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The Castle On The Hill
« on: April 07, 2018, 08:00:58 PM »

The Castle On The Hill
Stories From Pyrena Castle

Pyrena Castle, the heart of the Imperial Government and home of the Imperial Family, has seen many historic events within its halls. With the return of Empress Beatrice how will she approach the changes instituted by Empress Evanthe? What challenges will be faced with a changing and uncertain world?

Also known to possess a semi-functional TARDIS replica in its basement.

[This is a placeholder for now. Expect an updated introduction in the coming days.]
« Last Edit: April 15, 2022, 06:59:24 AM by Beatrice »

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2018, 09:06:34 PM »
Location: Pyrena Castle, Rokkenjima
Time: 9:25 AST

"As we know Abstergo has undertaken development of supercaptivating torpedoes as well as hypersonic missiles to be fielded upon Rokkenjiman submarines, though we are considering a multitude of options in regards to the continued development of our missile procurement," Marshal Admiral Cole said as he reviewed his notes. "However, Rosa Naval Systems has been working on a project of its own during the development of Abstergo's projects and, for various reasons, we've not made its existence known in the public sphere. RNS has kept Imperial High Command up-to-date on its progress with the Project-4 Oceanic Delivery System, or as we've come to call it Isonade."

"Project-4 is a nuclear powered, unmanned underwater vehicle capable of delivering either a conventional or nuclear payload, as well as being immune to anti-missile defence systems that could be employed against an ICBM or SLBM. It will be able to target the naval ports and coastal cities of an adversary, and we're also exploring options for targeting naval battle-groups as well. The Project-4 undersea autonomous torpedo will possess a range of 5,400 nautical miles and, as I understand, RNS is aiming for a speed of 100 knots. In a configuration of last resort Isonade could be called upon to create a tsunami wave up to 1,600 feet tall, contaminating vast swaths of an adversary's coast with radioactive isotopes while rendering the area uninhabitable for up to a century. Naturally such a configuration would most certainly be a deterrent, though conventional applications could expand the mission profile of Isonade."

"Furthermore, stealth technology is employed to elude acoustic tracking devices, while the depths at which it travels allow the element of surprise. While I personally hope we'll never be forced to irradiate a coastal region I cannot discount the deterrent value it represents, especially with the missile developments we've seen abroad. When we further consider the possibilities of striking an adversary from multiple positions, such as the deployment of Project-4 in conjunction with fractional orbital bombardment, allowing for our forces to decisively overwhelm an adversary."

"And where does RNS stand on the development of Project-4?" Euphemia asked. "We presently do not have a firm time-table in hand, as you can appreciate new weapons systems take time to develop, test and, ultimately, introduce. It is a project we are following closely" Cole replied. "Thank you Marshal Admiral, though in respect to Abstergo's missile project I must ask why we are pursuing a duplication of efforts. Would it not be of more benefit to pursue cooperation in such fields?"

"These are projects which were authorized previously in response to platforms such as Zircon with a focus on indigenous capability. If collaboration is sought it is certainly within the remit of the Council to make the necessary approvals to pursue a collaborative approach." "Then I do believe you have the intentions of the Throne before you, and I trust the Council knows to take the steps necessary to make it so."

Beatrice Anselmo
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Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 04:31:28 AM »
Location: HMY Austrana, Great Northern Sea
Time: 1:57 AST


With the coastline of Achkaerin fading in the distance Beatrice found herself walking about the Austrana as if it were her first time setting eyes upon the Imperial Yacht. Her journey had been long, and much distance remained to be covered, but she felt as if the pieces were beginning to fall into place. Later today she would sit with Rokkenjiman intelligence and military officials to discuss the situation in Seaforth and the Rokkenjiman response, with Austrana already having set course for Somerset so she could offer her support to Evanthe in what was undoubtedly a confusing and difficult situation. Following that, a return to Pyrettania and some much needed time to reconnect with her family, friends and the nation itself.

She looked to her phone, swiping naturally to Alex's number to be greeted with his face and an option to call him, though she stopped short of pressing the button to complete the call. They had found themselves in a situation unthinkable, the distance and time apart not being adequately bridged by letters alone. This too would take some time to mend, though the process in rebuilding their lives would have to begin somewhere. She pressed the button, allowing just the start of a ring to go through, before placing it down on the table beside her.

Picking it up again she repeated the same series of motions and actions, before finally allowing the call to connect.

Alex watched his phone as Beatrice’s face flashed up, the sleek glass and metal device vibrating against his breakfast table. A sigh escaped his lips, a feeling of unease slipping deep into his stomach. Placing a finger on the round icon, he slid it across the screen.

He held the phone to his ear. Silence for a second. “Hel…” he went to say, pausing just briefly, “Hey, Bea.”

"Hello," her reply came after a moment, "I guess a part of me was afraid you'd changed your number by now," she said, an attempt at humour that perhaps sounded better in her mind than it had passing her lips. "We're on our way out of Achkaerinese waters as I speak, bound for Somerset. I'm sure you've heard the news about Seaforth, Evanthe will need someone there to lean on. How are things with you, Adriana, Lucius? It's been so long I've feared I'd be reunited with you all just to find you're all different people. I know that may be silly, though sadly it's been difficult to dispel all the fears in my head. I've missed your voice," she continued, digressing from the previous collection of conversations she'd directed at him.

Alex let out a slight chuckle, "I'm uh, honestly a little confused by it all. I...haven't really followed the news. Though I have a shadow of them vanishing in my head," he mused, "but maybe I've just been playing too much Life is Strange." The line remained quiet for a while longer. "Adriana is...finding it tough. Lucius is Lucius, getting in to all types of trouble. But Adriana...she uh, well...eh," he finished, unable to find words as he shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm sorry," she said after absorbing his words, "Did I reach too high, no," she said dismissing that line of thought. "Our goals were noble, and it's not our fault that slimy prick stabbed us in the back, nor is it our fault that instead of developing their nation and caring for their people the Toshers squandered my generosity and good-will," she said, her tone shifting from somewhat pitiful to angry quite quickly. "We handed them every opportunity in the world Alex, and Offdensen, he took that dream, that seed of peace and perverted it for....for what? As far as I am concerned it is his fault that our family was torn asunder, he put us through this, and our only solace is that he will never see the light of day again as a free man. I know things will be alright eventually but, right now, my heart is filled with so much anger, longing, sadness...it's not a healthy mixture of emotions."

Alex took a moment to allow Beatrice's words to sink in. "I understand," he finally said, carefully choosing his next words. "It was something I...I'm not a criminal," he almost spat down the phone, there was a high degree of bitterness. "That bastard ruined us...I can't," he sucked in a sharp breath, "I don't want anything to do with it anymore. Any of it. Being Emperor, being a Prince...politics, legal stuff, people...people hate me. I...sometimes I do, too."

"I know the feeling," Beatrice sighed, "I mean, with Lucinda things with the Morelanders are quite complicated and may be for some time, but at the same time I had to remain quiet, I couldn't risk my words causing a life to be lost. While it would be nice to disappear, and let's be honest we could if we wanted to, the Imperial Navy wouldn't object if I told them I was taking the Austrana indefinitley and to look to Euphemia for further guidance, but that would be too easy. No, he doesn't get to take everything we've worked for from us. We're going to come back ten times stronger and show him and Mundus our strength so that the next time....no, there will be no next time, they'll know the consequences will be too great to even try."

"Speaking of which," Beatrice paused as she read the report, "Imperial High Command is confident Ichinose will be found guilty of his crimes against Rokkenjima. I understand that, under IRAF regulations, he'll be put to death unless I intervene and utilize my prerogative of mercy." She chuckled for a moment, "However, I've no mercy to grant to those who have betrayed my trust and conspired with enemies of the Crown. He'll be the first example, and hopefully the last. I know we're no fans of capital punishment, but if the military deems it just I shall leave it in their hands."

"That is, unless, you should object?"

Alex was clenching his phone, his hand shaking ever so slightly against his ear. That was a lot of information for him to take in. Lucinda, Morelanders, Euphemia. It entered one ear, escaped through the other. It wasn't that he didn't care, or at least, it wasn't that he didn't want to care - that he certainly did. He'd lost his understanding. He had excluded himself from the world during his time in exile, and continued to do today. "I..." he said, chocking out the words, "I...can't. No more deaths, I..." His voice trailed off, his face scrunched in agony.

During his time in the Nordic region, the Prince of Littlebrook had mostly avoided attention - his responsibilities focused on the daily work and not any wider consequences. He had, for the most part managed to keep the thoughts of those who'd been killed out of his mind. The millions dead, as had been explained in court, were just a number. Yet one day, while coordinating voluntary work  at one of the many shelters, a protest began condemning him for his actions. That evening he began watching newsreels and video footage, reading articles, newspaper stories and Twitter comments, all detailing what truly happened. Numbers became faces, faces became names, names became stories. Stories that he had let end. The thought of allowing someone else to die - it was almost too much.

"I'm sorry, I must sound such a hypocrite to in one breath say my words shouldn't bring one further death just to look cheerfully towards a potential execution. I'll discuss our options with Henry and see what he thinks is best, see if there is an alternative which IHC can consider, 'kay? On a brighter note, I heard Eva cleared out some of the offices from the Castle, moved them across the street from the Dartfordian Embassy, and restored several of the living areas of the Castle. You've a home to return to, when you're ready of course, and no matter what I know there's so much good in your heart. We always did say that we'd take the bad and give back that much more good, did we not? I suppose, just now, you've reminded me that at times I need you to be my rock, my strength, to make the most difficult of decisions even when it would be easier to give in to the darkness."

A member of the crew came to speak to Beatrice, Alex hearing muffled words in the background before Beatrice returned, "I'm due for a briefing soon, but I'll be in touch once we've docked in Somerset, we've a hive of activity upon the Austrana right now with everyone worried about bringing me up to speed. We've been through so much but I am confident the worst is behind us, from here we both need to help the other remember that it doesn't matter what others have said or done, it doesn't change who we are. I love you, I always have and I always will, and that is something no one could extinguish or take from us. When you do come home, I promise you, no one, no force, is going to part us again. I'll let you know if I learn anything and, if Joshua should turn up alive somewhere, I'll send him your best. Until then, you're never far away, you'll be in my heart and in that knowledge I can give everyone an honest smile."

Alex smiled, relaxing at his wife's words of comfort. Although he was not yet prepared to return to Pyrena Castle, he appreciated the gesture."Thank you," he whispered, waiting another moment before adding, "I love you, too. " He took the phone away from,  reaching his hand up to clear away the acidic wetness that had begun to streak down his face. And, for the first time in as many months, the future Dartfordian King slept without a single nightmare.

Jointly written by CGJ and I.

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 01:38:06 AM »
Location: Rochester Palace, Kingdom of Dartfordia
Time: 5:56 AST

“Alex….” Beatrice trailed, her voice becoming strained, “It’s time to go home. Do you know how many lonely nights I’ve had, how many empty halls I’ve traveled, not to speak of the hole in my heart which has grown each day of your absence? We’ve already discussed the situations which aligned against us, I’ve already cleared you of wrong-doing, why do you insist on being so damned stubborn?” As she looked into his eyes and saw the sting her increasing volume was causing she stopped herself from speaking further, instead collapsing into the chair immediately behind her.

“The last time I was there...” he began, not having the opportunity to finish his sentence. “The last time you were there we were betrayed by those closest to us,” Beatrice finished. “We were blindsided, those we trusted to act in the best interests of our nation fell to selfish motivations, that’s not my fault and it sure as hell is not your fault. If we had known Charles was the snake that he is, if we’d known Sumire was conspiring with him, they’d have been removed before any harm was done. All is seen in hindsight, but you can’t let that rob from you your future.”

“I need time to think,” Alex sighed, “I have to think.” “I’ve given you enough time to think, love, that time is gone. I need my husband, Rokkenjima its Emperor, and I can’t accept no for an answer. You can stay here and hide, avoid the hardships if that’s what you think it is, but if you do so it will be without me being involved in your life in any capacity. You’re not a coward Alex, and no matter what some Morelander says about you, I know you’re a good man who does his best for his family and both of his countries. We faced betrayers in our midst alone, and we still stand to this day, well….I stand at least. I don’t know what to call your present condition yet.”

“You’ve used that threat before, damn it Bea do you not understand I’m still shocked, still numb, still figuring things out? What more do you want of me?” he asked, with mild irritation tinging his speech. “You know what I want, I’ve said it enough times. Will you come home with me and make Pyrena a home again? Will you fill the holes that your absence has left, prove to everyone just who you are? Because we won’t be defined by their terms, we’ve done much good in the world and we’ve more to offer.”

“Be that as it may don’t you ever tire of it all? The stress, the constant worry, the attention that has to be paid to each and every detail of our day, I don’t make a half bad teacher you know,” he said with a slight chuckle, hoping to brighten the mood. “True, I cannot deny that, however you make an even better Emperor. Alex, you know I have made mistakes, sometimes meandering aimlessly through the course of international relations, I didn’t know what was wrong at first,” Beatrice said in a more relaxed tone. “I figured it out, though.”

“Oh?” Alex asked, inviting her to continue. “A ship without a rudder has little ability to determine its direction, without you, I have no rudder. I have no force to guide me, to keep in check my more spontaneous moments, no sense of navigation. You are, my love, the other half that makes me who I am; it is because of you that I have done every good and right thing I have. Without you, I’m looking over the bow into a dense fog, not knowing what dangers lay beyond that wall of mist, my vision hopelessly obscured.”

“Please,” she said weakly, “There’s no one else in this world who would have me beg before them, and here I am,” she continued, standing from the chair and falling to her knees, “the Empress of Rokkenjima, living descendant of a deity, and you have me on my knees before you. I know it is hard, I’ve had so many dark days too, but we can’t let those knock us off course. Come home,” she said as she rested her head against his knees.

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 06:35:33 AM »
Location: Pyrena Castle, Chambers of the Empress
Time: 9:10 AST

"Mr. Groves, please," Evanthe motioned to the Councillor as he walked into her Office, "have a seat." He was clearly uncomfortable, however, that didn't concern her much. "Now as I understand you've a tell-all book you're working on, yes?" She gave no time for him to answer, "Well, I've taken the liberty of reaching out to a friend of mine who owns a publishing house and would be able to begin work on your book whenever you're ready to move forward. I am disappointed that someone I talked to as a friend has elected to employ blackmail to effect the direction of the Imperial Government, but in the interests of our former friendship, you may consider this one last act of kindness."

"Thank you?" he asked, uncertain. "Although," Evanthe said with a pause, "should your book contain any fallacies, or any stories born of your imagination, you recognize that you would be giving Mr. Stanley the gift of a lifetime. You see, it has been over a hundred years since a case of defamation of the Crown has been tried in Rokkenjima, and while the penalty for that charge is no longer death, I understand it carries quite a lengthy prison sentence. As it is not constrained to the time upon which an Empress ascends to the Throne, any information which seeks to defame the Empress knowingly is fair game under the law. I trust you've been fully honest, yes?"

Motioning for the phone on her desk she held her hand over the receiver, "Shall I tell them you're ready to begin working with them?" Groves shifted in his seat, "I'll give her one thing, she's clever," he said, referring to Beatrice. "I don't think we need a book documenting our discussions, it was a rather poor premise now that I think of it." Evanthe took the line off hold, "No Michael, your services won't be necessary after all. Thank you for being accommodating nonetheless, Mr. Groves is most appreciative of your interest. Good day to you, too."

"If you're going to threaten me and this Government you'll have to do much better than a pile of lies bound between two covers, Mr. Groves. I want you to take a few days and consider some of your recent statements, perhaps walk back any threats of holding our national budget ransom, and consider the interests of your constituents before running to the press again. You've a host of good ideas despite your recent lapse in judgement, but please, do join the rest of us in the present and the future. Don't cling to a time that has long since passed. You may go now," she said, lifting the lid of her laptop.

Groves slowly stood and attempted to speak again, only for Evanthe to offer a sweeping motion with her hand. "I have work to do, you may leave. Or do we not have an understanding?" she asked. "We do, Your Majesty," he replied. "Good day then," she said with finality, devoting her full attention to the report on the screen before her.

Beatrice Anselmo
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Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 08:14:30 AM »
Location: Pyrena Castle, Chambers of the Empress
Time: 12:45 AST

"I want to be left alone," Event said as the Imeprial Aid attempted to do their job. "I know you're not to blame, but" she paused, "leave me, please, the fuck alone. You want me to speak publicly? Fine," she finally agreed, "give me that bottle of mead over there," she continued.

After her remarks her aides were stunned, "What, even drunk I'm not going to lie. Emerson is awesome, like, who wouldn't be attracted to him? Fucking Joshua, always leaving me with the children for his adventures and not even telling me he's going off? Fuck him, and fuck you if you think I'm a whore; hell, Emerson's already been there for more of their lives the Joshua."

"And if I get blowback for this," she paused, "then good. I'm ready to take on the whole fucking world. I could use a target for my anger. Just clear it by Emerson first," she paused with a chuckle, "I don't want to make his job harder after all."

Beatrice Anselmo
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Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2020, 09:12:30 AM »
Location: Imperial High Command, Strategic Posture Session
Time: 11:43 AST

"As I learned from Joshua many often overlook the submersible fleet," Evanthe explained to Rowe. "Seaforth commanded immense power, and it wasn't what was seen but that which was unseen which gifted the Kingdom with perhaps its greatest asset: a tactical and strategic capital fleet, as he explained it to me. Whereas Beatrice relied upon overt displays of power we must recognize that such displays are detrimental and serve little purpose in the modern era. This is why the Imperial Rokkenjiman Navy should adapt, learning from a playbook I know well, to protect her interests in current times."

"To accomplish this," she continued, directing Rowe's attention to the screen before them both, "we'll place a greater emphasis upon our power beneath the waves. This enables the IRN to continue operations in areas which would otherwise be hostile and dangerous, such as the Karifan Ocean; platforms such as Zircon don't work so well when their adversary is underwater, while enabling more continuous global coverage without inflaming situations or drawing undue attention to Rokkenjiman intentions. Are you with me?" Evanthe asked, with Rowe simply nodding in reply.

"This will see the IRN organize its submersible fleet into a series of pods, with the Millennials operating on a lone-wolf principle. The Millennials will continue to maintain our continuous deterrence, with areas of deployment in the Kyne, the Krimeon, the Alucard, the Great Northern Sea, and the Sea of Antalin. These missions will be continuous, with rotations taking place on a regular schedule. This leaves current operating policy largely unchanged regarding the continuous deterrence."

"Pods thus form the attack force of the submersible fleet, taking a nod from Seaforth's 'Wolf Packs'. This will see, in most cases, three Rorqual Class submarines and two Serranidaes, once numbers on the Serranidae Class have increased. In the interim we'll see such Pods employed when the situation demands it, such as situations which would require operations closer to shore. Thus, in the interim, most Pods will be comprised of three to five Rorquals. These shall be deployed globally as necessary, providing Mundas-Wide coverage which better enhances the defensive position of Rokkenjima while swiftly increasing our capacity for first-strike operations where they should be required."

"Surface operations shall thus change to support a submersible-oriented doctrine: carriers will be deployed only when Rokkenjima cannot operate from friendly or allied airfields, or in situations which demand Rokkenjiman airpower quickly in a theater which we may not have access to other options for air power. We will emphasize our most nimble and powerful surface vessels, coordinating their operations with the Pods in scenarios where greater firepower is demanded. I think we can both agree that those who speak often and loudly to every little bump in the international arena quickly find their voice diminished, as Beatrice unfortunately learned the hard way. A Seaforthian approach to the application of naval might supplements our diplomacy-first foreign agenda, while honing the strengths of the modern Imperial Rokkenjiman Navy in a manner she wouldn't have considered."

"Your time in Seaforth remains most noticeable, yet that isn't a bad thing mind you," Rowe replied with a chuckle. "Of course Admiral McKenna is a name known throughout the IRN, having worked with the Seaforthians we've been aware of their orientation. Your cousin preferred heavy armour and big guns: dramatic, yes, noticeable, also yes, but an obsolete approach on the whole. We'll set forth the requirements to see the Posture Review is put into actual effect, and I'm sure it's a policy which will be openly welcomed throughout the broader Command. Should we perhaps consider 'pods' in which we welcome Tytorian elements?" Rowe proposed.

"It's an option I'll present to Madam Thatcher the next time we speak. For now, lay the groundwork and have schedules, maintenance and resupply rotations, and the logistics prepared as we implement these strategies."

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2022, 09:24:15 AM »
Location: Imperial High Command
Time: 9:47 AST


IRN Tiger as seen on the display.

"Joining vessels deployed by the Imperial Rokkenjiman Kyne Fleet to the Northeast is Tiger," Grand Marshal Rowe explained to Empress Evanthe. "With a compliment of 1,687 Marines it will play a central role should the decision be made to deploy boots on the ground. We've also Pod 7 in the region and, as I understand, Pod 9 has been redirected to provide additional submersed capabilities should the situation demand it. On the surface we've Josiah Rhodes and Kitsune, in addition to their escorts and cruisers. As the situation develops I will certainly provide further updates to Chrysanthemum Throne."

Evanthe nodded, "I leave these matters in your hands. Should the CSTO approve an intervention I will see that any Tytorian-led effort has our full and unconditional support."

Beatrice Anselmo
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Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2022, 08:39:21 AM »
Location: Seaforth Castle, Eventide
Time: 4:47 AST


Evanthe and Joshua, some time ago.

It was the sort of day no one wished to end, the sun shining so brightly as to almost transform the sand itself into a sight unable to be looked upon. Newly married and feeling as though her whole life was visible before her Evanthe took a moment to look out to the sea, "I imagine us out there, fifty years from now!" "Fifty years, damn woman, I'm not going to be out on a boat in my 70s tugging on a pullcoard because the engine puttered out not even half a kilometer into the Illumic, I'm more likely to be grilling and enjoying my well-earned retirement." Evanthe chuckled, "How'd you know I was envisioning that tiny little boat when I mentioned nothing of it? Or are you just that good?" she asked as she leaned closer into him. "I can't give away all of my secrets, not so soon anyway. I've got the rest of my life with you, so I'll need something on my side for when you're cursing my name for...."

The alarm sang out its cries on the night stand beside her, 6:47 AM, the scent of eggs, bacon, sausage and a breakfast fit to serve a Royal Court wafted to her bedroom. As usual Joshua had woken up long before her, she had taken to sleeping in following the end of her service in the Royal Navy. After dressing herself and heading down to the kitchen she smiled as the master of the kitchen continued his work. "Good morning," she said as she ruffled Josiah's hair as she walked past him. "Ah, there she is, about time too," Joshua would quip, "any later and all this work would have been for nothing. I know Rokkenjiman breakfasts are different but if you're not getting things fresh off the pan," he continued, sliding the finishing addition of sausage onto her plate, "you're just doing it wrong, my dear." She could only nuzzle his nose and offer a brief kiss before chuckling. "Sir yes sir, by the way, love you too."

Joshua smiled as he carried his own plate and that of his son to the table, "It's a rather big day, and I'm sure you'll be happy to see your cousin when she arrives. I must admit I've missed her, and to imagine there was a point in time our national past time was sending garbage barges to visit her shores." "Please," Evanthe replied after swallowing a bite of bacon and egg, "you don't realize the paperwork that affair imposed on me. Can we not reminisce on it at the breakfast table?" "You have to give the old man credit," he said in reference to his father, "he knew how to do things in a way no other leader could. Anyway, I'm due to renew the lease for QAMB later today and afterwards thought we could all grab some drinks, look back on the crazy road that brought us here, and...."

"Renew...but King Andrew oversaw the closing of QAMB years ago now, and why would you be the one signing? And why am I here....I admit this morning I woke up as if in a fog, but I have the strongest inclination that Beatrice is no longer Empress, either. It could be a dream, but I distinctly remember you and I on the beach, talking of our future, and awaking from that dream, which would just be silly so...." Joshua set his fork down, wiped his mouth with a napkin and looked to Josiah. "Harper's waiting for you outside, it's a beautiful day and I know I promised you some play time so go ahead, get an early start." Josiah jumped from the table with joy and nearly tripped as he ran toward the door to the castle's yard, "Damn," he finally said as Josiah was out of earshot.

"I was hoping it would take you longer to notice," he continued, "but being my wife, there's few things that would get past you. It was just, do you know how long it's been since I've had a normal day with my family? Gods how I've missed you, how I've wanted to sit here with you and Josiah, the life we had before us. Forgive me for taking advantage but yes," he said with a sullen look away, "this day is not real. It's the closest I've felt to anything real in years but..." "You don't have to make your case to me," Eva said as she gently pushed on Joshua's cheek so he was looking into her tear-filled eyes, "...I've missed you more than you can ever know so, even if it's not real...." she grew quiet as she pulled him in for a kiss which would leave each of the six kisses ranked previously amongst the most passionate to most certain shame.

"How...." Evanthe would muster the voice to speak, "I called in a favour with Jekar, he pulled a few strings, guess the Rhodes name carries weight even in the afterlife. That or David has been praying for me," Joshua chuckled. "It was too good to be true," Evanthe sulked, "but this moment is real enough for me and I care not how it came to be. Though if I am dreaming that means I have to, yet again, wake up to a world without you, and I don't know if I can do that again. I've missed you, dreamed of when we'd be together again so many nights, and now that you're here I don't want this to end."

"But it must," Joshua said as he stood and reached out for Evanthe's hand, which she readily offered. "Our boy needs you, you've got your work cut out for you in dealing with Asuna, and what's this I hear of you parking ships in the Kyne? I'd expect that of the Battleship Queen Beatrice but you, you should know better. Born an Anselmo with the tongue of a diplomat, Seaforthian by blood shed, come now Eva are you to tell me you learned nothing from me? I can see that you have with the development of your submersible fleet, but you're not letting them do their job. Bring those lads up top home, leave a Pod or two behind if you're that worried about the Iwi, and be a good neighbour yes? I'm gone a few years and you have to prove Anselmo blood flows through your veins by taking on the less desirable tendencies of Beatrice!"

"And there's that Seaforthian sensibility I've missed," she said with a stare, before chuckles gave way to full-on laughter. "You got me General, though you'll be happy to know Asuna is in Achkaerin to further her learning and experience, I think she's doing well though I wish you could have met her in this era, she's got a McKenna looking out for her..." "Gregory," Joshua would interject, "I know James has some regrets there, what, with not being there as often as he could be, seems Asuna is in good hands though. Back to the point though, bring them home and let your subs do the work they're designed to do. Also I do hope you'll be going to the Royal Highland Games, I obviously can't go but you and Josiah....you should be there. I know you're not a Celt by birth, but you shed blood on the Dancer, and I think being there with them could do you some good. And I know it will be fun for Josiah," Joshua said with a playful nudge.

"I'll consider it," Eva replied, "and I was thinking of attending the Games already, though I wish to do so attached to Somerset, not as a Rokkenjiman Empress." "Then do it," Joshua said, "wear your best tartan and go, tell them I sent you," he said with a playful wink, "You're a Rhodes, and while the stubbornness and questionable decisions at times confirms beyond a doubt that the same blood flows in your veins as those of Beatrice it's never too late to prove you are, indeed a Rhodes. Go, have fun on my behalf, commune with our people. Give Finely my regards."

"Would you object to Emerson accompanying me?" she asked playfully. "No," Joshua said immediately, "he's a good man, he obviously makes you happy and you're fond of him, he should go. But," Joshua let the moment ring out for as long as he could, "he could be the greatest man on Mundus and I'll still hate him, I have to hate him. I'm not going to like the guy who's banging my wife after all, so don't expect me to be singing his praises anytime soon. But if he makes you happy and you like him, I get it, I'm just sorry I can't be there with you every damn day, and I wish this one could have lasted longer."

Evanthe looked into Joshua's eyes before placing her head upon his chest bone, "It can last a bit longer, I don't want it to end either but hey, it's a Sunday morning," she continued, looking up to him with a smile. "I can't say what will happen when I awake, but for now, let's allow Harper to entertain Josiah while we go back upstairs. I promise I'll only use my lucid powers here to ensure that the rest of the day is ours to enjoy, fully, with each other," she continued as she pulled him behind her. "As if I could even protest," he smiled as he followed.

And then I awoke again.

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis

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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2022, 07:59:50 AM »
Location: Desk of Evanthe Rhodes, Pyrena Castle
Time: 1:14 AST

To this day I still write letters toy you and while you may never actually read them I can't help but to feel that, in some way, the information I'm putting to paper is being received by you. Our bond is one which transcends boundaries, whether they be distance, time, or life and death itself. The other day Emerson discovered my letters to you and at first suspected I was cheating given I never ascribed a name to my recipient, though no name was ever needed. He was understanding when I explained, he knows that my heart will always in part belong to you and he knows that it's not his place to challenge that; in fact I feel he respects you. He knows that though you may be gone the love we share can never die.

Joshua continues to amaze me, each day I see more of you in him and it makes my heart jump with joy to think that a part of you still lives, to share everything wonderful about you with the whole of Mundus one day. I know he misses you and he knows I am doing my best, and while he knows you are in fact his father and Emerson isn't, his way of respecting you both is so precious. "Dad lets you be with mom because you're good, but if he ever came back he knows you'd go away because he'd kick your butt and you both know it." Our boys growing up so well, he knows he's loved, and I know his future is bright.

What I don't tell Emerson is I wish you were here, he understands so much but I can't help but feel that if I told him that it might break him. We both know he's wonderful but there's always going to be part of my heart that belongs to you, and that part is large. I go on, living and making a life for our family, but there will always be a hole that only you can fill, and that's not to say that Emerson is inadequate: our love is something different, but my love for you can't die either. So I keep writing these letters, keeping you in the loop, so that when we meet in the next life we're on the same page. When that day comes, I do believe my heart will skip several beats.

With love, always and forever,

Evanthe

Beatrice Anselmo
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Re: The Castle On The Hill
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2022, 09:16:23 AM »
Location: Secured Briefing Room, Pyrena Castle
Time: 3:44 AST


Tamaki Kado, one of the very few people capable of summoning the Empress before dawn, leads a secured briefing.

As the Director of the Imperial Naval Intelligence Service which had recently seen its duties and responsibilities expand in a post-Anauša world it fell to Tamaki Kado to ensure that threats to the stability and tranquility were resolved before they could become an issue. These duties were even more pressing in the weeks and days leading up to the Enthronement ceremony for the Crown Princess, a delicate time but not one which he had initially feared could be marred or manipulated by those who may wish to see Pyrena Castle thrown into disarray. This morning he had sent for the Empress to join him, knowing full well that she would still be asleep for about another two hours and sixteen minutes as one of the few days she elected to sleep in.

"I trust this is of the utmost importance," Evanthe said as she took her seat in the Briefing Room, Kado's only response being to throw a folder in front of her. "Kyōko Anselmo," Evanthe read aloud, "I've already been briefed on this though. Anauša confirmed that the search for a supposed second daughter played an important role in the Second Patriotic War." Kado picked up from where the Empress left off, though from a portion of the file even she hadn't had access to. "Knowledge of the birth of Kyōko was suppressed, with the open secret of where Beatrice was there were multiple risks involved with the knowledge of a second Anselmo daughter, thus she was removed from the Royal Couple's custody. Once she had been properly integrated with a new family and her safety was ensured Anauša leaked information that Beatrice had a little sister under the protection of foreign benefactors. By this time the Queen was no longer a figure, thus the denials of the Royalist Forces were most genuine. Following the fall of the Federal Republic, and given that Kyōko had by this point lived a life in her new established reality, Anauša deemed it least disruptive to allow her, and those surviving Anselmos, to continue living in ignorance of each other."

"Unbelievable," Evanthe remarked, "have you any reason to believe any of this is true?" "I've had the INIS invest considerable energies into this case given the fact that the Enthronement is soon upon us. The intent there may not be to cause issues for the Crown Princess, but would be something more aimed at creating issues for yourself. While Kyōko was given a new name and life it seems that the Anselmo DNA ultimately guided her to a life of public service. She's handled herself rather well through some referendum issues and maintains a record which, compared to Saisei and unfortunately yourself as of late, is rather clean. DNA has all but confirmed the work of our investigation, so now we must ensure all mitigatory efforts are taken."

"Have her brought in, discreetly," Evanthe said with a sigh. "I've already arranged for her to arrive here herself," Kado replied near instantly. "6 AM comes early, whilst the Ryūsei flies quickly. You will be meeting with Lucretia Marino, First Minister of Rishiri." Evanthe suspected she was the one Kado was talking of, yet the processing of the revelation could still be seen on her face.

Location: Chambers of the Empress, Pyrena Castle
Time: 6:07 AST

As soon as Lucretia had taken her seat she could sense that something was amiss. Certainly the presence of the Director of the INIS was usually something that indicated things weren't quite right. She naturally respected Kado but those in his line of work usually bore their own set of secrets, often necessary in maintaining the security of the Empress and the Empire. "May I offer you a drink?" Evanthe would ask following the exchange of niceties, though she would decline noting the hour.

"You'll want this," Kado interrupted, handing Lucretia a shot of Quinntopian vodka, a somewhat surprising gesture from him. "I have been conducting an investigation in the run-up to the Enthronement of Crown Princess Asuna. Tell me, Ms. Marino, have you heard the stories of Kyōko Anselmo?" Lucretia nodded, "Great, I'm going to show you the same file I showed the Empress not too long before your arrival, including portions which have remained classified and secret, even to the eyes of the Saisei Empress. Naturally what you are about to read must not leave this room, and you will be given ample time and support to process it."

Still slightly confused Lucretia read through the file, absorbed the pictures and statements and, shortly after reading the passage "...given that Kyōko had by this point lived a life in her new established reality, Anauša deemed it least disruptive to allow her, and those surviving Anselmos, to continue living in ignorance of each other" and what followed it, "The Marino Family will be compensated in the most discreet manners possible by..." she downed the shot of Quinntopian vodka and held the glass out for another, which Kado swiftly obliged. "I apologize this is the manner in which you must find out that your life to this point has been an artificial construct, but the Anauša were bastards. I can only imagine what other sad tales I have left before me to unravel. I've prepared a room for you in the Residential Wing of the Castle, you'll be escorted there and will have supportive services there within fifteen minutes." With that Kado motioned for two of his agents to escort Kyōko to her room, after which he would turn to the Empress.

"I have some indications that there are still Anauša remnants who may utilize Kyōko in their bid to extract a measure of revenge against you for sitting upon Chrysanthemum Throne. The manner in which we take the bite out of their intentions is to get ahead of the story and deprive them of their prize," Kado continued. "INIS has prepared a news article which will be released at 11 AM AST, the prime window for releases we wish to have the most eyeballs upon. We will announce that Kyōko has been found, she'll be integrated into the Imperial Family, given a title or two, and our embrace of her will preclude bad actors from threatening the eventual transition from yourself to the Crown Princess. Do you have any questions?" he asked, to which Evanthe shook her head. "Good, you will be kept updated. I have work to do," he said as he departed the Empress' Chambers.

Beatrice Anselmo
Grand Chancellor of the Independent Order
Empress of the First Empire of Rokkenjima

Factbook of the First Empire of Rokkenjima - Kingdom of Clysperis