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The Empire of Bluewood, Exile's Passage, Port Of Sunder

Many years back. the Port of Sunder used to be a small fishing town, sited at within the northern fringe of the growing Empire. Over the years, it grew larger and larger as the closest gateway to the large island that was known as Exile's Island as escaped slaves sought a safe haven away from the Empire and the straits between the two became known as the Exile's Passage.

Now, the bustling coastal city was filled with criminal scum, syndicates, slavers, escaped slaves, pirates, and other villains or anyone with the need to escape the law. The Imperial governor closed both eyes over the lawlessness of the city as long as his and his soldiers' pockets were filled with gold and only stepping in if things might catch the attention of the Throne.

Illicit trade and commerce flourished within the Port, and soon even became a known secret of the Empire, with even the previous generations of Emperors and the Court knew of the ongoing activities of the Port there but chose to let it be. Instead, the Port was even used by the Emperors themselves to fund piracy, smugglers, and any illicit activities that needed to be done for the Empire.

The inhabitants of the Port woke up as usual from the sleep and began their day with their usual activities except found an army of Imperial soldiers bearing down onto the Port in long lines. The Imperial Governor who was still in his bed hugging two slave girls on both sides was rudely woken up by his servants.

His initial anger at the disturbance of his beauty sleep faded rapidly when he heard the reason. His pudgy face changed colour several times like a chameleon before he shrieked for his servants to dress him, kicking the two slave girls off his bed in his panic and haste.

Finally dressed acceptably, he huffed and puffed his way behind his retainers and rode his carriage to the main gates of the city's walls. Already the way was cleared by his soldiers and the streets were already lined up with curious gawkers and onlookers. Dozens of unsavoury characters spat and cursed under their breath at the sight of the Imperial soldiers that appeared at the gates.

The Governor's carriage came to a screeching halt and he wobbled slightly down the steps let down by the footman. The Governor sucked in a deep breath before he came before the group of mounted Knights that was looking around their surroundings with keen interests.

"Welcome to Port Sunder!" The Governor put on his best smile as he observed each person before him before facing the Knight Colonel whose rank was displayed on the side of his chest plate. "What bring you esteemed Knights to... this side of the Empire?"

Typically, an Imperial Governor would outrank most Imperial Knights unless he or she holds a General rank and in this case, he outranked the Knight Colonel that was before him. Yet, he kept his tone as friendly as possible as he did not want to create unnecessary troubles, especially with someone that has an army behind his back that outnumbered his own troops.

The Knight Colonel pushed his face helm up and revealed a frowning warrior's face. He stopped his observation of his surroundings and turned his attention to the fat smiling Governor and handed him a scroll case which he retrieved from his saddlebag. "I am Knight Colonel Sander! Here on the behest of the Emperor! May he live for a thousand years!"

With a smooth motion, Knight Colonel Sander swung off the saddle of his reptilian mount and waited with an impatient frown as he watched the shaking hands of the Governor open the scroll case. The fat Governor's expression was interesting as his face seemed to change colours a couple of times before turning pale. "This... this..."

"Now you know why we are here!" Knight Colonel Sander said curtly. "My men will need billeting! And also the walls..."

He gave a sneer at the condition of the walls before continuing, "They need to be fixed and strengthened!"

"But... but..." The Governor stammered as his mind seemed to be overwhelmed. "This... this..."

"Hurry up my man!" Knight Colonel Sander gave a smack on the Governor's shoulder which knocked him back slightly and bringing him out of his daze. "Another five companies of foot will arrive in three days!"

"In this time, my men will start fortifying the city!" The Knight Colonel said in a tone that blocked all objections. "As you have read in the letter, the Emperor has deemed me to be in charge of the defences of Port Sunder until further commanded!"

Without waiting for a reply from the stupified Governor, Knight Colonel Sander turned to his retainers and started issuing orders. The companies of soldiers shook their formations out and started marching into the city.

The Governor remained dumbstruck as he watched block after block of marching soldiers came through the main city gates and beasts of burden dragging dozens of black iron tube on wheels.

"My Lord?" The city's Guard Commander stepped up next to the Governor and urgently pulled his sleeves. "What is going on? Why... is the Imperial Army here?"

"All is gone!" The fat Governor stammered in a frightened tone. "War is coming..."

"War?" The Governor's retainers all stared at each other in confusion. "With who, my lord?"

"I don't know!" The Governor hissed in despair. "The Emperor wants me to give all support to the Knight Colonel... the upgrade and repairs of the city wall, recruitment, weapons and supplies... All of it to be out of my own pocket..."

The Guard Commander cast fugtive glances with the rest of the Governor's staff as they turned nervous at the words of the Governor. They like all the others had clearly pinched money here and there off the coffers or some done other things to line their pockets.

The Governor suddenly seemed to panic as he realised something. He hurried back into his carriage and snapped at his footmen. "Hurry! Back to the estate!"

He sat back in the thickly cushioned seat thinking hard of how to hide his wealth and not let the Knight Colonel find out! He must rush back quickly to save his money!

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United Nations, Hope Naval Station

"What in the world is that?" Mills asked as he, Bartley, Koing, and James, all four of them from previous UNS Singapore's Marine Detachment Section Two were walking down neatly arranged streets of Hope Naval Station after having a meal outside the base. Mills gestured to a small rectangular single storey building on the side of the street that he suddenly spotted.

The building in question had what appeared to be three olive green 155 mm artillery shells with a single yellow band were stacked side by side together and were fixed onto the facade of the structure right above the doorway. A pair of iron sculptures that looked suspiciously like the monstrosity that was welded onto the bow of the UNS Vengenace sat on both sides of the doorway, like some kind of guardian.

A small group of goblins and even several elves all in various work clothing and naval uniforms were gathered before the doorway. Curious, Mills joined the group to listen to what the goblin standing on a large crate was saying and the rest joined him.

"Praise tee Faith, Brothers!" The goblin dressed in a robe that seemed to patched from several different uniforms cried out. As Mills got closer, he realised the robe the goblin was wearing was actually an old flak jacket that someone or goblin had cut and sewed some old SDF trousers onto the sleeveless jacket to create sleeves and also sewn the back of a SDF uniform to extend the jacket, creating something like a robe that was too large for the goblin.

"Wee ar tee Faith of Superior Firepower!" The robed goblin crowed. "No ting can beat tee Firepower!"

"Ploys! Schemes! Tricks!" The goblin seemed very agitated as he hopped about on one foot to the other on the wobbling crate. "Ay shall bee useless in the Face of Superior Firepower!"

"HMMMMM..." The gathered goblins bobbed their heads as if they agreed to the statement spoken by the robed goblin and a couple of elves appeared interested as well. Mills leaned back and whispered to James. "What the hell is this? Some kind of... morale talk?"

James gave a helpless shrug as he replied in a low voice. "The goblins came out with some new religon... again..."

"This time its called the Faith of Superior Firepower..." James shook his head in helplessness. "They worship... guess what...?"

"Guns?" Mills made a guess while rolling his eyes. "Firepower?"

"Yup!" James nodded. "They go around preaching about Firepower... how great a boom can be... and nothing can stand in the way of a great boom or bang..."

"What kind of insane shit is this?" Mills sucked in a deep breath in disbelief. "And the higher ups allow it?"

"Well... it's not a cult nor some kind of harmful... thing..." James gave a shrug again. "Besides, it seemed to be gaining traction with the people here... especially the goblins AND orcs..."

"What the fuck?" Mills cursed. "I thought goblins and orcs don't mix well together..."

"Yes..." James nodded and seemed to be either nodding or shrugging at Mills. "That's one reason why we don't see any orcs as sailors nor airmen... And rarely any goblins in the Army or Marines..."

"So... this religion..." Bartley suddenly spoke. "Many has joined?"

"Well... I guess so?" James shugged again. "I think its harmless and... It is good to have something for our people to believe in... other than other Gods, I guess?"

"Hell..." Mills watched the crowd that was interested in the Faith of Superior Firepower raise their right hands up like some kind of scout's salute, their thumb and little finger touching each other while the other three fingers were spread wide, mimicking the three artillery shells on the facade of the building. "Better a religion we called our own than the crazy Gods on this planet!"

"Seriously," Koing spoke up. "I think I can understand their thinking..."

"The goblins?" James asked as he watched the new converts of the Faith filed in one by one into the building which he guessed must be some kind of church, or temple or shrine.

"I mean, we soldiers are taught the rifleman's creed right?" Koing explained. "It's beaten into us to hold our rifle dear, and if you see it in another way, isn't that considered firepower?"

"Didn't we defeated all our enemies with superior firepower?" Koing added. "Killed that hero dude and that Emperor with railguns?"

"We razed an entire city with rocket batteries..." Koing continued listing out their achievements. "And our aircraft bombed cities and shot down many dragons?"

"Yea, and we burnt that snake god too," Mills chipped in. "And kicked the Protectorate's butt! Damn... I wished I was there... I mean they had a super giant robot! I always wanted to shoot a super giant robot..."

"And now we have a super carrier," Bartley said in a monotone.

"Yes, and now we have a super carrier," Koing repeated Bartley's words. "Isn't all these... superior firepower?"

"Well... I guess so..." James conceded the point before he let out a small laugh. "This world is fucked up."

"Yup," Mills nodded. "We live in a fucked up world but at least... It's more fun here!"

"Fuck the fun, man!" James shook his head. "We lost friends alright?"

Mills gave an embossed laugh as he scratched his cropped hair awkwardly. Bartley stepped forward and suddenly said, "I would like to listen to what they are preaching inside."

"Oh shit, not you big guy!" Mills was surprised. "You want to join this weird shit goblin craze?"

Bartley gave a shrug and walked up to the robed goblin, "Don't know, might be good."

"Oh fuck..."

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