New Sovereignty
Lead a colony as it struggles for its place among others in a virgin world.
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Del Vento

Ilecke was silent for a moment as he composed his answer. In honesty, the Confederacy had been just barely pulling through, like a bloodied draft, dying as it moved but still accomplishing what needed done until the last hour of its strength, of which they had come close to. "We had brought fairly large amounts of coal with us, however, as you have stated, there is a lack of minerals; our factories had been at about half-production."

He hesitated. "As for our food, my people can exist on very little--an adaptation, you may call it? We have been gathering what the mountains provide us, as well as the bay." He did not mention the fact of the painful emptiness in the pit of his gut, nor the starvation of several hundred; the Confederacy had, in essence, not been ready to become its own.

12/20/2009 #271
AspenIvan

"Well, if you still need lumber and food, you can always arrange for that in the long-term deal you broker with the governor," suggested Major Keneujjen. "It could be worth the extra cost."

12/20/2009 #272
Del Vento

Ilecke nodded, grateful for the opportunity, but also aware--and unnerved by--the amount of dependence it would create. However, it did not seem as if there was truly another option than that, and Ilecke realised that, as well. "Thank you, Major. What time of day would you say it is, approximately?" He looked forward to the time when he would be able to remove his blinders with a certain keenness, was interested in meeting the major's son, comparing the training facilities.

Ilecke was fond of cadets, and despite a few incidents, he had had a fair cadethood himself.

12/20/2009 #273
AspenIvan

"It's about three hours past midday," the Major replied. "It will take another three hours to get through the mountains, then around a half-hour to reach Audejjai."

12/20/2009 #274
Del Vento

"Thank you," he said with a small nod, smiling gently under his mask. After a moment of thought, he asked, "Raising a son...what was it like?" Sesabans didn't usually raise children due to several biological factors that tended to reduce sucess rates; most ended up raising one, two at the most, thus, the maternal bonds tended to be very powerful and lasted them for all of their lives.

Sohn Sineer, the fifth seat of the regiment, had expressed her disinterest in male affection pretty much from the moment she graduated; besides her, there were two other women he worked with, one engaged, one loathesome.

12/20/2009 #275
AspenIvan

"That's quite a question," noted Keneujjen. "What was it like? It was difficult, I can tell you that. It was also a fearful experience: I always had to be on my guard to make sure my son was going in the right direction, and this was especially difficult when I was gone on-duty. Every child must have the proper guidance of both a mother and a father, but it was particularly important that I be there for him and guide him in the right ways; it was my solemn duty to make sure that he became a proper military man. Not a brute, but not a softy either. Not foolhardy, but not tentative either." He suddenly paused, remembering that Ilecke came from a different cultural background.

"You see," he continued after a moment, "it is a tradition of us Survaekom that a father must play a paramount role in bringing his son to carry on the family honor. Mothers must do the same for daughters. The best way for us to do this is to guide them in the ways we know already- for children to adopt the occupations of their parents.

But I will tell you, the experience is also rewarding, especially now that I've seen my Baereit become the man he is. Truly, most deeply rewarding.

By the way, good Ilecke, who was your father, and what was his work? And your mother?"

12/20/2009 #276
Del Vento

Ilecke was quiet for a moment as he took in the information, and then he spoke. "My father served in the military, the Whitemask Corps, to be more specific; he is retired as of now, an O6, but not a seated officer. My mother stayed at home to raise me, for the most part, but when I was ten, and accepted into the Academy, she resumed her job in stoneworking; not roads so much bt statues. She enjoyed it greatly, she still does."

Ilecke was very distant from his parents-the downside of his fairly yound admittance to the C. R. C. S. was that he had been, in essence, robbed of the time that a young boy would have spent with his family. At first the young Ilecke--one had to remember that he was only ten, still a child--wrote to his parents every day, and became horribly homesick, but as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, he became used to it, and more and more detached from his former family life.

Sometimes Ilecke still did miss them, but he didn't know it. It was merely a feeling of partial emptiness, as if something unknown was missing from a small part of his mind.

12/21/2009 #277
AspenIvan

"So I have another military man of a military man with me here," the Major noted. "My father served in the army too, but he didn't get any higher than Captain before his honorable discharge after a leg-wound. But what exactly is the Whitemask Corps? And what rank does O6 stand for?"

12/21/2009 #278
Del Vento

Ilecke smiled gently. "The Whitemask Corps work with biological warfare; they're the largest group in our military. You will probably see some when you go to the joint academies, as they tend to be around the grounds when they are not training. They are not trained as long or as strictly as members of the Carbon Regiment are...they tend to be a little more lighthearted. Classes are almost always co-ed, as is joint training in the other academies."

"As for O6, it is precisely that...The rank is Officer Six. Due to the seatings, our ranks are about three ranks behind yours in weight, with officers. O6 would be a Major, I believe." Ilecke didn't use the standard military terms, but knew some of them to get around and communicate with other military forces.

12/21/2009 #279
AspenIvan

"And soon enough, if commerce proceeds as planned, we Survaekom will have our own Whitemask Corps," added Keneujjen, smiling, "or some variant thereof."

12/21/2009 #280
Del Vento

Ilecke nodded, smiling under the black canvas carbon mask which veiled his face. "Indeed you shall. They are very interesting to watch when they train, I must show you their area of the campus when you visit Seret." He pursed his lips and added, "Perhaps you will find a method that you would like to use in the training of your own men. Likewise, I'm quite interested in the techniques your people use in the capitol."

He was still riding the horse with the reins held loosely in his left hand, his right hanging at his side.

12/21/2009 #281
AspenIvan

"Yes, I do look forward to visiting your Seret City and its military training facilities," replied Keneujjen. He grinned widely and added, "At that point, I will be the faceless one, with my own mask and blinders."

12/21/2009 #282
Del Vento

Ilecke smiled. "Yours will be clear; ours are dark to keep out light, not so much for chemical eye protection. Although Captain Tirnett will attempt to startle you regardless." He laughed. "Nalene is the captain of the Whitemask Corps; he enjoys doing that. I graduated a few years after he did, we're still good friends." He had the feeling that the major, enthusiastic as he was, would enjoy Nalene's bemusing personality.

12/21/2009 #283
AspenIvan

"I think I will get along well with this Captain Nalene Tirnett," replied the Major. "He seems like a good man."

12/21/2009 #284
Del Vento

Ilecke smiled. "Most people ted to share your opinion, there. He is near invincible to the eyes of most of his men...I hope that when I become captain, I can follow his footsteps. He's done a good job leading the corps, they look up to him, even though he's younger than some of the men. It's something to watch, it really is." He was only the first seat when he graduated...

The memories of the massacre were still in his mind as he recounted the young Nalene's expression as he stood before the body of his captain, blood running down his damaged arm in a river and dripping off of his fingers, onto the ground. There was a shocked stillness to the pale face, as if he couldn't comprehend what was going on, and in the next heartbeat he was back on his feet, and fire had been opened.

Nalene had seen two captains fall in his lifetime, and to this there was a certain sorrow; the first, during the massacre, and the second, of a broken leg, for due to the density of their bones, when a Sesaban broke one, it would not heal on its own. A leg was near impossible to correct; it had forced retirement. Sometimes, while watching Nalene, Ilecke was almost certain that he could see guilt in the young man's eyes at having replaced two men this early in his life, one of them still alive.

12/22/2009 #285
AspenIvan

"He seems like quite a character," Keneujjen stated. "Thus, I think that I may have to bring along my good friend, Captain Wenukhei Haie of the Sapper Corps, when I visit Seret. I am certain that he will jump at the opportunity to meet an officer like this Nalene.

I will have to warn you in advance, though: you must be willing to excuse the breaking of any and every rule of etiquette ever invented by mankind. That is simply who Haie is. He is quite a good officer and quite a good soldier, and I believe his skills are worth his tactlessness. So, would you and your superiors be willing to endure him for a day?"

12/22/2009 #286
Del Vento

Ilecke smiled at this and churred lightly. "I see no problem with it; neither will Nalene. I do think that he will get along well with the Captain." He stated, moving his blinders higher on his face. Because he had sharp features, they tended to gradually slide down as he moved. When he finished he straightened out his uniform, as he often did by reflex, then put the reins back in his left hand.

12/22/2009 #287
AspenIvan

"Excellent. I believe that our visit to Seret will be a most enjoyable time, then." The Major paused as Ilecke straightened out his blinders and uniform. "It is unfortunate, though, that you did not have the opportunity to bring any other guests with you to Audejjai. You will have to be a lone faceless demon." Keneujjen chuckled softly.

12/22/2009 #288
Del Vento

Ilecke smiled ruefully, shrugging. The jesture showed just how sharp his narrow shoulders were, and they rose dramatically from under the dark cloth of his uniform as he spoke. "I should be able to remove my blinders by the time that we arrive, thankfully. I do seem rather frightening with this uniform, although I will admit that that was part of the intent of the makers, to instill a certain sense of awe from those that had not seen us before..."

But yet--but yet, there wasn't anything that one would be awestruck about. Only...frightened of.

12/22/2009 #289
AspenIvan

"A sense of awe? Frankly, I don't think that is the best way to put it. Before I found you to be a good man, the sense I had was one of suspicion and fear." Major Keneujjen had, indeed, felt rather uncomfortable at first sight of Ilecke the day before, but by now he had pushed past strange appearances and had already grown to like the Lieutenaint.

Yet, that mask and those blinders still managed to sporadically send a shiver up his spine: the all black dress and lack of a human face gave the Sesaban the look of the demons pictured in ancient paintings and manuscripts from the Magic Wars.

12/22/2009 #290
Del Vento

Ilecke sighed wordlessly, nodding. He still held the reins loosely in his left hand as he explained, speaking as if it were a lead weight upon his shoulders to do so. "To state it plainly, I think that it would make foreign relations easier if the uniforms were not black, although there's little we can do about that; black keeps the light out best, or so we've been told. They tend to heat up rather quickly, though."

Ilecke did not voice that part of the reason why the uniform was darkened and as it was was, indeed, to instill a certain sense of fear as well, in the desire that the military would come off as intelligent, powerful, and although that was not far from the truth, he knew certain individuals, such as Chaenaw and Sohn, that disliked this greatly.

Admittedly he got the slightest bit of enjoyment out of appearing the way that he did at first meetings---in honesty, who wouldn't---but it at the same time created a barrier that would take a few minutes to get around before they were able to begin to talk about foreign relations.

12/23/2009 #291
AspenIvan

"Well, you can tell your Research and Development branch that Major Keneujjen of the Survaek Empire Military has requested that they work on a new uniform, both effective for survival and non-threatening, for your diplomatic envoys."

Indeed, one of the Major's greatest annoyances was false impressions. This was part of the reason that he was disillusioned by the flamboyance of nobles, many of whom were unextraordinary fellows, some even degenrates. Embroidered robes and bronze armor were enough to signify their rank, but with their tall hats and shiny entourages they seemed to play themselves off as demi-gods. At least the uniforms of military men served a purpose. Keneujjen had decided to himself long ago, although he would never dream of saying such in public, that only the Emperor himself should be allowed such a flashy presentation as nobles currently gave themselves.

12/23/2009 #292
Del Vento

Ilecke cleared his throat voluntarily, a gavelly sound due to the condition of his lungs, and shifted stiffly in the saddle, lost in his own thoughts. The next ten minutes or so of the ride through the mountains were continued in silence. After a moment, Lieutenant Kinore spoke up. "Military Police...in a sense...the Carbon Regiment functions as those, as well," he said quietly.

Ilecke did not know why he had stated this, as it was not for validation of anything. It was just... a lone, emotionless statement.

12/23/2009 #293
AspenIvan

"So that would make the Carbon Regiment the most elite of your main military forces, since you are entrusted with monitoring the others, would it not?" The Survaekom did not have military police. The Imperial Army, Survaek's standing army, was charged with keeping auxiliaries, levied troops, in check. Yet, under the reign of Yvor, auxiliaries had yet to be levied. Officers, and occasionally government inspectors were charged with keeping the Imperial Army in check, although it was rare for such inspection to be necessary. The Survaek Empire military was renowned for being professional and well-drilled in both peacetime and wartime; basic military training coupled with the Survaekom cultural pressures of duty made good order, to some degree, a natural phenomenon for the armed forces.

12/23/2009 . Edited 12/23/2009 #294
Del Vento

Ilecke nodded. "Yes. We don't usually have problems, although as I have previously stated, there was a massacre at the C. R. C. S. a few years ago. In situations such as that, we are the first called." He hesitated, thinking. Enough time had passed for it to be evening, and thus the Sesaban's haws rose over his eyes just in case he was wrong. He lifted the steel blinders slightly, and, upon seeing that he was correct, he removed them and put them in his right b*** pocket with his right hand, holding the reins in his left.

He turned his head, looking around at his surroundings and took them in silently for a moment before turning back to him.

12/23/2009 #295
AspenIvan

By now, the mountains stood behind Keneujjen and Ilecke, and Audejjai, still but a dot in the distance, stood before them.

"So, what was the cause of this massacre? What would drive a Sesaban military man to turn against his own?" To the Major, it seemed inconceivable that anyone not completely insane could ever commit such an act.

12/23/2009 #296
Del Vento

Ilecke thought for a moment. Strangely enough, the feeling of scarring was absent as he explained. "We never really found out exactly why. The student had been described as off by his instructors and peers; we think that he was delerious. He was cut down by gunfire in the heat of the fighting, but I regret that. I think that the Sesaban military could have gained something worth figuring out by knowing what makes a man like that tick."

12/24/2009 #297
AspenIvan

"Well then, if it was just one student, how was he able to kill so many?" the Major asked. "You don't mean to say that he was able to reload a single-shot musket unhindered ten times?"

Gradually, pillars of smoke, seeming more like whisps from so far away, began to become visible over distant Audejjai.

12/24/2009 #298
Del Vento

Ilecke's thoughtful gaze averted at the statement and a heavy sigh escaped from somewhere deep within him, his sharp, narrow shoulders lowering. He pursed his lips and closed his eyes for a moment before he spoke again. "No. He wasn't." The memories were still a heavy weight on his shoulders, and a cross for the military to bear. If they had only been more careful. If they had only been more careful.

Three of the students killed in the massacre. Three of them had been cut down by friendly fire. And, although it had not been the Carbon Regiment, it was something that they, as well as the rest of the armed forces, were not proud of.

Ilecke didn't say anything after that, hoping that the subject would be dropped. He did not wish to continue on the same line of speaking as they were on now.

12/24/2009 #299
AspenIvan

Keneujjen sensed that Ilecke's pain was resurging, and thus the Major changed the subject.

"Look up ahead," he spoke. "You see that figure growing bigger, with the smoke rising and flags flying from it? That is Audejjai." As if on cue, the Major withdrew from his overcoat a flare gun, which he pointed straight into the sky and fired off, sending a bright flash of green screeching into the air, leaving a trail of smoke behind it.

12/24/2009 #300
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