17th of the Hazel’s Frost, 2030 D.C.E.
Socialist Dominances of Solstice — Solstice City
Before a small crowd of assembled delegates, statesmen and women and military leaders of a variety of nations, Daksha Kansal stepped out of the shadows and took a podium. She was used to speaking plainly, and the microphone in front of her felt very conspicuous. This address, however, was being recorded for broadcast far abroad. It would set the stage.
Within a projection room in a bunker beneath the SIVIRA Headquarters building, the half of the world still resolute against imperialism gathered for a secret, historic moment. They had traveled from around the world in support of Ayvarta.
Daksha had not written this speech. She was too busy. But she spoke nevertheless with the candor that had come to characterize her. She threw her fist high, raised her voice, and though it was sinole and short, the room nonetheless shook.
“Fellow delegates and the world community. I would like to open this momentous occasion with a personal anecdote. Somebody once told me that the world would abandon Ayvarta, should it decide to roll heedless like a boulder down the path of Socialism.”
Daksha paused for effect and made a gesture with her hands. She had practiced the speech once beforehand, and had vetted its contents. It wasn’t her style: she preferred blunt, enumerated talking points. But she trusted the contents like she trusted her comrades.
“This man,” she continued, “was a rising star of the old Social Democrats, who did not dream as I did of a world where we were all stars as he was. He wished to work within a system of oppression to achieve peace for the city-dwellers he deemed hard-working and worthy enough; he was never a man for the rural souls among us. He was smart, a hard worker, of that there was no doubt. But he just did not see, he did not understand. All of us here, socialist or not, know now that even this small step cannot be achieved within empire, and that any liberation must be achieved with the people, not in spite of them.”
There was applause from the audience, unprompted. Daksha waited a moment for it.
“Any great work must undergone as a community, not merely a cadre. Now, this once powerful, once vibrant man cannot be with us today, but I dearly wish I could show him the assemblage of nations in this room, who have cast aside their differences in support of Ayvarta and its people in their darkest hour: because of our socialism and despite it. I wish I could show him this Ayvarta that his eyes failed to see, an Ayvarta that even with its strength sapped by the imperialist leech, is stepping forward to be part of a world community, in the greatest endeavor for peace ever witnessed by human eyes. I wish I could have made him understand that all peoples must be brought together to fight Empire. Whether it be rural and city dwellers together, or say, Svechthans and Helvetians. I wish I could have shown him too that sometimes, to grow a field, you must burn it first. You cannot always work with what you have. Some roots are too rotted and too deep to be nurtured any better. Sometimes struggle must be had. Sometimes life must be lost.”
She did not tell the room that she had been the one to kill him. None needed to know.
Her speechwriters certainly did not know. But they chose their story presciently.
“Alas, I could not save him. But we can save others in his stead. So here we are.”
Daksha spread out her arms and took a hidden breath. Before her, there was the solemn, respectful applause of a room ready and prepared to deal in the business of nations.
“You have my sincerest gratitude, on behalf of the Ayvartan people. We shall have no further delay. Here today assembles the first presidium of the forces of the Solstice Pact.”
Ayvarta’s Premier stepped down from the platform, and reached out her hands to hold those of the Svechthan military delegation leader, General Zhukova, and the Helvetian representative, Millennia Alsace, as they climbed up to the platform and stood side by side with her, arm in arm, feet to feet, all of them ready to discuss the future of the free world.