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HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
03-27-2019, 05:38 PM
Post: #1
HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
... but not the one you would expect

This episode takes place shortly after Anna's return from Gilles Carls and Toshi-bu, so say February 7580.

Moa just arrived from the railway station for another series of 'capital sessions' as she used to label her activities at Östervallen herself. She was dividing her time about 50-50 between Blåkulla and Östervallen, usually planning her time in the capital as effectively as possible. Her focus was on preparing the trip to Aspasia, picking up Surprise first in Fisks.

But this time, her planning ended up in the trash bin as soon as she finished lunch with the family.
“A word,” her father half asked, half ordered. It was an unusual gesture. Only Queen Anna remained at the lunch table, the children and other stim members were discretely being directed elsewhere.
“What have I done this time,” Moa asked.
“We're wondering,” Palne replied. He took a folder from his shoulder bag, opened it and put a sheet of paper in front of his daughter.

“According to Jinsoku Shi of the Affirmation, Midori has left the Nokumo Nobono.”
“What?”
“Midori, or Green, is no longer part of the leading clan of the Kakuri people. Your clan. Would you care to explain?”

“You’re sure this is not a mistake? It was Nenne who took some distance in order to focus on her role as healer.”
But Palne just pointed at the sheet of paper. So Moa started reading a handwritten report, formulated by some clerk who summarized a brief message from the only police agent of Fjällsta Stift, as it had arrived by encoded radio telegram.
“Well...” Palne insisted. But Moa read a second time, until she stopped halfway. She recognized the handwriting. It was Anna's.

“Would you believe me if I told you that this is news to me? I need to get this confirmed.”
“You bet your ass you should. You are the senator of these people, representing their leadership in the House of Lords. A government shift should always be notified. What use are federal institutions if the member states don't update us on the most essential parts of their government?”

“I swear, I know nothing about this.”
“But you are Nokumo...”
Moa scoffed. “That remains to be seen. If this is true and Midori left, without them conferring with me or even telling me, then I doubt I truly am a member of the Nokumo. Or that I want to be...”
Palne looked deep into Moa's eyes. He could see she was not trying to hide anything. She truly seemed surprised by the current turn of events.

“What are you planning to do about this?” he asked. Moa had to improvise.
“I'll have to assess the situation. Check if this information is true. We could ask Petterson if he...”
Palne interrupted her by putting a second sheet on the table, the white backside up.

“Petterson only gets to see what they want them to see. The Nokumo have a history, remember?”
Moa had no idea what her father was referring to. Until he turned over the page, now showing a telegram from Villes. Midori had been spotted there, arriving in a small fishing boat. She had continued on board of a supply ship bound for Gilles Askers. Villes stim assumed that this was a stopover towards Shangtienrand.
“Do you spy on the Nokumo?” Moa asked her dad.

Now Anna entered the conversation. “I see to it that I have reliable intelligence all around the federation. Sometimes Court Security, sometimes... not. And sometimes I need more than security information. As you can see, intelligence from the Kakuri is important. Let's just say I have observers in Toshi-bu, in Ny Skiöldavik and in Nybygge. Your father has his source in Toshi-bu but also on Gilles Villes. Something important happened and it was noted.”

Moa was quiet for a while.
“Yuma...” she suddenly half whispered. “Midori and Yuma are friends. She explained to her how to get around in Östvallen before she ever had set foot there. They think alike.”
“And how does that help?”
“The Nokumo does not know that I know, right? That gives me an advantage. I have to find out myself without giving them the opportunity to present me a different picture.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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03-28-2019, 06:16 PM
Post: #2
RE: HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
Captain, who owns this vessel?

The airship NTR-CD was ready for take-off when the royal caravan arrived. Three Court Security officers stepped out of the first car, Moa and her personal assistant Alis disembarked from the second car. The party entered the vessel's gondola and was led immediately to the captain's quarters.

“Captain Sivertsson,” Moa saluted.
“Your Grace,” he replied. “Is this the right time to ask what the secrecy is about? I have carried Her Grace to Fisks and back before.”
“You have received written orders in a sealed envelope, only to be opened once I was present. I think it will answer your question.”

The captain opened the envelope he had on his desk since he had landed a couple of hours before. He started reading, looked up and read it again.
“If his lordship sees any problems with these orders, for the safety of this crew and the vessel's passengers, you should let us know before we lift off. There will be no counter orders once we sail.”

“The orders are quite cryptical, could Her Grace confirm if I interpreted correctly? I am supposed to sabotage a part of the propulsion on our route from Karolinas to Carls, at such a moment that a precaution landing in Schlund, Häverist territory, is needed.”
“The replacement part will have to come with the next airship, which will give us 4 to 5 days.”

“May I ask why?”
Moa grinned. “You may ask. But you will not get a reply. Captain... Who owns this vessel?”
“The federal military...”
“I can tell his lordship that only the Commander-in-chief of Court Security and his superior know the exact motives. The federal military wants to make use of this vessel for this particular mission, flying as a civilian airship. Only the accompanying military have been briefed. Let me introduce you to Captain Svea Gefna of Court Security...”
“We have met,” the captain replied while saluting,

“And we are accompanied by two Fjällsta Affirmation ensigns, Ludvig Ludvigson and Milltun Andersson. At a later moment, I will introduce you to our two mission specialists, but they travel civilian. They're both Affirmation or Court Security... I only need to know if you are able to follow this order, because we don't want any hesitation once we're en route.”

“Of course, Your Grace. The orders are clear. But let me add, this is an airship. All kind of things could go wrong. If real trouble appears, then the crew and passengers' safety is my first priority.”
“Good... because we cannot carry out our mission if we crash and die.”

------------------------

Travelling companions

Sivertsson had invited Moa at the dinner table. It was a custom that the highest-ranking military and highest nobleman would join the captain for the first dinner during the flight. As a passenger, you could hardly get any higher nobility than the crown princess. But Moa had insisted on adding some other passengers as well.

“Torhild Ionasdotter,” a very young woman introduced herself to the captain and crown princess.
“Nice to meet you,” Sivertsson replied. “And what is your reason for travelling with us?”
“I am a student in the Stoldish language. I am travelling to Fisks to continue to New Südentor and New Hapsburg.”
“So why the long detour...” But as soon as the captain had formulated his question, his eyes fell on Moa's face. “Ah, right, I see...”

“Manda Qvist,” the other female dinner guest introduced herself. “Judicial department junior, travelling to Fisks to assist the federal unit there.”
“Pleased to meet you,” the captain said while changing his focal point to the final female guest at the table he had not met yet.

“Alis, my lord, personal assistant to Her Grace.”
“And my name is Durrum Muwa of the Nokumo Nobono,” Moa continued, “tear eater, panther sister, afterlife ruler, tensho of the weeping box... but better known as Moa av Blåkulla.”
The ship's helmsman and chief engineer could not suppress a grin, which was exactly what she had intended.

“Sorry I'm late,” Svea Gefna excused herself while she sat down on the only empty chair left. “Military protocol. Did I miss anything?”
“Introductions,” Moa replied casually.
“Oh, right... Captain Svea Gefna of Court Security. I'm actually a cavalrist.”
The ship's engineer looked up. “Excuse me... THE Svea Gefna?”

That name still had quite an impact, even if it had been almost 6 years now that Svea Gefna had allowed a crowd of locals to go berserker on the Knutskulla mansion. It was a pivotal event in the attempted coup against Queen Anna in 7574 and the mansion had to be rebuilt from the ground up.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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03-31-2019, 02:07 PM
Post: #3
RE: HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
(OOG: the following parts have been read by Collin, already about 2 months ago)


Guests of the Häverist Holding of Shangtienrand

With only two of the nacelle engines running, the NTR-CD made an improvised landing at the military airfield of Schlung, capital of the Häverist holding of Shangtienrand. It had taken quite some convincing for the CD to be allowed to land here. Shangtienrand was in a constant state of turmoil with the Häverists having difficulties to pacify the local population. Even in this northern strip of colonized land, near the sea straits, guerilla intrusions could happen any day. Allowing a foreign vessel to land here was not a standard procedure.

On top of that, the relations between Vittmark and the Häverist Commonwealth had deteriorated since Helreich had signed the Accords of Gadalhem. Vittmark opposed the treaty with all of its might. Which wasn't much compared to the full force of the Commonwealth, but still enough to make some dents and scratches on international relations between the two.

The gondola was boarded by Luftmarine military right after landing.
“Who is the officer in charge?” they asked.
“Captain Sivertsson, at your service.”
“You will be taken in custody until this matter is resolved. The rest of the crew and passengers will be transferred to a hotel.”

“Excuse me, Herr Hauptmann,” Moa said, continuing in Wortsproke, “but I think I am the highest ranking on board.”
When Torhild provided the translation, the Luftmarine soldiers replied irritated.
“Would you identify yourself then, fräulein...”

Moa handed over her passport.
“Tovemor Palnesdotter av Bläkulla ätte av Kulla, crown princess of the federal monarchy of Vittmark.”
A translation was not needed. In the commotion that followed, some soldiers went out to get their Oberst.

Hoheit, welcome to Shantienrand, welcome to Schlund. We were not aware of her highness' presence.”
“Her highness accepts your apology,” Torhild said before Moa even could speak. “She is wondering if she will be taking into custody?”
“Of course not. It is a standard procedure to ensure a swift resolution, but in this case, I don't think it is necessary. We will personally accompany her to the best hotel in Schlund. For your own safety, you will have to stay there until the necessary repairs have been conducted.”

“Her highness travels on a diplomatic pass and is therefore entitled to roam freely.”
“I would advise against it,” the Oberst replied, but had to add reluctantly, “but of course, if we can arrange safe passage through our security forces, she will be able to visit any object that is regarded fitting. We do however need time to prepare such excursions. I hope her highness is aware that our forces are occupied.”

It was a euphemistic way to explain that the unexpected guests preferably had to stay inside the hotel compound, diplomatic pass or not. Torhild took some time to exchange some quick words with Moa, in order to keep up the appearance that it was an improvised set-up. In reality, the choice of words had been carefully planned.

-----------

Little sister

At first, Moa had remained at the hotel, as requested. It was part of the plan. Actually, the risky part of the plan, where Torhild had to gather local intelligence as quickly as possible. It took her about 36 hours to present a decent amount of information.

“The list of Commonwealth Residents of native descent,” she said while flipping through the pages of her notebook. “I cross referenced it with small business owners. I'm not sure how correct or complete my assessments are, but here are eight persons who meet your specifications.”

Moa looked at the eight handwritten sheets in front of her. Eight native business owners with the status of resident within the Commonwealth. She assumed that Midori would do something similar as Yuma had done, find shelter and a source of income.

“This one,” she said while moving one sheet back to Torhild.
“Are you sure this is the place?”
“Of course not. But based on this info, I would think that the object is within the custody or vicinity of this person.”
“Then we will pay him a visit, this evening.”

It was a risky operation. Ludde, the freethinker lower ranking paramilitary, in the company of Torhild, a hardly grown-up intelligence officer from Palne's private cells, both roaming the streets of the capital of a Häverist holding in a constant state of unrest. Since the colonial holding was relatively new, this wasn't a fully completed conurbate yet. It was still possible to move between the different parts of town relatively easily. It had been divided into recognizable circles, but the physical barriers between them still were under construction.

“We would like to speak to the hotel's manager,” Torhild askd when they entered much smaller hotel only a few blocks away, one circle out. She waved with some official looking documents. It had the wanted effect.

Fräulein has asked for me?”
“Indeed, we have. It is a delicate matter. We are looking for foreign intruders, possibly from The Bind, or maybe Kamura. We need to ask you if you hired some staff that didn't seem... native... somewhere during the last weeks.”
“No, no, of course not. We would not do such a thing. Me, helping foreign powers? I am a resident of the Commonwealth.”
“You would not mind if we took a look at your premises?”
“Of course not, I have nothing to hide.”
“Fine. I will need to call in some extra hands then. Could we use your telephone?”

While Torhild was faking a phone call, Ludde had made his way to the side of the hotel building. It only took two minutes before a small woman exited. She noticed the tall, white man, turned around and started running the other way. Right into the arms of Milltun.

Behind him, a woman in a green dress and sun hat greeted her in Kakuri.
“Little sister...”
Midori's facial expression changed completely. She wrestled herself loose from Milltun's hands and threw herself around Moa.
“Panther sister... What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same.”
“We need to get inside, now.” Midori turned around and now faced Ludde. “Another one of your claws, I hope.”
“It's fine. They are with me.”
“Then all of you, inside.”

The hotel owner looked horrified when he saw Midori re-appear.
Kein problem. Die sind mit mich...
Mit mir...” Torhild corrected her. She put a hand on the owner's shoulder. “Whatever is going on here, it is not of our business. We only need to speak to her.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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04-01-2019, 08:44 PM
Post: #4
RE: HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
Bossing around

“What are you doing here?” Midori asked again. “It is dangerous. Not only for you, also for me. And him.” She pointed towards the corridor where the owner had been standing.
“I am the tear eater, the tongue teacher, tensho of the weeping box, the afterlife ruler... I am Nokumo Nobono. You are Nokumo Nobono.”

But Midori shook her head.
“No, no... I left. I am here, you see?”
“Are you dead?” Moa referred to the reversed euphemism indicating banishment.
“You have the shoe on your other foot... sit down... tea?”

When Midori returned with four cups she started explaining.
“I am the deep claw of the Nokumo Nobono. I am the only one speaking this tongue. When Sohoko died, he was not done teaching. Only I could learn the tongue, but only if I moved here, just like Sohoko.”

“Sohoko of the Oto?”
“Hai...”
“He was teaching you Stoldish?”
“Hai...”
“But he died... who is teaching now?”
“I am... right here... For the Kakuri people, it is important we have deep claws with tongues, here, in the north, on the island of tomorrow...” Midori was referring to Bowersland and Aspasia. Indeed, all of the Kakuri leaders were speaking a foreign language. Apart from Chopper Kirisaki, they all spoke colonial languages.

“So... You left.... Yourself?”
“Hai...”
Moa was looking surprised towards Midori, who in her turn understood she had some more explaining to do.

“Durrum... when I became part of the Nokumo Nobono, I had just past 30 cycles.”
Moa's surprise only became bigger. She knew Midori was young, but not that she only was 15 years old when she joined.
“The only life I knew has been the Nokumo Nobono. When Sohoko died, I realised there was much more than just the Nokumo. It would have been easy to stay around for 20 or more cycles, but why should I? Was it important what I was doing? Did I matter?”

“Of course you matter. You and Nenne are what sets the Nokumo apart from other groups.”
Now it was Midori who started laughing. “No... it is Kirisaki and Sano that make the Nokumo different. I just followed along, fill in the pattern, they draw the lines.”

Moa was trying to find out how to explain Midori that she wasn't expandable. But complex concepts like expandable were referred to by anecdotes or sayings. If Moa came up with her own explanation, Midori might not get it.

“Nenne is more valuable as a healer than she was as a performer,” Midori continued, “and I am more valuable when I learn the tongue. There is no one else.”
“Crocodile's teeth,” Moa replied, indicating that it was dangerous.
“Two or three cycles, then I return, can learn to others who then take my place.”

“But you could learn Stoldish in Vittmark, we have excellent kotan's, even small groups who speak it daily.”
“I am the deep claw. If I am in wittamarku, then who is the Kakuri claw here?”

“Your grace, curfew...” Ludde interrupted the discussion between the two.

“We have to go,” Moa explained. But Midori was used to the curfew, she understood. “I cannot leave you here on your own... It is...” Once again Moa was struggling to find a way to explain irresponsible. “I am your panther sister, I have to take care... better than the rest.”

“I am no longer Nokumo Nobono.”
“But I am your red panther sister, across the now,” Moa replied. Then it suddenly struck her. “Come with us.”
“No, I can't... I must...”
“Just for now. You need... company... you cannot wake up alone. It is unorkanan. Come with us. I come up with a plan.”
“But I live here.”
“You can live here, if that is your choice. But not alone. I am Durrum Muwa of the Nokumo Nobono. You come.”

Now Midori got it. Since she was a regular Kakuri now, Moa could boss her around.

---------------

Busted

The party made it back to the hotel without running into a roadblock or street patrol. Moa had a diplomatic pass and her privileges would extend to some people around her, like an interpreter and guard, but she didn't want to test how far it would get her.

“Your highness,” she was greeted in the hotel lobby by the Oberst. “I was not aware you had left. I will have to extend the security around this hotel. The proper protocol is that we would outline security details for any excursion.”
Ludde had already maneuvered Midori into the corridor staircase while Moa was trying to block the colonel's view.

“Busted...” Moa replied in her own language. It was more of a signal towards Torhild.
“Herr Oberst,” she started, “Her Royal Grace has grown up during a civil war in the least safe part of the countryside. She assured us that she recognizes trouble.”
Moa said something as well, but more as part of the scripted event than an actual conversation.
“Her Grace adds that she feels perfectly safe. Herr Oberst is running an efficient operation, she has to give you compliments on that. She did not want to disturb the command's routines for wanting to take a stroll. She...” Torhild continued half whispering now, “... does not want to be inside all the time.”

The Oberst was hesitating, but realised this problem could be solved soon.
“Your airship will be ready tomorrow afternoon. Out technicians did not need the spare parts. I would appreciate it if Her Highness would remain indoors for the time being. I am posting an officer in your corridor so we will be aware of her movements. The repercussions of something happening while...”
“Of course, colonel, we will do our best.”

“House arrest until the ship leaves tomorrow after lunch,” Torhild summarized to Moa.
“Not bad. Tomorrow? Then I need to find a solution fast. Thanks for your help.”
“It's an honor serving Her Grace, and a pleasure.”

Moa entered her hotel room on her own. Ludde and Midori were already there, accompanied by Alis.
“This is Alis, my... help,” Moa explained.
“Arisa?” Midori asked. Moa understood, in Kakuri the name 'Arisa' was synonymous to 'panic attack'.
“Alis, not Arisa...”
“In Kakuri, your name is what you are. If she is not Arisa, then I cannot call her Arisa. Is she your maid?”
Moa hesitated. “Yes and no. A maid... does things... with stuff... Alis helps, takes care.”

“If there is anything else Her Grace would be needing,” Ludde intervened.
“Of course... Sorry, you're excused. Thanks for your help.”
Ludde saluted and left the room.

“Could you fill the bath for our guest?”
“Isn't that Green?” Alis countered with a question of her own.
“Yes, it is, you met?”
“No, not really, but I've seen her. I did not realise that Green and Midori are the same person.”
“They are... she is...”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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04-02-2019, 09:06 PM
Post: #5
RE: HRH Tovemor visiting an overseas territory...
Breakfast offering

Moa and Alis had smuggled something to eat back from the breakfast lounge. Midori was eating in silence. Svea, Torhild, Ludde and Milltun had gathered in the room as well.
“Six hours to departure and still no plan,” Moa complained.
“I can stay,” Torhild countered.
“What?”
“I can stay behind. Your Grace, my mission was Shangtienrand. For the rest of the trip, I am ballast. I can stay here. I am volunteering to stay here.”

Moa looked at her. She did not know much about Torhild. Palne had explained that she came from the same cell as Ludde and Manda, a cell that operated often in Östvallen but did not originally come from that city. Freethinkers, just like herself. She did not know much about the cells of the Affirmation at all, she had avoided the topic. They were about more than just intelligence. Torhild was a retriever, Ludde a messenger, but Moa knew they were trained for much more. The question was, was she in the position to take a decision on the matter?

“If it's OK with Her Grace, then I am willing to accept this request,” Manda intervened. Moa looked a bit puzzled after this cryptic interlude.
“Your Grace,” Manda continued, “I am the commander of Cell 16. I can order Torhild to stay here. I am only accountable to Dora Bokås and Palne Kristersson. But I want Her Grace to assure me that this is beneficial for the tasks and operations of Green.”

Moa's brain went into overdrive. Here she was in the middle of a bunch of 20-something year olds with an unclear chain of command, trying to find a solution that helped the irresponsibly behaving Kakuri without causing an international conflict at the same time.

“Can I make a suggestion,” Milltun wondered. “This is Häverist jurisdiction. What would it need for them to approve of Torhild staying?”
“A visa other than the transit visa we have now... Wait a second... Our transit visa does not expire until the day after tomorrow. If Torhild would miss the flight...”
“She could stay at least two more days. She would have to contact an embassy...”
“Which we don't have over here...”
“And ask someone to book travel arrangements for her...”
“Or wire transfer currency so she can do it herself...”

“Our currency is not worth anything among the Häverists.”
“Which is helpful. Let's assume that Torhild's contact back home has something to do with energy...”
“Or Orkanan pilgrimage. There are Orkanans interested in the biological diversity around Schlund.”
“Good call. Because that would explain why she would hang around Green's hotel often, or even live there temporarily.”

Svea Gefna had not contributed to the brainstorm yet. “Listen, we can come up with a cover story as a basis for a longer visitor visa for Torhild, but this needs to be synced. As soon as the Häverists contact Östvallen, the cover is blown.”
“But we have two days. As soon as we're in Fisks, we wire the basics over to the foreign department.”

“So, the only thing we need right now is a plausible excuse for her to miss the flight out. The rest will unroll later.”
“Medical causes. Something that could be contagious and would prevent her from boarding a crowded vessel. But it's just a simple matter of food poisoning.”

Torhild started addressing Midori in Stoldish.
“Hi... My name is Torhild. I will be staying with you. Her Highness does not want to leave you alone.”
“Turidu... who is highness?”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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