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Interview with Commander in Chief Broderick of the New Alphatian Confederate Empire

by: Dorrik Stonecleaver and Belzamith Fingertackles.

Belzamith : Commander Broderick, thank you very much for receiving us in your new headquarters here on the fantastic island that is Ionace. I guess no one can enter in this sensible building without a good reason.

Broderick : And you're right. This building, as well as the Parliament a few blocks away, is well protected. Not only by mundane means, such as guards, but also with powerful magical means. All magical knowledge was not lost when Alphatia sank beneath the waves a few years ago, and this building has been enchanted with wide-area, permanent spells that protect it against such things like magical spying or unwanted teleportation, in the manner that was done with the Imperial Palace.

Belzamith : I see, but do you have plans to make it look, well, better? I mean, it is so spartan... Maybe some paintings on the walls would...

Dorrik : It just looks like a military building, stupid gnome. Practical and effective. In one word, dwarvish. In fact, I would even say it goes along quite well with the city of Denwarf-Hurgon. Why did you choose to establish the centre of the government here, Commander?

Broderick : Well, many reasons converged to this place being chosen. One of them was that we needed many buildings that could host our government officials immediately until we could construct new ones, and the abandoned buildings of Denwarf-Hurgon, that had resisted the sinking and earthquakes...

Dorrik : ... they had been built by dwarves...

Broderick : ... were a good solution.

Dorrik : But there are other free buildings elsewhere, including the ones on Aquas, where former Emperor Zandor had his quarters. Certainly not as sturdy as good old dwarves' works, but...

Broderick : Definitely. But the seat of the confederated government is a very symbolic place to the people of Alphatia. Ionace is doubly symbolic : It is not situated on any of the member state, making it a sort of neutral ground, and it was once part of mainland Alphatia, helping giving to the peoples that form the NACE a sentiment of unity and loyalty to the old ways of Alphatia and Empress Eriadna.

Dorrik : Is Eriadna still alive in the Hollow World, as the rumour goes, or was that only a plot to make the various kingdoms unite together?

Broderick : Indeed she is. The Hollow World exists, as has proven the return of the now famous Karameikan Polar Expedition. And Alphatia exists down there. The Council does rule in Empress Eriadna's name.

Belzamith : Then, why did you keep the information for yourself all that time, until you had to unveil the secret because of the return of the polar expedition? What other grand secrets are you hiding? Do you intend to take the Hollow World for yourself?

Broderick : There is nothing hidden here. The existence of the Hollow World was public, even though nobody really believed in it until recently. We didn't reveal the survival of Alphatia within the Hollow World because at the time the NACE wasn't united and stable, and this event could have caused trouble in the population of the Confederation, or even an aggression from an outside power. Now that the country is more stable and strong, we don't have such concerns any more.

Belzamith : But the initial revelation of the existence of the Hollow World wasn't the fact of the Alphatians either, but Claransa's famous book. Isn't there someone out there trying to hide the Hollow World? Are you trying to keep it for you alone?

Broderick : Not at all. The Hollow World is not ours, and the NACE has no plans to conquer it. As the Council declared, all friendly nations like Karameikos are welcomed to use the North Pole route and establish permanent contact or trade with the Hollow World nations, including Alphatia.

Dorrik : Commander, you say the NACE has no intentions to conquer the Hollow World. But you have conducted more than one successful wars lately, in Esterhold and elsewhere, and you seem quite aggressive, militarily speaking. Does this mean you intend to launch wars in some areas of the outer world?

Broderick : Not at all. The NACE is a peaceful nation. The wars you are speaking of were not wars, but internal interventions to overthrow dictators and help re-establish order. I don't think anyone will regret the fall of the kings of Esterhold. We have signed treaties with various nations, and we've ratified the Isle of Dawn Treaty with Thyatis.

Belzamith : Now, does that have to do with political or economic reasons? Who is trying to gain power here?

Dorrik : Hmmmff. Who cares? Most people only want to know if there will be a war, not why. They don't care why their house will be burned, just if it will.

Belzamith : Well, I think all people have the right to know precisely what is going on in our marvellous world, from the actual effects to what is going on behind the scenes. After all, there must be some mastermind behind everything...

Dorrik : By Kagyar!

Broderick : Well, if you must know, it's both. Our money is going into rebuilding the Esterhold Peninsula and the Isle of Dawn, and no one wants to conquer anything else either. No, there is no mastermind trying to make peace. It's just what everyone wants right now. The last war with Glantri was enough for Alphatia.

Belzamith : So you claim...

Dorrik : Oh, give it up... most people can figure out what is happening on their own.

Belzamith : It's the principal of the thing that you have to ask all the question.

Broderick : Please, gentlemen, you seem more warlike than the NACE will ever be...

Dorrik : Oh, sorry. It's just that Belzamith's questions are so stupid.

Belzamith : What?

Dorrik : So, not war but market ventures?

Broderick : Yes. Within the Confederation, since we have a vast market and different regional products, and goods are no longer taxed when travelling all around the Confederation. As for other nations, the Council has signed trade agreements with Aeria and with Karameikos, and hopes to sign other such agreements with the Western Defence League or other countries soon. We also hope to find a way to establish reliable means of communication and travel with the Hollow World and Alphatia.

Belzamith : So, dear Commander, if the NACE has no military plans, you'll have some spare time. You see, I believe that everyone has someone with whom he is destined to have a great love story. Maybe you'll have time to find that woman now?

Dorrik : Bel, you bother him with your questions.

Broderick : The army is my family and Alphatia is my love. I serve Empress Eriadna and answer to the Council.

Dorrik : What is this Council of the NACE exactly, Commander?

Broderick : The Council is the ruling body of the Confederation. It is the existence of that very body that turned the New Alphatian Empire into a Confederation, because it is composed of the rulers of every nation that composes the NACE. It decides policies that concern more than one country, like foreign policy, treaties, trade agreements, and such. Votes are held at the majority, except for very special matters, with the Commander in Chief having a vote in case of a tie. The Council rules in the name of Empress Eriadna of mighty Alphatia, who lives and rules in the Hollow World. Note that the Esterhold Peninsula has only one siege at the Parliament, held by the President of the Republic.

Dorrik : Concerning the Republic of Esterhold, what will it be like now? A republic like that of Darokin? I also heard a rumour of a true democracy, similar to what the Hin have in the Five Shires or Leeha.

Broderick : Frankly, I don't know. I know Favian Vern quite well, since we have fought together in Blackrock and then in Verdan. I deeply respect him and his ideas, and I know of his profound belief in the virtues of democracy. But I don't know how he will do this on such a scale. I mean, the population is not much more numerous than that of the Five Shires, at least if we don't count the wild Jennites that live scattered throughout the Peninsula, but the country is 100 times bigger. And most of the population, especially the Jennites, is illiterate. But I'm sure Favian doesn't want to restrict voting to the rich, as is the case in Darokin. I don't believe there will be any election for some time, I would say at least not for another year.

Belzamith : So, who is your favourite candidate for those elections?

Dorrik : He just told you there would be no elections in the near future, so how could he have a favourite, uh?

Broderick : Yes you're right, it's too soon to tell. Moreover, I wouldn't tell you. Whatever, I can't see any other candidate for the moment; I think Favian Vern is the only person capable of holding this position.

Dorrik : With this new system being set up in Esterhold, and the fact that the Council, as you described it, seems also to be run in a democratic way, will the whole NACE promote this new system at the level of the Confederation? Will the countries of the NACE all become democracies, and the NACE the biggest democracy of Mystara?

Broderick : I don't think so. At least, I'm not in favour of it. Democracy is appealing, at least in theory, but I strongly believe in a strong, firm rule. Democracy may be dangerous. Remember that the NACE remains an empire, ruled by Empress Eriadna. It is true that the Council functions as a democracy at its level, but this is a democracy of kings, not a democracy of the people like it will probably be in Esterhold. And it is not the role of the Council to dictate the kind of government each member state must have; each nation retains most of its prerogatives, including the right to edict its laws, taxes, and of course form of government.

Belzamith : Commander, don't you think that illusions are neat spells, capable of making a bunch of bright lights and fancy noises? How often do you cast them? Are they effective on the battlefield?

Dorrik : Commander Broderick isn't a stupid illusionist gnome. He isn't even one of those haughty wizards, he's a soldier, like a sturdy dwarf. He can't cast your little tricky spells.

Belzamith : Oh, right, but he has many wizards at his service, doesn't he? They can cast illusions...

Dorrik : Oh Kagyar! Commander, please excuse my friend and his *stupid* questions, and thank you for your time and your truthful answers.

Broderick : I thank you for your interest in the NACE.

Belzamith : Thank you very much, Sir.