Gotha date; RH

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The Fører and his Lords
04-28-2015, 06:00 AM
Post: #1
The Fører and his Lords
July is a pleasant time in Aedeland. After a long Stoldavic winter, sunshine and a light breeze are a welcomed delight. Savoring the mixture of birdsong with faint laughter and occasional playful shriek coming from the nearby swimming hole, Jakob moved high in his saddle and smiled as he breathed a deep draw of fresh summer air.

These journeys, not nearly as pleasant in the winter, were at times a weekly occurance. The Fører completed as much business from his ættsrett as could be allowed. Though his aversion to Alesund was genuine, the Fører’s homely habits were, in part, contrived to endear him to Aedelanders and to further perpetuate his humble farmer-statesmen persona. Despite a demeanor thoroughly inclined to life in the city, Jakob found he greatly enjoyed the frequent rides down the narrow country lanes to see the Fører. After years of regular visits, Skellafaxa found her own way and allowed Jakob to lose himself in thought as he rode.

In many ways Jakob was the Fører’s most useful secretary. He criss-crossed Aedeland attending to official business that the Fører found tedious or unpleasant. In many ways, he was a link between Ásgeirr hinn Hundurinn av Svommerhunding, who unofficially ran Aedeland’s colonies as Governor of the Sørtarnland Company, and the High State of the Imperial Republic. He split the majority of his time between Ålesund, Ærilar, and Nordhavn. It was a role that made him indispensable to the Fører and brought great pleasure to Jakob as well.

Following a gently bowed oak-lined lane approaching the hall of the Ambróðrings, Jakob came upon two young cousins of the Fører leisurely returning home, barefooted and shirtless, from the river.

Jakob announced his presence with a guttural “heil!” while still several yards away. The boys, no older than five, immediately swung about and, attempting to stand slightly more intimidatingly, cautiously gazed at the intruder. Their faces softened to a welcoming smile as Jakob rode closer.

“Heill ok sæll!” answered the taller of the two as they raced closer. “Jakob!,” shouted the smaller boy. “Have you brought us anything?”

Jakob grinned and patted his saddle bag. “Where can I find the Fører, lads?”

“Old Vilhelm is tending the harvest,” answered the smaller boy as he reached at the saddlebag.

Jakob searched for his cigarette tin. The Fører famously disapproved of smoking in his presence and this would likely be his last opportunity until after supper. As he held the tip of the cigarette precariously in his lips, he mumbled incredulously, “what would he be harvesting in July?”

“Winter wheat,” retorted the boys matter-of-factly and the small one continued by reminding Jakob that winter wheat produces a higher yield. Jakob squinted his eyes as he looked up at the streams of light filtering through the oak canopy above and focused on enjoying his cigarette. The older boy, perceiving Jakob’s indifference, interrupted to ask if they may have a ride. Jakob hesitated a moment. “As long as I don’t have to listen to you too on the way.”

Jakob found the Fører riding an ox drawn combine and, like the boys, barefooted and shirtless. Upon seeing Jakob, the Fører bellowed for the ox team to stop and motioned to his kinsman to take his place on the combine. Jakob passed Skellafaxa’s reins to the older boy before smartly dismounting. The older boy discretely motioned to the lit cigarette. With a nod and a grin, Jakob enjoyed one last draw before passing the cigarette up to the boy. He then tapped the saddle bag to remind them of their gift and goaded them to share. The older boy then turned Skellafaxa and urged her into an easy canter in hopes that the Fører did not notice the cigarette or at least to be soon out of earshot if he did.

Jakob briskly met the Fører halfway and offered an eager greeting and salute, “Heill ok sæll minn Fører.” The Fører smiled as he dismissed Jakob’s salute. “Góðan dag, Jakob!”

The Fører quickly embraced Jakob before he could offer his handshake. Jakob noticed that he smelled of aged leather and sweat. “Have you come to help with the harvest?” asked the Fører with a wry smile.

“Of course not,” Jakob answered smiling. “I’ll only keep you a moment.” Presenting a thin folio he added, “I have final preparations for Ærilar in need of your approval.”

The Fører grimaced and motioned Jakob to follow him to a nearby shaded knoll. As they walked he studied the pages carefully. Jakob hesitated to observe the mechanical poetry of the combine blades before following behind at a distance.

“I don’t see why I should attend,” began the Fører. “You will be there. My presence is redundant and an unnecessary expense.” “Já, minn Fører,” responded Jakob obediently.

“What has Vinling said of this?” asked the Fører pointing at a line.

“The Herre Martial is receptive to a show of strength and has assured me that the Ríkes Sjøstyrkene can support the request,” answered Jakob clasping his hands.

The Fører looked up from the folio and considered the request while watching the steady passing of the harvester. Taking a seat in the grass he blindly motioned with the forefingers of his free hand for Jakob to sit.

“Recalling the entire Nordvåpen? That is a dozen warships,” demurred the Fører.

“Sixteen I believe. I was thinking we could fill the Vaske with a parade of warships. My office is prepared to solicit naval courtesy calls from the other participants.”

The Fører layed the folio at his side and looked to Jakob. “Absolutely not. There isn’t the budget for this and it will give the wrong impressions.”

“I’ve already discussed the financials with Alfred…,” Jakob trailed off as he considered how best to continue, “and hinn Hundurinn has offered Company support.”

“Has he?” laughed the Fører. “That is generous of him but we cannot allow the ‘Mōt to perceive the conference as an extravagance. And I hope Alfred informed you that the funds are not in the budget. I do not care to return to Ålesund to beg for money.”

“Já, minn Fører,” Jakob obediently agreed.

Three young women approached and silently set a small folding serving tray with two glasses and a large pitcher of water. “Thank you freyjailīn,” chorused both men.

The Fører poured two glasses of water and returned to his depression in the grass. “Nothing better than freshly drawn water on a summer afternoon,” he mused as he handed a glass to Jakob.

“Recall only the Æðelantë,” insisted the Fører. Adding, “a parade of flagships will do.”

“Já, minn Fører,” Jakob repeated. “Shall I cancel the sigrslá (military tattoo)?”

“No, Jakob. The sigrslá is expected. Few nefndarman will consider that inappropriate.”

“Perhaps our guests will participate,” suggested Jakob.

“If they do, I may reconsider my decision not to attend,” the Fører conceded.

Upon hearing this Jakob frowned. “Vilhelm, there is one more matter to discuss.”

“Yes, Jakob?” inquired the Fører.

Jakob hesitated. “The Skyggejegere has requested you allow a security detail, at least until the conference has passed.”

“Out of the question,” growled the Fører.

“Minn Fører, there are unusual reports coming out of Vittmark. Auresian Intelligence has informed us two of our countrymen were kidnapped in Ostvallen.”

“The Auresians think I may be kidnapped?” the Fører snickered.

“Neinn, minn Fører,” Jakob reported gravely. “The Aurasians did not reveal more than what their sources reported about the disappearance. They suspect the Fisks are behind it and that means that their pale masters are likely involved.”

Jakob leaned forward and extended his hand to the Fører’s shoulder. “It doesn’t take a spy to know that skrælings are unhappy with our intentions. I wouldn’t underestimate their villainy.”

07-10-2015, 03:26 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Fører and his Lords
Guðfriðr av Svømmerhunding sat behind the Invictus desk, a relic of the Æðsturök built from the timbers of the famed great ship of the same name, in the dimly lit boiseried office of the Fører. He sat upright in a leather chair, legs crossed at the knees, with his hands resting on the desk before him. The warm light from his twin desktop lamps lit his stoic expression and revealed only fleeting glimpses of his advisors from the shadowy corners of the room.

The tone in the room was tense, serious, and foreboding. Shortly after Jakob av Varung’s death, Aedeland’s government had assumed a war footing. No one was sure if the assassination was an isolated incident or a precursor to something greater. Nothing could prepare Guðfriðr av Svømmerhunding for this baptism by fire. The sudden plunge into a national tragedy was unprecedented, at least in living memory. More had changed in one week than in Vilhelm av Ambrodring’s five years in office.

Confusion had fallen over the Gimlé since Jakob av Varung’s death. Without fully understanding what had happened in Nordhavn, some Jarldomen were demanding immediate action against the Wolgos Bind. Others felt that some how Vittmark’s Queen was behind the assassination. Rash talk of invading Hagen, granting emergency powers, and implementing draconian security measures drowned out reasonable voices.

Passions also flared In the chambers of the Folkmōt. A top government official was dead and no one in Aedeland saw it coming. The oversight was glaring. An investigatory committee in the ‘mōt was established within hours of Lord Varung’s death to inquire into reports that the Skyggejegere had ignored Wolgos threats. Subpoenas had been issued for every member of the spy organization’s small command staff.

Despite this scrutiny, the task of investigating the assassination fell squarely on Aedeland’s meager spymasters whose leader was now dead. The overwhelming burden had all but paralyzed the previously insignificant department of the Foreign Office. To add insult to injury, Nordhavn appeared to be crawling with intelligence operatives from nearly every Anarian power. As a result, the situation in western Aedeland was more clearly understood in Cedelphia and Aschgæt than Ålesund.

To his credit, Hárr Ambrodring had offered Svømmerhunding valuable counsel and guidance to avoid the inclination to take symbolic action. On this advice, the new Fører remained absent from the floor of the Lögrétta. Instead, he engaged both allies and critics through proxies. Rewarding those who entertained moderation with a series of carefully choreographed private meetings. By the end of his first day, he had calmed the thundering storm and narrowly avoided rash retaliation. Through it all, Hárr Ambrodring and what remained of his former staff worked at gathering whatever information they could.

Eyvindr av Dýring, a wiry man with an unruly large beard, was admitted into the Fører’s chambers. Political alliances in Aedeland were shallow and passing with no power beyond the influence of their intellectual leaders. Membership was fluid and highly dependent on the charisma of individual adherents with Jarldomen often supporting several movements. Svømmerhunding and Ambrodring's Forn-leið, meaning the old way, had dominated Aedelish politics for much of the republican era. However, more radical groups on the fringes ebbed and flowed. Dýring was the philosophical father of Aedelmåte, a group many considered to be xenophobic religious fanatics. Varung’s assassination had pushed many under Dýring’s wing making him indispensable in the upcoming round of voting in the Althing.

“Heill,” announced Dýring as he entered. The old man searched the darkened room as he approached. “What is the meaning of this darkness?”

“It is a precaution, minn eldri,” answered a calm voice from the shadows. Dýring recognized the voice as Hárr Ambrodring, the former Fører.

“Já,” uttered Dýring in understanding. Simply closing the curtains was a reasonable precaution following the death of the Lord Secretary. “I mourn with the Lord of Nordhavn,” added Dýring. It was well known that Dýring despised Jakob av Varung though now was not the time for pettiness. Such an expression of sentiment was obligatory in such times.

“As do I,” answered Fører Svømmerhunding. “I trust that his legacy shall be preserved with the swift passage of his treaty and the realization of his ambitions in Asmariyyah.” It was understood that this meant a massive re-arming the Strykene- a move risking further upsetting the global order and likely unpopular with many in the Althing.

Dýring nodded in agreement. “If I deliver this to you, what will be done to those who have placed Aedeland’s legacy at risk?” Again, it was understood by all present that Dýring was speaking of the growing foreign population.

"It would appear that foreign agents were involved in the conspiracy against Lord Varung's life. A foreign agent, possibly Tahani, is a person of interest. However, what you desire will have to wait until after Svante av Sjo is brought to trial,” answered the Fører.

“But I have your word that it will be done?”, inquired Dýring.

“Já,” acquiesced the Fører. “It will be done and as a sign of our mutual trust I offer the Lord Martialship.”

“I humbly accept, minn Fører,” answered Dýring.

07-15-2015, 12:37 AM
Post: #3
RE: The Fører and his Lords
A week after Lord Varung’s death, normalcy had begun to return to the Gimlé. With Hárr Ambrodring’s help, Fører Svømmerhunding had used his three secretarial appointments to their full potential within the Lögrétta. In most cases, these appointments were routinely approved. During Ambrodring’s Førership, even the former Lord Varung’s appointment was passed unanimously. However, the polarizing situation both a home and abroad raised some concern that Fører Svømmerhunding’s appointments may be politicized. Lord Varung’s own divisive tenure as Foreign Lord Secretary had not helped.

Dýring’s influence and outstanding military record made his appointment to the Lord Martialship all but guaranteed. It was likely that Dýring would be difficult to control, but that was another problem for another day. Svømmerhunding needed Dýring’s votes more than his friendship.

The Home Secretary, an often overlooked position in the secretariat, was an easier appointment to get through the Althing. Svømmerhunding felt this was the best opportunity to make his most aggressive appointment. He chose Sǫlvi av Stakrung, a long time personal confidant and trusted advisor from a southern Ætt. Stakrung brought little political influence to the Secretariat but his massive frame and forceful personality would lend another kind of influence.

The position of foreign secretary was without a doubt the most difficult to fill. Fører Svømmerhunding and Hárr Ambrodring both believed that it was likely that whoever received the appointment would be scrutinized. An aggressive appointment may be received, both at home and abroad, as a sign of future hostile intentions. On the other hand, an appointment that appeared weak or indecisive could cast doubts on Aedelish resolve.

It was settled that the appointment would be given to Úlfr av Hǫfuðormring. A pragmatic moderate, Hǫfuðormring was from a central Ætt and his background was immaculate. A former naval officer, who had previously served as ambassador to Anat Tahan and Ithrien, Hǫfuðormring had studied at Aulë and Paradotto.

Once the secretariat was seated, the Lögrétta began its legislative agenda with an unusual furor. First order of business was the passage of the Treaty of Ærilar, which thanks to Dýring efforts, passed unanimously. Next, an increase in the military budget - to include the first significant build up of Aedeland’s navy since the Pan-Anarian War - was narrowly passed.

The final legislative push to authorize military action in the Kuvimbic ultimately failed. An alliance between the southern contingent and Dýring’s own northern faction of religious zealots, who both felt strongly that their sons should not die for the ambitions of western interests, defeated the declaration of war. However, this only prevented national funds from supporting such a military effort. A second, less ambitious, vote was passed authorizing the Sørtarnland Company to pursue its interest in the region and the creation of a volunteer expeditionary force.
Overall, the Fører was pleased.

07-18-2015, 10:59 PM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2015 07:52 PM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #4
RE: The Fører and his Lords
The Fører laid the previous day's issue of the Ærilys on his desk and looked to his advisors.

"Góðan morgun, I'm sure everyone is aware that Svante av Slo is going back to the Wolgos Bind, if they will have them," began the Fører. His statement was met with nods of affirmation.

"What can be done?," he asked.

Lord Martial Dýring straightened in his seat, "as far as the law is concerned the issue is settled, minn Fører."

"Þǫkk," replied the Fører dismissively.

"It would seem to me that this man is denouncing his citizenship. He is not asking for exile, he is asking to defect," offered the Home Secretary.

"No, he requested exile under the law," corrected Lord Martial Dýring. "There is a difference. We cannot bend the law like that."

"He murdered seventeen and confessed to it," shot back Secretary Stakrung. "We can't send him back to the creatures who sent him. At least have the SJ visit him before he goes."

The Lord Foreign Secretary Hǫfuðormring, who had been sitting quietly until this moment, felt moved to respond, "it is doubtful that my people can get any more from him than the investigators. It sounds as though this man is deeply under the influence of Wolgos ideology. It would take weeks or possibly months to untangle. Our laws very clearly condemn torture and that is exactly what the SJ would have to do to Herr Slo. I am not sure there is a man alive who can endure it. What we really need is time."

"I agree," concurred the Lord Martial.

"We can use his request to delay the exile. It won't be enough to fix what is broken in that boy's mind, but we may learn more about his co-conspirators," directed the Fører. "Does anyone know how we even contact Skous?"

"That is my job, minn Fører," returned the Foreign Secretary.

The Fører chuckled. "Well, Úlfr, take your time with that."

09-09-2017, 09:34 PM
Post: #5
RE: The Fører and his Lords
The atrium of the Gimlé echoed with the rhythmic strike of wood soled shoes against marble as an tall lieutenant wearing the full dress of the Strykene’s Lífvakte. His uniform immaculate. His flaxen hair and beard cut closely and carefully combed. In his hand carried a locked hard sided red case.

The officer walked with official purpose through the halls. Upon reaching the Fører’s private study, he rapped firmly against the door before entering.

The Fører, who had been conversing idly with his Lord Martial, received the box and thanked the officer.

Within the box was a thin folio containing about a dozen documents. Foremost was a short three point memo from the Foreign Secretary.

“It says here that Auresia is leaving the cartel,” remarked the Fører with a tone of bewilderment.

Casually he walked around to the seat of his desk and depressed a concealed switch. Immediately the same uniformed lieutenant appeared in the doorway.

“Please bring the Auresian ambassador to me now. I’m sure he is expecting our call,” ordered the Fører while making a quick hand gesture as if his fingers could somehow beckon the ambassador that very moment.

Returning to the Lord Martial, the Fører sunk into a plush leather chair. “Son of a bitch.”

The Lord Martial, who remained perched attentively at the edge of his chair, ignored the Fører’s quiet outburst of frustration.

“We should better fund the Skyggejegere”, urged the Lord Martial.

The Fører dismissed the suggestion immediately. “I’m not going to be the man who gave the country over to bureaucrats, Severin.”

“Minn Fører, we could have seen this com…”, the Lord Martial continued to press the point but was cut off.

“Out of the question,” interjected the Fører with a tone of finality.

With that the Lord Martial sat still for a moment in silent reflection.

“Minn Fører, do we know why?,” asked the Lord Martial.

“Vilhelm mentioned sovereignty,” answered the Fører.

“Interesting,” added the Lord Martial. “I wonder why Vilhelm did not address these concerns at Gadalhem. Surely they are not insurmountable. No one desired a loss of sovereignty”

“Hmm,” grunted the Fører as he rose from his seat. “You are right. Auresian concerns have been aligned with our own in the past.” On his face was a look of determined anger.

“There is a copy of the treaty here,” added the Fører as he thumbed through the folio of memos. “This must be it.” Underneath the first folio was a second much larger sealed folio. The Fører unceremoniously broke the seal and extracted the large unfolded parchment within.

At this, the Lord Martial rose from his seat to join the Fører at the corner of the desk. Both men poured over the document.

“Everything looks satisfactory to me,” added the Fører with a sigh, “we will see what Lord Cavour has to say.“

“Certainly,” added the Lord Martial, “though I suspect something more is at play here.”

The Fører chuckled. “Are you saying this is simply a pretense?”

“Well of course,” said the Lord Martial matter of factly, “I suspect that the same interests that soured Anisora are behind this as well.”

“That would explain why they gave us no warning,” agreed the Fører. “What do you believe are their true motives?”

“I couldn’t say, Minn Fører,” admitted the Lord Martial. “But I strongly suspect the same people who had young Jakob killed are behind this.”

The Fører looked at the clock, “let us see what Lord Cavour has to say.”

09-10-2017, 04:17 AM
Post: #6
Meeting with Cavour
Lord Cavour was led by the lieutenant of the Lífvakte to the study where the Fører and his Lord Martial waited. With the unceremonious sharp rapt on the door, the lieutenant brought the Auresian ambassador into the study.

“Minn Fører,” barked the lieutenant as he snapped his heels to attention, “the Ambassador from Auresia.”

The Fører rose to his feet and extended his right hand. The Fører’s handshake was followed immediately by the same from his Lord Martial. The atmosphere of the exchange was somber and it was clear neither man was particularly happy to see the ambassador.

The Lord Secretary dismissed the lieutenant and closed the study door as the Fører offered a seat to the ambassador.

“What happened in Gadalhem, Lord Ambassador?,” asked the Fører sternly.

Cavour took the proffered seat with a slight nod. “An unfortunate turn of events, Excellency, I grant. But I will answer your questions to the best of my ability.”

The Fører looked at the ambassador while allowing an awkwardly long pause. His Lord Martial looked on as he leaned beside the red box on the desk containing the signed Protocols of Gadalhem.

“Excellency? We are free men of the north here, Lord Ambassador, you know that. Herr Horda will do,” quipped the Lord Martial. He looked up and stared across the room as he continued. “My father died at Hattaro. I was six. I never imagined I would ever doubt our allies in Auresia. Yet here we are.”

Another pause and then the Lord Martial returned his gaze to the seated Ambassador. “Why now?” The Lord Martial pointed at the Ambassador. “Why at the very moment those who are working against us demanded unanimity did you betray us?”

Cavour folded his hands in front of him. His expression was neutral. “We had made our reservations regarding the Treaty plain from the outset. You will recall the statement to that effect made by Lord Dala before he signed the treaty. While I can grasp that you feel betrayed, please understand that the Empire was always somewhat uneasy with the arrangement.”

“Why didn’t your man at Gadalhem address these concerns with Herr Hólarung?,” asked the Lord Martial incredulously. “The auditory function was only necessary because of the Anisorans. Without them, it could easily have been left out of the protocols if Auresia had only requested it. But your man did not.”

The delegate general gave a slight shrug. “No, Lord Dala did not. And I was not privy to the reasons as to why.”

The Lord Secretary and the Fører looked at each other momentarily in disbelief. The Lord Secretary stood up and continued, “we understand the Vittmarkers bribed Anisora.” He leaned forward. “Did they promise Auresia something to leave the cartel?”

Lord Cavour regarded the Lord Martial for a long moment. “I apologize, Lord Martial...but was I summoned to discuss theories of conspiracy, or answer questions? You have proof of this remarkable claim, of course?”

“That is a question, Lord Ambassador.” answered the Lord Martial sharply, “simply say yes or no.”

Cavour’s smile was humorless. “Interesting. Most interesting, indeed. The answer to your...question...Lord Martial, is no.”

The Fører sat forward in his chair. “Lord Ambassador, I am sure you understand that our government is quite disappointed in this development. I thank you for doing what you can, but I regret that we remain, to be honest, baffled by all this. I am aware of your government’s misgivings from the outset. However, this remains a voluntary association. If your government’s fears were to come to fruition, they could just as easily abandon the cartel then as they have now. So it remains, why now?”

Cavour nodded, giving the Fører his attention. “Yes, I have full understanding of the disappointment, Excellency, and I regret that the matter has developed so poorly. But, as I have said, Auresia holds to its concern that encouraging this...auditory force...and that which it entails, may some day be abused, or twisted away from the spirit of its conception. Transit fees, private travel...access to colonies, even. The responsible policing and regulation of each nation’s own waterways has never been an issue before. Though, I do admit, avaricious eyes have fell on the strategic straits of Anaria many times before.”

“This is reasonable,” admitted the Fører, “and it is a concern that could have easily been addressed at Gadalhem. Though, for reasons you do not know, it was not.”

“Yes, Excellency, that's correct. His Sovereign Majesty did not share the reasons with me. Lord Dala, I know he did, but not I. I likewise have had no communication from Lord Barsavi on the matter. Though I will say that His Majesty is...very matters where the Hattaro are concerned. However, I cannot and will not presuppose as to what may have inspired his decision. On the same note, however, the Empire will observe most closely the Cartel’s developments, I do assure you, and the winds of opinion and Imperial caution may yet shift. The Empire does not seek to irreparably damage the diplomacy of the region on one treaty, and we remain ever vigilant for opportunities to avail ourselves of pursuit of beneficial opportunities that may repair the strains of this issue in the interim.”

“This man knows nothing, minn excellency,” huffed the Lord Martial in exasperation.

The Fører looked to the Lord Martial and feigned a large smile. “Well then,” finished the Fører, “thank you Lord Ambassador, I think that will be all.”

Cavour stood, inclining his head to the Fører. “Of course. Good afternoon, gentlemen.” He smiled to the Fører, letting the expression linger, as he gazed to the Lord Martial before he took his leave.

09-11-2017, 03:20 AM (This post was last modified: 09-11-2017 05:41 AM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #7
RE: The Fører and his Lords
Vilhelm arrived at Ålesund in the dark of night. He hadn't slept in days. As he disembarked his privately charted airship he was met by the Fører's personal aide. The young lieutenant greeted him without revealing a hint of emotion, "Lord Secretary, welcome back to Ålesund. The Fører would like to speak with you."

Vilhelm rubbed his eyes and drew a deep breath. "Of course, at what time does he expect me?," he asked.

"Immediately, Herr Secretary," answered the lieutenant as he pointed to a small runabout docked in the distance.

The lieutenant's rapt at the door and unceremonious introduction did not disrupt the Fører from his labors. Unlike his predecessors, Georg av Horda was constantly at the work of governance.

Vilhelm approached cautiously. “Minn Fører, what do you require of me?"

The Fører finished reading the page in front of him before carefully placing it in a stack. It appeared to the Lord Secretary that he was reading military reports of some sort. From the looks of it he was reviewing the actual reports. The kind filed in the thousands by field officers all over the Empire everyday.

Fører gave the Lord Secretary a once over. The man's tiredness was obvious: eyes bloodshot, his hair unusually out of place, and his suit looked like it had been lived in for days.

"How did you manage to lose the Auresians, Vilhelm?," asked the Fører condescendingly.

Like a slap to the face, the question made embarrassment swell inside him. He felt flush and began to perspire. He touched his palm to his cheek hoping for reassurance that his face had not betrayed his embarrassment. It felt red hot.

He was known through Aedeland as a gifted orator, his skills far exceeding the Fører himself, but in this moment he stumbled to find the right words.

"Minn Fører," answered Vilhelm, "I... I am not entirely sure."

The Fører frowned and looked down as he thumbed through the the stack of reports in front of him. Vilhelm could sense he was ashamed for him.

"The Auresian ambassador doesn't seem to know either," grumbled the Fører. "It would seem no one but Lord Dala knows what the hell happened."

Vilhelm felt relief wash over him. At least, the ambassador had not claimed Auresia had abandoned the cartel do in part to some err or oversight of his own. He soon regained his composure.

"Minn Fører," continued Vilhelm with renewed confidence, "I spoke at length with Lord Dala while at Gadalhem. He expressed concern about the Hattaro. He asked me a hypothetical: if Auresia were be found by inspectors to be in violation of the protocols, would they be banned from the Hattaro? To be honest, I though he was being facetious. But I did assure him that would not be the case."

The Fører nodded in understanding. "Did Lord Dala approach you with other concerns?"

"No, minn Fører," answered Vilhelm obediently. "I was not comfortable with supranational enforcement. This was echoed by Annisora's delegation, whose opinion I gave no consideration as they would favor no enforcement at all, and the Auresian delegation, whose objections mirrored my own. However, when I offered a counter proposal for the non-binding inspection regime that was ultimately adopted, I solicited opinions. Lord Dala remained silent."

The Fører nodded again in understanding.

Vilhelm continued, "I was shocked when Lord Dala voted against the protocol and announced Auresia's intention to leave the cartel."

"Did you ask Lord Dala why?", inquired the Fører insistently

"I did. His answer was... typically Auresian," admitted Vilhelm. "He committed to no particular reason but made platitudes about how they were always uneasy with the Treaty. He said that his emperor is sensitive to the Hattaro and insisted that no foreign governments is to control the Auresian straits."

The Fører nodded.

"I warned Lord Dala that leaving the cartel this way could have grim consequences for not only the cartel but for Auresia's continued relationship with members of the cartel," continued Vilhelm. "I reminded... I reminded him that wars have been fought over less."

The Fører frowned. "Did you threaten the Auresians with war?"

"No. I merely reminded the Auresians that such a betrayal could have very real consequences," answered Vilhelm somewhat defeated.

"Did Lord Dala take this to be a threat?" demanded the Fører.

"I...", Vilhelm hesitated. "I do not think so, minn Fører. Well, he laughed at me and asked if Aedeland would go to war over an economic treaty. And I... I told him to think.."

The Fører cut him off. "Apparently it is true," laughed the Fører The Alfaðr watches over after babes and impulsive fools."

"Minn Fører," Vilhelm stammered, "they... they betrayed us. The bitch in Östvallen got to them or those assholes from Anisora."

"That is enough, Vilhelm," ordered the Fører. "I want our ambassador in Auresia to speak to this Lord Dala. With any luck he will succeed where you have failed miserably."

The Fører returned to his reports and without looking up concluded, "you will tender your resignation in the morning."

Vilhelm swallowed hard and snapped his heals together. "Yes, minn Fører."

"Thank you, Vilhelm. You may go."


Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)