Humans Granted Equal Rights
'Twas shortly after the unveiling and activation of the great Reekmaaf Flame Temple (http://forums.jolt.co.uk/showthread.php?t=424251) that one of the Clan Leaders approached the journalists with an intriguing new law. Bonfaaz Burntfur was leader of the most powerful of all the clan territories in their nation, and often held great sway with the other six Clan Leaders. He was usually an extremist, with antiquated, traditionalist views of the world around him.
"People of the Charr Nation, hear me," Burntfur said, gazing into the camera with his gleaming yellow eyes as he touched one of his sharp teeth. A bad habit he had, and couldn't get rid of, when appearing on a televised broadcast. "I come to you as representative of the Council of Clan Leaders, with their support and the support of the popular opinion of the Charr. Let it be known that an amendment to the Sacred Scrolls of Law has been made, which states that all humans residing in our territories -- regardless of which clan owns them -- are now 'equals'. They are to be afforded the same political, civil and economic rights as any Charr, and will be protected by the same laws."
Journalists went wild at the announcement. They shoved each other out of the way to ask Burntfur questions, to make suggestions and to criticise him. As was traditional at these conferences, whichever of the journalists who could physically hold the others at bay long enough to ask a question would be granted a portion of his time. It was also the reason why all journalists looked as bulky as soldiers -- a lot of them were, in fact, ex-soldiers, hired simply for their muscle to read out pre-written questions.
The first of the journalists placed a clawed hand against another's head, and shoved him to the ground, kicking his way to the front of the crowd to ask his question.
"Does this mean the Council is turning its back on centuries of tradition and strength, and allowing our people to become weak and soft?" the journalist roared. The others looked up from their fighting and sat back down, disappointed.
"It means that the Council is bowing to popular opinion," Burntfur growled. "We serve the people, and if they want to become 'weak and soft', so be it. Humans breed like rabbits, and thus represent a large minority of the population. If nothing else, it is more economically viable to allow them to work, pay taxes and generally be productive. Besides, they put up a good fight all those years ago in the Great War, so I don't see them making us weak and soft."
The journalist had little chance to quickly jot down some notes and take a photo with an antiquated-looking camera before another grabbed him by the ankle, tugged his legs from under him and kicked him out of the way.
"Will the Baldi... I mean, will the humans be allowed to serve in a governmental position?" the newly-victorious journalist asked curiously. This one seemed to be a dedicated journalist rather than simply an ex-soldier.
"They are to be afforded the same political, civil and economic rights as any Charr," Burntfur repeated methodically. "If they are wise and powerful enough, they can do whatever they wish within those laws as with any Charr, including serving in a governmental position. I cannot see it, but they can if they really want to do it."
The journalist was shoved aside by someone who was obviously an ex-soldier. A scar had sealed his left eye shut, and parts of his fur were burned off completely, leaving small bald patches on his arm. To top it off, one of his horns were broken half-way. He looked battered.
"Humans are greedy, untrustworthy, sneaky, back-stabbing and rude," the scarred Charr said. He wasn't reading from any cards, either... "They would kill every last one of us if they could. The only reason they don't try is because they are too few. How do propose controlling them now that they are free to do as they wish?"
"The humans will be subject to the same laws as you and I," Burntfur growled. "If they break them, the punishment will be no less severe than for any Charr simply because they have softer skins. You generalise the humans, too much perhaps, but it is irrelevant. The Sacred Scrolls of Law make no exceptions."
It took three other journalists to move this brutish ex-soldier. Unfortunately for them, they all went down with him, and one opportunistic journalists stepped into the vacuum they left behind.
"How will humans get jobs?" he asked simply. "Employers will not touch them. They have no qualifications. They are not physically strong enough to serve our armies. And they have no property with which to survive with while they look for employment. What will they do except for become criminals?"
"Once the humans are released from their controlled habitats, they will be given a limited supply of money, food, and places will be made available for them to find shelter," Burntfur said. "This support will not be comfortable, as we do not wish them resting on it. Despite the age of some of their adults, our education system will be open for them to use and gain qualifications. Those who refuse this offer can always find unskilled labour in factories or suchlike. Once a human is capable of supporting itself, that human's aid will end. Any humans who turn to crime will be dealt with as though they were Charr. No exceptions.
"And as for employers 'not touching them', all a human has to do is compla in to the Council of their mistreatment and we will investigate the matter. Any rejections of employment based on what species you are will not be tolerated. However, I personally will not be responsible for a program of positive discrimination -- if a human is useless at a job, a human will not get the job. I will not change that. There will be no 'quotas' or any other such control. Now, I have answered three questions, and I will answer no more. Leave."
Bonfaaz Burntfur turned and walked out, despite the journalists fighting each other again.
News channels buzzed that night with the news. Humans given freedom. 'Twas an unthinkable thing to happen in the nation. Baldies roaming the streets without supervision. Baldies working alongside Charr in offices and in the military. Baldies in government...
...yet the move had popular opinion. Those against it probably suspected foul play, those for it didn't seem particularly excited or bothered -- merely 'satisfied'. Humans would be released from their controlled domiciles outside the major cities later that week, given a small supply of currency, food, and offered to return to the full education system so that they might serve a higher place in society.
"This is United Clans Televised News Service, live from Reekmaaf City. Today the Great Bonfaaz Burntfur came before a rabid pack of journalists to announce a new amendment to the Sacred Scrolls of Law. Those peculiar bald creatures whom call themselves 'humans' have been completely integrated into Charr society, apparently with the popular support of other Clan Leaders and the general population.
In the Great Tyrian War over 700 years prior, humans were the mortal enemies of the Charr. Evil creatures bent on total domination of all they encountered, the bald things continually encroached upon Charr-held territories until the Charr Clan Leaders of the time could tolerate no more. It was less than a decade before the humans fell before our mighty armies. As they did with any Charr prisoners they managed to capture, we did with them -- they were subjugated, restricted and demoted to little more than animals. This treatment was punishment for their expansionist policies, humiliation to avenge the deaths of Charr at their racist hands, and to control them, as they proved to be sly creatures with no intention of surrender. Their descendants have remained this way until now.
With the new laws, humans will now be considered 'equal', and will be able to do anything we can do. Those humans already incarcerated will be offered enrolment in education and given small financial support until they can provide for themselves, to prevent them from turning to crime. The Sacred Scrolls of Law will still apply to them as much as to us, however, and they will be punished equally if they break those laws.
Sceptics think that they will have a hard time for the foreseeable future, as generational hatred on both sides will cause difficulties. Regardless, the Council has stated that the law not only applies to them, but protects them as well as us. Any unnecessary violence or prejudice towards them will be dealt with as though it were against any Charr.
Whether their new-found freedom will lead to their prosperity, to their demise or to another war remains to be seen. For now, just getting them integrated into society will be a difficult enough task for the Council and their various branches of authority.
That is all from United Clans Televised News Service. Good hunting."
OOC: I have visions of war resulting from this. Somehow. I'm not sure why someone would declare war on them for actually helping humans, but I have visions of it. For the record, I don't want to do a war right now. I have neither the time nor the inclination. I am looking to develop this nation at the moment, not have some guy with 50 billion have a good time destroying any chance of RPing with this nation in the future just to satisfy his/her ego. So just don't, thanks.
OOC:Wait... I am confused, did you conquer a nation of humans or did you conquer ALL humans? I am assuming the former, since the latter will get you ignored.
OOC:Wait... I am confused, did you conquer a nation of humans or did you conquer ALL humans? I am assuming the former, since the latter will get you ignored.
OOC: Former, of course :D. A long time ago, also. I'm basing the species basically and loosely off a game called 'Guild Wars'. I've rewritten their history a bit (put it down to history simply degrading over the years or whatever), dropping the magical rubbish, bringing them forwards in time to the modern age, and I'm hoping to flesh out their culture.
I should point out that they refer to them as 'humans', rather than any specific nationality, because their not really very aware of or concerned about anything outside of their own little corner of the globe. So they don't really need to specify a nationality when they refer to 'humans'.
Hey, would you to join the Non-Human Union? We're urr, really cool! We have our own region, map and forum site.
"Who are these things again?" Kamara asked, walking through a dark corridor of Imperial Tower. It was dark because the blast shutters were closed to protect from the nearly hourly sheets of acid rain falling on the industrial morass of Myer. Not that anyone was going to stop polluting or mass producing. Besides, the armor against the acid was also useful in repelling any artillery assaults that might befall the city.
"The Charr. We don't know much about them, though they have been mentioned in a few legends. Apparently we humans fought a war against them and... for whatever reason, they dropped off the map. We think they're more or less modernized. We aren't sure."
"Give this one to Riok. He's Foriegn Minister, after all."
A recorded video message would arrive in the land of Charr soon enough. Sitting at a table were two beings, each with one very mean looking gaurds behind them, neither of which were human. One of the seated ones was a very, very large human. The other was a... well, even in Crimmond, people aren't sure what he is. Riok spoke anyway. "Clan leaders of the Charr, hear me, Riok Oran. The Reforming Empire of Crimmond has heard your... most interesting announcement. It seems you have kept your human population backwards for many long generations..." A look at the immense human prompted him to speak.
"Clan leaders, I am Byron Fisk. While I find the fact that you treat humans like slaves repugnant, I can't say humans are any more innocent of doing the same." He leaned forward a bit. Though he was fat and soft, his eyes were hard and cruel. "Humans make up over 99% of the population of Crimmond. We are examples of what your nation could accomplish with the aid of humanity."
Riok tapped the table with a clawed gauntlet. "We..." A chuckle. "Though I'm not human, I count myself with them... We have achieved a sprawling Empire of the continental mass of Europe and have achieved interplanetary travel. I know little of what your own accomplishments are, beyond television and radio and the written word." A bit of condesension for sure. "I propose a meeting between our lands. While I seriously doubt that you wish to come to us, we have no qualms about coming to you."
Chief Advisor to the Overlord
Head of Internal Security
Bonfaaz Burntfur sat in his study in the building of the Council of Clans. It was -- as with all Charr buildings -- an old-fashioned, rustic looking place. Bare timber was visible between the sections of plaster on the wall, and the roughly-cut wooden window frame was crooked, and housed a sheet of glass which was apparently quite old and worn. A fire raged in a loosely-built stone fireplace on the far side of the room, and the room was lit by bright, flickering candles which were attached to a bizarre, twisted, black metal object hanging from the ceiling.
Bonfaaz himself sat in a large wooden chair. The chair was designed to seat a Charr, so it would not necessarily be comfortable for anyone else. He sat at a rather tall, chunky desk, made from wood that had seen better days. The scratches, claw marks, dents and stains suggested it was very old. On one side of the desk was a large (maybe 22") LCD screen, housed in a wooden frame. Yet, in contrast, on the other side was a feather quill sitting in an inkpot.
Bonfaaz looked up as a bulky aide stomped into the room and placed a strange black rectangle on his old-fashioned desk. Bonfazz picked up the object with his claws and looked it over. Inside there seemed to be some kind of tape, stretched out between two circles.
"What in the name of Fire is this?" Bonfaaz asked, adjusting his yellow eyes to look past the object and at his aide.
"It is called a 'video tape'," the aide said. "It works like our old MP cassettes, only it will not fit in our players. There is a 'brainy' making something that will play it now."
"Where did you get it?" Bonfaaz asked.
"Outside," the aide said. "Outside of the Charr nation. I am unsure of how it arrived here."
Bonfaaz looked back at the rectangle curiously. He shook it around, listening to the innards shake about while his aide gave his a disapproving look. After a few minutes another Charr entered the room. He slammed a large black box on the desk and looked at Bonfaaz.
"Video player!" the 'brainy' exclaimed excitedly. "Put the box in the front slot, plug a viewer in here, watch, and learn!"
"Have you tested this...?" Bonfaaz asked as he carefully slotted the object into the player. The large black object had obviously been constructed in a hurry, as there was no sign of any aesthetic considerations. Only the Gods knew where he'd dug up the horribly battered black metal casing for this thing.
"How can I test it when you have the tape?!" the 'brainy' spluttered. "This will be its first time! Very special..."
The 'brainy' Charr received a scowl from Bonfaaz. He hooked up a cable at the back with an unusual, triangular-shaped plug on the end, and switched on the plasma screen on the side of Bonfaaz's desk. He had apparently not had time to construct an easy interface for the device either, as he set the player off by tying several different combinations of loose wires together.
After some crunching sounds it played the tape, though. Despite Bonfaaz trying to give him a hint to leave by shoving him, the 'brainy' remained, and the three Charr watched the tape. And they had no idea whatsoever about what had been said by the curious-looking... 'thing'... on the tape.
So the 'brainy' scurried off to work on translating the contents. Three days and nights passed as the 'brainy' got the help of several language experts from a university, before they all returned to the study and played the tape once again -- with subtitles this time. Once it had finished, Bonfaaz sat back in his chair and looked at his aide.
"Why do I care?" Bonfaaz growled, pointing at the still image of the paused tape. "They are outsiders. Strange-looking outsiders at that."
"Through them we could become well-known," the aide suggested. "We could grow in influence. Avoiding future wars with the Baldies of this world will require our presence to be known in advance. Plus we could learn something new from them that we did not know before."
"Perhaps," Bonfaaz growled. He touched one of his sharpest teeth with one of his clawed fingers as he pondered the idea, drawing blood from his fingertip as he pressed down. "I will discuss it with rest of the Council of Clan Leaders. If they are intrigued, I will proceed. I am unsure of which direction to take."
The Council must have been intrigued, for a couple of weeks later, the same video tape arrived in Crimmond. They had recorded over it to save the Crimmonds (??? lol) needing to figure out how to read their own media format, and had added subtitles over their growling, guttural language to avoid the same language barriers they had experienced.
The video showed a round table, old-fashioned in design, in the same sort of rustic room as Bonfaaz's study. The seven large Clan Leaders sat facing whatever manner of recording device they had used. They all seemed quite huge, well over one-and-a-half times as large as an average height human and with very broad shoulders. The furniture around them was obviously made with their bulk in mind, though, so it perhaps made them appear smaller than they actually were. Bonfaaz stood up and stepped forwards. He was larger than all of the others.
"I am Bonfaaz Burntfur, leader of the strongest Clan in our territories and head of our Council," Bonfaaz growled and snarled in his own language. The text at the bottom of the screen translated as best as it could. They still hadn't managed to learn enough about foreign alphabets to make it perfect, perhaps, but it was legible enough. "After meeting with the Council of Clan Leaders we have decided to entertain the notion of a meeting between us. You may come to our lands. We will prepare an isolated place in the Southern Desert. Tis a better test of stamina, and will allow us to avoid any 'incidents' with the Charr people who will not take kindly to outsiders. You may bring a reasonable number of people with you on a single airborne vehicle. Good hunting!"
The videotape ended there.
The Vuhifellian States
OOC: TAG, and wow, I can never write that much in one day....
"Ugly son of a bitch, isn't he?" Riok asked. He wasn't suprised when no one pointed out his own lack of handsomness. "Eh, no accounting for the talent of creation. Prepare an envoy. I believe that we should have a show of strength. I want you to go to this land, Fisk. Take General Meridius as well. Bring maybe... a fireteam of Civils."
Allmost a full week later, a military tranport plane roared through Charr airspace, transmitting in the language of Crimmond. Soon enough, they figured out where to land and, as the plane touched down, Byron Fisk lept from the back. Still moving at allmost 40 miles per hour, the bulky man seemed to have signed his death warrent. When the dust cleared though, he stood there, as if nothing had happened.
Stepping out of the plane, General of the Army Maximus Decimus Meridius made a much more dignified enterance. "Damn fool..." he muttered, though the five Civils behind him wouldn't respond. The seven foot tall killing machines were too busy scnning the area. Looking like a team of demons with automatic weapons, they weren't much better. The group walked to where Fisk stood, then awaited the Charr represenative.
Meridius scowled at Fisk, who just blinked. "What? How many humans do they know of that can do that?" seeing he didn't buy it, Fisk sighed. "So what if I'm one of a handfull that can do that. They don't need to know that..."
Colorado and Texas
Sirs we welcome any and all contact between our nations if there is anything you need please ask
The vast expanse of the Southern Crystal Desert was the least densely populated area of this land, with only tiny, unrecognised clans and a few mining settlements living here -- and even they stuck to the outer edges. This was nearly in the middle, far from civilisation and far from any sort of habitable landscape. Its unforgiving terrain was sandy and dry; if one were to get lost out here, there would be little chance of survival. The sun, from its mid-day perch at the top of the deep blue, cloudless sky, beat down on the cracked landscape, heating it to unbearable temperatures and causing the air to seemingly ripple in the distance. There was no wind, there was no shade, there was no water, there was no sound. There was only heat. Even Devourers didn't come here.
Not far from the plane's landing site, though, something man-made -- or at least, Charr-made -- jutted out from the baking sand. A large pylon of some sort; perhaps a radio transceiver. It was definitely 'alive', as it were, as a small light was blinking at its tip. Closer inspection would also reveal that where their plane had landed was actually a concrete landing strip, lined on either side with broken lights, though it had long ago been covered by sand and dust.
After a while, a large metal circle blasted upwards, spinning around in midair like a coin and taking a cloud of sand up with it. It clanged down to the ground somewhere off to the right of its point of origin, blasting even more sand into the air. The metal circle had revealed a hole in the ground, from which several bulky Charr now clambered out. One of them was Bonfaaz Burntfur, that much was obvious. The others were even bulkier than he, wore body armour and carried heavy-looking firearms of some type. Despite having bare feet, they walked casually over the roasting, dead soil towards the Crimmonds.
Bonfaaz stopped not far from them and held up a clawed hand in greeting, shading his eyes with his other hand. He looked them over with a curious expression on his face, or at least what looked like a curious expression. He'd never seen outsiders before, so one outsider was just as bizarre as another. The unusual Crimmonds would probably end up becoming what he assumed all outsiders were like, which could prove... interesting. He then looked down to his neck and clawed at an odd black box that hung around it on a string. He pressed several buttons on it, hit it a few times, and looked back up again.
And he spoke. His guttural language came from his mouth as though he expected them to understand it. When he stopped talking, however, a light on the box came on and it started to speak.
"You came," the box said. "I am surprised. You found your way though, which is good. I am Bonfaaz Burntfur, as you know already I assume. Welcome to The Place Which Forged the Gods of Fire; welcome to the Crystal Desert. You... I recognise from the black tape of moving pictures. Byron Fist, was it? 'Tis an honour to meet you in the flesh. Impressive movements for a human, you must have a thicker hide than most. Our humans are weak and fragile in comparison. Thoughtful, though. Anyway, follow us please, for the meeting place is below."
A letter to the government of Charr:
To: Bonfaaz Burntfur,
The Charr People
From: Louise Simpson,
Head of Department of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Lesser Ribena.
Dear Sir (?),
I have recently heard of your nation through our media covering your announcment to the world. We welcome any steps towards racial equality and are pleased to hear of your new laws promoting such values. We are intrigued by your nation and have come into contact with your race before (OOC: See EBG Acadamy Thread) and wish to initiate diplomatic processes with it. Initially this would be in the form of a meeting between us followed by an embassy exchange providing all goes well. In respect of your treatment of humans, any Charrs who visit our nation would recieve the same equality as any other international citizen. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Fisk nodded. "Fisk. With a 'k'. But I thank you." He turns to the others. "This is General of the Army Meridius. The highest ranking Crimm officer. The others are Civils. Geneticly engineered soldiers, built to be merciless in war. They make very good bodygaurds as well." The General nodded his head, but the Civils ignored Fisk, merely looking disgruntled, as usual.
Walking up to the Charr, it was clear that the General was taking the heat much more in stride than Fisk, who was sweating constantly. The general wore a Marine combat suit not unlike the Civils, so he had a cooling system. Still, sweat beaded on his forehead. "We've never met your race before, so I want to make it clear that if we happen to break your customs or traditions, it is out of ignorance, not arrogance." Apparently he'd had problems before...
"Fisk," Burntfur repeated thoughtfully. "I will not forget it again. I appreciate your respect for our traditions; another trait not shared by humans here. So long as you do not cross the Sacred Scrolls of Law, we will have no problems."
Burntfur raised his head and looked up at the deep blue sky, starting to pant. The sun seemed to hover directly above them as though time had stood still, and there were still no clouds anywhere in sight. It wasn't going to get any colder for a while.
"Come," he growled. "The Gods intend to burn us all if we remain here. 'Tis cooler under the sand."
Burntfur turned, pushing two guards to the side and leading the way back to the hole in the ground. He led them down a long shaft, with nothing but a ladder to descend with. It was nearly an 40 foot descent to the bottom, with nowhere to rest, and no end to the dull concrete walls. The only illumination were dull red lights on the wall behind the ladder. At least it was significantly cooler in here, thanks no doubt to a ventilation system; the vents for which
Burntfur reached the bottom first. He pressed buttons on a bizarre-looking computer panel, and then inserted an oddly-designed brown key into a hole. After several clunking sounds, he moved what looked to be a particularly heavy metal barrier before finally pushing open a large hatch and stepping through. He waited for everyone in the shaft to reach the bottom and pass through the hatch before he put some considerable effort into shutting the bulky door again. It seemed to lock automatically as it slammed shut.
They stood in a dull room. Whether concrete or metal, everything was a dull shade of brown; and only red lights illuminated anything. Several Charr guards stood vigil in this 'lobby' (of sorts), sauntering around with their over-sized weapons as they manned their uneventful posts. They took notice of the outsiders in their base, but they'd been forewarned and so didn't make much of a fuss.
Burntfur led them through the lobby and out into a large area. They stood on a metal platform, with loose-looking barriers marking the edge. The drop was considerable, as they overlooked what looked to be a large aircraft hangar. A handful of fighter craft were parked across the huge room, with Charr wandering around near them as they performed their duties. Though the craft looked relatively modern, their capabilities couldn't be ascertained just from looking at them. They could certainly do with being more aerodynamic for one, as they seemed to have a few unnecessary aesthetic considerations. The planes apparently left the underground facility via a ramp which led off into the distance.
"This is the Crystal Military Base," Burntfur said through his translator as they wandered across the ramp, passing overhead several dismantled planes undergoing maintenance. "These flying contraptions are experimental and are being tested and developed here. 'Tis in preparation for any future civil war we may have. I disagree with the concept of long-range airborne killing myself, but I only served in the Charr armies briefly. I leave such notions to those who dedicate themselves to the task."
They exited the hangar through two large wooden doors on the opposite side. This time they entered a more welcoming area. The bare concrete and metal structure of the underground base had been masked with wood and plaster, and a red rough-spun carpet, to create the impression of it being a normal Charr building elsewhere. At the far end of the corridor a large fire raged, though it didn't seem to be out of control as several Charr sat and watched it. The fire consumed a black stone statue of some kind, shaped like a bizarre and terrifying beast.
They turned and exited the corridor before they reached it, though, entering a large conference room of sorts. A large rustic table, rectangular in shape with over-sized wooden chairs surrounding it. The chairs weren't strictly 'human-like' in design, what with needing to accommodate the slightly different, slightly larger frame of a Charr, but they were capable of seating humans regardless. It seemed obvious that these were a people who didn't believe in overindulgence. There were no cushions on the chairs, nor was this room particularly flamboyantly designed given its purpose. The light was provided by burning torches on the wall. Perhaps most notable of all was the assortment of skeletal remains on display on the far side of the room; remains of various animals unique to the land, apparently hunted down and kept as trophies. The most common creature in the display was some kind of huge, two-tailed scorpion, almost as large as a human. A larger, four-legged reptile creature was also present. Fortunately they were all long-since dead.
"Take a seat," Burntfur said, gesturing around the room. "Two of my peers are travelling here as we speak. In the meantime, have you any requirements which need to be satisfied? Or questions which need answering? I have many of you, but I will wait for the other Leaders to be present before asking them -- to save the answers needing to be repeated."
Nothing was said during the 'tour'. The entourage knew it was a show of might, but Fisk seemed almost pleased for a man that never smiled, when he realised that the Charr did not outclass the Empire technologicly.
When the group came to the conference room, Meridius gave the room a once over, then spoke to one of teh Civils in a language more primal than the Charr's. It nodded and stepped away, going to examine the skeletons, with one of the other Civils.
The rest stayed with the two humans as they sat down. Fisk seemed to have finally found a chair that he liked and Meridius found that amusing, when he said so. Waving a hand, the large man dismissed the laughter. "We have all we need, at the moment. Myself and the General will need food later, if these proceedings take long."
Meridius leaned forward, "Yes. The Civils, on the other hand, will probably only want to hear about how you hunt prey, considering it is most of what they do." One of the two looking at the skeletal remains grunted at that. Apparently in agreement.
[OOC: A... perturbed Civil(not in uniform) (http://usera.imagecave.com/Alpha-Zero/Picture008.jpg) and A portrait of a content one. (http://usera.imagecave.com/Alpha-Zero/Picture010.jpg)
"Those trophies you mean?" Burntfur looked up at the display. "That collection belongs to the General; mine is somewhat smaller. The usual way to dispatch most creatures is hand-to-hand, either with bare claws or a melee weapon of some sort -- though I don't think the General likes to use weapons. Unless a creature has a ranged attack of some form, such as the Spiny Devourer, then firearms are considered foul play. Hunting them is no problem; those overgrown insects get everywhere. That dune lizard would have required significant tracking skills on his part, though..."
He wandered over towards them and looked at them closely, making a point not to touch them. Other than a few scrapes, there wasn't any damage to the skeletal trophies. The largest Devourer, the giant scorpion, had a cracked shell on its back but little else.
"Killing a Devourer such as this with one's bare claws is particularly difficult," he said quietly. "Their thick exoskeleton prevents damage to their innards, whilst these tails can infect with a paralysing poison lethal even to a being as large as a Charr within half an hour. It looks like he killed this one with a blow to the back..."
He turned around from his musings as someone knocked on the wooden doors. A powerful, thudding knock, before the doors creaked open slightly.
"Sir, you wished to be notified when the Clan Leaders had arrived," a Charr soldier growled in his own language, not wearing a translation necklace. Burntfur nodded an acknowledgement and looked down at the visitors.
"I must go to greet and brief the other Clan Leaders," he said. "I will not be long. Do not fear burdening any Charr with requests in the meantime."
Burntfur left the room in search of his less powerful peers.
General Meridius listened as the... well, he wouldn't classify it as a man, but it was male, spoke. Fisk looked slightly bored. He wasn't a hunter, he was a brawler. The two Civils merely stayed a distance away from the Charr leader, as they didn't trust something bigger than them.
After Burntfur left, the General looked at Fisk. "Well, here we are. I don't know why you brought me though... I'm a marine. I'm not trained in diplomacy." Fisk just smirked, "What?"
The large man shifted in the chair taht fit him well. "That's why you're here, Maximus. I'm the diplomat, you're the military. If the contacted nation doesn't like one, they usually like the other. If they like both, all the better. If they like neither... well, it doesn't end well for us then and Kamara sends the Inquisition."
That didn't please General Meridius at all. He never liked the last ruler, Administrator Delta, having plotted the man's death once, because he had turned the Empire into a black hole of a nation. Davion Varchak though... that genocidal maniac wasn't much better. He sighed and just awaited the return of the Charr.
The doors opened again after a half hour wait, and three Charr stepped through, shutting the thick, rough wooden doors behind them. Burntfur was one of the three and he was the first to step forwards.
"These are Clan Leaders Reekfar Torus and Klarr Viletooth," he said. The two fumbled around with translation necklaces, finding it difficult to put the things around their thick necks without catching them on their horns.
"This human is called Byron Fisk, and that one is General Meridius," Burntfur said to them. "And those creatures are... what did you call them? 'Civils'? They are all from an outsider land called 'Crimmond'."
"Yes, I saw the tape," Viletooth growled. His voice was significantly deeper than Burntfur's, which wasn't exactly high-pitched itself, and almost seemed to make everything shake when he spoke. He wasn't larger than Burntfur though; neither were. "Greetings from my Clan, and honour to you."
"Yes, greetings," Torus said, waving his hand in dismissal and sitting down in the closest chair, flicking his tail angrily. He gave the impression of a Charr who didn't want to be there. Though he was probably the kind of person who didn't want to be anywhere.
Viletooth, on the other hand, gave the impression of a person who frequently engaged in drinking games and generally enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, with his bold movements and energetic voice. He grabbed a chair nearby the visitors, swung it around beneath him and slammed himself down on to it, nearly knocking the table over in the process. Burntfur retained a degree of professionalism, however, and sat down like a sane person.
"To business," Burntfur said loudly, apparently to attract the attention of Torus if nothing else. He leaned in forwards, accidentally scraping the table with one of his claws -- which probably explained why it looked battered, actually.
"Now, I am unsure of how politics work outside of our lands," he said. "Frankly I hate politics; they waste valuable time. But I will need to know what your motives are for coming here, and what your motives are in general, to form an opinion of how intricate our dealings will be. Our motives for allowing you here are simple -- we want to engage more with the outside world, and your offer of a meeting seemed like an ideal starting point. But your motives are unclear to me."
As Viletooth sat down, the three Civils that stood behind Fisk and the General growled. Apparently they weren't very fond of his rather different ways of sitting down. A hand from Fisk and they immediatly came to attention, going silent. "We are here for a simple reason. The Empire of Crimmond sees... potential in an alliance with you. There are many nations and many empires out there that would be very interested in you, many for the wrong reasons."
The general looked around the room at them. "Those reasons usually end in the smaller nation getting squashed." A smile. "Now, there are several ways to gte out of this outcome, the simplist is to make an alliance with a larger, stronger nation. The deterant of the looming figure behind your forces often is enough to keep wars away. There's also developing something that everyone wants, then marketing it to them. Though you have stiff competition from the Mega-Corporations." He looked at Fisk and spoke in a language the translators couldn't translate, then they both nodded.
"You can guess which we would prefer for you." Fisk tapped his finger on the table, speaking like a salesman, not a diplomat. "A nation like the Charr could be very prosperous and powerful in the world, with the right connections." A smirk. "It's up to you, of course, to decide if the Empire is the right connection. We-"
Meridius broke in. "-feel that you should know that teh Empire currently is not friendly to most non-humans." A glare from Fisk didn't stop him. "Six months ago, Crimmond boasted a non-human population of 35%. They were mostly a race called 'elves', though cyberneticly enhanced humans were among them. Now, the non-human population rests at 0.1%, roughly. I can't paint a pretty picture for you about this. While you aren't human, I can only assure you that the Crimmond Marine Corps, which also controls what would be Airforce and Navy, will not strike at the Charr, ever..." He looked at Fisk, who seemed quite irritated. Apparently teh fat man wasn't going to tell them about the Purge.
OOC: Apologies, but I have other commitments so I may periodically lack the time to post a response here. Rest assured that I won't have forgotten about it though.
IC: The two other Charr council members turned off their translation necklaces and scowled a Burntfur, who also turned his necklace off when he was their reaction to the mention of the wholesale slaughter of non-humans.
"I told you they were all alike," Torus grumbled. "For generations we have kept the creatures locked away for this very reason. They desire to destroy anything which isn't ugly, smelly and bald like themselves!"
"You let these xenophobes carry death-dealers into a secured facility?" Viletooth exclaimed. "And your clan chooses YOU for their leader? They are either smarter than I can ever comprehend, or completely stupid!"
"Do those creatures look human to you?" Burntfur pointed at the Civils. "Or that strange blac and green creature on that tape? Would you lay out an intricate plan to kill someone and then tell them about it before you intend to put it into practice? Shut up you fools, and switch on your translators."
The two glanced at each other and growled, but switched on their translators again.
"Apologies, we were just discussing a matter of internal affairs," Burntfur said. "As we understand it, an 'alliance' is very binding. Our clans, for instance, are said to be allies, and we function as one. I do not think we are prepared for such a commitment. Nor do we have the resources to be making larger enemies by following you into your battles. It is all very good having a larger figure looming over you to scare away others, but when that larger figure has to loom elsewhere for a short time we would be in an awkward position. Is there not a less binding agreement we can come to? A closer tie between us would be beneficial to all, I think. Perhaps a Claw Pact or something similar?"
The General smirked at Burntfur's explination, obviously not buying it, but he said nothing of it. "The Empire does not abandon it's allies. If you chose alliance, the figure behind you would not waver." He took out a map and laid it on the table, unfolding it. "This is our latest map of Earth. We are here, the Empire's homelands are here and the Gholgothian Province is here." he said, indicating three points.
"We have the ability to defend ourselves at home from our Nazi-istic, Communist and Socialist neighbors, defend an allied Armada which is currently in our waters in the Baltic and the Gholgothian Province, which is having light pirate activities." Looking to Fisk, who was still not pleased, he went on. "The Imperial Marines that would come here to help defend you would fight to the death. The Civils with them... to borrow words from a Frenchman: 'It isn't enough to kill a Civil. You have to knock him down too.'" That seemed to please all the Civils in the room. "Right now, only about half of our forces are on active duty. To deploy Marines to suppliment your Clans would be a small expenditure."
Fisk spoke up then. "This is your choice though. The Empire will not force it's wishes on you. That would go against our beliefs that all nations have the right to self-govern, unless they pose an immediate and alarming threat to the Empire's lands. As the map shows, we are far from them so you pose no threat. Now, what is this Claw Pact you spoke of?"
"A Claw Pact would be overly complicated, perhaps," Burntfur said, after thinking it over. "'It is usually applied on an individual or bloodline level, and only between Charr. It usually comes about after one Charr performs a great act of courage or honour for another, one that cannot really be planned or scripted -- they are the type that are arranged by the Gods. Like saving a pup from a burning building, or from a pack of Charr-eating animals like Devourers. It is an unbreakable, life-long bond of honour enforced by the Gods themselves. But, I do not know how easily it could be used on a national level. Nor how the Charr would react to it being made with humans."
"This alliance you speak of could yet work, if we make clear certain conditions first-hand," Viletooth said. "Such as, no interference in our own affairs. No disrespect for our traditions, a trait which you have thankfully shown thus far. And not dragging us into wars unless you are incapable of surviving without our help, or if our interests are at stake. At least, not until we are more capable of withstanding the assaults of larger, human nations by ourselves. We don't need to be making enemies right now, alliance or no."
"Yes," Torus chimed. "And do not flood our territory with your foreign religions. 'Tis bad enough that the humans who already live here believe in their own false gods, and now even erect statues of them. We don't need more. Flame Keepers of my clan are already complaining to me about those statues..."
"I am sure that all the Council would have suggestions and demands," Burntfur interjected. "First perhaps it would be more prudent to hear the Crimmond proposal?"
The two Charr nodded silently, after looking between each other.
Meanwhile, across the varied landscape of Tyria, 'Human Control Zones' opened their main gates and for the first time in centuries, humans stepped out through them. They looked battered and poorly-kept, but seemed to be optimistic.
Charr guards, waving around their massive, elegantly designed brown firearms (or 'death-dealers', as they called them) around like sticks, were patting the noticeably-smaller bipeds on the backs with their large clawed hands instead of shoving them with the butts of their weapons as they would usually do. They were wishing the small creatures well, instead of giving them simple commands. And the humans actually responded, without being punished! The Charr spoke in Charrian, and the humans spoke in their own languages, but both seemed to be capable of understanding each other.
There were only a million or so humans living in Tyria in total. They had been under strict breeding controls as prisoners of war, and thus their population had largely remained the same as it was when they had their own three kingdoms. None of the humans were sure anymore of which kingdom they had descended from; the Charr treated them all equally -- they were all ancestors of the human aggressors, and it didn't matter which kingdom they were from.
With nearly 66 million Charr also living here they were significantly outnumbered, yet they still caused a great stir as they flooded into the various towns and cities, heading to their designated shelters until they could find work.
Most Charr civilians seemed to tolerate them, merely grunting as they saw the newly-freed 'baldies' passing by. A few even seemed pleased for them, and offered to help them start out with their freedom, give them directions and the like. A handful were angered, however. Apparently greatly angered. Any humans who came near them were promptly shoved to the ground like ragdolls, and received deafening roars. As the humans didn't respond to such a move as a Charr would, they showed even more disdain. But they did nothing else. Charr guards policed the streets to make sure of it.
These pictures were broadcast on the news to all homes in Tyria, though it was inevitable that the broadcasts would leak out into foreign lands.
Surprising them all, one of the Civils by the skeletons spoke up, in a fair approximation of the mix of Polish, Yiddish and Russian the Crim use. "There is a similar type of 'alliance' to your Claw Pact. It is called a Blood Pact. Binds two leaders, their followers as well, to each other as brothers. They-the Empire has no such pact, but we honor the pacts of others." it said, catching itself before it stepped over the line. Apprently the Civils weren't mindless followers.
General Meridius cleared his throat. "What the Lieutenant says is correct, though he should have let me make such a point." A jab the Civil ignored. "Anyway, we have no wish to impose our own religions on you. We try to ignore the whole issue in the military and political spheres, as it causes far too many disputes worldwide." He pauses long enough to draw breath. "And we would not draw you into war, even if we cannot win alone. The Gholgoth Alliance has many powerful nations that we can lean on for assistance."
That brought Fisk to speak. "If you prove as fruitful and strong as we hope you will be, perhaps the Charr will stabd beside Gholgoth in battle one day. Perhaps as members..." the fat man smiled.
"Perhaps," Burntfur nodded thoughtfully. "So we are agreed then? We will assist you in battle where possible but will not be dragged in, there will be no interference in sovereign affairs from either side, and we shall both open our lands to trade from each other, and this alliance has the capacity to be expanded further in the future should our capabilities allow it."
"And no missionaries," Torus piped in.
"I think we covered that, Torus," Burntfur growled.
"Yes," he nodded. "I thought I should make it clear before I left."
"I apologise but I must depart," Torus bowed his head, and then scowled at Burntfur. "Those humans YOU released are already trying to make life difficult by requesting they form their own clan. The rest of the Council needs an elder member's assistance, and you two appear to be consumed with this task. So, goodbye for now."
The bulky creature pushed his chair back, got to his feet, and sauntered out of the conference room unenthusiastically.
"Yes... anyway," Burntfur looked back. "I personally would be content with a treaty on the terms proposed. Tis flexible enough to allow further development for us both. And the rest of the Council will be happy with it when I tell them to be."
Viletooth chucked a gruff laugh at that, but said nothing.
The drone, SMD 117, glared at the screen in front of it, watching the news, two minutes of them concentrated on the events in The Charr and the subsequent changes & problems, with slightly blurry (The screen wasn't particularly new) images of Charr/ Human interaction on the streets. "Who would have thought."
"... Doesn't it strike you as similar? To my own, uh... Circumstances, I mean."
"Errr... A little, yes." The human (Sorta human, anyway) next to the drone shrugged. "Why?"
"... You're frustratingly indifferent, you know that?"
"Good. You know, it's vaguely annoying that they actually managed to liberate all the humans at once, while my kind is still in the process of slowly, very slowly receiving the same rights... Heck, we're still being slaughtered in the war in Sisgardia."
"... They can hardly create enough serverspace for backups. You would prefer your colleagues and yourself to die while being fully sentient/ sapient beings?"
"You may have a point there... Still, I-"
"Look, this is a somewhat bad time for this. Oddly enough, upgrading you guys isn't as much a priority as ending the conflict is. And may I remind you that it's not just drones dying?"
"Or that there is no sufficient serverspace to back us up, either?"
"OKAY! I see your point."
"Just wait a few more weeks, or months, until the conflict is over, and you will have your treasured self-awareness. Well, enforceable and independent self-awareness. Or whatever the techheads are calling it. Dear god, the idiots at Neptune ought to be shot for this stupidity..."
"I HEARD THAT!"
"... Just shut it."
"We are agreed on all points. In the next meeting, we will most likely send scientists for technological agreements." Fisk said, looking pleased.
"Saratov?" The general asked, as if it was set in stone, which set Fisk to laughing.
"That stuck up high brow?" He laughed again, extra chins wobbling. "No, I'm going to reccomend Rumski. He may be a zek, but he's a good scientist."
The General nodded. "Secular for a Jew, too. Should do fine here." Looking back at the Charr, Meridius sighed. "Varchak should be pleased. He's been looking for allies ever since the culling." He caught a glare from Fisk, which was ignored. "I hope this can be a very profitable one for both our peoples."
"Speaking of which, certain universities in Tyria may appreciate it if you were to send them any copies of language dictionaries you can at some point in the future," Burntfur said, tugging at his translation necklace. "These do not work well very all the time, and they are far too expensive to mass-produce. We Charr cannot learn your languages, as we cannot mimic the unusual sounds you make; you might have noticed our vocal abilities are somewhat different to yours. But the humans of Tyria could well get jobs as translators in the future, should we have the necessary materials to educate them. Hence, dictionaries and other texts from whatever languages your people know."
"Your own institutions may have access to any of our literature they may wish, of course," Viletooth added. "Assuming they wanted any."
"Yes," Burntfur said. "Anyway. I do not know what your plans are now. I feel we can work out the particulars of our agreement in a seperate seating. There are still a few things I wish to discuss with you though. Do you plan on departing, or staying for the night? If so I can arrange food and dorms for you here. The rare Devourers that are caught this far out in the desert are quite tasty, I assure you..."
"I would not touch that vile garbage if I were you," Viletooth shook his head vigorously, and poked his tongue out. "I do not know how he stomachs it. They are insects, for the love of Fire! Insects!"
"Yes," Burntfur nodded. "Delicious insects!"
"Now proper food is roasted Skale," Viletooth told him in a matter-of-fact way, patting his muscular belly. "There is no greater meat around..."
"You wouldn't know great food if it came up to you and prepared itself!" Burntfur said.
The two went off on a tangent of culinary debate, and would probably not stop until interrupted it seemed. This 'Council of Clan Leaders' of theirs must have been an informal affair indeed, if they did this when establishing contact with outsider politicians for the first time in 700 years...
Both Fisk and the General agreed to send texts along with this 'Rumski' to facilitate communications and as the General was going to answer the two about food, the CIvil spoke up again.
"I think I'm going to like this place, General. Any leaders this appreciative of prey is indeed a fine place to a Civil." He grinned, barring the double row of sharp teeth, which acted much like a sharks, one tooth gets knocked loose, another slides into place, over the next week. Fisk suprised both by pounding the table firmly.
"Fah! You haven't tasted good food until you have had freshly killed Cave Squid, it looks like an octopus, but breaths air, hunting prey by dropping on it from cave ceilings. A pity the meat loses all it's taste a day after the kill. The blood oxidies too fast and ruins the taste."