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Lictor Appius sat on the bench outside the senate chamber, his face pale. For the hundredth time in the last hour he looked around the other four lictors with him. Vel Rullus was the oldest there, an ex-centurion with close cut white hair and a close cut beard. Lucretia Mutia was another, her dark hair lay down her back in a long pony tail, dark brown eyes set against her tanned skin. The three of them wore leather armour over red tunics which came down to their knees and sandals.
The other two were unknown to Appius, wearing togas. He should be wearing a toga. This was Thomur, the capital of the empire. The home of their people. He was a lictor, the law was that he should be wearing a toga. But the Propraetor wanted to make a point and this was one hell of a way to do it.
The two other lictors were nervous though. They, like Appius, Lucretia and Vel wore blades at their belts, but they wore no armour and the look on the propraetor's face when he had come through. The huge wooden doors set into the marble wall crashed open with a clang and propraetor Tullus came through walking fast. His grizzled face was like thunder, his two other lictors followed him. Appius fell in behind him as quickly as he could, the senate guards getting out the way quickly as the six of them walked down the steps.
Vel quickly fell in beside Tullus as they walked across the ornimental gardens, poorly lit by torch light. It had been dawn when the senate had met.
"Did they listen?"
Vel hissed. Tullus shook his head.
"No, old friend, no legions, no senate decree... Nothing..."
His face twisted in anger as  Appius felt his heart sink in his chest. That was that then, alone. The rebellion that had ripped through Nord Cellenia was being ignored. He knew that it wasn't negligence, there were several wars to the south. The Pax Thomur was breaking down and almost every legion was engaged. Many of their own men had gone on campaign. And now this upstart tribal chief had begun to rally the old alliances of the Cellen tribes and war to the north was now inevitable.
The group passed through the gate and, in step, turned left onto the road. The road was mostly empty at night, the sprawling buildings carried on for miles and miles on each side. Their course did not take them far, for Propraetor Tullus had a house in the upper city for those times when his presence was in itself required away from the province that he governed.
They passed through alleys and back streets, not caring for the poor lighting. If a street gang had bothered to jump them it would have ended badly for the criminals. The lictors were highly trained body guards as well as advisors to the magistrate that they served.
Before long they arrived at Tullus' house, cut stone walls surrounded the little mansion inside. Sextus stayed by the gate as the others went inside into the building. It was not as large as the provincial palace back home, but it was large enough. Appius detached himself from the group and headed to his chamber. The house was centred around a large pool of water, as Appius walked past it the cool waters broke in waves around the long dark hair that emerged, flowing down the pale face with its enchanting green eyes.
He turned away, walking faster towards the door to his chamber, covered over with a red curtain, but the call from behind him made him stop.
“Appius…”
The voice was teasing, working its way down into his soul and hitting on his pride. He stopped in his tracks and slowly turned forcing a smile and trying not to look down too far. The young woman leaning her arms against the side of the pool regarded him curiously as she flicked her hair over her shoulder.
“Appius, it is unbecoming for one such as you to be in such a rush.”
“Annia.”
He nodded to her but she shook her head in disappointment.
“Appius, Appius, Appius.”
She raised a hand and shook her finger at him.
“Surely I deserve more than that? I am the daughter of a propraetor after all…”
She pulled herself out of the pool, water running off her perky, bouncy breasts and down to her naval. Appius raised his eyes and looked straight ahead as she climbed from the pool, completely unashamed by her nudity. He rested his hand on the pommel of his blade, gripping gently. He would never have dreamed of drawing it on Annia, it was more of a security blanket. But Annia knew that she was making him nervous, and like a shark smelling blood she was not going to relent. She crossed to the door and clicked her fingers, a young woman came in, looking at the ground. Her hair was cut short and red, her skin pale and delicate over a short white dress that barely passed her thighs. Cellen women were very beautiful, Appius reflected, and often as unashamed of their nakedness as Annia was, but there was a difference between Cellen tribeswomen washing in a river and the daughter of the propraetor that he had sworn to protect. Or at least that's how the facts presented themselves to Appius.
“Girl, go and fetch a jug of wine.”
With a courtsy the slave left, leaving the scent of perfumed oil in the air. Annia took a deep breath and smile, turning around and to Appius ever lasting gratitude taking a long red cloth from the couch that lay against the wall. She wrapped it around herself as she sat down.
“Join me.”
She indicated the couch. Thomur was not a feudal society, and her father’s role of propraetor and provincial governor gave her, herself, no direct power. But Annia was not the kind of person that you wanted to count among your enemies, Appius reflected. So he sat down on the other end of the long, finely crafted couch.
Annia took a deep breath and smiled to Appius, her pose was almost cat like, her weight on the pillows and her legs curled around beneath her.
“So how went the day, brave young lictor. Did father get the legions he desired.”
Appius shook his head with a sigh, looking at the couch between them, then at the pool. Anything to avoid looking into those hungry, predatory eyes.
“Apparently not.”
Annia seemed generally uncertain by his response. She was not used to stressful situations, or to put it more accurately she was usually the one creating the stressful situations for others.
“So… What will father do about that barbarian?”
Appius’ response was almost instantaneous, out of his mouth before the wheels in his brain had stopped turning.
“It is not my place to guess your father’s plans, Annia.”
He said, chidingly. He risked glancing into her face and the look he got back from her was more chiding still.
“Please Appius, I am not a child and I am not an idiot. What will my father do?”
Appius let out a gentle sigh.
“He will probably try to get support from the chiefs in Nord Cellen, gather an auxiliary legion from the province itself.”
“But he cannot do that, for the senate must give permission for any legions to be raised, and all legions raised by Propraetor Tullus should be sent to the south.”
The pair looked around into the disapproving face of Vel, standing in the doorway. Appius could not garner a guess at how long the old man had been there, for he could move like a sabre cat when he wanted to. The three stayed in total silence for a few seconds and then Annia got to her feet. Vel was one of the few forces in the whole of the world that could make her back down from her scheming. Appius was glad of the old warriors presence.
“I shall retire.”
She said gruffly. Vel politely stepped aside and holding up the curtain for her as she stormed through the doorway. Appius opened his mouth to speak but Vel held up a hand, then held it theatrically to his ear. Appius waited and listened, though it did not take long. A few moments later they heard the smash of a jug and a little scream of surprise, followed by the annoyed voice of Annia.
“Stupid girl! Clean that up, now!”
“Yes mistress!”
Vel grinned, letting the curtain fall down once more. He walked over to the couch and sat down beside Appius, making the wooden base creak under his weight.
“She can be a bother.”
He said, almost warmly in Appius’ experience of his older comrade.
“She is an inquisitive one.”
“Overly inquisitive if you ask me.”
“Vel, can I ask you something?”
Vel looked over at him, raising an eyebrow.
“What is it Appius?”
“Well… You fought in the Cellic wars, you know the enemy… Can we win?”
Vel fixed Appius with a long look, he felt like it crept its way under his skin and examined his very soul. But Appius was undeterred, dark eyes fixed on his mentors and jaw looked in sullen defiance. Suddenly Vel chuckled, slapping Appius on the back.
“Appius, we are Thomur! We always win!”
He stood up and left, heading towards the house shrine, still chuckling.
The Chronicles of Linionine: Fall - Chapter 2
The second stage of the first part of the Chronicles of Linionine. 

This story is a high/mid fantasy swash buckler, heavily set in history. Though it may get off to a slow start, it will soon start to pick up for I have plans.

Be warned, casual violence and sex will become quite common place in this, along with romance, intrigue and wonder. Linionine is a brutal place with different rules to our world. If you don't like those sort of things then don't read.
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The air was filled with smoke and blood. Angrim tried to move but found that he couldn't, his body pinned to the ground by the weight of his armour. He heard noises around him though, a disconcerted horse, the sound of men talking in a foreign tongue. He knew that he knew the language, but his mind was filled with haze and he had not the concentration to translate it.
Angrim tried to open his eyes but they just stung, he couldn't even see the eyelets of his own face plate properly. He winced and let them close again, instead just focusing on the sounds he heard. In his delirious state his mind swirled like water, even noise sending ripples across the dark pond.
Something fell over, metal clattering to the ground and rolling, and in his mind he saw the great gates of Ker Rokkar. How they had collapsed, stone and metal falling into the hall. The green tide that had flowed over the ruins to attack them. Again he heard the horn, the long clang of metal as the line of dwarfs locked their shields over each other to face the coming horde.
He had seen it from his vantage point further up the stairs. Laying on the ground his right hand tried to close around his axe handle, but it was not there. The sudden shock in his heart pulled him back to the present. He needed to find his axe, that was all that mattered now. Angrim's arm moved frantically as it could, awkwardly searching the space near him for his axe. There was no energy left in the young dwarf however, and soon he fell back. His mind swam again and a scream of pain from nearby returned him to the battle.
How the orc had screamed, that first one to make it up the steps, as he swung his axe into its chest. They had fought well, they had fought hard. The Iron Dwarfs of Ker Rokkar had made a wall of green skin corpses but there was no victory. He knew there could never have been for he had heard the reports. To the east the entire marshland was on the march, and beyond that Uruks from Theldrithin and orcs from Gordurand too. A green tide the likes of which none of his race had ever seen.
It reminded him of the elven texts he had read when he was a boy, about the first war. The orcs were creatures of destruction, made for destruction. And now they had come to destroy again. The thought sent shivers down his spine. Soon the sound of metal hitting stone pushed him once more into the past.
That was the closest he had come to death, as they fought their way through the dark tunnels, one step at a time. They had given the women and children as long as they could then followed. But that moment would haunt him for the rest of his life, his axe had missed the greenskin's face. How the creature had grinned at that, at finding an opening in his defence. Angrim would be dead now if it was not for the spear that had flown past his head and impaled the creature.
There was a shock of pain as something hit his side, though not with much force or malice. Angrim let out a groan and was rewarded with a string of something in the human tongue. What was it, he tried to think. The words assembled themselves for translation.
"Otkell! This one is alive too."
"See what you can do for him Vedis."
Came the response, a voice as thick as tar and as gruff as an old boar, followed by the sound of hurrying feet and the swish of a dress. Light filled Angrim's world as his faceplate was removed. He opened his bright blue eyes again to look up into a smiling female face. The sun shone around her features and through her ragged golden hair. Her face was homely, though with a beauty of its own spoiled a little by nervousness as she pressed a water skin to Angrim's lips.
Greedily he drank the water, gulp after gulp until he had no more breath and fell to spluttering. The woman pulled the rest of his helmet off and rolled him onto his side allowing him to cough more easily. His hair flowed from the helmet, long blonde curls mixing with his plaited beard. He tried to assemble the words in the Sorazi tongue, which is what these humans were speaking, to thank her but his tongue stuck in his mouth. All that came out was a broken groan.
"Relax, friend."
The woman's dwarfish had a strong accent, but was very good. Of course it was he thought with an internal sigh. The Sorazi and Mer Rokkar had been allies for centuries and this woman was wearing a short dress down to her upper thighs and woolen leggings underneath, riding clothes. She must be a noble.
"My thanks, human."
He managed to croak.
"Where does it hurt?"
"Everywhere..."
She chuckled lightly and helped him into a sitting position, putting one arm under his shoulder to support his weight and kneeling beside him. He saw then what had befallen his comrades. Dead dwarfs littered the narrow valley that was one of the secret exits to Ker Rokkar. There were orcs too and even some fallen Sorazi warriors, armoured in their quilted leather or chainmail. Their surviving kin were going through the battlefield, helping their wounded comrades and dispatching the surviving orcs.
They had died there as well, they had come to save people who were not their own and they had paid the price. Cut down by the foul horde that destroyed his home. Cut down and left in the mud. Noble allies until the end.
Angrim wanted to cry out then, to yell a blood oath and swear his vengeance on the greenskins, but weakness stopped him. Since sitting up his head was spinning like a top. His head fell back into the shoulder of the woman who looked down at him. Her right hand gently stroked its way through his hair. The last words he heard before the world swam into blackness were her words in Sorazi, he never remembered what they were.

It was some time later when Angrim woke again, beneath him he could feel the rhythm of the wheels of a cart. He opened his eyes to see that he had been stripped of his armour. The human woman from before was knelt beside him, cleaning a long wound across his lower chest with a strange paste. He had no idea what it was, only that it stank.
The woman looked up at him as he stirred and lay a hand on his shoulder. There was no point struggling, he was weakened and Sorazi women were often as strong as their men folk. They were not the pampered women of the empires to the south or the city states far to the west. Their lives were tough and harsh.
“Stay still.”
Her words were short and clipped, straight to the point. They suggested to the hearer that one way or another he was staying still.
“Where are we… going…”
His voice was a hoarse whisper, but at least he could speak now.
She looked away from him, back to applying the paste to his wound.
“Hostenford.”
“What are you putting on my wound?”
He tried to crane his neck to look down but it was not easy. The woman chuckled her soft chuckle again and looked at him.
“Trust me dwarf, you do not want to know.”
Angrim would have gone pale, but he had lost so much blood that in truth if he whent any more pale he may have stopped being visible all together.
“What is your name?”
He tried instead to take his mind off of it.
“Vedis Oktelldottir.”
“I am…”
“Prince Angrim, yes I know. I recognised you from the blot last year.”
Despite himself Angrim grinned. It was a tradition for the highest ranking dwarfs to attend the Sorazi blots, which happened every four years. Most religious ceremonies of his people were long and filled with tradition and sombre faces. But the blots had become something to look forward to, filled with mead and fufta mushrooms and plenty of human women who wanted to try a dwarf. Blots were something to enjoy.
“Rest now.”
Her voice snapped him out of the past as she lay down the cloth.
“We will be arriving soon and you will need your strength.”
She stood and began to walk shakily towards the back of the cart.
“Vedis.”
Angrim didn’t know what made him call out to her as she walked away, for a start the sight of her walking away was not one he wanted over in a hurry, but he did. She turned back to him with an eyebrow raised.
“Yes, dwarf?”
He took the only way out he could. With considerable effort he lay a hand on his chest and lowered his gaze.
“My thanks.”
“Mhmmm…”
There was the sound of her dropping off the cart, and by the time he looked up again she was gone. He lay his head back down again happily. It seemed angels did exist after all, what a bueatif..-
For the second time that day Angrim almost faded out of the universe. He propped himself up and looked down his body, past his beard. So that was why his head was swimming, he put it down to blood loss. With a shrug he let his head hit the make shift pillow of furs. With any luck she would take it as flattering.
The Chronicles of Linionine: Fall - Chapter 1
The first chapter of a NEW mini novel in a NEW fantasy setting. Hopefully I will get to finish this one. Its going to be a bit more racy than before, well OK; a lot.

This first chapter introduces Angrim, an Iron Dwarf prince.
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Bundesrepublik Europa

Head of state:
- President Éliane Daladier
- Chancellor Erwin Rommel
Politics: Liberal Social Nationalism.

Towards the end of may 1941 Europe held its breath. Hitler was dead along with most of his government and Germany was at war, not with an external power like Britain or Russia, but with itself. After the battles of Berlin and Charmes there could be no doubt that the military coup d'etat launched by Himmler had failed in its mission to secure the Reichstag for him.

It was no surprise that the armed resistance attempted by Erwin Rommel was imitated by units of Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe and the elite Valkyries. He had gained great fame and admiration from those he lead through the first few years of the Second Great War.
As Heer units withdrew from Germany and towards Paris, where Rommel had set up his headquarters, they liberated many concentration camps. Though they had of course known something was happening, when they found out what it was their revolution only helped to fuel the fires of revenge.

As confusion finally began to dissipate as a frontline formed along the original Franco-German border, Rommel understood that without the support from the nations which he stilled controlled he could not hope to stop the Third Reich from retaking the ground he had freed.

Following a meeting with Éliane Daladier, former president of France, and Philippe Pétain, leader of the French State, in Paris it was decided that, by granting autonomy to France with the defence of the German military, they could form an alliance for mutual defence. The name if this alliance took some time to create, but after interest from the Belgian, Spanish and Irish governments the name European Republic, or Bundesrepublik Europa, was agreed upon.

It was not long after these terms were agreed upon that the French army began its phase of reconstruction. Supplied by new technology from escaped German engineers and a will to fight refreshed from their humiliation in 1939, the French army took to the field beside their new allies in late 1941.
Valhalla '42: Bundesrepublik Europa overview
A brief overview of the Bundesrepublik Europa from the Valhalla '42 alternate history. More details still to come.
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Kalmar Union by Salamander7734
Kalmar Union
A Swedish Thor tank (Based on a Hungarian Turan II, with a 76mm 17pdr gun in the turret and a new camo scheme.) Infantry are also mostly Hungarian as for some reason Hungarian and Swedish ww2 era uniforms are very similar.

One of the things I HAVE finished for the Valhalla '42 mod.
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Salamander7734

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