World Progression Story Archipelago Progression 3 - Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

Discussion in 'Progression Events' started by BillyTheScruffy, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. BillyTheScruffy

    BillyTheScruffy Massive's Resident Law Enthusiast
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    Sep 21, 2013
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    Celebrations and Renovation

    The Alms Ministry this month busied themselves with a flurry of differing matters. Firstly, the Alms Minister sent relief to the warfront through a shipment of various weapons, home comforts and primarily tools. All across Hadar, the Regalian soldiers woke up to freshly forged and sharpened steel, be it swords or halberds, spears or daggers -- the alms ministry funded the upkeep of them all, including armor. A costly venture to be sure, but something that went down well amongst a lot of the soldiers fighting in the frontlines. Whetstones, polishing clothes and oil was provided en masse, allowing the soldiers to ensure the upkeep of their weapons, even when the manpower of the Alms Ministry wasn't present.

    The coming days were spent resharpening the paint on many shields, ensuring the Imperial standard was well represented and on the forefront of the battlefield when the armies came to clash. The Alms Ministry itself was present when the news came in that the Sendrassian army had retreated completely from Hadar and engaged with the revelry the soldiers and allar alike incited. There was a particular somber undertone to the whole affair though and one could not ignore the devastation that the war had brought upon the land. The next morning, the Alms Minister sent her workers out all across the Southern unoccupied island provinces to begin the rebuilding process. Alms funding went toward lumber and building supplies, with remaining Regalian Tenpenny soldiers supervising carpenters who immediately set about making repairs to homes and businesses. The likes of Xabi Playero, Tawnia and Humaira utilised their skills as labourers to try and ease some of the devastation as much as feasibly possible though it was obvious that the state of Hadar was dire. Nevertheless, the Ministry focused on Trade Hubs, allowing for business to return somewhat to normality in the lower islands, but more work would be needed before Hadar would be restored.

    The Season of Change?

    Duchess Haeddi van Hal gathered a conglomerate of versed husbandry and horticulture experts to assist with farming research and restructure in her Anglian lands. Alongside her, Wesley Crawford, Alban Koning, Amelina Peirgarten, Bellamy Raphellia, Bel-Gyarbrin Tibaerthus, Breucard Theodair, Bronagh Ní Floinn and Jedidiah traveled across the van Hal countryside, visiting various farms and local aldermen to get a better handle on what the agricultural practices in the region were like and to find a way to potentially take the burden of working the fields off of young sons and daughters of these farmers so they might get a better education. They were quickly able to establish two things: Crop rotation practices were outdated and not effective, tools were poor and the attitudes of the farmers themselves were low due to the wars House Harhold had involved themselves in over the last few years. Secondly, if the labour was going to be adequately replaced, it would require an influx of workers from outside her provinces, for a livable wage and with guaranteed safety. After all, the Harhold governance had not instilled a strong liking to outsiders or those outside of the default Sancellist Unionist beliefs. The young Duchess clearly would have a difficult task ahead of her, but now with hurdles clearly outlined to overcome.

    The Three (hopeful) Musketteers

    Rudolf Adler, Mila Braunbecker and Erwin Braunschweiger travel into the Waldmark region to gain some contact with the Belliard Guilds with intent to offer a monetary donation. They accept Erwin and his troupe into one of their facilities and take the donation with stoic gratitude, offering the three a brief tour of their demonstration area, where all three watched the muskette in usage. At the end of the tour, Erwin was given official recognition as a patron of the Belliard Guild with no specific benefit ties for the time being.

    Tournament, Feasts and Goat Bellows

    In the West, House Telarel or rather more specifically the Duke Lithuandir Telarel returns to the planning of the Grand Coliseum he had unveiled some time ago. Very few noticeable changes were made to the architectural plans though the Duke did issue the removal of the statue of himself atop the Coliseum. With the final points approved, construction began immediately in the coastal city of Solmarse, overseen by architect Muzhu. The Solstithar Free-Ports blew up with news of the opening of the venue and within a week, hundreds of prospect fighters submitted their names to the festivities organisers for a chance at glory for when the construction process was to be completed. [!]

    Shortly after his initial visit to Solmarse, Duke Telarel made preparations for a lavish feast for two notable invitees -- the Sol of Valon and the Sovereign Prince of Gallovia Rodderick Howlester. Both arrived in Solmarse with a large retinue of personal guards and servants, parading through the city to fanfares played by musicians from their respective homelands. By nightfall, the two guests had perused the locale in which the Coliseum would be built, having the concept explained by the Duke personally and the architectural style by Muzhu as head architect. Neither seemed particularly blown away by the idea but nonetheless gave their well wishes for the job to be completed in a manner that honors the Duke Telarel.

    All seemed well up until the Duke feasted with the two and their retinue. Seemingly out of nowhere when the Prince and Sol were discussing the Sendrassian War’s end, the Gallovian delegation that accompanied Rodderick began a loud, obnoxious Goat Bellow performance in the Sol’s honor and on behalf of the Telarel’s generosity and goodwill of the Gallovian Royal Court. The music was certainly not to the Sol’s taste but the Prince seemed overly amused with the four hour long concerto which eventually ended with the Sol’s premature departure, irritated and bitter that the evening had ended in such a fashion, closing all further diplomatic discussions for Telarel for that time. Rodderick feigned ignorance, citing only that the tunes couldn’t be at fault as, and as he explained to Telarel, they were his sister’s favorites and surely her tastes could never be so poor.

    Funeral Pyres and Coastal Fires

    Speaking of Highlanders, in the North the House Mac Conall invested a large amount of funding into holding a state-wide funeral and twenty one gun salute of Howlester cannons for the fallen General Eddair Mac Conall with a number of notable Lords and Ladies attending. After a day of mourning, an official statement was published by the Mac Conalls addressing the growing diplomatic uncertainty with the Don Kolach Duchy to the North. In the statement, the main focal point that was argued was that it was odd that the Duchess herself would send something of such to Don Kolach despite the Mac Conall and Cadieux soft alliance that was perceived by all in the capital, and the absence of any interaction with Don Kolach before then. What's more, it was illustrated that Mac Conall had made no preparations for a conflict with Don Kolach and Mac Conall had no land connection to Don Kolach lands. The statement was finalised with an accusation of character, criticising Don Kolach for believing the “fabrication” during a time of hardship for the Mac Conall family.

    Shortly after this statement was published, another came to light from the Duke of Lochallen, outlining that they had received correspondence from House Mac Conall effectively threatening them into joining in a war against the Duke of Don Koloch with a promise that the Don Koloch lands would be split between them. What's more, the Duchy mobilised a portion of its army to man the borders, as the letter also threatened economic and military action if the letter was published. This caused an outrage at the Don Koloch Court and caused mass confusion in Mac Conalls own lands. Out of nowhere, the Don Koloch fleet began to bombard the coastline of the Northern Mac Conall provinces, focusing on small fishing villages but firing warning shots and giving ample time for the denizens to evacuate. Clearly this was a message, though the Duke of Don Koloch outwardly denied having any involvement in the fleets attack. Don Koloch despite denying involvement began mobilising his troops and formalised an official denouncement of Mac Conall’s actions alongside the Duke of Lochallen. A final letter from Don Koloch is returned to Mac Conall detailing that its high time that the green Duke lay down his threats, step off of the grave of his father and cease using the unfortunate demise as a political boon and take action, with the situation evolving into a full scale cold war that could evolve into an armed conflict at any moment.

    The Budding Roses of Basta

    Better things seemed to be happening in Basta as the Duke Markus Delmotte announced his willingness to court patrilineally to his vassals as well as the Anglian Houses of Keesbroek, de Paaj and Driepunte. A number of offers were made back to the Duke, the most notable being the cousin of the Duke of Driepunte and the first born daughter of de Paaj who were both around Markus’ age.

    Markus personally visited the Southern Veereland Island to attempt to bolster the conversion of the area to Imperial Culture, but with no particular plan save for making the public appearance, the full conversion fails.

    Lastly more wholesome developments, the Duke invests funding into creating an exuberant flower display in the provincial capital of Irvellan for Marie-Paule Delmotte, his cousin, at her birthplace. A minor festival is held in honor of the Spirit bringing the end of Winter known as Herztide Day and fresh flowers are handed out to strangers and decorate nearby fountains and other such architecture. Marriage proposals skyrocket in the meanwhile, causing a huge boon of morale in the region and pro-Delmotte sentiment.

    From Warlord to Peacemaker

    In an attempt to ease some of the troubles that had stemmed from his recent actions, Duke Alaric Keen puts the reinstated veterans in charge of the local militias to gain control. This has a modicum of success and most of the trouble ceases, though the new former retired Commanders sought Keen to pay them a comfortable wage if he was going to force them out of retirement. The Militia, now under more competent command, returned to the borders and maintained control.

    A delegation is later sent to Lutol by Keen consisting of the Duke himself, Augustin Mohren and Elias Keen and a number of Keen retinues. During their visit, the Duke extended gratitude to the individuals who captured the Slizzar spy, declaring that he was thankful that their lands were safe thanks to the Dukes military preparations while other lands like Cadieux lay weak. The speech took a more anti-liberal tone toward the end, seemingly implicating the entire Liberal agenda for the infiltration and for harbouring ill will against Keen controlled lands, but reiterated that they would be fine thanks to the Militias and the justice they are able to deliver. The speech left a lot of people wondering what the overall intent was. While they were proud of themselves, it came as no surprise that Ithanian lands were under defended because, after all, they were pacifists. Either way, some national pride was instilled.

    Once done in Lutol, Keen in his capacity as a representative of the Foreign Ministry asserts himself in the Genevaud region. Using personal funding, Keen successfully persuades the leaders of Bade and Zerrick to begin peace-talks with Keen personally acting as intermediary. It became increasingly apparent that despite the disdain of the situation, neither side had any intention of war between them and that these attacks on their lands were seemingly coming out of nowhere. Alaric Keen organised for the two to remain the next while in a neutral estate in the middle of the two borders to negotiate an adequate non-aggression pact, but nothing was agreed on just yet. The Bade and Zerrick leaders made it clear they intended to get to the bottom of the situation and maintained that there could be possible Kreiburg involvement. Local investigators came up stumped, publicly calling on assistance to try get to the bottom of the attacks the previous months. [!]

    Funding for the Citadel of Proagogi

    In the Latimer lands, the Duke responded to the demands of his Feudal Council, providing documentation such as immigration papers into Lenna Bas and Hellatia in 263AC and residency documents from the Regalian Bureaucracy that dictated his kins race and citizenry. The Duke also reminded the denizens of his lands that it was he who proposed the laws demoting Slizzar to outside status and stripping them of all rights. The rumors had petered out over the last few weeks but this saw to the end of the matter and any further mentions were passed over and ignored.

    Additionally, Latimer expected funding from Houses Solisti, Avalleia, Kreiburg, Falkenreich and Mac Conall that were pledged for assisting with new munitions production in Athos. However, funding instead arrived from the families Latimer, Avalleia, de Azcoissia, de Piedmont and Solisti which finished the project entirely. The researchers succeeded in creating a stable, compact shrapnel shot that could tear most warships apart at medium range with a precise shot to ships weak points. The Citadel of Athos spread the word that despite declaring public support at the Noble Assembly, Houses Kreiburg, Falkenreich and Mac Conall, notable military families, were “oathbreakers”, an insult to their uniforms while House Solisti, Latimer, Avalleia, de Piedmont and de Azcoissia were commended on their honor and military integrity. The sudden lack of support reverberated in the Regalian standing army, with the opinion of Kreiburg, Falkenreich and Mac Conall dropping moderately while disposition toward Field Marshal Availlea, Division Admiral Latimer, Admiral de Piedmont and the Grand Marshal Solisti rocketed. The funding from de Azcoissia came with a bouquet of azaleas along with a note that read “I do hope our promise of aid reached your ears, your High Grace. I look forward to seeing what it brings us.”

    Also, Latimer bestows upon the church in his lands power to levy sin taxes on luxury goods and collect revenue for the betterment of their own facilities, the power to create legislation and enforce church ordinances in the interest of maintaining the “moral wellness and piety of the region.” This development was lapped up by the clergy, who immediately set about creating legal holy militias that would collect tithes from people’s homes and handle stamping out vices on the streets. Nothing major for the time being, but it was evident the common folk were somewhat nervous, though we're not outright saying so. There was some strife between local law enforcement and these militias, as state law and the canon laws clashed. Statues of the Emperor are removed and salvaged despite local protections for violating the church's stance on Iconoclasm and a number of the Etosian Churches private military arrive from Etosil itself to assist its foothold in the region, permitted by the local Church’s legislative authority.

    Finally, Latimer prepares for an audience with the ruler of Esverkion but is delayed due to lack of available funding from the month's endeavours.

    Philanthropy and Monster Hunting

    Back in the North, Duke Ardige Viduggla continues his season of philanthropy by both using a sizeable portion of the Viduggla family funds to improve the overall standard of living in the Duchies of Halseberge, Rundehaugen and Zastorrik, which split three ways had a modicum of success. Investment into trade and agriculture saw a spike in overall trade in those regions. Farmers prospered, repairs were made by local authorities on municipal and sacred buildings and generally the morale of the Viduggla people arose somewhat. Some noise did however come from the Duchy of Halseberge, not negatively toward House Viduggla, but seeking help from freelance adventurers and monster slayers in seeing a particularly troublesome Trugg of Ogres that had somehow managed to arrive in the region from Southern Ellador. A call was made to anyone and everyone looking to earn some riches or a chance at glory to track the trugg down and remove them. Naturally, the Great Oak lodges in the region had already begun tracking the beasts, yet for now they had not been located. [!]

    More Viduggla spending was made by Tuija Viduggla and Aeseir Eklund who travelled to the Duchies of Hurvaldberge and Rundehaugen to equip Great Oak lodges there with better armor, weapons and supplies. Additionally, a hunt was organised in Hurvaldberge to commemorate the efforts made by the two, where a special toast was held in their honor by many of the members present.

    Lastly, House Telarel and Viduggla enter a trade deal, or a supposed trade deal, with Viduggla sending a shipment of lumber and stone material in exchange for wealth from the House Telarel. The shipments end up in trade hell as the material is held by customs in Telarel lands until it is verified by the Duke of the region that a deal had been struck, as when payment was asked for, the trade office had received none from Telarel to give Viduggla.

    “What do you say to three regals and we forget the name..?”

    House Avalleia invests funds this week into a multitude of shipping companies forming the “Measures & Dockweights Bureau'', a bureaucratic arm of the shipping sector of the Avalleia lands. The bureau itself had clear plans, ensure that tariffs are properly applied in accordance with Regalian Law and stomp out potential smuggling and piracy that might arrive from the South. However, nothing was forthcoming this turn. The Directors of the Bureau did however deliver word to the Duchess that the founding was a complete success and was ready to begin work.

    Proclamations, Proclamations and Proclamations

    Over the course of the last month, the Duchess Violetta de Piedmont had been working vehemently in relieving some of the hardships recent proclamations had caused. Firstly, she reasoned that her conscription proclamation requiring mandatory military service from individuals aged 18 - 21 was a protection mechanism both for their lands and for each conscripted individual’s family and friends. This naturally was seen as a poor excuse and the rhetoric returned by the de Piedmont feudal council was, in essence: We have a military for just that. Why are we taking a sizable labour force from the lands to make the military larger when the de Piedmont lands were not under threat of danger? Nevertheless, the conscription goes ahead. Thousands of young adults are forced from their jobs as tradesmen, carers, fishermen, etc to begin running military drills. This causes a huge problem for agriculture and labour markets which suddenly found a huge gap in workforce and income dwindled somewhat for the de Piedmont house in terms of taxation.

    Secondly, the “reformation camps” that had been designed and constructed in the de Piedmont lands are put to different usage. Rather than targeting occult inclined individuals, it now only would be used as a rehabilitation center for Sanguine and Werebeasts. This was focused almost entirely on curing those afflicted and training the newly cured in etiquette and job searching. With the new gap in labour, many of the former vampires and werebeasts ended up as labor workers, somewhat improving the de Piedmont situation.

    Finally, the Duchess alongside Hans and Emile de Piedmont travel across the de Piedmont lands to perform impromptu visits to schools within their purview. Lessons on General Leadership and Frontline command are given to any who are interested, and tales/stories of battles and war were told with focus on recent victories. Anne and Victane de Piedmont teach a few lessons in alchemy in medicine, and Violetta manages a couple of lessons in economic trading before being called back to the capital of the de Piedmont lands to focus on her Ducal duties.

    A Royal Visit

    Back in the South, her High Grace Madelyne de Azcoissia organises a grand and illustrious tour of the de Azcoissia capital for Cecille and Tommen Howlester. The tour itself brought the three to some of the more talked about landmarks in the city, with fine wines and adequate dining fitting of the station of all three before finally ending at Rosaria's School for the Magically Gifted, the magic academy in the region. Much of the Howlesters' time in the South were spent at the Academy, with Tommen and Cecille being granted full privilege to ask as many queries as they wished by the Duchess herself. One notable query of the Howlesters was in regards to the first recorded usage of sorcery and who ‘discovered’ sorcery. The Academies top researchers and lecturers were adamant in their answer, explaining to Tommen that the question was not answerable. Even if the magical academies had half of the reputable archives and knowledge retention of Altalar Academies, sorcery predated even the Allorn Empire and its written records, so there were no details on who founded, discovered or used sorcery in that time.

    Funding also found its way to the province of Terra del Corazon along with architect Reginald von Falkenreich to begin working on a brand new Magical Academy to work cooperatively with the main magical academy in the region. Construction began immediately with a focus on ensuring the design remains very local in aesthetic. Included in the plans was a smaller stone relief in the main hall, depicting an old Ailor man with strong, grizzled features and an eyepatch -- a design reminiscent of the traditional wizard with a plaque at the bottom of the statue stating “Finvillius Ardengold: Practitioner and Venerator of the Old Ways.” The construction would take a full month to complete but the funding thus far would cover the total of the fees required.

    Deep Waters for the Daring Digmaan

    Vyzal invested some funding into establishing a stable trade relation with the Duke Lithuandir Telarel with shipments of slaves and alchemical concoctions in exchange for silks and wine. The trade route was something of a tricky one, with ships being sent between Puetro Asta and Solmarse, prime opportunity for piracy to those with a ship to spare, ambition and a desire to make good money -- or alternatively, those who want to foresee the safe travel of the goods in exchange for a modicum fee. [!]

    Meanwhile in Porte Plaissis, Zsedhu Izu-Vyzal is caught inside a local military base attempting to gain intel on the base's capability, weaponry and alliances. While initially granted leave to investigate by the sentries of the base, it became obvious that Zsedhu was not meant to be in the area when the individual was questioned about his previous experience and his knowledge of the area. He was captured, tortured and beaten; questioned intensely about where he acquired documents to gain entry into the base, eventually, under heavy and painful duress, relinquishing that the document was a forgery and that they were operating for Digmaan Vyzal. The information saved his life, and the infiltrator was freed but now all eyes were on the Digmaan Vyzal as the Free Cities of Westaal colluded on an appropriate sanction for the failed espionage.

    Rumvalia for the Rumvalians!

    The propaganda machine in Rumvalia was pushed to maximum efficiency as Duke Merdoc Slumberwood invested funds into spreading news within Rumvalia that Warden-like extremists were beginning to band together in the Crown Isle over the last month, citing the murder on Holy Ground -- more specifically the Church of Salvation. Documents detailing the gruesome sham trial and the decapitation of an aberrant in front of the church. Moreover, the documents were accompanied by the mass publication of copies of a letter written by Duke Alaric Keen which, among other things, proved to the Rumvalian people that he and his former guardsmen had begun arming extremists with the very weaponry he had been mass producing over the last couple of months. With the situation laid out, tense and uneasy, Murdoc made a final declaration titled ‘Rumvalia for Rumvalians’. In this proclamation, the Duke elaborated that the extremist influences of the North had to be combatted at home immediately to prevent the destruction of Anian cultural ways. The younger Anian nobles were specifically targeted and the segments documenting the need for an anti Calemberger/New Regalian movement went down almost too well, too quickly, due to the cultural restraints Murdoc believed that the likes of Keen, von Falkenreich and other notable New Regalians would begin to force upon the people to the South. Almost overnight, Rumvalia descended into a sort of ‘cultural lockdown’ aided by laws passed by House Slumberwood aimed specifically at the Regalian Nobility outlawing the speaking of New Regalian, wearing New Regalian clothing and the support of Casparianism. New Regalian merchants and trading posts were practically forced out of the region by the locals,having been roused by their local lords, with soft sanctions enforced by the Rumvalian border patrols ensuring the non-passing of New Regalians into Anian lands with threats of imprisonment. Merdoc ends his announcements by declaring that New Regalian practices were the complete antithesis to Anian traditions, and that New Regalians must not be allowed to corrupt the people of the region by becoming role models of extremism.

    Architectural Pursuits in the Far North

    Back in the North, architects and builders from all across the Sorenvik lands gathered in the province of Billund to begin work on house designs as per the agreement made by House Sorenvik and Viduggla together. The sole purpose of the gathering was to discuss an adequate design for resilient, affordable and mass producible housing. Despite a number of Northern architects submitting drafts, including the Duchess herself, it was deemed necessary to begin looking for architects from outside the North to add an additional level of input with potential reward to come with any success in planning the perfect design. [!]

    Fashion for the Masses

    The province of Ventiane saw some significant attention in recent weeks. Arriving with a posse consisting of Émil d’Kreiger, Hudil du Saullevé, Lewyn du Saullevé, Asterlea Flutre and Loriella Hall’eveia, the Duchess Eponia du Saullevé set sights on a recently vacated piece of land to fund the construction of a Beauty and Fashion Academy. Architects from all over the du Saullevé lands arrive to assist the head architect Loriella Hall’eveia. The others amongst the du Saullevé troupe were chosen to give lectures, though the Duchess was quickly informed that she would be unable to both adequately govern and lecture at the college consistently due to her obligations to her provinces. Thus, it was deemed a single lecture a month would suffice. One month would be needed for the academy to be completed but a curriculum would be sorted out between those who attended with the Duchess. News spread like wildfire, especially through Lorhauser, where the Countess Amelina Peirgarten roused the local fashionistas amongst the regional court to levy interest to those who might seek to influence a new fashion trend within the academy, which could very well extend all over the archipelago. [!]

    A second party of individuals loyal to the Duchess made for a small village by the name of Bouzille on the border of Elane and the Kreiburg controlled province of Mulhausen. Natharia Mac Conall and Eli’lirsarae du Saullevé, delegates on behalf of the Duchess entered the village atop Natharia’s Casecabillas Stallion, garnering the attention of many of the village denizens as they galloped their way up to the local alderman’s home where they immediately engaged in talks on behalf of Eponia to ascertain if there were any concerns regarding the recent troubles in Genevaud. The alderman explains that the Genevaud situation has roused a lot of paranoia in the border cities, and additional guardsmen and individuals specifically trained in anti-sabotage were needed to ensure that du Saullevé lands don’t experience the same attacks as others.

    Partenariats improbables

    Diplomatic excursions were not going to end with House de Saullevé however. In the Ithanian cultured provinces, the Duchess Milena Cadieux set off with a delegation and some expensive gifts to the lands governed by the Villeroi. She was met in the capital by the Duchess of the region herself, and talks began in her lavish vineyard estates in Milais.The Duchess Cadieux’s intent in this endeavor did not come as a surprise to anyone -- to fix the hindrance of a letter published the previous month that implicated Milena as a warmonger, hungry to take the Villeroi provinces. Milena’s argumentation was simple: Firstly, a pact such as the one between Mac Conall and herself, would violate her Ithanian cultural integrity. Secondly, she would not dare violate ‘Princois Duresse’ which prohibits violence save for self defence. Thirdly, both provinces share a sister culture, languages and patriotism, evidently far more in common than different. Milena’s final point was more of an assertion. That there was espionage at foot with someone attempting to cause diplomatic havok all over the archipelago. After suggestions that the two ought to work together to find this saboteur, the two left the estate together, gossiping and engaging in jovial conversation -- marking the end of any hostilities.

    House Solisti aims for the Sky

    In the Solisti held lands, the Duke Valentino Solisti sends word across his provinces that he requires skilled architects and engineers who are familiar with airships and their construction sites to attend the Solisti capital for a great employment opportunity. Once gathered, a huge conglomerate was sent to the province of Vila Sines to begin construction on a large, state of the art facility for the research and production of Airships. The architects went to work immediately, announcing the completion in one months time.

    Secondly, House Solisti sends a delegation to the lands of the Iron Duke Ryker Lampero. However, when the delegation, led by Sebastien Solisti approaches the Duke’s estate in Lamperporta Sebastien is denied an audience with the Duke. What was originally supposed to be a diplomatic discussion about technology, supply and logistics and coal shipments ended up being a half an hour back and forth between Sebastien and a runner for the Iron Duke, who eventually ended all talks with a simple message. “It is customary for Dukes to meet Dukes, not send their relatives in their stead.” The courier then informed Sebastien that the Iron Duke is not interested in a research agreement with foreigners at this time and sent him home.

    Clash of the Cultures

    A degree of movement was also noted from House von Falenreich. Couriers within Calemberg muttered to one another about letters that were delivered to the Lugenwitz and Bautzder rulers on behalf of Duke Reimar von Falkenreich this month expressing concern over the recent actions of House Slumberwood and their push for nationalism and anti New Regalian sentiment within their lands. The letters conveyed a simple message: That the Duke Slumberwoods push for anti-new Regalian culture within the Rumvalian provinces stem from the man’s courtship to the Duke of Puerto Zilenta, a known Cro-Allar. This came as little surprise to the New Regalian population who were already understandably miffed now that a modicum of their trade had essentially ceased with Rumvalia, and to vent their frustration caricatures of the Duke of Rumvalia Merdoc Slumberwood and Cro-Maarx began popping up in Conservative pamphlets propagandizing the two as a laughing stock duo who would undoubtedly fail in combating the conservative agenda. This had very little effect on the Rumvalian or Puerto Zilenta populations though, but did begin in uniting the New Regalians against the Anian people to the South, who were now hotly contending with one another in a cultural battle with spectators from all over the archipelago wondering what was actually the point of it all. To add to the Pro-New Regalian sentiment, Duke Reimar von Falkenreich pressed funding into the various military academies located within Calemberg, allowing for more lectures and scholarships. Reimar also announced to the public that discussions would be held with House Sorenvik to the North regarding their recent declaration indicating the North’s intent to create and formalise an official standing army of the North.

    Elsewhere in the Archipelago

    It began almost overnight. Farmers on the outskirts of the province of Shattel within the du Saullevé lands tended to their crops of beet, parsnips and carrots only to find a thick, black rot corroding throughout the vast majority of their traditionally bountiful harvest. The usual methods of removing the rot seemed to fall short, and despite quick and decisive action the blight began to spread like wildfire throughout the entire Shattel province. Farmers lit up entire harvests in attempts to kill off the disease, burning away thousands of regals in every field. The supply of locally grown produce dwindled at record rates, causing the poorer commoner families to hoard what little they can salvage. The cities were hit hardest by this in a strange twist of fate where the rich were the ones to risk starvation as no food came in from the countryside and imported foods flew off the shelves mere hours after arrival. A state of emergency was called within the du Saullevé lands with farmers calling upon their liege lord to curb the spread of produce in and out of Shattel before any more farms could be affected. The immediate crisis areas were clear. If the blight had spread at all, the immediate danger areas would be the Southern du Triege provinces and the Eastern Zerrick provinces. In the capital, worry was the atmosphere. With the Emperor currently incapacitated and Government confidence falling, some theorised it was only a matter of time before the blight escaped Shattel and spread to nearby provinces. The Kade House of Trade released a statement confirming that the rot had not yet been discovered in Anglia, which meant that the vast majority of the Empire’s foodstock, that being grain, was safe and secure, though confessed that they were unsure what sort of effect the blight may have if it did manage to reach Anglian shores as this particular infestation was unusual to them. They advised all noble houses to proceed with caution moving forward.

    Elsewhere in Silmark, the populous of the midland villages awoke to the smell of smoke and the sound of panicked screaming. All over the province, small storehouses containing lumber, food stock, weaponry and other such essentials were targeted and set ablaze by unknown assailants during nightfall. Despite the token guard presence in each village, no suspicious activity was noted and any newcomers to the towns were swiftly rounded up and put under heavy interrogation to no avail. Shortly after the attacks, a runner was captured attempting to leave Silmark for the Lungenweitz lands who had in his possession a sealed note for the Duke of Rumvalia, Murdoc Slumberwood. The note detailed that the attacks had gone off without a hitch and that naturally suspicion would fall likely upon the House Keen due to their recent history of meddling with their border nations. All eyes fell on the Slumberwood family to the South. If Murdoc’s actions had not already rilled the Northern New Regalian Duchies, this was the breaking point. The governing lords of the Theomaria States called for immediate action against Duke Slumberwood for the attacks and were preparing to rouse their armies in Krismea when one further report reached their ears; that the House Black Trading Fleet had been spotted the evening of the attacks off of the coast of Silmark heading Northbound across the Eastern shorelines but there were no records of goods from the coastal trading ports of any cargo being loaded or unloaded from Merchant Guild registered ships, especially from House Black themselves. The Lords of Theomaria called upon the Regalian Nobility to launch an immediate inquest into the attacks and for the Government to take action, fingering Gwendolyn Black as a possible suspect for immediate interrogation for the recent attacks, not just in Silmark, but also in Genevaud, citing commercial terrorism as a possible motive.
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