by Max Barry

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Region: The Coalition of Democratic Nations

Trebizond Kingfisher

Wednesday - 18 January 1950

Archon Asalinos to step down, new elections in Ephyra

    "At the end of perhaps the most tumultuous decade for both Ephyra and ourselves here in Pontus since the fall of the Roman Empire, it is with a heavy yet eternally grateful heart that the Selian people must bid farewell to Archon Anomedes Gorgosios Lenaleos, leader of the Freehold of Ephyra since his election in 1940 and doubtlessly the most integral unifying force behind our long and bloody struggle against the once-unstoppable armies of the tyrants in Moscow."

    These were the words spoken by Pontic Prime Minister Serion Velaelor at the gates of His Majesty's Parliament in Trebizond in the late hours of Tuesday. Braving the beginning phases of last night's thunderstorms, Mr. Velaelor addressed crowds of journalists and citygoers to set the record straight on the elections currently ongoing in the neighbouring Freehold, the first to be held following the end of what is widely coming to be known as the 'Great War'. Abiding by new Ephyral electoral laws, Archon Asalinos (as he was deemed by the Ephyral Senate in honor of his service to the nation) is to end his tenth year in office by stepping aside for whomever the Selian people judge worthy of succeeding him. Doubtful it need be said, the new head-of-state will have quite the boots to fill.

'Butcher of Sebastopolis' sentenced to death

    One of Pontus' most widely-publicised trials finally came to a conclusion on Monday evening as war criminal Visemion Nartheos was sentenced to death by a military court in Sinope. Dubbed the 'Butcher of Sebastopolis' by many of the witnesses present at the sentencing, Nartheos was a commissioned officer in the Pontic Ground Force who defected to the Russian Army in 1940 following the fall and occupation of the city of Sebastopolis in Northeastern Pontus. During the occupation period, an extensive internment and transit facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city, where it is attested that upwards of 36,000 POWs and civilian prisoners were housed at one time or another between 1941 and 1945. Over 4,000 deaths would ultimately be attributed to imprisonment at the facility, mostly as a result of the atrocious conditions internees were forced to endure, particularly during the frequent periods of overcrowding in the later stages of the war.

    Nartheos would, presumably through his loyal service to the Russian occupation force, rise to become second-in-command to the Russian commandant, overseeing most of the facility's functions with his own personal touch. Survivors give vivid accounts of his tenure at the internment camp, describing his rampant sociopathic attitude towards the prisoners and the brutal crackdowns he oversaw when he so much as suspected there might be a whiff of sedition in the air, which apparently happened so often that the Russian guards began taking running tallies.

    The facility was abandoned in June of 1945 as the Russian Army pulled out of the country, leaving thousands of destitute internees behind to be rescued by the joint Pontic-Ephyral force that entered Sebastopolis mere hours after the last Russian soldiers left. Nartheos himself would be detained by German forces in Byelorussia and turned over to the Pontic Army over the following winter. Following a year of detainment in a military prison camp in the same city he had once struck such fear upon, his trial began in 1947 in Sinope where, after dozens of witness accounts and more revised testimonies than one could shake a gavel at, he was at last found guilty of ordering and personally partaking in the torture and execution of an as-of-yet undetermined number of internees, thought to be in the upper hundreds at least. His sentence is due to be carried out next month.