Autumnal Melancholia

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Serenierre, Oct 27, 2018.

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  1. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    VILLESEN || CATHEDRAL OF THE HUNDRED MARTYRS
    The First Day after the Peace
    I
    WHEN the Revolution came and destroyed the putrid old throne of Serenierre, when Leopold the Tenth scurried off in the dead of night after the execution of his family at the hand of brave young revolutionaries, in all that chaos, Generalissimo Serazin had made a promise to the people. That though the banner of the proletariat would rise across the lands, the devotion to Christ would remain firm in Serenierre. And through the many years, with the rising and waning of one generation of Sérazinist leadership, that promise had remained firm. And so, in this moment of national celebration: the Treaty of Camp Hill having been signed, a national service of remembrance would assume center stage.

    "My children, a blessed day has arrived on these ancient lands," Archbishop Dominique Hippolyte stood at the massive pulpit in the old bishop's corner of the Cathedral of the Hundred Martyrs. Built in the 13th century, this edifice in limestone and granite had seen the highs and lows of the nation. But that morning, the ancient cathedral stood witness to a full mass. "Those ancient heretics to the southern frontier have been defeated by the power of our Lord. Hell hath opened its door on their sins and heresy. And as God is our witness we have defeated the Cathar menace from the heart of our beloved Gallia!"

    "Must he be so dramatic?" Elisabeth Martinique whispered to Bernard Lavosnier. "This was not a crusade."

    "Don't worry, he won't get to take credit for the victory," he responded in an equally low murmur. "Oh, and don't look so constipated Premier, the cameras are on you too." She nodded.

    "Blessed is this day!" the Archbishop said, his voice booming across the sombre interior, "We have vanquished a great foe that has dogged the Serenien nation for centuries. Vanquished the enemy... the enemy that no King could. Only now under the guiding light of our Sérazinist revolution have we achieved a final solution to the scourge of Cathar heresy."

    A round of applause. With certain hesitation, Elisabeth found herself clapping as well. She knew she had to. She looked at the Archbishop and met his gaze. His blue eyes stared back at her. She felt a shiver run down her spine. He smiled at her. She smiled right back.

    The archbishop's office was a grand room high up in one of the towers of the cathedral. Once, long ago, it was said, these very walls bore witness to the agonies of inquisition. How exactly a former torture cell came to be the office of the archbishop remained the subject of much lore. But as the sun poured through the stained glass windows, Elisabeth was fuming.

    "That was quite the..."

    "You liked my sermon?" he interjected, a sickly sweet smile plastered on his face.

    "I was going to say 'speech'." Elisabeth was sitting on a sofa in the Archbishop's office. Bernard Lavosnier was sitting on the sofa opposite her. "Yes, quite political, Your Holiness," he said with a wry smile. The archbishop sat on an upholstered chair facing them.

    "You think it was too much?"

    "Must you play dumb in private?" Elisabeth snapped. "Who on earth gave you the right to announce such bold moves?"

    "My pilgrimage? Is that what sparks your ire, Madame?"

    "You're bloody right. I reckon you have forgotten that it is the Politburo which approves your sermon. And yet today, you chose to be creative."

    The Archbishop sat still: "The Politburo has jurisdiction only over weekly masses. I am free to speak as I choose on special occasions such as these."

    She started at him. He was right. She had to accept defeat on that point.

    "Elisabeth, I think I should continue." Bernard looked at the Premier. "What Madame Martinique seeks to convey Your Holiness is that we do not think it is wise to stir the pot. Your announcement to go on a procession through Occitania is not at all advisable."

    The cleric held his hands together, almost as if in prayer, "But Commissar Lavosnier, you must understand, the Cathar heretics must be made to see the glory of the Christian faith. And, it would be most improper for centuries of heresy to not be purified by a truly Catholic procession through these newly liberated lands."

    "I forbid it!" Elisabeth shouted.

    "But Madame Premier, it is not your permission I need. " He pointed to the sky. "Madame, the lands must be purified. I must do what is my obligation to the Almighty. If that is all, I believe we are done."

    She glared at him for a moment before rising from her seat and walking off. Bernard kissed the Archbishop's ring and followed suit.

    II
    Dominique stood by the windows. The city skyline stretching out before him. "Why must they resist? I mean them no ill will. I certainly did not mean to offend."

    "Yes, Your Eminence," Prior Adolphe said to him. "But you speak the truth. Those heathen lands must be purified. Our procession would show the guiding light to the Cathars and bring the first dawn of righteousness to that forsaken land of sin and heresy. And what you propose is nothing compared to the carnage that infernal woman wrought on the poor misguided mass of heretics. So I ask you to still your mind. You are not in the wrong, Your Eminence."

    Dominique winced at the mention of the carnage. He knew full well of the violence that had taken place in the Occitanian hinterland.

    The bombed out cities and the empty husks of humanity left behind. Through the war, he was unsure of how many times it had happened, but he knew that horrendous weapons of suffering had been used. Some rumours suggested that the military had not stopped only at chemical weapons but that biological agents, too, had wrecked havoc to the lands of the Occitan. But he was not certain. No one in Serenierre was. But, through sheer force of will Premier Martinique had conquered a foe that no king, no man, no Serenien before her had ever managed to claim. The successful division of Occitania and the defeat of the Trier Concord had without a doubt sent the name 'Elisabeth Martinique' into the annals of history.

    "I see the reason in your words but why does my heart not silence the terror that woman strikes in my heart." He clutched his crucifix for a moment before fiddling with his ring. "But I must always be firm with her. The Church has an important authority in our society. We must ensure that the path to salvation is never forgotten, even by people like the Sérazinists."

    "Indeed," the Prior walked up to the Archbishop. "But you must rest now. Enough of these troubles." He held his hand and walked him to a seat. "Here," he passed him a pill and a glass of water. "If confession does not help. A pill certainly will. "

    "Thank you."

    OOC: Open to all participants of Summer of Reckoning.
     
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  2. Occitania

    Occitania Active Member

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    Julius de Marsilia was deposed and Caeso de Tote assumed control of the Kingdom. His legitimacy was helped by the fact he led peace negotiations and had adopted Princesa Mirèo along with two other children of King Julius upon the deposition. Ricard Casafont, now the only duke reluctantly swore allegiance to him. This allegiance of course was not personal as Caeso and Ricard had never been particularly fond of eachother. Caeso was a man of great personal ambition having inherited three duchies. Where-as Ricard was much more religious in his duty to defend the nation of Occitania. Caeso realized that Occitan sovereignty was at stake; not just due to the encroachment of Serenierre but also due to the more active role that Retalia and Eiffelland would inevitably be taking in Occitan politics now that Occitania looked more like a buffer state.

    The other dukes escaped and joined the new Occitan government without their land.

    The general military leadership had also lasted the war but the army had been reduced to 120,000 men. Still that amount of men would be more than enough to man the frontier which was militarized already. The navy however remained entirely intact and this allowed Caeso to send the rest of the 1st squadron of destroyers to the far East where there was turmoil in Occitan lands.

    Caeso de Tote recognized that even if Occitan sovereignty was at stake that certainly co-operation with Trier would be vital if ever the Occitans were to be liberated from communist tyranny. Thus he re-confirmed Julius de Marsilia's policy of allowing Trier to station their military in Occitania. Although most laws and artifacts survived the war, it could definitely be seen from a point of view that Caeso de Tote was taking a more militaristic and dictatorial role for the country.

    With the devastating result of the war, the seizure of Occitan lands and the rise of a new leader. It was an opportune moment to reach out to Lassisse. To put aside any differences the Occitans and Lassinians had.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
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  3. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    || FORTRESSE DE VILLESEN ||
    III
    AUTUMN was when the Fortress was most oppressive. The thick stone walls, grey and sober, would rise from the early morning fog, with only the tops of the guard towers visible. In the old days, the Kings used to live there. But then, the effete monarchs of later times had built palaces, picturesque and refined, with gardens and ponds, leaving behind the old seat of the great dukes who wrested the land from the yolk of Burgundian hegemony.

    After the Revolution, Generalissimo Serazin had moved the machinery of state within the modernized confines of the old fortress. And it was from there that the machinery of Marxist Sérazinism controlled the country.

    It had long been the case for Elisabeth Martinique to wake early. Before dawn was best. It was a habit that had been drilled into her since childhood. The nuns of St. Bertholde's Prepartory School for Young Ladies had made certain of it. And try as she might, ever since that regime, she had been quite unable to shake the habit off. Though on cold autumn mornings, such as that one, she particularly regretted it. Her own bedroom faced the north garden. Once, the king's sisters used to live in the suites Elisabeth occupied. It was a large set of rooms, decorated in the classical style, with antique portraits and classic furniture. It was a rather strange contrast to the stoic exterior of the fortress.

    She lay still in bed. Wide awake but unwilling to move. The warmth and comfort of her little sanctuary was some consolation. Elisabeth found herself reflecting back to the meeting with the Ambassador from Natal. Relations between the two countries had dramatically shifted in the wake of the Treaty of Camp Hill and perhaps she could negotiate favourable terms for some agreements. But her mind was preoccupied with the burdens of victory.

    In all honesty, the peace had come as a surprise to her. It had amazed her how quickly the war was won. In under a week, the might of the entire Occitanian state crumbled. In truth, the success was on account of the tactical missteps on part of the Trier Concord, which were ruthlessly taken advantage of by the military. But now that the Trier Concord had been broken so wholly and Serenierre ascendant in Gallia, the question arose in her mind, perhaps before it did in any one else's: What will happen now? Who indeed would fill in the gaps created by the trouncing of the Eiffellander alliance. The Aurarians were rumbling in their stinking mountains. The Borovanger, too, would be emboldened with their victory in Al-Kez. The status quo would shift and she knew she had to be ready.

    Just the day before, she had signed condolence letters to the families of all the martyred soldiers. Her wrist was still aching. A few times she cried when she saw how young some of them had been. It wasn't easy to not feel guilty. It was, after all, her decision to fire the shot into Occitania. It haunted her. And yet, she knew she had no other choice. Her own son had stopped talking to her. He was livid with her for the chemical attacks during the course of the war. Alas, that too, was something entirely unavoidable. It was rather irritating to see that people had failed to remember that the horrid monarchist regime in Marsilia had broken international norms first. They had used children as soldiers. They hadn't even spared senior citizens from having to defend their decrepit system of oppression.

    Enough of this moping, she thought and lifted herself out of bed.
     
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  4. Occitania

    Occitania Active Member

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    The general effects on Western Occitania by the end of the war was that Occitan resistance went underground. Many Occitans in the cities began constructing secret networks in their ruined cities to keep the insurgency alive. In many cities, weapons were hidden. While in others, the Occitans held onto their guns themselves. In the countryside, insurgency groups were thriving due to the strain it was to enforce curfew in the vast countryside of Western Occitania as-well as the daily rations they were given, keeping the rural farming economy damaged but giving the farmers more free-time. Some farmers continued to work just as hard and some of them in order to setup supply depots in the forests for the insurgents. Rural insurgencies mostly played it safe in regards to picking off Sereniens though. Violence and crime became a much more common thing as-well but the military government was peacefully protested in many places. Resistance against the foreign government was in its infancy by this point and lines with the sovereign Occitan administration were small due to the military administration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  5. Auraria

    Auraria Well-Known Member

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    President's Personal Office
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    Solis, Auraria


    Minister Elizondo leaned back in her chair, looking at her watch “9:49AM,” she read to herself “he’s 19 minutes late.” She let out a slight, but audible sigh. It was enough to catch the attention of one of the President’s assistants, who was hammering away at his keyboard.

    “Is there anything I can get for you, Madam Defense Minister?” the assistant asked.

    “Of no, I am fine,” she replied, with a smile – in truth she could have killed for a coffee “Do you believe they’ll be much longer?”

    “Hard to tell, ma’am,” the assistant answered “I do, of course, apologize for the delay.”

    She smiled, nodding at the assistant. It obviously wasn’t his fault; the life of a President was busy and schedules are organic. She sent a text to her own staffer requesting that everything get pushed back one hour. “So much for getting home before dark,” she said to herself.

    In that moment, the doors to the President’s Office opened – breaking the soundproof walls and spilling conversation into the reception room. A number of Deputies walked out of his office. It was embarrassing, she thought, that she couldn’t name them all. “You’ve seen one old white man, you’ve seen them all,” she laughed to herself in a moment of triumph. One individual did catch her eye, however – Consul Varela.

    “Madam Minister,” the Consul said, extending his hand “I do hope everything is well.”

    “Quite, thank you, Consul,” she replied.

    The Consul smiled, shaking her hand and then looking back at the open door to the President’s Office.

    “I think he’s ready for you.”

    Elizondo smiled and walked into the Office. President Sanabria was sitting on the couches near the fireplace in his office. Shockingly, the fireplace was on – which Elizondo was surprised was even something that could happen. Sanabria was wearing slacks with a sweater, a casual look she was not used to. Behind him was the painting of the Allegory of the Republic, the personification of the nation’s ideals. It remained one of her most favorite art pieces – even if it obviously doesn’t come close to other works. Across from Sanabria was Minister Ferreiro of External Affairs.

    “Minister,” she said “How was the trip to Pelasgia?”

    “Warm,” he replied, with a smile.

    “I could do warm, just about now,” Sanabria chuckled “Arcelia, I am sorry that we’re so behind. You would not believe how obnoxiously needy the National Court can be. Such a bother to deal with, but that’s fine. On to more interesting topics. If you would take a seat, I’d like to discuss East Occitania.”

    “Of course,” Elizondo sat down and immediately opened her briefing “Mr. President, it should come as no surprise that East Occitania is in a dire situation. Caeso de Tote is the new King and his legitimacy and respect among the people remains…questionable. The country lost half its territory, it’s military is shattered and its people are suffering. Undoubtedly the Trier Concord will abandon the nation.”

    “It seems as though it’ll only be a matter of time before an unfavorable, radical government comes to power,” Ferreiro interrupted, much to Elizondo’s annoyance.

    “Correct, and when that happens it would offer Serenierre a justification. They will work to preserve the Camp Hill Treaty whereas the Occitanians will want to – obviously – rebuild their nation. I do not think it is in Auraria’s interest to give Serenierre even greater access to the Long Sea. They will certainly take advantage of the situation.”

    “So, then we need to stop the crisis in Occitania,” Sanabria replied.

    “Yes, sir,” Minister Ferreiro replied “Otherwise, this treaty is just a temporary peace until Serenierre is prepared to finish the job.”

    “This sounds expensive,” Sanabria continued, rubbing his temples “I can only adjust the budget so far without the Court’s approval.”

    “I would suggest we get the Court’s approval regardless. This will take time and I don’t think we should open it up to debate when you hit your limits,” Ferreiro answered.

    “How public with this do we want to go?” Sanabria asked.

    “Depends how much you want to piss off the Serenien,” Elizondo replied.

    “Yes, well, they’re so well known for proportionate responses,” Sanabria leaned back on the couch.

    “I say we call Serenierre’s bluff at the moment. How committed are they truly to maintaining their dominance of the West? Let’s make contact, announce a commitment to supporting the country’s reconstruction…denounce the chemical attacks and aggression. We go from there,” Elizondo replied.

    “Alright,” Sanabria agreed “Rodrigo, make it happen.”

    “Of course, Mr. President,” he said standing up.

    The two Ministers left the President’s Office.
     
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  6. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    Could it have been done better? Yes. Definitely. It was still considered just to refrain from using chemical weapons against the Serenien troops. From that point of view, the Eiffellandians and the Retalians considered Serenierre a rogue nation. The charges of war crimes against Martinique and her clique had been withdrawn, but the Eiffellandians and Retalians hated the Sereniens for it. For the whole war, because the Eiffellandians and Retalians considered it unjustified. Like they considered the Kadikistani actions against former Trivodnia unjustified. But the army top had made mistakes. Minister of Defence Ferdinand Jung had made mistakes as well.


    The Government had signed the Camp Hill accords, had promised to accept the outcome of the referendum in the Slavian parts of former Trivodnia, and had recognised the Polesian rump state. The people understood why, but that was not a reason to become friendly towards people from Rurikgrad Pact countries and Serenierre. There was no governmental import ban against the products from those countries, but the Eiffellandians and Retalians refused to buy those products. The sale of Serenien cars (which had never been high) went down to close to zero. The sale of Kadikistani vodka (which had been moderately high) went down to close to zero. The sales of all products from Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact shrinked to close to zero. Also the sale of Kadikistani caviar diminished, but the main reason for that was the fact that less people could afford it. Import companies always had to tell the same to their Serenien, Kadikistani and Xinhaiese suppliers: “I’m awfully sorry, but the demand for your products has diminished.”


    Some media companies refused to accept advertisements for products from Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact. The company behind Schau! was one of them. “Quality” newspapers like the Spiegel des Tages, Trierer Zeitung, Weissenfelser Rundschau, Kölner Zeitung, Altburger Nachrichten, Der Standard Retaliens, La Stampa Libera di Retalia and Il Mondo continued to advertise for Serenien, Kadikistani and Xinhaiese products, but only because they knew that their readers wouldn’t have a problem with that. The state-owned radio and television media, enjoying complete journalistic freedom but bound to a neutral advertisement policy, continued to advertise for Serenien, Kadikistani and Xinhaiese products, but RFE, SatRundfunk, VoxRetalia, RRF and ProEins refused such advertisements.


    Kadikistani were treated very badly in Eiffellandian and Retalian pubs, hotels, bistros, restaurants, cinemas etc. The only exception to that rule were four and five star hotels, and the pubs, bistros and restaurants associated to those hotels. Also the more expensive restaurants remained polite towards Kadikistani.

    The Sereniens had the luck that most Eiffellandians couldn’t distinguish them from Burgundians and Occitanians. The Eiffellandians treated them like they treated Burgundians and Occitanians. But not the Retalians. They could distinguish Sereniens from Burgundians and Occitanians, so they gave Sereniens the same treatment as they gave Kadikistani.

    The Xinhaiese were the luckiest onese. They had the luck that most Eiffellandians and Retalians couldn’t distinguish them from Touzenese and people from Seodae or Reikoku.


    The Government of Eiffelland-Retalia was not happy with this situation, but could not change it. A governmental decree to treat Sereniens and Kadikistani correctly wouldn’t have the desired effect.


    There were also other issues to handle. The union between Eiffelland and Retalia had become a fact, but the armed forces had not been integrated yet. The new structure was already there, but it needed to be implemented. The Retalian general Aliswiller would become the new Generaloberst. Großadmiral Feders was in an outplacement trajectory. He could serve as a staff general under Aliswiller, but he decided not to do so. Feldmarschall Modersohn had two more years to serve; he was allowed to continue to serve as the general (or marshall) of the 1st Army. The Eiffellandian structure of the armed forces would be implemented. The emergency measure to mobilise the 3rd army and fill it with people who fulfilled the first service earlier remained in effect. The 120,000 Eiffelloretalian soldiers in Occitania were all conscripts. There was also an Eiffellandian air force division in Occitania, as well as numerous surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and surface-to-sea missile systems, and of course several ARS systems.


    The policy of Eiffelland-Retalia was a simple one from now on: Stick to the Camp Hill accords and avoid war as much as possible. Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact would never see the Trier Concord as neutral, but the Eiffelloretalian government wanted to uptake a neutral position as much as possible. The neutral position Eiffelland had before Chancellor Graf von Seydewitz took power and the world started to see Eiffelland as a different country, especially after the former Tiburan Empire left the de facto leadership of the Trier Concord to the Eiffellandians.

    Before the war, the whole world considered the Trier Concord the defender of the free world against the Rurikgrad Pact. That was something the Trier Concord could only do when it would become the same type of country as Kadikistan, with the same relentless mentality as the Sereniens. That was considered a no-go—what would there be to defend if Eiffelland-Retalia had turned itself into a Kadikistan?

    So neutrality was the keyword now. At least that was the opinion of the Eiffellandians and Retalians. It remained to be seen if that was also the opinion of the new leader of Occitania, Caeso de Tote. Of course Eastern Occitania would be defended at all cost for the case that Serenierre decided to “finish the task”. But the Trier Concord would abide by the Camp Hill accords and try to avoid irritating the Sereniens and the Kadikistani. The Occitanians were allowed to keep the contacts with the Occitanian resistance in the Protectorate warm, and to provide the Occitanian resistance with enough supplies to stay alive and keep the Protectorate a bit unstable, but that was all. And those contacts should not be conducted over lines of contact that could be traced back to the Governments of Eastern Occitania or Eiffelland-Retalia. If weapon smuggling was involved, the weapons had to be clearly from the black market.


    And with that said, Occitania’s relations with Justosia were considered an issue. Of course it was good to have cordial relations with Justosia, but those relations should be such, that the Trier Concord could not be dragged into a war induced by a cascade of misunderstandings involving the Justosians.


    Indeed. Justosia. Another headache-issue. What was King Francisco thinking? Killing his economy to prop up his military? He lived on an island! What he needed, was an enormous amount of surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and surface-to-sea missile systems. On the one hand, King Francisco’s decision to prop up his armed forces in such an enormous pace would be a very good opportunity for the Eiffelloretalian weapons industry. On the other hand, if the Eiffellandians and Retalians would supply Justosia with so many weapons, the whole world would look at Eiffelland when the situation would explode.

    But maybe King Francisco’s decision led to a different kind of opportunity. Let the Justosian industry concentrate on building up the Justosian armed forces; then the industries of the Trier Concord would jump into the gaps left behind by the Justosians.


    The situation inside Eiffelland-Retalia was the following. The country was in recession. The government debts had increased from around 40% to 100% of the GDP. Chancellor Dr. Röpke had an opinion on that. This debt had to go down.

    There were two ways to get out of a recession of this type. One way was austerity and reduce the debts. On the shorter term, that would increase the economic shrinking and let the crisis last longer. On the longer term, that would make the financial system more stable.

    Another way was stimulating governmental spending and turning on the money press. In this way, spending would be stimulated. On the short term, the recession could become be less deep. And here was the problem Chancellor Dr. Röpke saw: The “could”. Trying to outspend a crisis could go horribly wrong, leading to hyperinflation.

    Chancellor Dr. Röpke, son of the famous Eiffellandian economist Dr. Stephan Röpke who was honoured as the father of the Soziale Marktwirtschaft, considered financial stability the basis of the economy. Without financial stability, the economy could not run. One of the fundaments under financial stability was a government in a healthy financial situation. This meant a governmental spending deficit of not more than 3% and government debts under 60% of the GDP. He even preferred 40% to have a buffer. So he ordered austerity. He was happy that his political party, the CDV, agreed with that. Also his presumed successor Roland Rheinfeld, whom he considered his pupil. Andreas Fritschler of the LDP agreed with him as well. Convincing the SPE would become more of a problem. Roland Rheinfeld had already made clear to Rüdiger Zimmermann that austerity would be a breaking point in the coalition negotiations after the upcoming elections. There was all the room to use the previous coalition accord as the basis to continue governing, but austerity had to become part of it. The SPE was thinking about what it would want to have in return.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  7. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    "This is what happened," Großadmiral Feders said. He was working on his last task for the armed forces. "Apart from the napalm and the poisonous gas, we have to conclude that the Sereniens totally outnumbered us. We could not send more troops to the front because of the risk that Kadikistan would march through Iorusah and Bergenheim to attack us in the back. But let's also look at the way both Serenierre and Kadikistan started the war. Serenierre fired an enormous amount of missiles into Occitania, Kadikistan did the same in Trivodnia. Then they rode their tanks into both countries. Serenierre also managed to keep their supply lines working during the war. Trivodnia was impossible to hold, unless we would have been able to attack Kadikistan in the back with a million soldiers. But we didn't have a million soldiers. We only had 400,000. Apart from the Navies and the Air Forces. Violating Iorusah's neutralitiy was out of the question, but even then we wouldn't have managed it.
    The basic issue is numbers. Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact outnumbered us massively. Kadikistan and Xinhai have 1.5 million soldiers each only in the land army. That combined is more than what Eiffelland, Retalia, Occitania and Bourgogne have. Then the tanks. Kadikistan has 15,000 tanks. OK, the majority old material, but all well-maintained. We have only 5000. Also Serenierre has more tanks than we have. Our air force is outnumbered as well. OK, our planes are more modern, but we didn't have to deal with the old planes from Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact; only with their new planes."

    Feders looked at his audience. It consisted of Generaloberst Aliswiller, Chancellor Dr. Röpke, Vice-Chancellor Zimmermann, Vice-Chancellor Fritschler, probably future Ministerpresident of Retalia Walther Grauholzer, Ministerpresident of Helgoland Godebald Modrow and Ministerpresident of Rügen Reinhard Schmidt. They were sitting in a room in Schloss Bellevue that was completely sealed off from the outside world. No radio device worked from that room. Furthermore, the whole room had been scanned for secret recording devices before the meeting took place.

    "We will have to reinforce our armed forces if we want to be able to keep Serenierre out of Occitania and the Rurikgrad Pact out of Gallogermania," Feders continued. "I can guarantee you all one thing. Engellex and Occidentia consider us competitors. They don't have a problem with it if the Rurikgrad Pact rolls up their competitors. Their hatred towards communism is not enough for helping us out in the case of a massive attack from Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact. Let's look at some numbers. Eiffelland had society service. Each boy and girl had to do two years of society service after absolving secondary school. Given a birth rate of 750,000 babies a year, roughly 1.5 million adolescents per year were active for the state. Roughly 750,000 of them were boys. Only 130,000 of those boys served in the armed forces; the other 620,000 boys cleaned hospitals, helped out at the municipal administrations and cleaned the parks. We had very good conscripts, but also very few.
    Eiffelland-Retalia will have a birth rate of roughly 1.6 million babies per year. Roughly 800,000 of them are boys. Given the fact that the two year society service will also be introduced in Retalia, we have 800,000 boys per year potentially available for military service. I recommend that we use those boys. And not only the boys, also the girls.
    My suggestion for the armed forces is the following.
    The land army will be extended to 840,000 soldiers, divided over 7 armies with 120,000 soldiers each. The 1st army will continue to be a professional army; the second army will partly consist of conscripts and partly of professional soldiers, all other armies will be conscript armies. The second army will be dedicated to missile handling. This army will work on several ARS systems, as well as missile batteries all over the country and all along the coast lines. Also on the islands. The conscripts will be girls. The number of tanks will be increased, and also the number of mobile rocket launchers and infantry fighting vehicles. Furthermore, we need to start building that missile with 1700 km range that Rathenau Militärausrüstung proposed to us a couple of years ago.
    The Navy doesn't need to be extended, but many of the sailors will become conscripts as well. Eight of the submarines will be converted to missile submarines.
    The Air Force will only be extended to the combined size of the former Eiffellandian and the former Retalian Air Force."

    Chancellor Dr. Röpke gratted his head. "This is going to cost a lot of money," he said. "How are we going to finance it?"

    Vice-Chancellor Zimmermann also gratted his head. "To which extent is the Rurikgrad Pact really a threat to us? Maybe they have enough soldiers to overrun us, but after having conquered Gallogermania, they will have to occupy it. Do they have enough resources for that? I don't think so, to be honest. And it can't be different that they know that," he said.

    Großadmiral Feders said: "They don't need to occupy us after having conquered us. They will burn down everything and leave after that. Like Serenierre burned down Western Occitania." He wanted to say "well, we know that the Kadikis take most of their decisions under the influence of alcohol, but we have also seen that they stop drinking when they start fighting", but he refrained from that remark, knowing that such remarks would not be valued by Sociodemocrats and Socioliberals.

    "I have serious doubts about this plan," Zimmermann said.

    "Me too. Mainly about whether we can finance it," Chancellor Dr. Röpke said. "Mr. Fritschler, I think we have to look at the financial aspect of this."

    "But even if we can finance it, I have strong objections against this plan," Zimmermann said. "It might provoke Serenierre and the Rurikgrad Pact, and then we have exactly what we want to prevent."

    "Let's discuss that later. I have to make some things clear before we close the meeting, by the way. Officially this discussion did not take place. The future discussions on this topic will officially not take place, either. This all is top secret. We won't discuss this topic outside this room. Mr. Fritschler, tomorrow the two of us will come back here, and then we will discuss the economical and financial aspects. Take everything you need with you. Do not make any notes when you study things," Chancellor Dr. Röpke said.
     
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  8. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    “In the past, Eiffelland was always very open about which military equipment we developed and bought. Given the fact that we are a liberal democracy, and given the fact that our media would get it out immediately, we considered it better to announce the news ourselves. In the political constellation we considered ourselves in, that was still naïve but understandable. The Sereniens always reacted quite allergic on such news, simply because they saw us in a different way than we saw ourselves.
    Also that is a lesson we have to learn: The outside world does not consider us as neutral as we consider ourselves. Serenierre, Kadikistan, Engellex, Beautancus, they all consider us the same kind of coutries as they are themselves. If we close an alliance, even if we send in a medical team to assist in what seemed a medical crisis, they consider it an attempt to extend our sphere of influence, no matter how hard we shout and how crystal clear we make that we don’t think in terms of our sphere of inlfuence.
    Currently our military behaviour is under a magnifying glass. Also that is a result of the lost war. Whatever we do, we have to do it secretly. Or at least in such a way that the Sereniens and the Kadikistani won’t notice it. Suddenly doubling your army is not something you can do secretly.
    Apart from that, we of course have a financial issue. Eiffelland-Retalia is currently in a recession. We have to pay off debts. That is something that is not so easy to combine with increasing military spending. Furthermore, until the summer holidays, we can only call the Eiffellandian boys who were deemed fit for service to arms. And also then we have to be careful, because we cannot suddenly change the civil service schedules of 200,000 people. We have to do so little by little.
    Vice-Chancellor Fritschler made clear to me how much financial room we have. He also indicated how to mask the additional military defences by booking them elsewhere under different post names. I realise that this is fraud, but we do it in such a way that the total image is sound. At general level, we will lower our debts, and we will reduce government spending.
    We will carry this plan out in parts. The first part is setting up the second army as described by Großadmiral Feders and building the missile installations. From my point of view, we can start with that right away. ARSs, but also other antimissile systems, surface-to-air missiles and the coastal defence missile batteries, all as described by Großadmiral Feders. At first instance, it will be the 1st Army which will man them; In parallel, we will recruit for the professional part of the 2nd army, and will start drafting for the conscript part of the 2nd army as well. This means additional drafting; we will take additional boys out of the civil service pool.
    The second part is making unused military terrain fit for use. We will carry this out as soon as our financial situation allows us to do so.
    The third part is purchasing additional tanks, Wiesels, howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles. We are already doing so at a slow pace, but will do so at a faster pace as soon as our financial situation allows us to do so.
    The last part is drafting the additional soldiers, which will happen from next year onwards among both the boys and the girls going into civil service per 1 August. Indeed, this also means that the conscription will be extended to girls. And indeed, also Retalians will be conscripted.”

    It was Demissionary Chancellor Dr. Röpke who spoke. He was in a meeting again with Demissionary Vice-Chancellor Zimmermann, Demissionary Vice-Chancellor Fritschler, Generaloberst Aliswiller, Ministerpresident of Helgoland Modrow and Ministerpresident of Rügen Schmidt. They were sitting in Schloss Bellevue again, in the room that was completely sealed off from the outside world. The room had been completely scanned for recording devices. Even the air channels had been blocked; the oxygen supply went over air cilinders in a room next to this sealed off room. Also that room was completely sealed off and had been scanned for recording devices.

    This plan was completely in line with Generaloberst Aliswiller’s ideas. Also Modrow and Schmidt agreed.

    “OK. This is my position,” Demissionary Minister of Foreign Affairs and Political Leader of the SPE Rüdiger Zimmermann said. “I already have a problem with convincing the SPE of the upcoming austerity policy, but I will have an enormous problem with convincing the SPE to extend the army to this size. Even if we do it secretly, at a certain moment it will come out that we extended the army. And then at least internally we have to admit that we agreed to this secretly. Eiffelland-Retalia is still a democracy; we have to take responsibility for this. I fully understand why we have to do it in secret. Even if we discuss this secretly in Parliament, Liebknecht will run to Ivar and tell what we are doing. So if we extend the army, we have to do so secretly and without the parliaments knowing it. But at a certain moment, the press will smell something. And then it becomes known. At that moment, the left wing of the SPE will want my head. Even if that will lead to the fall of the Cabinet and new elections. The only thing I can do to prevent that, is if I can make clear that I received something in return. Something substantial.”

    Everybody remained silent for a moment. Then Chancellor Dr. Röpke asked: “What are your thoughts about that?”

    Zimmermann knew that it was a wish of the SPE to unite the first three years of secondary education into a kind of junior high school, but he also knew that the CDV and the LDP would never agree to that. But there were some other SPE-wishes he could demand to be fulfilled. One of them was a principal wish.

    “For starters, I want same-sex marriage,” Zimmermann said.
    “Sorry, but that’s a no-no in Helgoland,” Modrow said.
    “Also in Rügen,” Schmidt said.
    “It will really depend on how parliament will look like after the elections if we can do that in Retalia,” Aliswiller said.
    “I don’t have any principal objections against same-sex marriage, and I think we can push this through without a problem in Continental Eiffelland. The only problem I see, is when somebody married to a person of the same gender will travel to countries where homosexuality is illegal. To overcome that problem, we will have to take each and every reference to the marital status out of the passports and introduce a legally valid document showing that a couple is married. In that case, married couples can decide for themselves if they want to be able to show abroad that they are married or not. Then a married gay couple can act as a married couple in Auraria and Engellex, and act as two singles in Beautancus (if we are allowed to travel there again) and Elben. Furthermore, we can also decide that the same-sex marriages closed in Continental Eiffelland will only be legally valid in Continental Eiffelland. Would that be something you all could agree with?” Röpke asked.
    “We should do it in such a way though that the same-sex marriages closed in Continental Eiffelland will become legally valid in another Land when same-sex marriage is allowed there,” Aliswiller said.
    “I agree to that,” Röpke said. “Vice-Chancellor Zimmermann, Vice-Chancellor Fritschler, Ministerpresident Modrow, Ministerpresident Schmidt, what are your opinions?”

    All agreed.

    “Secondly, I want the possibility of euthanasia when somebody is unbearably suffering and is likely to die,” Zimmermann said.
    This was something neither Dr. Röpke, nor Modrow, nor Schmidt liked. As members of Christiandemocratic parties, they were more strict in their beliefs than most Eiffellandians. OK, to varying degrees, they didn’t mind certain deviations from the Tiburan Catholic principles, but all three had a limit on that. And actively helping someone to die was beyond that limit, even if killing that someone would be the only way to end his or her suffering.
    “I have principal objections against that, but I do see a possibility. However, allowing euthanasia does not mean imposing it; people will always have the possibility to deny that option, so allowing it for the people who want it won’t have consequences to my own principles in this. But also then, we have to be very careful with taking this pathway. I can only agree to this if we define the conditions under which euthanasia is allowed, as well as the procedure that leads to euthanasia, very precisely. Furthermore, we must protect the position of physicians who don’t want to carry out euthanasia for whichever reasons. A physician must never be forced to perform euthanasia. A patient must never be forced to choose for euthanasia, either. Under those circumstances, I can agree to a legalisation of euthanasia,” Dr. Röpke said.

    Modrow and Schmidt agreed, as well as Aliswiller, Fritschler and Zimmermann.

    “Lastly, I want a nationwide minimum-wage. Both in Continental Eiffelland, and in Retalia, and in Helgoland, and in Rügen,” Zimmermann said.

    Neither Eiffelland nor Retalia had a legal minimum wage. This was not really visible from the outside, because most monthly wages were above the 2000 Unionsmark (1920 Euromarks) level. Only unskilled work payed a salary below the minimum amount of money to live in Eiffelland-Retalia.

    “I don’t have the exact numbers for Retalia, but in Eiffelland about 1 million people are dependent on jobs that don’t pay enough to live from. These people are forced to take more than one job. Of course they can apply for social security, but most people don’t know the way to apply for that and take multiple jobs. I think that each job should pay enough to live from. When we give these people social security, we are subsidizing their jobs, but in fact it is the responsibility of their employers to give a decent salary. That is something we should enforce,” Zimmermann continued.

    Dr. Röpke thought for a moment. Then he asked: “What should that minimum wage be?”

    “I an thinking of a minimum wage of 3 Mark per hour for 15 year olds to 9 Mark per hour for people aged 22 and older,” Zimmermann said. “A 15 year old still lives with his or her parents, or under whichever form of custody. He or she only works for some additional pocketmoney. A 22 year old has more needs. He or she may have to care for children as well. An hourly wage of 9 Mark leads to a monthly wage between 1440 and 1656 Mark, given a 40 hour working week and 20 to 23 working days in a month. That is enough to live from.”

    There was some discussion, but in the end everyone agreed. Eiffelland-Retalia would get a nationwide minimum wage.

    “OK. Thank you. Under these promises I can agree to increasing the armed forces according to the Feders Plan,” Zimmermann said.

    Eiffelland would start increasing the size of its armed forces according to the Feders Plan.

    Dr. Röpke made one final remark: "Officially this discussion did not take place. Also this meeting is top secret. We won't discuss this topic outside this room."
     
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  9. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
    PROTECTORATE OF OCCITANIA

    IV
    "I find them quite distasteful." The newly appointed Governor for the Protectorate of Occitania (the official name for territories occupied by Serenierre) was not a man who minced his words. On that particular occasion, he had been blunt about the men and women he had been meeting over past few weeks.

    Following the adoption of the Basic Law for the Protectorate by the Politburo in Villesen, it had been clear that the old aristocracy of the Kingdom of Occitania would be allowed to retain their titles and 25% of their lands and possessions. The old ducal and baronial dynasties could continue to fester and leach off the land as they had done before. But, the caveat was that the title would not rest in those who had held it under the Occitan King. The new law nullified the right of the previous occupants and automatically passed it on to the youngest brother. This way, the Serenien government had created a new aristocracy from within the old one. Each of the newly appointed feudal title holders were empowered to deal with the previous occupant of the title in whatever way they saw fit. Most of them had simply killed their older brothers or sisters.

    "They keep killing each other and demanding ostentatious tombs for their own victims, claiming that they are the sons and daughters of a noble line. It makes no sense. Why kill them if they are so special? I don't have funds for such indulgences!"

    The voice on the other end of the phone spoke calmly. "Yes, yes I understand. But these are feudal nobles. For them, they need to secure their hold on what little remains of their fiefdoms. So hold firm. If they continue to demand ostentatious tombs, just shove them in it too. That will silence them. Scare a few of them and then the rest will shut up."

    "Yes, sir."

    "And remember to keep gathering dirt on all of them."

    "Always sir."
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  10. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    ||CITY OF ALMEZDE||
    ||PROTECTORATE OF OCCITANIA||

    V
    "Come now," he said, "Don't make me arrest you."
    Bernard flashed a smile. "Don't say things you don't mean," he flashed his card at the soldier. The press credentials were enough for the soldier to stand down.
    "Alright," he threw his hands up in the air. "But be careful. Lots of trouble round these parts."
    "So I've heard."
    Bernard had arrived in Occitania as the war was ending. Sent to document the war for the Chronique de Villesen newspaper. Over the past six months, he had come close to death so many times that he could hardly count anymore. So while he knew how to protect himself in tricky situations, he did not take the soldier's warning lightly either.

    The cities in Occitania, while defeated and a husk of their former selves, were still full of small pockets of hostile guerillas, who were engaged in random skirmishes with the Serenien army. Despite the tight control of the military, the random bursts of violence had not stopped and remained ever on the horizon. Though, from what he had heard some of the Occitanian forests and countryside were even more dangerous. But that day he was photographing the refugee camps and taking interviews with some of the locals. The only trouble in these camps, with tents and shacks of one kind or another, were the criminals. The lawlessness in the refugee camps made these places dangerous in a different way.

    While the Basic Law had been enacted for the new territory within the sphere of Villesen's control, the Executive Committee was still coping with the fall out of conflicts in the restored feudal class. It had been hoped that the new feudal lords would assist in the maintenance of public order but these new lords were exacting their revenge and consolidating their power over their shrunken estates before thinking of helping anyone else. So, for the time being, the urban centres remained rather lawless. This in turn had brought about a tight military curfew which kept a constant atmosphere of tension and apprehension across the cities. That sense had been true in all the cities Bernard had been through. And Almezde was no exception.

    The Army Medics were keeping the refugees fed with rations and tending to the injuries or other complaints but it was clear that the conditions for the civilians needed to improve. He snapped picture after picture of the camps. His editor would love these.
     
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  11. Auraria

    Auraria Well-Known Member

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    Hello there guest. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    PRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA
    LA REPÚBLICA AURARIANA

    29 Glaciemes CXCIX | 13 January 2019
    The Honorable Elisabeth Martinique
    Premier
    Villesen, Serenierre
    The People’s Republic of Serenierre

    Dear Premier Martinique,

    Throughout history, the People’s Republic of Serenierre and the Aurarian Republic have had their tensions, trials, successes, and failures. There are an equal number of subjects that divide Serenierre and Auraria as there are things that unite our countries. I believe it is time to reevaluate the situation that has befallen Gallia and begin to talk about the future in a way that guarantees peace for future generations.

    The war in Occitania was regrettable, however it cannot be understated that the actions of the Occitanian nation forced Serenierre’s hand. To close off access to the Retalian Sea – or to claim it as territorial waters when it remains so critical to so many – warrants a response from the Serenien Government. We can argue for a long time about the methods that Serenierre used to become victorious, but war has an objective lack of morality in its own right.

    Of equal tragedy to Occitania was Trivodnia, now the People’s Republic of Polesia. The country is now added to a list of countries that the Kadikistani Union, with their violent interpretation of communism, has control over. The Rurikgrad Pact continues to present a serious threat to all non-communist countries of the continent, especially so with the death of the Trier Concord.

    In light of the current situation in Gallo-Germania, the Aurarian Republic believes a rapprochement is necessary between Auraria and Serenierre. Monarchist countries continue to rise with the growth of the religious zealots in the Council of the North, a nationalist government in Pelasgia, the consolidation of Eiffelland and Retalia into one country, and the growing threat that is the Justosian Kingdom. Through it all, the Serenien Government has only acted in defense of their own integrity, exerting undue influence on no other country.

    This, coupled with the Serenien State’s rejection of Monarchism, leads the Aurarian Republic to extend a hand and invite your Excellency to talks in Solis to have a frank discussion on the future of Gallian politics. We understand how such a meeting could cause an issue for the Serenien and we are happy to keep it under confidential terms, should you choose. At any rate, it is the sincere belief of the Aurarians that there is more to gain as allies than enemies.

    I look forward to a favorable reply.

    Signed,

    Manuel Sanabria
    President
     
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  12. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    Private Study -- Residence of the Premier
    Fortress de Villesen

    In her quiet inner sanctum, Elisabeth sat with a box full of letters and documents but on her desk the sole object of her attention was the signed and sealed letter from Solis. Her Private Secretary and Commissar Lavosnier sat on the other side facing her.

    "I do find this highly unusual," she said, "on Sanabria's part. I wonder what changed his mind. Last we knew, he wanted to condemn us all as war criminals, now he is offering friendship and such warmth. But I think as we have discussed already it is worth accepting the invitation. Let's see what he plans to unveil. Issue an acceptance of the invitation and coordinate accordingly."
     
  13. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    CITY OF ESPIDIZ
    PROTECTORATE OF OCCITANIA

    VI
    The city of Espidiz had been the first Occitan city to fall to Serenierre during the course of the Seven Days War. While the fight had been brutally intense, witnessing the tactical use of chemical weapons against the entrenched forces of the royalist army, the city had assumed a quiet state after the conquest.

    Major Jacques Matignon, commander of the garrison deployed there, often made it a point to visit random locations in the city.

    Last time, he had visited a construction site for a new hospital - the old one had been bombed and destroyed during the battle. The visits to distribution camps were to follow. While the supply of food in the beginning had been problematic, by now, the military government had managed quite well in creating a smooth supply chain. Though Maj. Matignon had to admit that the rations were not particularly appetizing at times, they certainly got the job done.

    Under the directives, the food rations in winter would include potatoes, wheat flour, and milk. For those who couldn't afford fuel, the soup kitchens set up by the Serenien military would provide cooked meals (albeit long lines were a frequent complaint).

    However, Matignon had been trying to get the agricultural lands in the immediate vicinity of Espidiz to restart their operations. The newly installed Duke of Espidiz, the second cousin-once removed of the former Duke (who had been killed by the new duke), was just as eager to get popular support behind him and what better way to win the support of the people in "his" duchy that providing food and work again.

    In the city, which was arguably the most damaged of all, except perhaps for Viasinde, which too witnessed a horrific battle, the efforts for urban regeneration had started fairly soon after the Treaty of Camp Hill had been reached.

    Other than the hospital, the water and sewerage lines had already been re-laid and the electricity lines as well, at present the roads were being re-paved and in the suburbs, several prefab housing schemes had already helped out 2,000 families get homes before the onset of winter. In many respects, the urban administration seemed to have achieved small but beneficial changes for the people, with every likelihood of the benefits being spread evenly.

    Major projects for the city, Matignon noted with a sense of pride, were also going well. As he had seen himself, the city's central hospital was well underway, some wings had already started basic clinics. The Port of Espidiz was being expanded, thanks to a multi-billion livre contract signed by the Ardeche-based NHM Holdings SE, one of the companies owned by the provincial government. This port would be an important connection for Serenierre as it offered a shorter route to the Long Sea.
     
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  14. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    VILLESEN
    Private office of the Premier

    VII
    "It is rather regrettable," Elisabeth glanced at the newspapers scattered on her desk. "Serge could have waited some time before this." She looked up at the rotund figure of Alain Darlan, the man who had served as her Chief Secretary for the full eleven years of her premiership. "Bernard is absolutely incensed."

    "I can imagine, Madame," Darlan said, lowering himself into the chair next to her desk. "But look on the bright side, at-least all the polls suggest that you will get a majority again."

    She nodded. "Oui, that is some consolation. But that toad, Millerand is off on his own trip. Vile man." Elisabeth leaned back, "Ah, let's drop this." She exhaled a long deep sigh, "So what is on the agenda?"

    "Madame, the international press is reporting Eiffelland is still in recession."

    "Obviously," she chuckled, "That mess of an economics minister, what's her name... the new one?"

    "Fritschler? Or Rubinstein?"

    She nodded. "Yes, the two of them. I don't know what they are thinking. How can they speak of exports being high when their entire manufacturing sector was thrown in chaos during the war... remember when Rohke said all civilian factories would make military equipment."

    Alain smiled, "Let us not forget that they also have to absorb Retalia's national debt, deal with the sudden merger of a developed economy into their own-"

    Elisabeth interrupted him: "Professor Charasse," her chief financial policy advisor, "thinks Trier's economy should be experiencing severe effects of the market. Did you get a chance to read his paper?" Seeing Alain shake his head, she continued, "Well, the gist is, firstly, Trier is stationing one hundred thousand troops in Occitania; second, it is absorbing the Retalian debt; third, it is financially supporting the bankrupt Kingdom of Occitania, and fourth, it is dealing with that refugee mess in Germania."

    "Quite a mess," Alain said, "I can't imagine how all that would result in only a minimal recession."

    "That is what the Professor also believes, he was of the opinion that their inflation will go through the roof and their national debt will have to rise... their exports seem to be doing well but the inability to handle the internal economic aspect will cause serious disturbances. And then there is Occitania... Trier is really going above and beyond, shipping two whole corps in, meaning they have to supply them, in addition to the billions they are funneling in to prop the royalists... I don't know what voodoo this is."

    "Especially in a recession, we are taxed enough as it is, but we aren't sustaining the Protectorate in the way the Eiffellanders are doing for their bit."

    "Well, that is Trier for you. Pointless, irrational, and proud."

    VILLESEN
    Politburo chamber, Government House
    VIII
    As long as the Party had been in power, the Politburo had provided guidance to the exercise of state power. In the meeting room, where all twenty commissars and the premier would discuss the affairs of the government and of the Party the destiny of the nation was designed.

    Elisabeth had occupied the foremost seat in the chamber since 2008, after the previous premier had died in office. Her ascent to power had been dramatic and hasty, ensured by the support of the leaderless bloc of the former premier. In the early days, the premier's chair at the table seemed awfully large and unwieldy to her. But over the span of the past decade or so, she had grown more comfortable.

    "Commissar Bernard Lavosnier," she looked towards the man responsible for external relations, "and I visited Auraria in the past week. From the meeting with President Sanabria, a few key points were agreed to... which have become well known through the press reporting on the meeting. However, the purpose of discussing Auraro-Serenien relations at this session of the Politburo is because of the strategic considerations which we as a government must undoubtedly face."

    "The fact that Serenierre is a member, and official one, of the Ruriksgrad Pact is the subject of conjecture and hearsay across the world. But this room knows well enough that we are in fact and in law, members of that alliance. That partnership was premised on a history of common interests and on account of hostile monarchist elements in our immediate region, which necessitated a strong outreach to Ivar."

    "However, over the course of the past few years, and especially during the Seven Day War, we have seen that the efficacy of such an alliance is minimal, as neither Kadikistan or Xinhai opened a naval front in the Long Sea to challenge Eiffelland. Furthermore, in the post-war recovery, Ivar has not registered much in the way of providing assistance to the Protectorate of Occitania."

    "As such, as we close the session today, it is my proposal that Serenierre withdraw from the Pact and adopt a Gallian focus wholly. I think the days of Villesen playing second fiddle to Ivar are over."

    A silence came over the room. "However, I suggest that we address this point once more next week, having reflected on it for some time."
     
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  15. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    Schloss Bellevue
    Trier, Eiffelland


    "We are not at the bottom yet," Minister Rubinstein said. "The depreciation of the Unionsmark made it more difficult to us to import raw materials. Therefore, we could not reduce the export prices of our products. The export of our products remains the most important accellerator of our economy, however. We must make sure that our products continue to have that bit of extra that makes people want to buy them. But apart from that, we are also checking if our companies can buy their raw materials in a different way. Recently they started to use their funds in Pelasgia, Jyskerige-Østveg, Auraria, Gunnland and other countries for buying raw materials. The currencies of those countries didn't depreciate as much as the Unionsmark did. So their offices abroad buy the raw materials and send them to Eiffelland-Retalia. Problem solved, at least for the time being. Another point of interest: We need to keep up the austerity for now to keep our internal finacial structure stable, but there is a point in the future at which it is better that we start spending again in order to stimulate the economy."
    Chancellor Rheinfeld understood what Rubinstein meant. "When do you think will we reach that moment?" he asked.
    "I don't know yet. I'm studying on that," Rubinstein said.
    "Meanwhile, what are we going to do with that complaint by Mrs. Renard?" Minister of Justice Julia Böttcher said.
    "Let's see if she pushes that through. Then she will travel to Altburg. But if she would like it? Currently the people are joking about Premier Martinique being cocaine-addicted. Quite a lot of taxi drivers take Sereniens to rehabs instead of the places where they want to go to nowadays, because of those jokes," one of the other ministers said. "She will have a hard time in Altburg to reach her destinations."
     
  16. Serenierre

    Serenierre Well-Known Member

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    ARDECHE
    Naval Officer's Academy

    IX
    Vice Admiral Claude Pompadour stepped out of the helicopter. With a flourish he took off his sunglasses and flashed a smile at the pilot, still inside, who responded with a salute. As the commander of the eastern fleet, arguably the most important component of the defensive posture for the peninsular provinces. As he walked towards the jeep that awaited him, his gaze rested on the waters of the Retalian Sea. Calm and gentle, the waves lapped at the shore, the sun shone bright, with only a slight chill in the air.

    "Sir," his aide followed up behind him, "High Command has sent its approval for the speech."

    "Good." The Vice Admiral knew that already. "I hope the Academy has brought in some decent reporters for this. I hope you've checked the list."

    "Oui," the aide responded, rushed and breathless, "all the local papers, as well as a journalist from the Associated Press, as you requested."

    "Excellent."

    As he walked into the Academy, he was greeted by a row of various officials and was eventually led up to the auditorium where the graduating class had already assembled. He scanned the audience and noted the official photographer in the corner, and in the front row, a number of civilians with their lanyards bearing the PRESS card.

    The room erupted in a roar of applause as he walked towards the stage. While applause was common in such situations, it did not entirely escape him that these young cadets thought that he was paying attention to them. That the claps made any difference in whether they would be assigned to him or not. How silly. How idealistic. They would all learn, just as he had in his own time.

    As he took the podium, Claude remembered his own graduation service from that very academy so many decades ago. In those days, the naval situation in the east was moribund and sleepy. Now, in the high-tech era of 2019, this was the Retalian was the proverbial tinderbox of unresolved resentments and conflicting maritime claims. The tension was palpable. The graduands seemed uneasy and excited at the same time.

    He scanned the room and smiled. The silence was intense, with all eyes on him. He began to speak.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to speak before the newest inductees in our officer's cadres."
     
  17. Auraria

    Auraria Well-Known Member

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    28 Ventumes CXCIX | 11 February 2019

    OFFICIAL RELEASE
    In observance of the Seven Days War and the subsequent reorganization of the power structures in both Gallia and Germania, the Aurarine Republic is compelled to reevaluate the official stance of the country in relation to the status of the former Occitan Kingdom and the Retalian Sea.

    Firstly, the Aurarine Republic will recognize the separate and uniquely sovereign entities of East and West Occitania. The territorial integrity of West and East Occitania cannot be infringed upon any further by either Eiffelland-Retalia nor Serenierre. In addition to this, the Aurarine Republic condemns the deployment of a substantial military force by the Eiffel-Retalians in East Occitania. There cannot be peace so long as the Eiffel-Retalians maintain such a large military presence in proper Gallian territory. The Republic urges the Kingdom to begin a program of escalation and allow for the East Occitanians to return to a sense of normalcy and heal from the damage of the Seven Days War.

    On the topic of the Retalian Sea, it is the non-negotiable position of the Aurarine Republic that the sea must remain an international waterway and allow for the commerce of the international community to move freely, unhindered by any nation’s attempt to claim sovereignty. The sea is too critical a passage way for international trade as well as the only access to global trade for millions of peoples in both Gallia and Germania.

    Recognition of the above is critical toward securing the peace of both Gallia and Germania, ensuring that the pains of the old status-quo are quickly resolved and the continents can grow in a new era of prosperity.

    Signed,

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    Manuel Sanabria
    President
     
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