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91. 1854-1860 - Before the Address
  • Idhrendur

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    Michelangelo Favero happily hums a tune played by Piano Cat during his concert in Constantinople.

    He reads about a "shadowy cabal of a Prussian, Pole, and Irish-man" sabotaging the news.

    It has to be the Cult, infiltrating our news agencies! Nobody would describe any other group as a "shadowy cabal." It would have hurt the Empires reputation if they succeeded.

    He looks over his shoulder, a bit paranoid after the rebellion in Athens six years ago. He is surrounded by at least three bodyguards, but he is still worried.

    He returns to reading his book on Ancient Ruthenian pagan mythology, hoping to find anything that could help him find the Cult.


    Perhaps the Gujarati ambassador's death may not be due to a simple robbery...
    The expansion of the Ruthenians in the Far East is quite unsettling. Perhaps we should do something about it...

    I would like to see this "Piano Cat" at court.

    We should also take measures to prevent another fire from breaking out in the capital.

    -Senator Moustakas

    The growing importance of Deccan and possibility of creating united Indian country worries me, can we get an update on how much Deccan developed is and do we consider it civilized?

    UTA continues to grow and I'm still insisting on our withdrawal from Americas.

    I didn't know that Livonia and Poland were so close. It's good to see that disputed lands (Lithuania in that case) not always cause conflicts but they're also uniting nations. As long as they are loyal to us it's good news. Do we have any information on tensions between Poland-Lithuania and Ukraine?

    Next wars between Germany, Bavaria and Hungary shouldn't bother us. I don't consider any of them as reliable ally or countries that have common interests with us. Let them bleed in their pity struggles.

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    you should concentrate on conquering more of Arabia otherwise you might get cut off from your African provinces since you only control a narrow strip of land in the Levant.how exactly did Mexico end up with provinces surrounded by USA?

    - An unknown voice

    who agrees that conquering more of Arabia its a wise choice because otherwise you might get cut off from your African provinces since you only control a narrow strip of land in the Levant

    - Senator Smithereens

    Who let this man into the senate building? And who gave him reports that are assigned for senators? Guards! Show this man where are the exit doors!

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    I say we take Arabia for the Empire. The land is ripe with possibilities, and the black sludge found there is flammable, and may be of use in weaponry.

    -Senator Ovulur Kishiev

    Good to see new face around here. But I think I did not catch what party are you representing, Senator Alexander Smithereens?

    I haven't heard from you Senator Ovulur Kishiev for a long time. It's good to see you are active in Empire's matters again.

    I think Senators that expansion in Arabia is worth considering, but are we sure we would be able to control those Islamic heathens? Besides, I'm not sure, but don't we have a truce with Arabic nations due to our latest conquests in Asia? I'm sure that Empress Victoria would be able to confirm it or deny it.

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    I say there is no need to conquer the savage deserts of Arabia

    We must act expand our lands to secure these resources before the Arabs use it against us! I see much potential in the future from this, but only if we act now.

    -Senator Ovulur Kishiev

    I Alexander smithereens represent the Foiderátoi party who wishes to expand our empire by seizing Arabia or perhaps seizing some land in the new world but we must expand

    Senator Alexander Smithereens

    Well I do not.

    -Senator Moustakas

    Greetings, Senator Smithereens (weird name you got there, is it a Levantine name or something?). Glad to see the Foederatoi's recruitment campaigns are paying off. Also, you are a senator of the Empire now, so please speak like we do or we may not be able to take you seriously.
    Senators, I do not believe a major expedition into Arabia would be necessary. Taking the holy sites of Mecca and Medina would severely damage our relations with the Muslim world and possibly with Muslims living within the Empire. We could send a few expeditions there to check out the surroundings and possibly seize Syria and the territories near the Mediterranean, but I will not support any far-fetched excursion into a hostile desert. There's a reason they call it the Rub al-Khali--the Empty Quarter. Maybe establish a few outposts to secure control over this "black sludge" you speak of before the Arabs can...

    ~Doukas

    I hope you do not say that I am an intruder. I am the distinguished Ovulur Kishiev, mind you.
    If not now, then at some point we must seriously consider this though. Even if it means integrating the region peacefully into the Empire, we must do something before another nations acts.

    -Senator Kishiev

    My apologies, I was not referring to you as the intruder, Senator Kishiev. Surely you witnessed the man who burst into the Senate room and clamored for an invasion of Arabia shortly before the arrival of Senator Smithereens?
    Yes, Arabia is a strategically important location. However, rushing headlong into the desert right now, what with a Cult of pagans out to kill us all, would not be the best idea. I am advocating for a gradual settlement of the region, setting up outposts and protectorates in the area before setting up a full administration.

    ~Doukas

    I see, well let's hope we can take advantage of it once we have the ability to.

    -Senator Kishiev

    -------------------------

    (( note that not all quotes have been picked up, and some maybe been lightly edited (mostly to add everyone's names). So the 'official history' is slightly different than what you all originally posted. Please let me know if I botched this. My post coming soon. ))
     
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    91. 1854-1860 - The Address
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    It seems that despite Our publishing of the facts of the day, much of the public has chosen to believe rumors about the attack on the Senate last session.
    91-19.png

    We decided that it were best to develop regulations to create banks focused on lending to businesses, as well as create a few initial state-owned business banks.
    91-20.png

    And the legions had already been recovering from the wars of the past few years. They continued to replenish. We also had the Scholai Palatinae expand to include a guard cohort.
    91-21.png

    At the same time, We began sending diplomatic envoys to the Ming. And soon thereafter, reactionaries actually rose in revolt in Varna, Athens, and La Rochelle. They were swiftly put down by the legions.

    The wars and the rebellion had distracted us, and Poland was able to wrest Livonia from the Empire's influence. They were able to convince them to join in union, forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. We are not certain why they decided to not included references to the Livonian Order's part in the history in their name and instead chose to focus on culture for the name.
    91-23.png

    The whole year, We assessed the employment of Our citizens, and began creation of several new factories throughout the Empire. By October, they were ready, the legions had been expanded, and all was at rest. So, though we were still at war with Mexico, We reduced funding to the army and navy and lowered taxes.
    91-24.png

    In early 1855, Mexico tried to claim bankruptcy. But We could not stand for this, and so added the repayment of debts to Our list of demands for peace. By February, they sent an emissary agreeing to this demand, as well as all of the UTA's demands for land, and so We agreed to this peace. As for the reasoning behind the UTA's particular demands, we have no idea what they were thinking. Perhaps they intended to isolate Mexihcan lands? Perhaps they anticipated returning to war soon and seized the richest of the lands they ultimately intended to take?
    91-25.png

    In addition to the UTA's expansion, England had expanded their influence into the Amazon.
    91-26.png

    And Hungary had expanded at Germany's expense.
    91-27.png

    In more peaceful uses of diplomacy, We made moves to solve our constant dye supply problems by courting Ceylon, and in 1855 We were able to add them to Our sphere of influence.

    And Our banking regulations were completed. We followed these up be asking Our best writers how to inspire both nationalism and imperialism in Our citizens, as needed.

    When we sought to continue expanding the Empire's influence in the eastern islands, well, Senator Favero, would you share your report?

    Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero, Duke and Governor of Italy:

    I am certain that many of you remember back to that fatal day that Constantinople was attacked? The group responsible, the so-called Cult of Chernobog or whatever they may call themselves, has been causing mayhem across the Empire ever since their first attack. We do not know why they do this other than that they wish to cause war, violence, and chaos throughout the Empire and the world. These pagans are clearly mad, but that does not mean they are not clever.

    Recently, at the behest of the Empress, a group of diplomatic advisors and generals met to draft up plans for a potential war with Hedjaz over the northern Philippines. We had verified information that the Cult of Chernobog had set up a large base within Hedjaz’s land there to use to harass the Empire with impunity. This meeting was of the utmost secrecy, yet within a week of convening, the plans drafted at that meeting were leaked to the Hedjazi authorities in the Philippines. This is an embarrassment to the Empire. Even our best diplomats had not been briefed on these plans yet and were thus unable to stem the backlash we faced from this debacle. Our reputation has been tarnished because of this incident, yet the circumstances surrounding it are much more sinister.

    The Empress requested that I look into the incident, since it was suspected that cultist activity was involved. I had my best men investigate any leads, and after much searching were able to root out a lair of this Cult of Chernobog in one of our holdings in Southeast Asia. It had long since been abandoned, most likely because they knew we were coming beforehand, but they left behind a couple documents linked to the original plans for the war with Hedjaz. It is clear that these pagans are still within our ranks, stealing our best kept secrets and ready to use them against us. Who knows when they’ll strike again?

    It is unfortunate that the cultists were not caught red-handed, for it made the eventual declaration of war more damning. Hedjaz knew we were coming and any explanation we gave for war only sounded faulty to the world. The Cult of Chernobog has made us look like war-hungry fools, even as we move to destroy them. I can only hope that one day we root out this foul pagan group once and for all so that the Empire can continue on in peace.

    91-28.png

    While this was happening, the Empire of Mexico experienced a revolution, thrusting a liberal party into power. The UTA took advantage of this to declare a war for Arizona. They asked us to join, and We agreed. However, as Mexico still had no army, We sent no legions.

    By late December of 1856, the Empire was prepared again for war with Hedjaz. XI. Legio began the usual sea circuit, defeating an army in Tacloban.
    91-29.png

    Meanwhile, I. Legio and XIX. Legio made the usual invasion of Hedjaz proper, with XIX. Legio diverting to defeat an army attacking Beersheba. Enthusiasm for war was high, with the state newspaper attempting different techniques of instilling the sentiments We desired. But this was a short war, with Hedjaz agreeing to peace in March of 1857.
    91-30.png

    By the end of this war, We had learned better how to manipulate both Nationalist and Imperialist notions to demonstrate the superiority of the Empire and of its citizens.
    91-31.png

    We further sought to better understand the past glory of the Empire by sending archaeological expeditions to Egypt.
    91-33.png

    The philosophers of the University of Constantinople claimed that society had discoverable laws as in natural philosophy, so We funded created chairs for several new philosophers to seek these laws.
    91-32.png

    Late in the year, we added Bastar to Our sphere of influence, securing even more dye for our factories.

    The philosophers had not been able to find simple laws governing the way society operated.
    91-34.png

    However, other philosophers proposed that society could be described as a series of overlapping functions. So chairs were funded for them.
    91-35.png

    In the beginning of 1858, Russia declared war on Iraq, claiming more eastern Siberian land as theirs. They eventually won the war, also giving Persia some of Iraq's land as prize for assistance in that theater.

    And we faced another rebellion. This time Jacobins, who rose in Aurillac. We raised funding to the legions so they would be put down with minimal harm. This increased funding to the army proved well when Bavaria insulted one of Our ambassadors.
    91-36.png

    Bavaria had recently won wars against Germany and Hungary and had expanded at their expense. We decided it was well to put them in their place and declared war. Bavaria's armies flooded across the Alps, and XXVII. Legio sought to stem the tide. Meanwhile, XXIII. Legio swept in from the east, chasing a Bavarian army before finally confronting and completely defeating them in the province XXIII. Legio had first been occupying. And X. Legio stuck against Bavaria's allies in Thuringia in the west. The fierceness of the Imperial attack stunned Bavaria, and they soon surrendered.
    91-37.png

    When corruption in the state industrial departments was shown, We began investigating, eventually ending subsidies to the worst factories. As expected, other factories were able to provide jobs to the displaced workers.
    91-38.png

    The philosophic investigations into the functions comprising society were completed, and while useful still did not provide a complete picture of society.
    91-39.png

    However, the recent wars had hurt the Legions. Not from the fighting, but again from disease, harsh weather, and the like. So We again sought for natural philosophers to seek solutions to these problems by finding better materials for uniforms, gunpowders, and other supplies.
    91-40.png

    As they did so, We continued slowly closing clipper factories, always ensuring that the displaced workers had new jobs, even encouraging new industries better fitted for their regions.
    91-41.png

    With the closing of many clipper factories, We thought it prudent to have the navy develop designs for steamers to replace the Empire's old Man-'O-War ships.
    91-42.png

    Finally, there seems to be sufficient support to make political reforms in the Empire. Though We are firmly of the opinion that elections are not needed. We are able to correctly select the best Senators to advise Us.
    91-43.png
     
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    91. 1854-1860 - Senators Speak
  • Idhrendur

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    Is there ever a time that the UTA is not at war with the Mexicans over this land or that land? It is frankly exhausting hearing about them and their repetitious efforts to conquer the continent.

    I trust your judgment implicitly, Your Majesty. There is no need to consult the people when you always have their best interests at heart. It would only limit your ability to perform your duties.

    - Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero

    It's good to hear that Your Majesty considered our suggestion of not involving Legions in UTA's wars, but I'm afraid that our reaction was to slow, as we can see, with Mexico having no armies, UTA is now capable of expanding into the rest of continent without our help. Let's just hope that they won't turn against us in the future.

    Also, after recent events of terrorist attacks our citizens seem to want political reform, especially Free press, that would, in their opinion, ensure them thruthful informations about the state of Empire and the World. I suggest creating some sort of illusion, let non-state press function, but only after our approval, thus making sure that our citizens will be free from dangerous and radical ideologies. That should also satisfy their need of political reform, thus avoiding radical changes like elections.

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    Elections...the very word reeks of the liberal menace!

    -Senator Doukas

    I see no harm in letting the people have greater control over the press, if we censor anything that could harm the Empire. It is surely better than the nonsense that is elections. We haven't needed them for centuries, so why start now?

    - Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero

    Another glorious victory for the Imperium!

    I believe we should consider terminating the alliance with the Tribes so we do not keep getting dragged into their endless wars.

    Furthermore, I propose that we create a commission that would study the effects and viability of a press run by the populace. It may reduce discontentment from non-Greek peoples if they are allowed to express their grievances in print. However, the press should be carefully monitored, of course.

    I would be curious to see how our statisticians in the Diplomatic Corps rank the Great Powers of the world.

    - Mikael Moustakas

    Nikephoros motions to a servant, who hands him a thick file with the double-headed eagle seal of the Imperial House Doukas and the letter “X” stamped on it.

    I almost forgot, Her Imperial Highness has directed me to give a report regarding the details of major rebel activities since 1854, which have been gathered into this file. I shall refer to this file and all subsequent files as the “Chi Files.”

    Servants hand out copies to the other senators.

    You may be wondering…why am I tasked with documenting small and isolated rebellions? Well, the answer is that they’re not so isolated after all, as I found out personally.

    When the first rebellion broke out in Athens, my house was burned down, with my wife and servants all brutally murdered and dismembered; the local tagmata managed to help me escape but could not return in time to save my wife or servants. Leading the mob of so-called reactionaries was a Slavic-looking man with an eye-patch, promising to bring down the Empress for her crimes against tradition. When I found my wife’s body, a sign was nailed into her head, with the following written in blood: “The Cult Remembers.

    Yes – the Cult, the same one that almost killed the Empress, is behind this.

    In the next few years, as rebellions broke out in France, Varna (nearly killing my son), Egypt, and Southern Hispania, with their ideologies ranging from Jacobin to reactionary, all of them shared a defining characteristic: a Slavic-looking man with an eye-patch led them and managed to escape the tagmatas sent to crush the rebellions every single time. We know this man as Iosef Ignatieff, the leader of a savage pagan cult practicing abominable human sacrifice to their Dark Gods and bent on the destruction of the Empire. He came very close to doing that in 1854.

    A couple days ago, I found this letter in the mail. Let me close by reading it out to you:

    To the Duke who is now a duke and the Doukas who is not emperor:

    Your Empire’s efforts at crushing rebels are in vain. The Cult is many-headed. Sever one head, and two more shall take its place. Soon we shall succeed – the Empire shall fall, and Chernobog shall feast on humanity. It is even better if you die; my seers tell me that the death of the Duke and the Artist shall being about the death of the Empress and the House of Doukas, and they are never wrong. We’ve sent men to Venice to handle the Artist already.

    As for you in your city of Constantinople? We don’t need to send anybody. We have men there right now, in the Senate itself. I can tell you, there are twelve worshippers of Chernobog among the ranks of your “loyal senators” as you read this.


    Have fun.

    Iosef Ignatieff



    That’s all I have. Any questions?

    ~Senator Doukas

    You are wrong senator Damaskinos. Give them an once of liberty and then they will ask for more. Let the reforms come when the Empire is ready. No need to listen to the demands of the rabble!

    I wonder if this Polish-Lithuanian "union" will last. Often dual-sytems end up dismantled because there can be only one ruler in an ideal state. Do they claim Imperial or Ukrainian territory ?

    Also I hope we'll get to know more about the wonders of Egypt. Such civilization needs to be understood better!

    -Basileios Rellis

    With no action, the people will grow restless. It is wrong to assume the people do not already want some form of change. There was a popular saying where I come from. "Sometimes, the hardest time to notice something is when it's most obvious". We can keep putting off change, and we can keep ignoring the populace. For how long though? A year? A decade? A century? Eventually the people will grow restless with no change. I am not in support of a rebellion or immediate change, but I do want these words to be heeded.

    -Senator Kishiev

    the status of our navy should be updated

    senator smithereens

    Has anybody bothered to read the files I passed it just now? May I remind you that there are twelve traitors within our ranks as we speak?

    ~Doukas

    what files?

    senator smithereens

    do you have proof about this accusations or any links between the government and this traitors?have you authenticated the letter and how did they get the letter through your guards perhaps you should clean house first

    senator smithereens

    If you had attended the previous Senate session, you would have found that a traitor had been exposed while the Senate was in session. He confessed to working with the Cult.

    If you had taken a closer look at the files I passed out, you would have found that the leader of the Cult sent me a letter proclaiming that there are twelve traitors within the Senate. Claiming that the Cult poses no threat to the Empire would be a very bad idea.

    ~Doukas

    can you authenticate the letter and as for the exposed traitor are you sure its part of the cult or just confessed because it wants to start a witch hunt and destabilize the government making it hard to trust our fellow senators ?


    senator smithereens

    The letter is written in the Cyrillic script, with handwriting that has been identified to be that of the Cult leader. I am merely doing my duty for the Empire, and I want to get rid of these traitors as much as the rest of us do.
    As for the traitor, upon an investigation of his house we found that he had been conducting human sacrifices, complete with an altar and a book on Slavic paganism. There were also letters from the Cult leader found, and they have been compared to the letter I have received. The handwritings are the same.

    ~Doukas

    have you found any information on the traitor senator so we can remove them the longer we take to unmask them the harder it will be to remove them from their position and have you check if there any links between the cult and the royal family there might be some member there if they are so widespread as you said.


    senator smithereens

    I'm afraid that if you want more information on the traitor, you'll have to ask the Intelligence Division; I don't know what they have found and if I did I would not have the authority to tell you.
    I am not sure about the royal family...an investigation shall be recommended to Her Imperial Highness at once.

    ~Doukas

    head of the Intelligence Division
    im writing in regard to the traitor who you recently apprehended in the senate im wondering have you found any links between the cult and the imperial family im worried they may attempt to seize power if a member of the family is willing to support them. i have my suspicions of someone in the imperial family because of his trips to Russia informer has tip me off that something happen on his trip but we are not sure exactly what here an image my informer manage to get to me before he disappear.

    senator smithereens

    Whispers to Senator Doukas.

    I know that being witness of such terrible events can change a man and I'm sorry I was in Riga and not in Constantinople back then, but you have to listen to me my friend. This letter is not a proof. Maybe one of Senators from other party wrote it to provoke you. You can't say such things in public. You do realize that you accused over half of the Senate of being traitors? You really want to make yourself enemies, after all those years of cooperation between Senators? Listen to my friendly advice and reconsider it.

    perhaps you are right but it comes from doukas if we cannot trust him who should we trust?

    senator smithereens

    call the guard to protect the senate in the future

    senator smithereens

    Sir, my apologies. I did not mean to offend anybody. I was trying to do good in the name of the Empire. I shall retract my claims and instead send out copies to other senators so that they can decide for themselves the nature of the potential threat.

    ~Doukas

    I apologize to my fellow senator for saying that there were traitors among us i suggest that we follow doukas example and make our own judgement before accusing anyone.

    senator smithereens

    anyone in the intelligence division get my report?

    senator smithereens
     
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    91. 1854-1860 - Replies to the Senate
  • Idhrendur

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    The wars between the UTA and Mexihco seem tiresome, but they make sense. Mexihco and the UTA both easily expanded among peoples similar to themselves, and eventually Mexihco also expanded into western America, which is sparsely settled and loosely-controlled. The UTA only contends for this area, not for the Mexihcan heartland. Nevertheless, it seems unnecessary to aid them in these wars.

    With your suggestions, We believe that the state newspapers can be augmented with privately-run newspapers. Provided, of course, that these private newspapers are willing to allow for state oversight, to ensure they do not publish material harmful to the Empire.

    As for Poland-Lithuania, We shall see how they fair. They claim no Imperial nor Ukrainian territory, and seem more focused on expansion in the Indochina peninsula.

    Senator Smithereens, We agree regarding the navy. Once designs for better heavy ships are made, then We shall begin a mass building project for the navy, ensuring Imperial superiority.

    We have no further information regarding the cult beyond what senator Doukas has been able to offer. We shall have Our agents continue to investigate.

    But in happier news, We have borne yet another child, princess Veatriki. As well, princess Veronica has married Prince Frederick of Germany. We truly are blessed.

    Do the Senators have any other questions or comments?
     
    91. 1854-1860 - Final Responses
  • Idhrendur

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    Congratulations on the birth of another child, my Empress. My she live a happy and healthy life.

    - Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero

    Congratulations on the new baby and the marriage, Your Highness. God bless the imperial family!

    -Senator Moustakas

    Your Imperial Highness,

    Congratulations on the new daughter and son-in-law! I hope this leads to peaceful relations with the Germans in the future! As for the Cult, I shall continue searching for clues to their whereabouts. They shall not rest while I am still alive!

    ~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security
     
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    91. 1854-1860 - Closing the Session
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    As always, thank you for your time and your advice. This session of the Senate is now concluded.
     
    92. 1860-1869 - Summoning the Senate
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators, your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address at Blachernae Palace on the First of September, 1869.

    The following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

    92-1.png

    92-2.png

    92-3.png

    92-4.png

    92-5.png

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    And the Senate's world map is being updated.
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    92. 1860-1869 - Before the Address
  • Idhrendur

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    I cannot wait to visit the excavated cities of Pompeii and Herculaneam. It will truly be a wonder to see how our forefathers lived.

    The rise of this "socialism" greatly concerns me. What else could we expect from those American heathens? I am glad to see that Chief Lincoln survived an assassination attempt, however.

    These so-called "dinosaurs" intrigue me, particularly the Archaeopteryx.

    -Senator Moustakas

    Ah, Pompeii! My daughter has spent much of her adult life excavating tombs in Egypt with her husband. I'm sure she and her husband will be delighted to excavate a city of the First Empire.
    I've met High Chief Lincoln one time. He always had a reputation for being a just and fair man.
    Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus...I'll let my brother know about it. He's always fascinated in these "dinosaurs."
    So we will finally get that education reform that the Foederatoi has been seeking. The Empire's youth will flourish!
    As for "socialism," while I do agree with some of their values, I fear that some may take it to the extreme in the long term, capable of posing a threat to the Empire and other monarchies.
    I am genuinely worried about the rebellions and revolutions taking place both within and without of our borders. Your Imperial Highness, I am in the process of writing a report detailing rebel activities and any possible sightings of the Cult. Would you mind privately showing me the relevant military reports?

    ~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Thema Graecia, Head of the Chi Files

    It is indeed a majestic creature, from what I have heard, and would look excellent represented on a flag. This Meyer family must be incredibly proud of their discovery.

    I have seen the most outrageous sight when travelling through the capital yesterday. There were women riding these strange contraptions called bicycles with their ankles exposed for all to see. Their ankles! The lustful looks on some of the younger men who witnessed this sight were quite disturbing. These women must learn some modesty.

    A canal through the Suez? Who would have imagines such a feat of engineering even decades ago. We truly live in enlightened times.

    This socialism sounds dangerous. Granting too much power to the common people is just asking for trouble.

    - Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero

    Perhaps we can use these "bicycles" in the legions of the Empire? Think of it...a portable short-range transportation vehicle, capable of carrying a man and his gear over moderate terrain.
    Yes, we must watch these "socialists" carefully, as they have the potential to stir up a lot of trouble.

    ~Doukas

    The socialists are a symptom of the minorities. We must grant the aristocrats more power to combat such revolutionary, plebian tendencies. Let the aristocrats vote in the upper house and we will crush the lower classes. Look at the world, embroiled in war. We must puppet those nations to ensure worldwide peace! Let the Empire become strong!


    - Senator Andronikos Palaiologos , Duke of Nicaea

    It is quite fortunate that fire brigades have been established in case another catastrophe strikes the capital.

    Senator Palaiologos, sir,
    While I do agree with your statement about the socialists, I am not sure how that is related to puppeting the entirety of the world. How would we even accomplish that? I'm sure that the Empire, as the just and honest broker that it surely is, can resolve other nations' disputes through peaceful diplomacy.



    Yes, we won't have to call in the army every time in that case!

    ~Doukas

    Nikephoros stands up. His servants pass out files to the other senators.

    To those of you just joining us, I shall give a brief introduction of what I am about to discuss. Surely you know of the terrorist attack on the Senate on May 9, 1854, in which the Empress and the Ecumenical Patriarch were almost killed. That attack was carried out by a radical savage Russian pagan cult, whose aim is to tear the Empire apart from the inside while also provoking a war with the other Great Power, thereby slaughtering and sacrificing thousands or even millions to their Dark Gods. As the newly appointed Minister of Security, it has been my goal to track down and ultimately defeat this cult, with this file being the latest on the Cult’s activities.

    There were small rebellions taking place across the Empire, recently. Several thousand peasants, disgruntled with their state of living, were provoked by a certain Slavic-looking individual wearing an eye-patch into rising up against the Empire. Of course, they were crushed, but the man who orchestrated the whole rebellion managed to escape yet again. Perhaps he is somehow linked to the reactionary revolutions shaking the rest of the world?

    In the past, my friend Senator Favero, Minister of Intelligence, found a Cult stronghold in the Philippines which was quickly destroyed. I am pleased to say that I have conclusive evidence that there is a similar Cult stronghold somewhere in eastern Kanata, near the “Great Lakes,” and the members of this branch have been inciting hostilities between the United Cherokee Tribes of America and the Aztec Empire of Mexihco for the last few years. Think about it. Why are the Cherokee settling for random bits of land, creating isolated pockets of Mexihcans and causing incidents in which Imperial cartographers gouged their eyes out, instead of at once taking all of the land as demanded by the “Manifest Destiny” the great Chief Lincoln espoused? There has to be something going on there.

    So a few months ago, I personally accompanied a Cherokee expedition into one of these isolated pockets of Mexihco. You can read the mission reports in the file I gave you. Yes, that is a [CLASSIFIED] label at the top, and I had to go through at least a dozen different offices to get all of the [REDACTED] labels removed just for me to read, not to mention release it to the entirety of the Senate. What we found in the isolated land was so gruesome that we ended up censoring most of the report, as evident by the [REDACTED] labels.

    While the Cherokee do not generally care about their citizens’ faiths, the Cult was actively working in those isolated pockets to encourage human sacrifice to the Dark Gods, specifically those in pagan Aztec and Russian pantheons. When they discovered us…it was not pretty. They butchered one poor guy right in front of us before we managed to escape, his heart carved out and offered to the Dark God right in front of me. We estimated that probably thousands had already been sacrificed to the Dark Gods by the time we escaped back to Cherokee territory, and it’s still going on right now. Mexihco can’t do anything about it, as they’ve been cut off from the territories in question. I recommend that we take action quickly; destroy the Cult stronghold on the continent and end their suffering.

    That is all. Any questions?

    ~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security

    I agree, making the world bow to our direct rule is impractical. Instead, we should set up a tributary system just like in the First Golden Age of the Empire under Justinian. They will pay homage and give us tribute, providing troops of course as auxiliaries, while we protect them from foreign influence. But if this fails, war is the only option. We will establish friendly nations on countries that border us as a buffer zone. What happens if the Slavic Barbarians invade again? We need to fight wars on foreign soil, not on our sacred land. War destroys our infrastructure.

    I can't understand your concern about those "socialists", Senators. Why are we even discussing them? They won't receive any significant support in future and propably go defunct.

    As predicted UTA-Mexico wars go on. We will see how our withdrawal will affect their factions.

    It seems like Russians haven't drawn any conclusions as they are still acting agressive, but as long as it concerns some useless Siberian Wastelands, we shouldn't intervene.

    Finally I have to congratulate our engineers on building Suez Canal, as it is the greatest accomplishment of our times.

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    Senator, with all due respect have you read the files that I presented to you? I have found conclusive evidence of a Cult stronghold on the continent that has been causing these wars between the UTA and Mexihco. We must act quickly and destroy it before they escape!

    ~Doukas

    I hope that what you are saying is true and we will soon see the end of those endless conflicts. I can't even imagine the horrors of people living on UTA-Mexico border.

    As the border between the UTA and Mexico has apparently been cleaned up, we can probably expect fewer wars between the two. However, The Cult stronghold is still there, and it is likely to start a war between Kanata and the UTA in the near future over the region known as Columbia.

    ~Doukas

    Nikephoros took a stroll in the Senate lawn during the session break. The Empress was busy collecting her papers to read from after the break, and the other senators were busy getting some refreshments to drink.

    He did not want to drink; he was getting old, and he felt drinking wasn’t good for the old.

    There was a rustling in the bushes near the fountain which caught his attention immediately. He gripped his gun, which he kept on him at all times. Slowly, he stepped towards the bush.

    When the rustling intensified, he pulled out his gun and loaded it, pointing it straight at the bush.

    However, he was too late.

    Several masked men jumped him from all sides, hitting him with a bludgeon and throwing him into a body-sack. His gun was knocked away before he could shoot at them; he resorted to shouting very loudly, attracting the attention of a few servants and senators but no guards yet. Everything went black just as there was another blow to the head.
     
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    92. 1860-1869 - The Address
  • Idhrendur

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    The Empress appears before the Senate dressed in black.

    Senators,

    The light has gone out of my life. On the fourteenth of December 1861, Yevhen died, apparently of typhoid fever.




    I am sorry. You are not here to witness my grief, but to hear of the state of the Empire. *ahem*



    I think some happier family news might be best first. Princess Alíki married Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Thuringia in 1862, Prince Alvértos married Princess Alexandra of Scandinavia in 1863, and Princess Elena married Prince Christian of Denmark. There are a total of sixteen grandchildren so far, with fifteen surviving. Prince Sigismund died of meningitis after all the German doctors were taken away to focus on the war with Bavaria.



    I am sorry. My attempt at happy news ended on a sad note. Nevertheless, here is the state of the Empire.

    Shortly after the last State of the Empire Address, We promulgated press reforms allowing for private newspapers, provided they submitted to Imperial censorship. This mollified many who had joined reform movements.
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    While the navy was of utmost importance, the philosophy department was insistent that if they could clarify the nature of Empiricism and spread the idea, that all research and advancement would be much speedier. So We supported these efforts first.
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    Meanwhile, We took advantage of the increased ability to supply the legions to increase the amount of artillery for each legion. A proper legion now consists of two hussar cohorts, eight artillery cohorts, two engineer cohorts, and eight infantry cohorts.

    Near the end of the year, the United Tribes of America formally created a Socialist political party, campaigning for 'the rights of the people'. There were the smallest of hints of support for such a party in the Empire, and currently no Senators support the Socialists. However, Socialist sentiments are increasing, so We may need to appoint a Socialist Senator if only to keep abreast of what the Socialists may want.
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    In May of 1861, when empirical methods had begun to take hold throughout the Empire, We finally tasked the Admiralty with creating designs for iron-armored ships. The philosophy department was far more excited about the new schools of philosophy they either developed or contributed to, but the practical effects of a focus on the measurable was far more useful to Us.
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    We spent much of this time increasing the defenses on the Bavarian border. XXIII. Legio and XXVII. Legio were split into two groups each and spread across the border further. Two new legions were recruited to finish lining the border this way, XXVIII. Legio and XXIX. Legio. Now if there was again war with Bavaria, there was no part of the border they could cross without battle.

    In the middle of 1862, Germany moved to annex Weimar. They were successful, but Bavaria had moved to defend Weimar, and so a much larger war raged. We decided to support Germany financially in the hopes of weakening Bavaria.

    Shortly thereafter, Mexihco was completely defeated and gave up much territory to the UTA.
    92-27.png

    The Admiralty finished developing general principles for Iron Steamers, but still needed time to develop specific designs.
    92-28.png

    They also pointed out that we would need improved shipyards to build any new designs, and that these shipyards could be used to help Our navies control the sealanes by raiding opposing shipping in times of war. We agreed to help them develop the necessary doctrines and upgrades.
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    While developing specific plans for upgraded shipyards, they also developed specific ship designs. In the following years, they developed several refinements to these designs.
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    When this had been completed, We began a massive upgrade of the Empire's shipyards. The amount of work needed suggested a new industrial improvement: interchangeable parts. If parts were constructed properly, they need not be customized for each use, vastly reducing the labor needed. Of course, We instructed engineers across the Empire to design such parts.
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    In July of 1863, Germany was finally forced to sign a disastrous peace treaty with Bavaria. Germany had conquered Weimar, but now was forced to release it with extra lands, and gave much land to Bavaria.
    92-32.png

    Hungary then chose this moment to go to war with Bavaria. This was not as crazy as it seemed: Skotland and Scandinavia came to their aid, while Bavaria only had the support of minor German states. Later in the year, Russia declared war on Iraq for the northeastern-most reaches of Asia.
    92-33.png

    And March of 1864 saw Bavaria victorious again, taking the Oppeln region from Hungary.
    92-34.png

    This continued Bavarian expansion worried Us, so when the interchangeable parts designs were advanced enough that individual inventors would continue the work, We asked the army to better learn how to hold a territory, so that Bavaria would not be able to cross the border. If We had known just how far the innovations with interchangeable parts would reach, We would have had them developed far sooner.
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    With the Empire's improved technology, a powerful idea became possible: a canal through the Suez, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. We ordered it be done, and it quickly paid for itself.
    92-37.png

    Russia, meanwhile, won their war. They not only took the territories they desired, but insisted on Iraq becoming part of their sphere of influence.

    When the army had developed better means of controlling supply lines through point defenses, We ordered them to do as the navy had done and develop plans for specific scenarios.
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    In July of 1865, the United Tribes of America again asked Our assistance against Mexihco. Again We promised it, but saw no need to send any legions. And within months, Mexihco sensibly agreed to give Nebraska to the UTA. The UTA now held all of the lands they had dreamed of just years before.

    When the army's plans were complete, We commissioned designs for improved artillery, this time made of iron.
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    92-41.png

    This was followed by fire control systems systems to help navy ships to fire properly in rolling seas.
    92-42.png

    At this time, Our upgraded naval docks started to be completed, so We began a program of building ironclad ships to replace the former Man'o'Wars. The East and West fleets would each consist of twenty ironclads. Smaller fleets, but far more powerful.

    When the fire control systems were ready, We turned to economics, funding a chair at the University of Constantinople to better understand how our increasing industrialization was changing how the market functioned.
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    This was followed by learning how to better organize the Empire's industrial workers. Factories were replacing the old guilds.
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    And when this was complete, We funded another chair in the growing 'humanities' department in the University of Constantinople. This one was for a natural philosopher who thought that functionalism could be expanded with ideas from biology to better explain society.
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    In early 1868, all naval bases that could be upgraded either were upgraded or were in the process of being upgraded. So We began a program of improving the defensive fortifications along the Empire's borders.

    Our factories were continuing to starve for dye, so in July of 1869, We declared war on Deccan to force them into Our economic sphere. XIX. Legio crossed from Ceylon to attack the south, while XI. Legio attacked the northeast. I. Legio attacked the northeast, and the Eastern Fleet blockaded Deccan's fleet into port.
    92-48.png

    In other areas of importance, the innovations from past areas of research continue to pour in, though not all of them are helpful innovations.
    92-49.png

    Many people seem to think that the activities of the cult of Chernabog were a result of the expedition to Egypt.
    92-50.png

    Our relations with Ming are excellent.
    92-51.png

    And the Ethopians have sponsored a contest to find the source of the Nile. We outfitted an expedition, which failed. And so We have sent a second expedition. They have not yet returned.
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    92-53.png
    Do the Senators have any questions or comments?
     
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    92. 1860-1869 - Senators Speak
  • Idhrendur

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    Alexios runs into the Senate hall, accompanied by Varangians who were more heavily armed than usual.
    Senators! The Cult has struck again! My father is missing!
    He had...my father had just been going for a walk during the break. I heard him shout suddenly and then go silent as if something had happened to him.
    I looked over...and he was gone. His gun was lying on the ground, along with a small note.
    He pulls out a piece of paper with Cyrillic script on it.
    It reads as follows:

    "To the incompetent and arrogant senators and your pitiful Empress with her harem of little Mexihcan boys:

    Your dead god will not save you from the wrath of Chernobog. We warned you that there were twelve senators within your ranks serving the Black God. You did not heed our warnings. So, we gave you a better warning.
    It was quite easy to steal your Minister of Security, as you call the Duke. That old buffoon never knew what hit him. By the time you read this, he will no longer be in your dying empire's borders.
    Don't think about offering a monetary ransom; we have no use for your money. Don't worry, we won't sacrifice him to the Dark God...yet.
    We offer the following terms in exchange for the life of your precious senator:

    You will stop persecuting our cult and let us live in peace.
    All investigations into our cult will cease immediately.
    All members of the Favero and Doukas families (no, not the Imperial House, you traitors) will be stripped of their various titles and barred from public office.

    The following will occur should you refuse to meet these terms or if you attempt to send in your army:

    We shall trigger a war with Germany, Russia, Bavaria, Mexihco, Iraq, and Hedjaz...all of them at once.
    The sleeper agents we have implanted in the Senate will kill all of you and your royal family.
    The Ecumenical Patriarch will be assassinated.
    We shall fund and lead separatist uprisings in all parts of your empire.
    Of course, we shall sacrifice your Minister of Intelligence and Minister of Security to Chernobog.

    Do we have a deal? Good.

    Hail Chernobog,
    Yosef Ignatieff"

    What do we do, senators?

    ~Alexios Doukas

    I shall mourn for the loss of poor Yevhen.

    I hope that the war with Deccan went well. I heard so little of it from my home in Venice.

    I can only hope that we have seen the last war between the UTA and Mexico for now. Their constant warring is quite exhausting.

    We do not negotiate with cultists. I will have all the resources of the Ministry of Intelligence put towards finding the Duke. For the moment, I suggest that the Empress and Ecumenical Patriarch be protected at times by only the most loyal of guards. Their safety is paramount.

    - Senator Michelangelo "the Artist" Favero

    I am sorry for your loss, Empress. The entire empire mourns.

    Bavaria's expansion is quite worrisome. Perhaps we should put those upstarts in their place once more.

    The Suez Canal is truly the greatest wonder of our time. Now we can control the east-to-west trade, especially when we are victorious against Deccan.

    -Senator Moustakas

    Your loss is our, Senators' and citizens', loss aswell, Empress.



    That note was written by some mad man. He's acting like a child giving us threats that can't be accomplished. You won't really believe that they have the power to make coalition that involves all those countries. Germany and Bavaria attacking us at the same time? I can't stop laughing. If one of them will be at war with us, the second one would attack our enemy as they are weaker, not us. Separatists in all parts of Empire? Considering that most of our citizens are Greeks I can't even think about what could make them turn against the Empire. I'm sorry to say that, but I think that Senator Doukas was prepared for such situation and he is more than anyone willing to sacrafice his life for safety of the Empire, and our Empire won't be safe if we will let those mad murderers live on. With a bit of luck we will be able to rescue Senator Doukas before they will do something terrible to him.

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    As Alexios shook the hand of the senator who had just arrived, he noticed the hand of another senator dropping into his pocket, as if to draw something...a gun!

    Get down!

    Shots rang out throughout the senate room. He charged at the gunman before he could target the Empress, but the gunman turned his gun on himself and shot himself in the head.
    Outside, they heard numerous explosions coming from downtown.

    "Kyrie eleison!" says Kyriakos Angelos angrily. "I'm getting too old for this! Firearms in the Senate, even after the Rus assault on the Chrysotriklinos?? If it wasn't such an affront to our dignities, I'd motion that all senators are searched before entering the palace!"

    As the body of the gunman is taken away for analysis by the Ministry of Intelligence, Alexios speaks up.
    Well, actually we did institute harsher security measures after the attack. Somehow this senator--I mean, cult sleeper agent--managed to sneak in an unauthorized firearm.

    After what seemed far too long, members of the 1st Constantinople Guard arrived, escorting General Kanaris.

    Your majesty.

    As we expected, the cult revealed their hand in this session. This has allowed us to track the traitors within the Scholai Palatinae and remove them. Your person and the city should now be secure.

    Unfortunately, the cult leaders have escaped with the Senator. We thought we had them trapped in the harbor, but their ship exploded before we could board it, as well as several other ships that had been booby-trapped. And then suddenly they were taunting us from a ship outside the Great Chain. It is unfathomable how they could have slipped the noose.

    Centurion Doukas, I task you with rescuing your father. Your century shall go with you. We've arranged passage on some merchant ships, Ukraine is sending a Frigate to meet you and continue the chase, and one of the Light Fleet's commerce raiders is sailing from the Canary Islands to carry you wherever you need. Orders have been telegraphed to every garrison in the Empire to help you to the end of their abilities. With the transatlantic cable, we were even able to send orders to Guayana, and to request assistance from the UTA and England. You can go anywhere in the world and receive assistance.

    Your majesty, the world is growing ever smaller, and the cult will have fewer and fewer places to hide. They will not survive much longer.
     
    92. 1860-1869 - Closing the Session
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    We apologize for this madness. It was necessary to allow the cult to try again in order to weed out the worst of the traitors. And they have done just as we expected.

    Like several of you, We do not believe they can carry out their threats. They are a stinging gnat, not an existential threat. Nevertheless, their escape is surprising.

    Senator Moustakas, We agree that Bavaria needs to be put in their place. And after their war with Germany distracted the doctors that could have saved Sigismund, We are their everlasting foe.

    Normally, We would give you more time to respond, but We must discuss matters of security with the General, and We expect that many of you are shaken. So yet again, thank you for your time, Senators.
     
    Interlude - Heart of Doukas
  • Idhrendur

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    Intermission: Heart of Doukas

    "MINISTER OF SECURITY MISSING!"
    Alexios read the newspaper over and over again and then glanced over at the Imperial Order on his table. The news stated that his father, the senator who had saved the empress and the Empire from the wrath of a pagan cult, had been abducted by unknown persons. He and the other senators knew better than the partial truth they were forced to tell the common people. His father was captured by the Cult itself.
    The Imperial Order, the letter accompanied by a seal with the double-headed eagle insignia of the Imperial House Doukas, ordered him to find his father and hunt down those responsible "by any means necessary."
    This was going to be a long journey. The Cult was a formidable opponent to take on, having eluded the forces of the Empire for many years ever since their initial attack on the Senate and palace on 9 May 1854. They were good at bending the minds of the people to their will without the people themselves knowing it. Already people were asking about the explosions of several ships in the harbor that had killed several innocents and thirty soldiers. It wouldn't be long before the protests began in the forums.
    His wife Anna appeared in the hallway of their house, looking quite worried. "
    Is it true?" she asked. "Is the Empress really sending you off around the world to find your father?"
    "
    Yes, my dear," he said, "It is of grave importance."
    "
    You just came back from that slaughterhouse in Varna!" she responded. "I feared for your life when the rebels sacked the garrison and beheaded everybody inside!"
    "I'll be fine, my dear," replied Alexios, "I always am."
    Anna didn't even cry. "
    I hope you will come back."
    Alexios arrived at the docks of the Ukrainian frigate
    Yehven, where the other members of the Athenian Lancers had already gathered on the decks of the old warship. Next to it was the commerce raider Konstantinos, which had just arrived from the Canaries.
    After greeting his men, he gave an order to exchange all of their uniforms with merchant clothes, as the Cult would be expecting an Imperial army to be marching after them. All rifles were to be hidden, and each man would carry pistols in their inconspicuous clothes.
    The ships left the harbor, sailing out of Constantinople into the Mediterranean Sea. Alexios knew the Cult wouldn't be hiding in Russian territory; despite the fact that the Ruthenians and the Imperials were bitter enemies, both had agreed to work together on the matter of the Cult, as they were both Eastern Orthodox nations.
    Before his father had left, he had posited that there was a Cult stronghold somewhere in UTA or Kanata territory which was causing the constant wars with Mexihco. But with the destruction of the last Aztec enclave in Cherokee territory, Great Chief Lincoln and his generals had sent a letter to the Ministries of Security and Intelligence stating that there was a stronghold in one of the enclaves and that it had been destroyed by UTA forces. The Aztec emperor and the chief of Kanata also affirmed that any pockets of Cult control had also been destroyed.
    So if not Russia or America, then where?
    There were three options: England, Asia, or Africa.
    The English had control of the rainforest known as the Amazon, where nobody who had gone in had come out. However, they made sure very well that nobody went in at all.
    Asia was full of lawless states, ideal for cultists to escape from central governments. But after the recent diplomatic agreements with the Celestial Empire, the Empire could project its power deep into Asia. Poland-Lithuania owned parts of Southeast Asia, and Russia owned Siberia. A Cult stronghold had been found and destroyed in the Philippines, so they wouldn't likely relocate to the mainland.
    That left only Africa--the "Heart of Darkness," as a Polish writer in London had wrote in a recent book. It was the last place on earth that was truly wild and savage, untouched by both the West and East. While the Empire had a few military and corporate bases along the coast, those were merely outposts in a hostile environment, and nobody, not even the major African kingdoms like Mali, Ethiopia, or Kongo knew what lay in the interior of Africa.
    Alexios gave the order to sail for the Kongo River region, where the rainforests were the least well known to the Empire of all of the African forests. The Cult knew that the Empire would have a hard time sending an army into the heart of Africa.
    Alexios knew that. He had selected from among the Lancers those who were best suited for jungle combat. Some had fought in the Yucatan, while others had lived in Guyana. Still others had participated in Senator Favero's invasion of the Philippines and the destruction of the Cult stronghold there, and the rest had been part of military operations in Indonesia. They were all used to fighting proficiently in rough terrain, hot and humid climates, and against unconventional enemies.
    He hoped that they would be enough to rescue his father.

    Alexios awoke when the Yehven's horn blared. The two ships were approaching the port city of Brazzaville, where the Empire had an outpost ready to assist them. A lead picked up by a contact in Morocco indicated potential Cult influence in the Kongo region.
    He put on his disguise and was about to stand up when there was an explosion. There was shouting in the many languages of Europe and Africa. Footsteps were heard as sailors rushed across the deck.
    The
    Konstantinos had apparently fired upon the Yehven, which was firing back. All attempts to signal the commerce raider were in vain when somebody began raising the heads of its crew on poles out the windows.
    The guns fired again, tearing holes in the wooden hull of the Ukrainian frigate. The Ukrainians tried shooting back, but the frigate was old and weak, and its guns could not pierce the commerce raider's hull.
    Alexios felt the ship list heavily to port as the bombardment from the Cult-occupied
    Konstantinos continued. Then there was a great jolt as the commerce raider rammed into the side of the frigate.
    Peering above deck, Alexios and his men watched as cultists streamed onto the
    Yehven's deck, using scythes and barbed blades to mercilessly behead and dismember any sailors who stepped in their way.
    "
    Sir, what do we do?" Ioannes asked.
    "
    We can't fight them," said Alexios, "This is their territory. We jump the ship and head to shore. Blow up the frigate."
    "
    Yes, sir," said Loukas, dropping some explosives in the gunpowder reserves and boiler room.
    The Lancers took everything they needed and escaped the ship by jumping out some holes in the starboard side. A well placed bomb in the boiler room then detonated, killing the cultists and destroying both of the ships.
    Alexios and his men washed up on the beach near Brazzaville. Nobody in the city had seen them yet, which was good, as he assumed that the Cult has also infiltrated the city. They had to get to the river without anyone noticing and then follow it upstream.
    Luckily, he realized that a branch of the river was just nearby, along with a steamboat conveniently moored there...

    Far up the Congo River, in terra incognita

    The Athenian Lancers watched as the Kongo natives advanced on them from all directions, armed with crude spears and wearing little more than loincloths.
    Alexios ordered his tired and exhausted men to retreat to the steamboat moored at the riverside, their (empty) pistols raised at the enemy. Ioannes and Loukas, both of whom had a rudimentary knowledge of native languages, desperately shouted at the natives to stop.
    How did they fall into this trap? he wondered. Well, they made the journey upriver, following native accounts of a white "Lord Dooku" deep in the jungle somewhere. Eventually they found what appeared to be an old hut which was built on top of an elaborate prison-like structure. There were signs of a struggle but no bodies at all. Farther up the river they found the bodies of numerous Cultists, killed by gunshots or stab wounds. And then they came to a native village where Alexios was sure his father was staying. He was stupid enough to fall into the trap the native savages had sprung. Clever men, they were, despite their savagery, he thought.
    There was a shout of a white man from the village, and the natives halted their advances. There was a Greek accent to that voice, Alexios realized.
    Natives emerged from one of the buildings, carrying an old and frail white man on a stretcher towards them. It was his father, almost unrecognizable now. Somehow he had managed to escape the Cult and come here to the natives.

    "Father!" he shouted.
    Nikephoros didn't respond. He was too weak to speak, having used up his energy on the shout. He was also very old now.
    The natives set down the stretcher in front of the Lancers and pointed at the steamboat, intending them to leave quickly. Shouting some orders to his men, they carried Alexios's father back to the ship, where Ioannes floored the throttle in reverse.
    The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing them down towards the sea with twice the speed of their upward progress; and Nikephoros's life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time. Alexios was, so to speak, numbered with the dead. It wqs strange how he accepted this unforeseen partnership, that choice of nightmares forced upon him in the tenebrous land invaded by those mean and greedy phantoms.
    Nikephoros discoursed. A voice! a voice! Alexios thought. It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart. Oh, he struggled! he struggled! The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now—images of wealth and fame, the destruction of the Cult, revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression. My son, my station, my career, my ideas—those were the subjects for the occasional utterances of elevated sentiments. The shade of the original Nikephoros, the respected and noble senator, frequented the bedside of the hollow sham, whose fate it was to be buried presently in the mould of primeval earth. But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power, of his drive to destroy the Cult with his dying breath. And he had, somewhat; there was a Cult stronghold here in the Kongo, and Nikephoros had managed to escape before he could be sacrificed. He then returned at the head of a native army and destroyed the stronghold, forcing the Cult to flee even farther inland, where nobody, not even the natives of the Kongo, ever went. The interior was even more unknown to the Empire than the Kongo River region.
    The days passed. They chugged down the river, past ruined settlements built by both natives and the Empire, past trading posts built by the Kongolese government, and other stuff. And Nikephoros's condition got worse and worse.
    He was an impenetrable darkness. Alexios looked at him as one peers down at a man who is lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines. But Alexios had not much time to give him, because he was helping the engine–driver Lancer to take to pieces the leaky cylinders, to straighten a bent connecting–rod, and in other such matters, for the steamboat had broken down.
    One evening, Alexios was startled to hear him say a little tremulously,
    "I am lying here in the dark waiting for death." The light was within a foot of his eyes.

    The old and broken senator cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:

    "The horror! The horror!"

    Alexios blew the candles out and left the cabin so that his father could had some peace. The pilgrims were dining in the mess–room, and he took his place opposite Loukas, who lifted his eyes to give Alexios a questioning glance, which he successfully ignored. Loukas leaned back, serene, with that peculiar smile of his sealing the unexpressed depths of his meanness. A continuous shower of small flies streamed upon the lamp, upon the cloth, upon the Lancers' hands and faces. Suddenly Loukas's native servant boy put his insolent black head in the doorway, and said in a tone of scathing contempt:

    "Mistah Dooku—he dead."

    All of the Lancers rushed out to see. There was a lamp in there—light—and outside it was so beastly, beastly dark. The voice was gone. What else had been there?

    Nikephoros Doukas, the Bringer of Victory, the Duke, Doux of Thema Greece, Imperial Senator, was dead.
     
    93. 1869-1880 - Summoning the Senate
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    Your presence is requested to a State of the Empire address at Blachernae Palace on January First, 1880.

    The following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.
    93-1.png

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    And the Senate's world map is being updated.
    93-14.png

    As always, feel free to send messages of concern to the palace before the address.
     
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    93. 1869-1880 - Before the Address
  • Idhrendur

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    Bah, reactionaries. There are too many radicals in these dangerous times, from the stubborn reactionaries to the wild liberals to the crazy socialists.

    Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

    Congratulations on the victory over Deccan, Your Imperial Majesty.

    These rebellions in Russia and Germany are indeed worrying. We can only hope this Jacobin madness does not pass on to the Empire.

    I see there have been many interesting scientific developments. It is quite fascinating to learn more about the noble Archaeopteryx. Too bad that Professor Huxley has gone insane.

    I believe the Minister of Justice should investigate this disturbing trend of corset-related fainting. Perhaps we should ban corsets if they are causing so much trouble for our young women. What do you think, Your Majesty?

    Events in Scandinavia are somewhat alarming. I believe we should monitor the situation and ensure that the region does not undergo too much instability.

    -Senator Moustakas, Foreign Minister

    So...many...jacobins...I'm getting a bit old for this.

    Those pesky Bavarians beat us to the source of the Nile! (where as you may recall they promptly were massacred by the Cult)

    Russian expansions is quite worrying. We should supply training officers and weapons to the Ming in order to stop their advance into Asia.

    I appreciate all of the Imperial research into these "dinosaurs," but I don't seem to see a single Greek scientist among them, right?

    Why did the editor mention the Irish craving for the protection of the British, who barely exist?

    Gender equality...does this have something to do with the corset fainting thing lately?

    ~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security

    So we help the Unite Tribes for years and they suddenly see us as dangerous to them? See if we help them again!

    We should seek out these Doctors Cope and Marsh. They seem both brilliant, although their bitter rivalry seems to get the better of them. They must be brought to cooperate for scientific achievement!

    I see that the interior of Africa has been tamed. I suppose there was no doubt that the savages there would be brought under our rule eventually.

    - Senator Leonardo Favero

    I completely agree, Roman civilization should be spread to the savages of Africa and we should reestablish our imperial presence on the Dark Continent.

    -Moustakas

    Don't forget, the Cult has multiple strongholds there. We must destroy them quickly lest they spread like a cancer to the rest of the world.

    ~Doukas

    The editor said no such thing, Senator Doukas. The editorial said 'Much as the Irish graciously welcomed British overlordship, the black race crave the guiding hand of whites.'. Nothing here implies that the Irish crave for the protection of the British, only that they had graciously welcomed it before. Now, as far as I recall, the Irish did no such thing, so the editor should be reprimanded for making such a claim.

    -Nestorius Septiadis

    A Senate historian submits a report:

    I went and reviewed the hostorical archives. Despite a focus on Imperial history, they have some hints as to the history of Britannia.

    The Irish were long dominated by the Scottish, though with many rebellions, so the conquest took hundreds of years.

    It's unclear who this newspaper article might mean by 'the British'. The Britons were long dominated by the Anglo-Saxons, of course, who ruled England. But they were constantly harassed by other powers (the Norwegians, the Scottish, the French), before the Empire reconquered Roman Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon had taken many aspects of these cultures and fused them into their own form. The cultural melting pot of England had become a colonizing power, forming a major nation in the Brazilian region as well as many colonies elsewhere. The other colonies were eventually conquered by other powers, and Roman Brazil, mostly populated with a Romano-native peoples who still have a strong Brazilian cultural identity, was traded to England for the surrender of their claims on Britannia.

    So if the article's mention of British means the Anglo-Saxons, then it must satire about peoples who were barely able to rule themselves and eventually who were wholly displaced and their disinterest in dominating their neighbors. Perhaps making some kind of reference to the Empresses' rulership? If it refers to the Scottish, which would be a strange use of 'British', then it might be serious in tone, but the Irish rebellions and the slow conquest again point towards satire. And on the off chance it refers to the Empire as 'the British'—after all, we were the ones who civilized the land first, despite our thousand-year absence—then again it's satirical, as the Empire never made a move to conquer any of Ireland.

    In any case, the article is muddled and poorly-written. This has become frequent with the increased freedom of the press. Note as well the decreased number of papers worth archiving.

    The clerk sighs, and walks off grumbling.

    I recommend this Senate Historian be awarded a commendation for his fantastic research!

    Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

    Ah, I see now. This makes sense. Someone should reprimand the reporter responsible for the article! And if the number of papers worth archiving is decreasing, what happens when that number reaches zero?

    ~Doukas

    Those Jacobins overthrowing rightful governments are worrying. Especially if they do it in countries like Germany and Russia.

    I am proud seeing that we've been victorious in so-called "Scramble for Africa".

    - Senator Alexios Damaskinos

    I demand that the editor of one of the newspapers be arrested for spreading defeatism. How are we scared of Russia? We are the Roman Empire! We have the largest, most advanced army in a world and a navy to go along with it! Why are we scared of some barbaric Slavs from the east?

    Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

    Well perhaps instead of bring death and destruction to the Dark Continent we could bring enlightenment.

    The rebellions throughout the world are the workers way of forcing new values and ideas into corrupt and failing institutions, this Senate should be aware that our very own Empire has a growing discontent between those that have and those that have not. The force of history is pushing on the pillars of the old systems and unless the Empire reforms and acknowledges the very people who bleed for her then our Empress and Empire are at risk, not just from some cult, but from a tide that will was it away and see it reborn.

    Already in August 1872 we had a number of protests put down with lethal force, for shame Senator Doukas & Favero ordering the massacre of our own people. Yet still we talk about invasion here and new lands for the thirds sons of senators to lord over, perhaps we should bring our own house in order before these matters become too violent to resist.

    Αιδεν Γκρέυ
    Chief of Staff and Commissar of the Workers Progression Union of the Koinotita

    Expel this man from the Senate immediately

    Ioannes Angelos says contemptuously, "perhaps we should set the senate and palace in order by removing you, senator Grey."

    If me and mine need to respresent the spirit of a modern Gracchi in this Senate so be it.

    I hope members of this Senate will realise this movement will not pass and that unless the Senate members are prepared to act directly against me, I am here to stay!

    Αιδεν Γκρέυ

    Ioannes smiles unpleasantly. "Given your outbursts of late, that's a tempting proposition, but I will wait for the voice of the senate or the Basilissa first."

    Speaking of which the majority of members here have either bought or inherited their place in this Senate.

    Strange people paying off officals is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some... farcical amount of money changing hands!

    Αιδεν Γκρέυ

    Well it's certainly more legitimate than if the senators were chosen through some farcical aquatic ceremony involving some watery tart throwing a sword at potential senators.

    - Senator Leonardo Favero

    "A mandate from the masses?" Ioannes says with a sneer. "Don't make me laugh, senator. Over a thousand years ago, the great scholar Alcuin warned the false emperor Karolomagnos against such a path, in words that yet resonate today: And those people should not be listened to who keep saying, the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness."

    He shrugs dismissively in the general direction of the entire Koinotita faction. "He who is ignorant of history is doomed to repeat it."

    Alexios laughed.
    Should we give the people to decide who rules the Empire, eventually these "elections" will devolve into a mere popularity contest in which the man who speaks the loudest and has the most money trumps everybody else!

    The state derives from the person of the emperor/empress, whose authority is derived from God and tradition dating back to Augustus Caesar, not some hogwash about the masses. The Basilissa should listen to the people, but your theory of sovereignty is complete nonsense.

    ((Private letter to Nicodemo Theodosio))
    Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Theodosio. Please be careful as to how you present your views around here, as due to some recent events many of us do not like socialists. Your point about free universal education intrigued me, as my family has always strove for such a system, though on your other points I'm afraid we differ quite significantly.

    Regards,
    ~Alexios Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Graecia

    ((Private letter in response))

    The recent events of which you mention can only be tied to Socialism as a whole if you insist on every "enemy" of the empire wearing the same face. The actions of both foreign states and cultists are not supported by the Party, and do not represent revolutionary activity as we encourage it. Servants to a dark god are no different than servants to a hostile state, and should be treated as such.

    I do not encourage the overthrow of the Roman Empire, long may it endure, I call for its transition to a more economically centralized and efficient state. The Empire has long truly worked off the power of the bureaucrats, and the acknowledgement of the work of the proletariat in maintaining our proud nation is long overdue.

    There are those among the Communists who do encourage the overthrow of the Empire and the establishment of independent nationality-based states, but I do not support those views. The dissolution of the Empire can only harm civilization, as it threw Europe into chaos when we were at our weakest. I believe in a strong Roman Empire, but one that doesn't suppress the culture and language of its citizens. The Empire of old did not do so, and it is a product of modern Bourgeois Imperialism.

    I would argue for the appointment of reasonably powerful regional governors to bring the concerns of the regions to the attention of the rest of the Empire when necessary. I would suggest that these governors be appointed from among those from the region, as opposed to further appointments of Greeks in similar positions.

    Regards, Nicodemo Theodosio
     
    93. 1869-1880 - The Address, part one
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    First, We wish to welcome the new Senators, and to appoint Senators Favero and Doukas into their fathers' positions. They have both proven worthy of the positions.

    Second, We will update you on the royal family. Princess Louiza married John Tudor, Duke of Kent in 1871. Prince Alfrédos married Grand Duchess Maria of Ukraine in 1874. Prince Artoúros married Princess Louise Margaret of Germany in 1879. To my great sorrow, though, Princess Alíki's family was struck was diphtheria in 1878, killing two of her children and then killing her. Of my nine children, only eight now survive. I have twenty-four living grandchildren, with an additional seven already dead.

    Third, in response to your concerns:
    It is true that much work in exploration and archaeology is done by non-citizens of the Empire. Our efforts have been in the military sciences, in industry, and in commerce. Matters of the humanities have been much neglected, apart from those areas of philosophy useful to the government.

    As you observed, Africa has mostly come under the control of the Empire. Like Italy, Spain, Gaul, Britannia, South America, and many others, the locals are finding it to their benefit to be a part of the Imperial system and joining with glee. More on that later.

    Finally, We would remind you that Senators are appointed because they are useful to the Empire. Be that as a representative of wealthy families, of aristocrats, of the bureaucracy, or as representatives of the working class. Kindly have respect for those in other social classes than your own. After all, all are equally made in the image of God, reliant on the cross, and citizens of the Empire. If need be, We can ask the Patriarch of Constantinople to give a homily on the topic.

    Finally, news of the Empire.

    After the last session, IV. Legio made a landing on Deccan's west coast and marched towards the capital in Hyderabad. Before they arrived, Deccan had agreed to a peace. Nearly all of the subcontinent was in Our sphere of influence.
    93-15.png

    At the turn of the year, the philosophers again came to request a new chair. They pointed to the success of Empiricism, and claimed that they could free logic from any but self-evident axioms. So We funded a new chair, expecting that again there would be useful benefits for the rest of the Empire. They finished their initial work with such speed that we suspect they had prepared much of it in advance, though many other advances came with time.
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    When they were completed, We noted that the Legions claimed there were new guns that could provide support from fixed positions. Instead of artillery, these would be rapid firing 'machine guns'. We ordered several arms companies to develop designs and begin equipping the Legions.
    93-17.png

    As We added more Indian nations to Our sphere of influence, it become clear that it would a constant fight to keep them in Our sphere. So We moved to have them unite as a single nation under Our influence. That they would soon be regarded as a Great Power and be beyond Our economic influence was unexpected.
    93-18.png

    Apart from a minor reactionary revolt, time passed peacefully.

    When the machine guns had been completed, We ordered that the existing railroad designs be undated again, using the Empire's greater iron resources unlocked by improving technology.
    93-19.png

    93-20.png

    And when We saw that yet another German-Bavarian war was in a stalemate, We decided to intervene. Technically Our casus belli was to humiliate Our foe, but the real reason was to soften them against their other enemies. The Legions prepared as the diplomats prepared the justifications.

    And when Centurion Doukas had demonstrated that the Cult was using Africa for bases of operation, We decided that the Empire's influence must be extended at any cost.
    93-21.png

    Fortunately, the use of force was not necessary, and the locals were easily brought into under Imperial governance, organizing themselves under local colonial governments. Although in the west, England and Scotland competed to expand their influences, winning the coast and competing for years over the inland areas. And in the east, Ethiopia expanded along the coasts and inland up until the African Great Lakes.

    When We were ready to attack Bavaria, it was almost too late.
    93-22.png

    The legions moved in mass across the border, while X. Legio in the north attempted to assist Germany.

    When the railway designs were complete, the businessmen of the Empire took no time in upgrading the railways nearly everywhere. During a meeting with Ourselves, they pointed out that there was a great need to know how to manage a workforce scientifically. So We created a task force to learn how to do so.
    93-23.png

    With Our help, Germany was able to annex Thuringia. But this was not the end, as their former war with Weimar had shown. They needed to escape with at least a white peace with Bavaria.
    93-24.png

    When the scientific management task force released its first findings, We created a new task force to better understand the flaws with the capitalist system of production.
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    93-26.png

    The war with Bavaria was devastating…for them. We did not agree to a peace until they had no men under arms, no land under their control. They were able to resume control of their own lands once the peace was signed, but surely Germany and their Commonwealth allies would end that.

    When the collectivist research was done, We saw the need to better support the workers of the Empire. They had jobs in increasing numbers, but these jobs did little to address the quality of their lives. Sadly, it would take time to develop the political will to make changes.
    93-27.png

    In the meanwhile We tasked a group with better improving the methods of mining iron.
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    With the success of the censored press, We decided it was not worth Our while to continue the work of censoring the papers, and thus We allowed for a free press. We hope that the recent drop in quality of the newspapers is just a temporary aberration as they adjust to the new system.
    93-29.png

    With the improved iron extraction techniques, We tasked engineers with tailoring steam engines to various jobs.
    93-30.png

    93-31.png

    When those had completed, We began drafting laws that would regulate the printing of money. Specific private banks would do so, not whomever pleased.
    93-32.png

    93-33.png

    And of course, a great many inventions developed from advances before the last address to the Senate.
    93-34.png

    During the few years of peace and technological advancement, We upgraded factories throughout the Empire, attempting to provide jobs for the thousands of peoples moving into the cities.

    As We have now covered events until 1875, there shall now be a short recess to discuss them and to refresh ourselves.
     
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    93. 1869-1880 - Senators Reply
  • Idhrendur

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    It is good that we live in such enlightened times. All these new inventions and ideas surely benefit the Empire

    The Indians are surely thanking us for helping them unify the subcontinent. Let it be known that the Empire and our Empress care for those outside our border.

    - Senator Leonardo Favero

    We live in prospering times, yet we must not forget the common people and their efforts in getting us here. Already we have heard rumors of Jacobins bringing down foreign governments at alarming rates, and that must not happen here.

    ~Senator Alexios Doukas

    ((I would agree, historically developments were proceeding very fast right now, I am sure that there is plenty of content that is being cut out because of forcing 10 years into a post at this point. Feel free to shorten them, especially as developments like Great Wars appear and the Empire faces them.))

    Your Imperial Majesty, I speak to you today to address a dire issue that is facing our Glorious Empire. Despite the increased research into collectivist economics, (a move I applaud) the class divide is only growing greater. I speak on this not to denigrate the aristocrats or plutocrats among us, but to point to an issue that will cause strife in this Empire. If the working class cannot trust the upper class to treat them as human beings, the reverse sentiment is at least understandable in its origin. The rising tide of Nationalism is also trying to subvert the ends of the Empire. To this end I must call again for the following policies, at the very least:

    1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    2. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    3. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    4. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    5. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    6. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
    7. The appointment of powerful regional governors for each separate nationality still distinguished in the Empire. These governors are to be selected from members of the populace, and not appointed to a Greek as has been done in previous such situations.

    ~Your Citizen, Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

    I am glad to see Bavaria humbled. Those barbarians must be taught to respect the might of the Empire.

    I am somewhat skeptical of these press "reforms" but it could be beneficial to the Empire to let all our citizens speak their mind.

    -Senator Moustakas

    We must seek greater trade with our Indian tributaries. Offer them the Orient while we mop up the uncivilized savages of Europe, Western Asia, the Americas, and Africa. While they take the casualties, we must exploit the situation. Let everyone obey the divine law of Rome!

    -Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

    "Senator, if we do not appoint Greeks to positions of power, how do we expect our ideals, society and influences to be spread properly? All must speak (and think!) Greek in our great empire."

    Am I not a non-Greek standing before you now? Do I not espouse the glory and potential of this great Empire? I speak in Greek now to speak to you all, Senators, but when I was born, I first learned Spanish. The ideals of Rome have spread to the furthest reach of the Empire and beyond. I am here as a voice for the "radicals" and I must say what the honest opinion of the citizen in the reaches of the Empire is.

    That opinion, radical as it might seem, is that Rome was never a Greek Empire. Rome was an Empire for and of its people. It provided clean water, medicine, sanitation, roads, and countless other public works. The re-establishment of these projects would go a long way towards lowering public dissent and revolt.

    ~ Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

    Ah yes but you have assimilated into Greek culture. I agree with many of your points. However, I also wish to include greater integration of Romanized minorities into the Greek culture. We must make the Empire stronger than before and that includes assimilating those who are minorities.

    Asimilado!? Me presento ante ustedes como un romano, no un griego! Mis compatriotas sienten lo mismo que yo! Somos romanos, los griegos no!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ahem, Senators, to call me a Greek, or assimilated, shows great disregard for the value of other cultures. The Roman Empire of old looked at each new culture it continued with interest and passion. Many of the gods on the old pagan pantheon were adopted from other cultures. The Roman Empire is not an Empire of Greeks, and continuing to pursue culturally destructive policies will lead to rebellions from nationalists. I will state this publicly now, that if I am again called an assimilated Greek, I will be happy to settle this elsewhere.

    Spoken like a radical socialist! The old order will always be defended by those who were the first Romans in this country, the Greeks! We accept every culture but we expect those cultures to follow Roman laws and Roman rules! Let the nationalists rise, our army will crush them! Rome is a massive multi- ethnic nation, I am willing to tolerate minorities but not extreme radicals. How dare you talk about paganism in the sacred Christian halls here! How dare you talk about our policies like they are destructive! How dare you talk about rebellions as a reasonable thing! I shall tolerate this as free speech but I vehemently disagree with you.

    -Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea

    The old order has fallen across the world. This was a revolution of the people, not the aristocracy, and that is why the honorable Senator defends against it. He relies on an outdated institution: the aristocratic class. I kneel to the Empress! Not to you sir, never to the aristocrat class! Even here its power has been limited severely, the authority of the bureaucrats upheld. While it is not the ultimate injustice the Communists and Socialists rally against, they are the front line in the class warfare I speak of. It is them who would see all other viewpoints squashed, who would ensure that a child is never taught the language of his parents.

    And while you extoll the virtue of the legion, do not forget your history, Senator. The army was involved in almost every political instability of the Roman Empire, and will continue today. I am sure if you asked the common soldier, his views would differ from yours. I wager that a large percentage of the soldiers in the Roman Empire are involved in radical groups!

    Unlike the honorable Senator, I wish to maintain the borders and strength of this Empire. I merely see that refusing to accept the power the people have in our Empire is unfair and will lead to nothing but ruin. I would not see the Empire fall in my lifetime, not ever!

    Alexios sighed.

    Muttering to himself so that only he can hear:

    Now all we need are some ultranationalists. We could call them...fascists?

    Speaking louder:
    Please, enough squabbling! We are here to discuss the future of the Empire, not argue over who's ideology is better than the other in serving the Empire! We must discuss things peacefully and without argument, so that we can come to a conclusion agreed upon by all sides! Isn't the point of the Senate for us to work together in deciding the Empire's path in the coming years?
    We are at a crossroads, senators. Everything is changing. Not only are borders and technologies changing, but minds are changing. The Empire hasn't experienced such change since the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD. If we don't change now like we did then to survive, we will stumble and fall apart. If we change too fast or too radically, we will lose ourselves and what the Empire stands for. Now is not the time for ideological factionalism. It is this kind of arguing that tore apart Germany and Russia and put them under the boot of the Jacobins and allowed the Cult to operate practically unmolested in foreign lands. We absolutely cannot let that happen here.

    ~Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Minister of Security

    "Whilst I agree with Senator Doukas, I do wonder who Senator Theodosias thinks the Basilissa is, other than the matriarch of Constantinople's greatest family. Many of us in the palace are part of the very best families - the Angeloi and the Doukai are just two."

    My Red Colleague and Trusted Friend Nicodemo,

    As those of our party constantly try to impress upon the Senate the world is changing, the common person yearns for change. We see what happens when the conversatives and reactionaries think that there schemes and ploys will keep those beneath them in place yet we see how their greed blinds them and allows a new power to grow in India all cause they couldn't control the people well enough. Even now our sister party in India makes great gains in this new state.

    *Two Burly Senate Gaurds rise from their seats and attempt force Αιδεν back into his seat*

    Aha, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

    HELP, HELP! I'M BEING REPRESSED!

    Αιδεν Γκρέυ

    Speaking of India it is a shame that those heathens believe they are too good for Roman protection. Hopefully we will still be able to foster further economic ties and prevent the Rusians from entering the market.

    -Moustakas

    I would agree on this, continuing our history of peaceful international economic cooperation is ideal.


    To the honorable senator, I would encourage a little more restraint. The theories of communism espoused in less developed countries would not serve the material conditions in place here. While I would be happy to see the communists there take power, it has little effect on a nation as developed as the Empire. We must endeavor to create new lines of thought that serve to illuminate the path to revolution for a Roman.

    ((Kinda curious what the rebel situation is actually like, I imagine its starting to get bad. Not sure how militancy would go with Roman Empire. A bad event could screw things up))

    Do we still maintain an alliance with India or have we lost all diplomatic power in this region?

    ((Changed previous post slightly, apologies for any liberties taken))

    I would think we are still allied with India. We may have lost all of our influence in the region in helping with the unification process, and if we still have some influence, I believe that it will presently wither away once India reaches Great Power status, which it should probably reach within a year or two due to the resulting prestige, its extremely large population, and industrial capacity.

    ~Doukas

    I am a man of the people. Each and every person is a human, I am a fierce proponent of reform. I agreed with your social reform, remember that! The aristocracy support the reactionaries, I am not a reactionary. You may call me a conservative but I am not an old fool nor a young radical. You are the man of the radical nationalists! The army was involved everywhere! The only reason we exist now and we are here now is because of the legions! Some may have radicalized but our officers will keep them in check. I wish to bring civilization to the rest of the world. You must seek the greater good!

    Ah! the Greater Good, that old adage. Generally the more money that finds its way into the Greater's pockets the better and if you happen to do some Good on the way well, jolly good.

    I submit to the Parliament a report by the Journalist Henry Mayhew on the conditions in part of my own province's capital Londino, Londino Labour and the Londino Poor a shameful reflection on the multitudes that throng streets such as those not far from this very chamber. The squalor and depravity these unfortunates are forced to resort to to feed, clothe and shelter themselves is a sad relection on this Parliament and because of this Parliament a stain on your Imperial Highness.

    I request that a Senate Committee be formed to further investigate the conditions of the poor in our 20 largest cities and what measures we can take to reduce their suffering. I would request that Senator Palaiologos be co-chair on this committee so that there is no appearence on bias.

    To those members that would only look to what they stand to gain, under our parties leadership the poor would be entitled to subsidies, those subsidies would fuel greater growth in the economy as people would no longer be forced to just survive, but could educate themselves, find a home of their own and perhaps even group together to start new industries so we are not so reliant on the same few thousand capitialist elite to drive our industry. Heck perhaps it would allow the government to stop holding the hand of industry and support the people more.

    "If you want the state to to improve these poor people's lives, then clearly industry should be tasked with this matter. Build new Greek schools to teach the glories of Rome to the poor unfortunates and build new factories so that their parents might earn their own crusts. It is the Church that should provide charity, not the State."

    Hear, hear.

    I agree with this. Many poor people are being oppressed by corrupt, sleazy capitalists. We need unemployment subsidies, a minimum wage, and limited safety regulations to protect those abused poor people. However, I believe reform can come from the government and it must be slow and methodical to prevent mistakes and loopholes, unlike my red colleague.

    I would be glad to offer my support towards social reform. How can Rome claim to be the leader of the world when its people don't have an appropriate standard of living?

    ~Alexios Doukas

    "If dangerous conditions are harming the Empire's productivity, then a commission should be formed to investigate these matters, but this senate is not the Holy Church and the Basilissa is not the Patriarch. Let the Church perform charity, whilst the State ensures that none is needed."

    ~ Ioannes Angelos

    ((Introducing Senator Columba Comminus))Ave!

    Your Imperial Majesty, Your Holiness, Honourable and Eminent Senators.

    My apologies for arriving late for this particular session so if you will allow a few minutes for an introduction I promise to keep it brief. (Though I have provided a longer version explaining my origins further for those of you who so wish to read it)

    The origins of my family are shrouded in mystery thought to date back to the time when Rome was ruled by Kings me and my kin are said to be descended from slaves who won their freedom in the overthrow of the last king and establishment of the Republic.


    Overtime we rose to a respected, but not prominent or powerful place in society. By the time of the Caesars we were a rich equestrian (and on occasion senatorial) family who migrated to Roman controlled Caledonia for what most said was at long last an aim to rise to higher positions within the Empire. But despite what you may have heard was an attempt to move to more suitable climes as the paler complexion and hair of my dynasty led to an unfortunate tendency to be almost permanently sunburnt or very heavily tanned even in the winter. Those of you who have been "Up North" as they say just South of Hadrian's Wall will know the change suited us admirably (though sunshine is nice from time to time).


    After our fellow countrymen withdrew; first from Caledonia then Britannia altogether you may have thought we would have found ourselves alone and surrounded by a hostile people.

    Thankfully the natives were found to be much friendlier once we stopped lording it over them and got on rather well and soon found common ground in our love of the weather, alcohol and poking fun at those men sissy enough to wear trousers.

    Over the intervening centuries my family endured a series of rises and falls from wealth and power to destitution and irrelevance. We may have been down at times but never out which is more than can be said for most families which lied in the border regions of Scotland (or indeed any region of anywhere).

    Which brings us to the here and now. I myself was born some years ago in “the early days of Winter 1855” according to my Da nobody bothered to note the exact date as my mas’ 13 hours of labour had left her in a spectacularly foul mood and my Da’ hand nearly half chewed off (we are still to hear the end of it).

    I lead quite an active youth studying and travelling both within and without the empire. I have studied not only various languages but also am fully qualified in matters of both Scots and Roman law (which are remarkably similar) as well as theology and history according to Glasgow, Constantine, the Gregorian and Paris Universities respectively (I must confess I am rather anti-social preferring a good night’s reading to a good night’s drinking any day) I also had the honour of enjoying a brief though largely ceremonial tenure as a junior officer in the Varangian Guard and as a navy cadet. (Celts and Anglo-Saxons have been part of the guard ever since the Vikings started raiding us. Though if you value your lives you will please ensure that the Angles are as far as possible from the Celts in the same room while sober and preferably city while not (which I regret to say the latter is the norm).

    And so now after an absence of many centuries my family has asked me to come to the Queen of cities to reclaim the seat in the Senate that once belonged to us. Provided your majesty has no objections.

    As for political leanings I have come primarily to represent the interests of my Family and those who live in the lands surrounding my birth so you will forgive me I hope if I do not align myself just yet.

    Thioridh an-drasta and God love you

    ((incidentally anyone wo knows how to get a custom avatar could you lend a hand/ tell me where to go (not being from Scotland you have honestly no idea what risk that last part is when you say it/ write it down) ))

    As Chief of Staff I would request that for the next senate session we have access to the current landscape of the senate, our laws both constitutional and social.

    Also out current tax rates and any subsidation/tariffs for local industry, I sincerely hope that our conservative friends and refusing to the people what they provide to their rich backers and that being charity. If it is fine for the State to bankroll industry, then why we can not offer to protect those most at risk once again is an issue I must strongly bring to the Empress' attention.

    "At the risk of sounding heretical, senator, the Church must be where there is need, and if the church does not free people from oppression or poverty, what purpose does it serve?"

    ~Ioannes Angelos

    How dare you paint us conservatives with the reactionaries! The government must do more to protect the workers while promoting industry. I am not one of those old fools known as reactionaries but nor am I a red radical who achieve power through anarchy and bomb- throwing. As a Senator, I must ask the Chief of Staff why he is the Chief of Staff of the military when he is against the military?

    ((Isn't it true that Conservatives only wish reforms if militancy is really high? What is the state of the Roman Empire right now?))

    Have I ever praised the anarchists or the bomb-throwers? The anarchists may want what we desire eventually, a society free of capitalism and its restrictions. We differ on methods. Most Communists advocate for revolution against the Bourgoise state, this is true. But Roman Communists see the truth of the matter: that a transition through socialism can be accomplished peacefully. The Imperial powers are known, the history of the Empire ((and this aar)) is full of examples of them. The state, should it be benevolent, should assume control until class struggles can be resolved.



    I second this request, with the possible addition of some sort of census. The cultural landscape of the Empire is something I think needs to be discussed.
     
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    93. 1869-1880 - Requested Information
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    While it is not yet time to resume the address, it seems some comments are in order. My clerks have quickly prepared some charts displayed on the easel here at the front of the chamber.

    First is a political summary of the Empire. While the Senate is wonderfully diverse—which immensely helps in Our governing the Empire—the administrators who would implement any changes are not so. If a simple majority of them supported any given reform then it could be implemented. But only 23% of them would support social reforms at this time, and only 36% of them would support political reforms.
    93-35.png

    Second is the latest budget information. This tends to be highly variable, as the government buys various goods in order to build naval bases and factories, or temporarily supports factories in distress so that people retain their jobs, so it may not be the best reflection of the true state of the Empire's finances.
    93-36.png

    Third, the Minister of Security has reported the following mass movements within the Empire.
    93-37.png

    A census will be conducted post-haste, but the result will not be available until the next State of the Empire Address.

    Also, I would remind the Senators that the Church and Our government work quite closely. If We wished for the government to provide charity to the poor, it would need be done via the Church. To do otherwise would require great changes to the administrative structure of both the Church and the government, as they are deeply intertwined.

    Finally, India sadly allied with Persia recently, and as we have treaties of old with two Great Powers—Poland-Lithuania and the United Tribes of America—they are unlikely to ally with us again.
     
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    93. 1869-1880 - Senators Reply
  • Idhrendur

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    ((Are the Communists Marxist? If so, than socialism can only come through revolution))

    Anarchism is the epitome of social disaster. You yourself have admitted that you do not want the Emperor, you support anarchism! People will shoot each other for sport, it will be a return to the feudal peasant- hunting days! ((Why are you supporting anarchism? Its like the complete opposite of socialism. Sorry for short speech, little time for me to write this.))

    We do not listen to the words of Marx, except we agree that this change is destined to happen. Already we are the second largest party should those fools in the liberal party understand that their time is done we will soon control the senate.

    Anarchism maybe a sideline for some in the Empire, but not for those of the party. As for us being violent our supporters that are champing for change number in the millions, yet only a fraction have become militant. Look at the last vestiges of the reactionaries, only a few 10's of thousands yet they are far more likely to take up arms!

    Whilst we would look to full sufferage as it would truely put our party as the power in the Empire, the Empress is our monarch and we will defend her to the death. However we do fully support the minimum wage, injured workers cover and a limit on the number of hours a man or woman can work in a day.

    As per my previous speech I note that our poorest still pay the majority of taxes, yet receive the least protection. This can not stand.

    This treasonous suffrage movement should be suppressed at all costs. To defile the Senate by transforming it into a vulgar democratic body would threaten the integrity of the Empire.

    -Moustakas

    The Ministry of Security will set to work suppressing all of these potential uprisings, especially the Communist one. We have yet to determine a link with the Cult, but I am sure there is one. How else would they have gotten this far?

    ~Alexios Doukas

    I would point out that a large number of our soldiers are already part of radical organizations. This is likely to only grow over time. Indeed this appraisal of radicals in the empire shows the growth of the Communist movement. Those who are potentially rebels are those who are losing faith in the empire's ability to take care of them.

    As for the economic situation, if the Empress indeed wishes to lower the amount of Communist sympathizers, as many seem to, she should simply redistribute taxes to focus more on the middle and upper tiers of income. From what I've heard the capitalists do little useful and efficiently besides build railroads.



    ((There are many schools of thought on how a revolution can be gone about. For this character I'm espousing a more nationalist variety, with a focus on Socialism in One State, and the power of a symbolic leader, as Juche contends. A lot against my normal Trotskyite thought, but in my opinion more appropriate for a situation such as this. Also pretty sure Communism as a party in Vicky 2 is more focused on the second stage of it, i.e. Lenin and others. Whether revolution is planned, lets leave that to history eh? If situations continue as they have been for many years despite the strong Socialist and Communist presence, it is entirely realistic that the methods of this character and others might turn revolutionary. Now whether to slaughter that revolution is another thing entirely, would be very interested in seeing a true Roman Empire of the people.))

    The goal of anarchism is the annihilation of class society, is it not? Anarchists, communists, and socialists (If they believe that socialism is a transitory state as written in most every text) all desire the end of class warfare, and the seizing of political power by the proletariat.

    I support the Empress strongly, her intentions have proven benevolent, unlike many here. Her as a symbol, and as a powerful part of the government, is necessary in my opinion.

    ~Nicodemo Theodosio

    ((In the pop windows if you hover over some part of the bar, in a specific group of pops in the bottom right section, it'll give you their chance of joining factions and why. If they aren't getting their needs met, which excessive taxes causes, they'll be more likely to be part of communist revolts. The reason why most players struggle so much with communist rebels is because they keep their poor taxes maxed, and in colonies especially needs of the lower class will be very difficult to meet, due to the lack of admin efficiency in colonies. I also would really encourage you to take control of industry somehow, either by changing faction alignment, or democratizing and encouraging the socialists to take control. It requires micromanagement, but your economy becomes unstoppable if you take the time to do it. Make sure that you check for obsolete factories, specifically clipper factories. Destroy those and replace with steamers.))

    Indeed Empress, I call attention to what has always been the first demand I have made: A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. The mere fact of reality is that the less money you have, the larger percentage of it is needed to survive. The fact that the upper income brackets pay less percentage-wise than the lower is a travesty.

    ~Nicodemo Theodosio

    I must make it known that in my opinion a graduated income tax is just not fair.
    Why should the poor man pay in nothing the well to do pay say 10% and the rich pay 50%. There is absolutely no justice in this. An unlikely example I know but not impossible.
    However I do believe that those not so well off within our empire do deserve some kind of tax reduction. as it must be accepted that a certain basic income is required to survive.
     
    93. 1869-1880 - The Address, part two
  • Idhrendur

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    Senators,

    Welcome back from the intermission. Many of you have brought forward various concerns, and they will be addressed at the end of the address.

    When the Private Bank Money Bill Printing laws had been drafted, We allowed the Admiralty to design naval bases that could specialize in different forms of ships. Though it seemed it might be some time before any could be built, as the world was facing a great shortage of cement.
    93-38.png

    93-39.png

    In July of 1875, there was a much larger revolt. You no doubt remember when the Scholai Palantinae were forced to retreat and Constantinople was put to siege.
    93-40.png

    93-41.png

    And how XXIV. Legio assisted the Scholai Palatinae in repulsing the rebels before they came close to breaching the walls. The rest of the rebels were easily dispersed. Before the end of the year the last rebels had been removed.

    When the naval bases were designed, We tasked a group with finding cheaper ways of making steel.
    93-42.png

    93-43.png

    This research also gave the Empire improved methods of extracting coal.
    93-44.png

    While the Empire's dye supply problems seemed to have been eased, an errant experiment with coal tar had produced a new artificial dye. The Chemistry Department at the University of Constantinople promised a new age of innovation if they were supported in their quest to understand organic chemistry. So We gave them support in this endeavor.
    93-45.png

    In April of 1877, Germany declared war on Bavaria. We had added Germany to Our sphere of influence, and were surprised when they did not immediately ask for Our aid. We quickly signed an alliance. But when no request to join their war came, We began fabricating a reason for war with Bavaria, pointing out to the Empire's newspapers the danger their fortifications proved, how those were a sure sign of their aggressive intentions.
    93-46.png

    When the initial research into organic chemistry was complete (again improving the Legion's ability to avoid disease and other attrition), We ordered the Legions to begin training junior officers in how to make decisions for themselves, which would allow them to better take advantage of changes in the battles they faced.
    93-47.png

    93-48.png

    The war with Bavaria lasted until April of 1878, when they agreed to dismantle their fortifications in Bayern. Germany was now positioned to crush Bavaria.
    93-49.png

    The improved military tactics only came after the war, but that meant that the next war would be even better fought.
    93-50.png

    We insisted the Admiralty make the same training improvements as the Legions had just done.
    93-51.png

    We spent the following months as We had most of the time in the previous years: heavily investing in the economy to try to provide jobs for everyone, and upgrading the Empire's naval bases.

    Meanwhile, the new naval training was beginning to bear fruit.
    93-52.png

    It was in August of 1879 that England saw the beginning of a new political force: Communists. Their reach was rapidly felt everywhere.
    93-53.png

    And meanwhile, Germany's war with Bavaria stagnated, and it looked as though Bavaria might soon push back against them.
     
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    93. 1869-1880 - Senators Reply
  • Idhrendur

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    Blasted Jacobins and Bavarians! We are facing a determined threat to Roman culture that could destroy us if we are not vigilant.

    -Moustakas

    ((My little canon had the co-author of whatever texts I've written be an English character, Leon Lewis. Funny to see Communism emerge there.))

    If the honorable senators remember the examinations of rebel factions in the Empire that we underwent years ago, they pointed to this rebellion being a risk. They might also remember that the numbers of those supporting communists was 10 times larger. If that force continues to build, without some release of tension, violence is sure.

    ~Nicodemo Theodosio

    Never forget the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest! Those savages, who were the predecessors of the Bavarians, massacred three legions there. We must seek to crush the Bavarians to atone for their crimes in that time. I am glad of our technological progress, I feel that Germany could soon be further included in the Roman Empire.

    Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

    This form of communism in England sounds quite repugnant. A society without a government? Hows does such a country even operate without falling into anarchy? At least Roman communists have the sense to know that the Empress provides sound government and stability for the Empire.

    Those damn Jacobins threatened Constantinople and put the Empress in danger. I hope the streets of Constantinople ran red with their blood for their insolence!

    - Senator Leonardo Favero

    "A society without government? Hah! So the true motives of I Koinotita have been revealed, eh? Then there were those rebels, even besieging the walls of the Queen of Cities, and you want to give that rabble the vote?!

    "Congratulations to the Empire's armies on their work against the Nemitzoi. Their final, feeble effort should be crushed and they should be at last absorbed into the Empire and never dare to stand apart from Rome again!"

    ~ Ioannes Angelos