NationStates Jolt Archive

Tears of the Last Empress (Closed. Historical.)

13-10-2007, 16:02
Four hundred years, four hundred summer, four hundred winters and four hundred springs, all bathed in red, from the red snow to the ruby red waters, there was nothing to hide the cruel reality. For it was a now accepted fact that Aleos was never going to know peace on this land, a land of strife and conflict, a land they protected with great cost against their enemies, enemies that knew no reprieve, no rest, no peace in their quest of making the others kneel in face of their power. But all that was about to change…

Imperial Palace.

For fifteen years now emperor Nikolaus led the country with an iron fist, finally quenching the bloody rebellions of the west and forging the structure that was to support the state for hundreds of years to come. A great man, one that few can call as an equal, but all greatness comes at a cost and Nikolaus was no exception. The years had not been kind to the man and although he still retained his brilliant mind, something was wrong with him, very wrong.

“Yes, poison it all! Those traitors deserve to die!” he was whispering to one of his trusted men in his personal chamber, looking around as if watching out for someone. “I don’t want any of them to get away!” he pressed the point, making it clear that he would admit no disobedience.

“As you wish my lord,” the royal guard bowed to the king and quickly went to fulfill his orders. It did not take long for him to arrange what was needed, and in a few moments, the fate of the Imperial Nobles was sealed by the hand of the emperor.

“My lord, it has been done,” he reported as he returned to the chambers of his liege, “I have planted the poison in the food and wine that is to be served tonight at your meeting with the nobles. They will die a slow painful death for their treachery.”

“Excellent!” answered as he moved closer to his loyal subject. Placing his hand on his shoulder he moved his lips, soft, sweet words leaving his mouth, “You will be richly rewarded for this,” he said, so much promise in his voice, so trustfully in the faith of the other man, so much different from his treacherous hand that jabbed a small stiletto in the body of his servant. “You will be richly rewarded, in death,” the emperor continued serenely, ignoring the look of betrayal on his trusted acolyte face. The man only managed one final word before he died, “Why?” a question that will hold no answer for him, but one that was answered nonetheless, “Because it is my right.”

With his hands stained by the blood of his faithful follower, the emperor quickly moved to other things, almost as if he totally forgot about what he just did, or maybe, in his insanity, he actually did. Another man was called and after disposing of the body, another order was given.

“Invite the royal family to the dinner I will have tonight with the nobles. It is time for my humble subjects to know who their future monarch is going to be,” he ordered casually as if nothing was wrong.

“Yes sir.”

“And make sure that they’re all there. It would not do to offend my esteemed guests.”

“Yes, my lord.”

The hours went by and the preparations for the great dinner continued. Chosen foods, wines and sweets were prepared for the feast, and, unknowingly something else along those treats.

As the table was set, the emperor had in front of him the most chosen people of his Empire, from the governors of the far west, always facing rebellions, to those of the east, fighting for their rightfully owned land. He uttered just a few words of welcome and encouraged them to eat well.

“My friends, it is good to have you here. I am glad to see you in good health and serving the Empire without rest,” he said, even though a few of them had lards of fat and triple chins. “As you know, I am a man of few words, so please, enjoy yourselves in my company and that of my family. Now feast and enjoy the fine foods coming from my kitchens.”

And with that, the nobles and his family started eating not noticing that the emperor was watching contemplatively at his wine glass, almost as if he was waiting for something. But the emperor was not waiting, he was just not in the mood for a banquet, he was worried, he knew he was forgetting something important and the fact that his right hand man was not here made him frown. Something was not right.

“Aughhh,” his youngest grabbed his stomach all of a sudden doubling over in pain. Almost instantly the emperor was at his side, worriedly looking at his infant.

“My child what is wrong?” the emperor asked, but, before he received an answer, similar cries were heard all across the room as nobles and royal family alike started yelling in pain while clawing at their stomachs.

“What’s happening!” the emperor asked in panic.

It was one of the darkest hours of the dynasty. In just one hour, in great pain, almost the entire royal family died and with them, some of the finest nobles of the land, protectors, heroes and leader. In grief after watching the agonizing death of his loved ones, the emperor decided to avenge them. Who else was there to be blamed but the now bitter enemy in Aleos? The one that so bravely stood for so long against the Empire. A short royal decree was issued.

“Heed my words soldiers of the Empire. Leave no stone unturned as you search for the treacherous Aleosites. Have no mercy on them.

Be it man, woman or childe, they are hereby sentenced to death.”



The news of the decree hit the Aleosites hard. For many years now they had been fighting the Empire and winning many victories while also facing defeat at turns. But now, under the new orders of the emperor, the enemy killed all, there was no mercy, no quarter showed. True, it made them fight harder, but against the vast resources of the empire, against their tireless armies, there was only so much they could do.

At first, they obtained several victories as they entered this new stage of the war, but, as the enemy received more and more reinforcements and able commanders, the tides shifted, slowly at first but clearly later on. And land once lost was land they could never gain back. From cities to humble sheds, there was nothing left standing.

Perhaps the worst hit the Aleosites took was the loss of their capital. Once a budding metropolis it was now reduced to ashes while people that barely managed to escape told horrifying stories of burning stakes filled with young people and children, with women and elders. No mercy, no mercy at all.

It was in this moment that Queen Aeryn came to power. A devastated nation whose land was marred by the blood of its young and old alike. She knew that something had to be done, but it was only after she visited a village the enemy destroyed that she made her choice.

The smell of burned human flesh, the sweet smell of human ashes haunted her sleep for months after the visit and she knew, from the moment she first saw the desperate faces of her people, that time was running short. It was not until the ones from the west started another rebellion that she found the reprieve to fulfill her daring plan. She knew many will oppose it, but she had no other choices left.

With her hearth bumping like never before, she started the speech that will forever change the fate of her nation.

“My beloved subjects, your pleas have not fallen on deaf ears,” she clumsily started, “I have watched, I have worked worked hard for you, but despite all the effort I have committed, all the sacrifices you have made, we find ourselves unable to stop the murderers, the scum of the North, as they pillage and kill, devastating our country.

For what do we fight? For the torched lands? For crops that we will never enjoy again? For the notion of a land of our own? No my friends, we fight for our lives, for the very right to live!

But we are not allowed to live. They show no mercy, no understanding and there is nothing we can do. But there is always a way my people, a way to get rid of this wretched war, of the bloodshed and hatred. It is not without peril, but it is our last hope.

Let us leave this land, let them have it if they so desire for it!”

The words of the empress shocked the nation and, despite heavy opposition from the nobles, her word was law. In just two years, the time bought by the western uprisings, a fleet like none before was assembled. Every resource of the country was poured in this project, but even so it was washed in blood. Blood of those opposing the empress, blood of those cursing her very name. But things moved forward without a stop.

As the Imperial forces switched their focus back to the battered country, the armada, composed out of thousands of ships started its journey.

It was not a pleasant journey. With the winds battering at them, the salty sea claiming any who lost themselves and storms getting their share, many lost their lives in this trip. Soon, even the most staunch believers in the Grand Trip started having doubts, and, as their teeth started falling and their children suffering it was only the presence of spirit of the empress that prevented any rebellion from taking place.

Even so, some chose to make their own paths, they will never be heard from again, while other turned to cannibalize the bodies of the fallen. It was as the last shred of patience left their bodies that a miracle took place.

“Land!” from the lookout of the flagship, a sailor yelled, bringing them back to life. All across what was left of the fleet one word was obsessively repeated.

“Land, land, land.”

It was not to be, as the small island they had found was not enough, but now, with fresh water and food, they had regained hope and continued their journey. It was only much later that they finally encountered an appropriate location for their new homeland, one that would make them feel welcome, one that will feed them all.

No time was wasted and soon, several settlements appeared on the coast of this new land. The people had found a home and, with the empress leading them, a bright new future was waiting for them.

That is not to say that all of them found their way to the new haven. Many remained behind, while other got lost on the open sea, but even so, more and more made their way to the new Aleosite Kingdom.

Finally after so many years of war and pain, there was peace. A new capital was being built and ever so slowly inroads were made in this new land. At long last, peace.
The Gupta Dynasty
27-10-2007, 01:56
Juhamda, the Empire

High Korut Giratharor Vanlaez was barely able to stifle his irritation. It was not so much that he disliked dealing with idiots - more often than not, idiots were far more amenable and easier to work with than more intelligent people - but it was more that this particular idiot (the emperor, no less!) was especially stubborn and irritating. For one, the emperor continued to argue the points that he was making - though the High Korut doubted that the Emperor either knew what the points were or what they meant. Idiots were not supposed to do that. They were supposed to accept without asking questions.

The second irritation about the Emperor was the fact that he continued to ask questions. Despite the fact that he was a fifty-six-year-old man who had been involved in politics for a long time, the Emperor had the political intellect of a three-year-old and the political sense of the High Korut's unborn son. "But my father trusted them?" The Emperor's voice was not simply in a whining tone, but it also sounded exactly like that of a little boy, irritating the High Korut even more. It was not so much that Giratharor disliked children, but he disliked that they seemed to have the need to be guided in all things. It was also a compulsion that the Emperor felt.

"Look, Nallian," the High Korut was one of the few people who had the level of prestige to call the emperor by his birth-name. "I have gone over this before. Your father did not trust them, they feared him. Can you at least try to understand that?" He tried to repress the sigh in his throat but failed, not before the emperor bobbed his head up and down, looking all the world like a schoolboy who had just been given a lecture. Another sigh escaped from the throat of the High Korut and now irritation was written plainly upon his face. The Emperor just failed to listen.

Moving close to him, the High Korut immediately grabbed the shoulders of the Emperor. He was a fat man with puffy legs and Giratharor immediately found his thin frame over matched. Of course, the taller man was far stronger, especially from the exercise that he had had (not much, but more than that of the Emperor) and as a result, began to shake the younger man by the shoulders. "What are you doing? Stop it! I can have you killed, you know!" He really did sound like a little boy, the High Korut thought inside of his mind, groaning silently as he thought it. To think - this was the idiot he would have to deal with for many years more. Perhaps a quiet death could be arranged.

Giratharor Vanlaez released the fledgling Emperor, irritation once again running through his body. "No, Nallian, you cannot kill me, you cannot sentence me to be slaughtered, you cannot do anything of that sort. I am the High Korut, remember?" If the Emperor was to act like a schoolboy, the High Korut could act like the irate schoolmaster. It was a part that Giratharor knew he could play to perfection. "As it is, you need to listen to me now. There are only two options you can take. Ignore my advice, and be dethroned by angry nobles, generals, and the provincial governors who can throw you down. Or you can listen to me and save yourself." The voice of the High Korut brooked no argument.

The Emperor nodded and listened.

Carilis, North of the Passage of Mared

Carilis had never been regarded as a major city, but it was important, in a minor way. Fed by the vast trade from the Passage of Mared (one of the Empire's most prized possessions), Carilis had always relied on the ebbs and flows of trade and the rising and falling prices of the economy. When the cost of fish was low, Carilis ate only fish. When it was deer that took less money, then deer was the food of choice for the city. It worked the same way with artifacts, goods, and products. If anything, Carilis was far more of a marketplace than a city, for it produced nothing of its own, but, like cities on every part of the Empire, it sold goods from all over. Carilis, thus, was nothing special, nothing more than one more stone in the Emperor's crown.

Of course, when prices of all goods were high (whether due to famine, shortages, or piracy) Carilis, like so much of the Empire, paid the price. And when there was a weak Emperor, when the grain stores were low, when the Empire was unable to bail out the common citizens of its cities (including Carilis), then the people suffered more. It was due to this very fact that Provincial Governor Faranel Tariensas was very tense. The people of Carilis were, in his mind, nothing more than a liability, but the central government would be doing checks on its cities soon, and if Carilis starved, he was liable. Even if there were shortages throughout the empire, he was liable. It was simply how the system worked.

"Reports are incoming, Governor Tariensas. Some unknown people, settling on the K'orcahein shore." The young runner was a fool, like most runners, totally dedicated to the running of the Empire. Faranel had been like that, once. That had been before the realities of public service had corrupted him, changed him. The world didn't work like a propaganda poster, or, indeed, anything like a propaganda poster. If anything, the realities of the earth were the exact opposite - you got what you deserved. If the situation was any indicator of what "one deserved", Faranel Tariensas was a very bad man. Or, perhaps, he had simply gained the raw end of the deal. It didn't matter either way. It was not like the situation would magically change.

"Who are they?" The Governor's brow furrowed slightly, exhibiting his concern to the runner. Self-control had never been a priority for the older man, as self-control was, in his mind, a waste of time, merely for fools. "Nobody knows, nobody can tell where they are from or from where they came." Faranel Tariensas stared out of the window, his eyes intent on the cerulean seas, almost ignoring what the young runner was saying. It didn't matter who they were - the Empire dealt with runaways, fools, and settlements of folk all the time. Imperial etiquette, in this case, was clear. It was a rare change, though.

"Kill them. Inordinate settlements, breaks imperial law. They should know better than that." The garrison at Carilis was not large, but well trained (a provincial city was a good break for more experienced soldiers) and one that had not had a confrontation since a short stand-off with pirates, a few cycles ago. It would be a welcome change to fight again. Perhaps he could find some answers to his problems there, too.

[OOC: Sorry for the wait - my post might not be as good as it can, but I promised I'd be done by Friday, so here you go!]
11-11-2007, 00:35
New Aleos.

Reports were flooding the recently built administrative halls of the refugees. From one corner to another of the colony, people had started building, slowly regaining what they had lost in their homelands. Over all, the empress watched, her kind smile, her warm hands caressing the hearts of her subjects. Their beacon of light, the lighthouse that guided them to this new haven, one they hoped they would not be forced to tarnish in blood again.

“My lady,” one of the few nobles that made the trip in one piece and probably one of the few loyal to the empress before the trip bowed before his queen. “More refugees arrived last night; it seems there are only a few left to arrive. So far there is no trace of imperial forces tracing them to our new lands.”

“Good,” the empress replied carefully turning the pages of a book, a rare good nowadays for the Aleosites, but one they knew to cherish well. “We will not run again if they arrive here,” came her words, the horrors of the long journey still freshly etched in her mind.

Yet, despite her brave words, something was disturbing the empress. These lands were not barren or devoid of life, yet so far they had encountered no natives, no locals to dispute their claim. She hoped that this lands were void of other humans, but somewhere inside she knew that this could not be true. There was only the hope that her feeling was wrong and that these lands were left unclaimed.

With that in mind, she turned back to the bane of her existence, paperwork. A shed here, a supply convoy here, little matters, but as everyone was lending a hand to the building process, she gladly offered to do even the most menial tasks and after proving that she had no real talent in the kitchen, she ended up with piles and piles of paperwork.

Despite the noise of hammers piercing the walls of her halls, she was glad about it. The sound reminded her that her people had survived and that they were learning to live again after the horrors they had faced. It was all worth it, her long sleepless nights, the noise outside, constantly getting louder and the pile of paperwork. There were no regrets.


Colony Edge. Advanced Settlement.

As the Aleosites probed deeper and deeper in this new land, settlement after settlement was built. It was not a thoughtless process, as years of experience in warfare and the fact that so many people lost their lives in wars before them left their mark in the process. Beyond the careful deployment of the new outposts, most of the people in those situated at the edge of what was by their standards Aleosite territory were mostly elite veterans from the last war, civilians being left behind what was now a new line.

In all accuracy, the Aleosites had no intention of waging war with anyone, but the deep imprints left by the war in their minds were easy to see. Almost all able men had weapons of one kind or another in their houses and they were quick to arm themselves at any sign of trouble. Even now, two years after the settling of this new land, there were some that ran out of their homes equipped with axes when they heard any louder noises.

This settlement was no different. The men and women were all warriors forged in the fires of the four hundred years war and the peace was something new for them and they did not know what to make of it. They did not know if they could fit in this new life, but they were trying as hard as they could.

A clear mark of their history was the observation tower built outside the village. Placed in such a manner that it allowed great visibility across the main access road warning them about any enemy incursion in their lands. The memory of the Imperials persisted still.

In a day like all others, a scout rested in the tower, keeping a close vigil across the land, watching how the others performed their day to day chores. Someone carting off wood for fire, the noise of wood chopping from the nearby forest, the smokes of their homes, the happy chirping of the birds. Then, something new presented to his eyes.

Dust. But not any kind of dust, he recognized that dust. There was no way he could not recognize the same dust that kidnapped his wife from him. Panicked, almost forgetting that this was not Aleos, he rushed to alert the others.

The drill was not forgotten and almost instantly, all starting running to their homes, abandoning whatever they were doing at that moment in order to grab their weapons and face this new threat, if it was indeed one. The numbers of the newcomers were not great, but the outpost didn’t house many and even though all of them knew how to wield a weapon, there was too little time to mount more than a most primitive form of defence, but that was enough.

No matter the intentions of these foreigners, they were ready.
The Gupta Dynasty
08-12-2007, 00:54
The K'orcahein Shore

The captain was a well-built man, strong, with muscles running down his back and side. His skin was a light brown hue that spoke of, perhaps, one Yaforite parent, or Yaforite ancestry, but no more than that. It made sense that he was of Yaforite ancestry. Even though the hand of the empire was generally a light one (especially in colonies of minor importance, like Carilis), those of Yaforite ancestry were generally prized far more than those of native ancestry. While the Empire itself prided itself on being a meritocracy, the natural impulse was to trust those who were familiar. It was not racism, but simply how the brains of certain people operated. As such, the captain was most likely a good captain, but his Yaforite background would have most likely not hurt his quest for success.

Reaching down, the captain felt his brass stirrup, making sure that it was in place. Like most people, he was fidgeting slightly - anticipation tended to make people tense, and Yaforites more than most. He knew as well as he had, when he had checked nearly three minutes ago, that his stirrup was fine. Nonetheless, he continued to fiddle with it, still feeling the strange sensation of tightness around his feet. It was one of the natural reactions that people had when they were tense. After all, the anxiety very often caused problems for people with weak hearts. Not that the captain had a weak heart, of course, only that, had he had one, he might have had problems.

To his right there was a clashing of arms. As the captain turned down, he found himself facing one of his men, a lightly clad infantry-man. In most countries, this type of soldier would have been considered auxiliary, but to Yaforites, who valued speed far over any other battlefield attribute, this was a standard garrison soldiers. His leather and iron helmet was loosely strapped around his round, youthful face, which seemed oddly cheery. The captain looked down at the young soldier and snorted. If anything, it seemed strange for the captain, who had been tense for a short while before and after these moments, that the young soldier could be so cheery on a field where men, in a few hours would die.

"Reporting on the status of the main force, captain!" The young soldier saluted, rather smartly, the captain felt like adding in. It was clear that the next generation of soldiers had been taught how to salute properly, at least. Of course, the captain was far from any "old generation" of soldiers either, but he felt, somehow, that he was entitled to a bit of superiority, especially given his rank as compared to the young soldier's. Rank was a fairly big deal in the Empire - discipline had always been a Yaforite's watchword, and, as such, the army was one of a few holdouts of an older type of discipline, which had been coined by the invading armies of the Jakuriat and Tyriana periods. The Yaforian dynasty, especially in comparison to one of the great dynasties of the past, was nothing more than a group of undisciplined boys, to use an international metaphor.

"Go on." The captain's voice was emblematic of his position - cold, lofty, and yet, somehow, inviting an answer, with the thought of various consequences, did a pleasing answer not come. "The scouting parties have located the location of the encampment. Fairly rudiment shelters, wood, scouts, typical stuff. Clearly have been part of some kind of civilization - though from where, I have no idea. Never seen their kind, before. Mostly bear that pearly skin that we've seen with the northlanders, but some have the dark skin of the traders, and all range of colors in between. They're fairly well organized, and I'm not entirely sure how advanced their civilization is, but they're working together fairly well, so I'm guessing it's okay."

The young soldier looked right back at the captain, as if expecting something. "Hurry up! Military capability? Defenses? This is an army, not a casual walk!" At the sound of his barking voice, the young soldier snapped to attention, nodding quickly, and coloring slightly as he did so. "A few wooden defenses, I think a palisade, a tower, nothing especially well-made. It's clearly a temporary measure - I think they're used to war. Most of their population seems adept with weapons, if it helps." The captain nodded, then booted his horse, symmetrically, on both sides. "Ready the garrison - we make war as soon as we can."

The garrison force, despite however the captain had referred to them, were not exactly an army. It did, however, take a long time to reach the encampment of the Aleosi. The cavalry, with the captain at the head, were naturally first, with the quick-moving infantry directly behind them.

They bore down upon the encampment with the force of a whirlwind.
18-12-2007, 13:40
As the foreigners wasted precious time in gathering information about the village, the Aleosites were not idle. Formations, battle lines were formed and vulnerable spots selected. Typically the preferred location for a battlefield for an Aleosite commander was different, but they had to do with what they had. With the ranks and wings assembled, the ones unable to fight on the lines were selected to do other, equally important jobs. Buckets of water were filled and children instructed to extinguish the fires and hide, the frail armed with bows and encamped on high ground and even the few elderly people contributed to the effort by directing and helping the ones left in the village lay traps should the enemy breach the line.

The position of the village was a favourable one for the defenders, respecting one of the cardinal rules of warfare, “Always hold the upper ground” and with a great visibility around the surrounding area. Access was made difficult by the terrain and by the man built defences, but, for a determined enemy, those would not constitute an insurmountable obstacle and the Aleosites knew it.

There was however one last thing left for them to do, checking the true intentions of the foreigners, for they had not needed be intent on conquering and battling them for all they knew, even though the way they moved made that doubtable. Why send a scout, they realized they were being scouted, but allowed it to happen, using deception by masking their true intentions and strength, when a messenger would have been enough should they want to greet the new arrivals to these lands. Yet they knew that even if there was a slight chance of this being a misunderstanding this had to be attempted.

For the men in the Outpost, it was clear that this was a suicide mission. Like always, this was decided by drawing out straws. The gods of fortune smiled upon many, but the one selected by them was not a man willing to die. Despite that, looking at the faces of his comrades and thinking about his pregnant wife, he knew what he had to do. He could not abandon his fellow soldiers and brothers, his mission had to be fulfilled. It was at the last moment that a hand gripped his fore arm tightly and a silent few words were spoken. “I’ll go.”

The man offering was young, too young to die, but his eyes were old, so old that they held in them memories of the countless battles in which their owner had been involved, the loss of a family, hope and then again loss. He had nothing to lose and he knew it. There was no family waiting for him, no mother or father for him to boast to, no daughter or son for him to hold on his knees and whisper a tale of courage of bravery, no wife to share his sufferings and sorrow. All had been lost and he knew that he could not allow for another family to be ripped apart by the fates. “Your first boy,” he said, an almost happy look on his face, “Name him after me.”

The other man wanted to say that such words were foolish; he wanted to deny his comrade, his friend and brother his request, thinking that he would have his own children to name, but despite whatever arguments he brought to the fore, the soldier was unshakable. “No, it’s my mission, I will go,” he resolved only to be swiftly punched in the face. When he finally got up, blood was dripping from his noise and the other man was already heading away from the troops in the valley with a white flag. He looked accusingly at his comrades, this was his mission, his life had to be wasted, and not that of the one that volunteered despite not drawing the shorter stick, but the others silenced him. “You have a family, he lost his father as a young boy, do you think he wants your children to suffer the same fate?”

In the valley, the Aleosite had a smile on his face. He knew that what he did was suicidal, but he had little to live for, his fate teaching him as much. And as the foreigners approached him, the flag was waved. Behind him, the men of the Outpost were agitated, many of them keeping their arms on their bows but none like the one that should have performed this task. His bow was poised to strike, focused upon the other soldier. With tiny droplets of sweat forming on his skin, he waited, focused on the only task he could perform.

But as the man waved the flag, the riders did not stop. He did not run, he did not try to reach his own, but, up until the very last moment, he waved the flag. As his head hit the ground, followed closely by his beheaded body, an arrow flew through the air. The enemy rider did not even have time to blink as his own blood joined the one of the Aleosite slain by his sword.

The intentions of the enemy, for now this was an enemy, no better than scum, were made clear and with the fury native to their souls, forged in the fires of battle they made their own intentions clear. Against the enemy charge, arrows filled the sky and as they drew closer to the lines, spears were launched at them. The ranks were tightened and a war cry was heard. They were not defenceless villagers waiting for someone to pluck their heads and burn their families, they were soldiers and they would make that fact known.

Like a whirlwind the Yaforites came, like a Mountain we greeted them.