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The return of the Wandering Land


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Let it not be said the Marchar do not die well.

The Prime Minister of the Hanseatic Republic, standing on the battlements of Fort Turku, had given a rousing speech…despite all her attempts to the contrary, the men and women who lived through the day saw the Tintagylic dream alive and well in her, and marched that day with the intent of restoring their republic; their dream….their nation.

Alas, It was not to be.
The Hanseatic Legion was a wonder of modern military efficiency; the spiritual heir of the Australian Marines, with the discipline and ability of the Foreign Legion that had helped rebirth the Republic. Formed as the False Queen marched from the south with her traitor Marchar Guard, it was at its inception a hodge-podge of units both Government and Private; answering to one man and one man alone; Christopher Khendon II. Brought out of exile to save his nation, the able young commander had drawn up a declaration of sovereignty, signed by the Order of Saint Adelaide, the Hanseatic Defense Forces, the Hanseatic Foreign Legion, The Tintagylic House-Hold Guard, the Marchar Defense Force, the Emergency Diet, the Commander Of Forces, and the Prime Minister herself; directing that the combined force of the Legion would be blessed with being the official military of the government acting directly on the Prime Minister’s orders, and that all provincial and local governments would respect the commands of its leader. It worked as well as could be expected; some rebelled and joined the False Queen from the North, or one of the chaotic cults, personality-groups, or anarchist-alliances that had sprung up out of the badlands surrounding the former Jewel of the Baltic, Helsinki.

So when the orders came to “depart friendly lines and engage aggressively to the sea”, the men and women of the Hanseatic Legion knew what was coming. So did their Commander. But that’s what it was to be Hansa. What it was to be Marchar. What it was to be Legion.
And they would never be forgotten.
Memories fade, to and fro, washing back and forth across the shores of the old man’s mind….

From the northern peaks to the great coastal cities of the trade princes, Croatia was a rugged land ; while the Germanic, French, English and Slavic folk to the north were in a constant power struggle, the natives of Trans-Croatia were able to live in relative safety and peace, the lack of military centers on the inland accounting for the century –old farms, and the harbors and ports had only rarely been put to military or heavy industrial use outside of t. It suffered, just as all Europe did; the emergence of dry and dusky plains were hard-fought by farmers and foresters, while the fishing season was harder to predict; but this was the Europe of Ten Thousand Winters, the child of the Nuclear era; the Croatians crossed themselves and kept living. After all, better alive in a decent territory in Croatia than dead in Helsinki, or London, or Paris, or any of the other great capitals that could never stand long ‘ere someone destroyed them.

It was into this strange mixture that the Hanseatic Legion, defending a stream of refugees across the fragile borders of European “Nations”, had come. They had come with wealth (which was rare outside of Split, the economic capital of Trans-Croatia ) technology (again, the domain of the old trade-princes) and military force (Not seen since the days of Magna Europa). Building a great encampment in the foothills of the ountains, intent on defending the pass that had provided them salvation and escape from the terrors of Old Europe. Marching on came the Marchar; the surviving Knightly Orders, the Great Foreign Legion of the Hansa, the Marchar Guards, and all those in uniform who had served in the Hanseatic Republic. They bowed to no-one in this region, yet were kind to all; ending the careers of the petty warlords and bandits that had taken root in the many years of lawlessness and negligence. It was not till they reached the once great city of Split, that they realized the extent of the corruption; the Trade Guild of Split, formerly an organization of brother-merchants, had become the de’ facto instrument of oppression on behalf of the Aristocracy, trade princes and para-military men who together conspired to keep All of Trans-Croatia oppressed and over-taxed, filling their own coffers while the city starved, bucking under the weight of the old men of the Guild.

Conquest would have been difficult; if not impossible. The Trans-Croatians, though relatively sparse away from the coast, had the home field advantage…and a strong regionalism to boot. The Legion had no supply routes; no factories or fortifications save those they might have discovered or built on the march to Barcelona. But the Legion was lucky; for just as they had marched from their new fortress, the Trade Guild unleashed a terrible crusade against the country-side; the Guild had come into strength outside its own city, and the old guard who had preferred the laziness of a semi-prosperous peace were ousted by Director Gosi and a cadre of foreign expatriates all seeking to make this mostly untouched land profitable...and firmly under the thumb of their new and technocratic corporations. The Director became Potentate Gosi of the Potentium of Trans-Croatia; foreign mercenaries and dockyard thugs walked out of the city to gain control of the region, perhaps even to harass Austria to the north. What the Marchar-led Legion first considered a war of genteel conquest and a land for their people soon became a war of liberation, as the oppression-weary Croatia cheered their march to the sea, to Split.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t much of a fight; just two infantry battalions, one tank battalion, two artillery batteries, and one helicopter squadron were all it took to reduce the Potentium’s main forces; luring out the merc’s with the promise of an easy victory against a suddenly exhausted Legion had turned into an out and out slaughter as the mercenary and criminal forces were eradicated by highly trained soldiers.

After that, it was basically cake; the Legion’s vanguard went into Split, liberated the city from the Potentium’s “Blessed-Defenders” and delivered Gosi up to the justice of the people. The Legion, having garrisoned posts in its long march south, had swiftly become the only government in the region. This was to the liking of the Marchar lords who led the contingent; the Trans-Croats were suspicious of further abuses by a military organization but none was forthcoming, and so, when the Commandant of the Legion and the Governor General of the People set up their own law and order in Split, it was acceptable to the region; schools re-opened, farmers returned to their fields, and the mountains were free of the banditry which had haunted them for some time.

Referendums were held, a transition government formed under the auspice of the Governor General; the towns, cities, and villages would elect their own mayors, while regions would be governed by one military commander and one civilian governor; the entire territory would be ruled under the authority of the Governor General and the Commandant. Though things would doubtlessly change once the transitional government ceded authority to its eventual successor, the people were pleased with simple governance that did not interfere with their personal lives.

A small press conference, held by an unnamed representative of the Governor General, broadcast this information to the world, and furthermore provided access by researchers and news-journalists to examine the behavior and conduct of their Legion in this war of Liberation; it would be found by most to have been well above reproach.

When asked what the name of the country was to be, the monosyllabic representative hand only this to say: “Tessarim.”

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