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Explanations: * MOC and storyline are to be considered 100% IC * The MOC shows Don Isaac Montoya from Corrington (Bregir) visiting Román Esteban Fontonajo from Eslandola (Elostirion) in his new palace on Nellisa * The conversation below has been developed together from Bregir and myself. HUGE THANKS to Bregir for your massive help! Bregir's part in dark red, mine in dark green. * I have requested a charter for the grand residence ("Viceroy's Palace"), Eslandolan leadership is discussing it * Montario is a rather new settlement, between Nova Terreli and Pontelli, at the north of the island, few miles from the coast "My warmest words of welcome, Don Montoya. Welcome to the Fontonajo residence here in Montario, on Nellisa, the pride of Eslandola in Terra Nova. Such a pleasure to finally meet you in person." Montoya bowed deeply before his host, while swinging off his hat in a respectful greeting. "Don Fontonajo, I assure you, the pleasure is all on my side! I was honoured and humbled when I received your most gracious invitation. Who would have figured that one of the most influential people of New Terra would wish to invite a simple naturalist like myself to visit his very home, here, in the Jewel of the Prio Sea." "There is much which I wish to discuss with you, but first, tell me what prompted you to bestow me with the honour of an invitation." A slight smile played around Fontonajo's lips when he replied. "Aren't we all simple men, in our own way? Isn't influence only what other people see in us, what trust they give us? With that in mind I am quite confident, my dear Don Montoya, that I am currently talking to one of the most influential men in Corrington. Maybe that's why you have come here, maybe it's not. You've had safe travels on your journey here?" Montoya waved his hands before him as if protesting the compliment. "I am less off a marine animal than you might suspect, and the seas were rather stormy, but apart from a slight seasickness, I have made it in one piece. And I even laid eyes on the pelican! What a marvellous bird!" Recollecting himself, he continued: "But I forget myself. You have not asked me here to talk of birds, and neither is that why I came..." "We heard rumours of a Military coup here, although they were unconfirmed. I trust you came through unscathed?" Pausing a second, eyeing Fontonajo, he asked the question most on his mind. "My sources suggested you were in fact the very man behind the coup?.." Fontonajo thought for some seconds before he replied: "Let me ask you a question, before I answer yours: What do you assume will happen to a colony without any type of leadership?" Raising a brow, Montoya replied. "I believe that men must be allowed to govern themselves, without being subject to the rule of force. But of course, I am no anarchist, and believe in the rule of law..." "I suppose we go inside and continue our conversation while I lead you around the place?" Fontonajo waved his hand, inviting Montoya to join him. "Belief in the rule of law, you say... And I agree with you. The palace of the old world is far away. That's why Fernando Augusto established a viceroy in the first place. The viceroy however... Yes, I do appreciate Renato, a lot to be honest, but he was not the man up to the task of governing the colonies. I assume his thirst for adventure got the upper hand of him once more." Fontonajo sighed. "After he had left the city I was the only one to uphold Eslandolan values and order in Nova Terreli. People looked up to me, they even expected me to rule. Like it was a natural thing. We did in fact witness a slight increase in crimes in the city, on the island as a whole actually. But my measures were take to prevent worse things from happening. I was afraid the colonies might fall into anarchy, and thus I decided to act early. I showed the people that this is still an Eslandolan colony, that there is still order in here, and that Nellisa is still being rightfully ruled by Eslandola." Fontonajo made a brief pause before he continued. "So... Were I the man behind the actions? Sure I was! Did I profit from it in the end? Sure I did! Did I do it for the profit? No, I didn't! Do I agree it was military coup? No, I won't!" Listening carefully, Montoya pondered for a moment, following Fontonajo's directions. "The line between a coup to gain power and an intervention to prevent anarchy and chaos is a thin and wavy one, and hard to navigate for even the best of men. But judging by what I have seen in this colony, what I have learned of the situation, and what you have told me, I believe you have done so successfully. I can only offer the humble advice that you must keep this balance close at heart, not to let the corruption of power get to you..." Sending a respectful nod and smiling, he looked around and changed the subject. "A most marvellous palace, fit for a governor, if not a viceroy! Surely, Nellisa must be the pride of the Empire!" "I hope so. It's our only colony with more than one major settlement. But believe me, I have plans!" Honest enthusiasm played around Fontonajo's eyes as he continued. "Nellisa must be more than those two towns to be what it is supposed to be: The backbone of New Eslandola. As governor I plan for the island as a whole. First I will support the growth of the smaller villages all around. Nova Terreli and Pontelli are places of commerce, but all the sailors, merchants and of course the people working in town need to eat something. And I plan on expanding the infrastructure. The road from Nova Terreli to Pontelli really needs some improvements, as you might have noticed. And the jungle in the middle of the island is still mostly unknown to us. I will change that. My uncle is already eager to write down every little secret the Nelissan forest holds, make this knowledge accessible to the world. Improving the world is our responsibility, after all, I am sure you agree? Ah, and you would be so welcome to join our efforts exploring the jungle when time's right. And of course there is Montario, right here, my seat as governor. Yes, Montario will definitely become a jewel of New Terra, a center of diplomacy, also of art and culture, of science and knowledge." "Fascinating, my dear sir. I am quite convinced my old friend, Captain Jonathan Cooke, would be most interested in discussing the planning aspects of the colony with you! He is himself the military governor of the Southern Isles, and has many plans for its development. Somewhat obsessed with creating the "ideal city" I think you will find his views on urban planning, defence, and governance quite fascinating! I shall suggest him to seek your acquaintance when I next see him, if you would like." Turning to the next subject, his eyes lid up. "Your uncle is a naturalist? I should very much like to meet him, and perhaps invite him to speak for the Royal Society of Natural Philosophy! Unfortunately, the quest for knowledge is often foregone in the quest for military, political and economic power... I do agree that it is our charge to expand our understanding of the world, and further, to ensure that that knowledge is distributed widely amongst our peers. And I very much applaud your vision for Nellisa in general, and Montario in particular. Too many of the colonies of New Terra are devoid of the finer arts. Should you allow us, I am certain the Royal Society will be interested in adding our humble vision to yours." After a short pause, he interjected. "I only worry that such a beacon of wisdom and enlightenment will be exclusive, reserving the finer arts for the aristocracy. I believe in the education of all..." "You do have a point here. Education should indeed be for all. Maybe my motivation is a bit more... monetarily driven. But you are quite right. And I am confident that there have to be solutions. Why not have a school for talented kids from all over the island, where they can live and learn, whether they are poor or rich? Or have some large carriages bringing people to Montario for a day, just so that they can gain knowledge. Or bring the scholars to the cities? There will surely be ways, and I am happy to invite Royal Society o help me with that massive task!" The two men entered Fontonajo's newly built palace. In the entry hall two guards were waiting, and a the receptionist had a heaty discussion with a boy. "My nephew. Spoiled kid", he whispered, when they turned right and started their tour around the house. Montoya smiled and nodded enthusiastically. "I must applaud you for your ingenuity! It is initiatives like those that leads to progress for all, and might I add, to prosperity too! I see no reason to expect that the next Galilego or Archimebricks is necessarily born to inherited privilege, so equality in knowledge is a prerequisite to tap into the intellectual potential of our nations," he said with great conviction. "Hence, the Royal Society works towards free universal education, and access to higher learning based on skills and efforts, rather than birth." Chuckling inwardly, he added: "In those young mischievous troublemakers lie the future of our world! Does he attend his schooling? I know it can be hard here in the colonies..." "Yes, that's not the problem. His father believes that children will at some point learn what is right and wrong by their own experience, so we won't have to tell them. But this does not work out." As Fontonajo showed Montoya around the sleeping rooms of his mother, his uncle and the two boys (his nephew and his own youngest son) in the lower floor of the right wing of the palace, he continued with another topic. "When I heard news about the distribution of the new islands, I quickly realised that Corrington had claimed Celestia and Cascadia, the two largest islands. May I have the audacity to ask you about the reasoning of your nation? I couldn't hinder but notice those two were by far the largest islands in the archipalego. Was it sheer size that directed your decisions? Oh, and before you ask: Yes, I did indeed start a small campaign, unsucessful though I have to admit, for Eslandola to claim the Island of Flowers." Much impressed by the grandeur of the palace, Montoya followed closely, listening attentively to his host. "Well, señor, I cannot speak for my peers, for as you know, the Crown of Corrington is advised by a Royal Parliament, and all are heard in these matters. However, I assure you, size is unimportant in this decision. For my part, these islands are mainly chosen for their scientific interest. The marvellous jungles of Cascadia, and its large felines; Celestia and its orchids and medicinal plants, not to mention its vanilla; and lastly Garma's Key, with its crabs and coral reefs. Certainly, the opportunity for a concentrated, defensible and well-organised colony has surely been a consideration for the more tacticly minded of my peers." Smiling, he added: "I too found the rumours of the Island of Flowers most intriguing, and hope to visit it in a scientific capacity..." "But I let my mind wander, and that in the company of such an important man," he said with a bow. "Pardon me for moving on... What news of the treasure fleet? I have myself just departed a vessel that retook one of the treasure galleons... it seems its secrets were sadly public?" While they just left the rooms of the upper floor of the right wing, where Fontonajo's brother Rialto and his wife had obviously just woken up, anger appeared on his face for a second. He regained control soon after, as they went downstairs again. "Yes, I have heard about that. Thanks for your gesture of loyalty towards Eslandola, my friend. I couldn't hinder but notice that our joint venture, the Justicia, had some great success on the seas in the past weeks. As the by far more famous naval commander I'd like to hear your opinion on how you think we should proceed?" Arching a brow, Montoya took mental note of Fontonajo's evasion of topics, and said with a chuckle: "Oh nay, you misunderstand. I am by no means a naval commander, and most certainly not a famous one. But I am lucky enough to be associated with one who appears to be the very image of the ideal of the Royal Navy. On the waves, I am but a lowly surgeon, but Cooke... When he steps onto his quarterdeck, he appears to take up a perfectly herculean appearance! And he has been singularly successful in sinking, burning and taking anything flying the flags of our enemies." Recalling the recent events, he continued: "In this recent battle, he led the horrible old Ironsides in between a much larger privateering frigate and its galleon prize in a stroke of what I am told was absolute naval genius, taking the privateers aback and making them surrender almost by his pure presence alone. Although I have come to understand that some gunfire was involved, the more experienced sea dogs ensure me that that was of little consequence compared to the bravery of our captain and crew!" "As to business, I let my man of business manage my estate, as I have little mind for it, but I do understand that McLeod too has proven a capable and effective commander in the Justitia." Montoya dismissed this subject with a wave of his hand. "But I am much more concerned with the ease of which the information of your treasure fleet was spilled... It almost led me to lose a good friend in Major Allcock, a fellow of the Royal Society!" "I am so sorry to hear that! What happened? I hope he is all well again?" They had followed a girl, carrying a teapot into another room. A saxophone could be heard, but stopped as the door opened. "Come on in, my dear, join us", they heard an old man's voice. Fontonajo invited Montoya into the room. In one corner an exotic young girl, quite obviously one of New Terra's natives, played music. On the other side sat an old man, drinking some tea, inviting the small girl with the teapot to join the two. "Oh quite, and well on his way to a medal for bravery, I believe! Yet it was still a risk imposed by a lack of discretion on the part of your Empire..." "Sorry to interrupt you, my loved ones. May I introduce to you Don Isaac Montoya, our most noble guest from Corrington? And here are my uncle Raphael", Fontonajo waved his hand at the old man, who replied with a warmhearted smile. "And over there, playing the most lovely music, is my, hopefully soon-to-be daughter in law, Poca from the Ténotclaxcan. And this is my daughter Isabelle Elisa, maybe the most inquisitive person you will ever meet." For the first time since they had started their conversation there was a completely untroubled smile on Fontonajo's face. Bowing deeply, Montoya accepted the presentations with a charming smile. "A most enchanting family, I am sure." Turning back to Fontonajo, his brow furrowed as he returned to more serious matters. "I am most concerned with the relations between our great nations. As you probably know, we approached you with the intent to sign an alliance, solidifying our historic friendship in a formal agreement, but Eslandola refused. Even a purely defensive alliance was dismissed, on he grounds that it might not be opportune to help in the case of conflict! Opportune!" "I conducted these negotiations myself, with your Secretary of State, Guy Wyndzon, and was frankly shocked at the utter lack of commitment on Eslandola's part to our common cause..." Montoya shaked his head in disarray. For the fraction of a second Fontonajo looked utterly puzzled, but quickly smiled again. "I have full trust in my good friend Guy to handle all matters of Eslandolan diplomacy in the best way possible, and I do not want to doubt his reasoning. Please do not dismiss the thought that sometimes we are not the masters of our own decisions, and forced by others to conduct arrangements we do not even agree with. I cannot speak for Guy, but can only imagine how his situation must have been like, over those past months, directly serving... Well, as for my personal opinion on this delicate matter I am quite confident you know that I and my familiy have always not only respected but also cooperated with our friends from Corrington in various circumstances. I feel like an alliance of our two glorious nations might be the first step in solidifying this new world as the place of peace, order and wealth it is supposed to be. I am also positive that most of my fellow Eslandolans would think alike." They took a quick glimpse into the general working room where Fontonajo's elder nephew was about to write a letter, before they continued their way to the upper floor in the left wing. "Regarding our continued struggles with Mardier and the most unlawful actions of their privateers at sea I see even more reason for us to keep our friends even closer and solidify our mutual bonds." "Hrmph!" Montoya exclaimed. "It was my clear impression that this was a decision driven by the trade companies, not by your King, or anyone else. It is a sad collection of powerful men that will not take ownership over the decisions they take, no matter the circumstances!" Recollecting himself, Montoya forced a smile. "Pardon me for falling out so, and i beg you not to take it as a reflection upon your person. Nothing could be farther from the truth! But your King aside, it is our impression that the rivalry between the Trading Companies are threatening to tear your nation apart. And you must admit, Eslandola has done very little this last year to make any friends amongst its neighbours... To that I might well interject, that several individuals have done great services to the citizens of Corrington, but as a nation, you have made it very hard to cooperate... Take for instance the unfortunate issue of Isla de Victoria. Had it only been handled better, it would have seemed less like aggressive expansionism, and more like an effort against the oppression and influence of Mardier. I will let you know that our reaction hung in the balance between escalation, perhaps eventually war, and assistance! Some voiced serious concern of Eslandola thus shifting the balance of power to your own advantage." Sending Fontonajo a concerned and troubled look, he continued. "And I fear that for the time being, an alliance is entirely out of the question, for reasons you know as well as I. If only things had been different, our fleets could have assisted in escorting your treasure fleet, bringing it home safe despite the negligence of your intelligence services!" They had visited all bedrooms and were now sitting in Románs office. "Am I right in hearing some bitterness, if not even anger, from your words? Understandable, but my dear Montoya! Let me assure you, that while our Eslandolan nature always inspires us towards further expansion of our businesses, we have no interest in shifting the power of Terra towards us. How would that even be benefical, from a mere economic point of view?" Fontonajo had a stern look, but his voice sounded rather exhausted as he continued. "You were right in observing tendencies of strong dissent between our trading companies. But isn't that exactly what urges us to strive for improvement in the first place? While the dissents between our trading companies gave me more than one sleepless night, a fact I cannot deny, I think those inner conflicts made us even stronger in the end. And challenging Mardier for Isla de Victoria, or KMA as we now call it, solved most of our issues. Nothing unifies you better than a common foe, wouldn't you agree? But sure, you most probably ask yourself: what was our reasoning behind it? I am quite sure you know as well as I do the agreement that was made about the distribution of new islands to the glorious nations of Eslandola, Corrington and Oleon and even the group of privateers calling themselves the Sea Rats. Mardier, as we are both aware, had no right at all to even claim an island in the first place. I totally agree with you that assistance from your side would have been the right call to uphold the treaties and order of Terra Nova. The Eslandolan Trade Companies however did act, and believe me it was the Trade Companies' initiative. We started our effort to drive Mardier from Isla de Victoria, because their claim was totally unlawful from the very get-go. Please be reassured that our invasion of the island is not at all an act of increasing our territories or our influence. It's merely about clearing the island from the unjust invaders and restoring the natural order of things. The thoughtful person of Isaac Montoya that I have gotten to know is still aware of how the war with Mardier started, at least I assume so? Mardierian privateers exerted their continuous aggresion on our trading fleets, neither any cause given, nor any decleration of war from the Mardierian site. As their government repeatedly rejected our calls for peace and negotiations, we had no choice but to declare war ourselves, so we could even start protecting our trading fleets. But back to Isla de Victoria - I can assure you that I, and also all other members of all MCTC, ETWC and MAESTRO would warmheartedly welcome you and your brothers, as well as all Oleanders and Sea Rats, to join our efforts on Isla de Victoria. We would love to once again struggle alongside you to restore order in Terra Nova!" Fontonajo took a deep breath. Montoya sent Fontonajo an apologetic glance and sighed. "I must admit, those negotiations did leave me bitter, but more so, disappointed. My Queen offered her unconditional friendship in the form of an alliance, an offer we thought attractive to you, and it was rejected due to narrow concerns of profit? And more so, as Wyndzon, no doubt an honourable gentleman, seemed unable to fathom how your unwillingness to commit to even a defensive alliance could only be interpreted as a lack of commitment to our friendship. I was told that Eslandola might consider intervening, if it was in your own interest..." Montoya shaked his head with a sigh, dismissing the subject. "I am well aware of Mardier's transgressions, and their fleets have targeted us too. In fact, I will tell you that we too are considering a declaration of war... And that you may find your invitation to Victory Island unnecessary. I cannot give you any specifics, but as we speak, events are in motion that cannot be stopped. I would have wished many things different, but most of all, that this incursion on Isla de Victoria had been coordinated with us. Had not the doves amongst us acted voices of reason, we could have met as enemies at war. I myself called for an aggressive response." Sighing deeply, obviously full of regret, he continued. "You must understand, I was not motivated by any ill-will against your nation, but by the need to ensure that force does not become the ruling principle in New Terra. I see now that such a reaction would have been excessive... But I was not alone, and there is still unresolved tension. I only hope our response will help lowering the tensions between our nations. I would so loathe to be forced to consider you my enemy." Bowing respectfully, he added. "But now your King is at it again... This claim... Is he quite in his right mind?" Almost furious Fontonajo immediately took the subject, and obviously driven by emotion responded. "Dont't you ever call him that again! The Mad Man has no right to call himself anything close to royal, least of all 'king'. I will not respect that person anymore, nor accept him as my leader. And many Eslandolan's in the colonies think alike - that he is ruining us all. Let alone that he is ignoring all rights of humanity. This cannot be tolerated anymore!" Calming down a bit, Román Fontonajo continued. "His claim on the Oleander throne... was weird, to say the least, but an understandable - yet utterly dumb - attempt to increase his influence. This however was the first true sign of warning to me, that he had indeed understood nothing, nor was able to adapt his priorities to the requirements of a rapidly changing world. The colonies are the place where every leader's focus should lie those days. If it weren't for the Trading Companies Eslandola would already be irrelevant in Terra Nova." With a deep sigh he brought up the topic he had evaded through all the conversation with Montoya. "If only the Mad Man had let us alone. But then he came up with his ingeniously stupid plan to sabotage his own treasure fleet. I see it so clear now, how he had planned it all along..." Full of expectation he looked at Montoya. Raising his brow in surprise, and leaning back a bit, Montoya eyed Fontonajo for a moment. "You may of course count on my full discretion, my friend, but you must realise that these are dangerous words, marking you as nothing less than a republican, nothing less than a revolutionary. It could cost you your neck..." Realising the implication of Fontonajo's last words, Montoya fell back in his chair in shock. "Sabotage? But surely, this cannot be substantiated!" "Just think of it! Why does he need the money right now? Surely to finance his invasion on Oleon! There is no other reason, don't you agree? And how did he set up the treasure fleet? He gave order to many, many men who should contribute to the treasure fleet. We did not know of each other, thus he split up the treasure fleet. But he also made it inevitable that someone would leak something, with so many people involved. And most surely he himself made sure to leak a detail here and there! Yet still with the treasure fleet so separated into many small entities, he could be absolutely sure that most of the money would arrive in Terreli to fill his coffers of war! Now imagine a single Oleander would have attacked a single ship from the fleet or even only done any other harm to the whole enterprise?! Wouldn't that have justified all of the mad man's actions against Oleon? Wouldn't that have justified even war? And wouldn't that have united all the Eslandolan colonies against Oleon as well, seeing their hard-earned wealth being stolen? If it had not been for the discipline and loyalty of all Oleanders in the colonies, which I most deeply admire, the mad man's plan might even have worked out! Do I have proof? Most unfortunately I don't. But you have to admit that it's most obvious? But before we speak of him again... I have heard some rumours of redcoats on Isla de Victoria? And maybe even bluecoats? I am most certain you can share some knowledge in that regard?" "I would suggest caution. Such accusations based only on speculation are dangerous and may lead you directly to the gallows. And the evidence is nothing but circumstantial. As you suggest yourself, it was in factan ingenious way to ensure at least most of the treasure returned to Terreli, which may be the sole reasoning. Of course, an Olean attack would have been... convenient, given his further plans, and he might have considered this... But to go so far as to have hoped for it..." Montoya was obviously still shocked, and somewhat confused. "As to your rumours of troops... As I said, wheels are turning, and there is no going back now. But we have decided to aid you in denying Mardier their unlawful claim. And I cannot deny that the fact that it also limits Eslandian control of the island might have been part of the considerations. I know not the details of the intervention, but expect our troops to set up some degree of permanent encampment. And that Oleon may do so too. Afterall, Mardier have long preyed on the shipping and commerce of all our nations!" "That leaves me full of hope that there is a chance our three nations could become reunited at least here in the colonies again. Thank you for your trust, my friend." Fontonajo slightly bowed his head and hand as a gesture of respect. "But as you said, the wheels are turning already, and things have been set in motion now that cannot be stopped. Right as we talk my heralds are setting up all over Nellisa - in Nova Terreli, in Pontelli and in all the other settlements as well. And when by tomorrow I will step out of my palace and proclaim the independence of Nellisa from the Crown, the same words will be heard all over the island. Thousands will follow my call, and we will finally be freed of Fernando Augusto's chains. The Eslandolan Republic of Nellisa does no longer bow to a king." Fontonajo set up a massive smile, when he looked at Montoya. "I am totally aware of the gallows waiting at the wrong end of the road that I am taking. But only those who dare may also succeed. Fernando Augusto's reign in the colonies is over. It is about time we take matters into our own hands." "An independent republic of Nellisa? A bold move, I must say, and quite unexpected! Is this independence to stand, even if the King is... removed, or will you rejoin a united Eslandola under new rule? Do you expect other colonies to follow in your footstep? Is Eslandola to become a federation, or even confederation, of independent colonies? And what of your homeland in Halos? Pardon me, but your plans raise numerous questions!" Considering for a moment, he then added. "Is that the true reason you called me here? To ensure good relations with Corrington once you stand alone? And how will this republic be governed? I suppose there will be elections... a constitution... courts..." "I am fully convinced that the concept of a monarch is completely outdated. There may be royals like your very Queen Annetta, who are actually worth looking up to. But some day, maybe in ten years and maybe in two hundred, even Corrington's ruler will be falling under the pressure of the crown." Fontonajo took a deep breath. "I fully believe in Eslandola and all of its values, though. Nellisa should not be a nation of its own, but rather belong to an Eslandolan Union. Whether that can include the Halosian territories or not, I am not sure. I am definitely hoping for Colonial Eslandola to not fall apart. I am on very good terms with many of the other rulers, like Governor Guilder for instance. But someone has to take the first step..." Sitting in silence for a while, he continued: "As far as the government is concerned I am afraid that I myself am currently the only one capable of being governor of the Eslandolan Republic of Nellisa. As such we have already set up a constitution. When time has come, I will make room for others, that is certain. The least thing I am interested in is a new monarchy here in Terra Nova. But only time can tell how things will continue..." "And be assured that most certainly, good relationships with Corrington and Oleon, most of them all, are among my very prime ambitions, Isaac." And so they spoke until the late into the night, closely debating every possible angle on the current situation, both aware that the coming months would be defining for the future of New Terra. Full Album on Flickr
Please consider that this post is 100% IC, thank you. What is this guy telling the crowd near that warehouse in Nova Terreli? What does it say on his scroll? Why did he bring Fontonajo guards? And why is Montoya listening so carefully? Find out either here: or here: