Located to the north of Amestris is the country of Drachma. They were once feared for its military prowess… now they were nothing but a joke.
Drachma is nearly four times as big as Amestris. The two countries separated by a mighty mountain range. Once, long ago, while Amestris was in turmoil, Drachma thought it had a chance to expand its borders. The country was large enough already but Amestris was known for its natural resources that Drachma hoped to exploit. It would also position them to take Creta, another smaller country whose western border was a great ocean, opening up new trade ports for Drachma.
When it was first brought to their attention by an alchemist named Zolf Kimbley that the time was now to take Briggs, that the mistress of the fort was gone, they believed him. He was wrong and a whole brigade was lost and Kimbley disappeared. Top military officials were furious, they wanted revenge and they got it when Amestris imploded and a power struggle began. Drachma knew that this was it; this was the best opportunity to strike. But they had already been turned back once. Would they be able to break through again?
The answer came in the form of inside information straight from within the Amestrian military.
The information Drachma received wasn't trusted at first but when it proved helpful time and time again... there wasn't much else to do but use it. But Amestris was tenacious and wouldn't give up. Then there were the truces with Creta and Aerugo, the alliance formed with the Emperor of Xing's twelfth son...
In the end Drachma could no longer withstand the Amestrians best weapons... the State Alchemists.
They had done all they could to hold them back but it exhausted their resources. Drachma was done. They conceded defeat and decided to forget their mistake and move on with rebuilding their military and their country; the economy decimated by the four year long war. But not everyone wanted to forget.
Two years after the war, the top General's of the Drachman military were visited by a retired general from the Amestrian military who wasn't exactly happy with the way events played out; especially with an upstart subordinate of his whom he had groomed over the years succeeding to Fuhrer. But when the opportunity presented itself there was no way for an old man to recruit the support he once had; not when his student had a powerful ally with the lioness, General Armstrong, from the north. He did not have the means or the energy to make a bid himself and was forced to retire, though he would have enjoyed doing so, not having been part of the former Fuhrer's circle and not a favorite of King Bradley. In the end he figured he'd let someone else do the fighting; someone with the strength and power to destroy what Bradley had put together; someone who would know what to do with inside information and would provide an old man with a little excitement. And let's see if the new Fuhrer can beat the odds too, if he really deserves to lead the country.
However, it didn't go as he planned. Drachma lost but he wouldn't give up. He really had nothing to lose but much to gain if he tried again and succeeded. But he had no idea where to start.
General Grumman continued his visits with Mustang. He got a kick how the new Fuhrer trusted him completely yet had no idea how he had betrayed Amestris during the war. He was always careful with the information he leaked to Drachma; to only offer them tidbits that anyone else within the chain of command would know so he would not be held under suspicion. But what really amused him the most were the strings Mustang left untied and how openly he spoke of them. Perhaps he spoke of them, hoping for reassurance from his mentor that he had done the right thing doing so. Just because he had to remain strong and decisive didn't mean he had no doubts over his decisions. Of course, Grumman told Mustang what he wanted to hear. His false reassurances eventually led to a startling revelation. He was surprised when Mustang told him, even more so when he heard Mustang's reason for keeping the thing alive. He almost wished Mustang hadn't told him, it was all too easy and he was hoping for a challenge. But he knew this was what he was looking for.
Mustang had stopped trying to get information from it; it didn't care for the new Fuhrer. But it was willing to talk to Grumman.
It helped that the inside information he had given throughout the war was done secretly. With the Drachman military still weakened by the war he came before the top General's and offered a nearly fool proof way of rebuilding their once proud army. The bitter defeat did not stop them from jumping upon the opportunity. But to start they needed one thing Drachma didn't have: Alchemists.
They couldn't get them from Xing like they did during the war. No, the source had to come from Amestris if they were going to do what they were going to do... at least that was what Grumman convinced them, that it was a twisted poetic justice to have one of their very own alchemist, who had taken the oath to work for the people, to turn around and destroy their beloved dogma. Besides, it had originated in Amestris so that's where the alchemists must come from, he said. Preferably someone who was an ex-State Alchemist or even better, a disgruntled State Alchemist who felt they were being held back…
General Grumman found the alchemist he was looking for. He loved how everything just seemed to fall right into his lap when he needed it the most.
He really didn't have anything against the new Fuhrer. He had been retired for almost six years and found that such a leisurely lifestyle didn't suit him. He craved the excitement he felt when he was passing on Amestrian secrets to the Drachmans during the war; he liked the thrill it gave him knowing he was double crossing one of his best without them knowing. How he wished he was young again to fully enjoy toying with these two countries. To think that one old man could do so much with just a few choice words. But that was all he had in his arsenal. If he were young he would have just killed Mustang and become Fuhrer himself. No offense, Mustang, he thought to himself amused with his inner thoughts. You would have done…no wait… you actually did do the same thing.
After one particular visit with Mustang he took a stroll - as he usually did - through headquarters, always welcomed and greeted warmly. He happened across a young man with a silver pocket watch carrying an armful of files.
There was something about this young man that made him stop and talk to him. Grumman noted the bitterness and contempt on the young alchemist's face. He knew this was the very person who could help him. The young man was usually busy and barely spoke, not knowing who Grumman was but the former General continued visiting the young man. It was obvious this alchemist did not request a desk job; that it had been forced upon him. It didn't take much to convince the young alchemist that his skills could be put to use elsewhere for other's that would appreciate him...
After thirteen years of hard work nearly complete, Grumman's influence would soon be felt. Even in the far away country of Xing, where Lin Yao, Emperor of Xing, looked upon the dead bodies of his guards and the broken remains of a small, glass prison. He didn't know how he was going to explain this to the friend he had betrayed for so many years.
Long ago, when he was nothing more than a child, he had left his country in search of immortality so he could become Emperor. His search led him to cross a great desert into a country known for its upheaval and constant fighting. The country was run by the military who maintained a special institution of ultimate, human weapons. He was fortunate to meet one of these human weapons after his exhaustive journey through the desert.
What once began as a rivalry soon turned into an alliance... a friendship really; with each one looking for the same thing but for different reasons. Ultimately, Lin found what he was looking for but it was more than he bargained for. It gave him the power he wanted but it cost him his body. Somehow he overcame it and he became Emperor. He had fulfilled his goal. But he did not do so completely on his own. He had help from a very loyal friend.
However, every action has a reaction... or in this case, a consequence. He had never regretted anything he had done until now.
There were only a handful of people who knew of what had taken over his body. Three of those believed it destroyed. Lin wished he had destroyed but it was too late now. But he couldn't imagine who would have known about it. It couldn't have escaped on its own; it's original form nothing but a pool of gelatinous crimson.
A horrible, gut wrenching fear gripped him. This was not the only one of its kind in existence. There was another that had been imprisoned as well. What if…? It couldn't happen; that one was too well protected too… wasn't it? But if someone had managed to infiltrate his own security the other could be threatened as well.
Lin hoped it wasn't. Having one loose was bad enough; having the two loose together at the same time would be disastrous, especially under the control of whoever had orchestrated the theft. They would be free to run rampant and take revenge upon someone if they so desired. Or, perhaps there was a use already planned for them.
This was not something he could send a proxy for; he had to handle this himself. There was nobody but him to beg forgiveness for this oversight; this betrayal. He would do whatever it took to correct this mistake, even if it meant his life in the process; he would deserve it for what he did. His fate, once again, was with that country far to the west, beyond the desert.