Gotha date; RH

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Herald of Change
06-20-2019, 06:18 PM (This post was last modified: 06-21-2019 04:58 PM by Morbius.)
Post: #1
Herald of Change
What fighting had taken place had been lasted only four days and had concluded with relatively few casualties. The streets were gradually clearing, as the locals and colonial residents were commanded in no uncertain terms to remain in their homes and places of business until further notice. Most colonial militia and Istanian military units defending the colony had surrendered without trouble.

A small convoy of vehicles, six in all, made their way up the main boulevard of Puerto del Rosa from the docks. The front two and back two vehicles were military, with soldiers riding inside and perched on the running boards, while the two vehicles in the middle had darkened windows and were more civilian than military in design. They reached the small plaza situated before Government House, and the soldiers quickly fanned out, forming a perimeter while the drivers of the two middle vehicles, themselves military, got out and opened the rear doors.

The second car discharged four individuals - a Privy secretary, two Foreign Office counselors, and Lord Paramount Severio Cozzolini. Without preamble, the quartet walked up the steps and into Government House, where they were met by a senior Army line officer. He approached Cozzolini and saluted.

"Serene Highness, the building is secure. The governor and his staff are confined to their offices upstairs."

Cozzolini nodded curtly. "Take me to them."

With a click of his heels, the colonel turned and led the group up the sweeping stairs and around to another flight of stairs, until they reached the third floor. At the end of a long, carpeted corridor, a pair of wooden double doors were guarded by a pair of Army troopers with a lieutenant standing close by. As the quartet approached, the soldiers recognized the leader of the party and came to attention. The colonel nodded to them, and the sentries stepped aside, allowing him to open the doors.

Within was a spacious wood-paneled room, with several desks arranged around a central table with maps and papers scattered about its surface. At the far end, nine people - four men and five ladies - sat quietly. They looked up as Cozzolini approached them.

"I know at least one of you understands Auresian. The governor of these colonies, Luis Felipe Aznar, will step forward now. We know which of you is he, but we give you the chance to do so freely. The opportunity to be identified peacefully will be extended only this one time."

A long moment of tense silence followed, before finally a gray-haired man with wire-rim spectacles and a neatly trimmed goatee rose from his seat. He stepped as close to Cozzolini as he dared, eyeing the soldiers behind him as he did so.

"I am Governor Aznar."

Cozzolini offered him a perfunctory nod before speaking again. "I am Severio Lord Cozzolini. I will get down to brass tacks, as the saying goes. By command of His Sovereign Imperial Majesty the Dynast Emperor of Auresia, you are directed to surrender these colonies to our control at once."

The governor's snowy eyebrows went up. "And...if I refuse this command, Your Lordship?"

Cozzolini gave Aznar a grim smile. "Do you really wish to take that chance? Instead of going home, you will be imprisoned."

Aznar pursed his lips. "For how long?"

"For as long as His Majesty decides to leave you there."

"I see..."

Cozzolini folded his arms across his chest. "Governor, we broke through your coastal defences with little preamble. We swept aside the Marines defending the dockyards and your militia offered virtually no resistance. You have two choices - you can submit, be debriefed by our intelligence agents, and go back to Istania...or..."

Aznar looked at Cozzolini with a curious expression. "...or?"

"Or, you can stay, continue in your current capacity, and answer to us instead of your previous masters in Ciutat Vilaro."

Aznar's brows knit together as he was clearly mulling the idea. "And my staff?"

"Any who wish to stay may, provided they are debriefed and made clearly aware of the change of ownership over these colonies. They will be subject to Auresian law, and will suffer Auresian justice if they ever violate our trust. But if they choose to stay and work with us, they may find the benefits of such a partnership to be quite gratifying."

The governor's staff looked at him apprehensively. None of them dared look at Cozzolini. The two Foreign Office counselors standing behind the lord paramount watched the interaction quietly, their expressions neutral. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked at Cozzolini, nodding.

"Bring me whatever papers you require signed. The colonies are yours."

Three days later, the Dynast Emperor was holding Court, the assembled aristocrats attending his speech. Seated upon the Golden Lion Throne, Cephorus was the living embodiment of the Imperial glory and prestige of Auresia. He was the Empire.

"...and the formalization of this arrangement, we are confident, will foster a new degree of prosperity in our economic relationship with our closest allies."

Cephorus paused, seeing Lord Durla coming up from behind the assembled nobles, accompanied by a young gentleman, and continued.

"Thank you, my lords. Now, leave us."

As the nobles filed out, Cephorus rose from the throne and went down to meet Durla and the gentleman accompanying him. As he approached, Durla inclined his head and the man with him dropped onto one knee.

"Sovereign Majesty, this is the young Foreign Office courier we were told to be expecting. Ennio Chiarelli."

Cephorus cast his gaze down at Chiarelli with a gentle smile. He held out his right hand to Chiarelli. "My son."

Chiarelli respectfully grasped Cephorus' fingers and kissed his ring. As he released the Imperial hand, the emperor gestured for him to rise.

"Tell us, Chiarelli...what news do you have?"

The young courier smiled. "Excellent news, pater patriae...the colonies are ours."

The emperor smiled, nodding to Durla. "Good...very good, indeed. Walk with us, Mister Chiarelli, and share the details with us."

The courier fell in beside the Emperor and Durla followed shortly behind as they departed the Throne Room.

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