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Einar, Jón and Mýra
02-26-2019, 09:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2019 12:44 AM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #1
Einar, Jón and Mýra
Einar felt an anxious excitement as he followed Jón and Mýra across the snow swept Gíldasæti. Ahead stood Draken Hall, the academic social and dining hall of the most liberal of Aulë’s colleges. A small crowd loitered at the entrance of the hall. All were dressed in black and most were clean shaven. A few had delicately groomed mustachios.

A sharp featured, dark haired man, himself clean shaven, greeted them as they approached. He smiled enthusiastically as he referred to them as “ríkisborgari” (meaning citizen in Aedelish) and gave them a crudely bound paper pamphlet.

Once inside the three easily found open seats and sat together. The massive hall appeared nearly empty though Einar counted at least fifty in attendance. Only a handful, standing with their hands behind their back in a manner that appeared vaguely military, were clean shaven and wearing black. The majority of the audience were clearly students at Aulë, like Einar and Jón, with short patchy beards and almost exclusively clothed in tweed. Einar noticed only three other women, besides Mýra.

Jón looked about the hall nervously. “I’m not so sure about this,” he whispered to Einar. “Where are their beards?” Traditionally in Aedeland, having one’s beard shaved was a dishonor. Jakob av Varung’s bare cheeks were considered decidedly foreign and almost avant garde. Many believed it had greatly contributed to his divisive reputation.

Mýra patted Jón’s thigh and smiled reassuringly. It was her idea to come. “Don’t let it bother you, citizen, it is the fashion in Hoffnung,” she explained with a giddy expression when she accentuated the word citizen. “I think it looks modern.”

The hall hushed as an older gentleman of perhaps fifty years of age, with a well trimmed goatee and a large balding forehead, stepped on a table top and scanned the room. Beside him Einar saw the dark haired man from outside. The balding man rigidly stood overlooking the crowd with a fiery intensity like a man looking for a fight. After allowing a pregnant moment of near silence, he shouted “ríkisborgarar!” and drove into an uninterrupted two hour rant.

He began with what he called the unjust imperialist war in the Haniyyahs and energetically indicted its wealthy benefactors in Storhavn and Ærilar. He lamented the drafts and the young men, given no voice and no future, sent to fight to increase the wealth of the Sørtarnland Company and the wealthy Aldermen who he accused of peddling their influence for profit. Einar, himself dreading his inevitable mandatory military service and under the constant threat of being pulled from school by the draft, preferred this characterization of the war over the constant talk both at school and at home of binding honor and blind loyalty.

The speaker, as if he could hear Einar’s thoughts, digressed into an attack on the archaic Aedelish concept of honor. He cited stories, hidden by the Aedelish newspapers and denied by the War Office, of atrocities committed by the Company’s hired armies: villages destroyed, peasants raped and murdered, and child soldiers forced into a pitiful life of violence and cruelty. When the balding man declared boldly that there could be no honor in the Haniyyahs, Einar enthusiastically agreed. When the older man explained that true honor is to fight against this injustice by refusing to do the bidding of self appointed overlords, the shame and fear Einhar had felt was replaced with pride and self-righteousness.

Einar felt an electricity within him as they left the hall, he and Mýra excitedly recalling the balding man’s words to each other. The speaker had a magnetism that Einar had never witnessed. His exaggerated movements and dramatic rhetoric made him seem to be a man possessed. Mýra, equally enthralled, announced her intention to commit herself to the democratic cause and Einar joined her. Jón brooded silently with his arm around Mýra. He nodded occasionally in agreement but it was clear to Einar that his heart wasn’t in it.

Einar knew that Jón’s father was himself a wealthy Alderman and Jón, an athletic and competitive exemplar of all things Aedelish, was already an active volunteer in his home regiment. Jón had little to fear if his regiment was sent to the Haniyyahs. He would serve in a honorable yet safe assignment thanks to who his father was. No doubt, counting his volunteer service and his connections in the War Office, he would be eligible to attend war college. Einar knew that the same would not be true for himself. He would be conscripted and serve as the needs of the War Office determined.

Einar had noticed Jón’s enthusiasm wane as the balding man had called for a Häverist meritocracy. The idea thrilled Einar. A meritocracy would open a world of opportunity for men like himself from obscure branches of poor ætts. Jón certainly deserved to be at Aulë no matter who his father was - Jón had actually received higher honors on his prelims than Einar - but Einar always suspected that, if it wasn’t for his privileged background, things wouldn’t have come so easily to Jón. From the expression on his face, Einar could see that Jón thought so too.

After walking Mýra home, Einar and Jón returned to their dormitory. Einar shaved his beard while Jón slept.

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02-26-2019, 10:21 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2019 01:15 AM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #2
Manifesto of the Aedelish Haverists
The following was included in a pamphlet containing several political tracts primarily authored by leading Haverist theorists in Helreich. It has been translated from Aedelish.

THE ENEMY IS AT HOME

The main enemy of the Aedelish people is in Aedeland:

Aedelish Imperialism, Aedelish profiteers, and Aedelish slave masters!

We are for the Aedelish people.

We think as one with the Aedelish people – we have nothing in common with the Directors of the Imperial Sørtarnland Company, with the Aedelish government of political oppression and social enslavement.

Nothing for them, everything for the Aedelish people.

6 POINTS OF AEDELISH HÄVERISM

  1. The people of Aedeland are kept in bondage to an ancient aristocracy that exists only to service its own self interest. We demand universal suffrage for all citizens and the popular election of all Aldermenn.
  2. Regionalism and the federated system of government is a tool of oppression designed to prevent the unification of the Aedelish people. We demand a strong centralized state to serve the unified interest of all citizens.
  3. Racialism and xenophobia has been encouraged by the ruling elite to isolate the Aedelish people from the greater Anaria. We demand the equality of all races and full Aedelish participation in the Haverist Commonwealth
  4. The ætt system keeps all Aedelanders subservient to the patronage of powerful unelected Aldermenn. We demand the abolition of the ætt and its replacement with a distribution apparatus to provide for the health and well being off all citizens.
  5. The Imperial Sørtarnland Company has oppressed and enslaved countless millions in our name. These slaves have been used to prevent the industrialization of Aedeland and solidifying the position of the powerful Aldermenn over the common Aedelander. We demand the dissolution of the Company, the liberation of oppressed peoples, and the industrialization and urbanization of Aedeland.
  6. Aedeland has been committed to an unjust war in the Haniyyahs for the benefit of an unelected elite. This war, like the Pan-Anarian War before it, is a contrivance for the purpose of siphoning wealth from the Aedelish people, reducing population, containing ambitions of the meaner sort, and destroying their quality of life. We demand the immediate end of all conflicts.


Join us Citizens!

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02-28-2019, 01:14 AM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2019 01:15 AM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #3
Jón Leaves for the Haniyyahs
There were rumors that the War Office had begun drafting aristocratic regiments as they were judged less likely to protest. If true, it was a desperate political move that provided the Häverist a small, if unacknowledged, victory. Less than two weeks after hearing the rumor, Jón’s regiment was called to the Haniyyahs.

Jón paused momentarily in front of the mirror to give himself a final once over. His close fitting dark blue uniform accentuated his long frame. It was a smart uniform uncluttered by decoration: only a metallic silver Lance Corporal’s stripe on his sleeve that matched the stripe along his trousers and a solitary ribbon on the left breast honoring his regiment’s efforts at the Liberation of Hattaria in ‘29. He kneeled slightly to adjust the stirrups of his jodhpurs then stood tall as he tugged on the hem of his stiff jacket. Jón looked to Einar lounging on his bed.

Einar rested on his elbow and gently inspected Jón’s starched white cap. In the weeks since the meeting, Einar had grown a mustache and taken to wearing black. He read unpatriotic political tracts and books from Häverist Helreich obsessively. This worried Jón but it worried him more to see how close Einar and Mýra had grown. Mýra’s enthusiasm surpassed even Einar’s. She had grown overly certian in her thinking and grew increasingly incapable of considering any topic without finding some way to preach the cause. She had also taken to wearing black and had even begun wearing men’s shirts and trousers in public. The two of them attended meetings and traded books. She had been Einar’s friend just as much as Jón’s but, to be honest, Jón always felt she was his girl. It was painful to admit but Einar and Mýra were on a path together that he could not follow. Today was, no doubt, the end of their friendship.

Jón’s gaze lingered a moment waiting for a sign of Einar’s disapproval but Einar’s face was emotionless. Jón outstretched his arm and motioned for the cap.

“Don’t do it Jón,” suggested Einar with a forced calm as he withheld the cap.

Jón inhaled deeply and closed his eyes as he exhaled. “You know I must.”

He wanted to add that Einar, if he was in his right mind, would do his duty as well. If not to Aedeland, then to the members of his regiment. He wanted to call Einar a coward. He was sure Einar would not hesitate to call him a coward. But he himself was terrified of what lay ahead and he knew that it was only out of a greater fear being considered a coward that he had committed himself. At least Einar was not afraid to be considered coward for what he believed in.

“No. You don’t. You know there is no honor in you killing, dying, in that jungle,” retorted Einar with a hint of disgust. "For what, Jón, so Avrona Alexandros can smell like the asshole of an Ithrieni cat?"

Jón didn't laugh and it was clear Einar wasn't joking. The thought of dying had been on his mind since he was told of the deployment. He had fully expected a field promotion and a staff assignment before the regiment mustered. He couldn't bring himself to ask his father about it. He was still hopeful but he knew that, once the regiment left Aedeland, a promotion would come at the cost of someone else's life. Someone he knew and loved as a brother.

“You don’t need to do this either. My father will be there...,” plead Jón emphatically.

Einar remained stone faced as Jón retrieved his cap and said his final goodbye.



The regiment briefly formed on the snow covered parade field in a pathetic feign of respect for the old traditions. The captains gave their reports and two troopers who failed to muster were recorded as deserters. There had been more deserters since the draft protesters in Vinterset were executed. Only a handful since then were crazy enough to deliver their protests in person.

It was announced by the Colonel’s adjudant that, due to the current political climate, the customary parade in Ålesund had been cancelled. Jón was well aware that the Häverist had disrupted several parades. Einar and Mýra had participated in a couple over the last few weeks. Not long ago a child was horribly injured by a horse that had been spooked by something the protestors had thrown at its rider. No formal guidance from the War Office discouraged the parades but many commanders had decided not to indulge the spectacle.

The Colonel gave no speech. He only said that the regiment was to relieve the Surus Elephant Riders of the Brigade Sørzeraki at the front and would be given ample opportunity to “fill the unforgiving minute.” They were dismissed to change into field uniforms and retrieve their kit.

Before leaving the parade field, Jón’s father and mother said their goodbyes to him in their reserved manner. His father said some encouraging platitudes about honor and duty. Jón hopefully searched for Mýra in the crowd of well-wishers but was not surprised when he did not find her.

In the barracks the mood was somber as everyone quietly prepared for departure. While standing in line to retrieve his kit from the quartermaster, Jón overheard the squadron captains and the Colonel’s adjutant discussing whether the regiment would ride to the docks or be transported in wagons. There were concerns that a protestor would goad a trooper into dishonoring the regiment.

“It is all bullshit,” grumbled a voice behind Jón. Looking back he saw it was Atlí, a promising volunteer who was from a minor branch of his own ætt.

“If you ask me,” continued Atlí, “they created this Häverist mess.” Atlí accentuated they with a pointed finger and a knowing expression. “Notice that they don’t have anymore regiments refusing the call?”

Atlí was right. Technically, Jón’s regiment wasn’t drafted. Normally, regiments are called into service to which they either accept or deny that call. No unit had denied a call to service since the worst years of the Great Anarian War. But the Haniyyahs was an unpopular war with no clear justification beyond the greed of the Company. When one regiment after another refused, the Althing passed a conscription order. Then there was that mess at Vinterset and the Häverist appeared out of nowhere. Of course, no aristocratic Aedelish colonel wanted to side with Häverist pacifists. Ever since, no regiment has denied its call to service.

Jón shook his head as he grabbed his kit. Turning, looking briefly at the nearby officers and back to Atlí, Jón warned, “watch what you say, trooper.”

When he returned to the field it became apparent that the Colonel would not abide riding a wagon to war.

Riding out from the complex at a brisk canter the regiment was immediately confronted with a small crowd of protestors dressed in black. Jón looked on as they shouted vulgarities and accusations. A few threw eggs and what Jón assumed was urine. Róbert, riding just ahead of Jón, was hit on the shoulder with what he convinced himself was dog mess.

Behind the man with messy hands was Einar. He stood still, arms crossed. His face emotionless. Beside him stood the sharp featured, dark haired man from the meeting at Draken Hall.

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03-09-2019, 06:47 PM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2019 07:06 PM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #4
Mýra's Secret
Saturdays had been reserved for riding for as long as Mýra could remember. Though she secretly had grown to despise her own privileged class, riding the grounds at Elskedevangr, the great center of Aedelandish horse racing, was one that she was happy to indulge. The town itself, a wealthy enclave situated between Aulë and Ascolat, was built around horse racing and home to over fifty racing stables and the surrounding countryside is dominated by breeding studs which occupy large areas in all directions reaching to the environ around Aulë and Ascolat. The miles upon miles of immaculately manicured horse paths through shaded parkland connecting the stud farms, training stables, training grounds, gallops, and courses was to Mýra the closest thing to paradise.

As was her habit, Mýra rode hard taking the open gallops as fast as she could to the nearest practice course where she would ride as fast as she dared. At nearly 18 hands, her horse, named Alsviðr, was not purely Liannan and showed Parnethian features so common in the Aedelish stock. Although diminutive in comparison to Alsviðr, Mýra handled the massive racehorse with ease and leisurely made her way from the course to the north ridge from where she could usually find her father riding slowly on the path that enclosed the open riding grounds.

The top of the ridge offered a rewarding view of Elskedevangr’s rolling green spaces in the full glory of spring and its bright white gravel horse routes that meandered as far as the eye could see past moors, marshes, and small pockets of forest. It was beautiful and idyllic. She stood impossibly erect as she carefully searched the paths below for her father. It took only a moment to find him dismounted not a quarter mile from where she had left him.

She could see he was talking to another man who also had dismounted. Riding closer within earshot she could hear that it was not a conversation so much as a dictation. He stood shoulder to shoulder with his valet, her barrel chested father pointing at his open palm while talking in a hushed tone while the younger man intensely listened.

As she approached her father dismissed the valet. The valet acknowledged Mýra solemnly with a slight nod before hurrying off. Her father took his time leading his mount, a brown muscular giant as tall if not slightly larger than her own, beside a wooden fence that he used to help himself climb back into his saddle.

“There is bad news from Ålesund,” he began calmly though still revealing concern.

Her father explained as if she knew nothing while he coaxed his horse beside her own. He was well informed often well before the papers. Mýra knew his business interests required as much though she had no idea what that business was. He was, in her mind, simply a businessman and a very rich businessman at that. He was the kind of businessman that Einar and Victor despised most. Mýra didn’t allow herself to consider this too carefully. There was a simple distinction, in her mind, between the kind of businessman to be hated, the obscenely rich Companyman, who enslaved and raped, and the kind of businessman her father was, hard working and honest, who had deserved his wealth.

He had many contacts in Ålesund and several other capitals in Anaria but Mýra was sure this time she knew more than he did about what was happening. Still he explained to her, as if she were a child, that there had been a large riot in Ascolat a few weeks ago and a group of radicals had even managed to take the nearly empty Rideskolen-Elverum, headquarters of Aedeland’s cavalry the Stads Kavalericorps who could put on no resistance from jungles halfway around the world. They had taken the occasion to declare all Valland to be a new Aedelish Häverist Commonwealth.

Her father’s face revealed a concern, a hint of weakness, that she had never witnessed before and it made her nervous. “Papa, we have nothing to fear,” she said reassuringly.

Her father stood slightly more erect in his saddle and struck a regal pose that asserted his command of the situation. “Oh no no,” he answered her with condescension, “you have nothing to fear my love. ”

“But,” he continued, “those fools in Ålesund are afraid. Fear makes men do foolish things.”

He went on to quickly explain that, while the unrest is concerning, no reasonable men take these radicals seriously but the politicians are afraid that these disturbances are going to get worse. They have feared that this business with the draft was going to grow into something more serious for some time now. This business in Ascolat confirms those fears. The Fører has convinced the Althing to suspend the Dōm and hold popular elections.

Mýra could hardly believe it. No one had planned for this in any of the meetings.

“We are leaving tonight,” he concluded.

Mýra didn’t understand. “Leaving where, papa?”

“Don’t worry about that, Mýra,” he answered. “It will be only temporary until this passes.”

“I don’t understand,” she admitted and for the first time revealed the concern that seemed to satisfy her father.

“There is a chance, my love, that things will change here,” he responded. “We do not want to be here if they do.”

“Sometimes change is good, papa,” she retorted innocently trying to conceal her pride. She wished she had the courage to challenge him openly. To tell him how much better things could be. How much better they will be. Even more so she wished she had been in Ascolat with Einar and Viktor.

“Not for people like us, my love,” he cautioned. His words struck Mýra. For a moment her thoughts went to a forbidden place. It would only be bad for the people who would be getting what they deserved she thought but we are not those people she concluded. She told herself that her father did not mean to say that they were those people. She rationalized that he meant that they would lose their privilege. Places like Elskedevangr would be for all to enjoy. She couldn’t wait to relieve herself of the burden of that privilege. It would mean no longer living this double life. She could forgive her father for fearing this. He was comfortable. People who are comfortable fear change.

“How can you know that?”, she asked. “Don’t be afraid of progress, Papa,” she added with a playful smile.

Her father looked at her for a moment through a furrowed brow.

“Mýra my love, there is a chance,” her father explained in a serious tone, “not a likely chance but a chance, that these thugs will manage to get their hands on power.”

Mýra let a grin slip at the thought. For a slight moment he hesitated and seemed to consider what he had seen in her expression but dismissing the thought he continued, “if that was to happen, we will lose everything and I will likely be taken.”

Mýra laughed dismissively at the suggestion. She told herself that his generation was so stuck in the old ways. He thinks change is a death sentence. “That is nonsense Papa,” she giggled.

“It happened in Helland, in Mörenburg,” he answered gravely. “Entire houses were completely wiped out by the Häverists during the Decemberist Revolution.”

This made Mýra uncomfortable. “That is a nasty lie, Papa,” rebuked Mýra angrly.

“Who told you that, Mýra?” he asked.

“Papa,” she pouted. “I know more than a few of those boys you call thugs. They are students at Aulë. They are not idiots. One is even a professor. This is bigger than you know. We have nothing to worry about, Papa. Nothing at all. They are going to bring Aedeland out of the dark ages.”

“You stupid girl,” he shook his head. “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

Her pride wouldn’t allow her to respond. Instead she continued on as if he had not said a word.

“Democratic elections!,” she continued. “Can you imagine it? See Papa, progress already. This is the future.”

They rode into the stables to find a scene of chaos. The once immaculate facility was in the middle of being ransacked. The valet approached and shouted, “it has begun, Herr Borghilding! They have arrested your partners in Ascolat.”

Mýra sat on Alsviðr dumbfounded.

“Mýra!” She was brought out of her daze by a shout from father, who had already dismounted. “Go home now!”

Mýra did not go home. That evening Mýra’s father watched his wife board a sleek Pan-Anarian airship. They had waited as long as the Captain would allow. As his wife stepped aboard he shouted, “Don’t worry, I’ll find her.”

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03-16-2019, 01:24 AM
Post: #5
A Revolution at the Ballot Box
Einar rode an express train with Dr. Max Müller, professor of economics at Aulë University, and Dr. Müller’s associate, Viktor av Lönnå. They rode in a private car as guests of the Fører whom they were travelling to meet.

He had taken a position as Dr. Müller’s personal assistant and aide - a title he was most comfortable with and what he told his father when asked.

In truth, his role in the movement was more complicated. He, along with Viktor, had been no better than a mafioso in the weeks after the putsch in Ascolat. He was neither proud nor ashamed of what he had done. It was necessary work. He was convinced that the politicians they had dealt with were criminals themselves and he reassured himself by reasoning that is why so many had tried to run.

In Hoffnung, he accompanied Dr. Müller to meetings with various handlers and experts as the doctor’s aide. The experience had left Einar’s head spinning. When he had first heard Dr. Müller at Drakkar Hall, it had all sounded so simple and so convincing. After the putsch, however, Dr. Müller’s enthusiasm moderated. Privately the great mind of their movement had expressed uncertainties and the prospect of failure loomed large over him.

Most importantly, they had recently returned from Helreich with the financial backing that would allow them to unify the movement. Upon their return, that money was put to quick use organizing and disciplining Aedeland’s disparate Häverist groups, particularly in the rural areas where it had begun to take the form of a senseless and brutal peasants revolt. It was what discipline they could instill, along with the notoriety they had gained from their bold and bloodless takeover of Rideskolen-Elverum, that garnered the Ascolat Häverist an invitation to Ålesund.

Einar hadn’t been sent to Helreich simply to attend to the doctor’s luggage but in preparation for his new role as the Aedelish face for the movement. Dr. Müller, keenly aware of the potential of propaganda in an democratic election, recognized that to Aedelanders they had remained a faceless movement. This allowed the opportunity to create an image of his own design in the weeks leading to the election and he had determined it would be a decidedly electable face. A meeting with the Fører would establish the legitimacy of the movement and a stereotypically blond and blue eyed Aedelander, a common man, should be offered as the face of the movement’s ideological and political leadership. Because Dr. Müller, a Hellander, and Viktor, an ethnic Hagenite from eastern Valland, were both clearly Dölmeric in appearance, it was decided that it would be Einar who would present himself as the face of the movement.

No official reception awaited them as the train arrived at the terminal. “They are going to do us no favors,” remarked Dr. Müller as they disembarked. Preparations had been made in vain for Häverist partisans to meet the party as they disembarked and Einar was to give a speech that had been prepared for him. All for the benefit of the press. Instead only a small detachment of the Gimlé’s ceremonial Lífvakte, all graduates of the Rideskolen-Elverum though none of the party knew this, awaited them. Einar braced himself for his arrest as he stepped onto the platform. The sudden flash of a reporter’s camera startled him momentarily but the terror quickly turned to relief. His fears seemed silly upon reconsideration. They would be arrested in secret if they were to be arrested at all. Viktor, who must have sensed his anxiety, patted him reassuringly on the shoulder. “Relax, Einar,” Viktor whispered through his camera-ready smile, “unless we lose this election, they cannot touch us now.”

They were ferried from the train station unceremoniously to the Gimlé’s private dock and led to the boiseried office of the Fører where they waited alone for several long minutes.

The Fører entered with his home secretary and lord martial in tow. All were wearing similar plain dark suits that are the customary uniform of the Aedelish upper class. The foreign secretary was conspicuously absent having been fired only weeks before. The six men exchanged brief niceties before finding their chairs and beginning their negotiations.

As he sat, Einar took a moment to appreciate the situation. That he sat across from the Fører, a civic position that did not bestow celebrity in Aedeland but the highest office nonetheless, and beside the Fører sat Severin av Skálholt, the grandson of the man who had been the closest thing Aedeland has ever had to a dictator, gave him a strange feeling that he was outside of himself as history unfolded before his eyes. He found the Fører to be a very likable man. His kind features and white hair gave him a grandfatherly appearance and he had a soft amicable manner to him. As a matter of course, nearly all of Aedeland’s leaders had these qualities. This was due in no small part to the Aedeland’s government being a gerontocracy but also due to the unsophisticated image of Aedeland’s aristocratic political class. In Aedeland, politicians were expected to at least act the humble disinterested public servant.

The Fører began by commenting to his guests on the uniqueness of the present situation. He acknowledged the need for democratic reforms and noted that such reforms would involve a constitutional amendment requiring a double majority: a supermajority of seventy-five members of the Lögrétta and two hundred and fifty members of the Folkmōt. He then explained that an insufficient number of jarldomen have presented themselves in Ålesund to achieve quorum. This, he stressed, is unprecedented in Aedeland’s history and no doubt a symptom of the unrest in certain regions. Faced with the Lögrétta’s inability to amend the constitution and the growing disorder in every part of the country, he felt he had no choice but to take the matter into his own hands and dissolve the constitution himself. The Fører, however, characterize the extra-constitutional maneuvers in his own words as “necessary to resolve the current constitutional crisis” and “save the ship of state”

None of Häverist party commented on this situation. Viktor would later remark in private that it was at this moment, when the Fører revealed his total ignorance of their campaign to bring about this very situation, that he knew that they would be victorious.

The issue that had brought them to meet was that of the details of the upcoming election. The Fører seemed to be surprisingly sympathetic to the Häverist movement and, noting that he was himself something of an enlightened academic, remarked on the good impression he had formed in his limited dealings with the scientifically inclined government of Helreich. He concluded that it was his hope that, by including this popular movement in this transition, the election results will be acceptable to all Aedelanders and bring a quick end to the disturbances that had plagued the nation. Einar, speaking for the movement, agreed and reassured that they would do all within their power to restore peace.

It was to the Häverist party’s pleasant surprise that the Fører then suggested proportional representation. It had been their concern that the aristocrats would demand plurality. This would, of course, have been to the aristocracy’s advantage and the disadvantage of the movement. The coercive power of a jarldoman, as patron and authority figure, is considerable. Meanwhile, the movement had little time to cultivate candidates and, as a result, dozens of seats may go to the aristocracy unchallenged. Dr. Müller could make no sense of the concession. He speculated that the Fører and his advisors acted out of political ignorance. Though, in truth, it was a shrewd maneuver to cover the majority jarldomen who would refuse to endure the humiliation of campaigning and, perhaps most pointedly, protect the wealthiest urban jarldomen whose success in such a contest was at best unsure. Einar, as the superficial leader of the movement, agreed without argument.

Next they considered who may qualify for office and to who the vote shall extend. The Häverists desired to extend both with as few restrictions as possible. The Fører appeared inclined to agree but was corralled by his Lord Martial to maintain something close to the restrictions of the constitution. Of course, the current limitations on who could stand as jarldoman made Aedeland an undemocratic republic and this was something that the government did not expect the Häverist to agree to. Instead, the Lord Martial suggested a limitation to men in good standing with adult children to distinguish it from the Folkmōt and maintain the status of the higher house as the more deliberate body. Einar objected and reminded his lordship that excluding young men like himself had led to the current crisis. The two parties agreed that, at least, the restrictions placed upon the democratically elected Folkmōt would be appropriate. All Aedelanders, including women, of the age of maturity can can vote in those elections. As a compromise, it was decided that all citizens in good standing and of the age of majority may vote and stand for election to the new Lögrétta.

The three men left delighted in their good fortune. The Fører and his ministers seemed to have greatly underestimated their movement. The lack of resistance convinced Viktor that their victory was certain. However, it had the opposite effect of Dr. Müller and served to only increase his belief that the movement must moderate its platform. The idea struck both Viktor and Einar as an overabundance of caution. By Einar’s estimation, the government felt that they had no choice but to concede to the movement. But Dr. Müller, reminding his younger associates that these were not foolish men, had convinced himself that the government saw democratic elections necessary and fully sufficient to placate the common folk. No doubt, in the government’s estimation, the movement would prove too radical for Aedeland and the business of government would continue as before.

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04-05-2019, 10:40 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2019 06:48 PM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #6
Welcome Home
Jón looked forward to seeing Mýra again. She had been the only familiar face to greet him upon his return to Ålesund. Their reunion was brief but they agreed to meet again today at a small café in Aulë. Her beauty stuck him though he couldn’t help but notice that she appeared troubled and the youthful brightness he remembered was gone from her eyes.

“Ohh, Jón, I’ve missed you,” she said as they embraced. They walked together to an open table in front of the café. Jón surveyed the crowd of students that filled the street and smiled. “Not much has changed while I was gone.”

“More than you know,” answered Mýra somberly. “I fear that far more will be changing soon.”

A young waitress, no more than fourteen, took their order as they took seats across from each other

“Yes. I read about the election while I was in hospital,” he said and finished with a forced smile. “A little change is good. Ærilar had too much power (by that he meant the Sørtarnland Company). They practically ran things here for so long.”

Mýra nodded before turning her head and staring blankly into the distance. Jón hesitated and revealed a perplexed expression. He had expected her eager agreement. “You certainly have changed.”

His words brought Mýra back and he noticed a tear forming in her eye.

“I was so foolish.” Her words broke through repressed emotion. She tightened her lips dolefully and asked what it was like in the Haniyyahs in the hope that it would help her regain her composure.

He explained that his regiment was tasked to patrol part of the Trans-Haniyyahs Railroad that crossed the central highlands region known as Karadagh. He was most surprised to find that, contrary to the popular understanding at home, the Haniyyahs had no jungles. Karadagh and the rest of Central Haniyyah were little more than foothills in the central valley known as the Ubani Narrows. It, and much of Eastern Hanniyah, is actually grassland. He admitted that, while it was not a jungle, the equatorial climate is tropical and he found the humidity, particularly in monsoon season, is intense.

Everyone in the regiment understood that securing the railroad was of the highest military priority but months of uneventful patrols made it clear that there was no military honor in Karadagh. He decided to volunteer for a unit more likely to see combat.

Due to shortages, the Strykene authorized recruiting needed personnel from regiments of the expeditionary force. This meant that members of regiments such his own could be reassigned elsewhere to undermanned regiments. As was customary, the Strykene offered preference to volunteers. If insufficient volunteers could be found, men would be assigned as needed.

With less than half of his tour remaining, he volunteered to join the Vagnerfylking - the specialized amphibious force of the Strykene. His commander praised his decision but most in his unit called him a fool with a death-wish.

He told her about his brief but intense training at Port Amir. Less than a quarter of the volunteers completed the course. The night that he received his Jeger Merke with the three interlocked triangle Vaknut of the Vagnerfylking, he learned that his unit was to sabotage Ithrieni battleships defending Aziyadé in preparation for a final assault. It was a suicide mission.

But he fell ill enroute to the forward operating base at Fort Tzabar. As he told her this his demeanor soured as the now familiar wave of shame came over him. He digressed and told her with a smile that he met no less than six distinguished visitors in the first two months that he had been in recovery at Fort Elisè’s picturesque hospital in Taurès. It was a favored publicity stop allowing ample opportunities for propaganda but far enough from the action to present little risk. That Taurès was a tropical paradise filled with the most beautiful women in the world played no small part in making it a popular campaign stop.

He proudly smiled as he told her that he had even met the new Häverist Fører while in Taurès. “Well, he wasn’t yet the Fører then,” he admitted. His voice trailing off at the end.

Mýra listened quietly to all this and smiled. “You are a war hero, Jón,” she said lovingly as she gestured to the two medals on his uniform. “You even got to meet the Fører!”

Jón shook his head bitterly. “No. I am not,” he answered coldly.

He explained to her that a booby trap killed or wounded several members of his regiment. Atlí was one of the wounded and they amputated his leg. They awarded him the Krig Medalje and the Blod Ære, awarded for combat service and for combat wounds, in addition to the Al Fajr with a clasp for his part in the Karadagh ambush.

He touched the bronze round. The Aedelish Stykene is known for its reluctance to award decorations. Unlike many of the Anarian counterparts who even wore medals for peacetime service, most soldiers of the Stykene ended their career, like Jón, with only a couple of decorations.

“This is the Al Fajr,” he told her. He went on to explain that it is a service medal given to anyone who served in the Haniyyahs in any capacity. They award clasps to those who served in battles. Mýra noticed his medal had no clasps.

“Atlí is a war hero, if such a thing exists,” Jón concluded.

Mýra frowned in confusion. “You volunteered to do your duty like the rest. You did more than that you volunteered to fight. That makes you a war hero.”

“No it doesn't", Jón answered shamefully.

“Well, it was a silly waste of a war anyways,” confessed Mýra in a poor attempt at consolation.

This made Jón laugh. “That is what Atlí the war hero often said.”

He had argued with Atlí many times about this in Taurès. Atlí and several other casualties exchanged the worst kind of unpatriotic nonsense he had ever heard. Some were so disgusted with what Aedeland was doing in the Haniyyahs that they would brag of their own malingering. Jón blamed Häverism for this. Something about the ideology's critical perspective subverted all good things. Atlí seemed to think that his Krig Medalje proved his patriotism no matter what he said while Jón's Al Fajr proved his lack of experience with the ugliness of war.

Despite its reputation as a strategically important but otherwise worthless backwater, Jón had grown to appreciate the Hanniyyahs war's importance. He believed geography was not the only thing critics in Aedeland had gotten wrong. The Ithrieni saw the Haniyyahs as a physical barrier against Anaria. The Haniyyans meant nothing to them and you could see that in their harshness. Aedelish oppression, if you could call it that, was better for the people of the Haniyyahs than the Ithreini alternative. More important, life was better in Aedeland because of the wealth it gained from its colonies. Phasian trade would only improve life in Aedeland and the Haniyyahs even more. At least he wanted to believe this. He couldn’t stand the thought that so many good men had died for nothing.

“You should see how tough life is outside of Aedeland, in places like the Ithreini Haniyyahs,” he told her contemptuously. “If we must fight wars to keep what we have, then we should fight. It is worth it. ”

Mýra looked at him slack-jawed. “You haven’t heard?”

Jón shrugged. “Heard what?”

“Jón, we are leaving the Haniyyahs. They announced it yesterday. It is all over the papers.”

“That is wonderful!,” Jón misunderstood glowingly. “It was only a matter of time after the fall of Aziyadé...”

“No, Jón,” Mýra interjected. “The Althing voted to sue for peace with Ithrien. The Häverist believe it is an illegal war. They’ve giving the Hayinnahs back to them. There is even talk of reparations. They are trying to revoke the Company's charter. Some are calling for using the Company's assets to pay for the reperations.”

She explained that the won the election on promises to release the colonies from the yoke of the Company as Aedeland’s equals. The idea is that they, along with Aedeland, will eventually join the Commonwealth.

Jón didn’t know what to say. Without thinking he cursed Häverism. Then remembering Mýra’s sympathies begged her forgiveness.

“I’m not a Häverist anymore, Jón,” she whispered. “At least not that kind. This is not what I wanted.” She grimaced and scanned the faces of those seated near them. “And you should not say that kind of thing in public.”

This made Jón laugh hard out loud. He looked around. “What are they going to do about it?”

Mýra frowned grimly. “Jón, they killed my father. I think they would have killed me if it weren’t for Einar.”

Jón was aware that Einar had won a seat on the Althing.

“Have you spoken to your parents?,” she asked.

He hadn’t. Of course, he noticed that they weren’t at the port to welcome him as he disembarked. He had figured that his father was too ashamed of him. That was only yesterday. He told her that he had planned to see them after meeting with her.

“Don’t,” warned Mýra. “Very few of our parent’s friends have fared well under the new government. I have not been able to find your parents. I hope they got out in time.”

Jón looked dumbfounded. He knew firsthand that the Häverist were radicals and that they were strongly against capitalists, the war, imperialism, and most fervently the Company. Nationalization of private industries was a looming certainty but there had been no rumors of retaliation against businessmen.

"Let me talk to Einar first,” she pleaded. “He wants me to go to Ærilar. It is safer there. We could go together.”

Jón nodded.

**Edited for spelling and grammar.**

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04-23-2019, 09:29 PM
Post: #7
On the Run
Jón purchased seats for himself and Mýra on an express Pan-Anarian airship from Ålesund to Ærilar. The flight was uneventful and they arrived in Ærilar at dusk to find Einar waiting for them impatiently at the docking concourse. He was dressed in an expensive dark suit with a heavily starched white collar in a style popular with Aedeland’s urbanites. In every way he looked the part of the patrician Alderman of the old order.

“Were you followed?” whispered Einar as he embraced Mýra.

Jón responded with a gutteral scoff that Einar ignored. Mýra shook her head no. As they left the terminal Einar demanded that they not speak until they reach their destination and the three travelled by private car in silence to The Imperial, one of Ærilar’s well known men’s clubs.

Entering their private suite overlooking the moonlit bay, Jón demanded to know what all the secrecy was about. Everyone was well aware of the purge and for a few weeks surrounding the Häverist takeover it had looked like Aedeland was going to tear itself apart. But after the Häverist eliminated or chased out their political enemies, things had gone on much as they did before.

Einar, having played an active role in this short reign of terror, acknowledged this. And, in short order, confirmed that Mýra’s father was one of those who had been eliminated while her mother and both of Jón’s parents had fled to Achilleio.

Although Mýra had talked of her father’s death with certainty before, she began sobbing upon hearing from Einar that he was in fact dead. Einar claimed he had no hand in his death. A partial lie so horrible that neither Jón nor Mýra even considered questioning.

Einar claimed the purge was necessary. He considered explaining its necessity, that a small group of very powerful men made any change impossible, but as Mýra appeared to be regaining her composure he chose not to. Instead he set to explaining the reason for his abundance of caution.

“The purge, if that is what you want to call it, accomplished what it was intended to do. We would never have garnered the majorities we have without it. Dr Müller knows this though he now says he never approved. He and his boy geniuses have completely divorced themselves from it. They have created a new narrative and cast themselves as the heroes who saved Aedeland from the terror of some mindless farmers revolt.”

Einar took a momentary pause to pour himself a drink from the bar. He did not try to hide the contempt he felt. It was clear by his tone that he had divorced himself from the movement or rather the movement had divorced itself from him.

“The problem is that we didn’t go far enough. That bastard Ballingr still controls Nordhavn and the Company. That means he controls this city.

Jón immediately understood. “Whoever controls Ærilar controls Aedeland.”

Einar nodded in agreement. “Precisely,” Einnar concurred with a light slap on the arm of his chair. “And whoever controls the Company controls the empire.”

“Is the new government starting another purge?” asked Mýra trying to connect the dots. “Is this why we had to fly here on fake papers?”

“No,” answered Einar. “There will be no more purges.”

“So what are they going to do about the Lord of Nordhavn and the Company?”, asked Jón.

“I don’t know,” admitted Einar.

Jón shook his head in disgust. “That’s bullshit Einar. You’re an Alderman.”

“I really don’t know Jón”, insisted Einar. “The Lögrétta hasn’t met since we voted to accept Dr Müller’s plan of reform. I don’t think the Lögrétta technically exists anymore.”

Einar knew now that he had been used and it was painful to admit it to Jón and Mýra. He hoped that his loyalty to the movement would be rewarded with a position within the Technate. Though he knew at a deeper level that the Technate would be no meritocracy if it made any consideration of loyalty.

Jón, who had never really forgiven Einar, had lost all patience. “If you don’t know what is going on, what are we doing here?”

“What do you think is going to happen, Jón?,” Einar shot back. “The Technate is going to bring Ærilar and the Empire under its control. I may not know how, but I can guarantee it will be done. These guys are smart. Even smarter than the people Nordhavn has running the Company.”

Jón remained silent in tacit agreement.

“It depends on how the Company responds. If the powerful families agree to hand over control of the Company and the free cities to the Technate, then I imagine nothing will happen,” concluded Einar.

“They won’t,” added Jón. Einar agreed. “Then it will be a civil war.”

“No one is going to escape these reforms,” Einar warned. “I’ve seen drafts of Dr Müller’s plans. Best case you will be assigned to an urbanate or agrinate and, worst case, you will have to pick sides in a war no one wants. If you are going to leave Aedeland and on your own terms, you need to leave now.”

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11-30-2019, 06:54 AM (This post was last modified: 11-30-2019 05:14 PM by El Jeffe.)
Post: #8
The Job Offer
Throughout the winter of ‘79 Jón lost himself in his work managing the olive grove his father had purchased on the Isle of Valletta after fleeing Aedeland. Life in Achilleio was slower than in Aedeland - something Jón would not have believed possible growing up in rural Dyner region of northern Aedeland. The local Valletti cared nothing for Aedelish discipline. Children ran about unattended at all hours. Field hands worked and napped when they felt like it. Jón’s father blamed the warm climate.

Naturally he was working alone, perched atop a ladder and "milking" the olives into a sack tied around his waist, when the Company soldier came looking for him. Climbing down, Jón was met by a young man wearing the ridiculously over ornamented uniform of the Brigade Akillesso.

“Sir, you are wanted in Akko,” announced the soldier in a thick natice accent as he handed Jón a folded document.

“Is this an invitation or an order?” asked Jón.

“The Company will not ask twice,” answered the soldier plainly. “We leave at first light.”

It took the better part of the morning to sail from Valletta to the port city of Akko on the southern coast of Achilleio proper. As he casually led Jón along white chalk lanes, the soldier chatted to passing villagers and cat called young women with his rifle carelessly slung over his shoulder.

Arriving at a panoramic terraced garden overlooking the sea, the soldier stopped and dismissively pointed across the manicured lawn. Jón looked and found a man sitting alone under a large tree pruned with remarkable precision. Turning back to ask if this was who he was to meet, Jón glimpsed found no one beside him. In the distance he saw the soldier take a drag from his cigarette as he slowly sauntered around a corner.

“Sir?” Jón approached timidly.

“Beautiful,” answered the man without turning his gaze from the sea. “I don’t think I have ever seen water so blue.” The man wiped his brow with a damp cloth. “Too fucking hot though.”

The man, not much older than Jón, wore a light-weight blazer in the casual Achilleionian style with crisp white linen trousers. Jón immediately noticed he wore no hat and no socks.

“I’d like to offer you a job, Jón,” he continued as he rose to his feet.

“Thank you, sir, but I have my hands full,” answered Jón. “Besides I have no idea who you are.”

“Who I am is not important. We didn’t get you out of Ærilar so that you could pick olives,” the man looked disdainfully at Jón who wore the uniform of an native peasant as he chided. “High born or not there no more free passes. We must all be useful now.”

The man returned his gaze to the sea for a moment. Looking back to Jón he continued, “and you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t useful to me.”

Jón shot back: “Anyone could have paid one of these pathetic Achilleionian soldiers to bring me here.”

“Go back to Valletta and you will learn very quickly who you are dealing with,” warned the man.

Jón could think of no reason for the man to lie to him.

“What is the job?” asked Jón.

“Unfortunately it is the kind of job that you have to take before I can tell you that,” answered the man with a grin.

Jón chuckled feeling slightly annoyed.

“When do I start?”

“Follow me,” he goaded.

The two entered a villa into a well lit room that was something of a small museum filled with documents and mementoes from various Company expeditions.

“How much do you know about the situation back home?” asked the man.

“I read the papers,” explained Jón.

The man smirked. “Not much then.”

Jón didn’t react. Okay asshole, tell me, Jón said to himself.

“I’ve followed you closely for some time,” continued the man as he opened a thin dossier. “You were top of your class at Aulë. You would have led men in Karadagh if your father hadn’t blocked your commission. Hmm. What do they call the opposite of nepotism?”

Jón’s face flashed red and the man chuckled before continuing. “One of less than two dozen who volunteered,” the man raised an eyebrow as he read to himself, “for the Vagnerfylking. One of less than a half dozen to finish at Port Amir before falling ill. Not unusual after such an ordeal.”

The man closed the dossier and briefly assessed Jón with his eyes. “A single man, from a privileged yet not so privileged background, no debt, no observable vices.” The man paused momentarily and touched his index finger to his lips. Then pointing at Jón he concluded, “most importantly you are not a man easily taken with Häverism. Yes. We know you went to a meeting and we know about your friends. But you see that is precisely what makes you perfect.”

“Perfect for what?” asked Jón.

“First let me explain to you what is happening in Aedeland,” the man demurred. “Before the Häverists, Aedeland was controlled by a very small and very jealous group of families. These families disagreed on many things including how the Company should be run. However, they did agree on one thing: maintaining the status quo.” The man grinned. “Forgive me, I’m sure you know this much.”

He continued, “You can imagine how this was a problem for the Company. No one can serve two masters much less a hundred. The cartel fiasco showed us that we could not rely on Ålesund to make the necessary hard decisions. Those within the Court of Directors who were skeptical of our plans were won over after the old men tried to abandon what was purchased in life and treasure in the Hanniyyahs.”

“What plan was this?” inquired Jón.

“To free ourselves of the old men of course,” answered the man.

Jón considered what the man was saying.

“You are telling me that you… the Company used the Häverist to overthrow the government of Aedeland?” Jón laughed out loud. “That’s insane!”

“Not really. I’m surprised we beat CHAIM to the idea,” laughed the man. “We have long wanted to transform Aedeland into a modern industrial society. But the old men whose power was based on keeping Aedeland a feudal mess fought us at every step.”

Jón gently shook his head. “But the Häverist are anti-capitalists. The Company is, well, a company. You exist to make a profit!”

“Then we don’t tell them we are a capitalist,” quipped the man. “At least you never tell the true believers. Hárr Doktor Müller and your friend Einar, for example, will never know. But you would be surprised at what things people refuse to see even if you were to show them - particularly if they are so entrenched.”

Jón reflected on this a moment. Then asked, “what about the new Fører?”

“Ásvaldr knows,” answered the man matter of factly. “And there are a few others. Viktor av Lönnå - the one who recommended you to my office. You would have seen him at the Häverist meeting at Aulë. He is Doktor Müller’s handler and you could call him the architect of our little revolution.”

“It still doesn’t make sense to me. What if you lose control?” asked Jón unconvinced. “Are you sure it is worth it?”

“How much do you know about the Company and what we do?” asked the man rhetorically. “We have been running the empire for three hundred years. Taking over Ålesund is no different than Aziyadé or Port Amir. No different than Šəḇâ or Tadêfi before that. Sure. The Ọba could turn his people in Tzeraka against us or we could lose control of the natives in Haniyyahs. It is always a risk but it is one we have considerable experience managing.”

“But why Häverism? I still don’t see how it could possibly serve the interest of the Company?”

“The best servant is one who thinks he is his own master,” answered the man. “If the Company overtly took over the country, we would be resisted by every faction. Even foreign governments would not cooperate. It had to be… democratic. And it was imperative that we not be implicated. Häverism has a proven track record. What they did in Helreich was an industrial miracle.”

“What is to stop the Häverist from nationalizing the Company?” Jón retorted. “This is what they campaigned on.”

“All politicians promise that which they cannot deliver,” answered the man dismissively. “This is certainly a promise that will not be delivered. They can vote them out of office for it next time,” he chuckled. “Besides, they are beginning to realize how isolating Häverism is. When was the last time you heard anything out of Helreich?”

Jón shook his head. “Never.”

“Hárr Doktor Müller understands this better than anyone and that is why we chose him and his third way. The people can vote this way and that way as they like, but men like Doktor Müller - the technocrats that actually run things - they understand that Aedelish Häverism needs to work with Company. And in doing so they will open one of the largest untapped markets in Anaria”

Jón nodded. “I think I understand. So how do I fit into this?”

“As far as the Company is concerned, Häverism is the business of managing people or more precisely of managing their efficiency. A state or nation is no different than a business and, in any market, the most efficient business succeeds. We have found that the vast majority of men accept being managed, even if this efficiency is taken to extremes. In fact, most will respond favorably. There is, of course, a minority that cannot be managed and within that system they are disruptive. Such men, however, are very valuable to the Company. And that is your job: find me these men.”

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