The Hohenzollern Empire 5: Renewed Phoenix - A Roman Reich Megacampaign in New World Order

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zenphoenix

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Gandhi disappeared before his execution
I didn't catch this the first time I read your post, but I think this is not publicly known. This is what I wrote regarding his execution:

Mohandas Gandhi disappeared in his cell just before his execution (though news of this was suppressed in the media and a body substitute was used)

My implication was Annionaverse Gandhi was taken back home at this point, and the dead body of Hohenzollernverse Gandhi was substituted in. People would see Hohenzollernverse Gandhi's body and assume he was executed as scheduled.
 

CaptainAlvious

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We knew this was coming for a long time, but still hurts. Rip Diana, may you see your mother soon.

That’s a bombshell the Anhorns just dropped, guess that means the Schweinfurts have the most legitimate claim to the throne now. Honestly tho I think abolishing the monarchy and establishing a republic is the only good path left for the Reich, but I don’t think the people will be ready to accept that possibility yet.

So we basically saw Order 66 occur here, I wasn’t expecting Elias to kill Baudet here, looks like the Reich is basically an authoritarian police state now. Meritocracy truly died in this moment, Elias did what Sentinel, the Angeloi and Maximist failed to do, turning the Reich into a living nightmare. I’d honestly welcome the Worm at this point.
 

zenphoenix

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We knew this was coming for a long time, but still hurts. Rip Diana, may you see your mother soon.
It was very painful writing this whole thing. Not only because of the amount of planning and foreshadowing I had to do, but also everything I wrote for Diana in her final appearance.
That’s a bombshell the Anhorns just dropped, guess that means the Schweinfurts have the most legitimate claim to the throne now. Honestly tho I think abolishing the monarchy and establishing a republic is the only good path left for the Reich, but I don’t think the people will be ready to accept that possibility yet.
They will be if this news becomes public knowledge.
So we basically saw Order 66 occur here, I wasn’t expecting Elias to kill Baudet here, looks like the Reich is basically an authoritarian police state now. Meritocracy truly died in this moment, Elias did what Sentinel, the Angeloi and Maximist failed to do, turning the Reich into a living nightmare. I’d honestly welcome the Worm at this point.
This was more of a Red Wedding than Order 66, at least that's how I imagined it when working it out.

Better get to praying then.
 

TWR97

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The Von Schweinfurts being the legitimate heirs somehow are fitting considering their founder was but a simple farm girl that ultimately saved the Reich. Wait a second, wasn't Otto's mothera Schweinfurt? And even if she wasn't from the line from any of the children from Fredreich and Gunhilda's marriage the fact that Willhelm Karl can see the Hohenzollern family members means he's still a Hohenzollern even if the trace back towards Fredreich the Great is iffy at best.

If Willhelm Karl is smart as he thinks he is he should try saving face and building up support against the TRUE masterminds now. Assuming the whole revelation didn't outright break his compusure and swagger for good.

RIP Diana though, she fought to the last, a true heir to the Valkyrie.
 
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CaptainAlvious

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The Von Schweinfurts being the legitimate heirs somehow are fitting considering their founder was but a simple farm girl that ultimately saved the Reich. Wait a second, wasn't Otto's mothera Schweinfurt? And even if she wasn't from the line from any of the children from Fredreich and Gunhilda's marriage the fact that Willhelm Karl can see the Hohenzollern family members means he's still a Hohenzollern even if the trace back towards Fredreich the Great is iffy at best.
Good catch on Otto's mother and the force ghosts. I'm also pretty sure the Siegfridists/Anatolian branch also married into a legitimate Syrian-Hohenzollern line somewhere before the end of CK2, at least that's what one of the Origins of Modernity chapters said.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Heart-wrenching, honestly. I've heard for this and it was worse than I expected. Farewell Diana. You did your mother proud, I'm sure.

Far, far less important, but I did like that Otto, despite everything, still warned his son so that Wilhelm would survive. There's not a chance in the world Elias actually cared if Wilhelm survived or not, either outcome would have worked in his favor.

Speaking of, I must admit: the truth in the bloodline means little to me, and I wonder how it would to the average Roman citizen. Wrongful heirs or not, this family has been on the throne for four centuries. Wilhelm aside, they've done great work. At this point, they are the legitimate heir by virtue of success.
 

zenphoenix

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The Von Schweinfurts being the legitimate heirs somehow are fitting considering their founder was but a simple farm girl that ultimately saved the Reich. Wait a second, wasn't Otto's mothera Schweinfurt? And even if she wasn't from the line from any of the children from Fredreich and Gunhilda's marriage the fact that Willhelm Karl can see the Hohenzollern family members means he's still a Hohenzollern even if the trace back towards Fredreich the Great is iffy at best.
Things are not what they seem...
If Willhelm Karl is smart as he thinks he is he should try saving face and building up support against the TRUE masterminds now. Assuming the whole revelation didn't outright break his compusure and swagger for good.
Oh, something has broken just now.
RIP Diana though, she fought to the last, a true heir to the Valkyrie.
She went out just like her mother. Fighting to get the truth out there, and going out like a hero.
Good catch on Otto's mother and the force ghosts. I'm also pretty sure the Siegfridists/Anatolian branch also married into a legitimate Syrian-Hohenzollern line somewhere before the end of CK2, at least that's what one of the Origins of Modernity chapters said.
I know about that, and I'm retconning that. That being said, we'll be diving deep into early Hohenzollern family history in the next few years.
Heart-wrenching, honestly. I've heard for this and it was worse than I expected. Farewell Diana. You did your mother proud, I'm sure.

Far, far less important, but I did like that Otto, despite everything, still warned his son so that Wilhelm would survive. There's not a chance in the world Elias actually cared if Wilhelm survived or not, either outcome would have worked in his favor.

Speaking of, I must admit: the truth in the bloodline means little to me, and I wonder how it would to the average Roman citizen. Wrongful heirs or not, this family has been on the throne for four centuries. Wilhelm aside, they've done great work. At this point, they are the legitimate heir by virtue of success.
I could see that case being made if the blackmail is leaked. Then again, Wilhelm Karl remaining on the throne works against it.
 
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CaptainAlvious

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I know about that, and I'm retconning that. That being said, we'll be diving deep into early Hohenzollern family history in the next few years.
Alright, but what about Bernadette's family from vanilla Vicky 2? Since they were descended from one of Saint Wilhelmina's sons, that would technically make them legitimate claimants to the Hohenzollern line alongside the Schweinfurts, are they still around?

Also, does this revelation mean that there should be an "*" after the names of every single Kaiser since Sophia I and not just Wilhelm Karl in the table of contents, since that asterix is meant for non Hohenzollern rulers? Then again, maybe that would be too much of a spoiler for new readers here, the edit to Wilhelm's name is a bit of a spoiler to new comers.
 

zenphoenix

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Alright, but what about Bernadette's family from vanilla Vicky 2? Since they were descended from one of Saint Wilhelmina's sons, that would technically make them legitimate claimants to the Hohenzollern line alongside the Schweinfurts, are they still around?
They're commoners and nobody would take them seriously, legitimacy or not. I don't have any plans for them, so I'll leave their fate ambiguous.
Also, does this revelation mean that there should be an "*" after the names of every single Kaiser since Sophia I and not just Wilhelm Karl in the table of contents, since that asterix is meant for non Hohenzollern rulers? Then again, maybe that would be too much of a spoiler for new readers here, the edit to Wilhelm's name is a bit of a spoiler to new comers.
It would be too much work to go back and change everybody's name from Sophia on, so I only did it for Wilhelm Karl.
 

CaptainAlvious

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They're commoners and nobody would take them seriously, legitimacy or not. I don't have any plans for them, so I'll leave their fate ambiguous.
Pretty sure they were given noble titles, but probably not much than what would enough to raise them to low tier Aristoi status, so you’re point still stands.
It would be too much work to go back and change everybody's name from Sophia on, so I only did it for Wilhelm Karl.
Alright. That still might be a spoiler for newcomers to this AAR like I said in my original post. Just a heads up.
 

zenphoenix

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The Reichstag is yet again in flames so will Wilhelm Karl try to be you know who?
Uh...about that...
Pretty sure they were given noble titles, but probably not much than what would enough to raise them to low tier Aristoi status, so you’re point still stands.

Alright. That still might be a spoiler for newcomers to this AAR like I said in my original post. Just a heads up.
I might change it back later if I have time.
 

zenphoenix

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The First Hundred Days, Part 1

In the aftermath of the Reich’s bloodiest day

Wednesday, January 2, 2030

Berlin – As the attack’s death tolls continue to climb, the magnitude of the catastrophe remains uncertain. Across the nation, people with friends and family in Berlin are still in the dark about the status of those they know in the area. “I don’t know what to do,” says Rachel Balmer, a mother of two whose husband was in Berlin for business during the attacks and is still missing. “It doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to be normal again. I can’t move forward without knowing my husband is alive.”

In response to the tragedy, religious groups of all affiliations have been gathering all around the country. “Prayer is so essential after a tragedy of this scale,” says Pastor Friedrich Yage, who organized an interfaith vigil with the help of the prominent humanitarian group Shepherds' Brotherhood. “It is the only thing tying our ravaged communities together.” Atheists, non-Christians, and the faithful alike turned out in droves for these prayer vigils hosted all across the country last night.

Leaders of the prominent religious group and political party Christenheit Bewegung, which has been tapped by the Kaiser to lead an emergency government, have called for empathy and unity in this troubled time. Shepherds’ Brotherhood chapters throughout the nation have raised millions of marks for the families of victims involved in the tragedy in the last twelve hours.

“...this is the deadliest attack on Roman soil since November 9...”

“Heimat Security has yet to weigh in on who might be responsible for this devastating act of terrorism. We are still awaiting for comment from the Athanatoi, but we aren’t sure who is in charge following the death of Director Frank...”

“...still no claimants of responsibility disputing MSC’s...”

“...breaking news from the Pentagon. Martial law has gone into effect...”

“...soon as we learn more from the security forces and from eyewitnesses on the ground and around the Capitol...”

“...getting word now from Herr officials that the Imperial Guard is being deployed...”

“...Imperial Guard has been mobilized in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Constantinople, Damascus, Nuremberg, Bordeaux, Riyadh, Trebizond...”


Berlin - January 3 (Day 1)

Wilhelm Karl stood in front of a crowd of journalists, his face somber and tired. He cleared his throat and continued reading Elias' script.

“We ask almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come,” he said, “We pray that he will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank him for each life we now must mourn and the promise of a life to come. May God bless the souls of the departed, may he comfort our own, and may he always guide our country. The fruit of our nation has been taken away from us. We shall find the villains who committed this act, and with God's watchful eye protecting us, we shall overcome them. After years of being lead astray by ungodliness and sinfulness, for which this disaster was our divine punishment, we shall restore this nation’s morality and stability, God willing.”

He stepped away from the podium. “Now to more pressing and worldly matters. In light of the widespread losses we have all suffered, I am committed to a speedy return to civilian rule. I would like to introduce Vice Chancellor Elias Anhorn, who will preside over a committee of qualified individuals taken from parties like CB, the Greens, and LKR, who will advise Chancellor Folger’s caretaker cabinet until the situation is stable enough for examinations.”

Elias stepped up to the podium. “Thank you, Your Majesty. I am honored to have been selected to lead the committee. I will not fail you or the people of this great nation. It is my God-given responsibility to protect you with every fiber of my being. The committee will do everything in its power to root out the godless terrorists and their allies who struck at the very heart of Christendom. I will not stop until order and stability are restored. To this end, I have appointed these people to my committee: Josiah Burkard, Jacob Baldouin, Heinrich Dandolo…”


Police department, Berlin

Josh sat in the police station lobby after giving his testimony. While the officers confirmed his recollection matched up with the Panopticon footage, he watched the speech being played. A feeling of anger welled up in him. The Reich was the greatest nation in the world. Who could’ve done something like this? How could this have happened? He had to do everything he could to defend his nation. My country, right or wrong, after all. But there were many of his fellow Romans who were treasonous or godless. They were his enemies as well.


Constantinople

Manfred finished his breakfast and picked up his car keys.

“I’ll see you later, dear,” he said.

“Oh, no,” Joan said, crossing her arms, “You don’t get to do that after Tuesday.”

“What did I do on Tuesday?” Manfred said.

“Come on, Manfred!” Joan said. “The Reichstag massacre! We can’t keep pretending like it’s business as usual!”

“But it IS business as usual,” Manfred said, “I still have to work. Nothing’s changed.”

“What’s gotten into you, Manfred?” Joan said. “It’s like you don’t care so many people got shot up in Berlin!”

“Look it was a tragedy with what happened, and my thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by it, but to put it bluntly, I don’t dwell on it too much,” Manfred said, “I wasn’t in Berlin when it happened. Nobody we know was shot. We’re completely unaffected by it.”

“Did you even bother to notice the committee’s new emergency laws?” Joan said.

“I have faith the committee will bring those responsible to justice,” Manfred said, “It’s not my place to question that. What I want to worry about is my paycheck, okay?”

“Those new laws are crazy!” Joan said. “Mandatory prayers?!”

“They’ll be struck down by the courts,” Manfred said, “We’re a nation of laws. Rule of law and all that. Craziness like this pops up all the time. We’ll recover eventually.”


Schulz Building, Berlin - January 4 (Day 2)

Angelica’s wheelchair was old and creaky, but it would have to do as long as her leg was busted. The hospital had no choice after the latest round of IHS budget cuts and privatization. Her bad leg flared with pain every time she rolled over a crack or uneven pavement, and it would be a pain getting into and out of a car. Damn Argus. And they had the gall to say they were the good guys to everyone. Why wasn’t the police disputing their narrative? What was going on?

She rolled up to the lobby elevator and pushed the up button. The display slowly showed the elevator coming down from an upper floor. Other Athanatoi agents walked in front of her, paying her no attention. The elevator finally arrived, and its doors opened with a chime. Angelica tried rolling inside, but the other agents, still ignoring her, crowded in immediately, leaving her no room.

“Hey!” she said. “Rude!”

“Wait for the next one,” one of the agents smugly said, “Or take the stairs! It's good exercise for your legs!”

He high-fived his colleague, and the elevator departed.

“Frak you!” Angelica cursed, shaking her fist.

She hit the button again and continued waiting. It was then she got the unsettling feeling she was being watched. She glanced through the reflection off the metal of the button panel and noticed two Argus guards standing watch in front of the building. One was watching her, while the other was on his phone. She’d heard of the committee’s new order to station Argus personnel outside government buildings while an investigation was being conducted to “root out traitors and terrorist sympathizers within the Teicheiotai and other law enforcement.” But something felt off about this. And this was getting very nerve-wracking. She could see the two guards were armed with fully automatic rifles, the kind she would see on active duty soldiers. Were they watching her because they knew she knew the truth about Tuesday and wanted to make sure she wouldn’t tell anyone? Or would they finish the job when they got the chance? Well, as scared as she felt now, she wasn’t going to back down. She would get the truth out, one way or another.

The elevator finally arrived, and thankfully nobody else was waiting. She took it up to her floor and quickly wheeled to her desk, making sure she wasn’t followed. While there were no Argus men here, she did notice the floor was less populated than before.

“Hey, Clara,” Angelica said, waving to her deskmate.

Clara, a glasses-wearing agent who tied her black hair in a bob, didn’t look up at her. She focused on her computer.

“Hey, Angelica,” she said, “Nice to see you’re…out of the hospital.”

“What’s the matter, Clara?” Angelica said. “This isn’t like you at all.”

Clara slowly looked at Angelica, revealing her saddened and worried face. “Sorry, Angelica. Things are…rough here.”

“Not many people in the office today,” Angelica said, “I know we lost a lot of agents Tuesday, but not enough to make the office this empty.”

“Didn’t you hear?” Clara said. “The committee passed their new budget yesterday. Athanatoi funding got cut to ten percent.”

“Wait, ten percent?” Angelica said. “Sure you mean BY ten percent.”

“No, they cut it TO ten percent,” Clara said, “And they confirmed Moria as Acting Director.”

“Moria?” Angelica said. “That guy?”

“Yeah, can you believe it?” Clara said. “He’s trying to balance our budget by downsizing ‘extraneous’ divisions. Specifically us.”

“But we’ve done plenty of work,” Angelica said, “Remember we busted that insider trading ring? Or that CMU bribery scheme?”

“Makes you wonder why Moria wants us gutted like pigs,” Clara said.

She looked over her shoulder.

“What’s the problem?” Angelica said.

“I’m scared,” Clara whispered, “Outside of these budget cuts. Ever since the Kaiser revoked his father’s Imperial Decree 11375, things have been hard for some of us. Susan lost her harassment lawsuit and was demoted. Khadija got let go without warning. Somebody called Kevin a…three letter f-word, but nobody conducted an investigation.”

“Didn’t someone break into Kevin’s house last night?” Angelica said.

“Yeah,” Clara said, “I’m worried they’ll do the same with me and Sylvia.”

“I’m going to get to the bottom of this,” Angelica said, “We can’t let this keep happening.”

“Unfortunately, Angelica, it looks like we already did,” Clara said.

Angelica sat at her desk and noticed her drawer was half open. She looked inside and found a hard drive. A handwritten note was attached.

“‘Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum’ - Director Frank”

“Maybe there’s still hope,” Angelica said.


Wilhelmina’s house - January 5 (Day 3)

“Look, guys, you didn’t have to come all the way to my house,” Wilhelmina protested.

“Nonsense,” Jayasimha said, “When we heard of what happened to you, we had to come.”

“But the optics!” Wilhelmina said. “What will my uncle think of the Samrat Chakravartin and chancellor of China visiting his niece instead of himself? And what about your own people?”

“We’ll handle that when we go home,” Tsai said, “But for now, we need to get to the bottom of your condition.”

“And I’m telling you, I’m fine,” Wilhelmina said, “The doctors found nothing wrong.”

“Are you sure?” Jayasimha said. “Because headaches, premonitions, and feeling extreme mental pain at exactly the same time the Reichstag attack happened doesn’t sound like 'nothing wrong'.”

“What are you suggesting then?” Wilhelmina said.

“I’m suggesting we turn to…alternative methods,” Jayasimha said.

Tsai looked at Jayasimha. “Alternative methods?”

“Nothing dangerous or pseudoscience,” Jayasimha said, “But maybe we’ve been going at this the wrong way. Maybe we need a little spirituality.”

Tsai laughed. “Jayasimha? Spiritual? Ha!”

“Hey, I’ve been talking to my guru a lot lately, on Jayapal's suggestion, if you can believe it,” Jayasimha said, “I think I picked up some stuff.”

“Why don’t we try it out?” Wilhelmina said.

“Okay,” Jayasimha said, “So basically, I think this is more of a mental than physical thing. Which means we need you to put mind over matter.”

“And how do we do that?” Wilhelmina said.

“The guru said something about chakras,” Jayasimha said.

“Chakras?” Wilhelmina said.

“Basically, mental energy flows through your body, pooling in several chakras,” Jayasimha said, “Sometimes, these chakras get stuck. Maybe they got stuck for you.”

“Sounds like something straight out of Avatar,” Wilhelmina said.

“Sounds like a bunch of pseudoscience to me,” Tsai said.

"Avatar was just tapping into that eastern wisdom," Jayasimha said.

“So unblocking these chakras can fix whatever’s happening with me?” Wilhelmina said.

“I’m not sure, but maybe,” Jayasimha said.

“How do we do that?” Wilhelmina said.

“We’ll need to work on your mindset,” Jayasimha said, “How you think and feel causes chakras to be blocked. We can cover the first chakra today. First, sit like you’re meditating.”

Wilhelmina crossed her legs and sat up.

“Still not seeing how this will help,” Tsai said.

“Patience, Tsai,” Jayasimha said, “There are seven chakras. Each has a purpose and can be blocked with a specific kind of emotion or feeling. We’ll talk about the earth chakra first. It’s at the base of the spine. It deals with survival and is blocked by fear. Now, Wilhelmina, think of what you’re most afraid of.”

Wilhelmina focused on Jayasimha’s words, recalling what made her afraid. Her recurring nightmare appeared again. She saw herself, Franz, and Joseph running down a hallway, bullets striking the walls and floor. One by one, the bullets hit them, and they all fell.

“I…I see…my death,” she said, “And Franz’s death. And Joseph’s death.”

“Calm down,” Jayasimha said, “Remember, Wilhelmina. This is not real. It’s only a dream. Nothing you see has happened yet. You can still shape the future. Let go of those fears.”

Wilhelmina straightened up and relaxed. She took in a deep breath, telling herself what she was seeing was just a dream. She wasn’t dead. Franz and Joseph weren’t dead. And she would make sure of that.


Brandenburg Palace

In the August Chamber, the “E” in Enonon briefly glowed.


Wilhelmina’s house

Her vision disappeared, and she opened her eyes. It no longer plagued her mind as it did almost every waking moment.

“I feel…better,” Wilhelmina said, “Feels like a weight’s been lifted from my shoulders.”

“I think you just opened the chakra,” Jayasimha said.

“So will this cure me?” Wilhelmina said.

“It’ll help, I hope,” Jayasimha said, “But whatever is happening won’t go away immediately. We’ll need to work on the other chakras.”

“What she needs is some rest and destressing,” Tsai said.

“This IS rest and destressing,” Jayasimha said, “Just more…spiritual.”

“Look, your spiritual 東西 is nice and all, but nothing beats some more sleep and a break from work in my book,” Tsai said.

“Tsai, it’s fine,” Wilhelmina said, “I’ll try this out on my own.”

“Good,” Jayasimha said, “Call me if anything comes up.”


Frankfurt - January 9 (Day 7)

The funeral was over. Most of the guests, including the Russian chancellor, had returned to the city for the reception, but Anders, Alex, and Thea lingered behind. They stood in front of the old memorial tree. Not much had changed since Alex’s last visit. Anne’s portrait and simple plaque were still nestled in the roots. There were some more cards and other gifts scattered around the branches and roots than usual. The one thing different was the second plaque next to Anne’s, accompanied by a portrait from what looked like the 1990s.

Diana Frank
1963 - 2030

Angela walked up to them.

“I still can’t believe she’s gone,” she said.

“Me too,” Anders said.

“She should’ve been buried in Mitte,” Angela said.

“She would’ve been if not for the committee shooting that down,” Anders said, “What gives them the right to deny Di one final honor?”

“They were scared of her,” Angela said, “She knew the truth.”

“And so do we,” Anders said, “We’re going to avenge her.”

“How, Anders?” Angela said. “Di couldn’t stop them.”

“They can’t stop all of us, fighting for the truth like the old days,” Anders said, “It’s what Di would’ve wanted.”

“Count me in,” Angela said, “It’ll be just like the good old days.”

“And if we fail…” Anders said, briefly trailing off as if he remembered something. “We’ll go down swinging, just like she did.”
 
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TWR97

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Go down swinging indeed. Seems the original X-Division crew is back. Only one more member left now, and after that...well, only the future knows what's going to happen. The Reich's gone mad as a hatter and only the old crew is there to bring meaning to the old mantra, the truth is out there.

I take it the Hohenzollern family sword is gonna be appearing quite often from this chapter onwards eh?
 

zenphoenix

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Go down swinging indeed. Seems the original X-Division crew is back. Only one more member left now, and after that...well, only the future knows what's going to happen. The Reich's gone mad as a hatter and only the old crew is there to bring meaning to the old mantra, the truth is out there.

I take it the Hohenzollern family sword is gonna be appearing quite often from this chapter onwards eh?
Quite often indeed.
 

HistoryDude

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Well, that revelation was shocking.

And the Worm seems to be making moves. That's bad. Very bad.
 

zenphoenix

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TheAnguishedOne

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Fingers crossed opening these chakras help somehow.
 

zenphoenix

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CaptainAlvious

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“Chakras, chakras, everybody loves chakras!”
"I understood that reference." :p

In all seriousness, I seem to notice the Reich seems to be sliding backwards in terms of social/cultural progress, what with the increasing intolerance towards Women, LGBT people and ethnic, religious and cultural minorities like Mexica and French as of late. Probably a consequence of Wilhelm Karl on the throne and Elias' shenanigans as you said before. After centuries of cultural progress and tolerance of different peoples, seems like the Reich's efforts to fulfil the promise of Romanitas is being undone after Otto's death.
 
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