[CANON] [RP Episode] Paitiyas


#1

Having been rejoined by the carrier task force, the Kavehan fleet sailed southwards. It was an amalgation of ships: numerous warships, frigates, corvettes and of course the Xshathrya, but also a good number of transport ships - both transports for materials, and transports for soldiers - to be exact, the veteran soldiers of the 12th Royal Kurshid Division, come to retake their desolate place of origin.

Two weeks after the air attack struck the Keelish, the fleet reached the mouth of the Azar river. The city was truly devastated - empty, ruined, holed by bullets and artillery shells. Men ground their teeth in anger at this defiling of what had been their home.

The Kavehans did not waste time, anchoring their ships in the bay, and the Imperial Engineers swiftly built a pair of pontoon docks for the ships to moor. Cargo offloading took first priority, while the soldiers waited with disembarking. Idly, the soldiers eyed the Valkorian redoubt on the far hill, near the remains of the palace.

How would they respond?


#2

The tribune in command was startled in the extreme. The cohorts went onto high alert, and the heavy cruiser was signaled to prepare for battle. The officer, leaving behind orders to not abandon their fort or let anyone in, took a squad down to the newly built docks where the strangely equipped Kavehan looking humans swarmed.


#3

The tribune arrived right when one of the troopships was mooring to unload a mechanized battalion. It was an impressive show: the soldiers marching as one besides their vehicles, rumbling down the loading ramp. They carried all sorts of weapons - rifles, machine guns, ATGM missile launchers, and mortars. Their vehicles, Taxma APCs, were equally impressive in their yellow-and-brown camouflage.

In the background, Kavehan workmen were busy with all sorts of ground moving vehicles. The old ruins were being bulldozed, the rubble fed into large trucks for automated recycling. Architects were evidently present, drawing all sorts of lines on maps and pinning a diverse array of papers and diagrams to nearby trees and quickly supplied project boards.

One of the soldiers came towards the tribune, with what was clearly an orderly in his wake. Stopping within a meter of the man, he primly saluted before speaking. Argbed Isvant, CO-2Bt, 121st. Pleased to make your acquaintance, sir!” He reached out his hand.


#4

“Varus, Tribune of the Third Legion. Likewise.” The Valkorian shook the hand, albeit warily. “I hope you do not come in arms, I have received no word of a Kavehan fleet, or of any Kavehan at all, in sometime.” He felt nervous as the ironclad giants walked past, towering over even him.


#5

“Well, Legate Varus, as you may be able to tell, we are here to rebuild our home. The Shahanshah of Kaveh has decreed Kurshid should be repaired, and we are here to make it so. Your occupation,”, he said with a nod towards the distant redoubt, “is no longer necessary. You are welcome to return home, with the Shahanshah’s compliments.”


#6

The Tribune grimaced. ”I’m afraid I cannot do that without orders from home, Argbed. A soldier can not abandon or leave his post without permission, you know that as well as I.”


#7

Argbed Isvant scratched his helmet. “Well, for the time being our reconstruction work will mostly be limited to this side of the river. We’re wanting to get our base up to snuff here, and then look towards expanding. It should not be an issue if you stay put for a while, while a courier hops over to Valkora to get those orders rescinded. Let me remind you, however, that this is rightful Kavehan territory, and littering is therefore strictly prohibited.”


#8

This time the Valkorian smirked.

”We can wait. I hope your contribution and renovation proceeds apace.” He saluted, turned, and vanished back up towards his fortress, from where he dispatched the cruiser home to ask for orders.


#9

Over the next two weeks, great works were performed in Kaveh. Groundworkers cleared a huge channel, like a defensive moat, encircling the inner city with the Great Temple on its hilltop. All around it, foundations were laid for a new redoubt and its buildings. Walls were planned out, Towers sighted and fields of fire overlapped. Buildings, offices, residences were sited, and a start was made on a grand military headquarters to lead the expeditionary forces.


#10

The cruiser dashed off to Valkoria, arriving while the Emperor was still in the north. Bearing this news back, and orders to hold position until untenable, the ship gave the news to Tribune Varus. He told the Kavehans of his need to wait for Imperial orders, and waited, watching warily as the city was dismantled and rebuilt.


#11

Gaius sailed home from Kleriel, and immediately upon his arrival at Castra Valkoria was told of the problem is Kaveh. He dispatched a ship to the city, with orders for the Valkorians to leave on the cruiser and the accompanying troop transports, and with a message for Shah Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh,
I have just returned from Kleriel. The war, such as it was, is over. Come to the capitol, for we have much to discuss.
Caesar

After 2 days of rigorous work, the Valkorians left, tearing down the fort behind them. Nothing remained to mark the scene of the battle except a large mound where the Danheim dead had been buried, and a smaller mound where the Valkorians fallen lay.

They vanished over the horizon, ending the brief Valkorian holdings in Kaveh.


#12

And so Shahanshah Gilgamesh boarded one of his naval ships, the JTNS DDG17-Sâhamaiwyo, and sailed to Valkora for negotiations. With him he brought the usual retinue of diplomats, statesmen, and a few nobles representing major Kavehan commercial enterprises to see if deals could be made in Valkora.


#13

The Shah and his companions were directed to the new capitol, passing by the shattered city of Valkora as they did so. Nothing moved except the solitary crow. The once proud buildings lay toppled, the husk of the Grey tower a ruin.

After docking at the Castra, Gilgamesh was lead by heralds through the city, and welcomed into Gaius’ new study. The Emperor was waiting for him, a gigantic map with pieces of different insignias spread out on it in front of him.

He looked up as the Kavehan entered. Gaius looked weary, lines engrained in his face and whisps of grey in his hair.


#14

Heavy armoured boots rang on the stone floors of the building, Shahanshah Gilgamesh making his entrance accompanied by a small staff of officers and bodyguards. He took in Caesar’s battered appearance - the man seemed to have aged thirty years since he saw him last - and resolutely strode forward to offer his hand.

It would not do to show weakness or doubt in front of such a man.


#15

Caesar straightened up, and took the proffered hand in an iron grip.

”It is good to see you again, Gilgamesh. It was long since you and your father left Kaveh.”


#16

Gilgamesh looked down before responding. “Yes. The war was hard on us all. He would’ve been pleased to be the one to offer you this handshake. But we cannot unmake the past. What happened, happened. The key is to move forward. This is why I am here today: to revive old alliances, to once more stand strong against the inhuman powers of the north.”


#17

“That would depend upon many things. I have dealt with Danheim for the time being, and secured the northern front temporarily. Maruba will be dealt with shortly.”

Gaius moved several pieces around, and removed several that bore a bear insignia from the spot marking Danheim, placing a few Valkorian pieces as well in a small box.

“I am not going to stand strong, for the moment. Valkoria must be rearmed, and reinvigorated. The civil war has wrecked Valkorian trade, despite all my efforts to rejuvenate it. The north is no erelong viable for export or inport, the south is too lowly developed to offer useful goods. That the task at hand for me.”

“But for you, you have two problems. The first is the rebuilding of your nation and its power. The second is your assault on Kleriel. They have not forgotten it. And there were some thousand Valkorian prisoners killed during your attack.” Gaius looked the younger man in the eye. “That was most unwise.”


#18

Somewhat agitated, Gilgamesh started pacing. Our weapons are… not discerning in who they kill, Caesar. If the Keelish had taken Valkoran prisoners, then they must have dispersed them through their army as a human shield. These men are innocent victims of this war, and I will gladly offer their families whatever reparations are deemed appropriate. As for the attack itself, however, it achieved several important purposes.

He held up one finger. Firstly, we have settled the debt our ancestors have owed your nation since the Exodus. Then, when faced with an overwhelming enemy force, Valkoran firepower and sacrifice ensured our survival. Now, by paralysing the Keelish’ ability to respond while your admiral foolishly risked being caught between their fleet and that of the barbarians, we have done the same. Were it not for us, you would not have a fleet anymore.

Raising a second finger, he continued. Secondly, we have demonstrated to the North our power and our resolve. By killing them indiscriminately from the air, we have demonstrated that to tresspass, or to make war upon the South is death. Impressions are everything. The attack, sudden and unexpected though it was - you might even call it dishonourable, if such is your wont - has made for a safer future for our citizens. For that, for peace, I am willing to pay any price. Even blood


#19

“You didn’t impress them, you gave them a motivation. Now they know that instead of a single rival to the south, they have two, one who has shown no qualms about killing indiscriminately and without warning. If you do something rash, to display resolve, it must be a killing blow.”

The Emperor straightened up from his position looking at the table as he spoke. His voice was cold and remote.

“Soldiers die in war, that is their duty, however much the songs may mourn them. Do no bother yourself with reparations, I have already done so, to Kleriel and the families of the slain. What you can do is teach my people a higher form of power. You utilize a form of targeting unknown to our soldiers, a system of transport faster than a horse and tireless.”


#20

Gilgamesh scoffed. “Power? Power comes from knowledge. Knowledge is power, which is why the Shahanshayr must guard it well. We can share some of our power - but only with a friend and trusted ally. Only if it increases the peace and safety of my citizens.”