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A meeting over wine.


Sarah Tintagyl
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To Her Imperial Majesty's Most Benevolent Government,

 

The recent show of force by the Athenian military in putting down the radical uprisings in Cherbourg, reminds the citizens of Bordeaux of the security that Athens provides to France and to Southern Europe. Yet, these uprisings do speak of feelings held by many people of the region of Aquitaine. For a long while, since the collapse of the previous French monarchy and the Communists before them, La Belle France has always been an envy of the World. This light has somewhat faded, replaced by the shining star on the Aegean. 

 

But some would give anything to remember the culture and aura of France that existed before the times of chaos. I do not speak of imperialism, I do not speak of government intrigue, but instead the whimsical music of an accordion and the sweet taste of red wine on the lips.

 

Your Most Benevolent Grace, it is with these desires that a provisional party of independence in Aquitaine, humbly invite you or any minister of state to our headquarters in Bordeaux to speak upon matters of independence. We have passed a referendum within the greater metropolitan area and beseech your permission to make our own dreams and desires for an Aquitaine separate, yet friendly to her neighbors to exist again.

 

We hope you will consider this proposal and know that while your people desire separation, we nevertheless, hold you in high esteem as Empress and Stateswoman.

 

Your Humble Servants,

 

The provisional party for independence of the region of Aquitaine

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Right now Ariadne wanted nothing more than the heads of the President of France and Director of the Internal Intelligence Agency on a spike. This was the kind of thing no sovereign liked to be blindsided about. That being said she had always maintained a special place for France and preferred it in an independent state. And of course the writing about the 'uprising' gave her a bit of a chuckle, nothing wrong with a future neighbour that had a sense of humour. While it was unorthodox for the Megale Autokrateira to go to someone petitioning for independence she had wanted to visit southern France again for a while and this provided an ideal opportunity, as such a response would be sent.

My Loyal Subjects,

 

The recent history of France has had ups and downs, despite this its people have always been strong and have achieved greatness in the Federation. While I cannot promise you independence I will hear out your petition in person. I will be making arrangements for a visit to Bordeaux and recommend you to bring along those who feel like you so we can discuss the future of Aquitaine together.

 

Ariadne Notaras of Heraclius

Once the letter was away the arrangements would be made and only days later Ariadne arrived in Bordeaux. 

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When the Athenian Empress arrived in Bordeaux no extraordinary greeting awaited her. A show of force from those people who might want Aquitaine's independence thought it a bad idea to display unrelenting regionalism the moment she entered the town. Instead, the mayor of the city, Claude Fromel greeted her at the entrance to the Hotel de Ville along with his city council. The  mayor spoke only kind words to the Empress before inviting her inside for some food, drink, and perhaps any recreation she might attend to before the meetings with the independence movement began.

 

Later in the evening, the mayor of Bordeaux, the Empress, and the provisional council of independence gathered in the council room of the hall. The oak walls, mahogany tables and hairs, and plush green carpets smelled of cigar smoke, strong liqueurs and wines. Here the Empress met one of the leaders of the independence movement, Jacqueline de Merteuil, a noblewoman of ambiguous past whose family had not claimed their Viscountcy since the French Revolution.

 

The tall woman with bright flaxen hair, pale skin, and topaz eyes, bowed her head and kissed the Empress' hand. "Your Majesty, it is with the highest honor we feel that you receive us today."

 

"Her Majesty has been treated to the best foods and wine that Bordeaux has to offer," said Fromel, as he took his seat at the table.

 

"I hope that our letter," Jacqueline continued, "Did not upset you in anyway as that is not our intention. If this process is to go forward then I, the provisional party, and all the people of Aquitaine want it to happen smoothly and without hostility breaking forth in either our bodies or minds." She led the Empress to a chair and with care sat the autocrat of Athens onto the cushion. "Aquitaine has a rich history and Athens has only added to that wealth. We want to harness that and our other past incarnations."

 

Jacqueline finally took her own seat, across from the Empress, and then the men and women around the table smiled. "Our own proposal is brief, Your Highness, Aquitaine's independence and the creation of our own government to manage our own affairs apart from the Empire. We request the rights to our own domestic and foreign affairs apart from the Empire. We require our own currency, apart from the Empire. To be direct, Your Majesty, Aquitaine requests complete independence to forge our own destiny in European and World affairs. However, that is not to say that we seek any forms of hostility with Athens and recognize our place within the established system of Europe."

 

Fromel nodded at Jacqueline's proposals. "Is this appropriate, Hignhess?"

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Ariadne enjoyed the welcome, it was a healthy change from what she had gotten used to and the hosts were nothing if not cordial.

 

As she listened to he various individuals she nodded understandingly, the moment the mayor invited her to talk she turned to those in attendance.

 

"The right of people to determine their own future is key in the Athenian Federation, the protection from government oppression is another important principle all government action is judged by. In line with this I cannot and would not want to do anything other than granting you your request. Aquitaine shall enjoy full independence. That being said there are a few matters we do need to discuss before concluding the arrangement. These things cover the security relations within Europe, continued trade and of course the United Nations"

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The delegates there smiled and nodded their heads. They achieved victory, independence seemed tangible now. But then the mood shifted back to serious contemplation as Jacqueline leaned forward, folding her hands. "Of course, Highness, and what are your concerns with security, trade, and the United Nations?"

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"Well, as it is Europe as a continent enjoys incredible stability. This is in major part due to our independence of outside forces. To keep this independence intact we cannot have forces from outside Europe establishing positions inside it. As such under security I would like to see Aquitaine commit to this independent Europe principle. Of course the Athenian Federation will provide you with protection against outside and internal forces. Where it concerns trade, over the last decade the economies of Aquitaine, the rest of France and of course the Federation in its entirety have become highly interconnected. To prevent significant hits on both our economies I would like to see us maintain the current level of trade and not impose any trade barriers. Finally, the UN has become an incredible tool for resolving international disputes. It is a policy we have begun implementing in Africa already but one that will be extended to Europe. Those states coming from the Federation or its protectorates are expected to become a member"

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Jacqueline nodded, as did the other delegates of the council, at the Empress' requests. "I think we can easily agree on all points here, Your Majesty. Trade will continue as normal. Aquitaine will seek to strengthen her relations with all members of the European community from Britain to Russia, and we will apply for United Nations membership the moment that independence is secured. Agreeing on all these points, can we conclude the meeting to a successful end?" ask Jacqueline.

 

She grinned looking at the Empress, "Unless there is more to speak about. I want to make sure that all points are covered so as not to create complications in the future."

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