4th Decision

El Pip

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The Consequences of Decision 3;
The Janissaries envoy is satisfied that the Sultan and the Eunuchs understand the gravity of the situation the Empire finds itself in, making the usual pledge of loyalty and returning to his fellows to reassure them of the change in course. The Grand Vizer, Seyyid Ali Pasha, has been put to death as punishment for his mistaken advice that mislead the Sultan and Benderli Ali Pasha has been appointed to replace him.

The representatives of Egypt, Epirus and Greece are quick to petition the palace to confirm that this new harder line will not affect them and have received not entirely reassuring responses.

Decision 4 - Internal Politics - May 1821
Further consideration of those issues is delayed due to further bad news from the 'European' part of the Empire. An uprising has occurred in Wallachia and Moldavia, yet more nationalists looking to 'free' themselves from the wise and benevolent rule of Constantinople. In line with our new policy a force of Janissaries is being prepared to convince them otherwise but a question has arisen. The local commander, Dervish Mehmed Pasha, wishes to use the Danubian Cossacks as part of his force. While they are undoubtedly effective the Cossacks can be... enthusiastic... in their suppression of rebels.

It is understood by the Eunuchs of the Topkapı Palace that the Wallachian uprising may have Russian support and a great many peasants from the Austrian Empire have crossed the border rallied to the rebels. They note that the Holy Alliance is meeting with the UK and France at the Congress of Laibach and it is suspected the "Eastern Question", as they patronisingly term their opinions on internal Ottoman affairs, is a matter of discussion. Should the Cossacks be deployed alongside the Janissaries as show of strength to rapidly put down the revolt and discourage others, or should only regulars be used to lower the chances of an incident that may attract unwanted external attention?

Once he has perused the views of the international press, the Sultan will make his decision.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Before writing a response, surely the ottomans have no choice but to do this anyway? At this point, going hard against the rebels, they sort of have to be as horrible as possible...

And I thought His Grace, the Duke of Nutwood was perfectly clear in his discussion about...something.
 

El Pip

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Before writing a response, surely the ottomans have no choice but to do this anyway? At this point, going hard against the rebels, they sort of have to be as horrible as possible...
Being as horrible as possible is certainly one option. However this band of Cossacks were apparently considered a bit extreme even by Ottoman and Balkan standards, which is quite the achievement. They may not be very discriminating between rebels and loyal citizens, which may be an acceptable price to pay or something that will cause bigger problems later. Hence the question.
 

DensleyBlair

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(I've not forgotten about this, just been a frantic time writing-wise these past couple of weeks. The Vicomte will ride again soon!)
 

El Pip

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(I've not forgotten about this, just been a frantic time writing-wise these past couple of weeks. The Vicomte will ride again soon!)
Now I feel I have to make a stab at the next edition of "High and Mighty" just so the Ottomans have someone (sort of) on their side.
 
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The Loyal Greek Newspaper - #4

HistoryDude

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The Loyal Greek Newspaper:

Is using the Cossacks really necessary? If they're very harsh, using them might harm our benevolent Ottoman overlords. That would be bad for the loyal people of Greece - who will defend us from the hungry mouths of the Western European powers if the Ottomans won't? Our overlords have already given in to our, erm, requests. As long as they can defend us, we should be satisfied.

The question, then, becomes what would allow them to best defend our interests. Obviously, they will not attack Greece. Why should they? We are so clearly loyal, and attacking us would only threaten that loyalty. It might be in their best interest to simply abandon lands that they cannot hold. The Ottoman Empire is large - and large empires are hard to govern and rarely last long. One only needs to look at history - Alexander's Empire crumbled with his death, and even the successor empire of the Seleucids gradually contracted. Later, both Rome and our illustrious ancestors that the western powers call "Byzantines" lost land as well. In the natural order of things, empires lose land.

The Ottomans should, therefore, negotiate with these Wallachians and Moldavians. If they are willing to accept a compromise, then find one. If they aren't... then they should be crushed. Given influence to the Russians is the last thing any Greek should want.

After all, the Russian Empire views itself as the rightful successor to the Eastern Roman Empire (the "Byzantine Empire" to the West). They clearly want Greek land, viewing it as theirs by right. That right boils down to what? A marriage from hundreds of years ago and historical connections? That's not a very convincing argument, and it could easily lead to oppression of Greeks. What's to prevent the Russians from viewing themselves as "more Greek" than the actual Greeks and thus view themselves as having a better claim?

Nothing, that's what. At the moment, the Ottomans aren't oppressing us. If they try to change that policy, then they might find that we have very... convincing ways of changing their minds. War is not the only way regime change can be enacted, after all. The Ottomans want our loyalty, and the Russians might not care - the Ottomans are the lesser evil here. We are loyal to them because they're better rulers than anybody else, not because they're good rulers.

Send the Cossacks if you absolutely must, but make sure that you must. Resorting to the worst case scenario will only lead to hatred. Would a ruler that always killed anyone who disagreed with him immediately be listened to? Of course not. Begin moderately and get progressively if it is necessary.
 
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Travels in the Land of the Greeks - Book the Ninety-Seventh

DensleyBlair

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MASTHEAD.jpg


AN ORIENTAL DISPATCH
Troubling reports have reached Paris of plans by the Porte to enlist Danubian Cossacks in Turkish efforts to forestall the growth of discontent within the Western provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The French government maintains a keen interest in the integrity of the Empire as a counterweight to Russian influence in the East, which grows daily, but ministers have indicated that they would not be able to excuse brutalities committed against the Christian populations of the Empire.

How fortunate we are, therefore, to be able to publish this timely excerpt from a new epic work in verse by M. le Vicomte de la Roche Saint-Michel, lately France's most celebrated man of letters! The Vicomte has translated his experience in the Orient into a monumental poetic opus, some four cantos in length, documenting his encounters with those good Christians of the Empire persecuted by the harsh treatment meted out by the Porte in its heavy-handed attempts to restore order. Printed below is an excerpt from the Third Canto, which finds our hero lamenting the plight of the Wallachian people, harried by the Cossacks.



Travels in the Land of the Greeks

by

Jean-Maxence-François-Chrétien,
V
ICOMTE DE LA ROCHE SAINT-MICHEL

~ ❦ ~

BOOK THE NINETY-SEVENTH

"THE WALLACHIAN HORROR"

Lo! hear well this account which I recite,
Brought back from lands known not to Western men,
Where—though the skies are blue, and dark be night—
All customs lie quite far beyond our ken:
I speak of Vlachs beset by proud Turkmen;
These Christians must attract our sympathy,
For, now bedevilled by old foes again,
We must defend their right to liberty—
And firm, oppose the fell Ottoman tyranny!

Alas! how badly I do suffer yet
With grief to know their land is still so wracked,
By pashas unaccustomed to respect
Those noble friends of Greece: long-suff'ring Vlachs!
Fast, the horsemen charge onwards in their packs,
Called forth by angry agents of the Porte,
Who hear the freedom cry as an attack;
Onwards charge the horsemen to cut well short
All august dreams of freedom from the terr'ble Porte!

O! stern policemen of this crumbling realm,
Loaned cavalry unleashed by foreign hands:
Think on your conduct ere you overwhelm
The liberty of long-beleaguered lands,
Bent low by unremitting fell demands,
Sapped of their strength by tyrants far and near,
Gripped only by the thought they must expand
Their power, wealth—and most of all: the fear
With which always in subjects' minds they must appear.
 
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High and Mighty Vol.1 No.2

El Pip

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High and Mighty
The Official Journal of the Palace Eunuch | Volume 1, No.2

Concerning Cossacks
European affairs are dominating the gossip of the palace and the Cossack Question is much debated. The most brave and loyal Dervish Mehmed Pasha has requested the Danubian Cossacks be assigned to him and used against the rebels who so foolishly oppose the Empire, he argues that a show of strength is necessary to reassert Imperial Authority in the provinces after recent events. The Reis ül-Küttab however has warned of the dangers of inflaming the passions of the Russians and the Holy Alliance should the Cossacks be too vigorous. Your humble editors do, of course take no view on this and wish merely to present the views of our remaining members.

The harems and court officials are united in agreeing that Dervish Mehmed's request should be granted and the Cossacks unleashed. The majority of Eunuchs were baffled as to why anyone would object to a group of wild, savage, muscular men rampaging through a household, behaving in the basest of ways, sweat dripping from their armour as they are took whomsoever they wished in whatever manner took their fancy.

Grand Vizer Watch
It can be challenging to keep track of all the the intrigues and cabals within the Palace, so as a service to our readers we will be running this regular column of plots and news around the Grand Vizer.

Current Vizer - Benderli Ali Pasha
Time since last Grand Vizer executed by the Sultan - 10 days
Reason for last execution - Poor advice to the Sultan over internal security policy
Most likely reason for current Grand Vizer to be executed - As above
Current Madness Status - At a minimum slightly mad to have taken the job.
Number of active plots against the Sultan at this point - 4
Expected time until next Grand Vizer appointed - Three Months
 
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El Pip

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Tricky. By the rules (reactions = votes = winners) then we are going with sending in the Cossacks, as the only paper that actually got a vote was High and Mighty. However there are two papers going against that policy and it does seem mildly suspect declaring my own paper the winner.

If there are any readers/lurkers out there who want to throw in a reaction on their favourite paper or just a blatant vote, then now is the time to make yourselves known.
 

DensleyBlair

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If there are any readers/lurkers out there who want to throw in a reaction on their favourite paper or just a blatant vote, then now is the time to make yourselves known.
Duly reacted to what I think is a basically anti-Cossack bit of doublespeak from the characteristically gnomic Loyal Greek Newspaper, unable as I am to supply the vicomte with the upvotes his courageous sortie into the realm of verse so thoroughly deserves.

Now we have a tie, which is much more fun :D
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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I think at this point the Cossacks should be unleashed and damn the consequences. Not going to be much European empire left if they don't show some absurd overkill at some point soon.
 

El Pip

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I think at this point the Cossacks should be unleashed and damn the consequences. Not going to be much European empire left if they don't show some absurd overkill at some point soon.
This is quite obviously correct, but I think that bar High and Mighty most of the other papers don't actually want there to be much of a European Empire left. And as the other papers got more votes, that is the way the Empire is going.
 
4th Decision - The Result

El Pip

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A strict reading of the rules says the score was Cossacks 1 - No-Cossacks 2. This also reflects the number of articles published which is handy. It also means we can avoid anything so vulgar as taking comments from the floor.

The Danubian Cossacks will not ride out and Dervish Mehmed Pasha will march alone with his Janissaries.
 
5th Decision

El Pip

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The Consequences of Decision 4;
Dervish Mehmed Pasha was not pleased but rode out into Wallachia to suppress the rebels with only his Janissaries. Sadly the Janissaries have been more focused on expanding their political power than their military might in recent decades and their initial victories were not as overwhelming as may have been hoped. While the Pasha was victorious at Bucharest he was checked at Drăgăşani and forced back across the river Olt. This defeat emboldened more rebels to join the cause, all of whom somehow have acquired arms.

Decision 5 - Russian Influence
The rebels in Wallachia and Moldavia are suspiciously well armed for peasant revolutionaries, there is much suspicious that Russian moral and verbal support has become more practical. Certainly a large number of old model Russian Imperial muskets have somehow found their way into the hands of the rebels. It has also been noted that the 'Austrian peasants' who have flocked across the border to the rebel standard are surprisingly well drilled when on the field of battle and it is understood from prisoners who have been... encouraged... to talk that they hold many of the leadership positions. The Eunuchs of the Topkapı Palace cannot say for certain this is deliberate, they could just be Austrian Army veterans who have becoming mercenaries, but it is highly unlikely that Vienna is not aware.

Evidence has been gathered but now a decision must be made what to do with it. Were our ambassador to demand it we feel it is likely we could gain admittance to the Congress of Laibach and put these accusations to the so-called Holy Alliance, perhaps forcing them to back down but perhaps provoking a further reaction. The alternative would be to remain silent and instead reinforce Dervish Pasha, we can still outnumber the rebels and obtain a victory, it will just be slower, cost more troops and be less decisive.

The Sultan will consider the views of the newspapers and then make his own decision.
 

DensleyBlair

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Somehow it has been two weeks since I made a note to write my article. Rest assured that this oversight will be corrected with haste and will not be allowed to happen again.
 
The Loyal Greek Newspaper - #5

HistoryDude

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The Greeks appreciate their autonomy. Perhaps the Wallachians could be granted autonomy? In its absence, they seem to be turning to foreign powers. Dangerous foreign powers. The Austrians and Russians don't truly wish to aid our Wallachian brothers. They care only for themselves.

The Austrians are not as dangerous as the Russians, though. We, the most loyal subjects of His Majesty, the Ottoman Sultan, believe that they might wish to annex or vassalize Wallachia. They do already own Transylvania - and the Habsburgs believe themselves to be the true Roman Emperors, even if they no longer outright claim the title. Clearly, they wish to expand across Italia and the Balkans. They are a threat, but we don't believe that they truly wish to conquer all of that land - they will, but only to counteract Russia. The Roman claim is probably mostly titular.

Russia is more threatening, as they believe themselves the rightful overlords of all Orthodox Christians. They say that they are the rightful successors, ultimately, of Rome. The Byzantine Empire is who they claim to be the direct heirs of, so they clearly harbor designs on Greece and absolutely on Constantinople. This is unacceptable.

Greece should be ruled by Greeks, not Russians or Austrians. Paying lip-service to the Turks is fine, but the Russians and Austrians will be direct rulers. Our autonomy will be revoked - neither Russians nor Austrians grant autonomy. Let Wallachia fall and, soon, the rest of the European portion of the Ottoman Empire will follow. There will be a domino effect - like dominoes, the Ottoman territories will fall - one after another. First Wallachia, then the Balkans, then Greece, then the Holy Land, then Syria, then Egypt, and, eventually, even Anatolia will fall.

Russia and Austria can be called out on their ambitions, though. That is what the Ottomans should do. Austria and Russia should keep each other in check. The Ottomans should then be fine.
 
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El Pip

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A vote for confrontation from the Loyal Greek Newspaper, who can doubt that this decision was made with the very best interests of the Ottoman State at it's heart?
 
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DensleyBlair

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I would say I will get something up this week, but as we have seen there is a high chance that would be a lie. If you would like to go ahead Pip, I’ll happily resume the vicomte’s travels next ‘round’. Let’s say he is momentarily incapacitated with an exotic venereal condition.
 

DensleyBlair

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MASTHEAD.jpg


AN ORIENTAL DISPATCH
After a prolonged period of absence, we are pleased to be able to able to present a new series of remarks from the most intrepid Vicomte de la Roche Saint-Michel, who explains that he has been recuperating from a mysterious malady known only as 'the Greek disease'. How he acquired this ailment is not certain, but we are happy to report that M. le Vicomte is now returned to full health with no continuing adverse effects. Thus with the greatest pleasure we offer our loyal readers this most incisive and intriguing missive on the present diplomatic manoeuvres being conducted from the Topkapi Palace.


Travels in the Land of the Greeks

by

Jean-Maxence-François-Chrétien,
V
ICOMTE DE LA ROCHE SAINT-MICHEL

~ ❦ ~

BOOK THE ONE-HUNDRED AND FIFTEENTH

"A DECISION AT BREAKFAST"

As I awoke on the third day of my return to health, all trace of that mysterious malady which had so foully gripped my very soul having quit from my cognisance, my manservant Niklaus roused me with a selection of the morning journals. Not wishing to linger any longer in my bed, having passed many a week in hellish torment between those satin sheets, and knowing now only discomfort at the sensation of overstaying in that place, and deciding really that I must have that bed removed for the good of my health, I resolved that I would take my petit déjeuner and my reading of the journals outside on the terrace. Enrobing myself in my kaftan, a tradition much practised among the native Greeks, and one which inexplicably I have been drawn to adopt as my own ever since my recovery from that fell and vexatious illness that had overcome me, I made my way outside into the morning air.

Ah! how glad I was in that dawn to be alive, enjoying my most delectable breakfast on that day, proudest of velvet mornings, happy to be on an island in the sun (for I had taken up residence on a small island during my convalescence, and it had proven so salubrious that I was of a mind to stay forever and ever). The first entry in my journal of choice the morning, the venerable
Hellenic Herald, concerned the appalling news of agents provocateurs within the ranks of the brave Greek freedom fighters. How ill I was bestirred by this news, my very countenance corrupted by the revelation that any foreign power might seek so callously to profit from the liberty and well-being of these most noble Greeks! Yet this was the situation as it stood, and thus I appreciated quickly that the Greek cause was imperilled; for if the Austrians and the Russians had espied a window through which they might extract some profit from the good cause of Greek liberty, then I would know definitively that all goodness in this realm were corrupted; which is to say it would be as if it were the end of the world!

Having therefore recognised these ominous omens, the four horsemen of doom encircling the Greek cause, vultures all, ravenously watching over to pick their fell sustenance from the shining and virtuous cause of Greek autonomy, I resolved with equal haste that I would act decisively to make some positive intervention in the matter, for my station was not inconsiderable within the wider echelons of the Orient, and few foreign emissaries carried in their voice such authority as I!

Dig you out my escritoire, I called to Niklaus, who duly returned with that instrument of writing. Producing my finest and most authoritative pen, I thusly wrote to the local pasha, and registered in the strongest terms my belief that the Viziers must protest the meddling which has been undertaken by alien forces in Greece!

No sooner had I finished writing my powerful dispatch than the weather did turn most suddenly, and it began all at once to cloud over. Presently, a crack of thunder broke the calm, and I hurried inside, pulling up at the hem of my kaftan so as not to wet my most prized garment, and calling upon Niklaus to remove my escritoire to its position inside the house. O! how I did hope in that moment that this were not an ill sign of my intervention, for it is often that that rain and tears are much the same, and perhaps therefore this were proof that I should not have acted so rashly, and that the progress of the Greek meddling was in fact all for the best in securing the freedom of an Hellenic polity.

But no sooner again had I entertained these thoughts than I banished them from my mind, for I realised then that the rain was not in fact not destined as an omen for me at all, but rather that the Heavens themselves were weeping for the sorry plight of the Greek peoples! O! that this most favoured people had fallen so low as to be fought over like scraps among the birds! What foul ignominy! What discourteous resolutions had been made in the name of these noble citizens! I resolved at that moment that Greek freedom was to be my only fascination, my final great love in life, and that should the call be made it would be my my profound honour, to die by the side of my love!
 
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DensleyBlair

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I finally found both a window of opportunity and a flash of inspiration, so I am pleased to present the Vicomte's latest dispatch. It is strewn with Easter eggs along a very particular and only half-relevant theme, whose absurdity would perhaps compel my demission as a constructor of ruses. But it was fun to write so I make no apologies. Congratulations to any who find the hidden gems.
 
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