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Destiny Awaits No One

Oltremare

Regional Actor
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
7,512
Location
Los Angeles
Capital
San Polo
Nick
Jose
Summer Palace
Tsarskoye Selo
(main party timeline)


Patriarch Nikon II waited intently in a small salon, secluded away from the rest of the guests. After a few minutes, a somewhat hidden side door opened and the Pope stepped in.

"Your Holiness," the Patriarch greeted him.

"Your Holiness," the Pope responded.

"I'm surprised you came," the Patriarch said, walking over to a decanter and pouring himself a glass of wine.

"You should not be, my reason for being here is obvious."

"Is it?" The Patriarch said, pouring the Pope a glass, "does it have anything to do with the Holy Inquisitor currently harassing priests in Pannonia?"

Taking the glass the Pope responded, "he has no secular intentions, and last I recall he is only interviewing Catholic priests. No Orthodox priests have been bothered by him. Of course, I can't imagine why anyone would be so threatened by a fat old drunk and two bookworm nuns."

"So, then, if he is here on a purely spiritual mission, I assume you do have secular motives."

"Partially. With this arrangement reaffirming what the most recent conflicts on central Gallia-Germania have made real, there are now millions more Catholics under Imperial control, with no obviously safeguards. This may not be a new development, but this moment serves as an opportunity for dialogue."

"Your Holiness, with all do respect, what are you asking for? Cardinal Lombardi, the man you insist on harassing, is already one of her Majesty's closet advisors. He speaks for the Catholic interest in court. And the war is over--it is now time to rebuild--the Duomo in Gonzaga will be rebuilt--her Majesty insisted on it!"

"I'm sorry for wasting your time, your Holiness. It is clear that there is no request I can make that you have the power honor."

The Patriarch was visibly taken aback by the Pope's statement. "What do mean?"

"I could beg you to ensure the rights of Catholics are protected in this country... but you can't protect the rights of Orthodox, or any religion here."

"Leave politics out of this. For the sake of Christ, I don't care what you or that hedonist friend of yours think."

"We don't get to avoid politics. As much as we may want to. When was the last time you went to your emperor and asked him to help someone or some group of people? Do you even feel comfortable asking for his help giving aid to marginalized people? When was the last time you felt comfortable asking for something that wasn't a new privilege for the church or a condemnation of someone you didn't like?"

he paused for a moment, "it's all political, Nikon... and that's why you cannot help me, or anyone, because you have no power and are too comfortable to try... again, I'm sorry for wasting your time."


@Rheinbund Airspace
some time later

The Holy Father did not mean to stay long in @Tarusa , after speaking with the Patriarch and a few good-byes to other world leaders, he was back on a plane bound for Tibur.

Papa Juan José had always struggled to sleep during flights, and this time was no exception. Even though he was tired, and sipping his third Mojito, sleep would not come to him. He tried to read some, hoping to satiate his mind, when one of the pilots came to alert him

"Santo padre," he said, "the Rheinian air force has sent four fighters to escort us."

The Pope's face grew concerned, "is everything alright?"

"There was an attack in Tiversk. The Tsar is dead, the president of Natal is dead and... and... El Presidente was very badly injured. They're flying him to Palmira as we speak."

"Mi hijo," he whispered, he made the sign of the Cross and started praying, silently. As the pilot started to head back towards the cockpit, the Pope spoke up: "no, we are not going back to Tibur tonight. Reroute us to Palmira!"

THE HOSPITAL
Santa Cruz de Taumántico, San José


The room smelled sanitized, artificially clean, and it was echoed in appearance with the white surroundings of the hospital room, at least when you didn't take into account the myriad of equipment that surrounded the bed with its occupant, Presidente José David Constanza, who himself smelled and felt artificially sanitized. That combined with the cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics he was on left him in a state one could reasonably argue was adjacent to limbo. It was a medically induced high, of sorts, to keep him relatively conscious and comfortable while his body slowly recovered from his injuries, internal and external, and the surgery that had been done to mitigate the worst of the damage.

It was miserable, he felt trapped in the worst high of his life.

Not to mention the fact that, technically, he wasn't out of the woods yet. He had overheard the doctors talking while he was drifting in and out, and he noted how, although his condition had improved, it was still uncertain how long the recovery process would take... or if it'd even be successful. Passively confronting his own mortality was the last thing El Presidente wanted to do, given how he had been actively avoiding the subject for as long as he could recently, but here we were, forced into it thanks to some terrorists in Tarusa who wanted him dead so badly they'd take out two other world leaders to succeed.

It was then that the nurse appeared in the doorway, in his peripheral vision, and said something about him having a visitor. Given the security around his hospital room, as the Josefino secret service was taking no more chances with their vulnerable leader, this was a bit surprising. Who in the world would be allowed past that barricade?

Turns out, Il Papa can open many doors otherwise shut, and ensure some privacy between the two men while he was at it.

It was an immense effort for El Presidente to turn his head towards his Spiritual Father and close friend, who strode to his bed with the calm serenity of a father worried sick for his son: a brave and convincing appearance, but the concern remained visible. "Dios mio... mi hijo." the Pope began.

The Josefino smiled, "It's good to see you too, Padre Santo." His voice was weak, breathless, to even speak took so much energy. "I didn't expect to be seeing you again so soon for confession, and in this state, but here we are."

The Pope furrowed his brow in confusion and further concern, "Confession? Mi hijo surely you're not-"

"Not if I have anything to say about it." El Presidente interrupted, "But... just in case... I've overheard the doctors, and I'm so plagued by my thoughts, Padre Santo. Please, if you could humor me, I promise you can tease me about it later."

At this, the Pope smiled, and sat down in the chair next to President Constanza's bed and made the sign of the cross, prompting the Josefino to intone, "Bless me, Padre, for I have sinned."

"What sins have you committed, mi hijo?"

At that, El Presidente began recounting, slowly, excruciatingly slowly, every debauchery his addled mind could think of, ranging from drug usage to sexual conquests to simple lies and political shenanigans. By the twentieth example, it was the Holy Father's turn to interrupt, "Mi hijo, I asked for your sins, not a recounting of your life."

El Presidente managed a strangled chortle that could conceivably be called laughter. When he settled back into breathing he responded, "Lo siento, Padre Santo. I did not mean to waste your time." His smile then turned a bit more serious. "I... have doubted God, Padre Santo. I have become Doubting Thomas. I have doubted the ability of good to triumph over evil, over the conspiracy. I have doubted heaven and hell, and I am afraid of death, Padre Santo... no, that isn't true. I'm afraid of the void."

He turned to stare directly at the Pope, a rare, public display of vulnerability (that fortunately was as far away from the general public and press as possible, god forbid they overheard), "I've seen that void, in the eyes of the Carian Prime Minister, in the Tarusan Tsar, in President Poole. I don't want to be lost in the void, Padre Santo."
 

Gran-Occidentia

Tinpot Dictator
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
260
Capital
Puerto Angeles
Nick
Boro
THE HOSPITAL
Santa Cruz de Taumántico, San José

Enrique hated hospitals, the too bright lights made his eyes ache, the antiseptic stench of the place turned his stomach, still he forced himself to walk through the hospital. On a state visit he would be flanked by a retinue of green-shirted party officials, not today today he was here not as the Caudillo of Gran-Occidentia but as a man visiting a friend. Of course there were still the ever present security detail but they were at least keeping a respectful distance.

" Mi hermano, I am glad you are recovering well, I was worried when I heard the news of the Tsar and Presidente Poole that you were.." the words caught in his mouth, he doubted his friend needed reminding of what he had just survived. "I do not have much to say, but whatever you need if it is in my power I would do it all you have to do is ask, speaking of you look like you need a drink even more than I do, how about some of your Josefino rum?" A passing nurse gave him a glare at this " Perhaps maybe I will just drink to your health instead?" When you are fully recovered you must come to Puerto Angeles". At this he clicked his fingers and a bottle of rum appeared from some green shirted apparatchik, Enrique proceeded to open it and without waiting for a glass drank long and deep form the bottle itself. Suddenly Enrique's face went grave.
" I think I've lost the country, mi hermano after all I have done the fucking rojos and futuristas are going to take all from me, but enough of that you don't need to hear the whining of an old drunk".
 
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Oltremare

Regional Actor
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
7,512
Location
Los Angeles
Capital
San Polo
Nick
Jose
THE HOSPITAL
Santa Cruz de Taumántico, San José

Enrique hated hospitals, the too bright lights made his eyes ache, the antiseptic stench of the place turned his stomach, still he forced himself to walk through the hospital. On a state visit he would be flanked by a retinue of green-shirted party officials, not today today he was here not as the Caudillo of Gran-Occidentia but as a man visiting a friend. Of course there were still the ever present security detail but they were at least keeping a respectful distance.

" Mi hermano, I am glad you are recovering well, I was worried when I heard the news of the Tsar and Presidente Poole that you were.." the words caught in his mouth, he doubted his friend needed reminding of what he had just survived. "I do not have much to say, but whatever you need if it is in my power I would do it all you have to do is ask, speaking of you look like you need a drink even more than I do, how about some of your Josefino rum?" A passing nurse gave him a glare at this " Perhaps maybe I will just drink to your health instead?" When you are fully recovered you must come to Puerto Angeles". At this he clicked his fingers and a bottle of rum appeared from some green shirted apparatchik, Enrique proceeded to open it and without waiting for a glass drank long and deep form the bottle itself. Suddenly Enrique's face went grave.
" I think I've lost the country, mi hermano after all I have done the fucking rojos and futuristas are going to take all from me, but enough of that you don't need to hear the whining of an old drunk".

THE HOSPITAL
Santa Cruz de Taumántico, San José


El Presidente smiled with delight at seeing his friend, the Caudillo of Gran-Occidentia. They may have quarreled from time to time over the nuances of their politics, but like true hermanos, their mutual friendship remained strong, partly due to their shared interest in intoxicants and fighting la Conspiración de Explotación Global. So when El Caudillo's face went grave and he complained of the rojos y futuristas overthrowing his grip on power, the Josefino felt the need to help out his friend, even though his political sympathies lay a bit more with said usurpers.

"Mi hermano, if I've told you once I've told you a million times: do not suppress the will of the people, embody it. That is how you become a true populist, and can sway people closer to your own beliefs. If the political winds favor los rojos y los futuristas, you yourself must become a rojo y futurista, at least in name. Embrace parts of their cause to appear plausible, be sympathetic and offer yourself as a voice. That is how you keep the country, mi amigo, without looking like a despotic Tarusan and enforcing your will with batons and bullets."

El Presidente shifted in his bed and pondered for a moment before continuing, "Maybe I should take you up on that offer, and visit you in Puerto Angeles, take you up on that drink. My world tour has been a bit too dangerous as of late, and I need to go to areas that are less hazardous to my health. While there, I could give a speech or two, extolling your virtues to los rojos y los futuristas and showing how you're one of them, how you ended that regrettable conflict with our hermanos in Corrientes and punished those responsible for the terrible warmongering and war crimes you, of course, had nothing to do with. That should make the future a little brighter and better for you."

"If all else fails, which it won't, but just in case, you are welcome in Palmira for as long as you need to be there."
 

Tarusa

Regional Actor
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Jun 18, 2019
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733
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Middle of Nowhere USA
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Kremlyov
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JJ
Kremlyov

He had taken the regnal name of Ivan, the first in the empire. The start of his legacy was now, and the end of his fathers. The arrests had begun outside Tiversk, the largest city of the Suomi speaking provinces. Independence movements had been a problem of his great grandfather and great great grandfather, his grandfather had started the loosening of the noose around the people giving them small tastes of democratic institutions and the outside world, his father had made incremental steps towards the same, such foolishness.

He called a meeting of the entire advisory board of ministers. These were his fathers ministers, not his own and they would find out where they would stand soon enough under their new leader. As they assembled and began to take their seats Ivan stood watching, as if deciding in its final moments.

"I have assembled you all for this meeting for multiple reasons. First off, you all were trusted and loyal to my father and his ideals and his policies internally and externally. I am not my father, I do not share his same aspirations, goals and future for this nation. It has been taken down a path I find as destructive to its future survival between the democratic world and that of some post-delegationists. While our allies share some of these traits, they also share some of our own, the world changed as it had to from weak leadership, the Empire has largely held true to itself thru time while others crumbled to the demands of everybody. We shall continue to not change in the ways that this world wants and demands of us, we must continue to be strong and grow stronger to bring about the change that we desire!"

Ivan took a look around the room and could see the uneasiness in the eyes of many of his fathers advisors. It only helped re-affirm his decision to continue on with his speech.

"My father was correct in some of his moves in the global stage, we have grown stronger by growing outward and finding friends from enemies. The world has changed since my fathers reign had begun, and now it is completely different than before. The Democratic world challenges us, it is a challenge I am prepared to meet. However, I will need strong leaders by my side. We will continue this again in the near future, until then you are all dismissed"

As they had come in so they left. Some walking with distress and worry over what the new Tsar would do to the country, as they exited the door several were pulled aside away from the rest of the ministers and detained. Minister of Defense Leontiy Makarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs Luka Volkov, and Minister of Social Protections Mykola Kyzyma.

"By the way, your services are no longer required by myself or The Empire. You will be maintained under house arrest for the time being."
 

Radilo

Regional Actor
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
1,182
Location
Cleveland
Capital
Nuovo Porto
Nick
Nutty's better half
THE HOSPITAL
Santa Cruz de Taumántico, San José


The room smelled sanitized, artificially clean, and it was echoed in appearance with the white surroundings of the hospital room, at least when you didn't take into account the myriad of equipment that surrounded the bed with its occupant, Presidente José David Constanza, who himself smelled and felt artificially sanitized. That combined with the cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics he was on left him in a state one could reasonably argue was adjacent to limbo. It was a medically induced high, of sorts, to keep him relatively conscious and comfortable while his body slowly recovered from his injuries, internal and external, and the surgery that had been done to mitigate the worst of the damage.

It was miserable, he felt trapped in the worst high of his life.

Not to mention the fact that, technically, he wasn't out of the woods yet. He had overheard the doctors talking while he was drifting in and out, and he noted how, although his condition had improved, it was still uncertain how long the recovery process would take... or if it'd even be successful. Passively confronting his own mortality was the last thing El Presidente wanted to do, given how he had been actively avoiding the subject for as long as he could recently, but here we were, forced into it thanks to some terrorists in Tarusa who wanted him dead so badly they'd take out two other world leaders to succeed.

It was then that the nurse appeared in the doorway, in his peripheral vision, and said something about him having a visitor. Given the security around his hospital room, as the Josefino secret service was taking no more chances with their vulnerable leader, this was a bit surprising. Who in the world would be allowed past that barricade?

Turns out, Il Papa can open many doors otherwise shut, and ensure some privacy between the two men while he was at it.

It was an immense effort for El Presidente to turn his head towards his Spiritual Father and close friend, who strode to his bed with the calm serenity of a father worried sick for his son: a brave and convincing appearance, but the concern remained visible. "Dios mio... mi hijo." the Pope began.

The Josefino smiled, "It's good to see you too, Padre Santo." His voice was weak, breathless, to even speak took so much energy. "I didn't expect to be seeing you again so soon for confession, and in this state, but here we are."

The Pope furrowed his brow in confusion and further concern, "Confession? Mi hijo surely you're not-"

"Not if I have anything to say about it." El Presidente interrupted, "But... just in case... I've overheard the doctors, and I'm so plagued by my thoughts, Padre Santo. Please, if you could humor me, I promise you can tease me about it later."

At this, the Pope smiled, and sat down in the chair next to President Constanza's bed and made the sign of the cross, prompting the Josefino to intone, "Bless me, Padre, for I have sinned."

"What sins have you committed, mi hijo?"

At that, El Presidente began recounting, slowly, excruciatingly slowly, every debauchery his addled mind could think of, ranging from drug usage to sexual conquests to simple lies and political shenanigans. By the twentieth example, it was the Holy Father's turn to interrupt, "Mi hijo, I asked for your sins, not a recounting of your life."

El Presidente managed a strangled chortle that could conceivably be called laughter. When he settled back into breathing he responded, "Lo siento, Padre Santo. I did not mean to waste your time." His smile then turned a bit more serious. "I... have doubted God, Padre Santo. I have become Doubting Thomas. I have doubted the ability of good to triumph over evil, over the conspiracy. I have doubted heaven and hell, and I am afraid of death, Padre Santo... no, that isn't true. I'm afraid of the void."

He turned to stare directly at the Pope, a rare, public display of vulnerability (that fortunately was as far away from the general public and press as possible, god forbid they overheard), "I've seen that void, in the eyes of the Carian Prime Minister, in the Tarusan Tsar, in President Poole. I don't want to be lost in the void, Padre Santo."

The Holy Father furrowed his brow and took a deep breath, "Mi hijo, doubt is not a sin. Doubt is necessary for faith. Do not fear it, embrace it, as you embrace faith. Let your confidence in the divine force that propels the universe comingle with your doubts. It will make your faith stronger.

Let me tell you something about the light in people's eyes--of course it goes out when they die--it goes somewhere else. In nature, light cannot be destroyed--it can be absorbed or deflected, but not destroyed. I learned that when I was studying to be a physicist. We cannot say for certain where that light goes, we have only faith to guide us. But that light is not destroyed; it continues, somewhere and somehow.

Our fleshen bodies are nothing but meat and electricity, hurling through the universe at the speed of light. When a star dies, it may go cold and dark, but it's light continues on forever. We, mi hijo, are made of stars, and we have nothing to fear."

The Pope exhaled, and wiped a tear from his eye, as he smiled at El Presidente.
 
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Tarusa

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Kremlyov
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JJ
Kremlyov

The Emperor had assembled his new cabinet with an assortment of those whom had been loyal to him before his ascension and some of those who had served under his father but he found trustworthy for the time being. Discord was never shown outside these halls in the years before, under his reign it would not even be tolerated in the halls.

"Gentleman, this meeting has been called to determine the next route we shall take forward on this path to a greater future. We must continue to push forward, we shall persevere and cause our enemies to falter. We have already resumed our long abandoned chemical weapons program from decades ago, we are looking to our partners and friends to strengthen ourselves domestically and globally in manufacturing and ways to increase revenues. Our enemy has made himself too many enemies, ironic, considering we are the empire of evil according to their news. Dissent is limited for the time being to the events unfolding, the economic war has only started to heat up but we are capable of weathering the storm. Our colonial holdings give us access to cheap resources and some products, our allies provide us with another source of cheap products and resources as well as technological capabilities and markets for our own, then there are those who have decided it unwise to follow the leader of their own alliance and have refused to take economic actions against us. As this drags on, we should assume that there will be popular pressure growing from some whom are well off and those who are not. The gas holiday was a brilliant idea, using some of our reserves to reduce the pricing of fuel to the cheapest on the globe. While our enemy is being crippled by the rising prices, we have managed to help keep money in the pockets to offset the increases elsewhere."

Ivan took the moment to take a seat and let the ministers discuss amongst themselves before one rose to speak.

"My Emperor, I know we had agreed with the Pelasgians that we would stop stockpiling our reserves and begin producing more for export to help keep the prices on the international market stabilized where they currently are. However, I believe we need to increase the squeeze, we have already prohibited our petrol produces from being used in the manufacturing of items for resell into the Republic amongst other sanctions. The Republic is attempting to set itself a future goal of harming the Pelasgian shipping industry by overtaking it in ships, and by-passing the straights. Perhaps we could get them onboard with some sort of way of striking back in a limited fashion in the economic tussle they have had since Pelasgia decided to reduce production to its earlier levels, which has cut back on availability for the Republic already. Perhaps we have them prohibit the sale of bunker oil to the Republic, its hard to have a shipping industry if the costs will drive you out of business or you don't have the fuel available to meet the demand."

Ivan had listened intently, the Ministers had an idea that he could get behind, another move to squeeze his enemy tighter. This would be beneficial given that the Republic was even in an election year and one of the candidates was running on a platform to end the sanctions. "Call the Pelasgian Embassy and have the ambassador come to the Ministry, detail to him your idea, and lets see what the Pelasgians do. I have other things on my agenda we will carry out, but we shall focus upon one crisis at a time."

@Pelasgia
 

Neustria

Elder Statesman
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3,960
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Athens, Greece
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Demos
Kremlyov

Ambassador Michael Kestoras was one of Pelasgia's most seasoned diplomats, being descended from a long line of state officials and envoys (his name, after all was a corruption of the term "Quaestor", which one of his ancient ancestors must have held at some point). For the last five years, he had been appointed to Kremlyov, to represent Pelasgia to its fellow Orthodox Empire across the Axshaina Sea.

"I have consulted with my Government," the Ambassador said, always speaking in the neutral but polite tone of an experienced envoy. "They have advised me that, as I originally feared, a full-on oil embargo would likely constitute a significant departure from our official policy of neutrality at this instance. Moreover, completely shutting off our oil tankers and firms from the Tianlong oil market might prove harmful to our business interests, without any alternatives offered by your Empire for our lost revenue. If @Tarusa were willing to offer us some proportionate incentive, perhaps we could reconsider; for the instant, however, I must heed my Government's instructions."

Allow a momentary pause, for the Tarusans to fully understand his meaning, Ambassador Kestoras continued to the positive aspects of his message.

"At the same time, it must be said that the recent hostile actions undertaken by Uicheon have not been well received in Propontis. First, the Republic seeks to actively compete with and hurt our shipping fleet; and now, its Head of State stands next and grants a public forum to the Arch-Heretic of Tibur, as the latter pretends to appoint a Tianlong national to the Patriarchate of Propontis, in spite of our clear legal instructions to the contrary. This, we cannot stomach. As such, there are some countermeasures which have been authorised: the Sublime Throne will published a decree enacting new safety regulations on oil tankers bound for Toyou due to several safety incidents. These will delay and reduce oil supply to an appropriate extent, raising the price of oil in Tianlong significantly, while also reducing supply. Our suppliers have been instructed to raise costs for oil shipped to Tianlong at every step, with compensation with revenues from new markets opened by our recent trade agreements. The two measures will work in a spiral, until the Republic finds itself in nearly as difficult a spot as if we had outright restricted the sale of bunker oil."

"This will be couched as a temporary measure, to act as a warning to Uicheon. Nevertheless, it will serve our respective ends—and it can always be renewed as necessary."
 

Tarusa

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JJ
60km from Sarkel

The former minister and his family were under house arrest, they were in fact being detained in his second residence in the eastern part of the Empire. He had been a fervent supporter of the former Tsar and one of his most trusted advisors, a voice that had helped keep the peace inside of the nation. The man had helped protect the freedoms that had been given to the people, while still keeping the firm grip of autocracy on the nation. It had been an act of balancing, his dismissal and the complete vacation of his ministry was potentially a signal that the autocratic hand would creep back and revoke freedoms and tip the balanced scales.

Under guard, never leaving the house, and no contact to the outside world. Complete isolation, his influence to attempt and gain any favors was negligible to the point this stay was nothing but misery. His time of misery would be closing to an end, an unfortunate accident.

As darkness settled and the restless family began the nightly routines and going to bed the Okhrana made contact with the interior troops that had been assigned to ensure his cooperation. The witching hour approached as the sound of a truck began rolling up the drive, its contents unknown to the interior troops whom were dismissed to perimeter duty while Okhrana agents took their places. The windows were boarded and the doors sealed shut to the house, the sounds no doubt awoke the former minister, but nothing could be done. One of the boarded windows could be seen thru as it had a hole left in it, as he tried to peer out the glass was shattered and a rubber pipe mated to the opening he had seen gas masks before his only view was obstructed.

Mykola Kyzyma heard the muffled sounds of someone telling them to open it up. An aerosol began feeding thru the tube into the house, what was this?

The air began to smell of pineapple and pepper, his wife said her saliva tasted as if she was chewing on a piece of iron.

The truck kept pumping its contents into his home, the contents was none other than chlorine gas. Former minister Mykola Kyzyma and his family would become the first victims of the renewed chemical weapons program of the Empire. Their deaths would be covered up, never spoken of until the time was right. Any public inquiry would claim to them still being under house arrest for suspicion of sedition and treason, they already had vanished from the public view, so absence would be hardly noted as it was.

By daybreak, the bodies of Mykola Kyzyma, his wife, and two children lay lifeless in their residence. They would be buried in unmarked graves in the field adjacent to the property.
 

Tarusa

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JJ
Kremlyov

Foreign Minister Matveyev had been summoned to the Imperial Residence, which was not atypical as traditionally all the ministers were coming and going from the residency for meetings with the Tsar and council meetings together with the Tsar. It had always been this way for generations, even as autocratic as the state had always been, the men were still a voice even if sometimes a quiet one. He reached the Tsars chambers being let in by one of the Royal Guards who announced his arrival, bowing and then taking his seat.

"Minister Matveyev, what exactly is it you think you are doing approving the Federation Peace Corps mission to Sankt Katherina? No such order nor approval was given by myself, your tsar. The chain of Islands were destined to become a closed region just as I have done with WestMark. A lot of work was put in place by the Okhrana behind the scenes to skew the referendum in our favor not only to keep it from independence or its continued limbo status, but to also deprive my brother and his wife in Csengia from keeping what would have rightfully been theirs. This is a great inconvenience for myself, as I cannot simply walk back what you have done. I will however mitigate the problem you have caused, but you will not be allowed to create a problem such as this for myself again. Your are dismissed"

Matveyev nodded, a slight look of worry on his face on if he would maintain his position or be dismissed, or worse yet find himself in the same position as his predecessor under house arrest. Once he passed thru the door, sitting waiting was Minister Ustinov from the Ministry of Defense, who stood up and began his turn in the chambers with the Tsar. What are those two going to be talking about so briefly after I have been warned without a chance to even defend myself?

"Ahh yes, Andrei my loyal friend. We have an issue that must be addressed. The Foreign Ministry decided it would allow foreigners to the islands, I know our presence there is currently limited but that we have big plans for them in the future. I request that you begin the relocation of one of the newly raised armies by dispatching one of the regiments to the main island with plans to bring the full strength unit to the islands within a year, but we may evaluate such possibilities as the situations evolve. I have no trust the foreign governments of Westernesse and Occidentia, the well known policies of their governments aimed at decolonization require that we show a commitment to holding the islands and subterfuge would be futile."
 

Tarusa

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Ranenburg

The monthly supply of goods had been delivered to the residence of Leontiy Makarov. The house arrest was a form of torture for the career military man who had given everything to the Empire and the Tsars before, no wife, no children, it was solitary confinement. Like many of the high ranking officials of the Empire his residence was lavish, his lifestyle as well much greater than the average Tarusan for his years of loyal service. The interior guards of his residency unloaded his monthly supply of food and other boxed goods at the door of his garage before departing in their truck, vanishing back into the shadows to maintain watch. He was simply obedient never trying anything, a man who had accepted his fate would end in his home from old age years later or his own demise at the end of service pistol.

The door opened, and the man who was not the man he was before wheeled out his dolly and began moving the crates inside to unpack what he would survive on and other items to attempt and keep himself busy. As the former General began unpacking the goods inside of his home, inside one was a simple note, obviously slipped in by one of his old friends on the outside, surprisingly he still had those.

"Minister Kyzyma and his family are dead. Killed in his home by the Okhrana. Watch yourself"

Reading it sent a chill down his spine, what would his fate be? Was Luka still alive or had he met his demise yet? Then his mind wandered back to the simple thoughts of wondering what he could do, he was imprisoned in his own home and under guard.
 

Tarusa

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The evening was dark and cold, the seasons had changed with darkness setting across the sky sooner. Makarov had been asleep for hours, his routine unchanged since the disturbing news had arrived on his doorstep. He was awoken to the explosive sounds of flashbangs, followed by gunfire. This was an unexpected development, he had no idea what was happening outside, only aware of the fate of his former friend and minister. Was this his time?

Makarov rolled himself out of bed making his way to the only weapon he had been left with, his service pistol. Removing it from the safe he sat back down on his bed holding it in his open mouth, if he was going to die it was going to be by his own hands. He sat there gradually pulling the trigger with ever growing force...........the sound of the gunfire outside had stopped, he needed to finish the job before they could. He closed his eyes, just a little bit more force and it would be over, he could hear them inside of his home now.

To hell with it!

He pulled the barrel back from his mouth and devised himself a different plan, thinking quickly of whether he should fight or attempt to make flight. He would attempt to escape, and if that failed, he would fight to the end. He knew his home better than any assailant could after all.

However the old man did not make it far, caught in the middle of the house on his way towards one of the exits to his garden. Flashlights converged lighting the room all pointed at him blindingly, he raised his pistol thinking it was the end.

"General, lower your weapon. We are here to get you out of here, hopefully out of this country."
 

Tarusa

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Csengian Embassy Compound

Makarov had been residing in the premises of the Csengian Embassy since his escape. The plan to get him out of the country had not originally gone as planned and so he had been holed up in the Embassy of the closest ally, what was essentially a puppet of the Empire as he had managed to still pull some favor in the royal court in the Tsars youngest son. Here he would remain until a visit was paid to him by the young man, whether it would succeed and he could manage to convince him of the treacherous behaviors of his elder brother against the Empire or he'd find himself in a much worse situation, or even on the run once more if things did not succeed.

Konstantin would arrive in Kremlyov soon, and he had already been promised an audience before his departure. The fate of the future, his, the empires, and the world would be potentially playing out soon enough.
 

Tarusa

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Csengian Embassy Compound

Konstantin arrived at the compound to "perform stately duties" was the cover that he was using. First he would meet with the Csengian ambassador to just discuss the routine affairs, while he officially held no power in the Kingdom, unofficially he shared the duties with his wife.

Konstantin was then led to a suite that had been setup for the former minister of defense, he was escorted by a member of the State Protection Agency whom would also assist him as needed during the meeting. Konstantin himself was not himself to thrilled by the fact there he was with the intelligence agency of the country he was unofficially ruling spying inside of his home in the Empire, but it was also the trade, it was not primarily for intelligence gathering within the Empire but primarily counter-espionage against other state actors, and some against the Empire.

Makarov stood as he entered the room, "Your Imperial Highness the Successor Tsesarevich Konstantin, we need to talk. Its important, the Empire is at risk of becoming everything our enemies had said it was"

Konstantin took his seat with the SPA agent beside of him. He motioned for Makarov to continue, he was here to at least hear him out for respect the man had garnered with his deceased father.

"Minister Kyzyma and his family were executed by your brother, they were poisoned in their own home as test subjects for your brothers chemical weapons program. He has restarted the long abandoned program and resumed production of the simpler compounds and is carrying out research into developing more modern synthesized chemicals and how to deliver them more efficiently. I have no doubt that I myself would have eventually been a target, he replaced several members of your fathers advisors whom had been by his side for many years whom had the greatest influence in affairs outside of the Imperial title, claiming we were traitors to the Empire."

Makarov continued for many more minutes stipulating his hypothesis and other unprovable claims of what he believed Ivan was up to. Every once in awhile the intelligence agent leaned into Konstantins' ear and whispered something, making Makarov curious as to what was being said. "We must do something, or the Empire will fall, the dynasty may very well fall as well."

"Stop now Makarov, I have heard everything you have had to say. My brother knows you are here, he had already informed me long ago of his position to shift the ministers with those that he found more suited to himself, something to show new leadership instead of those from our fathers legacy. The SPA says that it was simply an accident that took Kyzyma and his family, and that there is no chemical weapons program in the Empire as you so claim your sources say. If you had some proof, I would be more inclined to listen. This meeting, it shall stay between us what you had discussed, but no doubt if the Okhrana know your here since my brother does then you may very well have given yourself a self-fulfilling prophecy of being an enemy of the Empire. I wish you the best of luck, you were a good friend and advisor to my father."


With that, Konstantin took his leave from the Embassy and made his way back to the airport to return back home to Kispest. Makarov himself made plans to flee across the border to Ostmark, he would fly from Wien to Sudinsel, and then on to Palmira in San Jose. He would continue being a man on the run as he paved a path forward, his mission to save the Empire.
 

Tarusa

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Palmira, San Jose


Makarov had been in hiding in the tropical paradise of San Jose. He knew, that even with the authorities knowing he was here, that he would never be turned back over to the Empire. He made no effort to hide himself, if the Emperor sent someone to kill him, theyd be potentially dead either before they could complete their mission, or if he was dead they would be as well, he obviously wasn't going to be left unobserved. He had begun to think that he may never get another chance to spoil the Tsar and cause a change of government, he kept up on the news every morning, the most recent spat of articles showing a growing tension between the two empires and the pirates plaguing the Gothic Sea had given him a bit of re-invigoration! A man of his power and position for so many years he had made many friends, and enemies, abroad. This morning he put down his paper and made his way to the Frankish embassy in Palmira to attempt and see his old acquaintance Pierre Meunier the Service d'Information Impérial attaché of the Frankish Embassy.

Unfortunately Makarov was turned away before he could even enter the compound, it would have been bad taste for him to have been potentially spotted entering the Frankish Embassy building. He however was able to pass an envelope addressed to his friend to be delivered. Now he would be forced to wait, and hope that he would be contacted.

@Holy Frankish Empire
 

Záhorie

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San Antonio Cafe, Palmira, San Jose

Meunier stood across the street and watched carefully as Makarov sipped his drink. It was odd that he was so open about his position. Meunier watched the people on the street carefully from his shaded corner. So far it looked somewhat clear. A few people were putting up red flags, but for the most part; Meunier was satisfied. A quick nod and adjustment to his ballcap signaled the messenger. A non-descript man walked by the table that Makarov sat at, dropping a small note right into the lap of Makarov. Meunier watched as Makarov scanned the message covertly. He looked up and scanned around. Meunier frowned. Makarov lacked some spycraft, thought Meunier. He sighed as they locked eyes and Makarov directly walked towards him. "Watch if we are tailed" said Meunier discreetly into his microphone. He watched as his counterpart turned to watch their rear. Before Makarov could finish crossing the street, Meunier began walking and forcing the Tarusan to follow him down streets, a sidestreet, and an ally. Finally, Meunier led him up a flight of stairs which opened directly into the ally. The stairs led to a second story room ontop of a barbershop. The room itself reeked of sweat and something sweet and sour. It was plain aside from a table and set of chairs. Straw in the corner and a chain mounted to the floor left no doubt that this was some kind of hell for those brought there against their will. Removing his hat, Meunier threw it on the table. Not bothering to extend a hand, he sat down- offering Makarov the other seat. "I've received your letter" Meunier said in broken Tarusan.
 

Tarusa

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Palmira, San Jose

"I know of the differences and the tensions that are rising between the two Emperors. Our nations hadn't always been allies, but they had not been foes very often either over history. The new Tsar, Ivan, he is not his father Yuri, he is much worse and is no doubt the biggest reason that our governments have found themselves on opposite ends of the issues facing the Gothic Sea and the world since his ascension to the throne. I wish to see a return to the pragmatic and old ways of his father which while not free, was not the heavy handed police state it is under Ivan today."

He paused and took another look around the room and then to the window as he began speaking after a slight sigh.

"I know that I am a wanted man for the assassination of the late Tsar, a charge that I know I am innocent of, for I served that man for decades with an undying loyalty with nothing else to show for it besides my prestigious military career. I was quietly placed under house arrest with a few other former ministers, one whom is now dead and I do not know the fate of the other. I was aided in an escape by those loyal to me who did not wish to see me suffer the same fate as my colleague and his family had. They are the same ones who helped me escape from the Empire and why I now am in open hiding here. I will not hide in fear from the Tsar, but I will not allow myself to go back to be executed as a traitor that I am not.

Even tho I am labeled as a traitor to my country and my Tsar, made a man on the run, I still look to make things right and protect the Empire and the royal family. I have no doubt his brother did not suicide himself or have a freak accident, in the days of old it was common practice to remove any potential threat to your claim on the crown, Ivan rules with the same brutal mentality. His youngest brother, Queen Elisabeths husband, could very well suffer a similar fate if the opportunity arises and he's viewed in the same menacing way to his brothers authority. I may not be in power, but I still have some influence amongst those whom had been my comrades, amongst those whom had worked with me, and I may be of a great assistance in attempting to uncover and subvert the Tsar with the proper assistance and resources of your empire and bring his brother Konstantin upon the throne. Get me to Chagny, help me find the evidence I need to convince Konstantin of his brothers wickedness, we can stop this before matters get worse."
 

Záhorie

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Meunier smiled thinly and leaned back. He was quiet in thought for several moments before slowly and deliberately retrieving gum from his pocket. After silently offering a piece to Makarov, he popped a piece of gym in his mouth and deliberately chewed. "Makarov, my old friend. It has been many years since we met. How many exactly, I would really have to think. But........" he trailed off with and exaggerated shrug. "Helping you is one thing. I can do that. But helping you get to Chagny is another". Meunier frowned and it was his turn to sigh. "Look at this shithole" he said with a shake of his chin. "We have had the same safehouse for 30 years here. We, of course, hardly ever use this one anymore" he said, his own eyes looking around. "Anyway...Let us say we get you back to Chagny. Good. Even great. But what happens when the Tsar finds out you are there? The Imperial Government would be in a rather tight position, no?" Reumier said, getting to look out the dirty window.

"Ivan is somehow more problematic. There are rumors....." he began, looking over his shoulder and deliberately stressing the word again so as to not officially state anything- "rumors that the Emperor even wants out of the Gothic Sea Pact because he neither cares for nor trusts Ivan. Worse, the people have already been highly uncomfortable, to say the least, with the alliance. Precarious is an understatement when it comes to monarchies these days. Either they are made into nationalized celebrities or they are despots. Walking that tightrope is dangerous. I fear that this can, if things go wrong, shake that rope with a fury" he said, returning to his seat.

Meunier shrugged in Frankish fashion before drumming his fingers on his knee. He was carefully thinking. "We, as in the Imperial Government, often look dismally on freak accidents and most suicides by important world figures" he said with a grim smile. "I can only pass on your request. What assistance would you need? I need these details, Makarov" he said, standing up. "I will pass on your message. It'll be a few hours. You will have to wait here. My man will be outside" Meunier said, not implying if the man was there to help, hinder, or protect Makarov. It was clearly mentally straining for him, but Meunier tried to look more concerned as a friend than concerned as a 'diplomat'.
 

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It was some time before the man returned. A number of routes were taken to ensure he was not being followed and a few phone calls on burner phones had to be made. And even messages exchanged between the embassy and Imperial Government took place. Finally, with the sun setting. Meunier returned. He was quiet as he entered the room. Sitting down, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You're putting us in a tight spot" he began, still rubbing, hunched over in both thought and concern. "Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Emperor is less than pleased with the current government as it stands. Frankly, I think you know why. Most of the world would love for the Tsar to have a sudden stroke. But that fucking bastard is going to drag the world closer to oblivion as we get on. It is therefore in our best interest, according to the Imperial Government, to help you" he said smoothly, without emotion. He finally stood and paced the room. "I still had to call in a lot of favors for this one. We are going to get you out and to the Empire. But......." he trailed off. "You aren't going to like it".


The crate was large. Just large enough for a squatting man. The "Caution: Fragile" stencil seemed to not help the incredulous Makarov. "Yes, before you ask. You have to get in that thing" Meunier said. As Makarov climbed in, Meunier explained the plan. "You'll be let out once the ship hits international waters. Once, of course, you near a Frankish port- you'll climb back in. You're registered as a passenger.....Ivan Vishnevsky"- Meunier threw fake Tarusan identity cards of surprising quality into the crate. "You'll be boarding this way to guard against any kind of unmasking. You'll be delivered to a..." Meunier paused. It was really an underground gay leather bar. Did he dare tell him? Or would it be a fun little practical surprise for his friend? ".....a club called L'Huître Bleue. That's all for now." said Meunier as the lid was lowered onto the crate by two men. Just before it closed, Meunier put out his hand to stop it for a moment. With a smile, Meunier added, "oh and Makarov.....don't fuck me".
 

Tarusa

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Holy Frankish Empire

On the trip across the Thaumantic Makarov had been keeping up with the current affairs, he was impatient on the voyage hoping that things would not simmer down by the time he was in the Frankish Empire and could begin making contacts and get the wheels of overthrowing the Tsar in motion. Those had been his only thoughts on the journey across.

His unboxing, well that was quite the surprise. L'Huître Bleue, a gay club, something that was non-existent in the world he had lived in. "Don't fuck me. It appears if I do, well I will be getting fucked myself it appears."

If they were looking for him, and had any inclination he was in the Frankish Empire, this would most definitely be the last place they would ever look for him. His first order of business before he would even begin settling in his new home was passing on the names and how to reach his most trusted confidents back in the Empire to his new partners. He wanted to make sure the chaos unfolding could play into his hands in the utmost capacity, there was no doubt sinister activity afoot from the Tsars angle of this crisis.
 

Tarusa

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Kremlyov, Empire of Tarusa

Makarov had wrote several letters that found their way in a diplomatic pouch from Chagny to Kremlyov, a series of them to various people that he knew he could trust or believed he could trust. He was unsure of the fate of those whom had directly aided in his escape from the Empire so he did not dare yet make an attempt to contact them for fear of being found out, and souring his efforts from the Frankish Empire.

A courier was used to deliver the first letter that had been randomly picked by the Franks tasked with deciding how to make contact. It would be the least obvious and the return address itself was just a shell that would not point a finger back to them should the potential informant decide to turn the letter over to the Ohkrana or investigate further themselves. The exact contents of the letter were not known, but instructions to not implicate the Franks had been very sternly given to Makarov. They did know of where or how to know if the individuals would cooperate with the efforts as Makarov had given each individual different means of showing their support, and had the details given to the agents of the Franks in the Empire who were tasked with this mission.

Days passed after the first letter delivery, no signs had been shown, so they could only hope that it had not been turned over to the Ohkrana. It had been a member of the former Minister of Defenses staff, a big swing that had obviously not paid dividends at the moment. They would wait, see if things would change, before making another attempt at reaching those whom Makarov believed would be of aid to his cause.
 
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