The Turning Tides

(OOC: So some of y’all may remember me posting a thing in the Chronicled Tales of Salovia thread about the Kostromastan Summit, but I figured I would make a new thread instead cuz reasons you’ll find out about as you read :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Enjoy!)

January 22nd, 2018, Nolova, Kostromastan…

The Confederation was torn. Kostrom people throughout were at each other’s necks, and no one could agree on anything. Riots and protests with attendance in the hundreds sprouted from every political decision the Council made. From big ticket issues like immigration and terrorism to the smallest issues like what the best method to repave the road network was, there was an ideological divide so obvious that allies of the nation were beginning to worry. An issue this big required just as big a solution, but the elephant in the room hadn’t been addressed for years now; the question that everyone wondered about but no one ever asked: Should the Confederation split apart? The first to finally ask was none other than the man who advocated its creation: Hugo Rikolov, the first Council Head.

Nolov, Kostromastan, 0745…

It was early morning. The clean mountain air of Nolov was a refreshing change from the old capital’s location of dusty and muggy Novgorod. The leaders of each polity were all promenading their way into the capitol building, as well as a representative from both Baykalia and Tuvaltastan. The mayors from each major city in Kostromastan would also be joining the event.

Entering the circular Chamber of the Council, one could see the golden gilded pillars along the walls spaced out between the white walls, all curving up to meet at the center, where an ornately-decorated crystal chandelier hangs. This room had been host to numerous other high-level discussions, but today it wouldn’t be used as such; there weren’t enough people to warrant using it. Instead, the delegation would be heading to a conference room off to the side. The room had recently gone through a modern renovation, and was a stark contrast from the rest of the regally-designed Chamber.

The delegation entered the room single-file, with Hugo Rikolov up at front, followed by the current Council Head Mila Rostilov. The other members of the Council and the mayors of the largest cities were right behind, and the two foreign representatives entered the room last. They all took their seats, with Rikolov at the head of the rectangular table. In front of each seat was a breakfast sandwich and iced coffee. The group had their breakfast, and at 0815 began the meeting that would determine the future of the nation.

“Good morning everyone, hopefully that was enough food for everyone,” said Rikolov.

The others chimed in with “Thank you” and “Yes, it was”

“Now. The question of the day is of course ‘Should Kostromastan split?’ As the first Council head and the de facto leader of the Kostrom-Volova Coalition, I originally advocated for its creation, but only as a temporary measure to keep the region together. It of course has reached a tipping point.” he paused for a moment. “I’d like to hear from each of you, addressing the previously-said question. I’ll start with you, Mr. Orevon. Should Kostromastan split?”

(OOC: Time skip :P)

A day later, at the home of Hugo Rikolov, January 23rd, 2018…

“…So that’s it, huh? Nothing came from the Summit?”

Hugo Rikolov, sat in his favorite recliner near the television, looked up at his closest friend Erik, and said, “Not nothing. We now know our confederation as it stands cannot hold itself together, and it’s only a matter of days before it falls apart.”

“Falls apart?! Are you saying that-”

“Yes, Kostromastan will be no more before the month is out, mark my words. Tula and Nolov have already begun writing their own constitutions; thankfully they’re leaving peacefully. I don’t think the fates of the other provinces will be so calm and orderly. The big cities of the other provinces want to stay as one nation, while the rural areas want to split away. To top it off, there was a Baykalian at that summit as well, and she had a glint in her eye the likes of which I haven’t seen in a person since…”

He slipped back into his mind, back to the Civil War. Hugo had served as a commander under General Posol, a man whose ambitions outshined all others. The goal of continental domination was at the forefront of that man’s mind, and everyone close to him knew it. He had put his ambitions in front of everything else, even his friends and family, and that was his downfall. A former friend of his would murder him in his sleep before he could realize his dream. Hugo had seen some of his plans to take over Aurora. They were longshots, but if the general hadn’t been killed, Hugo knew Salovian life would be very different from what it is today.

He snapped back to the present day, and realizing he had lost his trail of thought, abruptly said, “N-never mind that, though. I’m sure she has well intentions, whoever she was.”

Looking slightly confused, Erik simply replied, “Well, alright then.” after a short moment, he continued, “What happens next? If what you say is true, then central Salovia is going to see some troubled times.”

“Indeed, I cannot say for sure what will happen, we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”

(OOC: Another time skip to the present day)
November 9th, 2019…

It had been damn near two years since the historical flop of a Summit in Nolova, and even still nothing had been resolved. The provinces of Tula and Astrakhan had been independent for a year now, avoiding much of the destruction that the remaining parts of the failed state experienced; Riots, protests, and looting raged throughout the cities, and the rural farms had begun preparing their abodes for apocalypse-level chaos, building up their houses as makeshift forts to fend off any invading cityfolk. The leaders of the provinces were unable to quell the confusion and commotion, and many had slunk under the political radar, holing up in their government offices, avoiding any actions that may get themselves killed. At this point, there was little that could be done, and the majority of people had lost hope in the Kostrom government. Some still went about their days as if there wasn’t anything wrong, grasping onto a past that had been gone for ages. Various factions ranging across the political spectrum had taken control of different parts of the nation, socialists and communists setting up shop in the north, small pockets of fascists establishing themselves in the river-hugging towns. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to the chaos.

(OOC: Hey all so at this point it’s open for people to post in this thread, feel free to react to whatever you want or however you want. :P)

For a long while Lenski Sarinn had been focused on grinding and bringing forward a her idea of a communist government to power. She thought hard beforehand of the kind of things she wanted and now she had a nation to terraform. She looked westwards and saw only enemies. She looked eastwards and saw gain and allies. An unstable Kostromastan and an active independence movement in Nocturne province, Morstaybishlia. Her face a concoction of pure malignancy, she waited for something to give, something that could benefit her. Only time could tell.

(OOC: So I’m gonna set the stage a little bit better with this post, as well as include a map to show what’s going on. Consider this post taking place starting a month ago to the present day, with the map representing present day as well)

Tuvalt Chancellor Alyona Petrovavich, a woman who had seen both Auroran wars and the deadly Salovian Civil War in her lifetime, was no stranger to the chaos that had found new crevices and cracks to seep into in Tuvaltastan’s neighbor to the north. She knew that the people of the former Kostromastan were under immense pressure on all fronts, political, economic, personal, spiritual, you name it. As a sign of good intentions, Mrs. Petrovavich had reached out to the various factions that had taken hold of different areas of Kostromastan; from the communist Salovian People’s Army to the fascist Nationalist Socialist Union of New Salovia, she felt that bringing everyone to the table would help resolve the now-intensifying chaos she had witnessed unfold for months now. The effectively independent regions of Astrakhan, Tula, and Nolova responded back immediately, showing their support for a second, better arranged summit headed by the well-intentioned leader. The other factions, however, didn’t react nearly as well as Petrovavich had hoped.

Upon receiving the correspondence from Chancellor Petrovavich, communist SPA Leader Boris Herikov scoffed. “Absolutely ridiculous! Who does she think she is?! The nerve, thinking I’d bend so low as to sit near him!” Referring to fascist NSUNS leader Erik Lerivol, Mr. Herikov and Lerivol had been former members of the Kostrom Cabinet, and were vehemently opposed to each other, throwing political jabs at each other repeatedly throughout their time in the Cabinet. Of course, now the two were at opposing ends of war, if the conditions were right to trigger it. Herikov threw the letter into the fireplace, mumbling and grumbling to himself about “staying in your lane” and “should know better” as he walked down the hallway of his abode. Similarly, Mr. Lerivol had crumpled his letter up and threw it in the wastebin nearby.

Weeks had gone by, and no response. In the back of her mind, the Chancellor had expected this from the radical factions, especially since the anarchist faction wasn’t lead by anyone to write a response in the first place. Mrs. Petrovavich had become anxious about her nation’s own security due to this, as the chaos had been slowly creeping south into neighboring Tula and Astrakhan. If she were to remain indecisive, surely the instability would rear its ugly face in a major city like Shagonar or Novokuznetsk. She looked out her office window, and knew the only option would be to push the chaos away from her borders.

5 November 2019, Tula…

Recently-appointed President of the fledgling nation Tula was Rorik Vensikov, a scientist in his own right, as most of the vertical city had been designed to focus around, he was the most popular choice in the August elections and won by a landslide. Of course, Mr. Vensikov knew that his science-minded community was as ill-prepared as a nation could be for war, and luck would be on his side to resolving this problem. Receiving that letter from the Tuvalt Chancellor was almost like a godsend, as the protection problem had seemingly resolved itself in one fell swoop. Contacting his Astrakhanese counterpart Freida Poliva, he suggested to her that the two gradually integrate themselves into the south Salovian nation as a way to protect their own people from what had previously been seen as an inevitable demise. Mrs. Poliva was more than approving of the plan proposed to her, as Astrakhan itself had always been more economically close to Tuvaltastan than to its own provincial brethren.

Present Day, Novosibirsk… (OOC: So 12 November)

It had been a week since the Presidents of Tula and Astrakhan met up with Chancellor Petrovavich. The three had drawn up a plan in which the Tuvalt military would set up shop in the strategically-important locations within Tula and Astrakhan, and in exchange an Agreement of Salovian Integration had been signed by the Presidents that laid out a gradual two-to-three month plan to slowly migrate all organizations, electrical grids, road names, and anything else in between to the Tuvalt methods of doing things. The three national leaders all agreed that this would, hopefully, bring about a new period of peace for the peoples of Astrakhan and Tula. Only time would tell if this were true.

(OOC: So here’s how the political situation in Kostromastan as of today looks like) https://i.imgur.com/2HdMMfz.png

The East Cerdan Minister for Auroran Affairs, Immanuel Schultze, was stuck in something of an awkward position. The East Cerdan government had been on something of a PR Drive recently. With the growing international opposition to Sinter Tass’s regime in Kryloth the East Cerdans found themselves actually agreeing with the broader capitalist Auroran nations on something. And Immanuel Schultze’s boss, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, was eager to try and thaw relations with these countries and help improve the image and legitimacy of East Cerdani internationally.

But with a new communist government now in power in Thalria and a growing communist insurgency inside Kostromastan the East Cerdans were quick to shift their attention to these more pressing concerns. So while Immanuel still paid lip service to maintaining friendly relations with all Auroran nations and continued to try thaw relations he was soon having his ministry establish diplomatic channels with Thalria, sensing a strategic new ally in a region the East Cerdan Government had little influence or legitimacy. And with the insurgency in Kostromastan, his people on the ground were more then eager to make contact with the various communist groups in a bid to try and unify them into a single powerful force.

Barvata saw this new failed state scenario as a threat to his people. He was busy dealing with proceedings in the north with Kyrloth and was not interested in sending men to die in a civil war. He was not interested in taking sides, as they all had no common ground with the democratic foundations of Great Morstaybishlia. Despite his motives being ridiculed in parliament as being a disgraceful decision- of which much was in the disgust of his Conservative political opponents who would quickly seek intervention, he mobilised the armed forces and set up checkpoints at the border with Nocturne Province and the warzones in Kostromastan. He desired no war today, and that way he was keeping the nation secure.

It was sunday and Sarohart’s second day off. She had been in a half-hearted recovery mode since the Phoenix House Gunfight all that time ago due to the demand of the new North Ethalrian Confederacy. She invited Magolen over for brunch before the two would go out in the evening. Recently, Immima Magolen had become quite a close friend of hers rather than just a political ally. They would go out on walks and various other activities on their two days off a week and liked each others company mainly because Sarohart had fallen out with her family and Magolen’s were all dead.

“Bit of a strange thing going on in Kostromastan.” Sarohart glanced at Magolen whilst repeatedly jabbing the television remote to turn the volume up to hear the news.

“Kostromastan In Tatters: As 2019 is slowly coming to an end, the failed state of Kostromastan has been in chaos, triggered by the 2018 summit that showed the Kostrom public just how indecisive their elected officials had become. As a result, the former provinces of Tula, Astrakhan, and Nolova all declared their intent to leave the confederation shortly after the flop of a summit. Tula and Astrakhan have in recent months teamed up with neighbor to the south Tuvaltastan to buffer the political impact of independence, and it is expected that the two new nations will eventually become a part of the south Salovian nation…”

She turned the volume down.

“It doesn’t talk about the gathered interests from Thalria and other communist states like East Cerdani- the last thing we want is for Gondwanan warships to arrive in Aurora.”

“You’re right, but it shouldn’t concern us, they’r-”

“They’re too far away? Maybe they are, but this civil war upsets the fragile balance of Aurora, we need to set out which side we support in the coming days. Heck, you think they’re so far away and yet East Cerdani is revving their engines for something, nobody sees it but I can. They are going to create a Communist Pact which would for sure divide the UNAC, and fuckin’ Barvata can’t see shit. He just sits in his office in Sani Bursil way away from danger whilst it crawls on OUR doorstep. Barvata’s influence in Nocturne is weak as it is, now imagine they gain independence and get subjected to this violence too? Great for big boy Barvata in his high castle but not great for us!”

“You’re right…”

“Yes well, I am not President of the NEC for nothing.” Sarohart chuckled and listened to the rest of the news.

“Tuvaltastan’s Chancellor Mrs. Petrovavich, accompanied by Tula and Astrakhan Presidents Mr. Rorik Vensikov and Mrs. Freida Poliva, have just signed onto an agreement that would offer the two fledgling nations protection in a tumultuous time for the former nation of Kostromastan. The agreement would effectively hand the reigns over from Mr. Vensikov and Mrs. Poliva and to Mrs. Petrovavich, making the two nations officially states of the Democratic States of Tuvaltastan. We will update this news article as more information becomes available…”

“As much as that’s a power grab if any I’ve seen…” Sarohart sighed. “But Petrovavich is an ally we need if we haven’t got the help of Barvata in this one, especially when the communist war-machines march and sail over…”

Immanuel Schultze was not happy, his boss Siegmund Ackermann had just effectively told the whole world of their plans to support the Thalrian government, and in a particulary brazen and naive way as well. Although the original ideas had been around negotiating with neighbouring countries for access into Thalria to deliver economic assistance and aid that idea had effectively vanished the moment Ackermann talked about Thalria being “vulnerable to imperialistic aggression”.

And unless Ackermann had other ideas Schultze hadn’t been told about, his poorly worded speech certainly seemed to imply that they were going to be sending over military equipment and personnel to protect a vulnerable Thalria from any “imperialistic aggression”. Schultze was quick to voice his concerns about this to Ackermann, but was simply given assurances that he wouldn’t “make anymore slip ups” and told to find a solution before it’s too late. Although he was quite annoyed by such a flippant response, he had little choice but to figure something out that wouldn’t further threaten to throw off talks with Thalria and it’s neighbours.

And Schultze’s solution was something that East Cerdani seemed to never want to show the international community. Transparency. He offered for all monetary transactions to be audited, all imports to be inspected, and the processes to be open at all stages for evaluation and inspection. To further appease the neighbouring states he even offered for there to be limits to the amount of aid delivered to Thalria and restrictions on certain types of goods. Schultze knew this wasn’t exactly the best outcome but at least by having everything open and transparent he knew that is anything were to happen then the East Cerdans hands would be clean. And now all that remained was to wait for responses to his proposal.


Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Cerdani Democratic Republic
Ministerium für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik

Transcript of Press Release
Mitschrift der Pressemitteilung

It is in the context of this economic situation of Thalria, that the illegal regime in Karinthus has strived to prevent the emergence of yet another Auroran independent state near its borders. To that end, the illegal regime has committed various acts of aggression against Thalria since its revolution. The North Ethalrian Confederacy knew from the nature of the revolution in Thalria, that it is going to constitute a strong state that would immensely contribute to the liberation of the rest of former Ethalria and the end of fascist domination. After the defeat of Thalrian capitalism, Sarohart, blinded by her fascist ignorance, tried to intimidate the people of Thalria with aggressive threats and displays.

On behalf of my government, The Cerdani Demcratic Republic. I wish to stress, that we regard the economic and political problems facing Thalria as real. And to leave no doubt in our action that we regard the decisions of the government of Thalria, to protect and secure its sovereignty and peace in Aurora, as only a burden that it is carrying on behalf of Aurora and therefore deserves full compensation.

December 3, 2019. Novosibirsk, Tuvaltastan…

Mrs. Petrovavich had just finished reading the transcript sent by the East Cerdani Foreign Ministry. Although she knew for a fact that Sarohart was in no way fascist, and that Karinthus was elected in a very legal way, she also knew that the Kostromastan situation was spiraling out of control, and outside intervention was sure to help ease the strain on the region. Her allies may disagree with foreign intervention, but her neighbors to the north, no matter how volatile and indecisive they were, didn’t deserve this outcome. Bloodshed-ridden conflict after bloodshed-ridden conflict had plagued the central Salovian desert region since the Civil War. Perhaps non-Auroran hands could try their hand at aiding in establishing peace in such a devastated place. She wrote up a response to the East Cerdani press release, hoping others would follow suit:

[spoiler]

From The Chancellor’s Office of The Democratic States of Tuvaltastan

To the East Cerdan Foreign Ministry:

           I would first like to extend a hand of greetings and good faith. It is an uncommon sight for many Tuvalts to hear from Gondwanan nations, and a welcome sight in my personal opinion. After reading your recent press release, I come to understand that your nation intends to lend a hand in an economic sense to The PDRT. Although I may disagree with the ways in which announcing said intentions, I must say that I am rather relieved to hear about them nonetheless, as a new relationship may yet build out of the chaos that has been broiling to the north. I would like to officially request that representatives from East Cerdani, as well as the other nations that border Former Kostromastan, arrange for a meeting to discuss the situation at hand. I believe that a fresh perspective on the issues is greatly needed, and await your response.

Kind Regards,

Alyona Petrovavich
Chancellor of Tuvaltastan

[/spoiler]

Culoria, Oscrelia, December 2, 2019

Chancellor Ernest Harvey was doing things that aren’t of any particular note. Or at least he was, until one of his staffers came into his office and placed a manila folder with papers on his desk. “An update on the Kostromastan situation, sir.”

Harvey thanked the staffer, and the staffer promptly left. Harvey took a deep breath. He had ordered the military to station in bases near the southern border, something which had not happened since Oscrelian acquisition of land from Salovia.

He opened the folder, and the first thing that caught his eye was a press release from East Cerdani. Oh boy, he thought. He remembered the whole summit of the Auroran Council about the matter with Thalria, and seeing the compass and hammer of the CDR’s seal freshly stirred up those memories.

Harvey looked through the document, and felt even more irritated. Calling Sarohart fascist, claiming that Karinthus’s government was illegitimate…

He looked at the next document. about the NEC’s response, and decided that the CDR was trying to not only solidify the communist regime in Thalria, but that they also wanted a communist government in the remnants of Kostromastan. That unpleasant thought was something that Harvey didn’t want to think about the potential implications of.

After taking a sip from his coffee mug and reading the rest of the documents that had been given to him, Harvey decided that Oscrelia couldn’t handle the Kostromastan situation entirely on its own. After all, there were other countries with a vested interest in having stable (and non-communist) governments at their borders.

He decided to write to Tuvaltastan’s Chancellor Petrovavich to discuss the growing situation.
[hr]

[spoiler]https://i.imgur.com/d9QcCdB.png

OFFICIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE REPUBLIC OF OSCRELIA
To: Alyona Petrovavich
Chancellor of Tuvaltastan

From: Ernest Harvey
Chancellor of Oscrelia

Ms. Petrovavich:

As you know, there is an increasingly concerning situation in the states where Kostromastan once used to exist. Since the former Kostromastan used to border both of our nations, both of us should have an interest in the future of the region. As you likely already know, other nations, like the North Ethalrian Confederacy, and the Cerdani Democratic Republic, have also started to show an interest in the former Kostromastan. The growing factionalism of Volova is also highly concerning, especially as it goes closer to the brink of civil war.

I believe that we should meet, not only to discuss the future of Tuvalt-Oscrelian relations, but also to decide on a course of action regarding the former Kostomastan. As Volova grows increasingly unstable, I believe that our decisions now will decide the future of the area, and will affect the balance of power in Aurora as a whole.

Sincerely,

Ernest Harvey
Chancellor
Republic of Oscrelia

[/spoiler]

As always, the affairs of Aurora were intriguing to the High Ambassador of Fortuna. Alexander Reason placed down the most recent report on his desk, leaning back to stretch. The year has been an interesting one, especially with it being the 20th anniversary under the High Commander’s rule, and yet there was still more to be concerned about. At the moment it was a new conflict in the Salovian region, an area that has a history of instability from what he could remember. And as usual with conflicts, there was usually an opportunity.

Leaning forward and turning to his laptop, as he stared intently at the tabs of news articles about the growing tensions in the region, Reason thought for a moment about the meeting with the High Commander a couple nights ago. It has always been a policy of Fortuna’s leader to keep the nation out of international matters unless it concerned the nation directly. With conflicts such as the one in Aurora, in the past the usual direction Fortuna would take was to stay out of it entirely. However, Fortuna was no longer what it was before. With the main situation with Ambravia calming down and the expansion plans were placed on hold for the time being, the nation was beginning to enter a period of relative peace, and Reason was fully aware that was not good for a war machine. Not only that, peace in Aurora meant it’s own powers, such as the UK, could focus on their own foreign agendas, possibly those concerning Yasteria and potentially Fortuna itself. So surrounded by his close advisers and the Elite Council, the High Commander gave the go ahead to “fan the flames” in Aurora just a little.

As of now, it was up to Reason to begin a dialogue with potential partners in this conflict. He quickly scrolled through the few reports on one faction calling themselves the Nationalist Socialist Union of New Salovia, the faction that caught his and the High Commander’s attention first. Considering their similar political stances to Fortuna, especially being that of anti-communism, they were the perfect group to potentially sell weapons and equipment to. The problem was, Reason had no connection with anyone in the NSUNS, so contacting them directly was not ideal to him just yet. He would prefer to start with someone he was familiar with and gradually work up from there. As he continued reading about the NSUNS and their movements around Baykalia, he knew exactly who to reach out to first.

“Alright, let’s get this going,” he muttered under his breath as he pulled up his contact information. If anyone in Aurora had possible connections to this conflict, it would be the infamous Baykalian woman herself: Lady Posol. Although his communication with the Posol family has been limited, Reason was aware of her past and her loyalty to her homeland. Now with this conflict about to go underway, this seemed like the perfect time to further the bond between the Empire and the Posols. For now, he’ll just need to get the ball rolling by contacting his counterpart.
[spoiler]To: Yolana  Posol
Foreign Affairs Secretary of Baykalia
From: Alexander Reason
High Ambassador of Fortuna

Greetings Secretary Posol,

On behalf of the Second Fortunan Empire, I am contacting you to inform you that we have been keeping an eye on the situation in the former lands of Kostromastan. I am also contacting you because we have an interest in how this conflict will turn out.

The High Commander has shown an interest in supporting the Nationalist Socialist Union of New Salovia in various manners. In order to do so, we ask for your support in completing such an operation. As tensions continue to grow, we see this as an important step in preventing the further spread of communism. We also see this as a profitable venture for both of our nations. First off though, in order to solidify the details, we are willing to send an envoy from Fortuna to assist our current ambassador to your nation, Nicole Xinalli, to begin further discussions. If there are any issues, please contact me as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Alexander Reason
High Ambassador of
The Second Fortunan Empire
[/spoiler]

3 December 2019


Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Cerdani Democratic Republic
Ministerium für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik

To: Chancellor Alyona Petrovavich
Democratic States of Tuvaltastan

I would like to first thank you for taking the time to read and reply to our recent press release on the situation concern Thalria and the surrounding countries. The Cerdani Democratic Republic is committed to providing economic and diplomatic support to the People’s Republic of Thalria and we hope that our aid and assistance will indeed help in stabilising the region and preventing further destabilisation and conflict. In regards to your request for a meeting, we are willing to send our own representatives to said meeting. However we do not have contacts with all the nations surrounding former Kostromostan, we kindly request that, if possible, Tuvaltastan could arrange representatives from these nations to attend the meeting in a neutral country. We hope to hear back soon.

Kind Regards,
Auroran Affairs Council
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Cerdani Democratic Republic

Alyona had spent much of the night mulling over the messages she had received recently. She knew as Chancellor that every word written into a response would need to be carefully considered. She also knew she didn’t have the charisma to encourage Herikov or Lerivol to convene for a meeting, as was evident with her last attempt. Someone else would be needed to accomplish that, but even if that someone else were to get them to agree to meet, where to have said meeting? Anywhere in Salovia was off the table simply because these warlords think they have dominion over it all, but maybe somewhere with minimal interest in the region, like Xiopothos or Emberwood Coast, or even the UK itself. That would have to be decided upon later, though, as she had a couple responses ready.

[spoiler]
OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM TUVALTASTAN

From The Chancellor’s Office of The Democratic States of Tuvaltastan

To the Cerdani Democratic Republic Auroran Affairs Council:

           Thank you for considering our request, we will be working on ironing out the details of the meeting, including the location and date, over the coming days. Regarding the other factions within Volova, we are currently in the process of sending our best diplomats to the various factions to persuade them to come to the table to discuss the future of the region. Thank you again for your time and patience, and we hope that the upcoming meeting may ease tensions.

Kind Regards,

Alyona Petrovavich
Chancellor of Tuvaltastan
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]
OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM TUVALTASTAN

From The Chancellor’s Office of The Democratic States of Tuvaltastan

To Chancellor Ernest Harvey:

           I fully agree with your wishes to meet to discuss the developing situation, and have been working with East Cerdani in also setting up a meeting. Oscrelia would be more than welcome to send a representative, once details are worked out. I have also been coordinating with my subordinates to work on persuading those individuals less eager to attend such an important meeting. However I would also like request that you too look into attempting to get those in Volova to the table to meet? Thank you for your response, Chancellor. I hope that we will be able to ease tensions in our neighborhood soon.

Kind Regards,

Alyona Petrovavich
Chancellor of Tuvaltastan
[/spoiler]

[hr]

“Mother, I have just received a message from Ambassador Reason regarding the Situation in Kostromastan.”

“Mr. Reason, you say? Well, I haven’t heard from him in what feels like an age! Show me the message, dear.”

Yolana handed the paper over to the High Chancellor, and after reading it a few times, catching for any minor cues “between the lines” as it were, she smiled at the message and thought to herself, ‘My, you are getting a bit antsy, my dear Commander!’

Lady Posol turned to her eldest daughter, and said, “Darling, please write this down as I say it exactly…”

[spoiler]
OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM BAYKALIA

From The Office of The Secretary of Foreign Affairs

To the High Ambassador of Fortuna, Mr. Alexander Reason:

      On behalf of the Serene Republic, we would be more than happy to accept M(r)s. Xinalli to further discuss any operations the Second Fortunan Empire may wish to conduct. For the time being, we will send out someone to meet with Mr. Erik Lerivol, leader of the NSUNS to discuss any dealings we may be able to accomplish prior to our meeting.

Glory to the High Commander,
Yolana Posol, Secretary of Foreign Affairs
The Serene Republic of Baykalia
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]To: Yolana  Posol
Foreign Affairs Secretary of Baykalia
From: Alexander Reason
High Ambassador of Fortuna

We’re glad to hear that the talks will be moving forward. Ambassador Xinalli will inform you when our envoy has arrived to begin negotiations with NSUNS. You may contact me at any time if there are any issues.

Sincerely,
Alexander Reason
High Ambassador of
The Second Fortunan Empire
[/spoiler]
Making her way through the halls of the Fortunan Embassy in Baykalia, Nicole Xinalli paused for a second in front of a mirror and made some quick adjustments to her hair. Once satisfied, she nodded confidently to herself and entered into a small waiting room. Sitting silently across from each other, one man wearing a dark green military uniform and the other two dressed in business attire, the three men jumped up from their seats as Xinalli entered the room.

“Greetings gentlemen, and welcome to Baykalia,” Xinalli greeted as she shook the hands of the men.

“It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Madam Ambassador,” the military officer replied. “I’m Lieutenant Marlo Narvi, I’ll be handling any military training and advisory roles if necessary.”

“And I’ll be the one selling the guns,” one of the businessmen wearing sunglasses butted in. “Hi, the name is Gregory Cretino, sales representative for PRODAF.” Xinalli nodded to the eccentric PRODAF representative before turning the last man.

“And you sir do not need an introduction. It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Terine,” she exclaimed as she shook the hand of Terine Industries’ owner and CEO. Antoni Terine smiled brightly as he bowed and lightly kissed Xinalli’s hand, causing the ambassador to blush and the two other men to shift awkwardly where they stood.

“And it is an honor to meet you too, my dear,” he greeted in a charming voice. While Xinalli, still a little flustered, took a moment to readjust her hair again, Cretino stepped up closer to Terine.

“I’ve been meaning to ask, but what brings the big man himself to Baykalia anyways?” Cretino whispered to him.

“I want to make sure our meeting with NSUNS goes smoothly. Also,” Terine looked out the window towards the city, “I have some personal business to attend to.” Their attention was again drawn back to Xinalli as she cleared her throat and smiled to her guests.

"So yes, it is again an honor to meet all of you. Would any of you like some tea or coffee?” Xinalli asked as she gestured her guests back to their seats.

“Tea is fine,” Narvi answered.
“Oh, I wouldn’t mind a cup of coffee!” Cretino exclaimed. 
“Tea would be lovely,” Terine replied. Xinalli nodded to both and sent out the request to one of her assistants before taking a seat herself.

“Well then, as you both have probably been briefed on, we are to meet with representatives from Baykalia and the NSUNS later today. Upon the request of the High Commander, we are to set up a deal with the NSUNS to support their war effort.” Xinalli paused for a second as the three men processed details of the upcoming meeting. “I’ve sent a notification to the Baykalian representatives of your arrival, so in the meantime just relax a bit. I’ll have someone show you to your rooms and inform you later when we’ll be departing.” The four of them looked up as an assistant came in with cups of coffee and tea. “Ah fantastic,” Xinalli exclaimed. “Well then, enjoy your drinks gentlemen, and I’ll see you again later.”

Fortunan Embassy, Chita, Baykalia, 7 December 2019…

Once everyone was ready, the Fortunan delegates made their way out of the embassy and into an awaiting vehicle. Their trip further into the city was short, but it allowed them to admire the city of Chita a little more. A few minutes later, the vehicle pulled into a gated area, coming to a stop in front of a majestic palace; The Palace of the High Chancellor. Stepping out, Cretino whistled as he studied the building before following everyone else into the palace with Terine leading the way. At the foot of the stairs outside the entrance, they were greeted by an awaiting Yolana, who shook Terine’s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to have finally met, sir! My name is Yolana, please follow me to the Grand Hall.”

The group made their way up the stairs of the palace entrance, and Yolana grabbed the knocker shaped like a tiger’s head and struck it against the door a few times. A moment passed and the head butler opened the door.

“Madam Yolana, welcome back.” The tall and lanky man swung the door open for the guests to see the grandiose foyer with two large curving staircases on either side mirroring each other. At the top of the stairs on the landing was Lady Posol.

“Welcome, welcome! Do make yourselves at home! Aveticus, please tend to our dear guests, I am sure they are right exhausted from their journey here.”

As she walked down the steps to the group’s right, she began, “Chita is a truly colorful place; thousands of years of history can be found in this single settlement, and here I am, a foreigner, ruling over it! Such an unorthodox world to live in!”

She finally reached the end of the stairs, and approached Terine. “Antoni, darling! How are you?”

“I’m fine, thank you. It is wonderful to see you again,” Terine replied as gave a small bow to the leader of Baykalia, “me and my colleagues are honored to be here, I’m sure.” He shot a glare towards Cretino and Narvi who also gave a quick bow.

Giving a slight bow in response, Posol smiled back as she looked back up. “Surely!” she stopped for a moment, looking at her guests, then continued “Well, all pleasantries aside, let us retire to the sunroom! It’s a wonderful day to do business, and I wouldn’t miss this wonderful sapphire sky for the world.”

With Posol leading the company, she walked back up the stairs she had just come down from, and after what seemed like a maze’s worth of lefts and rights, they approached a set of deep red doors.

“And here we are!” She swung the doors open and the light coming from the windows of the sunroom immediately illuminated the dim hallway. As the group’s eyes adjusted, they would notice the room was almost entirely made of windows. It was a miracle that this room withstood the Salovian Civil War. The room overlooked a stunning view of the city, with a view that extended all the way to the Bay of Suvol. Off to one side, a man sitting in a chair near one of the windows had been looking out towards the view until he heard the doors open. Standing up, the man bowed and introduced himself. “Good evening, I’m Mr. Lerivol, I’m here to-”

“Yes, yes, Erik! We all know why we all are here! Now let us get down to it!”

The group spent the next hour or so discussing costs and resources, and eventually arrived at a satisfying deal. The NSUNS had its bump in resources, and Terine Industries would benefit from it.

Once the meeting was completed for the day, the present parties made their farewells and slowly filed out of the room. After saying a quick word with Lerivol, Terine began following the group out before stopping and closing the door, leaving him and Lady Posol alone in the room.

“I’m certainly glad we got all of that sorted out for the day,” Terine exclaimed, making his way to a nearby cart and poured out two glasses of wine, handing one of them to Posol.

Taking a swig of her glass, Posol replied, “Oh yes indeed, truly a productive day for the Fortunan endeavor.”

A short moment passed before Posol looked over to Terine and said, “Well you don’t close the door behind yourself for nothing, what is it that you wish to speak about?” Terine remained silent a while before turning his gaze towards Lady Posol.

“The Order has decided on the final candidate,” he replied in a near whisper, “now we just need to ensure it will be one of them that succeeds the High Commander if anything were to happen to him.”

Posol’s typical smirk faded into a more serious tone. “If you need any resources to ensure a smooth succession, please don’t hesitate in asking. I may be an ocean away on this forsaken soil, but Fortunan runs through my blood no less than it did when I fled with mother.” Terine nodded in understanding, taking a small sip from his glass.

“Although I never met her, I certainly heard a lot of good things about her,” he said thoughtfully before regaining his posture. “Well anyways, I certainly hope we don’t need to put our plans into action just yet. I haven’t been provided all the details, but from what Ettori has told us and the increase of purchases by the military, I believe a possible conflict with Ambravia is on the horizon.”

“You don’t say?” Thinking for a moment about the situation, she said “Either way, Ambravia should never have left Fortuna in the first place. Those damned Vulpines disturbed the balance, and ever since then the region’s been in chaos.”

“Yes, the region should have been united back when East Eridani Theta was annexed into the Empire, but allowing their independence was a. . . what’s the saying. . . Ah yes, a necessary evil.”

“Very true, cousin. It’s about time that they join their brethren, nonetheless. Either way, send the family my warmest regards, I must head out for a meeting with my subordinates.”

15 December 2020 
(OOC: From this point onwards this is a closed RP thread unless directly corresponded with, thank ya!)
Somewhere in the Great Auroran Desert…

It was midday, in the middle of the desert, during the hottest month of the year, and Zurab Medhidze couldn’t be happier. The salt-ridden sweat beading down from his brown hair was only one of the many indications of the hellish heat he and his comrades were suffering through, but even this wasn’t enough to put a damper on his mood. In fact, he barely noticed the suffocating oven-like air as he and his brethren rode in the light military vehicle, bouncing up and down every time the old thing hit a minor bump or a midsize rock. He looked up at the cloudless sky with the blinding sun overhead, and he knew he was where he belonged; this was his home, and nothing could keep him from saving it.

“We’re almost at homebase!” the driver called out, his voice competing against the wind and the vehicle’s engine and tires, hoping to convey the message to his four passengers. The driver continued, “Maybe another ten minutes, max!”

“Fucking finally! We’ve been driving in this forsaken heat for too damned long!” Zurab’s comrade to his left exclaimed, obviously less enthusiastic to be here, the look of regret in his eyes. In the back seat Zurab was squished between two other recruits, with the driver and the copilot seats occupied by NSUNS soldiers who were seemingly chosen to go out and recruit in the big cities for their cause.

“Aw, poor baby doesn’t like da warm air!” The soldier in the pilot seat scoffed and turned to face the man to Zurab’s right. “Get over yourself, akhalibich’i! You ain’t seen shit yet. This heat ain’t the worst thing you’ll experience out here.”

With that remark, the newcomer’s face reddened, and he turned his head away in irritation at the soldier, instead looking out the window on his side, obviously offended at the comment, but nonetheless kept quiet the rest of the way.

Off in the distance, Zurab could see the fuzzy semblance of buildings and fences, their shapes warped by the haze radiating from the hot sand. The shapes were slowly increasing in size; they were close now, and Zurab was closer to his destiny…

50 Miles Southeast of Vorota…

Zurab and his fellow newbies, or akhalibich’i as that one soldier had called them, were ushered in through the main gate, the three of them joining the rest of the new recruits who had formed an orderly crowd around a raised platform. Zurab gazed at the platform, when his eyes lit up with excitement. The man pacing across the platform was none other than the Erik Lerivili! The same Erik Lerivili who had served a decade in the Kostromastan military, and for a short time as the leader of Volutsku. He even had a seat in the Executive Cabinet of Kostromastan. Lerivili was a true believer in the cause, and here he was in the flesh giving a speech to Zurab and his comrades. Zurab snapped out of his fanaticism, and listened into his speech…

“…determination is in our blood. Patriotism in our hearts. Courage in our souls. Together- and only together- we can fight and win this nation, and save it from the grimy hands of the do-nothing Loyalists and the evil grasp of the savage Communists. Brdzola! Sik’vdili! Mogeba!!!”

The crowd in unison repeated back, “BRDZOLA! SIK’VDILI! MOGEBA!!!”

Although he had only heard the last portion of the speech, the chanting brought chills down his spine. He knew this was his home.

Ikometa, SPA-Occupied Volova…

Boris Herkovishvili knew he had his work cut out for him as he gazed at the map of Volova. A two front war was nothing to scoff at, especially a two front war in such a relatively small space. His soldiers had successfully taken North Harris (soon-to-be Herkovisili if things went Boris’ way), and for now he turned his attention to the western end of the map, toward Novugdidi and Nats’ichi. The two historically important Salovian cities were now in the crossfire; filthy Loyalists had control over the most important parts of Nats’ichi, whereas Novugdidi was a three-way disaster fest between the Fascist NSUNS, his own socialist Salovian People’s Army, and the ignoramuses who thought the old way made perfect sense- spoilers, it didn’t. The area was at a standstill, the Khermali and its tributaries serving as natural separators for the factions. He knew if he made a move for one of the cities, his grip in the other would be lost, and there was nothing he could do about tha-

“Sir!”

Boris flicked his head upwards, glaring at whoever had just interrupted his thoughts. Scanning the soldier, he appeared to be about 19, hardly young enough to fight, but undoubtedly out of his wits if he thought interrupting the head General of the Salovian People’s Army was the smart move.

“Who in Q’vela do you think you are, kid? Get out of here before I rip you a new one.”

“But sir-”

“Did you not hear what I just said? Get. Out.”

“Sir, it’s from Rikhelidze!”

Nearly blowing a fuse, Boris calmed down upon hearing the name. Rikhelidze was his confidant in Tuvaltastan, keeping tabs on the goings-on of their potential southern neighbor (if those damned Loyalists would die in a ditch). Plodding towards the young soldier, he commanded, “Spit it out, then. What does Rikhelidze have to say.”

The nineteen year old went flush in the face as the war-hardened general loomed over him. Shakily, he reached into his left pocket, and gingerly presented the letter to Herkovishvili.

Seizing the letter from the kid, Boris strolled back to where he had been standing over the map, and dismissed the soldier from the tent, who promptly dashed out of what he perceived to be the dragon’s den. As the kid left, Boris shook his head in wordless chastisement, and opened the letter…

[spoiler]

The lion is making a move; will pounce on the rats: The New Grand is the treacherous path, follow the other.

A friend to Him

[/spoiler]

’Nats’ichi it is, then’ Boris thought to himself, turning his gaze back at the map.

8 December 2020. Mayor’s Residence. Tarov, Tivot.

“How do I look Aleksandre?” Tanya queried her head staffer.

The brunette staffer folded his arms and inspected his handiwork: A simple women’s suit whose sapphire blazer was the clear focus of the look, with the rest of the apparel complementing it in subtle shades of grays and whites. After giving the lapel pin of the Tivotian flag one last adjustment, the staffer gave a discerning nod and declared, “Unequivocally presidential.”

Tanya gave the man a smile, and said, “Perfect.”

Stories had been circulating about Tanya throwing her hat in the ring to vie for the President’s spot, though these stories had been mere rumor. As a result though, the mayor’s residence had been swarming with journalists and news reporters clamoring to get a chance to wring from Tanya even the slightest hint of a Presidential run, especially since the Olivia Barnes scandal all but quashed President Loctov’s reelection campaign. As Tanya stepped from behind the curtain and towards the podium neatly placed center stage, she thought about everything that had brought her to this moment. So much work went into fabricating the scandal beleaguering her political opponent; so many underhanded deals and promises and espionage. But in the end that was the price for true power in Tivot, a nation who had a knack for punching above its weight class through shrewd and merciless business practices and the wielding of economic soft power in the UNAC. Of course this doesn’t even mention the plethora of billionaires who rely on Tivotian banks to hide their dear, sweet money from local taxation. No, paying off Tanya’s debts would be a trivial thing to her. But first, she must announce her Presidential campaign to her supporters. So for now, she must speak clearly, smile, and charm.

[hr]

“…So now I ask you, my friends, do you want a President who sees no issue in backhanded deals and half-hearted promises? Or do you want a President who says what she means and does what she sets out to do? Just look at my time as Mayor! We have never been more prosperous, more equal, more independent in Tarov than in any time in our history! So I implore you to choose someone who can bring about a new era of success for Tivot, and not the same old back-and-forth politics we have seen for the last three decades. I ask you to choose a doer, not a quitter.”

As applause and cheers roared among the supporters of her political party, she knew deep down the hard work had only just begun. As she walked back into the City Hall building, it occurred to her that the speech she had just given had a twinge of irony. ‘Backhanded deals, half-hearted promises…’ She mulled over this while she made her way up the stairs to the official mayor’s residence, whereupon twisting the doorknob, she realized it was unlocked. ‘Odd,’ she thought, ‘Security never allows me to leave this door unlocked.’ She entered the room, and lounging on Tanya’s favorite recliner was a red haired woman.

“We have much to discuss, Tanya.”

The Tivotian mayor had her work cut out for her, for sitting in front of her was Romilda von Anzitter.

Early January, 2021…

The Volovan situation was quite concerning to Tuvaltastan’s chancellor Alyona Petrovavich. Three years of on-and-off chaos, directly bordering the nation she was entrusted to serve and protect. The land buffer that the nations of Tula and Astra offered to Tuvaltastan via their integration could only provide so much security for the capital, Akhalibisi. And what of the easternmost reaches of Tuvaltastan? Mercenaries and other unsightly characters had been leeching off well-to-do Tuvalt citizens for months now, swelling into a crisis that needed contending with, enough for Alyona to hire new hands onto her administration. But addressing those new issues had added to the stretching out of the already thinned military resources. Alyona was stuck in a seemingly unending cycle of “crisis, reaction, quagmire,” and there was little she could do about it. No, at this point in the Volovan situation, what needed to be done was sticking to the course, despite the inundation of crises and plights that plagued her people, and despite the political fallout that this may result in. It’s common to hear that wars do not make Salovian politicians popular, and Alyona knew that well.

She had seen the horrors of the Civil War firsthand during the 1980’s; blood, tyranny, chaos. It was a tragic and heartbreaking war, with siblings against siblings, parents against children, and mothers shattered and left hollow when learning their spouses and kids were to never return home. The garish scar that the Civil War left on the psyches of most Salovians of that generation was so impactful and so deeply ingrained. Alyona of course was no exception to this; she was nine years old when her own father had been killed in that very same war as a civilian casualty, during an airstrike on Tosk’ili in 1989. The airstrike had been executed by the Salovian government, albeit accidentally; their intended target was two blocks down the street. From that moment on, Alyona swore to be a conduit for change. She wanted to be the vehicle to shift the continent away from war, and shift towards peaceful discussion and deliberation so that future generations would need not be subject to the same trauma that she had endured. Yet now, here she was as the elected head of Salovia’s legal successor Tuvaltastan, making decisions about a war she had for the previous two years tried so hard to prevent.

Alyona sat at the head of the briefing room table as these thoughts simmered in her mind. A gray-haired and crusty military general with a commanding voice stood next to drone footage projected onto a screen, briefing to the room the current goings-on north of their borders. Much of the briefed operations were business as usual, save for one; the forces of the SPA and the NSUNS were moving towards the smaller city of Nats’ichi rather than the more significant metropolis of Novugdidi. The NSUNS had been the first to shift their forces to Nats’ichi; the SPA following suit had been unexpected to the intelligence community.

The chancellor leaned towards Luca Ghurieli, her newcomer apprentice, and mutedly said, “It’s the Khermali river confluence they’re moving towards. The SPA has had a recent tendency to match the movements of the NSUNS. Any thoughts?”

Luca’s infamously unreadable face twitched in response to this question, a significant enough change in expression to catch the eye of Alyona. She needed to get to know just who Luca was. After all, it was a leader’s responsibility to know their people and earn their trust. But he had been for the short two months of being in the Petrovavich administration suspiciously evasive about his private life, his goals, anything personable at all. It was something that Alyona had kept in mind as he continued viewing the drone footage, taking a moment to think carefully about his answer. He then quietly responded, “They may have an informant behind enemy lines, or maybe even someone here among us, leading the SPA on. It’s hard to say for certain.”

Turning back to the footage herself, Alyona nodded in a deferring manner, deciding that now would not be the time to confront Luca about his ambiguity. She straightened her posture a bit, continued watching the footage and said, “You’re a quick learner, that’s a good sign. I’m looking forward to working with you in the future.”

“I hope I can meet your expectations, miss.”

Alyona hoped so too, but that remained to be a sure-fire thing. Luca’s equivocality was suspect. Alyona would need to dig further and learn who this man was.

“You’re not dodging quick enough, Zurab! Get up.”

Zurab lay on his hands and knees for a short moment, looking down at the ground. Drops of sweat intermittently fell from his face, landing in the thirsty sand that absorbed the droplets wherever they impacted. His breathing was heavy and rapid, leaving his throat as dry as the desert in which he trained. Despite the unbearable heat and the bruising he had sustained so far, he lifted himself up from the dusty floor, and returned to the ready position as ordered.

In front of him was his opponent, a fellow soldier named Orik. The two were roughly of similar size and strength, but considering the past three rounds, Zurab was not nearly as well-practiced in hand-to-hand combat as his adversary. The score was 2-1, Orik being ahead.

“Again.”

The order came from the cross-armed referee, a higher-ranking sergeant much larger and stronger than Zurab. The sergeant, known affectionately as Beast, was of Melit’hasa heritage, evident from his sharp ears and dark tan skin.

Zurab replied “Yessir,” and he and Orik darted towards each other, determination driving them both to overpower the other. Punches were thrown, blows landed, holds were escaped, until at last Zurab found an opening. Having fought Orik for so long, Zurab noticed a quirk in his fighting technique. When punching with his right hand, Orik’s left hand would lower its guard slightly, just enough for Zurab to take hold of the hand and throw him to the ground. At the next opportunity Zurab flipped Orik and successfully pinned him down.

After offering each other the traditional salute and bow, Beast approached the two.

“Well done, both of you. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished today,” Beast commended. The elf turned his head towards Zurab’s other comrades, all of which were waiting their turns in the circle. “And let this serve as a template for the rest of you! Only with resolve and determination can you outlast the enemy. Kharedze, Yurishvili, you two are next! Get in position.”

The rest of the day was a blur. The young nineteen year-old had been in this sweltering desert for a month now, and he still had another month left of training. Before Zurab knew it, the orange sun had settled on the red horizon, and his exhausted platoon had returned to the barracks for the evening, most of whom collapsed on their cots the first chance they got, falling into a deep sleep. But Zurab couldn’t bring himself to sleep so easily. His thoughts had drifted back home, back to the outskirts of Nats’ichi. Back to his younger sister and his mother. The elsewise barracks were devoid of all things familiar outside of his own sleeping space, and the strangeness of it all welled up the poignant homesickness that Zurab had been holding back these past few weeks. Without warning, the tears he had spent so much energy locking away streamed down his face. Everything about the past month finally had set in; the distance from his family, the rigor of his training, the humdrum of his schedule; all of it flowed out of him through those tears. Minutes passed before the month’s emotional toll had been spent, and for the rest of the night he quietly laid on his bed, lost in thought about his past. He couldn’t remember when he finally fell asleep…