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Preparing the ground


John Connor
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It was a brisk morning in Oslo when Haakon Magnus left his estate on the edge of the city for his meeting with the Swedish authorities governing Norway. The snow was crunchy under his feet and his breath showed clearly in the air. In his early forties he was as fit as he was ever going to be through a lifetime of service in the former Norwegian navy as a junior officer before continuing in the Swedish navy. His tenure as a junior officer was short lived as he rose through the ranks to become a Captain of his own torpedo boat.

 

            His officer uniform still fitted perfectly and was immaculate as he sat in the back of the car to be driven to the meeting, his brain whirring at the possibilities that could arise from his meeting. He returned to thoughts of his former career. He left the Navy at around thirty-five to open his own company, which succeeded very well. His fleet of fishing boats made him tens of millions, allowing him to live like the King he knew he was destined to become if everything went to plan. Using his newfound wealth, he established himself a home, expanded his company and began getting involved with local politics to familiarize himself with the legislation and processes of Government before taking a degree and then a master degree in politics, all whilst immersing himself with government officials in Norway, using his old military connections to meet new people until he finally began communication with the people whose attention he really needed to get in order to restore independence and his fathers crown.

 

            His fathers’ legacy ended when he entered an agreement with Sweden in which he would allow the annexation of Norway in exchange for a position in the regional government in a consultation role as well as a general friendly face for the transition. However, the cost was that he would renounce all claims to the throne for himself and his heirs. He deemed it the best course of action for Norway as the military was only small and under funded in exchange for massive social and infrastructure funding and would not long survive an armed conflict, and so he and managed to negotiate an excellent arrangement which continued long after his death. Norway had done exceptionally well by Sweden and now boasted a strong economy, strong social security and excellent infrastructure. Now its future depended on Haakon’s silver tongue, twenty years of unblemished military service, and the last fifteen years spent creating jobs in Oslo, Fredrikstad, Risor and Kristiansand with his fishing fleets, processing factories, canning factories and the rest of the business assets he owns, as well as dedicating himself to bettering the standard of life enjoyed by Norwegians through a career in politics.

 

            His car arrived at the municipal building in Oslo, pulling up on the clean streets, with its clear air; snow dusting the roofs of buildings. He walked up the stairs and to his meeting.

 

If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so he was going to ask for the restoration of his Kingship and sovereignty.

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The news that Lord Haakon Magnus had reintroduced himself back into society after his small seclusion from the public eye had caught the Nordisk Government a little by surprise. What was more surprising was that there was rumors that the man wanted to retake the throne of Norway. This prompted the response of the Nordisk Rike Government to send the Jarl of Diplomacy to Oslo where the local Norwegian Governor was stationed.

 

Upon her arrival to the city she had already dismissed the Norwegian Governor from his duties, where she sat in the mans office, her normal two guards flanked behind the rather large leather chair that accented how small she was in comparison to her guards and the chair. The guards since they were from elite units within the Rike's Military, would maintain usage of their gas masks even though Oslo was largely left alone during the last war in which the nuclear bombs were launched at the Kingdom of Sverige.

 

She would sit there silently in the chair, with her eyes closed as she awaited the time in which the Lord Haakon Magnus would arrive at the government building, where he would be expecting the Local Governor, and not a high ranking Nordisk Official that only answered to the Krigsherre himself.

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The news that Lord Haakon Magnus had reintroduced himself back into society after his small seclusion from the public eye had caught the Nordisk Government a little by surprise. What was more surprising was that there was rumors that the man wanted to retake the throne of Norway. This prompted the response of the Nordisk Rike Government to send the Jarl of Diplomacy to Oslo where the local Norwegian Governor was stationed.

 

Upon her arrival to the city she had already dismissed the Norwegian Governor from his duties, where she sat in the mans office, her normal two guards flanked behind the rather large leather chair that accented how small she was in comparison to her guards and the chair. The guards since they were from elite units within the Rike's Military, would maintain usage of their gas masks even though Oslo was largely left alone during the last war in which the nuclear bombs were launched at the Kingdom of Sverige.

 

She would sit there silently in the chair, with her eyes closed as she awaited the time in which the Lord Haakon Magnus would arrive at the government building, where he would be expecting the Local Governor, and not a high ranking Nordisk Official that only answered to the Krigsherre himself.

 

Haakon waited patiently until he was informed he was to proceed to the Governors office. Standing, cap under arm, briefcase in his other hand, he strode confidently around the hallways until finally reaching his destination, the large oak door of the Governor. He waited for a moment, composing himself, straightening his uniform and taking a deep breath. Time slowed down as his hand reached down to the knob of the door. He never found himself nervous before, or fearful. He survived the wars, nothing scared Haakon, but for the first time since he first came under fire, he felt a tremor of fear race down his spine. Time accelerated and he entered the room. His build was athletic, he was rather tall and his beard was neatly kept. His broad frame dominated the doorway for a moment as he moved into the room, taking note of the gasmask clad guardsmen until his eyes were drawn to a figure he was not expecting to see at all.

 

The Jarl of Diplomacy was a woman of fearsome repute. Lykke Nova was only known to Haakon by name and pictures. Having never met her himself, he found himself curious as to how this meeting might go after all, it was not the norm for someody who only answers to the King to deal with things in person as far as Haakon knew, though he had been proved wrong before. She is as close to valhalla as the greatest Norse warriors without being killed if rumour mill was to be believed after her conduct in the war.

 

'Jarl Nova, a pleasure to meet you' he said smartly, before saluting her, a nod to her military past and shared experiences of the war. Different branches, same hell.

 

'Would it be presumptious to assume you are aware of my identity Jarl?' he said politely, remaining standing infront of the desk, he extended his hand.

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"I am well aware of who you are, Lord Haakon Magnus." She said this with a straight face before she pointed to the chair to his right. She didn't return the military respect he had paid her, more out of the fact of her current rank within the Rike's Government and less out of an attempt to disrespect him. "Please have a seat." She put her elbows on the desk and pulled the chair forward and sat with her back straight up before continuing. "I am sure you must be surprised to see me here, but with the rumors flying around about some of the things you desire, the Rike felt it was best to send a high ranking government official here, and not some Governor of Norway."

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He remained in silence as he took the seat gestured to him and listened intently as the Jarl continued. When she finished, it would take Haakon a moment to think of the right way to start this conversation.

 

'It it a great surprise I must admit, though an outcome I held as an option. I knew the Governor of Norway doesnt have the authority to permit what I would be asking from him, so either he would pass my request onto the central Government, or say no outright, so I did know that at some point I would be meeting with yourself or another high ranking official from Stockholm' he said clearly, leaning back a little in his chair to adjust his position. He suffered a minor back injury in the war that still bothered him from time to time.

 

'My Jarl, before I begin what I want to request, is it possible for you to tell me what the information has passed through the rumour mill to the Rikes ears? For if it is anything less than the truth, I must provide the correct information, I am sure you understand, one officer to another, a decision cannot be made and words cannot be spoken without the whole picture on view.' he finished, appealing to her military service as a reason to glean as much information as possible so that he could provide the true information from his dossiers in the briefcase.

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"Under normal circumstances I wouldn't be here and if it were a man of lesser standings, we would have simply sent them away without hearing their case, however the rumors are that the noble lines of Norway wish to retain themselves as an independent government. As far as the other rumors about you, I won't mention as since part of my job is information and intelligence about other people, we lack the fundamentally truths on any of the other rumors, but those are not why I am here. I am here because the Crown Prince of Norway wants to retake his throne. So tell me, why should we in the Nordisk Rike's Government allow this, and allow our Union of Scandinavia to be broken?" 

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'I appreciate that the central Government is taking me seriously Jarl, I was worried that I would be seen as a troublesome upstart or arrested for attempted insurrection or something silly' he finished, laughing slightly before returning to buisiness.

 

'I believe its in the Rikes best interests to allow Norway its independence, to break apart the sovereign union between the states. We Norwegians are proud, you know this, and for the longest time our fate has been tied to Nordisk Rike, even after the great war and the re-emergence of the world. Apart from allowing a former sovereign state the opportunity to regain its pride and independence, to give them a chance at standing on two feet instead of being propped up by the central Government, I can't give you a solid political reason for allowing a secession. I can sign agreements and pacts with you until my hands no longer work Jarl, but it won't change the fact that we are our own state' he said, leaning into his briefcase for a moment and pulling out a few documents and handing them over.

 

'These are my credentials which can be confirmed by the relevent people in Norway aswell as a comprehensive ten year plan if Independence is gained to steer Norway to further prosperity...' he trailed off, sitting back in his chair and pulling out a cigarette.

 

'I hope you don't mind' he said, moving towards a window and lighting it up, breathing deep. Staring out over Oslo for a moment, thinking.

 

'Jarl, I was born to be a King of Norway, like my father before me and it is with the bitterest taste that I accept his actions were the best course of action at the time, but we live in a different world now so I ask you now.

 

Will you let me do the job I was born to do, to let me raise my banners over Oslo and bring the Norse people together again as a seperate state. I ask for a chance.'

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She would close her eyes for a few seconds while listening before opening them again to reply, "We never forced Norway into this Union, it is a Union that your people chose. We also believe in an united Nordic People, which is something we have achieved. If it is the will of the Norwegian People to Self Govern, we have no issues with that, however we are hesitant to completely break this union, I am sure this is something you can understand."

 

She would put her hands on the desk, push the chair back before standing up herself and turning towards Haakon Magnus. "We will how ever entertain the idea of Norwegian Independence if it is something that the people wish. If they wish to return to a state of Independence and if they wish for the return of the Norwegian Monarchy to return with you as its leader we will allow the nation to become free."

 

She would pick up a glass of water that was on the table, twirl the water around in the cup for a few seconds before taking a sip of it and placing it back down, returning her attention back to the Crown Prince. "However, I will be completely honest with you, it won't be total freedom. While you will be able to run the government, have an independent military, and conduct your own foreign affairs, you will sign a treaty with us for Mutual Defensive and Mutual Aggression, Open Border Policy which would mean that the extensive railway network we have built across Scandinavia would continue to operate all the time as it does now, Unrestricted Trade Agreements, High Levels of Military Cooperation in terms of shared research as well as joint cooperation in regards to a unified military equipment standard. You will also relinquish Norwegian Claims to Svalbard, and the Oil Platforms will remain under Nordisk Control. You will however be allowed to open your own Oil Platforms in the North Sea. In return for Svalbard we will transfer control of Mecklenburg-Vorpmmern toward the state of Norway, and it will allow you to take part of the financial interests of the Danish Straights, and shipping the enters the Baltic from other means."

 

She would pick up the glass and take another small drink of water before placing it back down. "We would also request that you refrain from seeking conflict with any member of Nordic Hammer while we are a part of it. For asking you to maintain cordial diplomatic relations with nations you do not know, we will transfer control of the Protectorate of Iceland over to you to do with as you wish. A final thing we would like to add is that should your family line die off, we request that Norway be returned to the Rike where will return to continue to protect it from others as we have done for so long now. We will of course continue to subsidize your government and the nation of Norway as we do now, even after you take control of it, to help alleviate financial burdens of state and to help jump start your nation into one above a third world state, as well as to allow for a quick rebuilding of your national forces and any other projects you may wish to take in.

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She would close her eyes for a few seconds while listening before opening them again to reply, "We never forced Norway into this Union, it is a Union that your people chose. We also believe in an united Nordic People, which is something we have achieved. If it is the will of the Norwegian People to Self Govern, we have no issues with that, however we are hesitant to completely break this union, I am sure this is something you can understand."

 

She would put her hands on the desk, push the chair back before standing up herself and turning towards Haakon Magnus. "We will how ever entertain the idea of Norwegian Independence if it is something that the people wish. If they wish to return to a state of Independence and if they wish for the return of the Norwegian Monarchy to return with you as its leader we will allow the nation to become free."

 

She would pick up a glass of water that was on the table, twirl the water around in the cup for a few seconds before taking a sip of it and placing it back down, returning her attention back to the Crown Prince. "However, I will be completely honest with you, it won't be total freedom. While you will be able to run the government, have an independent military, and conduct your own foreign affairs, you will sign a treaty with us for Mutual Defensive and Mutual Aggression, Open Border Policy which would mean that the extensive railway network we have built across Scandinavia would continue to operate all the time as it does now, Unrestricted Trade Agreements, High Levels of Military Cooperation in terms of shared research as well as joint cooperation in regards to a unified military equipment standard. You will also relinquish Norwegian Claims to Svalbard, and the Oil Platforms will remain under Nordisk Control. You will however be allowed to open your own Oil Platforms in the North Sea. In return for Svalbard we will transfer control of Mecklenburg-Vorpmmern toward the state of Norway, and it will allow you to take part of the financial interests of the Danish Straights, and shipping the enters the Baltic from other means."

 

She would pick up the glass and take another small drink of water before placing it back down. "We would also request that you refrain from seeking conflict with any member of Nordic Hammer while we are a part of it. For asking you to maintain cordial diplomatic relations with nations you do not know, we will transfer control of the Protectorate of Iceland over to you to do with as you wish. A final thing we would like to add is that should your family line die off, we request that Norway be returned to the Rike where will return to continue to protect it from others as we have done for so long now. We will of course continue to subsidize your government and the nation of Norway as we do now, even after you take control of it, to help alleviate financial burdens of state and to help jump start your nation into one above a third world state, as well as to allow for a quick rebuilding of your national forces and any other projects you may wish to take in.

 

Haakon couldn't believe his ears. He returned to his seat, took a pull on his smoke and exhaled.

 

'So, let me get this straight. In exchange for my unwavering loyalty and that of Norway through a series of agreements and treaties to ensure nothing changes on the surface in a disruptive fashion, and a military alliance of an unbreakable nature, you will allow our Independence AND finance our state?'

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"Yes I believe those are some of the things I have said. If the people wish your return as leader we are not going to force them to stay with us, that would be disruptive towards the good nature of this cultural union we have, and as far as the money, we have already invest huge amounts of investment into rebuilding Norway, and the Scandiavian Rail Network is probably one of the most impressive in Europe at this time, it would be wise to continue its good use and effective abilities of maintaining that cultural unity for the world to see that we are not oppressors, and are still united despite the independent Government that Norway would have." She would smile at the man with a bit of a smirk behind it, as she was toting the party line of the current Nordisk Government of a united people inseparable and brought together by the bonds of war.

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"Yes I believe those are some of the things I have said. If the people wish your return as leader we are not going to force them to stay with us, that would be disruptive towards the good nature of this cultural union we have, and as far as the money, we have already invest huge amounts of investment into rebuilding Norway, and the Scandiavian Rail Network is probably one of the most impressive in Europe at this time, it would be wise to continue its good use and effective abilities of maintaining that cultural unity for the world to see that we are not oppressors, and are still united despite the independent Government that Norway would have." She would smile at the man with a bit of a smirk behind it, as she was toting the party line of the current Nordisk Government of a united people inseparable and brought together by the bonds of war.

 

'Sounds good to me if I'm honest. Where do I sign?'

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'Well you could...' he said conspiratorially before laughing quite suddenly.

 

'With your blessing Jarl, I will begin the process of organizing a nationwide vote for the end of the year. Would be be possible for the Rikes assistance in organising the vote in terms of resources, information distribution and the likes?'

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She would blink at the mention of money and frown a little before replying. "In case you weren't aware that we are in a state of war, we have an allotted allowance in which we have set aside to fund you if Norway becomes independent. Last I heard you were a rather wealthy man, I am sure you have the necessary funds to do this. We cannot afford to help become elected King with how the money rations are currently being cut from other places and afforded to any agreements that may come up with you, as well as to make sure that the war effort is accomplished. Besides, what kind of King would you be if you didn't have to fight a little to get a country." She would smirk after the last remark.

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