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NewbieOne

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When I was a young boy, I wanted to become a knight.



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Didn't everybody? Or, failing that, at least a bishop.



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Not that that was entirely undoable. We are technically nobility... err... well, my ancestor was a simple worker... some time, somewhere, you know. The [snip]an Dream, you know. All hard, hard work and [snip]an ingenuity.



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We generally laugh at the nobility business at our yearly reunions at the family plantation which we've owned for... never mind, where was I?



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Dad would hear nothing about me joining the army, that is, a good military record makes a man known and appreciated in the right circles and helps in elections (such as that guy who captained a ship and was a POW for many years later or the other one who led a patrol boat on the river and got a medal for dispatching some native archers), but army is not a good future for the eldest son and certainly not with the grunts. A second son, yes, it is useful to have one be a general (and knight, when the Emperor owes us). Or bishop, which is equally as good. But not the first son. It is law school for you, he always said to me.



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And so I went to law school, crammed for the exams:



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...slept through most of the boring stuff and most of the stuff was boring, I assure you, worked the cantina like most of them, I mean us, commoners (makes you look humble, industrious and all that jazz):



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...fell in love (she preferred we stayed friends):



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...fell in love again (this one swapped me in for the captain of the athletics team):



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...attended some cool parties:



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...(but didn't inhale), and overall had a jolly good time:



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...(damn, that sounded too British, I gotta watch my accent when the elections come).

Then I graduated the... err... well, I graduated from my class, signed up with the Grand Old Party:




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...did my time as a justice of peace:



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...spent some time serving on diplomatic outposts in the proud service of our great nation:



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...most of which involved the Company in one way or the other:



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...did some cool assignments:



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...met some interesting people:



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...traveled[1] to some interesting places:



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... and when my father died, I inherited his boardroom:



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Ooops, I mean:



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NewbieOne

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...And eventually became the employer of every single jock that had bullied me at school. (I'd kept a list.)



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Initially had some problems with the unions:



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...but my attorneys (that is, other than myself) settled it out of court:



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Later, I even put my armor[1] on on a couple of occasions. That was totally fun while it lasted. Especially when we chased the reds, I mean, the Rushkies around Tmutarakhan:



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...put out some fires for the Byzzies:



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...traded weapons in Georgia:



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...trained and equipped some contras... uhm... freedom fighters in Armenia:



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...hopped around the Mekong, I mean, the Nile Delta:



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...giving the Fatimids cramps:



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(Now that I recall, I got some serious cramps there too):



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...I briefly had a wife there but she didn't make it to the embassy when things got rough (I still pray for her soul daily):



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That was a major source of contention with my family, actually, but it eventually settled when I properly married into old money back home. I'm such a family person, you know:



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...Even though the relationship my current wife and I share is... rather "unique":



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Anyway, the local Coptic and Nubian guerillas were cool guys to work with:



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...Or when we told the Krauts to please fall on their swords with their stinking embargo on one occasion. That one was a biggie:



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I even had to agree to be knighted on the spot before that fat German duke would surrender his sword to me when I and my boys had his command post rounded...



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and that caused no small stir in the Congr... Citizens Assembly, as it supposedly violated Foreign Titles and Distinctions Act, but we made a nice parade, consistently denied comment and everybody eventually forgot:



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...And we generally supported and fought for democracy and free market in the entire



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known



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world.



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NewbieOne

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Naturally, we faced adversity.



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But we overcame it



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and emerged even stronger.



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Even when we had a real commie riot on our own home turf.



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We invited a MacCarthaigh to deal with it and equipped him with some broad powers. Worked like charm.



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There was some uproar when details of enhanced interrogation techniques leaked out:



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...but we survived that too. In fact, I survived an assassination attempt on one day.



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Did wonders to my image. Opposite to what whoever it was that hired them intended. I never found out. But I exercise daily to stay in shape (and remind myself of my earlier days and escape from my wife):



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...and I keep a balanced diet.



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In fact, on one occasion I almost entered the seminary:



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but I lacked a vocation and I was eventually dissuaded from it anyway. I now sponsor a couple of orphanages instead:



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Some of my relatives bicker about it affecting their allowances. But then I remind them that in fact all of their allowances are discretionary, strictly speaking:



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and then they become my best pals again and we, together, as a united, loving family, engage in modest, simple entertainment:



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Now, however, things are about to change. There is one more election to win. No, not the HRE



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(That was a good one, by the way. You had me laughing. Thanks. Just call me [snip].)

I need to practice my speeches.


***​


"I understand small business. I was one too..." "It's not about silk..." No! I need something different, something more powerful. How about:


"My fellow constituents. It is a grand day today that I stand before you, in the face of the upcoming elections, which will shape the future of our great nation for... hopefully a couple of decades. It is with full conviction, and joy, but also humility that I approach you on this day on which we are to discuss such most important things. I feel humbled by the dignity of this most high office which you are about to entrust me with. Scratch that. Which I am about to ask you to entrust me with. Much better. Yesterday was a glorious day. Today is better still. I promise you an even more astonishing tomorrow, for you all. I will not say a bad word about the... other candidates. For indeed they are most upstanding citizens, fine gentlemen, good husbands, and fathers, some of them brave officers (some of whom I had no small pleasure to have under my command), but truly you must ask yourselves--and only you can answer the question, by the way--is that all which we want for our nation? For this most serene and most exalted Republic? I shall not entreat you with any more promises. I rest my case in your hands, my fellow constituents."
 
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NewbieOne

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CEO, EMEA—The Beancounter's Saga



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[Pic source: wiki]​

====

[1] For some odd reason, British spelling will not be used in this AAR. It's not like we've gotten tired of Present Perfect or doubled consonants in participles or anything like that. Totally unrelated, you know.
 

A_Dane

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Agreed with the above,

Also, clever use of pictures!
 

NewbieOne

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(Okay, just on the odd chance you actually would like the beginning well enough to vote for he AAR, this AAR doesn't qualify because it was started after the specified date, that being 1 Jan 2013. But worry not, we will work on awards later.)
 
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NewbieOne

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With apologies for the cunctation. I am still in the final decades of a game I really don't want patched. It's going to take a while. After which we shall, naturally, use all of the might of the GOP for victory.
 
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NewbieOne

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"Sir, sir! Mister [snip] Can we have a moment of your time! You've been so hard to come by these last weeks!"
"Why of course." The energetic military-like swagger slows down and eventually stops on the pavement. It's the Times. A panting reporter is frantically browsing through his notes anyway while trying to remember them all, flanked by a stenographically trained scribe and followed by a robust servant carrying supplies of spare parchment and ink bottles. They somehow manage not to bump into each other and send their stuff flying. Prestige comes with obligation. The Times is no village crier.
"—Excuse me—Rocco, please tell the board I will be a tad late for noon's meeting. If there is anything that can't wait, Astorre has the proxies. If Ottavio starts itching again, tell him to take a bath.—I'm sorry, Editor, you didn't have to hear the last part. Difficult people require difficult measures, as I'm sure you of all people must understand. Editor Negroni, I presume?"
"Cosmo Negroni, yes."
"Ah, Cosmo Negroni, great. You can just call me [snip]. Say, I have nothing against the outside, but how about you come in for a cup of koffeh? I would offer a glass of wine but we are both on duty."
"I don't know if I should-"

"You probably shouldn't." Sparkling, mute laughter follows momentarily. "But if you only did what you felt comfortable doing, you would never get great material. Good maybe but not great."
"True that. Just for the record, the hospitality will not affect anything I write... unduly."
"Of course! I don't waste my time on sycophants."
"The composition of your Board kinda seems to prove that. You seem to have promoted some of the foulest mouths in the company.'"
"That's one way to describe the buggers. But I'll tell you what: They are competent. And that's what counts. I don't need a bunch of highly influential pansies pissing down their silken stockings... did I just swear again? Never mind, publish it as it is." A wave of hand dimissed the issue as the men climbed the steps. There were no coats to take due to the season of the year but a servant took the editor's hat. [Snip] wore none. It was observed that the servant and the master seemed to share a markedly more cordial and relaxed relationship than in the typical Patrician house. Nothing ostentatious and yet it was highly visible.
"Bashir served with me somewhere I can't tell you. I kept him when all his family and the rest of his squad... you know. He was a good NCO. I pinned some of his last stripes myself. He followed me when I retired from active service. Anyway, we are arrived! Make yourself at home. I'll get us some koffeh. If you need anything, just clap your hands. Someone will come and take care of it."

"'This is quite comfy!" the Editor helped himself into a chair. "Frankly, I expected much more plush." He said while looking around the walls. "Or gold." There was none of the former and little of the latter in the map room and yet it was appointed withe highest taste.
"Naaah!" A yell came from the koffeh corner. "Plush is for sissies and gold is for show-offs." One thing, either way. "Real men use leather. And iron."
The Editor replied nothing but he had spent his own tour or two as a deck officer for the Republic after graduation and couldn't help warming up increasingly to his interlocutor. Could it be his type of man for the office?
"Here. Black like a politician's heart, hot like his ambition, bitter like a lost primary." [Snip] takes a long, unhurried sniff until his nostrils are full of the delicious smell, like an old junkie that he is. But the Editor is no different. Great minds need oil for the gears. [Snip] hands the exact same cup to each the scribe and the carrier. Fine porcelain, beautiful lines on the ornament, no other sumptuary devices soever. He throws off his jacket and rests his legs on the table, crossed in ankles, while rubbing his eyes somewhat nonchalantly but without any obvious hint of decadence. The koffeh is doing his job, apparently.
"So what were we to talk about?" he asks, consciously.
 
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NewbieOne

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"We've got to do this more often!"
"Any time."
"Well, not exactly any. Or you'll go bankrupt and my readers will get bored of you."
"Oh would they! Just come back some time." And the men parted their ways.

(...)

The other press caught the scent too and there was no small stir. The Post felt snubbed and a good number of the smaller fries eager to catch the occasion before it slipped through their fingers also gathered up to take a bite. This time it would not be so easy. Forget a comfy interview on the home turf in the cosiness of your own map room with an Editor who had also served in the same wars. Due to the volume of interest a more collective event had to be arranged and it would not be hosted by friendlies. The little-shavers bellyached about the Post calling the shots but they allayed when the Post footed the bill. They still fussed about the questioning order and that brought a small victory to the campaign: it was agreed that the candidate himself would be taking questions and giving answers. Like any, this solution had its advantages and its disadvantages, as would soon show. There was one special stipulation, though. The press were assured that they wouldn't have to hold back. But there was one condition: if they wouldn't hold back, the candidate would neither. They jumped at it.

"Sir, glad to have you finally here with us." Somebody had the decency to offer a proper greeting.
"Thank you, the feeling is mutual." Real men are courteous.
"Commander... err... CEO..."
"It was higher than commander last time I checked on the reserve list." He chuckled in response. "Mr. [Snip]' will be enough.'"
"It was first names with the Times but I'm not complaining. I understand you and Negroni served in some war. Will you comment on that exclusive footage, though. Why them? What did they–"
"They took the walk to my work and caught me in the morning. Early bird catches the worm is what my father always taught me."
"What else did your father teach you?"
"The the only acceptable school is law school.' Some polite laughs ensue but meaningful coughing soon follows. 'But joking aside, he taught me the value of talent and, more importantly, hard work and dedication. And ingenuity and always staying tuned to opportunities that arise."
"Is that how you built your considerable fortune?"
"Considerable fortune? You're being generous. Yes, that is how I built it. At least the part for the building of which I was actually responsible. You shouldn't credit me for what my father had accomplished."
"It can be seen as somewhat odd for you to pay him such deference in light of–"
"–In light of our famous 'differences'? Maybe. But just because you don't always see eye to eye, somebody doesn't stop being your father. I owe where I am here mostly to him."
"You are downplaying your own achievements. Is that a false modesty?" [Snip] shook his head "no" but the issue was dropped anyway. "And what of your other ancestors?"
"Yes, my ancestors. What of them?"
"You're supposed to be the 15th lord of [Snip] according to sources. At least the 15th."
"And what with that?"
"Sir, don't you understand? How are you going to devote yourself to a republic, how are its citizens to expected to trust you with presiding over one, with such a background–"
"That is a good question, actually. What is your last name?"
"Wh-why? What..."

"Just tell me."
"Gestore."
"So, aren't you at least the 15th Mr. Gestore? There must have been a dozen or so before you. Who probably ran something somewhere, judging by the sound of it."
"I guess..."
"Does that prevent you from serving the Republic faithfully and efficiently?"
"I don't–"
"Of course you do. Every single one of us in this room," a wide-circling motion takes place here, "serves the Republic in whatever capacity has been entrusted to him. None of us is different in this regard."
"You do have a gift for speech." Skeptical frown.
"Not only speech, I assure you."
"The Fatimids would know something about that." Somebody affiliated with the anti-war movement chimed in.
"I am not at liberty to discuss those issues but if you obtained an audience with the rulers of Egypt, they could tell you a thing or two, I'm sure." The laughing was not as restrained as the last time now.
"How are we to know that you will not plunge us into another war?"
"Another good question, thank you." [Snip] nodded appreciatively. "I believe in everybody's right to live in peace and the ability to cooperate and build together rather than destroying. But sometimes the right to live in peace requires a declaration of war. I will not shy away from that step if it is necessary to protect the interests of the Republic or for world peace or for the assistance of oppressed Christians in the world."
"Does that mean you hate the Muslims?"
"Of course not. What kind of liberal logic is that? At [Snip] we have Muslim business partners and we value them highly. There have been very few incident and nothing that couldn't be explained and redressed swiftly."
"You have acquired a bit of a reputation for that swiftness." That sounded a bit like an accusation, though not a particularly serious one.
"If you say so."
"I do." He was undeterred. "Widely credited for that phenomenon is your... rather eventful past–"
"Oh sure, they are all itching to trade me with me after they read you guys raving on and on about my arms trade in Georgia and guerilla activities in Armenia or whatever else you are raving on about."
"Please be serious."
"Okay. Go on."
"...Or your affinity with their legal system."
"That one makes it a harder job to paint that sweet little picture of me as a bloodthirsty warmonger that only sees them as enemy to be destroyed, doesn't it?"
"Sir..." They obviously didn't like him coming back at them.
"Okay, okay. Yeah." He threw his hands up in the air in a gesture of mock surrender. "I did study their system."
"Where?" Inquiring minds wanted to know.
"Some at university, some... in other circumstances. There was little else to do on some nights–"
"On some nights in Armenia, you mean? Or in Delta?"
"Yes."
"Which one is that?"
"Both."
"I see you are quite proud of–"

"Proud as heck. Proud as heck for having served my country."
"As a spy."
"Yes, that too."
"And you are proud of that."
"Yes, I am."
"..."
"When a soldier dies or takes a wound, his praise is sung by bards, he gets his fame and citations. Do you know what a spy gets?"
"..."
"Any guess?"
"A star on the wall?" Someone more seriously involved with defense issues proved better informed.
"Yes, thank you. A star on the wall. But let's move on to the next question."
"Are you saying that soldiers–," some hothead spoke out of turn.
"I'm saying that you should do your homework. Or just pay attention in class. Minutes ago you guys tried to address me by military rank. Were you sleeping then?" That shut him up.
"They say you were having a good time in the Delta." ...But there was another, more experienced.
"Yep."
"...Blew up things." This was leading somewhere.
"Yep."
"...Chased skirts."
"Tread carefully."
"Supposedly you had a woman there?"
"A wife."
"Whatever."
"No, it's not whatever. Look son, I don't think we're getting proper communication there. Either you change your tone, and your vocabulary, or no matter your fancy accent and the aristocratic you're imputing me with, I'll throw you a big plebeian sucker punch right between your eyes. Is that crystal clear."
"What was the woman's name anyway?"

Thirty seconds later.

"He'll be okay in a day or two. Somebody get him a cold towel. And a lesson on manners."
"Sir, I can't believe you just–" somebody finally caught breath.
"You'd better. And I'm going to do the same for every citizen of this Republic whose rights are being violated."

"Let's change the subject. Supposedly you are carrying a foreign title..."
"I thought you said, 'change the subject.'"
"Well, that was about ancestors. I wanted to ask you about your own knighthood."
"Come on, allow a distressed German duke his honourable way out after being outplayed by an army of burghers. If I'd pressed the assault instead, that would've been a bloodbath even if we'd have won anyway. What was I to do? Insult him and give his men more incentive to fight?"
"Concerned about unnecessary violence, eh?"
"Always. Now, you were going to change the subject. Let me hear something new."
 

aniuby

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Hi NewbieOne! I really liked your introduction to the story and the great use of all the pictures in the game, some of which I've never seen...

But one thing - would it be possible to change the colour of your text? It makes it really difficult to read your paragraphs - which wasn't so hard when they were only one line. If you really must use the red white and blue (for theme reasons, no doubt!), perhaps create an image file with a background colour that provides better contrast, and paste the text onto it with an emboss effect.
 

NewbieOne

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Hi NewbieOne! I really liked your introduction to the story and the great use of all the pictures in the game, some of which I've never seen...

But one thing - would it be possible to change the colour of your text? It makes it really difficult to read your paragraphs - which wasn't so hard when they were only one line. If you really must use the red white and blue (for theme reasons, no doubt!), perhaps create an image file and paste the text onto it with an emboss effect.

Thanks! I might drop it in a while, or find shades that are easier on the eye. What's the hardest part: the brightest of the red and white, the darkness of the blue or the fact of mixing the three colours?
 

aniuby

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The white is fine, though the font size does make it a jarringly bright. However, the blue tends to blend into the forum background, which is also blue in my screen, and the big block of red is actually quite painful...

I don't want to cramp your style so I do feel representing your text on an image file with better contrast would be the best way of bringing the red-white-blue theme across without making it too hard to read.
 

NewbieOne

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Breaking News!

Serene Doge Tedice della Gherardesca, who led our Republic since his election eighteen years ago in 1060, passed away in late hours yesterday evening. He was 54 and the death was of natural causes, an event anticipated for some time previously due to his slowly but steadily deteriorating condition.



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"We shall forever treasure the legacy he left us," the First Lady Dionisia del Monte S. Maria (47), currently at unknown location but speculated to have withdrawn to the family estate now inherited by Tedice Jr., is quoted as saying.
"And I will personally see to it that his sons carry his work forward in the service of our great nation."




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Services for the former Doge will be held at the cathedral and presided over by Bishop Landolfo, himself a new appointee only elevated to the see last year by the Holy Father, not to be confused with the more familiar Bishop Anastasio of Canefro. The body will lie in state for three days and every citizen of this orphaned Republic will be able to pay his respects. A more private wake will be held by the family and invited guests. The honored deceased will be eulogized by his elected successor at the end of the mournful celebrations, while flags will remain half-mast for the month after.

A foundation is expected to be established in the late Doge's name and located in the same complex of buildings with his Dogal Library to celebrate the contributions he made to our society during his long tenure, which he atypically commenced as a relatively young man at the age of 36, a rare achievement for a politician, although it was more common in the past ages and even in this century Otto Orseolo of Venice succeded his father Pietro Orseolo at sixteen. Such a fortuitous outcome for the della Gherardesca family, although it remains a theoretical possibility, is not expected this time.
'The times have changed. What was possible for the young son of a prominent father at the turn of the century does not any longer fit within the boundaries of imagination of the civic society of this day and age,' a family friend says on a condition of anonymity. Mostly to avoid giving an impression of abandoning the della Gherardesca crown prince, whose name is formally on the ballot and who is said to be a somewhat sensitive young man, mostly due to his age. 'His turn will come next election or the one after that, I hope. This said, I fully intent to put my confidence in him as it is and give it due expression at the voting booth.'

While electors are not at a liberty to divulge too many details, we have polled them informally ever since the beginning of the campaign, which originated when our late Doge expressed concerns that he would possibly not survive this new deterioration of his health. The common sympathy seems to lie with Gerardo Visconti, of the family whose corporate headquarters are located in Arborea, Sardinia, within the lands of the Torchitorio counts currently under the protectorate of our Republic while outside its formal immediate jurisdiction, giving the Visconti emporium a large degree of operational autonomy and "freedom from overregulation". The family has, however, for some time been rumoured to be in a tenuous financial shape or afflicted with some other, unspecified distress.
 
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Subscribed! I'm loving the references btw!
 

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Commemoration Meets Election

The former Doge goes down in history as a man as faithful to his wife as he was to his country, which he served as a junior commissioned officer prior to inheriting a share in his family's business operations. While he did not have a particularly striking sense of consistency or elaborate notions of justice, the unique way in which he was content with his lot in life made the he harmed no one and was as disinclined from abusing the vast powers of his office as few others in history. In fact, the shyness which never left him even when ascended the apex of power, made it already difficult for him to confront someone seriously, a necessity which he avoided unless there was no other way and even then, he was almost apologetic in situations which would have made lesser men throw fits of tantrum, punch tables and otherwise take it out on their surroundings. He never seemed tempted to make use of the abundant opportunity to put forward his family interests at the expense of the Republic and carve out a virtual fiefdom for his heirs with the blood of the Republic's own soldiers or abuse the legal process to benefit from a convenient confiscation. Such thoughts seemed to be altogether foreign to his mind and character. We are already missing this quirky fatherly figure we have grown fond of so much and the whole of this Republic is looking with expectation at the electors who are to make this important choice for us all in nominating his successor. It almost feels as if his spirit would not leave this plane until that successor is picked. We, and as we imagine, all faithful citizens of this Republic, are urging the electors to perform their duty expeditiously so that this noble soul can ascend in peace, knowing that it is leaving the Republic in good hands.



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