Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

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Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:18 pm

Tlālacuetztla, the capital of Xiomera, was normally an incredibly bustling and crowded city, full of frenetic activity. But on the 12th of October, beginning at 8:30 am, the greatest metropolis in the entire Empire came to an eerily silent halt.

Cities across Xiomera were experiencing the same phenomenon, for one reason. The time had come for the Xiomeran Empire to bid farewell to the man who had ruled it for almost twenty years.

Beginning at 8:30 am, a long motorcade carrying the Emperor's body left the Palace of Flowers to travel through Montelin and into downtown Tlālacuetztla to carry his body to the Huēyi Teōcalli, the great temple to Huītzilōpōchtli. Crowds lined the entire motorcade path; some waved Xiomeran flags, while others carried pictures of the Emperor in various noble poses. Many people could be seen crying as the motorcade traveled down streets with lightposts draped in black and flying the Xiomeran flag as well.

If anyone had had a mind to protest or try to disrupt the motorcade and its carefully choreographed spectacle for television, the presence of huge numbers of police and soldiers, all dressed in their finest uniforms but carrying weapons that were anything but ceremonial, would have caused any such thoughts to be quickly put in the back of one's mind and best forgotten. The rather rough response to the protest at the Palace of Flowers just weeks earlier would no doubt still be weighing heavily on the minds of those who didn't find the day of Topilpopoca's funeral a reason to mourn.

At the Huēyi Teōcalli, the crowds thronged outside in silent mourning as the motorcade entered the temple grounds. After the motorcade, a steady stream of limousines bearing high officials, family members and foreign dignitaries would enter the grounds.

As guests arrived, they were escorted to designated seating areas in the main temple. Family members were seated up front, followed by Xiomeran officials, and foreign dignitaries right behind them. As the soft buzz and murmur of people finding their seats finally came to an end, a series of bells were rung. A man draped in long golden robes, with a severe face, walked onto the dais at the front of the temple. He strode to the front of the dais and raised his hands above his head. The excellent acoustics of the Huēyi Teōcalli - and the microphone he discreetly wore - ensured everyone in the temple could hear him, and that the domestic and foreign media who had been allowed inside to broadcast the event could as well.

"People of Xiomera, and foreign dignitaries who have come to pay respect. I am Atlhuitzcoatl, high priest of Huītzilōpōchtli and keeper of the sacred Huēyi Teōcalli. We have come today to mark the end of the life of the great Emperor Topilpopoca. While a great man has fallen, the great Empire he was privileged to lead has not. If we truly seek to honor his memory and his legacy, as his soul prepares to face the nine challenges on his path to the underworld, let us prepare to face the challenges that Xiomera faces after he has fallen with the same power and honor that the great Emperor will no doubt show on his own path."

At this moment, the darkened area behind Atlhuitzcoatl was suddenly bathed in bright light, which reflected off of a golden altar with stunning brilliance. On the altar, the body of Topilpopoca lay, draped in jaguar skins, feathers from many birds, and fine jewelry. Surrounding the Emperor's body around the altar were the things he would need for his trip to the underworld: food, drink, clothes, tools, weapons, and fine valuables to serve as gifts for the lord of the underworld who would receive his soul.

As the body of Topilpopoca was illuminated, Atlhuitzcoatl raised his hands again and began reciting a series of prayers in Huenyan, to the accompaniment of drums and the soft chanting of other priests.

In the area of benches closest to the altar, Yauhmi and Texōccoatl, the wife and son of Topilpopoca, looked up at the altar. Both of their faces bore a mixture of mourning and determination in their expressions. Behind them in the next row of benches, Tepilcayotl nodded his head soberly as the rest of the Cabinet stood stonefaced.

"As the great Emperor Topilpopoca begins his journey to Mictlān, let us prepare him for the challenges ahead." The priest of Huītzilōpōchtli then turned to the body of Topilpopoca, closing his eyes and pouring water from a jeweled vase over his head. Atlhuitzcoatl then placed a jade stone under the Emperor's tongue. He then began placing pieces of amatl tree bark paper upon the Emperor's body.

"With this water, we return Topilpopoca to the womb of the earth. With this jade, we provide his soul the wealth needed to make the trip to Mictlān. With this paper of amatl, we provide him what is needed for safe passage past the nine challenges of the underworld. With these offerings, we commend the soul and spirit of Topilpopoca to its final resting place, and provide him all that is needed to ensure his return."

Atlhuitzcoatl then walked in front of the altar, raising his hands dramatically as he walked forward. With a sudden whoosh, the pyre on top of the altar burst into flames. As the flames rose to life, a large curtain then fell behind Atlhuitzcoatl, sparing the audience the sight of the actual cremation.

It was enough for the audience to know that Topilpopoca, the Emperor of Xiomera, was now truly gone, on his long trip to the underworld. The crowd would then be given a moment to somberly pay his departing soul respect in their thoughts.
Last edited by Xiomera on Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:07 pm

(Jointly Written With Xiomera)

After the Service was done, Alice Lancaster, in her dark indigo dress, went up to pay her respects. She stopped before the pyre for a moment, praying, and went to talk to Empress Yauhmi. "I'm so very sorry for your loss, Madame Empress. He was a good man.". She said, handing the Empress her bouquet of Eirian Indigo Roses and dark purple Daimēt flowers.

Yauhmi took the flowers with a polite bow of her head. "Thank you for the flowers and the kind words as well, Minister Lancaster. It is very gracious of you to say so. My husband was indeed a good man, who wanted the best for Xiomera. It is a shame that a life spent in service to his people had to end in this way. I pray that your people never have to suffer such a loss."
Alice smiled sadly. "I pray that no one should have to suffer a loss like this. Also, I have a gift for you and your son". She pulled out two small Jewelry boxes. Each box held a small silver medallion, engraved with Topilpopoca's name, and with a small red gem at the top. "They are Memory Medallions. They aren't common outside of Eiria, and are a bit more traditional".

Upon receiving the medallions, both Yauhmi and Texōccoatl, the Emperor's son, seemed a bit stunned. "These are very beautiful and very thoughtful. We will treasure these gifts always." Yauhmi smiled at the medallion, the first smile that had crossed her face in quite some time. "Will your delegation be remaining in Xiomera long? We would like the chance to show you as much honor as you have shown us with these gifts.".
Alice thought for a second. "I believe we are staying for a couple more days. I'd be honored by your company." She smiled back. "Xiomera's a beautiful country. I couldn't just leave that soon".
"Excellent. We will be having a private dinner tomorrow at the Palace, and I would be honored if you could attend. It would be nice to have such pleasant company at a time like this. And if you are interested in learning more about Xiomera, there is no finer place than the Palace of Flowers to do so."

"Thank you very much, Madame. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn more about your nation, but wish it wasn't under such sad circumstances".
"I agree, but we can take this as an opportunity as well. Even in moments of disaster, there is always opportunity. Until tomorrow, then, madam Minister. We shall look forward to it." Yauhmi gave another polite nod before sweeping out of the temple with her delegation in tow.
After they were gone, Alice subconsciously checked her wrist. She wore a silver bracelet, which had two memory medallions hanging from it. One for her older Brother, one for her fiance. Two losses she would never, ever, forget.
Last edited by Democratic Republic Of Eiria on Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:36 pm

Kerlians

Three Councillors and a President sat beside each other in silence throughout the service. President Rebecca Arnott seemed genuinely upset at the Emperor's passing - perhaps because he had helped her out of an impossible situation, perhaps because she had genuinely liked the man... or perhaps she was just an emotional person. Regardless of her reasons, she sat as one is meant to at a funeral - respectfully and looking sad.

Councillor Pauline Pierre, on the other hand, had only cried twice as an adult - once when her eldest daughter Olivia had been arrested at an anti-torture protest (a rite of passage for rebellious Kerlian teenagers, it seemed), and once in fear when she had thought she was destined to go to a Sanctarian prison. This was not to be the third time. It wasn't that she didn't care for Topilpopoca, she had actually liked the man and was saddened to see him pass, but she hadn't even cried at her own mother's funeral. She mourned in an untraditional manner, and she had embraced the label of heartless her opponents back home had given her. Nevertheless, given the politics of the situation, she faked sadness very well, and an observer would not know she was secretly scheming inside her head.

Next to her, Councillor Letitia Greenwood sat the entire time with her head bowed respectfully, though she kept glancing at Tepilcayotl. They were due to have a meeting tomorrow, and she was, if one was honest, excited at the prospect. She hadn't known Topilpopoca, but the assassination had given her an opening to forge a relationship with someone who might possibly be the next Emperor, and she wasn't going to squander it. Their arrangement killed two birds with one stone - the unemployed torturers were a threat if left too long without the level of income they were used to. Renting some out to foreign countries could be a very good system to deal with Arnott's reforms.

The fourth Kerlian, Councillor Carmen Robinson, had red eyes. If one knew Robinson, then one would know that her reason for being so upset had nothing to do with the individual, and everything to do with her new tendency to become overly emotional at everything. She hadn't even much liked Topilpopoca, but since her own imprisonment, Robinson cried at everything. She'd had to excuse herself from a Council session once after Pierre killed a spider as she was upset at its death. She knew fine well that what her people had done to her had broken her a little.

At the end of the service, all four Kerlians lined up to pay their respects to Yauhmi. Councillors Robinson and Greenwood exchanged the standard condolences and then excused themselves. Arnott and Pierre took slightly longer, both arranging meetings with Yauhmi in the next few days so they could discuss things in more detail. On their way out, after these exchanges, Arnott and Pierre eyed each other somewhat suspiciously, questioning each other's motives. The tension within the Kerlian delegation could be cut with a knife.

*
Lauchenoirians

Samantha Clavell stood following the service and glanced around the room. She knew fine well that Alvarez had sent her here to show the Xiomerans that they were not important to Lauchenoiria, given her relatively low status. The Lauchenoirian government had no intention of improving their hostile relationship with Xiomera, and this was proof.

Unfortunately for Alvarez, and fortunately for world peace, Samantha Clavell had other ideas. She had never envisioned herself as a politician at all, much less a government minister - she had spent her life at pacifist rallies, protests and had spent some time living in a tent near the Kerlian border at a protest camp against the Matriarchy's aggression. She had been arrested by Lauchenoiria's old communist regime for participating in protests five times. But now, she was in a position of relative power, and she was determined to use this to prevent hostilities ever breaking out in her homeland again.

She knew, however, that given the Xiomerans recent relations with Lauchenoiria, and the view many would take of Alvarez's decision to send Clavell, meant that the end of a funeral was a bad time to try and approach matters. So instead she merely took note of who was in attendance, of who was speaking to whom, and after about half the guests had left the vicinity, she followed, bowing her head respectfully. She would go back to where she had privacy, collate her mental notes on the attendees, and prepare to speak to someone, anyone, who would give her the chance to try and mend the relationship between their country and hers.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Shen » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:11 pm

The Imperial delegation from the Empire of shen had already been up and awake for hours by the time It even boarded the limousine and joined the motorcade to the funeral.

Wu Zhou had already gotten up at 3:30 a.m. to begin her preparation for the funeral.

One of the servants that had joined her on this journey, woke her up at best cold and lonely hour and soon woke up her daughter. The pair had begun the long-drawn-out process of preparation almost instantly. First sharing a large and hearty breakfast, knowing that they would have few opportunities to eat throughout the rest of the day.

After showering the Princess finally sat down, and her staff began the long process of styling her. First came her outfits for the event. Choosing a traditional outfit. Black robes with a muted red highlight. Topped off with her silver tiara.

After that her daughter joined her, wearing a similar black robe but with green highlights instead of red. They sat next to each other as their staff Worked diligently at applying makeup. The mother and daughter keeping each other entertained with slide remarks and jokes.

When the process was almost done, the Prince-General joined his sister and his niece. Wearing his black dress uniform complete with a black cloak and white fur brim. The small line of ribbons over his chest and the few metals that he had one all being polished to a mirror finish.

Everything was set for the day ahead. When they finally boarded their limousines enjoying the motorcade The Princess and the Prince sat next to each other finally having a moment to talk.

"... who's first on your list brother?"

"Im meeting with Xochiqui and Cuālincōcatle after the funeral. I'm promising them joint military training exercises between the shen and Xiomerain empire, in the event of them supporting our chosen candidate. And if she wins the Empire will order 6 new frigates and two new support vessels that day. That should get the defense industry on our side. After that I'm going to attend a meetings with Admiral Tlālpantlizal and General Cuauh'ez offering them the same thing. I know Cuauh'ez has been itching for joint operations between his Jaguar Warriors and the Imperial Guard for some time now. "

The princess knoded her head, briefly turning her attention towards the massive crowds of mourners.

She wondered how many of them were actually genuinely saddened by the loss of their leader. She wondered how many people would show up, when it was her mother's time to go. She wondered how many people will show up if she ever got the opportunity to die an empress.

"Ihuitl is someone we have to get on our side. Offering them reduced prices for natural resources from state-owned mines and improved access to our consumers will get him on our side"

"Cuitōnzitl is not going to like that. We already undercut the domestic mineral market as it is. Reducing even more barriers is going to get quite a few mineral magnet upset"

" I know. I'm just hoping but we can do this quietly so that doesn't become an issue. Discretion is the key to these sort of things"

" i know...Pa'zi and his petroleum people on our list?"


" no. We can't afford to sacrifice our energy Independence any more than we already have. Relying on the natural gas and oil fields in mologon is already a massive security issue"

The prince nodded in agreement as they pulled up to the funeral.

" we will talk about this more after the funeral"


The shen arrived just after the councillors of Kerille. Taking a bit longer to climb out of the limousines because of the elaborateness of their clothing. But regardless they made their way into the Huēyi Teōcalli.

They were ushered in close to the counselors that had preceded them. The princess didn't seem to mind and the prince had more important things to worry about, but Biyu, the daughter princess Wu made sure that she was in the front of their perception. She was seated closest to the counselors.

the youngest member of the Imperial delegation always had a strange fascination with the matriarchy. Her mother had been more thus far willing to nurture her interest in other cultures with books and even letting her meet ambassadors. But she never gotten this close before.

The princess took her seat right behind Pierre and the delegation remained quiet throughout the rest of the funeral. Silently offering prayer in their native language, in their head to join the choir a prayer going to heaven.

It certainly didn't hurt the emperor to put in a good word with another set of deities, Just in case.

When it was all over in the emperor's body had been burnt to ash the delegation joined the line of mourners giving their personal dedication to the former Empress

Biyu was first.

The 14 year old bowed her head in the presence of royalty.

" I'm so sorry for your loss"

She was followed by her two older cousins. First came the lieutenant and then the ensign, but they both said the same thing.

" my condolences empress. May he rest in peace"

Prince-general wu what's next

" your husband was a man of uncompromising character and great honor. The world has lost a man it can never replace"

The Prince and his wife stepped back allowing the princess to say her own words. Like the other mourners she got in close so that she could be heard over the crowds of people making their way out of the Temple. But she got in closer than most. Close enough where she could whisper directly into the empresses ear.


" as a widow myself I know the loss that you're going through. My mother is distraught with the loss of one of her best friends. With this tragedy going on you and me need to sit down and discuss how we're going to honor his legacy, and keep what he helps to build between our Country Strong"

She stepped back and gave her a polite bow before the congregation finally exited the building.

From there they split up and headed to their own seperate meetings. Determined to add another Empress to the list of the world leaders

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:43 pm

Jointly written with Xiomera

The Cauhloc, Xiomera
Sunday 13th October 2019

Letitia Greenwood sat inside the limousine the Xiomerans had provided for her, staring out at the city. Tlalacuetzla was much larger than Grapevale, and far brighter. She couldn't help but stare at the tall buildings as they drove past. There weren't many skyscrapers in Kerlile, with the cities full of smaller buildings. The height wasn't necessary in an underpopulated country with a shrinking population, after all.

She was impressed with the accommodations the Xiomerans had given her and her fellow Councillors. The limousine was very high-end, and she was very happy at the respect they had been shown. Kerlians were unused to being treated well abroad, and despite her faults, Greenwood had to give President Arnott credit for forming this alliance.

She was due to meet with Tepilcayotl, the frontrunner in what passed for an election in Xiomera - and the man she had previously offered torturers to. She was curious about how her professional interrogators were getting on in Xiomera, and she was rather excited about the idea of the man she had helped out in such a big way possibly becoming Emperor.

Soon they approached the intimidating building that was the Cauhloc, and she nodded in appreciation. Traditionalist Kerlians were, after all, great fans of a little intimidating. She was almost sad, however, to leave the limousine which was rather comfortable. She was greeted at the entrance by a pair of ASI agents, who escorted her to Tepilcayotl's office.

The two agents had greeted Greenwood at the main entrance to the Security Secretariat headquarters with flawless politeness before escorting her to the top level of the building. Tepilcayotl's office was more geared towards efficiency than comfort, but the Xiomerans had clearly made an effort to make Greenwood feel welcome. As she was escorted into the office, the Security Secretary stood up, giving a slight bow. "Councillor Greenwood, I am honored to have you pay us a visit," Tepilcayotl said smoothly. "Please have a seat. Would you like some coffee or tea?"

"Secretary Tepilcayotl, it is a pleasure to meet you in person," Greenwood said, sliding into her seat effortlessly as she took in the room around her and smiling at the secretary. "I am glad you agreed to meet with me. I would love some coffee with milk please. I am impressed with your country. This city is far larger than our own, though it is our hope that our cities can grow in the future."

Tepilcayotl smiled as Greenwood made herself comfortable and was handed a cup of Xiomeran coffee by an attendant, who then left the room. "It took a long time, and a lot of hard work, to build Xiomera. Our country was not always as prosperous as this. But anything is possible, and we hope to help Kerlile achieve a similar level of success. Our results were achieved by a long struggle to make ourselves a stable and secure society, a struggle that I know you can appreciate, given your own nation's history," he added.

"It is proving difficult for us to achieve stability, yes. And the recent so-called 'reforms' have not helped, but rather only served to drive our country into chaos," she shook her head, sipping her coffee. "I pray we can get back on the right track. I also would like to express my condolences once more on Emperor Topilpopoca's death. If there is anything more I can do to help, please do not hesitate to ask. I hope the assistance I have provided already has been useful."

Tepilcayotl chuckled softly at Greenwood's comment about the assistance that had been provided. "Thank you for your condolences. As a friend of Topilpopoca, I appreciate them more than most. Your help has been most useful indeed. We are quite grateful for it. If you would like to see your countrywomen, or our facilities, I would be quite happy to accommodate that."

"Really? I'd be very interested to see them," Greenwood perked up even more. She hadn't been expecting such an offer and she was rather pleased. She was quite interested to see Xiomera's facilities. "How is Adelina Sasaki? Before I became a Councillor, I used to work with her. I was briefly an analyst for the Kerlian Intelligence Service during our civil war."

Tepilcayotl, for his part, took a sharper interest upon realizing that Greenwood had herself been an intelligence officer. He had served his own time in the depths of both ASI and military intelligence, so having someone who was familiar with that world was a nice rarity. "Ms. Sasaki is doing well. She seems to have settled in nicely here and has already produced quite a bit of effective intelligence for us concerning the assassination," he said, standing up and politely gesturing for Greenwood to follow him. As the two walked, Tepilcayotl took Greenwood through a brief but thorough tour of the Cauhloc's facilities, highlighting their various functions. As they finally headed to the lower level, where interrogations were held, Tepilcayotl paused in his somewhat exuberant demonstration of his favorite place. "Are your facilities in Kerlile similar to ours? I know you can't reveal too much for security reasons. But it is nice to compare notes," he said with a slight chuckle.

"Somewhat, although we spread our functions across more buildings. Much of it is underground, the region in which we keep such facilities is mountainous, and, well, it hides the size from our enemies," she laughed, though it was not clear whether or not her statement was a joke or the laugh was to cover up the seriousness. "What is kept in the Restricted Region is highly classified. And much of it is being shut down now on President Arnott's orders, though I do not know what she plans to replace the essential functions based there with. Despite the reputation, it is not just one giant prison. Various useful activities take place there. Although I would say the branch of our intelligence service based in Grapevale bears something of a resemblance."

"Ah....we also have many other facilities around Xiomera. This is just the most important one," Tepilcayotl replied. "It did also concern me, to be honest, when President Arnott decided to shut down the Restricted Region. I do hope that does not hinder your ability to maintain control - although it is not my place to criticize your nation's decisions, of course," he added quickly. "Xiomera will always be ready to aid Kerlile if needed, assuming the right decision is made when we choose a new Emperor."

"Thank you for your support. I do hope the correct decision is made here, unlike back home. I was very disappointed in our result. I hope no nation makes the same mistakes again," Greenwood said carefully. "People often feel the need to change a system that works perfectly well. It is a shame."

"It is indeed a shame. In time, however, all mistakes can be fixed," Tepilcayotl said enigmatically. "Of course, in Xiomera, we are hoping to avert any mistakes here. There are some candidates for Emperor who would take us down a dangerous road. This would prove detrimental both to us and to our allies. Ah, here we are," he said as the elevator slid to a stop. The two of them exited into the detention block, where Tepilcayotl led Greenwood to the area where interrogations took place. "Good morning. Could you ask Ms. Sasaki and Ms. Adema to come here, please?" he asked an attendant. The attendant was quick to comply, bringing the two Kerlians to the main room.

Upon seeing Councillor Greenwood, the two interrogators snapped doubly to attention and lowered their eyes respectfully. They remained silent, awaiting permission to speak. Adelina Sasaki was dressed smartly and looked like she had been doing paperwork. To her shame, Mariya Adema was a mess, and despite her usual personality, she was trembling slightly to be in the presence of a Councillor - such a reaction was, after all, trained into Kerlians young.

“Adelina, you look well,” Councillor Greenwood addressed the woman, gesturing with her hand subtly in a manner that would mean nothing to most people, but to a Kerlian meant permission had been granted to speak and make eye contact. “Have you been enjoying your time in Xiomera?”

“It has been informative, Councillor. I have been very focused on my work, of course. It is important that we are of use here,” Adelina responded.

“Of course, and I am certain you are making sure the others have as strong a work ethic as you do. I hope you have found something other than work to do, of course! I know how you get overly focused.”

“I have started language lessons. It is… difficult.”

“I can imagine!” Greenwood laughed, then turned to Mariya. “You have a stain on your shirt.”

Mariya did not respond, except to grip her hands behind her back even tighter at the criticism. The mention of the stain was far less offensive to her than the fact she hadn’t been granted permission to speak. She had never met the Councillor before in person, but clearly she hadn’t made a good first impression. She was rather distraught, though she hid it.

“Join me for dinner tonight,” Greenwood turned back to Adelina. It was not a suggestion, but an order. “I am sure that she can have one night off?” Greenwood asked of Tepilcayotl.

"Of course. She's certainly earned it. We have been very pleased with both of their work," Tepilcayotl said. "They've both helped with two very critical cases: the Emperor's assassination and the terrorist movement calling itself One Huenya. Bringing them into our service has been one of the most beneficial decisions I've made in a while," Tepilcayotl said.

"I am very pleased to hear that, Secretary," Greenwood smiled, then turned to Mariya and repeated her earlier gesture. "No need to look so frightened, Ms. Adema. I think you've both done a splendid job."

"Thank you, ma'am," Mariya visibly relaxed and nodded respectfully to the Councillor.

"So, I will let them get back to work now, of course. I did not want to disturb your operations," Greenwood said to Tepilcayotl.

"It's no trouble. Indeed, it has been nice discussing our operations and facilities with someone who can actually understand what we do. I find most people don't have quite the stomach for it," Tepilcayotl replied. After giving the two interrogators a polite nod of dismissal, he led Greenwood back out of the lower levels.

Once the pair were back in the office, and more coffee had been acquired, Greenwood settled down and took a sip, then looked Tepilcayotl in the eye.

"I will be rather blunt about this, as I would to a fellow Councillor. I hope you do not mind. You have been a great friend to Kerlile at our time of need, and I fear some of your opponents would not be so willing to work with us. I would like to help you, if I can, to improve your chances of being elected Emperor. How may I help you?"

"I appreciate people being direct, Councillor. While subtlety is often required in our line of work, being direct saves time." Tepilcayotl sipped his coffee before putting it down and getting to business. "The nature of our 'election' here is such that a great deal of behind the scenes work is required. Dealmaking, convincing various people in various ways to vote for the candidate you favor....either nicely or not so nicely. Money is the easiest way, whether through direct payments or through business or trade offers. Also, if incriminating information or things that would otherwise discredit one of my opponents can be found, that would work as well. If need be, things can be fabricated, as long as they can't be proven false until after the election. If there are any ways you can help, that would be greatly appreciated. Unlike our chat now, however, this is a scenario that does require subtlety." The Secretary paused, then looked at Greenwood. "I am grateful for the assistance you've provided with the Kerlian contractors you have supplied. If you can aid my bid for Emperor, I would be even more grateful. And more importantly, in the best possible position to thank you, and Kerlile, appropriately and fairly for your assistance."

"Given that trade between our two nations is increasing, I am sure I can convince some Kerlian businesses to offer favourable business offers that benefit certain individuals," Greenwood smiled, finishing her coffee. "In terms of hard cash my nation is somewhat... short, presently, but I will see what can be done. And in terms of information, I can make a few calls back home to some individuals who may be able to deliver certain files. And I recognise the need for subtlety in this situation, of course. Even among my own people I do not trust certain other Councillors. My advice would be to keep your eye on Carmen Robinson. I do not know what she plans - but I know it will not benefit either you or me."

"Indeed....I have my own misgivings about her, and even President Arnott, although I do respect her as head of state," Tepilcayotl said carefully. He didn't think the remark would offend Greenwood, given her position on reform, but it was best to proceed slowly. "The subject of reform, both here and in Kerlile, seems to be a sore subject. And an ill-timed and ill-omened one."

"The damage on our economy has been increased by our reformists. President Arnott is... mistaken. Although, I will confess she is not quite as bad as I thought she would be. She seems... moveable. If one was to work hard on her. Give her offers of things that benefit her and policies that keep up her reformist image while watering down their goals... and she could become, well, acceptable," Greenwood said carefully. "I would still prefer someone else but she is better than Hale or Robinson. She is an opportunist at heart."

"That does seem more promising. If she can be convinced to be pragmatic, perhaps we can work with her. It would be much easier if there was a change of leadership, however. Perhaps given time, we can both help each other in that regard," Tepilcayotl said calmly with another sip of his coffee.

"Perhaps we can. My country's problems can wait though. Right now, we must focus on what is happening here in Xiomera. I will do my best to help you, I promise," Greenwood said.

"Your support is greatly appreciated. And you are, of course, correct. We can't put the cart before the horse, after all. Securing my election is the key before anything else can happen. I am confident that with your help, we will be that much closer to victory." Tepilcayotl put his cup down. "Do you have othee business to attend to today? I have greatly enjoyed this visit, but I do not wish to monopolize your time."

"It is not strictly business, but I was hoping to go on a tour of the city. I have travelled outside Kerlile only rarely, and I am interested to see more," Greenwood replied. "I have enjoyed our conversation, and I wish you the very best of luck in the election."

"Thank you again, Councilor. If there is anything else we can do during your visit, please do not hesitate to ask. You are welcome to use our state vehicle for as long as you wish - the driver will take you to any site you wish to visit. We do just ask that you remain with our diplomatic security - after what happened with the Emperor, we are eager to keep everyone visiting safe," Tepilcayotl said, standing up and walking Greenwood out.

After the Councillor had been escorted to the limousine, Tepilcayotl returned to his desk and plunged back into his dual duties of preparing for the funeral of Topilpopoca and preparing his own election bid. He allowed himself the luxury of cautious optimism.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:24 pm

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

The Xōhuitlto
Official residence of the Secretary of Scientific Development and Advancement
Sunday, October 13th


Unlike the large and grand official residences of other Cabinet officials, the Xōhuitlto was a relatively small building. Built in 1855, it had been the first Western-style library built in Xiomera, during the modernization of the country under Camaxtica. It had long since ceased serving as a public library, but was still a building full of books.

That suited Cozamalotl just fine. He had little use for the trappings of power. A house with plenty of books - real books, not the irksome Cala tablets everyone seemed to carry these days - and a nice garden was all Cozamalotl had ever wanted.

Until the reformers had come calling, in the wake of the Emperor's shooting. They had drafted him to be their leader, in their quixotic bid to change Xiomera by going straight to the top. Cozamalotl sighed, setting his latest book acquisition down on the side table and taking a final sip of coffee before standing up. Until the assassination of Topilpopoca, he had rarely had visitors. Now, they were a frequent occurrence.

This visitor, however, promised to be interesting. Cozamalotl walked out to the garden in the rear of the Xōhuitlto, standing near where a table had been prepared with light refreshments, and waited for his guest to arrive.

Soon enough, a sleek black official limousine pulled into the front drive. The two ASI agents accompanying Councillor Carmen Robinson stepped out first, with a quick check for security, before one of them opened the door for her. Cozamalotl's personal guard led her around the house to the garden.

As she walked up, Cozamalotl gave a short bow of respect. "Councillor Robinson, welcome to my home. Please have a seat. Can I get you something to drink? Or perhaps a small snack?" he said, gesturing to the table prepared with an array of beverages and local delicacies.

Councillor Robinson smiled widely at Cozamalotl. She hadn't slept very well, feeling the whole time like she was being watched - and she likely had been, by Pierre's people, or at least her allies. She had felt like this since the hack of the Council archive. So she was very relieved to spend some time away from her own people.

"Thank you so much, I would love to try some Xiomeran food. It is lovely to meet you. I'm pleased you agreed to meet with me," she said.

"I am pleased as well. I rarely have visitors, especially ones from other countries. My Cabinet position is not, sadly, considered one of the important ones. Except when the business or defense types come calling, of course," Cozamalotl said in a wry tone of voice as he put together a selection of various foods for Robinson to sample and allowed her to pick a beverage. He then poured himself a glass of local sparkling water before having a seat himself. "I hope the relatively informal setting doesn't bother you. I'm not sure how things are done on the Council, but the pomp and circumstance that our government here in Xiomera insists on draping itself in frankly gets on my nerves at times," he said with a laugh.

"I feel the same way about some of the pointless traditions of the Matriarchy. They follow them to the letter when it suits them, and violate it when it suits them too. The hardline traditionalists, I mean. Pierre, Patel, Greenwood," Robinson said, biting into a piece of food and making a noise of appreciation. She washed down the bite with some of her drink before she spoke again. "I wanted to meet with you because I believe that we have similar aims for both our nations. I wish to see Kerlile end our more... disturbing practices. We are making progress, of course, but it is not fast enough in my opinion. Change is a necessary part of growing as a nation, and I believe positive change is needed both in Kerlile and abroad. I hope you share a similar view."

Cozamalotl's eyebrows rose at Robinson's statement, before settling into their normal position as he smiled in return. "I do indeed, and that is also refreshing to hear - both from a Kerlian, and just to hear anyone openly expressing such ideas in Xiomera." He shook his head slightly. "I feel that Kerlile is actually ahead of Xiomera in that regard. You're at least trying to reform - if you even bring the subject up here you tend to end up in a steel box."

"I am fairly confident your government will not have me killed. Though my own had me... I'm sure you've heard. They will always try to frighten opponents. We must try our hardest to avoid becoming frightened," Robinson said, though at the same time she glanced around nervously. For all her words, she was indeed afraid of what she was saying. But she was determined to push forward regardless. "Merely discussing the topic should not carry a penalty. I am advocating no specific actions at this time," she added, more for the benefit of anyone listening in than the man who sat before her.

"You could shout that you want Xiomera to reform from the walls of the Palace of Flowers and face no harm - from Xiomerans, at least. No one here would dare - we all value our alliance with Kerlile too highly," Cozamalotl said calmly. "Now, if I did it - well. That's what convinced me to run for Emperor, ultimately. It will be the first time in Xiomera that someone will be able to advocate openly for reform and have a nationwide media audience to do so safely. Those opposed to reform here won't embarrass the nation or damage the so-called sanctity of the Great Selection by dragging me off in handcuffs. It is truly a great opportunity, no matter the outcome for me."

Cozamalotl paused for a moment. "I did hear about what had happened to you. During this time here, you are safe. I do not think anyone would dare disrupt the serenity of my home, but in any event, I do take extensive measures to discourage and thwart eavesdroppers. Being the nation's top scientist does have some benefits."

"I am relieved to hear that. It was... not pleasant. I hope and pray that nothing like that every happens to you - or to anyone else for that matter," Robinson swallowed, pausing and looking down. After a moment she took a large gulp of her drink then continued. "We must stop such things from ever happening again, anywhere. There is a reason, though, that I no longer fear to speak of such things. It will no longer make a difference for me. They will do as they will do regardless."

"I admire your strength after going through that," Cozamalotl said softly. "That kind of violence happens here in Xiomera too, far often than those in power allow to become public. I suppose it is slightly hypocritical for me to blame those in power for the excesses, as if I am not a member of the Cabinet. But if I can become Emperor, I can bring such practices to an end here in Xiomera and punish those responsible. That's a start. Every country needs that spark. You could be the same for Kerlile, you know. You better than anyone - you know what it's like to endure such a crime."

"It saddens me to hear that it happens more often here than is reported," Robinson said, gripping her glass tightly even though she had finished her drink. "It is something nobody should ever experience. I am... not who I was before. This has destroyed much of me. My people would never appoint me President, though. I wouldn't want it, to be frank. I don't consider myself able to take such a job after that. I fear I will become unstable very quickly should anything ever happen again. I would like to see an Emperor who will bring reforms to Xiomera, however. Although I fear my people don't agree. They fear that change here would impact on our relationship."

"They have good reason to be concerned. As most Xiomerans do, I consider Kerlile a friendly nation to us. But unless President Arnott was serious about instituting reforms, I could not in good conscience continue supporting such a government. I would be afraid of prolonging the delay before real change actually came to Kerlile, and the Kerlian people don't deserve that. One of the reasons this Empire has survived for so long, bad as it is, is that the world finds it more profitable to trade with Xiomera rather than try to force it to change. Propping up bad governments only prolongs the misery of their people. I will say though - those on your Council who will at least listen to the idea of change would find me far less of a threat than they may think," Cozamalotl said while refreshing Robinson's beverage.

"That is... good to know," Robinson said, picking up the glass and trying to swallow her nerves and mild disappointment with the liquid. She had been concerned that President Arnott had been correct when she had worried about their future relationship. Regardless of whether or not Kerlile was going to change, the Council would be afraid of a candidate that would consider breaking off their relationship under any circumstances. "I understand your point of view, even agree with it... but my people would not be able to support you under the circumstances."

"I understand. The situation in Kerlile is difficult, and we have been one of the few lifelines your people have had to survive. I do fear the Xiomeran government is exploiting that need, but that is a matter for another time, perhaps." Cozamalotl smiled and took another sip from his glass, looking around the garden before turning back to Robinson. "I will have a very tough path to victory anyway, so it is understandable that the Council would not want to back a long shot and put things at risk. I am curious, though.....how do you, personally, feel about this election?"

Robinson took a bite of food and savoured it, giving herself time to think about the question. When she had asked for this meeting she had had high hopes that she would find a pro-reform candidate who could also be counted on to back Kerlile. She was disappointed that it seemed conditional. She had to make a decision though, so at last she put down the food and sighed.

"I am choosing to remain neutral in this election. I wish you the best of luck," she said sadly. She had wanted to support him, but... she couldn't risk committing treason again.

"I do thank you for that. I hope that you have the best of luck as well. I would simply hope that you do not give up on the idea of reform. In both our countries, we face a very long road ahead, and it is not likely to be an easy one. But we must not give up." Cozamalotl paused again for a moment. "Even if I do not win this election - which is a very likely possibility - those of us who favor change should at least remain in communication with each other. You never know when the winds will change and make such connections useful."

"I will not give up, I promise," smiled Robinson. "I can't say the same for my people, unfortunately, but I know that I and Jennifer Hale will remain committed. I really do wish you the best of luck. And I am always open to remaining in contact with like-minded individuals, regardless of what I can officially do."

"Then this meeting has been fruitful after all," Cozamalotl replied. "If we both keep trying, in both our countries, we will get there in the end. I would be grateful if you could convey my best wishes to Jennifer Hale as well. And I will also remain open to further contact from anyone who shares our desire for change." Cozamalotl leaned back in his chair, enjoying the slight breeze. "You're welcome to stay and chat as long as you like. I imagine it must be nice to escape from watchful eyes for a bit - both Kerlian and Xiomeran ones," he added. "I do enjoy escaping here for that same reason."

"Very much so. Pauline - Councillor Pierre - has been having me watched for days now. It has been exhausting. I would like to spend some more time with you, if you'll have me," Robinson replied, sitting back and taking a sip of her drink. "And please, call me Carmen. I'm sorry I cannot do more, but, well, I know more than most what happens when one from my country does something that is harmful to our affairs."

"There is no need to apologize, Carmen. Xiomera is much the same way, so the risks are quite real and not to be laughed off. In your position, even more so. But yes, let us talk more. I am most curious to learn more about Kerlile - like Xiomera, the only picture the outside world normally gets of Kerlile is a highly curated one. I am at your disposal if there is anything you would like to learn about Xiomera as well. Or, we can sit and enjoy the sunset and talk about whatever you like."

A few hours later, after a most entertaining conversation, Cozamalotl waved goodbye from the front of his home as the official limousine carried Robinson back to the Palace. While he hadn't quite gotten what he had wanted, he still didn't consider it a wasted errand. Learning is its own reward, he reminded himself gently as he walked back inside. And who knows what will grow from the seed planted today?

Cozamalotl comforted himself with that thought as he headed back inside. He still had a lot of work to do.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:33 am

Xiomeran National Museum and Archives
Monday, October 14th (morning)


(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

Samantha Clavell was exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to go home. Her visit to Xiomera was going terribly. The Xiomerans had declined to provide her with accommodation, unlike all the other guests, and with the budget stretched, she was staying in a 3-star hotel. The people in the next room had had an argument in the middle of the night, keeping her awake.

While her Kerlian counterparts rode around in limousines, she had been assigned the most basic model of official car in Xiomera. She had no security, which made her nervous, given the recent violence in the country in the form of the riots. She felt wholly unwelcome, and she desperately wished she could just leave.

She had requested to visit the National Museum and Archives, claiming she, as Lauchenoirian Minister for Culture and the Arts, had wished to educate herself on Xiomeran history and culture, with an aim of bridging the divide between the two countries. Which was partly true. She was interested in culture... but she had another reason for visiting this location.

Upon arrival, and for the moment thankful she had no ASI escort, she wandered through the corridors of the museum. She paused to look at artefacts and made sure she appeared interested and not distracted, waiting for the arrival of the man she had come here to meet.

"That greenstone staff is remarkable, isn't it?" a soft voice echoed behind Clavell. "It was the staff of Quiauhticue, the first Emperor of Xiomera. He had it crafted to celebrate the unification of Huenya under one ruler - him. Not that I personally find that worth celebrating. But the staff is a remarkable work of early Huenyan craftsmanship." A gray-haired man had come to stand next to Clavell, adjusting his pince-nez glasses to see the staff better. "I am Cozamalotl. I believe you are who I am here to see?"

"Samantha Clavell," she said, turning slightly to look at the man. "It is a pleasure to meet you. It is a shame this subterfuge is necessary but I understand that meeting with someone from my nation would, well, do more harm than good for you, given our two nations'... present relationships. Still, I am glad you agreed to meet with me."

"I am honored to meet you, Minister Clavell," Cozamalotl said politely. "And I do understand why this type of meeting is necessary. The real shame is why it is necessary. Our two nations should not be at odds. And our side is mainly to blame for that, I suspect."

"I..." Clavell hesitated, "I do not believe my own government is entirely blame-free. I would not admit this in public, but I disagreed with Marwick's decision on the extradition debacle. Handing over Bloch to Shuell while refusing Kerlile and Xiomera reeked of favouritism... but I will not comment on whether I felt they should have all been rejected, or all accepted. I wish deeply that this had not stained our relationship, leading to increasingly worsening relations. I would deeply like to get relations between our two nations back on track. I fear, however, that should an Emperor be chosen who sticks to the path of their predecessors... that our relations will go from their present state to either highly hostile or nonexistent."

"You are not wrong about that. Two of my opponents, Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl, are both intensely nationalistic. They see any rejection of Xiomeran requests as an insult to Xiomeran pride. I do not fault your government for rejecting the extradition demands; I personally feel that they should never have been made in the first place. I really feel that our lack of free speech in Xiomera is the true root of the problem, but anyway. If someone such as Yauhmi or Tepilcayotl is selected, I do fear the ramifications that will have for not just Xiomera, but for its neighbors as well," Cozamalotl replied.

"My government has a vested interest in preventing either of those two from becoming Emperor. We would like to see someone who is amenable to change in power in this country. Someone like you," Clavell said, monitoring his reaction closely. She wanted to know what he was thinking before she proceeded further.

In truth, she had two reasons for this meeting. The request from her government to speak with Cozamalotl, made through covert channels - something she had not expected and was a little unnerved by. And her own personal mission to try and seek peace between their two peoples. Fortunately for her, the two missions coincided nicely. She was pleasantly surprised that Alvarez wished to improve relations too. Perhaps she had misjudged the Prime Minister. So Clavell studied Cozamalotl's reaction, hoping that she would succeed.

"I am glad to hear that. Xiomera is, despite the appearance of things, a very troubled country. There are pressures beneath its perfect surface. Pressures of ethnicity and class, pressure for greater freedoms. Those pressures can either be released gently through political change, or will release themselves violently through a revolution. People like Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl think they can keep these pressures bottled up through greater repression and keep change at arm's length. They are quite foolish. And not students of history," Cozamalotl sighed. "So, I am glad to hear that your government would like to see me become Emperor. I must warn you, though, in fairness, that I have quite a challenge ahead to pull that off."

"We realise that. And we are well aware of the foolishness of ignoring pressures. As you can see from last year, they exploded in our face - though I confess that was a very different situation," Clavell sighed dejectedly. Thinking of the war always brought down her mood. "We would like to provide assistance but we realise that any overt support from Lauchenoiria would likely do more harm than good. We know this will be a challenge, but, well - do we have anything to lose here?"

Cozamalotl laughed at Clavell's last statement. "Indeed, we do not. And we stand to gain a lot, if we succeed." He paused. "I would be grateful for any assistance that you could provide. It would have to remain covert, as you say, both for my sake and that of your government. But I am quite happy to see how we can work together."

"Excellent," Clavell smiled. "I, personally, would like to see Lauchenoiria have positive relations with all nations. I am an internationalist, I want to see the barriers broken down and all hostilities ended. Idealistic, I know. But one can dream."

She smiled again, then froze slightly and her expression became slightly more worried. "They would not hurt you if you fail, would they? This is not like Kerlile?"

"It depends. If I politely go away after losing and don't cause any trouble, as is traditionally expected of the defeated here, then I would be fine. If I decide to be stubborn....Xiomera is not like Kerlile. But in our own special and unique way, Xiomera is just as bad as Kerlile. This is a risk we all take when we challenge the existing system." Cozamalotl sighed. "This is why it would be best if I won," he added wryly.

"My apologies for bringing it up. I have a... thing about Kerlile," she cringed slightly as she spoke. "They... well, they terrify me. During the war I had nightmares about them coming and taking over. I do hope you win. As long as your nation is in an alliance with Kerlile, I fear for you. I do not trust the Matriarchy one little bit."

"I understand how you feel, given your nation's history with the Kerlians. I do believe there are those within Kerlile, like those of us in Xiomera, who genuinely want things to change but find themselves facing both a hostile government and social inertia. But in both countries, reformers face an immense challenge. This is where people like you and I come in," Cozamalotl said with a smile.

"There will always be challenges, yes, and will always be people seeking change in bad places thankfully. I would like to see a better Kerlile too, one day. I just fear that is a much longer way off than it should be," she sighed. "I shouldn't keep you, I do not want to raise suspicions. And I would like to see more of the museum. If there is anything we can do in particular though, do reach out to us. Otherwise, I am led to believe my government has a... pre-prepared strategy for assisting in influencing opinion abroad."

"Of course. If you can swing popular opinion a certain way, even our system is not immune to that, try as the powers that be might to insulate it from the people. If you can approach any individual voters on the ihuicatl directly that can also help. But truly, anything you can do will be a huge help, both for myself and for my country."

"Of course," she nodded. "We are happy to help. It has been a pleasure to speak with you. I hope we meet again someday."

"As do I. I also hope that the next time you return to Xiomera, that I can welcome you in a much nicer fashion as the new Emperor." Cozamalotl gave a polite nod to Clavell before walking out of the gallery.

Clavell turned back to the exhibits, musing over the conversation. She was pleased, but the easy part was over. Influencing the "election" would be far more difficult. She didn't even personally approve of such actions (and had been rather horrified to hear her government had a plan in place for such an eventuality), but desperate times call for desperate measures. She continued to walk through the museum, wondering if her trip to Xiomera hadn't been a total waste after all.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:57 am

Zacuetz Grand Hotel Tlālacuetztla
Monday, October 14th (midday)


(Joint post with Eiria)

Cozamalotl had been a very busy person. Underdogs needed to be. If he was to have any chance at all to pull off the upset of the century and become Emperor, he would have to work twice as hard as anyone else. He now found himself at the Zacuetz Grand Hotel Tlālacuetztla, planning to meet with Alice Lancaster. The Eirian minister had requested a meeting, and Cozamalotl was cautiously hopeful that he might find some more support for his bid. He entered the lobby and asked his personal guard to contact the Eirian delegation and inform them of his arrival.

After a minute, the guard returned, Alice Lancaster at his side. She had her golden brown hair tied back, and was wearing an iconic Lancaster blue business suit. "Thank you for meeting with me, Cozamalotl. I assume you know why I wanted a meeting.”

”I believe so, but I am sure you can elaborate for me,” Cozamalotl said with a smile. “We should probably not talk here, though. Would you care to walk with me?”

Cozamalotl led the Eirian to the nearby Tōtlitz Square, walking with her through its shady, tree lined spaces. The square was surrounded by downtown Tlālacuetztla, and while the streets around it bustled with activity, the square itself was quiet. “So, Minister Lancaster. While I am always glad to meet someone new and have conversation, I do assume you have a specific purpose in mind today.”

“You assume correctly, Monsieur. We would like to support your bid for Emperor, if you have a chance at winning.” She paused for a moment. "But first, we would like to know: How would you reform Xiomera? And how would you guarantee that said changes would last? We would like to see what we are supporting before we do so.”

Cozamalotl smiled politely. “Reform in Xiomera is a tricky proposition. The plan we currently have - and by we I mean A New Xiomera - is to start slowly. As Emperor, I would have near-absolute power to implement changes....unless I move too quickly and the military or the security forces decide the Emperor should have a sudden and unforeseen accident.” He gave a quick snap of his fingers to illustrate the point. “The only way to reform Xiomera without it becoming ugly is to slowly but surely change our laws and our policies, like a lobster in a pot of water. By the time our opponents realize what has happened, the momentum has shifted to where they cannot prevent change.” Cozamalotl looked at Alice with another smile. “But I have to become Emperor first. If you do not have the power, you cannot create the change. As for how I would reform Xiomera....the goal is to eventually move to a society that more closely resembles the democratic states in the IDU. States such as Eiria, for example. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, actual elections....that is the long term goal.”

Alice smiled back. "I'm glad you would use us as a model. We've worked incredibly hard to get Eiria to where it is today, at the cost of many lives along the way". Her hand subconsciously went to her medallion bracelet. "But I wasn't aware that the military had such power here to stage an 'accident'. Seems so dangerous.” She chuckled inwardly. "In Eiria, there probably isn't enough of a military to pull that off. Anyway, we will pull all the strings we can to get you on the throne. If there is any other way we can help, let us know.” She looked around the square. "It's nice to be out of Eiria. Don't get me wrong, I love my home. It's just, here, I'm not recognized. I'm just another person, and not a major member of government.”

Cozamalotl nodded, his smile growing wider. “It must be nice to be just another person. I’ve been entangled in the web of government here for so long that I’ve almost forgotten what that’s like.” His expression grew serious. “While I will be grateful for any help you can provide, you may want to be careful. My candidacy is still a long shot, and in the event I do lose, if the Xiomeran government discovers your involvement....they could react in a hostile fashion. I would recommend being as subtle and covert as possible.”

Alice grinned. "Don't worry, Monsieur. Subtlety is our specialty. And, after all, if we play our cards right, it won't matter if we are discovered, because we'd be supporting the Emperor or Empress.”

Cozamalotl laughed heartily at that last remark. “Very true, madam. In that case....let us play our cards as best we can, and hope for a winning hand.”

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:17 pm

Palace of Flowers
Monday, October 14th (morning)


(Joint post with Shen)

Yauhmi sipped her coffee with chocolate, savoring its warmth and flavor. It was her favorite morning beverage, and the way she always started her mornings.

Breakfast had, in the past, consisted of dining with Topilpopoca and sometimes their son in the much smaller sitting room attached to their private quarters, enjoying rare moments of personal privacy with her family before they would emerge to face the public.

Today, however, breakfast would consist of dining in the much larger and more public Golden Chamber of the Palace of Flowers. This was where public meals occurred, and also where visitors gathered. And the Empress was expecting a very important visitor indeed.

Wu Zhou, the daughter of the Shen Empress, was coming to speak with her on behalf of the Shen. Yauhmi was quite curious to hear what she had to say, and also hopeful.

If she didn't win the election, after all, there wouldn't be any more breakfasts in the Palace of Flowers for her.

When the Princess arrived, she was escorted into the Golden Chamber by a pair of Shorn Ones, who bowed deeply before announcing her arrival. Yauhmi rose, giving the Princess a respectful head bow. "Welcome to the Palace of Flowers, Princess of Shen. Your presence is a great honor to Xiomera and to our house."

Wu Zhou had already been awake for several hours by the time she was squired into the Golden Chamber. Flanked on both sides by Guardsmen in their traditional black and green uniforms. Wearing their traditional conical hats wrapped in a thin layer of Blackburn topped with the feather of an eagle. Most people thought they were there to protect the princess, but those who knew more about the Shen would know why a detachment of the imperial guard never left a child of a sovereign alone while they lived.

The princess herself emerged into the Golden Chamber dressed in green robes. Ulrich green reflected by the delicately woven silk. The raven hair had been done up into a bun and the makeup had been applied in a wayward ever-so-slightly way that drew your attention from the corners of her face into the center. Towards her eyes. Those hypnotic green orbs, the same as her mother. Yauhmi had seen the empress without her mask before. She knew what was below that thick silk veil that hid those features from the world at large.

The princess bowed her head in return to the former (and hopefully future) Empress.

“The honor is all mine, Empress Yauhmi. I only wish it had been under better circumstances.”

As she stood up straight again, those green eyes had a sly glint to them, as the machinations within the Shen Princess' mind started.

“Together your husband and my mother built the strongest bond our two peoples have ever known. I would like to talk about what I can do to...further those bonds."

Yauhmi smiled at the glint in Wu Zhou's eyes. It was indeed a familiar expression to her. "Please, join me, and we can discuss that in more detail." She gestured to the nearby table, making sure that the Princess was provided whatever refreshments she desired. Once those formalities were completed, Yauhmi smiled. "It has been my honor to be a close friend to your mother, along with Topilpopoca. Maintaining such ties is a major reason I am seeking the throne. I do not believe the others seeking to the throne would have the same commitment to our friends as my husband and I have had. I believe that would be bad for our friends, but ultimately disastrous for Xiomera. So please, tell me what your thoughts are."

Wu Zhou took the seat as soon as it was offered to her, quickly ordering a cup of the same drink that Yauhmi was enjoying for herself. Xiomeran chocolate was a delicacy even enjoyed by the royal family of Shen.

“Thank you," she said, taking the glass and enjoying her first sip before answering the Empress' question.

“Your highness, I am inclined to agree with you. I think anyone besides you on the throne would take the empire on a disastrous course. Only you possess both the political capital to take the throne and the foresight and guidance to continue moving the empire in the right direction like your late husband. But it's not my opinion that guides my actions here…"

She set down the coffee then reached into her handbag, removing a jade colored packet of cigarettes. "Mind if I have a smoke?"

"One one condition - if I can have one as well," Yauhmi laughed. "I find it soothes my nerves once in a while."

Yauhmi paused for a moment. "I am glad we are in agreement on what the future should hold for Xiomera. The larger question, though, is how we get there."

Wu Zhou chuckled along with the empress. Enthusiastically offering her a cigarette made of the finest tobacco grown in the Shen Empire, igniting Yauhmi's cigarette and then her own before continuing with the conversation.

"My mother wants you on the throne. She's authorized me and my brother to do whatever we need to do to make that happen."

The princess took a long huff of the cigarette. Holding the tobacco in her lungs for a moment, before exhaling through her nose.

"Me and my brother have been having meetings with key members of the military and the economic elite. My brother, being a general himself, knows how to talk to military people. Promises of further cooperation and joint exercises seem to be turning heads. As for the economic elite, the same thing works for them here as it does everywhere else in the world. Money. We're offering them a chance to make a fortune if you're on the throne. Further economic integration and cooperation will allow them easy access to our market. Some of them nearly jumped at the news. 190 million consumers are up for grabs and all they have to do is make sure that you're on the throne."

Yauhmi nodded, impressed. "You have a fine grasp of how the process works in Xiomera. If we can sway enough of the military and security establishment, along with the defense contractors and the business elite, we shall have this in the bag, I suspect," she purred. "That undercuts both Tepilcayotl and Xocolcōza nicely. As for Cozamalotl, he is no threat."

The princess smirked as she took another long drag of the tightly packed tobacco, her green eyes drifting off for a moment, before returning down to the Empress.

"There is a reason my Mother chose me and my brother to represent her here. She is very serious about your candidacy."

She ashed the cigarette, and as she took another sip of her coffee, she leaned in close to the future empress of 25 million Xiomerans.

"Of course...the empress does not do this solely out of the kindness of her heart. If you do get the Obsidian Throne...you will owe the Heavenly Throne a favor."

"Of course. That is only fair and expected. And as long as the favor does not harm Xiomera in any way....you know that my family always meets its debts and repays its favors," Yauhmi replied with a smile. "We have a very good relationship, and I would like to see that continue."

"I would not have it any other way, Yauhmi. With Shen's help, I can see no way you will not make it to the throne."

The princess took a final sip of her coffee, smiling politely. "My daughter has been rather impressed with the hospitality you have shown us. She has already had a keen interest in other cultures. I want to thank you personally, as a mother, for making her first state visit an enjoyable one."

"You are most welcome. I do hope that she, and the rest of your family, will be able to make many more such visits," Yauhmi said as she finished the cigarette. "As we seem well on our way to securing the Obsidian Throne, I am sure I can make those future visits quite enjoyable."

Wu Zhou nodded with her polite smile restored, a more casual look returning to her eye, as she could put away the scheming for a moment.

"Well, Empress...is there anything else you need from me, while you have my attention?"

"I believe that is all I need for now. Thank you so much for paying me a visit, and I look forward to speaking with you again after the elections," Yauhmi said, rising and giving the Princess another polite head bow of respect.

Zhou returned the favor. "I look forward to meeting with you after the election as well...and I thhink my mother will want to call you personally to congratulate the winner. Now I must leave, I have many more meetings to attend."

"Of course. Thank you again, and may your other meetings prove fruitful," Yauhmi replied as the Princess was escorted out. Once she was alone, Yauhmi sat back down and poured herself another cup of coffee. She felt she deserved a little reward for work well done.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Shen » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:45 pm

**** ***** **** shen

In the cold darkness of the deep two individuals walked in a shadowy great hall. They're black cloaks concealing them in the shadows as they made their way down the corridor.

" things aren't going the way we planned in Xiomera…"

" This incident in Tunsaca... it's giving more ammunition to Tepi and his camp…"

" yeah, I know. Damn it how did we get so careless as to not see this coming, our agents in…"

" I'll leave you to figure that out. Right now we need to act fast or else our efforts are going to be in vain"

" right... I spoken to the internal Southern directorate about coming up with a solution…"

" triggering an incident with the separatists? Good idea… but it won't be enough"

" and what would you suggest Grandmaster?" The man on the left said to the man on the right, as the two entered an elevator descending deeper into the bowels of the Earth.

"... have you spoken with director Lu about IRAS?"

" sir... has only ever been used domestically. I'm not sure if it's ready to be used in a foreign environment like this"

" Why don't we ask the director himself those questions?"


The elevators stopped and the two individuals walked into another hallway. Cracked concrete covered by drywall reflecting the dim artificial lighting flanked their path down the entire hall as they made their way down the length of that hallway.

The individuals stopped halfway down the hall. Stopping in front of a door that was cream in color and only identifying feature that differentiated it from the rest of the cream doors in this hall was the number 316 painted in Black Ink.

The Grandmaster walked in quickly followed behind by his associate.

Their ears were instantly flooded with the clicking of 100 keyboards below their feet. Row after row of agents in front of computers working diligently as the two higher-ups walked on a walkway over their heads. On the other side of the walkway was a door with windows flanking both sides.

The two men walked into the office suit which was occupied by a single individual also sitting in front of a computer. A young man. With uncharacteristic long black hair set him apart from the shorter hair worn by most of the members of the shingzi ren.

" Grandmaster. I would say I wasn't expecting you but I think we both know that's a lie"

" you saw what happened in Xiomera?"

" yes sir. Nasty stuff. Glad only the right people got hurt. Is that the official line the state is taking?"

" more or less"

" well heaven forbid I violate Orthodoxy. Anyway, you're here to get the internet research Society into the fight over the obsidian throne?"

" of course. We've seen over the past few years how successful IRAS operations have been domestically. I hope that you can duplicate those results Within Xiomera."

"... well in a purely hypothetical scenario, using a few back Channel connections we maintain with our allies in xiomera… let our bots start to get loose on there closed net… we could start to produce a lot of propaganda and really spread it all over their social networks. We can also create fake users supporting other candidates, and make them look like assholes to alient supporters. That being said...if xiomera did that to us I think we would be very angry so I wouldn't recommend it on the grounds that it'll pr…"

But before the director had even finish this statement The Grandmaster had already turned around and began to walkout

" do it…"

He motions with his right hand and the other agents would walk in with him joined him at his side

" of course sir. " the director replied is the door closed behind him

The Grandmaster turned to the other agent as they made their way down the hall

"... well he's doing that start that incident in the South. I can trust you to handle that without actually getting anyone important killed right?"

" how about no one killed at all sir?"

" I like that even better"

“Allright, ill get right on it, and waht about you sir?”

“ im going to shake some trees, see if any spoiled fruit falls out...spoled fruit with Tepilcayotl name on it”

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:53 pm

Somewhere in Usera, Lauchenoiria
Monday, October 14th


“There is a good chance someone else will be trying to do this as well. If we of all people are getting involved in Xiomera’s business, it is likely other nations will as well. So you are going to need to be vigilant, and be prepared to get into some fights. Do not allow anyone to trace who is behind it, under any circumstances. Have I made myself understood?”

The man eyed the two young people sitting behind computers. His stare was always so piercing many people shivered in front of him. Tacito Fierro, the older of the pair had to brace himself to not shake. Jessica Cassidy, who had been through far worse during her time as a prisoner of war in Kerlile last year, could meet his eyes easily however.

“Yes, sir,” the pair chorused, and he turned to leave without another word.

“Do you think this is right?” Tacito asked Jessica after he had left.

“On an objective moral level, no. But at the same time, the Xiomerans are propping up the Kerlian regime. And if Kerlile recovers you can bet they will come for us again. Using bots to try and influence what passes for an election in that place is a small thing compared to what would happen in another full war,” Jessica replied.

“I know you have a thing about the Kerlians…”

“You bet I do,” she snapped, pulling up her sleeve to reveal a number of scars. “If Cozamalotl wins it will have a knock-on effect that will destabilise and destroy the Kerlian regime.”

“You read too many political science papers. Is that really what you want to do in your spare time? Seriously, get a hobby!”

“Maybe I’d have time to if we didn’t keep arguing during work hours. We gotta get this set up. I bet if the dictatorships are doing the same thing they’ve got a lot more resources than we do.”

“You think this will make a difference?”

“Can’t know. But every little helps. Now are you gonna work or not?”

“You clearly learned how to boss around men during your time in Kerlile.”

“I will kill you.”

“Try it!”

The pair continued to argue in the small room in a basement of a Lauchenoirian Intelligence Service building in Usera, though they both tapped at their computers, working as they argued. Outside, a pacifist protest was taking place in the square outside the cathedral where, during the war, Sonja Alvarez was revealed to be Jennifer Hale.

In an office in Buttercity, Josephine Alvarez tapped her fingers nervously, waiting for her next appointment, and worrying if she had done the right thing in authorising the operation.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:44 pm

Extract from a very traditionalist Kerlian news programme broadcast internationally

Footage of a news anchor in a standard looking news studio in Kerlile.
“In surprising news, Councillor Lia Chiu has publicly supported Tepilcayotl’s bid to become the next Emperor of Xiomera. Despite there being female candidates, Councillor Chiu has chosen to endorse the male Tepilcayotl, in a public speech made earlier, which we will now show you.”

Clip of Councillor Chiu standing at a podium in some nice looking autumnal gardens.
“Tepilcayotl is a proven friend of Kerlile. Some men in Xiomera are not like men in other countries. They have learned to live in harmony with women, though of course this is still a minority of men. But Tepilcayotl is within that minority of men, and we know that with him as Emperor, Kerlile will always have a friend in Xiomera, which we need during this tough time.”

Back to news anchor.
“The Councillor’s statement was met with controversy from other members of the Council, who have criticised her for favouring a male candidate over a female one. Councillor Pauline Pierre, who earlier released a statement favouring Yauhmi, the wife of the late Emperor Topilpopoca, as his successor, criticised Chiu for ‘abandoning the mission of Kerlile’.”

*

Pauline Pierre’s room, Ahuexoyocan Palace, Xiomera
Late evening


Councillor Pierre was almost asleep when her phone rang. She groaned and cursed as she felt along her bedside table for the device and ripped it from its charger before she opened it.

“What?”

“Councillor, is this a secure line?” came a voice she recognised. Pierre sat up abruptly.

“Yes it is. What do you have?”

“Our agent has discovered some interesting information that could be used to benefit your preferred candidate. I do not know if you wish this information leaked publicly, or if you would like to use it in another manner.”

“It will depend what you have.”

“First of all…” began the woman on the end of the phone.

As she listened, Pierre took notes on a pad that had sat next to her bed, in a code that few would understand. She did not smile as she wrote, focusing on the words and not her emotions, but she felt pleased inside. She had, in a moment of slight foolishness given the situation, requested information from one of the Auroras embedded in Xiomera. It was paying off. She would be able to use this information to her - and Yauhmi’s - advantage.

*

Assorted Social Media Posts From Lauchenoirian or Kerlian Bots or Trolls

“BREAKING NEWS: Man comes forward to say Yauhmi had an affair with him while Emperor Topilpopoca was alive. Says she threatened him to stay quiet & he was afraid to come forward in case it upset his children.”

“Yauhmi affair so sad. Topilpopoca was a great Emperor and her betrayal of him was a betrayal of all Xiomera :( :( :(

“we need to find truth. cant trust Yauhmi if she lied. would she lie about other things???? she cant be next emperor!”

“KILL ALL TRAITORS. We should hunt down everyone who supports the Manauia Island terrorists and make them watch their families be shot in front of them. And kill Cozamalotl too, he’s filth who deserves to be tortured to death.”

“Climate change has already killed thousands in countries like Lauchenoiria. If we go ahead with the Manauia Island development then Xiomerans will start dying too. We are a civilized country and cannot allow this to go ahead.”

“Tepilcayotl and Letitia Greenwood from Kerlile are in love. Everyone knows that Kerlians like multiple partners. He is being controlled by her. We don’t want Xiomera to turn into a Kerlian colony!!!”

*

Extract from a popular online news website

“Lauchenoirian Feminist Party endorses Yauhmi for Xiomeran Empress.

Katherine Wright, the leader of the Lauchenoirian Feminist Party, has come out in support of Yauhmi in the race to choose the next Xiomeran Emperor or Empress. Yauhmi is the only women slated to have a good chance of winning, and Wright has come out in support claiming that another female leader would be good for the world.

‘I want to see Empress Yauhmi in Xiomera, to show to women the world over that the tide is turning for feminism. I believe that should she be the next Empress, Lauchenoiria will be able to improve our relationship with Xiomera, and that she will be more amenable to listening to our concerns’.”


*

Streets of Tlālacuetzla

Yamunda Patel was so far down the line of succession by this point that she would have been able to marry a man legally. The thought angered her as she walked down the road. Her sister, Nirmala, was weak, and yet she sat on the Council while their mother rotted in a Sanctarian prison. And what had Nirmala done to try and save Anita from that horrible fate? Absolutely nothing.

Yamunda, however, was busy. She feared the future that reformist President Arnott wanted to create in Kerlile. She was weakening the Matriarchy, at a time when it could not afford to be weakened. But Arnott had one flaw - she was completely reliant on Xiomeran trade to prop up her government. Which meant she had to keep in the Xiomerans’ good books.

Which is why Yamunda had been supporting Tepilcayotl. She knew that the Security Secretary would crack down on the dissidents in Xiomera. If Xiomera was to move in a more authoritarian direction, then Kerlile must surely follow. Which would secure the Matriarchy and put a stop to these destructive reforms.

She had come to Xiomera shortly after the funeral, not being important enough for Kerlile to select her as part of the delegation. But she was certainly wealthy enough to make a difference. Nirmala may have inherited Anita’s titles upon her imprisonment… but Anita had given Yamunda access to her hidden bank accounts. And so, Yamunda had been visiting a select few important Xiomeran individuals and encouraging them to vote the right way.

She arrived back at her hotel, and when she got back to her room sighed and lay down on her bed, exhausted. It was hard work, bribing Xiomerans. She longed to be back home where she could meet up with her friends (high ranking members of Restricted Region staff, generally). She had met with Mariya Adema, one of the interrogators working in Xiomera, and a close friend of Yamunda, of course. But she longed for home.

She picked up the phone and ordered room service, flicking through her list of possible bribe recipients and planning the next day’s work as she waited.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:35 am

Excerpts from the Debates of the Fourth Round of the Great Selection of 2019

On matters of security and national defense:

Xocolcōza: "The answer to our security problems doesn't lie in merely expanding the military or ASI; that's an old-school and old-tech answer. We can't make everyone in Xiomera a cop or a soldier. Technology provides us the answer. By expanding the existing surveillance, information-gathering and threat prediction systems we have in place, and making them better and faster, we can provide the real-time information to prevent security threats. Don't make ASI bigger, make it smarter. As for the military, again, we have no business trying to wage an arms race; we are one of the smallest nations in the IDU and will never win that way. But with technology, we can make our military so advanced that no nation, even ones much larger than ours, would dare risk attacking Xiomera because of the collateral damage and risk they would face. All nations, before going to war, make a simple calculation, and it's not even if they can win the war or not. It is this: is this worth what it will cost us to win the war? Cost, in lives and treasure, is just as effective a deterrent as all the bombs and guns in the world. If we make the Xiomeran armed forces the most advanced in the IDU, trust me, no one will want to take the risk, and the losses, of attacking us."

Tepilcayotl: "As the Secretary of Security, I know better than anyone the dangers that face Xiomera. We face hostility from nations abroad, meddling in our internal affairs by foreigners meant to stir unrest, and domestic terrorists who seek to use violence and sedition to promote their own agendas to the harm of the Xiomeran nation. As I have demonstrated on Manauia Island, I can and will take the necessary measures to keep Xiomerans safe and the Empire whole. As Emperor, I will expand the security forces. Some of my opponents claim that technology alone can solve the security woes we face. And technology is indeed essential to the task, but you also need people on the ground with the training, the support, and the will to do whatever it takes to keep our people safe. More ASI agents are urgently needed to maintain our security. To deter foreign interests who seek to meddle in Xiomera, I will also expand the armed forces. The Imperial Navy should be the dominant force on the seas of Catica, but it is not. The Imperial Air Force should rule the skies over Catica, but it does not. This will change under my rule; I will expand the Navy and the Air Force to ensure that no one will dare to consider our backyard their playground ever again. A nation that cannot secure its borders, maintain security within them, and deter and defeat threats from its seas and skies is not a nation at all. Xiomera will not remain in that state once I become Emperor."

Yauhmi: "The answer isn't only to make our armed forces and our security forces larger; certainly we must do that. But we must also make them smarter, more efficient, and more effective. Both of my opponents who spoke earlier only have it half right. We do need more people to protect us, but we must also give them what it takes to protect us. As Empress, I will implement a truly complete and integrated security and defense plan that will utilize both cutting edge technology and sufficient numbers. A truly advanced Navy capable of defending Xiomeran interests anywhere in the IDU, an Air Force that can strike at our enemies anywhere they may hide, and ground forces that can win the day on the battlefield; that will be what I bring Xiomera as Empress. In addition, we must remember that no nation can do it all alone. I will work to make our allies stronger as well, and to gain us new allies as well. With a phalanx of like-minded nations by our side, Xiomera will be that much stronger. As for the security matters currently bothering our nation, I must point out respectfully that Xocolcōza, while no doubt more than capable of providing tech support for my Cala computer when it freezes, may not be the person to send to Manauia Island to fix that particular glitch. He may find armed terrorists a bit out of his pay grade. As for my other opponent who spoke earlier....I would ask this: you say you are the best person to keep us safe, but as Security Secretary, all of these security problems are happening under your watch. I would hope you would ensure you are doing your own job to the best of your abilities before expecting a promotion. People of Xiomera, this is not the time for half measures. Choose me as your Empress, and I will utilize all of the strength, skill, spirit, heart and knowledge of Xiomera to both keep us safe and make us ever stronger."

Cozamalotl: "We hear a lot of talk of giving more people guns and badges here. We hear a lot of talk about making Xiomera so scary that no one, whether inside our borders or outside it, will dare to challenge or question us. What do I hear when I hear all of this? I hear weakness. And I hear fear. Fear of change, fear of freedom. Do you really want Xiomera to be safe? Then stop doing things that turn our people against their homeland and their government. Stop controlling the media. Stop throwing people in prison just because they question the government. Stop destroying places like Manauia Island and then killing people like the Teyatia or imprisoning them for daring to try to protect their home. Stop suppressing the Itotemoc, the Tepiltzin and the Necatli; let their culture and their heritage flourish as it should. If you continue to run Xiomera this way, with nothing but police and soldiers everywhere, we will all soon be living in a giant prison of our own making. As for national security....the way to make us safer from other nations is not by making those nations fear us, or our intent. We can never make enough guns or tanks, or train enough soldiers, to protect us if we make the entire IDU fear us. They can make soldiers and guns and tanks also, and more of them than we can. The way we will keep Xiomera truly safe is to make it truly free, and a nation that both its peoples and its neighbors can respect and admire, rather than fear and loathe."

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Shen » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:28 pm

The stern emotionless viage of The Grandmaster cracked ever-so-slightly as a chuckle came from his lips. He couldn't believe what he was reading.

Director Zelie, the man in charge of the Lauchnorian desk, and thus anyalisig all intel from the small nation recovering from a civil war, sunk into his chair as the awkwardness of the chuckle caught him completely off guard. Just like the report he had handed the Grandmaster had caught everyone off guard. No one expected this. No one thought that they had the guts, least of all the Grandmaster of the Shingzi Ren.

And yet here it was. Irrefutable evidence that the fake news spreading about Yauhmi was coming from Lauchnoria.

The Grandmaster picked up the file he put down to cover his mouth while he chuckled to look over it again. The IP address from the foreign bot network definitely was coming from there.

" what an annoyance. Although I have to admit I have a lot more respect for that country now. Do we have any leads on where this could be coming from within the nation?"

" yes. Its on the next page”

The Grandmaster turned it, revealing the photo of a young woman with dyed red hair. A cocky glimmer in her eye. A hopeful glean on her lips

“...Jessica Cassidy” The Grandmaster whispered under his breath

“You know her sir?” the director replied although not completely surprised

“Yes. I don't think I could forget the person who hacked the matriarchies ID database. I suspected she would come up on an intelligence report sooner or later. Although I was hoping it wouldn't be messing with our operation"

" it would appear so sir. I suspected, she would eventually become a government asset for one nation or another, so I've had people watching her for a while now. She's been coming and going from a government facility. A facility that we believe is where the botnet originated from"

“So she’s the one whos doing it? Getting these bots to spread these fake news stories?“

“Not alone sir. On the next page is the file for a Mr.Tacito Fierro. Another hacktivist but with less of a reputation. He has been going in and out of the same building at similar hours."

" I see."

The Grandmaster closed the file and stood up walking to the back of his office. There was an old black rotary phone. He picked it up and punched in just one number rotating a zero before putting it to his ear.

The director listens does The Grandmaster explaining the situation whoever is on the other end. Going into detail about the fake news story, pausing after each story, and answering questions


"... if it were me Your Highness…" the director got very quiet all of a sudden. All the color ran away from his face as he realized that the Grand Master had called the empress herself to discuss the situation

"...yes… As You command my Empress"

The Grandmaster hung up the phone and turned back to his subordinate.

"... call down the rest of your staff. We have work to do…”

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:01 pm

(Written with the help of Shen)

Bar on the outskirts of Usera

Today just hadn't really been William’s day. A long-drawn-out stressful day with his construction job, had given him 4 extra hours of overtime to put on his clock but it also took away as many years off the end of his life.

As soon as he was off the clock he had headed down to a bar. A local one that he has been going to for years. But it had changed a lot recently. The bartender that he had known for the longest time and ended up dead as a casualty of the war. The man who had replaced him only stayed there for a few months before immigrating deciding that there wasn't anything left for him in Lauchenoiria. And this new bartender was one of the silent types who just refilled your drinks and collected on your tab without really saying much.

The new bartender really wasn't much for company. Which annoyed Williams but the drinks were still so cheep that's a construction worker just decided to keep drinking here.

This night though, luck was on his side, a balance to his shitty day at work. There was a woman there. A rather attractive brunette in her late thirties. The construction worker and the brunette looked at each other and gave each other smiles. She scooted over and the pair began to talk. William didn't know how many hours he spent talking to the woman but when he determined it was time to go home she asked if they would take one more shot together which he agreed to. He hadn't had too much to drinking honestly, one more shot wouldn't get him drunk. So he had the shot with the woman before walking back out to his truck.

Climbing into the old faded pick out truck he ran his hands over the old and worn steering wheel smiling at the old girl less you started it up and it's spewed smoke.

Pulling out from the bar he started to make his way down to one way street. Using his cruise control to keep the vehicle steady as everything started to slow down.

The man to feel his reaction time rapidly slowing down. His vision growing hazy. The thoughts in his brain couldn't even formulate properly, they seem to get disconnected and garbled inside his own gray matter before they even had a chance to become anything more than a disjointed garble of disconnected phrases that couldn't even be registered as an intelligent thought. More like the insane ramblings of a drunk lunatic.

Just as he was trying to get ahold of his own brain, a white car pulled out in front of him. The sudden introduction of the white car forced him to slow down. Making him drive at a snail's pace to be altered mind. William started to get angry as he crawled along the pavement in his blue truck. Slowly spitting out every curse and slur he had ever heard directing them towards the man in the car. The man who wouldn't just speed up and let them go. Who wouldn't pull to the side and allow William to pass. Soon the disconnected words in his brain were replaced with pure emotion. Just anger and hatred and vitriol as incoherent and animalistic noises emerged from his mouth and were flung for word like spit at the wall.

The driver finally pulled to the side and let the trucker pass after what seems like an eternity. The man gave William a nod as he smirked at the trucker.

William was too pissed off to even give a damn.  He charged forward, pushing down on the pedal with as much strength as he could. Like he was going to break the tiny piece of metal. He looked upward and saw the light ahead of him was green. Good, there wouldn't be anyone in his way. So he blitzed forward not even looking as another car pulled out in front of him.

In just a moment it was all over. The truck collided with the small green car obliterating it. William’s body was thrown from the vehicle and cast upon the cold concrete sliding across the rocky surface until it came to a stop. Paramedics would arrive minutes later long after they could have been of any use.

Two Twisted chaotic chunks of metal burning together.

The police tried to discover what had happened but none of it made any sense.

The eyewitnesses reported that both of the lights that turned green at the same time. That the green car had pulled out first just as the blue truck was thundering down the road making avoiding a collision impossible.

The patrons at the bar said that William was definitely sober when he left.

The only thing that was known that William McCarthy was dead. And he was now responsible for the death of Mr. Tacito Fierro, who had been behind the wheel of that green car.

*

Bar near Usera University

Jessica Cassidy was happy to have a night off from her activities in a dark, gloomy basement, especially since she’d started having doubts about the morality of her actions. Being back with her friends from the war, people who knew what she had gone through, always helped ground her and distract her from her job for a few hours.

“Want another drink?” asked Leonie Bennett, who was already pretty tipsy herself, having had a stressful exam at her university course that day.

“Sure! Just a beer for me,” Jessica laughed, and absentmindedly twirled the straw from her earlier cocktail as Leonie bounced (that was indeed her style of walking that night) off to the bar. Jessica turned back to the conversation she’d been having with some of the others, avoiding the gaze of Leonie’s university friends (that Veronica girl did not like her, though she didn’t know why).

“So I’ve been saying that we need to examine the situation more before we come up with solutions. We can’t very well just outlaw the Communist Party without dismantling the structures that make people vote for it first,” one of the women argued. “Else it will just cause another war.”

“I disagree, the longer they exist, the more risk there is that they will attempt another coup. This has already happened twice.”

“We can’t be complacent, I agree, but…”

“Here’s your beer!” Leonie interrupted, handing Jessica the drink. She herself had a glass of something red, which smelled very alcoholic. Jessica smiled and took the drink, nodding at the younger woman as Leonie went to sit with her university friends. She was socialising more and more with them these days, and less with Jessica and the others, but Jessica was fine with it. It was good that Leonie was managing to move on and have a normal life after what they all went through in Kerlile last year.

“No! We can’t just go around banning political parties! We fought for democracy, we must allow opposing viewpoints!”

“And if it gets us all killed? Or worse, invaded by Kerlile again?”

“Risk is a vital part of life…”

Jessica settled back with her beer, listening to the debate continue but refraining from joining in. She was hardly one, these days, to argue that democracy was sacrosanct. Yet at the same time, she did not agree with banning political parties. She knew her views and her activities conflicted, she was a hypocrite. But if it kept Lauchenoiria safe from Kerlile, she would do it.

*

Jessica Cassidy woke with a start, and puked all over the side of her bed. She blinked, shocked, and feeling like hell. She vomited again. Her stomach lurched a third time and she reached up to pull her hair back as she puked. She looked down at the vomit… and realised there was blood mixed in. She dropped her hair in shock, then screamed.

Clumps of her long, bright red dyed hair had come out in her hands. She stared at the hair and the blood in shock and then began to shake in terror. She didn’t know what was happening to her. Tears stung the corners of her eyes as she reached out to grab her phone and call an ambulance, though the movement had made her vomit once more.

“Hello… yes I need an ambulance… Flat 7, 55 Butterfly Avenue… I keep throwing up, there’s blood, my hair is falling out… I think I’m dying, oh God…”

Jessica felt the phone fall to the floor as she collapsed back onto the bed, having no more energy to sit up, waiting for the ambulance to come, and shaking as she remembered the last time she was covered in blood - following a beating by Kerlians while she was a prisoner of war.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:10 pm

Prime Minister's Office, Lauchenoiria

“She will live, the doctors managed to get the radioactive material out of her bloodstream in time, miraculously,” the man said, standing awkwardly. “She will almost certainly develop cancer in the next few years, however, and it is unlikely she will live more than 5 at most. Her partner, however, was dead almost as soon as the truck hit him. We are still investigating who could be behind the attack, but it is too early to tell.”

He stood awkwardly in front of the desk, reporting to Prime Minister Alvarez. She was seated, but had not offered him one. She sat quietly, her facial expression blank. The shutters over the windows were closed, and the man was slightly afraid of the lack of reaction by the Prime Minister. Normally, she was pleasant and welcoming, so this silence and cold treatment was unexpected.

“How…” she began, keeping her voice low, “how did you let this happen!? You proposed this operation, telling me it was ‘low risk’. You talked me into this, when you knew fine well I had my doubts. And now?” Alvarez said, raising her voice until she was yelling.

“Now one Lauchenoirian citizen is dead, and another is dying, after an attack on our soil! Do you understand what you have done!? We are in the middle of rebuilding after the war. We need to prove Lauchenoiria is stable and safe! You have put that at risk with your foolish operation to undermine the selection process for the Xiomeran Emperor. I do not care if you say corruption is rampant, that lots of nations will be interfering. You convinced me to abandon my principles in the name of perhaps helping a long-shot candidate make it onto the Xiomeran throne and now people are dead!”

Alvarez slammed her hand down on the table hard, making the items on top of it wobble. She paused, letting the sound of the rattling teacup she had been drinking from earlier echo around the room. Then she stood, walking around the desk until she was face to face with the man, uncomfortably close.

“Explain yourself,” she said simply.

“Prime Minister, I apologise for the situation. It could not have been predicted. I assure you, the risk assessment said…”

“I do not care about your clearly flawed risk assessment. I care about the lives of the Lauchenoirian citizens that were endangered by your reckless actions. About the reconciliatory process that was endangered. I will not sleep tonight, I am quite certain, as I did not sleep last night. I was a fool to trust you.”

“Prime Minister, I will not allow it to happen again. We have other individuals who can continue the network, and we will institute greater security protocols to ensure we are not tracked again. We can still salvage some of this operation.”

“You think…” Alvarez laughed, loudly but humourlessly. “You think I am going to allow you to continue this operation? Are you out of your mind!? This is over! Right now! Everything we were doing in Xiomera, I want it stopped! And you are being reassigned. Where your new assignment will be will depend on what you say next, so be very careful.”

“I…” the man hesitated, then stood up straight, still managing to look resigned. “Of course, Prime Minister, if that is your wish.”

“Leave, now. And I don’t ever want to see your face again.”

The man left, walking down the corridors, speaking to nobody, and exiting through a back doorway into a car with dark windows. He slid into the seat, and once the door was closed groaned and put his head in his hands. That had not gone as he wanted.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:04 am

The Cauhloc - Secretariat of Security Headquarters
Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera


Tepilcayotl looked over the report, his eyes narrowing. "Is this information accurate?" he said finally, looking up from the tablet screen.

Xotōch, the Undersecretary for Counterintelligence, gave a soft snort of annoyance. "My information is always accurate, sir. You know this," he said with a tone of gentle rebuke.

"I know, Xotōch. This is just.....you are certain this surge of social media posts promoting Yauhmi and spreading rumors about me being connected to Letitia Greenwood are originating from foreign sources?" Tepilcayotl said grimly.

"Yes. We have not been quite able to narrow down the country of origin just yet. But as this sort of thing often goes....the foreign sources planting the media planted a seed - a seed of misinformation. Now local Xiomeran sources are running with it and spreading it along. The more you try to stomp it out, the more it grows." Xotōch sighed again, picking up his own tablet and sending some additional data to the tablet belonging to his bosses. "But there's more. The posts going after Yauhmi - the ones alleging she had an affair - those originated from a different foreign source. And the weird surge of posts promoting Cozamalotl out of nowhere - yet another source. We are the target of multiple foreign interventions. The Great Selection is being hacked."

"I know about some of this already," Tepilcayotl said, waving away the information about hackers helping him with a gesture. Xotōch simply nodded. "But the rest of this....these other hackers.....I want to know who they are. There will be repercussions for this....whether I am still in this office or not."

Xotōch raised an eyebrow. "Are you planning a vacation, sir?"

Tepilcayotl raised an eyebrow of his own. "Don't be deliberately obtuse. If I win the election, I move on from this office to become Emperor. If I lose....I move on from this office into obscurity. Or nothingness," the Security Secretary said, eyeing a ceremonial dagger hanging in a frame on the wall above Xotōch.

Xotōch simply nodded again; he knew what Xiomera expected of those who were defeated. When you risked it all for power, either you won, or you ended.

"Either way, Xotōch....I am not going to let this stand. If I lose...I intend to recommend you as my replacement, to whoever does become the next Emperor. If I win, I will just put you in charge of security. Either way, if the gods favor Xiomera, you'll be sitting where I am now. Find out who hacked the Great Selection, and make sure they receive a lesson on what happens when you trifle with the Xiomeran Empire. For my sake," Tepilcayotl said quietly. "However, I don't plan to lose just yet. I have the power of the entire Xiomeran intelligence service at my disposal. I intend to use it. Begin countering all this nonsense about me at once."

Xotōch bowed in respect, as Tepilcayotl rose from his chair to travel to the Huēyi Teōcalli. The next vote was scheduled to begin soon.

---

Palace of Flowers
Montelin, Xiomera


In the Golden Chamber, Yauhmi sat and had her usual morning cup of coffee. While her investigative resources were nowhere as extensive as those of her rival Tepilcayotl, she had her own ways of finding out what she needed to know.

"I am unamused at whoever would dare to claim that I would betray my marriage vows," she said calmly. A soft sip from her teacup underscored her words. Texōccoatl, her son, and Tehuatl, her campaign manager, nodded in response. "Your speech has managed to reverse much of the damage caused by that lie - especially since no one has come forward to claim they are the man in question," Tehuatl said. She tapped her tablet, scrolling down to review the latest numbers. "Most people being polled now believe the accusation is a dirty trick. Your support helped a lot with that also," Tehuatl added while looking at Texōccoatl. "I think we can get past it."

"Perhaps. But I do not intend to simply get past it," Yauhmi said coolly as she put down her teacup. She waved her hand at the man who had silently been standing behind her, observing the conversation. Ixatli, her personal bodyguard and a former ASI agent, dropped to one knee in respect as Yauhmi looked at him. "Begin trying to find out who spread these lies about me. I will not rest until I show whoever is responsible that one does not slander an Empress of Xiomera. I am the sun of this golden land, and I will burn whoever did this to my reputation and to the honor of my marriage."

Ixatli nodded, standing up to leave. His connections with ASI would serve him well as he began his hunt.

Tehuatl and Texōccoatl smiled at Yauhmi's confidence. She clearly believed she was going to triumph in the Great Selection - not a shred of doubt could be found in her demeanor or her words. "My father chose well, Mother," Texōccoatl said as he held a hand for Yauhmi to rise from her chair. "You have the strength of the gods in you."

"And the goddesses, Texōccoatl," Yauhmi chuckled softly. "Don't forget them. Let us head to the Huēyi Teōcalli. It is time for the next vote to begin."

---

The Xōhuitlto
Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera


"It wasn't enough. In the end, it just wasn't enough."

Natcuahuacu, Cozamalotl's campaign manager, sighed softly. "In the end, it does not appear that we have been able to convince enough of the voters on the ihuicatl to advance you to the next round. The fearmongering by Tepilcayotl and Yauhmi, the social media onslaught, the sheer inertia of a complacent populace, the damned corruption and vote-buying in the ihuicatl..."

The Necatli woman fought back tears as she laid the tablet down on the desk. "By our calculations.....both you and Xocolcōza will be voted out in the next round. Tepilcayotl and Yauhmi will advance to the final round of the Great Selection," Natcuahuacu said somberly.

The sitting room in Cozamalotl's home was silent as a morgue, until a voice finally broke the silence. "This is not a defeat."

Cozamalotl stood up, firmly rapping the table. "Hear me well, all of you. This is not a defeat."

He looked at each person in the room. "Do you know what has happened here? For the first time, we have been able to broadcast an uninterrupted message of reform and change to every Xiomeran. Where XUN and HNN failed, where underground efforts failed...we did it, here and now. The Great Selection has been broadcast all over Xiomera - all over the world. And throughout this travesty of an election, we have been able to show every Xiomeran what we stand for. We have been able to show the world just how corrupt and cruel the Empire is. We have shown people there is a better path for this country to take - and the idiots in the government gave us the means to do it. The reform movement is out of the shadows now. We have shown everyone that we are not terrorists and radicals as the government claims. We have shown that we are just people - people who know there is a better path than repression and tyranny. And we have shown that we are not afraid of the government."

Cozamalotl stood straighter, his demeanor hardly that of someone who had just been handed a defeat. "They will come for us, after this election. Do not doubt it. The message we spread during this election will be the final nail in the coffin of the Xiomeran Empire. And they know it. They won't let us just walk away. But we knew that when we made this bid. We knew we wouldn't win, likely as not. But this isn't about this one sham election to replace one tyrant with another. This is about the future."

Cozamalotl turned around the room, eyeing everyone. "I see gathered before me all the tribes of Huenya - Itotemoc, Necatli, Tepiltzin and, yes, Xiomeran. I see Teyatia. I see people from other lands who became part of us. I see different ages, races, genders, religions. I see what the true heart of this country is, here in this room. When they do come for us, they will realize then just what a grave mistake they have made in this so-called Great Selection. But it will be far too late for them then. We have started the wheel of time turning, and someday, it will lead to change."

"I will never be Emperor. I knew that going into this. I never wanted to be Emperor - I don't even want Emperors to exist. I would rather make the Obsidian Throne into some jewelry to sell tourists than sit on the damned thing. But I have achieved my goal. I have planted a seed which, if we are lucky, will lead to the end of the Empire. I may not be alive to see it - but it will happen. So no crying or sadness, any of you. We have lost a battle. The war is just beginning. It is a war for the soul of the people of Huenya - and we will win. Now let's go to the Huēyi Teōcalli, and show the tyrants that free people are rising."

As the people in the room broke out into cheers, Cozamalotl's eyes met those of Huitzilhuani, on the other side of the room. He nodded to her, and received an answering smile in return.

---

XBA Tower
Xiomeran Business Association headquarters
Downtown Tlālacuetztla


"It's over." A single flat voice echoed out into the conference room.

Xocolcōza shook his head. "We still have a reasonable chance. If we can get control of the message on social media, swing back some of the voters in the ihuicatl who dropped support for my bid unexpectedly, offer bigger incentives than they got to switch sides..."

"Just stop, Xocolcōza." Zaxōc, CEO of Mizhua Corporation, shook his head disdainfully. "You're polling with the general public at three percent. Three percent! You're not even close to that loser Cozamalotl, much less the two frontrunners." Zaxōc shook his head again. "The numbers among the voters on the council are no better - you will not advance further, they have made that painfully clear. We have to accept that we made a bad bet here, and that this plan to put you in the Obsidian Throne is not going to work."

Before Xocolcōza could mount any further protest, Mezcalinzi, the CEO of ISTC, coughed softly. "We already voted before you even arrived to this meeting, Xocolcōza. In order to avoid offending whoever becomes Emperor now, and to salvage what we can out of this mess in order to protect our business interests, we will not support your bid further," he said.

"So what exactly do you expect me to do now, other than get my ass handed to me in this next vote?" Xocolcōza said bitterly.

"What we do best," Tlitiaya, the CEO of Coltec Automotive Corporation, said calmly. "Find the best partner to connect with, and make a deal."

---

Huēyi Teōcalli
Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera
One hour later


The great sacred hall of the Huēyi Teōcalli was abuzz with activity. The voters of the council of experts, those still seeking to lobby them or strike last-minute deals before the next vote, and the running of people delivering messages and notes back and forth dominated the central floor. Above and around the central floor, the ancient seats were lined with media, foreign and Xiomeran dignitaries, and select members of the public. The entire thing had almost the air of a sporting event or a show, until a loud series of strikes on a bell were made. The sound of the giant bell echoed around the room, and people hastily took their seats.

"All be seated and silent! The next round of the Great Selection is about to begin. All voters on the honorable council of experts, take your seats and prepare to vote now," the Master of the Selection bellowed. Once everyone was seated and the room was quiet, the Master of the Selection summoned the four remaining candidates to the dais. "The candidates will now give their final statements before the vote."

Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl's statements were both brief, highlighting their experience and accomplishments, denouncing the interference and lies aimed at their campaigns, and promising a bright future for the Xiomeran Empire while maintaining much its present course.

Cozamalotl, knowing he had lost, gave a longer statement. "The Xiomeran Empire, much like it had in the days before the Great Reformation of the Emperor Achcauhyotl in 1807, has become stagnant, corrupt and has begun to decline, no matter what my opponents say," he declared. "A new Great Reformation is needed. We must change this nation, or it will collapse and fail. We already know what the outcome of this election will be - it will be to maintain the status quo. There was not much doubt about that. But there is a better way, and while it may not happen today, it will and must happen someday. The four tribes of Huenya, and our Teyatia brothers and sisters, will remain silent no longer. This nation must change, one way or another. I ran in this election hoping to be the last Emperor Xiomera ever had," Cozamalotl added, looking pointedly at the other three people on the dais. "I still hope that this election, one way or another, will result in the last person to occupy the Obsidian Throne."

To shocked silence, Cozamalotl calmly walked off the dais. With the result sealed, there was no reason to maintain the charade.

The last person to speak, Xocolcōza, wasn't content to let Cozamalotl be the only person to shock the audience and the voters. "I ran in the Great Selection because I believe that the business and technology leaders of Xiomera can contribute a lot more to how this nation is run. I still believe that. But the voters on this council, and the public, have made their voices heard. I am not their choice. I respect that. But I still desire to serve this great nation and its people. So I am withdrawing from the Great Selection."

As gasps and shocked comments reverberated around the room, Xocolcōza turned to his right. "I am stepping aside, and I am privileged to give my endorsement to the person I believe is best suited to lead this great Empire, in cooperation with its business community - Yauhmi, the once and future Empress of Xiomera!"

As the room erupted, the Master of the Selection desperately struggled to quiet everyone. Standing to the far right, Tepilcayotl leveled a glare at Xocolcōza that sent a message just for him, and clear as day: I will kill you for this.

Xocolcōza's answering smirk sent Tepilcayotl a message of its own: You might try.

The vote was thus anticlimactic. With Xocolcōza out of the race, and Cozamalotl's act of defiance, the vote went as it would go. "Ladies and gentlemen, please congratulate our final two candidates for the Obsidian Throne, Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl!" the Master of the Selection said after the votes were counted.

---

Watching the final result from a nearby room, Cozamalotl shook his head in a mixture of bemusement and profound sadness. Xocolcōza's sudden decision to quit the race was no coincidence. What did Yauhmi do to convince him? he wondered, before walking out.

The answer to that was found in a brief meeting before the vote began.

---

Private meeting room, Huēyi Teōcalli
Thirty minutes before the vote for the final round


"A deal." Yauhmi chuckled softly. "I am already tied with the other frontrunner in this race. Your numbers are...let's just say, not impressive." The former Empress laughed. "What could you possibly have to offer me?"

Xocolcōza sighed. "Let's be reasonable, madam. I will lose this vote, we both know that. But you're neck and neck with Tepilcayotl. You need every edge you can get. And I control the business community of Xiomera. I failed as a candidate - they didn't fail in support. If you give me what I want, I will throw the entire weight of the Xiomeran corporate world behind you. Including social media, advertising, newspapers, radio and TV. Tepilcayotl won't stand a chance if I back you. In financial support alone, the members of the Xiomeran Business Association - which I control, remember - can outspend Tepilcayotl 100 to 1 with the voters and with the public. You need the business community to become Empress, and to govern once you win. We need you as well - we see that now. A deal makes sense for all of us," Xocolcōza said.

"That is indeed an enticing offer," Yauhmi said calmly. "But you publicly supported the rumor that I cheated on my husband. Why should I forgive you? Or trust you, for that matter?"

Xocolcōza smirked at that. "You don't need to forgive me, or trust me. When have any of those things mattered in Xiomeran politics? I can be of use to you...and you can be of use to me. That's what matters, isn't it?"

Yauhmi chuckled again. "Point taken. But nothing comes for free - especially with a shark like you. What do you want in return for this generous offer?"

Xocolcōza snapped his fingers. "I want to be Secretary for Trade. You have to get rid of Tlanextia anyway, she backed Cozamalotl and is a reformer. Also, I want to get to choose who the next Secretary of the Environment and Secretary of Infrastructure are. And the Secretary of Scientific Development, to replace Cozamalotl when you get rid of him. Those are positions vital to the interests of the business community, and the XBA needs to make sure someone who puts Xiomeran businesses first is in these spots."

Yauhmi frowned. "Four Cabinet spots? You don't play for small wagers."

Xocolcōza smiled. "None of us do. But four Cabinet seats are a small price to pay to secure the Obsidian Throne, and make sure the business community has your back and keeps your purse full, now aren't they? Besides, you must know that Tepilcayotl will throw everything he can at you to try to win. He controls ASI, and through his friendship with Xochiqui, he controls the military as well. You need strong people in your corner more than ever now. This is actually the most dangerous part of your bid for the throne. Tepilcayotl is so close he can feel his backside on the Obsidian Throne. He won't hesitate if he can find a way to defeat you - no matter how nasty."

"True enough. But why should I trust that you won't betray me to Tepilcayotl in the end?"

Xocolcōza laughed. "Tepilcayotl hates me. He's threatened to kill me more than once, as you know. He did it once right in front of Topilpopoca, as I am sure your husband told you." Yauhmi nodded, remembering that conversation with her husband at the end of the day.

"Tepilcayotl, if he becomes Emperor, will kill me. I am convinced of that. And if you think he won't find a pretext to get rid of you too....this is another reason we need each other, Empress," Xocolcōza said calmly. "So....do we have a deal?"

Yauhmi's slow answering smile provided the answer.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:59 am

Press Briefing Room, 9 Chancellor's Road, Geminus

William Lancaster stood outside the briefing room while his Vice Chancellor, Leah Stendē, checked over his speech. After a few head nods and other animations, she handed it back to him. "It's good, considering the short notice. Why couldn't we do this with more time to prepare?".
"Because the final round is imminent. Alice gave us the news as soon as she could".
"Yeah, I know. Now get out there and bring the house down!"

----
The Crowd of assembled Press Members waited in anticipation as Chancellor William Lancaster walked up onto the stage. "Good Evening, everyone. I apologise for the lateness of the hour. I have an announcement regarding the current Election for the New Xiomeran ruler. As the Final round leaves two candidates, we think that now is the time to endorse our preferred ruler. We give our full support to Yahumi. We hope she can pick up where her husband left off, and both lead Xiomera to a great future, and achieve stronger diplomatic relations between our nations. I hope the people of the selection committee can see what great potential Yahumi holds, and how much of a waste it would be to squander that potential. Questions?"
The room erupted in voices.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Lauchenoiria » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:13 am

Press Conference, Gardens of the Arnott Family Residence, Kerlile

President Arnott stood before the assembled reporters. They were silent, waiting for her, not scrambling to ask questions the way they do in democracies. The Kerlian press were well trained, and only ever reported what they were ordered to report. On the few occasions when they had deviated from that mandate, the offending journalists had often found themselves on the wrong side of a locked door. The Reform Party had claimed they wanted greater journalistic freedom, but for the time being, Arnott was grateful for their unfair system.

"It is with great pleasure that I stand here today to give my endorsement to Yauhmi in her bid to become Empress of Xiomera. Yauhmi is a strong female leader, who will lead Xiomera to great things, and ensure that gender equality in that nation continues. She would be a true ally in the fight to bring true equality to women across the globe. Xiomera is a true friend to Kerlile, and we hope that, going forward, we can continue our friendship and create even closer ties. Thank you."

Unlike in a democracy, Arnott was able to leave the patio which was serving for a stage without the harassment from reporters, who would not dare challenge a member of a Council Family. She had chosen to hold this press conference outside, a strange Kerlian tradition where good news was often reported in the open air, while bad news was reported inside. Nobody was quite sure where the tradition originated, but she hoped it would be symbolic. Late October was still pleasant in Kerlile, the weather just warm enough to only need a very light jacket. In the sun and the slight warmth, Arnott walked inside, hopeful for the future and their relationship with Xiomera.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:53 pm

(Joint RP with Shen)

The Cauhloc

"I do not have the votes."

That simple statement, although uttered calmly, had the effect of a slashing knife.

Tepilcayotl eyed the latest reports from his lobbyists and campaigners with his eyebrows furrowed. "Damn Xocolcōza and his schemes. He has flooded so much money to everyone that they are turning on me in droves. We simply do not have enough time to counter this."

The Security Secretary's eyes rose to the foot of his desk, where Xotōch was standing waiting. "We only have one card to play left. I did not want to resort to this, but the situation has left me no choice."

Tepilcayotl handed a red flash drive to Xotōch. "Commence Operation Zyanya at once." Xotōch nodded, taking the flash drive and walking out of the room.

Tepilcayotl sighed, leaning back into his chair. You should have died with your husband, Yauhmi. You should have accompanied him into the afterlife. I am only doing what nature and events failed to do correctly. When you see him in the afterlife....Topilpopoca will understand why I did it.

The Security Secretary placed his head in his hands. All he could do now was wait.

Zipacpepe, Tlālacuetztla
One day later


If Montelin was the epitome of an elite Xiomeran neighborhood, Zipacpepe was its exact opposite. It was the single worst slum in Tlālacuetztla, and quite possibly one of the worst in the entire country. It was decidedly not one of the neighborhoods that the glossy tourism brochures and slickly produced ads that the Xiomeran Tourism Council produced recommended people visit. Native Tlālacuetztlans knew that Zipacpepe was good for only a few things: getting into trouble, giving someone trouble, or doing things as far off the radar as it was possible to do in a surveillance-obsessed country like Xiomera. It was therefore the perfect neighborhood for the kind of place that Zalpalatli was heading to.

Scales was a small, unassuming bar tucked into a corner of Zipacpepe that was off the beaten path. This was by design. It wasn't the sort of place that should be easy to find. But Zalpalatli knew it quite well. He was a regular of sorts at the small speakeasy. As a result, he knew exactly what to do. Walking up to the unmarked black door, he rapped several times in a seemingly random pattern that was, in fact, not random at all. A small door built into the bigger door slid open, and a pair of expressionless eyes peered out at him. Even though Zalpalatli was known to the proprietors of this establishment, he still had to say the magic words.

"I've come to rub the dragon's belly."

Those eyes looked him up and down, before shutting the tiny door. The sound of locks slowly being undone was followed with the creaking as the door was finally opened. The dimly-lit interior of the bar masked the appearance of its few patrons. The walls were blank covered in cracks in the drywall. The actual bar itself was small but sturdy, behind it an unassuming collection of potables.

Zalpalatli was led by the doorman to the back of the bar. Sitting in an unassuming booth, slowly smoking cigarettes as he took sips of his rice wine, an average-looking Shen national gazed upward. He motioned for the doorman to head back to the door before offering the seat across from him to the Xiomeran official.

Zalpalatli took a seat, letting himself settle into the cushion before looking at the Shen across from him. "Thank you for seeing me. I have some information that is essential to convey to your mistress."

The bartender walked over and set down his usual drink in front of him.

The mysterious man took one drag off his cigarette, before placing the butt in the ashtray and leaning forward so that they could speak quietly together.

"There's an understanding between our governments. I'm here to make sure that we continue that understanding. Although usually you come here asking questions...so I'm curious Zalpalatli, what information did you come here to whisper into the ear of the God-Empress?"

"As you know, I see pretty much everything that ASI is planning. And also as you know, a certain Security Secretary is likely about to lose his bid for the Obsidian Throne." Zalpalatli took a USB drive from his pocket, sliding it across the table. "And he is about to do something spectacularly desperate. He's taking a page from Cētlalhui's playbook." Zalpalatli's face grimaced in disgust at the name of Topilpopoca's assassin. "He believes that he can secure the election if his rival is out of the way."

The Shingzi ren agent turned his attention down to the flash drive as it was revealed. At first there was a look of curious intrigue on his face, wondering what could be on it. But as Zalpalatli spoke, that look twisted into a face of shock. The implications of his words were instantly known to the Class A agent.

Without wasting a moment, he jumped out of his chair and told the doorman to not let anyone else in. He grabbed the Xiomeran's hand and with all the strength of his young body led him into the back room where he sat down behind a desk and plugged in the flash drive.

"The evidence for this accusation is on this flash drive, right? You know my superiors are going to want more than just your word before we move on this information?"

"Of course. I would want proof as well, if our roles were reversed. The plan for the operation against Yauhmi is on that drive. Tepilcayotl and my superiors in ASI believe I am in on the plot. But some of us in Xiomera still believe that the strongest, not the most treacherous, should prevail. Some of us also still believe in loyalty. As you serve your Empress, I serve mine," Zalpalatli replied.

The agent took a few moments, looking over the information on the drive confirming it before picking up his phone and starting to dial out. "So did you know that we had an agent in the palace assigned to Yauhmi's protection, or were you just hoping we did?"

"Like I said....I see everything that ASI sees....and ASI sees everything that happens in Xiomera," Zalpalatli said, deftly avoiding the question his shingzi ren counterpart had asked. "I did hope that you had a way to convey this information to Yauhmi that bypassed normal Xiomeran protocols. Until this election is over, it's hard to know who is on who's side, and who to trust. ASI and the Security Secretariat will need to be...purged, after Tepilcayotl's removal," Zalpalatli added.

"Am I wrong in assuming that you're hoping this gesture of loyalty will determine your spot after the purge takes?" his younger counterpart said with a sly look on his face.

But before Zalpalatli had time to answer, someone picked up on the other end of the line and the agent quickly began to speak his native language as quickly as he could.

When he hung up, he looked back to the Xiomeran.

"It's done. The Empress will be informed when she wakes up over her morning coffee. You return to your normal duty and make sure that the details of this plan stick to what you gave me. When this is all over, you have my word that the Empress will know the part you played in her rescue."

Zalpalatli nodded. "Thank you," he said simply, turning to walk out of the bar.

Upon his return to the Cauhloc, he did just what he was asked - returned to his normal duties and did his best to make sure the plan against Yauhmi did not change.

The next morning, at the Palace of Flowers, Yauhmi walked into the Golden Chamber to start her usual morning routine. Things were going well. Most of the ihuicatl was now solidly in her pocket; the recent wave of endorsements coupled with Xocolcōza's flood of money and deals had built nicely on the foundation laid by the others who had helped Yauhmi's bid earlier. It was pretty much over now, except for the formality of the final vote.

The Empress sat down, looking contentedly at the table. A tablet with the usual briefings lay at hand, but as someone who was quite traditional, she preferred to look at her selection of morning newspapers from around the region before succumbing to the drag of the digital age. Besides, she was excited to read the reactions from different countries about her impending win.

Like it or not, you'll all have to deal with me, Yauhmi said, unfolding the first newspaper. As she did so, she reached over to pick up her coffee cup with the other hand. As she lifted the cup, what she saw underneath it made her drop the paper in amazement.

It was a jade talisman, shaped like a rat. The shingzi ren? By the gods, what is this? she thought, looking around the room.

Before her shock could even fade away a voice that you should never hear entered her ears. The maid who was cleaning in the Golden Chamber spoke. Not just did she speak up, but she had a confidence in her voice. Completely foreign for a minor servant talking to her sovereign. Something completely foreign indeed.

"Empress Yauhmi, there's something I need to discuss with you...in private."

The fact that she was making a request of the empress, even if she was nothing but a maid. Everything seemed wrong about her at that second. And the fact that she was now staring at the image of a rat on a talisman made of jade, made it obvious what this girl was.

She was an agent of the God-Empress.

"I see," Yauhmi said calmly. "Very well. Follow me," the Empress said, standing up and leading the "maid" to the sitting room of her private chambers. Upon arriving there, she ordered everyone except her personal bodyguard to leave the area. When the bodyguard closed the door, he locked it behind him.

"We are quite private here. What do you have to tell me?" the Empress demanded.

As soon as they were in private the maid bowed her head, showing respect far more deserving of her position.

"God-Empress Wu sends her regards, your Highness. I have to inform you that the Shingzi Ren have been made aware of a plot against your life. I was ordered to reveal my identity and pass on the information to you and your security teams. Your rival has become desperate."

Yauhmi sighed slightly. "I am grateful to you, and to the God-Empress, for this information," she said finally. "I never suspected that Tepilcayotl would go quite this far. Perhaps I should have. In any event.....please let me know how you came by this information, and what they are planning."

"You can express your gratitude in person after your coronation. If you're unable to do that then this was all for naught."

The woman reached into the pocket of her apron, pulling out a flash drive and handing it to the Empress.

"Last night, a member of the conspiracy passed this information to our agents at a designated meeting point. I can't give you any more information unfortunately. Not until the security threat has been dealt with. What we know is that they're planning on sending in a strike team to kill you while you sleep. The full details are on the drive."

Yauhmi took the drive, grasping it for a moment before handing it to her bodyguard and speaking briefly in Xiomeran Huenyan to him. Her bodyguard nodded, pocketing the drive. "My security team will review the information provided. Thanks to this, it is far more likely I will make it to that coronation," the Empress replied. "We will begin preparations for countering this threat."

"Your Highness, I will just make one request. That you allow me and the other agent stationed in the palace to participate in the defense of your life. If you would extend us that honor we would be eternally grateful."

"Your participation would be most welcome. Please coordinate with my bodyguard, Ixatli. He will ensure that your skills are put to the best possible use," Yauhmi said with a gesture to Ixatli. The bodyguard nodded impassively, gesturing for the shingzi ren agent to follow him out of the room to begin planning the counter-operation.

Palace of Flowers
Three days later, 2:45 am, Xiomeran time


Most of the gates into the Palace of Flowers were grand, imposing affairs meant to impress visitors. The Azcatl Gate (Ant Gate), on the far northern end of the palace compound just below the foothills of Montelin, was not such a gate. In ancient times, it had been built as an emergency escape route for Emperors to flee, in the event that the Palace of Flowers was overrun. Such had never happened in Xiomeran history, so in modern times, it now served as a sort of service entrance. But then as now, it was a tiny gate in comparison to the grander portals into the palace grounds.

It was a perfect place for the special ASI team to enter. The guards at the gate, regular Imperial Army soldiers, were easy enough for the special team to disarm and quietly remove. A few agents took their place to alleviate suspicion, while the rest of the squad quickly donned the uniforms of palace guards and slipped into the grounds.

The ASI team slowly and calmly proceeded to the main part of the Palace, taking care to look normal and not attract attention. They were able to make it to the inside of the central palace without opposition or raising alarm. The lead agent smiled to himself; everything was going to plan.

The plan, once inside, was a simple one: proceed to the top floor of the palace as if they had been sent to relieve the guards normally stationed to protect the private chambers of the royal family. Once there, they would utilize their skills to quietly dispatch any guards before slipping into the Imperial bedroom.

Yauhmi's aspirations to rule Xiomera would end in the same fashion that her husband's reign had.

As the ASI team reached the top floor, they quietly readied their weapons before launching their attack by storming the top floor. They moved silently through the shadows, quickly crossing the distance from the entryway to the end of the hall where the royal quarters lay. Shadows concealing their every move, hiding their actions. But also preventing them from seeing that every second they had spent within the palace walls, they had been watched and followed. For they were merely guests in the shadows. They faced enemies who called them home.

When they reached the door their attention was drawn to the clinking of metal as it rolled towards them. One from their left, and one from their right. Before they even realized what it was a flash of blinding light and the squeal of a flashbang grenade robbed them of their senses. And before they knew it the air was whistling as bullets went flying towards them.

The strike team were forced to rapidly take cover as they found themselves in the cross-section of suppressed semi-automatic fire. The shadows roared to life as they concealed their attackers. The same tactic they had used to attempt to assassinate the empress backfired on them, as they were trapped.

The strike team found themselves pinned down, with a withering crossfire hitting them from both the front and from the entryway behind them. Several of them were down before they realized where the gunfire was coming from. But ASI agents are trained to respond at a moment's notice to operational changes. They quickly began returning fire, their suppressed weapons echoing those of their attackers. One of the agents grabbed a pair of night vision goggles, slipping them on and trying to direct fire back at their attackers in the shadows. While three of the agents tried to distract those behind the unexpectedly stiff defense of the Empress, the rest of the ASI agents made a run for the end of the hall. They had to complete their mission at all costs. Somehow, they managed to elude the gunfire and slam through the door.

When they entered the Royal Chambers, Ixatli and several Shorn Ones were waiting for them. The echoing boom of their heavy weapons resounded down the hallway. The three remaining ASI agents in the hall doing battle with the shadows didn't like the sound of that, and hastily tried to bail out.

Their attempt to retreat caused them to break formation. The shadows swallowed each of them up. The one trailing looked behind just in time to have the sharp edge of a knife pierce his throat. The agent retrieved their knife before tossing it through the air. It embedded itself in the back of the second assassin's neck causing him to fall to the ground. The other agent fell on him, quickly finishing the job.

The last assassin looked behind him to see he was alone. Two figures dressed in skin tight black outfits and tactical gear standing behind him, their eyes hidden behind the green lenses of their night vision goggles.

He attempted to draw his gun but it was rapidly kicked from his hand.

The other agent flew forward, slamming her fist into his exposed neck causing his windpipe to rupture. His breath was taken away as it swelled shut. The ASI assassin collapsed onto his knees, desperately gasping and trying to breathe.

The shingzi ren agent didn't let him suffer long. Walking behind him, she grabbed his head and quickly snapped his neck, ending the confrontation.

When Ixatli exited the Royal Chambers, the agents had already gone.

Security cameras later revealed that they had followed past the assailants sneaking out to the ant tunnel and finishing off the two remaining assassins.

It was all over. The Empress was safe.

In another part of the Palace of Flowers, well away from the Royal Chambers and unharmed, Yauhmi receieved the news of the failure with a nod. Tomorrow, this will all come to an end.

---

The Cauhloc
4:00 am, Xiomeran time


Tepilcayotl hung up the phone as Xotōch watched. "They have failed," he said simply.

Xotōch was stunned as the hand holding the phone slowly descended to the desk below it. A lesser man's hand would have been shaking. Tepilcayotl's was not.

"How did they fail?" Xotōch finally asked.

"Someone must have warned Yauhmi. It hardly matters now. It's not like we'll have time to investigate it, the final vote is in a few hours," Tepilcayotl replied in an unexpectedly calm voice.

"So what do we do now?" Xotōch replied in a voice like the creaking of a coffin lid.

"We go to the vote tomorrow. And either I win, or I die," Tepilcayotl said in a voice that had the tone of a man merely stating the obvious.

In Xiomera, when you play against the highest odds to win the greatest prize the country has to offer, there aren't any do-overs.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:03 am

Huēyi Teōcalli

The final day of the Great Selection began much the same as every other day, albeit a bit more hectic. Lobbyists and campaigners for Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl scurried around the floor of the temple, engaged in last-minute scrambling for votes, lobbying the voters of the council of experts, making threats or promises or giving inducements depending on the target. The voters themselves held court almost like mini-Emperors; they held a lot of peoples' fate in their hands, and they knew it. In the stands around the temple floor, the crowd whispered feverishly with excitement. Some enterprising entrepreneurs, this being Xiomera, were even taking bets on the outcome of the final vote. Their Cala tablets, equipped with card readers, buzzed frequently as they relayed bets and received real-time updated odds on who would win. The whole thing had the feel of a sporting event whose teams had finally reached the championship round, but the chamber quickly went silent as the bell at the dais was struck. Its ringing echoed out through the now dead-silent chamber as the Master of the Selection walked to the podium.

"All be seated and silent! The next round of the Great Selection is about to begin. All voters on the honorable council of experts, take your seats and prepare to vote now," the Master of the Selection bellowed. "We shall have final statements before the vote. First, we shall hear from the honorable Secretary of Security, Tepilcayotl."

Tepilcayotl walked slowly to the podium, grasping its sides as he arrived. He looked out over the assembled voters. "Voters of the Great Selection, those watching in the audience, and those watching wherever this is being broadcast. I am Tepilcayotl, Secretary of Security of the Xiomeran Empire. I come to you now, to ask for your vote."

"I have served Xiomera and its people for over fifty years. During this time, I have worked tirelessly to keep Xiomera and its people safe. I have seen everything that the gods and fate, and plots and machinations, can throw at us. We are at a pivotal moment in our history, and there are two paths we face. We must choose one to walk down. One path will lead to political upheaval, social disorder and unrest, and the eventual collapse of the Xiomeran nation and society. This is the path that the so-called reformers demand we take - domestic malcontents influenced by their own failure and by foreign manipulations. This is the path of danger."

"The other path is a path that our last Emperor, Topilpopoca, one of the greatest Emperors we have ever had, trusted me to walk down with him for almost twenty years. This is the path of safety, security, order, harmony, peace and prosperity. It is a path I have walked down for long years, and know well. It is the only path that will lead us to a safe horizon and a secure, prosperous future together. I am the person best suited to be our guide as we weather whatever storms the future may throw at us."

"Xiomera faces a choice between two people at this podium, and two possible futures. While my opponent, having been the wife of an Emperor, may have observed what must be done to rule, I actually did those things. I therefore am the best choice to ensure continued stable governance and the success of our country. We face a very real choice - inexperienced leadership, leading to disorder and collapse, or proven leadership that has walked the same path that was begun over 600 years ago by the first Emperor, Quiauhticue, and has since been walked by all of our rulers down to our last Emperor - Topilpopoca, my friend and mentor for over two decades. Choose the sure guide with the experience to lead us down the right path safely home. Choose me as Emperor, and Xiomera will remain strong."

Tepilcayotl returned to his seat as the Master of the Selection stepped back to the podium. "Thank you, Secretary Tepilcayotl. We shall now hear from the second candidate - her Majesty, Empress Yauhmi. Please step forward."

Tepilcayotl eyed Yauhmi as she walked forward. For her part, Yauhmi pointedly didn't spare Tepilcayotl a single glance as she swept to the podium.

"People of Xiomera! Voters of the Great Selection! And all people, watching both here in this great sacred temple, and both in Xiomera and around the world. I am Yauhmi, wife of Topilpopoca, Empress of Xiomera. I come before you now to state why I should remain Empress of Xiomera, and why you should choose me to lead this great nation," Yauhmi said.

"My opponent claims I do not have the experience to lead us properly, and that I merely observed my husband from the Palace as he led us well and wisely for almost two decades. Topilpopoca may have been his mentor, but the Emperor was my husband. Who, of all people in the world, should you believe he talked to when he needed advice, or a friendly ear to help guide him? I helped our fallen Emperor as much as anyone, during his reign, to support the wise and just decisions he made on behalf of our people. Attitudes otherwise are merely the beliefs of someone who perhaps does not think women do more than listen to their husbands ramble and fix them dinner," Yauhmi chucked dryly. "So, enough of that argument. I gained the experience needed to run this country by watching and supporting a master at it - Topilpopoca - for not just the entirety of his reign, but for the entirety of our marriage of over forty years. If anyone knows what it takes to lead Xiomera, I do."

"Now, let us discuss the future of Xiomera. My opponent is correct that there is a path, called 'reform,' that domestic malcontents and failures, influenced by foreigners who despise our government and our society. He is also correct that if we walk down this path, we will bring about the collapse of our society and our nation. He is not correct in the idea that I would lead Xiomera down this path. Xiomera, I promise you, will not hurl headlong into some utopian pipe dream of 'reform' if I remain as Empress. Now, should some things change in Xiomera? Yes, and indeed they must, for any nation that never changes anything is doomed to stagnation and collapse of an entirely different sort. And that is where my opponent is most incorrect," Yauhmi said.

Raising one hand, Yauhmi placed two fingers in the air. "He states there are two paths - one where everything stays the same, and we succeed, or one where everything changes, and we fail. But that omits one path, that he does not see, but I do." Yauhmi raised a third finger. "The third path, a path between extremes. I will lead Xiomera down the third path. A path where we change what should and must be changed, as we continue to adapt and adjust to the modern era. A path where we preserve what we must, to remain Xiomeran, to protect our culture, our heritage, and our people. And a path where we find balance, and grow ever stronger."

"My opponent's vision sees only two possibilities, and wants us to pick one - where we just keep doing what we've always done, stay just as we always have been, and nothing changes. Such a narrow vision! So unworthy of the greatness of Xiomera! I see a future where, in balance and harmony, Xiomera does change - because it grows ever stronger, soars even higher, succeeds even more. I see a future where this nation of ours, so often dismissed as some little island in the middle of nowhere, becomes the shining example that other nations respect and seek to emulate - and also, do not dismiss as cavalierly as has happened in the past.

"You have a choice to make, voters of the Great Selection. You must choose wisely and well, if Xiomera is to achieve such greatness. For that, you must not choose a vision of narrow scope and little ambition, except to just survive as we have for twenty years or even 600 years. For Xiomera and Xiomerans to achieve the fullest they are capable of - you have only one choice. That choice is me."

Yauhmi turned, her long gown swirling, and strode back to take her seat.

The Master of the Selection walked back up to the podium, his facial expression clearly saying tough act to follow after both speeches. "The time has come, voters of the Great Selection. Cast your votes now, fulfill the mandate of Huītzilōpōchtli, and decide who shall sit upon the Obsidian Throne."

Within minutes, it was decided. A runner carried a tablet to the Master of the Selection. He looked at the results. "It is done. The experts of this council, wisest and best of Xiomerans, have decided. Bring forth the Crown of Huītzilōpōchtli."

Two Shorn Ones stepped forward from behind the dais, carrying a magnificant featherwork crown. The Crown of Huītzilōpōchtli, the symbol of absolute power in the Xiomeran Empire.

"The candidates shall step forward and kneel," the Master of the Selection bellowed.

Yauhmi and Tepilcayotl walked forward, sinking to their knees. "Whose head I place this crown upon, the choice of those with the wisdom and mandate, is your new ruler."

With a flourish, the Master of the Selection raised the Crown of Huītzilōpōchtli over the heads of the two candidates.....before slowly lowering it.

"Yauhmi, you are the choice of the people. You are the Empress of Xiomera. Rise and take the Obsidian Throne. And may you reign as long as the sun rules in the sky," the Master of the Selection shouted. Yauhmi rose, the Crown of Huītzilōpōchtli shining atop her head, as Tepilcayotl closed his eyes.

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Re: Requiem for a Tyrant, Fight for a Throne

Post by Xiomera » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:37 am

Palace of Flowers
One hour after the Great Selection


While a formal coronation still needed to be done in accordance with Xiomeran law, Yauhmi saw no reason to wait to use the Throne Room. The Palace of Flowers had been her home for almost two decades, and she was as familiar with the Throne Room as a normal Xiomeran would be with their living room.

As she walked into the Throne Room, she briefly imagined that she could see Topilpopoca sitting on the Obsidian Throne, resplendent in his customary general's uniform, smiling at her as he had so often while she sat next to him on her own smaller chair. "Well, Topilpopoca, I'm here again. I hope I didn't have to keep you waiting too long," she said softly as she neared the throne.

The image of Topilpopoca sitting on the throne smiled at her, one last time, before fading away as Yauhmi once again confronted reality. She no longer had a husband. But she had his chair.

The Obsidian Throne was not, as its name implied, a giant hunk of volcanic glass. Topilpopoca had often joked to Yauhmi that if it had been, it would have been as comfortable to sit on as a chair made of rusty razor blades, or swords, or something equally preposterous like that. What the Obsidian Throne was revealed itself to be a masterwork, perhaps the masterwork, of Huenyan craftsmanship, artistry and creativity. For 600 years, Xiomeran Emperors had sat on that throne, ever since the first Emperor, Quiauhticue, had ordered it to be crafted - and then killed its creators so that no one could ever replicate its like. The Throne was created from firestone and blackwood, with obsidian inlays shining like the finest jewels, and all of it carved with symbols of Huenyan religion and Xiomeran history with the finest artistry. And in keeping with its name, every single part of the Obsidian Throne was solid, jet black - except for one.

On the top of the chair, a single jeweled gold piece ran. It had the symbols of the four tribes of Huenya carved into it, on either side of an image of Huītzilōpōchtli. Above the image of the patron god of the Xiomerans, a golden sun flared. This was what the Emperors of Xiomera had drawn their authority from in the days of Quiauhticue - the power of the gods, the mandate of Huītzilōpōchtli.

Today, they drew their power from farcical elections by corrupted experts. But it mattered not. Whatever source this chair derives its authority from, it is the most powerful chair in the Xiomeran Empire. And that power belongs to whoever sits upon it.

Even though she had lived in the Palace for almost twenty years, Yauhmi had never sat upon the Throne. She was not ready to do so yet. There was still one piece of unfinished business. "Bring him in," she told the Shorn Ones guarding the Throne Room.

The golden doors of the Throne Room, bearing the Xiomeran seal upon them, swung open without a sound - more superior Xiomeran craftsmanship at work. Tepilcayotl walked in, flanked by a pair of Shorn Ones. When he neared Yauhmi, one of the Shorn Ones stopped him as if he was going to search the Security Secretary. "That will not be necessary," Yauhmi said, waving the Shorn One back. "I trust that you have no further plans to do away with me?"

"I do not," Tepilcayotl said. "May I congratulate you on your victory, Empress. You have proven to be the most worthy of opponents."

"As were you, Tepilcayotl. You made this much harder than I anticipated, you should be proud," Yauhmi said. "I could say the same for you, Empress," Tepilcayotl replied dryly, his once-frontrunner status in the Great Selection now just a distant memory.

Yauhmi laughed slightly at that. "Do you wonder what Topilpopoca must think, watching his wife and his best friend scheme like this against each other from the afterlife?" she asked. "I imagine he is quite angry with me for trying to kill his wife. I also imagine he is equally angry with me for failing to become Emperor," Tepilcayotl replied. This earned a much more robust laugh from the Empress. "That does sound like Topilpopoca.....he would have been beside himself about who to root for."

"Yes, but he would also have accepted it. It is our way, the Xiomeran way," Tepilcayotl said calmly.

"So it is. And so, you know what I must ask you to do now," Yauhmi replied, gesturing to one of the Shorn Ones. The Shorn One stepped forward, a dark black box in his hand. When he opened it, he took out an obsidian técpatl. The dagger shone darkly in the golden lights of the Throne Room.

"Left alive, you would be a dangerous rival. And as fun and productive as squabbles among friends and family can be sometimes, a civil war is the last thing Xiomera needs right now," Yauhmi said quietly.

Tepilcayotl took the dagger from the Shorn One, raising it to his chest. "I know. And I would never allow myself to become an instrument that does the Empire harm. I did not serve Xiomera for fifty years for nothing." As he gripped the dagger, he looked up at Yauhmi. "I genuinely hope that you succeed and thrive as Empress. If you succeed, Xiomera will succeed. And that is all I have ever wanted."

"I know, Tepilcayotl. Thank you for your wishes...I hope you reach the afterlife and a place of peace worthy of your service. When you see Topilpopoca there....tell him I said hello," Yauhmi replied softly.

Tepilcayotl nodded, before taking a firmer grip on the dagger and looking up at the roof of the Throne Room. "For the Empire," he whispered, before taking a single sharp thrust.

When it was over, Yauhmi bent down on one knee, closing Tepilcayotl's eyes and retrieving the dagger. She cleaned it with a silken cloth, before handing both back to the Shorn One holding the box. "Make sure he is sent to the afterlife with the highest honors. He may have become my enemy, but he served Xiomera well and true for longer than you have been alive. He deserves our respect and our honor," the Empress told him. The Shorn One bowed deeply, before he and several others picked up Tepilcayotl's body to carry it to the Huēyi Teōcalli.

As servants rushed forward to clean the blood from the floor of the Throne Room, Yauhmi walked back to the Obsidian Throne. And, for the first time, she slowly sat down upon the most powerful chair in Xiomera. I am truly Empress now. Not just an Emperor's husband, not someone who just lives in the Palace. I rule Xiomera now. And things are going to change.

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