The Xiomeran Chronicles

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The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:31 am

(This thread is meant to provide behind-the-scenes stories of Xiomeran politics and society. It will also be used to post one-off RP events not taking place in a bigger RP event.)

Excerpt from the Xiomeran Public Broadcasting documentary Tlālacuetztla: City Of Gold, titled Episode 3: Xochitecpancalli:

Xochitecpancalli, or the Palace of Flowers, is the single most recognizable landmark in all of Tlālacuetztla, and indeed anywhere in the Empire. It is the ancient home of the Emperors of Xiomera, from the beginning of the Empire's creation until today. Standing at the highest point in the Chipahua Valley, where the foothills of Montelin rise towards the Necahual mountains, the Palace of Flowers towers over everything else in the capital. Even the mighty skyscrapers of the Tlālacuetztla/Huitzitaca metropolitan area sit below its watchful gaze.

As the legends say, the Palace of Flowers traces its existence back to the year 1388. The first Xiomeran Emperor, Quiauhticue, decreed that a great new palace be built to replace the previous Xiomeran royal palace. "The majestic Empire we have crafted of Huenya requires an equally majestic seat of power to represent it to the world," Quiauhticue said. He ordered his advisors to accompany him throughout the Chipahua Valley to seek a site for his grand new palace. But every site his advisors showed him disappointed Quiauhticue.

The first Emperor finally demanded that his advisors follow him to the highest point in Montelin, far above Tlālacuetztla, to use the height of the foothills to get a better view of the valley and see potential sites. The Emperor climbed higher and higher, until he reached the highest point in Montelin. Upon arriving at the top of the hills, Quiauhticue and his advisors stumbled onto a previously undiscovered meadow. A series of springs and waterfalls cascaded down from the hills, to Lake Ehehuani in the far distance below. Deer and other game walked in abundance, shaded by the many trees in the meadow. And just at the moment that the Emperor set foot in the center of the meadow, a ray of sunlight broke past the trees, lighting up the meadow. Flowers of all colors and descriptions shone like gemstones, bathed in the golden light. Quiauhticue turned to his advisors, pointed to the meadow, and said, "This is the location the gods have chosen. This is where we will build the new palace, the Palace of Flowers, that all may see the beauty and glory of Xiomera," he declared.

Construction of the original palace complex took a decade, with considerable expansion and refinement in the centuries that followed. As an architectural treasure, it represents the purest remaining extant example of ancient Huenyan architecture. Ancient appearance aside, however, the Palace of Flowers has been extensively upgraded to provide the state-of-the-art amenities, communications, technology and security befitting the person who reaches the highest level of our intensely competitive society, the Obsidian Throne occupied by our rulers since Quiauhticue himself carved it from a single giant stone.

Today, Xochitecpancalli stands above everything else in Xiomera, both literally and symbolically. So much so, in fact, that the name "Palace of Flowers" is often used by Xiomerans as shorthand to refer to the government, or to the Emperor and his advisors. While there are many grand buildings in Tlālacuetztla that house the governing class of the Empire, and many of them historical treasures of our ancient Huenyan heritage in their own right, none equals Xochitecpancalli, or ever will.
Last edited by Xiomera on Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: In The Halls Of Xochitecpancalli

Post by Xiomera » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:26 am

The Palace of Flowers, Chamber of Whispers

The Emperor's Cabinet and the Great Council, unlike the Emperor himself, had no homes of their own. This was by design.

Housed in various Secretariat complexes and tribal missions around Tlālacuetztla, the different branches of the Xiomeran government were like spokes in a wheel. And the hub of the wheel was always here: the Palace of Flowers, and the Chamber of Whispers. Like virtually everything else connected to Xiomeran history, the Chamber had a rather florid name with a legend attached to it. It was said that Quiauhticue himself designed the Chamber with acoustics so precise that even if the other tlatoani tried to whisper about something while meeting with him, the Emperor would still hear it, and thus no one could keep any secrets from him.

The Chamber of Whispers had also earned its name for another reason: if any private discussions were to be had with the Emperor, they happened here. The Throne Room with the ominous jet-black Obsidian Throne was great for impressing foreign visitors or for public ceremonies, but only a truly private chamber would do for private business. Not just relying on its ancient legend alone, Emperors of succeeding generations had always made sure to outfit the Chamber with the best technology available to them to prevent unwanted eavesdropping or plotting. Ancient tradition and the modern era thus combined harmoniously to ensure a predictable future. That was true for the Chamber of Whispers, and indeed of the Empire as a whole. And the people who sat in this Chamber to conduct business had one job: to make sure it always stayed that way.

On this day, the ilhuilihuitl (Emperor's Cabinet) were meeting to discuss recent events concerning Xiomera and the wider region.

Topilpopoca, the Emperor of Xiomera, leaned back in his chair with an impassive expression on his face. A longstanding joke about Topilpopoca was that the man looked carved from stone himself most of the time, such that one couldn't tell where the Obsidian Throne ended and he began. The Emperor had ruled Xiomera, fending off would-be challengers from the ihuicatl, aspiring democractic activists, and the passage of time, for close to twenty years. Despite now being a man of seventy, the Emperor still had the trim and wiry frame he was known for when he first took the Obsidian Throne. No sign of feebleness or decrepitude, other than graying hair, was obvious, to the disappointment of the many who had hoped to replace him over the years and sought any sign that the jaguar had lost his fangs.

The Emperor remained silent and still as Cētlalhui, the Secretary of Justice, began his presentation. "Arrest warrants were sent to the nations of Laeral, Lauchenoiria and Zamastan for the wanted XUN criminals," Cētlalhui said. A relatively young member of the Cabinet, the raven-haired Cētlalhui was known for his aggressive approach to law enforcement - along with virtually everything else in life. Three of the Secretary's own secretaries, in fact, had either transferred or quit due to the demanding sort of boss Cētlalhui was rumored to be. He continued his presentation in a crisp, businesslike manner, occasionally stopping to check his notes. "So far, the response has not been positive. Zamastan has not formally responded, while Laeral and Lauchenoiria have both stated outright that they will not surrender the criminals to us."

"We warned of this from the beginning," the Secretary of Security, Tepilcayotl, snapped out-of-turn from the other side of the long sacred-fir conference table. Like the Emperor, Tepilcayotl was an older man who had served in his role for a long time. Also like the Emperor, Tepilcayotl was not typically prone to open displays of emotion. However, Tepilcayotl was clearly frustrated today, tapping the table for emphasis and looking Cētlalhui straight in the eye. "The intelligence analysis provided by The Agency* clearly warned that none of these nations were likely to cooperate with the warrants."

"This is a setback, but not one that is insurmountable," Cētlalhui retorted, slight disdain coloring his voice as he looked to the Emperor and pointedly refused to look at Tepilcayotl. "We knew that there would be resistance to our requests, but I still believe we can turn the matter around with suitable responses. Lauchenoiria, for instance, may be more amenable to discussion than Laeral or Zamastan. Unlike those nations, the Lauchenoirians are still in desperate need of investment to help recover from their civil war - "

"Once again, if certain Secretariats actually paid attention to our intelligence briefings," Tepilcayotl growled, cutting the Secretary of Justice off, "we warned you that the Lauchenoirians were actually the least likely to respond favorably to your warrants. Marwick was a broadcaster for their Resistance during their civil war. It was completely implausible that his administration would blithely agree to hand over underground journalists to us, considering his background," Tepilcayotl said. "Alvarez was no more likely to respond positively either. You completely misread the Lauchenoirians, not to mention the other countries involved. And this happened because you didn't bother to pay attention to the experts on these matters. Now, you've embarrassed the Empire in front of the entire IDU, because everyone can now see that our warrants don't amount to a pile of llama crap to anyone else!"

"I understand that certain Secretariats like to skulk around in the shadows, but someone has to be the public face of justice, to demand law and order be respected, that the rule of law be upheld," Cētlalhui said, slapping the table for emphasis. "If the Empire does not assert its right to uphold its laws, and allows other nations to grant criminals who seek to do the Empire harm a safe haven, that is what really makes us look like we matter less than llama crap!"

A slight cough interrupted the two dueling Secretaries. Huitzilhuani, the Secretary for International Affairs, shook her head; her long, black hair, unbound and unrestrained, rustled gently as she eyed the other two Secretaries with an exasperated look. "You've both amply demonstrated your moral outrage at each others' existence; good for you, boys. But what is done is done. The Empire now finds itself in an untenable position. We have been publicly rejected by nations we are seeking to court for economic and diplomatic ties, who now see us as a state of brutes because we want to lock up journalists - "

"Criminals," Cētlalhui grated, glaring at both Tepilcayotl and Huitzilhuani.

"Yes, yes, criminals, whatever," Huitzilhuani said, waving a youthful hand dismissively at Cētlalhui. "But whatever you call them, this trio of democracies is not handing them over to us. They have made that clear. So what's the plan now?"

"We have other methods of persuasion. We can refuse trade with them if they do not comply," Cētlalhui said firmly.

"Idiocy!" a shout rang out. Tlanextia, the Secretary for Trade, stood up hastily. Her elderly frame creaked audibly, as if someone had snapped a twig; the running joke within the Palace halls was that Tlanextia knew more than anyone about the Palace, because she had been there at its construction. The hood covering the Secretary's thinning gray hair slipped off her head in the haste with which she stood up. For anything to make Tlanextia rise that quickly, it had to be serious; everyone else at the table looked at her with amazement. "I am trying to increase trade! We need to develop the Necatli region as we promised Noxochicotzin to get him to force Chicaliztli out of power. We need to trade with the outside world to continue to prosper - business is what Xiomera does! I have finally managed to get the great economies of the IDU to show an interest in Xiomera, and you want to throw all that away because of a few idiots with a webcam and a microphone? You are a fool!" Tlanextia shouted, a single quivering finger pointed at Cētlalhui. "And have you forgotten that increasing trade and boosting the economy is the signature goal of our Emperor's current reign?"

A single eyebrow rose on Topilpopoca's otherwise expressionless face at that comment; Cētlalhui noticed this, and began to grow flustered.

"Then we can apply other means! We can threaten military force, or send our police or intelligence agents in secretly to arrest these dissidents and drag them out of their would-be safe havens - "

Cētlalhui never got the chance to finish his sentence. "Are you mad?" another voice rang out, its deep and firm tones echoing throughout the Chamber of Whispers. Xochiqui, the Secretary of Defense, jumped from his seat, his hands clenched as if he was about to grab the Secretary of Justice and try to shake some sense into him. A burly former Jaguar Warrior, Xochiqui was more than capable of doing some serious shaking; the Shorn Ones that protected the Chamber of Whispers looked decidedly unhappy at the prospect of having to restrain the Secretary of Defense. Xochiqui stopped himself, however, perhaps remembering the ancient prohibition, punishable by death, against performing an act of violence in the Emperor's presence (unless the Emperor ordered it).

And judging from the darkening expression on the Emperor's face, that point was dangerously near.

The Secretary of Security rolled his eyes, pointedly stepping in front of Xochiqui to make sure that nothing muscular happened. "Cētlalhui, you're brilliant. If you wanted to think of a way to absolutely ensure that the entire IDU, or at least a considerably large and well-armed portion of it, decided we needed a good spanking, that's the perfect way to make that happen! I'm sure that Xochiqui is absolutely eager to deal with the can of worms that would get opened if we got caught trying to snatch people out of another country, or threatened to launch military action against them..." Tepilcayotl scoffed.

"I would hand Cētlalhui over to the other countries myself as a sacrificial offering," Xochiqui snapped, his mustache bristling in anger.

Before Cētlalhui could reply, or anyone else could shout anything in anger, a single tap echoed throughout the Chamber. "Enough," Topilpopoca said, rapping the handle of his tecaptl (dagger) on the table once more. "You all shout much, but you all, mostly, are saying the same thing. Now, you will listen to - and do - what I say."

Into the sudden silence, the Emperor's voice echoed firmly, with no sign of wavering. "We will not try to detain these rabble calling themselves journalists, or threaten any action against nations refusing to return them. Such acts would, as Tlanextia says, be idiocy. Conflict brings disruption. Disruption brings disharmony. Disharmony," Topilpopoca paused, "brings defeat. We must not conflict with our neighbors. We seek to do business with them, to trade with them, and we shall do so. We shall not do anything to anger them. I will not bring the wrath of nations down upon Xiomera because of a few malcontents who seek like cowards to denigrate our great Empire from afar. If they wish to whine about the glory of Xiomera from other lands and abandon our country, let them. They are nothing. Their criticisms are mosquito pricks upon our greatness, nothing more," the Emperor finished, waving a single hand as if actually shooing away a mosquito.

"So we will do nothing to punish them?" Cētlalhui said, prompting a cold glare from the Emperor.

"Did I say that?" Topilpopoca said. "The warrants will remain in place, and if they ever set foot in Xiomera again, these socially harmful criminals are to be immediately arrested. If they are foolish enough to set foot on any Xiomeran soil again, their fate will be sealed."

"I would also like to point out that unlike our esteemed Secretariat of Justice, the Security Secretariat has actually prepared a solution for this dilemma," Tepilcayotl said, a tiny bit of smugness entering his voice as he shook his head at Cētlalhui. "As previously discussed, The Agency and ISTC** have been testing the project program known as Tilmahcoatl***. I am pleased to report that Tilmahcoatl has finished its final testing and is ready for deployment. We can avoid this nonsense of outside rabblerousing such as XUN quite easily once Tilmahcoatl is fully live."

"Very good. You've done well. You may activate Tilmahcoatl. Keep us posted on its progress," Topilpopoca said. "As for the rest of what has been discussed here....we will continue with our plans to open the free trade zone in Acalan. Now that the zone is ready to open, and Chicaliztli is out of the way, there should be no further delays with the Acalan project. Tlanextia, you will also prepare the investment offer to Lauchenoiria that was previously discussed, and see if the feeler that was extended by the Laeralians concerning trade will bear any fruit. Also, when we begin soliciting foreign investment in Acalan, you will see if any of our other neighbors are interested. Business is the lifeblood of Xiomera. I will not tolerate any further economic disruption."

Tlanextia nodded, her seamed face lighting up with excitement (and not a little bit of greed).

"The rest of you, you all know what is expected of you. Go now....except for you, Cētlalhui. We must have a talk about unwise plans, and even more unwise impulses. And whether or not such lack of wisdom....is suited to a member of this Empire's Cabinet," Topilpopoca said, his expression drawing down on Cētlalhui like a sniper looking through a gunsight.

As the rest of the Cabinet departed, Cētlalhui sat back down, his hands visibly shaking. Tepilcayotl, the Emperor's longtime friend and veteran of the contact sport that was Xiomeran politics, allowed himself one bemused glance at Cētlalhui as the doors to the Chamber of Whispers closed upon his rival and the Emperor.

*The Agency = The Agency for Security and Intelligence, Xiomera's intelligence service
**ISTC = Information Security Technology Corporation, a private Xiomeran corporation specializing in cybersecurity and surveillance
***Tilmahcoatl (Cloaked Serpent) = a set of surveillance and censorship programs developed for the Xiomeran government

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Re: In The Halls Of Xochitecpancalli

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:20 am

The Chamber of Whispers was an architectural marvel, even for the ode to Huenyan architecture that the Palace of Flowers represented. It was a perfectly round chamber, thirty feet tall, rising to a dome. Four windows were mounted in the walls of the dome, each corresponding to a cardinal point and representing the four tribes of Huenya. At the top of the dome, a skylight representing the unified Empire shone sunlight down onto the center of the Chamber, where the Emperor's seat was located. Around the Emperor's seat, the solid black stone floor was broken up by an inlaid golden replica of the sun from the Xiomeran flag. On the section of the wall underneath each window, long strips of highly polished silver beechwood from the Matpilli mountain range ran from windowsill to floor, and were used to cleverly mount pictures to the rounded walls. One was a painting of the Empress Camaxtica, revered even today as the founder of the modern Xiomera. Another was a depiction of the Battle of Huatl'pa, where Camaxtica defeated the nobles who had rebelled against her vision. The third was a picture of the Emperor, in the grand dress uniform of the Xiomeran general that he had been before being chosen to lead the Empire by the ihuicatl for the first time in 2001. Unlike the other three paintings, the last of the four, behind the Emperor, was a photograph - a high-quality, giant image of Tlālacuetztla. The Emperor had chosen that picture to replace a rather ugly painting of the Battle of Milintica - where the Xiomerans defeated the last resistance of the other three tribes and founded the Empire. The painting of the Battle of Milintica had always been a sore point for the representatives of the other three tribes whenever they occupied the Chamber, and the Emperor had decided upon his election to remove it as a gesture of cooperation.

Around the Emperor's seat, a U-shaped table and chairs made of more polished beechwood stood for the use of whoever was meeting with the Emperor at any given time. Huey Tlatoani Topilpopoca, the Emperor of Xiomera, often felt as he sat in the chair reserved for his use that he was at the center of a hurricane in the Chamber. The man in the eye of the storm, as vigorous debate raged around him.

Today was no different.

"This crackdown on XUN and other forms of public debate and dissent is idiotic and counterproductive," a slim young woman said, shaking her head in frustration. Huitzilhuani, the Secretary for International Affairs, eyed the rest of the Chamber with a look of frank exasperation. "We're trying to improve how the rest of the IDU, and the world, see Xiomera, are we not?" Huitzilhuani said, an imploring tone to her warm voice. "We can't simultaneously do that while shutting down media outlets, trying to throw people in jail, and acting like the autocratic, barbaric state they already think we are. With respect, huey tlatoani, these actions are making my job, and the task you have given me, far more difficult, if not impossible."

"I must agree. This has simply gone too far," Tlanextia said, rising to support Huitzilhuani. The Secretary of Trade shook her head; the hood she habitually wore slipped off with the vigorous head movement. Tlanextia did not care. "We have just sent trade representatives to multiple democratic nations. They will not agree to significant trade with a nation they see as despotic or as abusing their citizens. My task is also made much harder by this silly crackdown that Tepilcayotl has insisted upon!"

"I also grow concerned," a third voice said. Cozamalotl, the Secretary of Scientific Development and Advancement, rose in turn. "I have been seeking scientific and technological partnerships with other nations. I am worried that if nations see us as a dictatorship, or believe we will use any technological advancements obtained to repress our people, that they will refuse to partner with us." Cozamalotl took off the set of pince-nez glasses he wore, using them as a prop to gesture at someone else around the table. "I have no doubt that Tepilcayotl meant well with his actions, but truly, this is not the time for taking actions that may offend our neighbors. The implementation of recent technological restrictions under Tilmahcoatl will only make things worse."

Upon hearing his name mentioned twice in short succession, Tepilcayotl chuckled softly. The Secretary for Security waited until Topilpopoca gestured for the other three Cabinet members to sit down before standing up to speak. "You are all so worried about offending our neighbors. Despite your soft-pedal approach to the matter at discussion, our neighbors do not seem similarly concerned about offending us. Laeral, Lauchenoiria and Zamastan all, quite frankly, told us to take our warrants and shove them up our rear ends. Laeral flatly refused our ambassador when the matter was raised. The Lauchenoirian foreign minister called our charges 'so-called crimes' and said they would do nothing! The Zamastanians never responded at all. Your desire for love from these countries, though laudable, is clearly going unrequited," Tepilcayotl added with a soft snort of derision. "So, since no one seems to care if we are offended, or that our laws are being violated, we had no choice but to take our own action. They left us no choice, in fact. So we took care of the matter through the actions outlined in Project Tilmahcoatl - a project the Emperor approved, with all of us present, I might add. Why berate us for this now? Do you not trust the Emperor's judgement on these matters?"

"I trust our Emperor's judgement," Huitzilhuani said, her brown eyes flashing. "You are not the Emperor."

"So you don't trust Tepilcayotl's judgement. Then add me to the list of people who you think lacking, madam, because I agree with Tepilcayotl," a large man sitting next to the Security Secretary barked. Xochiqui, the Secretary of Defense, shook his own head so fiercely that his mustache waved like a flag caught in the wind.

"You were already on that list, Xochiqui," Huitzilhuani murmured softly, earning a laugh from Tlanextia, a small smile from Cozamalotl, and a glare that defined the phrase "if looks could kill" from Xochiqui.

The Defense Secretary stood next, as Topilpopoca waved at Huitzilhuani to sit down. "We talk about earning respect, and having to appease the foreigners and make concessions. Why should we? Our economy is strong, our people are prosperous, and most of our people love living in Xiomera and like things as they are. Why should we upend all that - or allow malcontents like XUN to do so - just because foreigners may disapprove? If we are succeeding as a nation - and we are - and our people believe in our system - which the overwhelming majority of them do - I say we tell the foreigners to take their cultural and social imperialism and shove it. Xiomera has prospered without them for centuries. We can keep doing so if need be," Xochiqui snapped.

"Not in the modern world, we can't," Huitzilhuani shouted, as Tlanextia laughed helplessly at what she was hearing. "We aren't living in the age of isolation before Camaxtica's reign anymore. Nations need other nations to trade with, to have alliances with, to work with," Huitzilhuani added. "With respect, Emperor Topilpopoca, please don't listen to this lunacy."

A soft sigh from the man at the center of the room silenced everyone. "I am weary," Topilpopoca said, standing up and walking to the photograph of the Xiomeran capital that stood behind him.

Everyone seated at the table paused, confused. "Are you tired, or not feeling well, sir?" Huitzilhuani asked. Topilpopoca laughed slightly, smiling at the Secretary. "I am not weary in that way, Huitzilhuani," Topilpopoca said.

As the Cabinet members watched, the Emperor traced the lines of the photograph on the wall with a single elegant finger. The signet ring of the Xiomeran Emperor shone in the sunlight as his finger moved. "Tlālacuetztla is a marvelous place, isn't it?" The Emperor's finger moved past the many-flowered Palace gardens, past the walls, to the skyscrapers and highways below.

"It is, sir, but I don't understand..." Huitzilhuani said, her confusion apparent on her face.

"I see you are not sure where I am going with this. Let me clarify for you, Huitzilhuani. For all of you," the Emperor added, his voice switching from wistful to firm in a heartbeat. "This city, this glorious pinnacle of the Huenyan civilization, we built this. With our hands," Topilpopoca said, his voice growing in volume. "The countries that criticize us, they did not build this. But they certainly see fit to criticize us as if they did. They have no idea of how Xiomera has struggled, and the sacrifices we have made to become the prosperous and stable land we are now. How we had to overcome tribal conflict, how we had to build our land out of nothing."

The Emperor walked away from the photograph, to the center of the room. "This palace, this city, this country; they know nothing of it, nor do they care to. It has always been this way. Ever since Camaxtica first allowed foreigners to enter our country, they have been telling us how to live, how to govern, how to work and worship and produce. And we accepted it! We modernized, we adopted their technology and their ways, we embraced the world. But today, still, they look at us with the same disdain that their ancestors did upon seeing us walking around with spears and stone axes and living in stone buildings and huts. To them, we are still a backwards people who need their 'guidance' and 'correction'."

Topilpopoca looked at the painting of himself on the wall. "They label me an autocrat. They claim we are undemocratic. They have their elections, and people vote for their Presidents and Prime Ministers and their legislatures. We have the ihuicatl, chosen by the people, who vote for the leaders of their tribes, and who in turn choose the Emperor....myself, luckily enough, for almost two decades now. But, we are undemocratic and tyrannical, because we refuse to do things as they do. We are tyrants because we choose to enforce our laws and maintain our social harmony. Peh!"

The Emperor sat down, pointing a single finger into the sky. "By the gods, I am done with being told by foreigners what to do, or how to run our country. I am weary of their need to guide us as if we are children. I will accept it no longer. Huitzilhuani and Tlanextia. You may continue your trade and your diplomacy. But know this, and more importantly, make sure the foreigners know it as well. Xiomera is a sovereign nation, Xiomerans are a sovereign people, and we will not accept being treated in a cavalier fashion and ignored, as we were over the warrants, any longer. We will accept being told how to run our own country no longer. If they wish to trade and partner with us on our terms, not theirs, they are welcome and we will be their friends. But if they cannot accept our terms, they will be saying that they do not need us. And they probably don't, frankly." Topilpopoca looked once more at the image of Tlālacuetztla and the Chipahua Valley, the heart of Xiomeran civilization, behind him. "But we do not need them either. We are a strong people, and we shall survive no matter what. And even if these nations who look down their noses at our country see fit not to trade with us....others will not reject us. Xiomera will befriend those who accept us, and our country, as we are. Other nations will give us their respect....or we shall give them our indifference."

"I do hear your concerns about this decision making your jobs harder, Huitzilhuani, Tlanextia and Cozamalotl. If your tasks are too challenging for you, you may resign at any time, and I will choose people who can do the work that is required," Topilpopoca added, glaring at the three as if daring them to quit on the spot. None of them said anything.

"As for the actions to eliminate the unwanted influence of dissident rabble such as XUN, and Project Tilmahcoatl....they will continue as planned. That is all." Topilpopoca stood and walked out of the Chamber, leaving only silence behind him.
Last edited by Xiomera on Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: In The Halls Of Xochitecpancalli

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:43 am

Antechamber to the Chamber of Whispers

"I do not understand," Tlanextia said, her voice wavering. "In our last meeting, the Emperor said the matter of the warrants being rejected wasn't important. He said XUN didn't matter. Why has he so suddenly changed his position? This is a complete change of attitude! It is inexplicable."

"Inexplicable, and extremely sudden. This is suspicious," Cozamalotl said, shaking his head.

Huitzilhuani sighed. "Tepilcayotl must have gotten to him somehow."

"Oh? That would be news to me." Tepilcayotl's voice from behind Huitzilhuani's shoulder caused her to jump. "Ugh. It's as if I named a demon, and the demon appeared. Must you eavesdrop, you ghoul?" she demanded.

Tepilcayotl laughed at that. "I am the Security Secretary. Asking me not to eavesdrop is like asking a horse not to drink water, silly girl. I actually am doing you a favor. I have free advice for you."

Huitzilhuani growled slightly, low in her throat. "I want no advice from you."

Tepilcayotl smiled. "You really should listen to this advice. First, you really should at least wait until you've left the Palace before you critique the Emperor's decision-making. As you've noticed....you never know who's listening, here."

Huitzilhuani blanched slightly at that, as Tepilcayotl went on. "Second....the idea that I 'got to him' is absurd, even for you and your coterie of reformists. The Emperor and I have been friends since we were boys in school together. We served in the army together. And I helped him get chosen for the first time as huey tlatoani, back in 2001. And even with all of that, if he ever found me wanting, or I ever betrayed him, Topilpopoca would cut out my heart with his own dagger. No one owns the Emperor, or his powers of reasoning. You had best remember that, or he will gut you like a fish. The simple truth of the matter is that your efforts at playing nice with the foreigners are not working, and he is losing patience with you. You might want to figure out how to correct that. You don't want to end up like Cētlalhui, do you?"

Tepilcayotl laughed softly as he walked out, his chuckling echoing off the walls of the antechamber as Huitzilhuani stood shaking with her fists clenched.

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Re: In The Halls Of Xochitecpancalli

Post by Xiomera » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:11 am

(Written jointly with Democratic Republic of Eiria)

Emperor Topilpopoca marched into his office, a scowl on his normally impassive face. He angrily ordered everyone out; the other people in the room practically stumbled over each other in their haste to exit.

The Emperor was angry. Angrier than he had been in a very long time, in fact.

It wasn't just the sanctions. It was the manner in which they were delivered. Arrogant, high-handed, insulting. Insulting the Emperor personally, in fact.

"Who does Bishop think she is? Who do they think they are?" Topilpopoca growled under his breath, referring to the Zamastanians.

The Shorn Ones guarding the Emperor, the only people left in the room, knew better than to answer the rhetorical questions. They stood still, faces carefully blank, as the Emperor raged.

The soft beep of the intercom interrupted the quiet storm of Imperial anger. Topilpopoca jabbed the "answer" button as if it had personally offended him. "What is it?" he barked.

"Sir, we have a phone call for you. Alice Lancaster, the Minister of Diplomacy for the Democratic Republic of Eiria. She states that it is urgent," the Emperor's secretary replied in a polite voice with undertones of please don't stab me.

"Put her through," the Emperor snapped, forcing himself to begin calming down. He needed to enter diplomatic mode. When the call came through, he had managed to school his voice to calmness. "Hello, Minister Lancaster. This is Topilpopoca. What can I do for you?"

"My apologies, Emperor, for the sudden call, but I am organizing a conference to deal with the trade dispute and hacking matters. Kerlile has already agreed to attend if other nations, such as Xiomera, would agree as well."

Topilpopoca paused for a moment; a quite involuntary bark of laughter escaped his lips before he could compose himself. When he could resume speaking, the Emperor sighed. "Minister Lancaster, I do not want to sound unappreciative of your efforts. Eiria is to be commended for taking this initiative for diplomatic relations. Xiomera, however, has been attacked in an utterly unprovoked fashion. We have been insulted and condescended to. Our ally, Kerlile, has suffered the same; I applaud you for managing to convince them to agree to mediation. But I must ask, why should Xiomera agree? As someone from the West might ask: what's in it for us?"

"What's in it for you? Well, the current trade embargoes must put a weight on Xiomera's wallet. A conference could relieve those embargoes and promote foreign trade. We could even possibly sign a trade deal, if all goes well. Would that interest you, your Excellency?" Lancaster replied.

Whether knowingly or not, Lancaster had hit the nail on the head on her very first swing.

Every six-year reign of a Xiomeran Emperor had an "era title", a name to show the nation (and the world) what the Emperor planned to accomplish. The current six-year reign of Topilpopoca was titled "The Era of Trade and Prosperity."

Xiomera was not doing a very good job living up to that title at the moment, even if it wasn't entirely their fault. Topilpopoca knew the trade war could not continue forever. And the Eirian mention of a new trade deal was quite an additional incentive.

Topilpopoca sighed again. "You are quite adept at reading Xiomerans, Minister. Very well. We will agree to participate."

Alice's smile was almost audible in her voice. "Thank you, your Excellency. I have lots of experience and information. With that, it's pretty easy. Could you provide us with dietary restrictions and allergies of your delegation beforehand, so we may prepare? The conference will be at The Lancaster Estate, in Duņceda, soon. I will call you back with more information. May I help you with anything else, your Excellency?"

"Not at this time, Minister Lancaster. This conversation has been surprisingly productive. We will send you our delegation information immediately. Thank you for your call," Topilpopoca said, a smile finally crossing his face at the thought of possibly turning the trade war into a new trade deal instead.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:17 pm

(written by Xiomera with input from Lauchenoiria)

Xiomeran Embassy
Buttercity, Lauchenoiria
Early morning, 8 August 2019 (atl 8, xatl papalotl, 2019)


The early morning silence was broken by a soft yawn. "Is there no more coffee?" Alel asked in a plaintive voice.

"You drank it all. If you want more coffee, make it yourself," Pacchitl said sourly. "You always drink all the coffee and never make any."

The two ASI agents manning the front doors of the Xiomeran Embassy were engaging in a ritual old as time itself, and coffee itself: arguing over who was responsible for brewing more. Gods. They do this every morning, Quili, the receptionist at the front desk, thought irritably.

Even though the embassy had just opened, a line was already forming of people needing to conduct business. Mostly Xiomerans, but a few Lauchenoirians and other foreigners. Quili began her day's work, directing people to various parts of the small embassy.

The droning routine was broken by a sudden disturbance at the end of the line. Two people at the end of the line had begun walking up towards the front. Alel stepped forward, a polite smile on his face. "I'm sorry, you'll need to wait in line," he began, then stopped. Sudden realization crossed his face. The two HNN pirates!

With a sudden shout, one of the HNN activists pulled a bottle out of his coat pocket, lighting a rag at the end of it. "Long live Huenya! Down with Emperor Topilpopoca!" the activist shouted, throwing the bottle at the front door. Alel and Pacchitl jumped away, as the bottle exploded in a fiery whoosh.

The other activist produced a brick from inside his coat, tossing it through a window. The tinkle of broken glass broke the sudden silence. Not waiting to see what reaction they had caused, the two activists bolted for the front gate of the embassy grounds.

"What are you standing there for? Get them!" Quili shouted, pressing an alarm button hidden in the reception desk. As alarms began blaring, Alel and Pacchitl began chasing the two activists, now followed by several more ASI agents as Xiomeran soldiers manned the walls and gate of the embassy.

Not stopping to say goodbye, the two activists ran at full speed outside the embassy, chased by the ASI agents. The agents had almost caught up to them when the activists spotted a Lauchenoirian police car. They ran up to it, breathlessly pleading for help. The Lauchenoirian policeman stepped out of his patrol car. "What is all this about?" he asked, then saw the pursuing Xiomerans. He pressed an alarm button of his own, a silent one summoning backup. The activists ran behind the policeman, desperate for protection. "I don't know what the issue is here, but you need to go back to your embassy," the policeman said, hoping his voice sounded confident and not in fact revealing that he was quite alarmed at being faced with six of the infamous Xiomeran secret police.

"Those two just attacked our embassy. We demand you hand them over, on behalf of the Xiomeran Empire," Pacchitl shouted, as the other five ASI agents lined up behind him.

"You will demand nothing," another voice said firmly. Two more Lauchenoirian police cars had just arrived, and a sergeant had stepped out of the lead car, followed by three more Lauchenoirian police. "Those individuals have been given protected status here, and they are not on your soil. Return to your embassy, now, or face arrest," the sergeant said. Like the first officer, he hoped he sounded more confident than he actually was. The normal remit of local police didn't involve tangling with secret police from a tyrannical regime, after all.

Pacchitl was about to object when yet another voice broke the tense silence. "Of course. We are very sorry, officer. We will return to the embassy immediately."

Pacchitl turned to see who in the world had the nerve to countermand his orders, then turned pale. Chēmā, the Xiomeran Ambassador to Lauchenoiria, stood behind the ASI agents with an apologetic expression on her face aimed at the Lauchenoirians.

"But, madam ambassador, these two just - " Pacchitl told Chēmā in Huenyan, then stopped as Chēmā fixed him with a look that would have killed him on the spot if the Ambassador could have managed it.

"Get back to the embassy immediately, you absolute morons, before you cause an international incident! I will have you working security in a fourth-rank whorehouse if you don't get back to the embassy right now! Idiots!" Chēmā shouted in Huenyan. The ASI agents quickly turned and walked back towards the embassy, as Chēmā smiled and apologized to the Lauchenoirian police once more before following them.

As they trudged back to the embassy, all of them, including Chēmā, were having the same thought: The Emperor is going to have my head for this.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:51 pm

The Palace of Flowers

“They must be executed.”

The strident voice was matched by an equally strident rap on the table. Cuicanan, the Secretary of Justice, was in a rare mood. The topic of discussion was the seventeen Xiomeran activists arrested when XUN was shut down, and Cuicanan was in no mood for a soft touch.

“They are traitors and terrorists. We have always executed such people. Our laws are clear. If we back away from that now, we show weakness and invite more treason and more terrorism,” he finished, sitting down.

A sigh of annoyance broke the silence after he had seated himself, and a single elegant hand shot into the air. Topilpopoca, from his seat in the center of the Chamber of Whispers, made a gesture of assent, the sunlight from above glinting off his ring as his own weathered hand gestured languidly for the other person to rise.

Huitzilhuani, the Secretary for International Affairs, stood up at the Emperor’s gesture. “Invite more treason and more terrorism? We don’t seem to be doing a very good job stopping either now, even with the law as harsh as you state,” she said in a voice tinged with amusement.

Further down the table, Security Secretary Tepilcayotl, whose job it was to prevent both, eyed Huitzilhuani with a look of a snake that would really love to eat a mouse it saw in front of it, but was unable to reach. “What would the esteemed Secretary suggest we do, then?” he said with a bored tone to his voice as if he already knew the answer.

“The death penalty should be off the table. We should punish them, surely, but we cannot execute them,” Huitzilhuani replied.

“You cannot be serious,” Cuicanan replied, shaking his head. “What kind of softhearted approach is that? What in the world should we do with them, then?”

“Prison, of course,” Huitzilhuani said in a tone of voice that clearly said I would think the Secretary of Justice would know what we do with criminals without having to actually use the words. “They have broken the law, after all,” she continued as Cuicanan’s face reddened. “But the sentences should not be overly harsh. And we definitely must not execute them.”

“I fail to understand what we gain from this sudden outbreak of mercy, other than weakening ourselves as Cuicanan said and opening ourselves to more radicals who can think they can do the same without suffering repercussions,” Tepilcayotl said grimly as Cuicanan nodded.

“We should not be thinking about what we could gain, but what we could lose. We are trying to convince other nations that our government is not horrible and tyrannical as the opposition claims. Executing a bunch of activists is not exactly an ideal way to do that, now is it?” Huitzilhuani replied, the sarcasm in her voice ratcheting up a notch.

“Who cares about other nations? We are strong and independent, and do not need their approval or their permission,” Cuicanan snapped.

“Oh, come on. Surely you took math in school? I did. Other nations have more than us - more people, more money, more soldiers. We are not a pushover to be sure, but if we attract enough notice in a negative way from enough nations, they will eventually stomp us flat. This trade debacle has already placed more eyes upon us than is wise. Executing dissidents will not help matters,” Huitzilhuani replied. “I do wish that my colleagues would leave matters related to diplomacy to those of us whose job is to practice it.”

“This is not a matter of diplomacy, it is a matter of justice, which is my job,” Cuicanan retorted, “and the law states - “

A soft tsk emerged from the center of the room. “I am the law, Cuicanan. I always seem to need to remind you of that,” the Emperor said flatly. “We will not execute these people. Huitzilhuani is right. We would be foolish to play into the hands of those who have anti-Xiomeran agendas with a series of messy public executions. Instead, we will be merciful. And we will let our enemies take that mercy and choke on it.”

With that act of typically Xiomeran conditional mercy, the lives of seventeen dissidents were thus spared by politics.

Montelin, Tlālacuetztla

Montelin, the neighborhood of the Xiomeran capital reserved for the highest of Imperial elites, is widely believed by many to be the most beautiful urban area in all of Xiomera. Tree-lined and quiet streets, hilltop estates, and exclusive developments ringed by the canals and gardens surrounding the grounds of the Palace of Flowers normally provide serenity and unmatched comfort for those Xiomerans lucky enough to have made it to the top of the social ladder.

But for one resident of this neighborhood, serenity was increasingly only a dream.

Cētlalhui, the former Secretary of Justice of the Xiomeran Empire, sat in the grand dining room of his palatial home. For now, anyway. The screen of his laptop, and the growing stack of papers on the table, made that conditional status perfectly clear.

Since being forced to resign his position in disgrace following the debacle of the XUN warrants, Cētlalhui found himself facing an increasingly grim future. Jobs were hard to come by for someone who had failed so spectacularly in such a high-profile role in Xiomeran society. Being fired by the Emperor was basically the largest stamp of disapproval one could get in Xiomera. No one would hire him. He was untouchable.

Having been one of Xiomera’s highest leaders, Cētlalhui had managed to put aside a considerable amount of assets. Enough to live on for the rest of his life without ever working again....if he was willing to give up the life of a Xiomeran elite and consent to being just a normal person with a normal house and a normal car and normal things for the rest of his life.

A normal wife and kids, too - his own wife, Palma, had left him after his failure, taking their son Natēhetli with her. No Xiomeran elite wife would ever allow her son to be raised by a nobody, or suffer the fate of being a nobody herself, after all.

Palma was, according to the tabloids, now dating a Xiomeran general. Cētlalhui had read about that today; the newspapers were among the growing stack of other papers on the table - rejection letters for jobs, demands for payment, and the like.

Cētlalhui sighed and picked up another object from the table. A silver revolver with pearl handles. Only high-ranking Xiomeran officials, people in security or defense roles, and certain very wealthy people were allowed to own their own firearms. Normally, after his firing, the gun should have been confiscated from him under Xiomeran law. He was a nobody now, after all.

Cētlalhui still remembered the disdain with which Tepilcayotl, as he was being walked out of the Palace of Flowers for the last time, had allowed him to keep the revolver. “You may as well do the honorable thing with it. Spare your family the embarrassment,” the old bastard had said.

Ritual suicide for failure, especially big failures, was a normal practice in Xiomera. It was clear what was expected of Cētlalhui by letting him keep the gun. One last chance to do something right, loser. One last chance to meet the expectations of society.

The sunlight from the windows of his mansion glinted off the revolver as Cētlalhui held it in his hand. His eyes rose to the laptop. On it, a video was playing of the Emperor announcing his plan to be “merciful” with the dissident activists. Activists from the same group that Cētlalhui had tried to fight, and had lost everything as a result of his failure.

The gun rested in his hand, cold and heavy, as the video played.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:05 am

(Written with input from Lauchenoiria)

Buttercity International Airport, Lauchenoiria

The international terminal at the airport in Lauchenoiria's capital city had the look of a reasonably decent hotel. Nice looking on the surface, but with a definite whiff of lowest bidder renovations on a budget about it.

As they waited in the long line at the passport control station and security screening to board their flight, the two Xiomerans were in no mood to appreciate the ambience.

Tlixō and Xōne, the two members of One Huenya and would-be HNN reporters, had grim looks on their faces. There was no conversation; there was no need for any. They had talked each other hoarse, hours before, in their lengthy argument about what to do.

Tlixō's parents and sister were currently sitting in a Xiomeran jail in Ixxuitl. Xōne's boyfriend was in a similar jail in Huitzitaca. The decision by Xiomeran authorities to arrest their family members had left the two with a dilemma: do we stay in safety, or return home to secure their freedom?

In the end, it wasn't a choice at all. So the two of them now stood, waiting in line, to take their flight back to Xiomera. The government had won after all.

As the two of them neared the security station, they noticed two Lauchenoirian federal police walking up to the station. The police spoke briefly to the security agents manning the station; one of the security agents glanced at Tlixō and Xōne quickly before trying to hide it.

Those kind of looks and conversations were not unknown to the two Xiomerans; they saw that sort of thing all the time when Xiomeran cops would follow them around at home. Apprehensively, they went through the screening and gathered their possessions.

The Lauchenoirian Airlines flight to Huitzitaca was just down the hall, at Terminal 13. The two Xiomerans walked briskly, trying just to look like two travelers in a hurry to catch their plane and not two people trying to escape Lauchenoiria at any cost.

They got into line to board the plane, and had made it to the front. One more step to safety. They were just beginning to relax when a slight cough echoed in their ears. A gentle tap on the shoulder, and Xōne looked back.

Five Lauchenoirian federal police were standing behind them, along with airport security. "Tlixō and Xōne? I'm afraid you have to come with us, gentlemen," the policeman said politely but firmly. It was clear, from the number of policemen gathered there, that it was not a request.

As the two Xiomerans were escorted through the halls of the airport into the unrenovated and far less pleasant interior of the airport's security wing, they looked out the windows of the terminal to see their plane ascending into the air, taking their hopes with it.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:11 pm

(Jointly written with Lauchenoiria)

Buttercity International Airport
Detention Area


They were shown into a bland room by two police officers, a man and a woman. The woman pointed at two uncomfortable looking chairs and gestured for them to sit.

"Tlixō and Xōne?" The man asked, neither his voice nor his facial expression giving anything away about the state of his mind. He eyed them both, waiting for them to confirm their identities.

"You know who we are. Is there a need to play this game? You didn't pull us in here to have tea," Xōne said bitterly. This prelude to interrogation, in this blandly run-down room with two police officers, was already beginning to remind him of his previous run-ins with the Xiomeran tribal police in his youth, and then with the Imperial Police when his roster of "crimes" had grown more impressive. The only difference was that back in Xiomera, the interrogation rooms were in better shape and had better coffee. Xōne had no patience for this latest installment of real-life cop drama in his life.

"Xōne, don't be rude," Tlixō said. The more diplomatic of the two in this particular One Huenya cell, Tlixō was clearly of the opinion that antagonizing the Lauchenoirians wouldn't help their situation. "We are Tlixō and Xōne, yes. I would ask what we could do for you or why we're here, but I suspect I already know. No pun intended with the word suspect," Tlixō added, trying to lighten the mood.

"The two of you are under arrest for attempted arson for the attack on the Xiomeran Embassy on the 8th August," the man said, taking the seat opposite Xōne, the woman sitting beside him silently.

"Attempted arson. That's great. Do you know why we were trying to leave just now? The government back home is arresting our friends and family because they want us back home. Our friends and family have done nothing wrong, but the government doesn't care. And you're detaining us for attempted arson. Arson we didn't even succeed at. We barely scorched the front door, but sure, that's worth my boyfriend spending 10 years in prison for. Are they serious?" Xōne asked Tlixō in exasperation.

Tlixō waved his friend down irritably. "I'm sorry for his lack of patience, but he is correct. The government of Xiomera is detaining our families and friends to pressure us to surrender ourselves to them. Your holding us here puts them in grave danger," Tlixō said.

"What the Xiomeran government may or may not be doing is irrelevant," the woman said, speaking for the first time. "What concerns us is your activity in Lauchenoiria. You attacked the embassy in a willful act of premeditated violence. People could have got hurt. Events in Xiomera are not under our control. I'm sorry for your families, truly. But that is not our fault. You chose to commit a crime in Lauchenoiria, and you must answer for it."

"Now they show backbone?" Xōne muttered in Huenyan to Tlixō, whose facial expression had grown concerned.

"We know we did something wrong. We are not trying to evade punishment. If you want to see justice done - " Tlixō began.

"Justice," Xōne snorted with a bitter laugh, again in Huenyan.

" - the Xiomeran government will punish us far more harshly than you ever would. Trust me, we will pay for our actions at the embassy if we return to Xiomera. You can even escort us there if you want to make sure we're not just trying to run away," Tlixō said, a slight edge of desperation entering his voice. He reached into his pocket, taking out a photo in a keychain. "These are my parents. They are sitting in a jail cell right now, because of what I did." The picture showed an older couple, big smiles on their faces, standing on a beach with Tlixō.

Tlixō whispered something in Huenyan to Xōne; the other Xiomeran sighed, before taking out his wallet and removing a picture from it. He slid the picture across the table, looking dejectedly at the floor. The second picture showed Xōne standing with another young Xiomeran, who was kissing him on the cheek. "That's Calna, Xōne's boyfriend," Tlixō said with clear fondness in his voice. "He's in jail now also," Tlixō said next, his voice dropping.

After a moment of silence, Tlixō looked up at the police. "We are prepared to face judgment for what we did. We know it was wrong. But all we ask - please think about what will happen if you keep us here. There are still warrants out there - the Xiomeran government will pick us up in a heartbeat and we will face the consequences. Don't let them ruin our families' lives for our sins," Tlixō pleaded.

The woman sighed and looked at the man. Avoiding the gaze of the two Xiomerans, he spoke.

"I truly am sorry for your families. For what it's worth, I don't want to do this. But the decision is out of our hands. You would need to speak with a government official, I think, to discuss such things. There's nothing we here can do."

"I see. In that case....we request to speak with the Xiomeran consulate. I think they would be interested in hearing from us," Tlixō said softly.

Xōne jumped up in his seat at first on the mention of the consulate, as if to object, but when the meaning of Tlixō's words sank in, he sat back down slowly.

"That would be permissible. We will contact them. Is there anything else you wish to say just now?" asked the woman.

"Just this....thank you for listening. We know you're just doing your job. You're not to blame for this. If anyone is, it's the Xiomeran government. We are grateful for having had a refuge here....if only for a little while," Tlixō said. Xōne nodded in agreement. "We will cooperate until such time as a decision is made."

The woman nodded and stood up. Her partner smiled sadly at the two Xiomerans while her back was turned, then stood as well.

"Wait here, please, while we make some calls," said the woman and exited. The man glanced back before following. The door slammed shut behind them, and the sound of a lock turning echoed in the room.

In the ensuing silence, several moments passed before Xōne finally spoke in Huenyan. "Do you think they will allow us to leave?"

Tlixō sighed heavily, replying in Huenyan. "I honestly don't know. Our government will insist on it, but we've seen how far their insistence has gotten them as far as extraditions are concerned. And the Lauchenoirians don't have to extradite us now any more than they did before. Even though we 'attacked' the Xiomeran embassy, the Lauchenoirians are the ones who can pursue charges for that. Or not," Tlixō said. "It will all depend on how our government approaches them after we contact the consulate and offer to return."

Xōne's answering laugh said everything about his opinion of the diplomatic competence of the Xiomeran government. Nothing else was said; all they could do now was wait and see what would happen next.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:01 am

(Written jointly with Lauchenoiria)

Foreign Office Headquarters
Buttercity, Lauchenoiria


Sandra Pavía, Lauchenoirian Foreign Minister, sat at her desk, writing out a letter and signing it. She added it to a pile of other letters and handed the bundle to her aide, Mara, who was standing by her desk.

"It is unlikely the Kerlians will actually deliver them, but send them anyway. I will see the Xiomeran ambassador now," Pavía said, sighing. She was getting fed up of dealing with extradition requests and she feared what the ambassador had to say.

"Yes, ma'am," said Mara, then departed. A short while later she returned, with the Xiomeran ambassador in tow.

Chēmā, the Xiomeran Ambassador to Lauchenoiria, was a bit embarrassed to be paying a visit to Pavía. There were many reasons for this.

The first reason was that Pavía had been the one who had denied the initial warrants for Tlixō and Xōne. Publicly, and in a pointedly unfriendly manner, as well. The second reason was due to the idiotic violation of Lauchenoirian sovereignty that had occurred when the Xiomeran embassy’s security detail had stormed out of the embassy to try to arrest the same Tlixō and Xōne, after their rather incompetent attempt to burn the embassy down. Chēmā had dealt with significant blowback from that blunder, and had been amused to see the agents responsible assigned to strategic dumpster-guarding in various insignificant Xiomeran locales. But that was another black mark that the Lauchenoirians could hold over her, and Xiomera. I suppose they need to be able to look down their noses at us, it’s not like they can do that with anyone else, Chēmā thought irritably.

The Xiomeran ambassador was quite irked with this entire debacle, and would watch Tlixō and Xōne go off to prison with the same glee she had felt when the ASI agents were reassigned. The two activists had certainly caused her enough trouble and would be much better off out of her long, silky hair.

That is, if she could convince Pavía to actually hand them over. Chēmā allowed no trace whatsoever of her irritation with the matter, or her general disdain for Lauchenoiria, to cross her face. She was a consummate professional. As she entered Pavía’s office, only a friendly and polite expression would be visible to anyone. “Minister Pavía, thank you for agreeing to see me,” the ambassador said calmly.

"Ambassador Chēmā, welcome. Please, have a seat. Would you like a tea or coffee?" Pavía asked, as Mara waited, poised for any forthcoming coffee orders. Pavía likewise attempted to hide her disdain for the Xiomeran - she had nothing personal against the ambassador, nor against Xiomera, she just wanted this crisis to be over.

“A tea would be lovely, thank you,” Chēmā said politely as she took a seat in the chair opposite Pavía on the other side of the desk. After the usual diplomatic pleasantries and small talk, Chēmā finally got to the matter that had brought her here. “As you probably already know, your police have detained Tlixō and Xōne, the two individuals who attacked our embassy and who are wanted in Xiomera on various other charges.” Chēmā carefully avoided the use of the word warrant, as that was undoubtedly a sore subject. “The two of them have recently contacted our embassy and requested assistance. They are requesting to return to Xiomera to answer to their charges. While I understand that Lauchenoiria has jurisdiction over these matters at present, it is our government’s hope that we can respect both Xiomeran concerns and the wishes of the accused, and come to an understanding as to the disposition of their cases,” the ambassador said, doing her best to strike the right notes to make it sound like an agreement would be the best resolution for both countries.

"It is, of course, regrettable that it has had to come to this. We have no wish to have Tlixō and Xōne in our prisons, however," Pavía said, pausing for emphasis, "if we let them go, we are giving the impression that our laws do not apply to foreign citizens, or that they only apply when it suits us. We have just come out of a civil war where the rule of law became somewhat... blurred, and it is imperative that we get back to a normal situation. Individuals within Lauchenoiria are subject to Lauchenoirian law, these two are no exception."

“That is an understandable position. We would point out, respectfully, however, that this is a matter of technicalities. While the fact that it occurred here does make it a matter of law here in Lauchenoiria by the strictest international definition, these two did attack Xiomerans in a building owned by the Xiomeran government. The crime in fact occurred against us,” Chēmā said. “Lauchenoiria was not affected by this crime in any way, and in fact only finds itself involved due to the location. As you know, we submitted a request to have these two individuals returned to Xiomera for trial after the embassy attack. They are also now requesting to be allowed to be tried in Xiomera as well, and as they remain Xiomeran citizens, even if criminal suspects, they still deserve my advocacy. We are not oblivious to the position allowing them to return to Xiomera would place Lauchenoiria in, but our position is that these are Xiomeran citizens who committed a crime against Xiomerans, and that it would be the right thing to do to let Xiomerans decide the matter.”

Chēmā paused for a moment. “I would also, again respectfully, point out that these are individuals suspected of terrorism. Terrorism is an issue that concerns all nations, and it is important for nations to develop a common cause in dealing with that issue. Allowing the return of these suspects to Xiomera would demonstrate Lauchenoiria’s commitment to working with other nations to address this particular danger to the international community. And surely, you wouldn’t want to keep such dangerous individuals in your country, as a matter of your own security and safety.”

“Lauchenoiria refused the extradition request, as we did Kerlile's request for Jasmine Eddington based on both Xiomera and Kerlile's use of the death penalty," Pavía said, smiling politely at Chēmā. "That has not changed, unless your Emperor has decided to scrap capital punishment within the last half hour? You are asking us to drop charges against two individuals accused of arson on the chance that they choose to return to a country where they will be imprisoned at the very least. We will not extradite, and therefore there is no guarantees they will return to Xiomera. They may not be truthful in their promise to return - theoretically this may be a ploy to escape our custody."

She continued. "As for the matter of whether or not Lauchenoirians were impacted by this crime. I wish to pose a hypothetical question. If a Xiomeran, not a dissident but a supporter of your government, was to shoot and kill, say, a Zamastanian on Lauchenoirian soil, would you wish that individual to be given to Zamastan? After all, in this scenario the only victim was a Zamastanian." She looked at Chēmā, curious to see her response. She knew Xiomera and Zamastan were at odds.

“In response to your first question, the Emperor has already agreed - and announced publicly - that we will not pursue the death penalty against any of the individuals connected to the terrorist group One Huenya that we are seeking. This naturally includes Tlixō and Xōne. We will agree to this in writing, if necessary, to alleviate your concerns,” Chēmā said calmly. “I would also point out that there is no chance of escape if they are delivered directly to Xiomeran authorities, who would be more than capable of escorting them both back to Xiomera to stand trial.”

“As to your hypothetical example....it is the position of the Xiomeran government that if one of our citizens commits a crime in another nation, in most cases it is not a matter for us to interfere in, save to ensure that our citizen is treated fairly and humanely during the legal process. So, this hypothetical Xiomeran criminal could be handed over to Zamastan with no concern from us. The difference, for us, in this scenario is that Tlixō and Xōne have requested to return to Xiomera, have requested our assistance in securing that possibility, and are already wanted for serious crimes in Xiomera.”

"Most foreign citizens accused of crimes abroad ask to return to their countries, it is not normal procedure to honour such requests, otherwise there would be chaos," Pavía chuckled mirthlessly. "As I have stated, we will not extradite these individuals. That has already been decided. Our law forbids it, as you well know, unless they committed a violent crime in Xiomera. Without an extradition, we cannot hand them over to the Xiomeran authorities."

”I see,” Chēmā said, after a pause. “It would appear, then, that there is nothing further for us to discuss on this matter. I do thank you for your time.” The ambassador stood up to walk out of the office. At the door, she paused to turn back towards Pavía.

“Our government does find your stated position concerning matters such as this quite interesting. Your stance that wanted individuals cannot be sent to other countries certainly did not keep you from sending Peter Bloch back to Shuell, where he will most certainly die. Nor did it keep your government from shipping Jasmine Eddington off to Sanctaria based on a somewhat thin justification. Your newfound determination will be most heartening to my superiors - although, I must add, your determination only seems to apply where Xiomera is concerned. This disparate treatment is something that our leaders in Tlālacuetztla will certainly take into account in the future. Good day, Minister Pavía,” Chēmā said coolly, walking out of the office.

Pavía remained sitting still as she watched the ambassador depart. Once the door had fallen shut she closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. Damn it, she thought. That could have gone much better.

She sighed and picked up the phone on the desk in front of her, dialling the Prime Minister's office to report on the meeting. Sandra Pavía had not previously known it was possible to despise extradition requests with such fervour.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:16 am

Palace of Flowers

“I don’t care what they’re demanding, they’re not getting it. Do they not understand what the word final in ‘final offer’ means? If they still want to strike, just fire the idiots and hire new workers. Yes, even if we have to train new ones. It’s cheaper to take a temporary hit on the training budget than increase salaries long-term....I don’t care. The factory in Huehuetoca is our biggest site for tablet production, and I am not going to let our production stop and give anyone else a chance to shoehorn into our market. They can either get back to work, or they can get lost, period. Get this solved quickly, or you’ll be joining them in looking for a new job.”

Xocolcōza, the CEO of Cala Computer Corporation and Chairman of the Xiomeran Business Association, hung up and placed his top-of-the-line Cala XL smartphone back into his suit pocket. His assistant wordlessly handed him a folder with a set of briefing notes as they were escorted by a pair of Shorn Ones to the Rose Chamber.

The Emperor’s office was named that due to the particularly breathtaking sight of the rose section of the famed palace gardens. Roses of many colors and varieties, arranged along paths and water features in an elegant pinwheel pattern, were easily seen through the long window on the outside wall of the Rose Chamber. It was a view to die for (and, if legends held true, some had). But the scenery wasn’t why the leader of one of Xiomera’s largest corporations, and the spokesperson for its business community, was there.

As Xocolcōza was escorted into the office, the two men seated inside rose from their chairs to greet him. Tepilcayotl was the Security Secretary, but he was also the Emperor’s closest confidant, which explained his presence. As for Topilpopoca, his presence in the office needed no explanation, and most wouldn’t dare think of asking.

Unlike most of the people who entered this office, however, Xocolcōza wasn’t overly awed or impressed. For one, it was hardly the first time he had been to the Palace of Flowers. For another, Xocolcōza carried his own power with him into these rarified chambers.

After the usual pleasantries and serving of refreshments, Xocolcōza got to the point. “We need you to force the GCL and the others working with them to end their boycotts, and we need you to end this trade war, as soon as possible.”

“It is not customary for citizens to make demands of the Emperor,” Tepilcayotl replied pointedly. “I also do not seem to see anyone else with you, Xocolcōza. Who is this we you speak of?”

Xocolcōza looked at Tepilcayotl with the unique impatience of someone quite young and rich dealing with someone who was older and, to them, lower on the social scale. “You know who I represent. Let’s not play games, the situation is too urgent for that. Our stock market has been declining for some time now - ”

“Minor declines at best, which can be easily reversed with positive trade deals,” Tepilcayotl interrupted.

“I was not aware I was speaking with the Secretary of Trade. You certainly don’t look like Tlanextia. At least, not much,” Xocolcōza snapped dismissively. “But as I was saying, all of our trade indicators are trending negatively. The stock market is slumping. Growth is slowing, and we could well be facing a recession. And now, those idiots at the GCL have added Lauchenoiria to their boycott. Enough is enough. The Xiomeran business community is not prepared to just sit and watch as our economy goes off a cliff. You must take measures now to reverse this madness.”

As Tepilcayotl silently fumed, Topilpopoca sighed. “We are waiting for the trade talks in Eiria to begin. Until that happens, there is not much we can do, now is there?”

“You can force the GCL to end the boycotts. You can make a public statement calling for them to end, and privately warn the GCL to back off. Call it a gesture of good faith. It will provide a nice springboard in our favor going into the trade talks. Pulling back on some of our sanctions would help also. We need to be the bigger country here,” Xocolcōza said.

“If we reverse course and begin pulling back on our retaliatory measures, or end the boycotts, before Zamastan has made any concessions at all, or even before the trade talks have begun, we will be seen as weak and indecisive. That will invite other countries to try to bully us in this manner or push us around. From a security standpoint alone, we simply cannot and must not allow that,” Tepilcayotl said grimly.

“Oh please. Do you really want to know what threatens a nation’s security? People being poor, not having jobs, not having a functioning economy. You know fully well what keeps our system and our society running, and what keeps the people from storming this very palace with torches and pitchforks. I keep it running, along with my colleagues in the XBA. You rely on the prosperity we generate to keep this whole house of cards from falling down. If you’re smart, you’ll stop doing things that keep us from delivering that prosperity. Ugh, why am I even explaining this to you? You’re not the one making the decisions,” Xocolcōza said pointedly, turning away from Tepilcayotl and back towards Topilpopoca. “The XBA, and the ihuicatls that it controls, have been instrumental in making you Emperor, and keeping you in power, for a very long time now. We expect that you will honor your commitments to us, in return for our loyalty. It would be a shame, after all, if we had to support someone else the next time the Great Selection happens - or even call for an early vote, if the economic situation gets dire enough.”

“You would dare threaten the Emperor?” Tepilcayotl said, a dark tone entering his voice as Topilpopoca sat back in his chair. “If you wish to talk about things that would be a shame, it would be most unfortunate if something were to happen to you leaving your office one of these evenings. Tlālacuetztla can be a dangerous city at night, after all.”

To their surprise, Xocolcōza laughed outright at the veiled threat. “Don’t bother trying to cow me with that nonsense. Most people may be scared of the Secretariat of Security, but I have pretty good security of my own. Some of them used to work for the ASI and the Secretariat. And also, you know fully well if ‘something happened to me’ as you state, someone just like me will take charge of the XBA. And they will see to it a new Emperor is chosen. And what happens to you, Tepilcayotl, under a new regime? It would also be a shame if a new Emperor felt the need to investigate what you, and the ASI, have been doing for the past two decades.”

“Enough,” Topilpopoca said, cutting off Tepilcayotl and Xocolcōza before they could go for another round or two of exchanging more veiled threats and dire consequences. “We will take your concerns, and those of the XBA, under advisement.”

“That is all we ask,” Xocolcōza said, rising from his chair to leave. “The partnership between you and the Xiomeran business community has been a profitable and successful one for two decades now for both of us, Emperor. All we ask is that you stop doing things that threaten to make it stop being profitable, or successful. We do not believe that is too much to ask in order to remain on the Obsidian Throne.”

As Topilpopoca and Tepilcayotl watched silently, Xocolcōza walked out of the Rose Chamber, already on his phone again to discuss other business matters.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:38 am

Palace of Flowers, Gate of Huītzilōpōchtli
September 8th (atl 8, xatl mazatl)
10:06 am, Xiomeran time


"There was no point to meeting with them at all," Tepilcayotl said sourly. The Emperor had met with the Teyatia leaders, and a parade of different granola-snorting environmentalist types, for a solid week. It had been an unprecedented and unparalled display of Imperial tolerance for dissent, and letting those opposed to the Manauia Island Project have their voices heard. And it had not achieved a single thing.

Far from responding to the generosity that Topilpopoca had displayed, the ungrateful Teyatia met every Xiomeran offer or talking point with a stubborn, mule-like refusal to allow any development on the island whatsoever. Their bovine refusal to consider a single thing the Emperor had to say had been borderline insulting. The leader of the Teyatia, Tlihuātemā, had not even attended. Tlihuātemā had instead sent lesser functionaries, as if they were the equal of the Xiomeran Emperor.

The so-called environmentalists had been even worse, with impertinent demands to limit the scope of the project or cancel it altogether mixed with blatant accusations that the Empire was only moving forward with the project so that the Emperor and the Great Council could enrich themselves (and allow Xiomeran corporations to do the same). The Emperor's assurances that the project was meant to bring much-needed infrastructure and development to the primitive Manauia population were treated with scorn.

The whole thing had ended up being a disaster, with Topilpopoca finally standing up and declaring that if those in attendance would not listen, that he would leave, and that the Empire would proceed forward with the Manauia Island Project regardless of their concerns. And so, the Imperial delegation had returned home.

"There were two points, and we actually achieved them," Topilpopoca said chidingly. "The first was to make the bleeding-heart types around the IDU actually believe that we are listening to these impertinent rabble and have any intention of taking their useless concerns into consideration. We have to be fair, after all."

Tepilcayotl snorted in amusement, as the Emperor continued. "We also achieved one very important goal. We now know who the leaders of opposition to our plans for the island are. Tlihuātemā, and those who spoke for her. And those who spoke for these so-called environmentalists. I trust with that knowledge, you will be more than capable of isolating and eliminating any threat they may pose to Xiomeran stability, as always. So look at it as a win. By showing themselves so readily to you, they made your job much easier, Security Secretary."

Tepilcayotl shared the Emperor's chuckle as the Imperial limousine arrived at the front of the first of the defensive walls surrounding the Palace of Flowers. The grand plaza in front of the massive Gate of Huītzilōpōchtli, the most ornate of the entrances to the Palace grounds, was often the place where press conferences were held. The rest of the Great Council was already waiting to greet the Emperor, with the exception of Secretary for International Affairs Huitzilhuani, who was in Eiria.

Topilpopoca stepped out of the limousine, waving to a small crowd of cheering loyal citizens as Tepilcayotl walked behind him. The rest of the Great Council stood on the small stage that had been set up, with a podium waiting for the Emperor to speak about the discussions that had taken place on Manauia Island. As the Emperor stepped onto the stage and walked to the podium, he saw a small flash of light and looked down. He saw someone in the crowd, and his eyes widened. He came to a dead stop upon recognizing the figure below him. By stopping, he had just made one of the few mistakes of his long reign.

The flash of light rose up towards the Emperor, and three sharp cracks rang out. But this was no lightning and thunder; it was the sun, glinting off of a XM-38 Huatlxōc handgun. As the sound of the gunshots rang out around the plaza, blossoms of red began to grow on the front of the Emperor's previously flawless dark gray suit.

As the Emperor began to collapse, Tepilcayotl grabbed his arm to keep him from falling. "Help me, damn you!" he yelled to a nearby guard, who rushed to help support the Emperor. The glint of metal now turned towards Tepilcayotl; the Security Secretary glared defiantly at the assassin as the gun was pointed at him.

There would be no further thunder, however. With a cry of rage, the Defense Secretary, Xochiqui, hurled himself off of the stage at the gunman. His training as a former Jaguar Warrior still served him well, as he slammed into the assassin and knocked him to the ground. Xochiqui wrestled the gun away from the assassin, and began punching him repeatedly in the face. Tepilcayotl handed the Emperor off to two more guards. "Get him to IMH now! If there are cars in the way, blow them off the damned road if you have to!" the Security Secretary shouted as they carried Topilpopoca to his limousine. With a roar of its powerful engine, and the smell of tires burning rubber mixing with the smell of gunpowder in the air, the limousine sped off with a mix of security and police vehicles following it. More police and security personnel arrived, pouring out of the Palace grounds and now backed by Imperial soldiers and Shorn Ones, who pushed the media and the crowd away from the Palace and out of sight of the plaza with a ruthless efficiency.

Xochiqui was still hitting the assassin, and Tepilcayotl ran over and grabbed his arm. "Let me go! This man must die!" Xochiqui shouted, as the assassin moaned.

"Not here. Not now. Justice will be served, but not yet," Tepilcayotl said quietly. "I need this man alive."

Tepilcayotl stooped towards the ground, as Xochiqui stood up and glared at the assassin. "I will need this man.....to tell me what he knows. To tell me who is behind this, and who he is, and why he did this," Tepilcayotl said with a voice full of soft menace only audible to Xochiqui and the assassin. The assassin had turned away, bent over in pain. Tepilcayotl reached down and roughly grabbed the man's bruised and bloody chin to turn his face upwards. Upon seeing the man's face, Tepilcayotl gasped. "Did you not recognize this man as you were trying to beat him to death on the street, Xochiqui?" he asked.

The Defense Secretary looked more closely at the man on the ground. "Cētlalhui?" he shouted, his face darkening. While the man on the ground had grown a beard and lightened his hair, Xochiqui now recognized him.

Cuicanan, the Secretary of Justice, had walked up; recognizing his former boss on the ground beneath him, he spit on the man in disgust. "You miserable, disgusting failure. You coward," Cuicanan said, his voice grating.

And then, to the astonishment of the three men standing above him, Cētlalhui began to laugh.

"You call me a coward? You all lick the Emperor's boots and when he throws you away, you accept it like meek little sheep. I chose not to accept it, like you do. And a failure? I just accomplished what so many before me could not. I took your Emperor away from you, and off his throne," Cētlalhui said, laughing even harder with a tinge of hysteria.

As Xochiqui and Cuicanan glared, Tepilcayotl leaned back towards Cētlalhui.

"You accomplished only one thing, you miserable crawling worm of a wretch. You, and anyone you ever cared about, are about to learn just how much pain a human body can experience. For all the pain that we will experience if Topilpopoca dies, you and those you love will experience it a thousandfold. And then....you will die knowing that even with your filthy crime today, the Xiomeran Empire will continue on, while you and those you love do not. I can promise you that....you should've shot me first, Cētlalhui. Topilpopoca would be gentle compared to what I am going to do to you," Tepilcayotl finished with a soft hiss to his voice.

As Cētlalhui groaned and lay on the ground, Tepilcayotl gestured for a pair of ASI agents to take him away.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:04 am

Empress Camaxtica Military Headquarters Complex
Imperial Military Hospital
September 8th (atl 8, xatl mazatl)
10:45 am, Xiomeran time


Lipilhitl, Chief Surgeon at the Imperial Military Hospital, found himself oddly wishing to be staring down a firing squad. That wouldn't have been as daunting as what he was staring down - or rather, what was staring him down - at the moment.

Tepilcayotl, Xochiqui, and two other people stood in front of Lipilhitl. One of them was a man in his early forties, but looked much younger. He was in the uniform of a Colonel in the Xiomeran Army, a uniform so spotless that he could've posed for recruiting ads. Texōccoatl, the Emperor's son, looked with concern at the Chief Surgeon. "How is my father doing?" he asked.

"The Emperor....is stabilized for now. However, we have had to place him in an induced coma in order to stabilize him. We will need to operate quickly, to remove the bullets and begin treating his injuries. He suffered significant traumatic damage to his stomach, spleen and upper torso. Luckily, none of the shots hit his heart, although the third one came close," Lipilhitl said carefully.

"When will you be done with treating his injuries, and when will you be able to bring him out of his comatose state?" the fourth person demanded. Yauhmi, Topilpopoca's wife, had an expectant look on her face.

"It is hard to say....we must be cautious, Excellency. We cannot rush his recovery or his treatment. These are serious injuries, and with all possible respect....the Emperor is not a young man, which increases the danger," Lipilhitl began, then stopped as Yauhmi raised her hand firmly.

"He is the Emperor. He has the strength to recover, if you act quickly and correctly," Yauhmi said flatly, in a tone of voice that did not invite discussion. "I will not hear any words to suggest he cannot recover from this."

"Of course, Excellency," Lipihitl said, feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on. Yauhmi and the other three people turned to leave. "We expect updates every hour on his condition, Doctor. And immediate notification if anything at all changes," Tepilcayotl said.

"Doctor?" Yauhmi added, as Lipilhitl turned to walk away. "Yes, Excellency?" the Chief Surgeon asked.

"I am sure you want the Emperor to recover as much as we do. Please ensure you have no negative thoughts about this and do your utmost. It would be for the best....for everyone....if the Emperor recovers," Yauhmi said coldly. As Lipilhitl looked at the faces of the three men standing next to Yauhmi, he found no help. He nodded, lowering his head, as the four departed.

As soon as he was back in his office, Lipilhitl grabbed his cell phone and called home. "Tlazi? Yes, I heard the news. Yes, he is being treated here....Tlazi, I can't answer questions now. I don't have time, listen....I need you to pick up the kids from school and get out of Tlālacuetztla now. Get a flight today, now....go somewhere outside of Catica. I can't explain now....listen, Tlazi, this isn't the time to ask questions. I will explain later, but just trust me. Don't bother to pack or anything....just go now. I will call you again as soon as I can...Tlazi? I love you. Tell the kids for me too. I will talk to you soon," Lipilhitl said, hanging up.

The Chief Surgeon stared at the phone in his hand for a moment longer, then placed it down on his desk next to the pictures of his family. With a sigh, he turned to walk back to the intensive care unit.

Palace of Flowers, Press Room
September 8th (atl 8, xatl mazatl)
12:45 pm, Xiomeran time


The members of the Great Council of Xiomera stood solemnly in a row behind Nopalliztli, the Chief Justice (cihuacoatl) of Xiomera. Nopalliztli stood at the podium, his steel-grey hair and long, solemn black robes projecting an image of solidity as he began to speak. "As you know, and as has been reported already by some in the media, at approximately 10:06 am today, as he was returning from discussions on Manauia Island, our great Emperor, Topilpopoca, was attacked by a cowardly assassin who snuck into the crowd and fired upon him in a treacherous assassination attempt. This act was committed, according to witnesses and to the video footage, by Cētlalhui, the former Secretary of Justice who was justly dismissed from office by our Emperor for his gross incompetence."

Nopalliztli gripped the sides of the podium as he continued. "The Emperor lives, and is currently being treated for his wounds at the Imperial Military Hospital. The assassin is also in custody, after the noble Secretary of Defense, Xochiqui, bravely risked his own life to confront the assassin and disarm him," Nopalliztli said. "The Emperor remains temporarily indisposed due to his injuries. Therefore, in accordance with Xiomeran law, I, Nopalliztli, Chief Justice of Xiomera, temporarily assume leadership of the nation and this Council until the Emperor recovers and can resume his duties - which we all pray will be soon."

"All government operations and business proceed as normal, with the following exceptions: there will be a 10 pm to 7 am curfew instituted immediately in the cities of Tlālacuetztla, Ixxiuitl, Mizcayotl, Nezahualpilli, Huitzitaca and Acalan. Travel within those cities during the curfew hours will not be permitted, except for those with a demonstrated need to do so such as employment or medical emergency. This is a temporary measure to assist with the investigation into the attempt on our Emperor's life, and we thank our citizens and visitors in advance for complying with the curfew. In addition, we will also implement additional security measures at all Xiomeran ports and airports as part of the investigation. This may result in travel delays, and again, we appreciate your cooperation as these necessary and temporary measures are implemented," Nopalliztli said.

"In conclusion, I wish to assure all Xiomeran citizens, and the world, that even with our great Emperor temporarily struck down by this cowardly insect who attacked him, Xiomera remains strong, stable and continuous," Nopalliztli continued. "Our nation does not falter, nor tremble, in the face of attacks or tragedies. Xiomera was strong before the dreadful incident this morning, but is just as strong now. We are also united in our prayers for our Emperor, and in our united and common resolve to not let this tragedy weaken us. Xiomera is the land of the golden sun, and the sun always rises," the Chief Justice finished.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:12 am

Palace of Flowers
Gate of Huītzilōpōchtli
September 10, 2019 (atl 10, xatl mazatl, 2019)
9:00 am, Xiomeran time


(Joint RP event with Kvask)

As the morning sun ascended over the plaza in front of the Palace of Flowers, Xiomerans had gathered to honor the Emperor in the wake of his assassination.

Some of them had brought flowers and other gifts of well-wishing to leave at the Palace walls; others were being led in prayers to various Xiomeran deities in the hope that the Emperor would recover swiftly. The assassination attempt was unprecedented in Xiomeran history; none had come this close to ever succeeding, and no one had even tried to kill a Xiomeran ruler since the ill-fated rebellion against Camaxtica in the 1800s. No matter how much the government tried to project an image of strength and continuity, the attack had shocked the entire country. Emperors were supposed to be invulnerable; the entire nation had, by now, seen the images of Topilpopoca wounded and being carried off to a still unknown fate.

Xiomerans, especially those who supported the Imperial system, believed at their heart that their land was blessed and not vulnerable to the same dangers that the rest of the world faced. Xiomera was supposed to be strong. Many Xiomerans, having just seen their Emperor gunned down in front of his own palace, weren't feeling so strong anymore.

It was, in the minds of some, the absolute worst time to hold a protest. In the minds of others, however, it was the perfect time.

---

The groups opposed to the Manauia Island Project had planned a protest in front of the Palace of Flowers, on the date of September 10th, for quite some time before the unexpected assault on the Emperor. Once the assassination occurred, however, there was a major debate. The two Xiomeran reformist groups planning the protest had differing views on whether or not to proceed.

A New Xiomera, the first group, had the goal of reforming the Xiomeran system, rather than ending it in favor of something else. In the wake of the assassination, they suggested that the protest be cancelled - or at least postponed. They warned that the Xiomeran authorities would not tolerate a protest so soon after an attack on the head of state - and certainly not at the Palace of Flowers, where the attack had happened in the first place.

The second group, One Huenya, had much more ambitious goals: the overthrow of the Emperor, the end of the Xiomeran Empire, the institution of direct democracy, and greater rights for the other three tribes of Huenya. They had little tolerance for the "mild" reforms proposed by A New Xiomera, and when the idea of cancelling the protest was raised, they dismissed it outright. One Huenya had recently begun soliciting advice from other groups on how to bring about change in Xiomera, and a group of Kvaskm organizers had helped them plan the protest at the Palace of Flowers. When Cuetzhual, the leader of A New Xiomera, warned his counterpart Xohezi, the leader of One Huenya, that proceeding with the protest would inevitably lead to violence and a harsh government response, Xohezi shrugged. "If violence happens, let it happen. The Xiomeran government has practiced violence upon all of us for too long. I will not hold back our movement just because the leader of that government got shot. If anything, we'll dance on Topilpopoca's grave if he dies," Xohezi said.

In disgust, Cuetzhual declared that A New Xiomera would have no part of the protest. "Any bloodshed will be on your head," he told Xohezi. Xohezi responded by calling him a coward and telling him he could take himself, and his "mild" reformers, and jump off the pier at Huitzitaca while holding cement blocks.

On the day of what was supposed to be just a peaceful protest for the environment, and against the Manauia Island Project, what instead materialized at the walls of the Palace of Flowers was something far more radical and unprecedented. For the first time in Xiomeran history, under the guidance of the Kvaskm organizers, One Huenya unleashed the black bloc protest.

---

When large numbers of black-clad protesters began appearing at the walls of the Palace of Flowers, some of them with faces covered, the Xiomeran Imperial Police guarding the plaza at the Gate of Huītzilōpōchtli had frankly no idea how to respond. Protests just didn't happen in Xiomera - especially not ones like this. The crowd was vocal, angry and not about to obey any orders from Imperial cops.

The officer commanding the security detail quickly called for reinforcements, as the protesters began pushing against the lines that had been set up to block off the plaza for the investigation into the assassination attempt on the Emperor. "Step back! This is a secured area! You may not proceed further," the XIP officer shouted, but was drowned out by the shouting of the few hundred or so protesters that had gathered.

As the people who had come to the plaza to pay homage to the Emperor watched in shock and confusion, the protesters began overriding the thin line of Imperial Police that had been blocking off the plaza. Alarms began sounding within the walls of the nearby Palace of Flowers; soon, Imperial Army soldiers and Shorn Ones tasked with protecting the Palace began pouring out of the Palace, forming a defensive line. The XIP officer commanding the police detail quickly ran behind that line, calling urgently for additional police backup, afraid of what the Army and Shorn Ones would do if order wasn't quickly regained.

While the XIP officer called for more help, a Shorn One in full battle armor stepped forward, grabbing a megaphone from another policeman. "Unless you have a permit from the Municipality of Tlālacuetztla, this is an illegal gathering. Present your permit immediately or you will be dispersed," the Shorn One warned, as the soldiers and other Shorn Ones prepared to block any further movement forward by the protesters.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Kvask » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:23 pm

Palace of Flowers
Gate of Huītzilōpōchtli
September 10, 2019
0917, Xiomeran Time


Joint Event with Xiomera

The crowd in front of the palace was dominated by protestors in black, all chanting their discontent and disapproval of the Emperor's decisions on Manauia, disregarding the recent attempt on his life. Anger permeated the air as the protestors pushed back against the police line with their bodies, and the police pushed back with riot gear. The scene was emotionally charged, and blows may have exchanged soon.

A few rows behind the front line, the leader of One Huenya, Xohezi, had his own microphone to respond to the orders of the Shorn One, "Did the Emporer have the right permits to destroy native lands for industrialization? I don't think so!" Xohezi gestured towards the crowd, "How about you?"

Any voices from those there for the memorial were drowned out by the protestor's loud jeers and shouting of, "No!" The push back against the guards got harder as people started to get angrier.
Inside the crowd, a person attending the memorial, an older man named Axayacatl, started shouting at a nearby Kvaskm protestor named Maryn, telling them to "stop causing trouble here, this is a memorial service!". Maryn, in kind, started to yell at the old man about the injustices of the Emperor. However, they both only understood their native tongues, and each one soon thought the other was cussing them out in an alien language. Axayacatl shoved the Kvaskm back into a group of protestors aa they got a little to close in their yelling. After regaining their balance, the Kvaskm ad the people he was pushed into, ganged up on the old man and started shoving him, sending a wave through the crowd, multiplying the shoving. Soon, the shoving turned into aggressive grabbing, and, eventually, blows with fists and kicks.

With the protest degrading into a riot, an unnamed Xiomeran pulled out a brick from their back and threw it at the Shorn One that was struggling to control the crowd. HItting him in the head, drawing blood above his brow and enraging him. He pulled up the microphone and yelled into it, "Disperse the crowd!", signalling for the line to begin breaking it up. Fueled by the violence, the crowd turned onto the police and started hitting them with whatever improvised weapons they had, the rules of civility melting away in the heat of the moment.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:55 pm

When the Shorn One who had gotten hit with the brick shouted out his order to disperse the crowd, the XIP officer who had been trying to get more police on the scene sighed. "Well, we're screwed," he muttered under his breath. It was too late now.

Violent disorder was the one thing that the Xiomeran authorities were not prepared to tolerate, ever, on their streets. Social harmony and order were not just expected, but required. When the situation descended into chaos, the soldiers and Shorn Ones present were not trained in crowd control or policing. They responded in the way they were trained - with military force.

With rifles raised, the Xiomeran Army solders and Shorn Ones quickly formed a series of lines, with more of them pouring out of the nearby Palace by the second. They advanced on the protesters, using sheer numbers to force them out of the plaza and clubbing anyone who resisted to the ground with their rifle butts. The soldiers roughly detained anyone who didn't exit the plaza quickly enough, yanking their arms behind them and placing plastic handcuffs on their wrists and ankles and carrying them to military vehicles to be taken to jail.

The only way down from the Palace area from its main entrance was to take the Avenue Huatlcoapahua back down from the foothills, into the nearby Montelin neighborhood. Montelin, being the home of Xiomera's wealthiest and most powerful people, had a municipal police force that was more robust than most Xiomeran cities - and even some tribal police, for that matter. The Montelin police had already received warning about the wave of escaping protesters, fleeing from the chaos and violent response of the Palace guards, that was heading their way. Those trying to escape would be running headlong into a trap.

The Montelin police, now backed by arriving reinforcements of Imperial Police, were not about to let the protesting rabble intrude upon Xiomera's most rarified real estate. As soon as the fleeing remains of the protest reached the outskirts of Montelin, they were immediately set upon and detained as roughly as those in the plaza had been. Very few protesters, mainly those who ditched their black clothing and disguises, would manage to escape arrest.

The protest, which One Huenya would later grandly overstate as the Battle of the Plaza, came to an abrupt and unglorious end. But it would serve the purpose of One Huenya, as convenient images of Xiomeran security forces beating the crap out of protesters would make for excellent propaganda.

For one other person, however, the protest would serve his purpose as well. Tepilcayotl, the Secretary of Security, had long maintained that things had gotten too lax in Xiomera. Now, in the wake of an Emperor's attempted assassination and a violent riot at Xiomera's most significant symbol of authority, he would find plenty of evidence to make his own argument for a crackdown.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:51 pm

(Joint post with Kerlile)

Juliette Greenwood felt a bit woozy from the travel sickness pills she'd taken before getting on the flight. She despised travelling and hadn't been very happy when her sister had "asked" (more like ordered) her to go to Xiomera on short notice. She closed her eyes as the plane began to land - she hated this part.

Further back on the aircraft, ten women dressed in nondescript clothing sat in their rows. To someone who didn't know them, they would seem perfectly ordinary. But back home, those who knew them were ever wary in their presence. All ten women had lived in the town of Sophiehill, Kerlile... and worked in the Restricted Region.

Adelina Sasaki had been Chief Interrogator in Facility 14 in the RR before she had been unceremoniously fired upon the passage of Councillor Robinson's prison reform bill. She had studied interrogation techniques for 3 years after finishing conscription, and had worked her way up the ranks. If Letitia Greenwood had been appointed President, she would likely have ended up in a nice, cushy office job within two years.

She was cold and emotionless, took great care with her work and never felt any sympathy for her subjects. She had no family and few friends, preferring the solitude of a good book to socialisation in her free time. Still, she didn't take pleasure in her work at least - unlike the woman sitting next to her, Mariya Adema, who was grinning as the plane bumped down on the runway.

"Xiomerans will be completely different," Mariya said enthusiastically as the plane decelerated down the runway. "We will get to try out all kinds of things while we work out new techniques."

"We only need the most efficient technique, Mariya. I imagine they will be quicker and require less work," Adelina said, her voice displaying no emotion.

"Where's the fun in that, though?" chuckled Mariya.

"It is not meant to be fun. It is meant to be work. The quicker it is over, the better," Adelina sighed.

The women fell silent as the seatbelt sign was switched off, and they gathered the belongings they had with them, lining up to exit the plane. They climbed down the steps and fell into line on the tarmac, waiting.

The military airfield at the Empress Camaxtica Military Headquarters Complex was where official visitors were received. It was more secure than Tlālacuetztla International Airport. It was also more private, which was beneficial when receiving visitors such as these.

The Kerlians did not have to wait long; three Xiomerans soon came outside the terminal to greet them, while several ASI agents and military police officers provided discreet security. "Good morning! Welcome to Xiomera," one of them, a tall athletic woman in a well-tailored and clearly expensive business suit, said. "My name is Cētli, and I am the agent-in-charge with ASI who will be your contact and director during your time here. We are very pleased that you will be joining us. With me as well is Cāpanta, the Civil Service officer who will be handling your orientation and onboarding details."

Cāpanta, an older gentleman with a kindly, almost grandfatherly demeanor, nodded politely to the Kerlians. "I am here to help with any needs or questions you may have. It's my job to make sure you are happy and comfortable while you are here, so please don't hesitate to let me know what you may need."

The third person, an older woman with a regal bearing and even more expensive and well-tailored garb than Cētli's, stepped forward. "Madam Greenwood, my name is Pelicue, and I am with the Secretariat of International Affairs. I am to provide for any needs you may have, and arrange any meetings you may desire with any of our officials. Is there anything you would like to arrange at this time, or do you prefer to be taken to your guest residence to relax first?"

"I would like to relax first of all, if that is acceptable," Juliette said, concentrating on not yawning. The travel sickness pills made her drowsy for hours and hours, but it was better than throwing up. "It has been a long flight and I am quite tired. I'm sure you can run over things with the others while I rest."

She glanced at the row of ex-RR employees uneasily. She had never much liked people who worked in that place, they made her feel on guard at all times. She'd been forced to visit the place as a child by her mother and sometimes when she was a little drunk the memories came back to her in the night. They were not pleasant. She couldn't wait to get away from them, and hoped she would never see them again.

"Of course, such a long flight must have been tiring. I will accompany you to make sure you are situated comfortably at the guest residence, while Cētli will take care of getting her new colleagues up and running," Pelicue said politely, gesturing Greenwood to a nearby limousine while Cētli and Cāpanta led the other Kerlians to a nearby van.

While Greenwood was driven to a quite pleasant guesthouse in the Montelin neighborhood to relax and plan any meetings she desired, the other Kerlians were driven to the Cauhloc in downtown Tlālacuetztla. The long and slightly mundane process of becoming contract employees of the Secretariat of Security awaited them.

Cētli and Cāpanta would help the Kerlians with the basic routine: setting up their pay and bank accounts, arranging housing, issuing their Xiomeran Resident Foreign National Identifications and ASI badges and security credentials, and so on. Then came the equally long and mundane orientation process: the basics of working for the Xiomeran government, what was expected of them, and so forth. If the Kerlians hadn't known better, they would've believed that the sheer bureaucracy of it all was a subtle Xiomeran form of torture in and of itself.

But finally, all of that was done, and Cētli escorted the Kerlians to where they would be working. The basement of the Cauhloc, the ultimate black box into which problems disappeared in Xiomera.

As they arrived at the cells, Cētli gestured to the first one. "Your first challenge. I imagine you may recognize him," she said. Inside the cell, Cētlalhui looked at the people watching him, shaking his head slightly.

In the second cell, Cētli pointed to another detained man. "That's your second challenge." Inside that cell, Xohezi, the leader of One Huenya, stared defiantly back at them.

"We will need every piece of information you have on the likes, dislikes and fears of these individuals," Adelina told Cētli. "Also allergies and pertinent medical information so we do not cause unintentional harm. Once we have these profiles, we will analyse them and devise our full interrogation regime for each prisoner. We will divide into two teams of five, if that is acceptable. I will lead one team, and Mariya will lead the other. My team will take Cētlalhui, if that is acceptable."

"I'd like to carry out a preliminary interview with the other prisoner now, if I can," Mariya added eagerly.

"I do love to see employees who are eager to get to work," Cētli said with a slight smile. "We have extensive dossiers on both of these prisoners for you to review, along with our objectives for them and what we know about their crimes so far. But you are welcome to begin interviewing them at once, if you like," Cētli said, gesturing Mariya towards the cell that held Xohezi. Cētli walked over as well, scanning her badge and entering a security code into the lock. The door slid open, a soft chime warning that it had opened.

Inside the cell, Xohezi sat at a table, handcuffed to it by one wrist. Cētli stood silently by, her presence a warning should Xohezi try anything unwise.

Mariya entered and eyed Xohezi, looking over him and the cell. Outside, Adelina was dividing the Kerlians into two groups, who obediently did as she asked without question.

"I would personally prefer to read the dossier first," Adelina said. "But Ms. Adema has a different technique. Could you show me somewhere I can read over what you have first?"

"Of course," Cētli said, handing the duty of watching Xohezi off to another agent. She then walked Adelina to a nearby office and handed her a tablet. "This is a secure device that you can use here in the office, but it must remain here; do not take it home with you. In addition, it should go without saying, but humans being humans....no information or discussion of what happens here must ever take place outside our walls," Cētli reminded Adelina. "If you review the files on both men, you should find a wealth of useful information. Do you have any specific questions?"

"Not at this time, thank you," Adelina said. "I will impress the importance of secrecy on the others. We will endeavour to get you the information as quickly as possible."

"I look forward to seeing your results. ASI has its own ways of obtaining information, of course, but we are excited to see what a fresh perspective can bring us," Cētli said with a smile. "I will leave you to your work now, but let me know if you need anything - or if you discover anything useful."

"Once we get started, I should be able to give you a better estimate on how long it will take to ensure the prisoners are fully compliant," Adelina said, her face expressionless. "We are grateful for the opportunity to help."

Cētli nodded and left the office, confident that the Kerlians would be able to deliver the information that her superiors were demanding. With any luck, she wouldn't displease those superiors and end up in one of these cells herself.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:08 am

(Joint post with Xiomera)

Adelina Sasaki scanned her badge and entered a security code into the lock on Cētlalhui's cell. The warning chime sounded as the door slid open. She stepped inside, and sat down opposite the prisoner. She opened a notepad and took out a pen, then looked up at Cētlalhui.

"I have been informed you speak English. Is this correct?" She asked, her face expressionless and her tone neutral.

Cētlalhui looked at his interrogator with confusion evident on his face. "That's right....but who are you exactly? I haven't even had the honor of speaking with anyone from ASI yet...or a doctor, for that matter," he added sarcastically, waving his hand towards his badly bruised face. "But a foreigner is asking me questions? How curious."

"My nationality is not important. You are Cētlalhui, former Secretary of Justice, is that correct?" Adelina said, making a note.

"I suspect you already know who I am. Your new bosses must've told you that before you were sent in here. I was a former Justice Secretary, yes, so I am somewhat familiar with this sort of process," Cētlalhui retorted. "But who you are is important - I wouldn't think that the government would want to let foreigners see just how massively Tepilcayotl failed with security, letting me get close enough to shoot an Emperor, after all." Cētlalhui sighed, giving a slight smirk. "They must be quite desperate to resort to such measures."

"So you admit to shooting the Emperor?" Adelina asked, ignoring the queries about her identity.

"Should I deny it?" Cētlalhui laughed, his laughter taking a slightly manic tone. "Half of Tlālacuetztla saw it in person. Everyone else has seen it on TV, no doubt. Why bother with futile denials? You all know I did it. But you assume I would want to hide from it. You're wrong. I was proud to shoot him."

"Why did you shoot the Emperor?" Adelina asked, making more notes.

"Why? You really can't be Xiomeran, to even ask that," Cētlalhui said, his voice jumping from amused to angry in a heartbeat. "The Emperor is the pinnacle of this system that uses people up and throws them away. You shouldn't be so eager to help them, whoever you are. They'll do the same to you," he laughed. "They throw all of us away, in the end."

"You are angry, I see. A common reason why someone may make an unwise decision. Yet you show no regrets. I have interviewed many terrorists who show similar emotions," she said, nothing something down. "Are you a member of any political organisations, legal or otherwise?"

"I am not a terrorist....I am an aggrieved citizen whose government took everything away from him, despite his loyalty and devotion and hard work. Because I made one mistake. You ask what organizations I was in? I was in the Patriotic Youth Corps as a kid. I was a member of the GCL, like every good and loyal citizen. What good did that do me? I'm still sitting here, answering silly questions, and probably going to die." Cētlalhui's expression grew sullen. "Is there a point to this questioning?"

"I would not call attempting to assassinate your Emperor the action of a 'good and loyal citizen', Cētlalhui. The point of this questioning is to ascertain your motivations for this crime and to establish your actions in the lead-up to your attack. What did you do on the day before you shot the Emperor?"

"I was a good and loyal citizen, you foreigner gasbag, before they fired me and left me with nothing," Cētlalhui snapped. "Topilpopoca drove me to this by mistreating me. He deserved what happened to him. You want to know what I did the day before? I sat at the home I was about to lose, doing nothing, as I've done every day since he fired me. I ate breakfast. Maybe dinner. I took a crap. Does any of that help you?" Cētlalhui said, his voice cracking.

"Insulting me will not help you. When did you make the decision to shoot the Emperor?”

"Weeks ago. I was just waiting for the right time. When I heard he would be at the plaza giving a speech about his meeting on Manauia Island, I knew that would be the best opportunity to get close to him where security might have a gap. The bastard never could resist public speeches," Cētlalhui said. "I was right, too. Is he dead yet?"

"Emperor Topilpopoca is going to make a full recovery. You failed," she said, looking up and studying his reaction.

Cētlalhui's expression sank, then grew angry again. "That can't be true. I shot him three times. He's older than dirt. You're lying," he shouted.

"There is no reason to raise your voice. I am not lying to you, but believe as you wish, I really don't care. Did you work alone?"

"What? Yes, I did. I don't have anyone, anymore. Palma left me, took our son...." Cētlalhui's voice trailed off. "Topilpopoca can't still be alive....it can't be all for nothing...."

"Did your wife or anyone else have any knowledge of your plans?" She asked, staring impassively, showing no regard for his emotions. She found them interesting, but had no empathy for him whatever, and not even her interest showed on her face.

"No, she didn't. Didn't you hear me? She left me. She doesn't even talk to me anymore. Do wives throw away their husbands if they fail so readily where you're from as they do here?" Cētlalhui replied bitterly, his voice cracking again. "And who else would know? Literally everyone abandoned me after Topilpopoca fired me. So-called friends, family, everyone...."

Adelina couldn't help but chuckle a little at the comment about wives throwing away their husbands. To a Kerlian, marriage was both rather uncommon, and often thrown away. The amusement was the first emotion she had shown all night.

"What is your opinion of One Huenya?" She asked after she had finished chuckling.

"I am so glad the utter collapse of my life is amusing to you," Cētlalhui said bitterly. "One Huenya? I used to think they were terrorists, radicals, anti-Xiomeran. Now I wonder if they don't have the right idea."

"Have you ever had any contact with any individuals from One Huenya?"

"Oh please. I was Secretary of Justice. One of the people responsible for putting them in jail. Do you think they would have anything to do with me even if I had wanted to join them? You're not very good at this," Cētlalhui said irritably.

"What did you believe would happen after you shot the Emperor? Did you plan to escape?" She asked, making a note. Though she did not address his comment on her competency, she vowed internally to punish him for it later.

"I knew I wouldn't escape. I didn't even plan to try. You don't get it. I wanted to be caught. I am going to be a martyr for the cause of bringing down this rotten country. I want a trial. No one will be able to deny the truth of what I say then," Cētlalhui said, his eyes alight with the notion.

"Good to know," she said, noting something final down. "That concludes my preliminary questions, unless you wish to make any further statements at this time?"

"Just this. I know Nopalliztli and Tepilcayotl and the rest of the craven Council will see what you write about me. I give them the same warning I gave you: Xiomera is a rabid beast that eats its own. Their time will all come. Whether it's being backstabbed like I was, or something like One Huenya....they will all be sitting where I am right now. And so will you," Cētlalhui said with finality. "I wonder if you all will think about what you did to me then."

"That will conclude my preliminary interview. I will be back tomorrow, Cētlalhui, and if I was you, I would not look forward to it. Pleasant dreams," she said, standing up and signalling to the guard she wished to leave.

Upon leaving the cell, Adelina spotted her colleague Valerie Sharpe waiting for her.

"How did it go?" Valerie asked. She was more emotional than Adelina but not in the same way as Mariya. She could feel empathy when necessary, but had the ability to convince herself that whatever she was ordered to do was right. She had a son back in Kerlile who lived with her sister, a rarity for a RR employee - the vast majority were childless.

"He was quite talkative. Admits what he did. I have some interesting notes on his responses and what they show about his psychology. It will go together with what we have already. It should be easy to put together an interrogation regime. I anticipate we will be finished with this quickly," Adelina responded.

"Excellent, so we're off to a good start then, ma'am?" Valerie smiled.

"Indeed we are. Now, go fetch me a Xiomeran who can do something about the temperature in that cell. It's time we made him a little uncomfortable."

"Yes, ma'am," Valerie nodded and hurried off as Adelina went through her notes, her face still expressionless.

Back in his cell, Cētlalhui sat silently. He had no idea still who had just questioned him. He also had no idea why he had told her as much as he did. Perhaps, it was because it just didn't matter anymore.

He had planned to shoot himself after shooting as many members of the Council as he could. Xochiqui had foiled that plan. Cētlalhui knew he had a very unpleasant experience awaiting him - he just hadn't expected the government to seek foreign help to deliver it.

But, he mused again, it hardly mattered now. Topilpopoca was alive, and Cētlalhui himself would probably soon be dead. Or just wishing he was.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:05 pm

(Jointly written with Xiomera)

Mariya Adema hummed a tune to herself as she scanned her badge and entered the code to get into Xohezi's cell. She slipped inside, followed by a translator, Coyopa. She sat down.

"Confirm your name for me," she demanded.

After the translator finished speaking, Xohezi stared straight ahead, unmoving and unspeaking. He gave no indication of having even heard Mariya, much less responding to her.

"Ah, so it's going to be like that, is it?" Mariya said, a small smile forming on her face. She leaned closer to him. "I would strongly advise you to reconsider. It will make what comes later so much worse."

"I will not comply," Xohezi said flatly, still not looking at Mariya or giving any other movement.

"Shame. For you, not for me. I'm very lucky, you know. I get the fun one," Mariya smiled wider, letting a slightly sinister chuckle escape her lips as she waited for the translator to echo her words.

Xohezi glared at Mariya when the word "fun" crossed her lips, his expression a silent censure of her idea of amusement, before he turned away to stare straight ahead again.

"Hold this for me, would you?" Mariya said, handing Coyopa a notepad. As she glanced down at it, seeing nothing but an absentminded doodle of a spider sitting on a web, Mariya moved towards the prisoner quickly.

Xohezi bounced off of the back of his chair, rebounding from the blow with a soft grunt. He glowered at Mariya, muttering some choice swear words. "The agents of the state are so quick to resort to violence. You are such a typical drone," he said.

Mariya laughed, the sound echoing in the cell. She sat back down and leaned back on her seat.

"Me? Typical? I think that's the first time I've been called that," she chuckled. "You, though, you're like every other terrorist I've ever met. You think you'll last when you really don't stand a chance. You insist on resisting out of some sense of pride, which only makes your fall that much harder when it finally comes."

"I am not a terrorist. Those that serve the Xiomeran regime, like you, are the real terrorists. People who run dungeons and abuse people - you're the criminals. You may have the advantage now, but the four tribes of Huenya will unite someday and end this tyrannical regime. Whether I am here or not when it happens is irrelevant. It will happen," Xohezi said. "You will be in this chair I am in, someday. You should hope we are merciful to you when that time comes."

"I doubt it," she smirked. "Not a terrorist, you say? You seemed pretty determined to cause terror with that little riot in front of the Palace of Flowers. Or are you going to say you and those masked thugs were out for an evening stroll?"

"I am not going to say anything at all about the protest at the Palace," Xohezi replied, deliberately emphasizing the word protest. "I am not fool enough to help you build a case against me. The government will say whatever it wants about me anyway, but I see no reason to make that easier."

"You will," shrugged Mariya, "in time. I suppose you claim you won't tell me the names of your friends and associates in One Huenya either?"

"Skippy the Unicorn. Bob the Bear. Lisa the Lion. William the Whale. Go out and arrest them," Xohezi smirked, rattling off the names of characters from a popular Xiomeran children's TV show.

Mariya stood, walking around the table until she stood between Xohezi and Coyopa, blocking the latter's view of the prisoner.

"You're beginning to annoy me, male," she hissed.

The slap that followed her remarks sent Xohezi bouncing back off the chair. When he straightened himself, he smirked again. "You seem to be losing your composure...I thought you were supposed to make me do that. You even just gave me a clue. I was wondering where you're from, since you're clearly not Xiomeran." Xohezi looked at Coyopa, translating, and shrugged. "But only people from one country speak of males so disdainfully. Don't you Kerlians have enough to do oppressing your own people that you have to come here and do it? Or are you just taking whatever job you can get after your Restricted Region got shut down and you all got tossed out on your asses?"

Xohezi shrugged again. "What happened in Kerlile, will happen here too. This place will also be shut down someday," he said, gesturing with his free hand to indicate the Cauhloc.

Mariya leaned forward, gripping Xohezi by his shirt and pulling his face right up to hers. She spoke quietly and slowly.

"Who I am, and what the future holds, are irrelevant. I will get what I came for. I do not care about tomorrow. I only care about today. You are a piece of slime, and you will suffer. You won't tell me anything today, I know. But I will be back. That is a promise."

She let him go, shoving him roughly back into the chair, then waved through the window for the guard to let her and Coyopa out.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:41 pm

Empress Camaxtica Military Headquarters Complex
Imperial Military Hospital
September 17th, 6:00 am, Xiomeran time


Lipilhitl slumped against the wall of his office. His entire posture was one of defeat.

The surgery had gone well enough; the three bullets had been removed from the Emperor without any undue complications. However, Topilpopoca's vital signs were stagnating. He was showing no sign of even waking up, much less recovering. His brain activity was regular, but slow; at this rate, he would be sitting in that hospital bed for the next few days, months, years....Lipilhitl had frankly no idea.

That was assuming, of course, that Topilpopoca even woke up.

The very thought of that outcome was like a sudden bath of cold water down the Chief Surgeon's back. Yauhmi had made it very clear, even if she hadn't said so outright....if her husband didn't live, Lipilhitl was as good as dead.

With a sudden rush of adrenaline, Lipilhitl walked back to his desk. Quietly, he took out his wallet, a set of fake identification a friend had supplied him, a set of syringes and a small revolver. He placed them in his suitcase, closing it; the soft click of the latches sounded, to the Chief Surgeon, like the sound of a coffin nail being hammered down. But if Topilpopoca didn't survive, Lipilhitl didn't plan to stick around and wait for Yauhmi's many minions to come seeking someone to blame.

---

The Cauhloc - Secretariat of Security headquarters
September 17th, 8:00 am, Xiomeran time


"I will not listen to this," Tepilcayotl said flatly. "Our Emperor is alive, and I will not talk about the man - my friend - as if he is already dead," he added, slapping the top of his desk for emphasis.

"Damn it, Tepilcayotl, now is not the time for us to sit around on our hands. We have to plan for what comes next if the Emperor dies - and is not a sin to talk about it," Xochiqui, the Secretary of Defense, said grimly. "I don't like to think about it either - I want to see him survive this as much as the rest of us. But Xiomera's security - its future - depend on us having a plan to make sure there is continuity for the future. Even if Topilpopoca dies, his mandate must carry on. You are the person best suited to do that. If Topilpopoca was here, he'd be telling you the same thing. He'd also be telling you that this is the exact time to be talking about this. Topilpopoca is not a man to put sympathy over the needs of the moment, and you can't afford to be either right now. He would say as much."

Tepilcayotl sighed. "He would, at that. I can imagine him over my shoulder now, telling me to stop being such a whiner and just get on with it," he added with a slight laugh. The Security Secretary steeled himself visibly. "So. What are you proposing?"

Cuicanan, the Secretary of Justice, spoke next. "We must begin now to reach out to the members of the ihuicatl who will decide on Topilpopoca's replacement, should it be required. I am certain that the reformers are already doing that, damn their lack of respect," he said bitterly. "We must make the case early, and often, that now is not the time to depart from proven leadership or our current course of action. With terrorists staging riots in front of the Palace, shooting the Emperor, and gods know what else they're planning, it would be madness to change course in the middle of all that. As Security Secretary, you are the person best positioned and experienced to ensure that we can defeat these terrorists and seditionists and make sure that Xiomera survives this craziness and remains strong and stable."

"Another step could help to make that argument," Xochiqui said. "You could begin a sweep of these radical elements - One Huenya, the opponents of the Manauia Island Project, and the foreigners who seem to be interfering in our affairs. By showing there is an active threat, and that you are dealing with it strongly and effectively in the Emperor's stead, no one could make the argument that you're not fit to lead the nation if Topilpopoca does die."

"What if Nopalliztli objects to that? He is technically in charge right now, after all," Tepilcayotl replied.

The other two men snorted at that. "Nopalliztli is a placeholder and knows it. He will stay out of the way if he is smart. If not....these are troubled times in Xiomera. Terrorists could very well assassinate Nopalliztli as well. That would be....expected," Cuicanan said quietly.

Tepilcayotl sat silently, pondering for a moment, "We will do what we must do. For Xiomera," he said finally. "Let us begin."

---

Malinalhuitl House
Official Residence of the Secretary of Trade
September 17th, noon, Xiomeran time


"Are you sure it is safe to speak here?" Cozamalotl, the Secretary of Scientific Development and Advancement, said as he reached for a cup of tea.

Tlanextia, the Secretary of Trade, laughed in response; her aged cackle bounced off the walls like a set of ball bearings. "I have this place swept daily for bugs and spy cameras; I did that just this morning again, before you all arrived. I also have my own security people. If any place is safe from the vigilance of the Security Secretariat, my home is. Calm down and have your tea; it's a special blend I had imported from Shen and is just superb."

"Did this special import go through the normal channels?" Cozamalotl asked.

Tlanextia made a pfft noise in response. "Being Secretary of Trade has to have some perks."

Cozamalotl looked at the walls of the richly decorated sitting room, a single eyebrow raised as a wry retort. "Oh, stop that, Cozamalotl. Am I not entitled to some comforts in my old age, after so many years of service?" Tlanextia responded, shaking her head.

"We can agree to disagree on that one," a third voice chimed in. Cuetzhual, the leader of the reformist group A New Xiomera, sighed as he took a cup also. "Although I won't lie, this is some of the best tea I've ever had."

Before Tlanextia could take further exception to being called out for her creature comforts, Cozamalotl decided to intervene. "So....how many of you think Topilpopoca is going to survive this shooting, as he's survived so many other things before? I personally think this time he's toast."

Tlanextia adopted a faux-outraged expression, literally clutching the pearl necklace she was wearing. "Such talk about our beloved, revered, sublime Emperor....shocking from a member of the Great Council," she said, before bellowing out her window-shaking laugh once more.

"I think we can all agree we are not horribly saddened that Topilpopoca got shot," Cuetzhual said calmly. "I am more concerned about what happens in the aftermath, if he dies. Someone will be chosen through the ihuicatl to replace him. We know who is likely to be picked. Someone like Xochiqui or Tepilcayotl, or Cuicanan, gods help us. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Xocolcōza threw his hat into the ring."

"A meathead, a spy, or another meathead. Or a cutthroat CEO. Gods help Xiomera," Cozamalotl said quietly, sipping his tea again.

"I don't believe in the gods, Cozamalotl. And I think we need to help ourselves," Cuetzhual said firmly. "You need to submit your name for Emperor, if Topilpopoca dies."

Cozamalotl almost choked on his tea, quickly putting the cup down; Tlanextia looked at him balefully as some of the tea got on the spotless white tile of the sitting room. "I'm a scientist. An academic. I am not an Emperor, Cuetzhual. There surely has to be someone else better you can dredge up for some overthrow-the-conservatives campaign."

"Who would be better? Huitzilhuani, maybe, but she's in Eiria right now, and she's also too young. She thinks you're a good choice, too, by the way," Tlanextia said, eyeing Cozamalotl sharply. "You're exactly what Xiomera needs right now, and can make a solid case. You're intelligent, well-educated, rational, sane, and most importantly, humane - something none of the other people running are likely to be."

"You're also a scientist, and by nature pragmatic and logical. You can pull away some of the votes from the business, educational and government members of the ihuicatl that might otherwise support a conservative candidate," Cuetzhual said. "Also, unlike someone like me, you're not stuck with the label of 'crazy radical terrorist' that Tepilcayotl and Cuicanan have slapped on groups like A New Xiomera."

"You can blame One Huenya for that. Idiots," Tlanextia snorted. "What great fools thought having a riot at the Palace right after an assassination attempt would be a good idea?"

"I won't criticize them for their fervor, for their desire to change this country now, rather than waiting. Xiomera is, inherently, an unjust place and does need to change," Cozamalotl replied with a shrug.

"That's exactly why you need to seek the throne," Cuetzhual replied. "You have the ability to listen to all sides, and tolerate all extremes, within this country. That's the kind of person Xiomera needs right now."

"Suppose I do embark with you on this crazy venture. How do we get to a majority of votes in the ihuicatl? Right now, the conservatives are in the ascendancy among those with the votes. It will be very hard for us to get enough support," Cozamalotl said with a shake of his head.

"It will be. But those are the things that are most important to do. We can change Xiomera, as we have always wanted to, if we gain the Obsidian Throne. That's worth taking a chance," Cuetzhual declared.

"It's more of a chance than that. If we fail....we will have declared ourselves open enemies to the forces of the status quo - people like Tepilcayotl, who are good at making problems disappear. Are you ready for that kind of risk?" Cozamalotl said quierly.

"We've been ready for that risk for a long time. The question is - are people who sit in fancy rooms like this ready for it? Are you ready for it? Are you ready to risk it all for the sake of finally making this country better? Or is this all just talk around tea and cookies?" Cuetzhual retorted. "You have to ask yourselves that - people like me answered that question a long time ago."

Cozamalotl sat for a moment, pondering, He finally raised his head, looking at Tlanextia and Cuetzhual. "Allright. I'm in."

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