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Messages - Dijel

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International News Networks / Re: Kaedwen Daily Sun
« on: January 12, 2021, 11:01:27 PM »

Merina Latest: Government Forces Close in on Qandaris

Leading Merinan National Army have advanced to within 15km of the Pindari city of Qandaris, reports from the war-torn country suggest.

Images purportedly showing Merinan troops occurring the town of Rispanda, some 15km north of the historic Pindar capital, have been widely shared on social media. This follows the announcement, in the early hours of this morning Belmont time, from the Merinan Chief of Staff, Marshal Alium Deumi, that MNA troops would be initiating "an operation to liberate from terrorist occupation... the Qandaris area", adding that the civilian population were advised to "remain indoors" and "not interfere with vital security operations". According to a Fedayeen - the armed wing of the Pindari separitist movement - spokesman, the town of Rispanda remains "contested", although, with the further admission that Fedayeen positions in the Qandaris area have today been targeted by government artillery fire, it is clear that the battle for Pindar is entering a new phase.

Fighting between Government troops and Fedayeen fighters has raged in the Pindar Valley since the abrupt end to peace talks between the two sides last Autumn. Elsewhere in the country, however, a general ceasefire agreed at talks in Gaia brokered by the Council of Albion has generally held. Several instances of fraternization between government soldiers and National Liberation Army fighters were reported over the Christmas period, though these have been strenuously denied by the leadership on both sides.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Navigating Murky Waters (Ach and Merina)
« on: November 29, 2020, 10:23:42 PM »
Ade Oywali; Captain Banda's House, Western Pindar, Merina

"Glad" He smiled again, before wolfing down a couple more mouthfuls hungrily, barely stopping to nod in answer to Hazel's question "Not far" He stopped eating for a moment, as if lost in thought, a pained look flashing temporarily over his usually mirthful visage "Gone now" He shook his head, before brightening up again "Long time ago. You? Where home? Long way away, yes?"

International News Networks / Re: Kaedwen Daily Sun
« on: November 22, 2020, 10:52:57 PM »

Iwafreea Aircrash: Green MP Among 17 Held in Murder Probe

Green Party MP Edna Wishart is among 17 people held by police after a private aircraft crashed at Iwafreea regional airport earlier today.

The initial suggestion from investigators is that the crash occurred as a number of drones were being flown over the airport as part of an environmental demonstration in the town. All of those held were present at the protest, police sources have confirmed, though the investigation is currently "very much open and ongoing" - according to a Yarra District Police spokesperson.

All ten people aboard the aircraft are confirmed to have been killed in the crash, including controversial mining boss Markus Sacco.

Coming days after a spate of similar drone incidents in East Moreland, Royal Seleucid and Seaforth, speculation has been rife that this may be a copycat attack, or otherwise linked to the so-called "Climate Crusaders" eco-activist group, who have been implicated in those drone attacks. Officials have refused to speculate, however, even as airports around the country have been urged to double-check their drone precautions.

More on this story as it develops.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: When Protests Go Wrong -Open to All
« on: November 22, 2020, 10:38:14 PM »
Edna Wishart MP; Iwafreea Regional Airport, Yarra District, Kaedwen

A small crowd had gathered outside the chain-link fence around the regional airport of the little town in rural Kaedwen. The atmosphere was excitable, but not unduly hostile, as the assorted group of hippies, self-declared eco-warriors and bored geography students shouted slogans and waved their little home-made banners. It hadn't been much of a productive day for them, truth be told. The target of their ire was a man named Markus Sacco, head of the KHP Global mining company and, therefore, de-jure owner of the last remaining large coal mine in the area, Mhunera Colliery. While the mine was by far and away the biggest employer in the town, it enjoyed much less the monopoly it had a few decades before, and concerns over the environmental ethics of the large, open-cast mine had simmered alongside gripes over pay and conditions for the workers for years. It was a strike which had brought the boss flying in early that morning to meet with the hard-nosed union men, and neither side had payed much regard to the gaggle of environmental protesters who'd turned out to make their feelings known.

Having been frustrated in her efforts to speak with the visiting executive, Edna had instead come down to feel the pulse of the protests at the airport. With the elections so close, it made sense for the young Green Party MP to be seen taking an interest in her constituents' concerns.

She was speaking with a group of students when, with a high-pitched jet whine, a small aircraft in KHP Global livery began taxiing out towards the little airport's single runway. This prompted a muted response from some of the crowd closer to the fence, drawing bemused chuckles from the two security guards standing the other side of the wire, though few took much notice. Fewer still noticed a distant glint across the other side of the airfield. Then another. Then another, the last trailing an improvised bed-sheet banner with a "Climate Crusaders" logo poorly stenciled on in green spray paint. 

The turbine-howl rose to a crescendo as the little jet turned onto the runway, accelerating quickly into the wind. Seconds later, with a grinding crunch, the engine noise suddenly died away, and the crowd turned to see the aircraft pitch down sharply towards the runway. At the last moment, the pilot attempted to regain control of the aircraft, but succeeded only in striking the ground with the port wingtip, shearing it away and sending the fuselage careening off towards the perimeter fence. Aghast, Edna watched as the wreckage tore through the fence on the far side of the airfield, before disappearing with deceptive grace down the embankment on the other side. Moments later, a thick, black smoke could be seen rising in the distance.

Amidst the sudden hush, somewhere a siren started to wail.

Economics and Industry / Re: Skjolda Inc. - Security Industries
« on: November 19, 2020, 10:38:31 PM »
From: Rocha wa Goro, Central Albion Fresh Produce Co-Op
To: Unna Kyrkjebo, Skjolda Security Industries

Dear Ms Kyrkjebo,

Many thanks for your response to our enquiry! I look forward greatly to working with you, and am available to discuss contractual terms whenever you are. Presently, I'm working out of our office in Montaulon, Marsailles[1], and would be more than happy to discuss our requirements with your personnel either here, in person, or remotely, if you would find that preferable. I am sure you will find our conference facilities to be quite acceptable, and it may very well be beneficial for both parties if we are able to demonstrate our requirements more practically, so to speak.

Yours in anticipation,

R.w Goro,
Managing Director, Central Albion Fresh Produce

 1. Thanks Dave! You won't regret it... honest  ;)

Neils Brandt; Tandara House, Menae, Kaedwen

The old Tandara house was not so grand a setting as the name suggested, though neither was the place without its charms. Perched on a rocky hillside amongst the semi-wild bushland south of Menae, the original buildings, aptly enough, had been built by a wealthy Achkaerinese family in the days when Kaedwen had been an integral part of the Empire; the architecture was certainly period, but well preserved, and Neils wondered if their new guests would find it familiar at all. The Office of Defense Intelligence, or ODI, were the Kaedweni secret service, and as a general rule did not do international exchanges - well, not like this - though on the back of successful talks between the Kaedweni Premier and Achkerinese Emperor it had been agreed to put together a joint intelligence working group. So, here they were, a team of ODI spooks and Foreign Ministry personnel settling into their new surroundings, even while renovation work continued around the periphery of the house and its manifold outbuildings.

Neils sat in the shade of the house's handsome front porch; it was barely mid-morning, yet already the heat of the day had started to build, though a mild sea breeze was keeping the shade cool thus far. He appeared every inch the caricature of a Kaedweni man a 'certain age', complete with khaki shorts of a length abandoned in more sensible countries at the end of the 1980's, and a ruddy outdoorsman's complexion. A well-thumbed paperback book kept him company - an elderly novel set in a much less fractious Merina, entirely intentionally - as he waited, quite happy to have the morning off before the new neighbours arrived.

Regrettably, at some length, a great cloud of dust heralded the arrival of the car carrying their Achkerinese counterparts. Rural Kaedweni roads, doing as sterling a job as ever, had coated the slightly battered old ODI ute which cruised in through the gate and trundled to a halt below the porch. Neils put his book down as the dust could began to dissipate, greeting the driver with a cheery smile and a nod as a similarly poorly dressed and sunburned gentleman dashed to hold open the back door of the ute, before making for the luggage stowed in the bed behind the cab.

"G'day" Neils smiled cheerily, as their new guests emerged, blinking, into the sunlight "You right?"

Economics and Industry / Re: Skjolda Inc. - Security Industries
« on: November 13, 2020, 09:10:04 PM »
Name: Central Albion Fresh Produce Co-operative
Country: Multinational
Services hired: Security consultancy
Reason: To assist with the assessment of our security requirements
More info: We represent substantial interests in the central Albion region

((OOC: This is, essentially, an invitation to get involved with the Merina excitement. The client is a front company... we can work out for whom, though I've got some ideas...))

International Organisations / Re: The Council of Albion
« on: November 10, 2020, 11:26:25 PM »

Free State Communique

Salutations to my most dear fellows of the Council of Albion,

On behalf of the Free State, I hereby sign the Charter of the Council of Albion.

Forestalling any comment, as I have no doubt concerns will be raised regarding the wider situation in the Merinan region, the Free State wishes a peaceful resolution for all parties and no further part in the conflict. Furthermore, I would gladly present myself before the council - either in person or virtually, circumstances permitting - to make the case for my country, should you so with.

Humbly yours,

Jacob Adelkune,
President of the Merinan Free State

Vignettes / Re: Dispatches from Merina
« on: November 10, 2020, 11:17:29 PM »
The Merinan War Part IX
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Daniel van Irwen; Liberation Plaza, Donze, Merinan Free State

The mood in the plaza was febrile. The space was fairly large, probably the largest open space in downtown Donze, in between the little cluster of government buildings around the Old Market Square and the upmarket 'golden mile' along the seafront, and an even bigger crowd had gathered to watch the big screen and the stage set up around the back of the fledgling Foreign Ministry building. Well, some of them had gathered, some had been gathered with bribes and promises, and the rest were drifting through trying to see what all the fuss had been about. The TV cameras were rolling as Jacob Adelkune, the elected President of the Free State, took to the stage, and a sudden hush descended over the plaza.

"Fellow citizens" He began, simply, stretching a pause as long as he dared. He knew what they wanted to know, and they knew he knew "The question has been asked and you, the people, have spoken... I am most honoured today to announce to you, and to all people elsewhere on Mundus, that as of midnight tonight... the Free State shall be a free and independent sovereign nation! God bless you all!"

And, right on cue, a huge Free State tricolour was unfurled behind the stage, great showers of confetti were hurled into the air and, somewhere unseen, a band struck up with some vaguely patriotic music. And the crowd cheered, mostly, to Daniel's continuing disbelief, as real and as genuine a cheer as ever he'd seen from a crowd that wasn't in any way related to rugby. The President started speaking again as the crowd quietened down a bit, though not much else he could say would be remembered by anyone. Not by a long shot. It was the right kind of stuff, to be sure, all freedom and equality and very forward-thinking - the man was, to Daniel's mind - a born speaker, but it just wasn't that important.

All the while the peace talks had struggled on in Lodja, the Free State had quietly been working on a project of their own, an independence referendum for their little slice of the failing Merinan Commonwealth. The best part was they'd not even needed to cheat, not this time. Donze, and the rest of the Free State enclave in western Urhano, was such a world away from the death and destruction which plagued most of the surrounding areas that there'd simply been no need. It was no paradise, but the people had power, running water and mostly enough to eat. While children elsewhere in Merina carried guns and ammunition into battle, theirs carried books to school. To put it one way, Nguessa had rigged the vote for them.

Sir Andrew appeared at his shoulder, leaning on the balustrade of the Foreign Ministry balcony. They'd got the best views in the house, and it never hurt to check in on the close protection team.

"Alea iacta est" Sir Andrew said, thoughtfully.

"Sorry?" Daniel queried, raising an eyebrow but not looking round "I never did learn Morlandish"

"It's latin" Sir Andrew explained, calmly "Means 'the die is cast'"

"It's cast alright" Daniel smiled softly "That and all the rest. Crowd seem to be eating it up, though?"

"Are you really so surprised?"

"To be honest... a little. We've not even paid most of those to cheer, look at them"

"Don't doubt me Dan, it's uncouth. We've won a legitimate, free and transparent referendum this week, and that's something to be proud of. It's not something our man Nguessa can say, thats for sure, nor any of the other gun-toting strongmen out there. Only question now is... will the Council buy it?"

"You think they might not?"

"Maybe they will, maybe they won't" Sir Andrew mulled "If they do, fantastic, if they don't, well, we've still cards enough left in our hand. At the very least, if Nguessa ever gets his armies back from Pindar, he'd be a fool to send them against us now"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Memorial Day 2020 - Open
« on: November 10, 2020, 10:20:56 PM »
Ronan Vallerius; Royal Theatre, Valtheim, Achkaerin

Following, quite literally, in the footsteps of royalty, Ronan could have forgiven himself for feeling more than a little out of place. Not all those many years ago, in the days of the CIS, he still remembered speaking alongside the Achkaerinese Emperor Peter and East Moreland's King David, though his former life as an international statesman was beginning to feel increasingly distant. Nevertheless, he still had friends here, and attending remembrance in Valtheim felt as much at home as did his new accommodation on the outskirts of Belmont, Kaedwen. The old Dijeli sighed internally with relief as he and his companion, the broad-shouldered and genial frame of Sir Roland Sto Heilat, were admitted through security and made for the main entrance behind the Ikhani party.

"Bringing back the memories, eh?" Sir Roland chuckled as Ronan fussed over the little red poppy pinned to his lapel.

"All of them" Ronan smiled back, weakly "Feels like I'm dreaming... in the best possible way"

Once inside, the pair hung back at a respectful distance while the Ikhani Emperor was ushered to his seat, before greeting the Achkaerinese Princess. Ronan wondered for a moment if she'd recognize him - it'd been years now since they'd last spoken, and those years had apparently been far kinder to her than to him - though Sir Roland had spent his time with the CIS moving in the right social circles, and was at any rate a damn side harder to forget. They spotted their opening.

"My lady" The big man swept a surprisingly graceful bow "It is good to see you again"

Vignettes / Re: Tales from Kaedwen
« on: November 06, 2020, 11:16:10 PM »
The Merinan Candidate I
On His Excellency's Secret Service

Abebe Zenawi; Little Katamba, Belmont, Kaedwen

The night was dark, but still warm, as the man and the woman walked hand-in-hand along the Belmont shoreline. Strains of distant music punctuated the gentle heave of the waves, and smells of beer and food drifted across the beach from the little groups crowded around their fires on the sand. The beach was popular with couples, and few gave these two a second glance, though perhaps they ought have. Taking care to guard their conversation from prying ears, the pair talked quietly as they walked, to all the world no different to any other of the young couples taking in the last of the warm evenings.

"Have you decided where to do the job?" Asked she, gazing at him with dark eyes shining with the reflection of distant firelight.

"Aye, we have" He replied, with a nod and a little smirk.


"Well what?"

"Well, where is it?" She asked, smiling with her lips, though not with her eyes "Don't play coy, I only have to pretend to love you, you know?"

"Oh, so I do" He laughed softly, casting a furtive glance out towards the sea, where the moon was reflected in brilliant white, before locking eyes again with his partner "So I do indeed. We'll not get into that damned tower, not without a rare scrap, so we'll get him on his way to dinner"

"On his way to dinner?" She raised a quizzical eyebrow. Not by much, but by enough "Don't tell me, you've asked him out on a date, is that it?"

"You're not far off, you know that?" He grinned, quite handsomely before the grin ran into a nasty sneer "We've been getting information from one of his women, jealous bitch. Turns out he's arranged to go to some posh do or another with someone younger, one of those expensive restaurants on the Quayside. We'll get him then, in and out through the traffic before johnny law's any the wiser"

"My, how bold of you" She swooned pithily, smirking "Why is it you've never taken me out somewhere that nice?"

They both laughed at this. It was all very natural. Another ten minutes found the pair at the metro station, waiting on the platform for the train which would carry her home, and out of his life, perhaps forever. Though their relationship was entirely professional, Abebe felt he would miss his little accomplice. There was a certain fire in her soul that he found - though he'd never admit to such - intoxicating. As the lights of the train appeared in the distance, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled herself close to him, gazing up at him as if transfixed.

"Good luck, my brave warrior" She smiled prettily "I shall have to find some way to reward you... the next time we meet"

"I'm sure you'll be able to think of something" He leered back, considering for a moment, before adding: "Though paying on time wouldn't hurt either"

"A single track mind, this man" She shook her head, smirking "You'll get your money as soon as the body's cold. And a little extra, too, now those bastard Aschlonians have been cut out"

"Hmph, maybe I will take you out to dinner after all" He jibed "They were no good anyway, told you that from the start"

"Neither here nor there" She shrugged, as a gust of wind across the platform announced the arrival of her train. The doors came open with a hiss, and suddenly the platform was awash with people. Scarcely pausing for breath, she lent in close to whisper tenderly in his ear: "Just stay safe. And don't fuck this up"

And then, with a waft of lilac-scented perfume, she was gone.

"Goodbye, Vera..." He looked after her, but she was long lost to the swirling crowd "Stay safe..."

The next train carried him to a small flat on the other side of Little Katamba, which he shared with his three housemates, a creeping dry rot problem, and a burgeoning collection of illegal arms and explosives. The others were long since asleep by the time he got in, and Abebe thought for a while, perching on the counter in their little kitchen. He thought of the job at hand, he though of the man who must die, and he thought of all that would be his once this was done. Fame, maybe, but for sure fortune and, if he was lucky, maybe Vera as well...

Vignettes / Re: Dispatches from Merina
« on: November 03, 2020, 10:29:42 PM »
The Merinan War Part VIII
The View from the Front

Marshal Alium Deumi; 109 Light Brigade Headquarters, Northwestern Pindar, Merina

November had brought the first winds of winter to Pindar; the weather, it seemed, was cooling just as the war was beginning to hot up once again. The Brigade's headquarters were nestled amongst a stand of scrubby trees on the reverse slope of a line of low hills, and the whistle of the icy winds were punctuated all too frequently by the distant boom of heavy guns at the front. Little clusters of Merinan army officers dashed hither and thither between the clusters of tents, clutching wads of papers and cups of hot coffee against the wind.

The commanding officer, the one-eyed and one-armed Brigadier Yaya Musa, strode purposefully through the little camp beside Alium, the thumb of his remaining hand tucked behind the holster of his sidearm. Both men had donned their seldom-seen MNAF-issue overcoats, as well as cam-netted steel helmets, as they walked up the hill towards the small observation post dug in at the top. Between bouts of small-talk and logistical discussions, the Brigadier suddenly changed tack.

"Do you ever get tired of this, Al?" Yaya said, gazing out over the bleak Pindari landscape. The two men had served together as younger officers, and the tone was casual "I mean, all this? What are we doing out here, Al?"

"Is that an existential question, or a practical one?" Alium responded, the smile waning from his lips as he sensed his friend's gloom.

"A little of one, the rest the other" Yaya shrugged "Thing is, however many of these buggers we kill off, the more seem to crawl out of the earth to replace them. Folks don't want us here, it's like we're destroying the country to save it, ya'know?"

"I do, I do" Alium sighed, casting a furtive look around, continuing after a moment when he was confident they were out of earshot of their own sentries "Between you and me... I'd been hoping for more from the Gaia talks... it's almost worse, how close we got, but at least there's peace in the south, for now"

"Praise god for small mercies" Yaya nodded "Though how long it'll last... I try to have hope, but I do wonder how long we can go on like this, Al. I mean, have you seen some of the new draftees today? We've a replacement in camp can't be a day over fourteen, and this is the bastard light brigade. The auxiliaries are a shambles, I could swear some units I see are half kids and the rest their granddaddies. Makes a man wonder what it is in these hills that's worth all this"

"It's a feeling I know well" Alium sighed, taking a look up towards the sky as a helicopter gunship clattered overhead. With aircraft flying again, an airborne QRF could be dispatched to a threatened sector at very short notice, capable of wreaking absolute havoc on the lightly-equipped Fedayeen infantry with their rockets and guns "But the political options, I'm afraid, do seem to have been exhausted. So it falls to us to continue with other means. It's not a good time but, god being good, we'll be through this soon"

"Have you spoken to Olumbe about this?" Yaya pressed, barely registering the low-flying aircraft "Does he know how things are here?"

"He does, he does" Alium responded compassionately "He's sympathetic, you know him, always was a solider's solider. He'll not see his boys suffer unnecessarily. If there was another way, he'd take it. Bertie Tomou's gang wouldn't let us concede at any rate; always was a ruthless bastard that one"

"So he was" Yaya grimaced, the intelligence chief's reputation was well know, if seldom voiced within his earshot "So he was" With a little chuckle, he suddenly perked up and tried to change the tone "So a wee jaunt to Qandaris it is, then home for tea and medals?"

"That's the plan" Alium chucked along, looking up at the now nearby observation post "Now, lets have a look at this front of yours..."

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Navigating Murky Waters (Ach and Merina)
« on: October 27, 2020, 10:29:29 PM »
Ade Oywali; Villa East of Gagh, Western Pindar, Merina

"Park?" Cecil asked with a smile, raising a quizzical eyebrow "Madame, our mules will carry our supplies and our wounded, alas, the fortunate of us must walk. Stick with Ade, we'll be leaving soon. Now, please do excuse me, I've other duties to attend to"

And so they left the villa, and the valley, on foot. The patrol strung out along the road, spaced for combat, while a small rearguard flitted along the shoulder of the ridge above, screening against a return of the NLA's men, though to the relief of all involved, this never materialized. Creeping up over the next ridgeline ahead of them, the tired and dusty group passed back through the Pindaris' main line, and the men began to relax, falling in to a closer order. Given an opportunity to observe Captain Banda's force up-close in the light, Ade and Hazel could see a group in good spirits, well-armed and dressed in the same mix of camouflage and loose-fitting Pindari garb, apparently unperturbed by their long march.

Last light saw the tired Pindaris troop back into a larger town, where, apart from yet more Fedayeen manning perimeter checkpoints, normal life seemed to return. In the town square, market traders where packing away their stalls, while strains of music and exotic smells drifted from some of the larger buildings around the space. Just above the marketplace sat the remains of an old star-fort - a large raven banner and armed men on the ramparts showing the place not entirely abandoned - into which the patrol began to file. Cecil chose this moment to reappear, pulling down his dusty shemagh to consult with Ade in a brief exchange of Pindari, before addressing Hazel.

"Welcome to Doolow" He smiled warmly, directing an expansive gesture towards the adobe buildings around them "Our own little slice of paradise, this. My boys have quarters in the fort, but you two will be coming home with me, I'll not have it said that Captain Banda is not a generous man! It's been a long day... tomorrow, we shall ask each other searching questions, I'm sure, but for tonight you are my guest!" At this, he fished for a moment within one of the inside pockets of his combat jacket, before producing a big, old-fashioned brass key, presenting it with a flourish to Ade "Here, lad, it's the sienna one on the end there, look. I'll get the boys bedded down for the night, then I'll join you in a few minutes. There's some stew in the pot, please do help yourselves, it's more than enough to go around"

As abruptly as he'd arrived, Cecil turned on his heel and was gone, disappearing amongst the dusty ranks. Ade nodded for Hazel to follow him, heading across the square grasping the key as if his life depended upon it. They were greeted by a decorated front door, set back into the painted adobe wall, which the key unlocked, bringing the pair into a roughly square room with a range against one wall and two long divans against the others. The floor and walls were roughly made of packed earth, though well concealed with hangings and rugs; there was another door in the far corner, presumably leading to a yard, with a flight of simple wooden stairs above it. Ade gestured towards the nearest divan.

"Please, sit" He smiled, dropping his own baggage by the door before shedding his boots and making a beeline for the big, black cast-iron range. It was still warm, and lifting the lid of the wide earthenware pot sat on top of it revealed a heavily-spiced stew, in which big lumps of sweet potato, miscellaneous vegetables and some anonymous chunks of meat floated. A dip into an adjacent cupboard revealed a stack of similar earthenware bowls and collection of well-used wooden spoons; Ade selected two of each, before filling the bowls from the pot.

"Eat" He said, reassuringly, seating himself beside Hazel once this was done "Is good. See?" He ate a mouthful of the stew from his own bowl, before grinning childishly and handing over hers, sitting back and pushing his legs out straight in front of him "How feeling?" He asked, after a couple of mouthfuls more "You like?"

International News Networks / Re: Kaedwen Daily Sun
« on: October 20, 2020, 09:03:31 PM »

Merina Latest: Pindar Violence Escalates

Violence in the Pindar region of Merina has escalated overnight following the breakdown of ceasefire talks in Gaia, reports suggest.

Heavy fighting has been reported around Merinan National Army positions on the Tsata-Qandaris road, a route which has been the focus of savage contest during earlier bouts of fighting, as well as along the line of contact with National Liberation Army troops in western Pindar. It is unclear which side instigated this latest uptick, though all sides have blamed each other since the Pindari delegation walked out of the Council of Albion-sponsored ceasefire talks in the Lodjian city of Gaia over the weekend.

Fortunately, this summer's ceasefire continues to hold throughout much of the rest of the country, and sources close to the negotiations indicate that the remaining Merinan factions may be close to a tentative agreement.

The Odinist-majority region of Pindar has been one of the main centers of anti-government resistance since the outbreak of Merina's ongoing civil war more than two years ago, with the self-styled Fedayeen freedom-fighters having garnered a reputation for near-fanatical resistance to government forces.

More on this as it develops.

OOC Socialisation / Re: Leave of Absence Topic
« on: October 17, 2020, 11:11:01 PM »
Quick update from me: I've not completely fallen off the face of Mundus (again), I am hoping to be regularly active again, though it'll be at a fairly low rate. Apologies to all the people I was RPing with.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Council of Albion - Message to Merina
« on: October 17, 2020, 11:07:05 PM »
((OOC: Apologies all for my inactivity over the last, like, 2 months  :o))

Ife Atandje; Council of Albion Headquarters, Gaia, Lodja

Ife was tired. The meeting was beginning to drag, and a glance around the table showed him that he was far from alone in his weariness. With a quiet sigh to himself, he considered the Lodjian's suggestions. To accept these terms as they were would, on balance, be the most prudent course of action now. Certainly, they were not likely to get a better offer, and, in six months time, the Merinan army could be strengthened, while the opposition might wither on the vine, cut off from their supporters abroad. They might decline, or else try to circumvent the agreement, though exposing this would buy Nigyia some much-needed political capital abroad, should it come to that.

He sipped at his glass of water thoughtfully.

"My Lord Kubik" He nodded, at length "On behalf of the Commonwealth of Merina, we find your terms agreeable, and are prepared to extend the present ceasefire in line with this programme" He cast about the table, eyeing up each of the other Merinan teams in turn, before continuing "Gentlemen, the Commonwealth offers you the olive branch. Will you take it up on these terms?"

Looks were exchanged around the table, and teams spoke softly in the background, as each sought to weigh up their options. To decline, naturally, would be to draw the ire of the Council, those commanding armies quite capable of being the kingmakers in the conflict, though to accept would be to grasp a poisoned flower. Nguessa's deals were notoriously fickle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Free State team were the first to compose themselves, and the neat figure of Theodor once again took the stage.

"On behalf of the Free State" He looked Ife squarely in the eyes as he spoke "I accept your terms. Let this day mark the ending of Merina's suffering. Toda raba"

Close on his heels was the National Liberation Army man, Colonel Valentin Bemba. He sat back, cutting a pugnacious figure in his fatigues and beret, and though his words were conciliatory, little of his earlier steel had been lost from their tone. He shot a quick sideways glance at the Lodjians before speaking.

"The National Liberation Army is satisfied that the honourable members of this council shall see the peace and justice which the Merinan people so crave realised" He smiled with his lips, though conspicuously not with his eyes "We find these terms agreeable, and shall stand by them so long as Nguessa's soldiers do likewise"

Seeing the way the wind was blowing, Noah Tergat, after sharing an unhappy glance with his team, added his voice to the clamor of assent.

"The Merinan People's Army accept Mister Kubik's proposal" He nodded solemnly, before adding to the Lodjian team "We place ourselves at your mercy, my Lords and Ladies. Rarely have a been a one for praying, but I am praying now. That you see Nguessa for what he is. That you deliver the Merinan people from our bonds. That your hearts are truly as pure as your words, I pray, for I can do no more"

With this endorsement, all eyes now fell upon the Pindari team, who had been conspicuously quiet thus far. Hushed words exchanged in their own language, suspicious glances, and shaking heads. At length, the Eorl rose, stiffly, to his feet, placing his one good hand and one claw on the polished tabletop. As one man, one beard, his team stood behind him, summoning their last reserves of poise and dignity to present a united front.

"The Fedayeen, Sir" Aliku Belawi growled, his deep voice quiet, yet somehow resonating around the room with the gravity of his words "Dae nae accept. Nae have we any further interest in exchanging pretty words wae the likes o' Ife Atendjie" He spat the name with real venom, as if merely uttering it left a bitter taste in his mouth "Th' bastard Nguessa ae a tyrant ae a monster, ae nae a single yard of Pindari soil will we yield tae him. If we must fight tae gain our freedom, then fight we will. I hae spoken, and what hae been said cannae be unsaid. Our ceasefire ae at an end, Mister Atendje. May ye soft lowlander god hae mercy on ye black soul, fae I shall not; out ae respect for our hosts I have stayed my hand here, pray ye tha' we dannae meet again, lad, fae if we do, I'll kill ye where ye stand"

Shifting his attention back to their hosts, Belawi continued, his tone softening only slightly: "I hae nae quarrel wae ye. If ye see these devils true as they ae, yae would be welcome to fight alongside me as kin. If ye ae devils yaeselves, come not tae the hills and valleys ae Pindar, fae in that land live the brave Fedayeen, and we shall nae surrender wae is ours"

With that, the Pindaris turned on their heels and, in impressive unison, walked calmly from the chamber.

In the succeeding lull, punctuated only by the retreating click-clack of Pindari shoes on the hard floor, Ife quickly gathered his thoughts.

"My Lords and Ladies" He spoke up again, addressing the remaining assembly "Our terms to each of you remain unchanged, yet clearly we cannot allow the threat from these Pindari rogues go unchecked. We shall have peace in Merina, I am confident, though for some the fight must, alas, continue a little longer"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: A message from the NACG to President Nguessa
« on: August 01, 2020, 10:55:22 PM »
Erkki Toma; NACG Car, Nigyia, Merina

Nigyia's cathedral was an imposing, gothic-style structure set inside its own walled enclosure within the city centre, a half-mile east of the government complex around Citadel Park. The surrounding neighborhood was well-off enough by Merinan standards, but their car was nonetheless met by armed guards at the complex gate. These were not Nguessa's soldiers, nor were they simple militiamen, but sworn brothers of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, the Merinan Catholic Church's own troops. These men were well turned-out in loose-fitting grey robes and forage caps sporting a prominent patriarchal cross picked out in white, and the rest stood alertly by while their leader spoke with Erkki through the car window. The exchange was terse, but polite and professional, and the occupants were complimented with a neat salute as the man stepped back and the heavy, oak-dressed gate was rolled back.

Once inside, the car was directed around the side of the impressive structure. The doors to the cloister block were open, and a priest was on hand to usher the party inside with murmured pleasantries. Erkki remained with the car, under the watchful eyes of more of the Bishop's sworn brothers who came to seat themselves pointedly on the cloister steps.

On the inside, the block consisted of a roughly square veranda surrounding a modest central courtyard with a small fountain, with sparse monks' cells set in the exterior wall. The sounds of distant chanting echoed through the space, creating a not unpleasant atmosphere with the gentle splashing of water from the fountain and the mild smell of herbs set in planters around the courtyard. Just as the group were being ushered around the veranda, a big double-door across the space was swung open, revealing the tall, gaunt figure of the Bishop of Nigyia, Anasi Loge, clad in a simple robe of brown roughspun. Another man, a head shorter but of similarly severe expression, stood at his side in the same garb. The taller man greeted them with a thin smile, before heading out into the sunlit courtyard, where the two groups met beside the splashing fountain.

"Greetings, pilgrims" The Bishop began, his mouth still smiling, though his eyes distinctly did not "Many thanks for visiting our humble diocese, I trust the road which has led you to our door has not been too arduous? My name is Ansai Loge, and I have the pleasure of serving as Bishop of Nigyia. My companion here is Father Okogie, by grace of god commander of our sworn brothers"

"Salutations" Father Okogie intoned dutifully, his subdued tone belying a deep and powerful voice.

Economics and Industry / Re: Josai Air Defence Fair 2020
« on: August 01, 2020, 05:45:00 PM »
Company Name: Saewoo-Sto-Klatchan International (Belmont) Ltd.
Number of People in Delegation: c. 50
Names of Delegate Members: Ronan Vallerius, CEO
Nation of Origin: The Republic of Kaedwen
Products and designs for exibit: One each of: DAE Merlin Trainer, DAE Perlin Light Fighter and Type 31 Experimental VTOL Transport
Special Requests: N/A

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Council of Albion - Message to Merina
« on: July 31, 2020, 05:10:54 PM »
Ife Atandje; Council of Albion Headquarters, Gaia, Lodja

Ife suppressed a smile; the Lodjan had brushed over the rebel's jab and now he had something concrete to take home with him. The withdrawal of the Council's battlefleet, weather or not a light ship or two remained, would be seen as a major coup for Nigyia, the Merinan lion turning away the might of foreign warlords with his roar. The Free State team remained impassive, though he could see the embattled Noah Tergat again embroiled in urgent conversation with his team. He'd drawn blood there already, and more would surely come.

"I do believe, Madame Anfisa" He responded, every inch the very picture of politeness and dignity "That we are making progress" He allowed himself a brief, modest smile before continuing "In return for the withdrawal of the withdrawal of the Council's fleets to their respective home-ports, the inspection regimen shall be taken up by small teams ashore in each of Merina's deep-water ports, with, sall we say, one Council vessel displacing no more than four-thousand tonnes to be deployed to each of these to both assist with inspections and, if you desire, provide a measure of insurance for your personnel operating ashore?"

"With regards to your observers" He continued, adopting a more explanatory tone "I am afraid I must insist upon my previous position, the deployment of formed companies of foreign troops to the Merina is not something which I am permitted to sanction here. Your observers will be quite safe under the protection of our security forces, though I quite understand if you may hesitate to make similar attachments to some of these others around the table today"

Rather unexpectedly - at least it was so for Ife - the next voice to speak around the table was that of Theodor Tamrat, the Free State diplomat with a slight figure and neat, close-trimmed beard.

"If I may" He began, unconsciously adjusting his prayer cap with his left hand "We find it rather presumptive of Mister Atandje to make such an offer with regards to port inspections, considering that his master's men control, at present, only one of Merina's major ports. The commercial port at Kankato, such that it is, may be in Nguessa's hands, true enough, but the larger harbour at Donze most surely is not. And of the docks at Qarkhoi, if any of these remains passable, there are two sets: one to the north, in the Rhonar estuary, and one to the south, on the Khunene. According to our best information" He shot Ife a searching look at this point, which was replied disdainfully "Those in the south may be contested, but those in the north are far beyond the reach of Nguessa's soldiers. Would such an assertion be, in your view, correct, Mister Atandje?"

"Terrorist activity in the city of Qarkhoi" Ife clarified, raising an eyebrow "Is, at present, largely confined to the northern and western quarters. The Khunene river docks are quite secure, and have recently resumed limited operation as part of our relief efforts in the area"

"Thank-you" Theodor smiled a thin smile, noting this down quickly before continuing "Now, as it happens, the Free State shall be quite willing to accommodate an inspection team in Donze, and, if we must, a small warship to assist them in their work for the short-term. Council observers will be quite safe if you are content to post them with Free State Forces, also"

"It is with regards to the powers vested in these inspected" He added, directing this back towards the wider Council "I would like to see a check against these. The Free State is rather reliant upon supplies of food and other goods by sea and, as such, are rather sensitive to any disruptions to this. We would like to see it stipulated that inspections be made within a limited time of a ship coming into port - say, twenty-four hours - else unloading will go ahead regardless. This would give plenty of time for your inspectors to satisfy themselves, while also providing a greater certainty of supply for our people, if you would consider such a proposition acceptable?"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Navigating Murky Waters (Ach and Merina)
« on: July 29, 2020, 07:07:54 PM »
Ade Oywali; Villa East of Gagh, Western Pindar, Merina

"You two" Cecil chuckled, sending another backwards glance at Ade, who appeared not to be listening "Do seem to have gotten quite attached to each other... You will come with us back to headquarters, where we shall determine if you are, indeed, who you say you are. If you are, then perhaps I shall send you back to Qandaris, where you'll be able to antagonize people to your heart's content. Naturally, you will need someone to escort you, to make sure you do not end up lost, or dead by the side of the road... and I think I may have just the person in mind. Sounds fair, no?"

Erkki Toma; NACG Car, Near Nigyia, Merina

"It is nice out here" Erkki agreed, neutrally. Indeed, there were few enough places in Merina that were its like "Anasi Loge is the Bishop of Nigyia, a severe man publicly, scrupulously orthodox. But he's not to be trifled with, a Bishop wields mighty influence in Merinan society, and Loge moreso than most. He's a hot tip to be the next Archbishop of Katamba, the most exalted amongst Merina's faithful. You'd do well to make a friend of him, though I'd caution you not to offer the man too much, I've no doubt there's more to this meeting than a simple social call"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Council of Albion - Message to Merina
« on: July 16, 2020, 04:58:12 PM »
Ife Atandje; Council of Albion Headquarters, Gaia, Lodja

Ife sighed internally. The feeling in the room, it seemed, was that foreign peacekeepers would be coming, the question was more of who, how, and when. To refute point-blank would be to risk disaster, yet to accept would, almost certainly, be to play into the exiles' hands. But how to repulse this latest onslaught? Perhaps it would be better that no decision were made... and how long until the pugnacious Pindari had burned all his bridges? Better, he thought to himself as the Fleuroix traded yet another round of jabs with the Council, to box clever, play not to win, but to simply not lose, and wait for his opening.

"Addressing these points, one at a time" He took a deep breath, before continuing "With regards to the blockading force, perhaps you may forgive my prickliness on the subject, though not so long ago a MNN destroyer was lost to hostile action in the area, and the perpetrators have never been positively identified. Certainly, such an attack was far beyond the capability of any domestic insurgent group, and the suspicion of our intelligence services is that a hostile state actor was involved. Now, and please do not take this to be an accusation, the presence of an unfriendly battlefleet off our shores has caused a degree of unease, especially so in light of the loss of the Chiwara. In terms of my previous proposition for the withdrawal of this fleet - the placement of Council inspection teams ashore at Merina's three deep-water ports - is there a specific element of this which would be objectionable to this Council? If I may forestall these for a moment, perhaps an amended scheme, perhaps involving Council attaches aboard MNN vessels, would be more palpable?"

"Secondly" He continued, after a brief pause to recompose himself "In terms of observation and/or 'peacekeeping' forces, I would like to politely disagree the the honourable Madame Larsson. Neither observers, nor peacekeepers, can bring an end to conflict, in and of themselves, in my opinion. Neutral observers, under the protection of the Merinan security forces, would be quite safe, and equally capable of monitoring the terms of any agreement which may be reached as would formed units of third-party troops. What action would you suggest these armed soldiers take, should any terms be contravened? Lay waste to all and sundry? There is a saying, among the mountain people of Qast: 'force, no matter how well concealed, begets resistance'. Unarmed observers are far less incendiary. We would be willing to consider a Fleuroix contribution to a multi-national observer force, for example, while admitting an armed force of Fleuroix soldiers would be unthinkable to us"

For his part, the Pindari Eorl was uninterested in talk of blockade, nor of the distinction between observer and peacekeeper. Belawi prided himself as a man of simplicity. An armed man was a friend or an enemy, and an armed man who claimed to be neither was the worst of all. This he kept to himself, quite certain that he had made himself quite clear previously. He could not, however, resist passing quiet comment to those around him at the Ålander Junior Minister's assertion that peace was 'what the women want'.

"Wee lad's never met a Pindari woman" He chuckled to the men around him, the group of Pindaris chuckling like schoolgirls behind their beards "Poor bairn would nae last ae minute with ae real woman"

Fortunately for all involved, the Eorl was for once tactful enough to keep this fairly quiet, and the barb was soon wrapped up as aim was taken at Ife from across the table.

Valentin Bemba, the National Liberation Army's head negotiator at these talks, had been fairly quiet up to now, content to allow Ife and his team to trade blows with the various council members. As the nephew of the NLA's self-styled CO, Valentin had most certainly benefited from a good dose of traditional Merinan nepotism in his career, though unlike many in similar positions, he took a little pride in his own abilities. The older Bemba would not be useful forever, after all. Now, preceded by a polite little cough, he spoke up for himself.

"And who are you, Mister Atandje" He put in courteously, though with more than a little force to it "To say what should, and should not, be? Your master is a murderer. A wretched criminal, the hangman's noose would be too good for him! He has gotten away with this for too many years, to my eternal shame, but an oath I swore - to my uncle and the people of Merina - that I would not rest until the monster is brought to justice. Peacekeeper or observer, Council or otherwise, is of little consequence if justice is not done. The National Liberation Army would lay down its arms tomorrow if you could promise us the peace and justice we need"

Erkki Toma; NACG Villa, Near Nigyia, Merina

It was a warm morning already, and the sun shone over the open countryside northeast of town. This had been a comfortable place before the war, and now it had become, uniquely, even more so as government official and civil servants had made their homes here in the two years since the fall of Katamba. The big, black diplomatic car swept along newly asphalted roads amidst the rolling hills studded with whitewashed villas, much like that which the NACG themselves had been provided with. The roads were all but empty at this time of day, and only a handful of figures were visible in the landscape around, tending the fields and gardens surrounding the big houses.

"Regrettably not, ma'am" Erkki responded casually to Charlie's question, not taking his eyes off the road "I'm from Iloff myself, up Vangala way. Been down here the last... two years now. How's your first impression of the country been so far?"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Navigating Murky Waters (Ach and Merina)
« on: July 14, 2020, 09:44:20 PM »
Ade Oywali; Villa East of Gagh, Western Pindar, Merina

"A deadly serious man is our Samuel" Cecil smiled back, with a soft chuckle at her description "Though that is not such a bad thing, not in these most serious of times. I've been told of your claim, though, I must admit, I am also a little dubious. But that's of little consequence out here. You are my guest now, so there shall be no more tying up... well, not unless you two" He chanced a sideways glance at Ade "Are... well, far be it for me to judge. There'll be no ill-treatment, is what I'm saying, your life shall be made no more arduous than any other out here. Though, and I must caution you on this, if you do try to leave, you'll find me in a less charitable frame of mind. Anyway, no need for any more mention of it"

"You are certainly a brave one" His expression softened again as he changed the subject "I'll give you that. So you would like to meet Ezana in person, or perhaps you are simply here to walk the land and feel its pulse? Are there not... simpler methods which Valtheim could have employed to contact us?" He raised an eyebrow quizzically with this last question, only half teasingly.

Lindsay Stewart; National Memorial Arboretum, Belmont District, Kaedwen

"If it may be a commercial location" Lindsay decided "Then probably best it is so, since the infrastructure exists to support it" Then she turned to the Princess' point: "I think that is a most admirable cause" She agreed "Fortuitously, far fewer of Kaedwen's brave soldiers have been killed or wounded in action in recent years than once was the case, though I am sure the RKL would be honoured to find some volunteers to represent this little red country of ours"

"The RKL" Koos put in, helpfully "Being the Royal Kaedweni Legion - think of it as a semi-formal association of former Kaedweni servicemen and women. They'll be game for this kind of thing, no doubt about it. In fact, you'll be meeting some of them later on, I'm sure they'd love to hear your ideas in person"

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Council of Albion - Message to Merina
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:45:55 AM »
Ife Atandje; Council of Albion Headquarters, Gaia, Lodja

Ife stifled a smirk at the little exchange between the foreigners, dutifully jotting down a couple of notes as he digested Lynwood's proposition and composed his own response. Between the Fleuroix prickliness and Tytorian presumption, these foreigners were hardly the formidable opponents his brother had warned him about, though this Bakkeryaman Duke - seemingly in concert with his Heliusan compatriot, the Lord Berisov - did seem quite set on getting their armies into Merina. It was rather fortunate that none of the other Merinans around the table seemed any keener on the proposition that he did, though perhaps it was those Merinans not around the table that ought to be troubling him.

In any event, he elected to speak for himself, tactfully skipping over the little spat:

"With regards to Duke Lynwood's proposition" He began, careful to keep his expression neutral "While we appreciate the indication that we may yet be able to come to a mutually acceptable compromise, alas, this is not so. I cannot countenance any such withdrawal of the Merinan security forces. We have fought, and fought hard, to secure the future of our country against the excesses of these terrorists, and it would be unthinkable to surrender any number of kilometres of liberated Merinan soil at this juncture. While we are concerned that, with each passing day and week of this ceasefire, violent extremism has further opportunity has further opportunity to embed itself in those areas of our nation remaining under terrorist occupation, we remain hopeful that the best interests of the Merinan people are truly in the hearts of all we privileged few who walk these hallowed halls"

"Therefore" He continued, allowing himself a meek smile "I would like to suggest the following compromise: observer teams - of a composition which is found acceptable by those represented here - will be attached to our Security Forces at the front, and given unobstructed access to the present ceasefire line. Similar teams can be dispatched to those areas currently under occupation to oversee the peaceable disarmament of these extremists - and I have confidence it may be peaceable, once suitable guarantees have been made here - with a view to discerning weather or not the remaining populations in these occupied areas do, once the threat of terrorist violence is removed, indeed desire to be liberated, or not, whichever the case may be"

"In return" He added, despite the rising feeling that he was pushing his luck here "I would like to see the present blockading force, the mighty fleet presently sitting off our coast, withdrawn. Weather or not it is intended, there is a threat implicit in the existence of such a force, and we believe the removal of such a threat would be conducive to a peaceful outcome. As a gesture of goodwill, we are willing to facilitate your bar on new imports of weaponry with joint inspections teams - of a similar composition to those attached to frontline units - being established to monitor shipping at Merina's deep-water ports, namely: Kankato, Qarkhoi and Donze"

There was an element of theater in all this. Ife had not, per se, gone out of his way to either shock or offend, though neither had he precisely expected such a proposition to be accepted without fuss. It was a measured withdrawal from his previous position, and one couched in language he hoped would appeal to the Council. The other Merinans around the table were no more pleasured to be described as 'terrorists' or extremists' as Ife was to be labeled as 'the regime', though while he possessed the diplomatic bearing to gloss over such clear and obvious bate, some others were not.

"Preposterous" The Eorl Belawi spat, quietly at first, his voice rising as he spoke "Preposterous! Extreme, the very cheek of it. Is it extreme for a man to live on his land - the land of his forefathers, and the land he'd pass to his own wee bairns, if he's so lucky - in peace? Are ye terrorized by me!? Good, you'd better be" That was aimed squarely at Ife, though the bombastic Eorl now shifted to address the Bakkeryaman Duke "When I wae a lad, my told me, he said 'son, aye, if ye fight ye may die, and them that run may live... at least a while. Death comes to us all. Every man dies, but how many take their place in the Valhöll as a man who has truly lived?' A grim man he was, aye, but true nonetheless"

"So listen this to me" He directed his ire back towards Ife, who remained impassive "There is a difference between us, aye there is. You think the people of your country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. So, listen here lad, I've a proposition of my own for ye. Have ye armies strike their colours and fuck off straight back to Merina, stopping at every Pindari home the' pass on the way te beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape and murde'. Do it, and ye men may live. Do it nae, and ye'll find nae peace in our hills. And maybe then we'll give ye reasons enough tae be terrified of us"

Between the wild eyes, the white-knuckled grip with which his good hand held the big oak table, and the fact that the point of his hook had embedded itself deeply into the hardwood surface, the Eorl made quite the impression. As he tore the tip irritably free, dislodging a chunk of timber in the process, the room erupted as the various Merinan delegations each attempted to talk over themselves, each other, and the assembled delegates.

"A peaceful Pindari?" The National Liberation Army's lead negotiator, Colonel Valentin Bemba, was heard to quip to a college "Didn't know they made them like that?"

"... two kilometres?" The exasperated voice of Noah Tergat emerged from the din "How are we to do that? The perimeter in Qarkhoi isn't that deep... not all the way round...?"

"...he's got a point about their fleet... don't give me that, what exactly do you think they'll do with it?..."

"Tamoran... slavers"

"...don't get me started on those bloody imperialist Tytorians..."

"At least Rokkenjima isn't involved... yet..."


"...don't you shush me..."

"Who does he think he is?"

"...thin end of the wedge..."

"...cochons anglais!"



Eventually, the little outburst did abate, and the room began to fall quiet again. Looking slightly abashed, despite his team having mostly stayed aloof of the worst of the tirade, Ife glanced to Lynwood, then to Alya, then finally to the Lodjan group, hoping someone had remembered his argument, or would at least seek to move the conversation forward.

Factbooks and Maps / Re: The Republic of Kaedwen
« on: July 11, 2020, 11:34:46 PM »
Institution Spotlight: Belmont International University

Belmont International University (BIU) is a higher education institution located within the city of Belmont, centered around a compact campus in the south-side district known as Little Katamba. The University was founded by Merinan exiles in 1978 as Belmont International College, before achieving full University status in 1983. Initially serving the "coloured" community of Belmont, BIU has admitted students of all ethnicities since desegregation in 1994, though remains proud of its roots in the Merinan expatriate community, and maintains links with Merinan educational institutions to the current day.

The present head of BIU's Anthropology Department, Professor Kwatsi Abebe, is regarded as one of the foremost experts on Merinan affairs. Born to Biathalan parents in Kholda, Merina, Kwasti moved to Kaedwen as a child, and attended BIU as a young man. Now a naturalized citizen of Kaedwen, Kwatsi has been involved with several archaeological and historiological studies on Merina, though he has refrained from involvement since the outbreak of the present crisis in 2018. He has authored such factual works as: "The Tribes of Merina", "The Making of Modern Merina: 1790-1990" and "The New Scramble for Merina", as well as several fictional works set in the country, including the cult novel "Half an Orange Sun".

Convention Centre / Re: Chapterhouse Lectures 2020
« on: July 11, 2020, 08:05:07 PM »
Professor Kwatsi Abebe, head of anthropology at Belmont International University (BIU) in Belmont, Kaedwen, will be attending and presenting a talk entitled: "The Origins of the Merinan Crisis"

Vignettes / Tales from Kaedwen
« on: July 09, 2020, 11:14:14 PM »
Table of Contents

Eyes Wide Open

1) Eyes Wide Open I: Th's Badg's 'n th' Wa'er!

The Merinan Candidate

1) The Merinan Candidate I: On His Excellency's Secret Service

Eyes Wide Open I
Th's Badg's 'n th' Wa'er!

Walker F. Beauregard; Coward, Wollengong District, Kaedwen

The town of Coward, though perhaps the title of 'town' was a little overly grandiose, lay almost one hundred kilometres east of Wynarka, out in the dry, dusty heart of rural Kaedwen. This was a place barely changed in the last century: a few-dozen tin-plated houses squatted around the little station out on the open plain, which spread out rust-red in all directions, punctuated every so often by the white-painted walls of the odd ranch house, shearing shed or outstation. This was a place where men were men, and the women moreso; a place where the shearers and stockmen from miles around gathered to drink, and tell tall tales, and drink, and play cards by lamplight, and drink, and share all the sorrows of their harsh lives. And, if they'd any energy left before the grey fingers of dawn crept across the great, wide Kaedweni landscape, perhaps they'd drink some more.

Walker - almost exclusively 'Beu' to his mates - was one such sharer. And tonight, like many nights, he'd had a drink or two, then maybe a few more, and then one for the road, and now found himself sat in the little kitchen of their modest digs with his best old mate Arb. Arbuckle J. Longstreet, to give him his full name. Arb had also availed himself of hearty libations in the course of their merry evening, and his broad face flushed red behind a bristly ginger beard as he perched on the corner of their tiny sink, gesticulating expansively with an almost-empty jar of clear, foul smelling spirit, the kind that looks and smells like it could be paint stripper, and tastes much the same to boot.

"Tha's wh 'm say'g" Arb slurred down excitedly, splattering Beu with flecks of drink and spittle "Th's thin, 'y don' wan' 's t' kn'w! 's th' badg's, m'n! Th's badg's 'n th' wa'er!"

"Arb" Beu croaked back, banging his head on the door frame his was sprawled against as he made to lean it back, eyes screwed shut "Arb, wha's th' tim', ma'e?"

"Ma'e" Arb cast about madly, looking for the clock just above his head. Spotting it, he heaved forwards, landing heavily against their little wooden table, before twisting awkwardly to see "I's fuc'in' ea'ly ma'e. B' ligh' so'n"

"Fuc'in' 'ell ma'e" Beu groaned involuntarily "Fuc'in' 'ell"

"I's th' badg's" Arb added helpfully. It was the one thing he seemed quite sure about.

"Mmn" Beu agreed "Th' on's 'n th' wat'r, thin' y' sa'd"

"Is" Arb protested, before changing tack with all the grace and tact of a train wreck "An'wa', 'm goin' t' b'd. Bugg'r th' badg's"

"I w'd" Beu quipped, lolling onto the floor heavily "Thin' 'll jus' sl'p 're"

"'ll gi' y' a kic' 'n i's 'ime f' wor', y' dr'ngo" Arb smirked, as he stumbled over Beu's prone form and stumbled off in search of his bed "G'ni'"

As his mate's drunken crashes faded away, Walker had a moment of lucidity, staring up at the off-white ceiling above through groggy eyes. They'd be wanted at the sheds first thing... which gave him an hour of shut eye. Why would a man do this to himself? Yeah, that was it, for the craic. All good craic, this. All good.

International News Networks / Re: Kaedwen Daily Sun
« on: July 09, 2020, 09:19:54 PM »

Jacobs-Carmichael-Burns Unveil Mundus' First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Excavator

Industrial equipment producer Jacobs-Carmichael-Burns (JCB) - part of the Carmichael Group - unveiled Mundus' first hydrogen-powered Excavator at their plant in Menae today, where the twenty-tonne machine was demonstrated in front of an eager crowd of industry and civic dignitaries.

The project - which has been part-funded by the Kaedweni government - is an exciting development for Kaedweni manufacturing, which has long struggled to compete with Mundus' biggest technology exporters, such as East Moreland and Achkaerin, and Carmichael Group shareholders will doubtless be encouraged that this engineering first could help launch the JCB brand on the export market.

The first machines of the so-called Type 220X are expected to roll off the assembly lines in Menae later in the year, with several large orders already said to be on the books.

Prime Minister Stewart's government have backed a number of carbon-reduction projects throughout her tenure, with the Prime Minister herself reputed to take particular interest in the potential for hydrogen fuel to take over from conventional hydrocarbon fuels. While this is, in part, unsurprising given the National Liberals' penchant for environmentalism, a number of defence sources have indicated that a reduction in Kaedwen's reliance upon imported fuel - and, thus, vulnerability to extortion by the autocratic regimes of OPEN, Mundus' foremost petrochemical producers.

Kaedwen's first commercial hydrogen fuel plant - utilising electrolysis to produce hydrogen fuel from sea water - is due to open in October. Also taxpayer-funded, the zero-carbon plant aims to set the blueprint for future fuel production in Kaedwen, as we move towards the 2040 "net-zero" target for national carbon emissions.

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