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Let the Blood Flow

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For several months the terror organization known as the Dark Hand has been plotting its return from the grave. They had moved their pawns into place, surveying their targets, gathering information, turning important figures, and assassinating others. Several government changes in Estovakia made it a prime target for the Dark Hand. They were successful in converting Estovakian generals to their cause. Those generals and their armies would be key in staging a successful coup against the current Estovakian government.

Their plans could come to fruition on a cold dark night in Gracemeria, which was made even colder by the winds flowing in from the Caspian Sea. Tonight the dark hand would use thousands of Estovakia’s own soldiers to lead an assault on government buildings. Their main target was the palace, where they plan to murder the empress and assert control over the Imperium.

When midnight arrives the plan is put in action. Troops storm the legislative assembly building, slaughtering the guards and consecrating what they believe to be a glorious revolution with the first blood. On the other end of the city soldiers march toward the palace. Dark Hand agents on the inside poisoned the guard’s vodka and left the palace gates open. Troops easily poured into the courtyard and surrounded the palace, swiftly cutting down anyone who would get in their way. The palace guards are overwhelmed by the number of revolutionary soldiers outside the palace. They try to sneak the empress out of the palace gates, but soldiers have every exit covered and reinforcements are miles away

Within minutes the soldiers storm the palace. They flood in through the broken doors and smashed windows, killing servants and guards who fight back and watching as their blood stains the floor. As they make their way toward the royal quarters the smash stone and marble statues, deface priceless portraits, and set fire to the elegant drapery. When they reach the empress’ personal quarters they meet heavy resistance. The doorway forces them into a bottleneck where palace guards are able to pick them off one by one. The guards hope to hold them off long enough until help can arrive, but there just isn’t enough to hold off the attackers. Again the soldiers slaughter the guards. A few survivors try to barricade themselves in the main sitting room but are overwhelmed by the soldiers outside. They drop their weapons and attempt to surrender, but are shot in cold blood.

In the next room over the Empress Kusanagi is surrounded my a dozen of her best bodyguards, but these 12 men are no mach for the hundreds of soldiers inside and surrounding the palace. The soldiers on the other end break down the door and toss in a concussion grenade to distract the guards, then in rapid succession all the guards are executed. The soldiers continue to shoot the bodyguards until they stop twitching. One of the men grab the empress and drag her out of the cramped room by her hair. She reveals a sharp knife she had hidden in her dress and cuts the hamstring of the soldier dragging her. He immediately releases her and falls to the ground screaming in pain. Motoko quickly gets off the ground and grabs a soldier, holding the knife against his neck. Upon realizing the hopelessness of her situation she resolves herself to kill as many traitors as possible. She cuts the soldier’s neck and grabs his sidearm as his body falls lifeless to the ground. She tosses the knife into the eye of another soldier, then fires off 2 rounds from the handgun, before a soldier knocks her unconscious with the butt of his rifle.

When she regains consciousness she realizes her hands and feet have been tied, and she’s laying on the floor in a puddle of blood. The blood isn’t hers, it belongs to the soldiers she killed, and the men around her make sure to remind her of that. She gets herself upright and notices a man not in uniform. He’s wearing an expensive black suit, with a red tie, and leather shoes. He’s bald with a graying goatee and a scar on his cheek. He’s looking down on the empress almost sympathetically, while he handles an old pocket watch. He clears his throat and leans in to talk to her.

“Your Majesty, it‘s an honor to meet you,” He extends his gloved hand to sarcastically as though to shake the hand of the empress, yet he knows fully her hands are tied. She frowns at him, and he smiles back. “Oh that’s right, I‘m very sorry.”

He chuckles and continues, “Do you know in less than an hour we had captured your city, burned down half the palace captured the most powerful woman in Estovakia? That‘s quite a record. It took us days to take over Moscow, but then you and that pig Uberstein intervened!”

The man lights a cigar and blows the smoke in Motoko’s face laughing as she chokes from the smoke. Before he backs away the Motoko spits in his face, causing the man to almost instinctively smack her and knock her to the ground. He orders two soldiers to stand her back on her feet, as he wipes his face. “I’m willing to let that go… for now. Right now Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Dark Mind, overlord of the Dark Hand, and the next Emperor of the Estovakian Imperium!”

Motoko glares at him intensely. She wonders what fate this man has planed for her. Will he torture her, or kill her right away? She does know that if she’s able to get out of her restraints for even a moment he’s a dead man. “You know you‘ll never get away with this. The Slavorussians will hunt you down and kill you.”

The man laughs at her and blows more smoke in her face. “The Slavorussians are morons and cowards! That pathetic prick Justinian will die along with his disgusting empire when the day of reckoning comes! That day draws closer and closer my dear. His and your deaths will be just the beginning. They will set off a wave or revolutions that will bring forth a new world order, my order.”

Another man enters the room, carrying a katana in a red sheath, with cold trimming. He hands it to the Dark Mind who unsheathes the blade. The light bounces off the blade and temporarily blinds Motoko. “the katana is one of my favorite blades. I weapons from around the world, and this is my favorite cutting instrument.”

As the Dark Mind looks inspects the katana he instructs the soldiers to leave the room, and secure the palace. As those men leave 7 other men and women dressed in business attire come in. These are his chief lieutenants, the council that governs the Dark Hand and has done so for centuries. “Your Majesty, these are the most revered men and women in my organization. Together we are the Council of Eight, and it is tradition that we all attend the execution of the monarch that will bring to fruition our dream of global domination”

He pauses for a minute and passes the katana to his right while the Circle of Eight make a circle around the empress. “Sadly Your Majesty, I cannot be the one to take your life. As the leader of the Dark Hand my hands must remain pure if I am to ever rule over this world.”

He then seems to go off onto another topic of discussion entirely. “Did you know I’m English? Yes, I was born in London. My father died when I was 6 and my mother moved my brothers sisters and I to Moscow. I recall a beautiful rhyme that my sisters would sing when they would play. I find it appropriate in situations like this.”

He recites the first line, and the rest of the circle joins in to recite the rest of the rhyme.

“Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St. Clement's

"You owe me five farthings", say the bells of St. Martin's

"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey

"When I grow rich", say the bells of Shoreditch

"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney

"I do not know", says the great bell of Bow

Here comes a candle to light you to bed

And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

As the last line of the rhyme is being recited the man with the katana raises the blade, but before he can swing it the door bursts open. Loyalist soldiers had retaken the palace. It seemed almost as though an act of divine intervention had narrowly saved Empress Kusanagi from certain death. The Dark Mind and the Circle of Eight retreat, but two had been seriously injured by the loyal soldiers are unable to escape. The others jump from the balcony onto the roofs of the military transports below and escape into the darkness. Although the empress remains alive, the damage had been done. The revolution had begun.

ooc: I know that was a terrible escape, oh well. -_-

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  • 2 weeks later...

The loyalist soldiers who have retaken the palace are struggling to hold off the advance of the rebel soldiers who are once again breathing down their necks. This time the rebels have the added support of a tank, and the loyalists are ill-equipped to destroy it, so they hastily take Empress Kusanagi right out the front gates of the palace compound into a waiting convoy.

The 5 car convoy drove away from the palace in a hurry. They drove east on the main street in front of the palace. The convoy starts to turn north onto a small back street, when an rpg hits the lead car destroying it and blocking the path. As the cars quickly regroup and return on keep going straight another rpg destroys the second car from the front, which the rebels believe the empress is in. Almost instantly a handful of rebels step out of the shadows and riddle the remaining three cars with machine gun fire.

When the rebels stop to reload two bodyguards exit the last car in the convoy. Carrying only with their side arms they pick off the rebels one by one the two rebels are quickly overwhelmed however and killed, but not before killing two rebels and injuring four more. Now two of the empress’ bodyguards lay lifeless on the ground, and two of the cars mangled and enflamed. the rebels check the three remaining cars for any life. They open the doors or smash the windows and fire their guns wildly into the vehicles.

When the rebels have satisfied their bloodlust they pour gasoline or alcohol on the three vehicles, and set them on fire. While the rebels stand around the flaming cars and cheer their commander calls the Dark Mind on his cell phone he mumbles the words

“Da, she is dead.”

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By morning news of the death of the empress has reached every corner of the Imperium. The news sent shockwaves through the nation, as the Estovakian people try to comprehend what is going on. The people are shocked. The empress wasn’t especially hated, she had her dissenters, but all monarchs do. It was just inconceivable that someone would murder a symbol, the very icon of Estovakia.

The news of the violent assassination reached Moscow by sunrise. At the palace the Tsar was sitting down to have breakfast with his family when he heard the news. From then on he sits at the table emotionless. He gazes coldly at the table, not touching anything on his plate, or even drinking. He just sits there silent and motionless.

The Kremlin is on the other end of the spectrum. Kremlin officials are worked up into a frenzy. They were informed that over 150 hostages are being held in the Slavorussian embassy in the Estovakian capital. Slavorussia’s ambassador had already been executed when he refused to comply with the rebels demands, and now innocent civilians lives were in danger. Kremlin officials order an invasion of Estovakia without consulting other RUSSIAN leaders.

Fortunately for Slavorussia the rebels remained localized in the capital, with several smaller rebel contingents in the northern regions. Slavorussian bombers fly over Gracemeria. There are three main concentrations of rebel soldiers, one at the Parliament building, another at the Slavorussian embassy and the third is at the Gracemeria city hall. Air-to-surface missiles are fired at both the city hall and parliament causing moderate damage, and killing large numbers of rebel soldiers. As the bombers turn around for another strike the Estovakian air defense systems come online. The bombers encounter heavy fire. They are forced to break formation and retreat back over the border.

On the ground several special operations teams attack and kill rebels who are attempting to ransack the city. They slowly make their way towards the Slavorussian embassy.

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Those who assail embassies, whatever their alleged cause, do not deserve leniency.

Empress Kusanagi’s murder was equally appalling and a crime against Estovakia.

These attacks are unacceptable transgressions, and the inevitable Slavorussian retribution is entirely justified.


From the office of Generalissimo, Generalissimo of Procinctia

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This wasn’t the first time, but Motoko was different. Any of them would have been good for the young emperor, giving him the grounding so many aristocrats lack... but Empress Kusanagi and Emperor Justinian, after the Imperial Ball attack what they had should have been obvious, even if they couldn’t admit it back then. Without Motoko Justinian would now have to face his demons alone.

Generalissimo had always believed Emperor Justinian was installed as emperor at far too early an age, fighting world wars and battling an ancient conspiracy was too much responsibility for a teenager, and now barely twenty Justinian has faced more personal loss and tragedy than a single person should ever experience. Kiska once postulated this was why so many aristocrats (like Erwin Uberstein) burn out so fast, and Generalissimo was inclined to agree.

I heard about Motoko... I’m sorry, it shouldn’t have been like this. Was it them? I suppose it doesn’t matter at this point, but it wasn’t your fault.

Even if nothing I say can adequately address your pain, if you ever need to talk you know where to reach me.

An answering machine, and Generalissimo shouldn’t have been surprised, he doubted Justinian wanted to talk to anyone right now. Edited by Generalissimo
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Good morning everyone I’m Zhenya Efimov with SNBC world news. We have more details about the hostage situation taking place at the Slavorussian embassy in Gracemeria. Officials are reporting a grotesque scene, we have learned the ambassador to Estovakia has been killed, and hung on the side of the embassy building in, and covered by the tattered Slavorussian flag that once flew over the building. On behalf of everyone here at the SNBC news team I send our condolences to the ambassador’s family and friends.

In related news air strikes over Estovakia’s capital have reportedly killed over 200 rebels in the city hall and parliament buildings. Military officials hope with the help of the loyalist army they can return order to southern Estovakia soon, and free the hostages trapped in the embassy. For now though authorities have to play the waiting game, and plan their next move very carefully.

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The air strikes on the Estovakian buildings have startled the Dark Hand’s leadership. The council decides its in their best interest to flee the city while they still can. They plan to use the darkness of night as their cover, but before they can leave they have to tie up some loose ends. Some Estovakian rebels and their leaders have seen the faces of the council and know their identities. They must be killed to prevent them from leaking any information to the Slavorussians.

The council tells the Estovakian rebel leaders that some of their men intend to betray them. They name eight rebel soldiers who they claim plan to kill their leader and take over the rebel cause. Infuriated by the plot of betrayal by their subordinates the rebel leader have the traitors arrested, then taken out in front of the building and executed one by one. “Two bullets to the head, three if they‘re still twitching, and a forth for good measure.” mumbles the rebel leader just before the traitors are executed.

Only a few minutes after killing the traitors the rebel leader sits in a small office with the Darkmind. Darkmind is sitting behind an old wooden desk. Behind him a tattered and ruined Estovakian flag. The commander stands on the opposite side of the desk. To his right sitting in a pair of armchairs are two members of the council. The commander nods to acknowledge their presence.

The Darkmind gestures towards the chair beside the commander. “Please commander, have a seat. Would you like some Vodka?”

He sits in the old wooden chair and it creeks while he fidgets around in it. “Yes, thank you. I‘m dying of thirst.”

One of the council members pours a glass for the commander. He has a sinister smile on his face as he walks back towards the commander. The commander is completely oblivious to the current situation. He doesn’t look at the glass before taking a drink, but when he does the Darkmind smiles.

The Darkmind leans back in his chair and lights a cigar, “Commander, you‘re familiar with the Dark Hand are you not? Would it come as a surprise to you that I and my comrades here are members of that organization, and that I myself am the leader of the Dark Hand?”

The commander chuckles nervously, “You‘re kidding right?”

The Darkmind takes the cigar out of his mouth and leans forward. Now a sinister almost devilish grin appears on his face “No commander I can assure you I‘m not kidding. We have been using you and your men in a little experiment, and the results were very much to our liking. Although your little revolution will fail, we have succeeded in toppling Slavorussia‘s closest ally, and murdering the Tsar's lover in under 24 hours. And the best part is you and your men unwittingly helped make it possible. How does that make you feel?”

The commander feels a sharp pain shoot down into his stomach. He knocks over the glass of vodka, and grabs his himself grunting in pain. “It makes me feel pretty sick actually. What did you do to me?”

One of the other men remarks, “That’s the poison I slipped in your drink commander, it works very quickly. The pain should be gone soon, and so should you.”

The commander tries to get out of the chair, but collapses on the ground from the pain in his stomach. He’s never experienced pain this intense before in his life. His whole body aches, and the pain only seems to get worse. He tries to shout for help, but it seems all he can muster are cries of pain that won’t even reach be heard far outside the room. Then suddenly almost as quickly as the pain started it was gone, and the commander was dead.

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OOC: Justinian, Centurius and I are hopefully transitioning this story into the foundation of Uralic Bashkortostan (my nation) and Bosporan (Centurius' nation) both of which have land from what was formerly Estovakia.

OOC: Which as the last owner of Estovakia am happy to hear about. :)

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(OOC: This predates the formation Uralic Bashkortostan by eleven weeks.)

Yoshkar-Ola, Slavorussia

"Face it, Jarkko. It'll never work."

A blond-haired Russian man sat across the table from a stern-looking Finn, in what appeared to be a small meeting room in the basement of a conference centre in the city of Yoshkar-Ola, which had long been a centre of culture for the Volgaic Finns, particularly the Mari.

The Finn was tall (about 6'3"), well-built, with dark brown-green eyes, and his buzzcut dirty blond hair revealed a receding hairline. The man across from him was considerably shorter and had blue eyes.

"Someone has to try, Kirill," the Finn responded. "I mean, look at what the Khanty, Mansi, and Komi are up against in Estovakia right now. The Empress never persecuted our people - she even passed bylaws allowing us to speak our languages - but with her gone, those Uralics remaining may be in danger. Even with the influence of Mariehamn, perhaps Finns like me will be unwelcome."

"Ever thought of joining Dark Hand?" Kirill, the blond, asked.

Jarkko gave him a glare so intense it would have burned through the thick concrete foundation of the building.

"I cannot believe you would even suggest that," he said, indignant. "They may have many Uralic members, but those Uralics who have joined are misguided fools!"

"Dark Hand has complete control of the area with the Rebellion and all..."

"Like hell! The area is in total anarchy! Estovakia will split into constituent states at this rate, and then be completely overrun by opportunistic warlords who thrive on power-lust and greed! I will NOT join the very force that destabilised the area out of selfish personal ambitions!"

Dumbstruck, Kirill gaped at Jarkko. Although relatively docile most of the time, Kirill had seen Jarkko's "dark side," and wasn't ready to incite this "Edgecrusher." He was very passionate about the maintenance of Uralic culture in all its forms, deeply devout in his Christian faith, but also willing to fight for what he felt was right, and it became apparent that Dark Hand epitomised everything he felt was wrong.

"Well," Kirill stammered. "I didn't know you felt so strongly... I... I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Jarkko said. "I always loved Empress Kusanagi and her way of doing things, particularly with her relationship with Emperor Justinian. Seeing that car burning made me so angry... Tell me something. Why did she have to die? Because some filthy, corrupt, heathen älypät felt like unleashing a little hell?"

"Or to piss Edgecrushers off to bring about their own demise," Kirill joked, trying to make light of the situation.

"Pff," Jarkko snickered. "Like they even know I exist..."

A thought caught his head. Kirill might be onto something, he thought. A grin came to his face.

Kirill started laughing.

"I've seen that grin before!" he exclaimed. "What brilliant scheme do you have up your sleeve this time?"

"Remember that Russo-Udmurt Jew we talked to in Glazov?" Jarkko asked.

"Dr. Shlomov?" Kirill responded. "Yeah, brilliant old geezer. A little eccentric though."

"Umm," Jarkko remarked, raising an eyebrow, "have you forgotten who the Aspie is in the room or something? Anyway, I've heard he's in Izhevsk now. He was babbling something about some Uralic nationalist movement. I just remembered."

"Izhevsk?" Kirill asked, a bit apprehensive. "Isn't that a little close to Estovakia?"

"No," Jarkko snickered. "It's not like I want to go to Naberezhyye Chelnyy or Kungur or Perm' or Sarapul or some no-man's land like that! We're going to Izhevsk. Best place to scout the Estovakia situation from. No worries about getting some damn-fool Dark Hand idiot coming barrelling into the border guards, plus all the benefits of being in Udmurtiya as opposed to being stuck here in Mariy El which is a few hundred kilometres further away with far less news coverage. Stupid Yoshie TV coverage..."

There was a knock on the door. It was a minor Slavorussian military official. Both Kirill and Jarkko stood and saluted. The official returned the salute.

"As you were, gentlemen," the official said. The insignia on his shoulders insinuated the rank of Captain, but he was shorter than Jarkko. He was completely decked out in a Slavorussian military uniform.

"I'm here for you, Sergeant Kalinkov," he continued. "The Slavorussian military is beefing up its troop coverage along the border between Tatarstan. Now normally, I'd probably have both of you sent to NabChel. However, there was something a little different that the General wanted from you, CWO. You will be sent to Tallinn instead to be debriefed."

The official shoves two tickets into Jarkko's chest. Jarkko looks at the tickets. The first one is dated for tomorrow. The second is undated and has no destination.

"You got me a ticket to anywhere?" he asked in disbelief.

"Yes," the official said. "It is expected that you will use it to fly to somewhere in Slavorussia, though."

"I think I have an idea where I'm going, then," Jarkko grinned. "Thank you, Captain Mäkelä."

At this, Captain Mäkelä and Kirill left the room, supposedly to exit the building. Jarkko sat down in his seat and slouched somewhat. He began pondering what his future might bring. What was going on in Tallinn that demanded his attention? Would he end up in Estovakia? Would he have a chance to fight against the Dark Hand? Then his thoughts drifted to the woman who was once the love of his life, Sirkka Pyhäjärvi. He still felt the sting of betrayal from when she decided to join Dark Hand, but deep down inside, he still loved her, and prayed for her daily to come to her senses.

He wondered if she had had a hand in the brutal murder of the Empress and her guard. Then in his mind, he chastised himself for having such thoughts.

After sitting and thinking for a few more minutes, he got up, put his black trenchcoat on, and left the room, with his mind now set on finding the nearest hotel to Yoshkar-Ola's main airport.

Edited by Uralica
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Current time in what is now Uralic Bashkortostan

The town was a short distance away from what was Gracemeria the old capital of what was Estovakia and its people were of simple folk who led simple lives however, in one household thier lives had gone from the norm to something that none of them would have ever thought of happening. For in their guest room lying in their guest bed lay one of the most important women they had ever known for in that bed lay the ex-empress of Estovakia. In that bed lay Motoko Kusanagi. The wife and husband continued their daily routines as normal however, they did raise some eyebrows when they bought extra food from the stores however, no one asked why they were buying extra. They also purchased some extra medical supplies from the local pharmacy for Motoko was still recovering from her injuries on that day when the Dark Hand had tried to murder her. As the family of the house continued with their house work Motoko turned on her side to give her wounded shoulder some respite and thought back to that dreadful day.

One week earlier in Gracemeria

The Empress was busy keeping her head down as the cars speed through the streets of Gracemeria as her bodyguards wanted to get her out of the city as fast as they could and she was forced to agree with them and to make things more annoying her head still ached from where she had been hit. She was just about to ask where they were headed when the lead car was destroyed in an explosion of fire and debris as an RPG round struck it. Her vehicle immediatly halted and her bodyguards reacted as the entire convoy came under small arms fire from unknown forces. It was then that she saw the flash of a second incoming rocket and she threw herself at her door. She was lucky in that she got it half open before the rocket propelled grenade impacted and detonated. The explosion burnt her back and threw her from the car straight across the gap in the street and through a window of a nearby china shop which shattered under her weight and force before she hit the floor with a large shard of glass stuck in her left shoulder. As she lay groggy on the floor from the impact and from the pain she heard the fighting continue before her vision started to blacken and the last sight she saw before passing out was two Estovakian's wearing civilian clothes grabbing her around the waist and helping her onto her feet before she blacked out.

Current time

Closing her eyes and taking and releasing a deep breath Motoko rolled onto her back and gazed at the ceiling. Her people were no longer hers and everyone else thought she was dead. So for now she lay on this bed and plotted what her next move would be.

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