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Some random internet fuck with a keyboard and too much free time.






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Nerd Hello Squirtle, I may be interested (if Takanis starts to go smoother)
@Ever Faithful
Vaerheim:

First of all:
Male Varangians were expected to be perfect soldiers the moment they were born while female Varangians were expect to become strong healthy mothers and capable athletes. Babies that were born defective or deemed unfit by the elder judge would be demoted to become a Thenn. Rarely is a baby put to death but only in the most extreme cases.

You are hereby required to have _someone_ shout "THIS. IS. VAERHEIM." and kick someone down a well at some point in this RP.

The most iconic weapon of the Varangian Bannermen is the Long Axe, a two handed polearm that has a large axehead that cleaves through armor.

It should be noted that if you're referring to something like the dane axe, they were actually shockingly light and fast weapons - if you're referring to something like the big heavy two handed bearded axes they eventually supplanted, a smaller wedge can certainly drive through maille or other armor. The dane axe itself has more of a cutting motion and a rather thin blade. Armor is defeated by either going extremely fast, or by concentrating a large force in a small area - something like the dane axe, while not quite as bad as a sword as far as dispersing the power of its blow along a wide area, will still fall short of a two handed spear thrust, an arrow from a powerful bow, or a heavier narrower axe blade.

Barring those little niggles, it looks good! Approved!

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@Heyitsjiwon
Attolia:

Species: Fae/Elven, Humans, Halfbloods

Now now, make sure to show us what you mean by halfbloods, don't leave out any details - we've gotta know exactly how they get here! If you don't mind though, a little elaboration on your exact vision of elves and half elves would be appreciated. We all have different images in our mind if someone says elf.

The Empire's government was initially a form of military junta

A Military Junta you say...?

As for your traits, only Splendid Isolation really fits. Iron Walls and Always faithful simply reflect your rolls - you can keep them if you wish, but a very powerful navy and a small army are already shown in your rolls and in the army/navy sections.

Otherwise... it looks good!

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@Kho
Esher Righacd:

Ah, my favorite not-Scots return.

I... honestly have no criticisms. Heartily approved.

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@PsyKick
Nucaal:

Elaborate on how many Geradamas there are if you don't mind. Sorcerers in this setting are exceptionally rare (as in... 1 in a million or even fewer), and while you can explain having a sorcerer race for part of your magical sophistication for sure, bear in mind that creating a sorcerer race is the goal that numerous great empires tried and utterly destroyed themselves attempting to do. The issue mostly subsides if they are for some reason unable to use crystal - that's where the real power of our sorcerers is shown, but that also negates a lot of... well, their utility beyond normal mages who must take preparations to do magic.

One other thing -
Gear created by the Nucaali are typically modified to present a space to house a crystal for augmenting the gear with magical capabilities.

Pros: The gear can have certain effects in combat or other realms of society where significant impact can be had in more effective ways.

Cons: If the stone is overused, it can explode and have a negative impact on the wielder.


Please elaborate what kind of capabilities the gear can possess. Otherwise, crystal is consumed when it is used for things - you can have it overload if you wish, but it will steadily deplete and eventually fade away as used, necessitating replacement. Unless I'm misunderstanding and this is a different material.

Otherwise looks very interesting and I'm eager to see what they do! Fix those issues or please talk to me to see what we can do, and it's good!

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@Roby6Com
Athia:

Salve, aspirans.

I see you have cannons on one of your ship types. Please remove - this is probably an oversight, but remember - I don't want gunpowder in this at the moment to avoid the arms race/dick measuring contest that follows.

Otherwise I see no issues. Approved.

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@Aleranicus
Neferher Dynasty:

I love it.

Just bear in mind a few of the changes we've made in discussions - your eastern border is fairly good land and a fair number of Surabhi are there - but it is quite mountainous, thus difficult to traverse~

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@Willy Vereb
Quavarazi Empire:

Ahem: Mongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongol

Quavaraz, alternatively referred as Aurelia, a huge land mostly dominated by savannas and magically hazardous deserts.

To clarify - is your nation largely desert specifically because of the calamity in the past, or did that simply turn central asia into the Sahara? I'm not entirely sure which. I put mountains where they were with the understanding that the desert was largely natural.

Otherwise it looks great, approved once we clear the above up.

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@POOHEAD189
POOHEAD189's Poopland Andred:

Species: Men

Men, you say.

What you have so far looks good, but... well, there isn't much I can critique.

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@The Nexerus
Empire of East Asia Kuriso:

I love your sheet, man. Please feel free to discuss military/trait stuff with me if you feel the need. Once that's sorted out, happily accepted.

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@Legion02
Exiles of the Barren Isles:

I love this too! My only caveat is not to get carried away with scrying the future and other magical stuff. Not to say it can't be impressive - or that I think you will get carried away for that matter - merely a reminder.

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@Drunken Conquistador
Usharid Sultanate:

Abandoning the proper worship of Abtum for the faith of Ishareth and going as far as declaring that he would spread his “True Faith” to all the corners of the Usharid realm.


Meet me in my office, we have many things to discuss~

What you have so far looks great! Please feel free to message me at any time to work on military/traits and anything else.

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@Terminal
Caelrumoste Regency:

Your sheet is long O.O

You appear to be lacking info on your military - while this isn't a game of EU4, obviously military action will have some role, so while you don't need to go super into detail, a basic summary is useful.

Otherwise... nothing sticks out to me as needing revision. Looks good!
@Taeryn

Fixed!
(WIP) Roll Descriptions

Roleplay is currently full: If you are interested, feel free to join the server nevertheless and create a sheet if someone drops out.


Takanis - A Historically Inspired Fantasy NRP



Political Map of the World

Tentative Map of the World (Subject to Change)

In this NRP, you play as a nation of your own creation. This is a setting with heavy historical inspiration, but no direct parallels. The best term for the setting is schizotech - this is a world wherein a mail armored cataphract charge coexists with nitrating crop rotation, the sextant, potatoes and tomatoes available without the need for any great dyings. We have technologies and ideas that would not exist until the 18th century coexisting with the 6th century. The setting is based on the concept of highly developed, intricate societies with a deep, complex web of trade, alliances, and diplomacy, societies that can build monuments to humble the Pyramids of Egypt or dwarf the Roman Colloseum. Vast empires with vast populations, deep history, and so on. That said, this is not a map painting simulator, and if you want to conquer the world, I fully understand, but this is not a Total War or EU4 game and such should not be your driving goal.

Individual nations are player created, with randomly rolled stats serving as a guideline upon which you should build your nation.

This is a world with by now some well established lore, and I encourage you to speak to me and the other players about how your own nation fits into it!

I invite those interested to join our Discord server and get to know the players already in. Slots are somewhat limited, unfortunately, so we do not have indefinite room for new players.

Rules

  • Use common sense.
  • Don't game the rolls.
  • No godmodding, powergaming, etc. You get the point.
  • What the GM and Co-GM says, goes. Please don’t push things this far.
  • No meme nations (why do I have to make this a thing?)
  • Don’t be an arse.


Application



Other Information








And with that, I welcome you to this land - troubled though it may be, and await your own entry into the great games of war and politics that will play out!
January 20, Etremetoryy

Tafun looked up at the embassy of Rotteburg, his gaze darkening at the sight of the structure. He had no fond memories of this building, and it seemed every time he was summoned to it it was under inauspicious circumstances. Never had he come here for celebration or even to send out a letter to the wider world, solidifying the peace. No. The last time he had been summoned as he had, war had broken out between the Realm and Kratoria as the latter sought to prevent the unification of the Kudruni states. And now he was here in the aftermath of the brutal assassination of Rotteburg’s prince. He dreaded to think what the next summons might entail.

Nodding to his driver, he and his guards disembarked from the motorcade, making their way into the structure. After a moment, the Kudruni guards ahead let him pass, and as he made his way under the marble columns he could not help but feel a chill go down his spine.

It was a relatively short trip through the embassy, and only a few minutes elapsed before his arrival outside the room in question. “I am here to meet with Ambassador Ernst.” Tafun said to the guards outside his door, “Foreign Minister Tafun, I have been told it is urgent.”

The guards nodded to him and let him through, revealing the office of the ambassador. A heavily marked map sat on one wall, with several blackboards of notes scattered throughout the room. On the desk of the ambassador, sat a variety of folders and papers, and the Kudruni himself sat in a chair behind that desk. He had a cigar in his mouth, and at the time of Tafun’s entrance, he had been flipping through one of said folders.

He looked up gravely, looking over Tafun before saying, “I am sure you have heard of the assassination, so I will spare you the details. I summoned you due to certain circumstances outside of my control,” he paused, puffing on his cigar, before continuing, “the Kaiser has given the military a blank check to wage war. Heinrich’s general staff has chosen War Plan XXVI for this eventuality.”

He slid a folder across the desk, puffing on his cigar again before saying, “Heinrich the Junior is not his old man. I fear this war. But, at the same time, as long as Kratoria has entered mobilization, there is nothing I may do to help end this war before it begins.”

Another puff. “If we were to halt mobilization, we would be hopelessly behind. We would be subjugated by Kratoria without a fight. I cannot abide by this. Heinrich has granted a week for the ministry to draft an ultimatum, but after that -- and I have no doubt of this -- War Plan XXVI will be enacted. Have a read for yourself.”

“I know of War Plan XXVI, and War Plan XXVI is unacceptable. Invading Pohae, one of the Realm’s biggest trade partners - and a longstanding neutral nation - would be disastrous for foreign relations and popular support for the war. Perhaps the Reich’s general staff thinks such action is required, but doing so will alienate all but the most determined allies of our respective nations, and much of the population of the Realm.” Tafun frowned, “I wish to impress upon your general staff - things are different in Etresna, the people do not meekly go along with what the leadership demands. If we are drawn into an offensive war to defend the honor of a foreign nation, we will be just as swiftly drawn out of it. Raijen Zhami is dead and gone, and her successor does not have her charisma or military inclinations. Zhami was able to convince the Realm to engage in a foreign war for little apparent gain, Anukadi cannot and will not bring her nation into a war as an aggressor against neutral powers on behalf of another country. The Reich’s army is mighty, it is true - against Uruk alone you would certainly prevail - against Kratoria as well your defeat would be inevitable without the aid of the Realm. Neither of our alliances is yet capable of defeating the other outright. I am confident that we can hold them at bay, but we will still need the support, or at bare minimum the neutrality, of the other powers to survive. Should the Realm join the Reich in invading neutral powers, it will certainly align Anvegad against us, Faenaria will wonder as to the safety of their interests and the profitability of trade with a nation that so readily violates a neutral nation, decades of diplomacy and hard work would be undermined in a fortnight. Does your general staff not see all of this?”

The ambassador pointed insistently at the folder. “War Plan XXVI has changed since the last time you have read it. I do not know how often Etremaden general staff revises their military plans -- but, if the complete lack of thought that it could’ve changed in a decade is a testament to your general staff’s ability to account for our changing world, I fear woefully for you.”

“The general staff of the Realm tends to give new names for new plans, ambassador.” Tafun replied, raising an eyebrow, “It is not our custom to use the same names for different plans.”

The ambassador puffed again. “It is not a new plan. We do not take to filling our archives with thousands of new plans that are merely revisions of old ones. Let me remind you that Rotteburg, under Heinrich the Senior, was the first to maintain a dedicated general staff for the purpose of war provisions and plans. We do know what we are doing.”

Tafun sighed, “Would you like to lay out the ‘new’ contents of XXVI, then?” He reached out, taking the folder in hand and quickly skimming through its contents. “I will give this to our own general staff later for their appraisal. Can you please summarize it, for this meeting?”

He nodded. “The northern fronts remain the same -- we will have to preemptively strike before their regular army can fully mobilize to the Kratorian southern border. The south, however, will focus on a looser front line, dictated mainly by smaller skirmishes and raiding parties on Uruk soil. To back them up will be a more dedicated frontline in the petty states between Rotteburg and Uruk, minus Pohae -- under the condition they do not permit enemy troop movements through their borders.”

Tafun nodded, “Yes… the Realm and Pohae are close trade partners, I will do what I can to ensure neutrality from them. The standing army of the Realm has already been alerted to take up defensive positions, and the Raijen is in talks with the militias to begin the process of preparing for war. The people will not stand for the Realm undertaking operations in offense, I do hope you understand this?” Sighing, he gently closed the folder, “Strange as it is, as things are now the only way for the Realm to maintain a war is to fight it defensively. The populace will fight tooth and nail in defense of their homes, but the wars with the other powers were only forty years ago, much of our populace bear scars mental and physical. We will support you, but… in the beginning at least, we cannot send much in the way of direct support. Material, money, these we can do.”

The ambassador simply responded, “Then do so. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, and should the machinations of the diplomatic state fail us, then the loser loses everything. We cannot afford to fail.”

“Indeed…” Tafun mumbled, steepling his fingers, “I hope deeply it is not yet too late, but the realist in me says otherwise. I do not know how this war will go, but you are correct. Failure is not something we can afford.” He sighed again, deeper, “Fools the lot of them.”

“History will remember us all as unequal to our forebears should war break out. In the eyes of history, failure marks us all the fools,” the ambassador simply responded gravely.

Tafun stood, stretching his arms, as he looked out the window on the busy city, “Unfortunately my forebears were some of the more warlike persuasion. There is a time when war is necessary, but that is not now. It saddens me that the world may rush headlong into war when it could be avoided. But every day that seems more and more likely.”

He simply responded, “Our forebears used war effectively, without collapsing our global hegemony and peace. I fear our generation will not live up to that.”

“Our generation has the blessing and curse of a world more connected, more advanced than ever before. A hundred years ago, we could have scarce imagined the world as it is today - I can board a ship and be on the other side of the world in under a month. I can step outside and buy goods from every corner of the globe. And I can send a message to any corner of the world in but an instant. A train can send a battalion of soldiers to the front in less time than it would have taken a single rider to cover half the distance. The era of a small, localized war is gone, I am afraid. It is no failing of our morals or intellect that any war will surely spiral out of control - it is a direct result of our intellect connecting us like never before.” Turning back to the ambassador, Tafun shook his head, “The challenge of our generation, faced with this, is something we have never had to confront before.”

“Then let us hope we are ready to meet this modern world,” is all he said.
@Skepic

We are~

That goes for everyone! If it says open, we're open!
January 18. Kera-Bijan.

“Through fire are you redeemed,” intoned the priest, voice somber and monotone. It carried across the humble room, echoing and traveling along the walls, until the entire room was a symphony of his voice.

“Through fire am I redeemed,” said Satrap Kazosh, in a whisper. The priest removed a leather pouch from his robes, and from it produced a pinch of blue dust, that of crushed magic crystals. He flung it into the brazier in front of him, and the fire blazed up, spewing from it sparks of red and blue and yellow.

“Through water are you cleansed,” said the priest, pulling out another pinch. However, he stopped, hearing the sound of approaching footsteps. “Let us finish this another time, Honored,” he said. Satrap Kazosh’s hand went to his beard, as it tends to do, and the priest went to the door. “Ah, ambassador. I welcome you in. Please, no consumption of substances within the temple room.”

Ambassador Tofku, a tall woman of formidable build, inclined her head, “My deepest apologies, Satrap. I would not intrude upon you in your personal time if I did not think it necessary. The matter can wait, should you need to finish, but please - this is not something that can go unaddressed.” She nodded too, at the priest, “My apologies to you too, herbad.”

“I shall leave you two alone,” said the priest, nodding his head and exiting. The door thumped, and like the priest’s voice, carried itself to all the corners of the chamber. Satrap Kazosh stood up, and scratched at his hairy chin.

“You interrupt nothing. This is more for me than it is for the gods. Perhaps you had not heard, but relations within the Excellency's council is a bit . . . strained. I can ask their forgiveness on my own time. What, may I ask, is this matter that is so pressing?”

“I had heard, and it to some extent the reason for my being here. I trust you know of the assassination of Satrap Bahar, yes?” She asked, taking no time to slow, assuming him to already be informed of the matter, “I have been given information that indicates there may be more to her death than… well, I apologize in advance, it would seem there is more to it than the usual backstabbing amongst the Kehmeyids. Obviously, you know of her opposition to involvement in the West - something that, informally, I can completely understand - my sources tell me this, rather than any jockeying for power or wealth is the motivation behind her death. It is my concern that you too, Satrap, may be at risk.”

She frowned, “My source cannot tell me much, but claims to have been present during Bahar’s assassination - I cannot divulge his identity, I fear, but he claims to have overheard her killer speaking to her, and mention of Bahar’s ‘treason’. I am afraid I do not have much more than that, and I waited as long as I could stand, for the reliability of his memory was somewhat in doubt. I have had a doctor examine him, and she tells me he is of sound mind.”

“I hadn’t even realized Satrap Bahar was dead,” Kazosh said. “Your informant got lucky. Very lucky, to have both seen and heard such a murder taking place. The orchestrator must be either very stupid or very desperate.” He looked over at the fire, as it continued to burn on the brazier, and an expression of relief washed over his face. “There was a time, during the wars with Qaroitn, when a satrap passed at the hand of another as quickly as Shah Sannes could appoint them. We have taught ourselves as a people too well to kill without hating, to disassociate the action of taking life with the action of seeking vengeance. The killer did not hate his victim. He had something to gain. That would be . . . a half or more of every satrap in Zanateyin and the provinces of the shahdom. You’ll need more than petty hearsay for the Storm Guard to take any of your words for truth.”

“Then, satrap, I ask your assistance in finding the identity of her murder. That my source heard mention of treason tells me this is no minor disagreement over some small economic policy. That her death came so soon after leaving the council, and… the em, manner of her death. If what my source says is correct, she was rather violently dismembered, much of her body thrown for alley cats and dogs to devour. I may not be of Kera-Bijan myself, but such an extreme action tells me this either runs deep between them, or is a matter of considerable severity.” She frowned, “I have told my eyes and ears to listen and watch extra closely, but I nevertheless advise you, and perhaps I, take care where we step. Perhaps the killer may yet give themselves away.”

“Perhaps. Only the gods may know,” Kazosh sighed. He tugged at the loose strings of his beard with an idle hand, combing a hand through them. “Might I say, your Bijani is very good. Few westerners would honor us by learning our tongue, and thus we for the most part have taken to learning Rahuri ourselves.”

“Perhaps indeed, I shall keep my ears open, and I humbly ask you do the same. And please, take care where you step. I was not well acquainted with Bahar, but I did not know her to be one to take unnecessary risk.”

At his compliment, Tofku inclined her head, a small smile playing at her lips, “It is expected of any ambassador to know the native tongue of the people with whom they treat. Additionally, any ambassador is required to have a basic knowledge of the tongues of Kratoria, Cethos, Rotteburg, Anvegad, and Uruk. I have hired one of your own as a personal tutor as a matter of fact, to ensure my accent and pronunciation are as close as possible to that of the capital. I have also been studying the major regional dialects, just in case. It is in poor taste, after all, to come to a country ignorant of their language and customs.”

Her smile turned into a broad grin, “I thank you, though. I and dare I say, the Realm as a whole, pride ourselves on learning, and that extends to language - I know many at home who study Bijani, and are quite fluent in it. If there is a known language, I assure you, someone in the Realm has made it their task to write down everything about it.” Smiling wider, she continued, “That said, there is something to Bijani that makes it a delightful language to speak. I would be happy to show you my practice on Bijani calligraphy sometime, satrap.”

“I’d be honored,” Kazosh said. He bowed to the ambassador. “Thank you for the offer, as well as the warning. I will consider them both deeply. Now, if you would excuse me, I must make my peace with the gods. No doubt they are disappointed in me for my giving in to anger.”

TL:DR:
Etremaden Ambassador informs Satrap Kazosh of Bahar's death, they discuss the matter, and calligraphy
January 8, 1910
Outskirts of Tresaii, Realm of Etresna


Ahead loomed the Forum. A tall, imposing building of pyramidal design endemic to Etremaden architecture, but adorned with the old Kratorian style of marble statues and engraved columns. The Forum had been erected well outside the city limits of Etremetoryy, and its ostentatious display had been a source of contention within the Realm when it was first laid out, seventy years prior. Yearly construction was underway, renovating the building with more modern conveniences and amenities. The building served not only as a neutral ground for secure diplomatic negotiation between the two rival powers, that was a new development. In its first days, the building had been designed as a space for Etremaden and Kratorian scholars and holy people to gather and exchange ideas, work together to solve pressing global issues, and to this day it was full of many of those same minds. Now though, a wing of the building had been set aside for diplomatic affairs, soundproofed and under heavy guard at all hours of the day.

Azhis sighed - rarely had she stepped foot in this building in the past few years for any good reasons, and this day was no exception. A dark cloud seemed cast over all she had seen, and nobody lounged outside, the shaded reflecting ponds were bereft of their usual inhabitants, older men and women debating, arguing, or reminiscing by the water. The guards had been doubled on all sides, Kratorian and Etremaden, and it was with great reluctance that she stepped from her vehicle, making her way into the structure. A convoy of Kratorian vehicles, with their elaborate decorations and ornately-attired attendants, was already there.

Great works of sculpting, pottery, and painting adorned the walls of the Forum. Exotic plants from every corner of both the Empyreum and Etresna graced its open-air garden. Artifacts such as suits of Empyreal armor or vintage Etremaden cannons were prominently displayed. Truly, the Forum was a place of art, history, and learning. A bastion of knowledge and understanding between two great world powers. And yet there were no hymns sung or poems recited in its normally inviting halls. No young scholars or groups of schoolchildren toured the exhibits. There was scant evidence of the priests and mystics, philosophers and scientists, artists and orators, that made the Forum their residence. Save for Kratorian and Etresnan soldiers staring each other down, the chambers and halls were empty. Sometimes a lone scholar would pass by, but only ever with their eyes downcast and in a hurry. One Kratorian nun seemed to be muttering a prayer.

It was in this foreboding atmosphere that Etresna’s military leader entered the council chamber. Unlike the rest of the Forum, the chamber had no natural lighting and relied on half electronic lights and half illumination crystals. Each half of the room was decorated in Etremaden and Empyreal style, from the floor beneath them to the ceiling above. Even the table was bisected in such a manner, horizontally arranged across the space with two head seats facing each other and several others in between. The Kratorian side of the table was hard black wood with intricate symbols. The head seat was carved into the likeness of a dragon. Praetorian Knights lined the walls in their white armor, swords at their side and pistols on thigh holsters. The Etresna side of the table was already mostly filled, Azhis having arrived last.

A handful Kratorian nobles sat alongside the table, those of greatest prominence seated next to the Empyreal at the head of the table. Ser Barris Paeston was present, a representative of the Empyreal blacksmithing guild and his cousin Primarch Phaeston, the Iron Lord. Archsage Demetrius Pallenis, the leader of the Kratorian scholars in residence at the Forum sat across from him. Chanter Cassandra, head cleric of the local Unitarian Convent was dressed in her priestly raiment. Lord Dekton, the Empyreal Ambassador to Etresna and decorated veteran, sat at the position of honor to the dragon-seat’s right. A Knight Praetor with a golden plume, a captain of the venerable order, stood just behind the seat. All of the Kratorians rose respectfully at Azhis’ entrance.

All except Princess Ariel, who bowed her head but did not rise. The Princess was Alexander’s youngest daughter, yet unmarried and one of the most celebrated beauties of the Empyreum. But also was she highly regarded in the art of diplomacy, and so served as the nation’s youngest Lady Herald at the age of eighty, though she looked like a girl who hadn’t yet reached her second decade. She was stunning in her dark red dress, her long black hair done in a traditional Kratorian braid. The Princess smiled slightly at Azhis, meeting her gaze with her golden eyes, and said, “It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance once more my lady. Now that you are here we may begin in earnest. I won’t stand on ceremony, I have arrived fresh from Empyreapolis at my father’s command.”

She took in those around the table before saying, “If swift action, is not taken soon, our nations will once again clash. We must stop this violence before it starts. Or else this time, the whole world will bleed.”

Anukadi, who had given Azhis a look of dissatisfaction as the latter arrived late, once again, turned to the princess, nodding. “Yes. We have been leaning upon the Kaiser to be calm, and not to rush needlessly into war. Uruk has, of course, not been conciliatory in the actions of their… ally, and Tsuljin itself seems desperate to, if anything, provoke the Kudruni.” She sighed, drumming her fingers upon the silver inlaid wood of the table, images still clear in her mind of the carnage even decades ago, hundreds of thousands dead or wounded in the last conflict between the Realm and the Empire. She had not served on its front lines, but had been deployed to the region to oversee the engineering aspects of rear echelon supply and logistics within one of the theatres of operation. As with every other citizen of the realm, though, the grainy photography taken in the aftermath of the battles had seared a bloody brand into her memory, and as she considered the modern weapons they now held, the prospect of war terrified her.

Azhis spoke up, “Forgive my lateness, Princess, Raijen. I have been overseeing the deployment of more security to our embassies abroad, as well as other pressing matters, though I must apologize, for such does not excuse my lateness. With your permission, I would like to remind the Kaiser’s own military advisors of the importance the Realm plays in his own nation’s security and prosperity, and of the horrors a war would unleash not only upon his own nation, but uncountable lives across the world.”

Silence reigned for a moment before Anukadi gave her a tacit nod, before returning her attention to the Princess. “We are doing what we can to restrain the Kaiser, but I must implore you - your own nation must do what you can to keep Uruk - and by extension Tsuljin - in check. There is no time for keeping information behind closed doors, hoping to gain something from this crisis. The Prince’s assassination has thrown Rotteburg into an uproar not seen for four decades, and their army is mighty for sure. Were they to attack Tsuljin, Uruk, as we know, will retaliate. Such will draw both our nations into the fray, and those other allies of ours otherwise uninvolved. The dominoes are lined up, and I fear for the ramifications should they begin to fall. The world will bleed, yes, but bleeding may be the least of its concerns.”

The Princess took a sip from the chalice, pure Empyreal nectar, and replied, “There are many at home who share our concerns. My esteemed colleagues will no doubt testify that endless scores of clerics and sages both call for a cooling down of hostilities. Not to mention the trade guilds.” Ariel nodded at Ser Barris.

The broad-shouldered, barrel-chested man looked out of place in a business suit and his booming voice filled the whole room, “Yes. A war would disrupt the world economy immeasurably. We’ve come to welcome Etresnan iron in our foundries. Just as you’ve come to appreciate our custom, I’m sure. Violence is bad for the populace, but so is economic decline. Our people have not known shortages in supplies or jobs in many generations. Rest assured that the guilds will do everything in their power to see this peaceably resolved.”

The Archsage, a tall grey-eyed man with silver hair, interjected, “Not all I’m afraid. I’m sure the fletchers’ and armorer’s guilds would welcome a little blood-letting. Even if war did not break out, brinksmanship is in their best interest and they’ll be exercising their influence in the Senate. Speaking of which, there are more than a few Senators who fought Etresna and Rotteburg in wars past. Many jockey for glorious vengeance. Even the Chantry isn’t free of such influence.”

Chanter Cassandra, exuding virginal innocence and long-lived experience at the same time, nodded gravely, “This is true. I chant for peace and reconciliation. But there are wandering preachers and grand clerics both who call for justice to be paid to Rotteburg. They follow the Pantheon, but many see their customs of doing so as being heathenry. They wish for the Hierarch to call for exalted crusade against Rotteburg.” She paused and looked at the Etremaden, “And against Etresna. For the sacrileges of the past and offenses of the present, they say.”

Ariel grimly added, “Those voices are present on the Council as well. They wish for my father to throw in with the Uruks, not rein them in. Soon it will be a chorus. And as you well know, Alexander has no great love for either of your peoples. Avoiding this war will be a fight in itself and I welcome suggestions.”

Grim faced, Anukadi listened to the Kratorian delegation, their sentiments echoing many of her own advisors. “Seems we are not so different in yet another way. While many of my people oppose war - we too have many who remember the wars with Kratoria in the past, including myself - there are those who seek ‘glory on the field’, among other bellicose language. While we do not hold grudges as long, our memory stretches back far too, and some still champ at the bit to avenge Daskan’s defeat, over a century ago. We too live long lives - perhaps not as long, and even now some who fought in that war live on, angry at Kratoria.” She shook her head, sighing. “I am not a warrior, and I have no taste for it. It is an ugly matter, a view I have done my best to impress upon some of my colleagues. As for the concept of crusade - victory against Rotteburg might be feasible, but it would cost both sides dearly, and for what gain? Victory against the Realm…” she raised an eyebrow, “I do not mean to seem boastful, but I think we both know such a war between our two nations would result in naught but another stalemate, far bloodier than the last.”

Another voice joined, a small framed man with deep crimson eyes, a long beard woven into an intricate pattern of pleats and braids adorning his chin, and prominent horn rimmed glasses perched atop his nose. “Economically, many in the Realm would also benefit from war.” He nodded to the Archsage, “The Raijen and many of us have pushed for peace, and prosperity, and the Realm has devoted most of its spending to peaceful, domestic pursuits. It has borne fruits that have made our cities clean, safe, and prosperous - but many se’Khyur have been spurned by this trend. Some of our most ancient and venerable have their roots in martial pursuits, and they push for war - or at least, for greater military spending. I have promised to secure for them greater military contracts in the future, but they are not placated.”

Azhis, having taken her seat, nodded to the man. “Yes, you are correct, Iuvalle.” Turning to the Kratorians, she continued, “The death of the Prince has only inflamed such sentiments, though their bellicosity is aimed more at the Uruk than your own nation. All of our nations have, evidently, begun the mobilization process - but many se’Khyur have already begun to go further, as you are doubtlessly aware, and they have sunk funds into overhauling old munitions factories and spooling the modernized factories up. They expect war, with Uruk if nothing else, and it has been a gargantuan struggle to hold them back.”

“What all this means is that we are in no better shape than you, when it comes to averting catastrophe.” Anukadi groaned, “I am sadly bereft of solid suggestions. The most we can do, I think, is to exert what influence we can upon those nations directly involved in belligerent action - I beseech you, do all that you can to reign Uruk and their upstart puppet in. Perhaps threat of military abstention from their conflict will make them see reason. It is with the strength of both of our own nations that they rush headlong at each other, and should we threaten them with taking away that support they count on, and will desperately need… perhaps disaster can be avoided.” Her expression darkened, “But I do not know how much we can dangle the threat of our withdrawal from our alliances before compromising international standing, and undermining the integrity we depend on.”

“Both of our nations are host to proud peoples, and I do not think either of them would brook a peace solely for the benefit of other nations. No, speak to them of averting war of the sake of their children, their loved ones. A war would mean uncountable dead - many of them Kudruni for sure, but many Kratorian. I do not ask you openly declare any threat of withdrawal of support, such would be an absurd request, and I do not think there is anyone in this room who would urge such action. My intention is private pressure, a reminder to our allies that their strength has much to do with their association with our respective nations. Should we inform them in private that we may find it… ‘difficult to provide military aid for hawkish endeavors’ or however you might phrase it, they may yet see reason.”

Lord Dekton, to this point silent finally spoke. His sharp cheekbones and jaw and grey eyes, framed by deep brown hair, were a familiar sight to the Etremaden as the local Consul. His tone was measured, deliberate, “We will do everything within our power to curtail war. Priests will sing hymns of peace. Poets and artists will construct works of reconciliation. Orators and philosophers will talk of prosperity in calm and brotherhood. Writers and journalists will craft editorials in newspapers. Senators will debate on the floor for aversion of conflict. Mercenaries and toughs will beat rabble-rousers and firebrands. Lords and knights will send missives to their Archons asking for cool heads to prevail. We will cajole, beckon, beguile, bribe, threaten, deceive, entreat, and seduce anyone and everyone we have to and many we don’t in order to get this message heard.”

The lord, who looked no older than forty but whose eyes betrayed a century of politics and intrigue continued, “Make no mistake. Everything we will do, the Warlord and those of his mind will do to encourage war. I served in the last war between our nations, as did many of them. I witnessed the horrible slaughter. But whereas that made me wish to avert bloodshed, to build peace and even perhaps concord, it filled others hearts with fury and hate. We have been beaten, but true defeat is an alien concept to my people. However, the honor of battle is one of our most venerated ideals.”

Dekton looked Anukadi in the eyes, “Even if we did not win, if glory was won and heroism proved, than many Kratorians will have considered it a worthwhile enterprise. Especially the young who have not had their war, as every generation of our race has had one. They pray for immortalization through valor. This is the philosophy we contend with. Even without the considerations of politics.”

Ariel shook her head ruefully, “You must also make sure that Cethos or their lapdogs do not take advantage of the international chaos. The Lord Governor on Pandorum is already raising his levies in anticipation of raids. Many of the subjects of Uruk’s new empire are descended from those in our old one. We have political, religious, and cultural connections and we will exert them strenuously to avoid blood but tensions are high. We can’t let Cethos ignite them.”

Ariel took another sip of nectar, her expression pensive now, “And we must convince my father to listen to our voices and not those who call for action. He stands at a crossroads, equally liable to side with us and with the hounds of war. We must find a way to sway him to our way of thinking. He has no love for Rotteburg and he has always distrusted Etresna, since the death of my grandmother. Most of my siblings and other kin are also rather less sympathetic than I am to either of your peoples. I fear it may be far too easy for him to agree with war.”

“Yes, the Peacemaker.” Anukadi sighed, steepling her fingers. “I wish I could tell you more, but I can do naught but say again what has been said countless times before. The Realm had nothing to do with her death. A monument in her likeness stands outside this very building. I will not pretend all those in the Realm wished her well, but our concerns have lain with our immediate neighbor, and the Realm stood only to benefit from peace with Kratoria. I have tried time and again to explain this. But my words fall on deaf ears. His enmity with Rotteburg, however, is perfectly understandable. Many of my own people resent them, we lost many in the fields alongside their own dead, and our participation in their war with Kratoria cost the Realm no small amount of treasure. That Kratoria, and its ruler, hold even greater distaste for them is only to be expected.”

“Regardless, Cethos can be restrained with far greater ease than Rotteburg. They are in no direct involvement in this war, and the Cethosi are no fools, they are not blinded by rage as the Kudruni are.”

Before Anukadi could continue, there was an urgent knock at the door, and the Etremaden guards stiffened at the noise. Clad in considerably less aesthetic attire than their counterparts, they were outfitted with thick plates of hardened steel covering their chests, plain grey uniforms crisply starched beneath their equipment. Two of them hurried to the door, opening it after a brief exchange of hurried muttering.

In bustled a young man, a sheet of paper clutched in his hand as he made his way to the Raijen, inclining his head before offering her the paper, bowing out of the room just as quickly as he had come.

Anukadi scanned the paper, he expression darkening swiftly. “Grave news. A Rotteburger settlement on the border with Tsuljin has, according to this missive, been annihilated in a raid conducted by Uruk partisans alongside the Tsuljin greenskins themselves. One survivor claims to have seen a Kratorian, Argentum or Aeruca unknown, among them during the attack.” She looked up at them, “The Kudruni then, when sweeping the village, found the coat of Prince Wilem, bullet holes and all, planted in the village temple.”

She folded the paper, neatly setting it down. “The Kaiser wishes to inform me and the world at large that Rotteburg demands the execution of those soldiers involved in this raid, in addition to the previous demands for the execution of all involved in the assassination of his son.”

Ariel frowned at the news, as did all the other Kratorians, though they did not not seem particularly surprised at the news. The mood changed from one of cautious optimism to something far more bleak. Ariel replied, “Unconfirmed reports, but much sooner than even I anticipated. I’ll have the Inquisition get to the bottom of this. Though you must know in advance Raijen, that the chances of us acquiescing to the Kaiser’s request to be very remote, even if the rumors are true. A Kratorian, much less a noble, would never be extradited to Rotteburg. They would be tried by an Empyreal Magistrate if they are ever caught. I don’t suppose you could try to persuade the Kaiser to accept this?”

“I would expect nothing less, and would do nothing less myself, Princess. Were it Etremaden involved in this… act, no power in heaven or on earth could force myself, or the Realm, to accept the trial of one of our citizens by a foreign court. The Kaiser will know this too, I am sure. Whether I can convince him to accept this…” She grimaced, “I do not think so, no. He is outraged, rightly so it must be said, and in his anger he seems bereft of all reason.” She looked up to the Princess, “I do not think war can be averted at this rate. The Kudruni and Greenskins seem determined to tear each others’ throats out.”

Ariel sighed, “It is time like these one almost wishes for another Morghul Scourge to appear. At least then, we could compel the lands to unite. We face a sisyphean task but we must undertake it all the same.” The Princess looked around to her countrymen who nodded back, “No further time can be wasted. We must to our duties now. I leave for Pohae, to reassure the city that no harm will befall them from Kratorian arms so long as they maintain neutrality. You may not know our gods, but perhaps they will favor you with success in peacemaking all the same.”

The Kratorians stood, filing out of the room with respectful farewells, all save for Ariel and her Praetorians. The Princess waited until her and the Raijen’s parties were the only people present. Ariel curtsied the Etremaden ruler and said, “I believe you when you say the Realm was not behind my grandmother’s death. But… if you have some disgraced soldier or politician, some condemned traitor or seditious malcontent or a group of such that you would be better served without…. well, better you send us heads than we send each other armies. Consider it, my lady. I hope that the next time we meet, it will not be as enemies.”

With that the demigod princess stepped out of the room, her red dress flowing across the floor like a pool of blood.
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