Norsktrad 1749-1750

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Bäste Fru Natasha Tukachevsky,
We are both injured parties in the recent tragic war in Spain. You have lost a husband, and I a sister. Whilst we needs must differ over the reasons and rights of the recent conflict, it is the desire of the Nörsktrad Company to end this feud. With this in mind we have withdrawn the ill-considered reward offered for your capture. However, we cannot speak for the officers of the Republic of Spain.
Whilst the Nörsktrad is a mercantile and commercial business, we are not without honor, and we endeavored to negotiate in good faith a peaceful settlement with your late husband, including free passage and financial support in the New World. As a show of good faith, we are willing to engage your services for a generous remuneration, under contract to the Company in North Amerika. Suitable accommodation for yourself and your family would be provided in the historic city of New Orleans, and you would enjoy the benefits and privileges of any senior officer of the Company.
Yours Faithfully,
Malcom Procure
Biträdande of the Nörsktrad

ARF: A rowdy gang of Nörsk steam mechanics arrived in Rostov to “teach these Roosians something about steam!” The Portuguese and Frisians were a little troubled to find most of the “Roosians” looked far more like Mongols or Tatars. Plus, they had this nasty drink called kumiss which was just foul on the tongue…

Wolfden & Cane Holdings, Ltd: The Company was going about it’s business in a normal manner – paying off the Nörsktrad for the losses they had suffered in the seizure of Nörsk properties in Brest, preparing to move their offices from Paris to the port, sending ships overseas to open trade with various African entrepots – when Commonwealth military forces pounced on the W&CH facilities in Brest, Claais, Paris, Tours and Reimes.

Nörsktrad: Diplomacy Caligari on Sardinia(mf), Tortosa in Valencia(ma), New Canarsie in Mohawk(ma), Tuxpan in Totonac(ma), New Orleans in Chitimacha(a), Ayoel in Atakapa(ma)

Johannes visited the prisoners obtained from the latest purge in Lisbon. They were being held in solitary confinement in the Company brig, under heavy guard, in irons, and were interviewed separately.

“Are you going to co-operate?” asked grizzled old Johannes, armed guards standing at his back. “If you help the Company, the Company will help you. The officials of the Republic of Spain, your erstwhile colleagues, are most interested in meeting you, and I can assure you it is not to politely ask questions, hmm? You understand me? The Largoistas are good people, but they are not subtle. The Jesuits, too, are eager to talk with you; you recall the stories of the Spanish Inquisition perhaps?

“Now then, I want names and locations, in Spain and elsewhere. We hear rumors that your headquarters is in the Levant, or rather, Egypt, eh? Speak up man. If you help us, perhaps soon you will be released with a few coins for your trouble, and free passage away from Spain. We can even transport you and your family to the New World, you’d be watched thereafter, no more. Now if you please: names, places, details of your signs, passwords, aims, and your operations. I am an old man; answer before I lose my patience…”

What the unfortunates (and their families) might have revealed is unknown, but some ‘friends’ of those in chains attacked Teugen’s cavalcade, when next he went about in the city. Nearly thirty were killed in the resulting crossfire, but old Johannes survived and won another set of scars in his right leg. Some bodies of the assailants were recovered and the Nörsk chairman knew he’d embroiled himself in a duel to the death.

The numbers of skilled workers employed by the Nörsk at the massive steamship and air-yards around Lisbon continued to grow, with (unsubstantiated) reports of entire rural districts being depopulated to fuel the constant demand for men and women to work in the forges, lading yards, foundries, lathing lines and finishing shops of Lisbon. The air yards, in particular, were very busy – a new air passenger service had opened between Lisbon and Valetia on Malta, which required kitting out the Hertriginna ov Malta and Republiken with the finest possible amenities. A passing Japanese fleet also loaded aboard two crated-up zeppelins for transshipment to the Amerikas.

Norsk Aer airship flying over Valetta

The chairman issued a declaration: ‘Following the ending of the war in Spain, I am proud to announce the initiation of the new Norsk Aer airship route to mark a new age of commerce and prosperity. The Nörsktrad hereby commences trade by air to the Duchy of the Three Isles. Furthermore, this underlines our intent to enhance the communication between the diverse Catholic nations. It is our hope to expand upon our air routes in the near future.’

Johannes read the newspaper reports from Swedish Russia with growing distaste. “Have our office pared to the bone, to run with no more staff than are absolutely necessary, before the Kievians recall that we too are cousins to the Swedes,” he muttered. “Let us hope this madness has run its course.”

Saddened by the death of Alphonse Gumi, and mindful of the mortality of Man, Johannes had the Board of Directors name Jorge Delgado as Malcom’s successor. “Year by year the old faces fade away, one by one. Even the sun was brighter and warmer in my youth.”

To commemorate all those who fell in the war in Spain, the Company engineers built a small landscaped park for the pleasure of the citizens, to replace some of the sad ruins in the city, with land purchased from the owners. The park was landscaped with pleasant gardens and decorated with bronze statues as memorials to the fallen. Among them were statues of Minister Miguel, General Antonio, Diego Tordes, Empress Anna, and Marget Procure.

Malcom (Johannes’ heir) sadly watched young prince Ivan at play. Though old enough for lessons, he was too young to understand what is happening in his homeland. All newspapers relating the Kievian crisis were kept from him. Malcom ensured the Norskvarden guard the family compound from any attack, be they Golden Dawn cultists, Communist recidivists, or Kievian kommandosoldat. “And what of the Bone Mother cult?” he mused. Sadly, Malcom was badly wounded in an assassination attempt made by Espanan recidivists early in ’49, fell ill and died in the summer of that year.

As it happened, nearly every Nörsk leader was subjected to some kind of attack, no matter where they happened to be. Luckily, only Malcom died as a result, though some of the others (Trygvasson, for example) were sorely marked by the trial.

Unaware of his ascension to the Biträdande of the House, Jorge Delgado stood on the ruined wharves of Bergen, and surveyed a scene of limitless desolation: warehouses, buildings and houses wrecked by the years of the Ice. “Perhaps we have seen the Fimbul-winter, but for the Mercy of God. I pray that Ragnarök is not yet upon us. Amen.” Wrapped tight against a biting northern wind, he recalled certain lines read from a book in the Company library:

Brothers will struggle and slaughter each other,
And sisters’ sons spoil kinship’s bonds.
It’s hard on earth: great whoredom;
axe-age, blade-age, shields are split;
Wind-age, wolf-age, before the world crumbles:
No man shall spare another.

Delgado sighed and looked eastwards towards the snow capped mountains, and then kneels to see a small yellow flower struggling between the cracked slabs of the landing. “A new Spring?” he wondered, and then turned to watch the lines of men unloading supplies from the gleaming metal ships in the frost-rimed harbor. “Hoy, careful there with those crates! Get your backs into it!”

Spain: Largo himself did not escape the reach of the enemy, for a pregnant middle-aged woman attempted to knife him while he attended mass in the Sé Patriarchal cathedral. Shrieking something about how her ‘god loves you’, she was hacked to death by the Commandante’s guardsmen. Examination of her body revealed an intricate series of purple dragon-like shapes hidden beneath her clothes. A Nörsktrad magnate present at mass watched in puzzled horror… “a Bjarni cultist? Here in the south? How odd.”

The Church of Rome:

To His Holiness Clement VIII, Pater Patrias, in Rome:
Your Holiness, recently the Nörsktrad has entered into commercial negotiations with the government of the Aztec Empire, following a recent request by a Catholic nation for the initiation of a cartel trade route.
These negotiations may result in the formation of a subsidiary within the Empire, still subject to the Home Office in Lisbon. The mercantile arrangement should in no way alter the relationship of the Nörsktrad with the Holy Church of Rome or the Catholic nations.
During the negotiations, the relationship between the Aztec Empire and the Catholic Church has been briefly touched on.
Whilst this is well beyond the sphere of interest of a Merchant House, it seems possible that should the results of the Church Council be favorable, a rapprochement might be conceivable to some degree between the Catholic and the Lencolar Church. A reunion is unlikely, but it appears to our agents that a recognition that the Lencolar Church as a separate but recognized member of the Faith might be conducive to a thawing of diplomatic and religious relations.
I remain Your Holiness, Your obedient servant,
Johannes Teugen
Mäklarevälde of the Nörsktrad

Vastmark: The Takrur salt mines bottomed out, causing a minor local recession as thousands trekked to the cities in search of work. Prince Jason was married (again) and this time his new wife managed to bear him a son without perishing in the process. A near-disaster among the lending and commercial credit banks of Chihuahua City was averted by the combined intervention of the Prince and the Nörsktrad mercantile bank.

Iroquois: The king took a tour ‘round his domain, shaking hands, giving presents, receiving oaths of loyalty and all that. Luckily for the treasury, a Nörsktrad fleet stopped by and unloaded a sizable number of coffers filled with coin.

Aztec Empire: Work began in Nan Chao on a set of modern steamship yards. Gangs of Nörsktrad engineers, mechanics and craftsmen were all over the project, along with thousands of Aztec laborers.

The following treaty is hereby drawn up between the Aztec Empire and the Nörsktrad Merchant House of Lisbon.
The Aztec Empire hereby grants a mercantile charter to the Norsktrad Merchant House for the provision of offices and trading rights within the territory of the Empire. To fulfill this commercial agreement, the Nörsktrad agrees to set up a subsidiary to operate within the borders of the Empire, and to support the trade of the Empire with other Lencolar nations in the future. This limited company is hereafter named as Norsk Atlancalli, and will employ Aztec subjects within its local offices, but it remains fully accountable to, and a part of, the Nörsktrad Company. The Nörsktrad grants Norsk Atlancalli the use of its routes and offices for the purposes of commerce.
Norsk Atlancalli undertakes to maintain existing trade routes and expand such trade if possible. The Branch Office at Nan Chao becomes at this time the primary office for Norsk Atlancalli, with the proviso that the primary office will be henceforth moved to a more suitable location. Norsk Atlancalli is granted the right to open new offices at the city of Tuxpan, with additional sites to be agreed in due time.
The Nörsktrad undertakes to respect the rights and territories of the Aztec Empire, and the Empire recognizes the rights and holdings of the Company abroad, and agrees to protect the employees, property and goods of the Norsktrad and Norsk Atlancalli within its borders.
Opochtzin, Aztec Minister of Trade
Johannes Teugen, Mäklarevälde of the Nörsktrad
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