The Xiomeran Chronicles

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Xiomera
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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:54 am

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

President Arnott was somewhat nervous about the call she had to make. Though she, personally, had remained rather netural in the Xiomeran election until the final days when it became clear who would win, she knew that some of the Council had been engaged in rather... unseemly activities. Yet, it was important that she discovered whether or not Yauhmi would continue being friendly towards Kerlile... and, of course, there was that matter with the Lauchenoirians Hale had brought to her attention.

She picked up the phone and dialled the number of the special line in the Palace of Flowers which she knew only a select few individuals had. She was rather pleased to be counted among them, and hoped that such things would not be consigned to the past now Xiomera had a new ruler. She sat back in her chair as the phone rang, waiting for an answer.

The line only rang twice before a firm, businesslike female voice answered. "Office of the Golden Chamber, Imperial Attendant Tlalli. Who may I ask is calling?" After Arnott identified herself and the reason for her call, Tlalli said "Of course, Madam President. Give me one moment, please," in a somewhat more respectful tone before placing the call on hold. After a few moments of some quite traditional Xiomeran music, the line was answered. "President Arnott, this is Yauhmi, Empress of Xiomera," a surprisingly warm and strong voice answered. The Empress waited for a response. Normally, she would have given a more elaborate greeting, but not having interacted with Arnott before, she was quite curious to see how her Kerlian counterpart would respond to her if she started off relatively brief.

"Empress Yauhmi, thank you so much for taking my call. Congratulations on your victory, so many in my nation are extremely pleased to see another strong female leader, especially one in charge of our strongest ally," Arnott began, making sure her voice was warm and welcoming. She was careful in her choice of words, referring to many, rather than all, of her nation - implying that division in Kerlile did not exist would only have served to insult the Empress by thinking her a fool.

Yauhmi found herself amused by Arnott's choice of words. She had caught the nuance of the word 'many'. "Thank you, madam President. I appreciate your words. I am glad to hear that many in Kerlile are supportive of my enthronement. I imagine that those who were not quite as supportive during the election are....curious as to where we go from here," the Empress replied in the same tone of voice. "As many others in Kerlile are, no doubt." Yauhmi wasn't the type to dance around a subject; she preferred to get right to the heart of the matter.

"I would not worry about many of my colleagues, Empress. I can assure you that even those on the Council who found themselves on opposing sides will accept this result," Arnott said confidently. It was true, nobody in Kerlile had disliked Yauhmi, merely some had preferred another option. Even Councillor Chiu's objections had not really been about Yauhmi at all. "If anyone here does do something... inappropriate, rest assured that I will deal with them."

"I am reassured to hear that, madam President. It is very important to keep a firm hand on those who one leads," Yauhmi replied. "Anyone who may be....concerned about the result of the Great Selection can also rest assured that I hold no grudges. I am confident that the relationship between our two countries can continue as it was under my husband. We agree on far more than we disagree on, after all."

The tone of Yauhmi's voice, as much as her words, conveyed a simple message: nothing has changed. Xiomera would continue to support Kerlile as it had before.

"I am very glad to hear that, Empress," Arnott said, the smile on her face obvious even through the phone. "On the topic of the Great Selection, however, I do have some concerns of my own to raise. Not about the result of course," she added hurriedly, "but rather about events which took place during it. Namely, the rumours spreading around the internet about certain... personal matters of yours. Lies, I'm sure."

Yauhmi's voice took a noticeably firmer tone. "They were indeed lies. And I intend to hold whoever was responsible for those lies to account," the Empress said in a way that did not bode well for whoever would be on the receiving end of the wrath of a Xiomeran Empress.

"Intend to? Your words imply you have yet to take action. Interesting," Arnott mused. "And a relief. I feared that it had been you who had attempted to frame us for the assassinations, though I found it hard to believe. Still, it raises the question of who."

Yauhmi found herself perplexed, an unusual feeling for the Empress. "I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage, madam President. Could you elaborate, please?"

"Councillor Hale received a phone call from her wife, the Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria. They're still legally married, believe it or not. The Lauchenoirians tracked the radioactive material which one of their intelligence agents was poisoned with to Kerlile. Alvarez wanted Hale to find out who had given the order. Only... nobody here did. A small amount, tiny really, of radioactive material was stolen from one of our power plants. It was so small we, shamefully, had not noticed. Since it was not us, the only other explanation is that someone tried to frame us. We would not have suspected you, of course, but given the identity of the woman who was poisoned, and the 'car accident' which killed her work partner at almost the same time... well. It seemed logical. They were, after all, the Lauchenoirian hackers who were running the bot network which spread the rumours of an affair."

Yauhmi sat back in her chair, stunned. Xiomeran intelligence had not yet discovered the source of the hacking; given the fact that until just two days prior her chief rival for the Obsidian Throne had been in charge of ASI, this was not surprising. The fact that the Security Secretariat was temporarily leaderless after Tepilcayotl's defeat had not helped. First order of business: select a new Secretary of Security, Yauhmi thought grimly.

"Interesting," Yauhmi purred, already planning her response to the Lauchenoirian hack. "I am grateful to you for this information, madam President. I do not know who tried to frame Kerlile for this act, sadly. It was, however, certainly not us. We do not betray our allies," the Empress said.

"I intend to find out who it was. But I'm very glad to hear it was not you. I do look forward to our two countries continuing to have the productive relationship we had while your husband was Emperor," Arnott said.

She was, however, uncertain. The pauses, Yauhmi's reaction... she had known it was Lauchenoiria, right? Or had Arnott inadvertently revealed it to her? She wouldn't mention this to Hale. The Councillor had that infatuation with Lauchenoiria, she would not understand. It was still a great relief to discover it had not been Xiomera who framed them, however.

"I look forward to that as well....nations with similar interests and goals must stick together in this very challenging world," Yauhmi replied in a friendly tone. Inside, however, she was seething - and not at Arnott.

Lauchenoiria may have finally found its nerve, to do such a thing. I shall need to remind them why they decided to hide from the world in the first place. The Empress found herself smiling at the thought.

"I agree, and congratulations once more on your victory. I am sure that, going forward, you will make sure Xiomera prospers," Arnott responded, putting her doubts out of her mind. Kerlile still had an ally - and so she still had a chance.

"Thank you once again, madam President. I shall do my best to ensure Xiomera prospers - and that our allies prosper along with us," the Empress said. "While I hate to end our conversation so soon, a new Empress has quite a bit to do, sadly. Is there anything else I can do for you or for Kerlile at this time?

"Of course, I understand. I'm sure we can discuss things in more depth when you have more time. Kerlile is grateful for the continued friendship of Xiomera. Thank you for taking my call. Have a good day, Empress," Arnott replied. She had much to do as well. Finally, Kerlile and Lauchenoiria had something in common - the desire to find out who had tried to assassinate those two agents.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:16 pm

(Joint post with Shen)

Imperial Attendant Tlalli looked through the special, encrypted database, retained on special servers accessible only on the Golden Chamber's internal network, for a number. When she found it, she hummed to herself softly. Here we go, she thought, dialing the number on the equally secure, encrypted phone line reserved for the office of the Xiomeran ruler. When the line was answered, she spoke in a polite tone. "This is Imperial Attendant Tlalli with the Xiomeran Office of the Golden Chamber calling for Han Zeng. My mistress, the Empress Yauhmi, is requesting to speak with God-Empress Wu. I believe she is expecting this phone call."

Han Zeng had been sitting in front of his computer, patched into the encrypted line that linked the two Imperial palaces just waiting for this moment. As soon as he saw the call notification, he clicked on it on his screen and listened to his counterpart.

"I'm here, Attendant, and you are right, the God-Empress is waiting. I will pass your mistress into her personal phone line."

The Jade Garden was quiet. Unusually quiet for this time of day. God-Empress Wu Zhou had ordered all of the gardeners and other staff to clear out when she decided this is where she wanted to take the phone call. Sitting in the garden by herself. Her servants had brought out a telephone for her to use. A gold rotary phone, ancient by any standard but still in use in the palace because of simple nostalgia. The Empress passed the moment she waited for the calls slowly burning cigarette after cigarette down to the butt before discarding them into an ever-growing pile in her crystal ashtray. She looked upwards every once in awhile towards the enormous Jade Dragon. The Jade Garden got its name from the 12 figures made of solid jade that were placed in a circle formation throughout it. Each one representing one of the 12 animals that mark the years.

She was staring into the eyes of the Dragon when the phone started ringing. Slowly she extended her hand, picking up the phone from the receiver and bringing it to her face.

"Empress Yauhmi, leader of Xiomera. I never thought I would ever be saying that. Congratulations, my friend."

Yauhmi smiled at the sound of the familiar voice on the other end of the line. "Thank you, my friend. I wasn't sure for a while myself if anyone would be saying that by the time the Great Selection ended," she said, with a slight laugh. "I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the help you provided during this challenging election. I was quite concerned that Tepilcayotl would not be as interested in maintaining the ties between our two great and ancient nations as my husband and I had been over the years."

The Empress could hear her friend exhaling a cigarette and ashing it.

"You don't have to be so formal with me Yauhmi, heavy is the head that wears the crown, and just because you now wear one doesn't mean I stopped thinking of us as friends first, and political allies second. Besides, I never had any doubt. You're as skilled a politician as..." her voice was slow for a second as she said the name "Topilpopoca...may the gods allow him to rest...but once I sent my two most talented children, and I told the Grandmaster what I wanted, I knew there was no way you would lose."

"I am glad to hear it...your friendship is something I value very much. I do miss Topilpopoca as well. I know he is watching us from the afterlife now. I hope I can do as well as he did.....and I must also say, I hope my son turns out as skilled when the time comes as your children proved to be. Their efforts with the voters were exceptional," Yauhmi said.

"Thank you...I tried my best. Unfortunately I wasn't the most successful. Your son is a brilliant young man. Most of my children are idiots, degenerates, and spendthrifts...but sangui and zhao...they're the only two I could trust to leave the Empire after I'm gone. After....recent events I had to decide which one is the most worthy."

"That is a tough decision.....have you come to any conclusions?" Yauhmi asked, curious about the answer (and also grateful she had only one child, and a competent one).

"Yes... after this whole ordeal... there's only one choice. The child who convinced the most delegates. Who suggested that the shingzi ren infiltrate the Palace of Flowers. The woman who turned my command into reality. Zhao...when it is my time to join your beloved in the afterlife...she will become the God-Empress."

The old woman stared up at the sky watching the clouds slowly drift along and disappear across the horizon. "It won't be long now..." she said calmly.

"I know when we are called, we must answer, but I hope your time does not come soon," Yauhmi replied, a touch of sadness entering her voice. "Losing Topilpopoca was hard....losing old friends is just as hard."

The empress didn't speak for a moment. There was only silence on the other line as the elder of the pair seemed to gather her thoughts.

"Yauhmi...I...my time is already up. According to my physician I don't have long at all. I'm dying."

Yauhmi fell silent at the words, a cold feeling gripping her. No response seemed adequate to the situation. In the end, she made the only choice she could. "Is there anything I can do to help you?" she asked softly. "To make the time pass easier, or to help ensure your wishes are met and fulfilled when the time comes?"

The Empress didn't waste any time. She never did when it came to important matters like this. Her request rolled right off the tongue, starting with how she always made personal requests to friends. With an old story.

"You remember when you and Topilpopoca first came to the Palace after his election? I still remember it. I wasn't sure what I would think of him that first visit. His predecessor and I had so rarely seen eye to eye...but with him everything was so easy. We saw the world the same way and we understood just how important the relationship between our nations was to each other. And it didn't hurt he was just so damn charming, I could see right after meeting him why you loved him like you did." Talking about the past and the good old days brought a little bit of energy back to the Empress's voice after revealing the state of her health to her friend.

"When he left I wasn't just hopeful about the state of the relationship between the last two great Empires. I was a little less scared of passing on. Because as I offered him my wisdom from all the years I have spent on the throne, I knew that he would also offer his own wisdom to my successor and help one of my children lead the Empire. "

The sadness returned to her voice as she lit up another cigarette, sucking in the tobacco before exhaling and speaking again.

"But he is gone now....that task falls to you... my daughter is a brilliant woman. But she will need help...can you be there to advise her, just as I tried to advise your husband?"

Yauhmi laughed softly at the memories conjured up by her friend's words. "Topilpopoca could be very charming when he wanted to be....he won me over that way. I definitely remember that first visit - we were both so much younger then, and had a lot to learn. That was so long ago," she sighed. "But your advice over the years was a great help to him. It is only fair and fitting that I return what you so generously bestowed on us. It would be my honor to help your daughter with whatever advice and support I can give her."

A smile slowly crossed the wrinkled lips of the old woman. "Thank you, Yauhmi. Your guidance will help her immensely."

She sat back in her chair. "I have spent 65 years....every day since I was 18...as God Empress. I was crowned the leader of a backwards agrarian nation and through 65 years of hard work I turned us into an industrial Empire. Shen is great again...my daughter will need all the help she can get building on the legacy I've left for her."

"She will have whatever help that I can provide. We were pleased to see the legacy that you built in Shen....just as we built a legacy of our own in Xiomera. I am determined that neither legacy will go by the wayside." Yauhmi paused for a moment. "Have you informed your children yet of your health? Or the choice you have made?"

"Honestly, I shouldn't have even informed you. The health of the empress is a closely guarded secret. Only the Grandmaster of the shingzi ren, the captain of the Imperial Guard and my personal physician are aware. Just the people who need to be ready for...the succession." Her voice was sharp as a dagger she spoke about the bloody ritualistic succession that occurred when one ruler died.

"...but you of all people should be made aware. You have suffered enough you didn't need my death to be a surprise."

"I am glad you felt you could confide in me about this, and that you were thinking about my feelings even as you are dealing with something so personal," Yauhmi replied. "I will ensure no one else in Xiomera finds out about this until the time is right and proper for the truth to come out. And if I can do anything to ensure your daughter is placed on the throne as you mandate, I will do anything possible. I am confident that your servants are more than capable, but as we discovered during my own fight for the throne....extra help is never a bad thing."

"The offer is appreciated. If someone tried to deviate from the path Heaven has set out before them...if someone tries to challenge Orthodoxy...knowing that you will be there to make sure my last command as a mortal is carried out, removes any lingering doubt from my mind," she calmly replied back as she put out the last cigarette and crinkled up the empty pack into a ball in her hand.

"Is there any message you wish for me to carry to heaven for you, Yauhmi? A man like Topilpopoca, who must have the blood of dragons in his veins, will certainly be waiting for me in heaven, when my time as the other gods' arbiter is over and I join them...what should I tell him?"

"If you could....tell him....that I miss him dearly. And that I will devote the rest of my life to making sure his work and his legacy continue on. And also, that I am glad he will have a friend to keep him company until I join both of you there," Yauhmi replied. She managed to keep the sorrow she felt out of her voice. It was not dignified for an Empress to cry or moan like a common person. But Yauhmi was confident that Wu knew how she felt. They had known each other for a very long time, after all.

"Of course, Yauhmi. I'll make sure he hears every word of it."

The old woman looked up once again is she finally saw what she'd been looking for the entire time. Gray clouds slowly moving over the horizon.

"...it's going to be raining here soon...I should really head back inside and get some sleep...Long Live Empress Yauhmi. May your Reign be ever glorious and may your son rule with the wisdom of his parents...me and your beloved will watch you from heaven and patiently wait for you to join us."

Yauhmi forced the sadness from her voice. "Thank you....I hope that after such long and devoted service, that you reach the peace that you so greatly deserve. Your daughter will have the friendship that you have showed me for so long. Until we speak again, may the gods and goddesses watch over you," she said softly.

When the call ended, Yauhmi hung up the phone. Only then did she allow the tears to roll down her face.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:56 am

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

Imperial Attendant Tlalli, the personal assistant to the Empress Yauhmi, had been busier than normal, even with the duties normally falling upon the head of an incoming ruler and the transition to a new government. This would be the second call to a head of state in just the past few days she had placed on behalf of her mistress.

The Attendant calmly scrolled through her database, before finding the number she needed. Cristina Esparza, secretary to the Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria, Josephine Alvarez. Tlalli smiled slightly to herself. She had seen Empress Yauhmi, in her years of service to the new monarch, in every mood possible on many occasions. She could count the times on one hand, however, that she had seen Yauhmi in the full fury of her totally unrestrained rage. When the new Security Secretary, Zalpalatli, confirmed the information inadvertently given to Yauhmi by President Arnott was true, Tlalli had seen it then.

This phone call should be....entertaining, the Attendant thought as she dialed the number listed. When the line was answered, she spoke in a calm tone that gave no idea about what was really waiting on the other end of the line. "Good afternoon, this is the Office of the Golden Chamber. The Empress Yauhmi of Xiomera requests and requires a conversation with Prime Minister Alvarez," she said.

Cristina Esparza had been having a perfectly normal day before the phone rang. She was sitting at her desk working on paperwork and sipping a coffee when the ringing had started. She picked it up almost immediately, it was her job. But when she heard who was calling, she got slightly nervous. She knew Alvarez had been expecting this call... and by expecting, she meant dreading.

"One second please," she told Tlalli, then called through to Alvarez, informing her of who was on the line. She was rewarded with several swear words from the Prime Minister, and then instructions to connect her. "The Prime Minister is now on the line."

The Attendant dropped off the line, as Yauhmi looked down to her desk. Her desk, much like Xiomera itself, was a seamless fusion of the ancient and the modern. The desk had been handcrafted by ancient Itotemoc craftsmen, but it had been refitted with the most modern technology. The Empress touched the screen in front of her to take over the call. "Good afternoon, Prime Minister Alvarez. This is Yauhmi, Empress of Xiomera," she said in her characteristically strong voice, waiting for the other woman to answer.

"Good afternoon, Empress Yauhmi. Congratulations on your recent victory. What can I do for you?" Alvarez asked, keeping her tone neutral even though she was nervous. She did not know what the Empress wanted, but she guessed it would not be anything good. She was in a very bad mood today, and this would not help. Still, she would be polite, as long as she could.

"It is not a question of what you can do for me, Prime Minister. Rather, it is a question of what you have already done to me. And to my family, and my country. And what your people have been doing to Xiomera for quite some time now. Do you know of what I speak?" the Empress said calmly.

Sitting next to the Empress and remaining silent as a church mouse, the new Secretary of Security, Zalpalatli, couldn't help but smile as the Empress slowly and methodically began her call. He picked up his special encrypted tablet, connected directly to the ASI secure network, his finger ready as he watched the Empress.

An icy chill ran down Alvarez's spine. She knew what the Empress was referring to. She had been hoping that Xiomera hadn't found out. They still hadn't been able to determine who, or how, they'd been traced by the persons who killed Tacito Fierro and almost killed Jessica Cassidy. But, of course, she couldn't admit they had done anything.

"If you are referring to the milkshake incident with your Ambassador, the Federation of Lauchenoiria extends our apologies. The protests are not, however, sanctioned by my government, so alas there is little I can do to stop them," Alvarez replied.

Yauhmi actually paused for a moment, staring at the screen on her desk as if in disbelief. Next to her, Zalpalatli's left eyebrow rose in a slight quirk. Oh dear, Prime Minister. Playing dumb is not the way to go here.

And as Yauhmi's eyebrows drew together in anger, Zalpalatli knew he was about to witness Imperial rage.

"I....do....not....speak.....of the milkshake incident, as you put it - although that kind of insult to Xiomeran honor by Lauchenoirians is indeed one of the things that....displeases me," Yauhmi said, biting off her words as if she was chewing a tough steak. "And is one of the things that the Xiomeran Empire is no longer prepared to tolerate."

Yauhmi's voice began to rise.

"You know fully well what I am really referring to, Prime Minister, so do not insult my intelligence. You have made many mistakes as the leader of your country, so you are undoubtedly used to it, but I promise you, insulting me more than you already have is not one you want to make."

The Empress actually stood up, to Zalpalatli's amazement, as her voice took on the tones of incandescent fury.

"You attempted to keep me from assuming my rightful place on the Obsidian Throne. You interfered with our society and our political process. And you supported a candidate who would have totally destroyed Xiomera and brought us to the edge of chaos. What did you think would happen if Cozamalotl won - that the two-thirds of Xiomerans who don't agree with him would have simply accepted his overturning everything we believe in and have built for six centuries? Cozamalotl wouldn't have brought us reform - he would have brought us civil war. Wasn't your own civil war in Lauchenoiria horrible enough to not feel the need to bring that kind of chaos and collapse to my people? What business is it of yours, anyway, what path Xiomera takes? Where does the profound arrogance come from, that you believe you have the right to dictate the path my people and my country should follow - especially when Lauchenoiria has followed its own path in such an inept fashion? What would make you think that you are the example Xiomera, or anyone else, must follow?"

Yauhmi's voice rose to a shout now, as she slammed her fist into the top of her desk.

"And then, you had the audacity to accuse me of cheating on my husband. You may not believe this, Prime Minister, but Xiomerans are human beings. My husband and I loved each other - and for you to dare suggest that I would be unfaithful to him - you may as well have placed a dagger right into my heart. If I seem angry, and perhaps in a dangerous mood, Prime Minister, it is precisely because I am."

Alvarez was ashamed. She hadn't expected to be. She abhorred Xiomera and everything they stood for, and yet she was still ashamed of her actions. Because under her leadership, Lauchenoiria had lowered themselves, compromised on their morals... and got caught. Denial wouldn't help her any further. So she made a choice.

"Empress... I... I apologise. You are correct, we had no right to interfere. It was a mistake. And the... the rumour was the choice of the individuals who carried out the act. I would not have sanctioned that particular part of the operation had I known. We were wrong to interfere, and I'm sorry."

Yauhmi allowed her voice to calm. After a moment, she said, "I genuinely believe that you are sorry, and that you realize that you have done wrong here. I do believe you. However, I am Xiomeran - and Xiomerans believe that lessons must be reinforced in such a way that the person being taught the lesson does not ever forget it, lest they be tempted to repeat their mistakes in the future." She nodded to Zalpalatli, who pressed a button on his tablet.

Within seconds, traffic control officials in Buttercity would begin reporting that the city's traffic control system had gone haywire. Signals stopped responding correctly, instead all flashing to red lights and staying there. Roads and highways would immediately begin to jam, as traffic would grind to a standstill.

"You will begin receiving reports shortly that your capital's roadways are suddenly experiencing a rather unusual traffic jam," the Empress said calmly. "And you will be powerless to reverse it - until I press a button, here in Tlālacuetztla. This is a small sample - a very small sample - of what the Xiomeran Empire is capable of. You would indeed be well-advised not to play technological games again with us - we are one of the most advanced states in the entire IDU, and this is child's play to us."

"Normally, I would expect declarations of outrage in the media that we interfered with your systems in such a way, possibly even retaliatory actions. I don't think you will be tempted to do that this time, Prime Minister. Because if you reveal that Xiomera did this to your capital, instead of just writing it off to your press as a mere glitch in your systems, I will have no choice but to reveal the full extent of your government's actions during the Great Selection to your people - and to mine. How would the Lauchenoirian people, fond of protest as they are, take the news that your government sanctioned an attempt to influence and interfere in another nation's political system through lies and underhanded means? How long do you think your government would stand if that news got out?" Yauhmi sighed again. "And what actions do you think my people will insist upon, if they ever discover that you tried to interfere in our Great Selection in a way that could have led us to civil war?"

Yauhmi nodded again to Zalpalatli, who pressed another button on his tablet. "You will find that your traffic control system in Buttercity will now be back under your control. But remember this lesson."

Alvarez sat silently for a few moments. She was uncertain how to respond. Yauhmi was correct. Alvarez could not ever reveal what had happened. Quite aside from the threat to her government, to her country... letting people know such a thing had occurred so shortly after the war would jeopardise their recovery. There was no course of action that she could reasonably follow. So, all she could do was speak.

"Lesson learned, Empress."

"Very good....for what it is worth, I have nothing against your people, or your country. I am just not particularly amused by you, or your government, right now. Undoubtedly, you don't think very highly of me, or my government, either at the moment," Yauhmi said with a small laugh. "But we have nations to lead, nations that must interact with each other. Therefore, we must use this situation as a way to reboot our relationship as nations - no pun intended," the Empress added with another laugh. "I doubt we will ever truly like each other, either as individuals or as governments - our ways are just too different. But we can start acting civilized to each other. That, however, requires mutual respect. I am prepared to respect Lauchenoiria's right to govern itself and live in peace if you are prepared to do the same for Xiomera - in a mutually respectful way," the Empress added. "I do, however, thank you for your congratulations on my enthronement. Have a pleasant evening, Prime Minister," Yauhmi said, hanging up the phone.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:15 pm

(Joint post with Eiria)

Alice Lancaster sat in her office, holding her head in her hands. She couldn't sleep, not while her brother insisted on staying at the hospital for when Jake gets out of surgery. She then got an idea on what to do. She used her laptop to find a certain phone number for a certain Xiomeran Attendant, and dialed.

Imperial Attendant Tlalli was even busier than she had expected. A third call, this one ringing quite late into the office. Luckily, the Golden Chamber never slept. "Office of the Golden Chamber, Imperial Attendant Tlalli speaking. How may I assist you?" she said, successfully hiding a yawn.

Alice sat forward in her chair. "Hello, This is Alice Lancaster. I was wondering if Empress Yauhmi would be open for a call."

"Of course, please allow me a moment to patch your call through, Minister," the Attendant said politely, while wondering if the Empress was even awake.

In her bedchamber, luckily, Empress Yauhmi was indeed still awake - and feeling surprisingly relaxed. Her dressing-down of the Lauchenoirian Prime Minister had left her in a pleasant mood, allowing her to work off the edge of her busy day. So, a surprisingly mellow Empress answered the phone. "Good evening, Minister Lancaster. What can I do for you?"

"Good evening, Empress. I apologise for the late hour. I regrettably had to leave Xiomera without saying congratulations, and when I arrived, I was bombarded with meetings, and now my brother in law was shot, so I'm really sorry that I haven't called sooner."

"I completely understand under the circumstances, madam. There is no need to apologize. How is your brother in law doing?" the Empress asked with concern in her voice.

"Jake's doing fine. As far as we know, the damage was minimal, and he should be in recovery soon. We believe the gunman was a member of TALFL, a terrorist group in our nation intent on turning us Fascist. It came from the remains of the Fascist government from the civil war, and has increased their power since." She found herself drowning in a wave of emotions. "Will is refusing to leave the hospital until Jake gets out of surgery."

"Such devotion and loyalty are to be admired. Please send Jake my best regards," Yauhmi said. "As for these terrorists, if Xiomera can do anything to help you with that threat, please let me know. I have dealt with my own such types here, and it cost me dearly," the Empress said, touching the gift that Lancaster had given her on their last conversation.

"I will do that." She sighed. "People like this have cost us both too much. I will see if there is anything you can help with when Will is pulled from his state of shock. I'm worried about him. When James died last year, he went into a fury. I don't know what he would do if Jake.....if Jake died." She dabbed her eyes. "I'm sorry, Madame Empress. I didn't expect to get this emotional all the sudden."

"You need not apologize. These things strike at our hearts, it is natural to be emotional," Yauhmi said. She remembered when she had first seen Topilpopoca in the hospital, after he was shot; and then when he finally passed away. She had unapologetically cried like a child, and didn't care who knew it.

"Thank you." Alice took a moment to compose herself. "Not many people know this, but I was engaged during Eiria's civil war, to a man named Adrian Thomas. He....he was shot when evacuating the Guard Navale base." She paused and reached for her bracelet, where a silver Memory Medallion with a green gem hung. "We were keeping our engagement a surprise, so only my parents, Will, Jake, and Adrian's family knew. After he died, I went into shock. Will kept me alive for the weeks that I couldn't do anything. I don't want Will to go through that kind of shock, that kind of loss."

"Trust in Jake's strength, and the strength of the gods, and he will pull through. I am sure of that," Yauhmi replied in a soothing voice. "Your strength will also help greatly; you have been through similar loss, so you know what it takes to get through something like that."

"Thank you, Madame. Well, I better go check on my brother and see if Jake is out of surgery yet. I hope I can come back to Xiomera soon, it is truly a beautiful country. Congratulations again on your election, Madame, and thank you for your reassurance."

"Of course....if there is any other reassurance I can provide, please do not hesitate to ask. And I do hope you can return to visit us soon, or that circumstances allow me to pay a visit to your country," Yauhmi replied.

"That would be lovely. Good night, your majesty."

After the call ended, Yauhmi made a small note to herself on her nearby encrypted tablet. She had been considering an international tour to introduce herself to the IDU; Eiria might be a stop worth making.

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Re: The Xiomeran Chronicles

Post by Xiomera » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:23 am

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

Juliette Greenwood was used to being ignored, passed over and treated like she didn't matter. It was the plight of a youngest daughter of a Kerlian Councillor, she who stood little chance of inheriting a seat. Yet, now, she was called on. With her mother hiding in Shen (something Juliette had been shocked to discover), and her sister in Shuell with her daughter, it fell to Juliette to ensure that their family secrets remained safe in an ever-changing world.

It was to that end that Juliette picked up the phone that day. She was somewhat nervous, when it came down to it, about making this call. If she received bad news, it would not end well for her. Still, she figured, she still had time to flee herself if necessary. So, she picked up the phone and dialled the number her sister's aide had assured her would allow her to speak to the new Xiomeran Secretary for Security.

At the Cauhloc, the Attendant for the Security Secretary greeted Greenwood politely before placing her on a brief hold. A new voice came on the line. "Madam Greenwood, this is Zalpalatli, Secretary for Security," a youngish-sounding voice said. "How may I help you today?"

"Good afternoon Secretary Zalpalatli. My name is Juliette Greenwood, I am the sister of Councillor Letitia Greenwood. As you may know, my sister is presently in Shuell, attending the Olympics. So therefore she is unable to carry out all the duties of her office where they pertain to matters of a... delicate nature," Juliette said carefully. "It is to that end I am contacting you today. You see, my sister had an... arrangement with your predecessor. I am calling to ask about the status of that arrangement."

Zalpalatli smiled. He had been expecting this call, ever since he had taken over the Secretariat's files from the previous occupant of this office. The 'arrangement' Greenwood was referring to had been one of the first things brought to his attention.

"I am fully privy now to the details of the arrangement in question, and the Secretariat has decided to maintain the arrangement as it has been. We have found our Kerlian....contractors to be both delightful and effective. We may be interested in expanding on this arrangement, in the near future."

Juliette let out a sigh of relief, making sure it couldn't be heard down the phone.

"I am very pleased to hear you are pleased with them. I am sure that, should you wish to expand the arrangement, my sister can discuss it with you more in the future once she is back in Kerlile. It pleases my family to be of help to Xiomera, and we can assure you that there are many more highly skilled individuals in Kerlile who would be glad of the work."

"That is good to know. Recent events in Xiomera have shown that there is a group of malcontents, possibly influenced by other foreign powers, that pose a small but significant threat to our future. Rooting this element out of Xiomera will require more staff on our part. I am confident we can find roles for more of your skilled individuals."

"We will be more than happy to provide what help we can. I do hope you can get to the root of the issue quickly. We have had issues in the past ourselves and it can be alarming how these groups sow dissent in the population," Juliette said darkly. "The weeds must be rooted out before they can grow."

"On that, we are in total agreement. We do not intend to let these particular weeds prosper. I anticipate your workers playing a big role in helping us with that," Zalpalatli said. "I would appreciate it if you could let your sister know that we will continue our arrangement, and to convey our appreciation for the work her referrals have done so far."

"I will do so," Juliette smiled. "I am sure they will continue to work as hard as they have done so already. It has been a pleasure speaking with you, and do let me know if there is anything more I can help you with before my sister's return."

"Of course, and if there is anything we can do for you as well, please do not hesitate to call. Have a good day, madam Greenwood," Zalpalatli said.

After the call was over, the Security Secretary opened a file on his tablet. Expansion of Project Itzpapalotl, the opened document read. The Xiomeran government did not expect the reformists who had raised their heads during the Great Selection to go away quietly. It was always good to have a contingency plan in place.

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