Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 583
On the 1st of the 7th month at the western coast of Nubissia where the pamigar republic's Port Saint Niklas was located, six ironclad ships spouting towers of black smoke approached the deep-sea pier. It was a small flotilla of Ironclad consisting of one patrol ship, four destroyers and one armoured cargo ship.
Those six ships were third-generation ironclad warships the region just finished constructing. They were escorting the commander-in-chief of the region, Lord Militant Claude, on his visit to the pamigar republic.
Port Saint Niklas was the largest deep-water port of Moloshik's colony and boasted the status of being the most prosperous port city among the four coastal cities. Port Gilda and Port Mills were both small fishing towns. Port Felimz was also another deep-water port, but it was located near the rural mountainous area and not easy to reach. Thus, it didn't develop as prosperously as Port Saint Niklas did.
After the founding of the pamigar republic, Port Saint Niklas became a rather busy port city. While trade with Moloshik's mainland had ceased, the ships from the region filled up that void. Military and supply aid from the region also came through that port. Eventually, the port grew busier and busier.
As the six ships docked, the cannons at the port's plaza fired ceremonial rounds, startling the white doves in the area away as the crowd at the plaza cheered. The pamigar republic had given Claude the most respectful welcome they could. There were up to a hundred pamigar maidens performing their traditional folk dance of welcome cheerfully while the military band at the front played an energetic and carefree tune all the while a group of high-ranking pamigar officials hurriedly walked to the pier.
Claude disembarked from the new warship, General Strouk (all third-generation ironclad ships of the region were named after legendary figures in Aueran history). He gave the dark-red-skinned pamigar officials a hug one by one. The one of the highest rank there was the prime minister of the republic, a man in his sixties whose smiling face resembled blooming chrysanthemums.
When he got to the docks, a petite and cute pamigar girl put a flower ring on Claude and kissed his cheeks before sheepishly leaving. The other dancing maidens then swarmed in to put flower rings on the others but spared them the kisses. The spirit of hospitality in welcome was in full swing.
The old prime minister then led Claude and the rest to the plaza to inspect the forces of the Pamigar Liberation Front. It seemed that they were deeply influenced by the region. Their ranks were neat and uniform, which earned Claude's praise. The pamigar officials took the praise with pride.
Lastly, the prime minister and Claude gave impassioned speeches to those present at the plaza before getting into the carriage to leave for the banquet venue. After a night's rest, they resumed their journey towards the capital of the republic, Pedapulas.
The journey there usually took two to three days. Throughout the journey, it was really apparent that the pamigar treated Claude's visit with utmost importance. Not only did they maintain that road, they even enacted a traffic blockade to ensure no carriage jams could result and delay Claude's journey. musket-wielding guards also lined both sides of the road.
As a result, the journey felt warm and safe. Claude never had to eat dry rations in the two and a half days of travel, being served with a full meal every lunch. During dinner, the service was even better. Outside Claude's resting quarters were two young and beautiful pamigar women waiting on Claude to call them in.
While he could control his impulses better thanks to his age, some young officers that accompanied him were filled with vigour and couldn't take the loneliness, indulging fully in the women's company. Fortunately, that didn't count as a disciplinary infraction, and it wasn't a taboo for the pamigar either. Claude thus let the matter slide, but not before warning the young officers to keep a tight lip on intel.
At two in the afternoon on the 5th of the 7th month, Claude arrived at Pedapulas. The pamigar's president, Tazinger Nora Taganem, travelled 15 kilometres out of the city as part of Claude's reception. The festivities at Port Saint Niklas were once more repeated in the capital. In the end, Claude and the president went into the same carriage and entered Pedapulas as the onlookers scattered flower petals into the air.
Claude's accommodation was set in Ankers Rose Palace, which used to be the residence of the Moloshikian viceroy. It was called a rose palace due to its colour. Ankers was the name of the designer -- architects of this time loved to plaster their names on their works.
Ankers was a famous architect from Southern Freia. Fifty years ago, he had been commissioned to build a few famous palaces across Moloshik's colony on the western coast. Not long after his return to Moloshik, he fell sick and passed away, leaving behind his famous legacies on Nubissia.
Ankers Rose Palace was situated on a small hill in Pedapulas, standing three storeys tall. One could get a full view of the city from the balcony at the top floor. In the distance was another grand palace built on another hill opposite of Ankers Rose Palace. It was called Jadefis Palace and used to be the accommodation built for the Moloshikian king, but now it was used as the current residence of the president; an appropriate residence for the most powerful man in the republic.
One of the reasons for Claude's visit was to celebrate the third anniversary of the pamigar republic's founding. The 7th of the 7th month was their national day. Claude could see from the balcony the colourful new flags that lined the houses in the city alongside the lanterns and flowers on display.
A group of pamigar maidservants came to report that the convoy the palace sent had arrived to pick up Claude and the rest to Jadefis Palace for the celebration. Claude rallied his men and rode to the palace, only to return rather drunk after a night's festivities.
However, he regretted it immediately the next day when he woke up beside two pamigar women without a speck of cloth on their bodies. Remnants of the memories of him going wild after he returned still lingered in his mind as he rubbed his sore waist with a pained smile. The pamigar loved to add aphrodisiac into their wine, which caused him to lose control and bed the two maidservants last night.
Tazinger was quite considerate about the long journey they had and knew they needed rest, so he didn't arrange for any activities on the 6th. However, there was no avoiding the banquet that night. However, the moment Claude was served with the aphrodisiac-laced wine, he couldn't help but ask Tazinger why they served them to guests instead of normal fruit wine.
The answer wasn't one he expected. Tazinger directly told Claude that the pamigar republic's policy was to increase their population. For the sake of their independence, they had suffered heavy losses across three years of war, losing up to 500 thousand youths in the process. The current population of the pamigar race numbered only around seven million, and the disproportionate loss of males disrupted the fine balance they had. There were far more women than there were men currently.
So, the parliament members of the republic adopted a policy to boost birth rates by mandating that every pamigar man had to take two or more wives and father at least four children to be considered having done his civic duty. Consequently, much of the wine sold in the nation was of the libido-enhancing variety to aid the men in fulfilling their civic duties.
As the president himself, he also had to carry out his duty to the nation, so serving the finest booster wine during the banquet was a given. If he didn't drink the wine, he wouldn't be able to satisfy the seven hungry wolves of wives he had at home.
Claude, however, argued that they were visitors and not pamigar, so they didn't have to drink the same thing. Tazinger, however, smiled and said that the guests were free to help themselves. It was a win-win transaction; the guests got their fill of women while the nation would get more youths. Every single member of Claude's cohort were assigned two maidservants trained in the art of sensual acts to ensure their satisfaction.
It would be all the better if they were impregnated. The children would be red-skinned like their mothers anyway and considered to be a pamigar as well. They would receive the finest care, so Claude didn't have to worry about enjoying himself to the fullest. As a friend and guest, the least Claude and the rest could do to thank their host was to help them increase the nation's population however they could.
Claude went from flabbergastment to confused laughter. The pamigar were willing to go so far just to increase their population. He then said if they were served that wine again, they wouldn't be able to promise they'd be able to attend the national celebration the next day. Missing it would be nothing short of disastrous for the republic.
With that threat in mind, Tazinger finally relented and switched out some of those wines for normal fruit wines for the guests. But when Claude returned to his room tipsy, he was sandwiched between the two teasing maidservants once more. It didn't take long before his member steeled up...
Claude spent the next boring day in much agony. He had a seat beside the president on the balcony on the first floor and had to wave nonstop to the parades passing by him. The parade was the main attraction of the national celebrations. Tens of thousands of the citizens of Pedapulas would cheer as they marched past the plaza with their lavishly decorated parade floats. They all cheered for Claude and the president before going off to enjoy the food served across the long tables that lined the road.
Then followed the parades from other towns and cities in the republic of varying sizes, ranging from smaller ones with tens of members to big ones with hundreds. All of the representatives of different locales in the nation would march across the plaza and sing praises and cheers for their leaders. Claude stood and waved with the president for almost the whole day and ended up with a sore arm.
There was another grand banquet during the night, but this time, no fruit wine was served, only booster wine. Even though Claude controlled the amount he drunk, he still couldn't hold it in at night and only got a good night's sleep after discharging his pent-up tension with two maidservants.
The 8th of the 7th month should've been the day the pamigar republic and the region negotiated matters of trade, but Claude woke up to find the rest of his cohort being too drained to do anything productive, so they delayed the matter by a day and decided to not participate in the banquet held that night. They would simply have dinner at Ankers Rose Palace and rest up to recover their stamina. Otherwise, they would be sapped dry again and again by the wine and maidservants.
A day later, the rest of them seemed somewhat restored, so Claude decided to hold trade talks with the pamigar officials. There were two main agendas of the meeting. The first was economic and military aid offered by the region, and the second concerned the region's desire to lease Port Felimz for use as a military base.
The economic aid was the more complicated of the matters. Apart from offering a low-interest loan of six million crowns over a period of five years, there were other aspects such as investments into civilian technology. For instance, one of the region's paper manufacturers had their eyes on the endless fields of reed near Milankorda River and wanted to construct a paper factory there. They needed the republic to offer tax cuts and favourable conditions.
Among those in Claude's cohort were 40 plus businessmen the region's council picked out. The purpose of their visit was to invest in the pamigar republic and use the region's influence on the republic to take over the market of raw materials. Thankfully, their demands weren't excessive and negotiations wrapped up within three days.
Apart from investors, the overseas bank also sent representatives with the goal of starting branches in the pamigar republic. They would also help the republic start their own bank and issue their own currency that would be pegged to the region's paper currency in price. The establishment of a complete financial and taxation system, as well as external relations as well as regulations on trade practices, formed the foundation for the trading relationship.
Regarding military aid, Tazinger asked the region's help to train four standing corps and provide the necessary gear, as well as help form 20 local garrison forces.
The request came as quite a shock to Claude and the rest. But when they considered the dangerous border situation the republic had, they could understand their anxiety and desire to prevent a fatal invasion.
Claude stopped the meeting and personally met with Tazinger and some other officials. He managed to convince them to hold off on military expansion first and focus on the reorganisation of their four existing standing corps. They ought to reduce two of the standing corps in size and merge them with the capital guard folk while eliminating the old and weak. New recruits Should be trained to replace the older troops, who would, in turn, be transferred to the twelve new local garrison lines.
If they were going to expand like Tazinger initially planned, the pamigar republic would have eight standing corps and another 20 garrison forces in total. Not only would the limited number of young males be recruited into the forces, the nation wouldn't be able to sustain that huge a force to begin with and would be left with no funds nor manpower for further development.
Fortunately, Claude corrected their ways. They should focus on cultivating a small number of elite troops instead. He promised them that Thundercrash would be transferred to the pamigar republic once they returned from the Freian mainland to help defend against others that have ill designs against the pamigar nation.
At the same time, the region would send officers to aid in the training and downsizing of the republic's troops and also provide the gear they needed. They would also help them set up their own arms and ammunition factories, as well as an officer-training academy in the capital.
After negotiations concluded, Claude and Tazinger signed the lease agreement for Port Felimz. The lease was quite a good deal as far as the pamigar were concerned, as having the region's troops based there was gratis defence of their coasts. So, only asked for a low rent of ten thousand crowns per year and signed a lease for 99 years in one go.