Winds of the Archipelago

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Pelasgia, May 12, 2019.

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  1. Pelasgia

    Pelasgia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Messages:
    2,105
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Capital:
    Propontis
    Nick:
    Demosthenes
    Gerakoulia, Theme of the Archipelago
    12 May 2019


    Located off of the coast of the Pelasgian mainland and far enough away from any inhabited isle of the Archipelago that a marooned person could not swim there, Gerakoulia (known to foreign sailors since Tiburan times as "Falconera") stood as a deserted and dry rock creeping out from the otherwise crystalline waters of the azure main that formed the Long Sea. Its only natural inhabitants were the predatory seabirds that gave it its name in both Pelasgian and the Tiburan-derived languages, and it boasted little if any flora. The sand that covered its shores was rather reddish, owing to a strong presence of copper elements in its composition, and ships and people generally tended to avoid it. The greatest monuments Gerakoulia could boast of were the shipwrecks surrounding its water, some so ancient that but a few pieces of their timber frame remained, and others more recent; some where the product of nature, others of human negligence, and others bore the impact holes of torpedoes, from as recently as the mid 20th century. The sea bottom surrounding Gerakoulia was an ossuary of sorts, for it lacked the formalities of a graveyard, though not the human matter commonly present in such places.

    On Pelasgian maps and naval charts, famed for their emphasis on including even the minutest of isles due to the Pelasgians' own experience with the Archipelago, the isle was clearly marked as the "NAVAL FORTRESS OF GERAKOULIA", in small but red print, signalling its nature as a naval exclusion zone enforced by the Imperial Coast Guard and Navy. Most foreign maps ommitted reference to the isle entirely, due to its little interest to foreigners. For Pelasgians however, and those acquainted with the Long Sea history, Gerakoulia had long stood as a symbol of exile and internal displacement. It had long been the tradition of the seafaring Pelasgians, and the Tiburans after them, to exile unwanted persons to such isles, often called the "Dry Isles of Bitterness" (τῆς Πίκρας τὰ Ξερόνησα) or the "Great Drynesses" (αἱ Μεγάλοι Ξέραι) in Pelasgian tradition. However, unlike its sisters, Gerakoulia could not boast heavily guarded barracks of political prisoners, dissenters and conscientious objectors. History had consigned it to host the other kind of persons the Pelasgians considered fit for internal exile: felons.

    As dawn broke, the small white barracks buildings covering a relatively flat area on the southwest of the island were lit up. In one of the cells, a lone man lay on his bed, his thin pastel-green bedsheet darkened by the sweat of a warm Pelasgian spring night. The sound of a baton hitting up against the bars of his cell awoke the man, followed by the cry of one of the guards, clad in the grey uniform of the Imperial Port Corps, the Empire's paramilitary maritime police force.

    «Κατάδικε Υ356! Σὲ θέλω πλυμένον, ξυρισμένον καὶ ἐνδυμένον εἰς 20 λεπτά!»
    "Convict Y356! I want you showered, shaved and dressed in 20 minutes."

    Once the order had been barked in mechanical pseudo-Ancient Pelasgian, of the type so much liked by the Empire's security forces, a package containing a new set of clothes, shaving utensils, and a bar of soap was thrown into the room. The man followed the instructions to the letter, and stood silently with his hands behind his back, facing a wall, as the guards entered 20 minutes later. Exiting the firebrick-built barracks, Y356 looked up, above the hill and through the barbed wire and guard-towers, towards the bare, simplified neoclassical building that stood atop the hill: the Command Building of Gerakoulia Naval Fortress, sporting the Imperial Flag from the third floor balcony. The freshly cleaned man walked up the barren hill chained and with two guards flanking him, being escorted to the room whose balcony sported the Imperial flag: the Commander's office. Sitting straight behind a large metallic desk, the Commander opened a beige folder bearing the prisoner's number: Y356. The Commander's pale blue eyes scanned the document calmly, while the prisoner looked enviously but silently at the clean, brand new uniform of the middle-aged man before him.

    «Εἶσαι κάθε ἄλλο παρὰ εἷς νομοταγῆς πολίτης, Υ356. Βιαιοπραγία κατὰ ἑνὸς ὀργάνου τῆς τάξεως, συχνάζειν κακόφημα ἰδρύματα ἐστιάσεως, ἀσέβια κατὰ δημοσίων ἐορτῶν καὶ φυσικὰ λαθρεμπόριον ναρκωτικῶν... το κακούργημα ποὺ σὲ ὀδήγησε ἐδῶ.»
    "You could hardly be called a law-abiding citizen, Y356. Assault against an officer of the law, frequenting disreputable establishments, disrespecting public holidays and, of course, smuggling drugs... the felony that landed you here."

    The Commander motioned the guards towards the door. The two officers saluted and exited the door, waiting outside to be called in again.

    «Φυσικὰ καὶ πρέπει νὰ μισῇς αὐτὸ τὸ μέρος. Πρέπει νὰ μισῇς κι ἐμένα. Μὰ, ἴνα εἴμεθα εἰλικρινεῖς, καὶ οἱ δύο γνωρίζομεν πὼς σοῦ ἀξίζει νὰ εἶσαι ἐδῶ.»
    "You must hate this place of course. You must hate me. But truth be told, we both know that you deserve to be here."

    «Ξέρεις πὼς μπορῶ ἄνετα νὰ σὲ σκοτώσω, τῶρα ποὺ ἔδιωξες τοῦ λακέδες σου.»

    "You know I can easily kill you, now that you sent away your lackeys."

    «Τὸ ξέρω. Ἀλλὰ ξέρω καὶ πὼς δὲν θὰ τὸ κάνῃς.»

    "I know. But I know you won't do it."

    «Καὶ γιατί;»

    "Why not?"

    «Γιατὶ εἶμαι ὁ μόνος ἄνθρωπος ποὺ μπορεῖ νὰ σκοτώσῃ τὸν Υ356... καὶ νὰ ἀναστήσῃ τὸν Θεόδωρο Ἀγνό.»

    "Because I am the only man who can kill Y356... and resurrect Theodoros Agnos."

    NB: The events in this RP take place after those in Hail thee Saint George, and take canonical precedence in case of any conflict or lack of clarity.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  2. Pelasgia

    Pelasgia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
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    2,105
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Capital:
    Propontis
    Nick:
    Demosthenes
    Sindos, Pelagision Theme
    18 May 2019

    The sun shone faintly over the horizon as the large steel ferry from the isle of Koulouri approached the northern coast of the Pelasgian mainland in the early morning hours of May 18. From the deck of the ferry, Theodoros Agnos stared out, beyond the waves, to the outline of the city of Sindos. It had been nearly ten years since Theodoros, then a young and impressionable man, had left the city following his sentencing to penal exile and hard labour for smuggling and repeated breaches of parole for other felonies. Much had changed since then; his youthful skin had turned coarse, with several scars earned from many years around other convicts, and his broad shoulders and triangular back had gotten even more muscular. Theodoros, always known for his height among his peers, towered over other men at an astounding one meter ninety-five, his thick body hair earning him the nickname "the bear". And yet, he was still the same man: still the same sturdy frame, the same confident step, the same oval face, the same sparkling eyes.

    The city he gazed upon was his own mirror: so much different, and yet so little changed. Tall office buildings and massive cathedrals protruded from the skyline of Sidnos, always built in the neoclassical style the Pelasgians loved so much. The old slums of the harbour had been demolished, and the docks had been rebuilt anew, with large concrete seawalls and quays. And yet, the very same river cut through the city, and the old Cathedral of Saint Panteleimon still rose to its east. The gaps between the skyline outlined the same old districts: Kelleia (the harbour with the grain elevators inhabited by the working poor) and Prometorion (the rich merchant district), Hagios Panteleimon (the administrative centre with the cathedral), to name a few. So much had changed, and yet Sindos was still Sindos; modern, rich, prosperous and a living emblem of the Imperial reforms' success, but still the same city... or so it seemed.

    As he exited the boat, Theodoros entered the new customs building, a large Propontine baroque building built on top of the old, laconic structure. Almost automatically, he stopped to admire the frescoes and gold decorations of the marble-built halls that formed the edifice's interior, which were illuminated brightly by a large glass dome. Having sufficiently gazed, Theodoros made his way to the declaration office and presented his Internal Passport: a small booklet with the Imperial Eagle containing his personal and biographical information; as soon as he pulled it out, he noticed the hawk-like predatory stare of the man on the other side of the inspection kiosk: a pale, clean-shaved man with dark hair in the grey uniform of the Imperial Port Corps. The passport's yellow colour gave Theodoros away as an exiled felon. He waited for what felt like an eternity before the passport was stamped; were it not for his cooperating with the Empire's authorities, he doubted he would have made it through the port at all.

    Exiting the port building, Theodoros made his way through the bustling streets; he knew their outline, but he hardly remembered their appearance. The newly opened tram tracks and the newly built structures, much more ornate and tall than anything he had left behind, made him think he was in an entirely different city. His normal, confident step, was replaced with the physical posture of an abused dog navigating an alien crowd. Boarding the tram, Theodoros pulled out a few coins from his pocket to pay. He was the only man to pay in cash, apart from an elderly citizen who might as well have been an octogenarian - all the other passengers used the shiny transit cards, staring at him with an annoyed glare for delaying the tram's boarding with his primitive ways. It was almost an hour before Theodoros made it to his formal domicile in what was once the distant outskirts of Sindos. The humble country home was now surrounded not by olive and orange tree fields, but by large residential buildings, a couple of industrial warehouses and, slightly further, the factory of the soft-drink firm EAS. By the time he made to his own house, he could hardly recognise it: the short, wooden fence had been replaced by a cement wall with metal bars, all painted white, and a second floor, probably housing a tenant to make money on the side, had been added.

    Walking into his own home, Theodors felt like a stranger: the yard was largely the same, and his old pomegranate tree had grown twice as tall. A small pot with water, in the traditional Pelasgian shape, alongside with a small plate covered by another of its kind containing bread or sweets lay on the table, for any passer-by or guest to take; Theodoros remembered the traditional Pelasgian maxim: "The bread is on the table, and the water on pot; give, o mother, to the passer-by, give, my love, to the thief". Which one was he? He could hardly tell after so long. Suddenly he heard the sound of a pot dropping on the floor, cracking; a young woman, perhaps eighteen years of age looked at him in terror and fled inside. A ruckus was heard inside, and another woman, looking quite like the first, albeit much older, came out; both stared at him in disbelief.

    "Andromachi," Theodoros said; "My love..."

    The older woman run up to, nay charged at him, threw her hands around him, hugging him and striking him softly at the same time. "Thodoris!" she repeated, using the affectionate version of his name; "Thodoris, you are alive!" Theodoros could hardly believe it himself; how long had it been since he last saw his wife? How much had she changed? "Despoina" he said, "Despoinaki, I'm your father. Don't you remember me?" The young woman did not move an inch. It was only at this point that Theodoros realised: he wasn't home, his home was long gone. He was a stranger in a strange land. It was the price of a couple dozen kilos of narcotics, which were supposed to buy him a solid base to build his family. Instead, all they had done was cut down whatever roots he had left. And yet, Andromachi remembered him, or at least what he used to be. Perhaps he could try to rebuild something on that alone. He had a last chance, a last hope and he would not let it go to waste... no matter what was required of him, he would earn his freedom.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019 at 10:18 PM
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