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Big_Tidday_Goth_GF

The Midworld Abyss

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Alpha Tester
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At the center of the world, between the great continents of the North and of the South, there is a great expanse of blue waters.  Traders from the ancient days have traversed across and innumerable poems have been written about its waters...at times tranquil, and at other times wild.  The farthest northern point of the southern continent, known as "The Banepoint" has been the resting place of many ships.  Its northern shore, in the shadow of the Star Mountains, bears witness to this with its many shipwrecks.  What is not readily seen are those that lie far beneath.  It is hypothesized that this is the deepest place anywhere in the world, barring perhaps somewhere in the far off reaches of unexplored Ocean.

Does anything live down there?  Will this sea again see death, or will storm and war pass it by?

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Alpha Tester
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High officers from the navy and army, pages, and favorites sat together in the exquisite tea garden of the Great Mansion of the House Mazado.  Any other gathering of such brass would normally be restricted to the military’s general staff headquarters, preparing to launch the annual wargames.  Any other annual grand tea ceremony of House Mazado would normally include retainers, Lords of cadet branches of the house, and honored guests.  Yet here they all sat with rigid formality, each wearing their most dignified kimono in the style of Luminous Spring.  An auspicious era, so named for His Celestial Reverence, the boy Emperor who lived far away in the Imperial Capitol in his own splendid palace.  That Imperial palace was large and beautiful, and the Mazado took measures not to insult his divine dignity by surpassing it...but all knew who the true power in the land was.

 

Mazado Tomomitsu began the tea ceremony with perfect precision, betraying no emotion or uncertainty.  The Great Lord of the Mazado Clan was trained from birth to instill respect into the Great Lords.  The Mazado had risen to power more than eighty years hence, taking the reigns of power from the courtiers and ministers of the imperial faction.  Seven hundred years ago, the last of the great wars between the Amanonshu had come to an end.  Clan Mazado was then on the side of the Great Clan Shouzo, which had conquered all opposing clans and made blood alliances with those who would accept peace.  Great Lord Shouzo had control of the nation in his mailed fist, but being an arch-conservative, he had deferred to Imperial rule with his clan acting as regents.  The era of competing warlords was over.  Now the Amanonshin would fight as one under The Emperor's own banner.  It was supposed to have been a golden age, and indeed it had lasted more than six hundred years  Or at least it did so the first time.  

 

Unity had been achieved, and peace looked to be lasting.  Then the Veldanese came in force across the Great Central Plains, traveling the long  East-West road under the shadow of the Star Mountains.  Tall, hairy, and fair skinned, they brought a foreign way of war to the east…but at the end of the decisive battle, the warriors of Amanonshin stood victories over a field of dead.  The sun set with the Imperial banners waving high above the Veldanese dead in their cotton uniforms, lying among discarded muskets, field pieces, .and gleaming cuirasses.  The Emperor and his generals believed that the superiority of their nation had been established forevermore.  But when the Veldanese invaded a century later, they did so with rapid firing guns and rifled cannon.  Entire armies of the emperor’s loyal soldiers vanished within days of meeting this new army, charging into battle in their fantastic lacquered armor and wielding swords and spears that embodied the very souls of their ancestors.  Priceless heirlooms were picked up from the fields of slaughter, to adorn the trophy walls of a foreign peasant, or to be sold for a penance to foreign merchants.  House Mazado raised its banner in defiance of House Shouzo, declaring them to be pampered weaklings and presumptuous imposters, acting merely in The Emperor's name.  Amanonshin everywhere had lost face before the world, and the traitors responsible were defeated within a year.  The great clans came one by one to the banner of the Mazado, eager to reclaim their ancient rights and the good graces of the great clan.  Those who did not were deposed, their Great Lords sent into exile.

 

The honor of all his race was his sacred duty, and Mazado Tomomitsu carried this weight as solemn as the Emperor’s own faith in his clan.  The Great Lords of the lesser clans were no less jealous of their own honor, but at day’s end they were still soldiers in service to the Mazado…for the head of the Mazado was the supreme military commander of all Amanonshin - he was Shogun.

 

The niceties of the tea ceremony went off without a hitch, and finally Tomomitsu spoke before the gathered Great Lords.  “Well then.  Is it time to expel the wretched Veldanese from this continent?”  The expressions of those gathered showed a wide range of emotion.  There was Goto, the head of a mighty Corps of the very best soldiers…his eyes and his whiskers gave the impression of a tiger, eagerly anticipating its prey.  Oyama, himself the commander of a battleship division (all of its crews being men of his province), looked pensive yet eager.  And so on throughout the assembly, the realization of the momentous hour sparked thoughts of honor, of prestige, and even perhaps bloodlust and desire for revenge.

 

The words were not unfamiliar to most.  The annual Spring’s Dawn ceremony in the Mazado household always began with these words…ever since the humiliation of eighty years ago.  Never before, however, had the words been uttered to the assembled lords.  What was once a formality was now official policy from the Shogun himself.  Great Lord Hasashi was the first to speak.  Prostrating himself, Hasashi vowed to fight to the last drop of blood and swore that he would fly the final remaining fighter plane from his own carrier, the Taga, if that is what it came to.  The other lords quickly followed, reaffirming their loyalty to the Shogun.  Mazado Tomomitsu nodded and gave the formal response, accepting their “brave volunteer spirit.”  He would need them all in the months to come.

 

The remainder of the day was dedicated to formalities.  At dusk, the gathered Great Lords sat in audience to a Noh play.  The story was a familiar one - foreigners would find parallels with the story in their own myth of Orpheo and Eurydice.  An auspicious story - reclaiming their honor from the Veldanese would indeed be like returning from the underworld.  The Great Lords departed at nightfall.  The next morning, they would meet again, but dressed in the modern uniforms of their offices.  It was auspicious that war had been decided in this place, on this day, in a traditional setting.  Amanonshu was home to the world’s finest warriors, not because of their weapons, but because they never lost their tradition.

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Alpha Tester
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The sound of leather boots in a methodical stride could be heard from inside the office.  Mazado Tomomitsu sat down his pen, ready to receive the report from a favorite page.  Now dressed in military uniform, the Shogun appeared very much the modern commander.  His uniform of plain Brown - he was dressed as a General of the Land Forces on this day - was expertly cut but austere; the only decorations to adorn the service uniform being the rank of Supreme Commander on his straight collar and the clan badge on his breast.  All Great Lords wore such a badge, but the Mazado Clan Mon was unmistakeable - a three legged crow in the sun.  It was the same as the crest on the bow of his flagship, which he would be commanding very soon.

The offices of the headquarters were as well ordered and as quiet as a garden.  The important staff planning had its place, but it was in this small office where the final decision would be made.  There was as much ostentation in the room as on the uniform of the Shogun - his interpretation of the warrior's code was to leave cleanly and simply.  The maps on the wall and the flag could have belonged to any commanding officer, with the only decorative flourish being the display of his ancestral sword...which he would take with him soon.  

The page, wearing the rank of Subaltern entered the room, bowed, and left the folder at the front of the Shogun's desk.  Wordlessly, he turned on his heel and departed.  Tomomitsu removed the sealing band from the folder and began to examine the contents.  'Federated Duchies: 72,000 tons sunk.  Oberland: 68,000 tons sunk.'  Quite an opening engagement.  The Oberlanders had had the worst of it though, it would seem.  The Federation's navy was their pride, and they would recoup those losses in no time.  Meanwhile, they had only one front to fight on.  Tomomitsu read over the summary of the first battle, called The Battle of the Gulf on the northern continent.  The Federation had taken a surprising number of losses to aircraft.  That is very well.  Tomomitsu had been inclined to side with the Fleet Air faction of the navy over the Battleship school, although he understood the concept of balance...not to mention prestige.  His own Battleship was not the largest in the world, but it was the most powerful.  None others had guns of that caliber, and certainly none others had crews of his caliber.  The report continued with many citations and details.  How sloppy these men across the sea were!  It was well that foreigners were drowned outright if they set foot on Amanonshu.  'The Pure Land' had a reputation for being virtually impenetrable by spies.  Most of his men had never even seen a foreigner, and those that had were usually veterans of patrols on the western plain, forever watchful for Veldanese incursions.

It was not just Amanonshu that cried out for vengeance.  Veldan itself was known to have a powerful faction in its government.  Called "Revanchist" by their detractors and admirers alike, their eyes looked north across the sea, hoping to remove their own stain from their honor.  Twenty years prior, they had been defeated in what was known as The Twelve Hours War, losing two of their famed fast battleships to a force of Light Cruisers from the upstart nation of Bellea.  In every recent conflict, Bellea had been a friend to the Federation, which meant they were an enemy of Oberland.  If Veldan expected to have an ally in this lonely world, then Oberland was its most likely choice.  The Shogun reflected on this for a moment.  An alliance with the Western powers...would this weaken the fabric of his nation?  They would, of course, expect to open a trade deal, bringing their filth and their prying eyes into The Pure Land.  Perhaps they would seek to exert pressure, and perhaps not.  If they continued to match their enemy, they would be grateful for any help that they were able to get.  In the end, it was of little consequence.  Veldan would be swept from the sea and they would be made to sign a peace treaty on Amanonshu's terms.  The sacred Mountains of the Stars would be rightfully reclaimed and this hemisphere would once again be the domain of the Amanonshin.

There were fewer details of the war on land.  What was known was that Oberland was in a desperate struggle on two fronts and that Kalakian forces had been all but wiped out.  Tomomitsu read the available reports with skepticism as battle reports told of impossibly high casualties.  A common refrain did come through which gained his attention - the effect of the mechanized and armored forces.  It seemed that the tank truly was the decisive arm in land warfare now.  

The mobilization order was signed.  The Great Lords, of course, would already be in their domains, raising armies and navies to the task.  The Lesser Lords and prefectures would need the Shogun's blessing, and they too would give the best of their young men.  Great Lord General Goto would command the Army and would lead the invasion.  The Shogun himself would command the fleet.  The war would be long and difficult, and Tomomitsu would see to it that he was victorious.

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Alpha Tester
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thanks again

the point of the stories, if it isn't obvious, is to create a parallel to each of the nations in the game but adjusted to have more of a classical feel to them.  I could come up with different names for the ships but instead I molested pre-existing ship names so that a reader can follow exactly which in-game ship I'm talking about.

Eventually the story will cover all of the universe of WG games to include tanks and plens, with technology present in each.

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Alpha Tester
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The sun rose over the Battle Fleet as it practiced maneuvers in the Typhoon Sea.  There were no unseasonable rains and the ships and pilots maneuvered and drilled the entire day under the watchful eye of the Shogun and his admirals.  The summer storms would be here soon, and the sea nearly impassable.  Even as the guns were fired and bomber plans tested their formations, the merchants were redirected north.  No foreigners entered these waters, but the Amanonshin did extract resources from the Rainfall Islands, and there were goods that the natives were willing to trade for a trifling amount of modern technology.  No radios were traded to them, of course.  The natives understood very well that they lived by the grace of the Shogunate and that any aid to foreigners would be swiftly suppressed.

 

On the observation deck of his flagship - the Tamato, Mazado Tomomitsu observed the simulated carrier strikes through binoculars.  The naval uniforms of Amanonshu closely resembled their army counterparts - minimalist and functional.  The Shogun looked equally imposing in either uniform, being blessed with a six foot frame and hard, lean muscles.  Being one of the taller men of his race was a blessing from the gods, but Tomomitsu took nothing for granted.  The household code required that he train with bow, spear, and in the fighting arts like any of his retainers.  Let the Veldanese admirals uphold their status by court intrigue and fine dining.  The Amanonshin would show these decadent barbarians how true warriors behaved!

 

Tomomitsu lowered his binoculars and turned to the assembled commanders.  “Most intriguing, Admiral Hasashi,” the Shogun said to the commander of his Fleet Air Arm.  “You believe that this formation to be worth sparing the fighters?”  Admiral Hasashi nodded, “I do, Sir.  Striking fast and achieving overwhelming destruction has always been the doctrine of our carriers.  The Trident Lance formation ensures the maximum amount of coverage.  Destruction of the enemy ships is our priority.”  Tomomitsu nodded.  Air superiority doctrine had fallen into disfavor with the naval theorists, but not with the extent with which the army had embraced it.  The recent developments on the northern continent had seemed to confirm the views of the army - even the strongest tanks were helpless before concentrated bombing.  Amanonshu did not possess a great number of tanks, at least compared to the Veldanese.  Even now they were having difficulty keeping pace with foreign designs.  A shameful situation which the Shogun gave his engineers a year to solve before he personally became involved.  Hopefully, a year’s time would see the Veldanese swept from the ocean and holed up in their ports for safety.  Tomomitsu was realistic with his priorities.

 

“You make a fine case for the Crane strategy, Admiral,” the Shogun said.  Admiral Hasashi bowed, “It is my honor to hear that, Sir.”  “Think nothing of it.  It is only appropriate to adopt Plan Crane to dine on these fat fish,” offered the Shogun.  The assembled officers laughed.  The Veldanese weren’t truly a corpulent race, but they were renowned more for gastronomy than for war these days, and their ships were indeed quite fat and slow.  The Crane strategy had been one of two plans for meeting the enemy in the vicinity of the Bane Point.  The other plan called for a cautious approach followed by surprise, using the planes as support for the engagement of the battleships.  Crane was bolder - sweep to the north with the Carrier Division and decimate the enemy before the two fleets even came within sight of one another.  The Amanonshin would have complete air superiority, as there was nothing in the world that could intercept so far from flat ground.

 

“Enough.  Signal the fleet to form for the return voyage,” the Shogun said, and the order was quickly relayed to the bridge and throughout the fleet.  Tomomitsu had personally overseen the training of all his divisions.  The carrier demonstration had come last - he knew it would be the decisive arm in the battle to come.  Three weeks had been good for the fleet.  At any time, the ships and crews were in good condition, but the nature of the Shogunate was that units would often become too independent and even fractious.  It was necessary to hold large scale maneuvers as a combined fleet before throwing them into battle.  The army would be doing the exact same thing in its eastern training areas.

 

The Tamato sailed at the center of the massive fleet.  The sun, now at its zenith, shone across the decks of the combined fleet as they sailed under a cloudless sky.  The proud Tamato dwarfed all other Battleships in the world and was unmistakeable as the Pride of the Nation and its fleet.  Blue water churned before its high bow, proudly emblazoned with the Three Legged Raven of Clan Mazado.

Edited by Big_Tidday_Goth_GF

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Alpha Tester
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"It is my privilege to give you this Admiral,"  the orderly said as he placed the fresh chardonnay on the small table, a sealed telegram discreetly tucked beneath the bottle.  Etiquette would normally demand that a servant would be silent, but this was from the headmaster of the Opera himself, and this was a telegram long expected.  "Thank you monsieur," Rear Admiral Horneé responded, almost seeming to not notice the message as he effortlessly poured a fresh glass for himself and his courtesan.  The courtesan was equally unfazed by the interruption, oohing and ahhing at all the appropriate parts of the opera and generally behaving as haute society expected of its finest citizens.  It was all a grand act: the performance of Orpheo and Eurydice was not exactly an unfamiliar tale to anyone, despite the magnificent performance of this, the first day of spring.  An appropriate tale for the season and the year - Veldan would see a spring in its fortunates, and unlike sad Orpheo, it would not look back to past humiliations.  

"You will excuse me mademoiselle, I would comb my hair," the Admiral said, acting every bit the refined gentleman.

"Of course my strong and handsome Admiral.  I already ache for you to return," the courtesan obliged.  She knew full well that this was navy business, and playing her role, she revealed nothing.  A favorite of Admiral Jean Horneé, she understood his grave duties all too well...almost as well as she understood the man.  Admiral Horneé was not the kind to be given to the diversions of the upper class of Veldanese society.  These appearances were just that - appearances.  Behind the facade, he was a rudimentary, even spartan naval officer.  Always with a plan in his briefcase, or a study of the newest model of gun, scope, or even machine potato peeler.  Horneé was a man of great knowledge and even greater detail for the operation of the navy.

Retiring to a side room, reserved only for men of great importance, Admiral Horneé gave no impression of a man in a hurry.  On the exterior, he was as practiced as any of the performers in the Grande Opera.  On the inside, his mind was racing.  The timing of this telegram could only mean that the Amanonshu had mobilized for war.  It was known to be in progress - the Amanonshin believed that their "Pure Land" an impossible habitat for spies.  An arrogant assumption - how many clans loyal to the ancient regime had networks all across the land.  They would not cross the first river without Veldanese field guns there to oppose them, nor would their fleet leave their ports in any number without Horneé knowing.  The telegram indicated as expected - one lead Carrier division, to be followed by the Battle Fleet, sailing along the littoral en route to the Mountains of the Stars.  The Amanonshin and their Shogun would hope to isolate the open sea lanes by air power and attempt to engage the Veldanese in decisive battle.  The Mountains would make an auspicious backdrop to inspire their men, no doubt.

Not two minutes later, Admiral Horneé returned to his Sky Chamber, offering the best view in the Grand Opera.  "At last, I could not wait another minute!" Madam Bilox said, wearing her finest pouty face for the Admiral.  "Forgive me, my dear.  Allow me to end your anxiety."  The Admiral made a gesture to his rear without averting his eyes from the courtesan, and at once an orderly arrived with the two's outer coats - his an evening cape, hers a fur coat.  "I do not like the sad part," he said, taking the courtesan's hand to lead her out before the climax of the tragedy.  Smiling quite genuinely, she accepted his hand.  Taking her by the arm, Admiral Horneé led the way down the great staircase, out a side door, and to a waiting automobile to be sped to his estate.  Madam Bilox feigned modesty in the way she knew the Admiral liked, and the two departed.  Admiral Horneé was a man whose life was well ordered.  A night devoted to fine dining, high culture, and carnal desires would sustain him for many months.  'Tonight we smile, for tomorrow we die!'  As serious and as atypical as he was said to be, the Admiral was in reality the personification of his proud nation.  Die soon he might, but if he should die, he would not leave this world without at least one fair lass to weep for him.

Edited by Big_Tidday_Goth_GF

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Alpha Tester
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Crowds of the common people stood in respectful anticipation in the central square.  On any other day, the streets of Kifu City would have seen nonstop traffic of trolleys, government automobiles, and the thousands of pedestrians on their way to work.  What was once a humble tradesmen's village had grown to the greatest metropolis in Amanonshu, thanks to its proximity to the Shogun's palace, and being the first city of his ancient domain.  As the de facto capitol of the de facto ruler, Kifu was the center of administration and manufacturing for the whole nation, and the Shogun's government employed thousands to see to the smooth operation of the massive nation.

The people would not have to wait long for the Shogun.  Mazado Tomomitsu believed that even the lowliest citizen should follow the example he strove to set, and the speech would be clear and concise.  Appearing in his rare dress uniform, none could mistake the Shogun for one of the many senior officers and Household Guards who stood on the prepared platform.  Out of the corner of his eye, Tomomitsu caught sight of his oldest legitimate son and heir, Mitsuyori. Standing to the side, surrounded by his comrades in their sky-blue uniforms.  The Shogun kept his bearing but felt irritation at the sight.  Mitsuyori had elected to join the Special Purpose Commando Reconnaissance Parachute Attack Battalion, the famous "Sky gods."  Known for their swagger and their informality with their internal rank structure and familiarization, Tomomitsu believed it an unfitting place for the future Shogun.  His son, he believed, should be at the head of his own Battleship, or leading a Regiment of line infantry, not showing off his physical strength and courage alongside men far below his status.  There was nothing to do for it, however - he had raised Mitsuyori to admire the honored ancestors, bravely hunting tigers or fighting enemy leaders in honorable single combat.  The stories of valor had sparked a pride which no talk of responsibilities could extinguish.

Banishing the thoughts of his heir for a while, the Shogun came to center stage to the waiting microphone.  "Amanonshin," he addressed the nation as a whole, "the time has come to regain our honor.  The Veldanese encroachments and humiliations will be undone for all time.  Within days, our brave soldiers will be crossing the frontier.  We will settle the issue with the barbarians on the great plains, and we will reclaim the sacred Star Mountains.  No more will the arrogant Veldanese determine for us when we may trade and with whom.  The Pure Land will become pure again, and we will assert ourselves as lords of the sea.  I command you all to perform your duty and to meet every sacrifice.  We will know victory, and even the lowest among you will be honored for generations."

On the last of his words, the Household Guards, in perfect precision, raised their ceremonial rifles to Present, and the band began to play "The Pure Land," a traditional yet somber work.  The civilians in the crowd all removed their hats and bowed.  The pageantry of the occasion was a sight to behold - any enemy would fear to face such a disciplined people.  Upon completion of the music, the discipline was relaxed as the crowd burst into cheers.  A squadron of Ziro fighters flew overhead in formation, the band burst into happier tunes, and the assembled officers left the stage to prepare for the serious task at hand.  The speech, of course, would not make its way to the far flung provinces immediately.  The people would learn of the attack soon enough.  For now, the Shogun had to return to the northern ports, for he would be on the front lines at sea.

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