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  • "2. No changing the produced item after rush-buying."

    But if you imagine you promise you'll order a temple to a factory, then a rival builder learns about it and offers you a bargain for a duct, then you give your word, but another factory does the same for an amphitheater...

    "3. No exploiting the bug where you can build unlimited settlers/militias in any city that had one citizen + any slaves."

    Now let's figure out how you can force slaves to reproduce and promise some of them will be free to join the settling team.

    Same exercise with odd fights, like the warriors who send massive flashing lights that dazzle the tired interceptor's pilot.

    "Honorary"...I get it but...haha.

    I'm late anyway but long life to our appreciation of a game I still do love immensely (in spite of my other message on this forum)
    Last edited by chancemachine; July 21, 2013, 17:10.

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    • T H E . T H E B A N
      i s s u e . 4550

      november 3263 (AD 1113)
      Printed in Rottschild's Print Shop


      Glory to Her Immortal Majesty, Queen Cleopatra!
      Long live Duke Challis, the Theban Commissioner!
      Theban Royal Mead. Tradition and Modernity.



      A Japanese Revolutionary Admitted By The Queen!

      The former Mayor of Kyoto, Lord Jinnai Katsuhiko, was granted the honor of sharing the table with Her Immortal Majesty and her ministers. When forces loyal to Empress Ahri have brutally quelled the rebellion in Kyoto, he managed to flee the city, and, through Italia, he eventually arrived at Thebes, for a while becoming a quite famous and outspoken figure in the Theban high society (arguing on every turn that our Kingdom should help Japan - by overthrowing the God-Empress Ahri Nekomimi by the might of our armies). Asked about his plans, he revealed his intention to settle on our soil. Indeed recently he had bought land near Thebes and established a small industrial town, which he named Jinnaipolis (as a possible taunt to the recent renaming of Persepolis to Haruhipolis). Paying little heed to voices saying that nobles shouldn't dirty their hands with economical endavours, Lord Jinnai started to produce world-famous Japanese-style underwear - which is good news for any Egyptian gentleman blessed with a pretty wife!




      A New Wave of Strikes Paralyzes Egypt

      The Egyptian economy suffered a severe blow, after most of the factory workers in the major harbour city of Karnak have refused to go to work unless the Crown granted them civil rights equal to their French peers. Soon after that, they were joined by hordes of miners from Oryx. The local military reacted fast in restoring order, although the damage was done and this event remains a bad omen - never before had Northern Egypt witnessed unrest on such a massive scale. Traitorous circles, which keep accusing our glorious Queen of inactivity and turning a blind eye on corruption, can be sure to gain more support. We here at The Theban have just one question for those ungrateful malcontents - how the apparently increasing power of our Kingdom can be bad for its nobility?




      Blood On The Streets of Delhi

      A massive slave uprising shook the British city of Delhi, infamous for being the centre of world's slave trade. No less than 50,000 slaves have risen overnight to overthrow their masters. After two weeks of savage fighting, the heavily armed garrison managed to restore the order. The number of casaulties is still difficult to count, but the British army itself suffered no less than 2000 dead, the number of slaves and civilians killed likely being ten to twenty times higher. The leader of the rebellion, Benito Juarez of the Mexican minority, had disappeared and is presumed dead.





      We're Going To Pierce The Hell - Says A Miner

      The Royal Mines of Luxor have yet again broken their own world record on deep mining. With the help of the sophisticated electrical equipment, they recently started to exploit a vein of coal, located over 1,200 feet below the ground.
      Last edited by Max_Smirnov; July 20, 2013, 22:42.

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      • "Baron Feyd Heliconnen. My greetings and salutations, your ruthlessness. We've been eagerly awaiting your arrival."

        The Baron answered the deep bow with a slight nod. He was already an old man, but in stark contrast to the wizened figure that had greeted him, his posture was staight, and his face still retained some of his famous handsomeness. Only their eyes mirrored each other, gleaming with diabolical intelligence.

        "I sincerily hope my trip wasn't in vain, dear Ragnis. I'd hate to make my daughter upset."

        The old sage smiled, setting his gaze on a blonde girl, twelve or thirteen years old, who instinctively hid behind the Baron, clutching at his robes. She swallowed hard, obviously scared by that smile, but managed to endure his gaze without looking away.

        "Oh, and this must be young Ceres Heliconnen. So innocent... so pure..." said Ragnis. "Truly, my Lord, she inherited your legendary beauty. She must be the cutest girl in whole Egypt."

        "She inherited far more than that, my friend. I have promised to show her something splendid today. Will I be able to keep on that promise?"

        "Certainly... please follow me," answered Ragnis, tearing his gaze away with some difficulty.

        Leaving the hot and humid air of the shores of the Black Bay behind, they started to descend into the cold depths of the mountain. The air was stale here, unexpectedly smelling with heavy incense and something heavier still, something that smelled like death. Ragnis was able to keep his silence only for so long.

        "Sweet Ceres, did your dad tell you why this facility even exists?"

        "W-well, uh-"

        "I did, yet only... roughly" said the Baron. "Why don't you explain it to her in greater detail? Being almost of age, she should have the full knowledge befitting my only heir. And few people have your gift of teaching."

        "I'll be delighted, your greatness," said Ragnis, his ancient face contorting in a repulsive smile again. "See, young Ceres, everything starts with big politics. As you know, the world is controlled by three major powers. Egypt, France and Japan."

        Ceres nodded. She was more than aware of such matters. "And Egypt is controlled by the Company."

        Ragnis chuckled. "What an insightful observation. Yes, the real power in Egypt is wielded by the East India Company and its derivatives. Being such a huge economical power, the Company is crucial to the Kingdom, and Queen Cleopatra is smart enough to share power with it. And the Heliconnens are one of the most important families within the Company.
        Yet, recently, the Company had lost the measure of control over world's economy it had enjoyed for several centuries. Through extremely skillful maneuvring and vast investments, the Japanese managed to forge the stockmarket in Kyoto into an economical power that outclassed the Company. Cleopatra wasn't dilligent enough, underestimating the power of stock exchanges. The advantages brought by a single world trade center weren't obvious back then, but are obvious now. Kyoto became the place to go when making the biggest deals, no matter in what part of the world your business might operate. The really big business had always been transnational anyway, wars and dynastic disputes being just an opportunity to make money to those who already had a lot of it. You can perceive it as a global conspiracy of sorts. Conspiracy of the super-rich. Yet, a conspiracy needs headquarters, and the Japanese managed to influence it so that headquarters moved to Japan, greatly boosting the economy of their country as well. Because of simple convenience - convenience of escaping the grasp of the Company, as well. And then, overnight, the Yen became world's reserve currency. Needless to say, the Company was dragged down into the crowd, still the biggest, but no longer able to call the shots.
        Seeing so much money being lost, the Company adressed the Queen. Again, this is a common interest. Not only the Company lost its power, but Japanese gained more of it, putting Egypt at a disadvantage. The Queen decided to act and opted out of the world patent law that was being championed by Napoleon. He was very close from getting enough support in the global business to push those regulations - basically, it would be forbidden by law to copy designs made by others, and, with French inventors and businessmen being behind the legislature, it'd put other countries at a relative scientific disadvantage. But, with Egypt renouncing it and supporting Tesla instead, who champions the free flow of ideas, the French patent law is effectively dead, and it is Egypt who holds the advantage now. Are you following me, Ceres?"

        "So... The French are angry at Egypt, and the Egypt is angry at Japan."

        "Indeed! Napoleon was said to have been furious for a whole week after learning this. Enmity is dangerous, though. We need to be friends. And so, the Company yet again charged Heliconnens with resolving this conundrum, and your dad founded this secret research facility to develop... well, a friend making kit, if you will."

        "A friend making kit?" asked Ceres.

        "Yes... this way please."

        As they entered the undeground workshop, the drab-looking technicians immediately scattered. Nobody wanted to attract attention of their masters; such attentions all too often proved fatal. Ragnis wasn't someone to tolerate any failures.

        The workshop was stacked with mysterious tubes, each several metres long and half a metre in diameter. Ragnis put his hand on one of them.

        "Behold the most destructive weapon in the world. Packed with over thousand pounds of explosives and powered by an electric engine, it delivers and equivalent of several hundreds cannonballs straight to the target, skimming unseen under the surface of the water. We're calling it a torpedo. No ship currently in existence can survive even a glancing hit of this weapon. Small ships would be simply torn to pieces in an instant, leaving no survivors."

        The Baron smiled.

        "I like it. You have solved the problem of making friends with true Heliconnen... subtlety indeed."




        "I need to prepare a little presentation for my friends from Egypt, Japan and France..."

        "You are too kind, my lord. That's not all, though. Currently we're developing a wholly new ship design, that uses similar principles as the torpedo - being able to sail under the surface of the water, deadly and unseen. Perhaps... it would be a great time for beautiful Ceres to gain some education?"

        "You are really bold, Ragnis. You want me to leave my daughter in your hands?"

        "For a few years? No other place could offer her such education, and she's in the perfect age..."

        "I do not doubt that. Indeed, you have exceeded the expectations... I think you are worthy of educating my daughter."

        "I shall do it with the greatest eagerness, my lord."

        The blonde girl could only fight her panic, as Ragnis' face contorted in the most vicious smile.

        Comment


        • Time for a big chunk of writing - as a big report for turn 190!


          The girl was sitting in her cabin. Her mission was almost over, yet there was one more challenge to face and it was to face the ruler, while reporting in. The being she created has surpassed her greatly, especially after the incident. The masked man gave her even more power, which changed her character to the great extent. She hasn’t seen her since that happen, yet the rumors were pretty terrifying. She looked at the maps and letters on the desk. There was so much to describe. Most of things proceeded smoothly. Most of them...
          A knocking on the door disrupted the report she was creating in her mind. “We are entering the port Admiral!” a voice of her subordinate said.
          Kyoto. It has been such a long time, since Haruhi saw it.
          “Just a little bit more” she thought. “But first, let’s see how the freshly reestablished capitol changed”.

          The strategy room was rebuilt to resemble the original as much as possible, after it was burned down completely during the fall of Kyoto. There were some differences though, like the beautiful incrusted table instead of old plain one or more detailed great map on the wall. Still, the general arrangement of the room remained the same, as Ahri commanded to do so. She was standing next to the table looking at the small figurines of soldiers on the map of southern Asia. Egyptians in the north, Indians in the middle and Celts further to the east. Only a smart part of this land belonged to Japan, yet it was about to change. Hattori Hanzo, head of her spy and assassin department, as well as Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen – two of her greatest generals stood nearby, listening to her.
          “This way, we should create a force capable of capturing enemy cities without putting much strain on our homeland. These fools are worth only to become a cannon fodder and they shall be used as one. Pasargadae is just a first step toward the final campaign in capturing the remains of Persia.” She stated calmly. “Fortunately for us, we should get the first hand information about the results of our first movement very soon”.
          “Excuse me?” Takeda asked surprised, as Empress turned around and looked at the doors.
          “She is almost here. I can sense her presence”.
          “Haruhi” Hanzo clarified calmly.
          They all looked at the door, until a few moments later, the young goddess entered the room.
          “Good to see you back, admiral. How bloody was your trip?”
          “It was bloody boring. More, however, is happening on the land.” Suzumiya stated without blinking her eye.
          “Tell me how everything proceeded. The negotiations, everything.”
          “Yes, Empress. First of all, the meeting was more interesting than I anticipated. Not only Heliconnen showed his old face, but also an admiral from France arrived with him.”
          “Oh... so the letter from Cleopatra wasn’t a fluke and assassination attempt? Had she really grown soft?” Ahri pointed at the letter lying nearby. The big royal seal of Egypt distinguished it from the others.
          “No it wasn’t. First of all, she has found different... point of interest. Her eyes look toward Russia and she does not wish to have two active front lines at the same time. It is true it would be hard to pose a threat to them, as Southern Egypt is guarded by fleets of Egypt and France, yet she wish to speak, rather than simply let things cool down. Heliconnen stated that the monarchy is coming to the end, since masses slowly begin to rebel against nobility. He said that Cleopatra was planning all of it, yet he gave us no detail. Most likely that’s the reason behind that action.”
          “Does it mean a peace?” Uesugi asked. He looked somewhat disappointed.
          “No it doesn’t” Haruhi answered quickly. “We do not get closer to the peace, but for sure we are getting further away from the war.”
          “Continue the report” Ahri stated calmly.
          “Meeting in Akashi was a proof of their good will, as they were lightly defended. If we wished to, their heads could return to their rulers in bloodied bags, what made me sure they are serious about that. Still the peace would be more welcome for them, than for us, so brought few gifts with them.”
          “I hope it’s something that is worth more than some honey or fur. We have more than enough of them since establishing the Kyoto Exchange.” Empress snorted with laughter.
          “No my Empress. We made few agreements. First was the issue of Jarmy. As it was a threat in the hands of the opposite faction, we agreed to completely annihilate that and build the forts nearby to control the passage. This way our border will become more peaceful and easier to guard for both factions. As a sign of good will they will annihilate the city, making it vulnerable for our spies if they try to do break the agreement.”
          “Good. They should not risk the technology they are so proud of for keeping a small village next to our forces even if it is easy to defend” Takeda said, while nodding.
          “If they deploy their spies within the city just after it falls, they will have the protection and the city at once” Hanzo stated with a warning tone.
          “That’s one of the reasons a French admiral was there. He testified our agreement. If Egypt breaks it, they shall lose much more than just peace with us. Especially since the Tesla Lab was an official slap in the face of Napoleon. It would be too reckless to betray twice like this.” Suzumiya continued.
          “It makes sense.” Ahri summarised. “Continue. What else the meeting brought?”
          “I have described them how we wish the eastern border to look like. It included Ahmedabad and a city we will build south of it. This shall become the border between Nippon and Celtic empire. Both diplomats agreed with our demands, calling them reasonable.”
          “Still there was no word from Celts. They are the biggest issue here, I’m afraid” Hanzo pointed at the figurines of Celtic army at the tactical map.
          “Heliconnen anticipated such topic and tried to discuss it with their Empress. She rejected all propositions of his, including the one very similar to ours.”
          “So what does their agreement gives us if the Celts will claim this city or have done it already?” Empress looked at the map, tapping her fingers at the table. She was either excited or annoyed, but it was impossible to tell which one.
          “Both of them, officially stating that they speak in the name of their rulers, said that they accept our border proposition and will not interfere even if it will result in a war between us and Eucliwood’s Empire.”
          Ahri burst out with laughter. “So for peace, they are selling out their ally? Really?”
          “Well not exactly. They stated that full scale offence into the heart of India will force them to act, but if it is the border we are free to act as we want to. On top of that, if the fight for Ahmedabad will result in heavy losses on our side we claim a little bit more as a compensation.”
          “Eucliwood, fu.cked by her allies and to be fu.cked by Nippon. I would love to see her face when she finds out about that!” Ahri, excited, was almost yelling. “This was indeed an interesting meeting. You did a good job Haruhi. But there is one more thing you have to tell us before you go rest. Our invasion. How is it going? I suppose you brought some reports together with you.”
          “Indeed”. The goddess remained calm, as opposed to the empress. She seemed... serious “As you ordered, the Rhagae ceased to exist.”
          “Ha! This city was not meant to be!”
          “Indeed” Haruhi nodded, while wrinkling her brews. “The citizens were forced to join your militia. They, together with a settling party will join shortly the garrison to the east.”
          “The conquistadors division. What about them?”
          “They claimed the lands that will become the new city soon. They force the local villagers to start building the canal, so our fleet my access the Ahmedabad in the future.”
          “Good. Any enemy forces spotted? I hope they slaughtered some fools while landing.”
          “Unfortunately my empress. This part of land was completely empty.”
          “So everything proceed more or less smoothly” Ahri calmed down a little bit. “What about Pasargadae?”
          Suzumiya swallowed her saliva loudly. “The city is still standing my lady. Their sudden reinforcements managed to push our improvised offensive to retreat to Haruhipolis”
          “Are you kidding me?” Ahri looked at her angrily. Few sparks appeared on her tails.
          “No my lady. enemy losses were as heavy as ours, yet they outnumbered us greatly and it led to our fall. It was a hurried assault and the crucial surprise factor failed us.” Admiral spoke very fast.
          “Execute all the survivors.”
          “Excuse me?” Haruhi was taken completely off guard.
          “Execute all the survivors. The soldiers who retreated. I want their heads to roll, to show what happens to those who fail me” Voice of Ahri was filled with pure, cold hatred.”Leave Shimazu alive. Make him rebuild an army. A proper one this time. Tell him to capture the city or the next time his head will roll as well. And as he isn’t so stupid to fail me twice, tell him to disband this city after a capture.”
          Haruhi looked at the Empress completely scared. The ruler, as if unsure if she understood properly, added.
          “Disband. We do not need such big city so close to Haruhipolis. Enlist the locals into our army. Execute all who oppose us. Pasargadae has to be eradicated.”
          “But my lady.” Ahri tried to oppose “Slaughtering the survivor, then eradicating one of the biggest cities in the region is too much! I understand the ones who failed you, but the city... In Pasargadae lies the great monument of Magellan’s Journey as well as many other historical monuments!” It was the first time she raised her voice during the whole conversation, however, unlike Ahri, there was only fear in it.
          “Eradicate it. Destroy the monuments. If you do not like the orders...” Ahri stopped for a moment, and a fire appeared on her open palm “I may eradicate you as well. For sure someone else will be more reasonable.”
          Haruhi kneeled. “Forgive me my insolence, o great Empress. I will carry out your orders personally, to as an atonement for my behaviour and to make sure everything will go according to the plan.” She gritted her teeth after the statement.
          “Enough. It’s an order for Shimazu Yoshihiro, as his life depends on it. You may go and rest. This is your prize for the hard work you have done. And... be more reasonable with your words next time Haruhi.”
          “I definitely will” Goddess stated, after regaining her calmness. She stood up and walked out of the room.
          “Hopefully we won’t have to talk again anytime soon... you demon.” she thought.
          “What do you think about the current situation after hearing out the report?” Hattori broke the silence that lingered in the air. The atmosphere was grim. Fail of the army was not anticipated.
          “Looks like the Egypt will try to do something very big soon. They do not want enemies during such crucial time. It explains why they even sacrifice land of their ally for such a thing.” Takeda spoke. “Most likely it is a combined result of an incoming internal uprising and war with Russian Democracy. It also looks like their alliance with France survived the recent incident. Yet for sure it was shaken what may be actually a good sign for us.”
          “And what about the Celts?” Ahri asked. She was looking at the light blue pawns at the map.
          “They are exterminating the remains of Indian forces.” Hanzo answered. “Soon they shall start reinforcing and rebuilding the conquered cities, what shall greatly increase their power. We have to act before that actually happens.”
          “Do you think that they can pose a threat to us?” Uesugi interrupted him.
          “No.” Hattori stated coldly. “The fail at Pasargadae was because our forces were not meant for conquest of heavily defended city. When fully prepared, Celts of Indians pose no big threat to us. But for sure it will increase our losses during the campaign. And we have to take advantage of the peace with Egypt we will gain that way, not lose.”
          “Maybe Eucliwood will give up the city after she sees the behaviour of her allies?” Takeda asked.
          “No.” Ahri joined their conversation. “She is too proud for that. Proud and stubborn. A very problematic combination for a ruler... unless you have an upper hand. What isn’t even close to being true at that moment. Especially after this pathetic mistake Shimazu made. She will not yield.”
          “So it will end up with another war.” Uesugi stated grimly.
          “Yes it will. I want you to take command of southern forces Kenshin. Gather them and after securing our new foothold begin the siege of Ahmedabad. It does not matter who control the city. Claim it, or destroy it. We shall rebuild it from the ruins if needed but it must be ours.”
          “If that is your wish my lady.” He bowed deeply.
          “It is. I shall send you second fleet to help during the siege. Use them as you see fit.”
          “It is a great gift. I shall bring you back the news of victory as soon as possible my empress.”
          “The Exodus of Rome succeeded, but they are now even smaller then the remains of Persia” Hanzo picked up the previous discussion topic. “All we can give them now is a peace. As long as they are not detected by French they should be safe.”
          “Indeed. This way they should be able to live peacefully as they always wanted to.” Uesugi summarised the topic. “The French on the other hand are reinforcing the Italy. They may claim many things, yet it is only a matter of time before they become a threat to our homeland.”
          “That is correct if Napoleon becomes our enemy. Otherwise it may lead up to a coordinated attacks. Against Russia, Egypt or even Celts. Time will tell which option will it be.” Hattori answered him.
          “I hope you are not mistaken. Or we figure it out before it is too late... We have lost our capitol once, second time may be deadly.”
          “We cannot wage war on everyone” Takeda claimed. “Even if they become our enemies, as long as we ensure that our growth is greater than their it should be enough.”
          “Wise words.” Hanzo pointed out. “This is why we should solve our issue with Celts as soon as possible. It may be of great important for our future.”
          “Takeda, I changed my mind. You will join Shimazu in northern Japan. I will not accept any more failures. Do whatever you have to, kill whoever you have to. Burn down villages if this will slay our enemies. I want proper access to the Himalayas. And no more Indians as neighbours.” Ahri gave an order.
          “As you command my lady.”
          “This is enough for today. Tomorrow I will give you more precise orders. For now I have to go and take care of Hinotebi. This little devil might have burned her bed again if she woke up.”
          “If needed, I can provide you some servants to take care of the baby, my lady. The expendable ones, but it is acceptable as long as it will loosen your burden of being both a mother and ruler.” Hanzo offered his help.
          “Do your job properly Hanzo.” Ahri looked at him coldly. “I need no help while taking care of my child. Or this country. As long as you work as properly as you used to, everything will manage. And next time... provide a better support to our attackers”
          “I will never disappoint you, Nekomimi Empress. We did not scout them for the sake of ambush. This mistaken will not be repeated ever again.”
          “It is best for both of us if it stays that way.” She turned around and walked out of the room.
          “You are also proud and stubborn Ahri. Just like Eucliwood. I hope it won’t lead to your fall.” Master of assassins thought to himself.


          Empress Ahri. Proud and powerful.

          Comment


          • (This post was written by Daniel, the Celt player. My credit is only for translation and image editing)




            It was just Touma's bad luck. Bad luck seemed to have taken a special liking to him, stalking him, never too far away, always ready to scream "SURPRISE" when he was entering a dark room.

            Because, why it had to be him? Surely, there were many citizens better suited for the honor of being country's main chronicler, but the First Servant of the People, as country's ruler wanted to be called, choose him, a mere aide in a newly established publishing house. Of all the people present at the time of her visit, it was him who caught her attention...

            Maybe it was true that this bad luck was a part of his greater destiny? Touma didn't believe in that mystical hogwash, but the thought kept returning. After all, there were legends about Empress' voice (the obvious fact she was mute conveniently forgotten), and it was her who announced him that his bad luck is stronger than the destiny itself.
            The most interesting part, though... Was what she told him (or rather, wrote) when they were alone.

            "You will be the safeguard of this country, its hidden passage and its shield. You shall know more when the time is right."
            And that was all, whatever it was supposed to mean.

            Truth be told, his job itself wasn't that hard. At least no harder than copying newspaper source materials can be. The things were getting complicated during the meetings with the First Servant of the People, when the texts were edited. Touma would've called it censorship, if not for the fact, that his ruler was adding much more to those texts than she was removing. She was really hard to please, and Touma was leaving each meeting burdened with a fresh stack of reports to read, "so the chronicle may be complete," as she was saying.

            The first piece that received full approval was at the same time a quite unusual one. It pertained to the slave uprising in Delhi. Touma read it again, still quite surprised with its contents:

            AD 1076. THE DELHI UPRISING

            For many centuries, slaves of Indian origin were serving in the - to say it openly - conquered cities. The First Servant of the People, being a pragmatic, listens to them, even if they're not her people. The Indian warriors wanted to help the citizens of Delhi, Tiruppur and other cities, and their wish was granted by the Empress. They're of great help in developing these cities - as slaves.

            Surprisingly, both the citizens and the slaves themselves accepted this fact unusually calmly. This was perhaps the result of the privileges, granted to the slaves by the
            First Servant of the People. Every slave was entitled to a place to live, fulfilling contemporary standards for basic accomodation in a given city, as well as food and water for him and his family. Naturally, the responsibility laid on the owner of the slave.

            Since our ruler had once been a slave herself [see History of Empress Eucliwood, chapter 6], she understands the needs and wants of a slave well. She equally well knows, that such a life is much better than one of a villager in a country torn by endless conflict, or a soldier separated from his family for 10 or more years. Those two groups were the majority of the so-called 'slave' population.

            The direct cause of the uprising was corruption and disdain towards the law exhibited by the ruling classes of the colonies. Eye-witnesses report that the slaves were treated like animals - held in cages, without any regard of hygiene, forced to work for 12 and more hours a day and disallowed to meet their loved ones (the original regulations guarenteed up to 8 hours per day with one's family, depending on the quality of one's work, as well as the right to live with them in a single building).
            The rebellion itself wasn't quelled by force. The
            First Servant of the People promised each slave (and his family) new living standards, equal to the average (as opposed to basic) level in their city. The costs, naturally, would still be fully covered by their owners.

            There begins another chapter, which clearly shows strategical skill of the
            First Servant of the People. When the uprising broke out, specially recruited forces were charged with arresting all of the currupted 'owners'. Over 200 people were taken away to Tiruppur as slaves. A slave is still a human, an a person responsible for him ought to know that. After 5 years, most of the former 'owners' returned to Delhi and resumed their lost positions. From then on, the city had been mostly calm.



            Former slave owners being taken into custody




            Eucliwood was surprised. Profoundly surprised.

            Since her very first day as an Empress, the generals who ruled in India kept asking her (or rather demanding) for resuming the military campaign. Of course, she was hesitant to do so. After all, she experienced the war first-handed herself, the death of her family, the crushing poverty... Still, as the ruler of Brittania, she had to do something about it.

            Her idea was simple. It's easier to bury the dead, than to oppose one-fifth of her army. If they want to fight so badly, let them. If they asked for reinforcements, no problem. She just made sure that those arrived too late. As with the slaves before, she would grant them their wish, while not compromising the good of 'her' country. Just let them die. And if they won't, well, this big country could handle some more terrain.

            But now, all of a sudden, the Indians surrendered a whole city without a fight. Had really the corruption in India reached such heights that it was possible to simply buy enemy cities? This required further inquiry (another entry in her notebook).

            She looked upon the big board. Each city demanded more and more. Her idea with the Catalogue of Needs was a good one, but the needs were arising faster than they could be satisfied. None the less, the country finally started to develop. New universities, banks, factories. Such progress hadn't been seen here for centuries, if not millenia.

            However, Eucliwood was all to concious how much of that progress she owed to her allies. She shivered. It shouldn't be like that, or the country would eventually fall. She had to do something about it. Or else an inevitable war would break out, a war far worse than any before.

            Her meditation was interrupted by knocking on the door of the chamber. She tapped her notepad against the floor (the Western-style chairs and high tables went out of fashion long before her time, in favour of elegant Japanese arrangements).
            'It has to be something important, since he's appearing here personally', she thought, seeing the figure in the doorway. Sarutobi Sasuke, a mercenary serving in the most elite, most modern special forces, created barely a decade ago. The best agent in his unit. His presence surely portended some interesting news.



            "Greetings, First Servant of the People.

            The response appeared on her opened notepad.
            "SO WHAT KIND OF FASCINATING EVENTS HAVE BROUGHT YOU HERE IN PERSON?"

            "We have found him... or, actually, her."

            The pupils of the 'First Servant of the People' widened to an almost impossible size.
            "WAS IT IN AHMADENABAD?"

            "Yes. Our special forces, surrounding the city, seized a specimen displaying desired qualities."

            "ALMORA, TWO WEEKS. PASS THE MESSAGE IN PERSON."

            "Of course, First Servant of the People.

            The 'courier' disappeared in an instant. Thoughts inside Eucliwood's head crowded and stumbled, each trying to scream louder than the rest.
            The day has finally come!
            At last, after all those years!
            Soon, it will be all over!

            After a longer moment, she finally managed to regain her cool. Now, to Almora. Finish one thing and start the next one. Yes. It was her lucky day.




            She wasn't all that upset. Truth be told, she was feeling rather good here. She could eat when hungry and sleep when tired. She didn't have to work either. And there were no bad men here... What made men bad, at any rate? Maybe it had something to do with wearing clothes...?

            Suddenly, she spotted a woman in a skimpy metal armour, worn over a dress. The woman was looking at her, with... sadness?
            The woman produced a notepad with a message written on it.
            "GREETINGS. WERE YOU TREATED FAIRLY?"

            The little girl nodded.

            The strange woman turned the page. There was only one word written on the next one: "OUT". She showed it to everyone around. The chamber, located in a remote corner of the castle, was immediately emptied.
            "HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU KILLED?"

            The girl was utterly shocked by the question. Like always, when she was scared or surprised, her subconscious took over, unleashing the force to defend her.
            A thin, blinding beam of white light linked her outstretched hand with that strange woman... then warped around her, like a stream of water running down duck's feathers. Then it hit the stone wall, making a hole in it. As well as in fifteen walls behind it.

            "I KILLED 32," appeared on the notepad.

            The girl froze. She turned her eyes away, hiding her head between her shoulders.
            "Do you know me?" she spoke into the air.

            "I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE," answered the notepad.

            Girl's eyes widened. She looked straight at the white-haired woman.
            "So who am I?"

            "THE GOD OF DESTRUCTION."
            "OR RATHER, HIS DAUGHTER."

            "So I'm a..."

            "GODLING."

            "What is a... godling?"

            "YOUR TRUE NAME IS IFURITA."
            "YOU'RE A BEING SURPASSING THE CONTEMPORARY. A HIGHER ENTITY. LIKE MERLIN."
            "YOU WILL READ ABOUT HIM IN DUE TIME. I HAVE MANY BOOKS ABOUT HIM."
            "BUT NOT JUST YET."
            "I'M GOING TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING."
            The pages were fluttering, showing message after a message. The girl started to admire the Woman - so subtle, yet so firm.
            The armored woman tapped her notepad against a wall. Immediately, two men appeared, wearing official outfits.
            "IS IT READY?"

            "Yes, First Servant of the People."

            She scooped the girl, through the door and out of the room. They were now walking along an ellegant hallway, with beautiful, foreign paintings adorning the walls, and a carpet made of velvet covering the floor. Everyone who appeared in their way greeted them with a deep bow. The girl was feeling almost like a queen.

            "SO HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU KILLED?"

            The question was so abrupt, that she answered without thinking:
            "One hundred and six..."

            The strange woman smiled. "DO YOU WANT TO KEEP KILLING?"

            "No!" protested the girl, shaking her head wildly.

            "BEFORE WE GET THERE, I MUST GIVE YOU SOMETHING," appeared on the notepad.
            The girl nodded. The pair stopped before a painting of a woman. Tall and majestic, she was clad in a full suit of black armor, its design strangely resembling the much lighter outfit worn by the 'first servant' person.

            "WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HER?"

            "She seems... very sad..."

            The First Servant smiled. Suddenly, the painting slid aside, revealing another chamber.



            "COME ON. IT IS TIME," said the notepad.

            What came after then, the girl couldn't remember. She just vaguelly recalled a sudden surge of strength and courage, a great fighting spirit that filled her body, but not like a storm of fire, not like her own force, but like a mighty, implacable sea. There was something inside of her now... something, that... she felt, once belonged to someone else.

            "Where... When am I?" she asked.

            "I GAVE YOU A GIFT. CARRY IT INSIDE."

            "IT'LL ALLOW YOU TO REMEMBER EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN."

            "And what's going to happen?"

            "YOU'LL SEE."
            A door opened. The girl recognized the painting that was on their other side, but couldn't quite recall when she'd seen it...
            Then, they walked along a hallway. Yes, now she remembered. That feeling... like being a queen... It happened just a little while ago.
            They walked out onto a wide balcony. Below it, she saw a throng of people. About fifteen thousand... She blinked. How she was even able to tell the number so easily?

            "LOOK AND LISTEN," appeared on the notepad.

            The strange woman faced the crowd, and then the girl heard words:
            "DEFEND YOUR COUNTRY"

            The words were majestic. Absolute. But something, something inside allowed the girl to resist them. But it wasn't the most important thing. She remembered those words. Far too powerful to be used by her. At least, not just yet. But, someday...



            "LEARN," said the notepad.
            The noise on the marketsquare grown, all the people started to discuss things between themselves, organize, cooperate. She heard some scraps - "Defend the country!" "For the nation!" "How we can strenghten our defenses?"

            Eucliwood turned to a pair of elegantly clothed men.
            "TELL THE FRENCH TO ARM THE TOWNSPEOPLE AND LEAD THEM SOUTH.
            "ALL OF THEM."
            The duo nodded in unison and vanished, never saying a word. In fact, they couldn't speak at all.
            From that moment on, the young lady never left the company of the strange woman - until the moment the woman finally revealed her intentions.
            Last edited by Max_Smirnov; August 1, 2013, 00:42.

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            • Ceres Heliconnen, the young heir to one of the most powerful families in Egypt, was slowly walking down the wide street encircling the vast government compound, looking around with curiosity. It was her first time in Thebes, the city of light, as some were calling it, the world's capitol of science, a million people metropolis illuminated by electricity, while every other capitol in the world was still using gas lanterns.
              But not all was well in Thebes. Even if it wasn't experiencing constant strikes and clashes between forces of various Egyptian factions, unlike almost any other major city in the Kingdom, the calm seemed illusoric, like a thin veener held in place by ever-present guards, and efforts of bureaucrats, academicians and bankers, who were trying hard to convince everyone, including themselves, that it was all business as usual.
              However, the blonde girl could feel the encroaching darkness. The underside of the great city was brimming with murder and scheming. She wasn't afraid, though. The years she spent in Ragnis' dungeons and laboratories, still fresh in her memory, would've surely broken a lesser person. Instead, they made her all but immune to mundane fear. If a bit twitchy and emotionally unstable.

              She turned around, hearing a commotion at the palace gates. The guards were saluting someone; she started to hurry, seeing it was a lone old man, leaning heavily upon a richly decorated cane. The old Baron was too proud to ever employ bodyguards; besides, his own daughter was the best one there could be.

              Seeing her, he smiled with effort, his famous devillish grin, like the last spark of youth on an ancient face.
              "Oh here you are, my little wonder of science. I was wondering, if..."

              Ceres smiled back, a bit awkwardly, and helped him to board their carriage.
              "Y-yeah, I'm here, dad."

              He sighed, sinking into his seat, as the panorama of Thebes started to move behind the windows. The girl kept silent until he spoke again.

              "It's the end of the world as we know it, my dear."

              Ceres raised her eyebrows. She knew her father had attended a meeting in the Royal Palace, an exclusive meeting of all the most powerful people in the country. "Uh... so Cleopatra has revealed her plans, right?"

              "Indeed. Some plans they are. She wants to equal everyone's rights, nobles and plebeians, men and women. She wants to announce democratic elections. She said that if she doesn't, a massive uprising is going to happen, and she doesn't want to lose the admiration of the masses. Or rather, what is left of her popularity."

              "Uh, I can imagine no-one was happy."

              "Yes, yes... Some big-shots wanted to tear her to pieces. But she has strong support, first and foremost, Tesla's commie party, assorted self-proclaimed democrats, but also many of the military leaders, especially of plebeian origin, hoping to advance their careers. Jinnai's war party, which has a major pull as well, declared neutrality, probably hoping to gain more influence in the ensuing reshuffle. And Cleopatra stressed than she intends to keep the current leading forces of business and bureaucracy in control."

              "Doesn't seem like the end of the world to me...?"

              "Like hell it would work. Once the millions of miners and labourers feel empowered, they won't be happy with minor gains. They hate everyone, mostly the nobility, and will demand their heads. More than demand, they will take them. Maybe up and including Cleopatra's. I'm almost happy I'm going to die soon, but you... Maybe you should flee to France..."

              "Dad, dad, what are you saying," she smiled nervously. "You always taught me that masses aren't important, only the money and power are important."

              "If the army stands down, they will simply take our power and money."

              "Umm... you're making it sound like they're pure, one minded and incorruptible. I think it's their leaders who want more power, not the people themselves. They're just using them, like everyone else ever, to join the ranks of those in power. Why don't we start what Heliconnens always did? Making friends?"

              "...And gain control over those rebel leaders by corrupting them... paying them for protection? Hahaha, what an irony! Does it mean you propose us to roll with the uprising, instead of trying to stop it? And securing our positions in the new balance of power after the fires have calmed down?"

              "Y-yeah. Communism or not, money and connections will always be needed, no? And people who are good at what they're doing? Those new amateur leaders are surely aware that sharing with us is much preferable to fighting. As long as we give them their share as well. After the wave had passed and the power is reshuffled, we can simply supress everyone still unhappy, claiming they're the enemy of the people or something..."

              "Ceres... You're a genius."

              "It's nothing... only a basic logical analysis... based on what you taught me..."

              "Still, there will be a hell lot of a bloodshed before the new balance is struck. We're going to lose a lot. Maybe including the Company. Maybe including Cleopatra herself."

              "Uh, Dad... That monster? I'm sure she's going to backstab those who aren't savvy enough to grasp the new situation, and will come out as the saviour or something. She's a master of this game, and surely she had planned long in advance..."

              "Heh, you're right. She's not some figurehead, for sure," he smiled. "I can see her laughing right now. Anyway... we have a few months, maybe years, before the hell breaks loose. The democratic parliament will survive for a while after the elections, befor it will inevitably fail. With everyone's little help. What do you want to do in the meantime?"

              Ceres answered with her awkward smile again, her eyes saddening at the same time. "I'm not afraid of hell. I'm a devil already." She shivered a bit, recalling all the experiments degrading that made her more than a human... and less than one at the same time. It was a complex, odd mix of feelings, from dread, through sense of guilt, to strangely erotic excitement.

              "Ragnis made sure to that, I know. Don't worry, he won't ever touch you again. You're too strong for it already. I'll admit you to the Theban military school, no special privileges, like you were a simpleton. This school is extremely likely to take the side of the revolutionaries. And you'll be there. How does it sound?"

              "L-lewd," was all what Ceres managed to answer before nodding.




              "..."

              A noise? A voice? Voices, be gone... everything be gone... existence be gone... but this voice... It was familiar... sweet, sweet in a way that tempted to turn that sweetness into yelps of pain, despair and pleasure... A face... A body...

              "Lia," she groaned, almost like an animal.

              "Azu, Azu, please, wake up."

              Princess Azuria slowly opened her eyelids, mostly because she didn't care either way. The bedroom was dark like a cave, only kept clean by incessant work of maids. Azuria herself couldn't care less. She had passed the point of caring about anything centuries ago, after all the rage and defiance have burnt out and the debauchery became stale. She gradually stopped exercising, plotting, going out, wearing clothes, finally eating and drinking, now she was mostly sleeping, the flicker of life and damned eternal beauty sustained only by her sister's power, the power which Cleopatra for mysterious reasons kept sharing with her. More than that, the power grew, how else would be even possible for the Princess to yawn and speak up.

              "What."

              "The war... the war is coming. Nobles from the whole Southern Egypt, as well as few from the North, are here. They want you to lead them."

              "What the ****... Have you gone mad, Lia?"

              "No! No, my Princess! It is true. Cleopatra relinquished most of her power and allowed for democratic elections. The whole country is in turmoil. Mob rules the streets, murdering people and burning down houses. Army is in chaos. The southern nobles have formed an alliance to put an end to this madness."

              Azuria was blinking rapidly, her long dormant neural pathways starting to fire up. She slowly pulled herself off the bed, staggering. Her faithful Lia drapped a tunic over Azuria's dusted, nude body. The Princess looked at her servant with bloodshot eyes.



              "That ****ing ****... She took everything from me, left me to this ****ing misery... Lia, I'm going to kill her!"

              "You might have a chance. The nobles are talking about a full scale rebellion. They're mobilizing their armies to restore the kingdom. So far, they renounced their vows of loyalty to your sister, branding her as a traitor... Effectively, most of the South seceded. But they need a Queen. And there is no one else capable of holding that honor! No one, but you, Azu!"

              "R-right... Right! ****, I have to get hold of myself..."

              "They're waiting, but let's take a bath first, and I'll get your hair and clothing in order, you must awe them!"

              "Yes... yes. Finally. The Big Cool Sis grew old, soft, and stupid... Yes... I'm gonna show this ***** her place... The crown, it shall belong to me!"




              "So it is done. You're the Queen of Egypt now," said Lia after the meeting was done. "Armies are being mobilized. More nobles are bound to join our alliance. Soon, the War of Secession will start... Have we done the right thing?"

              Azuria was much more composed now, almost back to her old self.

              "Yes we did. The Kingdom shall endure... We're going to defeat my crazy sister and restore order. You and me together, Lia. I..."

              "Don't say it, Azu..."

              "I owe you everything. Thank you. This is..."
              She looked at the sun setting over the coastal Busiris.
              "This is a new beginning. For the both of us."

              Last edited by Max_Smirnov; August 1, 2013, 15:10.

              Comment


              • Like every autumn, the winds came, and with them, massive dust storms sweeping from the endless plains into Russian heartland. Only the toughest people and the toughest vegetation could survive here, and such was the way of life here for thousands of years. Life had been always cheap here, people of this land always motivated by the unyielding will to survive, no matter the cost. And they survived and thrived, first by building great city-fortresses where ruthless warlords presided, now by the power of technology, settlements sprawling around the ancient towers. Russia became a Democracy, but it was a Democracy unlike any other, equality of rights meaning nothing next to the unimaginable disparities between the super-rich lords of the land and the masses of debt slaves. It was a cut-throat existence, but like it is in nature, great environmental pressures resulted in the survival of the fittest.

                Located in the very heart of Russian highlands, the mighty city of Moscow was protected by concentric rings of curtain walls and guarded by innumerable soldiers, like the lair of a great beast, defences and structures getting more and more massive the closer to the centre you managed to get. Not as populous as Thebes, Kyoto or Paris, maybe, but a staggering sight none the less.

                And there was indeed a beast hidden in this labirynth, in the ancient fortress of Kremlin. Josif Stalin, the cruel god of this land, in equal part worshipped and justly feared. There were whole eras, when he kept himself isolated, silent, unreachable. Two hundreds years ago, this all changed. Forcing unimaginable cruelties on his country, he managed to do unthinkable.

                The door to Stalin's spacious office bursted open.

                "Generalissimus! I'm bringing grave news!"

                Stalin barely noticed the arrival, busy with loading his pipe. Only after a moment he asked quietly. "What is it, Nikita."

                "Like many times before, the Egyptian dogs have sent their corsair fleets against us! Only this time the attack is on an unprecedented scale. We're losing dozens of trade ships! When their civil war will end, it's only going to get even..."

                "So you're telling me that our fleet is so inept that it cries for help over such a trivial matter? Is it too much for my Defense minister to handle himself?"

                "Of course not! But our economy is going to suffer! Merchant captains are refusing to take to the sea!"

                "Meaningless," said Stalin, finally lighting his pipe. "The Theban girl is getting scared and desperate. So is the Japanese one, stabbing us in the back while still begging for scientific exchange. Let them have their trinkets, deals, universities, telescopes and stock markets. It's already far too late. My plan is already past their ability to stop."

                "The Egypt still has the technological superiority, and..."

                "Not for long. Our science had already surpassed that of the whole world combined. Soon, they'll be like little girls playing with dolls." He smiled a bit. "Nikita! The merchant captains refusing to take to the sea are breaking their contracts, right? Pass the new law to the congress. Any employee who is refusing to fulfill contract will be shot. The congress is going to like it, I'm sure..."

                "Maybe not everyone of them..."

                "Oh, right, I think I know the names you're referring to," nodded Stalin, reaching for a pen and his infamous black notepad that seemed to warp light around it, always remaining in shadow. The sound of it opening was like trample of old bones. "Life is such a fleeting thing. It's such a shame for those people to die of natural causes in their prime..."

                Last edited by Max_Smirnov; August 3, 2013, 17:17.

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                • THE FALL OF QUEEN AZURIA
                  BASED ON THE BATTLE OF BUSIRIS, 1362
                  A SHORT (AND QUITE RUDE) PLAY FOR THE EDUCATION AND AMUSEMENT OF THE MASSES
                  GLORY TO THE SOCIALIST UNION AND OUR GREAT LEADER, CLEOPATRA!


                  LIA runs into AZURIA's throne room.
                  My Queen! The forces of the Kingdom await your commands!
                  Upon the cliffs of Busiris, the Red Army lands!
                  Infantry and cannons, n' Kirov Airships too!




                  AZURIA
                  Tell my knights to just run the insolent fools through.
                  The prols want to fool me, but I'm smarter than them!
                  They want to strike the weak spot, and invade my Sub Pen!


                  LIA covers her chest.
                  Oh no!

                  AZURIA descends into a submarine factory, which is being swarmed by SOLDIERS.
                  Nice try, you idiots, now it's time to burn!
                  Just like the Japanese, caught with your pants down!


                  AZURIA unleashes her blue flames, ruthlessly decimating the SOLDIERS in a most gruelling fashion.

                  SOLDIERS
                  Oy Vey!

                  Suddenly, a MYSTERIOUS FIGURE swoops down.



                  MYSTERIOUS FIGURE
                  Soldiers of the Revolution! Your salvation descends!
                  Wait, who is that retard who is playing with flames?


                  AZURIA faces the newcomer.
                  I am Lady Azuria, known as the Blue Flame,
                  We both know I've already won this little game.
                  Me, the Princess of Fire, scourge of Theban's foes,
                  Who's never felt embarrassed about her Egyptian nose.
                  When I put my foot down, cities explode,
                  When I sink a fleet, I sink every last boat,
                  So run away while you think you still can,
                  Or I'll make you burn just like a gasoline can!


                  MYSTERIOUS FIGURE
                  Hey b*tch, you said something to the back on my head?
                  Your litany of claims only makes you look sad.
                  You call yourself a lady? That's swell!
                  When I'm looking at you, I'm seeing only fail.
                  For my name is ARTURIA, an Empress was I,
                  Now I'm the Red Saber of the land of no Nile.
                  I fought a hundred battles, while you sat on your ass,
                  So be nice and succumb to the will of the mass-
                  -es!


                  AZURIA
                  You, an Empress? Please, you were merely a tool,
                  Merlin's head maid deluxe, nothing else, you fool.
                  You tasted some power and you lost your sight,
                  Since you're dumb, dim-witted, and not very bright.
                  For some elaboration, consider your sword:
                  So much ado, and what? You ****ing lost it, moron!
                  Bimbo with evil eyes and Asperger's syndrome,
                  Begone, or my lightning will measure your ohms.


                  ARTURIA
                  Conjuration, b*tch please, it's no longer the sh*t.
                  Even peasants in Memphis use electricity!
                  You're a coward and trickster, not a warrior at all,
                  Only feeling smug when you're in full control.
                  Noble phantasm time, where is yours? Ah, right!
                  I forgot you never had anything of real might!
                  With no Phantasm, no shame, and no panties too,
                  What can you even do? Go back to smoking glue!




                  AZURIA
                  You think this will anger me, you little punk?
                  Your rhymes are weaker than a Nippon skunk.
                  Now drop those frilly panties and take it like a slut
                  (Which you are); then my turn to end this "Revolution" crap!


                  ARTURIA
                  A newsflash, Sparky: your career ends here!
                  You're all relics, your fall will make comrades cheer!
                  Since being a kung-fu b*tch is no longer a thing,
                  Welcome to modernity and EAT MY RED LIGHT-NING!!!


                  ARTURIA fires her red lightning, created by people's science, which easily blows away AZURIA's sorcery. Some savage beating commences, after which defeated AZURIA is expertly tied up.

                  ARTURIA
                  Ha! I knew you had no panties on!

                  ARTURIA bows.

                  CURTAIN.



                  (Credit to Solar Scorch for creating large parts of dialogue)
                  Last edited by Max_Smirnov; August 5, 2013, 05:04.

                  Comment


                  • Enemy has been sending reinforcements to our border for a long time already. We have greatly reinforced both our defence and offence, however, while they are clearly not capable of doing any harm to us, our invasion army may not be capable of crushing their resistance as it is now. For some reasons Indians have given up on defending the Jalandahar and Jarmy for unknown reasons What they are trying to protect?
                    I do now know the exact plans of generals Shimazu and Takeda, since I march toward Jarmy to create a heavily armed border with Egyptian Empire, yet I think there is a high chance our army will need some support in order to move on Pasargadae

                    All hail Nekomimi! All hail Nippon!
                    Date Hidemune

                    Ahri put the letter aside. Indians were moving all their forces toward their border with Japan. Or were they? Was it a border or were they trying to defend something or... someone. Reinforcements. It was not as she planned. This would greatly slow down the conquest of south India. She grabbed a paper in order to write a letter to Shimazu. She had to receive his report before making a move.
                    She noticed something unusual and looked at the brazier. Attached to the wall to give light the fire was unnaturally big. As if trying to get out of the container.
                    “Hinotebi? No, I can feel her sleeping” Empress thought to herself. Then she felt him. A presence marching toward this room. The last person she ever wanted to see again.
                    “For the third time you come here. What do you want from me now?” She spoke, hearing the sound of doors opening.
                    “I do not feel any respect toward your master.” A stranger said calmly. “Nor the thanks for giving you a new life or your kid.”
                    “Since when does woman has to be thankful for being fu.cked?” Ahri asked bitterly. She was not afraid of him. Death wasn’t bad when compared to submission. At least for her.
                    “Not everyone can do it with a god, you foxy fool. But it’s irrelevant. I came to claim what is mine.”
                    Nekomimi felt a cold shiver on her back. For some reason, she knew what he was going to say next.
                    “I came to take Hinotebi with me.” As he finished the sentence, Ahri jumped on him revealing her fangs. The man simply rose his hand. A thunder snapped from it hitting the Nekomimi and throwing her back. She hit the table and fell on the floor.
                    “I know you are conscious, so don’t try to play dumb. I made sure you are. I will take the kid even if it means killing you. But don’t worry, I won’t do any harm to it. She will be raised to be a new Empress. Powerful and worthy of this empire.”
                    He approached the lying girl, crouched next to her and lifted her head making him look into his eyes.
                    “You let your allies die, do you know that? The last of Romans were slaughtered by French. And you did not move the finger. I cannot let rulers of my country sacrifice everything around. That’s why I will teach our child. And if you will be wise enough to live long enough you should be able to see her again. So be a good girl. And do not disappoint me again.”
                    “Damn. You. Fiery. Beard.” Ahri spoke slowly, as if fighting with her own tongue.
                    He laughed. “By the time we meet next time, you better pick up some manners my nine tailed bltch. Or you will be the one damned. For now... I’m off.”
                    He almost exit the room, when he turned around, as if remembering something.
                    “Oh. I also greatly dislike the fact that our neighbours develop faster than we do. You have to figure something out to make sure it won’t happen anymore. If you want to live, that is.”
                    He snapped his fingers and the flames in the braziers extinguished. Everything went dark.

                    Comment


                    • THE BATTLE OF JARMY, 1369 AD

                      "Ahh, it's good to be fighting again!" exclaimed Arturia, once an Empress of the Celtic Empire, now, the Red Saber of the Theban Revolution, an embodiment of the socialist New Man. She seemed genuinely happy. Her time in Thebes had obviously changed her demeanour, but certainly didn't change her warrior's heart. "It's only sad the campaign will be over soon."

                      After the decisive victory over Queen Azuria in Busiris, the Red Army proceeded southwards, eradicating any remaining royalist armies, sacking the palaces and hanging the nobles. There weren't any more massive battles, just a prolonged campaign of endless skirmishes, slowly wrestling the land from the hands of the enemies of the people. The revolution, however, knew no national boundaries, as all common people of the Earth should be liberated from their masters. The ancient citadel of Bharuch, geographically a part of Southern Egypt, but remaining in the Indian hands, was taken as well, it's well-trained and equipped, but technologically outdated garrison overwhelmed by masses of Red Militia under Arturia's command. It was worth it, as Bharuch was famous for its marble mines, not even mentioning large stockpiles of gold which the Red Militia was able to liberate from the local bank, before hanging the bankers and setting the building on fire.

                      Jarmy, the legendary Indian fortress city, which had been guarding the only road between Persia and Southern Egypt since ancient times, built on a sharp rocky spur dominating the area, seemed to be a much harder nut to crack. Especially since Arturia had only limited forces at her command here; most of the Red Army was still scattered throughout the whole region, hunting down the remnants of the royalists.

                      She had, however, a support of several hundreds of cannons, which had been pounding the mountain citadel for days now, aided by the guns of ancient warship, the Wyvern. Now, a dense cloud of smoke was hanging over Jarmy, lit up by numerous fires. The walls have been already shattered to pieces, and large parts of the town either reduced to ruins or burnt-out husks.

                      It was impossible to tell how many defenders have survived the bombardment; if there were too many, her attack could fail. On the other hand, the recon balloons spotted substantial Indian reinforcements on the mountain roads, including at least one full musket division. If she waited for her own reinforcements to arrive, it would take a lot of time and the ensuing siege would probably be far more bloody.

                      Therefore, she committed one of her Red Militia divisions to make a fighting recon into the city (which pretty much amounted to a suicidal attack). The Red Militia units under her command were hardly top notch, armed mostly with melee weapons and mining tools. Roughly a half of them had primitive flintlock firearms, only a few were armed with modern rifles, handguns or shotguns. Their ammunition supplies were severely limited, even accounting for black powder bombs and molotov cocktails. They had some combat experience, but very little training.

                      Like she had predicted, the assault had faltered on the outer defences. But it had served its purpose. Seemed that the Indians had only about thousand of defenders there, bloodied from the incessant cannon barrage. Moreover, they were hardly better armed than her Militias, a core of plate-armored pikemen with few firearms, supported by well-placed units of longbowmen. Despite their outdated weaponry, they were quite a threat to an unarmored and poorly armed soldier. But Arturia still had two divisions of Red Militia, as well as a division of modern riflemen, properly trained and supplied.

                      She smiled, reminding the bloody siege of Delhi. So much had changed since those times... There will be no meat grinder here. She walked in front of her soldiers.
                      "Free people of Egypt! Follow me! Death to the Indian criminals!"

                      Eight thousand of soldiers started to advance up the slopes of the mountain. They came under some arrows, shot from the ruins, but Egyptian sharpshooters returned fire with much better accuracy, killing many archers and forcing the enemy to hide deeper within the ruins. Unopposed, Arturia's forces reached the scattered remains of the previous attackers. Incorporating survivors into their ranks, the columns of Red Militia flooded the ruined city. Meanwhile, Arturia directed her riflemen to the roofs and vantage points. Whenever the Indian archers appeared to pelt the militias, they were met with deadly rifle fire. Isolated Indian units were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, and whererever they tried to mount a massed defence, they had to yield to thrown explosives and furious massed charges, shotguns and muskets fired from point blank range making up for the difference in melee combat skills, denying the chance to form a phalanx.

                      As the town wasn't very big, the fight was over within three hours. While the militiamen were busying themselves with exacting the social justice by the means of looting and raping (for the extent of the fires, there wasn't all that much to loot), Arturia designated one of the southern towers as the Revolutionary Headquarters. In the distance, she could already see the Japanese border. So far, no imperialists were visible, but the intelligence reports said about a whole riflemen corps gathering a few dozen miles from her position, digging trenches and raising fortifications. The revolutionary government of Egypt had signed a peace treaty with Kyoto, but the ancient rivalry didn't die, and the peace could only last if neither side had shown weakness.

                      By late afternoon, a cavalry division arrived, carrying much needed supplies as well as various Commissars needed to manage the administrative affairs. By the midnight, they were joined by a Special Operations unit, easily recognizable for their black, leather greatcoats. It was of utmost importance to keep this vulnerable, advanced position safe from the Japanese spies. Even if the Japanese agreed to stand down, it was better to stay on the safe side...

                      After a short sleep, Arturia gathered the Commissars for a meeting. One of them, straight from the local headquarters in Bubastis, spoke:
                      "Here are the orders of the Revolutionary Government. The City of Jarmy is to be destroyed, as it would be too easy to assault or infiltrate by the Japanese. All the citizens who can work will be divided into worker battalions to dismantle what is left of Jarmy. Any volunteers will be incorporated into the Red Militia. The rest of the population will be gradually resettled."

                      "Any battle orders?" asked Arturia.

                      "No. The Revolutionary Council stated that the Secession War had already ended. Martial law is going to be lifted, and a new, peacetime government will be chosen. The enemy of the people doesn't sleep, but no major deployments are needed anymore. Comrade Arturia is to return to Busiris to receive decorations for her service in the Secession War and lead the victory parade."

                      Arturia smiled and leanded back in her chair, crossing her arms behind her neck. "So it's over... Well, I could use some R&R."

                      "So do we all."

                      "Job well done, comrades!" she smiled again.

                      Comment


                      • It is a first part of combined report I am writing together with Daniel - a Celt player. Enjoy.



                        Akechi Mitsuhide, the supreme general of Ahmed’s (The old name was too long anyway.) military forces was damn frustrated. He received the actual reinforcements from the present “ruler”... Heh! It doesn’t even sounds right! This woman has no idea what war actually is! She keeps on talking about peace and peace only. But it was a war. His war! Admittedly he did not succeeded in too many campaigns until now (actually none of them succeeded), but in the end he claimed these lands! He deserved this power and authority! The great concepts of his were on a completely different level than the ones made by pseudo intelligent Ecliwod... or how was she called (he always twisted his tongue trying to pronounce that name). It was HIM who conquered the city (despite losing half of offensive forces). And what he saw in front of him, was more than he could ever imagine.
                        “Under the menace of withdrawing all military forces, we would like to REQUEST the evacuation of civilians from the areas of the Inner Sea. Majority of citizens should be able to find shelter (and work) in the mountains surrounding Ahmed. Every, who is capable of doing so is asked to begin the evacuation toward the nearby cities, however, it should be of no difficulty for you, as every family have to take with them stuff worth at least 1000 silver Celtic coins. Materials delivered from the mountains should be enough for 93% of the population.”
                        Since that call (presented to the citizens of Ahmed BEFORE reaching his ears! What a disgrace!), the city has actually lost its capability to produce anything. No one dared to trade anymore – the only thing everyone thought was getting out of here. Fools – they didn’t even know, that these valuable materials were still carried away by the guilds, which were making insane profits on it. But it was all irrelevant. The ones venturing into the mountains has discovered the Japanese scouts. Heh! The new slaves (in the end... Delhi had a lot of them and is still working pretty well. Some of them would be of use here as well) fell right into our snares. “Buahahahahaha!”
                        He is going to defend and hold this city! And even if it will not be possible, he will simply recapture it! His plan was perfect (actually it was invented by someone called “Victorique de Blois” of unknown origin). All the “suicidal” troops were deployed already. No mouse can get through these mountains! The forces for first and second onslaught are arranged and ready! How in the world he should not begin the battle? (Most likely the burst of psychedelic laughter should appear now).


                        “HOW IS THE PROGRESS?” Eucliwood asked with the notepad.
                        “We are capable of deploying up to 70% of forces before the first charge. It’s not too much...” Sarutobi answered calmly.
                        “IT IS ENOUGH.” First Servant of the People interrupted him.
                        “Do we begin a war right now?” Ifurita asked (Despite the passing decades, she looked like a teenager).
                        “NO. IT IS NOT A WAR.”
                        Ifurita looked astounded.
                        “IT IS SOMETHING COMPLETELY NEW. YOU WILL SEE...”






                        A day has passed since they went through the waterway in Kawasaki. The Inland Sea at dawn was quiet and peaceful. With almost no waves, this place looked like an enjoyable place to live. A little bit raw, because of a Himalayas to the north, but still. Only the royal fleet distorted such peaceful image. Ninety ships of the line sailed slowly towards the city renamed recently as Ahmed. Place that was supposed to become a border between Celts and Japanese. The only thing was that Celts refused to relinquish it.
                        Uesugi Kenshin entered the deck. Few soldiers, almost done with their night shift, saluted him. He saluted back and looked at the city of Ahmed. From afar it looked tiny, but he knew this mountain fortress was quite big. Not as much as the Japanese ones obviously, but still. It was not something one could simply conquer on the go.
                        “Is something wrong Admiral?” An officer asked him.
                        “Not at all. I was just looking at our objective. We sailed quite far to see it. And it is our only opportunity to see it... untouched.” He stopped for a moment. “Oh and I am not an Admiral. I do not specialise in marine warfare, so don’t call me that. I am a general, always was and always will be one.”
                        “Aye sir!”
                        Kenshin looked at the soldiers. They were swiftly carrying out their duties. Used to harsh circumstances, after several hours of working in utter darkness they barely look tired. They were really something.
                        “What time the daily shift is supposed to wake up?” He asked.
                        “They are awake sir. Right now they are having a meal. If needed they can be ready for action in 10 minutes.”
                        “We are not in a hurry. I just wanted to inform them about our arrival.”
                        “Excuse me?” The officer looked at the general, unsure of what he heard a second ago.
                        “Three cannon shots, within a minute of each other. Into the water. I want the Celts to know we are approaching, so they can prepare.”
                        “Yes sir!” The officer walked away quickly.
                        “We do not need to play any petty tricks with such fleet.” Kenshin thought to himself. “Let’s give them some time to cover in fear before our might.”

                        The enormous pillar of smoke kept on emerging endlessly from the city. The barrages of hundreds of cannons were mincing their defences. The newly formed and contemporary walls, thick and made mostly of earth and metal more or less withstood the first bombardment. Something unimaginable for the obsolete stone ones, which would fall after few dozens shots. Yet, against such firepower nothing could remain untouched. A huge breaches could be seen almost everywhere. The sight of the city was blocked by fortification, yet the fiery glow and huge amount of smoke dispersed any delusions that it may be intact. The first night was approaching slowly and it was already damaged badly. And it was just the beginning. The second fleet will join them soon and combined will most likely turn this city into ashes. The ruins of Persis will look perfectly preserved when compared to the Ahmed.
                        “Stop the bombardment!” Useugi ordered. “We will not bombard at night” He explained to the surrounding officers. “The siege won’t end shortly, we must preserve the strength of our man. Double the night shift for security purposes. This is all for today.”
                        Last edited by Eerion; August 12, 2013, 21:14.

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                        • It’s been few weeks since the bombardment has begun. The walls, desperately getting fixed with soil every night didn’t look resemble anything particular anymore. Just heaps of soil. Yet they worked. Hundreds of cannonballs were stopped by this improvised barricade.

                          Uesugi looked at the map of surrounding areas, unfolded on a table in his cabin. Few purple and light blue figurines represented Japanese and Celt forces. In the second case it base on old reports or a possibilities. One of the officers was standing nearby with a report.
                          “Go ahead.” The general called him out.
                          “Yes sir! Left flank has reported several Indian ships spotted close to Ahmed. Apparently they were hiding there for some time and for an unknown reason they decided to reveal themelves. There were few galleys among them. Their ambush was semi successful. They managed to damage few on our ships, but we forced them to retreat before they managed to sink anything. We did no chase them in order to maintain the formation.” He read quickly. “Your orders, sir!”
                          Uesugi wrinkled his brews and made a surprised face.
                          “Indians? This definitely was unexpected.” He spoke more to himself than to his subordinate. “Move the damaged ships deeper into the formation. And how many enemy ships were spotted?”
                          “About twenty sir. Longships and galleys in similar proportions. We managed to damage badly two galleys, so it might sunk down by now.”
                          “Get ten of our ships from our right flank and make them get rid of the interlopers. Let’s show them the difference in class between their obsolete cutters and our units.”
                          “Understood. What about the others?”
                          “Maintain the bombardment. Repair the damaged units or at least make sure they can continue the operation.”
                          “Understood sir!” The officer walked out, leaving Kenshin alone.
                          He looked at the southern edge of map. Somewhere there was the second fleet.
                          “Soon... we will get serious. You better be prepared, Celts.” He stated loudly.

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                          • The battle of Ahmedabad, while strategically of no great importance, would be certainly be remembered by history as a symbol of Japanese military power in the wake of the social change. Decades later it would be remembered and present in the pop culture, as shown by the following song by Sabatonne:

                            It’s been few weeks since the bombardment has begun!
                            Crushing the ground with each artillery strike!
                            Setting the shore on fire! Sending a message forth:
                            We're Japanese! We're heading north!

                            We are Haruhi's men! Follow the plan! One against ten!
                            Carry Her word! Pound into dirt! Bring world of hurt!

                            Ahmed in flames, Celts are cowering in fear!
                            We're barging in, the enemy's end draws near!
                            Two thousands Kyoto rifles, together they will stand
                            For victory! For Vaterland!

                            We are Haruhi's men! Follow the plan! One against ten!
                            Carry Her word! Pound into dirt! Bring world of hurt!

                            Comment


                            • Uesugi was sitting in his cabin, looking at the tactical map that lied on the table. Several figurines were placed onto it, representing the forces of both sides. There were quite a few Celtic ones. They managed to fortify the beaches east from Ahmed in order to prevent the encirclement of the city. The general looked at small figurine made of steel that he was holding in his hand. A well made miniature rifle with a small coaster, so it does not fall on its side. This small steel model represented ten thousands of riflemen. One of two, as the other one was placed already. Then, someone knocked on the door.
                              “My lord. Both fleets are now ready for the landing operation.” The officer spoke, without entering the cabin.
                              “Are our scouts in place as well?” He asked without turning around.
                              “Aye sir! We are fully prepared.”
                              Kenshin got up.
                              “Time to make our move then.” He stated still looking at the figurine in his hand. He put it into a pocket.

                              “Welcome general Uesugi. The grand admiral Haruhi sends you her greetings and blessings.” Mori Motonari, the admiral of the second fleet spoke calmly and slowly.
                              “Welcome admiral Mori. I am glad you are in good health.” Kenshin returned his greetings. “Are your man ready for the offensive?”
                              “They could not be prepared any better than now. Twenty thousands of soldiers are ready for your orders.”
                              “Good.” Uesugi turned around to the officer accompanying him “Order the forces to land west from Ahmed. One full battalion as a striking unit, and one as a support one.”
                              “Aye sir!” He turned around and run to the signal station.
                              “You do not wish to encircle them?” Mori seemed somewhat surprised. “With the fleet we have right now, any resistance they could muster on the eastern shores will vanish within the blink of an eye.”
                              “It is true. Still wars are to be won with swords and spears, not with rice and salt.”
                              “These are noble words. Coming from a noble man.” Admiral admitted. “But actually it’s rifles and cannons.”
                              Kenshin winked few times. After that he smiled gently and spoke with a sad tone.
                              “True. The world seems to be changing more then we wish it to.”
                              “Are you going to join the landing forces?” Motonari returned to the original topic.
                              “Yes. After all, I am the general. Land is where I belong to. Whole navy is now in your hands admiral.”
                              “Understood. I shall resume the bombardment after you land safely.” Mori bowed his head.
                              Uesugi returned his bow and turned around. The long time of waiting was finally over. He touched the small rifle figurine in his pocket and smiled.
                              Last edited by Eerion; August 12, 2013, 22:53.

                              Comment


                              • If one would want to describe Touma with a few words, he could say “bad luck”. Still, for what he was going through right now, these two words would be a great understatement. Eucliwood sent him to the very gates of hell. Receiving an offer he could not turn down, he had to come and see the true face of war. Supposed to remember and record everything that happened around, he did it. Every single person that died. Adults, sacrificing their lives in order to defend the city, as well as kids, desperately trying to extinguish the flames. Yes, especially the little ones. His memory worked flawlessly, yet it was not because of Eucliwood’s magic. Everything happening around carved itself deeply into his mind, changing and twisting it greatly. The suicidal thoughts approached him almost regularly, as every following day spilled more blood than the one before. What was worse is that now it was mostly the blood of innocent civilians. Mostly poor, as the nobility and wealthy merchants bribed whoever they could and escaped the city when the first cannons sung their death song. Those who were not rich enough to get away, had to survive the siege of almost two hundred warships and around twenty thousands of enemy ground forces. Touma, imprisoned in his own city could think only about one thing: “It is the end.”

                                Many years later, after Touma finally got over his traumatic memories, he wrote about them in autobiography. However, not everything was published. Few fragments, hidden in his personal belongings were found many years later. Some were personal, some maintained his neutral, summarising tone. Here is one of them:

                                “The bombardment lasted for months. City was incapable of returning the fire, since all the catapults were destroyed in the initial phase. As the reinforcements were not arriving at all, people had to survive on their own. The panic was slowly spreading, as it was unbelievable for Eucliwood not to send any support to the besieged city. More and more people criticised the general Akechi Mitsuhide (please refer to “The story of an Insane General” chapter five), thinking that he refused to accept any help from the empress.
                                Even though whole city was fortified, the defending forces lasted only two months. The garrison army did their best to provide the locals shelters, repair damaged fortifications and manage the evacuation orders (for these who were lucky enough to gather the necessary fortune to do it). When the bombardment annihilated most of the defenders, the massacre began. The major part of the city was abandoned together with its inhabitants. Walls were not being repaired anymore, the evacuation crumbled. Few people tried to do it, yet the result was far from satisfying. During this time, the siege claimed the greatest amount of casualties. More than seventy thousand civilians died, yet the exact amount was impossible to evaluate, due to the excess damage. Few remaining locals willingly joined the militia. Not for the sake of defending the city anymore, but to protect those dear to them. Thanks to their hard work, the evacuation of women, children and elders resume for short period of time. They saved a lot of lives, however, everyone knew it was a sacrificial work and no one expected for the heroes to return.

                                The defensive plan, which was told to be made by a legendary strategist Victorique de Blois was given up on almost at the very beginning of the siege. As everyone knew and was prepared to execute this tactic already, it was pretty obvious that the general made a fatal mistake abandoning it.”



                                “The story of an Insane General” chapter 5: “Amibitions and accomplisments”

                                Introduction

                                It was about the year 1300 of the British Calendar, when he claimed himself to be the prince of newly conquested lands surrounding the city of Ahmedabad. It was the first, and at the same time, the last successful campaign of his.

                                The decisive battle happened in Ahmedabad. The regular Celtic forces of strength of ten thousands man faced the two thousands Indians defending the fortress. For an unknown reason, Indians withdrew around seven thousands of their forces from the city just before the final battle. Most likely it was linked to the invasion of Japanese on the southern peninsula.

                                The battle was victorious, yet Celts have lost more half of their forces, what according to the contemporary ethos was a disgracing failure.

                                The sources indicated that it was a point from which Akechi Mitsuhide was slowly losing his mind. A scythe became a characteristic weapon of his, what obviously referred to the First Servant of the People (Empress Eucliwood). The notes made from the reports of Mitsuhide’s servants revealed a strong aversion of an usurpatory prince toward the actual ruler of Britain. The original admiration of her strength and skills turned into the insane thirst for the similar power just after he had claimed the city of Ahmedabad.
                                The copycat behaviour of Akechi was very plain and obvious. Not only he used the scythe, but also he forced the local blacksmiths to forge an armor referring to the one owned by Eucliwood. It was most likely made from the part of the Arturia’s armor (for further informations please check “Relics, Artifacts and Legendary Items of Celts”).




                                “Almora. Report nr. 1727.

                                There were 1253 disappearances in last two and a half months. Our counterintelligence finally managed to work out the sindicate responsible for these crimes. Apparently they are backed up by the Indian Oligarchs. We are currently monitoring their every movement. Military is prepared and ready for intervention.”

                                Ifurita finished reading loudly. It was but a summary of over a thousand page long reports, attached with the short not and now lying nearby.

                                “SARUTOBI DID A GOOD JOB. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?” A text appeared on a notepad.
                                “We do not want to go to war with India again, don’t we?” She asked.
                                “IT IS FOR YOU TO DECIDE. YOU KNOW MORE THAN ENOUGH TO ACT ON YOUR OWN NOW.”
                                Ifurita trembled for a moment. She knew well enough what to do, even if it was opposed to the way her “mother” and ruler behaved.

                                Not even month has passed, before the Indian forces stationing at the border were exterminated. The operation was not limited to Almora.



                                The sound of bombarding cannons became almost natural. After hearing it for months, day after day, it became almost like crying of cicadas. A background and unimportant noise, as for Japanese it brought no harm. For the Celt however...
                                Because of that people did not notice that the massive cannons were not shooting anymore that day. Instead, the trumphets signaled a military readiness order. It was time to attack.

                                “My lord! Are you sure you want to join the attacking forces?” An officer asked. „The survivors of Celt forces may organise a desperate trap in order to kill you.”
                                Uesugi looked at his subordinate coldly.
                                “Engage in combat fully determined to die and you will be alive; wish to survive in the battle and you will surely meet death. My fate may meet me in Ahmed as well as in this camp or Kyoto.”
                                The soldier bowed regretfully. It was a disgracing advice, and it should never been proposed. Not to Uesugi.
                                “Split the army into contingments of one hundred riflemen. I want you to create small units shaped like a circle to avoid blind spots. Send them into the city every five minutes. Ten at the time. Make them spread, so there will be no friendly fire.”
                                “Understood.”
                                “I shall command the first wave personally.”

                                “We found someone!” A voice of a rifleman disrupted the silence.
                                Kenshin entered the ruins of a building. It had to belong to someone important in the past. The small tiles were colorful and clearly presented some kind of art. The damage, however, made it impossible to say even if it was Celtic or Indian.
                                They moved slowly through the destroyed room and corridors, until they spotted their comrade.
                                “Down there.” He entered the stairs going underground.
                                After lighting the torches they followed him. The room they entered downstairs was big enough to fit whole division, even though some of it crumbled already. And it was filled with slaves. Indians and Japanese. Some of them were lying down, clearly sick. Some other, still bound to wall by chains were being fed by the ones who managed to free themselves. Most likely due to the fall of the part of the ceiling, as most of the free ones still had heavy chains attached to their limbs. But still they were doing their best to help the less lucky ones.
                                Seeing the entering soldiers, Indians fell on the floor with a deep bow, while Japanese slowly approached the militaryman. Like a beggar slowly trying to close the distance.
                                “Are you... here... to save us?”
                                One of the girls asked. She wore skimpy clothes, most likely working in a harem before the fall of a city.
                                “Yes, we are.” Uesugi answered. His face showed no emotions. “You and other slaves are free from now on. All of you, without exceptions.” He stopped for a moment, seeing the gently smiling faces of Japanese and completely oblivious one of Indias. They were too tired to show any stronger emotions. Half of them was starving for a long time or hurt and the general wondered how many will manage to recover.
                                “Do not move from here. We will send you rescue teams. They shall take care of you. Until that, tell other slaves about that. Apparently no one taught them Japanese.”

                                It was a second day since the Japanese armies entered the Ahmed. The ruined city became completely empty. The survivor slaves were treated on the camp outside of the city. Majority of them were to become the new inhabitants, but now as free people. Shiroushi, as this is how the city was named from now on, was to become a place without slaves.
                                Kenshin, accompanied by several dozens of riflemen marched quickly toward the northern part of the city.
                                “Our scouts found him in the ruins of the palace.” One of the soldiers explained, as they walked. “Apparently he went completely insane, as he did not realize his own forces retreated from the city and abandoned him. He just sit there, talking to himself. Completely alone.”
                                “And what about the forces that retreated?”
                                “Mori ordered few warships to enter the port, so they could fire at them. As they were in the open terrain the casualties were heavy. Now they have maybe twenty to thirty hundreds people armed with obsolete weapons.”
                                “Good. And what about the warships?”
                                “As we were getting low on supplies, plenty of them stayed and docked in the city. The sailors left the deck and now either repair the ships, resupply them or help taking care of slaves. Since there is not enough safe places to make camps within the city, majority of riflemen are moving back toward the main camp.
                                “So who protects the city right now?”
                                “The garrison of one thousand of Rifleman, as well as several thousands of sailors.”
                                Uesugi looked at him. “Make sure the ships are well protected. They are now vulnerable to the enemy.”
                                “Understood sir!” he saluted. “As if someone will attack us after this slaughter” soldier added in his mind.
                                They reached the ruined palace. More than a half was destroyed, but one could see the remains of the monumental Indian architecture. Made of stone from the mountains it had a colour of a desert. Only the shattered statues were made of different material, as Celts destroyed the old ones and replaced them with their own. Now these were in pieces as well.

                                He was sitting in a throne room. Ignorant of a collapsed ceiling and columns, wearing his dark armor and holding a scythe in hand, he looked as if he was waiting for something. Uesugi unsheathed his sword.
                                “My lord?” A soldier asked pointing out at the other riflemen.
                                “I shall take care of him personally. He may be insane, but he still is a lord. Let him die like one.”
                                The general understood what his soldier meant. “If he win, you may just shoot him down.” He added shortly afterwards.
                                They nodded.
                                Kenshin walked inside. He encircled the throne, until he stood directly in front of Akechi.
                                “Akechi Mitsuhide.” He stated loudly. „For betraying your motherland and becoming an enemy of Nippon I sentence you to death!”
                                The usurper prince looked at him, as if he woke up from a long slumber. He stood up slowly, clearly weak.
                                “My name is Uesugi Kenshin. The General of Japanese forces in service of Ahri Nekomimi the fourth! I challenge you to a duel to let you die like a noble should!”
                                Akechi stretched out. „Duel accepted you mortal. I shall show you the power far greater than anything you have ever seen!” He shouted loudly and attacked.
                                The cut was very wide. Kenshin jumped back, avoiding it completely. He tried to move in, but the following attack from the other side forced him to retreat.
                                “You cannot stay away if you want to kill me. Or did you change your mind?” The impostor mocked him, while swinging his weapon wildly.
                                Uesugi, while moving back while avoiding the attacks, was nodding slightly every time the scythe flashed in front of him. After several nods, with timing figured out, he rushed forward. He closed the distance between them and thrust the sword forward. The black armor made the blade slide aside without doing any harm to Akechi. Kenshin dropped his katana and made another step forward, almost touching his enemy. He blocked the hand holding the shaft and hit the surprised Mitsuhide in the face an elbow. He tripped him, and with one swift move he pulled out a wakizashi and thursted it into the neck of a falling enemy.

                                “You could be a great warrior. But you have forsaken the way of the sword as well as your mind.”
                                Uesugi spoke, looking at the convulsing body. He pulled out the short sword and wiped it out with a cloth. He called his subordinates.
                                “Take his body to the camp, to show all the slaves that their oppressor is dead. After that take off his armor and send it together with his weapon to Kyoto. I want it to reach the capitol for analysis as soon as possible, so make sure the Mori sends it on a frigate.”
                                “Understood sir! What about the body?”
                                “Bury it afterwards. A small separate grave is fine.”
                                After the soldiers left with the body, he approached the throne and pulled out a small steel rifle from the pocket. The very same he used on a tactical map. He put it on a place where Akechi was sitting.
                                He looked at it, smiling gently, then picked it up.
                                “You represent the ten thousands rifles, but there is only one tenth of that number in the city right now. I cannot place you here for now.” He spoke loudly, put it back into his pocket and walked out of the room. “I am getting old and soft.” The general added.
                                Last edited by Eerion; August 16, 2013, 00:48.

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