What's new

Winning the Peace

Auraria

Elder Statesman
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
1,384
Location
Pennsylvania
Capital
Solis
Nick
Jurzidentia
The Casamajó Room
Parliament of Tauritania
City of Tauritania, Tauritania


To Ordenes, the negotiations had long ago evolved into nothing more than loud sounds being fired back and forth. The Republic and Tauritanian teams were both well-educated and had their arguments well crafted. Subtly, the teams flexed their extensive knowledge of Aurarian law and economics yet their educations could hardly prepare them for the daunting task of assembling the Aurarian economy under a new federalized system five years after a civil war ended a dictator’s reign. Despite the tense regional differences fueling the arguments, all those assembled in the room felt an unequal uneasiness about their capacity to succeed – perhaps none more so than Ordenes himself.

Directly across the table from him sat the newly created Prime Minister of Tauritania. In part reward for their service, respect to centuries of history, and a last-ditch effort to preserve the Republic, Tauritania was given a substantial degree of autonomy under the new Federal system, far exceeding that of the other twenty-six Provinces – even Catamarca itself. Even this compromise – or as others would say depending on ideology, gift or victory – came with an incredible degree of controversy. While Tauritania was by population and economic output the largest of the provinces, it is decisively smaller than the rest of the country combined. Therefore, many perceived the compromise as a successful move by Solis to isolate the rambunctious Tauritanians while packaging it as a positive. The feud has lasted the better part of the millennium and stands as one of Auraria’s oldest traditions.

“Nothing can appease a Tauritanian,” Ordenes thought to himself.

Prime Minister Aristide Santos Sunyer was a prim, proper man with half as many years as Ordenes. He was suave, well-dressed and had a body that was envy of men his age. Prime Minister Sunyer played a pivotal role in the restoration of the Tauritanian Parliament when the Constitution restored the Republic. It was natural, then, that his people would elect his party and put him in power. Part of the arrangement, though, was for Sunyer to quell talks of Tauritanian Independence. In that respect, Ordenes saw him as a blatant failure, if he had made any attempt at all. He did not stoke the flames, but he barely lifts a finger to extinguish it.

He’s a self-proclaimed war hero, a title that Ordenes found to be more offensive than any other the man had laid claim to. Nevertheless, Tauritania chose its leader and both men swore to the defense of the constitution and the Republic.

“With all due respect, gentlemen,” the President’s voice immediately drew the room to silence as the Prime Minister turned to attention “Perhaps a slight reprieve will us all well. We don’t seem to be making much in way of progress at the moment. How do you feel Mr. Prime Minister?”

“If the President so wishes,” he smiled “who am I to deny to it?”

The President smiled and with the wave of his hand, economic advisors closed their notebooks and rose from the table. They huddled into their respective circles, mumbling about strategy and where the conversation had gotten them.

“Mr. Prime Minister,” Ordenes called “Do you happen to have any Penedès around?”

The Prime Minister’s looked surprised before quickly smiling at the President “Of course I do, a Garnacha?” The President nodded in agreement.

“Follow me, if you will,” the Prime Minister rose and the two men walked into his private office. Ordenes knew he was a tall man of a bulky build, but there was something about seeing the slender Prime Minister that made him feel awkwardly larger. The Prime Minister got two classes out of a curio against his wall and poured from an already open bottle.

“It was only opened yesterday,” he assured “I promise you the taste is still divine.”

“I haven’t any doubt,” the President answered as the two men sat down on separate couches staring at one another.

“Thank you for calling the break,” the Prime Minister broke the silence “In truth I don’t know how much more of it I can sit through. The intricate details are such a bother to me…men of our stature should not be bogged down with such small affairs.”

“Perhaps,” the former general swirled his wine “I find that familiarization with the particulars enables you to see things some don’t. Can make all the difference.”

“Ah yes, I forgot,” the Prime Minister commented on the known trait for President Ordenes to get annoyingly bogged down in the tiniest of details “But negotiating factory rights is not the same as battlefield tactics.”

“I am aware,” President Ordenes agreed “To the people it affects, though, it is all too important.”

The Prime Minister sat down his wine and let out a sigh “I don’t mean to rush things, Mr. President, and I do greatly enjoy our time together, but I do feel we should get back to the matter at hand. My schedule today was thrown wildly out of proportion.”

The Prime Minister referenced the fact that President Ordenes had pushed back this meeting by more than three hours the night before due to a “critical matter that required the President to remain stationary and resolve.” In truth, he had made so many stops in Rocacielo and braved its frigid air so many times that every bone in his body ached and he couldn’t be asked to get on a plane to make the travel through Timavo to Tauritania. The Prime Minister presenting the adjustment of his schedule for the President of the Republic as a chore was disrespectful, to say the least.

“Matters of state,” the President replied and the PM nodded “I agree; however, we aren’t going to solve this dilemma in that room with those men repeating the same talking points over and over hoping for some miracle break. The fact of the matter is that there must be cohesion between the Provinces. Tauritania is autonomous, of course, but it is a member state of the Republic and for all of the privileges that brings you mustn’t ignore the responsibilities. If we don’t resolve this matter, it’ll go to the National Court.”

“If you had the votes to resolve it in the Court you wouldn’t be here,” Prime Minister Sunyer answered “So that makes little difference to me.”

“I am not here to threaten you, Aristide, not at all. I want a resolution that does not require the Court to vote and the Judiciary to weigh in. The fact of the matter is that not every factory left vacant during the war can just be reclaimed by nature of walking it and turning it on again.”

“My people fought for their rights to do so,” the Prime Minister protested “one of the first, at that. The Tauritanians will forever do what is in their best interest. It was their heroism, and the stories of it passed through campfire conversations across this country that kept hope alive among the Alliance.”

“I do not need to be reminded of the sacrifices made by the militias that broke the Caudillo,” the President sternly spoke “I was there. The war is over, now it is time to act like a country once again.”

“I will protect my people,” the Prime Minister declared.

“The people are the country,” the President fired back.

“Shall we go back?” the Prime Minister asked.

The President sighed before rising from the couch. “After you,” he waved.
 

Auraria

Elder Statesman
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
1,384
Location
Pennsylvania
Capital
Solis
Nick
Jurzidentia
Village of Barbolla

“Barbolla! Barbolla!” the attendant called, hurrying up the aisle of the train. If his call wasn’t enough to wake Pasqual from his sleep, the relatively violent jerk of the train to the right, which caused his head to smack against the wall, did the trick.

Pasqual looked out the window and found a sparkle of lights dotting the hills, protruding out from the snows that had covered them only days before. These lights were the first sign of civilization for kilometers. Auraria’s interior had been known for its vast open lands that virtually no one lived in. It certainly made for a scenic train ride, but Pasqual couldn’t imagine living in such scarcity.

Barbolla was an important small village, at least to Pasqual’s employers. Located not fart to the north from Palencia, on the border with Madurja, the quant little village was an excellent port of entry for sensitive items to enter or leave the country. It was in proximity enough to Palencia that travel wasn’t difficult but it was far enough to keep it out of the Republic’s attention. Palencia had the added benefit of being in the heart of Calaecia country. While the territory was far more difficult to rile than say Arandian country, the Republic was wise enough not to try and rock the boat. Therefore, the geopolitics and geography of Barbolla made it perfect. Plus, it had a wonderful bar outside the town center with a bartender who particularly benefited from turning a blind eye whenever Pasqual or his compatriots strolled through.

He got off the train and began making his way toward the bar. The town was small enough that all of it was in walking distance and it was rural enough that nobody was up past a certain hour. And in the winter, nobody thought to walk along the shoreline, making it even more of a ghost town than it already was. This was nice as it gave Pasqual time to think and the moonlight reflecting off the snow and the calm ocean waters were such a peaceful setting.

“Go to Barbolla, seek out Antoni at the usual place, take the job he’s offering,” said Victor back in Palencia.

“What’s the job?” Pasqual questioned.

“He didn’t say,” Victor leaned back in his chair, as an amber glow appeared from his cigar followed by smoke as he exhaled “Antoni’s a good man, and he’s paying handsomely. He’s done enough for us that he deserves some discretion.”

“I don’t like going in blind,” Pasqual protested.

“Neither do I,” Victor agreed “That’s why I’m sending you. He’s a smart man. He knows not to fuck with Pasqual. And he also knows for me to entertain this is a display of trust. More importantly, he knows fucking with you is the last he does as a man with functioning limbs.”

“You really trust him?” Pasqual got up from the bar.

“Yeah, as much as I can, I guess,” Victor’s gave a hearty smile as the fat rolls appeared under his chin “And hey, if you die, you can’t say you didn’t deserve it.”

Pasqual smirked and left.

It was unusual for the Familia to take a job with so little description and it was even more unusual for a man like Antoni to demand it. Antoni was a good man, sure, and he had provided a good deal of business, but he knew better. Still, trying something would cost him his life and Pasqual tightened the grip on his pistol as he entered the bar to face the man.

Sure enough, the short and lanky Antoni was sitting at his usual spot – a corner booth in the far back of the bar. It gave a clear view of every entry point and every person seated in the bar. As soon as Pasqual had entered, Antoni waved him down.

“Pasqual,” he said, extending an arm that Pasqual ignored “I’m glad they sent you.” He put his arm down. “There’s no one better suited.”

“It better be worth my time,” Pasqual warned.

“Oh it certainly is,” Antoni confirmed “It just requires discretion.”

“So what is it, how much of it do you have, who knows about it, and where does it gotta go?” Pasqual had no time for pleasantries.

“Well, the good news is there’s only one and I don’t have to get it in, I have to get it out,” Antoni quirked.

“Antoni,” Pasqual silenced his games.

“Fine, look, there’s an associate of mine that needs to leave the country and I need you to help me do that,” Antoni had an almost begging attitude “You’ll be paid handsomely, don’t worry about that, far more than any other job I’ve given.”

“Might I recommend AirEurope.com?” Pasqual dismissed “decent flight options.”

“I thought we weren’t playing games?” Antoni asked “I need him out of here discreetly.”

“I’m not a trafficker, Antoni, I don’t deal in people,” Pasqual crossed his arms.

“What the fuck is the different between a ton of cocaine and a person?” Antoni threw his arms up “I mean fuck a person should be easier, he’s certainly worth more.”

“No, it isn’t my business,” Pasqual prepared to get up, but before he could Antoni sighed and waved over a man who was sitting at an opposing table. The man rose, walked over and sat down at the table so his face was looking at the corner. He took off his hat, tinted glasses, and a scarf and stared directly at Pasqual, who’s eyes immediately widened.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Pasqual exclaimed “Do you know who the fuck that is?!”
 

Auraria

Elder Statesman
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
1,384
Location
Pennsylvania
Capital
Solis
Nick
Jurzidentia
The Tomb of King Matteo II
Palace of the Honored
Navales


“Right this way, Mr. President,” the Master of Culture at the Palacio de los Honorables hurried along with the tour. Despite the Master’s pace, and the staff of the President’s insistence that he had to move quickly to remain on schedule, President Ordenes continued to stroll at every so gentle a pace down the elaborate, baroque halls of the Palace.

These halls were filled with history of a country, the builders of which would never recognize. The Palace of the Honored was constructed in 1478 by King Tomas of Catamarca as a proper home to the Catamarcan King when tensions with Tauritania required the sovereign to be closer to the border. The temporary nature of the household was no impediment to it being constructed with the same splendor that was expected of Catamarcan Kings.

“Ah, we’ve arrived,” the Master said as she turned and gave the President the warmest smile. Standing before the two of them, and the obscene entourage that followed the President wherever he went, were two large mahogany doors with gold trimmings that marked the entrance to the tomb of King Matteo the Great – Auraria’s first King.

Visitors entered the crypt via grand staircase that lead to a large bronze door, forged from the cannons used at the Battle of Cafira in 1503, flanked by two statues of lions – the style of which was not all that different from the Nemean lions of Pelasgian myth that were featured on the Aurarian Coat of Arms. Above the door an inscription read, taken directly from King Matteo’s will, “Puedo descansar con aquellos que han dado todo al país.” – May I rest with those who have given their all to the country.

The sarcophagus sits in a round room surrounded by mosaics of great battles King Matteo lead and testaments to his reign. Overheard was a polychrome mosaic that showed ships leaving Auraria to cross the planet at the direction of a godly figure that was an allegory for the divine providence of the Aurarian People, embodied in their King. Surrounding the sarcophagus were twelve marble victory statues that each stood for different principles which with the Kingdom was founded. Undoubtedly, the room was a sight to behold.

“King Matteo the Great,” the Master raised her arms at the room as the President walked up to the sarcophagus “The Founder of the Aurarian Kingdom.”

“King Matteo ordered the palace converted to a military hospital after he had seen how the veterans of Cafira were treated,” the Master spoke “He demanded that all warriors of the Realm be treated with the dignity of the King.”

President Ordenes knew the stories well, of course, but he knew the Master of Culture had spent her entire life learning and preserving Auraria’s story and he dared not rob her the opportunity to share her life’s work with the President.

Despite the revile that the revolutionaries showed for the Calderons in 1819, King Matteo always held a reverence by the Aurarian people. Every President had, at some point, visited the sarcophagus to “pray” for the same guidance King Matteo had during his time of leadership. In turn, President Ordenes placed his hand on the tomb – but the solemn moment was disrupted by the clicking and flashes of the horde of press’s cameras. After a moment, the President lifted his hand and turned around to walk back to his staff.

“We have to begin preparing for the arrival of the dignitaries, Mr. President,” his assistant informed him.

“Mhm,” President Ordenes mumbled “I bet his salary was bigger.”

The President thumbed toward the sarcophagus.
 

Auraria

Elder Statesman
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
1,384
Location
Pennsylvania
Capital
Solis
Nick
Jurzidentia
Village of Barbolla

Pasqual’s hand hovered over his gun when he sprung to his feet, not daring to break eye contact with the man standing in front of him.

“For fuck’s sake what are you doing!?” Antoni barked in an alert, yet hushed tone “Do you want to let the whole fucking town know we’re here?”

“I should put a bullet in his fucking head,” Pasqual shushed Antoni and moved his hand closer to the gun.

“Do that, and we’ll all be dead soon enough,” the man leaned back and turned his gaze to Antoni “This is your best man? A drug smuggler?”

“I said I’d get you a man who does a good job,” Antoni, sweating was holding his hands up at both Pasqual and the man speaking “I didn’t say he was a good man, besides he’s smuggled other things…he’s good at moving things across the border and that’s what we need right now.”

Hmph, the man’s annoyance with Pasqual was palpable, and it was a feeling that most who found themselves in his company would relate to. He had a reputation of telling only half truths, but he was also the sort of man who – when hired – ensured a job was done. It was more often than not a good thing his clients didn’t know what tactics he employed to fulfil a contract.

“So then you clearly know who I am,” the man turned back to Pasqual “General Joaquín Dorantes de Legazpi, Arapiles Division.”

General de Legazpi needed no introductions. He was the Caudillo’s highest-ranking military leader, but in the general order of things he could be considered second only to General Hernán Maldonado. Maldonado personally oversaw the Sun Guard, the defunct Royal Guard that was sworn to defend the Crown of Auraria that the Caudillo restored to show legitimacy to his regime. Maldonado lead the Caudillo’s last stand in Solis, but it was General de Legazpi of the Arapiles Division that nearly succeeded in destroying the rebellion before it began. Together, they were the most wanted war criminals in the Republic. No one was sure where either one was, until now.

The General was often regarded as the Regime’s enforcer. The Caudillo had purged a number of Auraria’s military leadership when he took power, replacing them with individuals loyal to his leadership. De Legazpi was in charge of executing the Regime’s will. He was the one who deployed forces to disperse demonstrations, managed political prisoners, developed the educational programs designed to indoctrinate the youth. He personally oversaw the growth and restructure of the Aurarian Military – which for all its new toys and resources, still struggled profusely to organize under the Caudillo’s notoriously famous constant restructures. Perhaps most notable was the General’s direct control over the dissolution of the National Court, sending in his own men to forcibly remove Delegates who refused to leave the building.

When armed conflict first arose in 2013, General de Legazpi used an extensive spy network and brute force to quell the uprisings across the country, especially in Tauritania. His early successes, however, ended in mid-2014 when his own men, disillusioned with the Caudillo, rebelled against the regime and declared support for the Alliance. His defeat at the Battle of Siero was so devastating that it galvanized revolutionary fervor across the country and quickly routed the Caudillo’s disorganized armies. He went into hiding and it was left to the Sun Guard of Solis to stage its final stand in a siege of the Capital City that persisted for more than a year.

“My brother died in Siero,” Pasqual finally mumbled out, as all the memories of his brother flashed in his head.

“Everyone lost something,” de Legazpi replied “Some more than others – that’s the nature of war.”

“The Republic has a handsome bounty out for you,” Pasqual’s hand was now holding the grip of the pistol.

“Pennies compared to what I can do for you,” the General shrugged “What’s your plan? Turn me in, collect the rebellion’s reward, pray they don’t press criminal charges against your smuggling business – perhaps somehow you can negotiate a pardon. Let’s say they grant it, you might be free of criminal penalty but they’ll be monitoring you…you’ll never truly be free.”

“Why should I help you?” Pasqual barked.

“You and I want the same thing – me out of this country. You obviously know why I can’t stay here, and you clearly don’t want me here. Let’s help each other out.”

“And you were hired to do a job,” Antoni chimed in, receiving a fierce gaze from Pasqual.

“I don’t deal with the Regime,” Pasqual lifted his hand from his gun and crossed his arms “the deal is off.”

“Is that wise?” Antoni asked, folding his arms “You now know one of the Republic’s most sought-after criminals is alive and well, not even Victor knows. If word gets out…well, the Caudillo has friends all over this forsaken country. They’re all criminals with nothing left to lose, what’s another murder?”

Pasqual wasn’t entertained at Antoni’s threats, but he knew the situation. He knew that Antoni fell to the same trap he had, knowing too much. The Regime had gone to great lengths to protect what was left of itself after the Caudillo’s death and Pasqual knew about other smugglers transporting “high value persons” out of the country.

“Where are you going?” Pasqual sighed.

“Madurja,” the General answered “And from there, you don’t need to know.”

“You’ve gotten things in and out of Madurja plenty of times, haven’t you?” Antoni hit Pasqual on the arm “there’s hardly a border there – easy job. Now what do you say?”

“Cartaxo,” Pasqual raised his hand, one finger pointing in the air “I’ll get you to Cartaxo – can you arrange transport across the Thaumantic?”

“I already have,” the General confirmed.

“Fine,” Pasqual sat down “We play this by my rules, mine alone. And you’ll pay half up front.”

“Of course,” the General replied.
 
Top