The Return of the Lion
Return of the Lion
17th of July, 2016 AD
Summit hosted at the Library of the Southern Men, The City of the Citadel
Participants: The United Kingdom and the Second Serene Republic of Aalen
First Prefect Ryker the Just was needless to say uncomfortable. Aalen was experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures soaring into 35 degrees celsius. However, under Aalenic tradition Ryker was required to wear his full piece of armour, as well as his cape; whose red color marked him as the commander of Aalen’s forces, and as well as the First Prefect. Visibly uncomfortable Ryker was very keen to have the British arrive already.
“Damn this blasted piece of metal,” Ryker remarked under his breath. Even after serving as serving as First Prefect for thirteen years now he still was adamantly against wearing his armour. “When are the British suppose to be landing?” Ryker asked his secretary.
“Within a few minutes, M’Lord”
Ryker stood from his seat he had brought out, and moved to his place in the formation awaiting the British party. He was at Citadel International AirCentre, the second largest airport in Aalen. It was located just above the City of the Citadel, or more commonly known as The Citadel. It was the second settlement established by European Powers in Aalen in the 1100s, however in order to help protect Aachen against a massive attack by the Natives resulted in the destruction of the original city by natives.
The Citadel was located at the base of a long gorge, carved out by the River of Aaron, which still flowed to this day. Established as a forward base for moving up the Aalenic peninsula, it was rebuilt as a massive fortress built into the mountain which still stood today. After the area was more effectively protected by the Army of the Southern Men people began to settle on the banks of river by the Fortress to set up small fishing communities. Over time they eventually combined to form the metropolitan city, where over two million people lived today.
“Remember M’Lord, our recent history with the British has been cordial. While not being terrible, it has not been particularly good since the fishermen incident in the 60s,” remarked the Prefect of Foreign Affairs, Ser Killian Mormont who took his place by Ryker in the greeting formation.
The formation was a long line of the City’s Watch, forty men on each side, in full formal armour. Each with a golden cloak, and gold-white armour. Impressive, strong, intelligent, and trained to be ruthless if needed be. The City’s Watch was the police force of the city, while maintaining their traditions they had begun to switch over to more modern practices for policing.
Overhead, the british flight carrying the Prime Minister had landed, as it taxied to its place on the runway on which a purple carpet awaited them, Ryker ordered “Present Arms”. All the City’s Watchmen took out their sabres and created a virtual ceiling of swords.
Ryker smirked as the British Prime Minister began to walk down the airplane’s stairs, experiencing the heat Aalen had to offer.
Ryker bowed as per Aalenic tradition once the Prime Minister had made his way to him, and offered him a greeting.
“Welcome to the City of the Citadel. Before we head into the motorcade to begin the summit at the Library of the Southern Men let me provide you, and the King of the United Kingdom this gift,” with a snap of his fingers two Aalenic Longswords were brought out, the squires who brought them knelt and handed them off to the Prime Minister and his companion who took it in place of the King.
“Come I will explain the history of the long swords in the motorcade.”
The Prime Minister landed at the Citadel and was taken aback by the beauty of the surroundings. The Citadel was nothing like the United Kingdom, and it was such a culture shock that by the time he couldn't really say anything besides:
"Thank you very much for having me to Aalen. It's been a while, and I'm sure we will work beyond that unfortunate incident with the fishermen," Mr. Cameron responded. He looked forward to the tour he was about to be lead on.
“If you are to follow me Prime Minister,” Ryker responded, “ due to the length of the curvy streets of the Citadel we will be taking a shorter route down to the Square of the Few than was discussed between our two security task forces. A change in the timetable unfortunately, I will deal with the clerk responsible later. “
Ryker motioned for the Prime MInister and his party to join him in a motorcade that awaited them behind a company of the Citadel’s Watchmen. As the party moved forward, Ryker shifted uncomfortably in his armour. Highland Steel, the strongest in Aalen, possibly even Europe. Mined from the city of Killstock, the only one of the First Cities which was taken from the Natives, not built independently.
As the convoy of diplomats, government officials, and security started to drive out of the airport, the hillsides above The Citadel began to surround the roads, the area around The Citadel was devoid of trees, seas of rolling grass all around. Along the road, there were signs marking a tunnel. The Northcliff Tunnel was the fastest way to the city-level on the banks of the Nocked River. The tunnel was in practice centuries old, however it had been constantly expanded, and renovated. Collapses were known in its history, each time a costly event.
The tunnel was steep, the roadway being rough for tires to grip on better, the entire cliff face was a skyscraper above that of the highest point in the city (excluding the Citadel itself). Soon enough, the tunnel opened to the bright blue skies overlooking The Citadel. The sun had begun to crest over its low point for the day. Dusk soon approached.
The Citadel was a city which had grown over a carefully planned several centuries, at various times being sacked by both the natives, foreign powers, and other First Cities during the War of the Dusk. Each time the Building of the Citadel itself stood, and each time was held and expanded over time to be the massive fortress alongside the cliffs of the Nocked River. Originally it was above the cliffs, however over time due to native attacks the Southern Men moved their base of operations to the south.
The site of the Citadel was chosen due to a cave which provided for a place for the Freehold of the First Prefect, or as other nation’s called it the office of, to place the majority of the wealth of the Serene Republic. During the years of the War of the Dusk, The Citadel who held the gold used it to finance its operations in the central plains of Aalen. At odds with other First Cities such as Auron, or Killstock; The Citadel found itself acting as a base of operations for the merchant lords of the plains from which they could access capital located from across Europe, and that from within the plains.
The city possessed laws which mandated that no skyscrapers be built, and most building plans which call for more modern forms of architecture are usually denied. Resulting in a city which many call, “The City That Never Changes”, a form of mockery that the Lords of the Citadel use to highlight how the The Citadel never fell to any enemies, even during year long sieges. For that reason, every First Prefect had chosen The Citadel to continue its service as the military headquarters since the beginning of its establishment on the cliffs of the nocked river.
The British Prime Minister looked out the window, Ryker was never much of a talker so he assumed if the Prime Minister wished to make conversation he knew it was unwise. Perhaps too awkward, or maybe the Prime Minister was still trying to get used to a country that still held onto old traditions. The buildings similar to those of the old ages, similar to that of traditional Inquisition housing, their main source of inspiration. Even with two million people in the metropolitan area of the city, all the houses kept the traditional style. Obviously with modern amenities added in.
Black paved roadways soon turned to traditonal stone paths. The convoy came to a halt. The Citadel’s Watchmen opened the door for the Prime MInister and First Prefect to exit. They had come not to the Citadel but the Square of the Few.
Ryker began as he walked forward, beckoning the Prime Minister to join him.
“It is called the Square of the Few since the few Heroes Aalen universally celebrates are buried here. The few no one questions were brave, and did something for this nation. Of course we have national cemeteries for our soldiers, but they are not the few. Not the few who did something to change this nation.”
Ryker pointed to the center statue, it was that of an Angel, with a golden halo.
“There is buried our founder, James the Valiant. With him Aaron the Righteous, John the True, my namesake Ryker the Wicked. Ironic how I am the Just one. Every time an officer of the Freehold of the First Prefect, or as you tend to call them office. Visit the CIty of the Ctiadel, we are required by tradition to visit this site. Not to pay respects, but to remember what they gave us. A difference Aalenic culture sees.”
Ryker faced the Prime Minister, “In the middle of a lively city, why is that? To make the living always feel guilty, that is what the Priests of the Five have you believe. No.”
Ryker looked at the bustling streets, the lively taverns, the families on the sidewalk, the busy road. “It is to remind the dead, of what they fought for. They fought so we could have this. So we could have something more. Now you northerners like your poppies, and do tend to pay respects, so I bought us both Wreaths of the Flowers. A speciality of my house in Killstock. My men have them waiting for us by the base of James the Valiant’s grave.”
“Anything you wish to say?”