Daggers of Florina
Princess Iris is the first and current ‘Dragon Princess’ of the People’s Principality of Natsutoro. She has become both famous and infamous in the short time she has been in rule ( approx. 4 years).
Supporters of the Princess (as she prefers to be called) describe Iris as a very proactive, strong-willed ‘big sister’ of the people. They point to her transforming the country from a politically and economically weak country to one which leads in both areas over the other two free countries. Furthermore, the attacks from the skies have decreased in her rule as she has prepared all of her soldiers to fight foes in the skies as well as those on land. One cannot also discount the end to decades of squabbling between various parties, meaning effective policies for change are more quickly pushed through, allowing aid for the people to get through in a timely and consistent manner.
Opponents of the Princess (those brave enough to speak so) state that her rule, while productive, has been focused mainly on ensuring she maintains complete control. She has removed all other parties, something that was built into the rights of Natsutoro years ago. Those who speak out against her ladyship disappear, only to reappear dead from ‘tragic’ causes. They claim the people of the country live in fear. They MUST speak well of her rule or face the dire consequences. The picture they paint is not of a land improved, but a land of cold steel frozen in terror. It should be noted however, that the vast majority of these critics are from the aforementioned disbanded political parties.
Elegant, childish, wiley, beautiful, devious, coquettish – all of these words, and more, have been used to describe the Dragon Princess Iris.
Princess Iris is below average height for women of Natsutoro, something which surprises most people meeting her face to face for the first time. They often expect to see a woman towering over them, much like Queen Lily of Akitora. However, this is not the case. The Princess is a smallish young lady with short blonde hair in twin ponytails which cast off the side of her head in tornado shaped drops of hair. Each ponytail is maintained by ribbons which are most often blue or orange in colour. She has piercing blue eyes and a round face. The description of her face changes upon who you speak too, much like the description of her personality. However, from the view of the writer, Iris looks very much any average young lady, though with small stature and a below average / modest body size and shape.
Her dressing habits are simple. She usually dresses in the female military outfit, a simple one-piece blue and orange outfit with no shoulders and the skirt line which ends low enough to protect a female’s modesty. To show her position, there is a dragon symbol on the belly of the outfit and twisting between the shoulder blades on the back. Her royal outfit, only used for special occasions, is more blue and purple in colour, with white ruffles along the skirt hem and wrist cuffs, and blue orb arm guards on the upper arms. Needless to say, regardless of the outfit, it is always crisp and clean, and in perfect order.
Princess Iris is a model in opposites. She can be as mild and calm as a field of flowers on a summer’s day, or as angry and vicious as the flaming fires of Hell; and she changes between these two quite often. This is not mere moods of a particular moment, as she has used her emotional shifts quite often in her campaign speeches and even now when she speaks to the people. She can go from proud, to weeping, to anger-filled shouting – and back to a peaceful tone of voice. It is quite unpredictable, and more than a little disconcerting for some. Some see it as theatrics, while others feel she is merely openly displaying her emotions. However, there is a few who suggest quietly that perhaps the Princess suffers from dementia and honestly cannot control her mood swings at all. These theory, of course, is heretical and only spoken by a select few in the shadows.
Whatever the truth, Our Princess is rather given to various moods. There are times when the moods are predictable and times when they are not. Obviously the Princess will not tolerate anyone who threatens the current rule of the land. She has been known to lash out verbally and physically at those who come to condemn, chastise or threaten her. There are tales of an assassin caught trying to end her life, who met his end by the Princess herself, who bludgeoned the man to death with a chair leg. When mistakes are made…when plans fail due to lack of planning/insight, she will often fly into fits of rage, slamming her fists on the table, and screaming until her voice goes hoarse and her face is dark purple.
Iris can be ruthless and calculating, choosing the best tactics to crush her opponents utterly without mercy. Once she has engaged in battle with someone, she will rarely stop until the bodies of her foes lay in bloody heaps on the floor at her feat. While she has respected advisers, once a plan has been decided on, she will broker no arguments with these plans. Once an attack has been committed, all are expected to play their parts and no back talking is tolerated. Furthermore, she hates cowards and deserters from her soldiers. She will execute them without question, hanging their bodies from the castle walls as an example to others. However, what Princess Iris hates most are spies and double agents. She often will pretend to work with such people while waiting to arrest them when it is least expected. Often these people endure days of horrific torture before they are finally allowed to die.
It would, henceforth, be easy to see her as a dictator in this light. However, there is the other side to our Princess. One that projects a different version of her. Our Princess has been surprisingly light with the people in many ways. Servants who work for her claim that her treatment of them are among the best they have received. Under her rule, people caught stealing have had commuted sentences, particularly among the peasantry, where the food is the stolen object and done from desperation. She has forgiven criminals whose crimes were done out of passion, and not for personal gain. She listens quietly – often for long periods of time – to requests and petitions for aid and assistance. Her soldiers tell of her frequents visits to their posts, and her gifts of drink and fresh bread to see them through their watches. Soldiers suffering from the loss of a family member or learning of a new child have been granted a reprieve from duty to spend the time with their families.
Those who come ‘questioning’ some of her decisions in a polite and ‘mild questioning’ manner, have found her willing to discuss her rationals for certain decisions in a very sane and polite manner. Many who have shared a dinner table with her, have found her to be a very well read woman with a great deal of intelligent thoughts on many many high level subjects, particularly in regards to the various forms of government. She has also been described by those at these engagements as a good listener, who always gives others a chance to speak.
Another interested point on the Princess is her lack of odious habits, which is amazing considering her reputation for being a despot. While she tolerates alcohol consumption, even among her soldiers, she does not drink. She does not gamble nor does she engage in sexual activities with man or woman. She is a strict vegetarian and makes prayers to the Spirits of the Wind three times a day without fail. She frequently speaks to those in despair and has given aid to all levels of people.
While she is not in any (known) relationship, she herself has confessed to having been in love before her foyer into politics. She confesses to not knowing what happened to the young man she loved, but has yet to speak the name to anyone openly yet. Whether those in her Dragon council know of the boy or not is unknown. Again – one is never certain of what goes on behind their closed doors.
The Windsalt family was considered of Noble blood but a rather minor noble family at that. There was – in fact – nothing spectacular of note of the Windsalt family. Her father being a trader with the trades people of Haruvista for wheat products. Her mother was predominantly known as a housewife, however she was said to have no small skill in the art of leather-working.
Their marriage seemed to be a happy one, although they were not as fortunate with children. Their first three babies died in infancy, their fourth and final daughter being the only one who was strong enough to survive to adolescence.
Iris seemed mostly like a dutiful daughter. Friends of the family described her as a quite and subdued girl. She did have a habit of talking to herself at times, but she was always helpful and never spoke back to her elders. Likely, had things not happened as they did, she would have married and settled down to a normal middle-class housewife’s life.
However, fate has a habit of making dramatic changes in people’s lives.
The Birth of the Dragon
Iris and her family were on a trip through the Goldfields, her father travelling to the distant city of Ellis to conclude some trade agreements he had been working on. They had traveled uneventfully for the first day and a half when their caravan was set upon by strange forces. According to Princess’s testimony (who is the only survivor of the attack), large strange winged beings shrouded in black swept down upon the caravan. The slaughter was quick and bloody. The winged beasts made quick work of the Princess’s family, guards and servants.
The Princess claims her mother had covered her daughter’s body with her own. She heard the ripping and tearing sounds as her mother was attacked, and watched as her mother’s eyes opened in terror and pain and then glossed over at the moment of her death. It soon became too much for the young girl and she passed out, rather than screaming, which is probably the only reason she is alive to this day.
The Princess awoke hours later when a larger merchant caravan passed by and found the scene of the slaughter. The soldiers of the caravan were quite shocked to find below a torn corpse of a noble woman, a barely injured young girl. There were no other survivors, and all that was left to be done was to burn the corpses to send them on to their final rests.
The caravan shifted its course to carry young Iris back to the capital city of Flannis to report the tragedy and help the girl gain assistance of some type. She was quite appalled to learn what the reaction was. With her family dead, there were few people willing to push for an investigation into the case. Furthermore, the tales of the winged dark creatures as described by the child struck fear into the hearts of the many officials, who found it safer to discredit the tales as the ‘ravings of a frightened and timid orphan’ and continue their power play than to get involved in martial warfare with foes they did not know of. Furthermore, many tried to insinuate she herself had had a hand in her parent’s murder, helping to bring brigands to the fray in order to seize her parents’ fortunes.
They say the uncaring and cruel words and retorts sent rivers of coldness into the veins of Iris. The rivers shot in a rapid flood through her whole body, turning her skin cold and pale, and changing her heart into stone. The betrayal, the unfeelingness of the government….the complete lack of human respect and dignity for her family, servants and friends shattered the girl’s childhood and innocence, and on that day, A young girl died and a dragon lady was born. A dragon of ambition, drive, anger, hatred and ice.
The Rise of the Dragon Princess
The one thing the many factions of the government couldn’t deny Iris (although they did try) was her inheritance. Iris took her parent’s capital and property and disappeared for a time. For a couple of years, nothing was heard of the girl, and it was believed by all that she had simply taken her fortune and gone off to live the rest of her life in quiet indulgence and ignorance. For most of the other nobles and the many government factions, it was good riddance to a child who could only remind people of the dangers facing them out in the wilds…and the refusal of the government to protect their own people.
Their intentional ignorance and forgetfulness is unanimously agreed to be the beginning of the end for the multi-party government system. What you don’t know…CAN AND WILL hurt you.
Iris spent her time hiring the best tutors in the land – learning everything and anything possible. Math, old language, new languages, religion, alchemy, construction, politics, economics – all were soon mastered by the young lady. However, most important to the small orphaned teen was the hiring of dozens of former war Generals from all three of the known countries. She spent hours learning from them all, and would stay awake until the early hours of the morning in intense discussion and debates with these Generals.
Iris played many games of army and battle simulation with the Generals, going over and over tactics. Those who taught her all agreed, the Princess quickly showed strong and shrewd understanding of military and battle strategy. She soon became considered as the “Lady of the Battle” for her knowledge of the history and tactics. Any military leaders who heard of her name and visited – expecting a flowery tart with some elementary concepts of battle soon left shaking their weary heads, knowing they had met someone who was not merely their match intellectually, but in many cases, their superior.
For a select few…those wise few who had learned to judge an enemy from their words and postures… it was far more than that. They whispered to one another that something would come of this. They spoke of a coming storm. And they spoke of a tidal wave of thunder and blood and ice that would shake and change the land forever.
They were not wrong.
Gathering some of her closest Generals, Iris went out and began to speak to influential nobles who were dissatisfied with the current mode of government. She sought out all great and brilliant minds – Advisers, Secretaries, Generals, ANY people of power who had lost their positions due to political jousting of the government. She hosted them at her manor and lavished them with gifts, dinners and praise.
The Princess spoke of a dream…a dream where one government – a strong one – would lead the people. One government, one voice, one people. She spoke of a land where the wise and just would rule…where those who served with wit and honesty would be given a chance to be rewarded for their service, not merely those who were skilled with silver tongues.
She said that the corruption must stop. She spoke of the current system as a pit of vipers and scorpions who corralled the people into small pits and forced them to dance for their pleasure. She spoke of their words and deeds as poison and cancer…a evil corrupting disease that had festered in their land for far too long. She said that only once a dragon – an unstoppable force of ice and anger – rose and breathed it’s ocean of death and retribution upon these vile beasts, would the people finally be free.
She won the hearts and loyalty of these people. Yes….there needed be a new party…a party that would soon be the ONLY one. There was never a question of what woman would lead the party. It would of course be a girl now called the Dragon Princess. Lady Iris was no more…
The Dragon Princess Strikes
Under the leadership of Iris, a new party arose – the “Dragon Sun”. Considered a joke or a passing new ludicrous party by all the other factions, the Dragon Sun began small and unassuming, but that didn’t last long. It ran with the lofty goal of taking the country from it’s humble and mostly mocked status among the three countries to being the strongest and the richest. The party traveled throughout the lands – poor and rich alike – and spoke whole heartedly of the changes that must and would come. They spoke of the rising of a great and powerful army that would crush any who dared to endanger the people of their land. They spoke of a government that would act…not in response to other parties, but to the needs of the people and the emergencies that affected the country. No more would those who rule spend their time and the people’s hard earned money to jockey for position in a chess game. No…. They were there to serve the people..and serve they would…Under one strong leader! Under one strong woman.
And that woman…was of course…Iris…
By now, Iris’s ability to affect people was nothing short of magical and mystical. She would take the stage in front of crowds of disbelievers and start a speech of unparalleled words and passion. She would go from proud, to weeping hysterically, to screeching in rage, to begging, to threatening, and back to proud. All within one single speech.
Her story of her family’s demise and her struggles captured the common folk and the middle class. To them, she was the new Robin Hood, a new heroine come to guide them to a new age. Though she said that the new government would have to take stronger controls in order to make sure things were done, the crowed simply roared approval. A government acting for a people, even if it had to do so by force, at least was doing something for them. Even in those days, money from her own coffers were used to repair roads, build sanctuaries and houses of healing and prayer, and loan to poor people for new homes, loans that had no fixed time or terms for repayment.
She was not merely speaking the common folk however…she also spoke to those in power. Those who showed strength and integrity were often visited by her. Even those who spoke out against her at first, but were speaking from a true heart, were not attacked, but rather engaged in verbal duels, her words engaging them in parries and thrusts of logic, sensibility and honour. Many of these men switching to her party entirely.
For the others, she courted them as well, making secret promises of alliances. Assuring them that by allowing her party to lead, their party would be given a strong say in the matters, and their most vocal adversaries would be tossed asunder like so much spent trash. She whispered of power and riches, and all for mere support from them in the next election. After all, she reasoned – a girl of her inexperience had to have strong advisers, right? As time has shown, those parties of ill heart that she made promises too, never got their promised rewards.
She stormed and shouted and sang her way across the land – and when the election came… the colours of the land were painted in one hue… the hue of the Dragon Sun party. The people held huge celebrations as – for the first time in centuries – one party ruled in majority, and a large majority at that.
The Dragon Princess Wounds
It didn’t take long after, that Iris’s form of government became apparent. During her time for campaigning, Iris had spoke warmly and affectionately of the life of a soldier, willing to die for his/her family. She compared herself to a soldier, and had always introduced the many soldier generals she had known and worked with. It was for this reason, that by the time the election celebrations ended, she had amassed a huge army. And that’s when she took power for real.
The army poured out like dragon’s breath over the entire country. The army inhabited every single town and country…. They took control of everything, including rationing, taxation and governing. They handled all forms of dispute and ownership matters – in fact, all land was actually considered to be the Princess’s now… and not owned by separate people.
If the common folk were scared or made uneasy by these take over by the army, they didn’t maintain these feelings for long, as they soon found the changes to be quite convenient for them. Brigands and bandit armies were not only stopped, but their heads soon appeared on pikes, surrounding the villages they once bullied and robbed. Food was rationed, abundances were surely swept away, but farmers wept more assured in joy when they found these rations made available to them during the times of droughts and famines.
Having suffered so much personally from the attackers from the skies, the Princes and her people trained their soldiers to specialize in dealing with these foes. Soon, the charred and hole-filed bodies of these beings fell like rain to the ground, the victim of flaming poison-tipped arrows. People began to fear these beings less and less as more of their bodies were burned by the armies.
While the common folk rejoiced (for the most part), the nobles soon found that their freedom was also gone, and not in a small way. Immediately, the princess outlawed all other parties, saying they no longer represented the people. Naming herself Princess, rather than Queen, Iris sent a message, the people don’t need you, they need only me. Naturally there were many who spoke out – and very few of them are alive today. Murder, abductions, accidents, threats, blackmail…nothing was spared on these people. The ex-ruling parties soon realized she had never meant to keep her word. She had never meant to share power with others, only to garner it for herself.
Mutinies were crushed completely and their leaders ruthlessly executed. Spies were smoked out and tortured for their secrets before being executed painfully. Naysayers who spoke heatedly and with venomous intent found their tongues cut out or their fingers lopped off, or both. Most who opposed her died, though there are those who ‘questioned’ in a polite and formal way who not only did not face her sword, but were invited to speak to her over dinner. However, how exactly polite one had to be is something many people are still not sure of.
The Dragon Princess Today
Today, The Dragon Princess and her party, the Dragon Sun, rules unopposed. From North to South, from East to West, the whole land of Natsutoro lives under the hand and sun of the Dragon Sun. I have said much of what the Princess and her party are like – Cruel despots or heroic saviors? Perhaps only time will tell. However, one thing for sure….she had kept her promises in many ways…and her country has grown in power, strength and economic status. Other countries hate her? I laugh at them…. for we know, they only hate her because she has taken us from the victim of the village bullies, to the one that the bullies flee from on sight.
The Princess’s Voices
Elvias Reagan, Chief Secretary / Consul
A former member of the Viknosh Liberus Party, Elvias was sent in as a double-agent during the early days of the Dragon Sun party. He was sent into find out the goals of the party and the plans and weaknesses of Iris. He began to gather data and structures efficiently, without bringing any undue attention to himself. He had amassed a full report which he had planned to send off, when one night, he requested for a private interview with Iris alone.
At this late night meeting, Elvias supposedly confessed to being a spy and to having been sent to gain her weaknesses. When asked why he confessed when he hadn’t been caught, he replied it was because of her. Elvias maintains to this day that he had served the Viknosh Liberus Party with the hope that – by aiding them – someday they would get around to doing some of the things they promised. He had grown weary of their excuses, and he now saw the Dragon Sun was the only group of people who could or would ever do anything. He said, even if it meant his death, he wished to back a party that would act, and not merely speak. His words warmed the woman’s heart and she not only forgave him, but accepted him into her upper cabinet.
The Princess’s trust seems to have been rewarded, and Elvias – who acts as a primary Chief Secretary and Consul – lives his life in tandum and according the honours and codes of ethics of the Princess herself. A fervent supporter of the Dragon Princess and the Dragon Sun, he carries out her words and her decrees, never showing a moment of doubt in the Princess’s abilities.
Kenneth Alstone, War Consulor
Kenneth was a captain of the standing military of the capital city when the Princess came to power. Like Elvias, his initial view of the Princess was quite negative. A man whose family had always stood for the people, despite the corruption of the city, he was proud his family had never advanced in station as they only acted in honorable accord. It was with horror that he watched the Dragon Sun amass a huge army and then slowly take control of the land.
However, he had gone in the right way. He had sought for and waited patiently for, an appointment with the new ruler. Once before her, he gave into emotion and begged her to take mercy on his people and to not make them suffer more. The Princess listened to everything he had to say, and then She and Elvias spoke back. They explained their plans and dreams, and about why they had formed the party. It soon became apparent to the Captain that while they weren’t a perfect system, they were the best choice for the moment.
In answer to his concerns on military abuse, the Princess’s response to Alstone was simple. “You run them for me then.” Feeling this was his best chance to protect his people, Kenneth Alstone became the first in his family for many generations to raise up in such high standing. He became the War Consulor and works in tandum with Elvias and the Princess to make sure the military works strategically but effectively. When asked on the harshness of her lady’s military, he now says. “Mercy should be shown to the victims, not to the predators. That is the motto of our military. I will stay my sword to any person who could not help their place in the world, but will not hesitate to strike down anyone who seeks to attack the status quo for their own immediate gain.”
The Queen’s Policies so Far
Below is a short list of some of the policies put in place by the young Queen.
Mandatory Military Controlled Rationing – As mentioned above, the military exacts taxes but also rationing quotas on the farms based upon excess crop amounts. This is strictly monitored and controlled, as is the dolling out of such supplies during the lean times.
Mandatory Military Service – Every man and woman must serve three years in the military in some form of work. After that, they may choose a promotion or go into the private sector for work. However, unless you are unable to work at all, there is no exemption for serving in her lady’s army.
Removal of Political Party System – Nothing much to add on this, as the title basically describes it all. The Dragon Sun has become the only political party now, with no time set for the renewal or voting opportunities of the people.