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

The place for conducting intraregional relations or just hanging out with other national leaders. [In-Character]
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:51 am

(Joint post with Shuell)

November 15th
Zapotlán


On the northern end of the rapidly shrinking perimeter, a mix of Huenyan, Kerlian and Milintican forces had been tasked with defending Huaxtihe Air Base and Shoreside Park, the center of allied air defenses. Colonel Moteudil, previously of the Imperial Army and now with the Huenyan Army, was in command of the forces defending the northeast quadrant of Zapotlán.

When the attack began, Moteudil found himself in a far different position from his counterparts in the rest of the city. The bulk of the enemy action had been to the south, as enemy forces had surged through the large park at the southeast end of the city to the Intra-Xiomera Canal. His forces had only faced token resistance, which had puzzled the allied commanders.

But now, the plan that the Imperial forces had was becoming clear. Imperial forces had already cut off the southern end of the canal, preventing any reinforcements from that route. Now, in the large swath of parkland to the south and east of the air base, a new surge of enemy attackers was coming. His scouts had reported that a combined force of the unknown "elite forces" added to Xiomera's military, along with a very large Iskirami contingent, were advancing rapidly towards the air base. If the base was taken, it would become extremely difficult for allied forces to reinforce themselves.

Moteudil ordered his units to advance southward to relieve the positions under attack, and halt the attacking force before it reached the base. He also urgently radioed for reinforcements, only to be told by the allied command that none were available. The entire front was under a sustained attack, and Moteudil would need to do the best he could with what he had.

As Moteudil's forces moved southward, the defensive positions they were meant to relieve were already under attack.

The forces of the Grand Xiomeran Expeditionary Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Omar Ibn-Basam Sadak, rapidly advanced towards the air base in armored vehicles, supported by friendly rocket artillery and elite Xiomeran soldiers. As much as he would have preferred to lead his men from the front, the Brigadier General knew that to do so was needlessly risky, even by the standards of the Iskirami. As such, he had taken a position away from the fighting, instead commanding his soldiers via radio.

Observing the base from binoculars, Sadak allowed himself to grin as he witnessed a salvo of rockets strike both Huaxtihe Air Base and Shoreside Park, serving to destroy both their air defenses and any planes still on the runways. Short bursts of machine-gun fire from the mechanized infantry meant that even the bravest soldier would hesitate to try and return fire, allowing the Iskirami inside to dismount as they approached the air base.

Alongside the Iskirami, the attacking Xiomeran soldiers dismounted as well from their APCs under the covering fire of their guns. Moving quickly, they began approaching the perimeter of the base.

Inside the base, Col. Moteudil ordered any planes that hadn't already taken off to get in the air as quickly as possible. The booming explosions as the rocket fire began hitting positions on the base underscored the urgency of that command.

Even as they took flight, however, the planes from Huaxtihe found themselves under attack from the Xiomeran air cover that was supporting the assault on Zapotlán. Dogfights began taking place between allied and Xiomeran fighters. Under cover from the fighters, a group of Imperial Apacan multi-role fighters swooped over the air base, utilizing their tactical bombing capabilities along with some well-placed missiles to further weaken the base's defenses prior to the ground assault.

Under pressure from both on the ground and above, the allied forces began pulling back to the interior of the base, doing their best to return fire while in retreat.

Sitting a safe distance away from the fighting, Iskirami mortar teams expertly bombarded enemy soldiers using the coordinates provided by Xiomeran radio operators. Although far less devastating than rocket artillery, the mortars were successful in suppressing and disorganizing the retreating soldiers. Accurate rifle fire from afar served to pick off exposed combatants - the Iskirami being particularly adept at the role due to the landscapes of their homeland.

With the enemy forces having been routed, the soldiers of the Brigade and the special forces they were partnered with advanced further into the air base, using whatever they could for cover.

As the attackers advanced, Col. Moteudil ordered a general retreat from the base. His forces began to fall back westwards, seeking to cross the canal and using it as a natural barrier. With a contingent of his own men, the Colonel did his best to provide cover for the retreating forces. Using the various buildings of the air base as cover, they began laying down delaying fire, trying to slow the enemy advance enough to allow a somewhat orderly retreat rather than an all-out rout.

As the Imperial forces began to face slightly more organized resistance, air support was requested by General Sadak - both to ensure the Huenyans were unable to cross the canal, and to provide precision air support alongside the mortar crews in order to destroy enemy cover. The soldiers of the Grand Brigade split off into fireteams and began to sweep and clear the airbase, focusing on the buildings they had detected enemy infantry entering, while relaying coordinates over radio to friendly mortar teams.

General Sadak didn’t have to wait long to get his wish. The Imperial Air Force was already in position, and soon began targeting both the buildings on the base and the retreating allied forces. While sporadic anti-air fire from the ground was still occurring, much of the defenders’ ability to fend off the aerial assault had already been destroyed.

The remaining allied forces were already either crossing the canal, or retreating to the nearby fleet embarked offshore. With his remaining contingent now sitting ducks, Col. Moteudil had little choice. From the base headquarters, he wearily sent a message requesting terms of surrender.

As the combat in the airbase slowed to a halt, with little resistance to the Imperial advance, Brigadier General Sadak returned a message, informing Moteudil to order his remaining men to surrender to allied forces in the area - presumably to be taken into custody as POWs.

The Colonel issued the order to surrender, and soon, resistance at the base ground to a complete halt. Moteudil had managed to at least accomplish getting most of the defending allied forces out of the trap. But for himself and his men, a humiliating surrender to the Xiomeran and Iskirami force, followed by a trip to Xiomeran POW camps, was all they had in their immediate future.

With northeastern Zapotlán secured and the air base now taken out of allied hands, the Xiomerans and Iskirami could rest before being called on for their next mission - the final push into the center of Zapotlán.

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

Post by Xiomera » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:10 pm

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

November 19th
Palace of Flowers, Office of the Golden Chamber


Empress Calhualyana calmly sipped her morning coffee as she prepared for her phone call. Unlike Yauhmi, she preferred her coffee black and unsweetened, to match her heart. The bitter, strong taste of the Xiomeran coffee and its warmth were quite pleasing to her. The golden seal on the Imperial china caught the rays of the early morning sun as she laid the cup down. She sighed contentedly, with the air of someone ready to start her day, before instructing her Attendant to place a phone call to Councillor Pauline Pierre of Kerlile.

Early morning in Xiomera was late evening in Kerlile, and Councillor Pierre hadn't yet gone to bed. She preferred to stay up late as she worked on what she planned to say and argue for at the peace talks. After last time, and the terror she'd felt when she thought she might end up in a Sanctarian prison, the Council wouldn't leave anything to chance. That meant preparing, both what they planned to say, and their military just in case.

"Councillor?" her newest political aide poked her head around the corner. Pauline sighed.

"What now?" she asked irritably.

"There's a phone call for you, from... from..."

"From who? Spit it out, girl!"

"Empress Calhualyana of Xiomera."

"Calhualyana?" Pierre sat up straight, tilting her head in interest. "Well, that is unexpected. Do put me through, this could be enlightening." The aide scurried off as Pauline picked up a phone on her desk, tapping her fingers on the table and frowning slightly.

When the call was passed through, Calhualyana smiled in order for her voice to sound pleasant on the phone. “Good evening, Councillor Pierre. I hope that I am not disturbing you too late.”

"Not at all, Empress," Pierre replied, eyes flicking back and forth over the screen on which she'd brought up the Council's file on Calhualyana, searching for why the new Xiomeran Empress would call her. "What can I do for you?"

”I actually wish to do something for you, Councillor,” Calhualyana replied. “A kindness, coupled with an explanation, which I am sure you’ll expect.” The Empress handed the phone to the other person sitting in the room. “Hello, mother....it’s Olivia,” Olivia Pierre said, her voice slightly uncertain.

"Olivia!?" Pauline shot up, standing and inadvertently knocking papers off her desk. "Is that you? Is this a trick? You can be damn sure I'll require an explanation."

"It's me, I'm really here..." Olivia glanced nervously at Calhualyana as she awaited her mother's response.

"Why are you in Xiomera? Last we heard of you, the Maximusians had kidnapped you as part of some revenge quest!"

"The Maximusians?" Olivia frowned. "They never had me, I was in Lauchenoiria and then... mother, the Lauchenoirians were going to execute me!"

"The Lauchenoirians!? No, none of this makes the least bit of sense. Are the Xiomerans threatening you?"

"No..." Olivia replied, but glanced at Calhualyana once more as if worried that the answer would change.

"Let me speak to Empress Calhualyana. I want explanations," Pauline ordered. Olivia, handed the phone back over, still exceptionally nervous.

Calhualyana kept a polite tone to her voice as she took back the call. “I imagine that this is the part of the call where the explanation is in order. Xiomeran agents freed Olivia from a prison where she was being held in Lauchenoiria. We don’t think the Lauchenoirian government was behind it, but we aren’t sure exactly who was.”

Calhualyana allowed an apologetic tone to enter her voice as she continued. “The rescue was part of a scheme by the former Emperor, Xochiuhue. He wanted to cause unrest within the world community to distract other nations from our civil war. To that end, he faked the video that placed blame on the Maximusians, and had it delivered to you. This scheme of his....was not my idea. At the time, Xochiuhue was executing anyone who dared question him. I should not have allowed the scheme to happen, and I deeply apologize.”

Pierre remained silent for quite some time. Then she spoke in a low, quiet but intimidating tone. "If you wish to apologise, you can explain to the Sanctarians why we accused the Maximusians of breaching the Haven Accords. The Lauchenoirians... from what we've heard they're having their own internal disputes. But that video has put the Matriarchy at risk."

Pauline stood, and began to pace around her office. "Thank you for removing Olivia from Lauchenoiria. There are some in that nation who wish to harm Kerlians for no other reason than that they are Kerlian. What do you plan to do with Olivia?"

”I plan to send her home. Xochiuhue may have wanted to keep her prisoner, but I see no reason to continue his bad ideas now that I have removed him from power. Nor do I wish any harm to come to her, so I will make sure she is able to return to Kerlile safely at your earliest convenience. This is what I offer to make up for the insult that Xochiuhue committed to your family,” Calhualyana replied. “As for the video....I will announce publicly Xochiuhue’s plot and take full responsibility. That should hopefully appease both the Sanctarians and the Maximusians on your behalf. I will do whatever I can to make this right,” the Empress said. “Xochiuhue will also stand trial for this plot, along with the many other crimes he committed during his reign. Justice will be done, I assure you.”

"Be careful with that," Pierre muttered under her breath before thinking. "Uh, I mean, thank you for arranging the safe return of Olivia. The sooner she is home in Kerlile, the better for everyone."

Calhualyana smiled in response to Pierre’s muttered comment. “Of course. I am pleased to reunite her with you. And.....being upfront about what Xochiuhue did does pose considerable risk to us. But so does trying to hide it. This is a case where being transparent and offering justice will, hopefully, be the right course for Xiomera.” The Empress paused. “I hope this gesture of goodwill will help repair the relationship between our two nations as well. Right now, Xiomerans and Kerlians are fighting each other, and that is genuinely not my wish.”

"It is not my wish either," Pauline said, then stopped and sighed. "If I can give you some advice? Peace often comes at a price, and there are nations out there who want to make sure it is a high one for people like you and me. Consequences... they do not always limit their application of consequences solely to those who deserve them. I urge you, please, please be careful in these talks."

Allies. Councillor Pierre was not used to having allies, and in terms of nations, Kerlile and Xiomera were at war. But Pierre was not a general, she was a politician, and she suddenly saw Calhualyana as someone who could be her ally in one very important way: helping prevent a repeat of the Accords which had forever changed Kerlian society.

Calhualyana nodded. “I fully expect that certain parties to these talks - especially certain neighbors of ours - will seek to make sure that Xiomera is left as weak as possible in order to gain advantage for themselves. Others will seek to force Xiomera into changes that our people do not want, and that our nation does not desire. We have already given up half of our Empire because of those ideas by others. I will not cede any more of Xiomera to them. Not in land, nor in our social and cultural order. Not one inch,” the Empress said firmly, before softening her tone. “I do appreciate the advice, though, especially since you’ve already gone through what Xiomera is about to face. I hope that we can rely on each other to deal with such challenges.”

"Kerlile's official aim in these talks is to establish peace, that is agreed by all those who are attending as part of our delegation. I can assure you, though, that the Kerlian troops stationed in Huenya will be withdrawn regardless of the outcome. To put it bluntly, Xochiuhue presented a clear threat to the Matriarchy; you do not," Pierre said. Calhualyana's gender had, naturally, played a large part in Kerlile's decision making process on this matter.

"We will oppose any attempts by other parties, regardless of if they are officially allied with Kerlile or not, to interfere with the sovereign jurisdiction of any country involved in the talks," added Pauline, choosing her phrasing carefully - after all, Kerlile couldn't outright oppose any and all TRCs now and forever. It did occur to Pierre that she was telling Calhualyana far, far more than the rest of the Council would approve of. But what they don't know can't hurt them.

”I am very glad to hear that.” Calhualyana was pleased that the discussion was going better than she had anticipated. “It does sound like we are much in agreement on what the goals for the peace talks should be. I should contact the Council more formally at some point to discuss all this, but I am glad that I was able to speak with you first. And to help your daughter return home, of course.”

"The rest of the Council may not share my priorities," Pierre warned. "Georgiou is a staunch Yauhmi supporter because of their shared love of reform; and Greenwood wants an individual named Mariya Adema extradited to Kerlile - I, incidentally, would prefer that did not happen. Our own internal politics are... complex."

”Politics are always complex, especially internal ones. We Xiomerans have been living that fact firsthand this year,” Calhualyana said with a slight laugh. “But I will do my best to navigate the differing opinions on the Council. I appreciate the heads-up. As for Mariya......I can promise you she will not be extradited. She is actually working for me now, and I promise to keep her safe from those seeking to punish her. In fact, if you would like to speak to Mariya, privately, I can always arrange that.”

"Mariya has my number; she is welcome to call. Beware of Councillor Greenwood, Empress. She is no reformist, but she seems to have a personal grudge against you. Let me reassure you, however, that Kerlile has no desire to remove you," Pierre placed great emphasis on the word, "from the Obsidian Throne. Also, I would like Olivia returned to Kerlile as soon as possible."

”I will arrange for her to return tomorrow then, as I believe it is rather late where you are,” Calhualyana replied, while making careful notes of everything Pierre was telling her about the Council for her future study. “She will arrive back in Kerlile tomorrow morning your time.”

"Yes, it's late here. Thank you for returning her, and be careful in these talks," Pierre cautioned. She was smiling secretly to herself. It suited her, and the Matriarchy, if the partition of Xiomera became permanent. Having connections with both Yauhmi and Calhualyana would benefit Kerlile long-term, so Pierre decided to consider this call an opportunity.

”I shall be careful, but I always am. Thank you for the advice and the information, and hopefully we will speak again soon. Have a good night, Councillor Pierre.”

When the call ended, Calhualyana turned to Olivia. “I will see to it that your things are prepared for your return home. You’ll be taken to the airport in a few hours to be flown back to Kerlile. For what it’s worth, I am sorry for all this.”

Olivia, who was sitting twirling her fingers and trying to breathe deeply, attempted to awkwardly smile. "At least I'm not dead somewhere in Lauchenoiria," she cringed at her bad joke. "Sorry."

Calhualyana smiled at the bad attempt at humor. “That is true, actually. We’re still trying to figure out who in Lauchenoiria was detaining you and why. Their motives seemed obvious on the surface, but I have learned not to trust obvious motives,” Calhualyana said while tapping her pen as if in thought. “Well. We can help your government try to figure out that mystery. In the meantime, you are welcome to either return to your room or enjoy the Palace and the city before you return home.”

Olivia nodded in thanks. She wondered what ulterior motives her own mother had during that conversation, Pauline rarely revealed information without some. Olivia considered warning Calhualyana; but decided the Empress could figure that out for herself. Olivia had her own problems to deal with, namely: what exactly would her mother's reaction to all this be once they were in the same room?

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

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:41 pm

“We have confirmation that the group occupying the Butterfly Island government offices are part of the subgroup Warriors of Our Earth. How would you like to proceed, Prime Minister?”

The question was asked so calmly, but Josephine Alvarez knew that much depended on her answer. If she ordered the assault, and classified the Warriors as a terrorist organisation (one could not do one without the other, under existing Lauchenoirian law) then there would be accusations of attacks on free speech; of suppressing dissent. If she allowed them to broadcast their messages to the world, it would threaten the peace and stability of Lauchenoiria that they’d tried so, so hard to ensure.

“Prime Minister?”

“I…” Alvarez didn’t know what to do. It was one of these moments when a decision must be made, where two roads diverge completely and there is no turning back.

“Ma’am? I found the images you were looking for,” a woman poked her head around the door, waving a red folder. The Prime Minister hurried over to the woman, taking the folder and flicking through the photographs inside. It had taken much work to get these from Xiomera; images of what had happened on Manauia Island. Sandra Pavia, who was seated next to Alvarez, took some of the pictures and flicked through them.

“These are bad, Josephine,” she said, holding up an image of the aftermath of an explosion to the Prime Minister. “We have to go through with it; they’re terrorists, and there’s only so long our people can keep blocking the transmissions from the building and claiming they found asbestos and evacuated it.”

“I don’t know, Sandra,” Alvarez groaned, turning away from the images. “If we do this now, it will act like we’re just copying Shuell and Xiomera - autocratic regimes.”

“They attacked us; we’re acting in response to evidence.”

“It’ll come out that we’ve been covering this up for a week.”

“For reasons of national security. We couldn’t act against them as we feared for the safety of possible minors involved. I mean, have you seen the images? One of those kids looks about fourteen. If it had been broadcast, it could have led to vigilante actions and endangered the local population.”

Alvarez closed her eyes, groaning and thinking over her options. It was true; they were being classified as terrorists by authoritarian governments but she wasn’t going to go as far as them, if she did this. It was a risk; but a bigger risk was allowing the group holed up inside the building to continue as they were and risk peace. She turned to the General.

“I’m going to make the announcement. Begin preparing for an assault on the building.”

*

Seahaven, Butterfly Island
One hour later

Anca had just turned eighteen. She’d joined WOE after meeting one of their members at a school climate protest. It had irritated Anca immensely that she’d had to sit through the war in the heartlands of Chaher territory doing nothing. But every time she’d gone to people involved in the war she’d been told she was too young. Now, she was extremely grateful to all those who had told her that: Anca knew she wouldn’t have coped in a war.

She played the video again on her phone. Alvarez didn’t look happy to be delivering the news, there was a grimness to her expression, yet the words were clear. In light of these events, we have no choice but to classify the Warriors of Our Earth as a terrorist organisation. In the eyes of the law, Anca was now a terrorist.

This hadn’t been the plan. She had only recently got involved with the Warriors, when they were planning this occupation. Now she was locked inside a building surrounded on all sides by Lauchenoirian special forces and she knew that when they left or were dragged out, she’d be arrested and sent to prison. Arrest she’d been prepared for, but they’d all anticipated fines; now they were looking at potentially years of imprisonment.

Anca abruptly stood up from the staircase on which she was seated and glanced around her, then hurried down a corridor until she came to a supply cupboard, opened the door and went inside, barricading the door behind her so none of the others would come inside. Then, she sat down in the corner and began to weep, sobbing in fear of what would happen and regretting the life choices which brought her to where she was.

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

Post by Xiomera » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:29 pm

Jointly written with Lauchenoiria

November 27th

The cell in the Cauhloc was not, as one might have expected, some creepy dungeon. ASI was far too modern for that. Instead, the cell was almost hospital-like in its appearance: bland gray walls and floors, textured to be easily cleaned. A small cot, a basic bathroom facility, and a light in the ceiling that could not be shut off from inside. Xochiuhue, the former Emperor of Xiomera, did not like the room. He had spent his time there pacing, raging, and plotting revenge.

The lead Xiomeran interrogator had smugly informed him that he would be going on trial soon. Xochiuhue was finding his options for physical revenge growing very limited. But he could still blow up Calhualyana’s world, with the revenge of revealing everything he knew. Knowledge that, if the world heard it, would destroy her.

The former Emperor was amusing himself with these thoughts when the door opened.

"Good evening, Xochiuhue," smirked Mariya Adema. "Empress Calhualyana asked me to pay you a visit. We have some things to... discuss."

Xochiuhue raised an eyebrow. “What could I possibly discuss with a mere servant of that witch? Go away.”

"You will regret addressing me in that manner," Mariya said, her face shifting into a stone cold expression as she examined the former Emperor. "I am no mere servant, and I am here to make sure your final days are as miserable as possible, male."

Her last remark referencing his gender had been automatic, a slip of the tongue from someone used to working in Kerlile. But she figured it couldn't hurt; let him know she is a Kerlian. Kerlile did have a certain reputation.

“Even Calhualyana was my servant. Don’t expect me to be impressed with you, whoever you are,” Xochiuhue replied tartly. “I am of an Imperial lineage, and once ruled this country. You’re the sort of person who dances to the beat people like me play, nothing more. Especially since you’re just a foreigner here.”

"You're not the first former ruler of this country I have worked on," Mariya snorted. "Yauhmi fears me, and by the time we're finished, you will fear me too. But you're correct. I am not nearly as much of a threat to you as Empress Calhualyana. You are about to discover the meaning of pain, and of fear. Things to which nobody is immune in the end."

“I do not fear anything. I am an Emperor, do you get that, girl?” Xochiuhue laughed, his laughter tinged with slight madness. “As for pain, I have caused enough of it in my life to be intimately familiar with it. I doubt there is anything more you can teach me on the subject.”

"You were an Emperor," Mariya corrected. "Now you're a prisoner. And only fools think they have no weaknesses."

“The greater fool is the one who follows a betrayer with no loyalty to anything but themselves,” Xochiuhue retorted. “You’re the bigger fool than I am, child. Continue to follow Calhualyana if you wish - she will betray you, too, in the end. Or, you could release me, and be rewarded once I regain the throne. You’re either naive or gullible if you trust Calhualyana.”

Mariya snorted with laughter. "Even if I wanted to release you, you would kill me immediately. You have a reputation for killing. And not much else, it seems. Xochiuhue, the mad deposed Emperor who can do nothing but murder, murder, murder..."

Xochiuhue snarled. “It is fortunate for you, then, that I am in these chains.”

"I can watch my own back, Xochiuhue, but thank you for your concern. I trust nobody," Mariya smirked again, then knocked the cell door in a distinct pattern and called through the door: "Bring me the bucket and the... hmm... whip? No, the pointy stick. Oh, and the blindfold. And maybe a snack, this is going to be hard work."

“It’s going to be harder than you think. You boast about how you ‘worked on’ Yauhmi prior to me - but you didn’t break her, did you?” Xochiuhue laughed. “No, Yauhmi is off in Chuaztlapoc now, laughing at you. And she was a feeble old woman compared to me. I am of a long and proud Imperial line. I do not intend to make this easy for you. So if you couldn’t even break one old woman with one foot in the grave....good luck with me.”

Mariya suddenly drew a knife and leapt forward, pressing it to Xochiuhue's throat in a rage. "I was instructed to make Yauhmi's torture slow and painful, she escaped before I'd got to the good bits. You will not escape."

“I’m sure you told Yauhmi the same thing. It would be rather amusing if you had two former rulers escape on you,” Xochiuhue said, seemingly undisturbed by the knife at his throat. “At any rate, it’s not like I’m going anywhere right this second, so I’ll play along. Is there a point to this exercise, or are you just amusing yourself? You said the witch wanted to discuss something.”

"If she was a witch I'm sure she'd have turned you into something ugly by now. A toad, or a male spider," Mariya mused, but put away her knife and stepped back towards the door. "Hurry up with that bucket!"

"Now, where were we? Ah yes, I'm here to tell you that you are going to take responsibility for everything bad that happened during your reign at your trial and you will not mention Calhualyana's role in any of these things. I am also here to demonstrate what will happen to you in your final days if you do not do this."

Xochiuhue looked at Mariya with disdain. “Telling the world what Calhualyana did is the only revenge I have left. You may as well kill me if you think I’ll give that chance up.”

"Death will come as a mercy when it finally comes to you," Mariya said casually, as her assistants arrived with the requested equipment. She took the stick and checked its point was sufficiently sharp, and that the bucket of water was sufficiently freezing. Then she turned back to Xochiuhue. "Now we begin for real."

Xochiuhue looked at the bucket of water. His eyes widened.

His mind snapped back decades into the past. He was instantly transported to when he was four years old. Lake Ehehuani, just outside the capital. The water rushing over his head, as he tried futilely to move his arms and legs. One of his bodyguards finally pulling him out of the water. Floundering and gasping for breath on the beach, as his father Xolōtl shouted at the bodyguards and promised dire retribution for nearly letting the son of an Emperor drown. Ever since that day, Xochiuhue had feared and avoided the water.

Xochiuhue was immediately carried back to that moment on the shoreline by the sight of the bucket full of cold water. He knew, now, what Mariya had planned.

And he was scared.

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

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:44 am

Western Zapotlán, Huenyan-controlled Territory
December 7th, 7:24 PM

The uniformed man stood stock-still, watching battalions of soldiers unload from transport after transport. The dark green Eirian Army uniforms blended together in the fading evening light, making medals and insignias glow silver. The soldiers all stood taller when they passed the man, moderating their appearances under his gaze.

The soldiers not only feared the uniformed man's insignia, which bore five silver stars, but they feared the deep purple hue of his uniform, showing that the man is a member of the famed Lunar Guard. Those two factors are enough to have any Eirian soldier looking over their shoulder, terrified of being called out by the formidable Lunar Guard General.

The General found it incredibly amusing, the way they were so terrified of him. It reminded him of the days he was a trainee, when he himself answered and feared his commanders. He couldn't exactly blame the soldiers for being so jumpy. Being overseen by a Guard General for the first time after getting used to your average squad commander is a bit of a shock, especially when being deployed.

Major Drew Casten, the General's right hand, stood beside him, watching a squad carry in supplies. "Well, we certainly pulled this off abnormally quickly. I'm surprised the cowards in the Senate had the audacity to deploy us this close to Angelí. Don't want to lose the canal for the Old Huenyan hag?".

The General chuckled lightly. "True, though it probably isn't proper to say such things about our allies as we stand in their country, among their soldiers. Though I do regret being deployed this close to the holidays." He nodded at an army lieutenant who saluted him as he passed. "I can see why they did though. We can't lose the Canal, and Zapotlán does pose an extreme strategic advantage."

"Regardless, it is a bit of a pain. At least, for the soldiers. It's a logistical nightmare as well. I sure as hell hope it's worth it."

"Oh, Drew, how long have you known me? My entire job is pulling off logistical miracles. That's the whole job, you know. The role of General Hermes isn't given to someone who can't handle the job."

A soldier approached the pair and stood in a salute. "Basic preparations are ready, sir. Supplies are unloaded and being distributed as we speak."

"Excellent." He clasped his hands together, startling a couple soldiers nearby. "Keep making preparations. We advance at dawn. Let's show those Xiomerans a good neighborly hello, shall we?".

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

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:27 pm

It had been two and a half weeks since Olivia Pierre returned to Kerlile, and it had been two and a half weeks since Councillor Pauline Pierre had last visited the Council chamber. She had failed to appear at every session held in the interim, sending her second daughter Eva as a proxy where law allowed. There was speculation that the Councillor was ill, or even that she was dead and her death being covered up. Kerlile wanted answers, and they were about to get them. They just weren’t the answers anyone expected.

*

Council Chamber, Grapevale, Kerlile
8th December 2020

The door opened halfway through Councillor Hart’s speech about the merits of religious involvement in government and an attempt to establish a Secadualist Committee to advise the Council. Pauline Pierre slipped inside and took her seat. The assembled Councillors froze, shocked by her presence. Pierre gestured for them to continue.

“… and the Committee would be able to advise on spiritual matters primarily, however…” Hart stopped, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, Councillors, I think we should pause this discussion to hear from Pierre. She looks…”

They all knew what Hart meant. Pierre looked thin, and she wore no make-up; her eyes appeared puffy from crying. Instead of her normal fashion style, described once by Jennifer Hale as ‘faux feminist feudalism’, she wore an outfit which leaned more towards the casual side of ‘smart-casual’. Nobody said anything, they just looked at Pierre, the permission to take the floor implicit in their shocked expressions.

Councillor Pierre stood up, looking around at her gathered peers. “Councillors, I… this is not easy for me to say. But I have been… I have been wrong about so many things in my life, and looking back I am horrified at myself. My daughter spent months as a prisoner, first in Lauchenoiria and then Xiomera. In Lauchenoiria she was mistreated and tortured because of what I did to her. I chased her out of this country because she could see what I could not.”

“We must change, Councillors,” Pierre continued, sniffing slightly and wiping away a tear. “We cannot continue upholding a system in which our own daughters, our own families, are chased from this country by our policies. I have pushed against the reform that so many of you have begun to support, but I’ve been wrong. I thought we had to protect our ideology but we aren’t protecting women, we’re destroying them.”

“History has shown – our own foundation was the result of men who refused to change. Nations that refuse to change, to progress, become stagnant, and stagnancy leads to destruction. Look at what’s left of Xiomera! They needed change, and those that refused to change have lost half their territory. We cannot become stagnant. We need to adapt to modern times and we need to acknowledge that we have made mistakes in our quest for women’s liberation.”

“Our families end up divided. We have splits, people sometimes flee the country, and there are plots and whatnot against our own blood. But we are the Council of Kerlile! Our ancestors did something remarkable. They gave their time, their money and all their efforts to creating a land where women were free from the discrimination of those times. In our founding documents, we were created to be a body that safeguards that mission. Not one that controls it. And have we been safeguarding that? I don’t think we have.”

“What is necessary, changes with the times. In order to ensure we fight for women’s liberation we should have been considering how things are changing and consistently striving to be better, rather than falling into the patterns of preserving what we have at all costs. I have been guilty of this my whole life – I thought defending the Kerlian status quo was defending the women’s revolution, but I was wrong.”

“That is why I have brought this legislation before you today,” Pierre took ten copies of a document out of her bag and handed them around to the Councillors. “The Education and Upbringing of Daughters of the Council (Amendment) Bill. This proposed legislation will permit Councillors and our direct relatives to keep and care for sons. It will also permit fathers to play a part in the raising of our daughters, and for us to marry.

“I know that I, of all people, bringing this forward will come as a massive surprise to, frankly, all of you. But that’s why I’m doing this. We can’t keep up a situation where we need to give up our own family members. I know the majority of you support this, and I want you to know that I am with you now. I know we need to change. We can’t keep up this constant infighting, plotting, this hatred of each other. Carmen, Councillor Robinson, I am so sorry for all my family has done to yours.”

“We are the Council of Kerlile, and we shouldn’t be fighting. We should be united. We should be working together to determine what is best for the people of Kerlile. We should be safeguarding the cause of women’s liberation and working with those who share our goals rather than being hostile to anyone who isn’t Kerlian.”

“I hate that it took me so long to work this out. And to Olivia, I am so, so deeply sorry for all I have done to you. You did not deserve any of this. I can’t ever make it right, but I will never let such things happen to any of our own again. We have become corrupt. Our quest for power has turned us from our own cause. We are not what our ancestors set out to be, we are not what we are meant to be and we need to change. We need to change.”

“This should be a space to discuss what we need to do to make sure women are supported in this world. We shouldn’t be undermining and fighting people. We should have discussions and then go to the world united. We shouldn’t be seeking ultimate power. We should be seeking information, to give advice, to make sure that the gender roles of the 1920s are gone for good. That is our purpose.

So, I will work with all of you. I will never hurt any of you again, I will never condone torture or abuse, and we need to work out some system of reparations for the people we have wronged. We must change now. And – you’re going to think I’ve gone mad – that’s why I also support Councillor Hale’s Democracy Bill, though I’ve a few amendment proposals. But in principle… we can’t concentrate power in our own hands, for that is how we become cruel and corrupt. That is how we stray from our given purpose.”

“We change today. And we send a message to the world that we have changed. Maybe this time, with us united behind it, and giving up our power, they will believe us.”

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

Post by Xiomera » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:17 am

December 8th
6:00 am
Zapotlán


The sudden surge into Zapotlán by the Imperial military, spearheaded by the Iskirami and the new elite Xiomeran forces, had successfully rocked the Huenyans and their allies. Within a few short days, they had been pushed back hard, losing almost all the territory they had gained. They had not only lost control over the Intra-Xiomera Canal, but had also lost all but the outskirts of western Zapotlán as well. Empress Calhualyana's goal was a simple one: push the Huenyans and their allies back into the Tepiltzin region, or into the sea. The Empress wasn't particularly concerned which one the enemy ended up in, as long as they were out of what the Xiomerans considered their historic and rightful land.

And the Xiomeran surge had almost accomplished that.

Almost.

The Xiomeran Empire had challenged the fledgling Huenyan Federation, and its allies. On the 8th of December, the Huenyans and their allies answered the challenge.

---

In an attempt to halt the Xiomeran surge, the allies of Huenya had sent in reinforcements. 7500 Eirian troops and 2500 Legionite troops had come ashore, in the small pocket of shoreline that was still controlled by the allies. The additional 10,000 troops would help to bolster allied lines, break the shock that the Xiomeran surge had caused, and begin the road to a counter-attack.

But that wouldn't be enough to stop Calhualyana's attack alone. When General Cuauh'ez had warned the allies that the Empress had sent a force that was nearly-unstoppable, it was not hyperbole. The Warriors of Huītzilōpōchtli and the Warriors of Tezcatlipōca, the new elite armies of the Xiomeran Empire, had indeed been unstoppable in their assault. In Chuaztlapoc, Yauhmi and the Huenyan Assembly made a fateful decision. Their allies had sent more, and given more, to stop Calhualyana and save their fledgling state. It was time for the Huenyans to do the same - to throw everything they had left at the Imperial armies and end their dance at Zapotlán with Calhualyana once and for all. If their allies were willing to sacrifice for the dream of a free and democratic Huenya, the Huenyans themselves were not about to be found wanting.

General Tlanexchel, promoted and made Defense Secretary on the Huenyan side, gathered every single Jaguar Warrior, Eagle Warrior, and Shorn One that was available. All of the best equipment and supplies available on the Huenyan side were given to that army of the 25,000 best soldiers Huenya had. And then, Tlanexchel deployed his elite army with a single command: kick Calhualyana's wannabe elites, their intended replacements, back across the Canal with so much force that their grandchildren would feel the bruises.

---

On the streets of Zapotlán, alongside the Eirians, the Legionites, the Kerlians and the Huenyan forces that were already in the city, the Jaguar Warriors, Eagle Warriors and Shorn Ones brought the enemy to battle. Calling it a "battle" was not enough to do it justice. In all of Huenya, throughout its six-plus centuries of history, this would be the battle.

The shattered buildings and rubble-filled streets of Zapotlán bore witness to the clash of the ancient, and the new. The ancient and the new, in the form of armies, as the Jaguar and Eagle Warriors and the Shorn Ones met the Warriors of Huītzilōpōchtli and the Warriors of Tezcatlipōca head-on in a merciless and no-holds-barred clash for land and for victory. One set of warriors was out to prove themselves, as the equals to, and replacement of, those that they considered traitors to the Xiomeran Empire. The other set was out for revenge - for the loss of their comrades at the Palace of Flowers when the coup began, for the betrayal they had suffered at the hands of Xochiuhue, General Xōchhuitl and Calhualyana. They also fully intended to prove to their supposed replacements that no one could replace a Jaguar Warrior, an Eagle Warrior or a Shorn One.

But these causes and grievances, deep as they ran, were not the only thing being fought for on the streets of Zapotlán. This city was the dividing line between the western and eastern halves of Huenya - and between their peoples, who had grown further and further apart even before the coup began. It was the line between the past and the future, and between a vision of Empire that had spanned 600 years and another vision that wanted nothing to do with it.

At Zapotlán, one side was seeking to reinforce the order they had always understood and believed in - and the other side was determined to show them that order was dead to them.

---

In his command center in western Zapotlán, General Tlanexchel grimly issued commands and watched his viewscreens as the battle progressed. The fighting was easily proving to be the bloodiest and harshest that had been seen in the entire civil war. The medical wards on the Huenyan side were already filling up with casualties, stretching them to the limits.

"This is bad, sir. I'm not sure how much longer our forces can hold up to this," Quiauhxochitli, his second in command, said as she brought him the latest reports. Tlanexchel took a quick drink of his coffee before taking the reports. "As long as we hold up just longer than the bastards on the other side, that's all we need to do," he replied.

---

On the other side of the lines, in his own command center, General Zinahue shook his head and looked at Yaopochatl, the commander of the new Xiomeran special forces at Zapotlán. "We need to break their line somehow. How in the hell are they mustering up such a strong assault?"

"They are elite forces, just as we are," Yaopochatl said, doing his best not to look at Zinahue as if he was an idiot.

"But their side should be broken! We pulled out all of the equipment from the west, we pulled out all their money, even their allies can't be giving them enough supplies to fight!" General Zinahue looked at his screens with exasperation. Despite the overwhelming advantage in resources and equipment the Xiomerans had over the Huenyan side, the evidence was clear that the Xiomeran forces were slowly beginning to lose ground again.

Yaopochatl couldn't keep the disdainful look entirely off of his face at this point. A former Jaguar Warrior who had switched sides after the coup, he understood the mentality of an elite warrior well. "Money doesn't fight wars, nor do inanimate objects, General. Not by themselves. Belief fights wars. Passion, ideals, a cause to fight for. They believe in what they are fighting for just as much as we do, it appears. You can take away all the technology and the equipment and the money, and in the end, if you haven't broken a warrior's cause...you will still lose."

Before Zinahue could say anything else, Yaopochatl shook his head. "With all due respect, General, you can't help me win this fight. Let me do my job, and go out there and see if there's some way to turn this around." Yaopochatl walked out of the command center, leaving a furious General Zinahue behind.

---

Noon

After six hours of fighting, the counter-attack by the Huenyans and their allies had managed to force its way back into the center of Zapotlán. The casualty counts on both sides were continuing to skyrocket, but Tlanexchel was undeterred. "We've got them back on their heels. Keep attacking!" he ordered, looking at the many screens in front of him with an almost predatory expression.

At his own command center, General Zinahue had a much grimmer expression as he glared at his own screens. "If they're able to advance much farther, they'll have us pinned back against the Canal," he said. "What the hell is Yaopochatl doing?"

Yaopochatl, despite the General's belief, wasn't being idle. In a different part of the Xiomeran command center, he was conferring with his field commanders via video. "Begin falling back, slowly, towards the Canal. Make it look convincing. The Empress has a surprise prepared for the enemy," he said calmly.

---

4 pm

After an additional four hours of fighting, the allied counter-attack had managed to push the Xiomeran forces back to the Canal and eastern Zapotlán. Tlanexchel was beginning to see victory in his grasp. "Keep pushing. I want our forces to cross the Canal and regain control of eastern Zapotlán by the end of the day."

Having slowly but persistently succeeded in pushing the Imperial forces back, the allied forces were confident that they could execute that order. But Calhualyana did indeed have a surprise waiting.

As the allied forces reached the Canal, and saw the Imperial forces retreating, they surged forward in a bid to keep them retreating and gain control of the other side of the Canal as well. But as the allied forces began their advance, they found themselves suddenly facing a reinvigorated Xiomeran assault. Calhualyana had ordered General Zinahue to keep a substantial force in reserve, to strike back at the allied forces when they were exhausted from their assault.

In conjunction with the surge in reserve Xiomeran forces, Calhualyana had ordered the Imperial Air Force to be ready to strike en masse. A wave of tactical bombers and fighter-bombers, escorted by fighters, began blasting the allied advance. Faced with yet another Xiomeran surge, the allied advance began to struggle and falter.

Back at his headquarters, Tlanexchel sent an urgent message to the Huenyan command in Chuaztlapoc. Texōccoatl received the message, and calmly issued orders of his own. Calhualyana wasn't the only one who had a surprise planned in the event of an emergency.

When western Huenya had slipped out of the control of the Xiomeran Empire, the retreating Imperial forces did their best to take their weapons and equipment with them, to deprive the enemy of their use. But not everything had escaped the grasp of the Huenyans.

Among other things, since its defacto independence, Huenya had gained control of a significant portion of the Xiomeran military's missile capabilities. This ranged from mobile units capable of being used on the battlefield all the way to silo-based missiles. Tlanexchel ordered the allied forces back out of harm's way, and then Texōccoatl began letting those missiles fly. The would-be counterattack by the Imperial military found itself facing a line drawn in the sand at the Canal - a line drawn by missiles perfectly capable of decimating entire battalions.

---

6 pm

With night dawning, making combat more challenging, and with both sides exhausted and having laid down their respective lines, both sides had a decision to make.

Back in Tlālacuetztla, Empress Calhualyana received the message about the wall of missiles that was decimating her attack with a grimace. Staring at the walls of the Throne Room, her voice finally echoed in a grating hiss of displeasure. "Cease fire and halt the advance," she finally said via video to General Zinahue, who was quite glad to be on a battlefield rather than facing the Empress at that particular moment. "Make no further movements unless they try to cross the Canal to the side we control."

In Zapotlán, Tlanexchel was also not content - the Huenyan Assembly had decided to halt their attack as well, much to his displeasure. "We can push them back for good if we keep advancing!" he argued, but Yauhmi, on the other end of the video call, was unmoved. "The casualties are already very high, and will grow even worse if we keep pushing. I don't know if we can keep this up, and I also doubt that our allies are willing to just keep pitching people into a meat grinder. If Calhualyana has stopped her attack, and we retain control of Zapotlán and at least part of the Canal Zone, we can negotiate at Jinyu for a final resolution. This is the best we can do right now, and we're frankly damned lucky to have emerged with even this much of a victory. You have your orders, General. Cease fire - for now."

With a nod, Tlanexchel ended the call and issued the order to cease fire. If you think this is going to be a temporary cease-fire, you're wrong, he thought. The only thing that those talks in Jinyu will decide is how long this stalemate drags on for, and I doubt it's going to end any time soon.

As night dawned on Zapotlán, the land of Huenya ended the day as it began the day - divided, and facing a split and uncertain future.

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