by Max Barry

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Region: The Coalition of Democratic Nations

Trebizond Kingfisher

Sunday - 6 March 1955
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Queen Haehra dies aged 102

Trebizond Palace announced today with a heavy heart that Her Majesty Queen Haehra, former queen consort to the late King Sparaekos IV and grandmother of His Majesty King Vatharion IX, died in her sleep at around 02:25 in the early hours of the morning. The dowager queen, who celebrated her 102nd birthday in January, was confirmed to have suffered a fall in the palace courtyard on Tuesday, following which she was bedridden with a severe bout of pneumonia that grew worse over the following week despite the best efforts of her devoted team of physicians. It is understood that the King, his wife and his mother, Her Majesty Queen Thesenna, were present at Queen Haehra's bedside when she passed away in her palace chambers.

"It is with profound sadness that His Majesty King Vatharion IX and Her Majesty Queen Thesenna announce the peaceful passing of their mother and grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Haehra, in her sleep early this morning at Trebizond Palace. Efforts are ongoing to bring the news to members of the late dowager queen's extended family, and we ask that the privacy of the bereaved be respected in this difficult time."

The aforementioned statement was released at 10:45, officially breaking the news of Her Majesty's departure to the nation. Details are still being brought to bear and there has been no information on plans concerning the inevitable funeral, though following Pontic royal standards the dowager queen's body will lie in state at Trebizond Cathedral throughout the interim period, with a royal detachment standing guard at all times.

Born Haehra Dortigar Naelanyra to parents of the Pontic nobility on January the 5th of 1853, the future queen consort first entered the royal limelight in 1869 when she was touted as a potential bride to Prince Sparaekos Raengyreon, whom she would indeed go on to wed in 1871. An avowed nationalist and traditionalist who saw the women of Pontus as being in urgent need of a role model to model themselves upon, Princess Haehra would often go out of her way to show her face in public and impress her views on the adoring Pontic citizenry, something which carried over to her role as queen consort following the death of her husband's mother and predecessor, Queen Maegelle II.

By the time of her husband's death in 1926, Haehra had long since taken up the task of drilling the younger princesses in what she deemed to be the tried and true code that a proud woman of Pontic royalty must always adhere to, with both of her successors as queen consort and many of their own sisters and daughters claiming the dowager queen's words as gospel. Beyond the confines of Trebizond Palace, women of all ages and walks of life have seemingly taken her lifetime of advice to heart, and even Freehold citizens living many miles from our borders have been on record citing her as an inspiration. Even the trauma of the war years ultimately could not dim the fire in the heart of Pontus' longest-lived royal figure, with Queen Haehra releasing many statements during her life in exile aimed at preserving the hope of millions of her people living under brutal Russian occupation that liberation was soon at hand. She would return alongside the rest of her family in 1945, apparently threatening to personally lay siege to Moscow should she find her kitchen in even the slightest state of disorder.

In spite of her brutal honesty, bone-dry wit, tremendous disdain for the media and a lifetime as a heavy and unapolagetic smoker, Queen Haehra rode high on a boundless wave of public approval that would have had even our greatest kings beside themselves with shock and enjoyed a long and productive life with scarce few health problems to speak of running up to her grand centennial. With all that to look back on, the news of her passing is indeed very sobering yet one can only feel the most intense pride at having shared the world, and indeed our country, with such a woman. The days ahead of us will no doubt make this sentiment abundantly clear.

Naval blockade on Karthspire relaxed

Pontic Maritime Force Chief of Staff Vaserys Caentheos appeared to tone down the jingoism of his rhetoric yesterday afternoon as he announced that naval manoeuvres in the Black Sea, dialled up late last year in response to the military coup in the Karthspiri capital of Elinhir, would be scaled back as tensions between the self-proclaimed Karthspiri Hegemony and the European powers finally began to abate.

"Whilst our proclamation in October still applies in full to Karthspiri naval vessels and ships without proper registration, German insistence on a reciprocation policy towards the interim government in Elinhir has compelled us to lift the harsher restrictions on commercial vessels flying the colours of the Karthspiri Hegemony, provided they have passed all the appropriate regs and checks to do so. Full lifting of restrictions on Karthspiri ships in the Black Sea is on the table but we are bound to maintain our current state of awareness pending future government overtures with Elinhir on the subject of opening official diplomatic ties."

The months since the so-called September Revolution have beheld constant verbal spats between the revolutionary government and a number of pro-German administrations across Europe, with the Freehold of Ephyra claiming special cause to have doubts over any future relationship with a fully independent Karthspiri state. In spite of this, Berlin has so far kept the rhetoric concerning their rebellious puppets to a minimum, instead expressing a preference for peaceful and willing return of Karthspire to the Ironpakt as opposed to a costly military intervention. Time will tell if their efforts are destined to pay off.

Ephyral news network espouses bizarre language, staff mental health called into question

A news article published in Ephyra last week by state-owned network Eagles Scream had readers scratching their heads as they woke up to find their morning papers plastered with some of the strangest things they had ever read. The specific article, divided as per usual into two sections concerning domestic and international occurrences, had the word "woneb" repeated several dozen times in full block capitals, with even the publisher's name having been changed to reflect the overarching theme. No comments have been made by the company's representatives on the issue, and the problem appeared to have been rectified by the following morning, yet linguistic experts continue to expressed bewilderment over the significance of the word which seems to have no discernible definition in any Latin-based language or code system. Researchers have, however, begun reaching out to Ephyral veterans of the Great War for further clarity after Karthspiri officials expressed sudden bouts of rage and sorrow upon hearing the word spoken.

Nordamy, The Land of the Ephyral, and Karthspirije

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