Post by Timeon on Aug 25, 2013 8:46:35 GMT
Sabria, Capital of the Republic.
Taniel Corso sauntered down one of the avenues of Sabria. His family home was here, along with the residences of most of the high ranking families. Of course, the Corso family had a country estate as well, to the south by the rivers and mountains. But Taniel had not been there in many years, his life at sea keeping him far away from such frivolities, especially so far inland.
It was a rare enough thing to be in Sabria.
But he had not come to the capital for a rest. No, he had come to partake in the largest council of war held in recent years. The largest since his promotion to captain of the new Dauntless, at least. His second in command, Levi, would be in the city as well, but he had not been invited. As Taniel drew near to the senate buildings, he passed by the Carter family bakery. Ensign Carter had eventually recovered from his injuries, after the old Dauntless had exploded, but it had caused his parents and siblings great distress. Carter was a Leftenant at the moment. For his efforts defending the old Dauntless at the Aras Isles, he had finally been promoted.
As Taniel passed the Carter bakery, he saw old man Carter chatting to a young vagabond. The vagabond had a Varantium accent, probably one of the countless immigrants who had flooded into the Republic over the decades. There was prejudice against them - as evidenced by the massive crowd gathered outside the senate buildings.
Taniel walked into Republic Square, hardly able to see through the throngs of shouting people, their fists in the air. They were all native Jovinians, and Taniel could see what was probably Senator Dorman Hector, standing on the stairs of the senate. He was preaching hatred against Varantian immigrants, as usual. His famous ancestor, Veronica Hector, would probably be disappointed in him.
The council of war commenced that evening.
Only the heads of military command were seated, facing each other, a gigantic map of the Halim peninsula and isle of Jovinium stretched before them. As Admiral Jack Timbale's second, Taniel stood right behind him, ready to offer his opinion and advice. Samuel avoided looking at Taniel. Since Senusa, there was a common rumour that Taniel had let Mathias Corso die. The rumours had grown wild and exaggerated, and Mathias was seen as a public hero, while Taniel was often derided as a kinslayer. A statue to Mathias had been erected in Senusa and also in some of the port cities of the Republic. There was even one in one of the main gardens of Sabria. No doubt, Samuel was responsible for most of them.
"A military strike at Havsgard would be suicide." Samuel Corso said grimly, hands folded before him. "I've offered this opinion time and time again, but even with our new battleships, straying that far from Republic support is a risk I am not willing to take."
He was opposed in this opinion by most others in the navy, including Jack Timbale, who seemed eager to carve out a reputation for himself to compete with that of Samuel.
"The alternative is bombarding the rest of the Varantian cities into the ground." Jack Timbale said. "Hardly what we should be doing if we want to reclaim Varantium."
The Lord Marshal of the armed forces, Avus Gula, plodded a thick finger onto the western coast of Jovinium on the map.
"Lunium must finally fall. That is what we have to do. Seize it. A Dominion city on the western tip of our homeland, resisting us since the revolution."
Samuel Corso snorted a laugh.
"And what does the navy have to do with that? You know very well if we try to attack Lunium by sea, we are encroaching on Malvernian territory. It would be an act of war."
"Maybe it's about time we showed those spirit-loving traitors what's what, then." the Lord Marshal grunted, leaning back.
"If that ever happens, Lord Marshal, we will be fighting a two-front war we cannot win. The Malvernians use technology, and the southern coast is theirs." Samuel was speaking a measure of reason that Taniel was loathe to admit to.
"They are underpopulated. If they fight us, their empire will crumble." the Lord Marshal refused to relent. "We take Lunium, then press from Senusa into Abissus, and reclaim Varantium step by step."
The armed forces, trying to make itself relevant as something more than the home guard, as usual.
"So this is what it comes to, gentlemen. Lunium, the Varantium coast, or Havsgard." Jack Timbale said, head resting on the palm of his hands. "Does ONI have anything to say about this?"
A figure with his legs crossed, reclining in the shadows, made himself apparent for the first time.
"My agents are at work in Havsgard. But there's very little they can do. My people stand out badly there. Attempts at sabotage have so far failed. ONI will continue to do its duty, but do not count on us to succeed in crippling an entire navy under construction so far from home. Our efforts are a drop in the bucket."
Yes, the Havsgardians were having a naval build up, of more modern ships. The Falorans had not fought galleys at sea since Senusa. The enemy was finally adapting. If there ever came a day when the Dominion accepted gunpowder, the Republic would face a reckoning.
Post by kharakian on Sept 1, 2013 6:52:37 GMT
Taniel listens to his father and Admiral discuss their plan. He glances around the room, watching the others present. Only the high rankers were speaking, following an unspoken rule that the lower ranks were just their to observe.
"If I may offer a suggestion?" Taniel speaks up finally, breaking the discussion between Jack Timbale and Samuel Corso. Everyone in the room stopped and stared at his sheer gall of speaking up uninvited.
"Yes Captain Corso?" Samuel asks, half lidding his eyes as he looks at his son, baiting for a reaction.
Taniel just gave a half smile to his father. "I suggest that second fleet be deployed to... distract the enemy." Taniel leans forward and gestures to the Southern Coastline of the Dominion's lands on the map. "I propose we strike here. Following the coast. We hit every port, every village. We burn them to the ground after we smash them to pieces with cannon fire. It plays to our new ships strength and lets us dictate the battle." He smiles wolfishly before adding. "It will also let us strike a blow to the Dominion. Both to their morale and to their fighting capability."
He pauses for a moment to let that sink before he then gestures to Havsgard on the map "Their new navy is up here, in Havsgard. If they want to deploy it against us, they have to pass through the Shatterbridge gap. Which leaves them vulnerable to both Home Fleet and Second Fleet at the same time. So if they want to stop us, they have to accept battle on OUR terms." He gestures to the symbols on the map for Home Fleet and Second Fleet. "If our combined might can't stop it, the Republic is finished anyway. Its only our control of the Ocean that lets us stave off a full scale invasion."
Admiral Timbale speaks up. "I do believe Captain Corso is right." He admits somewhat grudgingly. "Fighting the enemy where he wants you to is never a good idea."
Fleet Admiral Corso frowns as he studies the map. "I agree." He says after a good minute of silence. "If we can cause enough damage, they may deploy their new navy before it is truly ready. Or even better, split it up to try and stop our attacks. If we can engage and destroy it piecemeal... well, we will see how long they can afford to keep throwing men and ships at us."
Post by Timeon on Sept 4, 2013 18:54:06 GMT
Most of the senators and officials of the Republic were descended of war heroes from the civil war era - that meant that they were from Varantium, by descent. The natives of the isle of Jovinium, on the other hand, were under-represented in government. With their own accent, dialect of Faloran and their own customs, being typically Jovinian was almost seen as being lower-class, dirty, even.
That is why when Taniel Corso heard a very particular Jovinian accent spring up in the council of war, he knew it probably belonged to one man specifically.
He turned his head, as did all others in the room. Taniel Corso was right. He saluted before the Consul of the Republic, Harmon Dermeticus. Everybody rose to their feet, even Samuel Corso.
"Consul." Samuel said stiffly.
"Everybody, at ease." Harmon Dermeticus said, lifting one hand casually and making a friendly gesture. "You do this old man too much honour."
"To what do we owe this honour, Your Grace?" Admiral Timbale asked, hesitating to seat himself, as did all others. Harmon shot him a questioning look, and Timbale sat down, as did everybody else.
"Did you expect me not to attend?" Harmon did not look taken aback - he looked amused. "I am not a career politician, gentlemen."
And he was right, Taniel thought. A career politician would have been descended of a war hero. Harmon Dermeticus was different. He was the first Jovinian Consul. Harmon Dermeticus was different. Born and raised a farmer, he spoke up to voic the grievances of the southern rural provinces, and was carried by a wave of popular support all the way to the top.
"Do you support our plan, Your Grace?" Samuel Corso asked, rubbing his chin. A look of mutual respect passed between him and Harmon, and Harmon sat down opposite of him.
"I do not support it." Harmon said plainly. "Because you are all condemning tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people to a life of want and dread. You will raze the coast of Varantium."
"Yes." Samuel said with a slow nod. "We will do what is necessary to protect the Republic. They are modernizing, Your Grace. Slowly, but they are doing it. Slowly we will come to a point where we can no longer stand alone."
"You are right." Harmon Dermeticus said. "Which is why I will not veto your proposal. As always, it shall be brought before the Senate and put to a vote. And I dare say that it will meet resistance from irredentist senators, who want to take Varantium back. What will there be to take back after your bombardments, but ruins and ashes?"
"Even the irredentist senators will support us." Samuel Corso added sagely. "You know they will, Consul. We will win the vote."
"Yes. I no doubt you will win the vote." Harmon Dermeticus sighed, leaning back in his chair. His head swivelled slowly, looking at all the top officers of the army and the navy. is eyes met Taniel's for a moment, and Taniel's heart sped up. Though it was brief, he was sure that Harmon had measured him for all he was worth.
"You all have my respect, gentlemen. Tomorrow at noon, the Senate will be assembled, and you shall have a chance to present your plan, and it will be voted on before midnight."
The following day, Taniel Corso heard of a riot against a procession of prisoners. More unrest in Sabria. The world was growing tenser by the day.
By midnight, the military had won the vote in the senate, having won the support of every faction except the monarchists.
The time had come for Taniel Corso to command the new Dauntless, and take the war to the coast of the Dominion.
Post by kharakian on Sept 12, 2013 2:54:07 GMT
Bolthole, Classified Republic Naval Base
Captain Taniel Corso walked onto the deck of the Republic Battleship Dauntless with an unhurried stride. "CAPTAIN ON DECK!" The duty officer yelled and everyone on deck snapped to attention and saluted.
Taniel snapped his own salute back to the men. "As you were." He said with a wave of his hand as he headed towards the hatch down to the lower deck.
He paused as Commander Levi came up to him. "Sir, I just heard the news. We can sail with the morning tide. The ship and her crew are ready."
Taniel nodded. "Good, because the Republic needs her." He glances at Levi. "Come with me to my cabin commander, there are issues I need to discuss with you." He gestures for Levi to follow as he heads below decks.
Taniel wearily sat down behind the small desk they had managed to squeeze into his cabin. The small cabin was comfortable and well furnished, if one ignored the 18 pound cannon secured in the corner of the room.
"They went for my idea, so we won't be throwing this fleet against the Havsgard navy. Now, we need to figure out how we don't turn this into a bloody massacre. I have no desire to kill civilians by the thousands. They are stuck in the middle of this conflict." Taniel brooded and leaned forward to look at his map. "In the first couple of attacks, we can take our time and warn them to grab their belongings and leave. Later? We won't have that luxury, we need to strike fast, burn and leave."
Taniel tapped the map. "Once we approach Senusa... well, they will be fortifying to stop us. If we have to bombard the city to the ground... well, there will be a lot of death." He paused and glanced at Levi. "Any brilliant ideas Commander? I can assure you that the Admiral will not... question my motives in this."
Post by Timeon on Sept 27, 2013 15:05:01 GMT
The city of Metium was the chief Dominion stronghold in this part of Varantium. It was home to a vast number of people, which was an honest surprise to the Republic. It was a surprise because Metium was close to Shatterbridge, and therefore, also close to the Republic. It had been under a naval blockade since the revolution, and so, Metium was not a port city. But it flourished nonetheless, using its harbour and surrounding waters for fishing and smuggling, rather than trade operations.
In a way, for the people of Metium, it was sometimes as if there was no war at all.
That was all about to change.
The walls of Metium were in sight from Taniel Corso's vantage point aboard the Dauntless. Though the visibility was poor, Taniel could make out the towers and steeples defending the city from an attack from land, though his eyes were focused on the harbour. They would have ballistas there, and other siege weapons. Oh yes, there would be pacters aplenty, too, and maybe some caravels and old galleys. All of that was merely firewood, compared to a Faloran battleship.
That was why he was here.
When existence is threatened, self-defence is justifiable by any means.
"By any means at all." Taniel Corso said, turning towards his officers. It was time.
Post by kharakian on Oct 9, 2013 3:07:06 GMT
Taniel collapsed his spy glass and handed it to the midshipman who trailed in his wake. He walked up to the helm where Admiral Timbale stood watching the approaching harbor.
“From what I can see Admiral, the harbor is well defended against traditional attack. While they have a lot of siege equipment, I am fairly certain none of it will range our ships if we anchor out in the bay.” Taniel said with a relaxed posture. “We can start our bombardment of the town within the hour.”
Admiral Timbale nodded. “Yes, than that is what we will do. Signal the other ships to follow us in with 200 yard spacing.” He said turning to continue watching the harbor.
Taniel nodded. “XO, make course ahead half sail until we reach the middle of the bay.” He said to Commander Levi. “Signal the rest of the fleet to follow us with 200 yard spacing.”
The crew snapped to action as Levi bellowed orders. The Dauntless surged as her sails caught the wind and she headed into the bay. A string of pennants surging up her forward mast signalling the other ships to follow.
The six Battleships of the Republic 2nd Fleet anchored in the bay of Metium. Lines attached to the anchor cables allowing each ship to pivot in place if needed.
Taniel looked through the spyglass at the doomed town. “Oh well, it was certainly started pretty.” He said quietly before he collapsed it down again. “Gunnery crews, fire at will.” He said to Levi.
“Fire!” Levi shouted down the ship.
Dauntless rocked to the side as all 35 of her starboard cannons discharged nearly at once. There were loud squeals as the gun cart's wheels skidded across the deck behind the force of the heavy 18 pound cannons.The gunsmoke billowed up over the sides and blocked their view. Similar roars came from behind them as her five sister ships also started firing.
Taniel coughed slightly wand waved his hand to clear the smoke out of his face. He looked out at the town and the chaos the first barrage had caused. “Poor bastards can’t even shoot back.” He mused to himself.
Post by Timeon on Nov 11, 2013 2:52:30 GMT
Off the coast of Cottaco, Varantium.
For the past few months, the Dauntless had harassed the coast of Varantium under Taniel Corso's command. It had started with Metium, and from there, the battleships of the Republic had continued to decimate everything between it and Senusa. In March, the Republic was warned that the navy of Havsgard had finally been launched, and was sailing around Nalbin, towards the Republic.
That had only forced the Republic to respond with more bombardments, and more violence.
Cottaco was burning.
In his dreams, Taniel saw them, the warships of Havsgard, inscribed with runes, possessed and shielded by hosts of spirits. When he awoke, he would realise that the worst thing was not knowing - what made the Dominion think their new fleet could stand against them?
Then on the second week of April, once Cottaco had been ground into dust, the news arrived, in official capacity. One of the Magisters delivered it to Taniel Corso in person aboard the Dauntless.
"The Arbiter is dead, sir."
Taniel Corso did not flinch. Hands clasped behind his back, he stared the Magister down.
"The Arbiter, sir." the Magister said, sudden mad hope in his eyes. "He is dead."
Could it be? The chief Archon of the Dominion, the one creature that kept the disparate nations of the Dominion together as one entity - without him, there would be no Common Law, and without Common Law... the Archons would vie for power...
"When did this occur?"
"A week ago, sir. But word has spread fast. With the Arbiter's death, all the Wardens of the Dominion have died with him. Fighting has broken out on the border between Bhakhtar and Otticia, and there are riots throughout the Dominion. Admiral Corso has called for a council of war in Senusa."
"I will be there."
Several days later, the Dauntless and Taniel's battleships pulled into the harbour of Senusa. He had not seen his father in many months, not since the war council in Sabria. Much had changed since then, the dire prospects of the Republic having turned into glorious victory overnight.
Senusa itself had changed much since the grand battle there five years ago. Dominion attacks had waned over the past years, allowing a civilian presence to return to the city. Of course, the civilians had all been brought from Jovinium, mostly merchants and their families supplying the military presence there.
In the council chambers of the town hall, Taniel found his father Samuel waiting for him, alongside Admiral Timbale. Massive smiles adorned their faces, and several lesser officers were seated beside them, a map of the continents sprawled on the table before them.
"My son." Samuel said in a rare display of affection.
Taniel averted his eyes awkwardly for a moment, but stepped inside.
"I trust you had a seamless journey." Samuel stated, beckoning for Taniel to sit.
"The world has changed." Timbale said, looking over the map. "The Dominion is destined to splinter without the Arbiter."
That afternoon they spoke of strategies and the implications of the Arbiter's death. Panic was spreading throughout Varantium, promising that the Lord Marshal of the armed forces, Avus Gula, would have his chance to lead the Republic's land forces to reclaim the homeland at long last. The Dominion was no longer a stable and cohesive force, that much was sure. They could dethrone the Radiant Lord...
"We've also received word from ONI that Nalbin may declare its independence of the Dominion." Samuel Corso said, running his finger along the northeastern edge of the Halim peninsula on the map. "We've dispatched diplomats already, to try and negotiate an alliance."
"The Havsgardian navy remains." Taniel pointed out.
"Yes, it does." Timbale's eyes shone. "The question is, how and when we deal with it."
Post by kharakian on Dec 16, 2013 7:41:06 GMT
Taniel leaned on the railing of the balcony they were speaking on. "We fight them when we want to. Where we are strong and they are weak. Blue waters. No shore to stop us from manoeuvring, no reefs to run aground on." He says after a moment. "And we don't fight fair. We don't give them the standup fight they are going to try for."
He straightens and walks over to the table. "2nd fleet has our fastest and most heavily armed ships. All new build with coppered bottoms." Taniel gestures to the tokens representing the Havsgard fleet. "They have new ships... but not really. Rune ships powered with magic, but still the older designs that don't take advantage of the techniques we have developed."
Taniel glances at his father. "We have time, we draw the battles out. Skirmish them. Bloody them. Make them angry with us. With any luck, they won't have the supplies or support to remain patient. We then draw them East, out past Nalbin into the Ocean."
Taniel glances at his father. "This will take some time to accomplish, as I have said. But it gives us the best chance to destroy them without the drag out fight they will want that lets their superior numbers trump our firepower advantage."
Post by Timeon on Dec 30, 2013 14:25:43 GMT
Sea of Thalanor.
From Senusa, the Second Fleet set sail eastwards, towards the Shatterbridge gap. At long last, Havsgard had unleashed its long anticipated navy. Taniel would meet them where the Republic had its greatest advantage - on the open sea. The Dominion, meanwhile, would crumble, for the Arbiter had died.
The fortunes of the Republic had shifted as quickly and easily as the wind. But who had killed the Arbiter? Rumours had already spread of a great weapon, capable of destroying magic itself. If such rumours were true, obtaining that weapon would give the Republic its ultimate advantage over the Dominion. Spirits could be extinguished, once and for all.
Unless the binders interfered. The College of Binders relied on magic. They hated spirits, perhaps more than any regular Faloran did, but they did not hate magic.
Aboard the Dauntless, Taniel passed the long days working, reading and writing. Every moment of stillness was painful. He could not afford to rest. All the while, questions about the Republic's future weighed down on him.
"Didn't sleep last night, sir?" Levi asked him one morning over breakfast. Taniel passed him a dead stare.
"I slept enough."
Unspoken words hung between them.
"What will you do when the war is won?"
"The war?" Taniel had to admit the thought of the war ending had never occurred to him. "The war will never be won. Not for us. And even if the Dominion was ground to ashes, there will always be jealous hands scrambling for what we have built for ourselves. The Malvernians, the Tenkou... no, Levi. You're with ONI. You know this even better than I."
"If you don't have plans for something better than killing, you go mad, sir." Levi warned him with a meaningful stare. "Don't end up like your brother."
That stung more than it should have. Mathias Corso, he had been a good man. But then in Senusa...
"I'm not my brother."
As the fleet passed by the Plutars, news reached the Second Fleet that the Havsgardian navy had stopped sailing south.
Taniel Corso heard the report from his chief binder, Magister Sarra, a middle-aged woman whose hands were never idle.
"Word has it that the Dominion has grown certain that Nalbin intends to declare independence. They fear an alliance between Nalbin and the Republic."
"They wouldn't be wrong to fear such a thing." Taniel said with a nod. "What's this mean for the Havsgard navy?"
"They have set up a blockade of Nalbin." Magister Sarra said, gesturing wildly. "Their ships stretch along every port until Wynbrook, where most of their ships have anchored."
"If it's Nalbin they fear, then perhaps it's Nalbin we should bring into our fold." Levi commented on the sidelines. "Every emissary we've sent to the King's court in Nalbin has returned favourable news. Perhaps all the King needs is a little push. Something to make the crowds of Nalbin shout the Republic's name."
"Something." Taniel mused.
Post by kharakian on Jan 20, 2014 2:33:37 GMT
Taniel stood on the deck of the Dauntless as they floated a solid 5 miles off the coast of Nalbin. The city of Keadon was visible from their position, though barely.
"Well... they should have gotten the message by now." Taniel says to Levi.
"I still think this a bad idea. Given half the chance, they will try to kill you." Levi replies.
Taniel nods. "Oh, I am well aware. But I feel that this has to be given a shot." He says more to himself than Levi.
Taniel carefully hopped from the edge of the longboat onto the ladder on the side of the Dominion ship, slowly climbing up it. His heart was hammering in his chest as he crested the top of the railing and climbed onto the deck. If they were going to kill him, would they wait or just do it immediately?
A moment after finding his feet on the slowly shifting deck. "Welcome aboard Captain Corso." One of the officers said. "I must unfortunately insist that we search you for weapons."
Taniel nodded and held his arms up, letting the man search him. He had to admit, the man was very thorough. Taniel hadn't risked bringing a weapon, but he doubted he would have been able to slip one by if he tried.
"Alright, you may see the Admiral now." The man said stepping away from Taniel.
Taniel squared his shoulders and walked into the most dangerous meeting of his life.
Post by Timeon on Feb 11, 2014 18:30:36 GMT
Taniel Corso did not expect that he would come face to face with an old foe. His attention was locked on the black-bearded brute he had fought years ago, standing before him. Somehow, Navarch Shakpash had survived the bullet Taniel had lent him, and the sinking of his ship had clearly been nothing more than a setback. What this man of the Mesegian sea was doing with these fair-skinned Havsgardian thugs was something he could not fathom.
"Didn't expect to see you again, I have to admit." Taniel found himself saying.
Shakpash gave him a yellow smile, and clapped him on the shoulder.
"That goes both ways. Seems you've gotten a promotion."
"So have you."
Shakpash barked a laugh.
"I'm not the Admiral of this fleet. I'm merely an advisor."
Taniel Corso took note of that. It made sense. If the Havsgardian fleet was going to sail into warm waters it was unfamiliar with, then men of the Mesegian like Shakpash would be able to lend their expertise. Recovering from the surprise, Taniel took a step back and noticed the others present in the room. There were a few Havsgardians, decked in scale mail, helmets under their shoulders, axes at their sides. The oldest amongst them bent his back in a stiff bow.
"I am the Admiral you seek."
His words were like music, the accent of Havsgard unmistakable.
"A pleasure." Taniel feigned. "I am Taniel Corso of the Republic."
"The Dirge of Cottaco. The devil who burned the south coast of the Dominion." the Admiral said, going through no pains to hide his displeasure. "There are those who think you are an evil spirit, for no man could be capable of the things you have done to sunder families."
"It is no different to what's been done to my own people." Taniel snapped back.
The Havsgardians all broke into laughter, heads held back.
"No different?" the Admiral asked. "Boy, when has the Dominion done to you what you have done to us? We have barely reached your shores since your rebellion. It is you who raids and burns and pillages our lands. Worse still, you kill your cousins, for Varantium is Faloran too, is it not?"
The tension was palpable.
"Your name, sir. I don't believe I caught it."
"Whoresbane, to you, boy." the Admiral spat at Taniel's feet. "What have you called this summit for?"
Post by kharakian on Feb 18, 2014 5:49:54 GMT
Taniel takes a moment to collect himself. “The reason I called this summit is because it is in neither of our best interests to smash our fleets into each other until a winner is declared.” He says evenly. “So I wanted to see if we could find a diplomatic solution that is acceptable to all parties”
The Havsgard Admiral snorts. “What deal can be made?” He says coldly. “You’re going to demand we remove the blockade aren’t you?”
Taniel nods. “That is what I am hoping to get out of this. The question is, what do you want from the Republic?” He asks.
“We want nothing from you boy. Take your fleet and go home. We are here to keep this blockade going.” The Admiral says firmly. “Orders are orders.”
Taniel shakes his head. “Do you think the people who gave those orders even matter anymore? Did the people who gave you those orders even have the power to support you anymore?” He asks giving the Admiral a serious look. “Does Havsgard even want to be part of rapidly imploding Dominion anymore?” He pauses before adding. “Loyalty to an ideal that no longer exists doesn’t seem worthwhile.”
The attitude in the room immediately turns a bit more hostile, hands tighten on weapons and scowls deepen as glares are aimed at Taniel. “It does still exist! Don’t talk about things you know nothing about.” The Havsgard Admiral snarled at Taniel. “Or can you explain what the Dominion ideal was?”
Taniel raises an eyebrow. “An ideal way of life, ordered and maintained by the rule of a Spirit that keeps order. A utopia of peace and prosperity.” He says calmly.
Shakpash speaks up at this point. “And the rule of Law, to keep things equal between man and spirit.” He says, speaking somewhat reverently of the idea.
Taniel changes to a slightly more relaxed tone as he says. "A dream that no longer exists at all. The Arbiter was the only thing holding it together. Now it will tear itself apart from the inside as man and spirits fight for power and land in the new world."
The Havsgard Admiral laughs in Taniel’s face before saying “The North Wind has already started raising its own order of Wardens, to replace the Arbiter's.”
And he adds. ”I see through what you are trying to do, and that the words of a Republic seem to be poison, as we were warned.”
"I don't represent the Republic. I represent its military. The situation is what it is. I am just trying to give you my viewpoint on things. You are raising your own Wardens? Who else is doing the same? Who has the right of law on their side?" Taniel replies, his tone still relaxed but serious.
Shakpash snarls something about young upstarts before the Havsgard man replies. “I don’t know and I don’t really care. Nalbin is not leaving the Dominion. She is Havsgard closest neighbor and if she joins the Republic, Havsgard itself is threatened.” He answers, his tone firm.
"And how will you protect Havsgard if my fleet throws down with yours and destroys it? Forget about who wins and loses. We are not the only naval powers in the world. Only the biggest. If we do our best to kill each other, we are going to just leave ourselves vulnerable to other parties." Taniel says to everyone present, making eye contact with them one by one.
He shrugs and leans against the wall, seemingly nonchalant. "So, we are at an impasse on our core principles it seems."
The Admiral nods. “It would seem so.” While Shakpash seems happy with this turn of events. “Go ahead and break yourself against our blockade. Maybe we will use your own tactics against you and bleed you in every attack.” He says, his voice calm but his eyes were threatening as he spoke. “So either sail home and deal with Varantium or die a bloated corpse on the high seas.”
"Or I can just starve you out." Taniel suggests calmly, unruffled by the aggression. "Why do I need to attack? Hostiles on the shore, hostiles at sea."
There is a low growl of anger, mutters about fighting without honor from the lower ranked men present. The Admiral holds his hand up for silence. “Are you done with your threats?” He asks, glaring at Taniel.
"I am not threatening you." Taniel says. "That is not the point of this." He sighs. "Look, contrary to popular belief I am not some monster who enjoys killing for the sake of killing. But war turns people into monsters through the evil of necessity."
A derisive snort answers him. “Then go home and convince your leaders to make peace. I am here to protect the Dominion.”
"You want peace, can Havsgard offer peace on behalf of the entire Dominion? We couldn't negotiate before because we weren't willing to surrender. Who do we negotiate with now that will actually be able to enforce any terms we agree to?" Taniel asks.
The Admiral speaks proudly “The North Wind raises the new order of Wardens, and it has the most influence in the north - with Nalbin under control, almost all of the remaining Dominion can be negotiated with.” He pauses before adding. “Although we don't know what the Radiant Lord will say, but he's powerless anyway.” There is a low murmur of agreement at that.
"So you can negotiate only on behalf of Havsgard and Nalbin?" Taniel asks. "What about the rest of the Dominion?"
“They will either fall in line or the Dominion will die anyway. The old bonds barely hold it together.” The Admiral says frankly. Earning him a glare from Shakpash. “However, if you fight us, we will likely destroy each other and the Dominion will stay together out of fear of a common foe.”
Taniel nods slowly as he agrees with that point. "Then how about this, we agree not to fight and instead a temporary truce until true negotiations can occur. I leave your blockade alone and in return, you send a diplomatic envoy to the Republic?"
Shakpash snarls something about not giving the scum anything before the Admiral holds his hand up and cuts him off. “I can’t speak for the North Wind and what they will agree to. But I can agree to a truce until we send a message back and get a reply.” He says calmly. The others in the cabin look slightly torn, half wanting battle and the others looking hopeful at the chance of not having to fight the Republic.
Taniel smiles and nods then. “I have the power to agree to a truce.” He says offering his hand, expecting to shake on the deal. There is a brief pause before the Admiral grabs his hand and shakes it in return. “I will return to my fleet and spread the word of the truce. I expect you to do the same. I will then sail away tomorrow. I will leave a pair of schooners behind to relay messages. Simply approach one, a single ship only, under the flag of truce if you have something you need delivered either to me, the fleet or the Republic government.”
And with that, the meeting breaks up and Taniel heads back to the Dauntless. Alive after treading in the snake’s den.