Rendezvous in Charleroi

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Sylvania, Aug 13, 2019.

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  1. Sylvania

    Sylvania Well-Known Member

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    Sander K. Rygaard International Airport usually abuzz with activity was for once quiet much to the chagrin of thousands of travelers attempting to get to destinations international and national. A temporary flight restriction was activated over the airfield creating a thirty mile exclusion zone around the airport restricting the movement of aircraft from the ground up to eighteen thousand feet. The VIP aircraft of the Touzenese and Pohjanmaan leader’s arrival had been meticulously planned to coincide with each other so as to reduce the strain that would be caused by their arrivals.

    On the ramp greetings were had with the Director of Foreign Affairs, Katalin Faraday and other various Sylvanian bureaucrats who had begged to be there to shake the hands of these esteemed guests. However the hand shaking and platitudes did not last long as all parties were ushered to armored limousines flanked by police cruisers and the Charleroi Metropolitan Police Department’s finest motorcycle police leading the way in a flying vee formation, clad in riding leathers and riding the newest Electra Motorcycle Corporation’s Road Gliders. The inbound lane approaching Charleroi from the north was devoid of all traffic, the metro police clearing the road with rolling closures as the motorcade of limousines and police vehicles with lights blazing, even in the sunlight sped, toward their destination.

    Time stood still in the city itself as the motorcade passed near the downtown financial district where towering sky scrapers, at one time their construction forbidden, now clashed with the old colonial architecture of the older buildings. The towering behemoths were left behind and now gave way to government buildings built in the colonial revival style of architecture formed the Capitol district. Cairnwood house once built on a small rise in the land and once surrounded by large forest trees was now enclosed in a massive steel fence and now only partially hidden in a small copse representing the once mighty forest that had been cut down to make way for the growing capital city. As they approached the gates, the police vehicles turned away as men in suits, wearing mirrored sunglasses and armed with submachine guns that seemed to appear from nowhere now surrounded the motorcade and ran alongside it as they entered the grounds of the executive mansion.

    The motorcade wheeled around to the rear of the mansion, where guests were received and the President of Pohjanmaa and Dictator of Touzen where greeted by President Ashley Breckenridge and his wife Keira. Another round of handshakes and kindly greetings were exchanged. Behind the group, hand selected members of the media furiously snapped pictures of the guests, they kept quiet having been sternly informed before hand that no questions were to be asked and that they could expect further update as the meeting went on in their daily press packets.

    Cairnwood house was constructed in 1842 and was remodeled in 1963 its crumbling structure and ever changing interior restored to the architects original intent, the room they would confer in was the blue room, where the cabinet would meet for matters of state. It was well lit, perhaps a bit too bright when combined with the light blue of the walls and white ceiling. The President’s wife had bid farewell as they had ventured deeper into the manor, her place elsewhere. The long conference table had been replaced with a circular table, furnished with writing utensils, notepads, chargers, drinks of several different types and those not present only a call of a staff member away.

    The walls were adorned with paintings of important figures in Sylvania history and at the far end overlooking the table the presidential portrait of Sander Rygaard permanently framed by black drapes to mourn his untimely murder and to serve as a warning to the current president. Breckenridge dwelled upon the painting for a moment, a twitching of where his right eye used to be concealed by the patch he used to conceal its uncomfortable absence. His own brush with death connected him briefly to dead President now gazing down upon them from his painted realm.

    Breckenridge turned toward his guests and motioned for them to feel free to be seated, “Please make yourselves comfortable, should there be anything you might need I can have it brought to you at a moments notice.” Breckenridge moved to seat himself facing away from the painting. “It really is a good day, I am not one to usually small talk about weather, but when your city is cursed with over half the year either cloudy, raining or snowing it truly is a blessing.”

    “But we are not here to discuss weather but rather cooperation on several different matters. I will not lie, Sylvania needs friends and while in different circumstances I would sit back while the world entangles itself until it strangles itself to death the interconnected nature of our world shows me that this is impossible. The world economy has taken shock after shock, whether its war waged by the Domain in Burgundy, the collapse of a Himyari state here or there, an empire changing over night into a republic, a long dead empire reformed in desperation or Long Sea shenanigans of all different types,” the long sea mentioned with a bit of an awkward wink and a smirk, “we Sylvanians find ourselves being strangled!”

    “The world is becoming ever more chaotic and more dangerous for freedom loving people and a certain paranoia is growing over Post-Delegationism. Currently the world is focused on the Domain’s invasion of Burgundy but once that is no longer a priority? Then what? Hell, the Eiffellanders kidnap anti-statists and balk when you demand their return. The Nedernesians kidnapped two of my own citizens, it was only by threats of economic sanctions that they acquiesced to our demands. I was very interested in the words of Mori Ayumu who wrote that they hate our freedom. I truly believe that is the case.

    “The Sylvanian idea of freedom may be somewhat different than that of your two nations and delegationism still lives and breathes here though I am attempting to return our government back to the hands off approach that our nation was founded upon and our constitution demands, but I feel that now is not the time for debate but rather action. That is why I’ve asked you here, to speak of cooperation specifically free trade and perhaps a military alliance. The Touzenese military is world renowned for its ability to reach out and react to threats, but we see that you are becoming spread thin and more isolated. The Pohjanmaans are plucky but how long will those aligned against you continue to allow Pohjanmaa to operate as it does. With the world partitioning itself along lines of ideology and in odd cases joining with those they are opposed to, especially in Germania and Gallia, it is my opinion that we do the same. We can continue to trade on the level that we do or we could have free trade among our three nations, our canal is already open to your vessels, military and civilian, but if our nations were allied with each other we could present a force that would make those who hate our freedom think again. Perhaps that might be a bridge too far for this first meeting but it is one of my goals. It is my belief that we can only benefit from further cooperation, that freedom can benefit.”
     
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  2. Touzen

    Touzen Administrator Staff Member

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    If there was an opportune moment for a coup at home, it was now. The idea Hayabusa, after all, he had come to power through what many would consider a coup as well. This was the first time that he had been so far away from home for a foreign diplomatic meeting - all the ones that had preceeded had either been held in Touzen itself, or went as far as Kashtan. Always within Touyou, always within strike distance. Kashtan arguably was a foreign country, but it was still well within the comfort zone of the Touzen hemisphere, should anything transpire. Sylvania however was half a world away, and any reaction to news from back home he would be able to muster would reach him many hours away, perhaps even days, if weather and airspaces conspired against him. Perhaps he would have to stay in Charlesroi a bit longer if things went wrong, but the lush climate would at least make for a painless exile. A wealth of culture to explore as well.

    Perhaps it was for this amongst other reason that he had brought his wife with him. Ayako hated the spotlight and had been visible uncomfortable with the photo opportunity that had been staged at the airport. She had been relatively fine with being by the Dictator’s public side before his meteoric rise to power, but becoming the defacto leader, well, dictator, of a large part of the earth came with inevitable domestic and international scrutiniy for anyone even vaguely associated with the powers that be. The battle he fought to apologize to his wife had only been matched by the battle he had been fighting with the scum that had seen fit to nest in the parliamentary building of the All Citizens's Congress, styling themselves the "representatives of the people".

    Nevertheless, she had come along, and she was all too happy to retire to other parts of the residence with the Sylvanian president's wife. She spoke decent Engells, both thanks to Hayabusa's influence on her as well as having studied abroad in Burgundy during her younger years, learning the piano and violine. She was an ardent reader as well, particularily the Francophone classics, so her Gallian was better than her Engells. If this had been Vilenesse, she would have been able to hold her own perfectly, even excell today. Being in Sylvania, she would merely be fine today.

    “Unlike what our contractors like to say about us, you will find that we are rather realistic in the ways we seek to secure our liberties, President Breckenridge. You mentioned the Long Sea. At great pains to my own personal reputation every possible restraint was executed in dealing with the unprovoked and dastardly attack of the Aurarians, and we were repaid with the hostility of the whole world. International politics has become less predictable. I am sitting in this room with you, yet a mere two years ago neither of us could have foreseen finding ourselves in the positions we do now. I suspect we might not even have known about each other’s existence. Some cult stooge and a corporate sycophant from that rotten All Citizens’ Congress might be exchanging pleasantries over a child rape here instead. But fate curiously enough decided to make our reality a more palatable one.”

    The entire tragedy of the cult machinations that had played out in front of his desk had stunned the Dictator. His government had not really committed to either side as the socialist government had been going down in flames, and Breckenridge, he strongly suspected, still was painfully aware of that. In the end, it had not mattered to the Shinkyo clique who would be running Charlesroi, just that someone would be running it. The foreign policy of the Dictatorship had by all accounts failed to materialize the grand union of democracies that Hayabusa had envisioned - a big reality check for the man wholly inexperienced with politics, but skillful at being carried into power on the top of bayonets. A man who was in some sense the exact kind of person that his Sylvanian host had removed from the rooms they were now occupying. Now, any friends at all were welcomed for a polity that couldn’t say of itself to have an abundance of them.

    “If only the world was divided among ideological lines. It would make things a lot easier. No, with all due respect I think you are mistaken in that regard, Mr. President. There is but one ideology left among the politicans, and that is the ideology of power. There are those that wield it responsibly, and those who don’t.

    I’m not a politician, but they sit in Solis and Trier. They sit in those places that by all accounts should be on our side, but have entirely emasculated their societies and sold their souls to the mangods of the Domain or the reds. I set out to save these people, but there is no saving them. There is however saving ourselves, and those that would do so by our side.”
     
  3. Pohjanmaa

    Pohjanmaa Well-Known Member

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    It was a long day for Noora. She had flown over to Kaarlekungingas, which some in her entourage would also call Karlstad, in a rather lengthy six hour flight. The signs mostly everywhere just said Charleroi and that had come at a shock to her. A bit of a feeling that these Sylvanians did not care for their heritage. There wasn’t a single map in Pohjanmaa that labeled the city as Charleroi and so she did not know how to pronounce it. Like the Gallians would? Or with this strange accent the Sylvanians had? Thus far she had decided to avoid making a scene by avoiding saying the name of the city outright. She had been told that Sylvanians saw it as imperialistic. In her mind it was just a matter of linguistics. Either way she would be speaking Engellennin now, so she felt an obligation to attempt to say it. “President Breckenridge, thank you for hosting us in this beautiful city of Shhar-le-wah,” she stumbled speaking it aloud. She cleared her throat a little and continued, “Mr. Hayabusa, it is a great honor to meet with you again. Of course as you know quite well Mr. Breckenridge, I am Noora Lepomäki, and I am here on behalf of the inhabitants of Pohjanmaa as their President.”

    It was a very formal opening, and it seemed out of place compared to the last word of Hayabusa, but she did not want to risk upsetting anyone. Her Engellennin on her own account was not very good, and she’d much rather be speaking Fennic or Austwegian. Either way, she figured that she would need to communicate something that continued with her own vision in comparison to Hayabusa’s.

    “I appreciate your apt description of the Pohjanmaan people Mr. Breckenridge. I believe Hayabusa once told me that we are a people that routinely punch above our weight though history. Our punches have sometimes been against the Sylvanian people, but the fact we meet today I believe signals to the world that history need not limit the potential of the future between friends of democracy.” She would use that statement to segue back into Hayabusa’s state of mind.

    “It is my opinion that our world is at a crossroads and that post-delegationism and proper democracies are the key. We live in a world where I believe the forces of the Domain will combat the forces of Socialism. We exist in the middle, where both the Socialists and the Domain distrust us, if not outright wish for our demise. If armed conflict started tomorrow, I could not tell you who our allies would be, Domain or Socialists, or if we would have any at all.” She took a sip of water. It was a bit of a monologue, but she had yet to really make a signal for unity between the participants. “I believe that our unity is of utmost importance going forward. A clear strong public relationship between Charleroi, Shinkyo, and Göötehamina. The only real question left is to what degree?”
     
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  4. Sylvania

    Sylvania Well-Known Member

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    Breckenridge sat back in his chair and listened to both intently, he stopped himself from shuddering at the talk of the cult, what evidence he had seen was horrifying and would never be purged from his mind. When the previous foreign affairs director had been shot on the grounds of the courthouse he quietly enjoyed every moment of his death that had been captured on television. Law required that they be tried, but there wasn't a moment that went by that he secretly wished he could strangle the life out of each and everyone involved in the cult's crimes.

    "We both find ourselves attempting to right the wrongs of the people who preceded us. It is a duty thrust upon us by fate. By coming together here today we might yet accomplish our duties by working together, there is no reason why we should fight alone against the forces that array themselves against us."

    Breckenridge turned to Lepomäki, "For you to be here is part of the healing process for our country and we have much to heal from yet. My father fought in the war when he was young, many in my family did at that time. It made them who they were and myself as well. It wouldn't change the course of history as it is even if it were possible. Scanians make up a large portion of our population, go north and east and you will find cities and towns were Fennic and Austwegian are the first languages of many. My wife, Keira is from Anchorhead or as she calls it Ankerhode and she speaks Austwegian and teaches it to our children. Let there be no more fighting between us no matter how small. We are here to forge a new path and to let bygones be bygones."

    "We have the opportunity to forge a strong and lasting alliance that as of yet only the Domain has been able to achieve as the rest of the world dithers and second guesses. Sylvania is ready to throw her lot in with the free nations of the world. Only by a strong military alliance and fair economic policies can we show the others that we are not to be trifled with and to show those that would listen with open ears, that our way is the true path to real freedom. I've spoken with many in my party through back channels and they are in agreement, an alignment with the post-delegationists is a thing that must be done. Alignment with Pohjanmaa has met with warm approval within the Sylvanian Workers Party, an alliance of Scanian-Sylvanian parties popular with scanian voters in the north and north east of Sylvania. I say this because it is a rare moment of togetherness within Sylvanian politics and that can only help us move on from the horrors of the past." Breckenridge had been speaking for a long while at this point and paused to help himself to the water supplied earlier.

    "This is not just a rare moment for politics in Sylvania, but a rare moment for our entire country. Our founders cautioned us on entanglements, sometimes I see the success of the Domain and wonder if they were wrong and then I remember that though they may not think it, they still serve as slaves to Engellex. If that were not true, they would not be caught up in Burgundy at this very moment. I believe however this is the right path to take, the world closes in upon us and only with friends do we stand a chance.
     
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  5. Touzen

    Touzen Administrator Staff Member

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    "The last time an alliance with any ambitions to unite the democratic world was birthed, we were given the Trier Accord, and we all know what Madame Martinique and the council of gerontocrats in Ivar did with that. It would not be the first time that this was endeavored, and it stands to reason that by all means of historical common sense, there is no reason it should fare better this time around."

    The Touzen dictator curled his lips and looked towards Lepomäki, trying to read her thoughts. As in Shigö, he found it hard to read the Northerners, but it did help him to quite some extend that this time around it wasn't a tense situation where matters of war and peace were on the line, at least not war and peace between the parties gathered at this table. Thankfully, the Fenn succumbed to her typical bluntness.

    "However."

    He refocused his attention on his Sylvanian host.

    "The Trier Accord, and all similar pacts never included the post-delegationist societies, and the focus has always purely been on trying to maintain the status quo in Gallo-Germania, which was like trying to keep a leaking ship afloat by frantically siphoning water out of it with wooden buckets. Mr. President, I am tired of the Gallo-Germanians and their games. They have proven themselves incapable of even the most basic notions of self-preservation, and they have paid the price.

    That is not to say that I am absolving my own predecessors. Certainly, ideological particularities have kept our union from seeking greater alignment with those that would have been partners, like your Republic, in any but the most extraordinary situations, and the world has paid dearly for it. This is our mistake: Not having given the gift of Touzen to the world more earnestly and fervently when we could have done so."

    He did believe what he said. The history of the Anti-State, the lasting legacy of the Taketoriite second revolution, had lead the Touyou Union not only ultimately down the path of revisionism, but ideological self-righteousness as well. Sectarianism had a long history in the Anti-State, and it had been only relatively recently, a few decades back, that post-delegationist parties had been allowed by the Freedom Foundation to form in statist societies across the globe, after the realities of the successes in Petites-Pays and its post-delegationist ruling party, long shunned for revisionism, had been accepted by even the most hardline of global revolutionaries. For all the successes post-delegationism had enjoyed, Hayabusa had always felt that its most dogmatic, bookish and academic proponents had complicated its message and watched as zealous priests over a tome unquestionable eternal truths. It had also only been natural then for him to dispose of the parliaments, themselves cynical extremists of the other end of the post-delegationist reality, slaves to their own power, patrons and personal lineages. Certainly the heresy the Northerners were most uncomfortably close to....

    "My focus is pragmatic, yet rooted in a determined belief in our just cause of freedom. I am ready to gift ourselves to the world, to martial defenders of the ideal of the Republic, not frail talkers and car tinkerers. We are all flawed in our own ways, it does not suit us to dismiss potential friends on the account of failures which we struggle to overcome ourselves. If we were to join forces, at last we could truly bring about an axis of reason and save the sacred name of democracy from a sorry Germanian sideshow and a neo-colonial enterprise."
     
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  6. Sylvania

    Sylvania Well-Known Member

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    Breckenridge nodded in agreement, "No this alliance will have a strong guiding hand. Any doubts must be extinguished or else we will find ourselves at the mercy of those who do not suffer from such second guessing." Breckenridge glanced at Lepomäki when he said this, so far her participation in the discussion had been limited, it was clear Pohjanmaa put great stock in the opinion of the powerful Anti-State. Lepomäki kept a good poker face, he had no idea what she was thinking.

    "President Lepomäki, I do not mean to offend but you have exercised the typical Scanian penchant for briefness and strategic silence. I would love to hear your opinion, that my assumption of our agreement is correct. I say this because there is a certain element of risk for myself and a big change on the horizon for Sylvania should this meeting conclude with our full alliance. Sylvania has not entangled itself in alliance of this sort, our history has always seen unions of convenience or need. I intend this to be an alliance where we support each other when attacked and we come together to make informed decisions about our collective future foreign policy as we present a united face to the world. I have no doubts that Pohjanmaans and yourself are as serious about this as Dictator Hayabusa is, but it would good to hear from yourself, even if it is criticism or disagreement. Please once again I mean no disrespect."





     
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  7. Pohjanmaa

    Pohjanmaa Well-Known Member

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    Noora smirked, perhaps even smiled at Ashley’s words. He was right as Scanian silence was a not just a quality of a person, but a characteristic of the culture as a whole. Her own mind of course was engaged in what-ifs and whatabout-isms with every word spoken. She silently analyzed the discussion and the course it took. She knew her opinion was not special. This was not by any means a question of gender or the seriousness of her person. This was just the truth. What she thought mattered very little as of course armchair analysts and news anchors from around the world all had an opinion as well. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Her opinion existed before, and likely would be another’s opinion tomorrow. Nothing special.

    Instead it was the importance of the time in which her opinion would potentially change things.

    Often she was the person that interjected at conferences or made blunt and rude remarks. She was aware many considered them as such. More or less the behavior was purposeful to a degree. Yes, she did not have the same kind of filter that others did, but she also knew that if they did not respect her, she would not give them respect. Noora was now among friends, or least she felt they could be considered that. She had not really shot the shit with these individuals, nor had she even really spoken to them about how they were doing personally. Friends, nonetheless.

    Even still, she did not really want to say much now and found the fact that Ashley, while humoring her, actually wanted to put her on the spot to speak. Such a Sylvanian thing to do she imagined. She didn’t take it personally, but now had to summon some words to reflect some kind of summary of her thoughts thus far.

    “Thank you Ashley for pointing out my tendencies. I know it would probably be impossible for an Aurarian or Eiffellander to understand the fact that I actually do not care for the sound of my voice. I only speak to counteract their disrespectful unpleasantries.” She nodded collecting her thoughts a little.

    “I think that it is important that we make it clear that our alliance stands for something. It cannot just be the alliance of convenience that plagued alliances like Trier. It must inspire and give others hope for a brighter future. It must speak to the hearts and minds of intellectuals and the common man alike. It must be understood that we are friends to democracies and foes to any one that would might stand in the way of the free voices of mankind. I think this is what we should focus on, as that is what actually brought us here together. That is also what will draw others to our cause as well. I do confirm the commitment of the inhabitants of Pohjanmaa here today, yet it is important to remember that we cannot forget the banner that we hold collectively. We cannot let others like the Engells or the Socialists to co-opt the definition of freedom and liberty. These ideas are sacrosanct to us. They must be expressed in a clear manner for others to gather to our collective cause.”
     
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