Restoration of the deathless (part I) by Martin Sjöstrand

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As a result, they had lost a lot of ground to the Keldanians in the first few days of that conflict, and had had to quickly redirect their forces back to the south. However, even after increasing their defenses to the south, the war had gone badly for Latak. It had appeared as if the Keldanians had a brilliant strategist and tactician who had anticipated their every move, whereas they had had no clue as to what the Keldanians would do next.

In the middle of that war, the Keldanian president had faced an untimely death. In his place, a man named Meral had arisen. As charismatic and attractive a man as could ever be found, Meral had quickly gained a lot of popularity among the Keldanians. He had accused the Latakians of murdering the former president – something which was completely untrue, of course – and promised the Keldanians that those responsible would answer for it.

Meral's power had increased rapidly in Keldania. Soon after his rise to the position of the leader, the last vestiges of democracy had been crushed out of existence under the fist of his terrible power. As a part of what was seemingly an agenda of megalomaniac madness, he had changed his title from president to emperor. He even exchanged the former green and blue flag of Keldania into frightening one with a pitch black mace against a background of red and orange flames. In the last few months, he had also had anti-Latak propaganda spread hatred night and day over the Keldanian public media channels.

Feeling that he was behind a lot of the grievances her nation were suffering, President Tira Beldar had ordered the Latakian security service to assassinate him. The security service had never before failed to assassinate a designated target. Emperor Meral had changed that. The agents who were supposed to do the job were never heard from again.

When the war had gone badly, she had reluctantly, as a last resort, ordered nuclear missiles fired at Keldania. Even that had failed; they had all misfired, exploding on the platforms from which they were launched as they were about to take off, ending that hope.

The security of those platforms had been so extreme that sabotaging the nuclear missiles should have been impossible for the agents of a foreign nation. Yet it was a fact. The missiles had failed, and it certainly had the look of sabotage.

Now, Tilya City, capital of Latak, was falling to Keldania. Latak, the mightiest nation in the world for centuries, would soon be nothing but a memory. A proud tradition would die, and history would always remember her as the last president, as well as the president who had failed to keep the mighty nation alive. She knew the idea was absurd, but it felt as if someone had planned it all. It felt like some sinister will was pulling all the strings and had masterminded the downfall of her nation. If such a schemer existed, Emperor Meral certainly seemed like a good candidate for being the one. Or perhaps the Keldanian emperor was merely a puppet to some other schemer.

She and her escort were outdoors now, and they were about to reach her presidential jet, the airplane that would take her away, bringing her to safety.

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