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Leaving Home, Coming Home


Margrave
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Vahlkurheim....It had been such a wondrous city. They'd gathered there, so many bright fires, so many eager hearts ready to bring peace, so many beautiful people all honoring and celebrating the ideals of peace. The Tintagyl had led them there, declaring a new age of peace for all Mankind. All the Commonwealth had embraced the idea that even Europe would be at peace once the Lady took her rightful place at its head.

Yet that dream died with a quickness. Now, shuffling feet and weary faces comprised the body of people getting on the plane back to the Australian territory. Much of the youthful passion so "misspent" in that golden city curled and spun in the heart's of its former citizens, laying like a beast in wait in the heart of every Hanseatic citizen. And yet not everyone was so ready to go...

He had come from the destroyed and defeated Camberlain territories, a young Marchar who had seen the struggles of war and diaspora since his youth. A reluctant fighter, Erik Kreyvard had slipped out of the normal bonds of family and friends, honor and obligation, war and preparation for war that usually bond most Marchar to a military lifestyle. He'd joined the Camberlain Europe Diplomatic And Aid Mission after the terrible Greater European Conflict, leaving behind the soldier's life. He'd earned his rest, had he not? But war called again, this time as a Camburic soldier fighting for the Hansa. Grief-stricken with the end of the war, he'd lived a quiet, artistic life in Brisbane with the founding of that territory. It was only after several years, after the Golden City became a reality, that he found in himself the courage to go back to Europe...and again attempt to bring peace to the World.

But now that Peaceful World had been vanquished, and amidst its ashes a world of conflict had been reborn. The mission had failed, Europe stood to die off even worse this time...across the Hanseatic Commonwealth young men and women wept for the future of Europe.

And yet not all was lost for young Erik, as he looked into the deep blue eyes of the woman sitting next to him. He stroked her hand and brushed his forehead against hers as they sat in the hilly area outside of the Golden City, taking comfort in their shared hopes and dreams...even when those dreams seemed to have been defeated...

"Rialla..."

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Rialla van Drost had seen the cruelties of war first hand, she had been in Turku when Helsinki had been nuked during the Great European War and her family had been one of the firsts to fly away from Finland under the impression that they would never return again. That had changed when the government had released the acquisition of Belorussia from Prussia and thousands upon thousands of Hanseatics filled back into planes bound for Europe to be part of the European dream. In addition when Lady Tintagyl had been given the leadership of the Nords it filled them with pride that their nation was going to be at the center fold of world politics. But her resignation came all too soon and the Hansa seemed to once again retreat into oblivion. Now it was time to leave again, Europe and the rest of the world would not listen to reason, and Lady Sarah, fearing her country's existence had ordered the move of the citizenry back to the safety of Australia.

Rialla had been a writer in the newspaper forming in Valkurheim, she had gone to Brisbane University, which was where she had met Erik and immediately a love developed between them. They had both joined on with the White Cross during the Slavorussian War and they thought that they could bring peace to the world through their very strength, but if they couldn't, and Lady Tintagyl could not, they had their doubts.

On a clear black night, outside the city, the couple looked out across the European plains and she sighed burying her head into Erik's shoulders. "What now? Can we really restart all over again? I don't think I have the energy or the drive anymore. Damn this." She pounded the ground. "Tintagyl's an idiot. She plays into the hands of the world and not the Europeans who are her true friends. This is our homeland and she has taken that away from us again. Erik, this whole thing just breaks my heart." She said looking down at the city. "Our golden city, destroyed by the warmongers."

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Erik gathered her to himself, holding her head to his chest as he stroked her hair. A quiet man himself, Rialla's spitfire personality and deep passion had filled the quiet places in his soul with a beautiful (if sometimes Cacophonous) music. That she would feel such passions turn to anger now was only natural.

"Ri'...."

It was times like this he just couldn't speak. An artist and a writer by profession, he'd poured his passions out through pen, ink, paper, paint...comfortable tools with which to shape the world, as different from guns and steel as night from day. He kissed the top of her head, trying to summon the words.

"Ri'...I don't know. I can't tell you that coming back was a decision that was right for the Hansa...or that leaving now is what is right for our people. I can't tell you if the Lady Protector is fearfully running from danger for her people or if she is preventing our extinction. After all, how close does any one nation lay to its own ruin on any given day? In this age where countries rise and fall with the changing of the tides, how can we not be cautious, perhaps even fearful of what may come?"

He shook his head, trying not to lose the train of thought...there was so much to say...so much they still had to do..."Rialla, what matters is that WE made the right decision. That we stood up and volunteered, and that we've lead others to do so. As long as there are people willing to stand up and do what is right, not with a gun or an army but with food, medicine, teaching and the freedom that comes from education...I can't stop believing that we will get our Golden City....Someday."

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Rialla turned to him and sighed as she leaned back against the hillside and stared up at the stars above them. "But then what do we do? Where do we go? If not in Valkurheim where is this golden city going to be? Brisbane perhaps, but does that feel like a golden city to you Erik?" In all truth, Rialla was tired and she knew deep down in her heart Erik was tired as well. Both the Hansa and the Marchar's destinies had been intertwined since the creation of the Marchar city in Cambric in Finland. Since that day they had traveled peacefully, assisting the Hansa in every way possible. But they were a wondering people, at least in her mind they were. Erik had talked about Marchar history very frequently and Rialla knew just how extensive their travels had been. All over the world to be exact and now it felt like the Hansa was following the same path. They had traveled from Europe once, then to the Pacific where they still held dominion, and now another enclave in Europe. Valkurheim was supposed to be the golden city of peace, but that dream was gone.

"Erik, where are we going to go?" She looked at him with sorrowful eyes. "Where is our destiny at?"

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Rialla turned to him and sighed as she leaned back against the hillside and stared up at the stars above them. "But then what do we do? Where do we go? If not in Valkurheim where is this golden city going to be? Brisbane perhaps, but does that feel like a golden city to you Erik?" In all truth, Rialla was tired and she knew deep down in her heart Erik was tired as well. Both the Hansa and the Marchar's destinies had been intertwined since the creation of the Marchar city in Cambric in Finland. Since that day they had traveled peacefully, assisting the Hansa in every way possible. But they were a wondering people, at least in her mind they were. Erik had talked about Marchar history very frequently and Rialla knew just how extensive their travels had been. All over the world to be exact and now it felt like the Hansa was following the same path. They had traveled from Europe once, then to the Pacific where they still held dominion, and now another enclave in Europe. Valkurheim was supposed to be the golden city of peace, but that dream was gone.

"Erik, where are we going to go?" She looked at him with sorrowful eyes. "Where is our destiny at?"

Not a man of many words, Erik preferred to pull her close and draw comfort from the warmth they shared together, wrapping his large coat around them both against the cold. As they sat for a few moments, Erik put his thoughts together and spoke.

"Rialla...what if the Golden City isn't in Valkurheim? I mean, Valkurheim is a Golden City, but is it the Golden City? It took so much money and effort on behalf of just one coalition of nations and their funds to create it. It would never have been more that a beautiful city in a Europe guarded by well-meaning wolves...but what it couldn't have achieved in its presence it will achieve in its absence. Ri, while the decadence of Europe grows and the Communists await the chance to remove them, there are countries across the world that will never see a sight like Valkurheim. They will never know the beauty of a City Of Peace, never know the comforts of art, science, philosophy, free thinking, Freedom....those ideas are all too often lost in the screaming arguments that passes for the Dialogue of Nations. But we can change that...think about it. What if we could take alittle bit of what Valkurheim is, a small portion of its fire, and take it out to some dark and desolate place? What could a thousand mini-Valkurheim's do that one great one could not? The love of learning is universal; but learning is not. The soul appreciates beautiful art and music yet its consumption isn't readily available. Religious education often comes from non-indigenous sources, while due to the technological disparity between nations, science is not understood to be a universally level playing field with hard and fast rules."

Erik shook with excitement now, thinking about the possibilities as he stared into his beloved's eyes, seeing them brim and shimmer with the thought that just maybe all their efforts had not been worthless.

"Think about it Ri! Perhaps the Hansa itself, perhaps the White Cross...build a small town or village, and use it to distribute to others. Teach the world: In the realms of the poor and unenlightened we aid with knowledge, and in the realm of the powerful and decadent we give ethics, morality, and a better understanding of how to treat with one's fellow man. In every nation a city of peace-lovers, artists, scientists, great thinkers, all dedicated to one thing: Giving the people a better chance at life."

He held her hands in his. "Can you believe in it Ri? Can you see our Golden City rising above the territories of every nation, ready to bring our poor world out of its modern Dark Ages?!"

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Rialla laughed and shook her head. "Always the dreamer Erik, always the dreamer." She patted him on the face. "Though it is an amazing dream." She sighed. "I guess I should take back what I said about what this city means and who we are and how we are led. Lady Sarah wouldn't do something to harm the Hansa so I guess the abandonment of Valkurheim is in all our best interests. Sometimes it just doesn't feel that way, that's all." Tears started to well up in her eyes. "We've all been through so much in the past few years I can barely believe that we're all still alive."

She thought for a moment about what Erik said, a movement of peace lovers around the world, the through itself was quite amazing. Very idealistic and perhaps unpractical, but the age of practicality would end with this war brewing. "We do need to do such things my dear. I was talking to my father before coming out with you and he said that this could very well be worse then the Great European War that we all expected to literally destroy the world. Either Europe will be a crater or the rest of the world will be. I guess I can understand why Lady Sarah made the decision she did. After this war, the world will need people like us, idealists like us." She stood up and stretched her arms. "Though this would be a movement bigger than either me or you, a proposal to the Diet to start this off? But I doubt they would listen." She looked back at Erik with wide eyes. "How could we start such a movement with so supporters to our cause?"

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