Saharan Crowns and Battlegrounds

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                                                                                                        Saharan Crowns and Battlegrounds

    Saint Dominico, Inquista

    4:00AM, August 25, 2018

    Archbishop Craticus stood stiff as he gazed out of a large, body-length window that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. The Archbishop couldn't sleep, and it was now already well into the early hours of the morning. The Archbishop was in his private study, which was perched atop of the Archbishop's Palace. The room was completely dark and all of its lights were turned off. Standing in darkness, Archbishop Craticus gazed outside, where everything was just as dark. As he carefully gazed outside, Craticus found barely anything was visible. Thick, black clouds swallowed the moon and covered the horizons. Stars that normally dotted the skies and that reflected in the Mediterranean waters have all disappeared. If this was meant to be dusk, then this might have well been midnight. Craticus pondered if a new day was even coming at all, or whether this was just an end. A shiver ran down Craticus' spine. Despite record-high temperatures this summer, a deep chill has overcome Inquista. Temperatures were dropping to a new low. A storm was gathering, perhaps, Craticus thought as he attempted to make sense of the dark clouds etched into the black sky. Even while standing inside the Archbishop's Palace, several dozen meters away from the shoreline, Craticus could hear the sound of the waves breaking. Indeed, it must be a storm, Craticus thought as waves whirled and crashed. Craticus continued to stand stiff and began holding his breath. He could hear the waves crashing more clearly with every second. Intensity was rising.

    The simple sound of a door creaking open burst the crisp air. The opening of the door sounded like a shot in the dark. Craticus was taken by surprise, but didn't allow himself to drop his stiff demeanor. Hosting guests at this hour was certainly unusual. Craticus didn't turn around. Instead, Craticus continued to gaze outside the window. The open door behind him let a slight streak of light enter the room. After a few seconds of undisturbed silence, a gentle voice spoke out. A voice of calm. A voice of sadness. A voice of old.


    Craticus just about flinched and fell to his knees. This was a voice he had not heard in years. This was a voice that has brought him to his highest highs. This was also a voice that defeated him and brought him to his lowest lows. This was a voice that brought him life. It was also a voice that choked him to death. Craticus continued to gaze outside and did not turn around to greet his guest.

    “So you’ve returned,” Craticus uttered with an emotionless, steel tone.

    “I did not have a choice. You dragged me here from the Sahara,” the gentle voice replied.

    “The Sahara is not safe,” Craticus retorted defensively.

    “I know that. Do you think I like being referred to as the ‘Desert Queen’? I have been in the Sahara hiding for two years. I should have been here in Saint Dominico. I should have been here with you.”

    Craticus shook his head but continued to keep his back turned. “At the time, you couldn’t have stayed here. You couldn’t have been seen in Saint Dominico. You still can’t be seen in Saint Dominico. If you are, trouble will come. Trouble will not only come to the Sahara, but to Inquista… to Europe. To everyone. ”

    The voice of Craticus’ guest dropped its gentle tone. It became more serious. “You’re right, trouble is coming. The Sahara isn’t safe. Inquista isn’t safe. Europe isn’t safe. That’s exactly why I should have been here. I am not just a chess piece that can be hidden in the Sahara. I know everything you don’t know. You have absolutely no idea what is happening inside of my Absolute Monarchy. No idea.”

    “Of course I have no idea. Nobody ever knows what’s happening inside your isolated queendom. Isn’t that the point of being an isolated state?” Craticus responded with sarcasm-tinged words. With every word the woman spoke, Craticus responded with more defensiveness and guilt.

    “You have no idea what I have been through for two years, living like some Sahrawi slave woman, while my queendom is ripped out from my hands.”

    “You’re welcome,” Craticus interrupted. “If it wasn’t for me, you’d be dead. You’d never have escaped without me. The Sahara Desert is inhospitable, but it is welcoming to those who want to be in the shadows. I would know. I have spent many years there myself. I planned my every move to become the Archbishop in the Sahara. The assassination of Archbishop Alexander Kligenberg was planned there. The assassination of President Julia Glorious. The assassination of Archbishop Chad Donwick. What have you done in the Sahara? Cried?”

    The already cool air began to drop even further. The feeling of a winter’s frost could be felt in the darkly lit room. The woman completely opened the door, allowing more light to fill the room. Craticus finally turned around, and light spilled across his face. With a stoic expression of an emotionless face, Craticus observed his guest. She was even prettier than what he remembered of her. Her fire red hair glistened as a streak of light poured from the door behind her.

    “I didn’t cry for a second. If I did cry, it wouldn’t be for myself. If I cried, it would be for the lives of my people, the lives of your people, and the lives of Europe’s people. No, things are not okay. It’s time we stop pretending they are, because things are unravelling. Things are going to explode. Isn’t that why you finally brought me here?”

    She carefully began to step forward, and slowly moved herself towards Craticus, before finally stopping just a few inches from his body. She looked upwards and looked at Craticus sternly in his eyes.

    Craticus didn’t blink. He held her gaze and responded carefully, being sure to annunciate each of his syllables clearly. “No. I brought you here because it was no longer safe for your child.”

    Just as Craicus finished uttering his words, he quickly found his steady stare broken. The woman struck Craicus right across the face, and the sharp sound of a slap echoed throughout the confines of the small study. Pain rushed across Craticus’ face, and he clutched the side of his face in surprise.

    “She is our child. Do not call her my child again,” the woman uttered.

    Whilst still clutching his face, Craticus pushed his back against the window and slowly slid until he fell onto his knees.

    Before silence returned to the room, the woman continued to speak. “Though, I wouldn’t say you have been much of father. Do you even know your daughter’s name? You remain as black-out clueless as you were at that night after the Nicoleizian coronation.”

    Craticus was about to speak, but the woman interrupted him. “Please don’t say any words. That was my night to regret, not yours.”

    Craticus then stood up and regained his posture. He looked back into the eyes of the woman before him, and took a step forward, almost placing himself over her. Craticus carefully placed his hand on her cheek and positioned her head towards the light coming from the door. The woman’s red hair lit up and her face became clear.

    “I know her name. Aleksandra. Aleksandra Craticus von Aries the Fourth. Aleksandra, princess and rightful heir to the throne of the Absolute Monarchy of Red Croatia.”

    A tear welled up in the woman’s eyes.

    “I know more than you think. What you don’t know is that I’ve missed you, my other dear Aleksandra. I’ve thought of you every day. I do not regret anything we have done in the past. I only regret things that will come,” Craticus whispered to Aleksandra in a hushed tone.

    Holding her breath and lowering her gaze, a single tear ran down Aleksandra’s face and onto Craticus’ hand.

    “My throne in Red Croatia has been stolen. I have nothing. Red Croatia is rising. Isolationism will come to an end again. Red Croatia will unleash its wrath. Red Croatia’s influence will be felt in all corners of Europe. Regrets are the least of our concern. We all have to be ready,” Aleksandra warned.

    Queen Alekandra of Red Croatia fell into Craticus’ arms and the two embraced. Suddenly, the light from the doorway shut off. The room was once again filled with darkness. The sound of the storm could be heard outside. 

  • NOTE: The lore talked about in this post refers to actual roleplay events that took place on this forum between Marrakechia, Inquista, Red Croatia and the Sahwari Union. If you look at the Sahwari Union plot on the EU map, you'll notice that it and Neo-Venetia are different from all the other plots. Those are the only two parts of the EU map alerted as a consequence of war between actual roleplayers.

    "Irene" taking photos for the Rechroatian press before attending the meeting described below. This image taken by a Rechroatian press photographer is currently being shared across the European Union. This is the first image that the world outside of Red Croatia will see of the woman who led the country since it's brief return to isolation. No information is available other than her name, Irene, and her appearance in this photo

    "Over the years, I've built up a reputation for being a tough, cold person." Irene gazed over her audience of workers, knowing damn well which of them called her a bitch behind her back. She enjoyed seeing them clear their throats and get nervous, not knowing where she is going with this. "Tough? Maybe. But cold? Never. It's just that I don't show emotion unless the occasion calls for it... and this occasion does. No, I'm not getting married. No, I'm not pregnant. No, Whitney Houston isn't here tonight to grace us with her presence. I have something that's actually worth getting excited over..." she paused, building up anticipation. "Red Croatia's newfound claim over Sahara."

    "We've been ruling..." she chuckled. "I'm sorry, protecting..." the whole room laughed, knowing damn well why Red Croatia and Inquista took Sahara away from Marrakechia. "...the Sahwari Union with Inquista for the last two years, but now we have a reason to believe that Red Croatia should be the sole protector."

    "As we all know, the ethnicity we now refer to as Rechroatian is actually not pure, but a mix of blood of five tribes that once inhabited our land and merged out of common interest. We still don't know exactly why and how this occurred..." Irene actually knew exactly what happened between the five tribes, as did a select few people in the country, but Rechroatian authority was not only secretive about it's history to other nations - it hid important historical facts from it's own people. "...but we know that the northernmost tribe, Nami, was composed of people with black skin." it was clear that the dark skinned woman's appearance was mostly affected by her Nami ancestry.

    "However, what we didn't know up until now is where did the Nami originally come from and why was their skin different from that of other Rechroatian tribes' fair-skinned inhabitants. Well, now we do." Irene's demeanor became increasingly cold. She was about to unveil a huge discovery but she wanted to do it extremely casually, like it was nothing. Irene loved playing the part of the only person in the room who isn't impressed. "Nami originally came from Sahara, but they escaped to the north of what is now Rechroatian territory. They were driven away from their homeland."

    "We know this because as soon as Red Croatia became... one of Sahwari Union's protectors..." she barely contained her laughter. "...we wanted to get more familiar with the land we were protecting. Little did we know that we would discover ancient Nami archeological sites that prove our ancestors once ruled Sahara." This wasn't entirely true. The Nami people definitively inhabited a large part of the Sahara desert, but she has no way of knowing just how much of the land was theirs. "We have managed to find out the exact history of the tribe. Everything from how they ruled Sahara to why they were forced to abandon it."

    "Because we now know that Rechroatian blood traces back to the kings and queens of Sahara, I feel that it's time to reclaim what is rightfully ours. Inquista not only has no historical connection to Sahara, but the tiny nation isn't competent enough to handle territory ten times its size. Red Croatia must protect the land alone."

    "Kosovo is Serbia."
    "Sahara is Red Croatia."