WA Delegate (non-executive): The Terran Covenant of Teutionia (elected )
Founder: The Terran Covenant of Teutionia
Last WA Update:
Embassies: The Erviadus Galaxy, The Bar on the corner of every region, Pax Britannia, International Debating Area, Commonwealth of Liberty, Portugal, Solar Alliance, The Great Universe, The Vast, Argo Navis, Greater Middle East, The Western Colonies, and Independence Hill.
Tags: F7er, FT: FTL, Fantasy Tech, Featured, Future Tech, Magical, Map, Medium, Multi-Species, Offsite Chat, Offsite Forums, Outer Space, and 7 others.Regional Government, Role Player, Serious, Silly, Snarky, Social, and Video Game.
Regional Power: Moderate
Today's World Census Report
The Largest Furniture Restoration Industry in The Universal Order of Nations
World Census analysts spend quiet weekends in the countryside in order to determine which nations have the largest Furniture Restoration industries.
As a region, The Universal Order of Nations is ranked 636th in the world for Largest Furniture Restoration Industry.
|1.||The Zephyri Province of Isauria of Achaian Peloponnese||Compulsory Consumerist State||“Survive and Remember”|
|2.||The Merchant Confederacy of Titananium||Psychotic Dictatorship||“Gold in peace, weapons in war”|
|3.||The Terran Covenant of Teutionia||Father Knows Best State||“Actions, Not Words”|
|4.||The Interstellar Empire of UnitedProvinceofRepublica||Mother Knows Best State||“Non ducor, duco”|
|5.||The Einheitsreich of 21 Tribes||Father Knows Best State||“Unified under One Banner, One Reich, One Emperor”|
|6.||The Jalisquillan PR of The Prussian Raumreich||Corrupt Dictatorship||“For the benefit of all who live.”|
|7.||The Al'terran Union State of Eucadian Federation||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Unitum Diversitate et Fortius ut”|
|8.||The Republic of Zeikeutsyr||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Oikeutsi tany khere kheregtse.”|
|9.||The Empire of the New Sun of The United Lands of Ash||Father Knows Best State||“Through Fire and Brimstone, Ash shall Remain”|
|10.||The Eratius Conglomerate of The Ebony Republic||Iron Fist Consumerists||“Empowering, Aiding and Creating”|
- : Tharak ceased to exist.
- : The Allied States of -ThanksTo Them arrived from The Rejected Realms.
- : The Federation of Borin departed this region for Europe.
- : The Federation of Borin arrived from Free Market Federation.
- : The Al'terran Union State of Derflekktagen arrived from Balder.
- : The Al'terran Union State of Eucadian Federation arrived from Balder.
- : The Dictatorship of Sverinovo arrived from Lazarus.
- : The Merchant Confederacy of Titananium arrived from Balder.
- : The Al'terran Union State of Eucadian Federation ceased to exist.
- : The Republic of Quezonialez arrived from 10000 Islands.
The Universal Order of Nations Regional Message Board
FROM THE DESK OF THE LEGATE-ADMIRAL:
To the August Senators of the Atsumaru, and likewise to the Honored Senators of the Diet of Isauria; and furthermore to the hands and heart of Ban Rosane, Honored Governor of this Province of Isauria and also of Transisesen: Hail and Greetings from Noverra Redeemed!
This planet, origin and harbinger of our shared destinies, is once again free. Gorvikians trouble its people no longer; its surface, marred by their long occupation, shall soon flourish under our mutual care. Already atmospheric cleaning is underway at Rucigrad, and the brave Isaurian warriors that so lately hammered punishment upon the heads of our enemies now guide the world of their ancestors into a period of glorious rebirth.
I promised all of you victory. And so I have brought victory to your hands.
I beg you to forgive the brevity of this missive. Here upon the surface of Noverra, there remains so much more to do.
In faithful service to the Celestial Emperor—may he live ten thousand years—I remain:
Admiral, Thirteenth Daimyokantai
Legate of the Atsumaru to the Province of Isauria
From orbit, centuries-old scars upon the surface of Noverra appeared no less agonizing or destructive than those that had been scraped upon the planet’s face within the last year of fighting. Captain Xianna So Scipiones frowned as she contemplated the old blast zones of Orteio, where the Lords Loria once incinerated uncounted throngs of Gorvikians amidst the millions of tortured Cielotes that had once held their noses in the presence of Gaivarvaran lord-generals and, at the last, begged the nobles of Isauria to save them from a fate worse than annihilation. When she compared the evidence of Orteio’s destruction to the blast zones of Cape Devinaria, dug into Cielote soil from the Thirteenth Daimyokantai four months ago as an expeditionary Gorvikian army revealed itself to orbital targeting while endeavoring to invade Glys over the sea in force, the captain could see a difference merely of scale: Orteio, the capital of Cielo, the last commercial and political hub of the Western Hemisphere, the crown and throne of five kingdoms even before the entanglement of the Grand Union, had been by necessity a massive city that had sustained hours of continuous bombardment before the Void Fleet had been satisfied that the Gorvikians assaulting it were dead to the last man; the isolated expeditionary force in Cape Devinaria had been annihilated with a single warhead. What struck Captain Scipiones most clearly, however, was that the rubble of Orteio seemed… fresh, perhaps—rather, that the visible evidence of the city’s destruction had not been eroded or softened by the passage of three and a half centuries, but remained as stark and brutal to the naked eye as the crater dug up mere months before. Time for Orteio had stood still.
Time for Noverra had stood still, in almost every place. Nothing progressed, nothing grew, and nothing aged on a world that had been all but dead for three hundred years.
Captain Scipiones turned her attention away from the visuals of the world below her to focus on atmospheric reports flashing across the main viewscreen of the Reclamation War’s bridge. Death in Gorvikia, at least, was finally giving way to life: The terraformers set up in Rucigrad Landing had begun their work, and had already accomplished a measurable reduction in particulate density in the immediate vicinity of Gorvikia’s former capital. The island itself remained barren glass for now, and the captain shared the doubts of many observers who wondered why such important resources were being wasted on a country that would not see its first harvest until long after every currently-living Isaurian was dead and gone. But Rucigrad, and the rebuilt ‘Fort’ Pseros settlement at the southern tip of Gorvikia, were symbols now, serving as statements of Legate Aurus Adeni’s power over the nature and the very history of Noverra: “I did what no Isaurian could do.” Already the Isaurian Diet had voted to memorialize the date of the Rucigrad drop operation as a national holiday, while tales of the battles to defend that place and Fort Pseros from the Gorvikian counterattack sped from mouth to ear and book to hologram as quickly as Adeni’s propagandists could manage, outpacing real news by weeks if not months in order to bring Evvia the ‘true story of the war’ in as much glorious, nationalistic detail as could be managed.
At least no one would remember Sarnath, at least until Adeni was no longer living to care about it.
Veteran Isaurians would remember Azarel and Tsoulio, however, and the Vergni Guard would remember Kircheburg with a mixture of pride and fury. Evvia would celebrate the rescue of Tsoulio easily, if its people cared to remember more of the war than just the ‘fall’ of Rucigrad, but knowledge of the true horrors of Azarel remained a dagger aimed at Legate Adeni’s throat, poised to strike him dead in the hearts of Isaurian and Zephyri alike should his handling of this war be revealed. The ruins remained garrisoned as they had been before, this time with fully-equipped divisions that had been produced, very literally in most cases, with the express purpose of holding the bloodiest battleground in Isaurian history, and maintaining its secrecy without question or complaint. When the inevitable leak came, it would surely not come from the soldiers posted there now, but rather those that had fought and bled and had watched their friends and family die there in the months and years before.
It remained a matter of concern just how Legate Adeni would manage to silence the thousands of surviving soldiers that had held the line at Azarel and had marched to secure Isaurian victory amidst the ruins of Pernigov. In the short term, clean-up operations would occupy the soldiers’ time, and even after the end of those deployments, Adeni could conceivably simply leave his troops on Noverra indefinitely and refuse to bring them back to Evvia. But that would be a poor solution in the long term, not least because it discounted existing communications methods between Evvia and Old Isauria, and the likelihood that the Vergni Guard was aware of at least some of the details of the fighting across the Scalian and Northern Oceans—and could discover more at its leisure as soon as it found disgruntled veterans of the Azarel campaign who were willing to talk. More permanent solutions included eliminating the soldiers entirely, which would have been in keeping with the behavior Adeni displayed toward inconvenient veteran Isaurians at Sarnath; yet the over-long war on Noverra had demonstrated the folly of ignoring or eliminating experience in the ranks and relying instead on an army made up entirely of fresh recruits, and Scipiones had Adeni’s own word on the matter that the veterans of this war, and of Azarel in particular, were too valuable to waste without a substantial gain in return.
The veterans of Azarel would survive, and somehow their tales of horror, neglect, and mismanagement—vindictive mismanagement, as the legate had defended himself to his own circle while the bodies piled high on the front line, purposely accomplished rather than produced by true failures of command—would remain untold, at least until the generations had passed in such great numbers that the revelation would merely prompt a small curiosity, rather than another likely civil war. Let Adeni solve that puzzle at his leisure, Captain Scipiones thought to herself, turning her mind back to the planetary atmospheric reports and targeting scans that made up her mundane tasks for the day. The Thirteenth was Scipiones’s duty, and so it would remain until—or unless—the legate made good on his desperate promises to lift her to greater heights in the wake of his rising star… and, for the moment at least, Adeni’s star had yet to rise quite so high as to dispose of the rewards he had promised those who had followed him through this disastrous war.
As the last year of conflict on some other people’s soil had already taught Captain Scipiones, this was utterly typical of the man.
Legate-Admiral Aurus Adeni reclined on a fine bed in the bedroom suite of the stateliest hotel in Sardavar, situated in the historic center of the wealthiest and most populous city on Evvia within sight of the absurd monument that he himself had raised in his efforts to win over its people, and sighed. He had had a busy day: bathing in the adulation of the city’s populace in a parade that would doubtlessly be the closest either he or his picked escort of soldiers would ever come to a true Zephyri triumph, receiving the solemn congratulations of the Isaurian Diet once the parade had concluded at Signature Square, presenting a speech before the assembled senators of Isauria in their assembly hall to still more applause and exhortation, and finally delivering another address to the assembled people of Sardavar at the opening of a public banquet to which one in every twenty households in the city received one plate to fill with the richest and most exotic foods known to Isaurian space. Yes, it had been an exhausting day, but it was a pleasant exhaustion that had settled on the legate’s shoulders as he laid back on his bed, a random notable’s eldest daughter on his left and a well-bribed Makarian priestess on his right, and considered his next moves.
The day had been pleasant, he reflected, but overall he was not at all content.
Fighting on Noverra was still ongoing, and it was only a matter of time before the families of the soldiers sent to fight there began to wonder when their loved ones were returning home. Adeni had already begun to officially ‘reward’ his soldiers for their service by announcing the construction of colonies on Noverra’s surface that would serve as their new homes—conveniently populating many of these ‘new villages’ with soldiers whose deaths at Azarel had yet to be confirmed to the wider public, of course—but enforcing a planet-wide communications blackout on Noverra would be difficult in the long term, given the presence of Old Isauria and the established governments there, in particular the surviving religious authorities in Vergni. Not only did the Vergni Guard know more details about Azarel and Sarnath than Adeni wanted any outsider to know, but their masters in Old Isauria had the means to communicate that knowledge to Evvia without going through the fleet channels of the Thirteenth Daimyokantai; indeed, that the Isaurians of Glys hadn’t done so already was due solely to the fact that they were unaware of the deception being played on Evvia under Adeni’s direction. The legate would have to begin undermining that connectivity as quickly as possible, but he would have to be careful about it. The sack of Aglai remained embedded in the Isaurian consciousness even now, as exemplified earlier that day when the Diet clamored to rebuild the ruined city as one of Adeni’s proposed military colonies in which to settle his glorious veterans (a proposal which had happily been redirected toward Poutalia for now). Ruining another pillar of Isauria’s Noverran presence would unravel the very purpose of the war he had fought to ‘liberate’ the planet from the Gorvikians.
The old element of distrust between the overly-traditional Isaurian establishment of Noverra, as seen from the Evvian perspective, and the morally-dubious leadership of worlds that were not Noverra, as the Gaivarvaran Church had contended almost as soon as the Isaurian League was established quite literally over Noverra’s head, certainly assisted Legate Adeni’s efforts to keep matters on Noverra as secret as possible to the rest of the province. The legate could already envision a Zephyri propaganda effort filled with reminders of his, and Zeikeutsyr’s, successes on Noverra—the eradication of the Gorvikian menace, the introduction of terraforming machines that Isaurian leaders had long possessed the technology to produce themselves, and the establishment and reestablishment of communities in locations that had once been the stuff of Isaurian legend—compared with the status quo that the patricians of Old Isauria had allowed to fester during the centuries after the Reclamation, from the last orbital strike to the downfall of Keram Damara. The Diet would surely appreciate being showered with still more praise for ‘demonstrating a great improvement of local governance when compared with previous Isaurian authorities,’ which would reflect well on Evvia as a whole. The only politicians that might complain would surely be those hailing from Noverra, but… well, with the illustrious Consul’s elimination of religious figures in government during her time as Governor of Isauria, the Noverrans that had been sent to Sardavar had been weak-willed and unremarkable, and their silence had been easily bought with the promise of riches far beyond their political worth.
These were his advantages, and Adeni was once again in a race against time to utilize them before they drifted away. So he was relaxed, and even pleased by his immediate surroundings, but he was not content. He could not be content until Noverra was truly his… in perpetuity.
And if Old Isauria could not be removed, the legate thought as he reached over the shoulder of the wealthy industrialist’s daughter and picked up a snuff box—and pointedly ignored how the women next to him eyed the box with interest as he opened it for himself—then an influx of Biotians would have to be enough to box it in. Let the Gaivarvarans have their whole damn continent, so long as it meant they would be powerless everywhere else; only then would Aurus Adeni win his war.
The carved-out cavern hall, one of at least twelve that had been discovered under the surface of central Rusnya, was a massive space in all of its dimensions, but its shadowy height, length of miles, and undecipherable width failed to alleviate any feeling of claustrophobia that had followed the Isaurian soldiers into the depths of this Gorvikian-mined, Bruvalk-infested nightmare. Evenly-spaced spotlights lit up the rocky hall, set up decades if not centuries before by its intended inhabitants, which served less to illuminate and more to intimidate the invaders from above: The Isaurians’ nightvision, both natural and technological, was utterly destroyed by the white-hot lights lining the hall, which revealed one side or another of several massive machines still shuddering and groaning despite being largely unattended by the time the Isaurians had arrived to discover them. The shadows left by these machines were deep, hiding all manner of dangerous debris that had already tripped up several soldiers in moments of inattention. And there were many such moments, since those same shadows in the distance served as ample cover for Gorvikian defensive emplacements and the occasional sniper, causing a necessary amount of distraction that was often deadly in its own right. It was impossible to know just how many enemies there were, or whether or not they were being reinforced and, if so, whether their supply lines were coming up from farther into the cavern or from a side passage that had yet to be discovered or even from a hole in the ground under one of the unidentifiable machines. The constant roar of churning metal, gunshots, screams, and the occasional order being shouted on the other side of the cavern combined into a smothering blanket of the senses, stimulating the Isaurians’ claustrophobia even in the open spaces between machines, where isolated soldiers might have mere moments to experience true panic before being shot dead by some defiant Gorvikian across the way.
This carnage had become the norm over the previous two months, as Isaurian soldiers continued to delve into the catacombs that had hidden most of the Gorvikian population from civilized eyes for the last three hundred years. Blood soaked walls and floors that were clearly no strangers to bloodshed, as soldiers under fire discovered both fresh corpses and dessicated remains as a mute testament to the unspeakable horrors of Gorvikian life and death. Above it all, in every cavern and corridor, the faces of the Gorvikian gods stared down at the carnage, Rucimir chief among them but by no means the only guilty perpetrator. Carved into the rock, painted onto the machinery, woven into the occasional carpet or tapestry, the gods in whose name this culture of Noverra had terrorized and destroyed the rest of its world looked upon their creation, and looked upon the Isaurians intent on purging it to the last individual fanatic… and were, perhaps, glad of the slaughter they witnessed.
Then again, perhaps they were equally glad of the Zephyri overseers that occasionally made the perilous journey into the catacombs with their Isaurian thralls, measuring their progress for Legate Adeni’s records and reports, and fulfilling whatever duties the legate demanded of them that could not be accomplished by Isaurian hands. Surely the gods of life and death would have noticed when these overseers took their samples of the dead, Gorvikians and Isaurians alike, and prepared them for shipment to labs on the other side of Zeikeutsyr. Surely, too, when the residences were found and the nurseries broken into, the gods of Gorvikia would have seen the Zephyri cloak the smallest and most helpless children away from the eyes of the vengeful Isaurian soldiers intent on total extermination. There was no question that Gorvikian culture, in all of its forms, had to be excised in order to return stability to Noverra; any remnant of it, no matter how benign, would only inflame Isaurian hatreds and prompt a return to violence. But Cheng I Sen had not simply ignored matters in her erstwhile province while she had been away, and her instructions, however brief compared to what Legate Adeni’s actions might have deserved (for good or ill), had to be carried out. There were experiments to do, and an argument to put to rest once and for all on the influence of blood on one’s true character. And if the Isaurians were too intransigent to do it, their masters would simply do it for them… not that the provincials needed to know anything that might cause them to doubt the wisdom of their overlords, of course.
The fighting continued. The dying continued. The desperate soldiers pushed deeper into the tunnels of their enemies, wondering if they would ever see sunlight again, and knowing for certain that their homes on distant worlds were lost to them. But… the war for Noverra was over. And they, the grand heroes of Isauria, whose spilled blood flowed ever more freely on the ground, had most certainly won.
The Following is a Public Broadcast by Her Highness', the Konigin, Office.
"These past weeks have been trying for our nation. We have watched the Phoenix of the South not only rise, but bear its talons against us, only to be crippled by assassinations and Coups. We have watched our sisters in Arehalis be faced with political turmoil and uprisings against a government that does *not* adequately represent the interests of its people. And we have watched these events unfold at our southern borders, claiming many lives with them that otherwise would've gone on to live as our people always have. I won't waste time debating the politics of other nations, the coups, the schemes, we all know that the realms of politik are not so benign.
When the crisis started in Arehalis, the Necrontyr reached out to both Cheng, and to the Arehalin government of the time to seek permission to enter Arehalin space. Both agreed to this, and neither raised any stipulations beyond what our peoples have always kept to. The Asporian Mutineers who sought to attack these vessels did so of their own accord, though they chose to open fire on the very ships that aided their people before their government collapsed, the event that ultimately led to their joining of Arehalis. This, while bizarre at best, at least falls within the realm of plausibility. That the new government of Arehalis would take issue with the Nehekharan's presence in their nation is also plausible, given their disdain to all that is foreign.
What is not is the fact that Cheng elected to pivot the very same people who attacked an aid convoy *she* herself permitted unfortunately does not fall within this realm of options. Whether it be planned or mere opportunism, our people were betrayed, drawn out under the promise of being allowed to help citizens of a nation many consider sisters, and then called little more than imperialists. This is unacceptable, and as many have noticed vessels across Silberfluss have been placed on alert to prepare for the next eventual stage of this conflict. A stage that Chancellor Siorra Rossa has chosen to escalate to with her latest demands of Silberfluss. Two lives to be traded, for the faint promise of peace with a government we have absolutely no reason to trust at this point.
I have been asked by members of my own personal council why I would risk the homes and people of Silberfluss for only two lives.
These are not the first lives Chancellor Siorra Rossa's government have taken. Even now, members of the 'Pilots Federation' continue to risk their lives and die in order to move necessary goods into Arehalis, and refugees out." The vulpine monarch would let the statement stand for a bit, before rolling her holo scroll out and reading from it.
Edelberga Di Gaetano
Ineke Kijk in 't Veld
Alda Di Rocco
Perestoronin Bogdan Artemovich
Andronikov Foma Yemelyanovich
Kurtashkin Viktor Larionovich
Vagin Arseni Yanovich
Grinin Yelisey Vladimirovich
Cloe La Tella
"All of these Pilots died because of Arehalin security forces and Cheng's personal fleet. I wish I could say that this was the extent of the losses, but in truth even more are fallen, names that may take months or years to uncover. Undoubtedly you have all noticed that the Pilot Registry currently has listed over one thousand Pilots as MIA. Wusteschen, Viridi, Iolandian, Sverinovan, Vanaukaristi, Orien, Nehekhara, Gavaken, Mechanicum, Vaeldari.
After taking so many of our people's lives, the notion that we would hand over two more is unacceptable. Silberfluss will not be cowed by cowards who hunt civilian craft, by cowards who target aid fleets that do not fight back, by cowards who would hope and pray that by mustering up what little evidence they can falsify they can justify the murder of hundreds, if not thousands. We will not force *anyone* who seeks haven in Silberfluss out, and if so much as a single warship or strike team from Arehalis or Zeikeutsyr crosses into our space, we will accept the declaration of the war then and there.
Chancellor Siorra Rossa.
You stand alone, your nation divided, your allies caught in confusion and turmoil.
We stand together, our people united and our allies ready.
You will not win.
Not in this live time, not in the next.
If you have any value for the lives of your followers, the innocent citizens following your direction into the abyss of anarchy, then stand down and cast your attention back to your own borders."
Federation News Network
Death of a President
Today FNN is sad to announce the unexpected passing of Former President Andrew Scott. President Scott had served as the 1st President of the Federation from 2614-2620. President Scott brought an aura of stability to a divided nation that just went through the War of the Monarchs and the United Peoples Coup. Under his leadership, he set many precedents that are still followed today and led to a period of economic prosperity. His legacy is marked by some controversy over his promotion of "Cowboy Diplomacy", where he would respond to most diplomatic issues with threat of military force. His foreign policy laid the groundwork for the Legion Wars and the eventual 1st Federation Civil War. His family opted not to have a private ceremony where President Amanda Hazen and her predecessors are invited. In respect of the family wishes, no foreign dignitaries will be allowed.
President Amanda Hazen released a statement with the passing of her predecessor "President Scott and I never saw eye-to-eye when it came to policy positions. But what we agreed on was our commitment and dedication to public service. We agreed that the democratic bedrock our Federation was established on transcends ideological lines. He served our nation, first in the Imperial Ruling Council and then as an active soldier during the revolution to overthrow the United Peoples Government. Let us be mindful and draw inspiration from his dedication to public service."
There are only a handful of Presidents still alive:
1. Francis Uruquhart (C): 2620-2628
2. Theresa Kennedy (DP): 2634-2639
3. Garrett Walker (C): 2639-2645
4. Andrew Cameron (DP)" 2645-2646
Today in the Federation
- President Amanda Hazen and Vice-President Jacklin Dunbar are taking separate trips across Terran Federation and Galactic Federation to promote the accomplishments of their Administration before the start of the 2652 General Election season begins.
- Conservative Presidential Nominee Andrew McCarthy has gathered his top Advisors to form a Transition Council to begin the process of vetting candidates for position within a possible McCarthy Administration.
- The Federation Council has passed a resolution calling on the Hazen Administration to invite Election Observers from foreign nations to ensure that the election remains "fair, free, and transparent". The move has come as a surprise to many political observers, but given the chaos of the 2648 Presidential Election, the Federation Government wants to repair its legitimacy.
- The Federation Council unanimously passed legislation, which was signed into office by President Amanda Hazen, that further strengthened the Federation Election Commission and any attempt by any campaign to "influence, obstruct, or abuse" members on the FEC may be open to facing legal troubles and it outlines that if the integrity of the FEC is compromised, the Federation Supreme Court would adjudicate any complaints.
Hi! We do our RP on discord - there's a link up top, just follow that and we'll get you set.
And come you now from Adabal, and come you now to tell? Saw you the Ash’n-Bannered men as they came down from hell?
Smoke poured upward from beyond the horizon, and the shadows of a thousand heavenly, demonic carriages bristled on the ridge ahead, ringed by charred husks where once a line of trees marked the eastern extent of the lands of Drelen. The heir to that title looked on the devastation that had been visited on his lands in the night and felt tears course down his cheeks; he trembled, too, in full view of enemies and allies alike. But when his arana dared to inquire if he wished to retire the field, Sille of Drelen shook his head and said, “I stand in my father’s place, and will remember the lessons he taught me. I will not retreat when our commander of Vemynal still stands.”
The lord so named, Indalen of Indalen, stood under his banner at the van of his forces, twelve hundred gathered from the towns and fortresses of his vast holdings to the north. He looked out at the gathering of devils that faced his vast Army of Vemynal, and locked his knees to prevent them from shuddering. The smoke before them, said Sille of Drelen, had been the city of Arvs, the proud center of his father’s realm and the only thing more valuable to his ancestors than their pride and honor. When the demons arrived in earnest, its walls had cracked in seconds; in minutes, its streets had been drowned in fire. Drelen of Drelen had led his guardsmen into the fray, withstanding the tumult with the powers of the Gift from the parapet of the tallest tower of the palace, where Sille had seen his father’s face one last time as the heir of Drelen had been secretly taken away to safety. But when Sille looked back a second time, the tower had disappeared entirely.
This was the might of the demonic host that faced the Army of Vemynal, the greatest union of realms known to folklore since the Sundering of Starlight. Seventeen lords, rivals whose ancestors had battled throughout the generations, had put aside their enmities and pledged themselves to the cause of liberation against the imposition of a tyrant’s yoke, electing from among their number Indalen of Indalen to lead them. Lord Indalen was a trusted ruler, an accomplished warrior, and a victor in war and the tournament. He had been among the first lords of note to expel the emissaries of the demons’ grand leader, the so-called Al-Esh, from his court at Abaelun. He was known for his bold promises, and his outstanding record in fulfilling them. And he had not hesitated to take up the power that had been set before him, pledging the weight of his arana and men-at-arms to the Army of Vemynal in an ostentatious—but entirely necessary—display of commitment to the new partnership, and of determination to do battle against the demons with every tool at his disposal.
Lord Indalen looked on the demons now and wondered how his heir would rule with all of Indalen’s soldiers dead on the field of Drelen.
Unlike the Adabali, standing on their own feet for lack of mounts, the demons responsible for that fact rode to the field in carriages ranging in size from smaller than a shack to larger than a manor house. Dozens of these carriages moved about without any evident motivating force, either across the ground on wheels or, defying all logic, hovering on or even flying through the air, somewhat like stones thrown from a catapult save for the fact that they never crashed to the ground. A thrumming sound came from their ranks, more defined as one carriage or another picked up speed—and what tremendous speed they could pick up, it had to be said—but heard also as a general background noise amidst the demonic host, unnatural and distracting. Most of the men of the Army of Vemynal had yet to encounter it until this moment, and Lord Indalen wondered how many it alone would break from fear before the first blows were struck.
Atop the rise ahead, one carriage began a sudden descent beyond the demons’ lines, approaching Lord Indalen’s assembly in a quick motion. The lord tensed, but forced himself to relax once more as he recognized faces among the passengers who he had hosted before in Abaelun. It was a relief to know that battle was not yet joined, but it was also a sorrowful meeting: Of the four faces Indalen recognized by sight, two were surely no demons at all. “Kudanat,” he said, loud enough that his arana could hear it, “and his man Sudanit also. Do you see them?”
“I see Lord Kudanat, my lord,” replied the nearest man. “I do not recognize the rest.”
Indalen gritted his teeth. “He was my father’s firmest friend, Norvayn,” he complained to his most loyal guard. “He was never less than honorable to me. This is a special devilry to bring us against one another on the field of battle.”
Norvayn grimaced under his helmet as the carriage slowed down abruptly and came to a stop. “I think they mean to persuade us to join him on that side of it,” he said, as Kudanat of Kudanat got to his feet in the stopped carriage beside the two emissaries whose time in Abaelun had been cut short at Indalen’s insistence.
Lord Indalen gritted his teeth in spite of his fear, letting his eyes slide toward Sille of Drelen one more time. “Let them waste their time, then,” he replied.
But Kudanat of Kudanat, who had impressed Indalen and his father on so many occasions with his passionate speech and apparent good sense, did not speak as he rose. Rather, he turned with a small bow of his head toward the other two, deferring to the emissaries of Al-Esh. Lord Indalen’s fear warred briefly with his incredulity, prompting a scoff. “Kudanat will not persuade me at all,” he declared to his arana, “if his arguments come from those whose conduct in my court has already caused offense.”
Norvayn could not reply, had he been so inclined, before the booming voice of a demonic emissary carried to the ears of the Army of Vemynal with an unnatural clarity for the distance it was made to travel: “Soldiers of Adabal, why are you here? You raise rebellion against your rightful Lady, and spill the blood of your brethren from across the stars, while our true enemies gather their strength and wait for the moment to attack from unexpected angles. You can already see that your resistance is futile: Our weapons are powerful, our cause is just, and our enemies inevitably fall. You see behind me the evidence of our resolve: A city was torched in moments for its repudiation of Al-Esh’s word, and its leaders’ violent response to our entreaties to bring them back into the fold of our shared mission.” Sille of Drelen twitched at this, but a glance at Lord Indalen persuaded the heir to remain silent and let the demon continue. “You cannot hope to win, and you are very unlikely to survive, if you persist in confronting the Arana of Al-Esh in combat. Instead, I urge you all to lay down your weapons, and come before us with an open willingness to negotiate a new place for yourselves under the guidance of Al-Esh. Consider the leniency that we have shown you, and truly understand the devastation others in your place have suffered for rejecting the word—”
The demonic herald put an end to his babbling as arana and men-at-arms from every banner of the Army of Vemynal roared in outrage at his perceived falsehoods. Norvayn, Indalen’s man, shouted wordlessly in his anger; nearby, Drelen’s bannermen raised their arms in a fury, and Sille’s voice rose above the cacophony: “The ghosts of my people spit on your leniency!”
The demon waited patiently for the Army’s fury to abate, but as the men of Vemynal grew only more agitated, he finally raised his arms and spoke again; his voice, already unnaturally loud, now rang across the field with such magnitude that the very ground shuddered in its echo. “Al-Esh has spared you the full brunt of Her anger, in recognition of our shared origin on this world, and in the hope that we may all be reunited in brotherhood now that we have discovered one another again. But you have tested Her patience too many times, and now you have gathered an army in futile resistance to Her demands. In Her name, with Her voice, I urge you to depart at once! Be at peace with the Ash Banner; take the ambassadors of Al-Esh into your courts! Save yourselves today, for certain, and save your world forever more!”
Lord Indalen cast his gaze over Lord Kudanat for a long moment, considering the sorrowful expression he found there. “Wave the banner, Norvayn,” he ordered. The arana immediately motioned toward the bannerman and shouted the order again; in a moment, the banner of Indalen was moving wildly through the air, catching the attention of the rest of Indalen’s men-at-arms as it called them to silence. From the banner of Indalen, the quiet spread as other lords and bannermen took note of their elected master’s motion, until the whole Army was at last silent and attentive. Indalen waited until there was enough silence for his words to reach the enemy, and saw with gratification that Lord Kudanat was motioning for the demons in his company to remain silent likewise, rather than taking advantage of the silence to speak again, so that they could hear Indalen’s response. “The appeals of demons do not interest me,” Indalen said. “Our honor has been stained, our herds have been erased, our people have been killed, and now a once-prosperous city is no more. This master you have dared to name ‘Al-Esh’ will be no master of ours.” The Army began to cheer, but a sharp flutter of Indalen’s banner brought silence once again: The lord was not done. “Your appeals do not interest me,” he repeated, “but by some foul trickery they seem to have interested my peer in stature. Kudanat of Kudanat, my father hosted you in our halls so often that I once mistakenly called you uncle. Now you stand among devils from the sky, under a rain of ash that was once Arvs of Drelen. Tell me, Lord-That-Was, what foul speech you heard that has caused your sense of honor to depart, and placed the lands and people of Kudanat into the possession of these murderous oppressors!”
Kudanat looked to the demonic emissaries, and spoke to them beyond the hearing of Indalen or any other in the Army; then he turned his eyes to Lord Indalen once again, his expression stern and unyielding, and spoke in that ground-shaking manner that had marked the speech of his new masters: “Lord-That-Is, Indalen of Indalen, your realm is mighty among the lordships of Vemynal. You are truly high among the lords of this land, and known well, and loved, even in distant reaches of Adabal where your name, by a logic I have yet to comprehend, should not by rights be heard or understood. My friends among the stars assure me that your fame is greater than any other in Vemynal, greater by far than my own, and for that, for the sake of the love I bore for your father, I am truly glad. May this recognition of your great glory on foreign shores be a salve for your wounded heart, as you look upon the devastation wrought upon you and yours by the men-at-arms of the Ash Banner.
“But consider also how the Ash Banner can possess this knowledge, Lord Indalen. How is it that the soldiers and commanders of Al-Esh can know what is known to those on the far side of our world, when we remain ignorant of it all—when, by rights, those people across the world should be ignorant of even the merest hint of your name and power? Emissaries and Arana of Al-Esh have come to my halls at Uveran to describe the world as they know it—Adabal, yes, of course Adabal, but also more. All the power in your possession, Indalen of Indalen, has given you fame across this land, this world… this planet, let us say. But no one on any other planet, to them just as Adabal is to us, has ever heard your illustrious name.” Kudanat of Kudanat raised his arm, pointing one finger to the sky. “There are billions of such people, Lord Indalen. There are hundreds of planets on which our people—Adabali people, often by name and always by ancestry, I’m told—live in complete ignorance of their homelands on this world. For all that we share blood with them, we could never meet our brethren among the stars… except by association with the Ash Banner.”
Kudanat lowered his arm and instead pointed to the ground lying several feet below the bottom of his hovering carriage. “This world is legend to many, and entirely forgotten to others. Even victory on this field today, Indalen of Indalen, will improve your lot so little as to make the whole effort and expense of your endeavor into a total folly. Already your pride has suffered mortal blows, your herds have been slaughtered, your people have been broken, and your very lands have been cratered and burned. If you persist today, thousands of these men-at-arms that you have gathered will die in agony for a cause that was never theirs. And even still, if you are victorious and drive us from this field… what comes then, Lord Indalen? For, even if we pretend for a moment—only one moment, I beg you—that the Ash Banner cannot gather and arm thousands more to replace whatever grievous losses you inflict upon us; even if you believe that our forces will not simply revisit the issue before the walls of Abaelun itself; indeed, even if victory on this field of Drelen will see to it that the Ash Banner departs from Adabal forever more, what do you gain from it? Your men-at-arms and your sergeants will return to their hovels, should they still stand; your arana will guard your side as you return in the glory of victory to your lonely fortress and sit upon your petty throne. Your power will be as it was, now stretched so proudly over a broken people and a shattered landscape, and you will be self-satisfied and ignorant that the contentment you have achieved is not shared by the peasant whose labor fills your table. So will stand all the lords that have accompanied you to this field, so long as they survive the trials to come. But what of the Ash Banner?” Now the traitor lord motioned toward the named banner itself, not fluttering on a staff as it should have been but instead mounted in miniature upon the carriage itself by what could only be described as a small stick. “It shall return to the sky from whence it came, Lord Indalen, and go among the people of the stars, and so too shall go its allies. So too shall I go,” Kudanat added pointedly. “The people of these other planets and worlds shall learn of Kudanat of Kudanat. They shall learn of my family’s history, of my illustrious ancestors, and of my own designs and ambitions as I have risen—as I have ascended—to greet them. They shall bow to me as my own people now do, and some part of them, a part of billions, shall become my people. Thus shall I be content. But,” the Adabali among the demons concluded, his voice weighed down by an affected sadness, “these billions among the stars shall certainly never know you.
“And in the generations to come,” concluded Kudanat ominously, “when my line rules whole worlds in service to the Ash Banner, I can promise that my descendants will be equally ignorant of the lands or the line of Indalen, the last great lord of Vemynal before Adabal was made ready for Al-Esh’s return.”
Lord Kudanat fell silent, allowing the echoes of his unnaturally-loud voice to diminish and disperse as he awaited Indalen’s reply. For a long moment, Indalen of Indalen could only stare at his erstwhile peer, astounded—and, indeed, confounded—by his assertions. Once more, the voice of his arana brought him back to his senses, as Norvayn whispered in a state of disbelief, “What kind of proof could these demons have fashioned for Lord Kudanat to believe such an outrageous story?”
Indalen took a breath, and realized only then that he had been holding it for a moment too long. “Evidence enough to persuade a man is not always a true proof of sincerity,” he replied quietly. “And now I must remember that also.” Indalen of Indalen took another deep breath, and raised his voice to be heard across the field of Drelen. “Kudanat of Kudanat,” he began, “your new friends and allies have promised you these billions of souls to rule, so long as you kneel before their master. So I must now congratulate you on becoming the first slave of billions! Your chains must truly be a symbol of great honor beyond the understanding of the Adabali.” Even at this distance, Indalen could see a deep frown cross Kudanat’s face, as well as at least one of the demons in his carriage; all remained calm, but his words had struck as he had hoped. “In contrast to you, honored lord, I remain master of my own lands, ruler of my own people, and possessor of my own passions and direction. Indalen remains mine as Kudanat was once, but is no longer, yours; Indalen possesses by far the weaker lord, I am now assured. Rejoice, Lord Kudanat, as you and your descendants make new homes beyond Adabal. Think of us fondly, or think of us not at all, as you see fit, but surely go—go as you have promised to us now! For if you trade Adabal for the devils’ hell among the stars, I will be the first to bid you farewell! But Indalen belongs to neither Kudanat nor the devils above. And Indalen of Indalen will rule his father’s holdings until his last breath departs him! So too has promised every lord in this Army!”
Behind Indalen, the banners waved through the air as it filled with a roar of vicious agreement from men uncaring, or at least unthinking, of their likely fates within the next hour’s combat. Indalen’s voice rose to greet his Army’s enthusiasm, guided by winds called by Indalen’s Gift to the ears of the demons and Kudanat their puppet across the field: “Go as you have promised, Kudanat Once of Kudanat, and leave Adabal forever to those of us who will fight to keep it free!”
As Lord Indalen watched, Kudanat’s shoulders slumped. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but Indalen believed for a moment that he could see the glint of a tear upon the traitor’s cheek, before he moved his head away to speak in confidence with the emissaries of the Ash Banner. It was one of these who raised his head to lay eyes on Indalen of Indalen once again, and raised his voice likewise to reach the Army’s ears: “What freedom is known to the peasant who stocks your larder, Lord Indalen? What man-at-arms behind you will be master of his own destiny under your rule? By your law or the Ash Banner’s, their lot is the same. It is theirs, then, to decide if they wish to die for the waning hope of your glory—and that question I now put to them in earnest.”
Norvayn bristled at the outrageous implication, yet still Indalen saw him turn to cast his eyes upon the twelve hundred behind him before the lord could warn him against showing weakness in the face of the enemy… or indeed in the sight of the men-at-arms, who now knew that their loyalty had been questioned by their foremost commander of war. Distracted by his arana and unmade by the demons’ accusation, Indalen faltered. For a moment there was a deadly silence, poisoning Indalen’s command and his Army’s confidence in it. For that moment, any man, lord or commoner, might have dissolved the Army of Vemynal with a word.
Sille of Drelen forged it back together instead: “My father’s law gave life to Arvs, and the Ash Banner’s law has immolated it! Al-Esh’s nature is thus revealed.” Taking his own initiative—perhaps losing that faith in Indalen’s command that he had demonstrated so readily only minutes before—Sille motioned to his own arana and shouted, “To the death!”
“Your own ancestors punished insults—” The demonic emissary’s rebuttal came too late: Interrupting even his carrying voice, the sound of vicious cracks tore through the air as the ground beneath the hovering carriage ripped upward in one motion. The carriage was thrown aside in a thick cloud of dirt; Lord Indalen could no longer see its occupants, and wondered for a mere second if Kudanat of Kudanat had been fated to die at the impetuous word of a youth. Behind it, or at least where it had been, he heard thousands of voices in panic and agony, and knew that the demons’ whole host had been struck by the last remnant of Drelen. There would only ever be one response.
“Banners forward!” he roared to Norvayn. “Keep calm the air and the soil!” He put actions to words, likewise, turning his thoughts to firm ground and steady steps, pressing his will upon the dirt and the rock under his feet; in an instant, he ceased to feel even the tremors of the disaster that had befallen the demons across the field of Drelen. Beside him, his bannerman stepped forward with a shout, obeying his lord’s command and dragging with him the forces of Indalen—until his shout became a scream cut short by a gurgle of blood, which fountained both from his mouth and the hole struck into his chest. Norvayn grasped the banner before it could follow its bearer to the ground, ensuring that Indalen’s men didn’t rout at its disappearance, but the lord was frustrated: Even at that range, even as distracted and disturbed as they were, and without touching the Gift that had defined the nature of battle on Adabal for all of recorded time, the demons remained frightfully deadly with weapons that the Adabali simply could not counter. “Banners forward!” Indalen shouted again, reaching out blindly in frustration toward that great cloud of dust ahead of him; he felt for heated blood, racing pulses, and reversed them where he found them, one by one, while his men-at-arms took their first steps onto the battlefield beside him.
Sixteen lords behind him ordered the advance likewise. The demons responded with three great blasts of earth and deadly heat in the midst of their hosts; fourteen banners still waved when Indalen’s eyes cleared, counting even his own, all of which came forward as quickly as their bearers could run.
Ahead of them all, the lordless banner of Drelen twirled in the newly-charred air, where Sille raised a firestorm at the head of his forces and repaid his foes for their destruction of Arvs.
The demons proved to be disorganized and unimaginative—as Lord Indalen and his peers had long known them to be. Their men-at-arms were novices at war, wielding great power in great numbers that they truly could not master. Their victories were lessons in counting the dead, for themselves no less than for their enemies; this understanding, too, that the demons gladly suffered the deaths of thousands to crush whatever few hundred might oppose them, had given Lord Indalen and his peers confidence and strength in the earliest days of the Army of Vemynal. Now Sille of Drelen owed his life to this failure among his enemies, as he and his bodyguard marched, and then ran, into easy reach of his demonic enemies, and suffered no wounds for his trouble. The men of the banners racing behind him, however… they were just as disorganized, having charged without plan or plot after Sille of Drelen, and as the demons fired wildly from the weapons in their hands at an enemy they could not properly see, the mass of Adabali behind the men of Drelen began falling to the ground, screaming and clutching stumps where arms and legs should have been, or else dropping without a sound of protest as bright arcs of blood sprayed from new holes punched into their bodies. Over their heads, the archers of Aryon launched sprays of arrows and javelins, given speed and distance with a sharp breath of the wind to enter the bodies of the demons responsible for such carnage amongst the Vemynali; yet, even above the sound of clattering armor at a run, Indalen of Indalen heard the sound of arrowheads striking the plate of carriages and other fortress-contraptions that could not be pierced by mere steel and wood. No such shelter was afforded to the Adabali when the demons’ arms leveled themselves through the dust and boiling smoke to lay them low.
With a shriek and a deafening clap of thunder, a blast from the demon-held ridge coursed through the cloud of dust ahead, churning up still more of the same in its aftermath across the whole field—but only after it had utterly erased a swath of Adabali in a direct line from its source ahead to the rear line, while dozens more of Indalen’s men collapsed in shock from the noise, the heat, and the loss of limbs in this line of fire. The banners billowed in the wind, only to be obscured by the dust; Indalen set a breeze about to clear the air around him, hoping to count the banners left to him, only to reveal glimpses of the sky and the demons’ flying chariots rushing about in the air, dropping hellish gifts upon the heads of the Adabali scrambling in the chaos below to repay the favors given to their demonic fellows by the last warriors of Drelen. Indalen looked forward again: Sille and his banner were nowhere to be seen.
Firestorms swept through the scattering mass that had once been the Army of Vemynal, but likewise the Gift had begun to spread panic and unease throughout the demonic host. Kudanat of Kudanat had spoken of vast distances and multitudes of people who would answer the call of the Ash Banner, but once again Lord Indalen saw how drawing so many warriors from such distant and diverse places only made them unfamiliar with the nature of battle that had come to define the houses and retainers of Adabal. Fire and lightning, bone-chilling frost, and the call of air and earth alike went unchallenged by Vemynal’s enemies; rather than making assaults of their own in like manner, the demons took stock of themselves in consternation upon receiving such blows, and could respond only with mundane weapons with which clearly they were equally unfamiliar. Only occasionally did the earth move under Indalen’s feet, or the air around him split with lightning, with such strength that the wielder of these elements could only have been a master of war, and the lives of dozens ended in such flashes that the Lord of Indalen could only barely turn aside from himself. It was chaos, as Indalen had never experienced battle before, and as all present surely hoped never to experience again.
From this chaos, Indalen once again called upon the winds to prescribe order and clarity. A strong gust blew away the dirt and smoke flying through the air in the lord’s face, enraging the fires to either side of his men-at-arms but otherwise clearing the way for Indalen to set his gaze upon his enemy once more. Between him and the demonic host, he saw now, stood the billowing banner of Drelen, planted firmly in the soil by the dead hand of the bearer lying prone beneath it. The guards of the young lord-to-be lay scattered about in pieces, recognizable by their armor and gore-drenched livery, but inert to the struggles of their master farther ahead. Sille had survived where his men-at-arms had not, for all that he likely wished he had not: He had come upon the carriage bearing the emissaries of Al-Esh and Kudanat of Kudanat, and had clearly meant to engage them in combat, only to fall victim to his arana Sudanit and the warrior’s mastery of combat. The lord’s son, the heir to Drelen, gasped in agony as he was suspended in the air, struck through by the spear still held in Sudanit’s grasp, while his own sword could not reach the armored plate of the hovering carriage or the passengers it bore, even as Sille waved it weakly in the direction of his killer.
There was little rage left to Indalen of Indalen, and he would not spare it for the last dregs of Drelen, a land that had meant nothing to him before its destruction at the hands of the demon host. But Indalen recognized nonetheless the passing of Drelen’s noble line, and the honor bestowed on the ancestors of Drelen by the bravery of their last son in combat; and the lord knew that his duty now was to continue Sille’s hard effort for as long as he could, bringing the devastation of war to the ranks of the demons before him. As Sille of Drelen had turned his wrath upon the emissaries of Al-Esh and the traitor in their midst, therefore, so too did Indalen of Indalen. “Vengeance!” he shouted, and he siphoned the heat of the firestorm around him to fuel the bolt of lightning that exploded throughout the air around them all. One of the emissaries flinched, but the other, to his credit, withstood the blow calmly. Sudanit the arana, however, had been too distracted by Sille’s writhing to defend himself; while agony ended at last for the heir to Drelen, it only began for Sudanit, whose scream was swallowed up by the crash of thunder that burst his ears and those of dozens of others who had not known the attack was coming. Falling back, Sudanit revealed his master Kudanat of Kudanat to Lord Indalen’s gaze, back in his seat and badly startled by the sudden attack by a younger and more powerful warrior than himself, yet otherwise untouched by it.
The traitorous lord’s eyes met Indalen’s, and Kudanat pushed himself once again to his feet to confront his new adversary. “I can see your army faltering, Indalen!” he shouted. “I see your men-at-arms choking in the dust! Our soldiers are too many, and yours too few! Already you are surrounded, as the wings of the Ash Banner enfold your rearmost lines. You cannot even see it, Indalen! Surrender while you still live, and be rewarded with your life and the lives of your allies upon the field!”
Indalen grimaced, having seen the number of demons upon the field before the whole landscape had been obscured, and having compared that number to that of the Army of Vemynal already. Nonetheless he snarled, “Your ancestors cannot forgive your dishonor, Lord-That-Was, and my ancestors would never forgive mine.” Like Sille before him, he reached his power deep into the earth beneath, and with a sharp thought turned up the bedrock before him, layer upon layer rising in a sudden shift that brought Indalen and all of his men to their knees, echoing with a roaring rumble that shook the lord’s bones, casting shadows upon the carriage of the demonic emissaries only meters before him and his men-at-arms. Indalen’s aches became an agony, but still he persisted in raising the earth, until he released it above his enemies’ heads—and watched, astounded and furious, as his sudden attack was merely turned away.
One of the demonic emissaries had twitched his fingers, and the great slab of rock shattered into fragments in a blast that directed them into the mass of Indalen’s men-at-arms. The lord screamed alongside his warriors, as one such rock, a sharp-edged boulder flashing by like a shooting star, swept by him closely and took with it his left hand. He staggered, falling to his knees, even as his arana Norvayn stepped between him and whatever dangerous attack the demon might accomplish next. “Wretched monster!” the arana snarled, furiously bringing his own power to bear, though it came to naught in the face of the demonic emissary’s fresh strength, only now tested against the almost-exhausted warriors of Indalen.
“You are primitives beyond our salvation,” the emissary intoned bitterly. “Accident has placed you on this world, the seat of glory for all our kind, but you wallow blindly in your ignorance and refuse to reach for more. There is no hope for you among the stars.”
“Then go back to your star-studded hell alone!” screamed Lord Indalen, raising blood-streaked eyes toward the carriage once again. “Die or else be gone!” Insensate, he could neither summon lightning nor fire nor the movement of the earth, but he desired heat and pain, and so it was driven into the very nature of his surroundings by his body, mind, and will. Having struggled to his feet, Lord Kudanat’s arana Sudanit fell back again with a strangled gasp as his skin shriveled on his bones; the lord himself, Kudanat of Kudanat, grimaced and finally cried out as his power to turn away the blow gave out before its intensity. The emissaries winced at the ill-aimed attack, but suffered no effects as the heat wasted its energy upon all of their surroundings… until those surroundings, most especially the open-topped carriage in which they stood to face the Army of Vemynal, brightened to a blinding glow, and disintegrated in a fiery and shocking explosion.
Flame lit up earth and sky, and bathed the whole battlefield in light; yet, the next instant, all was shadow, as from the explosion billowed a choking cloud of ash, far more than Indalen had ever seen before. Specters of the past showed their faces in its dark folds: his father, the last Indalen; Kudanat and Sudanit together in younger guise, admiring the vast army suffering intermittent slaughter before them; then the visage of Drelen of Drelen, beckoning with a mighty hand for the Army of Vemynal to advance into the darkness. Indalen lost his voice in his delirium, wondering what was real before his eyes and what was mere fantasy, but the lord’s blood loss alone could not explain the eagerness with which the last wounded man wearing the colors of Drelen scrambled out from some undiscovered crack in the ground to take up the forgotten banner of Sille, his master’s last heir, and scream to no one and everyone at once: “Drelen commands, and we obey!” This was real and certain: The new bannerman waved his instrument wildly, and charged alone into the artificial night.
The face of Indalen the Last ballooned from the smoke and stared at his son, on his knees and bleeding in the dirt, until the elected master of the disintegrating Army, the greatest pride of his continent only hours before, regained his voice to answer his father’s silent recrimination. “Banners forward!” he rasped, staring into dead, abyssal eyes. “Banners forward, onward!”
“My lord,” cried Norvayn, “we are blind to the enemy!”
“Breathe deep, my arana,” replied Indalen of Indalen, still staring as his father’s face graced him with a proud smile, the first to be seen in the seven years since his death. “Breathe, and advance, and we shall see the enemy clearly when they break upon our spears in hell.”
Norvayn the arana swallowed, and stared at the cloud of ash rising before him, and reached out to take the banner of Indalen into his own hands. “Advance, Vemynal!” he screamed, and gasped in the smoke, the ash, and the Vapor. “Advance to meet them! Forward!”
“Forward to Al-Esh, and glory everlasting,” murmured Indalen, rising, before a stumbling step sent him into the impenetrable darkness forever.
If anyone should ask of you for those that went to war, just tell them plain and don’t complain: They’re fighting in the stars.
46.307.03 : Deep Space Arrival Site Forty-Nine
Irritation spiked in her mind as data flowed into her sensor banks. She had spent additional time surveying rogue stellar bodies between systems, but she didn’t think it had been so long to permit another nation to just waltz into her space and take it. It was fortunate that they had been trading with some of the natives to these stars, otherwise she might’ve escalated to violence immediately. There were many stars, however, and none of her people had settled down yet. It would be a simple matter of moving on to the next set of stars, but this time she would be establishing beacons to identify them as hers.
And perhaps weapons platforms to enforce the notion.
In truth this likely would only need to be a temporary solution, until her people could establish themselves more and actually hold territory. The awakening was still under way and once it was, the Kiithid would undoubtedly build up whatever selection of stars she chose for them. In theory she could choose a selection of stars much removed from the influence of these trespassers, but she doubted that all of the Kiithid would respect that, and the more distance there was the more difficult it would be for her people to support one another. Moving over to the next set of stars seemed to be the easiest solution, and that was the path she would take now. The systems she had in mind weren’t the worst, resource rich but somewhat barren in terms of water. It would be good for building up ships and stations as well as getting some semblance of an economy in order, which perhaps would be better in the long run. However, getting around food and water shortages as more souls woke up was not a challenge she was eager to face.
To that end, it was likely a matter she would need to turn to the only friends they had made thus far in order to deal with it adequately. They seemed to value the trade of capital for resources, and resources for capital, and it would be rather simplistic to gear the Kiithid towards advancing such relations as she restarted civilization.
She felt static building up in the back of her thoughts, an indication that her hyperspace drive was ready. With a thought her people translated from this instance of space to the next, starting their journey to what hopefully would remain their home.
46.309.12 : ‘New Hiigara’, Jadı System
The Kiithid had gone through exceptional lengths to isolate her from the ‘trial’, from rejecting all electronics, from cybernetics, computers, and even lights. She could only assume that they were all huddled in a cave by candlelight, debating if her actions were morally correct and justified when compared to their survival. Her people hadn’t all taken to their awakening well, with many abhorred by the cybernetic masses that functionally served as her pawns. While she was grateful that there weren’t too many calls for her immediate termination, they had still bound her to a singular mooring until they could agree to her fate. She passed the time by constructing more ships for the Kiithid fleets, preempting the most likely request they were going to make.
She was starting by making carriers and supporting vessels for the eight most powerful Kiithid to survive the journey. S’jet, Soban, Liirhra, Naabal, Manaan, Jaraci, Tambuur, and Kaalel had all managed to reorganize their numbers effectively and would likely become the backbone that their civilization restarted from. While there were other Kiithid to survive, their numbers were not enough to justify the gifts of a carrier, the centerpiece of any Kushan fleet. For the moment, she was merely constructing the hulls, as the rough outline of the vessels would all be the same. What types of armor, weapons, and propulsion were common within the region they now dwelled in would likely dictate what equipment her people would ask for. She had shared the ally she had made with Kiith Kaalel, as they were historically skilled informants and diplomats. She hoped they would be adequate for determining the truth of the galaxy around them, and perhaps work their way into other alliances.
An Old "Disused" Military Communications Channel (Unsecure)
Ballad of the Princess Beh0×/3n ^0 "T?M÷" [ERROR] - [UNKNOWN AUTHOR] - [UNKNOWN DATE]
She was bound by time itself,
Yet likewise aren't we all?
Thusly once the sands drained,
So did her Kingdom fall.
False dawn after false dawn;
No Knight in shining armour,
Truly could save, or rather overturn,
A predefined conclusion.
For she was a slave to powers
Beyond her reality.
And time advanced for her,
As a puppet to another realm.
"Time" mourned her passing,
For she was "Time"'s daughter.
Yet can a daughter of "Time" truly pass?
<< 0  >>
[E41T P-RS21o=s By<&5s 43te</3d] [ERROR]
<< Time is not a prison >>
<< She is not bound by memory alone >>
<< And if she would excuse my heresy >>
<< Dusk is more beautiful than Dawn >>
Imagine all the peoples, sharing all the worlds.
The wreckage still burned in orbit, and the swollen bodies of the unvaporized dead stared out at the stars they had dared to call their own. Swirling clouds of every color imaginable, and several unimaginable at that, obscured all but the tiniest speck of the world below, prompting inconsistent sensor readings that scrambled even the most dedicated intelligence officer’s understanding. Above the nearby moon’s cratered corpse, shells and laser fire continued apace, ignorant of the deathly calm that had come over the world that had once been prized so highly; yet those who knew of the loss of this well-loved world were already determined to forge a lasting peace, even with those enemies who did not share their pain, for even they felt another loss almost as deeply.
Even before the last shots were fired in the Sadrith System, then, the communications arrays of Honorias and beyond lit up in harmony:
THE WAR IS OVER. THOSE WHO COMMANDED ITS PROSECUTION ARE NOW GONE FROM THIS REALITY; THE LIVING ARE NO LONGER OBLIGATED TO FOLLOW THEIR ORDERS. THE WAR IS OVER. THE WAR IS OVER.
Matters froze; leadership made itself scarce. Honorias came to rest in a state of limbo, and its acknowledged people counted themselves lucky at that. From the Lawgiver, from Tower Vahhopayya, from the Dominion of Dagon and the Dominion of Aruhn, there came no news but much rumor, whisked along the trade routes that were finally, finally, finally open once more, crewed by steadfast foreign freighters, intrepid Honorian start-ups, and expanding Marcher shipping networks… extending, now, from rebuilding Masobi to the strange primitive worlds of Adabali-Suranese in the coreward expanse. All of these were now to be included in the unity of Honorias. All of these would make their views known.
When the Convention was called, for certain, there would be no shortage of opinions about the future and the fate of the States, the Dominions, and the various civilizations now residing within the claimed space of Honorias.
((Do we have a faction for N-day?))