificed their lives in the Gelesos Pass in order to provide the opportunity for one gambit. To the east, miles away from the pass, shadows descend from the mountains. Kavatsona was Paranas land, and it is still the men and woman of Paranas that know it's secrets. During the night, a host of Khazaria and her allies have moved along half-forgotten paths through the hills, and an hour before dawn breaks, when the air is still bitingly cold, chaos erupts along the defensive lines of The Kingdom of Komentiolos. Although thousands of civilians fled before the invasion of Komentiolos, there are still mean and woman of Paranas that did not flee, and in the shadows of the night, as the conscripts celebrate the victory to the west, these men and woman have moved silently towards the Komentiolos lines, leaving the nearby village of Drarama. Fires break out amongst the tents, barricades are torn down, and while the soldiers of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria are still in disarray, the gathered host charges. The ground is littered with caltrops, so it is the massed infantry that leads the charge, descending upon the defensive lines. The battle is bloody and confined, men often fighting hand-to-hand in the darkness and the chaos, and every inch that Khazaria, Teclav and Paranas advance is watered with blood, but as dawn finally begins to break, the line buckles. A path is quickly cleared through the fortifications with brute force, and as the infantry continues to beat back the reeling defenders, the cavalry of Alp Tarkhan can finally ride to war. The line of Komentiolos has been breached, and as word reached Marcian Augustus to the west, the grizzled veteran realises with a heavy heart that he has been played. The Battle of Drarama has been won by Khazaria and her allies, and now that the line is breached, Alp Tarkhan is free to run riot once more.

7th of December

Marcian Augustus is an accomplished commander, a man who has looked into the face of death and stood defiant, but he cannot be everywhere at once. The massed army of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas advances through the Gelesos Pass once more, while the army to the east continues to push deeper into Kavatsona itself. The news of the defeat has almost broken the morale of the conscript soldiers that line the remaining defences, and Marcian quickly realises that The Second Battle of Gelesos Pass will be a very different affair from the first. Reports continue to flood in of the vast advances that Alp Tarkhan and his riders are making, and as he stands over a map of the province, Marcian quickly realises how fragile his position has suddenly become. The claws of the pincer are closing by the hour, and despite the iron will of Marcian, he knows that only death awaits his men if he hesitates. The main battle lines of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria are lost, but there is a second line, close to the coast, and it is to these that Marcian signals the retreat. A valiant rearguard remains to try and hold back the enemy pushing from the north, while Marcian rallies the remaining survivors and pushes south with all haste. The day is surprisingly clear, and that quickly proves to be both a blessing, and a curse. The retreat makes good progress, but the mild temperature suits the riders of Alp Tarkhan, and it is not long before the massed cavalry of Khazaria and her allies descends upon Marcian Augustus and his men. Faced with riders drawn straight from nightmares, the morale of the remaining conscripts finally shatters, and their ordered retreat becomes a frantic flight. Against organised defences, and a wall of dug in defenders, even the famed cavalry of Khazaria is a blunt weapon, but on open ground, against fleeing and panicked men, they become a barbers razor, and under the legendary command of Alp Tarkhan, that razor's blade becomes wicked indeed. The fleeing conscripts are cut down with a ruthless and brutal joy, but in their deaths, they do buy Marcian precious time, and finally, the surviving defenders of Kavatsona reach the second line, built around the provincial capital of Byzantion. With the sea at their back, Marcian does not allow his men a moment's respite, ordering them to man the defences, and prepare to sell their lives to hold the line, but the assault never comes. As the massed infantry of the enemy, under the capable command of Yitzhak ha-Sangari, continues it's steady advance, Alp Tarkhan and his riders occupy themselves with cutting down the last straggling deserters, rather than attempt to break the Komentiolos lines. For now, Komentiolos has survived, but they have been dealt a sickeningly bloody blow, and their control of Kavatsona has been beaten back to the coast. Marcian can only pray that the weather turns, and makes any assault impossible, but with Komentiolos just across the strait, Marcian will not retreat a step further. This is where he will hold the line, until the last soldier of Komentiolos has been cut down.

8th of December

News of the bloody battles between the allied armies under The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria are read with an almost morbid curiosity by nations all across Europe, but one of Khazaria's former enemies, The Kingdom of Dorist, has it's own issues to handle. The powerful noble families of Dorist have been plotting against General Albert Riechsand for weeks, but they have been betrayed. In the darkness of the night, soldiers of Dorist, all across the nation, burst into lavish manors and drag nobleman from their beds. The self-proclaimed leaders of the plot are executed with brutal efficiency, with their followers thrown into prison. Younger noble families, who had no love for the older, established families, are all too happy to take the places of their predecessors, and they are wise enough to pledge their loyalty to Albert Riechsand. Overnight, the young general has all but seized control of the nation, and it quickly becomes clear that the royal family has become a mere figurehead, allowed to keep their title and position only due to the whim of Albert. Wolfgang Draton looks on, doing nothing to challenge his young peer, but the other military leader of Dorist does not sit so idly by. However if Admiral Karl Young wanted to challenge Albert, then he is quickly foiled. Seized by his own men, and arrested for treason, Karl is accused of leading the disastrous naval action against The Kingdom of Stevata of his own will, acting against Dorist, and against his king. His protest falls on deaf ears, and a message is sent north, to The Kingdom of Fosbak, to offer the disgraced admiral as a peace offering between the two nations.

10th of December

Even as their allies are swept away, the soldiers of The Republic of Kalseran watch nervously on. General Bettino Gianni has been ordered to hold the line, and he has constructed formidable fortifications all along the border between Kalseran and The Kingdom of Paranas, preparing for the offensive that he thought was inevitable. After all, the Kalseran line was stretched thinner than that of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria, and yet The Empire of Khazaria has already played it's hand, pushing south rather than west with almost shocking success. Kalseran suddenly finds itself holding an even longer line, rushing to plug the hole in the defences in the province of Helensa. For now though, as the weather continues to deteriorate, Bettino can only continue to dig in. The foothold that Komentiolos and Reria has forged has been all but wiped away, and with their allies almost shattered, Kalseran suddenly find's it's own position to be increasingly precarious. All too aware of this, Luisa A'Dera writes to her brother, Isidoro, and implores him to ask for even greater aid from his father-in-law, Emperor Clarenzio III. Reria blood has been spilt, but as the entire region seems to teeter on the brink, Kalseran calls for more sons to be sent to war. With a heavy heart, even as chaotic and damning reports continue to flow in, Clarenzio agrees, and soldiers of Reria travel to the Kalseran lines. After all, if Kalseran should fall, then Reria would be the one with the most to lose.

13th of December

Tsesarevich Petya Barinov has been a guest of The Kingdom of Fosbak for weeks, and in truth, Petya seems to have found a kindred spirit in Queen Marta II. Despite the age difference between the two, they have quickly become fond friends, sharing similar interests in music and the arts. This bond seems to reflect the solidarity that is felt between Fosbak and The Empire of Stabuga, two nations that find themselves in very similar situations. New power blocs are emerging all across Europe, and it seems to be quickly becoming a race for the remaining nations to choose sides. Fosbak did not interfere in the war just south of it's borders, despite lobbying from both sides of the line, but that has all but severed what bonds Fosbak did hold with the south, and with The Kingdom of Kehsi continuing to align itself with The Empire of Grimhout, and even the historical ally of The Kingdom of Orvag seeming to be drawn to the increasingly powerful alliance of The Kingdom of Teclav, The Kingdom of Stevata and The Empire of Khazaria, Fosbak is in need of friends. In Stabuga, Queen Marta seems to see that, and treaties are drawn up on both trade and friendship. The murmurs of a potential alliance in the future is warmly greeted, and it is with a heavy heart that Petya finally embarks on his journey home, promising to write to Marta before long. The heir to the empire has not only proven himself a capable diplomat, but he has also made a very valuable friend.

14th of December

Winter has truly arrived with vengeance, and even as temperatures plummet, and most of eastern Europe is buried beneath snow and ice, Marcian Augustus allows himself a silent prayer of thanks. The advance of The Empire of Khazaria and it's allies at the start of the month was a surprising move, and the soldiers no doubt paid a price for the effort of pushing through the bleak weather, but in these hellish conditions, even the hardy men of Khazaria cannot hope to mount any significant assault. Fate has apparently intervened, and until the weather clears, the line of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria will hold. The winter storms have swept across the Black Sea, sending ships of all nations scattering to the safety of their own harbours, and in the howling wind, there is a brief moment of peace.

16th of December

Despite the aid of their allies, The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria, the fleet of The Kingdom of Komentiolos has been all but wiped out, the wrecks littering the coastline of the Bosporus, but King Nikolaos II clearly wants to try and salvage something from the defeat. The surviving cannons are rescued from these wrecks, and dragged to the front lines in Kavatsona, the sailors that survived the bloodshed given muskets, and sent to bolster the defending army. The numbers are meagre, and few guns can really be salvaged from the wrecks, but it is still the first bit of good news to reach the beleaguered defenders, and any boost to morale is welcomed by General Marcian Augustus, the man ordered to hold the line.

19th of December

While the east continues to descend into chaos and bloodshed, The Empire of Grimhout continues to serve as a paragon of peace in the west. With The Principality of Asmont and The Kingdom of Kehsi already brought into the fold, influence growing in The Kingdom of Arhan by the day, and treaties delivered to The Kingdom of Hispalis, Grimhout turns it's attention to the west once more, and The Kingdom of Genstadt. Queen Margriet I is accustomed to finding herself caught in the middle, but as unrest grips Dorist to the east, and Asmont is already benefiting from it's new bond with Grimhout to the south, the young queen finds it hard to argue against the case put forward by the Grimhout diplomats. It is only the silence from Hispalis that gives Margriet cause for hesitation, and for now, no treaties are signed. Both Grimhout and Genstadt turn to Hispalis again, as the wait for a response continues to grow. However, Grimhout is not idle in the shadows either. Rumours have always circulated of the network of spies and informants that have operated under 'Monsieur Pierre', and as chaos continues to bleed from the east like a cancer, shadowy figures move to the courts of Dorist, and The Kingdom of Altenten, keeping a watchful eye on the tumultuous situation that both nation's are currently in the grips of.

21st of December

Finally, The Kingdom of Hispalis breaks it's silence. As the development of the Vera Engine continues to revolutionise the very fabric of the nation, the diplomatic party of The Empire of Grimhout embarks homewards. When they finally arrive at the court of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, the news they bring is just as revolutionary as the engine. Jean-Baptiste had implored for peace, and clearly that note has struck true with King Charles XII, and treaties have been signed that will shape western Europe for generations. The two historic rivals have not only settled their differences, but have effectively become allies, and as the momentum of this groundbreaking revelation sweeps through Grimhout and it's neighbours, The Kingdom of Genstadt quickly falls in line, and the influence over The Kingdom of Arhan see's another nation flock to this new testament of peace and brotherhood. Trade routes are drawn all across the west, and while the east continues to war, the powers of Grimhout, Hispalis, The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Principality of Asmont, Arhan and Genstadt have united under a single banner of peace.

22nd of December

As the wind continues to howl over Kavatsona, the disparity between the east and west of Europe has never been more obvious. While the nations of the west unite, the nations of the east continue to engage in bloody war. The soldiers of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria that still hold the line are ragged, and bloodied. They have seen war, they have seen their brothers and friends cut down beside them, and frozen corpses litter the province. What advantage the conscripted soldiers gave has been all but lost, and the storm has blunted the strength of the combined fleet. The that will come, the weather will clear, and when it does, Marcian Augustus knows that he will be facing the combined strength of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas yet again, and despite his own grit, Marcian knows that holding the line will be bloody, but he cannot break. If the line breaks here, then Komentiolos itself will be open to the savages, and that cannot be allowed.

23rd of December

Unaware of the great strides that his home nation has made in Europe, Baptiste Crevier makes his own strides in the name of The Empire of Grimhout. In the northern reaches of India, a colony of Grimhout is finally established, a humble trading port and rudimentary fort now, but Baptiste has ambition, and with the rich trade that the new alliance of western Europe will inevitably bring, the colony of Grimhout will only grow. However, Baptiste is not the only leader with grand designs for India. Even while The Republic of Kalseran braces itself for war, a ship has sailed west, carrying most precious cargo. The wishes of Maria Toleas have been granted, and the noblewoman has been granted almost total authority of the republic's own colonies in India, and although she has been issued with a stern warning that she is of the republic and for the republic, the bloodshed for The Kingdom of Kehsi has already proven how cumbersome it is for the powers of Europe to try and control their colonies directly. With Maria and Baptiste attempting to carry out their own ambitious schemes, and Kehsi preparing to seek vengeance against The Viswan Empire, India is a powder keg, just waiting for someone to strike a match.

26th of December

The alliance that has emerged in western Europe may well champion peace, but it boasts a formidable military strength. The combined fleets of The Empire of Grimhout, The Kingdom of Hispalis, The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Kingdom of Arhan and The Kingdom of Genstadt simply dwarfs anything that other nations of Europe can produce, and yet it quickly becomes clear that Grimhout is not willing to rest on these laurels. The shipyards along the empire's coast come to life, and work begins on almost a dozen new ships of the line. It will be months, if not years, before these ships can sail under the Grimhout flag, and who knows what they will face when they do, but it is still a clear sign of intent, and perhaps even a warning to the rest of Europe, that this new alliance is all too aware that the greatest symbol for peace, is military strength.

27th of December

In less than a month, the situation in the province of Kavatsona has been upended. The armies of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria have been broken, driven back almost into the sea itself, and the defensive line of The Republic of Kalseran is stretched precariously thin, even with the welcomed re-enforcement from Reria. Of Kalseran's twin strengths, the formidable fleet has been forced to seek safe harbour as the tempest continues to rage, but the Seaguard is still a formidable weapon. Perhaps in simple recognition of the fact that the generals of Komentiolos are more accomplished than those of the republic, this weapon is effectively placed in the hands of Komentiolos. While their allies no doubt decide what to accomplish with these elite soldiers, Kalseran does not rest idle, and General Sotiris Manilo begins work on a task that for now, is spoken about only in hushed whispers, and murmurs in the shadows.

28th of December

The sailors of The Kingdom of Hispalis that left their home nation months ago to settle a trading port on the western coast of Africa will scarcely recognise the face of Europe now, and as the first reports and traders reach the newly established port, they certainly make for surprising reading. Beneficial service is offered to the ships of The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout that pass the port, sailing back and forth between Europe and the rich bounty of India, and as the port continues to grow in influence and prosperity, it serves as an open reminder of the fact that the western alliance commands influence in not only Europe, but Africa, India and the Americas. The treaties that have been signed by the five nations has created what has to be considered the first truly global power.

30th of December

Anna Koromelas has seen her entire life change in just a year. Her marriage to King Nikolaos II seems like a lifetime ago, and as she stands in the narrow window of the Cyprus villa that has served as her home for the last weeks, heavily pregnant with the heir of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, she allows herself a moment of calm. Anna is a bright young woman, and she has not been ignorant to the slew of reports and letters that her husband has been receiving. She is all too aware that the war against The Empire of Khazaria has faltered, that Komentiolos blood has been shed, just as she it all too aware of the problems that her own home nation faces. So significant is the child that she bears, that she was unable to safely attend her own father's funeral, but in the aftermath, she can easily read between the lines of her sister's letters. She knows how meek her younger brother is, and she knows that there will be those who enforce their own will on his. But from this narrow window, what can she do? Pulling her coat tighter around her against the chill that has descended even over the Mediterranean, Anna wonders, not for the first time, what kind of world her child will be born into.

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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

Spring of 1757

1st of January

A new year dawns over Europe, but it brings no golden dawn. The war in the east still rages, and only the bitter winter has halted the unrelenting bloodshed. For a brief moment, the naive believed that there was a glimmer of hope, that peace could still be forged from the fires of war, but as new orders are sent across Europe, it quickly becomes clear that neither side is content, and that the bloody carnage will continue into the new year. In stark contrast to the division and bloodshed that plagues the east, the west has seen the emergence of The Western Alliance, a formidable collection of nations brought together by a common cause. With the two alliances of the east locked in war, and the alliance of the west still consolidating it's position, attention quickly turns to those nation's that are yet to declare their allegiance. Power blocs are forming, and to remain out in the cold for too long could spell disaster.

4th of January

In testament to the trust that is already being fostered between the nations of The Western Alliance, the Imperial Palace of Rivierberg, in the heart of The Empire of Grimhout, serves as the staging ground for a monumental gathering. The great military leaders of no less than six European nations are brought together under a single banner. General Fernandez de Malaca and Admiral Bernardo de Bracara from The Kingdom of Hispalis, Admiral Hugues Dubos of The Kingdom of Arhan, General Maximino Torres and Admiral Paulinho Machado of The Kingdom of Kehsi, General Arjen Stork of The Kingdom of Genstadt, General Oskar Gissler of The Principality of Asmont, and General Jean-Luc Masson and Admiral Valery Souchon of Grimhout itself, every man assembled is a formidable commander in their own right, and the meeting may well be the greatest gathering of military minds that Europe has ever witnessed. Men that just months before were pouring over strategy to potentially wage war against each other now find themselves sharing reports, and establishing the combined strength of The Western Alliance. Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau himself oversees this unusual council, but with war raging in the east, the new alliance cannot rest on it's laurels for too long. Grand strategies are created, battle plans drawn up for a dozen theoretical scenarios, and perhaps even more importantly, the treaties between the nations become bonds of genuine friendship between several of these power military figures. As the gathering draws to a close, the assembled nations pledge to gather again in the early days of next year as well, the War Council of the West, as it has already been dubbed, becoming an annual gathering in rotating capitals of the alliance, with plans already made for Toletum, the capital of Hispalis, to host the council next.

7th of January

It is only the harsh winter and howling storm that has seen the bloody conflict between The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria grind to a halt, but as the weeks pass, the weather begins to show signs of breaking. Men on both sides watch the clouds begin to part with a heavy heart, sailors grim-faced as the winds begin to die down. Perhaps nature has attempted to intervene, to provide both powers with the chance to salvage peace, but nature cannot delay the inevitable for long, nor can it bend wills that are intent on conquest and glory. Komentiolos and Khazaria are ancient enemies, their histories intertwined with each other, and drenched with blood, and in this new age, it is clear that neither power is willing to take a step back, to give any ground to the other. The nations of The Kingdom of Teclav, The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Paranas stand beside Khazaria, bonded by cultural heritage, while the alliance between Komentiolos, The Empire of Reria and The Republic of Kalseran is more complicated in it's origin, but no less formidable. Thousands of souls have been lost, the very face of the land changed by the war, and the echoes of this conflict will no doubt already echo for generations, but as the weather slowly improves, both alliances prepare to march to war once again.

8th of January

The Fourth Battle of the Black Sea occurred more than a month ago, the combined fleet of The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas shattered by the formidable fleets of The Republic of Kalseran, The Empire of Reria and The Kingdom of Komentiolos, but since then, the fierce storm that has descended over the Black Sea has brought an end to any intended naval action by either side. However, as the howling wind slowly begins to weaken, the raging sea begins to settle, Admiral Iraklis Roberto has his orders. The land battle against Khazaria and it's allies may have been dealt a bloody blow, but with the warships of Kalseran and Reria under his command, Iraklis prepares to bring ruin to Khazaria itself. With their own fleet reduced to almost nothing, Komentiolos can only wish it's allies fair sailing, and return the elite soldiers of the Seaguard to the Kalseran cause. When the storm breaks, a formidable fleet will once again sail the waters of the Black Sea, and there is little that Paranas or Khazaria will be able to do to stop them.

10th of January

When The Kingdom of Stevata was dragged into war against The Kingdom of Dorist, The Empire of Khazaria did not hesitate to ride to their aid, and that is not a blood debt that Stevata intends to forget. Soldiers of The Kingdom of Teclav have already been serving alongside Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas, but while Dorist has been embroiled in a military coup, Stevata has resolved to lick it's wounds, and cast a watchful eye on their neighbour. And yet in the new year, Dorist diplomats have once again made the journey east, attempting to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two nations, and Stevata has sent it's soldiers to war once again. Thousands of battle-hardened soldiers march south, and yet while many march to join the amassed allied force in the province of Kavatsona, others instead cross the border into Khazaria itself, swelling the garrisons of the coastal provinces that will soon bear the wrath of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria. As Stevata marches to defend it's allies weakest point, Teclav also sends more soldiers south, joining with the forces of Stevata along the coast. When the ships of Kalseran and Reria do strike, it will not be against undefended provinces, but instead against the guns of Khazaria and her allies.

12th of January

Even as the ships of The Empire of Reria and The Republic of Kalseran prepare to bring war to the coastline of The Empire of Khazaria itself, Khazaria does not sit idly by. The soldiers of The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav have already been welcome re-enforcement to the sparsely defended provinces, but Khazaria is clearly not content with letting the burden of it's own defence rest on the shoulder's of it's allies. Taxes are raised, and new soldiers of Khazaria are raised in a matter of weeks. The fervour of war has gripped the entire nation, whipped into a frenzy by the string of victories that Khazaria has achieved, and the increasingly legendary status of Alp Tarkhan, and thousands of men flock to the call. With it's own fleet bloodied, there is little that Khazaria can do to stop the inevitable assault from the Black Sea, but the proud nation is clearly determined to make the ships of Reria and Kalseran pay a bloody price.

15th of January

The marriage between King Niklas IV and Mira Franz is a joyous occasion, celebrated all across The Kingdom of Altenten, although it is likely that few of those celebrating recognise the significance of the pairing. Phillip no controls yet another voice in the young king's ear, and as his power continue to grow unrivalled, Phillip turns his attention beyond the borders of Altenten for the first time. Refugees from the war in the south have been arriving into Altenten as a slow trickle, and the reports reaching the capital of Etterselt makes for very interesting reading. The Altenten royal family is bonded with the dynasties of both The Kingdom of Paranas, and The Kingdom of Komentiolos, tied to both sides of the bloody conflict, and perhaps Phillip believes it is time for Altenten to choose a side. After all, the young nobleman has already proven himself to be a capable opportunist, and throwing in the kingdom's lot with the right side, at the right time, could see Phillip extend his power even further...

17th of January

Finally, after weeks of howling winds and bitter chill, the storm breaks. The clouds part, and the worst of winter finally seems to have passed, the lashing rain seeming to fade away. And yet there is little celebration. All across the province of Kavatsona, battle-weary soldiers of six different nations grimly take their place in the battle line once more, the ground turned into choking mud by the rain. Both sides know that battle will come once again, and that thousands more will fall, staining the very earth crimson with blood. On all sides of the Black Sea, sailors return to their vessels with heavy hearts, knowing that the waters will be choked by splintered wood and bloated corpses in the coming weeks, the roar of cannon like rolling thunder. Both sides of the war have only doubled down on their intent to wreck havoc, and for the soldier on the ground, there is seemingly no end in sight. They can only fight onwards, until they find peace in the bittersweet embrace of death.

18th of January

The contrast between the two sides of Europe continues to grow more stark by the day. While the young men of the east prepare to sell their souls for those that they care about, lives cut tragically short by the remorseless scythe, the west can concern itself with pursuing love, with the careful dance of courtship. The Kingdom of Arhan is still ruled by Queen Ameline, with the angelic Marie the soul heir to the proud nation. The love triangle between Marie and the respective heirs of The Empire of Grimhout and The Kingdom of Hispalis had been a significant battle before the Arhan conspiracy was unearthed, but now that The Western Alliance has been forged, the borders are once again open. Perhaps it is the result of some unspoken trust, or perhaps it even comes from some secret treaty, but it is only Christophe Dervaux, heir to Grimhout, that travels to the Palace in Cappes. The two young adults, with the weight of two nations resting on their shoulders, reunite, and it seems certain that their love will only continue to flourish. If a wedding is agreed between the two, it will signify not only a hugely significant bond between the two nations, but also arguably one of the most significant pairings that Europe has ever seen, Grimhout and Arhan becoming inseparably intertwined. It is not lost on anyone that any child born from their union would be the heir to dual crowns.

19th of January

Even as the ground continue to thaw, the armies of The Empire of Khazaria do not descend upon the ragged defensive line of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and Komentiolos does not make the mistake of wasting the respite. Tired bodies are driven onwards to their work, and as the days pass, the battle line becomes a formidable fortress in it's own right. It is around the city of Byzantion that the bedraggled survivors rallied, and it is around the city that these new defences are centred. Under the masterful eye of General Marcian Augustus, deep trenches are cut into the earth, and stake pits, moats and walls of earth appear all along the battle line. Villages and farms are seized and ransacked to form a part of the defensive line, and soldiers of Komentiolos appear to line these new defences at every hour, no matter the weather. As the few remaining civilians are evacuated across the strait, and into the relative safety of Komentiolos proper, and unusual arrivals make the reverse journey. Imperial-Era siege weapons, relics from a bygone era, are brought forth from the forgotten corners that had been left in, and are erected along the new defence lines. Beside the surviving cannons of Komentiolos, they look archaic, but just as a sharpened stick is still a dangerous weapon, so too are these siege weapons. Not only that, but rumours begin to swirl that the Alchemist's Guild have been pouring over their volatile supplies of Greek Fire, and that this mysterious relic of the past has also been brought to the front lines. When the hordes of Khazaria do come, the horse-lords riding against ancient weaponry, there will be many crusaders that find their mind cast back to 'The Golden Horde of Khazaria against the Western Crusaders', some three centuries earlier.

20th of January

Just as the forces The Kingdom of Komentiolos continue to dig in, bracing for the surely inevitable assault, the soldiers of The Republic of Kalseran do not sit idle. General Sotiris Manlio has already proven himself to be a capable commander, leading the recapture of Calassa, but he has been given a new task, in the face of the threat from Khazaria. While General Bettino Gianni commands the extent of the Kalseran defensive line, the soldiers of the republic supported by soldiers of The Empire of Reria, Sotiris has busied himself with training a new division of troops. The Seaguard are formidable soldiers, finely attuned to be the master of their specific battlefield, and it is these practices that Sotiris has attempted to ingrain in these new soldiers. How they will be used still stands to be seen, but it is quickly becoming clear that whether Khazaria and her allies turn to the south, or to the west, they will face a bloody fight to break through.

23rd of January

Whether it is due to the increasingly fortified defensive lines of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, the thinner stretched lines of The Republic of Kalseran, or something else entirely, reports from the province of Kavatsona quickly begin to suggest that the formidable strength of The Empire of Khazaria has turned it's attention to the west. No grand offensive has been launched against Komentiolos, to cast the survivors into the sea, and although reports are admittedly scarce, it is difficult for even a commander of Alp Tarkhan's quality to manoeuvre thousands of cavalry without watchful eyes taking notice. Military commands on both sides of the conflict frantically move to adjust their war plans, and it quickly becomes clear that Kalseran's respite from the wrath of Khazaria was only temporary. Komentiolos has been bloodied, now it is the turn of Kalseran to pay the blood price for this war. The soldiers of the republic will soon be tested in fire, their numbers spread thin across the extensive battle lines between Kalseran and The Kingdom of Paranas, and as the legend of Alp Tarkhan and his riders only continue to grow, the faith of the republic is placed on the shoulders of General Sotiris Manlio and General Bettino Gianni.

24th of January

While the forces of The Empire of Khazaria may be turning their attention away from the defences of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, Khazaria's allies make so much move. The soldiers of The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas were crucial in the bloody defeats inflicted upon Komentiolos at the Gelesos Pass, and at Drarama, and the Teclav commander, General Luka Volodin, is a more than capable commander in his own right. Not only that, but fresh soldiers from both Teclav and The Kingdom of Stevata arrive every day, swelling the forces under Luka's command. The Komentiolos fortifications are formidable, but perhaps they have been caught flat-footed. After all, control of the province has been all but wrested from Komentiolos hands, and while the combined strength of Stevata, Teclav and Paranas dissuade Komentiolos from abandoning their foothold, the strength of Khazaria is free to turn west. If the Kalseran line breaks, then Komentiolos will quickly find itself caught between holding their own defences, or marching to the aid of the ally that so readily sailed to theirs. War is never easy, and the delicate balance of power between the two alliances continues to swing one way, and then the other.

26th of January

With the storm broken, war comes to the Black Sea once again. Admiral Iraklis Roberto commands a truly formidable thirty-nine ships of the line, drawn from the naval strength of both The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria, supported by almost a dozen frigates, and this fleet dwarfs the scattered remains of any fleet that The Empire of Khazaria could hope to call upon. The fleet of The Kingdom of Paranas is in slightly better shape, but they are still dwarfed by the force gathered against them, and for now, they do not sail to war with their ally. The gathered fleet of Reria and Kalseran fall upon the coastline of Khazaria, and begin to lay waste. Countless coastal villages and fishing ports are all but wiped off the map by the overwhelming firepower, but the major harbours of Khazaria do not prove as easy prey. The less than a dozen surviving ships of the line in the Khazaria fleet have retreated behind the coastal defences of these harbours, and they lend their firepower to that of the coastal batteries that the harbours already boast. Newly raised soldiers of Khazaria, as well as men of The Kingdom of Stevata, man these defences, and even the strength of the Kalseran and Reria fleet find that they cannot break through this roar of cannon-fire. The prize of Khazaria's naval heart lies just out of reach, but natural defences are only bolstered by modern ones, and for now, Iraklis resorts to bringing ruin to the harbours that cannot defend themselves.

28th of January

The fleet of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria, continue to wreck havoc, and although the naval strongholds and vital shipyards remain untouched, the people of The Empire of Khazaria cannot ignore the charred husks that are being left in the wake of the enemies ships as they continue to raid the coastal settlements. Refugees flock inwards, and with them, the mood begins to turn. War is glorious when it is distant, romanticised by epic poems and songs about braze Khazaria warriors, but when the brutal and ugly reality of war comes to your own shores, it is harder to see the artistic side. Khazaria sleeps while her people are slaughtered, their livelihood burnt and plundered. The people cry out for the fleet of Khazaria to defend it's shores, rather than cower in it's harbours. For now, these voices are largely echoed only by those who have been driven from their homes, but discontent is a dangerous spark, and if it finds kindling, then it can spread like wildfire. Admiral Iraklis Robert may not have struck a killing blow against Khazaria, but his actions have soured the morale of the nation, and that poison can prove just as deadly as any naval action, if it is allowed to spread.

29th of January

The tensions all across the long border between The Republic of Kalseran and The Kingdom of Paranas has been building into a fever pitch. It is by now clearly apparent that The Empire of Khazaria has brought it's full strength west, and stand poised to ride against the soldiers of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria that hold the line. For now though, an eerie silence seems to have descended over the two armies, the calm before the storm, the land itself seeming to hold it's breath. Both sides have drawn up elaborate plans of attack, countless scouts crossing the border to assess the strength of the enemy, and in truth, it is not immediately apparent which army will advance first, which nation will cast the first stone. The famed cavalry of Khazaria are a formidable strength in their own right, but while the soldiers of the republic are far from the well-trained and disciplined men of the line that Khazaria has faced in The Kingdom of Dorist or The Kingdom of Komentiolos, Kalseran does boast one great strength. More than two hundred field guns line the barricades, one of the largest gatherings of sheer firepower that Europe has ever seen, and if Khazaria does throw itself against another nation's defences once again, the roar of cannon-fire will echo all across Europe.

30th of January

The Kingdom of Altenten finally breaks it's silence on the war raging beyond it's eastern border, but if anyone expected it to be a clear stance, then they have underestimated the burning ambition, and calculating cunning, of Philip Lehner. Diplomats are sent to both Kalseran and Alirgos, the capitals of The Republic of Kalseran and The Kingdom of Paranas, with the offer of aid, extended to the two nation's respective alliances. It quickly becomes clear that the Altenten aid comes at a price, and that King Niklas IV, and the puppeteers behind his throne, will patiently wait to see which side makes a more attractive offer. Sharing a border with both Kalseran and Paranas, and boasting a substantial army that has not yet been bloodied by war, Altenten represents a serious strategic boost to whichever side can tempt them. After all, if Altenten dies with Paranas, they would stretch the defensive line of Kalseran beyond breaking point, whereas if they join with Kalseran, they would open a whole new theatre of war against Paranas and The Kingdom of Stevata. Altenten could yet decide this war, but only for the right price.

31st of January

For decades, The Empire of Khazaria has attempted to leave it's nomadic and savage history behind it, attempting to embrace the new age that it finds itself in. And yet in the recent wars, it has been the steppe-riders that have been so devastating, led by Alp Tarkhan, a man who could have stepped from the pages of history. Perhaps in this, The Kingdom of Komentiolos has learnt a bloody victory. In a move than is poignantly reminiscent of when Komentiolos could claim a great empire, the war against Khazaria becomes inherently the war of Komentiolos, the entire nation used to feed the war machine. Every man and woman, all but overnight, is drafted into service. Farmers now provide their yield straight into the mouths of soldiers, every industry is committed to producing more weapons of war, and the first conscription effort of Komentiolos is dwarfed by the second. Tens of thousands of new soldiers are raised from all across the nation, and the army swells to a scale that has not been seen in generations. As these new conscripts already begin to filter across the strait, General Valens Flavius, a man gifted with a silver tongue, travels to take command of the Komentiolos forces in Kavatsona. Beneath Valens, the conscripts find their steel, whipped into a fervour by inspiring words and promises of glory. Komentiolos is now focused on the war, and the war alone, and while the repercussions of this move could well echo across the kingdom for years, it has provided King Nikolaos Andreas Koromelas II with a war machine that is unrivalled in Europe.

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Hidden 11 mos ago Post by SonOfALich
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From the gantry above 'The Painted Chamber', Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau watched the flurry of activity in the room below. Men in a dozen different military uniforms milled about, and from where he was standing, Jean-Baptiste could hear conversations in half a dozen languages. The walls of the chamber were covered in grand and ornately drawn frescos, as was the vaulted ceiling above, lending the chamber it's name, but it was the floor itself that had everyone's attention. The floor had been a project of Jean-Baptiste's father, and it had taken years for it to be finished, but from the gantry above, it was still an awe-inspiring sight. A map of Europe, stretching from the frozen eastern reaches of the Empire of Stabuga and the steppes of the Empire of Khazaria, all the way to the western coast of the Kingdom of Hispalis, intricately detailed, stretching more than two dozen feet from one end to the other, the painting was a masterpiece, drawing from the most accurate and detailed charts and maps available. It was over this map that the men below walked, and it was the subject of their discussions.

The gathered figures were military leaders from each of Grimhout's new allies, and as Jean-Baptiste listened, he could hear conversations in Kehsian, Colveili, Hispalian and Illwi, as well as the more recognisable tones of Dilmondian. As well as the military leaders, Jean-Baptiste could make out the distinctive dark green uniform of the Imperial Palace servant's, men that the Arch-Duke had personally chosen to their grasp of languages, intended to help ease the conversations between these powerful leaders. Jean-Baptiste had studied languages himself, as any future Arch-Duke was expected to, but he was conversational at best. In the coming months, he did not doubt that his grasp would improve through practice. After all, the doors of Grimhout and her neighbours had been thrown open, and a new dawn of peace, and brotherhood, was breaking over the horizon.

Grimhout had always been a patchwork empire, ever since Jean-Baptiste's ancestor had first united the warring states under a single banner, and Jean-Baptiste could vividly remember the day that his father had told him that it was this patchwork that was the empire's greatest strength. For generations, the empire had mixed blood with it's neighbours, and yet they had all been unified. Jean-Baptiste had travelled from one corner of Grimhout to the other, and he had seen for himself the disparity between the cultures of those that live on the northern coast of Woluzen, and those that carve out a living in the forests of Eeksen, and yet they were all of Grimhout. Some thread ran through them all, and that same thread that ran through Jean-Baptiste himself. The Arch-Duke did not doubt that it was this thread that had drawn Grimhout's neighbours together, and as he watched the congregation below him, he could almost see that same thread running across the room. It is rare for anyone to realise they are living in a moment of history until that moment has passed, but standing on that gantry, with the proof of this new alliance before him, the air around Jean-Baptiste felt electric.

The walls of 'The Painted Chamber' told the story of the Empire of Grimhout, every intricately detailed painting capturing a moment in the empire's history, and as a boy, Jean-Baptiste had spent countless hours learning about each moment, of the great battles, and the grand alliances, but as he had grown older, it was not these paintings that brought him back to this chamber again and again. It was the blank spaces on these walls, the emptiness that was still waiting to be filled. When he stood in this room alone, as the rest of the palace slept, if Jean-Baptiste closed his eyes, then he could almost hear his destiny calling from those blank spaces. He had heard that same calling when he had signed the treaty that had forged The Western Alliance, and standing on the gantry, he could hear it again. The west had united under a single banner, just as the warring states had centuries before, and Jean-Baptiste knew that this moment would be immortalised in one of those blank spaces, that his face would join those of his ancestors. For a brief moment, the Arch-Duke allowed himself to simply revel in that fact, before he reluctantly stepped back into reality. The alliance was a monumental step forwards, but the world was still ravaged by war, from the war in Europe, all the way to the trouble stirring in India. With a wave of his hand, Jean-Baptiste called Marc Choquet, his valet, forward from where the man had been patiently waiting.

"Yes, your Grace?"

"I want to send an invitation to Cappes. It is time to call Christophe home, and I want him to bring Princess Marie as his guest of honour. I would like to meet the young woman that has so infatuated my son, and to give them my blessing."

"Very good, your Grace. Is there anything else?"

Jean-Baptiste hesitated for a moment, brow furrowed slightly. In this new dawn for Grimhout, it was easy to thing of nothing but peace and love, but he had read the reports from the east, and he could little ignore the voices crying out in anguish and pain, still shackled and cowed by the ugly face of war. Nodding his head as he came to a decision, Jean-Baptiste spoke again, his voice ringing with authority.

"Call Monsieur Chevotet and Monsieur Seyrès to meet me in the Red Drawing Room, I have more letters to write. And inform the gathered commanders that I have something I wish to discuss with them all over dinner this evening. That will be all, Marc, thank you."

The valet bowed, before moving through the narrow doorway at the far end of the gantry, and disappearing into the palace beyond. Jean-Baptiste let out a sigh, now that he finally alone, and leaned against the gantry railing. Below him, the conversations continued, unaware that the Arch-Duke stood above them, and in that brief moment of peace, Jean-Baptiste allowed himself to relax. But only in that brief moment. Straightening up, the Arch-Duke straightened his ceremonial uniform, and walked briskly along the gantry, towards the doorway that led back into the world of responsibility and duty.
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Hidden 11 mos ago 11 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

Spring of 1757

2nd of February

It is clear that for all the impressive strides that it has already made, the Western Alliance still has grand ambitions. After all, the alliance commands territory on no less than four continents, and while other nations of Europe are consumed by war, this grand alliance looks beyond. The trading port of The Kingdom of Hispalis, Fort Avirias, has already proven bountiful, offering a safe haven for the trade ships destined for the long journey around the Cape of Good Hope, and opening the east up for yet more plundering of it's riches. Seeing the success of Fort Avirias, the members of the Western Alliance, The Empire of Grimhout foremost among them, urge Hispalis to push on, establishing another trading port to the south, forging another stepping stone for those ships that travel east, carrying intrepid and bright-eyed traders, and the first glimpse of home for the ships that return west, laden with riches. Hispalis agrees to the project, and word is sent to Fort Avirias to prepare another expedition. Slowly but surely, the reach of Europe, or rather, of the Western Alliance, continues to spread.

4th of February

While the nobility of The Kingdom of Altenten has shifted, manipulated by Philip Lehner, the people of Altenten have kept a watchful and wary eye on their borders. To the north, The Kingdom of Dorist has undergone an upheaval of their own, the ragged remains of the army reducing King Freud into a mere puppet after it's bloody defeat at the hand of it's enemies to the east. To the west, The Principality of Asmont has aligned itself with the growing strength of the Western Alliance, and it can now call upon powerful friends. Meanwhile, The Republic of Kalseran to the south has joined in war against The Empire of Khazaria, standing in open conflict with Altenten's eastern neighbours, The Kingdom of Paranas. Just as Philip Lehner looks to exploit this precarious position, it has caused a feeling of unease to settle among the common people. Unease all too often breeds unrest, and as rumours begin to spread throughout the kingdom, the nobility would be wise to bend their ear. Rumours begin to paint Khazaria as not only savage invaders, but also telling of the great riches that the horse-lords possess. These rumours are dismissed as fantastical by those few that have ventured to the east, but they still capture the hearts of the common folk, and before long, men in taverns are telling grand tales of the fields of gold that Khazaria horde for themselves, and the savagery of these nomads and bandits that threaten destruction to the rest of Europe. The same language was used by Dorist, and that is not surprising, the two nations sharing common ancestors after all, but any lessons that Dorist have learnt from their defeat at the hands of Khazaria are yet to bleed through to their cousins to the south. It will not be long before Altenten bays for blood once more.

5th of February

In the months since Silvio Luciani journeyed to the city of Kalseran, The Republic of Kalseran has not sat idle. The Luciani Ratio is a breakthrough in it's own right, and making use of the research that their new allies The Empire of Reria have already carried out on the ratio, fresh supplies of gunpowder are distributed all along the republic's stretched defensive lines. Perhaps it will still not be enough to weather the incoming storm of the greater numbers that The Empire of Khazaria can bring to bear, but this new gunpowder is a potent mix, and in the brutal confines of all out war, every advantage is precious. The artillerymen of the republic are already visibly excited by this new ratio, and the massed cannons that Kalseran boast have become even more of a thorn in Khazaria's side. When the seemingly inevitable assault does come, neither side will emerge unbloodied.

6th of February

Even as preparation's are made for war, death does not have an unchallenged hold over The Republic of Kalseran. Another child is born to the brother of the Grand Lady of the Republic, and although the babe cannot hope to comprehend it, the birth of Vincenzo A'Dera is a timely reminder of the bond that exists between the ruling families of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria. Even now, soldiers of the empire stand shoulder to shoulder with those of the republic, and ships of the two great naval powers sail together against the enemy to the east. It may have been forged from a shared need, but the alliance between Kalseran, Reria and The Kingdom of Komentiolos has survived it's first great challenge. And yet none of the nations are taking a moment to rest on their laurels, as they are all too aware that The Empire of Khazaria and it's own allies will test that bond once again.

9th of February

When the massed cavalry of The Empire of Khazaria broke through the lines of The Kingdom of Komentiolos at the Battle of Drarama, leaving Alp Tarkhan free to strike at the very heart of the Komentiolos army, there were many the believed the war had been worn. Even in the court of Komentiolos, there were hushed whispers calling for peace, as the bedraggled survivors fled for the relative safety of the coast, and yet when the harsh winter descended, the war machine of Khazaria ground to a halt, and Komentiolos was given precious time. Since then, thousands of fresh souls have been sent to the front lines, defences prepared, commanders reassigned, and the face of the war has changed. Komentiolos now boasts a truly formidable army along it's narrow foothold, conscripts drafted into legions of old, an entire nation committed totally to war, while Khazaria has turned it's attention away from this growing strength, and seems intent on instead challenging the more sparsely defended lines of The Republic of Kalseran to the west, leaving the soldiers of The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav to occupy the forces of Komentiolos. Yet for now, all armies seem content to wait behind their earthen fortifications, warily watching the enemy to make the first move. It is in the Black Sea where the most decisive actions are taking place, the combined fleet of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria attempt to make use of their superiority, and yet struggling to crack the hardened defences of Khazaria's fortified harbours. Through all of this, the rest of Europe can only watch on, waiting for the decisive moment that will once again tip the balance one way or the other. Legends are already being written, but for the man that finally breaks the deadlock, his name will echo through eternity.

10th of February

Like waves against the shore, the fleet of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria continues to throw itself against the coast of The Empire of Khazaria. With soldiers of The Kingdom of Teclav standing shoulder to shoulder with the newly raised soldiers of Khazaria, the harbours of Khazaria still prove a prize too bloody for the taste of Admiral Iraklis Roberto. Buoyed by their success in holding back the formidable fleet that stands against them, Khazaria look to use the anger of those left beyond the safety of the harbours. While the young, the old and the women are ushered to sanctuary inland, the fishermen, and others that call the shoreline their home, are drafted into Khazaria's armies. Through all of this, the harbours continue to be fortified, more cannons dragged into position, and the guns of the surviving ships of Khazaria brought to bear. Perhaps there was a time where Khazaria would have looked ot sail out and meet the fleet of the enemy, but as the ships of Kalseran and Reria continue to bring ruin to the coastline, the harbours remain defiant, and if the harbours do not fall, then Khazaria does not fall. Soon there will come a time when Admiral Iraklis needs to make a decision, to call off the raids and prepare for another day, or to pay the blood price, and throw all of his strength against the harbours of Khazaria.

11th of February

Prince Christophe is called back to The Empire of Grimhout, but when he embarks on the journey homewards, he does not travel alone. On the personal invitation of Christophe's father, Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, Princess Marie, the sole heir to The Kingdom of Arhan, travels north. The pair have quickly grown fond of each other, and few doubt that this official invitation is a chance for the Arch-Duke to officially bless the two young lovers. The significance of the match is lost on no-one, the bonding of two dynasties by direct lines, and signalling the forging of a single kingdom from two. The news is largely greeted warmly by the people of both nations. Both young heirs are well-liked in their own nations, and this pairing represents a master-stroke of diplomacy. If an engagement does emerge, then Arch-Duke Jean-Baptiste Dervaux will have married both of his children into the royal families of his neighbours, not only strengthening his own position, but also the position of the empire, and the position of the Western Alliance.

12th of February

It is The Republic of Kalseran that responds to the offer of The Kingdom of Altenten first. Diplomats frantically rush between the capitals of Kalseran and Etterselt, dark deals struck in the shadows, grand promises made, and from the chaos of it all, an agreement seems to emerge. The offer sent to The Kingdom of Paranas remains unanswered, and as Altenten seems to draw ever closer towards siding with the republic and it's allies, perhaps the balance does begin to tip. In as many years, Altenten has been drawn into two wars, and as armies are once again raised, there are many who will be watching the kingdom with a wary eye, to see if those armies do march to war. The one thorn in the side of the ambitious Philip Lehner is the bond of marriage that links the royal families of Altenten and Paranas, and yet for a man that is driven by his own desires, this bond means little to Philip. Perhaps it would have been enough to dissuade King Leonard II, but the old king is dead, and King Niklas IV does not share the same sentimentality of his father, or at least he is carefully managed to ensure that he does not. Even when the kings uncle, Jakob, tries to implore for peace on behalf of his wife's family, he is blocked at every turn. As the days pass, it seems increasingly likely that Altenten will march to war, whipped into a fervour by the ambition of the true power behind the throne, and the growing disdain of The Empire of Khazaria from Altenten's people.

14th of February

The tensions in the province of Aegyptus have only continued to escalate, the deserts becoming increasingly wild as the influence of The Kingdom of Komentiolos is beaten further and further back. And yet, there is the feeling of change in the air, and as dawn breaks, dark ships slip into the Aegyptus harbour. Relieved of his command at the line with The Empire of Khazaria, General Marcian Augustus has arrived in Aegyptus, and he comes with more than fifty thousand soldiers at his back. Marcian has long been a man jaded by war, and his bloody defeat at the hands of Khazaria have only hardened his heart further. He has orders to quell the rebellion at whatever cost, and he takes to that task with a ruthless vindictiveness. The soldiers under his command are a mix of veterans of those same defeats, or conscripts recently called to service, and they follow Marcian's orders for their own reasons. The veterans have the same jaded view as their commander, and for the conscripts, their thuggery is encouraged, the rebels dehumanised to the point that these soldiers see them as little more than dogs. Entire villages are burnt to the ground, every man, woman and child slaughtered where they stand, and their ashen corpses used as warnings to those that would rise up against Komentiolos. The sheer violence of this butchery turns the stomachs of the nobles, and even Arcadius questions the brutality of his brother's orders, although only to his most trusted friends. Whole swathes of the province eradicated and then set ablaze with a ruthless efficiency, and although many of the rebels are killed, so are countless other innocent souls. The borders are closed with an iron fist, the harbours reduced to military ports, with all incoming trade ships seized and thoroughly inspected. Because of this, the sheer bloodshed that Aegyptus has suffered will not be known to the rest of Europe, or even the rest of Komentiolos, for months, the few stragglers that able to escape the vice dismissed as madmen. And yet it is not the only sign that Komentiolos has drastically shifted it's tone. Decrees are issued all across the kingdom that retreat and surrender will no longer be tolerated. Another loss to Khazaria cannot be allowed, no matter how high the cost. The conscripts that continue to flood across the narrow strait are little more than farmers and labourers, but it is quickly made clear that any desertion or cowardice will be met with severe retribution, with men crucified, or stoned to death. These decrees are archaic, relics from a forgotten age, yet the message is clear. The line has been drawn in the sand, and no matter what comes, Komentiolos will retreat no further, even if it bleeds the kingdom dry, and drags its people into hell itself.

16th of February

The Emperor of the Viswan Empire is dead. Shah Miran is found murdered in his own bedchamber, and in the chaos that follows, the Emperor's first-born son, Shah Jafar, the heir to the empire, is arrested as his murderer. And yet beyond the imperial court, accusations are firmly levelled against the emperors second son, the cunning and ruthless Shah Mal. As the imperial palace continues to be rocked by the scandal, Shah Mal is quick to crown himself as the new emperor, and all across the great empire, local princes forsake their loyalty, and forge their own kingdoms. Several of these new kingdoms swear their fealty to the banished Shah Jafar, while others have loyalty only for their own ambitions. The Viswan Empire has fallen, and while Shah Mal still clings to a formidable kingdom, the empire is a crumbling ruin of it's former might, and as news continues to spread, the eyes of the European powers in the region will be all too aware of the sudden power vacuum in the region. The ambitions of those that serve under the flag of The Republic of Kalseran, The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout are not to be underestimated, and as civil war begins to break out between these newly formed kingdoms, rich opportunities may soon present themselves.

19th of February

While The Kingdom of Altenten seems determined to look beyond their own borders, to the north, The Kingdom of Dorist is still nursing it's wounds. The loss of the province of SHardvul has left a bloody wound in the kingdom's side, and while Altenten bays for war, Dorist has focused on it's people. General Albert Riechsand still serves as the true power in the kingdom, and the dashing cavalrymen is attempting to repair the damage wrecked by King Freud. Although the change is barely discernible to all but those who are watching most keenly, the attentions of Dorist have shifted to the west. The trade with The Kingdom of Genstadt has proven crucial to the survival of Dorist, and with the formation of the Western Alliance, the ports of Dorist now find themselves trading with half a dozen more nations, through the suggestion of Genstadt. Although it is a wounded beast, the army of Dorist is still a truly formidable one, their loss to The Kingdom of Stevata largely attributed to the woeful leadership of their king, and if Dorist becomes the next nation to succumb to the honeyed words of peace from The Empire of Grimhout, then the Western Alliance will truly become a power that the rest of Europe cannot safely ignore.

20th of February

Princess Marie has only been a personal guest of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptiste Dervaux for a few days before her pairing with Prince Christophe is blessed by his father. The heir of The Kingdom of Arhan is a charming and beautiful young woman, and before long, the entire court of The Empire of Grimhout is enamoured with her. At a grand ball, held in the honour of both Princess Marie, and the treaty of alliance signed by her mother, the engagement between Marie and Christophe is officially announced. The two proud dynasties will be united through marriage, and preparations are quickly begun for a ceremony grand enough to represent the significance of this marriage. The lovers will attend two ceremonies, the first in Rivierberg, and the second in Cappes, bringing together the great and the good of both nations in celebration.

21st of February

Despite the tensions between the two nations continuing to escalate, the line between The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Khazaria has stagnated, for now. Perhaps it is the possible intervention from The Kingdom of Altenten, or perhaps the growing strength of The Kingdom of Komentiolos is drawing the attention of Khazaria elsewhere, but while the bulk of the two armies are content to simply watch each other from over their defences, not everyone is willing to sit idle. General Sotiris Manilo has raised his new corps, and in the darkness, these corps are put to use. With Sotiris at their head, these soldiers of the republic become like wraiths along the line, ambushing any foraging parties or scouts that stray too far from the safety of the Khazaria lines, before melting away into the shadows. For the first time, blood has been shed on the ground between Khazaria and Kalseran, and perhaps these are the thorns that will rouse the beast of Khazaria.

22nd of February

Perhaps it is due to the actions of The Republic of Kalseran, or perhaps it is simply in reaction to the increasing chance that The Kingdom of Altenten is moving to side against them, but The Kingdom of Paranas finally responds to the diplomats of Altenten, serving as a mouthpiece for The Empire of Khazaria. Just as with Kalseran, dark deals are offered, the spoils of war promised in exchange for their aid, but perhaps the response arrived too late, or perhaps the promises of Kalseran were simply more tempting to Philip Lehner, and the diplomats of Paranas return empty-handed. It becoming increasingly clear that Altenten is aligning itself with the republic, and that alone is enough to cause the commanders of The Kingdom of Stevata to turn a watchful eye towards their own borders, and consider withdrawing their forces from the defence of Paranas. It seems as if another player is entering the board, and the war between Khazaria and The Kingdom of Komentiolos has now drawn no less than eight nations into the maelstrom of battle and bloodshed.

25th of February

The stark contrast between the growing alliance to the west and the growing war to the east has been stark for a number of months, but for the first time, the west reaches out to the east. Diplomats of The Empire of Grimhout, travelling with the full authority of the Western Alliance, and accompanied by military observers hailing from half a dozen nations, journey to the grand courts of the eastern nations. Diplomats arrive at the capitals of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, The Republic of Kalseran, The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav, The Kingdom of Altenten, The Kingdom of Paranas and The Empire of Reria, preaching for the case of peace. The Western Alliance holds significant power through sheer strength, but it is clear that the alliance is attempting to establish it's influence through diplomacy, even going so far as to offer taking the role of negotiator between the two sides. Whether these calls for peace fall on deaf ears or not, only time will tell.

28th of February

In a strange quirk of fate, just as the diplomats of The Empire of Grimhout travel east, diplomats of The Kingdom of Komentiolos travel west. And yet, while Grimhout calls for peace, Komentiolos calls for aid. The courts of Grimhout, The Kingdom of Hispalis, The Kingdom of Arhan, The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Kingdom of Genstadt and The Principality of Asmont are all implored to stand against the barbarous hordes of the east, but it is not only the Western Alliance that is called upon. The court of The Kingdom of Dorist is also visited, as well as the northern nations of The Kingdom of Fosbak, The Kingdom of Orvag and The Empire of Stabuga. Judging by the calls of peace echoing from the Western Alliance, perhaps their answer to these calls for aid may be obvious, but for the other nations, the outcome is more murky. After all, if Dorist can be coaxed back into war, given a chance to avenge their humbling defeat at the hands of The Kingdom of Stevata, then the new leadership of the nation still wields a formidable army. Not only that, but if Fosbak, Orvag or Stabuga are won over by the words of Komentiolos, then Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav will suddenly find their own borders threatened, perhaps forcing them to abandon their war against Komentiolos. Whatever the response to these appeals, both for peace and for war, the outcome has the potential to change the very face of Europe.
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Royal Palace of Cyprus, Kingdom of Komentilios

King Nikolaos sat idly at his desk, reading over dispatches from the front lines, messages from foreign courts, letters from the nobility and his brother from Aegyptus, yet, all of this was so far away at the moment. He looked up from the small mound of papers and scrolls, looking upon his pregnant wife. He smiled at her, watching her sleep in the early morning sunlight that peaked its way through the lacquer screens before the windows. 'Soon, soon you will have our child in your hands my love, we will both be able to lay our eyes upon this blessing from the gods and love our child with our own eyes.' He thought to himself, before looking back towards the Eastern horizon. The sun was rising slowly, perhaps an hour at most past dawn, but this would only bring more duty to honorably reign over. Rising, Nikolaos strode over to a stone basin of pleasantly cool water, splashing his face and neck with it, washing away the sting of not enough sleep and other worldly burdens. "Sleep well my love, sleep as much as you can." Nikolaos kissed his wife's forehead, before making his way to the council chambers elsewhere in the castle.

-- Many hours later... --
"Yes... yes, see to it Valentinian..." King Nikolaos spoke in a tired exasperated tone. He leaned back into his chair, rubbing his eyes absentmindedly. He had spoken at length to the diplomats of the "Western Alliance", what little good that had done. They were all perfumed and polite, no doubt, speaking of peace, of promises, and veiled entreaties, but Nikolaos had seen through that facade. Beneath all the courtly niceties, their manner spoke volume, 'We lack a spine, we former provinces of the Old Empire, we come before you great king, to grovel in the dirt like maggots before the dreaded enemies of old. Make peace with Khazaria, oh yes, let us bend the knee to the Khazarian Horse Barbarians and the guttural clicking.' It sickened Nikolaos to no end, seeing what centuries of stagnation had done to Europe without the illumination from Imperial rule.

"You can not blame them, your grace..." Valentinian spoke softly as he returned. "They are ignorant of the centuries our people have served as the bulwark against the encroachment of the Eastern Steppe Barbarians. The Western Alliance diplomats, the are like children wearing their grandfather's clothing and armor..." He sat down at the kings side, pouring a glass of wine for them both.

"I will blame them Valentinian, the craven curs, the whole lot of them. They come to my hall, partake in my hospitality, and have the audacity to tell me to put my sword down, turn our musket and cannons to plows." He took a long sip of his wine. "A pox and plague on them all. I have half a mind to just abandon the writhing and festering lands of Western Europe to the barbarians, let them thunder across their lands... what little good that would do." Sighing, he leaned back in his chair, adjusting his clothing to better lay upon his body.

"Of course your grace... but again, what can you expect from men who've grown up never knowing the true fear of chaos, of the barbaric encroachment of those horse lovers..." He smiled bemusedly at the joke, before turning to look out the windows. "At least our letters and riders sent out have born fruit, your grace. The Northern Kingdoms, those wreathed in snow and ice and hard times, they have a mutual interest in joining the fight. Your grace, I advise you in this, formally meet with those kingdoms, find some pretense to have them gathered, and invite them to join the war. They too know what the barbarians are capable of... and they too have the spine and stomach to fight against them."

King Nikolaos sat quietly, thinking as Valentinian had spoke. There was merit to what he said, yet, what to do about the Western Alliance. Two more glasses of wine were drank and poured before Nikolaos spoke. By then, a few additional advisors had arrived to sit in council with the king. And to this, the king and his council began to draft up the next steps they'd take to stand ever proud against their ancestral foe.

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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

Spring of 1757

1st of March

As The Viswan Empire crumbles, it is The Empire of Grimhout that first seizes the opportunity. Baptiste Crevier, acting with the full authority of Grimhout, is quick to send messengers to the banished prince Shah Jafar, and pledge his support for the prince's claim to his throne. The colonies of Grimhout are still the youngest in the region, but Baptiste has been quick to not only wade into the convoluted bickering politics of India, but also to align himself against the lingering strength of the Viswan Empire. Sealed reports are quickly dispatched back towards Europe, calling for aid, but Baptiste is not the kind of man to sit idly by and wait for help to arrive. Even while his messengers search for the banished prince, Baptiste hires a string of European soldiers for hire, who have been carving out a life in India for years, and puts them to work training up local soldiers in the European style of war. Taking inspiration from the armies of the Viswan Empire, Baptiste dubs these new soldiers 'sepahi', and with the aid of his soldiers of fortune, begins carving out Grimhout's influence. If the Emperor Shah Mal wishes to bring ruin to the Europeans that have sided with his banished brother, then the Viswan armies will not find Grimhout to be as poorly defended as Fort Ivars.

2nd of March

The diplomats of The Kingdom of Paranas arrived too late, or perhaps they were always doomed to fail. As the soldiers of The Kingdom of Komentiolos continue to cross the narrow strait in their thousands, and the ships of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria dominate the Black Sea, perhaps Philipp Lehner believes the balance of the war is shifting, and he is not a man to miss an opportunity. In a surprising move, it is Philip himself who leads the court gathering, throwing away the facade of King Niklas IV holding any real power, as Philipp launches into a speech of fiery rhetoric, painting The Empire of Khazaria as a nation of savages, the crest of a wave that would sweep away all civilisation if it is not brought to heel. Even as he whips the court into a frenzy, the official declaration travels east. The Kingdom of Altenten will go to war against the Kingdom of Paranas, and in turn, the allies of Paranas. As another pawn is placed on the board, thousands of soldiers march to battle lines, with many returning to the border with The Kingdom of Stevata that they had abandoned only months earlier. It seems as if the noose around the throat of Paranas is beginning to tighten, the calls for peace from the Western Alliance falling on wilfully deaf ears.

3rd of March

For now, the war between The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria seems to have lulled, the two sides moving their pieces into position, before committing themselves, and as the conscripts of Komentiolos continue to flood the defensive lines in Kavatsona, Khazaria looks to it's own people. Just as Komentiolos has branded it's northern neighbours as savages, Khazaria brands its ancient enemy as devilish crusaders, driven by a terrible bloodlust. Even as fresh soldiers are brought into the folds of Khazaria's armies, the young Şahin Macar does not rest on his laurels. Just as King Nikolaos II sent emissaries to the other nations of Europe, so too does Şahin Macar, yet while Komentiolos called on aid to beat back the 'barbarous hordes of the east', Khazaria instead travels with a message of brotherhood and unity. After all, the alliance between Khazaria, The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas is enduring one, and this fresh war only began after Khazaria marched to the aid of it's ally Paranas in the face of the Komentiolos invasion. Is that the actions of a 'barbarous horde'?

6th of March

The barren ground between the two great fortified battle lines has grown eerily quiet. Occasionally, scouting parties make the dangerous trek beyond their own nations lines, but as time has gone past, even these excursions have become more and more rare. Thousands of men, separated only by the country in which they born, and yet given orders to slaughter the enemy if the opportunity presents itself. The lines of The Kingdom of Komentiolos look like something from a bygone age, ancient siege weapons jutting up like bizarre sculptures, and conscript 'legions' manning the extensive earthen defences in their tens of thousands, the city of Byzantion becoming a truly formidable fortress, while the lines of The Republic of Kalseran could not be more different, stretched thin, but heavily fortified, and watched over by row upon row of field guns. Between the two, the massed army of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Paranas still waits. After their victory at Battle of Drarama, many believed that Khazaria would continue to push their advantage, but the massed army now sits behind earthen fortifications of it's own, the legendary horsemen of Alp Tarkhan simply used as scouts and sentries, rather than riding out to bring ruin and destruction to their enemies. For now, there is peace, for now, the bloodshed has stopped. But to believe that war will not ravage the land once more would be naive.

8th of March

The wedding of Prince Christophe Dervaux and Princess Marie D'Aboville officially begins, hosted in the Imperial Palace in Rivierberg. The festivities of the event spill out into the city itself, and the celebrations last for days. The two nations, The Empire of Grimhout and The Kingdom of Arhan, are officially bound together, but that is not the only significance of the event. Ever looking to further his ambitious, Arch-Duke Jean-Baptiste Dervaux uses his son's wedding as an opportunity to bring together all of the nations of the Western Alliance, and promote the unity of the powerful alliance. Young nobles hailing from not only The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Kingdom of Hispalis, The Principality of Asmont and The Kingdom of Genstadt, but also The Kingdom of Dorist and The Empire of Reria are all brought together, and given lodgings and fine wine in the Imperial Palace. The rare moment of debauchery that engulfs the city brings together dozens of powerful families, and as bloodlines begin to intertwine, the bond between these nations continues to strengthen.

9th of March

Just as The Kingdom of Altenten prepares to march to war, the soldiers of The Kingdom of Stevata look east once more, returning to their positions along the shared border between the two nations. King Oswald IV has already known war far beyond his young age, but the actions of Altenten have clearly lit a fire in the young king. A declaration is issued, condemning Altenten in the strongest terms. After all, the string of treaties that Oswald agreed to sign with his western neighbours now lie in tatters, the peace that Altenten begged for squandered and dragged into the mud. In his declaration, Oswald also makes it abundantly clear who he lays the blame upon. It was Philipp Lehner who demanded that his late father-in-law turned away from war, and yet it is Philipp who calls for war now. The declaration paints Philipp as a Machiavellian opportunist, utterly without honour, but more importantly, it makes one thing abundantly clear. If diplomats of Altenten do call for peace again, they will find a young king far less willing to accommodate their pleas.

11th of March

Across their foothold in the province of Kavatsona, the armies of The Kingdom of Komentiolos do not lay idle. Work continues all across the defensive lines, ensuring that the soldiers of Komentiolos will not be caught off guard for a second time. As the long days stretch into long weeks, and more soldiers continue to arrive from across the narrow strait, the kingdom also turns it's attention to the sheer logistical challenge of maintaining it's new vast army. The entire nation has been dedicated to this war, so from across Komentiolos, supplies are brought forth. Private gardens are commandeered into farmland, prison populations press-ganged into farmhands, even the personal wine supplies of King Nikolaos II are provided for his 'legions'. And yet, in the shadows of the court, whispered conversations are being had by those nobles not gripped by the same nationalism that has whipped the nation into a war machine. The thousands of new soldiers manning the line are thousands of hands lost from their role in the nation, craftsman and artisans. If they are lost, then Komentiolos loses vital skills, and while the nation pours it's entire input into the war effort, the coffers of the nation continue to drain. However impressive these vast armies of Komentiolos are, they are draining the nation dry, and they cannot be maintained indefinitely. If war is to come, then it must come soon, and it must be decisive.

13th of March

Even while there are murmurs of discontent in the heart of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, the province of Aegyptus continues to stand as a horrific reminder of the risks of disloyalty. The soldiers of General Marcian Augustus continue to slaughter their way across the province, and the scenes that play out as they descend upon villages are drawn from the pages of Armageddon. The locals are treated like animals, cruelly hunted for sport by men that have become numbed by the horrors of war, men, women and children cut down where they stand, or crudely crucified and left to bleed to death from their wounds as their villages are burnt to the ground, with little thought about whether they are rebels or innocent. The nobles of Aegyptus, the same men and women that celebrated Komentiolos embracing the province, are dragged from their villas and forced to witness this massacre, even the king's own brother shown first-hand the brutal cost of rebellion. The message is clear, rebellion will not be tolerated, and yet day by day, news begins to slowly bleed out from Aegyptus, first reaching the colony of The Empire of Reria to the west, and then the traders of The Republic of Kalseran to the north. The old ways have been forgotten, thought long gone, and yet all across Aegyptus, as the nomadic locals flee for the relative safety of the desert beyond the Komentiolos borders, King Nikolaos II has developed a new name, a name that is spat and cursed whenever it is uttered. Caesar.

15th of March

Every day that Fridrik Kotka grows older, the bond that exists between The Kingdom of Teclav and The Kingdom of Orvag continues to grow stronger, and the recent diplomatic actions of The Kingdom of Komentiolos have not escaped the attentions of either nation. Komentiolos has called for aid, and with the Western Alliance already calling for peace, it seems as if King Nikolaos II will understandably be focusing his efforts on the nations not yet aligned, Orvag amongst them. It is not surprising then, that Grand Prince Fridrik Sidorov acts. Personally undertaking the short journey from his palace in Lebin to the Orvag capital of Ekda, Fridrik journeys to personally meet the young child that is responsible for the growing relationship between the two nations. Warmly greeted by the ageing King Valterri IV, the two rulers break bread together, and while no official treaties are struck, it is becoming increasingly clear that if Komentiolos does call for it, Orvag will not march to war against Teclav, or any nation that calls Teclav it's ally.

16th of March

The Kingdom of Paranas is quickly to join The Kingdom of Stevata in it's condemnation of The Kingdom of Altenten, as it's own defensive lines continue to stretch. Just as The Kingdom of Komentiolos has committed it's nation to the war, Paranas has done the same, although with little alternative. The vast gathered army of Paranas, Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Empire of Khazaria has stricken the supplies of the kingdom, stripping the land of it's resources, and while supplies do continue to trickle in from Khazaria and Stevata, the kingdom of Paranas is beginning to show the strain of it's efforts. For both sides of this bloody conflict, the time of dithering and preparing is quick running out, and if the coming months do not see the fiery horse of war, then it will be the pale horse of famine and sickness that rides out.

18th of March

Even after the effective toppling of King Freud I, The Kingdom of Dorist is still a shell of it's former self. Thousands of sons, husbands and fathers never returned from the bloody struggle for Shardvul, and those men that did survive the Siege of Kronik are haunted by the nightmares that they witnessed. The coup of General Albert Riechsand has brought precious stability to the reeling nation, but there are still murmurs of discontent. While the nation struggles to recover from the loss of Shardvul, and the cost of the bloody war, the considerable army that Dorist still controls continues to drain those precious few resources. There are those who murmur in the darkness that the Dorist army should be drastically cut back, but for Albert Riechsand, the army of Dorist is the last pillar still standing, the bastion around which the rest of the nation can rally. Those few that are brave or foolish enough to publicly speak out against Albert are dragged away in the night, and for the vast majority of the population, peace continues. As the days pass, Dorist seems to continue turning it's attention westwards, warmly accepting the olive branch of friendship offered by The Empire of Grimhout and the rest of the Western Alliance. While Albert continues to use the army as a unifying symbol, he is not a man hungry for war, and the peace of the west seems to be more appealing to the former cavalryman than the wars of the east.

21st of March

The combined fleet of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria have hounded the sheltered harbours of The Empire of Khazaria for weeks, but they have been unable to inflict any lasting damage. As the ships prepare to return to their own harbours to resupply and rest, Admiral Iraklis Roberto plays the last ace in his hand. Taking a leaf of Khazaria's own playbook, Iraklis commandeers a small fleet of merchant ships and fishing vessels, transforming them into rudimentary fireships and then releasing them with the tide. Some of these fireships are destroyed by cannon-fire, yet more dash themselves against the rocks that shield the natural harbours of Khazaria, but some do find their way through, and the soldiers of Khazaria are forced to react, rushing from ship to ship as they attempt to extinguish the flames before they can spread to Khazaria's own fleet. In the end, there are enough hands to man the pumps, and little damage is done, but in the chaos and the confusion, shots are exchanged between the harbour defences, and the lurking ships of Kalseran, and Admiral Iraklis achieves his true aim. The Luciani Ratio has steadily spread throughout the republic, and with it at his disposal, Iraklis has carried out a simple test, and found the results to be extremely satisfactory. With the ratio, the cannons of the fleet out-range the cannons of the defenders. With a wry smile on his face, Iraklis leads his fleet back to the provided harbours of The Kingdom of Komentiolos and begins preparations for the next time Kalseran and her allies sail to war.

24th of March

Tsar Viktor Barinov is dead. In truth, the ageing Tsar had been deathly ill for weeks, but the truth of his sickness had remained a closely guarded secret, known only to his most trusted advisors. After all, The Empire of Stabuga is a nation of hardy folk, and it has always been the strength of the Tsar that has united the countless factions that make up the empire. To know that the great Viktor Barinov had died in his bed, blood filling his lungs, could have brought the Empire to it's knees. But with time, the palace has been able to carefully control the flow of information, and when Viktor does finally give his last, haggard breath, Tsesarevich Petya Barinov is ready to take his place. The young prince is popular and charismatic, and after the mourning of his father's death, his coronation is celebrated all across Stabuga. After all, Petya has long been the heir to the empire, and he has been prepared for this moment his entire life. With the changing of the monarch, the entire face of Stabuga begins to shift. After all, Petya has a strong friendship with Queen Marta II, and the affinity that he feels for the ruler of The Kingdom of Fosbak has not waned since he has assumed power. In the midst of it all, it is the treaty with The Empire of Grimhout that is slowly neglected. The Kingdom of Orvag finds itself caught between two nations that are growing increasingly close with every passing day, and the rest of Europe will no doubt be casting a wary eye towards the northern alliance that seems to be emerging.

26th of March

Still there is no movement along the defensive lines across The Kingdom of Paranas. While the rest of Europe breathes and moves, the great armies seem to be stagnant, the very air stifled of any breeze. Neither side seem to want to make the next move, as the armies continue to dig themselves in, preparing for the assault that will seemingly never come. Wary of the thinly stretched nature of their own army, The Republic of Kalseran conscripts the local populace into aiding in the defence of their homeland, while across the churned mud of the land between the tow armies, there is grave news. Through the massed cavalry of Alp Tarkhan, a sickness seems to be spreading. It is slow at first, difficult to notice, but is testament to the affinity that Alp Tarkhan's horse-lords share with their steeds that they see the signs as early as they do. Whatever this sickness is, and wherever it came from, it has the potential to cripple the greatest strength of The Empire of Khazaria.

27th of March

Perhaps Şahin Macar grows tired of war, or perhaps, like Philipp Lehner, the young ruler thinks the balance of the war is slipping away from him, but whatever the reason, when the diplomats of the Western Alliance arrive in the imperial court of The Empire of Khazaria, they are warmly welcomed. The dove of peace from The Empire of Grimhout is embraced, and Khazaria agrees to work with the Western Alliance to find peace, suggesting a conference in which the warring nations can find common ground. Whether this grand ambition will find any grounds in reality, still stands to be seen, but the declaration is still offered to the courts of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, The Republic of Kalseran, The Empire of Reria and The Kingdom of Altenten, and supported by Khazaria's allies.

29th of March

In stark contrast to their ancient enemies, The Kingdom of Komentiolos makes no such push for peace, instead looking for yet more allies to bring into the war. While the diplomats of the Western Alliance are given ample hospitality, their words are simply echoes on the breeze, and Komentiolos sends it's own diplomats north. Clearly believing the Western Alliance to be a lost cause, Komentiolos looks to the nations that are yet to declare their allegiance. The capital of The Kingdom of Fosbak, Elhavn, becomes the de facto centre for this gathering, and representatives of Fosbak, The Kingdom of Dorist, The Kingdom of Orvag and The Empire of Stabuga are all invited to attend. All four nations do send their own diplomats, so Komentiolos can enjoy their first small victory, but the next step will prove to be far more difficult. The north has it's own treacherously complex web of politics, and the diplomats of Komentiolos will need to learn quickly if they are to stand a chance of tempting these nations into the war. If they are successful, then they will bring the strength to drive Khazaria and it's allies from Europe, but if they fail, then they will be left out in the cold.

30th of March

Admiral Iraklis Roberto takes to sea once more, determined to burn his name into the history books of not just The Republic of Kalseran, but of Europe. With the Seaguard at his back, and a vast fleet of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria ships of the line, Iraklis descends upon the sheltered harbour of Chersonesus, on the tip of the province of Kumbag. The harbour has weathered the storm of the combined fleet before, and the soldiers of The Empire of Khazaria, The Kingdom of Stevata and The Kingdom of Teclav rush to man the defences. And yet when the roar of cannon-fire does break, echoing to every corner of the Black Sea, it comes from warships that are anchored beyond the reach of Khazaria's own cannons. Systematically, Iraklis directs his gunners to destroy the harbours coastal batteries, before urging his own ships forward. With the majority of it's defences in tatters, the handful of Khazaria ships that are huddled in the harbour becomes the coastal town's only defence, but they are quickly torn apart by the massed cannon-fire of the Kalseran ships that slip into the harbour. The Seaguard pour out onto the shore, and the battle that follows is bloody and brutal, claustrophobic and frantic skirmishes in smoke-filled streets. The soldiers of Khazaria buckle first, but as the Seaguard look to push their advantage, the soldiers of Stevata and Teclav rally, and from his flagship, anchored in the harbour, Iraklis can see that this is a battle that he will not win outright. Signalling the retreat, Iraklis leads his fleet back into open waters, but not before razing Chersonesus to the ground. For weeks, Kalseran and Reria have dominated the Black Sea, but for the first time, they seem to hold all the aces.

31st of March

The news of the significant victory at the Battle of Chersonesus is still only beginning to spread to the court of The Republic of Kalseran, but Admiral Dionisio Giorgino is already determined not be overshadowed by his comrade's achievements. Gathering a fleet of his own, Dionisio sails west, looking to replicate Iraklis success by hounding the harbours of The Kingdom of Paranas. Perhaps it is blind ambition, or perhaps it is simply foolishness, but Dionisio stumbles into a great folly. While the fleet of The Empire of Khazaria was shattered by the combined fleets of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria, Paranas escaped the carnage with less damage, and have been free to repair their ships. When Dionisio bears down upon the Paranas coastline, expecting to pick off coastal batteries from a safe distance, he is genuinely taken by surprise when a fleet of Paranas sails out to meet him. Paranas still commands more than tow dozen ships of the line, almost comically dwarfing the fleet that Dionisio has been able to muster. By the time he realises his mistake, and ordered the retreat, it is already too late, and the ships of Kalseran and Reria has strayed into the range of the Paranas guns. Just as the roar of cannon-fire echoed across the Black Sea just a day before, so it does again, and what follows is a massacre. The allied Kalseran fleet is all but wiped out, and Dionisio himself is gravely wounded, shrapnel tearing away his right arm as his ships is destroyed around him. It is only the quick thinking of his second-in-command, the young Giovanni Varda, dragging the Admiral clear and securing a dinghy, before rowing back to the safety of The Kingdom of Komentiolos coast. The republic has been dealt a bloody blow, and Paranas has dealt a stark reminder that they may be bowed, but they are far from broken.
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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 1757

2nd of April

The second wedding celebration for the bonding of Prince Christophe Dervaux and Princess Marie D'Aboville finally begins to die down. Just as with Rivierberg before it, Cappes, the capital city of The Kingdom of Arhan has been all but engulfed by this celebration. Grand processions wind through streets that are alive with parades and joy. While the east continues to be consumed by war, the west continues to celebrate it's new position of strength. Just as Arch-Duke Jean-Baptiste Dervaux did weeks before, Queen Ameline I has been careful to use the marriage of her only daughter, and sole heir, to further strengthen the bonds of the Western Alliance, hosting nobles from the nations of the Alliance, as well as from The Kingdom of Dorist and The Empire of Reria. The marriage between the heirs of Arhan and The Empire of Grimhout is a significant event, and one that could well shape the future of Europe itself.

5th of April

As The Kingdom of Komentiolos seemed to turn away from the peace offered by the Western Alliance, many feared that the war would continue, that yet more blood would soak the earth of Europe, and yet in a jarring change, Komentiolos suddenly change their stance. While the diplomats of The Empire of Grimhout are delayed and given no assurances, King Nikolaos II seems to take matters into his own hands. A rider is sent across the barren ground between the two waiting armies, travelling under the banner of peace, and this messenger is granted a wary audience with the brother-in-law of King Markus I, Andreas Manz, a man who has been handed the responsibility of overseeing the beleaguered remains of the Paranas army. In the city of Anchialos, which had been seized by the army of Komentiolos just months before, and then wrested back by the combined armies of Paranas and it's allies, the messenger delivers his message. Peace. Komentiolos looks to treaty with the so-called 'Eastern Alliance', offering peace, in exchange for no nation bearing the blame for the bloody war. Not only that, but Komentiolos offers un-harassed passage through the straits that it not controls, aside from a marginal tariff, and proposes a 'demilitarised' zone of some twenty miles between the Komentiolos foothold of Byzantium, and the lines of Paranas. With his message delivered, the messenger announces a temporary cease-fire, a sign of good will to allow Paranas and it's allies to make their decision, before he is given lodgings in the city, albeit under guard. It is no great secret that King Markus I is far from a great king, weak-willed and far more interested in sport and wine than matters of state, but Andreas Manz is a far cry from his father-in-law, a man with a quick wit, and a sharp mind. Dispatching his fastest riders to carry the message to his allies, The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav and The Empire of Khazaria, Andreas also gives word to the diplomats of the Western Alliance who are still lodging in the Paranas capital of Alirgos. As this hastily assembled summit begins to take shape, Andreas allows himself time to mull over the fact that struck him when he first heard the message from Komentiolos. Paranas is locked in a war with four nations, Komentiolos, The Empire of Reria, The Kingdom of Altenten and The Republic of Kalseran, and yet this messenger of peace spoke only for Komentiolos? If Komentiolos wishes to treaty with one alliance, should they not do it with the authority of their own? After all, it is the ships of Kalseran and Reria that hound the shores of Paranas and Khazaria, not the ships of Komentiolos. Trying to ignore his own doubts for now, Andreas awaits the arrival of his allies, and offers a prayer for peace.

6th of April

As Baptiste Crevier continues to increase his influence in the name of The Empire of Grimhout, the other colonies in India do not sit idly by, nor does the bleeding beast of The Viswan Empire itself. In the aftermath of the death of Stein Fehn, and the sacking of Fort Ivars, the remaining colony of The Kingdom of Kehsi has fallen under the slightly unwilling command of Viktor Halse, a long serving administrator of the colony, and a man with little stomach for violence. In truth, while many Europeans see India as simply a prize, to be carved up and ransacked, Viktor has fallen in love with the land in which he finds himself. Already a student of the sub-continents dominant languages, Viktor has even taken to writing poetry in the local dialect. An oddity perhaps, but Viktor is experienced, and although it does not quit suit him, command is not an honour that Viktor is planning to shirk. With news of his allies siding with the banished Shah Jafar to the north, Viktor is more interested in toeing the line. After all, while Baptiste seems determined to carve out his own empire, and involve himself in the local politics, Viktor is far more interested in making money, and it is trade that will reap the greatest rewards, at least in the clerk's mind. With that intention, the Kehsi colony continues to trade with all factions in the growing civil war, and a stream of gold continues to run from India, back to the capital of Sabica.

9th of April

In truth, perhaps it was inevitable that The Kingdom of Dorist were drawn to the flickering flame of hope that the Western Alliance has become. The loss of Shardvul, and the slaughter of thousands, has brought Dorist almost to it's knees, and while General Albert Riechsand continues to maintain order with an iron fist, even the most loyal soldiers will not fight on without pay. In the end, it is not the promises of peace, or the demonstrations of strength, that win over the proud nation of Dorist, it is the blood that flows through every nation, gold. A string of impressive trade agreements and treaties are signed between the nations of Dorist, and those of the Western Alliance, predominately The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Kingdom of Genstadt, The Principality of Asmont and The Empire of Grimhout. Although no official alliances are forged, it is becoming increasingly clear that Dorist continues to move further west by the day. After all, it is the Western Alliance that now sustains Dorist, and when that debt is called upon, Dorist will repay it with soldiers and cannons. The slow spread of the Western Alliance continues, and although Dorist is still a shadow of it's former self, it's soldiers are still some of the finest in Europe, and the Western Alliance can now call upon a truly formidable army.

11th of April

While the colonies of The Empire of Grimhout align themselves with the banished prince, regarding themselves as safe from any wrath of The Viswan Empire in their settlements to the north, and the colonies of The Kingdom of Kehsi attempt to distance themselves from the growing conflict as they lick their wounds, the settlements of The Republic of Kalseran have been largely quiet. And yet, in recent days, that silence has been broken. Maria Toleas has officially arrived in India, and she has wasted no time in stamping her authority over the colonies of the republic. With the latest reports spread before her, a wry smile plays on the formidable woman's thin lips. Messengers are sent to the Imperial City of Viswan, and Maria pledges the support of the republic to Shah Mal, and the throne of the empire. Just as Baptiste Crevier has moved to secure his own army, so too does Maria, and the two colonies suddenly find themselves on opposite sides. Even as tension between Grimhout and Kalseran seems to be simmering in Europe, in India, those same tensions threaten to boil over.

14th of April

Although it is a little unorthodox, the peace summit that The Empire of Khazaria has suggested, is taking place. Over the last week, Anchialos has become a staging ground for diplomats hailing from Khazaria, The Kingdom of Paranas, The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Teclav, as well as representatives of the Western Alliance in the form of diplomats from The Empire of Grimhout, and the rider from The Kingdom of Komentiolos. Komentiolos may not have spoken for it's allies, but news of this impromptu summit has travelled fast, and it is not long before diplomats of The Republic of Kalseran also arrive at the city, travelling under the banner of truce. Word also arrives that The Empire of Reria and The Kingdom of Altenten are sending their own diplomats in the coming days, and so, in the unassuming coastal city of Anchialos, under the watchful eye of Andreas Manz, every nation of the bloody war has finally been brought together. For now, there is little progress, the 'Eastern Alliance' still debating the terms that Komentiolos has presented to them, while a hundred hushed conversations are had behind carefully closed door. War is sometimes all too easy, it is peace that is difficult, and while progress is painfully slow, it is still progress.

15th of April

Even while there is joy and celebration for the Western Alliance, there is also sorrow. The shadow of death comes for all, and even as revellers return to their home nations, a dark shroud is cast over The Principality of Asmont, as Princess Karoline Asmont dies. Wife of Prince William Asmont, beloved by her husband, her family and her nation, the kind-hearted woman had been ill for months, and even the finest doctors that the wealth of the principality could provide were not enough to stave off the inevitable. The death clearly weighs heavy on the shoulders of Prince William, the spark extinguished, and in hushed voices, there are those in the court of the principality that believe the prince will not tarry for long without his princess. If Prince William does pass, the grief bringing his own life to an end, then the crown will pass to his son, Prince Alexandre, himself only recently married to Juliette, the daughter of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptiste Dervaux, ruler of The Empire of Grimhout. Even where there is sorrow, the bonds between the members of the Western Alliance seem to continue going from strength to strength.

16th of April

With every day that passes, the truth continues to bleed out from the province of Aegyptus. News has reached across the water, and reached the shores of the Mediterranean, and The Empire of Khazaria are the first to break the silence, issuing a declaration to publicly condemn their ancient enemy. Rumours have already been swirling regarding the slaughter of the Komentiolos people at the hands of unfeeling butchers, but Khazaria's declaration is enough to whip those rumours into a wildfire, causing uproar in the nations of Khazaria and it's allies, even as peace seems to be drawing ever closer. And yet even as this uproar grips the enemies of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, it's allies do not escape unblemished. It would be naive to assume that The Empire of Reria and The Republic of Kalseran had not already heard rumours of the massacres, yet this declaration from Khazaria forces their hands, and their is a growing voice of outrage in both nations. And yet, if Komentiolos is phased by these revelations, it does little to show it. In fact, quite the opposite is true. More than ten thousand soldiers of Komentiolos are brought from the front line with Khazaria, and deployed in the charred remains of Aegyptus. While this can be seen as a step towards peace, it is another harbinger of doom for those that still inhabit Aegyptus. Those nobles that have already fled in the night are stripped of any title and lands, their remaining wealth seized, and Komentiolos makes no move to hide the truth of it's heavy-handed practices, instead seeming to even display them as a stark and bloody warning. Rebellion will not be tolerated by Komentiolos, and it is the kingdom's divine right to enact it's retribution however it see's fit, even if it is through the slaughter of it's own people. Unsurprisingly, this response does nothing to subdue the uproar, instead whipping into even more of a frenzy. How the rest of Europe choose to react may well shape the very face of the continent for generations.

17th of April

The diplomatic summit that The Kingdom of Komentiolos called with the northern nations of The Kingdom of Fosbak, The Kingdom of Orvag, The Empire of Stabuga and The Kingdom of Dorist has barely begun, the nations still coming to terms with what the others expect and demand, before Komentiolos abruptly brings it a halt. Rather than attempt to reach any agreement, the ageing diplomat Yannis Antonellis, the representative of King Nikolaos II, simply declares that Komentiolos wishes to see an end to the war, it's attention shifting to other matters. The diplomats of the so-called 'Northern Kingdoms' are understandably a little stunned by this sudden change in direction. After all, it was Komentiolos that called them all together, only to seemingly dismiss them, like a child growing bored of a toy. The change in Komentiolos stance on the war with The Empire of Khazaria is so abrupt that it is jarring, but for those that cry out for peace, it is a great victory.

19th of April

No doubt eased by the recent celebrations, and influenced by the formidable strength of the Western Alliance, the relationship between the nations of The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria have not been so good for generations. The increasingly hostile tensions that had been growing just months past are long-forgotten, the planned coup against Queen Ameline I a distant memory, and trade once again flows freely between the two neighbours. Just as new trade agreements to the north bring The Kingdom of Dorist closer to the fold, this new age of friendship seems to be easing Reria further into the clutches of the Western Alliance. It is marriage that bonds Reria with The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Republic of Kalseran, and it is those bonds that have seen Reria blood spilled in the Black Sea, but as the flickering glimmer of peace seems to be growing brighter by the day, Reria is looking beyond the war, and as the nations of the Western Alliance continue to flourish, Emperor Clarenzio III is smart enough to recognise an opportunity when it presents itself. Not only that, but Reria's budding colonial enterprise in North Africa has already leaned on the support of The Kingdom of Hispalis, and a closer relationship could only strengthen Reria's influence.

22nd of April

As the fallout following the brutal murder of Emperor Shah Miran continues to spiral, a number of factions begin to emerge from the chaos. The new Emperor, Shah Mal, still commands The Viswan Empire, and with it comes vast swathes of land in the west of the subcontinent, a formidable army, and the welcome support of Maria Toleas and The Republic of Kalseran, while the east of the sub-continent, headed by the powerful Mir Khan, a close friend of the former emperor, has declared it's support for the banished prince Shah Jafar, with the support of Baptiste Crevier and The Empire of Grimhout. To the south, the loosely banded together handful of local princes and lords have shown no great loyalty to either faction, preferring instead to focus on their own interests, much like the colonies of The Kingdom of Kehsi. The final figure to place themselves on the board is the one who the least is known about, and who's meteoric rise to power comes as the greatest surprise. The mountain man Nader ud-Daula was little more than a bandit only a few years past, but his raw talent for command saw him taken under the wing of the ageing nabob Safdar Jahan, and proved himself such a competent leader of men, that he expanded the nabob's influence across much of northern India, and well into the mountains. When Safdar Jahan died, his only son a weak boy, few stood in the way of Nader ud-Daula seizing power, and in the aftermath of the emperor's death, Nader ud-Daula saw the opportunity to break away from the empire, and declare himself king, commanding a formidable army in his own right. Between these four loose factions, India is divided, and as tensions continue to rise, civil war seems inevitable. What part the European colonies have to play, is still yet to be seen.

24th of April

It is not only to the east that Europe is increasing it's influence. With the new treaties of the Western Alliance quickly extinguishing any tensions in the region, the Americas are not dominated by the joint powers of The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Empire of Grimhout. The Americas does not boast the grand empires of India, but it is still a rich and bountiful land, and with no rivals for influence in the region, the two nations have been further securing their own footholds. While Kehsi dominates the islands, producing vast quantities of tobacco and sugar in the tropical conditions, the colonies of Grimhout still largely consist of trading ports and a handful of forts scattered along the coastline of the continent, frequently trade with the native tribes, as well as providing their own tobacco, and shipping enough flour, rice and grains back to Europe to feed Grimhout three times over. While it does not boast the complex political manoeuvring of India, the Americas is still an impressive prize, and with every passing day, more ships arrive carrying bright-eyed Europeans, looking to carve out a name for themselves in the untapped wilderness, away from the conflict and wars of Europe.

25th of April

Just as The Kingdom of Komentiolos enforces a ceasefire as the peace talks slowly progress, so too does the fleet of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria. Admiral Iraklis Roberto continues his loose blockade, but there are no more assaults against the ports of The Empire of Khazaria, and for now, the advantage shown during the Battle of Chersonesus is not pursued. For the talks themselves, the diplomats of the republic are largely non-committal, taking care to listen to the terms, and attempt to push for the republic's interests should the opportunity present itself, but they do not push for any quick conclusion. For now, the most substantial terms presented by any of the present parties is the ultimatum presented by Komentiolos, and for now, the impetus rests on the shoulders of Khazaria and it's allies to give their response. The balance between war and peace is always a perilously thin line, but Khazaria holds the power to swing the pendulum towards an end to the wanton bloodshed.

27th of April

The newly signed trade agreements between The Kingdom of Dorist and the nations of the Western Alliance has been a lifeline for the beleaguered nation, and as wealth once again begins to flow into the nation, General Albert Riechsand seems to finally reach a decision. Dorist is a nation bowed, but it is a nation unbroken, and as wealth returns, support for the charismatic cavalryman only continues to climb, the newly loyal nobility lending their support more willingly. Even the mere figurehead of King Freud I is cheered in the streets of Talfist, and the nation can finally begin to heal from it's bloody defeat at the hands of The Empire of Khazaria and it's allies. The source of this newfound vitality can be traced to the west, and General Albert is a man who does not forget his debts. Messengers are sent across the Western Alliance, inviting the great and good of the proud nations of The Empire of Grimhout, The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Kingdom of Arhan, The Kingdom of Hispalis, The Kingdom of Genstadt and The Principality of Asmont to a great feast in the capital of Dorist. On the face of it, this festival is to honour the trade agreements, and give the worn citizens of Dorist a chance to dream of a brighter future, but to the leaders of the Western Alliance, the invitation is clearly an extended hand, and Dorist moves ever closer to joining the fold of the powerful alliance.

29th of April

Despite the outrage still roaring in courts across Europe, it is not only Europe that has been stunned by the actions of The Kingdom of Komentiolos in Aegyptus. Despite the efforts of Komentiolos to prevent it, the wealthy traders continue to dissapear into the night, taking with them all the wealth that they can carry, and using their influence to escape either across the sea, or to the south, and into land beyond the heavy reach of Komentiolos. Many of these traders are quickly able to find sanctuary in the other great trading nations of the Mediterranean, their wealth and power still valuable commodities, but there are still others that do not have these luxuries. As villages are razed to their ground, and every inhabitant slaughtered, from the revered elders to babes still at their mother's breast, countless other villages decided to not risk the same fate. Many of the people that carve out a life in the shifting sands are still partly nomadic, and so they were quick to slip away, leaving the dark soldiers of Komentiolos to find abandoned villages. The deserts of Aegyptus have always been quiet, but now they are eerily so. Many of the villagers that flee do so the west, finding new homes in the land still unclaimed by any of the European powers, caught between Aegyptus and the fledgling colony of The Empire of Reria, and as they carry their story, it causes outrage in North Africa, just as it does in Europe. As the news continues to spread west like wildfire, it reaches the established colonies of The Kingdom of Hispalis, who suddenly find themselves faced with a local population that is enraged. It is a testament to the strength of the influence that Hispalis possesses that they are able to maintain control, but the voices calling for retaliation, or at least condemnation, grow louder and louder by the day. The actions of General Marcian Augustus, under the order of King Nikolaos II, have already been carved into history with blood, and they will echo in eternity.

30th of April

Far from the blood-soaked sands of Aegyptus, The Empire of Stabuga have been working tirelessly. With great effort, General Desya Sorokin has pushed forward into the wilderness. A string of settlements and forts now reach out east from Fort Barinov, and although the weather is harsh, the very terrain inhospitable, the people are Stabuga are a hardy breed, and with every step forward, the next comes a little easier. General Desya has taken to his task with resolve, and he has excelled. Through careful negotiation and trade, the hardened commander has managed to not only ease Stabuga's progress through aid from the local tribes that call the frozen tundra home, but he has been able to imbue the very influence of the empire into these tribes. After all, their paths were one and the same in centuries past, and as the reach of Stabuga increases, the tribes begin looking more and more like people of Stabuga. While the young Tsar Petya Barinov strengthens the empire's influence in the west, Desya does the same in the west, and Stabuga continues to grow stronger.
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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 1757

1st of May

Even as the peace talks in The Kingdom of Paranas slowly continue, The Kingdom of Stevata appears to be taking things into it's own hands. Just as The Kingdom of Dorist has announced a grand feast, so too does Stevata. Invitations are dispatched across Europe, reaching the courts of a dozen nations, and extensive preparations grip the capital of Ravoza. The court of Stevata is already buzzing with activity, and it seems like the young King Oswald IV has developed grand ambitions, and intends to stake his nation's claim as one of the great powers in Europe. Whether these grand plans will see fruition, only time will tell, and for now, Oswald can only sit and wait for his guests to arrive.

3rd of May

With every day that passes, the dove of peace seems to further unfurl it's wings. The Kingdom of Paranas has been reduced to a battlefield for months, the very soil soaked with the blood of half a dozen nations, but finally, the flaming horse of war seems to have halted it's ride. Just as The Kingdom of Komentiolos has called for a ceasefire, so too does The Republic of Kalseran. In a personal letter to King Markus I, the Grand Lady of the Republic calls for an end to the tension that has threatened to engulf the nation's shared border in bloody violence, and it quickly becomes clear that her words fall upon sympathetic ears. King Markus officially accepts the cease-fire, under no small influence from his brother-in-law, Andreas Manz, and celebrations break out across the border, both sides finally allowing themselves to believe that peace will win out. In the impromptu summit however, things are not as hopeful. In the squat fortress that dominates the heart of Alirgos, nations from across Europe rub shoulders together, and yet the progress is sluggish. Not only do the two sides struggle to see eye to eye, despite the best efforts of the diplomats from The Empire of Grimhout to find a middle ground, but rumours are abound that The Kingdom of Stevata intends to lay out it's own peace terms during it's feast. The ceasefire holds, but the path to true peace is still a winding one.

4th of May

Even as the tensions in Europe seem to be cooling, the war in India is only just beginning to gain momentum. Armies are being raised by all four of the factions currently squabbling over the sub-continent, and for the European powers that hold territory int he region, the coming conflict could provide them with the opportunity to plunder the vast wealth of the crumbling Viswan Empire. It has been months since the brutal murder of Emperor Shah Miran, and as the first news reaches European shores, quiet preparations get underway. Ships under the flags of The Empire of Grimhout, The Republic of Kalseran and The Kingdom of Kehsi are stocked for the long voyage east, but they are not loaded with the usual cargo, instead they carry with them soldiers, muskets and cannons, as well as coffers of gold. India may be countless miles away from the courts of Europe, but the riches that the colonies in the region already provide are more than enough to persuade these European powers that defending those riches from others is a more than worthwhile cause. It will be months before these ships reach India, and it is impossible to know how changed the face of India will be be the time they do arrive, or even to let the colonists know that aid is on it's way. For now, Baptiste Crevier, Maria Toleas and Viktor Halse must guide their people through the chaos ahead alone.

7th of May

As the pressure builds for The Kingdom of Hispalis to act from it's colonies in North Africa, and the outrage grows in the other western nations, the Western Alliance once more wades into diplomacy. Issuing a joint declaration from all six of the nations current bound by the alliance, the Western Alliance publicly condemns the actions of The Kingdom of Komentiolos in the province of Aegyptus. Komentiolos has already shown that it feels no remorse for the bloodshed within it's own borders, yet the declaration of the Western Alliance, branding Komentiolos as archaic and heavy-handed and challenging the kingdom's divine right to slaughter it's own people, will still no doubt strike a chord with King Nikolaos II. After all, the Western Alliance is quickly growing to be a truly formidable force, and if it is indeed peace that King Nikolaos desires, then the indignation of the Western Alliance could at best be a thorn in his side, and at worse, be another enemy to wage war against. The Alliance's outrage does not stand alone, and it is not only The Empire of Khazaria that has condemned the actions, but the uproar has also spread to the nations that Komentiolos calls it's allies, in The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria. Rebellion is a sickness, a pox, but perhaps the decision of Komentiolos to purge that plague with such vigour may cause more pain than the rebellion ever could have.

9th of May

The Empire of Khazaria has long been a nation struggling to find it's identity. While parts of the nation have pulled towards the modern practices of Europe, the roots of tradition go deep, and they do not want to be pulled free. This clash between tradition and modernity has only been exasperated by the vast gulf that exists between the civilised cities along the nation's southern coastline, and the nomadic tribes that still carve out a life on the cast steppes to the east. The young Şahin Macar, not yet a man, and yet with the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders, has already shown his intention to bring the two sides of his nation together as one, and in no small part thanks to the machinations of the young emperor's aunt, Sevil Macar, this intent has reaped it's rewards. The undisputed matriarch of the Macar bloodline has not been sitting idle while war rages to the west, instead, she has been carefully moving pieces into place, independent of her own nephew, and now, as the war finally seems to be drawing to an end, she plays her hand. It will no doubt be the subject of much study for future historians to try and determine what it was that united the people of Khazaria as one, whether it was the show of strength from Khazaria's army in cutting a bloody swathe across Europe, or the collective outrage at the atrocities of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, or the shadowy deals and alliances struck by Sevil Macar herself, but in truth, only Sevil could know the truth, and that is a secret that she will carry with her to her grave. Whatever the cause, whether carefully calculated, or sheer luck, Khazaria has never been more united, and this cultural revolution is driving the empire into a new golden age, even as it emerges from a bloody war.

11th of May

In his opening move, King Oswald IV addresses the nations of The Kingdom of Dorist and The Kingdom of Altenten first, offering trade with The Kingdom of Stevata, intending to use the two nations as trade routes between the east and the west. The young king has made it clear that he hopes that the kings and queens of Europe will gather in his great hall, but from the first step, there is a snag. After all, Dorist is hosting it's own feast for the nations of the Western Alliance, and despite the grand ambitions of Stevata, the loyalty of the west still lies within it's alliance. Recognising the significance of the Stevata invitation, all six nations of the Western Alliance, as well as Dorist, are careful to send important representatives, but for the rulers themselves, it is to Talfist that they are drawn, not Ravoza. Despite Dorist only sending Herman Thumer, the younger brother of King Freud I, Altenten do arrive with a royal procession. In what is effectively his first royal duty, King Niklas IV makes the short journey to the north-east, accompanied by an impressive retinue, and his cousin, Prince Lukas. The delegations of the Western Alliance also arrive, each greeted by King Oswald in turn. The Empire of Grimhout is represented by the Arch-Dukes youngest brother, Marc-Antoine Dervaux, while the The Kingdom of Kehsi sends the dowager queen, Karoline Hanstad. The Principality of Asmont dispatches Prince William's sister, Emilia Strahl, The Kingdom of Hispalis sends the king's brother-in-law, Oscar Rodriguez, while The Kingdom of Arhan is represented by Lord Gérald Vandame, long-serving confidante and trusted adviser of Queen Ameline. It is in reaching The Kingdom of Genstadt that Stevata suffers it's second pitfall. King Oswald sends his own brother to personally invite the widowed queen, Prince Marcin carrying a wealth of extravagant and grand gifts to try and win her over, and yet it is a cruel coincidence that when Marcin arrives into Amersdorp, he finds that Queen Margriet has already travelled east to join the feast of Dorist. Left empty-handed, Marcin resolves to instead invite the queen's brother, Prince Quinten, and return to Stevata with a heavy heart. Despite these pitfalls, King Oswald still spares no expense, and the Western Alliance appears to be open to the idea of trade with Stevata, yet Oswald finds himself once again foiled by the feast of Dorist, as Dorist hesitates to commit to trade routes. Perhaps looking to seize it's opportunity, Altenten is quick to offer it's borders to trade, although until a trade agreement is officially struck with the Western Alliance, those are still empty promises. Attempting to ignore these early setbacks, Oswald, and the nation of Stevata behind him, push on.

12th of May

With each day that passes, The Republic of Kalseran continues to de-escalate it's involvement in the war. The formidable Seaguard return home, and although the vast bulk of the republic's fleet remain in the Black Sea, it is becoming increasingly clear that for Kalseran at least, this war is nearing it's end. The cynical and the paranoid might claim that the return of the Seaguard could be seen as Kalseran further strengthening it's defensive position, but for the wives and mother's of these brave men, their return is cause for celebration and tears of joy. The Grand Lady of the Republic also takes the opportunity to publicly commend the young Giovanni Varda, the officer that dragged the badly wounded Admiral Dionisio Giorgino to safety after the humbling defeat at the hands of The Kingdom of Paranas. Giovanni is offered a captainship, and as Dionisio recovers from his wounds, there is not insignificant attention being paid to the young officer, not only by Luisa A'Dera herself, but also by powerful figures in the republic's navy.

13th of May

While the feast of The Kingdom of Stevata has to make do with representatives, the Summer Palace of The Kingdom of Dorist plays host to possibly one of the greatest gatherings of power that Europe has ever seen. With King Freud I acting as the gracious host, and General Albert Riechsand weaving his way between the various delegations, every nation of the Western Alliance descends upon the city of Talfist. Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervaux of The Empire of Grimhout, King Janek II of The Kingdom of Kehsi, Prince William Asmont of The Principality of Asmont, Queen Margriet I of The Kingdom of Genstadt, Queen Ameline I of The Kingdom of Arhan and King Charles XII of The Kingdom of Hispalis, as well as dozens of lords and princes, and a small army of Royal Guards all travel east, and the celebrations begin in full force. Many of these kings and queens may have not met in person before, and the sheer significance of the event is not lost on any of those present. Hushed conversations are had between the men and women that rule not only the West, but also the Americas, and large swathes of India, and as the feast continues, the Kingdom of Dorist continues to draw ever closer to joining this powerful alliance. While the nobility drink win together, hundreds of clerks and diplomats move silently through the Palace, and it is there, in the shadows, that the real work is done, and new treaties are drawn up.

15th of May

In the midst of the chaos, and war, life is once more brought into the world. Twin boys, Constans and Heraclius, are born to King Nikolaos II and his queen, Anna Koromelas, and celebrations are carried out all across the nation of The Kingdom of Komentiolos. Constans is born just nine minutes before his brother, marking him as the new heir to Komentiolos, and as Anna recovers from childbirth, clutching both children to her breast, there are many within the Komentiolos court who wonder, or hope, if fatherhood will soften the edges of Nikolaos. Perhaps these twins will be the true motivation for peace, greater than anything offered up by The Empire of Khazaria, or even The Empire of Grimhout. And yet while there are those who believe that Constans and Heraclius will push Nikolaos towards peace, there are still those who fear that they will only further fuel the burning ambition of the king. For now though, Nikolaos allows himself to relax with his wife and newborns, leaving the struggle and strife of reality for another day.

16th of May

Far from the diplomatic manoeuvring of Europe, the simmering tensions that have gripped India in the aftermath of the Emperor's murder finally erupt into open conflict. Many expected it to be the new Emperor, Shah Mal, that acted first, wielding the vast war-machine of The Viswan Empire to bring those that defy him back to heel, and yet it is not from the west that the drums of war first beat. At his heart, Nader ud-Daula is still a bandit, a cut-throat and a thief despite the riches that now surround him, and the power that he wields in his new 'kingdom', and that opportunistic streak has never left him. Forgoing the civilities of declaring war, Nader ud-Daula simply gathers his host around him, and descends upon the northern Viswan city of Vandamia. The city is only protected by a meagre garrison, and it falls within hours. Tales already tell of how is was Nader ud-Daula that led the charge, scaling the walls and falling upon the defenders with a curved sword clutched in each hand and a wild fire burning in his eyes, while still other tales tell of Nader breathing fire upon the city, and bringing the walls down with a clap of his hands. Whatever the truth, the reality is that the northern king has bloodied the nose of the Viswan Empire, and firmly staked his claim as a new power. If the Emperor Shah Mal is surprised, he is careful not to show it to his watchful court, instead ordering his own armies to assemble, and prepare to bring ruin to the north. For Mir Khan in the east, a difficult choice presents itself. Nader ud-Daula has shown no loyalty, usurping the son of the man that gave him everything with little remorse, and striking dishonourably against the Viswan, but he is also an exceptional commander, with a formidable army, whose legend and support only grows with every battle. Can Nader be used as a weapon to return the banished Shah Jafar to his rightful throne, or will the mountain kings ambition consume all of India if left unchecked? The war that follows will be known by a dozen names, but what stands to be proven, is just how committed the European powers of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Grimhout are to the causes they have sided with.

18th of May

When news of the sacking of Vandamia reach the settlements of The Empire of Grimhout, Baptiste Crevier does not hesitate. The sepahi regiments are still only in their infancy, but Baptiste is determined that Grimhout will not go meekly into the night if The Viswan Empire does strike into the east. News of the growing relationship between Grimhout and The Kingdom of Dorist will not reach India for months, and yet it is still a man of Dorist that Baptiste appoints as the commander of Grimhout's forces in India. Heinrich Rosengart is a grizzled veteran, turned soldier of fortune, and the demand for European ways of war in India drew him to the subcontinent nearly a decade past. Heinrich shares none of the love for his new-found home with Viktor Halse, but he has an impressive understanding of how the Viswan Empire wages war, and he is a talented commander, taking to the task with relish, after a suitable payment from the coffers of Grimhout. Not content on relying on his own strength alone, Baptiste also writes two letters. The first goes to Mir Khan, once again pledging his support to Prince Shah Jafar, and offering aid wherever it can be provided, while the second goes south, destined for the hands of Viktor Halse in his post as de-facto commander of the colonies of The Kingdom of Kehsi. Baptiste's letter is frank, addressing the quiet and studious man that he met in passing months prior as a friend, and as an equal, and calls on Kehsi to lend it's support to Grimhout, and give it's strength to it's ally. Whether Viktor answers the call, only he can know, but whatever the outcome, three fleets have already left Europe, and begun their long journey east, each sailing to lend formidable strength to the colonies of Grimhout, Kehsi and The Republic of Kalseran.

20th of May

Progress on the trade agreements is slow, but The Kingdom of Stevata is not dissuaded, and as more guests continue to arrive, King Oswald IV continues to pursue his grand ambitions. Here at least, Stevata see's more success. King Valterri IV is an old man, and even the short journey to the capital of Stevata would be a great exertion for him, but his son and heir, Prince Albert, travels in his stead, representing The Kingdom of Orvag. Both The Kingdom of Fosbak and The Empire of Stabuga send their rulers south, Queen Marta II and Tsar Petya Barinov no doubt looking forward to the oppurtunity to rekindle their friendship. And yet while Stevata attempt to gain favour with these northern nations, it is to the south that King Oswald's attention is drawn. The invitation that is sent to The Republic of Kalseran carries with it all the fine gifts and extravagance of the one that travelled to The Kingdom of Genstadt, and the "Most Excellent and Fair Lady of Kalseran" accepts, travelling to Ravoza with an impressive retinue. On her arrival, she is again showered with gifts and praise, and it quickly becomes apparent that it is not just friendship that King Oswald is pursuing. Luisa A'Dera has not held power over the republic for so many years by being slow to catch on, and she is no doubt aware of the intentions of the man nearly ten years her younger. For now, she stays quiet, but the matter cannot be avoided forever, and Oswald, and indeed Stevata itself, is waiting.

21st of May

Just as Baptiste Crevier is attempting to solidify his own position in the name of The Empire of Grimhout, Maria Toleas is also quick to act. While she does not possess the rapidly expanding military strength of Grimhout's colonies, Maria is well aware of her own advantages. The Republic of Kalseran has had it's claws in India for far longer than Grimhout has, and while Baptiste is a perfectly competent leader, he does not boast the razor wit and silver tongue of Maria Toleas. With these weapons in mind, Maria sends messengers south, reaching the courts of those princes and lords that trade with Kalseran, and bending their ear to her cause. And yet while Baptiste has made it clear that he stands with Mir Khan and the banished prince Shah Jafar, Maria's supposed loyalty to The Viswan Empire is far less clear. Although she is careful to feign her allegiance to Emperor Shah Mal, no doubt aware of the power he still wields, her careful manoeuvring in the south is to ensure these southern lords are loyal to her, rather than to the Emperor. Maria is already proving her worth, but it is also becoming increasingly clear that these moves do not only deceive the Emperor, they also ensure that it is Maria that rules supreme, not the republic.

24th of May

Even while the negotiations in Anchialos continue to drag on, the nations that strive for peace do not sit idly by. Harking to the anguished cries of The Kingdom of Paranas, The Empire of Khazaria throws open it's gates. Much-needed supplies flow eastwards, bringing relief to those that still attempt to carve out a living in the war-torn nation. Not only that, but refugees are ushered to the relative safety that Khazaria can offer, eased by the Paranas descendants that already call the border cities of Khazaria home. And yet it is not just trade and peace that Khazaria works towards. After months of back-breaking work, the threat of the combined fleets of their enemies The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria hanging over them like a dark cloud, the shipwrights of Khazaria can finally lay down their tools, for now at least. Nineteen new frigates take to the water, swelling the ranks of the empire's navy. The ceasefire in the Black Sea may have been welcome respite for Khazaria, but they are already healing their wounds, and rebuilding their strength, and although the work was begun over a year ago, it is still a clear sign of intent, and with the fleet of The Kingdom of Komentiolos still in tatters, a warning sign for Khazaria's ancient enemy.

25th of May

While The Empire of Khazaria has looked to strengthen itself, The Kingdom of Komentiolos appears to be moving in the opposite direction. The vast conscript army of Komentiolos granted the kingdom a truly formidable army, dwarfing anything that it's enemies could field against it, but such power comes at a cost. Crops have been left unharvested, and calving and lambing have been ravaged by the lack of experienced hands to tend it, and while the nation has poured every effort into the war, other industries have crumbled away. But as peace seems to becoming more of a reality, nearly ten thousand soldiers are finally given orders to return home, marching eastwards and returning to the farms that have been crying out for them. Just as the Seaguard's return to The Republic of Kalseran sparked celebration, so too does the return of these sons of Komentiolos. And yet that joy is not without it's sorrow. For every family that regains a father, a brother or a husband, there are a dozen more that are left to wait.

28th of May

With it's only rival in the region now a firm ally, The Empire of Grimhout looks to consolidate it's position in the Americas. Rather than looking to extend it's reach, Grimhout instead moves to strengthen it's influence within the territory it already holds. With more colonists arriving by the day from Europe, a string of new forts and settlements are established, and the older ports and harbours begin to steadily expand, sprawling beyond their walls to become bustling towns. One of Grimhout's oldest settlements on the continent, the harbour of Charoux, has continued to grow and flourish, particularly in recent months, with rich trade also flowing from the nearby colonies of The Kingdom of Kehsi, and it has emerged as not only the effective capital of Grimhout in the region, but also the closest thing to a city in the Americas. As ships carrying colonists continue to arrive, and ships overladen with riches continue to sail east, the Americas is proving to be even more of a jewel in the crown of Arch-Duke than India could hope to be.

29th of May

Aegyptus is a shadow of it's former self. Dozens of the oldest and most powerful families of the province have already fled for safer shores, and although they find that their flight is not hindered by the soldiers of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, their titles and lands are stripped away, and much of their wealth seized. It is like a great exodus, as these ancient families flee from their homeland in the face of the brutal violence of Komentiolos. Lesser nobility, as well as loyal officers are quickly raised up to fill this sudden gulf, but the damage is already done, and the province is scarred. For now at least, some semblance of normality seems to be slowly returning. The rebels have been purged, either slaughtered where they stood, or fled deeper into the shifting sands, and as more soldiers of Komentiolos arrive, a sombre order has descended over the province, none daring to challenge the authority of Komentiolos, lest they find themselves cut down, or nailed to a roughly-hewn cross and left to die beneath the beating sun. And yet while order returns to Aegyptus, beyond it's shores, it is chaos and uproar that still reigns. The Western Alliance has already publicly condemned the behaviour and actions of Komentiolos, echoing the sentiment of The Empire of Khazaria, and even in the courts of the kingdom's allies, the sheer bloody violence cannot be ignored. Europe may peddle war and death, yet it still claims to be the heart of civilisation, and the unbridled murder of women and innocent babes is a practice that turns the stomach of the European nobility, no matter the cause.

30th of May

Luisa A'Dera accepts the lavish invitation of The Kingdom of Stevata, but even after her arrival in Ravoza, she refuses to give a full answer to his offer of marriage. The Grand Lady of the Republic is quick to stress that she means no disrespect to the young King Oswald IV, but that she simply wishes to assess the public and international attitude, before committing herself to such a significant move. Undeterred, Oswald continues his attempts to woo the powerful woman, and despite the placation of Luisa, the lack of approval will no doubt sting just as keenly as an outright rejection. For now, however, there is little time for the king to feel sorry for himself. The invitations to The Kingdom of Komentiolos and The Empire of Reria, and plans have been put in place to ensure that Stevata's grandest ambitions may well be coming to fruition.

31st of May

Emperor Clarenzio III arrives into Ravoza at the head of an impressive retinue, representing The Empire of Reria in person for the coming negotiations, but of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, there is no sign. Not only does King Nikolaos II not make the journey northwards, but neither does any representative of Komentiolos. This is the latest blow to the plans of The Kingdom of Stevata, but it may well prove to be the most significant. After all, what use is a peace summit if one of the main aggressors is clearly absent? Determined not to be deterred, King Oswald IV still pushes onwards, and before the nations that have gathered in the capital of Stevata, a new peace agreement is laid out, one that is a far cry from the one presented by the rider of Komentiolos in Anchialos. Oswald calls for Komentiolos to not only take full blame for the start of the war, and all of the bloodshed that has followed, but also cede all of the land unjustly seized from The Kingdom of Paranas. In the absence of Komentiolos itself, Oswald urges all of the other nations present, including The Empire of Grimhout, The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Khazaria, to sign the treaty, in solidarity against Komentiolos. The grand feast of Stevata may well be a shadow of the spectacle that Oswald envisioned, with only a handful of other leaders present, and Komentiolos itself totally absent, but there are still representatives of nearly every European nation assembled in his hall, and the reaction to this new peace treaty will inevitably decide the fate of Europe, and those all across the continent hold their breath.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Abefroeman
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Kingdom of Komentiolos, Tarsus, Imperial Parade Grounds - The Sun Rises

The crowded masses grew quiet as the king took the raised dais, his military uniform simple and fitting for the occasion. His officers and advisors stood beneath the dais, their uniforms no more regal than his own. Across his chest, medals and campaign ribbons earned honorably and rightfully, bought and paid for with blood and sweat from his youth. He wore no wig, no fashions of the West, he dressed himself of antiquity, of the old Empire. In his right hand, an old and worn baton was held, passed down for generations to its next rightful commander. Here, before all the men and women summoned to the great Imperial Parade Grounds, stood a military commander, and not some pompous, braggadocios, sovereign of the West. All eyes were now upon him, soldier and citizen alike, looking to him for what was to happen next. Taking a final breath, the king began to speak, knowing what he said would echo across the realm for decades to come.

"My people... Sons and Daughters of Komentiolios... For many years, we have been a broken empire: fragmented, oppressed, and conquered by those we sought to escape. Thirteen Hundred years ago, our forefathers stood against the collapse of the West, watched as our brothers and sisters, our kin of the West, fall into chaos. We stood tall in those dark times, as the world descended into darkness. The barbarous hordes the poured across the plains and forests and mountains of the former Imperial holdings were endless. How many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of anguished souls came begging before our very doors, crying out for sanctuary and salvation. We granted them that, we spilt our blood and sweat for them, from the fabled expeditions of antiquity, the incursions and raids against the hordes of teeming chaos roiling before our very borders. And yet, even with all we sacrificed, the honored dead of old, we did not flinch before our sacred duty to defend civilization. We have stood for a thousand years and more as the beacon of hope, of civilization, the shield and sword the guards the realms of men against all who would seek to envelop the world in perpetual darkness. And yet now, as we stand upon a knifes edge, the very descendants of those we saved, plot against us.

My father asked for time, and that time was granted by you. You: the strength in my arm, the holders of our people’s dreams… long ago, as our foes raged all around us, we were forced to abandon our far flung territorial holdings, the greatest sacrifice in the history of mankind. A sacrifice for freedom, Komentiolos became that freedom. Our new realm was smaller, which forced change upon us all. At first, it weakened us, but in fact, we were growing stronger. In the time since our great sacrifice, our great realm has been reborn anew, regaining our divine strength, earning our rightful pride! The turn cloaks of old were exiled and driven from our lands, their tainted views expunged from our way of life. We gained new insights into who we were, and who we are now. On this day, those driven to divide us will here one united voice, one united people. On this day, we shall act as one, and we shall be ignored NO MORE! Defenders of civilization, sons and daughters of Komentiolios, now is our time!”

The crowd roared with approval and applause, both the soldiers and citizens joining in as one resounding voice. The king stood there, gauging their reaction for a long time, taking his time in breathing deeply and slowly. Soon, there was his opening once more, and he continued speaking, his booming voice carrying across the great stone venue.

This much I vow: The history of these days will be written in blood. We so graciously offered peace to our enemies, so humbly held aloft the olive branch, only for those very same foes to savagely grip a dagger in one hand and hold a venomous snake in the other. They sought to poison our minds at home, with fear and mistrust, but they did not succeed. Instead, they so cowardly instigated rebellion in our colonial holdings, in Aegyptus. They hoped to snuff out the flame of civilization abroad, in the vain hopes of such a dastardly attack would hurt our own moral and courage. No… by crushing the armies of our enemy, by seizing the weapons they thought to turn against us, we are fighting for our very existence. Those who would deny us peace; refuse us our rightful place in the world, then we will unleash such terrible vengeance that generations yet unborn will cry out in anguish! The enemy may shatter our bodies, but they cannot break our spirit. Even now they advance upon our borders, to seize by force what they cannot claim by right. They cannot imagine what awaits them. We will smite the invaders from our seas, our beaches, our home! Though they will try and sweep over our lands like the sands of winter, never again will we bow before them; never again endure their oppression; never again endure their tyranny. We will strike without warning and without mercy, fighting as one hand, one heart, one soul. We will shatter their dreams and haunt their nightmares, drenching our ancestors' graves with their blood. And as our last breath tears at their lungs; as we rise again from all across our lands... they will know: The East belongs to the Komentiolians."

Once again the crowd cheered, the roar so deafening that it could be heard for miles around. The king smiled at that, standing before his people, his comrades, knowing that if there was not to be peace, then there would be war, a war that the foes of Komentiolios would not be ready for. He looked down to his generals, the officers and admirals, strong hard men who all would fight to the bloody end if need be. There would be no peace with the West, with Khazaria, with all those who sought to usurp the rightful rule of Komentiolios.
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Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by Spiffy
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Spiffy Prince of Peace

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The Kingdom of Stevata

Before the banquet...

The court of Stevata is gripped by a fevered clamour. The war has been bloody for Stevata, thousands of sons, husbands, brothers and fathers cut down in their prime, never to hold their loved ones again, and for the first time in months, there is a glimmer of peace. The peace terms offered by Komentiolos are stark, calling for no blame to be leveled, and the foothold of Komentiolos in Kavatsona maintained, but that price comes in exchange for peace, an end to the bloodshed, and yet, Oswald's court has never been more divided. There are those who call for peace, and yet there are still those who call for war. Oswald is a young king, but is determined to not be manipulated, like the newly crowned King Niklas IV has been, to the south in Altenten, and so he makes a point of giving both sides the chance to argue their case. It is the ageing nobleman, Lord Witalis Tarka that steps forward as the spokesman for peace, and that in itself is little surprise. After all, it was still early on in this bloody war that Witalis lost his first-born son, cut down storming the walls at the second Siege of Kronik, and it was only in the last couple of weeks that news reached Oswald of the lord's second son also falling at the chaotic Battle of Chersonesus. Witalis is a man who has lost much in these wars, and he argues now that Stevata should take the opportunity for peace, so that those who have already suffered can finally grieve. And besides, Komentiolos has gathered a vast army, and to try and dislodge them from their stronghold, all while guarding against the hounding of Altenten and Kalseran's armies, would surely cost tens of thousands of Stevatan lives, and drag this bloody war on for months, if not years.

The man who steps forward to call for war comes as no great surprise either. In the aftermath of the dark riders, before even the war with Dorist, what already seems like a lifetime ago, it was Lord Andrzej Mrotek who had been one of the first to call for war then. Oswald may still be inexperienced in statecraft, but Andrzej is a man who has already caught his attention more than once. A veteran of the first Siege of Kronik, more than twenty years past, Andrzej is a man driven almost to ruin by the loss of Shardvul to Dorist, his families estates torn away, and in this hardship, the lord's resentment soured, and became a bitter hatred for Dorist, and all it's people. Even now that the war is Dorist is won, and Andrzej's ancestral heritage returned, the bullish man seems to have developed a taste for bloodshed. He claims that the alliance of Komentiolos is crumbling by the day, that the atrocities in Aegyptus will drive away Kalseran, Reria and Altenten, and without it's allies fleets defending it's shores, Komentiolos will be fighting a war on a dozen fronts, and even with their vast conscript army, they will be torn apart, like a stag by a pack of wolves. Both of these lords are well-respected, and they command significant influence, so Oswald is careful to thank them both for their insight, before retreating to his personal chambers. The decision rests squarely on the King's young shoulders, and whatever path chosen, it will surely shape the fate of not just Stevata, but perhaps of Europe itself...

Hours later...
After what feels like an eternity, King Oswald exits the room. Immediately he calls the nobility to him and responds with as much grace and resolve the young king can muster, "My dear brothers and sisters of Stevata. This decision weighs heavily on my mind, but I believe that God has given me wisdom. My commands are thus; the terms listed by "Caesar of the South" are egregious and an outright travesty. After instigating the war against our allies of Khazaria, assaulting the lands of our allies at Paranas and forcibly taking them, now he graces us with his "terms?" And what are those terms? To cede our allies land to him without protest, and to not blame them for their sins in stoking the flames of war from the outset. This is not even to mention their known atrocities against their former colony Aegyptus. No. These terms will not stand...." A long pause stills the room. So quiet the sound of a pin drop could be heard. "However.." the young King continues, "I do not wish for any more of our people's blood to be shed on foreign shores, against foreign armies with foreign languages. New terms will be crafted with the agreement of our allies and the nations of the Western Alliance."

Oswald waits for some time to get an understanding of his noble's responses. His words are weighty, yet filled with the fire of passion. Whether or not they agree with his choices, his nobility knows he is looking out for their nation above all. After addressing any questions or comments from them, they are dismissed. Then he calls for a scribe.

Present day banquet Stevata...

"Indeed." King Oswald thinks to himself, "His response was not completely unpredictable. Yet, it is a travesty that more blood must be shed on behalf of a cruel dictator." He takes a sip from a golden chalice of fine red wine and sighs. After a few seconds he exclaims out loud in his banquet hall which includes leaders and delegates from most of the nations of Europe, "Even without the signature of Komentiolios, I ask that you will sign with us in the treaty outlined. And if necessary, supply us with the necessary materiel to end this war quickly and decisively. Call forth messengers to your respective leadership if they are not currently present. If they cannot aid us in this way, sign the trade agreements to increase commerce from West to East. War need not come between our two alliance blocs. Rather, trade, friendship and goodwill."
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Hidden 9 mos 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 1757

3rd of June

While the nations of the Western Alliance may well be represented at the feast of The Kingdom of Stevata, King Oswald IV is clearly not content with anything but the highest order. As the feast of The Kingdom of Dorist draws to a close, an urgent messenger is sent west from Stevata, calling for the assembled leaders to travel east to Ravoza with all haste. It is testament to how significant Oswald believes his cause to be that he seems to demand that these leaders of the alliance are present, and it is testament then to that belief that the leaders of the Western Alliance do make the journey. It is almost unprecedented for such a number of leaders to stray from friendly territory, so it is no surprise that each king and queen is accompanied by a formidable force of Royal Guard, to the point where the soldiers of the Western Alliance in the Stevata capital quickly outnumber the soldiers of Stevata itself. Not deterred by this, the 'elite' troops of Stevata are quick to engage in training, just outside the cities walls, clearly intended to impress the gathered nations. While this display is entertaining, it does little to impress the nations who's soldiers outclass Stevata's own, chiefly Dorist and The Kingdom of Hispalis. Regardless, Oswald has achieved his ambition, and his city now plays host to leaders of Europe from The Empire of Grimhout, The Republic of Kalseran, The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas. It is only The Kingdom of Komentiolos that still does not make the journey.

4th of June

As Europe seems to take another tentative towards peace, the sprawling powers of India seem to have no such ambitions. Nader ud-Daula may have seized the initiative, striking a glancing blow against the slumbering bulk of The Viswan Empire, but he has far from felled it. Emperor Shah Mal is a cold-blooded and cunning leader, but he is no general, and command of his vast armies fall upon the shoulders of the grizzled veteran, Raja Ali. The old soldier has no time for politics, and he cares little for the factions struggling for control in his nation. He is loyal to the Emperor, and will follow his orders with a dogged determination, and a unflinching grit. With a formidable strength under his command, Raja Ali marches north, and it quickly becomes clear that Nader ud-Daula will soon feel the full and terrible force of the Viswan Empire. For now, the banished Shah Jafar is left to gather support in the east, with the willing support of The Empire of Grimhout, while The Kingdom of Kehsi and the southern princes look on from the south. The growing strength of The Republic of Kalseran is not called upon by Shah Mal, but whether that is due to confidence in his own strength, or a distrust of Maria Toleas, only the Emperor knows.

6th of June

Even though the Western Alliance makes the journey east, it is still clear that they have not forgotten their allegiances. Rumours continue to swirl that The Kingdom of Dorist has bound itself to the alliance, although the details of the treaties signed are still a closely-guarded secret, but there are other gestures that are far more public. As a sign of the closeness that exists between the nations, every nation of the Western Alliance, as well as Dorist, announce a period of mourning for the death of Princess Karoline Asmont, and The Empire of Grimhout announces the founding of a orphanage in the heart of Rivierberg, named in honour of the former princess of The Principality of Asmont. Prince William Asmont is still a shell of his former self, almost broken by the death of his beloved wife, but he is still sure to express his gratitude for these gestures of his allies. And yet with each day that passes, he seems to grow a little fainter, his grip on life a little looser, and it seems all but inevitable that Prince Alexandre will soon take up his father's mantle.

7th of June

The light of peace had still only been a glimmer over Europe, but as quickly as it emerged, that glimmer is choked by the dark clouds of war once again. Even while The Kingdom of Stevata puts forward a treaty for peace, The Kingdom of Komentiolos quickly makes it clear that it has no such intentions. The entire nation is once again committed to the war, luxury items rationed, and prisoners press-ganged into forced labour, slaving in the fields to feed the hungry mouths of the nation. The harbours of Komentiolos that look out into the Black Sea are fortified, cannons dragged into positions as the shipwrights and carpenters are sent south, favouring the more sheltered Mediterranean harbours. Komentiolos also pours yet more fortifications all across it's borders, countless miles of defences carefully laid out, and spears being issued to the vast conscript armies of the kingdom. Those who were naive enough to think that the birth of the sons of King Nikolaos II would temper the man, or turn him towards peace, are quickly proven wrong, as it seems as if Komentiolos are even more committed to bloodshed than before. And yet, while Komentiolos seems not to have changed, the rest of Europe has changed it's face. The allies of Komentiolos, The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria have travelled to the feast of Stevata, and should they turn away from Komentiolos, even the formidable strength of Komentiolos may find it's beginning to crumble.

9th of June

As he pushes his nation into war once again, King Nikolaos II is quick to act, perhaps looking to nip any outcry before it can begin to bloom. Gathering the nobles and powerful merchants before him, Nikolaos launches into a speech full of fire and brimstone, cursing the nation's enemies for stoking the fires of rebellion in Aegyptus, and calling for The Kingdom of Komentiolos to claim the land it once held, centuries past, establishing the fallen empire once again. The king's rhetoric is powerful, his words hot with passion and ire, and the men gathered before him are caught up in it. War will bleed Komentiolos, but with the nobles behind him, perhaps the king can keep his nation on it's course. Whatever happens in the coming months, Nikolaos has made his stance clear, and as news of these sweeping reforms begins to reach the rest of Europe, it is now the turn of the nations gathered in Stevata to react. War is the trade of kings, but it is a trade of blood, and mankind's greatest evils, and it is not the kings that will pay the toll.

11th of June

With the nations of Europe gathered, and news continuing to arrive from the south, King Oswald IV once again presents his peace treaty. The treaty itself is worthless, The Kingdom of Komentiolos not only absent from the talks, but seemingly preparing for war, but it is clear that The Kingdom of Stevata are looking to use the treaty as a gesture, a symbol that the nations of Europe stand united against Komentiolos. Unfortunately, just as with most great plans, it goes awry. The Kingdom of Teclav is quick to add it's signature to the treaty, as is The Kingdom of Paranas, and they are surprisingly followed by The Kingdom of Altenten, Philip Lehner seeming to once again sense a shift in the balance of power, but it is there that Stevata's fortune ends. Both The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria stand firm in their defiance of the treaties blaming of Komentiolos, claiming that the war between Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria is merely a continuing of the war of The Kingdom of Dorist, and that whatever blame there may have been has been washed away with blood. The diplomats of the Western Alliance also fail to sign the treaty, making it clear that while they support peace, they do not wish to be drawn into the conflict, a sentiment echoed by the diplomats of the northern nations of The Empire of Stabuga, The Kingdom of Fosbak and The Kingdom of Orvag. Perhaps these moves could have been anticipated by Oswald, but there is one omission that could not have been expected. The diplomats of Khazaria make no move to sign the treaty, remaining stony silent, and seemingly gripped with atrophy. With Khazaria seemingly refusing to join Stevata in it's push for peace, not only does Stevata's ambitions lose crucial momentum, but it also carves a rift in the heart of the so-called 'Eastern Alliance'.

14th of June

In the days following the refusal of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria to sign the treaty of The Kingdom of Stevata, news has continued to arrive from The Kingdom of Komentiolos, making it impossible to ignore the reality that Komentiolos is loosing the dogs of war once again. There are shadowy meetings, hushed conversations that stretch on long into the night, but eventually, the diplomats of Kalseran and Reria emerge, and make an announcement to the nations still gathered in the Stevata capital. Kalseran joined the bloody war in defence of The Kingdom of Dorist, and that contract has been fulfilled. The forces of Kalseran will withdraw, and play no further part in the war between Komentiolos and The Empire of Khazaria. Reria is quick to follow the example set by it's neighbour, and despite the close ties that tether Reria to Komentiolos, Emperor Clarenzio III has clearly grown weary of sending his people into the carnage and bloodshed of battle. In a single moment, the strength of Komentiolos has crumbled, all three of it's allies seeming to forsake it, and leaving it to fight on alone against it's gathered enemies. It is also clearly not only in the east that Kalseran is hoping to avoid war, as the Grand Lady of the Republic herself writes a letter to Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, calling on her fellow leader to stop the conflict raging in India from reaching European shores. The letter shows genuine intent, and considering the belief in peace that the Arch-Duke has already shown, Kalseran clearly hopes that The Empire of Grimhout will not look to play out the wars of Baptiste Crevier and Maria Toleas on battlegrounds closer to home.

15th of June

If there are those who may have thought that the grand speeches of reclaiming a lost empire were simply intended to rally his people, it quickly becomes apparent that King Nikolaos II was not simply being theatrical when he pledged to return The Kingdom of Komentiolos to it's former imperial glory. Soldiers of Komentiolos, their blades barely wiped clean of the blood of Aegyptus, begin to gather on the borders of the recently 'cleansed' territory, casting greedy eyes towards the still unclaimed land beyond those borders. In the aftermath of the 'Aegyptus Massacre', nearly every nation of Europe has turned particular attention to the region, and although details are a carefully guarded secret of Komentiolos, it is clear that something is happening, and the self-proclaimed 'Caesar' seems to be moving his pieces into place once again. If Komentiolos does look to wage war in the continent, then the colonies of The Empire of Reria and The Kingdom of Hispalis will no doubt be making their own preparations. The actions of Komentiolos have already soured the reputation of Europeans to the nomadic tribes that call the shifting sands their home, and it is only the prosperity of those who serve Hispalis that keep the entire region from becoming unstable. Reria's colony is still in it's infancy, little more than a handful of trading ports and tentative forays deeper inland, but their grip grows weaker by the day, driving them further into the willing aid of Hispalis and, crucially, even further from Komentiolos.

18th of June

The long land border between the territories still loyal to Emperor Shah Mal and those that have been seized by Nader ud-Daula has become a dozen battlefields, the two formidable generals, Nader himself and the commander of The Viswan Empire, Raja Ali, clashing again and again. The two commanders are like duellists, and every battle seems to follow the same pattern. Nader ud-Daula strikes at Viswan with a wild fury, often leading the charge himself, roaring out a warcry, but by the time Raja Ali has reacted, moving troops to respond, Nader has already withdrawn, disappearing as quickly as he appeared and leaving a trail of carnage in his wake. Any attempt that Raja makes to retaliate, sending forces into the northern mountains, is quickly outmanoeuvred and cut off by the fanatically loyal soldiers of Nader. And yet, with every soldier of the Viswan Empire that falls, two more take his place, and the northern bandit king does not have that luxury. As war continues to rage, Viktor Halse finally responds to the request of Baptiste Crevier. The Kingdom of Kehsi will lend supplies and coin to it's ally, but men of Kehsi will not fight shoulder-to-shoulder with those of The Empire of Grimhout. Not yet.

19th of June

Perhaps it is the grief of his people, the plight of the thousands and thousands of refugees that are fleeing their own nation for fear of war and bloodshed, the overwhelming failure of a man who could not shield his own people from harm, but in the darkness of the night, King Markus I loses his mind. Ranting and raving of demons and curses, the king is quickly restrained by his chief advisers, and it quickly becomes clear that a decision must be made. The Kingdom of Paranas is teetering on a precipice, caught in the middle of a war that seems destined to grind on, and that careful and precarious path cannot be trod by a lunatic. Markus has never married, showing little interest in the women that his courtiers had attempted to align him with, and he has produced no heirs. As if to compound the issue even further, the man that had been the assumed heir, the nephew of Markus, Lukas Rainer, had been struck down suddenly by illness less than two years past. If the bloodline of Paranas is to continue, then the weight of rule will find itself falling upon the shoulders of Alexandru Marius Rainer. The second son, a man who was never expected to rule, Alexandru has long shirked the nobility of his name, serving in the Paranas army with distinction, becoming a man popular with the troops under his command, and only prevented from serving in the defence of Paranas by the abrupt death of his brother. Word is quickly sent to Alexandru, and a hurried coronation is prepared. Alexandru is still young, but he is a man with ambition, and already popular among the masses. Perhaps he is the man that is destined to raise Paranas from the ashes. As the new king steps into the rift, Markus is quietly moved to a villa on the Black Sea coast, accompanied by only a handful of Royal Guards, a trusted physician, and his closest and oldest friend, Samuele Landino. If he will ever recover from the madness that grips his mind, none can say, but regardless, a new age has dawned over Paranas.

21st of June

Even while they push for peace, The Kingdom of Stevata does not forsake it's own strength. The navy of Stevata has long been little more than a haphazard collection of ships, led nor manned with any great skill, and paling in comparison to the other fleets that sail the Baltic Sea, and this is a fact that has not escaped the attention of the young king. While Queen Marta II is present in the Stevata capital, Oswald looks to seize the oppurtunity, promising trade and coin in exchange for ships of The Kingdom of Fosbak. The northern kingdom is tentative at first, wary of relinquishing their dominance in the Baltic Sea, but as the rest of Europe looks to build bridges, the queen convinces her advisers that it is time for Fosbak to follow suit. In an impressive gesture of goodwill, half a dozen third-rate ships of the line are sailed into the harbours of Hutina, manned by skeleton crews and turned over to the bewildered sailors of Stevata. Fosbak also provides a dozen sloops, the craftsmanship a world apart from the ships that currently serve in Stevata's haphazard navy, but it is aboard one of these sloops that Fosbak provides the greatest tool. Sten Sundström is an experienced sailor, and a competent commander, and compared to the naval officers of Stevata, he is a mastermind. Tasked with whipping the sailors and commanders of Stevata into something resembling a modern navy, Sten takes to his task with a stony stoicism. As Stevata becomes a more promising naval power, The Kingdom of Orvag will no doubt be keeping a careful eye on their neighbours across the sea, wary of another power threatening their own position in the Baltic Sea.

23rd of June

In the absence of The Kingdom of Komentiolos, and the absence of a definitive peace, the summit at the heart of The Kingdom of Stevata has become something else entirely. The great leaders of Europe are gathered together, an oppurtunity that may not be afforded again for years, and nearly every nation seems to be looking to make use of the oppurtunity. Hushed conversations are had, deals struck in secret, preparations made for grand ambitions, all shrouded in carefully maintained secrecy. While Komentiolos seems to be quickly finding itself isolated, for the other leaders of Europe, there has never been more unity. Stevata seems to have quickly drawn close with The Republic of Kalseran, while The Empire of Grimhout and the other nations of the Western Alliance have taken the oppurtunity to not only strengthen their own bonds, but solidify their position as a major force in Europe. The Kingdom of Fosbak and The Empire of Stabuga also grows closer by the day, and it is becoming increasingly clear that a northern alliance will emerge in the coming months. Despite the stony silence of The Empire of Khazaria, Stevata has also looked to strengthen the other bonds of the 'Eastern Alliance', and the new king of The Kingdom of Paranas has been quick to take the oppurtunity to impose his will on the continental stage, establishing himself as an ambitious and driven leader. Perhaps war is destined to return, perhaps the animalistic call for blood and slaughter is too strong to be ignored by any man, but in Ravoza, even if only for a moment, the beast is caged.

24th of June

It has been more than a year since the ground-breaking invention of the 'Vera Engine', and news of it's development has been eerily quiet. Any yet to mistake that silence for a lack of progress would be naive, and in the heart of The Kingdom of Hispalis, Julio Vera has continued his work. Following the feast of The Kingdom of Dorist, the power of the Vera Engine is no longer restricted to the cities of Hispalis, and bulky carts and carriages, piled with strange metal contraptions and accompanied by wide-eyed and wiry men and women, make the journey to The Kingdom of Arhan, The Principality of Asmont, The Kingdom of Genstadt, The Kingdom of Kehsi, The Empire of Grimhout and even, crucially, Dorist itself. These engines are truly revolutionary, and almost overnight, they transform the industry of the Western Alliance. Textiles are spun by roaring and untiring machines, and cast iron begins to become increasingly abundant, and reliable. While the east continues to peddle war, in the west, wealth still rules. In Dorist, a nation bloodied and broken by conflict, this new technology, as well as the generous trade with it's new allies, has revitalised the failing economy, bringing prosperity to a nation that has been bowed, but never broken. Industry booms in the west.

27th of June

The Empire of Khazaria has remained silent in the face of peace, but that does not mean it lies completely idle. The countless tribes of the empire have never been more united behind a common cause, and whether it is simply an expression of this unity, a reaction to The Kingdom of Komentiolos continuing to preach war, or something altogether more sinister, thousands of new soldiers flock to the banner of Khazaria. The people of Khazaria are war-like, the proud tradition of bloodshed still strong in their veins, and as even the wilder tribes of the east pledge their allegiance to the young Şahin Macar, the strength of the eastern nation continues to swell. The alliance that Khazaria has with it's neighbours of The Kingdom of Stevata, The Kingdom of Paranas and The Kingdom of Teclav may be beginning to show it's strain, but perhaps this is the way it was always destined to end. As the allies of Komentiolos seemingly withdraw their support, it is the ancient enemies that stand against each other, both believing their cause is just with an almost fanatical determination. The ancient enemies, whose war has raged since the Golden Horde of Khazaria clashed with the Western Crusaders more than three centuries past, who have looked at the other with envy for countless generations. The battle lines have been drawn, and if these two nations are to meet each other in war once again, every man that takes up his weapon will do it with the will of his ancestors at his back.

28th of June

Jozef Motycka has long had an almost unnatural obsession with the raw power of cannons. It is his undying appreciation for these new age weapons, and his ability at bringing them to bear, that has seen the man rise through the ranks of the army of The Kingdom of Stevata until he stands at the pinnacle. It is his good fortune then, that his obsession seems to be shared with the young King Oswald IV. Orders are given for the army of Stevata to turn it's attention towards strengthening it's artillery, casting more cannons, and ensuring that there is a more than ample supply of ammunition and powder, all under the watchful eye of Jozef himself. The process is slow, and despite the grand ambitions of Jozef, he often needs to be grounded in reality, but there is a surprising development that even Jozef may not have expected. As Stevata push to improve their artillery, word reaches them of the 'The Luciani Ratio', as well as news of it's powerful use in the hands of The Republic of Kalseran. A message is quickly prepared, and sent to Silvio Luciani, offering a substantial sum of coin for his services. Whatever the outcome, Jozef's obsession is an obsession with the future, and even if he has to do it single-handedly, he will not rest until he has dragged the army of Stevata into a new age.

29th of June

The Republic of Kalseran prove themselves to be true to their word. The soldiers of the Republic that have manned the stretched defences along the border between Kalseran and Paranas are allowed to steadily return to their homes, laying down their weapons so that they may once again hold their children and wives in their arms, but perhaps the most damning gesture comes further east. The massed fleet of the Republic has wrecked havoc against The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas across the Black Sea, but the signal is given for them to make the voyage homewards. The move is gradual at first, but it quickly gains momentum, and the true significance of it is lost on none of the nations that look out across the Black Sea. As The Empire of Reria follows suit, also staying true to its word, with every ships of Kalseran and Reria that sail west, The Kingdom of Komentiolos grows more and more vulnerable. The fleet of Komentiolos still lies in tatters, while Khazaria and Paranas still command significant navies. If war does come to life once again, then the shoreline of Komentiolos is defended only by it's fortified harbours, and the pitiful handful of ships that are still remotely seaworthy. Komentiolos seemingly stands alone, and in the Black Sea, the balance of power is quickly swinging against them.
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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 1757

2nd of July

Even as it's position seems to be crumbling, The Kingdom of Komentiolos continues to look beyond it's own borders. The chaos of Aegyptus is a black mark against Komentiolos, but while it has inspired condemnation from the other nations of Europe, for the native leaders of northern Africa, it has served as a stark warning. Secretive meetings, carefully hidden from those who would report back to the rest of Europe, have been held with the satraps of the land caught between Aegyptus and Komentiolos proper. The shroud of dread, and the bloody reports from Aegyptus, no doubt go some way to sway these native leaders, but it is still an act of careful diplomacy to win over these leaders. Despite the apparently heavy-handed approach that King Nikolaos II has already proven himself capable of, in these meetings there is far more of a measured approach. Although there will no doubt be those who slink away in the darkness, agreements are put into place to allow the territory to once again join the fold of Komentiolos, and no time is wasted. Komentiolos has long held some influence in the region, and there are already a number of ports that are familiar with Komentiolos traders, but almost overnight, the kingdom increases it's influence tenfold. Although showing little interest in barren land and shifting sands, Komentiolos looks to secure the harbours along the region's coastline, as well as those that line the handful of rivers that reach out into the desert. Although the iron fist is never far away, it is with a velvet glove that Komentiolos has claimed huge swathes of land, and moved one more step closer to rebuilding it's great empire of old.

4th of July

The feast in the halls of The Kingdom of Stevata has been drawing to a close, the gathered leaders returning to their own nations, but news reaches the city of Ravoza that see's the leaders of the Western Alliance hasten their departure. Prince William Asmont dies in his bed, his will to live simply fading away to nothing. The prince had never recovered from the death of his beloved wife, Princess Karoline, and with The Principality of Asmont safe in the hands of his son, William finally allowed himself to die of a broken heart. His death had seemed inevitable for months, and the transition of power is seamless. As the leaders of the Western Alliance travel to Aarborn for the royal funeral, Prince Alexandre Asmont makes preparations for their arrival. Despite the sorrow, this event may well bring the Western Alliance closer together, not least due to the fact that the new princess of Asmont is none other than the daughter of Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau, Juliette, a bond between Asmont and The Empire of Grimhout. Alexandre's older sister, Valentina, is also married to Jean-Baptiste's brother, Charles, and through these two marriages, Grimhout and Asmont and intrinsically linked.

6th of July

Even while the Western Alliance leaves the feast of The Kingdom of Stevata, the diplomats of The Empire of Khazaria finally break their silence. Officially signing the proposed treaty of Stevata, Khazaria reaffirms it's commitment to the Eastern Alliance, but it also takes the oppurtunity to go one step further. A vast painting is unveiled to the gathered nobles, showing a wounded rider of Khazaria, draped in the flags of Stevata, Khazaria, The Kingdom of Paranas and The Kingdom of Teclav as he charges towards the line of his enemies, a sabre clutched in his hand. The painting itself is impressive, but it is the message that ignites hushed conversations in the capital of Stevata. It is Khazaria that rode to Stevata's aid, shattering the armies of The Kingdom of Dorist, and it is Khazaria that blunted the advance of The Kingdom of Komentiolos when it threatened to break Paranas. King Oswald IV is obviously a man of ambition, but the young Şahin Macar is making a clear statement that it is Khazaria's sacrifice that has carried the alliance. Even as the Eastern Alliance seems poised to overwhelm the isolated Komentiolos, the intrigue of a power struggle threatens to bring it all crumbling down, and all eyes will no doubt be watching for King Oswald's response.

7th of July

The Republic of Kalseran may have stepped away from the war raging just beyond it's borders, but it is far from lying idle. Merchants have long been the lifeblood of the republic, bringing a river of gold into the harbours of Kalseran, and now is no different. The powerful merchant families of the republic hold sway in ports and harbours all across the Mediterranean, and as one, they begin to call in old favours. Ships begin to sail between a dozen nations, all sailing beneath the flag of Kalseran, and bringing riches back to the republic. Perhaps it is simply an attempt to recoup the losses of the war, or perhaps the Grand Lady of the Republic, Luisa A'Dera, is looking to wage a new war, a war of coin. The republic knows well how to wage this new war, none more than Luisa herself, and they take to their new task with relish. Ships frequently travel to The Empire of Reria, perhaps looking to capitalise on the bond forged in war, and bring the empire closer to Kalseran's influence, or at leas further away from the encroaching influence of the Western Alliance. Ships also travel to the nations of the Western Alliance, no doubt looking to benefit from the wealth generated by the Vera Engine, but it is not just across Europe that ships of the republic sail. More ships set sail for India, no doubt bringing yet more aid to feed the ambitions of Maria Toleas, but ships also sail west. The Empire of Grimhout and The Kingdom of Kehsi have been enjoying their dominance of the Americas, but as Kalseran makes the long journey across the Atlantic, that dominance may soon be challenged.

10th of July

Once again, The Kingdom of Stevata attempts to create new trade between the east and the west, and once again, the Western Alliance does not commit to the young king's grand ambitions. The leaders of the Western Alliance have left Stevata's halls, travelling to The Principality of Asmont for the funeral of the late prince, and it is only diplomats that remain to represent the nations of the west. Perhaps these diplomats simply do not hold the authority to discuss trade deals with Stevata, or perhaps they have their orders. Whatever the case, the Western Alliance continues to deny Stevata's dreams of gold flowing across Europe. There are those in Stevata who are quickly growing bitter about this seeming refusal, but there are also those who question the strength of Stevata's position. After all, through the colonies of The Empire of Grimhout, The Kingdom of Kehsi and The Kingdom of Hispalis, the Western Alliance commands huge wealth, while Stevata can make no such claims. Any trade agreements reached between the east and the west would surely benefit the east far more than it ever could the west. Whatever the reality, the bitterness in Stevata only continues to grow as rumours spread that through The Kingdom of Genstadt and The Kingdom of Dorist, the Western Alliance has reached out to the nations of the north, looking to strengthen relations. The situation is only soured further as Prince Marcian, the younger brother of King Oswald IV, finds his proposal of marriage for Queen Margriet I, leader of Genstadt, blocked at every turn. Queen Margriet is in Aarborn, attending the funeral of Prince William Asmont, when Marcian arrives to try and win her favour with lavish gifts. Perhaps it is the sombre tone of the occasion, or perhaps it is the influence of the Western Alliance at work once again, but Margriet is quick to make it clear that she has no interest in the proposal. The queen's true love, her late husband Kasper, has only been dead for less than a decade, and she is clearly not willing to replace him with a man who is only a few years older than her son. Once again, Oswald's grand ambitions are rebuffed.

11th of July

Rumours have run rife throughout The Republic of Kalseran since the nation's sudden withdrawal from the war against The Empire of Khazaria and it's allies. These largely revolve around the reason for the sudden change of heart from Luisa A'Dera, and it is clear that the Grand Lady of the Republic is not death to the rumours. After all, no-one can rule the many-headed beast of the republic for as long as Luisa has, without having eyes and ears in every shadowy corner. Returning from the feast of The Kingdom of Stevata, Luisa hosts a grand party for all the noble families of the republic, bringing together the true power of the nation. What is discussed in the party itself is a carefully guarded secret, but two rumours do escape, although no doubt even these rumours are carefully cultivated by Luisa and her agents. Luisa shall forever be the Grand Lady of the Republic before she is a queen, and the republic will be hosting a grand Masquerade Ball in the coming spring. What the true meaning behind either of these rumours are, only a handful know for sure, but speculation is rampant all across Europe.

12th of July

With each day that passes, more and more soldiers of The Republic of Kalseran and The Kingdom of Altenten are able to return home, the fortified defensive lines that they had been watching over for the past months becoming obsolete as the burgeoning peace emerges between the nations. The Kingdom of Paranas also withdraws it's forces from it's western border, with thousands of fresh soldiers marching south to re-enforce the defensive lines against The Kingdom of Komentiolos. Further north, while The Kingdom of Stevata also redeploys it's soldiers away from Kalseran and Altenten, the garrison along the border with The Kingdom of Dorist. Tensions between the two nations have still not entirely died away, and this gesture will no doubt be noticed by not only Dorist, but also the Western Alliance. It is through war that Stevata reclaimed the province of Shardvul, and Dorist will not forget the blood that soaked the earth. Despite this growing tension, Stevata is still joining it's allies in turning almost it's full strength towards the solitary figure of The Kingdom of Komentiolos. Komentiolos faces a storm, and none can say for sure whether the eastern kingdom can weather it.

15th of July

The feast of The Kingdom of Stevata finally draws to a close. In just a matter of weeks, the very balance of Europe has shifted drastically, and in the halls of Ravoza, deals have been struck that could well bring The Kingdom of Komentiolos to it's knees. The ships of The Republic of Kalseran and The Empire of Reria that had for so long dominated the Black Sea, beating back the fleets of The Empire of Khazaria and The Kingdom of Paranas, allowing the soldiers of Komentiolos ot flood across the narrow straits and secure a foothold in Paranas itself. have returned to their own harbours. With the fleet of Komentiolos still in tatters, the Black Sea is now firmly in the hands of Khazaria and Paranas, and as the balance swings, despite the formidable strength of Komentiolos, even King Nikolaos II cannot hope to defend his nation's vast and virtually undefended coastline. Not only that, but as Kalseran and Reria also withdraw their soldiers form the front line, the Eastern Alliance is now free to focus all of it's resources on Komentiolos itself. Komentiolos commands hundreds of thousands of soldiers, their vast army dominated by the conscripted 'legions', but they stand alone against the strength of Khazaria, Stevata, Paranas and The Kingdom of Teclav. Throughout it all, the Western Alliance only continues to grow in strength, seizing the oppurtunity of the turmoil to sweep The Kingdom of Dorist into the fold. The bond between The Kingdom of Fosbak and The Empire of Stabuga has also continued to strengthen, at the expense of The Kingdom of Orvag, and many are already dubbing the two sleeping giants as 'The Northern Alliance'. For now, the alliances of the west and the north have remained neutral in the Komentiolos war, but if either one was to become involved in the conflict, it could well swing the balance yet again.

17th of July

The feast may have reached it's conclusion, but that is not to suggest that King Oswald IV has put his ambitions on hold. In the heart of The Kingdom of Stevata, important discussions are being had, and pieces are carefully being moved into place. Just as with the gathering of nobles in The Republic of Kalseran, the contents of these discussions are carefully hidden from curious ears, but even so, rumours continue to run rampant. It is no great secret that King Oswald took the time to meet with Luisa A'Dera in private during the feast in Stevata, and Kalseran's sudden withdrawal from the war of The Kingdom of Komentiolos has only poured fuel on the flames of the idea that some deal has been struck between the two leaders. The extent of this deal is still yet to emerge, or indeed evidence of any deal at all, but if Kalseran has not just turned away from Komentiolos, but climbed into bed with the enemy, the repercussions will no doubt echo all across Europe.

20th of July

As arguably the most crucial force behind it's creation, The Empire of Grimhout stands as the de-facto leader of the Western Alliance, and with marriages now binding his family to the royalty of both The Principality of Asmont and The Kingdom of Arhan, Arch-Duke Jean-Baptise Dervau stands in an undeniably powerful position. And yet despite the wealth flowing into Grimhout, power breeds envy, and the empire is no exception. It is impossible to ignore the overwhelming strength that the Western Alliance can call upon, and there are several noble families of Grimhout that believe that that strength should be put to use. Jean-Baptiste has united the Western Alliance with talk of peace and brotherhood, but there are still those who think that this power should be used to carve Grimhout's name into history. If the Western Alliance moved towards war, it could threaten to sweep east, overwhelming the other nations of Europe through sheer military might. For now, the Arch-Duke maintains his control over the empire, and these calls for war only come from the more extreme nobles, but greed is in the heart of every man, and Jean-Baptiste will have to ensure that the rot is not allowed to spread, if it is indeed peace that he champions.

21st of July

The game of cat and mouse in the mountains of the north between Nader ud-Daula and Raja Ali has ground on for weeks, and despite the unrelenting numbers of The Viswan Empire, Nader ud-Daula has managed to hold off his enemy through tactical brilliance, and raw ferociousness. The bulk of Viswan's are little more than conscripts, raised from the local populace when they are needed. They are ill-paid and ill-equipped, lacking discipline and equipped with whatever weapons they could get their hands on. In the face of the wild northern soldiers that serve under Nader ud-Daula, they are more than likely to break in terror before Raja Ali can attempt to organise a counter-attack. The legend of Nader ud-Daula himself continues to grow, to the point where his mere name is enough to break some men, and Raja Ali has grown tired of the game he is being forced to play. With every day that passes, more men march to join his army, and despite the losses suffered in the face of Nader ud-Daula's ferocious raids, the Viswan Empire now boasts a vast army. As dawn breaks, Raja Ali orders his army into the mountains. Nader ud-Daula is quick to react, believing the move to simply be another probing offensive, and yet when he charges down the mountainside at the head of his own troops, he quickly realises that it is the full strength of the Viswan Empire that faces him. Despite all of the northern king's brilliance, his hit-and-run raids barely even slow the advance of this vast army, and it quickly becomes clear what Raja Ali intends. The walled city of Taleagon lies deep in the mountains, standing as the seat of power for Nader ud-Daula's kingdom, and it is towards this city that Raja Ali is directing his unrelenting advance. Thousands upon thousands of Viswan soldiers die in the mountains, but the advance does not falter, and Nader ud-Daula finally acknowledges his own weakness. Despite all of his brilliance, he cannot hope to slay this beast alone. Riders are sent with all haste to the west, and Nader ud-Daula swears fealty to the banished prince Shah Jafar, and crying out for Mir Khan to march his own army to the defence of Taleagon. This message also reaches the colony of The Empire of Grimhout, and it is quickly becoming clear that the war has only just begun.

22nd of July

Even as the conflict in India continues to rage, the ships of Europe that have been dispatched to bring vital aid to the colonies in the east reach the trading post of The Kingdom of Hispalis. The long voyage around the tip of Africa is an arduous one, but it is the only passage to reach India, and the position that Hispalis has claimed as it's own is a crucial point of resupply. The ships of The Empire of Grimhout and The Kingdom of Kehsi pass through without incident, taking on fresh supplies and continuing on their way, but for the ships of The Republic of Kalseran there is an issue. There is nothing necessarily malicious about the string of delays, supplies being misplaced, helmsman returning from shore leave blind drunk, but whatever the cause, the ships of Kalseran are delayed by almost a week, and when they do finally weigh anchor, the ships of Grimhout and Kehsi are long gone, and will arrive into India days before the ships of Kalseran.

24th of July

The Western Alliance has already effectively welcomed The Kingdom of Dorist into their ranks, further swelling their already significant strength, but that is clearly not the end of their ambition. It was the careful negotiation of the tensions between The Kingdom of Arhan and The Empire of Reria that served as one of the founding events of the alliance, and since an uneasy peace has settled, relations between the two neighbours have continued to grow. These relations have carefully been cultivated by the other members of the Western Alliance, and as northern Africa continues to resemble a powder keg, it is only through the careful intervention of The Kingdom of Hispalis that Reria has been able to maintain it's tenuous foothold across the Mediterranean. These growing relations were clearly not missed by The Republic of Kalseran, and as trade ships continue to sail between the empire and the republic, it is becoming increasingly clear that Reria is caught in the middle of a war of influence. Kalseran is bound to Reria through marriage, and the two nations have waged war together in the Black Sea, but even Emperor Clarenzio III cannot ignore the wealth that the Western Alliance can boast. Reria holds an important position, positioned as they are in such a way that they could control the Mediterranean itself, and it is not surprising that they are a prize to be courted. Whichever way the Emperor leans, the repercussions from the spurned could bring ruin, and the tensions between The Empire of Grimhout and Kalseran from the war in India are only continuing to grow as this war of influence continues.

26th of July

The newly crowned King Alexandru I does not waste any time in stamping his mark on his new nation. Perhaps more than any other king, Alexandru truly understands the inner workings of the army under his command, having served in the armies of The Kingdom of Paranas before his sudden rise to power, and the last few years have proven that despite the lauding of civilisation in Europe, war is still an un-caged beast at the heart of every man. Despite the heavily defended lines that criss-cross the province of Kavatsona, Paranas still holds several thousand soldiers in reserve in and around the capital of Alirgos, and it is with these men that Alexandru begins to carve his image of a 'New Model Army'. For now, this translates into more rigorous training, attempting to breed more discipline into the men that are to fight beneath the flag of Paranas, but Alexandru clearly has grand ambitions, and this seems to be simply the beginning of a far wider-reaching revolution. A handful of men drawn from the guard regiments that still garrison the southern defences add some quality to these new regiments, but it is the man that takes the helm that is the true driving force. General Makis Anastas has seen the brutal and chaotic face of war, and he quickly crushes any romantic ideals that these soldiers may have, instead drilling them with extreme discipline, running them ragged, pushing them until they fall to the ground and can go no further. These soldiers may gain steel from the bastard that drives them onwards, but that does not they hold any love for the man.

28th of July

When word reaches Baptiste Crevier of Nader ud-Daula's desperate call for aid, the man of The Empire of Grimhout does not hesitate. Baptiste realises that supporting the banished Shah Jafar may be a dangerous stance to take, but if he is successful in returning the prince to his rightful throne, then a grateful Emperor would be worth any risk. The soldier of fortune Heinrich Rosengart has had weeks to drill Grimhout's sepahi regiments into a fighting force, and it is time to blood these new soldiers. Honouring his pledge to Mir Khan and the usurped Prince Shah Jafar, Baptiste orders Heinrich to march to war, the three regiments of sepahi joining with the grand host that Mir Khan has gathered to march west and join with the forces of the northern king. In the far west of the sub-continent, Maria Toleas continues to show no such commitment. For now, Emperor Shah Mal still considers himself to have the upper hand, and he is still wary to give the European woman too much power, but this situation suits the silver-tongued Maria well. While the Emperor focuses his attention to the north, Maria continues to strengthen her own influence in the south. Although there are still those who watch on warily, particularly in The Republic of Kalseran itself, asking the inevitable question of whether these southern princes are pledging their fealty to the republic, or to Maria herself. It takes months for any news to travel between Europe and India, and although extravagant goods and coin continue to make the long voyage east, there are few who do not believe that it is Maria who rules in India, not the republic.

29th of July

Even as they expand their borders to the south, The Kingdom of Komentiolos does not neglect the territory that it already holds. King Nikolaos II himself tours his nation, accompanied by a cohort of royal surveyors and engineers, and it is not long before they are put to work. Much of Komentiolos is made up of rugged land, and if it is on this land that Komentiolos is to make it's stand, then the land should serve as the first line of defence. The mountain passes of the north and east are quickly turned into choke-points, and a series of fortifications are constructed all along the northern coastline of the kingdom, intended to negate the strength of any force that might look to invade Komentiolos from across the water. It is quickly becoming clear that while Komentiolos may be the driving force behind the war continuing, if the Eastern Alliance wishes to bring it to a close, then they will have to throw themselves against the formidable defences of Komentiolos. And it is not only to the east that Komentiolos is strengthening it's defences. The same straits that Komentiolos crossed to shatter the defences of The Kingdom of Paranas now stands as perhaps the weakest point of Komentiolos. As the last ships of The Empire of Reria and The Republic of Kalseran leave the Black Sea, the fleet of Komentiolos cannot hope to defend the supply ships that are constantly sailing between the provinces of Kavatsona and Bithynia, bringing crucial supplies to the vast army that Komentiolos has defending it's foothold in Paranas. With that in mind, work is quickly started to further fortify the ancient fortresses that overlook the vital straits, and in the heart of Komentiolos, the forges are stoked to create vast chains, intended to be dragged across the straits themselves. These defences will take time, and there are those within Komentiolos who fear that they may be tested long before they are ready, but time is the one commodity that King Nikolaos cannot command, and he must simply press on.

31st of July

As fate would have it, the defences of the straits are tested long before any of the new fortifications can be completed. Two third-rate ships of the line, sailing beneath the flag of The Kingdom of Paranas, travel south, and pass into the Bosporus. The Kingdom of Komentiolos can muster no ships to meet them, but assuming that the straits are undefended would be a grave error. The Bosporus has been the lifeblood of countless empires, it's importance and strategic value dating back centuries, and it's shores are littered with the ruins of fortresses from a dozen forgotten eras. Yet it is not only ruins that litter the shoreline of the straits, and as these two ships of Paranas sail into the strait, the all too familiar roar of cannon-fire echoes out across the Black Sea once more. The first of the two ships is cautious enough to turn about with all haste, but the second is not so quick. The first shot catches it near the bow, splintering the hull and effectively crippling it, as fire starts to spread across the deck. The second and third shot condemn the ship, even as the captain desperately tries to bring it about, and escape the range of the two fortresses that flank the strait. As the survivors desperately scramble for the shore, the other ship sails homewards with a grim message of warning. And yet even as Paranas is bloodied, the fleet of The Empire of Khazaria is readying to sail to war, although how they intend to test the defences of Komentiolos, only the young Şahin Macar knows for sure.
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