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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

blklizard

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Hi everyone! I'm blklizard and I'll be writing about the story/history, to the best of my ability, of Yugoslavia in this alternative timeline. I'll be trying to get as much historic accuracy at the start of this AAR but I have limited resources about Yugoslavia so my knowledge will be very minimal. I will introduce fictional stories until we get to the actual gameplay where I will try to associate the screenshots with narrative. I won't be the actual player as a friend of mine will be doing the gameplay and supplying me with the screenshots. Without further ado,....

Prologue

Following the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the First World War, the map of Europe was being redrawn as new nations were given birth. One of these nations was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which was recognized internationally in 1922. This nation controlled territory which formerly belonged to Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. The formation of the nation was meant to show the unity of the Slavic people as they grew tired of being ruled over by non-Slavic powers. Unfortunately, the unity of the people within the nation was very fragile. Given the relatively large size of Yugoslavia, there were various ethnicities with the Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes accounting for the majority.

The Serbs was the largest group at nearly fifty percent of the total population while the Croats numbered about a quarter of the population. With the Serbs having the majority in the nation, the Serbian royal family became the Yugoslav royal family. This, unfortunately, didn't bode well with the Croats who felt they were treated as a less partner in the nation. The fight by the Croats for more equitable power in the government saw the death of a prominent Croatian politician. The Serbian king at the time, Alexander Karađorđević, abolished the parliament as a result and installed a dictatorship in Yugoslavia. The history of Yugoslavia took a turn for the worse...
 
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sebas379

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I'll try to once again, follow your new AAR :)
 

blklizard

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I'll try to once again, follow your new AAR :)
Welcome! I'll be trying a few new things here, especially with the time period we're in.

Section I

Chapter 1

King Alexander sat down to ponder over his options. The recent events hadn't exactly go as he planned with some conspiracy happening behind his back. He began questioning the loyalty of those under him as their actions suggested they were working for someone else. In an attempt to keep everything under control, Alexander had to abolish the constitution so he could root out the traitors.

A knock on the door interrupted his focus. Alexander waited for a second knock before admitting the person in.

"What brings you here, cousin?" asked Alexander with a frown.

Paul maintained a smile as he entered the room. "I apologize for the intrusion but I have some urgent matters to speak of."

"Yet you never considered the proper channels?"

"Not when I suspect traitors are amidst us, my king."

Alexander studied Paul for nearly a minute before nodding his head. He then gestured for his cousin to take a seat beside him.

"What have you heard so far?" he asked.

"Troubling news about the true allegiance of some of our top officials. Like who Puniša Račić is working for."

Paul had Alexander's attention with the mention of Račić who was responsible for the recent political crisis. The man had shot five members of the Croatian Peasant Party including the leader of the party, Stjepan Radić. Two were dead on the scene while the Radić was gravely wounded. Alexander visited the man at the hospital as soon as he heard the news and the doctors said they didn't expect him to leave past three months.

"Who is he working for?" asked Alexander.

"IMRO."

"Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization," muttered Alexander under his breath.
 

blklizard

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Section I

Chapter 2

Ante Pavelić reached for his weapon the moment he heard noise behind him. It was late into the night and, after what happened recently, he was taking no chances. While he was never trained to use a firearm, he preferred to have one on him with no intention of ever using it. The noise convinced him that this might be the night where he would finally take the life of another human being who threatened his own life.

"There is no need for you to use your weapon, my friend."

Pavelić recognized the voice but he kept his hand on his weapon. Based on the volume of the voice, he assumed there was still some distance between the two of them.

"Let me assure you that I am on your side," said the man still in the shadows. "After all, I warned you of what might be happening, didn't I?"

A minute passed before Pavelić let go of his weapon. The man, upon seeing this, approached him slowly.

"What do you want?" Pavelić asked.

"My offer is still on the table, my friend."

Pavelić studied the man who had a grim expression on his face. The man kept his distance from Pavelić which the Croatian deputy felt thankful of.

"You do understand that our party took a significant hit following this incident. Alexander also abolished the parliament in response."

"Exactly, you now know what your people are facing. Oppression under the tyrant Alexander couldn't go well for the Croatian people. Your people and my people are both fighting for their own freedom. That is why I came to you with the offer. I know the recent events had shaken the foundation of your party but it should solidify your resolve. The tyrant and his regime must be brought down."

"How?" asked Pavelić without hesitation.

"Gather your followers and find new allies. There are many Croats who, like you, want change and an independent Croatia. With numbers, you can topple this regime. With our help, you can do so much faster with far fewer losses. How does that sound?"

"The IMRO is backing our cause?"

The man nodded before disappearing into the shadows.
 

blklizard

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Section I

Chapter 3

Branamir Jelić entered the room under the watchful eyes of the guards. Since the incident in parliament, these men were leaving nothing to chance. Jelić was searched for any weapons and carried nothing except for the clothes on his back. Even his pens and papers were taken from him. Normally, he would oppose such treatment. Yet, the fact he was meeting Radić made such precautions worthwhile.

Jelić took a moment to study the former head of the Croatian Peasant Party and shook his head. This was a man he had admired since a young age after he heard about the man's achievements. Jelić had a chance to see Radić in the past but the man on the hospital bed was a completely different man. He seemed like he was only a step from dying as the injuries were indeed serious.

If the rumors spreading across Yugoslavia were true, then Radić might have only a few weeks to live. This was a great loss for the Croats who had been fighting for equality in the nation they helped establish. While great men like Radić had been rallying support through words of the people to achieve that equality, the Serbs resorted to violence and bloodshed to halt all the progress they had made.

"Who are you?" asked Radić who finally realized he had a visitor.

The man's words were mere whispers but Jelić heard them loud and clear.

"I am the editor of affiliated paper of Hrvatski Domobran. I just wish for a quick interview to hear what you have to say regarding the recent incident at parliament and the abolishing of the parliament by King Alexander."

"Don't waste your time with me, child. I am a dead man."

The answer left Jelić in tears and saw him struggling to maintain his composure.

"We need a new leader for our people," continued Radić. "I pray to God he will do more for our people than I have in my entire life. I am tired now."

The guards escorted Jelić out of the room. That was the last time Jelić saw Radić alive.
 

blklizard

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Section I

Chapter 4

Račić admired the villa he was given. The official word was him being under house arrest but the man knew he was pretty much free. He still felt the thrill of killing the traitors in the government, not that he ever viewed the Croats as one of his own. Račić could never understand why they were allowed in the parliament at all. The Croats were simply criminals in his mind and they deserved death.

The villa was quite magnificent and he had three servants with him at all times. This was the life of luxury he had always envisioned and it had come surprisingly earlier than he expected. Račić could only credit all this good luck to his willingness to kill for his nation. His actions would show his fellow people their superiority over the Croats. The Serbs would rise above everyone else in Yugoslavia.

Then, a mysterious figure walked up to him. Račić turned and a bigger smile appeared on his face.

"What brings you here, my friend?" asked Račić.

"I am merely here to congratulate you on your recent successes," answered the man. "I am representing my organization to show our appreciation for your hard work."

"I was merely carrying out what was needed for our nation to thrive."

"Indeed, your king had used this opportunity to take complete control. We needn't fear about anymore Croats meddling in politics where they never belonged in."

"Too true, my friend." Račić gestured at the entrance. "Please come in so we can have a drink."

The guest nodded his head and followed Račić into the grand villa. The two of them sat down while the servants tended to their every needs. Once the servants were excused, the man turned to Račić.

"What are your plans for the future?" asked the guest.

"I might be free to come and leave," said Račić following a short pause, "but I still think it would be wise for me to lay low for this month. We know those Croats are criminals so I wouldn't be surprised if they are actually planning to take my life. It would be a glorious victory for them if they succeed."

The guest's face had a brief frown but Račić never caught it. The two of them discussed about nothing in particular before the guest left the villa. He took one last look before shaking his head. The guest disappeared into the shadows but his presence didn't go unnoticed. Račić wasn't aware of the situation but his villa was actually under surveillance. Therefore, the guest was spotted and later identified.
 

blklizard

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Section I

Chapter 5

"Yes," answered Paul who shook his head. "We have evidence gathered from the men who were watching his villa. Račić had a visitor who got the attention of my men at once. The man wasn't someone they were familiar with but his appearance indicated he was someone dangerous. After pooling over all the information we had at our disposal, we were able to confirm his identity as Lycaon."

"Lycaon," exclaimed Alexander. "One of the high ranking members in the IMRO?"

"We don't know why he was spotted but his presence couldn't be a good thing. That man wouldn't waste his time unless he saw opportunities. I'm just terrified how little we know about the man after what he had achieved over the last few years."

"I never expected Račić to have the brains to carry out the executions," said Alexander with a sigh. "Now I know who was the mastermind behind all of this. Lycaon had probably succeeded in destabilizing our nation with his recent brilliant plan. As soon as Radić dies, it would take a miracle for us to contain the situation."

"Is that why you abolished the parliament?" asked Paul.

"All the members of the Croatian Peasant Party refused to appear in public." Alexander stood up to pour himself a drink. "I don't blame them for their reaction. These killings were unprecedented in our history. Given the fragile state of our nation, these killings are the last thing we needed. With a portion of our government not present, we would be wasting time having the parliament."

"What do you intend on doing?"

"I honestly don't know. I feel like whatever plot Lycaon had set in motion has picked up enough momentum where it cannot be stopped. At this point, minimizing the damage caused by all of this might be our only option."

"Therefore, you take complete control to ensure faster responses and more resources consolidated where it truly matters."

Alexander looked to his cousin with a nod. He emptied his glass before returning to his seat.

"You have any better ideas?" Alexander asked.

"Tracking down Lycaon might be a good option right now. If we get him, we can learn what he has planned for us. Intelligence is critical at this point."

There was a knock on the door and Alexander looked at Paul with a grimmer expression.
 

blklizard

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Section I

Chapter 6

Pavelić took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He understood that he was under surveillance by those likely working for the government. The recent abolishing of the parliament was only the first step the Serbs were taking to ensure complete control of Yugoslavia. Pavelić wasn't about to let them do as they pleased as long as he was still alive. He turned to Jelić who had recently joined his new organization, Ustaše.

"Were those the exact words said by Radić?" asked Pavelić.

Pavelić had Jelić repeat his conversation with Radić word for word so he could use the conversation to rally his people against the current government. The death of Radić had already opened the eyes of many Croats but he needed more to convince them what was needed to be done. Too many of them still believed that a compromise by the two sides could still be achieved. Pavelić already knew that violence was the only solution to his people's freedom.

"Yes, those are the exact words," replied Jelić who was eager to contribute to the movement led by Pavelić. "I wasn't allowed to bring pen and paper but I have a great memory."

"Excellent," said Pavelić with a smile. "We will use his exact words to rally our people. He might not have said it outright but Radić had always been subtle with his words. He likely knew why you were there and shared with you what he did. The recent attack told him what we recently learned. Yugoslavia isn't a home for us Croats unless we show the Serbs we aren't the pushovers they believed us to be."

"What must we do?" asked Jelić who couldn't contain the excitement in his voice.

"We must first leave the country," said Pavelić. "We aren't any use to our people if we are arrested."

"They will arrest us when we do no wrong?"

"Alexander just abolished the parliament and installed a dictatorship. You think there's anything they aren't capable of?"

Jelić nodded and followed Pavelić into the basement. "Where are we going?"

"We are going to Vienna," answered Pavelić. "Pack your bags and we'll meet later tonight at our normal place."
 

Michaelangelo

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Sounds like the Serbs are going to have some difficulty maintaining control, not that that is unusual. They just need a unifying figure, and the king doesn't sound like the right man for that.
 

sebas379

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Great setup with a healthy dose of intruige, nice start of the aar. I'm getting the feeling Yugoslavia isnt going to last as a unified state for very long in th;s timeline.
 

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Welcome! :)

Sounds like the Serbs are going to have some difficulty maintaining control, not that that is unusual. They just need a unifying figure, and the king doesn't sound like the right man for that.
The fight for control of the government will plague the nation while external influence will have significant unforeseeable impact. :p

Great setup with a healthy dose of intruige, nice start of the aar. I'm getting the feeling Yugoslavia isnt going to last as a unified state for very long in th;s timeline.
Thanks! The future of Yugoslavia will depend on my friend's gaming ability. Let's just say that, regardless of how the nation prepares for the war or performs in the war, these intrigues will still be around.

Hm, very interesting start, though I can't wait till you get into the gameplay part. I'm gonna bet that at the start of the game Yugoslavia will focus on improving it's industry.
I'm pretty sure the leader of Yugoslavia will try to keep his nation unified, though the game might not reflect that too well.

Section I

Chapter 7

Lycaon was saluted by the guards who were posted outside the building. He was, after all, a familiar figure within the IMRO so, with the exception of the really green recruits, he went where he pleased without being asked for identification. The man was relieved to be home after traveling abroad for a fairly long time. Before he could see his family, there was a man he had to talk with first.

"Welcome back!" said Ivan Mihailov. "I heard your trip had been very rewarding."

Lycaon stared at the leader of the IMRO for a brief moment. This man had visions and wasn't afraid to make them a reality. He long suspected that Mihailov was responsible for the death of Todor Aleksandrov, the former leader of IMRO. Yet, he cared little knowing that only a strong leader was worthy of leading the organization. To him, the change of leadership had little impact on what he performed and what he could accomplish.

"The death of a few Croatian politicians should help us tremendously," replied Lycaon. "I already spoke with Pavelić and he seems very willing to cooperate with us. I would say he would make a fine pawn in Yugoslavia as we continue fighting the Serbian government there."

"What about that other man?

"The one who carried out the executions?' asked Lycaon who waited for a nod from Mihailov. "He's not even worthwhile to mention. The man is now cowering in his villa fearing others might attempt to take his life. I think we got the most use out of him so we should focus elsewhere instead of wasting more resources on him."

"Sounds like you have an idea," said Mihailov with a dark smile on his face. "Why not share it with me?"

"Pavelić will be our ideal puppet. The man want the Serbs dead and he just formed the Ustaše."

"He shows that much promise?"

"If my hunch is correct, he will be the biggest threat for the current Yugoslav government. We can, of course, provide them some assistance to help push things in the right direction. The recent executions have accomplish the goal of dividing the nation. We just need someone like Pavelić to widen the gap until the nation itself is broken into a number of states. Our biggest problem is their king who just took complete control."

"I have never doubted your judgement," said Mihailov, "but I wish to watch from the side a bit. If he has the potential you speak of, then I will see the results I expect from them. By then, I can spare the resources to ensure their operations will go very smoothly. We might even give them a hand if necessary to prove we are backing them all the way. The Serbian king looks like a good potential target."
 

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Section I

Chapter 8

Alexander watched as one of his trusted advisers entered the room. The adviser did hesitate when he saw Paul but Alexander gestured him to say what was needed to be said. King Alexander wasn't always the most trusting with his cousins but his brief conversation with Paul gave him an impression he could somewhat trust Paul. At least, he suspected what he was about to hear would soon be known throughout the government.

"We have some bad news," said the adviser slowly.

"Given our current situation," replied Alexander, "I expected nothing else."

"Pavelić managed to leave the country. We don't know how but he managed to get past all of our men posted outside his home."

"Why was he under surveillance?" Paul asked Alexander. "Was he involved in the recent deaths?"

Alexander told the adviser to leave and close the door behind him. He wasn't about the share everything with the adviser present. It wasn't that he didn't trust the adviser but he would prefer if his advisers didn't know everything. If there was a traitor amidst them, who knew what intelligence the traitor could gather if he or she could get a hold of someone who had a complete picture.

"Pavelić has a history regarding an independent Croatia." Alexander paused. "The recent events might convince him that he is on the right path. I wanted to stop his schemes before they happened but I lack the evidence to arrest him."

"Was he aware about the surveillance?"

"If he is as paranoid as I think he is, I'm pretty sure he suspects he's being watched even when we had no one there."

"What now?"

"We must set up surveillance on his friends. If there are any movements, we can be certain they are plotting something big. I only wish we knew where he headed. That might give us more information about what he's plotting."

There was another knock on the door. Alexander watched as the adviser returned into the room.

"Sorry to interrupt you, my majesty, but I forgot to mention something important."

"What?" asked Alexander impatiently.

"Pavelić is believed to be heading to Vienna for medical help and he took Jelić with him."

"The editor of Hrvatski Domobran?" asked Paul.
 

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Section I

Chapter 9

Stjepan Sarkotić was enjoying a walk in the park when one of his men approached him. Sarkotić found a place to sit down before he listened to what his man had to say.

"We have news about Pavelić who is expected to be here later today," said Gustav Perčec.

"Pavelić? Why does that name sound so familiar?'

"He has been rallying for supporters lately against the oppressive Serbian regime which controls Yugoslavia. I heard that he even got the attention of the government because his home was under surveillance. The man is getting a lot of attention in our circles."

"I see why his arrival would actually matter for us," said Sarkotić. "Did he specifically ask to meet with me?"

"He did," replied Perčec. "Pavelić mentioned you specifically knowing the reputation you have in these parts with Croatian emigrants who are also in exile. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if he heard about your writings in the Austrian Reichpost. The man certainly seems resourceful enough to gather information about friends and enemies alike."

"Sounds like you quite admire this man," said Sarkotić.

"I miss my home dearly and don't mind going back. Of course, I also want to achieve something for my people while I'm there. There are many of those who condemn the Serbian regime but they do nothing to fix this problem. I for one am in favor of those who take actions even if it might cost them their lives."

"Am I one of the people you claim to do nothing?"

"I ..."

"Don't worry," said Sarkotić. "I understand your frustrations as much as anyone else. I hate myself for my worthlessness when my people are suffering while I remain in foreign lands which isn't even close to resembling my home. You are a man of action so I agree you need to join in the fight before you have regrets. If Pavelić is the man you think he is, then go with him and make a difference."

"I didn't think you would let me go," replied Perčec.

"Look at me, Perčec." Sarkotić paused. "I'm an old man who no longer have the strength or energy to do anything other than writing letters. You won't accomplish anything if you remain by my sides. Your heart is in the right place. I don't know where you truly belong but you seemed convinced Pavelić is the man you can work with. Meet him and see if you two share the same desire to save our people. Always remember that action speaks louder than words. Go!"

Perčec nodded knowing exactly what his mentor was saying. He walked out of the park without looking back fearing that he might have second doubts if he did. Sarkotić was trying hard to hold back the few tears in his eyes. He watched as his most promising student took the first step to leaving him. He could only imagine a brighter future for his people once his student unlocked his full potential.
 

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I feel like a coup is in the works here, not that such a thing is surprising.
I'd be shocked if nothing is being plotted. :p

Section I

Chapter 10

Pavelić and Jelić were waiting inside a building when Perčec showed up. They agreed to meet at this place which they considered safer than many other locations in Vienna. Despite being outside of Yugoslavia, the two of them were still paranoid and wondered if they were being watched the moment they got off the train. They would rather be on the move than remain stationary at a place for far too long.

"I'm afraid my mentor won't be available to talk to either of you," said Perčec. "I will take his place in negotiating with you regarding what we can do to help our people."

"I thought I made it clear that he must be present," said Pavelić who was trying hard to contain the anger within him. "We aren't talking about organizing a surprise party for someone's birthday. We are talking the lives of our people who are still trapped in a nation ruled by an oppressive tyrant. I know he is old but he must understand what is happening further south to our people."

"He understand what is happening," replied Perčec in an equally firm voice. "That's also why he sent me to assist you. Otherwise, he could easily refuse any meeting and we wouldn't be talking. I'll be clear right now. You can either talk to me or you can talk to no one. If you pick the latter, I will leave now and we won't ever see one another again. If you truly care about our people, you will swallow your pride and communicate with me what needs to be done."

Pavelić studied the man before him who was likely only a few years younger than him. He could see the fire burning in the man's eyes and the resolve in them. Pavelić understood there and then that this man had the same desire to save their people as him. Therefore, what he spoke about being sent Sarkotić wasn't a lie after all. Pavelić finally made up his mind to trust this man so they could both help save their people.

Pavelić turned over to Jelić who had been standing patiently behind him. A nod from his head saw Jelić pulled out some papers from the suitcase in his hand. Jelić then handed the papers over to Perčec so the man could have a quick look at them. Once Perčec finished, he nodded his head a few time and looked seriously into Pavelić's eyes.

"Are these the plans you have regarding the future of our people?" he asked.

"Are you afraid?" asked Pavelić.

"No, I'm just very excited to know we have people like you who won't stop at anything until the Croatian people are truly liberated."

"I assume you are willing to back us up?"

"I'll do more than that. I'm coming with you."
 

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Section I

Chapter 11

Mihailov smiled as he offered a toast to Lycaon.

"You were right about the man," he said. "Pavelić is indeed performing to our standards. His organization assassinated a man who had been spreading propaganda throughout Yugoslavia. I believe the man's name is Toni Schlegel, not that his name matters anymore with him being a dead man. Once Pavelić's men get a taste of blood, they are going to want more to satisfy their hunger."

"You look like you are thoroughly enjoying yourself," said Lycaon.

"Why shouldn't I?" asked Mihailov. "There are far too many spineless cowards in this world. Most of them can talk all day but, when you put a gun in their hands, they back away from it like a plague. There are two types of people in our world. There are the lions who go out to get what they want through whatever methods they think is necessary and there are the sheep who follow orders being content with their lives."

"Are we the lions then?"

"Are you content being just a lion?"

"I won't be content unless I rise up through the ranks," said Lycaon. "Even among lions, there are those who are better than others. Why be content when you are merely a lowly lion? Which emperor or king in the past was content about his small kingdom? The Romans expanded constantly because they loved the power they held over all the people they were oppressing."

"Well said, my friend. Pavelić will help us accomplish our goals. He might not see it that way but the man is nothing more than a puppet to us. Once his usefulness runs out, we will dispose him like any other trash we dealt with." Mihailov took a moment to empty his glass. "Until then, I hope he enjoys his brief rise to power because, in the end, we will be the victors in this world of ours."

Mihailov and Lycaon talked late into the night about their dreams and their pasts. Both men had come from humble beginnings but they both got a taste of what it meant to be on the top of the world. Their desire for more pushed them to new heights as they were now top ranking members of the IMRO, one of the most feared organizations in the Balkans. The reputation of IMRO would only grow from this point onward.
 
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Section I

Chapter 12

King Alexander of Yugoslavia was vastly displeased when heard about the death of Schlegel, a close confidante of his. The two of them were working to use the press to help lessen the tension which was rising since the assassination of three key Croatian politicians. His death only meant such an approach was no longer possible since Alexander didn't have close to as much trust in anyone else as he did with Schlegel.

He invited Paul again because, at this point, he didn't want to talk to anyone else. His cousin, after their last meeting, showed passion for Yugoslavia and proved he was actually trustworthy. With the death of Schlegel, Alexander needed someone he could trust so he could discuss with them vital information for Yugoslavia during a time when the nation itself was destabilizing with each passing day if they remained inactive.

"It's great to see you," said Alexander. "Please take a seat."

Paul entered the room without a smile and Alexander noticed.

"What wrong?" asked Alexander.

"I believe you heard the news?" answered Paul. "The news regarding Milan Šufflay."

"I don't recall that name. Is he someone significant?"

"He's an anti-Yugoslavist intellect who had been pushing for a free Croatia from Yugoslavia. He was killed awhile back but his death had been kept mostly a secret. I'm just surprised you haven't heard about him but this could only prove what lengths those involved went to cover everything up. Lately, there are those from International League of Human Rights who are condemning our government for his brutal murder."

"I wish to say I'm surprise," said Alexander after a pause to absorb everything, "but we are living in trying times where human lives are cheap. My friend Schlegel was working for the peace of our nation but he was brutally murdered. Those outside our nation can condemn us all they want but they know not what challenges we face. They have been living in ignorance and luxury while we fight for what we deserve."

"You have any leads to who killed your friend?" asked Paul.

"I have no solid evidence but what we have so far all point to the Ustaše. There have been many activities lately with them and I fear they will continue their radical ways until they get what they want. I won't let them do whatever as they please but, with the growing problems plaguing us, they have more free reign over our nation than I would like. I believe taking out their leader, Pavelić, is what we need at the moment."