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Introduction

Idhrendur

Keeper of the Converters
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Feb 27, 2009
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The Empire Strikes Back (banner)

Part 4

"The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been."

Rome has stood for nearly 2500 years, guiding and determining the course of the whole world. But after losing much of the west, will Rome fail at its next succession? Or will it strike back against its foes?

This is part four of a megacampaign through CK2, EU3, Vic2, and now HoI4.

Interactivity approved by Qorten.
 
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Index
Index
Rules
Characters
Background
Political Parties

World Updates
A Report on Recent Breakaway Provinces in the Imperial Core
A Report on Sub-Saharan Africa
A Report on the Americas
A Report on West, Central, and East Asia
A Report on Southeast Asia and Oceania
A Report on Europe

The Constitution
Preamble

Konstantinos X, the Ill-Ruler - 1059-1085
1. A New Beginning
2. Internal Affairs
3. A Sicilian Adventure
4. The Sea of Galilee
5. War, Wars, and Half a War
6. The Ill-Ruler

Konstantios III, the Saint - 1085-1112
7. A Heathen Assault
8. The Χριστιανός ρυπαρός υιοθεσία
9. Prince of Egypt
10. The Saint

Konstantinos XI, the Peaceful - 1112-1163
11. The Peaceful
11a. Interlude: Religious Map

Konstantinos XII, the Childless - 1163-1177
12. The Egyptian Rebellion
13. Childless and Bereft
14. The Childless

Makarios I, the Cruel - 1177-1189
15. The Great Rebellion
16. Castrato
17. Ah, Venice!
18. Losses
19. The Cruel

Konstantinos XIII, the Glorious - 1189-1260
20. The War Regency
21. The Glory of Battle
22. De Jure
22a. Interlude: Political Map
23. The Donation of Constantine
23a. Interlude: Updated Political Map
24. The Glorious

Niketas I, the Duke - 1260-1264
25. Imperial Italian Irredentism
26. The Great Rebellion
27. The Duke

Konstantinos XIV, the Great - 1279-1328
28. Regaining the Throne
29. River and Islands
29a. Interlude: More Maps
30. East and West
31. The Great
31a. Bonus Religious Map

Konstantinos XV, the Cruel - 1328-1363
32. The Sicilian War
33. Civil Wars
34. The Cruel

Konstantinos XVI, the Wise - 1363-1408
35. όχι πιο πέρα
36. Thallasa Mas
37. Gallia
37a. Interlude: Strategy Request
38. The First Timurid War
39. The Second Timurid War
40. The Wise

The Empire in 1408
41. The Eve of Change

Konstantios IV, The Reformer - 1408-1449
42. The Reformer
43. Europa 1408
44. War in the East
45. The Three Themas
46. The Scottish Play
47. War! What is it good for?
48. The End of an Era

Zoe I - 1455-1502
48a. The World, 1450
49. The Persian Plan
50. Kings of Leon
51. 1500 Update
52. βασιλιάς είναι νεκρός…

Konstantios XI, the Holy - 1502-1565
53 . …ζήτω ο βασιλιάς!
54. The 15 Year War, Part I
55. The 15 Year War, Part II
56. The Peace of Westphalia
57. The New World
58. A Minor War or Three
59. 1550 Update
60. The Holy

Ioannes VII - 1565-1574
Konstantinos XVIII, the Zealous - 1574-1637
61. The Reign in Spain
62. Solomon's Gold
63. 1600 Update
64. The Fall of the Papacy
65. The Particularist Revolt
66. The Zealous

Demetrios I - 1637-1639
Ioannes VIII - 1639-1650
67. The War of Three Emperors
68. Minor Wars

Demetrios II - 1650-1658
69. 1650 Update
70. The War for Huron

Theodoros I, the Sun Emperor - 1661-1669
71. The Sun Emperor

Konstantinos XIX - 1669-1726
72. Expansion Resumes
73. 1700 Update
74. Gallia Falls, and More
75. 'Murica

Konstantios XII - 1726-1760
76. To the Rhine
77. The Epistle to the Empire
78. 1750 Update
79. War in Africa

Alexander, Megas Alexandros - 1760-1820
80. Alexander Goes to War
81. Megas Alexandros

Konstantios XIII - 1820-??
82. 1821 Update

Andronikos, the Mad - ??-??
Veronica - 1836-1900
83. Empress Veronica
84. 1836
85. 1837
86. 1837-1839
87. 1839-1843
88. 1843-1846
89. 1846-1849
90. 1849-1854
91. 1854-1860
92. 1860-1869
Interlude - Heart of Doukas
93. 1869-1880
94. 1880
95. 1880-1885
96. 1885-1890
97. 1890-1895
98. 1895-1900
99. The Death of Empress Veronica
Konstantinos XX - 1900-1910
100. 1901-1906
101. The Death of Emperor Konstantinos XX
Michael VII - 1910-1936
102. The Time of Troubles, the First 58 Days
The Imperial Civil War - 20 May 1910​
The Northern Alliance - 27 May 1910​
The Northern Alliance Grows - 10 June 1910​
The Great War - 17 June 1910​
The GACPS Expands - 1 July 1910​
The GACPS Goes to War - 8 July 1910​
A World at War - 17 July 1910​
103. The Time of Troubles
July-August 1910​
March-April 1911​
104. The Sack of Constantinople
105. The Time of Troubles 1911-1912
May-August 1911​
February-May 1912​
106. The Time of Troubles 1912-1913
May-August 1912​
February-May 1913​
107. The End of the Great Wars
108. 1915-1921
109. On Orthodoxy
110. 1921-1926
111. 1926-1931
112. 1931-1936

HoI4 Installments
Michael VII
- 1910-1936
113. The New Year

Interregnum - 1936-1936
114. The Brothers' War
115. The Brothers' War 2
116. The Brothers' War 3
117. The Brothers' War 4
118. The End of the War
SPQR
Michael VIII - 1936-
119. The Trial of Konstantinos
120. Election Day
121. The Constitutional Convention
Interlude - The Shadow of the Past
122. Roman Diplomacy
123. The First Fireside Chats
124. The Second Dresden Conference
 
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Rules
As with the last leg, this will be a partially-interactive AAR, with the audience fleshing out the world. In general characters are assumed to be Senators, but can choose to be other characters. In-game characters are generally off-limits, but feel free to message me to ask about a given character. There are a handful of pre-approved exceptions to this, with characters already added to the mod. Audience members do not directly control the gameplay, and characters are primarily for roleplay purposes. I'm not experienced with HoI4 so will ask for lots of advice, but at the end of the day I will play how I wish.

The Rules
1. Only one character per person at a time, unless I have specifically granted you permission otherwise.
2. Make sure to announce any new characters before speaking in character. When announcing a character, include the name, home, date of birth, a brief description of the character, and if relevant any political affiliations (see the post below for a list of political parties).
3. Ask me before creating a character in another country.
4. Indicate out of character writing by (( placing it in double parenthesis )).
5. Do not directly control, injure, kill, or otherwise harm other people's characters without their permission.
6. Do feel free to flesh out the world! I greatly enjoy other peoples' stories. But check with me before starting major chains of events - PM me a brief outline of what you intend. This will allow me to accommodate you in the storytelling, as well as set the timing well on my side.
7. Always ensure your character's name is worked into any in-character post. This can be a quick mention at the end or worked into the text. But it should always be clear who is speaking or acting.
8. Use standard English style when writing your posts. It should look like something that can be published in a short story or novel.
9. I may decide that certain posts don't fit the narrative. If I tell you, edit or delete said posts accordingly.
10. I may run the occasional straw poll. The results will be strongly considered for the narrative, but are not binding.
11. I reserve the right to send rocks that fall and kill everyone, or any lesser GM powers.

Sample Character

Name: John Smith
Home: Gallifrey
Date of birth: Unknown
Description: Not much is known of him, but he has a penchant for being in the right place at the right time. The right time to run away, that is, before doing something clever and saving the day.
Occupation: Tourist
Political affiliation: None
 
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Characters
Characters

Non-Player Characters
Emperor Michael VII - Rose to power on his father's assassination in 1910
Princess Veronica Maria of Denmark - married to the Emperor
Prince Konstantinos - Born 23 June 1894
Prince Alvértos - Born 14 December 1895, married to Lady Elisabet
Princess Maria - Born 25 April 1897
Prince Enrikos - Born 31 March 1900
Prince Michael - Born 20 December 1902
Elisábet - Daughter of Prince Alvértos, born 21 April 1926
Margarítēs - Daughter of Prince Alvértos, born 21 August 1930

Player Characters
Theodora Doukas
Irene Doukas
Donatello Favero
Giuseppe Lombardi the Second
His All Holiness, Alexander, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Nikos Stavros
Nestorius Septiadis Thaddas
Kyrene Udata Thaddas
Timon Tutoko Ignatios Nestorias Thaddas
Justinian Varagios
Leonidas Varagios
Demetrius Laskaris
 
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Background
Background

The Empire is an Absolute Monarchy, but this may change through the course of the AAR. Senators have no direct power but often are appointed as governors, ministers of government departments, and generals. They also bring important matters to the attention of the head of state and serve as a source of knowledge and wisdom. Senators are sometimes involved in political parties. These parties are most active in the bureaucracy, though the Senate has no direct power over the bureaucracy itself.

Rome was founded in 509 BC, part of history you should all know. 1066 was a significant year, when Konstantinos Doukas defeated the Seljuk Turks in a major war. Over the ensuing centuries, the Empire expanded to the full extent of its old borders, imposed Orthodoxy on the Christian world, pacified the various Mongols, discovered the Americas, founded kingdoms, and generally set the course of the world. 1821-1836 were a time of silence, where the Emperors never emerged from the palace, and the bureaucracy generally just kept the Empire running, with various families taking the opportunity to reassert their power. When Empress Veronica emerged, she reformed the Senate, using it as a tool to bend these families to her will and convince them to adhere to her systems of power. This was so successful that when a major civil war broke out in 1906, Michael VII was able to use the Senate to gain direct control over the bureaucracy, though that involved a violent purge. Unfortunately the civil war and the following Great War left much of the western Empire sundered from the rest.

The Orthodox church is still a major force in the Empire. They sometimes serve as a wing of the government, operating many schools and hospitals, but also independently, as with the churches. Orthodox Christianity is almost exclusively the only form of Christianity, though it is quite broad in form, with dozens of autocephalous patriarchs world-wide.
 
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Political Parties
Political Parties

Current political parties

Kómma Romanítas Aftokratorikós (Κόμμα Ρομανίτας Αυτοκρατορικός / Imperial Romanitas Party - KRA) - Center-Left Democratic

In the 1910s, the Foiderátoi, Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱, and other smaller parties were convinced to join forces under a single banner by Senator Theodora Doukas, realizing that the old arrangements that had dominated the Senate since the early years of Veronica’s reign were no longer suited for a rapidly changing political landscape. The first Koinonistikaí would be subsumed in the growing alliance in the following decade. Remaining helmed by Theodora Doukas since then, the new party adopted the name Kómma Romanítas Aftokratorikós — the Imperial Romanitas Party.

Over the years, the KRA grew further as new parties joined it, contributing their own ideas to the overall platform. Contrary to many observers’ concerns that such open acceptance of new factions would lead to a loss of core identity, the KRA only grew more cohesive as a party in its own right while still retaining its official status as a big tent coalition. By 1936, many of the older parties had effectively become internal factions whose identities were completely intertwined with the KRA’s, while the newer parties remained distinct entities under the KRA umbrella. Other parties, both within the Empire and in allied nations, like Aotearoa’s Ergatikó Kómma Aotearóas, are officially affiliated with the KRA.

Theodora encouraged all members to contribute ideas in an open forum, believing the discussion to be the KRA’s strength. The core value at the center of the KRA’s unified platform is a desire to help people. Recognizing that all imperial subjects are Roman citizens, equal under the Emperor, the KRA follows in the footsteps of traditional liberal and leftist organizations and strives to carry on the traditional idea of Romanitas in the modern Empire. Religious tolerance, recognition of cultural achievements outside of the metropolitan core, expansion of personal freedoms, progressive reform of the tax code, and leveling of the playing field between commoners and nobility—these can be found within the KRA’s core platform and those of its constituent parties. Advancement through the ranks of the KRA is done meritocratically through recognition of an individual’s talents and allocation of those talents to where they are best utilized.

Kleinoí (Κλεινοί / The Nobiles) - Center-Right Democratic

Formed in 1936 by Senator Donatello Favero as a more moderate alternative to the traditional conservative parties, the Kleinoí represent a center-right conservative movement that supports reform of the senate and imperial institutions to restore stability and preserve the Empire. Most of the members were formerly part of the Patríkioi or Kyriarchía but left after seeing the need for reform or in opposition to the rising absolutist sentiment that arose following the Black Rebellion. They have managed to siphon away much of the Patríkioi’s and Kyriarchía’s support base by taking a more merit-based focus, favoring nobility of spirit over birth and being much more open to non-Greeks and other minorities.

The Kleinoí, despite their support for reform, still believe that the authority of the Emperor must be respected, but that the senate should be made more representative to ensure all provinces of the Empire have a say in how they are governed. Whether that representation takes the form of appointments by the Emperor or elected officials, or whether the provincial governments should be granted additional powers at the expense of the central government, is still up for debate amongst the party members. The Orthodox Church is viewed as the official state religion, although the party is favorable towards a clearer delineation of state and church following the Ecumenical Patriarch’s call for reform. The party is supportive of a strong military, but more as a defensive measure or as a last resort if diplomacy fails. The government’s role in the economy should be minimal, only intervening when necessary to ensure economic stability or to protect key imperial industries. The party is generally against social reforms, believing them an economic burden and infringing on the rights of citizens, but is willing to make exceptions for reforms that present opportunities for citizens to better themselves.

Aléxides toú Nómou Empsýchou (Ἀλέξιδες τοῦ νόμου ἐμψύχου / Defenders of the Living Law - ANE) - Absolutist

Established in 1936 following the Kleinoí Secession from the Patríkioi, though often treated as one bloc, it is in fact an anti-democratic coalition of conservative parties in support of the crown maintaining absolute authority. The coalition consists of three main parties, and an assortment of smaller regional/local parties. Of the core three, there are the Patríkioi, a party consisting of aristocrats, the Kyriarchía, a party consisting of lower-class libertarians, and Drási, a minor party consisting of anarcho-capitalists.

Patríkioi (Πατρίκιοι / The Patricians)

The Patríkioi are the most affluent and influential aristocrats from across the Empire. Following the departure of Donatello Favero and the more moderate members to form the Kleinoí, the party consists mostly of nobles from the imperial heartland, absolutists, and former Konstantinos supporters. They, along with the Kyriarchía, formed the ANE as an anti-democratic coalition in support of the crown maintaining absolute authority.

The Patríkioi favor the pre-eminence of Greek culture, both as the pinnacle of civilization and a means of maintaining the existing order. The positions of the monarchy and Orthodox Church are regarded as sacrosanct, institutions demanding both respect and unyielding loyalty. The Emperor is regarded as an absolute monarch whose divine right to rule cannot be questioned, although the aristocrats of the Patríkioi are ever ready to provide much-needed advice. War is seen as but a means to achieve the goals of imperialism and to make the Empire stronger, while the government's interference in economic matters is seen as a way of maintaining stability, especially against the fickle whims of a fluctuating market economy. Most important of all, the Patríkioi recognize the need for the imperial government to maintain control over an increasingly unruly populace, for the lower classes are regarded as ignorant and often express desires counter to that of the Empire as a whole.

Kyriarchía (Κυριαρχία / The Supremacy)

The Kyriarchía is the party of the Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian, lower and middle classes, and serves as a populist alternative to the elitist Patríkioi for ethnic Greeks. Once serving as the backbone of the conservative movement, most of their moderate members departed to join the Kleinoí. They, along with the Patríkioi, formed the ANE as an anti-democratic coalition in support of the crown maintaining absolute authority.

The Kyriarchía support the dominance of Greek culture and the Orthodox Church, believing that the many cultural and religious minorities of the Empire must assimilate. The Emperor’s power is regarded as absolute and must not be infringed upon through democratic reforms. The party is pro-military and imperialist, demanding the subservience of all dominions and provincial governments to the central government. They believe the government should not have a role in the economy or interfere in citizens’ lives beyond the need to maintain order, opposing the creation of any social programs.

Drási (Δράση / Action)

Formed in 1936 following the collapse of the Rizospastikó Kómma, Drási consists of anarcho-capitalists, who support the abolishment of the state in favor of stateless societies guided by the invisible hand of the free market, a voluntary society as they describe it. Previously the most militant branch of the Rizospastikó Kómma, they have since largely become reformists. They maintain pro-minority positions, though manifest now in an assimilationist form, believing the best way to assimilate them is to integrate their cultures into Greek, to create the perfect culture. They joined ANE following its creation, and believe the Emperor to be the figurehead needed to lead the world into an anarcho-capitalist utopia.

Pars Imperium Aecus Romani Operarii (Imperial Just Roman Workers' Party - PIARO) - Fascist

Established following the Time of Troubles, subsuming the Tágma tōn Varángōn political party, PIARO is a paramilitary group turned political party. The party's roots are from the Romani vi Bonorum (Roman Loyalist Force), which had waged a damaging-but-unsuccessful guerilla warfare campaign to oppose the Italian separatists. After the Empire had made peace with the Italians, the most radical members of the RvB relocated to southern Italy to create a political party to campaign for the rebuilding of the Empire. It is a highly militant and jingoist group, bearing the Imperial Eagle and fasces as its symbol, advocating for the establishment of a new Roman identity to subsume all under the Empire. The party supported Prince Konstantinos during the Black Rebellion, resulting in it receiving intense scrutiny in the following peace - several of its members would depart for ANE to avoid suspicion.

Koinonistikaí (Κοινωνιστικαί / The Socialists) - Socialist

Established in 1922 following the merger of the first Koinonistikaí into the KRA, the second Koinonistikaí believes in worker's rights just as the first did. More militant than its predecessor, it has called for not just strong government intervention to uphold these rights, but to intervene in foreign states to uphold the rights of workers internationally. It is anti-abstentionist, and is considered a reformist libertarian socialist party internationally, believing that capitalism needs to be abolished first and foremost, with the state thereafter. It is a member of the Third International.

I Koinotita (Η Κοινότητα / The Commune) - Communist

Established in the 1910s after the first I Koinotita was subsumed into the first Koinonistikaí following the Grayist Purge. The second I Koinotita maintains a pro-revolutionary and anti-statist position, seeking to overthrow the entire social order as to begin the process of communization, but has lost much of its support as a result of the KRA and the second Koinonistikaí, with some members baring Koinonistikaí cards instead. It rejects the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which it sees as reproducing capitalism. Leadership largely consists of authors who write about the failings of Roman 'revisionist' and 'non-Marxist' socialism and communism, due to the party being haunted by the memory of Grayism. It was rejected from the Third International.

Georgikó Kómma (Γεωργικό Κόμμα / Agrarian∕Farmers' Party - Georgoí / Γεωργοί / Farmers) - Non-Aligned

An agrarian party that rose to prominence during the Black Rebellion. Generally considered a centrist party focused on the interests of farmers and peasants across the core Imperial territories of the Hemus and Anatolia. Generally considered anti-urbanist, emphasizing both the beauty of nature and the pollution of cities. Has a mix of agrarian landholders and peasants of various political viewpoints, and anti-socialist rural proletariat. Largely campaigns for more reforms focused on the countryside.

Past political parties

Foiderátoi
(Φοιδεράτοι / The Foederati)
A liberal party that supported the Empire, centralization, the Greek language, and the military; but also free trade and secularism. Established in the 1830s, led the merger into the KRA in the 1910s.

Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ (Χριστιανικού Κόμματος Μεταρρύθμιση / Christian Reform Party - XKM)
A party that consisted of social liberals who supported interventionism, political reform and some degree of decentralization (but not necessarily outright federalism), but also opposed expansion and the military on moral grounds. Established in the 1830s, merged into the KRA in the 1910s.

Tágma tōn Varángōn (Τάγμα τῶν Βαράγγων / Varangian Guard)
A proto-fascist party that hearkened back in its name to the Emperor's guard from a millennium prior. They believed in a strong Empire for the Greeks, and only for the Greeks. Established in the 1830s, they were subsumed by PIARO following the Time of Troubles.

I Koinotita (Η Κοινότητα / The Commune)
Established in the 1870s, it was the first Imperial communist party to emerge. Initially shepherded by Nicodemo Theodosio, the party would enter its most infamous period under Aiden Gray, seeking to overthrow the entire social order as the first step in creating socialism, as imagined under Grayism. Would be a leading party against the Empire through the United Workers' Council during the Time of Troubles. Would be subsumed into the first Koinonistikaí in the 1910s, as a consequence of the Grayist Purge. A successor party was established as a result, though it remains unpopular.

Koinonistikaí (Κοινωνιστικαί / The Socialists)
Established in the 1860s, the first Koinonistikaí believed in worker's rights, and wanted strong government intervention to uphold these rights. They wished the church detached from government entirely, and were mostly opposed to the military. The party would achieve its greatest success following the Autokrator Rebellion of 1885, under the leadership of former communist Nicodemo Theodosio, spearheading several needed reforms. Would lose steam following the Time of Troubles and the rise of the KRA, prompting a merger in 1922. A successor party was established as a result.

Rizospastikó Kómma (Ριζοσπαστικό Κόμμα / Radical Party)
A party consisted of anarcho-liberals, who framed the party as the party of choice for minorities who felt oppressed by the Empire, whether religious, cultural, linguistic, commercial or political. They supported freedom of trade, a fully-federalist empire, disestablishment of the Orthodox church, lacité and all the linguistic, cultural and domestic rights and powers that came with federalism and decentralisation. They were also against the army, but supported the navy as a guarantor of free trade. Established in the 1830s, they went into decline following the Time of Troubles due to the rise of the KRA, and were targeted during the Black Rebellion. Its members flocked to the KRA, Kleinoi, and ANE, spelling the party's demise.
 
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113. The New Year - After the Address
31 December 1935

Prince Alvértos was having a good morning. He rose early, leaving his apartments in Blachernae Palace before Elizabeth and the girls were ready for the day. He stopped by his father's apartments, where the Emperor still suffered an illness leaving him weak and often unconscious. Because of this, Prince Konstantinos was giving the address to the Senate this morning. Alvértos got some food to-go from the kitchens and summoned a driver to take him to the Grand Palace. Once there, he found that the address was already over and went to the Emperors' waiting room, passing the Aotearoan senator's proxy and nodding to him. Opening the door he called out, "Konstantinos! How did it go?"

His brother's look stopped him before he got through the doorway. The flushed face. The angry scowl. It had gone badly.

113-1.png

Konstantinos immediately began ranting. There wasn't a lot of coherence, but Alvértos gathered there had been several foolish ideas floated followed by a brawl. Alvértos tried to calm his brother with a quip, "Sounds like we need new Senators."

Konstantinos' face grew even redder. Oh no, Alvértos had triggered this old sibling fight. "We need to get rid of the Senate entirely! Time for us to truly show who's in charge, not hold your idiotic elections!" Konstantinos was ranting and pacing, rambling on and on and beginning to sweat heavily. He suddenly stopped mid-sentence, his mouth flapping noiselessly, then collapsed. Alvértos gasped and stepped forward. One of Konstantinos' guards was already kneeling by him, but the other immediately turned to Alvértos. "Stop, traitor! You've done something to the Emperor!"

113-2.png

The Emperor? Father was still living. Konstantinos was still just Crown Prince. As the guard reached for his sidearm, Alvértos found himself backpedaling down the hall. As the guard emerged, the Senate's guards noticed the aggression towards him. One immediately drew aim at Konstantinos' guard, stopping him cold. Another quickly pulled Alvértos into the near-empty Senate hall.

He was stunned, so didn't really notice who it was that with a worried face suggested he get back home quickly. He was led to and through hidden tunnels (since when did the Senate have hidden tunnels?!) to the Horn and placed on a small boat which sped towards Blachernae. But part way there another guard received a message on the radio. He whispered to the pilot who turned the boat to the Bosphorus. The guard walked back to the prince. "Sir, there's something bad happening at the palace. Your family has already been moved to safety, and we have a boat waiting for you in the Bosphorus."

Something happening at the palace? An attack of some kind? But the guard knew nothing more. They were swiftly past the great chain and boarded a larger ship. It was already in the Black Sea before Alvértos learned the truth - his brother was accusing him of attempting a coup and had sent soldiers to arrest him and his family. Even if it had been true, the use of soldiers and the attempt on his family was greatly out of form. As the ship sailed for Trebizond, he wondered what he would do.

113-3.png
 
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(( Welcome to part four, perhaps the longest delayed continuation of a megacampaign on the forums! Feel free to introduce your characters now and even show what they do after the address. Note that "The radio said nothing about the Senate session, only that it went well." and that several characters from the last segment haven't already not done much. See this post for details. ))
 
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(( Also, anyone interested in making a banner for me? My one attempt was quite ugly and proved yet again the futility of programmer art. ))
 
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Reserved
 
((I can’t believe we’re finally here, after so long. Excited to see how things unfold!))

Name: Theodora Anna Doukas
Home: Athens (personal), Thessaloniki (secondary), Constantinople (for work purposes)
Date of birth: 1885
Occupation: Minister of Security and Intelligence, Senator, Doux of Greece, Governor of Syria-Palestine, Dynatos
Political affiliation: KRA (founder and leader)
Description:
Theodora was appointed as Senator by the Emperor after her father Michael’s assassination.
She inherited from her father a sympathy for the common people, and being a woman this has helped shape her beliefs that the common people must be treated better in order to strengthen the Empire. She originally identified as a liberal but now considers herself beyond simple ideological classifications. Core to her beliefs was the idea of Romanitas, in which all peoples living within the Empire are Romans and should be able to attain citizenship should they wish it and strive for it. She was willing to work with other ideological factions provided they all work towards the greater good of the Empire and its people. Because she was a woman, she did not serve in the military, though her father taught her military tactics, basic combat skills, and how to ride a horse. She was tutored by the finest political theorists her father could afford, from whom she learned the art of politics. As a Senator and Minister of Security and Intelligence, she served during a period of crisis and civil war, during which she battled rebels, revolutionaries, and radical cultists all seeking to destroy the Empire. Sometimes she even fought them personally.
Today, Theodora was not present at the Senate session due to a personal matter. Instead, she sent her niece and protege, Irene, to represent her, unaware of what was about to unfold that day…

((Secondary character previously approved by Idhrendur.))
Name: Irene Doukas
Home: Athens (personal), Thessaloniki (secondary), Constantinople (for work purposes)
Date of birth: 1908
Occupation: Interim senator
Political affiliation: KRA
Description: Irene was the daughter of Theodora’s brother Niketas. After Niketas was captured in Palestine in the early days of the Time of Troubles, his wife, a nurse, was killed in the Sack of Constantinople in 1911. It was ironic that Niketas himself, who later turned out to have been brainwashed by the communists, had allowed the enemy to breach the capital's defenses and kill thousands of innocent civilians, among them his wife. In the aftermath of the attack, Theodora found a 3-year-old Irene on the streets, staring off into the distance at the plumes of smoke rising from downtown. That day marked a change in Irene’s life, as she came to idolize her aunt as a hero and made up her mind to follow her into politics. After Niketas was successfully freed from his brainwashing and went off on a journey of repentance, Theodora adopted her niece and raised her as her own daughter, just as her father had raised her. She made sure to give her the best education she could to nurture her talents. She was proud when Irene got a scholarship into the Pandidakterion, joining the ranks of the first women to enroll in the prestigious university that year. She was even prouder when Irene graduated at the top of her class, surprising all of her professors. She was delighted when Prince Michael, the youngest of the Emperor's sons, helped Irene get access to Senate sessions as an observer shadowing her aunt. Theodora had to retire or pass away before Irene could assume the family's seat. But in the meantime, Irene could get some much needed experience watching the proceedings. She could even fill in for her aunt if Theodora was absent.
Unfortunately, the first time she substituted for her aunt was today, and her career was about to take an unexpected turn.

((The following are purely RP based characters and are here more for me to remember them for future RP.))
Name: Niketas Doukas
Occupation: None
Description: Brother of Theodora and father of Irene. He was brainwashed by communists during the Time of Troubles and turned into a weapon with which to strike at Constantinople during the Sack. After being freed from his conditioning, he went off to a Buddhist monastery in Tibet to seek repentance.

Name: Heraclius Doukas
Occupation: Doctor
Description: Son of Theodora. A promising doctor working at a hospital in Athens. Recently he had been caring for his ill father.

Name: Ioannes Dalassenos
Occupation: General in the Imperial Army, recently promoted to Megas Doux (Field Marshal)
Description: An old friend to Theodora and her family. Served with honor during the Time of Troubles. Frequently likes to tell stories about how he allegedly fought a vampire decades ago, though not many believe him these days.

Name: John-Loukas Picardie
Occupation: Imperial Legion Air Corps Lieutenant General, being considered for Megas Domestikos ton Aeras
Description: John-Loukas was the former captain of the imperial battle airship Empress Veronica. Hailing from a French family, John-Loukas had embraced Roman values at a young age and became a strong believer in Romanitas. He believed the French people's destiny was with the Empire and fought ceaselessly against the French communists that had overrun his home.

Name: Theodoros Laskaris
Occupation: Colonel in the Imperial Army, recently promoted to General
Description: Another veteran of the Time of Troubles and a friend of Theodora.

Name: Kira
Occupation: Escaped ex-Cultist
Description: [REDACTED ON THE ORDER OF THE MINISTRY OF SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE]

Name: Wilhelm
Occupation: A lost traveler
Description: Not much is known of this man, but he seems to know a lot of things...

((RP might come later.))
 
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((It's been a long wait, but glad to see this finally move on to the next phase.))

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Donatello Favero in his 40s

Name: Donatello Favero
Home: Venezia (when under imperial control), Constantinople (until Italy is reclaimed)
Date of birth: 21 May 1890
Occupation: Senator, Duke & former Governor of Italy in-exile
Political affiliation: Kleinoí (formerly Patrikioi)
Description: Born to the rich upper class Favero family in Venezia, Donatello followed in the footsteps of his father and joined the Patrikioi after the Empire's neighbours showed their aggressive expansionist nature and several national groups rebelled within the Empire. His loyalty to the imperial family is without question. Having received the best education available to a young man, Donatello joined the foreign ministry at the young age of 20. The timing was not perfect, for this coincided with the Time of Troubles. Donatello spent the early years of his career running around the Empire trying to negotiate with the rebel states and the Empire's neighbours. This stage of his career came to an abrupt end when his father passed away, leaving him his senatorial seat, although it would be some time before he took up that mantle. Before he could return to Constantinople, Donatello learned that the new king of Italy, Giuseppe Lombardi, had taken the Favero family estate as his "September home". This led to a series of more nefarious affairs that the senator became involved in, unbeknownst to his colleagues. Plotting in secret, he orchestrated the assassination of the Italian king, sacrificing his family estate in a massive explosion to take out the false king. Further plotting ensued when the Pope of Burgundy, who claimed influence over Italy in the power vacuum following Lombardi's death, built a cathedral on the Favero estate, only for it to mysteriously burn down after the supposed ghost of Lombardi scared off the not-so-pious guests. All his anti-Italy antics eventually drew the attention of the infamous Cult, an ancient organization responsible for many terrorist attacks and rebellions within the Empire. Donatello was kidnapped with the intent of using him to gain access to the Emperor, and ultimately leading to the senator losing his left pinky for refusing to comply, something that he hopes his fellow senators overlook. Ever since taking his seat in the Senate, Donatello has served as the primary voice for the reclamation of the rebel states. He made it is life's goal to see Italy returned to the Empire, and makes sure everyone else is aware of this fact at almost every Senate session with his endless ramblings, much to the annoyance of his fellow senators.

Following the Black Rebellion, Donatello's views and mannerisms have changed drastically. He has mellowed out considerably, throwing off his previously crazed demeanor. He no longer actively seeks the destruction of Italy, seeing the more recent loss of the remaining imperial provinces as a more pressing matter. Perhaps the biggest difference is his support for democratic reform, with the series of civil wars having convinced him that only granting the people greater say in how they are governed will bring stability to the Empire. As a result, he broke away from the reactionary Patrikioi and formed the Kleinoí, a more moderate and pro-democratic alternative to his former party. He now leads the pro-democratic conservative movement in the senate and newly formed house of representatives.

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Name: Giuseppe Lombardi the Second/Jr.
Home: Cagliari, Italy
Date of birth: 15 September 1904
Occupation: Politician, former soldier
Political affiliation: Monarchist/fascist
Description: The bastard son of the former Principe of Italia and Duce of Corsica and Sardinia, Guiseppe Lombardi the First, Giuseppe has lived his entire life in the shadow of his father's brief rule and the destiny it has placed upon him. He was only a child when his father, a former Roman senator, led a revolt against the Empire and formed the Catholic Italian state, and then was later assassinated and the Burgundian Pope claimed rulership over Italy. Perhaps due to the general cooperation between the Pope and his father before his death, his youth, or his bastard blood, Giuseppe was not deemed a threat to the new government and was permitted to remain in Italy with his mother. When he reached adulthood in 1922, he enlisted in the Italian army, serving in the Burgundian Conquest of Auvergne and German Liberation of Mainz alongside Italy's ally Burgundy. While he enjoyed the soldier life, he became increasingly frustrated by an army that was becoming dominated by the Burgundian minority that resided in Italy. He and his fellow Italians found themselves relegated to lesser positions while the high command was held exclusively by those loyal to the Burgundian government. This came to a head in 1931 when Jacobin rebels seized the capital and overthrew the papal government. This was short-lived though as the Burgundian-dominated army asserted control and crushed the rebellion. Rather than restoring the previous government, the Burgundians maintained their influence over Italy through a military dictatorship led by the misleadingly named Partito Nazionale Fascista. Disgusted by the actions of the army he served and its attempt to hold the Italian people down, Giuseppe and many of his comrades left the military. He remained adrift without a purpose until dissent against the fascist government reached its peak and prompted a mass revolt. With the collapse of the military dictatorship, a series of unstable governments followed. Giuseppe, seeing an opportunity to save Italy from its own destruction, threw his hat into the political ring, gathering the allies he had gained during his service in the army and using his lineage to draw in more supporters. Now serving as a politician in the young Italian republic, he leads a coalition of reactionary monarchists and Italian fascists, united in their goal for a strong and united Italy.

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Name: Artemisia "April" Favero
Home: Constantinople
Date of birth: 1 April 1915
Occupation: Student, Noblewoman
Political affiliation: Unaffiliated
Description: The only child of Donatello Favero, Artemisia has had great expectations put on her since birth. Her early childhood was a happy one, mostly thanks to her mother who indulged her every whim. Her sunny disposition as a child, as well as her name inspiring spring themes and the month of her birth, led to her going by the nickname April, a name that has stuck ever since. Born after the loss of their family estate, Artemisia lacked the longing for Italy that her father professes constantly, and with no memories of her family's homeland she has had difficulty sympathizing with her father's vendetta. As she became older and it became clear that her father would not be having any more children, greater responsibility was placed on Artemisia. No expense was spared to ensure she received the finest education a woman in the 20th Century Empire could receive. She's been groomed to inherit her father's position as senator and duke, although there are those in the family who do not believe a woman is fit for such titles and positions. The added pressure dampened her previously sunny demeaner, and she became much more cynical and aloof in her teenage years. For now she continues down the path set by her parents, but no one is certain what is going on in her head.

Name: Caterina Favero née de Trastámara
Home: Constantinople
Date of birth: 8 May 1891
Occupation: Noblewoman
Political affiliation: Unaffiliated
Description: The wife of Donatello Favero, Caterina was born to a old distinguished line of Hispanian nobility residing near Valencia. She met Donatello during one of his diplomatic missions, and they were married shortly after the Time of Troubles. She is a devoted spouse and loving mother, who has increasingly taken over management of the household and family finances as her husband's obsession with Italy's destruction has consumed his life.

Name: Paolo Favero
Home: Venice, Italy
Date of birth: 14 February 1915
Occupation: Landowner, businessman
Political affiliation: Monarchist
Description: The male heir of a junior branch of the Favero family descended through the second son of Leonardo Favero. He grew up with great luxury and the expectation that everyone would do what he says, his parents indulging his every whim. During the Time of Troubles, his grandfather sided with the Italian separatists, and thus managed to maintain their wealth and influence within Italy while the senior branch was forced into exile in Constantinople. With the passing of his father in 1933, Paolo inherited the lands and businesses owned by his family, as well as those lands previously owned by the senior line that were confiscated by the government and later handed over to the junior branch following the intervention of Giuseppe Lombardi Jr. He currently resides at the Favero estates outside Venice that were previously owned by the senior line. He is a known friend and political supporter of Giuseppe Lombardi, helping fund his political campaigns and encouraging behind the scenes the restoration of the Italian monarchy under the Lombardi family.

Name: The Ripper
Home: Unknown
Date of birth: Unknown
Occupation: Assassin, spy, cultist
Political affiliation: The Cult of Chernobog
Description: A mysterious figure who serves the Cult, little is known about Ripper or who they actually are. They always wear a cloak and tunic with metal bracers on their forearms, lower legs, and shoulders made of a material able to be deflect bullets. They also wear a metal helmet and mask that conceals everything but their eyes. Attached to each forearm bracer are a set of metal claws, their preferred choice of weapon. They have been trained by the Cult to be a highly-skilled killer and are often sent to monitor or eliminate threats or steer events to favour the Cult. They serve directly under Master Sliver, who oversees most of the Cult's operations in and around Constantinople. Much to their master's annoyance, they often carry out their tasks in their own way and rarely follow orders to the letter, even though the results always favour the Cult, or at least the Ripper's interpretation of the Cult's goals. While they have faithfully served the Cult, they are less fanatical than the other cultists and view the Cult and its goals with a more pragmatic view, although they are careful to never express any doubts in the presence of other cultists.

Name: Master Sliver
Home: Unknown
Date of birth: Unknown
Occupation: Cultist
Political affiliation: The Cult of Chernobog
Description: Little is known about Master Sliver, for much like the Cult he serves, his entire life has been spent in the shadows. All that is known is that he has served the Cult for a very long time, for perhaps years, decades, or maybe even centuries if some rumours are believed. He has a great mane of hair and overgrown beard, and is often seen wearing his cultist robes and holding a simple wooden cane. He now oversees most of the Cult's operations in and around Constantinople. While he has many underlings to do his bidding, Ripper is his most promising protege and the one often chosen to perform the more difficult tasks, usually the ones expected to involve bloodshed. While they often have disagreements over the way Ripper carries out their missions, he often grants them greater leniency than he would others, perhaps because he personally trained the Ripper, or as some believe because he may be the only one alive who knows who is underneath that mask.
 
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Name: His All Holiness, Alexander, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

[Not sure how many Alexander's there have been in this timeline?]

Home: the Hagia Sophia Grand Cathedral, Constantinople

Date of birth: 11th July 1900

Occupation: Archbishop of Constantinople. Spiritual (and TTL de facto) head of the Greek Orthodox Church

Political affiliation: N/A

Description: The newly anointed Patriarch is a man of the 20th century. Born in Greece and having travelled and studied throughout the decaying empire as a young man, Alexander has seen and learnt much in his relatively short life. However, he is a determined orator, and grew in popularity throughout the Churches of the Orthodox faith, coming to head the group dedicated to embracing modernity, technology and the interconnection of people through faith. This saw such success throughout the Balkans, and on his tour of the Amercias, that he quickly was appointed Bishop and then secretary to the Patriarch of Antioch, and later the departed Patriarch of Constantinople. Upon the unexpected death of the old Archbishop, the Council and Emperor agreed that a new and unifying man was needed to guide the many differing Churches and Peoples of the Faith through such tumultuous times.

Alexander is a believer in the unifying power of faith, and will seek to bring greater understanding between the disparate churches of the world, and is also determined to ensure the continuation of Christianity outside the empire.

...
The Orthodox Faith/Church History


History of church was as OTL till 1066

1081: Jerusalem and surrounding land is relciamed by Konstantine X. A new partirach is ordained.

1107: Konstantios 3rd completes his conquest of Egypt and reclaims Antioch and Alexandria for the Church.

1108: Konstantios 3rd invades and captures Rome, ending the Great Schism.

Soon after, the First Council of Rome was called, inviting bishops from all of Christendom. And bishops came from all over, except from the Holy Roman Empire, where the Pope had fled. Few bishops came from there. At the council, the differences between the Western and Eastern churches were reconciled. The authority of the Pentarchy was asserted, with the possibility of autocephalous patriarchs admitted, but with all such bishops in communion with the pentarchy and recognizing them as first among equals. The Latin and Greek Rites were both officially recognized, with more Rites recognized in later councils. The Filioque controversy was notably not resolved under pressure from Kosntantios to focus on the other issues, and largely grew to be a matter of local consideration. While not all bishops agreed with the Council, rulers across Europe mostly sided with it, and within fifty years most of Europe was solidly orthodox. The greatest exception was the Holy Roman Empire, where the few bishops who had gone to the council were eventually overridden. In that same time period, the HRE became staunchly catholic.

1112: He dies, and is canonised as a Saint.

At this point, the only big Catholic power left is the HRE in Germany.

1196: Konstantinos XIII raises Large Church Taxes for first time.

1216: The Golden Horde arrives at rhe border of the Empire.

The Mongols converted on acceptance of the Asian Rite within the Orthodox community, making it ever more diverse.

1233: Doge Kaisarios of Venice proves that the Donation of Constantine was forged. Konstantinos 13th thus becomes the first truly recongised Roman Emperor in centuries. The Catholic Church and Papacy are revealed to be frauds and deceivers.

During the first chaotic Doukas civil war, Jerusalem and Eygpt declared independence and thus the Empire lost 2 of the 5 patriarchs

1305: Egypt returns to the empire, along with Alexandira Patriarch. Jerusalem remained independent.

France and HRE are fully Catholic, iberia and the Empire are orthodox. North Brittania is orthodox. England and Wales is Catholic. Scandinavia and Eastern Europe Russia, Arabia etc qre all orthodox.
1339: Jerusalem finally returns to Empire rule.

1388: France is fully conquered by the empire

1395: timurids (the first large muslim power in centuries) declare war. Successfully fended off.

1396: they invade again. This time the empire defeats them.

We them with client kingdoms, again converting the peoples to orthodoxy. These client kingdoms often developed yet more new rites, which were accepted as orthodox.

1408: Konstantios IV reforms the empire to be much more centralised and imperial. He also made the Orthodox Church a big branch of the imperial government, sending official missionaries to convert catholics, appointing Church officials as government agents and ministers, and seemingly attempted to centralise to some degree the Orthodox Church in a similar fashion to how the Empire itself now ran.

1440: secular courts are instituted across the empire, begining to wrest away power from Church courts.

At this point, everywhere (inckuding north africa, arabia, the steppe, europe etx) is orthodox except for the HRE, Poland and the timurids in India.

1502: the protestant Reformation begins in Holland and Northern England.

1511: Konstantios XI becomes an adult, formally assumes the throne, and immedaitly declares Unam Sanctum - that is to say, the Eclesastical Patriarch was the head of the Orthodox Churches, that all Churches were united under the Orthodox Patriarchs, and they under the Emperor and E Patriarch. The Emperor then declared war against all protestants and catholics (bascially the HRE and allies).
Thus began the 15 year war.

1517: the council of nürnberg sees the pope and cardinals agree to some reforms demanded by the protestants. This is bascially the OTL counter Reformation.

1521: The Peace of Westphallia. The Emperor demands and destroys the Holy Roman Empire. Its remnants become free nations.

1527: the 15 year war ends with the Papal states being fully annexed.

Of course, this led to even more new rites, even more different than those that had come before. The Protestants sometimes even used instruments in their worship.

1533: first contact with new world tribe, the cherokee.

In the new world, there were even more new rites, incorporating local religious and cultural traditions into Christianity. More extreme were the rites in the organized polities that were never colonized. They accepted imperial missionaries (and the imperial advisors that taught them writing, metalworking, horsemanship, and gunpowder production), but insisted on their own autocephalous bishops and local rites. By now, the pentarchy had little power outside the eastern Empire, where the Greek Rite was used. Everywhere else had their own autocephalous bishops and slowly diverging Rites.

1535: Konstantios XI passes his own law code to replace Justinians. Imperial Court system established throughout the empire. Also passes the education reform whereby the Church opens and runs Christian schools throughout the empire for the education of the masses.

1565: Konstantios The Holy dies, and is later made a Saint.

At this point, everywhere is orthodox except for random bits of Germany and Scandinavia.

1619: Reformed Catholics attack and kill Prince Micheal Doukas, heir to the throne.

1625: the last indepednant nations officially supporting protestantism and Catholicism are crushed and converted. The papacy falls once again, and all their lands are revoked.

1630: After a huge revolt across rhe empire,
Konstantinos the Zealous (and12th) declares himself absolute ruler of the Empire and all its institutions, inckuding the church.

At this point, the church is a collection of many different churches, but all are unifed with the empire, serve as a protector of individual rights and freedoms, and are decentralised enough to cut down on corruption. The 5 patriarchs remain first amongst equals however, and the E P and Emperor over them.

1700: imperial Parliament, and parliaments in each province and kingdom, were becoming bigger and more powerful. Members of the church, and all archbishops, have a seat in these parliaments.

1730s: Konstantios XI sent an open letter across the empire abolitioning slavery, appealing to St. Paul's letter to Philemon.

1818: Alexander brings an end to the slave trade by annexing the last African States following it.

1821: Orthodox Christianity had become the dominant religion of the world, with almost everyone in Europe, central Asia, north Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas practicing some form of the faith. Islam had been pushed into India (where it almost entirely replaced Hinduism) and Indonesia. Confucianism and Buddhism competed for the souls of east Asia, while Japan continued to practice Shinto.

1835: the long silence ends and Veronica becomes empress. Reestablished the imperial Senate.

1836: dinosaur bones are discovered, and the age of the earth is brought into question

1838: vaccinations are discovered and began being rolled out across the empire.

1841: hereditary genetics is discovered.

1849: the collective priesthood in Lyon preach anti imperial and anti empire propaganda. They are purged.

1854: a huge secret attack was launched by Russia and insurrectionists, blowing up large portions of the Senate Palace and kidnapping both the empress and the E Patriarch.

Senator Favero and a city mob force the Hagia Sofia and rescue the Patriarch. Senator Doukas saved the empress and family. However, the Patriarch was recaptured by cultists, as well as both senators. The P escaped, and both men are freed by the army.

A huge wave of paranoia about pagans and the occult is released because of the attacks.

In particular, the senate and empire search for the Cult of Chernobog, apparently behind the attack.

1861: socialism is developed, and creates a party in the US.

1865: the cult strikes again, and traitors within the Senate attempt to kill the government. They fail.

1879: communist party founded in England (Brazil).

1880s: greater demand for government charity, but all charity is done through the church at present. Thus, church gets more government money and responsibilities for social care and welfare.

1883: krakatoa explodes
1887: the empress granted a home in Palestine for all Jews, granting their synagogues equal standing with the Orthodox Church in that territory.

1891: at the empire world fair, the telephone is first demonstrated

1893: we help found the Olympic games!

1894: An earthquake heavily damages constantinople and the hagi Sofia.

1895: empire hosts first modern Olympics, in Greece.

1901: the empress finally dies

1910: the roman civil war begins. 4 patriarchs stay loyal, but Jerusalem once again declares independence.

1911: Rome retreats from Northern Italy, and surrenders Rome to the burgundian pope. The patriarch flees to southern imperial Italy.

Fortunately, Israel surrenders and the Jerusalem Patriarch returns home.

Constantinople is sacked by communist rebels who are then defeated. The hagia Sofia was again heavily damaged.

All children are now required to attend the free church schools, or find private education.

1912: iberia returns to the empire. Anatolia is invaded and torched by Russia. However, they are pushed back at great cost.

1915: The Great War ends with Imperial victory, but the empire much reduced in Europe. Northern Italy, francia and brittania are gone.

When Burgundy declared its independence, it was under the lead of a man declaring himself the Pope. It was unknown if Catholics had remained underground for those centuries, with a secret and unbroken Papal succession, or if this history was fabricated as part of the rebellion. But he led Burgundy, allied with Italy, and they both won their independence. When the King of Italy died, the Pope proclaimed himself ruler of Italy, placing the Pope in control of Rome for the first time in eight hundred years. Where this would lead no-one knew.

In orthodox realms, the church tended to remain strong, though. Recent philosophers had begun to make atheism acceptable to believe, but it was not a widely-held belief. Some communist and fascist nations tried to remove the influence of the church, but this was new and had not yet taken a strong hold. So the church was quite influential in the early 20th century.

...
The Imperial Senate reforms in 1835

The Patrikio Party: absolutely monarchy. Absokute church hierarchy and loyalty/reverence.

The Kyriarchía Party: middle class Christian party

The KRA: respects orthodox as state religion, but favours freedom of religion

Radical Party: de establish the church

Socialist: detach church and state

The facist party is silent on church matters officially.

...
 
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(( I've been following the AAR on the on and off for some time, but with the start of a new part, perhaps it's a good opportunity to join in on the fun. I hope my character is good enough, but if anything needs to be reworked I'll be more than happy to adjust. ))


Nikos Stavros.jpg

(Photo of Nikos Stavros in 1935 ))

Name: Nikos Stavros

Home: Kavala

Date of birth: 31 August 1891

Occupation: Soldiers, Ypolochagos (Lieutenant), XXXXIV. Legio, II. Cohort, DVI. Infantry Maniple

Political affiliation: Officially none beyond loyalty to the Empire, holds Pars Imperium Aecus Romani Operarii sympathies

Description:
Born into a middle-class family to a soldier and a seamstress, Nikos's childhood was fairly uneventful, however, the need to put down the rebellions occurring in the empire caused him to spend quite a few years without his father in his life. His father's dedication to protecting the nation taught young Nikos the value of duty and loyalty to the nation.
During the Time of Troubles, Nikos followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Imperial Military. When his training was finished, Nikos was among other young men deployed as reinforcements to replenish the Legios fighting in Italy. During the Battle of Aquila, Niko’s squad was lucky enough to retreat thanks to the quick thinking and initiative of Nikos and his commanding officer, before the Italian gas attack decimated the XXXXIV. Legio. After witnessing the inhuman ways of the Italians, he stopped viewing them as mere rebels unhappy with the state of the nation and instead saw the Italians as traitors deserving nothing less than death. The losses suffered in that battle led to his promotion to a Dekaneas (Corporal). The months of combat taught him the importance of camaraderie, making Nikos an even more loyal man who rarely questioned his orders. He would try his best to carry them out to the letter, but not at the cost of his brothers in arms.
When he heard of the peace treaty signed in 1911, Nikos's spirit was crushed. He vowed revenge upon the Italians, however, he knew he still had a duty to the nation as a soldier. With the fight in Italy coming to an end, Nikos's unit was reassigned to fight on the Caucasian front against the Russians. The harsh conditions of the land hardened Nikos's spirit, and it's here where he earned his promotion to Lochias (Staff sergeant), and then later to the rank of Epilochias (Sergeant first class), making his way up the military ladder by blood and merit alone. The news of the sack of Constantinople further strengthened Nikos's loyalty to the empire and led to another grudge growing inside his heart, the hatred of Communists and adjacent ideologies, which sometimes led to trouble within Nikos's platoon as his prejudice often clashed with his feelings of camaraderie and brotherhood.
Nikos kept his rank as a Epilochias until the end of the Great Wars, and upon the war’s conclusion, he remained in active service in the military, claiming that family life was not something he needed or desired and that his true family was the soldiers he served with. With the Empire not being involved in any major wars, Nikos's duty changed from leading troops in combat to training new recruits, ensuring that the Legios keep their high quality renowned throughout the centuries.
Nikos's loyal service eventually led to him attending officer school and earning a promotion to Anthypolochagos (Second lieutenant). With tensions slowly building in Europe, at the start of 1935, he was promoted to the rank of Ypolochagos and deployed to Southern Italy, awaiting what the future holds.
 
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((After thousands of years, it has finally arrived! Current main character, and pre-approved current secondary family characters listed.))

Name: Nestorius Septiadis Thaddas (Νεστόριος Σεπτίάδης Θάδδας)
Home: Komnenion, Exarchate of Aotearoa
Date of birth: 22nd of June, 1849 (86 at Part 4 start)
Occupation: Imperial Representative for Aotearoa, Senator
Political affiliation: KRA/EKA
Description: Born in Hadrianopolis, offered the opportunity to travel and engage in transdisciplinary study of the arts, he was predisposed towards a Romanitas mentality. Joining the Senate following his father's retirement in 1879, his initial presence at the Senate was quite minor, capped by his departure for Naples after being assigned its Governor circa 1884. He would largely be absent from senatorial affairs for work and personal reasons until 1910, with the Imperial Civil War. Joined by his then-assistant and future wife, Kyrene Udata, he would return to the Senate as an ardent supporter of the Empire. Empathetic to the plight of the Empire's minorities, especially so his assistant, and other personal reasons, he would ultimately request and be granted the position of Provisional Governor of Aotearoa, with all but a few Neapolitans among his gubernatorial subordinates relocating to Constantinople, to use the Thaddas residence as the governorship's base. Among the political affairs ongoing at the time, Nestorius and Kyrene would steadily fall in love, and would marry in December 1911 upon the discovery of the latter's pregnancy, followed by the birth of his son Timon later that month. He would be named the Imperial Representative for Aotearoa at the same time his wife was named Exarchess of Aotearoa in 1915, and would move to Komnenion to serve that position. His Senatorial seat is currently occupied by one of his subordinates, Franco Lazaratos, acting as his proxy.

Name: Kyrene Udata Thaddas (Κῡρήνη Ὕδατα Θάδδας)
Home: Komnenion, Exarchate of Aotearoa
Date of birth: March 10th, 1851 (83 at Part 4 start)
Occupation: Exarchess of Aotearoa
Political affiliation: Ergatiko Komma Aotearoas (EKA, KRA-affiliate; co-founder)
Description: Born Hairini Waata on Te Waipounamu (South Island), Kyrene grew up in changing times for the island, as the Roman population grew on it. The Waata family would experience discrimination from the growing majority, and the changing circumstances would impact the financial stability of the family. Fueled by a passion to see the world, and wishing to support her family, Kyrene would depart to work abroad, eventually finding herself as Nestorius' assistant in the 1900s. She would join Nestorius by her own volition upon his departure for Constantinople in 1910, and would join him frequently at the Senate, ever same in the assistant position. Along with Nestorius, the two would bring focus on the plight of Aotearoa during the Imperial Civil War, acting both as advocates and informants when possible. Her work and passion would eventually result in her being named the Exarchess of Aotearoa, serving as its autonomous head from 1915 on. Under her administration, she established a system with a locally-elected position as her subordinate, the Mesazon, and would establish the EKA with the first Mesazon elected, Manaaki Awerama. Currently, the position of Mesazon is held by Ieni Papadopoulos, an absolutist who had just barely won the election, and one she and many others have critiqued during his current term.

Name: Timon Tutoko Ignatios Nestorias Thaddas (Τιμόν Τουτόκο Ἰγνάτιος Νεστόριάς Θάδδας)
Home: Komnenion, Exarchate of Aotearoa
Date of birth: December 20th, 1911 (24 at Part 4 start)
Occupation: Unemployed
Political affiliation: EKA/KRA-leaning, formally unaffiliated
Description: Born relatively soon after his mother Kyrene revealed she was pregnant to him to his father Nestorius, and subsequent marriage, Timon was raised initially at the Thaddas estate in Constantinople, until the family moved to Aotearoa in 1915, where he would see his compulsory education start. Though in a higher class due to his status as the son of a Senator and Exarch, he would attend the school system and be raised like any other kid his age, in efforts to avoid him growing spoiled. As he grew up, Timon grew wary of the position he found himself in, having grown more attached to his native Aotearoa than he did Hellada, thus making the prospect of senatorial success an alien one to him, even as he recognized the need to represent the exarchate too. His visit to the Senate in Constantinople in 1931 would not endear him to the idea any more, though experiencing his father's joy in showing him around helped comfort the experience. He would study at Kamiana University in Komnenion, finishing a Bachelor in the Arts, akin to his father. The most he can do now is mentally prepare himself for the inevitable. Timon is his primary forename, given to him after an ancestor of his on his father's side; Tutoko is his secondary Maori forename, of similar origin on his mother's side; Ignatios is his third forename, being born on St. Ignatius of Antioch's saint day, and he carries a patronym.
 
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((Is it okay if I start with the RPing? I won't continue for a bit. Going to wait until more people join and the main plot progresses some more.

Stuff should be assumed to be private unless I directly involve other player characters.))

Smyrna - December 30, 1935

Sitting at a table outside a cafe, Theodora sipped her morning coffee and read the local newspaper. The front page talked about ongoing insurgencies in Syria-Palestine. That area had been annoyingly reckless since the Time of Troubles. She had gotten tired of all of the paperwork she did about that place. Her son Belisarius was on his way back from a deployment there. He had missed Christmas with her, Alexios, and Heraclius, but he had made time to join them for New Year’s. They would meet up in Smyrna, join Alexios and Heraclius in Athens, and then head to Constantinople to meet Irene. It’s been so long since the whole family’s been together.

That got her thinking of the people she had come to known over her life, and where they all had ended up. Alexios, her husband of many years, was currently bedridden with an illness. Heraclius, her other son, was attending to him with his team. Irene was in Constantinople. Her brother, Niketas, was off somewhere in Tibet—he had said he wanted to atone for the sins he committed in the Sack of Constantinople. General Ioannes Dalassenos had been promoted to Megas Doux and was currently somewhere in the Adriatic. Last she heard, Lieutenant General John-Loukas Picardie was being considered for the newly created position of Megas Domestikos ton Aeras—the head of the newly created Imperial Legion Air Corps. And lastly, General Theodoros Laskaris was in Africa.

Then there was the Senate. Favero was still around, but nowadays he had an almost singleminded focus on destroying the Italian rebels. Understandable, but it doesn’t help when he blurts out “Italia delenda est” every single session. Kyrene and Nestorius were in Aotearoa. I miss them a lot. The others she used to know were either retired or dead. She had looked over the roster of the current Senate and recognized only a handful of the names. Most of the senators this year were younger newcomers, like Irene. Even the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, barely a man of 35, had a seat. Wonder how he became His Holiness at that age. She didn’t know how to feel about all of these recent additions. Of course, new blood was necessary for the Empire’s continued evolution and survival, but the old guard could provide some wisdom and balance out the more zealous youth. Lord knows there’s a lot of radicals these days. What's the world coming to? At least Irene wasn’t one of them.

Belisarius was running late. Theodora checked her watch. Strange. He’s usually extremely punctual. One time he even arrived half an hour early. Maybe he was already here? Perhaps he got bored and went off somewhere.

A light breeze blew through her hair, and she heard the flapping of wings, like a bird had landed nearby. But she knew exactly what that was. The chair opposite her was now occupied by a man in a suit. He looked like any other man, except for the fact that he had appeared out of nowhere. “He won’t show.”

“Wilhelm.” Theodora had a detailed file on him back in her office with everything she knew about him. And by everything I mean almost enough to fill one page. “What brings you here?”

“I was in the area. Belisarius’ unit was mobilized again earlier this morning.”

Theodora raised an eyebrow. “Mobilized? Why wasn’t I told?”

“There was a sudden rash of attacks in Syria,” Wilhelm said, “Rebels seized an important fortress outside Antioch. Belisarius’ unit was deployed out of Smyrna to reinforce local security forces. It all happened too fast.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Thought it was something you’d like to know. And I don’t really want you to waste your time.”

“Anything else you’d like to tell me?”

Wilhelm shrugged. “I don’t have much else.”

“What about the Cult?” Theodora had been hunting down the remaining Cult cells for the last several years, but her trail had dried up lately. “Got anything I could use?”

“I’m just as lost as you are,” Wilhelm said, “Ignatieff’s hidden himself well.”

“Who is this Ignatieff anyways? We’ve been dealing with him for decades, and yet he hasn’t aged at all.”

Wilhelm opened his mouth to respond. At that moment, someone shouted, “Minister Doukas!” Wilhelm’s eyes widened.

“I’m sorry, I should get going,” he said, “I’ll tell you about it later.”

And with that, he was gone. A courier ran up to her and saluted. “Ma’am, I’ve got urgent news for you.” He handed three slips of paper to her.

What is it this time? The first was a letter bearing the imperial seal. It was an official summons to the emperor’s address to the Senate tomorrow. That was to be expected—she’d be in the capital by the end of the day. The next two, however, were telegrams she hadn’t expected.

“THEODORA ANNA DOUKAS,
REGRETFUL TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR SON
BELISARIUS JUSTINIAN DOUKAS
WAS KILLED IN ACTION FIGHTING
AGAINST ENEMIES OF THE EMPIRE
IN SYRIA-PALESTINE STOP
HE DIED DEFENDING HIS EMPEROR AND EMPIRE STOP
HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY MICHAEL VII, BASILEUS TON RHOMAION,
AND HIS FAMILY SEND THEIR CONDOLENCES FOR YOUR IMMENSE LOSS STOP”

Attached was the photo of burning wreckage that was once a transport plane. As soon as Theodora read the words, she caught her breath and gasped. Her eyes refused to process what she had seen. Her hands froze, and the telegram fell out of her hands. “No…no…it can’t be…”

The courier bowed his head. “If it’s any consolation, ma’am…”

“Can you please give me a moment?”

The courier nodded and left. Theodora nervously picked up the second telegram.

“MOTHER
REGRETFULLY INFORM YOU HAVE DONE ALL WE CAN STOP
I COULDN'T SAVE HIM STOP
I AM SO SORRY STOP
HERACLIUS STOP”

She tried to hold back her tears, but she couldn't. The telegram fell out of her hands and fluttered to the ground. She couldn’t believe what she had just read. It had to have been a lie. Or a mistake. Or something. They couldn’t have both died so soon after each other. It was improbable, impossible.

“NO!” Theodora pounded the table, spilling the coffee onto her newspaper. “GODDAMNIT! WHY, GOD?! WHY?!” She slumped into her chair and sobbed some more. Why did you have to leave me, Alexios? Why did you go so soon, Belisarius? Don’t leave me like this! Like how Father left me!

Nobody came to her side. Heraclius wasn’t there. Belisarius wasn’t. Alexios wasn’t. Father wasn’t. His Majesty wasn’t. God wasn’t. In that moment, she was completely alone.


Constantinople

It was a normal day in the Queen of Cities. A light fog had rolled in from the Bosphorus. Cars rolled along the busy Mese Street, the main thoroughfare of the capital. Pedestrians—most wearing nice business suits and dresses—milled along the sidewalks and headed across Augustaeon Square, passing the statues of emperors and heroes. The sounds of wheels rolling against cobblestone and engines humming filled the air; occasionally, there would be the sound of horse hooves clacking against the pavement. Irene Doukas looked wistfully out the window, taking in the sights and sounds of the big city. The capital was bustling, and all looked at peace. For a second, it looked as if the Sack had never happened to begin with. But the more Irene looked, the more she saw the telltale signs from those dark days. Bullet holes in walls, some not even plastered over. A patch of lighter-colored concrete on the street where a bomb crater had been filled in. Scorch marks and faded crossed-out rebel symbols in some alleys. Occasional marches of blackshirted goosestepping men bellowing slogans like “Death to rebel scum!” and “One God, one Church, one Empire!” She tried her best not to recall memories of her childhood. Despite that, brief recollections still bubbled to the surface. The smell of ash and blood on the ground. Fires crackling nearby. Pillars of smoke rising high into the sky. The copper taste of fear in her mouth. A woman’s hand reaching down from above.

Irene shook the thoughts out of her head. Calm down, Irene. We’re no longer there. You’re safe. And you’ll make sure it never happens again.

Someone knocked on the door. “Who is it?”

“Imperial Mail Service. I’ve got a priority telegram for you from Smyrna.”

An envelope fell through the mail flap. Irene picked it up off the floor, noticing the seal of the Doukai family. Not the imperial seal, but the one for her own family. She quickly opened it.

“I CANNOT ATTEND THE SESSION STOP
THINGS HAPPENED TODAY I MUST HANDLE STOP
YOU WILL HAVE TO SIT IN FOR ME STOP
I HAVE ALREADY INFORMED THE SENATE STOP
DO NOT WORRY STOP
I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT STOP
FROM MOTHER”

Mother…still not used to calling Auntie Theodora that. Irene’s birth mother had died in the Sack. And her father was always going to be Niketas, not Uncle Alexios, even though the former had been missing for most of her life since that day. So Theodora was unable to make tomorrow’s address. Something had happened to her? A part of her wanted to drop everything and head down to Smyrna to see if she could help, but the rest of her told her not to go. Auntie Theodora could handle it. And she was needed here tomorrow. Who would sit in for her if she wasn’t in the Senate during the address?

I’ve got a job to do here, and I have to do it. She looked at her desk, where she had put a notebook and important documents. Irene admitted she was a little nervous about tomorrow. She had always observed previous sessions, not actively participated in them. Was she up for the task? She had worked towards this moment for years, but now that it was here, she was afraid she might not live up to her aunt’s expectations. Relax, Irene. Auntie Theodora believes in you. She said as much. She wouldn’t be sending you to the Senate if she didn’t think you could do it. And besides, it’ll be just like the last session. Nothing’s going to be any different, other than you’ll be in Auntie Theodora’s seat. How hard could it be?


December 31


Irene stormed out of the chamber, fists clenched and teeth gritted.

“Goddamn frakking idiots,” she whispered under her breath, “How hard could it be, Irene? Nothing’s going to be different, Irene. It’ll just be like the last frakking session, Irene. All a load of skata. Worst. First. Session. Ever.”

It had started off well enough. The senators had taken their seats after the playing of the national anthem. Then Prince Konstantinos showed up to give the address in place of his father. Irene had seen his photo in the papers before, but she had never met him in person. He was tall and imposing but a little frail and lanky—his uniform looked slightly too big. His face was suave and charming, but Irene found nothing attractive there, and that only worsened when he started speaking. For about an hour, he rambled on about lost imperial glory and military campaigns around the world. He played up all of the victories the Empire had made. As for defeats, he always spun them in such a way that he could claim they were secretly victories and that was the plan all along, while shifting any remaining blame onto the commanders in the field or the enemy. She swore she heard him even criticizing the Emperor himself. Although she and her aunt both believed criticism of authority was necessary for the improvement and betterment of society, and Theodora had fought to reform the censorship and lese majeste laws, it was still shocking to hear the Prince of Thrace criticize his own father in such harsh terms. The criticism itself was on His Majesty for not pursuing more punitive terms. As if that would have decisively ended the rebel insurgencies. The jingoism and militarism reminded Irene of the blackshirts constantly marching on the streets, and she didn’t like it.

Was that what Auntie Theodora had told her to expect? Irene felt annoyed and a little cheated. Theodora had gotten all of the mundane addresses and sessions, where the Emperor had just spoken about things going on around the world and then left the senators to come up with their own conclusions and suggestions. Had Theodora ever dealt with Konstantinos before? What did it mean that Konstantinos spoke today? Was his speech a sign of things to come? If he could speak like that of his own father and sovereign, what would he do to the senators? The rebels? No, even the people? Irene had kept quiet, waiting for the other senators to respond so she could see what they thought and, more importantly, how Konstantinos would react.

A certain senator spoke first, having rushed to stand up and grab a microphone before anyone else could. Irene didn’t know much about this man, but by the end of the session, she wished things could have stayed that way. The senator, apparently one of the more radical one wanted the Empire to betray its Indian ally, conquer the country, and turn it into a corporate fief solely to extract profit for the homeland. Seconds after he sat down and yielded the floor, the entire chamber exploded in rage, as almost everyone, from fascists to communists to centrists to the KRA, condemned such an act of betrayal and outright cruelty. Some of the more incensed senators looked like they were about to fight, even, before Varangians were sent in to restrain them. Irene had remained calm, waiting for the whole thing to blow over. Most senators had come to India’s defense. Others instead called for the same thing to be done to the rebels. A few took things all the way to calling for a Russian genocide. Favero had called for everyone to focus on defeating the breakaway rebels in the west, like Italy, to project strength. Konstantinos had looked like he was completely embarrassed. The original senator had the most smug expression on his face, as if he wanted this to happen. The stenographer had stopped writing things down. Irene had talked a bit with Franco Lazaretos, the proxy for the absent Senator Thaddas, a colleague and ally of her aunt, who was as equally confused and nervous about the prince as she was. Then the prince had spoken again, screaming loudly for everyone to shut up, which they did. A chill had run down Irene’s spine as he ranted about how incompetent and stupid the senators were, briefly floated the idea of firing everybody, and then dismissed everyone for the day.

And that was where Irene found herself, walking down a hallway, cursing her rotten luck. A clock on the wall read the time as not long after they had begun. Staffers milled around, looking confused as to why the senators were walking out and Konstantinos was storming off in the opposite direction. Varangians were talking to the few reporters waiting in the public areas, trying to control the narrative. “The session went well. That is all you need to know.” Perhaps it was for the best that the people didn’t know the chaos that had just unfolded, at least right now. Maybe in the future they could be told, once things had calmed down. She hated that she was agreeing with censorship.

In any case, the day’s session had ended early, and there probably wouldn’t be a second one anytime soon if Konstantinos was anything to go by. Which meant she had the whole rest of the day to herself. She hadn’t made any plans. Irene slumped into a nearby chair and shook her head. She had no idea what to do now. Perhaps she could go home and just take a rest. Read the morning paper, then maybe get lunch. There was that newly opened restaurant in Xerolophos District. What was it called? Arcadia? She heard good things about the food there. Maybe she should try it out.

((For convenience, I've recapped the events of Konstantinos' address here, as well as remade Theodora's last POV from part 3.))
 
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((Thanks for the fleshed out recap! And yes, please do start role-playing! I'll probably have another update soon, but I want to give people a chance to trickle in. ))
 
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Even the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, barely a man of 35, had a seat. Wonder how he became His Holiness at that age.

((That, is going to be an ongoing plot point. Suffice to say, the Church of Churches is at a major cross roads and though everyone thinks it should go different ways, everyone agrees quite a bit may need to change.))

...

Alexander walked on quiet, slippered feet, marveling at the sight of the nearly completed restoration work.

The Hagia Sophia, the Church of Heavenly Wisdom, on which the whole world knew to bow a reverent head...it had seen millenia of empire, humanity, Christendom...blood and death. Hurt by an earthquake, it was nonetheless greater wounded by its own people, tearing and burning great swathes of holy and imperial history apart.

This place, that had stood at the centre of the Empire and Church for a thousand years...Well, it was only a youth in comparison to the Faith, and the Empire indeed...those had stood for double that time.

The Patriarch frowned. He remembered, though he was only eight years old at the time, the 800th anniversary year of celebrations for the ending of the Great Schism by Saint Konstantios. And, just three years ago, the somewhat muted 700th anniversary of the formal reestablishement and recognition of the Roman Empire, the Sundering of the False Papacy, and...yet...

He sighed and then breathed deeply, taking in the insence and ambience of peace embedded in the great temple of God. The sounds of the city were so muted and dimmed that it was as though time had stood still, and were he to walk out those doors, it would be into those heady days of Orthodox and Imperial triumph, where the road ahead lay only unification, peace and prosperity for all.

In his half lifetime, according to Dante, Alexander had seen the end of the Pax Romana that had held the world, or at least Christendom, for so many centuries. Was it now his fate to oversee the begining of ten centuries of darkness before another renewal? Or was this merely the next chapter leading to a new dawn, where peace may yet be found, and the world, once divided, found a measure of understanding again?

These were difficult questions, and the Church agreed with him in that measure. The elation of Alexander to the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Roma...it was not exactly unexpected, nor unwelcome, but it was also not unopposed. He...they...were all afraid of what was to come. The Great Orthodox Church of Christ was made of many houses. Some several dozen major rites and Churches spread put across the four corners and seven continents of the Earth, wherever one might find Man and Faith.

That did not come without both its trials as well as its blessings. Ever since the ruling of Konstantios IV, the reorganising of the Empire in 1408, and esepcially the crowning of Konstantios XI, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople had served as the direct spiritual and de jure canonical head of the Orthodox Faith...but exceedingly few were ever foolish enough to impose their will in the latter role. Still, the dictum of Unam Sanctum, which thus began the 15 Years War, and the final end of the pretender Holy Roman Empire, endured to varying degrees both ecclesiastical and cultural. Despite it being a...rather 'Catholic' (and Alexander loathed the term and concept) ideal, there were many within the Church and the Empire that agreed and believed that a hierarchy of Churches should indeed exist. That the Patriarchs should enforce their will more strongly, and that as the Emperor wills, and the Empire protects, so too should the Church seek power through unity and strength.

Alexander was of many minds about the thought and the practicality of such ideas, including, he feared, a personal selfish part of himself that presented at the idea of being the Holy Sovereign of the Faith.

But that was unworthy of God and His Church.

Alexander began pacing the floor again, absently noting that the work really was almost compelte, and that some service of thanks, commemoration and renewal would no doubt be due for such an end to repairs.

It would also present a great possibility for all the leaders of the rites and faith throughout the empire and the world to converge here, and a new council potentially settle some of the questions and fears of this most uncertain modern era.

There were whispers of intrigue and worldly concerns in the senate also, that he would have to steel himself for. Though modern times these may be, the Church wielded extensive powers and influence everywhere from Senate's and parliaments, to courts and schools, to Christian charity and the layman's honest Faith.

He was a man still, of course, but he was also Patriarch, and the world called out for solace as well as direction. He prayed for the wisdom and kindness, to grant both.
 
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At the Aotearoan Representative HQ, otherwise known as the Thaddai estate in Constantinople, Konstas Pilokalos and Eudokia Lavigne were discussing daily affairs in the living room, when they suddenly heard someone coming through the front. Soon after, walking into the room, was Franco Lazaratos... arriving back from the Senate unusually early.

Upon asking what brought him back early, Eudokia was met with a tired look from Franco. Neither appeared to have heard the news, though he suspected that others had. With a sigh, he told the two that they were having an impromptu meeting, and to get everyone here as soon as possible.

"...Franco, what had happened at the Senate?" Pilokalos had asked him.

As Lazaratos was leaving the room to head for the main office, he looked back to his colleague: "...something that we'll have to be quiet on publicly. Something very concerning for the Thaddai estate, and Aotearoa."

Konstas and Eudokia looked at one another, feeling concerned, and delegated who would handle what - Eudokia will go around the estate to call on folks (those being Charalambos Tsakonotis, Nicolaos Alexidas, Antiochos Heraklides, and Carys Cecil), while Konstas will phone up the remainder (those being Delyth Cecil and Olena Zhuk). Each emphasized the seriousness in Franco's voice. It was likely the meeting would start without Delyth and Olena...

---

"On the news today, in the Roman Senate, not much has been reported. It seems to have been a fairly unremarkable session, one that had gone well, but not much else," the radio could be heard saying at the Thaddai estate in Komnenion. Nearby, Nestorius Thaddas was relaxing in the resting room, the radio having previously played some music, with his son Timon joining him. Kyrene had been busy today dealing with exarchess affairs, apparently that lousy Mesazon Ieni had done something again.

"Well, it's good that nothing much had happened. Trust me, boy, it can get absurd in the Senate," Nestorius remarked with a chuckle, "Especially given the time of year, no one knows what can happen."

Timon looked up from the book he was reading, a lengthy character drama, with a concerned look on his face. He didn't want to think about the Senate, so he thought carefully on how to respond.

"...I could imagine," Timon commented, remembering his father slightly embarrassing himself when they visited the Senate back in '31, "But let's hope it remains calm," he finished before looking back down at his book. Nestorius, noticing this, decided to take the hint. He reached for the radio, changing the frequency to listen to more music, or perhaps a radio show.
 
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An excerpt from the journal of Ypolochagos Nikos Stavros

"December 31, 1935

It wasn't that long ago since my reassignment to the XXXXIV. Legio, and yet it's all too familiar. The orders are the same as always, hold our position and keep watch for enemy movement.
Being stationed so close to the traitor state of Italy does fill me with unease, especially when every day is a test of patience. Every single day some Italian unit trains close to the border, performing live firing drills, and showing off their shiny toys. But everyone knows it's a bluff. Some of the boys in the platoon get anxious and wish to retaliate by doing the same, but we have our orders and the Captain knows better than to answer these provocations. And he's right, we shouldn't let these low-lives have their way, an excuse is what they're after but they'll never get one. I do sympathize with the boys' desire for action however, perhaps tomorrow we'll double the training or recheck some of the fortifications, make sure the sandbags are sturdy and none of the sections of the trenches are collapsing.

Being assigned to guard duty gave me ample time for thinking. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace that sometimes it's hard to keep up with it. I remember the tanks of the Great War, steel behemoths, hulking masses of iron and gears, but some of the designs of today hardly look like anything they used to be. Planes, back then fragile skeletons covered in canvas seem to keep getting faster, fly higher, and perform more and more stunning acrobatics. It must take a special kind of crazy to pilot one of those machines. But seeing some of the cargo planes carrying supplies made me wonder if an entire unit of soldiers could be carried by one of those marvelous mechanical birds and dropped amidst the enemy ranks, sowing chaos and destruction from above. Pilots have been using parachutes for quite some time, why not train soldiers to do the same? A special unit like that could be used for rapid envelopment, obstruction of supply routes, and the capture of key areas all without having to fight through the hardened frontline defenses. But an idea like that seems too good to be realistic, I'm sure if anyone proposes such a concept they'll laugh at. But I just can't get the concept out of my head.
Looking at the clock soon another year will begin. Who knows what it'll bring? We live in such fascinating times."


((I hope this part is okay and isn't breaking any boundries ))

As Nikos was looking out the window of his office he hears a knock on the door.
"Come in!"

A young, nervous soldier, who couldn't be older than 20 or 21 came in, saluted Nikos, and after being told to be at ease delivered his message.
"Sir! We've captured a few Italian soldiers!"

Hearing the news Nikos turned on his heel to face the soldier, raising his eyebrows in surprise.
"Italians? Tell me more, what are they doing on this side of the border? Obviously, this isn't their land."

"Sir, it seems they got a bit too excited about the new year, got drunk, and crossed the border in search of... Erm... Company."

"I see. Personally, I'd like nothing more than detain them and perhaps interrogate them in the morning, however, we cannot risk an international incident. Not with the Italians. The Empire has enough to deal with. Sober them up, then return them to their side."

"Sir?"

"Ah, but do make sure to be rough with them, give them a proper trashing. They need a reminder that anything south of Roma isn't Italy, and who could say that they didn't get into a drunken brawl at the bar? I'm sure you'll appreciate the opportunity to let out some of that pent-up frustration as well. Beyond that, let's keep this entire thing swept under the rug. No need to turn a molehill into a mountain. Dismissed."


"I-... Alright, sir. Thank you, sir."
And with that, the young soldier was off. Nikos sighed and sat down at his desk, rubbing his temples before looking over some ledgers and records of the platoon's equipment status. He couldn't help but wonder if the Italians struck now, would they be able to hold, or would the traitors sweep past the Legios and make their way all the way down the boot? Would Sicily be safe? The Empire had enough to worry about with the rebels in Syria and Palestine. The frontier with Russia was vast, harsh, and in need of numbers to counter those of the Russians. The East was unstable and uncertain. Hispania, is far away from Constantinople, and even with technology cutting the distance dramatically, it would be hard to defend in a case of all-out war, with the local legions and population most likely left to fend for themselves. The African possession of the Empire was vast, and yet empty, rich, and yet with nothing special to them, full of sand and unruly savages, all draining resources while fueling the Empire with riches of the earth, a perplexing paradox. Yes, Rome was large and powerful, yet everywhere Nikos looked, cracks were showing. Did the enemies of Rome see them too? There's peace in our time for now, but how long will this peace last? It might take one match to light the fire, one wrongly tossed the stone to shatter the glass facade of stability and prosperity.
What fascinating and uncertain times these are... Tick tock. The clock struck midnight. Another year, but it felt just the same as the last.
 
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