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Wine and Daggers


Teriethien
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At night, Residence of Alain Mamère

Bourdeaux, Aquitaine

France

Alain Mamère uncorked a bottle of claret and poured himself a full glass. Tonight he's alone in his mansion while his family enjoyed the summer at the beach house by Côte d'Argent, just a little west of Bordeaux. As much as he would like to spend more time with his wife and children, he could not leave his work behind. Still a young and idealistic deputy when elections were suspended some years ago, Alain had slowly consolidated his political power in regional politics until he became the de facto ruler in these parts of France as président du Conseil régional d'Aquitaine.

Having witnessed the central government collapse and the country divided into two zones of occupation, Alain climbed the political ladder with an unmovable resolve that he should one day reforge France from the ashes. He dedicated himself fully to his work and in the process relentlessly destroyed any opposition, real or imagined. But though he had many faults - impulsiveness and a quick temper, amongst others - Alain was mot an unkind man by nature; allowing his convictions to turn against lesser principles place a heavy burden on his heart each night. With a sigh he turned to head towards the dining table.

A girl was sitting opposite his usual seat.

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"Kellina, you're back early," Not surprised, he sat down himself. He did not bother offering a drink to the unannounced 'guest'. "Heard about Normandy?"

"Yes, I passed by there on the way back."

"A set back, but our armies can crush that upstart 'kingdom'. Their 'king' is but a man with delusions of grandeur."

"Do you wish me to assassinate the traitor?" Kellina asked, the anger she felt on that day fueled her excitement

"Oh no. If I had been stupid enough to throw away valuable assets in unproductive risks, I won't be here today." Alain replied callously, knowing that the girl would never take it personally anyway. Kellina inclined her head slightly, causing his lips to curved up in a thin smile. She may look as emotionless as a robot to the uninitiated eye, but Alain knows his tools well. "But you aren't bak early for the wine, that's for sure. Spit it out.."

"Paris sends word. I'm afraid there is a problem Louis Rouvier."

"What? That man's existence is a problem."

"More problem than usual. He received an invitation by the Prussians to Tanzband Castle." Kellina paused, waiting for Alain to take the news in. "General Lacoste believes that the Central European powers intend to redraw the map of Europe." Anticipating Alain's next question, she added, "the information is reliable. It came from Rouvier's secretary."

"That," Alain said quietly, "might really be a problem."

"General Lacoste concurs. He stressed his unequivocal opposition to a new central government headed by Rouvier, as well as the report submitted by M. Squarcini regarding Rouvier's ambitions for a Stalinist state. He specifically points out the recently discovered link between Rouvier and the disappearances of the entire Action Francaise Orleans leadership..."

"$%&@ that spineless coward, I bloody well know Rouvier is trouble, and I don't need him sending you to nag me about it!" Alain snapped. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself down while Kellina waited. "Go on. And don't make me shoot the messenger," he added crossly.

"That was it."

"Lacoste doesn't have a brilliant plan to insist to me? That's a first." Alain was genuinely surprised, and not unpleasantly so. "He's finally got it into his head that he's job is to tell me what I need to know to make policy, huh."

"Actually, the general supports Minister Cheysson on this issue. He believes that declaring a resumption of French participation in international affairs would marginalise Rouviers."

"There's always a catch," Alain growled under his breath. "And why does that haystack of a brain think that? Rouvier's power base is in Ille-de-France, an independent Aquitaine means nothing to them."

"Rouviers would appear to be negotiating for French borders rather than French independence."

Alain fell silent. That was actually a good point, he thought. If he declared that France is once again a free and sovereign people, then Rouviers would have to take them into account when he tries to design the government in his image. "All right, that sounds reasonable. I'll call the Poiters president and put out an announcement tomorrow."

"The general and the minister will be happy to to hear of your decision."

"Not so fast," Alain smirked, and gulped down the entire glass of wine. "Damn I need some more. Anyway, I'm not placing all my eggs in this flimsy basket. You have people you can work with here in Aquitaine, don't you?"

"A couple. For what?"

Edited by Teriethien
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Later the next day

Bourdeaux, Aquitaine

France

072707_bordeaux_02.jpg

Outside the Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux a crowd was congregating beneath the shade twin spires rising from aged stone walls. Several members of the Gendarmerie Nationale were holding back a human waveof reporters from every media, notable or otherwise. And at the centre of all this commotion, standing right before the ancient Royal Gate with a faint smile, stood Alain Mamère, his face calm but grim with determination As more and more people arrived at the site, he occasionally waved to the crowd who cheered for no reason beyond seeing someone famous. Finally he judged the timing was right, and took a step forward. He held up his hands, and the endless chatter of the crowd dwindled to barely audible whispers.

"My fellow Frenchmen," He took a deep breath and looked longingly into the sky. "First I must share with a you a recent development. For some time now this government have negotiated with the Scottish authorities, and I'm glad to be able to say that King Douglas have no desire of seeing the French people kept in oppressed destitution, and have given us his blessings."

A wave a murmurs rose throughout the crowd as people turned to each other to discuss the significance of this revelation. Alain raised his hands again and asked for a little more silence. Gradually the excited crowd dialled down again. "For decades the French nation have been crushed beneath the boots of invaders. Our enemies struck true at every step; and what war fail to destroy nature finished," Alain's voice grew louder as his tone became more emotional. "We have been humiliated, our customs and traditions violated, our economy ruined and our people dispersed. What was once the brightest star in all of Europe had come crashing down into the mud, and we dare not hope to rise again when all odds were against us.

"But from the direst depths of our history we clung on and clawed our way back. We rebuilt our cities and repopulated our lands, arts and education are flourishing and our economy is thriving. And now is the time to take the final step back into our rightful place. Every department under Scottish control are acting in concert today, and we hope the departments of the eastern protectorate will soon be joining us.

"Today, I solemnly declare that France has resumed her separate and equal place among the nations of the world as a free, independent and sovereign state. Viva la France!"

The audience was stunned; faces to faces were lined with shocked bewilderment. A split second later the crowd burst into thunderous cheers.

OOC: td;dr France reformed from the Proxian protectorate territories; waiting for the conclusion of the European Liberation thread before her borders are fully clarified

Edited by Teriethien
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Looking up from her desk Sarah switched off the television that was detailing the unfolding of French independence, she turned her head to map of Europe and walked over. "So this is how the legacy of Europe will be rewritten. Thunderous applause to a nation and a people that have long since been under the iron grip of the past." She smiled running her fingers across the European plains, through Poland, Prussia, Bavaria, and then to France. Walking back to her desk, she picked up a pen and paper and began to scribble her congratulations to the new nation, the new government, and to a new Europe as a whole.

Excellency,

I would like to extent my congratulations of the recent independence of the French people. For too long, you and your brethren have languished under the iron gauntlet of dictators and despots, therefore, to see the city of Bordeaux and hopefully soon Paris and other cities will fly a banner of a Free and Independent France, as shone during the time of the Bourbons and of Napoleon. Though I do hope that this regime is not nearly as destructive as the regimes of the past. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope to see you as a modern force on the world stage. Peace, prosperity, and progress await.

Bon Chance,

Sarah Tintagyl

Lady Protector of the Hanseatic Commonwealth

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In the privacy of his home Alain drafted his reply to the Hansa message. His mobile phone at the edge of the desk blinked furiously as the rest of his government tried frantically to contact him; he had no patience for them. The day of French independence had been long and arduous and the least he need is a bunch of fools drunk with France's newfound glory trying to weigh in on matters they have little understanding for. The Poiters president agrees and that's that.

To the Lady Protector Sarah Tintagyl,

Thank you for your most kind words. Please be assured that France wholeheartedly desires peace. We have no territorial claims to make in Europe, safe for the remainder of our ancient lands not yet fully free. I look forward to a strong and solid friendship between the Hanseatic Commonwealth and France, borne upon the invaluable links of trade and cultural exchange.

On behalf of the Interim Government of France,

Alain Mamère

Président du Conseil régional d'Aquitaine

Entering the train carriage, Kellina Shimadu hastened her pace to reach the windows seat before the rest of her team could. But she needn't have bothered; her three companions squeezed themselves onto the same bench opposite her. The sight caused Kellina to suppress a smile. Ignoring their uncomfortable and nervous looks, she took out the reading material she picked up just moments ago at the train station and began by mindlessly flipping through the tabloid Sud-Ouest. A line caught her eyes.

Normandie Rejected

Our reporters have learnt that the interim government have rebuffed efforts by the newly established Kingdom of Normandie towards peaceful coexistence. Late last night the Channel Coast territory, which according to Acquitaine president Mamère is "integral French soil from time immemorial", publicly endorsed the declaration of French independence. However the government refuses to acknowledge the self-styled Kingdom, and we quote an interim government minister as saying, "good for nothing Normans will be taken down in a second Hundred Years War* if need be." The minister wishes to remain anonymous.

*Professor Quénet at the University of Bordeaux points out that the Hundred Years War was fought by the Plantagenet dynasty, who in fact originated from Aquitaine, not Normandy.

*CLASSIFIED*

Minister Cheysson read the same article and cursed himself. He bet he could guess who made the leak, and if he got his way he'd have them all 'disappeared'. To display such historical ignorance is embarrassing for a country meant to be cultured. With a sigh, he was just about to resume working on a proper, diplomatic reply to Normandie when Alain called and asked for the same thing. "Predictable," he muttered under his breath while assuring Alain that his letter to the Lady Protector of Hansa had been sent without modifications.

For His Majesty King Vincent of Normandie,

France welcome the offer of embassies from the Kingdom of Normandie, but with regret must decline due to domestic politics. However, we wish to stress that France have no desire of seeing French blood spilled upon French soil fighting their brothers. Though France hopes to see all of the French nation united under one flag eventually, we are steadfast in our resolve that this process shall be peaceful. The Kingdom of Normandie, as well as the present government of Britanny, have nothing to fear from our military.

Jean-Baptiste Cheysson,

Ministère des Affaires étrangères

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Bavaria welcomes the independence of the French.

Though you have expressed your intention to not conquer as Napoleon did, we would like to propose a non-aggression pact and economic treaty, so that both of our nations may prosper.

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Bavaria welcomes the independence of the French.

Though you have expressed your intention to not conquer as Napoleon did, we would like to propose a non-aggression pact and economic treaty, so that both of our nations may prosper.

The French nation will be glad to foster closer ties with Bavaria, and will be honoured to accept Bavarian offers of formal diplomatic ties. If you would be so kind as to name a place and date for negotiations, the interim government will happily oblige by sending a representative upon notice.

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Residence of Henri Bonneau

Orléans, Centre

France

The président de la région Centre woke with a start. It took a second for his eyes to recognise the cold fireplace, and when he does he felt a uncontrollable shiver ringing through his body. Summer here is as scorching as anywhere in France, but the air conditioning and a raging storm outside could fool him. He took another sip at his drink before standing up for a stretch.

It had been a long day. His normal schedules were unceremoniously chucked straight the windows when Alain dropped the bomb in Bordeaux. Concern rushed back into his mind with blood. Centre had a position very close to Paris, the seat of the French government and heartland of Prussian France. Being part of the Scottish protectorate had insulated him against their pressures, and up until now Henri had walked a fine line balancing the Leftist coalition to his west and the Rightist faction to his east. His natural charm made him many friends on both sides in the process.

Such days seemed destined to be gone forever.

*BANG*

Henri jumped, spilling a little of the red wine onto his sleeves. "Open up!" A girl's voice cried out from outside the villa, barely audible. In the distance a thunder cracked, drowning out her feeble voice and her punching at the front door. "Open up, please!"

I better get her out of that storm! Vitalised by concern, the old man brushed aside any hesitations and rushed towards the door. This storm had periodically gotten worse outside and he could not very well refuse a traveller shelter. Disabling the alarms and unhooking the door chain, he yanked it open with a wild pull.

And there she was, a slender and minute figure standing at his doorsteps, frail as if waiting to be sucked away into the storm. Her hair, glimmering like silk was matched by a creamy white blouse; the dark blue trousers looked perfectly ironed even in this weather. Hanging neatly from her neck was a tie, made of fabric that hint of subtle reflections under the dim light. Around her wrapped a heaving from soaking rain; the navy blue garment turning even darker with water.

ShooteratDoorway2.jpg

The girl raised her arm to eye level, gracefully. Henri barely had time to register the object in her hand.

Edited by Teriethien
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The French nation will be glad to foster closer ties with Bavaria, and will be honoured to accept Bavarian offers of formal diplomatic ties. If you would be so kind as to name a place and date for negotiations, the interim government will happily oblige by sending a representative upon notice.

There are various locations within Bavaria where the meeting could be conducted, such as Hohenschwangau in southern Bavaria or the Königsbau in Munich. (Please see here for pictures of them)

But, it would also be possible to meet in France. We would recommend the Königsbau in Munich, within the next days.

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There are various locations within Bavaria where the meeting could be conducted, such as Hohenschwangau in southern Bavaria or the Königsbau in Munich. (Please see here for pictures of them)

But, it would also be possible to meet in France. We would recommend the Königsbau in Munich, within the next days.

In that case, special envoy Lorelei Shimadu will be honoured to meet with Bavarian representatives in Munich. Her flight will depart within a few days.

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