East Novaran Blues

Presidential Palace
Vesthavn, Hustreache
January 18, 2023
12:30 (UTC-5)

The Presidential Palace in Hustreache was in many ways a relic of the days when a king ruled over the country. It drew upon architectural styles that were popular once upon a time in places like Tretrid and Norgsveldet. A modern Hustrian observer would perhaps say that it was an icon of the monarchy’s delusions of grandeur.

The Presidential Palace also bore the scars of the monarchy’s violent overthrow. There were bullet holes embedded in the stone work here and there, from when forces of the Hustrian Republican Front stormed it. There were paintings slashed, frescos with parts of the plaster pried off to systematically eliminate every image of the Hustrian kings of the past.

It was perhaps a peculiar place to house the seat of government, but a lot of those signs of destruction were somewhat of a sign of national pride within Hustreache. It was a symbol of the tyrants of days past, and their avarice, and of their eventual overthrow. The government that followed had taken pride in essentially sitting on a throne built on the rubble of the House of Fuglestad.

For all its flaws over its nearly 100 years of existence, and even as it started to liberalize, Hustreache continued to take pride in the destruction of the monarchy. Even at its most authoritarian, the Republic had always been a step up above the monarchy.

Ambassador Eohgifu Engelwulfsdohter looked around at the rather peculiar sense of Hustrian decor as she walked through the palace’s hallways. She had come to the conclusion that leaving the remnants of the symbols of the monarchy up was meant to remind people of what had come before the Republic and of the extreme violence in which the Republic had been forged.

She finally reached her destination, opened a door, and walked inside. There was a table with a few seats set around it. One of the chairs was occupied.

“Good afternoon, Ambassador. Please take a seat,” President Felix Fredriksen said.

Felix poured some coffee into a mug, and put a bit of milk and sugar in it. He sipped the drink before looking up at Eohgifu. “Coffee?”

Eohgifu shook her head.

“Alright. Feel free to help yourself if you change your mind.” The friendly smile on Felix’s face faded, replaced with a more serious expression. “Now, do you know why you were summoned here?”

“There’ll be a summit held in Kyinster soon, between Tretrid, Ymirland, and the Federation, to discuss matters of security within East Novaris.”

Felix nodded. “I don’t think Cynebury will be surprised to find out that we in Vesthavn have significant reservations that we would like to express about this matter. There are a lot of threats to Hustrian national security out there, which unfortunately include nearly all of our neighbors. We worry that the summit will embolden those who wish to do harm against Hustreache and its people.”

“I would be remiss to not remind you that Hustreache has many allies as well,” Eohgifu said.

“Ambassador, those allies may stand as a deterrent against conventional threats like Norgsveldet, but do you think that will dissuade groups like the Akuan Liberation Front? The Sons of Odin? They don’t care how much Great Morstaybishlia says they back us.”

“We are doing this because we believe this is within the best interests for the stability of the region, President. Does Hustreache not stand to benefit from peace? It remains the primary economic hub in the region. We have come to a conclusion that Federation involvement in Northeast Novaris, between Ymirland and Kuduk, is unlikely to end soon. Is it not more practical to integrate them into the system of affairs in Northeast Novaris, instead of attempting a long and protracted campaign of trying to dislodge them?”

“Ymirland thinks as poorly of us as they do of Jarisven, and given the high level of Federation involvement in Ymirland, it is impossible to conclude that the Federation does not think poorly of us as well. I would argue that it is not within the Tretridian interest to invite further involvement by the Federation. You will simply embolden them, and then you will find a situation in northeast Novaris that is beyond your control.”

“It is clear that we will not come to an agreement on this matter here,” Eohgifu said. “It remains our position that this summit will serve the best interests of everyone in the region. Your reservations are noted and will be relayed back to the government of Tretrid. Is there anything more you wish to discuss?”

Felix shook his head. “Nothing at this time. Good day to you, Ambassador.”

The skies above Novaris
January 18, 2023
11:45 AM (UTC-7)

Beorhtsige Wulfricsunu was perhaps the most well known for his work as the Permanent Representative to the League of Novaris, but his duties also included that of the Ambassador-at-Large to Novaris. The two offices has always overlapped with each other since the inception of the League of Novaris under the office’s previous occupant.

He set the briefings he was reading on a table and looked across it at none other than Prime Minister Eoforwine Æthelstansunu, who was contemplatively staring at a map of northeast Novaris.

Eoforwine looked up from the map. “I wonder what your impression of the Federation is, Mr. Wulfricsunu.”

“I would be cautious at the very least. They’re a power that we haven’t previously factored for, and with the RCEU and their recent outreach, they’re certainly planning to extend their reach even further.”

Eoforwine nodded. “We certainly have reasons to be wary of them. Our interactions with them certainly have not been that great within the last few years.”

Beorhtsige recalled the hubbub around the Federation’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. That was certainly one way to put it. “Relations certainly could be better. Especially since it’s clear that they’re here to stay.”

“The Federation may have gotten involved in Novaris only relatively recently, but at the very least we need to establish better relations with it,” Eoforwine said. “It always pays to maintain goodwill with other countries, and to improve poor relations where possible. And here, we have certain things over which we may have common interests.”

He looked back at the map of northeast Novaris. “There’s been something that has been bothering me for a while about this map, Mr. Wulfricsunu. I think I know what it is.”

Eoforwine pointed at a certain country on the map. The name Jarisven was printed neatly on it in serif letters.

“You see this, right?”

Beorhtsige nodded.

“I don’t want to anymore.”


Ernest Féret Memorial Airport
January 18, 2023

It was always a strange feeling when one visits a place named after a fallen Côtois soldier, even more so when you are the indirect cause of the memorial. In Akuanism, naming a place after a person means their spirit is alive, it roams the unfamiliar land, in a land where their body has fallen in the name of fighting against oppression. Ernest wasn’t an Akuanist, he was Côtois, a citizen of the Federation and he would be honored for his ultimate sacrifice to protect Ymirland.

The plane landed but some final security checks have to be completed first, all according to protocol when visiting trouble land or places rather hostile to the Federation. Of course Ymirland has calmed down long since the violence of the war in Ymirland, though the risk of Sons of Odin trying something again kept the Ymir and Côtois security on their toes.

“Madam Pierre, we are ready to disembark.” A large ursine informed the Federal Prime Minister, arms resting behind them.

“Thank you for your service Comrade.” Jeanne Pierre stands up, fidgeting with her tie. Thankfully there was not a planned photo op, she could head directly to the hotel and rest for a few moments. The meeting between Tretrid and Ymirland wasn’t until the next day. She stood up from her seat, picking up her briefcase.

Walking towards the airlock of the plane, she took a quiet moment to send a message to her wife that her plane landed.

Defense Ministry
January 18, 2023

The office of the chief of defense was simplistic in design, modest by all means save for a handful of paintings along the walls of the room. Paintings of the Ny’Sænuri liberation of the northern lands from the fascists of Jarisven, the bold Ny’Sænuri riding on horseback armed with bolt action rifles driving away a so-called ‘superior’ force.

In addition to the paintings of glory, news articles framed in small wooden boxes about various dead Hustrian and Jarisvi soldiers or government officials killed in ‘terrorist’ attacks. Car bombings, lone wolf attacks and the odd coordinated assault on patrols and outposts. The chief held pride in the work of his most loyal of Ny’Sænuri, those who gave up comforts of civilized society and accepted the risk to become a fighter for the liberation of the Akuanists held in the unjust and cruel hands.

The career military man heard the door knock. He cleared his voice and spoke up, “Come in.” Another kemonomimi stepped into the room, fixing their tie. The Ymir ambassador sat down across from General Ny’Välsen.

“I suppose it is not another missing shipment of fertilizer and radio parts?” The general replied with a flat tone, sipping his coffee.

“No, this is about something different than just the usual missing shipments. There is a meeting between my government, Tretrid and the Federation. My government would like to extend our hand to bring Kuoväszna into it, to discuss security arrangements within our little corner of Novaris.” Ymir’s ambassador relaxed into their chair.

“I don’t believe the Côtois government would be very accepting of my government being at such a meeting. Given their rather pompous attitude.” The old general replied, pouring the ambassador a cup of coffee.

“Not very accepting but tolerant, given Jarsiven recent actions reigniting tensions within the region with their terrorist groups. The Federation is reconsidering the situation with your government. Perhaps with the both of us, we can push for… More direct assistance from them than just missing shipments of mislabeled things.” Ymir ambassador warmly accepted their coffee, taking a long sip. “No matter what, we need to show a unified front towards the matter. I’m sure the Federation will see the wisdom in our words and perhaps motivate Tretrid to join in our endeavor.”

The general stayed silent for a few more moments, “I will be there, as will the president for appearances. For a free Nykuzniszna.”

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Embassy of Tretrid, Kyinster
Kyinster, Ymirland
January 18, 2023

Eoforwine’s motorcade arrived at the Tretridian embassy about half an hour after his plane touched down in Ernest Féret Memorial Airport. He and Beorhtsige stepped out of their vehicle once they had been let through the gate of the complex.

The Tretridian Ambassador to Ymirland, Stiðwyn Cuðheresdohter, was there to greet the two once they were outside.

She shook their hands. “Good afternoon, Mr. Æthelstansunu, Mr. Wulfricsunu. Have you found Kyinster to your liking, so far?”

“As much as I’ve seen it only from behind tinted windows thus far, perhaps,” Eoforwine said.

“There’s a few things we should discuss, but after we’re done, do you wish to tour the embassy?”

It was a tradition for Tretridian Prime Ministers visiting the capitals of other countries for diplomatic summits to tour the Tretridian embassy and meet the diplomatic rank and file.

“Of course.”

The three moved into the Ambassador’s office to discuss last-minute preparations for the summit.

“The Government of Ymirland sent me notification that Kuoväszna has accepted their invitation to attend the conference,” Stiðwyn said.

“Interesting,” Beorhtsige said. “We weren’t sure whether they’d show up, given that relations between Tretrid and Kuoväszna are… not great.”

Eoforwine considered the matter for a moment. “Kuoväszna has an interest in, at the very least, minimizing the threat that Jarisven poses to their security, especially when you account for terrorist organizations in the region like the Sons of Odin. If they have any particular demands for us, however, I suspect it would have something to do with relations between Tretrid and Hustreache.”

“It’s worth noting that the Government of Hustreache lodged a diplomatic complaint with us over this summit,” Beorhtsige said. “I suspect that in response to the summit, they’ll probably reach out to their Morstaybishlian allies for security assistance. Now, Great Morstaybishlia might be an ally, but I’d be wary of drawing them further into Northeast Novaris, given that their involvement there might spark conflict between them and other powers like the Federation, which would not be great.”

“I’ll take that under advisement,” Eoforwine said.

“In my professional opinion as Ambassador, I’d also suggest considering current bilateral relations between Kuoväszna and Ymirland,” Stiðwyn added. “The two countries work together on a number of issues, not so much because they actually like each other so much as they have certain interests in common and, of course, certain enemies in common as well.”

Beorhtsige nodded. “I would of course be remiss not to mention that the Federation’s behavior would probably be considered peculiar at best if examined through the typical lenses of Tretridian policy analysts. It’s a matter of that they have chosen to reject certain values and uphold others in a way that makes their modes of interstate interaction seemingly eschew certain global norms.”

“The acquisition of nuclear weapons by the Federation comes to mind, especially so soon after the International Forum attempted to institute non-proliferation measures,” Eoforwine said. “What does that mean for what we can expect from Pierre and company tomorrow?”

“Pierre seems, by all accounts, genuine in her interest in spreading socialism globally, as well as countering imperialism worldwide. I suspect that may cause slight difficulties, given Tretrid’s past with Gondwana, though in the case of Northeast Novaris there’s a clear cause for Tretrid and the Federation to cooperate on—the security of the region. Where that is concerned, though, they’d probably have more than a few concerns about Hustreache, given how closely linked Hustreache is to Hirdism.”

“The Federation is heavily involved in Ymirland, and Kuduk to a lesser degree, and so they’d naturally be concerned with the security of the region,” Stiðwyn said. “From their perspective, it’s easy to conclude that Jarisven and Hustreache are threats, given their support of the Sons of Odin and the Ny Ulvrikia National Army respectively.”

“Fredriksen would probably lodge another protest if we openly said that Hustreache were supporting them,” Beorhtsige said in a slightly teasing tone.

“Perhaps, though it’s impossible to deny that there are still links between the HRF (R) and the NUNA. Nonetheless, at the very least Tretrid and the Federation share a common adversary in Jarisven, though Hustreache will remain a significant challenge to reaching any breakthrough in relations in the region.”

“As for bilateral ties between the Federation and Tretrid themselves, those lie outside my domain, since my office is specifically for Novaran affairs.”

Eoforwine nodded. “I did consult with Foreign Minister Wealdmundson and the Ambassador-at-Large to Yasteria on that particular matter. I’m aware that information within the Royal Diplomatic Service is compartmentalized on a need-to-know basis, but I’ve decided that this is the kind of situation where you’d need to know.

“There are goals other than those pertaining to Northeast Novaran security that Tretrid and the Federation may have in common. It may be best to try to improve bilateral relations between Tretrid and the Federation in pursuit of potential future cooperation regarding these goals. If the Federation is to be further involved in Novaris, then it is better to have it be a Federation with stronger diplomatic ties to Tretrid. I would like to raise the possibility that the Federation’s general policy goal of opposing imperialism may be a basis on which Tretrid and the Federation can perhaps cooperate to limit, say, Mirhamian influence abroad.”

“Well, in the case of Mirhaime, it’d wrap around to being under my purview again.” Beorhtsige said dryly. “However, I’d like to note that we’re currently allied with Tavaris, which… does not enjoy friendly bilateral relations with the Federation. Was that discussed?”

“The issue was brought up. There is, strictly speaking, not much Tavaris can do in response, as Tavaris needs its alliance with us as much as we need our alliance with them. We did conclude that we should expect a very significant level of fallout on that end if we achieve a breakthrough with the Federation, but I decided that it was an acceptable risk. If the result of this summit leads to us cooperating on certain common goals that could potentially drastically alter geopolitics, the true extent that we will be doing so will be hidden from view. I’m not sure Tavaris needs to know that we might be getting the Federation further embedded into Novaris.” Eoforwine paused. “Is that everything you need to know? If so, I suppose the embassy tour can begin.”

(Joint post with Cowlass)

Ovijrin, Jarisven
High Minister’s Palace
January 19, 2023

The half elven man who had found himself in charge of what likely was the most hated regime in East Novaris could not help but let out a groan in annoyance as he looked at the reports given to him by the High Assembly. One would think a one party state would find itself having easier time making decisions, but the PGP finds itself far too divided on a plethora of issues that any attempts to reform the worst aspects of his nation’s governance has been lacking in successes. Economically they were doing far better with his privatization reforms having brought some new investments into the country, still quite lacking but he was able to secure some deals with Mirhaime and Blåskog. Being mainly the latter after Blåskog’s unfortunate suspension from the NCEF. It has also ensured that he had allies among the bureaucrats and oligarchs who were aligned with his Reformist Faction, the only reason why the Orthodox Faction hasn’t tried to coup him is thanks to that backing. Geopolitical wise Jarisven was almost in the same bad position as it was 20 years ago when he took over. Sure he was able to secure some level of detente and co-existence in East Novaris, but unfortunately the Sons of Odin’s involvement in the Ymirland Civil War has put him in square one. He was hoping he could lower the grotesque large military spending but with the interventions nations like Norgsveldet and Federation have been doing against other regimes similar to his? He couldn’t afford that, at least without the militarists couping him. There being a sudden summit in Kyinster does not improve things either.

He took a sip from his coffee cup as he turned the page on the reports given to him. The budget being slightly larger than that of last year, his attempts to decrease the amount of corruption within the military have played a small part in that. It didn’t exactly make the militarists happy of course but the last they needed was another general getting a yacht instead of money being spent on securing maintenance equipment for their old HK-22s. Having been able to buy it from Blåskog, though they didn’t exactly get it in the well maintained level that the damn king promised. His eye twitched when he thought back to his meeting with the Blåskovian king. He swore he could smell the damn debauchery coming from the elven king when he was there. The way the Blåskovian eyed up on kemonomimi servants made his skin crawl. It basically was raw proof of the Great Seduction taking place. But he had to keep his disgust to himself when he was around Carl. They were arguably the closest thing his country had for partners at the current moment. His thoughts about that damnable meeting were broken however with a knock on his office door.

“Come in.” Tarvan said with a sigh, taking a sip from his coffee cup once more.

A young looking elven man steps into the room, well young by elven standards. His uniform being freshly pressed, buttoned polish and his dozens of medals he ‘earned’ being freshly made for his outfit. In his hand, some fancy latte drink and a Witcain on his wrist. Looking extremely smug as he walked towards the desk, taking a seat in front of Tarvan. Before he even spoke, Tarvan could hear the raw arrogance forming from him. “Mr. High Minister Jonis, you called?”

“Quite so, give me an update on the condition our military is in.” Tarvan poured more coffee into his cup before he continued on. Giving the younger elf a clear stern look. Himself wearing dark gray Gothiric robes with ceremonial chainmail armor underneath. “And don’t try to cover up the issues, you know just as well that other generals have been discharged for being yesmen. If you want to keep your fancy watch and your medals then be frank.”

He only rolled his eyes at the High Minister. “Well, half of our military oil reserves have been sold off. Rain kept into ceiling of the armory down in the capital and rusted a few hundred rifles. Still got a problem with quartermasters selling off military equipment to tourists. Oh, and the majority of our tanks are missing parts from them.” He takes another sip from his drink, “Also majority of the middle rank officers, the colonels absolutely hate you after you cut their bonuses to pay for those jets.”

“Well if they want any access to our nation’s mineral wealth and any say within our bureaucracy then they need to shut the hels up.” Tarvan said in an almost spiteful voice. “Tell them that they will get a wage increase and a bonus If they prove successful in getting our tank fleet in order. We have a large army that needs to be in top shape.”

“Well, if only we had spare money to buy parts for our tanks and provide ‘motivation’ to colonels. Not to mention that a tank without oil is just a fancy paperweight.” He keeps speaking in the damn smug tone, but at least this young blood is being direct with him.

Tarvan groaned in annoyance, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Fine, the wage increases first and extra funding will be placed to get new parts. I will be contacting the Blåskovian king, he be needing more importers of their oil after Norgsveldet ditched them afterall…” He had to curse himself knowing that he had to talk with Carl again.

Finishing his overly sugary coffee, tossing it into the trash can next to the desk. “Another topic is the generals’ secretaries. Now it seems silly getting them all a gift, however if you like knowing what they’re doing and saying. The secretaries are the eyes and ears for you.” He takes out a small piece of paper, “I took the liberty to get them all flowers and various gifts, you will comp the cost no?”

The High Minister internally sighed as he signed the bill that was over 100,000 JKN worth (10,000 SHD). Giving the young elf a small glare as he handed the bill back to him. It was a smart decision to promote Henrrow Moringson, giving Tarvan a valuable ally within the military, but by the gods he was smug. “Done. Before you go I have one final request.”

“Don’t worry, I already promised myself to stay away from your wife.” He gives that damnable look again to him.

“I’d punch you if you weren’t so damn useful.” The High Minister rolled his eyes at the damnable fool’s joke. “I need you to help prepare plans for resistance groups in case our nation gets invaded. The Northern Region is our best bet for a good insurgency.” He let out a small sigh, before holding his hand up to ensure Moringson did not speak up just yet. “I will increase your wages and help you get out of trouble next time you anger someone if you do this for me.”

“Consider it done, my girlfriend needs new earrings anyway. Well, one of my girlfriends.” He gives a chuckle to himself, and much to the annoyance of the High Minister. He stands up, offering to shake the older elf’s hand.

“Just avoid flirting with Mr. Råtson’s wife this time around. I anger the Orthodoxs enough by simply existing.” Tarvan took hold of Moringson’s hand, shaking it.

“Don’t worry, I took your advice and took his daughter out for a nice time around the capital.” He smiles widely at him, with that stupid, damnable boyish charm of his.

The High Minister took note of that to keep in mind to ensure his daughters were as far away from this man as possible. “Have a good day, Mr Moringson. Glory for Darzisa.”

“Yes, yes Glory for Darzisa and all that.” He let go of the High Minister’s hand. Placing nonchalantly into his pockets and leaving Tarvan’s office. Though not closing the door behind him, letting the High Minister see the little shit flirting with his secretary.

Tarvan walked towards the door, closing it harshly, hopefully giving the young boy a small jump as he did so. “Almost as bad as Carl…” He said, shaking his head as he once more sat down behind his desk as he called up the Blåskovian King.

Base Mordred, Kyinster
Kyinster, Ymirland
January 18, 2023

Base Mordred, the center for Federation power projection across Novaris. Being the command center for not just themselves, but for the RCEU and the Norgsveltian Crown Realm. The sprawling base was technically outside of Kyinster, but the sheer size of it reached the capital of the melancholia country. It is a hub of activity, endless military transportation craft and it was a common sight to see naval ships stationed here. While they’re was many flags here, the one that flew above them all was the white, red and yellow colors of the Federation.

The massive base is named after an ancient Hjørdist tale of a dragon-knight borned a bastard twice, unwedded mother and a half-kemonomimi half-elf. Her father was one of many of Thor’s offspring, and mother dragon-whisper. When Mordred came of age, she led a crusade of flames until she was put to the blade and casted out of the nine realms until Ragnarök arrives. Tale has many interpretations, but the modern view of the old tale was of a child casted out of paradise returned for revenge only to be casted out again and to rise again in the final war to strike down the family that refused her thrice.

It wasn’t a tale or an interpretation of Norgsveltian’s (or any other Ulvriktru majority nation) particularly liked but for Côtois’ view. It is a tale that was deeply entrenched into their mind. Story that fused with the collective culture mindset. The tale felt as if it became part of them as much as it did their own actual history. It was only fitting for them to name the base after such an iconic tale for them.

Admiral Raphaëlle Blanchet, the woman who won the conflict in Ymirland against the Concordian Corporatocracy, led Federation forces in the intervention in West Borea and a handful of other conflicts. Now in command of all Federation forces in Novaris, and now holds the fate of Jarsiven in her hands. Well it would be more correct in her folders, it wouldn’t be the Federation if they didn’t already planned on invading or at least being at war with any country on Urth. It’s just good practice.

Her office was in standard fashion of a Côtois’ military fashion. Simplicate mixture of concrete, wood and glass. Photos of her family, including her daughter-in-law Alexandra with her son Thierry. A Federation flag hanging behind her, next the portrait of the current FPM Madam Pierre.

Admiral of the Federation, plays two roles one was the military role and second was playing diplomat. There, of course, was the diplomatic corps but she was head of operations and the lead unofficial diplomat. Meaning when it comes to talks with Tretrid and Kuoväszna, she has to be there.

“Ah, Madam Pierre, a pleasure as always!” The kitsune gave a smile as the woman stepped into her office. She stood up and gave a salute towards her.

“Admiral Blanchet, I trust you’ve been keeping busy.” Pierre took her seat across from the admiral. Blanchet walked towards the coffee pot, pouring two cups for both of them. “I take it you are here for a more personal report of our situation in Novaris.” The admiral placed down the coffee cups in front of them.

“Merci.” Jeanne took a sip from her coffee, “Indeed, I know our continued involvement isn’t well received by other Novaran nations here. Could you give your personal opinion on the potential threats the other nations pose?”

Blanchet took her seat again, “Tretrid, has historically always played defensively unless they have a strong hand at the table and doesn’t bluff often. If I was playing their hand, I would say they’re bringing us more involved into Novaris affairs to control our impact within Novaris.”

“They always have been cautious when it came to placing sanctions on the Federation throughout the decades.” Pierre sipped her coffee, “I’m curious, legitimizing our involvement within Novaris certainly wouldn’t do them any favors diplomatically. Jarisven, in its current form, should be eradicated. I don’t believe the Tretrid government would have the spirit in them to do anything more than what they have previously done-so in the past.”

“If I was to take their perspective, they’re placing Jarisven on the altar as a means to keep our forces occupied for years. Occupation and rebuilding of the country alone will take quite a bit of Federation attention in Novaris.” Blanchet replied in a calm tone, “Not to mention the nation building projects in the separatist republics off of Jarsiven.”

“You believe they’re willing to go to war?” Pierre raised an eyebrow, not quite believing it.

“It’s not a secret the Federation wants to remove Jarsiven and that was before the RCEU was formed. If I was the Tretrid government, with their heavy focus on stability within Novaris. Then I would look at Federation as one views a wildfire. To control a wildfire, you need to have controlled burns to limit the spread. They most certainly are concerned with the less flashy methods the Federation spreads democracy through the International Socialist Endowment Fund, Radio-Labor and all other manner of organizations. I’m certain it would be brought up, even more so as we further entrench ourselves into Novaran politics.”

“I will keep it in mind, what about Hustreache?”

“To say as briefly as possible, they’re concerned and wished to turn back the time to before the renewed tensions. They almost certainly are or will be seeking closer military ties with their benefactors such as the Concordian and Morst Imperialists. That being said, I don’t believe they will interfere with operations here unless the Federation does something first. They have a working relationship with our ally Ymirland and for all purposes, only nation in the region they will have a dialogue with.”

“Any suggestions with Hustreache?”

“Our allies, both Ymirland and Kuduk want stability in the region but only Ymirland wants the removal of the Jarsiven threat. No one wants another cold war and frankly I believe it would be unnecessary for covert operations with Hustreache. They’re becoming tolerable, and most importantly opening up. While they’re not going to accept our role here, they won’t actively object to involvement if given reassurances.”

“Norgsveldet would object to becoming friendly with Hustreache, at any level. Not to mention, they’re a repugnant state, and a Hiridist driven government. While I can understand the concerns of our allies, I believe Kuduk out of all nations understand our morals must guide us in all things including foreign policy.” Pierre finished her coffee cup, standing up to go over to the pot and refill it.

“I’m not saying we shake hands but we play nice for now until the region is stabilized and integrated into the RCEU. Everyone knows about the Federation’s stick but we need to show them the poison carrot. Once we soothe their paranoia, we start using R-L, ISEF and other organizations we have in our hand to promote our values and socialism. After which we can start operations to establish a democracy a few years if not decades down the line. First however, we must get them drawn into our influence and economic output. After we’re finished with Jarisven, they will be surrounded by RCEU members or aligned to the RCEU states. The potential for trade and economic benefit would undoubtedly seem attractive to the capitalists in Hustreache.”

“I see, what is your opinion on Kuoväszna?” Pierre returned to her seat with a fresh cup of coffee.

“It is a military dictatorship that justifies its existence through the Jarsiven threat. When the Jarsiven threat is handled, they will either shift gears towards Hustreache as the threat or they will return to democratic state. If they return to democracy, it provides a unique opportunity to influence them and establish a proper democracy there. They’re a majority Akuan state, which frankly brings them more in line with socialist values than potentially Jarisven could and their current economic isolation brings opportunity. Once we secure the region, RCEU will become the majority trade partner by default assuming they are not joining the Union. They will be relying on our socialist investments into the country, which can further expand the socialist base there along with the other operations at play in the country.”

“Seems you’ve been planning for the downfall of Jarsiven for quite some time now, and making quite a bit of assumptions.”

“You wouldn’t have been in charge of Novaran Command if I wasn’t” Blanchet gave a smirk. “I firmly believe, with the exception of Hushreache and Kuduk, we can turn the East Novaris region into Democratic-Socialist stronghold within a decade. In two decades, our future allies will be able to spread socialism on their own across Novaris. Once Jarsiven has been destroyed, our influence within the region won’t be able to be matched and then once it is stabilized properly during and after occupation of Jarsiven. Provided with economic investment, from RCEU and your friends in Rochefort street, we can create a strong integrated economy among neighbors to further promote democratic ways of things, creation of a whole region that produces the worker-exploitive free goods and services. Which, as long it is successful, proves that socialism doesn’t just make countries like Durakia but more nations like the Federation. Able to have socialism but with a high living standard of living.”

Pierre sipped her coffee, “Sometimes, I do wonder when you are going into politics Blanchet.”

“I would rather remove my tail than be a politician. I like dealing with real mud more than I like to deal with metaphoric mud. Besides, if I was a politician, who else are you going to call up to do your dirty work?” Blanchet gives a laugh.

“Speaking of dirty work, have you found anyone within the Jarsiven government both in exile and in office that would fit into our plans?”

“No one with the charisma for a leadership role, but within the exile there are few individuals that would be swayed to the side of democracy. In the Jarisven itself, we won’t know until we get there but I believe the bureaucrats would always enjoy having job security.”

“Reassuring but what can you tell me about the imperialists in Mirhaime.”

“They should be destroyed”

“Besides that.”

“The Neo-Imperialists have been rubbing Tretrid, and anyone else with a half-decent sense of morality the wrong way. They’re making moves in Gondwana is nothing less than renewed colonist fever, and their actions clearly have shown they must be countered with greater force. As I understand it, Tretrid has been long looking for a partner to counter them.”

“You say partner Blanchet, but I think you mean outsourcing.”

Blanchet gave a shrug, and gave a small nod. “That fair point, but I don’t believe Tretrid would want to purely outsource their Mirhaime problem, if they did well. It gives us a lot of lee-way within Novaris politics and I can safely say that the Tretridian state wouldn’t enjoy the Federation method of handling issues even without direct conflicts. Our ability in influence and plan in North-Eastern Novaris is purely based on our allies, to which they will have a much tougher time curtailing. With the rest of Novaris, then it became more complex and Tretrid long established itself as a power here with diplomatic influence.”

“As well the Federation being the newcomers to the region, and not having the greatest of reputations when it comes to the capitalist swine. Factoring in our plans within the region, we won’t have diplomatic support here outside of our allies. We should consider ourselves to be in hostile territory diplomatically. Though our support organizations should win some of the Novaran proletariat over to our righteous cause.” Pierre finished her cup again, leaning back to relax in her chair.

“I would like to bring u-” Blanchet stopped speaking as a kemonomimi in a suit knocked on the office door. “Come in.” The kitsune pushed her paperwork back into its folder.

A kemonomimi man stepped in, wearing a suit. “Madam Pierre, there is a phone call from High Jarlyia Alexandra. She requests your assistance in a government meeting.”

Pierre stood up, dusting herself off. “We cut it short here, but it’s good to see you in person again, Raphaëlle.”

The admiral stood up and gave a salute towards Jeanne. “We have plenty of time to talk Jeanne, now go wipe the royal’s nose before they start to cry.” They gave a small smirk.

“Watch it now, Raphaëlle or else I have you on dish duty for the next royal cat race.” Jeanne forced her lips upwards to make a smile back. Fighting through her medical condition that always made it difficult to express her honest emotions.


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Eoforwine Æthelstansunu stood in the conference room in front of a row of Tretridian and Côtois flags standing in a row. It was time for the obligatory photo op with Federal Prime Minister Jeanne Pierre.

Eoforwine never really considered himself truly a natural at the performative parts of governance, but by now he certainly had become good at acting through all of it. It certainly made him seem like a person fit to govern.

He waited. And waited.

And nothing happened.

Eoforwine looked around him. Where was everyone, anyway? The press wasn’t here, despite this being a photo op. He was the only person here, in fact.

He walked to the center of the room, facing the side that Pierre was supposed to walk from. He then turned around and nearly jumped out of surprise.

Now at the spot where he had been was his oncetime friend, Æthelwine Heardsunu. The lapel of his suit jacket was adorned with a pin depicting the flag of the League of Novaris, its distinct bright gold popping out against the dark, muted backdrop of the jacket fabric.

“This isn’t real,” Eoforwine said.

Æthelwine simply shook his head. “No, this isn’t.” He approached Eoforwine, and stopped once the two were arm’s reach away from each other.

“You’re not him.”

“No, I am not, either. But why is it that I appear so, nonetheless?” The former Secretary-General paused for a moment. “Do you remember the accident, nearly fourteen years ago? What you had said was the choice that faced me after it happened? I chose one way, and you chose the other path, or should I say, you continued on the path you already were on. Why did you take the same path you wouldn’t let me consider?”

Because far more people would have been hurt in that case. Yet Æthelwine, as well as this simulacrum of him, already knew that.

“Were you trying to spare me from making the sacrifices you’ve made, Eoforwine? We’re fundamentally not too different. I think that was why we were drawn towards each other in the first place.”

Æthelwine turned and walked towards the flags. He held up a Côtois flag and examined the fleur-de-lis at the center. “You envy Pierre, don’t you? You wish you could try painting the map red with socialism like she seeks to. You wish you could have Tretrid react to sapient rights abuses the way the Federation does.” He turned to look back at Eoforwine. “Isn’t that what you tried in Balistria? Using military brutality to make an example of them?”

Eoforwine did not bother answering. He knew this echo of his former friend already knew.

“You know you’re taking a gamble. You know that you may not be able to stem the red tide, and it can easily wash away Tretrid. Are you really sure that you are in control of this situation?” The voice of doubt paused. “No, you don’t. I wouldn’t be asking you if you didn’t. You know this.”

“The destruction of Jarisven is simply the right thing to do.”

“Perhaps. I won’t dispute that the end of the regime there would decrease the amount of sapient suffering in this world of ours. Yet you know, as do I, that in these affairs we must consider what must come after. The war will no doubt be won, but what about the peace? A botched peace could easily make the situation far worse. And don’t forget that, whatever happens, you have to look the Tretridian people in the eyes and tell them that it was for their sake. Remember that it is their mandate with which you occupy your office. While our respective paths have led the two of us to far different destinies, you still must carry out your duty to Tretrid specifically, just like mine is to the League above all else. In the end, will history and the Tretridian people look back on your actions and find them justified?”

In the end, history will find such actions justified. If there was one quotation that underpinned everything Eoforwine did, it was that. “They will.”


There was a long, ponderous pause after that.

“You know, Eoforwine, I’ve been thinking about something. When I served in the cabinet, I became close friends with a fellow cabinet minister,” Æthelwine said, now looking at one of the Tretridian flags. “I wonder what became of him. Is he still around, or has his work entirely consumed him and left behind an empty shell giving empty smiles and empty promises?” He looked at Eoforwine again. “Eoforwine, what are you now? Are you proud of what you have made yourself? Where is the person I once called a friend? He certainly would never have ordered that Correvan ship sunk.”

That question did not merit answering.

“Are you just here to mock me?” Eoforwine asked, instead.

Æthelwine shook his head. “I wouldn’t be telling these things to you if you didn’t already actively harbor such thoughts. After all, I’m not him.” That last sentence was, in fact, said in a mocking tone. “There is no one in this wide world of ours that hates you more than you hate yourself.”

“Then I have nothing more to say to you,” Eoforwine said.

“And yet I am here because you always have more to say to yourself. I am ultimately a projection created by your own mind. Æthelwine reminds you of what you could have been like, had things gone differently. That’s why you’ve given me the form that I currently inhabit, though my thoughts and words are yours. Unlike him, you know exactly everything you’ve done in the name of your office and the Kingdom of Tretrid.

“I tire of this. Begone.”

“Then I shall take my leave of you. Remember, however, that the voice of doubt that I speak with has always been with you, and always will be with you.” Æthelwine raised a hand in a farewell gesture. “Adieu, Prime Minister.”

And the world dissolved as Eoforwine Æthelstansunu, Prime Minister of Tretrid, woke up.

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Palace of Tolvstat, Kyinster
Kyinster, Ymirland
January 19, 2023

Always with diplomatic circles they demand photos of everything, a photo here and a photo there. A minor annoyance at most, and always full of tradition, diplomatic protocol and a dozen other things tied to it.

The meeting palace was place of the Jarlnja, a standard palace that bared the marks of the war they won ever so long ago. Checkpoints and barbed wire aside, the palace was reimagined in gothic designs after the bombings of the north. Gothic in design, and features to boot. Meeting place itself was a simple one, a conference room designed in such a way to meet the Côtoise preference that meant the most basic of designs, chairs for the press and a flags at either position side of the given entrance for the two leaders.

Frankly it was the most neutral of grounds between Tretrid and the newcomers of the region, regardless how much more ‘regional focus’ powers complained. The Federation was here and they always played for keeps ever since their failure in Bana in the 80s. By special order from the powers that be, the Tretrid PM will enter first and then madame Pierre will enter, in some small respect given to Tretrid authority over in Novaris.

Prime Minister Æthelstanesunu walked in as per the predetermined script for this event. He played his part to the fullest, as befitting the country he stood for. Tretrid was, fundamentally, the power of the Novaran status quo, after all, and by the accounts of many, Eoforwine was the most powerful person in Novaris. Yet it certainly did not feel that way to him.

Federal Prime Minister Pierre stormed into the room, hands resting behind her back and she stepped forward. It was perhaps the first time the Tretridian actually fully saw just… How massively short she was, perhaps barely to his elbow. Yet she walked as if she was the most powerful person in the room, without a second thought in utter confidence. To be fair, her medical condition, Duval Syndrome most certainly helped with that. Jeanne Pierre reached out her hand up towards him, her angry looking purple eyes drilling into his own. She spoke in a tone that would send a shiver to any sane person. “Mister Æthelstanesunu, it is a pleasure.” She spoke in perfect unaccented Frakanic, the translators in their earpieces will do the needed work.

Eoforwine took Pierre’s hand and shook it. If he had been fazed by Pierre’s apparent demeanor, he did not show it. “Mrs. Pierre, the pleasure is all mine,” he said. The two leaders turned to the cameras so the press could take their pictures. There always had to be room for pageantry in meetings such as these.

Jeanne’s face didn’t even remotely change, her fiery, angry looking expression didn’t slip up once. Her eyes looked towards the flashing cameras and other assorted expressions. It wasn’t uncommon for various world leaders and important figures to be caught off-guard by her medical condition. She learned from experience its best not to bring it up to them or say anything about it to them. She pulled out her chair to the table, without a second glance. Breaking off her strong hold of his handshake to sit down, as it is all was all practice to her. Still facing towards the eager press.

Eoforwine adjusted his chair and sat down in turn. To him, too, this was just yet another long-rehearsed move in the oft-performed dance of high-profile summits. He, too, kept his face on the cameras.

Pierre spoke up first, opening up with a joke. Well she thinks it’s a joke, at least. “As in my nation, the sapient brain stops when the bullet hits on them.” While its a common joke in the Federation given their rather dark sense of humor it might not carry well with people of Novaris. Her wife always said she should try to use more humor in her speech though, but just incase she spoke up again. “It is a pleasure to be here in Novaris, and I thank the Ymir government for hosting this meeting.”

“It is good to finally meet you as well. This has been a long time coming,” Eoforwine said. He did not react to Pierre’s joke.

The complete dead silence from the audience proved that humor in the Federation wasn’t quite at international level as one would think. “Indeed it has, before we begin. I believe a small number in the audience might have a misunderstanding about the Federation present here in Novaris. I would like to be clear, the Federation is here to act as purely a benefactor and a defender of truly democratic states. We’re not interested in reigniting a cold war, or a hot one for that, regardless of what some say in the media.” Jeanne kept her aggressive, angry sounding tone. “We’re here for the benefit of all sapients on Urth, both in economic and political.”

“Indeed,” Eoforwine said. “Tretrid and the Federation have had a number of unfortunate misunderstandings in recent memory, but the facts on the ground remain that we are both committed to the advancement of sapient rights and democracy across Urth.”

“There is a minitory, a loud minority that have expressed their concerns about the Federation’s involvement in Novaris. Especially after the expulsion of Concordian Corporatocracy forces from Ymirland. Let me make it clear, the Federation is not here to start conflicts or bring a violent red revolution across East Novaris. The Federation’s foremost goal is stability and peaceful growth. The Armed Forces of the Federation and RCEU will only ever act in defense.” Pierre took a sip from her water, looking into the crowd of seated reporters. She noticed a few familiar faces in the crowd, and mentally prepared herself if those reporters decided to start yelling out questions. Though she couldn’t say the same for her counterpart. Reporters from the Federation tend to be a rather aggressive sort.

“Tretrid, for its own part, is doing this in the hopes of bringing East Novaris to a new, prosperous future,” Eoforwine said. “Tretrid also wishes to turn the page on relations with the Federation and believes that they may make for a good strategic partner given where our interests overlap.”

“To that we are in agreement on, East Novaris for too long has suffered from instability and border conflicts. The RCEU and Tretridian assistance in East Novaris, it will become a beacon of democratic values and stability on the continent.” Pierre gave a look towards the crowd, staring one reporter in particular down. “Strategic partnership between our two nations, and the RCEU as a whole would be beneficial in reinforcing democratic states within Novaris, rather than oppose them.” The reporter in question kept his mouth sealed, Jeanne remembering him from the Vorvick Dinner event and his creative methods of asking questions.

“The only people with cause to fear this meeting are those who oppose a free and democratic Novaris. East Novaris will be an example to not just Novaris, but all of Urth of what we can achieve if we all come together in support of prosperity and freedom.”

“As my counterpart put it, there is no reason to be concerned about Federation involvement, nor about our partnership unless the person or nation in question is anti-democratic or benefiting from another nation’s suffering. It’s why at this conference, we openly invited everyone in North-Eastern Novaris to have a seat at the table, out of those nations only two nations rejected our invitation. Jarsiven and Hustereache, the biggest opponents to our growing partnership and the democratic values we hold.”

“Time will tell if they come around to our initiative or whether they will be caught up by the ever-blowing winds of change and be left behind in the past,” Eoforwine said. “For my part, I will say that the door remains open for those who wish to be a part of this new Northeast Novaris, and that I believe everyone involved will find it in their long-term interest to make use of it.”

“The door will remain open, but our minds will-not less we allow our minds to fall out. Anyone can come into our new North-Eastern Novaris, but let me be clear, democracy is a non-negotiable factor in this. We’re not making a new Novaris that is a safe haven for terrorists, fascists and those ilk as it has been in the past. We plan, with our partners, to make a safe, stable and democratic region.” Jeanne partly was surprised by her Tretridan counterpart’s comments, it almost sounded threatening. Perhaps he read up a bit on the cultural aspects of Jarsiven public speaking or maybe he wanted them dead as much as she does.

With another round of flashing cameras, the stage performance they put on came to a close. Pierre standing up first, offering a hand towards the Tretridan PM. Gesture of strength in more religious Ulvriktru minded countries than Tretrid. After this pony show, it was time to finally for some actual policy discussion.

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