|A map based on a Crusader Kings 2/Europa Universalis IV game as Austria, wherein Japan is successfully "claimed" by the Empire.|
St. Valentine's Flowers: an AU Hetalia TaleSt. Valentine's Flowers: an AU Hetalia Tale by mdc01957
St. Valentine's Flowers
A Snapshot of Another, Forgotten World through the Nations' Eyes
Over the skies of the Austro-Hungarian Crownlands. 14 February, A.D. 1916
“Seriously, Roderich?!” the Kingdom of Prussia chuckled, smirking with disbelief as his cup of coffee threatened to spill onto the carpeted floor. “You forgot what day it is?”
“A Monday, ja?” The Austrian half of the Crownlands allowed a frown to line his face even as he forced back the urge to strangle the German. “And as much as I appreciate you accompanying me back, Gilbert, that is the last time I let you drag my person around Konigsberg on a Biergarten contest!”
“Come now, you stuck-up aristocrat. You could have at least bought something for Valentine’s Day beforehand. Surely, you don’t need your own little Kaiser to keep reminding you.”
“Franz Ferdinand is not a child anymore. And do not dare patro
|*WIPs in progress*|
We'll Make It Out, Together Ch.11949, Soviet Russia
The wooden doors to the basement creaked open. A silhouette of a man trailed down the stairs. He grumbled about how "demeaning" and "embarrassing" this was.
He reached the ground with a loud huff. Finally taking in his surroundings, what he saw in front of him was an absolute amazement. A woman with long brown hair sat on the floor. The last time he had seen her, she had looked perfectly healthy. Now she looked frail and malnourished. She picked away at various items and put them back in their proper spots.
The man's red eyes filled with hope for the women to be who he suspected. "Lizzie?" His words were barely a whisper. Elizaveta – as she preferred to be called – looked up. Her greens met his reds with an equal amount of small hope.
"Gil." She breathed. For the first time in years she felt truly happy.
Gilbert gave a big grin. "Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes." He sat down beside her. He remembered where they were once more and lost his signature smil
Here's something I've been working on for quite some time now, as a request from and his Dawnverse.
This one in particular follows a "What if?" AU for his Dawnverse wherein the principal figure, Persephone Eosopoulou (a powerful telepath from a dystopian world where the US and Nazi Germany fight a twisted version of the Cold War) doesn't arrive in the medieval Byzantine Empire (which sets off the Dawnverse)...but in Europe on January 1914, not long before World War I. While taking up the name "Adalind Sonnengott" Long story short, history changes significantly. Especially when there's a being who could render trench warfare obsolete with move of her arm.
The vast majority of the details and content come from Helios himself, though I've also added my own contributions as well as a few shout-outs to certain works. I'll leave it to you, the viewer/reader to figure it out.
In addition I made a point to make it at least as historically authentic as possible, putting into account the circumstances at the start of World War I. As a bit of trivia, some of the Germanized names in Africa are actually based on either the official names of certain places in German East Africa in real life or their German forms now. And yes, "Sonnengott" is a Germanized version of "sun god." Aka, Helios.
Also, just to be safe, this is a work of fiction. Done in collaboration with , who has every right to do with this as is seen fit.
In any case, hope you enjoy!
EDIT: Did some last-minute polishing on the text, just to be sure!
The dawn of the 20th Century offered the promise of a bright new era. It did, but not as the visionaries of the age saw it. For this era began in January 1914, when a strange light appeared over the hinterlands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before vanishing in Turkish Anatolia. While papers at that time noticed superficial similarities to the Tunguska Event six years earlier, it was an otherwise insignificant event. Or so it seemed, for not long after strange rumors began circulating of a pale, dark-haired girl barely into adulthood, first in Constantinople, then on a train in the Balkans. Such rumors spoke of unbelievable feats that could only be worth mentioning in a tabloid, but one name kept coming up: Adalind Sonnengott.
It was in Sarajevo that same year, however that Adalind’s name would truly enter the pages of history. Franz Ferdinand, Habsburg heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was in the city with his wife when a member of the Serbia-based “Black Hand” made an attempt on his life. A young woman stood in the way of the gunman and thwarted the attack with such ease that the Habsburg Prince was at a loss for words. At her insistence, she was urgently brought before Emperor Franz Joseph himself in Vienna, where she not only revealed herself to be a “telepath” gifted with seemingly unnatural power, but also swore fealty to the throne and Empire in the traditional custom. What wasn’t traditional, even as the Serbian crisis spiraled quickly into what would soon be called the Great War, was her desire to fight on the battlefield as a military officer.
While the Habsburgs agreed to grant her that request, it was initially met with disbelief and ridicule among the nobility and military. After all, despite her fame in saving the heir apparent, the prospect of a young woman fighting and leading men into battle seemed absurd. Such notions were dashed when Austro-Hungarian forces engaged the Russian Empire in Galicia and elsewhere in the Eastern Front. Wherever she went, victory was assured – and death to her enemies, whether with “telepathic” powers or by her own hands. Tales of Adalind’s gallantry, fervor and power soon spread not just across the realm but even in neighboring Germany, in the process gaining ever more respect in court. Not even Italy’s declaration of war against the Central Powers in 1915 would deter her or morale-strong soldiers she commanded.
Despite the hardships and chaos, it wasn’t long before the tides of the Great War were turning in the Habsburgs’ favor. After a crushing victory over the Russians near Kiev in February 1916, an “honorable peace” was signed with Tsar Nicholas II in exchange for freeing Poland and the Baltics once “peace befell all the Continent;” it’s suspected by some that the mysterious deaths of certain Russian “Bolsheviks” led by one Vladimir I. Lenin in Switzerland when the “honorable peace” took place were no coincidence.
With the Russians effectively defeated, the eastern and Balkan battlefields became a quick burn. With the approval of the War Ministry and Emperor Franz Ferdinand, having ascended the throne from the late Franz Joseph, Adalind soon turned to the static, bloodied Western Front. Ostensibly leading an expeditionary force to aid German forces near Verdun and the Somme, she wasted no time in breaking the stalemate. In a few, decisive shows of force against the British and French forces, she effectively made it possible for the Central Powers to move into Belgium and even Paris with little resistance. Before the Germans could make a move however, Adalind chose to offer the Entente one last chance to surrender peacefully, which was quickly accepted. By August 1916, a series of peace accords known as the Treaty of Munich was finalized, based partially on the proposals of then-heir apparent Karl von Habsburg.
Combined with the previous “honorable peace” with Russia, the Treaty helped reshape much of the Continent, even as it reformed the existing status quo. The victors, though largely coming from the Habsburgs, made an effort to express clemency and compromise over retribution whenever reasonable; the decision to grant even the frontier territories of both Germany and Austria-Hungary a plebiscite on whether to join what was then the fledging Kingdom of Poland was one such example, as much as it caused tensions with the Germans. For Adalind Sonnengott’s valor and loyalty, she became a Countess, the first Gräfin von Odenburg-Sopron.
What could not have been foreseen at the time were the breakdown of civil order in France around 1918 and the rise of the Franco-Syndicalists in 1920 attracting those disillusioned by what was seen as “betrayal” and “ineptitude” by the French government. By 1923, over a million Frenchmen had fled to Algeria and the loyalist Francophonie colonies in Africa; a small sliver of territory from Marseilles to Nice preserved with Italian was all that could be saved from what had become the European Syndicalist Union. That is to speak nothing of the diplomatic protests coming from the isolationist United States of America on the supposed rise of “undemocratic” regimes and “inhuman beings,” as much as European monarchs remained content to let Americans wallow in their “Manifest Destiny.”
Nonetheless, thanks in part to that strange turn of events leading to a young woman’s rise on the Danube, the Great War was finally over, allowing both sides of that conflict to rebuild and move on. One would be tempted to wonder how history would have turned out had the so-called “War to End All Wars” been allowed to continue further, but it would be fruitless.
Know that it is Anno Domini 1944.
What had been known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire has since become into the Danubian Federation. Resulting from the 1919 Reformed Ausgleich convened by the late Franz Ferdinand and current Emperor-King Karl IV, it is a thriving if maddeningly complex imperium spanning much of Mitteleuropa, from the factories of Bohemia to the very fringes of the Carpathians. There is a peculiar order however to this seemingly confounding Habsburg realm. Self-rule and federalist autonomy are strongly encouraged, though power is still based from Austria and Hungary, deemed “first among equals;” one consequence of this is an increasingly polyglot population under a predominantly Austro-Hungarian veneer. Liberties and freedoms are protected, as is equality under the law, while the notion of a duty-bound nobility continues to be upheld. Parliamentary constitutionalism is an established norm, but co-exists with an intricate system of vassalage more reminiscent of a reimagined feudalism than modern nationalism. Combined with a network of allied protectorates and colonial developments in Danubian Mittelafrika – largely comprising half of the former Belgian Congo – it would be a falsehood to suggest this resurgent monarchy to be a backward “Ruritania” or a “prison of nations.”
The Hohenzollern-led German Empire meanwhile remains the premier great power, but only just. Economic and industrial prosperity have followed the Prussian-dominated realm in the wake of the Great War, as well as a global expansion that would make Bismarck nod in approval. Domestically, the collapse of various local socialist movements and opposition largely reduced to republican parties and fringe organizations like the National Socialists have given a sense of social and nationalistic stability. All the while more settlers flock to German Mittelafrika and the other Imperial colonies in what some call a new manifestation of Lebensraum, though fear of the Franco-Syndicalists is suspected of accelerating the trend. But increasingly, the Junkers have turned their attention to their erstwhile Danubian allies. For while Germany was the defacto leader in the Central Powers, simmering tensions from the Polish plebiscites and the growing clout of the Habsburg lands – and their telepaths – have made them much more of a rival in the eyes of Berlin and the ruling Emperor Wilhelm III. But while relations still remain cordial, some concerns have arisen as to whether the old alliance could really hold for long.
Of the old Entente though, the United Kingdom has fared much better than most of its own allies. Despite the crushing defeat in the trenches and the compromises made with the Central Powers – primarily the Germans – it would be folly to say that the sun has set on the British Empire. Or to be more precise, the British Commonwealth as the old dream of Imperial Federation continues to be realized, though not necessarily as the Victorians would have conceived it. Though more colonies and protectorates opt to join the ranks of Dominions rather than become ever more integrated into British rule, all roads still lead to London, with Delhi, Sydney and Ottawa fast becoming close contenders. International trade remains dominated by British companies, further supplemented by uncontested sovereignty over the Suez Canal. All the while rekindling ties with both Germany and particularly the Danubian domains, partly out of cultural and monarchial friendship; indeed, King Edward VIII even married a member of the Habsburgs in 1938. But ever more, it's out of a mutual desire to contain the Franco-Syndicalists across the English Channel.
For the Syndicalist Communes of Europe, which spawned from the chaos of the French Civil War, has proven to be more resilient than what was hoped for. It has since come to encompass not only a sizable portion of Western Europe and nearly the entirety of what had been France, but had also managed to “liberate” a few French colonies by spreading the ruling Front Syndicaliste’s ideology. But for all the promises of transcending the old ways, uniting the working class and upholding a harmony of communes, time is showing the Franco-Syndicalists’ true nature. True, they succeeded in surpassing France’s pre-Great War industrialization. But stories from fleeing dissidents and refugees speak of social engineering and eugenics on a large scale. Of centuries of French history and culture being erased or twisted in ways that even Robespierre and his revolutionary zealots would balk at. All these, protected by masses of soldiers and their dark-red banners along what’s been called the most militarized frontiers on this earth.
The legitimate exiles of the Fourth French Republic nonetheless continue their struggle to reclaim their Metropole. The mass influx of Frenchmen in Algeria and elsewhere over the past generation has solidified their control over what had previously been colonies, bringing with them industry, skills and whatever of old France they could save; certain territories are reaching a point wherein Europeans make up the majority of the population. Tensions with the Black and Islamic natives especially in the interior, have dwindled with time, though the occasional uprising from disgruntled separatists and their subsequent quelling still serves as a reminder for the need for social cohesion. While in the halls of government, further change is in the air. Gone are the days of provisional military rule, but some politicians have grown concerned that the calls to reinstate a Bonapartist monarchy are no longer mere threats or ideological posturing. It’s no surprise then that both the Franco-Syndicalists and France’s own allies are paying close attention to what goes on in Algiers.
Elsewhere, the other powers of Europe have moved on from the Great War in various ways. The Ottoman Empire, its Sultan unable to resolve growing strife between conservative and reformist factions, plunged into its own civil war not long after the War ended. Unlike France, the Turks emerged firm and resolute with a modern constitutional monarchy, even if it cost them the loss of Constantinople and the more distant territories of their realm including Jerusalem; the involvement of the Danubian Federation and others in taking advantage of the turmoil remains a sensitive issue in the Sultan’s Palace in Ankara. The Russians meanwhile, under their beloved Tsar Alexei I have since made the most of their “honorable peace,” becoming a major economic power and partner in Europe. Though some resentment remains over the Romanovs’ crushing defeat in the War, such sentiment is fading with time as a “bygones be bygones” mentality takes hold in the halls of St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Kingdom of Italy continues to invest much in developing their handful of African colonies as well as bolstering their national prestige. Whatever divided sentiments that have arisen regarding Danubian influence in Italian affairs – and the existence of telepaths – have generally been offset by that country’s dedication to protecting its corner of the Continent from Franco-Syndicalist expansionism. All while the stubborn yet defiant Spanish and Portuguese still hold the line against the S.C.E. even as they welcome those fleeing the dark-red banners.
Compared to 1914, science and technology have made leaps that would astonish those purveyors of science fiction. Steam and internal-combustion automobiles have largely taken the place of the horse on roads. While railroads, radio, aeroplanes and grand Zeppelins increasingly connect the globe like the telegraphs and of yesteryear. Advances in the study of the human mind and telepathy have also led the bright minds of the age to believe that the great computers envisioned in generations past and a means of personalized communication may soon become a reality; they even go so far as to claim that before long people may even venture off to the Moon as Jules Verne imagined. But the art of conventional warfare has also begun moving forward, be it in the form of the tank, the steel bomber or the portable machine gun, which some believe may soon replace bolt-action rifles altogether.
Even in light of such developments and others – including a near economic catastrophe in 1927 – this is where the other legacy of the Treaty of Munich comes into play: the International Congress. Led by the Central Powers and inspired by the Congress of Vienna, its stated purpose is to guarantee a peaceful, diplomatic platform for various great powers – and increasingly, other nations while help ensure that another Great War never happens again. While the I.C.’s reach is not yet truly global and lacks a dedicated peacekeeping corps, the cooperation it helps facilitate possible is often credited for keeping the militarized borders surrounding the Franco-Syndicalists secure, thus maintaining the relatively peaceful status quo.
Amidst all this however, Gräfin Adalind von Odenburg-Sopron, the mysterious lady responsible for helping usher this present era still lives and has continued to leave her mark on the Danube as an esteemed countess in the Habsburgs’ favor. Her exploits as an officer in the Great War have not only inspired many in the Danubian Federation, but have also gradually opened up the path for women to enter military service and other fields, at least so long as they are willing to meet the standards. Her status as a telepath meanwhile has since brought to the fray others similar to her, most of whom female. The emergence of this until then unheard of class of telepaths and the countess’ own proposals for how to best make use of them for the good of the realm have led to policies that would in another time be considered unorthodox, like the founding of the government-sanctioned Sonnengott Imperial Telepath Institute in the countess’ home fief, funded by peculiar benefactors; indeed it’s believed that other powers like the Germans and British are pursuing their own pro-telepath policies. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been constant grips from more traditionalist elements as well religious bodies with ties to the Vatican regarding what they derisively call sacrilegious abominations. And more specifically, the “Witch of Verdun” herself, in reference to the name French soldiers called Adalind during the latter days of the War. Some go so far as to question some of her more eccentric beliefs on deities and cultural/national/social spirits. Nonetheless, her name and that of her now-noble line has already become legend, which no slander could really erase. Some now, 30 years after the dawn, even speak of making an opera based on her life, tentatively called the Sonnengottsaga.
But one other wildcard remains left unaccounted for: the United States of America. While the Americans stayed out of the Great War and initially content to remain in their isolationism, the events in the Continent drew both fascination and worry among the public. From their perspective, the forces of autocracy and backward traditionalism had triumphed over liberty, the Franco-Syndicalist “menace” trumping the one great beacon of republican democracy in Europe following its end. While it also had an effect of straining relations with the United Kingdom – ostensibly on allowing such “undemocratic notions to go unopposed” – what stunned Washington D.C. even more was the revelation of telepaths, represented in the person of Adalind. In 1930, President Herbert Hoover quietly established the Extranormal Committee, which was intended to monitor and observe telepaths. Answerable only to the U.S. President, their reach and mission grew in the shadows. Which in turn soon led the Danubian Evidenzbureau, at Adalind’s insistence to keep watch over these developments.
This is especially in light of a discovery by members of the Committee, now codenamed “Ex-Comm,” off the coast of Constantinople in 1943. It was debris from a vessel of unknown yet oddly American design believed to date back to the months before the Great War, some of which successfully seized by Habsburg agents just in time. Even more peculiar though is the name found in the wreckage:
His Dawnverse group can be found here: dawnverse.deviantart.com/