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Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 13th of Month 2 (Subati):
Inspector Raquel Bosque rode slowly through the Rhungora countryside, his eyes darting over empty fields and deserted villages. Something was terribly wrong. He had gotten the feeling two days ago when he had encountered the first waystation completely deserted by its small ten man garrison. Only their bedrolls and dinner, now cold, in tin plates remained to prove that men had once inhabited the small stone structure.

He had looked for some locals to question but found the village likewise deserted with no signs of the occupants, even the livestock were gone. His escort, two Imperial cavalrymen, had ridden with loaded carbines since then.

“Inspector!” One of his escorts, a young handsome fellow named Marcelo, was pointing into the distance. Smoke. A single black column that climbed into the perfect blue sky. Only buildings burned like that. A grass fire would be grey and spread from horizon to horizon. He kicked back his heels and urged his horse into a trot.

The three men covered the distance quickly. The rolling Savannah, once so pleasant and calm, suddenly seemed to hold a hidden menace that Bosque could not quite describe. He had been an inspector for some twenty years, investigating whatever was required of him, and all of that experience now filled him with dread. Something was terribly wrong.

The smoke thickened as they drew closer and the Inspector quickly ordered his escort to dismount, leading their mounts into a thick copse of trees before proceeding carefully on foot. They stuck to the shade, it wouldn’t provide much concealment but something was better than nothing.

A small river cut through the landscape here and a customs house had been built to collect a toll from travellers to use the bridge. That building and its neat little garden were engulfed in flame now, sparks shooting high into the air as the whole roof suddenly caved in.

“Well shit.” Marcelo muttered from Bosques right. His carbine was tucked into this shoulder, ready to fire, as he scanned the vegetation around the customs house. “I suppose it would be too much to hope for a chimney fire?”

“Unlikely.” The second soldier, Zamora, indicated several large vultures that were tearing at some black object lying in the roadway. “Could be a dog?”

“In a uniform?” Bosque had his eyeglass out now and was surveying the damage. The vultures had jumped abruptly in size and he ignored them as he focused on what he was now certain was a dead man. A white trimmed golden jacket with red lapelles was evident, the uniform of the regiment currently assigned to guard this stretch of roadway.

“We need to go, right now.” Bosque wasted no time as he turned and hurried back toward the horses, his escort in tow. There was no argument from them as they swung into the saddle and spurred into the open road.

They skirtered the customs house and body as they made for the bridge, hooves throwing up sparks as the metal crashed against stone. They saw no one else, dead or alive, as they went and Bosque felt his heart sink. The customs house should have held at least another dozen soldiers.

The three rode in silence now, more and more aware of the increasing number of smoke columns smearing the tranquil sky. The sun was hot on their necks but none of them noticed. All they wanted now was to reach safety, wherever that was. Minutes turned into hours as they rode, stopping now and then to water their horses and feed themselves. More abandoned guard stations came and went but no more bodies were to be found. It was as though a giant hand had plucked everyone from the land, leaving behind nothing but echoes in their abandoned buildings.

Then, as they crossed the Kadasha River, they found human life. A squad of soldiers on exhausted horses, were resting in some shade as they gulped down water. Bosque was surprised to see that they were a mis-mash of uniforms and his discontent deepened further.

“Easy! Inspector Bosque of the Territorial Guard.” He called out quickly as the soldiers scrambled to their feet, snatching up their weapons, when they saw the three riders.

Relief showed on their faces and weapons were lowered as Bosque dismounted, leading his horse to the edge of the river before turning to the assembled soldiers. He looked them over with a practiced eye. They were tired, dirty, and everyone of them looked afraid.

“We have just returned from the North. Every way station, guard post, and customs house is abandoned without a single soul to be found, what the hell has happened?” Bosque focused his questions on a tall Sergeant, the highest ranking of the group. The man stared at him in amazement for a moment.

“God Bless you Inspector, but the Rhun have risen. They’re killing everyone they can find who wears the Emperors uniform.” There was murmured ascent and nods from the rest of the soldiers. “I managed to find these lads when I fled Khapala.”

Khapala, the capital of Rhungora, home to the provinces only real port, modern citadel, and an impressive garrison.

“Why did you have to flee?” The Inspector asked carefully. He did not want to sound like he was accusing the man of desertion. There were two dozen men with him, all of them on the edge of reason, and the Inspector only had two cavalrymen to back him up.

“The Rhun…” The Sergeant looked confused, as if he thought Bosuqe was having him on. “You really don’t know?”

“No, Sergeant, I haven’t a clue. You said the Rhun has risen, what does that mean exactly?”

“Khapala is gone, sir. The garrison slaughtered.”

Bosque felt as though someone had thrown ice cold water over him, his mind trying to process what that meant for the Imperial forces in the country.

“It wasn’t any sort of planned thing. A group of the local auxiliary decided they’d had enough, shot their officers, and attacked the garrison. The whole country is up in arms.”


Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 13th of Month 2 (Subati):
Thus begins the rise of Rhungora against their overlords. The shock had reverberated through the nearby colonies at the audacity and violence of the insurrection. Armies had been mobilized, seemingly endless columns of soldiers marching to war to put down the rebellious upstart nation. Everyone had known it would be but a matter of time before the rebellion would be crushed, the imperial penance exacted, a million hearts were to bleed in recompense.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 21st of Month 2 (Subati):
Vast imperial armies had marched with easy knowledge of their victory into the plains of Rhungora. They had set ablaze entire villages, razed to the ground all structures that met their advance, they left no stone unturned and no rebel alive. Within a week of their arrival, the border was aflame, the land wreathed in smoke and ember.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 28th of Month 2 (Subati):
Within another week, tens of thousands had perished, entire cities wiped from existence under the boot of imperial retribution. There would be no mercy for such upstarts. For every Imperial soul lost, a thousand of the enemy would feed the earth with their blood. Such was the price of treason. Such was the price of daring to defy the will of the supreme.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 2nd of Month 3 (Adara):
As is almost inevitable in war, disease swept the ranks of the invading forces. Native afflictions, few of which the men of Anyueva held a resistance to, devastated their numbers.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 22nd of Month 3 (Adara):
The Empareja ordered in fresh units, drafting colonial volunteers into a new army. This new force had swept once more into the upstart province, and once more the burning of Rhungora had resumed.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 30th of Month 3 (Adara):
The crushing defeat of a rebel army at the Battle of the Rhilahedra Plain, wherein fifty thousand Anyuevan soldiers - forty thousand colonial and native volunteers, and a professional core of ten thousand homelanders - had brought to heel a rebel force claimed to number three hundred thousand. Though the rest of the world treated such claims derisively. The comparatively poorly led enemy force had been split down the middle and torn to pieces by the potent cannonade of the Anyuevan guns, their forces had been run down by Anyuevan grenadiers, their resistance crushed like the impotent bugs they were.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 17th of Month 4 (Nisani):
The Dark Day. In a mirror image of Rhilahedra, the seemingly unstoppable onslaught of Anyueva’s military forces was dramatically halted. One hundred and twenty thousand soldiers marching under the banner of Anyueva clashed with eighty thousand of the Rhun, and ten thousand ‘mercenaries’ hailing from the lands of Quat’i Al-Qarikha. Sixty thousand Rhun, and seven thousand sons and daughters of Quat’i walked from the battlefield that day. Nary ten thousand Anyuevan sons escaped with their freedom or their lives intact. The news had triggered an uproar, a tumultuous outcry, a demand that this defeat be avenged.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 29th of Month 4 (Nisani):
Declaration of war between Quat’i Al-Qarikha and the Grakaisaran Imperpulau Anyueva, and the armies of the two super-empires marshalled for all out war. In Sentekuthi, the capital city of Anyueva, the Posdal of the Father called for a grand crusade against the heathen Elder worshippers of Quat’i.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 30th of Month 4 (Nisani):
In Melidki, the capital of the sprawling empire of Quat’i, the Malik assembled the merchant dynasties, the designated governors of each province, the clergy of the Twelve, and decreed to them that they would put forth their sworn funding to arm the people of the nation and to raise once more the great armies of Quat’i.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 13th of Month 5 (Ayyara):
The first full military clashes between the two superpowers begin. The mighty guns of the Anyuevan fleet roared in challenge to the navy of Quat’i. The great harbor of Adenib had drawn its chain, and its coastal guns roared back as the people braced for blockade. An expeditionary force of a hundred thousand sons and daughters of Quat’i landed upon the beaches of Anyamundar, bayonets gleaming in the tropical sun as they marched forth to do battle. Five hundred thousand levied men and women rallied to the banner of the army, and they too marched forth in great columns.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 30th of Month 5 (Ayyara):
The forces of Quat’i Al-Qarikha met the Anyuevan army in the humid heat of Anyamundar’s tropical plains, in the south of Rhungora, in what would come to be known as the Killing Field of Ipsit. Lady General Ipsit, commander of the second expeditionary army, brought her force numbering some one hundred and twenty thousand to bear against an Anyuevan army reported to number nearly one hundred sixty thousand. It was rumored that the streams ran red with the blood of fallen Anyuevan soldiers as canister shot raked their lines, that the ground became a muddy slog with the fallen of Quat’i. But at the end of the day, Quat’i stood victorious, suffering thirty thousand killed and wounded to nearly three times that number on the side of Anyueva. But Ipsit was criticized for her failure to cut off the retreat of the fleeing Anyuevan army, which rallied under the command of its highest ranking surviving officer, a man named Peleun Ietrop Aoonad Ban, who lead the remaining force of some thirty thousand in a fighting retreat that humbled the high spirits of Ipsit.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 30th of Month 5 (Ayyara):
Peleun makes a speedy march south where he recruited able and willing volunteers with stirring speeches and promises of rewards and glory. Soon, cut off far from reinforcement, he had crafted his surviving force into a hardened backbone upon which his new army would rest. He would requisition and receive copious supplies of arms and ammunition from the military forts erected near the border, and slowly his new force grew.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 23rd of Month 6 (Hazirani):
The humiliating defeat of Lord General Anwai at the hands of Peleun’s new army, grown to some one hundred and sixteen thousand. Awai’s Third Expeditionary Army, numbering some one hundred thousand, was brought to battle and completely annihilated in a brilliant double envelopment that cost the Anyuevan force a comparatively minor eleven thousand killed and wounded. Peleun would launch a lighting assault into the heart of Rhungora and beyond into the lands under Quat’i Al-Qarikha.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 29th of Month 6 (Hazirani):
Lady General Ipsit’s army avoided near catastrophe in the Battle of the Talak River, but even so left thousands of their own lying dead on the field before the triumphant Anyuevan force. Lady General Zira was not so lucky, and met a similar fate as that of Lord General Anwai in the Battle of Lake Irimin when her forces were drawn into a killing field and her own life ended by a stray cannonball. The entire army of Quat’i had been slain or drowned as they were herded into the lake by merciless Anyuevan artillery and musketry.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 9th of Month 7 (Tammiz):
Anyueva scores a crucial victory against Quat’i in the Siege of Port Madine, a grisly battle in which, due to masterful use of terrain and artillery by Peleun, the city fell in less than two months of fighting. This vital port annexed from the hands of Quat’i, the surviving armies fell back rather than be stranded without support.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 20th of Month 7 (Tammiz):
Lady General Ipsit’s force, whittled down by attrition and numerous smaller engagements, found itself guarding the crucial city of Salaah near the border of Rhungora. Lord General Ramesh’s Fourth Expeditionary Army found itself pinned in a protracted staredown with an Anyuevan army equally matched in numbers and artillery.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 11th of Month 7 (Tammiz):
With the emerging stalemate in Anyamundar, Peleun found himself sailing to the home islands of Anyueva. Greeted to a hero’s welcome by the common folk, he was brought into the chamber of the Posdal of the Father himself.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 15th Month 9 (Aylulan):
One month had passed since Peleun emerged from the chamber, the new Posdal of the Father. He proclaimed a new era of glory for the people of Anyueva, and announced the marshalling of yet more armies, for the war was not yet over. One month had passed since the purging of the ranks of Anyueva’s elite, replaced by those handpicked by Peleun for their loyalty, skills, and ideological fervour. He proclaimed a new era, one where Posdalism would truly rule the world, where the foul things that worshipped demons and devils that were not of man would be wiped from the world or made to see the truth and repent. The call for crusade was renewed.

Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 21st Month 9 (Aylulan):
News arrives in Quat’i and the rest of the world of the coronation of the new Empareja.
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A Meeting With the Prince
Somewhere in Owca

Albrecht Korsch, an aged human male who wears nothing but simple peasant clothing with leather clogs, knocks on the door of the Prince known as Defaid at the dead of night. For the house of a prince, it wasn’t anything special: a two story home made of wood and stone, not much more than a big cottage really. Sure, compared to the tiny hovels most Owcan peasants called home, it was grand and spectacular, but if this place was in any other country but Owca, no one would have spared it a second glance. Home of a rich farmer, they would have said, or maybe a very low tier merchant.

A moment passed, and the door opened, revealing a waifish girl in plain clothes. She certainly looked surprised to see an ill-dressed foreigner at the doorstep, but she recovered quickly enough. “You must be the foreigner,” she said, trying and failing to keep her tone even.

“I am,” Korsch nods towards the waitfish female at the door.

“We’ve been expecting you. Come in,” she stepped aside for him.

Inside the manor wasn’t much different to the outside. None of the trappings and finery usually associated with the nobility could be found here. There was no gold plating, no ivory or china on display, not even a little marble sculpture. Everything was simple varnished wood.

“We were expecting you to arrive during the day,” the maid said, leading Albrecht down the hallway. She needn’t have bothered. The house was small enough that he could probably find the prince on his own.

“Sorry for not arriving during the daylight. The nature of politicking and your sister’s spies have not allowed me to easily visit the Prince,” Albrecht notes as he follows the guidance of the waifish girl, looking around the house a bit with his own eyes.

“I like your house, reminds me of my office and home,” Korsch softly states, following behind the girl down the hall. The girl didn’t respond, but she did glance over her shoulder for a second. That was as close to a thank you as he was going to get in Owca.

It didn’t take long for them to get there. The maid opened a door just like any other, and motioned for the ambassador to enter a room, just like any other. This one was a sitting room of some type. Bookcases lined the walls, and a little fireplace burned timidly on the far side.

And there, curled up on one of the chairs like a cat, was Defaid.
He didn’t look like a prince, that much was certain. Princes were rarely so small, so pale and so poorly dressed. His clothes were all wool and cotton, and the design was so simple that any peasant spinster could mimic it. His light-blonde hair was messy and his posture was lazy.

“Defaid,” Albrecht pulls on the boy’s sleeve.

The prince made a sound like a cat’s meow, and his eyelids fluttered. Had he been asleep? The maid did say he had been expecting him during the day.

“H-huh? What’s going on?” he mumbled, rubbing his big golden eyes to wake up.

“I see that you are sleeping well, but we have much to talk about. You might know me as the ambassador of Rodynsha,” Albrecht states to Defaid, sitting himself on a rather small chair, with the chair being close to Defaid in front. Korsch pats Defaid on the shoulder, rubbing it.

Defaid’s eyes widened as he realised just what he had done. Idiot! He was trying to make friends here! What kind of first impression was that? “Sorry, Mister Ambassador, I would love to talk but it’s my nap time.” Way to make yourself look like a drooling moron, Defaid.

“Of course!” he spluttered, trying to straighten his posture and reclaim at least some semblance of dignity. “Of course, I’m sorry! I just… I mean…” Words failed him. What possible excuse could he give?

“Don’t worry, I’m tired too. Your sister has not let up. Spies are everywhere around these parts,” the ambassador smiles.

“Indeed.” Defaid’s curt response belied the furious blush in his cheeks. “It’s hard to know who to trust anymore. Everyone could be an enemy.”

“The name is Albrecht Korsch.”

“Well, let’s get to the point. How can the people of Rodynsha help you in your justice cause?” Korsch asks Defaid.

Defaid pondered the question a moment. Weapons would be good, obviously, but you can’t build a nation on swords and shields. Besides, if all went well, his enemies should be few and weak. The real problem came from the outside: no way was Luchmeyer going to allow this, nor were the Cogaidh and Dhorne. Domino theory, you see. Once one country flips over, those around it quickly follow suit.

“Arms. We need to arm the peasantry.” Defaid stroked his chin. “The church is zealous, but it isn’t stupid. It’s not going to try and fight us if they know they will lose. Anything you can spare would be good.”

“Arms? We can do that. Afterall, the People’s Union is among the largest industrial powers out there.” Korsch says, coughing as he covers his mouth with his sleeve.

“What’s your stance on Rodynsha volunteers?” Albrecht wonders.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.” He didn’t want to say it, but the less foreigners he invited to Owca, the better. Every time an outsider came to Owca in his name, it gave more ammunition to his enemies. They’d call him a traitor, a foreign puppet, a Seonin. The last thing he needed for his popular movement was for it to be associated so intimately with outsiders.

“We’ll provide arms and supplies to you for now.”

“Do you have enough officers to command your uprising?” Albrecht questions.

“I have… people I trust.” A non-answer if ever there was one. “We should be fine.”

“Not to question your virtues, but our President has doubted your revolutionary fervor before in the week. By his own request, I need to ensure that we’re not supporting a reactionary now.” Albrecht questions Defaid.

The prince frowned. “He doubts me? Charming. And how am I supposed to prove that I’ll do what I say?”

“By his own words…..Kill the reactionaries for him.” Korsch stands up from his chair and reaches out a hand, petting Defaid on the head. Albrecht stops after a minute, handing over a piece of paper.

“That will detail everything about the aid package coming to you. Ready your people, friend.” Albrecht walks himself out the house and then into the pitch of night.
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JrVader Wanderer

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Gerwazy was pacing in his bedroom. A huge weight was possibly about to be put on his shoulders. He was constantly staring at his mirror, just contemplating what will happen. You see, his older sister, Aurora Phaleon, was about to be crowned Lady Empress of La Confederacion Angelica. Being the thirdborn of his family, he never had to worry about the burden of ruling a nation. And he was fine with that, he never saw himself as the ruling type. What was stressing him how his brother would react if he was not chosen as Grand General.

The Grand General was the leader of all the armies and the top of the command. If it came to orders from the Lord or Lady Empress or the Grand General, the generals would go for the ladder. He wasn’t stressed if he was going to be chosen or not, it was most likely going to be him (He had the most battle experience out of his two other siblings). He was stressed about his brother. Casimir, the second born of the family, was not really suited for the job. He is *ahem* more of a silver-tongued diplomat than a master stratagen or general.

Casimir wanted the title very badly, being the egotist he is. Gerwazy knows that he won’t take the news well. “Well, this is where the fun begins.” The prince says to himself. A knock and a voice can be heard from the other side of his door. “Prince Gerwazy, the coronation is about to start.” The voice says. “Understood, I will be out momentarily.” The prince says. He takes one final look at his mirror before exiting his room.

The Main dining hall of the castle is large. About a hundred yards in length, it can hold plenty of people. This was the place chosen to hold the coronation ceremony. Once Gerwazy entered, all the beings in the room stood up and bowed. I bowed back, and the room went back to its lively state. A few scattered greetings met Gerwazy before he could get to the head of the hall, where his sister was sitting. Casimir was already sitting on her left, in what seemed to be a military uniform. “A little presumptuous, eh Casimir?” Gerwazy muttered to himself. He took his seat to the right and waited for the festival to begin.

Once everyone entered the dining hall, A soldier rang a gong, signaling the start of the Coronation Process. Gerwazy’s neon blue eyes jutted to the carpet in between the two long tables. The doors opened, displaying Lucian the XVI, the leader of the Order of Light (The Order of Light being the major religious order in the Confederation. A guttural, Gregorian-like chant was being sung by two masked monks behind Lucian. As of tradition, The leader of the Order and the Emperor would get on even ground before being crowned, signaling that the Order and the Dynasty have equal yet different powers.

The coronation ceremony came and went like the wind. Now the partying can begin! The festivities dragged long into the night, and I could tell my brother was starting to become antsy. He wanted to know if he was chosen or not. An hour or two after midnight, the gong ringed again. My sister, now with her ivory crown, stood up and began speaking.

“My friends, family, and allies. May your drinks be bottomless, and your hearts filled with merriness.” The entire room cheers. “Now, It is my duty as the new Lady Empress to announce the new Grand General. As per usual, it has been rough choosing between my two younger brothers. I love them both equally. But Gerwazy is the right and proper fit for the title.” She turns to me, not seeing the furious face on my brother. “Gerwazy Phaleon, my first act as Lady Empress is to Anoint you as Grand General. Salud to your health and prosperity!” The room stood up and cheered my name. Gerwazy looked to his brother, but he was gone. He decided to enjoy the party and worry about Casimir later.

Or, at least, he would have. The door busted open and five men armed with revolvers came into the room. The sounds of gunshots and screaming were rumored to reach all parts of the castle. Before the attackers could be subdued, twenty high ranking generals, nobles, and guests lay dead on the floor. Their vermillion blood staining the indigo carpets.

Twenty people, including Aurora

The next day, an investigation on “The Red Massacre” took place. It was quick to uncover that Casimir was the one plotting the assassination of his sister and massacre of the guests that night. He was caught trying to escape the county, and was tried for High Treason, Murder, and Familicide. Usually, a member of the nobles would be exiled to a distant island if found guilty. This was not the case for Casimir. Once the trial concluded, he was sentenced to the firing squad.

Now being the sole surviving member of the High Family, Gerwazy coronated Lord Emperor in seclusion. Away from any unwanted attention. He had a scared nation to look after, a possible world war about to happen, and people looking to finish what Casimir started. He needed allies, and fast.

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Transcript of the proceedings in the Chamber of the Titled,
500 DE (1851 PA) 79 Diandame (Q2)

Speaker: <Turns to the Ikalman Clerks outside the hall. SQUEE HE LOOKED AT ME> The clerks may begin their transcription. <Transcription begun> All rise.

<The Chamber rises, all 30 titled members are in attendance. Listrans and their allies, the “easterners” are noted to sit on the right. Dastrians, Glass Islanders, and Calians sit on the left, “westerners”>

Speaker: The election for Grand Chancellor has concluded. Among the competing candidates, Adante del Cassono of the First District of Listra, Martina Ossovolo of the Lone District of New Alkadion, and Marcio d’Casta of the First District of the Glass Isles,
<The speaker unfolds the paper where the Chamber Secretaries inscribed the result. Wasting little time in doing so, and with very little enthusiasm>

Speaker: Marcio d’Casta, Hereditary Titled Governor of the Glass Isles, has been elected Grand Chancellor by the grace of the Sea Saint and the Confederation’s Titled.

<The chamber applauds, the right notably throwing glances amongst themselves>

d’Casta: I’d like to say a few words.

Speaker: Signor d’Casta is given the floor

<Silence. The left is tense.>

Seven years ago, Marcio made a promise with a dear, close friend. Seven years ago, he arose to his father’s seat as Hereditary Governor of the Glass Isles. Seven years ago, he swore that he would one day rise to become Chancellor, to rule the world that he felt so small in, to fix it with his friend by his side. To make things right. To rebuild the world, with that friend, in their image. Where the Confederation stood for something instead of being dragged along by the trade winds to wherever it would be brought. Where the Confederation was built upon ideals, not upon the wealth of its elite, not upon the goods that passed through their straits, not upon cities, not upon their fleet, but upon a singular ideal, a singular dream.

They never really figured out what that dream would be.

Time flew by, the old Grand Chancellor died, the Listrans made the mistake of letting their vote be split, and he found himself the youngest Grand Chancellor in history at the age of 31. Here he found himself, before the chamber he swore he’d rule one day.
The chamber that held all the power in this little world he knew.

“Fellow colleagues, our Confederation, nay, our world, stands at the brink of a new age. Revolution after revolution continues to rock our fellow nations, as monarchies of old die in the fire that seems to be consuming our world. Our order, the world order which Dastria has taken advantage of, and flourished upon is under threat! Though we may act as if we are invulnerable from these peasant uprisings, from these violent revolts by the downtrodden and abused, we most certainly are not! The foundations of our very Confederation are at stake, whether we recognize that fact or not.

And yet hope remains for us and our world yet, brothers and sisters. Hope remains, and shines bright as the sun upon our Dastrian Fleet! The great powers of our world are vulnerable, with the Quat’i being smashed against the waves and the Anyueva consumed by the turmoil of change. We will rise to the challenge, and we will take our place in this new world!
In conclusion, Dastrians, this new age will belong to those that take it into their hands and make it theirs! And we will make it ours! Vive la Confederassione! Vive la Citta! Vive Dastria!”

The chamber applauded him and sang his praises. Well, the Western half more so than the Eastern faction.

This was his moment. His moment to build his world. And now the choice that would define this new world sat squarely in his hands.
Twenty years ago, the Dastrian Navy had been found to be inefficient, and was infested at all levels by the plague of patronage. Titled Citizens were known to have their sons emplaced in high levels of the naval command. Nepotism ruled and the once-shining navy was beginning to show its cracks. The Freemen Chamber, for the first time in decades, ordered an investigation into the corruption, making their findings known to the public. The Admiralty was then stormed by the public, and all officials therein were publicly humiliated and beaten, with the Provost-General himself dying of his wounds.

The Titled were horrified, yet some in it - liberal reformists, found opportunity. Through deft and careful manipulation, liberal reformists were able to keep their colleagues from forming a military intervention, and in 483 managed to lead negotiations to enforce wide-sweeping naval reforms with the Chamber of Freemen. Those reforms were barely enforced; however, as the reactionaries were able to strike back by delaying its implementation for years on end. Meanwhile; however, the liberal reformists grew in power, with Marcio’s joining its ranks being one of its greatest victories. But in 499, on the eve of an order being emplaced for the bill’s enforcement, the great Catastrophe occurred. In a desperate effort to procure more resources from Listra to aid in reconstruction, they compromised and gave Listra enough seats among the Titled to control half of the chamber. The Listrans; however, proved to be fierce reactionaries, almost returning the reformists to square one.
Until now.

d’Casta: For my first actions as Grand Chancellor, I am ordering this chamber to enforce the Naval Reforms of 483 through the College of the Adiralty.

<Del Cassono, an Ikalman, rises from his seat>

Del Cassono: I rise to oppose.

Speaker: The chair recognizes Adante del Cassono of the First District of Listra. Raise your opposition.

Del Cassono: These reforms are outmoded, and given the time that has passed and the new circumstances between the Cities of Dastria and Listra, do not represent the desires of the common folk of the Confederation. These reforms were passed by collaboration between the upper and lower chambers in 483, let them be remade by collaboration in this present year!

Speaker: The chair recognizes this motion as valid, objections?

<No objections are raised, Del Cassono resumes his seat>

Speaker: The motion to discuss the Naval Reforms of 483 with the full Citizens’ Assembly in attendance shall be put to vote by voice. All in favor?

<The ayes from humans and affirmative clicks from Ikalman alike are resounding from both sides of the hall. The motion appears to be final.>

Speaker: All against?

<No ‘nays’ except for a few from the Western Faction, noted radical reformists>

Speaker: The ‘ayes’ have it, all discussion on naval reforms is tabled until both chambers are assembled in full.

<d’Casta rises>

d’Casta: I move to adjourn this meeting.

<Del Cassono rises, glaring at d’Casta for a nigh-imperceptible moment>

Del Cassono: I second the motion

Speaker: The Assembly is adjourned.

<The Assembly is adjourned>

[This transcript brought to you by the Assembly Secretariat. SQUEE THAT'S US]

Later that day, d’Casta would order a letter brought to a certain Arrigo Cancolo, a tall, lithe tanned young man of the Mercadores Class with light brown hair, and bright, piercing golden eyes. He laughed, and with a wide grin on his face, immediately mounted his horse and rode for the Golden Hall of the Freemen’s Assembly.

Seven years ago his mother, one of the most influential Mercadores in the country, jumped off their villa’s balcony. The result of pent-up frustration, and fatigue.

That year, on the last day of La Fiera, she finally reached the end of the long lines at the Dastrian Registry and applied for her family - the clan that gave the world Edante Cancolo, architect of the Dastrian colonial age - to finally be granted the privilege of the Titled. A year prior, she had been diagnosed with an incurable ailment that would certainly kill her in time and she wanted her last act to be granting her family the rights they had so long been denied.

She was denied yet again. They were denied yet again. She entered a feverish delirium that only came to an end by her hand.
Arrigo’s mother was a harsh, strict woman. Arrigo’s mother was definitely among the best people he knew. But she knew what she wanted. She knew to reach out, to run after what she wanted. She knew to dream, and to chase that dream to the end.
And in the end, she was denied that right.

When he wept for her, he did not weep for the woman who raised him. He did not weep for his mother.
He wept for a strong woman, a woman who had dreamed. A woman who had reached to the stars from the windowsills and fallen onto the cold hard ground.

He wept for the death of ambition.

He wept because she was denied the right to dream.

And that night, a dear friend he had not seen for a long, long time came to him. They spent the night under the moonlit sky. They spent the night as two childhood friends, looking up to the stars.

That night, they made a vow to reach for those stars. To reach as far as they could. And even if they fell onto the cold, hard ground, they would not stop reaching.

They would give Dastria the right to dream once more, together.


The Right’s motion to hand the matter over to the Freemen was a desperate attempt to delay any passage of the naval reforms, made under the assumption that the Freemen’s Assembly, what they thought to be a giant disorganized flock of mindless shepherd-less sheep, would spend an eternity deliberating the matter. They couldn’t even decide on a Premier-Elect until now, much less to restructure the wide-reaching Naval Reforms.

This was where they were wrong.

500 DE (1851 PA) 13 Triandame (Q3)
Arrigo Cancolo is elected Premier-Elect by the Freemen’s Chamber

500 DE, 15 Triandame (Q3)
The Naval Reforms of 483 are reopened for deliberation by the Freemen’s Chamber

500 DE, 15 Quarandame (Q4)
The Naval Reforms of 483 are modified, with the reforms themselves being made even more radical, such as the insertion of several new slots in the Titled of Dastria

500 DE, 21 Quarandame (Q4)
The Naval Reforms of 500 are sent to the Titled Chamber, where they fail by a narrow majority. Protests begin in Listra and in the Naval Headquarters in Dastria. Violence breaks out between the Titled and Freemen.

500 DE, 22 Quarandame (Q4)
The Freemen’s Assembly votes with a 3/5 majority to overrule the Titled, and the Premier-Elect issues the order to enforce the Naval Reforms to the College of the Admiralty

500 DE, 30 Quarandame (Q4)
Several Admirals resign from the College. The Naval Reforms of 500 are enforced nonetheless.

500 DE, 31 Quarandame (Q4)
The first non-titled and first Ikalman Admiral in Dastria’s history is appointed by Premier-Elect Arrigo, with the approval of the Grand Chancellor.
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Eldritch Puppy
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Eldritch Puppy

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Year 1851 Post-Awakening (P.A.), 24th of Month 9 (Tisrinal):

The streets of Hautmont were bustling with activity as the midday sun gave the capital city some of its last weeks of pleasant weather, before the autumn rains would come, and snow would follow. But even though it was a very nice day for the season, the people filling the streets had other preoccupations. Groups of workers huddled together behind those who could manage to buy papers before they were sold out were eagerly reading the freshly printed news during their lunch break; one could discern a few recurring words in the ambient hubbub if they were to pay attention. War, crusade, attack... The street rumors were spelling for disasters to come.


On the hill towering over the massive Astalian capital and its industrialized river docks, the Palace of the Counsil was just as busy. The Senate's aristocrats were engaged in feverish discussions with the Citizen States' commoners in the Palace's hallways. The same rumors and more filled the decorated halls and waiting rooms. Finally, the large doors to the Republican Chamber opened and the senators took their seats in the amphitheater while the People's Heralds took theirs in the upper gallery.

As soon as everyone sat down, the Chamber's Speaker struck the wooden floor boards twice with his rod to demand silence and raised his voice.

"The honorable Consul Nicolas Colbert and the honorable Consul Morgane Châtillon are present. The Chamber's doors may close."

Colbert and Châtillon sat down on the two chairs at the center of the amphitheatre, facing the room while two guards closed the doors, insulating the Chamber from further distractions.

"My lords, my ladies, honorable members of the Citizen States, this session of the Republican Chamber has now begun and the Senate may begin deliberations. Honorable Consul Nicolas Colbert has the floor."

The Consul rose to his feet. His years in Carrel's army were long gone, but despite his white hair and beard, he did not appear in the least like a frail old man, and his voice had the same weight as back when he used it to bellow orders on the battlefield.

"My lords, my ladies. As you are all aware of, Anyueva has a new overlord who seems even more zealous than the previous one. A dying empire fancies itself ruling the world, destroying the unbelievers and all that nonsense. You've all heard what was going on, and about the Quat'i offensive that has been stopped, putting an end to the hope of a swift resolution to the conflict. War can spread far and wide, at incredible speed. It is not our goal to get involved into it, but we know all too well what can happen if war comes to us and we are not prepared."

He stopped for an instant, observing the room. Tension and worry was plain to see on the faces of the aristocrats.

"For those reasons, I have ordered to strengthen the borders and increase the number of naval patrols. A limited number of men shall be levied according to our army and navy's needs, as well as Franche-Compagnie units mandated to conduct counter-espionage operations as a preventive measure."

Murmurs and whispers. No objections. The Speaker waited for a moment, then struck the floor once.

"The consulary order has not been objected to and is deemed lawful. We will now proceed to the next subject matter."

A few days passed in the Palace of the Counsil, numerous matters being discussed and debated in detail for hours. Food and gunpowder stockpiles, arms manufacturing, new government contracts for equipment and ships, The East Rail Company's project to extend its network all the way to Yuukoma, diplomatic missions, restoration of border forts...

Astalia was still at peace in all appearances. But the gears of administration and bureaucracy had begun to turn. Deliberation after deliberation, measure after measure, the country was preparing for war. And if war had to be, it did not wish to wage it alone.

The Republic's food reserves were not sufficient for a large-scale conflict and requisition was out of the question; this year's harversts had not been particularly bountiful. Fortunately, the government knew of a country that had considerable outputs of food. Maybe even more interesting, one of this nation's prominent political figures had views that aligned very much with Astalia's. A diplomatic mission was sent, to secure both essential provisions and a potential powerful ally.

And so, a convoy of three merchant ships escorted by two sloops and a fifth rate ship-of-the-line departed for the distant country of Owca, carrying an envoy whose mission it was to meet with a certain Bec.
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Fallen Muse
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Fallen Muse Where's my Obi Wan?

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Tor Valoon, Capital of Vilsingehldin
Chambers of the Magitrix, Eileen Mandragoran

Her foot tapped on the floor as she waited to hear more of the vague reports of a fleet in the nearby waters of Vilsingehldin, Eileen eyed the parchment handed to her hours ago sharply. Eileen’s features marked her as a handsome woman, though the scowl she was currently wearing took away from the disarming effect her features usually had. If you looked at her, you wouldn’t be able to honestly tell how old she was, her sharp eyes, high cheekbones, and red lips denoted a younger age, but something about the way she moved and the glint in her eyes hinted at wisdom and experience. “What is the word on the fleet we saw near our waters?” Eileen asked just as Lianne the Keeper came through the door. It was no surprise to Lianne however that the Magitrix knew she was about to enter, the women of the tower could sense one another.

“It seems it is a Luchmeyrn fleet Magitrix, they are heading this way, our ships, the few we have are engaging them to hold them off until we can get proper defenses set up in the ports, as well as moving troops, and crystal to appropriate defensive points if they managed to get through the port.” Lianne turned her pouty lips into a thin line as she worried over the invasion that seemed to be coming to their shores.

“It was only a matter of time Lianne, the Luchmeryn were bound to come here sooner or later, their greed knows no bounds, and to take the Zepherian tower would boost them greatly, or so they think. We are no dogs to leash, or tools to be used, they may take our home, but they will be so bloodied they’ll wonder if it was worth it.” Eileen stood and stared at the wall for a moment, and then turned to Lianne. “Send five hundred soldiers to the port, and give them twenty sisters to support them, but no more, and send no more crystal to the ports, they will make use of what they have there. I do not want any stray crystal falling into enemy hands.. Tell them once they have done all they can to hurt the Luchmeyrn, to pull back to the forests, and roads leading to Tor Valoon, from there we will harry them all the more.”

Lianne pursed her lips for just a moment, then nodded and turned to leave. Eileen turned back to her desk and started to write down on several pieces of parchment, sighing as she did, then looking to the ravens she had in the nearby cages. “Hopefully, we will have an ally somewhere in this world.”

Four days Later
Azkhkandahar, Port City of Vilsingehldin
Fort Miyatari, Sister Commander Tillari Graendal of the Red Stole

Fort Miyatari, a powerful defense against any who might seek to land on the shores of Vilsingehldin, and Commander Graendal was only making it all the harder. The woman stood there, an ageless look to her features though her expression was stern, and showed she would not put up with any nonsense, she had stripped down to a strip of cloth around her chest, and a simple loin cloth, as had all the sisters, all 19 of them that had been sent to support her, the rest of their bodies covered thickly in paint that seemed to give off a glow. Soldiers moved up and down the fort walls, placing cannons, and the sisters followed them, drawing runes on cannon balls, and helping others fill glass orbs with a thick violet substance that also received runes being drawn on them. “Get to work girls! We are the first line of defense, but we will not be holding this spot too long I do not think, so don’t be greedy with the crystal mix, we don’t want those damned Luchmeryn getting their hands on any of it.” She stalked to a nearby wall, and picked up a looking glass, and stared out over the water.

“They should be getting here soon.” Tillari said more to herself than anyone else, soon an officer was at her shoulder, and saluting.

“Commander Graendal, the last ship that was in the water has returned, they used up all their crystal and are currently scuttling the ship.. There are no ships left to stall the enemy.”

Tillari glanced over the cannons that were now all in place. “I suppose this will have to do then. Ladies! Remember once they are within the port we retreat, we will be abandoning this fort. There is no need to waste lives.” She looked back to the officer. “Lieutenant are all the civilians out of the city and being escorted back to Tor Voloon?”

The officer gave a nod. “Yes, commander, they should be in the Tor Voloon within days.”

Taking a deep breath Tillari gave a nod and stepped forward. “Alright.. We make our first stand here. Make every shot count”

Isn’t it nice to sail the high seas without a foreigner on board? Perhaps that was too much to ask. Jagers were strewn about, their sickened heads poking over every end of the ship to heave off the sides. Commodore Grunhilda had to hold her nose, with how much her ship smelled of sick. Which admiralty was she supposed to file a complaint to? All of them, perhaps. If the Goddess Fleet wants her to transport jager armies, they can supply the boats and the crew to do it themselves, and she can keep her flagship clean.

“Come now, you must be heaved dry by now,” she muttered, pulling up one by the hair. A human and a man, by the looks of it. Yet her eyes weren’t the best for this kind of thing. Serfs of a species had this ridiculous tendency to look exactly like each other. His fearful eyes looked up at hers, as the color drained from his face. Did this one even speak Luchmairisch? She considered calling for her lieutenant. He spoke a few barbarian tongues. Surely, this one must speak one of them, right? Nevermind It doesn’t matter. Grunhilda let go of his hair, letting the creature go back to his heaving.

“On deck!” came a shout. It was the boatswain, most likely. Gottinsieg, was his name? One of the Gottinsiegs that crawl up and down the ropes day in and out. There must be more people of that name than any other put together. She can’t keep them all in her head in her detachment alone. Fine, the boatswain is a Gottinsieg. They can all be Gottinsiegs, far as Grunhilda was concerned. The trampling of feet rattled the planks on the ship, a sure sign of the crew assembling. This was a motley and messy one, without a doubt. Her regulars have been . . . “reassigned” . . . to Herzog Asbrindr’s personal fleet. Goddess damn him, those were her sailors! They were the best she had!

No question about it, however. That was land, and somewhere on that land was a port. Can’t lose sight of the objective now. The boatswain shouted orders to the crew, orders she had forced him late into the night to remember word for word. Her command had to be unquestioned, at least within her land, of which the ship was a part. In ideal conditions, it was a single machine of many parts, aided by the rest of her detachment in shelling entire villages to sticks and rubble. The distant calls of cannons sounded out across the sea, signalling the beginning of everything. May circumstance protect those captains stupid enough to volunteer for landing.

Azkhkandahar, Port City of Vilsingehldin
Fort Miyatari, Sister Commander Tillari Graendal of the Red Stole

The ships were coming into port now, Tillari could see the Luchmeyrn flags coming into her port, they were just getting into range. Taking a deep breath she waited until enough were right where she wanted them. “Fire!” She screamed and threw her hand up in the air.

The Cannons all seemed to fire at once, glass orbs containing the viscous purple liquid hurtled through the air, though it seemed they would fire too high to hit the ships. All the women in paint and wearing strips of cloth stepped forward at once their hands going out above them, and focusing on the glass orbs.Suddenly the orbs burst as they were above the Luchmeryn ships, and a blanket of fire erupted in the skies that began to fall quickly towards the invaders below.

A rain of glass and fire would fall down upon the sails and ship’s crew the burning liquid sticking to whatever it touched and burning incredibly hot, the glass sharps like a rain of razor sharp shrapnel. Already however the women were moving to reload the cannons, this time with the more typical cannonballs, though these had runes painted on them as well.

Tillari turned and looked at the soldiers that were currently not taking part. “Go to positions! Remember, take cover in houses and store fronts, i want everyone in pairs, one reloading, one firing! Make every step they take costly!”

With that order from the Commander Sister, the soldiers were off and moving down into the port city proper to position themselves in the windows and doorways of any houses or businesses that faced the port itself. “Goddess help us.” Tillari muttered to herself.

In battle, everything must be done all at once, and quickly besides. Herzog Asbrindr clapped his gloves until the residual fire finally sputtered out, having just tossed his burning lieutenant over the side. A chorus of screams and thrashing crew enveloped what remains of his once-beautiful flagship, now sinking slowly into the water below. Weakness, the lot of them. They were supposed to be drawn from the best of all his subordinates. These supposedly elite marines seem to die just as easily as any rat or rope-sitter.

“Well, hardly anything to be done,” he muttered, as he leapt off the deck into the churning sea below. A man of his rank cannot be seen breaking composure. A setback like this cannot phase him, certainly not so early in the battle. He broke the surface of the water in a graceful dive, his head awash with strategies and figures. How many able bodies does he have left? What of the other afflicted ships? The odds continue to grow grimmer the more he contemplates them.

“My lor- grgrlgr- lord!” came a shout from behind him. Asbrindr spun himself about in the water, his eyes locking with the officer calling his name. The woman was hardly a swimmer, and she had an arm around a midnight-colored Owcan. Her serf, presumably, knocked unconscious by the . She paddled up to Asbrindr with clumsy strokes of one hand.

“Goddess’ wisdom, did nobody teach you to swim?” Asbrindr asked. She shook her head. Asbrindr gestured to the Owcan, which she handed to him without a word. Then, he drew his dagger from his hip and drove it into the unconscious creature’s skull, before letting it sink below. The officer’s scream confirmed his suspicion. She was soft-hearted, having only heard of battle but never seen it. Worse, she had been corrupted by foreign ideas as mutual intimacy. No doubt she thought she loved the thing. He grabbed her by her shirt and hauled her up. By the good goddess, he was still strong. “Listen. To. Me,” he said, through gritted teeth. “It was a mistake to bring valuables to battle. Everything you have, you can lose. What say I owe you an Owcan, and you go rally the marines for our landing.” He didn’t wait for her to respond. It was not a question. His commodores should be in range at any moment. Where were they? They were taking too long to get into position. He needed their guns immediately! Nevermind, that shouldn’t be his worry at the moment. He needed to be on land as soon as possible. The roar of cannon fire was deafening, as brave few gunners loosed their last volleys into the port’s fortifications. “Swim, damn you, swim for the beach,” he grumbled.

Azkhkandahar, Port City of Vilsingehldin
Fort Miyatari, Sister Commander Tillari Graendal of the Red Stole

Commander Graendal smiled at the success of the first volley as it sank many Luchmeryn ships, she watched as the reload was being completed, and the way the second rank of the enemy fleet was having to redirect around their fallen comrades. “Alright Ladies.. Take aim, fire at any nearby-” She was cut off as a volley came from several ships from the enemy fleet, most of the shots hit the wall and simply cracked some stone, while a few of her own cannons managed to take a blast or two here and there, sending chunks of metal and body parts flying through the air. Standing back up straight Tillari shook her head. “Fire!” She screamed angrily as blood ran down her cheek from where a piece of stone had grazed her.

The cannons all along the wall began firing again, the munitions they fired hurtling towards the ships that were currently trying to get around the already sinking ones. As these cannonballs struck they’d crack and shatter with a small explosion that sent shrapnel flying in all directions, the magical paint smeared on them growing a bright purple just before they did so.

Azkhkandahar, Port City of Vilsingehldin
Dock Houses/Store Front, Captain Avaline Torgaddon, Bright Tower Rifles First Company

Captain Torgaddon settled her rifle in place letting it rest on the window sill of a bait shop she had taken up position in. Her troops knew their orders, every woman teamed up with another so one could fire while another reloaded. She looked back at her second, and gave a nod to her. They were to wait until the enemy was upon the beach, or docks whichever came first.

It wasn’t long of a wait though after the first rank of enemy ships were sinking that Luchmeyrn troops were washing up, or swimming up along the shore. Avaline took aim at one that broke through the water right in front of her, and let off a shop. The round took through the air pounding through the chest of the enemy soldier causing him to double over and fall to the sand dead. She was already grabbing her next rifle and taking aim once more and put a shot through another’s throat.

This continued as the First Company all along the store front continued to fire, not letting up as they fired, took a rifle, fired again. They would make every step count, every grain of sand would be stained red.


Numbers will win the day. Numbers have to win the day. Thousands of Luchmairisch souls, crashing into the beach, pushing against the thinning human lines. Hardly any of them had functioning guns and dry powder. Most didn’t have armor. Some didn’t have a sword. Daggers, axes, and broken planks made up the first wave of the assault, the battle of desperate soldiers. Behind them sat the long grim rows, ships of the line, that bellowed like dragons, smashing the fortifications with angry steel fists, again and again and again.

“Fire! Fire! All hands to the guns!” came the rousing cry aboard multiple ships, from captains and lieutenants and boatswains to exhausted crewmen. Clean, load, fire, clean. Mechanized death, seen only in the flash of the barrel and the trail of smoke that billows out after. Wood shrapnel covers the beach more thoroughly than sand, and blood more thoroughly than wood shrapnel. Mounds of clay and red flesh begin to pile up, so high that the charging ranks would have to clamber over them.

“We have to land now,” mused Burgrave Dietmar, stroking his chin, watching from the deck. He was leaned so far over that a single push might send him over the edge. He squinted hard, trying to make out the features of the beach. No, drat it all, his eyes would give him nothing. Were they beginning to fail, like the doctors say? “Now. While their line is still . . . weak. Take us in. The first wave will have need of our powder.” A horn was blown from the top of his mast, signaling to the second wave. “One of you get word to Commodore Grunhilda about the cannons!” he ordered, shouting down to a nearby sloop. “It’s not enough, you see! More fire! More! Fire!”

Azkhkandahar, Port City of Vilsingehldin
Fort Miyatari, Sister Commander Tillari Graendal of the Red Stole

It seemed like the firefight was lasting for hours the back and forth of the cannons, Tillari stared at the destruction that had been wrought in the harbor, but also at the multiple cannons that had been destroyed and the dead who had been killed throughout the engagement.

“Send the flare! We are pulling back.” Tillari spokewoth all the authority afforded her position.

One of the Bright Tower sisters stepped forward sending a bright green light flashing into the sky, followed by every soldier on the wall providing cover fire as the soldiers below rushed up the stairways from the alleys behind the shops and buildings below.

As the last of the soldiers and Bright Tower Sisters pulled out they sabotaged their socks firing off a last set of volleys into the wooden docks shattering them into splinters of wood before destroying their own cannons and leaving only wreckage behind.

“It was victory! . . . M-My lord,” the serf said, looking sheepishly up at Asbrindr. That gun most certainly was not assigned to her. It was far too long. She was trying not to appear as if she was struggling under its weight. Which knight’s corpse did she steal it from?

“I gathered as much,” Asbrindr responded, trying not to look at the serf, to look just above its head. Give them an inch of respect, and who knows what ideas they’ll get? “Pursuit? Did you gather how many went running off?” She didn’t answer. Possibly nodding or shaking her head, one of those peculiar fashions common among the humans. It made them look beyond ridiculous. Regardless, he couldn’t see it. Or at least, he won’t deign to look down at her face and check. “Answer me with words. How. Many?”

“I-I don’t-”

“Then guess!” Asbrindr snapped.

“A-At least a . . . thi- quarter? Them that weren’t . . . celebrating.”

“Goddess’ curse!” he shouted. “That was a mistake. Whatever mindless acorns ran into the woods like fists-for-brains, we’re never seeing them again. Coordination, coordination! It’s like they don’t even know what that means!” He was making a scene right in front of this lower creature. He should know better. “You.” He looked down directly at the serf for the first time, to her char-dark face speckled with dots. Goddess’ might, she was small. Was it the angle, or was she literally shrinking under his gaze?

“M-My lord?”

“Whoever your master was before, he isn’t anymore,” he said, watching her face change to one of horror. It was a familiar look. A change in ownership puts the fear of their heathen gods into them. Even the cruelest of masters are better than a master they cannot gauge at all. “You belong to me now. If your old master comes looking for you, you come to me, and I can settle it with him over sword or pistol.” She bobbed her head slowly, up and down, shaking like a flame in the wind. More of those human-isms, he gathered. What was it with them and their habit? “Go on, I want to hear you say it. Your old master comes to you . . .” he leaned down, bringing their difference in height into sharp focus.

“I . . . l-look for you . . . m-master,” she said.

“That wasn’t so hard,” Asbrindr said, curtly. Her old master, her talents are wasted with him. She spoke Luchmairisch like a native, or perhaps near enough. Serfs can never quite destroy the barbarian accent, even generations later. Some instinct of his told him that she was one to watch. A functioning mind behind an unassuming face . . . that’s a serf revolt waiting to happen, if he’d ever seen one. He can’t trust her old master not to manage it well. “Follow closely behind me, now. If I turn around and don’t see you, you best pray I never see you again.” More of that insipid head bobbing. It’s a long road to the capital now. He had to get the armies organized. At least, however much he can still gather of them.
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Journalists and Opportunities
On the capital of Achik, Tuqay. The smoke coming out from the funnels of ever newer built factories was turning the once beautiful skies into skies filled with grey and black clouds. The streets were busy with people moving from one place to another. Men dressed in impeccable red and gold military uniforms patrolling the streets were now another new common sight in the city that was filled with chants for both the old and the new.

This was journalist Rupay Ñanqi could see from the triangular window of his small apartment. A stack of papers could be seen on his desk, all neatly ordered and arranged according to date of publication. A canvas and brush facing the desk, an amateurish painting that could say to the viewer that it was there as another creative whim of its owner and creator.

Rupay manages to take a glance at a group of women being courted by a duo of soldiers before he hears a knock on his door that makes him look back. Two knocks follow repetitively, the sounds of a busy guest or a known friend. Rupay stands up the wooden chair where he was sitting creaking a little as his weight off it.

Immediately, he moves to the door and puts a sweater on. It is cold inside already but outside it can get even colder and besides, he looks really good in that new sweater of his. Just as he finishes putting it on, he opens the door to find a known face on the other side of the wooden frame. "Greetings, mister Rupay or should I say chief writer Rupay?" The man teases, he is young and his olive skin reflects completely to that of Rupay, if perhaps with a smaller shade of white.

"Chief writer sounds better and it also comes implies a higher salary to whatever scraps the news state department gives me." He says slightly proud and also relieved that he isn't going to suffer any more under the "only eating a potato" diet he was getting used to. "Anyways, what brings you here so early, besides I haven't finished my article for tomorrow."

"Oh, that's because I was told to give you this." He proceeds to show a letter, he had in his right pocket. "The head chief gave it to me and told me to take it to you today. He said it was important and all that, so I really didn't take a peek at it." He hands over the sealed letter and says. "Well, today I have a family meeting someone's from the provinces is coming so that's really important. I hope that whatever is there is important enough to really warrant your attention."

Just like that he bids his goodbyes. Immediately, he leaves almost as if he was in a hurry. He wasn't one to miss contact with his family for too long, especially now that a new railway line had been built that connected his hometown to the railway network around the country. "Alright, I wonder what's this about." Rupay says as he opens the letter ripping the seal and sitting on his single bed. The letter reads.

"Chief Writer Rupay Ñanqi

The Empire of Achik requires of your services in the frontlines. I am well acquainted with the fact that you have done a good service for the state newspaper agency in which you are employed. Recent urgencies and events has lead us to require of your writing services. Effective immediately you are now a non-commissioned member of the military. Please present yourself to the military ministry at your earliest convenience. Further details will be given out by me when we meet.

Signed General Qarpa Cocha, member of the council and faithful follower of the Inti."

Rupay didn't know how to react to this new citation. He was filled to the brim with feelings of excitement and wonder, being picked out for something of worth by an authority at his early age was something that certainly added to his ego, however, the situation also required delicacy and working with the military, the most powerful arm of the entire Achik state was also something that required cautions. But even then the young Rupay couldn't help himself and begin putting on his clothes to travel to the ministry.

If this was reckless without first seeking some advice, it was for him to find out. Yet, the door that opened to him was something he wouldn't simply miss. The stories and the fame that would bring him would certainly add another boost to his career. One that he wasn't going to miss out on.

And just like that, the man on the window that painted clouds and fumes left his apartment. Unknowingly embarking himself in a dangerous and historic journey.


Imperial Discussions
The council of the eight was composed of marshalls and generals. Recently Marshall Ataranpao had been advocating to push for a war against their colonial neighbors. Ataranpao was a proud man, of his nation, of his history, of his hometown. This was a well-earned pride too, one that commanded the respect of his soldiers and of the 8th army. He was engaged in a discussion in one of the massive corridors of the Imperial Ministry of War, tall and long enough that voices could not be heard from end to the other.

"War? Achik is on the highest point of its entire history and you want to bring to war with two of its largest neighbors? I am sorry Marshall Ataranpao, but I assumed you were a man of reason when you took up the post." Spoke Marshall Anahuarque, a woman and the leader of the 3rd Army. Strict, Cautious, and most importantly always proper.

"Do not insult me Marshall Anahuarque, I know very well the risks that such an enterprise would involve. Yet, there is a reason, the emperor has long authorized us to increase the size of the army and that's because we can and must retake the territories that rightfully belong to the Empire."

"I hope you have a better argument than that to convince the rest of the council Marshall. Who knows just for how long their war will last, they have had wars for the last two centuries or so. I am not one to risk their ire without good reason. We risk the existence of our country and you know that very well."

"You are too cautious Anahuarque and you will regret that, this is an opportunity that will not appear again in our lifetimes. We must carry out the will of the emperor and his people back. Our ancestors waited for this moment when they first fled the capital, I am not going to deny the people of what is theirs. Anyways, I shall see you in the meeting."

With that said. The meeting he spoke of could come in the coming week and Ataranpao was seeking to convince the rest of the generals and marshalls. Convince the entire council would not be an easy matter but all he needed was the vote of two of the swing generals and he had already achieve one. The other was another matter.
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