Alt: Independence.

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Alt: Independence.

Post by Sphinx on Sun May 11, 2008 11:23 pm

Mercenary Major Njarra Tiahlee stood on the bridge crossing over Mhaura, watching at the crowd gathered below. In her mind she went through her speech like a slow mantra to focus her mind. It calmed her down enough to put up a brave face, but she enjoyed the situation no more. She had spent a long time preparing for this, made doubly sure she'd look a person of authority yet not cruelty. She insisted on wearing the yagudo trophy to put some emphasis to her ability, and to not make her choice of attire too obvious. Her white hair was dressed in the typical fashion on several dozen small braids behind her, and she wore her armor as always - even realizing some not accustomed to it might take it as a sign of fear.
The words of her speech were given careful consideration when it was designed. Njarra Tiahlee wasn't one for eloquent speeches, so her lieutenants had helped her greatly in putting it together. The Mercenary Major herself was accustomed to making her speeches short, yet people tended to take them to heart. Here she could only pray the people below would, too. Deep breath and focus, better to sound angry than fearful, she thought as she allowed the south wind bring an edge to her voice.

"People of Mhaura, ye all know me and the fact I'm not fond enough of long speeches, but there's issues needing to be said I'm sure most of ye are alrrready well aware of."
The words carried more truth in them than most people realized, as already the speech so long practised was being swept away in favor of the words she wanted - and needed, to have said. The hostile edge in her voice fast grew out of control, made rampant by bitter resentment and anger, but the crowd below only seemed energized by this. She continued, oblivious to her second-in-command holding up an issue of Tarutaru times on rehearsed cue.
"The federation has played it's last carrrd of neglect upon Mhaura! After years of false hope and stuffing their pockets with the gil of thugs who pay them t' look the other way, years of taking what they want from you and leaving what's left for the criminals to take while pretending to keep ye all safe, they've finally decided to leave you all stranded facing both injustice and beastmen - all because of a few rrrumors, and a desperate attempt to save face!"

She paused for breath, trying in vain to calm herself down. The gesture proved enough of a pause to allow her words sink in, before she continued.

"For years th' federation's taken from you coin, labor, produce, health and even business - all under the false pretense of prrrotection - look at them!" The Mercenary Major screamed out her anger, flinging her arm toward the hapless federation guards behind her "How many of these faces have ye seen doing anything but stuffing their fat bellies inside the mayor's mansion? How many people have they prrrotected besides the mayor they share their drrrink with?!"
Before bringing her arm back to her side, Njarra Tiahlee pointed an accusing finger toward the mayor. "And how much has he done to preserve your well-being, naught! It's these six who are supposed t'uphold yer safety, yet I've not once seen any of them lift a finger to do so, always has it been me!"
She ripped the newspaper from the hands of her lieutenant and tossed it below to the crowds in anger. "And my idle musings they took as fact to prrrint, in an arrogant move of their hand to force mine! The thought of parrrlaying with the federation may never have crrrossed my mind, but now I loathe the notion!"

Njarra Tiahlee felt a light touch on her shoulder, and fast turned to face her mother reminding the Mercenary Major where she was. She nodded, and allowed another moment for her rage to subside as she studied the crowd. They were discussing, her words had sunk in. The nervousness likewise started to creep in, and forced Njarra Tiahlee to steel herself, glenching her fists as she continued.

"But this mistake is all theirs! If they think cutting frrrom us their empty words is enough t' bring us crrrawling back on our knees, we'll teach them different! If they want to push Mhaura independent we'll do so on our terms - and th' only parrrlaying we'll have will be with partners who prove to us their worth as partners, not ones who promise us nothing while robbing us of everything!"
This drew a cheer from the crowd below, only fueling the Mercenary Major's fervor.
"I may not have been cerrrtain how i wanted this mantle, but now I know I do! I will take it and bear it, simply to teach the self-aggrrrandizing parrrliament that Mhaura does not need them! You all have surrrvived this far with us protecting you - even with their laws binding our hands, and without them holding us back, we will clean this town of crime and make it flourish!"

She gave pause again, very suddenly feeling the anger drain from her, taking with it all her strength. To endure a moment longer, she felt she had managed to touch the people so longing for a better, cleaner life for so many years. She steeled herself once more, her voice lacking all agression but full of determination.

"I will take this mantle, and I will clean up Mhaura. We will not crrrawl back to them begging, and will only deal with them on terrrms Mhaura can benefit from, if even then. I prrromise no-one here good forrrtunes ahead, but I will promise to help you on that path - as we have so far, only this time uninhibited by laws of a nation that only wants to rob you blind. ...Your path frrrom here will be your own choosing, whether you wish to bow to the federrration that landed you in this mess to begin with, or stay here and follow my rule. The choice is simple, and only for you to make." She let out a sigh, before raising her voice again for the last time.
"But frrrom today on, we will not suffer their neglect or their hypocrisy any longer! From today on, Mhaura stands a nation on it's own feet, frrree from their empty promises!"

Njarra Tiahlee stepped back a little faster than she had wanted, all strength drained from her by the last exclaim. The crowd failed to notice from their cheering and she was likewise oblivious - aware only of her own thoughts. It was almost amusing, how she never wanted to be this. Ever since she was a child, Njarra Tiahlee grew up yearning to be like one of the great leaders; Romaa Mihgo, Mikhe Aryohcha, Perih Vashai - going down in history as one to carve a bloody path to the heart of the Theomilitary before being cut down by the Manifest herself.
But the Elvaan, Narne Meillune had been right. This was an age for politicians not heroes, and somehow still, she who had the least business standing here, did.
As she let her weary gaze shift down to the crowd below - now calmed down enough to be talking eagerly with each other or listening to Leh Nhacara speak of future plans, edicts and all things of that nature, all she could feel was how her stomach churned and her skin itched - sweating and too hot to wear. She felt dizzy even standing there, and at the moment wanted nothing else but a shade and maybe a nice bath to settle herself down.
Thinking of the next day, she knew things weren't going to be so easy. There would be things to settle she had little idea how to settle, ties to uphold that might force her to take back some of the things she said today, and agreements to make. Mere thought of the future now filled her with more dread than facing down any monster she'd brought her axe to before.
What strength true leaders had, to endure this every day.
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Sphinx

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