Radovan walks again

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:51 am

The sun beat down oppressively as Alberto walked his daily routine. There were no clouds in the sky, not here in the interior, nor any shade trees to be found. And in any case, he hardly had time to rest his sweat-drenched brow. There was always work to be done, of some sort.

Wiping his brow, he proceeded, along a route often taken by those before him. His rain-pattern fatigues were the same his grandfather had worn, the grandfather long-dead, in his national service. The Type 63R3 rifle he carried was the same his grandfather had carried; its receiver was gouged and disfigured with age. He sometimes wondered if it would fire, if called upon. He prayed he would never have to find out.

The border he walked had been won by his grandfather's father. The rolling hills still showed their scars, a century later; hills with parts of their sides caved into, bitten into by guns long since silenced. The older hands liked to tell stories of this section of border. That the ghosts of the fallen still haunted it, to be seen at night when one looked closely enough. That the shells of a century past still lurked beneath the soil, waiting to detonate and claim another victim. They each swore that they had known a man who knew a man who had fallen in this way. Alberto didn't believe them; what harm could a war a century old do to him in this day? Yet the old hands on patrol still stepped carefully in some sectors, and, for no particular reason at all, so too did he.

To his right lay a fence, nearly as old as the border itself, about waist high and strung in barbed wire that rusted in intervals. More befitting cattle than people. A border Embrea never wanted, and the state to the north never accepted. Prekovy. At times the wild grasses of the plains grew over the height of the fence, and in those days one could never tell upon which side of the border one lay. Until, of course, the Embrean side was mowed. Alberto never saw mowers, but surely, they had come. The old fence exposed, its placards rusting away their universal warning: RESTRICTED FRONTIER AREA, DO NOT ENTER. Not that anyone ever did. For all the stories of defectors making a run for it, Alberto had never seen one. Though perhaps, he thought, that was the point.

He counted out the space between fence posts. Ten paces, always ten. On occasion, he turned his head to the right, toward Prekovy, across the fence. Here was here, and there was there, and yet to him, here looked like there and there like here. On occasion, when nobody was looking, he would stretch his hand through the gaps in the barbed wire and into Prekovy. Beyond the fence, beyond the hills and the tall grass, lay cities. Armies. He had never seen them. He prayed he never would.

In the distance, birds were chirping. He envied the birds. Birds cared not for borders.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Crave » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:07 am

"... In other news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a letter today addressed jointly to the governments of Flamaguay and Zegora-Bogatovia congratulating them both with ongoing developments in the negotiations over the political status of Pitino. The Ministry's Public Relations Secretary gave a brief press conference earlier this morning."

The television feed cut to a young woman, her hair tied neatly in a bun, standing behind a dark rosewood podium with the Saratov government seal mounted behind her. Flash bulbs lit her face sporadically as she spoke.

"The Government of His Majesty is overjoyed at the news of this development in Flamaguayan and Zegora-Bogatovan relations, and has extended a dispatch congratulating both parties, as well as offering our assistance in the task of organizing and observing the coming referendum. We are also enthusiastic to assist in whatever capacity may be needed to facilitate further developments in mending the scars left by the 1968 war. We offer our assistance as impartial observers and partners, through the framework provided by the CNF.

It is imperative, in the view of the Government of His Majesty, that the Zegoran people be given the opportunity to have their voices heard through the democratic mechanisms that are the cornerstone of civilized societies on our continent. The progress made in this past week is a colossal step forward toward securing a peaceful future for all of Valyasiya.

"Turn that garbage off."

The barber, with a buzzing trimmer in one hand, reached for the television remote and flipped the channel over to The Real Housewives of Urbs Dumanus.

"What a load of shit," the man seated in the barber's chair remarked, "The fuck has the CNF ever actually done for us? If it ever came to it, and those Prekovs were knocking down the doors in První, it'd be up to us Saratovs to save this whole goddamn continent. Flamaguay just wouldn't have the willpower to fight to the last man like we would."

"Of course they would," another patron called out from the row of chairs for those waiting in queue, "Flamaguay is Saratovia's oldest ally and only true friend in this entire world. The Poláčeks are fine when the going's easy, but they didn't even jump in to The War until victory was certain."

"The War you're talking about was over a hundred fucking years ago," another waiting customer called out, "Get over it. We're all in this together. If the south of Wallasea couldn't stand up as a united front we'd play right into the Prekovars' hands, that's exactly what they want."

"He's right, you know," the barber said, breaking his silence but not tearing his eyes away from his customer's sideburns as he skillfully guided his shears up the side of the man's head, "Separately we have no chance of standing up to Prekovy. They're just too big. But together, they stand no chance against us."

"And without the Zegorans? The condition of this whole treaty is total and complete neutrality."

"You're telling me you believe they'd stand on the sidelines if war broke out? They're not stupid. They know as well as any of the rest of us that the Prekovars wouldn't let them exist on their own little island forever. If the rest of us fell and became puppets, the Zegorans wouldn't have anyone left to stick up for them."


A match flashed to life with a brilliant flame, casting a shadow on the antique mahogany desk. This desk had a history - it had been gifted to the Saratov Royal Family in the early 18th century by Quiberon's King to commemorate the construction of the new Palace in Petrograd, before Quiberon had been subsumed into the United Kingdoms. It was said that the First, Second, and Third Constitutional Proclamations had been reviewed and assented on this desk, which was entirely likely considering the Royal Family had occupied the Palace since a year before the first Proclamation was drafted. The desk was intricately carved with symbols of both nations amid floral patterns and gold inlays. The match plunged into the bowl of a smoking pipe, which slowly took to the flame. The Royal Residences of the Emerald Palace were perhaps the only government buildings left in Saratovia where smoking was permitted indoors - much to the chagrin of the domestic staff.

King Wilgelm II puffed gently as the tobacco in his pipe ignited. He withdrew the match, shook it a bit to disperse the smoke, and dropped it into a Dumani crystal ash tray - itself a gift from the Dumani ambassador from a few years ago. The desk was littered with envelopes of civil commendations and congratulatory letters, which the monarch was personally reviewing and signing. With the annual meeting of the Royal Academy coming in August, he had many commendations to approve. The room was rather dimly lit by just a desk lamp. Petrograd's skyline shined brightly from across the Lena river through the windows, its reflection dancing off the waves as riverboats passed by the Palace's windows to traverse the dozen open drawbridges that cut through the city-center.

The phone rang - unusual for this hour. Wilgelm picked up the receiver, and without removing the pipe from his mouth, curtly addressed the operator.


"Your Majesty, sorry to disturb you at this hour. His Majesty, King Rajko III is on the line for you."

"Patch him through please."

The line clicked.

"Uncle Raša! How are you? We saw the grandchildren a few weeks ago when we hosted a dinner at the Palace - how big they've gotten! But more importantly, how is your health?"

"My dear boy Willie," Rajko warmly answered, "All is well - I'm feeling stronger than ever." His voice sounded frail with age, but with the same determination and passion that he had always had for royal protocol. "Indeed, they have grown so much in what seems like such a short time. Quite so, I remember when you were their age!"

Wilgelm laughed heartily - Rajko was among his favorite foreign relatives. His own father, Maxim II, had himself been very close friends with his brother-in-law Rajko. The Zegoran King had been like a second father to Wilgelm growing up.

"Allow me to congratulate you on the recent news. My government issued a memo today, but I may as well tell you personally how overjoyed we are at the thought of old wounds finally getting a chance to heal."

"Thank you, my boy - that's actually why I'm ringing you. I'm very sorry to call about business at such a late hour, but I felt I must ask you a personal favor. One you may, understandably, find difficult to complete."

"Of course, anything you ask. What is it?"

The Zegoran paused - troubled, it seemed, by what he was about to request of his nephew.

"You and I both know how important this is to the Zegoran people, that this vote be held and they be given the chance to decide their own destiny."

"Of course, this is the decision they've been waiting for over a generation to make."

"Indeed. I know how important it is to your government that this vote pass. That Zegora and Flamaguay normalize relations. That the nasty business of years past be put behind so that... so that we can look ahead. Ahead to... well, to mutual threats that may loom on the horizon."

Wilgelm stayed silent to let the elderly King continue his train of thought.

"Both of us know that the Zegoran people are not naive... This neutrality deal is only intended to put Flamaguay's fears to rest. Officially, sure, we would need to withdraw from many of our CNF commitments. But if, or when, the Prekovars came knocking down our doors... The prospect of sitting on the sidelines is unthinkable to me."

"Quite," Wilgelm curtly agreed.

"Which is why I must ask you to do your best to use your influence to have your government respect our vote. I'm sure your intelligence bureaus are already drawing up plans to tip the scales in favor of what would benefit Saratovia most. I must beg you to do what you can to stop them. To rob this from the Zegoran people... it would not only be morally wrong, but it would drive certain factions here even further into Ostrava's arms if word of any meddling came to light. This is a momentous occasion for Zegora, but our position is more fragile than ever."

Wilgelm nodded in silence for a moment, pondering the King's words in his head.

"I understand completely... You know as well as I do that in the modern era our word holds little sway in public affairs, but I give you my promise Raša, I will do everything I can to preserve the integrity of your vote."

"Thank you, Willie. You know how much this means to me."

"I'd like to visit sometime soon. I know traveling is difficult for you, but perhaps we could take a weekend in the mountains outside Kralvićevo. It's been too long since we've seen one another."

"Yes, I would love that. Have your staff make arrangements, we'll accommodate whatever you can manage to schedule. I would love to see Maria and the children again."

"They're hardly children anymore, the lot of them," Wilgelm chuckled, "But I'm sure they would love to see you too. Frederik is currently out to sea with the Fleet, but he should be returning home on leave soon. I'll try to have it arranged around then."

"Perfect. Good night my dear boy."

"To you as well, Uncle."

The line clicked dead. He didn't know for how long she had been watching, but Queen Maria Aurora stood in the doorway of the study that connected to the drawing room. She was already in her nightgown dressed for bed, and was telling her husband with her expression that it was time for him to come to bed as well. Wilgelm looked up and caught her gaze.

"What does good old Rajko want?"

Wilgelm looked down at his desk, then out into the blackness where he could faintly make out the city lights' reflection on the river, then back to his wife.

"Something that's probably impossible to give him," the King replied somberly.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Prekovy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:28 am

The Gospodar perched on the edge, and looked over.

“It’s a bad melt this year,” he noted, and gestured over the rooftops at the engorged Volynka River.

The men around him nodded.

“Very bad, Gospod,” said Alyakhnovich, confident that his responsibilities were distant enough from rivers to say so. “The worst I can remember.”

“No – worse last year. The rains were heavier last year.”

Alyakhnovich said nothing.

Dobrovský stepped forward. “I agree with you, Gospod,” Dobrovský said.

“Good,” the Gospodar said. “Dobrovský, since you know my mind, what would you do about Embrea? Do you know what is happening in Embrea?”

“Yes, Gospod!” Dobrovský exclaimed.

“The Embreans have submitted to us. Our people in Embrea are rejoicing in the streets. I hear there are tens of thousands of them in the streets.”

“I have many men in Embrea!” Dobrovský quipped.

“It was an accident of course,” the Gospodar said, continuing as though he had not heard Dobrovský. “The Embreans will realize what they have done, although it is too late for them. Our people in Embrea won’t accept the old ways anymore. So we will need to do something. Since you know my mind, Dobrovský, what would you do about Embrea?”

“I – I would send my best man!” Dobrovský replied, puffing his chest.

“Yes, I would send my best man to Embrea,” the Gospodar said, gesturing at the skulking man who was whispering with Jerzabek. “I would send General Lehar to Embrea.”

Dobrovský receded and Radovan Lehar stepped forward, grimacing. “That is very pleasing to me, Gospod. I will oversee a deployment to the Embrean border.”

“No!” The Gospodar laughed, and took Lehar by the shoulder. “Radovan, you must deploy your Third Corps to the Embrean border immediately.”

Alyakhnovich gasped, but Lehar kept his composure.

Lehar knew he would win, because he understood the natural condition of the Prekovar race, and the Gospodar did not. The Gospodar was a railroad man, and a gas man, and a graphite man. He directed parades to microprocessors. Oswin save the forty-five nanometres of our fatherland! Forty-five nanometres closer to our national destiny!

But the Gospodar could not change the character of a Prekovar. A Prekovar could not be shoved into line; he could only be led. And when it came to the heroic destiny of his people, he expected to be led faster than forty-five nanometres per year.

The Gospodar would not speak the word – faction – but he was no fool. Hard as he tried, he had failed to suppress the war faction. The Gospodar, a nano-man, believed that it arose out of some temporary condition – not enough railroads, not enough gas, not enough graphite. He believed that his men sought what he did, but impetuously, and unwisely, by force.

Lehar knew – the Gospodar sought to release their energy by setting them upon Embrea. But the war faction would not exhaust itself on the Embrean border. Its fount was the vitality of the Prekovar race, forged in a thousand years of struggle against her enemies. There was no struggle against Embrea, only delay from the real war to come.

Lehar reached forward and clasped the Gospodar’s shoulder. “I will do this for you, Gospod.”
GLASS TABLE - at 13:34
im writing something p ridiculous
im sure @leis willl hate it

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:28 am

"Hmph. What do you make of all this, Felipe?" Gustavo Santana set the binder thick with paper down on the table with a thud that did little to hide what he made of all this. Gustavo was nearing seventy, and age had changed him as it so often does. Every day, a new ache, a new petty frustration, a new reminder of the myriad ways the world had moved on from men like him.

"World's gone bloody mad," Felipe replied with a grunt, reaching for his wine and gulping like a suffocating fish. Felipe liked wine, perhaps a bit too much, but one forgives old men of such faults. The rest of the world might change, but wine never changed, and there was always plenty of it on hand at Presidiums. Deep, blood reds with a cloying sweetness. Tawny ports, aged for decades in the time-honored fashion. Crisp whites, and the finest sparkling wines imported from Varnia and Saratovia. Being at the top had its privileges, as these men well knew, for they had been there nigh on four decades apiece.

"Did you hear Flamaguay and Zegora are about to make peace? The Flamaguayans have offered to cede Pitino back in exchange for Zegoran 'neutrality,' whatever that means," he continued. "Never thought I'd see the day."

"You and I both, companheiro, you and I both. And then this whole business with Prekovy, what is Mendes playing at here? Did you see the proposal? A new industrial complex in Verin, ten brand new factories to be built over the next ten years."

"Fucking hell, where are we finding the money for that? Has to be at least five billion lire."

"Thirty, actually," Gustavo said. "And the Preks are paying for it, at least in Mendes' mind. We build the factories, the Preks pay for the factories, Prek companies move in and employ the Preks in the New Territories in the factories, Prekovy buys millions of shiny widgets that say 'Made in Embrea' on them, we reap the benefits. Remind you of anything?"

"Flamaguay. Wonder what they have to say about all this. Can only imagine how it looks on their end. Mendes. Does he really think that Prekovy can be done the way Flamaguay was, twenty-odd years ago? As if there isn't a century of history there? As if the New bloody Territories weren't enough of a powder keg already?"

"He's a young buck. Studied in Flamaguay and in Saratovia as I recall, Oswin knows what big ideas he picked up out there. Thinks he knows better than us, what's good for us. My grandfather fought in the War. He marched with Silva Marques. He'd roll in his grave at the thought of it."

"Mine as well. Wounded on the Prekovar front, lost his right eye to some Prek shrapnel. Hated Preks his whole life. Just like my father. And me, well, I can't say I'd be overjoyed if my son had brought one of them home. Does the Movement really support this nonsense?"

"He is the Movement, him and the rest of the up-jumped bean counters that came in with him."

"Not if we can help it," Felipe said emphatically, perhaps a bit too emphatically as a coughing fit seized him. "We have five more days until this comes to a vote. Speak to the others. Speak to your proteges, get them to see reason and they'll get the rest of their age group to see as well. This is the future of our State we're talking about. The future of the Movement."

"I will do what I can, companheiro, I can promise that much. There are still a few of us who aren't taken in by that-"

"Are you certain you wish to finish that sentence, companheiro?" A voice broke into their conversation suddenly. Gustavo didn't recognize the man: young, bespectacled, with dark hair parted smartly. He wore a military uniform; the rank bars on his shoulder identified him as a Senior Lieutenant in the PIDE. That was all Gustavo needed to know about this interloper.

"I was merely expressing, ah, concerns, companheiro Ramires," Gustavo replied, reading the man's nametag. "Nothing more than that. We old folks take time to adapt to such changes, you understand."

"Hmm," Ramires replied, sounding unconvinced. "Well. It has been a long day for both of you, hmm? One says things, when one is tired. Things one does not mean, perhaps. See to it that you get some rest this evening, companheiros, we have a long task ahead of us. It would be quite the shame for such eminent minds as yours to be seen to fall into self-worship, hmm?"

"A shame indeed, companheiro," Felipe said, an edge to his voice as his words slurred ever so slightly. "A shame indeed."

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:21 am

In days long past, the city of Verin sat on Prekovar soil. Blessed as it was with rolling hills rich in copper ore, it grew throughout the ages from a village of no real consequence, to a market town through which traders passed on the road to Ostrava or to the Embrean coast, to a major economic hub in the south of Prekovy. When war engulfed the continent, Verin was home to nigh on seventy-five thousand men, women and children. As fate would have it, this would be the proud city's zenith. The war engulfed Verin, as it did so many other towns and cities, reducing it to so much rubble. Those who could, fled. Those who couldn't came out of the abattoir of the Great War to find their ruin of a city now under new management, as it were.

The Embreans rebuilt, the first and last kindness done to the city of Verin by its new masters. The Prekovars who remained found, in short order, that they were unwanted, unloved and yet unable to escape the new order. In turns, they saw their language banished from the public sphere, their churches converted to the Apostolic heresy, the copper mines closed (for health reasons, the Embreans said) and the doors of opportunity barred shut. In a society that espoused one Embrea for the Embreans, there was no country for them.

A hundred years on, things had changed, but only just. It was no longer illegal to speak Prekovar in public, but few did. The Embreans had brought industry back to the city, in fits and starts; an ironworks here, a car factory there. It always seemed to be the Embreans who benefited most, somehow. Verin remained, for all the lip service to investment and renewal, the poorest of the Directorate's large cities. Its people, for one hundred years of nominal citizenship in Embrea, wore the flag of Prekovy upon their souls.

The news of shifting tides came, as such news often did, from the Prekovar media. It was, strictly speaking, illegal to consume Prekovar media. But of course, there were not nearly enough police and cells to arrest all the guilty. The report of shifting tides in Embrea, the possibility of a trade agreement with Prekovy and all that was implied to come with that, set off a well of emotion that few in the Directorate could have predicted. Joy. Frustration. Hope. Resentment. Vindication. Anger. The die had been cast, and in the early hours of the morning, the streets of Verin were filled as they had never been before.

The police and PIDE, whose job it was to anticipate and contain these things, were left blindsided, an unforeseen consequence of their government's own secrecy. Signs and chanting, legal in substance if annoying in practice, gave way to flying of the Prekovar flag. A criminal act in the Embrean Directorate, the most heinous of anti-Directivist agitation. As dawn broke, the Prekovar flags were joined by a new song, one not heard in the city of Verin for one hundred years. The police, tired, stressed, overworked and unprepared, faced with a demonstration that threatened to become a riot, reacted as they had been trained. Batons, tear gas and rubber bullets flew wildly, desperately, indiscriminately. The videos were on social media before the hour was up.

The powder had been lit.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Wolo » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:35 pm

There is no such this as a rumour in Cockaygne, there are only concrete truths. Nothing is said with uncertainty; every sentence carries with it the weight of conviction.

A sentence you are likely to hear in Cockaygne is “The Prekovars are up to something”. If you are sat round a table in a pub, this sentence might only garner a few grunts of agreement. Of course they’re up to something. But if this sentence is spoken by one of the men that sit perfectly alone, dozens of feet in the air, in the observation towers along the frontier, it is very likely to gain some attention.

These men, who spend their days squinting through high powered telescopes, are particularly suspicious of the Prekovars. If anyone could start a rumour in Cockaygne, it is these men. But it takes a lot to convince them. So, when these men observed that the fighting positions were empty and that no one was coming to fill them, they picked up their radios and said “The Prekovars are up to something”, completely convinced. People listened.
Their conviction was the sort that made old men clean their rifles and made boys lie about their age.

If the Prekovars had abandoned the frontier, they’d be back in force sometime soon. If that happened, they could only be resisted and not driven back. This was what Cockaygne had been waiting for since 1911. If they struck now, they could perhaps keep going. They could secure the Commonwealth’s eastern flank, they could remind their cousins of their duty, their purpose. They could prove themselves worthy, Providence willing.

Messengers would be sent to Haversham, Jessleton and Jacksonville as a courtesy. Cockaygne would not await their replies.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby flm » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:26 pm

“The Kirk is definitely up to something.”

“Yes, that much is certain, we need concrete figures.” The Caudillo stared unblinking at the Sub-Director for Intelligence.

Quepo hesitated slightly in his response. “I am sure that everyone here is perfectly aware that our models in relation to major Kirk actions are, unfortunately, lacking in the same degree of precision that we are able to provide in generating predictions. The establishment, therefore, of-“

“Mauro, for someone who studied statistics you are being far too verbose.” The Caudillo indicated that the Sub-Director should put himself to task much curtly than he would at a formal meeting.

“The Kirk is capable of offensive action. We cannot predict to what certainty it will occur, but it may indeed happen. Our perception is that the Kirk believes that it has been gifted a sort of opportunity. Logically, and I must stress this, logically they would use the time to prepare their defences even further, or perhaps suggest that the current CW forces based in their lands depart to fight in Questers. However, and this is why I was mentioning our difficulties, the Kirk is irrational even by the standards of Providentialists as a whole. They could very well attack.”

“I personally believe it.” Director Beccaro, responsible for national defense, interjected. “They are in no way rational beings, these men and women of Cockagyne. They are a cult with a country, and the base of their cult is faith through suffering. An offensive war against Prekovy would be logical, from their point of view.”

“They are almost opposite to the Embreans, and yet so similar.” Ermenegildo sharply cleared his throat. “Embrea has displayed a shocking irrationality, but in the opposing direction. They seek to avoid conflict which such determination that they have isolated themselves to the point of alienating themselves even from us. The end result, ironically, is quite similar. It is most likely that they will be defeated by Prekovy in any sort of open battle, just as the Kirk will be if they abandon their positions.”

“We have anticipated this.” Quepo cheerfully contributed.

“You anticipate everything, Mauricio, your computer has run every possible situation. Please tell us, what are the odds of an isolated Embrea against Prekovy? Against a Prekovy that is caught slightly off balance by a Kirk offensive? I can tell you that the odds are awful, and that in neither case can Embrea form any sort of coherent opposition. A tour de force for our dear friends in the hardline wing of the Prekovite court.”

Quepo had started to produce another folder, but laid it to rest on the table halfway through the Caudillo´s commentary. “Yes Estro, it is as you have noted. Embrea would not hold for very long.”

“If I may interrupt.” The final member of the meeting, General Reinaldo Carillo, offered his contribution. “As much as it pains to say it, even with the Zegoran flank secure, we still need Embrea.” The Chief of Staff of the armed forces clasped his hands. “Embrea does not add considerably to our fighting power, true, but they are invaluable in diluting Prekovar fighting power and elongating the overall front. Prekovy cannot be permitted to engage Embrea alone.”

“I think most Embreans would agree.” Ermenegildo added.

“They do.” Quepo had already placed another set of spreadsheets on the table.

The Caudillo continued flatly. “And I think that an even higher proportion of Embrean officers would agree.”

“Are we to aid the Embreans in producing a convincing argument for regime change?” Beccaro made sure to speak before Quepo. “There are many who would be happy to help such an endeavour, and many more who would have no trouble looking the other way.”

“Yes. It is not beyond the realm of the possible. General Carillo, please shift a grenadier division and 2 Carabineer battalions from Seventh corps to Third corps, shore up the Embrean flank. Although we are fully within our rights, do not deploy any troops past what we already have within Embrea. Unfortunately we cannot wait for the Zegorans and their referendum. Furthermore, ensure that the 19th armoured is transferred operationally to the strategic reserve. Leave them at their positions for now, however.

The Caudillo shifted himself, squarely matching his shoulders over Quepo´s rather more diminutive frame. “Start preparing to aid our Embrean friends. For now, as tight-lipped as possible. Nobody needs to know yet outside of these walls and your choice lieutenants. I will inform our Ambassador in Evora when the time right.

The Caudillo halted for a half-note, but could not help himself from adding. “A week ago we did not possess the initiative. Today we are the ones in movement.” He drove his right index finger over the borders that Embrea shared with the Kirk and the Republic. “Today I think I understand the Lord Protector. Providence awaits, companheiros.”

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Praetonia » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:51 am

"Good morning, brother," the Protector greeted the representative of the Kirk on the parade ground, not in a meeting hall. That is how it had been done in 1690, so it is how it is done now. Her bodyguards were dressed in Great Mutiny uniforms, with Great Mutiny medals, pistols attached to their canvas webbing with white lanyards. His bodyguards were dressed in Civil War uniforms, swords buckled to the cowhide leather belts of their cavalry overalls, with the old sprig of red and white in their hats. A cornet walked a step behind each of them carrying a flag: the same flag.

He had a right to such a meeting whenever he chose, a right that he rarely chose to exercise. George had told her about him, once or twice. Anne had never met him. The confederates shall consult together, from time to time, to better the success of their measures, she recalled the First Covenant.

"Providence made this day," the ancient greeting, almost forgotten in Senland, "brother."

She had been expecting it. She did not react. He looked as if he had not expected a reaction.

"You have come to talk to me about the threat Prekovy poses to Cockayg -"

"- the Sennish Kirk on the Continent is not threatened. Providence preserves it, against all hazards."

"Of course," Anne smiled sweetly, "Providence preserves us all."


"Walk with me," Thompson said, drawing the attention of the Cockaygne man. He was standing at the edge of the parade ground, looking on with rapt attention. He was not a bodyguard, but he was a serious man. All Cockaygnes, it seemed, were serious men.

Thompson took off his badgeless cap, his Political Service cap, and the Cockaygne man frowned. He put it back on. He led his man out of the grounds of Lilburne House and into the park, Covenant Park.

"I am pleased to make your acquaintance," Thompson did his best in a courtly style that was long dead even in conservative Senland, "I have heard that you are a man who thinks deeply on strategy in your land."

"Our land is your land," he said, and stopped.

"Yes," Thompson bowed his head slightly, "and our land is yours. We are one people."

His interlocutor smiled. "You know well."

"I know," Thompson said, "and I hope to understand. I do not mean to deceive you. But we have drifted apart over the years. Most regrettably. But it is so."

"Yes," the Cockaygne replied. "It is so. We must always accept what is so, because it is the will of Providence. But it does us great pain."

The Cockaygne looked around. He was a young man, dressed in a Civil War cavalry officer's uniform with one hand on a great brawling sword. He took in the people in Covenant Park: the men, the children, the women. He had heard that women in the Old Country were regarded as pinnacles of virtue in a fallen world. But he saw them as crude, even lascivious, showing their calves and ankles in a fashion he considered entirely alien. He, alone among his cadre, had been permitted to watch television and listen to radio, and he had only been disgusted by what he had seen. There was no corrupting him. Each piece of information only steeled his faith in Providence.

"We are facing a great challenge," Thompson chose his words carefully, "Providence does not give victory to the weak or the stupid. We must be strong, and we must be subtle."

The Cockaygne perceived a hint of desperation in his voice. Pathetic. The Praetannic was not a true Providentialist. It was clear. He only affected his belief. Alone in the world was the Sennish Kirk on the Continent true to the faith.

"The world abides in honesty, not subtlety," he said. The matter was closed.

"Yes, indeed the world abides in honest conduct, but in subtle strategy," he persevered, "as the Praetannic nation must balance the interests of the Continent with those of the Subcontinent. She must balance the interests of the Estates-General, which are for a steady progression in the direction of Providence, with those of the associations, which are for a quiet peace in which to strengthen themselves against the future. She must balance the interests of the factions that prevail -"

"Factions," the Cockaygne laughed, and fixed on a particular lascivious woman whom he regarded with intense scorn, "In our Kirk there is but one faction - that of Truth."

"Wish it be not so, but Providence has created factions among us - those who believe that is the best course, and those who believe this - and all are honest."

The Cockaygne turned his face in disgust. "Yes, that may be so.

"Providence has turned her back on many peoples, and damned them with confusion."

Thompson dared not sigh.

"If you hold your nerve now, there may be war between Flamaguay and Prekovy. That, not your action, would be the work of Providence. That would place us in command of the scene. That would be our victory.

"Victory is the proof of Providence," he repeated a Providentialist catechism.

The Cockaygne considered this. "We cannot consider the failure of our brothers in our calculations, and we cannot judge our policy by calculation, but only by our faith in Providence.

"Then be assured," Thompson turned to him suddenly, without dissimulation and with a face of iron, "That you will in no circumstances receive any aid from the Estates'. We have become alien peoples."
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby flm » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:45 pm

Quepo walked past the rows of analysts and into his office. Monitors covered both the far wall and the one behind his desk. A small meeting table with four chairs was the only companion to his workstation, a small white desk which at the moment served as little more than as a resting place for his laptop, also white.

He looked through the glass façade back into the hall, at the rows of analysts. They couldn’t look back at him past the glazed panes. He always wondered if they felt cramped. There were no windows to look out of so deep underground, and one end of the large hall boasted nothing but opaque offices like his. At the other end of the hall, past some technicians, the machine softly droned on. The only other features was the entrance, the door of which also served as the sole way to reach one of many checkpoints, and eventually the elevators. Nobody had ever complained about feeling cramped, so Quepo could not be absolutely sure if the analysts minded the workfloor of the Clinic, remarkable by what little there was to remark about. Apart, of course, from the soft drone at the opposite end of the hall.

It was always there, the machine. The Machine, rather. Or what they could see of it, anyways. The Machine almost certainly knew if the analysts were content with their workspace. Well, Quepo reminded himself, The Machine did not know anything. The Machine gave one back what one put in, nothing more, often less. If one gave The Machine a 1, one would get back a 1. What was interesting was when one gave The Machine a 1 and a 2 and even possibly a 3, or a 4, or more. Then it was possible for The Machine to work. Perhaps a 1 and a 2 and a 3 went into The Machine, and The Machine told you it was a 6, or perhaps there were other things that had not been noticed, and a 1 and a 2 and 3 go into The Machine and The Machine informs you of an expected fall in Prekovite automotive production with a 98.2% degree of accuracy. The Machine was Good. But at the end of the day it was only as good as its human interlocutors.

Quepo was that man. He was a man of incredible power in the Flamaguayan state. Twenty thousand years ago he would have been cutting open the stomach of a calf, rummaging through entrails, and deciding which of the neighbouring tribes was to be put to the sword. Quepo valued The Machine, but sometimes he felt they had another twenty thousand years to go. But The Machine knew. It knew many, many, many things. Things they had no business knowing, things they did not need to know, things that Quepo certainly did not know about. The Machine was the one place were all the information in the Flamaguayan state went to. It had to go somewhere, after all.

Quepo understood The Machine, at least. He tried to understand his colleagues, specimens that were much harder to work with. “On and on all day today about the Navy!” he told the walls, which did little else than hold monitors displaying numbers upon numbers. The navy, all day! Quepo rued the almost seven hours spent talking about the navy. Pointless, he thought. Much like the navy. It was too strong to merely defend the coasts, too much money had been spent to just threaten the sporadic interdiction into the Oryontic. Too little money had been spent to mount a single challenge against the Providentialists, or the Prekovites. Enough money had been spent to ensure that the navy would keep asking for money.

He did not need reams of paper to demonstrate this, it was more than obvious. Even with evidence, Quepo had not gotten far. The navy was not to enter readiness, but it was to do everything just short of that. Due to actions taken by Prekovy, a land power. They had talked themselves into a storm about the importance of sea-power. They weren’t wrong about sea-power, his colleagues were smart people, but they were smart people putting a tool to work because they could, not because they should. For all the effort that the Flamaguayan state invested into appropriate information management, into result-oriented processes with fixed reference frameworks for action, a disturbing amount of decisions were struck between a few men and women in an afternoon or two.

Quepo was always glad that at least the average person was not aware of this fact. The Machine knew, of that he was certain. He reached into his suit jacket and produced a ten-pack for the empty room. Everyone was free to smoke, of course, it wasn’t illegal. But it was most assuredly discouraged. Some said that it should not even need to be discouraged by the state, as the evidence was more than enough. It had grave effects on your personal health and that of others. The percentage depreciation in the cardiovascular capacity of the nation and its negative impact on the capability of the state to wage war had most assuredly been calculated by a department somewhere. The Machine most certainly could provide the exact figure. Some high ranking officer must have examined the report, and suggested liquidating people who owned cigarette factories as Prekovite sympathisers.

The Machine knew he smoked, but he wondered if The Machine understood why.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby TWSP » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:32 am

Palace of the Rada,
Poláček Empire

"The motion is passed with one hundred and fifteen votes in favour, five against," the Chairman of the Lower House of the Poláček "eternal" Rada announced over the system. With practised ease he then looked around at the chamber and all the one hundred and twenty representatives (twenty per region) that composed it. Most weren't paying much attention, and that was the usual when it was a slow day, it was obvious to all that no matters of great importance were being discussed today.

A quick sip of his tea made up for the time until the monitor switched to the next motion. "The next item on the order of the day for today is a declaration," he followed the line with his finger. "The Poláček Empire congratulates the Kingdom of Zegora and Bogatovia, and the Confederation of Flamaguay for the diplomatic resolution of the dispute over the contested region of Pitino, to be decided by the people of Zegora and Bogatovia via a referendum, presented by the representative for the Východní Vévodství, the Honourable Oldřich Prazak. It says here that you wish to make a statement, is this correct?"

Prazak's microphone lit up, indicating it was now on, and the young representative leaned forward. "That is correct, Honourable Chairman."

"Very well, I now give the floor to the Honourable Oldřich Prazak," the Chairman pressed a button on his console and his own microphone stand powered down. He took his cup in his hands before relaxing back on his own chair.

Oldřich buttoned his jacket and rose. He was young by the standards of the House, a man in his mid-forties, and considered to be a rising star of the Liberal Party (the most powerful, and second oldest, party in the Empire since 1840). As such he maintained an image of congeniality and a professional bearing that many other legislators hoped to reproduce: his suit perfectly tailored, not a strand of hair (black or white) out of place, and a content resting face that made him, in the words of his own public relations officer, "approachable". He had all the makings to become the Party president down the line, and eventually (some hoped) Premiér.

The representative cleared his throat. "Thank you, Honourable Chairman, if it pleases the House I wish to make a small dissertation on my motion," and at this statement Prazak immediately looked around with a smile, almost apologetically. "My colleagues need not worry, however, as I will try to be brief. At the conclusion of the Great War, over one hundred years ago, the Kingdom of Zaposlavia was punished for siding with Prekovy by having parts of its land taken by the Confederation of Flamaguay; later the Zegorans would take the opportunity to retake them while the Confederation was engulfed in their civil war, and the Flamaguayans responded in kind twenty years later. This conflict, which eventually resulted in the creation of the CNF, was left unresolved... at least until now. As I'm sure everyone knows by now, the government of the Confederation has extended an offer to the Kingdom of Zegora to resolve this underlying issue between them in a most diplomatic and peaceful way. It is my hope, and I hope that it is also of this chamber, that such an excellent and commendable initiative be-"

"Pardon me," the voice of the Chairman cut the representative mid-speech. "I have a request for an interruption from the Honourable Radovan Svobodnik, do you wish to allow it?"

Prazak looked across the room at the opposing bench, where Svobodnik and his other four fellow representatives awaited his response. Radovan was known to all as an ambitious politician, ambitious and young. In his early thirties, he was the youngest man in the House, having been elected four years ago. He belonged to the Bratrství Party, a pan-Slavic movement that had been born in the Ivanovo region (in the Margraviate) after its recovery in the Great War; most considered it a thinly veiled front for the Prekovars and it was only popular in its home region and, surprisingly enough, some of the southern regions.

Radovan himself had shown up in the political radars almost ten years ago, as the new darling of the Brotherhood Party, and had risen meteorically to the top (some said suspiciously fast). Oldřich knew him to be a fiery speaker and quite capable of riling up a crowd, though that ability was less useful on the floor of the Lower House than on the streets. His platform, like that of his Party, was simple: that all Slavs were brothers and should be united, politically and culturally, and that the World was theirs to take.

"By all means, Honourable Chairman, I yield the floor to my colleague," Oldřich Prazak unbuttoned his jacket and sat back down as the lights went out on his microphone.

"I now give the floor to the Honourable Radovan Svobodnik," the Chairman had barely finished his sentence when Radovan grabbed at his microphone and started.

"Thank you Honourable Chairman, fellow representatives. I must urge you, in the firmest and strongest terms possible, to reject this motion. I can tell you that my colleagues and I, as well as everyone in our Bloc will, of course, vote against this declaration. The reasoning behind this decision is as clear as day, as should be to any true Slav. This so-called 'diplomatic resolution', this 'referendum' is nothing more than another insult from the Flamaguayans to our proud race; to think that the Zegorans, our brethren, should be asked to decide if they -want- to take back land that has always rightfully belonged to them is nothing short of spitting in our faces and on the graves of our forefathers. Brothers, it is wrong enough that one hundred years ago, as the previous representative so put it, we chose to betray our kin in Zaposlavia and Prekovy, it is bad enough that we chose to shed our blood alongside the heartless Flamaguayans, the cowardly Embreans, and even the bloodthirsty maniacs in Cockaygne rather than to help our brother Slavs, that was a crime that we will have to apologize for for the rest of our existence as a people," Svobodnik reached a crescendo. "However, there is a way to atone for our crime, there is a way for us to finally find our place in the world, the place we deserve. Brothers, I urge you again to reject this motion, we Slavs must stand united, and that is why I believe we should withdraw from the so-called CNF and throw our wholehearted support behind the Zegorans, the Flamaguayans must know that they have to return all, and I mean ALL, the land they have stolen or that they will face the punishment for their transgressions. Even the Saratovs, misguided as they are, will soon see the li-"

The sound cut off as abruptly as it had come, and the voice of the Chairman was heard once again, curtly. "Honourable Representative, you have used up your allotted time, next time I suggest you stay on the matter at hand and avoid going on unrelated tangents. Honourable Oldřich Prazak, do you wish to continue your exposition?"

From his seat Prazak smiled back at the Chairman. "There's no need, Honourable Chairman, all that needed to be said has been said already."

"Thank you, Honourable Representative, the House will now vote on the motion..."

The motion passed, one hundred and fifteen in favour, five against.

Margraviate of the Ulani,
Poláček Empire


The bright, red paint had dribbled here and there, a clear sign that however had done this particular piece of graffiti had done it in a hurry. It was a smart decision, all in all, as Ivanovo was still one of the most policed regions in the Empire. It was a credit to the vandal that he had managed to get away at all, and this Zdeněk and Dušan had to admire.

Still, their job as urban hygiene specialists was to take care of matters like this, and their paint-removing solution beckoned. They weren't paid to stand around anyway, and both were eager to go back to the office and relax until the next call came. Zdeněk prepared the tub while his friend and colleague, Dušan, took the tools out of the van. They were about done removing the first character before Zdeněk spoke, wondering out loud: "Who's this Radovan guy anyway?"

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