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CaptainAlvious

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A lot of Chinese RPGs, especially Fire Emblem, would have a very anti-authoritarian stance. I'm working on the Fire Emblem summaries right now, and the ones I'm working on currently all have themes about humanity taking its fate back from either tyrannical dragon rulers or even dragon gods who have mentally declined and have gone insane. There are tinges of Roman-style meritocracy in the new orders some of the protagonists seek to create. The design of Marth himself is based on Friedrich the Great (or rather, I currently picture Friedrich the Great's design as resembling Marth's), while future characters, both protagonists and antagonists, might seek to tear down the rigid social structures of Fire Emblem's medieval settings to create a society where people can advance based on merit. So yeah, a lot of the genre will have these themes.
If Marth and Friedrich the Great share the same appearance, does that mean Chrom and Lucina would respectively look like Friedrich the Glorious and Saint Wilhelmina here? Anyways, very interesting look at Fire Emblem here. While we are discussing cultural trends, I also noticed these previous descriptions below for a couple Anime in TTL, Full Metal Alchemist and Code Geass, also seem to line up with modern China's anti authoritarian mindset as well. They also seem to explore Sino-Roman relations in some way, either by completly reversing them in the case of FMA or combining Rome and China together in the case of Code Geass, which is very interesting.
Amestris would be portrayed as a quasi-Angeloi dictatorship the protagonists are forced to support, while Xing is portrayed in a more positive light. From there the rest of the manga would be similar to OTL
Code Geass would center on the premise that the Thirteenth Century Crisis was worse than expected. The Mongols and Aztecs/Mexica utterly defeat the Roman forces and partition the Reich between them. They then conquer Scandinavia A small group of Romans and Scandinavians flee to North Eimerica, in what would have become Kanata. There, they establish the Holy Germanic Empire, with the former Kaiser Sigismund I declaring himself Autokrator Sigismund vi Germania. The Holy Germanic Empire ends up conquering the Jin Dynasty and the rest of the New World, ironically exiling the Mexica to their conquests in Europe. Fast forward several centuries, and the HGE now has mechas and conquered Ireland from the Mexica. The Irish, who have adopted Mexica culture and religion (like real life Mexico adopted Spanish culture), do not welcome the HGE, whose culture is a strange hybrid of Roman, Scandinavian, Native Eimerican, Mexica, Jin Chinese, Mayan, and Quechua cultures.
Also, even tho I never played a Fire Emblem game before and only know about it after playing Smash, I did notice that the Friedrich vs Hassan fight was similar to the Seiros/Rhea vs Nemesis fight from Three Houses' intro cinematic after watching it, which was a very cool fight admittedly; I see why you took inspiration from it, albeit with many significant changes to be fair. Are there any other Fire Emblem references in the story arc that I've missed?
Yes, I had Kim Il-Sung lead a Korean division of soldiers in the final assault on Kantunil Kin's stronghold. I imagine he would still go into the military here only be even more anti-left than in real life.
You also mentioned in this discussion below something about Kim Jong Un running an anti Fascist YouTube channel due to Korea suffering under a right wing junta in TTL. Do you think you could include a reference to this in a later story arc, this might make for a cool Easter egg in the Forum arc.
I intended that to be a joke, actually.:p Korea is probably one of the most anti-far right countries in the world because it did suffer under multiple oppressive right-wing dictatorships in recent memory. Kim Jong-Un, if he still exists, would likely be a moderate conservative with a popular YouTube channel generally opposed to authoritarianism on both sides of the political spectrum (but especially fascism). Ironically, his channel would show he's also a big fan of Japanese and Chinese culture, especially anime.:D
I just don't feel like writing any other cultural updates besides Fire Emblem and the essay responses, which are more like personal notes for the school arc.
Understandable, that lets you focus more on those updates in particular ideas rather than trying to flesh out multi ideas at once and getting distracted, which has happened to me before admittedly.
That's a good idea. Maybe a few corporations could even try to subvert the government and take it over, considering it hostile to their commercial interests, which could invite a giant strike the NUC takes advantage of.
That’s an interesting idea, this might lead to India and the Tianxia intervening to prevent a Communist take over and dissolutionment of Indochina, which could result in either Vietnam and India partitioning the region between themselves, the new corporatist government aligning with either India or the Tianxia, the original government staying neutral, or the NUC getting a new ally in a Communist Indochina.
I forgot that detail I gave Jayasimha. His appeal was that like Friedrich the Great, he considered merit as the most important quality of the individual, not place of birth or social standing. Although the Indian caste system wasn't as rigid before British colonization, from what I heard, Jayasimha was one of the first Indian rulers to sideline the idea, and while he could not completely end it, he tried to allow for more social mobility. This appealed to millions of Indians in the lower castes, who made up a large portion of his army.
You also just recently mentioned how Friedrich the Great and Jayasimha styled themselves as the spiritual successors to Alexander the Great and Chandragupta, which is funny because there are actual event chains in CK2 about forming legitimate dynastic claims to Alexander and Ashoka's bloodlines. I don't think it would be realistic for Friedrich the Great to claim to be a literal descendant of Alexander the Great and having everyone buy it, but could see people seeing him as the symbolic heir of Alexander without problem. I wouldn't put it past Jayashimha to claim to be the actual reincarnation of Chandragupta or Ashoka, I imagine the Hindu populations of India would buy that.

I know you played Ck2 before bloodlines were introduced, but since I've brought up I'm wondering, what kinds of bloodlines would the Hohenzollerns have at this point? You're free to look at the CK2 wiki's list of bloodlines for ideas, but I imagine the two Friedrichs and Saint Wilhelmina would each have their own bloodlines, while other Hohenzollerns would have the Saoshyant bloodline or the inheritable Sayyid or Mirza traits due to Saint Wilhelmina and her children marrying into those lineages.

I also wonder about the kinds of artifacts the Hohenzollerns would likely have at this point, besides Enonon and Saint Wilhelmina‘s coronation artifacts, and that Hungarian crown a few Kaisers wore of course. I imagine Enonon would be a level five quality artifact in CK2 terms, what with being forged with Wihelm’s help.
That's a good touch for Tianxia. Carthage would've definitely developed a subculture, as its legion (the 20th or 22nd?) participated in many important battles throughout the early Reich, and the city is the ancestral home of the Schweinfurt family. The region is mostly populated by the descendants of German settlers sent by Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich, the predecessor of Friedrich the Great, who led a crusade there before the Restoration. Gallia's subculture could focus on the cultural assimilation of the French and its German settlers, who adopted some French culture.
I think the EU4 breakdown of Roman provinces also mentioned the Carthaginian identity having some hints of Berber culture as well due to them being the majority population before being overshadowed by German settlers. Since Saint Gunhilda was Polish, and the Schweinfurts also ruled Sicily which is very close to Carthage, I imagine Carthage would a very weird mismash of Greek, German, Norman, Berber/Arab, Polish and possibly Malian traditions from neighboring provinces, with Carthagian culture becoming even more bizarre when it starts trying to emulate the Ancient Carthaginians and by extension the Phoenicians.

I also remember previous notes for Tianxia France discussed before, which I'll like to go into more detail here. Feel free to add more suggestions or changes if you think they'd improve the lore.:)
Moving on to Tianxia ideas, we've coverd Prussia under a Kaiserin Victoria Louise, an Austrian Republic lead by Osterhild and a Hellenic theocraccy controlled by the Eccumenical Patriarch, but I think I have an idea for Gallia. Seeing as how the Karlings are still around, I was thinking we'd see a Gallic monarchy lead by either them or the Hohenzollern-Simaringens. Alternativley, it could become a right wing republic under Karl von Gallia (aside from the liberation of Gallia, I don't think he was relevant in this AAR past that, so I thought it was right to give him something to do.) or Phillip Petain (he was the governer of Gallia from 1940-1944, so I thought I'd put him here.)
Karl von Gallia certainly would be the one leading Gallia plus the choosing to either have the Karlings or the Capets (Assuming Zen saved them back in CK2) or any of the Hohenzollern cadet branches would be a neat analog like the exiled France focus tree for Kaiserreich, hell all three even have their own version for the nation's nane, Francia for the Karlings, Kingdom of France for the Capets and Empire of France for the cadet branch.
I could also add a detail about Communist cells based in Brittany trying to undermine the Gallic Republic with the Socialist Rhineland Confederation’s backing. As for the candiditates for the leadership of either a Gallic monarchy or republic, lets go over that:

The Hohenzollern-Sigmarigens would likely be the family most likely to align with Prussia's faction, as they'd still be loyal to the Hohenzollerns and the idea of the Reich. With Osterhild being married to a Karling, I imagine the Karlings could either go with Austria or go in its own path, which could involve the Karlings bringing back pre Restoration French culture and have France crave a new path free of the Reich. The two republican paths, Karl von Gallia or Philip Petain, would obviously be different from each other and the monarchist and communist paths, with Karl von Gallia reforms the Gallic republic into either a true democratic republic or a constitutional monarchy under the Karlings (the Sigmarigens would be a meritocracy, either an Metternich absolutist one or a liberal one like a proto Ottonian system) while Petain would run a more authoritarian Paulist style one. There should also be unique options for a potential Franco-British relations as well, with some leaders wanting to form an alliance between them while others would consider Britain an enemy and want to conquer a Normandy under British control. I'm not sure what the Capets would do here, since you mentioned the them dying out before.
As for Africa, that is one situation where I would generally accept the Vicky map over NWO's as there really were a lot of German settlers who settled in Africa. But I don't want to fully retcon the NWO map, so I generally assume the "majority culture" shown on the map is really the most spoken language in the area. Still doesn't explain bizarre AI migration habits like the African majority city in northern Korea, but I'll chalk that up to an amusing moment in history.
I’m still not sure about the old Vicky 2 cultural map being accurate, as while there were indeed a lot of European settlers in Africa, I feel like there’d have to be unfeasible numbers of people migranting to Africa before the local population could be overtaken, and I’m sure full cultural assimilation would be hard on a continent as ethnically and racially diverse as Africa, which the same problem we discussed with India. That said, I imagine the Vicky 2 map is accurate in saying in saying that most Africans would commonly speak German, albeit while still speaking indigenous languages and speaking German with drastically different dialects. I think you're right about the old Vicky 2 map showing the most commonly used laugage being German, while the NWO map could be how ethno-cultural divisions actually are in Africa.
Having not been deposed here, August would have the opportunity to follow up on his insanity. Under the right circumstances, he might even declare the Commonwealth reformed into the "Roman Empire" and launch an invasion of the former Reich to press his claim. Poland might be divided into two buffer states, one led by the Habsburg dynatoi which remain loyal to Berlin and the other a Lithuanian client state. Both are intended to be annexed maybe a year into the game.
I like that, August could be the Tianxia equlivent of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, only even more mad, bloodthirsty and dangerous than him. He could make a very intimidating mid-game threat that could cause many former Roman states to put aside their differences and band together to stop him, while August could get many buffs that could make him confident enough to invade Russia and the former Reich at the same time.
 
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zenphoenix

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If Marth and Friedrich the Great share the same appearance, does that mean Chrom and Lucina would respectively look like Friedrich the Glorious and Saint Wilhelmina here? Anyways, very interesting look at Fire Emblem here. While we are discussing cultural trends, I also noticed these previous descriptions below for a couple Anime in TTL, Full Metal Alchemist and Code Geass, also seem to line up with modern China's anti authoritarian mindset as well. They also seem to explore Sino-Roman relations in some way, either by completly reversing them in the case of FMA or combining Rome and China together in the case of Code Geass, which is very interesting.
I didn't really think about that, as I have plans to significantly rewrite Awakening (and move half of its story to a prequel replacing Fates). Lucina might resemble Saint Gunhilda, although a historical character in my rewrite for the game Genealogy of the Holy War is based on the saints, combining Gunhilda's military prowess with Wilhelmina's (and a hint of Frederica Augusta's) religious policies. Lucina would still look a lot like Marth because of their dynamic, while I don't know what Chrom would be like as I haven't reached Awakening yet. Probably still the same.

Genealogy of the Holy War does have a minor antagonist who takes inspiration from King-Emperor August and his insane claims, while the protagonist is a lot like Prince Nikephoros.

I haven't watched either of those animes but I imagine they would try to explore the Sino-Roman relationship in some way, if not try to deconstruct or reverse it.
Also, even tho I never played a Fire Emblem game before and only know about it after playing Smash, I did notice that the Friedrich vs Hassan fight was similar to the Seiros/Rhea vs Nemesis fight from Three Houses' intro cinematic after watching it, which was a very cool fight admittedly; I see why you took inspiration from it, albeit with many significant changes to be fair. Are there any other Fire Emblem references in the story arc that I've missed?
Yes, I did take inspiration from the Three Houses intro cinematic, with stuff changed to fit Friedrich the Great. So far there aren't many other Fire Emblem references as I only started playing the games a few months ago, aside from taking a couple lines of dialogue from Three Houses and other games. But there will be some larger inspirations in future updates.

In my internal notes I've shifted the Inquisition's use of magic from a Supernatural-inspired system (blood sacrifices and sigils drawn on surfaces) to Fire Emblem's system (magic circles and runes tied to books). This mostly applies to the use of magic, as the whole institution of the Inquisition is still based on Supernatural's Men of Letters, only more competent and effective (well...until Behr came around).
You also mentioned in this discussion below something about Kim Jong Un running an anti Fascist YouTube channel due to Korea suffering under a right wing junta in TTL. Do you think you could include a reference to this in a later story arc, this might make for a cool Easter egg in the Forum arc.
That could be fun.
Understandable, that lets you focus more on those updates in particular ideas rather than trying to flesh out multi ideas at once and getting distracted, which has happened to me before admittedly.
Yeah, I'm currently working on the fourth Fire Emblem update (Genealogy), which is taking way longer than I expected.
That’s an interesting idea, this might lead to India and the Tianxia intervening to prevent a Communist take over and dissolutionment of Indochina, which could result in either Vietnam and India partitioning the region between themselves, the new corporatist government aligning with either India or the Tianxia, the original government staying neutral, or the NUC getting a new ally in a Communist Indochina.
Good dynamic that would make Southeast Asia a major region in the coming conflict.
You also just recently mentioned how Friedrich the Great and Jayasimha styled themselves as the spiritual successors to Alexander the Great and Chandragupta, which is funny because there are actual event chains in CK2 about forming legitimate dynastic claims to Alexander and Ashoka's bloodlines. I don't think it would be realistic for Friedrich the Great to claim to be a literal descendant of Alexander the Great and having everyone buy it, but could see people seeing him as the symbolic heir of Alexander without problem. I wouldn't put it past Jayashimha to claim to be the actual reincarnation of Chandragupta or Ashoka, I imagine the Hindu populations of India would buy that.
It was common knowledge Alexander the Great's only son died young, resulting in the breakup of his empire, so Friedrich the Great wouldn't claim to be his direct descendant. But I could see him claiming to be the symbolic heir, though Friedrich the Great did not care to conquer more lands outside Europe once the Restoration was achieved. Jayasimha might claim to be the reincarnation of one of the Hindu gods, just as Purandaradasa claimed descent from Surya.
I know you played Ck2 before bloodlines were introduced, but since I've brought up I'm wondering, what kinds of bloodlines would the Hohenzollerns have at this point? You're free to look at the CK2 wiki's list of bloodlines for ideas, but I imagine the two Friedrichs and Saint Wilhelmina would each have their own bloodlines, while other Hohenzollerns would have the Saoshyant bloodline or the inheritable Sayyid or Mirza traits due to Saint Wilhelmina and her children marrying into those lineages.
The major bloodlines, aside from the blood of Friedrich the Great (no separate bloodline for Friedrich the Glorious or Saint Wilhelmina), would likely be the bloodlines of the Prophet and the Saoshyant. I didn't care to marry the Hohenzollerns to other major families aside from noble ones, and I doubt the Habsburgs and Doukai would have done enough to earn an in-game bloodline. Following the Pragmatic Sanction, there could be two bloodlines for the Maximists and Siegfriedists as well.
I also wonder about the kinds of artifacts the Hohenzollerns would likely have at this point, besides Enonon and Saint Wilhelmina‘s coronation artifacts, and that Hungarian crown a few Kaisers wore of course. I imagine Enonon would be a level five quality artifact in CK2 terms, what with being forged with Wihelm’s help.
Off the top of my head, I remember the Hungarian crown, the Iron Crown of Lombardy, the Lance of Longinus (probably fake or in the Inquisition's hands), the Holy Grail (same deal as the lance), Charlemagne's sword Joyeuse, and the crown of the Holy Roman Emperors. They would also have Enonon (in-game I think it would be more like the Valyrian steel artifacts in the Game of Thrones mod), Saint Wilhelmina's coronation artifacts (of which Enonon is one of them), the sword of Saint Gunhilda, the original draft of the Augustinian Code, and the imperial crown.

I do have to say there is much more to Enonon than I have talked about so far...
I think the EU4 breakdown of Roman provinces also mentioned the Carthaginian identity having some hints of Berber culture as well due to them being the majority population before being overshadowed by German settlers. Since Saint Gunhilda was Polish, and the Schweinfurts also ruled Sicily which is very close to Carthage, I imagine Carthage would a very weird mismash of Greek, German, Norman, Berber/Arab, Polish and possibly Malian traditions from neighboring provinces, with Carthagian culture becoming even more bizarre when it starts trying to emulate the Ancient Carthaginians and by extension the Phoenicians.
Yeah, the Berbers were dominant in the area before Heinrich sent German settlers to mostly displace them, absorbing their traditions in the process (like food and clothing). I'm guessing the Poles were encouraged to settle in Carthage due to the assimilation carried out in Poland, adding their culture to the mix. Carthaginian culture could thus have influences from the Berbers, Germans, Poles, neighboring Malians, and maybe even Sicilians from Schweinfurt-administered Italy.
I also remember previous notes for Tianxia France discussed before, which I'll like to go into more detail here. Feel free to add more suggestions or changes if you think they'd improve the lore.:)
Karl von Gallia could be the dictator of the province, tying his name to his leadership (a von Gallia ruling over Gallia). He would choose either the Sigmaringens (as I call the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringens now) or the Karlings to rule as his puppet viceroys. Depending on who he picks (or if he picks them at all), the regime could be known as Francia, Gallia, or France.
I could also add a detail about Communist cells based in Brittany trying to undermine the Gallic Republic with the Socialist Rhineland Confederation’s backing. As for the candiditates for the leadership of either a Gallic monarchy or republic, lets go over that:

The Hohenzollern-Sigmarigens would likely be the family most likely to align with Prussia's faction, as they'd still be loyal to the Hohenzollerns and the idea of the Reich. With Osterhild being married to a Karling, I imagine the Karlings could either go with Austria or go in its own path, which could involve the Karlings bringing back pre Restoration French culture and have France crave a new path free of the Reich. The two republican paths, Karl von Gallia or Philip Petain, would obviously be different from each other and the monarchist and communist paths, with Karl von Gallia reforms the Gallic republic into either a true democratic republic or a constitutional monarchy under the Karlings (the Sigmarigens would be a meritocracy, either an Metternich absolutist one or a liberal one like a proto Ottonian system) while Petain would run a more authoritarian Paulist style one. There should also be unique options for a potential Franco-British relations as well, with some leaders wanting to form an alliance between them while others would consider Britain an enemy and want to conquer a Normandy under British control. I'm not sure what the Capets would do here, since you mentioned the them dying out before.
Good idea on the communist cells, as that would open up another front for the player.

House Sigmaringen would definitely align with the Prussians as part of their pro-Reich faction and create a Metternich-style meritocracy. The Karlings might be aligned with Austria due to Osterhild's ties, but they could also encourage local French culture and end discrimination against the French minority to emphasize a new identity. Their regime would be more democratic. Karl von Gallia could also decide not to have a puppet monarch and declare a republic, which could be like the PSA's militarized democracy in KR. Petain could coup the government and install an authoritarian proto-Paulluist dictatorship.

Also I remember the Angevins and de Normandies still existing, so there is the possibility they could try pressing their claims and uniting France and Britain.

I don't know about the Capets as you say I said they died out, but I could just retcon that. Or someone could claim to be a legitimate Capet (a la Romanov Princess Anastasia).
I’m still not sure about the old Vicky 2 cultural map being accurate, as while there were indeed a lot of European settlers in Africa, I feel like there’d have to be unfeasible numbers of people migranting to Africa before the local population could be overtaken, and I’m sure full cultural assimilation would be hard on a continent as ethnically and racially diverse as Africa, which the same problem we discussed with India. That said, I imagine the Vicky 2 map is accurate in saying in saying that most Africans would commonly speak German, albeit while still speaking indigenous languages and speaking German with drastically different dialects. I think you're right about the old Vicky 2 map showing the most commonly used laugage being German, while the NWO map could be how ethno-cultural divisions actually are in Africa.
Naturally it wouldn't be fully accurate, due to the weird game mechanics as a result of the conversion from the previous game. There were Europeans settling in Africa, and while my updates at the time said they displaced native groups or assimilated them, it's more likely the native groups remained but just learned German and thus being counted as "German" by biased and inaccurate census workers. The more accurate NWO map shifts to representing the ethnic and cultural divisions in Africa (hence splitting up Loango into several cultures), although due to game limitations it can't represent them all. I assume most of these groups speak German or another European language to some degree.
I like that, August could be the Tianxia equlivent of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, only even more mad, bloodthirsty and dangerous than him. He could make a very intimidating mid-game threat that could cause many former Roman states to put aside their differences and band together to stop him, while August could get many buffs that could make him confident enough to invade Russia and the former Reich at the same time.
Also make him something of a glass cannon. He starts out with a lot of buffs, but because of his recklessness, the player is incentivized to keep attacking to not lose the buffs.
If he starts losing or his attacks slow down, he turns on his generals and executes them for alleged treason, which will push him into a downward spiral where the buffs become nerfs.
 

zenphoenix

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Valkyrie, Part 7

Engelstadt, Near the Tawantinsuyuan border, Nsorala, Neurhomania - 1954

Alfred stopped the car on a hill overlooking the border town. Anne, Conrad, and Hans got out and began surveying the area with binoculars. Anne immediately noticed the many Angeloi flags flying from the houses. In the streets, Angeloi soldiers in wartime uniforms walked around, all carrying military-issued weapons. There were even a few tanks parked on the streetss.

“Ex-Angeloi,” Anne said, “Not even neo-Angeloi. The real deal.”

“It’s like a fortress in there,” Hans said, "Wonder how it escaped New Berlin all this time."

“And it’s close to the border,” Conrad said, “They could just slip over at a moment’s notice and leave our jurisdiction.”

“Well, I’m not letting them,” Anne said, “I’ve contacted the Jinyiwei. They’re in position. If they cross the border, they won’t get far.”

She put away the binoculars and took out a shotgun from the trunk, as well as a box of ammo.

“Well, let’s not wait any longer,” she said.

Conrad picked up a sniper rifle and took up a firing position on the hill, while Hans got his Inquisition notepad ready.

“You sure you’ll be fine in there?” he said.

“I always am,” Anne said, “Don’t worry.”

She put on her headset. “If not, I can just contact you. If things go south, I want you to level this town. Hoffman’s not leaving alive.”

Hans nodded. “Alright. Get ready.”

He drew a sigil on the notepad and pressed his thumb to it. A portal opened in front of them. Anne stepped through and onto a cobblestone street. She slung her shotgun over her back, checked her holstered pistol’s silencer, and then took out her knife. She would do this quietly, at least as long as she could. Walking down the street, she soon found an Angeloi soldier, his back facing her. She ran up to him and stabbed him in the back, covering his mouth so he couldn’t shout in pain. Then she took his gun and belt of grenades.

“Hoffman’s compound should be ahead of you,” Conrad radioed, “Take the next left and then up the hill. It’s at the top. Heavily guarded. Looks like an old Tawantinsuyuan temple. You can’t miss it.”

“Take them out,” Anne said.

As she ran up the hill, she heard bullets zip through the air, followed by bodies thudding. When she arrived at the temple, most of the guards were dead. Before she could enter, another guard rounded the corner. She quickly threw her knife at him, hitting him in the upper chest. As she walked over to get her knife back, she heard a gun clicking behind her, followed by another sniper round catching the attempted ambusher in the head.

“Thanks,” Anne said.

“No problem,” Conrad said, “I won’t be able to provide support inside, obviously, so I’ll just provide lookout from here on.”

“Sure thing,” Anne said.

She took her knife and entered the temple. There was nobody in the lobby, but a lift had been installed. She stepped onto the lift and descended into the depths of the temple. At the bottom, it opened into what appeared to be a lab, where scientists worked with chemicals at gunpoint. The guards in the room immediately noticed her.

“Well, so much for stealth,” Anne said.

She took out her rifle and fired off quick bursts, cutting down the nearest guards. The rest opened fire, and Anne took cover behind the lift rails and several supply boxes. She reloaded her gun and fired again, shooting several more guards. Running out of ammunition, she dropped the rifle and took out her shotgun, blasting away at anybody in her line of fire. She made sure every shot counted. It was very easy. Aim, shoot, aim, shoot, reload, repeat. Very simple. It took only one shell to dispatch each guard. She grabbed the nearest scientist by his collar and slammed him against the wall, pressing her knife to his neck.

“Tell me what you’re working on!” she demanded.

“We’re continuing Project Gungnir,” the scientist said, “Developing a potent toxin which will destroy the Loyalist regime and its supporters. But please don’t kill me! They abducted me to help develop the toxin! Please, you have to understand! I don’t know anything! They just give me instructions to follow and threatened my family! I don’t want the war to resume!”

Anne released the scientist. “I’ll be watching you. Go!”

The scientists ran for the lift, but at that moment, the fire sprinklers activated. Instead of water, a green gas filled the room. Anne didn’t smell anything, and it didn’t seem to affect her. But all of the scientists coughed, clutching their throats as they choked, before falling over. An intercom beeped and crackled.

“Anne Frank,” Hoffman’s Rhineland accent crackled, loud and clear, “I’ve been expecting you for a while now.”

“Alfred Hoffman,” Anne said, “Karl Josef Silberbauer. What did you do?”

“Did you really think I was going to let those men escape?” Hoffman said. “They knew too much to go free. So I made them part of an experiment. The experimental group: the men. The control group: a woman. It looks like the targeting mechanism was a success.”

“Whatever you’re doing, you won’t complete Project Gungnir!” Anne said. “You won’t restart this war! I’m going to kill you!”

“Look at you, all brazen and brash,” Hoffman said, “Did your parents not teach you manners? Oh, that’s right, I killed them. They didn’t even have time to plead for their lives before I put a bullet through their heads.”

“You take that back right now,” Anne said.

“Or what?” Hoffman said. “You’ll kill me? You don’t even know where I am.”

“I don’t need to know,” Anne said, “I know you’re in this building. All I have to do is blow this place up.”

She began lobbing grenades around the lab, the explosions destroying the equipment and samples of the toxin. As flames engulfed what was left, she kicked down a door and entered the hallway behind it. A door farther down swung open, and a man rushed out. She recognized the man’s blond and neatly trimmed hair, even though it had been years since she last met Hoffman. And now the tables were turned. She had been done running away from him for a long time, but now he was the one running away. He had escaped so many times back in Europe, but he wouldn’t escape today.

Anne shot at him with her shotgun, but Hoffman ducked just as the shell struck the wall just where his head was. With no time to reload, she dropped the shotgun and took out her pistol, but she couldn’t get a clean shot. Hoffman reached the end of the hallway and began climbing down a ladder. Anne ran after him, tossing grenades into the rooms on either side to thoroughly destroy the research. She didn’t bother to climb, instead jumping down after him. Her feet splashed into inch-deep water, throwing murky sewage on her pants. Hearing Hoffman’s footsteps splashing through the water, she continued on. Hoffman had a head start, but she quickly closed the distance. At the end of the tunnel, she saw a light, which steadily grew brighter as they approached it. Hoffman was still too far away. If he got out, he was free to escape in any direction, and she would lose him again. There was only one choice. Anne drew her pistol and took a deep breath.

“This is for Mom and Dad,” she said.

In one quick and fluid motion, she blind-fired, trusting her instincts. The gunshot echoed down the tunnel, and the bullet struck Hoffman in the leg. He shouted and stumbled, falling through the exit. Anne ran out after him, emerging in a wooded area with a creek. Hoffman had already gotten to his feet and was now limping away, but he could no longer outrun her. They were very close to the border now. She could tell by the Jinyiwei agents waiting behind some trees, guns ready. Hoffman noticed them too and turned around just as Anne shot him in the other leg. He shouted in pain and fell on his back. Anne stepped over him and aimed at his face.

“Any last words, murderer?” she said.

"Remember this," Hoffman said, "You are helpless. You are insignificant. You are still a scared little girl.”

“No,” Anne said, “I’m the Valkyrie.”

She shot him once more in the head.


January 28, 2013

“We found a body!” one of the contractors said.

Pavel Novak walked over to the dig site. His contractors hauled out a wooden coffin from the hole they had dug in the middle of the jungle outside Engelstadt, a small town founded by former Angeloi after the war. The founders had been gone for a while though, as they were kicked out in 1953 after the Valkyrie exposed their secret operation there and killed a number of them.

The coffin was plain, adorned only by an Angeloi eagle crudely drawn on top. They set the coffin down in front of Pavel, who pried it open with a crowbar. Inside was a decaying body, eaten away by decades of bacteria and maggots. It should have been completely unrecognizable, but Pavel took out a device to scan the body’s DNA.

“It’s a match,” he said, “Thank you. Your job is done.”

“When can we expect our payment?” a contractor said.

“Right now,” Pavel said.

Super soldiers, led by Billy Marks, emerged from the jungle and surrounded the contractors.

“What is this?” a contractor said.

“Your payment,” Pavel said, “Your job is done. I just don’t like witnesses. Nothing personal.”

The super soldiers decapitated the contractors.

“Thank you, Billy,” Pavel said.

He walked back to his desk, where he took out his notebook. Inside was a long since banned single-use resurrection spell. That Inquisitor Behr was nice enough to give it to him in exchange for a lead on the location of a certain rock that had fallen into the RSB’s hands decades ago. He didn’t question why they would give him such a powerful spell just for the location of a rock. It was a good deal for him anyways. He wouldn’t get another chance to do this.

Next to it was Hoffman’s personnel file and Walter’s notes, still in the old novels Robert Bischoff had hidden them in. Those notes were more than worth the money he spent for them and the time he spent sifting through fudged records obscuring the truth of what happened. It would take a little bit for Hoffman to get used to the present day and resume his work, but he had plenty of time.

“Let’s get to work,” he said, “Diana won’t know what hit her.”
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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When in doubt, assume Pavel is to blame. Nice tie-in with Inquisitor Behr too.
 

zenphoenix

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When in doubt, assume Pavel is to blame. Nice tie-in with Inquisitor Behr too.
I couldn't leave such a big plot development behind, especially when Pavel needs stuff from the Inquisition now...
 

TWR97

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Pavel you slimy bastard. Well at least we can rule out both the Cult and the other alien factions out of the equation. I wonder if Hoffman's present day attack is just the beginning for whatever end game plan Pavel has in store for the X-Division.
 

zenphoenix

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Pavel you slimy bastard. Well at least we can rule out both the Cult and the other alien factions out of the equation. I wonder if Hoffman's present day attack is just the beginning for whatever end game plan Pavel has in store for the X-Division.
Maybe it is...
 

CaptainAlvious

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Good to know Anne did in fact avenge her parents. I admit, I thought you did a retcon a couple parts ago when you said Anne killed Hoffman when the End of History said the Jinyiwei killed him, makes sense to see that it was both. It's nice to clear out how Hoffman is alive now, guess TWR was right about his previous theory about Hoffman being active thanks to Sentinel, he’s even right about the Cult having something to do with it in a roundabout way.:D

The fact Pavel resurrected Hoffman for the purpose of tormenting Diana makes even more of a despicable monster than he already was, especially when you remember there was a time when Pavel was just a little kid that Anne saved from Prague. Just goes to show how much of an ungrateful little dastard he is for spitting in the face of the person who saved his life in the first place, Pavel definitely isn’t the same personhe was before he met the Smoking Man, that’s for damn sure.
I didn't really think about that, as I have plans to significantly rewrite Awakening (and move half of its story to a prequel replacing Fates). Lucina might resemble Saint Gunhilda, although a historical character in my rewrite for the game Genealogy of the Holy War is based on the saints, combining Gunhilda's military prowess with Wilhelmina's (and a hint of Frederica Augusta's) religious policies. Lucina would still look a lot like Marth because of their dynamic, while I don't know what Chrom would be like as I haven't reached Awakening yet. Probably still the same.

Genealogy of the Holy War does have a minor antagonist who takes inspiration from King-Emperor August and his insane claims, while the protagonist is a lot like Prince Nikephoros.
Yeah, I'm currently working on the fourth Fire Emblem update (Genealogy), which is taking way longer than I expected.
Very interesting, looking forward to the updates.

Do you have anything planned Three Houses’ plot so far? I’m wondering if the main characters behind the game’s four routes be original in TTL’s context or if would they have similarities to historical figures in the Hohenzollernverse?
In my internal notes I've shifted the Inquisition's use of magic from a Supernatural-inspired system (blood sacrifices and sigils drawn on surfaces) to Fire Emblem's system (magic circles and runes tied to books). This mostly applies to the use of magic, as the whole institution of the Inquisition is still based on Supernatural's Men of Letters, only more competent and effective (well...until Behr came around).
That makes me wonder, do you have anything in mind for how psionics could work in the Stellaris story, particularly how different psionic disciplines could be between Shroud covenants and the Loop discipline the Worm’s cult and the Annionas use? I know you probably won’t use psionic from a gameplay sense since you’re planning on disabling the ascension perks, but I’m still curious about how psionics would be portrayed in storyarcs since it wouldn’t make sense for the Hohenzollernverse to not have psionics while the Annionaverse has them in my personal opinion. It’d be interesting to see the Inquisition to dabble a bit into psionics in Stellaris, tho sci fi based psionic powers would likely be very different from traditional supernatural oriented magic systems.
Off the top of my head, I remember the Hungarian crown, the Iron Crown of Lombardy, the Lance of Longinus (probably fake or in the Inquisition's hands), the Holy Grail (same deal as the lance), Charlemagne's sword Joyeuse, and the crown of the Holy Roman Emperors. They would also have Enonon (in-game I think it would be more like the Valyrian steel artifacts in the Game of Thrones mod), Saint Wilhelmina's coronation artifacts (of which Enonon is one of them), the sword of Saint Gunhilda, the original draft of the Augustinian Code, and the imperial crown.
There’s also that necronomicon Friedrich the Glorious wrote down along with his Heliocentric books at some point too, tho it did get stolen from his library not long after his death, most likely by the Cult at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if legends and folklores about Friedrich the Glorious’s lost necronomican caught the interest of TTL’s H.P. Lovecraft while he was doing research for his book, possibly inspiring his Cthulhu mythos stories.

You know, this theory I made is actually ironic in retrospect to all the Lovecraft references Olga made in the Unearthed updates, because I’m pretty sure this idea would mean that the Worm would technically be Cthulhu if it were true.:p:eek:

Now that I mentioned it, Friedrich the Glorious promoting Heliocentricism centuries ahead of Galileo is pretty interesting, because aside from the Inquisition’s suppression of scientific and cultural advancement during the Fifty Years War, the Orthodox Church has seemed pretty open to science and social advancement over the centuries, especially during the tenure of Ecumenical Patriarch Ioannes II. I imagine Friedrich the Glorious’ promoting heliocentricism, in addition being a case where Catholic authority was questioned prior to the mending of the schism, also put the later Imperial Orthodox Church on track to be more welcoming of science and secular education throughout the Reich’s history, a certain detail that might be interesting to explore in Stellaris.

I'm now curious to what would have happened to Friedrich the Glorious’ observatory, espically during the Cold War between the Reich and Soviets? I suppose it would depend on where it ended up in either Roman or Soviet spheres, but I guess the Reich would still restore the observtory even if the Soviets destroyed it, like they did with Potsdam and Brandenburg Palace.
I do have to say there is much more to Enonon than I have talked about so far...
That's interesting. I figure you may have Enonon inspired by certain items in the Fire Emblem games, but I always got a vibe from Enonon similar to that of the Master Sword from Legend of Zelda, what with its divine origin. At least, that’s my personal take on Enonon from what I’ve read about it so far.

There’s also the Galactic Crown Dragoon mentioned in one of the last chapters of Deus Ex Anniona, I imagine that would be to the Annionas what Enonon is to the Hohenzollerns in terms of power, tho it would likely be more powerful since it’s probably an item made by the Worm. Heck, I don't think the Annionaverse Philosopher Stone was destroyed like it was in the Hohenzollernverse, so I can see it being made apart of that crown here, even if Dragoon didn't directly mention it here.
By this point, Empress Helen had died replaced by her son, Emperor Maximus Anniona who crowned himself not just with the grown of the Holy Terran Empire, but with 'The Galactic Crown' a lavish thing built from crystallized Zro, Dark Matter and Liquid Medal.
Yeah, the Berbers were dominant in the area before Heinrich sent German settlers to mostly displace them, absorbing their traditions in the process (like food and clothing). I'm guessing the Poles were encouraged to settle in Carthage due to the assimilation carried out in Poland, adding their culture to the mix. Carthaginian culture could thus have influences from the Berbers, Germans, Poles, neighboring Malians, and maybe even Sicilians from Schweinfurt-administered Italy.
I can see the Sicilian settlers bringing Greek and Norman culture with them, resulting in Sicily and Carthage having very similar cultures to each other. Perhaps some Greeks who went to Carthage could go on to settle Maruentina as well, introducting the Greek language to the Berbers and Mailans there, hence there being a lot of Greeks in Maruentina in NWO, while some Lithuians traveled with the Poles settling in Carthage to settle in Egypt. Perhaps the two Friedrichs encouraged Lithuanians living in the Reich to move to Egypt, like how Poles were encouraged to move to Carthage during Poland’s cultural assimilation. There could also be a small minority of Hellenic Pagans living in Carthage as well, with the explanation being that the city the Hellenic first migrated into to escape persecution before moving into the rest of Africa and spreading their faith there.

Since I have Carthage and Sicily as two independent states, I guess I can give Carthage some claims over Sicily when they begin the game, with the pre game lore explaining that the Schweinfurts were exiled from Italy to Carthage by the Aquilian merchant republic during the Reich's collapse, hence Italy being balkanized between four countries. I think there would be incentives for Carthaginian players to attack Sicily and reunite the Schweinfurt's holdings as soon as possible, as Maruentina and Egypt will start consolidating and threaten Carthage eventually. From there, a Carthaginian player would be free to take on Mauretina or Egypt and be free to take different paths, like recreating the Ancient Carthagian and Pheoncian empires, conquering all of Africa or reuniting the Reich under the Schweinfurts.

I can see Maurentina having its goals with the Spirt Guardians running the country at the game's start, like going into Hispania to incorporate Malian populated Portugal away from Norse Andulusia, unification with Mali (which could go either way with Maurentina or Mali coming out on top), or a war with Twantinsuyu to liberate Nsorala once either the Spirit Guardians or Mali has built up their navies.
Karl von Gallia could be the dictator of the province, tying his name to his leadership (a von Gallia ruling over Gallia). He would choose either the Sigmaringens (as I call the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringens now) or the Karlings to rule as his puppet viceroys. Depending on who he picks (or if he picks them at all), the regime could be known as Francia, Gallia, or France.
Karl von Gallia would definitely be an interesting leader for Gallia, especially if these Charles de Gaule quotes from a Crown Atomic discussion are any indication of what von Gallia would be like in Tianxia. He might be up there with Prussia's Victoria Louise or Austria's Osterhild when it comes to popularity as a fan favorite character among the Tianxia fanbase.
Also I remember the Angevins and de Normandies still existing, so there is the possibility they could try pressing their claims and uniting France and Britain.
This gives me an opportunity to expand on previous ideas for Tianxia Britannia, or Albion as I call it in my Tianxia notes. I'll quote these previous notes for Britannia before I expand on them in this post.
I’ve got more ideas for Tianxia I wish to share with you; starting off with Britain, Britannia, ruled by the Godwinsons, would start Tianxia immediately at war with Scandinavia, who have already occupied Caledonia and have a good chance of winning the invasion of Britain. However, if Britannia manages to beat back the invasion, an event will trigger causing a cease fire between Britain and Scandinavia, very similar to that Chinese-Japanese cease fire event in OTL HOI4 when Japan is runned out of mainland Asia. Afterwards, Britannia then has a few interesting choices it can do, one of which is forming the Albion Empire. It can do this one of two ways, peaceful cooperation and unification with its neighbors (Hibernia, Wales, Caledonia, Brittany and Normandy) or aggressive annexation of them, both paths affecting Albion quite significantly (think democratic but militarily weak democracy on the diplomatic path with a lot of political power points or a military dictatorship in the aggressive option) Either way, the Empire of Albion will develop some rivalry with Gallia die to proximity, tho relations will be more tense if Albion is a dictatorship.
There should also be a chance for the other Britannian noble families (Angevin, de Normandie, de Bachamont) to take the throne or for a republic (military dictatorship or true democracy) to be established.
Starting off with Caledonia, I assume it would be similar to both Scandinavia's brief occupation of Caledonia late in the Maximist Wars and Poland's current situation, with the Norse setting up a client republic in the Scotish highlands and Albion having a satellite state in the south. Hibernia would be independent as a Socialist Republic and would want to create a pan Celtic socialist republic, putting them at odds with Scandanvia, Britain, France and the Hispanic countries (the Hispania update mentioned Asturias having a lot of Celtic influence in its culture, so maybe the Celtic socialists would want to conquer Asturias as an integral part of their Celtic union). Wales would exist in Tianxia, but it would also be a satellite state like south Caledonia, with both Wales and southern Caledonia intended to be annexed into the Albion Kingdom or, if Britianina is defeated before they could established Albion, become apart of Ireland and Scandinavia's puppet state respectively. As for Britannia itself, I noticed that the Origins of Modernity updates mentioning how its provincial diet was one of the few local diets with power in the Reich, with provincial succession actually being based on which major Britannia family had the most seats in Diet, indicating an elective monarchy like OTL Polish-Lithuian Commonwealth or Malay, Qiandao and Ainu Monsir here. Now that would be an intresting idea to keep Britannia unique from other former Roman states in Tianxia, with players having the option of choosing between the four major families, each with branching policies and focus trees for Britannia, or choosing to just abolish the elective monarchy entirely and declaring a republic, either authoritarian or democratic. I'm not sure what focus trees each the De Bauchamonts, Godwindsons or the Republic routes would have, but I agree with the idea of the Angevins and de Normandies wanting to unite Britain and France due to their origins, maybe the Godwindsons could be Hohenzollern loyalists at least. Either way, I can see Britannia's fear of Norse encroachment pushing it to allying with the Hansetic League for a mutual defensive pact against the Norse.

I hope you like these Tianxia ideas I've brainstormed. Of course, none of these ideas are final, so I'm open to changes and suggestions to the lore, especially to these recent notes.
Naturally it wouldn't be fully accurate, due to the weird game mechanics as a result of the conversion from the previous game. There were Europeans settling in Africa, and while my updates at the time said they displaced native groups or assimilated them, it's more likely the native groups remained but just learned German and thus being counted as "German" by biased and inaccurate census workers. The more accurate NWO map shifts to representing the ethnic and cultural divisions in Africa (hence splitting up Loango into several cultures), although due to game limitations it can't represent them all. I assume most of these groups speak German or another European language to some degree.
I agree that the NWO ethno-cultural would likely be the more accurate than the Old Vicky 2 one, tho given how Africa is so diverse ethnically and cultural to properly represent in game as you said, I imagine the in universe census workers would still have a very hard time making accurate depictions of ethno cultural makeups there. I some groups, like possibly the Hellenic Pagans for example, would be so spread out across Africa and parts of Neurhomania that it would be almost impossible for census workers to figure out whee exactly they tend to live in, a bit like the Jewish diaspora in OTL or the Muslim diaspora in TTL.
 
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zenphoenix

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Good to know Anne did in fact avenge her parents. I admit, I thought you did a retcon a couple parts ago when you said Anne killed Hoffman when the End of History said the Jinyiwei killed him, makes sense to see that it was both. It's nice to clear out how Hoffman is alive now, guess TWR was right about his previous theory about Hoffman being active thanks to Sentinel, he’s even right about the Cult having something to do with it in a roundabout way.:D
I didn't want to leave Hoffman's death offscreen, and I was eventually going to write an update about it. Diana probably just took Anne's presence there as a given due to their history with Hoffman.

Perhaps.
The fact Pavel resurrected Hoffman for the purpose of tormenting Diana makes even more of a despicable monster than he already was, especially when you remember there was a time when Pavel was just a little kid that Anne saved from Prague. Just goes to show how much of an ungrateful little dastard he is for spitting in the face of the person who saved his life in the first place, Pavel definitely isn’t the same personhe was before he met the Smoking Man, that’s for damn sure.
Pavel has fallen so much from where he was thirty years ago, warped by the Smoking Man's and the Syndicate's influence into a cold and monologuing killer. And with all of the power that comes with Sentinel, he's probably gone a little crazy as well. He's certainly no longer the childhood friend Diana and Olga used to know.

Funny how you use dastard as it's a common swear word in Fire Emblem.
Do you have anything planned Three Houses’ plot so far? I’m wondering if the main characters behind the game’s four routes be original in TTL’s context or if would they have similarities to historical figures in the Hohenzollernverse?
A few minor ideas so far as I've only moved on to the GBA era now. The idea is to delete one route and change the remaining three routes in some way I am not sure of yet. I'd have to tear out a lot of the symbolism of the four routes being named after the four seasons and patterned after a classical Chinese poem, replacing it with something else. I'll have the Adrestian Empire (or Adrestian Reich) be a direct Roman analogue and its relations with Faerghus and Leicester be a lot like the Maximist Wars. The Church of Seiros would have a combination of influences from the medieval Catholic Church and modern Orthodox Church. I've significantly changed a lot of character motivations and deleted some villains. One character will want to create an Ottonian-style meritocracy, while another will want to bring their tolerant and pluralistic vision to the largely isolationist and xenophobic continent.
That makes me wonder, do you have anything in mind for how psionics could work in the Stellaris story, particularly how different psionic disciplines could be between Shroud covenants and the Loop discipline the Worm’s cult and the Annionas use? I know you probably won’t use psionic from a gameplay sense since you’re planning on disabling the ascension perks, but I’m still curious about how psionics would be portrayed in storyarcs since it wouldn’t make sense for the Hohenzollernverse to not have psionics while the Annionaverse has them in my personal opinion. It’d be interesting to see the Inquisition to dabble a bit into psionics in Stellaris, tho sci fi based psionic powers would likely be very different from traditional supernatural oriented magic systems.
Although I will disable the ascension perks, I will still have psionic individuals from events and story stuff. There will still be interactions with the Shroud, and I have a few vague ideas of what to do. I admit I forgot about the different psionic disciplines described in the Annionaverse but I'll take a look at those when I get closer to Stellaris. I have a few great ideas on how to talk about the differences between traditional magic and psionic powers, especially regarding the angels and the Worm. I also occasionally float the idea of having the Inquisition go public as a psionic-researching organization while keeping their traditional magic and supernatural-oriented stuff underground. Though that might not work after what Behr just did.
There’s also that necronomicon Friedrich the Glorious wrote down along with his Heliocentric books at some point too, tho it did get stolen from his library not long after his death, most likely by the Cult at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if legends and folklores about Friedrich the Glorious’s lost necronomican caught the interest of TTL’s H.P. Lovecraft while he was doing research for his book, possibly inspiring his Cthulhu mythos stories.
That could be a good idea. I might bring the Necronomicon back at some point and tie it in with the cult.
You know, this theory I made is actually ironic in retrospect to all the Lovecraft references Olga made in the Unearthed updates, because I’m pretty sure this idea would mean that the Worm would technically be Cthulhu if it were true.:p:eek:
Probably closer to Yog-Sothoth from the Lovecraft passage I had Wilhelm quote. Though I'm not above talking about sunken ancient Pacific island cities with terrible secrets...
Now that I mentioned it, Friedrich the Glorious promoting Heliocentricism centuries ahead of Galileo is pretty interesting, because aside from the Inquisition’s suppression of scientific and cultural advancement during the Fifty Years War, the Orthodox Church has seemed pretty open to science and social advancement over the centuries, especially during the tenure of Ecumenical Patriarch Ioannes II. I imagine Friedrich the Glorious’ promoting heliocentricism, in addition being a case where Catholic authority was questioned prior to the mending of the schism, also put the later Imperial Orthodox Church on track to be more welcoming of science and secular education throughout the Reich’s history, a certain detail that might be interesting to explore in Stellaris.
I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the popular culture view that the OTL Catholic Church suppressed science and technology (developments in military and agricultural technology and Catholic clergymen preserving classical texts show otherwise), but also wanted to show that in the Hohenzollernverse, the Catholic Church is even more demonized under the new regime to pave the way for the mending of the schism. The Orthodox Church's more obvious encouragement of innovation was probably as the result of the (mostly) pluralistic theological reforms Saint Wilhelmina enacted over the course of the 12th century Renaissance and the throne's significant influence over the Church.

The whole incident with Friedrich the Glorious and heliocentrism probably went the way it did because of his high popularity, massive political and religious influence, and his own personal charisma. He would've argued that heliocentrism is nothing new, having been discovered in the third century BCE, and God would've wanted His creations to explore and learn more about the world He created as a way to get closer to Him. This would've created some schisms within the Catholic Church and paved the way for the further weakening of papal authority, allowing Saint Wilhelmina to mend the schism.
'm now curious to what would have happened to Friedrich the Glorious’ observatory, espically during the Cold War between the Reich and Soviets? I suppose it would depend on where it ended up in either Roman or Soviet spheres, but I guess the Reich would still restore the observtory even if the Soviets destroyed it, like they did with Potsdam and Brandenburg Palace.
I'm guessing it was incorporated into the Friedrich the Great University (or was it Friedrich the Glorious University? I forgot) over the centuries. I don't know what zone it was in, but if it was in the Soviet zone, the Soviets wouldn't have touched it as its only tie to monarchy is the name, and it's dedicated to scientific innovation anyways.
That's interesting. I figure you may have Enonon inspired by certain items in the Fire Emblem games, but I always got a vibe from Enonon similar to that of the Master Sword from Legend of Zelda, what with its divine origin. At least, that’s my personal take on Enonon from what I’ve read about it so far.
I was more inspired by Marth's Falchion, which is also of divine origin (sort of). But I guess the Master Sword works too. I haven't played Legend of Zelda.

I am certainly planning on talking more about the forging of Enonon and Friedrich the Great's early life in general, but not anytime soon.
There’s also the Galactic Crown Dragoon mentioned in one of the last chapters of Deus Ex Anniona, I imagine that would be to the Annionas what Enonon is to the Hohenzollerns in terms of power, tho it would likely be more powerful since it’s probably an item made by the Worm. Heck, I don't think the Annionaverse Philosopher Stone was destroyed like it was in the Hohenzollernverse, so I can see it being made apart of that crown here, even if Dragoon didn't directly mention it here.
I also forgot about that. Maybe it's the crown of the Terran emperors now and boost their already incredibly powerful psionic abilities even further.

The philosopher's stone is definitely still around there.
I can see the Sicilian settlers bringing Greek and Norman culture with them, resulting in Sicily and Carthage having very similar cultures to each other. Perhaps some Greeks who went to Carthage could go on to settle Maruentina as well, introducting the Greek language to the Berbers and Mailans there, hence there being a lot of Greeks in Maruentina in NWO, while some Lithuians traveled with the Poles settling in Carthage to settle in Egypt. Perhaps the two Friedrichs encouraged Lithuanians living in the Reich to move to Egypt, like how Poles were encouraged to move to Carthage during Poland’s cultural assimilation. There could also be a small minority of Hellenic Pagans living in Carthage as well, with the explanation being that the city the Hellenic first migrated into to escape persecution before moving into the rest of Africa and spreading their faith there.
That sounds reasonable. The Lithuanians did set up a merchant republic in Egypt at one point that was a recognized vassal under the throne, so they definitely had some degree of protection and encouragement settling there. I could have some Hellenic pagans in Carthage as well.
Since I have Carthage and Sicily as two independent states, I guess I can give Carthage some claims over Sicily when they begin the game, with the pre game lore explaining that the Schweinfurts were exiled from Italy to Carthage by the Aquilian merchant republic during the Reich's collapse, hence Italy being balkanized between four countries. I think there would be incentives for Carthaginian players to attack Sicily and reunite the Schweinfurt's holdings as soon as possible, as Maruentina and Egypt will start consolidating and threaten Carthage eventually. From there, a Carthaginian player would be free to take on Mauretina or Egypt and be free to take different paths, like recreating the Ancient Carthagian and Pheoncian empires, conquering all of Africa or reuniting the Reich under the Schweinfurts.
Cool. Maybe there would be a way to negotiate a unification of Carthage and Sicily without needing a war.
I can see Maurentina having its goals with the Spirt Guardians running the country at the game's start, like going into Hispania to incorporate Malian populated Portugal away from Norse Andulusia, unification with Mali (which could go either way with Maurentina or Mali coming out on top), or a war with Twantinsuyu to liberate Nsorala once either the Spirit Guardians or Mali has built up their navies.
The Spirit Guardians could also just invite Mali to annex them in exchange for significant influence in the Malian government. They could also try their hand at conquering all of Africa for themselves.
Karl von Gallia would definitely be an interesting leader for Gallia, especially if these Charles de Gaule quotes from a Crown Atomic discussion are any indication of what von Gallia would be like in Tianxia. He might be up there with Prussia's Victoria Louise or Austria's Osterhild when it comes to popularity as a fan favorite character among the Tianxia fanbase.
What about the Karlings? We could have them as a meme route.
Starting off with Caledonia, I assume it would be similar to both Scandinavia's brief occupation of Caledonia late in the Maximist Wars and Poland's current situation, with the Norse setting up a client republic in the Scotish highlands and Albion having a satellite state in the south. Hibernia would be independent as a Socialist Republic and would want to create a pan Celtic socialist republic, putting them at odds with Scandanvia, Britain, France and the Hispanic countries (the Hispania update mentioned Asturias having a lot of Celtic influence in its culture, so maybe the Celtic socialists would want to conquer Asturias as an integral part of their Celtic union). Wales would exist in Tianxia, but it would also be a satellite state like south Caledonia, with both Wales and southern Caledonia intended to be annexed into the Albion Kingdom or, if Britianina is defeated before they could established Albion, become apart of Ireland and Scandinavia's puppet state respectively. As for Britannia itself, I noticed that the Origins of Modernity updates mentioning how its provincial diet was one of the few local diets with power in the Reich, with provincial succession actually being based on which major Britannia family had the most seats in Diet, indicating an elective monarchy like OTL Polish-Lithuian Commonwealth or Malay, Qiandao and Ainu Monsir here. Now that would be an intresting idea to keep Britannia unique from other former Roman states in Tianxia, with players having the option of choosing between the four major families, each with branching policies and focus trees for Britannia, or choosing to just abolish the elective monarchy entirely and declaring a republic, either authoritarian or democratic. I'm not sure what focus trees each the De Bauchamonts, Godwindsons or the Republic routes would have, but I agree with the idea of the Angevins and de Normandies wanting to unite Britain and France due to their origins, maybe the Godwindsons could be Hohenzollern loyalists at least. Either way, I can see Britannia's fear of Norse encroachment pushing it to allying with the Hansetic League for a mutual defensive pact against the Norse.
Yes, the region of Asturias in OTL traditionally had a lot of Celtic influence, so here I'd assume Hibernia would include that in the pan-Celtic domains.

I think I wrote the Britannian Diet stuff as a way to retcon the War of the Roses disaster which accidentally fired even though England did not exist, which means the viceroyalty passes between the Yorks, Lancasters, de Normandies, Angevins, and other families. It was eventually split apart into each Britannian state's local Diet after WW2, but that never happened here, so it would be interesting for players to have to balance between the major noble families. Their main goal would be to stop the Norse, but they could also turn towards Hibernia and France or even the unification of the Reich (with a new King Arthur myth as the old ones did mention Rome).
agree that the NWO ethno-cultural would likely be the more accurate than the Old Vicky 2 one, tho given how Africa is so diverse ethnically and cultural to properly represent in game as you said, I imagine the in universe census workers would still have a very hard time making accurate depictions of ethno cultural makeups there. I some groups, like possibly the Hellenic Pagans for example, would be so spread out across Africa and parts of Neurhomania that it would be almost impossible for census workers to figure out whee exactly they tend to live in, a bit like the Jewish diaspora in OTL or the Muslim diaspora in TTL.
The Hellenic pagans definitely are very spread out across Africa and are a minority wherever they go.

Census workers would have a hard time categorizing the African ethnic/cultural groups, which would play into the perception (and reality) that Africa keeps getting ignored in favor of the European mainland despite having about the same number of people.
 
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Valkyrie, Part 8

Airport, Frankfurt - November 8, 2015, 9:45 AM

As soon as she learned the news, she drove to the airport as fast as her motorcycle could go. She arrived just as Tobias was lifted onto a stretcher. Police officers had already locked down the road and airport, holding back news crews and dismayed passengers from canceled or delayed flights. Forensics teams catalogued the discarded suitcases from Tobias’ stolen car. Diana ran over to Tobias as fast as she could.

“Tobias!” she said. “You okay?”

“That madman…” Tobias said, gritting his teeth. “They say the bullet barely missed my heart. I got lucky.”

“Where’s Alex?” Diana said.

“He took him, Anna,” Tobias said.

He grunted in pain as the paramedics lifted his stretcher into the ambulance.

“Don’t worry about me!” Tobias said. “I’ll be fine. Get him!”

The paramedics shut the ambulance doors, and the vehicle sped off to the hospital. Diana took out her phone and called Olga.

“This is a complete disaster,” Diana said, “First he shoots my brother, then he abducts my son? This just got personal.”

“I thought it already was,” Olga said.

“Even more!” Diana snapped. “I swear, I’m going to put a bullet in that goddamned motherfrakking Angeloi head of his!”

“Do we even know where he’s headed?” Olga said.

“The other place on the map,” Diana said, “Mom’s house. He has to go there. He has to.”

“Di, I need you to calm down,” Olga said, “We’re sending backup to the museum. Hang tight and don’t do anything—”

Diana hung up. Adjusting her helmet, she got back on her motorcycle and sped off. Hoffman wanted to mess with her family? She was going to make him pay even more.


Anne Frank Memorial Museum - 10:00 AM

Mom always hated the museum. Not only was it a museum about her, it was located in a reconstruction of her childhood home. The one in which Hoffman had killed her parents, before burning it all down. Just seeing it brought back years of trauma she had spent her life moving past. Diana never once brought up the topic after the museum was opened. They never once visited. It would be too painful for either of them. As she sped through the streets, her phone rang again.

“What is it?!” she snapped.

“Di, what are you doing?!” Olga said. “Slow down!”

“I’m going to be fine!” Diana said. “I’m not letting Hoffman kill my son! I’m not going to let him desecrate Mom’s house! I’m going to put an end to this, once and for all!”

“You can’t take him on alone!” Olga said. “Just wait for backup!”

“That’ll slow me down!” Diana said. “I can take him on! I know I can! Just evacuate the building for me!”

“I can’t!” Olga said. “He’s already there! They say he’s taken hostages!”

“Fine!” Diana said. “I’ll do it myself!”

She stopped in front of the museum and parked at the curb. She drew her gun and ran up to the front door. It was so eerie, walking up to Mom’s childhood home, the childhood home Diana never knew because it burned down decades ago, especially when the whole block was so quiet and she knew there was a situation inside.

“Alex, honey?” she shouted. “Alex, dear, are you in there? Mom’s here!”

She heard Alex scream. Not waiting another second, she kicked in the door and ran in, gun drawn. The first few rooms she searched were deserted. Alex’s screams continued, coming from upstairs. She slowly walked up the stairs, the floorboards creaking under her. Alex’s screams cut off.

“Alex?” she said. “Alex?!”

There was no response. She started checking the rooms upstairs. Rita’s room was empty. So was Otto and Edith’s. She arrived at Anne’s room, but the door was locked. She kicked in the door again and stormed inside. The hostages screamed and covered their heads. There were gas canisters surrounding them. Ride of the Valkyries began playing over the speakers, accompanied by Hoffman’s cackling.

“Diana Frank,” he said, “You finally showed up. Took you long enough. Your mother taught you better than to be late. Where are your manners, fräulein? You’re not setting a good example for your own child.”

“Alfred Hoffman!” Diana shouted. “Reveal yourself!”

“Right behind you,” Hoffman said.

She ran back outside and saw Hoffman at the bottom of the stairs, smiling as he pressed his gun to Alex’s head. Alex whimpered, unable to break free. Diana leveled her gun at Hoffman but couldn’t get a clear shot.

“Alex!” she said.

“Mom!” Alex said.

“You let my boy go right now,” Diana said.

“Or what?” Hoffman said. “You’ll shoot me? You’ll only get poor little Alex killed.”

“What is the meaning of this?” Diana said. “Why all this?”

“You already know,” Hoffman said, “Revenge against the Valkyrie. That’s why I was raised from the dead!”

“Yeah, well, my mom wasn’t raised from the dead too,” Diana said, “You’re fourteen years too late.”

“Which means I shall take my revenge upon her precious daughter!” Hoffman said. “How poetic. It was on this very spot, over seventy years ago, that I shot her parents. I shot her son at the airport just now. You no doubt came from there. You are next”

“Okay, so it’s me you want,” Diana said, “Then let my boy go. He has no part in this.”

“Oh, believe me, he does,” Hoffman said, “He’s your son. He’s your mother’s grandson. That alone is enough! On top of being untermenschen, of course. But no, I’m not going to kill him.”

“What do you mean?” Diana said.

“You will,” Hoffman said.

“And why the frak would I do that?” Diana said.

Hoffman waved his other hand, which clutched a detonator. “Last night, I hid more canisters throughout Frankfurt. If you do not kill your son, and experience the same thing your mother did decades ago, I will wipe this city clean of the subhuman filth that has overrun it, including your precious son. And then, once you have seen the destruction you have brought upon yourself, I will kill you.”

“So, Alex and I die no matter what,” Diana said, “What reason do I have to do it then?”

“Because it’s a simple equation,” Hoffman said, “The life of one little boy, or the lives of all of the millions in this city, including that little boy. The answer is quite clear.”

“You sadistic motherfrakker,” Diana said, “You think you can just hijack my life, terrorize the people I know, trample on my mother’s legacy, mock my work, and threaten my family, make me kill my own child, kill me, and just get away with it? Now I know why Mom hated you so much. You are a truly evil person. You don’t settle for killing people. You also torture them. You’re a monster. I will not let you kill my son! I will not let you slaughter this city! This madness ends here!”

“But still, you can’t do anything about it,” Hoffman said, “Go ahead, shoot me.”

He took his finger off his trigger. “I’m a man of my word. I will let you take a shot. Alex will not be shot…at least by me. Go ahead.”

Diana kept her gun aimed at Hoffman, but she still couldn’t get a clear shot at him. She risked shooting Alex in the head or triggering the detonator. She couldn’t hit Hoffman. It was downright infuriating. Here was the man responsible for her family’s troubles over the last seventy years. He was right in front of her. She couldn’t kill him. She knew he knew that. He was gloating about it.

“So stubborn, believing you still have a chance…” Hoffman said. “Just like your mother. Just like your grandparents. But they all forgot I have an infinite supply of patience. And that is why I will always win in the end. That is why we Angeloi will win in the end. Our cause will live on even after the last of us are gone. Your pitiful loyalists will yet have their day of reckoning, even if it is long after we are all dead. You are only delaying your inevitable demise.”

Diana suddenly recalled some words from her recent cases.

“You of all people should know we have plenty of tricks up our sleeves,” Hassan said, “We have lived a thousand generations, won a million battles, and wiped away countless civilizations older and more powerful than yours. You have NO CHANCE OF DEFEATING US!”

“You’ve stopped…nothing…your fate has already been written,” Behr said, “We aren’t dictating the future. We just know what has already transpired and what will come to pass. This empire will fall, and the family that rules it will perish to the last member.”

Diana remembered the visions she saw after visiting al-Dud, alongside the many dreams, visions, and hunches she’d had since then. Terrible sights of the future, both on the galactic scale and personal level. There was the Reich burning, centuries in the future, with the Hohenzollerns dead and all hope lost, and then there were comparatively minor events that were yet to happen in her own life, leading up to her inevitable death, some of which had already happened and set her on that fateful path. Wait. Her inevitable death. Which hadn’t happened yet. She realized she was not going to die today. Not only that, but she knew Alex would not die today. He was important. He would go on to forge a new path for the Reich…a path that would ultimately lead to its demise. What should she do? Save her son and doom the future Reich? Or avert that future and let her son die, but open up the possibility of a similar or worse future? Was there even a choice to make? Was the future already decided for her, as her visions implied? Were they already on that path, and her son wasn’t setting the events in motion but already one of those events?

“I forge my own path!” Friedrich the Great said. “I…WILL…NOT…FAIL…AGAIN! I…DECIDE…MY…OWN…FATE!”

“We decide our own fate,” Dieter said, “We won’t the likes of you dictate our future. I won’t let anymore innocents die. Like in the Minch.”

She recalled those words in an attempt to convince herself otherwise. But deep down, she knew it was useless. And slowly, she started to admit that to herself. Strangely, she started laughing.

“Heh,” she said, “Hah, hah, good one! Nice try, Alfred Hoffman.”

For the first time, Hoffman stopped smiling. His confidence disappeared, replaced by confusion.

“I’m...sorry?” he said.

“You’re totally right,” Diana said, “We will have our day of reckoning. It will be long after we’re all dead. It won’t be the one you’re expecting, though. When that day comes, we’ll all burn together. All of us. Not as Angeloi and Loyalists, or even Romans and non-Romans, but as fellow humans. I’m not delaying my inevitable demise. My demise is inevitable, yes, but I know when it is, and I have made no attempts to delay it. I’m not running away from it. Because it’s not today. 3…2…1…”

The door swung open, and Anna, Walter, and Olga rushed inside. While Hoffman was distracted by the noise, Alex bit his arm. The Angeloi screamed in pain, blood seeping from the gash Alex’s teeth made. He was forced to drop Alex.

“Alex, run!” Diana said.

Alex ran away. Hoffman tried aiming at Diana and pressing the detonator, but Diana shot him in the shoulder. The Angeloi staggered back as Diana slowly walked down the stairs, pulling her trigger again and again. Another bullet struck his leg, and he fell to his knees. Another smashed through his hand, destroying the detonator, but by now she knew it was fake. She no longer heard anything, having toned it out to focus on her singular job, putting down this monster. She fired again and again, each shot squarely hitting Hoffman. She reloaded and continued firing. He fell on his back, gasping for air as he lay in a puddle of his own blood. She stopped firing and approached him. He glared at Walter.

“Bischoff,” he hissed, “Traitor! You should’ve died like your grandfather!”

Then he locked eyes with Diana, who pointed her gun at Hoffman’s head.

"Remember this," he said, "You are helpless. You are insignificant. You are still a scared little girl like your mother was.”

“No, I’m not,” Diana said, “I’m not Mom. I never will be her. But I’m Diana Frank. And I…know what my fate is.”

She emptied the rest of her clip into Hoffman’s body.

“That’s for Alex,” she said, “That’s for Mom.”


Frankfurt - 1968, night

Five-year-old Diana shot out of bed and screamed. Within seconds, Anne burst into the room and ran over to her.

“What is it, dear?” she said.

“It’s him!” Diana shouted. “It’s the man!”

“The man?” Anne said.

“The man who killed Grandpa and Grandma!” Diana said. “He was coming to get me!”

“It’s okay, Anna, dear,” Anne said, “Calm down. It’s just a nightmare.”

“Just a nightmare,” Diana said, “Are you sure he’s gone?”

“I’m very sure, honey,” Anne said, “Very, very sure.”

“And if he’s not?” Diana said.

“Then I will go after him,” Anne said, “And I will make sure he never, ever hurts you. You have my word.”

“It felt so real,” Diana said.

“Anna, dear, he is gone,” Anne said, “I made sure of it. He will not come after you. I promise.”

“Promise?” Diana said.

Anne hugged her. “I promise. I’d never let my little girl go through what I went through.”


2015,11:00 AM

“…learning that the notorious domestic terrorist responsible for the murder of Aliya Hussein and her family, as well as hundreds of Jews and Muslims throughout…”

“…holed up at the Anne Frank Memorial Museum, where he took hostages…”

“…killed in shootout with Athanatoi agents…”

“…claimed there were more devices hidden throughout Frankfurt…”

“…Athanatoi will not comment on the ongoing investigation, only saying the perpetrator was a self-described neo-Angeloi…”

“…out of respect for the victims, we will not be releasing the perpetrator’s name…”

“…Special Agent in Charge Diana Frank has been commended for her bravery in taking down the perpetrator before more lives, including that of her son, were lost…”

“…Agent Frank is perhaps most well-known for being the daughter of the late war hero, Athanatoi veteran, and Director Anne Frank, also known by the callsign Valkyrie, although she has taken steps to separate herself from her mother’s legacy, most notably during her leadership during the recent Blachernae Palace hostage crisis…”

Diana sat on the steps in front of the porch, staring off into the distance. Her gun sat on the steps next to her. She paid no attention to the hordes of reporters trying to force their way past the lines of police officers, led by Burt, and Athanatoi agents. She hated publicity. She got far more than her share as a kid. Guess that was another thing she got from Mom. As she sighed and checked her watch, Olga sat next to her.

“Hey, Di,” she said, “So it turns out the threat of more gas canisters hidden throughout the city was just a bluff. The detonator was a fake. How you holding up?”

“I’m fine,” Diana said, “I knew it was a fake.”

“What you did today…” Olga said.

“Was kill the man who terrorized my family for the last seventy years,” Diana said, “He traumatized my mother and turned her into the person she is today. He denied her the chance to live a normal life. I grew up hearing stories about what he did, which Mom shared so I knew just how brutal the Angeloi could be. I was scared of him my entire life, especially when Project Gungnir resurfaced during the war and Mom almost died. And then just now he started messing with me. He wanted me to feel the same thing Mom did when she lost her parents. He wanted to do the same to me as he did to her. So when I got a chance to kill him and end him for good, I did it. I don’t regret what I did. Finally, I can move past this dark chapter in my history.”

“I’m not trying to say it’s wrong,” Olga said, “You did the right thing.”

“No, no, it was more than that,” Diana said, “You see, Olga, nobody messes with my family. Nobody messes with Mom’s legacy. Nobody messes with my son. There's nothing I wouldn't do.”

She got up. “Where’s my son?”

“Over by Anna,” Olga said, “You ready?”

“Yeah,” Diana said, “I feel…better now. Relieved. Like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulder.”

She walked across the street, past the rows of reporters, who thrust cameras and microphones in her direction as the police officers kept holding them back. She ignored them and continued walking over to Walter’s car, Olga by her side. At the car, she found Alex sitting in the passenger’s seat, watching the police cars.

“Hey, Alex,” Diana said, “I’m here.”

“Hey, Mom,” Alex said, not making eye contact.

“What’s wrong?” Diana said.

“That man,” Alex said, “Is he gone?”

“He’s gone now,” Diana said, “Your mom made sure he’s gone.”

“Are you sure he’s gone?” Alex said.

“I’m very sure, honey,” Diana said, “Very, very sure.”

“And if he’s not?” Alex said.

“Then I will go after him,” Diana said, “And I will make sure he never, ever hurts you. You have my word.”

“He wanted to kill me,” Alex said.

“Alex, dear, he is gone,” Diana said, “I made sure of it. He will not come back. I promise.”

“Promise?” Alex said.

Diana hugged her. “I promise. I’d never let my little boy suffer like that.”

But she knew he had a difficult life ahead of him, full of pain and suffering, and she wouldn't be there to protect him.


Outside Frankfurt - November 9, 2015

There was one thing left for Diana to do before she left Frankfurt. She sent Olga ahead with Alex to Constantinople to meet up with the others. Angela had finished redacting the files last night and was ready to send them to Theresa. Olga and Anders were to make sure those files arrived at Die Zeiten’s office intact before they went to print. Anna and Walter were sent home. They got the rest of the week off. It was the least she could do for them. She herself…she had unfinished business to attend to before heading back east.

She got off her motorcycle, took off her helmet, and walked off the dirt road. The grassy plains stretched for miles around her, and its grass reached up to her shoulders in places, sometimes giving off an itchy feeling and other times feeling oddly soothing. Behind her, the skyscrapers of Frankfurt loomed, their steel and glass gleaming in the sunlight. A light breeze blew across the plains, the grass gently bending while Diana’s hair fluttered free. She hadn’t been here in forever. But she and her mother before her had been coming here for many decades now. Mom first came here as a child, playing with Rita during the summer break. Decades later, she took Diana here to play as well. Diana stopped coming here after high school. She always told herself she was too old to come here, but she really just didn’t want to play in an open field with nothing but the grass around her and the occasional trees. Anne, though, always said she loved the place. It was the only place where she felt totally free and relaxed. It was a place where she could leave the war behind and just be a normal kid. It was thus the place where her remains were buried at, under the lonely old oak tree she and Rita used to climb.

Diana made her way to the oak tree. It had been adorned with some mementos, left over by Mom’s fans over the years, especially after November 9. A Roman flag was draped over one of the branches, slowly rustling in the wind. It was all flashier than Anne’s actual grave, which was just a simple plaque hidden among the roots below her official Athanatoi portrait, almost covered by the mementos. There was no iconic catchphrase or last words.

Anne Frank
1929 - 2001
Diana sat in front of the plaque and took out a round river stone from her backpack, which she placed next to all of the other stones she left behind at every visit. A stone symbolized the permanence of memories and the immortality of the soul. She was relying on those memories now to remember better times.

“Hi, Mom,” Diana said, “I’m sorry I haven’t visited much. Things have been busy lately. But I always tell you that. I know you don’t like it. I’m sorry. I really am.”

She sighed. “I know I haven’t been the best daughter all the time. I yelled at you. I argued with you a lot. I joined the Athanatoi and took all those crazy postings to rebel against you. Maybe even Anders and X-Division itself were originally part of those rebellions. I admit, I didn’t like living in your shadow. It was so hard, growing up with you as my mother. I thought I didn’t have a normal life. Just like what happened to you.”

She looked up at the tree. “So, Hoffman came back from the dead, can you believe it? Well, you might be asking, why am I bringing this up now? I promise, it’ll make sense by the end. Anyways, Hoffman went around murdering people, as you said he does. It took me a while to find out it was him. But I eventually got him. I shot him in the head. I burned his body so he can’t come back again. Scattered his ashes in the Main. He frankly didn’t deserve it, that motherfrakker, but I had no choice. Sorry, my language’s not the cleanest. But as I hunted him, I realized just what he did to you. He killed your parents. He took away your only chance for a normal life while the rest of the world set itself on fire. That’s why you became the Valkyrie. Out of necessity. And you didn’t want me to go down the same path. You didn’t want me to suffer like you did. You wanted me to have the normal life you never did. Even with your status, you tried your best. I never saw that. I’m sorry for not seeing it sooner. I…I also wanted to be my own person. But I realized I was already my own person a long time ago, thanks to you.”

She looked back at Anne’s portrait. “I really hope I made you proud. I know how much you hated the guy. He tried to kill Alex. He’s doing better now, your grandson. He's fine now. I always wished you could meet him. He asks about his grandma all the time. He would’ve loved you. Anders is doing fine as well. We’re almost done with our work. I can see the end in sight. And then we’ll have accomplished everything we set out to do. I can finally rest as you always wanted.”

She stood up. “I know you never wanted your little girl to be harmed. I know you never wanted me to be in trouble. But I can handle myself now. I know what I’m capable of. It feels like a large weight’s been lifted off my shoulder. After what I did yesterday, I feel free. I’m my own person now, as I have always been.”

Diana’s phone rang. It was Anders.

“Mom, I have to go now,” she said, “I have work to handle. But it was nice talking to you. I’m sorry I can’t stay longer. I would really love to talk to you more. Maybe next time. When all of this is finally over. Goodbye, and thanks, Mom. Until next time. Love you.”

She walked back to her motorcycle, answering her call along the way.

“Hello?” she said.

“It’s done,” Anders said.

“I’m coming back,” Diana said, “Meet you and Alex at the airport. Love you.”

She hung up and opened Die Zeiten’s app. There it was, on the front page, both online and in the physical papers. The culmination of over twenty years of X-Divison’s hard work. The modern day equivalent of the Pentagon Papers. It all came down to this. One last push. One last battle.

'Sentinel' Archive: Leaked File Outlines Seven Decades of Massive Corruption, Conspiracy
It was so fitting that on November 9, X-Division was finally going to war.

The truth was finally out there.
 
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TWR97

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All's well that ends well for the Legacy of the Valkyrie, and a long time coming too, especially given how long ago the HOI 3 segment was. Anne, her parents and all of Hoffman's victims can finally rest in peace.

So, November 9 eh? Seems like everything always comes back to that fateful day. One final battle for the truth. I'm gonna miss the X-Division crew and their antics once this story arc finally wraps up, but as they always say, all good things must come to an end. I'm looking forward to the X-Division arc's finale.
 

zenphoenix

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All's well that ends well for the Legacy of the Valkyrie, and a long time coming too, especially given how long ago the HOI 3 segment was. Anne, her parents and all of Hoffman's victims can finally rest in peace.
It's time we wrapped up Anne's story for good. Diana has finally confronted her family's past and emerged from it a better person. Now she can move forward with her own life instead of staying in her mother's shadow.
So, November 9 eh? Seems like everything always comes back to that fateful day. One final battle for the truth. I'm gonna miss the X-Division crew and their antics once this story arc finally wraps up, but as they always say, all good things must come to an end. I'm looking forward to the X-Division arc's finale.
Nothing lasts forever. It's been about 23 years since Angela showed up in Anders' office, and now they are at the end of their journey, for better or worse. Although we won't see X-Division's story continue in its current form after this finale, depending on what happens here, they may show up in the future.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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I feel like Anne would be proud of Diana, it was a nice end to this arc. Fun seeing a character use the fact that they're doomed at a later point to be confident they'd survive a seemingly impossible situation.
 

zenphoenix

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I feel like Anne would be proud of Diana, it was a nice end to this arc. Fun seeing a character use the fact that they're doomed at a later point to be confident they'd survive a seemingly impossible situation.
She'd definitely be proud of her daughter's achievements.

Diana definitely feels a little invincible sometimes. But the pessimism generally is more common than confidence. She knows what is going to happen to her, and she knows she isn't going to avoid it. Might as well make the best of what time she has left.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Great update as always, there was a lot of great development for Diana here, looking forward to the Finale arc.
Funny how you use dastard as it's a common swear word in Fire Emblem.
I may not have played any Fire Emblem game before, but I do have some knowledge of them after watching lets plays and other related videos, I just thought that would be the most appropriate word to use in this context. Besides, it is a real word used in its legitimate context by the Fire Emblem games from what I understand, tho it may be as commonly used in real life as it is in Fire Emblem's medieval fantasy settings.

I've also think your use of the word "Frak" as a curse word is a reference to Battlestar Galactica as well, which I didn't notice until recently. I just thought it was a curse word you used in the Hohenzollernverse to keep profanity to a minimum in this Megacampagin until now. Granted, it's probably not a real word like Dastard is and is likely closer to the Thief games use of the word "Taffer" as a pejorative, but it's still a fun word regardless.
A few minor ideas so far as I've only moved on to the GBA era now. The idea is to delete one route and change the remaining three routes in some way I am not sure of yet. I'd have to tear out a lot of the symbolism of the four routes being named after the four seasons and patterned after a classical Chinese poem, replacing it with something else. I'll have the Adrestian Empire (or Adrestian Reich) be a direct Roman analogue and its relations with Faerghus and Leicester be a lot like the Maximist Wars. The Church of Seiros would have a combination of influences from the medieval Catholic Church and modern Orthodox Church. I've significantly changed a lot of character motivations and deleted some villains. One character will want to create an Ottonian-style meritocracy, while another will want to bring their tolerant and pluralistic vision to the largely isolationist and xenophobic continent.
You could replace those symbolism with symbolism from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or Romance of the Four Empires if you want specific allusions to Hohenzollernverse literature. Maybe there could be a Chinese style multi emperor system that the church maintains until the monarchs of the game's three houses break it due to either a desire change a rigid status quo or some other more personal reasons.
Although I will disable the ascension perks, I will still have psionic individuals from events and story stuff. There will still be interactions with the Shroud, and I have a few vague ideas of what to do. I admit I forgot about the different psionic disciplines described in the Annionaverse but I'll take a look at those when I get closer to Stellaris. I have a few great ideas on how to talk about the differences between traditional magic and psionic powers, especially regarding the angels and the Worm. I also occasionally float the idea of having the Inquisition go public as a psionic-researching organization while keeping their traditional magic and supernatural-oriented stuff underground. Though that might not work after what Behr just did.
That's an intriguing idea, I like the idea of the Inquisition having a psionic researching organization as a front for their supernatural activities. I know you probally haven't seen this series, but you ideas for Psionic and Magic, namely the interactions between the Shroud, the Worm and Angels you've hinted at for Stellaris reminds me of the world building ideas of the Certain Magical Index/Certian Scientific Railgun series, where supernatural magic systems and sci fi "Esper" abilities coexist and interact in its setting. I know it's not often that I suggest media you could watch for ideas and inspirations for your storyarcs, let alone if its Anime and Manga (and light novels in this case), but I actually think it might be worth checking out this Anime series for some ideas you could use for Stellaris. From what I see from this video describing its premise and world, it might be a good fit for your Stellaris ideas.
I also have some ideas for different magical systems that could parallel each other that as well, namely differnet systems the Cult and the Inquisition could use. On the spectrum between Hard and Soft magic systems a lot of world building videos for fantasy mention, I imagine the Inquistion before Behr would lean towards a Hard magic system, where the Inquisition would have a more clear understanding of their magical abilities and limitations, even if its slightly rooted in soft magic mysticism due to being rooted in Ancient and Medieval religious mythology and folklore. Meanwhile, due to the nature of the Worm as a mysterious Eldrich god that breaks the laws of reality and physics, I can see the Cult using soft magic that isn't constrained by the same hard magical limitations the Inquisition have to follow, with Behr and other cult aligned infiltrators only following the limitations of Inquisition magic to maintain their cover.
What do you think of this suggestion? I’m hoping that an idea I like this would make the Cult a more intimidating antagonist and give characters fighting Behr, like Munster and Dieter, unique challenges they would have to overcome when facing the Worm’s minions, like maybe a different weakness they can exploit.
I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the popular culture view that the OTL Catholic Church suppressed science and technology (developments in military and agricultural technology and Catholic clergymen preserving classical texts show otherwise), but also wanted to show that in the Hohenzollernverse, the Catholic Church is even more demonized under the new regime to pave the way for the mending of the schism. The Orthodox Church's more obvious encouragement of innovation was probably as the result of the (mostly) pluralistic theological reforms Saint Wilhelmina enacted over the course of the 12th century Renaissance and the throne's significant influence over the Church.

The whole incident with Friedrich the Glorious and heliocentrism probably went the way it did because of his high popularity, massive political and religious influence, and his own personal charisma. He would've argued that heliocentrism is nothing new, having been discovered in the third century BCE, and God would've wanted His creations to explore and learn more about the world He created as a way to get closer to Him. This would've created some schisms within the Catholic Church and paved the way for the further weakening of papal authority, allowing Saint Wilhelmina to mend the schism.
Since we are discussing instances of the crown's influence over the church even before Saint Wilhelmina mended the schism, then we could also discuss how the two Friedrichs declared their crusades and invasions through the Catholic Church, with the only instance of the Pope declaring a crusade without Hohenzollern influence being the Fourth Crusade against Perm, which was a distaster that probably weakened the Church's legitimacy even further. I imagine the 11th and early 12th Crusades going hand in hand with the Restoration and expansion of the Roman Reich certainly helped with Friedrich the Great's goal of uniting all of Chistendom behind the Reich, as there would've been a holy war element behind the Reich fighting religious enemies to unite Europe, while it gave the Hohenzollerns massive religious influence over church institutions. I imagine it also allowed the Hohenzollerns to do away with troublesome demographics prone to resistance without consequences, hence the mass assimilation programs done to the French, Eastern Europeans or Arabs, or the suppression of Catholicism after the mending of the schism.

Now that I mention TTL's Fourth Crusade, I'm wondering about the potential reaction the Saray Empire could've had on that attack, as well as how it could influnce Yavidi later on? At the very least, I imagine it would create a strong stigma towards Christianity in the region, much like the stigma Scandinavians had towards Christains until recently, abliet slightly milder than the Norse's historical anti Christain polices due to Yavadi being an ally of the Reich in the past, despite the Reich's own negative outlook on Mongols after the Thirteenth Century Crisis.
I am certainly planning on talking more about the forging of Enonon and Friedrich the Great's early life in general, but not anytime soon.
That would be fun to see. It might also be fun to flesh out some of Friedrich key relationships as well, namely with Werner von Habsburg, Freidrich von Sigmaringen and Heinrich von Salian, and how crucial they were to his success. EU4 actually has this interesting passage about Lothar's (I'll call him that to distinguish him from Freidrich von Sigmaringen) relations with Friedrich and Werner, which would make for very interesting character interactions if we ever see them in another flashback.
“It makes sense,” said Wilhelm, slightly drunk, “I know why all three of you were chosen. Werner von Habsburg of Aargau, Friedrich von Hohenzollern of Berlin, and Friedrich von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen of Nuremburg. Together you share your names with those of the Big Three who helped bring about Restoration: Count Werner von Habsburg of Aargau, later Duke of Austria and King of Lothringia and Hungary, Baron Friedrich von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen of Nuremburg, later King of France and Italy, and of course Friedrich the Great, the last Kaiser of a non-symbolic Holy Roman Empire and King of Jerusalem and Germany. It was said that when all three of them were put in joint command of an army, they would bicker among each other and get their army destroyed or defeated but miraculously and inexplicably survive and secure long-term victory. One such example was when Friedrich and Frederick led an army against Caliph al-Mutansir during the First Crusade and got everybody killed except for themselves but still ended up raising the imperial eagles over Jerusalem in Christmas of 1072.”
I assume you're already be covering this topic in your essay question, but I'm also curios about how the Roman military's transition from the feudal levies of Friedrich the Great to the Early Modern/Ancient Roman Republic style standing armies over the course of the early Reich period. You actually covered a bit of how this happened in this post awhile ago, but I imagine the evolution of the Roman army would've also had something to do with its innovative spirit fostered by its long string of talented miltiary leaders, like Saint Gunhilda or Prince Nikephourus for example.
What about the Karlings? We could have them as a meme route.
In addition to their domestic polices revolving around reviving French culture to give Gallia a new identity independent of the former Reich, I can see the Karlings attempting to recreate the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne, that would makes sense given the Karlings' history.
I think I wrote the Britannian Diet stuff as a way to retcon the War of the Roses disaster which accidentally fired even though England did not exist, which means the viceroyalty passes between the Yorks, Lancasters, de Normandies, Angevins, and other families. It was eventually split apart into each Britannian state's local Diet after WW2, but that never happened here, so it would be interesting for players to have to balance between the major noble families. Their main goal would be to stop the Norse, but they could also turn towards Hibernia and France or even the unification of the Reich (with a new King Arthur myth as the old ones did mention Rome).
I like the idea of Britain using Arthurian myths to justify reuniting the Reich under their rule, maybe they could invent a myth about King Arthur being descended from Roman emperors and use that to claim Britain is the one worthy of reuniting the Reich, angering Prussia and their pro Reich allies naturally.

You mentioned Mel Brooks in the Hedy Lammar bio awhile back, so I'm now wondering what his movies would be like in TTL? I may not have watched a Mel Brooks movie before, but from what I see from this video essay below, it seems like his Jewish identity play into most of his movies' comedy and their mocking of anti semetism and racism, especially fascist anti semetism, so I wonder how his movies would look like here when Muslims were targeted by the Angeloi and Muslims more than Jews.
 
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