Shirekeep (Shireroth): The Imperial Republic was today stunned by a suicide bombing carried out in the Landsraad Chamber, followed within the hour by a further blast in the Imperial Assembly of the Jingdaoese Empire in Epoli.
The first explosion in Shirekeep came as members were debating a resolution to invite the newly acclaimed Kaiser to address the Chamber on the details of his domestic and foreign policy.
One of the points in which the proponents of the resolution had sought more clarity was the recently announced decision of the Jingdaoese Empire to rename the city of Aracigrad in the former Duchy of Kildare. The point of contention was the implied repudiation of a treaty between the Imperial Republic and the ‘Allied Forces’, of which Kildare was a party, wherein the status of Aracigrad was guaranteed as a quid pro-quo for Shireroth recognising Kildare’s independence. Kildare was subsequently subject to a takeover by Jingdao, which subsequently declared itself unable to fulfil the terms of the aforementioned treaty with Shireroth.
It was at this point in the debate that the security of the Landsraad was inexplicably compromised by an Elwynnese hospital porter, believed to have been involved in an earlier incident in the Emirate of Alalehzamin & Utasia, who gained entrance to the debating chamber and made a mad dash towards the Praetor, before detonating himself prematurely, killing only himself.
Not long afterwards, a further detonation occurred on the floor of the Imperial Assembly in Epoli, where Servant J5671 rushed at Prince Joseph Myksos of Batavia and, apparently, once he had approached close enough, was detonated. We say, was detonated, because it has been reported that the explosive charge he delivered was contained within his person, put there surgically. It has subsequently been reported that Servant J5671 was in fact Elwynnese national Reginald Smythe.
Elements in the Jingdao Government have sought to make great play on this, declaring that there was no way that Shireroth could have responded with like for like retaliation without prior knowledge of the impending terror attack on Shirekeep. Yet this is not a credible stance to uphold. Reginald Smythe was an employee of the ESB-Jörmungandr Group and a former Petty Officer of the Imperial Shirerithian Navy, a level-headed family man with a wife and sixteen year old daughter, who was working as a Prospector in the southern island archipelago known as Yardistan. He was, by all accounts, successful and well liked, being listed by the ESB Group as one of its select band of ‘notable employees’. With a family and good prospects, Mr Smythe did not and still does not fit the profile of a suicide bomber.
What then could account for his behaviour? His wife, Lucille Smythe, is at present being questioned by the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Cudgels, yet she is reportedly unable to account for his actions. Sources within the Corps allege that to her knowledge Reginald travelled back to the island county of Yardistan a week ago to follow up on a lucrative trade deal with some new overseas clients. The ESB has no reports of any such meeting, but it is not unknown for prospectors to undertake private trading in addition to company work. It is a practice the ESB secretariat is trying to stamp out but which nonetheless persists.
Suspicion therefore turns to the Tegong, the notorious and fanatical secret police devoted to the Emperor of Jingdao, the so-called Heavenly Light, a tyrant who does not hesitate to unleash weapons of mass-destruction against his own cowed and indoctrinated subjects. From Elijah Danielion to their own allie Taodosius of Kildare, the Tegong have a proven track record of luring, abducting, brainwashing and murdering foreigners in pursuit of their master’s own depraved ambition. How is their ambition served now? By seeking to discredit Kaiser Hjalmar, by drawing Shireroth into a dispute and conflict that would permit Jingdao to animate its moribund Blackrock Pact into that it was always intended to be, a project to drive Shireroth from the last remnants of what was once its integral Duchy of Kildare, but more than that, the agenda of the ‘Heavenly Light’ is a war against life itself. Jingdao is a regime which, to this day, continues to quote a lecture by the Empress Sisera with glowing and uncritical approval:
[…] a single murder is just the beginning, only a percent of the population is willing to do this so if they kill one person that is not enough to stop the growth of the living. Kill enough to make a difference and do it in Germania’s name. […] this is done by the killing of someone close, your parents, your sister, your boyfriend…
Given such a mindset it is impossible for the Shirerithians not to harbour doubts.