Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

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Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:46 pm

(Note concerning this RP: This will be an extensive RP involving events taking place in both Xiomera and Milintica. If you're interested in being involved somehow, please let me know via Discord. If there is enough interest, I may set up a planning thread on here as well. Either way, sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds.)

---

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order."--Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947).

Haven House
Huānoch, Milintica
March 11th


"We will not accept aid from those scheming, imperialist bastards." President Matōchmizalo slammed his fist down on the table to underscore his point. "If other countries want to help us, I welcome that with open arms. But not the Xiomeran Empire."

"With all due respect, mister President, the virus is spreading faster than we can keep it contained. We need help from anywhere we can get it at this point," Ramarie Nepe said with concern. The Health Minister looked weary and nervous. "Our medical teams are exhausted, and we are running low on medicine and other medical supplies - "

"Not everyone will die from this disease, no matter how bad it gets. We will all die if we let the Xiomerans into our country." Cuicaxoch, the Defense Minister, shook his head angrily. "We must not let them in, with their snake-tongued promises of 'aid'. It is merely a scheme by Tlālacuetztla to try to take advantage of us at our weakest moment. Didn't the Xiomerans start creating their empire on the back of a plague that raged through Huenya? They're trying to do that again, but with us."

"I agree. The Xiomerans can go to hell, we will accept nothing from them. This discussion is closed," Matōchmizalo said, waving down Nepe.

After the Cabinet meeting was done, the Prime Minister waited for a moment to speak with Matōchmizalo alone. Tupai Tapihana was often the calm foil to the fiery President, the two of them working together as an odd political couple in surprisingly effective fashion. He felt the need for some of that work now. "Matōchmizalo, people are dying. We can't afford to reject help right now, no matter who it's coming from. I understand your fear of the Xiomerans - "

"No, Tupai, you don't. Don't try to defend them. My ancestors were the ones driven out by the Xiomerans. They're the ones who were denied help for a plague, then slaughtered and driven from their homes by the ancestors of that tyrant who sits in the Palace of Flowers, rich beyond measure with wealth gleaned from the bones of my people." Matōchmizalo poured himself a glass of whiskey, then downed it in one angry gulp. "The Xiomerans cannot be trusted - the second you do, they destroy you." Matōchmizalo laughed bitterly. "How ironic is it that the 'good Empress Yauhmi' wants to come save us from a plague now, when her ancestors let mine die by the thousands from one!"

Tapihana sighed, pouring himself a glass of whiskey and sitting down. "Is it not possible that Yauhmi may just be trying to make up for the sins of her ancestors?"

Matōchmizalo shook his head, pouring himself another glass.

The two of them sat in silence for a moment. Tapihana finally broke the silence. "Matōchmizalo, when your ancestors - the ones who fled the Xiomerans - came here, this land belonged solely to my people. We could have treated your arrival as an invasion, run you off, wiped you out. What did we do instead?"

Matōchmizalo sighed. "Your people welcomed us, instead. You gave us a home when we had none. We are eternally grateful to our Paora brothers and sisters for that. We would have died otherwise."

Tapihana nodded. "Exactly so. But the Paora welcomed you, because we chose to have our hearts and minds open, rather than closed off in fear and suspicion. And for better or worse, we've made it work well together, in the centuries that have followed." The Prime Minister finished his drink. "Someday, Matōchmizalo, the Milinticans and the Xiomerans must come to terms with each other. Open your heart and your mind. Keeping them closed doesn't punish the Xiomerans - it punishes only you, and your people."

President Matōchmizalo sat in the darkness of the meeting room, pondering what Tapihana had said. "Do we have any other choice?" he finally asked.

Tapihana sighed. "We have the choice of accepting aid from anyone who will help us - including the Xiomerans - or suffering massive casualties."

The President finally sighed as well, before downing his second glass of whiskey fiercely and pouring yet another. "Do it. Accept the Xiomeran aid. But do not make it public where the aid is coming from - not yet. If I know the people - especially radicals like the MFR and the MIP - if we tell them where the aid is coming from before it is given, they will reject the aid, and there will be many lives lost. After the aid is given and used.....as they say, forgiveness is easier to ask for than permission."

---

Hall of Unity
Xochitecpancalli Hill, Tlālacuetztla
March 29th


A hand, clad in a white glove, ran its way slowly across the long wooden arc of the podium. Xihuiton, the Chief Architect responsible for the most important government construction project in recent Xiomeran history, stood nervously nearby as the hand continued its progress.

The hand finally stopped at the end of the podium. The person who the hand belonged to turned back towards Xihuiton, bringing both her hands together in a pleased gesture. "You have done well, Xihuiton. The chamber is exactly as I wanted." As the architect sighed in relief, Empress Yauhmi turned back towards the front of the chamber. The towering windows behind the chamber, with ample light shining through the trees of Xochitecpancalli Hill, lit the chamber up with a warm glow that the Empress took as a good omen. The sunlight seemed to her like a blessing from Huītzilōpōchtli himself, showering the chamber with promise of a bright future.

In just a few days, we will gather here, and we will change the history of this Empire forever, Yauhmi thought with a small smile on her face.

---

Transportation Specialists Private Limited Company
Zipacpepe, Tlālacuetztla
March 29th


"We are at the point where we must act."

The soft voice echoed out into the room, as the others seated around the table sat stone-faced. "I am not sure that is wise. We must take more time to prepare," General Xōchhuitl replied. The Chief of Staff of the Xiomeran Armed Forces glowered grimly at the other speaker. "If we act too hastily, we will not be able to pull this off."

Undersecretary of Security Calhualyana shook her head. "The Assembly Yauhmi has created will meet in eight days. We must be prepared to act on that day, before they have a chance to meet. We don't know what Yauhmi has planned - restoration of the hereditary monarchy, implementing elections, ending the Great Selection - she could do any of those things, or all of them, and have this Assembly of hers sign off on it to give it the appearance of a democratic decision." The disdain in Calhualyana's voice spiked on the word democratic. "We cannot let her go any further with her plans. This is our only chance to stop her. She'll be there with the other tlatoani all in one big group, in a public place, easily accessible to us. When else will we get this chance?"

"If we do as you're suggesting....what then?" General Huelixiuh, commander of the Imperial Air Force, seemed perturbed. "How do we deal with those who are loyal to Yauhmi? They're not a small group of people, after all."

A loud snort interrupted the General's musings. "We deal with them the way the Empire has always dealt with traitors and malcontents. Don't tell me you've forgotten how we do that, General." Hueticue, the new CEO of the Coytōchte mercenary corporation, sighed. "We put them in little steel cages above ground, or even smaller wooden boxes under ground. We do that enough times, to enough people, and the rest will fall in line like the good sheep they've been trained to be by our society. Yauhmi may have a cult of personality, but we'll see how well that holds up when bullets start flying and their precious Empress is no longer around to inspire them. I presume we will have all the resources we need to accomplish that, Cuālincōcatle?"

"That goes without saying," Cuālincōcatle, CEO of Coatōn Corporation, said calmly as he lit a cigar. "You'll have all the supplies, weapons and equipment you need. Your foes....well, let's just say that if they didn't stock up, they may find themselves having a sudden shortage." The defense contractor smirked as he took a puff.

General Xōchhuitl nodded in response. "The military, along with the mercenaries, will back you. But what about ASI and the other security forces? What do you plan to do about Zalpalatli and how do you plan to get ASI on board? He is extremely loyal to the Empress."

Calhualyana simply smiled. "I will deal with Zalpalatli. I assure you, neither he nor ASI will be a hindrance to this plan. On April 6th, we will put an end to this flirtation with foreign values and this cursed reign once and for all."

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:48 am

Monday, April 6th

Althea, Laeral

Crown Prince Texōccoatl adjusted his tie one last time, before tugging firmly on the lapels of his Xiuhtaca suit. His finger brushed gently over the Xiomeran flag pin on his lapel as Secretary for International Affairs Nōlinyauh went over the agenda for the first day of his visit to Laeral once more. “After being greeted by the Laeralite officials, we will tour the port - it’s their largest port by shipping volume, very similar to the role Huitzitaca fills for us back home - before we meet with corporate and NGO leaders to discuss trade matters. After that, we will be seeing a performance of the Althea Ballet later this evening. Althea is a significant Laeralite cultural and tourism center, so it would serve us well to ask questions related to those matters and make links to similar cities in Xiomera, such as Tlālacuetztla and Necuatexi, whenever we can.”

Texōccoatl nodded at the Secretary’s words, taking a final moment to make sure there was no lint on his finely tailored suit nor scuffs visible on his highly polished dress shoes. “I did read the briefing notes, Nōlinyauh,” he chided jokingly.

“Of course you did,” Nōlinyauh replied, sighing slightly and putting his tablet back into his suit pocket. “We just want to make sure we’re prepared. This is a very historic visit, after all.”

Texōccoatl laughed in response. The Secretary had become somewhat of a mentor to the Crown Prince since his unexpected elevation to being someone important after his mother had taken over as Empress. A career Xiomeran diplomat, Nōlinyauh had provided the Crown Prince with a reliable and experienced shoulder to lean on, one that Texōccoatl had greatly appreciated in the absence of his father. “It is indeed a historic occasion, and I, for one, am looking forward to fixing our relationship with the more democratic nations in the IDU. But don’t worry, I’m ready. We’re ready.”

By that we, Texōccoatl didn’t just mean the two men about to step off the plane. The Crown Prince meant that Xiomera was ready for the next chapter in its story - one where it was no longer a tyrannical state shunned and feared by its neighbors. Nōlinyauh caught the nuance in the Crown Prince’s tone of voice, and nodded with a smile in response. “We are indeed. After you, your Majesty,” he said, gesturing forward.

Texōccoatl nodded back to the Secretary, taking a moment to steel himself before stepping forward. With the Secretary in tow, the Crown Prince emerged from the plane, walking down the stairs to the ground below. Noticing a bevy of media nearby, the Crown Prince waved to them, his trademark smile flashing. Walking up to the Laeralite officials who were there to greet him, he gave a short, polite bow. “I am Crown Prince Texōccoatl. On behalf of the Xiomeran people, thank you for welcoming us to your great nation. It is an honor to be the first of my people to visit your country in such a visit.”

—-

Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera

Imperial Military Hospital

“I felt fine until yesterday, but then I developed this cough, and just feel really tired.”

Zalpalatli, the Secretary for Security, sighed and lay back down. The doctor and nurse examining him were fully gowned and masked, a fact which did nothing to alleviate the unease he was feeling. “You don’t think it’s that damned adenovirus, is it?”

“We doubt it, Secretary. Xiomera has done a superb job of keeping that situation under control and addressed, unlike other countries. We do want to take all necessary precautions, however....are you all right, Secretary?” the military doctor asked suddenly, as Zalpalatli seemed to lose focus.

“I’m not sure.....I’m having trouble breathing all of a sudden,” the Secretary said, gasping. He fell back onto the bed, his eyes closing. The doctor jumped forward in alarm and pressed the alert button on the wall. “Code Blue! We need a team in here now!” the doctor shouted into the intercom.

The Cauhloc, one hour later

“Secretary Zalpalatli appears to have contracted the AD14 Adenovirus,” the doctor told the three people displayed on the screen of the teleconference panel.

“How exactly could that have happened? Everyone has assured me that the virus has been kept well under control in Xiomera and that this sort of thing was impossible,” the Empress snapped. Yauhmi leaned forward, eyeing the screen in frustration.

“We don’t know, your Majesty, and that is the truth,” Cozamaquetzal, the Secretary of Health, looked as frustrated and concerned as Yauhmi did. “We have had no reports of community spread, we had locked down anyone who caught the virus through travel, there is simply no reason I am aware of that this could have happened.”

“Well, find out! It clearly happened somehow, and if there is a danger to the Xiomeran people, I need to know!” Yauhmi shouted.

“Of course, your Majesty,” Cozamaquetzal said, bowing. “We are already tracing the Secretary’s contacts and previous movements to see where the vector for his infection could have been, and will notify you the second we have more information.”

Yauhmi rubbed her temples slightly. “In the meantime,” the Empress said, turning towards the screen displaying the third person involved in the conversation, “you will need to assume the Secretary’s duties. I am sure you are prepared to keep ASI and the Security Secretariat running until Zalpalatli gets better.....assuming he does. Let us hope he recovers quickly.”

“Indeed, your Majesty,” Undersecretary Calhualyana replied calmly. “I will pray he recovers, but until then....rest assured, the security of the Empire is in good hands.”

The Empress nodded. “Doctor, keep me posted at regular intervals on the Secretary’s condition. Cozamaquetzal, keep me posted regularly as well on the results of your investigation.” After Yauhmi and the others signed off the conference call, Calhualyana leaned back in her chair, chuckling softly to herself.

ASI covert operations center, undisclosed location
One hour later


“So, how did you do it?” The man seated in front of Acting Security Secretary Calhualyana smiled.

“An agent never reveals their techniques,” Calhualyana replied smugly. “But poor Zalpalatli will be out of the office for the duration.”

The man laughed. “Indeed, and just in time. I was able to delay the opening of the Hall of Unity as you requested for a few days. Enough time to activate my colleagues, and for you and the good General Xōchhuitl to make sure your forces are in position. It was hard to fake that breakdown in the HVAC system.”

“But not beyond your abilities, clearly,” Calhualyana purred. “With Texōccoatl out of the country, and Zalpalatli out of the picture, everything should go perfectly to plan.”
Last edited by Xiomera on Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Laeral » Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:12 am

Monday, April 6
En route from Althea to Laeralsford, Laeral


“Yes, yesterday went as well as we could’ve hoped,” said the Foreign Ministry man acting as Texōccoatl’s “handler” during his time in Laeral. “The tour of the docks and the meeting with the business leaders went smoothly, and while I wasn’t in the First Minister’s box at the Althea Ballet I’m told it went quite well. The principal’s in the next compartment here in the passenger car right now, talking with the International Affairs Secretary.”

“Excellent,” said the man on the other end, a certain highly-placed person in the president’s office. “Is everything okay with his security?”

“There were a few issues at first- getting permission for them to bring their weapons to the ballet, on the train, that kind of thing- but it’s all smoothed out. We’re on schedule and we’ll be at the train station in Laeralsford in 20 minutes.”

“Good,” said the man from the president’s office’s voice. “Everything from the staff email last night is still valid. The meeting room’s set up at Assembly Hall and we’ll be ready for him here at 15:00.”

“Very good,” the handler said. “I’ll go tell the crown prince now.”

Assembly Hall, Laeralsford

“I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we’re very happy to see the steps that your mother, Empress Yauhmi, has taken towards opening Xiomera to the world and engaging more fully with the international community,” said Representative Léo Chapelle, a New Democrat and apparent enthusiast for Xiomeran culture, who had made founding the Laeral-Xiomera Relations Caucus among his first actions upon being seated in the Assembly of Commons. Today, for the first time in legislative memory, his minute caucus was the center of attention at Assembly Hall, at least for the day. “But, your majesty, I would like to bring up something that was scarcely mentioned in your earlier presentation. Does the empress not run the risk of inciting a backlash, of some kind, from traditionalist elements in the Xiomeran political space? What will happen if or when Empress Yauhmi faces this sort of opposition?”

Crown Prince Texōccoatl nodded solemnly, from behind his podium at the front of the room, when Representative Chapelle finished asking his question. “To begin with, any leader, particularly one embarking on such an ambitious program of reform, will face opposition from those who do not see the need for change or adaptation. But her majesty the empress enjoys the support, by and large, of the Xiomeran people. She is well-loved by the common people, the workers and the middle-class, the rural and the urban. There is certainly some segment of the populace that opposes her leadership, perhaps those who are still clinging to their support for another candidate in last year’s Great Selection. Respectful dissent is a necessary part of good decision-making within any political system, as I’m sure you are all aware of as elected officials in a democratic system. But as time goes by and the benefits of reaching out to the world, the benefits of the new Huanyan Assembly, become apparent, I believe that even those who vehemently oppose change will come around.”

Representative Chapelle stood up again, holding the microphone. “Thank you very much, Crown Prince Texōccoatl. That’s all the time that we have with you today, but this has been a valuable- and extremely pleasant- time spent getting to know you and gain a fuller understanding of Xiomera today. Thank you once again.”

Republic House, Laeralsford
Inside an elegantly-decorated waiting room at Laeral’s presidential residence, International Affairs Secretary Nōlinyauh took the opportunity to speak quickly and discreetly to Texōccoatl.

“After the talk with the legislators, when we were shaking hands and taking pictures and accepting gifts and all that, I had an interesting encounter with the daughter of the Laeralian foreign minister. She’s herself a representative- you might say her position bears some similarities to yours.”

Texōccoatl didn’t laugh or snicker, but he gave a little look of amusement that Nōlinyauh recognized from the many conversations they’d shared.

“Anyways, she thanked me for the presentation you gave, and slipped me a piece of paper.” He took from his pocket a scrap of paper, with two Laeralian phone numbers, one marked “Misra” and the other “Liu”. “It’s apparently their personal mobile numbers. Misra is the Foreign Minister, of course, and we’ll be seeing President Liu in a moment.”

“Interesting,” Texōccoatl said. “It seems they’re very eager for us to be in contact with them. At least unofficially, or off the record. This is a good sign for our meeting, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely,” said Nōlinyauh. “Like I said earlier, Liu’s a diplomat by trade, and everything we’ve seen indicates she’s jumping at the chance to build ties with Xiomera, under her majesty’s rule. She wants warming relations; we should be able to just let it happen.”

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:44 pm

Tuesday, April 7th
Republic House, Laeralsford


“Your majesty? The President is ready now, please come in,” the secretary said, interrupting Nōlinyauh’s musings.

“Thank you very much,” Texōccoatl replied, gesturing to Nōlinyauh to stand up. The two men entered the office, where President Liu was waiting. “Your majesty, Secretary, thank you for coming. I am very pleased to be able to meet with you both,” Liu said warmly.

“Thank you for having us, President Liu,” Texōccoatl replied, with a polite bow. “We have been looking forward to this visit for a long time,” the Crown Prince replied, as the two men seated themselves at a gesture from Liu.

As he sat down, Texōccoatl took a moment to assess the President. Liu was, in appearance, as he had been briefed: a polite and kind woman who had the demeanor of someone’s mother, or perhaps grandmother. As she had refreshments brought to the Xiomerans, the Crown Prince took a cup of tea gratefully, expressing compliments at the quality of the tea.

For her part, Liu found Texōccoatl and Nōlinyauh, at first glance, to be much as she had been advised. The Secretary of International Affairs, an older gentleman with a dapper if old-fashioned style of dress, seemed like the steady rock for the Crown Prince to lean on. For his part, Texōccoatl was also, on the surface, much as advertised: younger, a bit brasher, with a smile that could charm the sun itself down from the sky - but too intelligent to be just a pretty face in a suit.

“I am hopeful that this will begin a new chapter in the relationship between our two countries - especially as we begin trying to change things in Xiomera,” the Crown Prince said with another smile as he set down his teacup after the initial polite chit-chat had taken place. “We are eager to discuss ways that we can grow closer in regards to trade, and in diplomatic relations as well. We are also quite interested in cultural and educational exchanges, as we can learn much from each other.”

“I agree, and we are definitely interested in pursuing closer ties as well,” Liu said. “Of course, I cannot commit to anything concrete just yet. The relationship between Xiomera and Laeral has been....well....nonexistent in some ways, and a bit strained in others. While we want to have a closer relationship, it is hoped that the changes your mother the Empress is proposing will lead to a strong foundation for such ties to bear fruit.”

“Of course,” Texōccoatl said politely. “We know that Xiomera has much to prove, given our past, before you would be able to truly commit to written agreements in this regard. More to the point, we would need to maintain our course of reform for such ties to even be possible. We have no problem with taking things slow, as they say,” the Crown Prince said, with yet another smile.

Liu couldn’t help but be amused by the rogue-ish nature of the Xiomeran monarch. She was too experienced, however, to let it cloud her judgement. “I am glad to hear that, your majesty. For now, we would be highly interested in beginning discussions to explore how those ties between our two countries may form, in time, and with the new era you and your mother are bringing about in Xiomera. We would be pleased to also agree to cultural and educational exchanges. Learning more about each other is the best way to lay the foundation for closer ties.”

“This is excellent news,” Nōlinyauh said. “I know there are many in Xiomera who would love to learn more about Laeralite culture and how your political and educational systems work.”

Liu smiled. “Indeed, and there are many in Laeral who are quite interested in learning more about Xiomera as well. I understand you met with Léo Chapelle. Many of us share his interest in Xiomera, especially since your nation has been somewhat isolated in the past. I am also quite curious to learn more about Xiomera, and the unique culture of your homeland.”

The Crown Prince grinned. “We have been quite isolated - for much too long. I am very hopeful that this visit of ours will be the beginning of the end to that isolation.”

“I believe it will,” Liu said. As the visit came to an end, she stood up, shaking the hands of the two Xiomerans. “Thank you once again for taking the time to visit, and I look forward to speaking with you both again soon - and, perhaps, the Empress as well. My staff will begin the process of setting up the discussions with your government at your convenience.”

“The pleasure was ours, madam President. Thank you again for seeing us. I look forward to future talks, and a friendly relationship between our countries,” the Crown Prince replied, giving Liu a short bow of respect once again before the two Xiomerans were led out of the office.

After the two Xiomerans had left, Liu turned to an aide. “Have our staff get in touch with the Xiomeran embassy so we can begin setting up discussions,” she said. Liu sat back down at her desk, pleased with the direction of things. If Xiomera really does change, with their strong economy and technology, they could do a lot of good in the world, and be a good friend to us, she thought. She hoped that it would work out that way.

For their part, the Crown Prince and the Secretary were both also quite pleased. “That meeting went quite well,” Nōlinyauh said.

“It did,” the Crown Prince replied. “President Liu, in her own way, reminds me of my mother....when she’s in a good mood, anyway,” he said, as Nōlinyauh smirked. “She strikes me as a good person, with good intent. If this is an example of how things will go on this visit, I am quite optimistic.”
Last edited by Xiomera on Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:44 am

Wednesday, April 8th
Laeralsford


"Ambassador Quetmiilnaxī seemed pleased to visit with us," Texōccoatl said as their official vehicle arrived at their next destination. Nōlinyauh snorted slightly at that. "That's an understated way to put it," the Secretary replied. "I don't know if poor Quetmiilnaxī was excited to have a Crown Prince and his boss visiting, or just excited to have anyone visiting at all," Nōlinyauh added with a laugh. "We have, admittedly, not had the good Ambassador very busy here."

The Xiomeran embassy in Laeral, like most Xiomeran embassies in countries that weren't openly allied with the Empire, had been a relatively small affair. Most IDU nations, after all, hadn't been horribly interested in pursuing close relations with a nation that was a regional boogeyman. Since Yauhmi had taken the throne, however, most Xiomeran embassies were being expanded, and a new push being made to pursue actual and functional relationships with other countries. The Xiomeran embassy in Laeralsford was already showing signs of that, with remodeling and modernization quite apparent to the two high-ranking visitors from back home. "Quetmiilnaxī did seem to have a bit of pep in his step," Texōccoatl smiled. "Hopefully after this visit, he'll have a lot more to do."

The two Xiomerans exited their vehicle at the Ministry of Trade, admiring the scenery for a brief moment. "Before we go in, make sure to remind me to nudge mother on appointing a new Secretary of Trade. I'm not at all upset that she 'convinced' that idiot Xocolcōza to resign, but we can't leave that position with just an acting Secretary forever...especially if these talks go well," the Crown Prince added. Nōlinyauh nodded, making a brief note on his tablet before the two men were led inside the building.

After being led to a well-appointed waiting room, and allowed to relax for a bit, they were led into the office of Raoul Chen. The Laeralite Minister of Trade was, in his way, quite similar to Texōccoatl - a young, vigorous leader with a carefully cultivated air of dynamism, and an equally cultivated appearance. Something tells me these two are going to get along quite well, Nōlinyauh thought with a smile as Chen jumped up from behind his desk to offer both men a firm-but-not-too-firm handshake. "Your majesty, and Secretary Nōlinyauh, it's an honor to be seeing you today. Please have a seat," he said, offering the two Xiomerans chairs.

After a bit of standard small talk and refreshments, Texōccoatl laid down his teacup. "I'm glad we are of similar mindset in many ways," he said. "No offense to my elder statesman mentor here, but I do think it's safe to say that younger leaders such as ourselves are going to be the future of our respective nations, so it's good that we get along," he added, with a wink at Nōlinyauh.

"With appropriate guidance from us fossils, to be sure, who are the present," Nōlinyauh replied with a slight smirk.

"Absolutely," Chen replied eagerly. "We're grateful for leadership from those who have come before us, but I do agree that we're likely to be the future for our two countries. Since you mentioned the present, Secretary, there's no better time than the present for us to guarantee that future."

"Yes, and trade is the most fundamental way we can do that. Leaders come and go, governments do too...but prosperity is the one thing that has to remain constant, for nations to survive," Texōccoatl replied.

"You're exactly right, and our two countries would be ideal partners in that regard. We both believe in free trade, we both have advanced and successful economies, and we share similar economic goals. If we worked together on trade, there's not much limit to what we could accomplish," Chen said. "After we talk now, we have some of our economic and business leaders assembled to discuss how Xiomera and Laeral can cooperate more closely on trade. If those talks go well, I think we'd have the foundation for opening up greater ties on trade, and even cementing a formal trade agreement."

"That works for us, and we're ready to move quickly on such an agreement as well," Texōccoatl said. "Our economy is geared around trade, and also around consumption. The more we trade with others, the more we succeed. We'd be willing to come to an agreement on free trade without tariffs or restrictions, mutually reciprocal, of course."

"Of course! We can get that done," Chen nodded. "It looks like it's time for us to meet with the leaders I mentioned. Shall we?"

Texōccoatl and Nōlinyauh nodded warmly, standing up to follow Chen to a meeting room. The following discussions, with Chen and Texōccoatl pushing them along, laid the foundation for agreements to be considered by the governments of both countries for approval. At the conclusion of the discussions, Texōccoatl made sure that Chen had a direct way to get in touch with him. The same information had been provided to President Liu, but Texōccoatl wanted to make sure the trade deal hit no snags, especially with a placeholder in the Xiomeran Secretary of Trade's spot at the moment.

As the two Xiomerans departed the building, giving their farewells to a highly enthuiastic Chen, Texōccoatl and Nōlinyauh reviewed what they had accomplished. "I will say this, Raoul Chen doesn't hesitate to get things done," the Crown Prince said. "I'm impressed."

"Hmm. Not hesitating to pull the trigger. Which two royals does that trait remind me of?" Nōlinyauh replied. Texōccoatl smirked in response.
Last edited by Xiomera on Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:21 pm

Thursday, April 9th
Hanshui


Even though Texōccoatl had been thoroughly briefed on every stage of the Xiomeran delegation’s trip to Laeral, Nōlinyauh felt the need to brief him again as their train sped from Laeralsford towards Hanshui. The Crown Prince found it amusing, but since it helped meet the Secretary’s need to pontificate, he let him do so as he admired the scenery speeding by.

“Hanshui is the most important city in western Laeral, and the largest city of significance for the native Laeralite population, the Rén,” the Secretary said, reading from his notes as the Crown Prince nodded. ”I always find the history of countries that found themselves conquered by outsiders interesting. It’s so different from our own history. We, of course, were never conquered by anyone,” Texōccoatl replied.

This earned a slight laugh from Nōlinyauh. “We Xiomerans may have been the conquerors rather than the conquered, at least on Huenya, but we shouldn’t puff ourselves up too much over that. We were lucky, frankly. If advanced societies had discovered us before we were ready, or if we hadn’t been geographically distant from just about anywhere else back then, our history would have been very different. We could well have ended up under the thumb of foreigners just as easily. There was nothing special or different about us. The right-wing types always talk about what fierce warriors we are and how we scared would-be colonialists off with our prowess, but it’s all just a bunch of nationalist and ethnocentric crap.”

“True. We were just fortunate that the Empress Camaxtica was able to modernize us during her reign, especially our military, or we would have been sitting ducks.” Texōccoatl‘s expression took on a reflective pose. “I do wonder sometimes what our country would have ended up like had our history followed similar paths as places like Laeral. But, things being equal, I’m quite glad we didn’t end up having any conquerors over us.”

Nōlinyauh snorted. “Ask the Itotemoc, Necatli, Tepiltzin and Teyatia if they feel the same way as Xiomerans about that.”

The Crown Prince sighed. “I suppose Xiomerans do, ourselves, have a lot to answer for in our own history. But like mother says, history only repeats yourself if you insist on repeating past actions in the present.”

The contemplative banter came to an end as the train arrived at its destination. “I guess it’s time to get to work again,” Texōccoatl said, standing up. “That’s your life now. Now you know how your mother feels,” Nōlinyauh replied. This earned him a sidewise look from the Crown Prince, before the two men emerged from the train.

Their first stop was at Silver Harvest Studios, a Laeralite film studio whose executives were interested in distributing their movies in Xiomera. The Crown Prince, after an enjoyable discussion, signed an agreement on the spot to allow them to do so. Previously, foreign media in Xiomera had been strictly regulated, and anything deemed “anti-Xiomeran” in content was strictly forbidden. With her medía reforms, however, the Empress had ended that requirement. While films would still be screened and rated for content to ensure age-appropriate audiences, film bans were a thing of the past, the Crown Prince assured the Silver Harvest executives.

Their second stop was at Avenir Pharmaceuticals. The Laeralite firm was interested in collaborating with Xiomeran pharmaceutical firms. After reviewing their presentation and touring their facilities, Texōccoatl promised to connect them with leaders at Xāatlcu, the leading Xiomeran pharmaceutical firm, as well as Colane, a leading Xiomeran biomedical research firm whose focus was on developing treatments utilizing native Huenyan sources.

While the first two trips were easy enough, Texōccoatl and Nōlinyauh knew that their last visit of the day would be the most challenging. A tour had been scheduled for them at Riverlands National Open University, one of the most elite colleges in Laeral. The university was interested in attracting foreign students from Xiomera, and in educational partnerships with Xiomeran universities and colleges. That desire wasn’t the challenging part of the visit. Some of Xiomera’s best colleges, such as Tlālacuetztla Polytechnic, the Technological Institute of Huitmā and the Independent University System, were already eager to begin such exchanges. The hard part of the visit was after the chatting with university officials and making arrangements for educational exchange to begin.

The international relations society at Riverlands had invited the Crown Prince and the Secretary to tea and a discussion at one of the university’s residential colleges. “Don’t expect softball questions,” Nōlinyauh had warned ahead of time. “These are some of the brightest students that one of the best universities in a free country can produce. These aren’t kids from the Xiomeran Students’ Association hoping to curry favor with you so they can get a cushy spot working for the government once they graduate.”

“I will keep that in mind,” Texōccoatl had replied back with a straight face. And indeed, the students proved very quickly that they weren’t over-awed by the presence of royalty (albeit the manufactured royalty that was an oddity of the Xiomeran system).

One of the very first questions was posed by a young Rén student. “Your mother, and yourself, your majesty, have said that bringing greater equality to Xiomera’s economic system is one of your goals. And your mother, the Empress, has made some laudable reforms, such as instituting a social security system and expanding your healthcare system. But Xiomera’s economy still functions as a brutally capitalistic machine, where workers are seen as ‘resources’ and your corporate sector treats them like replaceable parts. Neither yourself, nor your mother, have made any moves yet to force your corporations to treat their workers better.” The student held up a copy of a newspaper article, familiar to the Crown Prince, which detailed how many Xiomeran workers found themselves quickly fired by their employers, and left on their own, if they became ill or unable to work. “Workers’ rights in your country are virtually nonexistent. Is your government planning to take steps to ensure workers are finally protected in Xiomera? And what assurances can you give Laeral, and other nations, that trading with Xiomera won’t just entrench the built-in injustice in your economic system?”

Nōlinyauh looked over to Texōccoatl, who nodded. Definitely not an XSA meeting, the Crown Prince’s expression said wryly, before he turned back to the student who had asked the question. “Thank you for that question. That is a question that anyone trading with Xiomera has a right to ask - and you’re right, we haven’t done enough in the past to protect workers in our country. Our institution of a social security system, and financial assistance for those in need, is just the first step in our planned reforms. There are several parts of the overall plan. The next step, to be implemented within the next few months, is a comprehensive system of unemployment insurance to ensure that if a worker loses their job, they don’t lose everything else along with it. This will be followed by laws to ensure that no worker is forced out of their job if they have a chance to recover from their illness or injury, and return to work. Employers will be required to guarantee to hold their jobs for them. The following step will be to implement a plan for comprehensive disability support for workers who can no longer work due to injury or illness. In the past, if misfortune befell a worker in Xiomera, the response from government and business alike was to say that it wasn’t their problem, and to leave the worker to their fate. Such actions have helped build Xiomera’s economy, but they have done so to the shame of us all. Too many Xiomerans live in comfort and abundance without thinking about those who make that comfort and abundance possible. This must change, and will change. Xiomera’s economy is strong enough to provide all of its people a living wage, support in bad times when they need help, and not just the basic life that they need, but the decent life that they deserve. All of this will be managed, in the coming months, by our newly created Secretariat of Support, which will be given the power to investigate companies and employers who mistreat their workers, fine those that don’t comply with the new rules, and even arrest those guilty of truly egregious noncompliance. My mother believes - as I do also - that no matter how wealthy or economically strong a society may be, if even one person in that society has to sleep on the street at night, or dies from illness or injury when they don’t have to, that society has failed. Xiomera has failed to protect its workers, and its lower-income citizens - you are absolutely right about that. But on this issue, my mother and I are both in agreement that failure is no longer an option.”

The next question, from a skeptical Arrivée student: “Xiomera, if it actually implements the sweeping reforms that you say the Empress plans, will be creating what most advanced nations have had for many years - a fully functioning social safety net. Xiomera has had literally no safety net in the past. How will Xiomera pay for it all? And since you will inevitably have to raise taxes on the most powerful people in your society to do so, how do you plan to get them to comply?”

Texōccoatl nodded soberly in response. “Xiomera’s tax structure has been set up since virtually the beginning of our history in a disproportionate and unfair way. The wealthy and large corporations have paid almost nothing, everyone else has paid a lot. With reforms to our tax system, if corporations and wealthier Xiomerans pay their fair share - which isn’t a huge amount for them, in proportion to their actual wealth - we can easily fund the initiatives we are proposing. We might even be able to lower taxes on everyone else in Xiomera while doing so, which is the right thing to do. Those in my country who argue that the money isn’t there for our plans are just wrong - we’re an incredibly wealthy country with a very strong economy. The money is there. It’s just not being utilized correctly or fairly. Fixing that problem with our system also solves the dilemma of paying for these reforms. As for how we convince those who don’t like the idea of paying their fair share to comply....paying your taxes in Xiomera is not a voluntary process. Those that attempt to dodge their responsibility to pay their fair share as Xiomeran citizens will either have their assets seized, or will go to jail - or both, if necessary. We prefer, of course, to convince them to comply willingly. And we do that with a simple argument: true, long-term prosperity require a workforce and a citizenry that have all their basic needs met: food, shelter, healthcare, education. Paying a bit more in tax to make that all happen is the smartest investment the wealthy and powerful in Xiomera could possibly make - for their benefit, and for the benefit of everyone else at the same time.”

Another Rén student, with a concerned expression on his face: “Your proposals and plans for reform are admirable, but Xiomera has functioned as a fusion of corporate and government tyranny and fascism for almost your entire history. Surely the forces that oppose your plans will deem them too radical to accept, and they are entrenched deeply in your country. How do you plan to prevent them from stopping you?”

Texōccoatl smiled in response. “Our goal is to eventually move Xiomera into a state of being a more democratic and multilateral society. But as it stands now, the word of my mother the Empress is law. If they try to oppose her, they will be opposing the rightful monarch of Xiomera, and they will be breaking the law and will be dealt with accordingly - ”

“But isn’t that just applying tyranny and dictatorship in the guise of trying to reform it?” the student shot back.

Texōccoatl couldn’t help but admire the student, both for his quickness of wit and his unwillingness to accept a questionable answer. “You’re not entirely wrong there. But Xiomera has to work with the system that it has. When my mother took power, she was given a system that is inherently tyrannical and autocratic. But that’s all that is currently holding Xiomera together. If we must use the systems of the past to get to the future that we all want.....tyrants may have created those systems, but those who want to do the right thing can pull those levers too. The preferable method, as always, is to use discussion and compromise to come to a mutual understanding on how to achieve reform in Xiomera. But we cannot count on everyone being reasonable and compromising in this process. My mother, the Empress, does not wish to force anyone to accept these reforms. But if it comes to that, my mother firmly believes that change must come to Xiomera, and that she is the engine to drive that change. As we move forward, we will create new institutions to share that power, such as the new Huenyan Assembly which will start on the 10th of this month. But in the interim....if there is illegal resistance to the throne, or to the government, it will be dealt with.”

The last question came from another Arrivée student. “With all due respect, your majesty - and I do mean that, because I believe your words are sincere - but it cannot be denied that your mother, and even yourself, are part of the very system you claim to despise and want to change. You’re the son of Topilpopoca, the former Emperor, who was as much a tyrant as any Emperor before him -”

Nōlinyauh’s expression grew slightly irked at that point, and he turned towards Texōccoatl as if about to speak, but the Crown Prince waved him down as the student continued.

“...and your mother, the Empress, was married to him. You are, yourself, as much a product of the traditional Xiomeran elite as it is possible to be. You went to the best schools, lived an elite life. Your mother, the Empress, has lived in the Palace of Flowers for over twenty years, first as the wife of the Xiomeran ruler, and then as the actual ruler after a very questionable selection process. The two of you, I am sorry to say, are the very embodiment of traditional Xiomeran elites. Why should anyone believe that you are the two who will change Xiomera from the tyrannical state that it’s been when you were a part of that system for so long?”

The Crown Prince pondered that question for a moment. “No one should believe us. At least, not blindly,” Texōccoatl said finally. “My father did begin his reign as a tyrant. My mother, believe it or not, was the moderating influence on him. While my father saw Xiomera as it was, and had always been, my mother saw Xiomera as it could be. Still does,” the Crown Prince added with a smirk. “Towards the end of his reign, as he grew older, he was beginning to regret much of the past, and was beginning, albeit slightly, to soften his stance. My mother had been working on that for decades, and I think it was finally beginning to sink in. I wonder what kind of man, and what kind of ruler, he would have been in the end, if someone’s bullet hadn’t taken him from us.”

As the room fell silent, Texōccoatl continued. “But you’re right to be skeptical of us. We are products of that system. So here’s my answer, and it’s a challenge. Don’t take our words for granted. Keep watching us, and pointing out both our successes and our failures. If we do the wrong thing, hold our feet to the fire until we get back on the right path. Pressure your own government too, if they see us doing the wrong thing and don’t hold us accountable for it. Words are wonderful things, but in the grand scheme of things, actions count far more. So listen to our words, but more importantly, watch our actions. And if we break our promises, take action of your own, and make sure we hear about it. The only thing I ask is that you do be a little patient with us. We are trying to overcome six centuries of repression, and we’ve only been in power since November,” the Crown Prince said calmly. “But make sure we keep our promises.”

“That seems like a good point to end on,” the moderator leading the discussion said. “Thank you, your majesty, and Secretary Nōlinyauh, for taking the time to talk with us today.”

“It was our honor to do so,” Texōccoatl replied. “When I see a room of bright young people like this, unafraid to ask questions of even the powerful and the high of office....this is what I want for Xiomera. I want our people, young and old, to have the same freedom. I thank you all for this reminder.”

—-

On the train to their next destination in Minsheng province, Nōlinyauh couldn’t help but ask Texōccoatl. “That last statement, about wanting a future where everyone in Xiomera is as bold as those students, to ask a prince such questions without a hint of deference....did you really mean that?”

Texōccoatl thought for a moment. “I did. And I do. But let’s face it, Nōlinyauh: the days of eyes-lowered bowing and scraping to thrones are over. Whether I want that future or not.....I’d be an idiot to oppose it. Lucky thing, I suppose, that such a future doesn’t bother me in the least.”

Nōlinyauh smiled in response. “You’re going to be a formidable Emperor....whenever your mother decides to finally let you, that is.”

Texōccoatl laughed. “I’m fine with her holding onto that job for a while longer.”

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:44 am

Friday, April 10th
Palace of Flowers - 8:00 am, Xiomeran time


“Is everything prepared?” the Empress asked. “It is, your Majesty,” Ixatli responded. The Shorn One in charge of Yauhmi’s personal security detail handed her a tablet. “At 9:00 am, we leave the Palace and proceed to the Hall of Unity. From there, you shall meet with various officials and guests until 9:45 am, when you shall enter the Assembly Chamber with the other tlatoani and cihuacoatl. At 10:00 am, you will perform the ceremony to open the session.”

“You could say that with a little more ceremony, Ixatli,” Yauhmi joked. “I’m going to be opening the first session of the first thing resembling a democratic legislature that Xiomera has ever had. I’m going to be changing the course of our nation’s history forever at 10:00 am, you know. You said it like you were reading off a grocery list.”

The Shorn One simply sighed. His impassive expression, if it had changed at that moment, would have been pained.

“I suppose the opening ceremony itself will have to provide the drama and ceremony I crave,” the Empress sighed herself in response. She sipped her coffee with chocolate, making a few last notes on the tablet in preparation for the session.

The Cauhloc - 8:00 am, Xiomeran time

“Is everything prepared?” Calhualyana said. “It is,” General Xōchhuitl replied. The commander of the Xiomeran Imperial Army gave a short nod. “I have already spoken to Tlālpantlizal and Huelixiuh. The military will be ready.”

“ASI will be ready as well,” Calhualyana said. “I have seen to that. And what about our irregulars?”

“You asked me that on Monday, Calhualyana,” Xōlan said with a bemused tone. “The Patriotic Youth Corps, the Students’ Association, the Servicepersons and Protectors’ Association, and the Good Citizens’ League will be ready to move at the appropriate time. We will keep any protests or other inappropriate behavior from occurring on the streets. You just need to make sure your boys and girls in uniform do their job.”

“We always do,” General Xōchhuitl barked, clearly offended at the very notion that his soldiers would not do so.

“Very well. I have also gotten Atlhuitzcoatl on board,” Calhualyana added, to clearly impressed expressions from the others on the secured conference call. Atlhuitzcoatl, the high priest of Huītzilōpōchtli and most prominent traditional religious figure in Xiomera, would be a huge boost to the group’s plans if he was on board.

“Be ready, gentlemen. In two hours, we will embark on the greatest mission in our lives. We have sworn to serve Xiomera - now we must save it.”

—-

Hall of Unity - 10:00 am, Xiomeran time

It was a sunny day in Tlālacuetztla, pleasant and unseasonably warm, as the Empress and her entourage arrived at the Hall of Unity. The brand-new building shone resplendently in the sun, its modern architecture and strikingly Huenyan influences showing off well in the live coverage of the event.

The Empress and her group had emerged from their limousines and walked into the new building, to applause and cheers. While the crowd watching was being kept at a distance for security, Yauhmi could still see and hear the excitement of the people. She smiled as she walked into the new building.

After a bit of discussion and chat with various citizens and officials, the Empress met with the other tribal leaders. “Ready to make some history?” the Empress asked, to warm smiles from most of them. The only one seemingly not excited was Noxochicotzin, the tlatoani of the Necatli tribe, who merely gave her a nod. Yauhmi wondered at that for a moment, then dismissed it. The Necatli are always like that, she told herself. She wasn’t going to let anyone’s sour mood spoil the day.

To a flourish of music and applause, the Empress led the other tlatoani into the Assembly Chamber. As the crowd in attendance clapped, the six of them seated themselves, with the Empress sitting first. It took quite a while for the applause to die down, but when it finally did, Yauhmi smiled again and raised a ceremonial gavel. “I, Yauhmi, by the Mandate of Huītzilōpōchtli, Empress of Xiomera, Protector of the Peoples of the Sun, Sovereign of the Huenya, Manauia and Netlcoātl Islands, declare this historic first session of the Huenyan Assembly open - ”

A sudden voice, raised in alarm, broke into her thoughts as it came over her earpiece. It was Ixatli. Something is happening, your Majesty.

—-

“...and you can see the Empress giving the opening speech and about to gavel in the first ever session of this representative body, the Huenyan Assembly, recently created by the government....this is a truly historic moment for Xiomera...” the XIN reporter broadcasting the opening ceremony live said, his voice suddenly breaking up into static before cutting out completely. A moment later, the video cut out as well.

“Um....we seem to be having some technical difficulties...we’ve lost the feed from the Hall of Unity. We will try to get it back,” the XIN anchorwoman said, in a puzzled tone, as the nation watched.

—-

Minsheng Gardens Resort
Minsheng province, Laeral
10:05 am, Xiomeran time


Texōccoatl and Nōlinyauh were on the last stop of their visit to Laeral, visiting a resort and discussing possibilities for tourism between the two countries. The Crown Prince had stopped to take a moment to watch the opening ceremony of the Huenyan Assembly. When the broadcast abruptly cut out, Texōccoatl turned to Nōlinyauh. “What the devil is going on?” the Crown Prince asked.

Nōlinyauh was already on his phone, calling the Secretariat of International Affairs headquarters. He dialed twice, then looked at his phone in exasperation. He tried different numbers, before putting his phone away with a confused look. “I can’t get through to anyone. My phone simply will not dial anyone.”

Texōccoatl took out his own phone, an expression of alarm on his face. He tried dialing several numbers himself, before turning to the Secretary with a look of foreboding on his face.

—-

As the crowd gathered outside watched, their excitement turned to puzzlement as the security cordon around the Hall of Unity suddenly began pulling back to the perimeter of the building itself. The soldiers and police began forming a wall outside the building, as the crowd looked on. Then, rolling down the streets leading to the Hall of Unity, came a sight that no Xiomeran could ever help seeing without fear. Tanks, followed by armored personnel carriers.

The crowd began to mill about, before another line of armored vehicles began to approach. “This is a public emergency. You are ordered to disperse,” a voice began shouting over a loudspeaker, repeatedly, as soldiers deployed from the APCs and began forming a line to force people away from Xochitecpancalli Hill.

A squadron of Imperial AIr Force jets and Imperial Army helicopters had been, moments earlier, performing what had been ceremonial flyovers to celebrate the opening of the Huenyan Assembly. Now, they began flying over the crowd, the booming of the jet engines and thrumming noise from the helicopters providing an ominous counterpart to the shouts from the loudspeaker. In fear and confusion, the crowds began to stream away from the Hall of Unity.

—-

As the crowd outside began to flee, the crowd inside the Assembly Chamber began murmuring nervously. The other tlatoani began to look around in confusion. Only Yauhmi remained calm. Slowly, she put down her gavel.

The doors on either side of the Assembly Chamber burst open, and soldiers began streaming in. Sounds of gunfire and fighting could now be heard from outside the Chamber, as a group of soldiers marched to the dais. “General Xōchhuitl,” the Empress said, in a voice that was not surprised - and definitely not amused. “Do you care to explain what in the hell you’re doing?”

“I am placing you under arrest,” General Xōchhuitl snapped, as the crowd in the chamber began to protest.

Ixatli, and the other Shorn One assigned to Yauhmi, stepped forward with expressions that said no, you’re not as clearly as if the words had been said aloud. The other tlatoani, with the exception of Noxochicotzin, stood up with their own personal guards, prepared to fight. The Empress raised her hand. “Do nothing,” she said. “There are innocent civilians in this room. I would not see them harmed by being in the middle of a firefight in this chamber.”

“Then remove the civilians, so we can kill these traitorous dogs,” Chipatzal, tlatoani of the Itotemoc, said as his guards moved next to him.

“Don’t be an idiot, Chipatzal,” General Xōchhuitl said, as more soldiers entered the room. “We outnumber you ten to one, at least.”

“Those are indeed poor odds, for you, at least,” Ixatli said flatly, moving next to Yauhmi.

“Ixatli, stand down. Please,” Yauhmi added, as the Shorn One looked at her in dismay. “I will not sacrifice your lives or the lives of the innocent people in this room.” The Shorn Ones, and the other guards, stepped back in frustration. “General, on whose authority are you doing this? I certainly don’t recall not being Empress anymore, and if I had told you to arrest me, I think I would remember that.”

“I am doing this under the authority of the Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera,” General Xōchhuitl said. Yauhmi raised an eyebrow. “You’re a bit old to have imaginary friends, aren’t you, General?” she sighed, as the General turned red.

“Joke all you want, your Majesty, but those who care about upholding the Xiomeran way of life and the traditional ways of its people are by no means a figment of my imagination. Stand up, and walk out of here with me now, all of you,” the General snapped, looking at everyone on the dais, “or resist, and die here. I am no politician, so I will not bandy words with you here any longer.”

Yauhmi rose, allowing herself to be led out of the Chamber by General Xōchhuitl. As she and the other tlatoani rose, she noticed that Noxochicotzin was still seated. “You seem to have already made your choice, Noxochicotzin,” Yauhmi murmured as she began to walk past him. “You had best hope that your gamble pays off.” The tlatoani of the Necatli pointedly refused to look at her as she was led out of the Chamber.

As Yauhmi was led out by the General, she looked around. The Hall of Unity, and its surroundings, had been very quickly and effectively secured by the Army, its guards overwhelmed. “The people leading this little plot of yours seem to be quite efficient. But you’ve made two mistakes.”

“What would those be?” the General snapped, as they arrived at a loading dock.

“The first one is underestimating my support. The second one is this: you may have me, but you don’t have my son. He will return to Xiomera, whether I am dead or alive. And when he does.....he will bring the wrath of Huītzilōpōchtli down upon your heads.”

General Xōchhuitl yanked Yauhmi around to face him. “Your precious son is on another continent, with no soldiers, no resources and no way to even contact anyone here in Xiomera. If he tries to fly back here, we will shoot his plane down. If he tries to sail back here, we will blow his ship out of the water. Your son is as neutered as a threat as you are, and it will stay that way. If you actually love Texōccoatl, you had best hope he forgets you, and lives the rest of his life abroad on his remaining wealth. Because if he tries to return here, he is a dead man. Did you really think we would allow you to use Texōccoatl as the foundation for a new line of hereditary monarchs? Did you think we would just let you destroy everything Xiomera has been for 600 years? No, madam, the line of Topilpopoca ends here, and it ends now.”

With a growl, the General shoved Yauhmi into a waiting ASI van. As Yauhmi fell into the pitch-black darkness inside the van, the doors slammed shut.

—-

One hour later

When the broadcast from the Hall of Unity was interrupted, the staff at the XIN broadcast studio could not figure out why. As they tried to restore the connection, another stream of military vehicles approached. As the staff looked on in alarm, their building was surrounded.

An hour after the occupation of the Hall of Unity, all broadcast channels in Xiomera were ordered to broadcast a feed from the XIN studios. General Xōchhuitl was flanked by the commanders of the other Xiomeran military branches, as well as the commanders of the Imperial Police and Civil Guard. While the statement that the General read was long and florid, its meaning was quite simple.

Yauhmi, Empress of Xiomera, had been deposed by the military and arrested on charges of treason, conspiracy, corruption and anti-Xiomeran activities. She was stripped of her position, by order of the Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera, led by the Xiomeran military. She would be held in prison until she could be tried for her crimes; her son, Texōccoatl, was likewise removed from the line of succession, charged with treason, conspiracy, corruption and anti-Xiomeran activities as well, and subject to arrest if he returned to the country.

The Provisional Imperial Government would run the country until a new Great Selection could be held, and a new Emperor chosen who would undo the “anti-Xiomeran” reforms that Yauhmi had implemented, and restore “the rightful order of things” to the country. Until a new Emperor was chosen, martial law was in effect, and a curfew implemented from midnight to 8 am daily throughout the country. Anyone defying the curfew or “causing unrest” in the country was subject to immediate arrest and indefinite detention until trial. Glowering at the camera, General Xōchhuitl also warned that the Imperial military was “fully prepared” to defend the country from any foreign intervention on Yauhmi’s behalf. All travel to and from Xiomera was also halted “for the duration of the emergency.”

With that, a curtain of steel and gold would once again descend on Xiomera, shutting it off from the outside world.

—-

As he watched the broadcast on XIN from his stop in Minsheng province, Texōccoatl stared blankly at the screen. “So....now what?” Nōlinyauh asked.

“I know that, for starters, we need to talk to President Liu. We may be here in Laeral for a lot longer than we planned,” Texōccoatl said. “But I also know this - one way or another, sooner or later, I am going back to Xiomera. And that strutting General Xōchhuitl and his cabal of donkeys had better hope that my mother is alive when I return. If she isn’t....they want to go back to traditional ways, I’ll be more than happy to place their heads on spears outside the Palace of Flowers.”

Nōlinyauh soberly remembered that before his time as Crown Prince, and underneath his jovial and rogue-ish demeanor, Texōccoatl had been a Xiomeran soldier, and a good one. These coup plotters don’t like the influence Yauhmi had on Texōccoatl, but if they’ve awoken the side of Texōccoatl that takes after his father....gods and goddesses help us all.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:15 pm

Council of Kerlile Chamber
10th April - early morning Kerlian time

The Council watched the broadcast from Xiomera in a solemn silence. Despite the early hour, each Councillor was wide awake as she watched General Xōchhuitl make his statement. At the end of the broadcast the silence stretched out as the Councillors stared at the now-blank screen. Eventually, Councillor Pierre spoke.

“What are we going to do?” she asked in an uncharacteristically soft voice.

“I fear there is little we can do,” Councillor Patel sighed. “We know from our intervention in Lauchenoiria that such things in light of a coup are unwise. My family knows this more than most, and several others in this room are only still here because of luck and the incompetence of that Lauchenoirian lawyer.”

“I agree,” nodded Pierre, glancing around the room. “A military intervention would be a mistake. But I feel we have a moral obligation to do something to help Empress Yauhmi.”

The entire room turned to stare incredulously at Pauline. The sight of Councillor Pierre using the phrase ‘moral obligation’ was something that had never been seen before, and that no Councillor had expected to ever see in her lifetime.

“What? I have morals, despite what Lauchenoirians might think. It is merely that my philosophy is that the ends can justify the means, and I believed that my actions were necessary to further the cause of global women’s liberation.”

“Believed?” enquired Jennifer Hale.

“I may have been… incorrect in some of my assessments in the past. Such as the use of the Aurora Programme following the unrest in Lauchenoiria between the communist and capitalist elements in that nation. We had no business interfering in Lauchenoiria, and were doing so for our own selfish reasons.”

“Yet, I note you want to interfere in Xiomera,” smirked Robinson, teasing the other Councillor.

“This is an entirely different story,” Pauline replied, remaining calm. “Empress Yauhmi helped us when we were in a dire situation. And when the Aurora leaks threatened to destroy us completely, she gave us another chance, by offering us that deal that kept many of them safe. We are in her debt, as much as it pains me to admit it, and we need to find some way to repay it.”

“You don’t care about Yauhmi, you just want to protect the handful of Auroras who remained in Xiomera,” argued Robinson. Pauline opened her mouth to argue, when Councillor Chiu silenced her with a wave of her hand.

“Whatever Councillor Pierre’s motivation, she makes a good point. Empress Yauhmi has been the best ally of this country in our history. She, and her late husband I might add, gave us an ally at a time when we sorely needed one. Yauhmi protected us, and we ought to try and protect her,” Chiu said, then glanced at Patel. “And if morality isn’t your thing, then I would point out that we still need the alliance, and those behind this coup do not seem the types to retain it.”

“What can we do?” Rosemary Arnott asked, echoing Pierre’s earlier question.

“In spite of my regular disagreements with Pauline,” Councillor Robinson piped up reluctantly, “I find that I must agree with her here, even if I doubt her sincerity. We can’t allow Empress Yauhmi to be hurt by this General Xōchhuitl. As Pauline said, we have a moral obligation. Yet we cannot attempt a military intervention - to be blunt, we would lose.”

“We seem to be in general agreement that something has to be done,” Councillor Hart said, leaning forward. “But the question we’re all stuck on is what.”

Silence fell once more as the Councillors each tried to think of an idea that wasn’t doomed to failure. Several of them, including Hale and Chiu, began making some notes on paper in front of them, frowning. After a few minutes, Councillor Greenwood cleared her throat and nervously raised her hand a little.

“Um, I need to confess something…” she said, cringing a little.

“Go ahead, Letitia,” Chiu nodded curiously.

“Well, here’s the thing…” she began, and then outlined the story of the unemployed professional torturers her family had offered the services of to Xiomera after Topilpopoca’s assassination. The Councillors listened to the story with a mixture of expressions. On Hale’s face was anger, on Chiu’s disapproval, and on Pierre’s amusement.

“That will be why Mariya Adema hasn’t been around then,” laughed Pierre. “We’re members of the same rifle club.”

“Is that a club where you shoot rifles at targets, or beat people with them to get information?” Robinson asked dryly.

“For God’s sake!” interjected Hale. “This isn’t amusing! We didn’t vote to shut down the Restricted Region just so that Xiomeran citizens could be subjected to the same horrors in place of our own citizens. We shut it down so that nobody would have to undergo such pains. And Carmen, I’m surprised you can find humour in this given your hatred of torture. Councillor Greenwood, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Councillors, this is not a discussion on the morality, legality, or intelligence of Letitia’s actions,” Chiu said, trying to smooth over the heated emotions beginning to surface. “Although I feel we should have such a discussion at a later date. Letitia, do you have an idea how to use these individuals in our goals here?”

“Yes,” Letitia nodded. “They are still Kerlian citizens, and they still answer to us. As former Restricted Region staff, they will have been trained to obey orders. And they have access to ASI buildings, which will be of assistance to us.”

“You assume that they’ll still answer to our reformist government,” pointed out Georgiou. “And that they will not support the aims of these coup-plotters, who I might add are probably closer in ideology to that of a professional torturer than we are these days.”

“That is a fair point,” conceded Letitia. “But we can at least try. We also have the Auroras who chose to remain in Xiomera, who we might still be able to contact, and the ones from Xiomera who returned home - they might have information we can use.”

“Okay, so we have a few ideas,” nodded Chiu. “Letitia, can you contact the… interrogation specialists you sent to Xiomera? Pauline, I’d like you to gather the Xiomera-assigned Auroras here in Kerlile and ask them for information. Carmen, go with her to that meeting and make sure she doesn’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do.

“But I have nothing to do with the Aurora Programme!” Carmen interrupted at the same time as Pauline said “I find it rather offensive that you don’t trust me.”

“Enough, both of you. We are all on the same side here, if you want to bicker like teenagers may I suggest you take a class at the local high school. Councillor Hale, can you attempt to contact the Auroras who chose to remain in Xiomera? I don’t know if it will be possible, they were not obligated to keep their communication channels with us open.”

Councillor Hale nodded, writing it down neatly in a notepad she kept on her person. “I can supervise Pierre’s meeting as well, if Robinson is unwilling.”

“Oh, very well, then. So, I propose the four of us meet this evening at… yes, Councillor Georgiou?”

“Sorry, I just thought of another avenue we could pursue. Empress Yauhmi’s son, Crown Prince Texōccoatl is presently in Laeral. Given our recent successful negotiations with the Allied Provinces on the Aurora affair, is it worth getting in touch with the Laeralian ambassador on this matter, and seeing if we can approach it together?”

“An interesting suggestion,” mused Chiu. “It would be an unusual course of action for us, but perhaps something that would be normal in other nations,” she said, looking at Hale for confirmation.

“It’s something that the Lauchenoirians would do, yes,” nodded Hale. “I think it could work. Our relations with Laeral are improving, and if it wasn’t for the damned Haven Accords, we might be well on our way to an actually decent working relationship.”

“Maybe we should hold our meeting this evening at my place,” Pauline smirked. “I still have a dartboard in the games room with a copy of the Accords pinned to it. We could have a little social after we discuss business.”

“An actually tempting suggestion,” Hale chuckled, before Chiu glared pointedly at her.

“Very well. We shall meet at Councillor Pierre’s residence this evening. Councillor Georgiou, contact the Laeralian ambassador if you wish, and you can report back to us. So I shall see the four of you this evening, then, and the others on Monday at our next session. Thank you all.”

With that, the Councillors all stood, and began making their way out of the chamber. Hale fell into step next to Pierre, and grinned at the other Councillor.

“Seems we have more in common than I thought,” Hale remarked, following Pierre to her car.

“Seems you’re not as boring as I originally thought,” Pierre replied begrudgingly. “You better come with me, then. We can meet with the two Auroras at the KIS building. I’ll have them summoned there.”

“Sure,” nodded Hale, gesturing at her own bodyguards to indicate that she was going with Pierre, and then the pair of Councillors both got into the car together. “Woah, this is fancy,” she remarked, looking around Pierre’s car.

“Not all of us enjoy living the lifestyle of a Lauchenoirian resistance fighter,” teased Pierre, pulling a couple of bottles of something out, and handing one to Hale. “It’s non-alcoholic, don’t worry. We’re still working.”

Hale took the bottle, taking a sip and nodding appreciatively at the fruity flavour. She gave Pauline a half-smile, and the other Councillor nodded back. In spite of their differences, and past animosity, it seemed that both were willing to work together on this matter.

“You know,” Hale remarked as they drove through the city, “Empress Yauhmi managed something, even in this, that has proven impossible for decades - she managed to unite the Council of Kerlile.”

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:46 pm

Kerlian Intelligence Service HQ, Grapevale
10th April - afternoon

“You probably already know why we’re here,” Councillor Pierre stated, as she sat at the small table with the three other women. She was holding a pen, waiting to take notes, and her expression was calm and businesslike.

Next to her, Councillor Hale sat with her hands clasped in front of her, looking down at the table as if fascinated by it, or uncertain how to proceed. Across the table, Zichitla was nodding in response to Pierre’s opening comment, while Nelichē had an expression of dismay, looking towards the frosted window as if searching for an escape.

“Good,” Pierre continued, not needing verbal confirmation. “Empress Yauhmi was overthrown this morning in a military coup d’etat. As an ally of her government, we have decided we must act. In light of the consequences of our intervention in the Lauchenoirian civil war, however, we have chosen not to act in an overt manner. We are as yet uncertain what course of action to take, but I am certain you can be of use.”

“In providing information,” Hale added. “We do not require you to do anything further if you do not wish to do so. Your obligation to us has ended, but we would appreciate your assistance in any manner you are willing to give it.”

“Do we know who is in charge of the Secretariat of Security following the coup?” asked Zichitla.

“No confirmation as of yet,” Pauline shook her head.

“I used to work for them, I know the layout of the Cauhloc, and I know their methods of operation. From my own experiences, I would suspect that Calhualyana supports those behind the coup. I am certain she wanted to detain me when I asked to return to Kerlile. And everything I know makes me believe that Zalpalatli would remain loyal to Yauhmi.”

“By the way you talk it seems like you dislike this Calhualyana,” Pierre said, unable to hide the smile on her face.

“That is an accurate assessment, Councillor,” nodded Zichitla.

“This is not about personal grudges,” Jennifer sighed. “Nelichē, you haven’t said anything.”

“I have no information that could be of use,” the 19-year-old said in a small voice, avoiding eye contact.

“Nothing at all?” frowned Pierre.

“All I knew was in my debriefing report.”

“Well, you can still be of further help,” Pierre said, making a note.

“I will do as ordered,” said the teenager, her shoulders slumping.

“You don’t need to take any further risks if you don’t want to, Nelichē,” Councillor Hale said, glaring at Pierre. “If you have no further information, and you don’t want to undertake any dangerous missions you can walk away.”

“And get arrested immediately,” she muttered under her breath.

“No, you won’t be arrested. I promise you, you are free to leave if you wish,” Hale repeated. “The reforms are genuine, we do not want to be as we have been for so long. If you don’t want to be here, you don’t need to.”

“Then I think I’ll go,” Nelichē said suddenly, standing and grabbing her bag and walking quickly out the door, as if trying to get away before the Councillor changed her mind.

“We could’ve used her,” snapped Pierre.

“No, we couldn’t,” Hale said flatly, then turned back to Zichitla. “You have further information?”

“Yes I do,” the woman nodded. “And I am perfectly willing to undertake any further missions that would benefit both Kerlile and Xiomera.”

“Excellent,” smiled Pierre. “Now, let’s begin. Tell us everything you know about the Cauhloc.”

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Laeral » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:07 pm

Laeralian Embassy, Grapevale, Kerlile
Morning of Saturday, April 11

The Laeralian embassy to Kerlile was set in an Art Deco building dating back to the formation of the modern Kerlian state in the 1920s, with just the Laeralian flag and seal at the gate to advertise its modern function. The receptionist at the Laeralian embassy, a young Rén woman who had met Councillor Electra Georgiou at the front door, ushered her through the building and to a veranda looking out onto an interior courtyard, with foliage and pleasant flowers blooming in the warm springtime air. An elegant fountain burbled in the middle of the courtyard, and the Laeralian ambassador seemed to be watching the play of the sunlight on the water from her seat on the veranda.

"Councillor Georgiou!" said ambassador Sonia Martineau, rising from her seat. She was an Arrivée woman, perhaps in her early forties, who adjusted her expensive-looking glasses on her face as Georgiou arrived. "It's a pleasure to see you. My predecessor as ambassador always spoke quite highly of you, and so it's good to finally meet you."

"Bonjour, Ambassador Martineau," Georgiou greeted the ambassador. "I'm pleased to meet you as well. I only wish I was here for another reason, but sadly I come here to discuss something I wish hadn't happened."

"Ah, I'm very sorry to hear that," Martineau said, switching to the French that Georgiou had used. The Councillor's accent wasn't quite right, but Martineau appreciated the effort. "So what's troubling you at present?"

"I'm sure you've heard the news about Xiomera," Gerogiou sighed. "The Council were rather distraught. Empress Yauhmi has been a good friend to us through recent trying times."

"It is quite a concern," Martineau agreed. "The Laeralian government was fond of the new empress, and so the coup that seems to be going on has thrown a wrench into our hopes of building closer ties with Xiomera under her leadership. It's certainly worrying, that the pro-reform movement in her nation have provoked such a fierce backlash from reactionary forces."

"We are in agreement," nodded Georgiou. "We are, as you know, undergoing reforms here too. In light of... recent affairs, it seems those will not be opposed by others on the Council, thankfully. We are lucky. Empress Yauhmi is not so lucky. We are concerned for her welfare, and given how she's helped us, we feel a moral obligation to try and repay the favour. I do not talk of military intervention, of course," she added hurriedly. "We've learned our lesson in that regard. But we feel it would be wrong to stand back and watch."

Martineau nodded. "While I can't speak for the government and the National Assembly as a whole, I'm certain that there are figures in the Laeralian government who feel the need for a firm response to the coup. The Xiomeran crown prince- I cannot for the life of me recall his name- is currently in Laeral, as a matter of fact, and I hear that he's been very successful at winning support for his mother's program of reforms. Military intervention, of course, would be quite unlikely from our corner as well, but I feel that a firm response is likely."

"It is Prince Texōccoatl's presence in Laeral that made me think of contacting you. It occurred to me that both our nations want the same thing here, and thus I wanted to propose that we work together on this matter," Georgiou said, then continued quickly. "I realise our two nations haven't always had the best relations, historically, and that the Matriarchy is not in the habit of working collaboratively with other countries, but we are trying to change our ways, and it is better late than never, in my opinion."

Martineau raised a single eyebrow. "That's a very interesting offer, and one that my superiors in Laeralsford will be very interested to hear," she said. "It's not something to be dismissed out of hand, and it could certainly open up some new possibilities in advancing our joint objectives in Xiomera. What in particular did you have in mind?"

"Well," Georgiou cringed a little. "We're not completely certain what the right course of action here is. The Council has a few ideas, but I confess I doubt I can speak freely of them yet."

"I see. And I'm certain that you would need to consult with the Council before deciding on a course of action. Might I have a general category of the sort of cooperation you were envisioning? It would help greatly to include it in my report for when I request approval from my superiors."

"Well, of course if any public statements condemning the coup were being issued, then it would probably benefit us all to have as many nations issue a joint statement as possible," Georgiou began, and then hesitated, swallowing nervously. "There is also the possibility of cooperating on... less overt matters. There are elements on the Council who wish to explore the possibility of direct - but non-public - intervention. Something along the lines of using, well, um... a certain kind of clandestine operatives that were in the news frequently several months ago."

"I believe I understand what you're referring to, yes," Martineau said. "That's a very interesting proposal, and something that I'll have to defer to my higher-ups on. At the moment, I believe that a statement of condemnation, calling for the Empress and all other political prisoners to be released, is being drafted, and I'm sure your government's signature would be appreciated. And I can ask for further instruction from my superiors by tonight, and hopefully I'll be able to inform you of their reaction by tomorrow."

"Thank you," Georgiou nodded. "I realise my proposal is rather... unorthodox, and would represent a shift in my nation's way of working that may seem to some to be rather inexplicable. But I hope that we have managed to prove that we are serious about reform. We do not want to use that Programme again, and we truly believed we wouldn't have to. However, this is an emergency we couldn't have seen coming."

"I think that, to everyone who has taken the time to observe the wide, significant reforms that have been taking place over the past few months, it's clear that Kerlile is adopting a new way of working. Laeral recognizes that we are working with a new Kerlile, a Kerlile that has the potential to be a valuable partner on the international stage, and so I believe we'll welcome the opportunity to cooperate with your nation."

"I am most grateful that you met with me today," Georgiou said, exhaling in relief. She had been nervous about alluding to the Auroras. "And I hope that we can indeed cooperate on this."

"Definitely," Martineau said. "I'm looking forward to passing on this good news to the Foreign Ministry, and I'm hopeful that it'll receive a positive response. Coordinating our efforts here will greatly increase the chances that we can achieve our shared goals in Xiomera." She paused. "Are you the point person on this issue for the Council, or should I reach out to the full Council or the Foreign Affairs ministry to discuss this further?"

"There is a group of us from the Council working on this, but I think it would be best to reach out to our Foreign Affairs ministry to discuss things further," Georgiou replied.

"I'll be sure to do so as soon as I have any information, but I'll be sure to send it by you as well," Martineau said. "I'm assuming you'd like to be kept in the loop."

"I would, yes," nodded Georgiou. "Thank you, Ambassador. I feel this has been productive."

"Thank you, Madam Councillor," Martineau said. "It's been a very productive discussion, and hopefully our governments will have many more of these on future." The water in the fountain burbled cheerfully behind her in the embassy garden as Councillor Georgiou departed, and Ambassador Sonia Martineau leaned back in her chair to consider how to pitch this particular conversation to the Foreign Ministry.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:53 am

Palace of Flowers
April 11 - 6:45 am, Xiomeran time


“I will not obey them.”

Coyhuacue, second in command of the Shorn Ones, glared at the screen in front of him. On the screen, the grizzled visage of General Cuauh'ez, the commander of the Xiomeran Special Forces, shook his head grimly. “Coyhuacue, you must be reasonable here. And be patient. They have Ixatli in custody - ”

“Exactly. They have seized my commander, and are holding him like a common criminal.” Coyhuacue folded up his arms in defiance, as General Cuauh’ez shook his head. “I am your commander, Coyhuacue, and I am ordering you to stand down and surrender the Palace of Flowers to the provisional government.”

“The Shorn Ones protect the Palace, the Emperor or Empress, and the royal family. We swear our loyalty to them and to them alone. Your command over us is a courtesy we extend to you, not the other way around. And if you really think we will obey orders to support the people who have thrown our Empress in prison on false charges and slanders, you are as deluded as the rest of the fancy uniform-wearing armchair generals on the General Staff.” Coyhuacue raised a single fist at the screen. “If they want the Palace of Flowers, they will have to come get it. And the purchase price for this real estate will be their blood and their bones.”

“Coyhuacue, be realistic. You have what, 3000 total men? Only 1800 of them at the Palace itself? The provisional government has far more resources than that, they will overwhelm your defenses and then you will all be executed as traitors. A new Emperor will be chosen, and you can serve them, as the Shorn Ones always have, with honor. Please do not force this issue. You cannot possibly win.”

Coyhuacue paused, as if thinking. “It is certain that the Imperial Army has far, far more than 1800 men to throw at these walls - you are not wrong.”

General Cuauh’ez smiled, thinking Coyhuacue was changing his mind. “Indeed. You are badly outnumbered, it would be foolish to resist.”

“General....the Palace of Flowers has never fallen to an enemy, and I will be damned in the sight of the gods if I am the Shorn One who surrenders it to an enemy without a fight. I see General Xōchhuitl sitting next to you.” Coyhuacue turned his focus to Xōchhuitl. “General Xōchhuitl...it’s a good thing your army has so many soldiers. You’re going to need every damned one of them to breach these walls, you traitorous, treasonous, dog-humping son of a fifth-rank whore.”

General Xōchhuitl’s face twisted, as he shouted back in anger at the Shorn One. “I will use every one of them if I have to. And when I take the Palace, I will use your head as an ashtray.”

Coyhuacue grinned back. It was not a pleasant grin. “Use the word if, not when, General. It’s more appropriate for the occasion. We will see you on the battlefield.” With a flick of his finger, Coyhuacue ended the call.

“Well....you certainly made our position known,” Tecoatlca, Coyhuacue’s second-in-command, smiled wryly as she shouldered her rifle. Coyhuacue nodded, a similar smile on his own face, as he pressed another button.

—-

The alarm bells of the Palace of Flowers had only rung once before, in recent memory: months earlier, when there had been a riot at the Palace over the Manauia Island issue. To the fear and worry of the residents of Montelin and Tlālacuetztla, the alarm bells began to ring once more.

As citizens of the capital watched, the defenders of the Palace of Flowers began taking up defensive positions on the Palace walls. Shorn Ones in full battle armor, toting a wide and ominous mix of weapons, took their places at the ready. And inside the Palace walls themselves, the full defensive capabilities of the Palace of Flowers began making themselves known. While the Palace was an ancient fortress dating back 600 years, in the typical Xiomeran tradition, it was fully protected by top-notch technology. Missile batteries and artillery hummed alive. Armored vehicles took up defensive positions. Supplementing the Shorn Ones were a mix of regular guards, and even civilian workers who had taken up weapons from the vast Palace arsenal.

And as the citizens of the capital watched, the defenders of the Palace, led by the Shorn Ones, began shouting an ancient chant of defiance: the battle cry of the Shorn Ones.

We fight for the Empress. We bleed for the Empress. We will die for the Empress. But you will die first.

As citizens continued to watch, and then rush away in fright, the forces of the junta accepted that challenge. A steady stream of tanks, APCs and other vehicles began approaching the Palace. As soon as the first of them came within range, the defenders of the Palace opened up on them from its walls. RPG and missile fire began taking out armored vehicles, while infantry from the Army came under deadly accurate fire from the Shorn Ones. The Palace defenders were racking up impressive casualties - but columns of armored vehicles and their accompanying infantry continued in a steady stream from the capital below. Adding to the difficulties for the defenders, a set of Imperial Air Force jets soon appeared in the sky, launching missiles and dropping bombs in an attempt to break the will of the defenders.

As the chaos unfolded, a young woman from Montelin, hidden behind a building, began streaming the attack live on social media. “They’re bombing the Palace of Flowers! This is a crime, this is wrong,” she cried as the video continued.

For the next several hours, as the morning sun rose over the capital of Xiomera, the Palace of Flowers, home to the rulers of the Empire for six centuries, fended off wave after wave of attackers. In its storied history, the Palace had never fallen to an enemy.

Until today.

As the toll rose among the attackers, it inevitably rose among the Shorn Ones and their fellow defenders as well. While the Shorn Ones earned every bit of their fearsome reputation in this battle, their numbers would eventually dwindle. The attackers would reach the walls, and force the gates. As the battle raged further inside the Palace walls, the defenders would fall back to the individual Palace buildings. As yet more soldiers streamed into the Palace grounds, one by one, the defenders of the Palace would be picked off. Until none were left.

A few of the Shorn Ones - a depressingly small number - would escape outside the walls of the Palace and into the mountains above the capital. Their destination would be a camp known only to the Shorn Ones - where their families lived, where the youth who would themselves become Shorn Ones were chosen and trained, the heart of their order of warriors. Hidden deeply in the vast Xiomeran hinterland, the camp would be a refuge for those who escaped, their next line of defense, and someday, if they were lucky, counter-attack.

As he watched the Palace fall, General Cuauh’ez watched the video in dismay. By the gods, what have I done?

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:06 pm

Senate Building, First Floor, 459 Liberty Square, Geminus

Alice Lancaster ran down the hallway towards her brothers office, boots stomping on the ground. Normally running was against protocol while in the Senate Building, but these were not normal circumstances. Certainly not normal in Xiomera, that's for sure.

Her brother was sitting at his desk, reading the intelligence report from Xiomera. She locked the door behind her. "I was about to call you, but I figured I should wait, knowing that you would be coming down here soon. I take it you've been briefed?".

She nodded, sat down, and opened her briefcase. "It looks worse that I thought. They have powerful support, but we're not sure how powerful. If we could just have more Intel, we may be able to know how to move forward. I take it we're supporting Yauhmi?".

Will nodded. "Of course. In fact, if you want to stay here, I will call Crown Prince Texoccoatl, and see if he will accept our support". He picked up the phone and dialed.

When his phone rang, Texoccoatl was a bit surprised. He quickly answered the ring. “This is Crown Prince Texoccoatl,” he said, curiously.

"Your Majesty, This is Chancellor Lancaster. I am calling to offer Eiria's help in this... Disturbing turn of events".

The Crown Prince was happy to hear the voice at the other end of the line. Apparently, the junta hasn’t isolated me as much as they hoped. “Chancellor Lancaster, thank you so much for calling me. I am glad to hear that the friends of Xiomera are standing by us in dealing with this illegal usurpation of power. I am still trying to figure out how to respond, honestly. I am, for the moment at least, stuck here in Laeral and the junta has cut off all means I have to reach anyone in Xiomera.”

"It is a huge relief to hear you are currently safe. However, I'm a bit confused. You mean you have no means to contact anyone in Xiomera? How did they manage that?".

”Well, my phones, as well as the communications equipment on my plane, are all government-controlled. I’m guessing that ASI has cut off access with their damned surveillance program.” Texoccoatl laughed wryly. “At least I can still get phone calls, although I have no idea how long that will be possible.”

Will frowned. "Well, that is unfortunate. Depending on what city in Laeral you are in currently, we may be able to get you a burner phone. We keep a few on hand in embassies".

”I am currently in Minsheng province, in a very small town. I will be traveling back to Laeralsford though. I will also be trying to speak with President Liu, as well as with our ambassador here to see where his loyalties lie. I should be able to retrieve a phone if you have one available. That would be a tremendous help.”.

"Okay, I'll contact the embassy. Do you have any idea of who may be in the junta, and what resources they have? Any information you can provide would be excellent, so we can know what we're working with".

”At a minimum, we know that our entire military General Staff is part of the junta, or at least, they’re not opposing it yet. The generals have formed this ‘Provisional Government’. I am surprised that Cuauh'ez, the commander of our special forces, joined them. He is in charge of the Jaguar and Eagle Warriors and Shorn Ones, and I always thought he was loyal. He may be waiting for an ideal moment to act.” Texoccoatl paused. “So, until someone opposes them, the junta has control of our military, our police and our Civil Guard, as well as ASI and Military Intelligence. They have as many ‘resources’ as they could need, unless we can splinter support away from them,” the Crown Prince said worriedly.

The Chancellor took notes in on his pad. "That is very unfortunate. Well, I am surprised they all agreed to this plot. However, they can't possibly all agree on what to do now, could they? With all of the Leaders of all of those groups, there's bound to be infighting. Would it be enough of an advantage for us to be able to exploit?".

”There would undoubtedly be, if we can place pressure on them by causing them trouble,” Texoccoatl said. “The more they argue and disagree, the more they will clash and their arrangement could possibly even disintegrate. We would have a very short window however. They will certainly move quickly to convene a new Great Selection, no matter how farcical it is, and appoint a new Emperor. Once that happens, disrupting the coup becomes much harder.”

"But will the people support this false government? They've just gotten a taste of freedom and suddenly that's ripped away from them? I can't imagine everyone would be completely happy with this".

”The people, for the most part, will not support this coup. They wanted us to take the path we took. But obedience to authority is deeply ingrained in Xiomeran culture and tradition. Being unhappy with the coup is one thing. It will take more than that for the people to overcome their fear, and their conditioning to obey the people in charge,” Texoccoatl replied somberly. “The longer that things drag on, the harder it will be. We need to begin encouraging resistance to the coup immediately.”

"Indeed. And we will put all of our resources into that. We have a certain... Affinity for the more clandestine parts of espionage. We will do everything in our power to make sure your mother is restored to the throne of Xiomera". He sighed. "Both you and your mother have made incredible progress in reforms towards democracy, and both you and your mother are pioneers of Xiomeran history. The last thing I want is to see all of your progress and sacrifice be undone by some traitor to his people and his country".

”I am grateful for your support and anything that you can do to help us. This is going to be a huge challenge, but I am confident we can defeat this coup.....especially with people such as yourself on our side. Will your government be making an official statement?”

"We likely will, but we may not say we are outright supporting you. We wouldn't want to tip them off. Many politicians will fully support you publicly, and we are likely to have a majority, from both parties, if we decide to vote to support you. I do have some authority without the Senate, however. I take it that we have permission to send agents into Xiomera?".

”Absolutely. The junta will try to claim otherwise, but as Ambassador-at-Large to the IDU, I have full plenipotentiary authority to represent the legitimate government of Xiomera, especially as long as my mother is....unreachable,” Texoccoatl said. “You have my permission to send any agents to Xiomera that you believe can help us topple the junta. I am glad that you will be helping us.”

”You as well, Chancellor Lancaster. Please call me whenever you have a question, and thank you again.”

The Chancellor hung up the phone and turned back to his sister. "Well, it seems almost the entire Xiomeran Military is against us. I'm not very confident about our odds, if it is just a splinter of Xiomera and us against this provisional government".

Alice Cursed. "Metdì. Well, I'm sure a few other nations will join. A few other democracies maybe, and Kerlile. Jesus, is this how bad things are that I am thankful the Kerlians are on our side? This'll be interesting, to say the least".

"Indeed".

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Laeral » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:07 pm

Saturday, April 11 - Evening
Twin Trees Eco-Resort, Minsheng, Laeral

The Twin Trees eco-resort, located around some hot springs in the mountains of Minsheng province, was now home to a rather agitated Xiomeran crown prince, on what was supposed to have been the last day of his state visit to Laeral but had been suddenly interrupted by the news from home. After he concluded his phone call with Chancellor Lancaster, Texoccoatl found himself pacing and staring at his phone, brooding. Even the luxurious surroundings of the resort brought him no comfort. When it rang a second time, he answered quickly. “This is Crown Prince Texoccoatl,” he said.

"Your majesty," said an elderly woman's voice: slow, slightly rasping and with what Texoccoatl thought was an Andhran accent. "This is Tanvi Misra, the Foreign Minister of Laeral. I'm here, with instructions from the president, to talk about the situation in your home country, and what exactly this means for your future relationship with the Allied Provinces of Laeral."

”Minister Misra, thank you for calling. This is indeed an....unexpected development, for both you and for us. We are still ourselves trying to get details on what exactly is happening in Xiomera right now, but the junta which has taken over the government has cut us off from our communications,” Texoccoatl said. “I apologize for the fact that my presence here in your country means that you now have this issue on your hands.”

"You're kind to offer apologies," Misra said, "but I prefer to think of this as an opportunity for the two of us. Many of us within the government were applauding your mother's reforms, and your tour of the last several days has gone a ways towards winning hearts here as well. Among those hearts-" she paused slightly, which Texoccoatl thought was surely meant for dramatic effect, "-was that of Liu Mei-han, who has a penchant for setting the course of our foreign policy. Allow me to offer my congratulations; it's quite a feat to put oneself in her good books, and it's borne fruit for you already. You see, I'm here to offer you a bargain. A framework for our future cooperation, so that we may see the junta removed and your mother returned to power. I take it you're interested?"

”I am most definitely interested,” Texoccoatl replied warmly. “And despite what the junta will no doubt claim, I do still have the authority to negotiate for my country. What did your government have in mind?”

"As we speak, a statement condemning the coup and calling for all political prisoners to be released is being drafted, for release tomorrow," Misra said. "As you are unable to return to Xiomera at the moment, my government can offer you political asylum in Laeral for the foreseeable future, and we can offer you lodgings, access to the national and international media, and protection should you desire it. You would be free to leave at any time. You'll find no better place to seek political asylum- you can just ask the dozens of Kerlian exiles living in Althea. In exchange, we ask for your cooperation when it comes to our shared goal of returning Xiomera to your mother's rule."

”That is a fair exchange, more than fair actually. I would be honored to accept it. I’m grateful that you have decided to support us. Xiomera will need all the friends it can get in this dark hour.”

"I'm happy to hear that," said Misra. "And I will be happy to tell the president that you've decided to take up my offer. If you remain where you are, I can arrange for you to be picked up and taken to a secure house in Laeralsford by tomorrow morning, where you can speak with the media and be closer to the center of decision-making as we work out our approach to the situation in your home country."

”That is extremely generous of you, Minister. I will await your vehicle, and please thank President Liu for me as well. Your country doesn’t have to put itself on the line like this for us - trust me, Xiomera will not forget this.”

"Thank you, your majesty," Misra said, matching the sincerity in his voice. "It isn't always in politics that the opportunity presents itself to do good, so I always seek to take advantage of such opportunities as they appear. President Liu shares the same belief. Have a lovely evening, your majesty. Hopefully there will be much more good news in the morning."

”I certainly hope so. Have a good evening as well, Minister. I look forward to speaking with you again soon,” the Crown Prince replied before ending the call. He looked reflectively outside at the peaceful Laeralian countryside, hoping that the same peace would eventually prevail back home.
Sunday, April 12 - Morning
Republic House, Laeralsford

Liu Mei-han, president of Laeral, had gotten through much of her morning routine and was sitting down to a lovely Sunday morning breakfast. The president’s living quarters at Republic House were spacious and luxuriously appointed, but for the first few weeks of her presidency, they’d also been quite lonely, with no one there but herself, her cats, and the various servants and bodyguards. She’d given in after a few weeks and invited her favorite brother and his wife and children to join her; now Sunday morning breakfasts were bustling and vibrant. Mei-han appreciated the children in particular- her niece Jianhui, now 17 and anxious to be leaving home for college, and her nephew Yuming, going through all the tempests of the early teens. She was just sitting down and grabbing a fresh-baked croissant (a favorite of hers, although now that she was getting older, a once-weekly treat) when her phone started to buzz.

Only a select few people could reach her at this time, and as she looked down at the screen she saw that it was the Prime Minister, Nicolas Martin. Excusing herself, she found a seat on the couch in the next room. “Nicolas! How are you? I thought you’d be at church right now?”

“I overslept this morning,” Nicolas Martin said. “No, I was hoping to talk about something Misra said, which is troubling me. Is it true that you’ve offered sanctuary to the Xiomeran crown prince?” Liu could practically see the dour expression on his face.

“Yes, I instructed Tanvi to offer sanctuary to Prince Texōccoatl,” Liu said. “He and his mother are the first chance in a very long time for real democratic reform in Xiomera. With the sudden coup there, it’s the least we can do to offer him political asylum here. Like we have many other refugees.”

“It’s not the asylum offer that worries me, Madam President,” Martin said. If he was using “Madam President” when she’d used “Nicolas”, he was evidently not in the best of moods. “It’s that this bears all the signs of you becoming personally invested in this Xiomera issue. And this issue has all the hallmarks of a quagmire. A bloody, tiresome sideshow of a conflict that ends up spiralling out of control and taking over our entire agenda.”

“I understand the danger of getting sidetracked by a foreign conflict,” Liu said. “And I have no intentions to get overly involved with this. But when there’s an opportunity to do good, and maybe turn an old enemy into an ally for the future, I say it’s worth it to go ahead.” One of her cats, the grey tabby Junjie, took the opportunity to crawl into her lap, and she absent-mindedly stroked him behind the ears.

“In just the past few years, we’ve sent troops to Lauchenoiria and to Vulkaria. We still have hundreds of soldiers in Vulkaria, and they keep being sent home in body bags. The opposition’s going to hit us on this issue, and if the news cycle keeps focusing on foreign entanglements, it gets much more difficult to advance our domestic agenda. I’m the one who has to try and pass our bills, and that’s nigh-impossible when all the National Assembly wants to talk about is the latest foreign issue.”

“I know it’s difficult, Nicolas, and I know that you’re in the trenches every day on this,” Liu said, now in a consoling tone. “And I’m as committed as always to getting that agenda passed. I’m still going to come down to Assembly Hall tomorrow to help get some movement on the public housing bill. But foreign policy is what’s important to me, and it’s an area where the president can do a lot of things all by herself. Without the National Assembly. And that’s why I like to take up and run with these issues, because I know I can make change on them without having to force them through the legislature.”

“I’d just like you to remember that we need to stay on-message and disciplined,” Martin said. “Pocketbook issues, kitchen-table issues. The things that keep ordinary families up at night, not arcane issues halfway across the globe. I have no issue with you taking on foreign policy- I understand it’s where your passion lies. But I’d like you to remember the other things as well.”

“Of course,” Liu said. “And I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow to work over the housing bill. And I’m hoping to have a proclamation for the national parks you suggested last month drafted within the week.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Martin said. “I’m glad to hear that. And I’m sorry to interrupt your morning.”

“No problem at all, Nicolas,” Liu said. “And I’ll look forward to Monday.”

“The feeling’s mutual, madam president,” the Prime Minister said, before ending the call. Mei-han stood up, evicting Junjie from her lap, and then went back into the dining room to share breakfast with the family and finally enjoy her croissant.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:20 am

Sunday, April 12th
Laeralsford


Texōccoatl adjusted his tie, and straightened the flag pin on his lapel. After having arrived back in the Laeralite capital, he had taken the rest of the evening to rest, and draft a statement. He planned to utilize the access to the Laeralite and international media that had been provided to him very quickly.

The reporters had been assembled in a briefing room for him, and with a final tug of his lapels, the Crown Prince strode confidently into the room. If he was a man without a country, or a Prince without a throne, he showed no sign of it. He reached the podium and placed his tablet on it. He didn't need to refer to it, however; he already knew the words by heart. He had spent the entire evening poring over them.

"Thank you for coming to this press conference. I am Crown Prince Texōccoatl of the Xiomeran Empire. Despite the pronouncements of the military junta that has illegally taken over my country, I remain in my position as Ambassador-at-Large to the International Democratic Union, with full plenipotentiary power to speak on behalf of the legitimate Xiomeran government. In addition, until my mother, the Empress Yauhmi, can be freed from her dishonorable and disrespectful imprisonment and restored to her rightful place on the Obsidian Throne, I am acting as the Sovereign of Xiomera, with the full authority and privileges of that position."

Texōccoatl looked around the room. "Make no mistake, what has occurred in Xiomera over the past few days is an utterly illegal usurpation of power. Not just the power of the Throne, but the power of the people. It is not the Xiomeran people that wanted this to happen. It is a shadowy cabal of nationalists, authoritarians and wealthy elites, and their dupes in positions of power, who have made this happen. They have started this madness. But the Xiomeran people will finish it."

"To the people of Xiomera, I issue this plea: do not accept the attempt by this group of tyrants to seize power from you and reverse the progress we have made, or destroy our hope of future progress. I urge you to resist, with every fiber of your being, with everything you have, and fight these criminals who seek to impose their repression on our nation. This isn't about returning me to Xiomera, or even about returning an Empress to power. It is about nothing less than the future of Xiomera, and the fate of its people. The junta that has seized power, and the forces behind it, wish to return you to a position of peonage and servitude, to bend to their will. But together, we outnumber them in our millions. Do not let them frighten you, or intimidate you, into submission. They view themselves as your masters, but Xiomera is your country. Prove them wrong. Take to the streets, take to the countryside, to our factories, to our cities, and show them where the true power in Xiomera lies. Freedom can be yours, but you must seize it. And as soon as I can, I will join you in that fight."

"To the military of Xiomera: I was once a soldier, like you. Like you, I took an oath to serve our country with honor, and defend it against any enemy. The enemy in this fight does not exist outside our borders: it exists among us, in the iron fists of those who command you. The General Staff of the Xiomeran Armed Forces, which now styles itself as a 'provisional government,' has committed high treason. They have betrayed their oaths, broken their promises of honor, and waged war not on a foreign foe, but against our own people. They have waged war against their fellow brothers and sisters in arms. The recent video footage of their attack on the Palace of Flowers, and their making of war against its defenders, shows that these low scum hold nothing sacred. They bombed and assaulted the most precious center of Xiomeran heritage that there is - the symbol that represents our nation above all others. They blew apart its walls, and laid waste to its sacred halls. They showed their contempt for 600 years of Xiomeran heritage and history, and the honor that it represents, in a wave of fire and bullets. And worst of all, they slaughtered the defenders of the Palace, the Shorn Ones, who have protected the Palace of Flowers with honor for all of those 600 years. They sent you on a mission to kill your fellow soldiers, your fellow defenders of the Empire - and for what? For their own selfish desires. That order, and any that the junta may give you from now on, are illegal orders. You are not only under no obligation to obey those orders - you must refuse them. Your oaths demand it. Your promise to defend our nation and protect its people demand it. To my fellow men and women who, like me, know what it means to serve our country, your only course of action is clear. Any Xiomeran soldier who refuses to obey the orders of the junta, who accepts my authority, and who does not commit any crimes of war, will be given full amnesty once the rightful government of Xiomera is returned to power - even if they served the junta before that. This is my promise to you. Knowing this, you know the right thing to do."

"To the international community: on behalf of the legitimate government of Xiomera, I thank you for the support you have shown us. I would like to convey my particular thanks to the government of Laeral for allowing us to remain here, to have a refuge to lead the fight to take Xiomera back. President Liu and Foreign Minister Misra have both been extremely helpful and kind in doing so, and neither I nor the people of Xiomera will forget that kindness."

"And to the illegal usurpers of power who control Xiomera, for now, I say this: don't get comfortable. Soon, the people of the sun will rise. Soon, we will chase you from the Palace of Flowers, from the Ximac Fortress, from the Cauhloc, and from every pestilential hole where you may hide and scurry like the vermin you are. No matter how dark the night gets, no matter how overcast the sky, the sun always rises. And like the sun, Xiomera always rises as well. Xiomerans always rise, no matter what. You may be in the ascendancy now, but just like the sun, we shall rise and overcome you, and dispel your darkness. You will be eclipsed by our radiance, and fade into history."

---

Tlālacuetztla

Tlālzixiuhxa sighed irritably as she grabbed her emergency bag and the two burner phones she kept in her desk. She had been lucky to escape back to her old office at Tlālacuetztla Polytechnic, in the wake of the takeover. She quickly checked to make sure the bag had its expected contents: Xiomeran currency, untraceable like a credit or debit card. Spare clothes. Emergency rations. Several different forms of fake ID, although those would be of little use until she changed her appearance to match them using the disguise kit also included in the bag. Being one of the most famous faces in the country did that.

Just as she grabbed the bag and put on a hat to help hide her hair, the door to her office burst open. Three black-suited men were framed in the doorway. Gods be cursed, why must ASI agents be so stereotypical? Black suits, black ties, sunglasses....it's like they don't care if people know they're agents.

Tlālzixiuhxa realized, grimly, that they didn't care if people knew. In fact, they wanted people to know. You can't be scared of the boogeyman if you don't know he's there. It was all part and parcel of the old-school Xiomeran way of enforcing order: terror and fear.

Seeing the black-suited examples of the old Xiomera, the one her boss had been trying to change, suddenly made Tlālzixiuhxa quite happy. She was going to enjoy this.

"Imperial Spokeswoman Tlālzixiuhxa. By order of the Provisional Imperial Government, you must come with us. Put down your bag and stand away from it," the lead agent barked. Tlālzixiuhxa smiled politely. "Of course," she said, placing the bag on her desk. As the other two agents came forward to take her into custody, Tlālzixiuhxa waited. As they reached her and moved to grab her wrists, Tlālzixiuhxa sprung into action. One fist flung upward to jab fiercely into the nose of one of the ASI agents, fracturing it and sending him to the floor. A second fist swept downward, slamming into the other agent's groin and providing a disabling move of a different sort.

As the third agent cursed and grabbed for his sidearm, Tlālzixiuhxa grabbed her bag and flung it at his head. The bag slammed right into his face, distracting him. As he looked back up, a foot clad in a high-end pump came towards his face. As he fell from the force of the kick, Tlālzixiuhxa picked her bag up again and slammed it into his head.

Tlālzixiuhxa quickly disarmed the agents and tossed their sidearms into her bag. She looked at the ASI agents. "I could kill you all, but I am not cruel like your bosses are. You really should consider changing sides," she said, before smacking all three agents in the head again with sufficient force to knock them out. She took a moment to recover her breath....she wasn't as young as she had once been, to be performing such athletic maneuvers. As Tlālzixiuhxa took the opportunity to make her now-hasty departure, she sighed again. Whoever's running ASI now has no clue. Only sending three agents to apprehend a former Aurora? Dunces.

---

Huānoch, Milintica

President Matōchmizalo stood in front of the Representative Assembly of Milintica. His hands slightly caressed the wood of the podium as he looked around the chamber. He had talked over what he was about to say, at length, with Prime Minister Tapihana and the Cabinet. It had been an intense and long discussion. But, in the end, a decision had been made.

Matōchmizalo felt a mix of emotions: disbelief that he was about to give this speech, fear at its possible consequences. But, most of all, he felt there was hope. And that he could deliver it.

"Representatives of the Assembly. I am here to discuss events in the Xiomeran Empire," he began, his voice firming up as he launched into his speech. "But first, I must make a confession. As you know, we were struggling with our response to the recent outbreak of the AD14 Adenovirus, until we received help from foreign sources. Until now, my government has declined to state who provided the aid, leading to rumors that we accepted aid from Xiomera. I come before you now to say this: the rumors are true."

At the admission, the Chamber entered into an uproar. Xiomera had been the declared enemy of Milintica for centuries, and it was considered treasonous to have dealings with the Xiomeran Empire. "Representatives! Please! Allow me to explain," Matōchmizalo shouted repeatedly, until the shouting finally subsided. "Yes, we did accept aid from the Xiomerans. And without that aid, thousands of our people would have died. Would this great body of democracy have had me refuse the aid, and watch as our people died by the thousands in our streets, knowing I could have prevented it? That I refused help, no matter the source, and let peoples' parents, children and friends lose their lives?"

Into the sudden silence, the President continued. "Yes, I accepted aid from the Xiomerans. Yes, I broke the laws of Milintica to do it. And if you would have me punished as a traitor, so be it. I saved thousands of our people. I can live with any consequences of that choice. I could not have lived with the ghosts of those we could have lost constantly at my ear, reminding me that I put stubborn pride and ancient resentments over the lives of those who are here and now!"

"So, we accepted aid from the Xiomeran Empire, from the Empress Yauhmi. That aid was offered to us with no strings attached, no expectations, no rules or demands. Only the hope that, by making up for the sins of their ancestors, that the Xiomerans could be redeemed in our eyes. They may have been our enemies, 600 years ago. They are not now. At least, not the ones who saved our people."

Matōchmizalo looked over at the Prime Minister for a moment, who nodded. Their talk about letting go of the sins of the past resonated in the President's mind as he continued.

"Xiomera, under the Empress Yauhmi, wanted to make up for how they wronged us, so long ago. They wanted to do better. They wanted to reunite with us, the lost sons and daughters of Huenya, banished so long ago. Under the Empress Yauhmi, there was a chance that the ancient schism between us could have been healed, and that we could finally have been at peace and reunited with our ancient homeland. But that chance has been stolen. The junta of militaristic, traditionalist, imperialist donkeys who have seized control of Xiomera, and removed Yauhmi from power, have not just stolen Xiomera from its people. They have stolen our chance to finally be at peace from us. They have stolen the chance to heal the ancient rift, to end the state of fear and isolation we have lived in, the chance to resolve the sins of the past, from us. We must not allow this to pass."

President Matōchmizalo looked around the Chamber once more. "I am asking this Assembly to declare that we recognize the government in exile of Crown Prince Texōccoatl as the rightful government of Xiomera, in lieu of returning his mother, the Empress Yauhmi, to power. I am asking that we establish relations with his government. I am also asking that we denounce, clearly and unequivocally, the criminal and unjust actions of this so-called 'Provisional Imperial Government', and demand that they relinquish control of Xiomera to the Empress. And I also ask this Assembly to declare that Milintica will be a refuge for anyone opposing the junta, and will protect them from these usurpers."

The Chamber erupted into shouting again, and the President once more waved everyone down. "I know this is a radical departure from our attitudes and policies of the past. But what have those policies and attitudes done for us? Nothing. We have feared, and hated, Xiomera for centuries. We are the ones who have suffered because of that fear - placing ourselves in isolation, hiding behind our walls, fearing the world. It is time, I say, for a new Milintica - one that is no longer afraid. I say that we stand with the Xiomerans who have shown they are willing to change, and oppose those that will not. And no matter what happens, we will face it unafraid. And together with the good Xiomerans, let us reclaim our mantle as the people of the sun, and reclaim our own legacy as children of Huenya. Whether we are Huenyan or Paora, as Milinticans, let us stand up to this strutting junta, who have the same attitudes as those ancient Xiomerans who first exiled us! Let us stop huddling in fear on this island, and shout to the world: we are not afraid, and we will stand up for what is right!"

The Chamber erupted yet again....this time in applause.

In short order, the Representative Assembly of Milintica passed three measures. The first was a formal recognition of the government of Xiomera in exile. The second was an authorization for Milintica to offer to establish diplomatic relations with that government. The last one was a formal declaration that Milintica would offer refuge to "anyone seeking safe haven from the repression of the junta that has taken over Xiomera".

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by The Federation of Legionas » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:17 pm

Monday, April 13
Marcus Spencer Naval Base, Drugamvy
2315 Hours


Angela Vanderbilt sat alone in a small yet elegantly furnished office, her mind in a flurry of thoughts. Her tie chaffed her considerably, although she made no effort to adjust it. The tick of the wall clock drowned out the deafening silence that permeated the room. The steaming cup of coffee on the table had gone cold. She took a sip, winced and put the cup back down. She held her phone in her hand, hesitating whether or not to confirm what was irking her. She glanced out of the small window on the other side of the room, watching the base slowly halt for the night. Soldiers went through there routine, oblivious to her presence and the nature of her objective.

The man she was to meet, the leader of the Netlcoatl Islanders, was being escorted through the now empty halls by the commander of the base and his most trusted assistant. Itzamatul, as he was known, walked with considerable speed, weary of his absence being picked up by the Imperial Garrison in the archipelago's administrative capital, Citlamina. The Commander, a tall yet stocky fellow, struggled to keep up the man's pace, yet only he knew the meeting's venue. The trio ascended a flight of stairs and entered the Commander's office, where Angela waited patiently for them. The Commander's secretary opened the door, saluted at his superior and excused himself. The Commander grinned momentarily, returned the salute and allowed his secretary to pass. He closed the sound-proof door and offered the islander a seat.

Angela stood up and greeted the man respectfully, fully aware of what she was to do. She took her seat opposite the islander and glanced at the commander who had immediately taken his role as the mediator of the meeting, taking his seat behind his desk. She turned her head and faced the weary eyed, respected islander. He met her gaze and they held it momentarily. Angela could see his fear, the fear of his absence being found out by Citlamina's imperial garrison.Itzamatul made no effort to speak instead letting his fiery green eyes stare unblinkingly at Angela. Angela shifted her posture and cleared her throat, officially beginning the meeting.

"Thank you for coming, Itzamatul. I have been eager to meet you. I am Angela Vanderbilt, the head of the LIA's Xiomeran Intelligence Division. As a result of the unrest and general instability in the nation, myself and my team have found it paramount to secure the stability of the Netlcoatl Islands. We have dedicated resources to this effect as well as dispatching covert agents who have been able to facilitate your travel here. We will also facilitate your return to your home by 6 AM, well before the commander of the garrison checks in on you. As the leader of the islands, we require your cooperation in the maintenance of stability in the archipelago as well as frustrate the efforts of those who are against the Empress and her faction. Your Islands are in a peculiar position though. We believe the faction in Tlālacuetztla is monitoring the situation there, wary of any sign of disloyalty. We will mobilize everything we can to ensure your safety and anyone else of note who requires it. At the moment though we must secure the islands covertly so as to avoid alerting those in the capital. I will assign my main agent, EF-15, as your personal agent and the man who will transmit messages between the LIA's Headquarters and your Official Residence.

Itzamatul relaxed a little and leaned forward.

"Frau Vanderbilt, thank you for contacting me and facilitating this meeting. Yes, the state of the nation is, to be blunt, a complete mess. I, as the leader of the Netlcoatl Islanders, am trying to ensure the safety of my people as well as support the exiled government of Texōccoatl. Your aid in our efforts is welcome and a show of the friendship our governments have had over the years. The only issue at the moment is that blasted garrison over in Citlamina. My movements are being tracked and if it wasn't for your covert operations this meeting would have been impossible. I really do not know what we can do about them as they are regarded highly by those in Tlālacuetztla. My men have been working tirelessly to frustrate the garrison but to no avail, maybe the aid of agents could be the ace up our sleeves. At the moment though, I am willing to cooperate with the LIA and the Government of Legionas. Now, when will I meet this er... Agent EF-15."

Angela excused herself, dialed her phone and put it on loud speaker. The person on the other side picked up.

"Yes, EF-15, please enter the Commander's Office."

Angela then asked the commander to open the door. In came a tall, muscular, middle aged Xiomeran man who wore a black leather jacket and dark blue slim-fit jeans with a pair of black wing-tip shoes. He smiled warmly at Angela and shook her hand. He saluted at the commander who returned the gesture with a quizzical look and resumed his position behind his desk. The man then gazed at Itzamatul, who had stood, and shook his hand formally. The men sized each other up instinctively then took their seats. Angela facilitated the introduction and allowed the men to make a few comments.

"Alright gentlemen, now that you know each other, I will have your transportation organized. E, you will also travel to Citlamina where you will be remotely briefed at 1000 hours. Godspeed gentlemen and have a safe trip."

They shook hands warmly and exited the room, leaving the commander who had since long dozed off. The base also seemed to have halted operations for the night, with only the sound of owls and distant coyotes being heard as well as the waves crashing on the shore periodically. Angela directed the men to two high ranking officers who were tasked with showing the men their transport, a sleek black speedboat. Angela left the men and walked towards her accomodation for the night, her thoughts focused on the future of Xiomera. One thing that she couldn't get off her mind were Itzamatul's green eyes. The old man had definitely gone through much in his life. Angela wondered whether the man had much time left, his life being left hung in the balance as a result of the events over in Tlālacuetztla and Xiomera at large.

Angela sighed and walked on, gazing at the brilliant blue moon which shone her path.
In Varietate Concordia

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:00 am

April 13th
Telopec Palace, Huaxtumba, Xiomeran Tribal Domain


"We have to go," Tlalmaxxi said, grabbing a bag and handing it to Tonauac. The ten-year-old boy took the bag, his face confused. "Mother, what's going on? Why are we having to leave the palace?"

"I will explain later, Tonauac. But please, just hurry," Tlalmaxxi replied, as the boy hurriedly began stuffing clothes in the bag. "We must leave now, Princess," Opacan, the Shorn One who was the family's bodyguard, said, looking out the window of the bedroom. As Tlalmaxxi reached the window, she saw the reason for Opacan's warning. Five armored personnel carriers had just pulled up to the gates of Telopec, the summer home of the Crown Prince and his family. With a mechanical roar, one of them surged forward, slamming into the gates. As the shriek of bent metal resonated throughout the courtyard, and the sound of gunfire from the Palace defenders rang out, Tlalmaxxi grabbed her own bag. "Tonauac, we have to leave now."

"But I can't find my tablet or my - " the boy said, only to stop talking in fright as an explosion shook the room. "Now, now, now," Opacan shouted, taking the rear as Tlalmaxxi picked up her son and began carrying him. The three of them ran down to the first floor of the Palace, where ten more Shorn Ones were waiting. "We have to go out the back way, and to the tunnels," Opacan yelled. Before they could move, the doors to the grand entryway burst open.

Fourteen Imperial Army soldiers rushed in, led by a sergeant. "Princess Tlalmaxxi. You and your son are detained, on orders of the Provisional Imperial Government," the sergeant shouted.

"Is that so? Well, think again. You are not taking my son," Tlalmaxxi swore. She pushed Tonauac to a pair of Shorn Ones. "Get him out of here," she shouted, as the pair grabbed Tonauac by each arm and began running. Tlalmaxxi looked at Opacan, as the soldiers raised their rifles. With a nod, Opacan made a gesture to the remaining nine Shorn Ones. They quickly darted forward, finding cover behind walls and furniture as the soldiers began opening fire. Tlalmaxxi ducked behind a rather nice example of Second Restoration-era furniture which was, due to the impact of bullets, becoming less nice by the second. With a hand gesture, Opacan told Tlalmaxxi to head one way, while he went the other.

The Shorn Ones began returning fire, while advancing closer to the soldiers with each move. Before the soldiers quite knew what had happened, the Shorn Ones were on them, switching from their rifles to their daggers with lightning speed. As his men fell around him as if stricken by lightning, the sergeant desperately raised his rifle towards Opacan, who had his back turned. A sudden sharp pain radiated from his heart. Tlalmaxxi looked over the sergeant's shoulder, her own dagger firmly implanted in his back. "Like I said - you're not taking my son," she whispered in his ear as he fell.

"Nice to see you didn't let your ASI skills go soft since you became a Princess," Opacan said calmly as Tlalmaxxi retrieved her dagger. "Quickly now. The palace guards will only be able to hold them off for so long."

One of the Shorn Ones had suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder in the attack. He picked up his rifle. "I will remain behind," he said. "Your injury is not that serious," Tlalmaxxi replied.

"It is serious enough to slow you all down, Princess. You cannot take that risk. Let me be your last shield, please."

Tlalmaxxi nodded, gently touching the Shorn One's face before turning to leave. "I am humbled by your bravery. Thank you for helping to save my family."

As the rest of the group bolted for an escape tunnel, Opacan turned to Huacoatli, the Shorn One who was remaining behind. "Your name will be engraved in the Hall of Chuaztlapoc for all to remember you. Be sure you die well."

Huacoatli nodded, taking a place behind a shattered table and preparing to be the rear guard. Tlalmaxxi and Opacan ran for their lives, as the last Shorn One at Telopec prepared for his last stand.

---

Chuaztlapoc, Itotemoc Tribal Domain

"We must prepare to defend this place."

Etlahuatzitl, the highest ranking Shorn One remaining alive, looked at the other Shorn Ones gathered in the great hall. "We are all that is left of the Shorn Ones, and possibly, all that is left of those who support and follow the Empress. We must serve as a place to rally and gather those who would stand in opposition to this criminal junta and their usurpation of power. Their actions are against the gods, and against the people. If we do not keep this place safe, and create from it a refuge for those who will fight the junta, all of Xiomera will fall."

The Shorn Ones gathered in the hall, along with their spouses and their children, listened solemnly to Etlahuatzitl. The Shorn Ones who had escaped from the battle at the Palace of Flowers stood in front, in a place of honor. They bore the wounds and scars of that battle, but showed no sign of being ready to surrender.

"We know they will come for us. Chuaztlapoc must not fall. And it will not. If Xiomera is to be saved, that salvation will begin here. Let the gods shine their will upon us, so that we can cleanse this land of evil."

Outside the great hall, the fortress and camp of Chuaztlapoc prepared to take in those fleeing the takeover of their country.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Shuell » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:49 am

4.19 - Morning

Sascha Hoffman paced in the office of the Xiomeran Ambassador to Shuell, waiting for the man on the other side to pick up the phone. Standing beside him was Onquimac, an older man and the aforementioned Xiomeran Ambassador. Intense debates had raged over multiple private video conferences between the Directorate over the situation abroad, with the final decision being reached just the day before.

"Hello, this is Director Hoffman, of International Affairs? I assume this is General... Xōchhuitl, yes?" He asks, slowly pronouncing the name as he read off an index card.

"The goals of the Incorporated States of Shuell and the Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera have quite a bit of overlap, as I'm sure you know. Of course, we wouldn't dare publicly condone you, what with every bleeding heart liberal democracy coming out to denounce you - the Directorate had to seize power from the last President of Shuell, so we know how it feels, trust me."

Hoffman pauses, popping a pill into his mouth and taking a quick swig of his hip flask. He looks exhausted, with makeup covering the bags under his eyes.

"While we can't afford to publicly support you, we can send you some aid. We have mercenaries getting ready for a flight to your country, officially to protect corporate interests. They'll be under your government's control when they touch down, and they'll have supplies with them to assist you. If need be, reinforcements can be sent. Obviously, the Incorporated States of Shuell hopes that this little affair will be mutually beneficial, but - all in due time. "

General Xōchhuitl smiled on the other end of the phone. "Indeed, Director Hoffman. We do seem to be likeminded in our goals and our beliefs, so it is well that we stand together. Your mercenaries can be sent to the city of Huitzitaca. From there, we shall deploy them as needed. We will naturally recompensate you for the assistance, once this whole period of transition is over. The next Emperor will be grateful for your help - and I am sure a mutually lucrative bargain can be struck once he takes power."
_____________________

4.19 - Afternoon
National Shuellian Broadcasting Network
Shuell Denounces Xiomeran Coup
A public announcement made by the Directorate today formally denounced the recent coup that removed Xiomeran Empress Yauhmi from power and instated the so-called Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera until a "Great Selection" could be held.

"The Incorporated States of Shuell will not condone this threat to international peace and safety and would be glad to support the Xiomeran government-in-exile if the situation arises. For the time being, we shall provide monetary aid to the relevant officials to ensure a swift return to the status quo."

Shuellian PMC Watchtower Incorporated made a statement shortly thereafter, confirming that the company has been hired out by multiple entities to protect business investments in Xiomera during this tumultuous time.
_____________________
4.19 - Evening

A grey transport plane filled to the brim with private military contractors and unmarked containers flies over the sea, having taken off hours earlier. Men of both Shuellian and Iustonian ethnicity dressed in black uniforms sit in rows, chatting with each other and smoking cigarettes as they prepare for their newest assignment in the city of Huitzitaca. A screeching noise emanates from the plane's intercom system before a voice rings out.

"Listen up, ladies. We'll be landing in Xiomeran territory shortly, and I want you all to remember this - once we're on their soil, we follow the orders of the Provisional Government, as ordered by our... generous benefactors. We'll work with them until our contract's up, and then we all can go home - I'd suggest you try to enjoy it while it lasts. With any luck, we'll be back before the holidays with some extra cash in our wallets. Try not to shoot any women or children, got it? It's bad for publicity."

Some of the mercenaries laugh at the final comment. "We'll try our best, boss!" calls out one of them. "Two points if you kill a pregnant one!" shouts another, this one with the tattoo of a chain around both his wrists. As the plane begins to descend, the mercs start to hush up, each of them steeling themselves.

The voice of the Watchtower commander sounds out over the intercom one last time as they touch down. "Gentlemen, welcome to Xiomera."

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:18 am

Eirian Embassy, Tlālacuetztla

Ambassador Jackson Henters cleaned out his office, throwing the last random desk props into a box as quick as he could. The order to evacuate Xiomera was expected, but Henters hadn't expected it to include a clause to evacuate within twenty-four hours, added by the Chancellor himself. The reason for this addition was that, as long as Eiria will refuse to recognize the Xiomeran Provisional Government, Xiomera was no longer safe for diplomats under the new laws. He sealed the box and took out the letter that came with the order to evacuate.

His assistant ambassador, Ava Kelly, stood at the door, box under her shoulder. "Ready to leave?". She noticed the letter lying on the desk. "What's that?".

The Ambassador went slightly pale. "A gift for our Xiomeran friends". He handed it to her, and her eyes widened. "Wow. That's surprising. No wonder we're getting out of here fast. It's quite a statement to make. It's incredible that the Senate agreed to this".

"You're telling me. And yes, I am done". He picked up the box and placed the letter on his desk. "It's sad that we have to abandon the new building. I really like the design. Let's hope for a nice job at home or in Lauchenoira or Laeral, some pleasant democracy were nothing like this happens".

"I sure hope so". They loaded the last boxes into one of the dark cars waiting in front of the embassy as the clerks and guards boarded the transports. The Ambassador and Assistant Ambassador left in the last car, heading for the airport.

On the Ambassador's desk, a letter, in formal script, read as follows:

Dear Xiomeran Provisional Government,

It is our intention to inform you why we have withdrawn our Ambassadorial Staff. Hopefully your forces were able to recover this note and bring this before you. We have no intention of recognizing your provisional government, and even were planning to withdraw our embassy before your declarations, to remove any recognition of legitimacy from the treasonous provisional government.

We will formally recognize Crown Prince Texoccoatl as de facto ruler of Xiomera due to the lack of available honorable leaders in Xiomera after Yauhmi's imprisonment. We also denounce the horrific massacre of the honorable Shorn Ones, as it seems they hold the only honor left in Xiomeran Military leadership. We will no longer have formal diplomatic relations while a traitor to the Xiomeran people sits on the Obsidian Throne and strips away basic rights from the Xiomeran populace.

With Kind Regards and Sincere Intent,
Chancellor William Lancaster
Vice Chancellor Leah Stendē
Minister of Diplomacy Alice Lancaster
Senate Majority Leader Alison Legrand
Senate Opposition Leader Alexander Dukov
Senator Jacob Olmansèn
Senator Amara Chin
List of 30+ Senators' Signatures

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:27 am

Sunday, April 19th

Having waited in a sense of limbo, the members of Yauhmi's Cabinet were somewhat prepared for their fate. Nevertheless, when the knocks came on eleven doors, all of their responses differed.

Xochiqui, the Secretary of Defense, refused to swear loyalty to the junta. He then attempted to resist arrest, and was killed by the soldiers he had once commanded. Chuanacoyo, a former executive with Coatōn, the nation's largest defense contractor, was summarily appointed as the new Secretary of Defense by the junta.

Ixtonal, Secretary of the Civil Service, reasoned that one boss was the same as another, but that the government had to continue to function. He had no problem with committing to the junta.

Cuicanan, the Secretary of Justice, not only agreed to join the junta, but did so eagerly. Yauhmi had been too soft for his liking as a ruler, and he welcomed the new (old) order of things.

Nexā, Secretary of the Environment, refused to swear loyalty to the junta, and was summarily arrested. So was Etalmac, the Secretary of Education, for the same reason. The junta decided to just abolish the Secretariat of the Environment and appointed Mahuema, a retired university professor and staunch conservative, to run the Secretariat of Education.

Yāolinli, the Secretary of Scientific Development and Advancement, fled before the junta could come for her. Her whereabouts, at least for now, would remain unknown. The junta responded by declaring her removed from her position and appointed Catzina, another staunch conservative with more interest in the economy than in knowledge, as her replacement.

Namacamina, the Secretary of Support, also fled before the junta could find her, when her Secretariat was ordered abolished by the April 19th Decrees. Her whereabouts likewise remained a mystery.

Cozamaquetzal, the Secretary of Health, refused the junta, was arrested, and replaced by Toztlaxoche, the CEO of Xiomera's largest hospital chain, Alcolman.

Maxtla, the Secretary of Culture, decided to join the junta, and found her Secretariat tasked with the additional mission of "preserving Xiomeran values", just like the old days.

Xōclo, the Secretary of Infrastructure, Development and Planning, found the junta much more to his liking than his previous employer. He had been one of the planners behind the original Manauia Island Project, and had been quite put out when Yauhmi had dramatically scaled his plans back. Under the new regime, it would be full speed ahead, bulldozers and all.

And at the last, Iccauhyotli, the Secretary of Tribal Relations, found himself arrested without even being asked if he wanted to switch sides. Under the new Xiomeran regime, there was no need for silliness such as "inter-tribal relations". Like the good old days, everyone in the Empire would do what the Xiomerans told them to do, or else.

---

Xiomeran Embassy, Laeralsford

"I have already decided. The junta can go screw themselves - apologies for the undiplomatic language. But I have no intention of surrendering this embassy to them - now, or ever." The Xiomeran Ambassador to Laeral, Quetmiilnaxī, sipped his tea before putting the teacup down. "This embassy will continue to serve you, your Majesty, as we always have."

Crown Prince Texōccoatl smiled in response. "That's good to know. We'll need your help to get back in touch with people in Xiomera - we've been cut off from communications."

"I will do what I can," the ambassador replied. "This will be a good base of operations for you to begin your counter-attack."

---

Xiomeran Embassy, Buttercity

At a different Xiomeran embassy, the choice was hardly as clear-cut. Chemā, the Xiomeran Ambassador to Lauchenoiria, read the demand from the Provisional Imperial Government with dismay. If I say yes, I'm damned. If I say no, I'm damned, she thought in frustration. Chemā, truthfully, was not a fan of Empress Yauhmi. But the junta which had taken over Xiomera seemed a bit too old-school Xiomeran, even for her relatively conservative leanings. I may not have liked the Empress, but I didn't want anyone to throw her in a freaking jail cell, she thought irritably.

So, in time-honored bureaucratic fashion, Chemā decided to stall. She pretended that she hadn't received the message at all, and waited.

---

ASI Detention Facility Alpha-73B
Unknown location, Xiomeran hinterlands


Yauhmi wasn't sure how many days had passed.

She knew, vaguely, that it had to have been at least two or three, but after she had been transferred from the Ximac Fortress, her first location to be detained, to this current cell, the windowless room gave her no easy way to track time. She had been stripped of her elegant A'pilne dress, and forced to don a prisoner's uniform. And then, she had been left alone.

She had been fed, and not mistreated, other than being stuck by herself in a tiny cell not much larger than a closet. A basic, rather uncomfortable bed; a table and a chair; a toilet; a sink; a very basic shower. That was the extent of her living space. A far cry from the Palace of Flowers, she thought dryly.

Other than food being delivered through a slot in the door, no one had interacted with her at all. Yauhmi wasn't so bothered by that, but she did worry about the people on the outside. Her son, the people who worked for her, the people in general. She also wondered, oddly, if someone was feeding her cat.

When the door finally creaked open, Yauhmi was surprised by the suddenness of a visitor after so long, but quickly composed herself. She wasn't going to give her captors the advantage of knowing the effect the cell was having on her - especially when she realized who was visiting.

"Good morning, Empress," Calhualyana said coolly, her voice giving a mocking twist to Yauhmi's title. Yauhmi found herself surprised only by her utter failure to realize who the snake hidden in the grass behind the coup had really been, until it was too late. "Acting Secretary Calhualyana. Are you the ringmaster of this circus that is the junta, or just another one of the clowns in the show?" Yauhmi replied, forcing every ounce of royal hauteur she could into her voice.

"It's just Secretary now. I am afraid that your Secretary of Security never recovered from his bout with AD14. Nasty illness, that," Calhualyana smirked. "I am now in charge of Security - and your hostess. Do you like your accomodations, Empress?" Calhualyana laughed.

If she had been younger, and not exhausted from the conditions of her imprisonment, Yauhmi would gladly have choked the life out of Calhualyana herself. Instead, she found that her only weapons were words. "If you're here just to snipe at me, you're wasting your time. I don't have any interest in anything you have to say."

Calhualyana gave a fake pout of dismay. "And I was so hoping to have a chat with you over tea. But if you're not in the mood for company, that's fine. I was actually going to say that you could leave this cell if you wanted. You just have to sign this." She passed a tablet over the small table to Yauhmi. Articles of Abdication, the title read.

Yauhmi shoved the tablet back across the table without reading further. "I am not signing any document abdicating my throne. If your little band of usurpers want to take power, you'll not get my help to do so."

Calhualyana sighed. "The power has already been taken. You sit in this little box. Your son is exiled. Your Cabinet members have either sworn loyalty to us, or are dead, or running for their lives. Your military and your police take our orders now. Your so-called Huenyan Assembly sits in cells like this one, except for our pet Necatli tlatoani, who works for us now. You are defeated. Your plans to destroy this country are thwarted. Signing that, and joining your son in exile, makes things easier for you, not us. I am trying to do you a favor."

Yauhmi openly laughed in response, causing Calhualyana to grow red-faced. "You're doing me a favor? Even despite your best efforts, you haven't addled my brain that much. If I abdicate and walk away, that legitimizes your coup. It lets you make a true claim to be the legitimate government - if I voluntarily surrender power, who's to argue with you after that? I won't make your lives that easy."

Calhualyana slammed her fist on the table in front of Yauhmi. "If you wish to be stubborn, you old fool, so be it. But sooner or later, we will get you to sign this abdication. You think you're strong of will? You think you can resist? You are so naive. Do you really think the suffering you've been given so far is even close to our best efforts? If you want to see what ASI can do when we're truly motivated - keep refusing to sign the abdication. You will find out soon enough just how far we can, and will, go."

Calhualyana turned to walk out, but stopped when Yauhmi raised her hand. "Just tell me one thing. Why are you all doing this?"

Calhualyana looked at Yauhmi incredulously. "You really don't know? You really think you've done nothing to provoke this - to provoke us? Are you truly that self-righteous, or that naive, or just that stupid? You were changing everything that made Xiomera strong, prosperous and successful. You were encouraging a culture of weakness, of dependence, with your damned social programs. You were encouraging the total upheaval of the established order, with your talk of Assemblies and elections and reforms. You would have destroyed Xiomera. We are saving it - from you. And don't think we didn't know about your scheme to place your own family on the throne forever, to have Texōccoatl follow you and then that cursed child of his after that, so that your progeny could take us down this path of weakness forever. You made us do this."

Yauhmi looked at Calhualyana with disbelief. "What does Tonauac have to do with this?"

Calhualyana glared at Yauhmi in response. "Your reforms were bad enough. But no hereditary monarchy shall ever rule this land again - especially one that leads to a half-breed child becoming Emperor. That, I can guarantee you."

Yauhmi found herself suddenly filled with rage. She had not been this angry, in fact, since the rumors during the Great Selection that she had cheated on her husband. "You're doing this because my grandson is half-Xiomeran and half-Itotemoc?" she said, standing up and quite forgetting that she was a bit old to be trying to choke someone.

"Only Xiomerans will rule the Xiomeran Empire. That has always been the way. It will always be the way. Your family will not be allowed to change that," Calhualyana grated.

Yauhmi leaned forward, glaring at Calhualyana. "Tonauac will be the future of this country - after my son, that is."

"Not a chance. We are seeking the boy and his mother as we speak, their fate will be sealed soon enough," Calhualyana replied, to a snort from Yauhmi. "That tells me you've failed to capture them so far. Not as on top of things as you claim, are you?" Yauhmi replied. Calhualyana turned even more red-faced, and shoved Yauhmi back into her chair. As Yauhmi sat back upright, Calhualyana turned to walk out the door.

"We will find them, soon enough. And if you don't sign that abdication document before we do, you'll be killing your grandson. We will not allow him to remain in the line of succession. If Tonauac's life isn't enough to convince you to bend....we'll just have to see what ASI's most skilled interrogators, and others we can bring into service, can do to change your mind." Calhualyana rapped sharply on the door, and a guard let her out of the cell.

Yauhmi found herself looking at the door in the ensuing silence. You can't ever just keep your mouth shut, can you? she thought to herself.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:56 am

Pearson Country Club, Litudinem, Libertas Omnium Maximus
April 10th, 2020 - Morning

Lucas Brown, President of Libertas Omnium Maximus, took a deep breath, checking one last time to make sure that his angle was correct, before swinging his club towards the tee. His 7-Iron connected perfectly with the golf ball, sending the small white orb high into the air. Brown wiped a glob of sweat from his brow as the golf ball descended towards the green.

"An excellent shot, Mr. President!" announced Hugh Burton, the Maximuisan Secretary of Defense, before stepping up to the tee to make his own shot. "I have my work cut out for me."

Brown smiled and returned to the golf cart, desperately seeking shelter from the blazing sun above. He took a seat next to Tom, his personal golf caddy, and sipped from a can of his favorite sweetened ice tea. Days on the golf course were always a treat for the president. They gave him a much-needed respite from his highly stressful work environment and allowed him to be, for the most part, alone with his thoughts. Today, however, things were different. Brown was having a very difficult time relaxing with the knowledge that one of the most important events in Xiomeran history was taking place.

"Harvey," the President asked one of his bodyguards quietly, not wishing to disturb the Secretary of Defense while he took his shot, "could you check to see how the Xiomeran Huenyan Assembly went? It has surely started by now. Just let me know what has been discussed so far."

Wordlessly, the bodyguard retrieved a tablet from his coat and tapped away at it for a few seconds. Looking confused, Harvey tapped away at the device for a few seconds more before turning to face Brown.

"Mr. President, all outgoing communications from Xiomeran media have ceased. We don't have any idea what is going on."

Without batting an eye, the president was back in business mode. A thousand different scenarios flashed through Brown's head, all ones that he would have liked to avoid. Regardless of what he would have liked or wanted, however, the realities of the situation could not have been clearer. He was going to have to call his golf game a draw. Something was going down in Xiomera and, whatever it was, it wasn't good.

One hour later

"Just when I thought things were really starting to turn around in Xiomera!" exclaimed Brown as he stared in awe at the television screen. The enlarged face of General Xōchhuitl seemed to stare directly at the president, daring him to try to think of a way to fix things.

The broadcast abruptly cut off upon the conclusion of Xōchhuitl's statements, plunging the president's office into an oppressive silence. Dumbfounded, Brown's personal secretary opened her mouth as if to speak, only to close it a second later. Running one hand along the side of his 217-year-old mahogany desk, the President of Libertas Omnium Maximus allowed himself to fall into a contemplative state. His response to this coup would have to be calculated. If he had learned anything in his three-decade political career, it was that acting before understanding all of the facts only could lead to disaster.

Brown's reaction to this coup, which would be long overdue in just a few hours, would need to reflect this bit of wisdom he had picked up. His initial reaction, of course, was to condemn the nationalist coterie attempting to pass itself off as a provisional government. Yauhmi, while imperfect, to say the least, had at least been making some semblance of an attempt to democratize the nation. This junta will likely undo any and all work she has done and see to it that the nation never makes another attempt at democracy. With this in mind, the logical decision would be to unequivocally condemn the actions of and cut ties with Xōchhuitl's government. On the other hand, doing much more than condemning the provisional government could have economic ramifications. The duty of a president is, in its most fundamental form, to look after the interests of his people. The people of Libertas Omnium Maximus came first. The people of Xiomera came second. Whatever his response was, he was going to need to keep that simple fact in mind.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:35 pm

Kerlian Embassy, Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera

The Kerlian Ambassador to Xiomera, Roxana Baumer was very relieved when the order came to pack her bags and return home. She’d been hoping for such a message ever since the execution of Cetlalhui, which had made her vomit once she returned to the embassy. The two former Restricted Region employees who’d accompanied her had unnerved her too, of course, leading to her daydreaming about an assignment in some nice, torture-free democracy where these things never happened.

When the coup had happened, she’d had eerie flashbacks to the Lauchenoirian war, and shuddered to remember how badly that had gone for the Matriarchy. Whatever came to pass, Roxana wanted to be far, far away by the time it did. The order from the Council was welcome, though it concerned her slightly: Xiomera was the Matriarchy’s only real ally, and if they weren’t recognising the junta it meant that the Council didn’t believe the junta would remain in power. She worried how they would try and ensure that.

Bags packed, she quickly headed with the other embassy staff to the cars waiting outside, ready to get on a plane back to the Matriarchy. She wondered if she would ever return to Xiomera. She had liked it, in many ways – at least, before that execution. The climate suited her, the food was better than back home, and it wasn’t nearly as patriarchal as the country she’d been assigned to before this. The language was difficult, but now she’d learned it, she wondered where else she’d ever have the chance to use it.

The Council was waiting until she was out of the country before they informed the junta officially that they would be recognising the government-in-exile over them, though it occurred to Roxana that they probably knew the moment the cars drove up to the embassy. It seemed unlikely that she wasn’t being watched. She hoped nothing bad would occur, she didn’t think they’d harm her, but the memories of the execution danced in her mind and it worried her to know what the Xiomerans were capable of.

At the airport, she paced nervously back and forth waiting for the flight, trying to shove down the unpleasant memories that kept surfacing by wondering what she’d do back home. Kerlile had reformed greatly, she kept hearing. Once, she would have been sceptical of such a thing, even going so far as to oppose the attempt. But in the last six months she had become far less supportive of the more extreme policies of the Kerlian Council, and was fully ready to embrace reform.

When the plane finally took off, she breathed a sigh of relief. Soon, she would be far away where the junta couldn’t reach her, and she didn’t have to worry about executions and coups and potential wars. Now she knew how their ambassador to Lauchenoiria must have felt two years ago when everything started to fall apart there. Apparently, the woman had retired after the signing of the Haven Accords due to ill health. Roxana understood that, now – this job was enough to stress even the most mentally stable person out.

*

Lauchenoirian Embassy, Tlālacuetztla

The Lauchenoirian Ambassador, Ramón Banderas, kept calling Buttercity, but he was continually told to wait. He read over the decrees from the Xiomeran provisional government once more, and groaned in frustration. It seemed that his government were very reluctant to decide one way or another. He understood that, but in his position, it made him nervous. He knew that a choice would be forced sooner or later, and he hoped that when he was forced to make that choice, he knew what to do.

It was an unnerving situation, especially for a Lauchenoirian. While the two coups were certainly not identical, there were some similarities that one familiar with how the 2018 Lauchenoirian coup had played out would notice. Ramón was one such person, and as a result he really hoped that his government would find some way to stay neutral. There was no way that getting involved on either side would end well for Lauchenoiria, especially in their weakened state.

He also felt incredible sadness for the Xiomerans. This would damage their country greatly, whatever happened, and it would mess up many lives – and take others. There was no getting around it, and it would likely be worse than their government anticipated. These were things that most Lauchenoirians who paid attention to world affairs would have recognised, though they would react in different ways. The protesters who’d spent every Wednesday outside the Xiomeran Embassy for months, he supposed, might well be quite pleased to see Xiomera suffer.

It seemed unlikely that Lauchenoiria would support the junta, and yet Ramón knew that Alvarez had some kind of personal vendetta against Yauhmi. The logical choice for Lauchenoiria would be to support Yauhmi, as the pro-reform side. Yet, he was truly uncertain about what they would choose to do, and that worried him. For now, though, there was little he could do but sit still, stall for time and await orders.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:29 am

April 22nd
Tlālacuetztla

Coalition of Reformist Associations of Xiomera Headquarters


"We have to leave, now," Natcuahuacu said urgently. Cuetzhual, the chairman of A New Xiomera, nodded in response. "If we don't leave now, we will be detained, and who knows what will happen to us."

Quihima, the chairwoman of One Huenya, shook her head in vigorous dissent. "Now is not the time for us to run and hide. We need to fight these criminals!"

"To what end?" the third person seated at the table asked, sighing. Cozamalotl, the former Cabinet Secretary and failed Great Selection candidate, shook his own head. The Coalition of Reformist Associations of Xiomera, of which he was the titular chairman, had been formed after Empress Yauhmi's enthronement by the union of Xiomera's two largest reformist groups - the moderate A New Xiomera, and the more radical One Huenya. After Cozamalotl had failed in his longshot bid for the throne, the Coalition had been created as a way to pressure the new Empress to follow a reformist path. To their delight, they had found that Yauhmi had required no pressuring at all to do most of what they had wanted. While the Empress moved slower than the Coalition preferred towards reforming Xiomera, they were glad that there was movement at all towards change.

The coup had thwarted their hopes for change. Now, they were trying to decide what path to take next. As was their usual preference, Cuetzhual and A New Xiomera wanted to continue to provide moderated opposition to the junta. Quihima and One Huenya, by contrast, wanted to take a path of violent opposition to the junta, taking over the streets and fighting the government, if necessary.

As the most prominent and respected opposition figure in Xiomera, it fell to Cozamalotl to try to figure out a middle path between the two groups, and to do so in a way that could present meaningful resistance to the junta. Like Natcuahuacu, his closest advisor, and Cuetzhual, Cozamalotl abhorred violence and wanted to try to convince everyone in the Coalition that peaceful resistance was the only path forward. As the discussion dragged on, and no agreement was reached, Cozamalotl sighed once more and prepared to suggest a break. As he began to speak, another Coalition member rushed into the room. "We're being raided! There are police outside!" he shouted in dismay. Cozamalotl stood up slowly, as the others rushed to the windows. The streets outside the Coalition headquarters were surrounded by Imperial Police vehicles. As they watched, Imperial Police officers began exiting the vehicles and lining up in formation.

Quihima walked to a corner of the room, grabbing a bag. "It seems like we've run out of time to talk," she said. Gesturing to the other members of One Huenya in the room, she began to walk outside.

"Resistance won't do any good, Quihima," Cozamalotl pleaded. "It will only get people hurt."

"And being passive won't? Those police are here to take us off to jail. Do you think they will be gentle with us there?" Quihima shouted. "We would rather go out fighting than be dragged off like cows to slaughter. Get your people out of here. We will hold the cops off as long as we can." Quihima began walking out, before taking one last look over her shoulder. "Good luck, Cozamalotl. Don't let our sacrifice be in vain." Without any further words, Quihima and her followers walked out of the room.

Cozamalotl shook his head. "All for nothing. This is all for nothing. Why do they not see?" he said softly, looking out the window as the Imperial Police prepared to storm the building. Natcahuacu and Cuetzhual each took one of his arms gently. "Cozamalotl, we have to go. Someone has to lead the resistance to this tyranny. If they capture us all, there is no hope left," Natcahuacu said.

Cozamalotl finally nodded, quickly gathering his belongings and letting the two younger activists lead him to an exit. "Where exactly are we going?"

"To the Necatli lands. If we can make it. I have family there. They will shelter us, and anyone else who escapes. But we have to get everyone out now," Natcahuacu replied, as the three rushed to warn the others in the building and tell them how to escape.

As the Imperial Police finally took their formation, on the ground floor, multiple doors burst open. Rushing out of the doors, One Huenya activists charged the police line, shouting and wielding an array of makeshift weapons. As they advanced, the Imperial Police officers fired off tear gas canisters, and began a counter-charge with batons and shields. The Imperial Police had strict orders: don't shoot anyone unless absolutely necessary.

ASI needed people to question.

As the two lines of charging people met in a furious clash, the others in the building quickly began running away, doing their best to merge into the streets of Tlālacuetztla and escape. As Natcuahuacu and Cuetzhual led Cozamalotl away from the building, an Imperial Police officer recognized Cozamalotl. With a shout, the policeman began running towards the group. Seeing a nearby trash can, Cuetzhual grabbed its lid desperately as a shield, warding off a violent baton blow from the policeman. The impact knocked Cuetzhual to the ground, jarring the lid from his hand. As he sprawled, defenseless, on the ground, the policeman turned towards Cozamalotl. Natcuahuacu tried to stand in front of Cozamalotl to protect him, but was also knocked to the ground. As the policeman raised his baton over Natcuahuacu, he turned his back towards Cozamalotl. Cozamalotl spotted a loose cobblestone in the street. He picked it up, desperately throwing it at the policeman's head. The cobblestone made a solid impact, but not enough to knock the policeman out. The Imperial Police officer turned, menace visible on his face even through the visor of his helmet, looking at Cozamalotl.

The one time I resort to violence in my life, and all I did was make him mad, Cozamalotl thought.

The Imperial Police officer began marching towards Cozamalotl, only to be tackled by both Cuetzhual and Natcuahuacu. Pulling his helmet off, the two of them punched the officer repeatedly until he stopped fighting them. "Come on, quickly now," Natcuahuacu said, as they got up and led Cozamalotl away.

As the three of them ran away, Cozamalotl looked over his shoulder one last time. Watching the activists of the Coalition, young and old alike, being beaten into submission by the Imperial Police, filled him with an unfamiliar emotion: anger.

---

1st Fleet, Xiomeran Imperial Navy
Waters off Western Catica


"We have a decision to make." Admiral Techilō, commander of the 1st Fleet, looked at the grim-faced man in front of her calmly as she sipped her coffee.

"I don't see that there's much of a decision to make," he replied. Brigadier General Tlanexchel, of the Jaguar Warriors, slurped his own coffee with a scowl. "After what they did to the Shorn Ones at the Palace of Flowers, no Jaguar or Eagle Warrior under my command will take orders from the junta. They murdered fellow members of the brotherhood of the Special Forces for doing their duty. They have no honor and are not fit to lick the bottom of a Jaguar Warrior's boot. We will not follow such shameless dogs."

"The Jaguar and Eagle Warriors are not the only soldiers under your command. What about the International Legion and the 17th Army?" the Admiral said, eyeing Tlanexchel.

"The International Legion agrees with us, and will follow me. The 17th Army....their loyalties are uncertain." The General sighed. "I do not trust leading them into a potential battle until we know where their loyalties lie."

"And....if, as commander of this expeditionary force, I order you to do this?" Admiral Techilō replied, handing him a naval dispatch.
FROM: SecDef, XiFor, CapMilDist
TO: Techilō, commanding, 1st Fleet, Imperial Navy
Tlanexchel, commanding, Western Catica Anti-Terrorist Mission

Due to the national emergency, you are hereby ordered to immediately return to Xiomera to be re-deployed for national security operations. Return to Naval Headquarters at Huitzitaca for reassignment.

Signed, Xōchhuitl, commanding, Imperial Armed Forces
Tlanexchel crumpled up the dispatch slowly, his eyes never leaving Techilō's. "Then we would have a problem, Admiral."

"We would indeed. It would be interesting to see who would prevail in a battle between us. Fortunately, however, I agree with you that the orders of this 'Provisional Imperial Government' aren't worth a bucket of llama piss," the Admiral replied calmly, with another sip of her coffee. Tlanexchel stared at her for a moment, then burst into laughter. "That is indeed fortunate, Admiral," the General replied finally. "So....what now?"

"If the 17th Army can't be relied upon, I say we leave them here. We promised the Vulkarians that we would continue to support their anti-terrorism mission....so let the 17th Army do that. The 17th can't do much about being left here....my ships are their ride home, after all," the Admiral said with a throaty laugh of her own. "So the 17th can just stay here and chase after M.L.F. types while we save the Empire. But between the International Legion and your special forces, that's only about 8500 troops. That's not much to take on the entire Imperial Army back home."

"They are Jaguar and Eagle Warriors, along with the International Legion that we trained. With that, I can take an empire. Or retake one, if need be," Tlanexchel replied with unshakeable confidence in himself and his soldiers.

"Well now....your warriors and my sailors and airmen.....the good Crown Prince is going to need an army, a navy, and an air force for his government in exile. Shall we sail off and give him one?" Admiral Techilō smiled over her coffee cup.

Brigadier General Tlanexchel's answering eager grin, savoring upcoming battle, said it all, the Admiral mused. Someone is going to really regret riling up the Jaguar and Eagle Warriors when this is all said and done, she thought.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:22 am

April 25th
Oacalco, Tepiltzin Tribal Domain


“You will never get away with this,” Toteca said. The former commander of the Tepiltzin tribal guards struggled futilely as he was dragged by two Imperial Army soldiers to a waiting van. “The Tepiltzin will never accept what you have done. None of the tribes will. You have imprisoned our tlatoani and cihuacoatl and taken our capitals hostage. You have ended the autonomy we have been given. We will fight you to get it back.”

“Yes, you’re doing a stellar job fighting it so far, aren’t you?” The Imperial Army sergeant marching behind the trio snickered. “Just shut up and get in the van.”

As Toteca struggled in vain, the two soldiers tossed him in the van, slamming its doors shut. As the van drove off, a voice echoed over the sergeant’s shoulder. “Is that the last of them?”

“Yes, Governor,” the sergeant said with a salute. “The Oacalco Palace is clear and ready for you to take residence. We are deploying throughout the capital and the outlying areas as we speak.”

“Good.” Quentzina, the newly appointed Governor of what had once been the Tepiltzin Tribal Domain, and was now known as the Central Military District, turned to walk into what had, for centuries, been the home of Tepiltzin rulers. She had led the early-morning raid on the Tepiltzin capital, watching from her command vehicle as the Imperial Army quickly and effectively disarmed both the Tepiltzin palace guards and the local police. Military rule was now in effect in the area, and Quentzina was the enforcer sent from Tlālacuetztla to make sure the region fell in line.

In the neighboring Itotemoc Tribal Domain, now the Western Military District, the result was much the same. Despite a stiffer resistance by both the Itotemoc palace guards and the local police, those loyal to the Itotemoc tlatoani were quickly pushed aside. A new Imperial Governor, Xotianqui, was installed to govern the area for the junta.

In both the Tepiltzin and Itotemoc capitals, and in the other cities as Imperial soldiers deployed, the reaction from the civilian population was much the same. While no overt resistance was yet occurring, the sullen and angry reactions of the Itotemoc and Tepiltzin made the streets simmer as much as the unseasonably warm weather that was occurring. The much larger Xiomeran population of the cities was hardly feeling triumphant. With the tension clearly rising, most Xiomerans were afraid of what could happen if the Itotemoc and Tepiltzin finally snapped - and how far the junta might go to suppress them.

A grim harbinger of that very real possibility was already playing out just to the west of the Itotemoc lands.

Necuatexi, Necatli Tribal Domain

“You promised me I could remain!” Noxochicotzin, the tlatoani of the Necatli, glared at General Xōchhuitl, on the screen in front of him. “I warned Calhualyana about Yauhmi’s plans. I gave you the access and the floorplans to make sure you could capture Yauhmi and the others at the Hall of Unity. I have done nothing but been helpful to you. What is your explanation for this?”

On the other end of the call, in his office at the Ximac Fortress, General Xōchhuitl looked impassively at the Necatli. “We lied to you. Isn’t that obvious by now, even to a self-serving idiot like yourself? Did you really think we would trust you after you stabbed Yauhmi and the other tlatoani in the back so easily? You’re an opportunist, Noxochicotzin. You wanted power, and feared Yauhmi’s reforms would mean the end of your rule. We told you what you wanted to hear, and you took it. But you cannot be trusted to remain in a position of power.”

The sound of banging on the doors of the Necuatexi Palace communications center echoed, as the tlatoani looked behind him. “If you surrender to the new Governor of the Far Western Military District - namely, the person leading that charge into your palace - we will allow you to live, and go into exile. If you resist - well. It’s up to you, but really, you don’t have much time to decide,” the General said calmly, as Noxochicotzin looked around the room in desperation.

As the banging intensified, Noxochicotzin looked back at the General on the screen, his eyes dead of emotion. “There is no choice left. None at all. You have destroyed me. But even in this final moment, I will strike back, General. And you will feel that final lash for a long time.” Noxochicotzin hung up on the General, then pressed another button.

The junta had disabled most of the communications systems of the palace already, through ASI’s control of the Project Tilmahcoatl surveillance and censorship system. But one system remained. Previous Xiomeran rulers had mandated that every city in the Empire maintain a series of loudspeakers on the streets of their cities, for communicating everything from propaganda messages to weather alerts and disaster warnings. The system had been discontinued for its propaganda purpose after Yauhmi became Empress. But no one had ever bothered to uninstall the loudspeakers in most Xiomeran cities. If there was a natural disaster, local leaders reasoned, it might be a good idea to be able to warn people.

Noxochicotzin was about to warn the Necatli about what was happening in a very big way.

As the Imperial soldiers struggled to get into the center, Noxochicotzin began speaking into the loudspeaker system. Confessing to the Necatli people what he had done. Not asking for their forgiveness, as it was neither deserved nor likely. Instead, calling them to choose a new tlatoani for the Necatli, and to resist the Imperial takeover. Summoning the memories of the determined and longstanding Necatli resistance to Xiomeran rule, and urging the Necatli to rise up and fight the repression of the Xiomeran Empire, as their ancestors had, time and again.

On the streets of Necuatexi, Imperial soldiers tried to shut down the loudspeakers, either cutting power off to them or just blowing them up. But it was too late. Noxochicotzin’s final message had gotten out to the people of Necuatexi.

As the doors to the communications center of his palace finally came crashing down, and Imperial soldiers began rushing inside, Noxochicotzin took out a black dagger from inside his robe. As the Imperial soldiers watched, he jabbed it into his chest, falling forward onto the ground.

—-

April 26th
Tlālacuetztla


“Ever since Noxochicotzin gave that damned speech of his, all of Necuatexi has been in an uproar. The entire damned city is rioting!” The new, and now official, Secretary of Security Calhualyana tossed her tablet angrily at the wall, as General Xōchhuitl watched with amusement. “I did warn you that we should have just arrested Noxochicotzin with the others at the Hall of Unity,” he said.

“I assumed that he would take the offer to go into exile with his wealth and leave. The one time I needed him to be a self-serving opportunist, he found a backbone. That was unpredictable,” Calhualyana said irritably. “So what do we do now about the damned Necatli?”

“I will deploy additional soldiers to the area to make them behave. It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve had to deal with the Necatli acting like unruly brutes,” the General said, as Calhualyana nodded. “Also.....I will deploy our Shuellian ‘friends’ to the Necatli region as well. I know that the Shuellian mercenaries will have no qualms about making unruly civilians behave. And once they’ve gotten a taste of that, the Necatli will settle down,” General Xōchhuitl said with a small smile.

—-

International waters, Hespia, near Laeral

While the Provisional Government took steps to secure its control over Xiomera, the original government of Xiomera received some much needed help. Having ignored all commands and messages from Defense Headquarters at the Ximac Fortress, and from Fleet Command in Huitzitaca, the 1st Fleet of the Xiomeran Imperial Navy set up station. To make it very clear where their loyalties lay, they were no longer flying the Four Star Flag of the Empire, but instead were flying the banner of the Imperial Household.

Their first action was to send a message to the Laeralite authorities, reassuring them of where their loyalties lay and that they bore no hostile intent to either the Crown Prince’s government or to Laeral. The message was accompanied by a formal invitation for Laeral’s government to send anyone they liked to the flagship of the fleet, the aircraft carrier Manautloya, for a visit with the Admiral and Brigadier General Tlanexchel. Another message was then sent to the Crown Prince, offering the fleet to his service - an offer which was quickly and gratefully accepted.

Their next action was to send a message to the international community - including Xiomera:
To any and all who can hear this:

We, the sailors, airmen and soldiers of the First Fleet of the Xiomeran Imperial Navy, hereby reject the orders we have received from the so-called ‘Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera’, and urge our fellow soldiers, sailors and airmen to do the same.

This so-called provisional government - which is, in reality, nothing more than a pack of usurpers and power-hungry tyrants - has unlawfully seized power from the legitimate ruler of Xiomera, Empress Yauhmi. We will take orders only from her, or from Crown Prince Texōccoatl, acting as sovereign in her stead, until she can be restored to power.

We also hope for peace, but we issue this warning to anyone, Xiomeran or otherwise, who ignores our humble plea to reject the oathbreakers and lawbreakers who now control Xiomera: if you try to force us to obey the commands of this junta, or attack us for not complying with the orders of these usurpers, we will regretfully kill you all.

The resistance to the junta begins here, and now, with the Free Imperial Navy of Xiomera.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:11 am

(Joint post with Shuell)

Tuesday, April 28th

On the outskirts of Necuatexi, smoke could be seen rising from the center of town. There had been rioting for two days now in the capital of what had once been the Necatli tribal domain. The arrival of Imperial reinforcements, and a new Imperial Governor, Xicotzin, had done little to stabilize the situation. If anything, the arrival of the new Governor had only served to inflame the local residents of Necuatexi. Now, rioting was spreading from the center of town to the outskirts.

The junta was determined to regain control of the situation, and ordered Xicotzin to deploy his forces, along with the Shuellian mercenaries, to restore order. Their first order was to take control of all Civil Guard and local police arsenals to keep the rioters from gaining control of them. There had already been scattered reports of some Civil Guard units and local police siding with the rioters against the junta, and Xicotzin was not going to let that become a threat.

200 Watchtower mercenaries of the 600-strong battalion sent over approached the edge of Necuatexi in armored vehicles and helicopters, armed with rifles and prepared to put down the riot with the assistance of the Imperial Army. Briefed prior to their departure from Huitzitaca, the contractors expected little resistance from the disorganized mobs of civilians and felt as if they had little to fear from the local police.

Their first destination was the Civil Guard garrison located in Ichepec, a town on the outskirts of Necuatexi. The Civil Guard garrison there was responsible for the entire southern half of the capital, and keeping its armory out of the hands of the rioters was vital.

The Watchtower mercenaries were being escorted by a single 45-man company of the Imperial Army. Their commander, Captain Tencatzin, carried orders with him for the commander of the Civil Guard garrison in Ichepec to hand over command of the garrison and its facilities so its troops could be deployed to assist in restraining the rioters. That was, in theory, the role of the Civil Guard. But given that the garrison in question was entirely made up of Necatli, their loyalty was “potentially debatable,” Tencatzin had warned the mercenaries.

As the mixed group of mercenaries and Imperial soldiers approached the front gates of the Ichepec garrison, they immediately came under rifle fire. Swearing and crouching down lower in his command vehicle, Tencatzin shrugged. “I guess it’s no longer debatable where their loyalties lie. Advance and take the garrison!”

The man commanding the detachment of Watchtower mercenaries, one Volkhardt Sommer, swore under his breath and reached for his radio before beginning to bark out orders to those under his command. Using the armored vehicles they were riding in as cover from the rifle fire, fuel was injected into the exhaust to provide the soldiers a smokescreen as they organized.

The mercenaries, many of them veteran soldiers or former legionaries, kept level heads and returned fire at the garrison, attempting to suppress them under the cover of smoke while shouting in their native language in an attempt to confuse the enemy Civil Guard.

Captain Tencatzin knew that the two sides would just keep exchanging potshots at each other all day, to a fatal and futile end, as long as the garrison’s walls remained intact. Warning Sommer to keep his men far enough back to avoid being hit by friendly fire, Tencatzin radioed in for air support.

Within a few minutes, two XF-5C fighters of the Imperial Air Force were streaking overhead. They were equipped with Mala precision-guided AGMs specifically designed for operations requiring low collateral damage. As the Xiomerans and mercenaries watched, the fighters fired several missiles into the walls around the garrison, blasting them into rubble and sending a very clear message to those inside the garrison about whether or not continued resistance was advisable.

With the walls out of the way, and the remaining Civil Guardsmen inside the garrison probably quite stunned, Tencatzin ordered the advance to resume, warning both Shuellians and Xiomerans alike to advance slowly and under cover.

Amongst whoops and exclamations from the mercenaries, they advanced, pouring fire onto the stunned guardsmen while taking cover behind piles of rubble in order to capitalize on the sudden airstrike. "Don't give them time to recover!" A mercenary shouts in Shuellian-accented Huenyan, throwing a fragmentation grenade into the garrison at the same time. From their positions in the armored cars, the drivers take their positions at mounted machineguns, firing short bursts at the guardsmen.

As the Civil Guard troops began pulling back towards the center of the garrison, and its main building, the advance continued. While the Guardsmen continued to fire back at the attackers, the smoke generated from the mercenaries’ vehicles made it impossible for the Guardsmen to properly direct their fire. Equipped with night-vision goggles, the attackers had no such problem. They fought their way forward, as the defenders of the garrison continued to fall.

Eventually, the mercenaries and Imperial Army soldiers surrounded the main building. Sporadic and disorganized gunfire continued to come down on the heads of the surrounding troops, along with an occasional grenade. “The armory is in this building. Do you think your men are up for a bit of room to room combat?” Captain Tencatzin asked Sommer.

Sommer nodded in affirmation. "Allow me to get our specialists. We'll clear that out in no time flat." He replied, calling out names over his headset and directing them towards the main building. At his orders, multiple men armed with shotguns jogged towards the center of the building, lining up at either side. After a quick countdown, they kicked open the door and entered, shots ringing out sporadically from the building in the time afterwards as the mercenaries cleared the building of guardsmen room by room.

As the gunfire died down, a mercenary exited the building and approached the two commanders, giving off a quick, unneeded salute. "A few surrendered. The rest were disposed of." He explains. "Armory's been secured."

”Excellent work,” Captain Tencatzin replied. “We have another Imperial Army unit on the way to take command of the garrison and deal with the prisoners. We have a moment for your men to rest up and prepare before we move on to our next objective.”

Approximately an hour later, a new Imperial Army company arrived, along with a detachment from Xiomeran Military Intelligence. They took over the prisoners and the garrison, as Tencatzin briefed the mercenaries on their next objective of the day. “We’re ordered to disperse some rioters just south of the center of town, who are preventing our forces from linking up. They’ve taken control of the main north-south arterial road leading into the center of town. They seem to be gathered around the local police headquarters....we might have to deal with a few of them as well, although they shouldn’t even be as hard as this lot to deal with,” Tencatzin added, gesturing disdainfully at the Civil Guardsmen being led off as prisoners.

The column soon mounted up and continued their advance, taking the aforementioned Tlahico Road into the center of Necuatexi. As they rolled forward through different neighborhoods, most people eyed the column resentfully, although no one offered any immediate resistance. That changed as they neared the headquarters of the Necuatexi Municipal Police, located near the center of town and the Necuatexi Palace.

As the mercenaries and their Xiomeran escorts approached, they saw a makeshift set of barricades made of tires, wood and rubbish had been set up. Large burned-out vehicles had also been set to block the roadway. Behind the barricades, a large crowd of locals had gathered. They began shouting angrily as the column approached. Some began to throw rocks, and even a few Molotov cocktails, none of which reached the column as it pulled to a halt.

Tencatzin sighed as he noticed some police vehicles pulled up behind the barricade. Several Municipal Policemen in their distinctive green uniforms were visible at the barricade, clearly armed. “The idiots,” he muttered under his breath. As he turned, a group of Imperial Police in their black uniforms emerged from a nearby side street. “Don’t shoot,” Tencatzin said quickly, waving down the mercenaries and his own troops alike. “Did you try to break the barricade?”

“We did,” the Imperial Police commander leading the group replied. “Their resistance was too strong, we took casualties and had to fall back.”

Tencatzin swore, turning back inside his command vehicle and picking up a microphone. “By order of the Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera, you are hereby ordered to disperse at once,” he shouted over a loudspeaker. In response, the crowd began shouting louder, and the throwing of items intensified. “This is your final warning. You are ordered to disperse at once or you will be removed,” the Captain repeated. With the crowd continuing to grow more violent, he sighed. “They don’t get a third warning.” With a wave of his hand, he ordered the column to begin advancing.

Sommer listened to the conversation between Tencatzin and the police commander intently, observing the crowd out of the corner of his eyes. As the order is given to advance, he sighed before pulling out a cigarette and lighting it. "You heard the man! Advance, and disperse the crowd! You are cleared to open fire on hostile," Volkhardt ordered over his radio, pulling out his service pistol and firing into the air once before re-entering the vehicle. "Our IFVs can withstand a few molotovs, don't you worry," he assured Tencatzin.

Tencatzin nodded with approval as the column advanced. As they drew closer, the rock-throwing grew even more heavy. The Xiomerans fired a few warning shots over the heads of the protesters. This did not have the desired effect. Not only did the protesters continue to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the column, the warning shots prompted the municipal police manning the barricade to begin opening fire.

The thrown items were no threat to the column, but the police gunfire was, even if a minor one. With another curse under his breath, Tencatzin ordered the column to advance quickly and return fire.

Sommer chewed on his cigarette in disdain, before talking into his radio. "You heard the Commander. Open fire, target the green-shirts first - they're armed. These civilians'll disperse once people start getting shot." He turned, focusing his attention on Tencatzin. "Think you can call down another airstrike? Transport helis can't land yet, but the soldiers inside can rain down fire if need be."

The Captain nodded, turning to his radio and issuing a few commands. While the Civil Guard garrison had been on the outskirts of town, the latest objective was right in the middle of town. With a target in a much more built-up area, an even more precise approach was required.

Within a few minutes, the thrumming sound of rotors could be heard. A pair of XH-5 attack helicopters flew above the disturbance. As they approached the barricade line, the helicopters began opening fire with the rotary cannons mounted at their nose. As the rapid fire blasted apart the barricade, the crowd of rioters began falling back, shouting and running in fear. The local police who managed to survive the initial round of fire from the helicopters began falling back as well, their resistance broken by the desire to survive.

"Good hits," Volkhardt comments. "That'll make taking the outpost much easier - shouldn't be many stragglers." Mercenaries advanced quickly, once again capitalizing on the stunned silence following the gunships to take the entrenched position and secure the police station. Sporadic rifle fire quickly cleared out the stragglers, either scaring them away or gunning them down. "We'll need to request tanks in the future, if we can expect barricades like this to be common."

”Noted...but I am hoping this will not be common after today. Our other forces have gotten things in the northern half of the city under control. We may have more issues in Acalan, but once those are settled, we should have no further urban combat to deal with. Of course, the malcontents will simply hide out in the countryside after that - and that will be a completely different matter,” Tencatzin replied calmly as the mercenaries and the Xiomeran soldiers mopped up the last of the resistance. “Now that this is settled here, we’re ordered to proceed to the Necuatexi Palace. The governor wants to thank you,” the Captain added.

It was a short drive to the Palace, where the first Imperial soldiers had deployed to install the new Governor. Their perimeter around the Palace was quite strong, the mercenaries noted.

When they arrived at the Palace, Governor Xicotzin came out to greet them. “I have been briefed on your actions so far, and you have done admirably well,” the Governor said to Sommer. “Your men are welcome to set up camp within our perimeter around the Palace. From there, you can bring in additional forces to deploy as needed. In the meantime, the Provisional Government is grateful for your hard work - and believes in rewarding hard work. Once your men set up camp, if you need anything, just ask for it. Food, drink, anything you may need.”

Sommer shook Xicotzin's hand, nodding politely. "Thank you, Governor. My men'll set up shop in the perimeter and dig in for the night. The larger of my two detachments will be moving to take Acalan as soon as possible." He pauses, taking a moment to wipe the sweat off his face. "They'll have enough equipment to take the city, but air support and any armored vehicles you can provide us will assist in the event of... strong resistance. As for the security contractors here - food, drink, and barracks to rest in will be enough for now."

”Very good. We will provide the air and ground support you’ll need to take care of any trouble in Acalan - but that’s for tomorrow. For now, enjoy the rest you’ve earned,” the Governor said, nodding and instructing Tencatzin to show the mercenaries where they could set up camp.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:43 pm

Outside the Xiomeran Embassy, Lauchenoiria
Dawn, Wednesday 29th April 2020

They arrived as the light from the sun was only beginning to peek over the horizon. Early morning commuters saw them, and scattered to find different routes, recalling unpleasant memories of the weekly protests in the autumn. This did not deter the members of Climate Alliance Lauchenoiria, who were grimly determined to pick up right where they left off. After all, they’d given Xiomera an ultimatum – scale back or cancel the Manauia Island project, or we’ll do this every Wednesday. And now the project was back on, they would get right back to it.

Leonie Bennett hadn’t been at the autumn protests, given that she was studying in Usera at the time, but she was home in Buttercity for the pre-exams study period, so she’d gone along. She couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of the Xiomerans she presumed were watching them from behind the windows warily, wondering if it would turn out like one of the more extreme ones from last time. The vegan milkshake incident was still a source of humour in Lauchenoiria, and Ambassador Chemā the butt of many jokes.

“It’s happening there like it did here,” remarked Daniel Ortega, her school friend and fellow ex-Resistance member. They’d come along together, though they didn’t see each other very much these days.

“I would argue that it’s worse there than it was here. Their military was behind it, and is actually competent, unlike ours,” Leonie replied, looking up at the embassy as the sun began to rise. Someone was leading a melodic chant, but she didn’t want to join in this early or her throat would hurt later.

“Yeah, but they don’t have to worry about being taken prisoner by the Kerlians. And they probably know what they’re doing which we sure as hell didn’t,” he said, scowling slightly at the memory as Leonie winced.

“Daniel…” she began, but he waved for her to be silent. She stifled a sigh, and bit her lip. She had come out of her experience in the Matriarchy relatively unscathed, but he had suffered greatly. She didn’t know what they’d done to him; he wouldn’t talk about it. But she knew from speaking to others that he’d been alright at the beginning, it was after they put him in solitary confinement that something happened.

“Leonie! Oh gosh, it’s good to see you here!” a figure wove through the crowd and grinned at her.

“Hi,” she replied, searching for the woman’s name. Leonie recognised her from Sonja’s – Jennifer Hale’s – Resistance cell, but she didn’t think they’d ever spoken.

“June,” she said, as if reading Leonie’s thoughts. “At least, that’s what I went by. We need to talk,” she continued, then took hold of Leonie’s arm and gently pulled her out of the crowd to the edge, and glanced around warily.

“What is this about?” Leonie asked, somewhat nervously.

“Can you contact Sonja in Kerlile? I’ve tried, but she doesn’t return the calls and the damned Council phone office or whatever it’s called all hate me now.”

“Uh, Councillor Hale? No, I’ve not spoken to her since…” Leonie trailed off. Since she stopped me from being executed.

“Don’t call her that. You know as well as I do that she was forced into that position by the corrupt Council because they needed a puppet for this propaganda exercise they call reform. Kerlile can’t possibly reform. But I think Xiomera can, and so I need to talk to Sonja. She liked you, you can try.”

“I don’t think I can,” Leonie said, pulling back a little, wary of the woman. The conspiracy theories surrounding Sonja/Jennifer still made their way through Lauchenoirian activist communities, but they made Leonie a little uncomfortable.

Please,” June begged, holding out a cheap looking burner phone. “People are going to die if we don’t do this. You came here today because you care about Manauia Island, I assume. Well, sometimes talking is not enough and action is needed – as you know.”

“Look,” Leonie said uncomfortably. “I’ll try and call once, but I can’t guarantee anything.”

“Excellent,” June said, dialling a number and handing the phone to Leonie. She looked down at it, noting the Kerlian country code and hesitantly pressed call and held it up to her ear.

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