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GATE: and so the Iron Pact Fought

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
While I've been working on what @Kiyone4ever had suggested, I've found this neat little fantasy city generator and it has given me some interesting ideas for cities that the Empire holds:



One of these might come up in the snippet as an Imperial city that surrenders outright to the Iron Pact or the JSDF/US Coalition. ;)
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well everyone, this is what @Kiyone4ever's suggestion ended up creating. Yes, it's a little short but this is what I have right now as something 'solid'...
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Castle of Friendship – Ponyville, Equestria; Brumaire (October) 2nd, 1005 Post-Nightmare Moon


Celestia Li Sunriser -Daughter of the Great Mother Faust; Goddess of the Sun, Law and Order, and Education; The Dealmaker; The Great Mentor; The Sun Incarnate; Sol Invictus; the Co-Conqueror of Discord; one of the two last students of Starswirl the Bearded; Co-Ruler of Equestria- simply sat at the head of the meeting table that the Castle of Friendship had created alongside her sister Luna -Second Daughter of the Great Mother Faust; Goddess of the Moon, Knowledge, Magic, and the Arts; The Starfallen; Army Destroyer; one of the two last students of Starswirl the Bearded; Co-Ruler of Equestria- in this important meeting. The Equis Pact hadn’t had a meeting like this in centuries, not since the rump-state that was the Caribou Empire had a revolution that transformed it into the Caribou Republic… but the situation in the Holy Empire of Alnus was something that had to be talked about and the aftereffects planned for. The meeting had already gone on for four hours, and most of it was getting what their nations’ respective intelligence networks have gained onto the table.

“So,” the Hissho delegate sighed, “the Sadalrians have finally had a serious lapse in judgement and thought that upsetting two great alliances without knowing what they are up against was a good idea. It is like their failures in the invasion of Equis didn’t sink in.” The Hissho delegate -one Tsutsui Cualli, heir to the Tsutsui clan and the Shogunate of Hissh- is probably one of the more direct delegates of the Pact… but the Hissho have always been direct when an enemy is involved.

“That’s what our spies that are attached to our traders have been telling us,” the representative of the Kingdom of Abyssinia disclosed, “the Holy Empire of Alnus has been losing on all fronts since the initial invasion into the two Gates. The two groups of ‘men in green’ have been not only annihilating any of the Sadalrian armies they’ve encountered but also been dedicating themselves with immense infrastructure projects and capturing key towns and cities. From what little information my network can give me, Aquincum is going to be overrun within months if this keeps up…” Capper Callista is the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Abyssinia… and the head of the kingdom’s intelligence services. This, understandably, had everyone in the room a bit unsettled by the prince, but it was in times like these that his network was undeniably useful. “… and that doesn’t include what the ‘Men in Green’ from Alnus Hill are doing. While they’ve been more conservative in their movements, what little data I can get indicates that they’ll be at the gates of Potentia in a similar timeframe.” Everyone in the room was shocked at the speed, and for good reason…

“They’re fast,” the Minitour Federation delegate -one Lazaros Kairis, representative of the Minitour state of Mooria- commented, “… too fast. Even our forces wouldn’t be able to go through the legions that quickly, not without burning through our armies and supplies at an unsustainable rate…” Everyone nodded in agreement with Lazaros’s comment, as the ‘men in green’ on the Holy Hills of Alnus have been pushing out from their beachheads at such a speed that simply boggled the mind, specifically how they managed to keep up with such a tempo without burning through men and material like fuel oil. Aquincum is one of the three vital port cities -being a major water transportation hub- within the Empire, taking one would greatly hinder the Empire’s ability to shift forces and resources. “Still, given what Princess Luna has given us from her… unique… information network, they’re ire is with the Empire, not us.”

“Still, we can’t simply assume that Lazaros,” the Griffon delegate -Elector-Count Griff graf Suntalon of the Kingdom of Griffonstone- argued, “They might come after us next. It took the Elector Council over a century to become part of this pact and it took even longer for the various duchies and kingdoms to unite against the Holy Storm Empire.” The history of the griffons was, to say, a bit complicated. Nestled in mountains and valleys on the border of the Holy Storm Empire -ruled by the Storm King- to the north-east, the former Cariboo Empire in the west, Equestria in the south, the Dragon Kingdoms to the east, and the mysterious Nagarus Sultanate to the north-west, the Griffon kingdoms and duchies were in the center of much conflict over the centuries. This created a deep sense of paranoia and militarism, something that even the unifier of the Griffon kingdoms -one King Glaucus of the Flock of Griffonstone- couldn’t degrade after the Griffon kingdoms’ fifth war with the Holy Storm Empire. “We know nothing about them; thus, we can’t trust them.”

Lazaros simply rolled his eyes at Griff’s extreme paranoia… but understood where he was coming from, as the Minitour Federation was south of the Cariboo Empire. It was thanks to the numerous alliances specifically designed to keep the Cariboo Empire out that morphed into the foundation of the Federation, but the individualistic streak of the various states was hard to overcome. “What other choice do we have Griff?” Lazaros asked, “I mean all of us weren’t happy with King Thorax taking over the Changeling Hive after he deposed Queen Chrysalis, hell we were all like you when the word came out!” Griff simply nodded as he remembered the heightened tensions between the Equis Pact and the Changelings. “Yet they’re now allies with all of us because we did one thing, gave them a chance.” King Thorax’s representative -his brother Pharynx- simply nodded in acceptance.

“… and that chance is why the Changelings have been prospering at all,” Pharynx commented, “yet we are in a situation where we can fall into the same problem as when my brother usurped Chrysalis. If we don’t give these ‘Men in Green’ a chance now, we probably never will, the Holy Empire of Alnus sought to that.” Everyone nodded in agreement -even begrudgingly- with Pharynx’s line of thought. The Holy Empire of Alnus had ‘poisoned the well’ when it came to other human civilizations on this world. Even the Sultanate of Agrabah -despite it’s rather progressive (when compared to the Holy Empire of Alnus) attitudes with the various beings that inhabit this world- wasn’t completely trusted by the various nations of the Equis Pact, all thanks to the Holy Empire of Alnus.

Tsutsui Cualli simply sighed at this argument, as it went in circles. The Hissho have always equated trust to blood, and many of the most stringent contracts were signed in it and breaking them would have dire consequences… even more dire than breaking a ‘Pinkie Promise’. It is this mentality about trust that has always caused problems with the other nations. If these ‘Men in Green’ are willing to shed blood to gain the trust of others, then they are worthy of being trusted in the eyes of the Hissho and their pantheon. That doesn’t mean that the Tsutsui clan is going to gamble on that particular aspect of Hissho culture, as for months the Tsutsui clan has been praying to the gods for insight on this matter, and so far they have been given the equivalent of a message stating that they’re in the middle of a council meeting.

“Enough!” Luna said in the in/famous Royal Canterlot Voice before going back to her regular voice, “This argument is simply going around in circles. So far those from the lands that the ‘Men in Green’ are from have made sure that they didn’t abuse our generosity and yet here we are arguing their trustworthiness!” Griff made a slight humph as he rolled his eyes while Princess Luna went on her rant. “There is such a thing as too much paranoia… and right now most of us are displaying it in full.” Cualli mentally smiled, as Luna made the point that he was going to make.

Griff simply sighed, rubbing his talons on his temple. “If there is anything that I agree with the Starfallen, it is the fact that so far these ‘people’ haven’t abused Equestrian generosity in the slightest… but it still doesn’t mean that I trust them,” Griff answered, “This meeting has been going on for too long, I motion that we have a recess before continuing on. We’re tired and hungry, and all this information has been flaying our nerves…” Griff wasn’t wrong about that. The information that everyone has put onto the table -both literally and metaphorically- has been gnawing at the nerves of everyone in the room.

“I second that motion,” Cualli stated, “It would also allow me to console with my pantheon, to see what they have for us.”

“I third the motion,” Pharynx said, “All this anxiety and fear has started to make me sick; we should have a lengthy recess to clear our minds and emotions before we can move on, they’re pretty high as it is.” Everyone else agreed as they couldn’t really argue against those observations. Celestia quickly called for a two-hour recess to clear minds, get dinner, and try to destress before the next round of talks…
 

Kiyone4ever

Member
Author
I foresee the newest members of the Pact sending in an infiltration team to try and get more direct intelligence on the off-worlders. Also, a mission to Rondel to see what the human magical community makes of all this if anything. Finally, is Sunset Shimmer on either of the involved Earths or a THIRD Earth. (Insert Thundercats joke here.) If on one of those involved, what is the word from that side.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I foresee the newest members of the Pact sending in an infiltration team to try and get more direct intelligence on the off-worlders.
Given that it'll take months to get spies into the Empire due to the virtue of not having steam ships or even things like Clippers... that isn't going to happen anytime soon. However, despite the Equis Pact's best efforts, a certain queen is already there, trying to find a way to get help for something more personal than her hive... telling more would spoil. ;)
Also, a mission to Rondel to see what the human magical community makes of all this if anything.
I was thinking the next snippet would pertain to the Council of Colleges sending a certain sister and others trained by Cato (among others) to investigate the Holy Hills...
Finally, is Sunset Shimmer on either of the involved Earths or a THIRD Earth. (Insert Thundercats joke here.) If on one of those involved, what is the word from that side.
Sunset found a third Earth when going through the mirror. If it was to Iron Pact!Earth, the various paranormal groups would have noticed and sent teams on a mission to search and contain. GATE Earth would have noticed too, only due to the conspiracy theorists and the fact that Sunset wouldn't even exist in the records. Then again, there is that 'normalcy' field that the portal generates...
 
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Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Alright, with that out of the way, can I get some constructive criticism or questions because I'm willing to answer questions and take (constructive) criticism. Right now I'm working on kickstarting a certain older step-sister's portion of the plot with her joining with a bunch of mages trained by Cato and some adventurers, which would lead to the meeting between these teams of adventurers and mages and the Iron Pact-US/Japanese coalition with said older step-sister meeting our warrior bunny friends.

Another bit I'm working on pertains to (former) Queen Chrysalis herself being discovered in a mysterious temple north of the Holy Hills of Alnus by Alpenkorps soldiers, leading to the deployment of Wolfenstein's paranormal division into the campaign area. The reasons why she is there and some of the reasons why she chose the path she did will twine into the Old One plot and give us something of a taste of how far the Sadarian gods are willing to go as a whole to obtain power.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, here is a prototype for the first part of the Adventures of Arpeggio, personally not enough politicking but it does read decently... but still I need constructive criticism! [funny]I need it! I THRIVE on it! [/funny]
Council of Colleges Inner Sanctum, Rondel; September 3rd, 6729

For all but the most accomplished of mages and spirit wielders, to be even standing in the inner sanctum of the Council of Colleges is the highest honor that one can have in their lifetime. Yet, for the small group of mages and spirit wielders, it didn’t feel like an honor. There have been a handful of times that the Council of Colleges had called in mages and spirit wielders during a time of war, and all of them were special missions. What the assembled didn’t know was that Grand Magus Tiberius Nasennius Calpurnianus knew that the war between the two groups of ‘Men in Green’ and the Empire was going incredibly poorly for the Empire, as their military might was so awe-inspiring that they simply erased entire cohorts from existence.

Arpeggio El Lalena noted the people that came into the sanctum with her. All of them are either students of her old teacher Cato or the best of the best adventurers that gold can buy… and if the Council of Colleges is willing to pay extortionate amounts of gold to pay for all the adventurers, then it must be important. The council quickly stated that they should be seated while the attendants came with the small feast, for this meeting is going to be a long one.

That, in of itself, was somewhat unusual because time is a commodity that most that practitioners of magic didn’t have in abundance. It also meant that this is a serious matter, one that took precedence over the various experiments in understanding the universe and energy that is mana…

“I, along the others of the Council of Colleges, thank you for coming to your summons so quickly,” Tiberius began, “we of the Council know that all of you have lives and research that require your uttermost attention, but the current situation that the Empire finds itself in takes far greater precedence than your research and your lives.” Murmurs about what Tiberius was talking about were quietly sounding around the guest table as Tiberius continued. “The Holy Hills have been taken by two groups only known as the ‘Men in Green’, and the ‘Men in Green’ have been annihilating whatever Imperial and local legions that have stood in their way. So far they have been slowly encroaching Imperial lands in every conceivable direction… including the direction of Rondel.” That got everyone talking. If the Empire was slowly getting overwhelmed by these new enemies, then they might consider the semi-independent city-state of Rondel to be part of the Empire and give its citizens the same treatment.

“That is troubling,” the dwarf adventurer -and leader of the Highlanders of Norduhn Guild- Gimbli Brúlinger said with a frown adorning his slightly-bearded face, “given the state of the Empire and that Rondel is only one of many semi-independent states within the Empire alongside the apparent through ruthlessness that these new enemies have shown in annihilating whatever forces are set against them, we practically have no chance at surviving a military encounter against these ‘Men in Green’.” The Council simply nodded their head as Gimbli analyzed what has and hadn’t been said about the situation. “With that in mind, something has been frankly scaring the Avernus out of you…” Gimbli is one of the ur examples of a dwarven adventurer that has the smarts and guile to live into his seventh century of life, and it was his analytical and deduction skills that made the Highlanders of Norduhn Guild into one of the most powerful adventurer guilds on the continent. Gimbli had an impeccable track record of setting up the right team with the right set of skills to where they were needed… although Arpeggio had only known Gimbli’s ability through his reputation but to see it in action was something else.

“There is something that has been, as you put, ‘scaring the Avernus’ out of this council,” Tiberius answered solemnly, “and that is the fact that three soul stones went black the day after the armies of the tributary and ‘allied’ states were defeated in Alnus Province.” Everyone’s eyes nearly popped out of their skulls with that information. Mages of great power have always undertaken a ritual to bind themselves to a mana-resonating crystal known as a ‘Soul Stone’. These stones are vital for ensuring that the strong mages wouldn’t go down the path of Plagueis the Mad or his myriad of copycats that appeared over the centuries. The stone in its normal state would have a blood red color but for a stone to become black meant that the mage connected to it was annihilated. “If the invaders can take out three of the most powerful mages of the continent despite their support…”

“Then we don’t have a chance in Avernus,” Arpeggio completed, “Even I know where this is going: you want all of us to go to these ‘Men in Green’ persuade them that Rondel isn’t an enemy and try to get as much information about them as possible.” Tiberius chuckled a little at Arpeggio’s conclusion, commenting that she was definitely a student of Cato. “Given that you’ve hired adventurers from two of the best guilds on the continent, you have assumed that it this isn’t going to be easy at best, likely to be something that would require some of the most serious muscle on the continent to ensure that you get even partial information to you.”

“So that is why Cato said you’re one of his most promising students!” the hobbit adventurer Tavia Twofoot -from the Longfellow Guild- said as she chuckled, “and let it be one of Cato’s students to lay out the possibilities. Given the immense piles of gold that you’ve given as a deposit to two of the most powerful adventurer guilds on the continent with every student of Cato getting an immense sum as a down payment, you think that this would be the most dangerous job that any of us have ever undertaken.” Every student of Cato simply stared at Tavia with that remark. “If more of my clients had been this forthcoming despite not saying a word, I would take more jobs from the Council than some of my usual clientele.” Hobbits have a reputation for being shrewd individuals, they wouldn’t been able to be economically unfeasible to conquer if they weren’t, but also were known to know how their luck is running almost instinctively. To make such a comment like that would indicate that she and her guild tended to attract less scrupulous clients that would try to screw her over… and has a good feeling that good luck would be on the job.

“We’ll keep that in mind for the future,” Tiberius commented as he tried to get the meeting to return into bounds, “but first you must understand the full gravity of the situation and the job you are about to embark on.” Tiberius and the others of the council then began outlining the detail of the entire job, answering questions along the way…
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Well, telling you folks that my original plan was to post a snippet that has Arpeggio and her team met up with the Men in Green a few months later and meet up with a very big, very long surprise... thanks @Kiyone4ever for sparking my insperation on how to do with others in the council of colleges. ;)
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Arpeggio and company meeting the Men in Green part 1, an initial small snippet:
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Outer Edge of Alnus Province; October 2nd, 6729

Arpeggio frowned as the wagon train had slowly made it across the great highway that crossed the province, noting the lack of destroyed wagons and skeletal remains of dead soldiers or civilians. Everyone else in the train noticed it too, which is incredibly unnerving to say the least. The team of adventurers and mages had been talking to the various refugees from the lands in and around Alnus Province, and the information provided was perplexing. The Imperial Legions had ordered the towns, villages, and small cities in and bordering Alnus Province to evacuate and leave no food or resources behind.

Yet, the Men in Green had penetrated further into the Empire in the half a year than was thought possible. That information was acquired via some of the refugees from the hamlet known as Coda. The two groups bumped into each other in the village and a fight almost ensued before the two centurions managed to calm things down. Then, despite the fact that they were citizens of their enemy, assisted the hamlet and the nearby fae elf hamlet to escape the wrath of a great fire dragon… which they later killed with minimal loss of life! The elves, with no place to go, went with one of the groups of Men in Green, the few refugees that didn’t have anywhere to go went with the second group… and the refugees that went with the second group of Men in Green included her old teacher Cato and her step-sister! What was her old mentor and sister thinking going with the invaders! Given how much Cato knows about the current politics of the Empire, they are probably being tortured for information if not…

That line of thought was shattered when a whirl-hum sound passed overhead.

“What in Hardy’s name is that?” Gimbli exclaimed as he looked above, trying to find whatever that passed above them. The others started looking around them as well, believing that the convoy would be under attack in short notice.

“I don’t know,” the gargoyle priestess Giji Brooke replied, “but whatever it was, I say we find somewhere to hide before it comes back again. For all we know, it might be the Men in Green’s version of air cavalry on recognoscere duties… but that assumes that the Men in Green have anything like Imperial doctrine.” Giji wasn’t wrong in assuming that the Men in Green don’t have anything like Imperial military doctrine. “Right now, we can’t assume anything...”

As the caravan went up the hill, they saw one of the now-abandoned towns that weren’t so abandoned. The Men in Green had set up a castra of operations near the town, constructing what looked like a castra on one of the nearby hills with machines that the people within the convoy couldn’t believe despite seeing it in their own eyes. What looked like merchants and new townspeople walked on the paved streets, bringing the town to life. Near the town was a large facility similar to the various riverine docks in the Empire, just on a far larger scale… but instead of a riverboat, there was a giant metal monster and a long line of metal wagons -some of which were rather flat and had what clearly looked like building materials and more machines- being unloaded as the caravan came to the stop.

“… is everyone seeing what I’m seeing?” Tavia asked rhetorically, “Because I’m having trouble believing what I’m seeing…” Even Arpeggio had to agree with Tavia with that. The metal monster had been releasing steam, but on a far grander scale than anyone could imagine. The idea and principles for creating a method to move things with steam isn’t a new concept, the very idea is absolutely ancient compared to pretty much the majority of modern science and magic. The major problem with the concept was the fact that the materials required needed such strength and made in such quantities that it would be impossible to create despite the literal legions of alchemists trying their damnedest to do so. Yet these ‘Men in Green’ not only have such materials but managed to perfect that concept. Fascinating… if it wasn’t for the implications of such.

“I think we’ve got company!” the spirit wielder Butu cried, pointing towards what looked like two contuberiums of men running up the hill, “… and apparently they’re concerned about something!”

“Attention! Stop where you are!” one of the men ordered at the top of his lungs in Saldarian with a very heavy accent, “You’re in an occupied area! State your intentions!” That put everyone into a loop, as most forces would simply kill the entire caravan for trespassing unless led by a very humane commander, as many armies don’t have the time or resources to simply detain various caravans during a major campaign, especially one half as quick as these Men in Green are.

The entire caravan was on guard, already fearing the worst.

“I am Gimbli Brúlinger, and this is the caravan from Rondel, the City of Mages, that my compatriots are escorting,” Gimbli answered back politely, “We’ve been hired by this group of mages and spirit wielders to escort them in their quest to see the ‘Men in Green’, to verify the numerous rumors and tales.” The one that spoke looked a little puzzled, like he never heard of Rondel. “We seek the ‘Men in Green’ and… we have apparently stumbled upon you… so… take us to your leader?” Gimbli uncharacteristically muttered the question, not knowing the response. The man that spoke simply sighed, like he knew that Gimbli was uncharacteristically shy and it wasn’t the first time someone asked that.

“Ernsthaft, Noch eine Gruppe? Das ist jetzt schon die zweiundzwanzigste diesen Monat, wobei es neu ist das Magier unter ihnen sind.” the man said in his native language -which was… oddly straight forward yet poetic- before switching to Saldarian, “Alright, we’ll escort you to the base commander, follow us.” The man motioned the caravan to follow towards the town’s Curia Hall right next to the town’s forum…
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First, say thanks to Fanfiction writer TheOmniat for the more accurate German. He's been a lifesaver in that regard. :)

Second, the thing that flew over them is the Iron Pact's version of the OV-1 turboprop recon/light attack aircraft, just laden with IR imaging equipment similar to the OTL OV-1D variant.

Ain't she a beaut? ;)

At first, I don't know what to use as the steam locomotive. Now I had several options, but due to the conditions on Falmart, I narrowed it to two different US locomotives, the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy and the 2-6-6-6 Allegheny/Blue Ridge locomotives. In the end, I was leaning towards Big Boy due to the fact that it regularly ran on the Great Plains routes during its heyday in addition to conquering Sherman Hill.

An 'Allegheny'/'Blue Ridge' H-8 locomotive, for reference


A 4-8-8-4 'Big Boy' for reference​

Yeah, something of a train fan and some steam locomotives being used wouldn't be out of the ordinary, given that they're less finicky than Diesel-Electrics and as long as they have water, they can practically run on anything that can burn... while still being comprehensible to those of Falmart.

That and have a good old steam whistle blowing...

 

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