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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

McGrey

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Senator Lazaros II. Melissenos

*Before senator Serapis can withdraw his hand, it is greated by the short but firm pressure of slim fingers.*

Grandfather spoke always well of your family, senator Serapis, and I remember well that my cousin Basilina was married to one of the men of your house. I hope that our houses in general and we as senators in particular will continue to enjoy such good cooperation, although as I already said to senator Mandromenos regarding his... entourage: Trust is a high valued commodity this days. Still be assured, I do not plan to poison the atmosphere with mistrust and I'm ready to work with everyone of you.

*The last words are spoken in the direction of the other senators too. When senator Pylaeus is mentioning attire, one might imagine a smile on Lazaros' face, although the heavy veil conceals such a display of emotions. He then continues to speak to the group without raising his soft voice.*

Fellow senators, we should begin discussing the problems that have brought us here today. We need a leader for the coming session, who ever wants to take up the mantle should speak up freely so we can discuss it, but I would think that one of our veteran senators might be suitable the most, giving us an edge in experience.

The second topic is the state of the empire. For years now the coffers are draining faster than they can be filled, this can't be continue much further or total financial collapse will be imminent. It needs to be avoided by cutting spending and and raising income – much easier said then done, I agree. But even when a state bankruptcy can be avoided, the fallout of this deficit will hount the empire for years to come.

Since we are the whites and religion is apparently one of our main topics – although from the tales of my grandfather I come to doubt this statement – we should at least talk shortly about this new sect, these Angeloduli. My personal view is, that they should be ignored for the moment, maybe even used. From what has been heard, there center, Smyrna, is now a save and secure city which is much more than can be said bout half the empire. Let them do the work now and we take care of them later, when more pressuring problems are solved.
 

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Senator Lodovico di Capponi:

I-i-i-f I m-m-m-may speak about th-th-e issues f-ff-facing the Imperium. F-f-f-f-irst there is the f-f-finances. We c-c-an-cannot allow our spending to d-d-d-destroy the Imperium, so w-w-we m-m-m-ust take dr-drastic measures to save the I-i-imperium. Wh-whatmore, I can assure th-th-e S-senators that this pl-plague was not caused by J-j-j-ews, and w-w-we shouldn't p-punish them for crimes th-th-ey didn't commit. Also, the X-x-enoi are not to blame for th-th-e re-volts.I have b-b-been living i-i-in Rome recently, i-i-t these revolutions are the work of Romanoi, and Rome m-m-must be freed. The Ochlocracy (ὀχλοκρατία) of Rome m-m-must not stand...

*Lodovico is now very distressed, and has begun to a wild-eyed rant*

We must not allow the filthy crowd to own the Crown City! Their filthy, subhuman hands degrade and ruin any government, any state, any society they touch! We should show no mercy, there should never be mercy! Death to the rebels! DEATH! They are no better, perhaps worse than the Xenoi themselves. We must root out these rebels, and even worse, these "Amantes Patriae" seek not only to subvert the Imperium, but to join hands with the Pisans and form a Republic. *screaming* A REPUBLIC! This is merely the beginning of the decline to democracy, then ochlocracy, then the fall of civilization! It is said in Leviticus 25:35, "If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner"! It is obvious in the word of God! The Holy Book states that the poor must be treated like strangers, and I believe the Greek word for stranger is Xénos, if I am not mistaken. And mistaken I am not.


*Lodovico comes to his senses, and a look of abject fear enters his eyes once more, he briefly nods his head and flees back to the safety of his seat, which he promptly hides under.*
 
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CzokletMuss

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Senator Lodovico di Capponi:
It is said in Leviticus 25:35, "If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner"! See! The Holy Book states that the poor must be treated like strangers, and I believe the Greek word for stranger is Xénos, if I am not mistaken, which I am not.
{{ This is brilliant! :D Indeed in Greek "xenos" means "stranger, foreigner, alien", hence such creative interpretation is actually possible :p }}
 
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Blogman66

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Senator Iskandar Ouranos:

*Iskandar hums in thought at Mandromenos' response, choosing not to say anything. When Serapis enters the room he nods his head in greetings, finally a youngster that knows respect.

When Pyaelus enters the room, the old man breathes in relief at the sight of the veteran Senator. He shakes his head with vigour not seen from him since the beginning of the meeting.*

Old friend it is good to see you here, Thank the Angeloi and Christ that you've managed to survive in these troubled times.

*Iskandar then turns to face di Capponi, not flinching at the sudden burst of anger*

Senator Capponi, whilst the Jews may or may not be the source of our many problems, the people of the Imperium require scapegoats. The anger of the people should not be turned towards the government and the Jews are wealthy scapegoats to say the least. The Imperium's forces must be re-organized and disbanded, our frontiers are no longer a priority right now, only Italia and Graecia and their stability matter. It pains me to say this as a man from Aegyptus but it must be done.

As for your comment on the Angeloduli Senator Melissnos, I too believe that leaving them alone is our best option for the moment. They still support the Emperor and in this world against us that is the best outcome of this upcoming cult.
 

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes:

"I thank you, Senator Melissenos. Basilina yet lives, though I fear she has suffered much. As have we all, in these times."

"Indeed, Senator Melissenos, the finances must be restored, and they can be if we act wisely. The current deficit is small compared to our expenses for our frankly at this time useless armies." He speaks so all can hear him. "What we must do, at this current time, is gather the armies in a safe location and cut their funding entirely. That way they can subsist off the land, and can be of use once again when what remains of the Imperium recovers. They are simply in no shape to fight even the weakest of rebellions. And we should not risk their future usefulness by committing them to an expensive struggle they can not win. But if we keep them in reserve until the effects of the bankruptsy wears off they can weed out the weakness and curruption in their ranks and be of use once more to recover what we will inevitably lose."

"I know that this is not what most of you will want to hear. I understand your fury, senator di Capponi. It is natural to wish to struggle against adversity. But if we do that now we will only harm that which we wish to defend. To struggle against fate is useless, we must instead adapt to fate and try to gently guide it to a better outcome. It is in our power, my brothers, to combat rebellion not by repression and force of arms, but by justice and love. We can reform the laws of the Imperium and calm the fears of the people by strengthening their protection under the laws, while at the same time reaffirming our committment to upholding the sanctity of the Faith {{-revolt risk and +tolerance to the true faith as Faction bonus and Policy}}. That will reduce the strength of the rebellions and allow us to wether this crisis with a minimum of suffering for the Imperium and its people."

Senator Iskandar Ouranos:
Senator Capponi, whilst the Jews may or may not be the source of our many problems, the people of the Imperium require scapegoats. The anger of the people should not be turned towards the government and the Jews are wealthy scapegoats to say the least. The Imperium's forces must be re-organized and disbanded, our frontiers are no longer a priority right now, only Italia and Graecia and their stability matter. It pains me to say this as a man from Aegyptus but it must be done.

As for your comment on the Angeloduli Senator Melissnos, I too believe that leaving them alone is our best option for the moment. They still support the Emperor and in this world against us that is the best outcome of this upcoming cult.
"Respectfully, Senators Ouranos and Melissenos, I must disagree on your stance on the Angeloduli heresy. In these chaotic times the unity of the faith is all that's keeping the Imperium together. We can not allow a heresy, no matter how seemingly benign, to take root. If we do nothing now we will pay a terrible price in the future. Mark my words. No matter the intentions of the so called Angelina darker powers are pulling her strings."

"As for the jews. Ah, that subject troubles me. Though they may be innocent of spreading the plague they are still denying our Saviour, and I can not see why they should be allowed to continue that crime. If we treat them harshly we may force them to convert and thereby save their souls. In the end that would be a kindness."
 
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Serpent

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes:

Marius bows respectfully to Senator Decius Pylaeus, while still in conversation with Mellissenos, Ouranos and Capponi. He had once been one of the ablest men in the Senate, if Marius' father was to be believed. A close ally, but also a worthy potential rival. His words had held great weight in the old senate, and would surely do so again.
 

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Lazaros II. Melissenos

Maybe your right in seeing a danger in this new sect, senator Serapis, but we should be totally honest to ourselves here: We're not going to solve all problems at once so some must be postponed. I agree that in the long term, the Angeloduli might be a threath, although I'm not fully convinced of that. But we simply do not have the means to fight them.

As you said rightly, the army must be cut down in size, although we have to be conscious that this might only encourage both outer and inner enemies. I think the best way here would be to keep the most veteran soldiers and consolidate them while discharge the new recruits. Not only would it keep the rests of the troops on a reasonably high quality level, it would also liberate much needed workforce for the imperial economy and compensate for the plaque dead to a certain degree. But even then, this leftover army is still needed elsewhere: There are peasant uprisings all over the empire, even here near Constantinople. There are even groups that want to secede from the empire, how non existent there survival chances would be. To combat these the army is needed at this moment, not to fight one of the few peaceful groups.

Again, if the empire is consolidated and set back on it's feet, this sect should become furthermost priority, but until then...

*Lazaros falls silent for a moment and leans back in his seat.*

I don't say this lightly, but we should also think about the question if it would be realy bad, if some of the border regions secede for now. It would create buffers between us and our surrounding enemies. Or victims, if you will. And give the core territories time to recover somewhat.

*He raises a hand slightly to ward of the first protests.*

I know it is a gamble. I don't even advocate it that much. But we shouldn’t forbid ourselves to think about it. No idea that might give the empire a chance and might it be desperate should be held back out of a false sense of pride or something like that.
 

Serpent

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

"I do not think it's a question of wether our outlying regions will seceed." He says grimly. "They will do that wether or not we allow them. Our armies can not fight, wether or not we fund them. Not rebelling peasants, not slaves nor aristoi, heathens nor heretics. And they certainly can not fight the well armed and determined secessionists, some of whom likely are supported by our enemies. We should weather this crisis by not fighting and preserve our armies while plague and famine decimates the rebels."

"There are many ways to fight, Senator Melissenos, and while we shouldn't fight this heresy with force of arms there are other ways. The least we can do is condemn it forcefully, as the eucumenic Patriarch has already done, and show the people that it is a path to damnation."
 

McGrey

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Lazaros II. Melissenos

*Lazaros nods, before answering slowly.*

That could indeed be done but than the condemnation has to come from the whole of the senate or it will be without impact. Worse yet, it could present us as divided in this topic and encouraging this sect – or others – to strengthen there efforts further.


{{Czoklet? Could you tell us how many soldiers we have versus our force limit?}}
 

Blogman66

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Senator Iskandar Ouranos

*The elderly man nods slowly at Lazaros' comment*

The core territories of the Imperium must be defended at all costs, at the detriment of our frontiers. Should we lose Aegyptus or, God forbid, Italia, I do not know if the Imperium could ever recover. Our armies are weak and will have to remain weak until we can fix our finances.

As for the heretics, I myself do not know much about them. On one end I have been told that they keep stability in the regions where they are present; on the other end, that they are a threat to the future of the Imperium should they stay active. Senators of the White Demes of the past were known for their religious zeal against the likes of the xenoi and the false Emperor of the West, perhaps it is time to return to our actions of old: Destroy the heretics!

*Iskandar coughs quite heavily after his bit, then goes on to gesture for a servant to serve him wine.*

 

CzokletMuss

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{{Czoklet? Could you tell us how many soldiers we have versus our force limit?}}
{{I would if this was the Red Demes meeting ;) }}
 
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Serpent

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

"At the very least the White Demes should be united, though others in the Senate may try to use the heretics against us. If we do not stand up for the interests of the Faith that has always sustained us we will lose all credibility."

And yet, to destroy the heretics with force of arms may only empower them. Christ our saviour was martyred by crusifixion, the first adherents to the faith were slaughtered en mass by the pagan Romans. And yet that only strengthened Christianity in the end. If we martyr the leader of this new cult her followers may only become more determined, and others may see unfortunate parallels. No. She must be condemned and discredited before we throw her down. Her name must be lower than dirt before her end. And her name, unfortunately, is Angeloi..."

He shakes his head. "It is a dangerous path we must tread, but it must be done. We must not betray the Faith or our Saviour."
 

Blogman66

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Senator Iskandar Ouranos

"Careful there young one," he says softly to Marius, "what you speak here is treason. Do not believe the purge of the Blue Demes was something out of the
ordinary, it can very well happen to us if we let our tongues loose too much.

The other Demes will always try to put us down, whether we can control this heresy or not. You are right in that regard, Senator Serapis, that we need to put the name of the cult to the dirt, but I believe the Angeloi should be left alone, let the people worship Saint Markos with vigour, just let it be under the rightful religion under Kritos and God. However it will be difficult since as previously mentioned, the areas where they are strong are stable and somewhat prosper."

*Iskandar lets out a long sigh, looking into his glass of wine with a forlorn face.*

"We must stand united, that much is true, but knowing the Senate it will most likely not be the case I am afraid."
 

Serpent

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

"You're right, wise one. I spoke in haste, but my intent was the furthest from treason. I merely seek what is best for the Imperium and the Faith, and I do not believe the Emperor supports his distant relative in her vainglorious rise above her station. She asked to open a hospital and supply charity for the suffering, and yet she set herself up as a saint and defied the Patriarch. The reports are too varied to tell rumour from truth, but if the least of them are to be believed she is a grave threat indeed. And her movement will only breed further chaos."

"But let us move away from such dangerous topics and adress the reasons we have been assembled here. I have a suggestion for how we can focus our efforts in the future, if we retain our leadership of the Senate." He makes a gesture to his clerk. "Here is a suggestion I believe adress the most pressing needs of the Imperium and should place us in a good position for the future." He presents a pair of long scrolls tightly written in a precise style, their content of legalese can be summarised as:

*****
White Demes Faction Bonuses {{24/25 points}}


National Unrest -1,5 {{9 points}}
Tolerance of the True Faith +1 {{3 points}}
National Tax Modifier +15.0% {{9 points}}
Production Efficiency +10.0% {{3points}}
*****


"This would greatly reduce the risk of rebellion and aid the financial recovery of the Imperium. I suppose the particular balance between Production and Tax could be discussed. Under normal conditions I believe most states gain more in taxes, but under the current conditions it is rather difficult to calculate."

{{Czoklet. What are our modifiers to taxes? And what is the reason we currently have 0 tax income? Is the plague that devastating?
Also, I'm trying to look trough old screenshots to find out more about the economy but it's very hard to find since they are so scattered, not just to the story updates and developer diaries but more or less randomly in senate sessions and between. If the information was gathered to one place (your reddit, google site, or elsewhere) it would be much easier to keep track of it.}}
 
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CzokletMuss

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{{Czoklet. What are our modifiers to taxes? And what is the reason we currently have 0 tax income? Is the plague that devastating?}}
{{Most provinces of the Imperium (as in EU4, not provinces as Aegyptus or Italia) have 30-50% autonomy right now plus every province in Imperium (and Pisa and Poland and other places) gets "The Black Plague" local modifier like Alexandreia did:



So yeah, it is that bad.}}
 
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Senator Alexandros Mandromenos

It is good to see two more of our number. I was beginning to worry that you would never arrive. As to your polices for our faction Senator Serapis, I give my support. Increased taxes with new methods to quell uprising are always welcome, more so in these times. And Ouranos, despite our earlier disagreements, I feel the need to agree with you: burn the heretic sect of the Angelodulism until they are naught but smoke and ash and bone. However, I disagree with the place, or lack therefore, of the Army in these times. *Alexandros gestures to the burning city* Who do you think will stop that, fellow Senators? And many more cities are under the same threat. No, the Navy can and should accept cutbacks, but not the Army. No matter since most of us are here, it is time I share with you my thoughts on the upcoming Senate Session. Perhaps it will help direct this conversation to be more productive.

Friends, Countrymen, Brothers, And Fellow Senators,
I will not mince my words, the past two decades have been the cruelest our Imperium have known in living memory. Never have we been under such peril since the falling of Wormwood in the times when the most noble Saint Markos, the first and greatest of the Angelid Emperors, walked among us as a mortal man. We have been assaulted by the Xenoi, may we forever curse them and the Tenebris Potestases they serve, and lost the lands we held in Africa. We have weathered the sons of Timur and lost lands in Syria, severing land ties to Aepygtus. We have been attacked by the Pisans and their allies in illegitimate vengeance. We have engaged the Horde in war on behalf of Poland, our most faithful allies. In addition, we have been subjected to the trials of plague, heresy, rebellion, and bankruptcy. Our cities are held under the tyranny of the masses, our armies lie broken both in numbers and spirit, our finances are unstable and soon will reenter the state of default. And the greatest of all, in Thrace, a heretical movement has arisen forsaking the worship of the LORD for the so called divinity of the Emperor. The Emperor may be the Autokrator of the Holy Church and the first among the Romaioi, but he is not GOD, only HIS greatest servant.

We stand at the crossroads this day, to choose correctly will save the Imperium and through it all Kristianoi from the Diabolus, but to choose wrongly will damn us all to the horrors of the Tenebris Potestases. Therefore, it is critical that we need to choose rightly this day. The threat these rebels who defy the will of their Emperor, which is heresy of the greatest degree, are the greatest trial we will face in the coming decade. We need to prepare for them. To do so we will need to first restore the Imperial Treasury to ensure that we will not be dependent on loans from the Pisans again. To this end, I support the mothballing of the Imperial Fleet with the exception of a few transports so we can put rebellions on islands down. Because of this I do not move to support privateers. I also support the imposition of tariffs on our new Exarchates, but only if we can do so without risking more rebellion. And lastly, I do not support the confiscation of land and wealth from the church, to steal from the men of the LORD would be heresy and to rectify such a sin would require purification by fire. However, the Jews should be condemned for their crimes against the LORD and this empire.

To further support our intentions of stabilizing the Imperium's budget for the first time since the introduction of the basilikon and to better aid us in battle against heretic rebels and worse, I propose the following policy for the Senate to approve, the Militum Agerent Reformavit. This act will overhaul the methods the Army uses to build and maintain its weapons resulting in less coin to maintain the tools our soldiers use for the Imperium. These methods are already in use by my blacksmiths to produce the goods that I sell, to great and notable effect. In addition the act will revise the training methods our tagmata will undergo to make them more disciplined in battle, and therefore more effective. This will be achieved by longer, harder drilling and the increased use of public punishment to deter insubordination. With these reforms in place, the effectiveness of our military will be increased while reducing the cost of maintenance. This is an attempt to reach out the Red Demes, who should be our allies against the godless Blues. The Reds will surely support our cause for it advances their cause and it will secure our financial freedom against the Pisan Xenoi-lovers.

In exchange for this Senate Policy we will ask only that the Reds support the reform of the Imperial Administration to better focus on matters that can not be fixed with a sword to the gut. In particular, I propose to council his Majesty to focus the increase of Administrative efforts on combating inflation. Inflation has gripped this country and has devalued our coin to near worthlessness. To fight this insidious beast, we will need to devote significant Imperial resources, and to do that we will need to reform the administration. To do otherwise will be to invite disaster.

{{How’s that for a speech. It’s no Winston Churchill “This was their finest hour”, but I think it gets the point across. Now about the military reform act that I proposed, it can take on two forms: +5% discipline -15% land maintenance, or +7.5% discipline -10% land maintenance. The higher of the two values cost 15 points and the lower costs 5, resulting in 20 points overall for both. This is meant to appeal to the Reds and to have them willing to give ground elsewhere (especially in regards to the national focus) to get this buff to the army. If we can get away with the higher land maintenance buff and still get our NF, we will be in a great position, but in reality we must be prepared to compromise. Of course I would use our increased ADM mana to reduce inflation (and therefore costs of everything) to further aid us in building a stable, responsible fiscal future. My other opinions on the other issues are based on tightening the budget and increasing income (and screwing the Blues), but at the limitation of protecting the Church. Alexandros is a pious man after all.}}
 
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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

Marius smiles while listening to Senator Mandromenos' speach. "I believe we are in agreement, my dear colleague, with one minor exception. The reform you suggested would give control of the Senate to the Red Demes, since it solely concerns their political sphere of interest. Perhaps we should instead offer a reform which is a true compromise, and not an abject surrender? Let us say -15% Land maintenance, +10% Production or Tax, depending on what would be most worthwhile. Our armies under current circumstances are too demoralised to benefit from your proposed reform, and under normal circumstances they usually have little problem defeating our enemies. Increased incomes are always useful and will allow us to sustain greater armies in the future. That policy would be useful both in the long term and the short."

{{I'm not sure which of Production or Tax would be most profitable. It depends on what our base incomes are in those areas. Can you find that somewhere Czoklet?}}
 

CzokletMuss

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{{Do you mean this? }}

 

Mach Twelve

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Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

Marius smiles while listening to Senator Mandromenos' speach. "I believe we are in agreement, my dear colleague, with one minor exception. The reform you suggested would give control of the Senate to the Red Demes, since it solely concerns their political sphere of interest. Perhaps we should instead offer a reform which is a true compromise, and not an abject surrender? Let us say -15% Land maintenance, +10% Production or Tax, depending on what would be most worthwhile. Our armies under current circumstances are too demoralised to benefit from your proposed reform, and under normal circumstances they usually have little problem defeating our enemies. Increased incomes are always useful and will allow us to sustain greater armies in the future. That policy would be useful both in the long term and the short."

{{I'm not sure which of Production or Tax would be most profitable. It depends on what our base incomes are in those areas. Can you find that somewhere Czoklet?}}
Senator Alexandros Mandromenos

I am open to the concept of compromise dear Serapis, but as it stands neither of us is of age to be recognized as Speaker and propose this policy as our own. We need to select a Speaker from our older brothers. *Alexandros's gaze turns to the older Senators, it completely overlooks Melissenos but lingers on Pylaeus* What do you think, fellow Senators?
 

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{{No, I found that ;). I mean what is the unmodified tax and production income from the provinces? The base income before things like Imperial Corruption, Autonomy and Plague are included. I believe that is the base that our policy-modifiers will be calculated on. Or maybe your base development in the three different aspects. What I'm trying to find out is what would bring the most income. More production % or more tax %. And since that picture shows tax incomes as 0 I can't calculate anything based on it.

And, all you Blues. That is priviliged White Demes information. You know nothing about that yet.}}

Senator Marius Serapis of the White Demes

"I can see the merits of all of them. Senator Ouranos, you would bring great wisdom and experience. While you, Senator Decius, has a political competence that is beyond question. And you, Senator Pylaeus, well it seems you are quite the mystery, though your family name speaks well for your character. Would one of you be willing to succeed my diseased father and represent our Demes in the Senate?"
 
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